Did Manny Pacquiao add another endorsement without knowing it?

When you have cable, you watch a lot of basketball.

When you watch a lot of basketball, you become a Celtics fan.

When you become a Celtics fan, you delay a title fight to watch the NBA Playoffs.

When you delay a title fight to watch the NBA playoffs, the judges get pissed.

And when the judges get pissed, you lose a split decision to an inferior opponent.

Don’t lose a split decision to an inferior opponent. Get DirecTV.

Just come out and say it, Sports Illustrated. You hate hockey.

No more pussy-footing around. No more lip service. No more bullshit about “journalistic integrity”. Not after this tabloid trash headline:

Bullshit.

Attempting to connect the taunting that has followed Alex Burrows’ bite to Aaron Rome’s late hit on Nathan Horton is a blatant attempt to lead the casual fan’s opinion away from hockey.

Meanwhile, on this week’s cover, there isn’t even a secondary mention of the Stanley Cup Finals. The NBA Finals have the cover, as they have every bloody spring since 2001, with blurbs about baseball and Stanford QB Andrew Luck. College football isn’t even in season! The one thing you fetishize even more than the swimsuit issue is that blessed Cover of Sports Illustrated, and you don’t consider the championship of the highest level of hockey in the world worth so much as two square inches of text.

Don’t piss on my shoes and tell me it’s raining, Sports Illustrated. You hate hockey, and you have zero respect for hockey fans.

 

Regarding a Certain Mr. Cooke

I’ll say it if nobody else will: Matt Cooke has become a liability for the Pittsburgh Penguins, even when he’s not doing things Jeremy Roenick calls “chickenshit.”

Before charging/boarding Fedor Tyutin last night, before he “clipped skates” with Alexander Ovechkin on Sunday afternoon, even before the Marc Savard Incident, Cooke had a reputation. Like it or not, refs check numbers, and they’re likely to adjust their view of a play when 24 in Black and Vegas Gold is involved.

I don’t have numbers on hand, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Cooke has drawn fewer penalties against opposing players since the Savard headshot. He’s certainly taking more penalties. In fact, he’s already matched last season’s total PIM (106 in 79 games) in only 54 games this season. Is he getting more careless, or are the referees keeping an eye on him more closely than before?

A lot from Column A, a little from Column B. Cooke has had a few games this year where he racked up three or four minors for old agitation tricks that don’t work any more. A well-worn path to the penalty box is a very bad thing for one of the Penguins’ best penalty killers.

With this latest escapade, Cooke is putting head coach Dan Bylsma in a bind. Publicly, Bylsma has to have his boy’s back. Half-heartedly repeating Cooke’s “Tyutin saw the hit coming” defense ought to be galling to Bylsma, but he still has to say it. Privately, however, I hope Bylsma is pouring hellfire on Cooke right now for a double-major last night (charging and a subsequent fight with Derick Brassard) and a four-game suspension as a consequence.

After a home game with the Kings Thursday night, the Penguins play their next four on the road. They’ll embark on this road trip without Sidney Crosby (concussion, LTIR), Evgeni Malkin (torn ACL and MCL, done for the year), and Mark Letestu (knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks) for sure, while Chris Kunitz is day-to-day with a leg injury.

Perfect timing for Cooke to take himself out of the lineup by being an idiot, right?

Can’t spell “Penguins” without a big spoked “B”!

Oh, wait! I guess you can!

We should be lucky the Canucks weren’t represented by a picture of Ron Francis in a Hartford Whalers jersey. They’re both green and blue, right?

False Equivalence

Wes Welker’s snow angel: $10,000

Richard Seymour’s open-handed sucker punch: $25,000

Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson ripping each other’s helmets off and throwing down: $25,000 each

Chad Ochocinco wearing a sombrero: $30,000

Now can we shut the fuck up about the Sean Avery Sloppy Seconds Incident?

Admiral, there be archives here!

With the imminent demise of Vox, I figured I should finally import those old posts before they disappear into the aether.

Neal Huntington and the “Draft to Nowhere”

During primary season in Pennsylvania this year, a Democratic candidate ran an attack ad against Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. (I don’t remember which candidate, but he lost, so sucks to be him.) In this ad, Onorato was criticized for backing the “Tunnel to Nowhere.”

The tunnel in question is part of the Port Authority’s North Shore Connector, which will run under the Allegheny River and extend the T light rail system from Downtown to PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center, and Rivers Casino. The entire project has been a political lightning rod, both for its priority over other public transit needs and for the decision to bore a tunnel under the river instead of building a bridge. (We’re pretty good at bridges. We’ve had lots of practice.)

The attack ad used the actual phrase “tunnel to nowhere.” Sounds like the project is dead, or stalled. Right?

The extension is still under construction, and is scheduled to open in 2012.

Maybe that has something to do with why Onorato is the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania now?

Now I told you that story to tell you this one.

Mondesi’s House is jumping all over Neal Huntington. It seems that Mr. Huntington has been accused of a grievous injury to Yinzer Nation: He has done his job as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.

It’s one of the most thankless jobs in sports: PR manager for the White Sox, Bruce Pearl’s dry cleaner, Antti Niemi, and Pirates GM.

The crux of Mondesi’s argument is that the Pirates are making a big deal about signing Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie when it should be business as usual. (Ignore his Aroldis Chapman argument: He was a free agent, not drafted.)

This is why Huntington can’t win. Half the columnists in town visit the sins of Bonifay and Littlefield on Neal, and the other half rip him when he defends himself from the first half.

Huntington’s real problem is that he can only make the same promises Bonifay and Littlefield broke, and until this stockpile of minor league prospects become major league talent, the won’t-be-fooled-again media will continue to use him as a punching bag. It’s Huntington’s lot in life to be cursed for not completing a Five Year Plan in two years.

Maybe if the Pirates had Dan Onorato’s campaign manager…

Madness? THIS! IS! BRISTOL! [kicks Joe Thornton down a well]

Earlier this year, I recall watching an 11:00 PM SportsCenter anchored by Steve Levy. During this SC, Levy introduced a highlight by saying that “something weird had to happen for us to show you San Jose Sharks highlights.” At the time, the San Jose Sharks had the best record in the Western Conference.

Thursday night, ESPN will devote the 9:00 PM (EDT) hour to LeBron James, his free agency, and The Decision on where he will sign. (Yeah, the caps on that were right.)

So ESPN will gladly give an hour to one NBA player and his galactic ego, but begrudges one of the best teams in the NHL 45 seconds?

If there were any justice in the world, The LeBron Hour’s ratings would be low enough to hang around with strange bio-luminescent fish and the XFL. Instead, Dick Ebersol will trot out the inevitable we’re-just-giving-the-viewers-what-they-want excuse in his next “ombudsman” column, because ESPN defines “what viewers want” as “whatever we choose to cram down your throat.”

Way to stay on top of things, SI

This was SI.com at 1:45 PM EDT on July 1st 2010, almost two hours after the NHL’s free agency signing period started, and almost two hours after Martin Biron signed a two year deal with the New York Rangers:

But they're all over the NBA Hurry Up And Wait Sweepstakes!

Perception

How head coach Dan Bylsma views the power play:

I think early on, when Gonchar was gone, we looked initially for one play and a shot. We haven’t gotten in position. We haven’t gotten puck support. We haven’t gotten a lot of zone time as a result. It’s almost the ‘Hoosier’ mentality in basketball — you need four passes to set it up, break them down, get them running around, spread them out and then get shots and chances.

How the fans view the power play:

As soon as Goligoski crosses center red, yell “SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.