Wednesday, April 30, 2008

hockey and basketball playoffs

First of all, the second round of the NHL playoffs have been a bore. After getting in last night, I heard the overtime and winning goal that the Stars scored last night to go ahead 3-0 on the San Jose Sharks. Mattias Norstrom scored the winning goal. Detroit is up 3-0 on the Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh is up 3-0 on the New York Rangers. Philly has a 2-1 lead on the Montreal Canadiens. I can't imagine that too many Canadian hockey fans who aren't Montreal fans will be pulling for the Habs.

Lakers swept the No-guts I mean Nuggets. New Orleans knocked out Dallas and San Antonio knocked out Phoenix. What a joke the Suns are in the playoffs. This may be good news for the Bulls as D'Antoni and Avery Johnson will be available if their owners fire them.

One other note, a TERRIBLE DRAFT by the Chicago Bears. No impact players whatsoever, particularly at the skill positions (QB, RB, WR). Even Seattle did better than that. They got a lineman and a Tight End from Notre Dame, John Carlson, no relation to the conservative talk show host in Seattle on KVI AM 570.

Good move by Atlanta in drafting Matt Ryan of BC to fill the QB position.

Mazel Tov

I want to wish my brother and sister-in-law a Mazel Tov on the bris of their son (and my nephew) Naftali on Monday. It was a nice bris. One of the reasons why I haven't been blogging as much is because of the holiday of Passover and going to New Jersey for a few days.

In any event, the weather was decent in New Jersey and it was nice to see the family and extended family. May there be more occasions to meet for simchas.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

hockey follow-up

Well, I got the East right, Montreal and Philly won as did the Pens and Rangers.

7 for 8 isn't bad, missed on the Wild-Avalanche series.

No matter. I expect the Wings to take care of the Avalanche and Sharks to down the Stars.

As far as the Senators are concerned, they got what they deserved, when they canned Paddock in the middle of the year. They need to re-make their team pretty fast as their window of opportunity to win a cup is shrinking, if it hasn't shut already.

Cubs are off to a great start at 14-6. Not as great as the Mariners 20-5 in 2001, but plenty good.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

hockey award predictions

Here are my fearless award predictions in the NHL

Hart Award: Alex Ovechkin, Washington, not even close.

Vezina: Evgeni Nabakov, San Jose, won 46 games, third on list for wins in a season, sorry Marty.

Calder: Patrick Kane, Chicago. Sorry for the homerism, but he scored 71 points and is part of the nucleus that is making the Hawks relevant in Chicago again. Only way he loses is if it's decided by writers, who think that Chicago is a lousy hockey town and decide to vote for someone else.

Adams: Probably Montreal's coach, Guy Carbonneau or Minnesota's coach, Jacques Lemaire.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

new site

There's a new site that I like checking out sports stuff on, it's called Deadspin. Founded by a guy from Central Illinois, named Will Leitch, it's good at reviewing stuff that happens on ESPN and other networks. Its motto is Sports without Access, Favor or Discretion. is the website.

Well, Dallas won it's second game of the playoffs last night with a 5-2 win in Anaheim over the defending champ Ducks. That means that the Stars will win a playoff series for the first time in 5 years. I probably will follow the Stanley Cup Playoffs more closely than the NBA playoffs for reasons that I have previously explained.

As of this morning, Dallas and Detroit are up 2-0 in the west, San Jose and Calgary are tied 1-1 as are Minnesota and Colorado.

NY, Montreal and Pittsburgh are up 2-0 and Washington is up 1-0 and their second game is this afternoon on NBC.

nice shabat

I had a nice shabat up on Touhy and Howard. I read my bar mitzvah parsha this shabat and it was a good experience. My goal and hope is to move near Touhy so that I don't have to walk as far to Sephardic Congregation and Shaarei Tzedek.

In any event, there's a part of me that misses Skokie and Chovevei Zion. I wouldn't mind being there more often. With G-d's help, I will go there again after Pesach.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

Well, tonight starts the NHL's playoffs. For the fifth straight year, the Blackhawks are not a part of the festivities.

Here are the match-ups and my predictions:

Eastern Conference
1- Montreal
8- Boston

Montreal in 6, Boston will win a game or two, but that's it.

7- Ottawa

I am a big Ottawa fan, but they have slumped so badly down the stretch that it's hard to have confidence in them. That being said, Pittsburgh is very talented, but they have yet to play as a favorite. Pittsburgh in 5, though Ottawa's top line if healthy can give Pittsburgh problems.

3- Washington
6- Philadelphia

Washington won the Southeast Division, a very weak division. Alex Ovechkin is the Caps' star, scoring 65 goals and leading the NHL in Goals scored and Points. Usually a center wins the Scoring title, because it's easier to rack up assists than goals in hockey. I like the Flyers in 6 or 7.

4- New Jersey
5- New York

New Jersey has Brodeur, a great goaltender, that's about it. Rangers in 6.

