Friday, January 21, 2011

All Quiet on the Western Front (Range)

FRIDAY!  FINALLY!  Let’s get it on!


5. So it is truly “mums the word” around the Pepsi Center.  Following Thursday’s practice for the Denver Nuggets, the object of months of trade speculation, Carmelo Anthony, had nothing to say to the legion of curious media members.  His teammates were forced to endure the brunt of the “what’s it like playing in this situation-”type questions that have become the focal point of impatient scribes praying for something concrete to report upon.  With the Nets “officially” out of the hunt now, the scope of the Nuggets’ search must (and certainly has) expanded to include teams that haven’t even been publicly considered yet.  I wouldn’t be surprised if teams like Dallas, that are looking for a possible rent-a-player might make the move on the terms that the trade involves only Melo and not the hoard of players that had been rumored for so long with New Jersey.  With all of the rumors swirling around, the two-time defending NBA champs, the Los Angeles Lakers, come to Denver this evening.  I foresee this going down in one of two fashions: I think a blow-out is inevitable. 

4. Although, not normally a big fan of All-Star games, I am always a sucker for a lengthy NBA-related story by ESPN’s Bill Simmons.  Again, I must encourage all to make sure you have a copy of the Sports Guy’s The Book of Basketball near you favorite homebound commode.  

3. Home teams in college hoops did their things last night (although Maryland didn’t get the memo) with a couple “U-Dubs,” Wisconsin and Washington procuring necessary conference home wins.  The Huskies of the northwest came up the night’s big winners as they did their damage against the stiffest league competition (Arizona) they will face all year.  Otherwise it was a pretty quiet night in the power-conferences, but the rest of the nation was abuzz with important January games. 

One of my big sleepers come March, Cleveland State, also held serve at home over Detroit.  The Vikings’ heart-and-soul, Norris Cole had an off-night shooting the ball, but still put in work to put up 18 points, 11 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.  One of the nation’s few (if only) 20/5/5 guys, Cole is a volume shooter, but not overly 3-point happy and a name that will get much more national shine as we near the springtime. 

Around these parts, there has been a lot of talk this week around one of the local teams (Colorado) finally losing their first game in-conference.  In actuality, there is still a Centennial State team that has an undefeated league record, the Denver Pioneers.  Despite being brutalized by a pre-conference schedule that was….. brutal, the Pios of Joe Scott.  No, I mean the Bears of Northern Colorado. Wait.  In truth, both of the mid-major teams that have always been overshadowed by the state’s two flag-ship universities, are each off to 6-0 starts in their respective leagues. After rough Novembers/Decembers that had even the most attentive Colorado college basketball fans (ie. ME) turning away, both teams have spurted out to impressive league starts.  Northern Colorado (road win last night at Sac. St.) has a nice foothold on the Big Sky as they have already beaten both of the two closest standing teams in Montana and Montana St.  On the other hand, DU (home blow-out win last night over Arkansas St.) travels this weekend to the Volunteer state before hosting a big game next Saturday with the reigning Sun Belt champs, the Mean Green of North Texas.

2. A really tough day for the Colorado Avalanche.  First, word came down that young forward, Thomas “The Flash” Fleishman was going to be sidelined for the remainder of the season (but shouldn’t be career-threatening) due to blood clots in his lungs.  Then, the Avs were sideswiped by the visiting Nashville Predators to the tune of a 5-1 defeat.  Our boy, Matty Duchene was the only thing keeping this one from being a shut-out as he netted his 19th of the season in the game’s final minutes.

1. So, a big Sunday in the American sporting calendar, as both teams for the Super Bowl will be determined with the playing of the conference championship games.  Much has been made of each game and both are littered with intrigue, history and excitement.  The Bears/Packers match-up is obviously the one drenched in history, but it is also so strange that these two divisional rivals haven’t met in the playoffs since, like, the leather-helmet days.  Both teams had up-and-down seasons, but to me it breaks down to a simple question of trust. 

Who do you trust more, Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler?  Exactly.

On the AFC side of things, I have to think that Pittsburgh will hold serve and beat the outspoken Jets.  Ben Rothlisberger is just not to be trifled with in January.  For a guy that is just a few years into his professional career, Big Ben is already the owner of a 9-2 career postseason record.  On the other hand, a contemporary of his, Peyton Manning, has a mark of 9-10.  I’ll take the Steelers.  Have a great weekend!



