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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tough on the 'ol ticker

Game 7 of the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics goes tonight. Wonder if Danny Ainge has a coronary doctor on standby? The way this series has gone, he may need one...into the final month of the English Premier League we go and you'd have to assume Manchester United gets it done with a lead and game in hand. They'll face Middlesboro this morning - 7:45 Eastern - and are your PTP for today at -1 +109. In other games of note, it'll be interesting to see how Chelsea fares in a London derby against Fulham, who have been a tough mark of late. Liverpool play what should be an electric atmosphere given their fan support, Ricky Hatton will face Manny Paquiao in yet another compelling boxing matcup this year. With everyone banking on Paquiao, it is almost worth a small wager on The Hitman. He's +203 at Pinnacle...a little late for my NHL Playoff picks, but I've got Anaheim, Vancouver, Boston and Pittsburgh advancing. Who ya got?...shame that what should be a huge series - Pittsburgh and Washington - starts with a 1pm game today...Toronto FC host defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew today as they aim to go 3-0 under coach Chris Cummins...the Kentucky Derby goes today. Not going to pretend I know jack about it other than a lot of ladies will be wearing ridiculous hats...the Montreal Canadiens 100th year continues on in inglorious fashion. Guy Lafleur has been convicted of giving contradictory evidence in his son's trial, and facing jail theory I've heard on Toronto Raptor Jose Calderon's finger injury, which required surgery: he hurt it with his incredibly lame, ineffectual hand clap defence. Awesome..have a great Saturday.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Don't ya wanna see how it ends?

Seldom have I seen such a swell of emails as came last night the hotter Game 6 in the incredible Chicago Bulls/Boston Celtics series. Yet another overtime game, the fourth in the series - this one a triple affair - that saw the Bulls escape with a 128-127 win despite Ray Allen's 51. If you haven't seen hilites, they're below. Expect to be hearing about this one 'round the water cooler today. Game 7 goes tomorrow...the Vancouver Canucks nearly blew a 3-0 lead in game one of their series last night, but Sammy Salo put them ahead for good and they downed the Chicago Black Hawks 5-3 to remain unbeaten in the comes word that Brett Favre has hired a personal trainer to get him fit. Seriously, I know the world is fearing Swine Flu, terrorism and a collapsed economy, but I'd be most impressed if President Obama put an end to the joke that is Favre and tossed him in Guantanamo Bay or something. I'm betting there are more than a few Minnesota Vikings fans that agree too...Jaromir Jagr is still entertaining the idea of returning to the NHL and the Edmonton Oilers are his preferred destination. I'm expecting some comment from Bukkake on this one...speaking of Obama, found it odd yesterday to get an email from a guy I work with who has in his signature "Yes we can!" with credit to the source, especially given (1) we're in Canada and (2) nobody of the 6,000 people in my company has anything in their work email signature other than their contact information, maybe a privacy message and one about not printing the email if not needed. People are strange...the New York Rangers are interested in Martin St. Louis. Right, because they don't have enough undersized forwards...maybe it was lost in translation, or maybe it was years of (alleged) performance enhancing drugs have caused some "interal" changes, but David Ortiz said watching Pedro Martinez pitch earlier this year at the World Baseball Classic gave him "hot flashes". Suspect he meant "flashback"...guessing not too many would have pegged the Orlando Magic, minus Dwight Howard, to close out the Philadelphia 76ers last night, but they did just that, and may have saved Stan Van Jeremy (aka "The Master of Panic" as Shaq said) his job...if you haven't seen the latest Gillette ad with Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and Roger Federer, take a peak here. Speaking of R.F., word is John McEnroe is interested in coaching him. Not sure what McEnroe - himself a great - could teach arguably the best of all the times, but it sure would be interesting. The coolest part of that is that a guy with McEnroe's resume is so willing to praise Federer. You don't see legends of any sport do that too often. Federer has not surprisingly politely declined and when I say surprising, I'm not sure if it is the politeness or the decline that is more surprising...back later with your PTP.

