Jack in the House
So much for my brilliant, insightful prediction. The NM vs. Amarillo season opener wasn’t a barn-burner after all (no worries – i’m not discouraged). Still, it was pretty exciting, with a successful penalty shot and all. Lucky for the Scorps, it didn’t include any ice time by the 6’5″ 265 lb player on the Gorillas roster that night.
The key evidence for my prediction turns out to be a trend for the Scorps. Seems the team is struggling to conform to the rules this season. In its 9-2 loss to Odessa, New Mexico spent over half the game on the PK (which needs fine-tuning. Might be time to find another good D-man).
But it seems the officiating philosophy regarding the 5-on-3 has changed. I’ve seen more 5-on-3s this season than i’d seen much further into the season last year.
Speaking of Odessa, when Scorpions radio announcer Adam Minnick said the Jacks are shaping up to be a powerhouse of the Southwest Division, i said i’d have to see it to believe it.
I believe it. In its second year under new ownership and coaching, Odessa has apparently decided they’re not going to sit at the bottom of the former WPHL barrel. Indeed, they’re looking like a traditional Colorado, Laredo or maybe Arizona (though the Sundogs can be wishy-washy). While in the past several years it’s been frustrating to see a small handful of teams show such discrepancy in player size, skill caliber, and Cup victories over the rest, i’d route for Odessa to win it all any ol’ day – for variety’s sake.
After spanking New Mexico Friday, Oct. 24, Odessa got a dose of their own medicine from Texas, which slapped them with a 7-2 loss Saturday – an indication that Texas is building on a last year’s success. And Rio Grande is off and running strong. What the heck – props to OKC and Bossier-Shreveport (what’s holding back the Rage?).
This might shape up to be the most interesting season in years.
Sophomore Surge and Reeder
Remember how i said Scorpion Mitch Stephen’s was destined (scroll down to 4/1) for greatness? He scored two goals, including that penalty shot, in the season opener and another one the following night in Amarillo. As of Nov. 6, he was second in team points with 12. The man is on fa-ya!
Something’s amiss with the pre-season, Konrad Reeder story…. Last season, Reeder spoke of how much he loved New Mexico and how it was better to be here than Colorado. Of course he was appealing to New Mexico folks, and he was likely miffed to have been released by the Eagles after only a couple games in ’06. Anyhoo, negotiating for the 2008-09 season, he couldn’t get the money he wanted from the Scorps, so he decided to play in Europe.
Coach Murph said in an interview on 101.7FM The Team that he’d tried to at least hold onto Reeder’s rights to have him in the wings for the playoffs, but since there was no way Reeder would be stateside in time, he had to let him go – to Colorado? Wait a minute. He’s playing in Colorado? What about Europe? Curious to see how New Mexico fans react when Reeder visits with the Eagles.
It’s the Eagles’ turn to host the All-Star Game this year on Wednesday, January 14th in Loveland, CO. Ft. Collins, next to Loveland, is a great little town if you can make the trip.
Wow. Does this statement imply to you what it implies to me?
“The format for this year’s [All-Star] game features a team of CHL All-Stars taking on the Colorado Eagles.” [CHL presser]
Contador says he’ll ride with Lance after all. That makes their team, Astana, the Yankees of professional cycling (or BoSox, as i accidentally said recently, but which actually works better, since the Yankees ain’t producing and Astana is). Before we make any assumptions though, a couple things are left to be confirmed:
1. That Lance will ride in the Tour de France. So far, he’s only committing to the Giro d’Italia for the first time ever (Contador won’t). Talk about a bonus for the Giro, whose organizers must be giddy as school girls about some additional, much-deserved publicity and tourism while the French squirm uncomfortably at the prospect of the American rising from the past to once again dominate their race.
2. That Astana will be invited to the Tour de France. It’d be a real shocker if they weren’t invited for a second year-in-a-row and everyone’s talking like it’s all but a given, so perhaps it’s safe to presume it’ll happen. But i haven’t read that it’s a done deal yet.
Crap crap crap. Rumor has it Lance pressured Astana Team Manager Johan Bruyneel to hold training camp in Cali rather than Albuquerque, where they trained last February. Yet another reason to be miffed at Lance coming out of retirement, mucking things up and all.
Check out this 17-minute or so series of clips, including Lance’s announcement of coming out of retirement, a little conversation about what that means for the new season, the unveiling of the 2009 Tour de France route, and a really well-produced, dramatic recap of the 2008 Tour. Well-worth the time.
Finally, here’s what cyclists do during their off-season. Not much time though, eh? Not like baseball or anything.