Friday, November 5, 2010

My Teams Need to Step It Up; Ed Litzenberger, 1932-2010

Not a good week. My teams are in rough shape.

The Yankees could have begun the week in their 41st World Series -- they didn't. East Brunswick High School's football team could've beaten one of their biggest rivals, Sayreville -- they got slaughtered. Rutgers University's football team could've stayed in the race, however remote their chances, for the Big East Conference title by beating South Florida -- they blew a late lead.

Arsenal could've won their Champions League clash with Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk -- they lost, blowing a 1-0 lead.

And, last night, the New York Red Bulls could've taken their 1-0 aggregate lead over the San Jose Earthquakes, won at home, or even drawn at home, and advanced to MLS' final four. Instead, they lost, and are out.

Don't even get me started on the Democrats. Many of them were cowards, running away from the accomplishments of President Barack Obama -- on whose coattails some of them were elected (or re-elected) 2 years ago.

Actually, Arsenal left a few players who might have been ready to come back from injury back home in London, and already had 9 out of a possible 9 points in the CL Group Stage, now 9 of 12. They didn't need to win that game; the rest for their big names was more important.

So here's the situation:

* The Yankees have already signed manager Joe Girardi to an extension. Now they need to do the same for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

* The New Jersey Devils, besieged with an almost Arsenalesque string of injuries, need to beat The Scum (you may know them as the New York Rangers) at the Prudential Center tonight. They'll have to do it without Martin Brodeur, out with a bruised elbow.

* EB can still clinch a Playoff berth tonight, if they beat South Brunswick at home and Howell loses to Brick Memorial (which has already clinched their own Playoff berth, so EB does have a chance).

* Rutgers needs to prepare for Syracuse a week from tomorrow at Rutgers Stadium, and not be fooled by past performance: The Cuse is good this season, and beat Rutgers last year at the Carrier Dump.

* And Arsenal need to beat Newcastle United, a.k.a. The Toon, Sunday afternoon (Sunday morning my time).

Let's go EB!

R! U!

Let's go Devils! Rangers suck!

Come on you Gunners!

And, Hank and Hal, show Derek the money!

*

Yes, the Yankees do need to show Jeter the money. He just had the worst season of his career statistically speaking? I don’t care: Pay the man. Whatever he wants.

For a generation, he has been the Yankees. More than Joe Torre. More than Mariano Rivera. And a hell of a lot more than Don Mattingly ever was.

Without Jeter, we Yankee Fans are talking about 32 years without a title, 29 years without a Pennant, no Hall of Fame for Torre, Rivera as somebody else’s closer from 1999 onward, Wade Boggs without a ring, Paul O'Neill as a Cincinnati Red, Chuck Knoblauch as the Yankees' very own Bill Buckner (1998 ALCS Game 2), and the Curse of Thurman Munson.

Hopefully, next week, I will finish up my All-Time Regional Teams project, with the 2 New York teams. First, I'll post an explanation of who goes on the Mets' version and who goes on the Yankees' version. Then I'll post the Mets' team. Then I'll close the project by posting the Yankees' version.

*

Ed Litzenberger died this week. The native of Neudorf, Saskatchewan debuted as a right wing with the Montreal Canadiens in 1952, and was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. In 1955, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year.

He was named team Captain in 1957-58, Bobby Hull's rookie year. Soon also added were Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote and Glenn Hall -- all Hall-of-Famers, except for Litzenberger. Yet he was the Captain of the Blackhawks team that won the 1961 Stanley Cup.

But after the season, he was traded to the Hawks' arch-rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, And, in midseason, he was traded again, to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He helped them win the 1962, '63 and '64 Stanley Cups -- meaning he won 4 straight Cups, but with 2 different teams.

A 6-time NHL All-Star, the Leafs sent him down to the Rochester Americans, and he helped them win the 1965 and '66 Calder Cup as American Hockey League Champions. This made him the only North American hockey player to win league championships in 6 straight seasons, although it was not all at the major league level.

He retired after the 1966 season, only 34 years old. He lived in the Toronto suburbs, and died 4 days ago, at the age of 78. He lived just long enough to see the Hawks win another Cup, although the Leafs haven't won one since 1967.

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