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Joe’s Blog » Sports Gab

Archive for the 'Sports Gab' Category

Goooooaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllll


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Ok, in what has been a traumatic week, with Renee leaving, Eileen having complications after delivering her new daughter (my niece) - I hear from Jon she’s OK now - and me having two lectures on a business trip to deal with (turned out great, but there was some drama involved beforehand), it seems odd to post about youth soccer, but that’s what parents do.

Will has been taking a soccer skills class on Saturday mornings (heaven forbid anyone should sleep in) and today was the culmination, a GAME.  At first, Will didn’t really know what to do - they started him on defense and he was just standing there.  When I told him to go get the ball he ran forward and picked it up with his hands.  He did that one more time and then we finally it into his head that he had to kick the ball forward.  Oddly, things kicked in after that; he  was moved to wing and he did a good job of dribbling and kicking.  He was smiling and was all over the pitch.  I was meantime trying to deal with Anna - who was cold and letting me know about it.  I put my jacket over hers and that helped for a while; it was rainy and ugly out.  OF course - you know this is coming - as we retreated to a nearby dugout to warm Anna up, Will had his big moment.  He dribbled in front of the goal and then kicked it in.  I barely saw it, but Will had scored a goal.  Yeah.  He had fun, and now we’re home.  He doesn’t yet get the team idea (once he started going after the ball, he would take it from his teammates as well as from opponents) but not bad for a four year old.  He was mixed in with first and second graders, and I swear one kid was actually TWICE as tall as he was.

Rangers’ Post Mortem


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I promise - more ANNA posts in the near future!!  I’m hoping to catch up on blogging in the next couple of weeks. 

nyrnorm.jpg

First, let’s finish off the Rangers posts, since the Sabres have already finished off the team.  It was a tough series that went six games, and I like to tell myself that the sabres lost the first three games of their next series because the Rangers wore them out. 

Now the speculation is (a) the Rangers are on their way up or (b) this was their last chance to do something good for a while.  The arguments are based on their mix of young and old players.  My view is that goaltending is at least as important as pitching in baseball, and the Rangers have a dominating goalie that is just reaching his prime:  as long as they keep Lundquist, they will be fine.   

Rangers Sweep Four Games to Zero


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Impressive since the first two games were in Atlanta, and both were one-goal margins.  The series resumedin New York with games Tuesday and Wednesday, which the Rangers won 7-0 (yes, that’s correct) and 4-2.  I think they are the only team to sweep the first round this year.

The next opponent will probably be the Buffalo Sabres, but there is a chance it will be the Ottawa-Pittsburgh winner if Tampa Bay manages to upset New Jersey.

In other news …

  • We got a foot of new snow this week, and are supposed to get more tomorrow.
  • If anyone has seen my parents, please send them home =D  .  I haven’t heard from them since they called on Anna’s birthday.  — Update, my folks checked in on Sunday, and all is OK.
  • Anna is talking up a storm lately. 
  • We had a power failure on Monday and Tuesday after winds knocked down a host of trees in the area.  Our power just went back on line yesterday afternoon.

Rangers are Going to the Playoffs


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The NYRangers clinched a playoff birth earlier this week.  I’m hoping they will make some noise in the playoffs this year, and win a series or two. Last year, the Rangers were banged up at the end of the season and were swept in the first round of the playoffs.  This year, they are finishing the season on a  hot streak (winning something like 7 of their last 10 games) and are getting solid goaltending. 

They finished 6th in their conference, and willl play the Atlanta Thrashers in the first round.  This is a better match-up for them than they might have had (the 7th place team has to play the New Jersey Devils).  Back in the day (late 1970’s) the Atlanta Flames were something of a nemesis to the Rangers, so this is interesting to an “old time” fan like myself.  Apparently, the Thrashers are an offense-minded team, so there might be alot of skating and scoring in this series.

Here’s a good web site for Rangers news and discussion:

http://www.newyorkrangerscafe.com/

(Use the sitemap to find the discussion forum, check the latest news for links to articles on the team, and be sure to scroll down to read all about the Islanders “ice girls” controversy last week - pretty funny):

Happy Easter Everyone!

