Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday Notes: Won't anyone think of the Block Rate?

-- Isiah Thomas must have been really, really impressed by this Ken Pomeroy post. Zeke would be my hero if he used Balkman's Block Rate to defend the selection.

I recommend reading Bill Simmons's draft diary even if you don't like the NBA that much. The Sports Guy wrote some hilarious stuff last night.

-- Yesterday,'s Stewart Mandel wrote that Chuck Amato was one of the five worst coaches in the country. Mandel emphasized the results of the last 3-5 years in making the list. He also ranked the ten best coaches in the country and included George O'Leary (this George O'Leary) in that group, so we can immediately dismiss the rankings as garbage. Chuck Amato isn't one of the five worst coaches in the country right now, he's just an easy target. That's made obvious enough by the nickname Mandel sarcastically gives to Amato.

Today brings this article from Mike Farrell: Can Amato recruit in his own backyard?

Can Chuck get it done this year? It's possible now that he's discovered where his bread is buttered, but it won't be easy. A big season on the field is needed and some serious in-state ground must be made up for N.C. State to rebound and take advantage of the depth of talent in North Carolina this year. If Chuck is successful in both areas, N.C. State could re-emerge as a contender in the ACC. If not, Amato might be leaving the state he didn't show enough love to when he arrived.

Farrell says Amato has neglected in-state recruiting and that the neglect has hurt NC State. This isn't a new theory, and it's not one that I buy. Farrell points to all of the big name recruits who were poached by out-of-state schools, but would things have been different had NC State been completely focused on North Carolina? I am not so sure.

The inherent assumption is that Amato could have recruited those big names harder. That's a pretty big assumption. It's also an offensive notion to the Wolfpack coaches who worked to land the guys who eventually got away. The bottom line is it's not easy to beat Virginia Tech or Florida State or Georgia for players, even in your own backyard. The fact that those players were lost doesn't necessarily have anything to do with NCSU's recruiting philosophy.

-- NC State finished 34th in the final Directors' Cup standings, and that's despite down years from the stalwart cross country teams (the men's squad will be back with a vengeance next year, though).

-- Cameron Bennerman made the Dime Magazine All-Undrafted team.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cedric Simmons To New Orleans

Congrats, Ced!

The Hornets took Hilton Armstrong at #12, so does that mean they expect Simmons to play the four?

True Hoop: Ced Simmons Draft Profile

Some audio and video of Ced.

BlogPoll Roundtable: EDSBS Edition

The latest roundtable requires us to consider life without the alma mater. The alternative can be terrifying.

1. Education. List the region of the country you were born in, what universities you attended and at least one other you would have attended if your alma mater didn’t exist.

Born in Raleigh, NC. I was raised as an NC State fan (my parents conveniently forgot to tell me what they were getting me into), so I decided early on that I was going to school there. I graduated from NCSU in May of 2005 with a B.A. in History. If NC State didn't exist, I'd have probably attended Arizona since I actually went to high school in Tucson.

I would've been at the UofA during the John Mackovic era...ewwwww. I saw enough bad football in high school. I don't need John Mackovic.

On the plus side, though, Lute Olson > Herb Sendek.

2. Sports Affiliations. List your top 10 favorite teams in all of sports in decending order. For instance, your alma mater’s football team may be number 1, but perhaps there is a professional team that squeezes in before you get to your alma mater’s lacrosse team.

Seven's the best I can do:

7) Assorted NCSU non-revenue sports
6) New York Giants
5) NC State baseball
4) Chicago White Sox
3) Carolina Hurricanes (just by a hair over the White Sox)
1a & 1b) NC State football and basketball. I really can't choose one of these over the other. I prefer college football in general, but when it comes specifically to NC State, I agonize equally over hoops and football.

3. Movies. List the movie you’ve watched the most, your favorite sports related movie, the movie you secretly love but don’t like to admit it (possibly a chick flick or b film), and the movie you were (or still are) most looking forward to from this summer’s season.

