Posts Tagged ‘kobe bryant’

NBA

The NBA wraps up there regular season tonight and there are still a couple things to be decided. The big story is the Golden State Warriors going for the 73rd win tonight. That would set a new record for wins in a season if they get it. The Warriors play host to the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. Memphis is currently the 7th seed in the Western Conference, but record wise they are tied with the Dallas Mavericks; so a win might be the difference between the Grizzlies opening the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs (which they would as the 7th seed) or the Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be a difficult game for the Grizzlies to win as Golden State is 38-2 at Oracle Arena this season. Memphis has had it’s share of injuries this season as leading scorer Marc Gasol to a foot injury that ended his season after 52 games. Point guard Mike Conley hasn’t played since March 6th and it doesn’t appear that he’ll play tonight against Golden State. Memphis does still have Zack Randolph (Z-Bo) and Lance Stephenson has played better in Memphis than he has in his stops with the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers. No one expected Golden State to lose to the Boston Celtics or the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, but you have to wonder if Memphis has enough quality healthy players to make this a game. It would be a bit of a surprise if they could and you have to expect that the Warriors will cruise to their 73rd victory and a new NBA record.

Tonight is also the last game in the great career of Kobe Bryant. Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz. Not only is it an important game because Bryant is ending his 20 year NBA career, but the Jazz find themselves tied for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Utah is tied with the Houston Rockets for that final playoff spot and the Rockets hold the tiebreaker over the Jazz. Houston is hosting the Sacramento Kings tonight and if they win they’ll claim that final Western Conference playoff spot, but if the lose they’ll open the door for the Jazz to grab it. I don’t think I can say anything about Bryant that hasn’t already been said. Bryant is an 18 time All-Star and won the MVP of that game 4 times. Bryant has won 5 NBA Championships and was voted finals MVP in 2 of those 5 finals. Surprisingly Bryant won just 1 league MVP Bryant is the 3rd highest scorer in NBA history with 33,583 points trailing only Karl Malone who is 2nd and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the career scoring leader. Bryant has had his injury issues the last few seasons, but tonight will be his 66th game of the season. He is averaging 16.9 points per game to go along with an average of 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. It’s been a down year for the Lakers as they are 16-65 entering tonight’s game. Since it’s looking like it’s a must have game for the Jazz can Bryant’s teammates send him off with one more win?

NHL

The NHL playoffs start tonight with 3 of the 8 opening round series getting started. On this evenings'(Wednesday) podcast of Sports Time Radio Dan the Man will give you his predictions for the opening round. Not only will he be picking which team he thinks will win the series, but how many games that series will go. Tonight starts with the Detroit Red Wings at the Tampa Bay Lighting followed by the New York Rangers at the Pittsburgh Penquins and the nightcap is the Chicago Blackhawks at the St. Louis Blues. Thursday night start with the Philadelphia Flyers at the Washington Capitals. I can guarantee you that Dan will be taking the Capitals to win this series since they where his pre-season pick to win the Stanley Cup. Then it’s the New York Islanders at the Florida Panthers after that we’ll get the Minnesota Wild at the Dallas Stars with the nightcap being the San Jose Sharks at the Los Angeles Kings. Now the Kings where my pre-season pick to win the Stanley Cup; so will see if Dan picks them to advance. There is one series that won’t open until Friday night as the Nashville Predators are at the Anaheim Ducks for their Game 1 while the other teams that play tonight will be playing their Game 2. I haven’t heard why the Nashville/Anaheim series is starting later than the other ones, but I guess they’ll all even out down the line. Since you’ll be able to get Dan’s picks tonight; who do you have winning the Stanley Cup?

NASCAR

Kyle Busch took the win Saturday night in the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. With the win Busch joined Jimmie Johnson as the only drivers with 2 victories this season. Busch got the win with Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 2nd, Joey Logano who was the pole sitter finished 3rd, Johnson came home 4th and rookie Chase Elliott rounded out the Top 5 in 5th place. The Sprint cup drivers are headed to Bristol Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Food City 500. Can Busch or Johnson be the first guy to get his 3rd win this season or might we see someone new get their 1st win of the season and qualify for The Chase. Of course we might also see Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin or Brad Keslowski get their 2nd victory of the season.

