Death Cab for Woody

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Catching up on some overdue business...

Just added Men of the Scarlet and Gray, which is a new duo-based OSU blog. They have a great review of this year's crop of Linebackers at The Ohio State University.

Also added Pfef's Sports Blog. Probably the youngest OSU Blogger out there, but already has some good content on his site. Dublin Jerome Representin'

In other news....Nikolai Zherdev. Oh Nikolai, what is going on in that head of yours. If you really think that Doug is going to let you go back to Russia when his head is potentially on a chopping block this season, you are crazy.

LeCharles Bentley = Crap = Poor Cleveland Fans = I still hate Jose Mesa.

Still to Come...
  • Part Two of the CBJ Summer Review - Defensemen and Goalies
  • Northwestern Season Preview

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sorry about the lack of the process of moving and closing on previous home in the C-bus...

A landslide of material soon to follow...Lots of dead time on these long plane rides.

"You are now free to be delayed for 9 hours at Sea-Tac...Thanks Northwest!"


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Come on feel the Illinoise

If you are a Sufjan Stevens fan, then I must say that life is pretty good. If you are an Illinois football fan, then life has been pretty bleak since the days of Kurt Kittner.

Having family in the central Illinois-area, I am subject to the recent problems with Illinois football and its inability to consistently put good teams on the field, while other schools in the region are able to have success (ie Northwestern, Notre Dame, etc.)

There is a different feel to the Illinois football program, since the hire of Ron Zook. With his own recruits starting to trickle into the fold, Illinois can only get better. After watching the OSU-Illinois game last year, I had realized far Illinois had fallen since its last Big Ten title in 2001.

The Illinois offense is bound and determined to get better. There is talent waiting in the wings with Freshman QB Isiah Williams shunning the likes of ND (there isn’t a an ND fan who would ever believe this) and OSU to play under Coach Zook. There is plenty of talent at the RB position with Halsey and Mendenhall leading a very experienced backfield. Add in QB Tim Brasic with another year of experience under his belt and Illinois should be able to put some points on the board against lesser opponents. However, Brasic does need to improve his status as a Big Ten signal caller this year, as he was near the basement in pass efficiency last year and had a 1:1 TD:INT Ratio Last year…not good. The entire O-line returns this year and is serviceable, but seemed to have uber-problems when facing teams with even marginal speed on the ends. Unfortunately for Tim, he is playing in the Big10 where marginal speed is there on the ends for most teams and fantastic speed is there for a few teams (PSU, UM, OSU, and Wisky). I would expect that things will get better for the Fightin’ Illini, but its all relative in the amount of success generated in year two of the Zook Era. Look for Williams to contribute early this year, it would be wise for Zook to get this talented freshman on the field now.

Brasic has to get running for his life.

This is where the problems really begin. The unit that Zook put on the field last year couldn’t stop Grand Valley State…let alone a team with decent offensive firepower. The front four was ridiculously overmatched in almost all of its Big10 match-ups this past season…even Indiana. Teams were able to beat the Illini to the corner on most days running the ball and the vertical passing game was always there for its opponents. With another of Zook’s football philosophy being brought in at Illinois, the defense will improve. It has to improve with better recruiting classes being brought into Champaign, which is something you can always count on with Zook at the helm. The LBs should improve this season as the freshmen and sophomores are ready for another season of brutal Illinois football.

When Googling "Illinois Defense" this is the first that pops up...surprising...not really.

Special Teams:
Freshman Punter (Kyle Yelton) = Good Times…for opposing teams. Junior Jason Reda returns as the placekicker for Illinois, which is a good thing, as the winds that swirl around Memorial Stadium are brutal for even the best kickers. I am sure that both of these guys will be top notch by the end of the season with the amount of repetition provided by the Zook-style offense.

Season Outlook (Homes Games – BOLD):

Eastern Illinois
Michigan State
Penn State
Ohio State

“Fa Show” Wins: Eastern Illinois
Could Go Either Way: Purdue, Syracuse, Indiana, Ohio
“Fa Show” Losses: Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Northwestern

Projected Season Record: 3-9 (1-7)

Bottom Line: It wont be a fun season in Champaign, but it will be better than last year.

Team Song for 2006: Downward is Heavenward by Hum.

