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Archive for April, 2012

Tough Night at the Garden…

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Rangers let game become a capital idea.

The Rangers have battled through a lot of adversity to get where they are this season.  The Washington Capitals let it be known that the Rangers have another obstacle to overcome as they attempt to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

In game 2 of their best of seven series, the Capitals jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.  The Rangers struggled to generate much offense early on, and they eventually mustered a goal at the end of the first period to bring the game to a 2-1 Washington lead entering the first intermission.  The second period was a defensive battle, as neither team was able to find the net.  It was an extremely clean period as both teams avoided taking penalties as well.

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Have a drink for the Rangers - on the rocks

Entering the third period, the Rangers and Capitals continued their defensive battle, until Mike Knuble took a penalty slashing Ryan Callahan.  The Rangers captain then struck less than a minute later and tied the game up for the home team.  Just when it looked like the Rangers had the momentum coming back from two down, they took two penalties in succession, and Alexander Ovechkin finally showed up to the series and gave Washington a 3-2 lead with a sick slap shot from just inside the blue line.  The Rangers tried to get a tying goal, and even hit the post on a Michael Del Zoto slap shot with less than a minute left, but they didn’t find the net and went down in defeat.

In some ways, I thought the Rangers played better tonight then in the game they won on Saturday.  They were the far more aggressive team, outhitting Washington 45 to 35.  They also doubled their shots from game 1, recording 28 in tonight’s contest.  However, hits and shots don’t win games, and the Rangers inability to get that last tying goal cost them dearly.

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You say Oh Vech Kin, we say - see for yourself on video below

To me, Alexander Ovechkin is the story of the game.  Three years ago he was looked at as the best player in the game.  He was scoring damn near 60 goals every year and leading Washington’s fast-paced offense to a top seed every season.  However, this year Dale Hunter has changed the Capitals style to a defensive mind-set, and OV has lost a lot of ice time as a result.  In tonight’s game, Ovechkin was only on the ice for 13 and a half minutes, which was the 12th most on his team.  However, he seems to be in good spirits about his role.  He also managed the last laugh, as he rose up tonight at the end of the game and reminded everyone about his shot and his ability to score goals in big moments, winning the game for the Caps.

I expect the Rangers to bounce back from this game, however this will be more of a dog fight then I anticipated after watching Game 1.  Washington plays a similar style of hockey to the Rangers.  They are strong defensively, have really good goaltending in rookie Braden Holtby, and they have skilled players who have a history of making big plays.  The Rangers will have their hands full with this team, though I still believe New York is the better team.  As a Ranger fan I went from being extremely confident that we would advance, to cautiously optimistic.  We all know goaltending ultimately wins in the playoffs, and even though Lundqvist didn’t have his best game tonight, he still made unbelievable saves in key moments and my faith will remain with him to beat out a mostly unproven kid in Holtby.

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We’ll see you Wednesday in Washington for what should be another well-played defensive battle!

Ovechkin:

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Heat outpace Knicks, Pacers out heat Magic

04/30    Knicks 94  –   104 Heat

04/30     Magic 78  –    93 Pacers


We ‘Knee’d Help!

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All you knee is love

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sometimes the knee bone is not connected to the leg bone

In what was a highly anticipated first night of the NBA playoffs, two similarly tragic accidents happened. The Chicago Bulls PG, Derrick Rose, fell down to the ground hard with little over a minute left in their game 1 win against the 76ers Saturday afternoon. There were a lot of critics stating that Rose shouldn’t have even been in the game at the point of injury with their double-digit lead and so little time left, but Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau defended his decision by saying, “He’s got to play, and the thing is, we sat him ’till (the 7:52) mark of the fourth and he’s got to work on closing, he’s got to work on finishing. Our team, we didn’t handle that part great. That was what I was thinking.” Rose’s injury ended up being a torn ACL which will remove him from the rest of these playoffs, as well as preventing him from being able to participate in this upcoming Olympic games.

Down in South Beach two atrocities happened. One was the actual game 1 match-up between my Knicks and the countrywide hated Miami Heat, and the second was the devastating and heartbreaking season ending injury to fan-favorite rookie, Iman Shumpert. Shumpert’s injury ended up being a torn ACL as well and coincidentally located on his left knee, which is the same knee as Rose. Iman was dribbling the ball up the court midway through the third quarter when he tried to dribble behind his back and pulled up in agonizing pain while falling straight to the ground. As I was watching the game, I stood up at the sight of Sumpert collapsing and turned to my fellow Sports Debaters writer, NYBobby, and said “His season is over.” Unfortunately I was right and now the Knicks are going to have to find a replacement for their best perimeter defender.

