ESPN Bottomline 2.0

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jonathan Van Every Does it ... Again

Jonathan Van Every has a penchant for late inning dramatics. Last night in Cleveland Van Every capped the Sox improbable comeback from a 5-0 deficit to win the game 6-5 in the 10th with a walk-off, game-winning home run.

"Van Every gets a hit that will mean nothing in the standings, but it's more fun to go home with a win," Francona said.

link: Win gives Sox momentum for October | News

That is what Terry Francona said about Van Every the last time he had a hit in extra innings to send the Sox home with a victory. That game was the last one he played for the Sox, September 29th, 2008, Game 162 against the Yankees on the final day of the regular season last year.
As Tito points out, that hit meant nothing to Sox last year as playoffs positions were set, the Sox taking the Wild Card while finishing two games behind Rays for the division.

Last night's blast was Van Every's first home run in the big leagues after spending an eternity in the Indians' minor league system. Not a bad way to get back at the team that never gave him a chance at the top level, huh?

It seems that Van Every has been paying attention to walk-off home runs as well, as he learned the most important lesson about touching-them-all to win the game: Never take your helmet off.

"And then came the ribbing. Lugo's advice wasn't the only rookie treatment Van Every got. His teammates pounded him with high-fives and smacks on the head as he came into the dugout after circling the bases. Theirs was an acknowledgment of a job done well. "I got a headache from getting hit," Van Every said. "I kept my helmet on, thank goodness. That was smart."

link: Van Every's clout caps Sox comeback | News

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rocking the Boston Marathon Party Alley With Ween

Okay, this rocks. Running and Rocking through the Beacon Street Boston Marathon party alley to the soundtrack of Ween's 'Shame Maker."

Boston Marathon at 40k Mark in front of An Tua Nua / Audubon

Thought I would bring you a little amateur video race action of the runners in the final kick. They never stop coming.

YouTube: First Wheeler of My Day

There are a couple firsts to go with this video. FIrst wheel chair racer that I saw during the day, first time I used iMovie to create a video (sans edit) and my first ever time using You Tube. Check it out (admittedly, not that impressive.)

Boston Marathon: Three Floors Up

So, we went to my housemate British John's room to shoot some video from the third floor.

Boston Marathon: Women Elite at Mile 25

The crowd outside is getting rowdy. Here are the first elite women going by.

Boston Marathon - Qik - Mile 25 - O'Leary's

So, I talked with the owner of O'Leary's, Angus, about what he was thinking. Always a nice guy, Angus.

Boston Marathon Mile 24-ish: Johnny Fresh

So, decided to hit up the venders at Johnny Fresh to see what they had to say about the madness.

Boston Marathon - Qik - Mile 25 Aubobon Circle

I got to feel for my buddy Jay. Though, as he said. "We should all make some dough."

Boston Marathon - Qik - Mile 25 An Tua Nua

The party started pretty early at An Tua Nua. We will check back on this poor bartender later in the day.

Boston Marathon: Qik - Mile 25 Look Around

Taking a look around Mile 25. The stream got cut off. . . not to worry though, we have more.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Moston Barathon: Run for Research, Drink for Your Liver

The Fintz implores to drink for your liver. Really. It is good for you.

Andy Fintzel and company are not just drinking for their livers, they are running for them. Fintzel is a member of the Run for Research team that runs the Boston Marathon every year to help benefit the American Liver Foundation.

With the current economic hardships it is hard for charity organizations to raise money these days. So, Fintzel and his two associates, Scott Rumrill and Sheri Olivet, decided to resurrect an old template that a friend, Dori Miller, had started years ago to raise money for the event.

It is a pub-crawl, appropriately named, the Moston Barathon.

“We are drinkers with a running problem,” Fintzel said. It is a popular saying among many of the Run for Research participants.

Fintzel knew Miller because she is a swimmer and an avid runner. The Moston Barathon originated when Miller’s friends heard that she was running the marathon and vowed to buy her a beer at every bar on the route. Miller, now 38 and working as a web designer, picked up the idea and ran with it.

