MMA Top Five Pound-for-Pound Rankings

January 20, 2009

by Joshua Khan

Everywhere across the MMA world you will find the pound for pound rankings who have many fighters, most of them having Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko topping the charts, but I’m here to bring you my p4p rankings and ill put a detailed explanation for each fighter and ranking.

1. Anderson Silva

Of course, I must put my first choice as the man above all men, he’s a striking genius, as Joe Rogan said, he is a different kind of striker.  I believe that the only man that will be able to dethrone this champion is someone with world champion prowess submission skills, your not going to just go in, take him down and submit him, your gonna get on top, get a body triangle in, and he’s gonna beat your face in from the bottom.  I think the only man who can truly dethrone the champion is Demian Maia.  The man can take a hit and he’s truly evolving into a different fighter.

2. Georges St. Pierre

Truly, the most complete fighter in MMA, a man who came in with a karate background, to controlling who many considered some of the best wrestlers in the sport.  You wont ever find a more complete fighter, and in a man who came up from nothing and completely rose up the rankings to be able to defy all the odds, a true athlete in many aspects.  Boxing trainers say he can go pro with his skill, at one point he considered wrestling for his country, one of the only men, who i believe, who could take down the top p4p man.

3. Lyoto Machida

A lot of people disagree but this man is the true future of MMA.  With crisp striking, top notch submission skills and the ability to throw his opponents off of their game plan.  The true meaning of mixed martial arts is to use the best way possible to defeat your opponent, going in, throwing, and having the possibility to get knocked out is not the best way to win a fight, its to avoid getting hit, and using your own opponents mistakes against them, the man is truly the future of MMA, without a doubt.

4. Fedor Emelianenko

Truly, the top heavyweight in any organization.  He will come in, and destroy you on your feet, if he takes you to the ground, you better be good otherwise your getting submitted, and you better be even better when your on top because he’ll fuck you up off his back. The man moves his hips like a lightweight. The man is certainly one of the best fighters in the world, and i foresee that when he retires, he’ll be unbeaten still.

5. BJ Penn

The current UFC lightweight champion. A man that, in his own, has risen the ranks and showed everyone that he is truly a force to be dealt with for anyone.  Having faced two of the my picks for the top P4P fighters in the world, he has gone the distance with both and has only been stopped once in his entire career. His fight with “Rush” will truly change the P4P rankings from what you see now

Even though, many people may have their own choices n whatnot, no one can truly say who they believe are the top fighters in the world, everyone has their own opinions but these are my picks in who i believe are the best that this sport has to offer.  A year from now these rankings will be different, and the new generation will take order, long live MMA.

The Hunt Is On

November 15, 2008

By Joshua Khan

To be honest with you, I’m still sketchy about whether or not I’m going to next year’s home opener.

Sure its the beloved day Toronto Blue Jays fans rejoice in a drunken manner, but I’m scared about who I’ll see pitching on the mound. Let’s face it, 10 or more beers and a few jagerbombs aren’t going to cut it if David Purcey’s pitching. I have nothing against the guy, its just I would rather not see the Jays give up more runs than the average number of beers a fan will drink that night.

What I’m getting at is the Jays better grab the phone soon, or else our pitching staff is royally fucked up the ass. We can hope and pray but A.J. Burnett is not coming back folks. If he wanted to stay, he wouldn’t have filed for free agency. So now, we have to look at what’s available and see what we can do.

But what exactly is out there?

Its hard to say whether or not there are good pitchers out there. There’s a ton of wash-ups, a lot of old geezers and a few gems with dollar signs in their eyes. Do the Jays have a choice when it comes to deciding who joins the team? Yes they do; they just have to make good moves (Adam Loewen….why?).

For starters, here’s the group we can’t sign and definetly shouldn’t even acknowledge:

C.C. Sabathia (love to see him fight Doc for #1, but too pricy)
Derek Lowe (seems like a good fit, but we don’t need a choker in the World Series)
Andy Pettitte (no thank you)
Mike Mussina (apparently Cito hates the guy)
Randy Wolf (wash-up, plus Wolfe is a more kick-ass name)
Jamie Moyer (rather not witness him die of old age at a home game)
Paul Byrd (no way, unless you want to catch a home run ball)
Josh Fogg (“The Dragon Slayer” got fucked up in 08′ with a 7.58 ERA)
Bartolo Colon (he’ll eat everyone’s sunflower seeds!)

