Friday, April 30, 2010

Mavericks in a familiar place: first round exit

Dallas Mavericks, one of top teams in the NBA, entered the season in mid-April and found themselves in a familiar place at end of April/first week of May: a first round playoff exit. Ever since NBA Finals trip in 2006 Mavericks had been eliminated from first round of the playoffs in 3 out of 4 years. Seeded no. 2 in the playoffs they end up losing to 7th seeded San Antonio Spurs in six games, a team they beat last year to move to the second round. Despite a team of stars and 50+ wins in the regular season they exit the playoff in another major disappointment. Mavericks facing uncertainty with a possibility of Dirk Nowitski opting out his contract. What does Dallas have to do to get in the second round?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Canadiens burn down the Capitals

It's a series Washington Capitals want to forget. Four games ago, Washington Capitals was leading 3-1 in the playoff series against Montreal Canadiens and needing a win to finish off the series. Three games later the Capitals collapse as Canadiens took the series 4-3 moving on second round of the playoffs. Capitals now sit at home to watch the games on TV. This was thought to be an "easy" series for the Capitals. Where did it go wrong? Start at goal with unproductive play of Jose Theodore who gave up five goals including two in two shots in game 2 before getting pulled for Seymon Varlamov. No matter how much offensive power on the team make sure you have a goalie that can regularly stop shots. For the Canadiens they continue on their momentum from the regular season when they battled and got the final playoff spot. It carried on to the playoffs playing good defense and protecting around the goal with goalie Jaroslav Halak being clutch after given another chance to start for game 5. It paid off as Canadiens held the Capitals to a goal in games 5, 6, and 7 with Capitals running out of gas with uneven play. A 2-1 Canadiens win in game 7 completes the comeback moving to second round of the playoffs. It marked first time no. 8 seed knocked off no. 1 seed while down 3-1 in the first round. Capitals have rest of the offseason to wonder why did they go down in flames and questions at Alexander Ovechkin if he's playoff material.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jimmy Clausen: Panthers future star or just another Notre Dame quarterback?

It was a long wait for quarterback Jimmy Clausen who fell from projected first round pick all the way down to second round when Carolina Panthers selected him with the 48th overall pick. He was one of few highly touted quarterbacks in the draft with Sam Bradford (no. 1) and Tim Tebow (no. 25) selected ahead of him. Is Clausen really that good or just another long line of quarterbacks from Notre Dame that isn't named Joe? History hasn't been kind to Notre Dame QBs especially the last 20 years of the draft. Rick Mirer drafted no. 2 overall in 1993 and had average NFL career. Brady Quinn drafted 22nd overall in 2007 struggled with the Browns and was sent to Broncos earlier this year. Jarious Jackson drafted in the 7th round in 2000 is a CFL backup. Kent Graham drafted in 8th round in 1989 was given occasional chances at starter, but was mostly backup. Caryle Holiday and Rob Powlus went undrafted. Drafting a Notre Dame quarterback is like drafting Penn State running backs. Big risks with little or no rewards.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When Super Bowl heros become stupid

At first, it was going be about Ben Roethlisberger, but the more I thought about it it becomes about key players on a winning Super Bowl teams making poor judgment. NFL suspended Ben Roethlisberger for six games without pay and will not re-join the Steelers at any form til he completes "comprehensive behavioral evaluation" for violating Personal Conduct Policy. This stemming from sexual assault allegation last month in Georgia despite no charges. It marks the second time in three years he been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2006, he had a motorcycle accident with head and facial injuries as a result for not wearing a helmet. He had expired temporary motorcycle permit as well. Roethlisberger led the Steelers to two Super Bowl wins including MVP of Super Bowl XL. His suspension has Steelers thinking of trading him for this year's first round pick, but rescinded and plan to let him stay with the team. This comes after Steelers cut ties and traded wide receiver Santanio Holmes few weeks ago after series of run-ins. The last straw came after getting handed with a four-game suspension for violating NFL Substance Policy along with getting sued by a woman who claimed he threw glass at her and told her not to press charges. Holmes was MVP of Super XLIII. Another key Super Bowl player end up doing hard time. Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who made the winning catch of Super Bowl XLIII, found himself serving two-years in New York prison for a weapons charge violation after accidentally shoot himself at New York nightclub. Prior to the shooting police responded to two domestic disturbance calls at his household. It happened 10 months after the Super Bowl. Does winning the Super Bowl make a few players think they are held above higher ground and allow do something stupid off-the-field? Hopefully prison, a new change of scenery, and help of evaluation make players crash back to earth.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fins sends draft bust Ted Ginn Jr to the Niners

Ted Ginn Experience is over in Miami as the Dolphins shipped him to the 49ers for a 5th round pick. While he has running speed his problem is his ability to catch the ball and running routes. (Johnny "Lam" Jones anyone?) He's an explosive returner (where speed comes to play) but a team can likely sign guy with a day job at anytime returning kicks at same level as Ginn does. (see Michael Lewis) Ginn was a risky high pick that backfire on the Dolphins. With Brandon Marshall on the team it made Ginn expendable. He has years to shed his draft bust status (see Thomas Jones) but if he couldn't turn it around in San Fran he will be one of worst picks from 2007 draft. Too bad his card on the left looks better than his on-field performance.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Hits Keep Getting Bigger for Upper Deck

Four months into the year things have spiraled out of control for Upper Deck. Konami (counterfeit Yugi-Oh cards) and MLB (trademark infringement) have sued the company which they settled for millions of dollars. They are no longer exclusive producer of NHL cards as Panini given a right to print in 2011 alongside with them. On Thursday they dealt with another big blow as Upper Deck announced it could not come to terms with NFL Properties therefore will not make football card sets in 2011. While Upper Deck set the trend on producing and designing cards the management still continue to be morons acting they are bigger than the world. It ended up biting them in the ass resulting from loss of sport's league license and lawsuits. Due to their mismanagement sport card collectors are the ones that are affected. Despite having a license with NCAA and NHL to produce cards will it be enough for Upper Deck or is the end coming soon?