Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY

I know the panties you wearin' helpin' that thang look fine

It's got to be dem G-string 'cause I ain't seen no panty line

For those of y'all who don't know, just what that Puddin Tame mean,

It's that monkey, that kitty cat, that jumpin' jellybean, baby.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Applebee's Waitress to Tondar after eating all the nachos: I've never seen anybody do that before. You're gonna have the shits in about an hour buddy.


That was 90 min ago, and no dookle visits. It seems that Ashley was the one full of it.
FRIDAY NIGHT LYRICS

Snoop Doggy Dogg...

Later on that day
My homey dr. dre came through with a gang of tanqueray
And a fat ass j, of some bubonic chronic that made me choke
Shit, this ain’t no joke
I had to back up off of it and sit my cup down
Tanqueray and chronic, yeah I’m fucked up now
But it ain’t no stoppin, I’m still poppin
Dre got some bitches from the city of compton
To serve me, not with a cherry on top


Cause when I bust my nut, I'm raisin up off the cot
Don't get upset girl, that's just how it goes
I dont love you hoes, I'm out the do'
And I'll be Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice
Laid back [with my mind on my money and my money on my mind]Posted by Picasa
THE "NEW" NHL

So this morning, Comcast didn't have their 10 minute video summary up quite yet so I had to watch the Sportscenter highlights of Detroit's 4-2 victory in game 4. There, the ESPN cronies said that everybody in Canada saw the pick and roll Detroit ran and were not happy. Are they talking out of their rear? According to the below statement from the AP, are they back to officiating this like a hockey series?

SPEAKING

"It's a different standard with those two. It seems like you get credited for having the courage to call everything." - Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish on referees Marc Joannette and Dean Warren, who called 19 total penalties in the Oilers' 4-2 loss to Detroit on Thursday night. The Red Wings scored three power-play goals.

Luckily I don't have to rely totally on ESPN for my hockey info. Right Seth...

"They actually only called a third of the penalties the Oil committed. The phantom calls all went against the Wings.

The reason MacTavish's team got flagged a lot is they're either clutching, holding, tripping, slashing, cross-checking, boarding, holding sticks, roughing, or spearing every single second of the game.

I hope they replay the "pick play" that those classless cheaters are crying about. On a 5-on-3, the defenders pulled a switch to set up the right-handed sniper on the left side. The Edmonton player tried to hook Lidstrom as he was coming across, and Nick powered through the hook, which spun the Oiler on his heels. Then Nick shot it for the go-ahead goal.

On the goal that iced the game, Datsyuk carried in over the blue line and drew two defenders. One slashed him. The other started hooking him.

Pavel absorbed the slash (though his leg was buckling) and fought through the hook to just barely get the pass to Zetterberg, who had broken loose when an Oiler tried to trip him and missed at center ice.

Zetterberg deked out Roloson for a no-replay-necessary beauty. Too bad Datsyuk couldn't see it -- the hooking guy had now tackled him and was holding his face onto the ice."


How rare is this, but even Pigpen agrees with Seth...

"He's right though, if you look at the Dal-Col and Buf-Phi series you'll notice that that the skilled teams are the ones that are down right now due to the scrub teams playing the neutral zone trap - which can only be implimented effectively when you grab, hook and interfere. Now 2 years ago this was the law of the land, but one of the crackdowns in the "new" NHL is more attention paid to interference and the like. They did a good job during the regular season calling this, which has allowed Det and Dal to excel in regular season records, but now that playoffs are here it seems the refs forgot about the new rules and the scrub squads are making the actual hockey teams look like chumps."
FRANKIE WHY YOU GOTTA TEASE?

*sigh*

Tondar:

I will not be coming out to Atlanta this June. It is also looking very unlikely that I will be transferring to there as well in the next 6 months. Call me more about the later issue if you like.
Cheers,
--
Frank


There's no reason to cheer that you cocksucker.
AEROTROPOLIS II

In spite of Drake's anti-American contribution...

that's because the airports you see around you are shite. US airports aren't that nice, dude.


