You’re probably wondering why I haven’t written much about sports this week. Part of it is cause I’ve been way preoccupied running Battle of NY putting together plenty of Ranger entries with the tragic news of Alexei Cherepanov only making it that more urgent. Poor kid was only 19. What a terrible way to go. Only 19.
The fact is he should be alive no matter if he had a heart condition. The KHL (Continental Hockey League) is still liable for not having a Â defibrillator in working order and the ambulance needing to be called back to the arena when this awful tragedy took place in the third period.
I feel terrible for his parents and family who have to live with the harsh fact that their son isn’t around anymore. I hope to God they get the world for this. It shouldn’t have ever come to this. Even if they do get all that money, nothing can replace their son and how special he might’ve been. Now we’ll never know just how good the former Ranger 2007 17th overall selection could’ve become.
I just wish he were still around. His spirit lives on and let’s hope an extremely valuable lesson was learned for the inaugural professional hockey league in Russia. But it sure comes at a very costly price. It was one of their own who was taken. It doesn’t get any worse.
I also feel very bad for Jaromir Jagr, who went back to play once more with Cherepanov and help prepare him for the NHL. The former Ranger superstar had informed the organization that he could play on the team’s second line already. The talented Russian was off to a great start having scored in his final game an eighth time with 13 points total in 15 games. It was following a shift on a near miss off a two-on-one with Jagr that he and his close teammate nearly twice his age joked about probably should’ve scored.
Then the worst happened and he passed out on the bench with Jagr pleading for him to wake up before six people carried him back to the locker room reviving him briefly before he was pronounced dead at the hospital. If everything had been functioning, he probably could’ve been saved. Instead, a life was taken from us way too soon.
Tragedies occur everyday. This one was inexcusable and should’ve been prevented. If only.
R.I.P. Alexei Cherepanov (1989 – 2008)
Aside from the sad doings with an entire hockey community still mourning, here’s a thought which I’m sure many here can agree with:
I’m sick of the Red Sox. Can’t they just go away already? Why couldn’t the Rays finish the job? They were only seven outs away from a five game series win and their first World Series when the unthinkable happened blowing a seven-run lead letting that gritty resilient championship bunch off the hook completely.
Suddenly, Big Papi remembered who he was and hit a huge two out home run and the rest of his teammates followed suit with J.D. Drew taking advantage of Evan Longoria’s throwing miscue to knock in the winning run forcing Game Six. Of course, it was started by probable AL MVP Dustin Pedroia who hadn’t hit much this October. You just can’t give that team an inch.
It’s like what WFAN’s Chris Carlin said on the Morning Warm Up quoting former Arizona Cards’ coach Dennis Green who had that infamous quote after his team gave away a game versus the Bears a few years ago:
“They are what we thought they were!”
Now, suddenly here are the Rays facing a similar crisis to the one the 2004 Yankees experienced when they had the worst collapse of all-time. Sure. It wouldn’t be as bad if they lose tonight’s Game Seven dropping the last three victimized the way Cleveland was a year ago.
However, the scenario would be similar due to having the Sox beat before totally imploding blowing a bigger lead with a pen which had been very reliable before manager Joe Maddon messed up not going to either lefty Trever Miller or J.P. Howell to face David Ortiz when it became apparent Grant Balfour had nothing suddenly opening the door.
Imagine you’re a young talented Tampa Bay team who’s been resilient all year having won when needed against Boston to remain in first and win your first AL East crown. Now, it’s suddenly all on the line the way it was for the Yankees and A-Rod battered by stunning defeats wondering if you’re about to blow it and be labeled chokers with another game in your own home building.
And you know there will be plenty of supporters for the enemy rooting for more history. Just like that unlikely scenario where Derek Lowe easily outpitched Kevin Brown, the Red Sox have the edge on the mound with Jon Lester facing Matt Garza in a Game Three rematch. Can Garza really get the better of Lester twice? It seems unlikely.
Some friendly advice for Longoria, the red hot B.J. Upton (4 homers in ALCS, AL tying record 7), Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena: Get the jump early and get your fans into it.
If they don’t, they’re probably doomed.
Full credit must go out to the Red Sox, who never seem to panic and are showing why they’ve won a couple of World Series the last four years. Still, at some point, their opponent has to show that they have heart to fight back too.
Hopefully, that’ll be tonight cause I’d really like to see two fresh teams decide this year’s World Series.
A Phillies-Rays series would serve that purpose and be very fun and exciting.
Week Seven is here in the NFL and here are our picks:
BILLS (4-1) over Chargers (3-3), 1 ET: The Bolts blew out the Pats but traveled cross country against a good rested Buffalo team. Trent Edwards returns and we think he helps make a difference.
