Can Tkachump the Coward Ice Up Enough to Play Tonight?

The first order of business last night was putting that coward Matthew Tkachump in the training room, and our captain got to work as soon as a face-off opportunity presented itself. This is how you spear a bitch…

Tkachump left the game, but came back hobbled and had his head hunted for the rest of the night. It was awesome to watch. Vintage stuff just like we used to do in Edmonton rd1 in the glory days. Maybe next year Tkachump will hold off on diving until a little longer than the very first period of a playoff series.

The final blow came early in the third, when Benn and Oleksiak sandwiched that little turd and took him off the ice for good

Oleksiak also delivered the final blow on the scoresheet by netting the game winner with just 39 seconds(!) left. It came off a very nifty cross-ice feed by Corey Perry. That’s right.. THAT Corey Perry. He also had a goal! He sucked way less, and we don’t have to keep hating him as much as we did when he was on the Ducks.

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I hope everyone followed my advice and doubled down on Stars +189 for the series price. If you didn’t, you might as well just throw it all on -110 now because that line is still a joke.

That’s not to say we wouldn’t have issues against a better team like the Avs. We gave up the first goal just 19 seconds into the game, which makes ten straight games of giving up the first goal. Gotta stop that shit. We also collapsed in the third period by giving up a shorthanded goal and then a power play goal that came from a stupid Radulov o-zone penalty. Nevertheless, we’re still light years better than Calgary and we can breeze through them with a half effort.

OTHER NOTES:

-Heiskanen had two goals over 25 very dominant minutes. He is the best defenseman in the league. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody right now. Thank god we have him instead of Karlsson.

-Gurianov drew two penalties and was a beast on the puck all night, but he only played 10 minutes. We were leading for most of the game so that is a possible reason, but he needs to play more.

-Bishop showed flashes of his god mode but isn’t quite up to that full status yet. That’s fine. Until he gets there, we can rotate Dobby and keep our goalies rested but not rusty. It’s worked very well the past two regular seasons, and could be huge for us in a compressed playoff schedule.

-Next game is tonight! Gotta love the playoff back to backs, especially when you have two goalies and your opponent is hurting bad. Hey Tkachump…

Can Tkachump the Coward Ice Up Enough to Play Tonight?

Rafael Montero Is the Coolest Closer in the League

Are the Rangers any good? No. Are they in playoff position regardless? You bet your ass they are!

One of the reasons for that is our new shut down closer Rafael Montero. He got his first save a week ago and has been 4/4 since. Four innings, four strikeouts, four saves, and ZERO baserunners allowed.

Another diamond in the rough discovered by our lord and savior Jon Daniels. He signed a minor league contract last year while recovering from Tommy John, and now he is a bonafide badass closer. At WORST, he could net us some sick prospects in a trade for the price of… nothing!

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Earlier in his career (2016-2017), Montero was a big time prospect for the Mets. I spoke with some Mets fans and they both said that Montero starts were appointment viewing for a time, but injuries and poor organizational development fucked him over. At any rate, he’s 10x the closer that Ed-lose Diaz is.

One of the reasons he might be working out better here than Queens is the switch from rotation to the bullpen. He’s been throwing 97% fastball and changeups, but his fastballs move slickly and paint black. It’s a closer’s repertoire.

Montero also has the perfect demeanor for the role. He checks off all three C’s of closer intangibles perfectly – cool hair, confidence, composure. 

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When José Leclerc comes back from injury, he can share setup duties with rookie phenom Jonathan Hernández. Then we have Kluber possibly coming back as the best middle reliever of all time, and all of a sudden our bullpen is the best it’s been since 2011.

‘Minor, Lynn, and what then?’ is now ‘Minor, Lynn, and our badass bullpen’. Thanks Jon Daniels!

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Series win at Seattle. We are now officially in mid-August with meaningful Rangers baseball. If the bats suck a little bit less, we’ll be in the playoffs with one of the best pitching staffs in the majors. Can’t ask for anything more in a rebuild year.

Let’s get after it

Rafael Montero Is the Coolest Closer in the League

Champions League Gambling Lock: Atletico vs RB Leipzig

Atletico Madrid vs RB Leipzig in the quarterfinals today. I’m obviously going Spaniards after writing yesterday that Atletico +850 was a future to get on.

