Friday, November 30, 2012

'Macho' Camacho gets horse-drawn send-off in East Harlem

Hector "Macho" Camacho returned to the New York neighborhood he knew so well and was given a hero's send-off by the thousands of mourners who lined the East Harlem streets where he was raised.

The legendary boxer's casket was paraded through the same streets where he learned to fight in a white  horse-drawn carriage and was greeted by cheers of appreciation and tears of grief.

Camacho's procession was nothing less than the flamboyant fighter would have wanted.

The three-time champion's casket was draped in a Puerto Rican flag and and started its final trip in front of St. Cecelia's Catholic Church on East 106th Street, going up Fifth Avenue, across 116th street, back down Fifth Avenue and finally winding up back at the church.

People followed the procession and marched behind the vehicles carrying Camacho's mourning friends and family.

Overhead, people hung out windows waving Puerto Rican flags and chanted, "Macho. Macho" from behind police barricades.

"I love you guys," said the boxer's mother Maria Matias — the woman who had the heartbreaking task of authorizing doctors to remove her brain dead son from life support just a few days ago.  The 50-year-old Camacho was shot in the face outside a bar in his birthplace of Bavamon, Puerto Rico last week.  Three men are in custody for the shooting which left a friend of Camacho dead.

The line to get into the church by people wishing to pay their respects wound around the block.

"I fought hard to bring my son here, where he belongs," said Matias.  "He fought here, he was raised here and now he is being buried here.  Look at all the supporters here, it is amazing."

While Friday's farewell was a lovefest for the local hero, a farewell in Puerto Rico on Tuesday was disrupted by a woman who claimed to be Camacho's girlfriend and angered his sisters by lifting a veil in the open casket and kissing him.

On this day, it was all about the good memories of the popular fighter.

"They are telling me that Camacho is alive today.  His spirit is not dead,' said Matias.  "He is a champion. I will always carry him in my heart."

Brian Cashman not worried about Jeter's weight gain

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Derek Jeter's recovery from ankle surgery is coming along just fine  — despite photos of the shortstop with a little added girth making the rounds.

Cashman saw the New York Post photos of Jeter outside a Miami hotel with the headlines "Derek Eater" and "Captain Munch" with what looks like a few extra pounds on the shortstop's normally fit body and didn't seem too concerned.  Of course the comments were made right before the GM was preparing to rappel 22 stories down a Stamford, Conn. building, so he might have had other things on his mind.

"I saw that the picture said he was heavy.  I can tell you he is heavy," Cashman said before a practice run down the building with former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "Even if he was, I'm not worried about Derek Jeter in that capacity in any way.  You are not going to find anybody more committed to being the best he can be than Derek Jeter."

Jeter is expected to be ready on Opening Day despite the restrictions on how much he can work out.  The 38-year-old is still in a walking boot and has been told by doctors to keep off his left ankle.  He underwent surgery on the broken ankle in October after suffering the injury in Game 1 of the ALCS.

"He had a checkup a couple of weeks ago in North Carolina and everything is going really well," said Cashman.  "The bottom line is the most important thing Derek can do right now is rest.  When you're dealing with high end competitors, you're trying to make sure they stay off that foot.  And we lived through that this year with Andy Pettitte."

As for the photos, Cashman joked, "It was probably a wrinkle in his shirt."

Brooklyn Decker is happy her name is associated with Nets-Celtics brawl

The New York Daily News has always been known as one of two New York City tabloids known for their sometimes off-beat front and back page headlines.

After the Brooklyn Nets beat the Boston Celtics Wednesday night — following a first half brawl and three ejections — the editors of the News' sports section came up with the following banner for the back page:

"BROOKLYN DECKERS ... Nets floor Celts as Kris, Rondo brawl"

Not too exciting, except if your name happens to be Brooklyn Decker.

The beautiful actress and supermodel wife of former pro tennis star Andy Roddick shares the same name and took notice of the headline after it went viral.  She sounded honored to see her name used to describe the NBA scrum splashed across the back page.

She excitedly tweeted the following message to her 412,000 followers on Thursday:

"The fact that my name is associated with an nba brawl (in any sort of capacity) makes me happier than you can imagine" she said.

The American model made bigger headlines when she graced the cover of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue holding a tiny yellow bikini.

One has to wonder how long the Daily News copywriters were keeping that "Brooklyn Decker" headline in the think tank.

