Tonight is the night that all NHL fans have been waiting for, the season opener after a long and bitter lockout, the third under NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. As the Rangers head to TD Garden tonight to play the Bruins, this will be the start of a schedule that is brutal to open any season, especially one that only has 48 games before the playoffs begin.
The Rangers will play the likes of the Bruins(2), Pittsburgh Penguins(2), Toronto Maple Leafs(1) and Philadelphia Flyers(2) within this first seven games. But tonight, it will be the defense that must step up and set the tone for the Rangers, as the Bruins enter with one of the toughest young teams in the NHL.
Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist must be sharp, as the Bruins will come at him from all angles with forwards Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Chris Bourque and Jordan Carron. Along with Lundqvist, the Rangers defense will have to be able to skate physically and controlled while protecting the crease from hangers.
Players like Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh will have to play big these first few games until the offense can get going with new addition Rick Nash. The off-season acquisition from the Blue Jackets has the opportunity to play with some of the best talent he has had in his career with Brad Richards and Marion Gaborik, and Rangers fans would love for his sniper ability to uplift an offense that was pedestrian in last year’s playoffs.
The Bruins will be used to playing at the top of the Northeast Division for quite some time, and the Rangers are looking to stay at the top of the Eastern Division. There could not be a better way to get the hockey juices flowing after a lengthy lockout.
Bruins rookies D Doug Hamilton and LW Chris Bourque will be ready to make their debuts tonight, and the inexperience may be the difference to put the Rangers over the top to win the game. The Rangers will counter with a lineup that is spewing with veterans that took them to the conference finals last season.
If the Rangers can come out with some quick wins early, that will set the pace for this speedy NHL season that will be sure to make interesting storylines. Let’s just hope that the lack of preseason and exhibition games does not hinder the Rangers from skating clean and producing on both sides of the ice. One thing to concentrate on is the length of shifts that Coach John Tortorella keeps out there while trying to avoid early injuries that can cripple a run.
So, as some fans are not sure whether to welcome back the NHL after another lockout, the arenas will be full and the players will be sure to make it worth your while to watch. Enjoy the game tonight, and remember: Let’s Go Rangers!
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Paul Ryan began his Republican National Convention speech last evening with a “I want to give you a first impression” mantra as the vice presidential nominee for the GOP. Well, after hearing his “speech” to use a loose term, I have a very good first impression of what the presidency will look like in four years if this man and his cohort Mitt Romney are elected. I felt like walking into a car dealership to buy a car from the worst of salesmen with a plaid suit and wide ties and smiles. From the rhetorical spins, to the mudslinging, to the preposterous, flat out lies about Barack Obama, I guess this is what politics is really all about.
I guess Ryan forgot about mentioning Romney’s health care plan for Massachusetts and how it was the model for “Obamacare” as many call it. In fact, Romney gave a PowerPoint Presentation on this very healthcare that the GOP readily try to repeal now 37 times. This new voucher system that Romney and Ryan are now trying to convince the people to accept will in the long run be even more out of pocket costs for the elderly than the current system. The GOP needs to help shape this healthcare rather than dismantle it completely, but they refuse to work with any Democrat to get the job done.
Ryan also tried to blame Obama for the closing of a General Motors plant in Wisconsin, but he wasn’t in the Oval Office at that time. And if it wasn’t for Obama and his bailout of the auto industry, many more jobs and revenue would have been lost. Then there is the “fact” by Ryan that under Obama, college graduates have not been able to find gainful employment in their field of choice and it is Obama’s fault for not creating those jobs. Most graduates choose liberal arts or vague degrees and are not electing to go into the programs that there are plenty of jobs such as the sciences or math. These jobs are plentiful and the country needs to go elsewhere for specialized employees because the American youth has become lazy. That is not Obama’s fault.
