Tuesday, July 3, 2007


It's hard to describe how I felt after the first day of NHL Free Agency was done, but I think my buddy Nick summed up all my feelings as a Devils fan in two words via text message:


Not only did the Devils lose their top puck-moving defenseman in Brian Rafalski, but they also lose their best puck-moving and playmaking center in Scott Gomez.

Most who know me know that I am not upset that Gomez left. I always wanted Gomez to shoot the puck more because I thought he had an incredible slap shot. However, he had no aim. If there was a league leader in pucks that hit goalies logos in the center of their jersey, Gomez would not only lead the league, he might be among the most all-time.

But he went to the Rangers. The cross-town rivals, the ones that beat the Devils in 1994 en route to ending every person in every arena's ability to chant 1940. The team that gets half their fans into the Devils arena to say Devils suck over and over again because they can't talk trash about recent history between the teams.

Gomez said that it's just a buisness. I never understood that phrase. How as a player could you sign on with a team you hated for your entire career, was your chief rival and you were doing better than every year. I figured a guy like Gomez could have went to Los Angeles, where he could have ate the Latino market up and been a star for a struggling franchise. He could have went to Phoenix and thrive under Wayne Gretzky, who last I checked was a pretty decent center in his day.

Now I know how die-hard Red Sox fans who loved Johnny Damon felt after he left Boston for New York. Jokingly I texted my buddy with my Famous Traitors list (not a long one): Benedict Arnold, Johnny Damon, Scott Gomez.

Again, I am not upset that Gomez left. There was no way the Devils could afford the kind of money he could make on the open market. It was just a shock that it was for the Rangers.

However, as Devils fans, we've seen this before and for the most part the Devils could laugh at what past players have done after leaving obscurity in New Jersey for the bright lights of Manhattan. Here's a list of some of those recent moves:

Bobby Holik: signed a 5-year, $45M contract in 2002. He never had scored 30 goals in a season and got $9M a season. In his two seasons with the Rangers, he scored just 41 goals in 146 games

Bruce Driver: after winning the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995, Driver moved on to the Rangers and finished his career playing three seasons in NY. Driver played in 26 playoff games with the Rangers and did not score a goal

John MacLean: After leaving NJ via trade to San Jose, MacLean signed on with the Rangers for the 1998-99 season. Johnny Mac played decent hockey in NY, scoring 28 goals that first season, but the Rangers did not make the playoffs in either of his two campaigns in Manhattan

Now the real shocker was Rafalski. He seemed like the type of guy who felt settled in New Jersey and wouldn't leave for really anything. But when Sunday came and he didn't have a contract with the Devils, I had a funny feeling he was gone. There would only be one place Rafalski would go to if it wasn't NJ, that was his other home.

Rafalski is a Dearborn, Michigan native so it makes sense for him to sign a rather large deal ($6M per for five seasons) with the Red Wings. This one didn't upset me because I thought for the most part he was exposed by Ottawa in the playoffs. In Game 1 alone, he had three blatant giveaways, two that led to goals. I think him being the go-to-guy in NJ may have been too much for him to handle. He thrived with Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer alongside him on defense. Now he gets to play with arguably the best offensive defenseman of the last 20 years in Nicklas Lidstrom. I think this is a win-win situation for both the Devils and Rafalski.

Great Scott, look at what the Devils have lost via free agency or retirement in the last two offseasons:
Scott Stevens - just elected to Hockey Hall of Fame, retired due to injuries
Scott Niedermayer - signed for less money to play with brother in Anaheim
Scott Gomez - signs ridiculous contract with cross-town rival Rangers
and Brian Rafalski - underrated puck-moving defenseman, awesome power-play defenseman

So now its time to lock up the restricted free agents. Zach Parise and Travis Zajac must be first-priority before someone throws them an out-of-this-world offer sheet. See if you can bring Sheldon Souray back to the team he was drafted by. He's good friends with Marty Brodeur, hell they own a Rivière des Prairies pizzeria in Montreal. Take a $1M shot on Eric Lindros to play 4th-line center. Bring in a Curtis Joseph to back up Marty.

