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Mo Cheeks Fired as Pistons Coach

Mo Cheeks Fired as Pistons Coach

Contribution by M. Jones

The Motown community was awakened by a siren out of Auburn Hills this morning. I think this lady captures the general reaction nicely.

After an underwhelming start to the 2013 season with a record of 21-29, the Pistons fired head coach Mo Cheeks. With it being only 50 games into the 2014 season, the firing will go down as one of the fastest ever. Only 4 coaches in NBA history have been fired more quickly than Cheeks within their first full season as head coach.

In the past 10 years, this organization has parted ways with 7 coaches. That doesn’t happen in pro sports, at least if your franchise isn’t run by complete morons (see the Oakland Raiders).

For a quick rundown, the Pistons have run through:

Rick Carlisle [That trophy was with Dallas after we fired him]

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Larry Brown [The good old days – Carlos Arroyo and McDyess in the building]

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Flip Saunders [My thoughts exactly]

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Michael Curry

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John Kuester

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Lawrence Frank

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Mo Cheeks [Fist pumping for that severance package]

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This move clearly marks the moment that Owner, Tom Gores, had seen enough and realized his demand of making the playoffs this season was in serious jeopardy. Is it time for him to dump Joe D as well? Mo Cheeks was Joe D’s guy. So were most of the guys mentioned above. At what point does he have to take ultimate responsibility for this clusterfuck of a team that can’t go .500 in a historically bad conference or draw more than 15,000 fans a game (per espn.com)? Their attendance is currently 4th worst in the league. For the record the 14.6k fans that they claim they are averaging is laughable. I watch Pistons games, and there is no way they have actually averaged that many people in the Palace seats. It feels more like 5,000 people a night.

For my money, I was never impressed with Mo Cheeks. The roster has talent but it clearly isn’t being used right. What is the game plan from here? Who even wants this job right now that will offer zero job security, with clear turmoil between management and ownership? The early rumor is Lionel Hollins, former head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. I would be in favor of this. I watched that Memphis team closely the past few years and saw him turn a middle of the pack roster into a playoff threat. I think the whole NBA world is still a little confused by the Grizzlies decision not to renew his contract at the end of last year.

We will have to wait and see but here is to hoping Gores cuts tie with Dumars, signs Hollins as the coach, and finds a talented GM to come in and fix the problems. I’ll keep wishing.

Not A Smart Move By Marcus Smart

Contribution by S Millington

One of college basketball’s top players Marcus Smart shoved a Texas Tech fan, Jeff Orr, in Oklahoma State’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday. Marcus Smart, earned a technical foul for his shove to Orr. Once the game was over Jay Bilas was expressing his feelings about the Marcus Smart shove on ESPN.

On Sunday, the Big 12 announced Smart will be suspended for three games for violating the sportsmanship and ethical conduct policy. Smart did apology for actions on Sunday by saying, “This is not how I conduct myself. This is not how the program is run. This is not how I was raised. I let my emotions get the best of me.  It’s something I’ll have to learn from, a lesson I’ll have to learn from. The consequences that are coming with it — I’m taking full responsibility. No finger pointing — this is all upon me.”

In a statement by Jeff Orr said “I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith and the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball program.  My actions last night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech a university I love dearly. I regret calling Mr. Smart a ‘piece of crap’ but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind. Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created.” He voluntarily agreed to not attend any Texas Tech home or away games for the remainder of the season. Orr has had some other problems with former Big 12 players. One was John Lucas III, a former Oklahoma St player.

Regardless what Orr said, it was not worth it for Marcus Smart to shove Orr. This will have an impact on this season with him being suspended for three games, but also maybe with his NBA draft stock. Smart is labeled as a top NBA prospect in a deep draft. One NBA GM on Smart said the shove will not affect his draft stock.

Here is a funny tweet about Marcus Smart by Oakland Athletics Jeremy Barfield.

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GAME CHANGER

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Prior to 2012 women fighting in MMA was seen by some as a novelty. In 2011 UFC President Dana White had stated that women would never fight in the UFC.  That all changed in November of 2012, when the UFC announced that it was signing Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey. Rousey an Olympic Judo bronze medalist had just changed the sport and made women’s MMA mainstream.