Many lies were passed last night and it is very difficult for me to understand who is the most irresponsible: The GOP telling the lies, or the citizens who are actually clapping and buying them. What is so difficult about taking the time and researching the words that are passed off as truths? It is no longer about being a Democrat or Republican. Both parties do their share of lying. But when is enough going to be enough? Do you want some easy reference links to seek the truth? I will include them after this article. But do not allow this to be a #saddayforusa2012 by voting for one party or the other without knowing the truth.
We teach our children not to lie, and to be respectful to all we come in contact with. Well, it is time to register to vote, educate yourself to who is the best candidate, and then hold our representatives to those same standards. My first impression is one that usually serves me well, and the one I have of Paul Ryan is of a liar that will say anything to get where he has to go. The old adage that “you can’t B.S. a B.S artist” instantly came to mind. You need to make your own decision as what impression was left on yourself, but no matter what it was, I implore you to seek the truth and help hold our politicians to some sort of morals and standards.
The definitive direction that the United States of America is ultimately headed is as murky as the Hudson River. We are a nation that for so long has allowed our elected officials to be put on pedestals of greatness while they are merely attempting to gain an edge for personal gain. When will it be the time for the voters to rise up and take control back from the political improprieties, outright lies and double-talk that has been the predominant way of our government?
Let me just say this: If we, as citizens of this country, do not rise up and let our voice be heard, then the demise of this country will undoubtedly ensue. You don’t believe what I say? You doubt that the U.S. can go by way of the Romans, Byzantines or any of the great dynasties that this world has witnessed through time? Does Sodom and Gomorrah remind you of anything? We need to change our ways and realize that our leaders and their moral and ethical responsibilities must begin to mirror our own.
There comes a time when the system breaks down and it is simply impossible to climb out of the cesspool of ruin that ignorance and negligence have commanded. In this election year 2012, do not be fooled that our direction rests solely upon our POTUS and the hopeful candidates that are trying to unseat him. Our politics go deeper than anything a POTUS can change. There are many states that have incumbents in their Congress and Senate that have been in office for two to three decades and in some cases longer. This should be unacceptable to anyone that is a registered voter in their state.
How can any politician be a dedicated in-touch representative for their constituents when they have not witnessed the real troubles of Americans on a personal level? To me, it is impossible. If we continue to allow these seats to be filled by name recognition only, then we can only get what we deserve. The process of change needs to be across the board from the local to state to federal levels of responsibility from all voters. Do you know your representatives and understand how they vote for you on all matters? Have you forged through the lies and rhetoric to comprehend the platform they are running upon?
Are you a voter that takes pride in all levels of government or are you the voter who shows up for only the presidential election, while just casting ballots for everyone else by going eeny-meeny-miney-mo? Our country needs educated voters and those willing to take control of our irresponsible representatives. There simply is no reason for America to rank, according to a 2010 study by OECD PISA report that states we are ranked 14th in English, 17th in Science and 25th in Math for developed countries. Add to that the growing number of industry that is leaving for other countries and the slow fading of the middle class in this country and we are facing danger.
We are slowly becoming a two class system consisting of the rich and the poor. If we do not begin now to give back to the country and strengthen our middle class, we will complete the transformation to this system within the next thirty to forty years. Come 2050, the scope of the American landscape will be vastly different from what we see today. And if you are not buying that theory, then just look at our past from and industrial country built with blood, sweat and tears, to a high-tech society that refuses to get their hands dirty and wants to outsource jobs to other countries. When will it end?
So in the end, it is solely up to all of us to make a solid decision, which is what we should be asking of our two main political parties that refuse to work together to strengthen this country. There is no longer a bi-partisan political government, it is every man and woman for themselves. Maybe you are not seeing what I am, or even believing what you may call the chicken little theory, but history always repeats itself. So do not allow this to be a #saddayforusa2012. Register to vote in your state and then take the time to educate yourself of all candidates and maybe, just maybe the citizens will unite for a clearer path. Because as history also suggests, a nation can lift itself up from the ashes and always rebound for the greater good of all its citizens.
