Did CM Punk Save the WWE?

This post may be coming out of left field for some of you.  Most of you who know me, knew it was only a matter of time before I would break down and write something covering this subject matter. Now is that time.

I have watched wrestling since I was a little boy and have been a fan for over 20 years.  I remember running and hiding under my bed at the sound of the “gong” and the lights going out in the arena signaling The Undertaker was about to arrive.  To this day I am terrified of snakes because Jake “the Snake” Roberts carried around a 20 foot snake in a bag properly named Damien.  I remember running around my living room with my friend at the time pretending we were the Rockers.  He was older so he always got to be Shawn Michaels and I had to be Marty Jannetty.  I remember crying and screaming at the television when I saw the 1-2-3 Kid sold out to join The Corporation.

As I got older I continued to root for Shawn Michaels (who to this day is my favorite wrestler of all time), I watched WCW change the landscape of wrestling by introducing the New World Order, I watched the WWE respond by unleashing the “attitude era” featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Degeneration X.

Up until about a year ago, a few buddies of mine and I would order whatever Pay-Per View was on and go crazy for a Sunday night.  I actually even went to Boston for the Royal Rumble this year back in January.  But that was the last time I actually followed wrestling.  See it was growing very tiresome and very stale.  Taunting small children about how much John Cena sucks was just not fun anymore.  My favorite wrestler retired after last year’s Wrestlemania and I can probably say that was the last time I had a vested interest in wrestling.  I tried to get behind the Miz, and yes I do like him, but he is no Shawn Michaels.

All of that may have changed after last Monday night.  I was clicking around Twitter and I saw a massive amount of “CM Punk just cut the greatest promo” type tweets.  Well I went right to YouTube and watched said promo, practically praying that it was just a semblance of what everyone was raving about.  I watched the six-minute promo and I thought it was easily the greatest gimmick in wrestling since the beginning of the NWO.

Punk broke all the “wrestling rules” talking about the WWE’s competition (Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling).  He called The Rock by his first name.  He said on live television what everyone believes about the WWE.  Cena and everyone else that is promoted and marketed are the best at “kissing Vince McMahon’s ass.”  He even gave a mini shout out to Colt Cabana who is a wrestler in Ring on Honor. He even talked about Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman who left the WWE on bitter terms. Punk broke every rule in the book and is now the talk of the wrestling world.  He threatened to win the WWE Championship and walk out of the company as his contract expires.  No wrestler has ever talked about the “behind the scenes” aspect of the company.  This made everything awesome.

Is wrestling about to “boom” again? I am unsure.  But CM Punk in a short six-minute soliloquy approached NWO, DeGeneration X, and “attitude era” status. I know I will tune in on Monday night for the first time in months.  I also know that with my propensity to be an impulse buyer, if I like what I see, I will buy the next Pay Per View.  CM Punk certainly piqued my interest.  For those that haven’t seen what I am talking about: Here you go.

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

Patterson’s Week 12 MLB Rankings

With the All Star Break two weeks away, I decided that instead of my usual random blurbs about each team, I will write who I think should be selected to the All Star Game.  I always like to do these things a little early and see how close I come to the actual roster.  Keep in mind that each team needs a representative.  I am doing this based on who deserves the ticket to Arizona, not a popularity contest, that the All Star Game has become.  There are 35 spots on each roster. The starters are in italics.

1) Philadelphia Phillies (1)

Placido Polanco, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee

2) New York Yankees (3)

Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera

3) Boston Red Sox (2)

Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Josh Beckett

4) Tampa Bay Rays (10)

Ben Zobrist, James Shields, David Price, Kyle Farnsworth

5) San Francisco Giants (6)

Brian Wilson

6) Milwaukee Brewers (4)

Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Shaun Marcum

7) Atlanta Braves (8)

Brian McCann, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurgens, Craig Kimbrel

8) Arizona Diamondbacks (7)

Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, Miguel Montero, JJ Putz

9) Detroit Tigers (11)

Alex Avila, Victor Martinez, Justin Verlander, Brennan Boesch, Jose Valverde 

10) Cleveland Indians (5)

Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Perez

11) Texas Rangers (12)

Elvis Andrus, Michael Young, Alexi Ogando

12) St. Louis Cardinals (9)

Lance Berkman

13) Washington Nationals (18)

Michael Morse, Drew Storen

14) Pittsburgh Pirates (17)

Joel Hanrahan, Andrew McCutchen

15) Cincinnati Reds (13)

Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Francisco Cordeiro

16) Toronto Blue Jays (14)

Jose Bautista, Adam Lind

17) New York Mets (19)

Jose Reyes

18) Seattle Mariners (15)

Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez,

19) Los Angeles Angels (21)

Jordan Walden, Dan Haren, Jered Weaver

20) Colorado Rockies (16)

Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez

21) Chicago White Sox (20)

Paul Konerko, Phillip Humber

22) Baltimore Orioles (22)

Adam Jones

23) Oakland Athletics (24)

Gio Gonzalez

24) Los Angeles Dodgers (27)

Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw

25) Florida Marlins (23)

Anibal Sanchez

26) San Diego Padres (28)

Heath Bell

27) Kansas City Royals (25)

Alex Gordon

28) Minnesota Twins (26)

Michael Cuddyer

29) Chicago Cubs (29)

Starlin Castro

30) Houston Astros (30)

Michael Bourn

 I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

2011 NBA Mock Draft: NTCF Edition

UPDATE: The Bobcats, Bucks and Kings have agreed to a three-team trade that sends Stephen Jackson to Milwaukee and nets Charlotte the No. 7 pick which they are expected to use on fast-rising Texas PF Tristan Thompson. The Kings meanwhile are said to be targeting Jimmer Fredette at 10.

 

Charlotte receives the No. 7 overall pick and Corey Maggette, while the Bucks get Jackson, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston and the No. 19 pick. The Kings get the No. 10 pick plus John Salmons from the Bucks.

Also, the Wizards have invited staff members of the Czech Republic Embassy to their draft party Thursday night. It’s a clue that the Wiz are planning on taking Czech F Jan Vesely

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With less than 24 hours before the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark, N.J., at the Prudential Center, numerous questions remain, but one thing is certain. This is a two-player draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers appear primed to take Duke freshman point guard Kyrie Irving, and the Minnesota Timberwolves should take Arizona forward

Potential No. 1 Overall Pick Kyrie Irving

Derrick Williams, but could end up trading him, especially if they can get a young center in return. These two studs are the can’t miss pieces, but several other players could prove to have significant value.

This draft lacks the star power, talent and depth of recent drafts past, but both Irving and Williams have potential to be All-Stars. The youth of Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight make them intriguing prospects, but should need more time to make adjustments to the rigors of the NBA.

There are a few players who could make an impact down the road and one of the top ones is Kemba Walker. Walker put his name on the map, leading the Huskies through the BIG

UConn Star Kemba Walker

EAST and then on to the NCAA Championship. Walker may be a tad undersized, but his scoring prowess and leadership should vault him up the draft board.

There is also an international flavor to this year’s draft. Bismack Biyombo is a virtual unknown out of the Congo, but could be the best defensive player in 2011. There is some question as to how old he really is, but he should still be a lottery pick. Biyombo could be the defensive force that Ben Wallace was, but unfortunately he also shares his offensive prowess.

Jan Vesely should be the first international player off the board, but Jonas Valanciunas could be the best player. Valanciunas could slide to as far as 14 however, because of the uncertainty surrounding his buyout status.