April PTP

April Prime Time Picks

  • Apr30 - Angels/Yankees O 10.5 -105 (14-16-1, -129)(55-57-3, -326) - W
  • Apr29 - KC Royals -120 (13-16-1, -229) (54-57-3, -426) - W
  • Apr28 - LA Angels/Baltimore Over 10 -105 (12-16-1, -329) (53-57-3, -526) - W
  • Apr27 - LA Dodgers -1.5 +119 (11-16-1, -429) (52-57-3, -626)
  • Apr26 - Toronto Blue Jays -1.5 +106 (11-15-1, -329)(52-56-3, -526)
  • Apr25 - Florida Marlins -139 (11-14-1, -229) (52-55-3, -426)
  • Apr24 - Toronto Blue Jays +112 (11-13-1, -90) (52-54-3, -326) - W
  • Apr23 - San Jose Sharks -1.5 +220 (10-13-1) (51-54-3, -438) - L
  • Apr22 - Chivas USA Pk Pick +114 (10-12-1, -$102) (51-53-3, -338) - L
  • Apr21 - Florida Marlins -120 (10-11-1, -$2) (51-52-3, -228) - L
  • Apr20 - Atlanta Braves -1.5 +120 (10-10-1, +118) (51-51-3, -$108) - L
  • Apr19 - Man Utd +127 (10-9-1, +218) (51-50-3, -8) - L
  • Apr18 - KC Royals +105 (10-8-1, +318) (51-49-3, +92) - W
  • Apr17 - NY Yankees -1.5 +100 (9-8-1, +213) (50-49-3, -$13) - L
  • Apr16 - San Jose/Anaheim O +135 (9-7-1, +313) (50-48-3, +87) - L
  • Apr15 - Man Utd to advance -105 (9-6-1, +413) (50-47-3, +187) - W
  • Apr14 - NY Yankees +111 (8-6-1, +$313) (49-47-3, +$87) - W
  • Apr13 - Boston Red Sox -1.5 +104 (7-6-1, +$202), (48-47-3, -$24) - L
  • Apr12 - NY Yankees -1.5 +117 (7-5-1, +$302), (48-46-3, +$76) - L
  • Apr11 - Man Utd -1 +105, Chicago Cubs -1.5 +126 (7-4-1, +402) (48-45-3, +176) - Push, L
  • Apr10 - Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 +125 (7-3, +502) (48-44-2, +276) - L
  • Apr9 - NY Yankees -1.5 -114 (7-2, +602), (48-43-2, +376) - W
  • Apr8 - New York Yankees -1.5 +105 (6-2, +$502) (47-43-2, +$276) - L
  • Apr7 - St Louis Cardinals -1.5 +146 (6-1, +602) (47-42-2, +376) - W
  • Apr6 - LA Dodgers +114 (5-1, +$456) (46-42-2, +230) - W
  • Apr 5 - Atlanta Braves +121 (4-1, +$342) (45-43-2, +116) - W
  • Apr4 - Chelsea -.5 -1 +106 (3-1, +236) (44-43-2, +10) - W
  • Apr3 - Cleveland Cavs +3.5 +103 (2-1, +130) (43-43-2, -$96) - L
  • Apr2 - Cleveland/Washington O 197 -105 (2-0, +$230) (43-42-2, +$4) - W
  • Apr1 - Spain +130 (1-0, +130) (43-43-2, -$96) - W
  • Apr20 - Atlanta Braves -1.5 +120 (10-10-1, +118) (51-51-3, -$108) - L

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ref killer

Come to find out that Tracy McGrady - Houston Rocket - picked the LA Lakers to win the NBA Championship. I appreciate honesty in athletes, but if I'm a teammate, I want to pop him in the mouth...not sure how the story of Slovak hockey player and Philadelphia Flyer prospect Ladislav Skurko escaped more widespread coverage. He is the guy who merely killed and buried a referee. No hyperbole or metaphors, he literally killed him. Thanks to RM reader Norway for passing that along...New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera has blown 12 of 70 save opportunities against the Boston Red Sox. They own him more than they own Bud Selig...if not for the incredible performance of Arsenal's Manuel Almunia, Manchester United would be well on their way to the Champions League final. Almunia made at least three incredible saves to keep the United scoreline to 1-0, and was aided by his crossbar on a rocket from Cristiano Ronaldo. The second leg goes Tuesday...speaking of Ronaldo, I'm thinking his desire to go to Real Madrid will be more easily received from United given AC Milan star Kaka is reported to be wanting a move to United, and AC Milan management won't stand in his way. Talk about making an upgrade out of a seemingly lost position...Chicago and Vancouver will open their Western Conference semi-final tonight. Doesn't it feel like the Canucks have been off for weeks? Hopefully "Canada's Team" isn't too rusty from the layoff...Chris Cummins, 2-0 as Toronto FC's fill-in head coach, will take on coaching duties for the balance of the season...the Pittsburgh Pirates have now lost 18 straight at Miller Park in Milwaukee...the New York Jets have released Brett Favre from their reserve-retired list, but interestingly, it was Favre himself who was said to be clamoring for his release though he denies he's coming out of retirement. Surely he's not still thinking about a year in Minnesota, is he? This is becoming more embarrassing than Jerry Rice final years where he bounced from Oakland to Seattle to Denver...Zach Greinke finally gave up a run for the KC Royals - his first two of the year - but the Royals still pounded the Toronto Blue Jays 11-3 and Greinke is now 5-0...for your PTP today, play the LA Angels and Yankees over 10.5. May the winners be ours!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hughesus is risen!

