Daily installment on the latest buzz in the NHL, NFL, MLB and the college ranks
National Football League
***The New York Jets magical run in the 2010 playoffs continued Sunday afternoon as the Jets stunned the 7 point favorite San Diego Chargers.
The Jets knocked off the Chargers 17-14 to advance to the AFC title game for a rematch with the Indianapolis Colts who laid down in week 16, resting starters against the Jets.
For the Chargers, it was an another disappointing playoff run. Among the most talented teams in the NFL, there has always been something missing.
Despite Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez throwing for a measly 100 yards, the Jets played dominate defense and exposed the Chargers run defense.
The Chargers last lost prior to Sunday’s 17-14 defeat was against Pittsburgh in week 5 when Rashard Mendenhall torched the Chargers defense, rushing for 165 yards.
While the Jets have been able to win games with a strong running game and dominate defense, to beat great teams it comes down to quarterback play.
Just ask Joe Flacco who couldn’t get it done against Indianapolis as the Ravens limited the Colts to 20 points.
***Meanwhile, Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Tribune writes “On his last carry of the last game of what will surely be his last season with the San Diego Chargers, LaDainian Tomlinson was stopped for a 1-yard gain and struck by the sound of unambiguous boos.”
Tomlinson’s career with the San Diego Chargers has likely came to an end. The two time NFL rushing champion, rushed for 24 yards on 12 carries against the Jets and is expected to be cut loose by the Chargers this off-season.
***Despite the potential of an uncapped season, it will be status quo for the Steelers front office this off-season. However, two of their division rivals in the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals could be in on some big names.
Both teams are expected to be active in trying to land an elite receiver. Expect to see Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin linked to both teams. Other potential targets include Antonio Bryant, Braylon Edwards, or Terrell Owens.
***A potential Peyton Manning – Brett Favre Super Bowl is a ratings and marketing dream for the NFL.
National Hockey League
***Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher recently had his 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup ring stolen for his off-season house in Florida. The ring has yet to be found.
***The Columbus Blue Jackets hopes of getting back into the playoff race may rest on the shoulders of goaltender Mathieu Garon (7-7-3, 2.69 GAA).
With Steve Masons’ (11-16-6, 3.33 GAA) stunning fall from grace, Garon is expected to get the bulk of the starts over the next couple weeks.
***Flyers captain Mike Richards had a blow up with local writers following a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
According to the Delaware Times, the exchange grew heated, so much so that at one point, head coach Peter Laviolette had to get between Richards and one reporter.
The Columbus Dispatch reports, the Blue Jackets haven’t gotten any trade action on Nikita Filatov. Filatov, 19, was the Blue Jackets 1st ,round pick in 2008 (6th overall) and left the Blue Jackets after 13 games to play in Russia.
***Will Rangers GM make a bold move and demote defenseman Wade Redden to the Rangers AHL affiliate. The move has been highly speculated as the Rangers need to move Redden’s $6.5 million cap hit. Whether Sather has it in him to go to ownership and admit his mistake remains to be seen.
Major League Baseball
***Pirates GM Neal Huntington has rebuilt the Pirates bullpen as Huntington lives by the philosophy not to overspend on relievers which is the reason he cut ties with Matt Capps.
Whether that philosophy results in an improved bullpen remains to be seen in 2010. One thing we know is that Huntington has added age to his bullpen as the Pirates will be banking on 38 year old Brendan Donnelly and 36 year old year old Octavio Dotel who is close to an agreement once the Pirates clear a roster spot.
The Pirates also signed D.J. Carrasco, Javier Lopez, and Chris Jakubauskas 32 years old to minor league contracts this off-season.
Carrasco is a strong contender to earn a spot out of training camp.
NCAA: Mens College Basketball
***The Pitt Panthers are the talk of the Big East as the Panthers are tied for first in the Big East with a 5-0 record.
Villanova 5-0 (16-1)
Pittsburgh 5-0 (15-2)
Syracuse 4-1 (17-1)
Georgetown 4-2 (13-3)
West Virginia 4-2 (13-3)
Notre Dame 3-2 (14-4)
Louisville 3-2 (12-6)
Cincinnati 3-3 (12-6)
Providence 3-3 (11-7)
St. John’s 2-3 (12-5)
Connecticut 2-3 (11-6)
Marquette 2-3 (11-6)
South Florida 1-4 (11-6)
Seton Hall 1-4 (10-6)
Rutgers 0-5 (9-8)
DePaul 0-5 (7-10)