One of the other big “names” in this draft is Jimmer Fredette. “Jimmer Mania” could go

"Jimmer Mania" > Draft Lottery

as high as No.5 (a stretch I know, but Toronto needs all the publicity it can get) and as low as No. 20. Expect Fredette to go in the lottery, but most teams are still unsure if Jimmer will be as productive on the offensive end as he was in college.

Surprisingly, there are a fair amount of seniors this year, which does further point to weakness of this class. Jimmer will probably be the first one off the board, but Providence star Marshon Brooks, NCAA rebounding champ Kenneth Faried, do-it-all Florida forward Chandler Parsons and Purdue standout JaJuan Johnson should all get a look in the first round.

The Celtics are slated to pick at No. 25, but could move up should Danny Ainge become

What is this man thinking?

enamored with someone earlier in the draft. Should they stay where they are, Michigan’s Darius Morris could make a lot of sense. After a picking Avery Bradley last year (a 6’3” SG), taking Morris (a 6’5” PG) could make for a dynamic backcourt with an eye toward the future. Should the C’s look big, they could take a look at JaJuan Johnson, Jeremy Tyler or Kenneth Faried should he slip.

Mock Draft

1. Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, Fr., PG – Duke

2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams, So., F – Arizona

3. Utah: Brandon Knight, Fr., PG – Kentucky

4. Cleveland: Enes Kanter, Fr./19, C – Kentucky/Turkey

5. Toronto: Kawhi Leonard, So., SF – San Diego State

6. Washington: Jan Vesely, 21, SF – Czech Republic

7. Charlotte: Tristan Thompson, Fr., PF – Texas

8. Detroit: Bismack Biyombo, 18*, PF – Congo

9. Charlotte: Jonas Valanciunas, 19, C – Lithuania

10. Sacramento: Jimmer Fredette, Sr., PG – BYU

11. Golden State: Marcus Morris, Jr., PF – Kansas

12. Utah: Jordan Hamilton, So., SF – Texas

13. Phoenix: Kemba Walker, Jr., PG – Connecticut

14. Houston: Chris Singleton, Jr., F – Florida State

15. Indiana: Klay Thompson, Jr., G/F – Washington State

16. Philadelphia: Markieff Morris, Jr., PF – Kansas

17. New York: Alec Burks, So., SG – Colorodo

18. Washington: Donatas Motiejunas, 20, PF/C – Lithuania

19. Milwaukee: Marshon Brooks, Sr., SG – Providence

20. Minnesota: Nikola Vucevic, Jr., C – Southern California

21. Portland: Kenneth Faried, Sr., PF – Morehead State

22. Denver: Tobias Harris, Fr., F – Tennessee

23. Houston: Iman Shumpert, Jr., G – Georgia Tech

24. Oklahoma City: Tyler Honeycutt, So., SF – UCLA

25. Boston: Darius Morris, So., PG – Michigan

26. Dallas: JaJuan Johnson, Sr., PF/C – Purdue

27. New Jersey: Chandler Parsons, Sr., F – Florida

28. Chicago: Josh Selby, Fr., PG – Kansas

29. San Antonio: Davis Bertans, 18, F – Latvia

30. Chicago: Jeremy Tyler, 20, C – Japan

Would this man look good in green?

Pre-Draft NBA Depth Charts

PG SG SF PF C
Atlanta
J. Teague J. Johnson M. Williams J. Smith A. Horford
K. Hinrich J. Crawford D. Wilkins J. Powell Z. Pachulia
P. Sy M. Rolle H.Armstrong
J. Collins
E. Thomas
Boston
R. Rondo R. Allen P. Pierce K. Garnett J. O’Neal
D. West V. Wafer J. Green G. Davis T. Murphy
C. Arroyo A. Bradley S. Pavlovic
Charlotte
D. Augustin G. Henderson S. Jackson B. Diaw K. Brown
S. Livingston M. Peterson D. McGuire T. Thomas J. Przybilla
S. Collins G. Temple M. Carroll D.Cunningham D. Diop
E. Najera
Chicago
D. Rose K. Bogans L. Deng C. Boozer J. Noah
C. Watson R. Brewer K. Korver T. Gibson O. Asik
J. Pargo R. Butler B. Scalbrine K. Thomas
J. Lucas
Cleveland
B. Davis A. Parker A. Jamison J. Hickson A. Varejao
R. Sessions D. Gibson C. Eyenga S. Samuels S. Erden
M. Harris A. Gee L. Harangody R. Hollins
Dallas
J. Kidd R. Beaubois S. Marion D. Nowitzki T. Chandler
J. Barea J. Terry C. Butler B. Cardinal B. Haywood
C. Brewer D. Stevenson I. Mahinmi
D. Jones P. Stojakovic
Denver
T. Lawson A. Afflalo D. Gallinari K. Martin Nene
R. Felton J. Smith W. Chandler A. Harrington C. Anderson
G. Forbes M. Ely T. Mozgov
K. Koufos
Detriot
R. Stuckey R. Hamilton T. Prince C. Wilcox G. Monroe
W. Bynum B. Gordon A. Daye C. Villanuva B. Wallace
T. McGrady D. Summers J. Jerebko
J. Maxiell
Golden State
S. Curry M. Ellis D. Wright D. Lee E. Udoh
J. Lin R. Williwams A. Thornton V.Radmonovic A. Biedrins
A. Law C. Bell L. Amundson
Houston
K. Lowry K. Martin C. Budinger L. Scola C. Hayes
G. Dragic C. Lee T. Williams P. Patterson B. Miller
M. Harris J. Hill H. Thabeet
M. Cousin Yao
Indiana
D. Collison P. George D. Granger T. Hansbrough R. Hibbert
A. Price B. Rush M. Dunleavy J. McRoberts J. Foster
T. Ford L. Stephenson D. Jones S. Jones
J. Posey
Los Angeles Clippers
M. Williams E. Gordon R. Gomes B. Griffin D. Jordan
E. Bledsoe R. Foye A. Aminu C. Smith C. Kaman
W. Warren J. Moon I. Diogu B. Cook
Los Angeles Lakers
D. Fisher K. Bryant R. Artest P. Gasol A. Bynum
S. Blake S. Brown M. Barnes L. Odom T. Ratliff
T. Johnson L. Walton J. Smith
D. Ebanks D. Caracter
Memphis
M. Conley T. Allen R. Gay Z. Randolph M. Gasol
G. Vasquez O. Mayo S. Battier L. Powe D. Arthur
I. Smith X. Henry S. Young H. Haddadi
Miami
M.Chalmers D. Wade L. James C. Bosh J. Anthony
M. Bibby E. House M. Miler U. Haslem J. Howard
J. Jones D. Pittman Z. Ilgauskas
E. Dampier
J. Magloire
Minnesota
R. Rubio W. Johnson M. Beasley K. Love D. Milicic
L. Ridnour M. Webster L. Hayward A. Randolph N. Pekovic
J. Flynn W. Ellington A. Tolliver
S. Telfair
Milwaukee
B. Jennings J. Salmons C. Delfino L. Mbah a Moute A. Bogut
K. Dooling M. Redd C. Maggette E. Ilyasova D. Gooden
E. Boykins C. Douglas-Roberts D. Hobson L. Sanders J. Brockmon
New Jersey
D. Williams A. Morrow D. James K. Humphries B. Lopez
J. Farmar S. Vujacic T. Outlaw J. Petro D. Gadzuric
S. Gaines M. West S. Graham B. Wright
New Orleans
C. Paul M. Belinelli T. Ariza D. West E. Okafor
J. Jack W. Green Q. Pondexter C. Landry A. Gray
J. McNeal P. Ewing Jr. J. Smith D. Mbenga
P. Mensah-Bonsu D. Anderson
New York
C. Billups L. Fields C. Anthony A. Stoudemire R. Turiaf
T. Douglas R. Mason B. Walker S. Williams S. Williams
A. Carter A. Rautins R. Balkman D. Brown J. Jeffries
Oklahoma
R.Westbrook T. Sefolosha K. Durant S. Ibaka K. Perkins
E. Maynor J. Harden D. Cook N. Collison N.Mohammed
R. Ivey N. Robinson C. Aldrich B. Mullens
Orlando
J. Nelson J. Richardson H. Turkoglu B. Bass D. Howard
G. Arenas J. Redick Q. Richardson R. Anderson D. Orton
C. Duhon E. Clark M. Allen
Philadelphia
J. Holiday J. Meeks A. Iguodala E. Brand S. Hawes
L. Williams E. Turner T. Young M. Speights T. Battie
J. Kapono A. Nocioni D. Songaila C. Brackins
Phoenix
S. Nash J. Dudley G. Hill C. Frye M. Gortat
A. Brooks M. Pietrus J. Childress H. Warrick R. Lopez
Z. Dowdell G. Lawal G. Siler
Portland
A. Miller W. Matthews G. Wallace L. Aldridge M. Camby
B. Roy R. Fernandez N. Batum C. Johnson G. Oden
P. Mills E. Williams L. Babbitt E. Barron J. Collins
A. Johnson
San Antonio
T. Parker M. Ginobili R. Jefferson T. Duncan A. McDyess
G. Hill G. Neal J. Anderson T. Splitter D. Blair
C. Quinn D. Butler S. Novak M. Bonner
Sacramento
T. Evans M. Thornton F. Garcia D. Cousins S.Dalembert
B. Udrih M. Daniels O. Casspi J. Thompson H. Whiteside
P. Jeter J. Taylor D. Greene D. Jackson
Toronto
J. Calderon D. DeRozan J. Johnson A. Johnson A. Bargnani
J. Bayless L. Barbosa L. Kleiza E. Davis R. Evans
M. Banks S. Weems J. Wright J. Dorsey S. Alabi
A. Ajinca
Utah
D. Harris C. Miles A. Kirilenko P. Millsap A. Jefferson
E. Watson R. Bell G. Hayward D. Favors M. Okur
R. Price J. Evans F. Elson K. Fesenko
Washington
J. Wall J. Crawford R. Lewis A. Blatche J. McGee
M. Shakur N. Young T. Booker Yi H. N’diaye
O. Jeffers M. Evans L. Owens K. Seraphin