Rousey was the perfect choice for White and the UFC. She’s not scared to talk trash and back it up, also she is quite easy on the eyes.  Rousey was 6-0 before signing with the UFC and had finished all of her fights via 1st round Armbar. She joined the UFC as Bantamweight champion and has since defended her title twice, winning both fights via Armbar and only seeing the 2nd round in her last fight with Miesha Tate back in December. Winning all of her fights with the same technique is absolutely unheard of in MMA.

Some people may find women’s fights hard to stomach. I will admit that I was reluctant at first. Not because I thought they would be boring, but more because I didn’t know if I would be able to see them hurt. I am a father of two girls and I thought it might be tough to watch.  I quickly got over it when I saw how skilled and determined the girls were. They wanted to be there just as much as the dudes, and showed it. Rousey’s last fight in December was one of the most intense and electrifying fights I have witnessed. Both fighters gave everything they had, refusing to leave it to a decision by the judges.  The fight was the conclusion to a heated rivalry between Rousey and Tate, which was on full display during season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. Season 18 was the first season with women coaches and fighters, featuring Rousey, wh again was breaking new ground in MMA and paving the way for women in the sport.

Rousey navigated to more uncharted territory for women in MMA on January 27th of 2014, breaking into the top ten of the pound for pound fighter rankings at #9(UFC.com). This is monumental shift from just 3 years ago when “women would never fight in the UFC”. Being on a list with the top fighters in the world has to be one of Rousey’s best achievements. She has changed a sport and will forever be remembered. She has most likely already cemented herself in the MMA Hall of Fame.

Ronda will attempt to defend her title once again on February 22nd in the Main Event of UFC 170. She will be taking on Sara McMann who is no pushover at 6-0 as a professional. One thing to watch in the fight will be McMann’s takedown defense. Rousey has finished all of her fights on the ground and McMann has stuffed 100% of takedowns attempted. This may be both fighters toughest competition yet, but I have Rousey winning by submission in Round 2. If you have not seen women fight I would highly recommend this one, Rousey has yet to disappoint in any of her matches.  

 

Predicting the Road Ahead for Michigan Basketball

stauskasThe end of the college basketball regular season is, believe it or not, rapidly approaching. There are just 8 games left in the Big Ten season for the Michigan Wolverines basketball team and right now, they still sit atop this tough conference at 9-1, tied with fellow Michiganders, the Michigan State Spartans. The boys are coming off two important games. First, a game that really challenged the Wolverines, the loss at Indiana. Then, Michigan bounced back with an absolute domination of a Nebraska team that almost beat them in Lincoln earlier this season. The team is on the right track right now with many players stepping it up. But are they good enough to keep it going and capture the Big Ten regular season title? Maybe… maybe not, but let’s take a look at the road ahead to see just what we’re dealing with here.

Feb. 8th @ Iowa Hawkeyesmarble

The Hawkeyes are a pretty complete team with something to prove. Michigan beat them at Crisler earlier in the year and Iowa will be looking to return the favor at Carver Arena. I can’t stand Austin White and how he manages to put up double doubles in the most unathletic ways possible. But this team can hang with anybody in the Big Ten and winning in Iowa City is going to be tough.

Prediction: Loss, but its going to be a battle.

Feb. 11 @ Ohio (fuck this state, and fuck Thad Matta)ohio

This is not the same Ohio team that started the season ranked in the top 10 in the country. They went through a real rough patch over the last few weeks and they really have no go to scorer on the roster. Also, did you think this Michigan fan would give any respect to the Fuckeyes? Come on man…

Prediction: Win

Feb. 16 vs Wisconsin

Wisconsin always manages to hang around in the Big Ten race with a collection of white boys that nobody has ever heard of. Michigan has already beaten the Badgers once, at their arena, and I don’t see their white boys being able to outscore Michigans (Spike and Nik > Wisconsin schmucks).

