Thursday, March 31, 2011

Phish To Jam For Days In Watkins Glen

Phish, a definite favorite of Andy and myself have formally announced they will be playing at Watkins Glen International, the famous road race course located just a short drive from our periodic stomping grounds of Corning, NY.

The concert will take place July 1-3 coinciding with the Indy Racing League event held the weekend of Independence Day.

The concert harkens back to 1973 when the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen attracted over 600,000 patrons to upstate New York to hear music from The Allman Brothers Band, The Band and Grateful Dead.

It was considered to be the largest outdoor concert in the U.S. by the Guinness Book for some time.

Here's a video from Phish's performance June 29, 2010 at CMAC in Canandaigua, NY.

In attendance were myself, Cutting Room Floor drummer Alan Brown and friend of the blog Chris Parry. It was most excellent.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Irish Hockey Reaches 2011 Frozen Four

In front of a partisan crowd in Manchester, NH the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hockey team defeated the New Hampshire Wildcats 2-1 to earn their second Frozen Four bid in four years. With five seconds remaining in the second period Billy Maday scored what would be the eventual game-winning goal.

Goalie Mike Johnson, a sophomore, was the real story of the day though as he turned away 37 of the Wildcats' 38 shots.

AP Photo / Josh Gibney

One day earlier Johnson made 32 saves on 35 shots to help the Irish earn a thrilling come from behind 4-3 OT victory against Merrimack College. Anders Lee led the way against the Warriors with two goals including the game-winner roughly five minutes into the overtime period.

Notre Dame will play Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) on Thursday, April 7 at 5pm EST in the Frozen Four in St. Paul, MN. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and will also be available on Should the Irish defeat the UMD Bulldogs they would advance to the NCAA title game on Sunday, April 9 at 7pm EST against the winner of Michigan and North Dakota. The championship game will be televised on ESPN.

This marks only the second time in school history the Irish have advanced to the Frozen Four. In 2008 the Irish advanced to Denver for the Frozen Four where they defeated rival Michigan in an overtime thriller. Boston College defeated the Irish in the championship game.

Head coach Jeff Jackson enters his fifth Frozen Four in his coaching career. He won two national championships (1992 and 1994) while at Lake Superior State. In between the two titles Jackson's squad lost the 1993 title game to Maine.

If Jackson's title game history has any sense of repeating itself it could develop into Notre Dame's first hockey championship in school history.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, the Irish must beat Minnesota-Duluth. From there, the Irish would take on the Wolverines of Michigan or Fighting Sioux of North Dakota, two schools that hold winning records against the Irish this season.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Notre Dame Fencing Wins 2011 National Championship

Photo Credit / Pete LaFleur

For the eighth time in school history the Notre Dame Fencing team earned a NCAA national championship. Earlier today the Irish held off nearest competitor Penn State by six points to earn the 2011 men's and women combined title, which is their third under head coach Janusz Bednarski. Fond memories will surely be reminisced by Bednarski in the coming days as his first title at the helm of the Irish came in 2003 when his squad also held off Penn State.

Congratulations are also in store for Courtney Hurley and Ariel DeSmet for earning individual gold medals in their respective weapons. Hurley, a junior, earned her first NCAA gold medal in women's epee while DeSmet, a freshman, won his first NCAA gold medal in men's foil.

This marks the school's second national championship of the 2010-2011 academic school year. Earlier this fall the women's soccer team won their third national title in program history.

Elite Eight Matchup for Irish Icers Tonight

This will be a decidedly short message but necessary nonetheless. Last night Notre Dame Hockey defeated Merrimack College 4-3 in OT. Their reward is an elite eight matchup against New Hampshire tonight on ESPNU at 8pm EST.

Go Irish!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Notre Dame Is All In With Adidas

The partnership between Adidas and Notre Dame began in 1997-1998 at a time when the athletic supplier provided footwear for all Notre Dame teams and additional apparel for other Irish teams.

Ever since the initial agreement the two powerful athletic brands have formed a powerful bond, one which was furthered in 2004-2005 with a 10-year extension to their mutual contract. In a deal worth excess of $60MM, the extension forged a relationship Adidas supplying all Irish sports teams with adidas footwear and apparel through 2013-2014.

