Giants Overcome Vikings in Neutral Detroit

Giants 21 – 3 Vikings

Add Tarvaris Jackson to the list of NFL quarterbacks that the New York Football Giants have knocked out of a game this season. Brett Favre’s start streak ended tonight against the Giants, and probably for good reason, as the word has been out that the Giants defense is a QB assassination squad. It’s funny that Lou Gehrig’s start streak ended in Detroit, and Cal Ripken’s ended against New York, as Favre’s ended in Detroit against New York. In the end it didn’t matter who was playing quarterback for the Vikings as they couldn’t stop the Giants running game anyway. It was a pretty simple victory for the Giants who did what they try to every game, and imposed their will on both sides of the ball. Is it just me or is Adrian Peterson just not the same player this season? I was certainly not impressed by his showing tonight against the G-men. The collision between AP and Jackson’s knees was laughably bad, as was the Vikings effort.

Brandon Jacobs is back in tank form. It didn’t matter if he gained 73 or 1 yard, he was not going to be taken down by one or even two Vikings tonight. As good as Bradshaw has been this year, if B.Jacobs can keep running like he has the past three weeks, the Giants offense will be a force in the closing weeks of this football year. E-truth had a couple turnovers early, but by the end of the second quarter he was steady as ever. Manning’s consecutive starts streak is now at triple digits (100), and his streak is the second longest currently active behind his older brother Peyton. It was nice seeing Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith back in the Giants attack, but a shame that they lost both Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw. Hopefully both will be able to make the Eagles game on Sunday.

The Giants D was great again. Four sacks split up among five different players, eight tackles for losses, two forced fumbles, and a Keith Bulluck interception. Not to mention scaring a quarterback into retirement, and knocking another quarterback out of the game multiple times. ESPN might try and sell the Ravens defense as the most feared in the league, but the eyes of the quarterbacks playing the Giants tell a different story. No defensive line is as intimidating, and no secondary is as hard hitting this year. The New York Giants are fielding top flight defense every game now, and that’s thanks to coach Perry Fewell. A man who cannot get enough credit for the Giants one year turnaround.

Next week may be the most important match-up of the year. A revenge match against Mike Vick and the Dog Killers, but this time at the new Giants Stadium. The media may keep mentioning that the Giants will be playing on a short week, but they won’t mention that Philly was on short rest last time these two teams met, and that didn’t seem to have any effect on the game. Look for a scrappy affair that involves Mike Vick off his feet constantly. The Giants cannot fall into their usual trap of starting the game a quarter after the other team, or they will fall again. Let me know what you think on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr!


Lundqvist Gets Shutout, Capitals Get Beat Down

Caps 0 – 7 Rangers

The New York Rangers came out with their best performance of the season against the slumping Washington Capitals. This is the first time the Rangers have won while wearing their new alternate jerseys, and they made a statement in the process. Washington came out trying to push the Rangers around, but as Michael Sauer, Brandon Dubinsky, and Sean Avery showed, the Rangers fight back this year. I don’t know what Alex Ovechkin was thinking when he dropped his gloves and attacked Dubinsky, but he caught a few uppercuts to the mouth for his troubles. Matt Hendricks attacked Sauer after he was off his skates earlier in the game, and Sean Avery gave him a taste of his own medicine in the final minutes. As much as the Rangers owned the scoreboard, they owned the physical game. While the Capitals pretend to be tough guys, the Rangers play tough hockey. It’s very similar to the smackdown that GSP gave Josh Koscheck last night.

Henrik Lundqvist didn’t have his best game of the season last night, but tonight he came out with the fire of a champion. He made thirty-one big saves against a very offensively minded Washington Capitals. Lundqvist’s counterpart, Varlamov, only made thirteen saves while giving up seven goals. A save percentage of .650 is absolutely unacceptable for any goalie at any level of hockey. It’s nights like tonight that the Rangers show you the advantage of having an elite goalie. The Madison Square Garden faithful were as energetic as they have been all season for the Rangers this evening. Chanting “Henrik!” “Duuuuuuuuuuuub!” and “Avery!” as loud as they possibly could. It was great to hear the team’s effort being matched by the fans. Support is one thing this team could definitely get some more of.

