Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chicago Blackhawks Set New NHL Record

The Chicago Blackhawks continued their torrid pace last night with a 2-1 win in Chicago against the San Jose Sharks, which improved their team record to 14-0-3 to start the season.
The win gives the Hawks a new NHL record for most successful start to a season by not losing in regulation time in their first 17 games this year, breaking the old mark of 16 straight without a regulation loss set by the Anaheim Ducks back in the 2006-07 season. Anaheim went on to win their only Stanley Cup title that season.
Chicago has 31 of a possible 34 points so far this season, which is only 48 games long due to the NHL lockout which ended last month.
The least amount of losses ever in a full season schedule (of 80 games or more) is held by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who lost only eight games (60-8-12 for a record 132 points) that season in the midst of a dynasty that saw them win four consecutive Stanley Cup titles.
The Blackhawks continue to to roll through the Western Conference so far this season and will not see a team from the Eastern Conference (due to irregular scheduling as a result of the lockout) unless they reach the Stanley Cup Finals, which appears to be a lock at this point.

Sound Advice

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Political World

Jesse Jackson, Jr.
In the political world, more wrongdoing in D.C. as Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D- IL, 2nd Congressional District) is set to go to the slammer after entering a guilty plea for misusing campaign funds.
Along with Jackson's guilty plea is his wife Sandi Jackson, a former city of Chicago Ward Alderwoman, who pleaded to filing false income tax returns.
Sandi Jackson
This is just the latest in political corruption that goes on around our country. There are numerous scandals and innuendos that take place on a regular basis and the Jacksons are the latest of this unethical behavior.
Former U.S. House representative Duke Cunningham (R-CA) was sent to prison seven years ago for similar behavior by purchasing lavish gifts and the like, including a luxury yacht.
The Jacksons will be going to jail and they are not the first, nor will they be last to have this happen to them for their misdeed as public officials.
Politics is a strange endeavor for people it seems. Just look at the current situation with the Republicans and Democrats pointing fingers at each other over the looming spending cuts that automatically go into effect on March 1 as a result of a compromise deal nearly two years ago.
That mess is a direct result of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) not having the tenacity to tell the "tea party" constituents where to go regarding our country's obligations to pay back debts. Boehner claimed he was happy with the compromise deal with President Barack Obama and that (Boehner) got 98 percent of what he wanted in the deal.
But now, he is claiming it was congressional Democrats and the POTUS who wanted the deal put in place. Shame, shame, shame speaker Boehner.
The following just exemplifies the nonsense that occurs regularly in the nation's capitol and it doesn't appear it will change any time soon.
The people of the United States be damned, according to a huge majority of political leaders. They only take commands from their corporate donors and masters.
Pathetic is what the current political climate continues to be in D.C. as everyday people continue to work hard every day to make ends meet while political leaders (House and Senate Republicans in particular) continue to seek an agenda that puts the squeeze on the Middle Class in this country.
Don't even go near the situation of the working poor and the growing number of people living in poverty in the United States.
Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife Sandi are the latest examples of corruption in our political system, but you can count on more of the same to come out in the future.
Greed corrupts and our political system is ruled by greedy corporations and moguls (aka Koch brothers, etc.) who will stop at nothing to get their agenda in place.
Until that aura of greed is removed, count on more of the same from politicians.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Birthday - Michael Jordan Turns 50