They always goes far in this tournament and were one PK away from beating peak Madrid for a title. They’re made for tournaments like this and they’ve already proven that this season by beating Liverpool last round. Yes that Liverpool. And now Atletico has Diego Costa up front, and he’s a dirty mother fucker who’s perfect for them.

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I tried being a Red Bull Leipzig fan a few months back during the Bundesliga blue balls days. It cost me money, and that was when their best player Timo Wermer was still playing for them. He’s already left for Chelsea, so I plan on winning that money back today.

RB Leipzig are an interesting story in that they’re the most hated team in Germany. The Red Bull company found some loopholes to circumvent Germany’s ’50-plus-one’ rule restriction on corporate ownership, which makes them evil in most Germans’ eyes. Well, West Germans that is, as East Germans usually come from cities too historically poor to have a great soccer team.

Leipzig was an example of one of those Eastern German cities until Red Bull bought the squad and over a period of ten years, they stormed up from the fifth division all the way to Champions League Quarterfinals. It’s a wild story and quite controversial. We should all take responsibility to learn up on it and follow them because Red Bull is an Austrian company, and we definitely need to keep an eye on any Austrians causing ruckuses up there.

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But while Leipzig is an interesting story, they’re not in the same stratosphere as Atletico yet. If the second leg of Leipzig-Tottenham was scheduled a week later (and subsequently postponed to last week because of covid), then this match would be Atletico vs Tottenham. Fact.

OFFICIAL PICKS: one unit Atletico (+130), one unit Atletico to win Champion’s League (+850)

Champions League Gambling Lock: Atletico vs RB Leipzig

Corey Perry Got His Ass Beat in the Worst Hockey Fight of All Time

Right from the gate in yesterday’s Stars opener we were met with a familiar scene – getting screwed by the refs.

Tkachuk’s bullshit dive there led to an opening power play goal and ultimately swung the game. This is now three playoff games in a row where the Stars have been screwed by the refs. It’s starting to look Saints-esque for us, but this specific call falls more in line with the Kyle Rudolph push off in that we’re too much better than the other team to allow the refs to be a factor.

This call was also early in the game, so unlike the St Louis and Vegas hack jobs, we actually had time to respond for this one. First item on the list (besides killing a penalty, which we failed at) was for someone to step up and bash Tkachuk’s face in. Corey Perry decided he was the man for the job, and this ensued…

Tkachuk’s bullshit dive there led to an opening power play goal and ultimately swung the game. This is now three playoff games in a row where the Stars have been screwed by the refs. It’s starting to look Saints-esque for us, but this specific call falls more in line with the Kyle Rudolph push off in that we’re too much better than the other team to allow the refs to be a factor.

This call was also early in the game, so unlike the St Louis and Vegas hack jobs, we actually had time to respond for this one. First item on the list (besides killing a penalty, which we failed at) was for someone to step up and bash Tkachuk’s face in. Corey Perry decided he was the man for the job, and this ensued…

This is no doubt the worst hockey fighting performance of all time. Old man Perry didn’t land ONE single punch. His fist never even came within a foot of Tkachuk’s face. The implications were huge; it was time set a tone for the series and our old man got his ass beat instead. Utterly embarrassing for Dallas.

I can’t do Corey Perry anymore. I hated him in Anaheim and I hate him just as much now. The dark arts had an expiration date and it was a long ass time ago. He should never step on the ice in a Stars uniform again. We have a badass winger prospect (Jason Robertson) who plays the same position and he needs to take Perry’s spot immediately.

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As for everything else with the team, I’m not concerned at all. The series price is now +189 and that’s an easy double down. We are loads better than Calgary and should still win this easily in five or six. We just need three very simple adjustments:

  • Start Bishop – it’s cute to have two good goalies with rest but playoff Dobby was not as elite as regular season Dobby
  • Play Hintz/Gurianov – the Euro forwards are getting third line minutes even though they are by far the most productive on offense. Save the gritty defense lines for after these kids secure a lead
  • Scratch Corey Perry – enough said
Corey Perry Got His Ass Beat in the Worst Hockey Fight of All Time

Champions League Gambling Lock: Atalanta vs PSG

Champions league quarterfinals start today, and it’s single elimination format which is incredible. God we are truly in sports candy land right now. These games are way too cool and important to not gamble on, so I’m posting my locks here daily for each game. You’re welcome!

