Monday, March 02, 2015

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 2/28/15

I've been asked to comment about the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. All I will say is THIS: Page 128 guys--PAGE 128..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1992-'93 Montreal Canadiens--who won the Stanley Cup under coach Jacques Demers--had FOUR players on the roster who tallied 30 or more goals apiece. Can you name this talented quartet? Answer to follow..........The Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance (CSWA) has announced that Middletown High's Dario Highsmith and Capital Prep's Kiah Gillespie have been selected as the Hal Levy High School Athletes of the Year. This is the fourth year of this special award--named in honor of the late Shore Line Newspapers sports editor and former CSWA president. Highsmith is the all-time rushing leader in Middletown High football history with 6,612 yards and had 70 career rushing TD's. Gillespie--the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year ( CT basketball)--has led her team to a pair of consecutive state championships and has scored over 1,500 points during her stellar career; she also maintains a 3.72 GPA in the classroom. This pair of outstanding teens will be honored at the 74th Gold Key Dinner--to be held April 26th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Tickets ($75) can be obtained by contacting CSWA President Matt Conyers at (860) 874-4166 or VP Tim Jensen at tim@enfieldsource.com..........*Question: When LPGA golfer Brooke Pancake shoots a bad round/has a bad day on the course, shouldn't it be referred to as a "flat" performance? (sorry, folks)..........Nearly a month has passed, and I'll ask the question once AGAIN: Did the Seattle Seahawks actually THROW that pass--REALLY?????...........Would you like to combine fitness along with aiding a TERRIFIC cause? "Walk MS"--a fundraising event of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society--will take place here in Connecticut at various sites on the weekends of April 18th and 25th. Each walk site will feature 2.5 and 5-mile fully accessible routes and participants will enjoy lunches provided by Coca Cola and Subway. Walking with a team is a great way to unite co-workers and boost company morale while proceeds go to raising essential funds for research/services for people with MS. More information about this very noble cause can be gathered by visiting www.nationalmssociety.org and checking out the "Upcoming Events" section..........My good friend Frank Marcucio--head football coach at Westhill (CT) High--recently alerted me to an incredible gesture performed by NIKE CEO Mark Parker. Parker, a Westhill alumnus, has decided to donate 80 home and away uniforms to the football program--incorporating the "Mach Speed" design that was used in the national championship game between Ohio State and Oregon. Sure--Parker has the authority and financial means to do such kind acts. But it's still very refreshing to see an individual NOT forget his/her roots--and be able to put smiles on the faces of many young people (some of whom are underprivileged). Nice job/classy act, Mr. Parker..........NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton holds the single-season league record for most assists per game with an outrageous mark of 14.54 during the 1989-'90 season. Just wondering: Do you think Stockton sends Karl Malone a bottle of champagne each year at Christmas in order to continue celebrating this remarkable feat?..........A-ROID of the New York Yankees is scheduled to earn approximately $22 million in 2015. Based on 450 at-bats or so, that means he'll earn almost $49,000 for each chorus of boos he hears this upcoming season. Yeah, I'd GLADLY accept booing at those kinda prices--how 'bout you?.........Just recently, I came across a picture of ageless beauty Christie Brinkley (she's 61, folks)--taken outside the ABC Studios in NYC. Yes, my offer for a tennis date with this physically-gifted woman has no expiration date (OK, I'll admit it--I'm NOT holding my breath). Geez, and I used to think that NFL legend George Blanda was the "poster person" for aging gracefully..........Former major league second baseman Steve Sax continues to do great things during his post-playing days. He currently runs the Steve Sax Foundation--whose mission is to motivate and mentor young individuals while offering hope through opportunity. Sax is involved with various organizations/parents in order to provide a platform for positivity, but his main purpose is THIS: Raise the bar of expectancy within the hearts and minds of our young people. I heard from Sax recently; he told me that the Foundation will also help guide/mentor children of individuals who have died while serving our country or in the line of duty--at no cost. To find out more about the Foundation and the great work that Sax is involved in, please visit www.stevesaxfoundation.org.......... Answer to trivia question: BRIAN BELLOWS (40), VINCENT DAMPHOUSSE (39), KIRK MULLER (37), and STEPHAN LEBEAU (31)..........Finally, sad news to report as former NBA forward Anthony Mason died this past weekend at the tender age of 48; he had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few weeks ago. Altogether, he played 13 seasons in the NBA between 1989 and 2003; he also spent time playing in the CBA and overseas, as well. Mason will be best remembered for his five-year tenure with the N.Y. Knicks ('91-'96); he was instrumental in helping the team reach the NBA Finals in 1994. He won the NBA's "Sixth Man Award" following the '94-'95 season and was an All-Star in 2001 while playing in Miami. For his career, Mason averaged 10.9 ppg/8.3 rpg while appearing in almost 900 regular season games. From this day forward, when I think of Anthony Mason, the word "gritty" will always come to mind. Rest in peace, Anthony, while condolences go out to the entire Mason family.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 2/14/15