“A friend and I came up with the idea,” Miller said. “We joked about it and thought ‘maybe we can turn this in to some type of fundraising thing.'”

Miller and her friends ran the Barathon for five years, from 2000-2005 and made about $5,000 over that period for the American Liver Foundation’s Run for Research. She stopped running marathons shortly after that and has since become a long distance swimmer. In this capacity she has become quite accomplished as evidenced when she swam the English Channel last August.

The end of Miller’s running career meant the end of the Moston Barathon. Fintzel saw an opportunity to resurrect it this year when he remembered how much fun runners and their friends had during the extravaganza.

“I kind of willed it to them since I am no longer running marathons,” Miller said. “It was always a fun event. People would start asking in January about when it would start. A friend of mine met his girlfriend at Cornwall’s one year. They are now married with a kid.”

Fintzel, a graphic designer, along with Rumrill and Olivet took up the mantel of the Barathon and recreated it. Most pub-crawls are tedious affairs with little to no purpose. They are characterized with overfilled bars and excessively drunk young professionals who cause a general ruckus and mayham ensues.

The Moston Barathon steers clear of these problems, mostly because of the type of people that attend the event. People who run marathons do not tend to be crazy drunks. The fee to enter the Barathon is $15 and features scorecards with various feats that the crawlers can complete for points and rewards. The Challenges range from “ordering the special drink” at one of the pub destinations to “beating Scottie in a game of speed Connect Four” at Cornwall’s Irish Pub in Kenmore Square. Participants wear race style bib numbers and are encouraged to recruit followers along the crawl.

“It is different than your normal pub crawl,” Fintzel said. “We give it a little more ‘umph.’ It is like pub golf. We are the most creative pub crawl in the city, people have told me.”

There are four legs to the Barathon, one pub-crawl a month for the four months leading up the actual marathon. They started in February in January in Framingham then moved to Newton for the second leg. The fourth and final leg was April 4th in and around Copley Square on Boylton street, right on the finish line of the marathon. This reporter caught up with them on the third leg, down Beacon Street, on March 7th.

The four bars on leg three, in order of attendance, were O’Leary’s Irish Pub, An Tua Nua, Audubon Circle with the final kick coming at Cornwall's.

The managers of these establishments were a little bemused with the idea of a group of runners drinking to benefit the American Liver Foundation, but, in comparison to other unruly pub crawls they see on a regular basis, were glad to have the group for the night.

“It is quite funny, quite comical actually,” Pauline Halbert, general manager of An Tua Nua said. “There is no better research. They have a good thing going. Charities have to hit close to home to be successful.”

At Audubon Circle, a finer establishment than most of the true pubs on the crawl, they have a policy against pub-crawls because they tend to get out of hand and disturb dinner guests. When Jay Bellao, general manager of Audobon, was approached by Fintzel and company, they made it hard for him to say no.

“They reached out to me and were pretty adamant,” Bellao said. “It is a pub crawl for all the right reasons, as opposed to all the wrong. I think it is a cool little niche they got going, people remember it. They are responsible people.”

Through all the fun and games, the pub-crawlers do not lose sight of what the purpose of the Barathon. After leg three they had raised “a little more than” $1,000. Their total after all four legs, was around $1,500, which was matched by the Boston Consulting Group, where Olivet works as an administrative assistant.

Overall, Run for Research, which has 60-80 runners on a given year, has raised $892.,253.12 for the American Liver Foundation (as of 1:00 p.m. Sunday 4/19), short of their $1.25 million goal, according to the ALF website. With the marathon tomorrow, it appears they will be close to that goal.

Fintzel, who will run his sixth marathon, is just happy to be drinking for a cause that he believes in.

“I had a bad scare with hepatitis many years ago and it made me conscious of going out there and doing the right thing,” he said.

