Sunday, July 31, 2016

#bb18 Power Rankings(Week of July 31st)

What a wackadoodle week in the Big Brother House. By wackadoodle, of course I mean predictable because for the majority of the house the last week's outcome did very little to aid their game. A Frank ouster which what we were privy to last Thursday benefited very few and my rankings will clearly illustrate who I perceive has gained an advantage in the house. As always, feedback is recommended and I hope you thoroughly enjoy!

11.Natalie-On numerous occasions on Rob has a podcast last week, live feed correspondent Alex Kidwell referenced that in his humble opinion Michelle was, to steal a poker analogy "drawing dead" While I feel there a few entrants in the house that have been perma dealt a 7-2 off suit, Michelle still has time to see the turn and the river. Natalie on the other hand could be dealt any hand and misplay it. Her inclination to solely side with James, at least that's what the live television show is portraying  has her stuck between a rock and a hard place. Strategically, her downfall as mentioned has been following the footsteps of James because he's as clueless as they come. Bridgette's a lone wolf, someone who initially was in the "Spy Girl" alliance alongside Natalie which makes it extremely difficult not to scream at the television set yelling for her to come to her senses and reignite a fading friendship. Here's essentially my reasoning for ranking Natalie dead last, and try to follow if you can but her winning this first America's Care Package is the final nail in the coffin. She now has a false premonition that she's the most popular houseguest and her allegiance to James has endeared her to America. The truth of the matter is that the super fans out there are waiting a few weeks to reward a more enticing game oriented package to one of their favourites. James has invited her onto the RMS Titanic when in reality she thinks she's riding first class on the Gronk cruise. I genuinely feel bad for Natalie as this sweet innocent girl will be vacationing the rest of the summer under false pretenses and at best is playing for second place.

10.James-The general of what seemingly projects to be a failed duo between himself and Natalie. The "Jatalie" hashtag that is affectionately trending across North America is flattering as it's captured the hearts of the nation but conversely provided an adverse effect within the house as they've destroyed their games respectively and have become fodder for the rest of the house. As discussed ad nauseam, there was no reason whatsoever for James to target Frank. James wasn't on Frank's radar on the slightest and although pandering to the house's desires is admirable, unless you're in a position of power it ends up being a mistake and due to the fact that James is not in a power position, you can understand the detriment he caused to the not so "Dynamic Duo".James can recover if he can properly, which who are we kidding, he probably won't,benefit from te probable Da'Vonne demise. How can he do that you ask? When I assess the dynamics of the house, I'll suggest to you that if James can vocally stand up for Mamma Day in this plan to backdoor what it will prove is he exhibits loyalty and someone like Paulie who lives for loyal minions, he may take it as a sign of goodwill and re-amp his trust in James moving forward. James has never been one tot take a stand hense the second last ranking but if he puts his foot down I'd see no reason not to significantly elevate the prankster next week.

9.Bridgette-This is an interesting ranking on a few different levels. I didn't want to rank Bridgette too high with the oft chance she goes home this week which remains a distinct possibility. However, her survival this week could lead to a several week free pass as the house has turned as with the split by Paulie and by extension Nicole will have created chaos in the house and what will have happened is you'll see the likes of Zakiyah and Michelle come full force for the Paulie's of the world allowing Bridgette to be forgotten about. This is the week that Bridgette could win the game. This storyline has played out far too often on reality Television for me not be convinced that we could be seeing another reincarnation this season on Big Brother. This screams Natalie White on Survivor:Samoa or Todd Herzog on Survivor China where you have these respected but non-intimidating players that have their strategical games overlooked purely due to perceived innocence. Paulie gave a Big Brother 101 diary room session when he eloquently stipulated that Bridgette is now a number who has no allies.For all  purposes, Paulie has scooped her up which could potentially be beneficial to both but I firmly believe moreso to Bridgette. Paulie's ranking later on will shed some light on the type of game he is currently playing, which to reference the spoiler alert is vastly overrated. Could Bridgette bite the dust this week? 50/50 chance of that happening however the house just may  be making a colossal mistake holding on to the travelling nurse.

8.Da'Vonne-If we were ranking the most disingenuous people casted this summer, Da'Vonne is an unquestionable number one. At time I have a difficult time pinpointing my displeasure with Da'Vonne but to do my best breaking it down, she comes across as bigger then the game. Unless I'm wrong about her placement last summer in regards to Big Brother seventeen, she was the second one eliminated. HOw does one who had such a disappointing reign last summer hold such a high horse pertaining to her attitude. It's as if the game owes her something., No Da'Vonne, your egregious gameplay led to your demise in the summer of 2015 and will surely lead to a similar fate this summer. This has the making to be a carbon copy of Johnny Manziel's failed plea to reignite his NFL career. Earlier this week, and to refresh the memory of some when it comes to the former Cleveland Brown quarterback Manziel, he's dealt with a magnitude of drug and alcohol issues this past year and a half but approached the media this week claiming sobriety and a will to put the work in and resume his fleeting football career.........while at a bar. The message here is some people don't change. Manziel can't stay off the booz and no matter how much she believes it, Da will never be a quality Big Brother player.

7.Paulie-You know that person in your life that on the surface appears to have it all and you become jealous and want to start acting like that person? Well, according to this evening's edit on the Sunday show that's Paulie wanting to be Paul. I've seen very few edits in my day that have been less accurate as by no way shape or form does Paul have Paulie wrapped around his you know what. The predicament for Paulie is this, and I attempted to touch on this last week is that when you're still in the pre-jury stages, it's not advantageous to assert this much power in the house. Sure, it may have worked for Derrick but it didn't hurt that in Big Brother sixteen you had so many players that were willing to giftwrap their game to the cop. Okay, I know what you're thinking in that the competency level of this cast isn't much if it all better than that group of contestants but the point remains in tow that unlike Derrick, a lot of players and you know it's a sad state of affairs when even Natalie can pick up on the notion that Paulie is running thing. Paulie's game began to head south when he so publically elected to ingratiate Victor is newer, modern alliance at the expense of losing trust from some members that were responsible in the Frank eviction. Personally, I think it's a better game move for Paulie to  go to war with Paul and Victor but not when others have become skeptical and could conceivably use that distrust against him. I'm positive oddsmakers view him as the favourite to win but I'm not nearly as bullish as most.

6.Victor-For somebody that prior to their first eviction was so glaringly delusional, his time spent on the beach somewhere in Los Angeles has allowed him to reevaluate what his goals were and he's come back a new player. I haven't seen such a glowing transformation in an individual since  Edwin Encarnacion transferred from the Cincinnati Reds to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. Even though Victor conquered a string of "Battle Back" competitions, it doesn't seem to of caused any kind of trepidation when dealing with Vic. In those first two weeks before he was evicted, it was honestly tough to watch as I'm not sure if he was prodded to say what he said in the Diary room but if it wasn't, his feel on his opposition was grossly offbase, but like I mentioned earlier in this summarization, he's turned it around impeccably. His stoic nature when vetoing the concept of putting himself up as a pawn beside Bridgette speaks volumes to his character. Are any of you slowly getting reminded of Fabio from Survivor Nicaragua? It's  a great comparison because both at the beginning of their seasons were just there to have a good time and fool around but as the season transitioned both became coherent strategists. The only difference of course it didn't take a boot for Fabio to figure it out. I'm not for a minute suggesting he'll win but he possesses the people skill and has an intriguing personality and speaks fluently to ascertain a thought that a Victor deep run isn't so far fetched as once believed.

5.Zakiyah-Very much like Bridgette, this ranking can exponentially rise if a couple different scenarios play themselves out this week. Zakiyah is in a vulnerable position because if she doesn't elect to go to bat for the house and turn on the house then all of a sudden she becomes public enemy of the house and could go out as early as next week. Conversely, if Zakiyah can "go to work" and attempt to convince the Paulie/Nicole leadership hierarchy that keeping Da'Vonne is in their best interest then I surmise she'll have repositioned herself into a enviable position. If the reports are true, which I have no doubt not to believe them, there was a falling out between Paulie and Zakiyah which could serve as the blessing in disguise she desperately needs.  Michelle is getting loads of hate on social media but her authenticity towards her bond with Zakiyah is legitimate and as much backlash as "Big Meesh" will receive in the post-season it's her loyalty that will assist Zakiyah in making the big moves against the people in their way. In my feed update that I received tonight I was brought to the attention that Michelle and Zakiyah were bashing Paul and as sad as it sounds, turning against Paul is one of the few ways where Z can graduate to winner contending status once again. With  Paul out of the picture, it strengthens the bond between herself and Paulie and if assessing the rest of the house is any indication, latching onto Paulie at least for the time being may be  a recommended premise.

4.Nicole-Similarly to what I just mentioned about Michelle, that synonymous hatred has segregated across America for Ms.Franzel as well. It's completely shocking being as how she was a finalist for America's favourite player in her first season but I think I've figured why this is, so please if you could let me indulge into this theory of mine. Nicole presents herself as this nerdy superfan. A superfan who unlike most has a captivating appearance but that's neither here nor there when you open up the Big Brother historian files, we've seen too many of these types of players come in and succeed and I think as a general statement we're starting to grow tiresome of this. From Steve Moses to Ian Terry to Sarah Hanlon to John Cochran is it possible that the reality television fandom is looking for a new type of winner and piles on rigorous criticism because it's no longer enjoyable to watch the quiet super fan weasel his or her way to the finale? I think there's some merit to this theory as think back to the  last few America's favourite player winners and you'll quickly agree with the notion that the more obnoxious one is the more love they receive. I mean, I posture that Paul is the likely candidate to receive the award this year and he's about as out there as one can be. As a gameplayer, Nicole's logic is mostly sound with the exception being that she's inherited a leadership position to early and will more then not succumb to a similar placement to where she finished on Big Brother sixteen.