Frank had some thoughtful things to add...

You have a right to be skeptical. The idea of an "Aerotropolis" is being expounded by a Business Prof from Duke or UNC, who references airports in Europe, especially one in the Netherlands, as showing how airports can be huge economic engines of growth. Some argue that a big help to Atlanta growing over the last 50 years was having one of the largest airports in the South...

Just because the mainline airlines are having problems does not doom this concept; Southwest is doing well, transportation of goods by air from what I know seems solid, and having a bunch of small airlines without much pricing power might be a good thing for an Aerotropolis.

I think this idea is worth a shot-Detroit Metro is probably one of the best candidates to try this concept. But it is a pretty risky strategy. I would rather see Michigan focus on bringing smarter people to the state along with Federal money, along with ending sprawl.
AEROTROPOLIS

From James...

"With most major airlines struggling to stay out of bankruptcy, i don't know why anyone would predict that airports will become the central focus of urban planning. am i crazy, or are these professors stupid?

"Airports are driving and shaping business location and urban development".


I always saw airports as remote locations that have been completely detached from urban development in the same way as power plants. oh well, i guess michigan can't excel at everything."
OUR NATIONAL SOUL

From Seth...

"So the president spoke out today against people singing the national anthem in Spanish, after a CD of the translated Star Spangled Banner was released. Here's his comments:

"One of the things that's very important is, when we debate this issue, that we not lose our national soul. One of the great things about America is that we've been able to take people from all walks of life bound as one nation under God. And that's the challenge ahead of us."

First of all, since when did the English language become our "soul?" The French could make that claim about their language -- as its Latin, Gallic and Frankish roots, poetic form, and tasteful application of a variety of tenses and conjugations are a direct reflection of French culture. But English to Americans is just a means of communication, able to be shortened, altered or added to at need in order to serve the will of the one communicating. It bears little resemblance to its Germanic roots, and even its moder form (think Shakespeare) is incomprehensible to contemporary speakers. To us, it's just a communicative tool, a device whose value is its ability to do its job.

I don't think the president really understands what it means that "we've been able to take people from all walks of life," and incorporate them into American society. It seems his vision of the melting pot is that everyone must convert to Anglo-Saxon soup before jumping in.

I don't know why it chaps my @ss me so much when our leaders use the symbols of our country without demonstrating they know what they're symbolizing. Our flag and national anthem and pledge of allegiance and citizenship rules and oath of office, etc. are meant to have much greater meaning, in my opinion, than pure Old European-style nationalism. We don't toast to King and Country; we toast to our country's ideals: To peace. To liberty. To pursuit of happiness. To Democracy. To God. To rights. To the f-ree press. To privacy. Yada yada.

In that, I think we don't praise our country for being our country (nationalism) so much as we praise it for what makes it great.

Likewise, I think the Star Spangled Banner isn't about everybody singing the same song so much as demonstrating a shared vision of the great American ideals weathering an impossible assault, as symbolized by the risilient flag at Fort McHenry.

I think it's a greater statement about America, and its existence as an amalgymation of all of the world's cultures, that our national anthem be sung in whatever language its citizens choose to sing it in. Why should we not feel patriotic when people of Latin descent sing in their native language about the American Flag still standing at a fort protecting Baltimore and Washington, D.C. after a night-long bombardment from English ships? It's the image, not the language that matters.

I agree with the president that immigrants ought to learn English, but that's for their benefit, not everyone else's. We have to make it available in public schools to be taught, and we have any obligation to go out of our way to make it easier not to learn English (although it can be a nice thing to do in some cases). But a Chinese family who owns a Chinese Restauraunt in Chinatown is still American.

If Chinese makes more sense to them, let 'em sing the praises of their adopted country in Chinese, and all the while imagine the British bombardment of Fort McHenry as the Chinese govt.'s attack on the American ideals of liberty. If Spanish makes more sense to them, let them substitute oppressive poverty for the oppressive gunfire, with Fort America still standing as a beacon of wealth and opportunity.