Jeter packing on the pounds during ankle surgery recovery

When we last saw Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees shortstop was being helped from the Yankee Stadium infield with a broken ankle during Game 1 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.

Fans had been waiting over six weeks to see how the 38-year-old player fared after surgery to repair his damaged left ankle and yesterday, they got to view a lot more of the Yankees' Captain then they ever have before — especially around the middle area of his normally fit body.

Jeter was spotted at a South Beach hotel in Miami Thursday wearing a walking boot to protect his valuable joint.  Photos of Jeter published in The New York Post showed New York's No. 1 bachelor sporting a bit of a paunch underneath his powder blue T-shirt.

According to general manger Brian Cashman, Jeter has been in a non-weight bearing situation and will continue to be until January.  That means his workout routine has boundries — if he can do any cardio at all — and limited to his upper body because he can't put any weight on his left foot.

Jeter has been spotted at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa a couple of times this offseason, but not on a regular schedule.  It's unknown if he was there for treatment, workouts or remember what infield dirt smells like again.

The injury happened to the same ankle which had been nagging Jeter through the last half of the 2012 season.  He broke it Oct. 14 during the embarrassing series against the Tigers while chasing down a ground ball.

The image of Jeter being helped from the field by manager Joe Girardi and a trainer is one fans would like to erase from their minds.  But yesterday's shots of the pale and bloated Jeets won't be used as bedroom posters either.

The popular Jeter signed a three-year, $51 million contract with the Yankees before the 2011 season and has one more year left worth $17 million with an option for a fourth year when he turns 40.

Anyone who has watched the prideful Jeter over the course of his Hall of Fame career knows it won't be long he is back in the gym working off the chimichangas.

Remember also, pinstripes are very slimming.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Russian youth hockey brawls land over two dozen players in penalty boxes at one time

It may not be the NHL but, if the the lockout continues, this Russian youth hockey league game might be the next best thing.  At least this video might turn your hockey frown into a toothless smile.

It's like season's worth of fight highlights in one game — all set to a Russian soundtrack.

The referees seemed to lose control of the game and let the little Ruskies continually drop their gloves and brawl all over the ice.  At one time there was over a dozen of the little pellets crammed into each penalty box and only a couple of players left to skate in the game.

Not only can these youngsters skate, they can throw down like the Hansonov Brothers.

The KHL looks like it might get a little meaner in the future.

Osi Umenyiora hits on Miss Universe

The New York Giants are in the midst of a modest one-game win streak and — considering the team's history of second half season swoons — they'll take it.

Better yet, if it's because of Osi Umenyiora's new good luck charm — Miss Universe Leila Lopes — we'll take it.

The Giants defensive end was seen "hiding out" in the back of Manhattan's Empire steakhouse with the   world-class beauty on Monday during a party to say farewell to her title.

Lopes, the first Angolan to ever win the title, was seen with the Giants two-time Pro-Bowler the night after Osi's team pounded the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium.

Insiders are hoping she sticks around New York until after the playoffs "to keep his good luck coming," reports Page Six of the New York Post.

Giants fans might just want the 25-year-old Lopes to hang around anyway.

Bart Scott to hecklers: I am one of the best athletes in the world and you got picked last in dodgeball

New York Jets fans had a loud message for the team as it walked to the MetLife Stadium locker room at halftime — following the 28-point outburst by the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving — and they made even the raunchiest Gang Green fan blush.

Video of the verbal assault has gone viral and just compounds the problems circling the struggling team.

Now Bart Scott is firing back at the hometown fans who mercilessly heckled the Jets players as they headed off the field:

"At the end of the day, if you made it to be able to put an NFL uniform on, then you are one of the best athletes in the world," Scott told The New York Daily News.  "The person yelling at you probably was picked last in dodgeball all through high school.  So do you care about the opinion of them? No."

The vicious comments directed at the Jets were met with surprisingly little acknowledgement  by the team— until yesterday.

Scott claims he didn't hear the fans spewing the derogatory words — even though he was in earshot of the screams — maybe because he was still wearing his helmet.

When he was informed about the video, Scott just chalked it up to being used to the verbal hazing.

"That's what we always get.  We get stuff like that all the time," he said.  "Trust me, that's not out of the ordinary.  You get behind our bench while we are playing.  Trust me, there's been worse stuff said behind there."

