Most Annoying Mutt of the Week.

Doesn't Like the Media, Winning.

This one is kind of personal.  The Flyers have been jerking me around for a long time.  It’s part of being a Flyers fan.  The team is now looking at what I’d call a monumental title drought.  35 years.  They haven’t been to a Stanley Cup Final since the nineties.  The nineties!  And yet they there are in perennial contention, the carrot perpetually dangling in front of the fan base.  To win in hockey you need goaltending, a good mix of players, a superstar never hurts…and, these are the areas where the Flyers always come up short.  We know the names, Hextall, Beezer, Boucher, Burke, Cechmanek, Biron, it goes on and on.  Never a dominant goalie.  The stars are usually aged, the prospects never quite work out.  The mistakes, repeat themselves.

Which brings us to the current Flyers team, and this week’s most annoying Mutt: Mike Richards.  I’ll say that Richards had been my favorite Flyer.  Certainly not a superstar, but a point-a-game type guy who played hard, got in the opposition’s faces, and from everything we heard was a good leader, and the future captain.  Well, fast-forward to Richards actually being captain, and things haven’t gone so well.  The upstarts from the 2008 playoffs turned into 2009 disappointments.  This season, after a nice start the Flyers spaced four wins over the course of about 2 months.  It got ugly.  A lot of it came back to Richards.  His leadership was questioned, people wanted veteran Chris Pronger to step in, but Richards remains.

The reason I give the award to Richards this week, though, is that the more I see of him, the more I wonder if I actually like the guy.  This team got John Stevens fired, adjusted slowly to the new coach, is dealing with rumors of locker room strife, where does all this point?  Well, at Richards.  That’s hockey.  The Captain’s “C” actually means something, or that’s what we are led to believe.  The inexplicable flat starts, the inexcusable months of November and December…they come back to Richards.  Statistically, Richards is having an average season.  A little off pace, but this guy is never going to be Sidney Crosby.

What put me over the edge was his feud with the media.  It was immature, he’s pointing fingers, copping out, and goes into long periods of silence when he doesn’t like what is being written.  Well, here’s an idea…grow up, and win more games.  You’ll like the press better.  Richards took particular offense to the idea that the Flyers nightlife might be detracting from their on-ice performance.  Richards cited exaggeration, hyperbole, generally called the reports garbage.  Well, the notion that the Flyers had a little too much fun was discussed by their own General Manager over the summer.  Does Richards think the media is going to ignore a statement like that?

I don’t expect Richards to lead the league in scoring, and I don’t expect the Flyers to win Stanley Cups.  Again, that’s not really how they roll, but the way this season has been playing out is making me sick.  I choose to shift a good portion of the blame to Richards.  It’s his dressing room, as they call it.  Be accountable, or step-aside.  The Flyers have drug themselves back into playoff contention, but the team and the captain have a long way to go in my eyes.

Feel free to mention someone who annoyed the bullbleep out of you this week, even if it’s your neighbor or something…

See everyone next week, enjoy the conference championship games.

Playing Out the String.

It's What the Mets do Every Year.

Well, here we are.  Only three NFL games left to pick.  The playoffs haven’t gone according to plan, and there’s no denying that a bad couple weeks has ruined the taste of a pretty good season.  I guess the only thing left to do now is keep your head up, and try to finish strong, build that momentum for next season.

KRAFT: Playoff Record 2-6 (Last Week, 2-2)

I am somewhat astounded at how in love the public is with the underdogs this week, who are playing on the road and who have inferior QBs.

Indy -7.5 over J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS- Great run by the Jets, and honestly they are set up to be a very good team for years to come. Very solid offensive line that will only get better, this Shonn Green with Sanchez who will only get better, Dustin Keller looks like a promising young TE, Braylon Edwards..etc.  If they add another young explosive WR, watch out.  Obviously their D is going to be solid as well.  Let me start by saying I hate Peyton Manning, and I don’t look forward to 2 weeks of Manning hype with Archie Manning in the studio…blah blah blah, but i think the Jets run out of steam in this game.  Manning will spread the ball around, they are playing at home, and their defense actually looks like a strength.  Colts 24-10

NO -3.5 over Minnesota- This game would be fun to attend, that place is going to be insane.  I think the only chance Minnesota has is if they somehow rediscover that running game that they used to have, but for some reason has abandoned them?  “All Day” Adrian hasn’t rushed for 100 yds in 9 games?  Minnesota’s D was very impressive last week, but their offense consisted of 3 big plays, and that’s about it.  They didn’t capitalize on the Dallas turnovers, and they struggled to move the ball.  Brees looks like he can put up 50 even if they were playing CFL rules where you only get 3 downs to make a 1st down.  NO 31-17

GROSSY: Playoff Record 2-6 (last week, 1-3)

I haven’t been right about a lot of things this post-season.  A couple teams really let me down, and some of these games are just difficult to pick.  This week, I had to decide whether to jump on bandwagons, or still go with my instincts.  In the end, I’m not even sure of what I decided.

