Sunday, May 31, 2009

2009 Sports Business Awards Recap

By The FDH New York Bureau (posted by Rick Morris)

On Thursday night, May 28th, I had the honor of attending the second annual Sports Business Journal Sports Business Awards, held at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Sports executives, agencies and teams were recognized for their outstanding performances in 2008. There were 15 categories that were voted on by various luminaries in the sports business sector.

Special thanks to Toby Clark from Sports Busness Journal for allowing STN to cover the event, as well as staff writer Eric Fisher - a friend of The FDH Lounge who has appeared on our show twice in the past year,and will be doing so again sometime in the near future. If you are any kind of a sports fan, please check out his great work at and

And let the debates begin. The envelopes please.....

Other nominees: Indy Racing League, NFL, NHL

Other nominees: ISP Sports, Premier Partnerships

Other nominees: Big Ten Network, CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports

Other nominees: Cisco Systems, EA Sports/ESPN, NeuLion

Other nominees: Fenway Park, Nationals Park, TD Banknorth Garden (Boston), Wachovia Center (Philadelphia)

Other nominees: Momentum Worldwide, SportsMark, Vivid Marketing

Other nominees: Turner Sports, Yahoo! Sports, Sporting News, Fantasy Sports Ventures

SPECIAL 2008 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: PETER UEBERROTH (Former MLB Commissioner, Chairman of U.S. Olympic Committee)

Other nominees: BEST, IMG, Octagon, Wasserman Media Group

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: Joe Castiglione (Univ. of Oklahoma)
Other nominees: Sandy Barbour (U.California), Jeremy Foley (U.Florida), JoelMaturi (U.Minnesota)

Other nominees: Daytona 500, MLB All-Star Game (Yankee Stadium, NBA All-Star Game (New Orleans), U.S. Open (Golf)

Other nominees: Genesco Sports Enterprises, Octagon, Velocity Sports & Entertainment, Wasserman Media Group

Other nominees: Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Blackhawks, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays

Other nominees: CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Turner Sports

Other nominees: AT&T, Bridgestone, Sharp Electronics, State Farm Insurance

Other nominees: George Bodenheimer (ESPN), David Stern (NBA), Rocky Wirtz (Chicago Blackhawks)

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXII

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Friday, May 29, 2009

NHL 2009 Stanley Cup Finals preview

By Rick Morris

[NOTE: Purely as good clean fun, we decided to embed some pictures of "typical Pittsburgh fans" for this feature.]
There are several juicy hooks for the Stanley Cup Finals: "The Chosen One" Sid Crosby's Penguins against THE league's love'em-or-hate'em team, Marian Hossa going up against the team that he so memorably left to chase a championship in Detroit and the rematch angle.
Let's start with that one first.
Believe it or not, this series marks the first time in the modern history of the "Big Four" sports that there has been more than ten years between championship rematches in ANY sport. The last time there was a rematch in any major sport was the 1998 NBA Finals when the Bulls beat the Jazz for the second straight year.
As a matter of fact, here's how rematches have gone in all leagues in the last 50 years:
^ The last Stanley Cup rematch was the one that Pittsburgh fans want to cite as precedent: the 1984 Oilers rising up and ending the Islander dynasty after the previous year's defeat. Other rematches came in 1977/78 (Montreal over Boston both times), 1968/69 (Montreal over St. Louis both times), 1963/64 (Toronto over Detroit both times) and 1959/60 (Montreal over Toronto both times).
^ There have been several hoops rematches over the years, although again none since 1998. Before that, LA and Detroit split in 1988-89, Boston and LA split in 1984/85, LA and Philadelphia split in 1982/83, Washington and Seattle split in 1978/79, LA and New York split in 1972/73, Boston beat LA both times in 1968/69, Boston beat LA both times in 1965/66, Boston beat LA both times in 1962/63 and Boston beat St. Louis both times in 1960/61.
^ There has only been one rematch in the Super Bowl era, Dallas over Buffalo both times in 1992/93. Prior to that, in the NFL, Green Bay beat Dallas both times in 1966/67, Green Bay beat the New York Giants in 1961/62 and Baltimore beat the New York Giants in 1958/59. In the AFL, Buffalo beat San Diego both times in 1965/66.
^ Baseball stands alone with only one rematch in the last quarter-century, the Yankees over the Dodgers both times in 1977/78.
So while we haven't seen many rematches in major sports recently, this period of time with so few of them is the historical exception and not the rule.
Now, the Hossa angle ... very interesting. As a notorious Red Wing fan and sadist regarding all things Pittsburgh, I said on our GOON SQUAD program that I really wanted to see the Wings close out the series in Pittsburgh again with Hossa hoisting the Conn Smythe trophy. If that happens, the blue-collar denizens of Western Pennsylvania will end up reenacting the Attica riots on national television. Seeing one of the game's top stars win a championship at the expense of the team he left -- because he expressly felt like he was going to a better team -- is surely one of the more dramatic possibilities in the recent annals of sport.
And certainly, from a marketing standpoint, seeing Gary Bettman's annointed torch-carrier for the league, Sid Crosby, taking on America's Team for the second straight year, is a very, very compelling scenario. The Detroit Red Wings have the strongest national following of any franchise, and they are thus widely hated as well. With four Stanley Cups since 1997 and another appearance in the Finals the previous year, the Wings have set the recent standard of success in the NHL. Pittsburgh won two Stanley Cups in 1991/92, only to be nudged aside by Detroit as The Hockey News Team of the Decade. So this rivalry is actually nothing new, even if it has not been directly manifested on the ice that often.
In terms of position-by-position, the Wings have the most obvious superiority on the blue line even if they collectively underachieved during the regular season. Nick Lidstrom is the game's best defenseman since Bobby Orr and his pairing with another great in Brian Rafalski is absolutely sublime. Brad Stuart and the very physical Nick Kronwall are an excellent second unit with up-and-comer Jonathan Ericsson making an impact in these playoffs as well -- even if he is coming off an emergency appendectomy. Aside from the outstanding Sergei Gonchar, whose injury really contributed to Pittsburgh's rough regular season, the Pens make up their blue line combos with a bunch of Carolina-esque overachievers.
Of course, Pittsburgh wins the battle of forwards purely in terms of the explosiveness of the top skaters. Crosby actually finished behind teammate Evgeni Malkin in scoring this year, a tribute to the capabilities of both. Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin both add nicely to the top lines and as our good friend Russ Cohen of Sportsology has pointed out, the third line combination has developed nicely this year. The Wings have their offense more evenly distributed top-to-bottom, however, and the Eurotwins of Pavel Datsyuk and and Henrik Zetterberg are the best two-way superstars in the league (remember how Hank Z shut down the Pens last year in addition to scoring explosively en route to the Conn Smythe Trophy). There has not been a better clutch playoff scorer than Johan Franzen over the past two years and Dan Cleary was hot in the conference finals as well. The forwards probably equate to about a draw.
The same can probably be said of the goalies, as controversial a sentiment as that might be. Marc-Andre Fleury has the superstar pedigree and is starting to live up to it -- and pretty much singlehandedly stole Game Five of the Finals a year ago -- but Chris Osgood has won two Stanley Cups as a starter. We pronounced him the biggest "X factor" of the playoffs at the outset and he really came alive after a horrible regular season. He has leveraged his recent misfortune for motivation and is playing as well as anyone. That he can be judged as able to stand up to Fleury is a tremendous plus for the Wings.
In the end, my prediction for the Finals matches my preseason pick: Wings in six and Chris Osgood for Conn Smythe Trophy. My playoff record thus far is a tasty 11-3, so if anyone is tempted to dismiss the pick as homerism, think again. To be the man, you've got to beat the man, so bring it on, Pittsburgh!

Sportsology: young talent in the Stanley Cup Finals

By Rick Morris

All hockey fans know the names of the slam-dunk Hall of Fame talent in these upcoming Stanley Cup Finals. Barring career-threatening injuries, there could easily be ten players skating in this series that will be enshrined someday in Toronto. But our good pal Russ Cohen always likes to dig just a big deeper. Courtesy of our syndication agreement with Sportsology, here is a look at the younger players who may well hold the balance of power in this epic clash.

Both Stanley Cup Teams Have Developed Young Talent
By Russ Cohen

Instead of breaking down each team's lines and who gets the pluses and who gets the minuses, I'd rather talk about how each team has developed young talent and infused that into their starting lineups.

Let's start with the Red Wings.

