Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sad day in St. Paul

In life there are a handful of days that you will never forget. Some that we all share are the day you get married, the day your children are born and when you lose a loved one.

As the city of St. Paul morns the loss of one of their own, restaurateur Nick Mancini, I can remember when I met him for the first time like it were yesterday.

It was the spring of 1989 and the Frozen Four was being held in St. Paul. My dad gave me some miles on American Airlines and I took off to do some writing for College Hockey Magazine. I knew nobody. I was wide-eyed and looking to watch some great hockey and meet some new people.

Four great teams were left. Shawn Walsh's Maine Black Bears, Ron Mason's Michigan State Spartans, Doug Woog's hometown Minnesota Golden Gophers and Bill Cleary's eventual champion, Harvard Crimson. TRIVIA time - who scored the game winning goal for the Crimson and what happened to him the next year?

I shared a cab with Notre Dame hockey coach Lefty Smith to the Radisson Hotel in St. Paul. I had met Smith in the Chicago airport as we were both on the same flight and delayed. We got to talking and having a good conversation that lasted the entire flight. When we arrived, Smith introduced me to Steve Klein and Neil Koepke. He told them that I was a good kid and they should get to know me. So the two men looked at this young kid and each other and then invited me to join them for dinner that night at Mancini's Char House. Being me, of course I accepted their kind invitation.

So I meet them in the lobby on March 29, the night before the semifinals, along with some other folks that night and head over to Mancini's for dinner. Standing at the door was Nick as if he knew we were coming and as if he had known all of us for 1,000 years. He sat us and then joined us for most of the evening on and off to talk hockey. He bought us a few drinks and we had an incredible night. The food was very good and the place was packed with people. It looked like a steak house out of the 50s in Vegas or New York City. He gave us hats and shirts and all kinds of trinkets to say thanks for coming in.

He was a great host and an even a better man. Every time I have gone back to St. Paul, I have made it my goal to go their as often as possible. I will continue to do so, but it just won't be the same.

That night was part of a trip that changed my life forever. I met people that weekend that have become lifelong friends and one in particular in Steve Klein who hired me for jobs that I can never repay him for. Klein's friendship, guidance and love are the reasons why I ended up in Atlanta and why I have all of the wonderful blessings in my life that I have. Not sure I say it enough Steve, but thanks.

And those relationships started that night at Mancini's.

Thanks Nick for being a great person who just got it. No question we need more of your kind on the planet. You will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Observations on the Opener

Had some time to think about the opening game of the Stanley Cup finals and I have to tell you that I feel good in my original assessment of five games.

First off - I am sick and tired about the layoff talk. Both teams sat for five days ... and Ottawa had nine total days off and they still scored the first goal. The reason they were tired at the end of the game was because the Ducks beat them silly physically. Ottawa hasn't played a team as strong as Anaheim and it showed last night.

That being said, can someone tell me why Ryan Getzlaf looked puzzled on his cross checking penalty? He hit Mike Comrie SIX times in the back with no call and then on the seventh one a penalty gets called. Hey Ryan - be thankful you are a good player otherwise they would have gotten you on the second one.

Wade Redden was a minus-3 last night. He's not used to the physical style in front of the net that is typical in the West.

One thing to watch and I have noticed this all throughout the playoffs - Scott Niedermayer isn't right. Either he is really hurt and fighting through it or he is getting old. He's gotten caught for a lot of penalties because he isn't using his feet and not skating the way he used to or can. So as great as he is, he's a step behind. Watch him and you will see what I mean.

How ironic is it that Buffalo's Ryan Miller is in the stands to watch his brother Drew play in his first Stanley Cup final game. Drew had played two minutes all season and on his first shift causes the turnover that resulted in the Ducks first goal. Just a solid effort from a kid no one expected to be playing.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day thoughts...

Howdy Ho all ... sitting in the basement watching the Stanley Cup Finals and just relaxing. Had a great weekend. Played golf twice - did a bunch of projects around the house. Including finally getting around to loading all our music onto ITunes. That was insane... over 6,000 songs now loaded up.