I advise two futures of one unit each – Barcelona +800 and Atletico +850. The Spanish teams are looking good. Atletico has the easy side of the bracket while Barca has Messi in a single elimination format. Give me those odds and hopefully one or both make the finals to lock in profit.

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Wednesday: Atalanta vs PSG

I’m going one unit on Atalanta +.5 (-127), one unit on over 3 (+113), and 1/4 unit on draw (+267).

Atalanta is the story of the season. Their first round home match against Valencia was basically the reason for Italy’s covid disaster in the same way that a 49ers Super Bowl parade would’ve crippled Santa Clara. However, unlike the Californians, the Italian Atalanta fans probably find this all worth it.

Atalanta, not to be confused with our own Atlanta, was basically unheard of until started getting Europa berths a few years ago. This year, specifically in the year 2020, they’ve taken off like a rocket and scored a fuck ton of goals. They go 3-4-3 and don’t care about defense, and it doesn’t matter because their offense is setting records. Basically a three goal per game average in 2020.

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PSG on the other side is basically all about Neymar. They have tons of other talent on the roster, but not necessarily on the field right now. Veratti is injured. Di Maria is suspended. Mbappe is supposedly healthy enough to play but will surely be crippled. It all comes down to whether Neymar can play like the talisman he’s paid to be.

Neymar’s had one of the most enigmatic careers of any athlete in the world. The Economist’s writeup on the geopolitical implications of his PSG transfer is easily the coolest sports article I’ve ever read. At the time of that article, Neymar’s resume boasted a magical 2014 World Cup run and some club titles from riding Messi’s jock. Since that time, he’s had a terrible 2018 World Cup, a ton of injuries, and nothing of import accomplished at PSG.

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I’m fading Neymar and riding Atalanta, but the talent discrepancy is real so I’m not overly confident. If Atalanta does go down, the game might get crazy and we’ll have the over.

Champions League Gambling Lock: Atalanta vs PSG

The Marlins Have Been Leading the NL East Since Opening Day

We’re now sitting here in the month of August and the Marlins have been leading the NL East since day 1 of the season. Prior to this year, the Marlins had never held a lead in the month of August and in fact have never won the division despite being a 2x World Series champ. You know they say third time’s a charm and as crazy as 2020 has become, it’s not unreasonable proclaim this as the year Miami finally gets a division crown to along with World Series banner #3.

Last week, we swept the Orioles in a four game series on the way to a 7-1 start. Some might say “well yeah that’s just the Orioles”, but Baltimore is actually 8-3 outside of that series. They had just swept the Rays beforehand and have not lost any of their games since. The Orioles are sucking a lot less this year, except against Miami that is.

Haters often malign the Marlins as a ‘lucky’ team for winning fluke titles, but you should call us anything but lucky this year. Not only did that covid outbreak leave all our players in solitary confinement for over a week, but our two most important players (ace pitchers José Ureña and Sandy Alcántara) are still inactive because of it.

Without those pocket aces in hand, Don Mattingly has masterfully managed a pitch-by-committee system to hold things down. He’s used five or more pitchers in 6 out of 8 games since covid restart. He used four pitchers in those other two games. The most valiant effort came from prospect Humberto Mejia, who had never pitched above Class A before starting Friday night at the Mets. He struck out a cool six over 2.1 innings.

Sick stuff.

Unfortunately we’re on a slight losing streak now. We got Degrom’d on Sunday, which is fine. Last night, we got unlucky as hell after a go ahead homer in the 10th got called back for being inches too foul. Again luck is not on our side this year… But we’re still in first place and things are going to turn. We’ll start getting those breaks and we’ll get our two aces back, and then we’ll be in first by way more.

The Marlins Have Been Leading the NL East Since Opening Day

Stars -115 vs Flames Is an Absolute Joke

One of the best parts of the glory years was our annual first round trip up to Edmonton to send a bunch of has been hockey fanatics packing. This time in 2020, there won’t be any fans and it won’t be the Oilers, but it will still be in Edmonton and it will still be a shitty west Canadian team.

Oddsmakers disagree apparently, putting us at -115 for the series which is basically a pick em and absolutely disrespectful. It’s the most preposterous line I’ve ever seen and absolutely worth hammering.

First of all, we should be the 1 seed. Vegas is the 1 seed instead of us, but we played them in the first round robin and dominated the game. The reason we lost? Just like last year, screwed by the refs. This was called goalie interference and OVERTURNED…

In my eyes that was the last playoff game we’ve played because the other two have been meaningless. In fact, I kind of wish we lost on Sunday to get the Canucks/Knights matchups instead of Avs in second round. But that’s neither here nor there.