Check This Out


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bike_200.jpg

Apparently, for $200 you can buy a raffle ticket to win this autographed chopper.  Proceeds benefit the PSU dance marathon.  I don’t like choppers in general (uncomfortable and, IMHO, unsafe to ride), but this one looks cute.

The LOL HILLARIOUS part, though, is this video of Joe Paterno signing the bike.  Check it out.

http://thonpass.cse.psu.edu/video/2007/joepa.htm

Here’s a link to info on the bike company:
http://www.hardbikes.net/2006bikes.html

Odds and Ends


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Not much to say this week, but I thought I’d add a few observations.

Sports

  • It’s too bad Boise State didn’t get their shot at Ohio State, because they would have creamed the Buckeyes.  I watched most of the game last night, and thought OSU looked terrible (though credit to FLA, who played very well).  I think the 51 day layoff really killed the Buckeyes, and just shows how stupid the whole system is.
  • Despite the Big Ten being exposed this bowl season, Penn State managed to sneak back in to the top twenty-five with their victory over Tennessee. =D   Now I can start building up unrealistic expectations for next season.
  • The Cowboys’ season is over.  I was so annoyed with them (see previous post) that I didn’t even watch their last game.  Turns out they lost in particularly heartbreaking fashion.  Good, I say.  Maybe this will give them some focus and edge for next season.

Music, Books, and Games

  • I’ve finally gotten Neverwinter Nights II tweaked to where I like it, and am having alot of fun with the game.  I’m about half-way through and the story is just getting interesting (seems like my character has more enemies than she first thought, and there have been some unexpected twists).  Playing a plot-based role-playing-game like this is like reading an action novel, except that you have some control over what happens and you get to try things over again if you don’t like how its going.  Overall, I think the original Neverwinter Nights was a better game.  THe great thing about both NWI and NWII is that people can program and customize the game, then put their modifications on the internet for anyone to download.
  • I actually bought a pop-music CD:  Evanescence’s second recording “The Open Door”.  They have a unique sound and, compared to most female pop singers, Amy Lee really pushes her limits vocally and lyrically.  I thought their first record was incredibly innovative.  “The Open Door” is similar in that it mixes heavy, orchestral, and goth elements with a basic pop sound.  It’s something that I can recommend to people who don’t like heavy metal but want something more interesting than the standard contemporary fare.  I had to ‘clense myself’ sly , though, by getting an extreme metalcore CD by “Heaven Shall Burn”, which is pretty hard-core stuff and not for the faint-hearted.
  • I’m in the process of trying to plow through a how-to on visual basic, to see if I can improve my programming skills.  This isn’t fitting in well with my schedule yet, though.  I was also reading a cool series of “Myth Adventure” books in the fantasy genre, but I misplaced it during the Christmas Holidays.  I’m planning to start in on the “Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” series that my sister-in-law Nicki (and Tony) got me for Christmas.

World Events

  • What is the deal with penguins?  Did the waddlers hire a publicist or something roll ?  Suddenly, I’m seeing penguins everywhere on television and in film.  When did these creatures become fashionable?  They’re flightless birds, for heaven’s sake.  What’s the point of having a bird that can’t fly!!  Are we going to have “Save the Penguins” concerts next?
  • OK, I’m not optimistic about anything with politics lately.  To divulge where I’m coming from, I’m a soft-core libertarian who basically likes “conservative” economic policy (at least in theory - low taxes, fewer regulations, etc.) but have more “liberal” views on civil liberties and foreign policy.  I mainly hate the ulterior motives of most politicians, particularly as they relate to the so-called ”war on terror”.  GWB had several chances to ”declare victory” and get us out of Iraq, but didn’t do so.  Now I suspect the new ruling party in congress do everything they can to prevent us from either winning or gracefully backing out of Iraq, because the worse that war continues to go, the better it goes for that particular party in the next set of elections.  Then again, I think both the 911 attacks and the Oklahoma city bombing were goverment plots, so take what I say about politics with a grain of salt bleh .