COLTS (-8) vs. NY JETS.  I’m sure there is something about not laying this many points against a good defense, but the Jets offense is what I am betting against here.  If the Colts can shut down Ray Rice and Baltimore, then they can do the same to the Jets.  Sanchez is not playing that well, and I think he still has the potential to really burn NY.  On the other side of the ball, the Colts offense has a lot of weapons, enough to score in the twenties, and that should be good enough to win this game.  The Colts had the lead against New York before yanking all their starters a few weeks back in a game they clearly weren’t interested in.  To get to the Super Bowl, they’ll be locked in.  Colts overcome the Jets momentum, 23-9.

Minnesota (+3.5) @ New Orleans.  Too much support for the Saints?  They looked great last week.  There is no denying that, but the Cardinals defense was completely over-matched.  A solid defensive effort can change a lot.  Look at the Cowboys offense vs. the Eagles as opposed to what happened in Minnesota.  You can’t underestimate the power of the crowd in this game, and I realized that last week.  This is a hard place to go in, and win a game, no doubt.  Part of me picking the Vikings here is because I had been touting them as the top team in the NFC all the way back in the beginning of the season.  I feel some loyalty to that prediction, but I think they will be able to move the ball against New Orleans, they will hit some big plays, and their defense will be just good enough to make the difference.  Vikings 31-28.

BIG DUB H: Playoff Record, 2-6 (Last Week 0-4)

Colts -8. I don’t think people realize how good the Colts defense is. If Peyton can produce 10 points that might be good enough for the cover. Colts 13, Jets 3

Saints -3.5. Biggest. Game. Ever. That’s how big it is for the Saints so I’m going to back them for that reason alone. Saints 24, Vikings 17

Something to Read with your Coffee.

Favorite Animal?

I think I almost told this anecdote once before, but for some reason I held off.  Well, today, I happened to have a brief conversation about Hooters family restaurant.  The story popped right back into my head.  I think bits and pieces of it have been relayed, but never in its entirety.  The occasion for the story was a birthday gathering for a friend of mine, who for the sake of anonymity I will call, Ty Webb.  I drove up for Ty’s birthday and another one of our friends, Shane Falco (phenomenal  intramural QB) was in attendance, and also played a critical role.

The party took place in the home of Ty Webb’s youth, and it was a pretty standard affair.  There was a lot of beer drinking, beer pong, I dominated at Bubble Hockey (Go Russia!) at one point Ty Webb tried to order 20 pizzas, there were prank phone calls.  We thought it would be hilarious to order food to dorm rooms at beloved F&M, so we did.  (It was pretty funny).  We posed as Brian Scalabrine and called another friend of ours who I’ll call, “Marty Clark” and told him he had a try-out with the Nets.  We received a phone call from the Swan.  It was really a great night.  We got absolutely hammered.  The only problem was a kid I knew in college who I wasn’t too fond of, we’ll call him “Elton John” showed up for the festivities.  Fine.  I can handle it, it was Ty’s birthday, the more the merrier.

So, the story doesn’t really kick in until the day after.  Did I mention we were drunk?  Ok, well everyone passed out in the wee hours of the morning.  Let the record show that I believe Shane Falco brought 2 shirts for the trip.  The first, he spilled McDonalds on during the drive.  So, he changed into a crisp Polo for the party, but it already had undergone one solid night of abuse.  This is all foreshadowing, and he may of slept in it, I don’t know.

Now, sometime not long after we went to bed I woke up feeling as if I was on death’s door.  Too sick to sleep, I stumbled into the kitchen looking for nourishment.  I ran into a wall of smell that can only be produced when 120 beer cans with a swallow of beer left each have been sitting on the kitchen counter all night.  How I didn’t vomit there, we may never know.  I pressed ahead, and secured a bottle of water, and some Drakes coffee cakes.  I then went down to the basement where I waited for death or other people to get up.  Whichever came first.

Sometime just after noon we rallied the troops, and made an appearance at the local Hooters family restaurant.  See, I told you.  I don’t recommend going to a Hooters north of the Mason Dixon Line, especially in the winter.  I also suggest never eating there.  Well, we pulled off the hat trick.  It was at this Hooters where we were given the pleasure of meeting one of the dumbest humans to ever walk the planet.  She was our waitress.  Now, we were in various states of health.  I was wildly hungover, Ty and Shane may still have been buzzed from the night before, and who knows what Elton was doing.