Just do something to get rid of the feeling from BLACK SUNDAY

Monday, June 25, 2007


There once was a guy who used to write recaps. But that was a long, long time ago. Thank goodness for the internet. I have been able to find some recaps from games I wrote back in 2000. Here is a taste as to what I used to do for the fledgling company.

This was a recap which I found on CNNSI.com about a month ago. It was a recap after Gonzaga beat St. John's to advance to the Sweet 16. What I remember about that was normally on a given night, you were given two recaps (sometimes three) and one of the games you wouldn't really watch, relying on a reporter who was paid fairly little to help describe the contest. On this day, I was told to do nothing but watch this game. You be the judge

TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- The victory will go down as an upset. But for Gonzaga, this is nothing new.

Matt Santangelo scored eight of Gonzaga's final 13 points as the 10th-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the "Sweet 16" for the second consecutive season with an 82-76 victory over No. 2 St. John's in a West Region contest.

"We had success against their zone and made them go man," Santangelo said. "That opened up the perimeter. I just stepped up and knocked down some shots." Gonzaga led by five with 1:46 to go before Santangelo buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Bulldogs (25-8) their biggest advantage of the contest at 76-68 with 41 seconds remaining.

Erick Barkley drained a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to pull the Red Storm (25-8) within 79-76, but Santangelo hit 1-of-2 free throws and Casey Calvary converted two attempts at the line to account for the final margin.

"I'm just so happy for these kids," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "They've worked so hard throughout their entire basketball careers. I couldn't be more proud of a group of kids."

Barkley finished with 21 points for St. John's, which joined top-seeded Arizona and No. 3 Oklahoma as upset victims in the West Region today.

Last season, the Bulldogs -- also as a 10th seed in the West Region -- bounced second-seeded Stanford to reach to the "Sweet 16" before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut in the regional final.

Gonzaga will battle sixth-seeded Purdue in Thursday's regional semifinal in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Bulldogs trailed 36-33 to start the second half and went on a 7-2 burst to take their first lead of the contest at 40-39 with 17:50 remaining after a 3-pointer by Ryan Floyd.

The lead changed hands six times and was tied on three occasions before Mark Spink started a 9-2 run as Gonzaga took the lead for good. Calvary capped the burst adding a pair of free throws to give the Bulldogs a 63-56 advantage with 6:02 to go.

Before Santangelo's devastating 3-pointer, the Red Storm narrowed the deficit to 67-64 on an emphatic dunk from Lavor Postell with 3:25 left.

St. John's controlled the action in the first half, mostly because of second-chance shots. The Red Storm scored 10 points on offensive putbacks but allowed the Bulldogs back into the game by sending them to the free throw line 12 times in the opening half and by going 1-of-8 from behind the arc.

A key for Gonzaga all season has been its ability to drain the 3-point shot. Tonight was no different as the Bulldogs drained 9-of-22 from beyond the arc, with Santangelo hitting on six of his 10.

Axel Dench added 17 points for Gonzaga, which shot 57 percent from the field in the second half and held a 38-34 rebounding edge.

Anthony Glover scored 18 points and Postell recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Storm, who shot 47 percent from the field, but were only 12-of-21 from the free throw line.

This marks the first time since 1992 that the two top seeds in one region did not make at least the regional semifinals. Kansas and Southern California were bounced in the second round of the Midwest Region that year.

St. John's won the Big East Conference championship for the first time since 1986, but just like that year, was bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the second round.

The next one I found was in response to one of the darkest moments in NHL history. What was crazy was because the game wasn't close, I had the entire first-run of the story ready to go. All I needed was the game to end and I was good to go. Then McSorley "took over". Take a look at this video and then read my take on the incident:


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- Marty McSorley made Dale Hunter look like a saint.
Todd Bertuzzi scored twice and Andrew Cassels added three assists as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins, 5-2, in a game marred by one of the most vicious incidents in recent history.

