Celtics fans: Get ready for the stretch run. Here's everything you need to know

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about the Boston Celtics men’s professional basketball club. I’m dearly sorry to keep you waiting for so long. It won’t happen again, I promise. My randomly ordered thoughts on what’s transpired around the Celtics lately are as follows: To trade, or not to trade? Not to trade! Now that all of the All-Star weekend festivities are over (shoutout to Jayson and Kemba), it’s time for us NBA fans to shift our focus to the future. There is a 24-game run to the playoffs coming up, and after trade rumors were abuzz for weeks prior to the deadline, Danny Ainge and the Celtics’ front office decided their best course of action was to stay put, citing “health

Tourney Pondering....

The Maine High School Basketball Tournament week just finished up and we now steer towards that early spring promised by ol' Pux Phil. For the first time in years, I had no immediate personal connection with any of the teams other than my alma mater in Central / Corinth. By the way, kudos to those Red Devils as they gave everything against a great Dexter boys team who is now playing for that gold ball. I could write about the usual spectator behavior, the price of food or even the new security setup, which honestly was not all that much of an intrusion. However, with the angst in our country today due to the upcoming elections, I thought we would keep things simple and sweet. Speaking of swe

It's not just Snickers that I find satisfying

Fill-in the blank: This winter season has been ______________. My word? Unsatisfying. Your word may be different than mine, depending on your opinion of winter. To me, winter in Maine is all about snow. Ample snowfall for skiers, snowmobilers, snow-shoe types and the like. Yet so far, our winter of 2019-2020 has been quite wimpy when it comes to snowfall…..that is….depending on where you happen to be taking measurements. In the greater Bangor region, we’ve only shoveled a measly 40” of the white stuff, which is well below normal. On the other hand, folks in the County have been reveling amidst their towering snowbanks. For example, Caribou has more than doubled Bangor’s total, with a whoppin

Here are the NFC Teams who might steal TB 12

Last week we reviewed the AFC. This week, the NFC. NFC East Dallas: Nope, they’re going to sign Dak, no matter what Michael Irvin says. New York Giants: Nope they have Daniel…..I can’t even say it with a straight face……..Jones Philadelphia: Nope, too much invested in Carson Wentz. Washington: Nope, they have Cardale Jones. Wait, wrong league. Who the hell would go to Washington? I’m pretty sure if the Redskins played the DC Defenders, the Defenders would be -3 favorites. NFC North Green Bay: Nope, they have Aaron Rodgers and all of his lame commercials. (Nobody on television as much as Rodgers is, has as little charisma Rodgers has.) Minnesota: Nope, they have pledged their undying love to K

Saturday's Fight Leaves Me Longing for The Glory Days of Boxing

I wish boxing was more relevant. I miss the days of the dominant heavyweights like Liston, Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Norton. I long for the days of arguing about who would beat who amongst Hagler, Hearns, Leonard or Duran. Now, I wasn’t alive for any of this, but that doesn’t make me long for it any less. I was around for the highs and lows of Mike Tyson’s career, so I have a grasp of how monumental a big fight can be. How everything stops when on a Saturday night, the entire sports world turns out to see the best of the best fight for the championship of the world. That hasn’t been the case for most of the 2000’s, since the Klitschko brothers essentially locked boxing in a basement and reti

UMaine hockey team enters "The Red Zone"

The college hockey season is a grind. It’s a half year test of physical and mental toughness for players and coaches alike. The University of Maine men’s hockey team has two regular season games left before they enter the Hockey East playoffs. The Black Bears have largely been playing good hockey this semester. They are in third place in the conference standings and as I write this they are nationally ranked at #17. Most fans are justifiably happy with the results to date. But now the team is entering the Red Zone, to steal a football term. It's time to nut up or shut up. Regular season wins don’t mean nearly as much as playoff victories. There was a day this program played for Frozen Four a

There's nothing like tourney time in Maine

If you're a basketball fan in Maine, February vacation week is almost certainly marked on your calendar. No, I'm not talking about Carribean cruises or trips to Mexico. I'm talking about tournament time. The week when basketball fans and media alike descend on Bangor, Augusta and Portland for a week. Heck, it was all those years climbing up and down the bleachers at the old Bangor Auditorium when my father covered games that jumpstarted my interest in writing about sports for a living. The games are fun for all of those involved, whether you're a player, coach, fan, or heck, a sports journalist. The experience is great, but all it takes is a few bad apples to ruin it for all involved. So, fo

UMaine hockey: An opportunity knocks but they didn't answer.

