Speed Read: Wings Denied By Ref’s Early Whistle

It might not have seemed possible a few months ago, but it appears as if Ed Hochuli has no longer made the worst officiating gaffe of the last 12 months. That honor now belongs to NHL ref Brad Watson, who probably didn’t sleep very well after the mistake he made in last night’s Red Wings-Ducks game in Anaheim.

Wings Ducks puck highlighted

(I guess Brad Watson still needs that glowing puck they used to have on FOX)

Trailing 2-1 with just over a minute left, Detroit’s Marian Hossa knocked in a loose puck that squirted free from Jonas Hiller’s pads and was sitting all by itself in the crease (as you can see above) for the apparent tying goal. But, astonishingly, Watson blew his whistle just before Hossa scored, wiping out the goal because he says he lost sight of the puck (admittedly, Watson was at a terrible angle to see where the puck was) even though the rest of the world could see the thing sitting right in the middle of the crease. The play wasn’t reviewable, and the Ducks held on for a 2-1 win to take an identical lead in the series. Wings fans are irate, but since everyone else in hockey hates Detroit the screams aren’t resonating much outside of Michigan. Here’s the full video of the play:

For what it’s worth, the announcers are right that NHL refs are required to blow the whistle as soon as they lose sight of the puck. And, while Hossa’s shot clearly goes in before the whistle sounds, the rule is that the play is dead as soon as the ref decides to blow the whistle, which is a second or so before he actually does. Procedurally, Watson did everything right. But the whole thing about not seeing a puck right there in plain sight? Yeah, he messed that up pretty bad.

Brad Watson and Islanders cheerleaders

(Hey Watson, are your eyes ever where they’re supposed to be?)

In the NBA playoffs, The Hawks hung around for a while, but eventually the Cleveland Cavs ran away and hid, making it eight straight games involving Atlanta that has ended in a blowout. LeBron accepted the MVP award from David Stern before the game, then tossed up a ho-hum 34 and 10 in a 99-72 win. The Cavs outscored the Hawks 50-28 in the second half and lead the Eastern semis 1-0.

LeBron MVP

The Nuggets also used a second-half run to take a 2-0 lead in their series with the Mavs. Carmelo Anthony and Nene each scored 25 in a 117-105 Denver victory. Dallas was one of the hottest teams down the stretch but this just looks like a bad matchup for them. They’re now 0-6 against the Nuggets this season and, including their only home loss after the All-Star break. DALLAS MORNING NEWS columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor has already declared the series over.

The Dodgers beat Arizona 3-1 last night to move to 12-0 at home this season, which is just obscene in a sport like baseball. The win tied them with the 1911 Detroit Tigers for the best home start in Major League history. Even more obscene is that L.A. won the game with Jeff Weaver on the mound. Is Scott Erickson not with the team anymore?

In the Bronx, the Red Sox pounded Joba Chamberlain for four runs before an out was recorded, and cruised to a 7-3 win, making them 5-0 against the Yankees this season. Even though Joba got roughed up early, he recovered and ended up striking out 12 batters in 5 2/3 innings. Regardless, he still had a better day than his mother.

Jason Bay

(The new Yankee killer)

• SI’s Jon Heyman says MLB is now “investigating” the pitch-tipping allegations about Alex Rodriguez. If you haven’t heard, Selena Roberts says in her book that A-Rod would let opposing batters know what pitches were coming in blowout games, with the understanding that they would return the favor later. There’s about a 0% chance that we’ll ever know what really happened. But it all seems a little far-fetched. Wouldn’t somebody notice this? And who are the other people in on this scheme?

• SPORTS RUBBISH brings us footage of a soccer team called Corinthians in Brazil celebrating a major tournament victory by setting their team captain (known only as “William”) on fire during the trophy presentation. They didn’t mean to, but I’m sure that’s of little consolation to the guy who was on fire:

• According to the INDIANAPOLIS STAR, the Titans will travel to New York Jersey in September to play…the Titans?

• Remember when the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in the late ’90s and everyone said it was crazy that they thought a hockey team would work in Arizona? Well, looks like everyone was right. The Coyotes are bankrupt and the CEO of BlackBerry wants to buy the team and move it to Ontario (the Canadian province, not the dusty city in California with an airport).

• Manchester United is going back to the Champions League final for the second straight year, after throttling Arsenal 3-1 in London. Man U scored twice in the first 11 minutes and never gave the Gunners a chance to compete. Through all of this, United is still finding time to wheel and deal, reportedly offering $127 million to Bayern Munich for French star Franck Ribery.

