April 28, 2012

My NEW Stanley Cup champion Prediction

Well, I had the Bruins winning it all but now that they are out, I want to pick another team. I don't think any team from the East will win the Cup, I think the winner will be from the West, specifically in the Kings-Blue series. I am going to stick with the Blues, but either way I definitely am rooting for one of these 2 teams to win it all:

S0 I WANT the Kings and my boy, Umass-bred Jon Quick to hoist the cup, but I still think the Blues are going to win. Out of the East I'll pick the Rangers but don't think NY can beat either of these 2 Western conference clubs.

April 27, 2012

Bruins 2012 Playoff Grades

Well that sucked. Give credit to the Caps- As I wrote before the series started I am a believer in Holtby, when I first saw him play last season I kinda knew he had "it."  Anyway I would definitely say the Caps won the series as opposed to the Bruins giving it away-BUT not everyone pulled their weight. Check out my Playoff grades for each Bruin player:

Greg Zannon- F
Zannon had a rough series. I only noticed him when mistakes were made, I don't have the stats in front of me but it wouldn't surprise me if he had the worst +/- in the series

Big Z- A- 
Chara played well. He didn't play Norris-like but he was rock solid. Scored an enormous GWG in the middle of the series and actually led the Bruins in SOG. Can't replace the feeling of security Bruins fans have with him and 44 paired up together come playoff time. 

Andrew Ference- F
Gross series by Ference. Contributed nothing offensively and was a liability multiple times on defense. Definitely in the twilight of his career, maybe 2-3 good years left 

Johnny Boychuk- B
Boychuck probably wasn't 100% healthy at the start of the series but got better as it went along. Love the way Boychuk plays, managed to include a classic "Johnny Rocket" and hip-check in the series.

Mike Mottau- B+
Mottau only played 2 games once Corvo was scratched. He was solid, not spectacular, although I DID notice a few offensive chances that Mottau sparked which was a pleasant surprise.

Joe Corvo- F
Benched halfway through the series after playing 70+ games during the regular season. Looked silly multiple times. Wont be back in a Bruins uni next year. 

Dennis Seidenberg- A+
Without a doubt the Bruins best and most consistent player int his series. Epic personal battle with 44 and Ovechkin, and Seidenberg even manged to contribute a little offensively. Was and remains a pleasure to watch this guy night in and night out. HAS to be the most underrated D man in the NHL, right?

Adam McQuaid- F
Bro don't turn into the boards with a train coming right before the playoffs start. Your fault Corvo was playing. 

Tyler Seguin- B
Seguin came on at the end of the series, had a b-e-a-utiful goal to close out OT in game 6 and scored a "I want it" goal in #7. Too bad Seguin couldn't find the spark a couple games earlier. Can't wait to see how Seguin progresses next year. 

Brad the Rat- D-
Marchand was an enormous disappointment this series. Virtually invisible, 63 even started to embellish some stick work to draw a few calls. Everyone in Boston wants to forget how Brad the rat played in this year's second season. 

Looch- D+
I don't think Lucic was as bad as everyone else is saying- I liked a lot of what he did in Games 3-6 that didn't show up on the score-sheet- BUT there's no way Lucic should have been shutout all series. This is getting to be a yearly disappointment in the playoffs.

David Krejci- D
"I don't care about the regular season" Well it looks like you didn't really care about the post season, either, DK47. Streaky players get cold in the playoffs sometimes, I guess. Not to mention the horrid face-off performance all series long. 

Rich Peverly- A
Peverlys a stud. Just bringing it every shift no matter which line he plays on. Scored the Bruins first goal at least twice in this series. Need more guys like Pevs. 

Chris Kelly- B
Kelly had 1 shining moment in this series- his Game 1 OT winner. Outside of that enormous moment, he was mostly neutralized. Hopefully the B's re sign Kelly this Summer though...intangibles on the Patrice Bergeron-level. 

Benoit Pouliot- A
I thought Pouliot played great. Would have been nice to see more than 1 goal, but on a shift-to-shift basis I thought Benoit brought it harder than anyone else. Such an incredible reach with his stick. 

