Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue

Ah, the first of the year is mere hours away, meaning the Rose Bowl is almost upon us. Fifth-ranked USC will take on my eight-ranked Nittany Lions right in their own backyard, with Penn state coming in as 10-point underdogs.

Frankly, I'm OK with that. Really, I am. The Trojans and Nittany Lions had two common opponents this year: Oregon State and Ohio State. USC demolished Ohio State (35-3) in the Coliseum in a game where the Buckeyes were without star running back Chris Wells and the vastly inferior Todd Boeckman starting at quarterback instead of freshman phenom Terrelle Pryor.

Then USC lost at Oregon State 27-21, giving up 201 yards rushing (186 to Jacquizz Rodgers).

Penn State, on the other hand, completely embarrassed the Beavers at Beaver Stadium (45-14), surrendering just 92 yards rushing (99 to Rodgers), while racking up 239 yards of their own on the ground (compared to just 86 for USC against OSU).

Then against Ohio State, with a healthy Chris Wells and a more seasoned and talented Terrelle Pryor behind center, Penn State defeated the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe 13-6.

Of course Penn State should be underdogs and have a worse ranking. Clearly, if common opponent is any indication, USC is superior, right? What a crock of shit. Honestly, I have a feeling USC is a little better than Penn State right now … maybe. But 10 points better? Fuck no.

Has anyone actually seen these guys play? All I hear about is how slow the Big 10 is compared to the Pac-10. Really? Penn State is slow? I think Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler, Stephfon Green, Aaron Maybin, Navorro Bowman, Maurice Evans, Lydell Sargeant and A.J. Wallace might have something to say about that. Sure, players like Josh Hull, Mark Rubin and Tyrell Sales aren't the fleetest of foot, but most of the players on this Nittany Lion team have speed. Yet no one seems too interested in recognizing that.

In recent days, some writers have come around to give Penn State some credit, but it seems the majority of the nation is underestimating the Lions.

USC is a tough team. They have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they are just scary, and offensively, they have some major weapons. But let's not forget that really, Penn State matches up not so bad. Daryll Clark has become a very good quarterback. Penn State has four big play receivers when you factor in Graham Zug with the three seniors. Evan Royster has been under the radar all year long, and all he does is average 6.5 yards a carry. Green comes in as a home run hitter, and the Penn State offensive line is as good as it gets.

Defensively, no team in the country boasts three more talented linemen than Aaron Maybin, Maurice Evans and Jared Odrick. Maybin has been phenomenal, shooting up the draft boards to a potential top-10 pick thanks to a breakout season. Evans was an All-American last year who has regained form after an early-season suspension. And Odrick has been the team's best player on defense all year. The guy is an absolute beast.

Add in the emergence of Navorro Bowman as a big-play linebacker and a disciplined secondary, the Nittany Lions aren't a bunch of slouches.

Granted, USC has the advantage of playing very close to home, and Pete Carroll is a great coach. But would you bet against a Joe Paterno team with over a month to prepare? I know I wouldn't. Especially one with this much talent.

California, here we come … and hopefully Penn State will be coming up roses.

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Another Reason to Like the Rockets

As if inking Brent Barry, trading for Ron Artest and already having Yao Ming wasn't enough reason to love the Houston Rockets, the signing of Dikembe Mutombo is reason enough to pull for these guys out west.

I have to admit, I was not happy when the Sixers traded Theo Ratliff for Mutombo, but it proved to be the right move. I grew to really like Mutombo for his tremendous defense and rebounding, and he is a great guy. Who can ever forget his dominance in the Milwaukee series in 2001 and George Karl throwing a hissy fit after a reporter called him out for saying Mutombo would be a non-factor?

Who wants to come to LA with me?

"I think I did a great job all game."

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It's Almost 2009 or Something

So, this final day of 2008 is turning into quite the shitshow for me. After getting home from work yesterday, I fell asleep at 6 and did not wake until I heard Jim Jackson's call of Jeff Carter's league-leading 27th goal.

