Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: The Teaser

The 2014 World Cup kicks off June 12th in São Paulo with host country Brazil facing Croatia in the Arena de São Paulo.

Monday, June 16 - 6:00 p.m.
Ghana vs. United States at Estadio das Dunas, Natal
- ESPN (Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman)
- Univision and Univision Deportes (Jorge Pérez-Navarro, Diego Balado, Marcelo Balboa and Jorge Calvo)
- ESPN Deportes
- CBC (Martin Fisher)
- TVA Sports (Frédéric Lord and Olivier Brett)
- ESPN Radio and TSN Radio (J.P. Dellacamera and Tommy Smyth)- Fútbol de Primera (Andrés Cantor, Bora Milutinovic and Steve Sampson)

Sunday, June 22 - 6:00 p.m.
United States vs. Portugal at Arena Amazônia, Manaus
- ESPN (Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman)
- Univision and Univision Deportes (Jorge Pérez-Navarro, Diego Balado, Marcelo Balboa and Jorge Calvo)
- ESPN Deportes
- CBC (Martin Fisher)
- Radio-Canada (René Pothier and Philippe Germain)
- ESPN Radio and TSN Radio
- Fútbol de Primera (Sammy Sadovnik and analysts TBA)

Thursday, June 26 - 12:00 p.m.
United States vs. Germany at Arena Pernambuco, Recife
- ESPN (Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman)
- Univision and Univision Deportes (Jorge Pérez-Navarro, Diego Balado, Marcelo Balboa and Jorge Calvo)
- ESPN Deportes*
- CBC or Sportsnet (Gary Bloom)
- Radio-Canada (Frédéric Lord and Olivier Brett)
- ESPN Radio and TSN Radio*
- Fútbol de Primera (Andrés Cantor and analysts TBA)

More information:
» US Soccer Instagram
» U.S. Set to Open Against Ghana, An Old Nemesis

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wizards Couldn't Win at Home, Lose Series to Pacers 4-2

"The Indiana Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight season by winning their series with the Washington Wizards 4-2. Washington had not reached the playoffs since 2008 before this season. The franchise still hasn’t won a second-round game at home since 1979, a stretch that was extended to 0-7 Thursday."
USA Today:
It was an unusual series: The road team won every game except the second, won by the Pacers in Indianapolis. Wizards coach Randy Wittman joked before the game he wanted to put yellow giveaway T-shirts on the seats — instead of red, white and blue — so the arena looked more like Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

"Don't really have an answer for you. Just one of those things," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before the game.

The fans recognized Washington's season with a standing ovation in the final minute. The Wizards showed tremendous growth this season, finishing 44-38 and securing the fifth seed in the East. They knocked off the Chicago Bulls in the first round and headed into the Indiana series with a legitimate chance to upset the Pacers.

Washington will head into the 2014-15 as a team capable of finishing in the top four in the East. In Beal and point guard John Wall, the Wizards have one of the best backcourts in the league, and they're expected to improve.

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld has done a great job filling the roster with capable role players, but he faces challenges in the offseason. Forward Trevor Ariza and center Marcin Gortat — valuable contributors — are free agents this summer. Gortat has enjoyed his time with the Wizards, and his agent, Guy Zucker, attended several Wizards playoff games.

The Wizards must also develop rookie Otto Porter, who was injured for a stretch of the season and did not play many significant minutes.

Grunfeld also must decide how he will deal with Wittman, who is the final year of his contract. It is expected Grunfeld will reward him with an extension.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s latest sugar sweet album, Days Of Abandon, was released this week. In celebration, the band has released a music video for the catchy “Until The Sun Explodes,” with the members being illustrated as Jem and The Holograms-style cartoons.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Washington Capitals Continue Search for New GM, Coach

Washington Post:
George McPhee was told April 26 by Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and President Dick Patrick that his contract would not be renewed after 17 years as general manager. Adam Oates, the team’s third coach since late 2011, was fired with one year remaining on his contract.

Leonsis and Patrick made the shake-up after undergoing a nearly two-week examination of the team, which failed to reach the postseason for the first time in seven seasons. According to sources with knowledge of the process, Leonsis and Patrick met with people from all corners of the organization — players, scouts, medical and front office staff — for feedback on the entire operation.

Patrick said the search for a new general manager and coach will begin immediately. While he said he hopes at least the former will be in place by the 2014 NHL draft on June 27 in Philadelphia, it isn’t a steadfast deadline.

