11.29.09

Brooks : Please Shoot Whoever Champions The Shootout

Posted in Hockey at 5:10 pm by

Calling the NHL’s half-decade old experiement in ending ties, “worse than a gimmick”, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks opines of the shootout, “where once the shootout was a novelty, where once it served as an entertainment vehicle, albeit one of questionable authority, it has become an exercise equally as tedious as listening to Joe Buck call a baseball game.” This, despite Buck’s broadcasting rarely yielding moments as entertaining as those above (the odd bit of Arte Lange target practice, aside).

There is no way to tweak this blight on the game. More teams are playing for 60-minute ties than at any time since the lockout; 27 percent of all games this season have gone into overtime, with the previous high last year’s 22.9 percent.

Beyond that, more coaches are playing for 65-minute ties than ever before as well, Almost two out of every three overtime contests (65.6 percent) have gone into the shootout, with the previous high the 58.4 percent of 2006-07.

And the percentage of overtime games generally increases as seasons evolve because coaches become more conservative.

It is time for hockey games to be decided by hockey players and by hockey plays. It is time for the shootout to be replaced by a five-minute, three-on-three overtime period that, when necessary, would follow a scoreless five-minute four-on-four overtime.

And if neither team would score — imagine a 3-on-2 power play — then the 70-minute deadlock would be entered in the standings as just that — a tie game with each team getting a point for its trouble. Now that’s a novelty

Lawrence Frank, Denied His Shot At History

Posted in Basketball at 2:13 pm by

A (pending) Sunday night loss to the Lakers was all that separated Nets coach Lawrence Frank from tying the NBA’s mark of most consecutive losses to open a season (17), and perhaps as a weird sign of respect for the winningest coach in franchise history, Frank was relieved of his duties earlier today. Though GM Rod Thorn lowered the boom in a Sunday afternoon press release, there’s been not a peep from Bruce Ratner, who essentially sent Frank into battle armed with a toothpick. As the Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro put it so well earlier this week, “sometimes you even wonder whether having a coach even matters around here. ”

Everyone knew all along that he was set up to fail. Everyone knew they told him he™d have the pieces to compete “ until they decided not to touch the roster or spend a dime after draft night. Everyone knew they told him he can choose who gets to play, until they told him who has to play. Everyone knew they told him it that wins really wouldn™t matter “ until they would matter. Everyone knew they told him he™d learn to live without Vince, but that he should still figure out how to win a two-minute game without his only closer.

If Thorn is honest about why they™re in this ditch, he™ll admit that it™s ownership “ not the coach “ who has ordered him to sit on his wallet and dump his best players for inferior or less durable talents.

It™s ownership “ not the coach “ that has this team entombed in a cement slab on the side of a highway rather than a vibrant, state-of-the-sport facility that could actually generate some excitement.

And it™s ownership “ not the coach — that is messing with Thorn™s legacy, and don™t think that part doesn™t irritate everyone who reveres The Boss inside the organization and around the NBA.

In fact, we should not be asking Thorn why it™s time for a new coach, but whether it™s time for a new guy in the corner office, because the current occupant has been tainted by every regressive move enforced since 2004.

11.28.09

‘Toine : Not Merely Sucky At Shot Selection/Financial Planning, But A Slumlord To Boot

Posted in Basketball, The Marketplace at 6:51 pm by

Former Celtics F Antoine Walker made the papers this summer after being charged with passing bad checks in an attempt to pay gambling debts. Sadly, that’s a slightly more pleasant portrait of ‘Toine compared to the following story by the Chicago Tribune’s Antonio Olivio, who reports Walker’s real estate companies — Walker Ventures LLC and AW Reality LLC — have been sued and fined repeatedly over poor management of their buildings. “As (Chicago native) Walker carved a path of luxurious living from Chicago to Miami to Las Vegas, running up millions of dollars in debts to banks, casinos and at least one agent,” writes Olivio, “the company bearing his name was leaving scars on the poor, urban landscape of his youth.” (link courtesy Hot Shit College Student)

On Cornell Avenue, a 13-unit building developed a mold problem so bad that a 7-month-old boy repeatedly woke up coughing, a tenant lawsuit says. The toxic fumes and a lack of heat drove all the tenants to abandon the building, which the city declared “a hulking public nuisance” before Walker Ventures eventually lost it in a bank foreclosure.

On Minerva Avenue, another Walker Ventures building suffers from spotty electricity and a mouse and roach infestation that resulted in its failing several inspections tied to federal rent subsidies, government records show. Shoddy conditions and a problem with squatters drove most tenants away, and this month a team of city inspectors and police found several code violations, city officials said.

In Country Club Hills, raw sewage leaked from bad pipes inside a condominium owned by Walker’s AW Realty and managed by his mother, Diane Walker, according to a Cook County lawsuit that described how the leak destroyed the unit below.

“This is your property and you’re supposed to be somebody?” demanded Kywanna Leftridge, 29, who lost most of her belongings and had to move temporarily into a homeless shelter with her son, 13, after her apartment in the Prairie Avenue building flooded. “It was horrible.”

Walker appeared ready to take his lumps when contract by the Tribune (“I would like to humbly apologize to everyone who has been affected by the failings of my company,”), though it would be very unfortunate if he’s the only figure in the hoops world to suffer extreme embarrassment from his landlord biz.

