Sunday, February 28, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue VIII

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.

Sportsology: Gold medal hockey game preview

Posted by Rick Morris

Game Day is here! USA USA USA! While fighting the rational part of my head that sees a Canada 3-2 win in today's huge gold medal showdown/rematch (50 years ago today we saw the gold at Squaw Valley, though!), I greatly enjoyed this preview from our good pal Russ Cohen of Sportsology and we're happy to reproduce it here.

USA vs. Canada -- The Pressure
By Russ Cohen

Hockey Canada has been waiting for this moment. Their entire country will be watching and the players know that. The players can feel that. Team USA has been happy-go-lucky the entire time. GM Brian Burke made sure of that from Day One.

"I'm extremely honored to be asked," said Burke, who is the top general manager in the National Hockey League according to The Hockey News. "We'll have one goal. And that's to put together a team that can bring home the gold medal. The journey starts today and I very much look forward to it.

“We are grateful for the media coverage and the buildup to the Olympics,” he said in a very honest way. “It’s an opportunity to attract a new fan base. We’re excited. Now that we’ve named the team, we have turned the page generationally and that didn’t come without agonizing about it.”

When Burke and the management team decided that Ryan Miller was the goalie, the plan was simple and they never wavered. Coach Ron Wilson set the tone early.

“I would tend to look for consistency and ride the hot goalie,” he revealed. “This is about going to Vancouver to win a gold medal. We’ll see when the time comes.”

Team Canada unceremoniously pulled Martin Brodeur in favor of Roberto Luongo.

Miller has been getting himself ready for this moment for a year.

“I’m just very excited to wear the colors back for the country and have it be the greatest tournament that we have in hockey,” Miller stated. “It definitely comes down to preparation and evolution (of his game). It’s been a focus getting to be at the highest level that I can.”

If the Americans capture gold it will be an unexpected pleasure. If the Canadians capture the silver it will be a bitter disappointment.

Ryan Kesler knows that the local fans in Vancouver are likely to give him a mixed welcome when the NHL season starts back up.

“They’ll probably be mixed and they will probably hold a grudge because of [the previous game],” he pondered. “Hopefully they will be happy that I’m on their side again.”

Now we wait…

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #92: February 24, 2010

By Rick Morris

One week after the entire show was given over to inducting the third class in The FDH Lounge Pantheon, THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EST on returns to its usual dose of variety.

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we review last week's Pantheon inductions, with the help of this full rundown.

Then we welcome in old friend Evan Roberts of WFAN radio in New York. He covers all of the major professional sports as well as pro wrestling for the FAN website, so we'll hit headlines across the board.

At the top of Hour Two, we will be speaking with one of the world’s foremost iPhone authorities, Alex Cone. He and his cohorts at CodeFab are actually experts on many of the world’s leading smartphones and similar devices and he’ll be here to talk about what technological developments are in store in 2010 and going forward. We will then start THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER one half hour early with a monster first look at fantasy baseball in 2010. We will have notable information about our experts' draft board, some players with a wide variance of opinions in 2010 based on that experts' draft board and the unveiling of our UQB -- our "Ultimate Stat" -- and how to apply it for maximum value in 2010.

We close with a one-hour GOON SQUAD, twice as long as usual, as we break down the super-exciting Olympic hockey tournament and then welcome back our pal Russ Cohen from Sportsology and co-author of 100 RANGER GREATS as we discuss this new book's outstanding features.

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!

The FDH Lounge Pantheon: Third Inductees

By Rick Morris

The FDH Lounge added its third class of inductees to The FDH Lounge Pantheon during the 91st edition of the webcast on February 17, 2010. Previous inductees can be found on The FDH Lounge home page.

We wish to thank all of the members of The FDH Academy of Arts & Sciences who participated in the balloting to determine the best of the best of all time in various categories: Paul Belfi, Buck Woodward, Mike Morris, Ron Glasenapp, Bob Glassman, Tim Dustin, Nick Despones, Jonny Adams, Russ Cohen, Samantha Jones, Lloyd Carroll, Mike Ptak, Alex Slemc, Brett Stalnaker, Tony Mazur, Paul Pasek, Bob Benak, Kendra Morris, Dave Adams, Steve Kallas, Mike LaGuardia, Tim Foust, Ben Chew, Steve Cirvello, Raymond Smalley, Simon Applebaum, Sean Trench, Phil Basiewicz, Jason Jones, Mike Vili, Tom Denk, Kyle O'Rourke, Nate Noy and Walter Payton. It's worth noting that clearly not all votes were meant to be taken 100% seriously, as you will see. Paul Belfi and Mike Ptak both voted for the most winners, eight in all.

BEST SPORTSWRITER: Terry Pluto (4 votes, winner of on-air tiebreaker settled by Walter Payton and myself).

Other Candidates: Mike Lupica (4 votes), Bob Ryan (3 votes), Rick Reilly (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Dr. Z Paul Zimmerman, Jim Ingraham, Joe Posnanski, Buster Olney, Kevin Allen, Rick Morris (joke vote, thanks Samantha!), Bill Conlin, Hal Lebovitz, blogger, TNT fantasy football writers (???), Graeme "Foxy" Fowler (???), Bill Simmons, David Halberstam, Mitch Albom, Les Levine, Chris Berman, Jason Sobel and Michael Wilbon.


One vote apiece for: Bob Griese, Aaron Rodgers, Jeff Feagles, Brandon Roy, Jerry Sherk, Fred McGriff, Moose Johnston, Tim Tebow, Henrik Lundqvist, Troy Polamalu, Bernard Lagat, Bert Blyleven, Ron Karkovice, Cliff Lee, Bernie Kosar, Walter Payton (who did NOT receive a vote from his namesake!), "Lil" Penny Hardaway, Hank Aaron, Joe Johnson, Josh Cribbs, Josh Gibson, Ken Riley, Derek Jeter, Steve Yzerman, Martin Brodeur, Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders, Al Orter, Ryan Malone, Marvin Harrison and Donovan McNabb.

