Tuesday, November 29, 2011

N.Y. Rangers ~ Bring on Sid The Kid


NEW YORK RANGERS:  The Situation in Washington proves the Blueshirts are on the Right Path.  A Win Tuesday Night Against the First Place Penguins Would Confirm it.

Ranger players have gotten head coaches fired before.  It's usually one of their own being pushed through the MSG office doors.  They've been asked to leave for many reasons; not all of them sound.  But in the Rangers' case, all warranted.  Then again, some of the hires were never that sound to begin with.  Minus one or two coaches, that was the problem around 33rd Street for many decades.  Heck, even Mark Messier got one fired all by himself once. 

But this time we have a coach who actually adheres to building from within and patiently fosters growth. More importantly, he possesses a more dominant personality than that of his biggest stars or most troublesome malcontent.  And although it sounds strange to put these two together in the same sentence, I also think Coach Torts has been a good teacher as well; a stern one; but a good one.  Then again, it's easier to be an Alpha-Coach when you have a roster filled with young, knowledge thirsty skaters who came up together and buy into what the Coach is preaching; especially on defense.  Then there's always the ring.  Coach has one, and his young boys seem eager to listen and learn from him regarding how to get one of their own.

Now allied with Coach in this endeavour is an old skater of his; Brad Richards; who went through that process with him once before.  And with Richards, Coach has someone on the ice who can execute Coach's plan based on muscle memory alone, rather than the group grasping his plan a little better with every game.  If at the end of the season Brad Richard's point totals aren't up to our expectations, he's still quite helpful to us on the ice in that regard.  But I sense Richards will be just fine and turn out to be a pleasant import for a change.

But even Coach's reliance on an old friend palls in comparison to the relationship Torts has with the son of his Blueshirt genesis project.  His Team Captain was raised..., groomed by... No - his Captain was molded.... No - Coach Tortorella's Team Captain was created by; built; assembled limb by limb into someone we call Ryan Callahan.  And the Rangers' Captain is to the monster, what John Tortorella is to Doctor Frankenstein himself in all aspects from mentoring his team leader to having him menace the League through honest hard work and grit.  And for his Doctor, the Captain will do anything.  For to do things the right way requires hard work.  To just skate your way through a season is easy.  And that's not the way Coach built Callahan.

And unlike, ...say, ...our last head coach, who spoke defense but was too over matched by his super star to demand it or hold his team accountable for it as a result, this Head Coach defied the Grand Wizard Glen Sather, and kept a young core together which grew into a team he now commands and controls with an iron stick.  And in the Coach's words, - they still have a way to go.  But there's no doubt the Rangers are making strides.  And there is even less doubt he has the team's full attention.

I think the many different systems a given coach might, can, and do employ, can win; and win championships.  It's all in the execution.  Without proper execution, what good is a plan?  Since the day Torts and his bad temper signed on, I have been behind Coach Torts' plan.  And even though you've red me endlessly defend and promote Sean Avery in these blogs and about my want for Torts' to use him more, that's never taken away from my support of Torts.

There's a point to this ode to Tortorella.  But first, chalk one up for the Broadway Blueshirts.  They pretty much punctuated Coach Bruce Boudreau's walking papers with last Friday's 6-3 drubbing of the Capitals on their ice.  Washington fired their Head Coach this Monday afternoon and replaced him with an old Rangers' nemesis from back in the day - antagonist, Dale Hunter. 

Boudreau got fired for spending the last two seasons trying to do the right thing.  And that was trying to teach his team how to play defense even if it came at the expense of a little scoring.  Convinced it was the only way Washington would finally break through and advance to a Stanley Cup Final, he's been quite vocal over the last two seasons about the team's need for a defensive commitment.  But the whole time, he had the damnedest time trying to get his superstar to comply.  It turns out Coach Boudreau didn't have a more dominant personality than Alex Ovechkin, who incidentally was his coach's troublesome malcontent.   But following up the Rangers game with another 5-1 loss to Buffalo sealed his fate.

Washington is a case of a talented team with a failed system, and a failed attempt to correct a flawed strategy by subscribing to the superstar method; evidence Boudreau's pink slip.  As stated, apparently the head coach didn't project well as the team's alpha-coach, as clearly the player won out.  And now the situation in Washington is without command and control.

To me, this all means the Rangers are doing the right things..  And they are doing things the right way. We are a good team on the rise.  How high we go and how quickly we get there are yet to be determined.  But the Rangers have a large collection of young and pretty damn capable hockey players who thankfully have been protected from Grand Wizard Glen Sather's disappearing wand, and allowed to grow into a team we can be proud of - One held together, led by, and held accountable by, John Tortorella and his ready, willing, and able on-ice Captain.

Victories against the Capitals in Washington and against Philly at MSG on consecutive nights were something I sensed coming.  If you don't remember, then let me refresh your memory. 

In my last post, I gave the team a pass and blamed two lack-luster performances on a rubber-necking schedule.  There were just too many days off in between games following the first game of this most recent road trip started in Long Island.  What seemed like lethargic efforts against the Canadiens and Florida in their respective rinks, to me was merely being a game-step behind due to lack of regular work, while our opponents schedules have pretty much remained status quo.  And of course, the blame falls on MSG's on-going renovations and the schedule maker's task of working around it.

During that last seven game winning streak, the schedule was a lot more compact and the results spoke for themselves.  When the schedule became sporadic, so did the Rangers' defense; skating, and scoring levels.  And I said it was my feeling, the schedule would compress again just in time to face Philly at the Garden; especially with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins invading the Garden Tuesday night.

I'm not predicting victory in Tuesday night's game  But I am expecting an intensely fought affair with nowhere near the effort displayed in Montreal and Florida.  Instead, the Washington/Philly efforts are more in order.

Sid the Kid is back.  Booooo!  I'll be at the game making my displeasure with him known with a little help from my son and 18,000 other friends of mine.  I'm glad Sid is back if for that reason alone.  But I'm the type of fan who likes to beat you at your best.  I want a team with all their weapons at their disposal, and then we'll just see who's better.

Seven wins followed by two losses followed by two more wins....  Do I hear three?  Washington clearly has problems right now, and maybe we caught them at a good time for us and a bad time for them?  Philadelphia is a vastly different team than last year's version who partially detonated their team and jettisoned some of their star players.  Therefore, I'm looking to grade the Rangers tomorrow against the Penguins who've remained intact more-so than Philly, and keeping a reeling Caps team out of this for now.