Anyway, have heard many folks speak about Memorial Day and the things and people we should be thankful for. I am sure that Saving Private Ryan is on someone where right now and I have to tell you, if you watch the first 45 minutes of that movie and it's impossible not to think about the sacrifice those men made for our country and for us.

Whether you believe in Iraq or not, the bottom line is that our men and women are doing great work on behalf of all of us. So for those of you who travel, when you see one of them, say thanks. If you are sitting in first class, give them your seat. Don't ask - just do it. Just remember, they sit in a seat you would most likely never, ever, ever want to sit in.

Have a great week. Abbie's birthday party is Wednesday at 11 a.m. at a bowling alley in Atlanta. This should be a trip. Can't believe she is five and her sister will be two. Time flies when you are having fun.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hey runners - help a client out ...

For every new runner that joins the training runs on between May 28 and June 28th, Nike will donate a pair of running shoes to The Atlanta Track Club youth organization in Atlanta. Nike is expecting 1,400 new runners for the race, so it will work out to be a nice donation back to our local community and help kids get involved in running.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quest for the Cup down to two

Was actually out last night watching Roger Waters in concert at Philips Arena. A great show. If you are a Pink Floyd fan and he comes to town, the music is awesome. Second half of the show was the Dark Side of the Moon album. Only thing I didn't like was the political message from him. Don't totally disagree with all of it - but don't like going to pay for music and getting political views.

So as I am listening to Us and Them, I checked the score of the game and the Ducks were up 3-0 in the second. Figured, that it was over and done, but by the time I got home, the Red Wings were down 4-2 with about four minutes to go and they are heading to the power play. Eight second later, it's 4-3 on a Pavel Datsyuk goal. Next thing you know, 12 seconds later, Travis Moen takes another penalty and send the Wings back to the man advantage. And while they had some great chances, Detroit couldn't get it done, sending the Ducks to the Finals.

Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press says that the Ducks weren't "lucky."

Hey, if you were watching the end of the game, did you see Chris Chelios skate over to the Ducks bench to shake Randy Carlyle's hand and then leave the ice? He didn't go through the line of handshakes that is customary after a playoff series is over. Hey Chris, way to show your younger teammates the right thing to do. For a great player, that is disgusting.

The line of the week and the series goes to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, on the Red Wings failing to sell out their first eight home playoff games: “If Detroit is Hockeytown, then Anchorage is the Bikini Capital of the World.”

A friend of mine was in Vegas in October and he asked me who we should put money down to win the Stanley Cup. I told him to put 20 down on the Thrashers as a long shot, but I also told him to put money down on the Ducks at 9-1. He did and now we have a shot to cash in. They were close to getting their last year, and then picking up Chris Pronger put them atop the Western Conference.

Now they get a shot at the Ottawa Senators, who have gotten to the Finals without playing a real physical team like the Ducks.

Ottawa has two very good defensemen in Chris Phillips and Wade Redden, but they are not the tandem of Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. I would expect that the Ducks duo will be on the ice every time the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson jumps the boards. I like that match-up for the Ducks. Alfie has had an incredible playoff run, but he hasn't been hit like the Ducks are about to hit him.

The Sens will be coming off nine days of rest and I think that, along with the physical style of the Ducks and J.S. Giguere will put them in 2-0 hole heading back to Ottawa from which they won't recover.

Brian Burke and my pal David McNab will have their names etched on Lord Stanley's Cup after winning in five games. Wow - a California based team winning the Cup? Brings back the memories of the California Golden Seals.

BTW - a funny thing happened to the Atlanta Hawks last night. They finished third in the NBA draft lottery. Why is that funny you may ask? Well, let's see, if they finish in the top two picks they would get to pick one of two great players. If they finished fourth, they would have to ship the pick to Phoenix as part of the Joe Johnson deal. The Hawks also have the 11th pick in the draft, so they should be in good shape, no? Jeff Schultz of the AJC breaks all of the possibilities down of how the Hawks past history isn't helping the Atlanta faithful believe in them.