I'll blame it on my back, which seems to be deteriorating faster than L.J. Smith's career, but I digress. I proceeded to watch the Flyers hang on for a 3-2 win … and then couldn't get to sleep until 4:30 in the morning. I slept briefly before waking at 8 and heading to work. I'm really not sure how this whole day is going to go, but I can't envision it going very well. I have a lot of work to do by Friday, and I'm going to punish myself by driving out to Minneapolis for the Eagles game with silver fox and Toonces this weekend.

Basically, I'm a mess right now, but I seem to be doing better than Simon Gagne at the moment. After missing everything right before the Carter goal, I hadn't seen the dirty hit that caused Gagne to leave with an upper body injury. Thankfully, it looked to be a hurt shoulder and not a concussion. Nonetheless, the Flyers weren't too pleased with the check from behind by Kevin Bieksa just 15 second in:

Gagne was blindsided by defenseman Kevin Bieksa after 15 seconds and fell to the ice. No penalty was called. Captain Mike Richards immediately went after Bieksa, and the two slugged it out.

Gagne appeared to injure his right shoulder and he did not return.

"He hit Gaggy. I kind of saw it out of the corner of my eye. I felt it was kind of a cheap hit, a late hit and from behind," Richards said. "So I felt I had to do something about it. I thought it was a hit that should have been a penalty and there wasn't a call."

Minutes later, Carter put the Flyers up 1-0, and the guys in orange and black never trailed. After the Canucks tied it, Scott Hartnell responded to make it 2-1, and Jon Kalinski scored his first NHL goal in the 2nd—the eventual game-winner.

At times, the Flyers looked sluggish and outplayed by Vancouver, but as has been the case in nearly every game this season, the Hartnell-Carter-Lupul line was the best line on the ice. The trio routinely got sustained pressure, and every player created incredible scoring opportunities. Hartnell even had two breakaways, both of which were denied. I have to say, Lupul has just been a beast in the corners, and with the game on the line, that's the line I want out there every time.

In a tough, evenly played game, there were some Flyers that truly impressed. Claude Giroux moved up to the Richards line when Gagne went down, and the rook looked confident. He had a very strong game, as it almost looked as if Mike Knuble and Richards didn't miss a beat. It was certainly an encouraging sign.

Another guy who has impressed me of late is Josh Gratton. Granted, Gratton isn't the most talented guy in the world, but for a player who really is never sure if he's going to be in the lineup or not, he comes to play every time he's called upon. If ever there was an energy player, he's it. No matter what the scenario, you know Gratton will help get the forecheck going, and the Flyers' forecheck was really strong last night.

As far as defense goes, man, the Flyers really do have some studs back there. Of course, having Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle back was great, as both have been fabulous this year, but no one is player any better on the blue line of late than Ossi Vaananen and Braydon Coburn. Last night, Ossi made some spectacular plays, including a save late in the game, and the guy has continued to convert me into a true supporter. After a slow start, Ossi is turning into a steal for the Flyers.

And last night, I think Coburn was the best defenseman on the ice for either team. He really was throwing his body around knocking Canucks off the puck, and his speed out of the zone was an incredible advantage for the Flyers last night. His contributions, while not showing up on the stat sheet, have been huge this season. Coburn is quickly becoming one of the best blue liners in all of hockey.

I'd also like to give kudos to Marty Biron for a very solid performance last night and a spectacular third period. Marty was called upon to make some tremendous saves in the final period, and he did just that. And that penalty kill to end the game was a thing of beauty for the Flyers. Richards and Carter were beasts harassing the Canucks. That's something Carter does not get enough credit for, his defense.

Last night, as he's done all year, Carter was relentless on his backcheck, often stealing pucks and getting the Flyers in transition. In the third period especially, he was incredibly determined in his own zone. If he can keep up this pace, Carter may be making a case for the Hart Trophy come April. There's still a lot of season to be played, for sure, but there isn't any player who is playing better two-way hockey than Jeff Carter so far this season. He certainly has been one of the biggest reasons for the Flyers' success so far, and he was integral in last night's win.

It was a much-needed win … and the Flyers' 14th straight game without a loss in Vancouver, dating all the way back to 1989. That's pretty ridiculous. Again, the Flyers are two points behind the Rangers for first place in the Atlantic. Hopefully, they'll be taking over pretty soon.

Update: Gagne has a mild shoulder sprain, will miss about a week. Whew!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In Honor of the Eagles …

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Referees are Out of Control

After my excursion to the Main Line and running out to get a cheesesteak afterward, I did turn on the Sixers and semi-watched another debacle. What I did see was this exchange between Reggie Evans and former teammate Kyle Korver.

Nothing egregious there, right? Two former teammates embracing after a tussle. Just a nice little butt-slap by Evans to Korver, two former teammates and friends. Well, that's not how the referee saw it. He saw a black man smacking a white man, in Utah of all places, and T-d up Reggie. That is just absurd. Marc Zumoff said it was pretty ludicrous, and I'd have to agree. Refs are out of control.

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Corey Fisher Takes Over

As I mentioned yesterday, last night I trekked out to the Pavilion to take in the Temple-Villanova game and was pretty excited about it. I cannot get enough of live college basketball, especially when it's a Big 5 match-up. I thoroughly enjoy soaking every moment in.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to quite do that last night. You see, the original start time for the game was 7:30. It even says so on the tickets. But the start time was moved up to 7, and someone, let's just say his name starts with silver and ends with fox, somehow had no idea of this. So as I got to the Pavilion at 6:30 and called the man who scored the tickets, he was still a good 40 or so minutes away. As a result, when we finally walked in the building, Temple was leading 11-5 almost 6 minutes in. What I'm trying to say is that silver fox is an idiot. But a gracious idiot at that. He did invite me to the game after all.

Anyway, the first half of that game was awful. Just truly awful. Neither team ran any semblance of an offense, and really, not a single player stood out. The game was tight the whole time with Temple leading by 2 to 5 points most of the way. Come halftime, it was 25-22 Temple. Enthralling stuff I tell you.

Now, I'll get to the second half in a moment, but I'd like to officially go on record as saying I don't like the Pavilion. Not one bit. I've been there about a million times in my life to see Nova and high school basketball games, and each time I go back, I hate it just a little bit more. It's ugly, odd-shaped, and typically filled with snobby rich folk. I'm just not a fan of that place.

Also, maybe it's because I went to a big school with a large emphasis on entertainment during football games that has made my expectations high, but Nova's little contests and routines between timeouts and at half are horrendous. There was a girl twirling a baton who basically did nothing. Bobbie Jo Solomon she was not.

Also, Nova had about 5 or 6 absolutely huge cheerleaders. I mean, these broads were tanks. It was pretty pathetic if you ask me. And the dancers wore entirely too much clothing. This is college people, step up your game. I know it's a Catholic university, but as we all know, Catholic girls are whores.

Anyway, on to the second half. What can I say? Things started out well for the Owls, who built a 32-24 lead, but it was all downhill from there. Villanova went on a 23-2 run, busting the game wide open, and never looked back. It started with a Scottie Reynolds three, but was propelled and finished by a complete takeover by Corey Fisher.

Fisher was absolutely remarkable in the 2nd half. He went 6-for-6 from the field, 4-for-5 from the free throw line and completely dominated every phase of the game. The 6'1" guard from the Bronx was getting rebounds, defending players in the post twice his size and doing anything he wanted on offense. The guy just exploded, scoring a game-high 23 points on 7-of-8 from the field, 4-for-4 from three and 5-of-7 from the line. Fisher was hands down the best player on the floor last night, and Temple had no answer for him.

As for the Owls, that was one of the most horrendous offensive displays of basketball I've ever seen. In the 62-45 loss, they ran maybe, maybe two offensive plays all game. The rest of the time, it was just Luis Guzman, Ryan Brooks or Semaj Inge dribbling around for a while until Dionte could fire up a shot. No one was moving without the ball, Dionte included, making it easy for an aggressive Villanova defense to defend. It was hideous.

