Sunday, February 20, 2005


Welcome to Sunday. Remember that although it is sunny outside, if it's anything like yesterday, it's a bit breezy out there, and it's that stiff north wind (makes it kinda cold). Also, if you have that wind, it sucks trying to hit baseballs into it if you're hoping they go far.

The random note before we get started here...popping air cushions on your shoes really sucks. I've only had it happen twice, and neither time involved basketball shoes (too short), but the two instances were still very much undesirable. One pair was a pair of black Reebok walking shoes, and they weren't horribly fashionable, but they were the most comfortable things in the world. You could stand for hours in those things, which I did do when I did security under the Space Needle for Bumbershoot a few years ago, and standing all the time was required. The other was a pair of Reebok (not really an intended coincidence) gym shoes that I got after I mysteriously lost my bitchin' pair of New Balances in the locker room (I think) of the high school. I needed gym shoes just for the pre-wrestling practice jogging, and for PE classes, but primarily for the jogging. Anyway, after the air cushions popped on one of the shoes, now it makes this squeezing rubber sound -- basically at times it can sound like you walked into a puddle of water and then came right out of it even though you're on actually on dry ground the whole time. Yes, it creates an artificial dry-ground squishy sound. It doesn't do this all the time, but man, it's embarrassing when it actually happens.

To the non-random parts of the post...

Richie Sexson's a big man, yes, but his Breathalyzer numbers were for two Michelob Ultra Lights after having eaten a chicken breast and some salad, according to his side of the story. He'd apparently driven that road a gazillion times and got stopped, and worse yet the two empty beercans in the back were a week old. Ouch. Also racked onto the end of the story is more refutation of Jose Canseco's steroid allegations by Bret Boone. I think the most hilarious thing out of all of it is the revelation that Jose Canseco never reached second base in spring training with Bret Boone playing second against the Mariners, though that was revealed sometime last week.

Apparently Richie Sexson claims his shoulder is stronger than it has ever been, and has even gone to the extent of repeating the checkswing without busting his labrum, except obviously without busting his labrum. Of course, he then says that his left shoulder is probably stronger than the right. I know he's not a switch hitter, but I think balancing the shoulder muscle mass might be a good thing here. Oh, what am I saying? Would this be like expecting Joel Pineiro's left shoulder to be just as strong as his right, even with the repetitive moves? I need to throw more. I've sort of painted myself into a corner with this paragraph.

I think we should have honorary Seahawk presidents for every day that there isn't one. Therefore, today's West Hills Honda Seahawk President of the Day is "House" Ballard.

The Marvin Williams Watch
In 4th-ranked North Carolina's 88-56 home win over Clemson, Marvin Williams returned from turf toe to 14 points and pull down 9 rebounds in only 16 minutes of play off the bench. He also chipped in an assist, steal, block, and a couple of fouls for good measure. The one assist was a nifty touch pass (off a nice save) to Jawad Williams down low for a dunk.

The Tar Heels travel to face NC State on Tuesday (5p, local only) and Maryland next Sunday (2:30p, FSNNW)

15th-ranked Washington beat Washington State 68-55. Two quick notes about the score -- The Cougars went into halftime with 17 points, and they ended the game with a 13-0 run against the Huskies' scrubs. Of course, simple math shows that the scrubs were put in with the score 68-42. Ouch.

The Huskies host Arizona State on Thursday (7:30p, FSNNW) and Arizona on Saturday (1p, FSNNW)

13th-ranked Gonzaga beat San Francisco 75-73. Adam Morrison was clutch yesterday and clutch is everything in life. I was lucky enough to see him hit that shot live as it was happening on TV. My words: "holy s***!" I thought the play developed a little slowly, and I knew Morrison definitely wasn't going to get all the way to the rack, but man, how clutch. Luckily for the Zags and the home crowd, USF's tying basket was a fraction of a second too late. Morrison's 28 points were a career high, and he pulled down 6 rebounds. JP Batista had 17 and 5, and Ronny Turiaf had his double-double streak broken, getting 14 and 8.

The Zags go to Portland on Thursday (8p, ESPN2) and host Northern Colorado the following Monday (FSNNW Seattle, Q6 NBC Spokane) before starting WCC Tournament play.

I know it's hindsight, but I probably would have cried too if Vladimir Stepania was drafted before I was. Rashard Lewis was 18 when that happened on draft day, and he thought he was going quite a lot earlier. He also toughed out his first few years with the Sonics. Percy Allen traces a weird string of similarities between Lewis and coach Nate McMillan and their ties to the Sonic organization. Yes, Rashard Lewis has come a long way. He also bought a bunch of Vin Baker's old crap, i.e., houses.

