It Had Been 7 years…So Worth It!

 

I was saying to one of my good friends a few weeks back “I just really hope MLB has a good playoffs, because it’s been a while”. My friend (what’s up C-Bass?!), die hard MLB fan, took a minute to think about it and seemed to agree. I can name numerous amazing games and series in the MLB postseason from 95-02.

Then in 03 and 04 MLB might have produced the 2 best postseasons ever. Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe I got spoiled watching 4 LCS series go 7 games in 2 years. Maybe I got spoiled by a loveable Red Sox team that was the ultimate underdog/dragon slayers. Maybe I got spoiled by a Yankees team that was so easy to hate that I reached the point that I would rather watch them lose than watch my favorite teams win. The list goes on and on and on.

But the point is just about every postseason in that time was memorable and filled with great games and great plays. Since then, it just seems like they have been few and far between. The playoff races seemed to fizzle out by mid September and the playoffs didn’t produce much.

The 05 White Sox didn’t have a particularly loveable team and really steam rolled through the playoffs. 06 was better and the Cardinals were a fun underdog to follow that season but at the same time the Tigers steam rolled through the AL only to be hammered in the World Series. Outside of game 7 between the Cards and Mets, and game 3 between the Yanks and Tigers, they were really all non descript games/series.

07 was a World Series sweep, an NLCS sweep, 3 LDS series sweeps, and really the only memorable game was the 1 game playoff between the Rocks and Padres. 08 produced a great ALCS but a disappointing World Series and again none of the LDS series were very good. 09 the World Series went 6 but unless Lee started for the Phillies the games weren’t really competitive and prior to that once again the LCS and LDS series lacked intrigue. 2010 was BETTER but not great.

2011 finally said enough is enough! Just when it looked like we were headed for another average postseason with all the playoff spots being set, the Red Sox and Braves both choke down the stretch which produced the greatest night in the regular season baseball has ever seen, and then 3 of the 4 LDS series go 5 games, every single game came down to the final pitch. UN-FREAKIN-REAL!!!

The LCS series were a letdown from what the LDS series were, but still both series went 6 games. The Tigers and Rangers had a couple of classics. Just when you thought the World Series was about to be 2-0 headed back to Arlington for the 2nd year in a row the Rangers stage a terrific 9th inning rally to even up the series. Then came game 5 with the series tied and the infamous 8th inning phone debacle which seemed to swing the series in the Rangers favor.

What needs to be said about game 6 other than in my opinion it was the greatest game ever played. And game 7 put an explanation point on the Cardinals Cinderella season. Sure the Cardinals and Rangers were not the sexiest teams, but likeable teams with some big star players none the less.

If you couldn’t get with this MLB postseason you aren’t a sports fan.

Late 90’s NHL Marketing…Or Lack There of

It’s not like the Mike Modano retirement came out of left field, after a disappointing 2010-2011 injury plagued season with his home town Red Wings the writing was on the wall.  And in really the last year or so in reflecting on his career I always come back to the same thing….man alive did the NHL ever miss the boat.

Modano was never the Art Ross trophy winner, but from 1998-2003 you can make a pretty compelling argument that this guy was the top player in the league….and there is no doubt in my mind he was the most marketable.  In that time, the NHL didn’t have a face of the league.  They had a lot of guys that were ALMOST the face of the league.

Yzerman was started to decline offensively (though still elite), Sakic didn’t have the personality, Gretzky retired in 99, goaltenders and defensemen aren’t very marketable, and any player that had the offensive flare at that time were European.  It’s almost impossible to have a guy that has trouble speaking English the face of a North American league.

It’s nothing against guys like Jagr and Bure but it’s the truth.  Modano was the guy, and they whiffed.  American, played in a big US market, good looking guy, good personality, class guy, one of the most exciting players in the league, and played on a great team.  Literally no flaw.  How do you NOT make this guy the face of your league?!  He was hockey’s version of David Beckham.

Becks in his prime was only among the best in the world, not the clear cut best.  Yet the way he was marketed Beckham became the most well known European Football player on the planet.  This should have been Modano.

Formula to Scout Defensemen?

D-men are very hard to scout, very hit or miss when it comes to the draft…much like QB’s in the NFL.  And so one day I got to wondering if you could take what you look for in a QB and apply it to a d-man.  What is the one thing that all high end d-men have in common?  Intelligence.

Now, you could say this for most success stories in most walks of life, but I could give you A LOT more examples of successful forwards that aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.  I won’t…but I could.  Meanwhile name the top end d-men that didn’t have a very high IQ.  I’m sure there were 1 or 2, but as I always say don’t give me the exception to the rule, give me the rule.

Denis Potvin, very high IQ.  Larry Robinson, very high IQ.  Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Chris Chelios, Scott Neidermayer, Chris Pronger, Nik Lidstrom, the list goes on and on and on.  All top end d-men have VERY HIGH IQ’s.

So I came up with my own little 4 step program on how to look at d-men when drafting them.