The Atlantic Division's first place Penguins are second in the Eastern Conference with seventy-seven goals scored.  At twenty-one goals scored behind the Pens, that's where the Rangers' defense and goal tending come in.  Henrik is coming off his second shut-out of the season against Philly, and the Rangers have allowed the least goals-against in the Eastern Conference; sixteen less than Pittsburgh.


Pittsburgh Penguins

Thirty-Third Street and Seventh Avenue


Monday, November 28, 2011

N.Y. Giants ~ How BLUE Will the Big Easy Be?

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

Game Eleven

New Orleans Saints

The Big Easy

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:  We'll Know Who The Giants Are After Tonight.

Just as we suspected, the Giants lost to a one game wonder when they dropped that dreadful game against Philly last week.  The Eagles' loss this Sunday versus New England proved that out.  And looking back at those GIANT losses to the Skins and Seattle earlier in the season, the G-Men not only gagged away their scheduled soft spots, they are now fresh out of cushion.   From here on out, it's the hard way or bust.

Beginning tonight, what the Giants need to do over these next two games is win at least one.  The Giants' journey to the playoffs is still in their control.  However, within these next two games lies the rest of their season as well as their reputations.  For right now, all that separates them from another late season melt-down and the ensuing Media blitzkrieg that would surely follow is their ability to make their two games against Dallas matter.  And as much as I may hate this, it starts on Monday Night Football.  I don't like the Giants playing on anything but Sunday afternoons at one o'clock.  Anything else bothers me terribly.  And so tonight, I, as well as the Giants have a big problem on our hands.

Defensively, heading into tonight's game we already understand our Linebacking situation is in shambles.  What more can we say about a depleted, and very young, inexperienced group?  Good luck tonight guys.  I mean that.  But what really scares the WhoDats out of me isn't just thinking about how Drew Brees can pick them apart like smiling ducks at an arcade shooting gallery.  No; - actually the hairs on the back of my head stand up because of the state of confusion which exists between our Corners and Safeties.  Their lack of communication has not only been confounding, it's also high time Coach Giunta and Coach Merritt had these issues resolved.  And if they haven't by now, then Perry Fewell should have.  This isn't the first time I brought this up.  And tonight, they're getting put under the microscope.  We'll have answers to some of my concerns regarding these matters a little later in the evening.  For tonight will go a long way towards establishing this team's identity.  Lastly on Defense, I'd like to know how exactly the Giants will combat Drew Brees with a pass rush that is suddenly MIA?  I don't know the answer to that one either..  All I can say is the Giants' sack specialists need to show up.

Defensively, the teams are actually pretty even in most categories.  But the Saints have scored roughly one-hundred more points than the Giants this season.  And if the running game remains stuck in tar, I don't believe the Giants can keep Drew Brees off the field long enough so as to give Eli a realistic chance at going toe-to-toe in a shoot-out.  The running game has to chip in, which includes Jacobs catching more passes out of the back field.  ...The running game MUST chip in in order to win.

With David Diehl moving to left Tackle so Kevin Boothe can play Guard, and Kareem McKenzie apparently ready to go, can the Offensive Line lead the running game to daylight?  In order to keep the Saints 300+ point offense at bay, they better.  If the Giants' intention this season is to not be their own worst enemy..., they better.

We know what kind of game the Giants need to play. It has to be low scoring and dominated by the Defense.  Then we need some key plays on Offense.  We've done this sort of thing before. The big question is can we do it tonight?

I've never lamented injuries with this team.  I do not plan to start now.  But by midnight or so, expect the New York Giants to have a new identity.  ...one way or the other.

Let's Go Giants!


BKN Aviators ~ N.J. Outlaws Hold-Up A's Weekend


BROOKLYN AVIATORS:  One Wrong Exit Off the Turnpike and What You Get is a Lost Weekend in Jersey.

Talk about losing your way in the Garden State.  The Aviators' short flight over the skies of New Jersey ended in a lost weekend for the locals.  Emelia Earhart once landed and took off from Floyd Bennett Field too ya know.  How'd that go?

After taking a game from the then first place 1000 Islands Privateers before the holiday, it was Black Friday and Bleaker Saturday for the Aviators in New Jersey this weekend.  In two games on consecutive nights on New Jersey's turf, the Skates of Flatbush dropped a pair to the Outlaws.  After hoping the A's could close the gap with three games against the circuit leaders, the two losses now drop Brooklyn ten points behind New Jersey and 1000 Islands who are tied for the league lead with thirty-two points each.

Friday's game ended in a 5-3 final.  After an opening period goal by Matt Atsoff put Brooklyn ahead at the 6:22 mark, five different New Jersey players proceeded to score the next five goals over the first two periods against Aviators' goalie Josselin St. Pierre, who was making his second start since being acquired.  After three second period Outlaw goals, two former A's scored two more in the second.  John Goffredo scored N.J. goal number four on the night.  Matthew Puntureri followed up with the fifth and final score for the Outlaws. 

The A's were pretty much toast after that.  They managed two third period goals; one by Casey Mignone on the power play at 12:21 of the third.  The second Brooklyn goal of the period came on Chris Oswiak's shot at the 15:30 mark.

In taking the loss, Josselin St. Pierre faced forty-three shots; stopping thirty eight.  Brooklyn managed thirty-three shots on goal and were 1 for 5 on the power play, while holding New Jersey scoreless in three opportunities.

In the second game on Saturday, the teams took turns dominating the first two periods before ending the third session in a stalemate which necessitated over-time to determine a winner.

New Jersey had their way with Brooklyn over the last half of the first period.  Three goals; the third coming short-handed; put Brooklyn behind 3-0 at the intermission.

In the second period, it was Brooklyn's turn to dominate.  Andrew Scampoli scored goal one of the period on a power play at 6:15; assisted by A's blueliners Ken Trentowski and KC Timmons.  Goal number two came at 13:07 when KC Timmons again figured in the scoring with his third goal of the season.  Then just before the second period ended, Casey Mignone tied the game at three with his goal at the 19:33 mark.

At 3:29 of the third period, Matt Atsoff put Brooklyn ahead 4-3; assisted by Andrew Owsiak and Jason Dolgy.  But a little under ten minutes later, a Ken Trentowski slash put New Jersey on the power play.  Matt Miller cashed in for the Outlaws with his second goal of the game.

Into over-time they went.  And it didn't last long at all.  At 1:32, Travis Kauffeldt got a shot past Josselin St. Pierre for a 5-4 New Jersey win.  It was the second consecutive night St. Pierre yielded five goals to the Outlaws.  He faced thirty-eight shots in this game and stopped thirty-three.  He now owns one win against two losses as a starter.