Really a better preview of the Illinois season can be summed up by replaying this YouTube Video 12 times


Sunday, July 09, 2006

CBJ Summer Review – Part I

Well, another draft and summer skate at the Ice Haus been completed for the Columbus organization. Let’s take a look at where the Bluejackets stand with its lineups for the 2006 NHL Season

Potential Forward Lines

Modin – Brule – Zherdev
Nash – Fedorov – Vyborny
Chimera – Maholtra – Fritsche
Shelley – Hartigan – Picard


Top 2 Lines

"Fedorov being the Playoffs...this year...hopefully."

It is pretty much a given, barring any unforeseen injuries, that the top three lines are pretty much set with the top two lines being interchangeable parts. I am not sure if Brule is ready to handle the physical level of the NHL, but after getting watch a few of his games against the Everett Silvertips in the WHL Semis, he is a wrecking ball with a scoring touch in close similar to Dino Ciccarelli. He is not afraid to get his clocked clean and plays with a mean streak a mile wide. It will be interesting to see how he can do this upcoming season. The one thing we can all say about the first two lines is that there is now some defensive responsibility on both lines with the recent addition of Modin. Now that Dr. Hook is gone (Jan Hrdina) I wont wince when any forward (from Tie Domi to Brian Gionta) comes into the CBJ zone with anything resembling speed. Fedorov still has the wheels, but has taken more of an Yzerman approach to his game and is making sure that everything is order defensively before leaving the zone. The skill is still there and it makes an appearance from time to time, but the Fedorov we saw last year is most likely the Fedorov that will be playing for the CBJ this season. He is a bit overpriced, but the effect that he has had on Zherdev and his work ethic in the defensive zone has provided a level of leadership that past CBJ’ers Ray Whitney ( He still isn’t playing defense) and Andrew Cassels (Nice guy…terrible two-way hockey player) would never and will never be able to attain. If and when this team makes the playoffs, Fedorov will play a critical role in any success that occurs. In regards to Modin, he is a player that most people do not notice or appreciate unless he has played on or against your team in the past. A heavy shooter that will probably chip in about 25-30 goals this year, and provide even more leadership in the dressing room. Plays a great two-way game and should command a little more respect from other teams keying on the likes of Fedorov, Nash, and Zherdev.

3rd Line

"Is very bad to stand in Jason's way. Is very very bad."

The third line was pretty much set last week, as Trevor Letowski signed a free-agent contract with the Stanley Cup Champs (Carolina Hurricanes..if you have been living under a rock or prefer to watch poker on TV). This will definitely be the energy line for the team with three hard skaters possessing serviceable offensive punch in Fritsche, Chimera, and Manny Malhotra. This is the line that most Bluejackets fans will probably love this season. Chimera can put the puck in the net and skates ridiculously fast for a guy that is 200-215 lbs. He is pretty much a freight train on skates. Manny and Danny are both hard working skaters, and while Manny is really starting to blossom as a NHL player, Danny is still trying to gain the consistency needed to stay in the NHL. Getting Manny signed for another year and a providing him a decent amount of ice time, which he has not received in the past, should provide fantastic results for Manny and the franchise.
The fourth line will continue to be a “hodge-podge” of players. The players that end up on the ice will ultimately depend on the opponent for the evening. You know what you are going to get with Shelley. A blue-collar player that has worked very hard to improve his game, but let’s face it, fourth line ice time is going to be the best that Shelly will probably ever be able to get in this franchise going forward. The farm system has talent waiting to play, and the need for an enforcer is slowly going the way of the dodo. Mark Hartigan is an interesting story. Here is a career AHL’er with exceptional offensive skill, but, in the past, hasn’t been able to put it together at the NHL level. Mark did himself a great favor last season by finishing out the season on a terror, and guess what the CBJ did for him. That’s right…put him on waivers, so he could back down to Syracuse for the playoffs. Genius Doug…genius. I am still surprised he didn’t get picked up by Detroit. I know that the Detroit fans would say that he was not good enough to make its roster. Bullshit. He is a perfect Detroit-type puck possession player, who, in my opinion, is a much better player than “Bluejacket-Killer” Jason Williams. Hartigan is good enough to play on any of the top 3 lines, but will most likely play as the centre man for the 4th line to keep teams honest. Also looking to make a splash this season will be resident agitator Alexander Picard. CBJ fans love this guy already. Skates hard and will hit anyone in his path (Think of a motivated Blake Sloan with skating ability and talent…don’t think Blake Sloan after his first five minutes of ice time as a Bluejacket.). His only problem was that he turned into Robert Kron on the offensive end, and couldn’t buy a goal. Picard could also make a splash on the 3rd line, if Manny, Danny, or Chimera is struggling.

