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Archive for June, 2008

Puzzle Season!

This article has been submitted by Alex Jackson.

If the following paragraphs don’t cement my position as a “cool dude” and potential “heartthrob,” I don’t know what will. The following will be a look into my soul; finally, an answer to the timeless question, what makes me tick?

So without further ado, Alex, what makes you tick?

Puzzles. No, not any of those wonky Sudoku puzzles or even puzzles of the crossword variety. I’m talking about good old fashion jigsaw puzzles.

I honestly don’t remember when I first started puzzling, however I imagine it was sometime around 1986 and likely involved farm animals – kinky, I know. In my early days, puzzles were an educational vehicle; they taught me geography and allowed me to admire art. In recent years, puzzles have become a hobby, a nice activity to enjoy on a cold winter day or a challenge to tackle during a summer blackout.

In recent years I’ve completed a puzzle of Norman Rockwell’s “Pride of Parenthood” painting, a Simpsons collage, and an Impossible – a puzzle with no border, a repeating image and 10 extra pieces. I know what you’re thinking, “this guy is super cool!” Exactly.
More after the jump!

A Farewell (Song) to Mats Sundin

This article has been submitted by the debuting and oddly named Sports Socialite.

WAAAAZZZZZAAAAAPPPPPP????

Ok, maybe a dated reference to an (awesome) old Budweiser commercial, but that’s just how I roll. Before I jump in to my first post, I just wanted to introduce myself. You’ll know me as the Sports Socialite. By good fortune I’ve grown up in the sports industry and have had the pleasure of attending a lot of wicked events in my young life. From the wealth of knowledge (and liver damage) I have acquired from my travels, I hope to bring you insider sports info, amusing chirps and the occasional song. So let’s do this, bitch…

I figure I’ll do my first post on a topic of expertise… the Toronto Maple Leafs… specifically, Mats Sundin.

The Free Agent Frenzy is gearing up, and clearly everyone wants to know where our favorite balding Swede is going. And no, the “balding Swede” is not a sex move… that I know of. Anyway, much has been made about Mats peacing out to either Montreal, Detroit or New York. Well I am pretty confident that whoever believes he would go to another team is a few lessons behind on their Hooked on Phonics.
More after the jump!

UEFA European Championship 2008 Finals Preview

This article has been submitted by Mostafa El Beheiry.

So it’s been a long road to the final match of Euro 2008, but here we are. This has been one of the most exciting tournaments in recent memory with boring, negative, defensively oriented teams bowing out, for the most part, in the group stages. In Germany we have a team that carried the odds to win the tournament but that disappointed in their group, finishing second to an up and coming Croatian team that should be feared come the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The Germans regained their form against Portugal but were less than impressive in their win against the surprise of the tournament, Turkey, to put them into the finals.

Spain’s tournament couldn’t have gone better; they topped their group displaying some beautiful football and a degree of mental toughness that Spanish teams of the past have lacked. This strength got them through a penalty shootout against a team that thrives on them in Italy, putting to bed a 24 year curse that has kept them out of the semi-finals in all international tournaments. In fact, 24 years ago was the last time Spain has been in a major final and they broke that hex with their decisive semi-final win against Russia, putting them in a great position to win their first international title since 1964.

This year’s finals pit a country looking for its record 4th European title against a country looking to drop a 44 year reputation of being the biggest underachievers in international football. If you’ve been following my Euro 08 coverage, you know that I’ve been backing Spain to take the Henri Delaunay Trophy since the start of the tournament and on that note, this preview will be more to feed my ego than maintain any journalistic integrity that I may have. Sorry Germany.
More after the jump!

Bertuzzi to Migrate Away from Ducks

This article has been submitted by Chris Pope and Blake Murphy.

The Ducks know they have to clear cap room with Niedermayer back and need the cash to sign free-agent Corey Perry so they have decided to cut their ties to Todd Bertuzzi.
More after the jump!

Hoops Addict Article - A Long, Strange Trip for Alexander

I can openly admit to not liking him as an NBA player, but Trev Smith did a great job profiling Joey Alexander’s strange rise from eight years living abroad to West Virginia to the NBA.

Definitely worth a read.

Fireworks and Free Agents On July 1st (NHL Edition)

This article has been submitted by the debuting Patrick Tye.

For many people, July 1st is a day to come together, drink cold beers and celebrate Canada’s birthday. For hockey fans however, July 1st is even more important as it is the first day that teams can sign Unrestricted Free Agents. Although this year’s Unrestricted Free Agents are not as exciting as previous years, there are definitely players available that could make the difference for your favorite team next season. Here are a few player’s who will be watched closely next Tuesday:
More after the jump!

Bad is Good, Good is Bad for Baseball Fans

This article has been submitted by the debuting Andrew Chestnut.

Sheryl Crow seems to think that “good is good, and bad is bad.” As far as being a baseball fan, she may be wrong.

We are in an age of rampant, unregulated, bandwagoning; an age when more Red Sox fans show up to Tropicana Field than Rays fans. As a response, the collective subconscious of baseball traditionalists (real fans) has deemed it cooler to follow a team that isn’t very good, as if that makes your fanhood more legitimate.

With so many idiotic imposters out there, flocking en masse to away games to ensure “their” team never experiences a real road game, it is easy to see why Orioles fans garner more respect from true baseball disciples than Sox or Yankees fans. They must be real fans, we communally imply, because they like a team that has sucked for a long time.