With three seconds left and the outcome already decided, Bruins defenseman Marty McSorley slashed Canucks enforcer Donald Brashear in the side of the head as retaliation for an injury to former All-Star goaltender Byron Dafoe.

Brashear immediately fell backward to the ice and slammed his head, knocking himself unconscious for 30 seconds. Canucks captain Mark Messier immediately jumped on the ice with the team's trainer to tend to Brashear.

"It was a dangerous play," said Messier, a former teammate of McSorley's. "Donald's hurt, we can't allow that to happen in the league. I don't know what else to say. That really deflates everything that happened tonight and everything else that's gone on in the last little while.

"It's really tough. Everybody knows it's a dangerous game and we all know injuries can happen. But, something like that takes the air out of the game. What else can you say?"

Following the game, McSorley was cleary shaken and nearly driven to tears when he issued this statement to a local radio station: "I want to apologize to the city of Vancouver, to Donald Brashear," McSorley said. "I don't know what was going through my mind at that time. It was a stupid mistake."

At the other end of the ice, goalie Garth Snow went after McSorley, setting off a brawl. Fans littered the ice hoping to hit anybody on Boston. Other fans were being handcuffed by police after starting fights in the stands with people who had on Bruins jerseys. Once things were settled, referee Brad Watson ended the game without playing the final three seconds.

"I just saw Brash down," Snow said. "Seeing him down like that, I knew it was a cheap shot because no one could do that straight up with him. I haven't seen anything like that since the Ted Green incident, it's just bad."

Brashear was motionless before being placed in a neck brace and carted off while surrounded by teammates, who each tapped his equipmemt wishing him well. Brashear apparently came to on his way to the hospital.

"The doctors are looking at him," Canucks coach Mark Crawford said. "Obviously, he is suffering, but he is in the hands of the best medical care. It makes me sick to my stomach, that's exactly how I feel. It's sickening to me, it's sickening to anybody to see this kind of thing. There's no other words to describe it. There is absolutely no room for this, no place in hockey. It was a dispicable act."

McSorley, who began the night third to Dave "Tiger" Williams and Hunter with 3,352 career penalty minutes, was given a match penalty for deliberate injury. The penalty comes with an automatic review for suspension.

Brashear and McSorley battled early in the contest, drawing fighting majors 2:09 into the first period.

"It started very poorly," Bruins coach Pat Burns said. "They were all over us, it was a nightmare. We have enough players that went down in this game. All I recall is Donald coming over flexing his muscles at our bench and it probably irked something or someone on our bench."

McSorley's ban could rival that of Hunter, who received a 21-game suspension -- the longest for an on-ice incident in NHL history -- at the beginning of the 1993-94 season after delivering a callous blow to Pierre Turgeon of the New York Islanders in the 1993 playoffs.

McSorley's action may have stemmed from an incident in the first period when Brashear charged to the net and fell on Dafoe's right leg. Dafoe left the ice on a stretcher and was not optimistic about the injury.

"I just got kind of tangled with (defenseman Kyle) McLaren and Brashear," Dafoe said. "My knee went a funny way. My cartilage might have been flapping and it flipped up and locked up on me. I felt it right away. When it locks, it feels like it's going to tear if you move it either way."

The terrible incidents mirror the Bruins struggles. They are winless in five straight (0-3-2), 2-6-3 in their last 11 games and five points behind Buffalo for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Canucks have won three straight games for the first time since the start of the season. They are unbeaten in five games against Boston since a 2-0 loss on October 17, 1997.

Matt Cooke scored the eventual game-winner 4:48 into the first and Bertuzzi capped the four-goal period with his first of the game as the Canucks built a 4-0 lead.

"When you get your chances, you have got to capitalize on it. Tonight, I was fortunate enough to capitalize on them," Bertuzzi said. "Everybody is playing well, we are on a roll right now and we've got to keep it going."

Garth Snow stopped 21 shots for the Canucks, who won for just the third time in their last seven games at GM Place.

