Archive for the 'NHL' Category

17
Jan
11

Sports Digest 1.17.2011

A little over two weeks into the new year and I am in sports glory–play-off football is great, college basketball is in full swing, the NHL is chugging along and the Australian open is underway. The Steelers are in their 4th AFC Championship game in the past 7 years, Chicago is electric with the NFC Championship game and a huge Blackhawks game this weekend,  Being on this sports cloud-nine–why not dish up our first sports digest of the year?

Syracuse Orange vs. Pitt Panthers

Everyone knows this is going to be a good game. Tonight, you have the unbeaten #3 ranked Orange against perennial Big East powerhouse #5 Pitt. As much as I love the Orange, and as good as they are looking (#1 seed come tourney time) they always struggle against the Panthers, losing the last four meetings. I don’t think that this is going to change tonight–I think that Syracuse has a mental block against Pitt..they just don’t bring their A-game until it’s too late. Add in the loss of lead scorer Kris Joseph for the game tonight and I think it spells extra trouble. Hope I’m wrong and we pull off the W  (as Pitt is the only team from the ‘Burgh that I actively root against, and just can’t stand) but the odds aren’t looking good. That’s alright though, we’ll rebound to beat Villanova on Saturday at the Dome with in front of a record crowd.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Right before the NFL Championship game the NHL’s national game of the week is a rematch of the Stanley Cup last year. The Flyers have had a pretty dominant season and currently hold the #1 power ranking. The Hawks have had a lethargic start to the season but are finally finding their mojo. With a tough game Saturday vs. the Red Wings, look for the Hawks to turn the tide on a national stage and upend the Flyers on home ice.

The Demise of the Patriots

There are few things I enjoy more than watching the Patriots get outplayed. And that’s exactly what happened yesterday. After a shaky first quarter, Mark Sanchez settled down and maintained the tempo of the game and the Jets just, for lack of a better term, laid the smackdown on the Patriots. They got lazy in the fourth quarter and started playing too conservatively, and showed no modicum of class during their on-field celebrations but they got the job done. And I’m pretty sure I saw Tom Brady cry during the game, which just added to my joy. Hard to believe, as Adam Schefter put it, that Tom Brady has now lost three consecutive play-off games. Looking back, it all started going “south” when they lost the Super Bowl in the last seconds to the Giants–(or has it been since his knee injury?) Will Tom ever get another ring? Hard to say, but none of it diminishes that he (in my opinion) is the best QB to play the game..as much as I HATE to admit it. So we’ll have to wait another eight months (or longer) to discuss his Bieber haircut.

The Steelers NOT beating themselves

I’m STILL pumped about that Steelers win on Saturday. The team showed so much resolve coming back to dominate the second half–allowing the Ravens a TOTAL of 28 yards throughout the end of the game. Yes, they had their heads up their asses in the first half, and they won’t be able to play like that again and expect to move on but the determination of the steel curtain defense, as well as some AWESOME play by my boy Big Ben solidified the W. You can say what you want, but Ben Roethlisberger is a top 3 QB in the league (in my opinion two) He has the same number of playoff wins as Peyton Manning (9) with six years less experience. He plays hard, he scrambles, he takes control of the offense, he’s tough and he delivers. As long as there’s time on the clock, if the ball is in Ben’s hands, I honestly think we have a shot to win. Off-field drama aside, I don’t know that there’s another QB I’d take if I could have my pick–Brady gets frazzled–doesn’t seem like Ben does. He’s a great leader and he makes things happen. I like our chances on Sunday.

Are you on as much as a sports high as we have been this week? What’s been the highlight for you?

Let’s us know … we’re always up for a chat 🙂

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02
Oct
10

Icing the Pens

As many of you know–Chicks Dig Sports Too pledged to take the Chicago Sports Challenge : where we immerse ourselves in Chicago sports culture. We have an unexpected post courtesy of Durkins–my neighborhood Steelers bar. After winning a raffle on Friday night, my high-school buddy Jess and I were whisked away (via party limo, no less)  to the Blackhawks game–and they just so happened to be playing my Pittsburgh Penguins (Crosby, Fleury and the whole gang  :-))

High School Buddies 🙂

This was my first time at the United Center for a sporting event. It’s true–there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Sitting in the 300’s, we had an excellent view of all the action on the ice (yes, even those two goals scored by MaryANN…gag me). It was also my first sporting event while I was in Chicago as a faithful member of the opposing team. I really had no idea what I was in store for.