The offense looked great. I didn’t see much Gaborik in the third when the game was already in hand, but Todd White seemed to have played his season high tonight. Brian Boyle had an exceptional game. The Pack line continues to be great, and I hope Torts keeps them together. Derek Stepan was surprisingly quiet tonight with all this scoring. Ryan Callahan continues to make his case for the “C” on his sweater. Brandon Dubinsky had a Gordie Howe hat-trick (1 g, 1 a, 1 fight). Artie Anisimov capitalized on his recent momentum. Christensen and Frolov continue to be the weakest links in the forward depth chart. When Prospal/Drury return, I hope these two lose their jobs. Perhaps Todd White as well, and the Rangers can bring Zucarello Assan up too. The team looked great tonight, but nothing is perfect.

Marc Staal continues to prove he is a great 2-way defenseman. Michael Sauer is a mean dude, and he is by far my favorite surprise on the Rangers this season (I don’t consider Steps a surprise). His willingness to drop the gloves automatically gives him favor in my eyes, but he’s also very responsible with the puck, and also throws the body. Sauer’s defensive partner Steve Eminger is almost equally surprising in his solid play. The consistency on the defense this year comes from this bottom pairing being so reliable. As the forward lines start to remain intact, we’ll see more games like this from the Rangers. The team is great at playing together and for each other, and have reeled off 8 wins in their last 11 tries. Hopefully they can keep up a similar pace.

The Rangers head to Pittsburgh to face off with the other team featured in HBO’s road to the whatever the eff they’re calling it. I like the way the team stuck up for themselves tonight, and have faith they can go play an equally strong game on the road. It may not be as easy on the scoreboard, but if they give as good as they get against Captain girl’s name and the rest of the birds that can’t fly, they should be able to come out with a point or 2.

Knicks win again, Amar’e with 8 straight 30 point games: As with most Sunday Knicks games this time of year, I didn’t get to see this. I like that the Knicks have won 13 of 14, that Carmello only wants to be a Knick, and that Amar’e is breaking Knicks records so early in his time here. This has been a very fun early fall sports season, and the Knicks are a big reason why.

Rangers Can’t Hold On Against Blue Jackets

NYR 1 – 3 Columbus

There was a point, just before Rick Nash scored his second goal to put Columbus up two, the Rangers were in an eerily similar position they found themselves in Ottawa. Avery in the corner, digs the puck out to Prust who passes it to the center of the ice. Instead of a Michael Sauer goal, it led to a turnover to Rick Nash, while Lundqvist was about 85% of the way to his bench. The King retreated back to his crease, but Rick Nash already had him dead to rights. A big man who can move like Nash is hard to stop, especially when you’re momentum just carried you one way, and you bite on a fake that’s going to opposite way. Rick Nash put Lundqvist on the news, and the Rangers to bed on that goal. It was a very defensive match-up with only two premiere goal scorers on the ice (Nash v Gaborik), and only one actually found the net. Gaborik needs help, and at this point in his career, I’m not sure Derek Stepan is the answer.

In a game with two teams that seemingly mirror each other, I figured the elite goalie would be the difference. I had no idea that meant he would blow the game on a soft goal from behind his goal line, but I guess you just can’t predict sports sometimes. Lundqvist made twenty saves tonight, but he let up at the wrong time, and the game winner found the back of his net from what the Blue Jackets commentators called an “impossible angle.” Henrik has allowed some weak goals this year, and I guess this one will go on the lo-light reel with the rest of them. It’s never fun when your team blows a lead, and that’s certainly the case here. There was just not a whole lot of good going on offensively for the Rangers, and the Blue Jackets eventually broke through.

The only line that was really clicking tonight was the Wolfpack line of Dubinsky, Anisimov, and Callahan. They looked especially sharp early, but didn’t see as much ice as the Gaborik line. Fedotenko did make the best pass of the night for the Rangers on the Marc Staal power play goal, but that was while on the ice with Christensen and Frolov. Perhaps they can all get on a line together, and leave the top line minutes to players who can handle top pair defense. Avery and Prust should be on a consistent line together. They seem to click on the forecheck well, but don’t see many chances to work with one another. The Tortorella line juggling is getting old. Consistency is the only reason the Blue Jackets won tonight. Their players all knew what they were supposed to be doing, and they executed to the best of their ability. None of the Rangers know what they’re supposed to be doing because every single game their role changes. The defense is the only consistency the team sees, and even those pairs don’t stay the same every game. Pick some lines with a little conviction already.

