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GameDay Live: US Hockey Vs. Canada

Jets Set To Release Running Back Thomas Jones, Will Turn To Greene

Multiple outlets are reporting the Jets will release leading rusher Thomas Jones, making him a free agent starting March 5. Jones was due a $3 million roster bonus March 9 and was to make $2.8 million in salary this year, which was obviously too much money for the Jets to pay the aging, albeit still productive, running back. So the move is not surprising.

With the emergence of Shonn Greene and the hopeful return of Leon Washington from a broken leg, the Jets could have an explosive one-two punch in the backfield next season. While it is tough to say goodbye to Jones, who was a great locker room presence in addition to being a very good player on the field, Greene and Washington are both home run hitters, something Jones was not. The Jets just have to hope that Greene can play next season like he did in the postseason, which was great. Then, the Jets should challenge for the AFC title again next season.

(AP photo)

Olympics Save February From Its Spot As Worst Sports Month Of Year

It took the month of February a while to warm up, but the past several days have made this a sports month to remember. Never mind the fact that baseball camps are opening in the warmer climates, it's the Olympics and even football - yes, football - that have given a lifeless sports month some much needed resuscitation.

February has always been the worst sports month of the year, without question. Think about it, football has ended, baseball is still weeks away from doing anything worthwhile, basketball and hockey are just waiting for the postseason, and college basketball is just biding time until March Madness. Yes, there is NASCAR, and I know there are a ton of fans out there that live and die with the races, but I've never been a fan and watching it would be a last-resort.

Every four years, we do get the Olympics in the month, but I've never been a huge fan of that either. Sure, I watch the hockey games, but that usually was about it - until this year.

These Winter Games have been pretty darn good, great even. Granted, there are the clunkers ... who in the world cares or even thought of having a luge event where one guy lies on top of another? What's the point? ... but for the most part, the Games have been excellent. I've watched more curling than I care to admit; I watched the men's figure skating finals (crazy, I know), I've watched a ton of skiing and speed skating as well, which is always cool. And, of course, hockey.

I've treated the United States men's hockey team as if it was the Washington Capitals (my team ... long story). Watching the tremendous action last night between the US and Canada was simply awesome, and if NBC actually knew what it was doing, the sport could have gained some loyal followers if it was on national television on a Sunday night instead of buried on MSNBC. Even showing just the third period would have done wonders.

Yeah, sure, anyone could have changed the channel. But that attitude never brings in the casual viewer. Getting off topic for just a bit, NBC has done a horrific job with the Games this winter. They held the Lyndsey Vonn gold medal win from something that happened in the afternoon our time to late night viewing for the country. You could do that 12 years ago, but not today. That story, and the Bode Miller gold medal win as well, was all over the internet that it was impossible not to see it - especially in my profession where I have to be up on the sports news at all times. Believe me, I want to watch this stuff live without knowing the results as much as the next guy. But NBC treats us all as fools and we have to suffer for it. It's NBC, though, so we all should have expected that from the beginning.

Getting back to the stellar Olympic Games and US hockey, it was a tremendous win by the young group of NHL players. It's nowhere near what the Miracle on Ice was, but it could be as close to that sized upset if they do go on to win the gold medal. To watch them continue toward that quest will be must-see TV ... ah, remember the good ole days, NBC? Of course, watching Canada possibly get knocked out before the medal round would be pretty cool too. Speaking of that, if the Canadian hockey team doesn't medal, does that mean the entire Winter Games will get shut down? It would have to, wouldn't it? How would the Canadians go on with their tremendous Olympic spirit? (Canada has been a very good host by the way, and my favorite example was the simply awesome moment when in the middle of a curling match featuring Canada, most of the crowd broke out the national anthem out of nowhere. How great do you think those curlers felt after that? Even I had goosebumps.)

So, the Olympics has made the worst sports month of the year not only tolerable, but downright enjoyable.

And, yes, I did bring up football at the top. On Saturday, I read a fantasy football article on CBS Sportsline that dealt with keeper leagues that I thought was simply fascinating. That got me right into football mode, going through last year's draft in my league determining which picks were good and which weren't. Today, the Chargers cut LaDainian Tomlinson, who only two years ago was considered the best player in the game. But two straight years of not even mediocre numbers led to him being released. While that's not the best news in the world, it is big football news and anytime football can stay on the front page of the sports websites it's a good thing.

So, it may have taken a while for February to reheat after the Super Bowl, but it has recovered quickly to become a truly and surprisingly enjoyable time. The best part is we still have a week to go. That statement alone is wild enough to take away February's usual title of "Worst Sports Month of the Year."

(AP photos)

US Olympian Erin Pac Joins Our Team, Read Her Exclusive 'Postcards From Vancouver' In Our Papers

It's not every day that I can truly brag that we are doing something special in the pages of The Bristol Press and New Britain Herald, but tonight I can do exactly that. In what I would consider one of the great "gets" in the newspaper industry, us in the sports department (with big ups to writer Ken Lipshez) were able to come together with United States Olympian Erin Pac and have her send us "Postcards from Vancouver" to be published in the paper, which will chronicle her thoughts and experiences at the Olympic Games.