Christmas had the worst game I've ever seen him play. The Owls ran no screens for him, Villanova routinely doubled or trapped him, and Dionte got flustered. He was forcing horrible shots and completely off his game. He finished with just 13 points on a horrific 4-of-19 shooting display. It was ugly.

And let me go on record as saying that Luis Guzman sucks. He's just horrible. The guy never, ever looks to shoot, so no one needs to guard him. He doesn't run any sets, if Temple even has any, and he doesn't even attempt to penetrate. Really, he's a worthless basketball player.

Certainly, Nova's defense had a lot to do with the offensive struggles for Temple, but for a team coached by Fran Dunphy, a man who was brilliant at Penn, this team looks inept and, dare I say, stupid on offense. No one is decisive, they run no discernible plays, and they often took entirely too long to swing the basketball or make a pass. It was pathetic.

That really wasn't a great game aesthetically to say the least. If it wasn't for Fisher, it could have potentially been the worst played offensive game in the history of basketball. Thankfully, even though I was rooting for Temple, Fisher showed up and put on a clinic. Otherwise, it would have almost been better to stay home. But I'm glad I didn't.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Rich vs. Poor

Tonight, I will attempt to make the treacherous trip out 76 (or just take a train) to the Main Line for tonight's clash between Temple and Villanova. I will be meeting silver fox there.

For the record, both silver fox and I typically root for all the Big 5 teams when they aren't playing one another (or UNC in my case), but when they go up against one another, our allegiances are divided. I am a Temple fan, silver fox a Nova supporter. It's the classic rich vs. poor battle, although, ironically enough, we are both broke as shit, which is all the more reason silver fox should be a Temple fan.

Anyway, tonight I'll be at the Pavilion for the battle between North Philly and the Main Line; rich vs. poor; ghetto vs. mansions; shootings vs. speed traps; Broad Street vs. Lancaster Ave.; normal college students vs. preppy, entitled douchebags; A-10 vs. Big East. It's a battle of the classes. A battle of Philadelphia vs. the suburbs that think they're Philadelphia. What I'm trying to say is, Let's go Temple.

One thing we can all agree on though, no matter which team you root for, is that Kerry Kittles, Jason Lawson, Lynn Greer and David Hawkins were the shit.

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The Video Beatdown

Check out this video of yesterday's smackdown, because you can never watch the Eagles trounce Dallas too much, especially when it's for a playoff spot.

And here's two excellent images courtesy of KSK.

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A Phillies-style run?

So, for the second time in the past few months the sports gods smiled on Philadelphia. On a glorious October weekend just months ago, we had the good fortune of enjoying a weekend in which the Flyers and Eagles won, Penn St. won at Ohio St. and the Phillies won games 3 and 4 of the World Series. A perfect 5 for 5.

And then there was yesterday. There we were again, with our Eagles oh-so-close to playoffs but needing a seemingly impossible series of circumstances to come to be in order for their late afternoon game to have playoff meaning for the home team. It looked like we were left to look back on another incredibly frustrating, ok-but-not-good-enough season. And then it started to happen. It was around halftime of the early afternoon games, and Chicago, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay were all in close games. It was making things interesting, and sure, maybe Chicago and/or Minnesota would lose, but there was no way Tampa Bay would fall to lowly Oakland, right? Until they did. And suddenly, miraculously, the Eagles were once again in control of their own destiny, despite last week's clunker in Washington, despite all the mis-steps of the season. Beat Dallas and we're in. And boy did they.

We all watched the game, and the Reverend has already touched on the highlights of the game, so I'll spare the details. I have not been a fan of coach Reid, but I will give him credit for calling a real nice game yesterday (how about those two consecutive QB sneaks on the goal line?). And credit to the players for executing, as the Eagles were sound in all facets of the game. They handled their business, thoroughly whooped the Cowboys, and are somehow in the playoffs.

In mid-September, the Phillies trailed in the wild card by four games, with the wild card leading Brewers coming to town for a four-game series. The Phils were left for dead by many, basically needing a sweep of the Brewers to remain relevant in the playoff picture. Well, they got that sweep and we all remember what followed.

Besides the Phillies parallel and the unusually good luck that has been going on around here lately, the Eagles have some NFL recent history on their side as well. The Giants and Steelers both won the Super Bowl from a wild card position, having to win 3 road playoff games after having to fight their asses off just to get in. So it can happen, and it has been happening recently. I'm not saying the Eagles should be the favorite to win the Super Bowl, but maybe it's our time. Either way, January is looking a lot more interesting than it was this time yesterday.

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Just When I Think I'm Out

Un-fucking-believable. The team that couldn't get one yard. The team that couldn't beat the Bengals. The team that benched its quarterback. The team that refused to run. The team that choked away an important game just last week is in the playoffs. Playoffs?!?

I mean, after choking it away against the Redskins, did anyone really think the Eagles had a chance to be a playoff team? I sure as shit didn't. I knew there was no way, no how that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after dropping three in a row, were going to lose to the Raiders at home. Only they did. And I watched the crap out of it.

Earlier in the day, Arkansas Fred called me to let me know a friend of his was trying to get rid of his tickets to the Eagles game. I respectfully declined, deciding not to spend any money on a team that was going to come up just short yet again—a strong enough finish to keep the status quo but not good enough to mean anything. Plus, I was still at my parents' house visiting, and I was all settled to watch the game with my dad.

While that decision can be argued, the one plus was I got to watch as the Bucs completed their masterful job of collapsing. Once 9-3, Tampa was now 9-6. And then, after failing on a 4th down conversion up 24-21, Michael Bush, the third-string running back for Oakland, took the first play 67 yards to the house. Suddenly, it was 28-24 Oakland in the fourth quarter, and I was going nuts. The very next play from scrimmage, Jeff Garcia threw a pick. Then, with his team down 7 and no timeouts left, he took a sack—the only thing he couldn't do—to end the game.

Yeah, that's the same guy moron Eagles fans wanted to keep and have start over Donovan. You people are retarded. Add Garcia and company's masterful choke job with the Bears loss and all the sudden, the Eagles controlled their own fate once again. And this time, they did not let it slip through their fingers.

Andy Reid, the man I love to hate, coached quite possibly the best game I've ever seen him coach. He committed to the run, mixed in his passes and really just managed a beautiful game. The defense was brilliant, the offense efficient, and the special teams solid.

The Eagles played the perfect game, while the Cowboys folded like a deck of cards. Donovan was fantastic, throwing beautiful passes, like that perfect one to DeSean and a great touch pass to Brent Celek. Correll Buckhalter finally got some touches … and did a ton with them. His 59-yard catch and run was huge, and his touchdown catch really put the game out of reach. And the offensive line was nearly perfect, keeping McNabb clean and punishing the Dallas defensive line.

But this game was dictated by Jim Johnson and that ferocious defense. All day long, the Cowboys looked confused, unsure of themselves and beaten. Receivers were running wrong routes, linemen was getting confused on blocking schemes, and the quarterback, oh, Tony Romo, made Doug Pederson look like Joe Montana.

Tony Romo is a fraud. Reporters, writers, analysts, write that down. There's no two ways about it. In the playoffs, Romo is 0-2. In December, the Cowboys, led by No. 9, are horrendous every year. The guy is jittery, afraid of taking hits, and yesterday, he made some of the worst throws I've ever seen. The guy is a joke. Enough with all the knob-slobbing already. Tony Romo is an absolute fraud. Yesterday, he proved that once again.

