Posts Tagged ‘Tampa Bay Lighting’

While it is just May as we like to say on the podcast May is coming to an end next week. When the calendar turns to June will you worry about your favorite baseball team then? I’m think if you’re a fan of the New York Mets you might want to get started a little early. The Mets are currently 23-18 and in 3rd place in the National League East just 2 1/2 games behind the division leading Washington Nationals.

Is there possible an issue with the Mets starting rotation? The team is being built around it’s young pitching and those young pitchers did get the Mets into the World Series last season. There have been some cracks in that young pitching foundation that the Mets need to keep their eye on. Steven Matz made his 7th start last night after being skipped in the rotation because of elbow soreness. Even with 11 days off Matz pitched 7 innings giving up 3 hits, 2 earned runs and striking out 8 while picking up the win in the Mets 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Matz made 9 starts for the Mets last season and 3 of those where in the post season. Matz is 6-1 this season with an ERA of 2.81 in his 7 starts, but at 241 years old will the Mets have to watch his innings as the season moves along. While there doesn’t seem to be any injury concerns with Jacob deGrom his velocity seems to be a little down in his last couple of starts; which where no decisions. deGrom did miss a couple of starts earlier this season as he left the team to attend to a medical issue with his newborn son. He’s made 3 starts since returning to the Mets and is 0-1 after winning his first 3 starts of the season. deGrom’s ERA is 2.50 on the season and you have to wonder if it’s just a case of him building up his arm strength again, but it is something the Mets have to watch. Then there’s Mat Harvey. Harvey started on Thursday night against the division leading Nationals. He lasted just 2 2/3rd of an inning, gave up 8 hits, 9 runs 6 of them earned while walking 2 and striking out 2. Harvey was boo’d off the field when Mets manager Terry Collins came out to remove him from the game. Harvey hasn’t last more than 6 innings in any of his 9 starts this season. Harvey is 3-6 and his ERA is 5.77 in his 9 starts this season. There have been no reports about any injuries, but if you remember just a few weeks back Harvey himself said he felt a little off was the term he used. Harvey had that terrible outing against the Nationals, but his start before that wasn’t much either. He pitched 5 2/3rd innings while giving up 5 earned runs on 11 hits, but struck out 6 against the Colorado Rockies. I don;t think that anyone noticed that start because it was in Coors Field and many pitchers have had trouble there. According to reports that came out on Friday Harvey will not be skipped in the rotation and is due t make his next start against the Nationals again on Tuesday, May 24th; this time the game is in Washington’s Nationals Park.Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard are the other two pitchers holding down the Mets rotation. Colon has made 8 starts and is 3-3 with an ERA of 3.75, There’s nothing wrong with those numbers out of a 5th starter especially when you find out that pitcher is 42 years old. Is Syndergarrd the ace of this staff? He’s 4-2 in 8 starts, but has the lowest ERA among the starers at 2.19. 7 of his 8 starts have been quality starts and he’s struck out 65 batters while walking just 9 on the season. Syndergaard has a WHIP of 0.99 and his K/9 or strikeouts per 9 innings ratio is 10.97 this season. You’d think that talent like tis can easily get the Mets back into the playoffs and don;t forget that Zack Wheeler is due to return in a couple of weeks. Wheeler had Tommy John surgery last season and is finishing up his recovery. I am wondering if some of the struggles this young Mets staff has had reminded any long time fans of the team of the Jason Isringhausen, Paul Wilson, Bill Pulsipher pitching trio that the Mets where going to be built around in the late 90’s.

The Tampa Bay Lighting jumped out to a 4-0 lead last night and looked as though they’d easily even up there Eastern Conference Finals series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 2 games apiece. While the Lighting did even up the series with the Penguins there was nothing easy about it. Tampa bay got goals from Ryan Callahan and Andrew Sustr in the 1st period t take a 2-0 lead. Callahan’s goal came 27 seconds into the game. Tampa Bay added 2 more goals in the 2nd period as Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Johnson put the puck in the net and effectively ended the night of Pittsburgh starting goaltender Matt Murray. With Marc-Andre Fleury back in goal the Penguins seem to get a little lift even down 4-0. Phil Kessel got the Penguins on the scoreboard at 1:18 of the 3rd period with a goal. Play settled down for about 10 minutes and then Evgeni Malkin scored the Penguins 2nd goal of the period. It’s still 4-2 Lighting; so there was no need for their fans to panic; yet. When Chris Kunitz scored just after the 13 minute mark of the period to make it a 1-goal game at 4-3 I’m sure Lighting fans where worried. Fleury was pulled for the extra skater with about 4 minutes left in the game, but Andrei Vasilevskiy held on in goal for Tampa Bay and they took Game 4.

