Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sports With The StatMan #40: Show Notes

We had a jam-packed show as always, recorded during the Jets game on Sunday night against the Bengals. Here is the link to the show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-statman/2010/01/04/sports-with-the-statman--no-40.

00:00-12:00 Open – NFL Week 17: Jets in action against the Bengals, Patriots: Welker injury
12:00-19:00 NFL Week 17: Playoff Implications
19:00-45:00 NHL Winter Classic with Heather Yunger
45:00-50:00 Hockey: USA and Canadian Olympic Rosters Announced
50:00-55:00 NFL Week 17: Power Poll, Pick Results
55:00-59:00 NFL Week 17: Eagles-Cowboys and Giants-Vikings
59:00-64:30 Hockey: NHL Midseason Grades, World Junior Championships Update, Close
Extra Time: NFL Week 17: Top Performers, Surprises, Injury Watch

Main Points
00:00-07:00 Open – NFL Week 17: Jets in action against the Bengals, Patriots: Welker injury
Based on Sunday night’s result (Jets won, 37-0), we may have three rematches from Week 17 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The Cowboys will host the Eagles, the Cardinals will welcome the Packers, and the Jets will go to Cincinnati to complete the home-and-home in consecutive weeks.

The biggest news today was WR Wes Welker’s injury for the Patriots. The NFL Network reported that Welker blew out his left knee and CBS’s Charlie Casserly offered that QB Tom Brady was playing Sunday with three broken ribs. The other starting WR, Randy Moss, will draw more heat from Baltimore next week.

In baseball…
LF Jason Bay will be signed pending a physical. It was a move the Mets had to make and Bay will probably bat clean-up for the Mets.

12:00-19:00 NFL Week 17: Playoff Implications
Both #1 seeds back in to the playoffs. New Orleans was 13-0 and the Saints have lost three in a row, marking the first time a #1 seed has lost three in a row going into the playoffs. Indianapolis was 14-0 and lost two in a row after falling to Buffalo on Sunday.

Minnesota got well on a flat Giants team, 44-7, to pick up the #2 seed and a bye week. The winner of Philadelphia-Dallas would win the NFC East and Dallas shook their late-season blues at home by whitewashing the Eagles, 24-0. They’ll do it again in Dallas next weekend. Arizona did not show much against Green Bay, who played to win and did so, 33-7. Same time, same place next week.

The bottom four seeds could change in the AFC Playoffs and five teams (New England, Cincinnati, Baltimore, the Jets, and Houston) were alive for the four spots. Obviously, New England and Cincinnati have spots clinched, but they might flip-flop between #3 and #4 (they did and the Patriots have the #3 seed, while the Bengals settle for #4). Baltimore owns one of the Wild Card spots by hanging on against a pesky Oakland team, 21-13. That leaves Houston and the Jets going into the Sunday game with one berth left for grabs.

Denver was alive for a spot, but lost by 20 to Kansas City as Jamaal Charles ran all over Denver. WR Brandon Marshall was benched amid controversy for the Broncos even though WR Jabar Gaffney had 213 receiving yards.

Miami was down to their third quarterback and Pittsburgh held on to defeat the Dolphins, 30-24. Chad Henne (eye) and Pat White (head) were knocked out of the game, forcing the emergency quarterback, Tyler Thigpen, to enter the game for the Dolphins. Pittsburgh was eliminated when Houston defeated the Patriots, 34-27, who are still alive going into the Sunday night game.

Jacksonville had a poor showing against Cleveland, who finished the season winning its last four. Jacksonville needed help if the Jags won, which they did not get anyway, but Jacksonville ended the season on a sour note, falling to Cleveland, 23-17.

19:00-45:00 NHL Winter Classic with Heather Yunger
Our guest, Heather Yunger, remarked about the ambience at Fenway Park, how the game felt live compared to how it looked on television, and the game itself. During play, the late-game heroics by the Bruins to tie the game in the third and win it in overtime. She finds the third-period “Sweet Caroline” singalong led by Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke “embarrassing” and a “missed opportunity” to integrate a signature of the venue and the sport of hockey.

Tim Thomas was named to the United States Olympic team and skated out to the delight of the partisan crowd and we talked about the presentation of the team after the game.

The first fight in Winter Classic history stirred the capacity crowd and there are differing views by the combatants, the Flyers’ Daniel Carcillo and the Bruins’ Shawn Thornton, on how the fisticuffs erupted.