Although the skill level of these two players are incomparable, with Rose being last seasons MVP and Shumpert being just a rookie, the impact of the injuries are just as substantial. Throughout the regular season the Bulls had to play without the injury-prone Rose for 27 games and succeeded at a remarkable rate with their deep bench and solid defense. But let’s put that in perspective by remembering that was the regular season and the Bulls are infinitely better with Rose on the court and now they stand no chance of making the Championship run they once were shooting for. Luckily for the Bulls, they have their first round match-up against the fast-crumbling Philadelphia 76ers and should still be able to make it to round 2 sans Rose. The Knicks are not that fortunate because their first round match-up is against the now Eastern Conference favorite Miami Heat. The loss of Shumpert was felt immediately around the Knicks team even prompting J.R. Smith to say, “It hurts your spirits when you see your best defensive player go down like that. We have a lot of people and hopefully someone can step up for him.” Amare Stoudemire was also noticeably distraught when he said, “My prayers are out for him.” Shumpert was the Knicks key guy in shutting down the high-flying Dwayne Wade and now the Knicks are left with a huge void in their defense. I know I predicted the Knicks to be able to pull off 3 wins during this best-of-seven series, but that now seems like a stretch unless coach Woodson has something up his sleeve that we don’t know about.


NBA Playoffs Preview

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After the layoffs, the playoffs!

The NBA playoffs are here and I for one am very excited.  This season hosts some of the most exciting and intriguing first round match-ups in NBA history.  The 2011-2012 66-game strike-shortened regular season was filled with many surprises, both good and bad.  From the ageless San Antonio Spurs finishing #1 in the Western Conference to “Linsanity” spreading through the world like wildfire, NBA fans have had more than they bargained for during this compact season.  But what happened in the regular season is behind us and all anyone cares about now is that diamond hardware that looks so damn good on your finger, the Championship Ring!Here is a breakdown of each first round match-up and how we feel they will play out.

EASTERN CONFERENCE 

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Bulls screw cows; cows make milk; milk makes cheese; Philly makes cheese steaks - Bulls screw Philly

#1 Chicago Bulls vs. #8 Philadelphia 76ers

Chicago once again had an unbelievable regular season and fly into the playoffs with large expectations.  After losing to the Miami Heat last season in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls will look to move at least one step closer to that Ring this year.  Lead by last seasons MVP Derrick Rose, the young, deep, and extremely talented Bulls will continue to practice what coach Tom Thibodeau has been preaching for two seasons now…DEFENSE!  Faced with injuries all season, the Bulls have not missed a step and seem to be playing some of their best basketball.  The Philadelphia 76ers are not coming into this series with much optimism at all.  The 76ers have been the worst playoff team since the All-Star break and almost fell short of even making the final seed in the East.  Philly does have some great young talent in Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Evan Turner, but they don’t have nearly enough help around them to even challenge the Bulls.  I expect this to be a series that requires a broom…(sweep). (Prediction Bulls win 4-0) 

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Miami is hot; NY is cool; Heat melts Knicks

#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 New York Knicks

Call me biased all you want but this is without question the most intriguing and all-star packed match-up of the first round.  Yes, Miami has beaten the Knicks all three games they played during the regular season but those who have followed the Knicks would know that the team they are sending into the playoffs is a team the Heat have not faced yet.  Miami has done what everyone expected them to do by finishing in one of the top two seeds in the East and they seemed to do it pretty easily, but the Heat did show where some weakness may lie and if the Knicks can exploit that they have a chance.  Miami prides itself on shutting down the middle of the lane and forcing their opponents to shoot the perimeter jumpers…GREAT! The Knicks finally seem to have a steady rotation of players and thrive off the 3-point arc while playing off of Carmelo Anthony’s isolation.  If the Knicks play their best ball and prevent Dwayne Wade and Lebron James from getting open-court fast-break opportunities then I feel they can give the Heat a run for their money.  Hopefully the Knicks can give the Heat a handful of Steve ‘Novak’aine shots throughout the series but even if they do I still feel that Wade and James will be too much to handle. (Prediction Heat win 4-3) 

