Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blackhawks beat all odds to advance

On Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks showed why they are the best team in the National Hockey League.
Chicago overcame a three-games-to-one series deficit as well as one of the worst calls that you will ever see that would have given them a regulation win, only to come back in overtime on a shot by Brent Seabrook that beat Red Wings' goalie Jimmy Howard and turned the United Center into sheer pandemonium.
With the game tied at one and time running out, Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson fired what appeared to be the game-winning goal past Howard and the Madhouse on Madison erupted. But the goal was waved off by the referee along the boards near center ice after Detroit's Kyle Quincy sent Brandon Saad into the Red Wings' bench. Then, in the same motion, Quincy pulled Saad out of the bench and the two of them tumbled onto the ice. A split second later, Hjalmarsson beat Howard on the glove side for the apparent go-ahead goal.
The Blackhawks would have the last laugh, however, and three-and-a-half minutes into overtime, Seabrook got sweet justice for Chicago and the miracle comeback was complete.
Chicago now moves on to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blackhawks force game 7 in Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks fought back to force a game seven back in Chi-town on Wednesday with a 4-3 win at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night.
After cruising through the regular season and thrashing the Minnesota Wild four games to one in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs, Chicago found themselves in a precarious position as they were shut out 2-0, down three games to one, and on the brink of being ousted from the 2013 NHL playoffs.
But that was Thursday night. A lot has changed since then.
On Saturday night in Chicago, the Hawks came roaring back as Andrew Shaw led the way with a pair of goals en route to a 4-1 Chicago victory.
The Blackhawks tried to ride that momentum Monday night in Detroit, but found themselves on the short end of a 2-1 score after two periods.
Chicago came out on fire in the third, first tying the game less than a minute into the period, and then going on to score another pair of goals before the midway point of the period had been reached, taking a 4-2 edge in front of a stunned Red Wings crowd.
The fourth Blackhawks' goal was scored on hockey's rarest, but most exciting of plays, the penalty shot. Michael Frolik had beaten Detroit's Carlo Colaiacovo on a breakaway, and then just as Frolik went to shoot at Red Wings' goalie Jimmy Howard, Colaiacovo slashed Frolik from behind across the hands, leading to the free shot. Frolik charged in on Howard, and then lifted a beautiful backhander over Howard's glove side to give Chicago the insurmountable 4-2 lead.
The Wings refused to give up, however, and with less than a minute remaining and Howard watching from the bench, Damien Brunner took a pass from Pavel Datsyuk and deposited his fifth goal of the postseason past Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford to pull Detroit to within 4-3.
With the Red Wings still playing with an extra attacker, Chicago iced the puck twice, but precious seconds came off of the clock and Detroit ran out of time.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Only Giants Defense Shines in First Half

In one half of play in Monday night's game between the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears, the Giants were miserable on two of three sides of the football.
Luckily for them, there are three sides to football teams: offense, defense, and special teams.
New York has been miserable on both offense and special teams (if you can call them that), as there has been horrible punting, a missed field goal (from less than 30 yards), and a very stagnant offense that has no answer for Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers.
Yet, on defense, New York can do no wrong. They have set an NFL record by sacking Bears quarterback Jay Cutler nine times, and until the final two minutes of the half, Chicago had a dismal 11 yards of total offense.
The Giants should be leading this game by a score of about 21-0 right now, but instead they lead by a mere 3-0, which means that thet are playing with fire. Everyone knows that in most sports, if you let a team hang around long enough on the scoreboard, it often comes back to bite you...right in the win column.
Tom Coughlin et al better come up with some kind of offensive game plan so that this defensive effort doesn't go to waste.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Giants' Line Woes Continue

