30 March 2016

2016 AFL Preview: Round Two

The game of the last round was just that, Melbourne was three kicks down into the final term and came away with the two point win. For the top attractions Sydney crushed the Magpies, saw two first quarter injuries that ended up with both player unable to finish. Geelong, true to recent form, beat Hawthorn by thirty. In the dog of the day, Carlton made a surge only to come up short in the end to Richmond. North, the Doggies, the Gold Coast, the West Coast and Port also won their opening matches.

*All times US EDT (-5 GMT)

Game of the Round
Adelaide Crows (0-1) vs. Port Adelaide Power (1-0)
Showdown XL

Time: Fri 10:45p, Adelaide Oval
Line: Adelaide (56.5)
The Scoop: Just because a blowout is predicted doesn't mean a rivalry won't impact that, so don't be surprised if the Power from Port can make a match out of it coming off a win. After losing to North, the fortieth installment of the showdown would be a great way to begin winning ways in 2016.
Outlook: Adelaide by 41.

Top Attractions
Hawthorn Hawks (0-1) vs. West Coast Eagles (1-0)
Time: Sun 12:20a, MCG
Line: Push
The Scoop: Two of the better sides in the competition in recent years, the Eagles help the two Western Australian teams finish ahead of Hawthorn at the top of the ladder. You have the hotsing Premiers and the grand finalist who lost to them by thirty. This will be the better game compared to the Showdown this week, but the meaning behind the match at the Adelaide Oval has more bearing than this.
Outlook: Hawks after the siren.

Collingwood Magpies (0-1) vs. Richmond Tigers (1-0)
Time: Fri 4:50a, MCG
Line: Richmond (-5.5)
The Scoop: Tigerland survived a scare as a late surge from Carlton kept things close. Collingwood lost two integral players in the side during the opening term from ANZ in Sydney. The Pies however can still make something of it but will need to work a little harder.
Outlook: Tigers take it by 7.

Best of the Rest

Essendon Bombers (0-1) vs. Melbourne Demons (1-0)
Time: Fri 11:10p, MCG
Line: Melbourne (-27.5)
The Scoop: The Dees are looking to continue their form with the push in the final term last week in our GotR. The Dons meanwhile want some positives to bring into their clash with the Pies in two rounds for the ANZAC Day Clash. This fixture has been very entertaining in recent years, so I would expect a match closer than the favorite line suggests.
Outlook: Dees by 10.

GWS Giants (0-1) vs Geelong Cats (1-0)
Time: Sun 12:10a, Manuka Oval
Line: Geelong (-12.5)
The Scoop: The Giants will lose this game if the final quarter is a mirror image of last weeks charge by the Dees. Geelong enjoyed further success against Hawthorn and another win would put them in a familiar position - near the top of the ladder and undefeated.
Outlook: Geelong by 17.

Brisbane Lions (0-1) vs. North Melbourne Kangaroos (1-0)
Time: Sat 1:35a, The Gabba
Line: North (-26.5)
The Scoop: There always seems to be a strange aura about this fixture. Every time these two play at this ground, it feels surreal for some strange reason. I can't help but picture a sunny day to cloudy twilight setting each time. More reason form me to just get to the outlook.
Outlook: North by 9.

Fremantle Dockers (0-1) vs. Gold Coast Suns (1-0)
Time: Sat 4:40a, Domain Stadium
Line: Freo (-24.5)
The Scoop: How the Purple Haze lost by that much is beyond me, but this should be substantially better. The Suns of the Gold Coast sky actually appeared to show some improvement from last season, but a tough test in Perth will show us what kind of team they really are.
Outlook: Dockers by 20.

St. Kilda Saints (0-1) vs. Western Bulldogs (1-0)
Time: Sat 4:25a, Etihad Stadium
Line: Western Bulldogs (-26.5)
The Scoop: The Sons of the 'Scray are picking up where they left of last season, their best in nearly a decade. St. Kilda experiencing much what their opponents have right now, except the Saints reached a Grand Final. But they also have the most overall wooden spoons. I expect they'll make a game of it even though the Dogs have done better in this fixture lately.
Outlook: Doggies by 15.

Dog of The Day
Carlton Blues (0-1) vs. Sydney Swans (1-0)
Time: Sun 1:40a, Etihad Stadium
Line: Sydney (-31.5)
The Scoop: Not to have the Blues in here for the second straight week, but after the drubbing Sydney handed the Pies, are we really surprised? Unless Carlton have some form of surge at any point like last round, then I'm disinterested.
Outlook: Bloods by 52.

Who doesn't love a showdown?! This is the first of the onslaught of derbies for the season and Port have the form of four out of six, but it's all level since they've had the derby played at the Adelaide Oval. Outside of that, I'll take personal interest in the Dons hosting the Dees - not including my boys from North at the Gabba.


28 March 2016

2016 NLL Picks and Power Rankings: Week 13

Standings didn't really change, but for the largest weekend in quantity so far it was very action packed in the East. Given that, let's get to it!