^ Jonathan Ericsson – a ninth round gem and a great offensive talent on the blue line. Joe McDonnell, the Director of Amateur Scouting, told me that they were “fortunate” to get the young talent. But the more you watch the Red Wings, the more you realize how dominant their scouting is. Even on the heels of an emergency appendectomy, I expect him to play.

^ Ville Leino – This talented forward hasn’t produced any playoff points just yet, but for Grand Rapids, he had 13 points in 10 playoff games! When the injury bug hit, he was ready to get in there and suck up the minutes. He was a free agent signing!

^ Justin Abdelkader – Has scored one playoff point so far. He will play defense and block shots but he’s always looking to jet into the offensive zone. He’s good on face-offs and on the power play. Has good puck skills and can deke defenseman out of their skates. Last year I interviewed him after the Red Wings clinched. He never played but he was a part of the team and now he’s contributing.

^ Darren Helm – I wrote about him in early May and now he’s an overnight sensation. He can go end-to-end if necessary, but otherwise he can move the puck around, play solid defense, and contribute with points as well. Even game-winners! He has a great shot. He is a terrific all-around player with emerging skills. A dangerous player if you forget he’s on the ice.

On the Penguins side, most of the talented players that they have produced over the years are now mainstays of the team, like Sidney Crosby (21), Evgeni Malkin (22), Tyler Kennedy (22), Jordan Staal (20), Marc-Andre Fleury (24) -- a pretty impressive list. Now, let's talk about some of their other contributors.

^ Kris Letang – It’s hard to believe that he only scored two points last season in the playoffs, but his role was different. This year he’s been terrific and already has nine points. His puck-moving skills, rocket shot, and great skating ability really help the Penguins lineup.

^ Alex Goligoski – He’s waiting in the wings, and if there is a hint of bad play or an injury, he’s ready to jump in. Listen to what Assistant Coach and still Director of Player Development Tom Fitzgerald said about him on XM Hockey Prospect Radio this week Saturday 12-1, Sunday 4-5. He’s gotten faster and better on the power play, and all he’s looking for is some more ice time. He has great offensive gifts. He takes a lot of shots, and he is elusive, and that gives him scoring opportunities. He has improved defensively, and he would be starting for most teams in the league.

There are a ton of stars to watch in this Stanley Cup but as always, I will be scouting the young talent as well. We will have full Cup coverage throughout and live Cup coverage from Game Three on at Sportsology.

The Tonight Show transition of power

By Rick Morris

The late-night era that began with the struggle to succeed Johnny Carson (chronicled so memorably in the 1996 HBO movie "The Late Shift") ends tonight with the final chapter in the saga that lasted the better part of two decades: Leno vs. Letterman. On a somewhat amusing note, the CBS show went out of its way to load up on guests this week, as though pulling out a win in the ratings in the very last days of the battle would erase a nearly 14-year beatdown!

The dynamic that will follow from this point forward is truly unique in television history. Conan O'Brien takes over Tonight starting this Monday to fulfill a promise made five years ago by the network when they sunsetted Leno's role as host. But for the first time in the history of the property, O'Brien will not be the unquestioned alpha dog of NBC talk shows merely by virtue of that post -- Leno's new show that will appear from 10-11 PM EDT every weeknight starting in September will keep him in a slot of ascendancy on the network. That opinion is shared by no less an authority than Mediaweek TV columnist Marc Berman, who voiced it on our FDH LOUNGE program this past Wednesday. Although both sides are dismissing concerns about network hierarchy as it relates to guest booking, the issue seems certain to assert itself by the end of the year at the very latest.

Moving from the 11:30 spot was never Leno's idea, nor was rocking the boat of his success something that made a tremendous amount of sense for the network. In fairness, though, they were caught in the midst of a potential bidding war for Conan's services back in '04 and they faced the possibility of seeing him become a formidable competitor. Whether or not they made the right choice, it must be acknowledged that they faced a tough choice.

As his remaining time wound down, Leno began to explore a number of different options, thus putting the network in a mirror image of their Conan conundrum! Last summer, we handicapped the Leno sweepstakes and we were correct in installing a stay at NBC Universal as the most likely option. After putting a number of possibilities on the table, the network ultimately built him a virtual Mayflower van for his "Irsay" move an hour-and-a-half earlier. He is taking with him essentially his entire Tonight Show identity with the network's blessing.

He faces long odds in winning ratings battles in that timeslot, but his show is so much cheaper to produce than a scripted network production that NBC likely won't care -- unless the affiliates see their 11:00 news ratings fall into the dumper as a result and riot. In all likelihood, the show will probably fare moderately well, enough to keep everyone happy.

The new Jay Leno Show will likely put a dent in Tonight, however, as the channel will be putting forth three hours of late night programming each night, interrupted only by the late local news. The middle-aged and older folks who are the backbone of Leno's audience won't have to stay up as late to watch the program, nor will they be forced to accustom themselves to O'Brien's brand of hosting.

So how will this affect the new Conan vs. Dave battle? Well, Letterman decided long ago to change his style (creatively, for the worse) to become more "accessible" to the older audience at 11:30. "12:30 Dave" is a distant memory and it's uncertain as to whether the decision to placate the earlier viewers paid off for him. Would he have been trounced worse by Leno had he kept his old persona, or did his ratings victories in the initial two years of the head-to-head mean that a core of people followed him from 12:30 hoping for the show to devolve into what it used to be? We will never know.

What we do know is that Conan's 12:30 style was even more experimental and younger-skewing than Letterman's show was -- and that's saying something. A change to safer and more traditional comedy at 11:30 would be an even more abrupt change for Conan than Dave's watering-down was when it began 16 years ago. Hopefully he won't try anything too over-the-top in his attempts to be palatable, like wearing a sweater vest.

The guess here is that the challenges in front of Conan -- deciding on how many of his quirky elements to retain in the new time slot and internal posturing against Leno's new show when it debuts -- will give Letterman an opening to take the ratings lead after the initial curiosity factor wanes. Factor in George Lopez starting on TBS later this year as another potential spoiler, plus whatever Jimmy Kimmel tries to put himself in the picture, and this era is easily going to be on par with the final years of Carson (with Arsenio and the other competitors) and the first few of Jay/Dave. The network must see this arrangement through at least for a year as the new shows at 10:00 and 11:30 try to get their sea legs. In the end, though, if both timeslots are significantly weaker a year from now, the network may revert to the tried-and-true formula at 11:30 and turn back to Leno to be the Grover Cleveland of Tonight Show hosts.

Al Jaffee's Fold-Ins: online starting with this batch!

By Rick Morris

On our 59th episode of THE FDH LOUNGE on this past Wednesday night, we were honored to speak to one of America's premier cartoonists, Al Jaffee from Mad Magazine. We spoke about the challenges that his employer, like so many similar publications, are facing during this historic period of transition to all-things-digital.

I mentioned that I thought that his trademark feature, the Fold-In, would translate well to the Web, with a viewer looking at a picture and then clicking a button for the "digital fold." He agreed and mentioned that he was going to be in discussions with Mad about moving some of his work to their website. That was a great moment for us, as he broke some news on our show.

Additionally, he mentioned that the New York Times had already dabbled with this in the form of a feature that they ran on him on their website last year. He didn't have a specific URL at his disposal during the interview, but he expressed confidence that we could find those samples through a simple web search.

And we did.

This profile story on Al, which is well worth your time, contains with it digital samples of his work. Here is the direct link.

I believe that these samples justify the belief that the Fold-Ins are very well-suited for the Internet age and I hope that Mad can make arrangements to get them online in the very near future. Their website will benefit greatly and Al Jaffee's timeless work will be exposed anew to younger generations who haven't seen many of his classics.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #59: May 27, 2009

By Rick Morris

After last week's extravaganza with Bob Barker, JJ Dillon and other great guests, the 59th episode of THE FDH LOUNGE on (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT) will have to go to great lengths in order to keep the momentum moving forward. Fortunately, we are always up to the task.

We lead off with Columbus Crawl for Cancer Organizer JP Ratajczak. Crawl for Cancer organizes pub crawls in different cities to raise money for cancer research and JP's Columbus chapter is holding their annual event this Saturday, May 30. We urge you to click the link for more information and we look forward to having JP explain the event at the outset of tonight's program.

