End of the Year Top 10 List of Doom

What am I counting down? WHAT EVER I WANT TO COUNTDOWN!

10. The Lions Madden Controller was cute, but I couldn’t laugh at it because it misspelled “Weird” as w-i-e-r-d. I understand the “I” before “E” except after “C” should have come into play with this one, but it didn’t.

9. Tim Tebow and the New York Jets… Read: Back-up/3rd string QB and the second fiddle major market team or Publicity Stunt and the Guy who has a foot fetish.

8.Clear Channel is to Radio what Hostess is to the Twinkie.

7.Tomas Holmstrom still hasn’t announced his retirement.

6. Calvin Johnson’s record (Formerly Jerry Rice’s) should be no less respected than Barry’s. Hearing Detroit sports radio callers say it was easier made me wish Clear Channel owned both sports stations in town.

5.When the NHL returns it will be without Nick Lidstrom and you’re still mad he won’t take a hometown discount. Think we can convince him to be motivated play 50 some odd games?

4. Maybe I’ll just take a knee here.

3. Will the NHL or Fiscal Cliff get solved? Which do you think happens first?

2. The Ilitches are still filthy rich. Detroit and its government are just lousy at running a city. (duh)

1. The USA and Canada play Sunday Morning at 4:30am EST on NHL Network and NHL.com, and I plan to wake up/ stay up to watch. Your move lock-out.

0. That’s how many more Piston games I am going to watch this year.

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Lions Schedule

This is probably the only Lions post you’ll see here until after the draft.

There are bound to be lots of people going through giving you an early prediction about the Lions record… If you see any of them, tell them they are absurd to do so, and you can tell them I said so. Without the NFL Draft and a single pre-season game it is daffy to even put out such a prediction, because it is bound to change.

Furthermore, making a spectacle out of the release of the schedule is genius. Everybody going crazy over it is proof that we’re all the NFL’s lap dog.

Earlier said I wouldn’t look at the Lions schedule till July, but to be frank it IS a big deal the Lions have been rewarded with some prime time action.

Here is the schedule, knock yourselves out.

Got the schedule from here.

Here is a look at the Lions’ 2012 schedule:

Week 1 – Sept. 9 – vs. St. Louis Rams (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 2 – Sept. 16 – at San Francisco 49ers (8:20 p.m., NBC)
Week 3 – Sept. 23 – at Tennessee Titans (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 4 – Sept. 30 – vs. Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 5 – BYE
Week 6 – Oct. 14 – at Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 7 – Oct. 22 – at Chicago Bears (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Week 8 – Oct. 28 – vs. Seattle Seahawks (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 9 – Nov. 4 – at Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 10 – Nov. 11 – at Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 11 – Nov. 18 – vs. Green Bay Packers (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 12 – Nov. 22 – vs. Houston Texans (12:30 p.m., CBS)
Week 13 – Dec. 2 – vs. Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 14 – Dec. 9 – at Green Bay Packers (8:20 p.m., NBC)
Week 15 – Dec. 16 – at Arizona Cardinals (4:05 p.m., FOX)
Week 16 – Dec. 22 – vs. Atlanta Falcons (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Week 17 – Dec. 30 – vs. Chicago Bears (1 p.m., FOX)

The most notable games on the Lions’ schedule for 2012 are

Thru Two

Heading back to Detroit tied 1-1,  things are looking up for the Wings.

No, I’m not ready to rescind my prediction of Preds in six, but we did see a lot out of the Red Wings that we haven’t seen since the end of the home winning streak.

For starters, heading into the series Nashville looked like the team that would be getting a boost from its bottom six forwards, but through two games the Wings have actually gotten the output from  guys like Tomas Holmstrom (who skated better last night than I have ever seen him skate…) and Corey Emmerton.

Pavel Datsyuk had a very good night in the faceoff circle last night, something they’ll need moving forward because Paul Gaustad has been stellar for the Predators.

Jimmy Howard wasn’t just good last night, he was outstanding.  In actuality he didn’t face a ton of shots  but it seemed like just about all of the Predators’s 25 shots were legitimate scoring threats.

Perhaps the MOST important factor is that the Wings had the swagger and determination that has been so lacking for the last month and a half, and it had nothing to do with the Bertuzzi fight and everything to do with the smart plays Drew Miller was making in tight spaces, the crisp tape-to-tape passes, and Brad Stuart bearing down and performing like his mind got back from California, where it has been the last 15 games of the season.

