Saturday, October 30, 2010

PIGSKIN ~ WEEK 8 and the J-E-T-S

My Basket-O-Bagels is a heavy plus 9 for the season.  I am 6-0 on my SMEAR of the WEEK.  My Smears are worth three Bagels a game, so if you do the math you'll find that I'm slightly under .500 on the Sunday Dockets as those games are worth one bagel in the oven each.  This week the NY Jets take on the Packers and the NY Giants have a BYE week.

The WEEK 8 Bagel Roll-Out:
(Saturday's NYDN Line)

JETS -6 (packers)
LOSS 9-0 Packers

broncos +3 (49ERS) *London, England
LOSS 24-16 49ers

COWBOYS -6 1/2 (jaguars)
LOSS 35-17 Jaguars

LIONS -2 1/2 (redskins)
WIN 37-25 Lions

panthers +3 (RAMS)
LOSS 20-10 Rams

dolphins +1 1/2 (BENGALS)
WIN 22-14 Dolphins

CHIEFS -7 1/2 (bills)
LOSS 13-10 Chiefs  o.t.

titans +3 1/2 (CHARGERS)
LOSS 33-25 Chargers

CARDINALS -3 (bucs)
LOSS 38-35 Bucs

RAIDERS -2 (seahawks)
WIN 33-3 Raiders

PATRIOTS -7 (vikings)
WIN 28-18 Patriots

steelers +1 (SAINTS)
LOSS 20-10 Saints

12 bagels into the oven (season +9) ~ Last week 6-7. 
Last week I nailed pick-of-the-week (6-0 for season).

Ooof!  Big blow to the Bagel Basket.  Tonight's game can't even save me.  I'm 4-7 on the Sunday afternoon games.  HOWEVER...I did hit my Shmear of the Week!  I am now 7-0 with my pick of the week.  My Sunday record brings me down to a +6 but because I hit the Shmear that props me right back up to a +9.  So, before tonight's game gets figured in, my day is a wash.  I am still in the negative zone for the weekly games.  Thank goodness for the Shmear to save my credibility.

*PITT Steelers final is in.  Take away another bagel and I'm left with +8.

PATRIOTS -7 (vikings)
*WIN  (I am now 7-0 on the season)

..And thanks to FOX and Cablevision as I was finally be able to watch Football again!

NYJ ~ Jets May Hit Turbulence.
I hate to be the killjoy Debbie Downer of this flight but I'd hate for anyone to get too far ahead of themselves; not me as a Giant Fan nor members of Fan Green.  This is not a must win game for the Jets, but I will dub it a 'buckle-down' game.  A loss to the Packers wouldn't be the worst thing to happen being it's out of Conference.  But that's not what I'm predicting here.  I'm just cautioning Air Rex, especially coming off a Bye week, buckle down because the Patriots are right on your tail.  They play the Vikings who, with or without Brett 'Favbrevabr', will be a compromised team.

Both the Jets and Patriots have 5-1 records but the Jets hold the advantage winning their last head-to-head match-up.  Around the Conference, the Titans are 5-2; the Steelers are 5-1; the Ravens are 5-2; and AFC West leading Chiefs are 4-2.  This crowd is bound to get even more boxed in by sundown tomorrow and that's without figuring in the Colts.

I would love to feel a lot better about the Jets' situation but the other teams just don't let me.  I root worried, remember?  I'm a Giants fan but I treat the Jets as the brother I actually do get along with.  So I wouldn't think any differently as a rooter.

The differences between success and failure are very subtle.  And as great as a Jets fan can feel right now, because yes, the team looks dynamite, when you look around and realize you haven't gained any separation between you and the competition, there is precious little to no room for error.

Victories in times like this are what make seasons great.  As I said, the subtle things in life make the biggest difference.  I hope the slight variance in routine a bye week can cause isn't the difference in this game.  The Packers are not to be taken lightly and the Patriots are coming. - The Patriots are coming.

In other matters, Derrell Revis said he's 100% now and Coach Rex warned any Packer Fans against wearing Cheese Heads saying it would probably be a bad idea if they did.  He's probably right.  Don't say Coach didn't tell you so.

Have a Happy Football Sunday All!

Green Bay Packers  9
New York Jets          0

Return to your seats; The Capt. has put the "Fasten Your Seat Belt" sign on.


I don't do I told you so's.  I just hate Bye Weeks.  But I did warn you.  Didn't I?

Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes;  I pointed out the Jets didn't have any room for mistakes this week.  Not so much because of what they have been doing, or not doing.  There's little to complain about when you have an impressive 5-1 record.  It's just that the Patriots have woken up and now with this loss, the Jets find themselves behind them in the standings.  The damage could be worse as I pointed out in my pre-game comments.  This loss is to a non-Conference opponent.  The Jets still hold the advantages with-in their division.

They didn't seize the moment.  The Bye Week looked like it sucked all the momentum they had in them right out.  How else would you explain 9-0?

The defensive effort was predictably present.  Green Bay only had three field goals for all their efforts.  The Jets even ended the game leading in most of the offensive statistical categories.  But the Jets also led in the in the worse, most harmful category; turnovers.

This was a game Mark Sanchez needed to win by himself.  It's like that in the NFL.  The best laid plans usually go to hell on Sundays right after kick-offs.  He threw two interceptions today; something he's minimized this year.  Receivers dropped several more costly and critical pass attempts.  Both Mark and his receivers were not up to the task this week.  Unfortunately that's the way it looks in the books.

The Jets also fumbled the ball three times this afternoon but managed to get only two of them back.  One fumble went the other way.  The combined turnovers were their undoing.

I didn't call this a must win game remember?  I called it a "the JETS Had Better Buckle Down This Game" affair.  The conversation regarding D-Generation REX changes now.  I'm sorry but it does.  The Jets are behind the Patriots and flying in formation with the rest of Conference wings.  They are no longer cruising in rarefied air.

Now because of this loss, you have to care the Dolphins, Chiefs and Raiders all won today.  The Titans lost while the (5-2) Ravens sat out their Bye.  With a win today these results would have mattered a lot less.

Good pilots know how to navigate turbulent skies.  Mark Sanchez is going to have to prove he's capable behind the controls of this Steel Bird...(yes..., again) in the coming weeks.  Mark Sanchez will be one of the good ones in this League.  There's no doubt.  But the next thing he needs to learn in order to elevate his craft is the art of Seizing The Moment.


Autumn in the EMPIRE CITY

This is the time of year when the NYC Sports Scene is absolutely at it's most splendid and fascinatingly spectacular.  Evey Autumn, new scripts are written while the earlier Spring shows hustle towards their finale.  The action plays out differently from year to year.  But make no mistake Autumn in New York City is the greatest time and place to be if you're a sports fan.  So much of my life has revolved around the time of year when everything is bursting with Orange, Blue, Red and Green (and the leaves are pretty too).  Whether you're decked out in Pinstripes or BlueShirts, Autumn and NYC are always in fashion.

The probability Citi Field will pitch their own OctoberFest Tent in coming years grew by leaps and bounds yesterday with the introduction of Sandy Alderson as the new Mets' General Manager.  The last few years in Flushing have been a mine field of gaffes, chokes, let-downs, disappointments, embarrassments, injuries, foibles, miscommunication, finger pointing, chaos and mayhem.  But from one day to the next, the Mets achieved victory this late October day under their new leadership and just like the turning leaves of Fall, the Mets' fortunes seem to have taken on a brighter color as they move forward.

The leaves fell off the trees in the Bronx a little earlier than the denizens of Yankee Stadium would have liked.  But that's not the point today as I much would rather say Baseball, the Bronx and Autumn are as synonymous together as the Moe, Larry and Curly triad of magical contentment are; and just as much a Classic of all time.

I was at the Game 5, 1976 Chris Chambliss ALCS Home Run Moment.  As a 9 year old, what I remember most vividly about that game was a banner hanging from the upper deck reading, "When it's Cold, the Yanks are always Hot!!"  Before Reggie-Reggie-Reggie ever came to town, impressions of October were already set in stone this night with my Father (the Yankee Fan) in the Old Stadium.

I was already an unyielding Mets' fan that October night.  I was so in love with my team in 1975 and 1976.  But what transpired that October night in the Bronx is still to this day in my life of 43 years, the singular most spectacular Baseball moment I have ever had the pleasure being a part of!  I knew after that night I would die with a baseball in my hand sometime hopefully in the very very distant future.

That game transcended something much more than Mets or Yankees.  That night fixed my mind forever.

This was right around the time I started to fall in love with the game of Basketball.  There used to be a family across the street from me who had five brothers among them.  Their parents gave up the garage and paved the whole backyard to erect a basketball 1/2 court for their sons.  Of course the entire block congregated there.  We all took our turns pretending to be Clyde Frazier, Earl the Pearl and Bill Bradley during those mid-70's days.  The big guy, Willis Reed retired.  I was part of the next generation.

My first guy that I grew an affinity for was Lonnie Shelton.  I can't explain that but Channel 9 WOR had everything to do with it; I'm sure.  Truck Robinson, Spencer Haywood, Michael Richardson, Butch Beard and McAdoo were all reminders of Fall because the days grew shorter and there was no night light in the backyard where we played.  If you don't remember the 70's as a kid; once upon a time kids used to play outside, in the day, till it got dark, unsupervised,  AAaaahhhhhgggg!  To think.... Sigh.  anyway...So, off it was for us back then, to take a shower, finish up that last bit of homework and pop on channel 9 after dinner.

Bill Cartwright and Bernard King meant something else to me.  I wasn't old enough for the championship years.  But,  I was now old enough to stray throughout the neighborhood and play basketball well after dark, under the lights provided by NYC Parks.  Sweat pants, half cut sweatshirts, Pro-Keds and sweatbands were the uniform of Fall for this Brooklynite in the Era of Jordache Jeans.

In Fall even more so than Summer, the neighborhood kids packed the local park like a church.  On one side of the fence Basketball was going hard.  On the other side of the fence Football was going strong.  On any given Saturday and Sunday, teams evolved, determined by what time you got there and if the Giants or Jets were playing.  You stayed home to watch your team.  Every five guys was a team unless you came with your pack.  Those five guys are who you stuck with all day.  All day meant 10am till 6 pm.  Winners stayed on the court or field.  Losers went on the other side of the fence.  Everything was in rotation.  The Romans couldn't have planned it better.  If you spend the day winning you had about six games under your belt by the time you went home.  Either way, you were going home with feet barking due to the pounding they just took.  It was an exceptional way to spend your teenage years in Brooklyn when Autumn rolled around.

Yes, this was the time in my life when The NY Football Giants and me came together in Pigskin matrimony.  Fall and Sundays was never the same for me again.  The Giants more and more came to dominate my Autumns and ultimately, my life.  Now, the change in seasons meant the weather got a little more unpredictable, unstable, crisp and chilling like a HARRY CARSON hit, or a Ray Perkins stare; they left you cold and feeling vulnerable.  THEN, came the Parcells Years.  Autumns were GLORIOUS!

...and My Mets Were CHAMPIONS!

A hand full of years later, the boy who bears my name and the name of my father was born.  One month later, Scott Norwood was wide-right and the Giants won Super Bowl XXV.  What ensued from that day on was perhaps the greatest ten year stretch of NYC Sports Xanadu this city has ever experienced (outside the previous 1967-1975 Era when you take the NYR, NYK, NYM, NYJ all into account).

The Giants won the Super Bowl and returned ten years later.  The Knicks and NY Rangers electrified NYC like no other time I can remember.  Of course, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in '94 but it was the Knicks who 'kept on keeping-on' through the decade making it to the Finals again after Pat Riley skipped town.  The Yankees? - 1994 - 2001.  "Nuf Ced".  Even the Mets; the Bobby Valentine Years ~ You were hard pressed to find a dull moment.  There was hot blood pumping through the organization as they closed out the decade.

I spent those ten years changing diapers, getting spit-up on, burping him, watching a million episodes of Barney the Dinosaur, trick-or-treating, doing arts and crafts, going to the parks, making sure Christmas was magical, Back to School, school projects, homework......,

...AND exhibiting to my wife every reason why she should commit me once she realized that I could watch grass grow while sitting through a rain delayed double header where both games go into extra innings and understanding that was my idea of a good time.  I also spent those years training her SUNDAY in AUTUMN was a matter of my life and a question of her death.  Yes, Giants Football could come between our marriage.  She's been perfect week in, and week out since the beginning.  She has been there for my highs (SB XXV and '94 Stanley Cup) and through my lows (2000 NYMets..anything Mets).  I'm her biggest fan and she, mine.  But that ten year stretch went by like a whisper barely audible to my son who only achieved the age of ten by the decade's close.