Along with Fintzel, Rumrill, an information security consultant, and Olivet are still learning how to throw such an extensive party. They work hard to balance the responsibilities of managing a fundraiser as well as a fun and interesting night on the town, not to mention training for the actual marathon.
“It is learning process,” Fintzel said. “You make mistakes and learn from it and get better going forward.”

The goal is to make everything better next year, from the prizes, which are donated by the establishments along the route, to the amount of money raised. Overall, he vowed to “spruce it up.”

This year Fintzel is not expecting any to eclipse his personal best marathon of 4:02. He has been battling a cold all week and said he will be “taking it easy” and just hopes to finish between 4:30 and 5:00.

For those of us more inclined to Barathons than Marathons, we can only marvel at the exploit.

At Cornwall’s at the end of the night Fintzel reflected on the night and its purpose and raised pint of beer to his lips and smiled.

He was drinking for his liver. Tomorrow he will run for it.

And for yours.

Tomorrow Sports Chutney will be all over the 113th running of the Boston Marathon, stationed right in the party alley on Beacon Street around Mile 25 (Near An Tua Nua, Audubon and O'Leary's, incidentally). Look for live Qik streams, photos, twitters, blog posts and perhaps a video project or two. Stay tuned for some of the more interesting coverage you will find anywhere on the day.

We will be following Andrew Fintzel (bib number 21696) and Scott Rumrill (21811) and Sheri Olivet (21781) via the Athletes Alert Chip and updating via Twitter at Dan_Rowinski.

As you enjoy the revelry on one of the best days in Boston, make sure to actually watch the race and cheer for the Run for Research runners. They  wear bright orange caps and t-shirts (along with the white t-shirt pictured in the story above).

Pictures Captions (From Top to Bottom):

1-The Moston Barathon poster with all stops along the route.
2- Andrew Fintzel enjoying himself at Cornwall's
3- Scott Rumrill takes on all comers in Speed Connect Four at Cornwall's
4- Organizers And Friends: From left to right - Mara Lounsbury, Jake Mather, Scott Rumrill, Sheri Olivet
5-6- The American Liver Foundation Run for Research T-Shirt back (left) and front (right).

No Sports Chutney reporters were seriously hurt in the reporting of the third leg of the Moston Barathon. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Best Time to Be in Boston

Friday was THE day to be in Boston.

There is a buzz in the city. The Boston Marathon is on Monday, bringing with it thousands of runners and enthusiasts from around the world. The Sox started a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, the Bruins are playing the Canadiens in the playoffs, two teams that need no help creating a buzz all on their own and there are happy people everywhere.

For Boston, it is one of the best weekends of the year.
After a slow start to the spring, the weather decided to cooperate. The temperature sat at 68-degrees all day (and barely got below 60 during the night), one of the very first real warm days of the year. I started my work for the day around noon and when I walked out of my apartment I, surprisingly, realized that the tree by my stoop was in full bloom, See:

I wore sandals and a short-sleeve black button down t-shirt out on assignment and did not regret it. Even the wind, my eternal enemy during New England springs (except for mud, which is thankfully absent in the city), was warm and light. I went up to the Boston Housing Court for some research, taking the green line from Kenmore to Haymarket. Even the North End, known more for its quaint urban charm than natural beauty, had a little bit of aura to it. People sat in front of the courthouse smoking, talking on their phones, basking in the sun. They were not a chipper lot, people at courthouses tend not to be (for obvious reasons) but there was a sense that “well, if I am going to be here, at least it’s nice out.”

Once I was done my natural inclination was just to hop back on the green line and come home. Then something struck me.

To go home was an affront. The world swayed and the gods of spring told me not to commit such a sacrilege. Compelled, I got off the T at Park Street. Much to my delight, I found the Commons to hopping. There were pretty girls laying on the grass, people walking their dogs and an odd person in a polar bear suit with a shopping cart holding a sign “will work for fish.” Check out my walk through the park below (or click here).

