Week 14 NFL Power Rankings

December 14, 2011 1 comment

The Packers should absolutely try to go 19-0 this season. I can’t even believe there is any discussion about it. They won a Super Bowl last season with just about the exact same roster. Almost every player, coach, scout, trainer and front office worker in that organization has a Super Bowl ring. The opportunity is before them to do something that has never been done in the history of the NFL. They have the chance to not only win another championship and be regarded as the best team in the league this year, they have the chance to become the most prolific team in NFL history. Ever. End of question. And if they go 19-0, there’s a chance that will never happen again.

It is often said that winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate goal of a professional football player. I believe that to be true in almost every circumstance. But when one achieves the ultimate goal, doesn’t one strive to achieve something greater? Shouldn’t one strive to achieve something greater? It would be insane to me if every person in that organization didn’t want to go 19-0.

History only remember champions. But the Packers are already champions, and they always will be. Their achievement last year can never be taken from them. If they want to be truly remembered by history, they should strive to create it.

So this week they will remain out of the top spot in these Power Rankings, because I know Aaron Rodgers reads this blog, and it will make him angry and he will want to prove my stupid formula wrong.

BIGGEST MOVERS:

  • UP: Jets (13 to 9), Jaguars (15 to 14)
  • DOWN: Bills (20 to 23)

 TEAM

LAST_WEEK

RECORD

RANKINGS_INDEX

1.

Texans

 1

(.7176)

 10-3

.7177

2.

Packers

 3

(.7029)

 13-0

.6928

3.

49ers

 2

(.7110)

10-3

.6857

4.

Ravens

4

 (.6741)

 10-3

.6803

5.

Steelers

5

(.6472)

 10-3

 .6551

6.

Saints

6

(.6095)

 10-3

 .6119

7.

Patriots

 7

(.5950)

 10-3

 .5945

8.

Lions

8

 (.5728)

 8-5

 .5724

9.

Jets

13

(.5205)

 8-5

 .5466

10.

Falcons

 10

(.5335)

 8-5

 .5407

11.

Cowboys

 9

(.5604)

 7-6

 .5395

12.

Bengals

11

  (.5296)

 7-6

 .5139

13.

Bears

12

 (.5239)

 7-6

 .5124

14.

Chargers

16

(.4409)

 6-7

 .4891

15.

Titans

14

 (.5022)

 7-6

 .4852

16.

Seahawks

17

(.4389)

 6-7

 .4595

17.

Giants

15

(.4434)

 7-6

 .4516

18.

Broncos

19

 (.4287)

 8-5

 .4512

19.

Eagles

21

 (.4120)

 5-8

  .4479

20.

Dolphins

18

 (.4357)

 4-9

 .4205

21.

Jaguars

25

(.3727)

 4-9

 .4174

22.

Raiders

22

 (.4123)

 7-6

 .4172

23.

Bills

20

 (.4262)

 5-8

 .3915

24.

Cardinals

27

 (.3668)

 6-7

 .3867

25.

Panthers

23

 (.4000)

4-9

 .3824

26.

Browns

24

 (.3886)

4-9

 .3813

27.

Redskins

26

 (.3679)

4-9

 .3591

28.

Chiefs

28

(.3602)

5-8

 .3435

29.

Vikings

29

 (.3273)

 2-11

 .3145

30.

Buccaneers

30

 (.3144)

 4-9

 .2785

31.

Rams

31

 (.2508)

 2-11

 .2440

32.

Colts

32
(.1431)
 0-13  .1459
Categories: NFL Tags: ,

Inexplicably Explicable Suspensions

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

James Harrison is an extremely scary person. This is necessary for his job. It makes him one of the best in the world at what he does. Fear, specifically the fear of pain, is an important part of football. Harrison has delivered an unquantifiable amount of pain to opponents in his career. He has a spectacular reputation as one of the NFL’s greatest purveyors of pain. Because he is so good at threatening and delivering pain to others, he gets paid an awful lot of money.

This is the problem. Harrison has earned his job by delivering the very pain that he is now being told he is no longer allowed to deliver.

There was a time when it would have been said of James Harrison that he plays the game the “right way.” Now it is said of him that he plays the game “on the edge.” On the edge of what is considered fair and not dirty.

