European Clubs To Get MLS Treatment for 2022 World Cup

world cup photoApparently, if the move to November/December is approved, the World Cup will happen in the middle of the European season, much like it normally does for clubs in the US, who’s season runs during those Summer months in which the World Cup usually occurs.

What will be interesting to watch, however, is how teams try and strategically maneuver to gain an advantage for those weeks of their season. Not that I think teams would necessarily divest themselves of players would they would lose during the World Cup, it’s not enough of the schedule to try and do without that level of talent, but I think there could be some interesting transfer discussions. Normally, the Summer window is the more active, with the January window being more talk than actual transfers. I think that could switch in 2022. Teams might be interested in holding off that big international transfer and hang on to a slighty less, but still very talented player who would be with them during the Cup instead of letting them walk, then make the actual transfer in January, when they will not be on the hook for playing without either player for a month.

Again, the time period of the World Cup is not significant enough that I think teams will make huge changes in how they operate because of this. However, I think some teams will be making a handful of choices with that in mind, and that will be interesting to see. A few extra points in that part of the season could be the difference between playing in Europe in 2023 or not. Those Champions and Europa League matches bring in some serious money for teams. Smart ones will do what they can to ensure they get them, including figuring out the best way to deal with an in-season World Cup, but it’ll be fun to see who loses points during that time, and how those lost points impact their place in the table.

Photo by warrenski

Gary Bettman Doesn’t Think Fans Care About the Salary Cap

gary bettman photo

Photo by briweldon

PuckDaddy has the details in a post, but I find it a bit troubling.

I know as a fan, I went to the CapGeek site pretty regularly to check out facts, to find out what impact signings and trades would have on a team’s cap numbers and from the discussions I’ve seen on Twitter, I know I’m not the only one.

But Gary Bettman doesn’t think fans care about the salary cap enough to make the information available, that it’s only members of the media who care about those things.

First off, as I mentioned earlier, the CapGeek site was a resource used by fans, often.

Secondly, Bettman seems to be using a very limited definition of the word media. If I look up a cap number just to make a post here, or even to drop into a Twitter update, am I not acting in a media-like capacity? Sure, I do it as a hobby as opposed to professionally, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t use that kind of resource to check a fact, or to support an opinion. Although I probably wouldn’t pay for it.

No, the truth is that the NHL doesn’t want that information out there and easily accessible. That’s ok, if the owners and general managers want to hide behind financial secrecy, that’s their prerogative. Just don’t tell us you’re not sharing that information because “no one cares”. That’s blatantly not true.

 

 

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Ban Freshman – More NCAA Idiocy and Hypocrisy

Yes, apparently the Big Ten is considering a proposal to make freshmen football and men’s basketball players ineligible.

And they aren’t the only conference. But let’s take a look at this quote by Maryland University President Wallace Loh:

What I like about the concept of the proposal is it puts right up front the basic issue: Are we basically a quasi-professional activity or primarily an educational activity?” university President Wallace Loh said. “And if you support it, you are basically saying very clearly the No. 1 priority is the education of the students.”

I think Wallace is on to something here. NCAA football and men’s basketball do seem kind of quasi-professional as they stand now. Maybe we could make some changes to show that college sports are more about education. I mean really, once you own a TV network for the sole purpose of showing your conference’s sporting events, take billions, BILLIONS, in television right’s fees, and millions more on the sale of merchandise, it sure does seem professional to me, right Wallace? Heck, just look at those athletic facilities, plenty of professional teams don’t have the kind of luxurious facilities that the Oregon, Alabama or Ohio State teams do!

But wait, simply making freshmen ineligible won’t fix any of that. So before we decide to force kids to study for a year before they’re even allowed to play, let’s take these steps first to fight off this plague of professionalism:

  • Shutter the Big Ten Network (And other conference and college networks as well)
  • Give ESPN/ABC/NBC/FOX/CBS and whoever else their right’s fees back.
  • Drop out of the football playoff system
  • Cease any facilities projects still in the planning stage
  • Get the NFL and NBA to drop their age limits
  • Charge a nominal fee for tickets to games, if any.

With all of that quasi-professionalism out of the way, now let’s talk about the freshmen, cool?

Why only football and male basketball players? Surely if getting used to the academic rigors of school apart from the pressure of sports is good for them, it’s also good for lacrosse players and field hockey players, right? Besides, isn’t it a TitleIX violation to provide opportunities to female athletes that males don’t have? Shame on you. That’s sexist, and quite probably pretty racist too.

Want to reconsider yet? Or do you just want to accept that you are a quasi-professional sports league, take your money and shut up?

Your choice….

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Gill Coliseum and the OSU Men’s Basketball Team – a Perfect Match

DSC_0338Yesterday, the wife and I went to the Oregon State campus to take in the Oregon State Men’s basketball game against the Washington Huskies. In what has become typical Beaver fashion under new coach Wayne Tinkle, the scrappy team defense led them to a 64-50 victory. It raised the Beavers home record to 14-0 this season, the best home streak to start a season in their history.

Speaking of history, let’s go back to the second half of 2014. Personally, this is when I arrived in Corvallis. I had no ties to Oregon State aside from my wife’s new job, but being a sports fan in general, and enjoying my wife’s pay check from the university specifically, I began to check out some of the OSU football games in hopes of rooting them on, which were fun, in a low expectation kind of way. (With the exception of the Civil War game against Oregon, which was a blowout loss, and a pretty ugly scene with the fans, but that’s another story.) At the time, there was a lot of talk about this new coach of the basketball team and the hope the school had for the future, but the reality of this year did not look good at all. With the staff turnover leading to player turnover, and uncertainty that came out of last season, the Beaver program looked to have a seriously talent problem. In fact, they didn’t even have enough scholarship players to scrimmage and were holding open tryouts. They had a handful of returning players, and a junior college transfer who’s name you might recognize, Gary Payton II.

Expectations were low. In fact, the preseason media predictions had OSU at the very bottom of the PAC 12 standings. No one questioned that. On paper, they are out-manned, out-sized, out-recruited, just plain out everything. When you watch them at Gill or on the road, they can be painful at times. They struggle to score, rarely get up and down the court, and aren’t pretty. But they defend, and make you earn everything against them. Every pass, every shot, every rebound is a battle for the full 40 minutes. That’s got to be annoying as heck to play against.

On my first few trips to campus, I walked right past Gill Coliseum, and had absolutely no idea it was the basketball arena. Talk about nondescript. It was built in 1949, it seats around 9,400 for basketball, and it’s like a scene out of Hoosiers. It has none of the advantages of modern day arenas, and if I had to compare it to any arena I’ve been in, I’d have to say it has the look of Ohio State’s old St. John arena, but half the size.

Like the basketball team, the arena is not pretty. It’s outclassed by most other arenas around the PAC-12 let alone the country. There are no fancy amenities, no luxury suites, no theater seating, and the concessions are nothing to write home about, either. But when the students get going, it is LOUD, and they are right on top of you. After attending the upset win over Arizona earlier in the season, we went home with our ears ringing.

Somehow, despite all of these disadvantages, this scrappy team that fights for everything, and this scrappy arena that rises to the occasion to support them, has combined for 14 straight wins to start the season. Rather than being dead last in the PAC-12 they currently sit tied for 3rd. They have a chance to make the NCAA tournament, although it will be a challenge with the lack of strength of this conference and their 2-7 record away from Gill, but even getting into the NIT would be a huge improvement over what was expected.

I have to be honest. As I said earlier, I have no ties to Oregon State. I went to school at Ohio State and grew up rooting for Syracuse as a kid in NYC. But damn, this team is easy to root for. It’s pretty fun too!

Go Beavs!

The Measure of the Islanders Success Josh Bailey

Last year I spelled out the details of Josh Bailey’s career with the New York Islanders.

I won’t go into detail again, but suffice it to say, he has never been a consistent scorer. His career high is 16 goals in 80 games, 5 years ago. This season, with an improved team around him, he has 8 in 40 games. Once again, right before the All-Star break, he went on a little tear and actually had 6 points (1g 5a) in the three games leading up to the break, playing wing on the first line with Tavares and Okposo.

Of course, since then, with Okposo out, Bailey has returned to form, zero goals and just two assists in the last seven games.

And yet, in a 2-1 game late in the third period against Boston this weekend, who was still out there getting first line minutes, playing on the first powerplay unit and even getting the best chance the Islanders had in the closing seconds? Josh Bailey.

At the time, I couldn’t believe it had come to this again for the Islanders.

The truth is, as long as the Islanders are dependent on the likes of Josh Bailey to score consistently, and continue to give him big minutes expecting it, they will not be as successful as we’d like them to be. He’s not the answer offensively. He’s not a top 6 forward, he is not a gifted scorer. Expecting him to be is not helping him any.

Sports News I’m Reading (weekly)

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Should Islander Fans Be Worried About Kyle Okposo?

I don’t believe anyone with the Islanders or within Kyle Okposo’s circle have come out and confirmed it, but reports seem to indicate that the injury that mysteriously appeared over the All-Star break and that will keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks is a detached retina.

The first thing I thought of when I heard that was Bryan Berard.

You may recall Berard had a similar injury and actually retired because of the risk of further injury, though he did, eventually, play again after a significant layoff, despite the risk of potential blindness if there were to be further injury. Needless to say, after sitting out that long, he never quite lived up to the lofty potential he add prior to the injury.

When I heard about Okposo’s injury, I wondered why the team and Kyle seemed to take such a blase attitude about it. “He’s hurt, he’ll be back in 6-8 weeks, no big deal” seemed to be the message, but if it really is a detached retina, then it is potentially a big deal, though we don’t know enough to be sure.

Islanders Point Blank has some good information straight from the medical community, which sounds like maybe we should be worried about it, if it meets certain criteria. But, again, we don’t really know anything about the details of the injury. So I guess, until we know more, we probably shouldn’t worry.

As to whether we should worry about the team, on the other hand. A three game losing streak is one thing, but the horrific penalty killing and lack of real fire, that I worry about. I don’t think Okposo being injured explains all of what is happening with this team right now. They need to get some things straightened out if they want to make any noise in the playoffs.

Sports News I’m Reading (weekly)

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