Everything's dumber in Dallas


Everything's dumber in Dallas

By Jon Fucile

Multiple-choice question time. Pretend you are Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. You just built a billion dollar stadium and you are hosting the Super Bowl there.

Dallas winters are not as bad as New England winters, obviously, but ice storms for this time of year are not unheard of. When you were building the stadium would you:

A) Make sure the building is equipped to handle an ice storm, just in case
B) If not equipped, have a plan in place to handle an ice storm
C) Do nothing

Not sure A or B applies usually because the Cowboys like to choke, but just play along.

Weather reports came in a week before the Super Bowl predicting an ice storm. The storm hits as predicted, but you still have a few days to clean everything up and get the icicles off the sides of the building so they dont fall and hit people. Would you:

A) Pay to make sure the ice and snow is being removed properly in time for the game
B) Take measures to ensure that fans are not in danger and that everyone gets into the game smoothly.
C) Do nothing and hope no one sues if injured

In an attempt to feed your ego and set an attendance record for a Super Bowl, you have a temporary seating structure built to fit more fans into your stadium. A fire marshal does not have time to approve the structure and determine if it would pose a safety hazard to fans, and thus it is banned from being used. Would you:

A) Pay to fix that section since you can quite obviously afford to and make it safe for human habitation
B) Make arrangements for people who would sit in those seats to be seated somewhere else prior to the game
C) Ignore the problem, who cares about these peon fans

Now pretend youre the NFL. You know at least a week ahead of time that this temporary seating structure has not been approved by a fire marshal. Would you:

A) Not sell tickets for that section
B) Contact the people who bought tickets in that section and offer them seating in another section of the stadium
C) Sell the tickets anyway, let those people make travel plans and laugh all the way to the bank

If you answered C to all three questions, congratulations! You have the same go-get-em, ignore-the-fans, we-super-duper-love-money attitude as Jerry Jones and the NFL!

Yes, the same league that hates touchdown celebrations, hitting, and basic fun struck again this past week by producing one of the biggest Super Bowl fails of all time.

First seven people were injured, one critically, when melting ice and snow fell from the roof of Cowboy Stadium and struck the poor unsuspecting people.

Yes, despite knowing about the storm the NFL and the Cowboys did nothing and people were injured when people were way too incompetent to clean up. High fives guys!

Then because of the melting snow and ice and risk for further injury, several of the entrances to Cowboy Stadium were shut down, causing waits of up to an hour and forty-five minutes just to get into the game. Super Bowl fever! CATCH IT!

But thats not all! No, not even close.

The NFL, knowing the temporary seating structure the Cowboys built was not approved by a fire marshal sold the tickets anyway, seats with a face value of 800 that were surely sold for at least double and then prevented over 1200 people who held tickets to that section from entering the game.

850 fans were eventually supposedly given better or equal seats. What about the remaining 400?

Fans of both the Steelers and Packers who had spent lots of money and lots of time traveling to Texas just to see their favorite team in the Super Bowl were simply told too bad, go home, your section might kill you and we dont really care.

A league led by a commissioner who is trying to crack down on player conduct basically knowingly and willingly stole from fans. Sure, some of the fans that didnt get in were giving triple the face value of their ticket and tickets to next years Super Bowl but many of these fans paid triple face value anyway, paid travel expenses getting to Dallas and were there for the memories of watching their favorite team in the Super Bowl.

The league is making the best of a bad situation, but the bad situation was completely of its own doing. It wasn't an unforeseen circumstance that led to these folks getting kicked out of the stadium. It was a baffling oversight by whoever was in charge of getting the seats ready, said Chris Chase of Yahoo.

So lets recap . . . the NFL sold these tickets, let these people wait almost two hours in line and then said 'Hahahahahaha! thanks for the money, you cant get in.'

From an article on Yahoo.com:
Others said they had paid up to 3,000 for their seats and were not happy about the NFLs offer to give them three times the amount in a refund.What about our travel and hotel expenses? one man shouted.

Has there been a bigger bunch of idiots since the city of Philadelphia was first built?

Who knows? Maybe the NFL was just practicing for the lockout when they kept those fans out of the game. Way to keep it classy. 'The No Fun League' just took on a whole new meaning.