Getting there right before the start of the game–I really enjoyed the pump-up video to get the fans going. Strangely enough, nothing screams hockey like the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song and a killer light show. Paired with the “tunnel-vision” camera of the Hawks walking to the ice and everyone was raring to go. One thing I don’t get–that I was glad to experience as its specific to Blackhawk culture–is the yelling, screaming and making noise during the national anthem. I just don’t understand it and find it fairly disrespectful-to the country and the singer–who actually was quite good. I know that incorporating fun things in the anthem is all the rage these days (“O!” for Syracuse, “Hail” for Michigan etc.) but I think just making noise is kind of weird. That being said–it definitely continues to pump everyone up for the game at hand–there’s absolutely NO LULL in excitement and support from the fans, from the moment you walk into the United Center to the moment you leave–and I can dig that.

Hawks Pre-Game

  I was impressed by the Chicago fans for a few reasons: the arena was packed by face/0ff. Even for a pre-season game, the support of the fans was tangible–with fans genuinely enthralled and paying attention to the game. Additionally, I thought–overall–the fans were pretty classy. Never toeing the line of acceptable obnoxious sports behavior–and as we all know the tendency gets greater when you are CRUSHING the opposition–  I was met with a variety of awesome comments–“We’ll see you in the Stanley Cup” being the one most popular.  Also, we were allowed the ability to cheer–often loudly–for our team, with little to no friction from home team fans. This is hard to find in the sporting world today (I’m looking at you, Philadelphia) so I appreciate the positive atmosphere.

311 Heaven

One thing I did notice, “The Song”, yes that one is NOT as much fun when it’s being played against your team (over and over). However, it was really cool to be in the UC and experience the goal celebration ritual that I’ve come so accustomed to through television.

Goal Celebration

One thing that I was disappointed in was the mass exodus of Blackhawks fans with 4:41 left in the third period. Yes, you were killing us 4-1, and yes, it’s a pre-season game. And yes you’re always going to have people everywhere  that miss the whole point of sports–that saving an extra 20 minutes in the parking lot is worth abandoning your team–but the mass exodus of people leaving was alarming. When MaryAnn put the nail even further in the coffin by scoring his second goal of the night-no one was there to cheer. That would have NEVER happened in Pittsburgh–in fact, it would have been over their dead body–even if they were losing by five.  And last night, when we were getting slaughtered, we stayed till the game was over and cheered like CRAZY when we finally got on the board, because you don’t leave your team behind–win or lose. Just an observation we Yinzers noticed last night–but I’m completely willing to give the fans another shot before passing final judgement. One thing’s for sure–the fans awareness of the game and enthusiasm for it drowns out Cubs fans–hands down. And let’s get serious–if they were playing anyone OTHER than the Pens, I would have been in my glory.

The game ended and we strolled back to our party limo (singing the Pittsburgh Polka, natch) and returned back to the comfy nook of Lincoln Park. While it’s always fun to go to sporting events, this experience was elevated to a different level of awesome as it was completely unexpected–and a great ending to a long week!

We are going to the White Sox game tonight–so look for a recap tomorrow 🙂

Was anyone else at the game last night? What is your favorite Blackhawks ritual? and, most importantly, HOW THE HELL CAN YOU ALL OPENLY EMBRACE MARYANN HOSSA??? 😉

Talk to us people,

Sam

28
Jun
10

Chicks Dig Sports Pledges to Take The Chicago Challenge

This weekend was chock-full of fantastic sporting events–Part Deux of the Cross City Classic, US putting up a valiant effort in the World Cup and the FANTASTIC rumor that Lebron James is making his next home right here in Chi-town.