The Rangers get the Washington Capitals tomorrow night. If I had to predict the outcome I would probably multiply tonight’s score by two in favor of the visiting Caps. The Rangers looked pretty mediocre tonight, and I don’t see how that can change with all the mixed signals being sent by the coach. The Rangers are slipping back into the 9-11 spots of the Eastern Conference cellar, just like last season. Players like Frolov, Del Zotto, Christensen, and Todd White cannot be suffered much longer. Adding some new blood from either the CT Whale or another NHL team is about the only hope this team has right now, as their only other bet is consistency, which they’ll never have under this flip-flopping coach. Let me know what you think on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr!

Amar’e Campaign Trail Gets Started Early in D.C.

NYK 101 – 95 Wizards

You could hear the chants in MSG the other night, and they followed the Knicks on the road to Washington. “M.V.P!” “M.V.P!” “M.V.P!” It’s not even half-way through the NBA 2010-2011 season, and Amar’e Stoudamire is already making his case for the NBA’s most valuable player. He’s scored 30+ points in each of the last seven games, and he’s lead the Knicks to seven straight road wins, putting them atop the league with 10 overall. He’s the minutes leader, he’s the plus/minus leader, and to be fair the turnovers leader tonight also. I guess you can say STAT even had a triple double tonight with his 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 turnovers. That last part certainly isn’t pretty, but when it matters most Amar’e Stoudamire takes the game over with points, blocks, and confidence. I’ve been saying it all season, STAT is the best player to where the Knicks uniform since Patrick Ewing.

Free throws were the biggest weakness in the Wizards game tonight. They missed eight in a game where they only lost by six. Anytime that happens a coach should make their team shoot 1000 free throws each. The free throw department has been one of the most impressive improvements made by the New York Knickerbockers this season, and tonight’s game is a testament to how important such an improvement can be. Knicks were also dominant in another area I’ve been preaching, blocks (6 to 1). The Knicks even won the rebounds department by a couple, so they remain consistent during this surge of wins. The Knicks only scored ten points on the fast break tonight, which may seem strange from a D’Antonni coached team, but this is a half court team. They still play an exciting, high scoring game, but they do it all with a set offense.

Landry Fields continues to play a quietly solid game. He’s possibly the third most important player on this team. He rebounds and plays defense the whole game, and any time the Knicks need a clutch shot, Landry nails it. I’m still not sure about the Shawne Williams love, but if a trade ever goes down, it is nice to know other fans have faith in his ability. I liked the little bit I seen of Mozgov tonight, and I’m still hopeful he can be a major part of the rotation by year’s end. Danillo Gallinari played a controlled game tonight. Instead of chucking like he’s guilty of some nights, he drove the rack, and went to the charity stripe for nine freebies. When you can hit free throws like Reggie Miller, you have to take the ball to the hole. Gallo needs to keep playing like this. He was 100% from the free throw line and from beyond the arch.

The Knicks get the Nuggets on Sunday. I want Carmello Anthony in blue and orange as much as any fan, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time until that happens. Whether it’s through a trade, or the free agent market, the Knicks will make a play for the services of Mello. Pardon the Interruption had coach Mike D on today, and they also said that having the Knicks playing well is good for the NBA and the country. It’s nice for the Knicks to be in the mainstream again. Hopefully they can keep this up for an entire season, but I’m having fun while it lasts either way. Let me know what you think on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr!

Sauer’s First Goal is a Game Winner

NYR 5-3 Senators

The New York Rangers weren’t dominant in Ottawa tonight, but they were victorious. It seemed that after Matt Carkner clocked and slammed Derek Boogaard in the first, the Senators began taking liberties on the Rangers players. Aside from a penalty by Brandon Dubinsky late in the first, which led to Ottawa’s second goal, it seemed the Rangers weren’t interested in matching the Senators physical intensity. It seemed Coach John Tortorella didn’t even really have an answer for the onslaught, and without a couple nice plays by Marian Gaborik, the Rangers would have been down by multiple goals heading into the final frame. In the third period momentum shifted on what many will consider a lucky goal for Erick Christensen, his fifth on the year. It was one of those goal line plays, where the forward flings the puck on net from practically the corner, and somehow still squirts in past the goaltender’s skates.

