At the end of the regular season, Ron Artest Metta World Peace was involved in a nasty altercation with 6th man of the year award winner James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder. During the April 22 game between the Lakers and Thunder, World Peace delivered a decidedly unpeaceful elbow to the side of Harden’s head while celebrating a big dunk. The shot gave Harden a concussion and earned Metta a seven game suspension that held him out of six of the Lakers first seven games in the playoffs. He’s back with the team now, and the Lakers are matched up with the Thunder in the second round of the NBA playoffs, which is a little bit aaaaawkward since Metta hasn’t technically even apologized (because he doesn’t fraternize with opponents and won’t “shake the backups hands”) to Harden for the vicious elbow. Well, nothing says your sorry like a thoughtful gift…like a power forward.
The New Jersey Devils were a hot pick to make a deep run in the NHL Playoffs as the sixth seed in the East. They have not disappointed, defeating the Florida Panthers in seven games during round one, and then man-handling the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals agasinst the top-seeded New York Rangers, where things have gotten a little more difficult. In Game 1, the Rangers got unleashed in the third period, scoring three goals against aged netminder Martin Brodeur to break open a 0-0 tie for a 3-0 win. The Devils were completely unable to mount any offense against the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist, as the Blueshirts defenders actually blocked more shots (26) than got through to net (21). That was frustrating for Brodeur to watch, so he came up with some outside the box strategies to turn things around in Game 2.
The NBA playoffs are in full swing and one of the marquee matchups out of the West is the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder against the seventh seeded defending champion Dallas Mavericks. Both of their games so far in the series have been back-and-forth slugfests, with the Thunder coming out on top each time to take a 2-0 series lead. Game 1 was particularly exciting as Thunder superstar Kevin Durant hit a game winning shot as time expired to push OKC to victory. The twitterverse exploded in response, cementing Durant’s status as a fan-favorite pick for one of the best players in basketball. Everyone was blown away by his effort to push his team to a win…well, almost everybody.
One of the the great games of the opening night of the Stanley Cup playoffs was the tilt between the in-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. The Pens were one of the hottest teams in hockey down the stretch and had finally found their health at the right time. Sidney Crosby was back and playing well, and added dangerous levels of depth to an already excellent Pittsburgh squad. Philly, however, had found ways to beat Pittsburgh during the season, even in Pittsburgh, so the matchup was intriguing to say the least. After one period, it looked like the depth of the Pens was going to be too much for the Flyers, as Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period. But the Flyers weren’t out of it quite yet, and they scratched their way back, rallying over the next two periods to tie it and force overtime where they came away with a 4-3 win. The rally was sparked by a breakaway goal by Flyer Danny Briere in the second period…that actually never should have counted.
The NHL playoffs got underway yesterday and the games were pretty great. Pittsburgh looked strong out of the gate, building a 3-0 lead over Philadelphia after one period, but the Flyers rallied to steal home-ice advantage with a 4-3 overtime win. The Presidents’ Cup winning Vancouver Canucks couldn’t keep the red-hot Kings at bay, falling 4-2 in Game 1 as they had to go without the services of their leading scorer Daniel Sedin, still out with a concussion. Then there was the Nashville-Detroit game, which saw the Predators jump out to a 1-0 series lead after a 3-2 victory behind Gabriel Bourque. But the final score isn’t really going to be talking point that comes out of last night’s matchup, because Shea Weber decided to try and put Henrik Zetterberg’s head through the plexi-glass during stoppage, which people find upsetting as it turns out.
It’s time once again for playoff hockey in the NHL! It’s undoubtedly one of the most exciting times to be a hockey fan, as every team tries to put together a run for the Stanley Cup. Questions abound as the potential scenarios are endless at this point. Can Boston repeat as champs? Will the Rangers be able to bring a title to the Big Apple? How flame retardent are the rebuilt portions of Vancouver? Will the Pens depth overwhelm everyone they face? After the jump, we break down the Stanley Cup Playoffs and make our pick to eventually disappoint us and all their fans. Let’s delve!
With the NHL playoffs approaching quickly, the Vancouver Canucks are poised to make another deep playoff run like they did in 2011. They are currently second in the Western Conference, and are very much the same team that went to the Stanley Cup last season, so it stands to reason they have a pretty good shot of repeating as Western Conference Champs. One thing that the team, and the city of Vancouver, is hoping doesn’t get repeated, however, were the extra-curriculars that took place after the Canucks’ Stanley Cup-losing effort in Game 7 last year. You know, that whole, smashing the downtown to tiny bits and setting fire to everything they could flip over? Yeah, they’d enjoy a little less of that this year.
For the second time this season, Sidney Crosby is making a much-anticipated return to the ice after being forced to miss significant time with concussion-like symptoms. The Kid will take the ice tonight in Madison Square Garden against the Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers in a pivotal matchup for the top seed in the East. Then Pens are confident that Crosby has fully recoverd from his concussion-like symptoms, for realsies this time, and hope to get him worked up to full speed for a deep playoff run. With only 14 games left in the regular season, is it enough time for Crosby to get his game-legs back? How will his return impact the red-hot Pens down the stretch? Does Pittsburgh really need Crosby back? Has the technology for a bubble wrap helmet finally been perfected? No, to the last one, but let’s delve deeper on those others.
Wildcard weekend gave way to Tebow Week on ESPN which now leads us into the Divisional round of the playoffs. The college season is over and done with, coaches now focusing on how to best cover up their recruiting violations in luring the top talent to their schools to try and exploit them for million dollar bonuses. That just leaves us with the home stretch of NFL action, culminating with the Super Bowl in just four weeks! The NFL playoffs are giving us three rematches of regular season contests in Denver at New England, Houston at Baltimore, and New York at Green Bay. The wild card weekend was kind to our picks, as we finished 6-2 to bump the overall record this season to 72-59-4. With only seven more games to pick, it’s mathematically impossible to finish under .500, something I was not sure would happen at many points this season. So for those of you who survived the non-stop media coverage of Tim Tebow, including a second Tebow-center on ESPN in which they said the word Tebow, or derived from Tebow, a record 160 times in one hour. It was enough to cause anyone’s brain to explode, so I’m happy to see some of us made it through! If the Broncos pull off the win this week, expect all ESPN programming to devolve into the on-camera personalities staring into the camera saying “Tebow” 24/7. Picks are in bold!
Have you heard about this Tim Tebow character? Apparently he played in some sort of playoff game or something yesterday? It hasn’t been covered too much in the media so I can understand if you’re a little fuzzy on the details. In short, after three weeks of looking downright terrible, Tim Tebow returned to the inexplicably extraordinary play that propelled Denver into first place in their division with a 29-23 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers and their number one rated defense. Tebow finished the day with 316 yards passing (more on that later) and two touchdowns, with another 50 yards rushing and a touchdown. The game was Tebow’s most complete of the season, finishing with his second highest QB rating of his career and the highest in Broncos postseason history. The result was…surprising, to say the least. While Tebow still wasn’t efficient (finishing 10-for-21 passing), he made the Steelers pay for stacking the box against the run consistently, completing 5 passes of 30-yards or more, nearly doubling the Steelers total 30+ yard passes allowed the entire regular season, including three passes of 50-yards or more, all to Demaryius Thomas. His passes (that were completed) looked crisp and accurate and very un-Tebowish, especially when looking at his last three games of the regular season. So how did this happen? We break the factors that helped Denver pull off the win after the jump.