Saturday, December 04, 2004


Since this is much too long to put into the daily post, here's what I have for the game log for Puget Sound's 4-3 win over the Kootenai Colts.

[Edit Sun ~1:01p -- Names on the goals for the Colts have been inserted, though I can't link to the Sun article because it doesn't appear to be online, just in print. According to it, Puget Sound outshot Kootenai 40-27, and Iggy stopped 24. Names of the opposing players were corroborated to their team's website, and goal numbers were built off of Friday night's boxscore and the downloadable stats at the NorPac site.]

4 Dec 2004
Kootenai Colts at Puget Sound Tomahawks

***goal scored
###penalty called

1st period
###18:32 Truex interference
18:14 Iggy left pad save...half-juiced shot from left circle
17:43 Alexander pounces on turnover and gets a SH shot
16:50 big check thrown on Kootenai
16:12 bad centering pass turns into a Kootenai rush (no shots on the other end though)
15:44 nice stick save by Iggy
###15:38 Miller tagged for a penalty
15:25 Iggy smothers
15:17 Iggy pad save on shot from left circle
14:43 Kootenai coughs up the puck in the attacking zone
14:17 Iggy stick save from right circle
13:33 puck leaks toward Puget Sound crease, poked away
###13:05 penalty on Kootenai #21
12:42 Puget Sound shot from blue line through traffic almost finds the net
12:22 one-timer attempt by Puget Sound stopped
11:43 scramble near the goal mouth, but opposing goalie smothers the puck
11:32 Kootenai shot just wide to glove side
11:20 very close shot by Puget Sound
10:16 this isn't the first time the net has been knocked off its moorings in the game
10:12 Puget Sound shot from the blueline stopped
9:39 nice check on the rush by Coxon
###9:19 scrum between Kootenai #5 and Coxon, play stopped...both sent to the box for roughing
9:14 opposing goalie covers on a blueline flip
8:57 Iggy stops a shot with his chest on a rush from the right circle, covers it
###8:30 Prather to the box for boarding?
8:20 Alexander on a shorthanded rush gloved
8:10 Iggy stops a shot with a stick and lays down after puck goes high in air and is picked up by Colt and put on ice for another shot
###7:50 Stoumbaugh whistled (2-man adv)
6:23 Wiegers on defense intercepts pass near the crease
6:20 Garey with a monster check
4:54 Michalik gloved from the blue line, Stoumbaugh skates off to the dressing room
4:36 Michalik pad saved from the right point
###4:12 Miller tagged again for a penalty
2:48 Ferris pokes away loose puck in crease
2:19 Truex on a break from high slot shoots into the pads
###1:54 Winkleman stuffed on a break, leveled after the whistle...Wiegers and an opposing player go in for roughing
###1:34 Iggy saved by the left post (i.e., part of the goalie's equipment)...Coxon slashing penalty
0:51 Osterheldt breaks up the Colts setting up a play on the attack

Not much time in the attack zone for Puget Sound until the power play. Lots of penalty killing going on though. The PK unit and Iggy look good, but the fact that there have been a bunch of penalties...not so good. But it's still a tie game.

2nd period
###18:49 traffic in front of the Kootenai net, but no dice...a penalty on Kootenay #10
18:32 puck deflected wide
18:11 puck leaks in front of goalie
17:52 Michalik shot from the left point smothered
17:48 puck off Kootenai goalie's chest
17:29 Winkleman shot slapped away
16:43 centering pass goes out the other side again
15:50 Shapley slapshot gloved on the rush left side
15:42 another centering pass leaks through
15:18 another pass near the goal mouth...no dice
###14:20 Kootenai #5 penalty
12:15 puck poked away from near Iggy
11:16 icing...seems like there haven't been that many icings
11:09 Kootenai shot foiled by a check...Iggy steers it away easily
9:53 solid forecheck by Garey
9:32 thundering check by Alexander
8:55 Kootenai doing a decent job of getting back on the breakaways and poking away the puck
***###8:47 Mike Truex shoots above the pile in front of the net and SCORES (PS 1-0)...many many fights break out...Kootenai #10 and Shapley to the dressing room (he got two minutes as well)...some other fighting penalties too
***7:57 Casey Kovatch puts in a goal through traffic (1-1)
7:33 Winkleman wraparound attempt foiled by whistle
###6:59 minor post-whistle skirmishes after a puck flip out of play...Osterheldt penalty
6:40 Kootenai goalie leaves net wide open, but no one is there for the centering pass
4:08 some traffic by the net, but puck is smothered
###3:53 Kootenai penalty #5
###3:33 Kootenai penalty #21 (2-man adv)
3:22 puck bounces over Kootenai net
3:10 Tomahawk shot wide glove side
2:13 Tomahawk centering pass leaks through...many chances though
0:29 Truex wide shot stick side
###0:13.6 Ambuter penalty
0:07.1 Horten stopped on rush from left circle

Kootenai able to break up most of the Puget Sound opportunities on the rush, either by poking away the puck or jsut managing to slow down the Tomahawk skaters. Puget Sound able to get some opportunities in the attacking zone, but Kootenai backchecking game is coming through. I don't think Iggy had a chance on the tying goal. Kootenai able to kill off 1:40 of being two skaters down.

50/50 raffle winning ticket ends in 8607.

3rd period
***19:44 THAT's a way to come out of the dressing room...Eric Winkleman (Truex, Mike Miller) (PS 2-1)
***19:18 is this real?! That must have been a hell of an intermission speech by Coach McConnell...Winkleman scores again (Carl Horten, Truex) (PS 3-1)
18:33 Iggy easily gets the pads on a shot and steers it wide
###17:52 Wiegers penalty for roughing
***17:38 Kootenai slap shot from right point for Casey Kovatch (Kyle Palmblad, Zach Wartenbe) goes in high to glove side (PS 3-2)
###16:11 Truex whistled
###15:47 Miller and Kootenai #25 to box for roughing...looks like Miller got a major because it's 4-on-4
14:51 icing, faceoff in Tomahawk end
14:31 Kootenai blueline shot stopped about neck level by Iggy
###14:15 Kootenai #7 to the box...Puget Sound timeout
13:59 Ferris slap from blue line wide left
12:38 Iggy stops one on a one-on-one rush
11:14 a shot on the Kootenai rush poked away and into the netting
6:22 now Tomahawks able to break up Kootenai attempts on the rush
5:19 Iggy covers up the bouncing puck
5:09 Horten foiled on the rush left side
***4:39 Palmblad (unassisted) on a breakaway goes five-hole on Iggy (3-3)
3:45 Kootenai comes very close to taking the lead...Iggy stops the puck, net knocked off
3:34 Osterheldt on a rush stopped from the right circle
2:43 puck loose in front of Kootenai net, but nobody there to bang it in
###2:10 Wiegers to the box for holding...untimely
1:49 shot high and wide by Kootenai
***1:05 another goal accompanied by a crazy scramble in front of the net...Maciej Michalik (Truex), shorthanded (PS 4-3)
###0:10.5 I think Michalik went to the box...still 5-on-5

Here's what I have for a scoring tally (augmented with Sun print article)...

1st period

2nd period
1, Puget Sound, Mike Truex 19 (Steve Shapley, Jay McFadden) 11:13
2, Kootenai, power play, Casey Kovatch 6 (Aaron Donat, Tyler Robertson) 12:03

3rd period
3, Puget Sound, Eric Winkleman 4 (Mike Truex, Mike Miller) 0:16
4, Puget Sound, Eric Winkleman 5 (Carl Horten, Mike Truex) 0:41
5, Kootenai, power play, Kovatch 7 (Kyle Palmblad, Zach Wartenbe), 2:12
6, Kootenai, Palmblad 24 (unassisted) 15:21
7, Puget Sound, shorthanded, Maciej Michalik 1 (Truex) 18:55

Usually taking penalties when you have the lead isn't a good thing, but this Tomahawk team is pretty good shorthanded. Sometimes (if you don't look up at the scoreboard or notice it's 5-on-4) you can barely even tell they're shorthanded because they manage to get the puck in the attacking zone so often while on the kill.

But it's a win on the back end of a back-to-back, and that's always good. Iggy was solid once again in net, and I think it's debatable he had a chance on any of the goals scored on him. The one he had the best chance on was when it was him and a skater coming back on defense against the Kootenai player who eventually scored the goal. Other than that, Iggy was once again rock solid in net.

Clutch goal by the Masher, his first goal as a Tomahawk. Good times.

[Edit ~11:27p -- Post swept through once to clear up some wording and things that appeared unclear when I read it the first time.]

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Damn, what an exciting day in college football.

There's 5 undefeated teams at the end of the regular season.

USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah, and Boise State

However, only 2 of these 5 teams can play for the national championship in Miami January 4. The 2 teams will be USC and Oklahoma, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Yes, Auburn ran the table in the SEC. But they are ranked 3rd, while the Trojans and Sooners are ranked 1st and 2nd, respectively.

Is it fair? Well, it certainly wasn't fair when USC didn't get to play in the Sugar Bowl last year, was it? That was last year though. As for this year, the one main reason why Auburn shouldn't play in the Orange Bowl is because of their non-conference schedule. No, I don't care if they play in the SEC. Schedule a Mountain West Conference team, I don't care. Here's Auburn's 2004 OOC schedule:

Louisiana-Monroe, The Citadel, and Louisiana Tech

That's pitiful. At least Oklahoma had Bowling Green and Oregon on their OOC schedule. USC's OOC schedule had BYU, Colorado State, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech.

