The Silver Bullet

An opinion in popular sports

San Jose Sharks: Magic Number Countdown (61, 67)

Finally, some movement here for San Jose.

Pacific Division: 61 pts

With Anaheim losing back to back games this week… First to Los Angeles Thursday Night and then to Tampa Bay Friday Night, the Ducks falter in their pursuit of catching San Jose.

Those losses coupled with the San Jose win in Edmonton last night put the Sharks Magic Number at 61 points for the Pacific Division Crown. The Sharks currently have 65 points to Anaheim’s 47. San Jose currently holds 3 games in hand.

Technically, Dallas, Phoenix, and Anaheim all have the same points potential

NHL History: 67 points.

The Sharks recent struggles on the road have hurt their chances at securing the NHL record for Team Points in a season (132). The Sharks have 42 games remaining and would have to win 34 of them to get that marks.
However, The Sharks are currently projected to finish the season 133 points if the continue on their current pace.

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January 10, 2009 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks: Magic Number Countdown (67,69)

Well, after the past three days we have seen no improvement on our countdown. The Sharks fell unconvincingly to a team seeking revenge in the Calgary Flames.

A bitter tasting 5-2 loss. The San Jose Sharks have struggled on the road lately, a dismal 1-2-3 record the past three games… It’s true they have earned 5 points, with only 1 win, but it’s not quite the squad we’re used to seeing at HP Pavilion.

So the Canadian Tour continues with the Edmonton Oilers up first of two games in two nights. The second, of course, in Vancouver.

MAGIC NUMBERS:

Pacific Division Crown: 67 Points over Anaheim.

The Sharks currently sit 18 points ahead of Anaheim in the Pacific Division with one game in hand. The Sharks will not see the Ducks until March 15th. There are three games between the two clubs remaining including a crucial home-and-home series the last week of the season. The Sharks hold a 2-1 edge on the season series.

(Playoffs: 65 Points)

NHL HISTORY: 69 Points

Before last night’s game the Sharks were projected to finish the season with 136 points. After the loss, based on points earned/games played ratio, San Jose would finish the season 132 or 133 points.

-Dan.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks: 69, 67 Points

It’s no secret, The San Jose Sharks have been on a tear this year. Really, it’s been a record setting pace. Not only for the Franchise, but their place in the standings of greatest NHL teams of all time.

While normally, I would break down all the players and their efforts with the team so far this season. This year, I’ve decided to dedicate The Silver Bullet to the countdown to history.

As the season ticks on, I will count down with Sharks fans to two major things.

First, the quest for the best record in NHL history held by the 1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens, who finished the year with a 60-8-12 record and 132 points. In order to achieve this feat,  team teal would need to win  just 35 of their remaining 44 games or amass some semblance of 69 points.

This countdown is solely in the Sharks’ hands and cannot be affected by the way other teams play when not against San Jose. So the Countdown begins at 69.

The Second thing we will follow does depend on the play of other teams. San Jose is definitely ahead of the pack in the Pacific Division. In fact, they hold a  20-point lead over anyone else in their division, still the Magic Number for the Pacific division crown is 67 for San Jose.

In this instance, it will be different for every team. The Magic number will be different for The Ducks and The Coyotes and The Stars, depending on who’s in Second at that point.

So we’ll count that down as well, in an attempt to bring some excitement to the next 44 games of Sharks Hockey.

Lastly, We’ll keep an eye on the presidents trophy and how the Sharks stack against the top teams in the East as well as the Detroit Red Wings who seem to always be in the mix for the NHL’s best record.

So as we near the Halfway point, the Silver Bullet will resume it’s obsession with Sharks Hockey and what should be a triumphant march towards NHL History.

January 4, 2009 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose State Football: A National Effort

It was supposed to be big for SJSU. It was supposed to reinstate the program. It was supposed to the biggest win in State football history. Friday Night’s 33-16 loss to #12 Boise State at Spartan Stadium was none of those things.

It was a tough loss on a night where the hype and excitement for SJSU football was overflowing. It was a tough night for Junior QB Kyle Reed, who is seemingly losing touch under center. And mostly, it was a tough night for Spartan Fans who really thought this year was it.

Don’t get me wrong, the bowl hopes are still alive and well. (in fact, seems pretty likely). But on the National Stage and a chance to show the country who SJSU is, the Spartans couldn’t prevail.

The Effort was there, though. The Spartans trailed by as few as 7 points late in the fourth. The Spartan’s Defense was the redeeming factor on this night, holding the Spartans in the game all night. The Spartan Offense was awful, they didn’t record a first down until late in the second quarter. State when 3-13 on third down conversions in the game.

A pretty dismal performance from a team that was supposed to make a statement against the Broncos.

Sort of Tomey-esque, the Spartan Defense glimmered on National Display. They are the only reason the Spartans were in this game, and the only effort worth acknowledging on a national level.

-Dan

October 25, 2008 Posted by | College Football, danharris, Football, NCAA Sports, San Jose State University, SJSU, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks Preview: Defense and Goal

Well, enough time has passed for me to scratch out some more thoughts on the Teal and Black. Now, we turn to the Defense and Goalie positions.

Defenseman:

Christian Ehrhoff: Initial indications show that our friend from West Germany will be paired with offensive-minded newcomer Dan Boyle. This man led the team with 108 blocked shots last year, and had 21 helpers along the way. Christian battled through an injury in the playoffs, but still had 5 assists in 10 games. The partnership with Boyle should be beneficial. Expect about the same from Ehrhoff, though, maybe 25 assists, but Boyle and Blake will go the scoring from the blue line.

Kyle McLaren: Oh the trade buzz. That hardest part for Kyle will be cracking the top four. Our big bounding d-man has a lot to compete for against the newcomers. McClellan’s offensive blue line approach might reduce McLaren’s role. Kyle should work on his slap shot and put up some points before this preseason ends. He is coming of knee surgery, so we’ll wait to see…

Douglas Murray: I hate to say it, but Murray may suffer a similar fate. The hardest part about the new coaching staff’s approach will be the need for big physical defenseman that helped lead the sharks to fewer goals against than most teams. He did just get a four year extension so look for him to play early in the season and fade if he doesn’t mesh with the new system.

Mark Edouard Vlasic: Pickles is a young skilled defenseman, and he was originally slated at the top of the depth chart. McClellan indicated he might be paired with veteran newcomer Rob Blake. He also signed a four year extension wo the higherups are looking for him to perform. The kid had just 14 points in all 82 games last year and finished a dismal -12. Being paired with Blake will help Vlasic, who will be dishing point shots to Rob a lot. If he doesn’t perform quickly, though I could see a plummet in his value to both the top line and the team.

Rob Blake: I hated this man for so many playoff seasons, it’s hard for me to write anything constructive about him. Just like so many other former foes, I’m sure I’ll get used to it.  Blake is coming off his second season of lower offensive numbers. The Colorado days have ended, and Rob scored just 31 points with LA last year. I’m sure the national analysts will point to Blake as being a savior of some kind, though I think he’s WAY past his prime.

Dan Boyle: A great acquisition for the Sharks in the off-season. You can’t help but like everything you’re see from Tampa. Well, You don’t necessarily want to see a wrist injury that dampers a lot of your season, but his offensive-mind should work well in San Jose. The coaching staff is talking about that offensive blue line and this is the poster boy. He has scored in the preseason already, but it will be interesting and fun to watch this guy as the year goes on.

Brad Lukowich: While a good friend of Boyle’s,  I doubt Lukowich gets too much attention early on. He only tallied 7 points in 59 games last year. He’ll be a nice leader for the younger guys, though.

 

GOALIES:

Evgeni Nabakov: There really is nothing to trip about when it comes to Nabby. He led the league in Wins last year (46) and was the best goalie in hockey. He was snubbed for the Vezina trophy, but will make another attempt at it this season. Predictions show he may be the best fantasy goalie this next season.  Expect at least 40 wins, assuming this team comes together, and another Trophy finalist for Nabby.

Brian Boucher: Our steadfast backup is fine, but that’s it. Just fine.

The Sharks will open up the season eight days from now against Anaheim, and then the roller coaster begins again, for another 82 games.

October 1, 2008 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks Preview: Forwards

Training Camp Opens this weekend and that means it’s time to look at the San Jose Sharks and their individual reports from the Silver Bullet.

The 2009 San Jose Sharks are puzzle pieces, or so says the team’s marketing department. Apparently, Seeing how those pieces fit together is why we should buy tickets this season. Truthfully, I have my own cynicism about Team Teal this year and how well these pieces fit together…

To see the rest of this article click here.

And be sure to check out our new site at http://silverbulletsports.com/… Our Local Opinions will be cross-posted for now.

-Dan

September 20, 2008 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks Preview: Forwards

Training Camp Opens this weekend and that means it’s time to look at the San Jose Sharks and their individual reports from the Silver Bullet.

The 2009 San Jose Sharks are puzzle pieces, or so says the team’s marketing department. Apparently, Seeing how those pieces fit together is why we should buy tickets this season. Truthfully, I have my own cynicism about Team Teal this year and how well these pieces fit together…
But we’ll get to that throughout the season. We may as well get to it with the guys up front…

FORWARDS:

Jonathan Cheechoo: The Cheechoo train was a bit derailed last year, just 23 red lights. Our Richard winner of three seasons ago hasn’t had the space he had back in 2006. He won’t start the season with his setup man Joe Thornton, but I have a feeling the two will be reunited plenty this season. Cheech will break 35 this year.

Ryane Clowe: Clowe showed a lot during the first few games of the playoffs last year, but that’s about all we saw, Clowe got into just 15 contests during the regular season after sustaining a knee injury.. Some speculate that Clowe can’t stay healthy with his rough and tumble style. I tend to agree. Great heart and physicality, but great potential for missing time.

Marcel Goc: It’s tough to say what the German Connection will do this year, The center racked up just 5 goals in 51 games last season. He spent most of his time on RW’s checking lines. It’ll be tough for Marcel to crack the top six, so we may see a similar result this season.
Mike Grier: Gotta love heart. I was skeptical of Grier when he came to the Sharks. And while he hasn’t been a complete offensive boost, he has shown grit and determination in his two campaigns in San Jose. Offseason Knee Surgery may prove problematic for the physical forward. Hopefully, he’s healthy by the opener.

Patrick Marleau: El Capitan. I have mixed feelings when it comes to  Patty as well. Either McClellan is going to inspire him and bring him back to the scoring side of things. He had just 19 goals last year, his lowest total since 1999. The Sharks new coach has already shown tremendous confidence in the captain, pairing him on the top line with Clowe and Joe Thornton. We’ll see if he can right the ship or ship out at the deadline.


Milan Michalek: A pretty consistent year last year and I think we can expect more of the same. Michalek spent some time on the top line last year, and I think we’ll see some of that this year, maybe not at first though. I would look for a 25/30 type year for the winger.

Torrey Mitchell: The Young Kid with the visor scored just 20 points last season (10/10), but i think it’s just the beginning. Mitchell will start the season on the lower lines, but is a good young asset to the team. We’ll see if he gets the minutes to score 15.

Tomas Plihal: Unfortunately, I see little hope for Thomas up in the NHL right now.  Plihal got 22 games of regular season action last year, and just 3 games in the postseason. If he stays with the Sharks, he’ll be rotating as a healthy scratch.

Jeremy Roenick: How can you not love JR sticking with it. Admittedly, I didn’t like JR when he was non-teal… BUT, his performace in Game 7 of the Calgary series earned a roster spot in my mind. He’ll stay in the lower line combos, but you can’t argue with his inspirational personality and guidance to the younger players on the squad. That alone is worth the half million.

Devin Setoguchi: We saw some flashes from the showman last season, but he eventually faded throughout the season. Devin put in 11 goals in about half the season last year (44 games). Production from this winger will be minimal if he’s restricted to the fourth line, and we’ll see if it takes some time to recover from off season surgery.

Jody Shelley: The Bruiser. Truthfully, I was surprised when Doug Wilson brought back Shelley. The enforcer acquired from Columbus in late January shows a lot of character and toughness, but can be a goon at times and a liability others. I have a feeling McClellan may not warm up to Shelley who may find himself scratched a lot this season.

Joe Thornton: Well, Joe had another good year last year with 96 points. No doubt he’ll continue to be the quarterback. It remains to be seen if there’s any friction between him and Patty Marleau. Thornton appears to be the leader of this squad, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. The top line should flourish and if Patty and Ryan can deliver the scoring, I predict another big season for the Sharks Alternate Captain.

Jeff Friesen: Wouldn’t it be nice to the see the return of the Freeze this year?Jeff missed all of last season, not making a roster. We’ll see if he cracks the roster and returns home to San Jose to round out his career.

Well get to the Defense and Goalies in the coming days. Stick with the Bullet!

-Dan

September 20, 2008 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

Olympic Roundup & Standings: Sunday 08.17

Time for the daily roundup. Don’t forget to read a great post by Shawn, “Spiking the Competition” posted yesterday.

BASEBALL: The US Team is off today and is preparing for a match up with China early tomorrow morning. Standings remain the Same. See below.

BASKETBALL: The US WOMEN took it to New Zealand this morning 96-60. The win keeps TEAM USA undefeated heading into the knockout rounds.

FINAL STANDINGS

Team Pld W L PF PA Avg Pts
Flag of the United States USA 5 5 0 491 276 2 10
Flag of the People's Republic of China China 5 4 1 358 346 0.986 9
Flag of Spain Spain 5 3 2 350 354 1.009 8
Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic 5 2 3 353 326 1.174 7
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 5 1 4 320 423 0.795 6
Flag of Mali Mali 5 0 5 255 402 0.644 5

Beating out the Chinese Team sets up a date with Korea on Tuesday.

KNOCKOUT BRACKET

Quarterfinals
(200808-19)
Semifinals
(200808-21)
Gold medal game
(200808-23)
A2 Flag of Russia Russia
B3 Flag of Spain Spain
B1 Flag of the United States USA
A4 Flag of South Korea Korea
B2 Flag of the People's Republic of China China
A3 Flag of Belarus Belarus
Bronze medal game
A1 Flag of Australia Australia
B4 Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic

The Men will conclude their round robin play with Germany tomorrow at 5:00am.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: One women’s team is eliminated in the Quest for Sandy Gold in Beijing. The duo of Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs fell in straight sets to the Chinese in their quarterfinal matchup. Misty May and Kerri Walsh had no problems with one Brazilian team and now will face the other team in the Semi-Finals.

UPDATED BRACKET:

Quarterfinals Semifinals Gold Medal Game
1 China Tian JiaWang (CHN) 21 21
14 Austria SchwaigerSchwaiger (AUT) 12 12
1 China Tian JiaWang (CHN)
4 China XueZhang Xi (CHN)
5 United States BranaghYoungs (USA) 17 13
4 China XueZhang Xi (CHN) 21 21
10 Australia BarnettCook (AUS) 22 14
6 Brazil TalitaRenata (BRA) 24 21
6 Brazil TalitaRenata (BRA)
2 United States WalshMay-Treanor (USA) Bronze Medal Game
3 Brazil LarissaAna Paula (BRA) 18 15
2 United States WalshMay-Treanor (USA) 21 21

The Men’s Quarterfinal matches are set for Tonight and Tomorrow Morning.

FOOTBALL: The Women’s Semifinal Matchup with Japan is on deck tomorrow at 5:00am.

FIELD HOCKEY: We’re still waiting to see what happens against Great Britain tomorrow as the US Women fight to keep their medal round hopes alive. That game coming up tomorrow at 3:00am.

SOFTBALL: TEAM USA in yet Another Mercy Rule win. They beat up on the Netherlands 8-0 (5 inn.) They will wrap up their Round Robin play against China tonight at 9:00pm. PST. TEAM USA has already clinched their spot in the Elimination Round . The USA has wOn the Gold Medal every year since Softball has been played at the Olympics.

Team W L RS RA WIN% GB Tiebreaker
Flag of the United States United States 6 0 44 1 1.000
Flag of Japan Japan 5 1 17 13 .833 1
Flag of Australia Australia 4 2 21 9 .667 2
Flag of Canada Canada 3 3 17 17 .500 3
Flag of the People's Republic of China China 2 4 19 12 .333 4
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 2 4 8 19 .333 4
Flag of Venezuela Venezuela 2 4 13 26 .333 4
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 0 6 4 46 .000 6

GYM VOLLEYBALL: TEAM USA has already played Poland in Women’s Volleyball but I won’t spoil it, since it hasn’t aired on NBC yet. The Men’s team will take on Japan tomorrow morning.

-Dan.

August 17, 2008 Posted by | Baseball, Basketball, danharris, Olympic Games, Softball, Sports, thesilverbullet, volleyball | 1 Comment

Olympic Roundup & Standings: Saturday 08.16

Another Round of updates from Beijing.

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT A GREAT ARTICLE HERE ON THE BULLET: SPIKING THE COMPETITION by SHAWN CAMILLERI

(Also available below this post)

Let’s do the roundup:

BASEBALL: It’s a victory for TEAM USA! The R,W, and B beat our neighbors to the North 5-4 last night. Brian Barden went 2-for-5 with a double and a homerun. The win brings the USA into the mix in the standings again.

Team W L RS RA WIN% GB Tiebreaker
Flag of Cuba Cuba 4 0 17 12 1.000
Flag of South Korea South Korea 3 0 14 10 1.000 ½
Flag of the United States United States 2 2 23 17 .500 2
Flag of Japan Japan 2 2 17 10 .500 2
Flag of the People's Republic of China China 1 2 12 23 .333
Flag of Canada Canada 1 3 20 13 .250 3
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 1 3 13 15 .250 3
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 1 3 6 22 .250 3

Up Next for TEAM USA is China very early Monday Morning.

—–

BASKETBALL: Team USA cannot be beat in these Olympics it seems. Both the Women and Men’s teams destroying Spain. The Boys beat the current world champions, 119-82. They will take the #1 seed into the knockout round no matter how they far against Germany on Monday

Team Pld W L PCT PF PA Avg PD Pts
Flag of the United States USA 4 4 0 1.000 409 297 1.377 +112 8
Flag of Spain Spain 4 3 1 .750 320 319 1.003 +1 7
Flag of Greece Greece 4 2 2 .500 324 298 1.087 +26 6
Flag of the People's Republic of China China 4 2 2 .500 289 309 0.935 -20 6
Flag of Germany Germany 4 1 3 .250 273 284 0.961 -11 5
Flag of Angola Angola 4 0 4 .000 271 379 0.715 -108 4

Tournament knockout bracket to be completed by Monday. The U.S. Women to take on New Zealand early tomorrow. .

—–

BEACH VOLLEYBALL:

The Men’s Round of 16 match results are in. Rogers/Delhausser(#1 seed) began the tourney against Switzerland. They won in three sets. The Gibbs/Rosenthal duo easily dispatched Spain in 2 Sets. So NOW the tournament bracket.

Quarterfinals Semifinals Gold Medal Game
Germany KlempererKoreng (GER)
United States RogersDalhausser (USA)
Netherlands NummerdorSchuil (NED)
Georgia GeorGia (GEO)
Brazil RicardoEmanuel (BRA)
United States GibbRosenthal (USA)
Bronze Medal Game
Brazil M. AraujoFabio Luiz (BRA)
Austria GoschHorst (AUT)

TEAM 1 is scheduled at 7 PM tomorrow night.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL – WOMEN: The Two team’s Quarterfinal matches are set for later tonight and early tomorrow morning. Both teams will look to advance to the Semifinals. See the Bracket below.

—–

FOOTBALL: The big game between USA and JAPAN in the Women’s Semifinal will go off tomorrow at 5:00am PST. As mentioned TEAM USA already beat Japan in the tournament. The win could set up a gold medal match with Brazil or Germany.

—–

FIELD HOCKEY: The U.S and New Zealand was a crucial match for Team USA as they need a full six points to even have potential into the Medal round. They got the effort they needed. USA destroys New Zealand 4-1. USA’s Keli Smith scores two goals in the win: 1 Field Goal and one off a Penalty Corner.

Updated Standings

Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
Flag of Germany Germany 9 4 3 0 1 11 8 +3
Flag of Argentina Argentina 8 4 2 2 0 10 5 +5
Flag of the United Kingdom Great Britain 7 4 2 1 1 7 9 −2
Flag of the United States USA 5 4 1 2 1 9 8 +1
Flag of Japan Japan 4 4 1 1 2 5 6 −1
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 0 4 0 0 4 4 10 −6

Now, the United States plays England, so if they win outright they would leapfrog the Brits. They would need a big victory over GB and a loss by Argentina who wraps up their play against Argentina. It doesn’t look good, but if New Zealand can beat Argentina 1-0. The US would only need to beat England by 5. HA!

—–

SOFTBALL: The US team gets another Mercy Rule win. They beat up on Chinese Taipai 7-0 in 5 innings late last night. Jennie Finch on the Bump for TEAM USA, Jessica Mendoza hits a homerun in the 3rd inning, part of a 5-run 3rd for USA.

Team W L RS RA WIN% GB
Flag of the United States United States 5 0 36 1 1.000
Flag of Japan Japan 4 1 12 11 .800 1
Flag of Australia Australia 3 2 17 9 .600 2
Flag of Canada Canada 3 2 17 13 .600 2
Flag of the People's Republic of China China 2 3 18 10 .400 3
Flag of Venezuela Venezuela 2 3 11 21 .400 3
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 1 4 6 18 .200 4
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 0 5 4 38 .000 5

USA has clinched a spot in the Semi-finals. The Softball page playoff system is different but an interesting twist in this tournament. (though, it really won’t affect the USA too much if they win out.)

—–

GYM VOLLEYBALL:

MEN: Check out Shawn’s Article Below as he discusses the great journey of the US Men’s Volleyball team. The Men swept China in dominating fashion and now have a match with japan to wrap up round robin play. The US Men are already into the knockout round by way of their 4-0 record.

Rk Team Points Played Won Lost PW PL Ratio SW SL Ratio
1 Flag of the United States United States 8 4 4 0 385 320 1.203 12 4 3.000
2 Flag of Italy Italy 7 4 3 1 332 297 1.117 10 4 2.500
3 Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 6 4 2 2 348 358 0.972 7 8 0.875
4 Flag of the People's Republic of China China 6 4 2 2 341 385 0.886 7 10 0.700
5 Flag of Venezuela Venezuela 5 4 1 3 339 353 0.960 7 9 0.778
6 Flag of Japan Japan 4 4 0 4 341 373 0.914 4 12 0.333

Shouldn’t be a problem for the men who have secured a top seed in the tournament.

WOMEN: The women are 3-1 in their respective pool and will qualify for the knockout round, just maybe not as dominating as the men. They wrap up their round-robin with Poland.

Rk Team Points Played Won Lost PW PL Ratio SW SL Ratio
1 Flag of Cuba Cuba 8 4 4 0 351 312 1.125 12 3 4.000
2 Flag of the United States United States 7 4 3 1 357 338 1.056 9 7 1.286
3 Flag of the People's Republic of China China 6 4 2 2 391 341 1.147 10 7 1.43
4 Flag of Japan Japan 6 4 2 2 337 313 1.077 7 8 .875
5 Flag of Poland Poland 5 4 1 3 338 343 0.985 7 9 0.778
6 Flag of Venezuela Venezuela 4 4 0 4 203 320 0.649 1 12 0.008

-Dan.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Baseball, Basketball, danharris, Olympic Games, Softball, Sports, thesilverbullet, volleyball | Leave a comment

Spiking the Competition!!!

yahoo images

yahoo images

With Micheal Phelps dominating the Olympics and headlines since the start of the Beijing games, many other great story lines are being lost in his wash.

Take the U.S. Men’s Volleyball team. Undoubtedly the saddest story to come out of this years games was the attack on the in-laws of Men’s Volleyball Coach Hugh McCutcheon, Todd and Barbara Bachman. Todd Bachman was killed during the attack and Barbara was stabbed but is now in a Minnesota hospital in fair condition after undergoing eight hours of surgery in Beijing.

Coach McCutcheon missed the first three games of these Olympics to be by his family’s side during this time, something even the biggest sport fan can appreciate. During the three-game span his team had gone undefeated winning each match in dominating fashion. McCutcheon was back on the sideline Saturday morning to see his boys take on host team China in a sold out Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium.

When introduced, the pockets of American fans spread out throughout the crowd gave McCutcheon a standing ovation. Despite the sentimental reunion, many volleyball experts wondered if the reunification of coach and team would hurt the play of the U.S. team. Not even picked to be a serious medal contender, many believed the spectacular play of the American team to be rooted from a “win one for the gipper” mentality the team had picked up since the tragedy of their coach (the incident happened the first day of the games).

The Americans showed no signs of a reunion hangover as they easily dispatched their opponents in a convincing sweep 25-22, 25-12, 25-18. During the match the U.S. team wrote “TB” and “BB” on their sneakers in honor of there coach’s family.

After the match, and many hugs and high-fives, Coach Mccutcheon said it was his mother-in-law who was the biggest proponent that he stay in Beijing saying “She was extremely encouraging. She was adamant that I stay. She assured me she’s going to be good.”

The U.S. team has clinched their way into the Quarterfinals of the Olympic games but still have one more preliminary game against Japan on Monday, August 18th.

-Shawn.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, danharris, Olympic Games, shawncamilleri, Sports, thesilverbullet, Uncategorized, volleyball | 2 Comments