McPhee, 55, was the third-longest-tenured general manager in the NHL. Under his guidance the Capitals reached the playoffs 10 of 16 seasons, won seven Southeast Division titles and captured the Presidents’ Trophy as owners of the league’s best regular season record in 2009-10. But Washington advanced past the second round only once during that span, when they reached the Stanley Cup finals in McPhee’s first season.

Washington’s scouting staff is believed to be under contract for next season and Patrick said he didn’t anticipate any other immediate changes to the hockey operations staff, adding that the assistant coaches will also remain in their current capacities for the time being.

Oates, 51, a Hall of Fame player but first-time head coach when he took over in June 2012, was unable to produce consistent performances from his team. In his two seasons, Washington recorded a 65-48-17 record. Whomever follows Oates will be the Capitals’ fourth coach in four years.

“I’m not very proud of that; I think that’s a real issue,” Leonsis said of the turnover. “It’s very hard for players to jell going from system to system to system. It concerns me greatly.”

Oates succeeded in an attempt to spark Ovechkin, who saw a decline in offensive production each of the two seasons prior to Oates’s arrival, by switching him from left to right wing. The team captain won his third Hart trophy as league MVP and two Maurice “Rocket’” Richard trophies as the league’s leading goal scorer with Oates as coach. But those individual results didn’t translate on a larger scale.

Questions about Washington’s play at even strength that surfaced during a first-round playoff loss to the Rangers in 2013 persisted during the 2013-14 campaign. Neither were season-long trends such as the inability to win low-scoring games, preventing quick goals after scoring themselves and frequently squandering two-goal leads.

With McPhee and Oates ousted, Leonsis must now take a step he’s never had to make since buying the Capitals in 1999: Hire the man responsible for delivering his ultimate objective.

Washington Post:
There are numerous candidates, but the majority are assistant general managers with a successful track record in a secondary role rather than those who have run a team of their own.

Jim Benning, who has spent eight years with the Boston Bruins, may be the prize of the group. A respected talent evaluator, he was a finalist for the job in Buffalo this season and is rumored to be a candidate in Vancouver. Former Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Ron Hextall (Flyers new GM) was the top lieutenant in Philadelphia this season after a seven-year run with Los Angeles during which he helped build the Kings into a Stanley Cup winner in 2012.

Laurence Gilman has 18 years of front office experience between time with Vancouver and Phoenix. Other assistant general managers, such as Brad Treliving (Flames new GM) in Phoenix, Jason Botterill in Pittsburgh, Paul Fenton in Nashville and Julien BriseBois in Tampa Bay, also could be in the mix. So could Mike Gillis, who was fired as general manager of the Canucks on April 4.

To meet with any candidate under contract with another team in any capacity requires the Capitals to obtain permission from that club first, adding another wrinkle to the process.

There are a few established coaches already on the market this time around. Peter Laviolette, who has 12 years of NHL head coaching experience and won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with Carolina, demands intensity from his teams. Barry Trotz, let go by Nashville after 15 years behind the bench, is a widely respected, no-nonsense coach who isn’t expected to be out of work long.

But it’s probably a safe assumption the top general manager candidates would want their say in selecting a bench boss. So the Capitals may be better served by filling the front-office spot first.

More information:
» Washington Post: Barry Trotz interested in Capitals’ coaching vacancy
» Bleacher Report: Capitals Players Likeliest to be Playing Elsewhere in 2014-15
» Bleacher Report: The 10 Best Scorers of the 2014 NHL Playoffs

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sizzy Rocket Covers Beastie Boys' "Girls"

Sizzy Rocket, a savvy 22-year-old songwriter signed to Universal (Rocket co-wrote the Timeflies single, “All the Way” and a song on their album Yeah) has recorded her own version of the Beastie Boys' track and converted into a pro-woman anthem.

"I was never targeting the Beastie Boys with my cover flip," she told BuzzFeed. "I love them and I take a lot of my punk influence from them. I tried to keep that attitude in the cover. I’ve always wanted to do a statement piece on female empowerment and I saw the opportunity in this record.”

Watch the Eve Del Prado-directed video above.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Parks and Recreation Will End After Seventh Season

As has been speculated for the past few weeks, the forthcoming seventh season of Parks and Recreation will be its last. NBC confirmed the news yesterday when it announced its 2014-15 schedule.