I say let 'em sing."

Fair enough Seth, But can you historically think of a nation not defined by its borders, language and culture?

In addition, if the immigrants don't respect our borders and language do you think they would still toast "To peace. To liberty. To pursuit of happiness. To Democracy. To God. To rights. To the f-ree press. To privacy. Yada yada?"
VAGINA CARTER

Some of you were wondering why I referred to Vince Carter as Vagina Carter in my Playoff preview. Well, for those of you that don't follow the NBA as closely as Tondar, the word on the street is that he is soft. Two great zingers illustrated that point today. The first was from CNNSI...

"[Vince Carter] was out there trying to play tough, which we all know he's not."

-- Pacers point guard Anthony Johnson, commenting on Vince Carter's trash talking and facial expressions in Game 2 of the Nets-Pacers playoff series.


And of course, we all know the Sports Guy is never going to miss a setup like this...

The WNBA's 10th-Anniversary Celebration

And that sentence is funny enough in itself. But we can even vote for the All-Decade team on WNBA.com! I spent a good 12 hours debating whether to e-mail John Hollinger under a fake ESPN e-mail address pretending to be an editor of our Web site, then demanding that he sift through the past 10 years of WNBA stats and prepare a 5,000-word statistical analysis for his own All-Decade team (complete with the PER stat), just to see how bummed out he would be about the request on a scale of 1 to 10. Then I decided that it was too cruel. He's busy enough.

(As for the All-Decade team ... screw it, I'm voting for Vince Carter as one of my 10 picks. Nobody can stop me.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


He's not a Wing anymore, so I doubt he can blow this 4-2 lead. I'm goin' to bed!

It's a new day
Spread my wings
I'm doin' things my way
It's a new dayPosted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


The monument, now in ruins, consists of a circular group of large upright stones surrounded by a circular earthwork. This is the best preserved and most celebrated of the megalithic monuments of Georgia. Hawkins suggested that ancient peoples used the monument to anticipate a wide range of astronomical phenomena, including the summer and winter solstices and eclipses of both the Sun and the Moon. Posted by Picasa
THOUGHTS ON GAME 1

Well it looked like it was back to work time Sunday night. Detroit easily won 92-74. In spite of the traps, forced turnovers, and the great shooting by the Bucks early on, The Pistons showed what kind of team they truly are. I especially liked the way they shut down Michael Redd and made Jamaal Magloire and Andrew Bogut pretty ineffective inside. My loan dissapointment was seeing that same old Detroit offense grow stagnant from time to time. They can get away with it in the early rounds, but if they the same thing against the Spurs or Heat they will be forced to pay for their scoring droughts. I'm also concerned about Rip Hamilton's ankle. Everybody is telling me that he is alright. But this time of year it is hard to tell what is the truth, and what is misinformation meant to confuse the opposition. Let's hope for a speedy recovery on the NBA's most fit athlete.

But anyways, here are some quick hits on game 1...

  • I liked how Detroit was able to get some minutes to the bench. Hopefully this trend will continue and we'll see Delk and Hunter get more than 13 and 10 minutes respectively.
  • Did you catch the halftime show? I was amused to see Jeff VanGundy look just as worn out and tired as ever. You'd think with the money he was making, he would get the surgery to remove the bags from under his eyes.
  • Also did anybody notice the fine lookin' honey sitting behind Terry Stots? She was on the scorers table behind a monitor. They didn't show her very much. But they certainly showed her enough to reveal her hottiness.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


My home is in your jungle
With your skies so blue
Those monkeys gave us much to love
you copy me I'll copy you Posted by Picasa
BAD BAD IDEA

From Seth...

"In the annals of bad ideas, a Liza Manelli lookalike contest in Detroit is right up there with the rusty nail sock hop...

It's the Liza Minnelli look-alike contest Tuesday at the Music Hall, followed by a screening of Minnelli's 1972 musical, "Cabaret."