Michael Jordan drives to the basket.
Michael Jordan, the NBA's greatest player ever, turns 50 years old today.
There are countless stories being told about MJ and his basketball exploits throughout the 1980's and 1990's when the Chicago Bulls were winning their six NBA championship titles.
Yours truly was there for many of the memories that number 23 gave us on the hardwood at old Chicago Stadium, seated right at center court running the team's sound system and pumping out the loud music during the timeouts during Bulls'  home games (at the Stadium on 1800 West Madison Street in Chicago) from 1987-1994.
The first three-peat title run for the team is something still etched in the memory of many Chicago Bulls fans all over the world.
During the three-peat years (1990-91 season through the 1992-93 season) our sound system became more elaborate and was moved up to the organ loft at the old Chicago Stadium, but nonetheless MJ and company did what we all knew was inevitable... Chicago Bulls WORLD CHAMPIONS!
The stories are many and there isn't time to tell them all here in one post, but being there in person (at the locker room celebration following all the madness of the 1992 title) at old Chicago Stadium is something to cherish and remember.
The champagne was spraying and MJ was bopping around in the hallways of the old Stadium with the Championship trophy in hand and smoking a big victory cigar. That was the only title the team won at Chicago Stadium.
The 1995-96 and 1996-97 season titles were won in the United Center just across the street from where the famed Stadium once stood. MJ had left the game for a year and a half following the murder of his father James in the summer of 1993 before coming back and leading the team to a second three-peat run.
Michael Jordan made an immediate impact as a rookie in 1984.
The first three-peat had more impact on Chicagoans and NBA fans alike as the Bulls continued to confound their foes and win in spite of pressure and media scrutiny of MJ and his gambling exploits away from the court.
The second title run in the late '90's was more scripted for Hollywood with former Detroit Pistons Bad Boy Dennis Rodman joining Michael and Scottie Pippen to form the "Big Three."
Nothing could beat the ambiance of the Chicago Stadium and the noise level was incredible in that building when the team got on a roll and the booming music would sound out during a timeout as the Bulls put away their opponents on a regular basis.
As the team DJ back in the day, Michael and some of the other players would sometimes request to hear a jam as they warmed up during the pre-game shoot arounds and layup lines as the game neared closer to tip off.
The top moment came in June 1992 when the Bulls beat Portland in Game Six of the NBA Finals, 97-93 to wrap up the championship and the team celebrated on the court with the fans for a bit to the "Rock and Roll Part 2" theme song booming out in the Stadium.
How did it go in the commercial?  That is ... priceless.
So as MJ celebrates half a century of life on planet Earth, the memories are still there and always will be.
Happy Birthday Michael.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Break Time

Taking a break from blogging ... see ya' soon!

(subject to change of course, if the urge hits.)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ravens Hang On To Win Super Bowl

Super Bowl 47 MVP Joe Flacco
The Baltimore Ravens did the unthinkable by winning Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31 against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans on Sunday night.
The game was a complete bore until the power went out in the SuperDome early in the third quarter with the Ravens well ahead at 28-6.
That seemed to change everything as the 49ers stormed back after the lengthy delay to cut the lead to 28-23 after the third quarter was over.
The game's Most Valuable Player award went to Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who had three touchdown passes in the game as they built their huge lead.
San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick (302 passing yards with one TD and one interception) brought the team back in the third with a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree and then the 'Niners got the ball back and Frank Gore (110 rushing yards) scored on a six-yard rushing touchdown to make it 28-20.
Ravens' running back Ray Rice fumbled on the ensuing drive and the 49ers recovered and managed a field goal to trim the lead to five heading into the final quarter.
The Ravens built the big lead in the first half as Flacco (287 yards passing) connected first with WR Anquan Boldin (six catches for 104 yards) on a 13-yard TD strike for a 7-0 lead. Following a field goal by San Francisco, Flacco threw two more TD passes, including a 56-yarder to Jacoby Jones, who also took the opening kick of the second half back 108 yards for a score.
The fourth quarter saw the Ravens kick a field goal to give them a 31-23 edge before Kaerpernick scrambled 15 yards for a touchdown to cap a drive and make it a 31-29 score. The two-point conversion failed and then Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker nailed a 38-yard field goal to make it 34-29.
The 'Niners could not finish their next drive as they failed twice from the Ravens' five-yard line in the final two minutes. Baltimore took a deliberate safety with four seconds left rather than punt the ball away for the final outcome and the Ravens captured their second ever Super Bowl title.

What A Play

Perhaps the most memorable play in NFL history.

Friday, February 1, 2013



The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will square off in Super Bowl 47 on Sunday in New Orleans.
The Ravens (13-6) have been on a roll similar to that of the New York Giants last season when they won it all in surprising fashion.
The 49ers (13-4-1) are slight favorites (-3 1/2) in the game on Sunday with a total points scored of 47 1/2 for the game (which could easily change by kickoff time) for the Vegas odds makers and players.
Heftyinfo has been on a bit of a roll in the post-season, going 8-2 in picking the playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl.

