Archive for the ‘Sports’

Ronda Rousey Could Be Headlining WWE WrestleMania 32

March 30, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The worlds of WWE and the UFC have converged once again. This time these two juggernauts are spinning around the axis of Ronda Rousey. What’s next for the UFC champ after locking up the arm of the Billion Dollar Princess?

Rousey has been hanging around the WWE for several months now, so seeing Rousey at ringside cheering for her friends at WrestleMania 31 was expected. Seeing Rousey inside of the WWE ring judo-tossing one of the members of the Board of Directors was not. Where in the world is this going and how this story will end is what everyone is talking about today.

The latest reports coming out are that Rousey’s appearance inside of the ring at a WrestleMania will not be isolated to San Francisco. Most reports are putting Rousey back in a WrestleMania ring next year in Dallas, Texas at 32. While everything is just pure speculation at this point, Rousey headlining WrestleMania 32 would be Vince McMahon’s biggest coup since signing Mike Tyson in 1998.

Dave Meltzer reported on his podcast that Rousey is expected to be a part of WrestleMania 32. Dave reports that it is pure speculation right now but Rousey will either be in Rock’s corner vs. Triple H or teaming with Rock against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. Just having Ronda on the show will be huge, but actually getting her in a wrestling ring is a great start in making WrestleMania 32 the biggest ever.

The plan going into next year is to make WrestleMania 32 the biggest Mania of all-time. I wasn’t sure how you did that a week ago with the current roster. Yet the picture is much clearer today with Ronda in the mix and Brock re-signed. The WWE will have a lot of seats to fill in Jerry World and the intrigue of seeing the most popular UFC star teaming with the most popular pro wrestling star certainly doesn’t hurt.

The wild card here has always been Dana White. The UFC president has been adamant against his fighters doing pro wrestling. Even undercard guys like Tom Lawlor can’t wrestle in a pro wrestling ring. Vince McMahon has tried to make deals with White in the past. The most well-known was back when Brock was UFC champion and he wanted to book Brock vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania. White shut that down and even invitation from Vince for White to “fight” McMahon at Mania. Why has the UFC president shifted his position all of the sudden?

I think it benefits everyone. The UFC is at a place now where there will be no confusion with fans seeing one of its biggest stars doing pro wrestling. The UFC is also coming off of a disappointing year. While 2015 has been great thus far for the company, there aren’t a whole lot of big fights left on the horizon. Anderson Silva and GSP are probably done, at least in 2015. He already saw the kind of money Brock drew with pro wrestling fans. Bringing those same fans back to watch Ronda is a stroke of genius on his part.

The UFC has to be getting something here. It can’t be purely money or this deal would have been done years ago. My first thought was CM Punk. Punk hates the WWE and he isn’t coming back. However, maybe White uses the WWE to promote Punk’s UFC debut? Maybe the WWE offer up footage for the UFC to use to promote Punk? My hunch and it is only a hunch, is that somehow this is paid off with Punk. I wouldn’t expect to see Punk on WWE television promoting his fight but you never know. Stranger things have happened but that one would be really strange.

At the end of the day Vince McMahon got his man and his woman. He re-signed Brock and was able to do the unthinkable and that is get Ronda Rousey in a WWE ring at WrestleMania. It’s a win-win for everyone and it will only get better as we get closed to WrestleMania 32.

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Results: Seth Rollins Cashes In, Ronda Rousey Appears

March 29, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins WrestleMania 31Expectations for WrestleMania 31 may have been low, yet the show will go down as one of the most exciting in recent years. This year’s event was packed with surprises ranging from surprise appearances and a new WWE world champion that wasn’t even scheduled in the match.

Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new WWE world champion. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns fought a grueling match for about fifteen minutes. A bloody Brock and beaten Reigns were down when Rollins cashed in to make it a Triple Threat Match. Rollins came in and curb stomped Brock but wound up getting Rollins up for the F5. Reigns speared Brock as he held Rollins. Rollins popped up, hit a curb stomp on Reigns and pinned Reigns to win the title.

The booking was excellent and while many predicted Rollins would cash in, nobody predicted it would go down in this fashion. Quite honestly I never knew you could cash in the briefcase during the match. I think it was the right move at the right time. Putting Reigns over would have been a mistake. He was booed more than any other babyface tonight including John Cena. The crowd just isn’t buying him right now. It was also time to take the title off of Lesnar. I don’t know what would marketable match would be next for him if he steamrolled another opponent. Now the WWE can go with Rollins vs. Reigns through August and Rollins vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam for the title.

But that may not be the biggest surprise of the event. The biggest surprise was getting UFC Ronda Rousey in the ring for what appears to be the start of her pro wrestling career. Rousey got physical with both Stephanie McMahon and Triple H to set up what looks like to be a mixed-tag team match with Rousey and the Rock vs. Hunter and Stephanie. Rock came out as a surprise and interrupted a promo with the Authority. Stephanie slapped him and challenged him to hit a woman. He went to ringside and got a woman who “would hit a woman.” Steph told Ronda to get out of her ring, Ronda wound up putting an arm bar on Steph and stood tall with Rock. Rousey was great and the fans absolutely loved her. They were chanting her name before she even got into the ring.

It does appear that Rock and Rousey will tag up against Hunter and Stephanie next year at WrestleMania 32. The WWE were looking for something big for AT&T Stadium and the dream team of Rousey and Rock may do it. They are already generating a ton of mainstream media buzz. I have to hand it to the WWE. They have wanted Rousey for a while now and they pulled off quite a coup to get her. UFC president Dana White has been adamant against fighters doing pro wrestling for years, including prohibiting Brock wrestling Undertaker when Brock was UFC champion. Obviously he has acquiesced and my bet is that the compromise will be WWE promoting CM Punk’s UFC debut. I have no idea whether that is the case or not, but Dana had to get something big in return for Rousey wrestling on WrestleMania.