Watched The Most: Aliens
Fave Sports-Related: Field of Dreams
Guilty Pleasure: Commando (bad guys holed up on island just so Arnold can go to said island and blow everything up...what's not to like?)

4. Music. List your favorite band from middle school, high school, college and today. Also, as with the movies, include the song you secretly love but don’t like to admit. If Nickleback is involved in any of these responses, please give a detailed explanation as to why, god, why.

Middle School: Green Day
High School: Radiohead
College/Today: Joy Division
Guilty Pleasure Song: "Out of Control," Hoobastank (it really hurts to admit that)

5. Books. Favorite book you’ve finished, worst book you’ve finished and the book you really should read but haven’t gotten around to it.

Favorite: Dune
Worst: The Scarlet Letter (Which is not to say it's poorly-written...just interminable.)
Eventually: 1984

6. Travel. Favorite city you’ve every been to and the one place you still must visit before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Favorite: Chicago (So I'm not the most well-traveled...)
Must Visit: Rome

7. What do you love most about college football in 20 words or less?

The noise, fight songs, students standing for the whole game.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gavin: Still Not Deported

-- Nothing resolved. Grant's hearing postponed again:

The immigration hearing for N.C. State basketball player Gavin Grant scheduled for today in Atlanta has been delayed due to scheduling conflicts.
The hearing has been rescheduled for July 11.

The hearing to decide when the immigration hearing shall be scheduled has been scheduled for sometime next month (note: may be subject to further rescheduling).

"As for your case, don't you worry.
I've argued in front of every judge
in this state--often as a lawyer."

-- Here are a couple of posts from Edmonton bloggers that are worth your time: the first, the second.

-- Sporting News's Matt Hayes ranks the ACC's football stadiums (HT: FanBlogs). These lists always manage to offend everybody, which I suppose is the point.

8. NC State: The transformation from where this place used to be (a dump), to where it is now (a mini palace) is amazing. The problem, like many ACC venues, is keeping it full.

Yes, he ranked C-F behind Kenan. Like you didn't assume as much.

Hayes says Bobby Dodd (#5) is underrated, but I've been there twice (two games that Tech won, mind you) and found the atmosphere to be pretty meh on both occasions. The view is superb, but the stadium isn't intimidating.

Also perplexing to me: Orange Bowl at #4. I guess TV doesn't do the place justice.

-- NBA teams follow lead of baseball (HT: BBTF):

One of the tenets of what James determined in baseball was a team wanted a hitter who found ways to get on base and wanted pitchers who found ways to keep batters off base. The simple thought is the more you get on base, the more chances you have to score.

The basic principle in many of the basketball stat formulas is how efficiently players use possessions. The object is to get players who take better shots, commit few turnovers and grab the highest possible percentage of rebounds. It's not just looking at players who score and rebound the most, but who do so with the fewest chances. The more efficient offensive and defensive possessions a team has, the more points it will score and the fewer it will give up.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pair Of Commitments

Sidney Lowe has landed one of the best juniors in North Carolina: Johnny Thomas.

"I had it down to NC State and Virginia Tech, and I committed to NC State," said Thomas. "They are similar schools in regards to academics, and the only thing that will be different is how they play the game. I just felt I would fit NC State better and with them being in-state I think it was a better fit for me.

"The deciding factor was that I could fit in the program at State. Another big factor was coach Lowe. He's a great guy. I enjoyed being around him. I got to sit down and talk to him and get to know and him and he's the type of guy that I would fit in well with."

The football team, meanwhile, picked up a verbal from Justin Whaley, an offensive lineman from Wilson, NC.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mike Greco Leaves NC State

From the News & Observer:

"Mike has nothing but good things to say about N.C. State and the coaching staff," Hatten said. "He just had a feeling he may not be in the mix at quarterback and there had been talk of moving him to another position.

"This is a career move for him. He wants to stay at quarterback, We run a four- and five-wide attack and throw the football a lot. We're happy to have him."

