Sunday, February 27, 2011

NBA Trade Deadline Moves

Gerald Wallace will help make the Blazers serious contenders in the West.

Did your team make a last minute move in this week's past trade deadline? Check out below to view the following trades, and how they impacted the teams that were involved.

The first major trade was between the Thunder and the Celtics.

The Thunder shipped Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to the Celtics for Nate Robinson and Kenrick Perkins. At first i thought this was a great trade for the Celtics, but then i realized that in the long run, the Thunder benefit more from this trade.

 Jeff Green was making a name for himself despite playing along Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Playing the power forward position on an undersized Thunder Team, Green was able to guard some of the best forwards in the league, but on the offensive end was averaging 15 points and six rebounds per game.

The reason why at first i thought the Celtics got the better end of the trade was simply because of stats. I thought Jeff Green was better then Kendrick Perkins, but then i did some research. Perkins not only was a fan favorite, but was a great teammate to the Celtics. Although his stats (seven points and eight rebounds) did not look so well matched up against Green's, it was the unwritten stats that stood out. Perkins was Dwight Howard's kryptonite in the post season the last few seasons, and that is not all. Perkins would usually guard the best big man on any team and usually shut them down, helping the Celtics have one of the best defensives in the league. Also Nate Robinson as a great touch to this trade because although he wasn't getting the minutes in Boston, Nate will be able to spot up more for shooting with Westbrook running the point. Nate is a natural shooter, and is great at it. Can't tell yet whether this was a great trade or not, still a lot to unfold.

The next major trade was between the Cavaliers and the Clippers. The Cavaliers sent Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for Baron Davis and a 1st round pick. I felt terrible for Baron Davis, that he would have to play on such a crappy team, but also i was happy that Mo Williams got out of Cleveland.

With the most rising talent in the NBA, the Clippers were just lacking a young point guard, and they found that in Williams. With Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Blake Griffin, and a healthy Chris Kaman, the Clippers form a very young and talented starting five that can win big in years to come.Williams also will be much more comfortable playing the role of the passer, with Gordon and Griffin. Since LeBron left, Williams had all the weight on his shoulders to lead the team, and was not able to handle it. Now with a supporting cast, Williams will be back to work.

Despite giving up Mo Williams, the Cavaliers also benefited from this draft. They got a nice veteran in Baron Davis to pick up where Williams left. Davis is a much more natural scorer and will help the Cavs win a few more games this season. In my opinion, the most important part of the deal was the first round pick. The Cavs have pretty much locked up the first overall pick in next year's draft, and with another top ten pick they can get two great young rookies. With Davis aging, and the rest of the team likely to be gone in a few years, the Cavs have a great way to rebuild. With the assumed first pick, the Cavs can draft a great guard in Kyrie Irving who can help run the new Cavs. Also with the projected seventh pick in the draft, the Cavs might take a look at big men John Henson or Enes Kantor, to complement Irving down low. In the end, both teams benefit from this trade.

The Charlotte Bobcats traded with the Portland Blazers, sending star Gerald Wallace to Portland for
Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks, Joel Przybilla, a 2011 first round pick, 2013 first round pick, and cash.

In my opinion the Blazers came out as huge winners of this trade. They got rid of a bunch of garbage and cap space, to make room for Gerald Wallace, one of the hardest working and underrated players in the league. Wallace will help the Blazers become one of the better teams in the West, having stars like Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge, the injured Greg Oden, and Andre Miller. Also coming off the bench comes Nicholas Batum, Marcus Camby, and Wesley Matthews, all being great players.

The Bobcats did not get much in return, as Michael Jordan shows he is only good on the court. The Bobcats can likely kiss the playoffs goodbye this season, and do not have much talent looking into the future. Blazers are huge winners while Bobkitties are huge losers.

The rest of the trades were not as big as these three but still deserve mentioning.

The Hawks and the Wizards traded earlier in the week, where the Hawks sent Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans, and a 2011 first round pick to D.C. for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong.

This trade is not very important to either team, and in my opinion was not good for either of the two.