When asked if the fans' unprintable comments are justified, Scott sounded like it went in one side of his helmet and out the other.

"Does it make it right?" he asked.  "Some of the personal attacks — I can only imagine."

Last Thursday's angry group congregated at the bottom of the Coaches Club section of the stadium — an area that the hangs over the players' path to the locker room.  The $700-per-game price tag comes with a minimum $20G PSL but can be scooped up at less money on the secondary market.

Scott wasn't surprised by the lack of class in the high-end seats.

"Those are the ones who feel more entitled," he said. "I would love to go to his job and see what he does and sit in his ear and talk stuff."

Scott understands that ticket-buying fans have a right to voice their opinions of the underachieving 4-7 Jets team.

"It comes with the territory," reasoned Scott. "The same people two years ago were cheering, 'We love you, we love.'  They love you, they hate you.  That's what you sign up for.  As long as they don't put their hands on you, who cares what they say.  Because they don't know that they don't know.  We're doing something that they couldn't do."

Dodgeball anyone?

Brandon Marshall says NFL players use Viagra to get edge on field

Brandon Marshall knows the lengths NFL players will go to get an edge on the field but on Wednesday —  after the Chicago Bears wide receiver was asked about the rash of Adderall-related suspensions in the league this season — he said he's heard plenty of rumors about which supplements some players take to boost their performances during game time.  Some of which are of the little blue variety.

Marshall managed to keep a somewhat straight face while using the double entendre of his "blessed with size" remark, but did not say if using the little blue pill came with a stiff penalty from the NFL.


Experts aren't so sure about the effects of Viagra (sildenafil citrate) on athletic performance on the football field or even if the results could be proven otherwise. The only thing they can confirm is that pro athletes are always looking for an advantage against their opponents.

A 2008 study — funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency — tested several members of a Marywood University lacrosse team and concluded that the drug increased blood flow to certain parts of the body but found insufficient evidence that it worked on muscles used on the gridiron.

Hmmm... taking Viagra to increase performance on the field.  Let's ask the real experts — the players' wives and girlfriends.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mark Sanchez dishes out food and Jets' chances of playoffs

The last time we saw Mark Sanchez he had his face in Brandon Moore's backside.  

On Tuesday, the New York Jets quarterback was finally seen outside a Far Rockaway school — with an even more tragic view — giving back to the needy victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The Jets did not practice yesterday and, despite Sanchez's horrendous Thanksgiving outing,  he found time to dish out hot meals and the lukewarm chances that the 4-and-7 Jets could make the playoffs.

"We feel great. We love our chances," said the optimistic Sanchez.  "We've got a special group.  We'll keep fighting and trying to win some games here."

The always charitable — he visited the ravaged New Jersey Shore three weeks ago — quarterback knows the Jets chances for a playoff spot are slimmer than Rex Ryan's new body but the schedule makers have been just as giving.

The Jets five remaining games are all against losing teams — the 4-7 Cardinals, Jacksonville (2-9), Tennessee (4-7), San Diego (4-7) and the 4-7 Bills.  A 9-7 record at the end of the season is not out of reach.

"We'll do our best," said Sanchez.  "We're just taking it one day at a time."

Despite his dismal record taking snaps this season, Sanchez's charitable efforts off the field help him distinguish real life from the game.

"This was the perfect opportunity with the day off here to get in, get my workout in, watch some film, prepare for [practice] and do something important in the community and keep some perspective," he said.

"We're just doing our best to give back, just to be here for these youngsters.  Make sure that people know you're thinking about them, and they mean a lot to us."

Sanchez may have had the misfortune of getting his face planted too close to a teammate's taint but, when it comes to helping people in need, no one can ever accuse him of putting his head in the sand.

Tiger Woods leads rally that changed belly putter rules

Tiger Woods had been leading the charge for golf to outlaw "anchored putting" from the sport and was hoping that end of the so-called "belly-putters" would come on Wednesday.

"Using a fixed point is not in the traditions of the game," he added.

Woods got his wish — somewhat.

The proposed rule would make it illegal for golfers to anchor the club while making a stroke and will not take effect until Jan. 1 2016 — giving belly putters a chance to get reacquainted with using the old school way of getting the ball into the cup. 

It sounds like Woods got a mulligan on his call to arms.


Woods' complaint is the bane of many other golfers.  The belly putter, in which a player presses the butt end of the grip into the stomach area, has created quite a controversy in recent tournaments.  