Late last season came the introduction of techfit jerseys, which Mark Daniels, Director of Football and Team Sports for Adidas, said "will make old jerseys obsolete." At a weight 30% lighter than standard football jerseys, Daniels also had this to add:
Adidas is changing the game with this revolutionary jersey construction and compression fit because we know the right gear can make a difference during a split second play. Less material and a tighter fit means the jersey is harder to grab and you can’t tackle what you can’t grab. College football is more competitive than ever before and teams need every advantage they can get on the field.
The jerseys were debuted against Western Michigan for the Fighting Irish and experienced continued use throughout some of the remaining games. Promotional ads were released for each of the participating schools, which included Cincinnati, Louisville, Michigan, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and UCLA. Here is a look at Notre Dame's video:

In continuation of their partnership together, Adidas recently launched a new "All In" campaign featuring, among others, the Notre Dame Football Team. Others included in the advertisements include Katy Perry, B.O.B, Dwight Howard, Derek Rose, and Eric Berry.

Below is the :60 version of the new campaign though 2:00 and :30 versions can be found as well. As a whole, the campaign plays off of the notion of competitive spirit while adding a modern twist. Even if you aren't an Irish fan you have to admit that this is a really well done ad in terms of editing and content alike.

Go Irish!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Michael A Saint No More: Floyd Arrested for DUI

Notre Dame football opened spring practice today with a notable returning star missing from action, for the foreseeable future I might add.

Early Sunday morning, rising senior WR Michael Floyd was arrested for a DUI. He failed several sobriety tests and blew a 0.19 blood-alcohol content level, more than double Indiana's legal state limit of 0.08. 

Floyd was coming off a successful season for the Irish which led him to contemplate leaving school early for the NFL draft. His draft stock was not as high as he had hoped it would be, though, so he opted to return for his senior season at Notre Dame this upcoming fall. He thought that he would not only be able to improve his draft status but also aspired to bring Notre Dame to a BCS game and, of course, finishing his degree.

All of those hopes are temporarily on hold now as Irish Head Coach Brian Kelly suspended Floyd indefinitely. In fact, Floyd's name is nowhere to be found on the newly released spring roster issued by the Irish.

From his press conference yesterday, here is what Kelly had to say regarding the matter:
"I've spoken to Michael Floyd and his mother and, in light of what took place this past weekend, I let him know he has been suspended indefinitely from football team-related activities," Irish coach Brian Kelly said. "Football needs to take a backseat at the moment while Michael gets his life in order. ... What's most important right now is Michael focusing on maturing and developing more as a person while working to improve his decision-making processes."
It is a classy handling of the situation by a surely frustrated Kelly, who was looking to take advantage of Notre Dame's most prolific wide receiver in school history in nearly every statistical category.

Floyd, who will appear in court on May 2 and is awaiting inevitable punishment from the Office of Residence Life at Notre Dame, did offer an apology for his actions:
"I understand the gravity of the decision I made and how it could have had catastrophic effects on myself and others," Floyd said in a statement released by the university. "I absolutely recognize that I have many things to work on to become a better person and will need to regain the trust of all whom I have hurt within my immediate family and the Notre Dame family. I fully intend to spend the immediate future improving myself to become a better member of our community."
It is unfortunate that he said the right things in his apology because he could have avoided the entire situation had he simply done the right thing and not gotten behind the wheel after drinking.

At this point it is hard to tell whether or not he will ever suit up in an Irish uniform again. Past precedent from incidents with former FB Rashon Powers-Neal and former TE Will Yeatman indicate Floyd's days playing under the dome are over. 

As a team, the Irish will be fine. It hurts to lose one of your best players but it provides an opportunity for the younger players and rising veterans to take advantage of the open spotlight awaiting them.

My hope is that Floyd is able to personally come to terms with his past decisions and learn from the mistakes. It should be noted that he was cited for an underage drinking violation last summer, so there is a pattern of history repeating itself here. If his playing days under the dome are indeed over I hope he is able to find fulfillment either in the NFL or his professional working career.

It is a sad loss for the team but the Irish will no doubt have to become stronger as a unit because of it. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hokies And Irish End Seasons

Basketball season has effectively come to an end here at Stars & Slights.

Sunday saw the Hokies give a valiant but ill-fated effort in an overtime home loss to Wichita State in the Second Round of the NIT. Tech fell 79-76 despite one final amazing performance from Malcolm Delaney.

The senior finished with 30 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including 3 of 6 from three-point range.

Delaney also had 4 steals and an impressive block that saw him sprint full court to snuff out a fast break by the Shockers.

The loss leaves Tech with a 22-12 overall record to end the season, and leaves a lot of people wondering what kind of season might have been with a full roster.

The No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame had a tough one against No. 10 Florida State. The Seminoles used their stifling defense and athleticism to knock off the Irish 71-57, reaching the team's first Sweet Sixteen since 1993.

Senior Tim Abromaitis had a typical 21 points and 6 rebounds, but fellow senior and Big East player of the year Ben Hansbrough was kept to just 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting.

The loss brings Notre Dame's record to 27-7 overall with a 14-4 mark in Big East play.

