NFL General

Jan 3 in Sports History: The beginnings of Martyball

In 1987: It looked like the same old story for the Cleveland Browns: Have a great regular season only to choke it away in the playoffs. They were trailing the New York Jets by 10 with about 4 minutes left. Browns’ quarterback Bernie Kosar (who had complained that coach Marty Schottenheimer’s offense was too conservative in a playoff loss the previous year—I know, we couldn’t believe it either) had 489 yards passing and the Browns had out gained the Jets two to one., but still had to rally to tie the game. In overtime, it was Revenge of the Missed Chip-Shot Field Goals as kickers Pat Leahy of the Jets and Mark Moseley of Cleveland took turns pissing an AFC Championship Game trip away. Moseley finally connected in the second overtime to save the Browns’ playoff lives (and most likely his own—…we vaguely recall Marv Albert explaining how he would have been fed to the Dawg Pound had he missed again). Despite the lucky 23-20 win, the Cleveland Story continued in glorious fashion against Denver the following week.

In 1982: The San Diego Chargers defeated the Miami Dolphins 41-38 in a thrilling AFC divisional playoff game in the Orange Bowl. The Chargers jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Dolphins came right back to make it 24-17 at halftime. Miami’s final touchdown of the half came on the famous hook-and-ladder play, in which quarterback Don Strock completed a pass to Duriel Harris, who then pitched the ball to a sprinting Tony Nathan, who ran it the rest of the way for the touchdown. The Dolphins eventually took a 38-31 lead until the Chargers rallied to tie the score. A last second Uwe von Schamann field goal was blocked and the game went into overtime and was eventually won at 13:52 on a San Diego field goal. The game set records for total yardage (1,036) and points scored (79) but it is most remembered by the outstanding play of Kellen Winslow. The Chargers’ tight end caught 13 passes for 166 yards, many for critical first downs. He also blocked what would have been the game-winning field goal. After the game, Winslow was so spent he had to be helped off the field by teammates. And he was too tired to ride his motorcycle in the parking lot or violently proclaim himself a member of the Armed Forces in the postgame interview.

In 1993: Was it the greatest comeback in NFL history, or the biggest gag job ever performed on any playing surface? Either way, the Buffalo Bills overcame the largest deficit in NFL history to win an AFC Wild Card game against the Houston Oilers. A Bubba McDowell interception return put Houston ahead 35-3 in the third quarter. The Houston radio announcer proclaimed to his constituents back home that “they can turn off the lights here in Rich Stadium– it’s over!” The Oilers then went and made him look like the Douche of the Century by blowing the lead. Buffalo quarterback Frank Reich, subbing for an injured Jim Kelly, began leading the Bills down the field at will with 28 third quarter points, and they eventually took the lead 38-35 until Houston tied it with a last-second field goal. Warren Moon threw a quick interception on the first possession of overtime, and Buffalo’s Steve Christie kicked the game-winner, 41-38. The Bills were able to keep their string of losing in Super Bowls intact and the Oilers began thinking that maybe their luck would change in Tennessee a few years later.

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Edmonton Gets One Back

1. Exacting Revenge
It sure wasn’t the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Edmonton Oilers were able to take out some revenge on the team that ended their miracle run in last year’s playoffs. Edmonton downed the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-1, moving the Oilers into first place in a busy and tight Northwest Division. None of the teams in the Northwest can be counted out at this point, so it will be interesting to see who’ll come out of the jumble on top. Jussi Markkanen had a nice night between the pipes, stopping 28 shots in a rare start. Carolina still sits several points behind the Thrashers, who are having a solid year and aren’t showing many signs of letting up. Some bad news for Canes fans: Rod Brind’Amour left the game with what’s being dubbed a “lower body injury”. Hopefully it’s nothing serious–but knowing Brind’Amour, he’d be on the ice even if it was.

2. Best of the West
Two of the NHL’s titans squared off last night in a battle of Western Conference supremacy, with Anaheim shutting out Nashville 4-0. This was a bit of a statement game for the Ducks, who now hold the league lead in points (surpassing the mighty Buffalo Sabres). Temmu Selanne came up big, as he tends to do while in the spotlight. His two goals and assist boosted Anaheim to a win, leaving no doubt about who’s the best in the Western Conference. Chris Kunitz also contributed offensively, netting one goal and tallying three assists. Jean-Sebastien Giguere was “Giggy”, turning away all 21 shots he faced to send the Preds to their third straight loss.

