January 25, 2015

Nothing special about Green Bay special teams

Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum

Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum

The Green Bay Packers got off to a decent start on special teams this past season, but the unit took a nose dive in the second half and finished dead last according to the annual NFL special-teams rankings released on Friday by the Dallas Morning News.

The Packers suffered five of their seven blocked kicks in games 10-16.  Punter Tim Masthay had his worst season in Green Bay and the kickoff return unit struggled.

Green Bay’s Micah Hyde did return two punts for touchdowns and kicker Mason Crosby had another outstanding season.

The Dallas Morning News special teams rankings don’t include playoff games, but that didn’t stop the Packers from continuing their struggles in the playoffs. [Read more…]

Green Bay Phoenix edge Valparaiso (AUDIO)

Greg Mays

Greg Mays

Greg Mays jumper with 1:43 left to play would turn out to be the games final points.  The Green Bay Phoenix survived from there, holding off the Crusaders of Valparaiso, 51-50 on Friday night at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

The Crusaders (18-4, 5-2 Horizon League) missed three shots down the stretch that would have given them the lead.

Keifer Sykes and Alfonzo McKinnie scored 11 points each to lead the Phoenix (17-4, 6-1).  It’s the 10th straight win (10-0) at home for Green Bay this season.

At 6-1, the Phoenix stay in first place in the Horizon League standings, tied with Cleveland State.  The Vikings knocked off Detroit 70-66.  In that contest, Trey Lewis poured in 30 points and the host Vikings (12-9, 6-1) erased a nine-point deficit in the second half to down the Titans 10-11, 3-3).

Green Bay and Cleveland State will play the first of their 2-game series in Cleveland on Saturday, Jan. 31st.

AUDIO: GB Coach Brian Wardle says they did just enough down the stretch :15

AUDIO: Keifer Sykes on being in 1st place in the Horizon League :11

Hockey Badgers blow lead, fall to Michigan

Kohl Center Ice 2The Wisconsin Badger men’s hockey team had scored just two first-period goals through its first 18 games.  Last night, the Badgers scored three times in the first period, marking the first three-goal period for the team since the third period on Jan. 10, 2014 against Michigan.

The Badgers took a 3-1 lead into the second period against the Michigan Wolverines.  Bucky went up 4-1 after a Jedd Soleway power play goal at 2:21 of the second period, giving the Badgers their first three goal lead of the season.

The good news stops there.  Michigan, which entered the game as the highest scoring team in the nation, would follow with two goals in the second and four more in the third period, to come from behind to beat the Badgers 7-4 at the Kohl Center in the series opener on Friday night. [Read more…]

Let’s play two: Ernie Banks passes at age 83

Ernie Banks Rookie CardErnie Banks, known world-wide as Mr. Cub, became the Chicago Cubs’ first African-American player on Sept. 17, 1953.  He went on to become a two-time National League Most Valuable Player and 14-time all-star.

Mr. Cub passed away on Friday at the age of 83.

Banks, who hit 512 home runs and collected 1,636 RBI, was inducted in the MLB Hall of Fame in 1977.

Renowned for his sunny disposition, Banks loved the game and even when the Cubs were struggling, would proclaim “Let’s play two!”.  Banks was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom during ceremonies at the White House in 2013, recognizing his goodwill.

Banks started his professional career in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues.  He took two years off to serve in the military, then he joined the Cubs. [Read more…]

Reports: Phillies discussing trade with Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers logoThe Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly in discussions to send closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Milwaukee Brewers, according to multiple media reports.

Papelbon’s contract calls for a $13 million salary this season with a $13 million option for 2016 that vests if he finishes 48 games this year.  It also includes a no-trade clause that can block deals to 17 teams, including the Brewers.  It could be waived however if the vesting option for 2016 becomes guaranteed.

The Phillies are in rebuilding mode and are dumping salaries.  They’ve already trimmed $40 million off of their estimated opening day payroll.

The 34-year-old Papelbon had 39 saves and a 2.04 ERA last season.  In ten years in the majors, Papelbon has recorded 325 saves and a 2.37 ERA, while recording 721 strikeouts in 627.3 innings.