Over the last ten years, and my son's second decade on the planet, he's really come a long way in establishing his sporting allegiances.  He's a Yankee fan and.....well, he's experienced some good times and thrilling Octobers.

But for my part, I am working with a whole new dynamic now.  My boy is a man now; two decades old.  On an emotional level I couldn't explain to you what my feelings were one night during the 2007 Giants' season.  I don't think I can get through it.  But it was that time in Green Bay when the Giants played the Packers in a really big game while the temperature was -24 degrees at game time.  Ahmad Bradshaw broke out for what appeared to be a touchdown late in that game.  My boy and I had that Father Son moment that welds the two of you together for eternity.  We screamed, jumped, hugged and began to dance when Both our jaws dropped when we saw a flag calling the play back.  But the moment was had!  He and I had moments like that prior, like that Little League Championship we won together in 2002; I coached his team.  But he was an 'adult' now.  It's different.

We go to Mets games and Yankee games together.  What takes place there is healthy give and take as we make fun of each other's favorite teams.  We share common ground on the Giants.  I'm a Knicks fan while he's leaned Nets over the years.  But now he's starting to turn Knicks and my attention is on the Nets because they're coming to Brooklyn.

The trick or treating has stopped around here as far as he's concerned.  And now Christmas is less magical and more monetary these days.  But Fall still for me remains a source of utter contentment through all these years and with all the changes life brings.

Now-a-days Autumn means donning my #4 Ron Greschner jersey and heading over to MSG with my son, adorned in his #11 Messier jersey.  He and I have established pre-game rituals which would cause us to kill you should you learn of our secrets (but only in the purest Looney Tunes manners of death). 

But to myself, in between the laughs, I look up and see the dark night sky over MSG and see it as I see the morning sun;  Nothing lights me up more than the 7pm night over MSG when I'm with my son on our way to root for the BlueShirts.  My near twenty year old is a raving, raging lunatic of a Ranger Fan.

And so, this is Autumn Today.  NYC is my EMPIRE.  And He'll continue my Dynasty.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Know Your New York AVIATORS


New York Aviators Hockey Club


New York Aviators
@ Danbury Ice Arena, Connecticut

Tonight's Final:
New York Aviators  3
Danbury Whalers    4

"The Coolest Guys in Brooklyn"

Kevin Druce
Peter Dundovich

Blake Miller
KC Timmons
Jarrett Rush
David Inman
Nicholas Kuqali
Daniel Capizzuto

W - Stephen Obelnicki
W - Michael Thompson
W - Chris Bain
W - Matt Puntureri
W - Christopher Holmes
W - Anthony Longo ~ A local from Staten Island
W - Anthony Scampoli ~ from Islip, Long Island
C - Angelo Serse
C - John Goffredo
C - Jesse Felton

Rob Miller


A New Era Dawns in Flushing

The Metropolitan Baseball Club introduced Sandy Alderson to the Met public today, in what is, beyond a doubt, the most important and credible Executive hire the club has made since they asked Frank Cashen to be the team's General Manager in 1980.  The long string of in-house promotions and familiar hires is finally cut.  The stale thought process which evolved over the 20 odd years after Frank Cashen's retirement and the inbred lineage of Executives charged with running the team has come to the end of it's line.  This Front Office will now be affected by a new dynamic; the first new Dynamic since 1980.

Sandy Alderson did not agree to become the General Manager of the New York Mets to get besieged by nepotism.  Sandy Alderson is not the latest Mets Executive up-and-comer groomed through the organization only to tote the company line.  Sandy Alderson will not be a string responsive puppet acting on behalf of "at the time", an increasingly re-active ownership doctrine.

Sandy Alderson is here to implement a standard operating procedure and much needed structure to what's been a floundering Front Office and organizational effort, that for far too long has languished in mediocrity and routinely invited Chaos and Mayhem into the fold.

I say with supreme confidence today, - Welcome to the First Day of the New Era in METropoliS.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Small Step for Jeff Wilpon; One Giant Leap for METSkind

The N.Y. Mets will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce the hiring of Sandy Alderson as the next General Manager of the Metropolitan Baseball Club.

Let's do this...

1) - Did Jeff Wilpon smartly engage in a process by which he arrived at the decision to present Sandy Alderson to Saul Katz and Pop, for the purposes of hiring him as the next General Manager of the Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York? 

I've posted in the past Jeff Wilpon should seek consultation from outside the organization before formulating a plan.  I expressed along the way my lack of full confidence Jeff Wilpon would get this right.  That said,  the short answer is YES.

Jeff Wilpon, aided by John Ricco (who has been lambasted repeatedly by yours truly), conducted, in my opinion, his due diligence with the manner of a "seasoned Baseball Man" (Wink wink...Nelson Doubleday).  The process undertook by Jeff Wilpon seemed thorough enough to satisfy Met Fan's expectations; including me (one of the Wilpon's harshest critics, but someone who really does like them and doesn't admit it enough.  I guess it's the Brooklyn thing).

The Florida Marlins told us to get lost as did the Tigers.  The one who intrigued me most from the Asst. GM pool, Logan White (L.A.), was in the mix but was subsequently re-signed by the Dodgers.  The Mets spoke with Asst. GM's from the White Sox-(Rick Hahn ); Arizona-(Josh Byrnes ) and Red Sox-(Allard Baird).  Jeff sought permission from clubs for possible considerations earnestly, in a very timely manner and with conviction formed a large enough group of candidates (I won't list all) which included Sandy Alderson.  Outside of Sandy Alderson the list of candidates was light on persons with actual General Manager experience but turning that one factor into a point of contention is something I will gladly pass on.  Fred Wilpon is also said to have lobbied for Alderson to be hired once he was presented to the "Board of Directors" by Jeff.

2) - Of the candidates available and interviewed, are the METS securing the person best suited to manage The Wilpon's resources and restore competitive order to the HOUSE of FRED?

That depends on what side of the fence you were on.  Did you want to be a little daring and hire someone from the pool of Assistants?  Or, did you want someone who was more established and someone with experience winning on the Major League level?

