But myself and Palmer Alexander joined Melissa Ferris on their podcast. We touched on a lot in just one hour of time. Plus there was a surmountable amount of laughs spread within the hour. It was a lot of fun.
We touched on Marvin Lewis, Jon Gruden’s chances with the Raiders, medical marijuana in professional sports, professional sports in Las Vegas, NFL Wild Card weekend, the all-SEC national championship, and the NBA. Plus we give a shoutout to co-host Stephanie Washington.
Their special guest is Reggie Watkins…they learn about his podcast FranchiseSportz “with a Z”, congratulate him on his new engagement and get his take on prenups. They also talk recap the College Football Playoff championship and Odell Beckham, Jr. and his recent antics as well as the Miami trip and touch on “What would Reggie Do?”
The ladies also discuss some men’s and women’s college hoops, and Melissa circles back to Seattle every chance she gets, while Steph is adamant about her Cowboys coming out on top of Aaron Rodgers & the Pack, and brings BREAKING NEWS about the Raiders and Las Vegas!! Melissa also makes a plea to Ref Ed Hochuli (#RefArmsOfTheNFL) to perhaps date her mom, she’s single & loves football!!! Plus #ArmsOfTheNFL and more “Ahhhhhh” moments.
The NHL Hall Class of 2016 will be announced on Monday night June 27th and it’s not as if this one will be easy, because it features the weakest 1st-year eligible group in years. Why is that more relevant this year than most? Because the incumbents, those like Eric Lindros, an all-time hockey enigma, are amongst those on that bubble of immortality. For six years the debate has raged on as to whether 88, such a polarizing figure in his sport since he defied the ruling class of the NHL as a junior superstar and pretty much manipulated a wealthy and soft landing in Philadelphia. Injuries and drama plagued Lindros over the course of a career shortened by severe concussions and marked by the never ending feud involving Eric Lindros his parents Bonnie and Carl and Flyers GM Bobby Clarke. How much this effects his legacy and hindered production is anyone’s guess. However, Lindros has 373 goals and 492 assists so while his total of 865 points may not get him in top tens and all time lists, he accomplished those numbers in just 760 regular season games. Waiting six years I think is enough, and I believe now that he’s back in the Flyers “family” and the addition of Bob Clarke to the selection committee gets him the nod Monday.
Next up, and this gotta be a lock, is Mark Recchi. Not only did he play 22 seasons he played them at the highest level, winning three Stanley Cups as a player. He retired as the 12th all-time leading scorer and 4th in total games played. Mark Recchi is also the oldest player in NHL history to score a Cup winning goal with Boston in 2011 after declaring his desire to skate off into the sunset. He also won the Cup three times with three different teams (Penguins, Hurricanes and Bruins) and put up 577 goals and 956 assists for 1,533 points over 22 NHL seasons. Fellow nominee Rod Brind’Amour said of Recchi: “I don’t know what more you need to do to be a Hall of Fame player.” Recchi defined winner and tomorrow night has to be recognized by his peers for his contributions to the game. His 92 season of 52 goals and 70 assists remain one of the most remarkable I’ve seen in any sport and earns him a place in this class alongside his linemate Eric Lindros.
My 2016 Hall of Fame bubble:
SERGEI MAKAROV: His 384 NHL points and Calder Trophy season as rookie of the year must be combined with his dominant international career for the Soviet Union when Makarov averaged 1.37 points a game, won two Olympic gold medals and eight world championships.
DAVE ANDREYCHUK: The captain of the 2004 Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning put up 1,338 points in 1,639 regular-season games over 23 seasons.
ALEXANDER MOGILNY: Second only to 2015 inductee Sergei Fedorov in NHL points among Russians with 1,032, Mogilny won the Cup and was a six-time All-Star in 16 seasons.
PAUL KARIYA: Like Lindros, concussions cut Kariya’s career short, but he finished with 989 points in 989 games over 15 seasons and made the All-Star Game seven times.
