At Least This Happened in May for The Dodgers

That’s the only positive the Dodgers can take from this week’s series in San Francisco. If you were going to have a monumental embarrassment, have it in May. 

How bad was it? The Dodgers vaunted offense, which had looked so good early in the season, failed to score In the ENTIRE series. Kershaw not only got beat in his showdown against Bumbardner, but gave up a home run to his opposite number. 

This team is now 0-6 in SF this season, giving the Giants fans pretty good bragging rights, as if they needed more! They can’t get out of the Bay Area fast enough. Here’s hoping they can put this behind them and get back to playing good baseball, including against the freaking Giants! 

Sports News I’m Reading (weekly)

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Another Band, Another Scandal

marching band photoI was saying this back when it was the Ohio State Marching Band that was in trouble for hazing and sexual harassment, and I’ll say it again now that it has been announced that Stanford’s band will not be making any road trips for the 2015 season.

This is what happens when the federal government starts hammering down on schools about sexual assault and sexual harassment. Stuff that people my age look at and think “Gee, that’s been going on forever, sometimes worse than that”, is no longer acceptable. As a University depending on federal funds, and just about all of them are in one way or another, you cannot have a campus organization, whether it be the band, a sports team, the debate club, the ROTC, or anything, that has a culture where sexual harassment is common, even if none of the members complain. You simply can’t allow it to exist. Knowing that alcohol and drugs are involved only serves to prove that the environment is dangerous toward female members, and not addressing that will get the University in much more hot water than a few put out alums.

It’s 2015, times have changed and some traditions have to follow suit, whether you agree or not.

Photo by –Mark–

The NBA Eastern Conference Is as Bad as I’ve Heard

Admittedly, i don’t watch much NBA on TV, and only pay a passing interest in the playoffs, but during my time in Ottawa this week, i had some time to catch Sportscentre and get the details on last night’s Cavaliers win over Chicago.

Let me make sure i have this straight. Lebron has been pretty “meh” for most of the series, Kyrie Irving has been playing hurt, and missed most of last night’s game, Kevin Love is out, and J.R. Smith missed the first two games, and the Cavs still won in 6?

Yes, that shows how lame the East is, as does the fact that this Bulls team has 4 All-Stars on it. Guess finishing high and being named an All-Star in the East doesn’t take much, huh?

Sports News I’m Reading (weekly)

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Gambling Jerry Jones

Chips!Well, you can’t say Jerry Jones isn’t a gambling man.

Between the signing of Greg Hardy, the drafting of Randy Gregory, and now the free agent signing of undrafted La’el Collins, Jerry has taken a few chances in the last few weeks.

Now look, as a Cowboys fans through the years, I’m no stranger to having super talented football players with checkered personal lives on the team. From Hollywood Henderson on through Dez Bryant, this team has never been full of saints. (The use of Roger Staubach as the face of the franchise notwithstanding.)

The signing of Hardy already seems to have backfired, thanks to the NFL swooping in with a 10 game suspension. So Jerry doubled down by drafting Randy Gregory as a pass rusher. Gregory was evaluated as a top 10-15 player in the draft, but failing a drug test at the combine will tend to get you dropped in the draft, let alone rumors of mental health issues. If Gregory can get himself straightened out, he could be the steal of the draft.

The steal of the non-draft could be Collins, another first round talent who fell completely out of the draft after it was released that the police wanted to talk to him about the murder of his ex and her baby. After Aaron Hernandez, it’s understandable that no one wanted to touch this guy until he was cleared, which he hasn’t been. (Although he has also not been charged or even named as a suspect yet, to be fair.)

If he is cleared, the Cowboys stole themselves another huge, talented offensive lineman for a mere $1.65 million in guaranteed money. If he’s charged, they get nothing. If Gregory plays like he’s capable, the Cowboys stole themselves a talent on the defensive side, and if Hardy puts his past acts behind him, they could have stolen a talented pass rushing and wind up adding him to the roster in the middle of the push to the postseason.

Or it could all blow up in Jerry’s face. Such is life when you’re ruling Jerryworld.