After defenseman Greg Hawgood tallied to make the score 2-0 just 2:29 into the contest, coach Pat Burns pulled Dafoe after stopping two shots. Burns then yanked backup John Grahame after he allowed the goals to Cooke and Bertuzzi.

Sergei Samsonov tallied early into the second period to make it 4-1, but Bertuzzi added his second goal of the night when he roofed a shot over the glove of Grahame, giving the Canucks a 5-1 lead with 9:15 remaining in the period.

Future Hall-of-Famer Ray Bourque scored the only goal of the third period with 3:26 to go, but his tally was far from his mind.

"It's the first time I've witnessed something like that," Bourque said. "It's not fun, they battled all night. You have to ask Marty if he had a reason. I don't want to be a part of that. It's tough to watch. You can't justify an act like that, it's not a good night if you're a hockey player tonight."

Vancouver also received a double shot of bad news. In addition to Brashear's head injury,
Bertuzzi left the game with a dislocated thumb. His status is day-to-day.

Those are just some that I was able to find. I'll keep you all alert on any new ones I find on this thing called the information superhighway

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


10. '00 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 2 -Devils 2, Panthers 1

This was the first playoff game I covered as a reporter. It was also the first playoff hockey gamefor my now wife, father-in-law and sister-in-law, so it was pretty exciting all-around. The Devils had trouble winning playoff series after their Stanley Cup title in 1995, having lost three first-round series, two of which came when they were the top seed. Scott Stevens scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory. The Devils would go on to sweep the series and to steal a line from a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight, "more on this playoff run later".

9. '00 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 6 - Devils 3, Maple Leafs 0


Another game I covered as a reporter. The Devils scored goals early in the first and early in the second period. But this game was more known for its defense. New Jersey held Toronto to a modern-day record six shots on goal ... for THE ENTIRE GAME!!!! It was like a countdown, three shots in the first, two shots in the second and one shot in the third for the Maple Leafs. Seeming it was a series-clincher, going into the locker room, I had never seen so many TV cameras ever for a Devils game. I think I got on CBC a few times standing with my tape recorder. But I was so nervous going into the Maple Leafs locker room because their season was over. However, everyone was professional and it was relieving. Toronto goalie Curtis Joseph revealed that he played with a broken hand, pretty amazing that he lasted that long.

8. '97 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 5 - Rangers 2, Devils 1 (OT)

In the light of Stephane Matteau's lucky wrap-around goal in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals Game 7, I had to witness another wrap-around, season-ending, OT goal (are there enough qualifiers?!). This time it was by Adam Graves, coming around the net in the same angle that Matteau did. This game would be known for a in-the-crease goal that was taken away from Steve Thomas and an unbelievable save by Mike Richter on John MacLean late in regulation. Richter flipped over and did a snow angel and made the save with his bare hand as his glove came off. Having to be a row away from one of my friends from home who was a Ranger fan and who was at my house in 1994 as well, LESS THAN IDEAL!

Look for it around the 2:25 mark of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlAFR4Bxpjo

Here is the Richter save in the same game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaW2U77wUoU

7. '92 Patrick Division Semifinals Game 6 - Devils 5, Rangers 3


This game will be mostly known for the brawl which occurred after the game's final horn. New Jersey had forced its cross-town rival Rangers, who were the President's Trophy winners, to a seventh game. But tensions still ran high as most notably Scott Stevens and Claude Lemieux fought the likes of Tie Domi and Adam Graves. Players ended up in the Devils bench, but no suspensions were handed down. What I remember most was how loud the Devil fans were chanting "Rangers Suck!". It was nothing new, but for the first time in their team history, Devil fans had the feeling they had the upper hand on the Rangers and could keep 1940 (the last year the Rangers won a Cup before 1994) alive. Unfortunately, the Rangers would win Game 7 easily by a score of 8-4.

6. '88 Wales Conference Finals Game 6 - Devils 6, Bruins 3

The Devils forced Game 7 with their victory. This was a wild series that had the likes of "have another doughnut", a coach suspended and referees boycotting a game. But this was rather uneventful other than it would be the last home game of the year. I remember leaving this game and my dad telling me I would be going to Game 1 of the Final against the Oilers if they made it. And being all of 10 years old, all I could think about was beating Wayne Gretzky, who said years earlier the Devils were a "Mickey Mouse organization". It was not to be as the Bruins won Game 7 6-2.