So I present to you the first ever Chicks Dig Sports Chicago Challenge.  Beginning July 1st, I’m pledging to make it to as many professional sporting events  (and a few collegiate) games within the next 365 days! Chronicling every step of the way, CDS’ number one objective by July 1, 2011 is to immerse ourselves in Chicago sporting culture. See below for our list of sporting events we are planning to attend. Are we missing any? We’d LOVE to get suggestions, tips and encouragement! (That’s why we’re posting before we start!)  😀

Chicks Dig Sports Chicago Challenge 2010-2011

What are we missing? We’d LOVE your input!! Looking forward to going on this exciting adventure and sharing every step of the way with you! 😀

–Sam

26
Jun
10

Sports Digest 6.26.10

Hi Everybody! 

  Happy Summer! Goodness I absolutely cannot believe it’s been over two months since I last blogged! In the interim, I’ve been getting settled at a new job, visiting family, learning how to drive in the city, doing bikram yoga, preparing for multiple weddings, going to as many Cubbie games as possible and enjoying summer in the best city in America. Of course, I have been following sports, so here is a round up of sports highlights in a nutshell. Also, we are going to be making some changes around here so that we never have to go 2.5 months AGAIN without a post. We have some really neat ideas for upcoming posts & series, guest bloggers and giveaways!  We’ve missed you all and are so glad to be back! 🙂 Let’s kick this off. 

Chicago Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup Champions!  

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. That being said, having lived in Chicago for over a year, I couldn’t be HAPPIER that the Blackhawks won. It was awesome to see their awesome playoff run, Big Buff come into his own and the whole city catch on fire and buzz with excitement over every single second. The Blackhawk’s whirl-wind celebration tour was amazing, not to mention a million people showing up for the parade. The fact that they beat a team from Philadelphia was just icing on the cake 🙂 So I’m so glad to have been in this city and experience the peripheral excitement, buzz and sense of accomplishment that everyone in the city felt by ending a 49-year championship drought. Since the win, there have been talk of repeats, trades and “where do we go from here’s,” but it’s been such an awesome experience to just savor the championship. 

Championship Banner

 

Los Angeles Lakers 2010 NBA Champs 

I don’t want to say yawn. I don’t. But the Los Angeles Lakers have won the NBA Championship 5 times in the past 10 years. Which, really, is an unbelievable feat. And Lakers v. Celtics? Is this even a marquee match-up anymore? *yawn* let’s mix it up a little NBA.  Let’s have a finals consisting of th Utah Jazz vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. THAT’S something I’d be interested in. Even if it would only appeal to 2% of the NBA watching population. Maybe it’s just me, but I kind of feel when the finals are the Lakers vs. the Celtics it’s like Tori from Saved by the Bell vs. Stephanie Tanner. I mean, which one would you rather be? Both are equally horrible in their own ways, but you give the edge to Tori (Lakers) because well, you just IMAGINE being Stephanie Tanner. Plus, I LOVE me some Pau Gasol. I can’t explain it, I can’t put my finger on it, but I just perk up whenever I see him or hear his name being mentioned. 

The girl that rode the motorcycle to school to be "edgy"-aka the LA Lakers

 

How Rude! (Boston Celtics)

 

   In related basketball news, the Chicago Bulls hired Tom Thibodeau as their head coach. Solid move. With Lebron watch in the single digits-it will be interesting to see where he ends up. 

Oh and in NBA Draft news, Wes Johnson, from the Syracuse Orange is joining Mr. Jonny Flynn on the Minnesota Timberwolves. And my boo, and future husband, Andy Rautins was drafted by the Knicks. Congrats boys! Can’t wait to see what you do in the NBA 😀 

USA Impresses in 2010 World Cup 

Maybe I’m a bad American, but I ALWAYS cast the U.S.’s chances of success in the FIFA World Cup between ‘no chance in hell’ and ‘slim to none.’ Well the boys have absolutely proved me wrong, by winning their group for the first time since the 30’s. And can we talk about Landon Donovan’s goal in the plus time to move the US to the elimination rounds? These boys have set America more on fire for the sport of soccer than I ever dreamed possible. Everyone I know, myself included, is revolving their day around the US/Algeria game at 2:30ET today. USA! USA! USA!  Stay tuned, because a good friend of mine just was at the World Cup for the first week of competition. Maybe if we bat our eyelashes and ask really politely he’ll guest blog about his experiences 🙂 

Captain America.

