Sports Outside the Beltway

Tom Izzo sets school record for wins as Michigan State beats UMass 106-68

He broke the record previously set by his predecessor, Jud Heathcote. From AP-

Izzo was doused with water by the jubilant Spartans after setting the school record for victories with 341 in the No. 2 Spartans’ 106-68 win over Massachusetts on Saturday night in the Legends Classic.

“I had a little bath,” a smiling Izzo said.

He didn’t have time to duck when the Spartans snuck behind him in the locker room with buckets of water. The Spartans also gave their coach a plaque that read “341 leaves a footprint in the sand.”


Izzo set the record the same week mentor and predecessor Jud Heathcote was inducted into the National Collegiate Hall of Fame. For years, it was Izzo who sat by Heathcote’s side as an assistant and associate head coach. When Heathcote retired, Izzo was his hand-picked successor.

Izzo had already matched him with one national championship apiece. He now stands alone atop the Spartans’ win list with a 341-138 record in his 15th season.

It took Heathcote 19 seasons to get to 340 wins. The NCAA basketball season, is approximately a month longer today, than when Heathcote led the Spartans to a national championship in 1979. How can’t these lengthy schedules help affect the academic studies of athletes who do want to learn? Players have to travel and practice, not just play the actual games their school has scheduled.

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Edmonton Oiler Ales Hemsky out for the season

He had scored 22 points in 22 games this season. From AP-

Edmonton right wing Ales Hemsky will miss the rest of the season because of a left shoulder injury that will require surgery to repair.

“It’s frustrating because it’s a big year for a lot of players,” Hemsky said Friday. “Especially considering it’s an Olympic year, but there’s nothing I can do. It’s no fun playing with an injury like that. I tried, but it just didn’t work out.”

Already fighting shoulder problems, Hemsky was hurt again Wednesday night in a loss to Los Angeles when he was hit from behind by Michal Handzus.

“The hit hurt him, but the problem was already there,” general manager Steve Tambellini said. “There was already some instability in his shoulder before.”

Hemsky had seven goals and 15 assists in 22 games this season.

Tambellini went on to say the loss of Hemsky was difficult but what could Edmonton do. The Oilers have allowed more goals than anyone else in the NHL’s Western Conference. The impact the loss of Hemsky for the rest of the 2009-10 seaon can’t be understated. It is huge, no question.


Tiger Woods seriously hurt in auto accident

He hit a fire hydrant near his Orlando Florida home early Friday morning. From the Orlando Sentinel-

Professional golfer Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a car accident early this morning, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Woods, 33, pulled out of his driveway in the Isleworth community about 2:25 a.m. when he struck a fire hydrant, and then drove into a tree at his neighbor’s property, FHP reported.

Alcohol is not related to the accident, FHP said.

Woods was transported to Health Central Hospital in Ocoee in serious condition, FHP said. No other information about his condition has been released.

A Health Central hospital employee said at 2:30 p.m. that Woods was not a patient. A hospital operator would not say if Woods had been treated and released.

Hippa prevents hospitals from giving out patient information. I’ll update the post when more information is made available.

Update- Woods agent says he is fine.

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Former NFL Defensive Back Tom Janik dead at 69

He was twice an AFL All-Star. RIP.

Tom Janik, a former AFL-NFL player who in 1968 intercepted a pass by Joe Namath and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown, has died. He was 69.

Vinyard Funeral Homes says Janik died Saturday in Poth, about 35 miles from San Antonio.

Janik, a defensive back and punter, made 25 interceptions in eight AFL seasons with Denver, Buffalo and Boston. The touchdown return against Namath and the New York Jets was one of six in Janik’s career.

Janik played one year with the New England Patriots after the AFL-NFL merger.


Miami Dolphins release LB Matt Roth

A groin injury or something else limited him to play in four 2009 games. From the Miami Herald-

A strange, four-month span for Dolphins linebacker Matt Roth came to an unexpected conclusion Tuesday — the team has decided to move forward without him.Matt Roth

Roth, who became the center of an odd saga when he missed all of training camp with a groin injury, was released after totaling just four combined tackles during his four games this season.

The move was “strictly a football decision,” one source said. Although no other outside factors are believed to have contributed to his departure, the drama of training camp surely will follow Roth in the wake of Miami’s choice to cut him.

It’s a saga that has remained mostly unexplained. When Roth arrived for training camp this year, he blamed a failed conditioning test on being ill — only to later come forward with an admission about a groin injury.