5. '07 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2 - Devils 3, Senators 2 (2 OT).


In what would be the last time I would see a Devils home game at the Continental Airlines Arena, Jamie Langenbrunner made my trip worthwhile with a double-OT breakaway goal. The Devils blew a 2-0 lead, allowing a goal by the killer Dany Heatley with less than a minute in regulation. A co-worker of mine would later ask me, "how many F-bombs did you drop when Heatley scored?" as I have tended to get a tad frustrated in those situations. Surprisingly, I was quite cool, only putting my head down in frustration knowing that my wife and I had to drive back to Connecticut after the game. Thankfully, Langenbrunner scored and after my jump for joy from the last row of the corner in the upper deck in the opposite end of the arena, I just put my head down on my wife's shoulder and yelled "THANK GOD!"

4. '88 Patrick Division Semifinals Game 6 - Devils 6, Islanders 5

The first-ever playoff series win in their first attempt and I was there! The Devils had a 6-1 lead midway through the second period and I can remember just being so ecstatic. They were going to beat the mighty Islanders! Happy retirement Denis Potvin, whose family was sitting right near me. But in the immortal words of Lee Corso, "NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS!!!!". The Islanders chipped away at the lead and had a chance to tie the game right before the buzzer sounded. But Sean Burke made a save on Pat LaFontaine on a shot which would have counted had it gone in and the Devils won the game and the series. I remember sticking it to my Ranger fan friends the next day in school because the Devils had knocked the Rangers out of a possible playoff berth on a goal in OT on the last night of the regular season and they were still playing while the Rangers were booking their tee times

3. '97 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 1 -Devils 5, Canadiens 2

The CBC version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwOT9VVzzVA

The FSN NY version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FonkWV8nU6o

In my first live playoff game in two years, an ordinary Devils victory turned into history. With the Devils leading 4-2 and less than a minute to go in the game, Martin Brodeur picked up the puck behind his net after Montreal dumped the puck in. He skated to the post and flipped a wrist shot in the air and into an empty net. He became just the second goalie in NHL playoff history to physically shoot a puck into a net in a playoff game. He tried many times during the season and just missed on different occassions. But this one was right down the middle of the net and the place (and I) went nuts. I lost my voice yelling "BRODEUR SCORED A FUCKING GOAL, HE SCORED A FUCKING GOAL!!!" I actually saw his other "goal" he was credited with, three years later against the Flyers when he was the last to touch the puck after a Flyer accidentally passed it in to his own empty net on a delayed penalty

2. '03 Stanley Cup Final Game 5 - Devils 6, Mighty Ducks 3

My first Stanley Cup Final game. My friend Scott and I bought the tickets at the box office just hours after the Devils beat the Senators in an exciting Game 7 of the Conference Finals. We decided to buy tickets to just one game because that's all we could really afford with an $80 face value and having to buy for more than one person. After great debate, we decided on Game 5 figuring that was our best chance at a clincher. After the Devils won the first two games, we looked to be in good position. However, the Devils lost the next two games, both in OT, making this game a non-clincher. It still was thrilling to be there and memorable for me personally for something more than just the final score and the fact the Devils were one win away from their third Stanley Cup since 1995. Earlier that week, my wife Norah's aunt passed away suddenly. That game happened to be the night of the funeral and I remember Norah debating whether to go or not. She would eventually go mainly to use it as an escape, to forget about it for a couple of hours. I'll never forget when she cheered after the Devils scored the first goal. Just for a moment, we could laugh and cheer and think about something else for a little while. On the ice, it was the most goals the teams would score combined in a single game during the series.

After much debate and internal struggle, I had to make this #1 ... it sucks because it was not in the Devils favor, but for historical reference, nothing beats this game.

