January 27th, 2014
It was an amazing experience, but a lackluster game. On Saturday night, the Kings and Ducks played the first outdoor hockey game ever in California, and it was the Ducks coming away with a 3-0 victory. The Kings showed that they can’t win indoors or outdoors these days, and the Ducks showed why at the moment, they are the best team in the NHL. Anaheim has won 21 of their last 24 games, and really gave the Kings a taste of their own medicine in this one. The Ducks matched LA’s physical play, sending lots of bodies to the net, and scoring ugly goals against Kings netminder Jonathan Quick. It felt like the Ducks had the Kings right where they wanted them all game long: on the powerplay. The Kings are 0 for their last 11 powerplay opportunities, and simply could not finish. If i really wanted to spend a lot money, stay up late, and not score, I would have gone back to my Senior Prom instead of that game. Thanks a lot LA Kings.
I felt very fortunate that I had “good seats” to this game. There were very few. If you were sitting on the field level, you really couldn’t see anything. If you were sitting in lodge level, you probably had a decent view, except if you were by the foul poles, which obstructed your view. Otherwise, if you were sitting any higher, the players looked like ants. Dodger Stadium felt about as unprepared for this game as the Kings were. The lines just to get in the fan zone were outrageous, and even longer just to get a beer once you were inside. Many of the concession stands ran out of food, and they even ran out of beer in the Pavilion. Some folks over there had to settle for warm Coors Lights with ice. The performance by KISS was lame and outdated, but Five For Fighting was great. Overall, the concept of the outdoor game here was great for hockey, and they should do it again, but hopefully they’ll improve on these things moving forward. Here’s one of “the better seats”…..
On to the NBA, where the Lakers are continued their rapid decent down the NBA standings, after finishing their annual Grammy Road trip with a 2-5 record. Things have gotten so bad that the Lakers are now losing to Eastern Conference teams that don’t even want to win. Even Pau Gasol, who is one of the most soft-spoken and politically correct athletes out there, ripped into his teammates yesterday, and questioned their effort. Mike D’Antoni is demanding better defense out of his team, so yesterday, he resorted to starting rookie Ryan Kelly on Carmelo Anthony. That’s like putting a guy wearing jeans and flip flops on him. D’Antoni really amazes me. He’s bitching about the defense and toughness in the paint, yet he keeps putting smaller and smaller lineups on the floor, and wants his team to just jack up three point shots all day. After all these years in the NBA, has he really not noticed that none of his teams play defense because of the way they play offense? If only it was Jim Buss who could see this.
Meanwhile, Blake Griffin is still beasting, and the Clippers haven’t had much of a problem winning without Chris Paul of late. After outlasting the Raptors on Saturday night, 126-118, the Clipps are now 8-3 without CP3, and 4-2 on their current 7 game road trip. Although the team has climbed into the top 10 in defensive field goal percentage, they somehow let the Raptors score 126 points, and let Terrence Ross break loose for 51. When was the last time Terence Ross had 51 points in a game? The 7th grade? They’ve stayed afloat without Chris Paul, but the team has a way to go defensively, before they are a championship squad.
As for the NBA All-Star voting, the league definitely failed in its attempt to get the most deserving players in this year. Previously, fans could vote for two front court players, and a center in the starting lineup. This year, the fans voted for the three best front court players. This meant that Dwight Howard was snubbed, which I found rather amusing, as was Roy Hibbert. Both of those guys will still probably get voted in by the coaches, as they should. However, people like Charles Barkley, who are calling the fans “idiots”, should keep this in mind: the all-star game is about the fans. If the fans want to see Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony over Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert, it’s because they are simply more entertaining. The other deserving players will get selected by the coaches. The same can even be said for Kobe Bryant, who may not be deserving, but the fans want to see him if he’s healthy. In any case, props to the Mamba for telling the fans not to vote for him because he’s injured, even though they didn’t really listen.
Have the Dodgers actually reached the limits of their payroll? LA was outbid by the Yankees last week in their efforts to land Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. LA offered “a measley” $100 million mult-year deal, while the Yankees offered a $155 million deal over 7 years. How can this be? I thought the Dodgers were now made of money? I thought Tanaka would be introduced at a Dodger press conference while diving into a pile of money? I thought the Dodgers were so intent on not giving up prospects, which is why they were all about spending money? Ok, I know I’m being dramatic here, but it does make me wonder. Stan Kasten did come out and say the team hasn’t reached it’s payroll limit, which leads me to believe LA didn’t think Tanaka was really an ace, while everybody else did. I guess we’ll find out if and when the Dodgers go after Rays ace, David Price again.
The Tanaka sweepstakes did tell us that the Angels have definitely hit the limits of their payroll. The Halos did not have any intention of coming close to the $100 million + offers of their competitors. Further hurting their search for pitching is the fact that Matt Garza signed with the Brewers for 4 years and $50 million. The Angels had serious interest in Garza, but he turned out to be out of their range as well. At this point, there isn’t much left on the market for the Angels to improve their pitching. They need to hope that Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago become the next Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
To college hoops, where the up and down Bruins were back up again this weekend, with a pair of wins against Stanford and Cal. David Wear put together a nice game with 18 points, and UCLA is now 2nd in the Pac-12. I’m not so sure that says all that much about the Bruins, but more about how poorly the rest of the conference is performing. I mean even USC beat Cal, and that was the Trojans only win in conference play so far! Up next for UCLA and USC is a trip up north to battle the Oregon schools.
You know, considering the NFL is the top sport in this country, they sure have some dumb ass ideas. For instance, why have they not done away with the Pro Bowl? Does anybody actually watch that thing? The players don’t even care, and now we’ve resorted to a couple of former players picking their teams. Just get rid of it already! I think there was more physical contact at the Grammy’s last night than the Pro Bowl. The only thing dumber than keeping that game around, is having a cold weather Super Bowl, which will be the case next week. Seriously, I hope Roger Godell gets hypothermia next week and freezes his ass off in the stands. NY is a great city and all, but not the place for a Super Bowl. The players don’t work their asses off all year to play in 20 degree weather, and be impacted by the elements in the biggest game of the year.
Finally, I was a little underwhelmed watching the Grammy Awards last night. I still don’t get why CBS forces everyone on the west coast to watch the tape delayed version. This is 2014 CBS….tape delayed broadcasts are out! The performances were pretty underwhelming. Beyonce and Jay Z kicked things off nicely with their performance, but everything dropped off after that. Katy Perry was too gothic, Lorde did an obvious lip sync, and she couldn’t have looked any more weird. Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons kept me entertained for a little, but they don’t sound quite as good live, however, Daft Punk was pretty good. Just think how many guys there were at bars in LA last night claiming they were Daft Punk? I also thought the controversial, same sex couple weddings during the show were simply a way to deflect attention off of these lackluster performances. Here’s to a better Grammy show next year.