You think it's bad here? Check out Bob Ryan in Boston talking about how the Celtics lost Greg Oden and the continuing bad luck of the Celtics.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rocket scientist of the week

Just when it was too quiet, a lot of stupid things got said this past week. From Jason Giambi to David Stern it was a busy week for foot-in-mouth syndrome.

But there was clearly a winner this week. Someone who stepped up to say something so stupid, we love him. Ladies and gentlemen I give you Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis.

"I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it's his property, it's his dog," Portis told WAVY-TV in Virginia. "If that's what he wants to do, do it. I think people should mind their business."
When told that dog fighting is a felony, Portis replied, "It can't be too bad of a crime."

Hey Clinton, I know at the U they give classes in crime and lack of punishment, but you live in the state where this is going on and you don't know the laws. What a shock!

Anyway, thanks to Clinton for his winning statements ... Giambi was a distant second, but in other weeks, it would have been a lot closer!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Passing thoughts on a Sunday evening

First let me start with a big congrats to the Ottawa Senators for making their first Stanley Cup finals.

It's hard for me not to watch and cheer for the Ottawa Senators.

Sure, there's Bryan Murray who is getting his first shot at Lord Stanley's Cup behind the bench. Murray will face one of his former employers in the finals - he coached the Red Wings and was the GM for the Ducks. But I root for them because of Dany Heatley. He's a good kid that had an unfortunate incident that he will live with for the rest of his life. The positive side is that his life has gone on and gone on well.

I know that the Stanley Cup has winners names on it. If Ottawa wins, right next to Heatley's should be Dan Snyder. Only fitting to me.

Anaheim stole game five from Detroit. Got outplayed and then got a lucky bounce and a bad turnover in overtime. I said all along we go seven here ... sticking with it. How great will a seventh game be between these teams?

Did anyone see the overtime of game five of Ottawa-Buffalo? If you missed it, NBC flipped it to Versus network because the Preakness pre-game show was about to start. Hey Commissioner Bettman - how many more stupid television contracts will you sign before getting back in bed with ESPN/ABC where it belongs.

And the Preakness, while I mock the pre-game, it was another great horse race. Street Sense came from behind again. They were about to hit the turn for home on the backstretch and all of a sudden from 12 lengths back comes Street Sense. He was awesome and if you haven't seen it ... must watch! But Curlin and Street Sense don't show up on the screen until the turn for home... and the all of a sudden whoosh ... there they come. So Street Sense has the race won when Calvin Borel turns to look behind him and here comes Curlin. By the time he turns to go to the whip - it was over ... Curlin took Street Sense by a nose. Another great race.

The question is am I the only one who watches or cares?

More Carter Crap

So Jimmy Carter went on record to say that he thinks that George W. Bush presidency is the worst in the history of the office.

Still laughing from the comment. It's just classic. Goes back to when you were a kid and came back with the retort, "I know you are but what am I?"

If he can get it to stick, maybe his tenure will be the second worst in history. But it's going to take a lot to unseat Carter's horrific four years.

Hey Jimmy - you are so wrong on so many counts these days - at what point will you just shut up and go away. You are no good for anyone including and especially you and your legacy, what's left of it. Sit on your porch and enjoy life ... but stop trying to act useful.

BTW - how do you think the Democratic front runners for President feel about Carter?
They will try and bury him in an afternoon session at the convention, but I am sure he will go along to get along ... he's so good at it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Patrick gets a Stern lecture

For those who have missed the hub-bub in the NBA this week, man has this been funny.

I am speaking about the suspensions from game four of the Suns-Spurs series where the Suns got screwed by the league because they are too stupid to get out of their own way. Anyway, if you haven't heard or seen the video, go here and see and read everything you ever wanted to know.