Dillon Gee is another in a line of injuries for this 2012 Mets team that just keeps finding ways to win. After losing Mike Pelfrey to Tommy John surgery earlier in the year(Mets fans probably forgot about Big Pelf), the rotation seemed a little unassuming given that John Niese and Dillon Gee were good, but not great starters and nobody knew what they would get out of Johann Santana coming off shoulder surgery of his own. Then there was the mystery of the Kilimanjaro-climbing R.A. Dickey and how he would grow as a pitcher with a powerless lineup behind him. The injury to Chris Young earlier this season also put a lot of doubts in most minds, while having only 41 year old Miguel Batista as a fall guy.
Welcome to the NY Mets 2012 season everyone! This staff proven that they can pitch with the best of them as Santana has become the number one he used to be, pitching the first no-hitter in club history and Dickey has clearly made a name for himself as one of the top hurlers in the game with a wickedly unhittable knuckler that has left opposing batters clueless. So as Dillon Gee goes down with having surgery to remove a blood clot from his shoulder, all fans are calling for the Next, triple A phenom Matt Harvey. Why the big rush to call up a pitcher that can only benefit by a few more AAA starts to fine tune his game? This is the mystery that leaves one shaking their head.
Harvey needs to relax, calm down and hone his skills while waiting for his chance in the big leagues. Batista can be a viable starter for three or four turns, as long as the Mets bullpen gets a lot of rest in between. Although Harvey could probably be a contributor now, Sandy Alderson should bide his time while waiting for the doctors to complete their assessment of Gee and give a definitive timeline for his return. As seen on http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa390378&position=P, Harvey’s stats are as follows:
Clearly, the stats are there, but will Alderson and Collins be taking a tremendous risk in calling up a future star now by possibly damaging his psyche if he has a couple bad outings? I believe they would and it would be wiser for the fan base to look at it just this way. The time needs to be right for pitchers such as Harvey, Jeurys Familia, and later down the road, Zach Wheeler.
Fans would love to see their Next right now, but do not realize the damage that could be done by not showing patience. And there remains one thing that Mets fans should know just as well as the next fan, and that is patience. Fans have been waiting for quite some time to see and experience an exciting team in Flushing. These young kids that most scouts around the majors believed was one of the worst farm systems around has clearly proven that they belong in the majors. Maybe Omar Minaya knew what he was doing all along. It is time now for the fans to enjoy the second half as they did the first: ride the wave and leave the decisions to management. Allow Johann, R.A., Niese and Young to do what they have been doing to keep their team in the games, and hope that Alderson makes a move or two at the deadline to improve the bullpen and acquire a right-handed power bat(not named Bay).
This is what will allow the fans to enjoy what has been so far a magical season to date. There will be time enough for the Harvey’s and the Wheeler’s of the system to break onto this major league club and win the hearts of fans as well as some ballgames. To rush Harvey now would only be giving into the notion that the time is now for a club that is only hovering around the final wild card spot and remains 4.5 games back in their division at the break. The time is not now. This is not a World Series winning team, although nobody can deny that in the weak NL, you can completely exclude them from possibly making the World Series. Relax everyone, you will see Harvey soon enough. Just remember that you must have faith and trust in the way that Alderson is going to run this team. Do not let the magic swell your heads to make rash decisions. As fans the only motto you will ever be able to live by is simply, “You Gotta Believe.” And for 2012, that is exactly what you should be doing.
It’s bad enough that, as Sandy Alderson put it on Twitter, that a city of 8 million was outvoted by a city of 800,000 when Pablo Sandoval won the starting spot over David Wright in this years All-Star Game in Kansas City. But when you have a pitcher that has been far above the rest of the pack as R.A. Dickey has, it is virtually impossible to fathom him not getting the starting nod over Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants in 2012. What Tony LaRussa is thinking is beyond everyone when it comes to choosing his starter. The only answer he can give is that Cain is every bit as deserving and he will be pitching to his own catcher, Buster Posey, who I might even mention should most likely not even be starting himself.
