Hawks Win With a Finish For the Ages

25 06 2013

They started as the best team and finished as the best team. Just when it seemed as though their hot start couldn’t be topped, they finished in dramatic fashion.

The Chicago Blackhawks took down the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to become the 2013 NHL champions. This is their second championship in the past four years.

The last few minutes of the game might have been some of the most intense and exciting hockey anyone could ask for.

Down 2-1 with only a little over a minute to go, the Hawks looked to be facing a decisive Game 7 and following suit with the NBA by taking their respective championship to the wire.

Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland had different plans.

At 1:16 left in the game, Bickell found a way to tie the game with goalie Corey Crawford out of the net. Without even giving fans a chance to catch their breath and ease their nerves, Bolland put in a deflection off the post…17 seconds later. This finish exemplifies what makes hockey so intense and engaging when you have two teams fighting to the finish…literally. This also close to guarantees that the league increased their viewership for the future.

Just as Ray Allen‘s Game 6 three-pointer completely changed the outcome of the NBA Finals, these back-to-back scores gave Chicago the championship and sent Boston fans home utterly shocked.

And just as championship teams of any sport need players to step up when the lights are shining brightest, Chicago had themselves a man that soaked up the light.

From his series-clinching hat trick against the Los Angeles Kings to his two goals in their Game 5 win in this championship series, Patrick Kane gave the Blackhawks what they needed when they needed it most. At only 24, he fought off his previous two regressed seasons to have an NHL playoff MVP season.

It’s only fitting that this team that set an NHL-record 24-game unbeaten streak to start the season finishes with an unbeaten streak. And right when people began to worry if Jonathan Toews‘ injury would hurt the Hawks’ chances of winning this series, he had himself a goal and assist in his final game of the season.

In a series with plenty of lead changes, injuries (I mean, how would you like to play professional hockey with a broken rib, a disk issue in your back or a dislocated shoulder?) and physical play after play, these teams embody the tough, never-give-up attitude that can do a team wonders in the NHL. It shows how the players in this league that put everything they have into their profession as they train and grind relentlessly have a good chance to make it to the top of the mountain.

The Blackhawks deserve to be on top of this mountain. Congratulations, Chicago.

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Fun Fact Friday

31 05 2013

The last four teams left in the 2013 NHL playoffs – the Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins – are the last four Stanley Cup champions.

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2013 NHL Pre-lockout-shortened-season Predictions

14 01 2013

Guest writer: Chuck Heldridge

 

 

 

Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division:

1. New York Rangers:  With Gaborik healthly again added to the addition of Rick Nash, there is no excuse for a failure to score goals. Their D is solid, Lundqvist is at least a top 5 goaltender, and they have a couple of great young forwards in Kreider and Hagelin. It’s Cup or bust for these guys.

 

2. Pittsburgh Penguins:  Forget Crosby for a minute, get excited about seeing Malkin and Neal together again. I’m still angry at Dallas for trading away Neal, no matter how well Goligoski plays. The real question on this team is their defense corps and goaltending. Their playoff performance last year was an abysmal failure, exacerbated by the fact the Flyers flopped in the second round after demolishing the Pens. Goal-scoring is not enough; if Pittsburgh wants to contend they need Fleury to regain his championship form.

 

3. Philadelphia Flyers:  Their offense could be amazing enough to singlehandedly snatch a postseason berth, but that alone will not make them contenders. They may have failed to attain Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, but I love the trade to acquire Luke Schenn from the Leafs. This defensive needs some younger defensive talent, and hopefully he can provide that. Bryzgalov is undoubtedly the real question for this team: will Holmgren’s bold move pay off? It certainly hasn’t so far, considering that Richards and Carter just won the Cup in LA less than a year after being traded.

 

4. New Jersey Devils:  Eastern Conference Champions? Yes. Contenders next year? No. The loss of captain Zach Parise dooms this team, as do their ancient goaltenders Brodeur and Hedberg. The bright side for this team is young players Adam Henrique, Adam Larsson and Jacob Josefson. They all need to take another step forward this year if the Devils want to have any chance of being competitive in the Atlantic Division. Another painful indicator for this team: rampant rumors are circulating that Ilya Kovalchuk would rather stay in the KHL rather than return to New Jersey. Ultimately, he’ll likely rejoin the Devil’s club, but they need his heart and mind with the team, not back in Russia.