Anyway, Dan Patrick had NBA commish David Stern on his show Wednesday and it was just outstanding radio. Stern was a complete ass on the show as he talked down to Patrick and was flat-out obnoxious and rude. Listen to it here (have to sign up as ESPN insider to hear it).

After hearing the interview, I have to tell you that Stern has now jumped the shark. It's time for him to go. While he is no worse than Gary Bettman and Bud Selig, he is now just another joke of a commissioner. In the past, he was one of the best of all-time, but his time has gone and it's time to pass the torch. I am sure like the other two rocket scientist of their sports, he is too egotistical to let go. And when you hear him in the interview, you will understand why I am so over him.

Chris Pronger is lucky he only got one game for a suspension - should have been more. Bad hit and just dumb.

Can the Bulls come back and force a seventh game??? How tight would Flip Saunders collar be for that one...????

Sorry slackin' this week - wife is ill and can't really take meds because of pregnancy.... fun fun fun at home!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday ramblings...

Happy, happy, joy, joy.... hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Great hockey going on - are any of you watching? Does anyone care?? Buffalo cannot catch a break and are down 2-0 heading back to Ottawa. I think they are going to steal one tonight and make this a series.

Heading back to the left coast tied at one game a piece, the Anaheim Ducks look solid. They are throwing the body and getting to Dominek Hasek. Still trying to figure out why Hasek got away with throwing his stick in the first period as one of the Ducks came in on a breakaway. I am also trying to figure out how Rob Schick is calling games this late in the year. He's a hack. Still thinking this series is going seven - if the Ducks can hold serve at home, might only go six. Still great hockey that has got to be watched.

Lefty played great at the Players - but man, how sick does Sean O'Hair feel? Everyone is talking about 17 and it was a mess, but if the kid makes the putt on 16 and gets within one of Phil - does he go for the pin on 17? The putt was the key - O'Hair even said afterwards that if he makes it, he goes for the center of the green on 17. Should have done that anyway ... but you have to love the kid for going for it. It was only 700K he gave back... no biggie.

Best Sopranos of the year last night. It's finally getting good - three to go.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mommy's Day!

Hope everyone had fun.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dumb and Dumber

The sad part is I am not talking about a movie in my headline. I am talking about Pacman Jones and Michael Vick.

Comes out that the night before Pacman went to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he met with some NFL players that told him he needed to get his stuff straight and fly in formation. After that meeting, Pacman went to a New York City strip club. Usually, I wouldn't give a flip about it, but in the circumstances we are talking about, this guy is a clown!

And then there's the guy that wears No. 7 and plays for the Atlanta Falcons. Forget the fact of the dog stuff - here's my question, why not put the house in someone else's name? I am sure the commish will be on the phone and get a close up-and-personal with Vick soon. Hey Bobby Petrino, bet the Louisville job looks pretty good right now, huh? Should have talk to your predecessors before taking the job. Arthur Blank sold you a bill of goods that start and end with this guy as your franchise quarterback. Right now, I bet you would settle for a serviceable quarterback that stays out of trouble. And one last thing Coach Petrino, maybe you would feel better if Matt Schaub was still your backup instead of Joey Harrington. But hey, Joey is a GREAT piano player.

Here's my issue with all of it, has no one shared the Mike Tyson story with them? Do they not have ONE PERSON with a sense of intelligence in their ear telling them that if they don't get it together they will wake up in their 40s and broke? But hey, I am sure all of the hangers-on will still be around if you guys don't have money.....NOT!!!

Please boys - just cut the garbage out! You are getting paid millions to play a game. It is not your "God given right" to play in the NFL it is a privilege. One that the commish will take away forever if you continue down the path's you are on now.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Abortion not only thing to get Rudy

For you political junkies like me, the fun is just starting for '08.

Mike Lupica, a man for all seasons, writes a solid piece about what will really get Rudy Giuliani in trouble. Besides his son not shutting up!

Things that make you go - wow.

Now this is how to fundraise...

