Sunday, May 1, 2016

2016 NFL Draft Team Rankings: Filling Needs


By Rick Morris


These rankings are based on a points system devised from the Top 75 Overall, devised by FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones, in PRO FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2016.  Unlike the Best Player rankings, which simply assign a point total based on perceived value of the players, this system balances value of the top players on a sliding scale throughout the Top 75 Overall against the Team Needs that I identified in the draft guide to record the teams that filled their most urgent needs with the best players.


1 Cleveland 375

2 Cincinnati 330

3T Buffalo 315

3T Dallas 315

3T Jacksonville 315

6 Tennessee 300

7 Chicago 285

8 Houston 270

9 Baltimore 240

10 Seattle 225

11T Detroit 210

11T Washington 210

13T Minnesota 195

13T New Orleans 195

13T Tampa Bay 195

16T Green Bay 165

16T San Diego 165

18T Los Angeles 150

18T Miami 150

18T San Francisco 150

21 Denver 135

22T Indianapolis 120

22T Philadelphia 120

24T New York Giants 105

24T Oakland 105

26T New York Jets 90

26T Pittsburgh 90

28T Arizona 75

28T Atlanta 75

30 Carolina 30

31 Kansas City 15

32 New England 0

2016 NFL Draft Team Rankings: Best Players


By Rick Morris


These rankings are based on a points system devised from the Top 75 Overall, devised by FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones, in PRO FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2016.


1 Jacksonville 398

2 Cleveland 360

3 Dallas 328

4 Miami 296

5 Tampa Bay 270

6 Buffalo 264

7 Cincinnati 250

8 Houston 246

9 New Orleans 238

10T Chicago 232

10T Minnesota 232

12 San Diego 224

13 Tennessee 216

14 Detroit 206

15 Washington 186

16 Baltimore 174

17 Philadelphia 160

18T San Francisco 158

18T Seattle 158

20 Oakland 156

21 Green Bay 154

22 Arizona 126

23 Los Angeles 122

24 New York Giants 102

25 Denver 98

26 New York Jets 94

27 Atlanta 82

28 Indianapolis 78

29 Carolina 52

30 Pittsburgh 36

31 Kansas City 4

32 New England 0

Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 NBA Playoffs Second Round Predictions


By Rick Morris


NOTE: 6-0 record (so far) in the first round


CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Cleveland over Atlanta in 4

Miami over Toronto in 6 OR Toronto over Charlotte in 6 OR Miami over Indiana in 6 OR Indiana over Charlotte in 7

Golden State over Portland in 7

San Antonio over Oklahoma City in 6


CONFERENCE FINALS

Cleveland over Toronto in 6 OR Cleveland over Miami in 5 OR Cleveland over Indiana in 4

San Antonio over Cleveland in 5


NBA FINALS

San Antonio over Cleveland in 7

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Predictions


By Rick Morris


NOTE: 5-2 record (so far) in the first round.


Pittsburgh over Washington in 6

Tampa Bay over New York Islanders in 7

St. Louis over Dallas in 7

San Jose over Anaheim in 6 or Nashville over San Jose in 6


CONFERENCE FINALS

Tampa Bay over Pittsburgh in 7

St. Louis over San Jose in 6 or St. Louis over Nashville in 6


STANLEY CUP FINALS

St. Louis over Tampa Bay in 6

Monday, April 25, 2016

New York Rangers, end of an era?


By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)


Well, the Rangers went out with a whimper, not a bang, in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.  They lost in five games to the hottest team in the NHL, the talent-laden Pittsburgh Penguins.


As we look back over the last few years, and look forward to the future, the question has to be asked:  Has this group of Rangers peaked as Stanley Cup contenders?


IS IT ALL ABOUT THE GOALIE?


For most of the history of the NHL, your team has always had a chance to win the Cup if they could just make the playoffs and have the hot goaltender lead them to the promised land.  Unlike the NBA, where eighth seeds virtually never have a chance to win their first series, let alone a championship, the NHL (like it or not) gives that lower seed a chance when they ride the hot goalie and can even win a Cup coming from nowhere.


Which brings us to Henrik Lundqvist.  Still one of the best goalies in the world, he’s probably been in the top three or top five goaltenders for about a decade.  He came on the NHL scene in the 2005-06 season as a guy who was fighting for a starting job.  But after winning the gold medal for Sweden in February 2006, Lundqvist became an international star and, soon thereafter, an NHL star.


