Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And then there were four...

Final Four week is upon us, the saddest time for fans of college sports. Once the Final Four is over, the countdown to college football season begins. Enjoy it while it lasts. I know I will.

As for the last four teams standing, you have to give credit to all of them. Great story in Butler, the #5 seed playing 17 minutes from their campus. That kinda stinks for them. They reach the Final Four, and don't really get a trip out of it. Oh well, they made it there, which 61 other teams would love to be able to say.

Then you have Michigan State. National runner-up last year, and back to the big stage again. How folks don't credit Tom Izzo as being one of the top coaches in the country, is astonishing. Starting guard Kalin Lucas goes down with an injury, yet Izzo finds a game plan for his team to edge Tennessee and advance to Indianapolis. Hard for me to label them an underdog to Butler, but also hard for me to make them a favorite.

For the record, I have never been a fan of Bob Huggins. I have no reason to dislike him, mind you, but there has always been something that has sorta turned me off of him as a coach. Have to respect what he has done at West Virginia, though. They are the one, and only, team that has been able to handle the pressure that comes with being in the Big East come tournament time. They are athletic, quick, and they find new ways to beat you.

Which leads us to Duke. The lone #1 seed left. They have gotten here by getting away from the Coach Mike Krzyzewski formula. Normally, Duke is a jump-shooting team. History bears this out. When Duke hits jumpers and 3-point shots, they are dominant. When they go cold from the outside, they go home. Well, they were relatively cold from the outside in games 2 and 3 of the tournament, but found ways to win, thanks to some muscle underneath. Brian Zoubek, and the Plumlee's (Miles and Mason), had given Duke an interior presence that I can't say I have seen before. Their ability to get rebounds, and score tough buckets underneath are a big reason why Duke has made it to Indy.

Early predictions: Michigan State edges Butler 66-63, while Duke somehow manages a 72-68 win over West Virginia. I would pick Duke to win the title over the Spartans in the final, 77-72.

Then again, if you think I can pick basketball games, you haven't read anything from me about my brackets. Yuck.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/MikeSolarte

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Spring Break was Awesome! How 'bout yours?

Hope you all enjoyed my time away. I know I did. Nothing like vacation for a sports junkie! All the games I could watch.

I caught parts of different NCAA Tournament games over the past week; and now that Final Four is set my knee-jerk reaction is to say that I don't think Duke will lose to West Virginia. I base that on the fact I know Bob Huggins can't out-coach Mike Krzyzewski and I can't believe he could out-recruit him either. Then I did some digging. Turns out the Mountaineers, with Huggy Bear--aka The Sweatsuit--at the helm, dispatched of Coach K's Blue Devils in the second round in 2008 73-67. So, I obviously don't know anything. If I did, I would have predicted Butler to reach the Final Four in it's own back yard of Indianapolis. You can bet Bulldog fans are scouring the city and the Internet for tickets.

We're a week away from Major League Baseball's Opening Day. Which, for me, means life will finally be returning to normal. Fortunate to catch a few spring training games and I can tell you this, the Twins look to have another pennant contending team, despite the loss of relief ace Joe Nathan. Minnesota has power, speed and defense to go along with a solid pitching staff. Red Sox and Rays should make some noise as well in the American League East, although they didn't impress the times I saw them play. Of course, it's only spring training, so take that for what it's worth.

These last few weeks of the NHL regular season will be interesting as teams on the bubble desperately try to lock-up a playoff berth in pursuit of Lord Stanley's Cup. The Western Conference should be particularly compelling as it's possible teams who finish with 94 points could still wind up on the outside looking in. Personally hope the LA Kings and Colorado Avalanche can turn around their late season swoon, as both have been feel good stories this season. Once the playoffs start, that's where the fun begins my gentle snow flakes.

On a personal note, after a week away I enjoyed a successful return to softball. We won games on Saturday and Sunday and I didn't embarrass myself at the plate. Not that any of you care.

Finally, I topped the my time off watching a mediocre WrestleMania 26 that supposedly marked the end to the 25-year career of the infamous Shawn Michaels. Just like last year, he and his opponent, The Undertaker, put on a terrific performance that once again saw the Dead Man come out on top; stretching his streak to 18-0 at WrestleMania. Part of the stipulation for the match was if Shawn lost, his career was over. We'll see how long that lasts. Never the less the pro wrestling industry will have to do without one of its most compelling, controversial and iconic performers.