3. Nieuwendyk Retires
Joe Nieuwendyk, who knows about winning better than anyone, announced his retirement on Wednesday night. Back problems have made the NHL to big of a mountain for Joe, who is 40 years old. In his 20 year career, he played for Calgary, New Jersey, and Toronto, before spending last season and the first quarter of this season with the Panthers. He won three Stanley Cups in those 20 years, and was named the playoff MVP in 1999. Here’s hoping he sticks around to call games in the booth, because it would be a shame if this kept him out of hockey for good.

Check It Out
The West Central Tribune discusses the declining rate of concussions in the NHL, and how to continue playing the game injury free. Perhaps the noticeable increase in penalties has something to do with the lack of these serious head-related injuries

Game of the Night: Montreal at New York Islanders
Canadeins: Lost three of last four games

The Last Shot
On Wednesday, the Edmonton Oilers announced plans to retire Mark Messier’s #11 on February 27th. Messier won five Stanley Cups with Edmonton, and is the NHL’s second-leading scorer of all-time. The New York Rangers raised his number to the ceiling of Madison Square Garden last year.


Nov 22 in Sports History: Before Mike Tyson went insane

Devil on his shoulder

In 1986: Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at 20 years old after he knocked out Trevor Berbick. Tyson, like he did to many fighters early in his career, made quick work of Berbick (who in an odd piece of trivia was Muhammed Ali’s last opponent), knocking him out in the second round. After winning the WBC title from Berbick, Tyson went on to become the undisputed heavyweight champion the following year by claiming the rest of the alphabet soup titles. Berbick, sadly, quickly declined after the Tyson fight and was recently murdered in Jamaica. (

In 1917: The National Hockey League was formed as a result of the disbanding of the National Hockey Association. Charter members included the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Arenas and Quebec Bulldogs. It didn’t get off to a great start, as the Bulldogs dropped out of the league before playing a game; while the Wanderers played six games before their home arena burnt down. The Arenas won the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. The next season was tougher on the fledgling NHL, as only three clubs fielded teams and the Stanley Cup Finals were cancelled after five games due to an influenza outbreak that killed Canadiens defenseman Joe Hall. (

In 2003: The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers played the first outdoor game in NHL history. The game was played at the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos’ Commonwealth Stadium. 57,167 fans braved the well-below zero temperatures to witness two historical games. First, an exhibition called the Mega Stars game featured Oilers versus Canadiens greats, including Wayne Gretzky (who suited up in blue and orange for the first time since being traded in 1988) and Mark Messier for Edmonton. In the night cap, the NHL squads played an official game, with the Canadiens prevailing 4-3 on a late Richard Zednik goal. It was so cold that most players had to wear thermal underwear and ski caps under their equipment. (

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Hats Off to Atlanta – Again

Best part of the hat trick

1. Sens Slumping, Thrashers Thumping
The Ottawa Senators are reeling at the moment, now having lost five straight games. This is their longest losing streak in 10 years, believe it or not. Their most recent loss came at the hands of the mighty Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night, as the Sens managed to blow two 2-goal leads in the game. Credit Atlanta, though. This is a team on a mission, and that has been clearly seen through the first month of the season.
Slava Kozlov lit the red lamp three times in this game for his fifth career hat trick. His last 3-goal game also came against the Senators in January. With Ilya Kovalchuck’s Hat Trick on Monday night, it marks the first time in the history of the franchise that they’ve had hat tricks in consecutive games. Hat sales are expected to skyrocket this week in Atlanta, because everyone in town is now looking for a new Thrashers hat.

2. Dominik the Dominator
Detroit continued to melt the ice on Wednesday night, when they made quick work of the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 3-0. For Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek, he earned his 70th career shutout and led Detroit to their seventh consecutive win. At 41 years old, he still has what it takes. If I were him, I’d aim to become the Julio Franco of hockey–play as long as possible. It also helps that the Red Wings have arguably the best defense in the NHL, and pucks are usually cleared out before Hasek has to stop a shot. The only low point for Detroit in this contest came in the second period, when Jason Williams left the ice on a stretcher. He suffered a vicious check to the face, and then landed face-first onto the ice. Ouchies.

3. Sundin Don’t Shine In Toronto
Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin is expected to miss up to month with a torn ligament in his right elbow. He was injured on Monday night while playing against the Philadelphia Flyers. This could eventually be a big blow for the Maple Leafs. They’re going to have to keep up with the Buffalo Sabres in the Northeast Division (they have done an excellent job of hanging around in that division this year) without the help of their team leader in points – and in a division that could end up in a deadlock at the end of the year, this injury could be huge.

Check It Out
ESPN’s John Buccigross evaluates today’s NHL and plays “Buy or Sell” with every team. His biggest buy is with Pittsburgh, and since Evgeni Malkin showed up, we tend to agree. The Maple Leafs, Oilers, and Avalanche are among a handful of teams he would not currently pay to watch.

Game of the Night: Washington at Carolina
Capitals: coming off first back-to-back wins of the season

The Last Shot
The Flyers’ Jeff Carter is sidelined for six weeks, thanks to a broken ankle. This prompted Philly to call up veteran Petr Nedved from the AHL. The Flyers’ farm team, the Philadelphia Phantoms, are 5-6-1 on the season… that’s better than the record of the big league club, as the Flyers now stand at 3-10-1. Our condolences go out to Nedved– we’d rather play on the Phantoms this year, too.

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Anyone up for a shootout?

John Madden

1. Shootout Spectaculars

  • New Jersey defeated Carolina 3-2: The Devils got revenge for being booted from the playoffs by defeating the Hurricanes on Tuesday night. New Jersey’s John Madden scored the game-winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout, sending his team to a 3-2 win and helping the Devils to winning four of their last five games.
  • Montreal defeated Edmonton 3-2: Alex Kovalev scored the game-winning goals for the Canadeins in the shootout, making sure the Canadeins stay in the thick of things in a crowded Northeast Division – currently they’re in third, ix points behind division leader Buffalo. With the victory, Montreal has won three of its last four games.

2. MacInnis Back with Blues
Longtime St. Louis Blues defenseman Al MacInnis has decided to break out of retirement, but not to get back on the ice. Instead he’ll work in the front office, as the vice president of hockey operations for a Blues team that is on the decline (they missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1979). Al was a 13 time all-star with Calgary and St. Louis. He won the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, and racked up a Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) to go with it. In 1999 he won the James Norris Trophy for best defenseman in the league. His last season in professional hockey came in 2004, as a member of the St. Louis Blues.

3. Higgins Hurting
The Montreal Canadeins suffered a mighty blow Tuesday when they learned that their star left winger Chris Higgins would be out for a month and a half. Higgins has a partially torn ligament in his left ankle, which he suffered on Saturday in a game against the New Jersey Devils. Higgins is the team leader in goals (8) and points (13). A first round draft pick in 2002, it looks like he has finally reached his potential in professional hockey, and that could be huge for the Canadeins own the stretch.

Check It Out’s Shawn Roarke explains the USHL’s impact on NHL Entry Drafts, and looks at some players from several leagues who will be competing in the USA Junior Hockey Jamboree, a junior hockey all-star event taking place next week. It’s nice to see some of these developmental leagues get some pull from the media – without the USHL’s of the world, we wouldn’t have a lot of the NHL stars that we do today.

Game of the Night: Ottawa at Atlanta
Sens trying to avoid first five game losing streak since 1996

The Last Shot
In a meeting between NHL general managers that lasted several hours, it was determined that the NHL’s unbalanced schedule (see yesterday’s “Check It Out”) will most likely remain for at least one more year… that’s a real bummer, because nobody will be seeing a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals unless it ends up coming in the Stanley Cup Finals – hard to determine the best team in hockey with only one series.

Edmonton Oilers

Odds and Ends (06.30.06): More on the Chris Pronger rumor

Yesterday, we reported on the rumor behind Chris Pronger’s trade request was because his wife was upset he got a local television reporter pregnant. Well, the rumor probably isn’t true and Christie Chorley, the alleged baby momma in the rumor has issued this statement on her website.