BEST HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER: Muhammad Ali (22 votes).

Other Candidates: Mike Tyson (3 votes) and Joe Frazier (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Joe Louis, George Foreman and Lennox Lewis.

BEST NON-HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER: Sugar Ray Leonard (9 votes).

Other Candidates: Floyd Mayweather (6 votes), Marvin Hagler (3 votes), Sugar Ray Robinson, Ray Mancini and Kelly Pavlik (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Oscar De La Hoya, Aaron Pryor, Andy Kaufmann (???), Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya in his prime.

BEST MMA COMPETITOR: Chuck Liddell (4 votes).

Other Candidates: Randy Couture, Georges St.-Pierre and Fedor Emelianenko (3 votes), Tito Ortiz, Herschel Walker (???), Rampage Jackson, Anderson Silva and Kimbo Slice (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Lisa Marie from TNA Wrestling, Bruce Lee, Brock Lesnar and Chuck Norris.


Other Candidates: Super Bowl 3 and 1988 World Series Game 1 (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: 1993 NBA Finals Game 5, Super Bowl 42, 1964 NFL Championship Game, Super Bowl 36, 2003 Fiesta Bowl, Bill Buckner World Series Game, NBA Championship Game generically (???), 1971 Dolphins/Chiefs playoff game, 1988 World Series, Super Bowl 34, 1993 Notre Dame/Florida State football game, 2009 UConn/Syracuse 6-OT hoops game, 1998 NBA Finals Game 6, Red Wings/Blues playoff game from May 16, 1996, 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, 2007 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 6, Wimbledon (???), tennis (???) and 2007 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 5.


Other Candidates: RC Buford, Brian Cashman and Lou Lamoriello (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Pat Gillick, Jerry West, anyone except Jerry Jones (???), Branch Rickey, Bill Veeck, Larry Beinfest, Bill Walsh, Ozzie Newsome, John Schuerholz, Red Auerbach, Tony Reagins, Ron Wolf, Tommy Lasorda, George Kokinis (???), Al Davis, George Steinbrenner, Wellington Mara, Paul Brown, Marvin Miller, Pat Quinn circa turn of the century, Jerry Jones and Jerry Buss.

BEST SPORTS STADIUM OR ARENA: Wrigley Field (6 1/3 votes -- NOTE: one ballot was split three ways).

Other Candidates: Cowboys Stadium and Madison Square Garden (3 1/3 votes), Fenway Park (3 votes), old Cleveland Stadium (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Giants Stadium (???), Nationwide Arena, Quicken Loans Arena, Connie Mack Stadium, PNC Park, Progressive Field, Beijing Olympic Bird's Nest, Colosseum in Rome, Safeco Field, Yankee Stadium, Boston Garden, Tiger Stadium, Ford Field, Lambeau Field and Lakewood Stadium.

BEST SPORTS VIDEO GAME: Madden (19 votes).

Other Candidates: Tecmo Super Bowl (3 votes).

One vote apiece for: Madden 2004, NHL Open Ice, NHL Hockey on Genesis, MLB '06: The Show, Madden 2009, NFL Blitz, NBA Jam, RBI Baseball NES, NHL '06 on PS2 and NBA Live for Sega.

BEST PRO WRESTLING TAG TEAM: Road Warriors (8 votes).

Other Candidates: Hart Foundation (3 votes), Tully Blanchard/Arn Anderson, Midnight Express (Stan Lane/Bobby Eaton version), The Rockers and The Iron Shiek/Nikolai Volkoff (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Money, Inc, Hardy Boyz, Wild Samoans, Tito Santana/Junkyard Dog, Steve Austin/Shawn Michaels, Fletcher & Piper Morris (???), Bushwackers, MegaPowers, Edge/Rey Mysterio, British Bulldogs, Steiner Brothers, DeGeneration X, Rock'n'Sock Connection and Dudley Boyz.

BEST LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Johnny Carson (10 votes).

Other Candidates: David Letterman (9 votes), Conan O'Brien (7 votes) and Craig Ferguson (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: David Letterman at 12:30, Uncle Floyd, Dick Cavett, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel and Arsenio Hall.


Other Candidates: JR Ewing, Dr. House and George Costanza (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Charlie Kelly, Homer Simpson, Fred Sanford, Pam Beesly, Dr. Cox, Chuck Bartowski, Felix Unger, Dexter Morgan, Jack Bauer, Sam Malone, Stewie Griffin, Sheldon Cooper, Michael Scott, Gilligan, Barney Stinson, Fonzie, Mark Greene, Frank Furillo, Josh Lyman, Al Swearingen, Martin and Shark/James Woods (1/2 vote), Kotter/Gabe Kaplan (1/2 vote), Rod Serling (1/2 vote) and Archie Bunker (1/2 vote).

BEST FOREIGN CUISINE: Italian (13 votes).

Other Candidates: Thai (4 votes), Japanese (3 votes), Chinese (2 votes)

One vote apiece for: Chinese (sweet'n'sour chicken), Indian, Greek, Mexican, gefilte fish, chicken paprikash, Chinese (Kung Pow chicken), Italian (fettucine alfredo), Cevapi, Canadian Chinese and Italian (pizza).

BEST COMEDIAN: Richard Pryor (6 votes).

Other Candidates: George Carlin (4 votes), Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Richard Jeni, Daniel Tosh, Mike Birbiglia, Jerry Seinfeld, Tommy Tieman, Robert Klein, Sam Kinison, Chris Rock, Jim Norton, Dane Cook, Aziz Ansari, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Maher, Bill Cosby, Lewis Black, Steven Wright, Ralphie May, Russell Peters and Carrot Top.