If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is worth $35 million per year, then the legendary Fred Astaire had two left feet and ZERO coordination..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2001-'02 Orlando Magic were led in three-point goals made (and percentage) by a former player who was never a regular starter in the NBA. Can you name this former sharpshooter? Answer to follow..........Did you know that the 2002-'03 Carolina Hurricanes scored just 171 goals (dead last in the NHL)--and were led in scoring by Jeff O'Neill with a modest total of just 61 points? They also gave up the third-highest number of goals (240) in the league--which is a good reason why they finished with a not-so-stellar record of 22-43-11-6 under coach Paul Maurice..........The Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance (CSWA) has announced that Valley Regional/Old Lyme football coach Tom King and Haddam-Killingworth volleyball coach Richard Langer have been selected as the Doc McInerney High School Coaches of the Year. These gentlemen will be honored--along with many others--at the 74th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 26th, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. King led his football squad to its very first state football title this past fall while Langer guided his girls volleyball team to the Class S state championship in his 40th and final season. Tickets to this esteemed, yearly event ($75) can be obtained by contacting CSWA President Matt Conyers at mconyers@courant.com or VP Tim Jensen at tim@enfieldsource.com..........It's been more than two weeks since Super Bowl XLIX, but can someone out there STILL confirm for me that Seattle THREW that pass? SERIOUSLY?..........*Question: Shouldn't they simply rename the NHL record book "The Life and Times of Wayne Gretzky?"..........How 'bout PGA golfer Brandt Snedeker--shooting four rounds of 67 or under at last weekend's Pebble Beach Pro-Am? He broke his OWN scoring record at the tournament--finishing 22-under par. The topper? He became the first PGA golfer in almost 4 years to win a tournament with one bogey or fewer (yes, he had just ONE). It's just very impressive to see a guy who's battled injuries over the past few years make such a "splash" on a golf course that borders a beach (sorry, folks)..........If anyone out there can pronounce the name of women's tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on his/her first attempt, then you should be employed as a linguistics professor somewhere--and probably NOT reading this sports column..........Let me get this straight: Alabama State signs well-respected football coach/former NFL player Reggie Barlow to an extension last September (well-deserved)--then RESCINDS the contract a few months later. What does the school proceed to do? They hire former Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins--who is now accused of mistreating players, providing improper benefits, and even threatening players with a knife while at B-CU. Ahhh--just another day in the "squeaky clean" world of an organization better known as the NCAA, my friends..........Checking just ONE more time: The Seahawks THREW that ball??????..........ITEM: 44-year-old Jason Giambi announces his retirement from MLB after spending 20 seasons in the "bigs." Here are some telling #'s: Giambi had a career batting average of .309 through his first eight seasons. His average over the final 12 seasons of his MLB tenure? A "robust" .238. It appears that his body started showing the wear and tear of steroid use when he reached the age of 32 or so--causing him various injuries and rendering him a less-disciplined hitter. But at least the guy ADMITTED doing steroids--unlike so many of these other "weasels" over the years who just smiled, went about their "business," and saw their statistics BALLOON..........Answer to trivia question: PAT GARRITY--a Notre Dame product who made 169 shots from "downtown" while shooting an impressive 43% beyond the arc; he played ten seasons in the league between 1998 and 2008..........Finally, it was sad to hear about the recent passing of two of the greatest college basketball coaches of all-time--Dean Smith and Jerry Tarkanian--who died at ages 83 and 84 respectively. They combined for over 1,600 victories and three national championships; Smith spent his entire 36-year head coaching career at North Carolina--sending more than 50 players to the ABA or NBA. "Tark" had coaching stops at Long Beach State, UNLV, and Fresno State but will be best known for his "Runnin' Rebels" team of 1990 that crushed Duke 103-73 in the national championship game. Although they went about their business (and the recruiting process) in slightly different ways, there is no doubting that these two talented individuals could flat-out COACH. In all seriousness, the college game hasn't been the same since they both exited. Rest in peace, gentlemen.