`Euro Cup 2012

I typically don’t like to brag about my knowledge of different sports, but when it comes to soccer, I just can’t help it. I actually watched half of the World Cup game 2 years back (no joke). So when I tell you my predictions, they’re almost a guarantee, if you were going to to bet your life savings on anything, you should bet it on what I say, in fact, I encourage you to bet your life savings on what I say. I’m going to start with some somewhat bold prediction.

Somewhat Bold Predictions
1. I’m 53% sure that a European team will win it all
2. over 80% of the games will have less than 2 total goals scored
3. I will watch practically none of the games
4. a total of 4 players will die in different games against Russia
5. None of my predictions will come true

Division Predictions

Group A
1. Russia 3-0
2. Greece 2-1
3.Poland 1-2
4. Czech Republic 0-3

It’s pretty obvious Russia will win all of their games, with their constant murder and assault tactics, teams will be so intimidated by them, they’ll practically roll over. I also picked Greece to make it because my favorite part of the pizza is the grease

Group B
1. Germany 3-0
2. Netherlands 2-1
3. Portugal 1-2
4. Denmark 0-3

I heard some guy on the bus saying Germany and Spain are the favorites with the Netherlands a close 3rd, so that’s all the info I need to make an informed decision.

Group C
1. Spain 3-0
2. Italy 1-2
3. Croatia 1-2
4. Ireland 1-2

again guy on the bus influenced me on Spain, and as long as Italy continually practices their diving technique, they’ll always be a powerhouse. Also I know McFulttz is an Ireland fan, and I’m not much of a McFultz fan, so I picked them to come in last.

Group D
1. Ukraine 2-1
2. England 2-1
3. France 2-1
4. Sweden 0-3

Ukraine’s normally pretty decent, right? Maybe not, who knows? Anyway I picked England, because I hated my French teacher as a child, and as much as I love Swedish meatballs, Sweden’s good at hockey, like us Canadians, and we’re atrocious at soccer, so they must be as well.

 

McFultz here and it’s come to my attention that Euro 2012 is upon us. It’s always nice to see the big european countries excluding all the small African and South American nations from the only sport they have a chance at winning. I mean let’s be honest were all sick of seeing third world countries being filled with hope and aspirations.Now I won’t be having any bold predictions like Mr. Smells seeing as he covered pretty much everything but I would like to call over 22 Italian flops and one head but.

Devision Predictions

Group A

1.Russia 3-0

2.Poland 1-1-1

3.Greece 0-2-1

4.Czech Republic 0-3

Now I think Smells covered the Eastern Front, I figure Poland is the hosting nation and they should be able to handle a lousy Czech team and with Greece dealing with a financial deficit to due a Nation of lazy people I figure “hey, that must mean something for their soccer team”.

Group B
1. Germany 3-0
2. Netherlands 2-1
3. Portugal 1-1-1
4. Denmark 0-2-1

THERE IS NO WAY I WILL ALLOW PORTUGAL TO ADVANCE! I will not stand seeing Ronaldo in the quarter finals. Now for Germany, they’ve been one of the best soccer teams this decade and it’s about time they do something and I mean, when was the last time the Germans lost anything in Poland?

Group C
1. Spain 3-0
2. Ireland 1-1-1
3. Italy 1-1-1
4. Croatia

Spain is a given, there one of the top teams in the world. Now Ireland will beat out Italy due to their amount of goals and if you’ve seen “The Departed”, you know how it ends when the Irish face off against Italians.

Group D
1. France  3-0
2. England 1-1-1
3. Ukraine 0-1-2
4. Sweden 0-2-1

It pains me to see France go into the knockout stages, especially after they blatantly cheated to beat the Irish and advance to the World Cup but their in an easy division. Now England should beat everybody in their division except for France but let’s not kid ourselves were talking about England, the Ukrainian goalie will probably kick it and all of England’s team will simultaneously tear their ACLs and the ball will role in the net.

Coach Swap 2012

The LA Clippers and Orlando Magic are in quite the predicament, they are both playoff caliber teams, with coaching conundrums.