Dickey, whose stats in all categories are better than anyone’s in the National League has definitely been screwed by LaRussa and his shallow thinking. Dickey’s stats include a 12-1 record while supporting 123 strikeouts, a 2.40 ERA, and a miserly 0.93 WHIP. Just a few short weeks ago, Dickey had back to back one hitters and was incredibly unhittable as batters wailed and fluttered at his perfected knuckleball. Do not get me wrong, Matt Cain and his 9-3 record, 118 strikeouts, 2.62 ERA and 0.96 WHIP are very formidable when having to make a decision. But there has been nobody on any team in either league who has been absolutely sparkling on the mound as R.A. has while pitching for a team that is dead last in OPS and is tied for 13th in batting average.
While the All-Star game means something at the end of the year, one would figure that LaRussa would love to start with a knuckler like Dickey for two innings then transition to a hard thrower as Cain for the next two. The idea that Posey, or any catcher for that matter, would have trouble catching Dickey, is all the more reason to start him. It would be far better to have a couple of passed balls at the beginning(if that is even the case) while there are no runners on, then later with the possibility of an incredible AL All-Star lineup that includes the like of Cano, Granderson, Fielder, Ortiz and Hamilton circling the bases. This remains just another in a long line of questionable moves that LaRussa has made throughout his career and, although he has a few rings on his hand, it doesn’t make the decision any easier to handle in the N.Y. market.
Mets fans finally have two All-Stars that they can be purely proud of, and in the end, still feel jaded at the selection process and a managers decision that leaves millions of fans scratching their heads. R.A. Dickey will never allow the decision to affect him in any way, as it is surely a welcome just for him to be representing the NL in his first All-Star game. The man who swam across the Mississippi and nearly drowned, climbed Kilimanjaro, and grew up amidst child abuse would never allow LaRussa’s snub to unfocus his center. But be sure of this, R.A.Dickey will come out of this All-Star break more focused than ever. Dickey does not portray a man that likes to be screwed, although he will never show it. So, even though Mets fans may disagree with you, Tony, maybe we should thank you for given our knuckler just another reason to rise against the odds. Possibly, this decision may turn out to be the one to allow the fans the enjoyment of a CY Young Award winner when all is said and done. Then Mets fans can turn around and say, “screw you, LaRussa!”
Today is the day that our forefathers believed would live in infamy. The day that our country was fought for, and won by us, the American people who saw an opportunity to better a life for all as individuals. On this day, in 1776, a document written by Thomas Jefferson was adopted by our leaders as The Declaration of Independence. This was our declaration to separate our colonies from Britain and their monarchy. Eleven years later, our nations delegates provided a system of checks and balances in the form of a three branch government consisting of executive, legal and legislative branches to ensure that no one person would be able to rule. This system, while not perfect, has been the basis of our country since, and has clearly given its citizens an opportunity for freedom. As the nation has grown, this system has given rise to many individuals vying for the same political seats with very different ideas on how this government should be enacted for the benefit of the people.
Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party candidates, Independents, and any other political party that has surfaced are so far apart on the issues that it is almost impossible to put into place a government that has the public’s interest at heart. Who do we believe anymore? Where is the dignity and truth that elected officials need to put forth in order for the citizens of this great country to choose the right candidate for the job? Simply put, there is none. Mitt Romney was the creator of the national healthcare reform that President Obama has now put into place. Yet, because it was Obama and not himself, his platform must dispute, ridicule and delude the public into believing that it is nothing more than a tax on America. Politicians can no longer agree even to disagree and have put themselves in the position to never get along and this is where the public must be weary.
When you register to vote this year, and head to the polls, ask yourself these questions before you place your ballot. Has my elected representative voted on my behalf during his/her term? Have they been truthful with the constituents on laws, referendums, and their personal history? Does this representative or senator want to change the country or is he/she running for personal gain? Have the representative(s) in my district simply been in their seat too long and become complacent that name recognition alone will vote them in to office? Do your senators or representatives back your POTUS and want to help eliminate the most pressing issues that we face today (eg. deficit, unemployment, healthcare)?