I honestly believe there is no wrong answer to that question.  I would have been OK either way because the very thing I've clamoured about for well over a year has been realized.  I'll elaborate on that shortly.  But I'm happy to reveal that I concur with the appointment of Sandy Alderson as our next General Manager.  I've had a fascination with Logan White and would have been very supportive if somehow he were named.  But with the way the process played out and the eventual decision to hire Sandy, I say with confidence as a fan, I am happy with Jeff Wilpon's selection.  I've had the pleasure of reading a very exact synopsis of Sandy Alderson's career authored by the Prince of NY on his Baseball Blog.  Please read his analysis regarding Sandy Alderson's career HERE.   It's not exactly an Ode to the next Mets' GM, but under the circumstances I believe Sandy Alderson is the right person, right now for the Wilpon's ownership group to continue remaining a viable entity.

And now, if you're so inclined, I'd invite you to read a posting I published in December of 2009 about the N.Y. Mets and Fred Wilpon's General Managerial hirings over the last 30 years and how 2010 represented the most important year of his entire ownership;  and more acutely, Fred's sole ownership over the last 8 years. 

For the longest I've begged the Mets to go outside the organization for their next GM.  After 30 years of in-house promotions the Wilpon's were faced with the end of a long line of executives put in place and left behind by Frank Cashen first and Steve Phillips afterwards.  Omar Minaya represented the very last link in the continuous 30 year chain of GMs, to include the first and only GM which came from outside the organization; Frank Cashen.  I invite you to read that posting HERE.  titled: A Concise Concatenate of Mets' GM's and Life Under WILPONianism (2009).

The Mets have done what I wanted them to do for some time now, which was go off campus and bring in a new brain to stimulate a collectively stale, in-bred front office mind.  That said, this Mets organization and me move forward from here.

Sandy Alderson will no doubt want to restructure and/or renovate The HOUSE of FRED.  So the reality is the Front Office issues have not all gone away yet.  But the man charged to remedy them is now in place.

3) - Do we now consider "The Saul B. Katz Dilemma" case closed?

What was the Saul B. Katz Dilemma  as coined and defined by.., me?  Very simply, the Saul B. Katz Dilemma was none other that the SON Of PON himself; Jeff Wilpon - the Son who wanted to be a Baseball Man.  The Saul B. Katz Dilemma was life in METropoliS in the year 8 A.D. (After Doubleday).  The Saul B. Katz Dilemma was The Age of WILPONianism.

Earlier this month, this is what I had to say on the day Omar and Jerry Manuel were let go in "The Day METropoliS Stood Still":
"WELCOME, finally to October 7, 2010 ~ THE DAY METropoliS STOOD STILL.

This will be quick.

Welcome to the day Mets fans have clamoured for. Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel have been relieved from their respective duties. Jerry Manuel's club option will not be picked up and Omar's remaining two years owed him under terms of his contract will be made whole. Omar was asked by the Wilpons about a re-assignment within the organization, but both Omar and Jeff agreed it would have to be the new GM's decision to maintain such an employment agreement. I honestly do not see that happening. Omar will most likely move on and in all likelihood do very well somewhere else.

Let's understand this will be the third General Manager the Wilpons will be hiring since they became sole owners. Remember, this will be the first GM hired from off-campus. Jeff Wilpon said very plainly there are no in-house candidates for the position at this time. The office of GM will be filled by an outside entity for the first time since Frank Cashen himself. The Wilpons will not be dealing with a Frank Cashen or Steve Phillips disciple this time around. Jeff and Fred both seemed to re-emphasize and even champion themselves for running their organization in a very un-corporate-like manner. They proudly repeated they, the club, more resembles a Family Operation, during today's press conference. And that's all OK for me. Besides, we know all that already.

Here's the dilemma. Is Jeff hiring this GM? Jeff said he and John Ricco will brainstorm together to formulate a plan to move forward with.

Jeff and John Ricco? See? Here's the problem regarding Jeff Wilpon thinking he's a Baseball man. I'd prefer Jeff did something prudent like bring in a consultant and assemble a think tank and move forward towards a GM from there. All Jeff has is on-the-job training on his resume. Do we not see an inherent problem here?

Is Jeff going to hire a General Manger or someone who just plays one on TV?

Does Jeff even have enough Baseball acumen to conduct interviews? After all, this will be a whole new process for the Wilpons. These are uncharted waters for the S.S. Wilpon.

If the Mets really want to get this right, they should be seeking professional consultation, or at minimum creating a think tank to brainstorm ideas. Jeff nor Fred, just do not have the practical experience, in my humble opinion, to conduct the interviews that will land us our best option for the future success of the Mets.

They've never had to scour the country side for an executive before.

Separation between Jeff Wilpon and the office of GM is something I'd really like to have ironed out. A Baseball qualified Team President is needed by this team because Jeff and a GM must be separated. If Jeff insists on keeping his thumb prints all over Baseball Operations, then it's into the ICEBERG we go.

...And that's the way I see things in Flushing."

So, again, what do we make of the Saul B. Katz Dilemma; Jeff Wilpon?

I offer him this.  You did very well for yourself Jeff.  I am impressed and proud my organization acted with swiftness and conviction of mind and action.  I applaud your efforts conducting a professional and well expedited interviewing process and ultimately deciding to select Sandy Alderson as your candidate to put before the Mets' Executive Board of Dudes; which includes, respectfully yours, Jeff Wilpon.

By the very implication of hiring a Sandy Alderson type, we the fan base feel as if you knowingly and willingly lifted, what we perceived and believed to be your interdicting fingerprints from the Daily Baseball Operations; the very fingerprints we, I, accused you of meddling into Omar Minaya's duties with and smudging our outlook with regards to matters Citi By The Bay.  This should not go understated.  It takes a big and smart business man to relinquish even a fraction of his power, willingly.  And now I think we all realize Sandy Alderson represents some very solid and real structure is headed Flushing's way.

Had Jeff hired one of the new wave assistants, even my thought, Logan White, I would still be insisting this team's need for a Team President to put separation between Jeff Wilpon and the Office of the General Manager.  I'd be saying the collegial structure was "out of control" collegial,  how the lines of responsibility were blurred and how Phantom Menace Jeff would still be calling the shots.

Jeff Wilpon has rendered all that mute.

From the day you visited the club in Atlanta back in May through this very evening, there is not a different way I can think how I would have expected the C.O.O. of the N.Y. Mets Baseball Club to handle the matters you had in hand.

I will say to you Jeff Wilpon, -  Job Well Done!  From this moment on, we move forward together on the same page of music.

The official announcement doesn't happen till tomorrow, so right now is incredibly premature, not to mention a ridiculous time for Jeff to turn and flick the proverbial "middle finger" over towards Nelson Doubleday's way.  But that day may come after all, when Jeff can reflect back on Nelson Doubleday and think to himself, or out loud, and say, "How do ya like me now?"

He could tell me that, and worse, if that be his want and be right for doing so.  And that's why I took it upon myself to cut me a great big piece of humble pie, and remind everyone where I have stood along the way.  Not that I was wrong in my beliefs, but in my criticisms of Jeff and the fun I enjoyed having at his expense.

The Saul B. Katz Dilemma seems settled for now.  When we wake up tomorrow morning the calendar will say, Day One of the New METS' Era.



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SIN is Being Lazy & Incorrect About NYC Baseball History


Click article to enlarge:
I rarely if ever do this, but on this occasion I could not resist.  I'm just a stickler about the Baseball History of our little city we call New York.  I did my own retrospective on the Giants about their earliest days here in New York City back on October 14th.  You can read that post here. 

But Mr. Bondy is the Pro here; I am just a sports fan with a blog.  You are however, welcome to compare my content of word versus his and make your own conclusions.  I already cede him being the better writer.  Besides my issue has more to do with his Headline Writer than Mr. Bondy himself.  But had I known Mr. Bondy would do a piece today (OCT. 27, 2010) like this I would have suggested someone conduct a little more detailed investigative field work.

Did anyone look down from Coogan's Bluff for some perspective?  Did anyone try and locate the stairway which is one of the last links to those days; the stairway descending from the top of the Bluff down to Polo Grounds level? - The stairway still being discussed about and being pleaded with/appealed to the San Fransisco Giants Ball Club for assistance to refurbish it?  Had ya done that, you would have seen IT.

Alternately, all someone had to do was walk in from the sidewalk about 100 feet in and on the left IT was there to find.  At a minimum the Housing Employees know exactly where IT is.  How do you think I found IT.  What?   THIS:

(Click to enlarge)

Of all things...there's a sign!  There's a plaque to be more exact.
It's right there for all to see affixed to the side of one of the residential buildings.
It basks in the sunshine unobstructed everyday not more than 50 feet or so from the base
of Coogan's Bluff.

Here's the difference I guess; I knew it was there when I went.
Perhaps you should have checked with me before going with that headline Dude.

No sign INDEED!

In a separate matter, I made a comment in my same NY Giants posting (if you read it) about the N.Y. Yankees pretty much stealing the idea of monuments and plaques in Center field from the Giants. But they also took the idea to surround the then, new Yankee Stadium with an old Polo Grounds staple;
the iconic frieze.

This first picture depicting "THE CATCH" by Willie Mays, shows the plaques and monument in CF,  in place since World War I and before.

Picture ~N.Y. Daily News/Bondy's article

Below, notice the frieze on the exterior of Polo Grounds.  That decorative had been in place since the time they expanded Polo Grounds in the 20's to create the LF, RF and bleacher stands.  However for most of the late 19th century and early in the 20th century, the interior upper and mid-decks were adorned with the frieze.

Picture~Julia Xanthos/NYDailyNews/NewsFile

Turn of the century Polo Grounds.

Yankee Tradition ~ Frauds.

Don't get mad.


Lacing-Up the Skates in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Aces; We hardly knew ya.

They were the Borough's first foray into Minor League Hockey.
Brooklyn's entrant in (at the time) the new Eastern Professional Hockey League
during the 2008-2009 campaign gave us a fine inaugural season. 
They lost the League's championship however, two games to one,
to the Jersey RockHoppers.

And then...., they were gone.

In their place were born The New York Aviators Hockey Club (of Brooklyn).
est. 2009-2010

The new Brooklyn skaters secured an EPHL Championship
for the Borough in their first season.

That's right boys; we're Number One!

This year they begin play as a member of the

1000 Island Privateers (NY)
Rome Frenzy (NY)
Danbury Whalers (CT)
Akwesasne Warriors (NY)
Broome County Barons (NY)

The first game of the season for the "Coolest Guys in Brooklyn" is two more short days away versus the Danbury Whalers up in Connecticut (Friday Night; 10-29-2010).

Our Home Ice Opener will be November 12, 2010 at the Aviator Sports Complex on
Floyd Bennett Field.

Be there when they drop the puck.


On the Barclays Center ~ An article by Stephen Brown

This article is from today's pullout section of the New York Post detailing how the Barclays Center project almost slipped through Brooklyn's fingers.

To read, click an enlarge articles.

This project has been through so many obstacles and faced so much opposition.
It's been a hard road and there's still a ways to go.
We'll persevere because that's what we do here.
It's the Brooklyn way; the only way we know.


NYG ~ A Big Blue Week 7 Review

This is what I was thinking before the game.  Do ya feel me on all that?  Yes? No? Maybe?  Let me know.

Post Game:  Big Blue Thoughts.

The Really Offensive Stuff:

High passes; tipped passes; intercepted passes; -

I've complained early this season and often about Eli's passes coming in high and how they are going to get a receiver laid-out (that's before Goodell decided to enforce existing rules against decapitation more fervently).  Concern 1-A regarding the high passes are the tipped balls.  Eli's interceptions have mostly been of the tipped ball variety.  Some passes were more catch-able than others.  Let's be fair.  However, it's still 3 more interceptions in the book.

Brandon Jacobs (whom you all know I've made my pet reclamation project), fumbled at 12:20 in the 2nd quarter.  I thought, "Damn!" and felt bad "for" him.  The Cowboys picked up another 3 points as a result. 

Ahmad Bradshaw also fumbled...(again) and late in the game.  You can't fumble footballs in the 4th quarter son.

Eli threw his third interception late in the fourth quarter causing me to scream obscenities at the TV in a hope Coach Gilbride would hear me. Why was he still flinging the ball (my main problem with Gilbride) all over the place?  Result; more points the other way which leads me ultimately to this team's inability to hammer the nail in the coffin and bury the 'Boys earlier in the fourth quarter for good.

Why didn't that happen?  There were too many turnovers; five! ...And a Kick-Off returned for a touch down to boot?  This is the second game that comes to mind which we have won despite a multitude of turnovers.

Did I mention the Special Teams allowing a Touch Down on Kick-Off Return?  Consider it mentioned then.  The Special Teams?  Let's use them and transition this post into a more positive essay.  The Special Teams recovered two On-Side Kick attempts.  That should be duly noted.