Ranking the Boston Champions

There is no doubt the last 10 years have been the greatest 10 years of any sports town in history for Boston.  No other city comes remotely close to having 7 championships in ten years.  So where do I rank those 7 championships? Let’s have a look.

7) 2004 Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers

Tom Brady was a stud in this one as he threw for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns leading the Patriots to a 32-29 win over the Panthers.  Adam Vinatieri was the hero again as he hit a 41 yard field goal to with 4 seconds left to put the Patriots ahead for good.

Memorable Moments: Vinatieri’s game winning field goal; Vrabel’s 2 sacks and touchdown reception; 37 total fourth quarter points

6) 2005 Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles

The Patriots winning this Super Bowl cemented the theory that the Patriots were the 2000’s dynasty in the NFL.  Tom Brady started to draw comparisons to Joe Montana.  And perhaps best of all the Patriots beat loud mouth Terrell Owens.  The Patriots also became the first team since the Denver Broncos to win back to back Super Bowls.

Memorable Moments: Branch’s 11 receptions; Rodney Harrison flapping his arms like an eagle after his second interception; Another Vrabel TD reception

5) 2007 Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies

The Rockies were the hottest team in baseball going into the World Series in 2007 after winning 15 of their last 16 just to make it into the playoffs.  They then swept the division series and league series and were forced to wait as the Red Sox finished their series with the Indians.  This 2007 team was a lot different from the 2004 team as it was a team that was led by Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.  Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury arrived on the scene as well while old friends David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Curt Schilling were still doing their thing.

Memorable Moments: Pedroia’s home run off Francis; Sox come back from 3-1 deficit against Indians in ALCS; Papelbon’s Irish Jig

4) 2008 Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers

While I am more of a Celtics fan than I am a Bruins fan, this championship has to fall just below the Bruins.  The Celtics were able to stack their team by trading their roster away to acquire Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.  Quite frankly, if the Celtics hadn’t of won the championship in 2008 I would have been incredibly disappointed.  But it was pretty sweet to embarrass the Lakers on their home court.  I was also very happy to see Paul Pierce win a title after all the years he put in with the Celtics.

There may not have been a more deserving athlete in Boston than Paul Pierce when he was finally able to raise that trophy high above his head.  Pierce had been in Boston his whole career and never publicly spoke out about how bad the team was or publicly complained.  Sure, he was mad when they stunk, but Pierce stayed quiet and he was rewarded when Danny Ainge got him a true supporting cast for the first time in his career.

Memorable Moments: Pierce in a wheelchair; Mike Breen:”And the Celtics are embarrassing the Lakers”; Ray Allen crossing over Vujacic

3) 2011 Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks

The Stanley Cup hadn’t been in Boston since 1972.  The Bruins were able to win in overtime of Game 7 against their archrival, the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round, sweep a Flyer team that came back from a 3-0 lead the year prior, and beat the Lightning in Game 7 on their home ice, before capturing the Stanley Cup in Game 7 in Vancouver.  They did it without their best player, Nathan Horton who was knocked into next week by Aaron Rome in Game 3.  They won it with perhaps the most dominating playoff performance ever by a goalie in 37 years young Tim Thomas.

During these playoffs, Zdeno Chara missed time with a dehydration illness, Nathan Horton missed time with his concussion, and they were down in the Montreal and Vancouver series but showed how resilient they were after a season of fans questioning the team’s heart.  These Bruins most certainly had heart.

Memorable Moments: Tim Thomas’ overall performance; Horton’s concussion; Recchi’s last game; Thornton the enforcer; Bergeron getting bit by Burrows

2) 2002 Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams

No one expected the Patriots to stay within 15 points of the Rams in 2002.  Hell, the argument could be made the Patriots weren’t even suppose to be there after Brady fumbl- I mean tucked the football in against the Raiders in the AFC Championship.But Bill Belichick pulled off his best coaching performance in his first Super Bowl win as he was able to slow down “The Greatest Show on Turf.”  The Patriots were able to completely neutralize Marshall Faulk and from there, rookie Tom Brady was able to manage the clock and not turn over the football enabling Adam Vinatieri to kick a game winning 48 yard field goal.  While Brady was named MVP, (16-27 for 145 yards) I will forever argue JR Redmond, Jermaine Wiggins, or the Patriot Defense was far more deserving of the honor than Brady.

The coolest part of this Super Bowl was Bill Belichick having his whole team introduced instead of individual introductions.  This set forth the value of unity amongst a team and started the trend that continues today of teams being introduced rather than individual players.

