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NHL Lockout: Are We Looking at Another 2004-05 Implosion?

NHL-Lockout

As of 12:00AM, EST no CBA has been reached between owners and players in the NHL.

Hockey fans everywhere breathe a collective sigh of, “Shit!”

We’ve done this before. The epic fail of the lockout 2004-05 resulted in an entire season of hockey being lost. But more importantly, it resulted in a spiral of a sport which was just reaching a pinnacle of popularity. There is no question that the lockout of 2004-05 had hugely detrimental results for the NHL and for the popularity of professional Hockey. The hard-working, seemingly everyman image of the NHL became one of prima donna money squabbles and general ultra-rich dude skullduggery.

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Sidney Crosby: Not Retired, Not Returned

Twitter chatter picked up yesterday about the status of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, pointedly absent and silent during the off-season, as teams prepare to go to training camp.

The word “retired” appeared at least once as I scrolled past.

“No way,” I said aloud, to no one. “No. Way.” I may have gotten a little chill, I admit it.

I don’t like Sidney Crosby, as I am contractually required not to as a card-carrying member of the Washington Capitals Irrational Penguins Hate Club. I hate his commercials where he hits pucks into garbage cans or whatever in his mom’s basement. I don’t care for his attitude, about which I know nothing, really. Small detail. I don’t call him names (I really don’t) because that’s just not my bag, but I dislike him in the way one can only irrationally dislike a star player on a rival team. This is America, man. I don’t need a reason.

However, I’m not interested in any guy going out of his game at the age of 24 due to brain injury, or even having a brain injury. Yes, I’ve watched the hits over and over that got him in this situation. No, I don’t think the Winter Classic hit from Dave Steckel was dirty. Yes, I think Victor Hedman should have gotten more than two minutes for checking in the hit a few days later in Tampa Bay, which I believe in my uneducated, unscientific brain is really what got him into this mess in the first place. It really makes no nevermind to me what caused it, at this point. I just know that a career-ending injury would be devastating for him, the city of Pittsburgh (where I have friends with whom I like to keep my rivalries friendly) and, really, the NHL. The league and the fans benefit from having gifted players on the ice, and that’s the kind of hockey I like to watch.

Also, Canada. I like some Canadians, and he won them that medal that I didn’t begrudge them in the slightest. And although I fully plan to celebrate a Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup win when it happens, I don’t want to hear that it happened because Sid wasn’t on the ice.

I have a lot of feelings about this, apparently.

So when I finally caught up with the Sidney Crosby news tonight, it appeared that there was no news. This didn’t stop the Sid alarms from going off all over the hockey web, but mostly it was defensive press release-y kinds of stuff. I could find no more mentions of the r-word, just a lot of “We can’t speculate” and “He’ll come back when he’s healthy” and “Hey, chump, last time I checked training camp hadn’t started. He’s working out. Go away.”

His manager Pat Brisson said Monday:

Sidney hasn’t been shut down by anyone, He has simply adjusted his summer program according to the different needs for the appropriate recovery.

Alrighty. He’s done the different things for the things for the appropriateness of the stuff and the program and the things. Quotes like this make me wish these guys would just recite the lyrics to Yankee Doodle Dandy while the reporters stare back slack-jawed, because that would at least be newsworthy, and slightly more interesting.

Anyway, Brisson gave more vague details about Crosby’s recovery, and said pretty much nothing, insinuating therefore that there was, quite simply, nothing to say. He would return when he was ready, and so far he isn’t. His primary symptoms have been headaches, but he expected him to be back on the ice when he was healthy and to play for many years.

Pens coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby has been working out, so stick that puck where you can fit it:

Sidney’s progressed nicely this summer, he’s had a long summer, he’s worked out in June and July. We’re hoping for Sidney to come back in and be ready to go for training camp. I know he’s worked out more now than he has probably the last three summers.

I’m now envisioning Sid the Kid rolling up to training camp like a beefed-up boss, with solid gold shoulder pads maybe, just for the entrance.

Concussions are serious business, and the truth is that erring on the side of caution seems better than throwing a guy out there who isn’t ready for whatever reason. And if I were a Pens fan I’d be banking on two things at this point. One, the hope that Sid gets better soon, because they love the crap out of him up there, and let’s face it, last season didn’t look so great over the long haul. And two? Play some golf, Sid. Get some spa treatments. Heal, and pop up just in time for the playoffs.