So the last game we played was a hack job that cost us the 1 seed. The previous playoff game to that? Last year in Game 7 against the eventual champs where we were robbed of this game winning tap in with no freaking call…

I don’t wanna be one of those guys that always complains about the refs, but I keep seeing Stars games and I keep seeing them get screwed. That can’t continue forever. Once this nonsense stops, everyone will remember that this team is really damn good.

We are certainly better than the trash ass Flames – that’s for sure. They have one cool player, Johnny Goudreau, who’s really only cool because his nickname Johnny Hockey has Manziel vibes. That’s about it.

Just like in the glory year, the first step to partying like it’s 1999 is demolishing some Canadians in Edmonton. This year, the first step to paying for our Stanley Cup parties is hammering that joke of a line. -115… Bet everything on it.

Stars -115 vs Flames Is an Absolute Joke

Rangers Are in Playoff Position Because the Angels Really Fucking Suck

After sweeping those sad sack Angels over the weekend, look what we have here…

We had the worst start to the season imaginable and yet are sitting in playoff position with the Mariners at home on deck. The lottery ticket futures are still alive. We have some meaningful Rangers baseball in August ladies and gentlemen!

Our grittiest win came on Saturday – two run shot by God Gallo to win a 2-0 shutout. Our boy Kolby Allard went 5 innings for two hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. He’s at a 1.00 ERA through two starts now. Once again it’s looking more like we won a prettyyy pretty decent trade rape.

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On the other side of the token we have the Angels. Wooooof.

Anthony Rendon, their new seven year $245M man, is on a hitless streak of 28 plate appearances and counting. He’s holding a steady .103 average overall. So glad we didn’t sign him.

Joe Maddon is as overrated as ever. Pujols is still on the payroll. Mike Trout seems to be handling his new fatherhood the same way Serena handled new motherhood – just kidding he’s actually still good. Everyone else around him though? Trash like always and it’s awesome.

The best/worst part of this dumpster fire is none other than our little friend, that traitorous scumbag Shohei Ohtani. He’s done pitching this year after racking up a 37.80 ERA over two starts. Those two starts lasted 1.2 innings total. He couldn’t hit 90 with his fastball because his elbow is permanently damaged, so he might actually be done pitching for good.

As for hitting, Ohtani has a .171 batting average and is striking out on 36.5% of his at bats. Sick.

God it must suck to be an Angels fan. They will never recover from that Hamilton contract. Ever.

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However, yes I will admit this one thing about the Angels… Since divisional realignment in 1994, they are the only team from the AL West to win a World Series. 2002 – what a wack ass year for sports with the Angels and the Bucs both getting those anomaly titles. But nonetheless that is more than any other team in our division can say. Respect.

Rangers Are in Playoff Position Because the Angels Really Fucking Suck

Kolby Allard for Chris Martin So Far Is a Trade Rape

The Rangers lost 2 of 3 in San Francisco, bringing our record to 3-5 against three trash teams. We have division games coming up that could turn our season around because division games are way more important, but that would require a complete 180 in our play. The season looks pretty hopeless right now.

However, the future is never hopeless with Jon Daniels at the helm, and one example why came in our lone win of the series on Sunday. 22 year old prospect Kolby Allard got his first start of the season was prettyyy pretty decent! Four innings (had a hard count of 80 pitches), two hits, two walks, and one run from a sac fly. It’s not great, but also not bad.

Allard was also pretty decent for us last year. In his first seven starts after arriving on deadline day, he went 7-1 and had four quality stars (two of those QS’s were one out short but I count them anyway). Also not bad!

It may not sound exciting and he’s no burgeoning star or anything like that, but he’s surely an early success story in the rebuild considering the trade that got him here. All it took was one spare reliever named Chris Martin. Dude had pitched for us for two years after rehabbing his career in Japan, and he was as spare as a spare 33 year old veteran could get.

Martin did have a solid stretch of not sucking too much for us last year, so for some reason the Braves thought he could be a setup man. Sure enough, in game 1 of the NLDS when they called him in to protect a 3-1 lead in the 8th, he had a season ending oblique injury in warmups and the Braves season went up in flames. Just a truly worthless asset.

