We are seeing something very special on the hockey front right now. Martin Brodeur, undoubtedly the greatest active goalie in the NHL, has just returned from a long absence due to a serious injury. He went down with an arm injury on November 1 which required surgery, and he was expected to miss the year. The guy is coming up on 37 years old, and he has played a ton of games, so it was hard to be positive about his prognosis. He was ready to return to action this week much earlier than expected, but even that wasn’t necessarily good news – in Brodeur’s absence, Scott Clemmensen had stepped up and played spectacularly, but with Brodeur back and the third goalie, Kevin Weekes, not having a two-way contract, Clemmensen went from starter to the minors. That could have had a negative effect on morale for a young team with a new coaching staff. No need to worry, as it turns out. Brodeur has now played three games, and he has two shtouts, and he allowed just goals goals in the third – also a win. On top of that, the three games came in four days. That’s a remarkable half-week for any player, but it is truly incredible when you consider the circumstances. Unfortunately, it makes things more difficult for bettors down the stretch. I wasn’t confident that Clemmensen could hold up under the pressure of the late season and the playoffs, so I didn’t see New Jersey as a top contender in the East. That’s all changed now.
I am a curse of death for college basketball teams. Earlier this week I was thinking that Missouri was an interesting team that was going to fly under the radar en route to big things. So then they went out and got absolutely crushed lifeless by Kansas. That makes it hard to believe in the Tigers as a big time contender. Kansas, on the other hand, is a very interesting team. At the beginning of the season they looked like a real mess, but with each game they look better and better. I’m still nervous about them, but I am becoming more and more of a believer.
Geoff Ogilvy absolutely rolled to the Match Play win – his second in four years at the event – and proved that he is every bit Tiger’s equal (at least) in the format. It was a truly dominant win over Paul Casey. It is endlessly fascinating to me how a guy can be good enough to make it all the way to the final and look good doing it, and then get totally overrun in the final. Competition is interesting stuff.