Friday, April 22, 2011

Housekeeping & Some Disheveled Thoughts on the NHL & More

As host of the Pirates postgame show Extra Innings, I am posting many of my Pirates thoughts on the station's blog. The longer opinion pieces will be reposted here but the more granular statistical and newswire-type posts will only be there. Podcasts of the shows and interviews will also be available on that site which is finally up and running. You can access it all with this link. Bookmark it and check in daily if you're a Bucs fan.


I'm about 20 posts behind on the things I would like to write about and because many are time-sensitive they probably aren't going to happen. So here are some disheveled thoughts in an unorganized fashion.


*Colin Campbell, the NHL's Mitigator of Discipline obviously has a thankless job, but the league has really butchered how they are dealing with headshots. GMs, coaches, fans and most-importantly players all seem to be uncertain about what exactly is and isn't legal.

Nobody liked how the NFL went about getting rid of headshots and unsafe hits during the season this year, but they got their message across and the game was and will be better for it. In the NHL the recently enacted Rule 48 only penalizes certain types of hits to the head, while having others remain leagal. There is a simple solution. Penalize all hits to the head when a player is standing upright and have a well-defined suspension system in place This isn't hard.

*Marc-Andre Fleury was not named one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy when they were announced today. Tim Thomas of Boston, Pekka Rinne of Nashville and Roberto Luongo of Vancouver made the list. They were the top three is goals against average and among the top four in save percentage. There will be outrage in Pittsburgh, but it is worth remembering how bad Fleury was to start the season. I'm actually more surprised that the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist isn't on the list. He posted a ridiculous 11 shutout (Fleury had three) and carried the Rangers to the post-season. Carey Price probably could have made it as well.

*Speaking of Luongo, he is again proving that he is not a big game goaltender. Vancouver won the first three games in their first round series with the defending Stanley Cup champion Black Hawks but then Luongo got shelled two games in a row. He gave up six and four goals and got pulled each time. He now has a career playoff record of 20-19. Marc-Andre Fleury? 41-25 in the playoffs. Give me the Flower every time.


*There are going to be a lot of people eating crow if the Heat make the Finals. And even more if they win. I love it. Everybody wanted to jump to conclusions a month into the season. So many "experts" piled on and buried the Heat when James and Wade lost a bunch of games in the fall. Where are they now? The Heat are a flawed team for sure, but still are probably the best in the East.

*Here is a good article with the Heat's James Jones discussing what really makes a player a good defender in the NBA.

*The Spurs are going down. Memphis is very dangerous and they will be a tough out in the second round. Before this series the last playoff win by a Memphis team was against the Kentucky Colonels.

*If Pitt junior Ashton Gibbs stays in the NBA draft it will be the dumbest decision in a long time. He can't create his own shot. He isn't quick enough and doesn't have a good enough handle to play the one. He isn't big enough to play the two. If he stays in, I hope he enjoys his time in Europe.

*Here is a video of Blake Griffin's dunks. All 214 of them in a little over four minutes.


*Albert Pujols has finally gotten hot with five homers in his last seven games, Mike Leake is an idiot and the Pirates have claimed Brandon Wood.

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