3.Paul-Contrary to popular belief, I maintain that Paul has handled his H.O.H reign exceptionally well. The group meeting I'm led to believe he initiated to determine who will go up as the "pawn" was brilliant because it left no blood on his hands. Paul has created what could be construed as a cult following in the house and word, personability. You can be the worlds best strategist(Dan and Derrick) but at the end of the day if you're not fun to be around, the majority will find a reason to send you out the door.Paul oozes charisma but let's discuss what he can do to further his standing in this game. The Paul/Paulie alliance has left him in a unwanted? position of power, I suggest possibly unwanted because Paul strikes me as an individual who'll do anything to revert the target from himself and by being all buddy buddy with the player who you might as well refer as the Tom Brady of Big Brother sixteen, it's bringing his name up in pertinent conversations more then he's comfortable with. Having Victor under his wing is propitious because you get the impression that there's nothing Paul can do within the confines of this game for Victor to cast a vote against him.  Now the  basic reason for why Paul is not ranked number one on this list has to do with Victor again. Unless I'm reading the situation wrong which I very well could be, would Paul actually chop Victor in favor of Paulie if the scenario arose? I genuinely believe it would which would be an unforgivable game move and for that reason I was hesitant to rank him in the top two. Number three for the second week in a row.

2.Michelle- The infamous "drawing dead" remark heard all across the Rob has a Website conglomerate is something, with apologies going out to Mr.Kidwell I have to strongly squabble with. Having  a communications background I would love to get on the podcast and go mano a mano with Alex arguing the (flawed) reasoning behind this tangent. We MUST differentiate perception from reality. Perception would  agree with Alex because she's receiving such a bad rap from the public eye that it can understandably cloud the judgment of those with an appreciation for the game. Inside the house, she's that lovable super fan who we as a viewing audience aren't caring but the peers inside are finding her charming unless your name's Bridgette. The one faux paus Michelle has made is not accepting Frank for who he was, someone that would've never come after her and would've likely coddled her until at least the final five. Also, and much more importantly it's realizing that her core alliance consists of a plethora of catty ladies who, not saying Michelle isn't, but their personalities are a lot more blunt which will provide difficulty to win jury votes against her. If it's Zakiyah v Michelle in the final two, or even Nicole v Michelle, I think the bluntness that Zakiyah and Nicole exude, and let's face it, neither is a great speaker could present Michelle with a nice fat $500,000 check come late September.

1.Corey- It was awfully kind of CBS to grant Survivor Gabon alumni Marcus Lehman a second chance at reality television. O's not Marcus it's actually look alike Corey Brooks but as opposed to Marcus' plight, Corey stands  a great chance to win the game. The kinship he's built up with Nicole does wonders as he's virtually a target of no one. When somebody gains the kahunas and actually decides to target the pair, who's going to say Corey over Nicole??? Nobody! To climb further up this three, in a scenario where Corey and Nicole are pitted against one another and Nicole is inevitably sent home, it's apparent that Corey would then side with the bros and for example say he parlayed himself into a tight alliance with Paul and Paulie, who's being sent home, sure as hell ain't Corey. Corey has so many bases covered that it's no surprised he's affiliated with baseball. I do worry about jury management and his ability to sell his game but take it to the bank that at the very least, we'll be seeing Corey in the house on finale night.

Monday, July 25, 2016

#bb18 Power Rankings(Week of July 24th)

The battle back has wrapped up, as on July 22nd which was a special Friday episode that aired on CBS, we bore witness to the Louisiana 'legend' himself Victor outlast Glenn,Jozea,Bronte, and Tiffany to regain entrance into the Big Brother house. I have a few opinions on this "Battle Back" twist before I indulge into the weekly rankings. First and foremost, am I the only one that shares the concern that most if not all of these challenges were heavily male oriented. With the exception of the trampoline tennis competition between Jozea and Victor, I felt as if Bronte and Tiffany stood little chance of surviving when accounting the physical nature of these games. Sure,the argument could be made that I don't buy that the Bronte-Victor duel was mental based which on it's premise holds validation but quickness going from the respective station to the visual board involves a great deal of endurance, in other words advantage Victor. And yes again, a puzzle isn't a test of sheer strength but the setup most certainly was. Tiffany is  a Rousso, a school teacher and incredibly astute to working her way through intellectual matters. So why you ask did Victor flourish and come out on top? At least the way they were editing the final battle both made the error in beginning their puzzle on the wrong level however due to the strength required Victor corrected his transgressions quicker then Ms.Rousso ever could which created an inequality. As well on the surface if production had any appetite to partially interfere,one would surmise that aiding Tiffany would be the side of the ledger they'd be on as Tiffany re entering immediately would've been the recipe for the most drama, so it just adds to my perplexion as to why they setup the event the way they did. Big Brother fourteen winner Ian Terry went on Twitter after the Battle Back had consummated commending the production even going as far awarding it a 10/10. With all due respect to Ian, the concept of the twist I can most definitely endorse but pertaining to execution, it gets a meager 2/10 from me.

Additionally, I have a theory regarding the continuance of the Battle Back. The live feed correspondents on RHAP, particularly Brent and Rob Cesternino ventured into this angle already but I am extremely confident that this isn't the last we'll see of this twist and when I crunched the numbers, if my mathematician skills are better than Bronte's(who's aren't?) then we'll likely see unless CBS throws another innovative twist our way the next five houseguests will bustle in an additional set of four challenges. For what it's worth I also maintain their's a high probability that Grodner and company will mimic Big Brother Canada Season three and introduce the triple eviction. Not many on social media seem to be discussing the Triple theory but this is Big Brother, and they'll do anything to certify the catchphrase of "Expect the Unexpected". Onwards and upwards to the rankings we go.

12.Frank-Full disclosure that the spoilers that have seeped through this week have heavily influenced my rankings.****Michelle won the Veto***,however if you're choosing to read a Big Brother blog entry,it's likely you already know this.  It now comes down to either Frank or Bridgette. If I was fortunate to be cast on Big Brother Canada, the bigger threat is emphatically Bridgette. Players that follow an arch type such as Frank simply put don't win. You don't showcase yourself as a challenge dominator as he showcased himself to be way back in Big Brother fourteen and expect not to be targeted early on. I'm not naive enough to realize that diary room entries can be manipulated in such a way to further develop a story line, but I sincerely doubt Frank could've genuinely been surprised? The house turned on him with the Tiffany vote and then wouldn't join his side when he attempted to save Tiffany last week,so with all that being said it sure amounts to him believing he all of a sudden was again part of the majority? Either he's delusional which I don't believe for a second or like aforementioned we've all(some of us) fallen victim to unfortunate DR maneuvering. Frank's going home but for some this may amount to their undoing. For the immediate, a Frank ouster benefits Nicole, Da'Vonne, Corey and Zakiyah. Michelle is the interesting case. Although willing to be subjected to a different train of thought, I'm not convinced pushing to evict Frank or Bridgette is her best play at this juncture. Michelle is a comfy spot as I've spoken about in the past being cushioned in this what I'm calling "Showmances + 1" alliance but at some point Michelle will be expendable to the aforementioned four. In reference, being as how I just indicated that Nicole is helped by Frank going home, don't be surprised to see where I have Nicole, as their are deficiencies in her game that are greater then Steve Wheatcroft's bunker efficiency(google Wheatcroft bunker).

11.Nicole-Her game constantly continues to implode. This alliance of four that she has essentially hand picked will end up being her demise. The showmances that are currently constructed in the house are painfully obvious and because Nicole is widely viewed as a polarizing player and the leader of the group,she'll likely be the one to take the first bullet when her alliance is zeroed in on. Chances that Paulie could be the first one is not out of the realm but I just think the reason why Nicole will be soon to go over Paulie is due to the rest of the house's perception of her. Paulie is a guy's guy, Nicole has taken her good friend from Chicago Andy Herren's approach of being a rat,on twitter known as a "rat floater" is causing some to take her gameplay. I could be way off base here, but I think when push comes to shove here someone like Natalie will sway James into turning on Nicole because at least on camera, Nicole's behavior exudes cattiness and that alienates her with some of the girls outside of her core four. Here's my opinion about her strategy. As mentioned earlier, Nicole has employed the floater strategy whilst reporting side deals to individuals not privy to the inner details and yes it did work for Andy but there's one, likely more, but one glaring reason why it won't work this time around is because unlike the controversial season fifteen, there are more savvy game players that have already sniffed her out which is why I foresee her evicted very soon, dependent on the new H.O.H, as early as next week. In real life, seems like a wonderful person to chill with but inside the confines of the house, her game has deteriorated since two summers ago.

10.Victor-Did Victor really just say in the Diary Room that one of the main reasons for being ecstatic about re-entering the house was that he won the belt provided in the "Battle Back" competition? If so,and I'm positive I didn't mishear that then it speaks to exactly why Victor wasn't the ideal returnee to this game. I haven't vocalized this yet on the blog but when I internally skimmed through the cast when it was first announced and watched the brief interviews conducted by Jeff Schroeder via, I had two immediate thoughts. One, Corey's lack of knowledge towards the Big Brother game had me believing he was a late cut for the upcoming Survivor:Gen X season and two, ditto with Victor as his persona screamed of someone narrowly missing out on getting cast for the Bachelor. Common knowledge or not,to me it's not but the point is that when I see someone like Victor it's abundantly clear that he doesn't share a considerable passion to strategize, he covets television time and paving the way for an aspiring model career. I can't respect these type of players but understand it's par for the course when casting for a reality television show. I will say this about Victor and it's part of the reason why he's ahead of Nicole is by listening to Paul, who's cleverly positioned himself nicely in the house he's getting honest advice which at the very least should allow him to survive a couple more weeks. There's one particular scenario where I can envision Mr.Arroyo finding himself in a final four position and that's if Paulie, and I don't care what Taran Armstrong from RHAP  might opine about this, but Paulie is leaps and bounds a better strategist than his brother Cody chooses to 'bro' down with Paul, Victor and Corey especially if Nicole is an  early causality, we could be gearing up for Brigade Volume two. Victor, no chance to win this game  but there are a dearth amount of circumstances that could find himself presenting to a jury on finale night. The Gregg Carey of Big Brother.

9.James-Not to continually pound this lovestruck rhetoric, but c'mon.....what show does James think he's on? FOX's "Coupled"? He fell on his sword for a girl that ventured into the Survivor dating pool last summer in Meg and now he's falling for a gal who, I'm sorry, but I don't see any sustainable compatibility at all  in Natalie. Natalie is  the cheerleader type who's smart enough to realize even though she possesses a limited knowledge of the game that involving yourself in the showmance is guaranteed exposure. I'm not for a second suggesting that Natalie will ever turn on James, what I am insinuating however is that the "precocious prankster" a term I coined him with  a couple of weeks will not definitely turn his back to a more advantageous game move to protect Natalie.  This is Drew and Diane(Big Brother 5) all over again except that James is the Diane. I have to keep reassuring myself that I haven't ranked James too high because after seeing slight signs of improvement a week ago, his brief H.O.H reign has been nothing short of cataclysmal. Sending a  player in Frank  out the door does nothing to benefit him. To verify this claim,let's work our way through a brief check list:

    -Frank's a bigger physical threat then himself=Image result for checkmark

   -James is not in the "Showmances +1"and could use Frank down the line=Image result for checkmark

  -He claims that the reason he nominated Frank was because he finds himself in the middle of all the scrums, however does that not benefit those not involved in the confrontation=Image result for checkmark

I know for a fact I rated James too high but it just publicizes the major flaws those before him have.