Prediction: Win

Feb. 23 vs Michigan Statepayne

On to another team I just cannot stand. This game will most likely be the one that gives the Victor (see what I did there?) the inside track on winning the conference. Winning at Crisler is a rarity for opposing teams nowadays, but with Adrien Payne back, this one could be a little different than it was in East Lansing.

Prediction: Lo… wait, fuck that… WIN

Feb. 26 @ Purduepurdue

Purdue is not a good basketball team. Yeah, they may have won a few games against some of the middling teams in the conference, but I don’t see their inexperience being able to keep up with the Wolverines’ offense.

Prediction: Win

March 1 vs Minnesota

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Rich Pitino is doing good things at Minnesota. They are competing in the best conference in college basketball. However, there is a difference between competing and winning games. This team just can’t seem to close anybody out. If this game was being played at the barn in Minny, I might be more inclined to predict the upset.

Prediction: Win

March 4 @ Illinoisillinois

Ok, Michigan fans, don’t hate me. I have this weird feeling that this game might be one that makes you want to punch an infant. Michigan shoots 25% from the floor, 20% from 3, Stauskas goes scoreless and Morgan fouls out with 10 minutes left in the game. Don’t ask me why I think this could happen, but somehow the Orange Krush gets the best of the boys.

Prediction: Loss

March 8 vs Indianaindiana

In their first meeting, the Hoosiers needed an absolute monster effort from Yogi Ferrell to beat the Wolverines. I don’t see him replicating that performance in Ann Arbor and I predict Michigan to stomp the Hoosiers in demanding fashion. This will be the game that Michigan is able to use to gain some momentum heading into the Big Ten Tourney.

Prediction: Win

So there it is, I predict that the Michigan basketball team will go 6-2 down the stretch and finish the Big Ten season with a 15-3 record in the conference. Last season, Indiana won the regular season title at 14-4, so it looks like this might be good enough to get the job done. I won’t sleep on the Spartans, however, as it is crazy to think that with only 3 conference losses, it might not be enough. Michigan has a tough schedule coming up, but a lot of their “big” games are at home, which will definitely help because if this season has taught us anything, it is that it is extremely difficult to win on the road in the Big Ten. I think the Wolverines get the coveted #1 seed in the Big Ten Tourney this season, finishing 1 game ahead of the Spartans. After that, it is anybody’s game in March, which is when the real Madness begins…

The Dirty Tip #3

Contributions by: The Dirty Birdie

In my last golf tip you saw me using alignment rods, (no that was not pee in the snow).  These are one of the easiest training devices on the market.  If you’re not sure how to use them, watch for an upcoming tip, with ways to utilize these great tools.

Before you can use them though, you need to have a set.  Alignment rods are not that expensive, but if I can save you money, no matter how little, I will.  If you look on golfsmith.com you can find one from Hank Haney.  http://www.golfsmith.com/product/30038855/hank-haney-pro-stix-training-aid For one of these, the cost is 14.99 and you need to have two. So you are looking at almost $30 for a couple things that lie on the ground.  Unless Hanks wife is lying on the ground next to them, Hank can keep um’.

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 Anyone that has every plowed snow has used a drive-way marker. They are markers, so dudes like me won’t tear your grass up, while plowing the shit ton of snow that has fallen this winter. Normally they don’t work for that, but they are effective as alignment rods for golfers. I swear the guy that invented alignment sticks was a snow plow driver, because these things are the same exact material. While Michigan’s winter is still here, do yourself a favor and head to your local hardware store and buy a pair of these. At Home Depot they are $2.29 a piece, for a grand total of a whopping $4.58 before tax.  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Blazer-International-Driveway-Marker-48-in-Round-Yellow-Fiberglass-Rod-381YDM/202498050

You just saved $25.00! Keep reading the Dirty Birdie for more money saving tips that may just save you enough to land a girl like Suzanne Haney. Or, at the very least a lap dance from a girl that looks like her.

JUST WING’IN IT ABOUT THE OLYMPICS

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Contribution by P.Giannosa

Starting tonight, the 2014 Winter Olympics are set to take place in Sochi, Russia.  One of The Olympic’s major events is the Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament featuring twelve different countries  who will be competing for a Gold Medal.  The tournament will start  next Wednesday, February 12th and finish with the Gold Medal game being held on Sunday, February 23rd.