Now, for a closer look at the guys who should be given a shot to help us win it all or at least make our starting rotation sound better.

Ben Sheets; health is a major factor here, but once he stays off the disabled list, he’ll be explosive. Sheets started 31 games last year and went 13-9 with an ERA of 3.09 and 158 strikeouts. After being in Milwaukee, i’m sure he’ll enjoy being part of a new one-two punch here in Toronto.

Ryan Dempster; HE’S CANADIAN! End of story…..okay, maybe not. For all you skeptics, Dempster lit shit up with the Cubs. In 33 games, he had an ERA of 2.96, 187 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .227.

Jon Garland; his stats aren’t impressive, but he can log in a guaranteed 200 innings of work. Plus with the defense the Jays have, things could look up. Like c’mon, they did for Jesse Litsch.

Randy Johnson; the Big Unit seems like an unlikely choice, but his heat and veteran presence could very well help Toronto in the long run. He’s also motivated too (five more wins to get to 300) and on a hot streak (2.56 ERA since July).

John Smoltz; laugh, go ahead. I’ll admit Smoltz should just retire, but the guy has guts (numerous surgeries). Plus, he would be a great addition to round out the bottom of the rotation.

Orlando Hernandez; he may be 43, but it’s simple: we need a new-age Juan Guzman.

Some of you may be thinking that the Jays pitching staff is fine, but its not. Sure we had the best pitchers in baseball last year, but that’s all gone now. Burnett might become a Yank, Marcum’s out for the year, Muttonchop McGowan is sketchier than a cougar bar and Yahoo Sports says we have three pitchers in our starting rotation. Doc, Litsch and Purcey can’t carry the team by themselves. Sure we can tell them to pitch five innings and let our fucking awesome bullpen take over, but that plan is bound to burst into flames.

The Toronto Blue Jays need to do something, and fast. Free agency is upon us and we need to start dialing numbers or else you can bet your ass everyone’s just going to stay home and watch the game. There’s not a lot of choice, but we can’t be picky. Our offense has perfected the home-run swing and trades aren’t an option because every other team knows we can be contenders.

And so do we.

Big Ben or Big Bust?

November 7, 2008 Joshua Khan…

He was the first quarterback to go 13-0 or better in the regular season. He’s the youngest starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl. He may also be the only player in the National Football League to have his own line of beef jerky (Big Ben’s XL Beef Jerky; eat your heart out Macho Man Randy Savage). But is Ben Roethlisberger a future hall-of-famer or is he just another overrated douchebag that will disappear in a couple years?

Over the past few seasons, Roethlisberger has been proclaimed as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever take the football field. At the age of 26, he already has a Super Bowl ring, he’s in the top ten for all-time passer rating and yards per attempt and every football analyst has a man-crush on him.

But I don’t.

Sure I hate the guy more than Richard Simmons (real name: Milton), but I’m going to the statistics to explain why he’s overrated.

First things first, he’s 26-years-old for fuck sakes! Instead of hyping him as one of the greatest players to ever spiral a football, critics and the like should be noting how many years he has left in his career. Roethlisberger has only been in the league since 2004 so his career’s not even half over. In the next five  or six years, Big Ben could end up turning into a quarterback who plays like a 48-year-old Ryan Leaf.

Despite holding several NFL records, Pittsburgh Steelers records and even Miami University football records, Roethlisberger has some flaws that people tend to overlook. Although standing at  a 6′5, 240-pound frame, he gets sacked…A LOT. Sure its normal to see good quarterbacks being helpless behind a pussbag offensive line, but he’s BIG Ben. Use your size to your advantage! A guy that monstrous shouldn’t be getting sacked an average of 39.6 times per season. And the fumbles? The past two seasons have been pretty ugly as he fumbled nine times last year and seven times in eight games this year.

In general, his stats this season aren’t the greatest. With 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2007, Roethlisberger is 10-8 so far. The scrambling machine also isn’t living up to his credentials as his rushing average has dropped more than three points to 2.1. Now some might say you can pick apart any athlete by looking at the statistical flaws they have, but does anyone remember the Super Bowl he played in?

If it wasn’t for the great Steelers team around him and the suck the Seattle Seahawks displayed, Big Ben wouldn’t have a ring. In Super Bowl XL, Roethlisberger had a shit game. He completed 9 of 21 passes for 123 yards and threw two picks for a passer rating of 22.6. 22.6? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!? He’s not a basketball player! Having such a disgustingly low rating in the biggest game of your life is simply pathetic, even if you run a quarterback sneak to get your team’s first touchdown on route to winning. Before I go on, we all know that fancy-dancy princess of a play should have not been ruled as a touchdown. God damn referees.