Game 5 is Sunday night as the series heads back to Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.

The second leg of horse racing Triple-Crown The Preakness Stakes is today. Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist is the favorite at 3 to 5. Can Nyquist win here? There is another horse that while not the betting favorite is close. Exaggerator is going off at 3 to 1. I believe I heard that these 2 horses have matched up 4 times and Nyquist has won all 4 of those races. Will today be the day Exaggerator finally beats Nyquist or will Nyquist move on to the Belmont Stakes with a chance t win the Triple-Crown. I know everyone is just waiting for my pick since I know so much about horse racing. I decided that I’m going with Cherry Wine at 20 to 1 to win the Preakness. That of course menas stay as far away from that horse as possible.

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MLB

With the MLB coming up on the 20 game mark of the season it’s difficult to make decisions on how the season is going to go. One thing appears to be certain and that the National League isn’t going to be happy about it. Through 4 starts this season Jake Arrieta looks better on the mound than he did last season. Arrieta is 4-0 in his 4 starts for the Chicago Cubs. He’s thrown 31 innings giving up 15 hits, 3 earned runs and 2 home runs while walking 6 and striking out 26. That translates to an ERA of 0.87 and a WHIP of 0.68 for Arrueta.  On Thursday Arrieta threw his first shutout of the season which just so happened to be a complete game no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. It looked as though Arrieta didn’t have his best stuff when he no-hit Cincinnati. Arrieta issued 4 walks in this start against the Reds while striking out 6 and throwing 119 pitches over 9 innings of no-hit baseball. This is Arrieta’s second no-hitter as a member of the Cubs.  On August 30th of last season Arrieta no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 in Dodger Stadium. That no-hitter against the Dodgers was part of a Cy Young award winning season for Arrieta. In 2015 Arrieta went 22-6 with an ERA of 1.77. He made 33 starts covering 229 innings with 4 complete games; 3 of those being shutouts. Arrieta also struck out 236 batters last season while walking just 48 and his WHIP was 0.87. Arrieta picked up 17 of a possible 30 1st place votes as he edged out former Dodgers teammates Zack Greinke (2nd) and Clayton Kershaw (3rd) for the N.L. Cy Young award. While we can’t forget that it’s only April, but with the way his season has started off could Arrieta be a back to back Cy young award winner after this season.

On Thursday, Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers threw a 47 pitch bullpen session and things looked like they where on track for him to make his first rehab start on April 26th as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. After the bullpen session Darvish himself was dissatisfied with the fact that not all his pitches where he wanted them to be, especially his curveball and his change-up. After the bullpen session and the dissatisfaction that Darvish showed the Rangers have decided to push his first rehab start back to May 1st. The Rangers will still have Darvish pitch on Thursday, but it will be a longer bullpen session. The Rangers are hoping that Darvish can throw a 60 pitch bullpen session or close to 4 innings total. Even with his first rehab start being pushed back this hasn’t thrown off the timetable for his return to the Rangers if things go well. If Darvish looks ready to go he could return to the Rangers rotation as early as May 16th. If Darvish isn’t ready to go after those 3 rehab starts the Rangers could  expand his rehab assignment to a full 30 days and six starts. Texas is off to a 10-7 start and they are tied with the Oakland A’s for 1st place right now. Adding Darvish to a starting rotation that already features a 3-0 Cole Hamels could be the key to another post season appearance for Texas.

Now I was unable to do this in any of my fantasy leagues, but a lot of owners tried to grab Darvish late in their fantasy drafts. They would either have to hide him on their bench until he returns or put him on the disabled list if your league offers that feature. If Darvish returns in May this could turn into a move that might make or break your fantasy season. Depending on where you had to draft Darvish it might be hurting your team right now, but once he returns it’s tough to find an ace through trades or waiver pick ups. In this case you just have to wait for your ace to get healthy.