Sorry if my spring break bored some of you. I'm sure they'll be plenty of topics to weigh-in on in the coming weeks.

Jason Brown

Monday, March 22, 2010

When does this ride end?

This blog post began on Monday, but due to a slamming week, is just getting finished up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. I won't talk about my destroyed NCAA brackets. Chances are yours look a lot like mine, so I feel like I am in good company. Spraying to all fields...
  • Duke heads to Houston for the Sweet 16, and News 14 Carolina will be there. Tim Baier will be with the Blue Devils, and should he see them to the Final Four, I am slated to make the trip to Indianapolis. Would be neat to see Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler make it to college hoops promised land. Their road is not easy, having Purdue next, and then likely Baylor (should they get past St. Mary's). I heard some sports talk radio on Tuesday, and a caller said that the tournament is down, thanks to teams like Kansas and Villanova being shown the door. Really? When Goliath goes down to David, that makes the tournament even more compelling. I don't recall a lot of negative sentiment when Davidson made their run a couple years ago. The upsets are what make the NCAA tournament the greatest spectacle in college sports. Maybe one day, college football will follow suit with their own playoff. It wouldn't be a 64 team field, nor should it, but the survive and advance mentality of the Big Dance is what makes it great. Every shot, possession, rebound, is crucial.
  • NASCAR will wrap up a 2-day test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, as they allow the teams a chance to work with the spoiler that is being brought back this week in Martinsville. The short tracks are pointless to test at with the spoiler. It's not a downforce scenario there, but the teams will need this data for tracks like Texas, Phoenix, Michigan, etc. Cool seeing the spoiler back on the cars. Makes it look like a stock car again, which is something that NASCAR says was part of the reason to bring it back. Whatever the case may be, it's back, the teams need to get used to it with this car (as the front splitter is also a change from the front air dam that was there before the "Car of Tomorrow" was phased in. 93 wing races behind them, the spoiler's return means that Jimmie Johnson was the most successful "wing" racer. 3 titles with that COT-wing combo. How they adapt to the spoiler may be the difference in winning a 5th title, or coming up short.
  • Charlotte Bobcats picked up a win over Washington Tuesday, 95-86 in overtime over the Washington Wizards. I've said it before, the Bobcats are a fun team to watch, but at the same time, they can be exasperating. Charlotte is FAR BETTER than the Wizards, yet they couldn't put them away until the overtime. To me, that is a sign this team still has some growing to do, before it can be considered a solid contender, but they should make the playoffs, given their position (7th in the East), and their remaining schedule (fairly soft by NBA standards). They need to do a better job of playing the full 48 minutes. When they do that, they are a tough out for any team in the league, and that includes the LA Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers of the Association.
  • I wanted to address some of the comments made by now former Bobcats majority owner Bob Johnson, regarding the city of Charlotte and its business community, but frankly, this blog space is far to valuable for me to even waste time on it. He's gone, Michael Jordan is in, and hopefully, a new wave of support will develop. MJ's involvement, on a now full-time basis, can only help, given the level of involvement from the previous owner. Yeah, I'm not even mentioning his name again, going forward.
  • Finally, Mexico-Iceland kicks off at 8pm at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday night. Apologies to all the great soccer fans in the region that will come in for this one, but I can't get fired up over a friendly between Mexico, a country that has a fairly decent national team, and Iceland, a country that I didn't even realize HAD a national soccer team. A good crowd is expected, and I hope they all have a wonderful time.

That's all for now. I'll check back in before the weekend.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! www.twitter.com/MikeSolarte

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Michael Jordan, the One on One

Go ahead and click the link below to see the full interview with Michael Jordan, the new majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Hope that serves as a good enough blog for a day or two.

Click Here

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! www.twitter.com/MikeSolarte

An Open Letter to the NHL

Dear NHL,

I would like to preface my comments by pointing out I am a Chicago Blackhawks fan, and have been all my life.

Something needs to be done about your game. Something major, and definitive.

Players are taking way too many liberties with each other, and showing their fellow competitors, and in turn, the game, zero respect.