Three of the winners —  Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els — of the past five major championships have used it, and elite amateurs are picking up the specialized putters in greater numbers as well.

Proponents say the belly putters help stabilize the club during the stroke, while opponents say it gives an unfair advantage.

"I don't know if there's any statistical data on it, but I'm sure there is somewhere about whether or not anchoring the putter does help on a certain range of putts," said Woods.  "Especially the guys who have gotten the twitches a little bit."

It appears that despite the new rules, the two sides are still not on the same course.

"The game has been around for 600 years," said USGA executive Mike Davis.  "Fundamentally, we don't think this is the right way to go." 

Red Wings prospect was arrested 'super drunk' wearing Teletubby costume

What do you get when you combine Tinky Winky with a little drinky-drinky?  Nothing good.

Detroit Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .30 and was wearing a purple Teletubby costume when he was arrested for DUI by Cedar Rapids Police on Oct. 29.

The 2010 first-round draft pick — who was nearly four times the legal limit —  was pulled over for driving his 2012 Jeep the wrong way and was arrested on charges of being "super drunk" driving and giving false information.

One has to wonder if the police recovered any evidence from the TV screen embedded on the cuddly children's character's stomach.

The 20-year-old Sheahan, playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins, was also carrying 23-year-old teammate  Brendan Smith's Michigan driver's license when he was pulled over shortly before midnight  in down town Cedar Rapids.

Sheahan admitted he was carrying Smith's ID to get into bars, according to the police report.  There was no word on how Sheahan obtained Smith's license.

The arrest report, via MLive said:

"Riley had a Michigan driver's license in the license window in his wallet, which is what Officer Dyer used as his ID.  Deputies found Riley's Canadian license in the wallet after it was turned in with his property and he kept telling them his name was Riley.

"Riley is only 20 and I asked him if he had Branden's (sic) ID so he could get into bars. He shook his head yes and stated "yea."

The drinking age is 21.

Sheahan was the Red Wings top pick (21st overall) and joined their minor league affiliate earlier this year.  He has three goals and and two assists in 15 games this season.

Sheahan is looking at charges that could turn Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po's giggles to gasps.  The super drunk charge can "carry up to 180 days in jail with a conviction and possible deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen," according to MLive.

The Red Wings were made aware of the arrest and are monitoring the situation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brandon Moore tells Cris Collinsworth to butt out

Brandon Moore was the butt of many jokes over the past few days following the play where New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez did a face-plant into the right guard's rear-end causing a fumble returned for a touchdown in the Thanksgiving Day rout by the New England Patriots.

The Jets lineman is party to giving his quarterback the Dirty Sanchez but Moore won't accept the accusation that he was being manhandled and caused the widely-ridiculed mishap.

Moore targeted NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth who criticized the Jet for what he perceived as the guard being pushed around by Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork on the play.

"Oh my gosh, Vince Wilfork just threw Brandon Moore into Mark Sanchez.  I Have never seen this before," Collinsworth said on the broadcast, "Watch this, Vince Wilfork is going to throw Brandon Moore back into his quarterback, he's going to fumble the football.  This is what Reggie white used to do to people — forklift 'em, and just lift them off the ground."

Moore, who said he didn't even realize he had anything to do with the fumble until after the game, disagreed with Collinsworth's exuberant assessment of what went down.

"The Collinsworth guy, (I'm) not really a big fan of his," said Moore.  "He's a commentator I don't particularly care for."

Moore may have grounds for an argument.  Replays show that Sanchez slid into Moore's legs and Wilfork never even lifted Moore off the ground.  Moore was actually pushing his foe backwards.

"To portray it that way and to see it on TV, somebody slides into the back of you, that play happens a lot," said Moore.  "I didn't know what was going on until after the game."

Why Moore would dwell on just one of the Jets' many low-lights in the 49-19 loss — and on Collinsworth in particular —  was not clear.  

When asked what he had against Collinsworth, Moore said, "I don't need to get into (specifics).  He's ... whatever."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rex Ryan 'disappointed' in the end of Fireman Ed

Rex Ryan is "disappointed" about the retirement of Fireman Ed.  

Ed Anzalone, the New York Jets most famous fan, handed in his resignation Sunday night after announcing he would not  be appearing at future games wearing his trademark white fireman's helmet — though he would remain a fan.

