Archive for September, 2009

Finally. Hockey and basketball is back.

September 29, 2009

It’s only been about four months since we last saw the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks in action. This Friday, we get both in the same day. And thank God.

While I am excited to see the Chicago Bulls open up the preseason and the regular season in about a month, I don’t expect big things to happen this year. Ben Gordon signed with Detroit and replacing him is no easy task. He wasn’t the best defensively but when the team needed to make a comeback, he would come through more times than none. He was almost a guarenteed 20 points a game and when he was on, he was on. No doubt the Bulls are going to miss him. I fully expect them to make the playoffs but once again get eliminated in the first round by Orlando or Cleveland.

The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The concern seems to be circling around the mediocre, overpaid goalie Cristobal Huet and if he can play consistently this year. Injuries have already hit the team. Marian Hossa had surgery in the offseason and probably won’t be back until December and Adam Burish tore his ACL last week and will be out until March or April. Expectations are high though and they could be the favorites along with Detroit.

Another season of Pat Foley on the call with all 82 games being on TV is always fun. My earliest memories of Pat Foley was when he did the old NHL Games of The Week on FOX back in the mid-90’s. The guy is genuine and always speaks his mind. A good friend of mine e-mailed this video to me:

If you wanted to know how awful the Blackhawks franchise was earlier this decade, that video pretty much summed it up. Around that time, the Blackhawks had Theo Fluery who was a douche and Joclyn Thibault who reminds me of Cristobal Huet today: Bad.

If any of you are looking for a good Blackhawks website, check out http://www.hockeenight.com. I also have their link on the right side of the homepage.

The Blackhawks open up against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland at 11 a.m. Friday as well as Saturday on Comcast SportsNet. The Bulls open up the preseason at 6 p.m. Friday night against the Indiana Pacers on Comcast SportsNet Plus. It should be an exciting day.

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Phew!

September 28, 2009

RunDevinRun

The Chicago Bears won yet another nail-biter beating the Seahawks on the road. So far this year, the games have all been close. You can make an arugment that the Bears should be 3-0 and the same can be said that they could easily be 0-3. I will gladly take the 2-1 record they have now. I don’t mean to ruin the moment but this team still has a lot of work to do to convince me they are for real.

Penalties: Six penalties for 60 yards. More importantly, the two straight facemask penalties in the 3rd quarter by Anthony Adams and Nick Roach. Pure stupidity. False starts by Frank Omiyale and Chris Williams might have been by the crowd noise but still is a concern.

Offensive line: Sucked. Plain and simple. Orlando Pace is a hall-of-famer but at this point in his career, he cannot make a block to save his life. Frank Omiyale and Chris Williams have been mediocre. Last year, the line played much better than expected with Josh Beekman and John Tait. Well, Tait is retired and Beekman is no where to be found. Maybe Lovie should consider starting Beekman at the tackle spot and sit Omiyale. Or, Kevin Shaeffer could fill that role.

Offense: For the second week in a row, Jay Cutler marched the troops down the field for a game winning drive. Before halftime on 4th and goal, he just barely got the pass away and still threw it right on the money to Greg Olsen. That play shows what a real quarterback does. And to show how good Cutler is at giving everyone on the field an oppurtunity to catch the ball, four of the five players who caught a pass had at least four catches and the one who had less than that was Johnny Knox who’s only catch was a touchdown.

Defense: The line played very well in this game as well as the linebackers. Lance Briggs had six tackles and an interception which lead to a field goal. Nick Roach had nice coverage on the final Seahawks play and Hunter Hillenmeyer held his own. He got hit in the rib and who knows how long he might miss.

The defensive backs did a solid job but the corners were awful. Charles Tillman and Zackary Bowman let Seneca Wallace play like he was Peyton Manning. Speaking of Tillman, he sure showed how well he can tackle when he let Julius Jones go for a 39 yard touchdown run on 3rd and long. And Nate Burleson? I cannot remember him having a great game since he played with the Vikings five years ago. He had nine catches for 109 yards. The first three drives to start the game turned into three scores. Pathetic.

I am happy that this team is where it is at but a lot of work needs to be done mostly the secondary. Maybe I am wrong too. This team was down 13-0 to the Seahawks yet found a way to come back and win. It is going to be a fight in this division. I still think the Packers are the team to beat but the Vikings are giving a run for their money.

Open Thread.

September 25, 2009

Also, a video for your excitement. Have a good weekend.

Alright. Here’s the deal.

September 22, 2009

As most of you guys know here, some of us have been trying to arrange a get together for all of us to meet up, have a few drinks and talk sports. In fact, this has been trying to get arranged for about three or four years since we all were at the old site.

Well, this may work or may not. On Sunday, December 13th, the Bears play the Packers at noon. I was thinking since most of us here are fans of either team, we could all meet somewhere and watch the game together. It could be at a nice bar in Chicago or suburbs or maybe at a Hooters somewhere (If your wives allow it). Another idea would be to move the location somewhere close to the Illinois/Wisconsin stateline to make to the drive shorter for people like Mike, Keith and JimmyD. Those are just some options.