All in all, Roethlisberger has some talent and he is a leader on a team that has some inconsistent days, but he’s not one of the best in the league. Instead, Big Ben should be classified as great, not unbelievably talented like some journalists state. Football’s full of up-and-downs. Athletes come and go, careers start and end and cheerleaders get caught doing R-rated things in the locker rooms every once in a while. So to proclaim a one-time Pro Bowler like Ben Roethlisberger is a NFL God is pretty stupid.

You can’t hype at such a level when you can’t prove.

Is Claude Lemeuix On Drugs?

September 29, 2008

By Joshua Khan…

Turtle’s back.

Yep, it’s true. The established hockey player who once pussied out during the prestigious 1997 Detroit Red Wings-Colorado Avalanche brawl is planning a comeback to the National Hockey League. Despite being 43 years old, Claude Lemieux actually thinks he can do something in a league full of young superstars.

Whether its for Colorado or for another NHL organization, the Hall Of Fame hopeful has stated that he actually thinks he can lead a team to the playoffs and maybe even hoist the Stanley Cup once again. Like a smart human being, Lemieux knows its going to take a lot of work to achieve such goals and is willing to even play for a team’s minor league affiliate first. Such confidence and wisdom is a positive thing, but does Lemieux have what it takes to play in the new NHL?

Steve Reinprecht seems to think so.

Then again, who gives a fuck about what Steve Reinprecht thinks?

Lemieux’s statistics help his case because believe it or not, Turtle actually has 80 career playoff goals which is ninth all-time in NHL history. Along with such an honor, the old geezer has four Stanley Cup rings, a Conn Smythe Trophy and nine 20-goal seasons to his name. But a professional hockey team isn’t going to sign Claude Lemieux for his “astonishing goal-scoring talent”. At most, Lemieux will get about 15 goals playing on the third or fourth line for a team. 20 goals maybe if he plays for Nashville.

The only reason a team might sign the 20-year veteran is for his grit. Lemieux can be a complete wuss at some times, but he’s actually tougher than most people give him credit for. With the amount of posers who love-tap each other in the league today, it would be nice to see a real, bloody fight for once. I for one, would love to watch Lemieux beat the crap out Steve Ott because it’s better than seeing two nobodies tug at each other’s jerseys like a couple of princesses who are afraid to break a nail.

It’ll be interesting to see how Colorado and the rest of the league reacts to Lemieux’s decision. Lately, old veterans haven’t been treated well (Petr Nedved got booted despite having a great preseason) and are pretty much long shots to make teams full of talent (Bryan Berard in Philadelphia, Jeff O’Neill in Carolina). It would be nice to see Lemieux in an Avs or even a Devils jersey this upcoming season, but only time will tell.

If he makes a team, I’m hoping for a good show, even if it involves turtling.

Tips For Fantasy Hockey 08’

September 12, 2008

by Joshua Khan… Fantasy hockey leagues are becoming a bitch.

No wait, they aren’t a bitch, they’ve evolved past the simple definition of the harsh overused word. They’re as nasty as John Tortorella on his period.

Having exceptional amounts of hockey knowledge can usually help you draft the greatest team since the District 5 Mighty Ducks, but that’s not the case this year. In Yahoo Fantasy Hockey, the leagues are getting bigger in terms of size and competition. Experts do have the option of taking the easy route and joining a league with six or less teams, but the harsh truth is, options are for pussies.

To really show you know the NHL inside and out, fans should join leagues that have over 10 teams. The draft does get a lot tougher, but the more teams a league has, there’s less of a chance that one of your buddies will end up with a stacked lineup that freezes hell over. Sure your chances of getting the best talent available suck too, but now everyone’s equal.

After taking part in a random 20-person Yahoo fantasy hockey league the other day, here are some basic tips to make sure you don’t draft Jamie Macoun or Damien Rhodes in 2008.