If Harrison didn’t always play “on the edge” he would be of much less value to his team – and he knows that – so he plays with unbridled energy and ferocity. For players who are on the field to do what he is on the field to do, unbridled energy and ferocity is part of the job description. Sometimes this means he does does things he shouldn’t do. He hits people late, he hits them in the head. He violates an ever-evolving set of rules that intend to make safe a sport where 250 pound men collide with one another at extreme speed. If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is ridiculous. Football’s inherent natures are of danger and risk. Sometimes mistakes are made and people are injured. Such a mistake was made Thursday night, and James Harrison was the wrong person to make that mistake. He’ll pay for that mistake by being the first player to be suspended by Roger Goodell for hitting an opposing player.

I can forgive Harrison if he finds this suspension laughable, because I do too. Especially when you realize how rare it is to earn a suspension in the NFL.

Here is the list of players suspended by Roger Goodell

  • [EDIT] Albert Haynesworth, suspended five games (weeks 5 through 10)
  • Pacman Jones, suspended entire 2007 season and first four games of 2008 season
  • Chris Henry, suspended the first eight games of 2007
  • Tank Johnson, suspended the first eight games of 2007
  • Mike Vick, suspended the first two games of 2009
  • Donte Stallworth, suspended the entire 2009 season
  • Ben Roethlisberger, suspended the first four games of 2010
  • [EDIT] Cedric Benson, suspended week 8 of 2011
  • Ndamukong Suh, suspended weeks 13 and 14 of 2011
  • James Harrison, suspended week 14 of 2011

To the best of my knowledge, that’s it. All of these players – except for Haynesworth and Suh – were suspended for some combination of assault, manslaughter, dogfighting, or drugs. Haynesworth stomped on a man’s face after a play had ended, Suh a man’s arm. Harrison unintentionally made contact with a quarterback’s head. What we have here is the commissioner suspending a player for something that happened before the whistle. This is unprecedented.

To be sure, contact with a quarterback’s head is very illegal in the NFL and undoubtedly warranted some sort of supplementary discipline. You know, like how every other player who makes illegal contact with a quarterback’s head is disciplined, with a fine. The same way Harrison has been disciplined numerous times in the past. But to take Harrison off the field for a game delivers a message not only to the player but to his coaches and front office personnel. Goodell has indirectly warned Mike Tomlin to get a hold of his player lest he be suspended again, possibly for an even longer period of time.

Perhaps this time Goodell had had enough and decided that another dent in the pocketbook of the man who “wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire” wouldn’t be enough to truly teach him a lesson. Although I’m at a loss for what lesson Goodell would want Harrison to learn. Does the commissioner believe Harrison intentionally delivered that blow to Colt McCoy’s head? Does he really think that Harrison is so stupid a man that he doesn’t grasp the concept of “don’t hit the quarterback or anybody else in the head with your helmet” that he meant to headbutt the Cleveland quarterback?

Whatever the case, Goodell is going to be expected to hold to this standard of discipline from this day forth. A hit to the head of a quarterback by a repeat offender warrants a one-game suspension. There can be no other way. Goodell is already viewed by many as a bit of a cowboy with regards to how he chooses to dole out fines and suspensions, the general perception being that he makes it up as he goes along because there is zero transparency when it comes to the process. The NHL used to have this problem (and to an extent still does) but now when a player is fined or suspended for an egregious play, the disciplinary czar (who incidentally is NOT the commissioner) produces an instructional video designed to give clarity to his decision. He explains why the hit was illegal, specifies what rule or rules were broken, and uses similar incidents as precedent. It’s not perfect, but at least it helps to educate the players, coaches, and fans as to why it’s happening. Goodell provides nothing of the sort and appears to have no intention to ever do so, and I am stunned the NFLPA signed a collective bargaining agreement that didn’t address this in some way.

You could ask dozens of  knowledgeable people how they feel about Harrison’s suspension and get a number of different answers. Some expected it, some never thought it was possible, some think it’s the right thing, some think it’s way over the line. It’s a huge problem when you have players, coaches, and fans who don’t understand how an action evolves from a penalty to fine-able to suspend-able. There needs to be a rubric laid out by the commissioner’s office detailing exactly what actions will result in what discipline. The officials have a rulebook to reference for actions on the field, Goodell should have a rulebook for how he governs off the field. And if he isn’t willing to do that, he should relinquish his power to discipline the players. Anything less is unfair to us all.

Sidney, Ben, Tim, Ryan,Todd

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Sidney Crosby has concussion-like symptoms. Not a concussion. He completed the tests that reveal whether or not someone is concussed and showed no signs of a new concussion. He has symptoms.