Vienna City Hall Starts Sex Hotline to Fund Library

VIENNA, Austria — (FOX News) -- This isn't the typical whispering you might expect to hear at a library. Vienna's City Hall has launched a "sex hotline" to raise money for the capital's main public library, officials said Tuesday.

It's unusual, but it's not particularly raunchy: Callers pay 53 cents a minute to listen to an actress read breathless passages from erotica dating to the Victorian era.

City Hall set up the hotline earlier this month to help the library raise cash for planned remodeling and expansion, Austrian media reported.

Anne Bennent, a famous Austrian stage and film star, reads passages from the Vienna library's collection of 1,200 works of erotic fiction from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the library said.

Officials said the hotline would be operational through May 31.

Finally, a smart Duke alumn!!!

I usually pick on Dukie's. For no other reason than it's just fun to do.

But this morning - one Dukie (Jonathan Ganz) sent me an article that another Dukie wrote about the NHL Playoffs.

Usually, I would question a Dukie writing about the NHL playoffs, because it's not like they have a hockey team at Duke. But John Feinstein wrote a solid piece in the Washington Post about the best part of May.

I will say this - the two best sports sections on a consistent basis in my mind have always been the Post and the Boston Globe. I know there are people in Chicago and New York up in arms about that statement, but I will put those two sections up against anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Couldn't have said it better...

In the New York Times, veteran baseball writer Murray Chass wrote a solid piece about drinking in baseball and how it is as important to deal with as the steroid issue.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Roger gets Yanked from Texas

Morning all - hope weekend was good for y'all. Obviously it was good for Roger Clemens and his family. The funny part is that people are shocked by this.

First - it's the Yankees, this is what they do. Did you really think George Steinbrenner wasn't going to spend the money?

This year's squad are as overpaid and horrific a pitching staff as we have seen. They can't decide whether they want old guys or young guys ... and now because of injuries it's a mix. How can you not go spend the money to go get the greatest pitcher in the last 30 years? Plus, most of it the Yankees had set aside when they dumped Randy Johnson back to the Diamondbacks.

Second - Clemens is an ego manic who is ALL about the money. Don't sell this any other way to me. The Red Sox offered him 10 million and the Astros offered 11 million to him according to ESPN's Buster Olney. If he really wanted to stay home, 11 million ain't chump change. If he wanted to close out his legacy and really go out in style he would have gone to Boston. He went to New York because of the money, period.

Don't try and sell me that this team has a better chance to win the World Series than the Red Sox. It doesn't. You can say whatever you want about the batting order, even with Clemens, they are shaky in the pitching department. Their best pitchers are older than me and the young guys are really young. The bullpen is already exhausted and it's not like Clemens is going nine innings every time out.

Wasn't it great the way he announced it and how all those knuckleheads in the Bronx are buying into this? It's unreal how every paper in NY, Boston and Houston (as well as everyone else) has covered this too. Mike Lupica says that it's "business as usual in the Bronx." Gordon Edes in the Boston Globe quotes Curt Schilling in his column saying that, "we don't need him." The Houston Chronicle article quotes Astros owner Drayton McLain saying, "we can't live with this uncertainty year after year." But the best is Dan Shaughnessy's column in the Boston Globe - basically saying that this year for the Sox just got a heck of lot more interesting.

They are all correct. The question is at the end of the day, is it money well spent? I say it's not and actually nothing would make me happier than to see Clemens and the Yankees not make the playoffs. For years both sides have pulled this garbage - I am over it and I cannot wait to see Clemens go to Boston and get shelled.

Not only from the Red Sox lineup, but from the fans that he has totally insulted, mistreated and ignored for many, many years. Hey Rog, when you go into the Hall of Fame, go in as a Yankee ... after all, you are one of them for sure.

On the other side of the New York, the Rangers gave it everything they had but the Buffalo Sabres are just a better team. The Eastern Conference finals will be a war between Buffalo and Ottawa. The two teams had a brawl earlier in the year with Ottawa goalie Ray Emery getting into it with forward Andrew Peters. These teams don't like each other and it will be great up and down the ice hockey. SI's Richard Deitsch says, Sens, Sabres bring real venom to East finals.