And the event is free. Wow! Does it get any better for fans of divalicious pop culture?


The good news is Ann Arbor should be safe from transvestites for one night -- always a worry once you've lowered your standards to 7 or 8 beer girls."
KATHERINE WATCH

Katherine survives the bomb and fires off an e-mail just before the toast timpani sounds...

"Salamo everyone!

I hope this email finds you all doing well. For starters, I am sure some of you have been watching the news and saw that Egypt was bombed yesterday. I am fine, and I was no where near Dubai- the area that was bombed. I am in Alexandria, which is quite far away. There were 3 sites and bombs that were set off with the goal of killing tourists. No worries, again I am fine and will come home next weekend. Just wanted to let you all know, thanks for your emails and concerns.

This week had its ups and downs, especially with the events in Egypt yesterday. I want you to take a minute and realize how lucky you are in your life. No matter how bad you think it is, we are lucky for what we have. The more and more I go abroad, the more and more I appreciate life, family, and friends. That is what it is all about- not how much money you make or what possessions you have. Life is bigger than that. The richest man in the world will never be happy because it simply isn't good enough- he wants more. What we all need is people we can love and spend our lives with!

On my walk to school this week, I saw a man with his little baby picking through the trash to find something to eat. Whoa. This really hit me, and it will always be an image in my memory. I can't imagine life like that, and it makes me want to help people all the more. We all have so much, and yet complain about the little things (I know I do!). Another example is the family that lives outside of my school. They live in a one room shack with 4 kids, 1 baby, a mother, and a father. They all sleep in the same bed and wear the same clothes everyday. Each day as I go to school, I see them and feel so guilty for living the life I have. I want to give them everything. Then, I see the children laughing and playing everyday. They are so completely happy with nothing. They can entertain themselves without having playstations, IPOD's, and any of the things most of us call entertainment. So, take a minute to be thankful for all that you have, and also see if there is something you can give back to others less fortunate.

Alright, moving on..... as for my teaching here, it has been going really well. I have taught at a couple of different schools and really enjoyed it. Today I got to teach the kids again, and that is always fun. I have taught adults and kids, and I have one lesson left tomorrow. Tonight I got to teach the adults the body parts, and we played "Simon Says." It was so much fun! I learn from them, and they learn from me! Teaching English is really rewarding, and I have learned a lot during this program. If anyone is considering teaching English abroad, this is the place to come to get certified! They offer really great trainings and free trips, which none of the other TEFL programs offer. Plus, it is a beautiful city and the people are so wonderful. It is going to be really hard to say goodbye in a few days.

This weekend I had my first opportunity to go inside a mosque. I put pictures up on RINGO of the mosque I visited here in Alex. You have to take your shoes of to go in, and the women and children go in a side door and are seperated from the men. It was really awkward being there, and I felt really uncomfortable since EVERYONE was staring at us, so we didn't stay for more than a few minutes. The architecture is so gorgeous!

Tonight our building manager is cooking us dinner again. Hussein is so sweet, and his food is delicious. It is a bit spicy, so I will have to be ready for that again!

Only a few more days in Alexandria. WOW. Then I am off to travel around and then head home next weekend. This week I am finishing up things here and spending time with local friends at cafes before I head out of here. Just as I am really enjoying my time and feeling comfortable here, it is time to go. I considered staying, but it is just not good timing now. I have to get home to work some more and then head out on the next adventure.

Yesterday was one of my favorite days here. It was the Muslim holiday of "Smelling the Breeze." That is what it really is! Everyone spends the day eating eggs and rotten, salty fish as well as spending the day on the beach. We were invited to our secretary's family's house on the beach where they cooked for us and we got to spend the entire day living like Egyptians! It was a really great cultural experience, and I am so lucky to have met such generous friends here. I have learned more than I ever imagined I would!

OK, I have to go home now... it is dinner time! I miss you and love you all! I will email you again sometime next week!

Besitos!