BEST LIVE MUSICAL PERFORMER: Bruce Springsteen (8 votes).

Other Candidates: Pearl Jam (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: Metallica, Keith Urban, The Decemberists, Godsmack, Linkin Park, Johnny Rivers, Garth Books, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, The Eagles, Ted Nugent, Harry Connick, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Madonna, Rush, U2, Dave Matthews Band, The Ramones, Josh Groban, Blink 182, The Police and Jay-Z.

BEST SANDWICH: Corned beef sandwich from Goodman's Sandwich Inn in Cleveland (5 votes).

Other Candidates: Reuben (3 votes), Big Mac and Philly cheesesteak (2 votes).

One vote apiece for: bacon/egg/cheese on Texas Toast from Waffle House, chicken cheesesteak hoagie from Tony Luke's in South Philadelphia, turkey breast sandwich from York Avenue Deli in Manhattan, Reuben at Penn Station with Thousand Island sauce, steak & egg Panini, chopped chicken liver with tomato on New York rye bread, The Don from Billy Jack's Sub Shop on Evans & University in Denver, extra lean kosher brisket from Ben's Deli in New York, Big Boy Sandwich from Bob's Big Boy, Yo! Burger at B Spot, teriyaki chicken from Penn Station, the Romanburger from Mr. Hero, Big'N'Messy at Mr. Divot's in North Royalton, OH, Reuben from Joe's Deli in Cleveland, grilled cheese, sweet onion chicken teriyaki from Subway, pastrami on rye, chicken bacon ranch from Subway, turkey, steak & gyro with two beef patties/gyro meat/Swiss cheese/American cheese at Best Steak & Gyro in Cleveland and The Ogre (FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones' personal creation: real authentic slightly-warmed Italian bread with double roast beef, double pastrami, turkey, bacon, American cheese, Muenster cheese, chipotle mayo, Stadium mustard, lettace and raw onions).

Sportsology: Talking to USA Hockey hero Ryan Kesler

Posted by Rick Morris

What a huge coup for our good pal Russ Cohen at Sportsology! The man who scored THE YouTube highlight of the new decade Sunday night in the form of the sprawling poke into the empty net to clinch the win over Canada, Ryan Kesler, shared his thoughts on the Olympic experience. Also, and my father the alum would find me remiss if I did not point this out, Kesler once skated for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Courtesy of our content-syndication under the banner of The 21st Century Media Alliance, here is one great feature.

Kesler is Having Fun on a Huge Stage
By Russ Cohen

A day after one of the biggest wins in U.S. Hockey history, Ryan Kesler, talked about playing in a game that was “fun." Can Team Canada say the same thing with the immense amount of pressure that they have on them to deliver a gold medal while playing on Canadian soil? Probably not, and that’s why Team USA is fun to watch, because the entire team is having fun.

GM Brian Burke handpicked a lot of players who do the little things that you have to in order to win and Kesler is one of those players.

At 25, the Livonia, Michigan product is in the prime of his career. He’s having his best all-around season as a pro in the NHL and now this veteran of international play has a highlight-reel goal on his resume from the 5-3 win over Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics. Even though this was just a preliminary game, this win gave Team USA a realistic chance of medaling and now they’ve got a ton of respect heading into the quarterfinals. When Kesler scored his breathtaking empty-net goal, U.S. fans at the game, online, at home, everywhere, went bananas because they aren’t used to seeing their Team beat Canada under any circumstances.

“Zach (Parise) made a good play to chip out the puck, I was just chasing it and I don’t think Perry (Corey) saw me coming,” he said modestly. “When it was in reach, I dove at it and there was a little luck involved and it found the back of the net.

“I just saw the puck and not the jersey.”

Kesler was so focused on the puck that he didn’t even know Perry was the player he beat until after he had a chance to see the replay. This was an amazing hustle play that showed off the forward’s foot speed, special teams abilities and his ability to beat the opponent to the puck and somehow shoot it into the net with his defender right in his face. This kind of ability is what has transformed this Team USA stalwart into a top-30 scorer in the NHL. He’s currently ranked 29th.

“I’d always like to believe that I was, but it was tough the first couple of years until I found my niche,” he responded. “I take a lot of pride in that. I have great linemates. It’s something to hang your hat on.”

Since Kesler plays in Vancouver, as an American, he is ready for the potential backlash that he might hear at GM place when the season resumes.

“They’ll probably be mixed and they will probably hold a grudge because of last night,” he pondered. “Hopefully, they will be happy that I’m on their side again.”

Right now, this forward has the day off and he’s enjoying that. [NOTE: This interview was conducted and first posted on Monday.]

“The night before games ,we stay at the Olympic village. I stayed there last night,” he revealed. “Now I will stay at home and relax. We (the Canucks) were on the road for 18 days before the break and we will go back on the road for 14 after, so this is nice,” Kesler said.

“I’ll relax and hang out with the family and play some video games and talk.”

Right now things are peaceful and serene and he can spend some time with his two-year-old daughter, Makayla.

Kesler plays a variety of video games and likes NHL 2K10. He plays that against his brother, Todd and his friends.

“We randomize the teams to make it fair, but I’m the best in the family.”

Team USA will take the ice once again on Wednesday as the top-seeded team which is quite an accomplishment considering the talent that exists in this tournament. They have a great chance to medal and that’s all any American fan can ask for.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

NBA trade deadline winners and losers

By Rick Morris


1 Cleveland. Everyone else on this list is far behind the Cavs, who added a player who is still at least a borderline NBA All-Star without giving up anything for this season (yes, Z will be back). If you look up and down the respective rosters, it's remarkable how much insanely better these Cavs are than the team that won 66 games last season -- and even that team was light years ahead of the team that Lebron singlehandedly dragged into the '07 Finals. Right now in the NBA, it's the Cavs ... and then everyone else.

