Posted on: December 5, 2008 12:52 am
 

Wendell Clark: Good player on a bad team

Good Evening all!  Tonight's blog is about something that has really been bothering me recently.  As you may know, I am a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.  And as a Leafs fan it has been rather tough the the majority of my life listening to fans of other teams repeatedly bring up the whole "When was the last time the Leafs won the Cup?" quote, while watching teams like Montreal win a Cup every 10 years or so.  In present day with the Leafs rebuilding it becomes even tougher to listen to, but I manage to hold my own and let it be known that through thick and thin, good teams and bad, Stanley Cup or no Stanley Cup, the Leafs are my team.  But what happened on the night of Saturday November 22, 2008 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, had even me questioning my loyalty. 

On a night when the Montreal Canadiens were retiring the number of a Hall of Fame goalie, who won multiple Vezina Trophy's and Stanley Cup's in Patrick Roy, the Leafs decided to counter by raising to the rafters, the jersey of a player who had a total of 286 points in a Leafs jersey, Wendell Clark!!  Oh sure, it was quite cute how the folks at the ACC gave away novelty Clark mustaches to the kids (young and old), and everybody got to throw on their old Leafs jersey with 17 on the back, but really, raise his jersey?  I mean if that isn't the ultimate sign of futility as an entire franchise, I don't know what is.  He totalled more than 50 points only twice as a Leaf, and this was when the great players in the league like Mario Lemeiux and Wayne Gretzky were getting over triple that total.  He scored more than 30 goals only twice,  Did Clark appear to play with heart?  Sure he did.  Did he have some great fights?  Absolutely!  But did teams ever come to Toronto and say "I don't know how we are going to stop Wendell Clark?"? HELL NO!!  Clark was a fun player to watch and a fan favorite on a team that had nothing else.  Period.  Was he as loved in Quebec?  Or Tampa Bay? Or New York, when he played in those cities?  No, because he was just another average player. What's next, Tie Domi gets consideration?  I've seen plenty number 28 jerseys around Toronto the last 5 years.  Does warrant him consideration? 

I am a Leafs fan, and will remain a Leafs fan, but this has definitely hurt my ability to defend them as a good franchise in sports debates that happen oh so often.  I think raising a jersey is a special thing for a professional athlete.  Something that will be around for as long as the team exists.  Is Wendell Clark's jersey what I want my children, and my childrens children, looking up and at and asking me to tell stories about?  Not really.  What would I tell them?  He came from the WHL...he played left wing... he scored a couple of times... he passed the puck rarely... he had some nice bodychecks... he had some memorable fights... and he had a moustache.  All in all doesn't seem to compete with the legends of Rocket Richard, or Bobby Orr, or Wayne Gretzky... or even Darryl Sittler!

But, at the end of the day, I am a Leafs fan, and so will be my children.  Wendell Clark and all.

RV.

Posted on: November 20, 2008 3:11 am
 

Who is going to beat Lesnar?

Well it's been a long time since I added any thoughts to this site so I figured I'd talk tonight about the thing that took up most of my sports conversations for the last 3 months or so...  Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture

I first want to admit, when Couture first announced that he was coming back to the UFC on a three fight contract, and his first of the three fights was going to be against Lesnar, I thought, "awesome, Couture will teach this cocky S.O.B. a lesson!".  As you might have figured, after watching Lesnar completely dominate Heath "the Texas Crazy Horse" Herring and then the big "You see me now!" outburst, I am not one of Lesnar's biggest fans.  But the more I read about what the two fighters were doing and how they matched up, I started asking myself and others, "How can Couture beat Lesnar?".  It just seemed like all the things that Couture had going for him when fighting a heavyweight, were the same things Lesnar had going for him as a heavyweight such as their wrestling backgrounds and their quickness.  So Couture is the more experienced fighter and is a master game planner; Brock Lesnar we knew, was going to over power him with strength and size.  It just didn't seem like the right recipe for Couture.  I suppose this is all easy to say after the fact but weighing all these factors, I decided to make a couple of friendly wagers with some friends I had over to watch the fight that night.  Me, an admitted Lesnar hater, made an actual bet on him.  I don't think in all of my years of "friendly wagers" have I ever cheered against myself so vigorously.  It was the perfect Rocky IV set up.  The massive man against the puny fan favorite (I know in the movie Rocky was the hated one, but I'm talking OUR fan favorite).  Watching them stand in the middle of the ring getting instructions, I was completely ready for the old ref from the Rocky movies, Lou Filipo, to come out and give his "I want no low blows, rabid punches, or kidney punches.  In case of a knock down you go to your corner and wait for my instruction."  Then the fight started.  Couture didn't look too out matched in the first round, and in the second when Couture hits Lesnar with a couple of early punches and cut him, I literally jumped to my feet!!  This was actually going to happen!! Rocky was going to win for real!! Unfortunately I was still on my feet when Lesnar through the, what looked to me as a lazy overhand right hook, and BAM!  As excited for this fight as I was for three months, I must say I was just as disappointed with the finish.  The result, it was not great, but I could have handled it if had of been a great finish.  I guess they said that Couture got hit in the temple or somewhere around there that warranted him being knocked down, but really, that was it?  No punching someone into a somersault, no hidden submission?  Just a seemingly perfectly placed punch!  Well I guess not all was lost... I did cash in on my bets that night, thanks guys!!!