Triple H defeated Sting in a pretty fun match. It wasn’t the best match on the card and really hurt following what I thought was a fantastic Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins match. But Sting looked great, the fans ate it up, and we got some fun surprises here. The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac came out to help Triple H and were countered by the n.W.o. group of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. The match ended with Shawn Michaels coming out of nowhere to hit Sting with Sweet Chin Music. Triple H eventually got the pin after using the broken top of a sledgehammer. Everyone hugged after the match signifying the official end of the Monday Night War.

John Cena beat Rusev to win the US title. I am stunned by the decision here. I have no problem with Cena but I think Rusev should have remained unbeaten until he lost to the WWE champion. I think the WWE could have had something with Rusev against either Brock or the WWE champion and while those could still do business, it’s not the same. Rusev ran into Lana inadvertently at the end of the match. Lana was selling her ankle and Rusev yelled at her and walked out.

Undertaker beat Bray Wyatt. I’d say that Undertaker looked a lot better than last year. He moved much better and it was fun seeing him back in the ring. That said, the match was pretty mundane. That could be that I had already watched four hours of wrestling up to that point and just got out of what seemed like an hour-long segment with Rock and Rousey vs. the Authority. I should note that Undertaker was shown in the commercial promoting WrestleMania 32.

Other notes: Daniel Bryan won gold again at WrestleMania. Bryan won the intercontinental title in the Ladder Match. This was a real fun match and probably one of the better Mania openers. This was a pretty crazy match but it was Bryan and Dolph Ziggler who stole it in my opinion. Randy Orton pinned Seth Rollins in what I’d dare say was one of the best Mania matches on the card. I loved the match and it obviously sets up Orton challenging Rollins at some point coming off of the clean pin.

Overall I would call this one of the best Mania cards top to bottom in some time. The show had a ton of surprise and the pace was fast throughout the night. Five hours of wrestling is a lot of wrestling in one sitting but it really didn’t catch up until the Wyatt vs. Taker match at around 10 PM. I’d highly recommend checking out the show if you haven’t already. For a show with low expectations, this one could go down top to bottom as one of the all-time best in Mania history.

Full WWE WrestleMania 31 results and winners…
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat Match to win the  WWE World Heavyweight Title
John Cena defeated Rusev to win the WWE United States Title
Daniel Bryan defeated Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Stardust, and Bad News Barrett in a Ladder Match to win the WWE Intercontinental Title
Triple H defeated Sting
AJ Lee and Paige defeated The Bella Twins
Randy Orton defeated Seth Rollins
The Undertaker defeated Bray Wyatt
The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd  defeated The Usos, Los Matadores, and Big E and Kofi Kingston in a Fatal 4 Way to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles

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Brock Lesnar Re-Signs With WWE, Retires From MMA

March 24, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Vince McMahon got his man! WWE world champion Brock Lesnar has signed a new deal with the WWE which will keep him around after WrestleMania. The new deal has also shut down any chance we’ll see Brock in the UFC ever again.

The news came Tuesday night on ESPN Sportscenter. Brock appeared on the program to announce his future. It was there that Brock broke the news that made lots of pro wrestling fans very happy, while disappointing those interested in seeing a Lesnar vs. Frank Mir trilogy.

“Last night, old Vince McMahon put on the offer on the table that I couldn’t refuse. It really comes down to business and money and health and well being, I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve been in a bad position with my health. I’ve been in a bad position with my money. Now I’m in a great position with both and I’m happy. I love what I’m doing. I work part time with full time pay like everybody wants but you can’t have. Just me. So I’m happy.”

It was widely reported that Monday night was a self-imposed deadline for Vince McMahon to get a new deal with Brock done. Vince reportedly wanted to lock up Brock before he hit free agency but more importantly, before Brock walked into WrestleMania as a lame duck champion. The new deal opens up a lot of possibilities regarding the WrestleMania main-event.

Brock spoke more about his decision not to return to the UFC as opposed to why he re-signed with the WWE. Lesnar just felt he had nothing to prove and his heart was not in a return to the octagon.

“For the last two months I’ve been training, I’ve been training to get back in the Octagon. I felt physically great, but something lacked mentally,” Lesnar revealed. “That’s not good. I talked to (UFC president) Dana (White), I talked to (CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta), I talked to my wife, I talked to my friends. I had many sleepless nights on what to do. At the end of the day, it weighed heavily in my heart I was born to be an entertainer. I have fun doing it.

I could go back to the Octagon — what am I going to gain? I was the UFC heavyweight champion of the world. Due to my illness my career got cut short, and that’s God’s telling you it’s time to move on. As years went by it wore on me so much that the fighter inside of me didn’t want it to end that way. I didn’t want to leave the UFC on a losing streak. That’s just the competitive guy inside me.

You can’t force somebody to get into the cage and fight. That’s not the business,” Lesnar said. “That’s where I was. Was my heart and my head really into it? What are the reasons I want to get in there? Because I don’t like the way it ended or really what is it?”

“At the end of the day, I’m really happy where I’m at with the WWE.”

Lesnar is happy with his decision. “The older you get, the wiser you become and I didn’t want to be that guy that retired and came back. So there was a lot of different things that went through my mind. This was a long, heartfelt decision. You weigh out the pros, you weigh out the cons,” Lesnar said.

But what about Lesnar’s next contract negotiation? According to the WWE champ, that dance is over.

I’m officially closing the door on MMA,” Lesnar said. “It was hard. I re-signed last night with the WWE. We came to a conclusion last night. The offer on the table, I just could not refuse.”

This is a huge coup for the WWE. For starters, losing Brock to the UFC would have been a public relations disaster. With CM Punk and Brock going to the UFC, shareholders would have had a cause to be concerned. Two, the scene at WrestleMania could have been downright ugly. We already saw how that worked out at WrestleMania XX when the fans knew Brock was leaving. Third and I think most importantly, Brock is now available for WrestleMania 32. Vince McMahon has a lot of seats to fill in Dallas, TX. Having Brock on the roster opens up all kinds of possibilities for big matches with The Rock, Steve Austin, or even an Undertaker rematch. Without Brock, the WWE would have had a very difficult time booking something special in Texas next year. Quite frankly I think WrestleMania 32 was really the driving factor here.

