Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick Hits

Photo Credit: zimbio.com
This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. The Detroit Tigers right hander wasn't just good this year, he was historically good. Justin Verlander led the majors with 24 wins, and won the AL Pitching Triple Crown with a league leading 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts. He also threw a no hitter against the Blue Jays, led the majors with 251 innings, threw 4 complete games iincluding a couple shutouts...  Simply put, the dude was ridiculous. No surprise that he won the award unanimously garnering all 28 first place votes. The Angels Jered Weaver finished second, Tampa's James Shields third, New York's CC Sabathia fourth and Verlander's teammate and closer Jose Valverde fifth. Now the next question is, is Verlander also your AL MVP? I say yes, but I'm sure there will be plenty of voters who think otherwise. I'd also like to note that I drafted Verlander, Weaver and Valverde this past year in fantasy baseball. That would be a lot cooler if i didn't choke in the semifinals and finish third...


It's funny, I was actually talking to my buddy Cory today before the lineups of today's USA-Slovenia game were released about how I'd like to see Edson Buddle and Jozy Altidore on the field together. Wish granted. And not only that, but Klinsmann changed up the formation to allow for more offense abandoning the lone striker approach in favor of a 4-4-2. Buddle and Michael Bradley were inserted into the lineup to play along with Altidore and Clint Dempsey to give the offense a little more umph, and it worked to the tune of 3 goals in a 3-2 win on the road in Slovenia. Granted the defense was a little suspect, but a win is a win, and before today, we hadn't scored 3 goals in a game since our last tuneup match before the 2010 World Cup when we beat Australia 3-1. That was 25 matches ago. Ironically, it was Buddle who led the charge in that match too scoring a pair of goals. Today, Buddle opened the scoring with a brilliant strike from 25 yards out, Dempsey headed in a corner from Michael Bradley and Altidore buried a PK. Great stuff from the offense. Now don't get me wrong, this team is still very much a work in progress, and the change in formation exposed some more of our weaknesses at the back, but considering we entered play today with just one win in seven matches, I will take it.

Photo Credit: sportingopinions.com
Ireland, Portugal, Croatia and the Czech Republic have claimed the final four spots for the 2012 European Football Championship. Robbie Keane and Ireland drew 1-1 with Estonia today giving them a 5-1 aggregate win, Portugal exploded for 6 goals against Bosnia-Herzegovina after a scoreless draw in the first leg to advance by an aggregate score of 6-2, Croatia pitched a second consecutive shutout against Turkey playing to a comfortable 0-0 draw after winning the first leg 3-0, and the Czech Republic swept Montenegro 2-0 and 1-0. So the field is now set, headlined by eight of the world's top ten teams: Spain (1), Netherlands (2), Germany (3), Italy (6), England (7), Greece (8t), Portugal (8t) and Denmark (10t). Host nations Poland (64) and the Ukraine (58), and qualifiers Croatia (12), Czech Republic (47), France (15), Ireland (25), Russia (13) and Switzerland (18) round out the field of 16. The tournament is set to kick off on June 8th. Spain is the reigning champion.


Congratulations to Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour and Mark Howe, all of whom were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

Nieuwendyk played 20 seasons for the Flames, Stars, Devils, Leafs and Panthers and finished his career with 564 career goals - 21st most all time. He was a Stanley Cup winner three different times with three different teams in three different decades: with the Flames in 1989, with the Stars in 1999 and with the Devils in 2003.
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

Belfour was a goalie in the NHL for 17 seasons starting out with the Blackhawks and also spending time with the Sharks, Stars, Maple Leafs and Panthers. He won 484 games in his career - third most all time - allowing just 2.50 goals per game and posting 76 career shutouts.
Photo Credit: bearconsults.wordpress.com

Gilmour played 20 seasons for the Blues, Flames (teaming up with Nieuwendyk to win the 1989 Stanley Cup), Maple Leafs, Devils, Blackhawks, Sabres and Canadiens. He had 450 goals and 964 assists - 12th most all time - in his career.
Photo Credit: torontomapleleafsatoz.blogspot.com

Howe was a defenseman for 16 seasons for the Hartford Whalers, Flyers and Red Wings. The son of the great Gordie Howe led the U.S. to a silver medal at the 1972 Olympics (bet you didn't know we won a silver in ice hockey in 1972) and was one of the best two-way defensemen in the NHL in the 80s finishing his career with 197 goals and 545 assists.
Photo Credit: whalernation.tv

Photo Credit: soldieroftheday.com

Congratulations to Mike Kryzgksgywe... Congratulations to Coach K for becoming the winningest coach in Division I Men's Basketball history. With Duke's 74-69 win over Michigan State today, Mike Krzyzewski won his 903rd career game moving him ahead of his coach and mentor Bobby Knight. Per ESPN, Knight released the following statement after the game: " After reading about Roger Banister and the Four Minute Mile, I thought it would be neat to be the first coach to win 900 games. Once I reached that, I was hoping Mike would be the first person to surpass it. I also think it is neat for a coach and his former player to have the opportunity to win this many games while each one was coaching at nearly the same time. He made great contributions to our Army team, as a player and has been a great example as a coach of how to do things the right way. There is no one I respect more for the way he went about coaching and following the rules than Mike. The history of college basketball has had no better coach than Mike Krzyzewski."

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