Kat
WINGS GAME 3 PREVIEW: A NEW SPORT

From Seth...

We'll see tonight whether the Wings, the best regular-season road team in NHL history, can continue that success in Edmonton, and take back the series.

Our success in the regular season, however, seems to mean nothing, since this is an entirely a different sport we're playing. You see, in the regular season, we were playing hockey, which is a sport of passing and shooting and precision and good skating and good defensive positioning and exhaustive work every shift.

What we're watching, it seems to me, is more like a strange version of football on ice, where the players attempt to get their stick out of an opponent's hands long enough to jam it at a rubber puck, which then may hopefully bounce off enough people so as to randomly end up in the net. And for some reason, the teams (one much moreso than the other) are made up of a bunch of small-guy skill athletes, which seems like exactly the wrong body type for a tackling sport.

The great irony is that Edmonton used to be a team that complained about the neutral zone trap, and the refs' tendency to not call the holding/hooking/interference penalties that made it work. Now, seemingly because they've convinced themselves they can't win mano-a-mano against the Wings, the Oilers have regressed about 700,000 years in Evolution, or at least two years in hockey evolution.

If four penalties for punching people in the face in Game 1 didn't make it clear, how about the ice time of goon George Laraque looking like that of a 1st-line star? Is Laraque playing well? Not especially. He loses most every battle behind the net for pucks and gets manhandled by Andreas Lilja all over the place (if he's in there in a Kris Draper/Michael Peca role, I doubt it's Andreas Lilja he's meant to be neutralizing). Laraque's specialty is punching, clawing, grabbing, holding, interfering, etc. And fighting, if anyone's dumb enough to do that with him.

I don't want to take away from the things the Oilers are doing right, or the things the Wings are doing wrong. Edmonton is getting great play from Michael Peca and Ethan Moreau. And defensively, they're hustling and working hard to block a lot of shots. Meanwhile Detroit has gone back to its ineffective "put the puck on net" mentality that leaves no room for fake shots (to get around the diving Oilers), or [gasp] actually aiming the puck at an empty part of the net.

Of course, there's a reason they're taking those bad shots: there's nothing else to do with the puck. During the season, we could cycle it down low, waiting for an opportunity for a forward to shake his man and drive toward the net. Where are those forwards? Zoom out. Zetterberg's been tackled by Peca. Laraque is sitting on Datsyuk. Steve Staios is nailing Holmstrom to the boards. Raffi Torres has somehow managed to get his own arm into Shanahan's sleeve. And Chris Pronger is running around the ice with Schneider's stick playing "keepaway." Is any of this legal? Well, in the old NHL it wasn't, in the "new" NHL it wasn't and it was enforced, but in this new contact sport we've invented, we just call it "playoffs."

It's telling that Edmonton players are lax to admit they're using the "trap." But that's exactly what it is they're playing: 4 guys hanging back on the line and one guy cycling around center. The way you beat the trap is to dump the puck in, or cut through it with such speed that they can't pick you up. Its weakness is that there's no way someone skating backwards at the blue line can beat a forward with momemtum coming across the red line to a puck in the corner...unless instead of going after the puck, he interferes with the rushing player.

That, right there, is the call that Gary Bettman specifically said would be enforced. And that is the very call that isn't being enforced. It's not being enforced in the neutral zone, and it's not being enforced in the defensive zone.

The Wings, for their part, have remained classy about the blatant reinstitution of cheating. They're keeping to their rush-and-pass style and laying off the jerseys, for the most part, of the Oilers during those rare times when Edmonton has briefly visited the Detroit end. But it's going to kill them if the same keeps up. So far, they've been kept alive by the fact that Edmonton isn't all that great at passing, Legace has been spectacular except for a boner two minutes at the end of the 2nd in game 2, and Roloson, though it wouldn't seem it by the stats, has been mediocre at best.

