A Not-So-Nice Tribute to NHL Comish Gary Bettman

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contribution by:  P. Giannosa

It is no secret that many hockey fans and NHL players don’t  have much love for the short, creepy, wanna-be sports dictator Jabroni (or is it Dick-Taker) Gary Bettman.  This weasel has been basically responsible for three NHL lockouts which in result have negatively affected the sport of Hockey’s popularity with fans and as well with it’s finances.   Here is a Tribute to possibly the worst comissioner in all of sports which  includes some random funny photos and video clips.  Let the Hate Chants Begin!!!

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Lost Milllllionns of the NHL’s revenue through two shortened and one totally missed season .

Los Angeles Kings vs Anaheim Ducks, 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series

Shit even KISS (once thought as a demonic rock group) wants to rid the earth of this Jabroni’s evil scum.

NHL All-Star Game X Bettman

I mean really, Who the Hell would Swipe their own self?? A Jabroni would.

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Ah One, Ah Two, Ah Threee AH AH AH…locked out seasons=the most lost games by any professional sports comissioner ever.

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Hopefully the Gary Bearer doesn’t the carry the NHL to the grave by making the league suffer another lockout in the near future.

Chris Chelios is not only known for his Chili but for also being a Bad Ass Mother F***er!

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A bunch of Corrupt Jabronis if you ask me.

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***UPDATED*** 2014 NFL Mock Draft

Contribution by M. Pawlak

**1. Houston Texans** select **Teddy Bridgewater** QB. Louisville. Houston brings in new head coach, and QB-guru, Bill O’Brien. A team that brings in a coach with a reputation in developing QB’s will pull the trigger right away on the best QB in the draft. Bridgewater may be the best QB to come out of the draft since Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. He brings an NFL arm, more particularly, precision accuracy on every level of the passing game.

**2. St. Louis Rams (via. Washington)** select **Jadeveon Clowney** DE. South Carolina. The most talented defensive player in the draft, Clowney is is simply not a human being. He has ideal size for the NFL, speed that rivals most skill position players in the draft, and will instantly provide his suitor with a play maker on defense. Think Julius Peppers here, with the potential to be better. Yeah I said it.

**3. Jacksonville Jaguars** select  ** Blake Bortles**  QB. UCF. Priority number 1 will be getting their QB. The Jags will not have to look outside their own state to lock down their QB of the future. It didn’t take long for everyone in college football  to notice this small school gunslinger. He is known to possess tremendous leadership skills, and an NFL ready body. In the limited amount of game action I have seen, he looks to be in the mold of Ben Rothlisberger with slightly better athleticism.

**4. Cleveland Browns** select  **Johnny Manziel** QB, Texas A&M. Everyone in football was left asking themselves “what the hell are the Browns doing, trading their star RB, Trent Richardson in 2013”? Trent had one of the worst seasons for a RB ever after being traded to the Colts, the Browns look  genius here. They have 10 picks over the first 3 rounds. This allows them to gamble on one of the most exciting prospects in the draft, Johnny Football. A guy that earns the name Johnny Football, and wins a Heisman trophy will undoubtedly be taken in the top 5. Cleveland will roll the dice.

**5. Oakland Raiders** select **Sammy Watkins** WR. Clemson.  Sorry Lions fans, but the best, and most NFL ready offensive play maker comes off the board here. Blazing speed, ideal size to be effective in the red zone, and superstar potential are all traits Watkins brings to the table, along with GREAT hair. His 16-catch bowl game performance will have his draft stock trending upwards. He could go top 3. Think Pierre Garcon right away, with A.J. Green upside.

**6. Atlanta Falcons** select **Jake Matthews** OT. Texas A&M. Despite deploying a porous defense in 2013, and losing their top player (Julio Jones) to injury, the Falcons struggled to keep Matt Ryan upright. In order for Ryan to sling the pigskin around the gridiron he needs protection. They get just that in this 6’5″, 305 lb. Bookend, who is universally viewed as the best offensive lineman available.

**7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers** select **Anthony Barr** OLB. UCLA. Offensive Tackle also makes sense here. Barr can straight out get to the Quarterback. With Lovie Smith implementing the Tampa 2,  a premier pass rusher is of most importance. The Bucs will have to get creative in using him, but the raw talent is there. In most drafts he would be off the board in the top 5.