JEREMY ROENICK: His 1,216 points rank him fourth among U.S. players and the top three — Brett Hull, Mike Modano and Phil Housley — are all in.
CURTIS JOSEPH: Not winning a Cup hurts a goaltender, but his 454 victories are the most of any not in the Hall.
ROD BRIND’AMOUR: Was captain of the 2006 Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, had 1,184 points and won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward.
THEO FLEURY: Overcame his 5-foot-6 size disadvantage to put up 1,084 points and win almost everything: the Stanley Cup, Canada Cup, Olympic gold medal and world junior gold medal.
CHRIS OSGOOD: Won the Cup twice as a starting goalie and again as a backup, but benefited from playing on talented Detroit Red Wings teams.
The St. Louis Blues season ended in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals getting eliminated by the San Jose Sharks last week. It was a wild ride for the St. Louis Blues and especially for the fanbase, that grew as the postseason carried on. It was disappointing to see the Blues get this close to appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals and fell two games short. They were 4-6 at home and had the home ice advantage. The Blues just got beat by a better team flat out. The Sharks were more physical and they wasn’t giving the Blues much room to operate. The first two rounds of the playoffs the Blues were flying through the neutral zone creating several scoring attempts, sometimes controlling the puck at even strength and looking as if they’re on a power play. Well not this round. Then center Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks just owned the series scoring 8 points in the last five games of the series. As a whole he has notched 22 points in 18 games better than a point a game with a plus/minus rating of 3.
As the playoffs continue on without the Blues, they have some business to tend too with pending free agents. Unrestricted free agents David Backes and Troy Brouwer, both 32 years of age, and ranked 6th and 9th respectively by Frank Seravalli of TSN top 30 list of NHL free agents. I was also told that the Philadelphia Flyers have eyes for Backes and could offer as much as 25 million for three years. I could see him getting something like that; he had a great postseason and this was the most spirited I’ve seen him play since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Backes had finished with 14 points in the playoffs. He’s someone the Blues can’t afford to lose, but this could be his last chance to cash in. Troy Brouwer was second on the team with 8 playoff goals and he is in similar boat as Backes, we’ll find out in a couple of months how this will play out. Because, the Blues have to think ahead to 2017 free agency too, and head coach Ken Hitchcock contract expires next month.
But, I consider this a good season by the Blues for a few reasons. First, they appeared in only their third conference finals in the last 30 years. They knocked off the defending Stanley Cup and hugely disliked Chicago Blackhawks. Then followed that by beating the number one seed in the Western Conference Dallas Stars. The Blues were able to do this with a roster that had only two players over 20 goals or 50 points. They just ran out of gas. Two straight best of seven series caught up with them. The good that came out of it was the growth of the fanbase which is as diverse as ever. Quite honestly this might not have happened if the NFL was still in town. The Blues playoff run actually made many of us appreciate them more. It’s always nice to have playoffs outside of the baseball Cardinals, who’ve spoiled us so much with long runs into the start of the next hockey season.
Well it’s that time of the year again, the start of the NHL playoffs are here and the St.Louis Blues are about to face one of their most hated rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. And anytime when the Blues and Blackhawks get together it’s a fun time for fans in St.Louis and Chicago. But, when it’s the playoffs the heat gets turned up higher than you can turn a knob on a range oven.
The Blues have not fared well against the Blackhawks in the playoffs. The defending Stanley Cup champions now boast a 32-24 all-time playoff record against the Blues. And to be honest the “Notes” hasn’t done too well in the playoffs as of late. It’s become almost custom that by the time your grass turns green the Blues are normally dismissed from the playoffs.
