Archive for December, 2009

Random Prediction: The Flyers Are Gonna Trade Jeff Carter

December 16, 2009

The Penguins manhandled the defense-and-goalie challenged Flyers last night, 6-1, and while I’m not ready to completely spell doom for the Laviolette-era Flyers, it’s clear that the team is in need of a major trade both to shake things up in the short-term and maximize their asset management in the long term. I’ve long argued that a team’s defense has more to do with coaching, a system, and flat-out effort than actual personnel, but nevertheless, the Flyers just don’t appear to have the bodies on D or a goaltender capable of carrying them on a deep playoff run.

Simply put, even after the Pronger trade, the Flyers have a glut of forwards, but lack a true starting goaltender and defensive depth behind the aging Pronger and the offensive-minded Kimmo Timonen. And, with the Flyers right up against the cap, they’d have to shed salary the other direction in any deals they make, which severely limits their options.

Let’s go down the list:

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Steelers Are 1 Point Favorites Against Packers, Say Oddmakers With No Eyes, Ears, Memories

December 15, 2009

Most oddsmakers currently have the Steelers as 1 point favorites at home against the Packers this weekend. Some marginally smarter ones have the game as a pick, but even that seems strangely optimistic.

Let me see if I get this Vegas formula straight:

Nonstop Parade Of Sucking That Sucks So Bad It Doesn’t Even Parade Correctly, Marching Out Of Line And Spinning Out Of Control And The Floats Catch Fire And Fly Into A Lake, Killing Thousands Of Babies < Playing At Home

I understand the argument that people might be less willing to accept the Steelers’ sudden suckitude because they’re still the defending champs and they have the name and etc. etc., but they have nothing left to play for, and the Packers have won 5 in a row and have everything to play for, and are healthy and better than the G-D Browns / Chiefs / Raiders / Winless ’76 Buccaneers Who Would Still Definitely Beat The Steelers If They Got Back Together Now Even Taking Into Account Their Ages.

Even this frickin’ guy isn’t betting the Steelers minus one.

UPDATE: The Line has moved to Steelers -2, meaning that a lot of people actually were betting the Steelers minus one. I know the long-standing argument that “Steeler fans will bet the Steelers no matter what”, but if it’s just fans being fans, then 1) Then how come the Bears’ and Redskins’ and New York teams’ and Eagles’ spreads also way out of whack week to week? And 2) Aren’t Steeler fans even more aware than non-fans of just how crappy their team is playing? Either that or there’s some serious secret mob forces at play here, and Aaron Rodgers has a hairline fracture that only Syl from The Sopranos is aware of.

Pirates Non-Tender Matt Capps, Start Calling Him “Fat Crapps” Behind His Back

December 14, 2009

The Pirates have decided to non-tender closer Matt Capps, avoiding a likely $3+ million arbitration award for Capps and officially making him a free agent.

P-G Pirates beat writer Dejan Kovacevic said of the Capps release, “This is easily the most surprised I have been by any move from the Pirates’ current management team,” and for good reason; the Pirates now have only two remotely proven relievers on their roster, Capps had been their closer for three years, he’s only 26, and his brutal 2009 was his first bad season after three straight productive ones.

Neal Huntington offered this explanation:

But the reality is, we’ve now got some money to apply to the bullpen to fill Matt’s spot and elsewhere…If you’re talking about the Matt Capps of ’07 or ’08, that would be very, very difficult to replace. He’s probably not somebody we non-tender. The second half of ’08 and into ’09 … it’s not that hard to replace a reliever with a 5.00 or 6.00 ERA. We’ll miss Matt, and we wish him well. The only reason we had interest in him is that we felt he’s due to have a bounce-back year.

Huntington’s argument isn’t without merit; Capps was absolutely brutal last season, and a closer in title only, posting a 5.80 ERA and allowing 73 hits in 54.1 innings. His walk total jumped from 5 in 2008 to 17 in ’09, his home run total doubled from 5 to 10 in that span, and he posted a 2009 VORP of -3.6, meaning, essentially, he performed worse than any readily-available minor league free agent would have in those innings.

That said, I’m not in favor of this move.

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Browns 13, Steelers 6: Our Sundays Just Got A Whole Lot Freer

December 11, 2009

There’s nothing quite like that final nail being driven into another nail as a precautionary extra-nail to make sure that even if the first nail in the coffin for the Steelers’ season somehow rusts and falls off, there’ll be another nail to ensure that the coffin will definitely remain shut, even though it’s six feet underground and has no way of opening back up anyway and also it can’t score a touchdown against the league’s worst-ranked defense and takes eight sacks and couldn’t look less like it cares about anything.

That metaphor became muddled a bit in the middle, but the basic thesis statement was the same as it’s been the past four weeks, that being “Wow is this team pathetic”. The Browns game was, in the words of one Myron Cope, “A dee-bacle! [And a complete waste of our mother-effing time!]”. I’m assuming he would’ve said the second part.

The Steelers scored six points against the Cleveland Browns. SIX. It’s the NFL equivalent of Bob Uecker’s “One goddamn hit?Major League quote. SIX points is beyond worthless, unless you draw three little lines on the I and turn it into “SEX POINTS” and it’s a woman saying it and it turns out that I’m actually watching a football-themed porno and not a season-defining Steelers/Browns game, but that unfortunately was not the case here, as much as I attempted to take giant huffs of glue to make myself hallucinate into believing this every time Roethlisberger got sacked on third down.