The Predators are still playing good hockey, if Jimmy Howard wasn’t on the ball, last night  could have been a much different story. Most noticeable to me is the play of Alexander Radulov, who looked to suffer no ill effects from playing in the KHL during his 10 game regular season stint with the Preds, but suddenly has a case of the Hudlers and looks soft in the corners and with the added tightness of playoff hockey has mostly been a non-factor.   If the Preds want to continue deeper into the playoffs Radulov needs to find time and space.

Noon!?

Nothing makes less sense to me than a noon start hockey game.  Hockey players are finely tuned athletes and starting a game at noon after an entire season of prime time starts is just bizarre.  Not to mention when the game starts in Nashville it will only be 11am in Tennessee. Both teams have to deal with it, but I find it usually waters down the first few minutes of a hockey game.

Round One Preview: Wings vs. Predators


OK, so it’s not  the match up I wanted for the Red Wings, but its the one then they earned.

A trip to the friendly confines of Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix was an option, but one Holmstrom to Datsyuk pass and score later, the Wings are off to Nashville for some sweet tea and playoff hockey.

As many of you know, and some of you don’t the Predators are the real deal this year. This isn’t the run of the mill “happy to be here” Nashville Predators. No sir, this is a legitimate,  Stanley Cup Contending hockey team that plays in the state of Tennessee.

Looking at the Nashville roster, you might say the Preds are a poor man’s Dertoit Red Wings.

Actually, the Preds may be the better version of the Detroit Red Wings this season.

Stop me when this sounds familiar:

The Preds are a team that can roll four lines, lacks a mega star but has some top end talent.  The Predators won’t beat you up with their fists, but they will make you pay on the power play. They’re deep on defense and have a goalie with the potential to back stop them all the way through the finals. Not to mention a long tenured top notch coach in the NHL.

If you look at a lot of the boring break down stats in the NHL, these two teams are often right next to each other, or very close (the biggest exception being power play with Nashville at No.1 , Detroit at No.22 in the league)

That being said, I really do think the Predators are the “team of destiny” in this year’s NHL playoffs. The team has depth where you need depth, talent where you need talent, and two of the better defensemen in the NHL.  Combine that with a lethal power play and stellar goaltending and suddenly you have yourself a real contender.

Maybe I have been dipping into the sweet tea (vodka) a little too much, but I can’t find the evidence to pick against the Predators in this series.

They even have the added motivation of “WIN NOW.”

This is the best team the Predators have ever put on the ice, but it seems pretty sure to be broken up in the off-season.

I predict Nashville gets to the Western finals at least. Obviously that means they take out the Wings in the first round, and I’ll guess six games.

I would love to be wrong though.  The Wings have an edge in experience and that can’t really be measured in a preview like this. I’ve overvalued it in the past to be quite honest and I may be under-valuing here. The Wings were also at one point running on max efficiency, but that team hasn’t been on the ice since the home winning streak was broken. Could they put it together and win this series? Absolutely. We’ve all seen them flip that “switch” before, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Wings this out of sync heading into the playoffs.

The Wings clearly have the better talent in this match up, but I am very nervous about its depth beyond two lines. The scoring punch seems to have one arm tied behind its back. If the Wings do pull it off it will be because Datsyuk, Franzen, and Zetterberg carried the scoring burden.

With the Wings getting healthy, there is a pretty good chance of me headlining something in the near future “I was dead wrong.” Darren Helm’s return will mean a lot to a team lacking a “goin’ to work” Detroit hockey kind of attitude, but I don’t get the feeling his return will put the Wings over the top.

Feel free to call me a genius or an idiot below or on facebook.

And that is the end to my objectivity. GO WINGS!

Nick Fairley Pulls a Mikel Leshoure

OK, so the Lions are apparently not a team full of players who learn from other people’s mistakes. Nick Fairley was arrested TODAY at 12:40pm. A day after it was found out that his Lions teammate had been arrested twice in 23 days for the same thing.

In the off season I said the Lions biggest improvement would come from the maturing process. Obviously they still have some growing up to do as individuals and I am more than certain this will be the case when they take the field in August.