"I was disappointed because I love that guy's passion and energy that he would bring," Ryan said.  "He's a great fan. I really admire him. He was great."

Fireman Ed — a New York City firefighter for two decades — became the Jets most recognizable face in the stands and was notable for leading the fans in the "J-E-T-S" chant.

Anzalone blamed confrontations with other Jets fans for walking out before halftime of the Jets-Patriots game on Thanksgiving night. In a guest column to Metro, he said he "did not want to lose my temper and make a stupid mistake."

Fireman Ed —  who started wearing Mark Sanchez's No. 6 jersey instead of his familiar No. 42 this season said it became the source of some contention in the stands.

Ryan had nothing but admiration for the Jets biggest booster.

"He was great," said the head coach.  "But I think (if) we do our job on the field, the Jets chant will continue."

"I like Fireman Ed and if he could play linebacker I'd play him," said Ryan.

Grinnell College player follows up 138-point game by scoring 21

In his encore to his controversial NCAA record-setting 138-point game Tuesday night, Jack Taylor scored 21 points for Grinnell College in a 131-116 loss to William Penn.

Fans packed the stands Sunday night to see if the Division III guard could keep making history or his 108-shot outburst was just a one-game stunt against tiny Faith Baptist Bible College.

The 5'10" shooting guard missed his first three shots before finishing a more mortal 6-for-21 from the field in 17 minutes of play.  He made 3-of-13 attempts from outside the three-point line.

Scores of fans were thrilled by the remarkable rate of one shot taken every 20 seconds but Grinnell's coach David Arseneault has taken a lot of heat for his formula for winning and letting his guy chuck it up at the expense of the team.  Critics thought it sent the wrong message about sports.

After Sunday's 117 point drop in his boxscore, Taylor sounded happy to see his basketball life get somewhat back to normal.

"To play a team like that was definitely sobering, you know," said Taylor.  "Brought me back down to Earth and I got to keep improving my game."

Martellus Bennett's fourth catch of night 'saves man's life'

Martellus Bennett already had three receptions Sunday, as he walked through the MetLife Stadium exit tunnel after the New York Giants had trounced the Green Bay Packers, 38-10, when realized he was about to make the biggest catch of his night.

Bennett said he got tangled up with a cameraman but was able to catch the man and was not hurt.

"I was doing what I usually do, moseying to the locker room and meandering around," said Bennett.  "Naturally, I just wanted to step back, like, 'oh (shoot),' but I did the righteous thing and I stepped up. I caught him, I saved his life, I tapped into my inner superhero, which I do have."

"I'm usually a ninja, but my Spidey-senses told me he was going to take a fall, so I saved his life," said the immodest Bennett.  "He owes me his first-born or something.  Actually I don't want that.  Maybe a sandwich or something."

The boisterous Bennett may never get a chance to cash in on his hero sandwich.

When last seen, the fallen fan was seen pleading his case to New Jersey State Troopers while being escorted to the MetLife Stadium offices, where he was to be booked on undisclosed charges.

What did the superhero have to say about that.

"That sucks," said Bennett.

Teen battling illness spurs Giants to rout over Packers

A nervous 15-year-old young man battling cancer sat in the New York Giants locker room after Friday's practice and suddenly became the biggest person in the room full of ... well ... Giants. 

After the final practice before the Giants faced the Green Bay Packers, Adam Merchant had the huge task of offering a few encouraging words to his favorite team.

Merchant, wearing a Jason Pierre-Paul jersey and Giants ski cap, was personally asked by head coach Tom Coughlin to address the Super Bowl champions after the NFL team had lost two consecutive games. 

The emotional words hit the team harder than a JPP quarterback sack and the Giants went on to rout the Packers, 38-10, Sunday night.

With his Burkitt's Lymphoma in remission, Merchant was able to travel to East Rutherford from Barre, Vt., thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, after the Giants had fallen into their November swoon.  

Being asked to speak to the players was a dream come true but the young man was understandably overwhelmed by the moment.  The Giants players understood.

"It can be kind of nerve-racking to come talk to your favorite team," said Eli Manning — who seemed to return to his old self and even plowed into a defensive back instead of sliding on one play.

That's a toughness Merchant can relate to.  He was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma — a rare and aggressive B-cell lymphoma that affects children — in March and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since.