We also look forward to college hockey on Friday at Fenway with Boston University against Boston College, preceded by two top-10 women’s teams in the first game of the college hockey doubleheader, as Northeastern takes on New Hampshire.

The Winter Classic has become must-see TV and commands an audience on a New Year’s Day, which has always been ruled by college football. But, is there value to a second Winter Classic per season? Stay tuned to my sports column this Wednesday for more on that.

If you didn't check out Bruins Coach Claude Julien and his fancy fedora at the Winter Classic, or you did and you liked it, check out his fan page on Facebook.

45:00-50:00 Hockey: USA and Canadian Olympic Rosters Announced
We talked about Tim Thomas (Bruins), who will be part of the American Olympic experience, as will Paul Martin (Devils). A couple of Olympians are locals in Bobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, NJ) and Mike Komisarek (Islip Terrace, NY). Two Rangers, Chris Drury (Trumbull, CT) and Ryan Callahan (Rochester, NY), will be representing the USA in Vancouver. The US team will noticeably be younger in these Olympics compared to past ones with NHL pros.

Kyle Okposo is not much of a snub, as USA Hockey GM Brian Burke said Okposo was considered but did not have the experience yet.

For the Canadian team, Marty Brodeur (Devils) will be in goal and joined by players from the Flyers (Chris Pronger, Mike Richards) and Bruins (Patrice Bergeron).

50:00-55:00 NFL Week 17: Power Poll, Pick Results
Power Poll
#1 Colts (not trying to win at BUF, fans/media very upset over organizational decision not to try for perfect season) (LW: #1)
#2 Chargers (11th win in a row vs WSH) (LW: #2)
#3 Saints (3 losses in a row to back in to playoffs) (LW: #3)
#4 Vikings (tune-up for playoffs against a Giants team that never got involved) (LW: #4)
#5 Packers (into top 5 because strongest 5-loss teams playing at their best right now)
Eagles fall out of the top five. Last week, they were #4.

Pick Results
Entering Week 17:
37-23 (Local W-L)
This week: 2-2; NYJ W(W), NYG L(L), NE W(L), PHL W(L)
31-28-1 (Local ATS)
This week: 3-1; NYJ (-4) (W), NYG (+9) L(L), NE (+8) W(W), PHL (+3) W(L))
34-18 (Big Games W-L)
This week: 3-0; CAR def. NO(W), PIT def. MIA (W), GBY def. ARZ (W))
26-24-2 (Big Games ATS)
This week: 3-0; CAR (+2) W(W), PIT (-3) W(W), GBY (+3) W(W))

Knockout Pool (Round 5):
SFO (W, 28-6 at STL)

Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em:
Entering Week 17, Starts avg 13.43 and Sits avg 8.07 (29-11-1 head-to-head QB/RB/WR)
QB Henne vs. Flacco (W, 9-4)
RB Sproles vs. Wells (T, 1-1)
WR Crabtree vs. Ochocinco (W, 5-0)

55:00-59:00 NFL Week 17: Eagles-Cowboys and Giants-Vikings
The Cowboys ran all over the Eagles, who tried to pass their way out of trouble against Dallas. Sometimes, teams that may face each other again the next week in the playoffs do not show anything the other team can plan against, but I do not think that was the case here. The Cowboys won their season finale for the first time in 10 years.

There has to be changes with the Giants. Could it be the Defensive Coordinator, Bill Sheridan? DE Osi Umenyiora? Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride? The Giants outscored 85-9 in the seven quarters that cover the Carolina game (41-9 loss) and the first three quarters in the 44-7 loss to Minnesota. In the offseason, the Giants need help in the secondary and have to also fill the hole that may be left by LB Antonio Pierce, who may have a career-ending neck injury.