Fans throughout the region are collectively cautiously optimistic that this could be the year the Blues advance at least out of the first round of the playoffs. Especially, after another strong regular season netting a total of 107 points, without having more than two players net 20 goals. Or even have two players over 50 points for the season. The Blues averaged under three goals a game ranked in the middle of the pack at 15. But, the Blues did make up for that cracking the top ten in three other important categories; Ranking 2,4, and 6 in penalty kill, goaltending, and power play, according to NHLreference.com. Coach Ken Hitchcock in a brief presser said that every person is available health wise and that Blues Captain David Backes will be ready to play according to ESPN.com.
The defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks bring plenty of offensive fireworks led by Patrick Kane’s 106 points and second leading goal scorer Artemi Panarin’s 30 goals and 47 assists. And they get plenty of offense from their defensemen as well. Defenseman Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are ranked 4 and 5 respectively on their team in regards scoring. And can’t leave out that the Blackhawks are steered by former Blues coach Joel Quenneville.
And in order for the Blues to have any success against the Blackhawks, they have to remain aggressive especially on the power play. I noticed several times throughout the season they would have the puck on the power play and 15-20 seconds would go by without a shot being taken on net. Also my eyes will be on Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk a very talented player yet he is a –14 when it comes to plus/minus rating. And the Blues have shown a tendency to get caught flat-footed creating odd man rushes, that’s something this team can ill afford to do. Obvious goals will be at a premium in the NHL playoffs, sometimes all you need is one goal.
Regardless, it’s good to have some playoff sports in the city of St.Louis, let’s hope the Blues give the “blues” to someone else for a change this spring. And nothing would be sweeter than eliminating a rival.
Flyers owner and CEO Ed Snider passed this weekend in California. Ed Snider was the Joe Namath of franchise owners. Cool. Connected. Threw cash at his Flyers that you knew was backed by passion as much as it were the promise of success. Ed Snider taught a city hockey, and captured the love and dedication to a franchise that bordered on cult worship. The Flyers, under his nearly 50 year stewardship became unquestionably the most successful expansion team outside of the Original Six. He helped to shape, grow, and move the NHL out of realm of a niche sport and into the national consciousness as cable and satellite television brought ice hockey to every corner of America.
But all along, even as he created Comcast Spectacor and worked on the landscape of the sport he loved so ardently, there was never a question. The Philadelphia Flyers were his baby. His true love and that sentiment was unwavering. The Flyers were 1st, 2nd and last in his heart and it showed. Walk through the Wells Fargo Center during any home game and you’ll always find the halls littered with ex Flyers from generations past. The motto has always been “once a Flyer, always family” and it remains true. The Flyers arrived in Philadelphia in 1967 and a parade for the new franchise attracted a rousing party of 75….six years later the Flyers would become the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup and a parade would wind through Philly with 2 million party goers in attendance. Though they repeated in 1975, the Flyers haven’t won a third title despite 7 trips to the NHL finals since. That never dissuaded Mr. Snider. He poured money like the Yankees into free agency, trusted his execs to execute the plan, all the while maintaining the family feel that separates the Flyers from so many other pro sports organizations.
Ed Snider built and funded 6 inner city arenas so that the children of Philadelphia can play and learn ice hockey free of charge. Skates, padding, sticks and equipment all underwritten by the foundation created by Mr. Snider to fund urban hockey. When I drive through Philly today I see children of every color walking to hockey practice and playing in city leagues. This all Mr. Snider’s doing and an incredible legacy unto itself. There are over 5,000 kids playing city hockey now under the Flyers umbrella at zero cost.
Ed Snider radiated cool, and I’m left with our last meeting to summarize Mr. Snider. I’m leaving the Flyers game two years ago on a frozen February night. While I ease onto the expressway, I see Mr. Snider pull up on my right in that beautiful silver Jag with the FLYERS1 PA tags. I wave and say hey. I can see him thinking, finally he looks up and goes, “How ya been Phil?” I was not and no one in Philly would be, surprised he knew their name. He was a great man, an amazing owner, and he was one of a kind. Follow me on Twitter: @MtAiryPhil and catch me each week on N The Zone and follow on Twitter & Facebook.