Friday, February 24, 2006


My two cents on the Olympics

The Olympics wrap up this weekend. I have watched less than 6 hours of coverage. I doubt I'll see much more. However, me being me, I want to add my two cents on a couple of things.

First, when the Canadian Olympic team was announced, a number of my coworkers and I grumped long and loud about the number of "oldsters" playing on the team. I felt that guys like Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza and Eric Staal had more than earned their way onto the main squad. I couldn't understand why guys like Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan and other older players got the nods. I also was somewhat upset that Paul Kariya, a guy who ALWAYS has stepped up his game on the world stage, was left off. However, my brother and brother-in-law both made sound arguments to me supporting the selections, so I figured I'd wait and see.

Looks like I was right. But I blame Pat Quinn, who has outlived his usefulness as a coach (for now). This was a horribly unmotivated team that underperformed across the board and, after a hot start against creampuffs, packed up and went home once they faced some real competition. Sound like the Leafs? Everybody praised Quinn after the 2002 Olympic Gold but let's be real here. I could've coached that group to the gold. Putting the same guys out 4 years later (and 4 years older and slower) will not win a medal. Quinn cannot teach or motivate young guys (nor does he know how to incorporate them into the lineup), because he prefers to deal with a group of seasoned, ultra-talented vets who know how to go out and win, because they've done it over and over again. I hope that, in 2010, Gretzky puts a young team out there, supported by key veterans (a list that will include the young guns of this season) and a coach that has fire, skill and the ability to relate to and motivate a diverse group of players.

Oh, and the over-under on Quinn's ouster from T.O. is about 1 month.

Secondly, and more important, I fear that the lousy men's hockey result will lead to a "we sucked in Turin" backlash. Nothing is further than the truth. I am proud of this team and their (so far) 19 medals. Cindy Klassen has been awesome, the women's hockey team proved themselves yet again, there have been some surprises (cross-country skier Chandra Crawford) and, on the whole, Canadians should be VERY satisfied with the results.

Go Canada!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 03, 2006


If you have no other plans for SuperBowl

Come join us:

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Tickets are $15 and available Sunday morning and at the door. Food menu includes:

Roast pig
Hot Roast Beef sandwiches
Sausage on a Bun

A licensed cardiologist will be on site. Dietitians are not invited.

Great prizes including official NFL jerseys, t-shirts, caps and footballs, all sorts of hardware and a great grand prize that will be revealed at game time.

E-mail for more information.

If you cannot attend, your prayers for this event are coveted.


Super Bowl Prediction

So, I did pretty good through the playoffs, going 7-3 picking winners. Now comes a game that is really tough to pick, so I'm going to break it down:

Offense: These two teams will both want to establish the running game, moreso Seattle than Pittsburgh. Assuming the teams stay to form, Ben Roethlisberger will be taking to the air in an effort to spread the defense and open up the ground game for Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker. Meanwhile, Seattle will turn Shaun Alexander loose and dare Pittsburgh's defense to stop him. Odds are they will, to a degree. I like Pitsburgh's receivers a lot more than Seattle's and Jerome Bettis will be seriously motivated, as he plays his final game of his illustrious career in his hometown. Advantage: Pittsburgh.

Defense: Blitzburgh will be in full effect. The Steelers will put 7 and 8 defenders in the box to try and stop Alexander and mix schemes and blitz angles in an effort to confuse Hasselbeck. The Seahawks defense will also be loading up to put pressure on Big Ben and the runners, but the Seahawks can do so confident that their corners are OK in man-on-man situations. The Steelers have to make sure they get to Hasselbeck, because if he get s time to throw, the Steeler secondary can be had. Especially if Troy Polamalu is part of the blitz package. Advantage: Pittsburgh up front, Seattle in the secondary.

Special Teams: Should be pretty even, since neither team has a real breakaway kind of returner and they are not overly aggressive trying to block punts. Antwaan Randle-El can break big punt returns (2 TD's this year), but I don't see him getting many chances, since Seattle will likely key on him and try to kick away from him. Field position will be huge in this game and the team that does the best job of pinning the opposition deep will win. For that, it's the punters and gunners, and I like Pittsburgh's Chris Gardocki more than Seattle's Tom Rouen. Add in the fact that the game's indoors, and I like the Steelers. Advantage: Pittsburgh.

Coaching/Intangibles: Mike Holmgren has a shot at history, becoming the first coach to win Super Bowls with two teams. He has Seattle really clicking and knows how to keep 'em performing. Bill Cowher has toned down the emotion in the last few years, but don't mistake that for a lack of intensity. He and his staff have come up with schemes to rein in Peyton Manning and Jake Plummer this playoff season and they made the right adjustments against Cincinnati to enable them to come back and win. Plus there's the Bettis factor and a few boneheaded comments made by Seahawks players during the media days that you can bet will be on the locker room boards. Advantage: Pittsburgh.

Add it all up and I see a long day coming for Seattle. Pittsburgh 26-19.