Around the League: Atlanta clinches first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history, St. Louis clinches the top pick in next year’s draft, Cutler finishes strong, longest current winning streaks in the NFL

59:00-64:30 Hockey: NHL Midseason Grades, World Junior Championships Update, Close
NHL Midseason Grades (based on expectations heading into the season)
New Jersey –Grade: A+
Plus – Martin Brodeur keeps rolling along and the Devils have seen growth from young players Niclas Bergfors and Andy Greene
Minus – Zach Parise a little streaky and the decreased workload for Brodeur not happening
Boston – Grade: B+
Plus – the goaltending has been solid with defending Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas and strong backup Tuukka Rask and the Bruins have found ways to win
Minus – the injuries to Milan Lucic, Marc Savard, and Tim Thomas have stopped the team from leading the division, as well as scoring issues from their forwards without Phil Kessel
N.Y. Islanders – Grade: B-
Plus – the growth in young players Kyle Okposo, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Jack Hillen, and Andrew MacDonald have propelled the team into contention
Minus – the special teams have been awful and the Islanders lack team toughness
N.Y. Rangers – Grade: C
Plus – Marian Gaborik is healthy and leading league in goals
Minus – the Rangers are bad at home (8-10-3), Coach John Tortorella may have gone to the whip too early with this team, and they have secondary scoring issues, as Vinny Prospal and Ryan Callahan have chipped in sometimes, but no one else seems to be scoring consistently besides Gaborik
Philadelphia – Grade: D
Plus – the Flyers are still in playoff race despite their play in the first half
Minus – John Stevens was fired and replaced by Peter Laviolette, and the team has not responded all that well since Laviolette took over, Ray Emery wasn’t great when he was healthy

World Junior Championships: USA makes the medal round and still alive for the gold in the semifinals after beating Finland on Sunday. The semifinals are on Monday and the Gold Medal and Bronze Medal games are on Tuesday.

Around the League: Andy Murray out as Blues head coach

Extra Time: NFL Week 17: Top Performers, Surprises, Injury Watch
We did not get to our regular installments during our packed show.
Top Performers:
300-yard passers – entering Week 17 (64-36 (.640))
o This week: 3-1
o Favre, Romo, Schaub with wins, Orton with loss
100-yard rushers – entering Week 17 (72-34 (.679))
o This week: 10-0
o Congratulations to Chris Johnson, who became the 6th RB in history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season
100-yard receivers – entering Week 17 (101-57 (.639))
o This week: 2-3
o Malcom Floyd (SDG) and Malcolm Kelly (WSH) played in same game
o Julian Edelman had a good performance and will be leaned on after Welker’s injury

Surprises (players):
Jamaal Charles (259 rushing yards)
Jabar Gaffney (213 receiving yards)
Willis McGahee (167 rushing yards, 3 TDs in 21-13 win, which clinched playoff berth)

Injury Watch
Out in Week 17 (replacements)
o RB Michael Turner ATL (still ailing with ankle) (RB Snelling 100-yd day, RB Norwood)
o WR Vincent Jackson SDG (Achilles) (WR Craig Davis) (Chargers need Jackson for playoffs)
o RB Laurence Maroney NE (RB Taylor, RB Morris, RB Faulk)
Injured in Week 17 (replacements, effect on games)
o WR Anquan Boldin ARZ (knee, ankle) (Breaston)
o WR Wes Welker NE (left knee) (Edelman)
o QB Chad Henne MIA (eye)/QB Pat White MIA (head) (Thigpen)

Next Week
Next Sunday night (January 10th), Sports With The StatMan (#41) moves to our new time, 8-9pm Eastern time. We will talk about Wild Card Weekend, which will be almost complete. We will also wrap up our regular season predictions. In hockey, the Bruins and Rangers play twice, Monday in New York and Saturday in Boston, and I’ll be back from my trip to Fenway to witness a little college hockey. Also, if something gets cooking on the Hot Stove, we’ll chat about that, too.

Upcoming Schedule
Saturday: Sports With The StatMan: Fantasy Football Edition – Wild Card Weekend (blog)
Sunday morning: Sports With The StatMan: Fantasy Hockey Edition – Week 15 (blog)
Sunday, 8-9pm ET: Sports With The StatMan: No. 41 (live show)

* All blogs will be available on our “secondary” blog, which is called “Random Musings from the StatMan” (http://gstatman.blogspot.com). We move our regular Sunday one-hour show to our new time, 8-9pm Eastern time, starting next week (January 10th). You can listen to the show live at our show page (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/The-StatMan) or download the podcast, which is available 15 minutes after the show, either from the show page or from iTunes (search: Sports With The StatMan).

Here are the ways to follow along and get in touch with the show:
Show Page: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/The-StatMan
Twitter: http://twitter.com/gstatman
“Random Musings” blog: http://gstatman.blogspot.com

Be sure to check the show page for times and schedules of our one-hour show and our Fantasy Football and Fantasy Hockey Editions.

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