 

 Longest Tennis Match Ever 

I get a side-stitch just thinking about it. I can’t get over how these tennis pros make tennis look so EASY. I play six points and “retire,” and move to lay out by the pool. My hats off to both gentleman. 

Of course there have been A LOT more things going on, but these were the highlights for me. What have been the highlights for you? What sporting events are you going to this summer? How much did you miss me? Talk to me people–it’s good to be back! 😀 

–Sam

02
Feb
10

hockey: the elephant in the room

I’m just gonna put this out there. Hockey is the awkward, red-headed stepchild of major league sports. It’s true. It is.

Let me paint this picture for you with a high school metaphor. Major League Baseball is the older, more accomplished brother that’s been around forever. The responsible one. Sometimes a drag but socially adapted and successful.  The National Football League is the stud of the family, the popular one that knows everyone and wins Homecoming King in high school. Everyone gossips about him and is really tuned into his life. The National Basketball Association is the youngest of the three, that has to live  in the shadow of the other two, but when you actually look closer, he’s found his own group of friends and really thrives in his environment. Then, there’s the National Hockey League, the red-headed stepchild.

This cute baby represents the NHL

I say this for a multitude of reasons. The main one being that the Hockey Championship, the Stanley Cup, is aired on the Versus Network.  VERSUS NETWORK.  This happened because ESPN failed to pick up the option for the Stanley Cup playoffs. VERSUS NETWORK. Do you know how many people DON’T get Versus Network? Hell, it was just dropped from DirecTV in September, so that further diminishes its reach. No offense Versus, this is a major win for you, but it’s a major loss for hockey fans, especially casual ones. Leagues should go out of their way to make the sport accessible, and frankly, Verses, you are not accessible to a lot of people.

Let’s put this in perspective though, this is the championship of the sport and none of the ‘major’ sports channels care  enough broadcast it. Some may argue that hockey just isn’t a television sport–In 2006, a scant 3% of NHL revenue came from television, compared to 66% of the NFL. It doesn’t change the fact though that ESPN broadcasts bowling for God’s sake, but they passed on hockey…awkward red-headed stepchild. The loss of the 2004-2005 NHL season due to a lockout worsened the matter and it seemed that nobody really cared. Hockey is still bounding back from the strike…but it’s starting to do great things.

the artist formerly known as OLN

I would go out on a limb and say that Sidney Crosby has revitalized the NHL. Whether you love him or hate him, and there plenty in both camps, he IS the answer to hockey’s drought. He is a marketable, young, talented star. Last night, his hat trick in the second period led to a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres. He is a star. A star is ALWAYS a good thing for any sport. It makes it fun to watch, it draws people in. We were reminded last night, for the millionth time, that Sidney Crosby can, single-handedly, go on a scoring binge and change the course of the game in less than 20 minutes. He is what the NHL needs.

Here he comes to save the day!

I’m not going to lie to you, I am a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. I love them. I love Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury (“McFleury”), Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke. The Pens are awesome. The city of Pittsburgh LOVES them. I get a lot of flack sometimes from people who say that no-one cared about the Pens from 2002-2006 and that this ‘bandwagon’ stuff is ridiculous. That Pens fans are fair-weather and we are just lucky to have Crosby. I say that America abandoned hockey during that period. The NHL was declining steadily in viewership and attendance during this time. It’s ALWAYS been the awkward turtle of professional sports, coming in last during its playoffs/championships. If you want to blame me for watching hockey more now that the league has busted its butt to get some stars, fine. I think it’s stupid though. Every other sport has great world-known ambassadors: hockey had two (Gretzky and Lemieux) … now it has three with Crosby. Hockey fans should quit nit-picking and just be happy that the sport is finally gaining the traction it deserves and coming out of its rut in America. ‘Cause let’s get serious, it’s an AWESOME game to watch and COMPLETELY underrated. Here’s to hoping that the NHL goes from the awkward pubescent teenager to the studly man you wished you looked at twice ten years ago.

The Greats

What are your thoughts on the NHL? Are you watching the games? (You should be!) Do you get angry at the bandwagoners? Why do you think hockey has never truly caught on in the U.S.?

Talk to me people 🙂

–Sam




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