Nobody ever said sports were fair. The New York Rangers thoroughly deserved to win last night's game seven at Washington, but old war horse Sergei Fedorov had different ideas, scoring late in the third to put the Caps into the second round for the first time in 11 years. Up next is a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins - yep, Sid The Kid vs. Alexander The Great - that has to have Gary Bettman legitimately smiling...the other Eastern semi will see Boston face Carolina, who scored two goals late - including a couple uncharacteristic softies on Martin Brodeur - to knock the Devils out...May 8th can't come soon enough for the New York Yankees. Seems that's the date A-Rod will return, on the road at Baltimore...Phil Hughes - Hughesus if you prefer - pitched more innings last night filling in for Chien-Ming Wang than Wang has in three starts this year. The Yankees halted their losing streak with a 11-0 win at Detroit, on the strength of Hughes 2-hitter over 6 innings. Asked post-game about his time in the minors with Scranton, Hughes talked of how much he'd love to stay with the Yankees, despite being a huge fan of The Office and tracking down the sites from the show. Not making that up. Hughes, you may recall, ran a contest on his blog to guess his fav Office quote and gave away the game ball from his first playoff win...Barcelona went 50 games without being shut out but shut out they were yesterday as Chelsea looked to bar the doors and hold on for an ugly road draw. So much for the offensive show that Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink didn't take long for the New York Yankees to slash ticket prices for those mostly unused seats between the dugouts. They've been cut from $2675 to $1200 per game. Sign me up! Those who paid for seasons already will be refunded or credited. Still far overpriced, but good for them for recognizing things have changed since last year...from the Department of Bad Ideas: a White House hack authorizing a low flying 747 with a fighter jet tailing it over Manhatten as a photo op for Air Force One. Check out this video of Manhattenites freaking out...the other Champions League semi-final starts today with its first game, as Manchester United host Arsenal. I'm expecting a United win, frankly. Too much quality and Arsenal is too inconsistent...and that's all for the San Antonio Spurs, a rare first round victim...good of the Chicago Bulls to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with a late collapse and then overtime loss to give the Boston Celtics a 3-2 series lead...back with your PTP later, have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rangers/Caps going to seven tonight

Pedro Martinez, Toronto Blue Jay? If JP Ricciardi is smart - and able - why not? He's a proven big game guy, a gamer, looked good in the WBC, and he'd surely be motivated getting to face his former team in Boston and the hated New York Yankees again. At $5 million - pro-rated presumably - seems a good idea when you're feeling good about your chances...enjoy the San Antonio Spurs game tonight. The end of their era is tonight, if not is funny that a lot of people that know a lot more about hockey than they do about baseball have a great time cracking on A-Rod's recent playoff performances, but ignore that Joe Thornton flamed out - again. The Sharks went down 4-1 to the Anaheim Ducks in the game and lost the series 4-2...I know the Chicago Black Hawks swept the season series with Calgary, but didn't figure the Flames would go down so easy in the playoffs. Prediction: Mike Keenan will need to have his resume polished shortly...the New Orleans Hornets lost at home to the Denver Nuggets last night 121-63. That is not a typo, not a "6" that should be a "9" - 63 points, at home. They were outscored 60-24 in the second half...speaking of A-Rod, with the black hole at third base and the lack of hitting from his replacements, think Yankee fans have figured out how important he is to that team yet?...not sure why this is surfacing now, but there are pictures of departed New York Ranger prospect Alexei Cherapanov happily blood doping in bed the day before he went for the dirt nap...speaking of the Rangers, they've got game seven tonight at Washington in what should be a wild one. Donald Brashear picked up a six game suspension for his shot to Blair Betts head. Funny that Chris Pronger has had similar shots in recent years - and the plural is accurate - but only ever saw a game at most...pretty sure that when former NBAer Jayson Williams needed a lift to the hospital after being reportedly suicidal, there weren't too many limo drivers looking to hook him up...Reid Flair - son of Ric - wants to give his dad's rep for hard partying a run. He was busted for a DUI and had heroin in the vehicle. Heroin? Finally the offspring of a wrestler who is bound to be outlived by his father...former Toronto FC manager John Carver has finally come out of hiding, and in an interview with the Toronto Star, says that meddling from the MLS is what led to his departure, along with the feeling that his team was being harshly treated by referrees because of his run-ins with them...the first leg of a juicy Champions League semi-final goes today with Chelsea traveling to the Nou Camp in Barcelona to face the favored home side. Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink predicts a feast of attacking. Can't wait! Prediction: Barcelona go through. Chelsea is just giving up too many goals of late and the dynamic Barca attack should make them pay accordingly...and finally today, here's a list of John Daly milestones, compiled by the Arizona Republic's John Davis and printed in the Toronto Sun:

2 Major championships

2 Trips to alcohol rehab

4 Failed marriages

5 PGA Tour titles

5 Years since his last tour title

6 Months suspension, which is nearing an end

10 Withdrawals from tour events since 2005

43 Pounds lost since February

280 Pounds at his heaviest

787 Current world ranking

Back with your PTP later. It is hard picking losers like that of late!

