Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Pointlessness of the Pro Bowl

Can we just be honest with ourselves and come to the conclusion that the NFL's Pro Bowl is a joke? I mean it hasn't really been relevant in years. Even when the league tried to "revamp" it by changing it.

Let's put two Hall of Fame players pick eligible players like its a school yard pick up game, that will fix it. With J.J. Watt playing quarterback and Odell Beckham Jr. playing safety, come on it's just sad.

Now, because the revamping of the Pro Bowl didn't work out at all, the league has decided to go back to the old way. The original format of the NFC and AFC playing each other.

People may still want to see their favorite players alongside some of the other greatest players in the game right now and that's fine. But, at least have these guys actually play some football.

I don't want to see a half-hearted attempt at a skills competition, especially one that is concluded with a game of NFC vs. AFC dodgeball game. Dodgeball, really? I'd rather just watch the movie.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm aware that this is football. The league in no way could or should tell the players to go out and play at a 100%. The game is too dangerous and players get paid too much money to play in the REGULAR season.

I know that there is no way for these guys to risk their bodies and injure themselves for a meaningless game that no one benefits from. So let's do ourselves a big favor and recognize the outstanding players of the NFL season in another fashion, particularly one that doesn't waste anyone's time.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Young Guns Ready to Carry The Torch

There's no doubt that the NHL is leaning towards a faster, more skillful style of play. There is no better time for the game to be changing, with young, dazzling skaters on the ice that are taking over the league. 

Let's start with the guy that has become the youngest captain in the league's 100 year history, Connor McDavid. 

In a time when the game is changing from brute strength to skill and speed, McDavid is a prime example of a complete player.With 57 points McDavid leads the NHL, yes even over the "masterful" Sydney Crosby. 

If I were a GM and building a team around one young player, McDavid would easily be that guy. He's young, he's a leader, he's a team player and only wants to win.

Next, we have the high scoring Toronto Maple Leaf, Austin Mathews. This young American hockey star is fourth in the league with 23 goals. 

The tenacity in which he scores and manages to find opportunities for others is out of this world for a teenage rookie.Much like Ovechkin, he seems to just find enough ice to get off a clean shot. If Mathews get off a clean shot, the puck is going in.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Looking Back at The NHL Season So Far

With the All-Star breaking coming up this weekend, many teams look to head into the break on a good note. Let's take a look back at what has happened so far, talk who is for real and who, won't make it for long.

Let's start with the obvious choice, the Washington Capitals. Behind Alexander Ovechkin the Caps are soaring through another great regular season. With a record of 32-9-6, the best in the league, Washington looks to continue their dominance. When it comes to five-on-five hockey no one in the NHL can hang with them right now. T.J. Oshie has finally started looking like he is comfortable in the system. Nicholas Backstrom is continuing to play like he does, Ovechkin doing Ovechkin things, and Brandon Holtby playing like an animal in the net, the Capitals look like the Golden State Warriors of hockey.

Arguably the hottest team in the NHL right now is the Minnesota Wild. Dating back to December 2nd the Wild has gone 19-3-2, jumping into first place in the Western Conference. Minnesota's speed and versatility has been key thus far in the season for much of their success. Devan Dubnyk in front of the net has been nearly unbeatable posting a 1.91 GAA (Goals Against Average). The only problem is the Wild have a history of putting together great regular seasons only to fall apart in the latter half of the season. So until we see consistency out of the break, don't put too much stock into them.

A surprise team right now is the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference. Much like the Wild, Columbus put together a remarkable winning streak of their own. With a 15 game winning streak in December the Blue Jackets vaulted themselves to the top of the division and the conference only behind, yes, Washington. Sergei Bobrovsky, the goaltender, has been playing his best hockey so far. Currently sitting in the top five in GAA, Save Percentage, and leading the league in wins with 28. Again, much like the Wild in the West, it will be interesting to see whether or not they can continue this play; and, if the situation presents itself, can they give Washington and the ever favorite Pittsburgh.

What seems to be the major similarity between these three teams? Yes, goaltending. Much like the quarterback in football, no team can win without a reliable goaltender. All three of the hottest teams right now have had exceptional goaltending, creating the opportunity to not have to stress for goals. A good example of what a great team without goaltending looks like is the St. Louis Blues. Offensively and defensively, the Blues can hang with just about anyone in the league. But, what sets them back is there is no reliability with either of the tendys.

So, with the All-Star break coming up and the game on the 29th, the infamous Stanley Cup is still up for grabs. Will the Wild and the Blue Jackets continue their great play? Is this finally the Capitals year, or will they fall apart in the playoffs again? One thing is for sure, it's going to be a great remainder of the hockey season.

Friday, January 20, 2017

NFL Conference Championship Weekend:

This Sunday the AFC and NFC Championships are underway between the Atlanta Falcon and Green Bay Packers of the NFC, and the New England Patriots against the Pittsburg Steelers in the AFC.

Four of the game's best quarterbacks are the last ones standing. Between these high potent offenses and less than stellar defenses, you can expect a lot of points. Let's begin with the big game taking place in the NFC at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Matt Ryan is looking like the MVP frontrunner he is. Along with the fact that Ryan has yet to revert back to his old ways and forgetting how to play QB. His decision making and playmaking abilities so far in the postseason have been remarkable.

The biggest change for the Falcons over the past few weeks is the emergence of a pass rush. The defense most of the year has been nonexistent, but Vic Beasley and the old man Dwight Freeney have caused some major turnarounds.

But, will that turnaround be enough to stop the seemingly invincible Aaron Rodgers?

Rodgers and company (if you can call what he has left around him company) have run the table so far in the past eight weeks. Everyone by now has seen his Hail Mary of the season, we've seen the late game heroics against the Cowboys in Big D last week.

The real question here, which won't be answered until Sunday, is who will have the ball last? Much like the game last week with Rodgers, if he has the ball last with the opportunity to tie or win the game, count on seeing the Packers in Houston.

On the other hand, if it's Matty Ice with the ball I'm a little less confident. I know Ryan has played well so far in their game before, but that was an Earl Thomas-less Seattle defense. It's a whole other story when its a must score situation. Especially with his poor performances in the past in this situation.

At the end of the day, Aaron Rodgers will lead the Packers to victory in a very high scoring and classic game. We might even see a Hail Mary or two. 41-38.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What's The Collision Zone?

Hello all and welcome to The Collision Zones, I'm Nate Baldwin and this is a blog where we discuss NFL football and NHL hockey. We will be discussing the seasons as they go along, talk match-ups, best player, who's hot, who's not, and so on.

With the Divisional Round of the NFL Postseason ending over the weekend, a review of the two games as well as who will make it past Championship weekend.

The NHL All-Star break is around the corner, what teams are hitting on all cylinders at the moment, what players look like potential MVPs. We will continue covering hockey after football ends, sticking with it throughout playoffs and there is a champion crowned (Let's Go Blues).