Had Abbie's ballet recital yesterday - was absolutely the funniest thing I have seen. Her class was good - but not totally focused ... to be expected. But there was a 3-year-old class that was all over the joint. Kids staring into space and just dancing and smiling. It was very, very cute.

The first of many of these that I am sure I will be attending...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Worst to first at the Derby

If you like sports in the least bit, Saturday was one of those days with great events.

The NHL Playoffs had two games with the Ottawa Senators sending the N.J. Devils home for the summer. Lou Lamorillo is as good a general manager in the NHL, but this year he made a huge mistake in firing his coach before the playoffs. I know it has worked for him before, but sometimes you have to trust the folks you hire. Mmmm... sounds like advice for another GM I know in the Southeast. ESPN's E.J. Hradek has a good piece on Canada's last hope.

In Detroit, the Red Wings took a 3-2 lead over the San Jose Sharks but lost Mathieu Schneider for the rest of the playoffs with a broken wrist. The Detroit Free Press' Mitch Albom took aim at one mistake changing the game in the Wings favor.

On the hardwood - the Detroit Pistons killed the Chicago Bulls in the first game of what should be a hard fought series. And my neighbor, Matt Harpring, and his Utah Jazz continue their playoff run after knocking off the Houston Rockets on the road in a game seven.

It's always a good night when there's a big fight. Not many of them anymore. It was a good one, not a great one. Neither Oscar De La Hoya or Floyd Mayweather hurt the other - but it was a chess match - waiting for the other man to make a mistake. It went 12 rounds and the decision for Mayweather was fair in my eyes, but neither man stood head and shoulders above the other. Not sure that I would pay for a rematch of the two men - but it at least went past two rounds. That is what happens when I buy a fight.'s Chris Mannix says that no matter what the talk was after the fight, a rematch will probably happen.

Now for the highlight of the day, this year's Kentucky Derby not only had 20 horses, thousands of stars - it also had the Queen of England in the stands.

Street Sense pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in racing history. The Derby winner came from 19th place on the backstretch to win the race. If you have seen the race, did you even see where Street Sense came from? The overhead video is spectacular and you can see how Calvin Borel pulled off the ride of his life.

What is amazing to me is that Borel stuck to his game plan of riding the rail almost the entire race. ESPN's Pat Forde talks about how Borel is one of us and he is now one of the greats.

On the turn to the homestretch, Borel stuck to the rail and passed 13 horses in about 5 seconds... watch the video again and count them. It was remarkable that NO ONE boxed him out on the rail - the seas parted and Borel pulled Street Sense to third as they turned for home. The next thing you know, Street Sense found a new gear and was gone.

It will be fun to watch the Preakness to see if Street Sense can go 2-for-2. Hard Spun had the lead until the turn for home and hung on for Place. Curlin got off to a bad start and finished Show. With less horses in Baltimore, these three should fight it out again.

Sunday looks to be good with Tiger in the hunt at the Wachovia and the Rangers looking to fight off elimination. More importantly, Abbie has her first dance recital. This should be a trip!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pick of the litter

Opinions are like butts - everyone has one ...

I have always loved the pony's - for years friends and I have picked the Triple Crown races and see how we do.

This year - with my own blog, why not throw it out there to be either brilliant or dumb. Either way, I am used to the tag thrown on me.

For the record - I love going with jockeys that know how to win and have won big races - with that as my caveat here's what I am going with for the Queen's visit to Churchill Downs.

Win - Circular Quay
Place - Nobiz Like Showbiz
Show - Street Sense

Upset special pickStormello – 30-1 - There's something about this horse that is screaming at me as a Barbaro type of horse....

As for the big fight, and it's been a while since we have had a good one. My heart tells me Oscar De La Hoya can win, but my head tells me to pick Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

I like him to win in 7 by TKO. He's got a lot of built up tension from family garbage and I think he takes it out on Oscar.

Golden night on the coast

It's so hard to stay up for sporting events in California on weeknights. But I found a comfort zone and got to stay up to watch two incredible games last night.

Let me start with something I rarely watch - the NBA. Golden State was just incredible last night as they jettisoned the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round. The building was wild - most of the crowd was wearing their gold t-shirts that said, "We Believe" - and did they have something to believe in or what? Steven Jackson chucking up three's and Baron Davis playing on one leg after pulling a hamstring - they were just awesome and fun to watch.

The best part of the game was watching Don Nelson smile as he beat Mark Cuban, his former employer. There's a lawsuit going between the two men and they don't speak. But Nelson didn't need words last night, he had the scoreboard and his team talk for him with a 25-point win.

My question is how does a team win 67 games and then lose to a team that was under .500 for the season in the first round? Dirk Nowitzki was 2-for-13 and just never in the game.'s Marc Stein looks at how Dirk's loss was Nellie's gain.

The game was so good - I may actually watch another NBA playoff game... but I won't make a habit of it.

Reason I won't make a habit of it? Somewhere down your dial on Versus, I was watching an absolutely incredible performance by Roberto Luongo.

Vancouver's netminder stood on his head in the first period of game five against Anaheim stopping all 17 shots he faced. The Ducks were all over the Canucks - but they were only up 1-0 going into the third period. At that point, Luongo had only stopped 38 of 39 shots.

As is customary in big games, a fourth-liner named Alex Burrows finally slipped one past J.S. Giguere with nine minutes to go in the game and from that point Luongo held down the fort to get the Canucks to overtime. He had now stopped 46 of 47 shots. And it's not like they were gimmes - Anaheim had some incredible chances.

So - I flip to the hoops for a few minutes ... pass the time, not a fan of the Versus studio crew. Brian Engblom (a good Wisconsin guy) and his hair puts me to sleep. When I flip back to the hockey game, much to my surprise, Luongo isn't in the net ... his backup Dany Sabourin is in.

WHAT!!!????? Am I losing my mind??? Am I sooooo tired, I am delusional?

Nope, supposedly Luongo had an equipment problem and couldn't get it fixed in time... so here's the backup cold off the bench after watching an entire game. And he's under NOOOOO pressure, if ya let up a goal, season's over. Good luck - Godspeed.

Sabourin played for 3:34 and I swear to you that the Ducks were in the zone for 3:30 of it. He made five saves and got out as quickly as Luongo skated to him to thank him for saving his butt.

Luongo came back and picked up where he left off - he was amazing. Second overtime comes and Vancouver is about to move out of their own zone when Jannik Hansen made the mistake of skating towards the boards with his head down. Rob Niedermayer absolutely crushed him off the puck. Brother Scott grabbed the puck and flipped a wrister towards the net - unfortunately Luongo was too busy asking for a penalty on the hit - and didn't see the shot as it went by him and into the net to end the series.

Amazing how quickly things happen in the game of hockey - felt horrible for Luongo who stopped 56 shots in the game and 144 in the five game series. It was the first time he had ever been in the playoffs and he was just incredible. This is not the last we have seen of him in the bright lights - Vancouver GM Dave Nonis will get him some help and he will be back. But it shows how he wasted away on Long Island and in Florida for way too long.

That being said - the Ducks are just a solid hockey team. They will get some rest while San Jose and Detroit keep fighting. In my mind, San Jose would match up better with the Ducks, but I don't think it matters. Anaheim GM Brian Burke has built a solid lineup and should represent the West in the finals.

Anyway - that all ends last night and The Shawshank Redemption started at 1:30 a.m. - had to watch a little ... "Get busy living or get busy dying...."

Did anyone actually watch the Republican Presidential debate? Who won? Does anyone care yet?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Heat-ing up in Ottawa

Finally made it home from Orlando ... postscript is that after I sent an email to AirTran to let them know how I felt, they sent me a $25 coupon for my next flight. Just to show how dumb they are and how they don't look at a computer, I have upgraded every segment I have flown on them and it cost $40 to upgrade.

