It’s Friday, so it must be time for the Hot Stove Player of the Week award. With basketball season under way, we now have seven teams to choose from. This week’s prize will be a perfectly rendered painting by a professional sports artist of the winner in action (ok, it’s a crayon drawing by my daughter on the back of a take-out menu). As always, the winner can pick up his prize at his own time and expense.
Leon Washington: The Jets beat the Chiefs on Sunday. Barely. And the main reason was Leon Washington. He rushed for 67 yards on three carries. He caught three passes for 34 yards. He returned three punts for 71 yards (including a 37-yard return, which set up the winning TD). He returned four kickoffs for 102 yards. He scored a rushing touchdown. He caught a TD pass. He gained a total of 274 yards. He’s Mr. Versatility. He was the best player on the field, and he’s the Hot Stove Player of the Week.
Mathias Kiwanuka: The Giants defense terrorized Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday. Kiwanuka led the way with three sacks, five tackles (three for lost yardage) and a forced fumble.
Nikolai Zherdev: The 23-year-old right winger scored a goal and had two assists in his homecoming against Columbus, tied the game with 8.1 seconds left against Pittsburgh and came up big again last night against Atlanta, scoring and assisting on the Rangers last two goals. In the Blueshirts four games this week (all victories), he racked up seven points (three goals and four assists). He’s turning into the team’s biggest clutch player.
John Carney: Let’s give some credit to the Giants 84-year-old kicker. He was four for four in field goal attempts on Sunday, and is 18 for 19 for the season (his only miss being blocked). And last week’s game started at 4:15, which is usually when he’s just settling in for the early-bird dinner at the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ, so he gets extra credit for that.
Jamal Crawford: The Knicks are undefeated! (Enjoy it while it lasts.) The shooting guard led the team with 29 points on opening night. He was nine for 19 from the floor, and seven for 10 at the free-throw line. He also threw in four assists and four rebounds.
Anti-Player of the Week
Plaxico Burress: The Giants receiver claims he didn’t know he was supposed to show up for treatment on his neck on Saturday. But since he rarely shows up on time or at all, can anybody believe him? He’s now been fined and benched so many times, that when he does, it’s about as surprising as this headline: ‘John Daly Passes Out at Hooters.’ He’s letting down his coach. He’s letting down his teammates. But most of all, he’s letting down himself (ok, not really, since he obviously doesn’t give a crap). He already has his excuse ready in case he’s late for Saturday’s meetings – “I overslept because I was up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin.”
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