Brief Thoughts On A Weekend Filled With Great Sports

Hey bet you didn’t realize how awesome this upcoming sports weekend is. Fear not! We have you covered ranked on every event, starting with the worst:

The Belmont Stakes: We had a chance at a Triple Crown but in case you didn’t hear yet, I’ll Have Another was forced into retirement this afternoon with a bum leg.  By all accounts this was one of the shadiest runs by a horse ever so this really isn’t a loss for sports fans.

Stanley Cup Finals, Game Five: The Kings are undefeated on the road during the playoffs and we don’t expect that to change.  Los Angeles will bring home the greatest trophy in all of sports for the first time in franchise history.  We really feel bad for hockey.  A great start to the playoffs was sabotaged by a lack of superstars in the later rounds as well as the NBA’s success.

NCAA Baseball Super Regionals: We’re a bit biased, admittedly, being graduates from TCU and all.  There’s a great rematch though between TCU and number two overall seed UCLA.  It stems from their battle two years ago in the semifinal of the College World Series.  While lacking any “star” the Frogs have a deep pitching staff to go with a suddenly sizzling lineup whose bats woke up after an opening loss to Ole Miss in the first game of the College Station regional.  Since then the Frogs have rattled off 50 runs in five games. 

Prometheus Opening: Indulge your inner sci-fi nerd.

French Open Final Featuring Djokovic/Nadal: This match is a BIG DEAL based on everything that’s happened in the last 12 months and speaks to what a great weekend it is that it’s only number three on this list.  Last year Federer upset the Djokster in the semis so we were robbed of a clay court meeting between him and Nadal which sucked because Djokovic so thoroughly dominated the rest of the calendar.  This will be the most fascinating meeting of their recent rivalry, given that it is by far Nadal’s best surface.  If ever Nadal was going to end Djokovic’s astonishing run, it will happen in the French.  Also: if the epic Australian Open final was any indication, this is going to be a very special match.  A must-watch for any true sports fan.

Euro 2012 Opening Weekend: This by rights should be number one on the list.  It’s by far the best international soccer competition, World Cup included.  The talent in Europe is at an all-time high right now and there will be no shortage of great games, most especially from the the group of death that features four teams in the top ten of the world rankings (Denmark, Portugal, Germany, and Netherlands).  There are three must-watch games this weekend (Netherlands vs Denmark, German vs Portugal, and Spain vs Italy).  The tournament is made more fascinating by the fact that should Spain win, they’ll go down as the best dynasty in any sport, having won consecutive European tournaments and the World Cup in a span of five years.  The two favorites to knock them are off Germany and Netherlands.  Your sleepers are France, Croatia, and Russia.  Several of the teams feature recognizable stars as well if that’s what you’re looking for (England with Rooney, Sweden with Ibrahimovic, and Portugal with the best player in the world right now Cristiano Ronaldo).  Our pick is the Netherlands to spoil Spain’s dream run.

NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Game Seven: It has to be pretty big circumstances to unseat a major soccer event like the Euros, but that’s exactly what’s at stake in this game seven.  The future of the NBA for the next five years very well may be decided, what with the rumors of a potential Heat breakup if they don’t advance.  We’re looking to LeBron to repeat his game six masterpiece and for the Heat to move on to face an exciting OKC team that has no care in the world who they face.  It also has potential ramifications on the Boston side as well.  Could a devastating loss spell the end of the big three era sending either KG or Ray Allen into retirement?  Would Doc Rivers walk away from the team in order to spend more time with his family?  There are lots of “what if” questions that will be resolved based on the result of this game.  It will affect the sports world in a big way during the next 12 months and is the can’t-miss sporting event of the weekend.

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Third Period Running Diary From Last Night’s Canucks Bruins Game Seven

by Matt Corder

20:00 – Boston leads 3 – 0 after a less than impressive performance by Roberto Luongo.  It’s gotten so bad that after every shot he instantly looks behind him to see if he let it in the net.  In sharp contrast is Tim Thomas.  Nothing is getting past this man tonight.  He has stopped more advances to the net than whoever was opposite LeBron James.  It’s really too bad for the Canucks, they dominated possession early, but the Bruins stuck to their M.O. and got the scrappy/hustle goals that have come to be the identity of this team.  That and Tim Thomas is channeling his inner Patrick Roy right now.

19:59 – We were just told this is the same arena where the Americans lost in overtime to Canada in the Olympics last year.  USA-USA-USA! Revenge is sweet.