 

5. New York Islanders:  Just buy DiPietro out this offseason. What a terrible contract. Lubomir Visnovsky is determined to play anywhere but Long Island this season, and who can blame him? Tavares is likely a superstar, but that won’t be anywhere near enough for this team. Maybe they can put together a decent lockout-shortened season, but the early indications are that this team is doomed to hover near the bottom of the standings once again.

 

 

Northeast Division:

1. Boston Bruins: This team is loaded, definitely the top team in this division on paper. However, can Tuukka Rask adequately replace Tim Thomas? The talent is there, but that doesn’t guarantee things will work out. Boston should handily make the playoffs and win the division even with the shortened season, but can they avenge last year’s first-round exit?

 

2. Buffalo Sabres: This team now has the grit they’ve desperately needed. With the acquisition of Steve Ott, easily the most effective agitator (and perhaps most hated player) in the league, they need to step up. Also, no more letting opposing teams hit Ryan Miller without making the trainers scrape up the offender’s remains off the ice before the game is over. Derek Roy is a big loss, but this team is out of excuses and needs to make the playoffs.

 

3. Ottawa Senators: Can they make the playoffs again? Karlsson may be a superstar, Alfredsson is back for at least one last year, and Jason Spezza is in his prime. However, the team lacks proven depth and their goaltending is once again a concern. Was last year a fluke or can they claw their way back into the playoffs?

 

4. Montreal Canadiens: Can we say Jaroslav Halak? Carey Price needs to step up now. They have some good young talent, but with Markov, Gomez, Gionta and Cole reaching into their mid-thirties, this team cannot afford to wait forever.

 

5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Best fan base in the league, most profitable organization in the league, worst team in the league. Phil Kessel is a great player, but they’re going to lose him in two years if they don’t improve quickly. Will JVR provide the extra young talent that offense needs? Is Reimer the answer in net for both the present and the future? Or are they going to make another colossal mistake and trade for Roberto Luongo? GM Brian Burke was just fired, but will that translate to any real changes for this constantly underachieving team?

 

 

Southeast Division:

1. Carolina Hurricanes: Sure, they overpaid for Jordan Staal. Sure, they are taking a risk with Alexander Semin. But this team now has a very talented offense with brothers Eric and Jordan, shootout-extraordinaire Jussi Jokinen, young and talented Jeff Skinner, and the disgruntled free-agent Alexander Semin. With a decent defensive corps highlighted by young Justin Faulk, and a great goaltender in Cam Ward, this team could be the favorite to win a suddenly competitive Southeast division.

 

2. Washington Capitals: Adam Oates will certainly make this team more exciting to watch, but will he make them better? Their offense will likely improve under his oversight, but how will their defensive game fare? One has to assume that Braden Holtby is the man in Washington after his stellar postseason and the subsequent trade of Vokoun to Pittsburgh, but can he take the next step? Their defense was quite stingy last year, and that must continue. The draft day acquisition of Mike Ribeiro will provide much needed depth for their offense and even a fallback option if Backstrom is injured again this season. Washington is at the least a southeast contender, but if Oates can reignite their offense and Holtby proves last season was no fluke, then this team could win it all.

 

3. Tampa Bay Lightning: Stamkos is a superstar, St. Louis can still get it done at 37, and LeCavalier is still in his low thirties: this offense is as dangerous as any. However, will the additions of Nashville’s backup Anders Lindback and former-Flyers defensemen Matt Carle be enough to lower last year’s awful 3.39 goals against/game? Both were good pickups and should definitely help this defensive group, but it won’t be enough. Tampa will be competitive for a playoff spot, but will fall short.

 

4. Florida Panthers: Let Jacob Markstrom play already! Theodore and Clemmensen are old and nothing special, let the kid play. Can Peter Mueller stay healthy for once? How will their older vets fare this year after the lockout? Guys like Fleischmann, Weiss, Versteeg and Campbell will certainly make them competitive, but their division just got a whole lot better last offseason. It seems doubtful that this team will be able to repeat as southeast champs.

 

5. Winnipeg Jets: Their youth need to step up if this team wants to have any success this season. Pavelec needs to earn his contract (and avoid drunk driving charges) this season and beyond. Olli Jokinen is a good player, but he’s past his prime and I don’t see him improving this team significantly enough to make a difference. This team also needs to learn how to win an occasional road game this year.