The Situations

The LA Clippers;

The LA Clippers were just swept by the Spurs, now in their defense, they were in a position they’re not quite use to… The second round of the playoffs. Now most people would be content with this finish, but the Clippers have the talent to make a title run, the thing that is holding them back is their coach, Vinny Del Negro. VDN is a great players coach, but lacks the ability to teach core fundamental basketball, this will greatly affect the Clippers. “Lob City” doesn’t win championships, fundamental basketball does, the Spurs are living breathing proof of this. So if the Clippers wanna win an NBA championship, they gotta get rid of VDN and bring in a coach prepared to coach the fundamentals of basketball.

Orlando Mgic

As of today the Magic fired their coach Stan Van Gundy, SVG was fired after a long marital spout with all star/diva centre Dwight Howard. This past season Howard had been taking in the sites of all the potential teams he’d like to play for and ridiculed his coach the entire time. This led to a lot of tension and a few awkward interviews. Howard and SVG never seemed to get along, probably because Howard is a laid back guy who wants a laid back coach. SVG on the other hand is an old school basketball coach who likes to play fundamental basketball (you can see where there might be a clash). All this tension and so forth led to the ultimate firing of SVD, even though Howard will probably leave during the Offseason anyway.

The Proposal;

Although you can’t actually trade coaches per say, plus SVD just got canned. I propose a coach switch, where SVD would coach the Clippers and VDN would coach the Magic. SVD could teach that fundamental basketball I was preaching and turn the Clippers from just a highlight reel to a real contender. WHile SVD would be contending for championships, VDN could be cheering up a bummed out Dwight Howard. VDN is a players coach and exactly the type of coach Howard would want if he were to ever stay in Orlando.

-McFultz

NBA Playoffs Round 1

The shortened NBA season has ended and the playoffs are upon us, so it’s time for me to make my picks.

Eastern Conference

1. Chicago Bulls vs 8. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Bulls Vernon Smells pick: Bulls

 I don’t think theres much debate in this game. The Bulls are the heavy favorite and will win. I can see the 76ers winning 1 or 2 games but without Allen “We talkin’ bout’ practice” Iverson, the Bulls should take this series pretty easily.

2. Miami Heat vs 7. NY Knicks

Pick: Heat Vernon Smells Pick: Heat

The knickerbockers had a great finish to the season that put them in the playoffs. They were able to get to a 7th seed and are looking to make a mark in the playoffs and avoid and early exit. The problem for them is that they’re playing the Miami Heat (whom I believe will win it all). The Heat will win this series 4-2. the reason they’ll win is because Lebron is going to have the greatest playoffs of his career, he is just gonna go out and completely dominate. Plus with a missing Jeremy Lin, the Knicks will once again be faced with PG problem throughout the playoffs

3. Indiana Pacers vs 6. Orlando Magic

Pick: Pacers Vernon Smells Pick: Magic

The Magic recently lost star center Dwight Howard, and this will prove to be a critical blow. Howard is one of the best centers in the NBA but for the rest of these playoffs he will be resting on his couch in LA watching his team play. The Pacers are also a team that has been looked over due to their “boring” play style. But they are a team who should not be looked over and will be looking to make a deep run this year. I see the Pacers winning 4-1. Paul George is serious, watch out for him to be a superstar in years to come

4. Celtics vs 5. Hawks

Pick: Celtics Vernon Smells Pick: Hawks

You’d think the Celtics would finally turn over due to their old age, but one again the Celtics are in the playoffs. i think this will be the last year for the original big 3, so they know whats at stake. the Celtics should be able to take the Hawks. I have very little faith in the Hawks actually winning the series but I think they’ll give the Celtics a run for their money due to their young and agile play. They remind me of an Eastern Conference version of Lob City. The Celtics will take this series 4-3

Western Conference 

1. Sacramento Spurs vs 8. Utah Jazz

Pick: Spurs Vernon Smells Pick: Spurs

The Spurs are not looking for a first round exit like last years playoffs, luckily for them they aren’t playing the Grizzlies again. The Spurs will win this series, the Jazz are a young team and still learning the ropes so these playoffs will be a good learning experience, but thats it. The Spurs will take this series 4-1

2. Oklahoma City Thunder vs 7. Dallas Mavericks

Pick: OKC Vernon Smells pick: OKC

 The Thunder have this series in the bag. Dallas looks old, Dirk is not looking like the Dirk of old (which really affected my fantasy team, in which Vernon Smells won with an undefeated season). The Thunder will dominate this series and hopefully it will be in this series where Westbrook learns to dish the ball to star player Kevin Durant. The Thunder will take this series 4-0.

