NFL Stadiums I Would Most Like To Visit

These are the top 10 NFL stadiums that I most want to visit. I going based off of the atmosphere at each stadium, and the history behind each stadium.

10. Gillette Stadium – Patriots

It would be really fun to see a game here during a snow storm like they’ve had in the past.

9. Metlife Stadium – Giants/Jets

It’s the newest, and arguably the nicest stadium in the league.

8. Louisiana Superdome – Saints

Without a doubt one of the loudest stadiums in the league.

7. M&T Bank Stadium – Ravens

This place is frequently described as being one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL.

6. Qwest Field – Seahawks

The fans here are known as the “12th Man” because of the noise that they produce when the Seahawks’ defense takes the field.

5. Arrowhead Stadium – Chiefs

Again, this place is a strong candidate for being the loudest stadium in the NFL. Also, the name “Arrowhead” just sounds intimidating.

4. Invesco Field – Broncos

This stadium has been known to shake when the fans start “stomping” their feet to mimic a stampede. With the Rocky Mountains just off in the distance, the atmosphere and setting of Invesco Field are tough to beat.

3. Heinz Field – Steelers

Just about every game here seems like a playoff game. When the Terrible Towel gets going, look out.

2. Cowboy Stadium – Cowboys

It’s the largest and most high-tech stadium in the league. Who wouldn’t want to see a game here?

1. Lambeau Field – Packers

No other stadium in the NFL speaks history like Lambeau Field. The “Frozen Tundra” is the cathedral of all NFL stadiums, and has to be the best home-field advantage in the league.

Blackhawks Downed in Shootout

The New Jersey Devils beat the Blackhawks in a shootout tonight by a final of 2-1. One could say that the outcome of this game was determined by the play of Martin Brodeur.

About the first 10 minutes or so was all Devils. They were dominating the Hawks in just about every aspect of the game. Corey Crawford was forced to bail his teammates out a couple of times by making some big saves. Then, with just over 7 minutes left in the first period, Brent Seabrook took a hooking penalty to put the Devils on the powerplay.

The first minute and a half of the powerplay was played pretty well by the Blackhawks. They did a decent job of clogging up the passing lanes and were able to clear the puck a couple of times. However, with only about 10 seconds remaining on the Devils powerplay, Dave Bolland attempted to clear the puck down to the Devils’ end of the ice. The puck ended up hitting the linesman right in front of the Chicago bench and deflected towards center ice where it was picked up by the Devils. The Blackhawks, however, were anticipating the puck going all the way down into the New Jersey end, and therefore attempted to make a line-change. When the puck was picked up at center ice by the Devils, they caught the Hawks in the middle of their line-change, which lead to an odd-man rush and eventually the first goal of the game by New Jersey.

After that goal, the Blackhawks responded pretty well by dominating the rest of the first period, and pretty much the rest of regulation time. They were out shooting, out hustling, and simply out playing the Devils from the end of the first period on. It wasn’t until about half way through the third period that the Blackhawks finally beat Martin Brodeur for a goal.

After gaining control of the puck following a face-off, Dave Bolland made a great pass to a wide open Brent Seabrook who hammered home a slap shot from a few feet inside the blue line. This tied the game at 1 a piece. The Hawks would get a handful of scoring chances following that goal, but Martin Brodeur continued to show why he is arguably the best goaltender of all time.

The game would move into overtime, where the Hawks had to kill off just under a minute and a half of a Devils powerplay. The Blackhawks did end up successfully killing the penalty without allowing any real good scoring chances.

In the shootout, Patrick Sharp scored the Hawks’ lone goal, and Patrick Elias and Travis Zajac tallied for the Devils giving them the 2-1 victory and 2 more points in the standings. The Blackhawks earned 1 point in tonight’s game.

For the most part, the Hawks looked pretty good tonight. Their team defense was above average, Corey Crawford made some big saves when he had to, and they out-shot the Devils 38-22.  It was really nice to see Crawford have a good bounce-back game after being pulled early from the game Sunday night against Nashville.

Now, it’s time for me to rant.

The NHL needs to eliminate shootouts. It’s a terrible way to lose a game. You play a full, tough, 65 minutes (including the 5 minute overtime), and then have to lose in what is basically a showcase of individual talent. Shootouts come down to which team has the best snipers and “trick-shot” players. It’s no longer a team game. In place of the shootout, the NHL should add on a 5 minute, 3 on 3 overtime period after the 4 on 4 overtime is over. If no one has scored after both the 4 on 4 and 3 on 3 overtimes, add another 5 minute, 3 on 3 overtime. I know that all pro sports are trying to minimize the lengths of their games from start to finish as much as possible, but the shootout needs to go.