There is currently no slot in that schedule for Parks and Recreation, as the show has been held back until midseason. The move should hopefully give the show an uninterrupted final run, unlike its sixth campaign, which was fractured throughout.

Parks and Recreation premiered in April 2009 as a mostly hollow clone of The Office. In the next five seasons, the show would blossom to be one of the most consistent, and critically lauded shows on network television. Hints of the series winding down were evident this year with the departure of stars Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, and the surprising time jump in the season finale. Now that the news is official, it’s time for Parks fans everywhere to prepare. Season seven will be the final time we see Ron, Tom, Donna, Jerry (Gary, Larry, Terry), Andy & April, Ben & Leslie and all the wonderful kooks of Pawnee we’ve come to love.

More information:
» NBC's Park and Recreation Tumblr
» MTV: Finding Out That Parks and Recreation is Ending

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hokies Taken in the 2014 NFL Draft

Kyle Fuller, CB (6'0", 190)
Chicago Bears, 14th Pick, First Round
Fuller was the second cornerback selected in the draft, going after the Browns took Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert with the No. 8 pick, although Bears general manager Phil Emery said Fuller was the top corner on their board. The Baltimore, Md. native had a second-round projection before last year but alleviated teams’ injury concerns in the winter and ran a fast enough time (4.49 seconds) in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February to get himself into the first round.

Fuller’s the third member of family to get drafted, joining Vinnie, a safety who taken by the Titans in 2005, and Corey, a sixth-round pick last year by the Lions. If Corey comes off Detroit's practice squad, there's a chance he and Kyle could be lined up against each other twice a year in the NFC North.

For his career, Fuller recorded 173 tackles (129 solo), including 23.5 for a loss, and he finished with six interceptions.

Fuller became the ninth Virginia Tech player to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft and the third defensive player, joining cornerback DeAngelo Hall (2004) and defensive end Bruce Smith (1985). He’s the highest a Hokie has gone in the draft in a decade, when Hall was the eighth overall pick by the Falcons. It’s the 15th time in the last 16 years Virginia Tech has had a defensive back selected in the draft.

Logan Thomas, QB (6’6”, 254)
Arizona Cardinals, 120th Pick, Fourth Round

He’ll be coached by Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, who played quarterback for the Hokies from 1972-74 and traveled to Blacksburg to personally work out Thomas last month. Thomas’ pick, the sixth quarterback off the board, surprised many. He was chosen ahead of several highly accomplished SEC passers like Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and LSU's Zach Mettenberger, in addition to Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, a former ACC Player of the Year.

He had an uneven senior year statistically, throwing for 2,907 yards and 16 touchdowns but also 13 interceptions. Still, Thomas thought he made giant strides mechanically in his one year under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who has a track record of putting quarterback in the NFL.

Thomas still set school records at Virginia Tech in total offense (10,362 yards), passing yards (9,003), passing touchdowns (53), completions (693) and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (24). He also threw 39 career interceptions.

Thomas became the sixth quarterback in Tech history to be drafted and the first since 2011 when Tyrod Taylor went in the sixth round to the Baltimore Ravens. It’s the highest a Virginia Tech quarterback has been selected in the draft since Michael Vick went No. 1 to the Atlanta Falcons in 2001.

Antone Exum, CB (6'1", 220)
Minnesota Vikings, 182nd Pick, Sixth Round
Once considered at least a third-round pick, Exum's draft stock took a hit in the last year after he tore his ACL playing pickup basketball in January of 2013. He had an injury-plagued senior season, coming back from the knee injury midway through the year but injuring his ankle only a few games later. He finished the season having played in only three games. But before the injury he was an All-ACC performer who had 48 tackles and a team-high five interceptions as a junior, his first year as a cornerback.

Exum and Fuller make 20 Hokies defensive backs who have been selected in the draft since 1999.

James Gayle, DE (6'4", 259)
Tennessee Titans, Undrafted Free Agent
James Gayle was predicted to go in the middle rounds of this weeks NFL Draft, and he will likely need to switch positions to make the biggest impact. His plight entering the draft is the same as Jason Worilds and Darryl Tapp, who also played weakside Defensive End at VT, but eventually made the switch to LB in 3-4 systems when they entered the NFL.