I stopped at my apartment for a hot second, then off to the Boston Marathon Expo at Hynes Convention Center. Now, I am not much of a runner anymore (my heyday was in middle school in Maine when we won a couple cross-country championships) but I find the Boston Marathon and all that it entails fascinating. (Stay posted to Sports Chutney on Sunday and Monday for a myriad of marathon coverage.) Once again, pretty girls, this time selling shoes and various other fitness-related sundries and a bonanza of marathon related activities. It even had a bar. I stopped by the American Liver Foundation Run for Research booth to see my man Andy Fintzel (more on that tomorrow) and had a nice chat about the marathon and all things Boston.

I escaped the Expo and got back on the green line at Copley, headed toward Fenway on a very crowded D train. Back at Kenmore I decided to continue my revelry of the Boston scene and detoured down Brookline Ave through Fenway, 15-minutes before first pitch. Now, I have been to a fair amount of major league ballparks but nothing beats the scene at Fenway before a Sox game on a Friday night with beautiful spring. Pretty girls, my favorite kind (decked out in Sox gear), ticket and program criers, drunkards and debauch and a large, green stadium teeming with a heart that pumps the lifeblood of Boston.

This I have seen before, just about everyday during the baseball season, so I did not dwell. I got back to my apartment, opened my windows to let in the still warm spring air and flipped on the Sox game on NESN and watched the hometown boys erase a 7-0 deficit to take a 10-8 win in what could be a turning point in the early season. A fitting end to a busy day, I’ll take it every time.

The rest of the weekend shapes up pretty well. The weather is not quite cooperating as well today, 60-degrees and overcast with a high probability of rain, but there is no shortage of things to do. Today we have a rare triple-decker treat: Two playoff games at the Garden (Celtics v. Bulls at 12:30 and Bruins v. Canadiens at 8:00) and a Sox game at 7:00.
If you have never been to Boston on Patriots Day weekend, you are missing out. It does not get much better than this.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Boston Marathon Expo with Barling and Collins

Imagine walking through the the Boston Marathon Expo down at Hynes Convention Center with your iPod on. That was me, more or less. The music is "That's Right, I'm Looking At Your Girlfriend" by my good buddies Barling and Collins out of Charlottesville, Virginia.

A Qik Walk Through the Park

Had to get out and about on the first warm day of the spring. The common was hopping, check it out below.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thinking Boston Sports on Thursday

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets smoked in one inning and lasts one inning on Tuesday against the A's, then goes on the disabled list the next day with shoulder fatigue. To add insult to injury, the bull pen has to go eleven innings as the game went to 12 innings before Javier Lopez gave up the winning run. Impressive run by the Sox bullpen there, 10 innings of shut out ball.

What happens the next day? With the bullpen taxed, Tim Wakefield comes out and nearly throws a no-hitter. He ended up pitching a complete game, allowing two runs on four hits. Does this man never stop? His $4 million lifetime option with the Sox is one of the best deals in baseball.

Looks like Kevin Garnett could miss the entire NBA playoffs with a bad knee. So much for another title coming to Bean Town this spring. I was kind of looking forward to an 18th banner to gaze at from my spot in the press box at TD Banknorth Garden.

Yet, it may be possible to raise a banner next fall on Causeway Street. The NHL playoffs start today and I WILL BE THERE, covering the Bruins v. Canadiens for the New England Hockey Journal ( Was talking with Tim Thomas yesterday. The man seems relaxed and ready to go. I wonder how long it takes before Shawn Thornton and Georges Laraque throw down.

Even if the B's and Celts cannot deliver a parade, Boston University already has. It was not on the scale that the big boys do (it rolled by me at the COM building in about 5 minutes), but hey, we are the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Champs and everybody else can go shove it.

Kevin Gregg Closing in Chicago? Big Lou, Say it Ain't So.

I am sitting in the shadow of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and a mecca of the baseball universe. So, for your pleasure, I will offer up some musings on. . .

The Chicago Cubs.

Who woulda thunk?

I am still trying to wrap my head around manager Lou Piniella's decision to make Kevin Gregg the closer, at least at the start of the 2009 campaign, rather than the electric Carlos Marmol.