With that said, I am pleased with the effort shown by the Blackhawks tonight. Unfortunately, they came face-to-face with one of the best goalies of all time playing at the top of his game. The Blackhawks remain in the number 6 spot in the standings with 93 points, 3 points behind Nashville, and 6 points ahead of Dallas. New Jersey also sits in the 6 spot in the East, 4 points behind Philadelphia, and 4 points ahead of Ottawa.

Thanks for reading.

 

Top 10 NHL Jerseys

Here’s a list of my top 10 current NHL jerseys. I hope you enjoy.

10. Montreal Canadiens

Like most Original 6 teams, this jersey hasn’t changed much over the years.

9. Edmonton Oilers

After years of trying to make the navy blue and copper colors work, Edmonton finally went back to their originals.

8. Vancouver Canucks

They’ve had some of the worst jerseys in NHL history, but this one works. The blue and green fit perfectly together.

7. Detroit Red Wings

These jerseys have barely changed over time. True classics.

6. Buffalo Sabres

I love the navy blue and yellow together. They also finally brought back their original logo last year.

5. New York Rangers

The navy blue jersey above is actually their alternate jersey, and I love it. The diagonal lettering has appeared on the Rangers’ jerseys ever since day one of their existence, except for a couple of years when they tried switching it up.

4. Los Angeles Kings

The black ones had actually served as the Kings’ alternate home jerseys for the past few years until this year. I really like the black, white, and silver.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs

I love the colors, and I love the Maple Leaf logo. The white jersey is their alternate jersey this year, but I thought I’d put it up here to show you the two different logos.

2. Boston Bruins

Easily one of my favorite jerseys in sports. I love the classic logo, and I love the colors.

1. Chicago Blackhawks

Often referred to as the best jersey in sports (their red one), and the best logo in sports. I’d have to agree.

As you may have noticed, all of the Original 6 teams made my top ten. Their jerseys are all classics and have not changed too much throughout the years. Please give your own opinions!

New Marlins Park An Eyesore

I just came across some pictures of the new stadium for the Florida Marlins, Marlins Park, and I was unpleasantly surprised. What were the Marlins thinking!?

The feature that sticks out the most by far is that ugly green color that they chose to cover the outfield walls with. It by no means, whatsoever, goes along with the predominantly blue seats inside the park. If you look around the stadium, you see blue, blue, some more blue, and then BAM! That hideous green color just jumps out at you and scares you half to death. Why wouldn’t they have gone along with the blue theme from the rest of the park and made the outfield wall blue, or some other color that actually goes along with blue? It makes no sense.

Secondly, what is that big, colorful thing behind the left-center field wall? At first, I had no clue what it was. Then I found a picture that was zoomed in on it and was able to tell what I was looking at. It would appear to be a big “thing” (for lack of a better term) with flamingos, a couple marlins, palm trees, and a bunch of different bright colors. What does this have to do with baseball? Yes, there are a couple of marlins present, but other than that, this is just a big, ugly distraction to everyone watching/playing the game.

One last thing that I would like to rant about is the fact that the new colors of the Miami Marlins are black, orange, yellow, and a teal/blue color. Nowhere inside this new stadium are those colors present. Yes, the seats are blue, but not the same blue that exists in their logo. One would think that when building a new stadium they would have tried to coordinate the colors with the team’s colors. But what do I know? I’m not any kind of “designer.”

All in all, I’m sure this is a very nice stadium, but what were the Marlins thinking when adding certain features to it? Sometimes, all you can do is shake your head.

To view more pictures of Marlins Park, as well as all other MLB parks, visit this website: http://stadiumpage.com/.

My Top 10 Best NHL Atmospheres

I haven’t seen a home game for all of these teams, but I have watched them all on TV many times. I am ranking them based on the atmosphere inside each team’s stadium for their home games. I’d also like to see a game at each one of these arenas.

10. HP Pavillion – Sharks

Easily one of the loudest arenas in hockey, especially come playoff time.

9. Scotiabank Saddledome – Flames

It’s a sea of red here for each game. Just about every fan wears a Flames jersey to the game, which is something you don’t see at every stadium.