Sorry to see you go, Mike. Good luck in Mississippi.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No One Sits Tonight

[I meant to get this up yesterday, but I needed some recovery time from the celebration.]

The same message was posted all over the arena prior to the game: don't sit down.

The home team was clearly energized by an RBC Center crowd that was standing-room-only -- they never sat down the whole game long, another first in the New NHL. It was a season-ending, game-long standing ovation that had to be seen to be believed.

What an incredible atmosphere. When the scoreboard cut to a decibel meter at one point, it read 128.3. This was the only hockey game I've ever attended where the crowd energy has remained high from start to finish; there were absolutely no lulls, which was amazing. The noise and the "Let's go Canes!" chants were perpetual. It was hardly coincidence that the Hurricanes skated well from start to finish, and out-hit the Oilers by a wide margin.

We arrived at the RBC Center at about 5:30 and ended up parking next to some Pittsburgh Penguins fans, who I assumed must have been lost. It turned out they were there to pull for the Oilers, but since they were primarily Pittsburgh fans they had come decked out in Penguins gear. They didn't actually have tickets to the game; they came to tailgate (and pay $7 for parking, which Peter Karmanos appreciates) and watch the game on the big screen that the Hurricanes setup in front of the RBC Center.

There were Oilers fans all over the place: a group of 8-10 a few cars down:

And, over by a patch of trees, a huge contingent numbering well over 20:

The strange thing about these people? They are astonishingly nice. All of them. Every Oilers fan I talked to wished us good luck, and many said they were just hoping for a good game. Whatever ire I had for Edmonton evaporated after a few friendly conversations.

Oilers fans are such a contrast to the invading douchebag hordes from Buffalo that it's staggering.

Probably an hour after we arrived, a guy came over to tell us that Ron Francis was tailgating a row or two behind us. We started wandering in that direction and quickly spotted Ron standing next to an SUV, fending off phone call after phone call. He was kind enough to take a break from his cell phone and pose for a few pictures, so my night was pretty much made right there. I'd say we picked a good parking spot.

I managed to keep my nerves under control while waiting impatiently for the opening faceoff. For whatever reason, watching games on TV is always harder on me. Something about being there in person makes the situation feel more under control--if that makes any sense. At any rate, I didn't have to fret about which team would score the first goal for very long. Aaron Ward scored about 90 seconds in, on this shot:

Just the second time in the series that the Hurricanes scored the first goal. The play-from-behind thing has been this team's annoying tendency all year long (it's less painful than 2002's let-opponents-tie-game-in-last-two-minutes tendency, however), but it wouldn't be an issue this time.

The third period ended up being played as I feared it might be--with the ice tilted toward Carolina's end. The cheers started back up shortly after Pisani's goal, but there was some obvious apprehension in the building.

The clock whittled away slowly; I was trying not to stare at the scoreboard. (I felt like Milhouse in the opening scene of this Simpsons episode.) It never helps to watch the seconds tick away, and it's particularly useless when there's fifteen minutes left. 14:35...14:34...14:33... Why'd Edmonton have to score so early in the period?

There was a little more than a minute left when Edmonton won the faceoff in the above picture. Pronger couldn't find a shooting lane and decided to dump the puck into the corner. The Oilers wouldn't get a scoring chance out of it.

The Hurricanes quickly dug out the puck from behind the net, so quickly that the puck got to Eric Staal near the blue line before Chris Pronger had a chance to pinch. Pronger was outnumbered 2-to-1, and when Staal skipped the puck to an open Justin Williams, it was over. Staal began jumping up and down as Williams neared the other blue line. Pronger dove at Williams, but he had too much ground to make up. Williams put it in the empty net. The celebration began, 61 seconds still on the clock.

The rest of my game seven photos can be found here.

We went downtown after the game, which is where we ran into Barry Melrose. When we asked if we could get a picture, he said that would be fine as long as it was quick: he was on his way to get a beer. We were on our way home, else we might've gone to have a drink with him. I don't figure he had to pay for that drink, wherever it was that he ended up.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"I haven't had a cold drink all night."