2 Houston. They got out from underneath T-Mac's undeserved monster contract and still ended up with Kevin Martin? How'd that happen?

3 Dallas. Losing head case Josh Howard counts as addition-by-subtraction in and of itself, but they got some nice pieces from D.C., especially Caron Butler.

4 Portland. Marcus Camby is a nice and necessary fit.

5 TIE New York and Chicago. Cap room is often fools gold in the modern age if you think you're going to lure away a max player (just ask Crumbs Krause), but the Knicks and Bulls at least put themselves in position to do something with it.


1 TIE Atlanta, Boston, Denver, LA Lakers, Miami, Orlando and San Antonio. How you just sit there holding your proverbial johnsons while Danny Ferry puts the Cavs on the brink of an NBA title? These teams made no moves of consequence and they will probably live to regret their choices in June.

8 Phoenix. Get ready to lose Amar'e for nothing in June, fellas.

9 Sacramento. That was the best you could get for Kevin Martin? Really? Oh, but you freed up some cap room so that all of the players who are regularly clamoring to come play in Sac-Town can now sign with you in free agency. Good luck with that!

10 Toronto. With a disgruntled Chris Bosh months away from free agency and your team teetering on making the playoffs, shouldn't you have either been a significant buyer or seller? The middle ground will get you nothing here.

NBA power rankings for mid-February

By Rick Morris

Start of February rankings in parentheses

1 Cleveland (1)
2 LA Lakers (2)
3 Orlando (3)
4 Denver (4)
5 Atlanta (5)
6 Boston (7)
7 Utah (8)
8 Dallas (6)
9 Oklahoma City (12)
10 Phoenix (11)
11 San Antonio (9)
12 Portland (10)
13 Toronto (16)
14 Houston (13)
15 New Orleans (15)
16 Chicago (18)
17 Miami (19)
18 Charlotte (17)
19 Memphis (14)
20 Milwaukee (20)
21 LA Clippers (21)
22 Philadelphia (24)
23 Indiana (23)
24 New York (22)
25 Detroit (25)
26 Washington (27)
27 Golden State (28)
28 Minnesota (29)
29 Sacramento (26)
30 New Jersey (30)

BIGGEST RISERS: Oklahoma City and Toronto (3 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: Sacramento (3 spots), Memphis (5 spots)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #91: February 17, 2010

By Rick Morris

Tonight has finally arrived! THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EST on delivers the third installment of The FDH Lounge Pantheon, a celebration of the best of the best all time in 16 different categories, with an equal number of sports and non-sports. We break format to dedicate the entire show to The Pantheon.

Here is the ballot for tonight (in the order we will tackle the categories), with an announcement of winners, a full detailing of all nominees by our FDH Academy of Arts and Sciences and live tiebreaking furnished on the air tonight:


They join our past Pantheon winners from July of '08 and July of '09:

Best President: Ronald Reagan
Best Country other than the US: Canada
Best Motion Picture: The Godfather
Best Thespian: Kevin Costner
Best Female Bombshell: Raquel Welch
Best Musical Performer/Group: Bon Jovi
Best TV Show: All In the Family
Best TV/Movie Cartoon Character: Bugs Bunny
Best Comic Book Character: Superman
Best Pro Wrestler: Ric Flair
Best Football Player: Jim Brown
Best Basketball Player: Michael Jordan
Best Race Car Driver (from any circuit): Richard Petty
Best Hockey Player: Wayne Gretzky
Best Baseball Pitcher: Nolan Ryan
Best Baseball Hitter: Babe Ruth

Best Pro Sports Coach/Manager: Paul Brown
Best Sporting Event: Super Bowl
Best Fantasy Sport: Football
Best Olympic Sport: Hockey
Best Sportscaster (Play-By-Play): Vin Scully
Best Sportscaster (Color Commentator): John Madden
Best Sports Movie: Bull Durham
Best Movie Villain: Joker (Heath Ledger version)
Best Pro Wrestling Manager: Bobby Heenan
Best Video Game (Non-Sports): Grand Theft Auto
Best Musical Guilty Pleasure: Phil Collins air drum solo to "In the Air Tonight"
Best Non-U.S. City: Toronto
Best U.S. City: New York City
Best Political Scandal: Watergate
Best Seinfeld Episode: The Soup Nazi
Best TV Commercial Character: Mr. Whipple

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!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament preview

By Rick Morris

One of our favorite events at FDH is the quadrennial Olympic hockey tournament. With the blend of national pride, the quest for Olympic gold and the nature of an all-star tournament with the overwhelming majority of the best players in the world suiting up, there really is nothing quite like it.

Here’s a look at the teams we forecast seeing on the huge quarterfinal Wednesday, February 24:

^ Switzerland: With NHL-caliber goaltending and first-line defense, the Swiss look like the best team outside of the “Big Seven.” They could conceivably end up as more than that, based on their mega-upset wins over Canada and the Czechs in ’06 – but the odds are highly against it. Forecast to lose in the quarterfinals.

^ Finland: Here’s the irony – the Finns made a strong run to the silver medal game last time without the benefit of the strong goaltending they’ll have this time – but they won’t go nearly as far. They have solid NHL-level players, but little explosiveness and not much youth. Finland generally counts on winning with defense, and another run can’t be completely discounted this time, but as with the Swiss, the odds are not with them. Forecast to lose in the quarterfinals.

^ Slovakia: They can put up a first line that can skate with just about anybody and they’ve got great “O” from their “D.” How about “D” from their “D?” Eh, not so much, and their unproven-on-the-big-stage goaltending will suffer for it. They can put out a few lines that would be very competitive with other countries, but depth is not their friend to the extent it needs to be. Forecast to lose in the quarterfinals.