NFL

The NFL is gearing up for the draft which starts with the 1st round on Thursday. While the draft has taken center stage as far as NFL news goes there was a big move made by the Carolina Panthers.On Wednesday the Panthers removed the franchise tag from cornerback Josh Norman making him and unrestricted free agent. After becoming a free agent it only took Norman 2 days to become the highest paid cornerback in the NFL. On Friday the Washington Redskins announced that they had signed Norman to a 5 year $75 million dollar deal. It’s being reported that $51.1 million dollars in the deal is guaranteed. With an average salary of $15 million dollars a season Norman supplants Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals; who makes $14.01 million dollars a season; as the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.

Norman makes his regular season debut on ESPN’s Monday Night Football September 12th against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Norman and his new Redskins teammates will appear on Monday Night Football again on December 19th; this time against his former Panthers team. On course signing with the Redskins out Norman in the NFC East where he’ll get to match up with New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. twice a year. The Giants host the Redskins on September 25th and then the two teams meet again on New Year’s Day with Washington being the home team.

Norman had a career-high four interceptions with 16 passes defensed and 56 tackles last season for the Panthers last season, but was looking for a long term deal with Carolina. The Panthers had placed the franchise tag on Norman last month, guaranteeing him $13.952 million in 2016. Norman never signed it and was planning to skip at least the first part of off-season workouts, which begin Monday. There are reports that the Panthers made Norman a contract offer of $11 million dollars, but Norman wanted to be paid in the range of $15 to $16 million dollars a season. Carolina never moved off their offer and on Thursday Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said the Panthers chose to rescind Norman’s franchise tag because of the flexibility the team would have without him counting toward its salary-cap number. With the draft starting Thursday does Carolina have an eye on someone to fill Norman’s role with there defense.

NHL

The San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lighting have advanced to the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs. The Sharks knocked the Los Angeles Kings out of the playoffs winning that series 4 games to 1. The Lighting also won there series 4 games to 1 as they knocked out the Detroit Red Wings. We could see two more series end today. If the Pittsburgh Penguins or the St. Louis Blues pick up victories in their games today they will both win there series and advance to the 2nd round. Then on Sunday we could have three series come to an end. If the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars and New York Islanders all win on Sunday their series will be over and they’ll all move into the 2nd round. Sadly the Kings where my pre-season pick to win the Stanley Cup. Is your pick or team still alive?

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I asked Schaumburg Stu, Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy for there predictions for the upcoming NHL season and here’s what I could figure out from what I was e-mailed.

Mr. Fantasy likes the Tampa Bay Lighting to win the Atlantic division. The New York Islanders to win the Metropolitan division. He has the Lighting winning the Eastern conference finals and playing for the Stanley Cup.

He has the Nashville Predators winning the Central division. The Anaheim Ducks winning the Pacific division with the Predators going to the Stanley Cup finals.

Mr. Fantasy’s Stanley Cup winner: Tampa Bay Lighting

Dan the Man has the Detroit Red Wings winning the Atlantic division wit the Washington Capitals winning the Metropolitan division. He likes the Tampa Bay Lighting vs. the Washington Capitals in the conference finals with the Capitals advancing to play for the Stanley Cup.

He likes the St. Louis Blues to win the Central division with the Anaheim Ducks winning the Pacific division. He has the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Anaheim Ducks in the Conference finals wit the Ducks playing for the Stanley Cup.

Dan the Man has the Washington Capitals vs. the Anaheim Ducks for the Stanley Cup with the Capitals winning.

Schaumburg Stu has the Atlantic division going lie this. 1) Tampa Bay Lighting 2) Montreal Canadiens 3) Detroit Red Wings 4) Florida Panthers 5) Boston Bruins 6) Ottawa Senators 7) Buffalo Sabres 8) Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan division 1) New York Rangers 2) Pittsburgh Penguins 3)Washington Capitals 4) New York Islanders 5) Columbus Blue Jackets 6) New Jersey Devils 7) Philadelphia Flyers 8) Carolina Hurricanes

He has the Tampa Bay Lighting vs. New York Rangers as the Eastern conference finals with the Lighting going to the Stanley Cup final.

Central division 1) St. Louis Blues 2) Minnesota Wild 3) Nashville Predators 4) Chicago Blackhawks 5) Dallas Stars 6) Colorado Avalanche 7) Winnipeg Jets

Pacific division 1) Anaheim Ducks 20 Calgary Flames 3) Los Angeles Kings 4) Vancouver Canucks 5) San Jose Sharks 6) Edmonton Oilers 7) Arizona Coyotes

It’s the Anaheim Ducks vs. Minnesota Wild as the Western conference final with Anaheim moving on to the Stanley Cup finals.