Brooklyn finishes the weekend with a 6-5-0-4 season record and sit in fourth place with twenty two points.  The A's are off till Friday night, when they take on Danbury at the Hangar.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

N.Y. METS ~ State of METropolis Report; Part IV

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

METropolis; Year Nine A.D. - (After Doubleday)

If you are familiar with Head-Butting Mr. Met, or not, welcome to...

"The Age of WILPONianism"

and the continuing sagas of...
The Saul B. Katz Dilemma

...DUN, Dun, dunnnn!

State of METropolis Report

Positional Players
Manager-Front Office-Ownership

Ownership Toying With Our Tradition 
and Trying Our Patience.

Vol 1. Sub; VIII-XII?


After a fifteen year absence, Banner Day; an important and fond link to our past and tradition, and one which ties the Mets to an earlier era of baseball; is returning to Polo Grounds  Shea Stadium Citi Field.  

Banner Day; Shea Stadium - 1994

The reason why they discontinued the event in the first place was because the signs and banners were becoming increasingly "too negative" according to the team back then.  After Met Fans suffered literal embarrassment due to acts committed by several team members between the years 1992 through 1995, and the overall woeful play that accompanied them as a whole, was it any wonder Fans increasingly used Banner Day as a venue to vent their frustrations?  After all, the Internet wasn't the outlet it is today.  It's a good thing too.  Those years were literally like Delta House at Flushing University but in the most negative ways.  So if there was anyone to blame for the air of negativity hanging over Flushing that needed to look themselves in the mirror first, there were two GM's during that time, a Team President, two adversarial partners, and a collective Front Office that was always bickering with each other, to choose from. 

It also proves some things never change around here.  Lest we forget the Wilpons banned newspapers from the clubhouse a few years ago so as to not have the players read negative press about themselves.

But dare I say the decision to bring back a tradition very unique to the Mets' organization should be applauded.  Great move by the Wilpons!  But really, let's be true to ourselves and say it was the least they could do.  Let's keep this real.  Because this falls right in line with a recent history of neglecting this team's past.  While the decision to suspend Banner Day was made under the old regime of Doubleday and Wilpon, it was the beginning of a trend towards more neglectful decision making in the future regarding what Fans deemed important and treasured about their team. 

Just for fun, might I remind you, then GM Al Harazin came so very close to receiving ownership's approval to officially change the dominant color scheme of our NY Met LOGO/patch to black.  But ultimately ownership feared the repercussions.  Yeah...  I take great pride in our team logo.  I believe it to be one of the finest in all sports.  But I digress.

Back to the point; - The Mets' Hall of Fame was figuratively brushed aside by the Wilpons.  Tommy Agee was the last inductee in 2002.  Nelson Doubleday was still around for that one.  Then since the full ownership of Fred Wilpon took effect, the doors were figuratively chained up till 2010.  Finally, Gooden; Strawberry; Frank Cashen; and Davey Johnson gained their due enshrinement.  Established in 1981 by this very ownership, they maintained a somewhat regular process of enshrinement for twenty years.  But for the seven years sandwiched between 2002 and 2010, nary a word regarding the Mets Hall of Fame was ever spoken again.....until......

The grand-daddy of all mindless, neglectful, derelict, oversights and Fan insults occurred when the Wilpons swung open the doors to their neo-Ebbets Field without of course, the New York Mets' Hall of Fame anywhere within the building.

Want more?  The original big red Home Run Apple, which grew on fans in the thirty plus years since it's debut at Shea Stadium, became symbolic of a very friendly place for Met Fans to come out and watch their team.  But to begin the post-Shea era, our Apple was originally packed away out of view, down in a corner beyond the bullpens, and below the center field bridge at Citi Field, like an old Victrola player buried in your grandpa's basement.

Want more?  How about not replacing the Met Championship and winning banners formerly in the right field corner of Shea Stadium.  Those never found their way back to the walls of Citi Field in that first season.  Did they?  No.  A slight omission?  Sure, if you're being kind.  But the fact remains it was another oversight in a growing pile of Metropolitan omissions.  No Dodger or Jackie Robinson omissions; ...only Met omissions.

These four items of discussion share one common denominator.  The fact that the New York Mets Hall of Fame has since opened it's doors (...and it's very nicely done by the way); and the original Home Run Apple is now properly positioned in a much more prominent place in front of the Citi Field plaza; and the championship banners were painted back on the walls; and the fact that we are finally getting our beloved Banner Day back, are all the direct results of Fan outrage!  And in classic cause/effect, wholly reactive corrections were hastily initiated by ownership.  All the re-decorated trimmings you see on and about Citi Field today are because the Fan base quite literally flipped out.  The Apple has been relocated and the Banners got painted because the Fan base quite literally flipped out.  And after demanding Banner Day back for years, ownership finally relented.  Or did they?

Getting back the privilege to parade our sentiments on one of mom's old bed sheets or some other home-improvised signage should be celebrated indeed.  However, past practices have not only made me question why the tradition was suspended in the first place but it prejudices me into receiving the news with one raised eyebrow.  Were it not for the Wilpons being in such dire straights, and desperate for Fans to show up and pay the reduced, yet still outrageous prices they ask for admittance to a game, would they have still considered bringing Banner Day back otherwise? 

Say team fortunes had turned out differently after the 2006 season.  Other than our requests and demands continuing to fall on deaf ears, would we be talking about having Banner Day again today?  Think about it.  Doesn't this wreak of the Wilpons trying to get in our good graces again?  You know what they say; Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Even though potential Banner Day participants will no doubt be screened; censored; and or flat out rejected; chalk one up for the Fans anyway.


There has been a long-time yearning among Met Fans to have at least one more member join the ranks of the New York Metropolitans' retired numbers club.  Of course, Casey Stengel's number thirty-seven and Gil Hodges' number fourteen were the first two gentlemen to receive the distinction.  Tom Seaver, who entered the Hall of Fame in a landslide, remains the only player have his number retired by the Mets.  And maybe rightfully so.  That's for us to debate as many Fans believe it's finally time for another.

In no particular order, these are the candidates I most often hear spoken of by Mets Fans:
Jerry Koosman - Kieth Hernandez - and Mike Piazza.  I also have a personal candidate of my own, for I would like Tug McGraw's number retired as well.

I do not sense Met Fans want to retire the big three post-haste.  Mike Piazza's HOF status is still yet to be determined.  If he goes in as a Met, of course that pretty much seals the deal for him.  There has however been a long standing debate whether Jerry Koosman and Kieth Hernandez should have their numbers recognized as well.