Anna is Killing Me =O

  • OK, I can’t sleep, I can’t get my work done, and my brain is turning to mush as I spend most of my days with a toddler.  My little devil-baby knows how to press all my buttons, and when to turn on the charm.  She’s screaming her head off at this moment because Billie is holding her so I can write this post (this is my second try, by the way).  And just to save everyone the trouble, I realize she’s cute, adorable, clever, a blessing, and that everything is/will be wonderful wink

Nits Win!


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Penn State beat Tenn. today in the Outback bowl.  Not a huge deal, perhaps, but it was Penn State’s first win over a ranked opponent this season, and set them up nicely for next season.  It looks like the extra pre-bowl-game practice helped the QB and offensive line in particular.  Also, it’s nice to have Paterno in the press box where he can’t embarrass himself by screaming at the officials.

Getting the game was not trivial for us.  First, our power went out this morning.  It came back on, but we had ice covering our satellite dish, so no reception.  I had to climb on the roof and scrape the ice off so we could get ESPN.  Good thing I didn’t go through all that trouble just to watch PSU lose.

Boise State is beating OU at halftime (though not as badly as the 21-10 score would make it seem). 

 ** Update **:  OU came back to move ahead of Boise State, then the Broncos made a dramatic play to send the game to overtime.  BSU won by one point (both teams got TDs, but BSU went for two with a trick play to win it).  It doesn’t seem that anyone is holding the game against OU, but giving credit to BSU instead.

BSU and the other so called “mid-major” teams may save the BCS, as this game is capturing some of the spirit of the early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament.  The overhyped Rose Bowl, in contrast was a total yawn-fest, and I don’t think alot of people are going to stay up to watch Wake Forest vs. Louisville tomorrow night.

Unbelievable!


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It seems that whenever I bother to watch an NFL game these days, the outcome has little to do with how well the respective teams play. 

This afternoon, for instance, it seemed to me that the Cowboys moved up and down the field against the Redskins, who were comparatively hapless and manged nothing except twoTDs on two lucky plays (one set up by a fifty-some odd yard pass interference penalty).  So as the game neared its conclusion, the score was tied, despite the fact that Dallas played much better than Washington, IMHO. 

As the end of regulation neared, the Cowboys moved the ball quickly down the field one last time and got deep into Redskin territory.  With 7 seconds left, they were in position to win with a short field goal.  Then things got strange:  the kick was blocked, a Redskin player picked it up and ran it back thirtysome yards, and the officials (who had been ultra-generous to the Redskins all game) tacked on a face-mask penalty, putting the Hapless ’skins at the Dallas 30 yard line.  There was not time left, but since the game can’t end on a penalty, the ’skins were allowed one final play: they got to kick the winning field goal after time expired.  What an annoying game. (

Catching up on PSU Stuff


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I haven’t blogged on the Nittany Lions much, but was particularly disappointed with today’s “effort” against Wisconson.  At least people can’t blame Paterno’s playcalling, as he was sidelined after a collision and didn’t play much of a coaching role in the game.  (It was an incredibly physical game and, oddly, Wisconson’s QB, Penn State’s Head Coach, and one of the Officials had to leave the game injured).

Penn state’s defense is fun to watch, but the offense is offensive.  I’m guessing the team will end up in the Alamo Bowl.  A good finish will provide momentum for next year, which should be a good season (annd maybe Paterno’s last, as its the final year of his contract).

Penn State 22 - Illinois 12


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Penn State seemed to sleep-walk through their game against Illinois.  The Illiini actually gained twice as many total yards as the Lions, but turnovers decided the game in Penn State’s favor.

Paterno’s post game comments were particularly acid - he singled out the offensive line for criticism, said the team played “l - o - u - s - y”, and said that Illinois deserved to win.  Paterno is discouraged that players on the O-Line aren’t improving as the season goes along.  We’re all wondering if there will be changes in the line-up.

PSU’s season now looks like this:  The Lions won the five games they should have won and lost the three tough games on their schedule.  Coming up are two key road games:  at Purdue and at Wisconsin.   They then finish their schedule at home against Temple and Michigan State.  I’m putting down the two home games as wins (though the Spartans are unpredictable), and I think the Lions can take Purdue.  A road win over the ranked Badgers in particular would be impressive: it would also give the Lions a respectable 9 - 3 record and, with a bowl win, sets things up for a serious championship run next season.