 

 

 

Western Conference:

Central Division:

1. St. Louis Blues: They may have overachieved last year, but I’m convinced this team is legitimate. Halak and Elliot comprise perhaps the league’s best 1-2 punch in net, their defensive corps is as young and exciting as any, and they have some underrated talent up front in Oshie, Backes, and McDonald. Sure, they were dismantled by the Kings in the postseason, but who wasn’t? This team will take the next step and become a contender.

 

2. Chicago Blackhawks: Perhaps the only real question here is Corey Crawford. This team will certainly make the playoffs, but can they overcome their glaring disadvantage in net? If Crawford plays well in the postseason, they are among the most dangerous teams in the league.

 

3. Detroit Red Wings: Never count on Ken Holland. Yes, Detroit has seen better days, but Ken Holland will always keep this team competitive. Datsyuk and Zetterberg may be getting old, but they’re still superstars and the Red Wings will again be dangerous. I wouldn’t be surprised if this team managed to put together a postseason run this year.

 

4. Nashville Predators: Not a fun offseason for this team. Suter is gone, Radulov is back in the KHL, and Shea Weber just received a ridiculous contract thanks to the Flyers. Still, this team is not a bad defensive unit, and 22 year old Roman Josi may be able to blossom into a worthy defensive partner for Weber. Rinne will definitely steal a few games singlehandedly, but the goal support could be lacking this year.

 

5. Columbus Blue Jackets: Well, it’s a good thing they don’t actually have any fans to disappoint. Rick Nash is gone, and they don’t have many inspiring prospects to get overly excited about. Poor Jack Johnson is the new Rick Nash. This team needs guys like Ryan Murray, Derick Brassard, and Nick Foligno to blossom into stars if this team has any future in Columbus.

 

 

Northwest Division:

1. Vancouver Canucks: Two amazing regular seasons, two President’s trophies, a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, and a continued inability to win when it really matters. They still have a great team, but they need to win NOW. They’re going to run into major salary cap problems very soon (especially if they can’t manage to ditch Luongo) and they’re not getting any younger. Can Schneider be the man in Vancouver?

 

2. Minnesota Wild: No more excuses for this team. They’d just better hope that Parise and Suter and worth the $96 million contracts they each signed this offseason. Backstrom can certainly play, and this team now has the needed talent up front to make a legitimate run. Mikael Granlund is at the least a very good AHL player, but can he make the jump to playing in the NHL? Ultimately, this team needs to make the playoffs after their heavily scrutinized offseason.

 

3. Colorado Avalanche: This team might be really good, especially with the shortened season. They have loads of young talent, including Calder Memorial winner Gabriel Landeskog (youngest player to ever be named team captain). With other exciting young players such as stud defender Erik Johnson, Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, and goaltender Semyon Varlamov, this team could become good in an extremely short amount of time.

 

4. Edmonton Oilers: Lots and lots of upside in potential superstars Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle (25 goals, 51 points in 34 AHL games this year!), Justin Schultz (48 points in 34 AHL games), Calder nominee and World Junior star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and this year’s first overall pick Nail Yakupov, Edmonton’s offense could become elite. They also have other good young players in Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner to fill out their future depth. Their defense should at least be competent, if not exciting. Goaltending? Not so much. Devan Dubnyk and 39 year old Nikolai Khabibulin don’t exactly spell out a bright future for this team’s netminding, but Edmonton will certainly have the trade assets to fix this problem.

 

5. Calgary Flames:  Old and not particularly promising, this team’s immediate future may not be so bright. Iginla and Kiprusoff are still great players, but they’re aging and won’t be able to help the team too much longer. They still have a good core, but pretty much everyone is either at the end of their prime or past it already. It might be time for them to start trading away their good players for prospects before all their trade value is gone. If they were making the playoffs every year then they could keep their team intact, but they constantly finish outside the top eight and should probably just tear the team up and move on.

 

 

Pacific Division:

1. Los Angeles Kings:  Move over San Jose, the division is yours no longer. The Stanley Cup Champions have their entire roster intact from last year, and with only one active player over 30 years old (Rob Scuderi, 34) they’re here to compete for a long time. They’ve got star talent, they’ve got depth, and they have a top goalie in 26 year old Jonathan Quick. This team is here to stay.

 

2. San Jose Sharks:  This team still has a great offensive and defensive corps. The problem: they’re not getting any younger. San Jose’s championship window is rapidly closing, and they’ve shown no ability to win past the first two rounds of the playoffs. Are they a good team? Absolutely, even though they’re depending on Niemi to play well for them in the net (still convinced he’s not a legitimate playoff goaltender even though he won it with Chicago). However, they need to win now.