-    Don’t underestimate anyone; some of us like to throw in friends who don’t know a single thing about hockey, but unless that friend’s a girl who’s not a tomboy, don’t think you’ll get the same pathetic results from them this year. Along with the NHL’s fanbase growing faster than a chia pet on speed, good players seem to be shining everywhere (even Nashville).
-    Look at the stats categories; in some fantasy leagues, the commissioner gets to pick what statistics are included, like face-offs won, powerplay and shorthanded points and even penalty minutes. If owners overlook these simple rules, they’ll more than likely screw themselves over and endure a Jonathan Roy-like shit-kicking.
-    Pay attention to the actual draft; nobody likes long fantasy drafts, but if you watch what your friends/enemies do, you can devise a plan that makes sure you don’t suck. If you’re unaware of what’s going on you can end up with players who are terrifyingly worse than Michael Ryder.
-    Follow the draft’s momentum; at some points, owners could start drafting goalies or even defensemen and it’s up to make sure you know what’s going on. For example, in the 20-person league I participated in, I grabbed Lundqvist and Huet early to make sure I had goalies. The result? I basically fucked over every single soul in the draft (made an announcement of their case of getting fucked over) and some owners ended up with Tyler Plante and Yann Danis as their starting goalies.
-    Research the shit out of the pre-draft rankings; it’s a tedious job, but it pays off. In Yahoo Leagues, star players can be ranked extremely low, especially if they were injured the season before. Eg. Patrice Bergeron, Michael Nylander and Phillipe Boucher (all went after the 250th pick in the random league I joined).
-    Create a game-plan; finding sleeper picks and drafting rookies can turn you into a cocky fantasy sports champion, but you have to know what you’re doing. Drafting Martin Straka or taking Steven Stamkos in the first round is just plain fucking stupid.
-    Have a good fantasy team name; if you like using simple words (Your Mom Has A Good Wrist Shot) or the names of actual players (Vanek At The Disco), then go for it. Just don’t be too boring or utterly ridiculous and use a name like “Asshole” or “JF The Beast”.
The most important thing to remember is that fantasy sports are meaningless. If “Darren Pupp On U” fucks you over by taking the player you were hoping to pick, don’t cry and bitch that you didn’t get Donald Brashear and his magic hands. The league’s not real, you don’t win prizes and bragging rights isn’t really cool when you’re the one hovering over a computer.

So instead, just tell “Darren Pupp On U” that you slept with his sister.

Being Cocky Can Ruin Your Career

September 3, 2008

by Joshua Khan… Injuries suck more than a hormone-infested college girl who has an addiction to Tootsie Pops. An athlete can have a great career ahead of him and before you can say “whoops”, they’re hurt and stuck on their couch eating two-day old pizza and fantasizing about the anchorwomen on TSN.  They’re no fun, knee injuries especially.

But don’t tell NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman that, he’s charged-up!

Despite tearing two ligaments in his knee, the San Deigo Chargers Pro Bowler has decided that he’s going to play this season. A total of five doctors told Merriman that he should have surgery, but he refused like the common professional sports athlete with the mindset of a kindergartner. Starting next week, Merriman stated that he will be playing on a game-to-game basis and until he really needs the surgery.


Dumb? A bit, don’t you think?

NFL players are known to have career-threatening injuries and despite the Houdini-like magic team doctors and physicians can do, most find themselves unwillingly cleaning their locker. Merriman will find himself in that position if he goes with his heart and not his mind. NFL teams are going to be on the hunt when they play San Diego from now on because they’ve found a weakness. Even if Merriman can still send someone into a Sami Kapanen Trance, teams are going to attack him every which way they can. Having a knee injury slows down your pace in a game and if Merriman doesn’t play it safe, then the league will no longer classify San Diego as a Super Bowl contender.

Sure a knee injury doesn’t seem so bad, compared to a broken leg or arm, but its grotesque in its own way.

Just before my 15th birthday I had a sports-related injury called Osgood Schlatter Disease. In other words, it was basically a knee injury that hurt like a fucker 24 hours a day because I was a kid who dreamt of being a professional athlete. Back then, sports was my life and as a suave and confident tenth grader, I was cockier than Merriman. I ignored my doctor and continued to take part in gym class to the greatest extent I could. In basketball, I played until I almost fainted and I used a pain-relief cream to help me participate in soccer. The result? Endless days of warming the bench in sweat-free, laundry detergent-scented clothes and horrible nights filled with agonizing pain, tears (pansy, yes) and little or no sleep. Did I happen to mention I couldn’t take gym class for the rest of my high school career?