And now....,

The Really Good Stuff:

Eli, after the initial 0-4 and two INT's, went on a tear completing 21 passes in 25 attempts with 4 touchdown passes to three different receivers.  He picked apart the Cowboys' secondary like a vulture immersed in Sunday Brunch.  On the whole,  the 'Boys were horrifically bad last night, but Eli was making them look equally foolish.

Hakeem Nicks had two more touchdowns and Manningham and Smith had one apiece.  The fact we had two receivers gain over 100 yards each is astonishing to me; a Bill Parcells indoctrinated mule.  Of course I say that in jest; the astonishing part, not the part about being a B.P. mule.

A HEALTHY Offensive Line is reunited and it showed!  The holes they are creating, Ahmad Bradshaw is exploiting to the fullest.  He is the NFL's leading rusher.  And as the Offensive Line has come together, so has Brandon Jacobs' effectiveness increased in like fashion.

My dogged support of Jacobs is merely an effort to get him uncorked again.  His game is "there"; Coach Gilbride just needs to get him a handful more carries than he's been receiving.  It's not too much to ask.  I believe Brandon Jacobs can again chip the paint off helmets of would-be tacklers and trample defenders like Godzilla going through Tokyo.  I do.  But of course I say this as we all gleefully watch Bradshaw run-a-muck!

I spend a lot of time venting my frustrations regarding Coach Gilbride.  Again, last night he was passing the ball late (4:00 left) when the situation dictated otherwise; (see Eli's 3rd pick).  But for the most part I 'd like to say his plan Monday night was rather brilliant.  He is a very good offensive coach; Damn glad to have him!  But he has such an ego.  Did you see his smug little smiles on the sideline at 5:25 mark of the 4th quarter after Brandon Jacobs scored his TD to make it 38-20?  No wonder why Buddy Ryan punched him in the face ages ago.

Speaking of punching; The Giants' Defense jabbed, threw left hooks, upper cuts and straight right hands and Knocked the Cowboys Out-Cold.  They TKO'd Tony Romo early (but sloppily allowed the 'Boys to stay in the game).

Romo left the game with a broken collar bone.  He was the Giants' fifth quarterback TKO this season.  Additionally, they have effectively stopped any one's and every one's running game.

The Cowboys had no answer for the Giants' Defense.  They had no answer for the Giants' Offense either.

The divergent paths where-in these teams are headed can be summarily understood by peering into the eyes of the respective Head Coaches.  Look into the eyes of the Lone Star Boss and I see confusion and chaos looking back.  Look into the eyes of a Coach with Big Blue Focus and you understand his eyes are on the prize.

WEEK 7 Final Score:
New York GIANTS  41
Dallas COWBOYS   35


Monday, October 25, 2010

Winter Leagues Baseball; LINKS


Mexico Pacific League:

Pacific League Web Site:

Team Web Sites:

Venezuela Professional Baseball League:

Venezuelan League Web Site:

Team Web Sites:

Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League:

Dominican League Web Site:

Team Pages:

Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League:

Puerto Rican League Web Site:

Team Web Sites:

The P.R. Baseball League Website is currently down.
As soon as that gets straightened out, I will post the links.

WINTER LEAGUES coverage on


NYK ~ Knicks Invade Nets' Turf This Time

This will one day be a good ol' schoolyard fight; just a little while longer Brooklyn - Just a little while longer.  Our day will come!

Earlier this year, Mikhail Prokhorov,  new wave owner of the NJ/BKN Nets, paid for a giant ad, splashed high above 8th Avenue, just two short blocks from Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks.  Considered brilliant at the time, the ad was all the rage.  I think everyone found humor with it; everyone except Jim Dolan that is.

The ad was designed as a lead-up to the LeBron James Sweepstakes and coming on the heals of the Draft Lottery, where Mr. Prokhorov offered quite a few provocative lines regarding the future of the Nets franchise.  The finished peice would have featured Prokhorov, Jay-Z and LeBron James....(if only).  The Lottery Draft didn't turn out the way the Nets would have liked, but the ad was still a stroke of genius although not landing LeBron, again, provided a minor disappointment for the franchise.

pic ~ article above.

This afternoon I found The Garden's response.  While not as large as the ad the Nets had painted on 8th Avenue by any stretch; without any notice except by those driving down Atlantic Avenue (and not even then) the Knicks took a different tact and bought space directly inside the footprint of Atlantic Yards; site of the Barclays Center, future home of the Brooklyn Nets.

Let this thing build up some steam.  This rivalry will go where it has never been before. 

What's left of the Carlton Avenue overpass.



OCTOBER 25, 2010

New York Football



Jerry Jones' Playhouse, TEXAS

Pre Game Thoughts:

First you have to know this; I hate when the Giants play on Sunday Night, Monday Night, Thursday Night or Sunday Late Afternoons.  I want all my Giants Football on Sundays at 1:00pm Eastern Standard Time.  Period.   OK.

Will the Giants win this game?  I feel the Giants have the personnel and ability to win the NFC East, and yes, I believe they can win this game.  But will they win?

The Cowboys are in a very bad way right now with a 1-4 record.  They can effectively slam the door on their season with another loss tonight.  However, the Cowboys have played in close games.  They aren't as bad as the record indicates.  What the Cowboys suffer from is well within their control to correct.  They keep doing stupid things, shooting themselves in the foot and accumulating penalties at a horrific rate.  All that can be corrected in a blink.  The reality of a lost season can trigger a response from this still, very talented team.  I'll even say the Cowboys have the most talent in the division.  It's just a good thing for me Jerry Jones is a clown and Coach Phillips is so ineffectual as a coach I can't begin to explain.  Otherwise, the 'Boys would be playing with more discipline.  But make no mistake, they are a dangerous team and I'm through taking obligatory shots at them.

So will the Giants win this game?

My answer has everything to do with tonight...AND...December.

In a nutshell, this is what I've been snivelling about this season.

Coach Gilbride sets up the run with the pass.  He's playing a guessing game with defenses utilizing balance and deception via the play action (when did we stop saying "fake"?  Anyone?)  But I keep asking myself what defines this offense?  - The running game or the passing game?  Is it the "Eli and Nicks Show" moving forward, with Bradshaw and Jacobs used as props for the pass?  It seems so.

But what do we turn to when we absolutely need 3yds, 4 yds, 5 yds or 2 yds?  What is Gilbride's idea of the surest fire play call?