If you want to tell yourself that it’s not that bad, you might be right to do so. A concussion is an injury, concussion-like symptoms are not. The fickle nature of Sidney Crosby’s brain means he could feel great in a day, but it might also take a week, month, or longer. Sid seems to believe that he isn’t back to where he was in January, where the results of his imPACT test showed an extensive brain injury. That said, it’s impossible to say when he’ll come back. It’s hard for me to imagine that he’ll play much less than three or four weeks after he begins feeling better. He thought he was extra cautious before and it took him six weeks after being cleared for contact to return to game action. Speaking of cleared for contact – I have no idea if he has been, uh, “uncleared” for contact or not. I don’t know how this is going to go, and that’s frustrating.

But perhaps most frustrating is there is no telling what triggered this. Looking back in last Monday’s game against the Bruins – the last game Sid played – there doesn’t appear to be any particular incident that would lead to Sid feeling groggy the next day. He collided hard with teammate Chris Kunitz but at no point did his head appear to be traumatized. Crosby’s brain doctors claimed in August that once Sid’s injury was healed he would be at no greater risk than anyone else to suffer further concussions or concussion-related issues. So was Sid not fully healed?  Despite the ability of doctors to put a patient through a battery of tests and take images of the brain can they not tell with certainty that a concussion is healed short of opening up the patient’s head and actually looking at it?

I’m going to keep telling myself that it isn’t a concussion, only concussion-like symptoms, and hope.

****

But of course Sidney Crosby isn’t the only notable Pittsburgh athlete to be banged up. Ben Roethlisberger and his Stretch Armstrong ankle are probably on a couch somewhere in Allegheny County wondering along with the rest of us if he’ll be on the field next Monday in San Francisco. It’s too early to tell if he’ll even be able to put a shoe on in a week, much less play a game, but assuming he can play, should he? I think the answer has as much to do with what happens Sunday as it does with how Roethlisberger’s ankle is feeling. The Steelers are currently fifth in the AFC, two games ahead of the 8-5 Jets for the sixth playoff spot, meaning they are all but guaranteed a playoff berth. All that’s left to be determined is the seeding. At 10-3, the Steelers are tied with the Ravens in terms of win-loss but lose the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning the Steelers need help from Baltimore in order to win the division. The Ravens travel to San Diego next week to face the playoff-hopeful Chargers for what appears to be their last challenging game of the year (week 16 they get Cleveland, week 17 Cincinnati).

If Baltimore beats San Diego there is no earthly reason to believe they’ll lose in either week 16 or 17 and the Steelers will almost definitely finish as the fifth seed. But in the event the Chargers pull the upset next Sunday night – which is a fair possibility – the Steelers will have the chance to usurp the division lead from the Ravens by beating the Niners Monday night and (assuming they can handle the Rams and Browns in the last two weeks) likely wind up with the #1 seed in the conference.

I think it’s fairly unlikely Ben will play next week. But I think the odds of him playing increase dramatically if the Chargers upset the Ravens and open the door for the Steelers to take over the division.

****

Tim Tebow and the Broncos won again yesterday in typically Tebowian fashion. I’m not going to break down the full play-by-play of what happened, but they won, and Tebow was a part of it. I didn’t see the game (CBS was kindly bringing the Packers-Raiders slaughtering into my home, for some reason) but when I saw that the Broncos came back from 10-0 with under five minutes left in the game I switched immediately to ESPN to find Trend Dilfer and Tom Jackson fanning each other in an effort to keep themselves conscious. Their excitement over what Tebow had just done had them beside themselves. They even brought the Adam Schefterbot in to try to help them make sense of what they’d seen. I thought I’d missed one of the great moments in NFL history.

It turns out the Broncos won because (chronologically): 1) Marion Barber doesn’t know that stepping out of bounds inside of two minutes with the lead and the opposition has zero time outs left is stupid. 2) Matt Prater has a bionic leg and kicked a 59 yard field goal in subfreezing conditions. 3) Marion Barber cannot hang on to a football in the most crucial moment of a game (overtime with your team just about in field goal range) and fumbled possession to the Broncos. 4) Matt Prater’s bionic leg is still bionic.

I’ll give Tebow credit for the seven play, 63-yard touchdown drive that cut the Bear lead to 10-7. Beyond that this game was nothing more than a Chicago meltdown of the highest order. Tebow only drove the Broncos 39 yards in eight plays to set up Prater’s ridiculous 59-yarder at the end of regulation, and 33 yards in nine plays for Prater’s 51-yarder. That’s 72 yards in 17 plays. I’m sorry,  but that’s just not very good. If the Broncos don’t have an absolutely great kicker this game is nothing more than a loss in which the losing team’s starting quarterback only plays a four-minute game.

****

Ryan Braun, the NL MVP, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) over the weekend and faces a 50-game suspension pending an appeal. I saw some Pirate fans on twitter combining this news with Albert Pujols’ departure from the Cardinals as some sort of serendipitous occurrence that will result in the Pirates somehow winning the N.L. Central next year.

Somehow I don’t think Ryan Braun and Albert Pujols leaving the division will help the Bucs win more than 70 games next year.

Also, there has been some talk about whether or not Braun will get to keep his MVP award. The MVP is awarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWA) and they own the award, meaning Bud Selig and the MLB ultimately have no say in this matter. It’s interesting, though, because if the BBWA did choose to strip Braun of the award it would set an interesting precedent when it comes to steroid users and the Hall of Fame. How would the writers (most of whom vote for both the MVP and the HOF) be able to justify casting Hall of Fame votes for Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Rodriguez, Pettite, etc. if they stripped Braun of his MVP? Taking away Braun’s MVP would be an acknowledgement by the BBWA that they disapprove of steroid use, and it might close the door on some very prominent figures’ Hall of Fame candidacies.

****

Todd Haley was fired today, one-year removed from winning his division. The Chiefs are 5-8 this season, which is bad, but still better than eight other teams in the NFL that haven’t fired their coaches. And I highly doubt any of those eight teams are playing without their first and second string quarterbacks, All-Pro safety, and Pro-Bowl running back. I don’t know what the Chiefs’ front-office expects Haley to do with Tyler Palko as his starting quarterback and Dwayne Bowe as his #1 offensive playmaker.

I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. Haley won his division last year and had his team decimated by injuries this year. I think being 5-8 is actually a pretty decent accomplishment, all things considered. There was a chance – not a very good one, but still a chance – that the Chiefs could finish 8-8. Why not give him the last three weeks to see what he could do? And why give up on a guy who has proven that he can lead a team into the playoffs? Do the Chiefs really believe there is someone better sitting around that can take his spot? If so, do they have him yet? Because if not I can’t really understand this.

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Welcome to my NFL Power Rankings blog, where it’s all Power Rankings, all the time! I blog about nothing else but Power Rankings. Do you care about other things besides Power Rankings?  ha ha! Friend! You are in the WRONG place. I make charts with team names inside of them and some other things too. Here it is below. Loogit that, the Packers improved upon their flawless record with a solid win against a good team and have dropped from number two to number three. This is mathematics! Why play the games when we can have formulas decide things for us? It works great for the BCS. Everybody loves that shit!

BIGGEST MOVERS:

  • UP: Seahawks (23 to 17)
  • DOWN: Eagles (17 to 21)

 TEAM

LAST_WEEK

RECORD

RANKINGS_INDEX

1.

Texans

 1

(.7245)

 9-3

.7176

2.

49ers

 3

(.6943)

10-2

.7110

3.

Packers

 2

(.7219)

12-0

.7029

4.

Ravens

4

 (.6608)

 9-3

.6741

5.

Steelers

5

(.6151)

 9-3

 .6472

6.

Saints

7

(.6051)

 9-3

 .6095

7.

Patriots

8

(.6048)

 9-3

 .5950

8.

Lions

6

 (.6067)

 7-5

 .5728

9.

Cowboys

9

(.5828)

 7-5

 .5604

10.

Falcons

12

(.5530)

 7-5

 .5335

11.

Bengals

10

(.5681)

 7-5

 .5296

12.

Bears

11

  (.5573)

 7-5

 .5239

13.

Jets

13

 (.5027)

 7-5

 .5205

14.

Titans

14

(.4894)

 7-5

 .5022

15.

Giants

16

 (.4540)

 6-6

 .4434

16.

Chargers

20

(.4137)

 5-7

 .4409

17.

Seahawks

23

(.4195)

 5-7

 .4389

18.

Dolphins

22

 (.4027)

 4-8

 .4357

19.

Broncos

19

 (.4293)

 7-5

  .4286

20.

Bills

18

 (.4393)

 5-7

 .4262

21.

Eagles

17

(.4533)

 4-8

 .4120

22.

Raiders

15

 (.4835)

 7-5

 .4123

23.

Panthers

26

 (.3591)

 4-8

 .4000

24.

Browns

21

 (.4114)

 4-8

 .3886

25.

Jaguars

24

 (.4017)

3-9

 .3727

26.

Redskins

25

 (.3781)

4-8

 .3679

27.