8.Da'Vonne-The reason for the advancement in these rankings is because she's won the mini war between herself and Frank. Was the war a battle Da'Vonne needed to win this early, no but for the time being it's one less player threatening to nominate her. Da'vonne can't seem to wrap her head around the notion that she's  playing too aggressively and should've used this rift with Frank more conveniently. In reference to how they were editing the rift on the show and to what I've read and heard about the feeds, although it can be confirmed that when this week began Frank had his eyes solely lazered at the lady they affectionately call"Mamma Day" but truth to be told and I'm construing agreement over recent social media posting is that Frank wanted to pull her on his side and has repeatedly warned her against the showmance alliance that isn't looking out for her best interests. Having a smokescreen within the house can benefit all parties and it's due to sheer ignorance on her part that Frank's game is about to cease and her game is slowly getting flushed down the toilet., Ironically, the blinded loyalty she's handed to her best pal Zakiyah is why she has such limited potential now. Da'Vonne foolishly thinks Z has her best interests at heart when in reality Zakiyah has inherited a ride or die with Paulie. As of late night on July 24th, reports are indicating that she's slowly gravitating back to  Da'Vonne which may enable her to last a little longer then I currently maintain and also will equip Zakiyah, who absolutely has what it takes to win more options down the road. The rocky road relationship between these two may prove to determine both of there fates. When they're cordial with one another, they're power players but when invoking the silent treatment it puts them in an unrealized amount of danger.

7.Natalie-The comparison to Victoria from BB16 has been made multiple times and while the comparison has merit I think, and forgive me if I've shared this exact thought previously, her game is following an eery semblance to that of Jordan Lloyd........with the exception  of having a shot to win. Natalie, if we're comparing her plight to the game of football(can't go an entire entry without throwing in a few sporting analogies) she's like the NFL's version of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. To familiarize those unaware with my thoughts about Ryan, Matt Ryan to me is a quarterback who has long been expected to individually lead the Falcons to steady playoff success but at the end of the day says all the right things to the media which causes scouts and player personnel departments to drool over what could be but uses his stoic demeanour to no use, and is just a pretty face that provides no substance. He's nickamed "Matty Ice" for his propensity to play well under pressure. From my perspective, to play well under pressure one must first lead his team to a high pressured environment game, which has yet to happen. Circling this comparison back to Natalie, she may as well be nicknamed "Natty Ice" because similarly to Matt she says all the right things but does nothing to have you believe she's on the brink of Big Brother royalty. Her lack of fight for Bridgette was actually disheartening to see because even though her best pal Bronte was sent home under Bridgette's watch, her intentions to protect the two were genuine and thus far I've seen nothing that instills confidence that in any way shape or form Natalie has any will to protect Bridgette. I find this disheartening because I like Bridgette and although she's soft spoken, she' s a game player which is heaps more than I can say about Natalie.

6.Zakiyah-I've admittedly done a 360 regarding the game of Zakiyah. Last week, and primarily since the start of the game I rationalized that Zakiyah was in full fledged game mode but her actions of the past week have me deeply concerned. By no means do I wish to compare the obsession she has with Paulie to the kinship between James and Natalie but it's the courtship that is hindering her long term game plan. The reason why I consistently had Zakiyah at or near the top of the rankings was because I was convinced that she was content with cutting Paulie at the appropriate time and her and Nicole would ride shotgun together all the way to the finale. Judging from where I listed Nicole, it's not difficult to ascertain that I misinterpreted the end game for both. Sadly, and I know this will surely offend some, I'm starting to deem that all this is for her is one extended summer vacation where she can flirt with the boys(boy) and capitalize on her fifteen minutes of fame. I have a very large ego, and get incredibly flustered when I have to refute a proclamation I made but for someone who I enlisted as our winner a week, it upsets me her game has taken this turn. So how does she right this sinking ship? I already touched on that she needs to reinvigor the relationship with  Da'vonne but another avenue worth exploring is strengthening with Corey. Corey is the most overlooked player in this game and my future ranking will reflect that but this essentially is why a more devout bond between the two will assist her. Corey is getting the "Are you Smarter then a 5th grader" edit but the truth is EVERYBODY in that house enjoys socializing with him so with these two sharing a core alliance why not solidify some type of final two agreement because if I'm correct in projecting Nicole as an early boot, who is Corey going to turn to? If he at all believes some of the guys were behind her demise who better to turn to than someone that he's previously entrusted his loyalty in. Corey's in a fantastic position so while the partnership won't hurt him, it has more payoff for Zakiyah.

5.Paulie-Simply put, Paulie is the ringleader as we currently assess the inner workings of the Big Brother house. Unless you're Dr.Will Kirby, being the ringleader while still immersed in the pre jury phase isn't an enviable position to be in. Paulie doesn't have Chilltown upside, although he's not beneath quoting Chilltown catch phrases. Paulie has completely discarded Frank and it's hilarious watching Frank speak because he somehow still believes Frank has his back when in reality it was senor Calafiore that figuratively sent him to the hospital in the first place. It'll make for memorable television on Thursday and I'll make sure I tune in to Frank's social media when he finally realizes it was Paulie who served the knockout punch but I'm not satisfied that this is Paulie's best play by dumping Frank. The show, the edited television version anyway didn't do a great job detailing where the relationship went south although I'm subscribing to the theory that the antics of Frank and what he was accused off forced him to back away because like I eluded to last week, Paulie has a great affinity for remaining in the "cool kids" club. Paulie's in no danger for the next couple weeks but the tell tale sign for me falls in the hands  of Michelle and Natalie. Two participants in this game that haven't visibly enamored over Paulie's charm and how soon I wonder if these two are fortunate to gain power would they consider making a move on him? Makes for great water cooler conversation anyway.

4.Bridgette-Remember when, okay so you probably don't, but I remember the time touching base with the cult classic film Mighty Ducks when Peter Mark was befuddled to find out that his coach Gordon Bombay was once a Hawk? I have a sneaky suspicion that when Bridgette leaves the house she's going to be left jaw dropped by how poorly Frank's presence has left her. First it was the secret Roadkill nomination that Frank finally admitted and that she took surprisingly well. Secondly, it was the ill timed shoulder bump that ended up injuring her ankle and third and most important pertaining to her expected disappointment with Frank outside of the house will be how Frank talked about her behind her back. All conversations Frank had when discussing Bridgette inferred that he was pulling all the strings and was principally a puppet for him. I got news for you buddy, the jokes on you as you're all but gone barring a miraculous twist and Bridgette ain't going anywhere anytime soon. What's a world without Frank look like for her? I wholeheartedly expect her to strengthen the friendship with her sole remaining "Spy Girl" Natalie but will need more to prosper. I would advise Bridgette to get in snug with Paul, because Paul very much like Corey is viewed as a social butterfly and if he can be convinced that you're good for his game, he'll roll with you.  A Paul, Natalie and Bridgette final three would be ideal. I'd also advise if she stumbled into power next week to target James right off the hop. I know that may sound strange considering the dynamics of Natalie/James but by cutting James, she can take full control of Natalie which she desperately needs.

3.Paul-The "Muffin Man" is a shoe in to win America'a favourite player, and if he continues these charades,  may be  a shoe-in for the winner of the season as well. I'm not quite ready to anoint him as the games biggest threat just yet but there a lot of things working in his favour.  As discussed on RHAP, the re-emergence of Victor on paper seems like a Home Run for Paul but logistically may create more problems then solutions. Let's examine the strengths of his game, on the positive ledger we have likability. I harken back to to the now infamous Rap battle that commenced between himself and "Big Meesh". To go on a minor tangent, it's a travesty that the segment wasn't put to air as it would've shone a light on Michelle's glowing personality. Back to Paul, aside from likability, it's his insistence of speaking his mind that depending on the person could be viewed as a crutch but for Paul it's a blessing. He's not afraid to speak up to the vets which is a welcome change as evidenced by his confrontation(if that's what they're calling that these days) with Frank. It shows loyalty, leadership and  a willingness to go to battle for those he's aligned with. Paul understands the intricacies of what makes an entertaining Big Brother player, unlike some(Nicole and Zakiyah) the North American viewing audience doesn't like to watch conversations that are verbalized in utter silence, we support someone like Paul who's out in the open and shares his thoughts on all subjects. If America influences the game at all this summer, Paul will be reaping the rewards,

2.Michelle-Is getting the cold shoulder from production but that doesn't dictate a good Big Brother player. She had  a slow start to this season not just referring to her lack of television time. I was having trouble attempting to figure out the game of Michelle but after a few weeks, I finally understand. Michelle is a player who's very observant and calculating on who she reveals information to. I LOVE how she handled the interrogation from Frank last week, never once denying what Frank wanted to hear but then going to right to her alliance explaining the essence of the conversation. Too many times, and we've seen this with Da'vonne this week is that when you receive pertinent information, it's best to be straightforward with it because when you withhold valuable data from your alliance, this is Big Brother after all and word gets around ultimately destroying your own game in the process. I know after reading this the consensus will be, "Frank doesn't trust Michelle", which all true but really irrelevant as for Michelle the  only thing that matters is that she retained loyalty with Paulie, Nicole, and Zakiyah. Brutal honesty can be viewed as a detriment but this blogger opines that the way Michelle is using what she knows is how a real "rat floater" should position herself. *cough, Nicole, cough*.

