Shooting from the lip
There was no shortage of opinions over the weekend on the sudden resignation of Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight, who left the door open in a chat with ESPN's Jay Bilas that he might coach again someday. ESPN's Doug Gottlieb had the strongest take, although it's hard to agree with it totally.
Gottlieb said: "So he's tired, he's too tired to go on the road to Baylor, but he's not tired of coaching. So he's tired of coaching Texas Tech. This is Hypocrisy 101 by Professor Robert Montgomery Knight. If a player quit on the team with 10 games to go, he would be a quitter. How can you walk away from a school that gave you a contract extension in September? … This is par for the course for Bob Knight. He's a guy who preaches and teaches discipline and the chain of command yet he has no personal discipline of his own to speak of.''
First, we have no way of knowing how Knight was feeling mentally and physically before he resigned, but if he felt he was not giving his players the attention and coaching they needed and deserved then not only should he walk away, he had an obligation to walk away. Here's another thought: Many of us are always so quick to jump on Knight for his outbursts and boorish behavior when his frustrations take over. Just maybe he felt his frustrations starting to get the best of him and walked away before he had another "episode.'' If that's the case, then good for him. This time, maybe he did the right thing.
Most interesting quote
In an interview with CBS's Seth Davis, Bob Knight's son, Pat, was asked if his father would coach again.
Pat Knight said, "I don't know. Right now, I'd say no because of the recruiting. Recruiting is a big deal. Now if he could get a job where all you do is coach practice and then coach games … then he would be in.''
It just sounds like Knight isn't through. Meantime, Pat Knight was asked if the rift between his dad and Indiana would eventually heal and he said, "Right now, I'd say no.''
Best announcing team
Lightning announcer Rick Peckham and Bobby "The Chief'' Taylor were absolutely brilliant in working Saturday's game at Atlanta, especially in the third period and overtime. Peckham again showed why he's so good, choosing only the appropriate times to raise his voice for dramatic effect. Meantime, the Chief's analysis was spot on, such as when he hinted that Johan Holmqvist did not give up a good goal for the overtime winner.
"A goal on the short side,'' Taylor said. "That's what makes it hurt.''
A subtle, but effective line.
If a young person out there wants to be a hockey broadcaster, use this game as a study guide.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: HBO's Max Kellerman is the best boxing analyst there is, and on the short list of best analysts in any sport. He showed why again Saturday night in calling the Paul Williams-Carlos Quintana welterweight championship bout. Late in the fight, Harold Lederman, who does a good job scoring fights, said he had Williams ahead. But Kellerman quickly jumped in, saying, "I don't have the fight as close as Harold does.''
Lederman scored it 115-113 for Williams. But the judges had it 115-113, 116-112, 116-112 for Quintana, proving that Kellerman was on the money when he made his comment.
Speaking of HBO's boxing coverage, analyst Lennox Lewis has his detractors, but he does a decent job. He needs, however, to lose that old-school bias that says a challenger has to win big in order to beat the champ. That's garbage. That's like saying the Patriots should be considered the champs right now because they were the favorites and the Giants didn't beat them bad enough. If you win, you win. End of story.
Most disturbing quote
Time for some (not all) West Virginia fans to get a clue … and a life. Rich Rodriguez, who left West Virginia to coach at Michigan, broke down on camera during an interview with ESPN about how difficult some lunkheads in West Virginia have made it on him and his family.
"I wish some of the people that are ignorant that don't know or don't care what they're saying, what they're doing would see what it does to young people who had no impact on the decision,'' Rodriguez said. "My kids are 11 and 9. They shouldn't have to endure things like that. My nephews and my nieces — to put a death threat on them because their uncle changed jobs? Give me a break.''
Unless you have hockey's Center Ice package or a satellite dish, you missed out on what is one of the sports highlights of the year: Hockey Day in Canada. It's the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's all day event that celebrates hockey in Canada by visiting small towns and big cities all over the Great White North and running countless features — live and on tape — showing how much hockey is a part of the Canadian culture. Every single feature was entertaining and host Ron MacLean is simply a master broadcaster. Saturday was the eighth annual Hockey Day in Canada. While watching, you come to realize that nothing in this country — not football, not baseball, not anything — means as much to Americans as hockey does to Canadians.
ESPN's Outside the Lines delivered a powerful story on possible match-fixing in tennis. It centered on a match in August in Poland between No. 4-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and No. 87 Martin Vassallo Arguello. More than $7-million was bet on the match, much of it on Arguello and much of it after Davydenko had won the first set. Sure enough, Davydenko retired in the third set with a foot injury, leading some to believe he threw the match, possibly for Russian mobsters.
Davydenko swore he aggravated a left foot injury and denied throwing the match, but the story also included suspicions by gamblers and bookmakers in Europe, where betting on tennis is huge, that as many as 140 or so matches over the past few years might have not been on the up-and-up. The troubling part is the Association of Tennis Professionals seems more interested in the whole thing going away than getting to the bottom of it all.
Three things that popped into my head
1. The Big East, at the moment, is the best basketball conference in the country … by far.
2. Picking up five out of six points on a road trip was great for the Lightning, but it lost a chance for that sixth point when Johan Holmqvist gave up a goal in OT at Atlanta on Saturday that a goalie just can’t give up in such an important game.
3. I watched the Pro Bowl, which proved I absolutely nothing to do on Sunday afternoon.