Ex-NHLer Zezel Close to Death From Rare Disease

Sad news out of Toronto today. Ex-NHL star Peter Zezel has been taken off of life support, as he will apparently succumb to a rare blood disorder that has plagued him for years. Zezel, only 44 years old, nearly died of hemolytic anemia in 2001 but recovered. This time, he’s not going to be so lucky.

Peter Zezel

Zezel scored 219 NHL goals, and was instrumental in helping the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 1985 (as a 19-year-old) and 1987. He also played a key role for the Maple Leafs when they reached the conference finals in 1993 and 1994. Zezel famously retired from the NHL in 1999 when Canucks GM Brian Burke refused to trade him to an Eastern Conference team so he could be closer to his niece, who was dying of cancer. Burke shipped Zezel to Anaheim instead, prompting his retirement and setting off a ton of negative publicity toward Burke and the Canucks, who were not contenders at the time.

I’m sure all this is making Burke feel good about the way he treated Zezel.

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Murdered, Buried Ref Killed by Ex-Flyer Prospect?

A sixth-round draft pick for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2004 has been accused of stabbing a referee 14 times and burying his body in Slovakia over a year ago. Ladislav Scurko, who hasn’t been involved with the Flyers organization for some time, supposedly murdered Marek Liptag for failure to repay a debt.

Ladislav Scurko

The body was discovered buried last winter in a forest.  The murder allegedly occurred at a way stop on a highway near Kosice, Slovakia.  Scurko could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

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Speed Read: Rumor Mill Heats Up Valley Of Sun

We last left the never-ending stand-up comedy routine that is Shaquille O’Neal’s life as he was engaging in a prank battle with Suns rookie Louis Admunson. But then came word that he might soon be taking his show on the road, as the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reported that the big man expected to be heading to New Orleans in the off-season in a trade for Tyson Chandler.

Shaquille O'Neal

While the prospect of O’Neal - who had something resembling a career resurgance this past season - joining Chris Paul and David West might make Hornets fans (hello, anyone?)  scream like a teenage girl bumping into Joe Jonas at an am/pm, the TIMES-PICAYUNE says that they can save their voices. They looked at the trade and said that the numbers just don’t work - basically, the Hornets would have to trade $8 million more in player salaries in addition to Chandler’s, which doesn’t help their goal of trimming salary to stay under the cap.

Anquan Boldin

So while the Suns’ trade of Shaq might have stalled, the same isn’t true of Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Anquan Boldin. First, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS said that Boldin appeared as a guest on Michael Irvin’s radio show and pretty much pleaded to be traded:

As for getting traded Boldin said, “I just want to get it resolved, it’s been going on way too long.” Later he said, “it would hurt but at the same time, change is necessary. My only problem has been management, always has been.”

While this was happening, the ARIZONA REPUBLIC was reporting that the Cardinals have changed their course and are now open” to listening to trade offers for Boldin, who has two years left on his contract, but still prefer to resign him. Boldin mentioned in his interview that he’d love to play in the NFC East. With basically every team in the division needing a go-to wide receiver, it certainly is an attractive option.

And while this all was happening, on the other side of the country former Delaware football player Julian James was hungry - really hungry.  The DELAWARE NEWS-JOURNAL says that a video surveillance camera at an off-campus apartment complex allegedly shows James entering an unlocked apartment and leaving with loot, while unsuccessfully trying to get into six other apartment. His haul?

Julian James

“100 frozen chicken wings, a pound of frozen salmon, 18 frozen Hot Pockets and 20 hamburger patties worth a total value of $82.”

Or as John Kruk would call that, “lunch.” I hope they recovered the stolen food before James had a chance to eat it; Otherwise, I’d think the state’s Exhibit A in the trial is going to be pretty smelly and disgusting.

  • What’s hotter than Miss America in a basketball jersey? How about Miss America in a basketball jersey draining an NBA 3-pointer. INDY CORN ROWS says current Miss America Katie Stam did just that before a Pacers game last night.
  • Miss America with the Pacers