If you are the type of person that is content with the way this country is being run today, then hopefully you will look further and educate yourself BEFORE this election in November. This may be one of the most important elections to date in this country and you are needed to cast a ballot that will determine a substantial upswing or downward spiral for this country. Whatever state you live, you can go to your state’s home page and research your representatives and senators that are up for re-election this year. Find out how they vote for you, and if they are right for the change that is needed in this nation. Do not let this next vote be the one that got away. Obama needs help as a POTUS, and if Romney gets elected, he will need help as well. The POTUS can not do it by himself.
Do you like the fact that we have a deficit at over $16Trillion dollars, an unemployment rate over 9%, a national healthcare plan that may not be perfect, but can use someone to polish it, instead of dismantle it, and politicians that refuse to work together for you, the citizen? Do you want this country to keep going in the wrong direction, instead of doing what our forefathers wanted us to do, and have a choice and opportunity to make a difference at the polls? Them educate yourself and tell your local, state and federal politicians that you will no longer tolerate their falsehoods and empty promises. Let them understand that if the newly elected officials do not work for you, the constituent, that in 2, 4 or 6 years, you will use your voice to vote them out also. This is OUR country, and we need to take it back. Do not let this be just another #saddayforusa2012. Vote, America, and take back your independence from the same ones who have taken it from you; the government of the United States of America!
NJ State Troopers are not having a very good year so far in 2012. It is absolutely outrageous, as a citizen of this state, that the code of Duty, Honor, Fidelity of our supposed heroes is laid waste by the many unlawful acts that they have been committing. Now I am sure there are many trustworthy, hardworking and honest officers that are serving the law, but it is disgraceful that the bad officers are allowed to get away without more than a slap on the wrist. Riddled by the catastrophe that was deemed “Death Race 2012″ earlier this year when officers were escorting a caravan of cars in a high speed race down the Garden State Parkway, which involved then running back of the NY Giants, Brandon Jacobs, now another officer has admitted to stealing over $7000 worth of gas.
This is your taxes at work New Jersey!! Staff Sgt. Steven M. Jones, 25 years on the trooper force, not only stole the gas that OUR taxes pay for, but was given a plea agreement from Internal Affairs to retire with 50% of his pay instead of 65% and all he lost was his medical benefits. Unfortunately for most in this state, that theft would have translated into at least four years in prison, a felony on their record and no pension. It is appalling that this is allowed to happen. Police officers are in place to uphold the law, not circumvent it for their own gain and the gain of their families, then walk away with a smile on their face.
Jones claimed in his hearing that he abused alcohol and did not always follow his treatment program and had incurred a lot of debt which ultimately led to his theft. I do believe that seems to be the same excuse that many criminals use in their defense and it is usually left to a judge to determine a penalty for breaking the law, not a retirement board. Jones should have been charged and left to face the system like all others that he has had to arrest for 25 years. What gives him the right to be above the law? The unlawful practice of those that should be upholding the laws in this state are beyond reprehensible and they are not being held accountable.
You can go to http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/06/state_trooper_pumped_7k_of_gas.html to see the full story and let Governor Christie know that the taxpayers want to hold these individuals to higher standards. As you drive around, there are numerous officers that are talking on their phones and typing on their computers while swerving in and out of traffic, and many others that are doing the same things as the “criminals” on the streets, yet only receive a transfer or a forced retirement. Good thing for the new ACA, now Jones will be able to afford quality healthcare at a good price while making $50,000 a year in retirement instead of $1.35 a day in one of the states fine correctional facilities.
Theft is theft, no matter who you may be in life. Many people have legitimate addiction disorders and could have been given the benefit of the doubt instead of rotting away in a penitentiary. But, I guess when you have the law on your side, then you are not labeled a criminal, but just a poor decision-maker. Chris Christie has to investigate further and let his Troopers understand that this will not be tolerated. The only way to do this is treating them as citizens, not as someone who is Above The Law!!