Bruins bouncing between left wings Schaller and Spooner on Krejci line


Bruins bouncing between left wings Schaller and Spooner on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It certainly doesn’t feel like it will go on forever this way for the Bruins, but at this point it’s essentially a case of musical left wings on the David Krejci line as it’s been for much of this season. 

Ryan Spooner has spent the majority of the season adjusting to playing the wing with Krejci, and has been just okay trying to play away from his natural center spot while using his speed and playmaking on the wing. But the speedy Spooner also spent his share of time lately on the fourth line after getting off to a slow offensive start this season with three goals and eight points along with a minus-1 rating in 23 games. 

The bouncing between the second and fourth line has undoubtedly been frustrating for the 24-year-old getting pushed off his natural position after posting 49 points in his first full year as a third line center. But Spooner has continued to toe the company line, work on keeping his confidence high for a productive offensive season and do what he needs to in an effort to get off a fourth line.

That’s opened the door for hard-nosed former Providence College standout Tim Schaller to get some top-6 forward time on the Krejci line as well, but he’s just posted a single assist in the last three games while working hard to keep up offensively with David Krejci and David Backes. The 6-foot-2, 219-pound Schaller has the grittiness to do the dirty work for that line in the corners and in front of the net, and he can certainly skate well enough for a big, energy forward. 

“To think this was going to happen, I would say ‘no’,” said Schaller when asked if he could have predicted at the start of the season that he’d be getting a look from the B’s in a top-6 role. “I’ve been able to play with whoever and whenever my whole career. I wouldn’t want to say it’s one of those things that I had expected, but I’m always ready for it. 

“We’ve been working pretty well together. I don’t know that we’ve had too many great [offensive] opportunities to capitalize on, but Backes and Krejci are good enough players that they’ll come. They’re good enough to bury on those chances, so the goals will come. I’m always going to play the same way no matter who I’m with. Those guys might have the puck on their sticks a little longer than other linemates of mine, but that will just create more space and opportunities.”

So Spooner and Schaller bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table as the B’s coaching staff searches for the right fit alongside Krejci and Backes, and Julien sounds like a coach that’s going to keep swinging back and forth between the two players. He certainly did that with Spooner during the third period in Philly, which led to an immediate goal for Krejci in the third period comeback, and toward the end of the Carolina win with the B's desperate for offense. 

Julien also didn’t rule out Matt Beleskey getting another look there as well with the Bruins having a tough time finding anybody to consistently fill Loui Eriksson’s role from last season.

“At times I don’t think that offense has been producing much because maybe it’s lacking a little bit of speed at that time, so you put Spooner back up there. But sometimes you feel like that line isn’t winning enough battles or spending enough time in the offensive zone, so you put Schaller back in there because he’s going to play a little grittier. So we’re looking there,” said Julien. “We’d love to be able to find somebody to be a consistent player there. We’ve had Matt Beleskey there and that line never really did anything. 

“[Beleskey] has been much better on the [third] line and he’s been getting more chances, so I’ve been trying to put the best scenario together, I guess. Sometimes it’s the situation and sometimes it’s the matchup [against the other team] as well. So there are different reasons for that. I’ve just got to make it work. If it’s working with [Schaller] on that night then you stick with it, and if you don’t think you’re getting enough then you move [Spooner] there and see if you can a little spark with some speed. It doesn’t mean Beleskey won’t go back there. That’s what we have right now.”

So it’s clear Julien, and the B’s coaching staff, have simply tried to find something that will work on a consistent basis with a couple of key offensive players on Boston’s second most important forward line. The one wild card in all of this: the impending return of Frank Vatrano, who has been skating for nearly two weeks as he works toward a return from foot surgery.

Vatrano was initially penciled in as the left winger alongside Krejci to start NHL camp this fall, and the Bruins were hoping he was going to build on the eight goals he scored in Boston last season in a limited role.

Vatrano could be ready to play within the next couple of weeks, and should be back in the B’s lineup prior to the early January timetable originally offered at the time of his surgery. So perhaps the 22-year-old Vatrano can end this season-long carousel of Bruins left wingers getting paraded on and off the Krejci line, and finally give the B’s greater options at left wing. 

But the Czech playmaking center could use some stability also as he looks to find the highest level of his game in a challenging year for the Black and Gold, and do it while the Bruins find the right kind of talent to skate alongside him.