Tariq Edwards, LB (6'2", 235)
Miami Dolphins, Undrafted Free Agent
At 6-2, 235, Tariq falls within the traditional height range for an NFL ILB, but is about 10-15 pounds light. With a clocked Pro Day 40 time of 4.76, he is a couple steps slower than many teams would prefer their ILB’s to be, as players who run in the mid/high 4.7’s are generally 4-technique defensive ends.

Other free agent deals, according to the Virginia Tech football Twitter account, are as follows:
  • DT Derrick Hopkins, Baltimore Ravens
  • WR D.J. Coles, Oakland Raiders
  • OL Andrew Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • LB Jack Tyler, Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Redskins Roster Breakdown After the 2014 NFL Draft

Bleacher Report:
Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford

Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane

Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
Like 2013's top choice David Amerson, Breeland is a long, physical cornerback with the frame to play press techniques on the outside. He should immediately become the team's fourth corner with the three primary starters, two outside and one nickel, coming from Amerson and veterans DeAngelo Hall and Tracy Porter.

After that, the likes of Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield will compete to fill a roster spot. E.J. Biggers is also still around to deliver a barely passable impersonation of a pro defensive back.

Just like inside linebacker, fans should have known this team is ready to stick with what it has at safety. After all, why else would they re-sign Brandon Meriweather and bring back Tanard Jackson? Allen also added aging pro Ryan Clark and can count on the return to health of 2013 fourth-rounder Phillip Thomas, who missed his rookie campaign due to a Lisfranc injury. The likes of Bacarri Rambo and Trenton Robinson will battle to stay in town.

Instead of looking at what Jay Gruden said about the line, let’s take a look at what he and Bruce Allen have done:
  • Signed G Shawn Lauvao (4 years, $27 million, $4 million guaranteed)
  • Signed G/C Mike McGlynn (2 years, $2.7 million, $200,000 guaranteed)
  • Drafted T Morgan Moses 3rd round, 66th overall (4 years, $3.1 million, $697 K guaranteed)
  • Drafted C/G Spencer Long 3rd round 78th overall (4 years, $2.87 million, $614K guaranteed)
  • Released C Will Montgomery who played virtually every snap for the last three seasons.
In addition, the team made a serious run at free agent tackle Donald Penn, who would have been handed the starting right tackle job.

Washington gained an extra seventh round pick by moving down in the sixth in a trade with the Tennessee Titans. The Redskins used it on Arkansas kicker Zach Hocker, who will challenge incumbent Kai Forbath in training camp.

Washington Post:
The Redskins have officially signed nine college free agents, according to the NFL’s daily transaction report. The list of players signed by Washington are Tulane nose tackle Chris Davenport, Southern University wide receiver Lee Doss, Brigham Young wide receiver Cody Hoffman, Indiana wide receiver Kofi Hughes, Northwestern wide receiver Rashad Lawrence, Texas El-Paso tight end Kevin Perry, Southern California running back Silas Redd, North Dakota State defensive back Bryan Shepherd and Arkansas nose tackle Robert Thomas.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"'90s Alt-Rock Vocal Hook Supercut"

The '90s was famously a time for angsty, throaty vocals often laconically growled out ironically candied to sound something like pop. It was also a period with a whole lot of "doot-doot-doos, whoa-ohs, na-na-nas, and ooh-oohs" as CBC Music words it in the description for the clip above. The Canadian broadcaster's "'90s Alt-Rock Vocal Hook Supercut" compiles the repetitive, often wordless choral yelpings of nearly 40 of the biggest acts of the era (along with snippets of their respective music videos), and it's amazing.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Wiz Khalifa - "We Dem Boyz"

"We Dem Boyz" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Wiz Khalifa from his upcoming fifth studio album Blacc Hollywood (2014). On February 11, 2014, it was released by Rostrum Records and Atlantic Records as the album's first single. It was produced by Detail. The song has since peaked at number 92 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Wiz Khalifa commented on his reasoning for releasing it as a single saying, "I like 'We Dem Boyz' as the first single because of the energy. It reaches so many audiences other than just a rap audience. It's kind of like how "Black and Yellow" was – a big sports song to get everybody riled. It's more of anthem."

The music video for "We Dem Boyz" was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia on March 11, 2014. The video was then released on April 14, 2014. It features cameo appearances by B.o.B, Big K.R.I.T., Ty Dolla Sign, Young Thug, Chevy Woods and Rich Homie Quan.

Heart's "Stairway to Heaven" Tribute (2012)