I know driving can be stressful, but driving around with an illegal substance is probably one of the dumbest mistakes people make on a day to day basis.  Weed is illegal, but if you do choose to smoke it (and this goes for everybody, including pro athletes) is driving around with it really the best idea? If Fairley, Derrick Nix or Mikel Leshoure had just decided to smoke in their basement, nobody would ever know!

IT IS ILLEGAL, and ESPECIALLY as an athlete, an unnecessary risk to take.

SO FRUSTRATING.

By the way, don’t let them off the hook with “young and dumb.” Yes people make mistakes but for goodness sake I am 22 and I know what a bad idea sounds like.
From WKRG in Mobile, AL:  “Former Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley is use to running over quarterbacks on the field. Now he has run into trouble off the field.

Mobile police arrested Fairley on Morningside Drive at 12:40 p.m.

Police got a tip that Fairley was in possession of marijuana. They stopped the car around the corner from his mother’s house and found marijuana in the vehicle.

Fairley was booked into Metro Jail and charged with possession of marijuana 2nd. He bonded out just before 3:00 p.m.

Fairley graduated from Williamson High School and then played at Auburn where he won a BCS Championship in 2011. He was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Lions.”

Check Up!

As many will tell you, I am not a doctor, but here is a quick check up on Detroit sports.

Tigers

Opening day is Thursday already!?  It’s easy to get excited about the new look Detroit Tigers. The bats? The starting pitching? Heck even the bullpen looks poised to be improved.

Drew Smyly  has been named the Tigers’ fifth starter out of spring training after finally beating out Duane Below (Be-low) for the spot left open when the Tigers decided not to bring back Brad Penny (who went 11-11 and I contend did an adequate  job).  It is my prediction that he will not hold onto it for very long, though I am certainly OK with him getting the chance. It’s obvious to me whomever is in the fifth spot is just keeping the seat warm for Jacob Turner anyhow, but before you see Turner, I think you’ll see Below there.

It was also mentioned today, unfortunately not in the form of an April Fools day joke, that Brandon Inge could start the season on the DL. Inge has been out the last few days with a groin injury, which is ironic because a blunt force groin injury is exactly what it would feel like to a player replaced on the Tigers’ roster by Inge, if that in fact does happen. Inge is the serial killer in those slasher movies that will just not go away, or the Undertaker popping up when you think he’s down for the count.  Either way its a nightmare.


Pistons

While I openly admit that I haven’t sat and watched an entire Pistons game this season, I have been flipping over a lot more lately and I have to admit I like what I am seeing. I thought the season was going to be a complete disaster but it appears maybe, just maybe, Joe Dumars has a finger closer to the pulse of this team than we thought.

It’s clear to me that Tayshaun Prince needs to be the first one out the door at season’s end because he is not interested in the team.

Lot’s of talk about the Pistons playing themselves out of lottery balls, but I think they did the right thing by putting effort into this season, even if it did hurt their draft standing. When you have a team that is young like the Pistons are, asking them to tank is a good way to poison whatever future a player might have.

A very rare kudos from me to the Pistons.

Red Wings

Friday was a disaster, but Sunday’s victory over the Florida Panthers put the Wings fate back in their own hands. With three games to go the Red Wings lead Nashville by one point and Chicago by two (all three with the same amount of games remaining). That’s the good news.

The bad news is the sixth defenseman spot seems to be up for grabs, even after the position appeared to be filled when the Red Wings acquired Kyle Quincey for a first round pick at the deadline.  Quincey didn’t do himself any favors by getting called for a 5-minute charging penalty and a game misconduct on Sunday either. The hit could also draw a suspension from the league, which would give Kindl at least one more game to try and impress his way into a starting gig in the playoffs. Quincey is presumably the favorite to start on the third pairing when the playoffs start, but with the recent benching of “presumed starters” its hard to say anything is for sure.

Nothing to do with the Red Wings, but the Flyers and Penguins are on a collision course for the first round of the playoffs and things just got more interesting. Also, they still have one more to play!

 

Detroit Lions

Still dominating headlines and they haven’t played a a game since January. We long wondered what a winning football team would be like in the age of constant media coverage, and this is our answer. The Draft is coming up, but for once the Lions are too far to really venture a guess at a pick. This should be a year where they draft by need and not best player available, with focus on filling holes in the secondary, and freshening up that O-line.