18:27 – Tim Thomas gets away with murder with a stick to the face of a Canucks player.  Gotta love this sport.  One of the announcers remarks, “he’s fine there’s no blood.”  Hockey!!!

17:12 – Tim Thomas…beast.

16:22 – Luongo save on an easy wrist shot!  Cue Bruins fans’ sarcastic cheers back in Boston.

Quick tangent:  One of the best parts of hockey is that the refs have a sense of the moment once the playoffs start.  There’s no way they’re going to ruin any part of this game and you almost rather forget that they’re even present on the ice.  The players will decide this outcome unless one of them commits first degree murder on the ice.  As it should be. 

14:27 – And on cue one of the Canucks players channels his inner Todd Bertuzzi and mars game seven with an absolute cheap shot on a Boston player.  What a D-Bag.  The refs rightly call the penalty.  The sole reason I’m rooting for Boston over Vancouver in this matchup is that I still cannot forgive the Canucks franchise for ending the career of Steve Moore.  USA baby.  Screw Canada.

12:21 – Brad Marchand is everywhere for Boston in this series.  I swear his name is involved in every goal or near miss that Boston has had.  He’s a punk and he’s dirty…but you love to have him when he’s on your team.

11:54 – Thomas stones the Canucks best chance of the period, including a great rebound opportunity.  Really starting to pray that he gets the shutout.  Question: what are the odds Vancouver riots again after losing the cup?  I say even.

11:04 – Luongo showing a little heart.  Too little too late though.

10:24 – Thomas…again.

9:51 – Ditto.

Commercial break – does anyone else wonder as much as I do about why Bud Light and Miller Lite dominate Coors Light in the crucial beer commercial competition?  Coors Light hasn’t had a good beer commercial in almost a decade.

9:48 – Vancouver’s fans try to give the team their last wind.  They respond with a barrage of shots but none lands on net. 

9:18 – Thomas of course ends the momentum with a wise freezing of the puck.

9:06 – Will we remember this series more for the lack of execution by Vancouver’s forwards?  The poor play of Luongo?  The all universe play of Thomas?  It seems like it should be the latter but after all the whiffs by Vancouver this series, couldn’t you easily make the case for the former?

8:26 – Penalty on Boston.  The Canucks have life.

6:51 – Seidenberg delivers a punishing blow to Burrows, who has done everything in this series to deserve it (the bite, the cheap shots, and weakest of all, the dives to try to draw a penalty).  I’m calling it now.  The Boston Bruins are the 2011 Stanley Cup champions. 

6:26 – Penalty killed easily.

5:51 Thomas save again.

2:44 Brad Marchand, my vote for runner up MVP, comes through with an empty netter to seal the deal.  I am so happy Canada is cup-less for the 18th straight year.  The curse of Patrick Roy lives!

Presentation of The Cup – Disgusted by the Canucks fans.  As Bettman tries to congratulate Vancouver and their fans, they erupt in a series of boos and jeers that completely drown out his speech.  I’m also 92% positive they threw objects at the Bruins players down on the ice.  Unbelievably classless move.  I think it’s time for Obama to invade our neighbor to the north.  I’ll openly vote for him next year if this actually happens.

Chara skates over and holds the Cup higher than any man who’s ever come before him.  Cannot believe how tall he is.  The crowd goes completely silent.

It’s bizarre, but every single fan is still in the building to watch this presentation, despite their team losing.  You can tell how much this meant to these Canadians and how highly they regard this trophy, as if the bones of Jesus Christ himself were being carried around inside the arena (sidenote: they’d show more reverence for the cup). 

The Canucks fans semi-redeem themselves with a polite applause for Tim Thomas and home town boy Milan Lucic.  Still doesn’t change my opinion of this franchise and this city.  It’s really too bad because I’ve heard Vancouver is one of the prettiest cities in the world and that the people couldn’t be nicer.  You can write me down as the only person in the world who doesn’t buy a word of that crap.

(I’ve learned that the fans weren’t actually booing the Bruins, they were booing Bettman, which is completely deserved and understandable.  I’ve also learned they were chanting “Bett-man-sucks!  Bett-man-sucks!” which is 100% forgiveable.  If you get a chance go back and watch the moment.  It’s extremely bizarre to see all the fans still in the building watching in awe at what they wish was theirs.  It’s semi-heartbreaking until you remember they won the damn gold medal on this ice about a year ago.  U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!)

And we have our first shots of riots on the streets of Vancouver. 

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