After trainers struggled to diagnose the issue, Roth was sent to Philadelphia to meet with a leading groin specialist, Dr. William Meyers. The evaluation did not reveal any significant issues, and Roth returned with what seemed to be an optimistic report.

But according to multiple sources at the time, Roth continued to sit out of practice. with no further explanation other than to say his groin was still sore. The strange situation caused the team to go forward without him, moving Jason Taylor into the strong-side linebacker role where Roth served as a starter throughout 2008.

Roth, who was a defensive end in college, never seemed to be even an adequate NFL linebacker. He was big but not fast enough for the position. This should have been obvious to Nick Saban when he took Roth in the 2nd round of the 2005 NFL draft, but like so many other selections Miami made then, players(Anyone remember Eddie Moore? Jamar Fletcher?) were selected that would need to be over acheive in the NFL if the Dolphins were to reap any benefits from them.

Roth is a certified draft bust. So is the Dolphins first round selection of 2006 who has never been able to crack the Dolphins starting secondary except when it was decimated by injuries in 2007. Allen only plays special teams at present. As soon as his contract expires, I expect Miami to show Allen the door just like they did with Roth.


Keep firing- NY Islanders beat Toronto 4-3

Would you believe 62 shots on goal?

It’s been 18 years since a goalie had a night like Islanders netminder Dwayne Roloson.

Roloson turned aside 58 shots to help the New York Islanders beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime on Monday night. It was the most saves since Ron Tugnutt stopped 70 shots for Quebec on March 21, 1991 according to STATS.

“To me, it’s just another night, another game,” said the 40-year-old Roloson. “It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s one shot or 100 shots, I’ve got to do the same things, try to give my team a chance to win.”

The victory improved Roloson’s record to 2-0-2 on the lengthy trip, and 7-2-5 overall this season. The Islanders went 3-2-2 on the seven-game trip to improve to 9-8-7 in 2009-10, but they know they wouldn’t have been so successful if not for the tireless Roloson in net.


Roloson, who signed as an unrestricted free agent last summer, made several great saves — the most painful of which was No. 52, a hard shot from Mikhail Grabovski that hit him directly in the mask. It’s the kind of performance his new team has come to expect.

Craig Anderson, while still playing for the Florida Panthers, turned back 51 Islander shots in a 2007-08 NHL game. Anaheim Duck Goalie Jonas Hiller stopped the same amount of shots in a game last December. Only Anderson got a shutout.


Why I hate FSN Florida

They broadcast 71 of the 82 games the Florida Panthers play in the 2009-10.

Right now the Florida Panthers are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. Florida, who is coming off a 3 game road winning streak, leads the game 2-0. The puck is on ice now with just a few minutes left in the 2nd period. So what am I watching?

Commercials. A few minutes ago the broadcast broke up and a screen came on saying there were technical difficulties.

Bullshit! FSN has technical difficulties every Panther broadcast they do. Their obtrusive in game promotions for other programming, annoy the hell out of me every time I see them. I don’t give a @#$#$%! about the next broadcast, or some other FSN show. I want to watch the hockey on ice like any other NHL fan. How the hell am I supposed to do that when a good size portion of the screen is covered with garbage?

Obviosuly FSN doesn’t give a damn about its viewers. Rather than entertain us, they can’t stop from promoting itself and haven’t a clue how much they piss off viewers when they do. That’s why I hate FSN Florida.

Update- The broadcast is back on. I think the technical difficulties were really an excuse for FSN to flood viewers with more commercials. Florida still leads 2-0. Go Panthers!


St. Louis Rams QB Marc Bulger out with a broken leg

He also has concussion related symptoms. From AP-

St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger will be sidelined 3-6 weeks with a fractured left leg sustained in Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

The team said it would not place Bulger on injured reserve.

Bulger underwent two MRI exams Monday, one on his groin and hamstring and a second for what the team believed was a swollen knee. He also was to be tested for concussion-related symptoms Tuesday after a physically demanding loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo said the first MRI revealed a strain.

“Marc Bulger’s pretty banged up,” the coach said. “Marc’s got a few things going on.”

Bulger has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and six interceptions for the Rams (1-9). Backup Kyle Boller will make his third start of the year Sunday against the Seahawks.

I would be surprised if Bulger is back this season. Broken legs need time to heal, and a possible concussion compounds matters.