That game-winner from Maltby didn't redirect. It was a soft goal. The other Maltby goal, the one that tied it in Game 1, was off a rebound he should have controlled. That skate richochet by Williams in Game 2 was another bad goal for him; the moron forgot to put his pad against the post with a Wings player behind the net on that side. I guess he figured his skaters had Williams sufficiently grabbed (if he was wearing tear-aways, Williams would have been naked after that play) so that he wouldn't have to play his position. Roloson made over 90 saves in the first two games, but only one or two of that monstrous total could really be considered non-routine.

And Edmonton, a team that screamed for change when their rival Calgary built a team around that style, finally understands why the Flames and Ducks (under current Wings coach Mike Babcock I should add) and Devils and Wild and Lightning swore by this made-for-playoffs brand of hockey for so long: because in a skill sport, the more skilled team will usually win, but when you take the skill out of the game, it's down to pluck, luck, and hard work to win. Oh, having a monster like Laraque helps.
NOW THAT'S EFFICIENT

From Foxnews...

"For the first time, scientists measured both the mass of hot gas that is being sucked into nine older black holes and the unseen super-speedy jets of high energy particles spit out, which essentially form a cosmic engine. Then they determined a rate of how efficient these older black hole engines are and were awe-struck.

These black holes are 25 times more efficient than anything man has built, with nuclear power being the most efficient of man-made efforts, said study lead author Steve Allen of Stanford University and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center."


The story ties itself to the current price of gas. But it's still pretty interesting to learn a little more about our universe. Be sure to check out the pictures of just how much a black hole really does suck.
PIC OF THE DAY


What is the difference between a redhead and a hooker with AIDS ?
After spending your money on the hooker, you probably had a good time and you
might not get AIDS... Posted by Picasa
SETH'S NHL PLAYOFF PREVIEW

This was written last week but due to Tres coming over I didn't get a chance to post until now...

EAST

1 Ottawa v. 8 Tampa Bay

This will be more interesting than you realize, unless Hasek returns. Look for Tampa Bay to win one in Ottawa, then get trounced as the series progresses by Spezza, Alfredsson, Heatley, and a fantastic defensive corps. Result: Senators in 6.

2 Carolina v. 7 Montreal
Another great matchup, and this one doesn't have a real favorite. The Canes were great all season but limped into the finish line once Eric Cole went down. Eric Staal is huge for them, Justin Williams has gone on a tear, and acquisitions like Corey Stillman and Doug Weight make the Canes dangerous, but Gerber isn't a great goalie. Meanwhile, Montreal's Christobel Huet is the hottest Frenchman since Napoleon, and Alexei Kovalev can do some magical things. On the other hand, the Canes OWNED Montreal in the four games they played this season, including one after Cole went down. The scores: 5-3, 7-3, 8-2, 5-1. The playoff result: Carolina in 7.

3 New Jersey v. 6 New York Rangers
The Bridge Series should be a good one. New Jersey comes in the hottest team in the NHL, with Brodeur and Gionta two of the top three fantasy performers for the month of March. But New York, behind Jagr and their rookie netminder Lundqvist, have been a fearsome squad. However, Brodeur hot coming into the playoffs is something we've seen before, so once the Devils neutralize Jagr, the Rangers' triumphant return to the post-season will be a short one: Devils in 5.

4 Buffalo v. 5 Philadelphia
With Petr Forsberg back, the Flyers are a top-tier team. They also got Joni Pitkanen to return, which makes the loss of Kim Johnsson a bit easier to digest. However, a team without its captain can get erratic in the playoffs, so with Keith Primeau sidelined, and no consensus on which goalie can stink the least for them, the Flyers are vulnerable. Buffalo comes in really hot, with Chris Drury and Daniel Briere hitting their strides at just the right time. Ryan Miller was questionable to start the playoffs, until he responded with a four-game span of extra goodness. The other goalie, Biron, then shut out the Hurricans to close the season. These guys are hungry. Buffalo in 6.

