Archives for: 2009, week 21


Stanley Cup Finals Rematch: Detroit vs Pittsburgh

Permalink 05:14:59 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Detroit is hungry to repeat. They're the last team to win back to back championships (1997-98). Pittsburgh wants revenge after losing in last years Cup. NHL's Stanley Cup Finals rematch begins May 30th.

The teams have taken on difference personalities which may or may not factor into which team skates away with victory. Pittsburgh's offense has been on fire since scoring 6 vs Washington in East Semi-Finals. Sidney Crosby (14 goals, 14 assists) & Evgeni Malkin (12 goals, 16 assists) lead all Playoff scorers. Detroit's leading scorers are Johan Franzen (19 points) & Henrick Zetterberg (18 points). Don't be fooled by this disparity as these teams have been playing different styles.

Pittsburgh has relied on offense. They seem to take advantage of every opportunity and make opponents pay dearly. Detroit has been all about defense. Veteran net minder Chris Osgood has been superb between the pipes (12-4, 2.30 GAA, .925 Save %). He'll need to be in top form to shut down the Penguins attack.

During the 80's & 90's repeat champs seemed to be the norm. These decades were dominated by great mini-dynasty teams. Edmonton Oilers won 5 Cups, NY Islanders 4, Pittsburgh, Montreal & Detroit 2 each. There hasn't been back to back matchups since Edmonton ended the Islanders run of 4 consecutive Cups in '84. Pittsburgh vs Detroit has possibilities of 3 straight cup matchups.

I expect Pittsburgh to come out flying putting heavy pressure on Detroit's defense. Beware of the Penguins? Not Detroit. The Red Wings have a knack for dismantling opposing offenses. Osgood is a vet goalie who will not be denied. In my opinion, disciplined hockey will win this series... and the Cup. Detroit has it, Pittsburgh does not.

Detroit wins in 6.


Coaching Conniptions.... Sports Biggest Sideline Hot Heads

Permalink 07:58:35 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Coaches and managers losing their cool is nothing new. Some go berserk due to terrible officiating. Sometimes, a manager might try pumping up a sleeping squad by getting tossed after an animated tantrum.

I've assembled my short list of memorable hot heads.

Bobby Knight (NCAA Basketball) - 3 time National Champion was one of college basketball's greatest coaches. It's safe to say some remember him better for flagrant fits on the sidelines. Everything from chair throwing to player pushing. Many a face was chewed out by a red cheeked Knight.

Bobby Cox (MLB) - Cox holds the majors record for ejections. Bobby isn't a typical firebrand screamer and many ejections were for protecting players. He's one of baseball's best managers having guided Atlanta to 14 division champtionships.

Billy Martin (MLB) - Billy was known for fighting everyone. Players, umps, owners and unsuspecting drunks. "Billy Ball" often led to famous dirt kicking at umps, bumps and near brawls. I remember back in the 70's when he and Reggie Jackson nearly came to blows in Boston. Martin's run ins with George Steinbrenner lasted for years. Fired, hired, refired, rehired before being fired again. Yanks were nicknamed Bronx Zoo during his tenure.

Earl Weaver (MLB) - Earl was a very fiery manager of the Baltimore Orioles. He holds the AL record for most tosses (97). His style worked as only one of his teams ever endured a losing season. One of the best arguments ever recorded was when umpire Bill Haller was mic'd up and captured one of Weaver's profanity laced tirades.

Lou Piniella (MLB) - Loooooooooooooooooooooooou has had a few explosions of his own. He's tossed bases, bumped umps, kicked up dirt and took on reliever Rob Dibble in a clubhouse melee.

Mike Ditka (NFL) - Hard nosed Ditka's Chicago Bears had a ferocious defense and won the Super Bowl after a 15-1 regular season in 1985. He's tangled with many from refs to fans. He broke his hand during a halftime meltdown (punched a wall) and often engaged in verbal spats with fans.

Mike Keenan (NHL) - Probably hated by former players more than any other coach to win a Stanley Cup. He's had bumps in the road with players, management, other coaches and refs. Flyers fired him after taking the team to '87 Cup Finals. Quit the Rangers after guiding NY to first championship in over 40 years.