1. '94 Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 - Rangers 4, Devils 2


Two words, Mark Messier. Although the Devils lost this game, it's still the most memorable game I have ever had the fortune to be at live in any sport. It started on the ride to the game. Having been in high school all day (junior year), my father picked me up at the house and threw the New York Post and said to me, "LOOK WHAT THAT HORSE-FACE SAID!" (that's what he called Messier then) and on the cover was the popular "WE WILL WIN TONIGHT". I thought, oh no, that's all we need. Getting into the arena, it was a surreal atmosphere. For the first time, the Devils could advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a win on home ice AND beat the Rangers in the process. The Devils would jump out to a 2-0 lead. When Scott Niedermayer scored on a slap shot on a delayed penalty, I never ever heard the arena as loud as it was at that moment. I could feel the chills up my spine, it was unbelievable. But the Rangers would chip away, scoring late in the second period on a goal by Alexei Kovalev, assisted by, guess who, Messier. After the second period, I turned to my father, who was separated from my mom at the time and also was a cop who worked early hours, and uttered a line which I believe jinxed my team. I said vaguely, "if something happens, will we stay for the whole thing," The something being the Wales ConferenceTrophy presentation and everything. He didn't answer. Well sure enough, Messier takes over. He scores on a backhand goal, which from my angle and my seat, I never saw go in. Then he scores on a rebound to give them the lead and the building goes crazy again. All the Rangers fans who were sitting on their hands in the first period were yelling as loud as the Devils fans did. Then with Brodeur pulled, Messier flipped a shot from the faceoff circle at the opposite end ofthe rink and into the empty net. UGH!!!! GAME FREAKING 7!!!! When the game was over, I turned to my dad as we were walking back to our car, a mile away in the Giants Stadium parking lot, and said "there's no way they are winning Game 7, there's no way." It turned out I would be right.

While it sucked to be there, looking back on how important and how unbelievable a performance it was, I can say that it was the top game I have ever seen in person.

Honorable mentions:

In what would be known as "The Save" to Penguins fans, 1991 Patrick Division Semifinals Game 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbMYsB4DZx0

I was in MSG seeing this game on Garden Vision ... Game 6 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybk_V_c6LBw

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Just when you thought he ruined enough franchises, Mike Keenan is back. According to the Canadian Press, Mike Keenan will be hired as head coach of the Calgary Flames


Here's just a list of Keenan's "accomplishments" as head coach:

Here is some of the highlights of Mike Keenan's coaching career:
If he is hired by the Flames, it will be his eighth team, which would tie the pro sports record held by Roger Nielson and Larry Brown:

Most Different Teams Coached
Four Major Sports

Roger Neilson NHL 8
Larry Brown NBA 8
Mike Keenan NHL 8<<
>>Including Flames

Keenan has not made the playoffs as a coach since 1995-96 when he lost with the Blues in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Red Wings on the famous Steve Yzerman slap shot from the blue line in double OT

Since winning the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1993-94 (his only season with the club), Keenan has just one playoff series victory, that also coming in 1995-96 with the Blues

Keenan has been replaced during a season three times and was a midseason replacement three times as well, all of this coming since the 1996-97 season

Keenan has not lasted longer than four seasons with any franchise and both of those stops came early in his first two NHL head coaching jobs ('84-85 to '87-88 with the Flyers and then '88-89 to '91-92 with the Blackhawks).

Following the 1995 lockout, Keenan has only managed to coach a full 82-game season twice ... '95-96 with the Blues and '02-03 with the Panthers, winning no more than 32 games in those seasons.

And here's some memorable Keenan moves:

August 7, 1992 - Trades Dominik Hasek to Sabres for goalie Stephane Beauregard and future considerations

July 27, 1995 - Trades LW Brendan Shanahan to Hartford for D Chris Pronger

August 4, 1995 - Trades G Curtis Joseph and RW Mike Grier to Edmonton for 1st-round picks in 1996 and 1997. The picks St. Louis got for Joseph and Grier were their picks that they had previously relinquished to Edmonton when Keenan signed Shayne Corson

February 27, 1996 - Acquires C Wayne Gretzky from L.A. for F Craig Johnson, D Roman Vopat, F Patrice Tardif, and No. 1 and 5 picks ... Gretzky signs with the Rangers that summer

July 1996 - Signs LW Joe Murphy to 3-year, $9.8M contract. Murphy scored 24 goals in 102 games with St. Louis, and it took three months after Keenan was fired for the Blues to find a taker for Murphy.

