Today’s Hockey Playoff Preview

 

The NHL playoffs have been everything but boring with high scores, good defense, and a fair share of fights on the ice. Here is a preview of the games happening today, and what has already gone on in their series.

Florida @ New Jersey: The Florida Panthers were able to get their first playoff victory in 15 years on Sunday. Talk about a long wait, but the Panthers got a 4-2 win to tie the series at one game apiece. Weiss set a Florida Panthers record by scoring within the first 23 seconds of competition getting them off to a great start, but they will need more great play from the whole team in order to win the series. The New Jersey Devils have had some trouble containing the Panthers during power plays this series, after an NHL record 89.6% during the season of preventing scores during these situations. This looks to be a tough fought series.

Nashville @ Detroit: One of the main advantages the Red Wings have had all season long was their dominance on their home ice. That all changed when Nashville took a 2-1 series lead by doing just that, beating them at home. This will put some pressure on the Wings to win tonight in order to prevent and 3-1 series hole. Klein stole the spotlight for the Predators in game 3, providing a goal and late save to silence a Red Wing comeback. There has been a ton of action in this series, and it will only get better as the pressure rises. So, I encourage fans to stay tuned.

Phoenix @ Chicago: Some skepticism was raised after Smith did not practice after a bone-crushing hit in game two of the series. Smith stayed in the game and expressed that he was 100 percent, but we will see how much he actually was affected by the hit. Bryan Bickell’s late game heroics in overtime that game them the win also gave him his first ever two-goal game. The second game between these two teams proved to be one for the ages and we can only anticipate what the rest of it will be like. It should be filled with hard hits, drama, and two teams fighting to make it to the next round.

How ‘Bout them Dodgers!

Just a couple of months ago we were watching a baseball tragedy as the Dodgers franchise seemed to be crumbling. Former owner Frank McCourt financial struggles dominated headlines with bankruptcy talks and key player relationship issues, but things seem to be turning around for the historic baseball team.

Bankruptcy courts have approved the purchase of the Dodgers to a group headed by hall of fame Laker and business entrepreneur Magic Johnson. Johnson brings a positive outlook on the future of the Dodgers and has plans to restore them to their historic prestige.

However, the management team isn’t the only thing that has help turn the Dodger outlook around. Their impressive start has also helped. They have opened with a 9-1 record along with a 6-0 home stand for the first time since the ’81 season when they won the World Series.

Matt Kemp has emerged as a front-runner for the League’s MVP once again after falling just short last season to Ryan Braun. Kemp is batting .487 with 6 homeruns and 16 RBI’s. Either has also complimented Kemp very well making them the most dangerous duo in the middle of the lineup.

Chad Billingsley has also been impressive from the bullpen opening the season with a 2-0 start with a 0.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 1 walk. This is something that the Dodgers are going to need to maintain if they want to make it deep into the playoffs and quality pitching will be a factor.

The season is still young and there is a lot of baseball to be played. With all their success in the beginning season they still have a lot to strive for. No Dodger team has started the season 10-1 since the ’55 Brooklyn team started 11-1 on their way to the franchise’s first ever championship.

You can catch the revived Dodger team this Tuesday @ Milwaukee Brewers @ 5:10 pm local time on Fox NW. You have to be excited for these guys who are finally able to enjoy the game of baseball without all the negative media surrounding them. GO DODGERS!

Is Kobe Really Hurt?

With a shortened season that has proved demanding on the players, especially the older ones, is coming to an end with many teams resting their star players for the playoffs.Kobehas not played since April 6 and has only missed 100 games in his 16 year career, but are the Lakers resting him or is he actually hurt?

As I was watching ESPN today, one of the announcers explained it best saying it just isn’tKobe’s style. Bryant has displayed both his physical and mental toughness throughout his career by playing hurt. Not only has he played while being hurt, but he has also performed very well when he did. He said if Kobe wasn’t hurt he would throw down a couple forty point games just so everyone knew he was the scoring champ.

Some may even make the argument that the Lakers are better without him in the line up based on the team’s success during his current injury. The Lakers have managed a 4-1 record without Bryant and have key players stepping up, including Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace. However, no team is better of without Kobe Bryant and that’s just fact.

What this will do for the Lakers is make them very dangerous come playoff time, and I’ll tell you why. Kobe Bryant will get some rest who is probably feeling the affects of the shortened season. You also get key players getting key playing time that will help with confidence and getting the team playing well together. It’s just all happening and the right time.