**8. Minnesota Vikings** select **Derek Carr** QB. Fresno State. Does this name sound familiar? That’s right his older brother is that one time no.1 pick bust. Derek Carr is a better QB than his elder brother, and it speaks to how strong of a draft this year that Derek Carr gets taken here. He is still a work in progress mechanically, but has very good skills and a relatively high ceiling. The Vikings embarrassing QB situation forces this pick, as they attempt to erase the blunder that was Christian Ponder. The Vikings lose out big with UCLA (rs Jr.) QB Brett Hundley  announcing he will return for another collegiate year. He and Winston will likely be the top two QB’s for 2015, both of them being superior to Carr. * Carr performed well in the senior bowl practices, with a good combine, could move up to the Oakland Raiders.

**9. Buffalo Bills** select **Khalil Mack**  OLB. Buffalo. “Mack Daddy”.  Buffalo has to look no further than their own back yard to find this gem. Mack has upside to be the best defensive player in the draft. A plug and play starting OLB with skills that rival Anthony Barr and Clowney, this appears to be a home run pick for the Bills of the north. With Manny Lawson, and Mario Williams already on board, Mack will make this front 7 among the most feared in the league.

**10. Detroit Lions**select**Mike Evans** WR, Texas A&M. [Insert HATE chant here] Okay Lions nation, before you shower me with popcorn and trash let me explain myself here. Can we all agree that it is time for Durham to go away? Did anybody see how productive the Lions offense was when Nate and Broyles were out? Admit it! It was atrocious.Calvin Johnson is from Mars, and everybody knows it. The Lions CANNOT expect him to regularly conquer triple teams. Evans is easily the second best WR in the 2014 draft. He reminds me of more of a basketball player than a WR at this point, but the bottom line is he is 6’5″/230, and he goes and gets the ball. I think Evans is only now beginning to tap in to his potential. He is a very capable red zone option and can spread defenses out with speed.  Evans catches the ball at the highest point and is comparable to Anquan Boldin. With an offensive minded head coach in Caldwell, the Lions will look to get it right once and for all on offense. Check out a short highlight video here:

**11. Tennessee Titans** select **C.J. Mosely** LB, Alabama. The Titans defense was porous in the middle for most of 2013. They should address that right away with NFL ready Mosley. Mosley does everything well, and when he hit’s a RB they drop on site. Offensive line help  could also be a targeted here.

**12. New York Giants**select**Greg Robinson** OT. Auburn. GRob is a bookend tackle in every sense of the word. If this was last year, he would have been a top 5 pick.   Robinson is a natural road grater that possesses the athleticism to guard the edge. The Giants will plug him in at RT right away. Eli Manning will be glad they go this route.

**13. St. Louis Rams** select select **Justin Gilbert** CB, Oklahoma State. To many Lions fans’ disgust, CB’s start coming off the board in a frenzy here! Gilbert is viewed by many as the best CB in the draft. St. Louis will look to pair him with Janoris Jenkins (another guy the Lions passed on) to have one of the most potent young secondary’s in the NFL.

**14. Chicago Bears** select** Darqueze Dennard** CB. Michigan State. Once again [insert HATE chant here] the Lions look right past a local lock down CB.  Dennard will start immediately over in our favorite windy city, Chi-town. The defense here could use all the help they can get, and Dennard will provide them with plenty of it immediately. Prediction: a thorn in Matthew Stafford’s side for at least a decade. How are you going to do this to us Mayhew?

**15. Pittsburgh Steelers**  select **Taylor Lewan** OT. Michigan.  Lewan was vied as a top 5 pick had he come out as a junior. An abysmal 2013 campaign by the Wolverines, and several recent question marks concerning his character, causes Lewan to drop. The fact that the left tackle position is such a premium, Pittsburgh will gladly make this value pick. Lewan has size and agility to protect the blind side of the often-hit Rothlisberger.

**16. Baltimore Ravens** select **Marquise Lee** WR, USC. Baltimore needs to get Flacco some  help and will look no further than this Trojan. Lee has shown flashes of greatness at the collegiate level, but the circus act led by former coach Kiffin overshadowed this. Lee is a do-it-all type receiver and should see the field early. He is  slightly behind Watkins and Evans at WR.

**17.  Dallas Cowboys** select ** Louis Nix** DT, Notre Dame. At 340 lbs. Nix is a space eater inside. The Cowboy’s are thin on the defensive side of the ball, and there is nothing thin about this man. They likely luse DT Justin Hatcher via free agency. Nix is the # 1 DT in the draft, and  would be a good value pick here. Jerry Jones may have a wildcard in his back pocket here, but in the mean time, let’s assume he does the responsible thing and adds to his defensive front. KB is a 6’5″ junior who elected to go pro. He chose wisely, and will be drafted in the first round this year. The New York  (J-E-T-S) Jets  could use this big target on the outside. Benjamin could emerge as a dangerous red zone threat early. It’s hard to imagine the Jets looking to add anything other than offensive playmakers here.