Monday, April 27, 2009

TFC on top

The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals will take their series to a seventh game tomorrow night after the Caps won yesterday to force the deciding is April 27th, and Toronto FC is first place in the East. Maybe pro sports in Toronto is turning around with the Blue Jays also in first, if only for now? TFC downed the Kansas City Wizards - a squad named after the Wizard of Oz it dawned on me yesterday- on the strength of a Danny Dichio goal. They should've had at least two more. Pablo Vitti and Chad Barrett are working wonders in attack with Danny Dichio and if their finishing improves even a couple degrees, TFC is going to chew up a lot of teams though their D is still suspet...turns out that John Carver quit his job because of frustration with the league. Sounds a bit like he didn't like the rules so took his ball and went home...the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers seem to be the consensus winner of the NFL Draft. See what happens when you get rid of Brett Favre? that they're not playing the Washington Nationals every other night when they raced to an 11-1 record (6-0 vs. the Nats) , the Florida Marlins have sure come back to earth. They now are 11-7 and have dropped six straight...Alex Rodriguez will be playing in games with a minor league team at some point this week. His return can't come soon enough for a Yankee offence that will improve greatly with his bat there to protect Mark the English Premier League today, Newcastle United will try to stear clear of the relegation zone when they take on Portsmouth. Wonder if former Toronto FC coach John Carver will be on the Newcastle bench?...Sports Illustrated's Peter King called the NFL Draft season "bigger than the NHL". Ouch...Kansas City Royal Zach Grienke's ERA remains at 0.00 and he's 4-0. Amazing...Chris Zelkovich at the Toronto Star has a great take on the alleged importance of fighting in hockey. It is a great one...the Carolina Hurricanes returned the shutout favor on the New Jersey Devils to force game seven. Is there a goalie playing today you'd rather have in a deciding game than Martin Brodeur?...Inter Milan dropped a game to Napoli, and suddenly Italy's Serie A is a race again...back with the PTP later.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Good-bye, Carver

When a manager elects to watch a game from the stands, you have to figure there's something odd afoot. But when post-game, you see the coach enthusiastically embracing his players by their dressing room after a huge win, you downplay the previous uncomfort. Shouldn't have, as Toronto FC's John Carver packed it in with a whole lot of silence on the subject aside from a meatless press release. TFC will play tonights home game against Kansas City - one that could take them top of the Eastern Conference table - with Chris Cummins and Nick Dasovic leading the charge. Kickoff is 5pm, coverage on GolTV...up off the canvas: the San Jose Sharks, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime...speaking of rallies, Manchester United was down 2-0 in the second half to Tottenham and saw their championship hopes flickering, but a questionable penalty call had them score their first of five they rallied for - including 4 in 13 minutes - to win 5-2. Incredible. By far the most entertaining game of the day...and more rally-speak: the Philadelphia Flyers led the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 before soiling the bed and losing 5-3 and bowing out of the playoffs. Beware the Penguins...and in the biggest blown lead of the day, the New York Yankees and AJ Burnett had a 6-0 lead on the Boston Red Sox and in the 6th longest 9-inning game in MLB history, and lost 16-11. Also in that game: 385 pitches, 28 hits, two errors, 15 walks (including five to Mark Teixera), a catcher’s interference and two hit batters. Pretty ugly. By the time the game was done, the first round of the NFL Draft had almost been completed...not sure what it is, but I've almost zero interest in the NBA Playoffs this year. Maybe it is my anger over the Toronto Raptors that pushed me away...speaking of the NFL Draft, at some point today, the Dallas Cowboys will actually get around to making a pick. That's the joy of trading a #1 and a #3 for Roy Williams, and previously unloading your #2...New York Rangers coach John Tortorella has been suspended for today's game 6 in their series with the Washington Caps after gunning a water bottle onto the ice. If it were baseball, he could appeal and get it reduced to being out for the warmup...have a great Sunday.
RM returns this afternoon. Your PTP for the day is already up. Good luck!