^ Czech Republic: The Czechs have lived and died on the prospect of world-class goaltending in the past three Olympic tournaments. That won’t necessarily be the case this time, but they are more than solid up and down the line offensively and defensively – albeit in a fairly white-bread manner. If they made it to the medal round or even the gold medal game, it wouldn’t be a huge shock – just fairly unlikely in light of the explosiveness of other teams. Forecast to lose in the quarterfinals.

^ USA: American hockey is still in the trough that 2006 exposed it as being in, albeit on the back end of it. By 2014, Uncle Sam could be back in strong contention for gold. This time, a lack of experience will hurt, as will the lack of explosiveness beyond the first line or two. On the other hand, young legs and physical skaters are well-suited for this tough event and their goaltending comes in on a huge run. Forecast to lose in the bronze medal game.

^ Russia: Nobody, but nobody can put together the power play potential of this unit. hockey analyst Kyle O’Rourke predicts a staggering 40-50% success rate. They will also have plenty of breakaway goals, especially in preliminary games against much weaker teams. Due to mixing in the KHL players, though, their depth does not match that of Canada and their goaltending is suspect in the big games until proven otherwise. Forecast to win the bronze medal.

^ Sweden: The defending champs can almost match explosiveness with Russia and can probably match goaltending with Canada (as the NHL’s New York area rivalry spills over into international competition). But they will miss the bigger ice of Turin, as they will have a difficult time contending with physical play. They’ll also have to rely disproportionately on their top four defensemen. Having said that, they have outstanding goaltending and the best depth of scoring outside of the Canadians. On neutral ice, they could well be co-favorites. In Vancouver, they are not. Forecast to win the silver medal.

^ Canada: The chalk pick is never exciting, but it is unavoidable in this case. Canada has unmatched big-game goaltending, the best offensive depth of any team and defense that may not appear as overwhelming as in past Olympics – but has great chemistry due to roster composition. The size of Team Canada is well-suited to the NHL ice rather than the usual international dimensions and let us not forget the mother of all home-ice advantages. While upsets are possible when other teams in the tournament are very skilled as well, it’s undeniable that failure to win this event with all the starts in alignment will cause utter national misery and for good reason. Forecast to win the gold medal.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Join us tonight for All-Star liveblogging at Outside the Boxscore

By Rick Morris

Our good pal Ben Chew from The 21st Century Media Alliance is going to have great coverage of the NBA All-Star Game with the Cover It Live liveblogging package tonight over at Outside The Boxscore. FDH is going to be participating and we invite you to come over and enjoy the game with us.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XLXVIII

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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FDH Lounge #91: February 10, 2010

By Rick Morris

EDIT: This program was cancelled due to technical problems at the station. These segments will be rescheduled in the near future. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The “Road to 100” continues as THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EST on adds once again to its vast lineage of variety.

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we conduct our Super Bowl recap discussion with one of our favorite gridiron scribes, Ken Palmer of Then we take our final look ahead to next week’s EPIC!!! third installment of The FDH Lounge Pantheon, our Hall of Honor for the best of the best in multiple categories. Don’t forget, in addition to our hand-selected members of The FDH Academy of Arts and Sciences, we are also throwing open the voting to our Facebook friends as well, so you should look us up at if you haven’t already. Simply copy the ballot from the above link and send it to us via our FDH Facebook email and you too can have your opinions counted.

At the top of Hour Two, we will be speaking with one of the world’s foremost iPhone authorities, Alex Cone. He and his cohorts at CodeFab are actually experts on many of the world’s leading smartphones and similar devices and he’ll be here to talk about what technological developments are in store in 2010 and going forward. From there, our review of Super Bowl commercials and preview of NBA All-Star Weekend leads us into our two segments in the second half of the program: our Winter Olympics fantasy medals draft and our Winter Olympics fantasy hockey draft. The latter segment actually represents a merger of our show-within-a-show sectors THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER and THE GOON SQUAD.

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!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl preview

By Rick Morris

^ Here are some notable links: the official Super Bowl page, New Orleans and Indianapolis depth charts, the picks of USA Today’s football experts and those from ESPN, the USA Today “tale of the tape,” the annual Scripps Super Bowl celebrity predictions, the CBS Sports preview and the Madden NFL ’10 simulator results.

The media “hooks” for this game have been fairly obvious: Archie Manning’s old team against his son’s team, more recycled Katrina coverage almost 4 ½ years after the hurricane, two first-time Super Bowl head coaches in offensive genius Sean Payton and one of the best rookies of all time in Jim Caldwell, the Dwight Freeney injury for the Colts being piled on top of the previous losses of Bob Sanders, Anthony Gonzalez and some cornerbacks, Pierre vs. Pierre/Reggie vs. Reggie/Peyton vs. Payton, the first matchup of conference #1 seeds in the Super Bowl in 16 years and teams that can plausibly lay claim to being the two biggest offensive powerhouses in the game right now (with the underlying Peyton Manning/Drew Brees comparisons being made regularly). Much is also made of how the Saints survived two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Kurt Warner and Brett Favre en route to the big game, while the Colts toughed it out against two of the game’s best and most physical defenses in the Ravens and Jets.

Notwithstanding the surface similarities between the two high-powered offenses, they have some real differences: namely, in terms of the run. The Colts became, strangely enough, the second consecutive team after the Cardinals to make the Super Bowl while finishing last in the league in rushing yards per game (or maybe it’s not so much a coincidence as it is a statement about the primacy of passing in today’s game – an interesting point of discussion for another day). The Saints finished sixth in the same category, keyed in part by excellent guard play. However, both teams saw different patterns emerge during the playoffs. New Orleans received a big-game performance from Reggie Bush against Arizona that rivaled any of his epic performances in college – and in the biggest shock of all, Bush actually ran strong and powerfully inside, not just in space. Indianapolis, in the face of strong run defenses in Baltimore and New York, maintained a patient commitment to the run. They pounded the ball repeatedly with Joseph Addai and Donald Brown, rarely attaining more than a few cursory yards per carry, but successfully keeping their offense from being too one-dimensional and providing their defense (which was facing a similar commitment to the run with much better firepower behind it) the rest it needed to compete. Their line, with the notable exception of the great Jeff Saturday at center, doesn’t provide much help. The Colts and Saints do have much in common in the passing game, with triggermen Manning and Brees showing the capacity to spread the football to multiple options.