1.Corey-As a fan of sport, don't construe this as I'm favouring Corey due to his A& M baseball background. In fact, I cheer for Texas Tech when it pertains to Big twelve sports so by no means do I have an infatuation with Aggie alumni, I mean let's face it, the backdrop recently of Aggies athletics hasn't been real strong with two trainwrecks for two different reasons coming out of the program in Clay Honeycutt and Johnny Manziel. Michelle is getting a horrendous but it's debatable it's any worse than Corey's. This whole dumber than a bag of rocks display has become tiresome for me. It's improper that in the episode that aired this Sunday that when broadcasting the conversation between Nicole and Corey, they made it seem like Nicole was the one pushing for Frank's head. Newsflash CBS, if you're going to tell a story do the honorable thing and divulge both sides. Corey was the one who spearheaded the idea of turning on Frank when it came to him and Nicole as Nicole had initial reservations. Corey isn't great T.V, I get that but his acumen for how the game is played is complimentary. Corey is blunt with his beliefs on a game level but the fact is every week thusfar, it's primarily been Corey's doing, don't let the T.V show fool you. He's the master, and this is cause for the misperception I think of engaging in a conversation and subtly share a thought but then twist it to make it seem like it's your idea. Case in point, reverting all the way to week one when Nicole thought she pulled  a fast one on Corey when handed the H.O.H, the truth of the matter is Corey knew he was coming in as physical threat, he didn't want to elaborate on his athleticism so he was perfectly content not winning the H.O.H. Too often we focus on the personalities and not enough do we ponder the ones who do their work behind the curtains.Bridgette was my winner's pick pre-season and as I implied earlier, I loath making corrections but Corey Brooks is winning this game ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, July 22, 2016

PGA Tour Prospective Patrons II

Around this time last year,I formulated an entry vocalizing five golfers who had not yet won professionally who I thought were up and comers and potential stars in the making. The list included five names: Emilano Grillo, Luke Guthrie, Tommy Fleetwood, Kevin Chappell, and Kelly Kraft. Out of the aforementioned list, only Englishman sir Tommy Fleetwood hasn't met my expectations and am willing to discard him from any future prominence professionally. Guthrie has been a productive commodity with a plethora of above average finishes but hasn't quite reached the winner's circle. Chappell enjoyed a tremendous 2016 Players Championship only falling behind world number one Jason Day and finished the 2015 campaign with three consecutive top twenty five finishes. Grillo has had a very disappointing start to this season but very much unlike Fleetwood I foresee the Argentinian turning the corner when accounting for his length off the tee and his Ballesteros-esque short game prowess. Finally with Kraft, the recent tour graduate has hovered around the cut line most of the events which I fully realize isn't a clear path when seeking out future stardom but completely coincidentally, he's enjoying a career week at the RBC Canadian Open. If a couple breaks go his way in Oakville,Ontario then my list could be welcoming it's first winner shortly.  Similarly to last year,I will list my five chosen ones in alphabetical order and entailing in a brief synopsis for each player. I can only hope you'll thoroughly enjoy this entry!

Bronson Burgoon(06/02/1987) Arguably was already given a edge due to possessing one of the tour's great names, the great Bronson Burgoon, or soon to be great Burgoon has yet to crack a top ten finish but it's the tools he carries in his repertoire leave me especially intrigued. When scouring Burgoon's statistical line for 2016, I'm noticing an individual who's posted consistent, more specifically average results but his clear strength is his short iron game. Those reading this will surmise that I'm grasping at straws trying to build up the potential of Burgoon, but keep the following in mind. To win on the PGA Tour, length off the tee which isn't particularly Bronson's strong suit doesn't hurt but watching  a weekly event, you'll notice a good portion of the field who are absolute bombers off the field but falter around the greens. A course such as Torrey Pines South the current venue used for the Farmers Insurance Open likely won't lay claim to Bronson's first victory as at 7,698 yards it doesn't necessarily play into a professional who only averages 282 yards off the tee but at courses that require accuracy and precision he'll enter the event with a sizeable advantage because of his sharp shooting from one hundred and fifty yards in. He came close at the Honda Classic earlier in the spring(relatively close) and it's at a layout that favours accuracy off the tee dissuading the likes of Dustin Johnson or Big Break alum Tony Finau from firing their tee shots a country mile with no real repercussions. Burgoon is a poor man's Jordan Spieth/Zach Johnson, someone that will never overpower a golf course and has to strategically plot his way around to succeed. I hope and firmly believe that we'll see Bronson as a champion shortly

Si Woo Kim(06/28/1995) For those that have the misfortune of listening to me overconfidently boast about particular prognostications, these lucky few will not be surprised in the least with the inclusion of Si Woo Kim on this list. He's someone that I like to think, even though I'm not naive enough to realize I didn't, that I discovered on tour and have no qualms of proclaiming this twenty one year old the next prodigy. He came awfully, awfully close to prevailing at last week's Barbasol Championship, and a win would've eliminated his name from this list but as it stands, it won't be long until he's hoisting a trophy. Aside from any statistical advantage Si is atop of the leaderboard, it's his poise and confidence in high pressure situations at the tender age of twenty one that has me drawing comparisons to a Rory McIlroy type of arch. Whether it's a case of a player not knowing what he's on the verge of accomplishing or what, if watching last week's final round in Alabama you could easily attest to the fact that he at least on the exterior asserted no fear, a,championship type quality that all great players showcase. Even though I expect this particular summarization to be one big 'I told ya so moment', I'll continue on the prognostication trail by making the bold prediction that by this time  next year, leading up to the PGA Championship he'll have already won two events on tour along with an additional major. Hideki Matsuyama, Ryo Ishikawa are two Asian players who've displayed relevance success on the World stage but both will quickly have the best Asian born players tag erased, as Si Woo Kim will have a equal impact to that Se Ri Pak did on the ladies professional tour. The Asians eventually invaded and begun to dominate the LPGA, the question I must pose is how much longer until we see a parallel impact on the men's tour. If my forecasting skills are valid, not much longer at all!

Zander Lombard(01/18/91995) Easily the most obscure name I've included on this list, but his potential merits such. The South African 'phenom' will look to position himself as the next great South African golfer taking the torch from Ernie Els and Retief Goosen and will one day join Louie Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, the only question that remains is if he'll take up residence on the PGA Tour or continue plotting away on the European Tour. In the last month and a half, his results have began to flourish and it's only a matter of time until he engages in his breakthrough moment. So most will be asking, what kind of golfer is Zander Lombard? Well, as full disclosure I was considering a few golfers to make this list of five and Zander just made the cut for this entry and I must admit I've seen very little of him, but it's what I have seen gives me reason for extreme optimism. I was up early one morning(way too early I may add) and I turned on my television and started viewing the second round of the BMW International Open. This round for whatever reason they were featuring a high quantity of Zander's work and I saw a few things that I will soon  point out. First, his abilities off the tee remind myself of one Jason Dufner. Not the tallest guy, listed at 5'11, but it's his techniques that bring out the comparisons to the Auburn alum Dufner. Turning professional as a teenager is a risky proposition, a trait that is becoming far too frequent but this quick notorious results from the likes of Jordan Spieth, it's not exactly swaying away the youngens from making the plunge. To cite a further example getting away from my early Friday morning BMW viewing of Zander was at the Open Championship at Troon. Now, I could write an entire article pertaining to my displeasure regarding Troon's difficulty(it wasn't major quality) but regarding the play of young Lombard, he made the cut, his first made cut in a major leading me to prescribe the opinion that Zander is the best figure to have Lombard in his surname since the days of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi.With a Dufner swing, a 2016 stellar  season what's not to like going forward?

Jamie Lovemark(01/23/1988) Admittedly Lovemark came close to cracking this esteemed list a year ago, so no chance he was missing out on  back to back years. Lovemark is everything that Lombard and Burgoon are not, an incredibly long hitter. While I may enjoy the aspects of a grinder's game moreso than I gravitate to a long hitter, talent is talent and can't be overlooked. Throughout the golf media, the terminology of best player to never win a major is unquestionably overused, but maybe it's time to consider Jamie as the"best player to never win a PGA Tour Event". In his relatively infant PGA Tour career, he's already accumulated six career top ten finishes, and conceivably one can only knock on the door often without getting tired of doing so, unless you're Sheldon Cooper. I already hinted at his incredibly long driving accolades, he averages a whopping three hundred and four yards off the tee which ranks fifth on tour but it's the putting that needs vast improvement for him to elevate  to that next level.  An alarming statistic is that he sits 172nd in three put avoidance the rule of thumb is to win any tournament, even one three put can be observed as one too many in the attempt to reign victorious on the tour. Lovemark has been blessed with too many physical gifts not to finally conquer an event, expect that to come in 2016.

Trey Mullinax(06/29/1992) As a fan of most SEC programs, the affinity I have for this University of Alabama alumni is unquantifiable. In lieu of his eighth place ranking on the tour, he's all but played his way onto the PGA Tour for the 2016-2017 campaign. The strengths of his game are plentiful, versatility being a strong component but the caviot is how do you measure performance on a tour that as a general statement select courses that don't meet the challenge requirement that the top show would offer. When I analyze a soon to be tour graduate, some features I look for is will the skills that made him dominant translate to all platforms. In the case of Mullinax, I believe it does as the length comes naturally(312 yard average) but more importantly and apologies if I'm beating a dead horse but the clutch  putting accolades that he possesses will be paramount if he ever proves my prophecy correct and wins at that next level. The last point I wanted to make about Trey and I think it's a good one is that the quality of competition he faced while competing in the SEC could be construed as advantageous as well. The University of Florida and Auburn historically recruit exceptionally well so given the luxury of playing against future PGA Tour pros such as Trey did will only serve as a confidence boost when he suits up with the best next season. There's always that one graduate who shows immediate dividends, reminiscing back to the early triumphs that fellow graduates Zach Johnson and Chad Campbell displayed and if I'm correct about my premonition, Mullinax will be a prime winning candidate very shortly.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

#bb18 Power Rankings(Week of July 15th)

While generally this blog is dedicated to discussing the happenings in the world of sports, a little diversity never hurt anyone and I felt it was appropriate to divulge into another strong passion of mine, that being the world of reality television, particularly Big Brother(Canada and U.S.A). With Big Brother 18 well into the swing of things, I've surmised that it would be enjoyable to dedicate a weekly posting to my thoughts on the game itself and how I would rank the positioning of each player in the house. These weekly rankings won't necessarily be notated based on who I like the most, but largely based who I think is in the best spot at the current time. With CBS going public pertaining to this summer's twist classified as the "Battleback", which who are kidding, it's code for "Redemption Island", I won't include the already evicted houseguests on full disclosure that one could conceivably come back after the special July 22nd episode. How I usually like to organize these lists are in descending order from least likely to win to which houseguest is controlling the dynamics presently.