Using that good ol' phrase "barring any unforeseen circumstances", here's how I see the BCS shaping out tomorrow afternoon:

ORANGE BOWL (National Championship Game, Jan. 4, Miami)

SUGAR BOWL (Jan. 3, New Orleans)

FIESTA BOWL (Jan. 1, Tempe, AZ)

ROSE BOWL (Jan. 1, Pasadena, CA)

So there you go, USC-Oklahoma in the Orange, Auburn-Virginia Tech in the Sugar, Utah-Pittsburgh in the Fiesta, and Michigan-California in the Rose.

A few thoughts on these possible BCS matchups:

---USC-Oklahoma will be a very good game. The two best running backs in the country are USC's Reggie Bush and OU's Adrian Peterson. I can't wait to see these two backs matchup in the same damn game. Despite what Auburn fans think, USC and Oklahoma are the two best teams in the country. Start the hype now.

---Be wary of Virginia Tech, Auburn. The Hokies faced USC back in August and gave them a fight. I think Virginia Tech will win this game, because of their special teams. Beamer Ball, baby!

---Utah deserves better than this. Pittsburgh? Come on.

---Regardless of their performance in Hattiesburg tonight against Southern Miss, Cal deserves to be in the Rose Bowl. If you want to compare them to Texas as to who deserves the last at-large bid (Utah has the other one), just look at each team's lone loss:

Cal lost to USC 23-17, even though Aaron Rodgers was nearly perfect, going 29-for-31, completing his first 23 passes. The Golden Bears are the best 1-loss team in America, no question.

Texas was shut out by Oklahoma, 12-0. If you have 1 loss and in that 1 loss, you get shut out, you have no business being in a BCS bowl, no matter who the opponent was. And let's not forget that the Longhorns scraped by both Arkansas and Kansas, two less-than-stellar teams.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

In non-BCS news...

---The Army-Navy Game is the most important sporting event in America, no question about it. Navy beat Army, 42-13. It was Navy's 3rd straight win over Army. But what I love about the Army-Navy Game is the tradition. The men that play in this game will go on and defend our country. I can't say enough about that. What really gives me chills is the postgame scene, when both Army and Navy's alma maters are performed. This year, it was Army's alma mater that was played first (the loser's song is always performed first), then Navy played their alma mater. If you can't get even the slightest of chills while watching that, then you're not human.

If you really want to get a feel for the Army-Navy Game, then by all means, you need to read John Feinstein's excellent book, "A Civil War". I can't recommend it enough.

---Crap. Eastern Washington loses on the final play of the game to Sam Houston State, 35-34, in Cheney in the NCAA D-1AA playoffs. What a run for the Eagles though. They were co-Big Sky Conference Champions with Montana and finished the 2004 season at 9-4. Head coach Paul Wulff has done a very good job at Eastern, bringing in some very good talent. With EWU's success in 2004, Wulff should be able to bring another good recruiting class to Cheney. Sam Houston State will face Montana next Saturday in Missoula in the semifinals. Good luck with that.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

The BCS Selection Show will be on ABC tomorrow afternoon (check your local listings). ESPN will air a special edition of College Gameday tomorrow afternoon as well, announcing the official lineup of bowls. The bowl season really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Hooray for college football.

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AP photo -- John Dixon

How good are the Illinois Fighting Illini, who defeated Arkansas 72-60 in Little Rock earlier today?

They're so good that head coach Bruce Weber can get away with wearing a hideous orange jacket this past Wednesday against Wake Forest. I was expecting him to come out to mid-court and announce to the crowd, "it's time to play Tic Tac Dough!". The jacket reminded me of Wink Martindale, who's a legend in his own right. Yes, I watched a ton of game shows growing up. Thank you, USA Network.

Illinois will probably be ranked #1 in the polls next week. But I don't think they'll stay there for too long. There's at least 8 teams this season that I believe will be ranked #1. College basketball is very wide open this season. But the thing is, the polls really don't mean a damn thing in college basketball. It's all about the NCAA Tournament. (No, I don't plan on arguing for a college football playoff today.)

One more thing, if you did catch the Illinois-Arkansas game on ESPN today, you may have noticed the court. That's not the University of Arkansas' court. Alltel Arena is located in North Little Rock and is home to the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR) Trojans of the Sun Belt Conference. Personally, if Arkansas is going to play at a so-called neutral site (Alltel Arena wasn't a neutral site IMO), at least put a Razorback logo somewhere on the court or on the press row table. A game of this caliber (Big Ten vs SEC) didn't deserve to be played on a Sun Belt Conference court. I'm not bashing the Sun Belt at all, because I'll be transferring to a Sun Belt school next fall.

Alltel Arena is a nice facility. I've been to two events at the venue, an Arkansas Twisters game in 2003 (Arena Football 2) and the Metallica/Godsmack concert back in May. UALR will play in a new on-campus arena next fall.

I'll have a college football post later tonight, sometime around 8-8:30 p.m. Pacific. That's 10-10:30 Central for me. Be on the lookout for it if you have absolutely nothing going on tonight.

Enjoy the rest of the games today, Auburn/Tennessee, USC/UCLA, Cal/Southern Miss, and Oklahoma/Colorado. Oh, and I can't forget about Eastern Washington either, as they will take on Sam Houston State in a half hour in Cheney. Should be fun.

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Well, looks like the big things today are the Mariner article (which has me both laughing and shaking my head), a good Percy Allen article on Luke Ridnour, and the Tomahawks winning last night to bump their record to 21-2.

Sadly, I'll be missing Blazers/Sonics tonight because the Tomahawks will be trying to take their record to 22-2, and I'll be there. This of course means one thing: the Sonics need to have their games replayed on FSNNW like the Mariners do. Of course, I'm sure that probably would never happen, since college sports are a billion times more active this time of year than in the dead of summer. But hey, I'm up late at night, and I wouldn't mind seeing replay of the Sonics. Of course, if this is actually going on, slap me.

Who doesn't love being a Seattle sports fan? It just continues!! My oh my!!! It's so bad, the Mariners can't get their way with less attractive options, let alone those considered by the fans that want Beltran/Beltre (which is not going to happen, by the way).

Wally Backman has gone from being hired to managing the Diamondbacks to being fired by the same team four days later to getting 10 days in jail for violating his proby. He could have gotten 364 days in the graybar hotel. He was ordered by the judge to stay dry until January of 2008, and that's not referring to keeping a roof over one's head.

Clare Farnsworth has a warm piece on 1974 NFC receiving leader Charle Young, tight end and former Seahawk GM.

For the statistical standpoint on how crappy the special teams unit has been, look no further than Jose Miguel Romero. The average field position after the Seahawks kick off is the 31-yard line. Brutal.

Farnsworth also brings us the news that offensive coordinator Gil Haskell and receivers coach Nolan Cromwell, former special teams coaches both, were enlisted to assist current special teams coach Mark Michaels. I know I wasn't a big Pete Rodriguez fan last year and I thought his firing was about two years overdue. But have the special teams improved since last year? Were opposing returners getting bowled over on punts when they called for a fair catch last year? No. It was bad last year, it just wasn't this bad.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams and the Tar Heels will be at home in the Dean dome in just a couple hours (9am...damn) to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Their next game will be on the 12th against Loyola of Chicago.

[Edit ~1:09p -- North Carolina won 91-78. Marvin Williams hit a three and made another shot for 5 points. He also grabbed 4 rebounds, along with a steal in 18 minutes of play off the bench.]

Allow Dan Raley to build up your anticipation for the Huskies' home game against Eastern tomorrow afternoon. The Huskies have seven of their next eight at home, a stretch in which they should gather up a head of steam, fix some of their weaknesses, and be able to tackle the conference schedule.

The Force hath been used. Luke Ridnour brings a certain quickness to the court, either when pushing the ball up the court on offense and running around a maze of screens and picks, or when harrassing opposing point guards with his defensive ability. His defensive ability now is far beyond Jay Bilas' assertion on draft night: "Ridnour can't guard the chair I'm sitting in." Of course, it's those sorts of remarks out of the hacked ESPN NBA staff that make me wish TNT had the draft coverage every year. If I heard a remark like that, I want to hear it from Charles Barkley. As for the article, it touched on Ridnour's faith, his bond with Nick Collison, his gradual approach to running the team from the point, and his coexistence with Antonio Daniels. And I'm sure the cost overruns at Ridnour's house aren't anywhere close to those on Safeco Field.

I saw the headline to this article and thought it was going to be about the Sonics ability to move the basketball and find the open shooter. Nope. It turns out even the Sonics have a secret Santa thing going. I ran across one instance of a similar program in my youth that went under the name of "white elephant gift exchange." I've never heard it used again. I think secret Santa is a better name anyway.

Also, the Sonics will be a tad bit revenge-minded against the Blazers tonight. Someone remind Danny Fortson to keep his cool.

Tonight vs. Portland
Wednesday at San Antonio
Thursday at Dallas

Everett beat Portland, 2-1. Karel Hromas shouldered the scoring load all by his lonesome with two power play goals en route to victory for the Silvertips. Dan Da Silva of Portland had tied the game with 14:39 remaining in the third period, but was called for elbowing 12 seconds later. Hromas scored the game-winner for Everett halfway into the ensuing power play. Portland controlled much of the territorial play and badly outshot the Silvertips 30-14. When I see that statistic, it just screams Minnesota Wild. Mike Wall stopped 29 shots for Everett while Dustin Butler -- starting his 9th game in a row -- stopped 12 shots.

Vancouver beat Kamloops, 3-2. Gilbert Brule potted the Giants' first goal and the overtime winner to catapult Vancouver to the win. WHL Player of the Week Adam Courchaine scored the tying goal just 1:39 into the third period for Vancouver. The Giants outshot the Blazers 28-21, and Marek Schwarz stopped 19 for Vancouver. Courchaine, Brule, Mitch Bartley, and Max Gordichuk were all plus-2 for the Giants. Read far enough into Vancouver's recap, and you can see Matt Barkoff refer to Gilbert Brule as a possible clone of Doug Gilmour. The Giants are three points behind Kelowna and Kootenay for the division lead as well as the best record in the WHL.