We all have our own choices and in return, our own consequences. Merriman does show some heart and sportsmanship by trying to lead his team to the ultimate pigskin glory they so rightly deserve, but why not rest first and then make Tom Brady and Peyton Manning dine on artificial grass later? The NFL season is longer than the windups of Asian baseball pitchers and can easily work to Merriman’s advantage.

Cockiness won’t you get anywhere. All it does is take you down a wrong route that’s not in anyone’s playbook and makes sure your fingers don’t feel the warmth of a Super Bowl ring.

Just ask Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens.

Where The @$#! Is…….Bryant Reeves?

August 31, 2008

by Joshua Khan…

Maybe it was because he played for Vancouver, or perhaps that he looked like a stereotypical farm boy, but either way, Bryant “Big Country” Reeves was awesome.

But what happened to him?

For those of you who didn’t have basketball-crazed dads back in the fad-packed and grunge-filled 90s’, Bryant Reeves was a rather unique athlete. Standing 7 feet tall and weighing 275 pounds, Reeves dominated the college basketball world while playing as a “Cowboy” for Oklahoma State University. In his senior year, “Big Country” made the court his playground pasture as he averaged 21.5 points per game and led OSU to the Final Four in 1995. But his career at Oklahoma isn’t what impressed the masses located here in Canada.

Equipped with rather awkward-looking uniforms, the Vancouver Grizzlies entered the National Basketball Association. Many wondered if Canadians could handle the orange rubber ball, but their speculations were instantly dismissed after they realized who was leading the NBA’s new team. Becoming the Grizzlies first-ever draft choice, “Big Country” was selected six overall in the 1995 NBA Draft.

With his gigantic frame, Reeves was perfect for the Grizzlies. His clean good-boy haircut and image showed that he was a kind and gentle person, while his massive hands spoke volumes to fans everywhere. It may be rude to state the following, but Reeves was the ideal image for Vancouver because he looked like a rustled lumberjack. Sure he had a dumbfounded look that’s almost comparable to the game-face of Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher Jesse Litsch, but his appearance represented rural Canada. Some of us can’t chop a tree for our life, but we can sure chug beer like hostile cavemen and give you a beat-down your dad would approve of.

In his rookie season, Reeves wasn’t a disappointment. His mediocre average of 13.3 points per game was bumped up to 16.2 and soon the mountain man was swimming in a new six-year, $61.8 million dollar contract. The deal might seem astronomical, but it somehow motivated the kid from the country to do better. In the 1997-1998 season, Reeves was at his best, averaging 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.08 blocked shots per game. “Big Country” even mopped the floor with the Boston Celtics by scoring a career-high (for most centers too) 41 points!

But after 1998, Reeves’ career took a tumble down a lonely road that’s more boring and unappealing than some routes in Southern Ontario. Along with adding a very homosexual goatee to his Paul Bunyan image, “Big Country” just got bigger and injuries came and went like horrible Scary Movie spin-offs. With his statistics going down and his ridiculous contract making him impossible to trade, the boy from Arkansas was stuck in a hard place.

The idea of moving to Memphis seems like it could somehow motivate Reeves to change his ways and try to be the player he was, but that wasn’t the case. The former starting center only played two preseason games and with chronic back pains being a problem, he called it quits. Reeves had finally left the organization midway through the 2001-2002 season and disappeared forever (hopefully with an enormous blue ox named Babe).

Even if you had some clue, now you know what the fuck happened to Bryant “Big Country” Reeves.

Five NHL Teams To Switch The Channel On In 08’

August 18, 2008

By Joshua Khan…

After informing you about which teams you should pay attention to, it seems only fair to note the less fortunate ones. These teams have went through another tough off-season and are likely to turn into an underdog favourite….in a year or three.

Atlanta Thrashers

All they needed was a center. Bobby Holik was definitely not the answer and now the Thrashers are hurting in a big way. With Marian Hossa gone, the team can no longer build one of the best lines in NHL history. Iyla Kovalchuk could score 60 goals a season by himself if he wanted to, but the Thrashers would still have a below-average offence. Aside from Tobias Enstrom, their defence is pretty hideous too. In order for Atlanta to improve, they’re going to need to find or produce some scoring threats as well as get some outstanding help from their goalies.

Buffalo Sabres

It seems like no one wants to play in Buffalo anymore except Ryan Miller. Brian Campbell left and in return the Sabres got Steve Bernier, a potential threat who also left. Since witnessing their dynamic duo leave a few years ago, all Buffalo has done is breakdown and with no signs of rebuilding. There is hope with players such as Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Derek Roy, but the team’s better off learning how to create a logo than hunt down a playoff spot.

Los Angeles Kings

The tools have been there for the past few years, but the Kings have just not been able to use them. This year is going to be a truly horrific site to see as the team bodes farewell to a few star players and sulks at the lame washouts that won’t go away. There is a lot of young talent in Los Angeles, but their goaltending situation is going to hurt them in the long run. Both Jonathan Bernier and Erik Ersberg are green and Jason LaBarbera is all flash and that’s pretty much it. Don’t believe how much the Kings suck? Well click over to their website and you’ll see the hot topic this off-season is the fact they’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Wayne Gretzky trade.

Nashville Predators

Like many others during last year’s playoffs, I nearly wet myself thinking the Nashville Predators could eliminate the Detroit Red Wings in the first round. But instead, the Preds couldn’t hang on to the glorious thought and ended up seeing their rivals take home hockey’s prestigious trophy. The only interesting thing fans will want to follow when it comes to the Predators is Dan Ellis’ career. The unknown goalie had an amazing playoff series and tried everything to keep his team in it. Hopefully this season he can make a great impression on the league despite playing for a team that’s going to have a season uglier than their past third jersey.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rebuilding, John Tavares-hunting and placing almost dead last. Need I say more?

Five NHL Teams To Keep A Close Eye On In 08’

August 13, 2008

by Joshua Khan…

Hockey is a passionate sport. Friends and family fight over whose teams are the best, puck bunnies battle over star players and most of us even get riled up like Don Cherry during “Coach’s Corner”. The game played with sticks and a mean streak is in our blood, but who are you going to cheer for come October 4th?

The off-season has been full of surprises, upsets and down-right stupid controversies. But nonetheless, that’s what shapes the National Hockey League. This year marks a new dawn as almost every single team has reshaped their roster and organization in some way. The following teams have had success this off-season by fending off free agent sharks and locking in their star players. However, don’t expect all of them to lead their team to what can be truly classified as “glory”.

Here are five teams you should keep a close eye on this upcoming season:

Chicago Blackhawks

Yes I have already jumped and made a bed right next to Scotty Bowman on the bandwagon. Am I wrong for doing so? No; if you look at the Blackhawks organization you’ll notice why this team is a force to be reckoned with. Along with having two sophomores leading the flock, the team is looking to be an offensive threat that can’t be stopped. They may not have notable names, but the Hawks have guys who are rapidly improving (Patrick Sharp, Dustin Byfuglien) and a few youngsters in the system (Michael Blunden, Dave Bolland, Colin Fraser) who are aching to play. Their defence may be lacking despite signing Brian Campbell, but their goalie tandem of Nikolai Khabibulin & Cristobal Huet will erase your memories of the goalie force that once lived in San Jose.

08-09’ Prediction: Finishes 6th in Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers

We all cheered for them a couple years ago when they could have beaten the Carolina Hurricanes, but unlike the Calgary Flames, the Oilers were beaten by an injury. Taking out a team’s goalie is never the appropriate way to win Stanley’s warmth, so expect Edmonton to come back with a vengeance. They may not have the same team, but the Oilers are constantly improving. They’re one of the youngest teams in the NHL and have done some good by picking up a few solid players. Erik Cole is a great addition on offence and teaming up a healthy Sheldon Souray with Lubomir Visnovsky is pretty, how you say, nasty. The part of this play that needs to work is the goaltending situation; if either goalie steps it up and plays outstanding, then don’t count the Oilers out of the playoffs just yet.

08-09’ Prediction: Competes for 8th in Western Conference.

Phoenix Coyotes

A lot of people are probably wondering whether or not The Great One was suited to be a coach. In the past few years, you could say Wayne Gretzky has done pretty much nothing when it comes to making an impact. But that’s an inaccurate statement. Gretzky certainly knows what he’s doing because he’s built a team from the ground up with young stars (Peter Mueller, Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker) and great additions (Iyla Bryzgalov, Olli Jokinen). Their defence may be a bit sketchy since they traded away two solid pieces to Florida, but the Yotes’ have proved to us already that they’re capable of a .500 record. Plus, they have a new logo coming which just might light the fire in a team that’s been constantly mocked.

08-09’ Prediction: Competes for 8th in Western Conference.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The talk about the Bay this off-season is that they signed too many players to count. Some have thought that their actions were a bit unnecessary, but one look at their depth chart will change anyone’s mind. The team lacks in the defenseman department, but they make up for it with forwards. Helping Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis will be newcomers like Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Vaclav Prospal, Mark Rechhi, Radim Vrbata and the wonder-child, Steven Stamkos. To be quite honest, the Bolts just may have the most depth in their four lines of forwards in the entire league. If Olaf Kolzig and Mike Smith play like immovable objects, Florida just might get interested in hockey.

08-09’ Prediction: Finishes 7th in Eastern Conference.

Washington Capitals

This list wouldn’t be complete without the team everyone was cheering for near the end of the regular season last year. The Capitals made believers out of us and you bet your ass everyone will be watching to see what they can do this year. Their goaltending core suffered a major hit, but if Jose Theodore plays like the team expects him to, then fans have nothing to worry about. If Karl Alzner also joins Mike Green on the blue-line and Alexander Ovechkin quenches his scoring thirst, Washington fans can look forward to growing a true playoff beard this season.

08-09’ Prediction: Finishes 3rd in Eastern Conference.

Clipping The Wings Of Our Beloved Blue Birds

August 7, 2008

By Joshua Khan…

Let’s face it Jays fans, our team is dying.

Every year, we go through the same depressing stages of the MLB season. For the first 20 games, we’re literally pumped off cold brewskis, high off the smell of Pizza Pizza and bound determined that our team is going to win it all. But once the all-star break is about 25 games away, our cheery spirits are tortured like a 5-year-old gleefully ripping off a gummy bear’s limbs. That’s pretty much what we Jays fans experience for the rest of the season.

To be honest, I’m tired of cheering for this Canadian team. The Toronto Blue Jays are suppose to be winners, not hopefuls like our other major league teams. When Canadian sports fans give up on their native favourites, they turn to the boys of the summer, hoping they can rustle their feathers and cause some damage in the MLB. But all we’ve done in the past couple years is wait, and wait, and wait to see if the team can make the playoffs.

Waiting is for losers and benchwarmers; the Blue Jays organization needs to pull up their knee-high socks and start swinging at the team. Now some of you may say, let’s fire General Manager J.P. Riccardi. That is a very easy route that can be taken, but we’re going to have to go through our players first.

The following are “athletes” that should pack up their things:

- OF Shannon Stewart
- OF Brad Wilkerson
- OF Kevin Mench
- SS David Eckstein
- 3B Scott Rolen
- C Gregg Zaun

The three outfielders need to go; they’re washed up players who can’t provide a consistent effort. Gregg Zaun surprised us all (and even made me jump for joy and chug my beer) with a stolen base on April 9th against Oakland, but he’s pretty much useless. As for Eckstein and Rolen, they’re simply trade bait.

What we need are competitive players that can fill the positions that hurt us most: 3B and LF. Taking a look at who’s going to be a free agent after this season, the most probable (and realistic) choices for those two positions are Joe Crede and Pat Burrell. These players bring power, and that’s what the Blue Jays need right now because the AL East is growing and if we don’t take action, we’re going to be hiding in our nests.

Now if Toronto can’t get a big name in either position, then working with what we have isn’t such a bad idea. Marco Scutaro can cover third with his athletic ability and we can rotate young outfielders at the LF and DH positions.

“Who? Adam Lind and Matt Stairs?”

No, Adam Lind and Travis Snider. Yes, it’s time. We need to bring Snider aboard so we can see what he can do with this organization. A lot of fans may be sceptical about him, but the top prospect has the skill to hold down LF and round out the trio with Alex Rios and Vernon Wells. In regards to Matt Stairs, let him come off the bench. He was dangerous last year as a pinch hitter, batting .289 with 21 home runs and 61 RBIs in 125 games.

Like any Jays supporter would do, leave the pitching staff alone. If A.J. Burnett decides to leave, then we can trade for a decent pitcher or stick with what we have. Jesse Litsch has showed us he can pitch smarter than he looks and expect Casey Janssen to return fired up.

The only other thing we have to worry about is our health. If the team can stop being pansies and stay off the DL, then we’re fine. As long as we have a full team after the first 10 games, we should be able to make that long-awaited run.

But of course, the Toronto Blue Jays could mess everything up again. If this happens, then don’t expect me to cheer for them next season. The Home Opener is definitely an event I would like to attend, decked out in powder-blue retro form, but if the big birds clip our wings, I’m flying to a different nest.

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