In Jerry Koosman's case, my answer is an unqualified YES.  He's actually one of the best left-handers to ever throw a baseball; period.  In the case of Keith Hernandez, he's among the three or four most influential and impact players this team has ever had in all their fifty-year history.  And like many things in sports, the ring's the thing.  So maybe he deserves it too.  But I'm not as committed yet like I am with Jerry Koosman.  I guess I was younger and more impressionable.  But if I feel Keith's number should indeed be eventually retired anyway, then why not just do it soon.  Right?

Retiring some numbers would be a fine way to put a bow on the first half-century of Mets Baseball.  Which ones?  We'll continue debating.  I know this however, along with the current three retired numbers, this class would accurately reflect and neatly encapsulate three distinct eras and be representative of the best from this organization's last fifty- years without any fear of watering down the honors due a Tom Seaver; Hodges; or Stengel; for having a uniform retired.


I'm not trying to be a Debbie-Downer, but the Mets only got this three quarters correct.  With the unveiling of next season's 50th Anniversary uniforms, I was reminded how beautiful our traditional uniform looks minus the black.  And in that regard, the pinstriped home uniform and the old road versions are home runs.  But the Mets' insistence to go with their solid white Brooklyn Dodgers alternates with blue piping still does not sit well with me.

What ever version or variation of Mets jersey they care to sell in the gift shop matters not to me.  Hell, I own two.  But what the team wears on the field does matter to me, and in a very big way.  This is just me speaking here, but I want those alternate whites done away with.  Or at a minimum, made to be worn as the occasional change of pace.  It's as if these have become the norm, and we are left craving our old pinstripes that the team gifts us with on a weekend or at their discretion. 

And while I'm at it, I want all the black trim elements of the on-field, home as well as road uniform, and the softball uniform if you will..., eliminated all together...for good.  I'll buy one.  That's what they really want anyway.  But please Mr. Wilpon, don't make them wear it.  Once a week? - If we must.  But please, let us stick with our traditional uniform as our standard.  For the time is long over due that this organization start setting standards in something; .....anything.



From the beginning, I thought the outfield contours, dimensions, and quirks were way too contrived.  It's not like the chop-shops across the street necessitated all that.  In light of the alterations Sandy Alderson the Mets have announced, I myself would have just lived with the mistakes made in the original configuration of Citi Field and reconfigured my team.  Twenty seasons from now, Citi Field would have had an interesting story to tell regardless.

However, what I originally didn't like was the left field wall's gradual upgrade starting in the corner and extending towards the Great Wall of Flushing.  So if pressed to make changes, I would have leveled off the initial portion of the left field wall and incorporated two right angles between the foul pole and the Great Wall.  Additionally, I would have just lowered the Great Wall, but not by much.  Shaving five feet or so would have sufficed to preserve the original idea of a high wall.  And without a doubt I would have leveled-off the center field wall and not have placed the new Apple in straight away center field.  Otherwise, I would have kept the right field Modell's Zone as it was.

The Mets have also announced the outfield walls will also be getting a fresh coat of Met Blue paint.  Gone will be the Black covered walls lined in Orange; - a feeble attempt to pay homage to the New York Giants.  That gesture by itself was impotent, not to mention the relevance was not easily detectable by most fans today, unlike the unmistakable Dodger motifs which dominate the building.

With the changing of colors, Citi Field will have rid itself of any and all reference to the New York Giants.  With such an emphasis on the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Mets still miss the ball on embracing all of it's National League Baseball heritage considering the Mets played their first two seasons at the Polo Grounds and more importantly, borrowed the inter-locking NY on their caps from them. 

Of course the story goes we took orange from the Giants and Blue from the Dodgers.  While generally accepted as fact, the color scheme also happens to be the official colors of NYC; white; blue; and orange.  As we are the NY Metropolitan BBC, there's probably less of a Giants' influence in that respect than we give the legend credit for.  However, the idea of celebrating and incorporating all New York's National League heritage still remains a good idea with Met fans.  There's never been issue with that idea.  It's how Fred subconsciously makes us and our Mets feel second fiddle to his boyhood heroes; the Brooklyn Dodgers; that irks us because it comes at our Met expense.


I've been going to games on a regular basis since 1975.  From 1977 through 1981, my Yankee-fan Pop split season tickets with a buddy; - field level behind the visiting dugout.  Rooting for a bad team NEVER stopped me from going to the ball park and enjoying a Mets game.  And as a paying adult, I was always more than willing and happy to buy my ticket through the years.  I've watched some good teams along with many lousy teams. 

With the passage of time, of course ticket prices rose from the time I was eleven years old.  But ticket prices remained manageable throughout my lifetime right up until my last game at old Shea Stadium.  The old blue Loge Section at Shea and Mezz box seats were always one of the greatest ticket purchases ever.  And even in the orange field level seats, there was never a great divide between the "one-percenters" and the rest of the "ninety-nine"...(to borrow OWS terms).   Throughout the life of Shea, if you so desired field seats, they were obtainable even at the premium price of the day.  But the cost was never obscene like it is now, and the atmosphere never made someone feel like those in attendance around them wanted the lower classes and less well behaved banished to the proletariat section.  Eewww, how R... Roman.

All matters in pricing and cost at Citi Field have changed that.  While not quite as obscene as what the Yankees charge for nine innings, the Mets followed suit (albeit to a slightly lesser degree) with egregious pricing of their own.  Even though the organization has taken steps towards lowering our price, even those with the best intentions to attend multiple games per home stand, the cost of attending a game is still much too prohibitive for the common fan's weekly budget.  If a Met Fan attended Shea Stadium frequently before, odds are that same person has to pick and choose only a select few games at Citi Field now, or is having another aspect of his/her quality of life affected in order to afford a game(s).

This phenomenon is not ticket price Darwinism.  The cost of going to a game did not slowly evolve into an event this costly; not in baseball anyway.  Like I said, everything was still copacetic when games were still being played at Shea.  This is a Citi Field phenomenon and the dynamic of newly built parks.  There is the obvious debt that needs to be paid off, which naturally gets passed off on us.  But many owners studied and tried cashing in on the after-market prices for their tickets.  What those knuckleheads failed to realize was that's what people were willing to pay for a Yanks/Red Sox game on a one game basis, or Mets/Phils - when it meant something....on a one game basis - a one time event.  It's something they thought they could corner themselves by just charging the secondary market price up front. - And for EVERY game!  In effect they are also taking the havoc ticket brokers have wrought out on us.