Saints (3-3) over PANTHERS (4-2), 1 ET: Originally, we were tempted to go with Carolina after a dreadful showing at Tampa but are they really that much better than a Saint team which is finally clicking on all cylinders? This one should be tight late.
Vikings (3-3) over BEARS (3-3), 1 ET: Neither of these teams are anything special and don’t score many points. So, expect a very close game where perhaps the team that turns it over less and executes win. I’ll go with the best gamebreaker Adrian Peterson.
BENGALS (0-6) over Steelers (4-1), 1 ET: Pittsburgh is undoubtedly the better team but Cincinnati hasn’t been playing like a winless team and this is one of those dangerous rivalry games. Maybe the Bengals catch Big Ben and Pitt napping.
Titans (5-0) over CHIEFS (1-4), 1 ET: The NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten travels to Arrowhead fresh off a bye week against a brutal opponent. Unless Larry Johnson goes off against the league’s top rated D, it should be a long day in Kansas City.
DOLPHINS (2-3) over Ravens (2-3), 1 ET: Both these teams are coming off bad losses but at least Miami was competitive. Plus they lost in tough fashion. More than you can say for Baltimore who got smoked by the Colts. Both D’s are good and will keep it close but I just feel the home field and Chad Pennington are enough for the Finns to get back on track.
GIANTS (4-1) over 49ers (2-4), 1 ET: It’s awfully hard to see Eli and Co. having a second straight off week after how the Browns manhandled them on national TV. That had to be a wakeup call. This could be close without Antonio Pierce (iffy). Especially with one of the game’s better backs Frank Gore. But figure Big Blue to respond well before a very challenging stretch approaches.
Cowboys (4-2) over RAMS (1-4), 1 ET: Can anyone really see the ‘Boys losing a third in four to the lowly Rams on turf? They’ve already disappointed and might be without Tony Romo (pinky) but there’s still plenty of fire power to get by with T.O., newly acquired Roy Williams and Jason Witten. So why risk further injury to their starting QB?
TEXANS (1-4) over Lions (0-5), 4:05 ET: The Texans finally got their first win pulling one out over the Skins atoning for the prior week’s Sage Rosenfels’ collapse against Indy. Matt Schaub returned and the game’s most overlooked receiver Andre Johnson was heroic. The Post Matt Millen Lion Era has already tossed in the towel reloading by getting a nice return for Williams. The question is how many will they lose?
PACKERS (3-3) over Colts (3-2), 4:15 ET: This is easily one of the best games on the menu featuring Peyton Manning versus Aaron Rodgers with two teams’ fates still in question. Though they’re in a weak division, Green Bay kinda needs the game and I can see Greg Jennings and Donald Driver having big days.
Jets (3-2) over RAIDERS (1-4), 4:15 ET: Another game which Brett Favre and Gang Green must get before business picks up in the second half. With the Chiefs next, they really have no excuses. Why do I get the feeling this will be close?
Browns (2-3) over REDSKINS (4-2), 4:15 ET: MNF was a statement game for Derek Anderson and the Browns playing out of this world against the Giants saving their season. Sometimes, a game like that can give a team a huge boost and the way they played pounding the ball on the ground, passing it and playing physical D, it could carry over against another quality NFC East foe on the road. Kellen Winslow could also be back. The Skins are coming off a very tough loss to St. Louis and have much to prove. This could come down to a last second field goal.
BUCCANEERS (4-2) over Seahawks (1-4), 8:15 ET, NBC: Somehow, Jon Gruden has the Bucs playing a very good brand of football despite not having a star QB getting the most out of vets Brian Griese and Jeff Garcia. In his return to Tampa, Warrick Dunn’s been a nice addition on the ground giving Tampa a well balanced attack along with Ernest Graham. Right now, Seattle can’t seem to get out of its own way. There’s Matt Hasselbeck still but they’re unable to get much done. This is a trap game for Tampa Bay which they must not take lightly.
PATRIOTS (3-2) over Broncos (4-2), 8:30 ET, ESPN MNF: Knowing history with Mike Shanahan versus Bill Belichick, all signs point to Denver who boasts one of the league’s premier offenses led by gunslinger Jay Cutler featuring weapons Brandon Marshall and rookie Eddie Royal. With Matt Cassel struggling last week, the Pats were blown out by the Chargers and are reeling. So, why are we picking them? Just a hunch that the Denver D helps New England out of their funk. Maybe I’m nuts but it’s hard to go against Belichick in this spot even with everything lining up against him.