This is the last image an opposing batter sees before flailing and fluttering at one of the most wickedly ridiculous pitches major league baseball has ever seen. Conventional knucklers like Niekro, Hough, Wakefield and the lot had great movement on a hard to hit pitch that came in at 60 to 70 miles per hour. After a couple of innings it was possible to “catch up” to those knuckleballs, draw some walks, and get a few runs on the board. There is nothing conventional, though, about this knuckleball pitcher that commands the mound for the New York Metropolitans. This knuckleball pitcher, the one who wears #43, is the only pitcher who has ever been able to control the knuckleball. Not only control it, but throw it harder and more consistent in the strike zone at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
This knuckleballer is none other than R.A. Dickey. The man who nearly drowned swimming across the Mississippi river. The man who climbed Kilamanjaro. The man who has found inner peace in the most unpeaceful pitch known to baseball. R.A. has become one with the knuckler and there does not seem to be any way to stop him, let alone get consistent hits off of him. R.A. sits amongst the best that are in the game today with a 12-1 record, 2.15 ERA, 116 strikeouts and a microscopic WHIP of 0.88. What do these numbers mean? That R.A. will most likely be starting the All-Star game for the NL and he is on a roll to possibly win 26 games this year. Add this tremendous pitching and the fact that the Mets scrappy players are scoring runs for him and you have an almost impossible hill to climb for an opposing team not named the Yankees.
R.A. has 2 one-hitters already this year, one of which should have been a no-no, with 2 complete games and a strikeout to walk ratio that is incredible at 116-25. I’ve seen Wakefield and other knucklers over the years and never has one been so dominant over a 16 game stretch that Dickey is on. Is it impossible to dream for a Mets fan that this may be the year that we have been waiting for since 2000? Johann Santana has already given us the first no-no in the teams history and now Dickey seems as if this is the reincarnation of Seaver. For a man with such a troubled past as Dickey has, he has seemingly come to grips with an area of his life that most will never figure out for themselves. He has clearly taken his turmoil and found what will work for him and translated that into his professional career as a pitcher.
Now Mets fans can only watch and wonder in amazement as hitters look absolutely dumbfounded and shake their head in amazement as they walk back to the dugout. They are now victims to a pitch that is incredibly RA-DICKULOUS to hit and even harder to understand. The Mets fans are enjoying this ride into the All-Star break relishing the fact that Dickey is one of their own and not the opponent. Believe!! Mets fans. This is going to be an Amazin’ year as we watch this determined group of ballplayers led by the most dominant of knucklers the sport has ever seen.
The answer can only lie in the education of voters to understand that while having a POTUS that is respectable, knowledgeable, hard-working, truthful and caring for the citizens, even the most powerful man in the world has checks and balances. The POTUS needs to balance his ideals and political ambitions alongside other men and women that don’t necessarily share the same direction that he wants to take the country. Our POTUS, no matter what party he belongs to, simply needs help. That is where the citizens, you and me, need to educate ourselves about the men and women who belong to our House of Representatives. These 435 seats must be filled on November 6th. These 435 seats vote in all districts of every state, for you, the citizen of that district. So many of these seats have been filled by the same representatives for two or more decades without reproach.
These are the very same men and women who will tell you, the citizen, that they know what is best for your district and state as a whole. These are the very same individuals that challenge most presidents and the changes they want to make, based on the premise that it is what you, the constituent want. These representatives are out of touch and bow only to the wealthy and their donations(bribes). Education is the only way to change the direction of this country. If you are sick of how your state and country are run, there is only one way to change. Register to vote and make that vote count. Possibly the only way to start a change in this great country is to vote out ALL incumbents and start fresh with those men and women who are not out of touch with society.
In the upcoming two months, I will be previewing all states and their representative elections and showing guides on what to look for and how to educate yourself for the most important election in recent history. Not the presidential election itself, but the ballots that need to be cast in order for the president, be it Obama or Romney, to have a chance at making change for all people of the nation. Just remember that your vote does count, if you use it wisely. Do not let this be a #saddayforusa2012. Help our country prosper instead of continuing this tailspin we have been in for nearly a decade.