Well thanks to my computer crashing, no blog on Monday. The Stack is here this Tuesday, but not with any Oscars reaction. Time to react to the big stories from the weekend and from yesterday, so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, February 26:
Jimmie Johnson wins Daytona 500
Danica Patrick made all of the headlines for the week by becoming the first woman ever to win pole position for a NASCAR race. And why shouldn't she be making headlines? The big question was whether she would win the Daytona 500. She looked good throughout the entire race, but finished 8th. In the end, it was an all too familiar face that has dominated the sport in recent years. Jimmie Johnson held off a late surge from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the Daytona 500. It's Johnson's second career Daytona victory. For a five-time winner to come into the Super Bowl of racing somewhat under the radar rarely happens. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Johnson didn't win the cup last year, Brad Keselowski did. Regardless, Johnson came in, completely focused and won the biggest race (also the opening race) of the season. The rest of the field should watch out. Johnson is on a mission and given he's won five cups before, no one should doubt what he can do. Granted it is just one race, but with all of the attention paid to Patrick and with Keselowski being the defending champion, this is perhaps what Johnson is wanting, to be under the radar, which makes him extremely dangerous.
Curtis Granderson out ten weeks
The AL East is going to be the most fascinating race in baseball this year. All five teams are very capable of winning the division. Toronto brought in a boatload of talent in the offseason. Baltimore made the playoffs last year. Tampa Bay has the pitching to win the division. They just need some bats. And of course there's Boston and the New York Yankees. You can never count those two teams out. Every team is capable of winning 90 games this year. Can't get off to a slow start. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they lost a key piece when outfielder Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat of spring training, fracturing his forearm. He will miss ten weeks. It is a huge blow to the Yankees. Granderson's bat is one of the best in the lineup. His speed on the bases will be missed. With Derek Jeter coming off of a torn ACL and Alex Rodriguez's problems, the Yankees can ill-afford to be without Granderson who will be out until the middle of May. The Yankees can overcome this, they can get hot in the middle of the season, but with how difficult the division appears to be this year, a slow start may put the Yankees in catchup mode all year.
Tom Brady signs three year extension
The New England Patriots have locked up quarterback Tom Brady for the rest of his career (unless he decides to pull a Brett Favre). The two sides agreed to a three-year $27 million extension through 2017. What makes this even more newsworthy is that the extension costs very little to the Patriots considering how good Brady is. Brady opted to do this to give the Patriots financial flexibility. It's a real classy move by Brady, but it shows that he really wants to win another Super Bowl and with by doing this, the Patriots can sign players that make a Super Bowl possible. Arguably, just having Brady under center makes the Patriots Super Bowl contenders every year. It's a great all around deal for both sides and Patriots fans.
In NFL Combine news, man are there some speedy players entering the NFL Draft this year. Two wide receivers are really making names with their blazing speed. West Virginia's Tavon Austin is arguably not only the best wide receiver in the draft, but also the best skill player. Think of him as perhaps Percy Harvin II. He ran a 4.34 40-yard time. Texas wide receiver Marquis Goodwin one upped him with a 4.27 40-yard dash time. My gosh! That is incredibly fast. That speed will make them first round picks. Austin was already going to be picked, possibly in the top ten, but Goodwin's speed surely raises his stock. Then how aboout Arkansas Pine-Bluff offensive line man Terron Armstead who ran a 4.67 40-yard time, the fastest ever by an offensive lineman. Why lineman have to run the 40-yard dash is still somewhat of a mystery. Teams need to see more of how fast they get out of their stance, but in the NFL today with the spread offense and option offenses we're seeing, speedy skill guys are of utmost importance and it feels like more than ever, we're seeing that at the NFL Combine this year.
Blackhawks win again
Finally, how about those Chicago Blackhawks? They don't lose...in regulation, ever! A 3-2 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers last night pushed the Blackhawks record to 16-0-3, extending their NHL record for most consecutive games to start an NHL season with at least one point to nineteen games (I'm very good at math). That record broke the mark previously set by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2006-07 season of seventeen games. Seems rather unreal what the Blackhawks are doing, but given how much continuity this team had, perhaps it isn't all that surprising. Every team had one week of training camp and it's the teams who were relatively the same from last year to this year that would benefit the most. The Blackhawks clearly have benefited from that and are the toast of the NHL and the prohibitive Stanley Cup favorites at this point. The trick is to find the first game they'll lose in regulation. It's tough. Maybe Thursday night at St. Louis, but right now, don't chalk anything up as a loss for this team. They're playing outstanding hockey right now.
Coming up Wednesday: Reaction to top sports stories from Tuesday