12.Tiffany-As the great Alex Kidwell from RHAP has declared numerous times throughout the course of his podcast airings, it's never wise in the Big Brother game to exhaust this much strategical capital this early on in the game. We still find ourselves in the Pre-jury phase and Tiffany is nearly tripling the amount of confrontations/complicated strategy thar Vanessa partook in her season. I'm reading a lot on Social media, I've even caught a glimpse of Vanessa Rousso's twitter feed and she's publicly stated that it's not fair that because Vanessa played the game a certain way that Tiffany is getting pigeon holed. Such is life though. Is it fair that PGA Tour professional Sam Saunders is perceived to be in the midst of an underwhelming career because his grandfather is Arnold Palmer? Chaos, if you believe notorious Survivor villain Kass McQuillan can be beneficial to one's game but that's a sound strategy only if you're playing to reach the final two/three. I don't believe Tiffany has such timid goals so therefore her hardcore wheeling and dealing will end up catching up to here as the majority of the house aren't going to want to leave getting "Vanessa'd"

11.Da'Vonne-I just finished shouting out Alex Kidwell so in reference to Da'Vonne, it's only fair that Taran Armstrong deserve a plug. Taran on a recent podcast(there's so many that you lose track) rightfully disparaged Da'Vonne for not being more amicable to the "Showmances + 1 alliance" Being positioned between Nicole/Corey and Zakiyah/Paulie would've been glorious but her hesitation has literally found her on the chopping block. I'm not sure the arch type Da'Vonne is striving for, if it's a strategical mastermind she's failing miserably unless she's employed the principles of overrated strategical "mastermind", Survivor Nicaragua's Marty which if the latter's true then we have a huge problem on our hands. It's not the place to spew my feelings towards one's cultural beliefs but in a game where adaptability is everything, her abrasiveness to hold true to her political correctness will assuredly be her downfall.

10.Paulie- This ranking may surprise most. I was torn and have done a lot of contemplating this morning regarding the merits of Paulie's game. Our current Head of Household I fear is running himself into a corner that is going to close in quickly. Image is important for all houseguests leaving the house but you sense it holds greater importance to Mr.Calafiore. His adamancy to remain in the cool kids club has negated any chance he had to win. What Frank did that CBS aired last week was deplorable but in my mind Paulie needed to capitalize on the friction and re enhance the bond with Frank because let's face it, if in the next two weeks some of the girls succeed in the mission to yank Frank out of the house, who then becomes the most intimidating target in the house? The obvious answer is either Corey or Paulie. As I've reported a few times, I don't agree with the notion that a physical threat is a dangerous commodity in the game of Big Brother but it doesn't matter what I think, if the houseguests believe something, they'll put it into action. Paulie has to smell the  roses that while the "Zaulie" partnership greatly aids Zakiyah, it's putting a bigger target on a target that was already too big for it's bridges. I hate to say it,  but I foresee him being in imminent danger. Hopefully he doesn't disappoint his brother Cody.

9.Nicole-Similarly to some others in her cast, the chaotic nature of her game has and will likely continue to cause her havoc. In the past week, there's been too much wavering between whether the correct inclincation was to target Tiffany or do what ended up being devised when a split vote was initiated. The reasoning for wanting to split the vote was to allow all in this scheme to deny involvement in the presence of Frank but like I ascertained with the Paulie summarization for Nicole the decision to alienate her relationship with him puts a bigger target on her back because Frank has become target enemy number one house for the majority of competitors so it behooves me as to why Nicole hasn't attempted to re kindle the friendship because it's been clear that Frank is out for blood so why not hide behind the covers while Frank begins his rampage? The other issue, and more debilitating from my vantage point is the sheer ignorance she's displaying towards valuable voting blocks in Natalie and Bridgette, I referenced this in my week two power rankings but to willingly align herself with Da'Vonne, Zakiyah and Michelle, arguably three of the most conniving players in this house has put her in a vulnerable position to be exposed. Don't think for a second that if Da'vonne indeed becomes the target that she wouldn't start throwing people like Nicole under the bus because when backs are against the wall all stops must be pulled out. Nicole's path to tinkering the script is to strengthen the bond with the minority and solidify her final two aspirations with Corey,

8.Natalie-In deference to the game of Natalie, she came in with a sparse knowledge base and it's showing with how she's attempting to maneuver herself. You get the impression that Natalie is perfectly content with just sliding through each week and frolicking around with James Analyzing solely from a game perspective, the intriguing question is how does James view Natalie in a game sense and how far will he go to protect his lady and thus creating a human shield. The "spy girls" are a dying breed and what needs to materialize for her is to begin laying the groundwork with Paul as surprisingly Paul is exuding efficiency and can probably steer her in a better direction then James could. Any time you're number eight on this list this early into the game, you're either playing recklessly(which she is not) or are playing for second place(which she certainly is). A competition win, preferably a H.O.H victory would shake up the dynamic in the house.

7.James-I can't believe I'm spewing this out as I held great angst for the Big Brother seventeen version, but is the Big Brother eighteen version actually causing me to pull a 180 when suggesting that he's becoming an endearing character? Say it ain't so Joe but I think deep down this is how I feel! From the conversational clips that I've been privy too, I'm noticing an individual who's more reasoned in his arguments and someone that's taking in valuable information and using it to his advantage. Throwing competitions, lying to his closest partner in the house to protect his core alliance and willing to twist and turn mid week hense the Bronte vote flip, a player that cares more about committing pranks and capitalizing on T.V time is emerging.  Although the team twist, let's hope this week is the last we see of it has weakened the backlash that throwing a competition could normally find, James' propensity to do as such has constituted goodwill amongst the people he's handed his trust to and literally is a target for no one. All of the above is just reason to rank him higher then seven but then again this is James after all, and I'm anticipating the facade will wear off shortly.

6.Frank-Season eighteen's "villain" has awoken and it's about time. While no one in their right mind would express condoning the behavior for which he has displayed,it's obvious to me anyway that he means no malice behind the actions and simply has taken his goof-ball image too far in certain areas. How quickly the game can turn though. At this time last week, the entire house including Tiffany was gunning for Frank and low and behold the two have formed a secret(not exactly sure how secret they're keeping it) alliance. This type of synopsis writes itself quite often in the world of reality television and if I was playing I'd institute a similar trajectory, sans the inappropriate touching because in Big Brother or Survivor, when you're perceived as everyone's number one enemy the target becomes so large that before you know it the target becomes minuscule. We saw this with Dan Gheesling in essentially both of his seasons where his initial premise breaks down and is viewed as the outsider and the easy target so much so that all of a sudden they put you to the backburner until you eventually find yourself in the power position.. Just off the top of my head, similar examples also include Judd from Survivor Nicaragua, Danni from Guatemala and Jordan from Big Brother 11 and I'm sure there are numerous others. While I'm not prognosticating Frank as our winner, if I was he'd be number one in this subjective ranking but I don't think contrary to popular belief he's in any imminent danger. As mentioned earlier in this paragraph, Tiffany has already identified Frank as someone she can work with for the forseeable future and unless Nicole is hell bent on ruining her own game it wouldn't surprise me if Nicole and Frank find themselves in each other's good graces.

5.Michelle-Without  detailed updates from the likes of the reputable RHAP crew, you would have no idea Michelle was still on the program. Astute observers that understand the intricacies of the game can appreciate her excellent position she finds herself in. Granted, she was one of my pre-season favourites to win the game for the first couple weeks I was having difficulty dissecting what Michelle was actually bringing to this game as were most fans as with her receiving little air time/notoriety, her personality wasn't shining through. After careful observation, the best way to describe her game would be to compare her to Willow MacDonald from Big Brother Canada 3. Apologies to those who find the comparison insulting but when you reckon the merits of both, both come across as goofy, naive young adults who didn't do enough in peak game changing conversations to be rewarded with tangible T.V time but had the incorrect assessment that acting wild during non peak periods, Willow along with Jordan Parhar going to bat with fictional podcasts or Michelle attempting to win the crowd over with her "Big Mich" persona but don't understand that trying to engage in quiet humor isn't enough for producers to give you the benefit of the doubt. To elaborate a tad further on what I mean by quiet humor, it's one thing to do what James does and ensure that when he speaks, the cameras are all over him but when you conduct yourself in the manner of Michelle and Willow and don't have the same level of infatuation for the camera which I certainly appreciate(T.V networks necessarily don't) it's harder for a story to be told. I like Michelle, won't be the last time I say that but sadly I think she's heading for a Adam Poch-esque arch type and she will be quickly forgotten once this season concludes.

4.Corey- Came into the game not knowing a thing about how to proceed, sits quietly, listens and absorbs information and becomes a force in the later stage. Hmm...where have I heard that before, Jordan Lloyd come to mind? Different players and if Corey was to reign victorious will have done so in different ways but this is a classic case of a player getting a terrible rap from the viewing audience but has genuinely endeared himself to the fellow houseguests.I truly don't believe Corey is trying to capitalize on fifteen minutes of fame and will be gratified just by making it all the way to the end with minimal diary room confessionals. His understanding of the game has exponentially grown, CBS is straying away from you finding out but he has a firm grasp on who he chooses to align with, has already engaged in the charade that was the vote flip. The best way(my best way) to describe this when accounting for my sporting background is the plight of golfer Henrik Stenson who coincidentally(not coincidentally at all) took home this Sunday's British Open. Stenson at forty years of age has never been one to open up for the cameras and for that reason among most golf experts he hasn't been met with the proper amount of affinity. Stenson just goes about his business and is constantly in contention to win golf tournaments and I feel the same way about Corey. Corey could play this game one hundred times and in each of those outcomes would find himself in a contending environment. The quiet assassin.

3.Paul- The unequivocal front runner to win America's favourite player and if he keeps up his complimentary game play could pull off the rare AF/game winning double.  The outstanding element to Paul's game is his knowledge how to work the cameras. Unlike James where at times it comes across as forced, his television presence is completely natural which as a viewer we covet. I love his underdog demeanour and the best part is most if not all the houseguests feel for the fact that week after week Paul has lost prudent members of the "Friendship" and are emphatic and legitimately don't want to send him home anytime soon. The most rewarding facet I think is that Paul sees right through this and is using this perplexing sympathy to his advantage.  Paul doesn't have a ride or die alliance member remaining which I proceed to suggest is a beautiful spot to be in because Big Brother 101 states it's too early to attach to one person solely or for that matter one alliance solely. This going back and forth between different factions will work masterfully unless he falls victim to the gossip game that has become increasingly notable. Spying from side to side is a dangerous water to be swimming in and he's got to minimize this propensity in order to remain a winning threat.