Brian Rolston- C
Whatever. He was better than I expected but as a PP leader, your going to get blamed with the PP sucks. Which it did. Rolston will probably retire. Peace.

Patrice Bergeron- B
Bergeron was obviously playing with a couple injuries toward the end of the series. He was outstading in the dot the first few games until he stopped taking draws, due to an oblique injury. Had a great chance to bury the series late in the 3rd of Game 7... to quote a friend "that play will haunt my dreams forever"

Shawn Thornton- C
Late scratch in the last 2 games, but didn't real bring much the first 5. Only reason I gave him a slightly lower grade than you expect is because he was RIGHT ON Knuble when Mike put in the game tying goal in Game 5. That was gross to see. 

Greg Campbell- C-
Another "whatever" type grade. Campbell was below average in the faceoff circle. He contributed 0 offensively. I suppose he did OK on the PK. 

Jordan Caron- C+
I liked Caron's jump, and I continue to be happy with the way he is developing but when your barely on the ice and your standing right in front of the net for the season-ending goal you cant expect a good grade. 

Dan Paille- B-
Paille is Paille. You know what you get. Speedster with no hands. He had a couple chances he couldn't bury, which was expected, but still frustrating. 

Tim Thomas- B+
Thomas played outstanding most of the series. Not unbeatable like last year, but still made some amazing saves. Thomas DID single handily lose Game 5 for the Bruins, BUT as I mentioned you cant really kill the guy for it because he kept us in that game in the beginning when any normal team, would have been down 4-0.

April 24, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft

The drafters-

Jeremy Tannenbaum (Soon to be Holt), NY. Jets fans. My loyal readers will remember Jeremy's "Super Bowl from a Jets fan's perspective" piece he wrote back in January.

Matt Wilson, MA. College friend/classmate. Track & Field connoisseur. Knows his shit.

James Brown, MA. The author if this blog. Read more in the ":About me" section.

        2012 NFL Mock Draft

1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (Brown)

This is a no brainer. Luck would have gone #1 overall last year, but decided to return to college for another year. He's the hands-down best prospect since Peyton Manning, & the colts will look to re-build and strike gold like they did when selecting Manning #1 overall back in 97.Suck for Luck Indeed. 

2. Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (Wilson)

Lay up #2. The Redskins practically pulled the old "Trade your whole draft for Ricky Williams" trick except they thought dealing multiple first rounders would make more sense. It might pay off if RGIII is as good as advertised and those 1st rounders they dealt come at the end of the round. RGIII is a better version of Michael Vick coming out of school and he is a beast at the hurdles. 

See a video of Griffin dominating in track at Baylor-  http://www.flotrack.org/article/9390-Robert-Griffin-III-In-the-Beginning-There-Was-Track 

3. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT, USC (Tannenbomb)

They need a lot of help on their offensive line, They want to protect their young QB Ponder who they took in the 1st round last year. It all starts with the guys protecting him up front. He can start right out of the gate and should develop into one of the better O-linemen in the league

4. Cleveland Browns- Trent Richardson, RB, Roll Tide (Brown)

The pick here is probably needs to be a skill player, and I think Holmgren will take the best RB in the draft, Trent Richardson. (Browns lost Peyton Hillis in Free agency to the Chiefs). Nicknamed both the freak AND the beast, he looks to me like the next AP.  Richardson who by all reports is completely healthy,  and with the departure of the moose Peyton Hillis, this seems like a perfect fit. I can picture Richardson now, carrying the rock 30 times weekly vs tough defenses like the Steelers and Ravens.   

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU (Wilson)

I actually think they will end up with Trent Richardson, but this mock draft has thrown me for a loop already. Aqib Talib made the brilliant decision to try to kill a guy, so they could probably use another corner. I'm not sure grabbing a guy with a four on the Wonderlic is an upgrade on intelligence, but secondary help in a division with the Saints and Falcons is important so Claiborne will be the pick.

