It was finally time to talk some serious hockey again last night on “The Knee Jerks”, my weekly sports gabfest with Big Al from The Wayne Fontes Experience.

Our guest was, as Big Al calls him, “The Godfather” of hockey blogging, Paul Kukla of Kukla’s Korner.

Paul joined us for a look back at the Red Wings’ off-season, and what to look for during training camp. We didn’t stop there. We pressed on, asking Paul to name us some key players for 2009-10 and where he sees the Red Wings ending up next spring.

(Note: Mr. Kukla’s glass is half full, which should reassure lots of Red Wings followers).

After Paul gave us his rich insight, Al and I got to chatting.

We began with the Tigers—Al is on the bandwagon with me and agrees the Tigers have all but sewn up the division—and their post-season chances. Then it was time to talk some football, U-M and Lions style. We dissected Michigan’s big win over Notre Dame (is Tate Forcier a Heisman candidate of the future?) and the Lions’ garish loss in New Orleans.

Finally, it was time for the requisite Jerks of the Week. Mine wasn’t sports related, but when you hear who it was, I think you’ll understand!

Fun times, as always!

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Some highlights:

Big Al

On U-M freshman QB Tate Forcier: “Forcier for Heisman in a couple of years? Looks like RichRod might have found his Pat White.”

On the Tigers’ chances in the playoffs against the Yankees: “Don’t forget that it’s a shorter series, so anything can happen. We didn’t think they’d beat the Yankees in 2006, either.”

On the bullpen: “Do you make Brandon Lyon the closer now? He’s been lights out since May. How about next year? The Tigers might lose BOTH Lyon and Fernando Rodney to free agency. I think I’d rather keep Lyon, because Rodney might be easier to replace.”

On the Lions coach Jim Schwartz: “Jim Schwartz LOOKS like a head coach. He did a pretty good job of game management in New Orleans. Unfortunately, he’s been put in a sh*tty situation!”

Eno

On Forcier: “Enjoy him now. That win over Notre Dame was huge. But there’ll be a game where he just blows up, because he’s so young. But if he’s for real, Michigan should win a lot of football games over the next four years.”

On the Tigers: “They lost five games in a row and only lost a game-and-a-half off their lead. That’s an indictment of the division. They’re going to win the division. And if they’re going to beat the Yankees, it’s more likely to happen in a 3-of-5 than a 4-of-7.”

On the bullpen dynamic: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Keep Lyon as the set-up man for those tough outs in the seventh and eighth innings. I hope the Tigers don’t lose both of them to free agency. Ryan Perry isn’t ready yet to assume a bigger role. He’s too erratic.”

On the Lions: “The revamped defense was shockingly like last year’s. I think Matthew Stafford had the usual first game jitters. The Lions need to give him a running game, somehow.”

You can listen to the episode by clicking HERE.

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