2.Bridgette-Let me get this straight, fans rag on Bridgette for being attached to the Donald Trump of the Big Brother house??? Not taking a shot at U.S politics or anything like that as I want as little association with that mess but to put into words most will understand, Bridgette is playing the game with somebody that the house doesn't respect so when someone who actually is lined up to take a shot, Bridgette will never be the recipient of the strike as Frank will always bare to take the heat. I'm aggravated by the lack of respect she receives quite honestly. Being soft spoken is not a crutch, not the best television I concede but when purely discussing strategy it's an amazing disposition to find yourself in. Aside from the obvious that the people choosing to ignore Bridgette will eventually require her services, she's done nothing to disable any relationship. She seems likable and upbeat and this positivity is contagious. In fact, when the team twist ceases, it will work to her advantage because I think part of the reason why no one is gaming with the travelling nurse is because of the association with Frank. She'll be the Dwayne Wade of free agents after July 22nd.

1.Zakiyah-This weeks best position belongs to.......Zakiyah. She's clearly perspicacious enough to the game of Big Brother and it's evident with how she's electing to enhance her social relationships. The "showmance" with Paulie, while most may disagree which is admirable I believe she is using to advance her own game. She's observant enough to know that Paulie at the end of the day, something he clarified in pre-season interviews has the intention of bro-ing it down to the end, whether that's Corey or Frank remains to be seen but it's irrelevant as I maintain Zakiyah is using the relationship as much as Paulie is. Da'Vonne can be a firecracker but it's amazing the calming influence Zakiyah can be to her and others. She's only twenty four years of age but the motherly influence she's exuding over the house goes well beyond her years and it's abundantly clear she has a hefty future in media relations to look forward to. Zakiyah is doing what a good Big Brother player should do and that's keep quiet, blossom the relationships with other and at all costs, avoid confrontations. She's doing all of these things and if she continues, we won't be remembering Zakiyah the "good" Big Brother player, we'll be reminiscing on Zaikyah, the great Big Brother player.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

2016-2017 National Hockey League Pre-season Preview(Teams 20 and 19)

20.Edmonton Oilers

A ranking that very much coincides with a great deal of recency bias. For years, I've recklessly prognosticated the Edmonton Oilers as feasible Stanley Cup contenders, or at the very least in the last couple seasons, locks to make the playoffs. Like the old adage stipulates, you learn from past mistakes and it's with that that I regretfully rank the Oilers at number twenty knowing full well that this will have the reverse kiss of death effect by this being the season where the Oil catapult to supremacy. Remember that 2015 Summer blockbuster starring Amy Schumer, "Train Wreck"? Well this current state of affairs on the back end puts the original movie interpretation to shame. Justin Schultz was viewed as the resident whipping post in Edmonton but yet when dealt to the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins he all of  a sudden became a reliable third pairing defenceman. Coincidence......I think not. This Edmontonian defensive core gets shredded by insiders in our great game but in reality the defensive structure is almost as much to blame as the actual group of d-man that General Manager Peter Chiarelli has compiled. It's only appropriate that we begin this morning detailing the prized and controversial acquisition, from the New Jersey Devils Adam Larsson. The trade can be deemed as controversial because for the last twelve months, Chiarelli has repeatedly homilized that he's been in the market for a number one defenceman and by trading away Taylor Hall, the expectation is for giving away a player of that magnitude that you would safely land a franchise defender. The concern in Edmonton these days is that most aren't convinced that Larsson was enough compensation. Larsson has certainly had an interesting trajectory throughout his young career. Before being selected by the Devils he was long believed to be a probable # 1 selection of that 2011 draft, but his stock steadily dropped through that campaign which ultimately translated into him becoming the fourth selection.  My scouting report of Larsson is the following, he's an average to slightly above average skater who doesn't possess the puck skills to ever flourish into that desired premium defender. On the plus side, he's a pain to play against his own zone because physically he's built like a veteran and he's fairly poised out on the ice meaning scarcely will you find him out of position. Taking a gander at his statistical productivity you'll notice that he's never tallied more than three goals in a season and possibly due to his increased role in Edmonton that may skyrocket(one can dream), the likely inevitably is that the numbers that he's capable of are better suited for a number 2/3 defenceman. Taylor Hall>Adam Larsson in trade value, sadly so. Chiarelli felt pressured to make a move for the sake of making a move, and admittedly I was one of those keyboard warriors begging for that, and look where it got us? The piece on the back end that I firmly believe has top pairing potential is Darnell Nurse. Nurse comes from as very athletic family with his sister heavily involved in the Canadian Women's basketball program and you can tell, he's a gifted commodity in all facets. Nurse gets typecast as a bruising body that famously stifled now teammate Connor McDavid in the 2015 Ontario Hockey League conference finals while a member of the Sault Ste.Marie Greyhounds but there's another compellling dimension to his game that get's overshadowed, his skating. Nurse's skating comparable is St.Louis Blue Alex Pietrangelo. The lankier  one is the more we overlook skating ability but in this day and age hockey players are built differently and no longer do we see defenceman like Rod Langway or Joe Reekie that lag around the ice with their tallish,thinner frames and held the same equivalence to the way Yao Ming used to hustle up a basketball court. The fitness levels are extreme, not something I want to explore too deeply as that's another topic for another day but the essence behind what I'm attempting to imply is that a player like Nurse is so fit and quick, that the size that he's inherited is a definite asset and the nature of the beast is that the evolution of hockey players will force all making the plunge to the next level to work as hard off the ice as Nurse does. I said it when the Oilers made the selection but the Oilers have a long term keeper in Darnell.

First came the selection of Sam Gagner back in 2007, that seemingly flamed out quickly. In 2008, the Oilers settled for Regina product Jordan Eberle, unfortunately for Jordan he never received the memo that to be successful meant more then living off his World Junior laurels and that to be a trusted entity one must venture into the defensive game, something that was never ingrained in his D.N.A In 2009 the Oilers stumbled upon the enigma that was Paajarvi-Svensson who for whatever reason lost his confidence when he turned professional and I maintain to this day that he should've converted to a defenceman when the tribulations at forward were evident. I could continue down this path until I'm blue in the face but I'm reminded this post wasn't dedicated to revisiting Oiler draft history. The crux of what I'm attempting to illustrate is that while the Oilers have always sided with the "sexy" pick, their lack of awareness when building a roster has crippled draft performances and have led to non playoff teams since 2006. Can Connor McDavid be the messiah that performs the unthinkable and carries the Oil to late April hockey? As a previously confessed Oiler fan, I'm skeptical that he has the necessary supporting cast in place but will feature a couple who'll need to begin to breakout. Don't be frightened Oiler supporters, I know I just explained the Paajarvi pick was a disaster(through fault of the coaching staff) but it's a player that shares a similar name sake that has me awfully excited. Jesse Puljujarvi is an Anze Kopitar clone who I believe will come in and contribute immediately. The cold hard truth is that the Calder trophy is awarded to the prodigy coming in, McDavid would've been a shoe in hadn't it been for the injury that took away half his season and it's using this logic that Matthews will find a way to secure the award but voters abroad ought to pay close attention to Pulujarvi as I think if he receives tangible playing time with McDavid he'll be daily conversation around the water cooler as the Calder whispers grow louder and louder. Another Fin to keep up with the nationality obsession let's evaluate the worth of Iiro Pakarinen. Right off the hop, people invested in Oiler nation will surmise that Pakarinen isn't assured of consistent playing time with the big club but for a team that coach Todd McLellan constantly complains about an acceptable work ethic someone like Pakarinen who busts his but on every play would be welcome in the lineup. Realistically the Lovissa,Finland native is effective as a fourth line player and the cap on him is more then likely twenty points but we must ignore the output and focus on his work ethic. On Stanley Cup winning teams as we saw on the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins this past spring, role players such as Matt Cullen are imperative and if the winning resumes in the City of Champions, I could definitely see a scenario where Cullen and Pakarinen share a similar role.

The consensus of most Oiler fans is resentment towards the Cam Talbot acquisition last summer. Here's the gripe that I, and a lot of Oiler fans have is that during that particular off-season there were a plethora of more polished goaltenders available, ala from Stanley Cup finalists Martin Jones and one time Cup champ Antii Niemi. I'm all for committing to a proper rebuild but the goaltender is the one position where if not assembled justly it can exude a negative connotation for the rest of the retool. In a daunting attempt to get inside the head of Peter Chiarelli, I can somewhat appreciate the logistics behind the transaction as I think their was a stemming belief that Talbot inherited a winning culture from the great Henrik Lundqvist and he would bring back that knowledge, and it just hasn't happened. 21-9 with the Rangers in 2014-2015 projects as a smokescreen as I'm not expecting that Talbot will ever replicate a winning percentage like that with Edmonton.