Gilbride is a TEASE and FOOL run game play caller.  And this is what I want.  I want the Giants pounding the ball against the Cowboys all game long.  I want the Cowboys worn out by the fourth quarter.  The offensive line is gaining it's health and I want this team imposing their will on teams through a triumph of strength.  I will not waver on this.

I want the Giants handing off the ball to Jacobs and Bradshaw 35 to 40 times and pounding out yardage on the ground.  Draw the defense in, then pass if you want.   I GET....The Cowboys like to play man coverage and Gilbride is smart enough, and Eli is good enough to find a way to pick 'em apart.

What I'm saying is I want Gilbride to establish a Bread and Butter run game before it gets cold.

I GET....Eli threw in -24 degrees up in Green Bay that night several years ago.  And I also get the passing game passed us to a Super Bowl against the Patriots.  I get it.

But do not let it get lost on us Giant fans how Brandon Jacobs ran that year.  He has been playing good soldier.  His effectiveness is on an up-tick.  It's time to let him run the ball; get warmed up for 10 to 12 rushes, and then let him pound down the Cowboys "D".  We need to do that tonight and in preparation for DECEMBER.

That's where I'm coming from!

So I'll be blunt.  After everything said, the Cowboys are a better team than us Giants.  I don't think we'll win if Eli is throwing the ball 40-some times.

In a completely different thought,  The Giants defense can continue surging and really make a statement in the conference tonight by dominating the Cowboys, which they very well can.  That's without a doubt in my mind.

And so, the Giants are supremely positioned to solidify their grip on first place and effectively make Dallas disappear.  Everything is all set up beautifully for the Giants tonight.  The milk bottles are stacked up neatly waiting for us to knock em down.  Tonight signifies one of those Seasonal moments.  It's a game containing potentially devastating ramifications for one team and the ability to catapult another team to  being the toast of the Division, if not the Conference.

That's why I think we'll lose.

What can I tell you?  I already told you I root scared.

It's game time.  Go Big Blue!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rangers-Devils ~ The BATTLE of the HUDSON

New Jersey DEVILS 2-5-1
New York RANGERS 3-2-1

October 24, 2010

The BATTLE of the HUDSON Resumes

Devils:  Ilya Kovalchuk is dressed but there is still no word whether he will be skating tonight.  Coach MacLean and the New Jersey Devils have been tight lipped about yesterday's Coach's decision to make Kovalchuk a healthy scratch.  The Devils are reeling right now.  Their defense is non-existent and they are at the bottom of the League in goals scored.  They lost an embarrassing game to the Sabres by a score of 6-1.  The attempt to rest Marty Brodeur yesterday was foiled due to a poor over-all showing by both back-up goalie Johan Hedberg and any of the five uniformed Devils on the ice at any time last night.  It remains to be seen whether Johnny Mac's decisions last night will translate into a better effort on the part of the Devils tonight. 
**Ilya Kovalchuk IS starting and will be on the first line.

Blueshirts:  There's probably no better team right now than the Devils to build upon the two game win streak the Rangers have started.  Their last two games against the Maple Leafs and last night against the Bruins, both on the road, were hard earned, tough, gritty efforts that translated into the win column.  The Rangers are still without Drury, Gaborik and Prospal and will be for some time.  In their absence, Artem Anisimov has been effective and has scored 3 goals.  Brandon Dubinsky is playing some very spirited and smart hockey this season.   Brandon Prust is suited up and ready to play tonight after taking a high stick to the eye last night.  Henrik was able to enjoy his day off with few worries because Martin Biron filled in very nicely achieving a win against the Leafs.  Henrik should be feeling good after the day off and last night's win.

Brodeur however, had his day off ruined and wound up on the ice anyway.  It's hard to tell which Devils team the Rangers get tonight; whether they'll be a rededicated bunch with Kovalchuk back on the ice, or the same reeling band from the last 4 four games or so.  If the Rangers play the way they did over the last two games, it shouldn't matter which N.J. team shows up.

Enjoy the Game!

FIRST PERIOD:  Devils 0  ~  Rangers 0
Both goalies were sharp.  Martin Brodeur stopped a shot from Del Zotto of the face-off that showed me he's as good as ever.  Maybe the Rangers bring out the best and worst in him at times.  Tonight he looks spot on his game.  Henrik is holding his own; lookin' like a King.  He stopped another shot with his crown (Grrr!).

The Devils had 10 shots on goal; the Rangers 17.  Dubinsky and Callahan are leading the Rangers in ice time with over 7:00 minutes each.

Sean Avery was the victim of a bad call (!) of a high stick at the 0.40 mark.  When the 2nd period starts the Devils will continue on the PP for 1:11.  Otherwise, the Devils are 0-1 on the PP.  The Rangers had two opportunities with the man advantage and are 0-2.

Not that the Rangers have mustered anything yet, but Elias, Arnott and Parise are all non-factors thus far.

The Devils, of all things DEVILS, are losing in the neutral zone; something once upon a time unheard of.

SECOND PERIOD: Rangers 2  ~  Devils 0
MARRR - Teeee!    MARRR - Teeee!  ...So chanted the Garden Crowd.

Roszival rifled a shot from top of the circle and Fedotenko was there for a deflection 1:26 into the period after killing off the remaining penalty time to Avery carried over from the first period.   At 12:22 Brandon Dubinsky wrist-ed a pass to a centering Callahan for another deflection goal; this one came on the PP.  The Callahan goal was his first of the season.  Last night he scored his 100th NHL point with an assist.  Two deflection goals came in high traffic, in front of Brodeur, with Blueshirts virtually unharassed by a Devil defender. 

The Rangers had 12 shots on goal; the Devils 6.

MARRR - Teeee !!   MARRR - Teeee!

Jamie Langenbrunner has three penalty minors called against him so far.  The Devils had three penalties in the period and killed off two successfully.  The Rangers were 1-3 on the PP.  They committed one penalty (Roszival) and killed it.

The Devils can't cycle the puck; they can't keep the puck in the offensive zone; they've allowed the rangers to enter their zone easily and they are losing the neutral zone.  Hence, they are losing two goals to one.

Elias, Arnott, Parise, Kovalchuk.....MIA.   The Rangers need a solid third period now to close this game out in high fashion.  Allowing the Devils to get back in this will be an open door for talk of inconsistent hockey again.  They can end that conversation before it ever starts with a good period.