Arbitrarily deciding to follow a historically popular team like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs—especially when they are winning—is a baseball felony comparable to taking steroids or wearing a Roger Clemens jersey. It’s like committing credibility suicide.

This phenomenon seems to be an inherent paradox: it is unpopular to like popular teams, and fun to root for loveable losers. It means that, in some twisted sense, it is more desirable to be a fan of a bad team, as if the fundamental goal of being a fan were earning as much credibility as possible, rather than following your team to a championship. Perhaps because only eight teams each year make the playoffs, baseball has become more about you as a fan than the team. Much in the same way affirmative action seeks to repair racism, this reactionary sentiment is a reversed manifestation of the same problem it opposes in the first place.
More after the jump!

Breaking Down the NHL's Draft Day Trades

This article has been submitted by the debuting Sean Meister.

I’m going to admit something in this, my first article. While I consider myself to be a diehard hockey fan, I don’t know nearly enough about hockey’s biggest prospects. I don’t follow the results of junior teams (OHL, WHL, AHL, etc.) nearly enough. So, when the NHL Draft happened this past weekend, I focused on a different aspect of the excitement.

Draft day is a huge day for trading established NHL players. So I’m going to go over some of the trades that happened leading up to and during the draft.

Calgary Flames
Back in 2006 Alex Tanguay made news on draft day. Here he is again, leaving the team that acquired him those two short years ago. Tanguay is a good hockey player, no one can deny this fact. However, his $5 million salary wasn’t a good thing for the Flames. Bringing in Mike Cammalleri from Los Angeles is a relatively smart replacement for Tanguay, given the players available for the taking. Cammalleri has the potential to put up the numbers Sutter and Keenan wanted from Tanguay. Unfortunately, the injury to Cammalleri last season will be in the back of many Flames fans minds.
More after the jump!

Live Blog of the NBA Draft

Hey all, keep refreshing this page all day and through the entire draft for my comments and draft coverage in real time. And don’t forget to check our Draft Hub for our pre-draft analysis, resources, and a slew of articles.

After the jump you can check out the live blog with analysis of each pick and trade as they happened, but just quickly to pique your interest:

Draft Day Trades
Portland Trail Blazers trade Omer Asik to Chicago Bulls for three future 2nd round picks.
Portland Trail Blazers trade Mike Taylor to Los Angeles Clippers for a future 2nd round pick.
Houston Rockets trade Darrell Arthur to Memphis Grizzlies for Donte Greene and a future 2nd round pick.
Houston Rockets trade Nicolas Batum to Portland Trail Blazers for Darrell Arthur and Joey Dorsey.
Washington Wizards trade Bill Walker to Boston Celtics for cash considerations.
Minnesota Timberwolves trade O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner to Memphis Grizzlies for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins
Minnesota Timberwolves trade Mario Chalmers to Miami Heat for two future 2nd round picks and cash.
Detroit Pistons trade D.J. White to Seattle Super Sonics for the #32 and #46 picks.
Portland Trail Blazers acquire Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless from the Indiana Pacers for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush
New Jersey Nets trade Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee Bucks for Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlin.
Toronto Raptors trade T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston, and the #17 pick to Indiana Pacers for Jermaine O’Neal and #41 pick. (not 100% ‘official’ but agreed upon)
Denver Nuggets trade #20 pick to Charlotte Bobcats for a future, protected 1st round pick
New Orleans Hornets trade #27 pick to Portland Trail Blazers for cash.
Live Blog after the jump!

NBA Draft Hub

Obviously, I’ve been heavily covering Thursday’s NBA Draft here at The ODC this week. To make it easier on the reader, and to try and hype tomorrow night’s live blog a little bit more, I’ve decided to create this NBA Draft Hub, a resource for anyone looking for their draft fix in the last 24 hours before the big night. Enjoy, and be sure to check back at 6PM tonight for my live-blog of the Draft!

Check out my Live Blog of the NBA Draft, starting at 6PM.

Position by Position Breakdowns by Blake Murphy
Point Guards
Shooting Guards
Small Forwards
Power Forwards
Centers

Other On Deck Circle Draft Articles
Raptors Allegedly Acquire Jermaine O’Neal for Ford and More By Blake Murphy
Richard Jefferson Dealt to Milwaukee By Blake Murphy
Expect Trades on Draft Day by Blake Murphy
Point, CounterPoint: Wilkinson v. Pennycook V, NBA Draft Edition by Stu Wilkinson and Alex Pennycook
Gary Roberts Wednesday - Brandon Rush By Stu Wilkinson
Jumper: NBA Draft Edition By Stu Wilkinson
Imaginary Player - The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance By Trevor Smith
Raptors GM For a Day By Blake Murphy
Extreme NBA Makeover - Western Conferece By Trevor Smith
Extreme NBA Makeover - Eastern Conference By Trevor Smith
Drafting Derrick Rose is Easier Than You Think By Blake Murphy
The All-Time Bust Team By Stu Wilkinson

Mock Drafts
Draft Express
NBA Draft Net
Hoops Addict
Chad Ford/ESPN
ProBasketball.About.com (Featuring Blake Murphy)
Real GM

Other Draft Resources
Draft Express - the best resource for the NBA Draft
ESPN’s Draft Page - Chad Ford is a guru when it comes to this stuff
Hoops Hype Rumors - for the latest trade and draft pick rumors
Sports Overdose - a collection of local newspapers
Sports Overdose - a collection of team-specific blogs
Sports Culture - Off-beat coverage live from the Draft