WrestleMania 31 just got real interesting.

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CM Punk Talks Chances of WWE Return, Regrets, and More

March 23, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk may wish to put his WWE career behind him but it will always be a topic of conversation with the former WWE champ. Punk was recently asked about his WWE career and had some interesting reflections on the past and the future.

Punk is now removed from the WWE for over a year and training diligently for a career in the UFC. While Punk may prefer to focus on the future, his sudden departure from the WWE is still a fascinating topic. Punk recently stopped by Fox Sports Wisconsin for a Q & A that started with MMA questions but took a sharp left down the pro wrestling radio.

Punk on making the move to the UFC at this point in his life. “Because I’m not getting any younger. I’m the kind of guy that jumps at an opportunity. I’m sure you’re going to ask, and I understand all the criticism levied towards myself and UFC, but at the end of the day I’m the one getting in there, I’m the one putting my neck out on the line. If I fail, I fail in front of the entire world. To me that’s the juice, it’s all about the action. I’ve been thinking about doing it for a very, very, very long time. The opportunity presented itself, so I’d be a fool to say no.

I think it is interesting to look back at 2011 and the path Punk’s career took that summer. All of the rumors up to that point were that Punk was leaving the WWE when his contract expired. It is interesting to ponder whether Punk was seriously considering the move then. The MMA landscape was different and I am fairly certain he wouldn’t have gotten a UFC deal at that time. I am not sure if he has been asked but it is an interesting thought regarding whether he would have shifted to MMA in 2011 had he not stuck around.

Punk was then asked some WWE questions. Punk was asked whether he still watches the product. “None. I don’t watch wrestling anymore. I’ve tried to, but I have an aversion to it. You do something like that for however many years I did it, and it’s like a lifetime. I’ve seen enough.

The interviewer jokes, “So no NXT for you then?” Punk responds, ” No, no. I lived it.”

That is a very common answer I hear among former pro wrestlers who retired. Many don’t watch it anymore and why would they? It was their job and Punk has obviously lost his passion for it. He does mention that he’ll watch his wife’s matches when she recommends them.

Punk was asked whether the WWE was his dream job when he signed and he offers an interesting answer. “I signed in ’05. My dream job was always wrestling in Japan. I looked up to guys like Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen. I was huge All Japan Wrestling guy, so a guy like Kobashi. I loved Eddie Guerrero, because they were stars in a foreign land. There’s something about that that appealed to me. I liked the style a lot better than American wrestling, or WWF at the time. That was my dream job. That’s what I always wanted to do, was go over there, wrestle for four weeks, come home for two weeks, go there for five weeks, come home for one week. That was the dream. But the way things work, your goals change and your priorities change and I had already gotten to a level where I thought I needed to prove that I could draw money. And the only way to do that, because foreigners aren’t really given a chance in Japan, was to go to WWE.

What is interesting about that answer is that Punk was always using the WWE to get to Japan, or so he says. It certainly adds context to him leaving and being burnt out when that wasn’t necessarily his end goal. It does make you wonder though whether Punk would entertain a modified schedule working for a Japanese company. Of course the Japanese landscape was much different in 2005 and the timing wouldn’t have worked out for him if that was his goal.

Punk was then asked whether he regretted signing with the WWE. “Well, yeah, of course. Like I said, I don’t live my life with regrets. I don’t even think there’s really situations where I wish I would’ve handled myself a little bit differently. I wish I would’ve punched one or two people in the face. But, no, I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Absolutely not.

Punk was asked about the chances of ever working in the WWE again? “Zero.

I would recommend reading the entire interview as Punk offers more insight into his WWE departure, highs and lows, UFC preparation, and more pro wrestling talk than he has engaged in anywhere else since the Colt Cabana podcast.

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ESPN 30 for 30 I Hate Christian Laettner Documentary Review

March 20, 2015 By: Category: NCAA Basketball, Sports

Welcome to my new blog, NCAA College Basketball fans. March Madness 2015 has arrived. Fans, their co-workers, bosses, families, friends, and the family pets all will have their brackets at the ready. This year’s #1 Seed that everyone is watching is the University of Kentucky Wildcats, coached by John Calipari.

As one who lives in Lexington, KY, I know all too well how crazy the fans of Wildcats are about their team. The local media is almost as insane. The Cats win, it’s a big party. The Cats lose even a regular game, it’s the end of the world. Anyway, this year, Coach Calipari has the team undefeated, so it will be interesting to see if Calipari and his team can finish the job.

Did I happen to mention that UK fans are crazy about their Wildcats? They’re so crazy to the point that they hold grudges against certain rival teams and certain players? I mean, they have such a hatred for state rival, the University of Louisville Cardinals. They really hated the Cardinals Basketball team when former UK Head Coach Rick Patino was hired. They never forgave Coach Patino either. They hate teams from the University of North Carolina.

Well, there is one particular team that the University of Kentucky fans hate, and that is Duke University, and their Duke Blue Devils. The specific player, who was on said Duke Blue Devils happens to be Christian Laettner, the center for the Duke University Blue Devils from 1988-1992, who was the subject of the newly shown ESPN 30 FOR 30 film, “I HATE CHRISTIAN LAETTNER.”

The film, which I will be reviewing in this blog, contains one specific play concerning the Kentucky Wildcats, which still angers Wildcats fans, and many others, to this day. The film also goes in depth as to why UK fans were not the ONLY people who were not very fond of Laettner. The film also goes into Laettner’s personal background, and explores reasons why he was hated when he played for Duke, and why he’s still hated today. I hope that my readers will enjoy the review.

