posted on January 27, 2013 23:19
The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman
Six games in nine nights.
You would think that would produce some brutal results.
Well, only two teams in the NHL had to start the season with six games in nine nights: the Blues and the Blackhawks.
And, when not playing each other, they’re undefeated.
The Blues picked all four possible points this weekend by beating the Stars in Dallas and the Wild at home in overtime last night.
Just like their other overtime win (in Nashville), the Blues had to come back. But, this time, they had to come back after a terrible start to the 2nd period in which their 1-0 lead turned into a 3-1 deficit.
David Perron did it Saturday night in Dallas with two goals and an assist, and he turned the game around last night with his assist on Patrik Berglund’s goal to cut the lead to 3-2.
As NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire said, Perron is a “magician with the puck.”
The Wild just couldn’t get to him, and the result was another #1 star for the Blues’ forward on back-to-back nights as he played outstanding again with two assists.
Meanwhile, the Blues outshot Minnesota 34-16. They’re now outshooting their opponents 199 to 117 on the season.
And, once again, this has all taken place with six games in nine nights…and against teams that are all legitimate forces in the Western Conference.
The Blues now get three days off before taking on the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
You’d think the team could use the rest…and I’m sure they can…but they’re so damn deep that even a team like Minnesota, which had been waiting around in St. Louis for a couple of nights and resting, couldn’t keep the Blues’ offensive depth in check.
23 goals in six games (plus a shootout victory goal).
Five wins in six games.
Not too bad.
From a wagering standpoint, I feel like I’ve had a good read on the Missouri basketball team over the last four games. With that read, I bet all of $25 on one game, but the logic has still worked.
The Tigers had gotten blown off the floor at Ole Miss and were coming home to face a terrible Georgia team.
Frank Haith was relentless on the team leading up to the game against the Bulldogs.
Take Missouri. Give the 12.5 points.
Tigers win 79-62.
Next up at Florida…against one of the most underrated teams in the country in one of the most difficult places to play.
No Laurence Bowers.
Florida favored by 13.5.
It’s not enough. The Tigers don’t have one of their best scorers…and they haven’t shown much on the road.
The Gators win 83-52.
Next up a home game with a bad South Carolina team…but just a little more than 24 hours after Jeff Goodman’s report on CBSSports.com stating that sources indicate Frank Haith would be charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
Missouri was favored by 14.5.
No way they were covering that with the chaos surrounding the coach.
And, sure enough, it took overcoming a 13-point deficit for a huge win (in the sense that they avoided one of those trademark “bad losses”)…but they failed to cover winning 71-65.
The next day, NCAA president Mark Emmert announces that the investigation of Miami football and Frank Haith is now in disarray. Haith goes from looking like he’s out of a job to looking like he’s going to get a get out of jail free card.
Things are looking up…and Vanderbilt’s coming to town.
Missouri favored by 11.5.
The psychology of the team---seeming to form a trend based on the news surrounding it---responded the way you’d expect with the good news, and they used an absurd 38-4 run to blow Vanderbilt away 81-59.
So, with Laurence Bowers returning Wednesday at LSU, logic and trends would dictate that the Tigers will respond to that boost.
But, there’s one trend that stands out and will need to reverse over the next three weeks: Missouri’s 0-3 on the road. As a matter of fact, the Tigers have been outscored by 58 points over the last 50 minutes they’ve played on the road.
Now, those losses were all to good teams, and Missouri won’t be playing good teams away from home over the next months. And, they’ll have Bowers. But, something’s got to give: their dominance over bad teams…or their struggles on the road. One will have to change.
Over the next month, they’ll play nine games. Only three will be at home…and of those three, two will be against Top 25 teams (Ole Miss and Florida).
Of course, when they’re on the road, it’s against some bad teams: LSU, Texas A & M, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Kentucky, and South Carolina.
Not one of those teams is guaranteed to even get a bid for the NCAA Tournament.
I know many people have said they’re still not sure what the identity of this 2012-13 Missouri team is. With Bowers back Wednesday, and with six road tests in four weeks, we’ll have our answer. It’s just going to take all the way until the end of February.
Bob Costas’ Eulogy
I didn’t plan on doing it, but I wound up watching three hours of coverage for Stan Musial’s funeral.
And, I surely didn’t plan on doing it, but I wound up watching Bob Costas’ eulogy twice.
It was so perfect.
I’ve never seen Costas lose his composure. He has the ability to talk off the cuff and make it look like he’s reading from a teleprompter.
But, Saturday, he lost it a few times…and perhaps the time that caught him emotionally more than ever was when he told the story of Stan Musial’s gesture to minority ballplayers.
I hadn’t heard the story, but I know that guys like Mays and Aaron cited it over the last week in paying their respects to Musial. I just didn’t know the details.
Costas delivered it, and the gesture tells you all you need to know about Stan Musial’s character: going against the grain…away from the cameras…and doing what he believed to be was right.
Here’s an excerpt from Costas’ eulogy:
“In the late 1960’s, Paul Simon asked, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” It was the right metaphor at the right time, and he picked the right player to make his point.
But no one in St. Louis had to wonder where Stan Musial had gone. He was right here. Right here at home. Our greatest ballplayer…sure. But, also our friend. Our neighbor. And that is why the bond and attachment between this player and this city is unique…and lasting.
As the remembrances have poured in this week, I was struck by one in particular. In the early days of integration, more of the significant black and Hispanic players came than to the National League than to the American League. Some were met with open hostility. In fact, they all were by some ballplayers. Some players were openly hostile. Others kept a wary distance. Stan was not an activist by nature. He was just a thoroughly decent human being.
Willie Mays and Hank Aaron have each many times in the past and again this week that at an All-Star Game in the 1950’s, all the great black ballplayers---Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks---were kind of gathered in a corner of the National League clubhouse playing cards…no white players anywhere near them…when Stan just walked up and said, “Deal me in.”
That was his way of letting those players know they were welcome.”
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The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman