Teams heading into the Draft, we asked ourselves where do we see Chicago Bears standing the NFC right now?
I remember the day, last season, when Minnesota Vikings knocked Chicago Bears out of the postseason.. and first thing to mention here is that the NFC North was, and still looks like, one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, with the Green Bay Packers on the top.
The Bears kind of remind me of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. While they had a 10-6 record – WHAT IS UP WITH THE POSTSEASON?
Chicago has made some tactical moves, which seem rather promising. They acquired a new head coach, but were unable to sign B. Urlacher; a franchise icon (which will need adjustment). What they (still) lack and what is a big disadvantage is somewhat limited offensive power and a lot of pressure being put on their quarterback Jay Cutler. While the Green Bay Packers have a better chance at being on top of Chicago, the Bears are better than the Minnesota Vikings.
However, what these two teams have is the talent Minnesota and Detroit can bring through draft. It’s yet unknown what impact Reggie Bush (for Lions) will have; he will certainly bring a dimension on offense, though their defense remains questionable. In addition, the Lions have been struggling with keeping the teams’ mentality together.
The Bears stand second in their division, but what does that mean? Anything less than 11 wins will be a disappointing year for the Bears.
by L. [.. to be continued]
It’s been exactly a week since we launched our (mini) blog and we couldn’t be happier with the response (although there is always room for improvement). I’m introducing SPORTS TOP of the Week, meaning each week (on Sundays) I’ll be posting several memorable moments from different leagues, that happened during the week. My picks are following:
1.) Drew Doughty (LA Kings) score
LA Kings played Chicago Blackhaws in Chicago earlier this week, and while for most Hawks fans this was a (certain) win, Kings made some pretty amazing plays and ended up winning it 5-4. Drew Doughty, whom we are used to seeing in a more defensive position this year, made an amazing play against 5 of Chicago players.
Now, this is a world class play as we like to call it!
2.) Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers) hat trick
Being an Oilers fan myself, I could not have enjoyed this one better. Taylor Hall with a hat trick in first 2min40secs of the game in Edmonton against the Vancouver Canucks. Is that the fastest hat trick in the history of the NHL or what?
3.) Jerome Ignila trade aka “Twitter just got owned!”
I believe several people went to sleep that night thinking Ignila was a Bruin, only to wake up to the fact he was a Penguin. And that’s why kids, as LA Kings would tweet, a rumor is a rumor! And, I cannot agree with this more. Several sports stations should stop making statements starting with: “I heard it from my *secret* source…..” NO! If you have a source, please share it. Nobody will get mad, I promise.
4.) NCAA basketball Duke @ Louisville; Kevin Ware injury
Several injuries occurred this week, however this was probably the most horrifying injury I’ve ever seen in a basketball game. I’ll not post a video of it because we all believe for privacy/minor concerns. Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered what looked like a broken bone in his lower right leg (if you watched the game you might have seen his leg falling apart; which looked like his knee got dislocated), while attempting to defend a three-pont shot by Duke guard Tyler Thronton. You just don’t expect such an injury to happen in a basketball game. Our prayers go out to Kevin, and we wish him good recovery.
5.) MLB openers; pretty much self-explanatory.
See you next week, kiddoz! xx Issis
This is the second part of an ongoing column about the Edmonton Oilers and their current state of the franchise.
To briefly summarize the first part of the commentary; I focused on explaining the Oilers’ current state and their draft picks in recent years. This second part focuses on the Western Conference, what Oilers lack to be succesfull in 2012/2013 season, and examines the environment of the franchise.
The Western Conference as compared to its Eastern counterpart is thought of as the grittier, bigger, tougher conference. It doesn’t take long to figure out the Edmonton Oilers in their current state continue to struggle at elements like engaging and winning puck battles, boardwork, clearing the front of the net and puck possession, it is a team that is frankly outmatched both in terms of compete level and size. If it looks to you like man against boys out there, well that’s because it is. You might say, well the team is rebuilding, they’re just kids. And you’d be right to a degree, until you look at the fact that the only core player capable of excelling at the type of game played in the Western Conference is Taylor Hall, now I’m not claiming you need to have your entire team filled with those type of players, but that is a serious deficiency when compared to the top teams in the conference.
Now, let’s take a look at the type of environment the Oilers management provided their youngsters with.
In my opinion there was a clear lack of culture and identity in the organization. I did not see a pattern emerge as to what type of identity the team wants to establish (the latest succesful rebuild – the Los Angeles Kings had even from the beginning a very clear vision of a big gritty team set on outcompeting the opposition), the closest I can think of is a skill team, although I wonder if that is not simply as a result of the infusion of talent via lottery picks rather than a set philosophy. It seems like the team has finally realized it needs to become tougher to play against (the Fistric addition for example), but the whole thing comes off as terribly reactionary instead of proactive in establishing an identity. A better job could and should have been done in providing an environment that lends itself to a winning culture and proper nurturing of it’s highly touted youngsters.
To finish it off, it is clear the Edmonton Oilers will improve as a simple function of all the talent infusion through the draft and lottery picks, but the question remains just how far can they go, is the management doing the best job in nurturing and providing the type of environment and supporting cast needed for a future contender or a Stanley Cup winner? Is there a winning culture and a clear identity being built or is this team just a collection of players, assets with no clear direction? Did the current management team show enough for you to trust them to lead the Oilers to the status of a perennial contender?
