Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

The legend continues. Via Avery's twitter.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

NY Rangers Go Carolling

Absolute classic.

Week 16 Previews: G-Men at Gang Green

Not quiet the Sharks vs. the Jets, but the G-Men better hope they can swarm all over the Sanchize if they want a chance at winning.

Jason Pierre-Paul has been an absolute tear the last couple weeks, as he has been the whole season, but the Giants are going to need a huge game from Justin Tuck for any shot at winning this game.  The Giants just don't have the man power to cover Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, and Dustin Keller all day, so a hand will need to always be in Sanchez's face.  Sanchez isn't the best quarterback under pressure either so the Giants might actually force some turnovers that way.

Despite everyone taking shots at Victor Cruz for his comments directed at Darelle Revis, my key for the Jets victory is if they can contain Mr. Cruz. Revis is going to have his hands full all day with Hakeem Nicks, and much like how the Jets had trouble guarding Wes Welker when Revis was focused on Randy Moss, Cruz coming out of the slot is going to be a big problem.  Cruz may not be on the same level as Welker, but I remember Welker putting up some crazy career best total against the Jets and Cruz does have a similar big play ability which makes him very dangerous. Add into the fact that Jim Leonhard is hurt and it makes me even more worried on if they can contain him. I can also see Rex bringing some blitz packages to make up for no Leonhard and trying to contain the Giants recently hot running game, which opens up that quick pass for Eli to Cruz.

Now I think this is a game the Jets SHOULD win, which is why I am going to pick the Giants.  The G-Men have tendency to play down to their competition (see Redskins, Seahawks, Redskins) and up to their competition (see Cowboys, Packers, Patriots). Ill also take Eli over Sanchez is a pressure game so put me down for 31-21 Giants.

Week 15 Picks

I only went 9-7 on my picks last week because gangs of Gotham screwed me over. I had Houston winning Thursday night so I am already 0-1 this week.
  • Dolphins at Patriots - Patriots
  • Jaguars at Titans - Titans
  • Buccaneers at Panthers - Panthers
  • Rams at Steelers - Steelers
  • Browns at Ravens - Ravens
  • Cardinals at Bengals - Cardinals
  • Vikings at Redskins - Redskins
  • Broncos at Bills - Broncos
  • Raiders at Chiefs - Raiders
  • Chargers at Lions - Chargers
  • Eagles at Cowboys - Eagles
  • 49ners at Seahawks - 49ners
  • Bears at Packers - Packers
  • Falcons at Saints - Saints
Three games of the week will be Cardinals at Bengals, Chargers at Lions, and Eagles at Cowboys (not counting your hometown playoff of course). I have a good feelings the Cardinals game will be wild, the Chargers and Lions are set up for a shoot off, and the Eagles and Cowboys are naturally a great fit and with so much on the line this game could be beyond great. A lot more exciting games than I was expecting late in the season.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sheer beauty.

Matt Moulson is the Most Underappreciated Man in Hockey

Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images
Over the last three seasons ('09-'10, '10-'11, '11-12):

Player A: 76 goals, 50 assists, 126 points
Player B: 76 goals, 64 assists,  140 points
Player C: 81 goals, 76 assists, 158 points

Player A makes $3.13 million dollars per year (3 years $9.4 mill), Player B  makes $5.27 million per year (11 years $58 mill), Player C makes $5.4 million per year (5 years $27 mill).

Player B was a 1st round pick and has one All-Star appearance, Player C was a 1st round pick and has one All-Star appearance, and Player A was a 9th round pick with no All-Star appearances.

It should not be difficult to figure out from the title of the article that Matt Moulson is Player A. But if you could not figure it out, Player B is Jeff Carter and Player C is Phil Kessel. Both Carter and Kessel are considered stars in the league with Kessel being a borderline "superstar" and yet Moulson would be lucky to get a call for the All-Star game.

If you break it down to points for each million they make per year, Moulson scores 13.42 points per million, Carter scores 8.86 points per million, and Kessel scores 9.75 points per million. Moulson is giving the Islanders way more bang for the buck than these two All-Stars and he doesn't just score.

He has 206 hits over the last 3 seasons compared to 129 for Carter, and 30 for Kessel. He has 115 blocked shots compared to 86 for Carter, and 41 for Kessel. Lastly while Carter is on the worst team in hockey right now, but Moulson's team is not very far behind, and Kessel is on a very good one yet Moulson leads the three of them with a +5.