While the Giants took his message to heart, young Adam was awed by the reaction of the players after he was done talking — "They freaked out" — and could take pride in the knowledge that his words played a big part in the victory after he watched the game from the sidelines with his brother and father.

"Certain people can say that," his new pal Justin Tuck said later.  "But when you see this innocent kid say you've got to play like a champion ... I told him he needs to get into motivational speaking because he inspired us."

After the game, the experience got even better.  Merchant was invited into the locker room and was part of the celebratory team huddle.

"He could have gone anywhere in the world (with his wish)," said Osi Umenyiora.  " But he chose to come here."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nets to give away T-shirts at first game against 'Manhattan' Knicks

The Brooklyn Nets may be changing the NBA landscape in the New York City area, but now the team may be altering the geography as well.

Monday night's long awaited first regular season meeting between the old New Jersey Nets — now taking residence in the borough of Brooklyn —  against the New York Knicks is the hottest ticket to see long legs and shorts in town outside of The Rockettes.  It is already being touted as the start of a long and bitter rivalry.

A skirmish that the Nets organization is even calling "The Battle of the Boroughs." 

Clever marketing, but the last time I checked my subway map, New York was a city (and a county) not one of the five boroughs. 

Either way, fans attending the game inside the Barclays Center will get a free T-shirt commemorating the game which was postponed from its originally scheduled date Nov.1 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The souvenir T-shirt even has the original Nov.1 date crossed off with the new date Nov. 26 written underneath.

The navy blue shirts feature a white outline of a basketball with "Clash of the Boroughs" written inside.  Below the basketball the shirt reads "Nets versus Knicks."

While the crossed-out date and the washed-out lettering are nice touches, I have to wonder if the Knicks are on board with this whole limited to one borough idea.

Either way, the shirts — and Spike Lee sighting — are both free for fans at the game.

NHL players raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims in Atlantic City charity game

Thirty-two NHL players got together in Atlantic City Saturday night and gave fans a little more than hockey to cheer for.  

There was no lockout at the historic Boardwalk Hall as 10,792 hockey-hungry fans watched a battle between the New York Rangers and a team comprised of their Atlantic division rivals.

The "New York" team, captained by forward Richards, included nine of his Rangers teammates while the  Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell wore the "C" the "New Jersey/Philadelphia" side.

Lundqvist — facing his familiar counterpart Brodeur — made 56 saves to lead his squad to a 10-6 victory. 

"It seemed like he was in playoff shape," said Hartnell.  "And we were joking after the first period there that now the Rangers will want to play really bad because he's on fire right now."

The Rangers goaltender — who flew in from Sweden just for the event — had no problems with that scenario.

"I want to play real games," Lundqvist said after the game.  "But it was probably the best feeling I've had in a long time."

The sold-out crowd — mostly Flyers fans — showed support for both the Sandy relief effort and the sport which has already cancelled the first 70 days of the season and is still in a  lockout as the owners and players do battle off the ice.

Prior to the game, 25 of the players met with union executive director Don Fehr at Caesars Hotel for a lockout update — one day after the league announced the cancellation of the All-Star Game and all regular season games until Dec. 14.

"WE WANT HOCK-EY!," fans started chanting during the first period and didn't let up until the final handshakes — fans who might lose more than an NHL hockey season.  A reminder of that was right outside the doors of the rickety arena.

Get a little NHL fix on VIDEO.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hector 'Macho' Camacho dead at 50 after being removed from life support

Former boxing champion Hector "Macho" Camacho died Saturday morning at the hospital in Puerto Rico where he has been unconscious since he was shot in the face last week.

Camacho went into cardiac arrest in the pre-dawn hours and was then taken off life support and died shortly after, reports The Associated Press.

Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan, said the final decision was made after it had been authorized by the fighter's mother, Maria Matias.

The death came before the family was scheduled to make an announcement Saturday morning regarding taking Camacho off of the artificial respirator.  Matias wanted to wait until the boxer's three sons arrived in Puerto Rico from the U.S. mainland and had a chance to see their father for the last time.

Doctors had declared Camacho brain dead on Thursday.  Matias had said she decided it was time for doctors to disconnect life support over the objections of the boxer's eldest son, Hector Jr., because there was no chance of recovery.

The sons managed to visit their father before he died, said former pro boxer Victor "Luvi" Callejas, a longtime friend, who had been acting as a family spokesperson.

"The family is destroyed," Callejas said outside the hospital.

