Well, it’s time for everybody’s favorite recurring segment on this blog, the Week in Review! Of course, there only is one recurring segment on this blog so I suppose that people can’t afford to be choosy, but whatever.
Sorry for the day late post—I was sick over the weekend and I only started to feel a little bit better yesterday. Of course, I relapsed today so that kinda sucks. I still managed to power through for you, my loyal reader. No need to thank me for putting my career in front of my health! By the way, I’m fourteen.
So this column was going to be crazy long so I took out the lottery part and made it into its own column as you presumably saw (and if you didn’t, go read it, you slacker!) it made this a lot shorter… so it’s still very long, but not crazy long, so it’s all good. You’ll thank me after you’ve read through all of this.
Monday, May 19th, 2014
Carey Price is out for the rest of the series!!!!!!!! Sorry for all those exclamation points—I was excited. Let me explain: Carey Price is Montreal’s starting goalie and has been playing at an incredibly high level these playoffs. As always, for deep runs into the playoffs, a hot goalie is almost a requirement. The Habs were in good shape as long as Price was playing well. Then this happened:
Yeah, so the Canadiens are pretty much screwed in regards to ending their 21 year Stanley Cup drought, as are the Canadians, who haven’t had a Stanley Cup won by a team from Canada since 1993, when Montreal won it. The drop-off from Price to backup, Peter Budaj, is a chasm and when the opposing team has the goalie who’s now indisputably the best and hottest goalie remaining in the playoffs, you’re not exactly in good shape.
With an injury causing ripples this serious, it’s easy to blame Kreider for gunning for Price but look at the video again. Kreider was tripped and then fell into Price. I can’t see anything that could possibly be misconstrued as him aiming to hurt Price. Clearly he’s not turning into Bernard Karmel Pollard, which is great for Habs fans.
In something too long and too important for mere parentheses, Bernard Pollard is a safety in the NFL. What relevance does this have to this situation? Well, over his career, Pollard was the one who hurt Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and was the last person to tackle Aaron Hernandez, leading to near universal hatred from every Patriots fan. Now, whenever someone takes out an important player for the opposing team, they get compared to Pollard.
In something I found out a few hours after I wrote this originally, apparently Budaj isn’t going to be playing and that the Habs’ third string goalie is going to be playing the series. The series changed from a tossup favoring Montreal slightly, to Rangers in six as the accepted view, to the debate if the Rangers are going to sweep or if they’re going to win in five.
Speaking of which, as I found out later, the Rangers beat the Habs 3-1 to take a 2-0 series lead with the series heading back to New York for two games. Rangers fans (like me) are hoping that the series in the West goes to seven games so the Kings and Blackhawks beat up on each other so that the victor emerges bruised and bloody, to play the rested Rangers for the Stanley Cup. On talent alone, the Rangers aren’t anywhere near as good as Chicago or LA, but with rest for them and the other team being exhausted, will that be enough to push them over the top?
The Spurs beat OKC 122-105, showing that Ibaka’s injury is a very big deal and that the wily veterans still have enough left in the tank to defeat the young and athletic duo of Westbrook and Durant. Now, imagine the Thunder with Harden. They would have had the best 2-guard (Harden), a top 3 PG (Westbrook), a top 5 center (Ibaka), and the second best 3/stretch 4 (Durant, behind LeBron, although you could make the case that he’s nearly LeBron’s equal). Unbeatable. And now, when Durant and Westbrook’s shots aren’t falling, what do they have left to score and keep OKC’s offense alive? Jeremy Lamb? Steven Adams? Perry Ellis? Puh-lease.
Harden would have been great: instant scoring off the bench who could carry the team for a quarter if Durant and/or Westbrook were in foul trouble or mired in a bad shooting streak. But instead, Clay Bennett decided to be a cheapskate and not pay the perfect player for his team what he deserved. This is after he stole the team away from Seattle, sending Seattle into a funk that they hadn’t recovered from until the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory a few months ago. Maybe Bennett should be added to the list of All-Time-Crappy-Owners that we talked about last week? (Let me know and send me an email). In case you couldn’t tell, I still can’t get over how bad that trade was for OKC.
Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
In the horrible games that the Pacers have been wont to play lately, the Heat beat Indiana 87-83. How boring can you get? It’s funny, though, because the Pacers spent the whole year talking about how they were going to get home-field-advantage throughout the playoffs so they could beat the Heat, but now, in a best-of-five series, the Heat have home-court.
This is a problem for me. I like LeBron and, since the Nets got eliminated, I’ve been cheering for the Heat, but I need them to lose. Why? If Miami wins the championship again, then LeBron will almost HAVE to return to Miami so he can gun for a four-peat, something that neither Kobe nor Jordan ever accomplished. I want him to lose so he can go to a real contender. The Heat don’t have much cap space or good, young players, and LeBron will have to carry the team every night because Wade is always hurt and, even when healthy, he can’t dominate like he used to. If LeBron goes to Clippers (who have enough cap-space to accommodate him), he’ll get to play the 3, and he’ll get to play alongside Chris Paul (the best PG in the league), Blake Griffin (an elite power forward) and DeAndre Jordan (the shot-blocking menace playing center), meaning that he doesn’t have to carry the team every night, he doesn’t have to do everything himself, and he’s got by far the best team in the league for the next few years with a great shot at a championship EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. And all of this won’t happen if he wins again this year.
Should the Heat win it all this year, I hope that LeBron will opt into his option for 2014-2015 to chase the fabled 4-peat before entering into free agency in 2015 and going to the Clippers. Of course, basketball is stupid and it never turns out the way it should, so don’t bet on it happening.
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
San Antonio beat the Thunder 112-77, a 35 point blowout. Durant and Westbrook combined to shoot 13 for 40, a horrible display of shooting. As I said earlier, how much easier would it be for the Thunder if, when Durant and Westbrook aren’t able to score, to just let Harden carry the offense? And another thing that I forgot to mention earlier, as the Thunder don’t have much of an offensive system past “Hey Kevin/Russ, go score”, how much less of an offensive load would they have to carry if they still had Harden? As Harden is an offensive weapon in his own right, no opponent could swarm Westbrook and Durant while knowing that no one else on the Thunder will make a shot. Rather, because opponents would have to account for Harden as well, Durant and Westbrook would get far easier shots.
In hockey news, Los Angeles beat Chicago, 6-2. The Kings were down 2-0 before scoring six straight goals to win it. This is the first time all postseason that Chicago has lost at home. They’ve got a better advantage when defending their home than anyone other than the Byzantines in Constantinople. Yes! I made a reference to history! I’m totally acing this history final!
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
The Rangers lost to the Habs, 3-2, in overtime, in a very exciting game. Dustin Tokarski, the third string goalie for the Canadiens, let up only two goals in 37 shots, in a very impressive performance, outdueling Henrik Lundqvist, the hottest goalie remaining in the playoffs. The Rangers went up 1-0 in the first period, then the Habs tied it up. Then Montreal scored again to take a 2-1 lead, but after the Rangers pulled the goalie, they managed to score to send it to overtime, during which Montreal managed to score again to narrow their series deficit to 2-1 on the strength of their 3-2 victory. As far as I can tell, individual goalies aren’t particularly valuable in the NHL. For instance, Carey Price was playing incredibly, he got hurt, and Tokarski came in and played well in the first game and dominated the second. This is representative of the NHL overall (if you can think of any other examples, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jurgen Klinsmann left Landon Donovan off the United States World Cup squad and there’s been serious uproar about it. I find that to be very foolish. Donovan, while he was very good a few years ago, is 32 years old and past his prime. While he may provide veteran leadership, the benefits of that leadership are apparently not enough of a boon in order to make it worth it to use up a roster spot that could be used for a younger, more valuable player. Of course, as always, there’s been an uproar about Donovan’s omission from the team. Why? Well, there’s one big reason. In the 24/7 world of sports coverage, there’s not enough real stories to fill up the whole time, so the networks will manufacture story lines to pass the time and make a big deal about things that really aren’t big deals. On the Internet, websites like Bleacher Report chase page views and create story lines that seem exciting so people will view their page. Remember what I wrote about Lance Stephenson last week (and if you don’t or if you haven’t read it, go read it)? Exactly the type of idiocy that people blow up out of proportion in order to get page views or to waste time. God, that really annoys me.
Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Yet another boring Friday in the sports world. As it was like this last week as well, I hope it doesn’t continue like this: I need content. I’m dreading when the playoffs for both the NHL and NBA end and the only sport going on is baseball for a couple of months until football starts again. Ugh.
Anyways, so the latest subject that I want to talk about is the World Cup. Yes, I know, I talked about it yesterday, but this is a separate topic, or at least as separate as it can be when you’re talking about the World Cup.
Maybe, the reason why Klinsmann left off Donovan is because he’s preparing for 2018. Think about it—America is stuck in the Group of Death, alongside Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. If America has nearly no chance to get anywhere, then why not give playing time to the younger players who are going to be better in four years, rather than worse? Get them their reps, get them to know how it is to play on the biggest stage in the world, let them play so they can say in 2018 “I’ve been here before, this isn’t a big deal anymore”. Clearly the United States doesn’t have a shot in this World Cup and I think it’s a good move by Klinsmann to recognize that and prepare for the future.
Saturday, May 24th, 2014
The Pacers were ripping through the Heat: they had a lead of fifteen points, they were outmuscling Miami, and Roy Hibbert had more than zero points and zero rebounds. Then, it all changed. Miami turned it on and, after a couple of 3s from Wade, Ray Allen hit a few threes, and Hibbert went back to being Hasheem Thabeet. All is well in the world. Wade and Allen are probably chuckling right now thinking “They said we were old and washed up? Haha, (censured to allow this blog to still be mostly PG) please!”
How bummed out are the Pacers right now? They spent the whole year talking about how awesome they are and how they were going to beat the Heat, traded for Evan Turner and Luis Scola (sacrificing picks and players to do so), and were playing well. Then they sucked for three months and got whupped by the Heat on national television. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Sunday, May 25th, 2014
The Thunder managed to stem the bleeding, beating the Spurs 106-97, with Serge Ibaka returning to the lineup after he was supposed to be out for the rest of the year. Since Ibaka is emerging as a legitimate third banana to Durant and Westbrook, I can’t wait until Sam Presti and Clay Bennett trade him away for a low first rounder, a couple of second rounders, and that guy at your rec center who always dominates the pickup games. Bennett will get away with being a cheapskate too—all his mistakes are covered up by having Westbrook and Durant. And he also stole the Sonics away from Seattle. What a scumbag.
The Rangers beat Montreal 3-2 in overtime to take a 3-1 series lead! Just one more win, a seven game series in the West, and the Rangers have a good shot at their first Cup in twenty years! At the very least, they’re one win away from being in their first Final in twenty years. And, they’ve got a 3-1 series lead, almost insurmountable. The last time the Habs recovered from a 3-1 deficit to win a series was so long ago. Let me just look it up to lend credence to my argument. *looks it up* The last time Montreal came back to win a series from a 3-1 deficit was… four years ago, against the Capitals, in 2010. Gulp.
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