**19. Miami Dolfins** select **Cyrus Kouandjio** OT, Alabama. Miami needs help up front in the worst way. They lost most of their offensive lineman in 2013 to injury, bullying, and suspension.  This unit was a colossal train wreck, as much as Incognito was a colossal Richard. The good news is Cyrus K is a top 15 worthy player that has started multiple seasons for the Tide. We’re talking about a program that churns out more quality offensive lineman than anyone else. Cyrus K is big, experienced, and can play several positions up front.

**20. Arizona Cardinals** select **Vic Beasley** OLB, Clemson. The front seven is aging in the desert making Beasley a solid fit here. Beasley is a well rounded, just solid overall linebacker. He has developed very good pass rush skills and especially showed them off in the later part of last season.  He could be the injection of youth the Cardinals need on defense. This pick will likely be used on the offensive line, or front seven on defense.

**21. Green Bay Packers** select **Calvin Pryor** S, Louisville. Nobody has heard of Pryor, mainly because he just declared as a junior. This man is a big, physical safety who is not shy around the line of scrimmage. He’s on the raw side, but could be a good piece for the future to the Packers sorry secondary. He’s the second best S in the draft, and will not fall much further than here.

**22. Philadelphia Eagles** select **Tim Jernigan** DT, FSU. Tim Jernigan is an ultra athletic DT who is a high upside player. He could be used in multiple ways up front for the Eagles. With a high-octane offense in place, the Eagles will undoubtedly load up on defense early and often on draft day. Jernigan is the most talented defensive player available at this spot regardless of position and is a legitimate gem.

**23. Kansas City Chiefs** select **Eric Ebron** TE, UNC. Tight end has really become a key offensive position in the modern NFL. Ebron is the best option in the draft and will immediately impact Reid’s underwhelming offense. Ebron has the speed and hands necessary of a receiver who must be accounted for by defenses at all time.

**24. Cincinnati Bengals** select **Ryan Shazier** OLB, OSU. Shazier has the ability to play multiple linebacker positions, and plays with great speed. Cincinnati  craves speed on defense and Shazier fits the bill. With a good showing at the combine, Shazier could see his draft stock rise.

**25. San Diego Chargers** select **Jason Verett** CB, TCU. This high powered offensive team will likely select defense early.  To some national pundits Verett is the best CB that this draft has to offer. At 5’10” he lacks the height to match up on the outside but Verett makes up for it with elite speed and athleticism. With most offensive sets in the league being WR heavy, a solid nickel corner is necessary. It is highly unlikely he falls out of the first based on skill alone.

**26. Cleveland Browns**select **HaHa Clinton-Dix** S, Alabama.  Cleveland lands this draft pick for Trent Richardson. They have addressed the QB position with Manziel earlier in the draft. Now they take a crack at the best safety in the draft, Clinton-Dix. He has the skill to legitimately “HaHa” at each and every team that passed on him. The natural born ball hawk will make the Browns secondary scary good and be a pun factory to sportscasters everywhere.

**27. New Orleans Saints**select** Ra’Shede Hageman** DT, Minnesota. Hagman wasn’t invited to my first mock board. His ridiculous training numbers and Senior Bowl have put him on the map, and I’m willing to guess he is going to continue to trend upwards. By draft day, it’s not out of question that Hageman could be in the top 20.

**28 New England Patriots** select **Jace Amaro** TE, Texas Tech. Here the Patriots go again with the tight ends. Gronkowski’s injuries have robbed him the last two seasons, and he just isn’t reliable. Hernandez is off training with Paul Crew and the chain gang  who are eager to take on the the prison guards. Meanwhile, Amaro is just the type of matchup nightmare Billicheck likes to deploy. Amaro is the second best TE in the draft, and not by much.

**29. Carolina Panthers** select **Jordan Matthews** WR, Vanderbilt. With Steve Smith getting up there in age, the Panthers need to add a WR. Matthews is not the physical specimen that the previous  wide receivers drafted are. He is a polished player who can step in and contribute immediately for this Panthers offense. He looked NFL ready in the Senior Bowl.