8. Wells Fargo Center – Flyers

They’re third in attendance in the entire NHL. Philadelphia fans are always tough on their teams, but they are one of the loudest bunches in sports.

7. Rogers Arena – Canucks

All Canadian hockey teams have great home atmospheres, but Vancouver is one of their best. They showed just how loud they can be during last years Cup Finals.

6. Air Canada Centre – Maple Leafs

Regardless of how well their team is playing, they continuously sell out each game (currently 5th in NHL attendance). Also, being one of hockey’s original 6 adds to the history of attending a Leafs game.

5. Joe Louis Arena – Red Wings

They don’t call Detroit “Hockeytown” for no reason. Just take a look at all the banners hanging above the ice. I would have liked to have had the Joe higher on my list, but I’ve seen too many games where there have been a lot of empty seats in the stands even though the games are all sold-out.

4. MTS Centre – Jets

Every game played here seems like a playoff game. The fans in Winnipeg had their team returned to them this season, and they are doing everything they can in the stands to will their team to the playoffs.

3. TD Garden – Bruins

I was very impressed as to how loud this place got during last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. Boston, and every original 6 team, has some great fans and they proved that during the postseason a year ago. It was tough trying to decide whether this should be number 2 or 3…

2. United Center – Blackhawks

It’s called the “Madhouse on Madison” for a good reason. This place is a madhouse night in and night out, while leading the NHL in attendance, and it all starts with the national anthem. If you think you’ve heard “loud,” just wait until you hear this place erupt.

1. Bell Centre – Canadiens

Nobody in hockey has more Stanley Cup banners than Montreal. Whether it’s cheering, singing, or chanting, these fans are always making it hard to hear inside the Bell Centre. It’s often been referred to as “the toughest place to play” in hockey.

Please feel free to share your own opinions!

Blackhawks’ Keith Gets 5 Game Suspension

NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, announced this afternoon that Duncan Keith has been suspended for the next 5 games for his elbow to the head on Daniel Sedin. The incident occurred during the first period of Wednesday night’s match-up between the Hawks and Canucks at the United Center in Chicago.

To me, 5 games seems a bit harsh, and I’m not just saying that because I am a Blackhawks fan. After going back and looking at some of the previous incidents that resulted in suspensions of less than 5 games this year, this one seems a bit drastic. Yes, Keith definitely deserved a suspension. There is no doubt about that. I, however, thought that it should have been more along the lines of a 3-game suspension. Here is my reason why:

This past Tuesday night in Dallas, Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes delivered an elbow to the head of Jamie Benn. As the replay shows, Doan clearly intentionally stuck out his elbow to try and make contact with Benn (Video: Doan’s hit on Benn). Only about a week before that, Doan was fined by the NHL for a boarding penalty that he took. For the elbow to the head on Benn, Doan only received a 3-game suspension, even though he is a “repeat offender.” Granted, Jamie Benn did not suffer any injury on the play.

If you watch the replay of Duncan Keith’s hit on Daniel Sedin and compare it to Doan’s hit on Jamie Benn, they are pretty similar incidents (Video: Keith’s hit on Sedin). Yes, Daniel Sedin now apparently has a concussion and Benn does not, but if you are going to give Doan just 3 games for what he did, Keith should have gotten 3 as well; 4 at the most. Also, this is Keith’s first offense, whereas Doan has a history with this stuff.

I dislike the fact that the NHL takes into consideration whether or not the victim was injured in plays like these. Regardless of the outcome of the hit, it’s still an illegal hit! Punish the guys who deliver the hits for the hit itself. Don’t add games onto the suspension if the victim ends up being hurt. I’m not saying that this is the case at all with Daniel Sedin, but what if he and the Canucks are “faking” his concussion? What if they want Sedin to look injured just so that Keith misses a few extra games via his suspension? Again, I am in no way implying that this is what the Canucks are doing, but it is possible that some team could do that in the future. Because of that possibility in and of itself, I don’t think injuries should be taken into consideration when deciding how many games to suspend someone.

I will say again that I totally agree with suspending Duncan Keith, but I think that 5 games is a bit much. Now the Blackhawks are without their best forward, Jonathan Toews, and their best defenseman, Duncan Keith, for the most important stretch of the season. There is still no word on when Toews might return.

Thanks for reading.