When Kerry Wood was shipped to Cleveland for Mark DeRosa in the winter, everybody in the baseball world figured that Marmol was the heir-apparent. I mean, the guy was an All-Star last year and has the stuff to be a good major league closer. Maybe not on the level of Fransico Rodriguez, but certainly better than Fransico Cordero. He struck out 114 batters in 87.3 innings last year and posted a 25.3 VORP (value over replacement player, a stat created by Baseball Prospectus to evaluate players. Zero is replacement level, 10 is average. Top-tier relievers come out between 25-35).

Gregg was a decent pitcher in the Marlins bullpen last season and was traded to the Cubs in the offseason, but his stuff is not really comparable to Marmol. The numbers prove it: 58 strikeouts over 68.7 innings with a 12.8 VORP. Unlike Marmol, Gregg does not strike out more than a batter and inning. High strike out rates are important in the closer role. If a guy gets into trouble he can just rear back and blow a hitter away. That is why they get paid the big bucks.

On Sunday, Gregg had an adventurous outing as he tried to mop up a four run lead in the ninth against the Brewers. He walked a couple of guys, there were a couple hits and next thing anybody knew, it was 8-5 with the bases loaded and Prince Fielder was walking to the plate.

Fortunately for Gregg, he struck Fielder out. Think about it though. If Gregg had given up a walk-off grand slam against fielder, wouldn't the whole North Side of Chicago called for his head? They would have put it on a pike outside the bullpen at Wrigley Field, the way that the heads of traitors used to line London Bridge, as a warning to any pitcher who even thinks about blowing a four run lead to a division rival. Good thing it was not the Cardinals.

I fully suspect that Marmol will take Gregg's spot as the full time closer some time this year. Probably after a disastrous outing by Gregg. For now though, Piniella is content with the ninth inning adventures of Gregg while Marmol builds up his psyche in the set up role.

If Marmol struggles in that role? Well, we all remember how the song goes. . . "London Bridge is falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down. . . ."

So, did anyone catch Tim Wakefield's near no-hitter yesterday?

This article was originally published at

Mark Redding dishes it at O'Leary's Irish Pub in Boston

The thumping heart of any restaurant does not reside behind the bar. Nor does it pump through the dining room floor with a smiling, gracious wait staff. The magnetic center of any 
restaurant lay in the kitchen with the head man cooking the food.

This, of course, is the chef.

Mark Redding is a man who knows what he is about. He has run the food production at O’Leary’s Irish Pub in Brookline for four years and has not regretted a second of it. Years of cooking have taken him from California to Florida to Manhattan and Europe through vast corporate empires such as Hyatt Hotels and Whole Foods. After awhile though, it was just a little bit too much. The grind of the work, the constant travel and tedium of working under corporate taskmasters took its toll, and Redding decided it was time to settle down somewhere quiet where he could live a simpler existence.

O’Leary’s suits him well. A glance at his resume would lead some to wonder why he has embraced a position at a local watering hole when he could be an executive chef at a finer Boston establishment.

“I’ve gone through and got experience through transition through putting myself out there and taking risks,” Redding said. “This is kind of not below me but at the same time ‘why are you here’ with all this experience?” He looked around his tiny kitchen, a room more suited for burgers and onion rings than foie gras, and shrugged.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Brookline kind 
of settled me in. You couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be associated with.”

The people like him too.

It is a curious existence to be the chef at a favorite watering hole, a retreat for the working class where everyone knows your name. Redding knows all of his regulars by name and the peculiarities of their eating habits. He comes out of the kitchen on a regular basis to glad hand the old timers or to have a beer with the younger folk. They know he will always come out to check on their dining experience.

An older couple, seated at the end of the bar, knew it was coming as they finished up their meal and prepared to depart.

“We’ve got to tell Mark how good it was,” the lady said.

“You’ve got to do that with him,” Deidre, the bartender, answered.

“You know he’ll come out to ask anyway,” the lady said.

