Monday, February 20, 2006

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 02-25-06

I recently asked Hand High (Madison, CT) football coach Steve Filippone to comment about new Yale football recruit Matt Kelleher--an All-State QB from Southington. "I think Matt is an extraordinary talent," he told me. "He has size and a strong arm--as well as great poise. He's also a terrific person with a great work ethic. I think the competition between he and our former player (Hand QB) Ryan Fodor will be something to watch. I, of course, am a bit biased--but let the best man win." A nice dilemma for Yale to have; looks like the QB position for the Elis will be in good hands for a few years to come..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The great Bobby Orr won EIGHT consecutive Norris Trophies (best defenseman) between 1968 and 1975. What NHL player snapped Orr's streak in 1976? Answer to follow..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: This regular feature of my column gets more difficult to do each week because there is SO MUCH to choose from. How 'bout the 76ers going over 15 minutes without a field goal during a recent game vs. Houston--or the Knicks scoring a PATHETIC 28 points in the second half and committing a whopping 31 personal fouls during a loss vs. Dallas? There's more, folks, but I decided I wanted my readers to continue skimming through/enjoying this week's column--and not risk VOMITING all over it..........This week in sports history, February 26, 1961: After pole-sitter Glenn "Fireball" Roberts drops out of the race due to engine trouble on the 188th lap, hometown driver Marvin Panch proceeds to claim victory in the third annual Daytona 500. Panch, in front of a crowd of 65,000 fans, averaged 149.601 miles per hour during the race and pocketed a first-prize check of $23,000 for his victorious ride..........If new Angels pitcher Jeff Weaver is worth $8.3 million per year, then singer/actress Courtney Love is the most stable individual in Hollywood..........Anyone out there catch bikini-clad tennis ace Maria Sharapova in the 2006 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? The day they allow women to wear THAT kinda garb on the court is the day I say "sayonara" to this column in order to cover the women's tennis circuit FULL-TIME..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a recent Connecticut girls high school basketball game, Portland defeated Vinal Tech 90-13; the winning squad outscored their overmatched opponents 50-5 in the second half. The good news for Vinal is that they left the gym that night with their health intact. The BAD news is they lost by a ridiculous 77 points to a SUB-.500 team..........Who's a WORSE shot: Vice President Dick Cheney or, collectively, the Utah Jazz' three-point shooters?..........Answer to trivia question: DENIS POTVIN--who won Norris Trophies in 1976, '78, and '79..........Best wishes go out to Gene Conley, Jr.--son of the former MLB/NBA player (who was the subject of a recent column). The younger Conley, a surgeon/captain in the Naval Reserves, has just been deployed to Iraq and will be stationed in a war zone with the Marines until late summer. Good luck, Gene, and the same to ALL of our servicemen/women who continue to proudly serve our country..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big-league third baseman Kelly Gruber--who blows out 44 candles on February 26th. A Texas native, Gruber played ten seasons between 1984 and 1993 with the Blue Jays and Angels--hitting 117 home runs but never quite living up to his potential. A two-time All-Star, his best year came in 1990 with the Jays when he smacked 31 homers, drove in 118 runs, and won a Gold Glove Award. He was also a member of the '92 Toronto team that defeated the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. Best wishes, Kelly..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NFL lineman/defensive coordinator Ernie Stautner--who died recently in Colorado of complications from Alzheimer's disease at the age of 80. A nine-time Pro-Bowler, Stautner played with the Steelers his entire 14-year NFL career. He was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1969 after having been one of the league's first, true impact players on defense. He also coached the Dallas Cowboys on the defensive side from 1966-1988--helping them to a pair of Super Bowl wins in the 1970s. Rest in peace, Ernie.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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