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Orlando's wand is broken - no magic; in de end Indiana

#3 Indiana Pacers vs. #6 Orlando Magic

With Dwight Howard out for the Playoffs, the Magic have absolutely no hope in winning this series.  Frank Vogel has led his Indiana Pacers to one of their more surprising and successful seasons in franchise history.  With the acquisition of David West in the off-season and the emergence of Roy Hibbert at the center position, Indiana has once again become a team to recon with.  Danny Granger has been playing great and the Pacers seem to be clicking on all cylinders.  The Magic, on the other hand, have been in straight free-fall since Dwight Howard decided he wanted to find a way to tarnish what has been a perfect start to a career.  This will be Stan Van Gundy’s last playoff series as Orlando’s head coach and he should have no trouble finding a new job with his credentials.  Ryan Anderson and Jameer Nelson will not be enough to stop a Pacers team that plays 10 players deep and throws a high-paced offensive attack for the full 48 minutes every game. (Prediction Pacers win 4-1)

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Sell tix or hawk tix? Make money either way, but my money on Sell tix

#4 Boston Celtics vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks

Even though Boston finished in the #4 seed by winning the Atlantic Division, the Hawks will have home-court advantage in this series because of their regular season record.  When the season started critics jumped all over the “old and washed up” Boston Celtics because of  their uncharacteristically slow start.  Those same critics were humming a different tune after the All-Star break.  The Boston Celtics have been playing great basketball with Ray Allen taking a lesser role coming off the bench for the first time since the beginning of his career and Kevin Garnett is looking like the same player that dominated the NBA for over a decade.  Paul Pierce has looked like the consistent, dominant scorer he has always been and Rajon Rondo has quickly become one of the most respected point guards in the NBA with his array of statistical dominating stats.  The Atlanta Hawks have once again proved to be good enough to make the playoffs, but nowhere near scary enough to threaten anyone’s progress throughout them.  Joe Johnson has looked good and Josh Smith is one of the most electrifying power forwards in the NBA, but the Hawks just don’t have enough to throw at Boston with the way they are playing. (Predictions Celtics win 4-2)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

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Cool Jazz cannot get spurred on like San Antonio

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #8 Utah Jazz

The Spurs are going to try and party like it’s 1999…and 2003, 2005, 2007.  For all you sports fans out there, those are the years the Spurs won all 4 of their NBA titles.  The one common denominator in all those seasons is a gentleman that goes by the name of Tim Duncan.  Arguably the greatest Power Forward to ever step on the hardwood, Duncan has help lead his team to an extremely surprising #1 seed in the West.  Although Duncan’s resume is undeniably incredible, the Spurs can attribute most of this seasons success to their French point guard Tony Parker, who has taken the NBA by storm this season with his fast cuts and effortless passing.  San Antonio’s coach, Gregg Popovich has lead his team to a 20-2 record to close out the season and it does not look like anyone is going to be able to stop them.  The Utah Jazz have a very talented team that made a strong push at the end of the season to hold on to the final seed in the West.  Paul Milsap will give either Duncan or Dejuan Blair all they can handle in the low-post but outside of him Utah really does not have many options.  I expect Utah to keep up with the Spurs for a couple of games but it won’t last long enough.  (Prediction Spurs win 4-1)

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Thunder will bring reign to soak Dallas

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #7 Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks were last years champions, but that was then and this is now.  Oklahoma City has been nothing short of spectacular this season, lead by 3-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant.  Russel Westbrook has also stepped up as the perfect right-hand man for “Durantula” with his speed and fearless shot.  James Harden comes off the Thunder’s bench with a consistent spark of defensive intensity and a smooth 3-point jumper.  As good as the Thunder have played this year their first round match-up will not be a walk in the park.  Dallas has an immense  amount of talent fronted by last years Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and supported with great experienced role players like Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Jason Terry.  With their playoff experience and talented team I expect Dallas to put up a good hard fight against OKC, but unless Dirk plays as his MVP-caliber self all game, every game, then I feel they will not be able to trump the Thunder.  (Prediction Thunder win 4-3)

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Denver has some golden nuggets, but Los Angeles Land-o-Lakers will cream them