3. LA Lakers vs  6. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Nuggets Vernon Smells Pick: Lakers

This is my first upset pick of the playoffs and it could be completely wrong. I think the main reason I chose the Nuggets is that I just can’t stand Kobe and the Lakers. I do think the lack of a PG on the Lakers will affect them and that Kobe is going to see that he really can’t do it all by himself. The Nuggets have been a great team all year and they think they could really pull this upset off. I see the Nuggets taking this series 4-3

4. Memphis Grizzlies vs 5. LA Clippers

Pick: Grizzlies Vernon Smells Pick: Clippers

I have the Grizzlies going to play the Heat in the NBA finals, so they must beat the Clippers. Both these two teams were in my original bandwagon article and after last seasons victory over the Spurs, I knew the Grizzlies were a team to be reckoned with. Although the Clippers are the most exciting team to watch they lack defense and basketball fundamentals, many attribute this to VDN who refuses to teach them more than how to just dunk the ball and do alley-oops. I see the Grizzlies winning this series 4-2.

Check in after the first round to see how my picks played out.

 

-McFultz

Game 7

Quick write-up here before the commencement of the first Overtime period in Game 7 of the Boston Bruins-Washington capitals series. These games are the reason we watch sports, the potential excitement, the potential disappointment. Remember as your watching the game that if one shot squeaks through, a hero will be born, but also a goat will be born, the hero will be forgotten by the end of the next series, the goat will be remembered until at least next season. So take in the beauty of this seventh game and all of the positives in the game, because after the game everyone will be talking about the goat, including myself who will probably write an article on his terrible play.

-Vernon Smells
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

The Greatest Hockey Game Ever And What Else Ive Learned From Game 3 Of The Battle For Pensylvania

The Pens-Flyers series has been crazy, to say the least. The Flyers came back from 3-0 deficit in game one to win in overtime. The Flyers then came back in game 2 to win again and take an 2-0 lead in the series. In an NHL playoffs that has started to look like the 70′s with all the fights, the Pens and Flyers series has proven to be the most violent and brutal, all this set the stage for game 3. The Flyers lit up the Pens in the first period to take the lead 4-2. Its not the 6 goals in the first period that was shaping this game to be a masterpiece, it was the fights! There were a couple major fights in the first and you could see the bad blood brewing. The second period had less goals and less fights but was just the calm before the storm. By the end of the 2nd period the score was 6-4 for the Pens. This all brings us to the third. With a win out of sight for the Pens with the score being 8-4. The only smart thing to come would be a fight, AND WHAT A FIGHT! There were bodies everywhere, everyone was in the mix. After every dirty play that happened in the series, they decided to spill the most blood possible. The fights caused close to a 10 min break within the game. Now enough with the synopsis, I shall now list everything I took from the game.

1) Marc Andre-Fleury is a terrible goalie. I have never been a Fleury fan, I’ve always thought he was overrated and could never tolerate people putting him up there as the leagues best. Midway through the 3rd period a stat flashed across my screen which stated that Marc Andre-Fleury was 5-0 after a game where he had let in in 5 or more goals. My dad (whom I was watching the game with) thought that was quite the stat but I couldn’t believe that they would give him any dues for such an atrocity of goaltending. Granted he’s 5-0 the next game after letting in 5+ goals BUT what goalie lets in 5+ goals. There’s a reason they’ve never showed that for Tim Thomas (another player I dispise) or for Jonathan Quick.

2) Crosby should be treated equally by the refs and if not it could mark the end of his career. Another player I have never liked is Sidney Crosby. As of late he’s been scrutinized for his cheap shots. This has left me on cloud 9, I have always hated him for his cheap shots and “tough talk” but once in the thick of things somebody else would have to fight his battles. That happened tonight when he got into a fight with Scott Hartnell but once the fight started Adams got into it and fought Hartnell. The two were then kicked out of the game. Crosby should’ve been kicked out of the game for starting the altercation with Hartnell but instead was just sent to the sin bin. The NHL has to start treating Crosby as if he is any other player in this series. This is the same situation we saw with the Sedins and Duncan Keith. But if Crosby is to keep up this scrappy play we could see him getting harder hits or punched in the face which could lead to the end of his career due to a concussion.

3) Scott Hartnell is a bad@$$.

4) Old School Hockey is alive and well. The NHL has transformed into a fines league it is more softer in nature (like the NFL) but just like NFL were seeing that once you get to the playoffs it’s the defense and gritty teams that will prevail. Although the most awesome quote giving goalie (Bryzgalov) is giving up 4+ goals a game there is still an element of defense. The scrappiness of all these playoff games (especially this one) is just showing us that it’s the teams that are willing to grind it out and fight are gonna be the teams that continue to win. Once the fights began and the hard checks came in by the hundreds Pittsburgh looked out of sync, it looked as if the Flyers were running circles around them because they were in the Pens heads.

I don’t know what will happen from here on out but if half the games are as entertaining as this one, were in for a good NHL playoffs.

 

 

-McFultz

NHL Playoff Predictions 2012

The NHL playoffs are once again upon us, and there are certainly some surprises in the seeding. I mean if someone at the beginning of the year had told me “Florida will be a 3 seed, Washington will be a 7 seed, St. Louis will 2 seed and Ottawa will not only not finish last in th East but make the playoffs too”, I would probably ask you for some fish (sorry, I’m in the mood for fish), ans then I’d tell you you were crazy. Anyways, with game 1 of the series I’m most excited for (Pittsburgh-Philly), lets get the picks started.

Round 1- Eastern Conference
#1New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators
Pick: New York Rangers in 6 games
X Factor: Henrik Lunqvist & Jason Spezza
This series will actually be pretty close considering it’s a 1 vs. 8 matchup, the Sens have fared very well against the Rangers in the recent history, especially at MSG. However I don’t believe that the Sens will be able to solve Lundqvist, or play solid enough defensively to take this series, however they should be able to scare the Rangers a bit.

#2 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Washington Capitals
Pick: Boston Bruins in 4 games
X Factor: Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom & Zdeno Chara
A lot of people have the Caps upsetting the Bruins in this series, I don’t. The Bruins have the best goal differential in the league (+67), Washington has the second worst amongst playoff teams with a -8 goal differential. Boston finished the year off with a 9-2-1 record in their last 12 games. To go along with all of this, Tim Thomas is scorching hot with a .934 SV% and a 1.70 GAA in his last 8 games. Unless Washington surprises me this year and starts playing as a team rather than individuals, they have no chance in this series, especially with their injuries to their goaltenders.

#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils
Pick: New Jersey Devils in 6 games
X Factors: Ilya Kovalchuck, Martin Brodeur & Jose Theodore
The Panthers are in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. I ca’n't see them beating the Devils, who I think is a team built for the playoffs. However, they should still be happy about making it to the postseason, and you never know if their goaltending can be great and they can generate some offense anything can happen. Definitely don’t count them out, they’ve won a lot of close games this year and have some real heart.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers
Pick: Philadelphia Flyers in 7 games
X Factors: Ilya Bryzgalov, Scott Hartnell, Evgeni Malkin & Sidney Crosby
This is the one true upset I’m going to pick (depending on how you look at the Preds-Wings matchup), the Penguins are certainly the more skilled team in this series, and have more depth up the middle. However, there’s a big rivalry between these two team, and a lot of times what matters most in a rivalry is who’s toughest? And I know Pittsburgh has some tough guys but I can’t see them being able to get by the physicality of this Flyers team (which is also very skilled). With bad blood already running between these two teams, this is the series I’m most looking forward to of the entire first round, and ultimately, it will come down to goaltending, and considering bears are in the forest, I had to go with the Flyers. I’m still scared to make the pick though, because if they get past the Flyers, I see them winning it all.