Barry Melrose, you are the man, sir. You are the man.

Barry Melrose

Monday, June 19, 2006

Steven's Got A Ticket To Game 7

Chances of me concentrating on work or anything else tomorrow: zero.

I'm totally going to be in the same building as the Stanley Cup (and a handful of area C-list pseudo-celebrities, no doubt).

And finally, one way or the other, it is going to be hoisted. No more maddening "will it be tonight?" speculation. It will be tonight. Either the Canes manage to avoid the disappointment of an 0-3 finish to the season, or those scurvy swabs from Edmonton complete their impressive rally.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Support The Gergory Parrish Medical Fund

From Michelle Tackabery:

Gregory Parrish, the behind-the-bench staple of the Wolfpack men's basketball team who suffers from tumors of the brain that have rendered him almost completely blind, is in need of help with his medical bills. He has had several surgeries recently and the Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church is accepting donations on his behalf.

Gregory began sitting behind the NC State team bench and traveling with the team during the 2004-2005 season when Coach Herb Sendek got word that while he was at the Duke Brain Tumor Center, and participating in Hoop Dreams, he politely declined tickets to a Duke game because he was a Wolfpack fan. Greg was part of the team picture that was in every program for the 04-05 season. The guys called him "G-Man." We are season tickets holders and to my recall Gregory was at nearly every game cheering his butt off, dressed in red from head to toe.

Send donation checks to:

Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church
4415 Pleasant Grove Church Road
Raleigh, NC 27613

ATTN: Gregory Parrish Medical Fund

Make your checks out to "PGUMC" and write "GREGORY PARRISH FUND" in the comment section.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Certain Unpleasantness

A few items...

-- At some point late in the hockey game last night (about midway through the third, I think), the NBC broadcast cut to a shot of the white-gloved Stanley Cup keeper guy as he was removing the Cup from its carrying case. Keeper guy gently put the Cup onto a nearby table and began to wipe a smudge with a handkerchief.

It was right there, man. The Canes were so close. I'm pretty sure I'm losing my mind.

Prior to game five, I tried to reign in my excitement--tried to remind myself that the Hurricanes could in fact lose the game. When the White Sox were up 3-0 on Houston last October, the prospect of a championship made a realistic consideration of defeat impossible. The same proved true in the hours preceding game five. I'm paying for it now.

So thank goodness for The Onion: Stanley Cup Celebrations

1983: Avid fisherman Mike Bossy of the Islanders uses it as a lure, and successfully catches the biggest, most Candian fish in history

-- Sidney Lowe held a press conference today, and the News & Observer has plenty of quotes:

Without knowingly taking a shot at Sendek, or referring to him by name, Lowe made two statements that would indicate that his regime will be different than Herb’s Prince-State offense.

(Note: Lowe even showed how out-of-touch he is with the college game by referring to "Vegas" as in UNLV, which hasn’t been good in 15 years.)

"I like to get up and down the floor," Lowe said. "I like to have a little pace in the game. Not like Vegas, it’s not a run-and-gun but I like for the guys to get it down the floor and try to get quick hitters.

"That doesn’t mean 3-point shots. That means maybe the bigs run the floor and get it early enough where teams can’t double. We want to be able to also to pull it back and run sets."

UNLV played at an average pace in 05-06. Sid should know it's the system that is ultimately important to Wolfpack fans, not the pace. When he installs his more "traditional" scheme, no one's going to notice if we aren't playing at a fast tempo. It won't be Herb's three-heavy offense, and that'll be enough.

-- Cedric Simmons worked out for New Orleans on Thursday. The Hornets have the 12th and 15th selections in the first round.

"Our No. 1 objective right now is to get somebody that's something that we haven't had the last couple of years, and that's somebody that can flat out rebound and block shots," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "If we can get that 6-11 or 7-foot type guy, it makes us a better rebounding team and it makes us a better defensive team and those are the two areas that we want to get better.

"And then we'll add offense, we know that."

Later in the article, Scott unintentionally offered a not-so-ringing endorsement of Larry Owens and Wake's Justin Gray:

"Both those guys will do pretty well," Scott said. "I think they'll be successful in the NBA or NBDL or overseas or something, but I think both of them will be all right."

You know, they'll be good somewhere. Overseas or at the YMCA or something.

-- Dan Werner won't be enrolling at NC State this fall. Werner was in Raleigh last weekend, and the fact that he didn't recommit to State was a good indication that he was heading elsewhere.

Seton Hall tampered with Larry Davis--successfully. I have a feeling that the finalists for Werner's services (Kentucky and Florida) tampered with Dan.

-- Schools ranked by number of appearances in the AP's college football poll. NC State checks in a #48.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday Items: Wolfpack Women Have One Of The Best Classes Of 2006

-- DeMario Pressley is on the Bednarik Watch List:

The Wolfpack's only full-time returning starter from the 2005 defensive line, Pressley is the squad's top returning sacker. He showed great progress over the course of last season, with half of his tackles coming in the last five games. The Greensboro, N.C., native was also a member of the 2005-06 ACC Academic Honor Roll.

There's a phrase you don't see too often: "top returning sacker." GoPack should have added "pretty much by default" in parenthesis at the end of that sentence.

Leroy Harris was named to the Remington Watch List last month.

-- The unfortunately-named ranks Kay Yow's incoming class at #7 in the nation:

The headline prospect for the Lady Wolfpack is Nikitta Gartrell, a 5-9 guard who can shoot the three and is gifted athletically. NC State also adds Connecticut guard Sharnise Beal, 6-5 center Chinita Jordan from Philadelphia, Amber White, Lucy Ellison and Megan Zullo.

State managed to pluck Gartrell out of Georgia even though UGA had offered her a scholarship, which is no small feat. Amber White (who, for whatever reason, is unranked by was a 2006 McDonald's All-American.

-- NC State's September 9th game against Akron will be televised by ESPNU at noon. See TV listings.

-- The commenters at Deadspin are having all kinds of fun at JJ Redick's expense. It's all over but the photoshoppin'.

-- Since the Stanley Cup finals moved from OLN to NBC, ratings are...better. But still pathetic. It's a shame, too, because the Canes and Oilers play exciting hockey.

The folks in Hartford are coping about like you'd expect:

"My heart is torn in about a million directions," said Al Victor, head of the still-active Hartford Whalers Booster Club. "The thought of having Mr. Karmonos' name on a Cup just turns my stomach."

I just want to know where I can get a pair of these shorts.

So, uh, anyone have a spare ticket?

[Photo: Getty Images]

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Wrestling Hauls In A Top-20 Recruiting Class

NC State had the 16th-best class in the nation, according to InterMat. The full list:

1. Lehigh (1-2-2-4-5-TT)
2. Oklahoma State (1-2-4-7-8-8-10)
3. Penn State (1-2-2-3)
4. Boise State (1-1)
5. Oklahoma (4-6-9-9)
6. Minnesota (6-6-7-11)
7. Arizona State (5-7-7-8)
8. Cornell (1-4-9-11)
9. Nebraska (2-3-5-11)
10. Old Dominion (6-8-9-10-11, TT)
11. Iowa (4-5-8)
12. Michigan (5-11)
13. Maryland (2-4-10)
14. Missouri (4-5, TT)
15. Fresno State (9)
16. N.C. State (2-7)
17. Northern Iowa (11-11)
18. Indiana (9-10)
19. Bucknell (6)
20. North Carolina (3-7, TT)
21. Lock Haven (6)
22. Virginia (2-7)
23. Liberty (10, TT, TT)
24. Rutgers (5-5)
25. Ohio State (2-3)
26. Edinboro (7-10)
27. Harvard (1-4)
28. Delaware State (10, 1*)
29. Purdue (4-6-11)
30. Wisconsin (1-4)

More here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

NCAA Pointlessly Bans 15 "Diploma Mills"

A few months ago, I wrote about investigations done by the New York Times and Washington Post into some prep schools that appeared to be operating more like basketball camps than high schools. I'd start with that link if you're unfamiliar with this story.