 

3. Dallas Stars: Just give Jamie Benn whatever he wants, don’t you dare lose him. Loui Eriksson is probably the team’s best player, and Kari Lehtonen looks like a legitimate goaltender. Defensemen Philip Larsen may be ready to take the next step, and they have two Derian Hatcher-like defensive monsters in 20 year old Jamie Oleksiak (6-7, 254 lbs) and 22 year old Brendan Dillon down in the minors. The free agent additions of Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney show that this team is serious about competing. Derek Roy will hopefully be able to replace Mike Ribeiro on the first or second line. Can they make it back to the playoffs for the first time since they lost to Detroit in the Western Conference Finals?

 

4. Phoenix Coyotes: Head coach Dave Tippett (thanks a lot Nieuwendyk for firing him) will make sure this team is competitive, but once again they probably don’t have the necessary talent to compete with the top teams (not that it mattered last year). This team desperately needs good years from young players Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mikkel Boedker. Mike Smith needs to show that last year’s stellar performance was no fluke, or this team is doomed.

 

5. Anaheim Ducks: How does a team with names like Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne finish 13th in the West? They’ll need a bounce back effort this year, but this team has seen better days. Will Jonas Hiller be able to hold onto his starting job, or will a netminding change be in order for the Ducks this year?

 

 

 

Eastern Conference:

1. New York Rangers

2. Boston Bruins

3. Carolina Hurricanes

4. Pittsburgh Penguins

5. Washington Capitals

6. Philadelphia Flyers

7. Buffalo Sabres

8. Ottawa Senators

———————————–

9. Tampa Bay Lightning

10. New Jersey Devils

11. Montreal Canadiens

12. Florida Panthers

13. Toronto Maple Leafs

14. Winnipeg Jets

15. New York Islanders

 

 

Western Conference:

1. Los Angeles Kings

2. Vancouver Canucks

3. St. Louis Blues

4. Chicago Blackhawks

5. San Jose Sharks

6. Minnesota Wild

7. Detroit Red Wings

8. Dallas Stars

———————————

9. Colorado Avalanche

10. Nashville Predators

11. Phoenix Coyotes

12. Edmonton Oilers

13. Anaheim Ducks

14. Calgary Flames

15. Columbus Blue Jackets

 

 

Eastern Quarterfinals:

1) New York Rangers def. 8) Ottawa Senators (rematch!)

2) Boston Bruins def. 7) Buffalo Sabres

6) Philadelphia Flyers def. 3) Carolina Hurricanes

4) Pittsburgh Penguins def. 5) Washington Capitals

 

Western Quarterfinals:

1) Los Angeles Kings def. 8) Dallas Stars

7) Detroit Red Wings def. 2) Vancouver Canucks

3) St. Louis Blues def. 6) Minnesota Wild

4) Chicago Blackhawks def. 5) San Jose Sharks

 

Eastern Semifinals:

1) New York Rangers def. 6) Philadelphia Flyers

2) Boston Bruins def. 4) Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Western Semifinals:

1) Los Angeles Kings def. 7) Detroit Red Wings

3) St. Louis Blues def. 4) Chicago Blackhawks

 

Conference Finals:

1) New York Rangers def. 2) Boston Bruins

3) St. Louis Blues def. 1) Los Angeles Kings

 

Stanley Cup Finals:

New York Rangers def. St. Louis Blues

 

 

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In Case You Missed It… (Second Edition)

23 04 2012

Earlier this year, America experienced consecutive jam-packed days in the world of sports. That world just threw a wild weekend party that would please any type of sports fan. Here is a rundown of what took place:

 

 