Kootenay beat Seattle, 3-1. Adam Cracknell scored the first goal of the game when he got to a rebound off a shot by Ice teammate Brent Sutter and the puck went off Seattle goalie Bryan Bridges and into the net with just five seconds left in the opening period. The T-Birds got off nine straight shots in the second period before Chris Durand finally got the equalizer off of a rebound. According to Jim Riley, the KeyArena boards are "unpredictable." Damn you, Barry Ackerley! A weird bounce off the boards led to the game-winning goal by Casey Lee at 6:30 of the final period. Dale Mahovsky iced the game later with 4:14 left. Seattle outshot Kootenay 29-22. Bridges stopped 19.

Puget Sound beat Kootenai, 9-2. (Note: the following is all from memory) Twenty-one wins, two losses. I believe it was 2-1 Tomahawks after the first period. It was nearly 2-2, except one goal was disallowed because the Colts were offside on the play, though I didn't hear a whistle, and if so, it was quite late. In a related story, I haven't seen the officials "deliberate" for such long periods of time after basic scrums and penalties, and I've seen about six or eight of these Junior B games. I'm not expecting NHL-quality officiating or anything, I'm not expecting Mick McGeough/Don Koharski/Don Van Massenhoven, but that was as sketchy as I've seen it in my eight or so games I've seen this year. The Tomahawks blew the game open with a handful or so of second-period goals. One of them (I think it was the fifth) came on a crazy sequence where the puck was in front of the goalie and the net most of the time, with Puget Sound having four or five chances to jab at it and poke it in. There wasn't really a good jab on the puck that final time, but it just sort of took a high-arc bounce and went in. Then the fight began. I think at least six players went at it in front of the crease and beside the net. I think two of Kootenai's skaters (and one Tomahawk) were tossed, along with the Colts' goalie. It was insane. It took what seemed like about 20 minutes to hash out those penalties and ejections, with the PA announcer (most likely at the behest of the officials) even instructing everyone except for Tomahawk goalie Iggy Slepokourev to clear the ice. Speaking of Iggy (who was solid), though the game was pretty much out of reach going into the third, he made a great handful or so of stops on a 5-on-3 to start the third.

Tonight: Vancouver at Kelowna, Kootenay at Portland, Swift Current at Everett, Binghamton at Manitoba, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Sunday: Swift Current at Seattle, Binghamton at Manitoba

Are you enjoying your weekend? If not (and if you have money burning a hole in your pocket), I pass along my endorsement of both Home Movies (season 1) on DVD and volume three of Aqua Teen Hunger Force on DVD. A good portion of the humor I use in my daily life is probably somehow rooted in or influenced by those two shows. If it's not those, it's probably seasons 12 through 27 of Saturday Night Live. An SNL episode-by-episode DVD set would be the mother of all DVD sets, by the way, and it'd also be the least affordable. However, I could see a DVD set of the best-of shows from every season. Has Lorne Michaels thought of this? Should I be on NBC payroll?

Yes, I've gone nuts. Enjoy your Saturday.

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Friday, December 03, 2004


As David mentioned, we're moving. Not moving on up to Wordpress, but just changing our address. It's nothing new for me, however. I've changed my address 3 times in the past 2 years. That's not even mentioning the countless times I had to change my address growing up.

So, yeah, the new address.


I'm a former Bremertonian. David is the current Bremertonian (for now).

How is Bremerton these days, anyway? Since I left the pride of Kitsap County (put your hand down, Gorst), I've heard that downtown Bremerton has a new conference center. Hey, it's progress. Bremerton is finally in the process of beautifying itself. Oh, and there's that new ice arena as well. It would have been too much trouble for that ice arena to have been open when David and I were growing up, but I digress. Who knows what would have happened to me if there was an ice arena to go to. I did play street hockey down in California for 2 years. Yes, competitive street hockey. It was part of the San Jose Sharks "Sharks and Parks" program. Good times.

Anyways, enough about Bremerton. What do you want to know about Arkansas?

Well, it's finally cold here.

I hate steroids and I don't like to talk about them. Well, you know what?


Too bad, so sad.

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How about that? Another good week for the Pick Me Up. I was 12-4 last week. But I bombed big time on my upset pick, the New York Football Giants. Oh well.

Anyways, here are my Week 12 picks, brought to you by the letter 2.


Cincinnati at Baltimore
(After scoring 58 points against the Browns last week, the Bengals are due for a letdown. Carson Palmer, meet the Ravens defense.)

Minnesota at Chicago
(Everybody get your roll on, everybody get your roll on, what?)

New England at Cleveland
(A week of turmoil for the Browns and they have to face the Pats)

Arizona at Detroit
(Denny Green may have to give Sean Salisbury a call soon to play quarterback. Let's hope this happens so we don't have to hear Salisbury on ESPN.)

Tennessee at Indianapolis

Buffalo at Miami
(The Bills are a solid team. Too bad that they won't make the AFC playoffs.)

Carolina at New Orleans
(Not only should Jim Haslett leave New Orleans, Aaron Brooks has to go as well)

Houston at New York Jets
(UPSET OF THE WEEK. The Jets blow another big game at home.)

San Francisco at St. Louis
(I wish I could bash the Rams. But I look back at Oct. 10 and Nov. 14.)

Atlanta at Tampa Bay
(The Falcons are due to lose a game and the Bucs are playing well)


Kansas City at Oakland
(The Chiefs played well last week against the Chargers, but couldn't pull it out. On other side, great win by the Raiders in Denver.)

Denver at San Diego
(The Chargers, AFC West Champions? Well, they did win the AFC West in my ESPN NFL 2K5 franchise mode.)

Green Bay at Philadelphia
(LOCK OF THE WEEK. Why in the hell am I calling this game a lock? Simple. The Eagles will force Brett Favre to throw 3 interceptions. And the game is in Philly.)

New York Giants at Washington
(If you look at the Giants schedule, it's very possible for them to not win another game this season.)


Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
(Sunday night game in Jacksonville, I have to take the Jags here.)


Dallas at Seattle
(The Seahawks have to win on Monday night. If they can't get up for a Monday Night Football game in their own stadium, they don't deserve to be a playoff team. But I do know for a fact that Shaun Alexander loves to play in prime time. I just have a feeling he's going to have a big game after last week's dismal performance.

And one important note: Vinny Testaverde isn't in the Meadowlands anymore. No, I'm not going to post the infamous pic of his "touchdown". I may post it again sometime this weekend, who knows.)

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If you read last week's Pick Me Up, remember what I said about the Bills-Seahawks game?

Buffalo at Seattle
(Be afraid, be very afraid)

I knew that the Bills weren't going to come to Seattle and lay down. They were going to score some points. After all, they do have Willis McGahee in their backfield. But did I think they would score 38 points? In Seattle? Well, they sure did.

I've been a Bill Simmons fan since his days as the "Boston Sports Guy". And after reading his NFL picks today, there's a reason why I'm still a fan.

The 6-5 Seahawks are leading the West by one game. They have lost five of their last eight. They lost to a 4-6 Bills team at home last week by 29 points. They have Jerry Rice starting at WR, wearing Steve Largent's number and running fly patterns with a pitchfork sticking out his back. They are being routinely outscored on Sundays by Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen and even Vlad Radmanovic. On the bright side, it's only Year 6 of Mike Holmgren's five-year plan.

Read that last sentence.

On the bright side, it's only Year 6 of Mike Holmgren's five-year plan.

I want to believe in Holmgren. I really do. However, if the Seahawks don't win a playoff game or (gasp) miss the playoffs altogether, he deserves to be fired. 6 years is a long time, folks. His first season in Seattle was the first half of my senior year of high school. I know, it doesn't seem like a long time ago, but it was.

Enjoy the games this weekend, everybody.

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I've hinted at this once or twice, and Jeremy and I have talked it over a couple of times.

We're moving the site on Wednesday. Sort of.

Unlike our blogosphere compadres at USS Mariner, Leone for Third, and Nice Guys Finish Third, we're not moving into our own domain. Jeremy and I are the complete opposite of wealthy, which figures directly into the new address...


If you go there right now, I've just taken up the spot with a placeholder, so there's nothing of worth over there at the moment.

Why, you ask? It just makes it easier. Originally I had devised the "bremsportfolk" name because I thought it'd be a little quirky and crazy. That was just fine when Jeremy and I were the only ones reading our blog. Now, we have hundreds of people reading every day in some form.

Also (and I'm sorry for those who have gone through the trouble), who the hell is able to remember "bremsportfolk" right away? There's no way. What I have in mind out there is the person that has gone to some sort of public computer or one that isn't their own (or one without AutoComplete) and wanted to dial up Sports and B's but couldn't right away because of the sheer juvenility of our address.

It's for new readers too. We like more readers. They're much more like to remember "bremertonians" than "bremsportfolk."

Of course, the most obvious thing is that the word "Bremertonians" is part of our name. Put it in the address, and voila!

And if I was bent on world domination, I could also say that by changing our address to reflect our name, we (or thing referring to us) would pretty much have a monopoly on the first three pages' worth of Google searches when anyone types in "Bremertonians." We're almost there now, and this change would put us over the top.

So there you have it. Sports and Bremertonians will move (barring any weird circumstances) and you'll see us in the new location at bremertonians.blogspot.com on Wednesday.

Thanks to all of our readers that have stumbled upon us since August of 2003. We hope you follow us to the newish address.