Stu has Tampa Bay Lighting vs. Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup finals with Tampa Bay winning.

My picks went like this.

Atlantic division 1) Montreal Canadiens 2) Detroit Red Wings 3) Tampa Bay Lighting 4) Boston Bruins 5) Florida Panthers 6) Ottawa Senators 7) Toronto Maple Leafs 8) Buffalo Sabres

Metropolitan division 1) Pittsburgh Penguins 2) New York Islanders 3) New York Rangers 4) Washington Capitals 5) Philadelphia Flyers 6) New Jersey Devils 7) Carolina Hurricanes 8) Columbus Blue Jackets

I have the Tampa Bay Lighting vs.Pittsburgh Penguins as my conference finals with the Penguins going to the Stanley Cup final

Central division 1) Dallas Stars 2) Minnesota Wild 3) St. Louis Blues 4) Chicago Blackhawks 5) Winnipeg Jets 6) Nashville Predators 7) Colorado Avalanche

Pacific division 1) Anaheim Ducks 2) San Jose Sharks 3) Los Angeles Kings 4) Calgary Flames 5) Vancouver Canucks 6) Edmonton Oilers 7) Arizona Coyotes

I have the Minnesota Wild vs. Los Angeles Kings as my conference finals wit the Kings going to the Stanley Cup finals.

I have the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Los Angeles Kings as my Stanley Cup final match up with the Kings winning the Cup.

I also asked for the best player or MVP choice from each conference. Mr. Fantasy didn’t send me one. Dan the Man has Alexander Ovechkin in the Eastern conference and Tyler Seguin in the Western conference. Schaumburg Stu has Sidney Crosby in the Eastern conference and Jonathan Toews in the Western conference. I have Rick Nash in the Eastern conference and Zach Parise in the Western conference.

Let’s see how we do.

Will we see our first Triple Crown winner since 1978 (Affirmed) today at the Belmont Stakes when American Pharoah takes the race track?  At this point American Pharoah needs little introduction. He won the Kentucky Derby by a length and the Preakness Stakes by seven. His top competition in those races, Dortmund and Firing Line, are both skipping the Belmont, making American Pharoah an overwhelming favorite (3/5 betting odds) at the Belmont. He lost the first race he entered, but has won all six since. His name, by the way, is misspelled because it was entered incorrectly into an Internet registry, so he was stuck with it. Dan the Man and Schuamburg Stu believe American Pharoah will win the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown so he is their pick to win the race. Frosted is the other favorite at 5/1 and he’s Mr. Fantasy’s choice to win. Frosted Wood Memorial in April, but has had several good showings, including a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Joel Rosario is riding Frosted and he did win last years Belmont Stakes on Tonalist. As you can tell my co-hosts didn’t reach while looking for a Belmont winner as they took the favorite and the the horse with the 2nd best odds. I on the other hand have decided to go with Keen Ice who is a 20/1 shot going into the race. Keen Ice finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby, but has a strong bloodline f or the Belmont. Curlin, his sire, finished second in the Belmont. There are a total of 8 horses running in the Belmont Stakes. Besides are picks here are the other horses in today’s race. Materiality (6/1), Mubtaahij (10/1), Madefromlucky (12/1), Tale of Verve (15/1) and Frammento (30/1). Who’s your pick?

Thursday morning I got home and was really looking forward to seeing the highlights of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. As I flipped from morning sports show to morning sports show I was surprised to find that no one was really giving much coverage to Game 1 if at any at all. Of course since ESPN and Fox Sports don’t televise NHL hockey they could care less that the Stanley Cup finals are being played. They’ll bury the story in the middle of their highlight shows were no one may even notice they’re talking about it. Oddly though both network will complain that hockey doesn’t get the coverage it deserves, but yet they don’t cover it. I was able to watch the first 2 periods of Game 1 on television and heard the 3rd period on the radio; so I was able to hear the entire game, but I was hoping to see the 3rd period highlights. Later in the day I was finally able to find some highlights on Comcast Sportsnet which focus on the Chicago teams.

If you saw Game 1 you had to come away thinking that the Tampa Bay Lighting were the better team and even though they were for the most part of Game 1 they ended up losing the game 2-1. Tampa bay went into the 3rd period with a 1-0 lead and had controlled quite a bit of the game, but in the 3rd period they appeared to be playing not to lose instead of playing to win. You have to wonder if nerves or inexperience or possibly both got to the Lighting in that 3rd period. Alex Killorn gave Tampa Bay the lead in the 1st period with a great redirection of the puck by Corey Crawford. Anton Stralman and   Valtteri Filppula assisted on Killron’s goal. That was the only goal of the 1st period; so Tampa Bay took a 1-0 into the dressing room. Neither team was able to put the puck in the back of the net in the 2nd period; so Tampa Bay continued to lead the game 1-0. Teuvo Teravainen was finally able to get the Blackhawks on the scoreboard getting the puck pass Tampa bay goalie Ben Bishop and evening the game at 1-1. Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw assisted on Teravainen’s goal. It looked as though we were going to get an overtime, but Antoine Vermette scored the game winning goal about 15 minutes into the 3rd period on an assist from Teravainen to put the Blackhawks ahead 2-1 which is how the game ended.

Both goaltenders played well as Crawford stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced while Bishop stopped 19 of 21 shots in goal for the Lighting. Keith as always was the Blackhawks leader in minutes played with 29:15 and Stralman was the Lighting’s minutes leader with 25:29. You’ll hear the announcers say that the Blackhawks are a finesse team, but Brent Seabrook was credited with 7 hits to lead the game in that category.Ondrej Palat was Tampa bay’s leader in hits with 5. Niklas Hjalmarsson of Chicago and Jason Garrison of Tampa Bay each blocked 4 shots to lead their teams in that category. Game 2 is tonight (Saturday) in Tampa Bay.

Now yesterday (Friday) I didn’t have any issues at all finding highlights from Game 1 of the NBA finals game that Golden State won 108-100 in overtime over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers jumped ahead by 10 points at the end of the 1st quarter and looked like they might run away with Game 1. Golden State got themselves back into the game cutting the Cavaliers lead to 3 points going into halftime at 51-48. The game was even by the end of the 3rd quarter at 73 all. Of course the game was tied at 98 apiece at the end of regulation. LeBron James had a chance to win the game for Cleveland at the end of regulation, but missed a tough shot as time ran out. Overtime seemed almost like a different game as Golden State out scored Cleveland 10-2 in the overtime quarter and won 108-100.

Cleveland’s point guard Kyrie Irving limped to the locker room after aggravating his troublesome left knee in overtime. It was later found out that Irving broke his left knee cap. He’ll have surgery and is out for the rest of the finals series. Irving will now join Kevin Love and Andersen Varejao on the sidelines for Cleveland. Is Irving’s injury going to turn out to be too much for Cleveland to overcome. The NBA finals gets the extra day off between game 1 & 2; so they’ll take the court tomorrow (Sunday) for Game 2. Irving’s injury will add even more to LeBron’s work load and going against the team that had the best record in the NBA this season will it be too much for the best player in the NBA to handle. Since the NBA is an offensive league people forget just how good of a defensive team Golden State is. James did score 44 points in Game 1, but without Irving in the line up Golden State will be able to adjust a little more to LeBron and that may make his life a little tougher. It appeared that Golden State was the better team going into this series and with Cleveland losing it’s 2nd best player for the series the question may become; will they be to win a game?

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So how was your week?

Chris Olmstead from Beyond the Flag was on the podcast Sunday morning and one of his picks to go to victory lane was Jimmie Johnson. Earlier in the week I had heard one of the Waltrip brothers mention that he thought there might be some troubles on the #48 team. He specifically mentioned what he thought was an issue between Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus. I guess whatever issues there n=might or might not have been it all worked out Sunday. Johnson didn’t have a great car early in the race, but it came around when it matter and he led the last 23 laps on his way to his 4th victory of the season. Kevin Harvick finished 2nd, Kyle Larson was 3rd, Kasey Kahne finished 4th and rounding out the Top 5 was  Aric Almirola. We’re halfway through the NASCAR regular season and the circuit still has to go to Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway twice. There are still 2 road course races at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International. There’s also a stop at the newest track on the schedule Kentucky Speedway just to go over a few of the races left on the schedule.

