Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Top 10 -- The Women to Watch in the 2012 NCAA Tourney

It's become an annual event around here -- my listing my top players in the tourney. It should be noted that these aren't necessarily the best players in the tournament, but the players I'm watching, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, it's because I've seen them numerous times and I never tire of watching them. With a few others, it's because I've spent the season reading about them without getting a chance to see them. To think, when I started watching women's hoops, I probably couldn't have made a list of 10 players I wanted to watch; now, I find myself working hard to cut the list down to just 10. I could easily go to 15.

1. Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame. What could I write about this junior guard for Notre Dame that I haven't already written? From the moment she arrived in South Bend, she was a leader on the team. She has handled everything the media can throw at her with aplomb. She led her team to the Finals last year by upending the behemoth UConn in the Final Four on the way. She has hit buzzer beaters, made impossible dishes, created steals and willed her team to victory. Oh, and she even turned L'il Wayne into a fan. So whatever it is? She's got it. The kid can play in any kind of game. I think because of her looks (she is undeniably beautiful), her toughness is sometimes underestimated, but few in the game are as tough and as scrappy as is Diggins when her team is in a dogfight.

Notre Dame faces Liberty in the 1st round on Sunday at 2:30

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Matt Cooke Shows NHL GMs the Easy, Obvious Solutions to Head-Hunting

NHL general managers are meeting right now and one of the things they’re talking about is how to deal with concussions. What they know is they cannot keep losing players of the caliber of Sidney Crosby and Chris Pronger. What is to be decided is:  how they are to go about protecting their players?

There are some interesting rule changes being discussed:  putting the red line back (boo), removing the trapezoid behind the goalie, and the one I like the most,  a hybrid-icing call proposed by Brian Burke of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I’m sure that the equipment -- particularly the helmets -- can be improved, too.

But even with those changes, suspensions are the best, simplest way to reduce concussions caused by head-hunting.