Ailin’ in New York

Amar’e has given his whole body and heart to the Knicks, quite literally. Amar’e has bulging disks in his back and may be done for the season. This man’s body is breaking down before our very eyes and we are on the hook for a lot of money owed to him. What do the Knicks do now? It is being rumored that we will go with a small lineup as Carmelo Anthony may fill in as the Power Forward, while Amar’e gets his back checked for possible surgery. The red-hot knicks are now back at .500 for the first time since parting ways with Mike D’Antoni and are running into injury issues once again. But they are playing inspired basketball and are making a push to move up the playoff seedings and possibly toward the Atlantic Division crown. Boston is also on the charge as the 76ers seem to be playing mere .500 basketball no better than the Knicks or Celts.

This will be Melo’s time to shine as it was last night against the 9th place Bucks without Amar’e and Lin. He put up 28 points shot 12/12 FTs, and grabbed 12 rebounds. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert most likely will be splitting a lot of minutes now if Amar’e is out and Melo slides over to the “4”, Landry Fields would then slide over to the “3” leaving the door open for those two. Josh Harrelson, whom I have met in person, will see an increase in minutes and so will Jarred Jeffries I’m sure because of his good defensive play. This will be a make or break run for the Knicks, and with their showing last night against a team that was made better by a deadline deal, I have faith in them. It’ll be tough considering all of the adjustments that this team, and most others, have had to go through during this shortened and clustered season. The Knicks are now 7-1 under Woodson who has rallied this team and has them playing defense no one could have ever imagined from these Knicks. The Knicks must continue this play, without their best asset so far under the Woodson era, Amar’e Stoudemire. Without Amar’e they can roll into the playoffs but it’ll be impossible for them to make noise or damage throughout without Stat in the lineup.

Those are my two cents … cash em in if you wish!


Bad Riddance to Good Rubbish …

Four MVP Awards, a Super-Bowl ring, records upon records, playoff appearances, division titles, and pride into a hidden football city. Just naming some of the things that FORMER Quarterback Peyton Manning brought to Indianapolis, and will now leave in the rear view mirror. The man who saved this franchise has been released today at the dawn of the NFL Free Agency, and days before the Colts would be required to pay him his $28 Million roster bonus. Manning went under the knife four times from May 2010 until September 2011 for his neck, including a neck fusion, which has been rumored to be one of the toughest to recover from. So naturally there were concerns about his health and if he would even be able to play again. I mean let’s think about this seriously, doctors have said that if Manning takes a hit too hard or in the wrong spot, he could be paralyzed basically, forget football.

Let’s delve into the decision now. Of course after the Colts magically finished 2-14, beats me how they even won two games. Everyone questioned how could one player make this much of a defense … well when that player is Peyton Manning and they haven’t even considered drafting a decent backup QB since 1999, that’s how. If I had been a writer you bet your ass that I would have put a vote in for Manning as this year’s MVP. The Colts were plain awful this year as Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter, and Dan Orlovsky all gave their best shots at turning this team around. With their efforts, if you call it that, the Colts “earned” the first pick of next years draft, which has been solidified to one Andrew Luck ever since he decided to stay in school last year. That left the Colts with the toughest decision since Manning vs. Leaf, which they said wasn’t difficult, so maybe it was the toughest decision since, “Hey, should we leave Baltimore in the middle of the night?” Now it was should we keep Peyton and draft Luck or release our best player, ever, and draft the unproven rookie first overall? For the Colts, it had worked before drafting a rookie quarterback and handing over the reigns to him from the get-go. But this time around who says it won’t be different?

Peyton was willing to work out his contract and his bonus. He was giving all he had to recover from the neck surgery to give everything he has left in his tank into the franchise that he built into an AFC South Superpower. But it wasn’t enough. It was a business decision made by the owner, Jim Irsay, and I fault him for it. They could have taken the Brett Favre approach, allowing their future QB to develop under their current Hall of Famer’s wings. I can guarantee you Peyton would have ridden off into the sunset without a complaint and rightfully so at the end of his contract or maybe even retired a year before it came to its conclusion. In addition, Andrew Luck would have been able to watch and learn from one of the greatest of all time. The Colts could have made salary room as they still plan to, but now Luck will have to lead a completely different team and offense as the Colts plan to cut Joseph Addai, possibly Dallas Clark and now with the news of Manning, they will lose Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon. Their offensive line had become poor as it is, and now they have six more picks to fill at least four more positions on offense, with rookies. In other words, this team is screwed and by losing Peyton they have lost most, if not all of their offense. I will be the first to admit when I’m wrong, so if I am wrong I will say so, but the Colts will not get better then they were in Peyton’s last full season (10-6 in 2010) until at least two years down the road. Jim Irsay screwed his team and a friend simultaneously. Goodbye to the greatest Indianapolis Colt, ever.

Those are my two cents … cash em in if you want.


Not to Be Forgotten…

In one of my previous posts I neglected two superstars from the MVP discussion this year. Although I still believe that Kobe Bryant, now the Masked Mamba still deserves the MVP nod, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul are both more than worthy of at least some if not a plethora of votes.

Durant averaging 28.2 PPG and 7.9 RPG, but has his team on top of the league. The problem that will hurt Durant is the existence of Russell Westbrook. Durant has led his team in points every season since he came into the league in the ’07-’08, and has been at least the MVP of his own team since those years. He has won the Rookie of the Year Award as well as a scoring title, in other words he has been lighting up scoreboards since his first year. This year Durant has been nothing but clutch, sans that Rocket game where no Thunder player could hit water if they fell off boat. The guy is a physical anomaly in the sense that he’s 6’10”, but has the frame of a child. You look at most NBA players these days and they are in shape, but Durant is thin and lanky, which just makes his game that much more remarkable. He won’t be the strongest guy on the court, but he’ll give you as much effort as some who are. In other words, his biggest muscle is the one that counts the most and should earn him an MVP award in his career, his heart.

Lastly, we have Chris Paul, Mr. CP3. Chris Paul begun his beautification of the national scene since stepping onto the court at Wake Forest. After leaving the Hornets this year in a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers A.K.A. Lob City, Paul been placed into a bigger market with more eyes on him and sharing a building with Kobe Bryant and the “Big Brother” Lakers. Paul has led the complete makeover for the formerly nonexistent with 19.7 PPG, 8.3 APG, 3.5 RPG (he’s a 6’0″ Point Guard mind you) as well as 2.3 SPG. Paul can read the court on both sides of the ball better than most if not all in the NBA averaging 2.4 PPG. The Clippers have had many additions to their team this season, but the clear most significant addition has been Paul. They needed a leader, an MVP to take control of the team and help them continue their growth instead of stall as it seemed they may. Paul is the answer for the Clippers, and they will develop into a powerhouse over this year and however long Paul is there for. Paul most likely will not get the majority vote, but his argument will definitely be heard.

Those are my two cents … cash em in if you want!


Long ‘Rest’ the King

Naturally you play you’re best goalie every night when it comes to playing in the National Hockey League. But when is every night too much? The majority of teams discover the answer to this question the difficult way year in and year out. But the Boston Bruins demonstrated to us all last year how to solve this problem, just have a good enough backup goalie that you feel confident not playing your number one keeper night in and night out. Tim Thomas was fully rested and ready for the playoffs, where he could play every game without worrying about fatigue and wearing down. Tuukka Rask started 27 games last year, and has tallied 21 starts this year, enabling Tim Thomas to rest one every three to four games on average. Claude Julien has perfected this art, and one coach is following his lead quite well this season.

John Tortorella, the coach of the New York Rangers has been taking a different approach to his goaltending situation this year. Typically you would see Henrik Lundqvist, one of the best goalies year in and year out, playing at least 70 games. However, this will not even be possible this year, seeing as his backup Martin Biron has started 16 games already this year, and has subbed in well, winning 11 games and posting a 2.2 GAA and saving 91% of the sh ots he faced. The biggest impact he has had has been on Lundqvist though, as he is posting outrageous and unanimous Vezina numbers. Lundqvist is only allowing 1.75 goals, saving 94% of the shots and has won 30 games, yet again. Lundqvist plays lights out night in and night out, and could even have an argument for the MVP Award, only behind Malkin and Stamkos. I applaud Julien and Torts for this approach because it seems to work in favor of your goalkeeper.

So, as all coaches and general managers should learn from these two teams in the past two years now. Resting your starter just about once a week, should keep him healthy and ready for the playoffs. Only time will tell how Lundqvist will fare in the playoffs but by being rested and already posting stellar numbers, he should be more than prepared for a long playoff run with rested legs and no fatigue underneath him.

Those are my two cents … cash them in if you dare!