How is Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke still playing games after his blind-side, to the head hit on Boston Bruin Marc Savard? Cooke went headhunting, and got Savard. Savard still hasn't returned, and that hit was 11 days ago.

I saw the justice handed down to the Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin, after his from-behind hit on Chicago's Brian Campbell, and felt that was just about right. Even though Campbell will be out for nearly 2 months, that seemed to be fitting a suspension. There was no intent to injure, it was just an unfortunate thing.

You also have the takedown of Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby (pssst, he's one of your better players in the NHL), by Tampa Bay Lightning lunch-pailer Steve Downie. Downie won't win any NHL scoring titles anytime soon, nor will he drive ticket sales. That Crosby guy does. No suspension, and a $1,000 fine for Downie after he nearly blew out the right knee of the marketing focal point for the game. If you are wondering, yes, Crosby is the guy that scored the game winning goal for Canada in the Vancouver Olympics.

Then I see what took place in Anaheim Wednesday night, as the Ducks' James Wisniewski skated 50 feet to run Chicago's Brent Seabrook into the boards. Seabrook didn't have the puck, nor had he even touched it. An elbow to Seabrook's jaw, and the call on the ice from referees Ian Walsh and Paul Devorski was a 2 minute charging penalty. The referees got some of the call correct (which I can't believe I am saying given Devorski's involvement). They couldn't have really done more there, since the Blackhawks came in to defend their teammate. Still, Wisniewski's hit on Seabrook was retaliation for a perceived high hit on Anaheim's Corey Perry. Seabrook's hit on Perry wasn't high, as Perry was actually bending over, and Seabrook never raised his arms to make contact.

Bottom line, you need to step in and take command of this, and let the players know that if you want to settle scores, do it the old fashioned way. Drop your gloves, and square off. Not only is delivering a cheap-shot cowardly, it's also going to get somebody killed.

Oh, and getting someone killed would be a bad thing for your game.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/MikeSolarte

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, Monday....fa-laaaaaaaa-laaa-la-la-la....

Touching some bases after a busy State Championship Saturday. Hope everyone enjoyed the broadcasts, congrats to the champions, and a big thank you to a tremendous crew that helped us get the games on the Internet, Carolina on Demand (early this week), and of course, News 14 Carolina. On to the clearing of my brain...

  • Charlotte 49ers fired men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz on Monday. I can't say that I am entirely surprised by this, given what has happened, not just this season, but in previous years. The program has had winning seasons, but it has been thin on NCAA appearances, their last coming in 2006. Once upon a time, the 49ers program was seriously in the hunt for a bid each year. Back then, they were a member of Conference USA, a much better basketball league than the Atlantic 10, in my opinion. Once C-USA lost its bite, Charlotte took shelter in the A-10, and lost some of the fire the program had going for it. Struggles within the conference since, culminating in a horrific 1-7 swoon over their final 8 games saw them fall out of the A-10 tourney, and lose out on NCAA and NIT bids. All that, after they held sole possession of first place in the conference. Add up all those factors with the school's relentless push to introduce football to the school, and the timing says "fresh start" for hoops, in the hopes of building momentum (and revenue) into the football plan. A-D Judy Rose and Chancellor Philip DuBois will be hard pressed to find a replacement that not only excites the fan base, but wins games. And can do all that very quickly.
  • The comments around the Internet world about Jake Delhomme signing a 2-year deal with the Cleveland Browns are flat out comical. Seems the hater contingent can't resist getting their shots in. Delhomme, when average, was and is better than any QB the Browns had on their roster a year ago, and now that both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are gone, Cleveland has their starter. I'm not saying Delhomme will take them to the Super Bowl. I am saying that he will get a fresh start in a new situation. Problem for him is that it is, after all, Cleveland. A team that has been rebuilding since....well, a long time. Mike Holmgren is the Czar of Operations (or whatever title they agreed upon), and Holmgren believes Delhomme can succeed. They are reportedly paying him $7 million in the first season to do just that. I'd say that is a vote of confidence.
  • My sincere apologies to the Charlotte Bobcats for being the 3rd bullet in this blog. All they have done is win 6 straight, the last 2 without Gerald Wallace (injured foot and ankle). I know it's not possible, but Larry Brown should get consideration for Coach of the Year. This roster has been in a state of flux since training camp, and this team continues to succeed and improve. I was concerned about the trade that sent Flip Murray to Chicago, but Tyrus Thomas has been nails. A fresh start for him in new surroundings, and he has responded. I'm not familiar with whatever baggage he had in Chicago, but it seems that luggage got lost on his way to Charlotte. He's been a solid contributor at a time the Bobcats need it, with DeSagana Diop, Nazr Mohammed and Tyson Chandler being banged up. only Chandler has returned recently, while Mohammed tells me he's getting closer. Looking at their remaining 17 games, Charlotte faces 2 teams that are playoff certainties (Oklahoma City and Atlanta). They will meet 4 teams vying for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (Miami, Toronto, Milwaukee and Chicago). the rest of their remaining games are against teams that have losing records, and are (at this point anyway) going home for the summer at the end of their regular season. On paper, it sets up for the first ever playoff appearance for the franchise. Of course, the game isn't played on paper.
  • Want to mention for those folks in the Charlotte area, the Karaoke for Charity event on Tuesday night at Dixie's Tavern in Uptown Charlotte. Panthers receiver Kenny Moore is hosting the event, starting at 7pm. Proceeds from the event benefit both The Harvest Center, and Summit House. $15 bucks gets you in, and a buffet spread, plus quality entertainment as this is a karaoke contest. Should be a great time with some of the Panthers in the house,m and some of them singing. Word is Jonathan Stewart is working on something. If you have the time, and the means, stop by and help out. Sing a tune, if you can carry one.