The Wizards gave away a great shooting guard in Hinrich and just gained a point guard to back up the future of this franchise and the NBA, and a bunch of scrubs. At least they got the first round pick (late first round).

The Hawks also did not receive what they needed. They gained Hinrich who is a great shooter, but the Hawks are already a great shooting team. They have Marvin Williams, Joe Johnson, and other shooters to play the wing. Also the Hawks lost a great veteran point guard in Mike Bibby, who has shown he knows how to win. The Hawks might start Hinrich at the point, but he is not nearly as good as Bibby when it comes to being a real point guard. A loss for both teams.

The Rockets were busy during the deadline busting out two trades, with the Suns and the Grizzlies.

In the trade with the Suns, the Rockets essentially swapped backup point guards with the Suns. I think the Suns got the much better end of this trade. The Suns received Aaron Brooks while the Rockets got Goran Dragic and a first round pick (projected lottery).

Brooks will backup Nash, but looking into the future, Brooks will take over the job in a few years. He will be able to learn from one of the greatest guards ever, and was quoted saying, " I'll wait in line, (Nash) is a legend, MVP, and Hall of Famer". Later he was quoted saying "I'm ready to go behind him and learn from him".

As for the Rockets, they lost one of their great young stars in Brooks and got back an iffy young guard in Dragic. Dragic hasn't been able to shine backing up Nash, but after i watched the Suns game live vs the Hawks this past week, i saw glimpse of him shine with Nash out. Also a first round pick is always good for a team looking to rebuild. In the end, the Suns got a great deal, and the Rockets potentially can get a good deal.

The other Rockets trade involved the Grizzlies, where the Rockets sent Shane Battier and in exchange got DeMarre Carroll, Hasheem Thabeet, and a future first round pick. I think this was another idiotic move by the Grizzlies front office, and a great move for the Rockets.

The Rockets get Carroll, a young athletic player, Thabeet, and a first round pick, just for an old vet who wasn't doing much. Thabeet got off to a late start with the Grizzlies, but with a injured and aging Yao Ming, Thabeet might be able to redeem himself in Houston. Also a first round pick from the Grizzlies is always a good one.

The Grizzlies got Shane Battier, a veteran who was expected to do lots in the NBA but has not. The Grizzlies probably signed Battier to be a veteran leader on the team to help out with young stars like Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley Jr, O.J. Mayo, and Zach Randolph. Mayo, who is currently serving a suspension, was expected to leave Memphis after some faults, but ended up staying.

As for other trades, obviously the Knicks landed Carmelo, while the Nets landed Deron Williams. Also the Cavs landed Luke Harangody and Semih Erden from the Celtics for a 2013 second round pick. Danny Ainge, the Celtics GM was very busy, also send Marquis Daniels to the Kings for a 2017 second round pick and some cash. The Bobcats and Thunder did some minor switches, swapping D.J. White and Mo Pete, for Nazr Mohammed. The Kings got Marcus Thornton and cash from the Hornets for Carl Landry, and the Warriors got Troy Murphy and a 2012 second round pick for Brendan Wright and Dan Gadzuric. The last and final trade of the deadline was the Raptors getting James Johnson from the Bulls for a first round pick.

Many teams were involved in trades during this year's deadline. Did your team make a move or no, and if they did was it a good one?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jacques Lemaire And The Devils Trying To Make Late Playoff Push

Lemaire and the Devils have a eight game win streak and are catching ground, can they make the playoffs?

The New Jersey Devils, are historically a great NHL franchise, and in the last 10 years specifically have been one of the best. With stars like Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Martin Brodeur, the Devils not only have great offense but great goaltending. The only change was a new coach. This season, after Kovy signed his famous contract with the Devils, I had the Devils 2nd in the East. You could read my NHL preview hear @ to see how well my predictions were. Definitely had some errors, but also some good calls.

So the Devils looked and sounded great going into this season. Then the first month of the season went by and everyone was shocked. The New Jersey Devils were way deep down in the standings,  had myriad injuries, and their top star, Ilya Kovalchuk was playing awful.