The Irish, like the Hokies will wonder what might have been this offseason, but they were afforded a chance at the big prize.

Yes Brian, it's better to be one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament than make a run (or lose early) in the NIT.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Bracket From Remus

As promised, the only NCAA Tournament bracket I got anywhere near was that of our resident dog, Remus. I advised him only so far as reminding him which schools had dog mascots and which were related to cats.

I did the actually filling of the bracket, but only because our canine friend lacks opposable thumbs.

Not surprisingly, Remus has three teams with dog mascots in his Final Four. The Georgetown Hoyas, Butler Bulldogs and Connecticut Huskies all advanced for R-dawg with his final pick being Ohio State.

A buckeye is of course a poisonous nut, thus reining supreme on the basis that all mascots would eat a buckeye and be bested in theoretical battle.

It’s interesting to note that not all dog mascots fared well in these picks. Remus had the Georgia Bulldogs losing in the first round. Apparently, he has some kind of feud with Georgia mascot Uga.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of these picks. Also keep an eye out for more Remus news, new videos and much more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hokies Hosed...Again

Naturally, when my colleagues and I emerged from our battered sedan after a 350-mile journey Sunday evening, we didn’t expect to be greeted with bad news.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, but once again in it’s infinite wisdom, the NCAA Tournament selection committee decided Virginia Tech just wasn’t good enough to be invited to it’s “dance”.

“Keep in mind there’s 10 committee members, and we all have different criteria,” tournament selection committee chairman Gene Smith said recently.

At best, a curious statement from a man chairing a committee that claims to have 15 quantifiable criteria they look at each season.

If I can be so bold as to read into that statement, I think he meant to say that each member can approach and interpret the criteria in a different way. Still, that doesn’t sit well with me.

Why isn’t there a clearer set of criteria? Why can’t we have any consistency in what the committee values most? One season it’s how you finished the year, others it’s your team’s strength of schedule or their “body of work”.

There’s enough hyperbole floating around the selection process to burst a dozen bubbles, but not nearly enough concrete answers.

As is stands now, the NCAA Tournament selection committee is nothing more than a Politburo, secretly meeting behind closed doors deciding the fate of everyone in the land.

Much like the Soviet system where holding a government office wasn’t a requirement for leadership on that committee, supreme basketball knowledge isn’t a prerequisite for appointment by the NCAA.

The committee is made up of athletic directors and conference commissioners representative of the top programs as well as the “lower-tier” schools from smaller conferences, but at best, any given year only half the members have some kind of significant basketball experience.

It just doesn’t feel right to me. For many years, I’ve felt that the NCAA Tournament is one of the most democratic way to decide a champion in sports.

Every team, at least in theory, has a say in who’s crowned No. 1. If you win, you are allowed to continue regardless of what anyone says. That is of course if you’re in it to begin with.

And so, I won’t fill out a bracket for myself this season. I’ll make picks for our dog Remus based on which mascot he prefers and then I’ll never look at them again.
I’ll avoid the bars and quickly change the topic of conversation whenever it comes around to the “Big Dance” regardless of whom I’m talking to.

The television set will be disappointedly set to ESPNU where I’ll closely follow the Hokie Invitiational (NIT) with as much anticipation as I can muster, and then once our season is over, I’ll lock myself in my room until no one mentions basketball again.

Or perhaps, I’ll just move to Russia.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Big East Honors Greet Irish in New York City

Upon arrival in New York City today in preparation for the Big East tournament the Irish Men's Basketball Team claimed three of the top four awards at the annual Big East Conference awards ceremony in Madison Square Garden.

Senior guard Ben Hansbrough (2010-2011) became the fourth Notre Dame player in program history to win the Big East Player of the Year award, joining the likes of Pat Garrity (1996-1997), Troy Murphy (1999-2000 and 2000-2001) and Luke Harangody (2007-2008). 

Joining Hansbrough with the hardware collection were head coach Mike Brey, who earned the Big East Coach of the Year award for the third time in his career, and graduate student Tim Abromaitis, who was named Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Abromaitis has an opportunity to win an unprecedented third consecutive Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year award next season when he returns for another year of graduate level courses at Notre Dame.

In the meantime, the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish have business to take care of in New York this week. Head coach Mike Brey encouraged his team all season long not to look in its rearview mirror but rather focus on chasing Pittsburgh. Barely unable to do so in the regular season, the Irish look to advance to and win the Big East Tournament Championship. Simply advancing to the title game would be a program first, but Brey has his troops set on higher sights.

Over Thanksgiving weekend Notre Dame won the 2010 Old Spice Classic in Orlando, FL while beating the likes of California, Georgia, and Wisconsin. 

