That's it. Mine will be a Doritos-only household from now on. There was some excitement here regarding the BCS Championship game, featuring the high-octane Oregon Ducks and Auburn's Cam Newton; the next generation Michael Vick. But man, the commercials! Auburn won as Oregon's fastbreak attack never got rolling. There were all the usual factors I suppose, but what about the never-ending, Super Bowl-type volume commercials for Tostitos? You don't think all those pauses helped the Auburn defense to catch its breath?
Anyway, clearly I should have been watching the Leafs game. It's Seven in the Morning, so we've got that, gargantuan goal tenders, a very sad baseball story and some interesting thoughts on the emerging DeMar DeRozan; same as the old DeMar DeRozan.
1. It was a game of inches - two to be exact:
It was not the offensive showcase many were hoping for, but the frenzy of the last five minutes made up for it, as Oregon tied and then Auburn won with no time left, the winning field goal set up by a strange sequence, where Auburn running back Michael Dyer appeared tackled; stopped along with everyone else on the field and then took off once he realized his knee never touched the ground: "All I knew was the whistle wasn't blowing and my coach was saying 'Go!' " Dyer said. Worth watching the video.
2. Take that Boston! Leafs drive to screw up Bruin's draft position continues:
The playoffs remain a distant fantasy, as the Leafs have 12 points to make up and four teams teams to climb over to grab the eighth spot -- and this after they've won three straight And since tanking has no benefit other than improving the Bruins draft position, they might as well win for winning's sake. It's not exactly Win one for the Gipper; but it's all the Leafs have. Not much bad to say about the effort, other than Dion Phaneuf was embarrassed by Wayne Simmons on the Kings first goal and the Leafs captain his picking up a slashing penalty in the final two minutes while protecting a one-goal lead isn't something you see Nick Lidstrom do very often.
3. Generation giant: the evolution of goalies:
This is a really interesting story by James Mirtle about how the commitment to the butterfly style has put a premium on size at the goaltending position across the NHL: somewhere along the way, starting in the mid-1990s, NHL goaltenders began to grow, filling hockey's standard four-by-six-foot goal more and more every year. This season, netminders are bigger than ever, averaging just under 6 foot 2 and 198 pounds, an increase of roughly three inches and 16 pounds over the past 20 years.It's a phenomenon that has culminated in the Nashville Predators boasting the largest tandem in league history, with 6-foot-5 Pekka Rinne backed up by 6-foot-6 Anders Lindback, who have combined to give the Preds a .923 save percentage, second best in the NHL.
4. A sad, sad situation:
She played shortstop on a boys baseball team and at age nine was already interested in politics so she could help people. She was one of the victims in the shooting rampage in Tucson the other day. Christina Taylor Green was also the grand daughter of long-time major league manager Dallas Green and the daughter of John Green, a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. "We're all hurting pretty hard," Green told Mike Lupica: In their family, in lives that will never be the same for a single day, the tragedy in Tucson wasn't about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, or the death of a federal judge, or the other people killed or wounded by a monster carrying a gun out of his own madness, through the gates of hell. This was about a little girl killed for what is always the worst reason, in America or anywhere else, killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their little girl. Green tried to find a way to put into words what never can be put into words, just because there never are any. "I can't believe this could happen to any 9-year-old child," he said, "much less our own."
5. Without Crosby, the spotlight finds Malkin:
According to internal data kept by the Penguins, Evgeni Malkin has had a similar volume of chances as Sidney Crosby, but not the finish. With Crosby out with a concusssion, the focus has shifted to their other star: But the fact remains that the Penguins have scored only three goals in three games since Crosby left the lineup, and even though the HBO crew has packed up and left Pittsburgh, the spotlight has shifted to Malkin and his struggles. When the Penguins took the ice before each period Monday, Malkin was the last in line. A camera followed him, projecting a dramatic image of No. 71 onto the HD scoreboard screens at Consol Energy Center.In 2008-09, he led the NHL in scoring during the regular season with 113 points, then won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player. He was the runner-up for the Hart for the second straight season.
But last season, a shoulder injury limited him to career lows in games (67), goals (28), assists (49) and points (77), and this season, he has battled a knee injury and been producing at an even lower rate. He has missed five games and has 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points. If he plays 77 games and continues at this pace, he will finish with 29 goals and 39 assists for 68 points.
6. DeMar DeRozan may be one dimensional; but then again, scoring is important!
One of the bright spots for the Toronto Raptors this season has been the emergence of the Raptors second-year swingman as a scorer --- he's averaging 23.8 points a game in his past six, including a career-high 37 points against Houston. As this analysis suggest, since he doesn't do much else well, he might as well score the rock: DeRozan isn't much of a passer, or a rebounder, or a 3-point shooter. He isn't a lock-down defender or a point forward. Yet instead of trying to hedge those weaknesses, DeRozan seems best served to build on his strengths. Even if DeRozan's scoring-centric game makes him a bit of an endangered species, his gift for shooting and driving is obvious and he has a great feel for getting to the rim. DeRozan just needs to continue to do so, and by better using his athleticism to augment his scoring, DeRozan can become a reliable source of points for Toronto, and an impressive player on his own terms.
7. How about some more sports talk radio?
It's just what the world needs, isn't it? Hey, if they need someone who can't go 30 seconds on air without saying "ya know" twice, I'm available. The Globe's Bruce Dowbiggan with some news about TSN taking a run at The Fan's sports radio franchise as part of what is shaping up to be the biggest rivalry in Canadian sports: Sportsnet/Rogers vs. TSN/CTV: The radio battle would come shortly after Keith Pelley, formerly a CTV executive, took over as president of Rogers Media, a move that was poorly received by his former employers. Rogers and CTV are aligned in a consortium for coverage of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, but the developing battle for No. 1 in the sports cable business suggests that the two sides may find different allies when the next NHL and CFL television rights are decided. A Rogers/CBC alliance, for instance, could make a powerful combination against TSN when the NHL rights are negotiated in time for the 2014-15 season. Likewise, if TSN partners with CBC, home of Hockey Night in Canada, it could leave Rogers out in the cold on the lucrative NHL pact.