More later this week.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/MikeSolarte

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is NASCAR supposed to do?

It's the question that has raged since Sunday's race in Atlanta. Carl Edwards clips Brad Keselowski in an attempt to spin him out. Make no mistake, it was intentional--Edwards basically admitted that. What Edwards didn't plan on was Keselowski spinning around, and then sailing into the air. I believe Edwards when he says that, too.

So where does NASCAR draw the line?

In January, the governing body declared they were going to step back, and allow the drivers to police themselves. Robin Pemberton saying, "have at it, boys," at the conclusion of the announcement. NASCAR basically gave the drivers a green light to rub fenders, trade paint, and even run into each other with the intent of putting the other guy into the fence.

Edwards did that. Seemed to him he had license to do it. NASCAR put Edwards on a 3 race probation. I'm here to tell you that's all NASCAR COULD do to him.

Yes, the wreck was horrifying. Keselowski, at the very least, could have been seriously hurt. The car could have gotten to the catch fence, and injured/killed spectators. I understand that. The question here is, what would NASCAR have done, had Keselowski simply spun into the fence, crushing the rear deck lid of the car, making it undriveable? No spectacular flip, just a routine wreck? The answer to that is (in my opinion), park Edwards the way they did, and that would have been it. Maybe a chat with him in the NASCAR hauler, but nothing more.

They didn't give him much more than that, anyway. From the outside perspective, the 3 race probation is less than a slap on the wrist, it's almost a kiss. I thought the probation (which I predicted during Monday night's Sports night show), would be through the end of the year.

I do, however understand the outcry for a more sever punishment. The situation, luckily, was only as bad as it got. By no means am I defending NASCAR, but I can't completely throw them under the bus for setting an outline, and then sticking to it. Sure, it's an ugly deal, but to hear the complaints of some saying NASCAR is becoming a "blood sport," is simply ridiculous.

Thankfully, the teams and drivers have the week off, but when they come back, they head to the bullring in Bristol. Things should get interesting there, where the drivers tempers generally match the length of the racetrack-short.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/MikeSolarte

Monday, March 8, 2010

Who is going to be left?

The Carolina Panthers continue to jettison players over the age of 30, with 10-year veteran, and incredibly likable FB Brad Hoover being released on Monday. The lead fullback, the guy that plowed into the sea of humanity to help Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams to rack up over 2200 yards is, apparently, of no use to the Panthers any longer.

He only played in 152 games over 10 years (3rd most in team history), and started 95 (7th most). For a fullback, that is ridiculously durable. Hoover prided himself on being in the best shape he could be in, and over time, the beating and banging had taken its toll. Still, he ached more when he didn't play.