I have not seen enough of a clear direction in terms of establishing an identity conducive to winning, in terms of providing the right environment and supporting cast for the youngsters, and in terms of building the correct team composition to lead me to think that is the case. Lastly even in the event some of the highly touted pieces have to be moved, maybe one of the highly touted wingers to bring in a defenseman or a center or a goalie, have you seen enough quality work from the current management group and GM Steve Tambellini to believe they will make the right choices? There is lots of work to be done before the Edmonton Oilers can climb to the upper echelon of the NHL.
by N. [to be continued]
Beer. Hockey. Yam fries. Girls. That’s what it’s called a great Saturday in Canada – eh? While this post may be a bit delayed (we did not launch until Sunday night duh), it’s still valuable, because …. read on!
Yes, you guessed right; I am friends with the enemy! While this may be harsh at times (*cough* last years’ playoffs *cough*), the two (let’s face it!) biased views often give a fairly good perspective of what the reality is.
The game could easily be titled “I know what you did last night…” – we’ve all been (at least once hihi) in a situation where being young and succesful in Hollywood is a difficult thing. If it wasn’t for slow pucks, sloppy passes, and a bit of a too much rugby action in front of each of the nets, we wouldn’t be in doubt whether or not each of these teams had fun last night.
Vancouver Canucks did end up winning the game (1-0), having only 2 shots on goal in the 2nd period is definitely something that is concerning; especially because the occurrence seems to be fairly consistent. Canucks beat LA Kings because they were able to move the puck quickly during the first period. Charlotte V. and I discussed the Canucks – Kings dynamics and what potentially each team should improve.
At the moment Canucks are division leaders, on the 3rd spot in the Western Conference with 40 points, and +2 goal differential. LA Kings on the other hand sport a +12 goal differential, 36 points and sit on the 6th spot in the Western Conference.
The fact is what Canucks lack, LA Kings (almost?) have and this is powerful centers such as A. Kopitar and M. Richards. Kopitar was voted the most valuable player during the first period, while our MVP award goes to Schneider (Canucks), Schroeder (Canucks), and Quick (Kings). Canucks were able to somewhat limit the Kings entering their zone, however they performed poorly on creating scoring chances. In my opinion, way too few words are said about Schroeder who consistently seems to perform well, and more often than not is able to create such chances. Kings on the other hand, had difficulties keeping Canucks on the edge and while they did a better job shooting on the net and taking advantage of Canucks sloppy PP (2 shorthanded opportunities), they did not end up with any flashing scores. I call for Toffoli back in action!
It’s no secret that Kings are having a hard time adjusting to the D-men deficit; with Green and Mitchell both being injured. Doughty, who was initially recruited to score, overall actually does a stellar job on a more defensive play. On the downside, we’re not really seeing what we would like from Penner and Stoll. On the Canucks side; TOP miss goes to Lapierre being a fast skater and all, but seems physically afraid of the puck and Charlotte being particularly upset with, in her own words: “Burrows idiotic choice to get a penalty with 0.6sec left.. in the wrong zone!”
Hey crazy thought; let’s split up the Sedins, and get Kassian, Tanev and Schroeder more time? Really mixing up the line-ups is something that Kings coach D.Sutter appears to really advocate, maybe A. Vigneault should think about it?
by L. [to be continued]
It was a sunny day in Southern Canada (haha; I bet everyone expected me to say Southern California) and 1/4 of SBC team headed to a rugby match at UBC (UBC Tbirts @ University of California Golden Bears). The Bears being undefeated this season, the unfortunate outcome (6 – 38 for Cal) did not come as a big shocker. I don’t know whether it was the rugby, the sun, the cider I had, or the company that made the game still very enjoyable.
It started with GO TBIRDS!
While rugby is relatively popular in Canada, it’s by no means as popular as in England, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. I was lucky enough to meet a South Africa native, who took me to the game and spoke a little bit about this fairly – to me – yet not well-known sport.
Robyn E. grew up in South Africa, with a family who was really big on rugby and consequentially developed love and passion for this sport. It’s fair to say that this was one of my very first rugby games I’ve seen live, and not knowing much about didn’t prevent me to see that UBC Tbirts were falling short in almost every aspect of the game. Robyn agreed that TOP moment of the game was definitely seeing UBC setting up different plays, which suggested there was a lot of potential there, however they were unfortunately not being able to execute them well, which gave Bears a big advantage. In addition, UBC was not good at utilizing their lines, and trying to rush too much against a team that was physically bigger.
The MVP of the game was without a doubt UBCs Fly Half n’9 who was great at leading the team and pre-seeing needed plays. Even if I got asked a few times if I was there for the boys (I kept wondering if I really looked that much out-of-place(?)), the event and the atmosphere at the match itself was – in my opinion – well executed. We had a chance to meet some of the Alumni, who were in great spirit to support their University team and did not leave early despite the outcome (dudes that left early – be ashamed!). Needless to say it was a beautiful day for college sports.
“MORE RUGBY” people scream! Yes, sorry for my awesome afternoon in so many(?) details. Robyn describes South African rugby with three words only; raucous, pride and, tradition. She thinks it’d be rather difficult for any Canadian to adapt in such a culture where you need to embody a dangerous spirit, and though mind of the rugby culture. There is no surprise that one of the best rugby matches to watch would be South Africa Springboks @ New Zealand All Blacks (let’s forget how they destroyed Canada last year *tears*). However, let’s not forget about Victoria, BC decent rugby culture. We both agreed we should continue my rugby journey and see some Velox (which supposedly attracts many expats) matches in the near future.
by L. [to be continued]