After watching the debut airing of “I Hate Christian Laettner, ” this past Sunday, March 15th, and a re-airing on YouTube, overall, I felt that the film was excellent. Director Rory Karpf and narrator, actor and heartthrob Rob Lowe did a very good job of telling the story of Chris Laettner’s story. Karpf used footage of Laettner’s playing days, interviews with Laettner himself, Laettner’s family, former teammates, former opponents, and others. I got a pretty clear picture also, as to why he was hated so much. At the same time, I also learned some things that gave me pause.

The film went into five main reasons why Christian Laettner was hated. I’m not going to get into huge detail concerning each one, but I thought that four made some sense. They were the following: His preppy image, his good looks, playing for Duke, and his brashness on the court. There was one reason that I didn’t like, his being white.

The viewer learns that even though Laettner had this prep boy image, and was portrayed as this perfect, squeaky clean guy, it turns out that he came from a working class background, in Buffalo, New York . He actually had to earn a Scholarship to a nearby prep school to play basketball, as his family could not afford it. At the family home, one of his chores was to clean up the horse stalls, according to one of his sisters. I didn’t even know all this.

In speaking of having a preppy image, that is just one the reasons why people hated Duke University, and their Blue Devils, and still hate them, per the film. People just hated the University because of the academic programs and the perception that the Duke students thought they were better than anyone else. This attitude spread to the Basketball team, and Christian Laettner, with his basketball prowess, combined with that intense hatred, became the face of Duke. Folks thought all of his teammates were a bunch of preppies, and came from well to do families. The reality was, as the film emphasizes, Grant Hill was the only one who fit the stereotype.

On top of all this, what also got under people’s collective skin is the fact that Duke won. During Laettner’s time at Duke, the team won two Men’s NCAA Championships. The team was a perennial winner. It was seen as a powerhouse that people wanted to see toppled, like the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, and the New England Patriots. People were tired of seeing Duke win all the time, and Christian Laettner was the focus of it.

The film points out that not only was Laettner a great player, he was a very aggressive and brash player. Even in prep school, he would elbow another player. While at Duke, he’d get into opponents’ heads by giving elbows. The film showed Laettner cutting someone’s face up. Players who were interviewed said he was one of the greatest trash talkers in the game, and another said he went after Laettner for throwing a punch.

Of course, there’s the infamous tap on the chest during the 1992 East Regional Finals against the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Richie Farmer of the Wildcats pushed Laettner’s face into the basket stanchion. Laettner said in the film that he THOUGHT it was Aminu Timberlake. At the opposite end, after contesting for a basket, he saw Timberlake laying on the floor. Well, Laettner stomped on Timberlake’s chest. Laettner got a technical, but wasn’t ejected, which upset many people. He should have been ejected, but as most fans know, the stars get the calls. The rules are supposed to be for everyone, but sadly, stars get away with more. Anyway, as people already know, the game ended when Grant Hill threw the ball in, and Laettner hits the buzzer beating winning shot.

Laettner was a handful with his teammates at Duke as well. Laettner would tease and torment Bobby Hurley. In the film, Hurley discussed how Laettner would yell at him all the time, during games. Coach Michael Krzyzewski said that Laettner was a handful during pickup games. The film went back to Laettner’s childhood, where the viewer learns that Laettner’s older brother would bully Christian. It sounds to me like Laettner’s older brother set the tone for him to be a bit of a bully.

Another reason why Laettner was so hated was his good looks. The film discusses how Laettner would be making sure his hair looked good during games. He was popular amongst the ladies. At the same time, he was this brash, brute of a basketball player. The film went into how the two images clashed against one another, and how the hate against Laettner was so bad, that it led to the false gay rumors about him , when he bought his friend and fellow teammate a car.

The film also goes into his being white. This is the area that bothered me. I understood the point the filmmakers were trying to make. They were trying to make the point that during the 90s, Hip-hop and African American culture were both just starting to become popular, and since Christian Laettner was white , he and his teammates represented the establishment. There was also discussion of how the UNLV Rough Riders and the University of Michigan “Fab Five” were very influential with the youth. The Duke teams were seen as the right way to play the game, and the Rough Riders were seen as more physical.

My problem was that I think that the film could have made the point was that Laettner was counter cultural without saying his race was a reason for people hating him. Can we get past using race as a reason, already? I didn’t see what skin color had to do with it. What I did find interesting was that his teammates said that he enjoyed listening to hip-hop, and loved his teammates, etc. That told me that he was just a regular guy on the team, and liked a lot of the same things that was popular as well.

The film also pointed out that whether you loved Laettner or not, the man was one of the greatest college basketball players ever. The man was clutch. The film showed Laettener manhandling Alonzo Mourning, and out hustling Shaquille O’Neal. The film also showed Laettner hitting free throws to deny UNLV an undefeated season. As the saying goes, ” That man could ball.” Even in the controversial game against Kentucky, Laettner was perfect. Every shot was going in, even before the “stomp.” Even though, Laettner didn’t have a great NBA career, but one can’t deny he had a great college basketball career.

Overall, I highly recommend you checking out “I Hate Christian Laettner,” as I’m sure it will be repeated many times. I think fans will be surprised how much they’ll learn about Laettner. I learned that he was a superb athlete, and a better person than I thought. Of course, I am sure there will be fans who will always hate Duke and Laettner, no matter if you watch the film or not.

Brayden Schenn leads Flyers past Wings

March 14, 2015 By: Category: NHL, Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers welcomed in the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon. The Red Wings had not won a regular season game in Philadelphia since Jan. 25, 1997. They continued their losing streak as the Flyers showed their scoring prowess in a convincing 7-2 victory.

The Flyers would get things started on a power play in the first period. Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader would be sent off for hooking. Claude Giroux would win the ensuing faceoff to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Giroux, Mark Streit and Jakub Voracek would play a little catch before Streit would fire a shot from the point. It was deflected in front for the team’s first goal of the game. The goal was originally credited to Brayden Schenn, but was later changed to Wayne Simmonds.