Friday, November 25, 2011

PIGSKIN ~ Football Sunday; Week Twelve



SHMEAR of the WEEK:  5-6
BAGELS in the BASKET:  Zero/Flat

WEEK TWELVE ~ The Big Bagel Roll Out:
(Friday Line; NYDN)

Bills +9 (JETS)
I'm actually looking for the Jets to win this game.  I just think Buffalo will cover the nine points.  Buffalo might have gotten exposed and be fading down the stretch, but I think they can still create turnovers against the Jets.  In the Jets case, when it rains, it pours.  Coach Schotty has been getting screamed at from all directions to take the leash of Mark Sanchez.  And if he does, it might prove for a very wacky game.
WIN - 28-24; Jets

Cardinals +3 (RAMS)
Actually, I'm a little miffed by this line.  But I like it.
WIN - 23-20; Cardinals

BENGALS -7 (Browns)
Cleveland is that dreadful and at least the Bengals have been competitive.  They should win this game comfortably...right?
LOSS - 23-20; Bengals

Texans -3 1/2 (JAGUARS)
Even though Matt Schaub is done with an injury, the Texans should be OK versus the Jags with Matt Leinert.  Otherwise, they are in big trouble going forward.  Tough break for Houston.
WIN - 20-13; Texans

Panthers -3 (COLTS)
The Colts are giving up an obscene amount of points.  The Panthers should be at least three points better.  It wouldn't surprise me if the Colts won this game though.  I don't expect them to finish the season without a win.
WIN - 27-19; Panthers

TITANS -3 1/2 (Bucs)
I'd actually stay away from this game.  I am so tempted to change this pick.  The only thing stopping me is the adage - Think Long; Think Wrong.
WIN - 23-17; Titans

FALCONS -9 1/2 (Vikings)
The only thing the Vikings had going for them was Adrian Peterson.  He's out.  Falcons will have their way.
WIN - 24-14; Falcons

Bears +4 (RAIDERS)
Toughest game of the week for me.  For the Bears, losing Jay Cutler is devastating.  They were just starting to get their act together.  But their long time back-up Caleb Hanie is no stranger to the field.  I think the Bears just might be in capable hands.  It's that fourth point that has me torn about this game.  The Raiders get to the QB well and Carson Palmer is an improvement for Oakland.  I thought this might be a three point game.  Thus I'm taking the four with Chicago.
LOSS - 25-20; Raiders

Redskins +4 (SEAHAWKS)
I think both teams are equally bad.  And I don't like the Skins in a cross country trip.  But there's something about that fourth point again that I find alluring.  If the Seahawks were laying the obligatory three as the home team, I might have gone the other way.
WIN - 23-17; Redskins

Patriots -3 1/2 (EAGLES)
Tom Brady will be able to do what Eli Manning almost did to the Eagles last week.  I'm looking for another steady diet of two tight-ends from New England in a high scoring game.
WIN - 38-20; Patriots

CHARGERS -6 (Broncos)
Isn't this the time of season when the Chargers show up just a little too late in order to save their season...again?  And the Tebow-Mania is bound to hit a bump in the road.
LOSS - 16-13 OT; Broncos

STEELERS -10 (Chiefs)
I don't care who the Chiefs picked up on waivers.  It's not helping them.  Steelers in a romp.
LOSS - 13-9; Steelers

SHMEAR of the WEEK:  (5-6)
Cardinals +3

*Monday Night Special*
SAINTS -7 (Giants)
I would love to be wrong.  Defensively the teams are a wash.  Defensively, the Giants have big problems with inexperience at Linebacker and a suddenly MIA pass-rush.  The Saints have scored 313 points to the Giants 228 this season.  We're asking the Giants to go point for point with the Saints and come out with more?  Only if they can control the ball and the clock with the running game.  And we know how that has gone lately.  So I'm letting the math do the talking this week.
WIN - 49-24; Saints

My most recent New York Giants posts:
The Search for Daylight; Giants Running Game
Haunting Loss to Eagles; No Exorcism for You

That's twelve Bagels for Sunday; one for Monday night; and three more for the SHMEAR.  That makes sixteen BAGELS headed into the oven.

Happy Football Sunday everyone!

POST GAME - Sunday Games:

SHMEAR of the WEEK:  Win; 6-6


BKN Aviators ~ Making a Move on First Place


BROOKLYN AVIATORS:  After Knocking 1000 Islands Out of First Place, the Skates of Flatbush Seek to do the Same Against the New Jersey Outlaws.


Prior to this season's start, Brooklyn Head Coach Rob Miller stressed the necessity of all Federal Hockey League member club's ability to finish out their season schedules was paramount to establishing not only a strong foundation for the League, but to also gain much needed credibility for the two year old circuit if they are to survive. 

At this level, players must have a certain degree of confidence in a League's operational viability before they commit.  We hockey fans in Brooklyn have been given a small dose of understanding into this matter with the coming and going of the Brooklyn Aces.  Lest we forget some of our current Aviators were cajoled into coming to Brooklyn from the more established southern circuits.  

The FHL took a bold step step forward into expansion this season by adding teams in New Jersey, Cape Cod, Danville, and Vermont.  And now the Federal Hockey League has announced The VERMONT WILD will cease operations immediately.  The ramifications for the league are wide and varied.  First and foremost, the League must address rescheduling.

*   *   *   *

The A's take on another one of those expansion teams tonight.  Brooklyn's Coolest are headed to New Jersey where they will take on the currently in first place Outlaws for two games on consecutive nights on their ice.  This is still somewhat of an implied rivalry as true tensions between the teams are yet to materialize due to the teams having played each other infrequently.  That should start changing tonight.  With two wins in New Jersey, the Aviators can pull up along side the first place teams.  None the less, the Outlaws sport two former popular Aviators that should get this rivalry kicked-up a notch.  Former Brooklyn forward, Matthew Puntureri, was recently named FHL Player of the Week.

In their last game Wednesday night at the Hangar, the Skates of Flatbush welcomed the then first place 1000 Islands Privateers and gained victory with a 5-2 final score.  Goalie Thomas Lee was waived on Nov. 23rd.  Making his first start against 1000 Islands, new pick-up, goalie Josselin St. Pierre, made the start and gained his first win as an Aviator.  Josselin was a member of the Privateers last season.  He faced twenty-six shots on goal from his former team and turned back twenty-four.

In another transaction, Coach Miller waived Anthony Monte and signed two forwards; RW-Joseph Pelle Jr.; and C-Jason Dolgy.  And in making his debut for Brooklyn, Jason Doly who comes to us via the Vermont Wild situation, scored a power play goal at 12:48 of the second period Wednesday night, and assisted on another.  At the time, Dolgy's goal put Brooklyn ahead of the Privateers 2-0.