Yesterday, the NCAA announced that it had barred 15 institutions from providing credit toward NCAA eligibility. This is good news, surely. A step in the right direction. Or not:

The NCAA yesterday announced its initial crackdown on "diploma mills" that give high school credit to athletes who do little or no schoolwork, but almost all of the 15 banned schools no longer field athletic teams or never have, rendering the action virtually meaningless, officials at many of the schools said.

If you're eager to click the WaPost link to see if Philadelphia's Lutheran Christian Academy--which was featured prominently in the Post and NYT investigations back in February--was one of the fifteen, don't bother. Three Philly-area schools were on the list, but Lutheran Christian wasn't one of 'em.

It gets better. The Post story continues:

An initial review of the schools that will no longer be allowed to offer academic credit toward NCAA eligibility found only one athlete affected by the decision. A swimmer who had accepted an athletic and academic scholarship to Pepperdine now can't compete because she was home-schooled as a ninth-grader in a program supervised by one of the banned schools, her father said.

That's just the NCAA in a nutshell, isn't it? The whole point is to stop schools from handing out cheap diplomas to basketball players. To stop coaches like Karl Hobbs and Rick Stansbury from enrolling kids who are unprepared for college.

Instead, this initial list of schools leaves the issue unaddressed. In sanctioning a bunch of schools that don't even have athletics programs (much less basketball programs), the NCAA has managed to strike at people who didn't even know they were targets.

There's the swimmer mentioned in the excerpt above--she scored over 1100 on the SAT. I can only imagine her surprise...

There's the hockey player who got a diploma from a correspondence school who could have his scholarship put in jeopardy.

Quoting from the Post article again:

George Brown, who supervises the Tazewell (Va.) County Career & Technical Center, said he was surprised his vocational facility was banned -- or that it had ever been approved. The center offers courses such as carpentry, welding, masonry and cosmetology but has no athletic program.

"Well, there goes the five 6-foot-10 guys we had coming in," Brown joked. "We might have made a few basketball rims over there, but we don't play basketball."

I know how this conversation started:

Reporter: I was wondering if you'd like to comment on the NCAA's recent banishment of your school and fourteen others from providing credit toward NCAA eligibility.

Brown: We've been banned by who from the what now?

Why is the list populated by so many athletics-less institutions? Paperwork, apparently:

Most of the schools on the initial list of 15 were included because they had not responded to the NCAA request for information. If the information is provided, the NCAA could review its findings.

I wouldn't be surprised if the schools had never heard of the NCAA; they probably thought the letters were spam. Four of the schools on the list aren't even in operation (no wonder the NCAA's probings went unanswered!).

So because Darryl Schofield had his paperwork in order, Philly Lutheran avoided the initial guillotine. In fairness, the Post article does indicate that Philly Lutheran is under investigation--and the NCAA has said that more schools will be sanctioned. Why it's taking them so long to rule on Schofield's school, I have no idea.

One last excerpt from the Washington Post:

When asked why the NCAA banned schools that do not have athletic teams, Lennon said, "I think we responded in a timely and appropriate manner."

Lennon then added, "hey, what's that over there?" and made a break for his car.

Stanley Cup Finals Game 2 Photos

A few shots from the upper deck. Check out the sequence that starts with "Oilers Win Faceoff" and ends with "Ward Stops Pronger Shot."

You can tell what a hot ticket the Finals are just by scoping all the fabulous celebrities at the game. Mark Jacobson (he must be between Toyota of Durham commercial shoots). Ricky Proehl, Wake Forest legend. Steve Smith, teammate of Wake Forest legend Ricky Proehl. Mia Hamm. Kid Rock (?!).

