Francis, Messier among 07 Hall class

  • Congratulations to Ron Francis being inducted into the hockey hall of frame. Francis will go into the hall quietly behind Mark Messier who will get all the press but thats suits Francis because that’s how he went about his business during his NHL career. Francis may be one of the most underrated players in professional sports. Great two way player who had all the tools. Francis was a player who could put up 80-100 pts in any given season, great on draws, teams top penalty killer, finished 4th on All-Time pts list and most importantly was a professional on and off the ice. This years Hall of fame has to rank in the top 3 of all time. Mark Messier – 6 stanley cups (2nd pts list), Francis, 2 stanley cups (4th pts list), Scott Stevens – 3 stanley cups, Al MacInnis – 1 stanley cup, (Norris Trophy).
  • A topic being thrown around lately is what has happened to Pirates pitcher Zach Duke. My assumption on Duke is that despite great success in the minors and his rookie season Duke is nothing more than a #3 or 4 pitcher. He does not have the stuff of a #1 pitcher and it’s time for the front office to realize it. I asked this question to Buster Olney a few months back and he said coming up through the system many scouts saw Duke as a #3 pitcher at best and that’s stretching it. Even after a 8-2 record in his rookie season, Olney said he still projected Duke to be a #3 or 4 pitcher over the long haul of his career. Now what should the Pirates do with him. They’ve stuck with him so long they might as well stick with him. Whats it really going to matter, stop them from catching the Brewers. I guess it might not hurt to send Duke to AAA and the front office has to give Bryan Bullington a look at the big league level.
  • The Penguins appear to be very impressed with Angelo Esposito on how he has conducted himself this week. The knock on Esposito this season was that he was very difficult to coach and didn’t want to be coached. I would not expect that to be a problem once he dawns a Penguins sweater. What makes Sidney Crosby such a amazing super star is he still wants to be coached and gives his coach the uppermost respect. Eddie Olcyzk still talks about how easy Sid was to coach and how he always would listen to instruction. Other than Tim Duncan in the NBA i can’t think of a superstar who still wants to be coached.
  • Speaking of the NBA, The Greg Oden – Kevin Durant debate was resolved tonight as 7 footer Greg Oden was taken 1st overall by the Portland Trailblazers. What a great situation for Oden as Portland now has a nucleus of Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge to build around Oden. Despite Oden being projected as the next Patrick Ewing, Kevin Durant will have a better NBA career. The kid is a phenomenal player. Seattle is looking for Durant to have a Sidney Crosby impact in saving their franchise. The SuperSonics are daunted with a possible move to Oklahoma but season tickets are selling at a record pace and Durant has the ability to keep the franchise in Seattle.
  • The Winners at the NBA draft were Seattle, Boston Celtics, Ny Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats. Seattle for obvious reasons like selecting Durant and then trading Ray Allen for the #5 pick. They were able to select Jeff Green out of Georgetown who will be a solid player in the NBA. Seattle is in rebuilding mode so the trade of Allen makes sense. The Boston Celtics were also a winner in the trade with the SuperSonics for Ray Allen. Ray Allen is not the Ray Allen of 4 years ago but a trio Allen, Pierce and Al Jefferson is a not to bad in the JV league they call the Eastern Conference. The Knicks had a successful draft day pulling off a trade with the Portland Trailblazers acquiring power forward Zach Randolph. Crawford, Marbury, David Lee, Randolph and Eddie Curry is a very good starting five. The Knicks were also able to get rid of Steve Francis contract where he was due 34 million over the next two years. Michael Jordan make his mark at the draft trading #8 pick Braydon Williams out of UNC to Golden State for Jason Richardson.
  • The Losers at the draft have to be the GoldenState Warriors for trading a established player in Jason Richardson after their first playoff season in 12 years. The Timberwolves make the list for not finding a way to trade Garnett and the Lakers make my list. The Lakers not trading Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd last year may go down as one of the worst trades never made. Now they will lose their super star in Kobe Bryant and any other trade they would make this season to land lets say Jermaine O’neal doesn’t make them that much better because they would have to part with Lamar Odom. Last year they could have made that trade with the Nets without parting with Odom. LA is now in a lose-lose situation because they need Kobe in a Laker uniform as he is the only way they can sell tickets for 2,300 dollars a night.
  • Two milestones were reached last night in major league baseball. Toronto Blue Jays DH Frank Thomas became the 21st player to reach the 500 home run club and Astros second baseman Craig Biggio reached the exclusive 3,000 hits. Both should be Hall of famers right? Not in my book. When i look at hall of fame credentials, i look at do they have the numbers which they both do but most importantly were they great over a long period of time and were they at one time of the best players in the sport. Frank Thomas has the numbers and meets all the criteria. He’s a two time MVP which shows he was the one of the best players in the sport at one time and some say at times he was the greatest hitter they have ever seen. As for Craig Biggio did anybody ever wake up in the morning during Biggio’s prime and say this guy is one of the games top 10 players. I didn’t
  • According to thefourthperiod.com Daniel Briere has rejected a 5 yr deal from the Buffalo Sabres. They are now looking out of the picture and it could come down to the Flyers and Habs. If the Canadiens land Briere, expect the Kovy rumors to start back up.
    Check in later tonight, i ‘ve got some news on the Pens projected budget and other rumors…..

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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