Tony Stewart was awarded the Major General Thomas Sadler Award while the Sprint Cup series was at Texas Motor Speedway. Stewart received the award for his charitable contributions to the Texas chapter of the Speedway Children’s Charities organization. During Stewart’s acceptance speech fans had hoped that he might reveal when he would return to the #14 car. However Stewart did give any timetable for his return. He suffered a serious back injury in an all-terrain vehicle accident just prior to the start of the season and has been out of the driver’s seat recovering. Stewart made it clear in his speech that he looked forward to being back in the car competing alongside those active drivers. He has been doing rehabilitation work for his back injury. The thought was that Stewart would return right around the time of the All-Star race, but right now no one knows for sure.

 

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com

 

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The National Hockey League returned to the ice last night after the All-Star break with 12 games on the schedule. Connor McDavid returned to action for the Edmonton Oilers and scored a goal and picked up 2 assists in the Oilers 6-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sidney Crosby scored 3 goals and added an assists in the Pittsburgh Penquins 6-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Crosby had a natural hat tick meaning his 3 goals came in a row. In a battle of 1st place teams the Atlantic leading Florida Panthers beat the Metropolitan leading Washington Capitals 5-2. Jonathan Huberdeau scored 2 goals and had an assists in the Panthers victory.Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blies faced just 16 shots stopping them all as St. Louis picked up a 1-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Pekka Rinne stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced, but all St. Louis needed was that 1 goal to get the win. In the other games the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-3. The New Jersey Devils beat the New York Rangers 3-2.The New York Islanders beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3. The Philadelphia beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. The Dallas Stars beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. The Los Angeles Kings beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 and the Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2. There are just 3 games on the ice tonight and the Canadiens are the only team that is playing back to back as they’re hosting the Buffalo Sabres. Also playing tonight the Detroit Red Wings are at the Tampa Bay Lighting and the Carolina Hurricanes are at the Calgary Flames. After tonight’s games the only team that hasn’t played a game after the All-Star break is the Vancouver Canucks.

The NHL has rescheduled the 3 games that where cancelled because of the snow storm that hit the east coast. The Pittsburgh/Washington game will be played March 1st in Washington. The other two games Anaheim at Washington and Philadelphia at New York (Islanders) will be played on April 10th and will end the regular season.

Behind 38 points from Kobe Bryant the Los Angeles Lakers ended their 10 game losing streak last night beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-115 at the Staples Center. Bryant played 33 minutes going 10-21 from the field. 11 of his attempts where 3 pointers and he made 7 of them. Bryant added 5 rebounds, a team leading 5 assists and 2 steals on the night. Louis Williams scored 20 points. D’Angelo Russell came off the Lakers bench to score 18 points. Jordan Clarkson scored 16 points while Julius Randle added 15 points and a team high 12 rebounds. The Timberwolves had 6 players score in double figures led by Andrew Wiggins with 30 in 41 minutes. Gorgui Dieng had 19 points. Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 points; Towns also had a team high 9 rebounds. Shabazz Muhammad had 12 points while Rickey Rubio scored 10 points and had a team leading 15 assists.

The win improved the Lakers record to 10-41 this season. Los Angeles will try to extend there winning streak Thursday night as they start a 4 games road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans. After New Orleans the Lakers road trip will see them face the San Antonio Spurs, the Indiana Pacers and then they wrap up the road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In other NBA action the Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 97-89. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 20 points while Arron Afflalo had 18 points to lead the Knicks. The Houston Rockets beat the Miami Heat 115-102. James Harden led the Rockets with 26 points while Luol Deng had 17 points to lead the Heat. The Toronto raptors beat the Phoenix Suns 104-97. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors 26 points while Markieff Morris put up a double-double 30 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Suns. The Portland Trailblazers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 107-95. C.J. McCollum led the Trailblazers with 30 points while Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 21 points.