NHL

  • Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres was suspended 25 games by the NHL for launching himself into Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during their playoff game. Hossa ended up in the hospital, and the punishment was so severe mainly because Torres is a “repeat offender.” The NHL should be this strict with all of their penalties in order to keep this these type of hits out of the game. Even with hockey’s physical play, this isn’t needed on the ice or in any other sport for the matter.
    • The Coyotes holds the 3-2 series lead going into game six on Monday. All five games in this series have gone to overtime as each team easily look like they could come out on top. They both are showing a lot of grit, a quality that is invaluable when it comes to playoff hockey. Whoever wins this series is bound to give their opponent trouble in the second round.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers finished off the Pittsburgh Penguins in game six with a 5-1 victory. Taking the series four games to one, the Flyers capped off a six game bloodbath filled with an abundance of goals. Through the first three games, this series simply seemed like a conduit for two groups of men to beat each other up. While this fighting took place, each group forced the issue on the other team’s goalie. As the Flyers took the 3-0 lead, the two state rivals combined to put in 32 goals. The Penguins won the next two games, looking like the squad that many envisioned winning it all this year. However, Flyers’ goalie Ilya Bryzgalov put together a phenomenal game six performance as Marc André Fleury allowed four of the Flyers’s five goals. Unfortunately for the Pens, Fleury decided to have his worst playoff performance of his career against their biggest nemesis. The Penguins will have to decide if they want to keep the core of this team or blow it up just as the Flyers did a couple of years ago.
  • The reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins forced a seventh game against the Washington Capitols with Tyler Seguin’s overtime goal in game six. They will now host game seven in their own TD Garden. Taking three of their four series to seven games during last year’s championship run, this team has been exposed to the pressure of a seventh game. If Bruins goalie Tim Thomas plays like he did in game six (36 saves), Boston will move on to the second round.
  • The eighth seeded Los Angeles Kings advanced to the second round for the first time in 11 years as they took down the top seeded Vancouver Canucks in overtime, 2-1, in game five. The Canucks had some odd coaching in this game, only making one lineup change in the entire game. Even though an eighth seeded team has never won the Stanley Cup, with the way the goalie Jonathan Quick and his Kings easily handled the Canucks, this team could be dangerous moving forward.

 

NBA

  • Dwight Howard underwent back surgery to repair his herniated disk, forcing him to miss the playoffs and the London Olympics this summer. Howard’s pains started after the Magic claimed Brendan Haywood struck their big man in the back (with no video evidence) in a game March 30. Even though this injury could not be avoided, this caps of a drama-filled season for the Magic and their celebrity center. If it is possible to find a silver lining with Superman’s situation, Glen Davis has blossomed since Howard’s back pains started, averaging 18.1 points and 10.2 rebounds during April.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers took down the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-106, in double overtime. This marque matchup provided Staples Center and ABC viewers with one of the best NBA games this season even though Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 23-82. The Thunder’s two all-stars could just not find a way to close out this game as Kobe came up big when the spotlight shined brightest. If these two teams meet in the second round of the playoffs, the Lakers have a good chance of taking down the team predicted to win the West since the start of the season.
    • Metta World Peace bringing out his inner Ron Artest for the nation to see as James Harden received a concussion was the low point of the afternoon. Unless there is a new celebration move where a player swings his elbow at the level of his head, this has to be considered as a dirty move by World Peace (sounds weird, right?). What a sad sight for a guy that has stayed away from these types of plays since his name change. “That’s not a basketball play, man,” Kevin Durant said during a halftime interview. World Peace will likely be suspended for multiple games, which will carry over into the playoffs.
  • Thanks to Marvin Williams mistiming his final move, the New York Knicks defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 113-112, as they now hold the seventh seed. Carmelo Anthony continued to play the best basketball in the league, putting up 39 points and 10 rebounds. He is averaging an astounding 30.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the month of April. It’s too bad his high level of play won’t matter since he will face the Heat or Bulls in the first round.
  • After being pounded by the Sacramento Kings (yes, that is possible), 114-88, the Charlotte Bobcats are three games away from finishing up one of the worst seasons in NBA history. In fact, if they lose their final three games, that will give them a winning percentage of .106 – the lowest in NBA history. You have to feel for Paul Silas who just doesn’t have any pieces to work with. Hopefully the insertion of Anthony Davis can help this team be somewhat respectable when he joins these ‘Cats.
  • Reggie Evan proved to the nation why players should be fined for excessive flopping during the Los Angeles Clippers 107-98 victory over the New Orleans Hornets. This type of play needs to stop as more and more players (including many Clippers…) are finding ways to make a tick-tack foul look like a Ron Artest elbow to the face. The only way to fix this problem is to start taking money out of these players’ pockets.