Problems continue to hinder the New York Giants on both sides of the football.
After the Colts lost in Houston last week, I knew that the Giants were walking into a lions' den this week at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Unfortunately for Big Blue, I was right.
From the outset of tonight's game, Indianapolis showed early on that they had no intentions of a repeat performance of last week.
The Colts began the game on offense, and Peyton cranked the machine up quickly to give the Colts an early 7-0 lead.
Then Indy came out on defense and completely smothered Eli and the rest of New York's offense. Eli had no protection, and the running game could not establish anything.
In a nutshell, that's the way that the rest of the game went, as the Colts built a huge 24-0 lead by halftime.
Nothing worked for the Giants tonight, other than a few inspirational runs by Ahmad Bradshaw.
The offensive line could not block for either the run or the pass, as was evident by Dwight Freeney camping out in Eli's back pocket. Freeney made New York left tackle David Deihl look like a rookie.
But Diehl was not alone, by any stretch of the imagination. The Colts came from all angles, and from both ends of the line.
Four sacks in all were totaled for the Indianapolis defense, and the Giants simply could not get any rhythm offensively.
On defense, the news wasn't much better.
Peyton picked apart the Giants' soft defensive backfield, carving them up for over 250 yards and three TD's.
New York's run defense wasn't any better, as Brown and Joseph Addai combined for more than 150 on the ground.
So, they couldn't stop the run, the pass, or Indianapolis' defense, which all adds up to one thng: an embarrassing 38-14 loss that wasn't even that close.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NHL Playoffs: Giddyup!

One of the most exciting times of year is here: the NHL playoffs.
Many of the lower-seeded teams surprised their opponents with wins in game one, but the tables have been turned in the second game of each series, as all of the losers in the first game of the series came back for game-two wins.
In the Eastern Conference, the Devils, the Bruins, the Capitals, and the Stanley Cup-defending Champion Pittsburgh Penguins all lost their first game, only to come back to tie their series in the second game.
In the West, the San Jose Sharks, who come into the playoffs as the No. 1-ranked team in the conference and have a history of playoff woes, lost their first game against the Colorado Avalanche, bringing back all of the doubts, but came back in the second game to tie the series at one apiece.
The Detroit Red Wings lost game 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes, but in a game that saw four goals scored in a four-minute span, won the second game to tie that series at 1-1.
Perhaps the most exciting series so far has been the L.A. Kings against the Vancouver Canucks. Both of the first two games have gone into overtime, with the Canucks winning the first game and the Kings taking the second game on a power-play goal less than five minutes into the OT.
The Chicago Black Hawks and the Nashville Predators are the final series in the west, and Nashville surprised the Hawks in the first game, with game two slated for later today.
As an Islanders fan, I'm used to my team not making the playoffs, which leads me to root either against the Rangers or for the New Jersey Devils, or both.
The Rangers have embarassed themselves yet again by having one of the league's highest payrolls and not making the playoffs.
This is astonishing to me. As an Islanders fan, I'm trying to cope with the idea that my owner doesn't want to spend money and is happy being in the middle of the pack and not making the post season year-in, year-out. What baffles me is how the Rangers, with their high payroll, their ability to attract the league's highest-paid players, and a goalie like Hendrik Lundqvist, can miss the playoffs as often as they do.
I'm frustrated enough because my owner refuses to keep good players (e.g., Jason Blake, Zdeno Chara, Miro Satan, Michael Peca, Ryan Smyth, Tim Connolly, just to name a few), but I can't imagine how Ranger fans feel when their team DOES spend the money but still ends up watching the playoffs on TV.
I've gone off on a tangent here, but the bottom line is the playoffs are here, and even marginal NHL fans are perched in front of their TV's to watch the excitement.
It's going to be going on for a while, so grab a beer and kick back and enjoy the thrill.
And go Devils!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lee not an NBA All-Star?

Ok, I need someone to explain something to me. Have I lost my mind, or did the NBA East suddenly come up with a plethora of power forwards that are tearing up the stat sheet?
As we all know, the New York Knicks are terrible. They have been breaking some of our hearts since that magical 1973 season when they won their last championship.
With that said, how can no one be noticing the fact that as bad as they are, the Knicks have one of the best power forwards in the Eastern Conference, if not the league.
Night after night, David Lee goes on a tear. Once again, the former Florida Gator has been averaging a double-double.
This season, Lee is averaging 19.6 points per game and 11.5 rebounds per game. Just what does he have to do to get the recognition that he deserves?
This is not the first time that I have written in his defense. I did it last year, too.
Even tonight, in a losing cause against the Toronto Raptors, Lee put up 29 and 18.
What does this man have to do to be recognized by his peers or the league? I just don't get it.
Maybe the rest of the league needs to be watching more than LeBron and Kobe.

For the Love of the...ART!

To sports fans in Saratoga Springs, the name Design has been associated with boxing for two generations.
In the 1980’s, Sam enjoyed success in the amateur ranks in the ring, winning local matches as well as Golden Gloves bouts. For several years now, it has been Sam’s son Alex who has made the family headlines with his ring prowess.
Back in 2006, Alex turned his attention to a different passion: welding.
In his junior year of high school, Design took a B.O.C.E.S. course in welding, fell in love with the trade, and it evolved into an artistic passion.
Working for Charlie Van Hall of Metro Metal Recycling in Watervliet, Design was introduced to Peter Paquet, an artist that used hard steel and molten metal as his canvas. First Design helped Paquet on his projects, which are mostly large-scale steel pieces that were built not for money, but simply for Paquet’s love of the art. None of his pieces have ever been in a gallery or on display, other than outside of his Schuylerville home.
“I first started at BOCES at the welding class there and I wasn’t really interested in art at that time, as far as a regular job,” said Design. “And then I was doing some structural welding for somebody private in a big, huge art studio, actually, but I was just putting in the beams and stuff like that… then his friend, Peter Paquet, needed some work done, so we (he and Van Hall) were finishing up with the work there, and it kind of actually worked out so I just started working right over there (for Paquet).”
As for Design, his love of welding grew, as he entered and won several competitions — including one in Syracuse on the same day he was scheduled for a Golden Gloves boxing match in the same town.
First, there was a local competition comprised of fellow Saratoga B.O.C.E.S. students. After winning that, he went on to win a regional competition in Schenectady before taking the state title and a trip to the national competition as New York State’s representative in Kansas City.
“I finished in the middle of the pack,” Design said about the Kansas City trip. “There’s some tough competition out there…but it was really nice because I got a free trip, a free hotel room, free food, everything. It was definitely a lot of fun.”
Incidentally, he won the Golden Gloves Championship in Syracuse, as well.
Since working under the tutelege of Paquet until he passed away several months ago, Design has gone on his own, working at his shop behind his house, where he has already found success as an artist.
His shop is adequately stocked with steel and equipment, and sitting on top of one of his racks of steel he displays one piece that is a take on a medieval warrior’s helmet that weighs in at approximately 15 pounds, and has some quite dangerous points to it.
Sitting on the floor against another wall is another helmet that is currently a work in progress, although this one is much larger and will eventually sit atop a steel pole. On one of his workbenches sits a partial lamp that is also in progress, and upon another is a three-foot wide propeller that he fabricated. Design is still not sure what will become of the propeller, which looks as if it was rescued from the aft end of an old ship, but he is sure that it will find a home somewhere in one of his designs.
Design’s work has been on display at the House of Creative Soul, a fairly new art gallery located on Van Dam Street, where he has already sold a couple of his pieces at one of the gallery shows, and still has several pieces on display, including the large steel sculpture that sits outside the gallery’s door. He seems to have already developed a signature of his work, as he incorporates a steel sphere in nearly all of his works.
“Searing Bliss” is Design’s interpretation of fire, as the pieces in the sculpture have bronzed look to them, and the shapes are reminiscent of flames. It’s a beautiful piece of art.
“I thought of that (the name) because of the color that it ended up going, and all of these shapes are similar to shapes of fire, so it’s pretty dynamic.”
On the configuration that sits outside the gallery, which is still unnamed, two pieces of curved steel balance perfectly, with a steel sphere sitting between the two semi-circular fragments. The whole structure sits atop a base that consists of copper and steel, and the entire upper portion of the sculpture rotates.
Design enjoys his craft, but is also appreciative of the fact that others may be interested in something that he does outside of the ring.
“I like selling them. The idea that somebody would be interested enough to buy it is pretty nice.”
As much as he enjoys putting on the welding shield, however, Design has not left the ring. He believes that his next fight will be within the next couple of months.
The House of Creative Soul is located at 38 Van Dam Street.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Trying to Catch Up