It's hard to say anyone on the defense didn't play great, but Trent Cole, Chris Clemons, Brian Dawkins and Broderick Bunkley particularly stood out to me. Bunk was all over the field, even as a d-tackle, disrupting plays left and right. Cole was routinely hitting Romo, Clemons was flying off the edge and, oh by the way, had a touchdown and a forced fumble. And Dawk had two incredible strips, both of which were returned by his teammates for touchdowns.

Anyone who's watched Dawk his entire career knows the guy has lost a step or two. He can't cover like he used to. But man, the guy can still play. He's proved that the past few weeks, and he did it again yesterday. As did everyone on that defense. They played incredible.

I honestly thought, going into the game, that the Eagles were going to choke again once everything fell in place for them. But they didn't. Andy, Marty and Jim coached the perfect game. The offense, defense and special teams played the perfect game. And now, suddenly, unbelievably the Eagles are in the playoffs. Frankly, I'm stunned.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Last night I witnessed my first basketball game at the new Boston Garden. Let me start of by saying that building is a pretty damn nice place to watch a game. Even if it's not the original place, the parquet floors were still awesome.

I got to see some great players too: Garnett, Allen, Pierce, even some up and comers such as Rondo. If anyones noticed I have not mentioned a 76er's names. Well, they suck. What a horrible game. They were outplayed by the Celtics 8-12 bench players. Brian Scalabrine looked better than Sammy Dalembert. Andre Miller looked ok at times. Iguodala had a nice start, but overall was disappointing. Kareem Rush, did he even play? What a game. Marreese Speights did look promising at times, Thad Young did not.

Who else? Reggie Evans, who I like, sucks. This whole team just sucks. I've been waiting all year for this game so I could see Elton Brand play and what happens? He gets hurt a few days before. What a jerk.

I don't know. I didn't expect them to compete, but I was at least hoping for the game to be entertaining.

By the way: One of the Celtics dance team girls works in my office. Of course she's not one of the attractive ones. Story of my life.

Devlin to Delaware, LeBron to the Top

Just a couple little things here. For one, Pat Devlin is transferring to Delaware, just like I said he would.

Yeah, I'm a genius.

Also, look at what LeBron did last night:

I'm pretty sure we can just hand him the MVP right now.

That's it for me today. Merry Christmas everyone.

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No Place Like Home for the Holidays

It's no secret, the Flyers are scorching hot … especially at home. Over their last 12 home games, the Flyers are 10-0-2. That's 22 points out of a possible 24 in case you're counting. In their last 10 games overall, the Flyers are 7-1-2. Not bad for a team that started out the season with six straight losses, huh?

With last night's 6-4 victory against Ottawa, the Flyers pulled to within 2 points of the Rangers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, thanks to a tremendous choke job by New York last night, with 3 games in hand. The Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Washington last night, and then gave up 4 unanswered to go to overtime, 3 of them in the third period. Then, less than a minute into the OT, the Caps finished the job, scoring their 5th straight goal to hand the Rangers the overtime loss at home. They must be taking their cues from the Mets.

Meanwhile, the Flyers were completely undressing the Senators … at least in the play. Somehow, some way, with the Flyers completely dominating every phase of the hockey game, the Sens stayed in it. It looked exactly like the Flyers-Caps game from last Saturday, with the Capitals completely owning the Flyers through 2 periods, yet falling 7-1 in the end.

But the Flyers simply wouldn't let Ottawa steal this one, no matter how hard the Sens tried. After surrendering the first goal, Matt Carle fired one off a face-off win that somehow got through Alex Auld to tie the game. And before the period was done, the Carter line came through yet again, as Joffrey Lupul lit the lamp.

But those pesky Senators wouldn't go away. On a two-man advantage, Danny Heatley slammed one home on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play, tying the game. But the red hot Jeff Carter countered with a power play tally of his own to regain the lead—his league-leading 26th goal of the season.

Andres Nodl gave the Flyers a 2-goal cushion with his first NHL goal heading into the third. It looked like the game was over. But Danny Heatley picked up his second goal of the game less than halfway through the final period, and you could feel the momentum, which had been with the Flyers the entire game, begin to shift. The Flyers began to sit back a little on defense, giving Ottawa room to work, and the Sens began to fire away. Minutes later, the game was tied, and I was pissed.

