Random info day again!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting tired of these? Too bad. I have to ramble sometimes!

Tennis first.

  • World no 3 Novak Djokovic has a chance to become world no 2 and what does he do?

    Blows it. After I just said that Djokovic was looking good again after what I thought was a freak loss to Ernest Gulbis and was ready to charge into the Australian Open, he goes and blows it big time in Sydney. He was downed by Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 7-6(3) who will now face a very good looking David Nalbandian. I'm hoping for his sake, that Nalbandian actually performs like he's supposed to in the finals and wins.

    I was just mentioning to my sister that Djokovic is getting ignored a bit in the leadup to the Australian Open. It's all Murray all the time and if it's not Murray then it's Federer and "can he win the Australian Open or is he finally finished?". And if there's no talk about those two then it's all Nadal because he's Mr. World No. 1. But no one really expects Rafa to win in Melbourne. While I'm tempted to think that it's really not that fair to be ignoring the defending champion here, Djokovic hasn't exactly been playing awe-inspiring tennis since... well, last year, I guess. He's had his moments, yes, but they haven't exactly translated into a lot of good results. Okay, fine so he won the Masters Cup thing. I think I said at the time that the whole tournament was a bit of a joke considering half the players were first timers and got there because of a couple of good resuls at the end, while the other half were riddled with injuries. Do I think Novak has what it takes to defend his title in Australia? Yes. I think he may actually have a good chance at it because despite the fact that he's the defending champion here, all the talk and pressure is on the other three guys to perform well. This could be his chance to (almost) quietly sneak up through the matches and come out with a good performance in the finals (if he makes it past Federer).

  • Del Potro to meet Querrey in finals of Auckland

    Yup. Delpo breaks the curse of the Argentine people not making the finals of this tournament dating back to 1996 by squashing Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-4 to make the finals. He will face Sam Qurrey who squeaked by David Ferrer. Interesting note: Ferrer was reffered to in the media (in Spanish) ahead of his matchup with Sam Querrey as the "executioner of the Team Argentina in the Davis Cup final" which I found hilarious considering it was Ferrer (the top ranked player for team Spain with the absence of Nadal) who got run over by Nalbandian in the opening match. Oh well.

  • Wawrinka overcomes Gonzalez in the semis at Kooyong. Guess who he gets to play now?

    Roger. I want to see this so badly.... even if poor Stan has no chance. This is apparently the third time that they will play each other and Roger has beaten Stan the two other times in straight sets. Poor Stan....I'm sure someone will be cheering for you Stan so don't worry, you're not alone. Of course no one really wants Stan to win.... that would be.... wow....

  • Draws are in for the Australian Open

    The only guy of interest/importance that isn't here is Davydenko who pulled out early this week due to injuries.

    • Nadal gets Simon, Monfils and Karlovic, Gonzalez and Gasquet among others, in his draw. All could make some trouble for Mr. World No. 1 but I doubt any of them are taking away a win over him. Then again... Simon wasnt supposed to win over Nadal in Madrid and Monfils was definitely not supposed to beat him in Doha...And it remains to be seen which versions of Gonzalez and Gasquet shows up. Nadal has a 21-4 record against the seeded players in his draw. Yes, I just wasted a lot of time finding that out.

    • Murray got a fairly easy draw. The toughest opponent in his draw is/was probably Tsonga but he's looking really doubtful right now with a back problem. Mezler, Stepanek, Verdasco, Blake, Andreev, and Schuttler round out the seeded players in the draw. Murray holds a 13-3 against them and I doubt that any of these guys will be beating Murray.

    • Nole got Roddick in his draw again. Hopefully he doesn't say something stupid this time around. He really needs to work on the public relations aspect. The perpetually under-achieving David Nalbandian is also in this draw. As is Kohlschreiber, Robredo, Soderling, Fish (Fish!) and Mathieu. Nole has a 16-4 record against these guys.

    • Roger has some interesting people in his draw including Del Potro, Berdych, Cilic, Ferrer, Wawrinka, Feliciano Lopez (booo!) and Safin. I doubt Delpo and Cilic will be too much of a challenge if Roger meets either of them. Sowwy Delpo! Ferrer can play unbelievably well but I've never watched him win a single match. Every time I've seen him over the summer, he's lost. Wawrinka is doomed if he plays Federer. Berdych and Safin could be the real challengers here. In case you're wondering, Federer has a whopping 37-3 record against these guys. Should be interesting to see what they can do here.

You know, I like Bob Gainey, I really do. But....

This whole non-answer about this whole Lecavalier thing is annoying. Gainey gave a whole cryptic speech on not trading the whole team for one guy. Sounds like he doesn't want Lecavalier? Well, he didn't say that either. The main gist of the speech was that he wants to put the interests of the team above all else. That still indicates that he won't trade for Lecavalier. But again, he didn't say right out that he doesn't want to trade for him. What I took from it was "Yeah, Lecavalier could be great for the team and it would be nice to have him but no, we're not trading half our team for him". I don't know why he can't just come out say that whether they're interested or not. I don't see how it's helping the players by giving cryptic messages about what you're intentions are....but hey, I don't know what goes on behind closed doors or what goes on in the mind of Bob Gainey. Maybe he's more direct with the players. Maybe not. Who knows.

Wingless Penguins take on Sitting Ducks

Okay, so the Ducks are in a better position than the Pens. I like the term "sitting ducks" if it applies to Anaheim. Sue me. I may watch it - my TV will have it so I won't have to suffer through bad announcers in Pensville- or I'll try to catch Wawrinka being demolished by Federer. We'll see.

Stats because we can't live without 'em:

Penguins have gone 2-8-0 in their last ten games while the Ducks have gone 4-4-2. Both come into this game having lost their previous one.

Bad news for the Penguins is that they have one of the worst home records in the league going 9-10-2. Good news for the Pens is the Ducks are ranked 18th in their away record going 9-8-2.

Bad news for the Pens is that they're powerplay is 19th in the league (still better than a certain other team *coughs*) while they're PK is even worse at 24th. Worse news for the Pens is that the Ducks are 9th on the powerplay and 17th in PK.

Penguins are 10-6-1 when outshooting their opponents, but simply flailing away at the net won't help them because the Ducks actually do better when they are outshot going 14-7-2. Go figure. Pens are 10-13-2 when they are outshot and the Ducks are 8-11-1 when they outshoot the opposition. So the Pens have to get outshot to win.....?

Fleury - who I'm assuming is getting the start - is 3-7-0 in his last ten games while Giguere is 4-3-2. If it's Sabourin in nets then he's 1-8-1 in his last ten gams. Can we say "battle of the no-so-hot Quebec goalies"?

Infirmary list:

Well, this is quite lengthy. Officially the Pens are without Dupuis (knee), Fedotenko (broken hand), Gonchar (shoulder), Zigomanis (upper body) but they could be missing Talbot, Scuderi, and Crosby who were all injured in the game against the Caps as well.

Update: Yeah, Crosby's out for sure for tonight.
Update 2: Letang is also out!

Ducks aren't exactly the picture of a perfectly healthy team either. They are without Beauchemin (gone for the rest of the season), Festerling (knee), Huskins (foot), Larsen (hernia), Marchant (finger) and Selanne (quadricep injury). Four of those guys are on IR.


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