There are quite a few games on the NBA schedule tonight. There are 11 games on the court tonight and it’s an ESPN television night. The first game on ESPN has the Golden State warriors at the Washington Wizards while the night cap features the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Los Angeles Clippers. Interestingly Minnesota is playing back to back games on the road against different teams in the same arena. Alright; maybe that’s just interesting to me.

I have to tell you I’m still not all that excited about the Super Bowl. I guess there could be some solid story lines. If the Denver Broncos win and Peyton Manning could ride off into the sunset as a Super Bowl champion. On the other hand if the Carolina Panthers get the win will that establish Cam Newton as the top player in the NFL. The original line had Carolina as a 4 point favorite. The betting line has jump and now Carolina is a 6 point favorite. The over/under for the game is at 45 and I believe it started around 44 or 44 1/2; so there wasn’t much movement in that betting line. If your not interested in betting your money on either of those two lines there are 37 other prop bets you can wager on. You can bet on stuff like what will the coin flip be heads or tails. How about putting some money down on what Stephen Curry will be wearing if he’s shown on television. Since the game is in San Francisco or I guess technically it’s Santa Clara, but you can actual bet on if there will be an earthquake during the game. On the Sunday Sports Time Radio podcast I’ll have to pull up some of these prop bets and see where Mr. Fantasy stands on these. The Sunday podcast is from 10:00 a.m. until Noon on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com As always will make our picks for the game, but will extend those a little as Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and myself will not only pick the winner of the game, but also what we think the final score will be and who we think will win the MVP. Mr. Fantasy and I will also try to put together a winning FanDuel line up for you as well as a breakdown of Super Bowl 50.

Who’s your pick to win?

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

Week 12 in the NFL ended up being our best week of picks so far. Schaumburg Stu and I went 13-3 while Dan the Man was 11-5 with Mr. Fantasy going 10-6. Dan the Man is still in first place overall with a record of 104-72. I’ve moved into 2nd place a game behind Dan the Man with a record of 103-73. Schaumburh Stu has made his way out of the cellar with a record of 98-78; so that means it’s Mr. Fantasy who has found his way to the bottom of the standings with a record of 97-79. Will have to see if we can carry some momentum going into Week 13.

During the Monday Night game the Cleveland Browns lost their starting quarterback Josh McCown to an injury. Austin Davis was the back up quarterback for the game as Johnny Manziel had been demoted to the #3 quarterback spot. Davis was solid in relief of McCown going 7 of 10 for 77 yards and 1 touchdown. Davis also ran the football 1 time for 7 yards. Now as it turned out McCown has a broken collarbone and is done for the season. What do the Browns do? Do you play out the string with Davis as your #1 quarterback? Or is it time to turn the remainder of the season over to Manziel and see what he can do. It appears as though Browns head coach Mike Pettine isn’t a big fan of Manziel. Now if for some reason Davis starts any of the Browns final 5 games at quarterback it’s time for them to trade Manziel. On the Tuesday edition of Sports Time Radio I boldly predicted that Manziel will be wearing a different uniform next season. While there are quite a few teams in the NFL that could use a quarterback the best landing spot for Manziel is with the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t forget that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted to draft Manziel in the 1st round of the 2014 draft. Dallas had the #16 pick; Manziel went #22 to Cleveland who traded up to get him. Jones was talked out of picking Manziel and the Cowboys selected offensive lineman Zack Martin with the 16th pick. Cowboys quarterback is out for the season and as he’s getting older (35) he seems to be getting hurt more often. If Romo is healthy it gives Manziel the opportunity to learn behind him and then take over when Romo retires. The question would be; what would the Cowboys have to give up in a trade for Manziel? At this point I’m thinking the Browns might take a 3rd or possible a 4th round draft pick for Manziel. Maybe it takes a combination of lower round draft picks to get the deal done, but it’s a move the Cowboys need to make. Unless you’re under the impression that Matt Cassell is the Cowboys future starting quarterback. Of course at 33 Cassell isn’t much younger than what Dallas has now in Romo. This may be the first time I’m rooting for Jerry Jones.

Also on the Tuesday edition of Sports Time Radio Dan the Man predicted that the Philadelphia 76ers would get their 1st win of the season and they did. The 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 103-91 to improve there record to 1-18. The Lakers had a 7 point lead 33-26 after the 1st quarter. Los Angeles went into halftime with an 8 point lead 58-50. The 76ers outscored the Lakers by 13 points in the 3rd quarter 30-17 to take the lead at 80-75 after 3 quarters. Philadelphia was able to extend their lead by outscoring the Lakers again in the 4th quarter 23-16 to get the game to it’s final score 103-91. Robert Covington led the 76ers with 23 points. Jerami Grant and Nerlens Noel (off the bench) scored 14 while Isaiah CanaanJahlil Okafor and Hollis Thompson (off the bench) each had 12 points. Noel also grabbed a team high 9 rebounds while T.J. McConnell led the 76ers in assists with 6. This was Kobe Bryant’s last trip to Philadelphia and he led the Lakers with 20 points, but didn’t shoot very well. Bryant was 7 of 26 on the night and 4 of 17 from behind the 3-point line. Jordan Clarkson scored 19 points. Julius Randle had 12 points and a team high 11 rebounds while D’Angelo Russell also had 12 points to go with a team high 4 assists. The Lakers didn’t get a lot of help from their bench. There bench scored 23 points in 72 minutes of play. In comparison the 76ers got 40 points from there bench, but to be fair the Philadelphia bench played 25 more minutes than the Lakers bench did. This was the first of back to back games for Philadelphia. Tonight the 76ers are on the road against the New York Knicks. Will it be 2 in a row for the 76ers?

First it was Jordan Zimmerman getting a 5 years and $110 million from the Detroit Tigers. Then yesterday David Price signs a deal for 7 years and $217 million with the Boston Red Sox. Who’s the next free agent pitcher to sign? There are some reporting that Zack Greinke will make his decision by this weekend. Most reports have Greinke getting a deal similar to Price’s. It’s also being reported that Greinke has narrowed his choices down to the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants. Could a 3rd team sneak in with a bigger money offer and sign Greinke? Or is he going to stay in the National League West? If Greinke does make a decision and signs with a team this weekend and with Price already locked up will teams start to panic and over pay some of the other top pitchers. Johnny Cueto turned down a 6 year 120 million dollar deal from the Arizona Diamondbacks, With Price and Greinke signed is Cueto in line to cash in big. Then after Cueto; how much extra money could pitchers like Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir and Wei-Yin Chen end up getting. I guess we’ll have to wait and see who cashing in with what team.

You can listen t the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

I get it people missed the NFL, but the reactions to how teams played is a little over the top. The New England Patriots lost their pre-season opener to the Green Bay Packers 22-11. Now we know that the outcome of these games don’t matter at all, but the analysis was out of control Jimmy Garoppolo went 20 for 30 in the loss for 159 yards and threw 1 interception. Pretty average numbers for a pre-season game, but I saw a breakdown of his play and the expert was just destroying Garoppolo because he was sacked 7 times. While I get it; you never want to see your quarterback get sacked that many times, but it’s the first game of the pre-season for the Patriots. Garoppolo is expected to fill in for New England’s regular starting quarterback Tom Brady if he ends up having to miss any games because of the Deflatgate situation. It just seemed kind of dumb to me that the Patriots season was pretty left for dead if Garoppolo had to start any games if or when Brady is suspended. Did I mention that it was the first week of the pre-season for New England. Maybe it should’ve been called over reaction week.

The other thing I got quite a laugh about with pre-season was the way they where playing up the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks game. It was being billed as a re-match of the 2014 Super Bowl and they wrote how the Broncos would be out for revenge. I guess I understand that you’re trying to get people to watch the game on television; it was the late game on the  NFL Network last night. Now Denver beat Seattle last night 22-20, but does a 2 point win in their first game of the pre-season get them their revenge for losing a Super Bowl? Peyton Manning didn’t play; neither did Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson threw 1 pass in the game. Revenge; really!

Kobe Bryant has said that he’d like to play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Now I would have no problem at all if they just gave Bryant a spot on Team USA; he’s earned that type of award. Bryant has come out and said that he doesn’t want to be a token on Team USA in Rio de Janeiro, but that he wants to earn his spot on the team. Remember that this is Team USA where Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook come off the bench and Klay Thompsom is more or less used as a role player; is there room for Bryant? Don’t forget that Bryant had a relatively minor role in 2012, when he ranked sixth on the team in minutes per game. Now if the 2015-16 season is Bryant’s last in the NBA he’s not going to go out on top with the Los Angeles Lakers. Wouldn’t the best image for the ending of Bryant’s career be with a gold medal around his neck and holding an american flag.

I noticed that the Dallas Mavericks have signed center JaVale McGee to a contrtact, but I didn’t see how long it was for; I’d have to guess it’s just for one year. McGee has averaged 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his seven NBA seasons. The 7-footer has played 382 games with Washington, Denver and Philadelphia. McGee was waived in March by the Philadelphia 76ers, two weeks after he had been acquired in a trade from the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in his 23 combined games last season for the two teams. The Washington Wizards selected McGee 18th overall in 2008 after he declared for early entry in the draft after his sophomore season at Nevada. McGee’s father, George Montgomery, was a second-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1985. His mother, Pamela McGee, played in the WNBA. Remember the Mavericks had originally signed free agent D’ Andrea Jordan, but he changed his mind and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers. McGee has a similar skill set to Jordan on the court; so the Mavericks may be looking for him to fill some of the role they had planned for Jordan to fill before he went back to the Clippers.

The Toronto Blue Jays finally lost a baseball game last night. The Blue Jays entered the game on an 11 game winning streak and looked like they would make it 12 with David Price on the mound and a 3-0 lead going into the top of the 8th inning. After Chase Headley doubled home the Yankees first run off of Price Aaron Sanchez came out of the Blue Jays bullpen to replace Price with Yankees on 2nd and 3rd base. Carlos Beltran came off the Yankees bench to face Sanchez and hit a 3-run home run to right-centerfield to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead in the game. Dellin Betances pitched and bottom of the 8th inning for the Yankees and after New York couldn’t add to their lead in the top half of the 9th inning Andrew Miller came in to try and close the game out for the Yankees. Russell Martin flew out to leftfield for the 1st out of the inning. Chris Colabello pinch hit for Ryan Goins and drew a walk. Cliff Pennington came into the game to pinch run for Colabello. Kevin Pillar singled to center with Pennington moving up to 2nd base. Ben Revere came to bat for the Blue Jays and during his at bat Miller threw a wild pitch to move the base runners up to 2nd and 3rd. With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run on 2nd Miller struck out Revere for the 2nd out of the inning. Wouldn’t you know it that the next hitter for the Blue Jays was Troy Tulowitzki. Now the Blue Jays haven;t lost a game that Tulowitzki has started for them and I was wondering if they would intentional walk Tulowitzki and face Josh Donaldson with the bases loaded, but the Yankees choose to have Miller pitch to Tulowitzki. Of course the count had to go full and Tulowitzki fouled off 7 pitches in this 12 pitch at bat. Finally Miller got Tulowitzki to swing and miss on a slider to end the game and a 4-3 win for the Yankees. The win not only ended the Blue Jays winning streak it out the Yankees back in 1st place in the A.L. East by a 1/2 game. Game 2 of the series is at Noon today. The Yankees will have Masahiro Tanaka starting on the mound for them and the Blue Jays are going with Marco Estrada. Tanaka is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his last 3 starts while Estrada is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his last 3 starts. Do the Blue Jays bounce back today? Or will the Yankees add some more room to their A.L. East lead??

How was your week?

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1/28/15

Sadly it looks like it’s time to ask the question is Kobe Bryant’s career over? Bryant is scheduled to have season ending rotator cuff surgery today. Bryant’s 19th NBA season will end with him playing in 35 games. This is coming off a 2013-2014 season where he played in just six games. Bryant almost played the entire season in 2012-2013 appearing in 78 games, but the season before 2011-2012 he was limited to 52 games. The injuries are starting to pile up and you have to wonder if it’s too much for Bryant to over come. He’s bounced back from an Achilles and a knee injury; now we add the rotator cuff to that list.Bryant was averaging 22.3 points per game this season, but that’s down from 27.3 in the 2012-2013 season and he averaged 27.9 in 2011-2012. His field goal percentage this season is .373 down from .463 in 2012-2013 season and his shooting percentage was .430 in the 2011-2012 season. Bryant is also shooting .293 from behind the three point line this season. The Los Angeles Lakers have managed to cut Bryant’s minutes a little this season to 34.5 per game, but is the wear and tear of a long NBA career catching up with him. Bryant has appeared in 16 All-Star games winning the MVP award four times. He won the league MVP award following the 2007-2008 season and also won back to back finals MVP awards in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. Bryant is 3rd among players in career points scored with 32,482. Bryant has proven people wrong before coming back from injury and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him playing next season. What I don’t want to see is Bryant come back next season and not be in a Lakers uniform. While Bryant has been able to live up to the Michael Jordan comparisons I don’t want to see him follow in Jordan’s footsteps and end up finishing his career playing somewhere he shouldn’t be. Bryant turns 37 years old in August and would he come back for a farewell type of tour in 2015-2016. With every team in the NBA playing more than half of their regular season games to this point let’s look at the lower seeded playoff teams and who might get left out. In the Western conference this should be interesting as right now the Oklahoma City Thunder are on the outside looking into the playoffs. The Thunder are 10th right now in the West; three games behind the 8th seeded Phoenix Suns. Phoenix finds itself two games ahead of the 9th seeded New Orleans Pelicans, but just three games behind the 7th seeded and defending champion San Antonio Spurs. The Dallas Mavericks would be seeded 6th, but they are only four games ahead of the Suns and just 1 game ahead of the Spurs. This should make the second half of the season interesting as five teams will try to fit into three playoff spots. Could you imagine the 1st round of the Western conference playoffs without San Antonio, Dallas or Oklahoma City. The bottom seeds in the Eastern conference may shake out the same way just with worse records. The Charlotte Hornets are holding onto the 8th seed, but they are just one game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and three games ahead of the Boston Celtics. Charlotte also finds itself just one game behind the Miami Heat who are the 7th seed right now. Charlotte is also just four games behind the 6th seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Can Charlotte hold onto a playoff spot with Kemba Walker being out possible for the rest of the season? Walker had surgery on a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee and may be back in six weeks. Walker had been Charlotte’s best player this year, and during the month of January was averaging 23.6 points per game, better than his 18.8 average for the season. So holding onto the 8th seed or even a playoff spot with Walker out might be tough for Charlotte to do. The NHL had its All-Star game on Saturday night where Team Toews beat Team Foligno 17-12; yes that’s right there where 29 combined goals scored. The game didn’t look anything at all like an actual NHL game. There where eight goals scored combined in the 1st period alone. Only two out of the 11 games played last night had eight or more goals scored total. If you’re an NHL goaltender why would you go to the All-Star game if you made the team. It’s not like anyone if going to play any defense in front of you and each team might as well just skate six players a side and leave the goals empty. I didn’t really watch much of the game and just flipped by it a couple of times. These type of All-Star games don’t interest me. The game was played in Columbus and Ryan Johansen of the home town Blue Jackets was the games MVP Johansen did have a good weekend; not only was he the #1 pick in the All-Star fantasy draft he also was in the Breakaway competition during All-Star Saturday night. In the Breakaway Challenge Johansen on his first attempt donned an Ohio State football jersey in honor of the national championship won by the Buckeyes on January 12th. On his next try he brought out 7-year-old Cole Vogt, the son of Blue Jackets trainer Mike Vogt, to score a goal and wrapped up his set with a “Flying V” formation from the Mighty Ducks movies with the help of his teammates. The fantasy draft I enjoy and I thought it was an innovative idea for a league that is considered 4th of the big four sports. The Skills Challenge is fun and interesting to see the players do the different events, but the game itself it terrible. I’m not sure if it’s as bad as the NBA All-Star game or the NFL Pro Bowl, but it’s right up there with them. Sadly there’s no way to change this type of game as star player aren’t going to check and bang with the chance of getting hurt and costing their actual team a chance to win the Stanley Cup. I wonder if moving the game to the end of the season would make it different, but with the NHL season as long as it is that’s not really an answer either. For me though I can’t watch these types of games; can you?

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Yesterday (Friday) the Baltimore Orioles voided their two $15 million dollar contract offer to free agent closer Grant Balfour. The Orioles reported that there was a shoulder issue that came up during Balfour’s physical. Now there are reports coming out this morning (Saturday) that physician’s from the Cincinnati Reds and the Tampa Bay Rays didn’t agree with the Orioles diagnosis. Balfour has released a statement saying he feels disrespected by the Orioles but it looks like he’ll be back out on the free agent market.

I mentioned on the show last night (Friday) that I’ve always been a fan of Kobe Bryant. So as you can guess I was disappointed to see him go down with a fracture knee cap in his left knee. It just happens to be the same leg that he suffered the torn Achilles last season. Bryant is scheduled to be out for six weeks and told reporters that “Only an idiot would” doubt his resolve to return to the Lakers. Bryant is 35 and is starting to have these injury issues pop up. Last season with the Achilles and now this injury happened just six games into Bryant’s season. Bryant was playing a little over 29 minutes in those six games he got to play in. He was averaging 13.8 points a game, shooting 42.5% from the field. Bryant had recently been giving the duty of handling the basketball more; so his assists where up to an average of 6.3 a game but with the extra ball handling duties his turnovers where up as well. He was averaging 5.7 turnovers a game. Being a fan I have no doubt that Bryant will be back but what kind of impact can he have on this Lakers team this season?

There are two months left until the NBA trade deadline but the name that was out right away with a lot of noise was Houston Rockets Center Omer Asik. Some of the rumors had Asik going to the New Orleans Pelicans for Ryan Anderson. Another rumor had him going to Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. One more rumor being reported had Asik headed to Boston for Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and a low-end first rounder from Boston. The Rockets have said that they’re going to hang on to Asik for nowbut will see how this plays out and where he ends up.

Let’s stick with the NBA here and talk a little about what has to be considered the biggest surprise team early this season, the Portland Trailblazers. 27 games into the season the Trailblazers are 22 – 5 going 10 – 2 at home during these games. The Trailblazers have four players averaging double-digit scoring for them this season. LaMarcus Aldridge leads the way with 23.3 points a game but Damian Lillard is right behind him at 21.3. Wesley Matthews at 16.2 points per game and Nicolas Batum at 14.1 points per game are the other two Trailblazers averaging double figures. Aldridge is also leading the team in rebounds per game at 11.1. Robin Lopez is 2nd on the team averaging 8.4 rebounds per game. Lopez also has the best shooting percentage on the team at just under 54%. Lillard leads the team in assists per game with 5.9. Batum is second on the team at 5.2 assists per game and Mo Williams is handing out 4.5 assists per game. I actually heard a sports writer explain that Portland doesn’t get a lot of coverage because sports writers and televised games don’t want to go to Portland because it’s not as exciting as an New York or Los Angeles. More or less saying that there’s nothing they like or want to do in Portland after a game. Sadly I didn’t know that part of being a good team meant having to have places for people to go after your games. Who knows how the Trailblazers will end up this season, but it’s a nice early season story and you never know they might be able to roll this good start into some type of playoff run. I guess then everyone would have to go to Portland.

@Burketime