I am sure that the NHL wants the Rangers to nail the Devils for marketing and ratings purposes.

Western Conference

1- Detroit
8- Nashville

Detroit in 5. The Predators are lucky to be in the playoffs. We don't need Southern teams in a winter sport.

2- San Jose
7- Calgary

Sharks in 6. San Jose is a better overall team with Joe Thornton and Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau. However, Calgary has Jarome Iginla, who was third in scoring and is one of the ten best players in the NHL, so he can win a game or two for the Flames.

3- Minnesota
6- Colorado

Some experts like the Avalanche (Colorado). I don't. Colorado is an older team without the overall skill that they used to have about 5-8 years ago. Minnesota in 7.

4- Anaheim
5- Dallas

Anaheim is the defending champ and should win, but I think Dallas is ready to break through.

Dallas in 6.

Next round I like Montreal over Philly and New York over Pittsburgh, setting up a Rangers-Canadiens final and I think that the Rangers will win the East.

West. Detroit-Dallas and San Jose Minny, Detroit over Dallas and San Jose over Minny leaving us with a Wings-Sharks final and the Sharks will win their first West championship as well as hoist the Cup in June by beating the Rangers in 6.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

follow-up to last post

Yesterday I posted a little bit about Rabbi Goldwicht of YU coming to the Chicago area for shabbos and how that was my kind of scholar-in-residence. He represents YU and what I call the Hesder brand of Yeshiva. In any event, I wish that the Chicago area would be fortunate enough to have people like him here more often.

One person who would fit that description is the current YU President, Richard Joel, who will be at KINS in West Rogers Park June 13-14, right after Shavuos.

With Passover (Pesach) coming up soon, it is good to take stock of the things that we've done and should be grateful for. I am glad that we have Modern Orthodox Synagogues like Chovevei Zion and KINS so that the Modern Orthodox people have a place to go to and have speakers and Rabbis that suit their needs.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Rabbi Goldwicht

This weekend I had the privilege of being in Skokie to hear Rabbi Meir Goldwicht. Rabbi Meir Goldwicht is a Rabbi who teaches at Yeshiva University. He gives classes to three of the four programs at Yeshiva College, IBC, BMP, and MYP (Isaac Breuer College, don't remember BMP, Mazer Yeshiva Program, equivalent to a good Yeshiva study at a Chofetz Chaim, Ner Yisrael, etc.)

Rabbi Goldwicht spoke about Pesach and the right perspective that one needs to have.

This was my kind of Scholar-in-Residence.

Friday, April 04, 2008

great thought by Malusis

Marc Malusis of WFAN had a great point the other week about how the "experts" hype certain players at the expense of others.

From last Wednesday's website on the NCAA tournament.

New York, NY (WFAN) -- We have hit the 2nd week of the NCAA Tournament. The games have been great so far, the action should get even better as we get going on Thursday night.Shame on Dick Vitale. Why? I can't take the screaming on how the major college programs did not recruit Davidson star Stephen Curry. Hey Dick, he has grown 4 inches since entering college. There are hits and misses every year on the recruiting trail. Why not just give the kid credit for putting in the hard work to make himself the player that he is? Here is my question for Vitale. Were you screaming how Davidson got a 'Diaper Dandy' in Stephen Curry when he was a freshman? I didn't think so. Sometimes you are just flat out lucky. Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds was set to go to Oklahoma, but after Kelvin Sampson left for Indiana, he no longer wanted to be a Sooner. So, his high-school coach called 'Nova Coach Jay Wright to see if he would be interested. He was, but did not have a scholarship to offer until Kyle Lowry declared for the NBA Draft. Where would Villanova be without Reynolds? I do know one thing. They would not be in the Sweet 16.

The point is that Vitale, Packer, etc. hype certain people at the expense of other high school stars. Is it any wonder that no one knew about Stephen Curry until 3+ weeks ago.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


It's springtime in Chicago, even if the temperatures aren't where we would like them to be. We should be seeing flowers blooming and trees with buds on them, instead of empty branches.

In a week or so, I will be offering thoughts on Passover, right now I am still in sports mode.

Baseball started and so far, Chicago is 0 for 4 as both the Cubs and Sox dropped their first two games to the Brewers and Indians respectively. I think Cleveland is doing better than Chicago, not only in baseball but in football (Browns went 10-6 and should have made the playoffs, until the Titans backed into the playoffs because of the Colts resting their starters) and basketball, Cavs made the Finals last year.

Great hire by Indiana University in hiring Tom Crean of Marquette University to take the basketball head coach position. I had been banging the drums for this guy for two years. It's kind of similar to Niehaus winning the Frick Award. As far as potential NCAA sanctions for IU, I think by sacrificing Sampson, they will get off somewhat easily, also IU is a name program and the NCAA likes to protect them. Yes I know that they nailed Kentucky in 1989-1991, but it's Kentucky not North Carolina or Duke.