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The Weekly Six-Pack, July 27

In Football, Hockey, Pro Wrestling on July 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Normally, I feel the need to start this off with some sort of musing, but I’ve spent the last week playing uncle to my niece and two nephews. So the only thing I can come up with after all that time is that I’ve gotten each of them hooked on old school Street Fighter II for the Super Nintendo. And yes, I’m very proud of this.

That said, strap in kids, here we go.

Predators match Shea Weber offer sheet
What had been looming over the hockey world for the last week was answered earlier this week, as Nashville emptied their payroll to match the Flyers’ monster offer sheet for captain Shea Weber. And honestly, good for the Preds. I said it last week, if they let Weber go, Nashville is on the fast track to becoming the Atlanta Thrashers, 2.0. But GM David Poile swallowed hard and kept the team’s best player in the fold. By doing so, Poile saved the franchise’s credibility and appeal to not only the current cast, but future free agents. In addition, having Weber’s presence means that guys like Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and Jon Blum can fill in with a veteran mentor. So good for you, Nashville. The last thing an expanding market needs is to turn into what the Thrashers used to be.

Rick Nash heads to Broadway
FINALLY! After five long months of being unhappy in what might as well be hockey purgatory, Nash gets sent to the New York Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a 1st-round pick. Of course, like most hockey analysts (something I am far from), I like the deal for the Rangers more than the Jackets. New York gets a power forward to help soften the blow of Marian Gaborik’s injury, and they didn’t have to give up any of their top young forward like Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan.

For Columbus, this isn’t the type of return I’m sure GM Scott Howson was looking for. Yes, he got two NHL-ready forwards and a very good prospect on defense in Erixon. But even though he didn’t get the 30-goal scorer I’m sure he was after, he didn’t get totally hosed and get 30 cents on the dollar like I thought he would. Then again, based on what Howson’s original asking price was, I’m not shocked with the return he got.

Dubinsky and Anisimov will step in right away, but the one that intrigues me the most is Tim Erixon. By adding Erixon, the defense could be considered one of the best in the Western conference when healthy. Yes, I know, I’ll probably regret that statement down the line. But on paper I love what they’re building on defense in Columbus. How if only the team could find a way to lose Howson as GM, they just might find a way to contend.

Alex Semin heads to Carolina
Another guy that I was very interested in just where he would be playing next year, Semin inks a deal to head to Capitals’ division rival Carolina. I love that the ‘Canes got him for one year and it’s similar to what Detroit did a few years back with Marian Hossa. Semin gets to play with some very talented players in the Staal brothers and Jeff Skinner, but his added offense could very easily make the Hurricanes the favorite in that division. On top of that, he’s coming in to a locket room with stable leadership, something that hasn’t really been the case in the nation’s capitol the last few years. I love the deal for each side and I would be very surprised if Semin doesn’t score 30 goals this year.

Raw 1000 turns back the clock
Like many people my age (I’m 26, if that helps), growing up was a blast because every Monday night was wrestling night. It was the Attitude Era and every weekly show was a blast just because of the antics of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, DX and others. So when I heard about the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw, I figured it would be fun to watch for the nostalgic factor alone. And of course, I was treated to some old names and faces that made me feel like I was a 12-year old sitting on the couch with dad every Monday night. This even included mom yelling, “I can’t believe you’re watching this crap.” Ah memories…

So it was great to see DX as a whole group, The Rock still carries himself like he never left the business and Lita and Trish Stratus are still SMOKING hot. While I was a little upset at the absence of Stone Cold and Edge, I was more let down with the wrestling product. Each week during the Attitude Era guys like Triple H, Chris Jericho, Edge, Eddie Guerrero and others would have some very entertaining matches each week. This show lacked that in a big way. So clearly the times have changed in that aspect. Regardless, it was a fun night to laugh about some of the best memories from a simpler time for me.

Chiefs training camp opens. Warning: May cause false optimism
OK, back to sports talk. Sorry about the detour. I know a lot of my friends have been chomping at the bit to get football back, and only now have I started to pay a little bit of attention. Of course, that means I’m likely subjected to another torturous season of watching the Kansas City Chiefs. And as bad as last year was, I’m optimistic in the early stages of camp just because the team went 7-9 last year without Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry for most of the year. Yes I know the Broncos have Peyton Manning and everyone thinks the Raiders are going to be better. But the Raiders are still the Raiders, the Chargers are still coached by Norv Turner and the Manning is one missed block away from ending his career. I’m probably going to remain optimistic until things start to go south. The fact that Dwayne Bowe isn’t in camp is a good start to that…

My encounter with an NFL running back
I’m closing the column today with an unexpected meeting that happened to me as a young teenager. I was spending some time with my family and my Godparents’ family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in what I want to say was 2001. We were having a nice time when some of the football players for Coe College stopped by. There were three total, but two of them were twins from the state of Texas, one of whom happened to be Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson. My memory from that long ago isn’t the best, but I remember that night and how friendly Jackson, his brother and his teammate were to us. They were nice enough to play some alley basketball with us (stomping us mercilessly) and dance to the Cha Cha Slide in the living room (where I announced my status as the whitest of white boy dancers). The picture still sits in the living room of that house, and it’s amazing to just how far Jackson has come.

My Godparents became very close with Freddy and his brother in school and that has continued to this day. It’s also a cool little story for me to tell today, given that I never would have expected it back when I met Fred 11 years ago.