Hector 'Macho' Camacho's mother makes decision to take brain dead boxer off life support

Hector "Macho" Camacho will be taken off life support Saturday, his mother indicated Friday night.  The former world champion boxer, who was shot in the face last week, was pronounced clinically brain dead and is expected to be taken off the artificial respirator that keeps him alive — a decision opposed by his eldest son, Hector Camacho Jr..

The fighter's mother, Maria Matias, told the media waiting outside the San Juan, Puerto Rico hospital where the 50-year-old Camacho lay unconscious since being shot that she had decided doctors should remove life support, but only after three of his sons arrived in Puerto Rico early Saturday morning and had  a chance to see him one last time, according to The Associated Press.

"I lost my son three days ago.  He's alive only because of a machine," Matias said.  "My son is not alive.  My son is only alive for the people who love him," she added.

The three other sons were expected to arrive from the U.S. mainland around midnight Friday.

"Until they arrive, we will not disconnect the machine," Matias said. 

Another news conference was scheduled for Saturday morning at Centro Medico, the main trauma center for San Juan, when the family is expected to announce the final decision.

Camacho was shot as he sat in a car outside a bar with a friend, Adrian Mojica, who was killed in the shooting.  Police found nine small bags of cocaine in Mojica's pocket and an open bag in the car.  There have been no arrests.

The flamboyant former boxer held world titles in the super lightweight, light weight and junior welterweight divisions and ended his career with a record of 79-6-3.  Camacho's most memorable fights included high profile bouts against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and a fifth-round knockout of Sugar Ray Leonard in 1997.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jeremy Lin says going to Houston was 'God's plan'

Jeremy Lin is miles away from the Linsanity that swept New York last season and says he holds no hard feelings towards the Knicks for not matching his $25.1 million offer sheet last July.

In fact, Lin thinks his controversial exit from New York had come from a higher power than the Knicks owner James Dolan, indicating it was "God's plan" for him to go to Houston.

The struggling Lin (10.0 ppg, 6.3 assists) will be seeing some of his former Knicks teammates for the first time this season tonight at the Toyota Center since he became an overnight  cultural phenomenon that had both divided and propelled the team in 25 starts last spring.

Hurtful comments by Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith about Lin's contract and play, a season-ending knee injury and the success of the Knicks (8-2) this season have made Lin's departure and the frenzy of Linsanity a long forgotten footnote in New York.

"It didn't shake out the way everybody thought it would, but I'm still very at peace with how everything happened," added Lin.  "I'm in a great situation right now."

After his breakout year and fat new contract, Lin is still adjusting to a new system in Houston.

The Rockets (5-7) — who benched Lin Wednesday night after averaging only seven points in his last five games — hopes he can light a fire under the Rockets like he did with the Knicks last season despite the criticisms.

"I'm fine with whatever anybody says," said Lin. "It's all fair game."

Bradley Cooper segment banned from NFL Network show

Bradley Cooper has been banned from the NFL Network in a move that Hollywood honcho Harvey Weinstein is calling "censorship."

The star of the Weinstein Company's "Silver Lining Playbook" was set to headline Friday night's "Rich Eisen's Thanksgiving Special" with co-star Chris Tucker.  But after the segment was already taped and approved, the network was told on Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's office to sack it.

The league's reason?  Because Robert De Niro's Eagles-obsessed character in the film is a part-time bookie.

 What's next?   Banning movies with concussions?

The awkward attempt by the NFL to bury its head in the sand has left host Eisen and his producers doing a last minute Hail Mary in the editing room.

"The interview was planned for weeks," said a source. "The  network requested the interview."

Until Thursday, the segment from the Oscar-buzzing film was promoted online as the show's big interview.  There was even a photo of Eisen posing with Cooper and Tucker.  It was later replaced by a shot of Eisen and another guest, actor John Slattery.

Weinstein, never one to pass up a promotional opportunity, said, "We are deeply disappointed in the NFL's decision, and we are quite frankly surprised .  Pulling a pretaped interview with our stars is nothing short of censorship . . . [Silver Linings'] is not a film about gambling in the NFL.  It's a film about fathers and sons and football bonding a family together."

It looks like we'll just have to wait for next year's special to see the heartthrob Cooper promoting "Hangover III."  That movie will probably only have drugs, guns and Mike Tyson singing but, hopefully, no bookies.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Soccer star Ronaldo's totaled Ferrari on eBay for $65K

An Italian sports car that international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo totaled in January 2009 was put up for auction on eBay yesterday — but was taken down just as fast.