June 2006 - Traded Roberto Luongo, defenseman Lukáš Krajícek and a sixth round pick to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Todd Bertuzzi, defenseman Bryan Allen and goaltender Alex Auld. Vancouver managed to sign Luongo to a 4 year, $27 million deal.


He's never won 20 games in a season, but Mike Mussina can call himself a 20-game winner... in interleague play that is
Mussina became the first pitcher ever to win 20 games in interleague play by pitching 7 2/3 innings and giving up just two runs and six hits. It's his first win since beating Texas on May 9. Gutless improves to 20-10 all-time in interleague play, topping the likes of Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele and Greg Maddux, a strange mix of mediocre and hall-of-fame talent.
Mussina has won 242 games, but still has not enjoyed a 20-game win season. He certainly was paid like one by the Yankees in his career. He's come extremely close, winning 19 games in 1995 and 1996. He is just three wins shy of Dennis Martinez's all-time high for pitchers who never won 20 games.
But the big news from Wednesday is the Yankees have won eight straight and most importantly all of the wins have come since the creation of THE MASIV BLOG. Coincidence, I think not. They are over .500 for the first time since April 20 when they were 8-7 after a disastrous loss to the Red Sox in Fenway Park.
Thursday is a hectic day ... going to the Yankees game at 1pm and then it's off to work at night. Fun and exciting and if anything fun and exciting happens, you'll hear it first hear.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Yankees on FIRE!!!

Oh by the way ... the Yankees are 6-0 since the creation of THE MASIV BLOG. In the immortal words of David Putty, "Yeah that's right".

Maybe Gutless didn't want to feel the wrath of another tounge (or typing)-lashing from me.

Bobby Abreu is on fire

Robinson Cano is remembering how to hit the ball

A-Rod is smacking the ball

The starting pitching (for the most part) is holding things together

In a year where the Yanks couldn't go a day without someone getting hurt, who knew the injury to Jason Giambi might be the best thing that's ever happened to this team so far this season. It's allowed Johnny Damon to DH and rest his sore feet and legs and keep his goal of never going on the DL in his career alive. It's allowed Melky Cabrera to play CF. Do you remember when Melky came up in 2005 and in his first game at Fenway Park, looked like he never even walked on outfield grass in his life? Now he's playing like a CF should. His arm is one of the best the Yanks have had and he's putting together some highlight-reel catches for his career. Last year, his catch on Manny Ramirez's ball was one of the best plays of the season in all of baseball. This year, he's made two or three exciting plays in center.

The Yanks are a loose bunch right now, probably for the first time since sweeping the Red Sox in that five-game series last August. Their next goal should not be to win the division or battle for the wild card. It should be to get back to .500, which they could do with a win Tuesday at home against the Diamondbacks as Interleague play continues.

We'll see how long this goes on, but it's starting to be fun to watch the Yankees again. And that should be a concerning thought for the American League.


Who knew that a team with a nickname of the Ducks could win the most prestigious trophy in all of sports. Well they did. The Ducks are no longer Mighty, but they played like Mighty Ducks in their run to their first Stanley Cup (probably the easiest, tackiest sentence around but it was too simple to pass out).

They won games with and without Chris Pronger. They won games with two goalies. They won with most of their offense coming from their checking line. Probably every way not to win a Cup and they did it. I was surprised that Scott Niedermayer took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP (because the NHL actually rewards performance over the entire stretch of the playoffs, not just for four-to-seven games in one series). But when you think about it, he really deserved it. He played nearly 30 minutes per game, that's half the game if you can't do the subtraction. He was the go-to guy in the two games in which Pronger selfishly was suspended in the playoffs. And he held firm in the defensive end, just like a good former Devils defenseman would.