Bryant said in a halftime interview that his shin is feeling much better and he expects to be back playing before the playoffs. This will make sure he is in some sort of a rhythm come playoff time.

Bynum put out a 23 and 16 performance; Ramon Sessions added another 22 points and 5 assists, and Pau Gasol with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Gasol also answered two late 3-points that seal the game for the Lakers in OT. The Lakers are going to be very dangerous come playoff time so don’t count them out of make a run for a championship.

Saints Buy the Hornets

The owner of the New Orleans Saints, Tom Benson, has agreed to buy the struggling Hornets in hope to turn the team around as he has done with the Saints. Negotiations have started and it is rumored that he will by the club for 338 million dollars.

What a purchase in the mist of all the controversy surrounding the Saints, and their coaching staff being suspended for parts of next season and head coach, Sean Payton, for the entire season. Hopefully, this will take some of the attention of the bounty situation and focus on some positive news.

Carl Landry signed a one year deal with the Hornets this year and with Mr. Benson in the mix the team hopes to sign him to a longer deal. This purchase seems essential for the Hornets turnaround because without any direct ownership giving a damn about where the team is headed this will provide some guidance into the future.

The League has been searching for a new owner from the moment they purchased the club back in 2010. The Hornets will get to stay inNew Orleans, and will start to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Now, they just need to get the top pick in the draft and land Anthony Davis to really be headed in the right direction. I guess we will see how it turns out and hopefully the Hornets can start a turnaround.

They were talks today on whether or not the NBA would be better off having two less teams, Hornets and Kings. I would like to see the NBA remain at their current amount of teams and hopefully fans can continue to enjoy the game of basketball.

Miami Heat +1.5

The Chicago Bulls are unsure if Derrick Rose will play tonight against the Miami Heat. This is a pivitol game for both teams. The Bulls are trying to hang on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and with the season coming to an end this is a must win game for the Heat if they want to challenge the Bulls in any way. Everyone knows the Heat are a superstar stacked team, but have had a lot of critisim for their poor poerformances. Without Rose in the lineup I think that you have to believe the Heat can win this game; especially, when they are getting a point and a half.

Record: 04-05-01

San Antonio Spurs +3

The San Antonio Spurs are streaking at the right time, right before playoffs. I thought the Spurs were very impressive last night against the team they are facing tonight, the Utah Jazz. This game will be played inUtah, but I don’t know if that will be enough to beat a very good Spurs team, especially with a depleted back court.Utahlost C.J. Miles (strained calf) and Earl Watson (sore right knee) in the second quarter of yesterday’s game. The Spurs are playing so well lately,  they will get there 12 straight victory.

Record: 04-04-01

POTD Summary

Hello everybody, here is a wrap up of my picks for April. I started out the week streaking on a three game win streak, while predicting the national champions in both women’s and men’s college basketball. Let’s give a round of applause to Baylor and Kentuckywho were both dominant teams throughout the season and really proved why they are national champions. You got to see the two best players in each sport help propel their teams into NCAA history. My win percentage for April is .500 but guarantee improvement.

Things started to cool when I predicted the Miami Marlins to take out the defending world champions on opening day. The Cardinals came out strong as if they had something to prove, while the Marlins came out lackadaisical as if all the hype was going to get them a win.  In this case we were both wrong. I had a pick on the OKC Thunder game that resulted in my first push of the season and with the lack of action in other leagues I turned back to baseball. I thought the Angels would get me an easy win against the KC Royals, but after a shutout loss a couple of nights before they came to play. A good friend of mine has ties to Kansas and it seems like every time I bet against them I have to hear it from the peanut gallery, but the frustrating part is they always show up to play when I bet against them. This was the case for this game. The Royals would jump out to a  5-0 lead to finish the game with a 6-3 final.

Lastly, I will wrap up with my most recent loss that could be the most devastating of them all. With a day filled of huge spreads it was my gut instinct to go with another over under. My pick was the Spurs Jazz under 210.5 and at half the game looked like an easy win, only being at 97. Unfortunately, the Jazz turned it up in the third scoring 36 points while the Spurs stayed steady. The Jazz late game push wasn’t enough for a win, but was enough for the Spurs to keep their foot on the throttle that sent this game over.

It was a tough second part of the week for picks, but that only makes me want to research it more to provide all the fans of Says Who Sports the winning pick of the day.