The Olympic Men’s Hockey tournament has been known to be intense and grueling, especially for Medal winning teams.  The players on these Olympic Medal winning teams play their heart out for their Countries and have been known to sometimes play up to seven games over an eleven day span.  Meanwhile, most NHL players are at home kicking back hanging out with their families, maybe doing a little shopping at Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, that is if they have the time for it.

2010 Olympic Hockey  Tournament Run-Down

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For those who didn’t pay attention to the Men’s Hockey Tournament four years ago in Vancouver, Canada, I’m sorry you missed out. Here’s a quick run down, so you  can catch up.  Finland beat Slovakia for the Bronze Medal (I know blah, blah, blah who cares) and then those Crazy Hozers from the North, Team Canada unfortunately beat the U.S. to capture the Gold in overtime.

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The buzz during the entire tournament was that Team Canada was unstoppable because of their star-studded NHL roster.  The Russians were also heavily favored, by again having quite a few NHL stars suiting up for their respected squad.  Unfortunately for them, those Comies lost to Canada 7-3 in the Quarterfinals.  Then we have Team ‘MERICA., who wiped the floor with Finland beating them 6-1 in the Semis allowing them to advance to the Gold Medal game against Canada.

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The 2010 Gold Medal game was No Joke probably the best Hockey game that I have seen in the past four years.  It was a fast, gritty, and hard-fought game at both ends of the ice.  It was obvious that players were competing extremely hard wanting to Capture the Gold for their respected countries.  The game came down to the wire and then by a last-ditch effort from Zach Parise, he was able to tie up the game for the U.S.  with just 25 seconds left in regulation forcing the game into overtime.  Unfortunately, the U.S. ended up losing the close match to Canada thanks to “Detroit’s Most Loved Player to Hate” Cindy Crosby shooting one past goalie Ryan Miller.  All in all, the 2010 Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament was very successful  for both the NHL and the Olympics while in the international spotlight.  An old tradition that brings countries together by pitting the World’s most skilled players against each other competing for their countries and for hockey fans worldwide.

Men’s 2014 Hockey Olympic Preview

This Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia starts today with the opening ceremony being held tonight around 8pm.  The Men’s Hockey Tournament can be considered one of the main highlights of the Olympics,  many are hoping  for another fun and exciting hockey tournament that will go down as one of the best the Olympics has ever seen.  Expect early favorites (thanks to rosters stacked with the NHL’s best players) to win the Gold this year including teams Sweden, Russia, U.S.A., and Canada.   If interested in team breakdowns and the schedule of the 2014 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament please continue reading.  Hopefully this is somewhat news for you and you can get some enjoyment out of it.

TOP 6 COMPETING TEAMS

RUSSIA

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Team Russia led by Captain and hometown hero”The Magic Man”  Pavel Datsyuk (that is if he’s healthy for it) are looking to make a splash in the tournament especially with having the home ice advantage.  A talented group of forwards including Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchulk, and Yevgeni Melkin, will look to score quickly and by a lot.  Having an early lead and handling the puck well in front of the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s goalie of the year Sergie Bobrovski, will allow the team to play relaxed and smart helping them to advance to later rounds in the tournament.

SLOVAKIA

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To be completely honest this team might be the sleeper pick of the tourny.  Slovakia is composed of a defensive core headed by big man Zdeno Chara who is no stranger to the tough competitive international play.  Vetran Power Forward Marian Hossa will lead the scoring attack along with the skilled young guns from HockeyTown Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar.  Having talent at both ends of the ice will make it tough for teams to beat Slovakia.

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CANADA

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Team Canada the reigning Gold Medal Champs, once again built by Detroit’s most beloved sports star Steve Yzerman and coached by the Red Wing’s own Mike Babcock, Canada is ready to make another historic Olympic run on the international stage.  Captained by Sid the Kid, Canda has the most talented roster of all the teams competing and again have high expectations to win the Gold.  Team Canada will be sending another star-studded NHL line up to Sochi including Rick Nash,  Jonathan Toews, Claude Giroux, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Carey Price, and Robert Luongo. The team will be a tough opponent for all teams they face and they are confident that they can once again become Olympic Gold Medal Champions.