It is really nice to finally see some depth in the organization, so it is not required to bring up the first rounders to provide skill and excitement for the fans of the team. The scorig will go up this year, but I also believe that the forwards will take a little more responsibility in their own end, which should make the CBJ even more competitive for 2006.


Friday, July 07, 2006

New Coach for old Northwestern

Former LB Pat Fitzgerald was named the head coach of the Wildcats today. This will be an interesting situation as he is awfully young (31) to become the head coach of any team..let alone a team in a power conference. This means that the Big10 has the two youngest coaches in Division-I. Impressive to say the least.

Good luck Coach Fitzgerald.

Good Luck will definitely be an interesting and emotional year for the program and fans.


Ty Conklin and the Red Wing Connection...

Yesterday the CBJ signed Ty Conklin, which offifically opened the goaltending position up for competition in Columbus (Well, not really the starting position).


John McConnell: Ty Webb?
Doug MacClean: No John, Ty Conklin.

While the Red Wings fans are having a tough time digesting the potential Ed Belfour acquisition, the CBJ look to hand over the keys to a young Pascal LeGrinch and see how things will fall out. I am all for this move, as it puts Pascal in the same position Denis was in with Tugger back in the early days of the franchise.

I am kind of curious about Detroit's move. Now that Stevie has retired, wouldn't it be prudent to move towards a little youth between the pipes and potentially develop a goaltender for the future? I know that this is one area that the Red Wings have struggled with over the years. Exhibit A. Chris Osgood. A good goaltender that had confidence bouts with shots that have a smaller percentage of hitting the net rather than being an actual scoring chance. He was still able to win a cup with the Red Wings in 1998, but the goaltending coach(es) at the time (ie. The Detroit fans & media) gave him little chance to succeed beyond that year. Wouldn't it be great to win a Cup as a goaltender and have the city and media basically believe that you did a decent job of not screwing it up?

I have always been a big fan of Osgood. He seems like a good team guy that can play in pressure situations, WHEN HE DOESN'T HAVE ANOTHER STARTING GOALTENDER ON THE TEAM WITH HIM. Confidence will always be the issue that Osgood has to deal with in the future. Go ahead Detroit...bring in Belfour. Keep Osgood on the bench. When that no good piece of crap goaltender Belfour has another injury within the first 10 games of the season, Osgood will be put in the same situation that has plagued him since Vernon was brought to Detroit in 1997 (I know that Vernon didnt really start playing until the playoffs started). A STARTING NHL goaltender that will have him looking over his shoulder. In my honest opinion, Belfour is not the solution in Detroit, Ty Conklin was the solution. Why? He wont put the pressure on Osgood that an Ed Belfour will eminate while in the prone position with another sprained cooper's ligament.


Kenny, my boobs hurt....

I pose this question to Kenny H. Why not put Ozzie in the starting position with Howard as the back-up for the year? This started to work last year for the CBJ with Denis and LeClaire...

Just a thought. However, I think that the Detroit organization is looking for a quick fix to a problem that may bite them in the ass in the future. Who is Detroit's next hired gun after this coming year's playoff disappointment?

I dont think that Goaltending is the problem. I think that this team lacks any grit outside of a few players. Stevie Y used to provide this grit and determination through his own play, but his game as gone down a few notches, due to injuries and such. Who is the leader on this team? Nick Lidstrom? Please. Lidstrom is a great player, but a Captain has to lead...not look like a gazelle and make smooth defensive plays. I am sure that someone will tell me differently, but I just dont see him having the presence required in the locker room to lead that team with the entire city on his shoulders. Basically, I think he would move back to Sweden after one year of being a Captain with an early playoff exit, and I know that the Detroit fans dont want that.

The Wings have some big questions to answer this offseason. Unfortunately, I dont think that Belfour was an answer to any of them.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Blogroll Roundtable #2 - EDSBS Stylin'

1. Education. List the region of the country you were born in, what universities you attended and at least one other you would have attended if your alma mater didn’t exist.