Is there anyone out there really surprised that Adrian Peterson showed up at Minnesota Vikings O.T.A.’s this week. I like the statement Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made when he more or less said that Peterson could play for the Vikings or not play at all. Peterson and his representatives have done a lot of crying this off season as they tried to force the Vikings to trade him. Minnesota held it’s ground and it looks like Peterson will be in a Vikings uniform for the 2015/16 season. Once Week 1 rolls around Peterson’s salary of $12.75 million dollars will be guaranteed. Peterson is trying to get the last 2 years of his deal guaranteed, but that’s brought even more criticism from fans who believed he should be grateful for the organization’s continued support after his legal troubles. This story is just getting started; so I’m sure will hear a lot more complaining if not from Peterson himself, but from the people who represent him.

Are you ready for the Stanley Cup Finals to get started? They’ll drop the puck tonight in Tampa Bay for Game 1 at 7:00 p.m. Central time. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville did quite a bit of line juggling in the Western conference finals against the Anaheim Ducks and you have to wonder if he’ll match up his 4th line of Marcus Kruger, Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw against the Tampa Bay Lighting’s triplet line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov. I would think that the 1st lines will match up against each other. We should see Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad match up with Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula and Alex Killorn. Patrick Kane did skate with Toews during Game 7 of the conference finals; so we’ll have to see if the Blackhawks will continue to keep them together. Tampa Bay will have to decide if they’ll try to match their top defensive pairing of Anton Stralman and Victor Hedman against the line with Kane on it or the Blackhawks top line with Toews on it. The defensive pairings are easier for the Blackhawks just for the fact that Duncan Keith is always on the ice. Keith is normally paired with the underrated Niklas Hjalmarsson, but did skate with Brent Seabrook in the conference finals. The Blackhawks other 3 defenseman Kimmo TimonenKyle Cumiskey and Johnny Oduya really need to step up and help the Blackhawks defense. Hedman and Stralman have been getting quite a bit of ice time for Tampa Bay and the Lighting will need their other 4 defenseman Jason GarrisonBraydon CoburnMatt Carle and Andrej Sustr to factor in this series. Defense and goaltending should become more important as a lot of experts are predicting and offensive series with lots of goal scoring.

How do you feel about Tampa Bay trying to prevent Blackhawks fans from getting tickets to the games in Tampa Bay. They’ve even went so far as to say that you won’t be able to wear Blackhawks gear in the bars and restaurant at Amalie Arena. This has always seemed kind of stupid to me and Dan the Man is convinced that teams do it just for the publicity. The Nashville Predators have been trying to do this with Blackhawks fans for a few seasons now and there still seem to be a good amount of Blackhawks fans at those games. I’m pretty sure when the puck drop for Game 1 and Game 2 in Tampa bay there will be plenty of Blackhawks fans in attendance.

Thursday night the NBA Finals tip off at Oracle Arena as the Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers. Golden State received the best news it probably could’ve gotten as Klay Thompson was medically to play in Game 1. Thompson took a knee to the head in the clinching game against the Houston Rockets and was diagnosed with a concussion. Thompson was diagnosed with the concussion last Friday and missed two days of practice. He returned to the court on Monday and has been symptom free. Thompson completed the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be ready to play on Thursday night. With Thompson being cleared to play both teams should be at full strength. The Cavaliers will of course be missing Kevin Love, but Kyrie Irving should be close to if not 100% for Thursday nights game. 

To no surprise at all the Chicago Bulls hired Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg to replace Tom Thibodeau as their head coach. Hoiberg received a 5 years $25 million dollar contract from the Bulls. Hoiberg went 115-56 at Iowa State and led the Cyclones to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances and back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles. Hoiberg had a 10 year NBA career including 4 seasons with the Bulls. Hoiberg had career averages of 5.4 points per game, 1.6 assists per game and 2.7 rebounds per game. It also looks like the Bulls will get their wish and Thibodeau won’t be getting an NBA head coaching job next season. The Bulls plan all along was to try and shut Thibodeau out of any open head coaching positions and right now only the Denver Nuggets are in the market for a head coach and I don;t believe Thibodeau’s name has been mentioned. It’s was petty of the Bulls to do that to Thibodeau even of they didn’t like him or couldn’t get along with him, but sadly they weren’t above being childish. Thibodeau is due to receive $9 million over the next couple of seasons from the Bulls which was another reason I thought the Bulls would like to see him get another head coaching job. Unless something else opens up or the Nuggets come calling Thibodeau will either have to take an assistant coaching job or sit out and wait for an NBA head coaching opening.