I know this article is going all over the place, but I am trying to throw as many stats out there as possible to show just how good Matt Moulson is.  Moulson is one of the most talented forwards in the league with a serious knack for putting the puck in the back of the net.  Moulson's career 14.3% shooting percentage is well above the 11.8% of Alex Ovechkin, the 13.3% of Marian Gaborik, and 12.5% of Evgeni Malkin—three of the most prolific scorers in the league.  If Moulson had played a few miles away for the Rangers instead of the Islanders he would no doubt be considered a star.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My First Game of the Year

Getting ready for my first Rangers game of the year right now. Ah! So pumped. This is possibly the No. 1 thing I hate about being away for college. I'm used to my 20 games a year and we are 30 games into the season and I am just getting my first game in. Not to mention with the renovations they did to the seating my tickets are now closer than they used to be and I am the only one in my family who has yet to season. Now if only I was old enough to legally by beer at the game this night would be perfect.

Montoya and Ullstrom Add to Concussion Total

The other night against the Winnipeg Jets, both Al Montoya and David Ullstrom were injured and are now out indefinitely with concussions.

Ullstrom went down in sort of a freak injury, but Montoya was taken out in brutal fashion by Jets' winger Evander Kane, who crashed the net hard and then lifted his and made contract to Montoya's head.

Nicholas Pugliese: This marks the 5th and 6th Islanders to go down with a concussion this year. Combine that with the two New York Rangers to be affected and that is eight New Yorkers out for part of the year with a concussion. A bit ridiculous if you ask me.

The Ullstrom and Michael Sauer one's were unfortunate and caused by the boards, but that play on Montoya was just terrible.  I understand it is hard for a player to stop when driving to the net, but you can not cross-check the goalie to the head. That is simply unacceptable under any circumstance. How he has not been suspended I don't know.

I'm also pretty upset the Islanders pulled a Buffalo Sabers and did not go after Kane. Not to mention Kane is 5'10", not a monster like Lucic

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gotham Hall of Infamy: Joe Namath

It is time start announcing the members of Gotham's Hall of Infamy. This is not like the standard Hall of Fame.  It not only looks at the player's on the field accomplishments, but it also focuses on their personality and off field actions.

A perfect example of someone that won't make this Hall is Mariano Rivera. The best closer in the history of baseball, but he doesn't have anything else to give. He is the ultimate professional who showed up for work, did his job better than anyone else, and went home.  That is not the type of talent we are trying to recognize here.

With that being said, get your popcorn ready.

- Joseph William Namath
- Also goes by Broadway Joe, Joe Willie Namath, Joe Willie Whiteshoes
- New York Jets quarterback from 1965-1976
- 2x AFL MVP
- 5x AFL All-Star
- AFL Championship (1968)
- Super Bowl III - "The Greatest Game Ever Played"
- Super Bowl III MVP
- Pro Football Hall of Fame
- #12 Retired

Broaday Joe was the man going all the way back to his high school days. He would throw down routinely in basketball games, was heavily recruited by multiple baseball teams, and was obviously the star football player.  Couldn't even get into his first choice (University of Maryland) because his SAT scores were too low and had to "settle" for Bama where he lead them to a National Championship. Maryland really messed that one up.

Wound up being drafted 1st overall by the AFL and 12th overall by the NFL and signed a record setting contract of $427,000.  He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1965, was the first player to throw for 4,000 in 1967, and won the championship in 1968. 

Every New Yorker, however, will most remember his on the field play of his Super Bowl III championship over the Baltimore Colts, aka "the greatest team in football history", when he guaranteed the victory over the 19 point favorites. That is the shot calling of a true boss.

Now let's get into the stuff that is really important.
Giselle who?
  • Changed the role of the quarterback on the field, but more so off the field, helping them gain the "superstar" reputation.
  • Called the Commissioner's bluff when he threatened Joe for opening a bar. Namath retired from football instead of giving up his business venture and the Commish came crawling back to him, letting him keep his shares in Florida and Boston as well as future bars so Joe returned to the league. 
  • Broadway made Ocho Cinco antics look weak when he popularized wearing a full length fur coat on the sidelines and low-cut white cleats. 
  •   Appeared in over a dozen television shows and even tried to be the host of Family Feud. Even appeared on Broadway once to live up to his nickname.
  •  Namath's immortality came with his commercial with Farrah Fawcett. A moment I will forever envy him for.
  • His dating resume includes Janis Joplin, Mamie Van Doren, Phylis Davis, Randi Oakes, and of course the amazing Raquel Welch. The true original playboy who would made Tom Brady look like an inferior species of human being if he was playing today.