Mentioned likable. Hoover was the inaugural recipient of the Tom Berry Good Guy Award in 2009. He was, and will remain, a fan favorite. His agent quoted by Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald & Charlotte Observer, says Brad leaves with a "heavy heart." Why wouldn't he? He was an undrafted free agent that impressed coaches so much, they had no choice but to keep him. 10 years later, he's an unrestricted free agent.

It is my sincere hope Hoover catches on with a team that comes to Carolina this season. I want to see the reception he will get from the fans, which should be as warm as the sun in a Carolina spring.

That being said, the question remains: who will be left?

If the trend continues, guys like Jason Baker and John Kasay should be a little nervous. Over 30, with time left on their contracts. As I type this, I don't think anything will happen to those 2, Kasay especially, as the Panthers could have tabbed Rhys Lloyd (now a free agent and talking to Minnesota at last check), as their kicker, and released Kasay. Baker is quite good at his job, and getting rid of him might make even less sense.

In the past 4 days, Carolina has waved goodbye to QB Jake Delhomme, DT Maake Kemoeatu, DT Damione Lewis, LB Na'il Diggs, LB Landon Johnson, and now Hoover (I may be leaving someone out, forgive me if I have). On Friday, Head Coach John Fox and GM Marty Hurney said they are committed to their younger players, and they will build around their core. It's a good core, mind you. Having tendered LB Thomas Davis, Carolina has Davis, Jon Beason, and Dan Connor making up a good group. The defensive line, however, is remarkably invisible. No starters will return in 2010. DE Tyler Brayton is unrestricted at this time, and may not be back, Lewis and Kemoeatu were to start there in 2009, and that Peppers guy....well, you know. The secondary still has familiar faces, with S Chris Harris remaining, and CB Chris Gamble back. Captain Munnerlyn and Sherrod Martin showed plenty of flash during their rookie season, and the wait is on about CB Richard Marshall. The team placed a 2nd round tender on him--attractive enough for a team to give him a long term deal, in exchange for a 2nd round pick. Watching the way the Panthers are ditching salary, my guess is if Marshall gets a deal elsewhere, Carolina wouldn't match. Just my guess.

Offensively, solid offensive line returning. The only hole to fill is at RG, with Keydrick Vincent not coming back. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Geoff Schwartz showed they can play at the NFL level last season. No worries at the RB post, either with Double Trouble in the fold. The QB position is entrusted to Matt Moore now. WR is another mystery altogether. Get past Steve Smith, and the Panthers don't have much on the roster. Muhsin Muhammad is unrestricted, and the jury remains out on Dwayne Jarrett.

All this roster shuffling/contract ditching is making me think the Panthers aren't doing this solely to commit to youth. It appears to me this might be the Panthers way of preparing for the uncapped season, and potential lockout on the horizon. Go inexpensive, short term deals, and let the chips fall where they may.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on TWITTER! twitter.com/MikeSolarte

Thursday, March 4, 2010


As the witching hour strikes, the NFL is without a salary cap, and the Carolina Panthers are without their fixture at the QB post. Jake Delhomme was cut by the team late Thursday night, according to several media outlets. The Panthers would not confirm the reports, but anticipate some dialogue with them on Friday.

It's economics, mostly. In the case of Lewis, it's about money. Sadly, for Jake, it's money and performance. Delhomme struggled in 2009, with 18 interceptions, and going 4-7 in 11 games. By comparison, the apparently now heir-apparent Matt Moore went 4-1 in 5 games. It was a year that Delhomme would love to have back, and forget all at once.

Still, the money factors in as well. The Panthers still owe him nearly $13 million dollars in contract guarantees, $10 million of that would have come in a lump sum roster bonus next month. Now, the $13M can be paid out over 3 years, thus saving them a little money.
Those are the facts. Personally, I hate this move. From the football standpoint, I understand why. Bottom line, the Panthers have undergone more than a makeover here. This is a complete facelift. A new QB, a new spokesman for the defensive line (Damione Lewis was one of the guys that met the media no matter what, and that will be missed from my perspective), and a team that could have more new faces in play when it's all said and done.