Plenty of names could be added to this list. Fill me in if I missed one of your favorites.



Football Teams Getting Ready for 2009 Season...

Permalink 03:37:01 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

There's been plenty of NFL activity in recent weeks. Mini-camps have generated quite a bit of news. Highlights and lowlights caught my eye. Everything from the disaster in Dallas to Tom Brady's return. It's still too early for concrete predictions so lets take a look at some of what's been happening this off-season.

Brett Favre... decision to play again this year will be announced soon. Minnesota has shown great interest in Favre. Vikes are a young talented squad in desperate need of a field general and efficient QB. Favre got a bad rap in NY largely due to terrible play calling and Brett's risky passing attempts. If he feels healthy enough for another season... then the Vikings will challenge in NFC Central.

Terrell Owens... will this full of himself star ever shut up and put up??? His former QB's and coaches are all glad he's gone to play for other teams. His latest outburst was to diss Dallas players. I laugh whenever I hear Terrell the "Drop-a-holic" Owens complain. I think he complains much more consistently than he catches footballs. He's a major distraction. In his San Francisco days he was all over QB Garcia in the press. It got much worse with his public fued against McNabb in Philly. Now, as a new member of Buffalo's Bills, he's taking cheap shots at Tony Romo and Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett. Throughout 2008, TO was very critical of playcalling. He often sounded paranoid accussing Romo and Witten of conspiring against him. Cried foul claiming Romo & Witten conspired to call plays meant for them and not him. Poor baby. If T.O. was a true play maker than he'd be an impact player. He's not. On paper, his stats usually seem outstanding. He's approaching 1,000 career catches and 15,000 receiving yards. But, I wonder... how many career drops? Last year, in between his constant complaining of not getting the ball often enough, TO dropped 10. Owens also gave up on running routes hard during games frustrating players, coaches & fans. Worse yet, he shows off his pearly whites after most blunders. He's never been a team player. Now he's in Buffalo. The Bills didn't win one single game vs AFC East rivals in '08. They're not looking much better getting ready for '09. TO has already missed voluntary workouts & team meetings. How long to you think it is before TO rips apart clubhouse continuity in Buffalo? I give it until loss number 3.

Dallas Cowboys... training facility blew apart in heavy winds a few weeks ago. 12 people were injured including a team scout who was left paralyzed from the waste down. Recent news broke claiming one of the contractor's employees consulted for strengthening the complex wasn't licensed. It gets worse... he's an ex-con who falsified his employment and education records. Somehow he managed to dupe everyone. His credentials were only checked out after the mishap.

Tom Brady... is back on the practice field after sitting out 99% of 2008. New England is hoping he bounces back quickly. Pats played fairly well without him (11-5) but failed to qualify for the playoffs. Brady is a leader and proven winner on the field. New England quickly becomes favorites to win AFC East again in hopes of returning to top dog in AFC. If he's healthy and ready to go... they're the best.

New York, New York... Favre is gone and the future is in. Mark Sanchez was selected by the Jets as their QB of the future. Heavy hype is surrounding this kid and the Jets wasted no time promoting their young star to be. He just finished up a GQ swimsuit shoot surrounded by stunning models. Rumors swirling he's hot and heavy with Hilary Rhoda. I hope this guy isn't burnt out by first snap.
On the Giants side of town they're still looking for game breaking wide receivers to replace veteran fan favorite Amani Toomer & troubled gun toting Plaxico Burress. Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina) was their first draft pick. Rumors of Cleveland's Edwards and a few others have made local headlines but no deals have been finalized. Manning's offense needs a playmaker before NY can make a legit run for the title.

Detroit Lions... their biggest decision heading into this years draft was whether or not to trade away NFL's #1 pick. They opted to sign top rated QB Matt Stafford (Georgia). Their 2nd first round pick was TE Brandon Pettigrew. As a matter of fact, I believe their top four picks in this years draft could pay immediate dividends. Detroit can only go up after a record setting 0-16 season. Or will they repeat? Don't look now, but the Lions could be sitting pretty reshaping the lowliest franchise in the NFL. It's all on the coaching staff to teach these guys how to play NFL football.

Stay tuned in the coming days for periodic NFL updates, news, chatter and predictions.