Pac, who is from Farmington, will drive the USA’s number two bobsled in quest of a medal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, B.C. and will keep her family and friends in the know in the newspaper. The first entry is available online right now at http://www.bristolpress.com/ or http://www.newbritainherald.com/ so make sure you check them out and cheer on Erin at the Olympics.

(AP photo)

GameDay Live Chat: CCSU Hoops

Nothing Better Than Watching Peyton Manning Fail In Another Big Game

First, my quick rundown of the Saints 31-17 Super Bowl victory over the Colts. There is nothing better in my mind than seeing Peyton Manning fail in yet another big-time game. He is now 9-9 in playoff games, which is horrible for a quarterback of his stature.

The Colts have always been regular-season wonders and postseason chokers, which continued this year. I'm just mad that they pulled off that Super Bowl win over the horrible Bears a few years ago, otherwise Manning would be known as the worst postseason quarterback of all time. A couple of things that stood out from the "smartest football player in the history of the universe."

At the end of the third quarter, Manning had no idea how much time was on the clock and when the ref blew the whistle signaling the end of the period, Manning thought a penalty had been called. In the fourth quarter, Manning went to call an unnecessary timeout only to have second thoughts after making the motion ... it didn't work and the ref awarded it anyway. On third and goal, Manning actually called a running play that was eventually stuffed and ended any chance the Colts had at winning the game.

And, of course, there was his brutal interception that effectively ended the game and gave the Super Bowl to the Saints. The lovefest for Manning by the national media is a complete joke and it blew up in everybody's face Sunday night. The Saints played the perfect game - the game the Jets wanted to play two weeks ago in the AFC Championship but couldn't. They controlled the ball on offense which ultimately let them run their defense the way they wanted to. On the Manning pick, the Saints blitzed Manning and he panicked. Also, something nobody will ever mention, but I think was a huge turning point in the game was when the Saints were stopped on fourth and goal late in the second quarter.

That actually saved the game for the Saints. The Colts took over at their own two and ran three straight plays into the line of scrimmage. The Saints got the ball back and kicked a field goal with no time left. If the Saints kick the field goal on the original drive, Manning and the Colts would have gotten the ball back with plenty of time left and likely would have scored a touchdown (just like they did against the Ravens and Jets) that would have destroyed the Saints. But the Saints had a field goal to end the half, recovered the onside kick after the break, and scored a touchdown to take the momentum.

You have to give a whole lot of credit to Saints kicker Garrett Hartley as well, who was perfect on three long field goals. The player of the game for the Colts was Joseph Addai, which doesn't bode well for UConn product Donald Brown next season. Hofstra alum Marques Colston also had a big game.

Second, we will be running a GAMEDAY LIVE CHAT this Thursday at 1 p.m. with Central Connecticut basketball beat writer Matt Straub and myself right here on this blog. So, make sure you show up for that and bring your questions and opinions with you. We want it all. If you want to get a jump on things, e-mail your questions early to bcarroll@centralctcommunications.com and they will go to the front of the list. See you there.

(AP photo)

FIFA Again Proves It's As Crooked As They Come As Henry Cheat Referee Gets World Cup Assignment

You really have to wonder what exactly goes through the mind of the peons over at FIFA, the clueless governing body of soccer. We all know what the group did to Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers, basically screwing them over and finding every possible way to get the teams they wanted in the World Cup (including France and at the expense of Ireland). Then, in the second-leg of play between France and Ireland, France scored a game-tying (and aggregate-winning) goal on a play that had two players off-sides and had two handballs committed by the thief Thierry Henry.

Of course, those calls were all missed by the referees on the field, the goal counted, and Ireland was ousted from the Cup in devastating fashion. The majority of the world came out against FIFA, saying among other things that the fix was in. And it is hard to dispute that. But the group took it one step further today and it really makes you wonder if FIFA really did cheat to get France into the Cup instead of the much-smaller country of Ireland. Clueless FIFA announced that Swedish ref Martin Hansson will be among 30 referees selected for the World Cup. Guess what? Hansson was the referee in that now infamous Ireland-France qualifier.

Makes you wonder, no? The referee of a game that created world-wide outrage; that missed two France players off-sides; that missed not one but two handballs by the cheat Henry is now rewarded with the ultimate honor for a soccer official. Are you kidding me? FIFA, true scumbags of the world.

I Go Head-To-Head With Poker Pro David Singer ... And Win ... For One Hand Anyway On Full Tilt

I got to play pro David Singer on Full Tilt.
I recently started playing poker over at Full Tilt and the frustration that comes along with it is monumental. Don't get me wrong, I've had my share of success. I've won a handful of qualifying tournaments (which basically means you have to win there to advance to play in a big-money tourney). I even pulled out a championship victory in a 2,700-person tournament that I was able to pocket some real money in, obviously the highlight of my short poker-playing career. That title was won after only playing and learning the game for six days, something I am always quick to point out to anyone who dares listen to me.