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #6 Denver Nuggets

2 words…Kobe Bryant.  If you haven’t heard, this guy is pretty good.  Kobe has proven time and again that he is the most clutch player in the NBA right now and arguably ever.  He already has five rings and he is starving to match Michael Jordan’s total, by winning his sixth during the waning years of his career.  Outside of the disgusting and disgraceful Ron Artest, I have to admire the Lakers team and what they have done this year.  Pau Gasol has made the critics eat their words with his impressive play this year and although he still has some maturing to do, the Lakers Center Andrew Bynum has finally had a season the Lakers have been longing for and missing since the departure of Shaq.  The Denver Nuggets had a roller-coaster of a regular season involving injuries and players stuck in  contacts out of the country.  With all that, the Nuggets found a way to portray their excellence with solid play from everyone on their team by leading the NBA in points per game (104.1) and assists per game (24).  Denver should be able to snag a game or two from the Lakers but it won’t be enough.(Prediction Lakers win 4-2)

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Sharper clippers might cut their claws, but I see Grizzlie results

#4 Memphis Grizzlies vs. #5 Los Angeles Clippers

This will definitely be the most exciting Western Conference match-up in the first round for two reasons, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.  Unfortunately for the Clippers, two players is not enough to win a playoff series unless you’re the Miami Heat.  Paul and Griffin do have a little help from Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan but they just don’t have enough players to keep up in a best-of-seven series.  The future looks good for the Clips but Memphis is coming into the playoffs healthy and ready to continue what they started last season.  In a surprising first round upset of the #1 seeded Spurs last season, the Grizzlies kept their team together and even got stronger.  Mike Conley Jr and Rudy Gay have been playing out of their minds and DeAndre Jordan is going to have his hands full defending the Grizzlies center Marc Gasol who has finally emerged as the better of the two Gasol brothers.  This series will go to a game 7 with Memphis just squeezing it out.  (Prediction Grizzlies win 4-3)


NY Rangers Win and Advance

2-1 in 7th, Ottawa back to ice-fishing.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011030117&cmpid=ggl1bx


You Are On the Clock!

Promises, promises.

The draft is upon us.  The experts have made their prediction, the GMs have made up their draft boards and the first two picks have been made in most people’s minds.  Everyone other than Indy and Washington still has decisions to make, and we think we have a pretty good feel for who will be taken and when tonight.  The following picks were made considering there will be no trades, which probably will not be the case, but regardless, we’re confident in our stance.  Enjoy the draft and lets hope all our teams fill in their needs, especially the Jets, although they might have too many to take care of…1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

This pick has been a forgone conclusion since the end of the season.  Indy cut the best player in their franchise history, and they are hoping Luck is the man to replace a legend.  All scouts are saying he’s the best QB to come out of college since Peyton himself, but only time will tell.  He seems like a good kid who handles himself the right way.

2.Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor

The Redskins gave up 3 first round picks and a second round pick to get into position to draft RG3.  Based on all scouting reports, this was the correct move to make.  Many believe he will have an immediate impact that matches Cam Newton’s of last year, which would be almost impossible.  The fact that there has been debate about who the Colts should take with the first tells us everything we need to know about RG3.

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Matt Kalil is thought to be the best non-quarterback in the draft and it looks as if the Vikings will pick him with the third pick.  Minnesota needs to protect Christian Ponder, as he was put on his ass way too much last year.  Also, a stud Offensive lineman will only help Adrian Peterson, the Vikes best offensive weapon.

4.Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Trent Richardson is be far the most explosive RB in the draft.  In his career at Alabama he rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 TDs.  Cleveland is in need of skill players so Richardson should be their pick at the fourth spot.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Ronde Barber has retired and Aqib Talib might be going to jail, so it looks like Claiborne provided a need the Bucs can’t pass up.  Ron Cooper, the LSU secondary coach was hired this offseason to coach Tampa’s defensive backs, so it looks like the fit for Claiborne is perfect

6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

St. Louis has a huge need for a receiver, especially if they want Sam Bradford to excel.  Bradford has lacked a big play receiver, as Brandon Lloyd has been a total bust in St. Louis.  Blackmon is explosive and can do everything you need a WR to do in the NFL.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Cox is thought to be the best pass-rusher in the draft, which is rare from the Tackle position.  Jacksonville seems like they are constantly in a rebuilding mode, and defenses are best built from the inside out.  We have seen how a dominant DT like Suh can change a franchise, so Cox makes sense in Jacksonville.

