Idle Thoughts- Pens Punch Through Schedule Without Star Power
I’m not one to share my opinion, but since you asked…
- Despite the losses of their two best offensive stars, along with a small army of additional players, the Penguins continue to play steady hockey as they chase down the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tuesday’s 3-1 win over a surging Buffalo Sabers club is a great example of the grit they have displayed since mid-January. They may not overtake Philadelphia for 1st in the Atlantic, but rest assured this team will be in the playoffs and make a tough out for any club they face.
- It puzzles me that in his eight seasons as head coach of Pitt, Jamie Dixon has been honored as coach of the year just once (2004) by his fellow Big East peers. Granted, the Panthers were the odds on favorite to win the regular season crown and did so, but given the results and schedule, he should have been acknowledged as such.
- Who in here thinks Marc-Andry Fleury will carry the Pens deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Fleury has played well, but if anybody thinks a goalie can do it alone, guess again.
- Odds on the NFL owners and players making a deal happen before the end of this week, less than .01%. Odds on a lockout actually coming to pass, less than 10%. I expect a deal to be done before the April draft. There will be football in 2011. There is too much money at stake.
- Sidney Crosby will not play again this season. I’m also starting to wonder if he will ever play again.
- You can argue all you want about how great the Big East is, but after losing to South Florida on Tuesday, Villanova does not deserve a bid to the dance. They have lost five straight, including seven of their past 9 and 10 of the last 15. No team that plays that poorly down the stretch deserves a bid, even if they play in the best conference in college basketball.
- Odds on Joe Paterno retiring while still alive, less than 1%, Odds on Penn State officials forcing him out after his contract expires, greater than 99%.
- I’m starting to warm up to the start of the Major League Baseball season, but any warmth regarding the Pirates still remains low. Give me a few more weeks and check back to see if there is any change.
- It’s still very early to tell, but Charlie Morton is off to a good start this spring. Morton has pitched just five innings, but has only given up one run and one walk in his two starts. According to reports, he has added a sinker back into his pitching arsenal. Time will only tell if it makes a difference. We won’t know until he pitches in some meaningful games come April.
- Todd Graham promises lots of scoring come the fall. I wonder if he means the opposition putting points up?
- The Pittsburgh Power have done a good job of marketing their new team, but to think people will pay $180 to sit real close and watch a niche sport is crazy. By comparison, The Pittsburgh Steelers most expensive ticket (non-club seat) is $98, which is unheard of in the NFL. Even the mid-level seats in the lower bowl for Power games range from $50-$100 and that’s a joke. I’m sure the home opener against Philadelphia will be well attended, but after that, I don’t expect many fans to show up and pay that much money for an unproven product. Ridiculous.
- I’m not shocked that Jim Tressel failed to alert Ohio State officials of violations his team was caught up in until it was too late. Despite his squeaky clean image, Tressel has been involved in shady dealings since his days at Youngstown State. A two-game suspension and $250,000 fine is a joke of a disciplinary action by his employer. The NCAA should get involved and make others take notice. Why not take away the BCS money the Buckeyes have earned? Perhaps a three-year ban on Bowl games? The NCAA is a joke and will do no such thing because once again, the good ol’ boys of college athletics will make sure of it.
- Are you enjoying the Miami Heat’s five-game losing streak as much as I am? Yeah, I thought the answer to that question was yes.
John Phillips is the author of this article and a recent addition to the Spider Man musical ensemble. When he’s not moonlighting on Broadway, he can be found hosting weekend shows and anchoring sports updates on 93.7 The Fan. You can also check out his blog where he talks about his love of food and sports at www.foodandgamestv.ning.com