[Edit ~12:16p -- Third. Not Last.]

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Welcome to Friday. Once again, those in Kitsap County with either a passing interest in hockey and/or nothing enticing planned for tonight are fully encouraged to see the 20-2 Puget Sound Tomahawks square off against the Kootenai Colts tonight at the Bremerton Ice Arena, located by the YMCA in East Bremerton. Faceoff is at 7:30.

I knew going in that this was going to be a pretty light news day. It was. The only game that I say anything about below involves the Manitoba Moose. That's how light it was.

Without further adieu...

You mean I don't get to read a rehash of the same rumors we've been hearing for the last three weeks and/or fuzzy math concerning how much money the Mariners have to spend on free agents? I don't even know what to do with myself today. Guess I'll go eat worms.

Mike Holmgren broke camp in Cheney and said that the Seahawks' best players had to have good years for the team to do well. Why? Because of the lack of depth and experience if the best players don't hold up their end of the bargain. Clare Farnsworth does some statistical comparisons of the Seahawks between this year and last year. The only numbers that seem to be good are Shaun Alexander on the ground, the left side of the offensive line, and Ken Lucas' interceptions. Other than that, you've got the synergistic qualities of Matt Hasselbeck's poor showing with the receivers' dropped passes.

I can sum up the Times notebook article pretty quickly: Seattle's run defense isn't as good as it was in the beginning of the season, Julius Jones has some potential, Matt Hasselbeck has had his share of passes tipped this year, and Edgar Martinez will raise the 12th Man flag on Monday night. Farnsworth has a somewhat similar notebook article of his own.

Other than a near-blasphemous comparison to the Mariners' 2001 start (the 2000 Mariners were light years better than last year's Sonics), Steve Kelley has a decent article on the NBA's Coach of the Month for November, Nate McMillan. Nate got to a turning point where he took charge, and this team is all the better for it. There is also some discussion about Nate trying to push the ball and the tempo with the team last year, but the turnovers caused him to eventually do what he didn't want to do and slow down the tempo, which I'm guessing ate at him. But oh, how things have changed.

Danny O'Neil also passes along the news of Nate's recognition. Coach McMillan isn't a total hardass, though. As a former player, he knows the toll that the practices take on the body, which factored into the curtailing of live drills in the last week-plus. Nate also is open to input, as referenced in the article where Luke Ridnour suggested a different play during a timeout in the fourth quarter against Utah. There's also an interesting note about an overtime loss to Indiana almost two years before the Jazz game where Gary Payton scored 40 and they still lost. Tony LaRussa (he'd seen the game that night) said it would be a crushing loss for one team. I don't think you need me to tell you which team had more trouble recovering.

Vitaly Potapenko will be working out today. Honestly, I'm kind of scared about the eventual returns of Vitaly and Ron Murray. I know I've said it here a couple of times, but I'm afraid it might have an effect similar to the one that then-holdout Joey Galloway had on the Jon Kitna-led Seahawk team that started out 7-2 that season. Galloway came back, and it seemed to upset the chemistry and it definitely upset the won-loss record. The best I can see is that Vitaly gives the Sonics six more fouls to use in the low post on whoever the opposing team's best frontcourt scorer is. Keep in mind that the Collison/James/Fortson/Evans quartet has been able to shut down Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, and Kevin Garnett (at Minnesota). If you add Potapenko and his six more fouls to the mix, I think that's the positive way to look at his return. The negative I guess would be if Jerome James completely sucks (I would suspect his minutes or Collison's would be the first to take a hit upon Vitaly's return). James has had some above-average moments this season, and he hasn't been too bad defensively. He can't shoot worth a damn, but he's been a lot better than last year.

As for where Ron Murray would fit into the offensive flow again...I have no idea. Is there room on the bench? I guess the only thing I can think of would be to throw him out there if one of the other shooters is having an off night or something, and the first name that comes to mind is Vlad. Of course, that would entail some sort of substitution with the frontcourt and stuff. I guess maybe he could fit into that three-guard attack with Luke Ridnour and Antonio Daniels when Ray Allen is taking a rest on the bench. You know in the final round of Wheel of Fortune, where Pat Sajak tells the contestant to talk it out when he/she is trying to solve the puzzle? That's kind of what I did here for how I thought Ron Murray would work back into the rotation.

Saturday vs. Portland
Wednesday at San Antonio
Thursday at Dallas

A couple of articles before the one game blurb...

Can you believe that the NHL owners and players hadn't sat down at the bargaining table for nearly three months? Talks will resume next week. Am I expecting any good to come out of this? No. Not unless the players used the phrase "salary cap" on something that looks a lot like the salary cap, but isn't. If they somehow slipped that by the owners, it'd be hilarious. Still, a short season is still a season, if it can happen. Of course, whoever won the Stanley Cup would be unfairly marked for having won a short season (like the post-lockout San Antonio Spurs), but oh well. I need my NHL.

Also, John Buccigross' good friend Shjon Podein is showing interest in purchasing the Nikko Ice Bucks. The Ice Bucks are a Japanese hockey team. I should note that before I read this, I had no idea that Japan had ice hockey, teams playing ice hockey, or leagues playing ice hockey. I know they've got rinks, because I've seen the figure skating. I know who Yuka Sato is. But I couldn't name a Japanese hockey player.

Derek Couture of the Thunderbirds gets asked a few questions by the P-I.

Manitoba beat Cincinnati, 4-1. I actually got a chance to listen to some of the Moose radio broadcast, or at least long enough to hear an ad for Rod Stewart's upcoming concert at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. The Moose used two goals 80 seconds apart in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead an bury the Mighty Ducks, with Lee Goren collecting a hat trick along the way. Jason King got the first goal after driving to the net and pouncing on a rebound off a Josh Green shot. Goren would score the next three goals. He scored eighty seconds after the King goal, and saved his next two for the third period. Goren's second goal came midway through the third period on a power play, and the final goal came on the empty net. Manitoba outshot Cincinnati 25-20, and Alex Auld stopped 19 shots. Manitoba now sits atop the AHL Western Conference's North Division with a 14-6-0-2 record, one point better than the Edmonton Road Runners.

Tonight: Everett at Portland, Kootenay at Seattle, Kamloops at Vancouver, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Saturday: Vancouver at Kelowna, Kootenay at Portland, Swift Current at Everett, Binghamton at Manitoba, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Sunday: Swift Current at Seattle, Binghamton at Manitoba

Enjoy your weekend, everybody. Rest up. Big game Monday. Jeremy and I are hoping for a Monday Night Football intro where Darrell Jackson drops Eva Longoria, and you can hope along with us. There's room on the hopemobile.

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Thursday, December 02, 2004


Thursday today means Friday tomorrow. Of course, if you're out of work and/or school for a while, the days just start to blend together. The only way I know it's Friday are if the Tomahawks are playing, and tomorrow and Saturday they're at the local ice rink for two games against the Kootenai Colts. The Tomahawks currently stand with the best record in their league, an insane 20-2.

Time for the rest of the post...

Unsurprisingly, a report in the BALCO case says that Jason Giambi was on the juice. Not that the year-to-year before-and-after photos weren't enough to convince people or anything.

David Andriesen chimes in with a Delgado-or-Sexson article. Andriesen does attempt to shoot down rumors of the Mariners possibly acquiring both players, though he still speculates on the repercussions if somehow they did obtain both players (i.e., fate of Randy Winn). Toward the end of the article, I'd have to say I prefer calling it Carlpalooza rather than Carlapalooza. The latter makes it sound like a gal named Carla is on baseball's free agent market. Frankly, if Carl Pavano and his agent came up with the version with the extra "a," I'd be surprised if Pavano didn't get some crap for it along the way.

Looks like two articles about Bill Parcells are the bulk of what the print writers cranked out for today's editions. Other than this, Jerry Rice is really good on Monday nights, and Mike Holmgren will get a little testy if you question the passion of his team. In the non-print media (Northwest Cable News), I heard that Darrell Jackson's mother has told Darrell to stop doing interviews until he stops dropping passes. NWCN and Greg Bailey also said that Coach Holmgren had bared his soul to his players, and Shaun Alexander called it the best speech he'd heard in five years.

The Marvin Williams Watch
In North Carolina's 70-63 win at Indiana as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Marvin Williams scored 4 points and had 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, an assist, a steal, 3 stitches above his left eye, and 1 stitch on his left eyelid in 22 minutes of play off the bench. He came back into the game after getting stitched up.

Upcoming for UNC...
Saturday vs. Kentucky
(a gap for what I'm guessing is finals week)
Sunday (Dec 12) vs Loyola-Chicago

Art Thiel says Gonzaga just wanted it more. Getting outboarded and in foul trouble is never a good step toward winning either. Bottom line is that it's the seventh straight Husky loss to Gonzaga, but this one had a lot more expectations attached to it, and the Huskies were denied a 5-0 start to the season. The Huskies are at home for Eastern Washington on Sunday and San Diego State on Tuesday.

For my take on the game, scroll down to the post below this one or click here.

Percy Allen notes that the Sonics had just had an implosion just 24 hours before this game. Danny Fortson had gotten tossed and Vlad Radmanovic was horrible. Fast-forward to last night, and the two played key parts in this Sonic victory. Vlad of course hit the three-ball to send the game into overtime, and Fortson had a key putback and didn't get ejected despite some very questionable calls down the stretch which he was visibly irked about. Though the strategy down the stretch never centered around getting the ball down low to Fortson, then having him put up shots and get hacked and fouled (he's a good free-throw shooter), just his presence and that low-post option are something the Sonics really need in the waning minutes of games.