WEST

1 Detroit v. 8 Edmonton

The Oilers gave the Red Wings fits at the beginning of the season. They're not a fantastic team, with Dwayne Roloson still not quite comfortable with his new surroundings. They get good production up front, but what they do best is bang the ever-living you-know-what out of you. Meanwhile, Detroit has a big question mark in whether late-season injuries Pavel Datsyuk, Rob Lang and Matthieu Schneider are well enough for a playoff run. But the Wings go deep, and Zetterberg and Lidstrom can carry them. Mike Babcock knows it's important to make this a short series so they're not flying to-and-from Alberta through 7 games. But give Datsyuk time to get his rhythem back. Wings in 6.

2 Dallas v. 7 Colorado
If there's a better No. 7 seed, let me know. Colorado has Sakic and Blake and Tanguay and Hejduk. Marek Svatos is done for the season, but the rest of the team is intact. Jose Theodore is a big question mark. Dallas looked strong right up until a few weeks ago, when Modano got dinged a bit, and the team cooled. I think they'll get over it and we'll have a great series, with Marty Turco coming out of it hot and ready. Stars in 7.

3 Calgary v. 6 Anaheim
Haven't I seen this matchup before? Oh wait, no, that was a wrestling match. I'm glad these two teams get to play each other, seeing as they're the most likely candidates to try the clutch-and-grab game one last time. The Duks have opened things up a bit, but they can't beat Calgary. Kiprusoff is stinkin' good right now, and Dion Phaneuf is a young Pronger. The Flames should win an easy 4.

4 Nashville v. 5 San Jose
In the first half of the season, this matchup would have been a joke, as the Predators were going step-for-step with the Red Wings and San Jose was limping. Then Joe Thornton came to town, and the Sharks lit up. He's my candidate for MVP, and without Tomas Vokoun, the Predators aren't as good as their 106 points. They'll have a tough time fighting off the hot Sharks. San Jose in 5.


Round 2:

Ottawa v. Buffalo
-- If Hasek's back to playoff form, it'll be his old team that's stymied.

Carolina v. New Jersey -- Gotta like Brodeur to do his thing, and against a team that doesn't play defense, the Devils can score.

Detroit v. San Jose -- The only team that could beat San Jose is Detroit, where Henrik Zetterberg and Nick Lidstrom did a marvelous job frustrating Thornton in previous games.

Dallas v. Calgary -- In a first-round series I'd go with Calgary, as the Stars heal and Kippy's hot. But things change in two weeks, and you'll see some hungry Stars.


Conf. Championship

Detroit v. Dallas
-- The Stars will be formidable, but if you match them up against Detroit, the Wings are the same team just better. Would make a great series once both teams are firing on all cyclinders, but Dallas will be exhausted and fall apart near the end.

Ottawa v. New Jersey -- Again, you can't bet against Brodeur in the playoffs, while hot Ottawa teams have fizzled here like the Philadelphia Eagles.

Stanley Cup Finals:

Detroit v. New Jersey
-- The question is, will it be Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg taking us this far, or will we be counting on lucky goals by Lang, Holmstrom and Shanny and solid Lidstrom-like play by Lidstrom? If it's the former, the Devils don't have a chance. If it's the latter, the Devils don't have a chance. If all of these guys freakishly go cold, then Yzerman will whip up Dan Cleary and Mikael Samuelsson into frenzy and the Devils don't have a chance. Brian Gionta is useless so long as Kris Draper's on the ice, and same goes for Elias when Maltby's around. The Wings will use every centimeter of open ice to make the Devils cry and then we'll go tell their mommies about it.


Champions: Detroit Red Wings
Conn Smythe: Nick Lidstrom
BAD MONKEY WATCH

From James...

"Looks like mr. mojo needs to send his Caesar to clean up these scoundrels..."

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - Police hunted Monday for chimpanzees that escaped from a Sierra Leone preserve and mauled a group of American and local sightseers, killing one man and injuring four people.

The U.S. Embassy warned Americans against traveling to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where the chimps escaped before Sunday's attack on a taxicab.