After two wins last week against Villanova and at Connecticut to end their regular season, the Irish finished second overall in the conference behind Pittsburgh. With the strong showing over the last week by the Irish and poor showings by other top teams, Notre Dame vaulted to No. 4 in both polls - its highest ranking since 1980.

With a strong showing in the Big East Tournament the Irish could garner a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Doing so would be the first time since 1979, when the Irish reveled in the glory days legendary former head coach Digger Phelps

Spring Fever: Notre Dame Football Spring Game to be Televised on Versus

Notre Dame's spring football game, affectionately known as the Blue-Gold game, is spicing things up for its 83rd installment.

On April 16, for the first time in school history, the school will televise its annual intrasquad spring practice finale. Versus will show the event at 2pm CST, hosted by Liam McHugh. Interviews will be conducted throughout the game with Irish head coach Brian Kelly.

Versus is owned by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, so it should be no surprise that the channel will also feature additional Notre Dame football coverage. Fittingly, on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, Versus will rebroadcast three classic Irish games - the 1992 "Snow Bowl" game against Penn State (5pm EST), the 2005 "Bush Push" game against USC (7pm EST), and the 1993 "Game of the Century" against Florida State (9pm EST).

Truth be told it does not make sense why the "Bush Push" game will be televised ahead of any other game where the Irish emerged victorious, even though Southern Cal was forced to vacate its victory in lieu of a rules violation scandal by Reggie Bush.

What about the "Green Jersey" game from 1977 or the"Chicken Soup" game from January 1979 featuring a young Joe Montana? These were both equally exciting games with much better real time results. A victory five years after the fact is not really a victory.

Regardless, if you are an avid Irish fan like yours truly and are unable to attend this year's spring football game fear not. Versus will bring Notre Dame football right where it belongs - your television set.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jacob Tucker Dunking Machine

White men can jump. Seriously. If you have any doubts take some time to reconsider while watching this video of Senior men's basketball player Jacob Tucker of Division III Illinois College.

The video was made as an attempt to earn Tucker admittance in the 2011 NCAA Dunk Contest and from the looks of it the committee or powers-that-be to decide the field of contestants will have a hard time denying him the opportunity to compete. It is possible there are rules that state participants must be enrolled in an NCAA Division I school but one could argue that in this case the rules could be bent.

Perhaps the most astounding thing about Tucker's dunks is that he is only 5'11". In order to create such spectacular feats of flight he utilizes an unheard of 50 inch vertical leap and, of course, the help of some teammates.

Tucker played his last game in a Blueboys uniform on February 25, 2011 when the Blueboys lost to Grinnell College in the semifinals of the Midwest Conference Tournament in De Pere, WI.

Even if this video is his "15 seconds of fame"and he is denied the opportunity to compete in the dunk contest he should view the production as a success and testament to his talents. In this case, though, perhaps it should be called his "50 seconds of fame."

Prepare to be amazed. If you are really into "trick shot" videos take a gander at this prior post of UCONN quarterback Johnny McEntee when you have finished Tucker's.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Strokes- Life Is Simple In The Moonlight

Their performance on Saturday Night Live saw The Strokes debut another track off their upcoming album, Angles.

The show was hosted by Miley Cyrus, but I never watch it anymore. Most of the time I forget it exists unless I see a funny digital short or something online.

Thankfully, there are people good enough to sift through the show and take out the music performances.

This new song sounds pretty cool. Strokesy and odd just the way I like it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Justin Cates: Announcer Extraordinaire

I've already bounced this around on my Facebook, but I figured I'd pop it over here as well.

For whatever reason, the Chicago Cubs are holding a search for their next public address announcer sponsored by

Applicants have until March 7th to upload their auditions, and at the behest of several of my closest advisors I fashioned this submission.

I'm sure plenty of you Notre Dame types are Cubs fans so this may be of interest to you. Take a look and let me know what you think, and if it doesn't suck, maybe even give it a like. Can't hurt for the front office to see some positive stats.

The Strokes- Under Cover Of Darkness

Good news, there's a new Strokes album right around the corner!

The band's lengthy hiatus following 2006's First Impressions of Earth will end March 22nd with the release of Angles.

It marks the fourth major label release for The Strokes.

During their break in June 2010, the band played a secret show in Dingwalls London, England under the name 'Venison'. There was a crowd of fewer than 500 and it marked the band's first live show in nearly four years.

The hiatus also saw the release of frontman Julian Casablancas' solo album Phrazes For The Young which received generally favorable reviews.

Their first video for the new album is for the song "Under Cover of Darkness". On first listen, it sounds like pretty vintage Strokes material and I like the look of the video which was actually filmed in New Jersey. Go figure.


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