JUNE 29, 2006


I would appreciate your help in putting an end to my name being linked to this situation, as it is completely WITHOUT ANY MERIT OR FACTUAL BASIS.

Any further slander or defamation can and will result in swift legal action.

From the ALL CAPS, you can tell Christie is VERY UPSET ABOUT THIS. But still, is a speculative rumor really grounds for a slander or defamation lawsuit?

Of course he’s a soccer fan!

In other news…

[Lets Go Sox]: The mystery is solved folks! The Middle Finger Kid–Exposed!

[USS Mariner]: The A’s aren’t that good

[MSNBC]: avorites among dozens barred in drug scandal
Last year’s 2-3-4 finishers Ullrich, Basso, Mancebo out

[AP]: Duke player who sent email about killing some strippers reinstated.

[USA Today]: AL is 127-75 against NL in interleague play

Edmonton Oilers

Did Chris Pronger get a female reporter pregnant?

NOT Mrs. Pronger

Remember that rumor a couple of months ago that the reason behind all the talk about the Red Sox trading Manny Ramirez was because he cheated on his wife and she wanted them out of Boston? Well, via Deadspin, comes this rumor that Chris Pronger’s wife wants them out of Edmonton because he got a local television reporter named Christie Chorley pregnant.

Well, the reason Pronger’s wife wants to leave Edmonton is not b/c she hates the city or the people. Apparently Pronger got a female beat reporter who covers the oilers pregnant. Christy Chorley is her name, and she told Prongs half way through the season. This is why it would be difficult for the Pronger family to settle down in Edmonton.

If this is true, another athlete, another absentee father. We all know about Shawn Kemp but this is the first we’ve heard about it in the NHL. Well besides the rumor that Bobby Clarke is Ed Snider’s illegitimate son.

NHL General

Oilers center accuses Rod Brind’Amour of cheating

The Oilers are in desperate trouble. They blew a 3-0 lead in game 1 and lost their top goalie for the rest of the series. They have a backup goalie that no one has any confidence in. And their defense decided the best way to break in the backup goalie was to stop playing defense. On top of that, their center is complaining about the other guy cheating.

Horcoff lost 2/3 of his faceoffs against Carolina’s Rod Bri’nd’Am’ou’r and accused him of cheating.

It’s just a problem that I tried to talk to the linesman a little about,” Horcoff said Wednesday before the Carolina’s 5-0 win in Game 2. “It’s not really anything that I really need to comment on, it’s just the fact that I thought he was cheating a little bit and hopefully we’ll change that.

Edmonton went out and only lost 20-28 in the faceoffs, but 5-0 in the game. Perhaps the refs were giving the shooters special treatment instead.

[Fox Sports]: Horcoff says Brind’Amour cheats

Edmonton Oilers

You call that a hockey riot, Edmonton?

After the Oilers won the Western Conference on Saturday, 30,000 to 50,000 fans gathered on Whyte Avenue to celebrate the ol’ fashioned way. Forget shots on goal and penalty minutes, here are the important stats of the night.

15: people arrested

9: fires set with garbage, pallets, etc.

2: phone booths uprooted and destroyed

2: lights ripped apart atop a 30-foot tall light standard

1: man who urinated in crowd

1: man who fell from a guy wire

1: woman who broke her ankle

Only 15 people arrested, 9 fires set, and 1 urination? Are you kidding me? In Detroit, they set people on fire and then urinate on them to put it out. You’ve got a long way to go, Oilers fans. Perhaps you want to study this instructional video from soccer hooligans, the kings of rioting.

It just might be a warmup for the Stanley Cup so we’ll cut em some slack here. It seems the Edmonton police need some practice too.

Police kept their distance. One officer, leaning on his bicycle and watching the edge of the crowd, said he and his colleagues would be crazy to wade in. It’s not worth it. We don’t want to die.

Good luck in the Final Round, Edmonton.

[Edmonton Journal]: Hockey hooligans rampage on Whyte

[Winnipeg Sun]: Oiler fan turmoil