Lundqvist, over the years, has been a supreme goaltender for the New York Rangers.  But he’s put in a lot of years, a lot of time, a lot of games and, especially, a lot of high tension, close playoff games.  Back in the 2013 playoffs, John Tortorella’s last year as the Ranger coach, Lundqvist put on a performance for the ages, shutting out the great offensive Washington Capitals in both games six and seven, which propelled them to a series against the Boston Bruins.


Against the Bruins, I thought Lundqvist played great but the Rangers were eliminated in five games (see “If Your Goalie Stands on His Head and You Still Lose, Then What?” at SteveKallas.com, May 28, 2013).  At the time, there was such frustration in Lundqvist’s voice (after the game 1 OT loss, Lundqvist famously said, “Can I score? No.”), there was a thought that he might not stick around long term as a Ranger.


Of course, Tortorella wound up leaving and Lundqvist would eventually sign a long-term contract.  The milder (certainly by comparison to Tortorella) Alain Vigneault came in and the Rangers made their run to the Cup Finals, only to lose to the much bigger and stronger LA Kings.


THE GOALIE IS HUGE BUT IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN THAT


While nobody will argue that the goaltender and his play are almost always the key factor in a big playoff run, this Ranger team needs more than that.  If anything, this year showed the holes in a Ranger defense that has been very good in recent years. In addition, the scoring is simply not there.  When the Rangers went into the playoffs last year, the question was, “Who’s going to score?”  When the Rangers went into the playoffs this year, the question was, “Who’s going to score?”


And frankly, when (if?) the Rangers go into the playoffs next year, the question will be, “Who’s going to score?”


The answer still isn’t clear.


In the 2014 run to the Cup Finals, the in-season acquisition of Martin St. Louis was the sniper the Rangers needed but didn’t have as he scored eight goals and seven assists for 15 ponts.  But a year later, after having a poor season (and only one goal in the playoffs), St. Louis retired.  Also, in 2014, the second leading goal scorer in the playoffs for the Rangers was the mercurial Carl Hagelin with seven goals.  Today he’s gone (but not forgotten).


Those two are no longer here and were the offensive keys to a Cup run.  Has anyone taken their place?


WHAT ABOUT THE “BELL CURVE” FOR THE NEW YORK RANGERS?


Back on December 26, 2015, I was fortunate to do a sports talk shift on WFAN.  During that time, I received a fascinating hockey call from Dante from Brooklyn, asking me if the Rangers had peaked in 2014.  I told him that, much that I hoped I was wrong, I thought they had (for the full seven-minute call, go to SteveKallas.com and click on the 5 AM hour – it’s five minutes in and worth a listen). 


So you can look at the “bell curve” of the Rangers – lost in the conference semis to the Bruins in 2013, lost in the Cup Finals to the Kings in 2014, lost in the conference finals to the Lightning last year and lost to the Penguins in the first round this year.  That’s not promising for next year, certainly if winning the Cup is your goal (which it always is).


SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?


Well, is Henrik Lundqvist still the answer?  It says here that he is but he seems to be showing the same frustration he showed a few years ago against the Bruins.  Lundqvist, pulled from the last two playoff games (and giving up 15 goals while not finishing two games – his worst playoff performance since his rookie year against the Devils), frankly stated, “I think the last two games I just didn’t have it in me to make the difference.”


Frank, but scary.  He also said, “In the second period, it was a feeling of embarrassment to give up that many goals, but also a sense of hopelessness.”


It says here Lundqvist is the guy.  Offensively, the Rangers need a sniper, a guy who can score in the regular season and the playoffs. 


The biggest question mark, surprisingly, is on defense.  Are they too old, too many miles, too many concussions, too many injuries? They need health and help.


The King can do a lot.  But he can’t do it all.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #720 – 2016 NFL Draft Preview


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #720 features our 2016 NFL Draft preview with FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Better Call Saul Episode 2.10 preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #719 of THE FDH LOUNGE, previewing Episode 2.10 of Better Call Saul.


       


       


       


       


Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #718 – Sam Hinkie resignation analysis


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #718 features a breakdown of the Sam Hinkie resignation with the Philadelphia 76ers with FDH Lounge Dignitary Joe Staszak of 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #717 – Villanova 2016 NCAA Hoops Title analysis


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #717 features a breakdown of the 2016 Villanova basketball national championship with FDH Lounge Dignitary Joe Staszak of 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Better Call Saul Episode 2.9 preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #716 of THE FDH LOUNGE, previewing Episode 2.9 of Better Call Saul.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #715 – Steve Smith


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #715 features the program’s third conversation with legendary drummer Steve Smith.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Better Call Saul Episode 2.8 preview


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #714 of THE FDH LOUNGE, previewing Episode 2.8 of Better Call Saul.