Then, after The Opening Statements of The Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge and This Week in The FDH Lounge, we bring in an absolute legend. Praised by Charles Schulz as "somebody who can cartoon anything," Al Jaffee's work has appeared in more than 440 issues of Mad Magazine -- more than anyone else's. Best known for the features "Tall Tales," "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" and of course, the incomparable "Fold-In," Jaffee is one of America's greatest writers and cartoonists. On the occasion of Mad's 500th edition, who better to talk about how the magazine has evolved over the past few decades than the one and only Al Jaffee?

Hour Two starts on a high note as well with one of the best TV industry beat writers, Marc Berman of Mediaweek Magazine. The upfronts just came and went last week as the networks have shown their cards about the fall lineups. What changes can we expect on our TVs as a results of various network plans? Marc will tell us.

We'll then break down the NBA Conference Finals before welcoming in yet another eclectic addition to our guest lineup. Missy Hyatt was THE original pro wrestling diva back in the 1980s, with all due respect to other prominent females of the day. Her tell-all book set a new standard for frankness in industry tomes. We'll talk to her about her time in the business, her thoughts on the industry and what she's got planned next.

Here's a video from back in the day with her and Raven-before-he-was-Raven.

In Hour Three, we segue as always into THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER, this week with a look at trends in MLB pitching this year and this decade. If you're thinking that the new Yankee Stadium is skewing the overall numbers this year, the 2009 and 2008 ESPN MLB Park Factors rankings may serve as eye-openers for you.

In the second half of Hour Three, THE GOON SQUAD previews the all-but-official Stanley Cup Finals rematch of Detroit vs. Pittsburgh from a year ago. How do the Wings and Pens match up this year? We'll break it down for you.

It’s going to be a great program and we hope you can be a part of our audience. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Sports fans = Grampa Abe Simpson

By Rick Morris

You can't throw a dead rat on the Internet these days without hitting some ignorant jerk opining on Lebron James by making up stuff completely. The most popular statement is a variation on the notion that "Michael Jordan never missed a big shot in his entire career!"
Now, I love to argue with people in many forums of life, including our FDH LOUNGE program on (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT). But I love informed arguments, intelligent people going back and forth where there's at least a hint of validity to both sides. I absolutely loathe know-nothingism in all its forms, and as great as the Internet has been in the improvements it has brought to modern society, empowering every last knuckle-dragger unworthy of it has been an unfortunate side effect.
Talk radio fuels this phenomenon as well, but there are actually many elements to blame.
For me, the signature moment in the infantilization of our modern society came a few years back, when the always-vapid John Salley defended Kanye West for his post-Katrina remarks. Now, Salley could have said that in this country, Kanye is entitled to his opinion and he'd have been right about that (ignorant though Kanye's opinion was). But no, that wasn't what Salley said. He said, "Kanye is entitled to HIS TRUTH."
His truth. Let that sink in for a bit.
Apparently, in this country, there is no objective truth anymore. Anything that anybody thinks is valid. If Kanye wants to make a pronouncement about George W. Bush's bigotry that was completely at variance with everything that was known about the president -- and remember that I am a repeat critic of the former president -- then, hey, it's true because he said so. His truth.
So if every Lebron-hater in the world wants to throw crap at a wall to prove that he's overrated, then that's just their truth. He's overrated because people say that he is. Know-nothings who confuse their own fatigue of Lebron hype with the notion that he is not as great as advertised can get great traction for their sub-literate rants because, hey, that's their truth.
Grampa Abe Simpson's got an excuse for his failure to portray events as they actually were. What excuse have these peons got?

The empathy hustle

By Rick Morris

Yesterday's announcement that constitutional radical Sonia Sotomayor would join the Supreme Court -- and all "process" ga-ga aside, the votes were there even to put the corpse of Abbie Hoffman on the Court if President Obama so chose -- triggered yet another insipid round of talk in left-wing circles about how this nominee had the "empathy" to be a great Justice.

Even in this Orwellian world we now inhabit, where words are routinely turned on their heads, rarely have two words as far apart as "empathy" and "tyranny" been joined. But now, truly, in Obama's Washington, tyranny=empathy.

Republicans have been right to stand up to the empathy hustle, although they've done so in their usual clumsy way and have been ripe for some of the most shameless Democrat whimpering yet: "You're opposed to empathy? You must love to see starving old people and children begging on street corners!"

What nobody has been able to enunciate -- until now, that is -- is why the interjection of a term such as "empathy" into this solemn process is a crime against our lawful form of government.

It's very simple, actually. We are the constitutional republic that we are because we are tethered to the words set down in our Constitution lo those centuries ago, nothing more and nothing less. Every attempt to render this as a "living document" spits in the face of what we are as a country.

We cannot invent new rights and laws out of whole cloth. The Constitution provides a manner by which it can be amended and that is the proper course for any changes that must come outside of what was laid out previously. Those changes must originate in the legislative branch, the one closest and most responsive to the people. Unfortunately, in the decades since FDR began interjecting extra-constitutional principles into our political discourse, judges have felt free to make decisions on what they feel that the law should be, instead of what it actually is.

This path leads invariably to a banana republic. If the law is whatever some people in robes say that it is, then everything that we stand for as a nation is up for grabs every day. There must be universal truth in the course of a set of laws that we abide by as a country. Judges must have the mindset to interpret the laws as they are, not as they want them to be.

When a judge like Sotomayer speaks approvingly of bringing change from the bench, when political hacks cite "empathy" and "life experience" as positive qualifiers rather than a determination to objectively render justice without prejudice, our constitutional republic is truly on life support. But then again, Barack Obama was elected on the affirmation that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

Public sector unions enslaving the USA

By Rick Morris

Labor issues have been front-and-center this year with the election of a president very much beholden to the Big Labor bosses. But while the attempts to remove the secret ballot for union formation and President Obama's unilateral decision to screw over bondholders to award key control of Chrysler to the UAW have received the lion's share of attention, a far more insidious development lies just under the surface.

The Wall Street Journal recently examined in great detail the consequences of power wielded by the nation's public sector unions, which have fought to squeeze the taxpayers mercilessly even during this fierce recession. The fact that government entities at all levels don't have any money doesn't affect their resolve at all. They've got theirs and they're going to make sure that we keep paying ours to them. The Service Employees International Union has already exercised direct veto power over Obama Administration policy when it came to stopping the public sector unions from directly abusing taxpayers!

This blog entry from Heritage goes into great detail about how and why public sector unions can choke the public coffers for every last penny: because they own powerful Democrat politicians from Obama on down. Ponder this insane fact -- in this horrible economy with the private sector shedding jobs like there's no tomorrow, the public sector is still adding jobs. Great, we'll just borrow more caysh from China and stick our grandchildren with the tab so some paper-pusher bureaucrat can keep paying on his summer home!

Do you think that last statement was overkill? Then check out how the public employees in California -- arguably the worst-governed state in the nation for decades as a result of the sway of the public unions -- live like potentates on their fattened pensions and benefits while the Governator has to hold out a tin can for Uncle Sam to bail out the state government.

This is the kind of "hope" and "change" that so many voted for last November. I knew better at the time. As for me, I "hope" I have at least some "change" left to my name by the time we get a chance to repeal the


in 2012.

Monday, May 25, 2009

NHL Draft Guide: Hackett interview

By Rick Morris

It's almost that time of year again! In mere weeks, we will be releasing HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY 2009 in conjunction with the NHL Entry Draft as a partnership with our good friends, and fellow members of the 21st Century Media Alliance, Sportsology. This one is actually a bit special in the sense that it was the first one that we worked together to produce a year ago and we've now completed the entire cycle the first time around!

HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY 2009 will contain material about the draft and other content as a bonus to all puckheads out there. As we did last year, we will be serializing it here -- and so will Sportsology.

Our first piece to reproduce here is an interview that Sportsology's Russ Cohen conducted with blue-chip goaltending prospect Matt Hackett. Enjoy reading about this young man with a bright future.

Hackett Has Worked Hard To Get Drafted
By Russ Cohen

Plymouth Whalers goaltender Matt Hackett is a top-notch prospect in the Ontario Hockey League who sported an eye-popping .913 save percentage this season and a .930 in the playoffs. A lot of scouts and pundits have paid close attention to the #1 ranked Domestic Goaltender, according to Central Scouting, and now his life will soon change forever once he finally hears his name called in Montreal at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft this coming June 26th and 27th.

“It’s nice to be ranked,” he said in an understated way. “Our team had a solid year and I have them to thank for a lot of my accomplishments this year. Last year was my draft year and I was passed over, so I had a chip on my shoulder this year. It has always been my dream to get drafted and play in the NHL. It will definitely be an amazing moment for me.”