On the other side of the ball, the Saints take great pride in their opportunistic defense, which generates massive turnovers (the team ranked third in the league in turnover differential). However, I noted correctly during last year’s playoffs that Baltimore and Arizona could both expect problems against Pittsburgh because of their overreliance on that part of the game. Racking up interceptions and fumble recoveries is nice; mixing in timely stops – that’s very nice as well. And the Saints don’t do very much of that, frankly. They ranked 21st in yardage against the run and 26th against the pass. Pinning your hopes on winning based on takeaways when you are facing the ruthless shredding machine known as Peyton Manning is a fool’s wager: just ask the significantly better Jets defense how that goes. New Orleans has star power in a few positions and they are basically decent elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Colts come into the game with the league’s 18th-rated defense, but their edge goes beyond that statistic. It’s almost incomprehensible how well Indy has been able to play defensively sans All-World safety Bob Sanders (who was actually, probably, the most indispensible player when the team won it all three years ago) and much of that owes to their change in scheme from the Cover-2 to a much more aggressive series of packages (that area is the main point of similarity with the Saints – they both love to blitz). However, they remain on the small side, albeit very fast.

Let’s take a look at the biggest “X-Factor” players in this Super Bowl:

1 Reggie Bush: We make the point all the time at FDH that the most lethal teams are the ones that can establish a dangerous running and passing game simultaneously. Such a capacity keeps the defense on its heels and unable to play aggressively lest they leave a sliver of the field open to be exploited. The epic 42-39 Ohio State/Michigan game of 2006 is one of the great all-time examples of this, with both teams driving up and down the field due to establishing tremendous run and pass capabilities. If the Reggie Bush who dominated against Arizona (and at USC) returns in Miami (a big if, as FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones points out), then Drew Brees will be able to pick apart the Indianapolis defense to his heart’s content.

2 Darren Sharper: One of the greatest “interception machines” ever to suit up at safety has to play up to his most opportunistic level, just as he did all year long, against Manning – who rarely makes those mistakes in games at this level, at least in the last few years. Anything less and the defense predicated on turnovers will not be able to hold up its end of the bargain in Miami.

3 Will Smith: If Gregg Williams is to receive the pressure on Manning from his D that he knows he needs, it will have to emerge from the team’s best pass rusher. Collapsing the pocket won’t be easy, but the team was able to make it happen in the earlier playoff games. Blitzing Manning is usually a fool’s errand.

4 Dwight Freeney/Robert Mathis: The Colts must try to get pressure of their own on Brees, especially because they don’t generate many turnovers. Like the Saints, the Colts will not want to blitz an opposing QB who has picked apart defenses for the past several years.

5 Joseph Addai/Donald Brown: Indianapolis cruised through the regular season despite their poor running game. Now, they face the easiest run defense they have encountered in the playoffs. The Colts cannot hope for the type of top-end run/pass combo that the Saints will have if Bush gets really untracked; however, if Addai and Brown can average at least 4 to 4.5 yards per carry, they’ll be even more efficient in the passing game than they were against the Ravens or Jets. That’s a scary thought. Keep in mind that Addai and Dominic Rhodes really rose to the occasion against a stout Bear run D in the Super Bowl three years ago.

Of course, this list does not include players who could fairly obviously be expected to perform well, such as the two QBs, the two TEs and both #1 WRs. Reggie Wayne in particular should be poised for a good game, since he’s got something to prove after being bottled up by two superb defenses thus far in the playoffs. For obvious reasons, the Saints dare not double-team him.

So how does this game shake out in the end? The Colts have the “big-stage” experience that the Saints lack, a factor that has mattered more often than not in the Super Bowl. Based on the fact that Washington’s comeback from being down 10-0 in 1988 was the only double-digit rally to win in Super Bowl history, history indicates that neither team can win if they don’t stay very close. The Saints won’t have the raucous home crowd that they have relied on fairly disproportionately this season. And New Orleans probably lacks the shutdown factor against the run needed to force Indy to abandon their “just keeping it honest” attack and play one-dimensionally. There’s a tremendous consensus – shared by FDH prognosticators – that the game will end up with the total points in the 50s or 60s – so here’s one more log on that pile. Look for a plethora of big plays on both sides, but for “George Seifert 2K10” to be standing tall in the end with MVP Peyton Manning. Colts 34, Saints 28.

Super Bowl oddities and trivia

By Rick Morris

^ Only once, in 43 previous Super Bowls, has one team surmounted a double-digit deficit – and that was the Redskins, who spotted Denver very early ten points and then put up a 42-spot on them in 1988. So don’t count on a big comeback – based on how you define it, it has never happened yet in one of these games.

^ Much has been made of the fact that the Saints have never made a Super Bowl before, but they have hosted more Super Bowls than any other metro area – except Miami, this year’s host (this will be the fifth Super Bowl at what is now known as Sun Life Stadium with another five before that at the Orange Bowl). There have been six in the Superdome (with another scheduled in 2013) and another three before that in Tulane Stadium – and the first of those Super Bowls was 40 years ago this year.

^ As Peyton Manning pursues his second Super Bowl title in the same place he won his first three years ago, he will become the third quarterback ever to try to win a second championship in the same city. Roger Staubach won Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium, then returned to the Superdome in New Orleans to win Super Bowl XII. Terry Bradshaw beat Staubach in the Orange Bowl in Super Bowl X and then repeated the feat in Super Bowl XIII (with both games decided by exactly four points). So Manning is facing a situation where quarterbacks in the same scenario are 2-0 in Super Bowls.