Danny O'Neil has a pretty good description of the setup for Vlad Radmanovic's game-tying shot in the closing seconds of regulation. And hey, a crowd of 16066 saw the game, so the Sonics might be getting some homecourt advantage that they haven't seen for a while. I have to say I really didn't expect the Sonics to win this game because it didn't seem like they were getting enough bounces in the 4th quarter, and Utah was hitting everything (they scored on 10 straight trips down the floor). Also, how about back-to-back doubles by Luke Ridnour? That's some contribution. His line for this game almost reads like a typical Brent Barry night last year.

Even John Levesque has some words about the Sonics' 14-3 record. He believes. The worst the Sonics can be after 20 games is 14-6, and George Karl's final team in Seattle took that start, played .500 ball the rest of the season, and went to the playoffs (if baseball had that same playoff system, the Mariners would have made it in 2002 and 2003). Also, the starts of the past two years came back to earth by the 20-game mark. Two years ago, 8-2 turned into 11-9. Last year, 6-2 became 10-10. This year, it'll be no worse than 14-6. Did anyone expect this?

Saturday vs. Portland
Wednesday at San Antonio
Next Thursday at Dallas

No true NHL news, just reaffirmations that Gary Bettman does indeed suck. I guess I agree with the players' union on at least one thing.

Everett shut out Kootenay, 1-0. When you have a great defensive team like the Silvertips, the goalie might sometimes only have to face 19 shots a night. Mike Wall faced that amount last night for Everett and stopped everything, triggering the promotion where all the fans get free batteries. The defense did their thing even without the services of a suspended Mitch Love, one of their best defenders. Karel Hromas and Alex Leavitt teamed up on Torrie Wheat's goal, the only one of the game. The Silvertips outshot the Ice 25-19.

Portland beat Kelowna, 2-1. The Winter Hawks snapped the 10-game unbeaten streak for the defending Memorial Cup champions. Power-play goals from Brandon Dubinsky and Brendan Mikkelson in the first and second periods accounted for the Portland scoring. Dustin Butler stopped 29 shots, and the Rockets outshot Portland 30-19, indicative of Kelowna's defensive prowess. The recap at the Portland site is done by their play-by-play guy, Dean Vrooman, who cranked out a very informative set of paragraphs regarding the defensive teams of the WHL.

Tonight: Cincinnati at Manitoba
Friday: Everett at Portland, Kootenay at Seattle, Kamloops at Vancouver, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Saturday: Vancouver at Kelowna, Kootenay at Portland, Swift Current at Everett, Binghamton at Manitoba, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Sunday: Swift Current at Seattle, Binghamton at Manitoba

Enjoy your Thursday, everybody. Stay warm. Bring chains and extra clothes if you're going over the pass and stuff. From personal experience, it helps if your car is a big hunk of heavy steel and is at least a front-wheel drive. Such a car got me through four years of back-and-forth from Ellensburg, and it's still a serviceable car.

Why did I just throw an automotive tip out there? I have no idea. Right now it's whatever time it says for the post time, and I'm insane.

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SuperSonics 129, Jazz 119 (OT)
What a game. I've seen most of the Sonic games this year, and I don't think any team has shot better against the Sonics than Utah did last night. Their only downfalls were their late turnovers and the fact that they only shot 2-for-12 from downtown. Carlos Boozer absolutely could not miss, whether he was putting up hook shots, crazy leaning bankers, turnaround jumpers -- everything was falling. Also, Mehmet Okur was nuts off the bench with 25 on 9-for-12 shooting (I guess I'm peeking at the boxscore before the formal peek).

What makes this win a bit special? It wasn't just the fact that Vlad Radmanovic hit the clutch three to tie the game with 10.5 ticks left in the 4th quarter. I'll relish this victory because the Sonics had their backs against the wall to the point where they were fouling to send the Jazz to the line just to stop the clock. To me, any win where you've got to foul late and then come from behind to win or force overtime en route to a win is a great win. I remember one particular win back in Sonic lore where the Sonics were in the fouling circumstances in San Antonio and I think Gary Payton hit a clutch shot to win or tie the game.

Here's some notes I'd taken during the game...
-- First half: Sonics go on fairly torrid run in latter half of second quarter. Jazz able to get their way in the paint for much of the first half. Jazz players driving right past Sonic defenders. Vlad Rad has decent first half, even on boards. Sonics didn't really run up their defense until their run.
-- 85-82 after three quarters. Jazz hanging around. Carlos Boozer is damn good.
-- Harpring worked Vlad for a foul and one...Vlad's strength sure as hell isn't defending. Jazz don't hit a three until Okur bags one with about 5:20 left to answer Vlad's three on the other end of the floor. Sonics in the penalty on a Ridnour foul at 4:46 left in the game. Seattle can't buy a defensive stop around 3 minutes left. Fortson called for another bullcrap foul with 2:15 left to go, more free throws for Utah. Jazz 108-103 with 1:25 to go after Fortson draws charge on Raja Bell. 0:52 pass mishandled by Lewis on the break. Luckily, they got an airball three on the other end of the floor. Ray Allen almost gets the foul plus the one with 22.4 seconds left...heartbreaker; only gets the free throws. VLAD CLUTCH THREE with 10.5 left to tie at 110-110; pumpfaked Boozer as he jumped past.
-- OVERTIME...damn. Lewis ~2:40 intercepting the crosscourt pass and dunking was key. Nice play. Allen 3 with 2:15. Sonics get some bounces late...some Jazz turnovers too. 1:04 Daniels three gives Sonics 7pt lead. Fortson fouls out with :29.8 left...not earlier, thank goodness.

starters: Ray Allen 38 pts (season high)/7 ast (9-20 FG, 17-19 free throws), Rashard Lewis 23 pts (9-15 FG), Luke Ridnour 17 pts/10 ast/4 reb
bench: Vlad Radmanovic 21 pts/7 reb (7-13 FG, 4-8 3pt), Antonio Daniels 17 pts/4 ast, Danny Fortson 8 pts/9 reb
team: were outrebounded 40-35, shot 42-for-81 from floor (51.9%), hit 13 of 29 three-pointers (44.8%), bench was outscored 50-49, point guards combined for 34 pts/7 reb/14 ast
Jerome James Watch: he didn't take a single shot of any kind in 12 minutes of play. He had one assist and one turnover, and used three fouls.

This was the best night of shooting that Ray Allen has had in a while. He did manage to miss two free throws, but he did get to the line 19 times. Ray Allen has an amazing knack for driving to the hoop and drawing contact and fouls, and this skill has enabled him to be a factor even in games of the last two weeks or so when he was suffering through a cold and the jumpers weren't falling.

Another key moment tonight was when Danny Fortson got called for two very quick fouls, which I think happened early in the fourth quarter. Luckily Fortson kept his cool, and he let Coach McMillan do the arguing from the bench, and McMillan ended up getting the technical. Fortson stayed in the game, and had a key putback off a Ray Allen miss in overtime.

One final note before the articles...at least Andrei Kirilenko was on the shelf for the Jazz. Yes, Utah had the AK-47 locked away in its case.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004


I just saw the Sonics get called for illegal defense in the first quarter against the Jazz. These days, illegal defense is penalized via one free throw and possession. This of course reminded me of the good ol' days of the George Karl era, where the team would get called for illegal defense left and right. It seems like every time I'd read the boxscore in the paper, under technical fouls you would always see "Seattle illegal defense 2," the number meaning however many times above the warning they were tagged for the penalty.

That said, I'd have to rank the three hardest-to-explain penalties in sports as this...

1) NBA illegal defense
2) MLB infield fly rule
3) NHL icing

Also, I'm flipping back and forth between the Sonics and the North Carolina game, and I have to say that I didn't see the play that facilitated Marvin Williams needing stitches on and around his eyelid. More on that later.

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Check out this piece from The Tennessean in Nashville.

It's easy to understand the concern over the fate of the NHL's southeastern teams — Atlanta, Carolina, Florida, Nashville and Tampa Bay — in a post-lockout world.

Three of those teams — Atlanta, Carolina and Nashville — finished in the bottom third in attendance last season, and all five have struggled at various times in their existence to consistently put fans in the seats.

Ted Saskin, second in command at the NHL Players' Association, said he fears the lockout will hurt southern hockey markets worst of all.

"There's no doubt it will have a negative impact on all teams, but especially those markets where hockey isn't as familiar," Saskin said. "Nothing good can come about from the lockout because it takes the product away from the fans and it risks alienating them as well."

Saskin compared the situation to that of the baseball strike in 1994, which did serious damage to the sport both in the U.S. and in Canada.

"The Canadian markets never really recovered, and the U.S. markets took quite some time," Saskin said. "I think with hockey, the situation might be reversed. I think a lot of the newer hockey markets may have a difficult time recovering, especially the longer (the lockout) goes on."

Man, I hope this won't become a fact.

I've written here before about the NHL in the South. I'm going to spend at least the next couple of years here in the South. When the NHL comes back, whether that be in a few months or in 2006, I would like to go to Nashville to check out a Predators game. But with the lockout, who knows what's going to happen to the game of hockey, especially the future of the Southern hockey markets.

"Hockey will never work in the South," some folks suggest. Well, this same attitude sure came to fruition in San Jose, didn't it? San Jose is just one example. Hockey can work in these newer markets. It takes a spirited effort on the part of the NHL to try to make it work. The NHL is the worst of the 4 major professional sports leagues in terms of marketing. Marketing, or lack there of, is one of the main reasons why a lot of people in America simply don't give a damn about the NHL lockout right now.

If the NHL decides to market itself better in the Southern markets and needs a few good men or women to help out, I'll be first in line to help out. I know the game of hockey. And I'll be happy as hell to make the game work down here in the South.

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No, I don't plan on talking about Jamey Wright, I mean, Jaret Wright.

You're probably wondering why I'm not talking about the Mariners offseason rumor mill here lately. Well, it's pretty simple: it will most likely end up to be a waste of my time. See last winter. I hope I'm wrong, but there is a track record. And in most cases, the track record usually doesn't lie.

Anyways, I'm free and I like to ramble. Isn't that always the case?

---For all you old-school WWF fans out there (it's still the WWF to me, dammit!), check this out. "OH MY GOD, IT'S..........PAUL BEARER!!! OH WHAT A MOMENT! ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION, I LOVE IT!!!"

---The last championship event to be held in Safeco Field was Wrestlemania XIX. I should know, I was there. Wait, it was the ONLY championship event to be held in Safeco Field, what the hell am I talking about?


---OK, enough of the wrestling talk. I haven't really paid too much attention to wrestling since Wrestlemania XIX anyway.

---Back to the news that our readers care about: Anna Benson is the definition of an attention whore (thanks to Mike Thompson for the link). Mrs. Benson was on the "Howard Stern Show" and if you know anything about her, well, these comments shouldn't be any surprise to you.

"I told him [Kris] — because that's the biggest thing in athletics, they cheat all the time — I told him, cheat on me all you want. If you get caught, I'm going to s- - -w everybody on your entire team — coaches, trainers, players. I would do everybody on his whole team." (that's not my editing, it's the NY Post's editing)


"If you get caught, I'm going to (screw) everybody on your entire team"?

Step right up and Meet the Mets, indeed.

But this is the total kicker for me.

"I take total care of him," Anna continued, taking credit for the negotiations for Benson's most recent contract that guarantees him $22.5 million over three years, with an option for 2008 that would push the total package to $29.5 million.

"I helped with negotiations . . . I went back and forth a lot with that. He didn't even have anything to do with that. I did that deal . . . I laid out a lot of the terms."

Fred Wilpon just had a stroke.

---To follow up on David's Madden 2005 post from last night, I've played ESPN NFL 2K5 since the day I got it back in July. I haven't played Madden 2005 yet, although with EA Sports lowering the price to $29.95, I'll probably check it out soon enough. But going back to ESPN NFL 2K5, there's something that I need to get off my chest here.

Why is that Shaun Alexander can run to the right side and pick up very good yardage yet when he runs to the left side, he can't get jackcrap? Anybody who knows football knows that the Seahawks left side of the offensive line is one of the best (Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson). Maybe this will get fixed for next year's game. That's if Alexander stays in Seattle, however. (RE-SIGN SHAUN!)

---Not even Nicole Eggert can get me to watch "The Real Gilligan's Island". What's next, "The Real All In The Family"?

---More from Page Six: Motley Crue will reunite on Dec. 6 in front of the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Hollywood. I already knew about that, but what's really mind-boggling is that VH1 will cover the announcement live. Well, if that means that "Hillary Duff Rules The World" is pre-empted, then that's fine by me, I guess.

---The more important event on Dec. 6 is "Monday Night Football" between the Cowboys and Seahawks. Right now, the Seahawks could probably let 53-year old Mick Mars run for 75 yards and a touchdown the way things are going. It would be topped off by the Vince Neil chicken dance in the end zone.

---The Crue's first two albums, "Too Fast For Love" and "Shout At The Devil", are two of the best rock albums of the 1980s. I will not debate this.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Breaking news, ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that the Mariners have reached an agreement with IF Rex Hudler. Stark also reports that when Hudler isn't playing, he will work with Rick Rizzs in the Mariner broadcasting booth, creating the most insufferable broadcasting twosome since Ken Harrelson and Darrin Jackson.

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December is upon us. It seems like November just started yesterday. Look at it this way, I guess: the Seahawks have a new page to look at on the calendar. Four Seahawk wins in December would be extremely preferred.

Rather than try to think of something witty, I'll just dive right in...

Achtung! Finnigan! How can something so Wright be so wrong? A three-year offer for $15M to Jaret Wright? Sketchy. Finnigan calls Wright "a big man near the top of the rotation," and places Jon Lieber's name in the paragraph. I'd gladly have the four- or five-years-ago version of Jon Lieber on this team. He would eat up 200 innings, no problem. Of course, the current Mariner brass would grossly overpay for either version of Lieber. Everything else in the article isn't really anything that hasn't been revealed already in terms of the hot stove speculation, other than the quote of a source saying that the offers to Carlos Delgado and Richie Sexson are indeed "legit offers." The other nugget is that apparently the free-agent money the Mariners are playing with this year is now $15-16M. Finnigan's last article had a figure that wasn't blasted as aggressively in the blogosphere as I thought it would be, but our good friend Jeff Shaw took a couple of hacks at it. [Add ~1:02p -- Zumsteg noted today's article.]

It's Fact or Fiction with Clare Farnsworth. This version isn't blatantly speculative like the version on SportsCenter where they throw crap against a wall, see what sticks, and then yell and scream about it. Andy Reid and Mike Holmgren got their head coaching jobs in Philadelphia and Seattle the same year. Holmgren is 47-46, Reid is 66-34, and is in a tie for winningest coach in Eagle history (yes, even ahead of Rich Kotite). Also, the Seahawks even in this brutal state they're in might make the playoffs and even host a playoff game because the Rams have a brutal schedule, the entire division sucks, and because the division winner of this crappy division gets an automatic playoff berth and a home playoff game. Amazing. Reminds me of past versions of the pathetic NHL Southeast Division, usually home to some of the worst 3-seeds in sports (except for the awesome Tampa Bay team of last year).

In other news, I knew something else was a bit wrong about the secondary. The Seahawks were giving up too many deep balls early in the season, and now Coach Holmgren says that Marcus Trufant is allowing too much space and too many catches in front of him. Also, Shaun Alexander doesn't like the booing. You're a great runner Shaun, but get used to it as long as this team keeps sucking.

Who wouldn't want to read a Q&A with the new punter Ken Walter? I know everyone out there right now is just brimming with anticipation. In a related story, do you think The Waterboy would have been a lot more entertaining if Adam Sandler's Bobby Boucher character was a punter instead? Well, I guess Sandler did write a song about "The Lonesome Kicker."

The Marvin Williams Watch
Bremerton 2004 grad Marvin Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels are in Bloomington tonight to face Indiana at Assembly Hall as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

You know, the tables turned pretty quickly. If it weren't for the Huskies' absolutely crazy run to make it into the tournament last year, is there any way we'd be saying that the Huskies would be favored against Gonzaga tonight? I would doubt it, even though the Huskies would be a year more experienced and the Bulldogs would still have lost a ton of players to graduation. In a secondary note, people in this region will get to see Gonzaga on TV more this year. A lot more.

For my take on the game, scroll to the post below this one or click here.

Let me note that everything before this point in the Sonic part of the post (and usually all of them) is written before I look at the Times and P-I articles.

Fortson didn't cost them the game. But his ejection sure didn't help. A few lines ago I asked how a team could score 38 points in the fourth quarter. I didn't put one and one together -- they sent Portland to the line 21 times. I also didn't know 29 was a season-high for Rashard Lewis. Fittingly, Shareefer Madness led the Blazers with 25 points. Damon Stoudamire approves, and Rasheed Wallace would too if he were still a Blazer.

Another sick thing: the Sonics had pretty much held Zach Randolph in check up until that last clutch shot in the fourth quarter. He had four points in the first half, but had 15 in the second half.

Danny O'Neil has the damning stat of the day. The Blazers scored on 13 straight possessions in the fourth quarter, nine of which came after Danny Fortson was ousted. So that's why the roof fell in so quickly. Shareef had 10 points at the free throw line in the 4th quarter? Hell. Percy Allen also noted the call, and O'Neil references the scramble for a ball that went out of bounds with 36 seconds left. Video replay showed that Ruben Patterson had last touched the ball. Nick Collison was signaling that the ball went off Patterson's knee, and Kevin Calabro and Craig Ehlo sure thought it was going to be Seattle ball. The Blazers got the ball back with the Sonics down 96-94 (I think Vlad Radmanovic had just hit a three on the other end of the floor), and Randolph sealed the deal with a jumper. Ray Allen says that Fortson hurt the entire team. Fortson has a hilarious quote at the end of the article when he was reviewing the tapes of what he thought wasn't a flagrant foul. "If you want to see an elbow, I'll show you a (bleep) real elbow."

Also, Fortson has four flagrant foul points, one away from an automatic suspension. That's rarefied Ron Artest territory right there.

David Locke introduces us to the hybrid Reggie Fortson. Luckily Locke does eventually separate the two components in the article, but as a whole, they're scoring 14.6 points and grabbing 15.5 boards a game, and as Locke says, they're the perfect complements to one another. Reggie brings the energy, and Fortson uses a more tactical approach. Either way, the Sonics haven't been this good on the boards in a looooong time, and the fact that it's returned has been a huge part of this start they're having. The article does mention how Fortson is a better free-throw shooter, which is why he always plays the fourth quarter. When Fortson gets ejected, that leaves Reggie Evans to shoot free throws. Not good.

Tonight vs. Utah
Saturday vs. Portland

Jim Riley's got an article on the Everett Silvertips, who have upped the scoring this season while still maintaining their defensive prowess despite having 13 rookies.

Vancouver beat Calgary, 3-0. The Giants have now won five straight thanks to tonight's shutout effort from Marek Schwarz, who stopped all 20 shots he saw for his first WHL shutout. The Giants scored one goal in every period. JD Watt scored right out of the gate just 1:52 into the game, Andrej Meszaros scored near the midway point of the second period, and Tim Kraus put the game away on a shorthanded empty-netter with 53 seconds left in the game. The three goals were aided by some hard work by the third and fourth lines of Vancouver. The Giants outshot the Hitmen 28-20.

Tri-City beat Portland, 5-4 in overtime. Portland lost to Tri-City in overtime for the second time in five days. The Winter Hawks have been going with backup goalie Dustin Butler in net (and only him) since starter Blake Grenier was injured in their win at Vancouver on the 12th. Since then, Butler has been thrown to the fire, finishing out the game where Grenier was injured, and starting the last seven straight games, a stretch during which the backup goalie has been "a local goalie," which I know on at least one occasion has been some guy from a local rink with a set of pads that they called up. Anyway, Marcus Jonasen scored the winner for the Americans just 37 seconds into the extra period to down the Winter Hawks. Portland had an early 2-1 lead in the first period on goals by Shane Halifax and Dan Da Silva. Darrell May later tied the game at 3-3 with his goal in the second period, and a second goal by Da Silva got the Winter Hawks into the dressing room after 40 minutes with the 4-3 lead. Clayton Stoner came right out of the dressing room and got the equalizer just 37 seconds in, and the tie held up until Jonasen's goal in overtime. Portland was outshot 37-30, and Butler stopped 32.

Manitoba beat Cincinnati, 4-2. The Moose scored a goal on their first shot of the game thanks to a backhander by Jesse Schultz about halfway through the first period. Curtis Glencross put in a rebound for the Mighty Ducks to tie the game, but Lee Goren made good on the power play just 52 seconds after to give the Moose a 2-1 lead after one period. The two teams traded goals in the second period, as Joe DiPenta put the Moose ahead 3-1 with a point shot, and Glencross scored his second of the game. Brandon Nolan scored the Moose's final goal. Alexandre Burrows had three assists and was plus-3 for the Moose. The game featured Canuck goalie of the future Alex Auld, and Anaheim Mighty Duck goalie of the future (you'll definitely see him if J-S Giguere ever sucks) Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov was credited with some masterful saves in the recap at the Manitoba site. The Moose outshot the Ducks 33-21. Auld stopped 19.

Tonight: Kelowna at Portland, Kootenay at Everett
Thursday: Cincinnati at Manitoba
Friday: Everett at Portland, Kootenay at Seattle, Kamloops at Vancouver, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Saturday: Vancouver at Kelowna, Kootenay at Portland, Swift Current at Everett, Binghamton at Manitoba, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Sunday: Swift Current at Seattle, Binghamton at Manitoba

Enjoy your wonderful Wednesday and the first day of December. We're creeping up on 2005. Crazy. You all realize we're only about 2.5 months away from pitchers and catchers reporting, right?

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TrailBlazers 100, SuperSonics 94
It's official. The Sonics are good enough to where I can curse at the television when something goes wrong, and I do it even when they win. In a related story, I still hate Nick Van Exel. I have since he was a Laker.

Well, the Sonics shouldn't have lost that one. Plain and simple. Granted, it's a road game and if you stay close, you always have a chance to win...but they were up by double digits in the third quarter. Danny Fortson's been great, and I love what he's been doing this year. He needs to know when to keep his damn mouth shut. Fortson plays the fourth quarter because Reggie Evans can't shoot a free throw to save his freakin' life. When Fortson gets his second technical with about nine minutes left and that came after a flagrant foul, you get what Kevin Calabro was harping on the whole time thereafter -- a four-point swing in favor of Portland. The other thing that compounded the Sonics' decline in the game was the fact that they were in the penalty so early, and every foul that the Blazers drew got them to the line. Don't get me wrong, the 13-3 start is great, but they've got to make sure they rein in Fortson just enough, and they have to learn how to put teams away. That's what should have happened in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. It didn't.

The Sonics experienced Shareefer Madness. It's fitting that Jerome James has an awesome third quarter, posterizes renowned shot-blocker Theo Ratliff with a monster dunk, and the team loses. I'll gladly trade Jerome James sucking if it means the Sonics will win. In any event, we'll see what this team is made of now. They've got Utah at home tomorrow.

In a related story, how on earth do you let the opposing team score 38 points in the 4th quarter? That's abominable.

starters: Rashard Lewis 29 pts/3 reb (12-20 FG, 3-3 free throws), Ray Allen 21 pts/6 reb/5 ast (5-18 FG, 10/10 free throws), Luke Ridnour 11 pts/10 ast, Reggie Evans 10 pts/10 reb
bench: nonexistent. Thank you, Danny Fortson (4 pts/6 reb). Nick Collison was the leading bench scorer with six
team: 5-for-21 from downtown (23.8%), tied Portland in rebounding with 31, bench was outscored 43-15 and outrebounded 13-8
Jerome James Watch: 8 pts/4 blk/3 reb (24 min)

This is just plain wrong. The Sonics got good play out of Jerome James, and double-doubles out of Luke Ridnour and Reggie Evans, and they still lost.

One thing's for sure, the one thing that keeps Ray Allen's scoring up is the fact that he's going to the rack and trying to draw contact and get to the free-throw line. That's where he's been scoring a lot of his points lately. He'd had a bad cold on the road trip, but he's still trying to get his jumper back, and hasn't shot well in two weeks. Take a gander at Ray Allen from the floor, and Ray Allen from the line...

Ray Allen
5-15 FG, 4-4 FT at NJ (Nov 17)
7-16 FG, 7-7 FT at Toronto (Nov 19)
7-16 FG, 5-6 FT at Boston (Nov 21)
7-19 FG, 8-8 FT at Minnesota (Nov 23)
4-15 FG, 11-11 FT at Memphis (Nov 24)
5-19 FG, 8-9 FT vs. New Jersey (Nov 26)
5-13 FG, 7-8 FT vs. Indiana (Nov 28)
5-18 FG, 10-10 FT at Portland (Nov 30)
45-131 FG (34.3%), 60-63 FT (95.2%) over the stretch

Okay, so I'm not expecting Ray Allen to go nuts every night and shoot 50% from the floor, but he definitely hasn't gotten the jumper back yet. The point totals he had over that stretch I just listed were 14, 24, 21, 24, 20, 19, 19, and 21. From the beginning of the season up to that stretch, he had 20, 25, 24, 30, 20, 29, 34, and 37. Hopefully Rayray can get his groove back soon.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I was at Best Buy and decided I'd take my hacks at Madden NFL 2005 on the PS2, having never played it before.

It was already set on 5-minute quarters, so that was good. I went to "play now" and took the Seahawks against the Atlanta Falcons on the road. I won 33-31, with the Falcons scoring a touchdown on the last play of the game. I would have had 35 points for the Seahawks had I gotten a hang of the placekicking sooner.

The realism was pretty good, however...
-- Josh Brown kicked out of bounds twice
-- Matt Hasselbeck was picked three times in the first half, once inside the red zone

But the parts where Hasselbeck threw for 484 yards and Koren Robinson had about 280 receiving yards were very unreal.

Holding true with how I usually do in video football games, I couldn't run the ball for crap. Shaun Alexander ran for 20 yards or something.

I guess now I know what inspires Mike Holmgren...it's Madden NFL 2005.

I'm not sure if the Falcons are armed with the West Coast Offense in the game, but when I was controlling the Seahawk defense, I went with Quarters >> Fire Blitz on 1st down, Quarters >> Cover 3 on 2nd down, and any of the nickel plays on 3rd down. It seemed to work, anyway.

Back to watching the Sonics...

[Add ~7:57p -- In a Yahoo search for "seattle skanks for photo," Sports and B's was the first link. I'm not sure what to think about this.]

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AP photo -- Rick Havner

Martin Gramatica has been cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In related news, Foreigner's Lou Gramm and the Wolfgramm siblings, i.e. The Jets, are better than the Gramaticas (Martin and Bill).

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Tyrone Willingham is out at Notre Dame.

Now that Willingham is free of the echoes of South Bend, I would think that he's on the short list of candidates for the Washington job. Cal's Jeff Tedford would be the best fit for the Huskies. But if Tedford decides to stay in Berkeley, Willingham could be the guy.

Granted, I don't think Willingham is as great of a coach as some think he is. But he is a good coach. He took Stanford to the Rose Bowl for crying out loud. STANFORD! If he can win in Palo Alto, I think he can win anywhere. As I say that, Notre Dame was a no-win situation for Willingham. He had everything to lose and nothing to gain under the Golden Dome. The Fighting Irish firing Willingham may be the best thing to happen to him in his career, as crazy as that sounds.

Stay tuned...

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Welcome to Tuesday. Those that can get the CBC and who are half-hockey inclined or going through puck withdrawal can see Making the Cut tonight at 8pm. It's seriously the only televised hockey I've seen since the World Cup ended last September.

It's a light slate this morning. It's the aftermath at Camp Seahawk in Kirkland, the Sonics were off yesterday and have Portland tonight, and hockey was off yesterday as well and resumes tonight. I can't cleverly sneak in a joke right here about the Seahawks taking Sunday off, so I'll just move on...

I'm not sure what you think, but to me, Wade Boggs looks like the only lock on this year's Hall of Fame ballot. The remaining names are Strawberry, Langston, Sandberg, Sutter, Rice, Dawson, Gossage, McGee, Davis, McDowell, and Montgomery. As the years go by, more names of players that played in my childhood start appearing, making me feel incredibly old. Jeff Montgomery and Jack McDowell? That's like yesterday to me.

Apparently some people thought the Mariners might have had a chance to be sold, which didn't even cross my mind upon the revelation of Hiroshi Yamauchi's turnover of his Mariners shares to Nintendo of America. This must have been generated by pure rumor or something (or the pen of Bob Finnigan), but no outside Paul Allen-like entity is going to buy the team or anything like that. One interesting thing about the article is that MLB had seen the Yamauchi/Nintendo stake as one and the same, hence needing no leaguewide owners' vote when the shares were reallocated. Though estate planning for Yamauchi is mentioned in the article, the mention of the word "death" by Howard Lincoln did strike me as a little bit morbid. I would have preferred "passing" or something a bit softer, but oh well.

We're really reaching now. Logs were being thrown onto the fire and s'mores were being made in Kirkland on Monday as Coach Holmgren told the tall tales of the San Francisco 49ers of years gone by. This was enough to get articles out of both Clare Farnsworth and J-M Romero. It's pretty much the same quotes in both articles, involving the 1988 49ers who were 6-5 and finished 10-6 and won Super Bowl XXIII. Now I know that 49er team was 13-2 the year before, and the expectations were higher, and they'd lost 9-3 to the Raiders before that final run, but these Seahawks do not have Joe Montana, Roger Craig, or a much younger Jerry Rice (though they do have Jerry Rice). To even think that a couple of the players for these Seahawks can step up and save the season the way those 49ers did...right now, that thought seems impossible. It's possible, sure, but it seems extremely lofty.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels will face the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall in Bloomington tomorrow night.

I'd have to say that losing Brandon Roy for 4 to 6 weeks with a lateral meniscus tear in the right knee would be the Huskies' first true test of their run this year. Tre Simmons will be getting much of Roy's playing time. The Huskies square off against Gonzaga tomorrow night. The Huskies will be lucky to have Roy back by the new year. More likely, they'll get him back in mid-January, just after the start of conference play.

It's a Percy Allen piece on Nate McMillan and the 13-2 start. Though I know we all let a lot more stuff slide when things are going good, I think the fact that Nate is an obsessive perfectionist is exactly the attitude that this team needs in their coach. McMillan as coach of this team is letting his players know that although they're 13-2, there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of fine-tuning and refining left to do, etc. I think his attitude can only help this team, even when things get rough. I guess the one scary thing about the article is that it notes the 14-1 and 20-2 starts of the 1993-94 team of Sonics. Of course, the bad thing about that team was the whole thing where they were the first #1 seed ever to lose a series to the #8 seed in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Of course, it'd be different now with all of the series being best-of-7, but that'd be an even more gargantuan collapse.

Consider Nate McMillan at least a partial disciple in the Hubie Brown school of coaching. Basically, make the team play hard and produce, then bench the players who don't. Seems simple enough, right? One fun part in the article is the statistical comparison between Calvin Booth in Dallas this year and Danny Fortson. Calvin Booth is averaging 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds a game. Danny Fortson is averaging 9.5 points and 6.6 boards a game. That's more than triple in both categories. Even if Fortson got injured right now and missed a few weeks (we can't forget about his bouts with the injury bug in years past), Rick Sund absolutely took Mark Cuban to the cleaners.

Tonight at Portland
Tomorrow vs. Utah
Saturday vs. Portland

No games occurred in the usual rotation, so I guess this one will be a standings post. Teams followed on this page are in italics.

(rank_team, games played, record [points], streak, last 10)
Western Conference -- BC Division
1 Kootenay Ice, 27, 17-7-3-0 [37], T1, 8-1-1
2 Kelowna Rockets, 27, 16-6-5-0 [37], T2, 6-0-4
3 Vancouver Giants, 14-11-0-2 [30], W4, 5-5-0
4 Prince George Cougars, 27, 10-13-3-1 [24], W1, 4-5-1
5 Kamloops Blazers, 27, 9-15-2-1 [21], W2, 4-5-1

Western Conference -- US Division
1 Seattle Thunderbirds, 23, 17-6-0-0 [34], W1, 7-3-0
2 Everett Silvertips, 26, 14-7-3-2 [33], W1, 7-2-1
3 Portland Winter Hawks, 25, 12-10-1-2 [27], W1, 5-4-1
4 Tri-City Americans, 25, 9-12-3-1 [22], L1, 4-5-1
5 Spokane Chiefs, 24, 8-12-3-1 [20], W1, 3-4-3

(rank_team, games played, record [points])
Western Conference -- North Division
1 Edmonton Road Runners, 21, 12-4-2-3 [29]
2 Manitoba Moose, 20, 12-6-0-2 [26]
3 Saint John's Maple Leafs, 20, 12-7-0-1 [25]
4 Rochester Americans, 20, 10-6-3-1 [24]
5 Syracuse Crunch, 21, 8-8-2-3 [21]
6 Cleveland Barons, 20, 8-9-1-2 [19]
7 Hamilton Bulldogs, 22, 7-11-3-1 [18]

(rank_team, games played, record [points])
1 Puget Sound Tomahawks, 22, 20-2-0 [40]
2 Portland Pioneers, 19, 17-2-0 [34]
3 Tri-City Titans, 22, 8-14-0 [16]
4 River City Jaguars, 21, 3-18-0 [6]

Tuesday: Portland at Tri-City, Calgary at Vancouver, Cincinnati at Manitoba
Wednesday: Kelowna at Portland, Kootenay at Everett
Thursday: Cincinnati at Manitoba
Friday: Everett at Portland, Kootenay at Seattle, Kamloops at Vancouver, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Saturday: Vancouver at Kelowna, Kootenay at Portland, Swift Current at Everett, Binghamton at Manitoba, Kootenai at Puget Sound
Sunday: Swift Current at Seattle, Binghamton at Manitoba

My, this one's definitely a lot shorter than yesterday's post. It was pretty easy to write, too. Or maybe I just didn't try hard enough.

Enjoy your Tuesday, and stay dry if you're in the Northwest.

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Monday, November 29, 2004


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For the local spin on yesterday's 38-9 debacle at "Lousy Phone Company Field", check out David's post below.

But if you want a national media spin, check out John Clayton's piece at ESPN.com and Clark Judge's Sportsline piece.

First, Clayton.

First of all, there is no truth to the rumor that commissioner Paul Tagliabue will request a team from the Mid-American Conference to represent the NFC West in the playoff.

Hey, Northern Illinois is 8-3. At this point, the NFC West reminds me of last year's Atlantic Division in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Does anybody want to win this division? And no, I would not be satisfied with the Seahawks "backing in".

"That was embarrassing because we are a lot better than this," tight end Itula Mili said. "That's not even us out there on the field. This week we really have to get this fixed. We don't ever want to have a feeling like this again."

Earth to Mili: We've had this feeling before.

See St. Louis. See Arizona. Granted, the Seahawks weren't blown out in those games. But those were games that the Seahawks should have won. Hell, even though Buffalo is a talented ballclub, the Seahawks should have taken care of business. But I'm not in the "shoulda, coulda, woulda" line. It's all about wins and losses. Right now, the Seahawks are a disappointing 6-5. They should be glad they aren't in the AFC West anymore.

Yet, at 6-5, the Seahawks still have a great chance of making the playoffs and possibly winning the NFC West. They have three games at home -- against the Cowboys, Cardinals and Falcons (who probably won't play anyone in the season-finale in Seattle with the NFC South title all but wrapped up). The Rams are 5-5, facing a tough, cold game in Green Bay Monday night, and having to finish out the season with games against Philadelphia and the New York Jets.

"No matter what happens Monday, we'll still be at the worst tied for first place," Seahawks halfback Shaun Alexander said. "Sure, we have things to fix. But when you are in first place, it's hard to make it horrible. We could be in far worse shape."

That's great. As I said earlier, I don't want to see the Seahawks back themselves into the playoffs.

"You just have to laugh at how we played to keep from crying," Alexander said. "This is the worst thing we've done since my rookie year when we were 6-10. This team is way better than this. We've got to go back to the basics of football. You run the ball. You stop the run. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. I know today, offensively, we didn't help our team."

Sounds about right, although the "this team is way better than this" argument doesn't hold much water at this point. Ironically, the man that will lead the Dallas Cowboys into Seattle next Monday night once said that a football team "is what it is" (paraphrasing). The 6-5 Seattle Seahawks are what they are, a 6-5 football team, so to speak.

So what does CBS Sportsline's Clark Judge have to say about this mess?

I'm sorry, but I don't care if Seattle wins the NFC West. The Seahawks are going nowhere, and when they wonder where it all went wrong I have a suggestion: Blame it on St. Louis.

The proof is there every time the Seahawks suit up, which they shouldn't have Sunday when Buffalo drilled them 38-9 in the worst loss in coach Mike Holmgren's six years there. The Seahawks simply haven't been the same since blowing a 27-10 lead to St. Louis in the last 5½ minutes of their Oct. 10 meeting.

Mike Martz owns Mike Holmgren. Next?

But we're getting off the subject here. Once, Seattle was a trendy pick for the Super Bowl, and, yes, I was one of the first on the bandwagon. But now the Seahawks are in disarray, and the defense that was their ally in the first three games has suddenly and inexplicably gone south.

Blame it on the Rams.

Could it be that the media and some fans (David and myself included) overrated this team? We'll see after the season. But I really don't have a good feeling about this team right now. I want to, but then I'd be lying.

Seattle is 3-5 since, beating Carolina, San Francisco and Miami -- opponents who lost three times as many as they won. That's not how you get to the playoffs, but even if the Seahawks do -- and it's possible, considering the mess that's the NFC West -- it doesn't matter.

St. Louis ruined their season.

Now how can I argue with that? I can't, because in the process, I'd look as stupid as the Seahawks when Willis McGahee scored a 30 yard touchdown on 4th-and-1.

Have a good week, everyone. And remember, the Seattle Seahawks are just a diversion in life. After all, they're treating this season as a diversion themselves. Hell, Koren Robinson treated football as a diversion when he hit the bong.

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