Posts Tagged ‘NFL Football’

What the Puck?! Carolina beats the Bruins!

After last night, I’m just glad that the Canes are still alive…

My, oh my!  The Carolina Hurricanes are going to the NHL Eastern Conference Finals!  Led by the RBC Center’s master of the scoreboard ceremonies —the Nature Boy, Ric Flair—everyone is “WOOO-ing” in my hometown, the City of Oaks.

Video: Carolina Hurricanes Goal! WOOOOO!

The Hurricanes scoreboard celebration after scoring a goal

Once again, the Carolina Hurricanes pulled off the amazing, besting the Boston Bruins 3-2 last night in Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals.  Once again, the decisive game of the series came down to the wire, with Carolina securing the victory off of a Scott Walker chip-shot goal with only 1:14 left in sudden death overtime.  The goal scored at 18:46 on the clock in overtime by Walker (who used to play for the Bruins), sealed the game, advanced the Cardiac Canes to the NHL Eastern Conference Finals, and gave the Bruins a chance to get start on all those “honey-do” lists around the house.  For some real insights on the game, check out Canes Country (which is written by people who actually understand hockey).

Up next, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Once again, I find myself loving this “hockey thing” and having something to cheer about in the off-season as I prepare for the Tennessee Volunteers’ upcoming football season.  Of course, as I mentioned a few weeks ago when the Canes beat the New Jersey Devils, hockey can be a hard sell in the South, where few people ever played the game.  Still, it seems to me that hockey is a natural fit in the South due to all of the things it has to offer.  In reply to my last hockey post, I posted a few comments on the issue:

I think the primary reason that so few Southerners really “get” hockey is due to the fact they had no exposure to playing it. I played (at some level) all of the major sports, except hockey growing up. The first time I went to a hockey game I was a little sketchy on the rules and really wasn’t completely sure what was going on except for trying to get the puck in the goal.

The penalties left me a bit perplexed too. I remember thinking “A penalty of ‘icing’ — what the hell is that about? The playing surface — in case you hadn’t noticed Mr. Referee—is a big freakin’ sheet of ICE! They’re all knocking big chunks of the frozen stuff all over the place, why do you have to pick on that guy?

Over time, however, I have picked up on most of the rules and so forth, but the other thing I realized the night I first went to watch a hockey game was that I didn’t need to understand the rules. In some ways, hockey is a synthesis of all the great games: the team model of basketball; a flow like soccer; the speed of … well … racing; the use of sticks to hit things like baseball (okay that one is a bit of a stretch); and the strategy and bone-crushing physicality of football. Oh, yeah, and there is the whole fistfight thing from boxing.  The thing that makes it so exciting is the speed and the anticipation of the goal.

Most of all, it is just a hell of a lot of fun to watch. I really wish more Southerners would give it a look, it is a blast to watch in person.

So, all of you, go out and watch a hockey game next time you get the chance, whether it be the Hurricanes, the Predators, the Knoxville Ice Bears or whatever team is in your area. It’s a good time.

Just remember to bring a sweater…

via: Comments on “Speaking of Hockey…” | Gate 21

Seriously, hockey is a pretty darn cool game.  On top of that, most of the teams in the South know that they are a new thing to a lot of folks, and as a result have done everything they can to reach out to the community and show them what a great game hockey is.  Here’s Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos explaining—GEICO style—what the Hurricanes did to get the community involved (well, sort of):

Video: Carolina Hurricanes: Real Hockey

I love the outtakes reel at the end of that one

The game is just exciting, and I for one agree with what Mike Greenberg said on today’s edition of ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning this morning: while I may be a much bigger fan of other sports, the NHL playoffs are some of the most exciting sporting events you will ever see.

Yes, just like before, I do realize that all this hockey talk is a bit off-topic for a site focusing on the Vols and the SEC.  Still, I figure there’s a little wiggle room in that whole “Life, the Universe…” part of the Gate’s byline (that’s those words at the top of the page, if you were wondering).

Besides, what else is there to write about at present…

– So it goes Email lawvol No McAlisters


Videos(s) Courtesy of:   Raleigh News & Observer •  N&O.com ||  Statement on Fair Use

Meanwhile, back on the ranch… (A few items of interest)

Well, there hasn’t been much going on in Big Orange Country of late, thus I have been painfully slow at posting…

There have been a few items of interest, mainly Robert Ayres being drafted at No. 18 by the Denver Broncos, along with Ramon Foster, Josh Briscoe, Lucas Taylor, Arian Foster, Britton Colquitt, and DeAngelo Willingham who were all picked up in free agency.  A dutiful blogger would have something insightful to say about all of this, but I have not been particularly dutiful of late and Hooper has already said pretty much everything worth saying over at RockyTopTalk.  Thus, I’ll just ride his coattails for the moment (sigh…).

