A solid advertisement it was not, and proof that you can have too much of a good thing it was yesterday as Barcelona and Real Madrid played an ugly game that saw more bitching to refs and players looking to hook the ref than it did stellar play. "El Classico" turned into "Smell Classico" for wide stretches, and it was disappointing to see how many Barca players in particular went easily (or phantomly, if that's a word) to ground. Disappointing. But, it was saved by one Lionel Messi, who scored one nice goal, and one absolutely ridiculous one, to give Barca the 2-0 lead and all but book their spot in the Champions League Final on May 28th at Wembley Stadium in London, England, likely against Manchester United. Kristian Jack at The Score wraps the game here, with a great three star selection. Video of Messi's second goal gets the "too good to be at the bottom of the blog" treatment. Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was one of three to be ejected in the proceedings - there could have been a few more - and went legend post-game with this rant in which he implies there is some fix to get Barcelona through. Jack asks why Mourinho is using Ronaldo as a forward as it largely wastes him. Great question. Got into a conversation yesterday on Barcelona ace Lionel Messi and whether he's the best player in soccer today. My response: that isn't the question, the question is whether he's the best ever. And really, give the guy another Champions League title or two and maybe a World Cup if all breaks well and there is nothing ridiculous in putting him up there with Diego Maradona and Pele as the all-timers, perhaps Zidane as well, and that's only if you believe you need that kind of resume of titles to be in the mix.
A pair of Game 7's last night in the NHL saw the Pittsburgh Penguins go down 1-0 at home to Tampa Bay. Hard to not be impressed at the stones the Pens have shown as there aren't too many teams where you can take off their top two offensive players - and one happens to be the best player in the world - and they still manage to soldier on as an above average team. They'll be back, provided Sid is. The Bolts will now face Washington next round in what should be a very interesting matchup. The other Eastern Conference series saw the Boston Bruins pull out a 4-3 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens which of course sent most non-Hab fans into celebration mode. Nice work on Scott Gomez going -3 on the night for the losers. Habs have some nice pieces in Carey Price and PK Subban going forward. The Bruins will face Philly in what should be a brutal series on the players involved. Said one SW, reader here: "it is a great night when the Habs go out, and the Red Sox go into last place".
The Western Conference starts its next round tonight with Nashville in Vancouver. I'm taking Vancouver in that series in six. San Jose and Detroit start tomorrow, I've got the Wings winning in six. Going to say Washington in seven and Philly in five in the East. Who ya got?
Was Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell around when John Rocker was spewing his hate? McDowell went off on fans in San Francisco with a bunch of homophobic blasts and asked one what his teeth were worth while pointing a bat to him. Classy.
Tweets Sportspickle: "a hockey crowd doing a white out is kind of redundant."
Might the NFL lockout be over? The appeal filed by owners seems to have been overturned so could be a very interesting day, including, as Bukakke corrected me, the Draft tonight.
Check out this tornado, estimated at 1.6km wide, dancing past the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Gotta hit the road for work, so a brief one today.