Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Woody Durham, and more

Sorry to have been away for a little bit there, but have to empty the skull a little, and we start with goodbye to a legend.

Woody Durham retired from his post as the Voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels (yes, it's a proper title after the way he did it for 40 years). It's hard to argue there has been another broadcaster in the state's history that has had as much impact as Durham. His signature calls of big Tar Heel moments will never be forgotten, that wonderful staccato cadence will be missed. Durham is the only voice that most Tar Heel fans know. It will be strange not to hear him calling a game this fall once football season begins. I wish him nothing but the best. He was always a classy man to talk to, especially when I was new to the Raleigh market. He took the time to answer any question I had, offered a kind word.

I still want 3 shots a side when we tee it up, though, Woody!

Carolina Panthers schedule was released Tuesday night, and if you missed it, well, it's not easy. Then again, it could be a moot point if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't in place by then. Regardless of labor talk, the Panthers schedule is as follows:

Week 1 - @ Arizona
Week 2 - Green Bay
Week 3 - Jacksonville
Week 4 - @ Chicago
Week 5 - New Orleans
Week 6 - @ Atlanta
Week 7 - Washington
Week 8 - Minnesota
Week 9 - BYE
Week 10 - Tennessee
Week 11 - @ Detroit
Week 12 - @ Indianapolis
Week 13 - @ Tampa Bay
Week 14 - Atlanta
Week 15 - @ Houston
Week 16 - Tampa Bay (Dec. 24)
Week 17 - @ New Orleans

Couple things. Unless the Panthers are in a playoff chase, I'll be able to spend my anniversary with my wife, and this is not the easiest schedule in the league (which has been afforded to the team with the worst record the previous year). The Panthers will play all of their games with a 1 pm start times, depending on the time zone they are in. Nothing in prime time, and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on a flex schedule option falling their way either. The current lockout has me totally disinterested in the upcoming schedule. It will be nice to talk about upcoming games when we all know they will, in fact, be coming up.

Quick takes on the NHL and NBA playoffs: On the ice, your final four will be Detroit v. Vancouver (which kills me as a Chicago Blackhawks fan), and in the East, I'll take Washington to face Montreal. Should be an entertaining Finals between Washington and Detroit, and give me the Capitals to win it all.

In the NBA, still anybody's guess, because so many early game upsets have things a little uneasy. My NBA final four: East, Chicago v. Miami and out West, I like the Lakers and Oklahoma City. Would love to see the Thunder get by LA, but in the end, I think it will be a Chicago-Lakers final. Lakers win it, as Chicago just isn't quite ready for that stage yet, but they are close.

Mike Solarte


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