Hackett, 19, loves playing in front of the loyal fans in Plymouth, Michigan.“Our fans are pretty crazy and it’s a good atmosphere there,” said Hackett, who expects to come back next season.

A fair amount of top prospects hail from the OHL and two of them require some special attention.

London’s John Tavares is a devastating scorer who is fully capable of dishing off for a goal every time he touches the puck. He is especially dangerous in the crease, and that doesn’t go unnoticed by this netminder.

“It’s definitely in the back of your mind and you say ‘uh oh,’ you just have to be more careful. He’s a sneaky player,” he added.

Matt Duchene’s speed is his best attribute and Hackett is very aware of that when he’s facing the Brampton Battalion.

“Yeah definitely. My goalie coach, Stan Matwijiw, shows me what their tendencies are and stuff. It’s fun and he’s definitely a very talented player, so it’s always fun when he’s coming down the ice on you,” said Hackett.

During the summer, his uncle Jeff, a former NHLer and current Colorado Avalanche goaltending coach, works with his nephew to help him get to the next level.

“Since I was 13 he brought me out with all of the NHLers that are around town here and just on ice he would be there once or twice a week. He’s been a great influence on me and he has basically made me the goalie that I am today,” he said with pride. “When I was younger I went to his games in Chicago a lot, and of course I went to his games in Toronto.”

Jeff was drafted in the second round, 34th overall in 1987. It’s possible Matt could be drafted earlier than that, and if he is, will he nudge his uncle a bit?

“Yeah I might. I’m not too worried about where I go but I might give him a little nudge,” he said honestly.

At 6-3, 175 he’s a big butterfly goaltender who takes his off-ice conditioning very seriously.

“Last year I put on 11 pounds and this year I hope to do the same. My trainer and I along with Nazem Kadri (the 11th-ranked Domestic Skater according to Central Scouting) trained almost everyday, maybe five, six days a week. We are in the gym doing either legs and arms and lots of core exercises. Then on Saturday, we go to the track, and then Sunday we have the day off.”

And when questioned who was the faster athlete? He laughed and then he said, “I don’t know? It goes back and forth; he’s a good athlete. But I’d say I’m a tad faster than he is.”

The lanky goalie has a difficult food challenge that most of us would love to have.

“You try and eat healthy and trying to put on just muscle, I don’t want to put on any fat, but yeah, I’m eating a lot right now,” he said casually and then he talked about the dinner he had the other night. “A few potatoes, a big steak, vegetables, lots of bread and for dessert I think I had four tarts. Then I came home and had a protein shake that’s like 12,000 calories. It’s hard to force it down.”

Jeremy Smith helped him a lot this year until he was traded to the Niagra IceDogs, and that’s when Hackett had his chance to shine.“My backup is a good friend of mine, Scott Wedgewood, and he was now getting a chance too. I was ecstatic when I heard he was traded. Smitty was a good friend to me. I love playing and I hate sitting on the bench,” said the competitor.

Like most young backstops, he had a little trouble with his rebound control last season, but this year was another story.

“Last year I was having trouble with it and the game seemed faster -- this year it’s slowed down a lot and controlling rebounds has gotten a lot easier,” Hackett stated. “Getting the pucks to the corners, and just catching pucks with my glove and clearing them with my chest. My 'D' did a great job all year. They did a great job of clearing the rebounds if I had any, and they kept the shots to the outside.”

When his defense performs well, does he take them out to dinner like a quarterback does with his offensive lineman in football? “We don’t get paid that much yet. I’ll get them something but we only get paid $50 bucks a week.”

Hackett is a special player who has a bright future ahead of him.

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXI

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Happy Memorial Day

By Rick Morris

Veterans have always been heroes to me, people who put a cause greater than themselves ahead of their own well-being. This very visceral account of D-Day from Charles Durning tells the story in all of its honor and horror.

I can't even imagine what it would be like to experience a wartime experience such as this. Nor can I fathom the decades afterwards, as men like Durning came home from war, settled down, had families and built careers -- and were no doubt haunted by the memories of their friends who were cut down when they were very young and never experienced any postwar life.

On this unofficial "first day of summer," let's all try to take some time to remember those who helped make it possible through their blood and sweat. It's a horrible dishonor to let a day like this pass without feeling some gratitude towards the best and bravest among us.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bob Barker addresses Michael Vick release

By Rick Morris

On the very day that Michael Vick was released from federal prison, Bob Barker appeared on our FDH LOUNGE Internet TV show (archives available here), and, inevitably, the subject of the nation's most famous dog-fighting criminal arose. With his long tenure as an animal rights activist, Bob, as you can imagine, had scant sympathy for Vick as he made his way back into society. We urge you to listen to the intervew at the top of the program to hear Bob discuss his fascinating life and career and his thoughts on Vick.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #58: May 20, 2009

By Rick Morris

Let's not mince any words. This is a huge show.

Episode #58 of THE FDH LOUNGE on (7-10 PM EDT) is certainly the biggest one yet in terms of the wattage of star power among our guests. How so? Well, take for instance the fact that we're leading off the show with BOB BARKER!!!

That's right, Bob will "come on down" to The FDH Lounge in our opening segment as we discuss his new book PRICELESS MEMORIES. You won't be surprised to learn from his memoirs that he gets asked every day about his fight scene with Adam Sandler! That will be an early topic of discussion.

In case you missed it, Bob made a recent return to the show he made famous, THE PRICE IS RIGHT, to promote his book.

After we talk to Bob, we'll then go to The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge and then our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge. From there, we examine the NBA Eastern Conference finals to round out Hour One.

At the top of Hour Two, we come back supremely strong with the man who managed the Four Horsemen, JJ Dillon. He too has a great autobiography, WRESTLERS ARE LIKE SEAGULLS - FROM MCMAHON TO MCMAHON. The segment will be great because he is such a well-spoken individual. When we wrap with JJ, we then move back to the NBA with a peek at the Western Conference finals and then our first look at the 2009 NBA Draft.

By the way, here's a classic promo from JJ in 1988.

In Hour Three, we are joined for THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER by fantasy sports columnist Mike Harmon and we will break down the world of roto baseball. Then, Comcast sportscaster Joe Staszak will be on THE GOON SQUAD to talk Stanley Cup Playoffs with us.

It’s going to be a great program and we hope you can be a part of our audience. As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Monday, May 18, 2009

NBA 2009 conference finals preview

By Rick Morris

The NBA moved one step closer to David Stern's mandate of a Lebron-Kobe championship round with the conclusion of the conference semifinals. In the last playoff round, I was 3-1 after starting out 8-0 in the first round.

As I predicted in Fantasy Hoops Draftology 2008 (page 31 to be exact), the Cavs, Magic and Lakers ended up in the league's final four. But just as New Orleans capped off a wondrous regular season last year and continued with a strong run to the conference finals that would have been hard to believe at the beginning of the season, the Nuggets replicated the feat to take home the remaining berth in this next round.

The final two rounds of this year's playoffs should be excellent, as it's hard to make a case for any of the league's 26 other franchises being worthy of still playing this deep into May. A great many subplots remain to be unfolded in the next month or so.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver: The arrogant Lakers have thus far been able to show up for only certain games and still be able to advance this far, but those days are over. It will take complete commitment game in and game out to defeat the West's hottest playoff team.

Anything said at this point about Denver's outstanding acquisition of Chauncey Billups -- THE definitive move that put the team at this level -- would be repetitive, except perhaps to note that he has at least put himself on the fringe of Hall of Fame consideration with his awesome late-bloomer routine. Seven consecutive appearances in the conference finals? Incredible.

As such, these aren't the same pathetic, lesser-than-the-sum-of-their-parts No-Guts that used to be first round playoff cannon fodder. They now possess excellent team chemistry and have the kind of depth and length that could give the SoCal frontrunners serious fits.

However, LA matched up against Denver very well in the regular season and has thumped them in recent playoffs past. Plus, the Nugs have been fairly mediocre on the road, leading one to believe that they won't be a team likely to puncture the Lakers' excellent record at Staples.

While Carmelo Anthony still can't be mentioned in the same breath with Lebron James with a straight face, he has legitimately ascended to an elite level in the league this season. However, he's not likely to be the key player in this series; he'll get his pretty much regardless. It's Pau Gasol, one of the NBA's biggest matchup nightmares, who will loom even larger in this series. So too will Andrew Bynum, who could have a breakthrough moment in these games -- if only he could be bothered to care. In that sense, he's the perfect microcosm for his team, often disgraceful in their lack of heart.

