Sports Year in Review

The 2012 season has been once more, exciting. This year, in 2012, we have seen some amazing comebacks from some of our fan favorites resurrected from the ashes like a Phoenix to be playing at top notch level once again. Peyton Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts, after a 14 year career, and signed with the Denver Broncos, after shopping himself around to numerous teams. Many were hesitant of his decision to play in Mile High, after 15 games and a 12-3 record, guess Peyton was right…again. And he has them on the edge of grabbing possible home field advantage in the playoffs. Adrian Peterson came back after only 11 months since ripping his MCL and his ACL, no body ever expected the dominant running back to bounce back and be the runner he once was.

They were right; he worked harder than ever, and apparently has come back even better, with 1898 YDs, a ridiculous 6.0/YPC average and 11 TDs, and is instantaneously in the MVP discussion, without question. Calvin Johnson, the WR for the Lions broke a 17 year record held by the one and only Jerry Rice, with 1892 YDs receiving this season. After 15 games, so far, looking to crack 2000, something that was never done in NFL history. All while grabbing 117 catches, and a tremendous 16.2 / YPC avg.

The rookie class of 2012 of QBs has come on strong, strong. With Andrew Luck being picked number 1 for the Colts, and leading them to a playoff spot, only months after finishing the season with only 2 measly wins is unbelievable. RG3, the charismatic QB for the Washington Redskins, has blown people away with his passing skills (67% completion, 20 TDs/ 5 Ints) and his running ability (752 YDs/ 6 TDs), then of course, there is the appealing story of Russell Wilson, the diminutive QB, who was stolen in the 3rd round, and is having a great season as well, throwing for 25 TDs (9th in the NFL) and leading the Seahawks to 10-5 record and looking to lead them deep into the playoffs.

The NHL is taking their turn going on strike this season, delaying the fans to enjoy watching Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, Cory Schneider, and Claude Giroux, get on the ice. Nothing seems to be on the doorstep of any hope of getting cleared anytime soon. After Los Angeles defeated New Jersey, 4-2, we may never know, if they can defend their Cup. LeBron finally got his ring, in a 5 game series vs the OK Thunder. This season, they both look primed and ready to make a run for it again.

The 2012 summer Olympics, USA ended up with 104 medals, 46 gold, led behind stellar performances of Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and the girl’s gymnastics team. We saw Dwight Howard command his way out of Orlando, and continue to follow in Shaq’s giant footsteps, but so far has been a washout in his arrival there, to the team that was on paper, supposed to be a potential 65 win team, is playing .480 ball. We watched as Manny Pacquiao got KO’ed by Juan Manuel Marquez in a fight that many thought would be the final meeting between the 2, before Manny could fight Mayweather, sadly the fight has lost its luster, and may not ever happen after the squat right that dropped Pacquiao.

The Mike Vick testing seems to have ended after 4 seasons of nothing great, and a disappointing 18-15 record. Tim Tebow was brought into in NY, still without any authentic reason as to why, as he played about 25 snaps on the season, and threw just 8 passes, even being put on the field as a punt blocker.

Notre Dame went 12-0 and is heading to the BCS championship game vs 12-1 SEC monster, Alabama Crimson Tide. The SF Giants won the MLB World Series, against the Detroit Tigers in a 4 game sweep. Led by Pablo Sandoval, who batted .500, with 3 HRs and an OBS of 1.654. Of course, on a downward reminder, PSU had some unspeakable findings that rocked the sports world, Joe Paterno passed away, the New Orleans Saints were jammed in a bounty scandal, then they weren’t, and now, no one is completely sure about what happened. 2013 will surely not let us down either!!

Frank Jordan with VegasTopDogs.com

Jeff’s 2011-12 NHL Eastern & Western Conference Spotlight Teams

The NHL season begins on October 6th, 2011. I am the #1 documented NHL Handicapper at The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma. Nobody has won more in Hockey over the past 13 years fully documented. I finished #1 in 2002 (NSM) and #1 again in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Last season was another winning one as doc. by The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff has enjoyed six straight winning NHL seasons and going for lucky 7!

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Jeff’s 2011-12 Eastern Conference Spotlight team: Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres finished 7th in the Eastern Conference (3rd in Northeast) last season and for a Lindy Ruff coached team it was considered a down year. Ruff, the longest-tenured coach in the NHL, is entering his 14th year behind the Sabres bench. The guy is one of the best head coaches in all of Hockey. With a career record of 526-390-78, reaching the playoffs 8 out of the previous 13 seasons, a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, his resume stacks up with the best of them.

When you think of the Buffalo Sabres the first name you have to shout out is Goalie Ryan Miller. Talk about your studs in Net. He is arguably the best Goalie in the NHL today. Not last season though. It was a down year. He went 34-22-8 with a 2.59 GAA and .916 save percentage. But when you consider his career stats of 221-126-41 with a 2.57 GAA and .917 save percentage, the numbers suggest he could have performed better. Miller is 31 years old and is primed for a monster season. He has all the attributes you want to see in an NHL goalie. Size (6’2 175), quickness, intelligence, desire, and of course blocking skills. The one attribute Miller does not possess is staying healthy, as he has only one season of 70 or more games. In 2009, Miller went 41-18 with a 2.22 GAA and .929 save percentage. I would expect something close to that this season! Jhonas Enroth is trying to secure the back-up job. Off to a great start this preseason with a 3-0 record and 1.53 GAA so far.