 

What Michael Bush Signing Means

The Bears signed former Raiders running back Michael Bush to a 4-year, $14 million contract this morning. At first glance, this looks like a great pickup for the Bears, who have already strengthened their team by trading for Brandon Marshall and singing Jason Campbell.  Unfortunately, many questions are now being asked.

The most common question that I have seen so far today regarding this signing has been, “What does this mean for Matt Forte?” Well, the signing of Michael Bush could have a couple different meanings for Matt Forte, with the first being that Bears are expecting Forte to holdout the first part of the season. The second reason for signing Bush, and the one that makes the most sense, was to add a very good back-up to Matt Forte. However, the theory of signing Bush in case of a Forte-holdout is what will get the most publicity in this case.

It is well documented that Matt Forte did not want the Bears to place the franchise tag on him, but they did anyway. Because of this, Forte has become pretty vocal about wanting a new, long-term contract extension with the Bears, or else he will not resign with them after this season. Seeing as how no deal has been agreed upon between Forte and the Bears thus far, the theory that the Bears signed Michael Bush with the fear of losing Forte for the first part of next season, and possibly permanently losing him after next season, seems very understandable. Why not go out and sign a good replacement to Matt Forte if you think Forte might holdout? Why not sign a good running back to a 4-year deal if you think your current running back won’t be with the team 2 years from now? If you look at that way, this signing makes a lot of sense.

The other reason that the Bears may have signed Bush was because they simply wanted a top-notch backup running back. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, the fact that for the fourth year in a row now the Bears have paid big money to backup running backs without paying Forte seems a little strange. If you look at this from Forte’s point-of-view, the Bears are showing him no respect. Yes, they placed the franchise tag on him for this year, which means Forte will earn a very comfortable amount of money, but they have shown zero commitment to him for the future. After the stats that Forte has put up since entering the NFL, it would only make sense for the Bears to lock him up for many years to come by giving him a long-term contract. If you’re Matt Forte, and you watch the Bears repeatedly sign backups to you for large sums of money, but yet you still don’t have a long-term commitment from the team, you can’t help but feel disrespected.

I’ve heard some rumors that if the Bears can’t resign Forte before the beginning of the season that they will try trading him. While it would make sense to see what they might be able to get for him, I don’t think the Bears will do this. You only get a Matt Forte-type player on your roster every so often, and if the Bears feel that they might be able to work out a contract extension with him even after  next season, they will not try trading him.

As it stands now, the Bears will enter the season with arguably the best running back tandem in the NFL. That, coupled with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, makes the Bears a definite contender in the NFC. However, a lot could take place between now and then for the worse. Let’s just hope it doesn’t…

Bulls Are A True Team

This entire season for the Bulls has been plagued by injuries to some of their biggest key players. If you were to look at their record, however, you would never know it.

Richard Hamilton has missed 32 games, Derrick Rose has missed 14, and Luol Deng has missed 9. Yet, the Bulls still have the NBA’s best overall record at 38-10. They are the definition of a true team.

In Hamilton’s place, Ronnie Brewer has done more than step up his game. He has become one of the best defensive players in the league, while also greatly improving his offensive game. His confidence has sky-rocketed this season on the offensive end, and it is very noticeable every time he handles the ball. He is simply no longer afraid to drive to the hoop or take a shot.

When Luol Deng has missed games due to his wrist injury, once again Ronnie Brewer has been the man to take his place at small forward. Moving into Brewer’s place at shooting guard with Deng and Hamilton out of the lineup has been Kyle Korver. While Korver has been a bit of a streaky shooter at times, he has still been consistently finding ways to get his job done. Even Korver, an offensive player, has really stepped up his defensive game this year.

Taking the place of Derrick Rose lately has been a combination of C.J. Watson and John Lucas. I don’t think the Bulls could be any happier with the way these two have played in Rose’s absence, especially Lucas. Last week when the Bulls took on the Heat at the United Center without Rose in the lineup, Watson and Lucas combined to score 35 points, with Lucas scoring 24. The Bulls won that game 106-102. Without the MVP in their lineup, the Bulls have won some big games and have now improved their record to 10-4 with tonight’s win in Orlando.