And... Chris Berman. You're with me, Stanley.

When Berman was put on the jumbotron, there were disappointingly few boos. I did what I could, but somehow I doubt he heard me from the next-to-last row.

Recap and highlights: Canes 5, Oil 0

Staal Shoots

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wolfpack Players In MLB Draft

The Major League Baseball draft is complete. Here are the NC State players selected:

Wolfpack Draftees
RoundOverallNamePositionDrafted By
383Aaron Bates1BRed Sox
4133Jon StillCRed Sox
10 307Sam WallsRHPPhillies
11326Gib HobsonRHPGiants
12360Jonathan DiazSSBlue Jays
13389Matt CampCFCubs
18536Jeff StallingsRHPGiants
22674Brian AragonLFEvil Empire (NYY)

Stats from the 2006 season can be found here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Cam Ward, ladies and gentlemen.

It's games like tonight's that make me wonder how it is that there are so many people who don't like hockey. I mean, come on, y'all! This is compelling sportstainment! Hitting! Near-fisticuffs! Numerous "oh-yeah?-well-what-are-you-gonna-do-about-it?"s! Up-and-down action! Goals. Lots of goals.

And tension. Oh, god, the tension.

I don't think I will ever be more jealous of an RBC Center crowd than when Eric Staal scored his miracle goal against New Jersey in game two of that series, but I came close tonight. I coulda been there; I of course wish I had. I chose to game two instead (fn. 1).

As difficult as it is to watch the Hurricanes have to fight back from so many deficits, those comebacks have served to remind everyone not to be panicked by adversity. There was a time last December when two-goal deficits almost felt comfortable. Fall behind early. Rally. Win. Not exactly the most ideal of routines, but when the wins are coming, you don't ask questions.

In the second game of the Montreal series, Carolina fell behind 0-3 before rallying to tie and take the lead, only to lose the lead in the third period, tie the game late, and then lose in (double) overtime. Despite the loss, the Canes found something they liked, and they would go on to win the next four games.

The Sabres had a 3-1 lead on the Canes in the second period of game five, which set the stage for the most crucial comeback in a season full of them. Cory Stillman would put it away in overtime.

And so tonight. Edmonton scored first after Cam Ward couldn't get control of a rebound, added a second on a Chris Pronger penalty shot, then tallied a back-breaker thanks to an unfortunate ricochet. Seemed like a back-breaker, anyway--but I'm usually not optimistic, regardless of what history might offer me.

Good fortune got the Hurricanes on the board near the end of the second period. Dwayne Roloson handled a shot from the left side, but the puck trickled through him to a waiting Rod Brind'Amour. Normally, Roloson doesn't let that puck see the light of day. Brind'Amour dunked it home.

The third period contained some of the most exciting hockey you'll ever see. Ray Whitney evened the score with two goals in the first five minutes. At the midway point of the third, Justin Williams broke away shorthanded, and he gave Carolina the lead, 4-3. Look at scoreboard. Look away. Blink. Look back at scoreboard. Whoa.

Edmonton got even just a few minutes later on a beautiful power play goal by Ales Hemsky. Hemsky's shot was one of 18 for the Oilers in the period. That ended up being the only third-period goal the Oilers got, but it wasn't for a lack of premium chances. Cam Ward robbed Shawn Horcoff twice; the first, which came between the Williams and Hemsky goals, was absurd. Just a totally unpossible deflection with the glove hand. The second came with less than four seconds left in regulation: Horcoff had a tough angle, but still a lot of empty net to look at. Ward managed to get to the left post in time, and Horcoff fired the puck into his glove.

A faceoff and a shot around the boards later, time expired. 5-4.

The story of the game will be Dwayne Roloson's injury--and poor Ty Conklin. Conklin was put in an impossible position and made a puckhandling gaffe that cost his team the game. I feel awful for him. Now that Roloson is done, the Oilers are probably going to need him (after the game, MacTavish was noncommittal about who'd be starting).