    Monday, December 19, 2011


    Via: Brandon Dubinsky's twitter.

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    Davis Will Join the Knicks

    Mark Stein of ESPN is reporting that point guard Baron Davis has committed to sign with the Knicks.

    Sam Amnick of added that the deal is for 1 year at the $2.5 million max exception the Knicks were able to offer.

    In the video on ESPN Stein also adds into the conversation that Davis won't actually be out the 8-10 weeks that was reported and could resume activities within a month.

    Nicholas Pugliese: This is a pretty exciting for any Knicks fan.

    Sure Davis is not the same player he was a few years ago, but he is still an above-average point guard and is an immediate upgrade over Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert.

    This move does a couple of things for the Knicks.  For starters it obviously gives them a replacement for Chauncey Billups and gives them some options with the rotation. (1) It gives them the option with Douglas on the bench to spell Landry Fields of some time so he can also rotate to the 3 and give Carmelo a breather, or (2) If they wanted to get real creative with four PGs now on the roster they can use Shumpert/Douglas as the starting shooting guard and leave Landry as a full-time bench player who can swing between the 2/3 since Renaldo Balkman is the only other SF on the team right now.

    I am really liking the way the rotation is shaping up. Glen Grunwald is doing a great job.

    He essentially traded Chauncey and Ronny Turiaf for Davis and Tyson Chandler. Talk about a steal.

    Rangers Call Up Stu Bickel Instead

    With Steve Eminger's injury it was expected the Rangers would call up youngster Tim Erixon who has 1 goal and 11 assists in 14 games for Hartford.

    Instead today they announced they called up 25-year-old Stu Bickel for "emergency basis". Bickel has 1 goal, 3 assists, is a +4, and has 80 penalty minutes in 27 games. Bickel is a big, tough guy listed at 6'4" 218 lbs and has 8 fights on the season.

    It appears this move was made for cap reasons, but with the return of Mike Rupp and now the promotion of Bickel the Rangers have become a much tougher team very fast.

    The Importance of Depth

    The New York Rangers have managed to go 18-8-4 for their first 30 games, which is good for 40 points and tied for third best in the Eastern Conference.

    Their 2.23 goals against per game is third best in the NHL and their +20 goal differential is fourth best in the league.

    Considering the combination of Henrik Lundqvist and Marty Biron in net and defensemen Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Michael Sauer, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, and Steve Eminger on their roster, those stats really shouldn't be surprising. That is arguable the best goalie duo and one of the better defensive corps in the league.

    BUT Staal has not played a game all season, Sauer missed time early in the year because of shoulder injury and is now on the IR with a concussion, and as a result a Jeff Woywitka, a waiver claim, has had to play in 24 games.  In other words they've been without their star defenseman, part of the second pairing defense, and have been running out a 7th defenseman routinely and still have one of the best ranked defenses in the league.

    For this Rangers fans can thank Glen Sather.  I have always been a huge believer that Sather does not get nearly enough credit and this season has been no exception.  I never thought much of that waiver claim on Woywitka, but he has been solid all year filling in, he then brought in Anton Stralman who has looked better by the game, and before the season brought in Tim Erixon who showed a lot of potential in those nine games (more on him later).

    Those mostly minor moves to bolster the defense have given the Rangers enough depth to overcome some serious loses to the blueline. And despite the Rangers needing to consistently change pairings and use the 9th and 10th defensive options on their roster, only Erixon (-2) and Brandon Bell (-1), who played in just one game, are the only two defensemen in the minus category.

    Too add insult to injury, Eminger left last game with an injury and it turns out he has a dislocated shoulder and will be out "a while". Rookie Tim Erixon will be called back up from Hartford to fill in for Eminger, who has been the most improved player this year.  Just another tough loss for the team's defense.

    Most teams aren't able to overcome the sheer quantity of injuries the Rangers have had to their defense, let alone the quality of players that have been taken out.  While the big thing in sports lately has been to allocate all of your funds into a few star players and fill out the roster with scrubs, this goes to show how important having quality depth is.  I don't know if the Rangers will be able to continue to play at such a high level with while dealing with the injury bug, but it is nice to enjoy it while it lasts.