Round 1- Western Conference
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings
Pick: Vancouver Canucks in 6 games
X Factors: Roberto Luongo & Jonathan Quick
The Kings have a really good team, and of course, really good goaltending. If the Kings do pull off the upset, there’s no doubt in my mind, Jonathan Quick will be the reason why. Unfortunately I don’t see them pulling off the upset, the Canuucks team is too good, especially with Daniel Sedin returning soon.

#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #7 San Jose Sharks
Pick: St. Louis Blues in 5
X Factors: Joe Thornton & Anti Niemi
The Blues easily win the defensive matchup between the two clubs, as well as the goaltending matchup. And with the Sharks offense much older, the great streak of Regular season success the Sharks have enjoyed since the 2003-2004 season may be coming to an end, and with not even a Stanley Cup appearance coming out of it, the Sharks need a great postseason this year to keep their fans happy. Unfortunately, I don’t see them being able to do it against the Blues, they’re way too solid of a team.

#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #6 Chicago Blackhawks
Picks: Chicago Blackhawks in 5
X Factors: Jonathan Toews, Mike Smith & Corey Crawford
Phoenix is a very fundamentally solid and defensively tight hockey club. They’re coached wonderfully and have had surprisingly great goaltending this year from Mike Smith. However, they just don’t have the skill yet, but if Phoenix eventually moves, and grows a big fan base, and is willing to go out and get big names this team can be great in years to come. Unfortunately, the only way they win this series is if Corey Crawford plays poorly in net for the Hawks.

#4 Nashville Predators vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings
Pick: Nashville Predators in 7 games
X Factors: Pekka Rinne & Henrik Zetterberg
This will be a great series, the Red Wings have the history, the veterans and the skill, the Preds have the young talent, the goaltending and the physicality. This series could really go either way, but I have to give it to the better goalie, no offense to Jimmy, but Rinne’s got him by a hair in my opinion.

Round 2- Eastern Conference
#1 New York Rangers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils
Pick: New York Rangers in 7 games

#2 Boston Bruins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers
Pick: Boston Bruins in 6 games

Round 2- Western Conference
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 Chicago Blackhawks
Pick: Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games

#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #4 Nashville Predators
Pick: St. Louis in 5 games

Round 3- Eastern conference
#1 New York Rangers vs. #2 Boston Bruins
Pick: Boston Bruins in 7 games

Round 3- Western Conference
#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #6 Chicago Blackhawks
Pick: St. Louis Blues win in 6 games

STANLEY CUP FINALS
#2 Boston Bruins vs. #2 St. Louis Blues
Pick: Boston Bruins win in 6 games

I know it’s boring to see a repeat but I still believe the Bruins are the best team in the league, stay tuned before round #2 starts as I re-evaluate my picks.
Like us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Vernon Smells

30 Teams in 30 Days – Colorado Rockies

Ahhh the 2007 Rockies’ season. Who would’ve thunk it? The no-names of the league went on a championship run. The team that no one gave a chance proved themselves to be champions of the NL. The Rockies had a more than abysmal 2011 however finishing 4th in the West with a meager 73 wins. Can the Rockies rebound in 2012? Will there be a repeat of 2007′s “Rocktober”? And can the Rockies make another Cinderella run? These are the questions that should be at the back of everyone’s minds as we look forward to the 2012 season.
2011 Season
Record: 73-89