The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1 international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo crashed — when he careened into a tunnel barrier near Manchester, England — was listed on the online site for a starting price of $64,380.  A brand new version would run you about $322,000.

The listing was removed after media reported on the sale, prompting speculation that the wrecked car's pedigree could jack up the asking price at a later date.

Spanish newspaper ABC reports that the burgundy-colored car only has 1,925 miles on the odometer and comes with various documents with the 27-year-old Portuguese star's name on them.

It is being offered at the discount price, by a professional scrap dealer in the east of France, because it is in such bad shape.

According to the listing, the powerful car with the demolished front end is "certainly repairable." 

The listing was taken down early Thursday morning after Spanish, French and Portuguese media reported it was for sale prompting speculation on Twitter that it could be back on the market later this week — but at a much higher sale price.

The then-FIFA World Player of the Year escaped uninjured and the police did not take any action against him.

No word on if the vehicle comes with any of Ronaldo's leftover hair gel.

UPDATE: Hector Camacho declared clinically 'brain dead'

Doctors say flamboyant former boxer Hector `Macho' Camacho is clinically ''brain dead'' after being shot in the face.

Dr. Ernesto Torres said at a news conference Thursday that doctors are still performing tests on Camacho before meeting with his family, according to The New York Daily News.

Torres had said late Wednesday that Camacho was showing irregular and intermittent brain activity.

The 50-year-old Camacho was shot as he and a friend sat in a Ford Mustang parked outside a bar Tuesday night. Police spokesman Alex Diaz has said officers found nine small bags of cocaine in the friend's pocket, and a 10th bag open inside the car.

Metta World Peace doesn't like how Nets represent Brooklyn

Metta World Peace was happy to hear that Reggie Evans was fined $5,000 for flopping — and went on Twitter to praise the NBA's new rules which punish players for embellished contact — but had some harsh words for the Brooklyn Nets — particularly Evans and Gerald Wallace for how they are representing the borough.

World Peace wasn't thrilled after both players committed questionable flops when the forward had the ball during Tuesday night's Lakers' 95-90 victory over the new Brooklynites  W.P. was even more incensed to find out Wallace wasn't $5,000 lighter as well.

On Wednesday morning the Queens native tweeted:

"What was the best flop tonight? Out of three? I am so happy the NBA charges $5,000 for flopping," he posted.  "The two Gerald Wallace flops were crazy. . . lol  I am on the court like, 'What in the world.!! ...The refs did a good job on the Gerald Wallace flops. ...but they missed the Reggie Evans flop. . . I can see overseas players

"You cannot flop and play for Brooklyn.!!!," he continued.  "Brooklyn equals red bricks, streets, the gutter, Marcy, soul in the hole, Gershwin Park, etc. ..."

Evans was the first player fined by the NBA for flopping after his exaggerated contact with a World Peace shove while running up the court during the third quarter of Tuesday's game.  After Evans stumbled into the bench, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni yelled at the referee, "It's a flop."

World Peace was called for a foul on the play, but the NBA reacted later and fined Evans the five large for his second blatant flop — he was warned last week against the Celtics — this season.

The Lakers forward doesn't exactly have a stellar history with NBA disciplinarians but, this time, it looks like World Peace and the league agree on something.

Nets' Reggie Evans first NBA player to be fined for flopping

Brooklyn Nets forward Reggie Evans made history by becoming the first NBA player to be fined for flopping.

Evans achieved the dubious NBA footnote after he stumbled into the bench when Metta World Peace brushed up against his arm in Tuesday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

 He was fined $5,000 for his second flopping offense under  the NBA's new policy instituted to cut back on the exaggerated pratfalls.

In the first three weeks of the season, Evans already has flopped twice and a third violation could cost the 11-year journeyman player $10,000.

While World Peace has a reputation for rough play, Evans has been known to take more falls than a soccer player.  In a preseason flopping video shown to players, Evans was what one league executive called, "the star."

Evans' style of play could lead to fines of $15,000 for a fourth violation, and $35,000 for a fifth.  His on-the-court acting may not lead to an Academy Award but a sixth violation could lead to Evans' suspension.

J.J. Barea, Kevin Martin and Donald Sloan are the only other players with reported warnings at this time.