Born in Sandusky, Ohio (King’s Island sucks…). Grew up in Napoleon, Ohio (Haven’t been back since 97…don’t ask). Graduated from Ohio State with an Economics Degree (aka Business Undecided) and a minor in Computer Science. Got the MBA from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus (Did you know that Pepe Pearson is part of the ODU coaching staff?). If I didn’t attend OSU, I would have probably gone to Georgia, as I have a lot of family near Athens (Apologies to Orson).

2. Sports Affiliations. List your top 10 favorite teams in all of sports in descending order. For instance, your alma mater’s football team may be number 1, but perhaps there is a professional team that squeezes in before you get to your alma mater’s lacrosse team.

10 is probably stretching it for me as well. I don’t think I can share that much love with so many teams….

Recently Removed - Detroit Red Wings – Hard to grow up in NW Ohio and not have a soft spot in your heart for Stevie Y and the boys.
5. Buffalo Sabres - No Goal, Eh!! He was in the crease <In best Doug McKenzie-ish voice>
4. Detroit Pistons – Same as the Wings…sans Stevie Y, of course.
3. Cleveland Indians – Jose Mesa…bastard.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets – Hockey in Ohio is a good thing. We’ll let you know when we’re competitive (BTW When Stevie Y finally Retires, the Red Wings will be a distant memory on this top 5).
1. Ohio State Football – Even though the boys over at the M-Zone will leave their bunker long enough to tell you he was a psychopath, Woody Hayes is still an icon in a state that lives and dies by its football. Apparently, it was better to be a racist that conformed to competitive pressure (Bryant), than to just sock somebody because you hated to lose that much. I am sure that Alabama Man will chime in on this comment, but “dem’s the breaks.”

"Take a bow Woody at least you didnt sell out like another legend. Now about that punch thing."

3. Movies. List the movie you’ve watched the most, your favorite sports related movie, the movie you secretly love but don’t like to admit it (possibly a chick flick or b film), and the movie you were (or still are) most looking forward to from this summer’s season.

Most watched: Coming to America (Reverend Brown said it best. "If loving the Buckeyes is wrong, I don't want to be right.")

Fave sports movie: Victory (and I really don’t like soccer…)

Shame flick: Sniper (A Tom Berenger movie that was so bad it was great)

4. Music. List your favorite band from middle school, high school, college and today. Also, as with the movies, include the song you secretly love but don’t like to admit. If Nickleback is involved in any of these responses, please give a detailed explanation as to why, god, why.

Middle school: Led Zeppelin, The Who, Rush

High school: Metallica, Megadeth

College: Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana

Today: The Shins, Grandaddy, Explosions in the Sky, Spoon

Shamelove song: I am so happy that I cannot answer this question…

"James Mercer and the Boys. Always working hard to entertain you good people"

5. Books. Favorite book you’ve finished, worst book you’ve finished and the book you really should read but haven’t gotten around to it.

Favorite: Into the Wild (Jon Krakauer). Kid finishes college and does what most people wish they could…live without boundaries or obligations, but, unfortunately, dies in the process.

2nd Place: Tie between Lullaby by Pahlniuk and Life After God by Coupland.

Worst: The Da Vinci Code. Maybe worst is a strong opinion, but overrated seems to sum it up for me. While the book was a very easy read, it felt like I was reading a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Book with all of the appropriate choices made for me. I haven’t seen the movie, but I don’t think Tom Hanks and his hair could save this one…

Author I Should Read, but haven’t: Kerouac…someday….someday…

"Oh Tom...where did it all go wrong? A bad book...a worse movie."

6. Travel. Favorite city you’ve ever been to and the one place you still must visit before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Bestest City…Like Ever: Toronto…nothing like playing shinny in the square across from the Sheraton Centre Hotel at 2AM…when it is –2 degrees Celsius.

City I need to go to: Vancouver, BC. I just moved to Seattle…this will happen soon… On Deck: Sydney, Australia.

7. What do you love most about college football in 20 words or less?

Brats Before Dawn; Skull Session; Ramp Entrance; Script Ohio; Hang on Sloopy; Victory Bell.

"Time and Change Will Surely Show."