Here is the recap. Near the top is a link to Yahoo!'s highlights. I dare ya to watch them just once.

The save. [Photo: AP]


1) Mind you, should the Canes manage an easy win on Wednesday, I won't be complaining.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Season Ends For Baseball

Stanford 17, State 7

Elliot Avent couldn't get any relief: he used eight pitchers, and only one of them managed not to give up a run to Stanford. The Cardinal scored in every inning except the 4th.

Stanford's Chris Minaker was 5-5 in the game and scored six runs. He was a homer shy of the cycle

In probably his last game at NC State, Aaron Bates finished strong: 4-4 with a HR, BB, and 3 RBI. Thanks for a great season, Aaron.

The ACC is looking good despite State's elimination. Georgia Tech, Miami, and UNC have already advanced, while FSU and Clemson are among the last two teams in their respective regions.

Nice Hat

Rod Brind'Amour at today's press conference:

[Photo: Associated Press]

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Whenever you're ready, Sid.

Now that you're free, it's time to get started.

Don't forget to pack a mop.

Friday, June 02, 2006

So Much For That "Good Matchup"

-- I knew I was getting the baseball team in trouble when I made comments of a positive nature on Tuesday. NC State lost to Stanford, 7-2. Cardinal pitcher Greg Reynolds went the distance. Gib Hobson, who'd pitched well for State recently, lasted less than two innings. Don't talk to Gib 'bout no light-hittin' Stanford team.

The GoPack article features an odd word choice in the title: "Stanford Douses NC State." Douses? There's nothing in the content of the piece to tie back into the title, so douses just sort of hangs curiously.

NC State will likely face UT-Arlington in the losers' bracket.

-- At the NCAA golf championship, NC State finished the opening round in the top ten. In the two rounds since, they've faded; after three rounds, State sits in 18th place. Only the top 15 teams advance to play in Saturday's final round. It's a decent showing for a team that had an unremarkable season, though.

-- There is word of a possible football series between NCSU and South Carolina.

If the two-year deal is finalized, the Wolfpack would visit Williams-Brice Stadium in 2008, with USC traveling to Raleigh in ‘09. Vaughn said N.C. State is looking to fill a couple of future dates after a home-and-home series with Tennessee was shelved.

N.C. State and USC have not met since 1999 when N.C. State blanked the Gamecocks 10-0 to spoil Lou Holtz’s USC debut in a game played amid hurricane rains at Carter-Finley Stadium. N.C. State leads the overall series between the former ACC rivals 26-25-4.

Also in the article: USC has a I-AA opponent scheduled for every year between 2006 and 2014.

-- According to the Carolina Hurricanes, tickets for the Stanley Cup finals sold out in less than two hours after they were put on sale at 8:00 AM this morning.

I've got tickets for game two--it'll be my first Stanley Cup finals game.

Cedric Simmons is the top power forward in the draft.

...or so says this guy.

The Best 10 Years from Now?: One of the harder classes in recent memory to pin down, this year's power forwards are split along several lines: athletic vs. skilled, power vs. finesse, experienced vs. raw. But no one straddles the categories -- and therefore offers the greatest potential -- quite like N.C. State's Cedric Simmons.

A quick check of the numbers won't scream superstar, but you must consider the grossly perimeter-oriented system he played in and the fact that he's just begun to trust his skills. The major positives in Simmons' game: a gargantuan wingspan, a terrific bounce in his step and the mentality to move people out of his way instead of letting the defense dictate what he does. Simmons is very unpolished at the moment -- his post moves need to be tightened up and he needs to quit selling out for blocks -- and his conditioning is woeful. But the killer instinct he shows on the court will drive him to perfect his craft and get his butt into shape. Remember Vin Baker in his Milwaukee heyday? That's the kind of player Simmons could become.

(Emphasis is the author's.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Stanley Cup Finals!!!

Twice in five years. Holy crap.