Every season has that one moment where fans and players alike ponder the what if's and what could have been's. It's not impossible to believe that University of Maine hockey fans could look back on last weekend's series with UConn with that same mentality. The Black Bears entered the weekend undefeated at Alfond Arena, but laid an absolute egg in a 3-2 loss on Friday night that could've been worse had it not been for netminder Jeremy Swayman. Maine was outplayed and outcoached in every aspect, falling behind 2-0 in the first period as the Huskies never trailed. The Bears did fight back to tie it only to see Falmouth native Ben Freeman put UConn up to stay in the third period. In desperate ne

AFC: A team by team look at who might steal TB 12

AFC West: Chargers- One of the two teams that make the most rational fit for Brady to sign with. They’re desperate, they’re feeling the strain of fans not caring or more specifically not remembering that they’ve moved to Los Angeles. They need to sell tickets to the new stadium in LA, Brady would help them do this, but would TB12 really want to go to a team that the world is so indifferent towards? Raiders- The other team that makes the most sense is the Raiders, for the same reason as the Chargers because of their move to Vegas, but also because this is such a Jon Gruden move. Switch to a veteran quarterback and bend him to your system. Gruden did it with Rich Gannon in Oakland and Brad Joh

Baseball fans and the media need a kick in the buttocks

Spring training is finally upon us! The long drought from Super Bowl to pitchers and catchers reporting is finally over. Now, if we could just get the media to talk about actual spring training and not some petty “scandal” from two years ago. So the Astros and probably the Red Sox “cheated” by stealing signs. In the immortal words of the late, great Chris Farley “Whoopdie Freaking Doooooh!” It’s old news. It has zero effect on 2020, so can we just let it go already and focus on this season? There hasn’t been a dead horse beaten this badly since that time the Patriots deflated footballs. Enough is enough! Focus on the story lines. There are new managers everywhere. Free agents signings maybe

This UMaine Coach Deserves a Raise. Now.

Amy Vachon deserves a raise. Ken Ralph, make it rain today. Yes, I know she still has two years left on her contract. And I am aware that her team is one game under .500 at 13-14. But I say she still should get some more cash thrown her way because this year she’s turning in one of the best coaching performances in all of women’s basketball. Maine is 9-4 in conference play. They have won 5 games in a row. With three games left in the season the Black Bears are tied for second place in the America East standings. One of their few conference losses is by only four points to Stony Brook, who is 24-1 and has won 21 in a row. On the road. Impressive. And the Black Bears are doing all of this with

Intriguing UMaine baseball season gets underway this week

Looking outside it's hard to comprehend that the UMaine baseball season starts Friday. The Black Bears will be heading south, to South Carolina to be exact, for three games against Winthrop. Maine will play 16 games on the road before they attempt to play at Mahaney Diamond March 28. Last year the Black Bear Baseball team won just 15 games and finished with an overall record of 15-34. That was the program's worst final record in four decades. Program defenders point out that last year Maine played a brutal non conference schedule featuring a handful of nationally ranked teams including two top ten teams. Thats fair. Although given the current state of baseball in Orono, and perhaps the north

Tourney Time Preview

Mid-February is here and that means another Maine High School Basketball Tournament is upon us. For many, including me, this is my favorite time of the year. We might have a snowstorm during tourney week, but there is always one day when you leave the Cross Center with warm rays of the sun on your back. It makes you think spring for a fleeting moment. Anyway, now that we have the pleasantries out of the way, here are a few things to look for as you head to the tourney. The more things change, the more they stay the same. #1 and #2 seed from last year are prevalent in those same spots this year, on both the boys and girls side. Just a few, like the Bangor, Hampden, Caribou, and Jonesport Beal

UMaine hockey season starting to look like a famous sports movie

If you've seen the movie "Major League," you may remember the demented Rachel Phelps angrily asking her general manager "Who do these guys think they are?" when the fictional 1988 Cleveland Indians were making an unexpected pennant charge. Does this University of Maine men's hockey team remind you of that loveable band of misfits in any way? Well, some fans and media alike around Hockey East figured the Black Bears would be closer to the cellar than the top of the league come the first weekend of February, but Red Gendron has this Maine team playing some darned good hockey. Maine continued to hold serve at Alfond Arena on Friday, ending an eight-game losing streak to Northeastern with an imp

Weekend review: New Sox manager, XFL is awesome and more!