  • What happens when a stick from an opposing team’s player gets stuck halfway through the glass in Boston? As PUCK DADDY says, it turned into a tug-of-war between Montreal’s Alexei Kovalev and a Bruins fan during the Canadiens’ 4-2 loss, with the stick breaking in half. If this were the 1970s and the Bruins were playing the Rangers, Mike Milbury would have made sure someone ate some leather.
  • Congratulations to Ichiro, who the SEATTLE TIMES reports set the record for most hits by a Japanese baseball player with a fourth inning single, giving him 3,086 for his career in Japan and the U.S. So that’s what was causing his bleeding ulcer.
  • As if the Flyers needed an obstacle in trying to take down the Penguins in their NHL first-round playoff series: the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS says that Philadelphia enforcer Daniel Carcillo has been suspended for Game 2 after giving a “message” hit to the back of the head of Pittsburgh’s Max Talbot at the end of the Flyers’ Game 1 loss.
  • In the wake of Nick Adenhart’s tragic death and with the Angels’ nearly tragic bus crash from 1992 still on longtime team fans’ minds, HALOS HEAVEN looks at MLB’s contingency plans in case of a catastrophic accident that wipes out a team. George Costanza can rest easy tonight.
  • The ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH says that Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter left the team’s game against the Cubs in the fourth inning with a strained oblique. How did he get the injury? Taking a swing during an earlier at-bat. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE DH, PEOPLE!
  • Remember when the Cavs fans got on LeBron James’ case when he dribbled out the ball with the team needing one more point to ensure fans a free Taco Bell item? The CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER says King James was still ticked about Chalupagate as he addressed the fans before the team’s home finale.
  • If I am Kurt Busch and my NASCAR career has stalled, the one person I wouldn’t be yelling at during a race is his car owner, racing legend Roger Penske. FROM THE MARBLES agrees, and has the audio and video proof (about 55 seconds in):

  • Kenyon Martin on Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof to SI.COM after Maloof demanded an apology after Martin gave a hard foul to the Kings’ Spencer Hawes: “Apologize to him? I’m not apologizing to him. I apologized to Spencer after the game, but before he opens his mouth he needs to know what’s going on.” Guess someone just got uninvited to the Palms VIP suites this off-season.
  • Congratulations to former Arizona basketball star Eugene Edgerson, who the ARIZONA DAILY STAR says was arrested for his second domestic abuse charge within the past two months. Edgerson currently plays for the Harlem Globetrotters, leading me to wonder if his wife is the Washington Generals of marriage.

With Stephen A. Smith out the door, which ESPN talking head should be the next to get the ax?

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Speed Read: Come and Kneel Before Tiger! Kneel!

Rick Reilly stands this morning as the sports media’s Jack O’Halloran, the ever-prodding manchild from Superman II: every time he throws a bus at Tiger Woods, Tiger crawls out from underneath just a little angrier.

Tiger Woods and Superman

Sunday, Bay Hill stood in for Metropolis and Sean O’Hair pulled over the black bedazzled robes to take the Terence Stamp role to Tiger on Sunday, seemingly in control until he saw that red swoosh fill the camera.  At that point, O’Hair dropped from the Saturday leader to a Sunday round of 73 and Tiger dropped a 15-footer for the one-shot victory at 18.

Tiger Woods

In drama worthy of a Donner-esque cut of a better sequel, Tiger took his first title after last year’s knee surgery on a long putt at hole #72 just like he did last spring.  After the win, he met again with the namesake of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, who we think might be Perry White in this analogy.  Or Lois Lane.  This one may need some work still, unlike Tiger’s knee.

Want Tiger to show you how the heat vision works, Rick? No, you’re good?  Fair enough.

Roy Williams trims for the Final Four

Sunday held little heat for the Final Four as Michigan State and North Carolina committed to a weekend in Detroit in April, otherwise known as “the best weekend of weather ever”.  No, really… just listen to every sportswriter go on about it next weekend, assuming they don’t spend the whole time in Windsor.

Neither game was particularly close, leaving casual sports fans hunting for Tiger or smaller game (as mentioned below).  Sadly, even Clark Kellogg’s stale “versatile like baking soda” line couldn’t get any vinegar for a volcanic explosion.

At least the ticket sales should improve with a state team available to attend.  Villanova and Connecticut will fill out the other two slots as we all spend all week polishing our convoluted plans to justify picking against a UConn-UNC final Monday night. (Oh, and is Roy Williams finally accepted at UNC? Just checking.)

Vancouver murder

A foreign country bordering the United States has such a horrific crime problem due to a drug war that it could affect their ability to host international tourists.  Of course, we’re talking about Canada.  Specifically, Vancouver’s inability to get decent amounts of cocaine has caused a gang war to break out, raising the murder rate dramatically.

The area has grown so desperate for warm bodies with badges that two officers that “smelled of alcohol and uttered racial slurs” while allegedly beating and robbing a newspaper delivery man in Vancouver won’t have to stand trial for a year because the police can’t spare a single person to be a witness at the trial during the 2010 Winter Olympics. (h/t RAINCOASTER)

After having to spend most of last summer listening to the incessant whining about the safety of the 2008 Beijing Games, we can’t help but notice the silence surrounding the 2010 Vancouver Games. We can’t quite put our finger on what could be different about the two countries.  Maybe journalists feel safe after watching a “Da Vinci’s Inquest” marathon?

In case you suspect we’re overstating the case, listen to a local activist: “I’m really apprehensive about going out in the evening.  We’ve turned into an American city.” Does that mean you’re not interested in two free Final Four tickets?

Speaking of a hail of bullets, duck even though you don’t feel threatened in your job by Todd Jones

  • We’re with Ray Ratto: we’re not sure Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff has a plan anymore for a new stadium.  He’s the Underpants Gnome of owners.  He knows “back up garbage trucks of taxpayer cash to my home” is Step 3, but he’s damned if he knows what Step 2 is anymore.
  • Congratuations to Bemidji State for advancing to the Frozen Four in NCAA hockey.  We don’t have anything more to add; for that, please check out THE HOOVER STREET RAG.  We just always wanted to link to the BEMIDJI PIONEER.
  • Finally, we know a referee that will be working the NBA Finals next in about 2024 after nearly injuring the future of the league by getting tangled underfoot of LeBron James:

 

Your 2009 NCAA men’s basketball champions are…

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Flyers Pose w/Porn Star; A-Rod Bahamas-Bound

• A few Philly Flyers pose for some photos with porn star Gina Lynn.

Gina Lynn and Joffrey Lupul

• What do you do when the whole world’s on your case for lying about steroids? Head to the Bahamas with two hot chicks, that’s what!

Tyler Hansbrough may have defeated Duke four straight times, but he can’t beat the Blue Devils fans’ majestic mockery of him.

• NBA players Nene & Jason Smith get involved with a sister act.

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Flyers Are At It Again, This Time With A Porn Star

Remember when we caught the Flyers crashing at a Temple University frat party? Well, our fun-loving boys are back at it, and moving up in the world of partying. They’ve gone from hanging out with bar skanks and frat rats to scoring some personal time with one of the world’s biggest porn stars, Gina Lynn.

Gina Lynn and Mike Richards

(Taking a page from certain rum ads, Gina might soon have a little captain in her.)

From what I can tell, this evening consisted of one adult film actress, four professional athletes,, and an empty apartment. Not a scenario unfamiliar to most adult film actresses, I would surmise. But it looks wholesome, from the background — someone ordered pizza!

The pics get slightly less wholesome, after the jump.

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NY Giants Try To Cover Up Busty Fan’s Bravado

• The New York Giants don’t appreciate one fan’s busting out of support.

Sondra Fortunato

T.O. has a new target for his temper tantrums: ESPN’s Ed Werder.

• Some Flyers float in to have some fun at a Philly frat party.

• The Arena League season, which was off, then on, is now off again.

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Philadelphia Flyers Pop Collars, Crash Frat Party

How do you celebrate a four-goal comeback? A nice quiet night at home? Not if you’re a professional athlete. You might hit the clubs, or a strip joint. Or, if you’re the Philadelphia Flyers, you crash a frat party.

Scottie Upshall and Mike Richards

(Mike Richards and friends practice the 2-on-1)

That was the scene Thursday night in Philly’s Old City, when a fraternity formal progressed from the usual roofie coladas and drunken fumbling sex in the bathroom to something much more special. It was that kind of magic that can only occur when millionaire athletes show up unexpectedly to mooch off of the frat’s beer.

SPORTSbyBROOKS exclusive pics after the jump.

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“Hockey Mom” Palin Plus Philly Fans Don’t Mix

So the Republican Party though that having Vice-Presidential Candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin drop the first puck at a hockey game in a key swing state would be a good idea. After all, she is a self-proclaimed “hockey mom” and a former sportscaster to boot.

Sarah Palin drops puck at Flyers game

The problem? The game they decided to send Palin to was a Flyers’ home game. Philly fans booed Santa Claus, for crying out loud. And if you are wondering if they were any kinder to Palin, check out the video after the jump:

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Speed Read: Eli’s Space Condo Could Beat Rams

It was a slow night in the world of sports with the baseball playoffs off until Thursday, and the only football game to be found was the timeless Troy-Florida Atlantic rivalry. So let’s focus our attention on what really matters: Eli Manning’s futuristic space condo.