MIke Penner, RIP

Posted in Sports Journalism at 6:43 pm by

Mike Penner, a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles TImes sports department became the subject of considerable scrutiny some 30 months ago when he publicly announced his intention to undergo gender reassignment and continue writing under the name Christine Daniels. With minor fanfare, Penner returned to working for the Times in October, 2008 under his male name, causing at least one branch of the blogosphere to suggest the whole male-to-female thing was an elaborate career move.

Earlier today, LA Now’s Shelby Grad reported the following ;

Colleagues said today that Penner was found dead at his Los Angeles home and that suicide was the suspected cause of death. He was 52.

“He was one of the most talented writers I’ve ever worked with,” said Times Sports Editor Mike James, adding that Penner covered numerous beats including the National Football League and sports media during his more than two-decade-long career at the paper.

“He was a gentle man, a kind man,” James said. “It’s just a tragedy.”

‘Sheed – Enough WIth The Flopping

Posted in Basketball at 6:27 pm by

(cake pic taken from—where else? === Need For ‘Sheed)

Not only did I miss the D-League’s Austin Toros winning their season opener last night while watching Rayon Beach make their Trailer Space debut, but I also didn’t catch Rasheed Wallace scoring 15 points off the bench in Boston’s defeat of Toronto.  Never one to mince words, ‘Sheed took issue with a 2nd quarter foul drawn by the floptastic Hedo Turkoglu, with the following post-game protest occurring hours after Wallace was teed-up by Ed Malloy.  From the Boston Globe’s Frank Dell’Apa :

œI didn™t use no profanity, I just said, ˜He™s a flopper,™ ™™ Wallace said after Boston™s 116-113 victory at TD Garden. œAnd [Malloy] gave me a tech for that. The league should make that a rule – flopping.

œIt™s not like I threw my shoulder into him, or it was a hard push, or real hard contact. Come on, now. Showing on a pick, I™m already there, he touches me – ˜Ohh,™ he acts like I shot him or something. ˜Ohh.™ That™s not basketball, man, that™s not defense, that™s garbage, that™s what it is.™™

Paul Pierce and coach Doc Rivers also were hit with technicals, following a Pierce dunk early in the fourth quarter that sent the Raptors™ Chris Bosh sprawling.

œIt™s watered down, with all that flopping [stuff],™™ Wallace said.

œThey set rules on us to the point where you™re taunting. When Paul dunked it and then, Paul didn™t say nothing, he just looked at him. Let The Golden Child do that or one of the NBA [Basketball] Without Borders kids do that and it™s all fine and dandy.™™

Asked if he was referring to Cleveland™s LeBron James, Wallace said, œTake a guess,™™.

John Daly Gives Thanks That Someone Else in Golf Fucked Up

Posted in Golf, The Law, Wine at 12:49 pm by

AKA Otis Campbell

[John Daly, pictured, skeptical of the news that he wasn’t in any way involved with the Tiger Woods car crash.  Daly’s attorneys are demanding it in writing.]

By now, the Internets have pretty much covered the late night Thanksgiving Day car crash involving Tiger Woods and his wife “rescuing” him with a golf club upside the head his Escalade.  Rumors of infidelity, domestic violence, etc abound.  CSTB is happy to traffic in all that.  But this Thanksgiving Weekend, let’s not forget to congratulate CSTB frequent content provider “ at least as far as feeding GC endless excuses to quote Dean Wormer’s “fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son” line “ and PGA champ, John Daly. It was a year or so ago in October ’08 that Daly had passed out in front of North Carolina Hooters.  Cheap, low brow laughs were had at his expense, for instance, here at CSTB.

11 months later, Daly woke up on a Friday morning evening and read about a golf related car accident and late night club battering that Did Not Involve Him.  After double-checking with his attorneys and local Circle K and Hooters security cam footage of himself that back up this wild claim, it looks like Daly is in the clear.

It’s about a month until 2009 ends, the year of John Daly’s comeback.  I for one welcome a world where Tiger Woods spends a year as a billionaire screw-up and John Daly reigns as golf’s cracker champ.  But only a year, as I don’t think either man could keep up the other’s pace.

11.27.09

Michael Grange – Angling For A Mention In Iverson’s Hall Of Fame Speech

Posted in Basketball at 5:11 pm by

While Allen Iverson’s mooted retirement has been met with howls of protest from former coaches John Thompson and Larry Brown, the Globe & Mail’s Michael Grange refuses to join the chorus hailing the game’s most prolific small scorer. Calling Iverson “a minor NBA figure”, Grange castigates A.I. as having “thrived only if enough role players could be assembled to buy into his me-first version of basketball”.

I suppose you can make the case that he deserves some respect for his determined individualism as the first NBA star to fully embrace tattoos, braids and what that symbolized. I have nothing against that, obviously. Freedom of expression is a good thing and if he forced the dominant culture to be more tolerant, aware or understanding of a certain strain of black culture that™s worth while.

But it™s also worth noting that he was paid, not prosecuted, for his choices, which makes the trail-blazing attributes a bit hollow “ we™re not talking Muhammad Ali here.

But in a basketball sense? Take away one magical year in Philly when an entire organization genuflected for his benefit and were rewarded with one Finals appearance thanks to a watered-down Eastern Conferece “ Philly was the only team not to lose at least 30 games that year — and what did he really accomplish?

He otherwise never made it out of the second round of the playoffs. When he left Denver the Nuggets made it to the Western Conference final; when he arrived in Detroit the Pistons got swept in the first round, missing the Eastern Conference final for the first time in six season; of course by then Iverson had already quit the team.