**30. San Francisco 49ers** select ** Cyril Richardson** G, Baylor. There could be a a WR selected here, but the 49ers will be overjoyed should this 340 lb. hauss slip this far. Richardson is the best interior lineman of this class and could anchor this group for the next decade. He plays with a Larry Warford- like mean streak. Cyril seems like as good fit in this power running attack. Cyril also gets consideration for the all-name team.

**31 Denver Broncos** select **Kony Ealy** DE, Missouri. The Broncos could use a pass rusher and with their offense being led by the likes of Peyton Manning a DE could be just what the doctor ordered.  Ealy is one of the top edge rushers to come out this year, and the Broncos shouldn’t hesitate to get him on board as they need help in their front seven.

**32. Seattle Seahawks **select **David Yankey** OG, Stanford.  Yankey can play anywhere along the offensive line. He played left tackle in college but will probably be more of a ground it out offensive guard at the next level. The Seahawks have few holes, but their offensive line showed vulnerability at times this year.

The Price Is Wrong!

Lions Tickets

Contribution By: Z. Ficht

As we’ve all learned this week, our Detroit Lions have raised their ticket prices for the upcoming 2014 season.  The move comes after arguably one of the worst second half collapses in franchise history, so it makes perfect sense.  Seriously though, as a season ticket holder  this decision is mind boggling. From a business standpoint, how can you justify increasing the cost of your product, when the on field performance has been below industry standards? I would like to state for the record that I am a season ticket holder, and have been since the 2006 season.  My grandfather -who has since passed his seats onto my uncle-, has had Lions tickets since 1955.  A Ficht has always been present at a Lions game for over 50 years.  That was a fact that I used to be proud of, that my family has stuck with this organization through thick and thin (so much thick). But now it seems that the front office could give a shit about its season ticket holders.

The staff of Motownmeltdown is pretty pro-Lions; we currently have three writers who have season tickets (M.Jones, M.Pawlak) and each one of us were absolutely blown away at the choice to raise ticket prices.

Myself (backwards hat) along with M. Jones (shades on the head) with some fools raging for the Lions pre-ticket price increase.  [Not Pictured M. Pawlak]

That hike comes out to be 8.2 percent higher than they were a year ago if you’re looking to put a number to it.  Let’s take a step back and assess the choice shall we? Two years removed from a playoff berth, no home playoff game in 20 years, went 1-6 down the stretch, fired the head coach, hired the most unpopular new coach they could , and raised ticket prices.  Now do any one of those things seem like it would generate a positive response from a fan base? Not in the least, but yet here we are.  A favorite saying of mine whenever I or any of my friends are having trouble coping with the decisions of this organization on and off the field is “who do we root for?” The answer of course is the Detroit Lions, and that is how easy it is to explain away decades of dumb decisions.  You know that it’s coming yet we are always outraged because in our heart of hearts we KNOW that this organization couldn’t make the right decision if it jumped up and bit them in the ass (Walking Dead style). They are destined to screw you over, destined to pull your heart out, look at it beat a few times and then fuck your mom. Just why? WHYYYYYY?????

All this city does is support you Lions, year after god forsaken year.  And we are rewarded with a price increase, hidden behind the disguise of a new ticketing system that breaks down games into sub categories to determine the desired ticket price on a game by game basis.  Teams like New Orleans and Green Bay will be in the “Touchdown” category. Ooohhh, how exciting! But wait, you can now come in and see shitters like Minnesota and Tampa Bay and pay the “Field Goal” price! What a time to be alive.  This pricing structure may sound familiar as the Detroit Tigers implemented a similar style several years ago, which for the record is working out great. I’m sure it’s due to the business model and not the fact that the Tigers have been to three straight ALCS’s.

This move is a slap in the face to a fan base that already has taken about 300,000 across the bow.  Can you throw us just one bone Lewand? I know that you think that we’re right on the verge of breaking through but [spoiler alert] “who do we root for???” That shit is never, ever going to happen.  In a year where God almighty split the proverbial gridiron sea, knocking out quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Aaron Rogers, with Minnesota taking a drastic step back you would think that you could have  fell into a division title.  Not in Detroit.  There isn’t a fan in all of Michigan who truly, TRULY believes that this team can win a meaningful game.  Why? Because they never have, not since 1991 at least, when the current twenty somethings were still in diapers and when the aging fans were twenty somethings.  This was the year and Detroit blew it in monumental fashion.  For this organization to ask their championship starved (hell I’d settle for a home playoff game!) fans to dig into their pockets and pay more money to support this team is insane.  Draft another D-lineman and ignore our needs at wide receiver and cornerback Detroit and I swear I will throw in the towel.