Cardinals

27

 (.3361)

5-7

 .3668

28.

Chiefs

30

(.3113)

5-7

 .3602

29.

Vikings

29

 (.3243)

 2-10

 .3273

30.

Buccaneers

28

 (.3319)

 4-8

 .3144

31.

Rams

31

(.2657)

 2-10

 .2508

32.

Colts

32
(.1203)
 0-12  .1431
Categories: NFL Tags:

Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

HAHAHAHA. You know, you could read these rankings to mean that Matt Leinart and T.J. Yates are better than Aaron Rodgers!

BIGGEST MOVERS

  • UP: Titans (17 to 14)  Broncos (22 to 19)  Cardinals (30 to 27)
  • DOWN: Giants (13 to 16)

 TEAM

LAST_WEEK

RECORD

RANKINGS_INDEX

1.

Texans

 1

(.7277)

 8-3

.7245

2.

Packers

 3

(.7049)

 11-0

.7219

3.

49ers

 2

(.7244)

9-2

.6943

4.

Ravens

5

 (.6382)

 8-3

.6608

5.

Steelers

6

(.6014)

 8-3

 .6151

6.

Lions

4

(.6382)

 7-4

 .6067

7.

Saints

 9

(.5801)

 8-3

 .6051

8.

Patriots

7

 (.5897)

 8-3

 .6048

9.

Cowboys

8

(.5888)

 7-4

 .5828

10.

Bengals

 11

(.5553)

 7-4

 .5681

11.

Bears

 10

(.5771)

 7-4

 .5573

12.

Falcons

12

  (.5370)

 7-4

 .5530

13.

Jets

14

 (.4961)

 6-5

 .5027

14.

Titans

17

(.4616)

 6-5

 .4894

15.

Raiders

16

 (.4617)

 7-4

 .4835

16.

Giants

13

(.5039)

 6-5

 .4540

17.

Eagles

15

(.4876)

 4-7

 .4533

18.

Bills

18

 (.4370)

 5-6

 .4393

19.

Broncos

22

 (.4080)

 6-5

  .4293

20.

Chargers

20

 (.4242)

 4-7

 .4137

21.

Browns

19

(.4257)

 4-7

 .4114

22.

Dolphins

23

 (.3968)

 3-8

 .4027

23.

Seahawks

21

 (.4195)

 4-7

 .4024

24.

Jaguars

24

 (.3960)

 3-8

 .4017

25.

Redskins

25

 (.3487)

 4-7

 .3781

26.

Panthers

27

 (.3301)

3-8

 .3591

27.

Cardinals

30

 (.3083)

4-7

 .3361

28.

Buccaneers

26

(.3408)

4-7

 .3319

29.

Vikings

28

 (.3268)

 2-9

 .3243

30.

Chiefs

29

 (.3137)

 4-7

 .3113

31.

Rams

31

 (.2642)

2-9

 .2657

32.

Colts

32
(.1165)
 0-11  .1203
Categories: NFL Tags:

Week 11 NFL Power Rankings

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey dudes! Guess what? My Power Rankings are still mad about the Packers winning the Super Bowl last year so they drop to number three this week.

I feel like I am trolling the Power Rankings scene.

BIGGEST MOVERS

  • UP: Dolphins (28 to 23)
  • DOWN: Bengals (7 to 11) and Jaguars (20 to 24)

 TEAM

LAST_WEEK

RECORD

RANKINGS_INDEX

1.

Texans

 1

(.7439)

 7-3

.7277

2.

49ers

 3

(.7132)

 9-1

.7244

3.

Packers

 2

(.7368)

10-0

.7049

4.

Lions

4

 (.6491)

 7-3

.6382

5.

Ravens

5

(.6468)

 7-3

 .6382

6.

Steelers

6

(.6064)

 7-3

 .6014

7.

Patriots

 11

(.5708)

 7-3

 .5897

8.

Cowboys

8

 (.5933)

 6-4

 .5888

9.

Saints

9

(.5912)

 7-3

 .5801

10.

Bears

 10

(.5729)

 7-3

 .5771

11.

Bengals

 7

(.5982)

 6-4

 .5553

12.

Falcons

13

  (.5258)

 6-4

 .5370

13.

Giants

12

 (.5426)

 6-4

 .5039

14.

Jets

14

(.5177)

 5-5

 .4961

15.

Eagles

17

 (.4697)

 4-6

 .4876

16.

Raiders

19

(.4418)

 6-4

 .4617

17.