Like any artist (chef’s tend to think of themselves as purveyors of culinary art), Redding is a self-promoter. He promotes his food and he promotes the establishment. Chefs align themselves with their work and espouse the virtues of their restaurants. It is just something they do. It is a matter of pride in craft hinted with a touch of insecurity. Taste is, of course, subjective and with any subjective critique the creator of the art is bound to feel anxious with the public response. But confident chefs like Redding, do not worry as much because they know the food speaks for itself.

“I like to create and I have figured out a lot of formulas of cooking that have allowed me to make really incredible tastes or flavors and make people happy where they keep coming back,” Redding said.

The kitchen had a sweet smell. Something sugary was emanating from the oven. When asked what it was, Redding opened the door to check on his creation.

“Graham cracker crusted, mango-margarita key lime pie,” he said with a smile as he shook the dish. “Almost set up.”

Being a chef is not just about palling around with the clientele and having fun with food. It is intense labor, a 60-hour week of constant standing, sweating over a cutting board while trying to make sense of the fourteen different things that must be done and should have been done an hour ago. Redding has a small staff. That can create strain on prep-hours needed to keep the kitchen running and because of that his sous-chef, a skinny musician named Tommy, cannot always leave his boss as prepared as he needs to be to meet the demands of the dinner rush. It can be a drain on body and soul.
“This can kind of get a little overbearing, the french fries, the grease, the smell,” Redding said. “I never thought this job could ever burn me out, but you don’t hear me complain.”

One of the hardest things for a chef to do at the end of the night is just walk out of the restaurant. The bar and its devilish delights beckon. It is a matter of trying
to unscrew a mind that has been on a full tilt grind for hours. Cooking is a pressure-packed activity, one that has a twenty-minute deadline for every action. In order to unwind at the end of the day, cooks are known for their propensity to jump into a never-ending stream of beer once their shifts are done.

“It’s very dangerous,” Redding said. “I don’t overdo it. I just have a few beers. I try to unwind. I walk home. I do other aerobics to unwind. I might overdo it if I go out with the people who work here. After a while though, you know it is just too much, you just can’t.”

Through it all, Redding keeps a professional approach. His pet peeves are people who flake on the job and when situations remain stagnant. He is always driving forward, always trying to learn something and always looking forward.

“It is a commitment and staying committed,” Redding said. “I keep pushing and pushing to get better.”

As he gets better, he brings O’Leary’s along with him. He has re-created the menu and the culture of the restaurant, and has shaped its image from just another watering hole with pub-grub to a place that young, attractive men take their dates.
It was not an easy task, but with Redding’s passion, drive and talent he has persevered and finally come to a place he is comfortable to call home. A place where his heart is.

A place where everybody knows his name.

Moston Barathon

More to come on Run for Research and the American Liver Foundation drinking team.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Panic In Hockey Town? Conklin v. Osgood

Is there really a goaltending controversy in Detroit?

Hockey Town, USA, the home of the Red Wings, is a perennial powerhouse. They have set an NHL record of consecutive seasons with 100 plus points this year and are always in the mix for another visit from Lord Stanley and his Beloved Cup.

The question about goaltending is not so much if there is a goaltending controversy, but rather, does it really matter?

Ty Conklin versus Chris Osgood:

Age: 32
Years: 6
Games: 39
GAA: 2.50
Save %: .910
Wins: 25
Losses: 10
Points: 52
Shutouts: 6
Playoff Career: 0-1

Age: 38
Years: 15
Games: 44
GAA: 3.10
Save %: .887
Wins: 26
Losses: 8
OT: 7
Points: 59
Shutouts: 2
Playoff Career: 59-41

For a brief second, let us throw out the fact that Osgood's stats are anything but stellar. The Red Wings really do not have anything left to prove for the regular season and it seems that some of their players (goaltenders included) have been mailing it in a touch as they reserve their strength for a playoff push.

Throw out, for a second, the goals against and save percentages of each net minder and look at the point totals and point percentages. Each man secures about 70% of points available in their games and each has mediocre core statistical totals.