• The Patriots’ cheerleaders just got back from a week-long photo shoot in Aruba, where they were joined by 150 Pats fans, says the BOSTON GLOBE. The girls reportedly engaged in some beach volleyball, presumably to the delight of said 150 fans.

Pats cheerleader

• Shockingly, LeBron James is not going to be rolling around in that new Kia he got for winning the MVP, choosing to donate it instead, according to CARS.COM.

• The Nats and Astros played to a tie after nearly 11 innings yesterday in D.C. and then the rain came. And everyone just shrugged and said “really, does anyone think the outcome of this game is going to matter in September?” and decided to just call it off. Well, that would be the reasonable thing to do. In reality, they will resume the game in July in Houston (but the Nats will still be the home team).

• If you offer any of the Pittsburgh Pirates a beer right now, they might punch you in the face. The Bucs have now lost to the Brewers 17 times in a row after an 8-5 decision last night. It’s the longest such streak for any two teams in almost 40 years.

Zack Greinke missed most of the 2006 season because of anxiety and depression. Three years later, he’s the AL’s pitcher of the month and one of only three pitchers in ML history to start 6-0 with an ERA of 0.50 or less (the other two are Fernando Valenzuela and Walter Johnson).

Is Zack Greinke the real deal?

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Nike Shoe Deal Forcing Soccer Star To Be Traded?

Just how much sway does Nike hold over the collective global sports zeitgeist? If we’re to believe a rumor that’s popping up about a summer transfer of Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery to FC Barcelona, the answer is: Everything.

franck ribery bayern munich

(Coming soon to Barcelona, courtesy Nike.)

Last week, Ribery renewed his exclusive boot (read: shoe) and clothing deal with Nike, pushing his existing contract with the company through 2014. That means that, for the next five years, Ribery is beholden to Nike for a significant amount of his personal revenue, with some of the undisclosed bonus clauses likely reliant on how much personal paraphanalia he can sell.

According to THE SOCCER BLOG, the clauses in that Nike deal would be a lot easier to fulfill if his gear assimilated with the kits (read: uniforms), jackets, etc. sold by his club. Naturally, that’s only possible if he were playing for a team sponsored by Nike — say, Barcelona — rather than a team sponsored by Nike’s biggest rival, Adidas (like, say, Bayern Munchen).

Read more…

Speed Read: Curry Wanted Gay Sex From Driver?

The best part about this headline, in truth, is that it’s not even the first time we’ve been able to connect Eddy Curry with a preposterous legal suit in the past month. Remember this? Still, as bad as a two-year-old Big & Tall clothing bill is, this takes the cake: According to this story in the NEW YORK POST, the oft-injured and always overpaid Knicks center is accused of trying to solicit gay sex from his chauffeur, whom he also made touch his penis, clean up towels he had ejaculated into and whom he called a, “f**king Jew”, “white slave”, “white devil”, and “grandmaster of the KKK”. Oh, and when the driver complained, Curry pointed a loaded gun at him and threatened to kill him if he spoke.

Eddy Curry hidden in towel
(Nothing is coming up Eddy anymore. That’s for sure.)

Yes, folks, that’s about as good a story lede as you can get. Just imagine the eyes on the reporter who tripped across this court filing. “Oh, look, a Knicks benchwarmer is getting sued. Hmm, wait a minute! Gay sex! Racial epithets! He makes $9 million!! Someone get me the executive editor!”

For your reading pleasure, here are the best lines from the suit, carefully culled by the POST:

The stunning court papers claim Curry, a married father of three, repeatedly approached chauffeur David Kuchinsky “in the nude,” allegedly telling him, “Look at me, Dave, look” and “Come and touch it, Dave.”

In a disturbing episode reminiscent of some of the evidence in the manslaughter case against former Nets star Jayson Williams, Kuchinsky further claims in his suit that Curry pointed a “fully loaded” gun at him on at least two separate occasions to keep him from complaining about his treatment. “Look, I have one in the chamber,” Curry allegedly said.

Exactly how many of the allegations Curry fulfilled is up for debate, but — as with the Duke rape case — at the very least he was doing things that weren’t advisable. Note to self: Don’t call any future butlers grandmaster of the KKK”. Oh, and don’t make them butlers if you’ve only hired them to drive you around.