The Devils took a even bigger hit when their goalie Martin Brodeur got injured, and now backup Johan Hedberg had to fill in, many thought the Devils would now be even worse.

Going into the New Year, the Devils only had nine wins but had 27 losses (two in overtime). Then they decided to make a big change, and fire their coach, and bring back Jacques Lemaire, the coach who won the Stanley Cup with them.

Since then the Devils have been amazing. Backup Hedberg is playing like an all-star, Elias and Kovalchuk are starting to wake up, and Jacques Lemaire is doing a great job bringing back this team. The Devils are 16-2-2 in their last 20 games, and are currently riding a eight game win streak.

In those 20 games, Hebderg has been playing out of his mind, giving up more then two goals only three times. Even when the Devils fail to score like last night, Hedberg comes through. They do not even need Brodeur right now.

Although Jacques Lemaire says he will not be back next season, he and the Devils are feeling very confident in making the playoffs, especially with teams injury plagued and slumping. If the Devils get in i think they can even upset a top seed.

For the first time since the first month of the season, the Devils have cut the points down to single digits from the eighth seed in the East. Still with about 25 games left in the NHL, anything can happen and don't be surprised if the Devils pull this off.

Deron Williams Traded To Nets In Recent Blockbuster

Breaking News: Deron Williams traded to Nets
After the Nets failed to deliver Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey, and soon to be Brooklyn, the Nets didn't quite give in yet, and just traded for a superstar almost as good as Carmelo. That superstar is Jazz point guard, Deron Williams.

At the moment right now, the current deal is Deron Williams, for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and draft picks. The Golden State Warriors could be involved sending more draft picks to Utah, but as of now this is the trade.

Williams is a very special player, being one of six point guards to average at least 17 points and nine assists in their first six seasons. Other players on that list are Chris Paul, Tim Hardaway, and Magic Johnson.

Williams was getting a lot of criticism in Utah the past week after the Jazz head coach, Jerry Sloan resigned. Many Jazz fans were upset at the sudden resignation because Sloan is the longest tenured coach in the NBA and in all of the four major American sports leagues. Rumors are that Sloan retired after a feud with Williams, where Williams said at halftime, either I'm going or you are. Looks like they are both out of Utah now.

Williams is having his best season yet, with Al Jefferson replacing Carlos Boozer as the big man in Utah. Williams is averaging 21 points and almost 10 assists per game.

In comparison to Carmelo Anthony, the Nets really did not miss out on much. Anthony leads Williams in points and rebounds with 25.2 and 7.6 compared to Williams' 21.3 and 3.9. Williams leads Anthony in assists, steals, and field goal % with 9.7, 1.2, and .458 compared to Anthony's 2.8, .6, and .452.

With Brook Lopez at center, Deron Williams will have another big man to work with. As for this season, the Nets will not be making the playoffs, but since Williams has to stay under contract for at least another season, next year the Nets might be back in the playoffs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Melo Finally Goes To New York After A Three Team Trade

Carmelo is Finally a Knick after a three team 13 player deal.

It's over, it's over, it's over. Carmelo is in New York.

In the late hours of February  21, 2011, the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks finally reached agreements on possibly the biggest trade of the year. In a three team, 13 player, and three pick pick deal, the Knicks would gain Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, and Anthony Carter. The Nuggets would receive Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and Danilo Gallinari, two second round picks, and a 2014 first round draft pick.

In a side deal in order to keep the Knicks under the Hard Cap, the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to send Corey Brewer to New York, for Anthony Randolph, the expiring contract of Eddy Curry, and 3 million dollars.

In the end Carmelo gets what he wants. He goes to New York, he gets his extension, his wife gets publicity, and he gets to play ball with his friend, Amar'e Stoudemire. Earlier this month, talks were getting very heated, when New Jersey Nets owner, Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he would meet with Carmelo in Los Angeles, and that the trade was almost complete. Also earlier in the months, trade rumors with the Nets were saying a deal could have been done in 24 to 48 hours. Eventually, those deals would fall due to Carmelo not wanting to go to New Jersey, despite the teams move to Brooklyn in a few years.