19.Minnesota Wild

Out with the old, in with the new for the  Minnesota Wild pertaining to their coaching carousel. After the decision was made by General Manager Chuck Fletcher to let go of Mike Yeo, they've caved into fan pressure by hiring the hottest name in the coaching market in Bruce Boudreau. The hiring of Boudreau delves into one of my biggest pet peeves in this premise that teams are held to this puzzling delusion that they're better off recycling coaches. Was Boudreau a winner in Washington? Not when it came to the playoffs and ditto when analyzing his success rate employed by the Anaheim Ducks. I'm sure tactically Bruce is a fine coach but he's shown the propensity to choke in the games biggest moments, something I would've advised Chuck  to stay away from at all costs. Since the Wild aren't in the business of looking back and strive to push  forward, we will now take a look at the group up front. The pace of play that Boudreau advocates not withstanding my disdain for the hire concurrently matches the type of nucleus the Wild possess. A fast, smaller group that will live and die by the transition game and they're a couple of stalwarts that this strategical initiative fits to  a tee. Let's first discuss the merits of Jason Zucker.  It's interesting, keeping in mind that what I'm about to elaborate on are wild projections but on a few different occasions I've seen the name of Jason Zucker mentioned as a possible expansion candidate  for the soon to be Las Vegas franchise but I can't envision the Wild view Zucker expendable. I will admit however that when watching Jason play on a nightly basis, he at times that can leave a lot on the table due to not taking his time and ensuring he makes the sound hockey decision. He's fast, extremely, think Geoff Courtnall for an apt comparison but unlike Courtnall who was a revered sniper his career high is only twenty one goals. Why is that? Well....the first thought that comes to mind is other then questionable hockey I.Q, he worries too much about his defensive assignments which assuredly makes coaches smile but in the process dampens the offensive potential I know he has. Let me rephrase, if Zucker plays to his capabilities then no chance is he exposed for expansion however if doesn't buy in to the high speed transition game Boudreau calls for, then looking into real estate in Vegas may become a reality.After reading back today's postings, I've came to the conclusion that I've spent an awful amount of time boasting about some of these Finnish born players, and although I have no prominent ties to the country this vaunting will continue a tad longer. Mikael "puck magician" Granlund. There was a goal, , I believe it was in one of the World Championships Finland was playing in when he scored a game winning goal where afterwards TSN ran a piece where Mikael indicated that the celebration was a picture taken that went on to be made into a postage stamp. This doesn't necessarily speak to his production for the Wild, doesn't at all to be exact but what it does to be precise is it's a useful measuring stick that Granlund covets the big games and when they come around which has been few and far between for Minnesota, his productivity increases. Granlund is a playmaking genius but this enlies one of the problems I have with the Wild which definitely correlates with the low ranking of #19, and that's where's the compliment to Granlund? Is it Zach Parise? If that's what Wild management wants us to believe then I fret the future of the organization because Parise is essentially an older version of what Granlund is trying to become, a playmaker who requires the finisher. What made Parise very successful with the New Jersey Devils was that he had snipers like Ilya Kovalchuk beside him which maximized the value of Zachs game. Who does Mikael have to pass to.....Charlie Coyle and Nino Nieddereiter? I hate to rag on the great "El Nino" but players of this elk have no business being looked upon as the franchises top scoring threat. It's roster management flaws like this that have me believing we're staring a non playoff team  in the face.

A talented, puck moving defenceman is the scouting report on 2011 tenth overall pick Jonas Brodin. As bland as that scouting report may seem, what I get out of it is Brodin projects out as a mundane defenceman and for someone who is widely perceived as the Wild's building block, they need someone more creative and willing to buy into the team concept to fulfill their actual number one responsibilities. Although "talented"(again, words of numerous scouting reports) he lacks the physicality to be entrusted lining up against first forward lines. And in all honesty, his skating isn't as polished as some are led to believe, in fact I rank his skating in the poor ledger. I was watching one of my favourite podcasts the other day named the "Quack Attack Podcast" and they had actor Ty McClary who memorably played the role of Texan Dwayne Robertson. I highly recommend you check out the podcast/interview but one thing stood out for me when they were chatting with Ty and that's when the project began filming Ty had no idea how to skate so what the producers did was allow Ty to hold on to a rope as coming from a rodeo family this came naturally to him and unbeknownst to the actor what it did was take his mind off the stress of learning how to skate. To tie this back to Jonas, I can only advise Jonas to check out this podcast himself and perhaps put this learning tactic to good use as his wheels at the current time are vastly overrated. A player that by no means is overrated is one of my favourites in the show, Val'dor Foreur alumni Marco Scandella.
While I have internal concerns with Bruce taking over the coaching reigns, I for one am subscribing to the theory that Boudreau may end up having a positive impact on Marco. Marco's repertoire is clearly is his resistive, thwarting nature that amounts to a shut down role. Scandella, from what I recall in junior, particularly in his World Junior tenure is that he's got more tricks up his sleeve regarding offensive efficiency. At the very least he has a cannon for a shot and one can hope that BB will provide Scandella at least partial power play to showcase the aforementioned cannon. Creativity breeds confidence as this unequivocally applies to the game of Marco as he's often timid on the ice and like I stated, the expectation is that Boudreau will implore some of that persuasive teaching when rectifying his game, Some will suggest he's already there but no question that he has the potential to reach definitive top two status.

The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not the 2014-2015 second half Devan Dubnyk was an aberration or was what he accomplished then not sustainable for some will classify as a journeyman goaltender. When he came on board to the Edmonton Oilers, and earlier I spent time spilling over the porous Oiler rebuild he was supposed to be the general which in turn would've prevented the need to acquire Cam Talbot years later. To take yon through the journey of Dubnyk's now lengthy career, his premier with Edmonton was for a lack of a better word disastrous. I harken back to post game interviews  he conducted with Gene Principe while a member of the Oilers and it wasn't difficult to ascertain that you were looking at a goalie who was lost. It's probable he entered te National Hockey League with a high level of confidence after an unforgettable junior career with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League but what happened to him sadly rubs off on a plethora of young goaltenders. Point blank, the Oilers were a baaad hockey club which is translation for a terrible landing spot for a goaltender, I know not all of you reading are familiar with the inner dealings of the WHL but a great comparable when comparing the early struggles of Devan was that of Calvin Pickard. Pickard entered his WHL career as a can't miss prospect and by dragging along that label unfair expectations were stapled alongside him but what casual fans can't fathom is that you can be the globe's best netminder but when playing in front of a mitigated disaster, you have to tamper expectations, but most can't. To be fair in this assessment,100% of the blame can't go towards the Oilers in Devan's failed development, I'm no goalie guru but technically there were some glaring deficiencies that made you cringe. He stayed in the upright position too long thus was susceptible to the greasy rebounds. After moving on to Nashville and Montreal for a cup of coffee, he finally found a comfortable fit in Arizona.His statistics were phenomenal in the second half of 2014-2015 but not without some luck. If it wasn't for  an unfortunate Mike Smith injury, I can certainly conjur up a scenario where he's still rotting away as the back up in the desert. No one ever claimed luck wasn't a tiny part of the equation and injury opened up significant playing time which he took and ran with. A .916 save percentage led to the playoff bound Minnesota Wild acquiring his services and that's where we currently stand. I've talked up Dubnyk pretty good here but the one thing that needs serious improvement is his playoff numbers if in fact the Wild find themselves in that position again which I'm not convinced they will. When comparing last year's save percentage in the regular season to his in the playoffs there's a drastic difference, Dropping down from .918 to ,877 is simply not good enough and he needs to do  a muuuuch better job buckling down and becoming the most trusted goaltender in the state of MInnesota since Julie "The Cat" Gaffney.

Monday, July 11, 2016

2016-2017 National Hockey League Pre-season Preview(Teams 22 and 21)

22.Ottawa Senators

Internally I was convinced that any team that hired Marc Crawford as it's head coach would be making the pristine hire of the off-season. I thought, although it turned out to be a moot point that a partnership involving Marc Crawford and Auston Matthews would've been a sensible one given their chemistry and likeness they formed in Switzerland. When the Senators coaching search was materializing, it was a given that Crawford had to be one of the front-runners, if not the front runner, right? Not so fast as General Manager Pierre Dorion elected to hire Guy Boucher which nothing against Guy but the point of contention goes out to Marc Crawford accepting an associate role with the Sens. It's been long reported that Crawford was desiring a return to the National Hockey League but I construed as that meaning that Marc would only return if given head responsibilities, if not I concluded he would remain with Zurich. What this essentially signifies is the level desperation he had to return to North America even if it means finding himself in one of the more awkward coaching structures seen in league history. With the forwards, one of the hot button topics is where does Kyle Turris land amongst the hierarchy in the center depth? One of the main reasons I classify this a "hot button topic" is because there's a lot of differentiation from experts when viewing Turris' worth. When Turris was brought in to the Nations capital which coincided with him holding out from the Phoenix Coyotes, the goal was to eventually mold him as the long term number one center. His draft stock going way back to 2007 would indicate that this would not be out of the realm but to offer up a different perspective fully understanding that his trade value dropped due to him playing hard ball wit the Coyotes, they only gave up David Rundblad who to date has shown NHL staying power and a second round pick. So basically with that given package in return, if he became a  number one than the Senators management team can indulge in jumping jacks, but if not they can sit back and say oh well. The reality is they need Turris to hold down the top fort which only explains that the drafting has been incredibly poor(that's no secret) in recent years and player development has to be a point of prioirty for the rookie General Manager.Wrapping this back around to Turris, although his weakness around the boards is cause for concern, he's an exceptional passer, a more polished version of, and if you're aware about my thoughts regarding the player this echoes little complimentary essences, Ryan Nugent Hopkins. The comparison of Turris and Nugent-Hopkins is a fair one as both hail from British Columbia, both are smaller stature and both are members of organizations that likely over value their abilities. Another player that I have my eye on this coming year is Matt Puempel. I fondly remember Puempel going back to his junior days with the Peterborough Petes and back then(his last of junior commenced in 2012-2013) he was a player that was projected as a sure fire top six forward and no question his development has slowed professionally. Here's what I surmise has happened to Matt. In junior, and this is part of the reason why he never cracked Canada's World Junior team,he was a shooter, never bought into the team concept and didn't play the prototypical sixty foot game and became complacent. Luke Richardson who oversaw his development the last couple years in Binghamton has attempted to indoctrinate a defensive prowess that would allow him to be trusted at the top level and solely basing off of his increased games played in 2015-2016, he started to take what was asked to heart. A new coaching staff puts a wrench in his continued confidence but maybe Boucher who isn't as far removed from the junior game, I'm not saying Dave Cameron was either but the style Boucher asks is more conducive to offensive players.  I not only expect Puempel to crack the every day lineup but further to that don't be surprised if Guy persuades Matt to become the shooter we all know he can be  his numbers might be substantially greater under his guidance.