I think this day would be a pretty good idea to give some of the guys who live far to maybe get into town. If any of you want to bring someone along with, feel free to make a nice gathering.

With this day comes two problems so keep this in mind:

1. It is close to the holidays so some of you might feel like staying home or you may be getting ready to travel somewhere.

2. It is on December 13th so chances are, the weather may be shitty depending on the distance.

So anyway, let me know if this seems like a possibility for any of you. I figure it’s on a Sunday, most of us are off work and a Bears/Packers game is being played. When December approaches, I will check up to make sure most of you are down for it. You have just under three months to think about it.

Bears win; Jeff Reed chosen as player of the game.

September 21, 2009

Knox

The Chicago Bears made many adjustments from last week’s loss to the Packers to defeat the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. Robbie Gould was clutch once again hitting the game-winning field goal. Anyone can easily say the Bears should have lost this game, but you can say the same thing about Pittsburgh.

Most improved: Jay Cutler. He had one of his worse games in his young career last week but came to play this past Sunday. 27/38 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to that, he lead the Bears to a game winning drive in the final minutes.

Johnny Knox had a great game. Six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. That was only part of his great game. The guy showed amazing speed and his touchdown catch where he jumped to grab the ball was clutch. Another guy on offense that showed some talent was third string tight end Kellen Davis. Cutler threw a laser to him for the first touchdown. That right there showed his hands are pretty good. Greg Olsen also chipped in and did well even after he got knocked down pretty hard by a close helmet-to-helmet hit by Tyrone Carter.

Although the receivers did much better than last week, there were still some miscues including a couple dropped passes. The routes however, were ran much better and Cutler seems to have the players on offense in a groove to be ready at anytime.

On defense: Alex Brown had another solid game. He did go down with a sprained ankle so that is a concern for this team. Hunter Hillenmeyer did a solid job filling in at middle linebacker but this was just one game. Who knows if this will continue. Lance Briggs is the man with eight tackles and now is the leader on this defense. As much as Roethlisberger along with Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker tore this defense up on a few plays throughout the game, the defense found a way to come up big when it mattered the most.

Idiot of the game: Mark Anderson. He pushed a player into a referee after a play was stopped which later lead to the second Steeler touchdown. It could have cost the Bears the game at the time.

Overall: Much needed victory. Plus there was some stat (cue Irish Yeti) that any Bears team in history that started off 0-2 never made the playoffs. Up next is Seattle at thier field.

Til next time.

– MM

Is This Miserable Season Over With Yet?

September 19, 2009

Before the season started, many of the so-called experts had the Cubs running away with the NL Central by up to 15 games. They were projected to win 92-95 games. After Hendry dismantled 41% of a 97 win roster, I couldn’t see where all the hype for the Cubs was coming from. My thinking was “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. They would have been better off if they would have left well enough alone.

On Opening Day, I saw this team at .500 at best. With 16 games left in the season, the Cubs will need to win 6 to guarantee a .500 record. Do you guys think that this team has 6 wins left in them?

Open thread/Chicago Bears panic time

September 15, 2009

Press at your own risk.

At least the Blackhawks open up the season in just over two weeks.

Bears lose in typical Bears fashion.

September 14, 2009

Dumb special teams? Sure. How about your long snapper calling an audible on a punt play on your own 30? Smooth move.

Dumb coaching? How about challenging that fake punt in thinking your opponent had an extra man on the field? The Packers indeed out coached the Bears coaches.

The defense played well until the last drive. Nice job by Kevin Payne and Nathan Vasher letting Greg Jennings be open by ten yards.

The offense: At least two of Cutler’s four interceptions were because the wide receivers ran the wrong routes. Don’t get me wrong. Cutler sucked a fat one but it wasn’t completely his fault. Desmond Clark dropped an easy touchdown pass in the 2nd quarter and that followed by Cutler’s second pick. The running game couldn’t get going either. If you can’t run the ball consistently, that will force you to throw more.

Next up: The Steelers at home. Reader and fellow NIU man Dave mentioned in the previous article that this team could easily start 0-2. I honestly think after they start 0-2, there shouldn’t be a reason to panic. Their schedule is somewhat favorable. Although it is “Any Given Sunday” and I was fucking pissed after the first game, I am not going to push the “Panic” button.

Your thoughts in the thread.

*Update Monday morning*
Brian Urlacher is going to have wrist surgery today and is out for a while. Pisa Tinoisamoa is out for a while too with a sprained knee. Now is it too early to press the “Panic” button? Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!

It’s time.

September 11, 2009

Jay

Forte

Your thoughts on the Bears/Packers game this Sunday and anything else football.

In my opinion, this division could be the toughest in the conference. The Packers seem like the team to beat. The offense looks good and that should help the defense unlike in years past because the defense will likely have more rest with Cutler driving the offense down the field.

One last thing: Congrats to Robert for his team, the Steelers for winning Thursday night. It was a fun game to watch.

Open Thread.

September 8, 2009

If you are looking for a place to unleash your ANGER, you’ve come to the right place. This website should be your first and only stop on the internet superhighway. When you need us, we will be here for you.

FDB2/FJH: Where strangers become friends. Sometimes.