Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Right Call

Mayor Bloomberg just announced that the Nets opener tomorrow night against the Knicks has been cancelled.  This was absolutely the right decision to make.

The fact is, New York City is a mess right now. Parts of the city are still underwater. The subway isn’t running and even when service is restored tomorrow it won’t be running between Brooklyn and Queens.  Power is out in Manhattan below 34th Street and trying to drive anywhere is a bad, bad idea.

Furthermore, some chuckleheads have decided to choose this moment to conduct some looting of local businesses in the outer areas of Brooklyn and Queens.  We need to the cops in those neighborhoods and not patrolling around the Barclays Center. If fact, the NBA should do the right thing and cancel the Knicks-Heat game on Friday, the Nets-Toronto game on Saturday and the Knicks-Sixers game on Sunday. I would also recommend they cancel the NYC Marathon on Sunday, but so many people come to New York to participate in it that it wouldn’t be fair.

Sports are a wonderful distraction in times of trouble and I hope we can get back to enjoying them in the NYC area soon.  But with so many people affected by this tragedy, we need to focus on getting life back to normal.  Cancel the basketball games in this area or move them on the road. They packed 66 games into a NBA season that started on December 25th last year, so rescheduling two or three games shouldn’t be a big deal.

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Lucky

The Giants won a game they didn’t deserve to win tonight.  Not only did they blow a 23-0 lead, they were a fingertip, and I mean a fingertip away from losing. How Dez Bryant got that open with 37-seconds left is a mystery to me, but he made the mistake of trying to brace his fall.  That was the difference between defeat and victory for New York.

But, they ended up winning and now they have command of the NFC East.  They have a 2-1/2 game lead over Dallas and they are now 2-2 in the NFC East.  Dallas still has to play Washington and Philadelphia twice while the Giants have only Washington on the road and Philly at home.  The Giants will need all the help they can get because the second half of the schedule is brutal.  They have this gauntlet to run: Pittsburgh, @Cincinnati, BYE, Green Bay, @Washington, New Orleans, @Atlanta, @Baltimore, Philadelphia.  If they are going to get through it they are going to have to do a lot better than they did tonight.

 

Here Come The Islanders

According to the New York Post, the Islanders will announce this afternoon that they are moving to Brooklyn.  This makes a lot of sense for the team and for the league.

It’s hard to believe now, but 30 years ago the Islanders were the toast of New York.  They won the Stanley Cup four years in a row and names like Bossy, Trottier and Potvin were a big deal.  My first hockey game was a Rangers-Islander tilt at the Garden.  The Islanders took a 4-0 lead and the Rangers came back and tied the game. Reijo Ruotsalainen won the game for the Rangers in OT.  There were fights on the ice and fights in the stands.  After the game I saw a bunch of fans burn a Billy Smith sweater and stick on Seventh Avenue.  In three hours, I had become a passionate hockey fan.

But, the franchise fell on hard times.  The wins disappeared and the Nassau Coliseum isn’t a place most people want to visit even in good times.  Now, the Islanders are headed to Brooklyn and New York rivalries just got even better.

The move makes sense on so many levels.  The Barclays Center needs a second tenant to fill dates.  The Islanders need to move out of their dilapidated home.  By moving to Brooklyn, they only move 30 miles and with a LIRR spur underneath the Barclays Center their fans can follow.

If we have hockey in 2015, the Rangers-Islanders rivalry will be fiercer than ever.  I can’t wait.

From The Brink

The Giants escaped with a win they had to have today.  Losing to Washington at home would have been bad enough, but it also would have dropped them to 0-3 in the NFC East.  But, they did just enough and are now 5-2 and with the Eagles on bye week, they now have a 1-1/2 game lead in the division.

What bothered me as a Giants’ fan was the play calling.  Leading 20-13, the Giants stopped a long Washington drive by forcing a turnover at their own 27-yard line.  With just over seven minutes remaining, this seemed like the perfect time to run the ball on first down and get the clock winding down.  Instead the Giants called for a pass and Eli made a terrible throw.  The ball was intercepted and Washington kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 20-16.