Memorable Moments: Vinatieri’s field goal; Patriots’ entrance; Madden suggesting Patriots run out clock; The final drive; Wiggins; Redmond; Troy Brown

1) 2004  Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals

It took 86 years for the Red Sox to win the World Series.  They suffered the dreaded Curse of the Bambino.  A stretch that saw Bucky bleepin’ Dent hit a lazy fly ball that landed in the netting of the Green Monster to win the division for the Yankees, they saw a routine ground ball trickle through the legs of Bill Buckner off the bat of Mookie Wilson to push the 1986 World Series to a seventh game, and they saw Aaron Boone hit a walk off home run in 2003 that sent the Yankees to the World Series.  The Red Sox didn’t only not win, they put their fan base through through the most painful of losses.

2004 was especially memorable because they were able to do what no other team in baseball had done before: Come back from a 3 games to 0 deficit to win the ALCS against, yes, the New York Yankees.

Memorable Moments: Roberts steals second; Schilling’s bloody sock; “Don’t let us win this one”; (Fully recognize all the memories are from the Yankee series but can you say you have any memories from the actual World Series?)

***A previous version of this post had Tim Thomas listed as 36 years young.  Thanks to a faithful reader for pointing out that he is 37 years young.

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

Patterson’s Week 11 MLB Rankings

The baseball season is fast approaching the All Star Break.  This means teams are starting to figure out whether they will be buyers or sellers when the trade deadline rolls around.  At some point this week, I will tell you who the All Stars should be and I will also introduce you to who the buyers and sellers will be come late July.  Until then, enjoy the Week 11 Rankings:

1) Philadelphia Phillies (1)

With all the hype around bringing in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt it has been the home-grown Cole Hamels that has been the most impressive this season.  Hamels is 9-2 with a 2.49 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.  If I had to make the decision, Hamels would be the starter for the National League in the All Star Game.

2) Boston Red Sox (2)

Even with all the wins over the past week, the Red Sox have been stung by the injury bug this week losing Jed Lowrie, Carl Crawford, and Clay Buchholz to the 15 day disabled list.  Marco Scutaro is hitting over .400 in Lowrie’s absence.  JD Drew has had a knack for getting hot in June in years past when someone has gone on the DL. With Crawford out, there is no better time than now for JD to get hot.

3) New York Yankees (6)

Derek Jeter landed on the disabled list being just 6 hits shy of 3,000. Even as a Red Sox fan I will most definitely be cheering him on when he gets that coveted hit.  I have long said the steroid scandal of the late nineties and early 2000’s wouldn’t bother me unless Jeter or Griffey were named as users.  Jeter is clearly on the back nine of his career, and I think people should start to recognize how awesome he was during the course of his career.

4) Milwaukee Brewers (5)

The Brewers are finally showing the potential that I had seen in them in the preseason when I predicted they would win the NL Central.  They already have an awesome offense and now their pitching staff has rounded into shape with Yovanni Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, and Zack Grienke.  John Axford is 19-21 in save opportunities as well.  The Brewers have close to zero weaknesses.

5) Cleveland Indians (8)

The Indians fired hitting coach Jon Nunnally on Sunday.  The Indians are in first place by one game and their offense has been underperforming.  Shin Soo Choo and Carlos Santana have been especially disappointing but help is on the way as Travis Hafner is off the disabled list.  Players aren’t happy with the Nunnally firing saying they don’t understand why he is fired when the team surprised everyone to this point by being in first place.  I side with the players here.

6) San Francisco Giants (7)

The Giants have lost four in a row (three to the lowly A’s) and are now only a half game up on the Diamondbacks in the NL West.  The Giants are the only first place team with a negative run differential in all of baseball.  With Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez out, Pablo Sandoval has very little protection in the order.  The Giants will not be in first place for very long.

7) Arizona Diamondbacks (11)

Earlier in the season I remember bashing Justin Upton and the Diamondbacks front office because GM Kevin Towers said that if the Red Sox wanted Upton they would have to give up Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, and Daniel Bard.  (I wrote this in my Week 3 rankings).  I would not move any of those guys 1 for 1 for Upton let alone all three.  But an update on Upton:  He is hitting .302 with 12 home runs and 38 runs batted in with 13 steals.

8) Atlanta Braves (4)

Jason Heyward came back from the disabled list this week and it looked as if the Braves were starting to get healthy again.  But to say that Heyward is in a sophomore slump would be putting it mildly.  He is hitting just .215 with 17 runs batted in through 50 games.  At least he has 7 home runs.  The Braves desperately need to get him going.

9) St. Louis Cardinals (3)

The Cardinals are in a bit of a funk for the first time this season after getting swept by the Nationals.  They have lost their vice grip on first place as the Brewers have leaped frogged over them.  Of the 72 games they have played this season, the Birds have gotten only 36 quality starts.  Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse account for 17 of those.

10) Tampa Bay Rays (12)

James Shields now has 5 complete games this season and we are still 3 weeks away from the All Star Break.  Last year Roy Halladay led the majors in that category with 9.  The next closest pitcher was Adam Wainwright with 5.  Shields truly has been remarkable this first half of the season and is deserving of a spot on the All Star team.

11) Detroit Tigers (9)

All year I have been on the Tigers because I felt Miguel Cabrera was shouldering the offense on his own.  Well Victor Martinez is hitting .329, Alex Avila is hitting .305 with 41 runs batted in, Jhonny Peralta is hitting .303 with 11 home runs and 43 runs batted in, and Brennan Boesch is at .295 with 10 home runs and 38 runs batted in.  Finally it looks like Miggy has support in the batting order!

12) Texas Rangers (10)

After starting the season 7-0, Alexi Ogando has fallen on hard times in his last two starts getting absolutely rocked.  Earlier in the week he lasted 1.2 innings giving up 6 runs on 6 hits in a losing effort against the Yankees.  Today against the Braves he lasted just 5 innings in a losing effort.  Are the wheels coming off already for the 27-year-old converted reliever?

13) Cincinnati Reds (13)

Last season MVP Joey Votto hit 37 home runs.  To this point in the season he has just 9.  He is still hitting .327 and has 43 runs batted in but the lack of power has to be a concern for the Reds.  If he can find the home run stroke again, he and Jay Bruce (17 home runs so far this year) would be a mini murderer’s row.

14) Toronto Blue Jays (17)

The Blue Jays announced that they have re-signed shortstop Yunel Escobar to a 2 year $10 million deal with club options for 2014 and 2015.  Escobar has been consistent for the Blue Jays so far this season hitting .281 with 8 home runs, 26 runs batted in, and 42 runs scored.

15) Seattle Mariners (14)

Bill Simmons tweeted it best yesterday when he pleaded with the Mariners GM to make a trade for some offense.  Their top 3 pitchers are pitching lights out (Hernandez, Pineda, and Bedard), they have called up their top prospect who is also a top prospect in all of baseball (Dustin Ackley), and Ackley has already homered in just his second big league game.  They are just 1.5 games out of first place and should definitely be buyers at the deadline.

16) Colorado Rockies (18)

Last week I argued with myself about whether Paul Konerko deserves a plaque in Cooperstown.  This week’s edition of “An Argument with Myself”? Does Todd Helton deserve a plaque in Cooperstown.  In 15 seasons, Helton has 2300 hits, 342 home runs, and 1269 runs batted in and is a lifetime .324 hitter. His best season was in 2000 when he led the league in batting average (.372) RBIS (147) and hits (216). He also led the league in on base percentage, slugging, total bases, and OPS.  Helton would get my vote over Konerko even though Konerko has a ring.  And yes, Helton is in.