However, what might be the most astonishing thing about the suit, is just how little David Kuchinsky, the driver in question, is asking for. The POST claims that he wants $98,000 — $68,000 in unpaid wages and another $25,000+ in unpaid expenses from Curry — and “compensatory damages” from the center. Look, we’re not genuises here, but $98,000 is chump change for a guy whose been making $9 million a year. Sure, it’s good money, but if you’re Curry, don’t you just settle that suit as fast as humanly possible? You whipped it out on the guy repeatedly and made him clean up your masturbatory mess, and all he wants is a measly $100G? Seems cheap at the price, if you ask us.

“Instead of paying him, they discriminated against him, figuring that it would keep him there,” said Kuchinsky’s lawyer, Matthew Blit. “Imagine going into your boss’s office … and he stands up and drops his pants and he asks you take care of him. Those actions are unacceptable whether it’s in a corporate office or a private home.”

It’s worth noting that Kuchinsky does have a checkered past — he served a three-year prison sentence for a 1992 burglary in New Jersey — and that Curry’s lawyer, Kelly Saindon, says that the suit is the culmination of a series of blackmailing threats from the former chauffeur.

Still, if any of these allegations are admitted to or proven true in a court of law, it will solidify one thing: Curry is the human equivalent of canine feces. Yes, we’re calling him dog crap. He can take his 2:38 of game action this entire season and shove it. Or maybe Kuchinsky can do that for him. He might like that.

There was more NBA news, but alas, it was much less inflammatory, degrading or insulting. Still, it was pretty entertaining. Following a second-straight win over Toronto, snapping the team’s previous elongated losing skid in the process, Celtics center Kevin Garnett felt comfortable enough to loosen up in a postgame presser and go Christopher Reeve on everyone. Here’s the video:

Is it just us, or does Paul Pierce always seem like KG’s red-headed step-cousin in the interview room? Garnett steals the stage even when he’s trying to deflect praise, all of which makes the dual-mic pressers even more awkward, and more entertaining in the process.

Also, if you haven’t seen him play yet this year, now might be a good time to check out Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin. Here’s a lowdown of what he does well: Everything inside the three-point line. Here’s what he does poorly: select earphones. Did anyone see the earbuds he was using during a pre-game shootaround before Monday night’s win over rival Texas, a victory which snapped a six-game Oklahoma hoops losing streak against the Longhorns? They were either A) really old iPod earbuds or B) ripoffs of iPod earbuds. We couldn’t see “COBY” on them, but they had all the tell-tale signs. What, he can’t afford any Bose or Sony in-ear headphones? And what about the Nike ‘phones that are allegedly “designed for athletics”. Nike sponsors OU and they won’t comp a future top-10 pick a pair of headphones?

blake griffin
(Hmmm. Blake Griffin. Think he’s from Quahog, R.I.?)

Here are the full highlights of Griffin’s 14th double-double of the year, this one worth 20 points and 10 rebounds against his school’s biggest rival, all while allegedly playing with some sort of a hip pointer/side injury suffered early in the second half. We’d also note that there’s a distinct irony in the fact that Oklahoma’s other big contributor Monday night is named Austin. Oh, and for good measure, Bob Knight’s a pretty big Griffin fan, too.

  • Things keep getting worse for the Panthers. First, they get blown out at home in the playoffs. Then their fullback throws the team’s coaching staff under the bus. Now? A nasty prostitution ring is going to ensnare at least one Panther in it’s web, according to PROFOOTBALLTALK.
  • You know all those horrible chick flicks they put out with a hot actress — say, Kate Hudson — who is torn between two perfectly affable potential lovers and friends? Well, in this one, the two guys are played by PGA stud Adam Scott on Alex Rodriguez. Oh, and it’s actually happening.
  • Remember the old codger of a Hall of Fame voter in Tuscon who openly forgot to vote for Rickey Henderson? Well, ol’ Corky Simpson is taking out his frustration on the interwebs. We’d give you his home address and email if we had it … so come back soon. We should have it by lunch (gotta love the interwebs, even if Corky doesn’t).
  • There is no way Ed Rendell will ever win another election in Pennsylvania; he just simultaneously jinxed both the Steelers and Eagles with one, ferociously stupid blow.
  • Rendell might get off easy if it’s really snowy in Pittsburgh and the Ravens slog out a gross game. That’s more than you can say for the Spanish soccer fans in the video below.

Will Eddy Curry be found guilty?

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