This team has a big, fast, and mobile defense in front of Ryan Miller. The offense is good too and gets the services of Derrick Roy back from a quad injury. It’s fair to say that Tyler Ennis had his “breakout” season in 2010, when he put up 20 goals and 29 assists in his first full season with the Sabres, but there is a great chance he doubles those numbers this season. He is one of the fastest skaters in all of Hockey!

New Owner Terry Pegula did some spending in the off-season and the Sabres should be an elite team because of it. The Sabres acquired Christian Ehrhoff, Ville Leino and Robyn Regehr, and Buffalo should be much improved on the power play with Ehrhoff. He had six power-play goals for Vancouver last season, which led all Canucks’ blue-liners and was tied for ninth in the league among defensemen. Buffalo has no weakness and will come at you with four top-notch lines. You might not know all the names now, but you will at seasons end.

Jeff’s Projected 2011-12 record: 52-23-7 (112 points, 2nd seed in the East)

2011-12 NHL Eastern Conference Mark your Calender pick: Buffalo Sabres -145* vs. Anaheim on October 7th, 1:00 PM E (Friday Day game)

*- Projected line

The Sabres lost 5-4 at Anaheim last season (Jan 2010) despite out-shooting them 45-30. The Ducks have never played well on the road in the Eastern time zone in October. Just like in the NFL, Pacific Time Zone teams traveling East to play a 10:00 AM body clock game do not play up to par in most cases. Buffalo lost their home opener last season and they will be focused to give their loyal fans a win this year. Play Buffalo and eat some Buffalo Wings after the win!

Jeff Hochman from VegasTopDogs.com

Jeff’s 2011-12 NHL Western Conference Spotlight Team (Must Read Info)

The NHL season begins on October 6th, 2011. I am the #1 documented NHL Handicapper at The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma. Nobody has won more in Hockey over the past 13 years fully documented. I finished #1 in 2002 (NSM) and #1 again in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Last season was another winning one as doc. by The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff has enjoyed six straight winning NHL seasons and going for lucky 7! This article has been a huge money maker since 1998. Check it out!

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Jeff’s 2011-12 NHL Western Conference Spotlight team: Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup two seasons ago and this team suffered with the Cup “hangover” affect in 2010-11. Chicago managed to make the playoffs barley with a 44-29-9 (97 points), which was good for No. 8 out West. They did lose a lot of fluky games as the puck just did not bounce their way. That trend continued in the playoffs as Vancouver ousted Chicago in the first round despite the Blackhawks outscoring them.

Chicago scored 258 goals and gave up 225 for a +33 differential in last year’s regular season. The +33 ranks seventh out of all the playoff teams last year. What Chicago needs to improve on is very clear. The Penalty kill.

Last season, the Blackhawks enjoyed a 23% Power Play efficiency but had a 79.2% Penalty Kill. The 79.2% PK ranked 2nd to last out of all the playoff teams. Only Phoenix (78.4) was worse and they didn’t go far in the playoffs either. No team has won the Stanley Cup with a below 80% Penalty Kill during the regular season.

Chicago traded Brian Campbell to free up some cap space, but this team has elite talent in their system. You know the big names on offense— Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marain Hossa, and Fernando Pisani. The defense will be better with the likes of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, who will be looking to bounce back from an off year. Chicago has 7 players on defense who are 6’2 or taller. They are all fast and can skate with the best of them. John Scott is 6’8 and getting better.

Corey Crawford and Ray Emery form a strong 1-2 punch in Goal. Crawford had a breakout year in his 4th season going 33-18 with a 2.30 GAA and .917 save percentage. He has great size (6’2) and tremendous blocking skills in net. Ray Emery is probably the best back-up in the league. His career record of 94-53-15 with a 2.67 GAA and .908 save percentage is impressive. Crawford is the man but Emery is good insurance.

Last season showed what happens when you don’t “bring it” each and every night. Every team the Blackhawks faced last season was a big game for that team trying to upset the defending Stanley Cup Champions. That won’t happen this year, only in Boston.

The Blackhawks will be more focused this season, especially on defense, The Power Play will be great and the Penalty Kill will be much improved. Chicago has a plethora of young talent that will only get better.

Jeff’s Projected 2011-12 record: 53-22-7 (115 points, 2nd seed out West)

2011-12 Western Conference Mark Your Calendar pick: Chicago Blackhawks -150* vs. Vancouver on November 6th, 2011

*projected line

The Blackhawks have this game circled and it will be played exactly one month into the season. They lost in 7 games despite outscoring Vancouver in last year’s first round playoff series. The Canucks will be playing its 4th road game in six days. Play Chicago!

by Jeff H/JH-Sportsline