Finish: 4th in NL West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jhoulys Chacin (Don’t worry I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce this name either) 11-14, 3.62 ERA, 150 SO
Top Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki (Believe it or not but I can pronounce this name!) .302 AVG, 30 HR, 105 RBI
Manager: Jim Tracy
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jeremy Guthrie RHP, Casey Blake 3B, Chad Tracy 1B, Jamie Moyer LHP (How is he still alive, let alone playing professional baseball), Marco Scutaro SS, Michael Cuddyer RF, Ramon Hernandez C, Tyler Chatwood RHP
Important Offseason Losses: Huston Street SD, Chris Iannetta LAA, Mark Ellis LAD, Kevin Millwood SEA, JC Romero STL, Kevin Kouzmanoff KC, Ty Wigginton PHI, Ryan Spilborghs CLE, Clayton Mortenson BOS, Matt Lindstrom BAL

Now the 2012 Rockies are a new look team from 2011. But unfortunately this is not necessarily a good thing (nor is it a bad thing), along with gaining a ton through a front office gone wild, the Rockies also lost a lot. I would say all that they gained exactly equaled what they lost, which is surprising, usually a team improved from the season before or got worse. Now I won’t keep you guys for a while because we all know what article is up next aka the moment you’ve all been waiting for (I’ll give you a hint it rhymes with Ain’t Trouis Ardinals) but in all honesty I’m not sure how the Rockies will do in 2012. I mean one can assume that their record will be almost identical to lasts, but 2011 was disappointing for the Rockies so I doubt you’ll see them doing worse. They had some key acquisitions that added depth to both their hitting and pitching, but by the same token lost some depth to both their hitting and pitching. Knowing that there aren’t many Rockies fans out there (sorry to the few that exist!) I’m going to have to cut this article short so we can get to our grand finale. Rockies fans look forward to a… well unpredictable 2012. P.S. this might be the last year we see Todd Helton.. that would be a big loss to the league losing both Helton and Chipper.

Prediction
Record: 76-86

Finish: 4th in West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie 15-14, 4.01 ERA, 177 SO
Top Hitter: Todd Helton (just because it’s probably his last season) .289 AVG, 29 HR, 107 RBI
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Simple Jack

30 Teams In 30 Days-Houston Astros

Soooooo Astros’ fans… How’s it going? Now I want you all to leave your dark pits of despair and look out at the sun. It’s a new day Astros’ fans, the sun is shinning, the birds are chirping and were less then a week away from the baseball season starting. This gives you all time to stock up on non perishable foods, so that you can survive another long year in your “despair pits”. Let’s recap on your abysmal season.
Houston Astros
Record: 56-106
Finish: Last NL Central
Playoffs: Let’s not taunt them
Top Hitter: Carlos Lee, 18 HR, 94 RBI, .275 AVG
Top Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez, 11-11, 3.49 ERA, 166 SO
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jed Lowrie, Jack Cust, Chris Snyder, Kyle Weiland
Important Offseason Losses: Mark Melancon, Clint Barmes 

The Astros had a terrible season last year and I mean terrible. To make matters worse, they hardly added anything during the offseason, granted they didn’t lose all that much either. The Astros will have a better record this season, but that really isn’t saying much. Looking into the Astros’ future they at least have the #1 pick in this coming draft. The Astros’ will be moving to AL West next year, which in a sense can be even more bad news for them. By going to the AL West their gonna have to play in the same division with the Rangers (whom have lost in the world series, two years in a row) and the Los Angeles Angels who recently acquired a certain first basemen named Albert Pujols, that same Pujols who hit 37 HRs and 99 RBI’s as well became the third player in MLB history to hit 3 HRs in a  single playoff game. Now enough about teams with future Hall of Famers and winning records. The Astros’ won’t make the playoffs and they won’t be good. They won’t even be decent, but there’s a solid chance they won’t the worst team this season. I mean there still is the Orioles. So Astros’ fans, as you prepare for your long alcohol and fast food induced coma, think of the finer things in your life, like how YOUR Houston Texans, whom made the playoffs for the first time in their horrid 9 year history. With that I bid you adieu and remember vegetables and fruits can be your friends.
Prediction
Record: 66-96 (Could be worse)
Finish: Last NL Central (The last time you can ever be last in the NL Central)
Playoffs: Maybe in 2017?
Top Hitter: Carlos Lee 22 HR, 97 RBI, .279 AVG
Top Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez, 13-11, 3.45 ERA, 173 SO
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-McFultz