Random thoughts: Skills set NHL all-stars apart

by Gary Shelton on January 28, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Sunday, 3 a.m.

 I'm sorry, but I'm a sucker for the NHL skills competition. That's what sets the NHL all-star weekend above most of the others. The accuracy shooting is breathtaking, I find.

-- The best performance by a Lightning player? How about Brayden Point in the fastest skater competition? And didn't it feel good to see ex-Tampa Bay player Brian Boyle grinning?

-- I like the home run derby. I like the slam dunk contest, even though it's won by players I've never heard of. But the skills competition is a hoot.

-- The best thing about the XFL's return are the possibilities for bad quarterbacks. Akiki Smith? DeMarcus Russell? Ryan Leaf? Come on down!

-- Not to alarm anyone, but this will be the 20th time the Bucs' original No. 1 draft pick was in the top 10. Anyone want to bet on next year?

-- I don't know where Jalen Ramsey passed from "fresh and new" to "annoying," but it was a couple of mile markers past.

-- The Pro Hockey Writers like what they've seen out of the Lightning. In their mid-season awards, they see: Nikita Kucherov winning the Hart (MVP), Andrei Vasilevskiy winning the Vezina. Trophy (best goaltender), Victor Hedman winning the Norris (best defenseman) and Steven Stamkos winning the Comeback Player of the Year. The writers see Jon Cooper finishing second in the Jack Adams (coach of the year) and Steve Yzerman second in the GM of the year. Hedman was third in the Rod Langway (best stay-at-home defenseman).

-- If you're dying to make a bet, the line on betting on Pink's time in the national anthem is two minutes.

-- Ex-Kentucky quarterback-and-a-half Jared Lorenzen, known as the Hefty Lefty, said he'd like to join the XFL. FortheWin.com has his jersey in mind, complete with the nickname on the back. "He Ate Me."

-- CBSsports.com gives the Raiders only a B+ for hiring Jon Gruden, lower than the Colts' hiring of Josh McDaniels or the Lions' hiring of Matt Patricia. It's probably because Gruden has been missing from the game as long as the flying wedge.

-- I loved Jerry Rice. But the thought of Rice playing at age 55 sends shudders up your spine. Forget about concussion protocol. How about falling and breaking a hip protocol?

-- It's a fact that singing in the Super Bowl boosts an artists' sales. I wonder what it did for Up With People back in 1980?

-- It was cool of Cam Jordan to buy Super Bowl tickets for a 108-year-old Saints fan. In case you're wondering, Pro Football had no teams in 1910. It was a lot like being in Cleveland.

-- It's interesting that Gerald McCoy wants the Bucs to re-sign Michael Bennett and Aqib Talib. How about Trent Dilfer and Lars Tate?

-- Here's a familiar name. Mike White of Western Kentucky, once at South Florida, is ranked by TheBigLead.com as the 10th-best quarterback entering the draft. Quinton Flowers, who replaced him quite capably, is not listed.

-- Mike Bianchi predicts that Tim Tebow will be the No. 1 draft pick by an Orlando franchise in the XFL. Jack Thompson, the Throwing Samoan, will be No. 2.

-- If I'm Caroline Wozniaki, I'm wearing Richard Petty's number today. Also: Troy Palomalu. Also Dennis Eckersley. Also: Jack Sikma. Wozniaki won her first grand slam in her 43rd attempt Saturday. That puts her among the best No. 43s of them all.

-- I see where Richie Incognito "apologized and we hugged it out" for his alleged racial slurs against Yannick Ngakoue. But isn't that admitting he made them?

-- A question making the rounds is whether Michael Jordan's dynasty was superior to Tom Brady's. I'd say that Jordan was the most dynamic player, but Brady's franchise run is more impressive. It's harder to do in football. The Pistons had a mini-run, and the Lakers, and the Spurs. But who has been close to what the Patriots have accomplished?

-- Okay, quick poll. Who in Tampa Bay sports is more admired than Lightning owner Jeff Vinik? Considering the owners that we've had, that's a heck of an accomplishment.

-- Interesting to read that the Rays' Chris Archer is training in Muay Thai. The major leagues have had a lot of playerswh have trained on Mai Tais.

-- I can't wait for the fiction-spinners of I, Tonya to make more movies. How about I, O.J., in which O.J. is hounded by Marcia Clark, who is waving a limp, undersized glove while O.J. is giving Christmas gifts to the children.

-- Then again, there is the Rosie Ruiz story, in which Rosie stops to help a broken down car while running one-legged through Boston. I, Rosie will make you feel like you aren't even running..

-- How about I, Mac. It's about Mark McGwire, starring PeeWee Herman as McGwire before he discovered steroids.

--Then there is I, Lance, about a poor, disadvantaged biker who can't even afford his own blood.

-- Coming soon: I, Manson. And I, Hernandez. And I, Pistorius. Lot of money to made if you don't worry about the facts.






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