1) High IQ – as I have already stated but I believe it is the number 1 thing to look for in a d-man.  Defense is a position where you have to react, not act.  That requires a high IQ to be succesful.

2) Skating ability – 2 and 3 are interchangeable but in the post lockout NHL if the player is slow he likely isn’t anything more than a 4th defenseman at best.  If he can skate however he likely will be more succesful with the way the game is currently being played.  He doesn’t have to be able to fly (though obviously that doesn’t hurt), but he can’t be a statue.  Dan Boyle and Lubo Visnovsky are 2 d-men that really only have these top 2 traits yet they are high end d-men.

3) Size – if you now have all 3, you are looking pretty damn good.  I believe size is pretty straight forward and like I said you could switch 2 and 3 and still likely be an ok d-man, but again I will take skating ability over size.  However if he has all 3 of these traits, this player will be a top 4 d-man.  Heck look at Tom Gilbert.  The guy has been pretty sub par since his rookie season, yet the Oilers continually give him chance after chance and the rumour mill suggests they could still get a nice return on him despite average play and a so-so contract.

4) Edge – if you have all 4 of these traits your name is Chris Pronger, or Shea Weber, or Rob Blake, or Scott Stevens and on and on.  A guy can be a stud d-man with only 3 of these 4 traits.  But if he has all four he is likely a BEAST…at worst a number 2.

There have been a lot of d-men that have lacked the edge needed to take there game to the next level (Tom Poti, Eric Brewer, etc), but they have had long careers and made a lot of money while being top 4 defensemen in the league for a long time.

Hey let’s face it, there will never be a day that we have a fool proof system.  But I really believe that if scouts look at these 4 qualities, in this order, that it would really help cut down the busts on the blueline.  And I’m very sure that despite coming up with this on my own that there are a lot of scouts and GM’s that follow this formula already in some form.

He Has a Concussion, not Cancer

It has gone well beyond absurd.  Sidney Crosby has PCS.  Right.  It takes time to comeback from that.  I had it just last year, it took a lot of months to get over it.  It’s tricky, somedays you wake up and feel great, then some days or even just at random times you will start getting migranes again and feel depressed.  But I mean come on!

Some media guys asking if he will play again?  Is he considering retirement?  Will he miss this season?  The season hasn’t even started yet!!!  Some of these guys need to admit that they are trying to make this bigger than it is.

It’s a player with a concussion.  Willie Mitchell came back and played a full season just last year, and Willie Mitchell plays a lot more gritty of a game than Sid does.  Pierre Marc Bouchard played a full season last year as well, and he’s a lot smaller and not anywhere near as solid on his skates as Sid is.

A scary site no question, but Crosby will return despite the media trying to make a bigger deal out of this story

Those of us who are also NFL fans had to go through this EXACT same thing in 2008.  Tom Brady tore his ACL in the first game of the season, and was lost for the year.  All of a sudden at mid season all these ridiculous reports came out about Brady’s surgery going wrong and he would need it again and he could be gone for 09 as well, it just got flat out stupid!  But the media was trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill and this is the exact same situation.

I get it, it sucks that the games top player can’t play and some have become impatient but he’s not suffering from a life threatening injury!  He will be back…THIS season, and he will go back to being the games top player.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m downplaying the severity of a concussion.  I understand just how serious they are, but at the same time it’s just not anywhere near as tragic or devastating as some of the members of the media are making it out to be.  Some of these people need to relax, and some of them need to start being professionals instead of attempting to making a bigger deal out of this than it actually is.

Who is “Soups”?

My name is Tyler Campbell, I’m ….. years old and I hail from the Lloydminster Alberta area.  Raised on a farm 25 minutes North of Lloydminster, I went to school my entire life in a small town called Marwayne…go Wildcats!…I don’t think any of us ever said that, but we were technically the Marwayne Wildcats.  Played sports in Marwayne as well (hockey and softball).  Went to a private broadcasting school in Edmonton in 2003, did odd jobs for CHORUS radio while in school, did my apprenticing at the TEAM 1260 in Edmonton and also worked there for a while.  Did a lot of odd radio jobs for a few years and now getting back into the sports world with this site, my podcast (which has been in the plans but yet to start…hopefully soon), and I’m currently the color commentator for the Lloydminster Bobcat home games which can be seen on FASThockey.com

Growing up my family had season tickets to the Edmonton Oilers and I will never hide they are “my team”.  HOWEVER, I can be completely unbias when talking about them and about any of there rivals.  I know hockey, football (NFL, CFL, and NCAA), baseball, basketball, MMA all very well and will of course mix in Golf, Tennis and whatever else needs to be talked about in the sporting world…except European football.  I’m not a fan, never will be so I hope you can respect that.

The website’s content is  mostly blogs of different varities, trying to do 2 or 3 a weem, but the podcast I promise you will not only be great sports talk but great entertainment!  It will be an hour long and basically will say whatever comes to my mind.  Mostly sports but trust me the name of the game is to entertain and I will try my best to do that for you every week!

This is me accepting my award for….nothing…it was taken in the Bay department store. But still a pretty big day for me!