The game remained tied for eleven minutes and ten seconds until a crazy power play combination broke through for New York. On a play that saw Sean Avery dig the puck out of the corner for Brandon Prust, who found a wide open Michael Sauer for his first NHL goal of his career on a cross-rink pass just as the power play was inching towards expiration. Sauer had made the worst play of his career in the third minute of tonight’s contest on a turnover right in front of Henrik Lundqvist’s crease, but now you’ll probably never hear about it again after this redeeming goal. The Rangers defense as a whole wasn’t too impressive the entire game. On a night when Michael Del Zotto was a healthy scratch, the Rangers were physical bullied. I know I’m one of Del Zotto’s biggest critics, but his physical game is at a much higher level than pretty much any Ranger Dman whose last name doesn’t start with an “S.” Gilroy definitely wasn’t atrocious, and as a spot starting 7th Dman, he’s just about perfect. Rozival is slowly playing himself down the depth chart in my eyes, but Torts continues to give him top pair minutes, as he’s second behind Staal in ice time tonight.

Marian Gaborik looked great tonight. He was making plays in every period, setting up teammates, and even sneaking away for a break away or two. I hope he can maintain this level of play, and since it was in such a violent game, I’m even more impressed by the performance. He was easily the Rangers best forward tonight, which is what they need him to be. Ryan Callahan played his usual solid game by blocking shots, dishing out as good as he got on checks, and killing penalties with perfection. Brandon Dubisnky also played the type of game you hope to see from him. When the going got rough, Dubi got rough with it. Callahan and Dubi were on the ice for Christensen’s goal, and I’m interested in seeing if that line gets any more ice time together. It seemed Boyle was on plenty of shifts with those two as well. Sean Avery was as effective as he could be with less than ten minutes of ice time. I would love for the Rangers to get rid of Alex Frolov, and bring Mats Zuccarello Assan up from the CT Whale, but I’m not sure Coach Torts is anywhere near giving up on A-Fro yet.

The Rangers will be in Columbus on Saturday. It’ll be nice to see former Blueshirt Fedor Tyutin again, as long as he isn’t too rough with the boys. Other than having Rick Nash on my fantasy team, I don’t really follow the Jackets too closely. I know they’re near the bottom in the Western Conference’s best division, so hopefully the Rangers can take a couple away from a team lower in the standings, which seems like a more common instance this season. Rangers have been good on the road this season, and Columbus struggles to score (20th in the NHL in goals), so this should be right up their alley.

Giants Defense Continues to Roll, 8-4

Before you could even sit down with a beer, the Giants were already up 14-0 on the Redskins. They never relinquished the lead, and anytime you thought Washington had a chance to climb back into the game, the Big Blue defense took the ball away from them. I say took the ball away because the Giants forced six fumbles and two interceptions in today’s showing. The team is a -2 overall in turnovers on the season, but after a slow start in TO margin, it’s nice to see everything evening out. The Redskins defense is one of the worst in the NFL, and the Giants have one of the best, which led to a very lopsided divisional match-up. Giants are now 2-2 in the division and tied for first with the Philadelphia Eagles. Later in the year NYG could be battling the Eagles at home for division supremacy, so they need to keep pace until that happens.

Starting Brandon Jacobs has worked so far for Coughlin. He hardly seen any burn in the second half, but that didn’t stop him from bookending the Giants touchdowns on the day. All of the Giants touchdowns were scored on the ground, as Ahmad Bradshaw climbed over 1000 rushing yards on the year. E-truth wasn’t exactly impressive with his terrible interception, and just overall bad decision making. It seems like he attempted more passes to running backs than to wideouts in the second half. Jacobs, Ware, Bradshaw, even fullback Bear Pascoe dropped balls in the 3rd/4th quarter. The Giants running game dominated the entire first half for the Giants, but it seemed like they were desperate to get the passing game going, which they never accomplished. Against a team whose defense is horrid, I expected more. The Giants were 2 for 10 on 3rd down conversion attempts today, not impressive. Derek Hagan had seven receptions, and was impressive on a day when the Giants couldn’t take to the air well at all.

The Giants defense is the antithesis to last year’s squad. They get to the quarterback, they stop the running game, they force turnovers, and they make the game fun. Jason Pierre-Paul has certainly made up for his offsides blunder in the Philly game. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora were absolutely terrifying the Redskins offensive line. Donovan McNabb was feeling pressure and the new field at Meadowlands Stadium the entire game. The secondary was a little conservative for my tastes in the second half, but they were still able to take the ball away whenever times were tough. Terrell Thomas’ pick in the end zone really deflated the only rally Washington ever mounted, and Corey Webster’s pick was just the icing on the cake. I could sit and watch the Giants defense chase quarterbacks all day. They are a treat to behold.