Amazingly, the Giants didn’t learn a thing from that first play call.  They received the kickoff and with the ball on their own 17 and 5:21 remaining they called for a pass again on first down!  This time Eli was sacked and while the Giants recovered and made the first down, it was a stupid play call.

I understand that these are not the old “pound on the ground” Giants.  They have an elite QB and two elite wide receivers.  They should pass the ball early and often.  But, there is a time for the pass and when you have a small lead in the fourth quarter, you have to milk the clock a bit.  In either instance a run would have taken approximately 45-seconds off of the clock.  Ironically, it turned out that the Giants needed those seconds to complete their comeback, but that misses the point.  Hey, Kevin Gilbride, next time how about a run?

Would You Rob This Man’s Car?

Justin Tuck is listed at 6’5″, 268 pounds.  He tries to destroy quarterbacks for a living, yet somebody broke into his car and a bunch of other Giants’ cars while the team was flying back from San Francisco.  Tuck at least has a sense of humor about it, tweeting that whoever stole his IPod should enjoy the Tuck Mix.

As for the team itself, you have to love the way they played that game.  They did everything you want to see them do against a quality opponent.  They ran the ball, threw the ball and rushed the passer.  It was clearly their best effort of the season and their 4-2 record is the best in the NFC East right now.

But, those two losses are both division losses, so they need to beat Washington this weekend.  Normally, that wouldn’t be a huge request, but remember, the Giants were 0-2 against Washington last year and Washington has a new QB.  His 76-yard TD run last week was a thing of beauty, but it also shouldn’t overshadow what he has done with his arm.  So far he has completed over 70 percent of his passes, amassed over 1,300 yards and thrown only two interceptions against 5 TDs.  Add in his 379 yards of rushing and 6 TD’s and you might have the best player in the NFL. The Giants are going to have to come up with something special to stop him.  Maybe Kiwanuka as a “spy” on him for the entire game?

Washington caught the Giants sleeping twice last year.  That shouldn’t happen this Sunday.

Opening Night

In an alternate universe, we would watch the puck drop for real tonight. The NHL would kick off its season and hockey fans everywhere would celebrate. Instead, we have the lockout and little hope of a resolution.

The thing that amazes me is that the two sides aren’t talking about the real issues.  In fact, they don’t seem to have any sense of urgency to get this resolved.  Is that because the gulf between the two sides is so large?  I don’t think anyone would ever admit that, but its hard not to draw that conclusion.

Here’s the thing, league revenues have gone up to over $3 billion since the last lockout.  The salary cap has increased every year.  Yet, the owners complain that the cost certainty they claimed to have achieved in the last CBA has eluded them. It’s hard for me to see how that’s possible.  Furthermore, the Canadian Dollar has risen to above parity with the U.S. Dollar, eliminating the imbalance between U.S. and Canadian clubs.

The two sides need to figure this out quickly.  Another prolonged lockout could prove fatal to the popularity of hockey here in the U.S..  Baseball, Football and Basketball can get away with labor strife, hockey isn’t in their league.

The Agony Of Defeat

I’m not a huge golf fan.  But I typically watch some of the major tournaments and I always tune into the Ryder Cup. Yesterday, that led to a pretty disappointing day. On TV, they called it the “Collapse in Chicago”, but I prefer “The Miracle at Medinah”.  The fact that Europe came back from a 10-6 deficit on U.S. soil is truly a miracle.

I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.  The only time in the Ryder Cup’s history when a team had comeback form a 10-6 deficit was 1999 when the U.S. did it, but that was on home soil. Yesterday, the European Team had to overcome not only a huge deficit on the scoreboard, but a hostile crowd as well.

And overcome it they did. Phil Mickelson had a 1-up lead on the 16th and narrowly missed a chip in that could have won the match. But, he missed and Justin Rose hit an amazing putt to square the match.  Mickelson, applauded Rose’s putt and then went out and lost the final hole to lose the match. Jim Furyk also went from 1-up after 16, to lose the match.

It was a stunning display of futility and it extended Europe’s dominance of the Ryder Cup. They have now won five of the last six and they haven’t lost on European soil since 1993.  Something to keep in mind for 2014.

I am sure in the days ahead there will be a lot of discussion of what went wrong with the U.S. team. I don’t know what the answer to that question is, but I know it was a miserable thing to watch.