17) Pittsburgh Pirates (16)

The Pirates continue to get solid starting pitching from Charlie Morton (7-3 3.21), Kevin Correia (8-6 3.60) and Jeff Karstens (4-4 2.54).  With each week that passes, I become more and more surprised that the Pirates are still around the .500 mark.

18) Washington Nationals (24)

Going into Sunday the Nationals have won 8 games in a row which includes a sweep of one of the best team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals.  Second baseman Danny Espinosa hit a walk off home run earlier this week.  Espinosa is hitting .233 with 12 home runs and 41 runs batted in on the season.  If he can work on that average, he has the potential to be one of the top second basemen in the game.

19) New York Mets (19)

While all the talk has been centered on Jose Reyes, I completely forgot that the Red Sox let Jason Bay walk as a free agent after the 2009 season only to have the Mets sign him to an $80 million deal over 5 years.  Bay is currently hitting .222 with 2 home runs and 13 runs batted in.  I don’t know if this is a curse of the Mets type of situation or “I’m sure glad the Red Sox didn’t resign that guy” type of situation.

20) Chicago White Sox (21)

Speaking of busts.  Adam Dunn signed a 4 year $56 million deal with the White Sox this offseason.  Dunn has not been able to figure out American League pitching to this point however.  Dunn is hitting .182 with 7 home runs and 29 runs batted in.  Paul Konerko has been just the opposite hitting .327 with 19 home runs and 56 runs batted in.  Remember that Hall of Fame discussion?  If Konerko can keep these numbers up he will be joining Helton.

21) Los Angeles Angels (22)

The Angels released Scott Kazmir this week eating $14 million in salary.  Kazmir was getting rocked in the minors and it was evident that he was not going to factor into the Angels plans this season.  I remember when Kazmir was a stud on the then Devil Rays.  My how times have changed.

22) Baltimore Orioles (20)

What happened to Nick Markakis?  I remember a time when I longed for him to patrol right field at Fenway Park.  This year he is hitting just .256 with 5 home runs and 26 runs batted in.  Markakis was once a player Orioles fans saw as the future of the franchise.  It now looks like that future has come and gone and the Orioles still haven’t made up any ground in the American League East.

23) Florida Marlins (15)

With the Marlins in an absolute freefall losing 17 of their last 18, manager Edwin Gonzalez called the staff and team into a private meeting in the clubhouse letting them all know he was quitting.  It wasn’t that long ago that the Marlins were a top 5 team in baseball this season.  Count me as shocked that they have been as awful as they have been lately. He is the second manager to lose his job this year.

24) Oakland Athletics (27)

The Athletics called up Rickie’s little brother, Jemile Weeks late last week.  I had been calling for this move for quite some time seeing that the Athletics have zero offensive fire power and are especially lacking from the infield positions.  Through 11 games Weeks, is hitting .325 with 3 doubles, 3 triples, and 6 runs batted in.  Since the AL West is wide open, the Athletics have a shot of getting back into the race.  If they do, Weeks will be a large part as to why.

25) Kansas City Royals (26)

While the Royals have some of the best young prospects in baseball, they are all offensive players.  Hosmer, Moustakas, Butler, and Gordon will all help put runs on the board.  But the problem with the Royals is the lack of pitching.  Their best starter is Jeff Francis and his ERA is 4.83.

26) Minnesota Twins (29)

The Twins are slowly starting their ascent up the rankings.  After spending the first 2 months of the season teetering between the 29 and 30 spots, they are 8 games back of the Indians in the AL Central, have won 6 in a row, 8 of their last 10, and are 13-3 in June.

27) Los Angeles Dodgers (23)

Dee Gordon was called up by the Dodgers earlier this week.  He is the top prospect in the organization and is the son of ex-Red Sox Tom “Flash” Gordon.  With how fast the young Gordon runs, it won’t be long before he will be called Flash as well.  Through 11 games, Dee is hitting .326 with 4 stolen bases and a triple.  Gordon has game changing speed that will add an element of excitement to the Dodgers, an organization that could use all the excitement it can get.

28) San Diego Padres (29)

Anthony Rizzo has been unable to bring his hot bat to the major league level.  After tearing the cover off of the ball in the minors, Rizzo is hitting .148 through 9 games.  But in his 4 hits, he has a single, double, triple, and a home run.

29) Chicago Cubs (28)

The Cubs will clearly be sellers when the trade deadline comes around.  The problem is Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano’s contracts are albatrosses and the Cubs are tied into them for at least 2 more years.  The Cubs have the potential to be very bad for a very long period of time.  As if they haven’t been like that already, seeing that they haven’t made it to the World Series since 1945.

30) Houston Astros (30)

Hunter Pence is scheduled for an MRI on his hyperextended elbow Sunday.  If the Astros lose him for any extended period of time, I am going to have to start ranking them with the Triple A teams.

I can be followed on Twitter at ScottieNTCF

Boston is Again a Hockey Town

No words can recreate the emotion I have just felt and will feel, in any literary sense. The level of fandom relief, joy and triumph felt within my house, my room and my heart hangs only within the final seconds, after what felt like an eternity, and will remain timeless within those seconds forever. I am left speechless, having given no concrete opinions or predictions since the beginning of the 2010/11 season. I will remain forever speechless, and forever privileged to have been a fan of these Boston Bruins. Heart prevailed over skill. Respect prevailed over statistics. The Bruins prevailed over the entire NHL, and are now Stanley Cup champions. Boston is again a hockey town.

Read below, dated January 23, 2011.

https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/the-bruins-will-win-the-stanley-cup-2010-11-season/

 

It Is All About Game Seven

And it will all come down to a Game 7.  7.  The greatest number in all of sports.  7.
 Especially when it comes to the NHL, there is nothing, absolutely nothing better than a Game 7.

The Bruins have outscored the Canucks 19-8 in the first 6 games of this series. Boston has 216 shots, Vancouver has 194 shots.  The Bruins have 190 hits. The Canucks have 22 hits.None of those numbers matter now.  7 is the only number that means anything.

It doesn’t matter that Nathan Horton was knocked out of the series in Game 3.  It doesn’t matter that Aaron Rome was suspended 4 games said cheap shot.  It doesn’t matter that Alexandre Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron and wasn’t suspended for it.  It doesn’t matter that Roberto Luongo couldn’t last 10 minutes in Game 6.

It doesn’t matter that Tim Thomas didn’t “stay in the paint” on the garbage game winning goal by Maxim LaPierre in Game 5.  It doesn’t matter that either team’s power play hasn’t produced. It doesn’t matter that the home team has gone undefeated in this series.  It doesn’t matter that Tim Thomas has been a wall in net all series.

Nothing from the last two weeks, dating back to June 1, matters.

On Wednesday night the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks will play in one single game that will determine whose names will be engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup from the 2011 season.  It has been a long, exciting, dare I say epic series to say the least.  It is only justice that the series will be determined in a winner take all game.

Make sure you grab your favorite recliner, bar stool, or space on the floor Wednesday night.  Game 7 is sure to be a classic.