Before this ticket hike the Detroit Lions ranked 29 out of 32 teams for lowest ticket prices.  Pretty reasonable I must admit, but also appropriate for their overall product.  According to a press release from Lions Pres Mr. Lewand “The decision to incorporate an increase in overall ticket pricing was made after careful consideration. To remain competitive in the NFL and offer an extraordinary fan experience, we need to be able to invest right back into our product, and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do.”  Extraordinary fan experience? That’s interesting Tom, I don’t think I’ve ever had an extraordinary experience at Ford Field. Especially not when paying for my $9 a beer, waiting over a half an hour in line to get into the stadium, or watching the Lions lose game after game in an awe inspiring display of ineptitude. I’d happily pay more to alleviate those inconveniences, but sadly I think they are here to stay. So the experience isn’t changing, how about competitiveness? Seems like we’re going pretty strong Lions, fans consistently sell out Ford Field season after season.  If your front office could put together the right collection of players that actually win, I think that Ford Field would become one of the premier venues in all of the NFL.  However, as I pointed out earlier the Lions are incapable of success. Like, someone should take every member of the Lions organization to the doctor and get tested for allergies to winning.  Left untreated, the city may riot.

Despite years of failure and fan frustration, the Lions can still pull this off because it’s the NFL and we Americans eat that shit up like candy.  So raise the prices Lions, draft Johnny Football, bang my girlfriend, and take my job.. it doesn’t matter.  I can bitch and moan until the cows come home, but come September, I will be downtown getting wasted and cheering on our Lions because this is the year! My name is Zach and I have a problem: I’m a Detroit Lions fan. Someone help me.

Detroit Tigers Update/Spring Training

Contribution by: A. Fletcher

New Tigers for 2014:

Ian Kinsler

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Joe Nathan

Joe Nathan

Nick Castellanos

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Rajai Davis

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Brad Ausmus – Manager

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Important Spring Training Dates:

Pitchers and catchers first workout – February 14

First full squad workout – February 18

First spring training game – February 25 vs. Florida Southern Mocs

First spring training game against MLB team – February 27 vs. Atlanta Braves

Now with only three weeks left before the first workout of the year for the Tigers, we can officially get hype for baseball. Welcome back… After an upsetting end to last year’s playoffs, as Tiger’s fans, we have a reason to look forward to  next season. Looking  at some of the moves that the organization made, it’s interesting to say the least. Will they work out? Who knows.

Some notable roster additions are that of Joe Nathan and Ian Kinsler. Some people may disagree with me, but I think Ian Kinsler is the most exciting out of these two. I know the closer role has been a circus for the Tigers for the past couple of years, but the lead off position has been a big ? since before  Curtis Granderson was filling that spot. Detroit has not had a lead off hitter, in the true sense, for a long time. Is Kinsler a “true lead off hitter”? Not really, but he is a much better option than Austin Jackson, who looks to be very comfortable in the bottom of the lineup.  Kinsler’s OBP numbers are consistently good which is what Detroit has lacked. On the other side, this guy can do serious damage in the middle of the lineup with multiple 30+ home run seasons. I personally, cannot wait to see what this guy can do. At $67 million for five years, with a $5 million buyout in the last year, we will see if it’s worth all of that…

Having a true blue closer will be very refreshing as well. Coming off of a 1.39 ERA, 43 Save, and 10-runs allowed season. To compare, Mariano Rivera had a 2.11 ERA, 44 Saves, and allowed 16 runs, Nathan will most certainly be a breath of fresh air. Nathan will most likely be a part of the plug for our sinking ship of a bull pen. With Drew Smyly probably starting this season, the pen will need all of the help they can get. I can handle $29 million over 3 years, if he can remain an elite closer.

Nick Catellanos, will probably not work out. I have this feeling that we will be looking for a new third baseman come the end of the first quarter of the season. If he was half as good as the hype that he had years ago, we would have seen more of him during the Tigers multiple mid-season whoas. He will have a minor league contract that is bought out, so in my mind it’s just a cheap experiment.

The interesting addition of Rajai Davis adds some depth to our outfield. I think this puts a bit of pressure on Andy Dirks as well. I think Rajai could take that left field job quickly if Dirks doesn’t come out swinging. I am of the small group of people that think Rajai Davis is hands down better than Dirks. He is a proven major leaguer who is an asset more so on the base paths than in the field. He is fast, aggressive, and CAN STEAL a god damn base when he pleases.  He had 46 steals last year, and 45 in 2012. That is an element that we just have not had on this team. The 2 year, 10 million dollar contract may be just about right if he ends up starting a lot of games.