    Week 15 Previews: Jets at Eagles

    Going into the season I had this game circled on the calendar as a monster showdown between two powerhouse teams in a game that should have serious playoff implications.  The game still means something for the Jets who have the Bengals, Titans, and Raiders breathing down their neck, but the Eagles are virtually out of it.

    Vick is in his second game back, McCoy is still playing like McCoy, and Maclin and DeSean Jackson are both healthy so there are still weapons on the Eagles and it should still be an exciting game.

    The Eagles haven't beaten very many good teams this year and I don't expect that to change today.  The Jets should have enough defense to hold Vick down, but this Eagles team has so many playmakers it only takes them a couple plays to get back in the game so I expect it to be close. 24-17 Jets.

    Week 15 Previews: Redskins at G-Men

    With the Cowboys beating Tampa Bay Saturday night this game becomes even more of a must win for the Giants.

    That week 1 loss to the Redskins is one of the killer losses on the Giants record right now and if they can't avenge that loss they might as well kiss their season goodbye.

    On the positive side, it was Fred Davis who burnt them that game and he is now done for the season with his suspension, but on the other hand Sexy Rexy has been playing recently like he did against the Giants in that first gameand that is not good.

    Coming off such an emotional victory, with the roll Eli is on right now, and the defense knowing what is at stake I don't see them losing this one. I expect the Giants to take an early lead and hold on for the game and finish the Redskins off 31-17.

    Week 15 Picks

    For what it is worth I had the Falcons and Cowboys in the first two games of the week. Those were two very easy choices.

    • Miami at Buffalo - Miami
    • Seattle at Chicago - Seattle
    • Carolina at Houston - Houston
    • Tennessee at Indianapolis - Tennessee
    • Green Bay at Kansas City - Green Bay
    • Cincinnati at St. Louis - Cincinnati
    • Detroit at Oakland - Detroit
    • Cleveland at Arizona - Arizona
    • New England at Denver - Denver
    • Baltimore at San Diego - Baltimore
    • Pittsburgh at San Francisco - San Francisco
    It's the Christmas season so I think Tebow has enough magic left for one massive upset.  Some pretty good games with San Fran/Pitts, Detroit/Oakland, I am personally excited for Carolina/Houston. Should be an interesting week, but outside of Gotham by sights are set on the Brady/Tebow showdown just like everyone else.

    I will be doing the Jets and Giants previews tomorrow.

    Gotham Gameboard: December 17th, 2011


    Nice way to start preseason against those New Jersey hooligans.  Stat got into a little bit of foul trouble, but Melo looked amazing and I really enjoyed the way a lot of the secondary players performed.  Iman Shumpert was lighting it up and had a couple of cuts to the basket that were just beautiful, Jefferies was getting it down defensively, Jorts looked like he could contribute off the bench this year, and I don't think I have ever seen Balkman play a better game.

    Leave it to the Al 'Freakin' Montoya led Isles to take it to the best team in the best team in the league. It was actually a good game for the Isles who outshot the Wild 15 shots! But no worries they'll go out and lose to a bottom 5 team in the league soon enough.

    Brad Richards Tebowed the Coyotes tonight. Possibly the finish of the year. :00.01 left on the clock. Not even :00.1, :00.01 just think about that for a second.  I am sure Olivia Munn will give him a warm welcome home for that when the Rangers return from their road trip. The Rangers were simply the better team all night and deserved the win despite a couple of letups at the end of the 1st and 2nd.  What revenge to get a goal with .01 seconds on the clock after the Coyotes had scored their goals with :09 and :52 seconds respectively. Crazy game.

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    B.Diddy Is a Free Agent

    Gonna be one heck of a 2k team.

    According to ESPN, after being amnestied by the Cavaliers, point guard Baron Davis has cleared waivers and is now available to sign with any team he chooses.

    The 32-year-old Davis averaged Davis averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 assists in 58 games while shooting 42% from the field and 34% from 3-point.

    The issue with Davis is his back which is expected to keep him out for 8-10 weeks.

    Nicholas Pugliese: Davis's name has been thrown out there a lot recently.  Ever since Chauncey Billups was amnestied there has seemed to be a mutual link between Davis and the Knickerbockers.

