Monthly Archives: May 2014

Twenty Years

On May 27th, 1994, I had to move out of college. I had graduated the Saturday before and it was time to leave. I planned a drive to get down to my future wife’s house in Westchester that would get me there for game time, but fate wouldn’t let me. A prisoner escaped from Sing Sing that night and they shut the Tappan Zee Bridge. I ended up on a remote stretch of I87 listening to a crackling radio through two OT’s. I remember Howie Rose’s radio call has become a staple in New York, but few remember what came after he shouted “Matteau” multiple times. He followed it with “And the Rangers have one more hill to climb baby!”

It took twenty years, but the Rangers are facing one more hill to climb again. Those twenty years haven’t been easy. There was the lockout immediately following the 1994 win. There was the 1997 trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, but then things went really downhill. Messier left for Vancouver, the Rangers missed the playoffs for seven-straight years and hockey wiped out an entire season.

And when hockey resumed in 2005 the Rangers had a new guy between the pipes, Henrik Lundqvist. Mike Richter was a wonderful goalie, but Lundqvist is better.¬†For nine seasons he has been the backbone of this team and now they will need him to carry them across the finish line. It’s going to be a brutal matchup, whichever team prevails in the West. I can’t wait for Wednesday night.

We want the Cup!

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A Perfect Moment

Martin St. Louis lost his Mother to a heart attack on Thursday. She was only 63. He flew home, met with his family, and decided to play Friday night. So it wasn’t a surprise that he played yesterday, Mothers’ Day.

And maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise when this happened last night, but it was one of those perfect sports moments.

That was pretty awesome. Game 7 tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.

 

Reasons To Like/Dislike The Pick

Here are my thoughts on the Giants drafting Odell Beckham, Jr.

Pros

1- Some “experts” feel he is the best WR in the draft. I don’t think that’s the case, but I like players from big programs and LSU is one of the biggest.

2- With Nicks gone, the Giants had a need at WR

3- He’s fast- 4.43

Cons

1- The Giants’ best WR is a guy they signed as an undrafted free agent. There was some big-time help for the offensive and defensive lines available when they picked, why not wait on a WR?

2- He’s short- 5-11

3- The Giants have Jerrigan, also a LSU product, who looked ready to jump to the next level last year. I’m not sure “you can’t have too many receivers” is a football axiom.

What’s next?

Well in the next couple of rounds I would like to see the Giants address more weaknesses. Here are a few

1- Who is the starting Tight End?

2- Have they done enough on the Offensive Line? Pugh and Schwartz are solid, but questions linger over Walton, Beatty and Snee. Some help here would be good.

3- What about the Defensive Line? Their best tackle is in Minnesota. They have rebuilt the secondary, but what about the pass rush?

Stop The Madness!

The NFL Draft is tomorrow night and we have been inundated over the past weeks with so called “experts” yakking about what this team needs or which player is going to be the best fit for a team. Allow me to point out a few flaws in the thinking behind these predictions.

1- Drafting isn’t easy. You know why NFL GM’s get fired so often? It’s not because they are dumb. Rather, trying to figure out what a player will do in the NFL is hard enough. Throw in the fact that Player A may be perfect for System A, but a failure in System B and you start to get the idea. In baseball a shortstop for one team can be a shortstop for almost any team. In football, the free safety of the UCLA Bruins may play a certain system and he would be lost if he became the free safety of the Chicago Bears. And don’t forget, with all of the coaching turnover systems change- a lot.

2- Grades are total BS. You know what should catch your eye about draft grades? There are way too many good ones. What is the point of a draft grade? Well it should be to differentiate one team’s draft from another. If you accept that there is a finite amount of talent in college football, then you should accept that every team in the NFL cannot have a great draft. Furthermore, with 32 teams, draft grades should be distributed fairly normally around a mean grade of C. So, there should be about as many A’s and B’s as there are D’s and F’s. Yet, I guarantee you that the grades you see in the next few days will be mostly C’s and above.

3- Even if you cleaned up the grades and forced the experts to distribute them correctly, you would still have the problem that the experts aren’t very good at evaluating drafts. Here’s a very honest self-assessment from one of the NFL experts. Give it a look.

4- Finally the NFL is an inherently risky occupation. Players get hurt all the time. This can affect the value of players in two ways. First, and obviously, the player never develops into what everyone thought he would be. Second, the player who got hurt ¬†damages the value of another player. For example, think of the star rookie QB who comes into a team and then loses a key blocker before the season begins. He spends the next 16 weeks running for his life, throwing into coverages and learning bad habits. He never develops into a star because of it. (Look at some of the QB’s the Browns have used over the past few years for examples).

So this weekend, enjoy the Draft. Just don’t get hung up on how your team did. We won’t know until 2018 or so.