8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

The Dolphins wanted a QB in the worse way, but failed in signing Manning, Matt Flynn and even Alex Smith.  Tannehill might be a reach at #8, but the Dolphins are desperate to fill this position and will grab the third best QB in the draft.

9. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE/DT, North Carolina

Coples is a local kid, playing his ball at North Carolina.  He fills the defensive need that the Panthers have up front, and he would definitely bolster the Carolina pass rush from either the D End or Tackle positions.

10. Buffalo Bills: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

The Bills signed Mario Williams and have obviously stressed improving their defense.  Barron is the strongest Safety in the draft, and in a division loaded with TE’s like Rob Gronkoswki, they will take Barron to attempt to compete in the AFC East.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

DeCastro is considered to be the best Guard coming into the NFL in a very long time.  After years of protecting Andrew Luck, look for Kansas City to take a flier on David.  The Chiefs need to improve their offensive line, especially on the interior.  This will help Jamal Charles bounce back and give Matt Cassell some more time to find his big play makers.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Luke Kuechly had a fantastic combine and Seattle has a great need for linebacker help.  Kuechly is the best inside LB in the draft, and has all the skills that will cause him to be a mainstay in the middle of Seattle’s defense for years to come.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Cardinals’ offensive line was horrible last year, and they need to do something to help Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald make plays.  Reiff might be a reach but they need to upgrade their protection.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Brockers, DE/DT, LSU

Michael Brockers will provide the Dallas defense an interior pressure that will compliment DeMarcus Ware as he plays the end.  Rob Ryan’s defense was disappointing last year, and if they could sure up that side of the ball, they would have a much better shot of competing in a strong division.  Brockers can pressure the QB from the middle and end spots on the field, something Jerry Jones would love to see from his Boys.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

Asante Samuel was just traded to Atlanta, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be a free agent after this season, so the Eagles will have a strong need at the CB position.  The Eagles play in a division with dangerous WR’s, and Gilmore looks to be the best prospect at this pick.  The Eagles offense is in place, so look for them to bolster the defense with Gilmore.

16. New York Jets: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame 

There has been debate about whether or not Floyd is the best WR in the draft period.  The Jets will be targeting a Wideout, as Santonio Holmes is their only proven starter coming back.  The best way for the Jets to cure their QB controversy is to bring in a big play target for Sanchez, and Floyd seems to fit the bill.

17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Dre Kirkpatrick has many character issues, including drug possession charges that have recently been dropped.  However, the Bengals are a team that historically don’t care much about issues such as these.  They have a strong need at the CB position as Nate Clements had a rough year and Leon Hall is out with a torn Achilles next season.

18. San Diego Chargers: Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse
The Chargers have a strong need at Linebacker, as they had a very limited pass rush this past year.  Many people are high on Jones, as he has been compared to have the raw talent as Jason Pierre-Paul.  If the Chargers grab him at #18, and is anything close to JPP, this will be great value.

19. Chicago Bears: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

The Bears are traditionally a defensive team, and Whitney will help bolster their D line.  Mercilus showed the ability to rush the QB from the end position, and played his college ball near by Chicago, as a member of Illinois.  This looks to be a good fit for the Bears, as they will be in the position to take the best available lineman at #19.

20. Tennessee Titans: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

The Titans are in the mode to bolster their defensive line.  Ingram is a talent who has been overlooked by many scouts coming into the draft.  At 6’2, 267 pounds, he can play inside or outside on the line and will help fill the Titan’s need.  He is hoping to be the second Gamecock selected in the first round.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
Upshaw is one of the best prospect on the board, so he would be a great value at the 21st pick for the Bengals.  He will provide speed on the outside and played well against the run in his days at Alabama.  He has been part of a winning program in college, and has the pedigree that the Bengals would love to add to their team.

22. Cleveland Browns: Kendall Wright, WR/KR, Baylor
Kendall Wright is a play maker, and if the Browns could add him and Richardson, they would have a lot of hope moving forward.  Wright will also help in the return game, as he was one of the nation’s best while at Baylor.  With these weapons in place, Molt McCoy will have a chance to help move Cleveland out of mediocrity in a tough division.

