Sports

Picking Splinters: Holiday Jukebox

It’s Christmas time and in the spirit of the holidays I’m “gifting” our readers with a little holiday playlist – Splinters style.

First up on the turntables is the timeless classic “We Three Kings,” going out to the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. With only the Buffalo Sabres within nine points of those three teams in the standings, the Devs, Pens and Caps have established themselves as the royalty from the East.

While the Caps have been great thus far, the Devils are setting the gold standard, posting a 13-2-1 when traveling afar from home. Washington will have to bring its A-game to compete for the No.1 seed, as Martin Brodeur and Co. are proving themselves to be no Myrrh-age. Sorry, bad puns are also part of the holiday tradition.

I’d also like to spin a little number called “What Child is This?” to freshman PG John Wall of Kentucky. Wall’s early impact has lived up to the “messianic” prophecies that he could deliver the Wildcats from last year’s NIT disappointments. Already draft gurus are talking him up as the clear-cut No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, and frankly I’m not of a mind to disagree. Wrapped in, uh, swaddling of blue and white, Wall is averaging 17.8 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 2.4 steals per game. The knock on him entering the season was his perimeter shooting – to which he’s answered with a .417 shooting percentage from behind the arc.

If the Wildcats run short on funding for their holiday parties, maybe they can have Wall just touch a few water bottles. It doesn’t seem like there is anything this kid can’t do right now.

In addition to coal, Santa has requested a tune for some folks who have been very naughty this year – The BCS. After posting undefeated seasons, both TCU and Boise State were relegated to the Fiesta Bowl where they will compete for nothing of importance, not even a stirring win over an established program like they’ve done in previous years.

Santa, you see, is a fan of the underdog. You may have noticed the deer with the red honker leading his pack of flying fawns. By pitting TCU and Boise against eachother, the BCS has robbed both teams of opportunities to further prove that non-BCS programs belong in a national title game. To them, I say, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

And finally, this tune has been a perennial dedication to Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen. Well, shock of shocks, Millen has been gone for over a year now. Anyone in the D.C. area knows there’s already an heir apparent working the sidelines at FedEx Field.

Yes, Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn, we’re looking in your direction. And since your headset is probably set to XM radio instead of the offensive coordinator’s booth, please enjoy this rendition of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”

Zorn’s not sitting on a hot seat. He’s perched over a barbecue pit. And as this disastrous season continues to unfold, there has been some serious smoke that Zorn will be replaced by former Denver Broncos chief Mike Shanahan.

While Zorn has done little to nothing to justify his continued tenure, the management of his situation by the Redskins front office has been downright inhumane. Seriously, the move to cut Zorn out of the play-calling loop was about as awkward as a 40-year-old asking to sit on Santa’s lap.

Since the holidays are a time for compassion, I urge owner Daniel Snyder to do the merciful thing and cut Zorn loose. He’s been held over the flames too long and, in the spirit of our song, those nuts are starting to burn.