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

Patterson’s Week 10 MLB Rankings

Ten weeks into the season and I have surprised myself with having a power rankings column for every week.  In regard’s to my preseason predictions, an update: My AL preseason Manager of the Year has been fired.  My AL Rookie of the Year pick was finally called up this week.  My AL Central prediction is pretty much the opposite of the current standings, the same with the AL West.  My NL Rookie of the Year was demoted, promoted, and then broke his wrist.  As you can see, my crystal ball was malfunctioning back in March.  On to the present…

1) Philadelphia Phillies (1)

While the Phillies are loaded with the big names, Howard, Rollins, Utley and the 4 aces, it has been Placido Polanco that has impressed me most this season.  He has played in 65 of the Phillies 66 games hitting .309 with 4 home runs and 37 runs batted in.  He is what every championship needs.  He is the glue.

2) Boston Red Sox (9)

The Red Sox received good news this week when they learned that Dustin Pedroia’s knee issue was simply just a bruise.  After missing a game because of his consultation, The Laser Show has returned with a vengeance going 6-9  with 4 runs batted in since returning from the knee exam going into Sunday’s game with the Blue Jays.  I will also point out the Red Sox personify fire at the current time as they have won 9 in a row.  In those nine games the lowest run total they have put up is 5.  That is sick and wrong.

3) St. Louis Cardinals (3)

There isn’t a day that goes by that I have not regretted picking up Lance Berkman off the waiver wire in my fantasy baseball league.  I, like many others I’m sure, thought Berkman was all done after his stint with the Yankees last season.  He is proving all those doubters wrong to the tune of leading the Cardinals in most offensive categories.  The Cardinals.  The team with the best offensive in baseball.  The Cardinals.  With players named Pujols, Holliday, and Rasmus.  The leader? Berkman.

4) Atlanta Braves (11)

I have no idea how they are doing it, but the Braves are shooting right up these rankings over the past few weeks.  Their whole starting outfield (Heyward, Prado, and McLouth) are all on the disabled list.  Dan Uggla is still slumping hitting just .183.  I understand the Braves have the best pitching in all of baseball to this point in the season, but you need at least some offense to win games.  How are they doing it?

5) Milwaukee Brewers (8)

Carlos Gomez has been playing a sensational center field for the Brew Crew.  Earlier in the week he had two eye opening catches against the Mets including robbing Carlos Beltran of a home run.  Today he made a game saving catch on a ball hit by Colby Rasmus.  It won’t be long before he has his own personal high light reel.

6) New York Yankees (4)

The Yankees are understanding what it was like to be the 2010 Red Sox in regards to being afflicted with the injury bug.  They have been without Phil Hughes the majority of the season.  They lost Rafael Soriano for awhile.  Joba Chamberlain is now out for the season with Tommy John surgery pending. Just yesterday, Bartolo Colon went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.  All of this really makes me marvel at the durability of Mariano Rivera.

7) San Francisco Giants (10)

The Giants continue to be stung by the injury bug.  This week they lost Freddy Sanchez to a dislocated shoulder.  They are now without Pablo Sandoval (although he is expected back soon), Buster Posey, and now Sanchez.  Where the Giants will get their offense is anyone’s guess.

8) Cleveland Indians (2)

The Indians have started their slide as they are 2-9 in the month of June.  They are now tied with the Tigers for first place in the AL Central.  Josh Tomlin has come back down to earth as his ERA is now 4.01.  The Indians really need Travis Hafner to come back from the DL and they need Carlos Santana to start hitting the baseball.

9) Detroit Tigers (12)

The play of catcher Alex Avila has made Victor Martinez the most expensive designated hitter in baseball.  Avila is hitting .296 with 9 home runs and 34 runs batted in.  Avila is just 24 years old and is clearly the catcher of the present and future.  Martinez has been producing as well, hitting .310 with 6 home runs and 34 runs batted in.  But I don’t think those numbers are worthy of the 4 year $50 million deal he signed, especially if he is going to be used as the team’s designated hitter/backup catcher.

10) Texas Rangers (6)

The Texas Rangers organization selected former University of Georgia outfielder Jonathan Taylor in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft earlier this week.  Taylor was paralyzed from the waist down after a collision in a game this season.  What a classy move by a classy organization.

11) Arizona Diamondbacks (5)

After a scorching second half of May, the Diamondbacks have cooled a bit.  They are 6-5 in June and are a half game back of the Giants in the NL West.  The young corps of Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Stephen Drew have led the offense and with the NL West looking weaker in weaker by the day, the division is there for the taking.

12) Tampa Bay Rays (14)

Matt Joyce has 3 years of major league experience.  He has never played in more than 92 games and has never had more than 262 at bats.  So far this year he is enjoying a break out year hitting .330 with 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in through 60 games and 200 at bats.  The obvious question is: Can he keep it up?

13) Cincinnati Reds (15)

In my research for this post, I came across a rumor that I really like. Jose Reyes to the Reds.  Could you imagine the double play combo of Reyes and Brandon Phillips?  Could you imagine Reyes setting the table for Phillips, Votto, and Bruce?  While I think that the Reds more pressing need is starting pitching, this Reyes rumor is very intriguing.

14) Seattle Mariners (13)

Ichiro’s consecutive games played streak of 255 was snapped this week, as he was given a day off because of his prolonged slump. The streak was the second active longest behind Matt Kemp (268). Just seeing those numbers makes me laugh when I think of Cal Ripken’s 2,632 straight games played.  Talk about streaks that will NEVER be broken.

15) Florida Marlins (7)

You know its been a rough week for the Marlins when a sportscaster on Friday night was quoted as saying, “And for the first time all week, the Florida Marlins have a lead.”  Yikes.  In the interest of fairness, their two best players, Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson are on the disabled list.

16) Pittsburgh Pirates (18)

Believe it or not the Pirates are just 2 games under .500.  Usually around this time the Pirates are well out of the pennant race and are about 10 games under .500.  This has to be encouraging for whatever Pirates fans there are in this world.  Their star player, Andrew McCutchen is just 24 years old.  Jose Tabata is 22.  Reason for optimism in Pittsburgh.

17) Toronto Blue Jays (16)

After watching Kyle Drabek’s start against the Red Sox on Sunday, I couldn’t help but agree with Sox radio commentator Dave O’ Brien that Drabek might be best served pitching in the minors right now.  There is no doubt Drabek has a great arm.  But he is trying to hard to strike out the ball park instead of letting his fielders play behind him.  The result? He leads the majors in walks.  Let him go to Triple A where he can learn how to pitch and not just throw.

18) Colorado Rockies(19)

A year after being nearly unhittable, Ubaldo Jimenez is just terrible this year.  On Sunday Jimenez went 5.1 innings giving up 11 hits and 7 runs (only 2 earned), and three home runs.  On the season, Jimenez is 1-7 with an ERA of 4.63.  His ineffectiveness paired with the loss of Jorge De La Rosa is the reason the Rockies have fallen out of contention as quickly as they have.

19) New York Mets (21)

The Mets have to be crazy if they don’t want to re-sign Jose Reyes.  He is just 28 years old and is leading the majors in hits and batting average.  He is doing it all at a position where there isn’t much offense anymore.  The argument could be made that he is the best shortstop in baseball with all due respect to Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki.  The Mets would be best served to trade David Wright and to hold onto Reyes.

20) Baltimore Orioles (22)

The Orioles have announced that they intend to cut Zach Britton’s workload in an effort to get him pitch deeper into September.  Over 13 starts he is 6-4 with an ERA of 3.18.  The 23 year old has thrown 82 innings so far this season and has never thrown more than 154 in any year.  This is a smart move by the Orioles because Britton is a building block that the Orioles can start a franchise around and some day be competitive in the ultra-competitive AL East.

