Good news! Less than a week after winning the Stanley Cup, the Carolina Hurricanes locked up 5-year contract extensions for coach Peter Laviolette and captain Rod Brind'Amour. I didn't realize Brind'Amour planned to play for five more years (he's currently 35), but I'm not going to complain. I'm comforted by these signings, since it's well-known that several Hurricanes players, including Doug Weight, Martin Gerber and Glen Wesley, are probably not going to return to the team. Edmonton is also going to lose at least one key player, as Chris Pronger has requested a trade to a team that's anywhere further south from the Arctic Circle.
I want the Hurricanes to keep as many players as they can, but wish the best to the guys who are leaving. I think after watching the UNC basketball team lose its entire starting lineup after winning the NCAA championship in 2005, I can handle pretty much anything. Plus, a little change can't hurt, as we learned during the 2002-2003 season after the 'Canes made it to the Stanley Cup finals the previous season.
I certainly can't complain about UNC's performance in the College World Series. Until tonight, they were undefeated. I have to admit that I'm disappointed by tonight's performance, though. Carrying a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning, the Heels looked confident and ready to bring a championship back to Chapel Hill. This confidence somehow translated into them throwing their pitching and fielding fundamentals out the window, as they allowed 7 runs in the bottom of the fourth and ended up losing the game 11-7.
Here's to a good night's rest and some extra fielding practice before tomorrow's final game (7 p.m. ET, ESPN 2). As always, GO HEELS!
So, the NCAA is considering expanding the field of 65 to a field of...128? Hmmm...it seems a bit excessive, but expanding the field to allow more teams could be good for the tournament for the following reasons:
1. It would end a lot of the bickering amongst coaches, analysts, etc., over teams that supposedly should have gotten into the tournament and didn't, or teams that shouldn't have gotten into the tournament and did.
2. It could end a lot of the annoying "Who's in?/who's out?/who's on the bubble?" talk that starts way too early in the season and culminates in the dilemma described in point #1 above.
The main downside I see to this expansion is that it will cause the tournament to be longer, which will add yet another week to the decreased work productivity that occurs in North Carolina from the time the ACC Tournament begins to the time the last ACC team (well...more like last North Carolina team) is eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
So please, please, don't make the tournament last as long as the NBA playoffs.
Speaking of which...GO HEAT! I've been waiting to celebrate this championship since the team came into existence, but it seemed to get lost in the mix of the Stanley Cup. Since I got to see the Heat play from the very last row of the upper deck at American Airlines Arena in December, I can say that I've seen a championship team play in Miami. Trust me, it was a much better experience than the Browns-Dolphins game I saw in Miami the previous December.