The Bulls ran away with tonight’s game by destroying the Magic 85-59, again without Rose. I posted a blog a before the NBA trade deadline saying that the Bulls shouldn’t trade for Dwight Howard, and this is why. Even without their best player in Derrick Rose, the Bulls have been able to get some huge victories. They have gotten these wins because of the depth of their team and the all around contributions from every player on their roster. Every player on the Bulls understands their role on the team, whether it’s to play top-notch defense (which is the case for most of the guys), or provide scoring on the offensive end. They outwork, out-hustle, out-rebound, and even more importantly, play better as an entire team than any other franchise in the NBA. The Bulls are the epitome of a true team.

Much, if not all of this credit, should be given to head coach Tom Thibodeau. He has gotten every one of his players to believe in his system and philosophies. Even with all of the injuries that have been suffered this year by the Bulls, Thibodeau has kept his team together and gotten them to give their best effort night in and night out. He won the Coach of the Year Award last year, and should win it again this year. However, the NBA doesn’t like to hand out one award to the same person two years in a row.

From Watson to Lucas, Brewer to Korver, Gibson to Asik, as well as the rest of the Bulls roster, each player is doing their job, and doing it well. The Bulls have the best record in the NBA not just because they also have the league’s best point guard, but because they are the best team in basketball.

Thanks for reading.

My Experience On The Ice

I have always loved not only watching hockey, but playing it as well. I have played outdoor  hockey a countless number of times in my life, but never had I played in an actual competitive ice hockey game in full pads until this past Saturday. It was quite the experience.

It all started with getting my skates freshly sharpened about an hour before the game. I took them to a hockey shop right near the rink and had them sharpened within 10 minutes. Then, my next step was to get fully dressed in the locker room.

I had never put on hockey pads before, so I embarrassed myself pretty bad while getting dressed in the same room with a bunch of other guys who have been playing hockey their whole lives. I had no idea as to what order I should be putting my pads on. Should I put my pants on first? Should my shin pads be first? I had no clue. So I did my best to try and mimic the order that all of the other guys were going in. In the end, I ended up looking the same as the rest of the guys, so it all worked out OK.

Next, it was time to hit the ice. As I left the locker room, I grabbed my new and freshly taped stick and started praying for the best. I have never been a great skater in my life, but I would consider myself to be decent. When I first stepped onto the ice, everything seemed fine. I was no stranger to skating, like I already mentioned. My problem was that I had never skated while being fully dressed in hockey pads and a helmet with a cage on the front. I will admit that skating with all of the pads on was not as bad as I thought it would be, but having the mask in front of my face was a bit distracting at first. As I began taking warm-up shots on the net, I found that it was a little tough to focus on the puck with all of those metal bars 3 inches in front of my face. It definitely took me a little while to get used to.

After warm-ups, I headed to the bench for the start of the game and began waiting for my first shift. I was quite nervous, to say the least. I was about to go play in my first ever competitive ice hockey game against a bunch of guys who had been doing it their whole lives. Then, the moment I had been waiting for came upon me before I even had a chance to think about it. As I got up off the bench to   take the ice, I put my mouth guard in, and again started saying my prayers.

Something that I had never really even considered prior to that moment was jumping over the boards in front of the bench and onto the ice. It’s not as easy as it looks! When I finally made it over the boards and onto the ice, I just began to react to what was going on around me in the game without even thinking about it. After watching hockey my whole life, I felt like I honestly knew what I was doing out on that ice. However, while I felt like I had things under control, I was still the worst players out there by far. I wasn’t good at coming to a stop on a dime, and I couldn’t make real sharp cuts/turns while playing defense. This unfortunately led to a bunch of guys on the other team blowing right by me for breakaways.

When I came back to the bench after my first shift, I was already dead tired. You don’t realize how much those pads weigh you down until you go full-out in them for an extended period of time.

After about my third shift, I noticed that when I got back to the bench I had sweat just pouring off my face. The weird part was that I didn’t even feel hot. However, I was sweating profusely. It was at that moment that I fully understood how NHL players are so soaking wet when giving TV interviews right after a period ends.

As the game progressed, so did I. I felt more and more comfortable on the ice with each shift that I took. In the end, I managed to get just one shot on goal, which didn’t go in. Aside from finally playing in my first real ice hockey game, the biggest thing that I gained from this experience is realizing just what it is that players in the NHL go through each game (except take what I went through and multiply it by 10). They have to be in excellent shape, and have unbelievable cardiovascular endurance, among other things.

From now on, I will never watch an NHL game the same way that I used to. I now have a much greater appreciation for how talented those guys really are.