Week 13:

<         <


<    <   

Weekly Total: 5/7
Season Total: 36/55 (.655%)
*Away team is above the home team; underline below arrow indicates correct pick.

Week 14:

<    <


Week 13:
1. (2) SASKATCHEWAN -  The double against Toronto put's them back ahead of Mammoth on tiebreaker.
2. (1) BUFFALO - Defense wasn't bad in first half, Vancouver's offense was good, then only Rhys Duch could do work in second half for Stealth.
3. (4) COLORADO - Only "lost" division lead based on Rush playing game in hand and a technicality.
4. (3) CALGARY - Mammoth forcing Riggers to take weekend split on 'Necks back end.
5. (8) NEW ENGLAND - Philly be like: You couldn't have stayed two more seasons?
6. (7) GEORGIA - Arlotta's might want to think about going back to Minnesota...
7. (5) TORONTO - Better weekend showing defensively than Rochester, I guess that's a plus.
8. (6) ROCHESTER - Wow, just wow.
9. (9) VANCOUVER - Assistant coach Toth needed to suit up and relive his playing days.

View Brian Shanahan's picks on IL Indoor.


27 March 2016

"This Giant, Wild Thing Going On In Philadelphia!"

Though today is important to our Christian audience (Happy Easter to you), today for us is a return to Philadelphia. Many in this neck of the woods remember the fight that followed an earlier quarrel in Buffalo between the NHL's Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers which prompted the title to be blurted out by Sabres longtime play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret when these two brawled again the next time these clubs met. On Friday we saw the reinvention of the Wings. Here, we're continuing to show that. The franchise that once called the Spectrum and Wells Fargo Center its home has to slightly evolve but stay traditional in turn, so we took a crack at it.

We took some inspiration from the Buffalo Bandits here. While I personally cannot stand the "arm shields" that house the TV numbers, I think that could work here by using the outline of the logo. I also drew from the Bandits an idea to include the logo sublimated in the side panels. Since said panels being gradient-filled seems to be all the rage around the league, I stuck with it. I brought back the number striping that was used for the hem that Philly had used mid last decade. However, the alternate is rather traditional, with just the added "arm shields." All things considered, a "basic-modern" type of uniform became the end result.


25 March 2016

Bringing Back the Philadelphia Wings

It was surprising when we heard the NLL's Wings were leaving Philadelphia after 2014. Although we didn't know where, this was a cornerstone franchise with a great history. This left the Buffalo Bandits to become the franchise that was in it's market for the most consecutive years. While the now New England Black Wolves are still trying to pick up the slack of the Wings decline throughout the last decade, they (along with fellow cornerstone franchise in Colorado; from Baltimore as the Thunder, with stops in Pittsburgh the Crossefire and Washington the Power, of DC) are still hereand involved with the league. With Commissioner Sakiewicz expressing that expansion is a priority, he has proven me wrong about my criticism on Commissioner Daniel's perceived efforts on the matter. So I imagine that Philadelphia will be back as well as a hint at Edmonton. Several other cities have been mentioned as well by non-league officials, Detroit would be my selection given the Turbos success there in the league's heyday. I so describe that as the league began as a run-'n'-gun style of the box game.

So what about bringing the Wings back... the team of the same name in the original NLL (1974 & '75) had the same logo when this incarnation began. The logo and wordmark took a slight rebrand for the 2003 and voila. So this means that if the team receives it's naming rights from the Black wolves and more-so their ownership, the fans win Philly will be happy. I don't think anyone can imagine the team being called anything else. So given the circumstances, we've update the logo at a minor scale.

Seeing as the team was embracing the red al lot before the move to the Mohegan Sun, I felt more of it should be reflected. I swapped the red outside the original logo to while making the letters pop more. Gone is the script inside of the wings with lacrosse stick. Instead, a new stick has been repositioned while adding a lacrosse ball in the center of the pair of wings to fill the void of the script it replaced. One may notice that the stick webbing was loosely based on the formation of the original logo. If I didn't keep a stick near the pair of wings, this would likely appear to be a "bow tie" and the stand alone ball would appear to be out of place. With the script added to those elements, it makes much more sense. The only approval I would need is those attending the games on South Broad Street. That would be the true measure of keeping history while looking to the future. That it itself is a tall order and making it work a miracle.


23 March 2016

2016 AFL Preview: Round 1

The time has come to talk footy for 2016. We've got a great opening round's worth of matches and we're excited for first bounce between Richmond and Carlton first thing tomorrow morning. We're going to do things a little differently this season. We're following the outline that our friends at the Buffalo News sports department use during NFL season. Have fun dissecting it.

Game of the Round
Melbourne Demons (0-0) vs. GWS Giants(0-0)

Time: Sat 1:40
Line: GWS (-8.5)
The Scoop: This has been quite a popular fixture in recent years, and it's failed to disappoint. Both clubs are on the up and Greater Western Sydney doesn't look like a side that was admitted just four short seasons ago. Melbourne have been at the bottom of the heap for a long time running, trying to break in to the middle third of the ladder.
Outlook: Dees by 5.