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Offseason Roundtable

Referencing Bruce Ciskie's blog,

I wanted to chime in on the first of the two offseason roundtabe posts that have been posed the college football blogging community. EDSBS's roundtable will be posted tomorrow.

Which preseason college football magazine is your favorite?

I, like many others, utilize the season preview magazines for depth charts will eventaully read all of the fluff pieces on topics such as:

  1. Jeff Samardzija and Geddy Lee are never in the same place at the same time. Discuss.
  2. Chad Henne & Anthony Morelli. Which one flops in 2006? Let it be Morelli...for the sake of the Michigan fans and band members travelling to "Urine Valley."
  3. The OSU could be really good or awfully mediocre.
  4. Charlie Weis' affinity for being really nice to sick children....and food.
  5. The ability to have over $10,000 floated your way for rent subsidization...and not miss a game...
  6. What direction will circle-jerk seal (Nick Lachey) face this year now that his wingman is in Arizona?
  7. Which WAC games will be pre-empted by Poker Tournaments with or without Jennifer Tilly on Fox and ESPN?
  8. Where in the hell is Trev Alberts? The overabundance of Mark May sewage produced on Gameday Final has made the cllege football gods very unhappy. Another season of this crap and we may have to sacrifice Suzy Colbert (and all of the needy African children that she helps for "pennies a day.") to the Krakon.

That being said, I dont really have a favorite publication to mention.

What team is being supremely overrated in the preseason rankings?

I think that the easy answer is Notre Dame (I think OSU just scored another touchdown), as I am totally against ranking teams high based on its schedule. Notre Dame will have some tough match-ups this year...if they make it through the schedule and most of its opponents keep up their end of the bargain (I am talking to you UCLA) and finish with a respectable record...unlike this past year (UT...cmon) then Notre Dame will be in the BCS Championship game and there is nothing that anybody can do about it. However, a defense that slow last year wont get faster with incoming freshman wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs. I fear for Defensive Coordinator Rick Minter's job, if the Irish get into another shootout like they did with MSU or give up yardage like a "Sieve-ish" Manny Legace playoff goaltending performance. I would not be surprised if they lost a game or two next year that they shouldnt, because of that awful and porous defense, as the Stanford game comes to mind from last year. That was as good as a loss in my mind, because it really exposed all of the weaknesses present on the defensive side of the ball for the Irish. The Irish were fortunate to win that game...period.

That leads me to West Virginia. I know I know...the spanking that they put on Georgia may have opened some eyes on the national scene, but I dont think Goergia was nearly as good as its record had shown last year. The SEC was a battle of attrition with inept offenses and this crazy notion that defense will win games, while WVU had a pretty easy schedule and still managed to lose a game in the Big "Conference USA" East. Dont ask me why, but a 9-3 or 8-4 season seems to be on-tap for our couch-friendly football fans south of Ohio. Lousiville will be tough, and Pitt has to better this year...plain and simple.

Which conference will be the best in 2006?


Probably the SEC by default. Apparently, Big10 Football is alive and well with the resurgence of actual defense being played in the SEC. I am not sure what is going on down there, but maybe it is a little something with the speed myth finally wearing off and some SEC schools are figuring that athletes posessing football skill are better than sprinters in pads.


Until they even out those conferences and their is a meaningful game in the first weekend in December for the B12 title game, this will still be one of the most ridiculously top-heavy conferences in America.


Defenses from last year are not there, with the exception of PSU. However, even PSU with its great LB corp will only be able to hold up that new secondary and depleted front four for so long. Regardless, it looks like a good year for QBs in the B10, as Troy Smith, Drew Stanton, and Chad Henne lead this year's group of signal callers. It will be a good year for the conference, but ultimately, OSU and UM will most likely decide the conference with potential for a scare or two from the likes of Iowa and maybe PSU (if Bill Brasky...I mean Anthony Morelli steps up his game in a major way, while running for his life behind that O-Line)

Which "non-BCS" conference will be the best in 2006?

The one that Notre Dame plays in..."Oh snap!"

Which non-BCS conference team will have the best season?

The Horned Frogs....TCU baby.

Let's get your first read on this one...who will win the H*i*m*n? Oh, by the way, players whose last names begin with the letter "Q" are ineligible.

Adrian Peterson...Unless OSU goes undefeated...then it's Troy Smith...