I haven't been writing much lately, as I have been very busy with both of my jobs over the last couple of weeks, so this piece is just going to be a little catching-up segment.
There has been so much going on, from the Giants playing like crap for three straight weeeks, the start to the Islanders and the Knicks seasons, and the Yankees going for their 27th World Championship.
The problem that the Giants have right now is very simple. Although the offense looked dismal in the first half against the Eagles yesterday, the real issue is the defense.
What you have to understand is that New York lost two starters in its defensive backfield within the first two weeks of the season. I'm not making excuses for them, just hear me out.
The reason that the Giants got to 5-0 is because although they were missing these players, the teams that they played were so bad that none of those teams challeneged the New York secondary. Once the Giants came up against teams with decent offenses, such as the Saints, Cardinals, and Eagles, they were then playing against teams that could stretch the field and throw the ball downfield. That's when the Giants got in trouble.
On offense, the line is killing them. They aren't blocking for the run, which is their staple, and everyone knows that when you can't run, you generally can't pass, unless you're using the West Coast offense.
So, they're not run blocking, they're not giving Eli any time to throw, and then when they do, half of the times he makes mistakes, which is something that he really hasn't done since before the Giants went to the Super Bowl.
As for the Islanders, they're coming around a little bit. After some disappointing losses by blowing third-period leads and losing games in overtime and the shootout, New York has taken out three first-place teams of late, and it appears that a game against the Islanders is no longer an automatic "W".
They have shown that they have other players that can find the back of the net besides Tavares and Moulson, and the defensive unit has stiffened.
This team needs to keep working hard, the wins will come, and their confidence will be boosted. They just may make the playoffs this year, and if they can realize their young talent, they may even have a first-round upset in their future.
And here's an update. The Isles have just beaten the Edmonton Oilers for their fourth straight win, 3-1.
Edmonton came into the game with a 7-6-1 record, fourth place in the Northwest Division.
Brendan Witt scored a pair of goals, Tavares had one, and Weight added two assists. Roloson got the win with 22 saves, and a good sign was New York leading in shots, 37-23.
New York is 5-4-5 and over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Also, here's something that may loom large come later in the season. Although the Islanders have just 5 wins, they also have just 4 regulation losses. That means that in all of those other games, New York earned a point. There are 12 teams in the NHL right now that have more regulation losses than the Islanders. And that means that New York has (or will have at the end) more points due to less regulation losses, should the Islanders have the same amount of wins as they do. That means playoffs.
On to the Knicks. This won't take long. They suck. Period. Not only have they lost their first three games, but those losses include an opening-night losst at Miami, followed by overtime losses at Charlotte and then in their home opener against the 76ers.
Tonight they are hosting New Orleans. They're winning right now, but we'll see when they blow it.
Now, for the best news amongst all of this mess, the Yankees.
New York did a phenominal job of handling Minnesota and Anaheim in the first two rounds of postseason action, and they now have a 3-1 lead in the World Series against the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Phillies starter Cliff Lee was absolutely unhittable in Game 1 of the Series, but the Yanks got an early run off of him in the first inning tonight.
Things sren't looking real smooth for the Bronx Bombers right now, as they trail 4-1 in the bottom of the third and Burnett is being lifted, but there's a long game to go, and the New York bats aren't even warm yet.
And, if indeed they never do catch up to Lee tonight, think about what lies ahead. The Yankees come back home to New York for Game 6, and their starting pitcher will be Andy Pettite, who is 5-0 lifetime in games when the Yankees have three wins in a series. So, I'm not sweating anything right now.
So much for my "little" catching-up segment.