So, they aren't even smart enough to send me a free upgrade for $15 more. They figure $25 will shut me up and make me happy. And people want to know why the airline industry is suffering? NO ONE listens in the airline industry. The AirTran folks on the ground in Orlando were rude, obnoxious and down right mean at some points yesterday. I wanted to smack one man for the way he spoke to this woman ... sat there and watched it and he was just down right belligerent.

Just when I thought I found a decent airline, they showed their true colors yesterday. Takes work on someones part to make me want to call Delta. Good job guys!

OK - back to the ice, my ol' pal Dany Heatley had a goal and assist last night to lead Ottawa to a 3-2 win over the Devils. He should still be in Atlanta - if it weren't for the damn strike, I think he would still be here and the Thrashers would be a much, much better team.

I don't care who you are or what you think you know - when Don Waddell gets fired (and at some point all GM's do - not saying he should or shouldn't be) the reason he failed was because of something he had NO control over: Heatley's Ferrari the night of the accident.

There's no question Dany is a great hockey player - but he was the heart and soul of this organization in Atlanta. The Thrashers will never, ever win the cup with Ilya Kovalchuk - he's a ME player, not a team player. Heatley is a team player and this is one of the main reasons why Ottawa is on the verge of the Eastern Conference finals.

And for those who think the Heatley - Marian Hossa trade is a wash, tell me how Ottawa did in the playoffs with Hossa and how they are doing with Heatley. Plus, how well did Hossa do in the playoffs for the Thrashers?

I know Waddell had no choice in the trade and he did the best he could, but it wasn't good enough and never will be. I hope that Waddell writes a book someday to talk about this chapter in his life, I know a bit of it, but not all of it and would love to know his views on the whole incident before and after.

Heatley is a great person who learned a hard lesson at a young age. He lives every day with Dan Snyder in his mind and in his heart. I hope for both of their sakes, he gets to lift Lord Stanley's cup for both of them.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Things to do in Orlando's airport

Been busy the last couple of days - sorry for the missed updates.

Monday we had the Davis Academy golf tournament, which I have co-chaired for the last five years and running. For those who don't know, the school is a reform Jewish day school in Atlanta that my in-laws started. Abbie just got accepted and will be starting there next year.

We had a great day - gorgeous weather and everything went really, really well. Doubled our auction dollars and it's just awesome. I think we raised over 10K more than we thought we would do and if I told you what we raise for a day school - you'd be blown away.

So after the golf - took off to Orlando and shot our first video cast with the Red Lobster chefs. This is going to be a great project and more importantly a successful one. When it goes live, you will get the first peek. We will rock the web with Michael LaDuke and Darryl Mickler - by the time we get rolling on this, they will have their own show... I am telling you, these guys rock!

Funny part is that they share their test kitchen with the Olive Garden folks and they kept looking at what was going on and wondering why they didn't get to do this? For the folks on the OG team that read this space - don't worry - I have ideas to incorporate them into what we are already doing....

So - I got my work done and I try to hit the airport to get outta here early. I call AirTran and they tell me to go standby - should be no issue. Check out of the hotel, drop the car and go to check in and it's a mob scene. The lady at the counter says, "every flight until the 4:41 you are already on are oversold." By now, y'all know I was about to go postal - but the damage was done.

There was some band/cheer leading thing at Disney and the airport is swamped with high school kids. Someone needs to teach these kids how to dress - or maybe to actually dress. Girls wear little to nothing and the boys look is with the shorts hanging out. It better change before my kids get to that point.

Positive thing is that they airport in Orlando is nice. Went and got a massage, had a little lunch, bought stuff for the kids and now doing some stuff on the free wi-fi they give you here. Still have 2:41 minutes to go till my flight, but what can I do? As if Delta would have been better?

Okie dokie - that's a wrap for now.... back to normal tomorrow at home.