21) Chicago White Sox (20)

Ozzie Guillen recently said that Paul Konerko will walk into the Hall of Fame “the right way.”  While there is no doubt in my mind that Konerko is clean, is he a Hall of Famer?  At this point in his career, he is a .282 hitter with 381 home runs and 1,207 runs batted in.  If a decision had to be made right now, I would say he wouldn’t be getting into Cooperstown as he compares to Tino Martinez right now. Konerko needs 2-3 seasons of 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in for me to say with any certainty that he would be a Hall of Famer.

22) Los Angeles Angels (17)

The Angels are about to embark on a 12 game road trip starting in Seattle, then to New York to face the Mets, followed by a trip to Florida, and then back across the country to face the Dodgers.  This news isn’t awful for the Angels since they are 16-16 on the road this season and 15-20 at home.

23) Los Angeles Dodgers (23)

Another week and its more of the same for the Dodgers.  Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier continue to mash the ball with little to no help from anyone else in the lineup.  Kemp is hitting .331 with 20 home runs and 56 runs batted in and Ethier is hitting .321 with 5 home runs and 32 runs batted in.

24) Washington Nationals (26)

Other than Bryce Harper showing he is a Class A deusch this week by blowing a kiss to a pitcher he just hit a bomb off of in the minors, the Nationals did receive good news this week.  Their best player, Ryan Zimmerman, is expected back Tuesday.  He is 8-16 on his current rehab stint.

25) San Diego Padres (25)

The Padres called up Anthony Rizzo this week, one of the pieces of the Adrian Gonzalez deal.  He has helped alleviate the pain of losing one of the games best hitters by producing himself.  The 21-year old is 3-7 with a home run this week.  He is the future of San Diego.

26) Kansas City Royals (27)

This week the Royals called up my pre-season Rookie of the Year, Mike Moustakas.  He had a very slow start in Triple A, and quite frankly I was surprised the Royals called him up as he isn’t much of an upgrade over Wilson Betemit at this point.   He wasn’t mashing the Triple A pitching like teammate Eric Hosmer was either. Through 2 games so far he is 2-6 with a home run and 2 runs scored.

27) Oakland Athletics (24)

Bob Geren was my preseason pick to be the American League Manager of the Year.  Instead he is the first manager relieved of his duties in 2011.  It is hard to blame Geren for the Athletics’ woes when their offensive personnel is terrible and their closer had an ERA near 5.  Let this be a lesson to all readers: Take my predictions with a grain of salt and laugh at them.

28) Chicago Cubs(28)

There isn’t much good news in Wrigley Land as the Cubs are pretty awful this year.  But they are expecting to get Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson, and Jeff Baker all back this week from the disabled list.  Aramis Ramirez is showing signs of getting his power turned back on as he homered twice this week.

29) Minnesota Twins (30)

The Twins are 8-3 in the month of June.  They have finally got out of the cellar in these rankings and I doubt they will get to the #30 spot again.  Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishiokia are expected back within the next two weeks.  They should be getting Jason Kubel back soon as well.  If only Justin Morneau could return his former self, the Twins could make a push in the AL Central.

30) Houston Astros (29)

Mark Melancon does not have to worry about losing his closing job with the return of Brandon Lyon.  On Saturday, Lyon came on in the tenth inning against the Braves and promptly gave up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk without getting an out.

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

Bruins Play Role of Disciplinarian

The Vancouver Canucks decided to mock the NHL and the Bruins after Alexandre Burrows was not suspended for his blatant bite of Patrice Bergeron’s finger in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals.  In Game 2 Maxim Lapierre taunted Bergeron by sticking his fingers in his face pissing off the well-respected Bergeron and pissing off the rest of the NHL in the process. Burrows scored the game winner in Game 2 and tallied another in a game that he shouldn’t have been playing in.  Bruins fans were anxious for Game Three being down 0-2.  But it was a familiar position.

Then the Canucks continued way past the line they so blatantly crossed when Aaron
Rome blindsided Nathan Horton at the blue line with an unnecessary and gutless hit that sent Nathan Horton to Mass General Hospital in the first period of Game Three.  This ignited the fire for the Bruins.

They scored 4 goals in the second period and another 4 in the third period en route to a 8-1 win on Monday night.  Yes, Tim Thomas had 40 saves but this game was won through the toughness and grittiness of the Big Bad Bruins.  The Bruins had 40 hits (including one from Tim Thomas, 75 penalty minutes, and killed off 8 power plays with the Canucks not getting a single shot on goal in any of the 8 power plays.

Old Man Mark Recchi was awesome tonight as well.  He had 2 goals but more importantly got in the face of Lapierre and other bush league Canucks players letting them know that the Bruins won’t stand for the chippy play.  Seeing a 43-year-old man get in the mix of things and not back down will surely fire up the squad.

The Bruins effort tonight can be personified by Brad Marchand’s dazzling short handed goal.  Words will do that play no justice.  All you have to know is that Marchand’s play was the epitome of hustle and simply just wanting it more than the other guy.

While the loss of Nathan Horton is and will be a tough one to swallow, the Bruins’ resolve is now strengthened.  All season long we have heard about how tightly knit this team is.  Do you think they want to let down the man who ensured they be playing in this game (twice remember, Canadiens Game 7 and Lightning Game 7)?

Tonight the Bruins played the roll of disciplinarian for the NHL.  Because with Colin Campbell unable to attend to his duties, the person replacing him has been asleep at the wheel.  The Bruins punished the Canucks for 40 minutes of hockey tonight.  Even though they are down 2-1, all the momentum is now with the B’s.  One has to believe that they have satisfied the should be punishment for the Bergeron incident.  Imagine what they are going to do for Horton!

The Bruins are three wins away from being Stanley Cup Champions.  There is no doubt in my mind that when this series is over, they will be hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup high above their heads.

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

Patterson’s Week 9 MLB Rankings

 

1) Philadelphia Phillies (1)

The Phillies are starting to get healthy after getting Chase Utley and Shane Victorino back from injury this week.  They haven’t had a healthy closer all year as Lidge and Contreras both went down with injuries.  Ryan Madson has done an ok job in the role, and barring any catastrophes, the Phillies should hold onto the number spot for a large part of the remainder of the season.

2) Cleveland Indians (2)

 What’s newsworthy out of Cleveland?  Their best offensive player over the last 2 seasons, Shin Soo Choo, is blaming his DUI arrest for his current slump saying that he is trying very hard not to be a distraction to his team.

3) St. Louis Cardinals (4)

The NL Central better look out.  After not producing up to his standards over the first two months of the season, Albert Pujols is scorching hot.  This week he hit .444 with 5 home runs, 10 runs batted in, 11 runs scored, and even 2 stolen bases.  Just for kicks he hit a game-winning walk off homer against the Cubs in extra innings on Sunday.

4) New York Yankees (8)

The Yankees just went 6-3 on a 9 game west coast road trip this past week.  They end the week one game up on their opponent they will be hosting starting Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox.

5) Arizona Diamondbacks (9)

The Diamondbacks have won 22 of their last 26 games.  Former Yankee farm hand, Ian Kennedy is 6-2 with an ERA of 3.16.  Kennedy was apart of the 3 way trade with the Tigers that landed the Pinstripes Curtis Granderson.