There is no mistaking that this uncertain time in the NFL is about to makeover several teams, and the way they go about their business. Keep in mind, the non-salary cap goes both ways for owners. There is also no salary floor (something I learned from ESPN's Trey Wingo a while back). Teams do NOT have a minimum to spend on their rosters as they did while the cap was in play. Watching how teams spend their dimes will be the key to determining who might be trying to buy up top players for a title run, and those that are waiting to see how the new collective bargaining agreement takes shape--if it takes shape at all to avoid a lockout of the 2011 season.

So to review, the Panthers will have a new starting QB in 2010, what appears to be a completely new defensive front line (with Lewis cut, Julius Peppers gone to free agency, Tyler Brayton's return uncertain, and Hollis Thomas also unrestricted), and they could be thin at cornerback if Richard Marshall gets a long term deal the Panthers decide not to match.

Buckle up, kids. This ride is about to get a little bit bumpy.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! twitter.com/MikeSolarte

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vick Interest in Carolina Much Ado About Nothing

I'll admit I got irritated with the way some media outlets were trumpeting Michael Vick's interest in becoming a Carolina Panther. They way they teased it, the poll questions, etc. Let's look at the facts. OK, so Vick said ideally he'd like to play for Carolina during a radio interview in Atlanta. That's all well and good except that last I checked, Vick was still a member of the Philadelphia Eagles until they decline to pick-up his contract option. So until then, Vick's desires are moot at this point. Second, the Panthers had every opportunity to sign Vick last offseason and didn't, so why would the Carolina brass have a change of heart now? Third, while the front office might look at adding some competition at quarterback either through the draft or free agency; my guess is they're happy having Jake Delhomme and Matt Moore battle it out for the starting job in training camp. Bottom line, the Vick story is a non-event.

Jason Brown

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday tidbits

I must admit, I'm on curling withdrawal. We'll get through this, but I know it won't be easy. Some thoughts for you to chew on:

  • I laugh at the notion Bobcats owner-in-waiting Michael Jordan should change the team nickname. I'm not saying he will or won't, but I laugh at those that insist he changes it. Since his agreement in principle to become majority owner went down over the weekend, it seems there is a groundswell of emotion to deliver the team to the people. Huh? MJ is laying out loads of his own cash to make this happen. Once the NBA approves the sale, it will be his team, not the team of the people. While the notion is noble, it's just not realistic. MJ will do what he feels is best for his basketball team to win. That's what fans should be concerned with. Changing the nickname is the least of his concerns at the moment.
  • On the subject of MJ as an owner, I do hope he will be actively involved in the day to day, but not mettlesome. There is a balance between being a "Jerry Jones" and an owner you don't see. Personally, I love the style of Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. The guy is hands on, loves the ownership side of the game, wants to win, wants to compete, but doesn't interfere with what his coaches are doing. The guy provides his employees with all the tools they need to be successful. He travels to road games. He just loves being a part of it. MJ could take a page from Cuban. Not the whole book, just a page.
  • The Olympics are over. What a final act. Canada 3-2 over the USA in a hockey gold medal overtime thriller. As an American, Sidney Crosby's game-winner drop-kicked me in the stomach. As a hockey fan, my heart was singing with the game being displayed the way it was. People that don't know anything about hockey were talking about it on Monday. Listening to the sports talk shows, or even watching them on TV, I got the sense this game did as much to foster growth of the game as the 1980 Miracle on Ice team did. I admit, I was a part of that 1980 hockey boom. I watched hockey back then, but because of players like Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Mark Johnson, Mark Pavelich, Jack O'Callahan, Ken Morrow and so on, I took to the ice myself. Playing through college as a result. The NHL needs to strike while this iron is hot. They have to continue to put their product in front of people, starting now, with what is a 20 game sprint to the finish.
  • As for the rest of the games, well, too many wonderful moments to list, but big time props to Geoff Bodine. Bodine, the former Sprint Cup Series driver, was a big force in Team USA's 4-man bobsled gold medal success. The US gold was their first in 4-man since 1948, and the sleds (and tracks) were a little different then. Bodine applied the NASCAR world to the sled technology, and the "Night Train" sled was born. Combine the technology with some human horsepower at the top of the run, and the Americans brought home the goods. Bodine will be moving the bobsled program to Concord, NC. Now if only we could get a sled track in place in this area. It sure has been cold enough for it.

Mike Solarte