And now to the question that prompted me to write this blog. Is there a heavyweight out there right now who can beat Lesnar?  Is there anyone who might be able to do it in the forseeable future?  Although he did try and show some class after the fight with Couture, I hope that there is someone who can beat him, because I just plain don't like him.  But as far as this average fan can see, Brock Lesnar may be the UFC's Heavyweight Champion for a long time.

Well, now that I have written what seems to be a blog just for my-rambling-old-self, and sounded off on thing I was most looking forward to in the UFC for the past 3 months, I guess I will end here.  If you took the time to read this, hopefully you enjoyed it, and I will be back!!!

See ya,

RV.  

Posted on: September 17, 2008 8:14 pm
 

Oh DeShawn!!!

Happy Hump-day readers! 

When I first thought about starting to write a blog nightly, I didn't realize that I when I finally decided to start writing it, work would become busier than ever.  With the rapid down turn in the economy in the last few days, and my job in the auto industry coming under fire I have been unable to log an entry, and I apologize.

For today's blog I thought I'd touch on something that I'm sure has been talked about in great lengths the last couple of days... Deshawn Jackson's fumble at the half yard line during Monday night's NFL game between the Eagles and the Cowboys.  When I first saw Jackson make the catch I sort of just turned away to resume talking fantasy football with some of my fantasy pals with whom I was watching the game, thinking sure TD.  Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw some guys at a table beside start to laugh histarically at something they were seeing on the TV.  When I turned back to see what they were laughing at, I saw the replay of Jackson's backward throw of the football  BEFORE he crossed the goal line.  Along with joining the bar in laughter,  I instantly became concerned for what this young man had just done to what I thought was shaping up to be a fine start to his young NFL career.  I thought back to Leon Lett running with his arms straight out with the football exposed during the Super Bowl, just before getting caught by Buffalo's Don Beebe. Or the following season when he slipped and kicked a football that if left alone, the game would have ended, and the Cowboys would have won.  Both of those things Leon Lett will be remembered for always, which is sad considering he was one of the best nose tackles of his time.  I said I was concerned only because the next clip I saw showed DeShawn Jackson as a Cal player in college, trying to do a flip into the end zone while running uncontested to the end zone, only to lose the ball at the 1 yard line.  This shows that not only did he cost his team a game in college but he brought his selfishness to the pros.  Luckily for him on the next play Brian Westbrook ran the ball in for the score. I also was disappointed to see Jackson on the sideline, appearing to be defending himself.  Andy Reid should have turned around and benched Jackson for at least 1 game.  That was just sure fire case of a young player putting himself before the team.  I am personally starting the "DeShawn Jackson for jackass of the year" campaign.  Football has long been the epitome of a team sport, and moves like Jackson pulled is not only just him making a bad example for young football players everywhere, but also looks poorly on the league.  Although, it was pretty funny.  And pro sports are for entertainment, so maybe I'm just being too sensitive as I for one always enjoy the humor in a pro athlete looking human for a change.

Anyhow, enjoy the rest of your Wednesday, and hopefully I will be back with a blog in the next couple of days.

Adios for now,

RV.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 12, 2008 12:08 am
 

The hap-less Oakland Raiders

           I'd like to start my first blog on a little bit of a sad note.  The Oakland Raiders.  Really I almost feel stupid for feeling bad for Raiders fans, being a Denver Broncos fan myself, but wow, it's not even fun ribbing them anymore.  I was trying to tell a Raiders fan who works with me that the Raiders are like the university teams that MLB teams play before spring training just to warm up for spring games.  To my surprise, the guy didn't even flinch.  He kind of just looked at me, sad-eyed and beaten and asked me if I thought he would disagree?  Since the 2002 Super Bowl, the "Committment to Excellence" has become the "Committment to getting top draft choices".  It all fine and good when you draft big armed quarterbacks, or top speed running backs, but it's still not going to turn anything around if the offensive line is swiss cheese.  On Monday, every snap JaMarcus Russell took on offense was a jail-break for the Broncos defense, and we're talking about a very mediocre defense at best.  On the few snaps where Russell did seem to have a little time to drop back and make a read, he looked like he could be a pretty good QB in the future.  But if Denver gave the Raiders OL any trouble, I can't imagine what the rest of the league is going to do the Raiders.  I can think of at least a couple of number 1 overall drafted QB's who spent their first season or two on their backs, and where they are now... it's not looking good for old JaMarcus.  If you're not sure what I mean, see David Carr, Tim Couch, or Alex Smith.

             Anyway, I figure I've wasted enough time now and am going to sign off, but before I do I just want to leave you with one thing... To all of us non-Raider fans out there, please, if you've read this blog, be nice to your friend who foolishly roots for the Raiders, because he like the rest of Raider-nation are in for another tough year, another high draft pick, and another year of watching wrinkled old Al (I no longer like Lane Kiffin) Davis confuse football with babysitting.  Until next time...

RV.

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com