Oh so close- Lorena Ochoa edges Jiyai Shin for LPGA Player of the Year

After two days of rain that caused Friday’s 2nd round to finish on Monday morning, the rain shortened LPGA Tour Championship was completed today. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist won by two shots over Lorena Ochoa. Kristy McPherson finished in a tie for 3rd with Na Yeon Choi.

The LPGA Tour Championship was the second win of the year for Nordqvist. Nordqvist, who was a rookie at the beginning of the year, won the LPGA Championship in June. Both of Nordqvist’s wins were impressive against stellar fields. She looks to have a very bright future on the tour.Ochoa and Shin

The biggest news today, more than who won the tournament, was the determination of who would be LPGA Player of the Year for 2009. For most of the summer, Jiyai had the lead and looked posed to win POY and Rookie of the Year honors. Something only Nancy Lopez has done previously. However 2006-08 POY Lorena Ochoa after slumping through much of the summer, got hot once more starting about late to Mid-September. Coming into this week’s tournament, Shin had a 8 point lead over Ochoa.

That meant the only sure way Ochoa could be player of the year was with a win this weekend. She could also get the honor with a 2nd or 3rd place finish but she would need help from Shin.

Going into today’s final round, Shin looked to be in perfect position to be POY. She was in solo second place, one shot behind leader Kristy McPherson. Ochoa was tied for 3rd. Shin hasn’t been real sharp for the last two months, but still a top 5 looked inevitable for her.

Ochoa finished 2nd today. She did so in spite of a poor tee shot on 17(a par 3) that left her with a horrendous lie in the sand trap. A lie that caused her to not even get her 2nd shot on the green. Ochoa’s 3rd ran over ten feet past the hole but she drained the putt for bogey. Ochoa then birdied 18 which all but guaranteed her a 2nd place finish.

Shin never got it rolling today. She played the front nine in one over par and didn’t make a birdie till the 11th hole. Then Shin made five more straight pars. As she prepared to tee off on the 17th hole, Shin was in a 4-way tie for 5th. All 3 of the players Shin was tied with, were through for the day. That meant Shin needed to par the last two holes. Should she take even one bogey, Shin would fall to a tie for 8th. That would leave her with one less point than Ochoa in the POY race.

Shin, like Ochoa, hit her tee shot at 17 into a sand trap. The good news, Shin didn’t have a bad lie like Ochoa. The bad news- She had a very awkward stance. Like Ochoa, Shin didn’t get her sand shot on the green. Her 3rd shot didn’t go in the hole, but Shin didn’t have to make a lengthy bogey putt like Ochoa. Still she had bogied the hole and had fallen to a tie for 8th. A birdie at 18 would now be needed if Shin was to be POY.

It wasn’t to be. After a solid drive, Shin’s 2nd shot came up short. Shin did make par, but the tournament and POY race were over. A disappointing finish for certain, but at this point in time, I’d have to pick Shin as my favorite for 2010 POY. Ochoa is getting married next month, and she has stated in the past, that she would not have a lengthy golf career. The signs are already apparent that Ochoa is making LPGA Golf a secondary part of her life.

It was a great 2009 LPGA campaign even if it was a roller coaster at times. Now the Tour’s fans have to wait 3 months for the 2010 season opener in Thailand. Boy am I going to be suffering from withdrawal by then.

Update- Also blogging on the LPGA Tour Championship and the POY race are Ryan at Waggle Room, Sal at Golf Observer, The Constructivist, Hound Dog, and Jamie.


Minnesota Wild trade Benoit Pouliot to Montreal

The 4th overall pick of the 2005 NHL entry draft has scored 18 points in 65 career games. From AP-

The Minnesota Wild have traded former first-round draft choice Benoit Pouliot to Montreal for left wing Guillaume Latendresse.

The 23-year-old Pouliot has been one of a handful of first-round disappointments for the Wild in recent years after being drafted fourth overall in 2005. Defenseman A.J. Thelen, drafted in 2004, never played for the team and 2005 pick James Sheppard, a center, has not developed as quickly as the team had hoped.

Latendresse, who has only 2 goals and 1 assist so far this year, I think is just off to a slow start.

Benoit Pouliot(2 goals and 2 assists for the year) on the other hand looks like a NHL draft bust. Maybe a change of scenery will get Pouliot’s career on track, but I doubt it.


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