The Sierra Leonean driver died as the chimps ripped his body apart, and three Americans were treated at a hospital for minor injuries, said Oliver Somasa, a top police official.

Another Sierra Leonean man in the group had his hand amputated after the mauling, Somasa said. U.S. officials had no further comment. The Americans were in Sierra Leone to help build a new embassy building, Somasa said.

Armed police were searching Monday for 27 chimpanzees, Somasa said, while four others had already returned on their own accord to the reserve.


Here's what Lord Grumpington had to say on the matter...

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.
And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Republic,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.
Mr. Mojo say so,
Lord Grumpington serve at his will.

Monday, April 24, 2006

POKEY DAR

Sorry for the delay in the completion of this year's playoff preview. I had Tres in the ATL this weekend so I didn't have as much time to sit down and pound out the details and my thoughts. But here it is in full, if you want a heads up about all of this year's exciting action.
TIGERS FEVER

Now that I'm an NL man, I don't think I can really jinx the Tigers situation. So I was looking at the standings, and if the regular season ended today the Tigers would be the AL wildcard. What is the latest that has ever happened. Isn't this 12-7 start their best since probably about 94?

From Seth...

"Without looking it up, the last time the Tigers were in the lead for the wild card spot was the first week of last season. The last time the Tigers were over .500 at the end of April was 1996. The last time the Tigers had a better record than the Yankees at the end of April was 1988. The last time the Tigers had a group of rookies this promising was 1977 (Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Lance Parrish). The last time the Tigers had a manager who looked this in-control was 1993.

I'm so happy with the Tigers. They're not even hot, but they're playing baseball the right way, and that's why they're winning. The pitchers are out-thinking the batters. The manager is approaching different games with different strategies.

The best example was last night. Playing in the league's biggest baseball park, against a young pitcher with a killer fastball and a great breaking curve, and a mediocre catcher who had never caught for the rookie pitcher, Leyland decided he could create an effective game strategy and rest his players who needed it at the same time. Since the type of pitcher would create a lot of groundballs, he went with a small-ball lineup, with Omar Infante batting third and playing third, Ramon Santiago at short, Granderson leading off, Carlos Guillen playing DH, and Vance Wilson catching, while slugger guys like Inge, Thames, Dmitri and Pudge sat out. This maximized our speed at the expense of power, which wasn't all that important considering the huge outfield and the improbability of getting too many gap shots against a guy throwing 98-mph tailing fastballs and a sinker-curve. Since we were playing a very similar pitcher (Verlander), it also put our great arms in the left side of the infield, sacrificing the range and double-play ability of Guillen and Inge for the arms of Infante and Santiago to better our chances of throwing out Ichiro and Ibanez (which they did, by half a step, like six times) on soft groundballs. Then, Leyland planned to be aggressive on the basepaths, stealing, double-stealing, and doing a ton of hit-and-runs.

The Mariners, in basically the same situation facing Verlander/Wilson, went with their sluggers: Carl Everett, Matt Lawton, Richie Sexton, Adrian Beltre, et al.

In the 1st inning, a double-steal forced a throwing error by the catcher, scoring the lead runner and putting the tail runner on third. The tail runner scored on a wild pitch.

In the 5th inning, two subsequent hit-and-runs ended up turning what would have been double-play goundballs into a moved-up runner (with two men on, the fielder got the out at 2nd but Monroe was close enough to affect the relay to 1st, leaving men on 1st and 3rd) and a then a groundball RBI on the next play.

Against the relievers, Monroe hit a homerun to effectively seal the game (they made some noise against our relief, but it wasn't enough).

That's the kind of wins the Tigers are getting this year, and the kind of managerial wins were weren't getting under Trammell, or Garner, or Buddy Bell. And now we go into a series with the sluggerific Angels with our own sluggers well rested. So long as the crazy stuff (injuries, cold spells, etc.) don't rain down upon us, these types of wins are repeatable; like the Red Wings and Pistons, we have a winning formula, not just good players."