 

MLB

  • Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox threw the 21st perfect game in MLB history against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. Humber is now the fourth pitcher in the past four years to throw a perfect game. This was also the first time Humber made it all the way through nine innings in his six year career. His 32 sliders really helped keep the Mariners’ bats off target. Even though this is a great achievement for the young man, this doesn’t represent his level of pitching. It was a great surprise, but it can’t be forgotten that he pulled this feat off against the Mariners.
  • Albert Pujols has had 61 at-bats this season without hitting a home run. Previously, his longest homer-less streak to start a season was 27. (Don’t worry, it’s not like the Angels have agreed to pay him $240 million or anything. Oh, wait.) Sitting last in the American West with a 6-10 record, Pujols’s Angels will need much bigger things from him if they want to make any noise come playoff time.
  • Ever since the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox started off each of their respective seasons with three straight losses, they have headed in different directions. The Yankees (9-6) topped off their recent hot streak Saturday when they strung together back-to-back seven run innings against the abysmal Red Sox (4-10) in their 15-9 victory.
    • General Manager Bobby Valentine has received heat because of his actions and statements during his team’s struggles. In a town used to winning baseball during the past decade, Valentine’s seat should already be considered hot.
  • Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been phenomenal with 22 RBIs in the first two weeks of the season. He has been a huge factor towards the Dodgers’ 12-4 start to the season. On the other end of the spectrum, the entire Pittsburgh Pirates team has only managed 29 RBIs since the season began. Luckily for the Pirates, their pitching (2.53 ERA) has kept them at a somewhat respectable 6-9.
  • The Texas Rangers took down the Detroit Tigers, 3-2, Sunday in eleven innings and took the series three games to one. The game didn’t end in on a happy note, though. As Alberto Gonzalez provided the winning run after reaching first base on a squeeze bunt, the replay showed the bunt hit his knee. The umpires let the play go, and the Rangers went on to steal the win.
    • Even with the controversial call, this team has been playing baseball at an entirely different level than the rest of the league. They have the most runs (91), best batting average (.301), second best on-base percentage (.362), best slugging percentage (.508) and best run differential (+52) in the entire league. Along with a lineup that seems to have no weak spots, the five starting pitchers have been playing their part, collecting 10 wins and a single loss. These guys are buying into what Ron Washington is selling and their 13-3 record proves their commitment. If they can play anywhere close to this level of baseball once the playoffs roll around, they will be dangerous for a third straight year.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies just placed Cliff Lee on the 15-day disabled list. This formerly hot-shot team stands at 7-9 with only the Pirates producing fewer runs on the year. Even though this team has great pitching – just as they did last year – they will need to find a way to pick up their hitting, especially with Ryan Howard out until mid-May.

 

NCAABB

  • Larry Brown has been hired as the head basketball coach at SMU as the Mustangs prepare for their transition to the Big East. Brown has a tendency to succeed wherever he goes, except for his last two stops (New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats). The last time he coached at the collegiate level was with the Kansas Jayhawks from 1983-1988. He won it all during his last year before moving on to the San Antonio Spurs. It seems like a 71-year-old man should stay retired after 38 years on the job. Right? Wrong. Coaching is in Brown’s blood and it always will be. He will jump back in the game and be the face that this SMU program needs.

 

NFL

  • Most reports indicate that the Indianapolis Colts will use their top draft pick on Andrew Luck. This will inaugurate a new era in Indianapolis as this confident football player seemingly has everything a football team wants and needs in a quarterback. However, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t completely live up to expectations since his expectations have escalated to an almost unattainable level.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free-agent wide receiver Mike Wallace is pulling a DeSean Jackson as he prepares to sit out drills and possibly training camp in order to get the money he (thinks he) deserves. He wants the Steelers to give him a long-term deal after he caught 72 passes for 1,193 yards last season.
    • When a player on a professional sports team whines about not getting enough money, in some form or fashion, in one of the most lucrative businesses in the nation, he looks like a selfish man that is caught up in his own sports world. Yes, players deserve to “earn their worth,” but that should only go so far when players are getting paid millions and millions of dollars to play a sport.

 

Tennis

  • Rafael Nadal took down Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the eighth consecutive year. Djokovic clearly wasn’t at his best for this match, lacking the energy and heart he has displayed during the past few years. This commanding victory is a huge statement for Nadal, who had lost his previous seven meetings to the top-ranked player in the world. He entered this tournament coming off of an aggravated knee injury that has constantly hurt him in the past, but he surprised Monte Carlo all the way to the championship. Don’t be surprised if Nadal does extremely well once his favorite Grand Slam tournament rolls around in May.

 

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