Seeing how the Lakers have played in this postseason, as well as how the Nuggets have played, picking LA brings to mind the question, "Who do you trust, me or your lying eyes?" I'm going against my lying eyes. Los Angeles in six.

Orlando vs. Cleveland. The historic, unmatched start to these playoffs that the Cavaliers have built thus far will surely hit the first bump in the road against the young and game Magic.

Orlando's jump-shooting ethos is not really built for the playoffs, but they were fortunate in their draw against a completely gassed and surprisingly gutless Boston team. When Orlando is on, they're really on, and they proved this season that they're capable of whipping even the league's best defensive team, namely the Cavs.

While picking against the Cavs in the Eastern Finals is impossible based on how they're playing as close to perfect as possible [Side note: That is honestly my unbiased opinion as an observer, although I admit to smiling as I type this as a lifelong Cavs fan!], it is almost equally impossible to imagine the Magic allowing Cleveland's unbeaten postseason to linger much longer. Moreover, it's more likely than not that because Orlando is almost unstoppable on the occasions where they hit a great many jumpers (especially 3s), that they will absolutely boatrace the Cavs in the game(s?) that they win. This will provide an interesting test of loyalty for the many, many fair-weather fans and frontrunners in the Cleveland fanbase.

Ultimately, though, the Cavs take their biggest edge in this series because of their superior depth, an ironic notion given that the franchise has consisted overwhelmingly of Lebron's contributions through his years in town. Not this year -- and that's saying something because LBJ took his game to a new level as the consensus league MVP. But he now has his first legit sidekick in Mo Williams and a far, far better supporting cast than Michael Jordan ever had in Chicago. This team can go 10 or 11 deep with contributors who can collectively provide absolutely every element essential to victory. Orlando's crew ... not so much, but in fairness this team was not expected to go any further than this for the 2008-2009 campaign. They're a work in progress.

One more edge comes in the form of coaching as Mike Brown truly came into his own this year as one of the NBA's elite on his way to capturing Coach of the Year honors. Stan Van Gundy has had significant ups and downs this season and that won't be good enough when he goes up against the league's fastest-rising young gun.

While the other conference final seems like a real coin flip, the biggest challenge here is figuring out the length of the series. I concur with those who say that it feels like a "Cleveland in six" situation, but I do not see the Cavs losing a game at the "Q" and furthermore, it seems a stretch to imagine a team playing as well as they are (not just in the playoffs, but the entire second half of the season) losing back-to-back in Orlando. Plus, I underestimated the team in the second round by predicting Atlanta would stretch them to six games. I will not err on the side of underestimating this special squad again. Cleveland in five.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

NHL 2009 conference finals preview

By Rick Morris

The supersonic 7-1 first-round record faded into a more pedestrian 2-2 second-round mark, although I wasn’t fooled by Pittsburgh twice and picked them for the Eastern Finals.

A few interesting thoughts come to mind before examining the individual matchups:

^ The young Blackhawks are the clear outlier in this field in terms of experience, not having made any deep playoff runs for over a decade. Meanwhile, the Red Wings won it all in 2002 and 2008 (with a 2007 Western Conference Finals berth also in the mix, rendering them the first team since the 1998-2000 Stars to reach the conference finals three straight years), Pittsburgh made it to the Finals in 2008 and Carolina won it all in 2006 with an Eastern Conference Title also to their credit in 2002. For that matter, should Detroit make it to the Finals, they’re assured to play a team that they’ve faced on the game’s biggest stage this decade and a Pittsburgh-Chicago series would be a rematch of the 1992 Finals.

^ Notwithstanding Chicago’s overall lack of experience at this level, they are one of the three teams left with a Cup-winning goalie. Nikolai Khabibulin won his Cup with Tampa in ’04, while Cam Ward hoisted the trophy in ’06 and Chris Osgood won his two as a starter in ’98 and ’08 (with additional status as a playoff backup on the ’97 team that also won the big prize). However, even Pittsburgh, the lone team left with a goalie yet to win it all, has a goalie with Finals experience, as Marc-Andre Fleury backstopped last year’s Pens team and put in one of the greatest performances this decade in the mega-overtime Game Five classic.

^ Detroit is the only one of the four teams not to change their coach this season.

Chicago vs. Detroit: As charter Original Six members, these two squads have faced each other more times than any other teams in the history of the NHL. It’s also the 4th most common playoff matchup in the annals of the league, with the Hawks having taken eight of the 14 previous series – albeit they came up on the losing end of the most recent postseason meeting, the 1995 Western Conference Finals.

In a strange twist for two teams that are presently in the same division, they have actually met twice in the Stanley Cup Finals, in 1934 and 1961 (the most recent Chicago Cup win) and both were won by the Blackhawks. In the days of the Original Six, Finals matchups were possible that are not available in today’s highly regimented division and conference formats.

In yet another strange twist, each organization presently has a Hall of Fame caliber face much more associated with the other one. Chris Chelios will always be best known for his time in Chi-Town, yet he’s pocketed two Cup rings with Detroit and now seeks a third. Scotty Bowman coached the Wings to three Cup championships and was in the front office for a fourth last year but has now moved on to Chicago to work with his son Stan in the Hawk organization.

The teams itself provide a classic mix of contrasts. Detroit is the veteran team that stays on top without ever rebuilding thanks to an ever-replenishing pipeline of young talent and a front office willing to stop at nothing to procure highly-skilled remaining pieces. Chicago has made a precipitous recovery after an interminable – and until very recently, highly unsuccessful – rebuilding project. The Wings expected to be here and the year would have been a colossal failure had they not. The quick and skilled young Blackhawks have exceeded public expectations to this point, and probably their own as well.

Chicago is quicker overall, and that element has caused the Wings trouble in past springs, but more so when they were an older team. Plus, the Hawks certainly don’t have anyone faster than Darren Helm! Detroit is deeper offensively and defensively, but in Chicago’s defense that could be said of any of the other 29 teams in the league on paper. And for what it is worth, Chicago coach Joel Quennville has spent most of his career with an “Owned by the Winged Wheel” tattoo on his forehead, albeit with many of his lumps having been inflicted by his new organizational mate Bowman. Speaking of psychology, it was noted here at the beginning of the playoffs that Chris Osgood was the single biggest “X factor” of the 2009 postseason and much to everyone’s surprise – including me as a longtime Red Wings fan yet highly objective prognosticator – he has resembled the stout Ozzie of last spring.

Essentially, the series will come down to how big of a factor Chicago’s rawness at this level happens to be. If the team is able to successfully embrace it, playing with the loose confidence of a team that doesn’t know that it’s a year or two ahead of schedule, it could cause major problems for a Detroit team that could still look wobbly if they drop one of the first two home games in ugly fashion. Certainly, the Wings could come in a bit dazed after a bruising seven-game battle with Anaheim. In the end, though, the guess is that the series plays out in the end pretty much as it looks on paper. Detroit in six.

Carolina vs. Pittsburgh: While Chicago and Detroit have been known commodities to each other for decades, these two organizations never clashed in the playoffs, not even for the Canes’ first two decades of existence as the Hartford Whalers.

Certainly, the Pens have high-end firepower that nobody else in the league can match with the Crosby/Malkin pairing and the Hurricanes bear the burden of being a distant fourth among the remaining teams if one merely examines them on paper. Their best player, with the possible exception of goalie Cam Ward, is sensational young center Eric Staal. If you believe as I do that the Staal family is essentially the NHL’s version of the Mannings at this point with a couple of awesome young stars coming into their own, then Eric equates to Peyton by having been the first to win a title. Younger brother Jordan would love to become the league’s version of Eli by becoming the second to win it all – and he just happens to skate for Pittsburgh. Subplot alert! And oh by the way, Jordan will probably be matched up a great amount with Eric and as such he’ll be critical to the Pens’ chances of neutralizing the Carolina franchise player. Kind of puts one-on-one matchups in other sports to shame, does it not?

Pittsburgh is simply more explosive with their forwards than Carolina and they are deeper to boot. They must be careful, however, since the Canes arguably were worse on paper than New Jersey in the first round and certainly were worse on paper than Boston in the second round. Right now, the Devils and Bruins are shorn of their playoff beards and solely concerned with their golf games. If Carolina gets a split in the Igloo to start the series, they could well be poised for a third consecutive upset.