Also joining in on the scoring against 1000 Islands was Chris Ferazzoli who started the night with his eighth goal of the season at the 4:40 mark of the opening period.  Casey Mignone and Matt Atsoff chipped in with a goal apiece.  And Vladimir Nikiforov took over the team lead with his ninth goal of the season on an empty netter at the 19:01 mark of the third period.



Somewhere in NYC's Backyard



N.Y. Giants ~ The Search For Daylight

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:  Rushing Towards The Truth About The Giants' Running Game.

Last Post:  Haunting Loss Versus Eagles; No Exorcism For You.

Just in time for the Holidays, the New York Football Giants served up a Big Blue Giant turkey of a game last Sunday.  They got the stuffing knocked out of their running game as the Offensive Line played as soft as sweet potato pie.  Philly carved up our Linebackers and reduced the Giants pass rush to giblets.  Philly left town flying high like a Macy's Parade float while leaving Met-Life Stadium behind looking like a game-farm crime scene with trails of gravy on the field and smatterings of cranberry sauce all over the scoreboard.  By the end of Sunday night, all that nauseated Giant Fans had left to hold on to were both sides of the nearest porcelain toilet and the losing end of a wishbone.

*  *  *  *

Everything starts up front.  And up front, everything starts with the Center.  The Offensive Line is clearly not of the caliber it was just a few years ago.  At some point, we knew the former record-setting line needed a renovation.  The Giants' struggles down the stretch over the last two seasons were partly attributable to injuries plaguing Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert.  Thus, Jerry Reese started the O-Line transformation this season.  The GM released both O'Hara and Seubert prior to the season and turned to free agent David Baas to replace O'Hara at center.  The book on Baas as a Giant is incomplete because he, like so many Giants, missed several games due to injury.  The position of Center has suffered as a result with the Giants having to plug in 2nd year-Jim Cordle and the capable Chris Snee when Baas was out.

At twenty-nine years old, Chris Snee is in his eighth season.  Of the starting unit, I'd say he's struggling the most.  Chris Snee was hampered by concussion symptoms earlier this season.  And by their own standards, the Giants two Guards, Chris Snee and David Diehl have been racking-up a bevy of very uncharacteristic penalties.  The versatile David Diehl was moved back to his old position of left Guard this season.  He is now in his ninth season at thirty years old, and remains a strong lineman on Eli's blind side.

The plan to move David Deihl back to left Guard was designed to give Will Beatty his chance at left Tackle next to Diehl.  But Beatty will now miss extensive time due to an eye injury that will require surgery.  Enter Kevin Boothe who is no stranger.  He is twenty-eight years old with six years in the league.  By now he should be experienced enough and is charged with picking up the slack on Eli's blind side.  But it's a situation I'd consider precarious at best heading into Monday night.  The right side Tackle; Kareem McKenzie; has always been a good, solid Tackle.  But he is now thirty-two years old and in his twelfth season.

That's the starting front line as of this posting.  And beware, the tide is going out on the Giants' Offensive Line depth.  Gone from the squad is Adam Koets.  Remember him?  He was released after having ACL surgery this season. He was being counted on this season.  But with Koets, goes veteran stability and more lost experience from the Giants last Super Bowl.  Now thrust into a starting role, Kevin Boothe depletes depth as well. That leaves the Giants with rookie-James Brewer; second year Jim Cordle; third year Mitch Petrus; and now in his ninth year, pick-up Stacey Andrews.

On the one hand, even though Eli is taking far more hits this season than he's accustomed to, the Giants passing game is still very fruitful.  They are actually having one of their best seasons passing the ball during this era.  And even though teams are now expecting Eli to throw the ball forty-five or more times a game, he just so happens to be having a career year doing it.  That doesn't happen without a certain degree of effective pass blocking and protection as teams are really starting to amp-up their pass rush against Eli knowing the Giants are struggling mightily running the ball.

As we know, run blocking is an entirely different story.  Collectively, the Offensive Line has not been able to get the running game surging forward.  Quite frankly, there is no forward surge from the O-Line at all.  Together, they couldn't push a sofa across a room right now.  And the loss to the Eagles needs to be called for what it was...an embarrassment.  Because before we get to Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, all this must have been said first. 

For the first time in many, many seasons, the Giants are not averaging 100-yards per game.  And running anywhere between the Tackles has seemed damn near impossible.  Whether off-Center or off-Tackle, there have been no running lanes to speak of, or holes to run through.  It's uncomfortable to say, but Baas, Diehl, and Snee are having better luck opening refrigerator doors lately than they've had opening up cracks of daylight for Bradshaw, Jacobs, and Ware.  I don't really have an answer as to why, but part of any answer must credit O'Hara and Seubert for being that good when healthy.  And the fact that our Fullback situation is currently a borderline fail directly contributes to the Giants' poor rushing as well. 

The Giants running game, if anything, has had a measure of success running outside the Tackles, where Kareem McKenzie is still capable of sealing the end.  Will Beatty was somewhat less successful helping bounce plays outside to the left however.  But that role now falls on Kevin Boothe as mentioned above.

Welcome to what we all knew was the riskier side of resigning our own free-agent, Ahmad Bradshaw.  We've been in this situation with, and without him before.  There's no need getting into what we all know he can do when healthy.  Right now he's not.  Therein lies the second biggest reason for the Giants' floundering running game.  Mind you, while on the field he managed just one 100+ yard game this season.  And for the Giants, it stands as the only 100-yard performance of the season.

Now finally....Brandon Jacobs.  Do his words still bother you?  I said once before; ignore him.  He's horrible with the Media; more like adversarial with them.  And he's just not a good effective public speaker.  Some guys are like that.  But his team mates like him and he's never been insubordinate with Coach Coughlin.  And the fact he reworked his deal should not go under spoken either.

Of course you know I've said everything possible in support and defense of Brandon Jacobs.  But you need to know I'm not joined at the hip with him.  He's just not going anywhere this season, so we have to make this work some how.  If he's gone after the season; bye.  We need to move away from him anyway for more reasons than just the obvious.  I'll get to that in a sec...

We've established there is no where to run between the Tackles.  More importantly, the Offensive Line isn't generating any kind of forward surge off the snap, which historically allowed Brandon Jacobs to gain steam.  By the time Jacobs used to crash the line, the boys up front were three yards deeper beyond the line of scrimmage.  And that's when Jacobs used to hurt and intimidate Safeties.  These days, the front line is being stood up and pushed back.  Therefore making Jacobs look pretty damn bad.  He's not a speed back by any stretch.  But he's been effective this season getting outside Kareem McKenzie, and catching passes out of the backfield.  Yet, Coach Gilbride hasn't employed Jacobs that way.  Coach keeps sending him into the wall.  Let's not lose sight of this fact. - This time last season, Brandon Jacobs was thumping and bumping his way towards his highest yards per rush average in his career.  Obviously the Giants employ the two back attack.  But if you prorated Jacobs' limited playing time last season, he was still a 1000-yard back.