^ This game marks the second time this decade that teams met in the Super Bowl while having played on the same Championship Sunday within the last three years. Indianapolis made it to Super Bowl XLI, while the Saints lost out to the Bears for the right to play in that game. New England beat Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX after just missing out on a matchup with them the previous year after the Eagles lost to the Panthers for the right to face the Patriots. So the AFC is 1-0 in this scenario this decade.

^ With Indianapolis set to host their first Super Bowl in 2012 at their relatively new Lucas Oil Stadium, this marks only the third Super Bowl matchup between teams who have hosted or would go on to host a Super Bowl. Dallas and Miami met in Super Bowl VI; Miami’s history was documented above and Dallas will host their first one next year in Jerry Jones’ new palace. The other matchup was Super Bowl VIII; the Vikings faced the Dolphins that year. Minnesota went on to host Super Bowl XXVI. Teams who hosted a Super Bowl before the other city are 1-1, thus rendering this tidbit as a statistical non-factor.

^ The NFC has seen only one team represent the conference in two Super Bowls over the past decade (the Giants lost XXXV to Baltimore and beat New England in XLII); meanwhile, the AFC has had only three teams account for the last eight Super Bowl berths. The Patriots, Steelers and Colts are a combined 6-1 in these games, with the aforementioned Giants accounting for that only loss back in 2008. Over that same stretch, the NFC has sent some first-time teams to the big game (the Panthers, Seahawks and Cardinals) and others who hadn’t been back there in more than two decades (Eagles and Bears). If these facts mean anything to you, then you can’t be that optimistic for the first-time Saints, considering also that Super Bowl rookie teams are 4-19 historically against teams who have been there before.

Super Bowl picks

By Rick Morris

In addition to posting my weekly picks, I will post those from other members of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries' Football Challenge Contest. In the regular season, we each posted our three strongest plays. Here are the standings to this point, including Championship Sunday:

RICK MORRIS: 29-32 overall, 1-1 last round (also 9-8 on my 1,000-Star, Gold-Plated Lock of the Millennium for each week of the regular season)
STEVE CIRVELLO: 29-32 overall, 0-2 last round
RYAN ISLEY: 28-32-1 overall, 2-0 last round
DAVE ADAMS: 28-33 overall, 1-1 last round
SEAN TRENCH: 22-36-2 overall, 1-1 last round

We are picking every playoff game, culminating in the Super Bowl this weekend. Each of our picks will be listed, in addition to the FDH "consensus" pick based on who has the most votes in each game (the FDH consensus picks were 1-1 last week and 3-5 in the playoffs) – and we are also listing our pick for the final score and the MVP:

Indianapolis -4 vs. New Orleans
RICK: Indianapolis 34-28 – Peyton Manning
STEVE: Indianapolis 34-27 – Peyton Manning
RYAN: Indianapolis 34-27 – Peyton Manning
DAVE: Indianapolis 45-35 – Peyton Manning
SEAN: New Orleans 35-31 – Drew Brees
FDH CONSENSUS: Indianapolis, 4-1

So the season-long competition for first place comes down to the tiebreaker (final score in the Super Bowl). Because Sean is the only one picking New Orleans, the only variable between Steve and I is total points. A combined score of 61 points or less hands the contest to Steve; 62 or more gives it to me. Regular-season champ Dave has had a tough playoff run, while Ryan has surged with a 7-3 postseason mark and could have taken the entire contest had he been a bit closer heading into January. I will note also that FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones has gone on the record with a 42-40 Saints prediction.

While none of the Dignitaries have distinguished themselves over the course of the entire season in this contest, it should come as no surprise that Steve and I are in a tie at this point, since we also tied on their college football bowl picks vs. the spread at 17-15. That mark gave me a “stellar” record of 56-55-1 for the season. Whoopie!

Super Bowl prop bets

By Steve Cirvello (posted by Rick Morris)

Here are some Super Bowl prop bets you can arrange with your friends, along with forecasts made by FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris.

Rain any time during SB game: Y/N YES
National Anthem O/U 1:42 seconds long OVER
Singer Carrie Underwood wears boots: Y/N NO
Times Archie Manning shown on CBS during the game: 2.5 OVER
Times Eli Manning shown on CBS during the game: 2.5 UNDER
Times Kim Kardashian shown on CBS during the game: 2.5 OVER
Times Bourbon Street shown on CBS during the game: 2.5 OVER
Kim Kardashian wears black top: Y/N NO
Kim Kardashian wears Saints jersey: Y/N YES
Pete Townsend windmills during halftime performance: 5.5 OVER
No. of times phone number for Haitian Relief shown on CBS: 3.5 OVER
No. of times any promo for Survivor season premiere shown on CBS: 5.5 OVER
No. of times any promo for NCAA Selection Sunday show shown on CBS: 2.5 OVER
Defensive player pours Gatorade on Winning Coach: Y/N YES
Reggie with more total yardage: WAYNE
Pierre with more total yardage: GARCON

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XLXVII

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, February 5, 2010

NHL power rankings for start of February

By Rick Morris

Mid-January rankings in parentheses (next rankings at the start of March).

