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As far as my NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Round 1 predictions go, I was 3-for-4. The Pittsburgh Penguins let me down and I finished the entire first round with an overall record of 7-1. The NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference quarterfinals didn’t lack for intensity and excitement, either. The Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens series was a 7-game thriller. The Philadelphia Flyers – Buffalo Sabres series was a 7-game thriller. Oh, and yes, the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning went the full 7-games, too. The Washington Capitals dispatched the New York Rangers in 5-games. Onward we skate to the NHL Playoffs Round 2!
THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
See Tony’s predictions after the jump >>
Announcement: I was 4-for-4 in my NHL Playoffs Western Conference predictions. The teams that have moved on include the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, and San Jose Sharks.
After the whirlwind of excitement that was the NHL Playoffs Western Conference quarterfinals round, which included an unbelievable game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks, we’re set with the semi-finals match-ups beginning tonight with…
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
See Tony’s predictions after the jump >>
Brandon Marshall, wide receiver of the Miami Dolphins, was violently stabbed in the stomach with a kitchen knife by his wife during a domestic dispute. It’s clear now that Brandon Marshall is expected to make a full recovery. However, it’s even more clear that being stabbed in the stomach by your wife is cause for concern, alarm, even a little bit of sympathy. While details remain quite unclear, one thing is for certain – a man was reportedly in intensive care for a serious stab wound which required surgery.
When the report came over the airwaves, I was greeted with Adam Schefter’s effort, which left me speechless. Having read many articles on the subject that flood the internet when something this high-profile occurs, it was clear he wasn’t the only one who used this opportunity – not to express concern for another human being who had been stabbed in the stomach by a violent wife – but to bury Brandon Marshall before he was dead.
A-Dumb Schefter comments after the jump >>
With mere hours before one of the most exciting sports events takes place – a Game 7 NHL Playoff Game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres – I’m forced to take a frustrated look at how the Flyers have limped to this point. When I took a look at this series through the rose-colored glasses the Flyers provided me for free about 2-months ago, it was hard to see them losing. However, that’s when what could turn into an epic collapse by a Flyers team that made the NHL Stanley Cup Finals just one year ago (losing to the Chicago Blackhawks).
More on game 7 after the jump >>
We’re now two weeks into the 2011 Major League Baseball season. Here are your my top 5 story lines.
1. The Royals don’t suck. At least not yet. Before Thursday’s games Kansas City is 7-4 and just a half game out of first behind the also surprising Cleveland Indians. The rookie relievers have been nothing short of excellent, and the offense has far exceeded expectations. The Royals tied their own record early this season recording 4 straight walk-off victories. I already reserved my playoff tickets for Kauffman Stadium.
The Kila Monster celebrates his walkoff home run
2. Albert Pujols has been abducted by aliens. Through Wednesday night he is hitting .229 with just 1 home run, 6 RBIs and an OPS of .609. To put into perspective how un-Pujols-like that is, his career OPS is 1.047. Keep this up Albert and you’re going to wish you’d signed that offer from the Cardinals. Or better yet, his stock will fall so far even the Royals could afford him.
Read more early 2011 MLB season thoughts >>
The Eastern Conference 1st-round of the NHL Playoffs offers me the opportunity to provide a quick-and-dirty review, preview, and prediction. While a painfully long NHL regular season rolls into a painfully long NHL post-season, make no mistake about one thing – I’m a huge fan of all things hockey. I can make it through a lot of hockey en route to the NHL Playoffs and then I’m hard pressed to miss a whole lot of it.
The Eastern Conference
#1 Seed Washington Capitals hosting the #8 Seed New York Rangers
The New York Rangers have enough fire power to hang with the Washington Capitals. Don’t let the difference in seeding fool anyone here. In terms of statistical comparisons, call it a draw. The Rangers scored more goals during the regular season and the difference between them in goals against was exactly one. Defense and goaltending rule the playoffs and these two teams have a near identical showing in each category. Throw the seeds out the window in this contest because they simply confuse the issue. These two teams are about as evenly matched as they get and a Rangers win would be the furthest thing from an “upset” as I will have witnessed in recent years.
Hot Spots: For the Rangers it has to be the 11-shutout goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. For the Capitals, it’s no surprise that it’s Alex Ovechkin that led the Caps to a sizzling close to the regular season as the Flyers fell back to the field.
I don’t see the Capitals choking two seasons in a row and pick them to win this series.
More on the Eastern Conference Round One after the jump >>
The Western Conference probably had the most exciting close to the regular season in terms of undecided NHL playoff implications. The field is tight. However, the field is led by this year’s runaway powerhouse – the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s the quick-and-dirty look at the Western Conference Round 1 match-ups for the 2011 NHL Playoffs.
#1 Seed Vancouver hosting the #8 Seed Chicago Blackhawks
While the defending Stanley Cup Champions from 2010, this team is a far cry from the Chicago Blackhawks from last year. And, they’re about to insert their collective heads into hockey’s equivalent of a wood chipper in the Vancouver Canucks. Wholesale changes have doomed the Blackhawks to a likely quick and embarrassing exit from this round of the playoffs. Long gone are Stanley Cup impact players including Annti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, and Andrew Ladd. You can’t jettison that many players from a Stanley Cup crew and expect to make your way back there the following year.
Vancouver was like a runaway freight train en route to the President’s Trophy for 2011 for the best record in the entire NHL with 56 wins. The Canucks don’t appear to have a single “chink” in their proverbial armor. Best in scoring, best in defense, best powerplay. They would have scored the “quadrifecta” if not for finishing a mere third in penalty-killing. If this isn’t an embarrassing broom-fest, I’ll be shocked.
Vancouver Canucks have already swept this series.
More on the Western Conference Round One after the jump >>
I’m not sure what day it was when I became my dad. One thing is for certain, it was probably when I started to enjoy watching golf on television. I don’t believe I am alone when I say that I grew up in a household with a father who never played golf but who inexplicably always watched it on television. The Masters. Back in those days, there were about 5 channels you could actually watch.
As a child, I remember sitting there wondering how my father could possibly be enjoying The Masters or any other PGA golf tournament. He was sleeping on the sofa! I could see why he enjoyed it. It was the 1970s equivalent of washing down a few Ambien with a bottle of Nyquil. Today, I enjoy watching golf while my children sit in wonderment about why I am a viewer. At least I speak to them about the game, The Masters, and just how difficult the game of golf is. I’m not sleeping.
More Masters tradition after the jump >>