But Brandon Jacobs has not been without his injuries also.  For Bradshaw, his feet are killing him.  For Jacobs, his knees are the problem.  But they weren't an excuse for an under thirty yards rushing performance against the Eagles last week.  However everything else I said so far...is.

The once formidable Giants' game was predicated on a forward moving Offensive Line and two healthy backs each representing different styles that complimented each other very well.  Today, they seriously lack two of those elements, and are kind of fed-up and resigned to part with the other.  But as I maintain, even then, at least for the rest of the season, Brandon Jacobs has to be Coached/utilized a little more smartly.

In my lifetime at least, the Giants have historically been very successful utilizing smaller, stocky, low center of mass backs.  Joe Morris, Dave Meggett; Tiki Barber; and these days, Ahmad Bradshaw speaks to that.  Brandon Jacobs came on the scene like a freak.  And yeah, maybe the show is over for him.  His shelf life is definitely about to expire.  However I still maintain the Giants can use him with great effectiveness over the rest of this season.  Draws, screens, and swing passes, pitches, or whatever, will allow Jacobs to gain a few more yards on the ground.  Coach has to be creative and shake things up for Brandon.  But really..., something has got to give between the Tackle positions if we're to have any success without Bradshaw, and especially with the schedule we have ahead.

David Diehl, David Baas, and Chris Snee need to start pushing this team forward.

*  *  *  *

The Giants' Soft White Under-Belly:  LINEBACKER

Losing Jonathan Goff changed the plan.  Having Michael Boley go down with an injury changes everything.  To put it mildly, the Giants are, and have been, woefully deficient at Linebacker.

The reason the Giants won Super Bowls XXI and XXV, among other reasons, were they had two Hall of Fame Linebackers in Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson.  And they had two more stand-out Linebackers; borderline HOF'er Carl Banks, and pit bull Pepper Johnson.

If you take a look at the 2007 Super Bowl team, they also had two superlative Linebackers.  Antonio Pierce had one of the best seasons of his career in 2007.  And Kawika Mitchell had one of the most under-rated, quietly great efforts who then Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knew exactly how to get every ounce of effectiveness out of.  During the Super Bowl game itself, Mitchell had a brilliant game against Tom Brady.

Without Goff and Boley, the present day Giants are down to the Junior Varsity.  Mathias Kiwanuka must play Big Brother to rookie- Greg Jones; rookie-Jacquian Williams; rookie-Mark Herzlich; and rookie-Spencer Paysinger.  ...So you tell me.

Want to know what ails the Giants defense?  Look no further.  Our propensity to give up the big play whether be it on the ground or in the air, I believe stems from this dilemma.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From me to you, and from my Family to yours, have a very

I'm thankful to all who ever visited my site and took a ride on my little Brooklyn Trolley.

Thank you all...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

PIGSKIN ~ Thanksgiving Day Football


Thanksgiving Day Games

(Wednesday Line; NYDN)


LIONS +6 (Packers)
That's right!  Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, bet against the Lions at home,
on Thanksgiving Day.

Dolphins +7 (COWBOYS)
I'm waiting patiently for Tony Romo to single-handedly blow Dallas' season.
C'mon Miami!  Keep surging!  Beat the 'Boys!


49ers +3 1/2 (RAVENS)
San Francisco is golden right now.  A low scoring one point game?  Maybe.

The Thanksgiving Day Games are for Holiday Fun.
Thursday's games will not count against

...but here's how I'm doing anyway:

Overall Record:






BKN Aviators ~ First Look at First Place 1000 Island Club


BROOKLYN AVIATORS: The Skates of Flatbush Get Their First Look at First Place 1000 Islands Privateers.

Tuesday night in Hyannis, the fifth regular season game between Brooklyn and the Cape Cod Blue Fins was a resounding win by the Fish.  They out-shot Flatbush in the game and outscored them by a wide margin.  The 8-2 final score now gives the Fins a 3-2 season series lead over the A's.

The story of the game?  The Skates of Flatbush were 1 for 15 on the power play.  Cape Cod? - 3 for 5.  What makes this worse?  Cape Cod's fifth goal of the game came short-handed.

Cape Cod seemed content keeping the A's on the power play and did so for forty-eight generous minutes.  Actually, the Blue Fins tried instigating a whole lot-o-stuff Tuesday.  But it didn't seem like Brooklyn cared to bite on the steady flow of baiting.  I'm wondering if Coach Miller had anything to do with that after a brutal session against the Cape last Friday.  And yet in fifteen opportunities with man-advantages, somehow, the Aviators could only manage one puck past Blue Fin goalie; Wes Vesprini.

A's starting goalie; Thomas Lee; on the other hand, lasted two and a half periods before Coach Miller had seen enough and mercifully lifted Lee in favor of Peter Dundovich who made his second relief appearance of the season.  Dundovich stopped all four shots he faced in a little less than ten minutes played.  Thomas Lee suffered his worst night of the season in net.  Of forty-three shots on goal, eight managed to get past him in what turned out to be a Blue Fin rout.

Brooklyn's Andrew Owsiak scored a first period goal, assisted by Anthony Iaquinto.  The A's second and last goal was a power play effort credited to K.C. Timmons, assisted by Andrew Owsiak and Vladimir Nikiforov.

The loss drops Brooklyn's record to 5-4-3, and remain at eighteen points.

The A's will be right back at it Wednesday evening when they get their first look at the 1000 Islands Privateers inside Hangar Five.  The first place Privateers are currently ahead of Brooklyn by eight points, sporting a 9-1-0 record.

Justin Lecav is 1000 Islands' leading point scorer.  The winger is tied for the team lead in goals with Paul Kelly at eleven apiece.  Justin also leads the team in assists with fifteen.  Both of the Privateer's Alternate Captains; Paul Kelly and Michael Richard; each have twenty points.




1000 Islands Privateers



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

N.Y. Giants ~ Haunting Loss; No Exorcism for You

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:  Eagles Leave GIANT Droppings All Over Big Blue's Season....Again!

Do you know why I generally wait till Tuesday to do my Giants' post-games?  -  Well..., I work for a living..., But I wait so as to come down from the emotions of the game, and so I don't say something mindless like...they suck!  I like to get some separation and digest the game first.  The problem is right now I still want to run away somewhere and throw up.