Following such Seattle All-Star performances as Bret Boone's goose egg in the 2001 Home Run Derby, Vladimir Radmanovic and Ray Allen didn't get past the first round of the three-point challenge. Radmanovic had the lowest total of any of the competitors, though his shooting wrist is a bit jacked as of late. Luke Ridnour was also third in the skills challenge, hampered by his inability to bounce a ball into the basket.

Tuesday at Houston (5:30p, FSNNW)
Wednesday at New Orleans (5p, FSNNW)

One of the worse things that can happen when I read print columns about hockey from non-hockey towns after something big happens in hockey. Who enjoyed reading predictable knee-jerk reactions to the Todd Bertuzzi incident, but from writers with little to no background when it came to following hockey? A bad incident sprung forth some bad columns.

...luckily Blaine Newnham had a lot of Turner Stevenson references and quotes when it came time to run this column. Newnham experienced some sense of relief that the meetings were fruitless yesterday that would have attempted to save the season, with players' union man Ted Saskin saying there's a "100 percent" chance that they're not coming back from it this time. Although it would have been to hand out the Cup again, though its recipient would have been forever branded with having a "tainted" Cup, it would have been counter-intuitive once again. Why? As Jeremy and I were discussing the other night, the two sides can't just throw a bandage on a gigantic crack in the hull of a steam ship and expect it to stay afloat for very long. A rushed agreement might have gotten everyone playing, sure, but would it have guaranteed that in four years, or whenever the new CBA would run out, that we wouldn't be barking up the same tree once again? The two sides obviously have the time to do this, and now they should just try to do it right. Don't wait all the way until September to do it, either. You can get away with procrastination when it comes to college and paying taxes, but not this.

Portland beat Seattle 3-1. After losing the first five matchups with Seattle this season, Portland has won the last three. Defense was the name of this one, as the Winter Hawks were able to limit Seattle's offensive chances. Denis Tolpeko was able to make it interesting with an early goal in the third period to cut Portland's lead to 2-1. Cody McLeod put the game away with an empty-netter with 30 ticks remaining. Portland's other goals both came in the second period, as Dan Da Silva opened the scoring and Brian Woolger put in the winner. Da Silva also assisted on the other two goals, and therefore had his name attached to all of Portland's goals. Portland outshot Seattle 25-16. Bryan Bridges stopped 23 for Seattle, and Blake Grenier stopped 15 for Portland. Portland has won nine of 11 games.

Everett shut out Red Deer 3-0. Red Deer reached the end of their five-game road swing, Everett dominated, and Brent Sutter got so ticked that he benched all his forwards and had five defenseman on the ice. That came after the Rebels were badly outshot 15-3 by Everett in the first period. Brady Calla scored the first two Everett goals (one in the first, one in the third), and Shaun Heshka put the game away with an empty-netter. Shots were 29 apiece, and Mike Wall stopped all 29 for his WHL-leading 10th shutout of the season.

Vancouver shut out Kamloops 4-0. Gilbert Brule followed up his four-goal game with a late shorthanded goal to end the second period and an assist on the opening (game-winning) goal. Brett Festerling opened the scoring with his game-winner in the first period. Matt Robinson and Brule scored in the second period, and Adam Courchaine tallied in the final frame. Vancouver outshot the Blazers 29-22, and Marek Schwarz stopped all 22.

Manitoba beat Edmonton 2-1. Josh Green scored with just under two minutes remaining in regulation to take this game for the Moose. That was in a period where Edmonton rattled off the first ten shots, and outshot the Moose 15-3 in the final frame. One of the 15 Alex Auld saves in the period went the other way, where Jason King shot the puck, and the rebound went off the skate of Green and into the net. Shots were 30-25 for the Road Runners, and Auld stopped 29.

Tonight: Prince George at Seattle
Tuesday: Everett at Kamloops, Kelowna at Portland
Wednesday: Seattle at Kelowna, Tri-City at Vancouver, Manitoba at Wilkes-Barre Scranton
Thursday: Manitoba at Syracuse
Friday: Seattle at Kamloops, Everett at Tri-City, Portland at Spokane, Kelowna at Vancouver, Tri-City/Portland at Puget Sound
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Vancouver at Everett, Manitoba at Hamilton, Tri-City/Portland at Puget Sound

Have a great Sunday and a great rest of the weekend.

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