After nursing a lukewarm Bud Light for a while, and choking back vomit our brilliant server re-appeared at the table.  You know that thing at Hooters family restaurant where the waitresses chat you up for a while.  Southern hospitality and all?  So, she wanders over and her opening line is to Shane Falco, who’s still wearing his Polo.  She said, “Why is there a horse on your shirt?  Are you some kind of champion?”  I’m sorry, what?  I’m pretty sure this prompted several minutes of sustained laughter at which point I said, “Why is there an owl on your shirt, is it your favorite animal?”  The waitress was not fazed.  She shifted gears, and asked Shane Falco, “Do you like writing on people’s faces when they’re passed out?’  I responded, “No Shane likes to hook up with people when they pass out.”   This sent everyone, Elton particularly into hysterics.

There’s not much more you need to know about Hooters family restaurant except that Ty Webb gave his number (his real number) to the waitress.  Not a huge deal, we leave.  We drop Elton off at the train.  He says to me, “You’re Funny.  I wish I could like take you around with me.”  Ok, weirdo.  Get out of the car.  From there we went to another bar, and the shampoo effect was really kicking in for Ty and Shane.  I was still feeling pretty sick, and couldn’t quite get over the hump.  We had a couple more, played golden tee, and then headed over to a friend of Ty’s who lived in this townhouse complex.

I felt a little bad storming in, because we were all kind of banged up, and they were just hanging out.  At some point, we started drinking wine.  Classy.  It wasn’t long before Shane Falco had spilled red wine all over himself (ruining polo #2), and the white carpeting.  Yes, white.  Somehow we managed not to get kicked out, and lo and behold the waitress from Hooters family restaurant calls.  She’s coming over, and she’s bringing a friend.  Ok, well played.  Well she arrives, and I’m afraid our troops weren’t in the best shape.  Ty Webb was in and out of a napping state, and Shane Falco was blitzed.  He would eventually spill another entire glass of wine….on himself.

During the initial awkward moments there was some confusion about who was hooking up with what chick, if anyone was, there was no plan.  Shane Falco decided to start referring to both girls as “his girlfriend” while Ty dozed on the couch.  He also claimed at one point that Ty was engaged (to be married).  He was not, of course.  After the most awkward hour of my life, the friend of the Hooters family restaurant waitress receives a call from her boyfriend.  Oh.  Weird.  Can he come over?  Yeah, why not.  When he walked in, it officially became the most random crowd I’ve ever been involved with.  It was cool though.  We ordered pizza, and sat around like it was a 4th grade birthday party.

Finally, we got kicked out of the townhouse, and on the way out Ty and Shane got in a little scrap.  One or both ended up down in the parking lot, and I had to corral them to the car.  At this point, it was fairly obvious, I was driving.  Ty took over the navigation to try to get us back to his parent’s house.  The crazy thing was, it still wasn’t that late in the night.  We’d just been very efficient.  Shane was mostly non-responsive in the car until he spotted a Burger King, and demanded we go through the drive-thru.  I skidded into the parking lot at full speed, and got the man his order.

The food seemed to calm everyone down, and then a mile or two from Ty’s house there was again commotion in the backseat.  Shane was going to puke.  Pull over.  Pull over!  So, I did, and Shane let loose wildly on the side of the road.  Then he started freaking out.  Why is my puke red?  Is that blood?  Why is my puke red?  I reminded him he’d drank a couple bottles of red wine, and that seemed to pacify him.  He closed the door, and we were on our way.

We got back to the house to the pleasant surprise of Ty’s parents being home.  Now, I hadn’t seem them since college graduation, I’m not sure how long it had been, but you know, first impression as real adults.  And, there we were.  Burger King in hand, only 1/3 coherent, and Shane with the red wine all over his shirt.  We looked strong.  At this point I kind of realized that Ty’s parents thought we were all clowns, because they hardly batted an eye at our condition.

By all accounts the story should end there, but we haven’t had our moral yet.  That’s because we weren’t done drinking.  Back to the basement we went where Ty started cracking more bottles of wine.  Brilliant.  Shane Falco, who never turns down a drink was happy to partake, and there we all sat until Shane dumped his glass of wine all over my jeans and the floor.  Party over.  The moral?  Don’t wear your only clean pair of pants around someone who has already spilled two glasses of red wine.  And, there it is.