23. Detroit Lions: Cordy Glenn, G/OT, Georgia
Cordy Glenn will be the best player at this pick.  The Lions can use help to keep the often injured Stafford healthy, and Glenn will provide this for Detroit.  A healthy Stafford is extremely important for Detroit’s rebirth, and this will be their focus.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Hightower has the same Alabama pedigree as Richardson and Upshaw, and we all know how much Pittsburgh loves linebackers.  The Steelers have recently cut veteran James Farrior, and have a need at the indie Linebacker position.  Look for them to grab a player who played in many big collegiate game against top competition, throw him into a great defense, and watch him proper.

25. Denver Broncos: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
The Broncos have an extremely weak interior to their defensive line, and they will need to bolster in through the draft.  Dontari Poe is a 6’5, 350 pound beast.  Throw him on a line with Elvis Dummerville and put him in front of Von Miller, and watch the Bronco’s defense begin to dominate, giving Peyton a chance to shine in Denver.

26. Houston Texans: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
The Texan lost Mario Williams to the Bills this offseason, and they now have a strong need to replace him.  The Texans seem to like Irvin’s skill set.  Look for them to reach for Irvin in the first round, pair him with a great line-backing core that’s already in place in Houston, and watch him make big plays for a team on the rise.

27. New England Patriots: Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
Bill Belichick loves versatile players and McClellin fits the bill.  New England had a very weak pass rush, which showed up in the biggest moments of last years Super Bowl.  Andre Crater and Mark Anderson, though weren’t great players, were formidable Patriots who are no longer with the team.  With that said, McClellin looks like a good fit for the always contending Pats.

28. Green Bay Packers: Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame

The Packers had the worse secondary in the NFL last year, which was exploited by the Giants in the post season.  They need to target this need early in the draft, and will look at Harrison Smith for help.  Nick Collins was released this past week, furthering their need at Safety and Smith was a solid player for Notre Dame who will make the Packers defense immediately better.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C/G, Wisconsin

Teams with a great Center know how important that position is to fill.  The Ravens have been fortunate enough to have Matt Birk for years, but he won’t be playing for too much longer and Konz looks to be a perfect successor.  He can also play Guard in the immediate future, and has a ton of value this late in the first round.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech 
In the biggest game of the year, the 49ers receiving group had 1 catch for 5 yards.  They have recently added Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, but these are only band-aids to their need.  The San Fran defense is championship ready, and the most offensive weapons the 49ers could pick up can only take them to the next level.  Hill comes from a college that produced Calvin Johnson and looks like the real deal.

31. New England Patriots: Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The Patriots need a lot of help on the defensive line, and as a result will look to grab Reyes from Connecticut.  They are familiar with Kendall as he played his college ball at a near-by university.  However, there is some speculation that the Patriots will trade out of this position, thinking they could still grab Reyes at a later position.

32. New York Giants: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Jerry Reese always seems to find value late in the first round.  Jonathan Martin spent his college days blocking for Andrew Luck, giving the QB the time necessary to elevate into the #1 pick.  The Giants have all their offensive weapons in place for a run at a repeat, and they know the key to everything is Eli Manning.  Martin will help protect their franchise player and will be great value at #32.


Jets Draft Day Rumors!!!

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It's getting drafty

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To Trent or not to Trent

It seems as if the Jets were out of the spotlight for a solid 24 hours…that is unacceptable!  Thank God that Jets upper management made a call to Trent Richardson, star running back of Alabama and expected top 5 pick of the draft, less than a week before Draft day.  Richardson contacted ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini and told him that the Jets called him Sunday to verify correct contact info just in case they trade up for him.  The NFL Draft starts tonight April 26, at 8 PM EST and there are expected to be many moves among the league.  The Jets are looking to be front and center tonight in their hometowns Radio City Music Hall by making a push for the best running back available.  Right now Trent Richardson is slated to be picked 4th overall by the Cleveland Browns.  As the saying goes “history repeats itself,” and as a Jets fan I am hoping that saying rings true tonight.  Just three years ago the Jets traded up with the Browns so they could draft a quarterback named Mark Sanchez and then went on to back-to-back AFC Championship games.