Stranger things, my hockey friends. Stranger, craftier things.

Source: NHL.com

Photo: Getty, Jamie Squire

O.J. Simpson Beaten By Skinheads In Prison

O.J. Simpson is in prison?

That seems to be the first question I hear upon delivering this news, and yes, O.J. Simpson is in prison.

It wasn’t as widely publicized as his murder trials, but in September 2007, O.J. hired five men and led an armed robbery attempt in a Las Vegas hotel room. He was attempting to steal sports memorabilia and other personal items he claimed were stolen from him.

In 2008, he was sentenced up to 33 years in prison for armed robbery, kidnapping, and apparently a variety of other things even the lawyers failed to understand.  O.J. is set to serve a minimum of 9 years.

Anywho, it seems O.J. was bragging about his conquests with white women while in earshot of a group of skinheads. As you might guess, that shit makes them angry.

The skinheads would then beat him senseless, as apparently having sex with white women is considerably more offensive than killing them.

Now, O.J. is afraid to leave his cell, almost as if there’s a crazy one-gloved man right outside his door who’s wielding a large kitchen knife and wearing designer Italian shoes.

It’s hard to cheer when an African American male is beaten by a group of white men who hate everyone other than themselves, and that’s why you really have to focus. At first, I was confused… not sure how to take this news. On one hand, you have a bunch of hate-fueled men who hate everyone. On the other, you have a man in need of a violent beating.  Hmmmm…

I’m not fond of skinheads or their idealism, but if I need a violent beating issued, what better group to carry this out? You wouldn’t go to a monastery or a Star Trek convention, you’d contract an experienced group of indiscriminant rib-kickers. I’m just trying to see it how Jesus would.

Listen. I know that rationalizing violence isn’t the answer, especially if you’re not doing it right. Walk with me.

In The Mummy with Brendan Fraser, Imhotep was finally dragged down to the underworld by a group of Anubis’ demons. Typically, I hate Anubis demons. We are like oil and water. However, if you’ve got Imhotep by the legs, are pulling him out of my world and thereby saving my face from being sucked off, Go Anubis Demon!

Now, let’s say the eternal servants of Anubis have Brendan Fraser by the legs and he’s about to disappear forever. See? Same thing. Go Demon!

But what if they’ve got the pretty girl or a puppy? Ehhh? Anubis Demons aren’t that cool now, are they?

I think the point is that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Did I mention the part about O.J. being fearful of leaving his cell? I love that part.

I’m thinking about doing an O.J. Fear Watch. See if I can talk the prison into installing a webcam in his cell. Maybe a speaker that we can call into when he’s sleeping and yell things like, “Watch out! Shank!”  That would be like ten times better than the other voyeur membership sites I… heard about on the news.

You could even make it a game show. I bet Joe Rogan would host it. “Ok, he’s leaving his cell now. Looks like he’s crawling. Let’s do a speaker check. Watch this: ‘Skinhead!‘  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok, who had ‘Shit His Pants?’ Rachel! You move on to the next round. I’m sorry, Bill and Alex, clearly he shit in his pants and did not piss all over himself. Keep in mind, he’s been afraid to get water since Tuesday. Should have remembered that (taps index cards on podium). But had he done both, it would have forced a tie and we would have moved on to the final elimination round where we actually bring skinheads into his cell. Now we’re out of time, so it looks like O.J. will get a reprieve until next week on… everybody now… “SCARE. THAT. ASSHOLE!”

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Where in the World is Lorenzen Wright?

Lorenzen Wright is missing.

nba-cavs-lorenzen-wright-James

Former Cavalier/Grizzly/King/Hawk/Clipper Lorenzen Wright.

I have this strong urge to photoshop a picture of him into one of those “Where’s Waldo” cartoons, and I probably would, but this isn’t funny at all. Nobody knows where Lorenzen is. The last time anybody saw him or heard from him is when he visited his ex-wife and kids on July 18th.

When the ex-wife and the mother of a 34-year-old 6′ 11″ NBA Center are worried enough to file a missing persons report that the police say they are taking “very, very seriously” there is reason to be uneasy.

I hope they find Lorenzen alive, well and refreshed after some quiet time.

Lorenzen Wright

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[photo: espn.com]

Sarah wonders how you lose a guy who is almost seven feet tall.