On another front, apparently the powers that be in World soccer have decided that Neyland Stadium is worthy of hosting World Cup (Soccer) competition, and everyone’s favorite stadium has made the cut in the most recent round of machinations pertaining to site selection for the United States’ bid to host the 2018 / 2022 World Cup.  While I am hardly the world’s biggest soccer fan (despite spending an inordinate amount of time watching 9-year-olds compete in it), it was nice to note that Neyland Stadium qualified, while Bryant-Denny Stadium (Alabama Crimson Tide), Tiger Stadium (LSU Tigers), Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn Tigers), and  Beaver Stadium (Penn State Nittany Lions), among others did not.  I guess that new jumbotron was just too good a thing to turn down.

Heh…

Finally, as a resident of the RDU area of North Carolina, my “other” team is fighting for a chance to advance toward claiming Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Yes, that is hockey for those of you who do not realize it.  No, I wasn’t born in Canada.  Yes, I grew up in the South.  Yes, you should really consider giving the NHL a try—hockey is pretty cool (especially when there is no football).  For both of you out there who care, you can read all there is to be known about my othe team, the Carolina Hurricanes, over at Canes Country, which is part of the SBN family of blogs, (i.e. a lot better than this joint).

In the meantime, I will continue to work diligently to find ways to waste time on meaningless things and thus avoid wasting time writing meaningless articles…

– So it goes…About Lawvol


Image(s) Courtesy of:   Carolina Hurricanes ||  Statement on Fair Use

Who is Smarter, Smiling Mike or Bea Arthur? (or A Few Belated Comments on the Hiring of Coach Kiffin)

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

Alright, I admit I have been a little absent and not just a little bent out of shape over the fact that I have been completely unable to post anything of substance lately due to my “real” job as an evidence manipulation specialist (lawyer).  Hence my last post.  What’s more, this has been a very exciting week for fans of the Big Orange, as Tennessee named Lane Kiffin its new head football coach.  Despite all of the fanfare, I spent my week in a courtroom, and failed to get a single decent comment out in a timely fashion.

Again, hence my last post…

That said, after watching a few video clips, most notably the one below, I am feeling much more relaxed and much happier.  Why?  Because, I am beginning to think that maybe Smiling Mike has done it again.

Lane Kiffin’s First Press Conference as Tennessee Head Football Coach

I’ll be the first to admit, Lane Kiffin wasn’t the number one name on my list—but make no mistake he was on it.  Still, in the back of my mind I wondered “is Mike Hamilton rushing into things?  I just don’t know if I would have been in such a rush.”

Then I remembered two key things:

  1. I picked the Auburn Tigers to win the SEC West and the Tennessee Volunteers to finish second in the SEC East this year; and
  2. Bruce Pearl.

Those two realizations gave me a moment of pause and suddenly gave me real confidence in the decision to hire Lane Kiffin as the head football coach at Tennessee.

The first point reminded me that I am a moron and that my skills as a prognosticator and student of college football are about as reliable as Eric Locke was as a receiver (or kick returner, or cheerleader, or ditch digger, or…).  Furthermore, it reminded me that there is an awful lot of guesswork in the business or picking coaches.  Which led me to point number two.

Smiling Mike dares you to make fun of his shirt

As I wrote some time ago while serving as a stand-in guest writer over at Joel’s venerable pillar of the Fifth Estate, on the day Bruce Pearl was introduced as Men’s Basketball coach the first thing I asked myself was “who the hell is Bruce Pearl?”  Well, suffice it to say that I now know who Bruce Pearl is, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the basketball loving inhabitants of the country do now as well.  The point is this: love him or hate him, over the last few years Mike Hamilton has shown an uncanny ability to find coaches about as well as anyone in the world of college sports, and as a result, I’m willing to trust his decision.

I think Hamilton has earned that.

Furthermore, what I have seen so far from Coach Kiffin (does kind of have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) has thoroughly impressed me.  The video above was especially telling for me.  Why?  Because Kiffin does not talk about “the passion of Tennessee’s fans” or “the tradition they have here.”   No, instead—about ten minutes after he was named head coach—he comments on “the passion of our fans” and “the tradition we have here.