The Flyers next goal came from quite the unlikely source. Sean Couturier took the puck out of the defensive zone and skated it up ice. As the defense began to surround Couturier, he sent to puck over to Nick Grossmann. Grossmann, with an open lane, snapped a shot past goaltender Jimmy Howard to give the Flyers the 2-0. It was Grossmann’s fifth goal in 56 games; he only had five total goals in 463 games entering the season.

The Red Wings would get one on the board early in the second period. Henrik Zetterberg sent a long pass out of his defensive zone to an umarked Abdelkader. The winger broke in alone on goaltender Steve Mason and sent the puck between his pads to cut the Flyers lead to 2-1. This would be the closest Detroit would get though.

The Flyers would capitalize on another power play later in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk was sent to the box for a rare penalty, his first in 332 games in fact. Giroux took the original shot from the left circle that was stopped by Howard. Simmonds took a whack at the rebound which was also stopped, but Brayden Schenn was able to lunge forward and push the puck into the back of the net.

Philadelphia would open things up in the third period with four goals. A familiar name would get a goal just 11 seconds into the period. Voracek took the puck into the offensive zone where his shot was stopped by Howard. Voracek was able to hop on the rebound and threw it into the slot where Schenn would pot his second of the afternoon to put the Flyers up 4-1.

Later on in the period, Detroit would turn the puck over in their zone. Zac Rinaldo would make a nice backhand pass to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the slot. Bellemare would snap a shot over Howard’s glove to increase the Flyers lead to 5-1.

The Red Wings would get one back as Eric Cole would get his first since being traded over to Detroit. On the power play, Mark Zidlicky fired a shot from the blue line that Cole would tip past Mason to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Flyers would finish things off by scoring a pair of goals just 38 seconds apart. Matt Read would get another Flyers power play goal and Rinaldo would score his first goal of the season to give the Flyers the 7-2 victory.

The Flyers seven goals tied a season-high for the team. Brayden Schenn finished with two goals and an assist for this third two-goal game.

“Brayden played an unbelievable game. He deserved that. He was everywhere on the ice.” Teammate Wayne Simmonds said.

Goaltender Steve Mason made 31 saves in the game. The Flyers scored two more goals in the game than the five they had in the past four games combined.

“It’s nice to help Mase out for once,” Schenn said. “. . . It just gives confidence to everyone.”

The Flyers will head out on a four game road trip that starts Sunday night against the Ottawa Senators. Puck-drop is set for 7 p.m.

A Crazy NFL Free Agent Offseason

March 14, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Well, my readers, after a two month absence to take care of some personal and health issues, I am back writing for Camelclutchblog. I apologize for my absence, and I appreciate your patience. Sometimes things in life need to be handled, and I needed to take care of myself. Anyway, I am back, and ready to go, so let’s get started.

In this blog, I will be giving my takes on this rather crazy NFL off season. I will touch on topics such as the aftermath of the Super Bowl, the NFL investigations, Free Agency, and more. I can’t stress enough how happy I am to bee back. I hope you enjoy this blog.

First off, I want to congratulate the New England Patriots for winning their fourth Lombardi Trophy, and QB Tom Brady on his third SB MVP Award. Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks for a great season, and their valiant effort to defend their title. As soon as the clock ran down to 0:00, the 2015 NFL off season started. Much of the off season discussion started with “the Call.”

Everyone knows by now that the Seahawks called for QB Russell Wilson to throw on 2nd and goal, instead of handing the ball off to RB Marshawn Lynch. What happened? Patriots CB Malcolm Butler, an undrafted rookie, intercepted the ball, and that’s all she wrote. There was so much debate over this. The experts, fans, and celebrities were going crazy. I mean, when the Patriots were backed up in their own endzone with 20 seconds to go, did it occur to these keyboard warriors that the Seahawks still had a shot? The Seahawks could have induced a fumble, or a fumbled snap could have occurred. Of course, Michael Bennett commits a huge penalty, which totally blew any last shot the team might have had. That is my take on that.

The next item on the agenda is the laundry list of NFL investigations of several teams concerning different issues. The Atlanta Falcons are being looked at for pumping in crowd noise. The Cleveland Browns are being investigated over text messages allegedly being sent by GM Ray Farmer to the sidelines. The New England Patriots are being investigated for allegedly tampering with footballs. The Miami Dolphins are about to be investigated for violating the rules of the “legal tampering ” period of Free Agency. Now, the New York Jets, along with their fellow AFC East rivals, are also being investigated for allegedly tampering with then Patriots CB Darrelle Revis.

Let’s start with the Browns and the Falcons . GM Ray Farmer pretty much fell on the sword. He confessed at the Scouting Combine that he “did it,” and ” it was all his fault.” The question is how will they’ll be punished. ( The Atlanta Falcons are being looked at for supposedly pumping in fake crowd noise. Now, this is rich. Where have we football fans heard these allegations before, but they concern ANOTHER team that exists in America’s Heartland? Sounds like the Falcons ,not that I am condoning it, might be paying for the alleged sins of another team.

The Patriots are being investigated for a crime that is worse than murder, at least that’s how it’s being portrayed by ESPN, some folks on NFL Network, and many Patriot/Tom Brady haters on their keyboards. The crime is allegedly tampering with their footballs. The KEY word for these keyboard warriors to understand is “tampering.” That is what Ted Wells and his crack investigators must PROVE. Once this particular case is over, I will have a lot more to say.

As for the latest investigation into the Miami Dolphins, you have got to be kidding me. Why have legal tampering in the first place? I mean, many of the teams announced that they had deals in place, and if you went to the NFL’s own Instagram, the NFL posted the logo of the new team on the player’s image. Am I missing something? It’s like allowing 32 puppies to play on your favorite carpet, and then get mad when one of them does his/her business on it.