6) Texas Rangers (12)

The Rangers are now 8 games above .500 for the first time since they were 9-1 to start the season.  Since May 16 the Rangers are 13-7 and their starters have been awesome.  They are 10-2 with a 2.39 ERA.

7) Florida Marlins (5)

Scott Cousins should not have to issue an apology to Buster Posey for his collision at home plate.  Cousins was doing his job trying to help his team win a ball game.  It is also absolutely absurd that Cousins is receiving death threats for this play.  The man was doing his job, unfortunately accidents happen.

8) Milwaukee Brewers (10)

Yovanni Gallardo has won 6 straight starts for the Brewers.  Shaun Marcum is throwing the ball well.  Zack Grienke is finally starting to settle into his new digs.  The Brewers are poised to make a run at the Cardinals.  They have the strong pitching and even stronger lineup to do it.

9) Boston Red Sox (5)

Earlier in the season Sox fans were wondering what they were going to do about their catching situation.  In that time Jarrod Saltalamacchia has shown he is the solution to the Sox catching problems.  Since May 15, Salty is hitting .348 with 5 home runs and 10 runs batted in.  It is also easy to forget that Salty is just 26 years old.

10) San Francisco Giants (6)

The Giants are 5-6 since May 25, or since losing Buster Posey to that devastating injury he suffered in the collision with Scott Cousins.  The news got worse for the Giants this week as they lost Brandon Belt to a broken wrist after he was hit by a Trever Miller pitch. Awful news for the Giants, great news for the rest of the NL West.

11) Atlanta Braves (7)

Buster Olney writes that there is a feeling amongst the Braves that they want Jason Heyward back from the DL ASAP whether he is 100% healthy or not.  Olney writes that the other players want him to grind it out and play.  This makes me wonder if there are chemistry issues in the Braves clubhouse.

12)  Detroit Tigers (17)

I was pretty surprised to learn this week that Brandon Inge has now earned “10-5” rights.  That means he has had 10 years worth of major league service time and 5 years in  row with the same team.  He can now veto any trade he is apart of.  Inge has been a valuable player for the Tigers but I just can’t believe he has been around for 10 years.

13) Seattle Mariners (13)

I haven’t been able to stress enough how good the Mariners pitching is.  In my estimation they come in at number 13 in spite of their offense.  The Mariners are last in the league in batting average at .228 and 27th in runs with 211.  Yet they are just 2.5 games back of Texas in the AL West.

14) Tampa Bay Rays (11)

The bad news? The Rays might lose star third baseman Evan Longoria to the disabled list for the second time this season. The good news? Rookie starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson has been fantastic this season and was named Rookie pitcher of the month in May.  He is 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA on the season.

15) Cincinnati Reds (14)

There is no doubt the Reds have a great offense.  The problem is their pitching.  They lost Homer Bailey and Arlodis Chapman to the disabled list over the past two weeks.  Edinson Volquez was demoted to Triple A but should return this week.  Bronson Arroyo has been sub par and Travis Wood isn’t the prospect everyone thought he was.  Until the Reds find some pitching, they aren’t going anywhere.

16) Toronto Blue Jays (15)

The Blue Jays on the brink of bringing up 21-year-old third baseman Brett Lawrie.  In Triple A Las Vegas, Lawrie is hitting .354 with 15 home runs and 49 runs batted in.  Everything I have read about Lawrie is that he tears the cover off the ball but his glove is suspect at best.  Adding him to a lineup that already features Jose Bautista could be very scary for the rest of the AL East.

17) Los Angeles Angels (16)

The Angels got Howie Kendrick back from the disabled list Saturday and it couldn’t of happened any sooner.  Kendrick has been the Halo’s best offensive player this year. He is hitting .310 with 7 home runs and 18 runs batted in.

18) Pittsburgh Pirates (20)

Quick, without looking it up,  who are the league leaders in wins in all of baseball?  If you answered Kevin Correia, you are a cheater.  Amazingly, the little known Correia is tied with Yovanni Gallardo for most wins with 8 so far this year.

19) Colorado Rockies (19)

Last year Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez were studs.  This year, they have been rather pedestrian.  Tulo has made me rescind my earlier comment that he is the best player in baseball.  He is hitting just .257 with 11 home runs.  Gonzalez has been worse hitting .254 and 8 home runs. He actually reminds me of JD Drew.  A pretty swing without numbers.

20) Chicago White Sox (24)

After sweeping the Red Sox earlier this week, the White Sox look poised to make a push.  They sit 7 games back of the Indians.  This begs the question: What is more amazing? The fact that Paul Konerko missed just one day after having surgery on his wrist or if the White Sox can play their way back into a pennant race?

21) New York Mets (23)

Think Terry Collins is frustrated?

22) Baltimore Orioles (21)

Mark Reynolds hit his first career grand slam on Saturday to lift the Orioles to victory.  This from Elias: It was his first career grand slam.  In fact he hadn’t even had a hit in hist last 27 at bats with the bases loaded. And he struck out 18 out of those 27 times.

23) Los Angeles Dodgers (26)

The Dodgers are fortunate to be playing in a relatively weak division because they only news they continue to make is off the field.  The ownership group is in flux, an ugly divorce that is hindering the growth of a once proud franchise.  At least Frank McCourt was able to make payroll in May.  Good news may be on the way however, as former Dodger stars Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey have form a group that will try to buy the team.

24) Oakland Athletics (18)

The A’s had a very tough week as they lost six in a row to the Yankees and Red Sox.  Their schedule gets a whole lot easier over the next two weeks though as they matchup for three games against the Orioles, four against the White Sox, and three against the Royals.

25) San Diego Padres (28)

The latest rumors have the Cardinals calling the Padres non-stop about Heath Bell.  Anthony Rizzo is apparently right around the corner from a call up.  This is about all that is newsworthy when it comes to the Padres.

26) Washington Nationals (27)

I have been reading for quite some time that the Nationals have a high level of interest in BJ Upton.  I really don’t understand their fascination with overrated players.  He is currently hitting .228 with 7 home runs and 28 runs batted in.  The Nationals main need to be competitive is to get a general manager that has a clue.

27) Kansas City Royals (22)

The wheels have come off the bus rather quickly in Kansas City as they are 5-18 in their last 23 games.  That includes 4 losses in a row to the even lowlier Minnesota Twins. The Royals’ offense although statistically  are in the top 10 in most major offensive categories, have scored 2 or fewer runs in 21 games this season.

28) Chicago Cubs (25)

It was only a matter of time until the time bomb known as Zambrano would explode.  Today was that day.  “We are playing like a triple A team. Embarrassing for the team and the owners.  Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing is the word for this team.”  He also basically called out Carlos Marmol after he allowed a game tying hit to former Cub Ryan Theriot.  “We stink, that’s all I have to say,” concluded Zambrano.

29) Houston Astros (29)

The Astros released their prized off-season acquisition Bill Hall this week.  Hall signed a contract for $3 million this year and a mutual option of $4 million for next year.  After a solid year with the Red Sox last season as a part-time player, I was curious to see what he would do with a full-time job.  Hall hit just .224 with 2 home runs and 13 runs batted in.

30) Minnesota Twins (30)

All you need to know about the Twins is that in today’s lineup Danny Valencia is batting clean up.  All I can think of is the scene from Major League when the brass is going over the Spring Training invitees and one guy says, “I’ve never heard of half these guys!”

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF