Divisional previews by the Zneaky 1: Northeast division

21 08 2007

Eastern Conference: Northeast Division

Almost has a “group of death” look to it with 3 of the 6 Canadian teams in this division, not to mention the team I back – the Buffalo Sabres…


Ottawa Senators

1) The 2nd best team in the comp last year should be a strong runner to the finals; Ottawa’s offense hasn’t been plagued by the hits that Buffalo took in the off-season. Over-rated and over-paid Wade Reddens future in Ottawa is uncertain even though he has a no trade clause in his contract.

Buffalo Sabres

2) Sigh… that’s pretty much all I can say: losing Briere, Drury & Zubrus for a combined total of 224 points on the season will put a huge hole in the offense. But in saying that I have hope that the likes of Roy, Vanek & Afinaganov will step up to the plate big time. Read the rest of this entry »



15 08 2007

Divisional previews by the Zneaky #1…

Can you tell I’m dying for hockey to begin again!??? Here are my predictions on where each team will finish in their respective divisions…

Eastern Conference: Atlantic Division…


1) Just can’t see these guys being troubled in their division this year. The likes of Brendan “Captain Canada” Shanahan, Sean Avery, & Chris Drury being on the same line and Jagr teaming with Gomez will mean that they should go deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The puck sure bounced the Sabres way when they met in the conference semis last year… that wont happen this year, this team has the potential to become the Sabres of the last 2 seasons, but unlike Buffalo perhaps even play for the big prize itself…


2) Sid the 20yr old captain kid with Staal, Malkin & incoming Petr Sykora are going to have opposing defenses and goalies shaking in their boots. They lacked physicality in last years ¼ finals against the Senators or perhaps were just awestruck by making it to the finals… Losing back up goalie Thibault to buffalo could spell disaster if Fleury gets injured… Read the rest of this entry »

Get the PUCK outta here…

4 08 2007

So the NHL season begins end of September… and I’m just not a huge hockey fan. But, I have a friend who is – so here’s his input on the start of the season…

by Zneaky

NHLArghhh… NHL hockey, the greatest competition in the world, (maybe across the ditch in Europe they may disagree…) 6 teams from Canada vs 24 from the US; the 06/07 was supposed to be the dream come true for a little team from upstate New York. The Buffalo Sabres ended last year in the eastern conference finals just 1 game shy of a trip to the Stanley Cup to meet the Edmonton Oilers.

Fast forward: Stanley Cup finals 2007. After aQuack attack! flying start at the beginning of the season the Sabres were out-skated by the Ottawa Senators… who were then absolutely manhandled by the Ducks in just 5 short games allowing the California based team to become the champs for the 1st time in franchise history.

And so came time for free agency July 1st, teams and fans held their breath to see whether they would win or lose – high profile players don’t come on the market very often – and the caliber that was on show this year could mean Stanley or bust, even before the puck dropped for the new season beginning in October…

And so here’s the breakdown… I wont cover every single player – just the core players that have the possibility to help change a teams fortune or perhaps end a teams run.

  • DANIEL BRIERE with the Buffalo Sabres scored 32 goals and 63 assists and is off to the Philadelphia Flyers for the next 8 seasons for a bargain $52 million…
  • CHRIS DRURY, also from Buffalo was poached by the New York Rangers for $35.25 million over 5 years…
  • SCOTT GOMEZ was the most gifted offensive talent on a very defensive-minded Devils squad. He managed 13 goals and 47 assists in 72 games this year and was also persuaded to join the Rangers. His price tag a seven-year deal with the Rangers worth US$51.5 million – including $10 million next season…
  • RYAN SMYTH signed a five-year deal worth $31.25 million, leaving the New York Islanders and moving to Colorado…
  • RYAN SMYTH signed a five-year deal worth $31.25 million, leaving the New York Islanders and moving to Colorado…
  • MICHAEL NYLANDER left the Rangers and signed with the Washington Capitals and will give Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin some much needed help. His deal was worth $19.5 million over 4 years.
  • SHELDON SOURAY signed a 5 year $27 million deal with the Edmonton Oilers. He scored 26 goals and 38 assists with Montreal last season…
  • DUSTIN PENNER is not a household name but in his rookie year was instrumental in the Ducks victory over the Senators in the Stanley Cup final. Edmonton’s offer of a five-year, $21.25-million deal was too rich for the tastes of Anaheim.


Buffalo Sabres – Derek Roy, Tippo Numminem

New York Rangers –  Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan, Henrik Lundqvist, Marcel Hossa

Detroit Redwings – Dominik Hasek

Ottawa Senators – Ray Emery

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All-star games… for the love of the game?

8 07 2007

National Lampoon’s Hawaiian Vacation!

So the MLB All-Star game is less than a week away, and whilst the game has more relevance than the opposing games that the other major sports have, should it really have a bearing on the regular season? Other pro-sports… the Pro-bowl’s a joke – we should just give the game it’s just desserts & call it “National Lampoon’s Hawaiian Vacation”.nba-all-star-weekend.jpg The NBA All-Star weekend has lost all relevance to the game it represents. When your game’s biggest headline is from a rival sport’s miscreant ‘making it rain’, and the event is seen as one of the premier parties of the year (rather than sporting event), you’ve screwed it up pretty royally. And the NHL… the regular season’s lost relevance to John Q Public, so the All-Star game isn’t even a blip on the radar.