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FINLAND

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A team that has made its presence known as of late in the Olympic Hockey Tourny, Finland’s challengers will have a difficult time facing any of the three rostered goaltenders (especially if they get on fire) Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi, and Tuukka Rask.  Goaltending is the obvious key to this team however they still have a solid offense captained by Teemu Sleanne (competing in his sixth Olympics=Geezer) competing along side with former Wing Valtteri Filppula and Wild captain Miko Koivu.

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SWEDEN

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Team Sweden, another favorite to win the Gold,  will have a strong offensive attack that is supported by a great defensive core.  Sweden will be fun for us Detroit Hockey fans to watch and root for because the team is mostly consists of Red Wing players. Henrik Zetterberg, will captain and lead the exciting offense made up of NHL stars including Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Backstrom,  and by both Sedin brothers (Daniel and Henrik).  The notable Defense is composed of the skilled Nicklas Kronwall, big man Jonathan Ericsson, and former winner of the 2012 Norris Trophy as best defenseman of the year Ottawa Senator Erik Karlsson.  Not to mention former Vezina Trophy winner, Henrik Lundqvist will be their netminder adding a strong presence between the pipes that won’t make it easy for opposing goal scorers.

USA

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Last but not least, we have the gritty and speedy Team U.S.A.  The 2010 Gold Medal runner-up, Team ‘Merica will be hungry and ready to win this month in Sochi.  Being lead by captain Zach Parise and many returnees from 2010 Silver Medal lineup including teammate D-Man Ryan Suter, puck handling extraordinaire Patrick Kane, 2012 Stanley Cup Champ Dustin Brown,  Michigander Ryan Kesler, and former Mighican State Spartan goalie Ryan Miller.  Red Wing Jimmy Howard and King’s goalie Jonathan Quick will also challenge Miller for the coveted starting goaltending spot for the U.S., my guess is that Quick will win out and be our go-to goalie of choice. With high hopes in Sochi, team U.S.A. would again love to be that surprising underdog upsetting any team that comes in their path and win its first Gold Medal since the 1980 “Miracle on Ice”.

2014 Men’s Ice Hockey Olympic Grouping/Schedule

Below is the complete schedule of the tournament including the Medal games.

Group A

Russia
Slovakia
United States
Slovenia

Group B

Finland
Canada
Norway
Austria

Group C

Czech Republic
Sweden
Switzerland
Latvia

Feb. 12
12 PM ET Czech Republic vs. Sweden
12 PM ET Latvia vs. Switzerland

Feb. 13
3 AM ET Finland vs. Austria
7:30 AM ET Russia vs. Slovenia
7:30 AM ET Slovakia vs. USA
12 PM ET Canada vs. Norway

Feb. 14
3 AM ET Czech Republic vs. Latvia
7:30 AM ET Sweden vs. Switzerland
12 PM ET Norway vs. Finland
12 PM ET Canada vs. Austria

Feb 15
3 AM ET Slovakia vs. Slovenia
7:30 AM ET USA vs. Russia
12 PM ET Sweden vs. Latvia
12 PM ET Switzerland vs. Czech Republic

Feb 16
3 AM ET Austria vs. Norway
7:30 AM ET Russia vs. Slovakia
7:30 AM ET Slovenia vs. USA
12 PM ET Finland vs. Canada

Feb 18
3 AM ET Playoff qualifications
7:30 AM ET Playoff qualifications
12 PM ET Playoff qualifications
12 PM ET Playoff qualification

Feb 19
3 AM ET Quarterfinal
7:30 AM ET Quarterfinal
12 PM ET Quarterfinal
12 PM ET Quarterfinal

Feb 21
7 AM ET Semi Final
12 PM ET Semi Final

Feb 22
10 AM ET Bronze Medal Game

Feb 23
7 AM ET Gold Medal Game