Essentially, though, just like in the West, the smart pick has to be the team that looks better and more complete overall. This series looks extremely unlikely to be decided quickly and it will surely extract a price from the winner, but it has to be considered Pittsburgh’s to lose. Unlike in the West, though, as a lifelong resident of the Cleveland area, I take no pleasure whatsoever in this prediction. Pittsburgh in seven.

Here’s hoping for the Stanley Cup Finals ending exactly as they did a year ago, but this time with Marian Hossa hoisting the Conn Smythe Trophy on Pittsburgh ice!

Sportsology: Penguin third-line strength

By Rick Morris

Courtesy of our good pal Russ Cohen at Sportsology and Hockeyology, we bring you this excellent analysis about the depth that the Pittsburgh Penguins will bring to bear in the Eastern Conference Finals that begin on Monday. As a lifelong Clevelander and a rabid Detroit Red Wings fan, I fervently hope that Russ’s sense that this line could be instrumental will be wrong! Alas, but Russ rarely is. Oh, but, on Russ’s point about this third line being the best in the league? Daniel Cleary, Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson say hi!

Penguins’ Strength is in the Locker Room and The Third Line
By Russ Cohen

The current Pittsburgh Penguins are known for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Sergei Gonchar and Jordan Staal. As a matter of fact Staal, Tyler Kennedy, and Matt Cooke are a big reason this team has been hard to match up against. They may be this team’s third line but they would be many other teams’ second lines for sure.

“It’s obviously what our line wants to do, and the more we play in their end, the better it is for our team,” said Kennedy. “I just want to get better and get better next round and go on.”

I’ve had a chance to witness the funny part of the locker room, mostly on the road, where Max Talbot, Kennedy, and Staal yuck it up, before and after games. They have terrific chemistry and so far this year there hasn’t been a team that could match the Penguins third line.

“It shows we have a lot of depth and a lot of guys,” Kennedy said, until Staal blew up the interview.

Kennedy: What? (as he looked towards Staal). I thought everybody played well. (Staal is laughing and trying to distract his teammate in the next locker over).

Russ: Does Staal always rip on you?

Kennedy: Yeah, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing.

Staal: (Generally mocking Kennedy with smirks and sounds)

Kennedy: I think my interviews are sweet.

When the Hurricanes matchup against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals a lot of the talk will center around the brothers’ Staal, and a fair amount of talk should be said about the club’s entire third line. Many times they tire the opposing teams out thoroughly.

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XX

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Notre Dame disgraces itself

By Rick Morris

Notre Dame’s sellout today to what the last two popes have labeled the “Culture of Death” marks a low point in the American tendency over the past several decades to elevate the whims of a decadent modern culture over the timeless wisdom of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Pat Buchanan has done a fine job over the decades of chronicling how the modern Roman Catholic Church in America has moved from trying to educate the world to trying to be a part of it at all costs. Notre Dame is now clearly embracing the ethos of abandoning core principles in the same way that Georgetown and other “cafeteria Catholic” institutions have previously. To my knowledge, they have not done so previously, at least in such an ostentatious manner.

Lest this come off as just another reactionary rant from an old-school Roman Catholic, consider this: Notre Dame is granting President Obama arguably its two most-valued honors in the form of an honorary degree and the slot as commencement speaker when he stands against them on some of the most important issues of the day. On abortion, encouragement of alternative lifestyles and the dignity of human life even in difficult end stages, the church stands on one side and the progressive movement – exemplified by this president – stands on the other.

I am a big believer in dialogue on issues, but I also believe firmly that core principles cannot be squandered in pursuit of false unity. As an intellectually honest person, I believe this is true of any type of organization. It would be equally ludicrous, for example, for an Islamic institution to bestow an equivalent honor on a Likudnik simply because they could not be more diametrically opposed on their most important issue.

Had Notre Dame invited Obama merely to speak on campus, I would have no problem with such a decision. Having it out back and forth in an informed manner is what this country is all about, to say nothing of the world of higher education itself. But that is not what they chose. They chose to invite the man who embodies the resistance to the church’s mission in the modern world to receive these two honors. That is truly pathetic and represents sheer cowardice and lack of principle. A less timid Vatican would lay the smack down on these ankle-grabbers.

FDH Lounge 1000th post/State of the Union

By Rick Morris

On the occasion of the 1000th post here on The FDH Lounge Multimedia Magazine, it’s an opportune time to address the overall state of the enterprise and how we got to this point. Courtesy of the FDH Facebook page, this “25 random things about FDH” feature helps paint the picture as well.

The story’s been told many times before: after spinning off of our good friend Pat Luft’s great site back in ’06, Jason Jones and I wanted to put our own theories and practices into place with And when we got that up and running by the end of that year, we partnered up with the crew we assembled that would become known as The Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge. The premise was simultaneously simple and extravagant: nothing is off-topic. Just as we dissected the fantasy sports world with the initial division of FDH Enterprises, LLC, so too would we examine the entire world – sports and non-sports – with the same kind of focus.

Our program on (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT) proved that shows on that station could exist with a range that went beyond sports and, in all candor, helped pave the way for the broader mix of material you see on that Internet TV station to this day. Politics, geopolitics, music, movies, pop culture and any other number of topics have since been discussed on the STN airwaves by any number of talented people, many of whom were not yet around when the program debuted on January 14, 2007.

In August of that year, we opened this site, then known simply as The FDH Lounge Blog. As we came to add pictures, videos and other features beyond the written word, we subsequently adopted our identity as The FDH Lounge Multimedia Magazine, recognizing that this blog now possessed a great many more features than the general public tends to associate with this medium. Also, while some of our columns adhere to the common blog convention of shorter length, others have more detail and are in more of the “magazine style.” We are adding “bite-size” versions of our program in the form of videoblogging right here in the near future, further blurring the distinctions between the different manifestations of our entirely unique brand. We have also added a presence on Facebook and Twitter in order to add further exposure to our brand.

If The FDH Lounge is truly about anything, it is about a restless energy that always seeks to examine different topics and find ways to enlighten and entertain in regards to them. As such, we can point to no better representation of this project than this: our FDH Lounge Ultimate Links Page, now up to 1,230 links on all subjects. We always love to say that it’s the only web page that you will ever really need and if you check out the comprehensive-yet-highly-organized page even once, you’ll know what we mean.

The management team of myself, Senior Editor Jason Jones and Entertainment Editor Samantha Jones has worked very well together, notwithstanding the regrettable fact that we have been separated geographically since late 2007; I remain in the Cleveland area while they now hold down the fort with the FDH Western Office in Greater Denver. Our team of Dignitaries is likewise incomparable, the best friends and wisest colleagues that anyone could ever want. They can collectively speak energetically with great knowledge and entertainment value on an incredibly vast number of topics. Additionally, along the way, we picked up somebody who really transcends even the lofty tag of FDH Lounge Dignitary: our FDH New York Bureau, Creative Consultant/Producer Steve Cirvello. This veteran of the East Coast media scene has contributed so much to us in terms of guest booking, show ideas and the like and is truly one of the most talented all-around contributors working the business today.

In addition to the people purely under our own banner, we have struck up valuable relationships with other growing New Media enterprises. Last summer, we used the occasion of the 500th post at The FDH Lounge to announce the formation of The Friends of FDH Club, a cooperative society that would provide a useful banner for us to work together. I can now announce with pride that we have found a more representative name that sums up the scope of all of these ventures: the 21st Century Media Alliance. We are pleased to be associated with such a wide range of growing enterprises, such as Sportsology, Card Corner Club, The Pullins Report,, and recent SportsCenter subject Outside the Boxscore.

And so, in the spirit of the 1,000th post here, I will add one final announcement to the noting of the Ultimate Links page expanding to 1,230 and the 21st Century Media Alliance: the most famous guest we have ever had on our program, because he is one of the most famous people in America. This Wednesday, May 20, right at the top of our program at 7 PM EDT, we welcome in legendary television personality Bob Barker. He recently penned his life story, “Priceless Memories,” and he’ll be discussing anything and everything you ever wanted to know about him. In a way, I find it quite fitting: Bob helped set a standard of success in the broadcasting business in the 20th century that we are trying to reach in the 21st century. Nobody knows exactly what the future holds, so I can’t say for sure what lies ahead – but I can promise you that we’re going to continue to make this journey very compelling as we have thus far.

