Sunday, May 27, 2007

Stanley Cup Finals Breakdown: Anaheim vs. Ottawa

So it has all come down to this... a battle between water fowl (who are not even Mighty any more) and politicians (insert dishonesty/corruption/etc. joke here) to see who can claim the greatest prize in North American professional sports (not including the WNBA title of course). Both teams have been on a mission all postseason and neither has really been challenged thus far. So what can we expect from the last couple weeks of hockey season?

Any time you are breaking down hockey you have to start between the pipes, and in my opinion goaltending is by far the greatest inequality in this series. J.S. Giguere is making his second trip to the Finals, while Ray Emery is clinging desperately to his teammates' jersey straps. I'm not ready to put Giguere on the list of elite NHL netminders, but he is a very good goalie and should be at ease in the Finals thanks to previous experience. And then we have Ray Emery... Ever since Ottawa went up 3-0 on the Sabres I have been trying to think of a worse starting goalie to make it to the Stanley Cup, and I have yet to come up with one. Jon Casey with the North Stars in '91 comes to mind, but I think I would still go with him over Emery, especially relative to other goalies in the NHL at the time. Yes Ray Emery's numbers are solid and yes he has yet to really struggle in these playoffs, but that being said he just isn't that great of a goalie. I would describe him as solid at best. I just don't think he is capable of bringing home the Cup for Ottawa.

The rest of the series breaks down like this for me:

  • The Sens have a slight edge at forward 1 through 12.
  • The Ducks are better on D.
  • Ottawa won't be able to handle the Ducks' physicality.
  • It's way past time for Daniel Alfredsson to pull off his annual disappearing act.
  • Scott Niedermeyer = WINNER!
  • Ottawa just doesn't deserve to hoist the Cup after letting their goalie get beat up earlier this year in Buffalo.
  • I just wouldn't feel right watching Dany Heatley celebrate winning the Cup.
That all said, it should be a good series. My prediction:

Ducks in 6!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kicking the NHL while it's down.

NBC did yet another disservice to the NHL yesterday, as if the horrible announcers and camera work weren't enough. Instead of showing the overtime of the series deciding game between Ottawa and Buffalo, NBC switched to people talking about horses. NBC dumped the hockey game at the end of regulation (the game shifted to VS.) so that they could continue their Preakness coverage. NBC Studio anchor Bill Clement summed it up best when he said,"Ottawa and Buffalo have just begun playing in overtime... we'll let you know as soon as somebody wins."

Overtime in the the NHL playoffs is widely considered to be sport at its finest, yet NBC pulled the plug so that we could all watch horses walk around in the rain. For the record, the hockey game ended almost half an hour before the horse race took place. NBC could have easily shown the game and still had plenty of time for pre-race crap. Instead they turned their backs on the NHL and its fans. I don't think the NHL is without blame in all of this, but if you are NBC why bother trying to promote the NHL if you are going to end up pulling a stunt like this? If the NHL is going to schedule its playoff games around when you want them, then at least have the decency to show the whole game.

This isn't the first time network TV has screwed over the NHL, and it probably won't be the last unfortunately, but at some point the NHL has to put itself in a position to not have this happen. If NBC won't commit to showing an entire game then don't move the games to afternoons for them. On the plus side, all us hockey fans learned a lot about horses this weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You can't spell suspension without S-U-N-S

Enough already! The world has apparently spun off its axis and Robert Horry seems to be the one to blame. Nevermind that Steve Nash completely overdid his reaction to Horry's hard foul with his little "help I've been shot" routine in front of the scorer's table. Nevermind that David Stern and the NBA enforced their no leaving the bench rule exactly how they always have. Nevermind that Stoudemire and Diaw chose to come running over to the scene when they had to know the consequences. Forget all of that! The Spurs are evil and their impending NBA title is undeserved.

Enough already! The sporting world (and sports media in particular) is out of control. People have been far to eager to dish out blame for the way this series has gone down, but nobody wants to look at who is really at fault. Are the Spurs at fault for trying to exploit their opponent's apparent weakness? No. Is Robert Horry at fault for the suspensions received by Suns players? No. Is the NBA at fault for being consistent with the way they enforce their rules and hand out suspensions? Nope. Are Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw at fault for leaving their bench? Yes!

The public and media seem to begrudge stars getting special treatment (just look at the reaction to Roger Clemens' deal with the Yankees), yet the NBA is being taken to task for suspending two Suns players that are key to their chances of winning. Imagine the reaction if David Stern had come out and said, "Well, Stoudemire and Diaw should be suspended, but they're really good and the Suns need them, so no dice." Yeah, that would have gone over well. The NBA took the only possible course of action in what has turned out to be something of a no win situation. They stayed the course and enforced the rules the way they always do. Which brings us back to Stoudemire and Diaw. They knew the consequences for leaving the bench and they did it anyway. Manu Ginobli didn't drag them over, they ran over of their own free will. And then they paid the price. If Suns/NBA fans want to hang blame one somebody for what has gone on in this series they need to start with Stoudemire and end with Diaw. Then shut up and give the Spurs their due.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Who says sports sites don't have a sense of humor?

If a headline like that doesn't draw in readers, nothing will.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Weekend in Review: Blood, Cash, and Tears

Looks like Steve Nash made one too many anti-Quebec jokes.

Roger Clemens announced his return to the Yankees... Hitler style!

Chelsea came to grips with the fact that they are losers and cried it out for the world to see.

  • Some horse won a race.
  • Some guy won a boxing match.

Friday, May 4, 2007

This is how we roll in Oaktown.

Yup, the Mavs can suck it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

This is what it's all about!

Pack your bags, we're headed for Athens!