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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Well, not sure why the NHL thought it was a great idea to have both NHL playoff series going the same night in the Conference Finals, but they're finally breaking up that pattern tonight with the Western Conference series getting the extra day in between games two and three.  The Eastern Conference series moves to Montreal tonight and Damien Cox of the Toronto Star thinks it may be time for the Canadiens to give Carey Price a go.  So much for going with who brought you to the dance.  What if Price starts and bombs, then what?  The Habs won't have Andrei Markov in the lineup, his season is done after knee surgery that will keep him out for six months.

The Phoenix Suns are not only getting pounded in their Western Conference series, the LA Lakers are doing it playing the Suns up-tempo style.  The Lakers were 124-112 winners last night to take a 2-0 series lead.

Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho - whose ego knows no bounds - thinks that winning the Champions League is bigger than the World Cup.  Different, perhaps, and I do accept his point that you could argue you're the world's best team given you can get players from everywhere, but no chance is it more prestigious.  The World Cup is once every four years and ask anybody at all connected to the game who won the last World Cup and they'll say "Italy" in a heartbeat.  Quick, who won the Champions League four years ago?  Inter Milan faces Bayern Munich Saturday in Madrid for the Champions League final.

Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes that A-Rod is the no-doubt New York Yankees go-to guy in a big moment if they have a choice, a change from the past to be sure.  Not mentioned yesterday, but worth mentioning that the New York Yankees had Nick Swisher up on the steps holding a bad, ready to pinch hit for Derek Jeter in the bottom of the 9th with the game on the line.  Has Jeter been pinch hit for in the last decade plus?  The Tampa Bay Rays continued their roll last night in pounding the Yanks 10-2 to move four games up in the East.

Tom Verducci at looks at whether the Washington Nationals, surprisingly competitive this year, are being too careful with Stephen Strasburg.  I've got two words to answer that in the "negative": Mark Prior.

What does Al-Qaeda have to do with sports?  Well, when they're plotting revenge on Holland and Denmark over their depictions of Allah, and the World Cup is looming, lots as it turns out.  Love how one person can do something they deem offensive and it is an all out assault planned on a sporting event, team or country.  Very reasonable.

I'll acknowledge the Toronto Blue Jays are beating everybody's expectations - including yours, if you're thinking of lying and telling us different - but remember this: they were 27-16 a year ago today and in first place in the AL East, and we know how that ended up (28 games back, if you didn't).  That, and as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star noted yesterday, the Jays have only played 14 to date against the best of the AL, and are a less than stellar 3-11 in those games.

The International Ice Hockey Federation took a swipe at Sidney Crosby, among others, for skipping the second rate World Championships, insinuating they lack loyalty to the programs that made them rich and famous.  Translation: they're sour they don't have those guys over in Germany to help sell tickets to a nothing event.  Criticizing those players for their fatigue and comparing them to miners is ridiculous.  Crosby, as one example, went from the Stanley Cup win last year to a camp in Calgary less than two months later, then into the Olympic camp, and into a season with the Penguins.  At some point, the gas tank has to be tapped. 

The captain of New Zealand's World Cup entry predicts England will win the World Cup for the first time since 1966, for what that is worth, beating either Spain or Brazil in the final.  On the other side of the coin, American player Jozy Altidore bumped into David Beckham at an LA Lakers game a couple nights back and told Beckham the U.S. would beat his England side on the opening weekend 3-0.  If you're not a fan of the game and looking for a team to cheer for that is a bit of an underdog, take the U.S.  They won't annoy you with the diving tactics that certain other countries can't let go of (looking at you, Portugal and Italy), and play with speed from the opening whistle on.

It is a good thing Tiger Woods doesn't have friends like Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe, who let a rather large secret loose when he talked of how his Chiefs teammates would fly ladies in from around the country on road trips, including sending messages to girls on teammates Facebook accounts and flying those girls in for them.
The "cutting edge of broadcasting".  English commentators rule.

Have you ever seen a double alley-oop?  You can now.


Kristian A said...

Agreed that the WC is more prestigous, but that's based on the 4 year interval and symbolic values more than the quality, which I think is Mourinho's point. CL you need first to be one of the best team in your country, then, play at least 13 games, 9 or 11 of those against other very elite teams. World cup you play 7 games to the final... against Togo, Saudia Arabia and some middle of the pack European teams.