Currently the Jets only have one running back worth mentioning in Shonn Greene and he has proved to be much better in the backup roll.  Sure he broke 1,000 yards in 2011, but that’s not enough in the NFL anymore, especially with new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano focusing more then ever on the Jets “Ground and Pound” approach to the game.  Rumors coming from scouts across the nation are saying that Richardson is everything that Adrian Peterson is and possibly more.  You would be a moron to say that you didn’t want to trade up for him unless the price was too high.  The Jets have positioned themselves nicely over the past few years by accumulating 10 picks for this years draft which gives them a lot of ammunition for trades.  Their first round pick is the #16 overall pick which does have some solid value in itself but they would need a lot more than that to trade up to either 3 or 4 to obtain Richardson.

To get Trent Richardson, the Jets will most likely have to give up 4 separate draft picks or maybe even possibly 5.  With huge voids in their secondary, excluding Revis Island of course, and some vacancies in the Offensive Line and Wide Receivers, the Jets are in need of their draft picks more than ever but I say screw it.  If there is any chance we can get Richardson I say do it.  There are still plenty of Free Agents that would like to play for the Jets so they can fill a lot of their holes there.  I can’t justify not trying to get one of the best College running backs in the past 10 years to come into the NFL.  I am sure there are a lot of Jets fans that would disagree with me so I say feel free to debate.

Do you feel the Jets should trade for Richardson?  If they do trade for him, how much should they give up?


Let’s Party Like it’s 1994!

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Ranger danger!

Ranger fans, its time to stand up!  I know a lot of you are hockey haters, and to be honest with you, I could care less.  The New York Rangers are getting ready for their big game 7 tomorrow night, and it is the  most exciting story in town.  The Rangers have shown heart, desire and a will to win all season long, earning the #1 seed in the East.  In this first round series, the Ottawa Senators have given the Rangers all they could handle, took a 3-2 series lead and pinned the Rangers against a wall.  New York had two choices, fight through or go home.  They chose the same path they have all season long.

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Ottawa way Senators - Rangers playin' through

In their HUGE game 6 victory over the Senators, the Rangers started off slow.  They fell down into a 1-0 hole, and things were looking very bleak going into the second period.  However, this resilient group came together in the second  and announced to the hockey world that they were not going down without a fight.  All of a sudden the Rangers started working harder, drew some penalties and clicked on back-to-back power plays.  Captain Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and rookie Chris Kreider kept pressuring Ottawa, and finally broke through for an even strength goal to give New York a 3-1 lead.  The rest of the game was all about defense and goaltending, which the Rangers have proved time and again to be among, if not the best in the game.

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As they say in Canada - mind the gap!

Going into tomorrow night’s game, I truly believe the Rangers will prevail.  Ottawa had a chance to close this series out at home and they failed.  The Rangers outplayed them all over the ice, and have been by far the classier team.  The Senators, lead by Chris Neil, have been using goon techniques all series long, as they have hit, slashed, punched and have just played dirty hockey.  In game 6, Neil blatantly tripped Ranger forward Brad Richards, then hit him in the back with his stick while Richards was on the ice.  It was just a small sampling of a number of cheap plays Ottawa has used to get under the Rangers skin.  Thus far, it has not worked.

Carl Haggelin is back from suspension and kept playing at the level he left off at before he was sidelined.  He provided a spark the team missed badly when he was out. Richards finally stepped up with a goal and an assist, and proved to the New York fans that he is the big time player that they are paying him to be.  Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Anton Stralman have been doing all the dirty work, slowing down a strong Senator attack and showing why the Rangers defense was top in the league.  Then there is the real King of New York.  Henrik Lundquist has stood on his head.  He has made one save after another from point blank range.  Going into game 7, I would much rather have him than Craig Anderson, the Senators goalie, who has given the Rangers trouble but was solved on Monday night.

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Despite offal-ficiating, a 3-2 win!

No matter what happens, it promises to be a great night at MSG tomorrow for hockey fans.  Lets hope that the team that plays the game the right way, the Rangers, prevail and look to the next round.  I strongly believe that they will come through, and that this battle against Ottawa will make them stronger in the upcoming rounds.  While the Yankees and Mets start their season, the Giants and Jets get prepared for a draft, and the Knicks finish their campaign and start thinking about a first round matchup with LeBron, the Rangers are truly the story.  If you don’t like hockey, it’s your loss.  Those of us in Ranger nation have a team that we could be proud of and are counting down the minutes to the puck drops and MSG rocks in a manner that it hasn’t in damn near a decade.