What does this tell us? Well, that it is really not about goaltending in Detroit. The Red Wings play a puck possession game, European style and they have some of the best puck moving defensemen in the league. Their goal, on any given night, is to play keep away with the puck and grind the opposition into submission. Think of it like tennis, there are the power guys (Pete Sampras) and the more agile ballers who will get to everything and keep their opponent running (Andre Agassi). The Red Wings are more Agassi than Sampras. They have the hammers (Marian Hossa) when they need them, but the system in Detroit is to not rely on one or two guys to make the plays.

Put this in contrast to a hammer team, like the Alexander Ovechkin led Washington Capitals. If AO is not on his game on any given day, the Capitals are going to struggle. Detroit? Is struggle even in its lexicon (outside hockey economic struggles notwithstanding)? They remain marvelously consistent, an amazing thing to watch year after year.

I was talking with a long time NHL beat writer the other day and he said to me "the two deepest positions in the NHL are coach and goalie." This basically means that coaches and goalies can come and go, but it is really the periphery that makes a team good or bad. This is exactly what we see in Detroit. The coach may have changed but the system stays and the players execute it. When a machine runs that smoothly, does it really matter which goalie is between the pipes?

A goalie can be mediocre all season and the team can still be good. Look at this years incarnation of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philly fans want Marty Biron's head on a pike, yet the team sits in fourth in the conference and looks like it will get first round home ice (if they can hold off Carolina). A top-notch goalie (or just a hot one) may have added a half dozen points to the Flyers win total this year, but that does not break them into the top three in the conference.

So, what is the answer going into the playoffs? History tells us that Osgood can get hot and carry a team through the playoffs and Conklin has one playoff game to his name, a loss with Edmonton in 2006 where he only saw three shots. Thus, the answer has to be Osgood, at least for the start, until he proves himself too old and slow to dig it for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Perhaps that will be when Conklin steps in and builds his own legacy.

Only time will tell, but with the second season starting next week, one thing is for sure: The Red Wings will be ready.

They always are.

This article can also be found at

To My Loyal Sports Chutney Readers

You may notice within the next day or so that I have added Google AdSense to Sports Chutney. Sorry about that, but as the Sports Chutney empire grows (ever so slowly) it is not a bad idea to see if there will be a little money in it (probably not, but we will see, won't we?)

We are all just chasing after the almighty dollar, aren't we?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A LEEINKS Experiment

The football season never ends, or at least the media cycle covering the NFL. If it is not training camp, it is free agency, or news of Brett Favre's latest bunyon (and its effect on global warming) to the draft.

Everybody loves the draft. It is a two day extravaganza where young men are dissected, examined, picked apart then put back together again. The vetting process these kids go through is enough to put any politician to shame. Histories are scoured, play books studied, tests taken . . . the meat grinder never stops.

So, does it come as a surprise when we learn that a projected top ten draft pick failed a drug test two weeks before the draft? That is what happened to Boston College standout defensive lineman, B.J. Raji.

I mean, really. When you are looking at a breakout career and millions of guaranteed dollars, isn't it time to put away the hippie lettuce?

Check out this video. This guy has to be on something.

In other news, the Bruins have finished their regular season resurrection (and a three win week) as they clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference when Tim Thomas blanked the Rangers 1-0 on Saturday. In and of itself, this is not really a surprise. Even with their swoon through February and March, not many hockey pundits really thought that the Bruins would fall off so much as to lose the top seed.

The interesting part of the game, and something to look forward to if the Bruins play the Rangers in the first round, is that Sean Avery struck again. Check it out:

Love him or hate him, Avery certainly keeps it entertaining.

Here are some other of Thomas's tough man ways from the season:

Nobody in Boston has forgotten how Avery (and former Dallas teammate Steve Ott) got under the Bruins skin on November 1st, causing the most memorable brawls of the season.

Here are the highlights.

Now, if the Rangers and Bruins meet in the first round, how long before Milan Lucic puts this guy through the glass?

Thursday, April 2, 2009