In a game long on matters to discuss, what do you say we start with my pre-game post; EAGLES II - Fight or Flight.  Right off the bat I posed this following question; - The Knock-Out Punch; Do The Giants Have it in Them?  Today of course, the answer is , No.  They failed to deliver the big blow that would have effectively ended the Eagles' season.  More importantly, the Giants failed to protect their one game division lead over the Cowboys who took care of their business by defeating the Redskins.  A knockout punch?  The Giants didn't even have a decent jab Sunday.  It was the Giants who fought like a bunch of sloppy drunks and in every sense (...see late hit on Eli), got knocked on their Big Blue posteriors.  The question is now, can they get back up and straighten themselves out?  Unfortunately for us Giants Fans however, that warrants a second question.  Are they good enough?  .....Later.

First, here's what really crumbles my cookies - I said this in my last post:

Since my days watching Lawrence Taylor terrorize Ron Jaworski, the damnedest things happen during Giants/Eagles games.  It didn't matter if it was Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, or these days, Michael Vick on the other side.  Guys like Reggie White and Harold Carmichael, to LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, have all been part of some of the most incredulous games I've ever suffered through.  Look no further than at last year's disastrous final minutes the last time Philly came to Giants Stadium.  There's two things I know about Giants/Eagles games; they're never fun until the game is over, and then, only if you win.

Somehow, it doesn't matter who's on the field.  These games take on a life of their own. Philly will be without Michael Vick.  The Giants will be missing Michael Boley this week, and Ahmad Bradshaw will sit out again.  And so what... The only way I'll feel better about Sunday night prior to playing is if the Eagle's team bus breaks down on the Jersey Turnpike and they're not present for kick-off.  Otherwise, I'm not listening to that nonsense about the Eagles' 3-6 record and a Philly-Fade.  Talk to me about that on Monday morning.

Well, it wasn't fun, and we certainly didn't win.  And now you can add Vince Young's name to the list of Philadelphia Eagles' hair-pulling performances perpetrated against us.  So much for exorcising the demons of 2010.  The Eagles get to possess our Big Blue souls for another calendar year.  Not to mention, the current dilemma the G-Men find themselves in invites all the haunting memories of 2008 and 2009 as well.

There we were again - with an opportunity to pull out another late game comeback...or at least a tie in this case.  But it's called drawing from the well too many times and asking an awful lot from Eli to do alone.  Unlike the game versus San Francisco, there is no consolation after this last defeat to the Eagles.  For in that game versus San Francisco, the Giants competed. Against the Eagles, they were lethargic at best.  This game was a fail in every sense of the word; bar Steve Weatherford, who continues to have a brilliant season punting the pigskin.  And that in itself screams problems.

The Giants have officially made things hard for themselves.....again.  Adversity arrived Sunday night and threw a big brick through the beautiful new bay windows of Met-Life Stadium with a note attached.  It said, - "The Saints and Packers have combined to score 668 points this season. Unless they change the rule book and allow points based on punts, you better think of something quick!"

For us, The Great Conversation is officially no longer solely about the Giants.  We now must incorporate other teams into any discussion about the Giants' future because they made it so after Sunday's let down.  Now we have to talk about the Cowboys taking on the Dolphins next week, and how Miami just might be turning things around in time enough to give the Giants a helping hand in the division race next Sunday as we take on New Orleans on Monday night.

But the Giants still have this - Two game remaining against the Cowboys.  So their fate is still very much in their hands in spite of these next two tests against the Saints and Packers.

Back to my earlier question - Are the Giants good enough to win tough games down the stretch?  I think so.  But Coaching will determine everything.  What the Giants need are some hard thought out adjustments now.  How well will they adjust in light of what has transpired over the last two weeks moving forward?  We'll see. 

My next post will delve into all that.


LIU Blackbirds ~ Net First Pair of Wins

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

LIU BLACKBIRDS:  A Strong Weekend in Connecticut Earns the Flatbush Hoopsters Their First Two Wins of Season.


After dropping their first three games to start the season, which include a pair of opening losses to Old Dominion and Penn State in the 2011 HOF Tip-Off Tournament,  the Blackbirds finished the weekend in fine fashion with a pair of wins over Radford on Saturday, and a win over Vermont on Sunday; concluding the Tourney.

In securing their first win of the season Saturday over Radford, Michael Culpo shot 4 of 5 from three point land and led all scorers with 14-points on the night.  Brooklyn actually had five players to score in double digits.  The second team high scorer for LIU was hot Jamal Olasewere who dropped in 12-points and pulled down seven rebounds.  C.J. Garner and Kenny Onyecht added 11-points apiece, while Julian Boyd led the team with 10-rebounds.  All their efforts added up to an 81-59 win over Radford.

After averaging 69-points in their first three losses, the Blackbirds broke the 80-point mark for the second consecutive game, on consecutive nights.  In Sunday's match-up against Vermont, Jamal Olasewere continued his strong start with a game high 18-point night.  Only LIU's Julian Boyd matched that point total with 18-points of his own to go along with a game high 12 rebounds.  LIU's second win ended with an 80-75 final score.

With the Tip-Off Tournament out of the way, the Flatbush Hoops will next play at Iona on November 28th before they finally make their first appearance off-Flatbush at the Wellness Center in a conference game versus Wagner on December 1st.

This Just in...

The New York Knicks' and the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets' players are still unemployed.
The Commissioner Said No Game For Them Tonight!

However, Construction on the NETS new arena in Brooklyn continues on schedule and is due to open for business with the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season.  If both parties want to destroy this season, let them.  But their dispute over how to split billions of dollars better get figured out before tip-off time in Brooklyn!

A Look Back at BARCLAYS CENTER Construction:


Flatbush Avenue at Fifth Avenue

Atlantic Avenue View.


View From Sixth Avenue, Looking at Flatbush Avenue.
November 2010

Get a deal done before this squabble over money interferes with next season and jeopardizes Opening Night in Brooklyn.  That's all I care about.  That leaves the parties plenty of time to hammer out a deal beneficial to both sides before I get twisted over the situation.  To Mr. Stern I would say - Maybe, just maybe, some of these second tier cities the NBA occupies do not deserve major league level franchises.  But in this day and age, contraction isn't an option.  To the players I would say..., very little.  No one comes to Madison Square Garden to watch Jim Dolan's puss.  But the stars of the League also need to understand how they do themselves and their team's a great injustice by demanding to take up huge portions of the salary caps by themselves.

Something has to give.