***Roszival now credited with goal (not Fedotenko).***

THIRD PERIOD: Rangers 3  ~  Devils 1   FINAL.
The Devils clearly carried the play in the last period.  They actually came on with fury after Kovalchuk scored his third goal of the year.  The Rangers simply could not get out of their own zone for most of the period.  King Henrik came up with a bunch of stellar saves to keep the Devils at one goal.  But the Rangers were able to close out the period in a most satisfying way.  At the 1.01 mark the Devils pulled goalie Martin Brodeur and with exactly one second left in play, Dubinsky fired a shot from the defensive zone and found an empty net for a 3-1 Ranger lead and a vicory one tick later.

At 1:59 Lundqvist made a beautiful save on a shot by Josefson.  Shortly after he made another save with chaos in front of the net where he thought the puck was behind him.  He made the save and looked back as the Rangers cleared the puck in front of Henrik to the side boards.  He stopped 27 shots on goal tonight.  Henrik is now 19-7-5 versus Martin Brodeur.

In a game that started out as another tight battle between the rival goalies, the Rangers were able to open things up in the second period and make it stand.  The Rangers tightened up their game late again, just like their last game, where they did not committ a penalty down the stretch.  They looked either a little tired or complacent in the 3rd period from about 10 minutes on.  The Kovalchuk goal inspired the Devils to play better but the Rangers withstood the Devil charge and protected what was a one goal lead.

The Rangers certainly had chances to up their goal total tonight, but in the end it's recorded as a 3-1 win.  The Rangers have won three in a row now.  Their season record improves to 4-2-1.  And remember they've been doing this without the services of Gaborik, Drury and Prospal....Ay?!   The Thrashers visit 7th Avenue and 33rd Street this Wednesday night.

The Devils drop to 2-6-1 in this early season.  They now have 15 goals for and 30 goals against.  Coach MacLean and Asst. Coach Larry Robinson have their hands full.  There are still a lot of wrinkles in this team that must be straightened out.  As we've seen, Coach Mac is already wielding a hot iron.  Things got just a little gloomier for them tonight; ~ Simply beDeviling.


Saturday Night Ice

New York Rangers: Grinding Out Two in a Row
The Boston Bruins tried pounding on us early and often tonight in an attempt to set the tone with their clear advantage in size.  The Rangers helped the Bruins' cause by putting them on the Power Play 10 times for a gross 37 minutes.  What put a monkey wrench into Boston's game tonight was a very gutsy and gritty effort by the visiting New York BlueShirts.  And yes, an early lead can thwart the best laid plans like the one the Rangers jumped out to this evening.

The Bruins couldn't keep pace with the rate in which Anisimov (3rd), Frolov (2nd) and Staal (1st) scored theirs goals.  After correcting their penalty issues by not getting one called against them in the third period and a spectacular, not to mention lead preserving save by Henrik, the Rangers secured their second straight victory against their second straight Original Six opponent.  Tonight's victory comes on the heals of a win over the Maple Leafs where by Martin Biron gained his first victory as a Ranger in a great over-all effort by the BlueShirts.  So as Ranger fans, we'll throw out the junker against Colorado and stick with the results of these last two games.

They had ten penalties called against them.  They killed nine of them; incredible in it's own right.  Some of them sat well with me like the one (instigating) called on Avery.  He was standing up for our guy; Fedotenko.  That's cool; nothing stupid on his part; just hockey.  Whatever Torts told them during the 2nd intermission worked because the Rangers didn't have an infraction the whole 3rd period.  The other side of that coin is the four minute power play the Rangers were on resulting from a high stick to Brandon Prust in which the could not convert into a goal.

But it was a very solid third period indeed and 35 saves by Henrik Lundqvist; one of them a game saving Beauty was just enough to hold off the hard hitting Bruins.  Henri even made one of his patented Head-Butt saves while they were killing a power play at the 12:40 mark of the 3rd period.  I hate when he does that.

Early in the 2nd period Marc Staal came out of the penalty box, picked up the puck in the neutral zone and entered Boston's end unimpeded.  His goal put the Rangers up 3-1 and they made it stand.

Final score Rangers 3; Bruins 2.

Prust was injured as he took a high stick to the eye.  There was substantial bleeding and he did not return.

The Rangers are now 3-2-1 on the season.

Tomorrow, the Battle of the Hudson resumes as the Rangers and the Devils face off in MSG.

New Jersey Devils:  Be-Deviling Situation
The New Jersey Devils have arrived at Hell's door in a hand basket.  They picked an unusually odd home date to rest Martin Brodeur as Johan Hedberg made his first start and the even more peculiar situation surrounding Ilya Kovalchuk and Coach MacLean just screams for attention.

Coach MacLean decided Kovalchuk would be a healthy scratch tonight.  Sitting the Devils' leading scorer was simply put by MacLean as a Coach's Decision.  Is Coach Mac sending a message to the rest of the team?  You betcha.  You always go after the featured guy.  The thought is if you go after him, no one feels safe.  But this comes awfully early in the season doesn't it?  What will he resort to in December, January and February?

We figured out this would be a different Devils team than we're accustomed to.  This edition would be a scoring team with less emphasis on defense compared to years prior.  But what we didn't anticipate with a Lou Lamoriello team is the chaos that is encroaching upon the Devils' locker room on the heals of the Giant Dollar signing.

After tonight's 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Buffalo Zach Parise offered, "'s gonna be a long year if we keep this up."  That's a pretty accurate assessment.  The Devils are now 2-5-1.  What should sound alarms is the fact they have only scored 14 goals this season while allowing 27.  Six goals against, came tonight and seven more in one earlier game.

Don't go sticking pitch forks into these guys yet.  It's only October.  But these guys are clearly bedeviled by problems at the outset.  There's plenty of time to straighten things out.  The question moving forward is...

Can they?

New York Islanders: Tavares Hat Trick; 3 Game Streak Ends
If this strikes you as a surprise, shame on you.  But here it is; - The New York Islanders are the best team in the Metropolitan area right now.  They along with PITT sat atop of the division with ten points each entering tonight.

But they couldn't ride a John Tavares Hat Trick, falling to the Florida Panthers 4-3 this evening in Florida.  They played from behind but kept coming back.  They?  Tavares, excuse me.

Their three game win streak was snapped with this loss.  They play again Wednesday when they begin a home and home series with the Habs.

Consider yourself updated.