6. St. Louis Rams- Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU (Tannenbomb)

Man-crush alert! Blackmon is a stud. I still think Sam Bradford can be a pretty good QB in the NFL, and to do so he is going to need some weapons around him. Blackmon has been the best wideout in college for 2 straight years, and I see his success carrying over into the NFL. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina (Brown)

Ultimately I think the Jags desperately want Blackmon to help their QB Blaine Gabbert and his woeful passing attack, so they may try to trade up or hope Blackmon falls- but if they stay at this pick and he is off the board, look for the Jags to look toward the other side of the ball and draft a much needed Pass rusher. 

8. Miami Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M (Wilson)

Could the Dolphins possibly screw up their QB position again? I'm not sure Tannehill is the answer, but their fans might kill someone if they don't do something other than Matt Moore. They screwed up Peyton Manning, they screwed up Matt Flynn...these things tend to come in threes...but I have faith they will go with Tannehill. It's harder for him to duck the organization. But who can blame QBs from avoiding Miami like the plague, look at this list.

9. Carolina Panthers- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis (Tannenbomb)

6'3 246 lbs and he ran the 40 in just under 5 seconds. I'm no track coach (Wilson...) but for that size, that seems ridiculous. The Panthers have a young and exciting offense now with Cam Newton and the resurgence of Steve Smith, but their defense is flat out bad. This should help the rebuild on defense, and eventually help them get back to their winning ways.

10. Buffalo Bills- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa (Brown)

This move is all about providing Fitzpatrick the protection he needs to suceed. The Bills have committed to RF so they need to get him weapons & protection. I think this would be a reach to grab WR Floyd, and if Reiff is there at 10, the Bills should take him. He is a quick lineman who can play right away and protect Fitzpatrick's blind side. 

11. Kansas City Chiefs- Fletcher Cox, DT, MIssissippi State (Wilson)

I really like Romeo Crennel as a coach. I don't know why, I just do. With Haley out of the way, Pioli and Crennel can officially try to make the Patriots of the Midwest. The first step is solidifying the defense with a DT like Fletcher Cox. The real Patriots entire defense runs through Vince Wilfork and the Chiefs need their own centerpiece. The Chiefs really need a quarterback, but there are no other realistic options available at this point so upgrading their young defense will be the move.

12. Seattle Seahawks- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College (Tannenbomb)

 The Seahawks in my opinion have a pretty solid defense already. There one weakness on the defensive side of the ball is at LB. They dealt away Curry last year and lost Hawthorne to free agency. While they could grab Floyd and give Flynn/Jackson a new weapon, I don't think that move would help their bad offense as much as taking Kuechly would improve their already good defense. Plus, Kuechly is a monster. 

13. Arizona Cardinals- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC (Brown)

D line is hardly the most pressing need for the Cards, but Coples is a very talented high ceiling guy that I just don't see dropping past this point. The Cardinals need Offensive lineman and a complimentary WR for Larry Fitz, but with a guy like Coples there I think one of these teams will roll the dice and take him. (I say roll the dice because even though he is supremely talented, Coples' work ethic and motivation has been questioned)

14. Dallas Cowboys- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Roll Tide (Wilson)

Kirkpatrick might be the most talented corner in the draft, but his questionable life decisions have allowed his mock stock to fall. Ever since the Cowboys passed on Randy Moss in the draft, Jerry Jones has thrown "character" out the window. This is the team that got Pac Man Jones back involved right after he made it rain and ignored character concerns on Dez Bryant. With an increasingly pass heavy league, the Cowboys will snag a naturally talented corner to potentially capitalize on the pressure generated by Demarcus Ware.

15. Philadelphia Eagles- Mark Barron, S, Roll Tide (Tannenbomb)

This has been a need for them for a few years now, ever since Dawkins left. Barron is easily the best safety in the draft. I think the Eagles would have preferred someone to help against the run, like Cox if he was still available. Barron should be a solid all around safety that can help this Eagles defense. 

Upshaw-Barron-Kirkpatrick. Picks 14-15-16 in this draft.