The XFL is really fun. The 2020 version of Vince McMahon’s dream of a spring football league might actually work. It’s only one week, but something like this needs momentum. That’s something the AAF never had a year ago and it folded before St. Patrick ’s Day. The XFL needed something to build on and it got it. Solid to good football, inventive new rules like the 1, 2 or 3 point extra try, odd looking kick offs and a broadcast that will see pieces stolen by the NFL. I never thought I’d enjoy watching Jim Zorn calls plays this much, but it was great! Hearing the communication from the coach to the QB and the process of instant replay (which they have on every play) made the lulls in the game

Losing Mookie blows. But it does make some biz sense.

For the first time in way too long I escaped Ice Station Zebra last week for some surf, sun, rest and relaxation. And what happens? In the first 30 hours of my sabbatical from Maine, the Red Sox send away their best player. I’d rather shovel snow than have to write that Mookie Betts is now a member of the Dodgers. At least the petulant and juvenile David Price went with him. We knew a trade was coming but as a lifelong Red Sox fan, this burn from Sox ownership hurts worse than my sunburned forehead. Mookie Betts was a homegrown player with a legit five tool skill set. He was already a league MVP and most likely his best years are ahead of him. He was very personable and to this day I cant fi

Trading Betts: The Sox Come Up Snake Eyes

Without exaggeration this is the worst Red Sox trade since The Babe became a Yankee. This is curse inducingly bad! I didn’t realize how ticked off I was about this entire ordeal, until someone asked me about it in the office this week and it only took me about 27 seconds to start yelling. There is ZERO defense for this trade. ZERO. This isn’t about Mookie Betts’ being selfish or money hungry, this is about the Red Sox painting themselves into a corner with shortsighted signings over a period of time, all the while the Betts contract hung on the horizon like a bad moon rising. It’s amazing that with all of the reasons given defending this decision, fans have bought into any of the rhetoric sl

UMaine Hockey is on a Roll

It's the first weekend of February, and the University of Maine hockey team is two points out of first place in Hockey East. No, you didn't read that wrong, and no, you didn't time-travel back to the mid-2000's. Coach Red Gendron's Black Bears held serve against league bottom-feeder Merrimack and old friend Patrick Holway this weekend, taking care of the 10th-place Warriors 6-2 and 3-2, respectively. There's a few things to break down in the wake of this series, so let's get right to it. The Bears are now 14-9-4 overall and 8-7-2 in Hockey East, and are tied with three other teams for fourth place in the league. Maine is also just two points behind Boston College and UMass, who share the top

My Wish List For The Next Decade

As 2019 continues to fade to black in our rear-view mirrors, some of us mourn the loss of what was in the decade now past, while others are content to say adios to the past ten years. Time for a fresh start! As for yours truly, the past ten years treated the McKay gang favorably, yet we have been intentionally adopting a spirit of thankfulness for the past, while also looking forward to the next ten years. Whilst contemplating the new decade we’ve just launched ourselves into recently, I couldn’t help but ponder what may come our way in the coming decade, which then morphed into a sort of “wish-list.” What would I like to see happen in the next ten years? Here’s a peek at some of what was me

Here's One Team That Just Might Steal TB 12

This blog originally aired as a Jeff's Take on WABI TV 5 News. If you’re like me, you’re keeping a close eye on the Tom Brady free agency rumors. And man there are a ton of them. I don’t believe most of what I hear, but there IS a team out there that I think could steal our guy when free agency starts in mid March. According to Draft Kings, their odds have New England as having the best shot at keeping TB 12. I agree. But I truly fear the LA Chargers. They are a legit threat. The Chargers have pretty much parted ways with Philip Rivers, who has packed up and moved to Florida. So the job is open. They are moving into their new amazing 70,000 seat stadium. They need fans to fill the seats. The

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