1 Washington (4)
2 San Jose (1)
3 Chicago (2)
4 New Jersey (3)
5 Los Angeles (12)
6 Phoenix (9)
7 Buffalo (5)
8 Vancouver (11)
9 Pittsburgh (6)
10 Ottawa (19)
11 Colorado (8)
12 Nashville (7)
13 Detroit (13)
14 Calgary (10)
15 Dallas (17)
16 Anaheim (21)
17 Montreal (18)
18 Minnesota (16)
19 Philadelphia (20)
20 St. Louis (23)
21 Tampa Bay (25)
22 NY Rangers (15)
23 Florida (26)
24 Boston (14)
25 Atlanta (24)
26 NY Islanders (22)
27 Columbus (27)
28 Toronto (28)
29 Carolina (30)
30 Edmonton (29)

BIGGEST RISERS: Ottawa (9 spots), Los Angeles (7 spots), Anaheim (5 spots), NY Islanders and Tampa Bay (4 spots), Florida, Phoenix, St. Louis, Vancouver and Washington (3 spots
BIGGEST FALLERS: Boston (10 spots), NY Rangers (7 spots), Nashville (5 spots), Calgary (4 spots), Colorado and Pittsburgh (3 spots)

NBA power rankings for start of February

By Rick Morris

Mid-January rankings in parentheses.

1 Cleveland (1)
2 LA Lakers (2)
3 Orlando (4)
4 Denver (7)
5 Atlanta (5)
6 Dallas (6)
7 Boston (3)
8 Utah (11)
9 San Antonio (8)
10 Portland (9)
11 Phoenix (10)
12 Oklahoma City (13)
13 Houston (12)
14 Memphis (16)
15 New Orleans (14)
16 Toronto (17)
17 Charlotte (19)
18 Chicago (18)
19 Miami (15)
20 Milwaukee (21)
21 LA Clippers (20)
22 New York (22)
23 Indiana (24)
24 Philadelphia (26)
25 Detroit (25)
26 Sacramento (23)
27 Washington (28)
28 Golden State (27)
29 Minnesota (29)
30 New Jersey (30)

BIGGEST RISERS: Denver, Sacramento and Utah (3 spots)
BIGGEST FALLERS: Boston and Miami (4 spots)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #90: February 3, 2010

By Rick Morris

The countdown to Episode #100 begins in earnest for THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EST on as the 90th program covers more of the trademark endless variety of content.

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we welcome in comedian and co-host of VH1 Classic's THAT METAL SHOW Don Jamieson. He is a really talented and entertaining performer and we look forward to having him on with us.

Then we preview our forthcoming third installment of The FDH Lounge Pantheon. Forget the Oscars, forget the Grammys, we’ve got your hugely-anticipated mid-winter awards show right here. 16 inductees – eight from the world of sports, eight non-sports – will take their place alongside the awardees from the first classes in 2008 and 2009. Don’t forget, in addition to our hand-selected members of The FDH Academy of Arts and Sciences, we are also throwing open the voting to our Facebook friends as well, so you should look us up at if you haven’t already. Simply copy the ballot from the above link and send it to us via our FDH Facebook email and you too can have your opinions counted.

From there, we move to another installment of The FDH Spotlight Website segment with one that will have you in stitches: Passive-Aggressive Notes. Then, from the latter part of Hour One through most of Hour Two, we bring you one of our biggest installments yet of The FDH Lounge Pigskin Report with your ginormous Super Bowl XLIV preview. From commercials to prop bets, from Xs and Os to media angles, we’ve got you covered all the way around just like always.

Just before the start of Hour Three, we tee off with our sixth annual FDH fantasy golf mock draft on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER. We’ll also call attention to FANTASY NASCAR DRAFTOLOGY 2010, our newly available draft guide that includes a recap of last week’s mock draft. Then we close as usual with THE GOON SQUAD and a look at some buy low, sell high fantasy hockey players and the start of our preview for the huge Olympic hockey tournament. In particular, we’ll focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the respective rosters.

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!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Admiration for "Calvin and Hobbes"

By Tony Mazur

Whenever I straighten up my house in preparation for a family gathering, for some reason I tend to clean places that no one will see, such as the attic and closets. As I tore apart my closet, I came across a bookcase filled with comic books. I was always fascinated with newspaper comic strips, and I would always save my money to purchase as many as possible. I had numerous treasuries of "Foxtrot", "Garfield", "Zits", "Peanuts", "Ziggy", and "The Far Side", but I had the market cornered on "Calvin and Hobbes".

As a child in suburbia, I identified with Calvin. Like me, Calvin was a young boy with a large imagination and a small attention span. Also like me, he was bright, but his grades in school did not show it. I attended a Blue Ribbon elementary school, and most of my classmates were fairly intelligent. Because my attention span was like that of a hummingbird, I occasionally forgot to complete homework assignments, and I was teased for it by my peers. "Calvin and Hobbes" guided me through the perils of childhood.

"Calvin and Hobbes" taught me a lot about growing up. Believe it or not, I was an incredibly shy kid all the way up until high school. The few times I would come out of my shell was because I questioned reality, much like Calvin did. Over the years, I tended to become very philosophical, and I'm sure that traces back to the countless hours I spent with my nose buried in a "Calvin and Hobbes" collection.

As a fellow artist, I admire the work of creator Bill Watterson for a number of reasons. In a medium where newspaper space costs money, Watterson did what he could to bring a higher form of art to the funny pages, art's lowest common denominator. He also fought against licensing his work. As much as it would be nice to buy Hobbes stuffed animals and LEGAL Calvin T-shirts and window decals, Watterson did not want to see his creations distorted.

The strip only lasted ten years, and even though fans are still left wanting more, Watterson pulled the plug. Unlike seasoned strips like "Blondie", "Beetle Bailey", and "Marmaduke", Watterson did not want to see his work become stale and lifeless. Like "The Far Side"'s Gary Larson (who ended his strip exactly one year before "Calvin and Hobbes" closed shop), he went out on top.

Here is a recent interview Watterson gave to The Plain Dealer.

Mr. Watterson, I want to thank you for your tremendous work. You have inspired generations, and when it comes time for me to settle down and have children, I will make sure they are as big of "Calvin and Hobbes" fans as I was growing up.