Eli Manning's futuristic house

Manning and his wife have a hyper-modern 3,000 square-foot condo in Hoboken, N.J., where nearly everything is operated with a remote control. Among the amenities: several 63-inch flat screens, steam-resistant speakers in the bathroom, and a secret bar stocked with top shelf liquor. ELECTRONIC HOUSE magazine is on the scene (with a slideshow to boot):

Eli’s guests are probably most excited by the hidden bar in the living room. It appears to be a normal column next to the wet bar–until Eli presses a button on a nearby Crestron wall panel. It then becomes James Bond-esque: The column slowly rotates and reveals a covert bar area. “I just kind of wanted the place to have a little secret,” Eli laughs.

Also included are two layers of automated shades that provide varying degrees of sunlight exposure. The place even has a computer that sets the the interior lighting to pre-programmed levels at the touch of a button. You know, for those days when you can’t even be bothered to expend the energy to flip a switch.

Eli Manning's computerized house

Unfortunately, most avenues for humor here have been completely destroyed by the fact that Eli Manning is currently the reigning Super Bowl MVP. He was a much easier target when he was losing playoff games 23-0.

In the things-that-actually-happened-last-night department, Greg Oden finally made his long-awaited debut as Portland stomped Sacramento 110-81 in the preseason opener for both teams. Oden had 13 points, five rebounds, and two blocks in 20 minutes of action. It was also the NBA debut for Portland’s Rudy Fernandez, who delivered several highlight moments to a near sell-out crowd at the Rose Garden. Even more impressive: none of the current Blazers have ever been charged with a felony.

Greg Oden debut

Now for your Wednesday surgery round-up! Mariano Rivera had a calcified joint shaved in his shoulder. The shavings will be packed in a Pringles can and auctioned on eBay.  He should be able to throw again in three months, and is expected to not have lasting effects. Meanwhile, Omar Vizquel had laser eye surgery. I’m sure the Giants are happy that he did this after he hit .222 for them this year. The Cubs’ Carlos Marmol got into a car accident in the Dominican Republic and had to get some stitches in his head.

Of course, Marmol could’ve just as easily ended up with a gash in his head on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium if he would’ve been anywhere near teammates who took frustrations out on the plumbing near the visiting dugout after their season-ending loss. The pipe-bashers caused a flood, according to the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES’ Chris De Luca. Brad Lidge is scheduled to tear a quad slipping in the puddle Sunday night.

• If the Dodgers do somehow win the World Series this year, let’s hope they take a cue from their 1981 counterparts and put together a four-man singing crew that rivals this one (thanks to BIG LEAGUE STEW for the video footage):

• WFAN’s Sweeny Murti thinks he knows why the Yankees aren’t doing so well these days: they could’ve drafted better players between 1997 and 2003. What he doesn’t acknowledge? Every other team passed on all of the listed players they could’ve had at least once as well.

• The Flyers played at the Spectrum for the final time last night (the building is being torn down next year), and lost — to their minor-league affiliate. To be fair, it was a home game for the Phantoms.

• Yesterday was the 100th annversary of the worst beatdown in college football history, so says BLEACHER REPORT. You’re off the hook, Neuheisel.

• What does 11-19 in your first three years get you? If you’re Colorado football coach Dan Hawkins, it’s is a two-year extension (AP, via YAHOO! SPORTS).

• Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s son is the owner of the AAA baseball and minor-league soccer franchises in Portland and he’s looking for an $85 million bailout from local taxpayers to help renovate their current stadium for an MLS team and build a new baseball stadium, says OREGONLIVE.COM.

• HOME RUN DERBY’s jersey of the week? This guy:

Brewers fan

Looking in the mirror might be painful for a few days.

The Saints have taken down a photo of the Vikings’ Chad Greenway clutching Reggie Bush’s facemask, according to PRO FOOTBALL TALK.  The team claims that posting the photo didn’t have anything to do with being mad at Ed Hochuli’s crew for missing the call.

• Broncos kicker Matt Prater tells the AP (via the NEW YORK TIMES) that he wants a shot at breaking the record for longest field goal, after his 55-yarder on Sunday looked like it would’ve been good from 70 yards. Unfortunately, Lane Kiffin isn’t his coach.

• Last, but most definitely not least, SHORT NEWS has the heartwarming tale of an injured soccer player who discarded crutches and a cast and scored the game winning goal with his injured foot…and then vomited from the overwhelming pain.

What is your favorite factoid about Eli Manning’s home?

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