The NHL had it’s first of two Game 7’s last night as the Tampa Bay Lighting beat the New York Rangers 2-0 to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. It was a 0-0 game until the 3rd period when Alex Killorn scored a couple minutes into the period to give the Lighting the lead. Ondrej Palat scored the 2nd goal for Tampa Bay about 11 minutes into the 3rd period to ice the game. Ben Bishop made 22 saves for Tampa Bay in the shutout and is 7-1 with a 1.25 goals-against average, a .951 save percentage and two shutouts following a loss in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was his second shutout of the series and third of the postseason. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for the Rangers, who entered 7-0 in Game 7 at home but were denied a return trip to the Cup Final. Lundqvist had won six consecutive Game 7’s, an NHL record. The Stanley Cup finals start on Wednesday and Tampa bay will find out tonight if they will be facing the Anaheim Ducks or the Chicago Blackhawks. Anaheim is the home team tonight; the game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (Central Time) start time. If form holds in this series the team that scores first will win. No matter how they have gotten there if you’re the first team to out the puck in the net you win. Barry Melrose mentioned in his preview of the game that there could be quite a bit offense tonight. So will we get a 5-4 game or a 2-1 game?

So the NHL gets 3 days off before they start the Stanley Cup Finals on the other hand the NBA has 8 days off between the end of the conference finals and the start of the NBA finals. By the time the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers take the court to start the finals I won’t even care who wins it. The days off may be a blessing for the Warriors as Klay Thompson got a concussion in the series clinching victory over the Houston Rockets and can use these days to rest and get ready. Depending on the what grade of concussion Thompson received will be the final decision on if he’ll be ready for Game 1. Thompson will not return to practice until he is symptom free and is being listed as out indefinitely. The longer break should also help the Cavaliers as well. Guard Kyrie Irving has been slowed by knee tendinitis and a sore foot, and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James has been banged up as well. If you’ve listened to a LeBron James interview you wouldn’t believe it. but neither of those injuries seems as serious as the one the Warriors are facing now. The NBA’s concussion policy requires players to pass a series of steps without experiencing symptoms before they can return. That starts with riding a stationary bike and progresses to jogging, agility work and non-contact team drills, according to the league. Players must start over if they experience any symptoms. The protocol also requires the team physician to discuss the process with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the director of the NBA’s concussion program, before a player can return. If Thompson is out for any length of time will the Warriors be able to replace him?

Stephen Strasburg exited his start last night against the Cincinnati Reds after pitching 1 inning. Strasburg showed signs of an injury in the 1st inning, but came out for the 2nd inning before Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams and a trainer came out and removed him from the game. There is no official announcement on Strasburg’s condition or if he’ll miss a start, but in his post game interview he mentioned how he felt he couldn’t get his throwing shoulder loose. This is the second early departure from a start in a row for Strasburg. He pitched just 3 2/3rds innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 23rd. Strasburg has made 10 starts this season and is 3-5 with an ERA of 6.55. Strasburg was the #1 overall pick by the Nationals in 2009. When the pick was made there were scouts and baseball experts talking about how Strasburg might win multiple Cy Young awards during his career and he still might. Strasburg did pick up a small share of votes for the Cy Young award last season (2014) and did lead the National League in strikeouts with 242 and games started with 34. In 6 seasons Strasburg has made 119 career starts, but only twice gas he started 30 or more games in a season; remember though he did miss most of the 2011 season. He made just 5 starts in 2011 because of an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery. Strasburg has one more year of arbitration with the Nationals before hitting the free agent market in 2017. There’s a very good chance that Strasburg will go out onto the open market since he is represented by Scott Boras. If this arm issue os something that will cause Strasburg to miss time you have to think it will affect his value a couple of seasons down the road. Then instead of what might he get on the free agent market will we be talking about the fact that he was a bust as a #1 overall draft pick.

Josh Hamilton made his return to the Texas Rangers this week. I’m not sure how I feel about this as I’m in the camp that thinks he should’ve been suspended. He’s appeared in 5 games for the Rangers and has 5 hits in the last 3 games. Hamilton actually hit 2 home runs against the Red Sox last night. Texas is 3-2 with Hamilton on the line up including a 7-4 last night in the game he homered twice in. The Rangers are 24-25, 6 games out of 1st place in the American League West. I don;t think anyone was expecting Hamilton to lead the Rangers to a division title or a World Series win, but this does have a chance to be a good story. Hamilton has a chance to be an example to a lot of people who have the sane issues as he does. The question will be; can he stay clean?

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So how was your week?

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