Titans

15

(.5024)

 5-5

 .4616

18.

Bills

16

 (.4918)

 5-5

 .4370

19.

Browns

21

 (.4143)

 4-6

  .4257

20.

Chargers

18

 (.4582)

 4-6

  .4242

21.

Seahawks

23

(.3834)

 4-6

 .4195

22.

Broncos

22

 (.3916)

 5-5

 .4080

23.

Dolphins

28

 (.3532)

 3-7

 .3968

24.

Jaguars

20

 (.4164)

 3-7

 .3960

25.

Redskins

24

 (.3698)

 3-7

 .3487

26.

Buccaneers

29

 (.3525)

4-6

 .3408

27.

Panthers

25

 (.3680)

2-8

 .3301

28.

Vikings

26

(.3545)

2-8

 .3268

29.

Chiefs

27

 (.3545)

 4-6

 .3137

30.

Cardinals

30

 (.3498)

 3-7

 .3083

31.

Rams

31

 (.2853)

 2-8

 .2642

32.

Colts

32
(.1232)
 0-10  .1165
Categories: NFL Tags:

CrosbyWatch

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Are you getting a little bit grumpy about Sidney Crosby not playing yet? I am. Although I notice my frustration only really flares up after a Penguins loss. And last night’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of the beguiling Tampa Bay Lightning – a team that on one night loses to the hapless Winnipeg Jets and two nights later tame the beast that has become the Pittsburgh Penguins – has got me particularly desirous to see Sid back on the ice.

This also has something to do with my decision that Crosby will be back playing this Monday. I convinced myself of this a while ago, similar to the way many other Pens fans convinced themselves that Sid would be back on 11/11/11. I chose this Monday because it seemed like a soft spot in the schedule. Sunday is an off day, Monday is home against the Islanders, Tuesday another off day, Wednesday again at home, this time against the Blues, Thursday yet another off day, and Friday they close out the homestand against the Senators before heading out on the road for a Saturday night tilt against the Canadiens. Having three home games against middle-tier competition bracketed by off days seems like the friendliest circumstance for his return. The off day Tuesday could be used for medical evaluation, light practice, rest, whatever. Repeat this process on Thursday and, after the Friday night game – assuming he’s still feeling fine – he heads to Montreal and that’s it. He’s back.

This sounds sooooo great in my head that it must happen! Because seriously, if not Monday, then when? I don’t want to sound like a jagoff yinzer, but that’s exactly how I’m going to sound when I say: What’s the hold up here? Sid was cleared for contact on October 13th. My understanding is this was the final huge step in his recovery process. Being cleared for contact meant he would join the rest of his healthy teammates as a full participant in practices. Since being cleared, Sid has indeed been practicing with his team and he has been joining them on road trips. My understanding is he has been doing everything everybody else on the team has been doing except actually playing in games. Medically he is well enough to practice, why can’t he play? How different is practice from a game?

Well, it’s probably significantly different, but for Sid to really gauge how healthy he is practice has to replicate a real game as much as possible. Crosby needs to be hit. He needs to bump his head a few times to learn how it feels. He needs to know if he can sustain a blow to the head without feeling all concussion-y. He needs to play a balls-out shift where he skates hard and gets checked and falls down and does all the things he would do in a game scenario. This is vital to understanding whether or not he is fully recovered. It’s the same with any other injury – at some point you just have to go one-hundred percent and see what happens. Knee feels fine. I think it’s okay. Let’s go give it a shot. See what happens.

But as we know this injury is markedly different from a knee injury. It’s different than any injury for that matter. We have heard this time and again, and I won’t spend time here rehashing the ways in which it’s different. But the fact remains that he must be hit at some point. Somebody has got to lay one on him and see what happens. The problem is none of his teammates are going to do that. None of the Penguins players wants to be the guy that re-concusses The Franchise. Even though the likelihood of actually re-injuring Crosby is very, very slim, the chance exists, and nobody wants to have that on his conscience. Unfortunately this isn’t doing Sid any favors.

It seems to me the only way we’re going to get any idea if Sid can handle game contact is to expose him to some game contact. He’s been well enough to practice at 100% for almost six weeks now. At some point he’s got to pull the trigger. The Penguins are 11-5-3 (25 points) and second in the Atlantic Division, but in their last seven games they’re just 3-3-1. It’s not time to go into panic mode, but Crosby’s presence on the ice clearly would help this team. They need him back out there as soon as possible. I hope it’s Monday, lest you see me at the bridge.

Categories: NHL, Penguins Tags: