Thursday, May 31, 2007

Captain Crosby

The news came up yesterday, and now it's official. Sidney Crosby is the Pittsburgh Penguins captain. The team made the announcement this afternoon. He is only 19 at this time, making him the youngest captain in NHL history right ahead of Vincent Lecavalier.

Last year, he served as an assistant captain for the Pens. He also led the league in points with 120 of them and got the Penguins a playoff berth as an elite team. This is the 1st time the Penguins have had a captain that wasn't Mario Lemieux in a long time. This past year, the Penguins went without a captain to honor Lemieux's achievments throughout his career.

After the announcement, the Penguins addressed the media. "Sidney has done so much for this franchise in his first two seasons, made so much history, that you have to keep reminding yourself that he is only 19 years old," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a statement.

"But Sid's contributions extend far beyond statistics and his incredible achievements on the ice. It is obvious to all of us - coaches, players, management, staff - that he has grown into the acknowledged leader of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"It is only appropriate that he wears the C as team captain."

"I don't think it will be that much different than last year. The C adds a little bit, but it's just a letter," defenceman Ryan Whitney told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "He's been a leader and will continue to be. This shows the rest of the league that he has completely arrived."

Ottawa Gets Blanked, Goes Down 2-0

Yesterday, the Ottawa Senators were facing the Ducks in game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. They had to win, or they would go down 2-0.

The 1st 2 periods of the game went scoreless. But it seemed Anaheim had the advantage in momentum. In the 3rd, both teams were still having troubles scoring. But with about 6 minutes left in the game, Samuel Pahlsson scored with a shot in between the defence man's legs. Ottawa couldn't come back from that as the Ducks took game 2 1-0 and lead the series 2-0.

After the game, Pahlsson talked about his goal. ''I shot it through the legs of the defenceman and somehow it went in,'' said Pahlsson. ''The most important thing is to win the game but of course it's great to score the goal.''

This game was much more physical than the last one, where the Ducks controlled the physical play. ''We knew that if we just continued to play the same way we were and get pucks in deep, keep playing physical and cycling the puck . . . we were getting a lot of chances and getting traffic in front,'' said Pronger. ''We were bound to get one by them.''

The story of the series so far is the lack of offence from Ottawa's top line. For the 2nd straight game, Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson were held off the score sheet. Bryan Murray split up the line for the beginning of the game, but later put them back together. Emery must be frustrated that he only allowed 1 goal, and he lost the game.

But now, the games shift to Ottawa, where they have the last change which will help Ottawa immensely. 'We've won our two home games and, let's face it, you're supposed to win your home games,'' said Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger. ''Now it's in their court.''

Ottawa will look to become the 2nd team in NHL history to win the cup when losing the 1st 2 games at the other teams arena.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where There's a Hill, There's a Way

The Jays and Yankees were hooking up Tuesday for game 2 of their series.

Before the game, the Yankees took their game day practice. Because of their bad play in games this year, they work on just the fundamentals. Their was nothing fundamental about the game.

In the home-half of the 1st, Alex Rios a lead-off single and went to 2nd off an error. He then went to 3rd off a steal. Vernon Wells then drove him in to give the Jays the 1-run lead. For the next few innings, it was a pitchers duel between Shawn Marcum and Andy Pettitte. The next 5 innings went scoreless. But after Shaun Marcum was pulled, Scott Downs came in in the 7th. The 1st batter he faced hit a homer off of him. It was then tied 1-1. But in the bottom half of the 7th, Aaron Hill was on 3rd. As Pettitte winded up, Hill sprinted home. He was called safe and the Jays had the lead. But after the Yankees tied it up again in the 8th, Alex Rios hit a sacrifice fly to the outfield that brought home the eventual winning run. The final score was 3-2.

After the game, all the talk was about Aaron Hill's steal of home. "We mentioned that if a situation came up, a guy on third, obviously [Pettitte] has his back to us," Hill said. "It was just the right place at the right time, I guess. [Butterfield] told me, 'If we get to a 1-1 count, we're going to go ahead and try it.' I started to get a little nervous and then I was like, 'All right, let's go.' Luckily, it worked out."

''I definitely felt my heart beating,'' Hill said of his approach once the play was put on. ''I've never done it before and I didn't know what was going to happen. I just pictured the umpire calling me safe to hopefully give me a little better boost.''

Pettitte also talked about what he could of done to stop the steal. ''I didn't think you could lose an American League ballgame like that,'' said Pettitte. ''To be out of the stretch, what can you say? It was embarrassing.''

The Yankees have been in a free-fall all season and it isn't stopping. They are tied with Tampa for last in the division, and have virtually no pitching.

“It’s tough to keep it positive, to tell you the truth,” Posada said. “You try to focus on things that are meaningful, like good pitching by Andy tonight. You continue to think ahead. But it’s really tough right now.”

“We haven’t been able to string together hits,” Derek Jeter said. “We get one guy on, and that’s about it.”

“There’s a mountain to climb,” Manager Joe Torre said. “Everybody feels it. I’d like to be able to come in tomorrow and think of something that’s going to all of a sudden lighten the load. That’s my job.”

The Jays will look for a sweep on Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Game 1

82 games. 15+ playoff games, and now, it all comes down to this series. The Stanley Cup Finals. The Senators and Ducks were playing in game 1 yesterday.

The Sens started out great getting the 1st goal 1:38 into the 1st. But Andy McDonald tied up the game about 10 minutes later off an amazing shot to the top-corner. The 1st period ended with the game tied 1-1. The only goal of the 2nd was scored by Wade Redden off a bad giveaway. But in the 3rd, the Ducks made a comeback. 1st, Ryan Getzlaf scored on a backhand to tie it up. And then, with 3 minutes left in the game, Travis Moen scored to give the Ducks the lead. Ottawa wouldn't come back from that as the Ducks took game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The key to this game was obviously hitting. The Ducks gave Ottawa a pounding anytime they could. Another key to this game was the shots. Anaheim fired 32 shots at Emery, while Ottawa only got 20.

If Ottawa is going to win this series, they are going to have to get tougher. They can't get pushed around all the time and not fight back. And if they can't do that, than Anaheim will sweep this series.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Senators Biggest Little Fan

This year has finally been the year that the Ottawa Senators have had playoff success. It is the year that an entire city has been overwhelmed with joy for the Sens, and it is the year that a team created a very special bond with 1 kid.

3-year old Elgin Fraser of the Ottawa area had a very serious form of cancer when he was 9 months of age. But chemotherapy worked and healed him. But exactly 2 years later, the rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma came back. He was given less than a year to live.

Word went out though about the ailing Sens fan, and pretty soon, Chris Phillips had organized to have Elgin practice with the team.

Elgin kept a list of his favourite players. Phillips was #2 on the list. NO.1 on the list was Mike Fisher. The 2 had met at the sick kids hospital earlier in Elgin's life. The 2 had an instant bond.

From then on, Elgin was a regular at the Sens home playoff games. But as the Senators moved on, Elgin took a step back. His condition was getting worse and was soon on the verge of dying.

But he still managed to watch the Sens play. After the Senators lost game 4 of the Buffalo - Sens series, Mike Fisher came over to the Fraser's house. As the 2 watched a movie, Elgin quietly asked, "Mike, you're going to win the Stanley Cup, right?" "We sure are buddy," answered Fisher.

That Saturday, Elgin watched as the Senators faced the Sabres. As he fell in and out of consciousness, his dad whispered the play-by-play in his ear. "Hey buddy." Mr.Fraser whispered softly in his Elgin's ear. "Alfredsson just scored. Ottawa is going to the finals." 2 hours later, Elgin died in the arms of his parents.

The city of Ottawa is well aware of this story. The Sens fans now part on Elgin Street, and the slogan "Win it for Elgin" is sweeping the nation.

Elgin Alexander Fraser


Friday, May 25, 2007

Tocchet Pleads Guilty To Gambaling Charges

It all started in February of '06. Former NHL player and assistant coach of the Phoenix Coyotes Rick Tocchet was charged with running a gambling ring that had ties to organized crime.

Tocchet also brought Wayne Gretzky and his wife Janet into the the mix of it, but no charges were ever put on either. Today, Tocchet pleaded guilty to the charges and will face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

"It's a huge operation and I think it exposes to people the allure of
gambling, illegal gambling, in New Jersey," state criminal justice director Gregory A. Paw said outside the courthouse."I'm sure everyone recalls the manner in which the case was initially announced and described,'' said Kevin Marino, the defense
lawyer for Tocchet. "I think [Friday's] proceeding speaks for itself."

Tocchet may avoid jail time for being a 1st time offender.

Because one of the charges of gambling were on hockey gambling, it looks like the door is open for Tocchet to return to the NHL as a coach.

Who Will Win It All?

Here is the rundown of the Stanley Cup Finals, and who I think will eventually take home the cup.

Senators Reasons They Can Win

The Senators are finally having the post-season that the fans having been waiting for for ever. Unless you are 80+ than you haven't been alive to see Ottawa win the cup. A big reason they can win is Alfredsson. He is playing the best hockey of his career, and is the front-runner for the Conn Smythe. They also have a top line of Heatley, Spezza and Alfresson. Secondary scoring also is not an issue, as Mike Fisher leads a very good 2nd line. Chris Neil and other grinders lead the 3rd and 4th lines. They are also great on the defensive side. They have a solid defence that includes Wade Redden and the playoffs leading shot blocker, Anton Volchenkov. And finally, Ray Emery has been the best goal-tender in the playoffs putting up incredible numbers against great teams.

For the Senators to win the series, they must get the job done in regulation. In O.T, the Ducks are nearly perfect as they only have 1 loss in extra time. They also need to be more physical. The Ducks are without a doubt the most physical team in the league, so Ottawa will have to grind to win.

Ducks Reasons They Can Win

The Ducks' great teams over past years have never won the cup. But now they get another chance to do it. Their offence is full of veterans and young guys. They have Teemu Selanne, who is playing in his 1st final firing at all cylinders and is the Ducks 3rd leading scorer. They also have young guys like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, who are both having great a playoffs season statistically. Their defence is unlike any other team in the league. With Chris Pronger, Scott Neidermayer and Francois Beauchemin, they are amazing defensively. They also have J.S Giguere, who has found the groove he had in 2003.

For the Ducks to win, they need to keep up the physical play and take it to Ottawa's young goalie. If they can take some games to O.T, than they will win most of them. They will need to work to get the cup.

Who Will Win the Cup?

I think that the Senators will win in 6 games. Right now, no one can even come close to the play that Ottawa is at right now. They will beat the Ducks at home to grab the cup.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Billionaire Balsillie Buys Preds

After years of losing money and sub-par fan support for a winning team, the Nashville Predators have sold their team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie.

''I have come to the conclusion that I cannot make it work here,'' said Leipold, who became emotional and had to pause at one point. ''We are one of the elite teams in this league and we are by far the lowest revenue team in the league.''

Craig Leipold announced Thursday that Balsillie signed a letter of agreement to buy the franchise for $220 million US. Leipold's Predators lost a total of $70 million during the team's 9 seasons.

Many will remember that Balsillie was very close to buying the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise. But at the last second, he backed out of the deal. Balsillie's $175 million deal to buy the Penguins unravelled when commissioner Gary Bettman attached a list of conditions to the sale, including, it is believed, one that he not move the club until every possible avenue was exhausted. But he never signed a deal at the time he backed out of the deal. How ever has already signed the agreement and is now in full control of the team.

There is talk that Balsillie will move the team to Southern Ontario, where Hamilton and other cities are looking for a team. But that decision is not entirely up to him. The NHL has to agree to move the team and it is more the NHL's choice where they are going to move the team than the owner.

'I think he's going to give it a chance,'' said Leipold. ''If (attendance) is over 14,000 paid, it's not going anywhere.''

That right now is the question. Will Balsillie keep the team in Nashville?

Leetch Ends 18-Year Career

It was evident to everyone that Bryan Leetch would not return to the game of hockey for the '06-07 season. He offers from New York and Edmonton, but turned all of them down. He officially retired today.

"You can go right down those record books," Leetch said Thursday from Boston. "From Gretz and Mess, you've got Marcel Dionne, Guy Lafleur, Ron Francis, Mike Gartner and just on and on.

"It's been amazing. That's what I kind of really I shake my head at _ how many interesting players I've been able to be friends with and play with."

During his 18-year career, he won the Norris Trophy 2 times and was part of the Stanley Cup winning team in New York in 1994. He collected his 1,000th point in his career while playing for the Bruins in 2005-06.

He has many records that will probably stand for a while and will go down as one of the best defence men to ever play in the NHL.

"Everyone wanted me to keep playing or at least to keep the option of coming back open," said Leetch. "But I knew inside that I wasn't going to play anymore.

"It's just kind of letting everybody else know now."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

NBA Draft Lottery

Right now, while you are reading this post, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and the Utah Jazz are preparing for game 2 and game 3 of their Conference Finals. In less important news, the bottom dwellers of the NBA found out what position they would draft in the 2007 NBA Draft.

The 3 teams who had the greatest chance of getting the NO.1 pick were Memphis (25% chance), Boston (19.9%) and Milwaukee (15.6%). They all lost out as all of them got picks from 4-6. The 3 teams that were left for the final 3 picks were Atlanta, Seattle and Portland. Portland had the worst odds to win the NO.1 pick as they only had a 5.3% chance of getting the 1st overall pick. But the Trailblazers beat the odds getting the 1st pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

This a little bit of revenge for the Trailblazers, as they had the worst record in the league last year, and ended up getting the 4th pick.

After the lottery, Memphis Grizzlies president Jerry West was fuming about the NBA's questionable lottery procedure, which rarely gives the worst NBA team the NO.1 pick.

"It's about as disappointing as you could ever hope for," West said minutes after the lottery was announced at the NBA Entertainment Center. "It's like pitching pennies. It's grossly unfair to the team, but I've said it before, I don't think the lottery is fair. I never liked it. I don't think it's a good system at all, period.

"There have been a lot of picks in the lottery that have (failed). There are two in the lottery this year that are not going to fail. There are two superstars in the draft. I think for the teams fortunate enough to get them, the fortunes of their
franchises have changed forever."

West does have some evidence to back up his anger towards the draft lottery system. Since the NBA switched to the weighted lottery system 1994, only two NBA teams with the best chance of landing the top pick have gotten it -- the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 (LeBron James) and the Orlando Magic (Dwight Howard) the following year.

The players that are expected to be picked 1st and 2nd overall are Ohio State all-star Greg Oden and Texas star Kevin Durant.

These 2 already have their college success known around the world as they are both new additions to the USA Senior Men's Basketball Team.

Oden averaged 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks despite being limited for much of the season while recovering from right wrist surgery.

Durant led the Big 12 with 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, and was the AP national player of the year.

Here are the rest of the NBA Draft Lottery Results:

NO.7: Minnesota

No.8: Charlotte

NO.9: New York

NO.10: Sacramento

NO.11: Atlanta

NO.12: Philadelphia

NO.13: New Orleans

NO.14: L.A Clippers

Ducks Move On to Face Senators

The Anaheim Ducks yesterday were looking to put away the Detroit Red Wings to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. They did.

Through out most of the game, the Ducks dominated as they grabbed a 3-goal lead heading into the 3rd. But the Red Wings wouldn't give up. After the teams exchanged goals, the Wings scored 2straight to get within 1. But even with a late powerplay, the Red Wings couldn't get the tying goal.

This will be the Ducks 2nd trip to the Finals in 4 years. They will the Senators, whose head coach played a big part in creating the Ducks.

Bryan Murray was the GM of the Ducks a few years ago. He was the main person in bringing in such players as Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry.

It will be a great final, as it seems this is the time to win it for each team. Will Ottawa finally bring a cup to Canada and break Ottawa's "curse". Or will the Ducks win it and bring a cup to Teemu Selanne. It will be a very interesting final to watch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What's With Todd Bertuzzi?

Possibly one of the best power-forwards in recent NHL history has been in a downward spiral ever since his vicious hit on Steve Moore.

After his neck-breaking hit on Moore, he was suspended for the rest of the season. The suspension brought an end to a sub-par season. After the lockout season he played the entire 82 games for the Canucks, but managed only 25 goals and 71 points, which was the worst point performance ever for him when playing all 82 games. The next year got even worse as he missed most of the season with the Florida Panthers scoring only 1 goal in 7 games. He is now playing for the Red Wings and is playing some of his best hockey in past years, (which isn't that great).

I think the solution for his bad play is very simple. Do what Selanne did. No one benefited more from the lockout year.

In the '03-04 season, he played almost all 82 games, but managed a minuscule 32 points. But after working hard in the lockout year, he was ready for '05-06. He signed with the Ducks for a small amount of money, but played amazing scoring 40 goals and 90 points. He did even better this year scoring 48 goals and 94 points.

Bertuzzi right now should set his hopes low. Just get a small contract and work your way back to the top. He will be a better player.

There is 1 thing that is for certain. The thought of the Moore hit, will always be in the back of his mind.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Not Quacking

The Anaheim Ducks had a tied series going into today's game against the Red Wings. They were looking to make it a 3-2 lead for them going into game 6.

After a scoreless 1st, the Wings got the 1st goal of the game off the stick of Andreas Lilja. They then held on to that 1-goal lead for the rest of the 2nd and most of the 3rd. But a 1-goal lead isn't good enough when facing the Ducks. With a powerplay and an empty-net, Neidermayer scored with about a minute left in the game to tie it.

In O.T, Teemu Selanne scored off one of the worst plays in a overtime in NHL history.

Lijla, who scored earlier in the game for the Red Wings, gave the puck way in front of his own net right to Selanne.

It was Selanne's 1st O.T playoff goal since 1994, and he couldn't have picked a better time to score one.

The Ducks can now clinch the series on home ice on Tuesday. Right now, there firing at all cylinders, and they will be pretty tough to stop if they keep it up.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Alfredsson Does It Again

For the 3rd time in 3 years, a Canadian hockey team will be going to the Stanley Cup Finals.

It was a must win in Buffalo this afternoon and the Sens silenced the crowd.

Well actually, it was the Alfredsson, Heatley Spezza line that silenced the Buffalo fans. They scored all 3 goals in the game that Ottawa scored. The 1st was to tie it up with 5 minutes left in the 2nd, and another to get the lead with 1 minute left in the 2nd. And then, the final goal was by the hottest player in the league right now, Daniel Alfredsson.

He scored 9:32 into the O.T Saturday to win the game for Ottawa. It was only fitting that the 1st 2 guys to celebrate with him were Heatley ans Spezza.

Now the question is, "who will Ottawa face". Right now, the Red Wings and Ducks are in a tied series that will continue tomorrow.

Unlike the past 2 Canadian teams to make it to the final, the Sens are actually favored. Well maybe not favored, but they still have a good chance. After beating the Presidents' Trophy winning Sabres, it is clear to anyone that Ottawa faces that they are for real.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tied Up At 2

Yesterday, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were facing the Red Wings in a essential must win. One problem. They didn't have Chris Pronger who was serving a 1-game suspension for his hit on Tomas Holmstrom.

Even without one of the top defence man in the league, the Ducks played great. Remember this name: Ric Jackman. He was the player who took Pronger's spot in the lineup.

With the game tied 1-1 in the 1st, Jackman scored his 1st ever playoff goal in just his 3rd post-season game to give the Ducks the lead. Teemu Selanne then broke a 4-game scoring drought to give the Ducks a 3-goal lead. But after a 2-goal 2nd by the Wings, it was a tie game heading into the 3rd. In that 3rdperiod, Ryan Getzlaf scored to give the Ducks the lead again. Then, with the net empty, Rob Niedermayer scored to clinch the game for the Ducks.

The key to the game was all the Ducks players getting out of slumps. Selanne, who had been publicly criticized throughout this series for not scoring popped in an early one to really give the Ducks a boost. And Ryan Getzlaf, who is playing some of the best hockey of his young career contributed to the game and got out of his own scoring drought.

For game number 5, the Ducks will have Chris Pronger back and will be able to get within 1 game of the Stanley Cup Final if they win Sunday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tonight May BeThe Night

The Ottawa Senators have had the best post-season in their franchise's history. If they win to night, they can extend that post-season to the Finals.

Right now, the Sens are up an amazing 3-0 against the Sabres. All they things Ottawa was in past playoffs, Buffalo is now. And everything Buffalo was in the regular season, Ottawa is now.

The biggest reason for this is Daniel Alfredsson. After being the goat in earlier playoff and earlier this season when the Sens were struggling, he is now the hero in Canada's capital. Alfredsson is the league leader in goals and 4th in points in the playoffs and that can all be credited to one thing. His short hair.

In past years with his long hair, he was, well horrible. But now with about 10 pounds of weight off his head, he is getting to pucks faster and scoring more goals.

But there is actually a real reason he is doing good. That reason is his line. Late in the regular season, Bryan Murray put Dany Heatley, Alfresson and Spezza together for more offence. There was a question whether Murray would keep them together during the playoffs. He did, and it's paying dividends.

Tonight, the line of Alfredsson, Heatley and Spezza can book Ottawa's trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Rise and Fall of Patrick Lalime

It was 10 years ago. 10 years ago many people were marvelling at the stellar play of Patrick Lalime. With both Pittsburgh starting goalies out, Lalime was called up to start for them. He went 14-0-2 in his 1st 16 games in the NHL and had an overall record of 21-12-2 with a GAA of 2.94. He was looking like the best thing since sliced bread, but it wasn't all roses throughout Lalime's career.

After his 1st year in the NHL, the Penguins couldn't get a contract extension out of Lalime. He spent most of that year with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the IHL. Later in the season, he was traded to the Mighty Ducks. The next year he failed to make the NHL roster and was sent to the Kansas City Blades of the IHL. That year he lead the league in wins, minutes played and saves.

On June 18th, the Mighty Ducks traded Lalime to the Ottawa Senators, where he would split the goal-tending duties with Ron Tugnutt. He open the season with a shutout against Philadelphia and went on to get a 19-14-3 record, a GAA of 2.33 and save percentage of .905. The Sens season was then ended by the Leafs.

In the 2000-01 season, the Senators gave Lalime the starting job where he did not disappoint posting a 36-19-5 record, 2.35 GAA, and a save percentage of .914. He also lead the Senators to the North-East Division title, but would then be given an early exit by the Leafs. In 2001-02 Lalime had a 27-24-8 record, 2.48 GAA and .903 save percentage. He was 2nd in the league with 7 shutouts and set a club record with a 149:41 shutout streak from October 23 to November 10. After a 1st round win against the Flyers (thanks to Lalime's phenomenal play), they, for the 3rd straight year got eliminated by the Maple Leafs. In '02-03, Lalime led the Senators to the Presidents Trophy. Lalime finished the season with 39-20-7 record. They finally got past the early rounds of the playoffs and made it to the Conference Finals, where they were eliminated by the eventual champion New Jersey Devils in 7 games. Lalime had an O.K year in 2003-04 having only 2 more wins than losses and playing weakly in a 1st round loss against the Leafs.

In the off-season of '04, the Senators traded Lalime to the Blues. During the lockout year, he would not play any hockey. In his 1st year with the Blues, he contributed to the Blues league worst 57 points. In July 2006, Lalime was signed by the Blackhawks and now backups Nikolai Khabibulin.

Throughout his career, Patrick Lalime has been the hero and the goat. But now, it seems he will never be either of those again. At least he won't in the NHL.

Nowitzki Named MVP

Dirk Nowitzki now has something to take out of his disappointing season with the Mavericks, that ended with the biggest playoff upset to the Golden State Warriors. He has a MVP trophy.

Nowitzki ended the 2-year reign of friend Steve Nash and is the only European born player to win the award.

"It's still a little hard for me to be happy because of the way this season ended," Nowitzki said. "But this is an award for the regular season. That's how I've got to look at it and be proud."

The Mavericks had the 6th most amount of wins in NBA history and looked to be the clear-cut favorite to win the Championship. But they took an early exit when the 8th seed (The Golden State Warriors) eliminated them in 6 games.

Nowitzki now goes onto the very exclusive list of MVP not to win a playoff series. Other players who have done this are Moses Malone in 1981-82 , Malone again in '79, Wes Unseld in '68-69 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975-76 (didn't make the playoffs).

Nowitzki got 1,138 points and 83 1st place votes while Steve Nash had 44 1st place votes and 1,013 points. Other players were Kobe Bryant (521 points), Tim Duncan (286), LeBron James (183), Tracy McGrady (110) and Chris Bosh (43).

Steve Nash took time out of preparing for game 5 of the Suns series with the Spurs to talk with the media about Nowitzki.

"I'm excited for him," Nash said. "He's obviously not the happiest camper right now but he deserves it and I think he should really enjoy this and allow this to kind of heal an unfortunate first round. Because he did have a great year and worked hard for it."

One more key stat about Nowitzki, is that he had the largest point per game decline in the playoffs compared the regular season since '82:

Can Anyone Stop Him?

When you talk about the New York Yankees this year, you think about Alex Rodriguez, and Roger Clemens. But a player whose been left out of the spotlight this year, is shortstop Derek Jeter.

Possibly the most clutch shortstop in MLB history has gotten off to one of the best starts in his career. He is leading the American League in batting average with .375%, is leading the American League in hits with 54 and is 2nd in the AL in on base average with .448%.

Unfortunately for Jeter, his amazing start has been overshadowed by Alex Rodriguez's record tying start and Roger Clemens comeback to the Yankees.

Now to put these stats into perspective, no other player in the MLB has 2 home runs, but 20 RBI. That's how good he is.

A-Rod has been on a bit of a slump lately since his April surge, so I think it is time for the New York fans to take a look at Jeter again, and look at the amzing stats he has put up not only this year, but throughout his entire career.


The Ottawa Senators have been without a doubt the best all around team in the playoffs so far. They proved that again last night.

For the 1st time in Senators history, they have a chance for a sweep. Yesterday they scored only 1 goal against the powerhouse Sabres, but that was enough to beat them. The only goal was scored by, guess who, Daniel Alfredsson.

The score really did flatter the Sabres as the entire game as the Sens had 32 shots to Buffalo's 15. Miller was the only one who can really go back into the Sabres dressing room and say he played his best. He was forced to make 13 saves in the 1st, and 10 in the 3rd.

The key for this series has been the power-play. Ottawa is about 25% as they are 4/17 on the PP while Buffalo is a very disappointing 0/18.

The Sabres are playing like the Sens of of old as they are buckling under the pressure of being the favorite.

If you take a look at the Sens roster, they are built for playoff play as they have tough, gritty guys, players who can score and good defence and goalie.

They are also getting the breaks they they haven't been getting in years past, as the only goal of the game was scored of the boards and of Miller's glove, right to Alfredsson.

Now the only time a NHL team has come back from a 3-0 deficit are the 1942 Maple Leafs in the Cup Final and the '75 New York Islanders. But it is safe to say that those teams weren't playing the 2007 Ottawa Senators.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Colangelo Named Executive of the Year

The 41-year old Bryan Colangelo was named the NBA's top executive in the 2006-07 season for turning the Raptors franchise around. During the off-season, he signed Anthony Parker and Jorge Garbajosa, traded for T.J Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and Kris Humphries, re-signed Chris Bosh and drafted Andrea Bargnani. This is the 2nd time he has received this award as he won it 2 years ago in Phoenix.

Colangelo received 29 of 45 votes for the Executive of the Year. Houston's Carroll Dawson finished second with nine votes while seven other executives received votes for the award, which is handed out by The Sporting News.

Colangelo also had the knowledge to keep Sam Mitchell, even after a very poor start. Mitchell later would become NBA Coach of the Year. It is yet to be known whether Colangelo will sign Mitchell for next season.

This is the 1st time in Raptors history that a member of their organization has won the NBA Executive of the Year Award

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Up 2

Well it definitely took awhile. 2 overtime periods, but they did it. The Ottawa Senators won the game in Buffalo last night to take a 2-0 series lead. That's right. 2-0 for Ottawa. 2 games in Buffalo. They now put themselves in great shape to go to the Stanley Cup Final.

It seems Ottawa is finally getting into a groove in the playoffs. Buffalo had a early 2-goal lead in the game, but Ottawa came back and scored 3 straight. After Buffalo tied it up late in the 3rd, Joe Corvo potted the winner in double overtime.

"I was just trying to catch the highlight of my goal on TV in the room and I missed it," said the overtime hero. "But I told the guys, `It's alright, I'll catch it again at 5 a.m. when I'm still awake." Corvo said.

"It's obviously the biggest goal in my life." said the 29-year-old native of Oak Park, Ill. "Just total elation when it went in. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

And Alfredsson's stellar playoff continued yesterday as he set a Ottawa record with playoff goals. He also was the one who brought life back in the Senators when they were down 2-0, as he scored the 1st goal of the comeback.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Top 5 International Players in the NBA

The NBA is turning into a international man's sport. I now count down the 5 international players in the NBA right now.

Number 5: Andrea Bargnani

Andrea Bargnani or Il Mago was born in Italy and is one of the best young prospects in the game. He was drafted 1st overall in the NBA draft by Toronto becoming the 1st Italian to ever do so. In his debut year with the Raptors, he emerged as a 3-point threat who can drive to the hoop with ease. At mid-season he was voted to the NBA Rookie Challenge. Everything was looking up until March 21st, 2007. Bargnani underwent an emergency appendectomy after being taken to the hospital after feeling ill after a practice. He recovered in time to play the Raptors season finale and ended the year averaging 11.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He came in 2nd in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting and along with teammate Jorge Garbajosa was named to the NBA all rookie team.

Number 4: Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili was drafted in the 2nd round, 57th overall in 1999. He spent most of his 1st year (2003) in the NBA on the bench and recovering from injury but managed to be named rookie of the month for March. In the playoffs, he surprised teams with his scoring touch and helped lead the Spurs to a championship over the Nets. In 2005, Ginobili was a starter and was named as a reserve in the NBA All Star Game. He then helped the Spurs to their 2nd title in 3 years in a 7-game series against Detroit. He was the runner up to the Finals MVP in Tim Duncan. On February 2007, Manu set a Spurs record scoring 24 straight points against Atlanta.

Number 3: Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko or 'AK-47' was born in Russia and plays for the Utah Jazz. He was drafted 24th overall in the 1999 draft by the Jazz. Despite being drafted in 1999, he spent the next 2 years with his Russian team. In the 2001-02 NBA season, Kirilenko joined the Jazz and was named to the 1st team on the NBA Rookie Team. In 2003-04, Kirilenko blocked the 3rd most shots in the league and was 4th in steals. In '05-06, Kirilenko recorded a career high 10 blocks in a game against Indiana and was 2nd in the league in blocks per game behind Marcus Camby. He was then named to the 1st team on the NBA All-Defensive Team.

Number 2: Yao Ming

A native of China, Ming was drafted 1st overall by the Rockets in the 2002 draft and signed with the team in October of '02. Ming was the rookie of the year in his 1sy year and was named to the NBA-All Rookie 1st Team. In 2004-05, the Rockets acquired Tracy McGrady and was voted as the starting center in the All-Star Game getting a record breaking 2,558,278 votes. The Rockets again had a early exit in the playoffs losing top the Mavs. In the next 2 years, Yao again had All-Star years, but couldn't get the Rockets passed the 1st round of the playoffs.

Number 1: Dirk Nowitzki

A native of Germany, Nowitzki was the 9th overall pick in the 1998 draft by the Bucks where he was immediately traded to the Mavericks for their 6th pick. After a confused rookie year for Nowitzki in '98-99, Dirk emerged as a future star in the league in 1999-00. The following season, Dirk was named to the All-NBA Team making team 3. In 2002-03, Nowitzki was named the top international player in the NBA by a survey of the leagues GM's. He also made his 2nd appearance in the All-Star game and the All-NBA second team. Nowitzki's best season was '06-07 where he led the Mavericks to an amazing 67-15 record. But their post-season dreams were cut short as the Golden State Warriors knocked them out. Nowitzki reportedly will be the MVP of the 2006-07 season.

Is 500 To Easy?

It is one of the most elusive marks in sports. The 500 club. In about a century of baseball, only 20 players ( Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Frank Robinson, Mark McGwire, Harmon Killebrew, Ken Griffey, Rafael Palmeiro, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, Willie McCovey, Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Mel Ott, Eddie Murray) have come to reach that mark. But now, with new tricks to the game, and more demand for runs, it may be a mark to easy to get into.

Right now, their are 7 active players with 400 home runs and have a realistic chance of getting to the 500 homer mark. 4 player in that group may do it this year. These players are Frank Thomas (491), Alex Rodriguez (479), Jim Thome (477) and Manny Ramirez (476).

If all these players stay healthy, than they will reach they mark of 500 homers. But 4 players getting to 500 in 1 year. That is to easy. Major League Baseball legends like Mel Ott and Ted Williams just barley got to 500 in their career. But what is the change now?

It may be the fan demand for runs. A few years ago, they moved the pitching mound up to allow more home runs. Apparently it's working. Another reason may be the extreme shape that many players are in ( even though it really isn't needed). Many players work out in the off-season and try for sports in training camp. 30 years ago, they came to training camp to get in shape.

But their is always the reason that no one really wants to bring up about greats like Alex Rodriguez. Performance enhancing drugs. Already their is controversy about Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro ( who are all in the 500 club) that they took steroids.

What ever the reason is, it seems that many young players will eventually get to the 500 home run mark in their career. So maybe a new mark should be set for great home run hitters. Lets go 600.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Stanley Cup In European Hands?

Never. Never has a European player raised the Stanley Cup as a captain. But this year, 2 players have the chance to do just that.

For many years, the Detroit Red Wings have been a great team, and won 3 Stanley Cups while being captained by Steve Yzerman. But now that he is retired, Nicklas Lidstrom is now the captain of the Wings. His team is now in the middle of a Western Conference series against the Anaheim Ducks. If the Red Wings win the series, they will move on to the Stanley Cup Finals were they are historically very good closing out the playoffs.

The other player is Daniel Alfredsson, who is the captain of the Ottawa Senators. After years of criticism for not performing in the playoffs and multiple team failures, he and the team is finally looking like a team that can win the cup. After winning game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Buffalo 5-2 and having Alfredsson scoring a goal, it looks like this may be the year that the Sens go all the way.

Gearing Down For The Semifinals

Canada's National Hockey team over in Moscow has gone through lots of hardships so far. They had to deal with the Shane Doan controversy and coming back from early deficits in most of their round-robin games. But that was put behind them as they took to the ice to practice today.

Today, a 'strip shootout' took place at the Team Canada practice. The rules: Go in and shoot on the goalie. If you miss, you must take off a part of your equipment. It was funny seeing the players down to their padding and socks on the ice, but not even Bryan Murray could stand to see what Eric Stall was reduced to. Trying mercifully to score in his jock and underwear, Murray ended the drill.

"Oh my God, it was getting bad out there," laughed Lombardi of the Calgary Flames. "I was going to keep my pants on as long as I could so I would have gone to the shin pads and socks next. But I regained my focus or Wardo helped me out and let one in."

The players will play their semifinal game against Sweden tomorrow at 11:00am.

Another Positive Test

It's official. Well not really. Today, Ricky Williams apparently failed another NFL drug test for smoking marijuana. The Miami Dolphins franchise and the NFL have declined the reports that Williams has failed this test.

If the test is really positive though, that will just be another burden that Ricky has had to deal with over the past few years. After leading the league in rushing yards in '02, Williams had drug and injury troubles. Since 2003 Williams has only played 12 games south of the border. In 2006, Ricky violated the NFL drug policy for the 4th time causing him to miss the entire 2006 NFL season. During that suspension, Williams signed on in Canada with the Argos, where he was a under-average RB and missed most of the season with a broken arm.

If he really did test positive again, then he will face more discipline from the NFL. And if he thinks he will be going back to Canada, than he should talk with Argos President Keith Pelley: 'I can say definitively that Ricky Williams will not be back (in the CFL) this year,'' Pelley told reporters Friday. ''The thing is we're dealing with a rumour and even if the rumour does in fact become reality, I'm not sure I believe it.

It is uncertain what is next for Williams, but if he did fail the drug test, I don't think that any NFL team will want a player who cares more about smoking pot, than his NFL career.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's Their Time To Shine

With the Stanley Cup Conference Finals coming up, 4 teams are fighting for the cup. Many have stars that may have had an easy ride through the 1st 2 rounds, but will now have to step it up against their opponents now.

With Anaheim facing the Red Wings, many people have the Ducks winning, despite Detroit having another stellar season. In the 1st 2 series, Teemu Selanee was unheard of as he scored only 3 goals and got the same amount in assists. Ryan Getzlaf, who is already having a great playoff will have to keep it up also for Anaheim to win.

On Detroit's side, Robert Lang may be the key with Detroit. With all of Detroit's usual stars going for them, Lang would be a great surprise player in this series that the Ducks will not be focusing as much on. These circumstances also apply to Daniel Cleary. Cleary had his best NHL regular season and can step it up more now in the post-season.

I believe the Ducks will take the series as they have to much talent on the front and the back.

In the other series, the Sens and Sabres will fight it out. In Buffalo, Maxim Afinogenov will need to play up to his full potential as he only has 5 points so far in the playoffs, unlike the play he had during the regular season. Jason Pominville can also be better.

On Ottawa's side, everyone is doing great. If Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson can play like they are, than they will have a good chance. Also, if Chris Kelly can be better, Ottawa will be very tough to beat.

I pick the Senators to win this series in 7.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

2nd Round

In the 2nd round, 2 Canadian teams had a real chance of going to the conference finals.

In the 1st Canadian round, the Canucks faced the Ducks.
In the 1st game, the Canucks got outplayed scoring only once and letting 5 goals go in as the Ducks took game 1 5-1. In game 2, Vancouver played their style of game scoring only once through regulation as did the Ducks. It was 1-1 going into O.T. This was not a good sign though as J.S Giguere was 8-0 in playoff O.T. But that streak was ended as the Canucks' Jeff Cowan scored to win the game and tie up the series. In game 3, both teams exchanged goals through 2, to make the score 2-2, but the only goal of the 3rd came off the Ducks' Corey Perry. This ended up in a 3-2 win for Anaheim. In game 4, Vancouver had a 2-goal lead in the 3rd. But the Ducks came back to tie it before the game ended. In the overtime period, Travis Moen scored for the Ducks to wi it and get a 3-1 series lead. In game 5, the Canucks had the game tied into O.T. After a 1st overtime period, the Ducks capitalized on a fatigued Luongo to win the game and the series.

In the other round the Sens were facing the Devils.

The Senators got off to a great start in the 1st game scoring 4 in the 1st. But the Devils wouldn't go away, depleting Ottawa's lead to 1 goal. But the Senators got another goal to put the game out of the reach of New Jersey to win 5-4. In game 2, the Devils were the ones to come out good scoring the 1st 2 goals of the game. But with their lead cut down to 1, Dany Heatley scored with 26 seconds left in regulation to tie it. Then, in the 2nd O.T period, Jamie Langenbrunner scored to win the game and tie up the series. But in game 3, Ottawa had the edge shutting out the Devils and scoring twice to win 2-0. In game 4, the Sens had the lead going into the 3rd. Then, Mike Fisher scored to get a 2-goal lead. New Jersey couldn't come back from that as Ottawa took a 3-1 lead in the series. In a must win game 5, the Devils crumbled. After getting a lead into the 2nd, they let in 3 goals in the 2nd for Ottawa to take the lead. New Jersey scored 1 more after that, but couldn't get another for the Sens to win the series and move on to the conference final.

In another Eastern Conference series, the Sabres were facing the Rangers.

In the 1st game, the Sabres dominated New York getting to them in the 2nd to win 5-2. In game 2, it was a tie game through 2 periods. But in the 3rd, the Sabres started playing. They scored 2 quick ones and held on to that lead for the rest of the game to win 3-2 and get a 2-0 series lead. In a must win for New York, both teams didn't feel like scoring as the game was 1-1 after regulation and an O.T period. But in the 2nd overtime period, Michal Rozsival scored to win the game and the New York back in the series. It was a low scoring affair in New York, but it was a good game. New York had a 2-goal lead in the middle of the 3rd, when Buffalo got within 1. But that's all they could muster as New York tied up the series. In game 5, the Rangers had the lead in the final seconds of the game. But with 7 seconds to go, Drury scored to tie the game. Then, in O.T, the Sabres scored again for an amazing comeback and to lead the series 3-2. In game 6, Buffalo had a 1 goal lead in the 3rd when they scored again to get a 2 goal lead. But New York wouldn't go away getting within 1 goal. But that's all they could come up with as Buffalo won game 6 and the series.

In the final round, the Red Wings were facing the Sharks.

In game 1, Detroit did not look like the team they were in the regular season getting scored on 2 times in the game and not scoring at all themselves to lose 2-0.
In game 2, Detroit again came out flat letting the Sharks get another early 2 goal lead. But the Red Wings got within 1 before the 1st intermission. After a scoreless 2nd, Detroit came out with an early goal in the 3rd. Then, with the game still tied, Pavel Datsyuk scored with just under 1:30 left in the game. San Jose wouldn't come back from that as the Red Wings took game 2 3-2. In game 3, Detroit got am early lead, but was later squandered by a Sharks goal. Then, San Jose added another in the 3rd. Detroit couldn't come back from that as the Sharks took game 3 2-1. In game 4, the teams were tied after regulation. But in overtime, Mathieu Schnieder scored to win the game and tie the series. Game 5 was all Detroit, after the Sharks got a ear;y lead, Detroit quickly got rid of it and scored 3 more to win 4-1.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Perfect Through 6

The Canadian National hockey team for the World Championship was 5-0 through 5 game heading into the game today against the USA. The game was unlike anything anyone predicted.

Just 8 seconds into the game, Canada's Jay McClement scored. It was the fastest goal in Canada World Championship history. From then on, Canada dominated scoring 3 more in a row and winning 6-3.

Matthew Lombardi had a hat-trick and the Stall brothers were playing on the same line.

Canada will now play their quarter-final game against Switzerland on Thursday.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Rocket Roger Has Landed In New York

The 7-time Cy Young winner made his dramatic announcement today during the Yankees - Mariners game. In the 7th inning stretch, Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard told fans to turn their attention to the box, where Clemens was standing with a microphone. "Well, they came and got me out of Texas and I can tell you it's a privilege to be back," Clemens said. "I'll be talking to y'all soon."

This is the 2nd time Clemens has come out of retirement. The last time was signing with the Houston Astros in 2004 after retiring in 2003.

Clemens will be a much needed addition to an ailing Yankees pitching staff who just now is getting back Chien Ming Wang from injury.

Clemens is expected to sign a minor-league contract to get in shape.

5 Straight

The Toronto Blue Jays still need to find a rhythm, a comfort zone in this 2007 season. It was evident that they still hadn't found it yesterday.

With Roy Halladay on the mound against a 0-4 pitcher, he gave up 9 runs in 5 innings to let the Rangers win 11-4.

Toronto is now under .500 and needs to get on a streak.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


The Toronto Raptors had one one the best seasons in franchise history. To keep it up, they would have to win in New Jersey.

Skip to the final seconds of the 4th quarter, where the Raps had a 1 point lead. But Richard Jefferson got the ball and scored to give New Jersey the lead. Then, in the final play of the game, Jose Calderon threw the ball away to Jefferson for the Nets to win the series.

Toronto will now have to get ready for next season where there will be some high expectations.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Defending Doan

A f---g frenchmen

That's what Shane Doan, the captain of Canada's World Championship team, supposedly said about a NHL linesman a year ago. It wasn't even confirmed he was the one who said it. But it was still brought up by a MP at Parliament.

The person questioned Canada's decision to have Doan as the captain of team Canada. But today, Bob Nicholson traveled from Moscow all the way to Ottawa to fight for Doan.

"You can talk to all of his teammates that have played with him. He says `fudge,' alot if he gets upset. He's a Christian and a person that I am proud to know."

But the MP came back saying "So what you're telling me is it's okay to make racist insults in certain situations," Bloc MP Luc Malo said after one hockey official pointed out that insults are part of the game.

Nicholson then got emotional pushing himself almost to tears saying "We're taking Shane Doan, his wife, his mom and dad, his four kids through an allegation that could have been dictated by someone else," Nicholson said.

"This is not right."

Guilty or not, Doan is the captain of Canada and will try to lead Canada to a World Championship.

Aprils Top 5 Stroies

5. The Masters - The 2007 Masters was one of the toughest ever with the winner over par. That winner was Zach Johnson. The self-proclaimed "normal guy" was the best player on the course and even beat Tiger.

4. Jays Season Opener - The Toronto Blue Jays opened their season with high hopes. So far they are 2nd in their division, but have had lots of injuries. If they get healthy, they will be dangerous.

3. Moss Trade - The New England Patriots traded for one of the best WR in the game pf football in Randy Moss. He will be a great addition to a WR core that has been depleted because of trades.

2. NBA Playoffs - The Toronto Raptors had one of their best seasons ever and will try to best the New Jersey Nets in the 1st round of the playoffs.

1. NHL Playoffs - The NHL playoffs started and are great. Every game has been entertaining and their have been many surprises. It will be interesting to see who will take it all.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What's Wrong With New York?

The New York Yankees have been.... well, have been awful this year. They started with one of the worst records in Yankee history, and there is one main reason why. Their pitching.

They started the year with key pitchers Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang on the DL. This led to Carl Pavano being the starting pitcher on opening day. The 2nd pitcher was Andy Pettite, who was coming back to New York for the 2nd time. He was a disappointment. From then on, they had new, young pitchers, or old pitchers. The problem started to get well documented during the Yankees 7-game losing streak during mid April.

This problem is being backed up by the strong play of their batting lineup. Star Alex Rodriguez , who is in a contract year has had a record breaking April hitting a couple game winning homers and getting 14 home runs.

Because of their struggles, Joe Torre was supposedly on the chopping block. GM Brian Cashman also had his job on the line. But according to George Steinbrenner, their jobs were safe.

With the Yankees extremely high payroll though, I don't understand why they wouldn't get or even try to get free agents Gil Meche or Ted Lilly.

It will be cool to see if they do anything about this problem.

Game 5

In game 5 of the Nets - Raps series, Toronto had to win 3 straight to win the series.

The 1st game of those 3 games was in Toronto..

The Raps started the game great getting a 20 point advantage at the end of the 1st and having a 17 point lead at half-time. But the Nets then started a comeback. It started with a 3rd quarter in which they scored 5 more points than Toronto. Then, in the 4th, they got within 2 points of Toronto in the final seconds. In those final seconds, Bostjan Nachbar had an open 3. He missed to the left to give the Raps the win and prolonged their season 1 more game.

Toronto will now have to win the next game in New Jersey, and then game 7 in Toronto.