16. New York Jets- Courtney Upshaw, DE/LB, Roll Tide(Tannenbomb)

J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!! The fans finally have something to cheer for again. I said at the end of the BCS Championship game that I wanted the Jets to draft Upshaw and I am sticking with it. The Jets need a lot of things, and the top of that list is a pass rusher, something they have lacked for years now. He is ideal for the defense Rex Ryan likes to run. Maybe the days of announcing Aaron Maybin as a starter and listing his position as a "designate pass rusher" are over. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina (Brown)

The Bengals are going to have a lot of options at this point in the draft, and will most likely take the best player available. They need a Corner (Leon Hall is hurt and Clements is going to be 32), and Gilmore rates outstanding across the board. He may not be a playmaker at the NFL level but he is only half a step behind consensus top 5 pick Claiborne. 

18. San Diego Chargers- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame (Wilson)

Vincent Jackson is gone. I loved Robert Meachem in college, but I just am not sure I believe the Chargers would be content with him as their "#1". You need to play to your strengths and their passing game is their strength. The defense has been more than serviceable the last few years; the Chargers just need to make sure they continue to score points. Floyd could go much higher than this, so San Diego will be happy to snag their #1 WR of the future in the second half of the first round. 

19. Chicago Bears- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford (Tannenbomb)

They need to protect Jay Cutler to keep him healthy and on top of his game. They can really upgrade their LT position here and protect Cutler's blind side. I think they could easily go CB here but with Kirkpatrick and Gilmore off the board, this pick makes the most sense.

20. Tennessee Titans- Whitney Mercilus, DE, ILL-INI (Brown)

The Titans grabbed a couple inside D lineman last year, and I expect a defensive-heavy draft again from these guys. If one of the previously taken Corners falls to this spot, the Titans will likely go that way, but if they don't trade up and Kirkpatrick and Gilmore are gone, Mercilus is the pick. He only had 1 really dominating year of Pro-worthy football in college, but this guy is a stud.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- David DeCastro, OT, Stanford (Wilson)

The Bengals already addressed corner in our mock draft, so now it is time to make sure they keep Andy Dalton up right. DeCastro probably should have gone off the board earlier, but the Bengals luck into the best guard in the draft. If the Bengals end up with Gilmore and DeCastro, Mel Kiper will definitely rate their draft an "A". Therefore, we know our mock can't possibly be right. DeCastro, a Stanford guy, has too much character for the Bengals, but there are no convicts on DeCastro's level.

22. Cleveland Browns- Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor (Tannenbomb)

The way this mock draft has gone, it will make perfect sense for the Browns to draft Wright in this spot. They went offense with grabbing the best RB in the draft with their first pick in Richardson. While passing on Tannehill, they will try to make it work with McCoy. To do so, he needs weapons to throw too. This is a good start. 

23. Detroit Lions- Mike Adams, OT, THE Ohio State University  (Brown)

Stafford is on the brink of entering the upper-echelon of QBs. Hes a proven injury risk, and the only way to protect this franchise is to protect Matthew Stafford. Mike Adams is the best Offensive lineman available and should pan out to be a wise, solid, if not splashy pick by the Lions.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia (Wilson)

Is it just me or do Steelers games come with a guarantee of talking about their offensive line problems? Willie Colon is always on TV. To fix this, the Steelers should grab Glenn here. Based on his combine, Glenn could go higher than this, which would mean it's a nice value pick for Pittsburgh. If they could keep the parts healthy, Glenn and Pouncey would form a nice inside core of the offensive line for the foreseeable future.

25. Denver Broncos- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU (Tannenbomb)

The Broncos made the playoffs last year, and have now upgraded their offense from Tebow to Peyton Manning. Their defense seems like it is very close to being one of the top units in the league with veterans in the secondary and young guys like Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil in the front 7. They are very weak up the middle though, and getting Brockers can plug up that hole against the run. 

26. Houston Texans- Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Roll Tide (Brown)

The Texans would ideally like a skilled WR to fall to this spot, so if someone like Wright slips this far, expect the Texans to draft him. However, the Texans are looking to fill spots on their D, and the dynamic HIghtower is an excellent fit. He tore is ACL a couple years ago but by all account this guy is a freak in the gym and a hard worker. Could be a steal at the end of the 26th round. Also of note... this is the FIFTH Alabama player selected in this 1st round mock! Crazy. 