The following is a breakdown of each team and the prediction for the game follows up . . .

BALTIMORE RAVENS                  

Head Coach - John Harbaugh 
The Ravens have a solid defense and an offense that has been on the rise lately as quarterback Joe Flacco has been superb, throwing for eight touchdowns and no interceptions in three post-season wins.
Running back Ray Rice (1,143 yards and nine rushing touchdowns in regular season) and backup Bernard Pierce (532 yards with a 4.9 yards per carry average) provide a great compliment to the passing game.
Flacco has good targets at wide receiver with Anquan Boldin (65 receptions to lead the team) and Torrey Smith, who averaged 17.4 yards per catch and had eight TD receptions in the regular season. Add in Jacoby Jones, who made the big touchdown catch against Denver in the division playoffs to keep Baltimore alive and Tight End Dennis Pitta, who made 61 catches this season (with seven for TD) and the Ravens know they can keep the pressure on the 49ers' defense.
Flacco has been at his best this post-season, not making critical mistakes as in past post-seasons.
The way he's played is reminiscent of Eli Manning in his two Super Bowl winning runs for the Giants. Both have their share of critics and have silenced them with their performances. Flacco is hoping for one more big performance to keep the silence golden.
Defense has been the name of the game for the Baltimore Ravens for years, with linebackers Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis leading the way along with veteran safety Ed Reed.
The Ravens are vulnerable against the run, however (which is a strength of San Francisco) and will need to keep San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick in check and not let him get running wild as he did against Green Bay in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The pass defense is solid with a great pass rush and ball hawking secondary that picked off two passes against both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in successive games.
Ravens' rookie kicker Justin Tucker has made it very easy for people to forget last year's playoff goat Billy Cundiff as he has been superb, connecting on 30 of 33 field goals in the regular season and then making the game winning 48-yard kick against Denver in overtime.


Head Coach - Jim Harbaugh                 

The 49ers are very good defensively and the offense ain't bad either.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (1,814 passing yards with 10 TD passes and three INT) took over as the starter in early November after Alex Smith suffered a concussion and the 'Niners have never looked back.
Kaepernick gives the team an added edge in his ability as a runner, evidenced by his record setting performance with 181 yards rushing against Green Bay in the playoffs. The second year signal caller also can zing the ball around, having connected with Tight End Vernon Davis in the passing game for a big win against Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game.
Along with Davis is wide receiver Michael Crabtree (85 catches in regular season for 1,105 yards and nine TD) and Randy Moss, who has played in one previous Super Bowl five years ago. These players give Kaepernick plenty of options to choose from.
Another option is running back Frank Gore, who ran for 1,214 yards (4.7 ypc average) and scored eight touchdowns. Gore also caught 28 passes out of the backfield, which will present a challenge to the Ravens' linebacking unit.
Gore is the team's leading rusher, but Kaepernick and Kendall Hunter (who averaged 5.2 yards per carry in regular season) also can get it going in that area, which helps open up the passing game with the run-option attack the team uses with Kaepernick.
The defense has been coming up with big stops when they need them all season long and will need to do so against Baltimore's versatile attack. Keeping Ray Rice and the Ravens' rushing attack in check will be a big factor for the 49ers' success or failure in the game.
The team can get after the quarterback, with Aldon Smith (19 1/2 sacks) leading the way. Linebacker Patrick Willis is a leader on this unit and along with Justin Smith, makes it difficult to run against the 'Niners defense.
In the secondary, Dashon Goldson and Chris Culliver do a great job shutting down opposing air attacks and will have to be ready against the trio of wideouts Baltimore has.
San Francisco punter Andy Lee is one of the best in the NFL and will be a factor in this one. Kicker David Akers struggled this season (he was just 29 of 42 on field goal attempts in the regular season) but has shown the ability to make the clutch kicks in the past.

PREDICTION - San Francisco 27, Baltimore 17