Personally I love the Worlds in Hockey, most because Norway plays, but understand fully if some are not motivated to play. There were Norwegian players that didn't play either because they were in the Olympics, but don't hear IIHF complain about that... HATE Canada though for sucking so bad this year. Sure 12-1 was nice, but can you beat Czech or the Swiss? No.

Good call on USA, they're my "Russia" this year. Serbia might surprise as well.

Not like some of their states haven't been invaded because what a small group has done either. The argument is that the states were aiding and harboring the terrorist. If I remember correctly Denmark has defended the drawings at an official level as freedom of speech which does implicate them, regardless of right or wrong.

gbvh said...

CL first you need to have lots and lots of money, then all those other things . . .

hi said...

I asked a couple of my co-workers if they knew who won the last World Cup and it took them awhile to answer. Funnily enough, I already can picture a number of them cheering for Italy next month. Plastic Italians.

If Inter Milan wins the Champions League this year, it would mean they have beaten the champions of the Premiership, La Liga, and Bundesliga. 3 of the top 4 leagues by UEFA coefficient. Did I mention they were champion themselves in Serie A and did it by style by beating the runner-up AS Roma in the Copa Italia as well? Jose Mourinho took a bunch of players that the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munchen spat out from their squad and turned them into winners. (If they win Saturday,) they will truly deserve the title and I will forever admire them.

I watched the game last night, and it was more distraous for the Suns than the score makes it to be. They had nothing going and it was painful to watch.

I can't believe you just asked people to watch USA play? With no more explanations required, They Are Shit.

TB said...

I won't dispute that Inter have had a great run, but they've hardly been joys to watch. They didn't deserve to beat United, and completely shamed the game with their performance in Barcelona. Effective? Sure. Ugly? Hell yes.

I think you missed my U.S. comment. What I said was if you're looking for a team that plays the game right (no diving) and looks to attack (they sure do) and like an underdog (they are), then support the U.S. To be a non-fan and show up supporting Brazil or Italy.

Finally, shit they are not. You do recall what they did in South Africa last year, right? Beat Spain, were beating Brazil? Shit teams don't do that. Hate them if you will, but a team like that will do more to turn people on to the game than even some of the "top" teams will.

Kristian A - one more point to the World Cup. I don't think anyone has ever won the WC where you couldn't look at them as the best team or two that year. Can't say the same for CL, where this Saturday I'd say there are maybe a handful of teams better than either of those two.

As for the games to win, you are also ignoring that the qualifying takes a hell of a lot of time. Croatia is a top 20 nation by FIFA ranks (often top 10) and they didn't make it. Sure they could do without New Zealand and their kind, but that's what makes it about the one true world championship.

hi said...

@Kristian : If Serbia does well, there shouldn't be any surprises. They've got quality players in all positions with a strong back 4 of Kolarov, Subotic, Vidic, and Ivanovic. I have them advancing as far as the quarterfinals, but let's stop talking about Serbia before I get kicked out of this site :)

USA, if they somehow manage to make it out of their group, will get trounced by whoever that comes out of Group D.

TB said...

I won't toss you for talking Serbia. I well acknowledge they've got some fantastic players, particularly in the back. Now, you won't see me rocking a Vidic jersey anytime soon, but love that guys game. My fav defender on United (though some would say that isn't saying much this year as only he and Evra had any kind of a season).

It wouldn't shock me, however, if the U.S. surprised Serbia or anybody not named Germany in the knockouts. I will bet with total confidence they advance out of their group.

Kristian A said...

Agreed on Croatia. To qualify from Europe is way harder than from any other part of the world. There's 30-40 teams that would beat NZ on a regular basis in Europe. Still think CL is harder though, as you need to go thorough your own qualification and finish top in your country, but I as well hold the WC higher in prestige. Luckily I'm spared for the plastic italians over here

Kristian A said...

Oh, and Hi:

You used to figure on RC so sign up or shut up! ;)

hi said...

What's the password?

Kristian said...

Can't remember it ATM but it's in the WC thread at RC

I'll post it here later as well.

hi said...

I will have Denmark making it to the final. Take that Norway.

Kristian A said...

HA! better chance for that in hockey.

password is "Huskies"