The Flyers had completely dominated the play … from shots to chances to time in the offensive zone to hits … everything. Yet here we were, all tied. Shit. I was so angry I almost thought about flipping to the Sixers for a moment. Then my senses got the best of me.

I was rewarded 4 minutes later when Simon Gagne continued his resurgence, showing no ill effects of last season's devastating concussion.

Gagne made an incredible individual play. After the Senators controlled the puck off the face-off in their own zone, Gagne pick-pocketed Daniel Alfredsson, an incredible feat in its own right, and fired one toward the net that somehow went in. Mike Knuble provided a strong screen in front, and the puck trickled past Auld to recapture the lead for the Flyers. From there, Mike Richards added a empty-netter to finish off the 6-4 win in the final game at the Wachovia Center for some time. It was glorious.

And while last night's game was clearly about offense—and the Flyers' offense has been incredible all year—I'd like to give some love to the defensemen. As a six-man unit, these guys have been tremendous since a slow start. We all knew how incredibly good and underrated Kimmo Timonen is from getting to watch him for a full season last year. Simply put, the guy is one of the best defensemen in all of hockey—offensively and defensively. His calming influence back there and heady, intelligent play cannot be overstated.

And that play has rubbed off on the rest of the defense. Early in the season, Ossi Vaananen did not impress me one bit. He looked unsure of himself and mistake-prone. Since, he's been nothing short of tremendous. Pairing with Timonen has helped, no doubt. Suddenly, the Ossi is doing it all—hitting, blocking shots, erasing passes and jumping up on the rush. He looks confident, quick and decisive. He looks like a a top-shelf defenseman.

Add in the incredible addition of Matt Carle, who is playing with last year's breakout star on the blue line, Braydon Coburn, and the Flyers have two completely shutdown defensive pairs. Carle has done nothing but impress since coming over from Tampa Bay. Sure, he let a couple guys get behind him in Montreal last week, but besides that, he's been superb. Carle has tremendous offensive instincts, smart defensive positioning and can flat out fly. Pair that with Coburn, who has taken another step defensively this year, and these guys are no fun for opposing forwards.

And then there's Andrew Alberts and the recently returned Randy Jones. Jones has been impressive in his two games coming back from injury, and Andrew Alberts has been a big, bruising force since coming over from Boston. These guys don't give much of a drop-off from the top two pairings. Plus, the Flyers still have Luca Sbisa, the 18-year-old who showed he certainly belongs, and Lasse Kukkonen, a do-it-all guy.

The blue liners have picked up their game, and the offense has continued to roll all the season long. Add in the tremendous forechecking game the Flyers have going right now, and this team looks tough to beat. If they can keep it up, this will be a team that no one wants to face come playoff time … and at some point they'll be getting Daniel Briere and Scottie Upshall back. Scary.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

LeBron Makes Much, Much More Money than You

As always, Henry Abbott has unearthed another gem.

Go find out how many years it would take you, on your current salary, to make as much money as LeBron James makes in a year here.

As Abbott points out, if you make $75,000, which most people don't even come close to making, especially nowadays, it would take 378.81 years to make the equivalent of what LeBron is making in a single season, including endorsement money. Wow.

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I'm Not Scrooge McDuck, Honest

I know over the past few days here the posts haven't been particularly upbeat. This in no way is a reflection of my views toward the holiday season, believe me. I love Christmas. It's a great holiday and gives me some much coveted time off from work.

So to show my sincere happiness for this time of the year, I'd just like to remind all the Philadelphia faithful out there that yes, the Philadelphia Phillies are the World Fucking Champions!

I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.

My posts from the happiest moment of my life can be found here and here. Read them over again. Relive the excitement all over again because for the Philadelphians out there my age and younger, we'll always savor that first championship.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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Jordan Makes the Best Commercials

A Michael Jordan commercial.

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