Friday, May 15, 2009

RIP Wayman Tisdale

By Rick Morris

People who can reinvent themselves to rule two completely different fields are rare breeds indeed. That description fit Wayman Tisdale to a T as he established himself as one of the dominant college hoops players of the '80s before settling into a decent pro career and then becoming a top-selling jazz bassist.

Unfortunately, he left us today at age 44 after a battle with cancer that had been waged over the past two years.

Wayman Tisdale put Oklahoma hoops on the map for good during his days with the Sooners and greatly inspired Blake Griffin, who will carry the school's legacy into the pros as the top pick in this year's draft. He won fans and made friends everywhere he went with his kind demeanor and love of life and he carried that spirit into a very successful jazz career that saw him produce material that topped the charts.

Surely a sunny man like Wayman would want to be remembered for the smiles he put on people's faces, so shake your booty a little bit to this sweet groove in his honor. RIP, Gentle Giant.

Text of email PROVES Jean Schmidt took money from Turks to deny Armenian Genocide

By Nate Noy

You may remember my first post on this subject from almost two weeks ago:

Jean Schmidt & Adolph Hitler versus Dave Krikorian & Ronald Reagan at the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC)

Now this story has been picked up by the Washington Post; LA Times; MSNBC; and virtually every major and small paper in the entire county. So I decided to have a closer look at the public record of this case to see if there is anything the media is not telling us.

Yesterday at the Ohio Elections Commission, David Krikorian submitted a defense in OEC Case 2009E 003. His defense (which is now part of the public record) included an interesting email:

Dear Turkish American Community,

2008 is the election year. We, TURKISH-AMERICANS, have to remain alert and keep educating members of the Congress on this and many other issues that we care about. Most importantly, we have to show our own political representatives that we EXIST and that we are a force to be reckoned with.

I urge you to show your continuous support to the Turkish American Friends: Congressman Dan Burton (IN) and Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (OH) with your generous contributions.



You are cordially invited to a Turkish American Luncheon Reception honoring CONGRESSWOMAN JEAN SCHMIDT (Republican- Ohio/2nd District)

Monday, February 18, 2008 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Café Istanbul*
1 Levee Wy Ste 1112
Newport, Kentucky 41071

RSVP by Friday, February 15, 2008, to
Ahmet Gultekin, argmd@yahoo. com
Telephone 513-376-2444

Congresswoman Schmidt is one of the few members of Congress who actually read Guenter Lewy's book about the genocide and is one of the few members of congress who actually doesn't believe that it was genocide. An Armenian American is running against her in the election because she opposes the resolution. We have a member of congress from Ohio who is willing to stand up to the Armenian lobby, and it is important for the Turkish American community to support her.

Make donation online: http://www.jeanschm

Please let the organizer know your contribution by via email so he can update our list accordingly.

The key part of this email is: “Congresswoman Schmidt is one of the few members of Congress who actually read Guenter Lewy's book about the genocide and is one of the few members of congress who actually doesn't believe that it was genocide.

So, the Turks are asking for money because Schmidt “does not believe that it was a genocide.” Sounds like Krikorian was right on the money when he accused Schmidt of taking money to deny the Genocide.

Another really interesting part of the defense included references to this report:

It looks like there is a much larger effort on the part of the Turkish propaganda machine and once again Krikorian was correct when he called Jean Schmidt a “puppet” of this effort.

The best part of the above article is the conclusion:
“But as the saying goes, a lie isn't the other side of any story. It's just a lie.” "When it comes to the historical reality of the Armenian genocide, there is no 'Armenian' or 'Turkish' side of the question, any more than there is a 'Jewish' or 'German' side of the historical reality of the Holocaust," writes Torben Jorgensen, of the Danish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. "There is a scientific side and an unscientific side — acknowledgement or denial."”

I’m sure there will be more to come in this case (I'm still reading the public record and there is much more to share), and I’m sure as we approach the final hearing, more and more people will realize how guilty Jean Schmidt really is in this case.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

FDH Lounge Show #58: postponed to May 20, 2009

By Rick Morris

The 58th episode of THE FDH LOUNGE on has been postponed a week to May 20 as we adapt to the new and improved telecommunications infrastructure at STN. We'll be back at our usual time of 7-10 PM EDT next Wednesday night with an especially loaded show -- be sure to catch us then!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Summer movie reviews and previews

By Jason Jones (posted by Rick Morris)

NOTE: All links are to movie home pages on Rotten Tomatoes.

Adventureland (released April 3)
Grade: C+ (I would only advise this one if you go to A LOT of movies. It seems to be the token summer young adult movie that you would expect from the actors in it. Might be fun but definitely doesn’t make even the top 15)

Observe and Report (released April 10)
Grade: C (Funny in some moments, but like a lot of these types of films, gets too awkwardly real. Or at least they try to make it real. The funny sometimes takes a back seat to a moral of sorts. I just don’t think most people will believe it was worth the money. However, as “Mall Security” movies go, much better than Paul Blart)

State of Play (released April 17)
Grade: B/Inc (I cannot objectively grade this one because I haven’t seen it. However, considering the cast and the type of movie it is, I will give it the benefit of the doubt)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (released May 1)
Grade: D (Look, maybe I am just a little too much of a comic book movie nut bag but, C’MON! If all you knew was that it’s a Wolverine movie, then maybe you’ll enjoy it just fine. My big beef is with Deadpool. Think of all of the X-Men, now imagine a lean bad ass smart ass type…not with knives in his hands or the ability to control the weather. We are talking military special forces bad ass who comes fully equipped with badass guns, badass knives, and badass swords. Now imagine he moves like something out of the Matrix. And finally, he is in the movie for about two and a half minutes!)

Star Trek (released May 8)
Grade: A+ (I have not been more excited for a summer movie with the exception of Transformers in the last 5-10 years. For die hard Trekkies, it may not live up to the hype, but I am not a Trekkie…I just really dig Star Trek movies (a lot more than the television shows). If you can separate yourself from the fact that it’s a Star Trek movie, I think 90% of viewers or more would really enjoy this movie.

Angels & Demons (released May 15)
Grade: A (It's Tom Hanks in a Ron Howard film about one a book from one of the top selling contemporary writers. If this movie is just OK, it may be the most colossal flop since Waterworld)

Terminator Salvation (released May 22)
Grade: C- (Call me crazy but I think Terminator 3 was Evander Holyfield-ish of them. The only salvation for them is found in the beefed-up budget, not the title)

Up (released May 29)
Grade: B (This one is the kid’s movie sympathy vote. I dig all kinds of animated movies, but there is no Shrek or Incredibles in this summer’s movie crop. Up may be a nice movie to take the kids to that will not force you to cause yourself bodily harm.

Land of the Lost (released June 5)
Grade: B- I don’t know much about this movie. It is a remake of something else that I’ve never seen. However, I will say this…Will Ferrell’s line, “Matt Lauer can SUCK IT” is just good family entertainment suitable for all audiences. This one is a sort of Journey to the center of the earth meets Anchorman type comedy)

Powder Blue (released straight to Blu-ray & DVD June 9)
Grade: B (It could be Oscar worthy or it could be Gigli. All I know is Jessica Biel is smoking hot and gets naked, shades of Marisa Tomei in the Wrestler. That alone is probably worth the price of admission)

Year One (released June 19)
Grade: B+ Looks like a prehistoric march through times reminiscent of Forrest Gump. It looks very funny, but flicks like this tend to over do it. I’m hoping for the opposite.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (released June 24)
Grade: A+++ Oh Yeah! Michael Bay and the Transformers strike again. The first film ranks in my top 3! This film was granted almost a 100% increase in budget after the first film did cleared 300 million. This one should be outstanding.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (released July 15)
Grade: A Some of you are rolling your eyes, that’s fine. I was resistant to the idea of a children’s book going blockbuster myself, but the Harry Potter series is a legitimate blockbuster. If you can allow yourself to get lost in the fantasy of the movie, you will enjoy this flick. Problem is, most people are not willing to take that leap.

Funny People (released July 31)
Grade: A Seriously, does anyone have to say anything outside of ADAM SANDLER AND SETH ROGAN? Just watching the trailer makes me laugh out loud. Since Sandler’s dramatic role in Reign Over Me, it seems that his funny movies have reached a new level of funny. I expect this to be no different.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (released August 7)
Grade: A- Transformers and G.I. Joe in the same Summer? Are you kidding me!?!? Young boys from the 1980s collectively losing their $#!&. The only thing better would be if we added a Thundercats and Voltron live action flick. The grade falls due to a lack of star power in this one.