In lieu of Jim Leyland “retiring”, the organization hired former Special Assistant to Baseball Operations for the Padres, Brad Ausmus as head coach.?.?.? Very weird hire if you ask me. I don’t have any comparable’s or any outlook on this guy because he has ZERO dugout management experience. It is downright scary to think the Tigers wanted him to manage a team with World Series possibilities. I am guessing by the end of spring training, V-Mart and Miggy will be running this team. Dude could be a bust, or could be gold. Another wait and see…

Before Season Prediction:

Detroit is looking for a new manager for 2015 season after this year.

Spring Training Expectations:

Alex Avila has a monster Spring Training = another dud season.

Someone will emerge from the farm and earn a spot on the bench, hopefully Don Kelly’s spot.

I imagine that we will see Miggy dominate, yet again.

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Until next time.

The Wasted Open

Contributions By: The Dirty Birdie

If you’re not a fan of golf, then this weekend was made just for you.  The Waste Management Phoenix Open is unlike any tournament stop the PGA offers.  It all culminates on the 16th hole, which by Saturday and Sunday turns into a frat party/golf tournament/caddie race and dance competition.

I love this tournament because it is what golf is to so many of us.  A time to unwind, have fun and do something that one of our friends will make fun of us for later.

There is a reason why this tournament draws the most fans of the year.  More than 500,000 people come to watch golf here.  Most of them probably don’t come for just golf, but that is what the sport needs.  Not everyone goes to a Tigers game to watch just baseball. They go to have a good time, and at the Waste Management Open, a good time is easy to have.

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Hole 16 is unlike anything in sports.  Nowhere else can you find 4,500 people, plus all the rich folk in over 200 skybox suites, ready to go into fits of uncontrollable anarchy over a golf shot that takes 8 seconds to complete.  Miss the green off the tee, and players take a walk of shame that would make any Michigan State girl feel proud.  Hit the green and the crowd erupts into pandemonium.  Beer goes flying, girls’ shirts come off (not really) and players feel like they are in an actual sports arena.  It is very cool to watch.

The party doesn’t stop when play is over though.  All four nights of the tournament there is a mini rave set up on the course called “The Birds Nest”.  There is live music, topless women (really), and drinks flowing until 2 in the morning, it’s a Snoop Dog video.  This is my ultimate golf fantasy and is what golf needs.  If more tournaments loosened up a bit and catered to the younger professional, golf could gain so many more followers.  They won’t though.  Maybe it’s a good thing, because I am pretty sure if every tournament was like the Waste Management Open, Tiger would go back to fucking twenty girls a week, John Daly would start drinking on the course again, and Phil Mickelson would still be left looking like the creepy old dude that sits across the street from your kids playground.

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Just Wing’In It: Wings in Philly, Not Looking for Any Brotherly Love from the Flyers.

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After a successful five game home stand, the Red Wings head to Philadelphia to face the struggling Flyers.  The Wings finished up their five game home stretch by going 3-1-1, pushing them into the eighth spot with 57 points in the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings.  The  Flyers have lost four straight and are looking to avoid their fifth consecutive loss, which would be their longest losing streak in three years.

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It was nice to see some familiar faces wearing the red sweater over the past five games.  The depleted Red Wings welcomed the returns of some of their key players during the stretch, including: Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Jonathan Ericsson, and Daniel Alfredsson.   Even  after gaining some of their key players back, the Wings are still missing the talents of Pavel Datsyuk (lower back injury), Henrik Zetterberg (re-aggravated lower back injury), and Jimmy Howard (sore knee). Howard is supposed to be back on the ice tonight in Philly, and hopes to help the club get their first win in “The City of Brotherly Love” since 1997.

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Despite a lackluster finish this past Sunday in Detroit (The Panthers somehow seem to have our number this year with three straight wins over us), The Wings look to bounce back and continue their fight to maintain a playoff spot.  Having  some players return to their roster should add some depth. Veteran leadership will hopefully lead to more consistent play .  This will not be an easy match-up for the Wings tonight in Philly.  The Flyers are in the same boat struggling to make the playoffs and are eager to snap their recent losing streak (Philly is only one point back from the Wings in the standings).  Overall, this should be an exciting game involving two teams looking to save face for their cities by desperately fighting for the last playoff spot in the East!

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