So back to MLB… the winning league in MLB’s All-Star game get’s the home field advantage for the World Series… so you’d better believe that players from the top teams who make this game are going to bust a butt. But… is it the answer? Giving a single game that much weight, that it can decide the outcome of the Fall Classic… well, that’s a huge jump from the 2002 event when the game became so much of a joke that it had to be called before it even ended. Thing is, as has been said by many commentators on the game, with the voting in the hands of the fans, it’s never going to be a true representation of who’s an ‘All Star’. It really becomes a popularity contest.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, but should it decide home field advantage… I don’t think so. Home field advantage should go to the team playing that has the highest win/loss ratio. Just as it does in the NBA. But how would that effect the MLB All Star game? Hugely. But I’m not sure that it matters. The All Star game should be a celebration of the sport. It should be played for the joy of competing, for the athletic bliss of competing at the highest level. I know – pipe dreams. But it used to be like that… not just in baseball, but all pro-sports. Being an ‘All Star’ used to have meaning… now more often than not, players are willing to shirk duty they have to their fans for little or no reason at all. And the games have suffered as a result.

Who’s to blame? A little bit of everyone. The simple fact is that sport’s gotten way too big on many different levels. Players earn too much, and the real or feigned fear of an injury is something that is used altogether too much these days. What happened to playing for the love of playing? Sure, it’s there… but only in players with less than 3 years of experience. Beyond that, they all seem tired & jaded. All a variation of the same theme… every man a Rod Tidwell clone shouting “Show me the money!” Barry Bonds hit in the Home Run Derby? Forget about it… not going to happen. So what if it’s going to be in the park of the only fans in the country that will cheer him actually being there?

We can’t look to the governing bodies of sports. There’s too much pressure on them to make the All-Star game ‘relevant’. That almighty fickle attention span of the sports-fan needs to be captured so as to maximize earning potential. Gotta satisfy ESPN, or whichever media outlet is pushing this particular game.

All Star game…Fans expect too much. Nowadays, with so much media readily available at our fingertips, we need the game to have meaning. It’s not enough if it’s simply ‘a game’. Fans have too many other options… TV… cable TV… the internet… We the fan now have the attention span of a 2 year old – something’s gotta happen every 5 minutes, and it’s gotta have meaning. We’re beyond the age of ‘I want my MTV’, and into ‘I want my ESPN’… hell, with the age of YouTube et al upon us, maybe it’s even beyond that now.

Baseball and basketball, the ‘USA vs [insert-other-nation]’ games at meaningful international events have, in a lot of ways, replaced the All Star games. The Olympics, World Championships (for basketball), and the World Baseball Classic all are played with the attitude they makes it evident that they matter.

Ultimately tho’, only the fans can alter the way we (the fans) perceive the games. I don’t believe that All Star games should have an impact on the regular season… but neither do I want them to be merely an excuse for a party, the game itself a joke. I want it to be a celebration of the sport itself… I want players to play the game for the love of it, and as a ‘returning something to the fans’… I know it’s never going to happen… but I can dream, can’t I?

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Thanks for the memories Rod Beck…

25 06 2007


A tribute to Rod…

Kinda been struggling how to deal with Rod Beck’s death here… way too young to pass away. A real character, and one great competitor. Great moustache too… From what I understand, he had a helluva sense of humor too… so maybe he would’ve appreciated this.

So, in honor of Rod, here are my top 10 sports-moustaches of all time…


10. Hulk Hogan – ok… not a ‘real’ sport (I can say it, he’s not in the near vicinity)… and thus the #10 ranking… but that’s a damn good moustache!


9. Keith Hernandez – suave moustache… but due to the Seinfeld reference gotta include…


8. Bill Cowher – more famous for his mandible, but that’s a pretty good moustache there…

7. Todd Jones – pretty damn good, but the 70s/80s guys have him beat for sheer wooliness.


6. Craig Stadler – One of my favorite golfers… and a pretty hand moustache.


5. Shaq… almost fu-manchu…


4. Rod Beck…


3. Merv Hughes – Australian Cricketer – Awesome character… His workouts in the outer on the MCG have to be seen to be believed… worth noting that Merv’s mo’ is more famous than he is himself!


2. Rollie Fingers… a truly great moustache – one for the ages!


1. All-time best… Lanny McDonald, Calgary Flames


38 is way to young to be gone… but Shooter will be missed. Condolences to his wife & daughters…


Blog-sifting… This week in blogs…

7 06 2007

“… Gimme 7 o’ the best… “

Well, it’s Friday here in Japan – damn hot ‘n’ humid too.

Some of the stuff floating in the blogosphere that caught my eye…

  1. Bah… I didn’t make it… but make sure your vote counts! Hottest Blogger @ Ladies…
  2. Who said sports & romance doesn’t work? Pyle of List
  3. Yet another blog finding the NFL Commish erratic… Signal to Noise
  4. Don Cherry rescues Hockey… Digital Headbutt
  5. Exploration of NBA Finals Game 1… Ballhype
  6. A look at baseball’s worst players… Beyond The Boxscore
  7. Looking at sports & music – with an edgeRumors & Rants

All worth a look. Click that link!

New Carnival of Sports out…

7 06 2007

Breaking News Online hosts the #8 Carnival of Sports – covering a wide range of different sports…

Some interesting stuff there, so click that link!