This week’s winners and losers

Karl El-Mir looks for the puck in the Huskies' February 4th game against Merrimack at the XL Center. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

With another week in the books, it’s time to take a look at the winners and losers in the wide world of sports.

Winner: UConn Men’s Ice Hockey

The Icebus made stops recently against No. 8 Boston College, No. 12 Vermont, and Merrimack. Although UConn’s 1-1-2 record over this span is seemingly mediocre, the team’s two strong performances against some of the conference’s best competition sets them up nicely for the final stretch on the season. They fell to Boston College 2-1 before snapping a three-game skid with a 3-1 win against Vermont in Hartford.

A one-goal loss to the conference leader is nothing to hang their heads over, and showed that UConn can play with anybody. The loss could have easily strung into another defeat against Vermont. Instead, they rebounded with an impressive win, taking down one of Hockey East’s top teams.

Last week, they tied Merrimack twice to keep them afloat in Hockey East.

They sit in seventh in the conference as the season winds down. This puts them within striking distance of a first round bye in the Hockey East tournament. If they do not get a bye, they are set to start the tournament on home ice.

Winner: Taylor Hall

Hall, the lone New Jersey Devils representative in Sunday’s 2017 NHL All Star Game, was the only player to win both exhibitions under the game’s new format. Beginning in 2016, the NHL divided the league into four teams to represent each of its divisions rather than a traditional All-Star game between the two conferences. The four divisions compete in a mini tournament.

Taylor Hall won the tournament in 2016 as a member of the Pacific Division team while representing the Edmonton Oilers. This year, he contributed to a Metropolitan Division victory as a Devil, making him the only player to win in both years. He added a goal and three assists including a helper on Wayne Simmonds’ game-winning goal.

Hall sprung off his all-star performance, scoring four points in his first four games with the Devils following the break.

Winner: Tom Brady

Brady proved yet again why he is the greatest postseason performer in NFL history. A game that seemed to be over at the start of the third quarter turned into the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

With four Super Bowls already under his belt entering Sunday’s game, there was not much he was going to be able to do to impress the football world. It seemed he had already done it all.

But Brady found a way to top all of his previous playoff performances, with a game that reminded everyone why the Patriots are so successful each year. He remained collected throughout the game despite the deficit, and led his team to history.

Brady’s fifth championship and fourth Super Bowl MVP aligns him with the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game. His accolades are unmatched.

Loser: New York Islanders

The Islanders finally settled into the Barclays Center in 2015 after years of angst trying to find a permanent home. But after years of trouble, it looks like club could be homeless again in the near future. Barclays Center is expected to opt out of their arena deal with the Islanders following the 2018-19 season.

The Islanders have foolishly tried to make Barclays Center work for them for years, but it has become a forced marriage that has too many problems. The cooling center for ice at the arena is not up to NHL standards, creating poor playing conditions on most nights. With the stadium’s design not taking hockey into consideration, there are many blocked sightlines inside the arena. The way they currently the arena it sets the jumbotron above the blue line instead of center ice. On one end of the ice, viewers see an awkwardly positioned Jeep besides the end boards instead of the expected Islanders fans.

Forcing their team own out of Long Island, where a majority of their fan base exists, was an ignorant decision by the Islanders brass in the first place. Now, who knows where they will be able to go. It will be difficult to return to the Nassau Coliseum, which was recently renovated, and now holds approximately 3,000 fewer seats.

Loser: NFL’s House Hunters

 Speaking of moving, many of the NFL’s franchises are getting very fidgety, as three teams are in the process of relocating their teams.

The Chargers and Rams will now play in Los Angeles, a city that has gone from having zero professional football franchises to two. Wouldn’t it make sense to try one team out first and see how it works? Football has failed in Los Angeles in the past, so jamming two teams into the city is extremely risky.

The Oakland Raiders intend on abandoning the bay area to move to Las Vegas, as they will have the opportunity to move into a new stadium. It is saddening to see these teams leave behind loyal fan bases without batting an eye just so they can acquire new facilities. Their actions align with those of a little kid that is not getting their way.

Just because a city will not pay for a brand new stadium does not mean that its team should leave, and act as if their fans are entirely irrelevant. It is not the responsibility of a city to build highly profitable teams new stadiums.

It is shocking to see so many teams move to distant cities as if they are moving down the street.

Loser: Atlanta Falcons

Call it the year of comebacks, but meltdowns do not get much worse than the Falcons’ loss to the Patriots. A 28-3 lead should be secure under any circumstances, especially in a game as monumental as the Super Bowl. To allow New England to erase their lead so quickly is devastating for the Falcons and their fans.

The Falcons inexplicably remain without a Super Bowl title, letting a sure bet slip away.

 



Dylan Barrett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at dylan.barrett@uconn.edu.