The Avery Paradox: The Clown is Good for Business: But that's as stern as it's going to get. Because as much as some folks might hate Avery and what he does, there's little doubt that he's good for the box office. After all, villains always are. At FanHouse, Avery is the gift that keeps on giving, much to the delight of our bosses here at AOL. Over the past few months, Avery has been good for a bevy of posts that blurred the line between the NHL and the entertainment industry, something that started off with a couple of notes about Avery's failed relationship with actress Elisha Cuthbert.
ESPN's NASCAR Crowd Noise Not Normal: Judging from the TV I watched it on (ABC-HD with surround sound), it sounded to me like ESPN on ABC was definitely pumping in some crowd noise during each restart of last Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500. Take a listen for yourself on the video below, as there are several instances that you can hear the not-too-natural noises.
FireJoeGibbsNow.com Launches: That's not too subtle. Their message: 'Well Skins fans, sometimes it's better to take hold of our destiny and damn the torpedoes, than it is to wallow in the misery of knowing that a once great icon of the gridiron has seen the game go by him. Here we are at 5-4 this season and we all know that the coaching staff has done little more with the team than last season, (5-11).'
Joey Harrington Is Better Than Michael Vick: That Harrington is a better passer than Vick is indisputable: Harrington's completion percentage is 11 points higher this year than Vick's was last year, Harrington averages more yards per pass and throws interceptions less frequently. If you like more advanced stats, check out the quarterback stats at Football Outsiders from this year and from last year. It's not even close. Harrington is well above average; Vick was well below average.
Pacman Jones Will Plead to Misdemeanor in Vegas Shooting, How Will NFL Respond? Jones will apparently avoid jail time but will be sentenced to one year of probation, mandatory anger management counseling, 200 hours of community service and random drug testing. Jones has long maintained that he does not know the identity of a gunman who opened fire on Feb. 19 outside the Minxx Gentlemen's Club, leaving one man paralyzed and two other people wounded. Today, however, his lawyer refused to say whether Jones knew who the shooter was.
The Debriefing: Bolt Disrespect, CC vs. Josh, Sexy Ladies, and More Crazy From Starbury: I'm irate that the Chargers are being respected. This is absurd and infuriating. Yes, they won Sunday. The beat the mighty Colts. But did no one notice that the Colts played their worst offensive game since Lindy Infante was patrolling their sidelines? Seriously ... through a combination of a Patriots hangover and a mountain of injuries, the Colts were that bad. The Dolphins would have beaten the Colts on Sunday night.
Mike Shanahan Believes Travis Henry Is Clean but It Doesn't Matter What He Thinks: Shanahan used a team-administered hair test and lie detector test to support Henry's claims of innocence. He said that had Henry failed either one he wouldn't be on the team anymore. As Smith wrote last night, Shanahan is basically saying that the league's procedures are flawed and don't work. Smith hoped that the coach is lobbying the league to come up with a more balanced system, not just trying to save his team's bacon. I share that hope but am here to say that Shanahan's rationale isn't any less flawed. And it doesn't make Henry any more or less likely to be suspended.
Buckeyes Trying to Reach Unfamiliar Surroundings: Pasadena: OSU hadn't been to Pasadena since 1980. That 1980 appearance finished off a run of seven appearances in twelve years as Woody's dominant teams of the late sixties bled into the Ten Year War between Michigan and Ohio State. The gap to '85 must have seemed eternal for Ohio State, but they had no idea what they were in for.
Carr To Retire, Says Blogger: Michigan fans have expected Lloyd Carr to retire since 2004, and really really expected him to retire this year, as the bulk of his offensive stars will either graduate or depart for the NFL draft and a rebuild will be in order. MGoBlog, which, full disclosure, is run by me, is now reporting that the decision has been officially made:
Lloyd Carr to Retire? (Les) Miles to Go Before We Sleep? With nothing said on the record, it's impossible to determine if the rumors of Carr's retirement are truth or shenanigans. Just last week we went through this (sort of) with Bill Callahan and then he went out and dropped 73 points on Kansas State. I'm not saying Carr is about to retire, and I'm not saying he's not. However, the timing of this rumor strikes me as a little curious. Is this a ploy from within the Michigan athletic department to motivate the U-M team? Does any Michigan team need motivation for this game?
Big Ten Officials Not So Hot, Either: This is the same crew that rolled the clock last week in the Penn State-Purdue game after Selwyn Lymon voluntarily stepped out of bounds, a crew that Tom Dienhart claims will face suspension and possible termination for their egregious failures. Even if there was no one else capable of working a Big Ten game this weekend, why on earth was this crew assigned to the most important contest of the weekend?
Sam Mitchell On Basketball, Hockey and Double Standards: Is there a double standard? Duh. Fights in the NHL are celebrated; let's just say the NBA and its self-appointed media keepers don't embrace the rare donnybrook. I mean, how much outrage did even the relatively shrug-worthy Knicks-Nuggets 'brawl' last year generate compared to this Avery-Blake-Tucker flap? Geez, the Nuggets first return visit to Madison Square Garden got more attention! And it's not all about the NHL's relative anonymity in the States compared to the NBA -- the Leafs and Rangers are two of the biggest 'name' franchises in the league.
Where's Starbury? Juicy, no doubt, but who knows what will actually come of it. No one's taking Marbury in a trade, and a buyout would be costly. Limiting his minutes would be a disaster, and benching him would only be uglier. I guess they could find an excuse to suspend him indefinitely, but I don't see Billy Hunter standing for that. Update: The Post reports that Marbury took a flight back to NYC. And they're calling it a full-fledge "feud" between him and Isiah.
Miguel Cabrera Will Prepare for Trade by Losing Weight: Losing weight is hard ... just ask anyone who's ever tried it. Heck, ask Cabrera himself. This isn't the first time Cabrera has made adjustments to his lifestyle to try to drop pounds. Nevertheless, I'm sure the Marlins will be thrilled to hear that Cabrera plans to lose weight now that he's a hair away from leaving the team. But if less pounds mean more in return for the trade, I guess the Marlins would see this as a good thing, and not some sort of supreme irony as he walks out the door.
Mets Initiate 'Operation Not Lo Duca', Close in on Yorvit Torrealba: There had been rumblings that the Mets might go in a younger, less controversial option. And now that the free agency exclusivity window has ended, that's exactly what the Mets seem to be doing as they're now targeting Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, and the two sides seem to be close to a deal.
The Dugout: It's Possible That Jeff Kent Might Shut Up At Some Point: Yesterday, we learned that Kent is unsure of whether he'll play ball in 2008. I have a theory here. Like he loves to breathe, Jeff Kent loves to bitch and moan. It's his bread and butter. If it's not about Barry Bonds, it's about management/the universe as a whole. The Dodgers just landed a great new manager, so he can't whine about that anymore. Granted, Bonds will probably find a team, but it's not yet set in stone. What if there's nothing left for Jeff Kent to whine about? Is there really anything else that keeps him going? This dilemma is explored in tonight's Dugout, after the jump.