I know, I know, I’m sure the folks in the Sports Information office reminded him to project that message, but you know what, it seemed pretty sincere to me…

I realize taking “ownership” verbally is a small detail—one which can be overstated—but it impressed me.  I honestly expected the typical “NFL-style” quasi-corporate speech about future, direction, and leadership.  I expected his opening foray with the press to be far less personal than it was.  Given my concerns that the “family” aspect of Tennessee football might fade away with the departure of the Great Punkin, this really did my heart good.  It also made it clear that Coach Kiffin understands that we happy few, we band of brothers, who wear the Orange are sort of “into” that whole “Tradition” thing.

All I can say is that I first looked at the hiring of Coach Kiffin with a lot of hope and expectation, and a near equal amount of concern and reticence.  After seeing how he has handled himself so far, it’s fair to say that I have been impressed.

Yeah, I’ve got me a great big pitcher of the proverbial Kool-Aid, and I’m chugging it down through a garden hose…

I guess that is why I felt led to say hello to Coach Kiffin visually—in the header here at the Gate—rather than simply saying “Oh, um, yeah we got us a coach.”

No matter what I may have thought about the past, I am pretty convinced that Coach Kiffin is the the right man to guide Tennessee into the future.

Which leads me to the seemingly inane title of this post.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of professional sports and while I typically follow the NFL playoffs in a limited sense, I can hardly be said to keep up with the league.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the end result is that I am often less than informed when it comes to the guys that play on Sunday.  Thus, the only real understanding I had when it came to Coach Kiffin was that he had been fired as head coach of the Los Angeles … err … OaklandLos Ang … Los Oaklesland Raiders mid-season.  I didn’t really hold this against him, because I realize how fickle NFL owners can be.  Furthermore, I hardly felt like I had enough background knowledge to really even understand why he was fired (I had to check just to confirm whether the Raiders were in Los Angeles or Oakland this year).

Still, I knew that something hadn’t worked out the way it had been planned…

Then, I stumbled upon this little jewel:

Al Davis on the Firing of Lane Kiffin

This video really confirmed a few things for me:

  • The Raiders will never win much of anything until that nut-job of an owner they have gives it up;
  • Anytime a coach is fired and respected journalists write things like this, it’s probably not the coach’s fault the team is sucking the tubes:

Al Davis’ once-proud franchise has won 19 games since appearing in the 2002 Super Bowl (or one more than the Patriots won in 2007) and better days seemed even more remote in January. That’s when the modest momentum built under new head coach Lane Kiffin in 2007 was flushed when it was learned Davis wanted Kiffin gone because Kiffin wanted to, ya know, coach the team…

Tom Curran | NBC Sports

  • Coach Kiffin’s record as an NFL head coach is of little concern to me considering the situation he inherited; and
  • Bea Arthur really should stop wearing those silly black leather jackets and sweatshirts when giving press conferences.

Al Davis?

Bea Arthur?

So, is Betty White currently the defensive coordinator for the Raiders, or is it one of the other Golden Girls?

Anyway, the point of this rambling post is simply to say, that I am thrilled to have Lane Kiffin on board as the newest member of the Tennessee family.  So far, I have been amazingly impressed with the way he has jumped in headfirst at Tennessee.  Most of all, however, I am happy with how he seems to really want be at Tennessee as opposed to simply biding his time.

Of course, I realize that he has not yet completed his first full week as head coach.  Still, all I can say is that—so far—it seems like Smiling Mike Hamilton may have gotten it right…again!

Either way, Coach Kiffin, I mean it sincerely when I say “Welcome to the Family!”

Oh yeah, and, Go Vols!

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


Images Courtesy of: Knoxville News SentinelSA BlogsBroadwayWorld.comNBC Sports / Getty Images

Shoutin’ Out: Phil Steele’s College Football Previews

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

secregional08[1]Well, I just got my copy of Phil Steele’s 2008 SEC Football Preview Magazine, to go along with the “big” magazine — which covers the entire landscape of college football — that came out a month or so ago. Once again, Phil doesn’t disappoint.

All I can say is this: if you ever consider buying a single preview / analysis magazine for college football, make sure that Phil Steele’s is the one you buy…

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that Phil’s magazine is necessarily as “pretty” or even as easy to read as some of the other preview magazines out there, because it isn’t. Phil’s magazines, however, have more information, more breakdowns, more analysis, and more of everything that really matters in the world of college football, than any other publication available. If you want to see what Phil’s breakdowns are like, just visit his website. For more than a decade, Phil has consistently published the absolute best college football preview resource available anywhere. I don’t even look at the others anymore.

seccover[1]Even better, Phil’s magazines are very reasonably priced, and can be bought in bundles for a substantial discount from his website (all 5 regional magazines for only $29.95 with no shipping charges). They are also available at various bookstores, grocery chains, and other locations where magazines are sold across the country. No matter how you purchase one, they are — in Phil’s words — “jampacked with information,” and if you buy any preview magazine, you get his NFL and Fantasy Football Guide for free, and he even pays the shipping.

So, if you are a fan of preview magazines or simply want to have a single resource which has pretty much all of the information you could possibly want on college football, check out Phil Steele’s publications. They simply are the best that can be had.

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


** Disclosure: While Gate 21 features a hyperlink to Phil Steele.com, neither this site, any parent companies, editors, nor webmasters receive any payment or other compensation of any type or kind in return such links. Furthermore, neither Gate 21 nor lawvol received any compensation for this review, which was neither requested nor solicited by Phil Steele Publications or Phil Steele.com. This “Shout Out” represents the actual opinion of the author (for what that is worth) and was in no way influenced by any other person.
Images Courtesy of: PhilSteele.com

Well, the NFL Draft is Over…

Now that the NFL Draft has come and gone, we have truly enter the deepest, darkest, dankest, despicable, and moany other words starting with “d” time of the year. This is the lowest point of the off-season, and the point which pains my heart so.

More importantly, it is the time of the year during which I have a particularly difficult time coming up with things to say here on Gate 21 for all of you to ignore.

Thus, I plan on rolling out a little something new here in the next few days, and doing a few “retrospectives” until something of interest begins to come along.

Oh, the angst of not having anything to write about, it’s enough to make you … edgy

Here's Johnny

In the meantime, however, I am pleased to say that the Wise and All-knowing MoonDog and I have been working on a little something over at his joint, which will hopefully come screaming into existence shortly. In the meantime, feel free to slid on over to his world and sample the wares, if for no other reason than to say “Ahh, I remember back when…” like my parents, grandparents, and pretty much anyone more than two years older than me always did.

Uh, oh yeah, and congratulations to govolsxtra.com/news/2008/apr/26/patriots-go-mayo-no-10/” target=”_blank”>Jerrod Mayo, Brad Cottam, and Erik Ainge on being drafted by the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and the New York Jets respectively. Godspeed gentlemen. As for the rest of the 2007-08 Tennessee Vols, thank you for all that you gave to Orange Nation during your time around the Hill, and best wishes for the future.

Hopefully, something substantive in the near future…

– Go Figure …


Image Courtesy of: LOL Jocks

Headlines, Links & Lies … The Lazy Man’s Edition

Sometimes, the Message Just Doesn’t Come Across the Way I had Hoped…

Since I have been sucking at actually posting anything recently, I will pontificate vicariously! So, here’s a few links from around the web worth giving a look…

– On 205th
  • John Adams and Tom Mattingly get all misty eyed and reminiscent over the 10th Anniversary of the Vols last football National Championship (damn, has it been that long?) — Go VolsXtra

– NESW Sports

  • Finally, a few classic ESPN Bloopers … going all the way back to 1979:

Damn, I’m a gettin’ lazy …

– Go Figure …


Lead Image Courtesy of: The Fail Blog

Y’er Outta There!

BANNER%20-%20RANTS

MLBOnce again the sports world is abuzz about the start of spring training, and yet another Major League Baseball season. Baseball has a long list of issues on its plate as the season gets rolling along. All of the off-season chatter has centered on the problems arising from the Mitchell Report, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Bud Selig, Brian McNamee, Bob Uecker, Pedro Cerrano, Ebby “Nuke” LaLoosh, Rick Vaughn, and Crash Davis. Those last five names actually have nothing to do with the controversy swirling in baseball, but I threw them in just for the hell of it — after all, the more the merrier.

Anyway, I am sure that the powers that be in baseball simply cannot wait to get the 2008 season going so they can put all of this ugliness behind them — “move on” as it were. There are only 2 problems with this line of thinking:

  1. The start of the 2008 season is not going to put the steroid issues that have been plastered all over the media for the last 6 months “behind” baseball, not even a little, and
  2. Even if it did cause millions of otherwise reasonably informed Americans to suddenly forget about a story that has been covered with more nauseating detail and intensity than the war in Iraq, that forgetfulness would only be the result of the fact that increasingly fewer people in this country give two shits about Major League Baseball anymore anyway.

I think baseball has a very tough road ahead of it…

Read the rest of this entry

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