Jon Jon Daniels being able to flip that for what is so far a respectable 22 year old starter is very commendable. We also got Nick Solak from the Rays for another spare reliever Peter Fairbanks last year. Nick Solak is not a spare though; he’s hitting .281 in his career so far and could end up rookie of the year if he goes on a hot streak. Two solid trade rapes for our boy JD.

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Until very recently, it had been almost ten years since we’ve seen JD trading for prospects. He was mostly unloading them for guys like Cole Hamels so we could rack up a bunch of one seeds from 2010-2016. We almost forgot just how damn shrewd he was in stockpiling those prospects in the first place. As long as Jon Daniels is around, the rebuild won’t last long.

Kolby Allard for Chris Martin So Far Is a Trade Rape

Even in 2020, We Can Party Like It’s 1999

2020 might be the worst year in modern history for partying, but Stars fans could still yet party like it’s 1999. Even if we have to celebrate alone, getting our first Cup since that glorious year will be just as sweet.

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Besides Manchester United and all the back room bribing they pulled off during lockdown, no team in sports benefited more from covid shakeups than the Dallas Stars. First off, we finished normalcy era in an absolute funk with a six game losing streak and we’ve had months to shake those jitters off. Most importantly, the new format will give us a fairer seed and make our playoff matchups MUCH easier than expected.

Normally, schedules are weighted by division and then the playoff bracket is set up to make division matchups in the first two rounds. For us, that meant despite being a consensus top three team in the conference, we would’ve had to beat both St Louis and Colorado (the other two of the consensus top three) in the first two rounds just to make the conference finals. It’s dumb and annoying as hell, but the NHL needs to do it for ratings because the simps are still too obsessed with watching shitty basketball games.

This year, however, the league is resetting the top four seeds after a quick round robin series. From there on, the bracket will be reseeded each round. We now have a shot at jumping to the 1 seed over three games and getting an easy as fuck path to the conference finals. Awesome!

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Can we capitalize? Maybe. Hopefully. We certainly have the talent to do it and go all the way, but we also have the potential to fuck up. You can get a feeling as to why when reviewing the topsy turvy path we took to get here…

Last year, we took the cup champion Blues to Game 7 overtime and got screwed over by the refs by not having a single power play. It wasn’t the only game in that series we got screwed in, but it was the one that hurt the most.

Wide open tap in to clinch the series. Zucc gets interfered out of desperation. No goal. No call. Stars end up losing. Fucking ridiculous. We should have been champions last year, but the future still looked bright after getting that far with phenom 1st year coach Jim Montgomery.

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We entered the year with a ton of hype. Apparently things were looking gooood in training camp. But we started the season 1-7-1 and major panic ensued. Montgomery, the phenom we were so giddy about having just one month prior, was one period away from getting fired before a five goal 3rd period kickstarted a 12 game point streak to save his ass.

Unfortunately, Monty still ended up fired in December. Not because of our play on the ice, which was rolling at full tilt again, but rather because he couldn’t control his alcoholism. It’s alleged around the internet that he got drunk and banged an ice girl at the holiday party a few days prior. Fucking crazy!

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Monty’s replacement, Rick Bowness, is a bit of an enigma in the NHL. He started coaching pro hockey as a player-coach for the Jets in 1982. That’s 38 total years! Nobody has coached more games than Bowness. He’s served most of them as an assistant because his HC record is among the worst all time. However, most of those losses came with really shitty expansion teams where he couldn’t do much.

On the ice, the Stars haven’t looked different at all under Bowness as they did under Monty. Mostly it’s been awesome, but that six game losing streak to end the season was as worrying as the 1-7-1 streak to start it.

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Goaltending is incredible. Defense is pretty good. Offense has talent, but its inconsistency has been the weak link. We can get to the nitty gritty in later blogs because we’re running out of room here, but I’ll leave you this great Sports Sturm breakdown of the offensive woes back in October. Not much has changed since then.

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We have the potential to do it all this year. We basically proved it last year, and we’ve shown it in bits and pieces this year. Can we put it all together and lift the cup this year? Sure! Why not? All of those playoffs runs in the glory years started with beatdowns in Edmonton. That’s where all our games will be this year. We dominate in that building.

The journey starts tonight against Vegas. When it ends, we’ll be partying like it’s 1999. Let’s get after it.

Even in 2020, We Can Party Like It’s 1999