So the Knicks lost six players, and gained six players. When they play their next game on Wednesday against the Bucks, the whole team will look very different. The projected starting lineup would be Billups at point guard, rookie Landry Fields at shooting guard, Melo at small forward, Amar'e at power forward, and Ronny Turiaf at Center. Coming off the bench for the Knicks would be Corey Brewer, Toney Douglas, and Kelenna Azubuike, who was injured earlier in the season and did not play much after that.

For the Nuggets, their projected lineup would be Felton at the point, J.R. Smith at shooting guard, Gallinari at small forward, the injury plagued Kenyon Martin at power forward, and the big Brazilian Nene at center. Wilson Chandler is likely to be the teams 6th man. The Nuggets are looking to transform Gallinari into a star and they feel he still has a lot of potential as a dominant shooter and scorer.

As i read on Twitter, one person wrote that " With J.R. Smith, Chris Anderson, Wilson Chandler, and Kenyon Martin, the Nuggets will lead the NBA in tattoes". That is true, but i am not sure the Nuggets will lead the NBA in anything else after losing 'Melo.

Many Knicks fans are being unappreciative of the current deal, and are saying the old GM Isiah Thomas created and finalized the trade.

To all my Knicks fans out there, be grateful.

You got what you wanted, and besides maybe Wade and LeBron, the Knicks form one of the best one two punches in the NBA. So you gave up half of your team including Felton and Gallinari who everyone loved, but for a superstar like Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks did not give up THAT much. They still got to keep Landry Fields, the rookie sensation who has been a hit in New York, and the Knicks still have many first round draft picks, which are much better then seconds.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Steve Lavin: Bringing Back St. Johns Basketball

St. John's basketball has been phenomenal this season under new coach, Steve Lavin.

St. John's basketball back in the day, was like Duke basketball, or The Chicago Bulls. After the departure of Ron Artest, and a couple of other stars, the team got worse and worse. In the Big East, they used to be one of the elite teams, but the last decade, they were the easy game in the schedule to help players rest for the big games. Now St. Johns is back, with a new coach, recruiting class, and will to survive in the NCAA's top basketball conference.

Steve Lavin is one of the greatest coaches in college hoops today, and this year i would give him the coach of the year award. He took over the Red Storm this season, after working with ESPN the last few years. Before ESPN, Lavin was coach of the UCLA Bruins and had a 145-78 record there. He led them to the tournament every year except his last, and made it to four sweet sixteens, and even a elite eight run.

Lavin is back to prove his skills, and is transforming St. John's back to a power basketball school. Lavin currently hast he St. Johns Red Storm in the top 25, with a 17-9 record. St. John's arguably have the toughest schedule or RPI, in the land. Over the season, they have already played nine top 25 schools, with one still to go. Also the Storm have defeated other tough opponents like West Virginia, Cincinnati, and Marquette.

The Red Storm started off the season pretty weak, and the odds looked like another crappy season. The Storm dropped the first game of the season, vs the Saint Mary Gaels. After the next five games which they won, they dropped two in a row. Later after another group of wins, the Storm would get themselves in another hole, dropping five of six games in a row.

After that final loss against #20 Georgetown, the Storm transformed into a hurricane, and upset #3 Duke, #9 UCONN, and most recently #4 Pittsburgh. With the only ranked team left on the schedule being Villanova, the Red Storm are in good shape going into the Big East Tournament, and even the great 68 team tournament.

The Red Storm play at the worlds most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, and have been excellent there this season. They have had 5 upset wins vs ranked teams in MSG.

St. John's top player this year is guard, Dwight Hardy. Hardy is a Senior out of the Bronx and is the key leader of this team. He is currently averaging 17.2 points per game, along with a steal, a few assists, and close to four rebounds. He has hit many clutch shots this season, and had a season high 32 points per game vs UCONN.

Many Bracketology experts have St. John's being a high single digit ranked team, like a eight or nine. Many analyst though, have St. John's being that team to upset a potential one, two, or three seed, since they have done it many times this season already.

St. John's basketball has definitely improved under Lavin, and it is good to see great New York City College Basketball being played in the garden.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blake Griffin, Javale McGee Make The Dunk Contest Worth Watching This Year

Blake Griffin impresses in the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

After a disappointed and boring dunk contest last year, many people were hoping that this year the dunk contest would be one to remember. After performing classic dunks and new creative dunks, the contestants definitely made this year one to remember at the Staples Center.

After Atlanta beat out Los Angeles, Chicago, and Texas, Stephen Curry beat out, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, and others, and after James Jones defeated Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and others, the real thrill of the night was about to begin; The 2011 NBA Dunk Contest.

This year's dunk contest had a lot of hype going into the event, with many fans buzzing about rookie sensation, Blake Griffin. The other contestants were Javale McGee of the Washington Wizards, Demar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, and Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder. These other contestants did not get as much talk as the favorite Griffin, but definitely shined out there tonight. DeRozan actually replaced Brandon Jennings, of the Milwaukee Bucks, after Jennings was unable to compete due to injury.

The first round set the tone for the night, having some very interesting dunks, some never seen before. Demar DeRozan completed a stellar through the legs dunk, via a pass from the side off the hoop from a teammate. Ibaka then called out some assistant to wave NBA Africa flags, as he jumped from BEHIND the free throw line like Michael Jordan and Dr. J did in the past. JaVale McGee brought back memories of Dwight Howard with a raised basket, but did something like never before. McGee dunked a ball into each hoops, the second one off of an alley-oop off the backboard. Griffin finished off the round with a 360 degrees two hand slam.

In the second round, McGee dunked three balls into one hoop, being the first person in NBA history to do so. Griffin responded with a dunk similar to DeRozan in the second round. In Ibaka's dunk, he rescued a stuffed animal with his teeth while dunking, while on his turn and DeRozan got a 50 on a spectacular dunk, but it was not enough to advance. After Ibaka and DeRozan couldn't match the quality of Griffin and McGee according to the judges, they were eliminated.

So the finals were set, the heavy  favorite Blake Griffin, v.s. the so far exciting Javale McGee.

Griffin started the finals off with a powerful dunk, jumping high above the rim and sticking his arm in the hoop for a good 10 seconds. You could tell Griffin slammed it with authority after revealing a cut on his arm from the rim. McGee then had a clever dunk where he would do a reverse dunk, making sure not to hit his head on the basket. McGee slammed it backwards while still jumping the other way.

Griffin's final dunk would be a crowd pleaser.

Griffin brought out a brand new car and placed it under the basket. After listening to a choir preach "I Believe I Can Fly", Griffin leaped over the car and slammed home an alley-oop from Baron Davis, who was inside of the car. McGee could not come up with a dunk even close to that level and after fans voted, Griffin came away victorious as expected.

So although the events leading up to the Dunk Contest were nothing special or exciting, The NBA made up for it with a very spectacular show, the Dunk Contest. In the end rookie sensation Blake Griffin was crowned the king in his team's home city of Los Angeles.

As for the NBA All-Star game, it will be played tomorrow night. The East is lead by LeBron James, Derrick Rose, and Amar'e Stoudemire, while the West will be lead by Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and rookie Blake Griffin.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lakers Stock Keeps Falling While Clippers Look Like Los Angeles' Team In Years To Come

Is the Laker Dynasty coming to an end?

As a Laker Fan,  i rarely lose hope in them, but after a 109-89 defeat to the Charlotte Bobcats, it will be very hard to see the Lakers repeat for a third time.

The Lakers failed to reach 90 points while they almost gave up 110, that never happens. The Lakers shooting last night was grotesque. They shot 80 times, while only making 35. They were 3-19 from behind the arc, which is unlike the Lakers with so many shooters. Kobe only had 20 points after going 8-2 from the field and Ron Artest's struggles continued shooting 4-11 last night.

Pao Gasol said it best, "Pretty upset about what happened out there."

Last night's loss to the Bobcats was the worst of the season, and maybe on some minds, the worst loss in the last three seasons. This wasn't a fluke though, the Lakers seem to have lost their will to win games, and don't have the chemistry, mindset, or attitude to win games. The Lakers have had a few bad losses this season including games against the Grizzlies and Bucks by 19.

What can the possible problem be with the Lakers though?

They have practically the same roster as last season, besides a few switches like DJ Mbenga, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic all leaving while Matt Barnes and Steve Blake have joined the Lakers.

The Lakers have had this season against the NBA's "elite teams". Those teams include the Celtics, Heat, Spurs, Mavs, and Magic. The Lakers are 1-6 vs those teams. The Spurs look like the front runner to win the West this year and haven't even hit double digit losses. Manu is on top of his game and along with Time Duncan and Tony Parker, the Spurs might be able to get back on top of the West.

The Lakers worst feature though is age. They have one of the oldest team's in the NBA and only have one starter who is under 25 years old. Kobe, Pao, Fisher, and Odom are all over 30 years of age, and in five years the Lakers will not be Los Angeles', or California's team.

While the Lakers are not looking exciting, two young California teams are; the Golden State Warriors, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Although the records, (24-29 and 20-35 respectively) may not say much, the names Blake Griffin, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, and Eric Gordon do. These young stars look to take over their teams, and in addition, Los Angeles, California, and the Western Conference. When the Lakers, Spurs, and Mavs all have their star players retire in years to come, these young stars will be in their prime and will definitely not look back.

The Golden State Warriors have the supporting cast to even make it to the playoffs this season, and with a weak Phoenix Suns team, and chaos in Denver, they very well might make it into the playoffs. The Warriors signed David Lee this season to get double doubles every night and that is exactly what he is doing averaging around 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. Ellis and Curry do the rest of the scoring while Dorrell Wright hits clutch threes too. With a whole 30 games left to play and only being five and a half games back, maybe the Warriors can sneak into the playoffs.

The Clippers as well have a young talented team made up of players like Blake Griffin, Al-Farouq Aminu, Randy Foye, and Eric Gordon, and also have veteran Baron Davis to help lead the team. Although nearly ten spots behind the eight place team, I believe the Clippers will be in the playoffs within the next three seasons.

The Lakers look to get back into rhythm and compete to win their third straight title. The whole team will have to step up in order to win the championship again. As for the Warriors and Clippers, although time is running out this season, in a few years, these teams may be the team to beat in the Western Conference, and even the whole NBA.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rangers Snap Losing Streak!

Ryan Callahan helped snap the Rangers six game lose streak with three points on Sunday.

The New York Rangers, woeful losing streak has come to an end with a 5-3 victory over the injury plagued, Pittsburgh Penguins.

Though, early in the game, it looked like the Rangers' terrible streak would continue. The Penguins got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first two minutes. That's when Rangers coach John Tortorella called a time-out to talk to his team, and make sure a seventh straight loss was not going to happen.

The Rangers responded quickly to the time-out, and scored nearly 30 seconds after it was called. A couple minutes later, it was a tied hockey game, when Ryan Callahan scored his first of two power play goals.

Both teams were playing with a lot of intensity, the Rangers were looking to snap a awful streak while the Penguins tried to not get into a slump like the Rangers, with injuries to stars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

The Rangers started off the second period hot, and never looked back. They scored three goals that period, to the Penguins zero, and had no bad penalties. Vinny Prospal scored the go ahead goal, after receiving a great pass across the ice from Brandon Dubinsky. Marc-Andre Fleury went for the Dubinsky, and left the whole half the of the net open for Prospal. Following Prospal's goal were Ryan Callahan's second power play goal, and Artem Anisimov with a power play goal, the Rangers third of the day.

In the third period, the Penguins got a late goal, but it wasn't enough because the score would only be 5-3, and Henrik Lundqvist was not planning on letting up any more goals.

The Rangers currently rank seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Carolina Panthers, and four points behind the Montreal Canadiens.

Although the Rangers have not won many games in their last ten, a simple Win and Loss can be misleading. 14 of their last 18 games have been decided by only one goal, and two others would have been one goal decisions if it weren't for empty nets.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist was pulled for a few games during the losing streak, but I believe that the blame was not on Henk, but it was on the offense. In games decided by only one goal, the offense should be able to score and not rely all on the goaltender.

The Rangers offense has not been nearly as strong as it was early in the season. It is very ironic though, because with offensive threats like Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, and Ryan Callahan back from injury, the offense should be better. Also the addition of Wojtek Wolski should help the Rangers put some pucks in the back of the net.

The Rangers have a tough schedule coming up, but they should be able to keep their position in the standings. The Rangers face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, and then face their rivals, the Devils on Friday. They finish up the month with games vs the Flyers, Hurricanes, Capitals, and Lightning.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Packers Defeat the Steelers to Win the Super Bowl

Rodgers celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy
Last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers, defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. Again, the Packers were able to overcome injuries and dropped balls and come out victorious. MVP honors went to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, after completing 24-39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns.

The festivities began after Christina Aguilera miss sung the national anthem, and then Lea Michele of Glee correctly sang America, the Beautiful. Besides the 400 seats that were empty due to safety violations, the overly priced Cowboys Stadium was packed with fans, celebrities, and players of course.

The Packers got off to a great start, scoring on their second possession, and then on the next defensive possession, Nick Collins picked off Ben Roethlisberger for another touchdown making it 14-10. Jordy Nelson would have several dropped passes throughout the game but made up for it after ending with 140 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The Steelers would go on to kick a field goal, only to be countered by a 21 yard Greg Jennings touchdown from Rodgers. The Steelers would end the half on a touchdown though with only 39 seconds left, when Hines Ward caught a jump ball in the endzone for eight yards. Ward ended with seven catches for 78 yards, and one touchdown.

At halftime, the Black Eyed Peas performed an interesting show. It was the first time the halftime show was pop, since Janet Jackson's accident. The Black Eyed Peas rocked out to all their hits, and also had guest appearances by Slash of Guns N' Roses, and Usher. They all rocked sparkly outfits and had a great light show on the ground of the performance.

The Second Half went under way and the only score of the quarter was a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown. Mendenhall finished the game with 63 rushing yards, a touchdown, but also fumbled after a hard hit by Clay Matthews.

The fourth and final quarter was a thriller. Greg Jennings scored another touchdown to give the Packers a 28-17 lead. Soon after, Big Ben connected with Mike Wallace for a 25 yard touchdown and after the two-point conversion, it was a three point game. After failing on first and goal, the Packers decided to kick a field goal with two minutes left.

Big Ben then was ready to start a two minute run, to potentially win the Steelers the game. He wasn't on his best game though all night, including two costly interceptions. After a series of completions, Big Ben and the Steelers were at a tough situation: 4th and long. After a rush by the defense, Roethlisberger's pass was incomplete and the Packers, after a kneel, officially won the game.

The Packers Super Bowl run was one to remember. Going into the final week, they were not sure if they were going to the playoffs. In fact, a loss at Chicago, would have put the New York Giants in the playoffs. The Packers defeated the Eagles, Falcons, and Bears to finally make it to Dallas.

The Packers also overcame a lot to finally win a trophy, named after their famous coach. Injuries struck starting running back and tight end, Ryan Grant, and Jermichael Finley early in the season. Also during the Super Bowl, at least five players left the game with injuries, including last years defensive player of the year, Charles Woodson. Nonetheless, the Packers came out victorious.

Also, this marks the first time the Packers have made it to the Super Bowl and won, since that #4 guy was playing quarterback. What was his name again? Doesn't really matter because the Packers forgot all about him and have their mind set on Rodgers, who was one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the NFL this season.

The Steelers were also able to overcome obstacles. The first being Ben Roethlisberger's suspension. Ben was suspended after a incident involving a young lady at a club. The Steelers responded during his suspension and went 4-0 in those games thanks to Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch.

The other Steelers obstacle was the hatred that referees and commissioner Roger Goodell have for James Harrison and defense. Harrison was fined so many times, he contemplated retirement. The league ended up taking back some fines, and the Steelers picked up their mojo.

In then end, Titletown is home of the current champions of the NFL, the Green Bay Packers. Congrats to the Packers for overcoming some rough obstacles. They still have a young team and might be able to repeat, or return in a few years to the Super Bowl.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Preview

Superbowl 45 will be one to remember in Dallas.

Whether you call it the "Super Bowl", "Big Game", or "NFL Championship", the game that will kick off at 6:30 on February 6th, 2011 will be the biggest game of the season. The game features the winners of the NFC and AFC conferences. From the NFC, are the Green Bay Packers who had a 10-6 record this season, and are lead by Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, and Charles Woodson. From the AFC are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were 12-4 and winners of the AFC North. The Steelers will try to win their 3rd Super Bowl since '05 when they defeated the Seahawks. They are lead by Big Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, and reigning defensive player of the year, Troy Polamalu.

The hype up to the game has been absolutely incredible. Some of the headlining news were Dallas' surprising cold weather, the Terrible Towel's vs the Cheesehead's, and of course the rapping battle between Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" vs Lil Wayne's "Green and Yellow".

I do think the Green Bay Packers, will be victorious in this one and win 27-24, here is a preview of why both teams can win, starting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Although the Packers are favored, the Steelers have a great chance of adding to their #1 place Super Bowl collection. They have the will power, determination, experience, and athleticism to do so. The Offense is one of the NFL's best and is lead by Big Ben, Rashard Mendenhall, and the 60 minute man, Mike Wallace. Even though their all pro center Maurkice Pouncey is doubtful to play, the Offensive line is good enough to stop the Packers.

The Steelers Defense is one of the best All time.
The Steelers also have the best Defense in the NFL. The front three are lead by Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, and Ziggy Hood. Then the best four linebackers pair in the league is lead by past NFL defensive player of the year, James Harrison, Veterans James Farrior, and Lawrence Timmons, and the ferocious Lamar Woodley. The back four is also one of the NFL's best and is lead by Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor, and Bryant McFadden. Rodgers is one of the greatest QB's in the league but this Defense is incredible.

Also the Steelers have one of the best fan sections in the NFL. Yes the game is being played indoors but many fans will migrate to Dallas despite the weather. Look for the terrible towels to be swirling indoors.
The Steelers also have the experience to win it all again this year. One last thing that might push the Steelers to win it all is that many experts have the Packers winning, and the Steelers feel, that they should be the favorites.

Now for the Packers:

The first fact that will persuade many people to pick the Packers is because of the Madden Simulation, that has predicted six of the last seven winners.  Just kidding, but you should still have that in mind. Also the Packers are favorites and will use that momentum to get their first Super Bowl since that #4 guy was playing QB.

Can Rodgers help the Packers forget about #4, and win
the Super Bowl?
The Packers have a much better offense then the Steelers

If you go position by position, they win in every category in my opinion, except running back. Still the running backs for Green Bay still get the job done, and with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, he makes you forget there even is a run game. Rodgers is better then Big Ben, despite the lack of experience. The Wide Receiving core of Driver, Jennings, and Nelson is also better then Mike Wallace and Co. despite injuries to Finley and Grant, the Packers still have a better offense! Also the Offensive line is much better especially with Pouncey out for Pittsburgh. The game changer is unexpected, the Kuhn, Starks, Jackson trio will help out Green Bay balance the offense.

Time for the hard hitting defense. The Packer's Defense might even make some forget about the Steelers. They have a great front seven, as well as some great secondaries. They are lead up front by B.J. Raji, runner up to defense player of the year Clay Matthews, Ryan Pickett, and AJ Hawk. In the backfield they have last years defensive player of the year, Charles Woodson, and in addition, they have Nick Collins, Sam Shields and Tramon Williams.

Both teams special teams are good, but one thing the Steelers have on the Packers, are trick plays. In past Super Bowkls, Wide Receiver, Antwaan Randle El has gotten action at QB.

So whether you have the Towels or the Cheeseheads, this Super Bowl might be one to remember. I wish both teams good luck, but remember i have the Packers, 27-24