I know most reading this will suggest the Senators strength is their defence and I unequivocally disagree with that assertion. I'm not beneath bold proclamations, but Erik Karlsson is the most overrated defenceman in the National Hockey League and this isn't the first time I've shared this thought. What Karlsson does aggravates coaches because he beats to his own drum and refuses to adapt to nightly game plans. Let me put it to you this way, when a defenceman consistently leads his team in scoring then that "defenceman" isn't committing to required responsibilities and is a liability in his own zone.  Some of the leagues elite defenceman, to list a few, Drew Doughty, P.K Subban, Oliver Ekman Larsson all are gifted offensively but what separates themselves from Karlsson is that they take pride preventing the puck from reaching the back of their net while Erik is cherry picking near center ice when his team is pinned deep. Bottom line, I don't care whether he accumulates eighty two points or one hundred eighty two points, I want him nowhere my team until he figures out that the game of hockey is about more then making the cut for "Highlight of the Night", it's about displaying leadership, he's the captain for gosh sakes and demonstrating the propensity it takes to propel this unit to the playoffs. It's as if Karlsson is starting to believe his own press and because of all the wide spread lauding pertaining to his game and I put partial blame onto the voters for the Norris who up until this year don't reward the complete defenceman and egg Erik on to keep sliding by and disregard team unity. Another player that throughout the years that's let his own press get the best of him is Dion Phaneuf.  Back in the World Juniors from 2004 in what many still call the greatest Canadian  World Junior team of all time, legendary announcer now property of NBC Pierre McGuire coined the term "Double Dion" when Dion, while facing off against the pesky Czech Republicans, absolutely annihilated two Czech players with one hit including former Florida Panther Rotislav Olesz. Dion had a commendable junior career under the tutelage of Brent Sutter in Red Deer and the widespread consensus was the Calgary Flames had found their first marquee defenceman since Al MacInnis patrolled the Red Mile in the late eighties/early nineties.but that excitement quickly filtered into anguish. To put in perspective, over his first four years he rallied for two hundred and six points, an offensive dynamo to put it mildly but over the last nine years he's weezled his way to a meager two hundred and sixteen. In my opinion, there are a few reasons for his downfall but one I wanted to focus on was the wear and tear his type of approach can put on the body. Dion did everything with excessive force early on, if he was going to hit you, he'd make sure to run you through the boards, if he took an one timer pass he'd make sure his slapshot broke the glass reminiscent of Fulton Reed. To carry that charisma over a long, prosperous career just wasn't sustainable. His young over exuberance translated to, I won't go as far to say as "damaged goods" as he entered Leaf land and eventually Ottawa but for someone who was once perceived as a building block, all that's left of him now is riding the twine now as a third pairing defenceman.  We've dissected Karlsson(more flaws then a Ryan Fitzpatrick spiral) Dion Phaneuf(makes Luke Schenn look like a speedskater) but there are in fact some, a few positive qualities in this defensive core and the player I wanted to fanboy about is Cody Ceci. Similarly to his anticipated teammate this season Matt Puempel, despite engaging in an oustanding junior career but aside from a sprinkle at the under eighteens, never did make the cut for the Under twenty team. Ceci has quickly becoming a fan favourite on the Rideau Canal, being a raised resident of Ottawa certainly doesn't hurt but it's his demeanor on the ice that has me rejoicing on the endless limitations that he possesses.He's built like a brick so if there was one weakness that I could identify and correct, it would be to pull a page out of the Double Dion playbook and be more tenacious when battling like built bodies in front of the net. His passiveness in that area is basically the only grey area I can locate in his game.

Does the Hamburgler have it in him to rob more prey? The better question is will Andrew Hammond even be given the allotted playing time to rob the aforementioned prey? From where I'm sitting, which happens to be far from Ottawa I'd heavily lean on Craig Anderson.To elaborate as to why, the former Guelph Storm displays  a greater form of consistency in an area that is night and day from when they used to trot out guaranteed losses such as Patrick Lalime and Damien Rhodes. Thirty one wins a year ago on a sub par laden Senator team merits earned starter responsibility. It would be telling if the reigns were given to either Hammond or even more less likely Matt O'Connor as that would dignify an utter rebuild for a fan base that historically doesn't handle losing well.

21.Boston Bruins

General Manager Don Sweeney was crucified at the 2015 National Hockey League draft pertaining to his first round selections. To this day, there has been a great volume of criticism that has followed Sweeney around Massachusetts but this blogger doesn't think the take home from the draft looks as bad as it might have on draft night. Since we're analyzing the plight of the Bruin defenceman, lets observe the selection of Zboril and whether he projects to live up to the billing that was either fairly or unfairly stowed upon him. Zboril is a member of the Saint John Sea Dogs, a teammate of in my opinion more heralded prospect Thomas Chabot and due to that very reason it's plausible to suggest that he gets overlooked most nights. The investigative blogger in me is chewing over whether the Bruins will stomach holding onto Jakob and accept the growing pains that will naturally happen over the course of his rookie campaign because let's not call a spade a spade, the Bruins are in no position to compete for a playoff spot, at best lack the defensive depth to withhold from awarding Zboril a look this coming fall. Some scouting reports I read throughout the course of the year were detailing his thought processes were not enhancing and he was a prone to an assemblage of turnovers and some scouts were penning that Zboril for a lack of a better word, looked "lost" out on the ice. Never fearful with disagreeing, even with scouts who I can't help but respect their opinions, In my few viewings of Zboril I'm noticing an individual, who admittedly yes has got to slow the game down in his own mind but to provide a more positive spin, his natural raw talent arguably should've supplanted him within the top ten of the '15 draft. Is it advisable for a team that is in the process of re-tooling to exhaust a year out of a promising first rounders entry level deal? This could be a hotly contested topic and if it wasn't obvious enough I would find a way to give him an extended look but am getting the reaction that a return to beautiful Saint John, New Brunswick may be in the cards. The theme of the backend should be youth and if I'm going out of my way profiling players who may in fact not spend the season with the big club then I sincerely apologize. There's a reason for my madness. The self explanatory response would be that I should be saluting the great career of Zdeno Chara and what he could serve for the group in 2016-2017. While what Chara has done as a member of, ironically the two teams summarized tonight the Bruins and Senators, the value that he could contribute to this current group is minimal at best. Off ice leadership is vastly overrated because it's from my experience that you can be the most respected person on the planet however if all you can do is talk the talk but can't walk the walk, you're irrelevant for a professional sports organization. Hot take, sure but I'm just telling it how I see it. Getting back to defenceman who will undoubtedly contribute in the very near future, let's take a swipe at Colin Miller. Miller was very much a part of the 2015 draft shenanigans that Sweeney partook in. Originally seen as a throw in that sent Milan Lucic to Los Angeles, Miller came in immediately and exuded no rookie nerves.The delusionals out there that will theorize that Colin isn't even the best Miller on the team which is absolutely absurd logic, more crazy than the infamous Sheldon Cooper, and like Sheldon reiterates, his mother had him tested. He's a fifth round pick(151st overall) what! Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was a fifth round pick and I don't see Star supporters agonizing over the pick, quite the opposite actually, so Bruin fans remember where you get picked doesn't amount to anything unless you part the hard work in and Colin has done just that which has propelled him to soon to be NHL regular defenceman.

The Bruins, thankfully for their fan base that is used to winning teams in just about every other professional sport has much more to look forward to this year when it comes to their forwards. Ancient memory are the faces of the aformentioned Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and former World Junior captain Daniel Paille who were important role players on the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship winning team. Hoping to be a part of the next Bruins dynasty are Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron along with newcomer David Backes. Backes and Marchand are the two Bruins I want to focus on for completely different reasons. Let's begin with the tenacious Marchand. Marchand is a polarizing figure because it's no secret that part of Marchand's stigma is that he thrives getting under the opposition's skin and it's that annoyance that he brings with him on the ice that I can appreciate. Earlier in his career he was unfairly placed in the same threshold of which Sean Avery conducted himself,. It's literally day and night between the two as the undeniable difference is that unlike Avery, Marchand can play as evidenced from his numerous inclusions in International tournaments. In fairness to Avery although his reputation precedes him, the one particular incident that I sided with him on was that stick swinging in front of the net to "distract" Martin Brodeur. To me, although it's unofficially classified as the Sean Avery rule, I stand in the minority by saying that I don't see an issue with it. You're swinging your stick side to side not once making physical contact with the goaltender thus you're not effecting the outcome of the play. How is it any different then in baseball when to reference a play from a while back featuring the Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees when on a weak fly ball to the shortstop, after rounding second base Alex Rodriguez, Alex screamed something along the lines of "got it" to pysche the infielder out. Unethical possibly, although I'm of the opinion that in professional sports you do anything to gain a competitive edge. As long as you don't break the rules, bending the rules is perfectly acceptable. That got me off on a brief tangent but let's get back on course by discussing Marchand. Marchand had a career year in 2015-2016 accumulating thirty seven goals and he's showing something that I've long known, and that's Marchand is a certifiable star and is beginning to gain full trust out of coach Claude Julien. What has surprised me most is his propensity to create gold out of seemingly constant coal behind the net. His linemate Patrice Bergeron is more renowned for his penalty killing and defensive penchant and the fact that you forget whether that's Marchand or Gretzky behind the net is remarkable. The common concurrence is that Bergeron has made Marchand the player he is today but truth to be told we have ti backwards, lately it's been Marchand that has assisted Bergeron securing multiple Olympic berths. Lastly, and this won't seem so joyous, what the heck was Sweeney thinking giving David Backes that kind of term? David Backes is nothing more than a third line center that was forced to play a top six role due to goal deficiency the St.Louis Blues found themselves in. What I can't begin to fathom is the peculiar fit that Backes appears to be in Boston. The 2011 team would've been more applicable for a player of his elk and his speed(or lack thereof) would've compatible to some of the players they enlisted in then but the 2016 team is a unit that encourages speed and quick puck movement, traits that don't necessarily go hand in hand with David.  I'm not claiming to be a Bruin fan, but for a Bruins fan sake I hope with the contractual terms that the Bruins must abide by that it doesn't begin to alienate someone like a Ryan Spooner who was blossoming to be the # 2 center but with Backes stepping in I hope that doesn't send mixed signals to Spooner who was fantastic a year ago.

Bar none,Tuuka Rask is one of the NHL's best puckstoppers. What Rask needs to control is his temperament. When the going gets tough, his mental fortitude deteriorates to a point where he rubs off negatively on some of his younger teammates. When Tim Thomas was firmly planted in Boston which seems like ages ago, although it helped the American city of champions win another ring, one wonders whether Thomas' attitude wasn't the best of role models for at the time the twenty four year old  who falsely now assumes that the worse times get that it's okay to explode emotionally. It's imperative that goaltenders through thick and thin showcase a calm presence as the last line of defence needs to show confidence to the rest of his crew. It is kind of funny that with how successful Thomas was that it generated a cynical environment in goal. If Rask's head is on straight, it becomes the unquestionable strength as there's a lot to like when you unsuccessfully scrutinize his technical abilities.