    Tommy Dee of the The Knicks Blog went as far as to say he be "shocked" if Davis doesn't sign with the Knicks.  I would not say that because I think there is a strong chance he signs with either the Lakers or Heat as well.

    Davis's best fit is probably in NY and would be an immediate upgrade over the core of Toney Douglas/Iman Shumpert/Mike Bibby and would also help strengthen the bench by pushing Douglas to the bench.

    And while I am a pretty big Shumpert believer he needs more seasoning and while Davis isn't the best point guard to learn from he is a pretty damn good one and would make the Knicks a championship contender.

    Gotham Gameday: December 17, 2011


    First preseason basketball game of the year for the Knicks. That is about all I could ask for. It is about time.

    Islanders(9-14-6)vsWild (20-8-4)-8:00pm

    The last place team in the Eastern Conference takes on the first place team in the Western Conference... These are the type of games that usually don't end well for teams like the Islanders.

    Prediction: Islanders lose 4-1.


    The Rangers play a bit like the Giants where they will lose two in a row and then rally the next game and spank a team.  That is exactly what I see happening against this Coyotes team that is 1-3 in their last 4 games.

    Prediction: Rangers win 5-2

    Boomer Esiason Gets It

    Nicholas Pugliese: This is a comment from a true fan, not a radio personality, and that is why I love Boomer. He is fan first when it comes to the Rangers.  Not to mention he is right about this one.  

    Sean Avery has always gotten the Jose Reyes deal with his in-and-out of the lineup stats being such a big subject of debate, but take a look at this year to add on to the conversation.

    In the 15 games Avery has played in this year the Rangers have gone 11-3-1, including 5 straight wins before he was regulated to being a healthy scratch these last two games.  In those games he has played in the Rangers are averaging 3.3 goals per game, while averaging just 2.4 goals in games he does not play.

    Now an argument can definitely be made that Avery's lack of playing time in those games means that he did not have a huge impact in those games and I wouldn't necessarily argue that point.  People will say I am crazy to say this, but I think he has a "Tim Tebow like effect" on the game.  Even in his limited shifts he brings an extra energy to the ice and gets things going.  And while he is not the offensive threat of a Marian Gaborik opposing teams are going to pay attention to him and throw them off their game even in the slightest bit and in sports that is all you need.

    He has been playing extremely well this year to boot taking almost no penalties, scoring 3 goals in limited action, and playing as a plus player.  Then there is Erik Christensen in his place who seems to go invisible for periods and games at a time.  It is a pretty easy decision in my mind to leave Avery in there until at least Mike Rupp is ready for good, but I guess John Tortorella doesn't think it is so clear cut.

    You Can't Be Serious...


    Now that makes sense.

    Al Bello/Getty Images
    With the Colorado Rockies signing veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a three-year deal it leaves them with a somewhat crowded outfield.  Tracy Ringolsby of Fox Sports had a little tidbit in his writeup of the situation suggesting this will enable the Rockies to build a package around 29-year-old outfielder Seth Smith for 25-year-old New York Mets starter Jon Niese.

    Smith hit .284 with 15 homeruns and 59 RBIs over 476 at-bats in 2011.  Niese made 26 starts for the Mets and went 11-11 with a 4.40 ERA, striking out 138 guys while walking 44 over 157.1 innings.

    Nicholas Pugliese: Now I am not going to go and talk bad about Smith because he is a good player.  The problem is how would this benefit the Mets at all?

    Smith has been a very consistent player over the last few years with 15 homeruns, 50 RBIs, and low strikeout numbers. However, he is slugging .140 points higher at Coors for his career. Not the kind of number you want to see when you are trading for a player.

    I also see not fit for him.  He is a better fielder than Lucas Duda (that's not saying much), but I think Duda will show a significantly better bat if he gets a full year to start and Jason Bay isn't going anywhere with that contract.

    I haven't even mentioned yet that the Mets would be dealing a young, controllable pitcher who still has a chance to improve—which I think he will.  For a team that is clearly trying to get younger and rebuild even if the General Manager refuses to say it this just makes no sense.  

    I hope it is just one of those stories thrown other there without substance because I don't see how this is beneficial.  Trading Niese for Travis D'Arnaud makes a whole lot of sense for the Mets. For Seth Smith? None at all unless there is a pretty damn good prospect coming over with Smith.  

    If this deal does happen it will just prove what makes the Mets, "the Mets".