  1. Been listening to a lot of The Fan / Klough talk in past couple days after getting back from Cali earlier this week and the current status of the Melodrama "situation" seems like the Nuggets front office is about 99.9% to blame for all of the hoopla. According to "sources", the Nets would have made the trade even without him inking the extension first! If that’s true, hindsight is 20/20, but as a Nugget fan I think they are under a microscope right now as they've got just enough rope to hang themselves with and we have no insight as to what their plan is. Simmons made some excellent points in the article YB referenced a couple of months ago - the fans' patience is gone now and the situation is pretty volatile when you throw in Melo, players, fans and rest of the NBA's opinion of our front office. Kroenke and Ujiri are more tight-lipped than the Broncos management during the short-lived McD era. That silence was a large contributing factor to much of the fans anger. Especically when combined with gutting the team. AND, I think the big fear with this silence is that we don't get what we should have gotten (or could have gotten) and we are in the midst of gutting the team and then in a Kroenke rebuilding mode a la the Avs for the next few years - trying to milk the best out of a minor league payroll until we can draft enough talen. Melo's answered lots of questions (cause he has to), but the young front office should learn a lesson from the Broncos recent mistakes. Transparency is king right now - for the fans, the players and any future dealings with NBA counterparts. Although I blame the Nuggets front office mostly, I still don't mind the Melo booing. He made his choice too - he has a max offer on the table from the Nugs. If he had any desire to stay here, he would have signed it months ago before it got to this point. As a parting shot, I am now rooting for Cutler more for spite than anything. I've never hated the guy - I had a number 6 jersey and he's better than anything we've got taking snaps right now. Besides the fact that some of the fine folks here used to be Packers fans, I think everybody should get the F over hating Cutler. He threw for over 4500 yards and 25 TDs in his second real season when he was I'm not going to let people off the hook with this notion that he "cost" us too many games and threw too many picks in the Red Zone. As we've discussed many times recently, the QB was the least of our problems - we had the worst D in the league, no run game and he threw the ball 50 times a game. A few picks are going to happen. AND, HE WAS 25! The guy did exactly what we drafted him to do and his stats were as good as, if not better than, most great historic QBs in history at the ripe age of 25. So let's all get over the fact that he never wanted anyone's approval, not the fans, not the media,he whines a bit, he's a dick and he probably listens to Staind or O.A.R religiously. These are the real reasons people hate him – let’s all admit and move on. He didn’t do anything to disparage the Broncos or cause detriment that may last years – that was our front office and McD. The Cutler bashing is tired. The fact of the matter is that Brady and Manning whine quite a bit when shit doesn't go their way. And to the statistic on Roethlisberger vs. Manning in post-season wins, well that is what a great defense can do for your win %. Cause Manning is a great QB and Roethlisberger is a good QB. Just think of what Cutler might have done with a pretty good D and homefield advantage...we're about to find out I guess...Go Bears.

  2. I will not be denied my right to hate!! The reasons are multiple and I agree, catalogging them all is tired. I rooted for him as a Bronco (of course), but the not returning Bowlen's calls (texts?) was a tipping point. When the trade happened, I was of the opinion that he had a lot of upside, but had not really proven anything. People point to the pro-bowl as some sort of vindication of the vaunted and mythical "franchise qb" status, but that was mainly due to the gaudy and somewhat hallow stats (when you factor in the red zone picks, fumbles, and pedistrian TD's the offense scored during the period). Granted, the main issues were defense and to a less extent running. I recall many on the national stage making a big stink about how Rivers should have gone to the pro bowl instead. I hate 'em both. I hate Big Ben. I hate Brady. I hate Vick. Simply put, Hate is a big part of professional sports for me if you don't play on my team. Fully agree most pro jocks are probably not cool (the Staind and O.A.R. comment is hilarious and spot-on). To me, it's not a reasonable measuring stick, except maybe when is worn so outwardly (Cutler) or results in deploreable behaviour (Vick, Big Ben). Plummer is one exception that comes to mind. Never hated him and I have his jersey. End rant....Go Pack, while respectfully disagreeing with the opposing opinion of the Heavy Snack y'all....

    On another topic.....Peter the Great?! Have my doubts, but it would be interesting....

  3. The NFL is a hater's league and I subscribe. I hate nearly every team, player, and fan-base besides the Broncos and a few legacy soft-spots. My right to root for Cutler's demise (this weekend and thereafter) feels pretty kevlar-bulletproof. H-Snack, I won't argue on the softball diamond with you ever, but must run with the flow that you are against on this. Cutler is to be's all I have left. It's all I have left, goddam it!!!

    Put in Plummer.

    negative O.A.R. comments...yikes.

  4. I had no delusion about changing anyone's view on Cutler, just pointing out that I think he gets a disproportionate amount of hate around these parts for reasons I still don't fully understand. Seems pretty easy now to look back and blame the new Rams OC and Bowlen for the Cutler trade debacle, etc.For the record, I subscribe to hating. Fully endorse it - especially in the NFL. Let's just spread it around a bit. In fact, I'd like to send an early warning to the number 12 overall pick in the 2009 draft. It's do or die tthis season bro.

    I think NFC Championship will be decided by karma - whoever has listened to "Crazy Game of Poker" less wins. Rodgers did attempt to get some jungle karma this week, but his iPhone cut out...uh oh! Will definitely be watching on Sunday...

    Speaking of softball, I'm ready for some Das Boot!