27. New England Patriots- Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse (Brown)

There are rumors that the Patriots will actually couple their late 1st rounders and move up in the draft for a high-impact defensive player. Belichick loves cover guys, & is on record of saying that "in today's NFL you cant have enough cover guys" so he may want to move up and grab Gilmore or Kirkpatirick. To follow this mock, with Jones on the board, it's an easy choice. I don't see how Belichick would pass on him in this situation. Pats NEED another pass rusher. Jones may not fall this far in the draft... if he does expect the Pats to look at someone like Nick Perry or even Courtney Upshaw if either of THEM fall this far on draft day. 

28. Green Bay Packers- Nick Perry, OLB, USC (Wilson)

For the record, I'm looking for Whitney Mercilus or Donta Hightower here. Pass rush is a big issue. The Pack committed a lot of bonus money to AJ Hawk, so he's not going anywhere, but he could move to outside backer if Hightower is available. Alas, he is not in this mock and the Packers usually pick for value. By all accounts, Nick Perry can play in a 3-4, though I have my doubts on forcing him into coverage. Still, he's a pass rush kind of guy that could make things a little easier on Clay Matthews. I'd rather see the Pack grab David Wilson to pair up with James Starks, but don't believe it will happen. It's actually likely they trade out of this spot.

29. Baltimore Ravens- Peter Konz, C, Teach me how to Bucky  (Tannenbomb)

Konz is the best Center in the draft and the Ravens certainly have O-Line concerns, especially with their depth. Matt Birk is getting up their in age also, so it'd be nice to have his replacement lined up. I think they would've liked Hightower here but he's off the board. They may decide to trade down as well, but for this mock's purposes taking Konz is a fairly safe and smart pick.

30. San Francisco 49ers- Doug Martin RB, Boise State (Brown)

Do you know who Ray Rice is? This is the next Ray Rice. 

31. New England Patriots- Shea  McClellin, LB, Boise State  (Brown)

Dude is rising on the NFL draft boards. Read an article today about the Chargers, Cowboys, AND Browns all have high interest. Would love the versatility of this guy on the Pats. Bring it!

32. New York Giants-  (Wilson)

Giants Suck DIck. Truth. 

April 11, 2012

Bruins-Capitals Series Breakdown & other NHL predictions

The playoffs are finally here! After a wild up and down season, the Bruins righted the ship and finished the regular season strong. It looked like we were going to be playing the Senators for a long time, but on the last day of the season the Capitals moved up to 7th place and bumped the Senators down into a mathcups with the Rangers. The Capitals and specifically their captain Alex Ovechkin have been much better in the latter quarter of the season, and have plenty of talent to steal a few games. Here is my Series Breakdown:


One of the reasons why the Bruins won the Cup last year was their forward depth. The top 6 is among the best in the game, and the bottom 6 could ALL go elsewhere and have larger and more prominent roles. Patrice Bergeron's line (Marchand, Seguin) should be able to handle the 2nd line of the Capitals, Bergeron was the best face-off man in the NHL this year as well as the NHL leader in +/-. Both 63 and 19 were also in the top-5 league-wide. The Capitals might have the 3 best forwards in the series, (AO, Semin, and Backstrom) but the depth on the 3rd and 4th line doesn't match the Bruins. As mentioned, Ovechkin played great down the stretch, & Backstrom is a difference maker when healthy, which he may or may not to be(Returning from Concussion). I hate players like Semin, he plays lazy and reminds me of Phil Kessel- BUT if he is skating hard and playing smart, these guys are all-world and tough to beat. Ultimately the Bruins have a deeper group of forwards, but the Captials have the cream of the crop (for now.)