Fame (released September 25)
Grade: D+ I’ll be nice with this one because I can almost guarantee the Missus is going to drag me to this one kicking and screaming. ITS FAME! C’mon, how good could it be?

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XIX

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Happy Mother's Day

By Rick Morris

All of us at FDH know the value of Mother's Day and we were all fortunate to have one of the greatest gifts passed to us: the gift of laughter. Having said that, enjoy this JibJab video in the spirit of the day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nerds, Unite and Rejoice!

By: Samantha Jones

Ok. I'm going to come out and say it.

The new Star Trek movie is one of the best movies ever made.

Not only is the story compelling and the special effects some of the best I've ever seen (every explosion is a work of art), but the acting is....I don't even have a word for how good it is. Let's do the list...

Chris Pine as James T. Kirk - He was every bit the roguish young man that Kirk was meant to be. He was funny, emotional, and no, he didn't have that weird delivery that Shatner is famous for.

Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock - Perfect casting! Not only does he look the part, but he was just stoic enough to be Vulcan but still hint at Spock's human side. I heard in an interview that he spent a lot of time with Leonard Nimoy to get every nuance down. It’s all just as it should be down to the tiniest head tilt. Plus, he's from Pittsburgh, which I find to be a BIG plus.

Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy - This could not have been better if we'd gone back in time and gotten a young DeForrest Kelley to do it. He could be his twin. The delivery was SPOT ON. Every "Damnit, Jim" and "My God, man" was perfect.

Simon Pegg as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott - He's not in the movie long (he comes in towards the end), but every line is pure gold. He provides a fantastic comic relief when out of my seat cheering - he says the famous "I'm givin' her everything she's got, Captain!" with perfect timing and delivery. Plus, later he says something about the "Dilithium crystals", and I geeked out a little.

Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura - I'm a big fan of Nichelle Nichols, so she had a lot to live up to. I think she really did justice to the part. She had a great back and forth with Kirk and and unexpected situation with Spock that I was excited about.

John Cho as Hikaru Sulu - You don't really hear much from Sulu (except for an AWESOME fight scene). He doesn't have that deep bass voice that George Takei has, and I personally did miss that a bit. But, there's really nothing you can do about that. Great job in the part. And, just to give a tiny spoiler, Sulu was not always the perfect helmsman that we know him to be. Good stuff!

Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov - Chekov is 17 in this movie, which threw me off a little. I never realized how young he was supposed to be on the series. I thought his accent was just a little overdone, but I expected that. There's a funny moment where Chekov has to give a clearance code that has some v's in it. Hilarity ensues.

Eric Bana as Nero - The bad guy! We always knew the Romulans were bad guys, but damn, is he evil! He's a vengeful villain (the best kind in my opinion!), with no mercy. A perfect villain for this movie.

Some other noteworthy appearances...

Leonard Nimoy as Spock – There’s a situation with time travel and he makes a cameo. Every second that Mr. Nimoy is on screen is an absolute pleasure for a geek like me!

Bruce Greenwood as Capt. Christopher Pike - Mr. Greenwood plays the quintessential leader to a "t". He has played the President of the United States twice (JFK in Thirteen Days and a fictional president in National Treasure: Book of Secrest), the director of robotics in I, Robot...the list goes on and on. Seriously. Check out his resume on IMDB. It goes on for pages. Key line - "I dare you to do better."

Ben Cross as Sarek (Spock’s Dad) – Sarek always came off a little extreme to me, and that’s exactly how it should be. Mr. Cross did an excellent job. He was the epitome of the logical Vulcan.

Jennifer Morrison as Winona Kirk – Dr. Cameron from House is Kirk’s mom. Awesome.

Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk – I consulted with my mother (the reason I’m a Trekkie..and yes, I said Trekkie and not Trekker. Being a Trekkie is nothing to be ashamed of), and she said that Kirk’s brother’s name was George, not his father. I have not confirmed this, but I trust her endless Star Trek knowledge. Poetic license with the name, a superior performance from the actor. The beginning of the movie made me tear up a little.

Wynona Ryder as Amanda Grayson (Spock’s Mom) – I thought this was an odd choice, but she’s not on screen much, so it really doesn’t matter. She served her purpose and didn’t stink up the screen, so I’m happy with it.

This is one of the most visually beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. The CG guys work pure magic with their computers. They changed up the transporter visual in a way that I found interesting, the enemy ship was truly frightening, and the destruction of something very large (I don’t want to spoil it too much for you) was so exciting that I wish I had a TiVo remote to rewind and watch it again in slow motion. There were moments that I had to hide in my poor husband’s shoulder because it was that real.

Even the sound effects were great! They used a lot of the old sounds from the show. That famouse Red Alert siren shows up early and often, and I loved every second.

The speech from the beginning of both the original series and Next Generation comes in, with a few minor tweeks (changes are in italics)..."Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. It's ongoing explore strange new seek out new life and new boldy go where no one has gone before"

Wow, am I a nerd. I can barely remember what day it is, and I knew that off the top of my head.

I could not find one thing wrong with this movie. In fact, I did nothing but make squeaky noises, point at the screen, and tug at my husband’s shirt sleeve in excitement.

Men, you’ve done Gene Roddenberry proud.

So, by this geek’s extremely high standards for a Star Trek movie, this one gets an A+. See it immediately!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Outside the Boxscore hits the big time!

By Rick Morris

Congratulations to our good friend Ben Chew of Outside the Boxscore, one of the greatest sports blogs on the Internet. Ben contributes to The FDH Lounge and I contribute to his blog as this relationship is one of our valued "content exchange/syndication" arrangements that we have with other like-minded entities.

OTB was featured on SportsCenter's new "Blog Buzz" segment that features pithy commentary from various New Media outlets. The video is embedded at the OTB site here. Additionally, in that same "victory lap" post on the site, Ben was kind enough to mention us as a factor in helping OTB to grow as it has.

I speak for everyone at FDH Enterprises, LLC when I say that we appreciate Ben's shout-out and that we are very proud of him and to be associated with the site. It has a lot of creativity and is always a fun read and in the world of online media that's a tremendous combination. From an earlier narrower focus on web video, the (still relatively young) blog has expanded greatly in terms of overall content and in terms of personnel. As a fellow mega-fan of "The Office," I'm sure Ben will appreciate the reference: he may consider this mention our version of the "gold medal yogurt lid and accompanying 'Don't forget us when you're famous' note."

Manny Roid-mirez

By Rick Morris

Well, today we found out what fuels baseball's ultimate man-child -- fertility drugs! And here we thought Johnny Damon was the only guy on those Red Sox teams with a va-jay-jay!

That he cheated and tried to duck accountability shouldn't be a great shock. Witness his previous attempts to live "above the law" in terms of team guidelines and remember that the ultimate opportunist (apologies to Adam Copeland!) Scott Boras is his agent.

With the supersonic offensive numbers posted since roids took over the game in the mid-'90s, any megastar not proven to be of the finest moral fiber is essentially guilty until proven innocent. Sorry, but that's just the way that it is. If an Albert Pujols suffers the burden of suspicion unjustly, well, then maybe he should have spoken out against his peers who forced everyone in the game to choose between taking an unfair advantage and keeping your natural life expectancy.

And in terms of who's innocent, can we put an end to the incipid "honesty depth chart" that the media seems intent on maintaining? After hearing that "Alex Rodriguez was the best clean player" and more recently, "no, Manny Ramirez was the best clean player," let's just admit once and for all the futility of this type of statement, shall we? While we're at it, the whole "Ken Griffey must have been clean because he was hurt too much to be on roids" angle isn't a credible one. Now, Griffey may not have been on roids (hopefully not), but let's not forget that Mark McGwire spent a lot of time on the DL himself.

At the same time, it's good see Selena Roberts' book tanking. Now, she did excellent journalistic work in exposing ARod, but the story itself is tiresome and reporters who come along at this stage writing about the steroid plague are essentially vampires dining on the misery of the fans. Enough already! Most of these guys cheated, and on that level anyway, aren't very good people. We get it. The salt in our wounds doesn't seem to serve a purpose beyond enriching the folks with the book contracts.

At this rate only the fat guys like Jim Thome (illicit substances: milkshakes and triple cheeseburgers) are going to be above suspicion. In a world where your average MLB superstar is bound to be ringing up Batista looking for his hookup for clean urine, the onetime national pastime remains embroiled in the scandal that just won't die.