It’s not going to be an easy road into the playoffs for the Giants, but Champions don’t take easy paths, so they’ll be taking each test head on. Next week the Giants get to face the Vikings, who may or may not be starting Brett Favre. They had a good game against the Buffalo Bills today, but every team has a good game against the Bills. I’m hopping Favre starts, so his streak can stay intact, and the Giants can knock him out of the game. The Giants have yet to beat the Vikings since they acquired Adrian Peterson, so it’ll be interesting to see how the game goes.

The Knicks beat Raptors on the road, 12-9: Didn’t get to see any of this game, due to the Giants being on, but I’m beyond excited to see the Knicks continuing their great play. They have the majority of their wins on the road, and right now they’re sixth in the East. If the playoffs started today, they would be facing the Miami Heat, who is exactly the team I’d love the Knicks to see in the playoffs.

Top 5 Morning Cartoon Series of the 90’s

It’s not often that I dabble in lists, but with recent developments like facebook being overtaken with default pictures of cartoon characters, and Netflix offering Hey Arnold for instant streaming, I feel I have no choice. Now to unleash my five favorite cartoons of my childhood. In NO particular order.

Doug (Nickelodeon version) : Doug Funnie was your every day banjo playing, comic book drawing, Patty Mayonnaise loving kid. His show was not only humorous like the title characters name, but also featured great original music. Whether it was Doug and his band thinking “Big,” or The Beets going on about that “Killer Tofu” again. If one thing stands out above all else, it’s the music. There was also Doug’s alter-ego’s like “Na, na, na… Jack Bandit,” or his popular super-hero “Quailman!” The cast was colorful (literally), and the storylines were always relatable. Doug was basically the cartoon equivalent of “Boy Meets World,” another great show of the time.

Rocko’s Modern Life:
Rocko was about an Australian Wallaby and his crazy animal friends and neighbors. It was pretty crazy, and while it sometimes had gross out stuff, it wasn’t nearly as disgusting to the eyes and ears as Ren and Stimpy. Another great nicktoon just like Doug. Rocko was also able to spawn a 16-bit video game, which wasn’t exactly fun or memorable, but it does exist! Rocko had some great characters, but I guess any show on this list did. I feel like this show was above mine, and probably most kids heads at the time, but I still enjoyed every minute of it. Another show I plan to catch back up with via Netflix Instant Streaming.

Batman: The Animated Series:
While a lot of people enjoyed the original Tim Burton Batman, I personally only ever enjoyed the Animated Series as far as Bat-adaptations went in the 90’s. Luckily, Christopher Nolan would later grace the world with a series of great Batman films, but as a kid, the cartoons had to do. Joker was voiced by Luke Skywalker himself, and Batman was voiced perfectly by Kevin Conroy. I don’t think either will ever be done better in the voice acting department, and even the most recent Batman video game release (Batman:Arkham Asylum) featured these two in said roles. There were many instances where these two faced off, but this show explored pretty much every Batman villain, which is a big reason why I enjoyed it so much. Characters like Clayface and The Killer Croc finally had a chance to get on the screen, while no live-action work would have done either justice. Batman: The Animated Series is probably the greatest comic book adaptation ever.

Tailspin: In what may seem like a strange spin-off to The Jungle Book, Tailspin took all the characters from that Disney epic, and turned them into sky-pirates. The show followed Baloo, who was the bear in the Jungle Book, and his sidekick Kit Cloudkicker. This show had machine guns, dog-fights, partying, great villains, and was just about as action packed as any cartoon of its’ time. It reminds me a lot of Cowboy Bebop in many ways, and I wonder if it played any part in inspiring that great Anime Series. Don Karnage is one of my favorite villains in any piece of fiction. This show is what happens when great writers get a hold of a previously successful franchise. Something that rarely works out in this current day and age.

Hey Arnold: Arnold and the kids from PS 118 were probably my favorite bunch of animated kids. They lived in a place called Hillwood, which was an awful lot like New York City. At least that’s what I always thought as a kid. This show captured the myth versus truth aspect of growing up better than any show I’ve seen. Whether it was Sid, Gerald, or one of the other great characters telling Arnold a story, you always knew it was going to be hilariously embellished. Hey Arnold featured everything from bullies to sandlot baseball, and always seemed to reference the coolest stuff. Like every other cartoon on this list, I imagine I missed a lot of the jokes as a kid, but still enjoyed the ones I did understand. I’m endlessly excited about being able to watch these on my Xbox 360 right now.

Well, that’s my top 5, or at least the 5 the stand out the most in my mind right now. Let me know what your top 5 cartoons would be on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr!