Monday, November 12, 2007

An Idol Becomes Eternal: Ronnie Franchise Enters the Hall of Fame

Growing up there were two things I looked forward to every year. The start of the Red Sox season and the start of the Whalers season.

Ron Francis may have been traded away from Hartford when I was only three years old, in 1991, but I still knew all about him. He was a beloved figure among Whalers fans, so much so that he was given the nickname "Ronnie Franchise."

He was a model-figure for the team and when he was traded it was the first in a series of crushing blows for Whalers fans, eventually leading up to the team moving in 1997.

Francis was born in Sault Ste. Marie, but as he has said many times in interviews, he grew up in Hartford. He arrived there as an 18 year old kid and left as a mature leader and captain who would go on to win Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh.

My favorite hockey player will always be Kevin Dineen, the great Whalers captain who took over after Francis left and led the team all the way up to their move to Carolina, but Francis is a close second.

He epitomizes everything that is great about hockey. He was a great scorer and a great leader. He is one of the most underrated players in hockey history and it is finally time for him to get his due tonight in Toronto.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

2007-2008 Men's Basketball Predictions

The season is only one day away, so i figured it was time for me to predict how I think the Stags season will go, game by game.

Fairfield is still a rebuilding team, but with one more year under Jonathan Han's belt at the point, as well as the more developed Anthony Johnson and Greg Nero locking down the inside game, the outlook for the season is bright.

The Stags season came to a disappointing end last year, but they have a lot to build on after a strong finish in the regular season.

Here are my predictions:

@Wake Forest - L - I'd love to put a W, here but it is going to be too tough for the Stags on the road.

Holy Cross - W - At home, building off of tough play against Wake, the Stags will do what they could not last year, lock-up a win against rival Holy Cross.

@American - W - Once again, the more experienced Fairfield team can keep a lead and win when it matters, even on the road.

@Cincinnati - L - A tough Big East opponent on the road, smells like a loss for the Stags.

@St. Francis N.Y. - W - They picked up a big win at Alumni Hall last year over St. Francis and this year should be the same, even on the road. Too bad the Red Sea can't storm the court this year.

@Georgetown - L - Hibbert and the rest will be too tough to handle for Fairfield.

Yale -W- In front of a sold-out Alumni Hall, coming off a difficult road trip, this one won't even be close.

Siena -W- Riding the emotion of the Yale win and a strong start, Cooley and the Gang will continue to roll right into the MAAC season.

St. Joseph's -L- Phil Martelli is a great coach and his team will hand the Stags their first home loss of the year.

@St. Peter's -W- The Stags will head to Jersey City 1-0 in the MAAC and leave with another win.

@William and Mary -W- A great team to have on the schedule, in a solid Mid-Major conference, but should not be a major problem for Fairfield, similar to last season.

@Loyola -L- Last year Fairfield went to Baltimore and handed Jimmy Patsos' team a loss, but this year it will be different. Close game, but the Greyhounds pull it out in the end.

@Marist -L- A tough five game road trip continues for Fairfield in Poughkeepsie. They may have lost Jordan, but they are still talented and will win at home.

@Iona -W- Bounce back victory over a struggling Iona squad.

St. Peter's -W- Same outcome as Jersey City, probably an even larger margin this time.

Canisius -W- Always tough to travel from Buffalo to Bridgeport, Fairfield will win this one.

Niagara -W- Stags sweep the Buffalo teams at home.

@Canisius -W- The Griffs look for revenge less then a week later, but Fairfield wins.

@Niagara -L- Stags tired after tough game against Canisius and fall to Niagara.

@Manhattan -L- In the battle of the two teams picked for sixth in the MAAC, Fairfield loses Round One.

Iona -W- Stags complete season sweep of Gaels at home.

Rider -L- Jason Thompson overcomes tough defense to help the Broncs beat the Stags.

Marist -W- No Jordan, no Whittington, no Smith for Marist, at home the Stags win.

Bracketbuster -??? Too tough to call without knowing who Fairfield will play.

Manhattan -W- Split the home and home.

Rider -W- Stags finish season strong.

Overall - 16-9 (11-5 MAAC)