 

Feast or Famine Islanders – Looking Forward

cropped-IMG_0073.jpg All of Isles Nation was, obviously, disappointed with the seven game series loss to the Caps. As with any seven game series there are a lot of moments that you could point to and say “if only”, including throwing away some points at the end of the season that would have given the Isles home ice in Game 7, but as I said Monday night, the bottom line is that the Islanders weren’t good enough to pull it off.

There has been a lot of discussion about who was at fault for the lack of offense in the final game, and whether a save or better defense would have helped but for me, the series was lost with two facts:

  • The Islanders scored 7 goals in Games 1-2. They proceeded to score a total of 8 in the next 5 games. You aren’t going to win many games scoring 1.60 goals per game. That they managed to win two of those games says a lot about the defensive play and goaltending.
  • A contributing factor to that previous point, the o-fer on the powerplay. Zero goals in the entire series on the PP.

Ultimately, the series was lost for the same reason that the Islanders have lost games for the last few seasons, inconsistent scoring. How will they address that going forward? I’m not sure. Looking ahead to next season, there’s obvious room for some of the younger guys to improve, but I don’t know where much will change with the lineup, to be honest.

The Forwards:

Going into 2015-2016 the Islanders have 11 forwards under contract, plus RFA’s in Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, who I assume will be signed. That’s 13 forwards under contract. I could see letting UFA’s Kennedy and Boulton walking away, but I’m not sure what happens with pending UFA Colin MacDonald. I’d like to see the Isles keep him, but if he gets a chance to sign a one-way deal elsewhere, I wouldn’t blame him.

With 13 guys already in, I don’t see the Isles making a big splash for a free agent forward. I’m not sure who I’d want them to sign anyway. Yes, they could use a true first line winger to play with Tavares and Okposo. I just don’t see where that fits in the salary cap. (More on that later.) With 13 guys signed, and Michael Dal Colle probably ready to compete for a job as well, there isn’t much flexibility. I could see Dal Colle gettingĀ  real shot to play on the first line and PP in training camp. It’s obvious they need some more offense, and Dal Colle is skilled. Is he ready? Or is Josh Ho-Sang ready?

The Defense:

For all the criticism of the defense this year, some of it deserved, they actually played pretty well the last couple of games against Washington, with a makeshift lineup. I give them credit for that. There are 5 defensemen under contract for 2015-2016, with Visovsky a pending UFA and Donovan and Hickey as pending UFAs.

This will be an interesting offseason here. Lubo has talked of coming back for one more year, do the Isles have space for him? How much will it cost? A lot will depend on how ready some of the young guys look in training camp. If Pulock, Reinhart and Mayfield are going to make the team, those pending free agents might have to be cleared out of the way. If they aren’t ready, you might need those guys back, or some other free agent signing. There are some interesting names of the UFA list at defense, but no one who really blows me away, and given the market price for free agent defense, will the Isles be players there? My assumption is Green, Martin, and Meszaros are out of the price range, but I would be interested in someone like Johnny Oduya or Barrett Jackman, maybe?

Again, it’s going to come down to how ready are the kids?

Goalies:

Halak is under contract. Neuvirth is a UFA, Poulin an RFA.

Is Kevin Poulin ready to be a quality NHL backup? Do we believe it? Do we count on that? Is Garth Snow going to be out looking for his backup goalie again come July 1? I think he will be. Again, there are some interesting names on the UFA market, but no one that blows me away. The ones that intrigue me the most, will probably be looking for starting gigs. Brooklyn is not that gig.

The Salary Cap:

Believe it or not, this is another reason the Islanders may not be all that active in the free agent market. They already have $54 million of their cap committed to next season, with UFA status looming for Okposo, Neilsen, Martin and Grabner the next season, along with Strome and Cizikas reaching RFA status and getting a raise then as well. That $54 million does not include whatever they end up paying for Lee and Nelson, their defense and backup goalie. Could the Isles walk away from the last year of Grabner’s contract to make room up front and in the budget? Could they try and deal Bailey’s contract? The Islanders will actually be in the unfamiliar position of having to make some decisions based on leaving themselves enough cap flexibility to deal with these contracts. Having some of the young kids make the lineup will help.

But are they ready to make the next step? Are the guys with NHL experience ready to improve, and are the guys at Bridgeport and juniors ready to make the lineup of a playoff caliber team?

We will see what happens in Brooklyn!

Sports News I’m Reading (weekly)

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