Advantage: Even


Chara and Seidenberg are going to be playing together again these Playoffs as the "shut-down" pair, and will see a whole lot of #8, Alex Ovechkin. Chara has historically owned Ovechkin, but AO has heard about failure in the playoffs his entire career. The caps are usually a top seed with high expectations, maybe will a different profile and approach in attitude, AO and the Caps will will there way to a few wins, but it will be tough to get through Big Z. If Boston's 2nd pairing (which will likely be Ference and Boychuk) can slow down the 2nd line of Chimera-Backstrom-Semin, the Caps have very little chance of scoring a lot of goals. As for the Capitals defense group, well, ex-Bruin Dennis Wideman is their best guy. Seriously. Mike Green is starting to resemle what he once was, but This is a D group that can be attacked. Dennis Wideman cant get the puck out if his own zone. Looch is going to rock him and cause turnovers that Krejci will magically turn into goals. 

Advantage: Bruins 


Seems like Tim Thomas always finds a new way to have a chip on his shoulder. This whole skipping the White House garbage is SO annoying, he's taking it personally and probably going to turn that into motivation. If he plays like last year, Caps are in trouble. Washington is most likely forced to start their #3, very young goalie Brayden Holtby, who has 20 something career NHL games. I actually think hes really good- I saw him a few times last regular season and he was impressive. The playofs, however, are a different strory. I am guessing the Bruins are going to test Holtby as much as possible, drive the puck to the net and make him make saves, I don't think he can save enough to steal the series, but it wouldnt be the first time a rookie stole a series and went on to greatness ( Patrick Roy, Cam Ward)

Advantage: Bruins


The Caps have some decent playoff experience, but have been victims in the 1st and 2nd rounds. The Bruins obviously know what it takes to go all the way and that should mean a lot in this series. The Bruins went to 7 games in 3 out of their 4 series last year, so the know they never really dominated and cannot lose focus. I expect them to be sharp in Game 1. Advantage Bruins. 

Prediction: Bruins in 6. I am also predicting the Bruins win the Stanley Cup over the St. Louis Blues and become the first back to back champion since the 97-98 Red Wings

Other NHL Matchup Predictions:

Rangers vs Senators:  Rangers play a similar style to the Bruins & Lundqvist is the best goalie in the game at the moment. The Senators are probably happy just to have qualified for the playoffs. This one should end quickly. Rangers in 5. 

Panthers vs Devils: Devils are the forgotten Eastern Conference team, playing in the shadow of NYR, PHI and PIT but they are a hard team to play against. I don't think they can make a run but they can definitely win a series or two. Devils in 6 

Flyers vs Penguins: This is a juiciest of all the match ups. These teams HATE each other. I think Pittsburgh has the skill and better team, but my gut tells me the Flyers are going to find a way to win the series. Its PROVE IT time for Flyers goalie Bryzgalov. Flyers in 7  

Canucks vs Kings: The West is so much better than the East. This is a tough, tough match up for the Canucks. Luongo, his backup Schneider, and LA goalie and UMASS-bred Jon Quick all have the ability to steal this series and I have a feeling that one of them will. Lets hope its Quick. The Kings are used to playing 1-goal, low scoring games. I could easily see a first round exit for the President trophy winning Canucks. Kings in 7.

Blues vs Sharks: These two teams are almost completely opposite. Sharks are offensive-minded with lots of playoff experience, while the Blue play a defensive style game and are very young and inexperienced. This could be a GREAT series but I don't see how the Blues can lose with the edge coming from their goaltending, no matter who starts. The beat the Sharks all 4 times in the regular season. It wont be THAT easy but I do think the Blues pull it out. The Blues are also my pick to come out of the West.  Blues in 6

Blackhawks vs Coyotes: The Coyotes were swept out of the playoffs by the Red Wings last year. I like this year's Coyotes team much more, and the Blackhawks are missing their best player and Captain Jonathan Toews. If he plays I like Chicago but as of now, I'm riding the white-hot goaltender of the Coyotes Mike Smith. Coyotes in 6

Red Wings vs Predators: Another great series. The Red Wings have SO much talent, depth, and experience and common sense may seem that they are the easy pick but Nashville is on a mission. I love the way the Predators play and I think they make a deep run this year if they can get by Detroit. We all know the Red Wings are tough at home so we'll see if the Predators have the guts to win at the Joe. I think they do. Predators in 7.