Top Attractions
Sydney Swans (0-0) vs. Collingwood Magpies (0-0)

Time: Sat 7:25
Line: Sydney (-9.5)
The Scoop: The Bloods are relatively good on opening round having only lost one in four and having drawn in 2011 to the Dees at the MCG. Collingwood meanwhile are coming off a great preseason performance having won all three matches against good competition. Sydney have also won their last three matches, home or road (against GWS), at ANZ Stadium in round 1. The Pies have also been above 75 percent when playing at ANZ, not to mention this fixture was moved in December from the MCG.
Outlook: Collingwood by 1.

Geelong Cats (0-0) vs. Hawthorn Hawks (0-0)

Time: Mon 3:20
Line: Hawthorn (-8.5)
The Scoop: The Kennett Curse has been almost completely phased out. It feels like just yesterday when Geelong's consecutive win streak including finals was about to reach the twenties. The Cats lost by two kicks to two of the best teams this preseason, while Hawthorn have been inconsistent. The Hawks beat a good team handily, lost to an equally good tem handily, and defeated a poor team by only twenty-one points.
Outlook: Geelong by 13.

Best of the Rest
Western Bulldogs (0-0) vs. Fremantle Dockers(0-0)

Time: Sun 1:10
Line: Fremantle (-4.5)
The Scoop: I'm very impressed with what the hosts have had to offer, they could put up insane numbers in the previous decade against terrible clubs, but couldn't beat the big boys in that era. The Dockers for the first time in their history were real finals contenders and the past two seasons have made a decent run to the finals and minor premierships. The bigger uncertainty si which of them will stay there longer as the Dogs have been labelled a fluke while ave gave up the "C" after nine season which surely means he's retiring at season's end.
Outlook: Dogs by 1.

West Coast Eagles (0-0) vs. Brisbane Lions (0-0)

Time: Sun 4:40
Line: West Coast (-49.5)
The Scoop: Eagles looking to set up another dose of Nic Nat paddy whack as star ruckman Nic Natinui continues to dominate the bounce. Think of face-offs in hockey and lacrosse. That holds significant importance throughout a game, same with a footy match. Lions had one good season where they beat Geelong in the final round two seasons ago but still didn't make finals. Brisbane is a team that can bee good even with some not so great players but they aren't by far the worst outfit in the AFL
Outlook: Eagles? At home? West Coast all day by 63.

Gold Coast Suns (0-0) vs. Essendon Bombers (0-0)

Time: Sat 3:35
Line: Gold Coast (-34.5)
The Scoop: The Suns of the Gold Coast sky had a less than impressive season after previously showing improvement. Now in their fifth season, the goal like GWS (who joined a year after the Suns) and Melbourne was to get out of the bottom third of the ladder. Essendon meanwhile, was going down as the ASADA scandal was gripping them like a vice, partially at the delight of North Melbourne supporters and Hawthorn to a lesser extent. The Dons rivalry with Carlton is at a low uncustomary to the AFL.
Outlook: Suns by 23.

North Melbourne Kangaroos (0-0) vs. Adelaide Crows (0-0)

Time: Sat 7:25
Line: North (-12.5)
The Scoop: Another lackluster preliminary final saw North Melbourne exit one game early from their first grand final since winning it all in 1999 . Sounds like the NFL's Buffalo Bills except playing beyond the regular season. Adelaide  won this fixture at home in round 1 last year, but they have had their own difficulty in qualifying for finals.
Outlook: Roos by 6.

Port Adelaide Power (0-0) vs. St. Kilda Saints (0-0)

Time: Sun 12:50
Line: Port Adelaide (-28.5)
The Scoop: St. Kilda are a club despite occasional successes, have the most wooden spoons among all clubs. The team that lost the 2010 Grand Final deservedly so lost the replay though Collingwood has fallen with them but at a lower rate. For a time, the Power from Port seemed like they might step out of mediocrity into brilliance for a time, but the quickly reverted to their old way though they still dominate the Showdown. Maybe they'll get back to being above average.
Outlook: Port by 45.

Dog of The Day
Richmond Tigers (0-0) vs. Carlton Blues (0-0)

Time: Thurs 7:20
Line: Richmond (-30.5)
The Scoop: Carlton had the worst NAB Cup outing on the premise that the Brisbane/St. Kilda match was cancelled. The Mick Malthouse coaching thing became more a nightmare than a revival. Richmond are a better than they've shown, their second game against Hawthorn was what we've grown accustomed to seeing lately. This is the season curtain raiser on Thursday night footy so I hope we are mildly surprised by the Blues.
Outlook: Tigerland by 45.

*All times US Eastern

Given the games, the game I am most looking forward to is the Dogs hosting Fremantle despite my anticipation of a spectacle between the Dees and Giants. Decent opening round of fixtures featuring half of the contests between similarly ranked teams from last season's ladder and this pre-season's NAB Cup results. Nothing more to write, let's enjoy some opening round footy!

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