I was pretty bitter about Niedermayer leaving New Jersey at the start of last season because the Devils wanted to reward him for all that he did with a max deal. But family was more important. I bet if Scott didn't beat Rob in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, he wouldn't have left New Jersey. But seeing how his brother felt after coming so close to winning his first ring, that probably was a selling point that no agent could sell. I am happy for Scott and Rob and Scott is the only active player now with four Cups, which is pretty damn good. So good that he is now certified as not only a Hall of Famer in the waiting, but arguably among the Top 10 defensemen of NHL history.

It was also great to see Teemu Selanne win a Cup. I could remember when he was a rookie wanting the 1992-93 Winnipeg Jets jersey (of course with the Goals for Kids patch on the shoulder) with his name on the back after he scored a memorable goal in which he celebrated by tossing his glove into the air and using his stick as a gun, shooting the glove in the air. He set a rookie record for goals in a season and was one of the top goal scorers throughout the 1990's, but could not get to a Stanley Cup. He even moved on to a contender, the Colorado Avalanche, and still couldn't get a taste of a title. After returing to Anaheim, Selanne watched the Ducks lose to the Cinderella Oilers last season in the Conference Finals. This season, Selanne looked like a man possessed and sure enough, it was his play that helped guide the Ducks to the Cup.

As for next year, I think if the Buffalo Sabres can keep Chris Drury, they will again be my favorite to at least get to the Stanley Cup Final. They will probably have to make a decision on whether to re-sign either he or Daniel Briere, and if you needed any reason why it should be Drury, you didn't have to look further than his playoff performance. Called a hockey god by many, his game-tying goal in the final seconds of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Rangers firmly establishes Drury as one of the all-time clutch playoff performers of the last 25 years.

In the West, Anaheim could easily make it two straight trips to a Final. The Ducks have youth and a strong defense that learned so much these last two postseasons and if they can re-sign Jean-Sebastien Giguere, they are immediately the favorite coming out of the tough conference.

We'll talk more about free agency in the coming weeks. My team, the Devils, have their usual offseason contract situations to worry about. I believe Scott Gomez will not re-sign with the Devils. I believe Brian Rafalski also played his last game in New Jersey. And if he gets a clean bill of health, Pat Burns, who won the 2003 title against Anaheim, will return to the bench as head coach.

I know the ratings suck, but hockey had another fantastic playoff, even if the Stanley Cup Final was over in five games for the first time since 2002. It's a shame that no one in mainstream television watched the playoffs or the Final. You missed out on talent and not to mention the best announcer in the game, Mike Emrick, keep you on the edge of your seat. If there was never a scorebug on the screen, you never could tell what the score is with Emrick. Maybe I am lucky because he's the Devils lead play-by-play man, but there's a reason why NBC/Versus picked him as their lead man, he's awesome. When hockey returns or this summer on youtube, search him or any of the NHL videos from this postseason, you'll know its Emrick. If you don't, I'll list some of his favorite sayings that you will definitely recognize.

Have a great night and we'll talk soon

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Welcome to THE MASIV BLOG! It seemed fitting for me to get into the 21st Century and join the rest of the world who are blogging. Will you please bear with me as I learn the ropes. I will do my best to give my witty, pithy views on the world (of mostly sports). If I see anything worth mentioning, you can see my comments first here at themasivblog.blogspot.com

If you're a Yankee fan, you'll love this blog
If you're a Devils fan, you'll love this blog
If you're a Saints fan, you'll love this blog
If you're an anti-Mike Mussina fan, you'll REALLY love this blog

If you're a Red Sox fan, you might not love the blog (but please read!)
Same holds true for Rangers, Islanders, Mets, Falcons, Buccaneers, etc fans.

Please check back daily. My first update is most likely going to be about the Stanley Cup Final (remember, it's Final not Finals ... the one thing the NHL DOES get right). It looks like the Ducks are going to take home the Cup, see what I think of that sometime soon (good tease!)