The Steelers defense only gave up 13 points, but still, is this team capable of stopping an opponent on third and ANYTHING? If the other team was up against a 3rd and ????, like the question marks that people put on party invitations when they don’t know when it’s gonna end cause it might go on forever, some running back would take a two-yard pass, then every Steeler would literally have their hands wrapped through the dude’s bone and sinew and around his heart and still somehow not tackle him until he got far enough up the field for the refs to all agree “I don’t know what question mark stands for, but they definitely got it.”

It’s probably too late in the season to get back to the basics, but let’s take a quick moment to go over some very simple vocabulary for two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:

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Penguins 3, Canadiens 2: What A Great Night For Pittsburgh Sports

December 11, 2009

The Penguins completely dominated Montreal last night, outshooting them by a brutal 41-21 margin, and this was on the road; with the Mellon Arena statkeepers, the final shots would’ve been tallied as A Googleplex Times Infinity Plus One – 0 (even Montreal’s goals wouldn’t have counted as shots).

Despite their dominance, the Pens still received an astonishingly lucky break when an insane inadvertant whistle in the final minutes of the third period waived off what should’ve been a third Montreal goal to tie the game. Replays showed that Fleury not only didn’t freeze the puck, but the puck barely even slowed down or was out of sight for any length of time, and Fleury even loudly and articulately yelled “OH NO I HAVE NOT FROZEN THE PUCK AND NOW IT IS LOOSE!” and the ref was standing three millimeters from the puck next to a neon sign that said “Puck: Three Millimeters That Way” with one of those strings of neon arrows that lights up in succession to a rhythm.

Needless to say, the Montreal fans — who boo everything that happens anyway, including the zambonis, the “Timeouts Remaining” space on the scoreboard, and gravity — booed the crap out of the call, justifiably. One fan even threw a shoe onto the ice, mistaking the ice for George W. Bush and now for a year ago.

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Pirates Add New Drug Hookup John Raynor In Rule 5 Draft

December 11, 2009

The Pirates today selected Marlins AAA outfielder John Raynor with the second overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft.

What will a 25-year-old right-handed minor league outfielder bring to the Pirates’ current major league squad?

He’ll bring his speed? Awesome. Should make things in the clubhouse a lot more interesting next year.

I’d start with John Russell.

My Confidence For This Browns Game Is Swelling

December 9, 2009

The homepage of Steelers.com right now:

Uh oh.

“Ready to step up” and do what, exactly? Get wide open once, have a ball thrown so directly to him that it literally sticks into his ribcage but he intentionally pulls it out of himself and drops it fast enough for it to not be counted a catch, and for Roethlisberger and Tomlin to again be reminded “Ohhhh yeaahhhh, that’s why we never do that…”

Pirates Sign Bobby Crosby To Make Pittsburgh Fans Do Brief Double-Take Then Be Disappointed

December 8, 2009

It’s not a done deal, but the Pirates are reportedly close to signing former A’s infielder Bobby Crosby to a one-year deal.

Crosby hit 22 home runs as a shortstop in 2004, and has since hit 9, 9, 8, 7, and 6 in the subsequent seasons, posting a murderous .239 / .302 / .366 while missing significant time to injury (he’s only played 100 games once in the past five seasons).

If there’s any upside to the deal, I’m assuming the cost will be minimal (Dejan Kovacevic currently estimates one year at about $1.5 million), and Crosby was a once bright talent and a plus defender at short, so he’s capable of challenging Ronny Cedeno for full-time making outs in front of the pitchers’ spot duty.

At the very least, Crosby doesn’t block any of the Pirates’ pressing prospects, and he gives them some flexibility in the infield with a better bat than Luis Cruz, but his injury problems and consistently painful offensive numbers — even for a shortstop in a decent pitchers’ park like Oakland — make this deal very, very difficult to get even the least bit excited about.

As an added bonus, fans will now be able to wear jerseys to PNC that technically bear the name of a current Pirates player.

UPDATE: It’s a done deal, pending a physical. Meaning, a Pirates team doctor will come within 50 feet of Crosby, shriek loudly, and run away, and the Pirates will be like, “Um…I guess that means we sign him?”

NEWS IN BR…F: Tuesday, December 8th

December 8, 2009

  • College Football Year-End Exhibition Games Announced



  • Cardinals Reluctantly Pick Up Brad Penny From Fantasy Waiver Wire



  • Tebow Thanks God For Privilege To Play Cincinnati For #4 Ranking



  • Pudge Keeps Straight Face As Nationals Offer Him Two-Year Contract



  • Notre Dame Interviews Kelly, Other Less Irish-Sounding Dudes To Throw You Off

Bruce Boudreau: Hypocrite, Or Really, Really Big Hypocrite?

December 7, 2009

If we know one thing about Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, it’s that the man will absolutely not tolerate dirty plays in the NHL. Boudreau was pissed about Daniel Carcillo punching Matt Bradley in the Caps/Flyers game this past Saturday, delivering this strongly-worded quote:

“[Bradley] might have been ready, but as he was dropping his gloves, Carcillo was already cold cocked and ready to throw them. He knew as soon as Bradley was ready to accept his challenge, the punch was there and [Bradley]’s gloves and hands were still down [at his waist].

“No matter how you cut it — and it’s not like this guy is in his first year and first chance doing it — whether it is in this league or in the American League where I saw him for two years, he was just as big an idiot there. It is just a dirty play.”

“That’s two in two nights and we’re trying to get that crap out of the game…”

Here here! Bruce Boudreau, you are a man of principles! You would never defend a player for multiple dirty, injury-threatening, game misconduct-worthy incidents within a short timespan!

Just for the hell of it, let’s take a look at what Boudreau had to say after the NHL suspended Alex Ovechkin two games for his knee-to-knee hit on Carolina’s Tim Gleason last week:

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