The NFL, after the deal between Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets was finished, are going to investigate the Jets for tampering with Revis while he was a member of the Patriots . On December 29, 2014, while Revis was a member of the Patriots, Jets Owner Woody Johnson, made a statement during a news conference, in answer to a question, that he would “love to have Revis back here [with the New York Jets]. He made the statement, despite being warned by his own advisors that Revis was on another team. He told them that “he was going to do it anyway.” ( My take on this is that it should be an open and shut case. I don’t care which two teams are involved. If this were Giants/Cowboys, Vikings/Bears, or whomever, it’s tampering. However, since the NFL is so hell-bent on finding out how footballs got tampered with, I seriously doubt that they’re going to put that much effort into this case, considering the two teams involved.

Now, let’s discuss this crazy Free Agency, since a lot of teams are wheeling and dealing. Let me start with Darelle Revis going back to the Jets. Can everyone CALM DOWN? Here’s my take. Revis is being Revis. He’s a great player. I am not disputing that. However, he has always bet on himself. He knows he’s a great player, and wants to be paid like one. He wanted to return to the Jets. His heart was there.

As for the Patriots, are they hurt by this? I’d be lying if I said they aren’t, at least on paper. However, I am not buying all this gloom and doom from the so-called experts, prognosticators of doom, and keyboard warriors. The Patriots are NOT going to overpay for a CB that is 30 years old. They’re just not. Did the team get a ring with him? Yes. Did Revis get a ring with them? Yes. Both sides got what they wanted.

Besides, for panicking Patriots fans, during the Divisional Round game against the Ravens, the defense and Revis didn’t have a great game. It was Brady, Julian Edelman, and Gronkowski who had to bail the team out. If not for them, Patriots fans would complain about another failed season. Besides, it appears that folks have forgotten how Coach Belichick built the team last year. He picked up key available players like Akeem Ayers, Brandon Browner, and the like. Yes, those players, along with Revis are gone. Don’t worry. Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft know what they’re doing.

In speaking of the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, they ARE making moves. They restructured WR Danny Amendola’s contract. Amendola was awesome last season, especially down the stretch and in the Super Bowl. They signed former Buffalo Bills TE Scott Chandler. Chandler will add depth to the team’s Tight End core, and would be a good physical target for Brady. They signed FA DE Jabaal Sheard from the Browns to shore up their pass rush. The team still will make moves from now through the draft, through the regular season. Coach Belichick knows what to do. The Patriots still have Tom Brady. The Patriots will be OK.

As for the Jets, they got their man back. I see that they got Antonio Cromartie back. The Jets already excellent defense will be that much better. I’m sure new Head Coach Todd Bowles will like that. Of course, like the 1970’s glam rock band, KISS, the Jets are trying to put the defensive band back together. We saw how great it was, at least personel-wise, for KISS.

The offense is still a concern. The addition of WR Brandon Marshall and QB Patrick Fitzgerald are a help, of sorts. The question is, to what extent? Marshall is a very good wide receiver, but he’s a ticking time bomb. I’d be wary of him in the locker room. The QBs in the Jets locker room, even with the addition of Fitzpatrick, wouldn’t put me in the New York Groove. Fitzpatrick starts the season well, but fades late in the season.

Staying in the AFCE, the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins are also loading up. Like the Jets, it appears that they’re looking to try to knock off New England, but they tend to forget about the rest of the teams on the rest of their respective schedules. I think they have closed some of the gap, by looking at the Free Agency pick ups, but from looking at their track records, their methods are just maddening. I mean, Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross just rolled up the Brinks truck to Ndamukong Suh, and is paying him like an elite QB. Can Suh play offense? Yes, he and Cameron Wake will be a force, but I’ll be interested in seeing if it will be worth putting all that money into one players. They just traded for WR Kenny Stills, but do they really trust their QB? Ever since Dan Marino retired, the Dolphins are STILL trying to replace him.

The Buffalo Bills are building up their defense. However, they do have a new head coach. He’s a familiar face to the AFC East, former Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan. Everyone knows that he’s obsessed with beating the New England Patriots. What else is new? The big splash he made this Free Agency was acquiring former Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy.

The AFC East has been interesting this Free Agency period. However, there are other teams that are doing some crazy things that need some attention, starting with the Eagles. What is Head Coach/GM Chip Kelly doing? Is he trying to turn the team into the Philadelphia Ducks? Many of the new players he’s acquired have played for the Oregon Ducks? Many players who have been there for awhile, such as McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin are gone. Now, the Eagles have an expensive backfield with DeMarco Murray, and Ryan Matthews, both with injury histories. Coach Kelly even traded QB Nick Foles for then Rams QB Sam Bradford, who can’t stay healthy. I just don’t see Chip Kelly’s logic.

Evidently, San Francisco 49ers Free Agent RB Frank Gore had cold feet about signing with the Eagles, as he joined Houston Texans Free Agent WR Andre Johnson in signing contracts with the Indianapolis Colts. It looks like the Colts are getting more weapons for QB Andrew Luck. As the team waived RB Trent Richardson, who was just horrible, and a waste of a 1st round draft pick, Frank Gore is a pretty decent pick up. Andre Johnson is also a good pick up as well. I wouldn’t say that both are at their prime, but they have the seniority in the locker room. They have injury histories. Both could help in getting the tough yards, but can either play defense or offensive line? Newly acquired by Todd Hermanns can use some help on the offensive line.

The San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints have me scratching my head. I know the Saints want to depend less on the aging QB Drew Brees, and become more of a running team. The team just acquired former Buffalo Bills RB C.J Spiller. I totally understand that. I didn’t expect a fire sale. They are trading away players like it’s going out of style. The Saints also are dealing with the owners and their court battle. This team is a mess.

For the San Francisco 49ers, will they even have a competitive team? Team officials parted ways with former head coach Jim Harbaugh. They have a new coach. They lost Frank Gore in Free Agency. Star LB Patrick Willis retired after 8 years. What kind of QB will Colin Kaepernick be next year? Many questions surround the team at this point. I’m looking to see what they do in the draft.

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally decided to join in on the off season festivities. They did lose Jason Worilds to retirement. They don’t have plans for SS Troy Polamalu in 2015, and they’re letting him take as much time as he needs to make a decision on his future. He’s done so much, that he does deserve that. The Steelers signed Panthers FA RB DeAngelo Williams to a 2 year contract. They also signed their star QB Ben Roethlisberger to a 5 year extension.

I think both are great moves. Williams will provide some depth, even though he does have an injury history. However, with Le’Veon Bell facing a possible 4 game suspension, I think that Williamsis work it. I like the Roethlisberger extension, even with his injury history, but the team has it’s QB. Now the team can work on getting weapons in place. They can start with a solid offensive line, in my opinion.

In conclusion, I think this off season has been quite interesting. I don’t think that Free Agency is the be-all and end-all that many fans and media think it is. After all, we are all making predictions based on paper. There’s also the draft, and I am sure folks will be changing their predictions again.

We don’t know what is going to happen when these teams with newly hired guns start practicing, never mind playing actual games. I mean, does LeCharles Bentley, a highly rated FA, and his torn patella in his first Cleveland Browns 11 on 11 practice sound familiar? I am NOT wishing injuries on anyone. I want to make that clear. I am using the Bentley example only to show that there’s no guarantee that these big moves guarantee wins.

I am just saying that the Super Bowl is not won in March, or in the off season. If it were, Washington owner Dan Snyder would have a ton of Lombardi Trophies in his office. I’m not trying to single him out, but I hope you get my point. I mean, does anyone remember the disastrous Albert Haynesworth signing? I hope you enjoyed my blog and feedback is welcome.

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Flyers late comeback pushes them past Blues

March 06, 2015 By: Category: NHL, Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers entered Thursday’s game with their playoff hopes hanging on by a thread. A third period that saw three straight Flyers goals pushed them past the Blues and gave them the 3-1 victory. The win puts the Flyers just four points back of Boston, who lost to the Calgary Flames in a shootout.

The Flyers had a few chances in the first period to open up the scoring. Wayne Simmonds would fire wide on a 2-on-1. R.J. Umberger also had a chance of his own as he rang one off the post.

It would be the Blues who would get things started in the first period. A cross-ice pass off the stick of Mark Streit, intended for Claude Giroux, was intercepted by Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko made a move into the offensive zone and sent a pass over to Jaden Schwartz at the left circle. Schwartz fired a wrist shot past goaltender Steve Mason to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.

The Flyers generated chances for the rest of the period and the second as well, but goaltender Brian Elliot stood tall. The teams would enter the third period with the Blues up 1-0. Entering the final frame, St. Louis was 25-1-2 when leading after two periods. That would all change as the Flyers would get three consecutive goals in the final frame to get the win.

Michael Del Zotto would get things started for the Flyers. Matt Read would win a battle for the puck deep in the offensive zone. He would then get the puck over to Del Zotto. Del Zotto took a step to his right before sending a slap shot that deflected off a defender and past goaltender Brian Elliot to tie the game at 1-1.

Wayne Simmonds would get the game winner for the Flyers a little less than two minutes later. Read would tip the puck past defensemen Alex Pietrangelo at center ice and skate it into the left side of the offensive zone. Read delayed a little bit as Mark Streit entered the zone off a line change. Streit took the pass from Read and sent it on net. Simmonds deflected the shot, beating Elliot to put the Flyers ahead for good.

“Reader made a great delay play and obviously Streiter jumped up in the rush. I just went to the front of the net. Nothing set up, Streiter took a shot towards the net and I just redirected it in. It was a great play all around,” Simmonds said in an interview.

Michael Raffl would ice the game with the empty-netter with about a minute to play in the third. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare cleared the puck out of the Flyers zone and found Raffl. Raffl fired the puck from the red line and into the empty net to give the Flyers the 3-1 victory.

Matt Read and Luke Schenn each collected two assists in the victory. Steve Mason made a number of big saves, especially towards the end of the game, to collect a total of 28 saves in the win. Michael Del Zotto finished with a +3 along with his goal.

The Flyers will take on the Boston Bruins on Saturday in one of their biggest games of the season.

“Don’t have to tell my team how big game is. They’re all big from here until the end of the year,” Flyers head coach Craig Berube said in an interview.

The Flyers can climb to within two points of the final wild card spot with a victory. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m.

UFC Must Make Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg

March 03, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It took a combined 60 seconds for Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg Justino to dominate their opponents this past weekend. The time for joking is over, it’s time for Rousey to either fight or face the consequences that come with avoiding her most devastating opponent.

UFC president Dana White gets credit for a lot of things but his biggest failure as promoter has been his inability to deliver big super fights. Promises are often made, yet fights are never delivered. White can turn this all around by pulling off the biggest fight in WMMA history. How he continues to let this one slip past his fingers is just simply mind boggling.

The UFC is faced with an unenviable dilemma. Does the organization sacrifice an entire division for one super fight? Those are the stakes of booking Ronda Rousey vs. Cris “Cyborg” Justino. The fight is arguably the biggest fight the promotion could pull off at this time yet the ramifications of a Rousey massacre could be devastating. Without Rousey there is no WMMA. While that may be a harsh statement to make it is a fact. Nobody else, including Cyborg is pulling the kind of mainstream attention that Rousey is. Knowing that the odds of Rousey winning a fight against Cyborg as the same as Rousey losing, this has become one tough fight for the UFC to make.

Many will give the UFC credit. Many will say that the UFC has been attempting to make this fight since Rousey debuted in 2013. That may be true but there is a catch. The UFC has been attempting to make this fight at 135. See, Cyborg fights at 145 and walks around much heavier. Rousey moved down in weight in 2011 to 135. White and Rousey have said repeatedly that they’d take the fight at 135, giving Rousey a distinct advantage. Yet Rousey has been adamant that she will not fight a pound heavier, when challenged to a catch weight fight of 140 pounds and yet she continues to use this 135 shield to avoid criticism from her promoter and MMA journalists.

Justino is not well liked and this has worked against her when it comes to critics. Many speculated that Justino was on performance enhancing drugs for years as an MMA fighter. Nobody ever gave Justino the full respect she probably deserved over this speculation. Justino has tested once for PEDs, back in 2011. Yes she has tested once in her 10-year WMMA career for PEDs and yet she has had to bare this cross before and after then. Rousey would have pressure to fight anyone else in this situation but Justino will never get that kind of support. Justino has fought three times since and has passed all PED tests.

After demolishing Cat Zingano in 14 seconds, Rousey is now being compared to Mike Tyson. I couldn’t think of a better analogy. I watched Tyson fight seemingly every three months as a kid. He was an animal! Yet even I remember back then many of Tyson’s critics pointing out that he was avoiding top-caliber opponents. Once Tyson got in the ring with guys like Holyfield and Lewis, his aura disappeared. Rousey, like Tyson is avoiding her toughest potential challenge. Her legacy will not be cemented until she climbs that mountain.

“She’s not in the UFC. If she wants to come to the UFC and fight at 135, then yes, I would,” Rousey told Ariel Helwani after winning at UFC 184. “(She won) against some chick that I beat on like my second pro-fight ever, in what, 40 seconds? Not really (impressed).”

Rousey’s not impressed? This comes from the same Rousey who stood inside the octagon on Saturday night issuing challenges to Bethe Correia and Holly Holm. With all due respect to both women, each are big mismatches next to Rousey. Yet Rousey shows no interest in fighting her rival who just obliterated her opponent in under a minute on Friday night. How anyone can take this seriously is beyond me?

Dana White has pressed many former champions to take super fights in the past. White however has no problem with Rousey’s 135 pound demand. It was okay to pressure GSP, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and others to take super fights with catchweights for years. I can’t understand how he can defend this with a straight face.

Rousey likes to carry the banner for WMMA. The biggest thing she could do for WMMA is fight Cyborg. That fight would be the biggest WMMA fight in history and could potentially break one million buys. The media attention for a fight of that magnitude would be enormous for WMMA. Yet she is perfectly content letting Justino fight in Invicta while she challenges subpar competition and WMMA continues to struggle. That’s just the facts whether you like Rousey, hate Justino, or just don’t care.

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Brock Lesnar At UFC, More Details Of WWE Walkout Emerge

March 02, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Brock Lesnar is making the rounds. The WWE champion was show sitting ringside at UFC 184 on Saturday night. The appearance comes just days after Lesnar walked out of RAW leaving many wondering if the WrestleMania 31 main-event is in jeopardy.

This situation is getting crazier by the week. Two weeks ago it was reported that Lesnar was leaning towards staying with the WWE and re-signing as opposed to returning to MMA. A week ago Lesnar and Vince McMahon hit a contract impasse that resulted in Lesnar walking out. Several days later Lesnar is at UFC 184 and we are less than one month away from WrestleMania 31.

Dave Meltzer had some news and speculation on his post-UFC 184 podcast. Meltzer reported that Lesnar and McMahon had a loud shouting match last Monday at RAW. Meltzer said it got to the point that some were fearing for McMahon. According to Meltzer, Lesnar was upset about something regarding a new contract. Meltzer said Lesnar left the building and isn’t scheduled for television until next week at RAW.

This all begs the logical question as to whether Lesnar’s status at Mania is in jeopardy. According to Meltzer, the writers asked Vince if they needed to come up with a backup plan. Vince reportedly told them not to worry about it as he is confident that Brock is locked up for Mania. Vince reportedly feels as if he would have grounds for a big lawsuit against Lesnar if Brock didn’t show up, thus he isn’t worried.

I’d worry!

As it stands today Brock is scheduled to wrestle his last match on his current deal at Mania. Yes, Brock is legally obligated to appear on the show. However, Brock has not honored contracts in the past including a previous one with the WWE. Brock has gone to court over these days, including his deal from 2002 with the WWE. I would not be as confident as Vince is that a contract will keep Lesnar from skipping Mania 31.

So what do you do if you are the WWE? By the time Brock gets to RAW next week the word will be out about his contractual disagreements with the company. It looks terrible to have your WWE champion perceived as a lame duck champion heading into Mania. The crowd in California could get real ugly, ruining the main-event if they crap all over it due to Lesnar’s lame duck status. This is not a scenario anyone wants on March 29.

What is plan B? Let’s just say that we are two weeks from Mania and it looks like Brock may skip the show. What does Vince McMahon do? How do you fix this? Is there anything or anyone he can plug into that match to satisfy a WrestleMania main-event? Daniel Bryan is the easy answer. However, I think Vince blew those chances by booking Reigns to beat Bryan clean at Fastlane. John Cena and Rusev are already wrapped up in their own deal. I suppose you could move Seth Rollins and Randy Orton into the mix and make it a Triple Threat Match? Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot bullets laying around these days to put into that barrel.

Brock returning to the UFC sounds fun on paper but I don’t see it ever happening. Brock wouldn’t stand a chance against most of the top five heavyweights and he knows it. It’s a different sport than it was when Brock reigned as UFC champion. He’d cash in big in Bellator but Brock never appeared to like the easy way out of competition. I think at the end of the day he has no intentions of returning to the UFC. Pro wrestling is his best bet at this stage of his career.

Whether Brock shows up or not, this is getting very tense right now for all parties. I’d say at the end of the day that Brock does not want to burn this bridge down to the ground and he shows up for Mania. But who knows? Maybe he’s had enough and he certainly has the financial means to live comfortably for the rest of his life. All I know is that this is the best WrestleMania drama being written right now and it is all being scripted organically.

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