Why You Don’t Want to Miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The ordered chaos of the game is exhilarating and captivating. Graceful skaters turn into flailing creatures sprawling across the ice. The leaderdship, effort and sacrifice the players put into every game is exhausting just to watch.

I am talking about the best playoffs in sports; I am talking about the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

We all love the Super Bowl, March Madness and the NBA playoffs, but none of them compare can touch the intense atmosphere involved in a NHL playoff game.

Last night was the opening night of the playoffs. We saw the Flyers come back from a 3-0 deficit in Pittsburgh, to beat the Penguins 4-3 on OT. We saw the #1 seeded Vancouver Canucks lose at home to the #8 seeded Los Angeles Kings. We also saw the Predators hold of the Red Wings 3-2 in what has become one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL.

In the second night there were four games and three of them went into sudden death overtime.

Things are just getting started and each round will only get more intense.

Here are five reasons why you don’t want to miss any action in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

 

  1. Overtime: There is nothing better in sports than sudden-death overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If you thought the energy in a regulation playoff game was mesmerizing, wait until you watch overtime. You’ll be on the edge of your seat for every shift, pass, shot and check. I guarantee it.

 

  1. The Handshake: There is no better tradition in sports then the handshakes after a series has ended. For a minimum of four games two teams mentally and physically try to destroy one another. Then when it’s all said and done the two teams lineup at center ice to shake hands. It’s an act of respect and integrity that no other playoffs in sports can offer.

 

  1. Anyone Can Win: Every single year there is never a more wide-open postseason than the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Since the 2005 lockout the higher-seeded team has won 30 of 48 first-round matchups, or 62.5 percent. In the NBA, the higher-seeded team has won 79.2% of the time, over the same time frame. There is no single player that means more to his team’s playoff chances than a hot goaltender in hockey. In 2006 Cam Ward was a backup goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes, when he one the Conn Smythe Trophy, leading the ‘Canes to the Stanley Cup. In 2003 the 8th seeded Anaheim Ducks road the pas of Jean-Sebastien Giguere all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. He won the Conn Smythe trophy despite losing to the Devils in the championship.

 

  1. Superstitions: When playoff hockey comes around not much is guaranteed, but one thing is, BEARDS. No sport does the playoff beard quite like hockey does. Just check this out. The conference champions also don’t touch the conference championship trophies. It’s considered bad luck and is one of the most underrated superstitions in sports.

 

  1. The Stanley Cup: It is the best trophy in sports. Lord Stanley’s Cup is the oldest trophy in sports. Lord Stanley donated the original cup in 1892 and the NHL didn’t even play its first game until 1917. Every player who has won the cup in the history of the NHL has their name engraved on it; it’s an honor unlike any other in sports. One of the greatest traditions in sports is that every player gets a day with the Stanley Cup when they win it. Here are some stories on what some players did on their day with the cup.
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Fenway’s 100th Year Anniversary

Historical Fenway Park located in Boston, Massachusetts celebrated the beginning of its 100th anniversary with the Red Sox on Friday the 13th of April, of all days, against the Tampa Bay Rays. A lot has changed since the early 20th century opening, most noticeably the ticket prices. Did you know that it only cost $1.50 to see the Sox play from a field box? Equivalent seats today go for around $130. Over the last 10 years in particular, the Red Sox have sunk a dense $285 million into renovations conveniently timed for the nostalgic ceremonies. According to the Boston Business Journal, these expenses included concession and merchandise expansions, added seating, and most glamorously the 100 ft long HD television and scoring display. For a team who traditionally had no video display and an exclusively manual scoring display, this was quite adjustment to many long-time fans. Even after all these renovations, Rays DH Luke Scott is still under the impression that the park is “a dump” and “not a place where you want to go to work.”

The Red Sox players responded and stood up for their home field by winning the first two games in the 100th season against by a combined 18 runs against Tampa Bay. The ball was in Josh Beckett’s hands in the first game. Bobby Valentine publicly admitted that he was “holding his breath” during this Beckett start after he let up 7 runs in only 4.2 innings in his first appearance against the fierce lineup of the Detroit Tigers. Beckett was solid in his second outing against the Rays going 8 innings and only letting up one run. Ellsbury went down in the first game with a subluxated shoulder he suffered from after sliding into second. The Sox rebounded well in the second game of the series giving Clay Bucholz a much needed 8 run cushion after a shaky first inning. David Ortiz had a 5 RBI day on a 4 for 5 performance with a bomb and 4 other Red Sox player homered as well. The city of Boston must be on cloud 9 with a practically brand new venue and an offensive explosion occurring on Yawkey Way.

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The Chicago Bulls Preview

The Chicago Bulls have been without last years MVP for a large amount of the season.  Luckily, this Bulls team has a solid foundation around it, with the bench picking up the slack and often times score just as much as the starters.  As the postseason comes around, the Bulls are now trying to get there pieces together as Rip Hamilton and Rose are back in the line up.

The Eastern Conference is full with high talent teams, and with the Playoffs around the corner it is crucial to get these players back into the rotation and regular feel of being in the game.  One Rose’s first games back from a groin injury, he shot horrible, finishing with only two points and didn’t play at all in overtime.  The choice of the OT starters looked as if the benchmob had taken over the game, because this team has a bench that can match up with starters of all teams.

As Rose gets comfortable again on the court, the Bulls are always playing for the number one spot in the East and that precious home court advantage, and they need him to turn it up before the post season starts.  Last years MVP cant afford to be non existent in the playoffs, and the Bulls team can not survive the long playoff series without their starting point guard and reigning MVP.  The Bulls have a chance to make a lot of noise in the this years postseason, but they need all the pieces working together for the team to be successful.

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Weird NCAA Rule

The NCAA has a lot of strange rules. But none are more unusual than the one that the Big East has brought to media attention. Their proposal is called Proposal No. 2011-78 and it would permit institutions to offer spread such as “butter, peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese” with bagels they already may provide to student-athletes at any time. The current NCAA rule (enacted in 2009) only allows schools to provide bagels, fruits and nuts to student-athletes, which means that a complimentary butter or jam packet would be a punishable violation. Prior to that colleges couldn’t provide athletes any food except energy bars! How can the NCAA waste time arguing over bagel spread at a time when there are many more serious problems facing college athletics like not allowing students that are declaring for NBA but fail to get selected to go back to school and continue playing college ball. This is an unfair rule that should be changed. I think NBA draft should be treated like a job interview. If a student does not get drafted, he should be able to just go back and continue his education. It is hard enough to lose out on the draft, but then lose the choice of going back to school can make it a devastating decision. This is a huge penalty for that could be changed instead of worrying over what to put on a bagel. The NCAA should change the rule and allow people to go back to school and even walk on for the school basketball program but, still have the option to drop their basketball scholarship. That way, they will take a long and hard look at the choice, also this does not take away their right to continue play basketball and complete the degree. The NCAA is a notoriously bureaucratic organization that does many things backwards, but they have a chance to do some real good if they will focus on the important, life changing problems and don’t sweat the small stuff.

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Baseball Top 5 Power Rankings (Week 1)

1. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are red hot with a 4-0 record and show no signs of slowing down. With a rotation anchored by a CY Young and MVP in Justin Verlander, the Tigers will win at least 1 in 5 games. After that, the strong bats of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will continue to bring on dramatic wins. After two walk off wins and a blowout of the Red Sox, the fans in Comerica Park were all smiles for their Detroit faithful. As long as Doug Fister and Rick Porcello can keep the Tigers in games, Cabrera, Fielder, and the rest of the role players will find ways to win games.

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Miguel Cabrera leading the Tigers to a 4-0 Record

2. Texas Rangers: The only game they’ve lost this year was with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish on the bump. After showing early inning jitters, Darvish settled down and pitched a decent game at best. But, it really didn’t matter. With the insane power that the Rangers lineup possess and the friendly confines of Arlington just asking for homers to be hit, it looks like nothing can stop this potent lineup. Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler are both healthy and off to a great start. Newly Converted Neftali Feliz from closer to starter pitched lights out tonight going seven shutout innings before handing the ball over to once great closer Joe Nathan who shut the door. The Rangers are nasty and a favorite early on to represent the AL in the World Series.

3. St. Louis Cardinals: Say what you want about losing Albert Pujols, but the record speaks for itself. With a hot 5-1 start to the season, Carlos Beltran has Cardinals fans saying Puj-who? Matt Holiday has delivered in the three hole where Pujols used to bat and David Freese continues exactly where he left off in last years playoffs. These Red Birds are getting solid innings out of Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook as Chris Carpenter still nurses injury. Still the favorites in the NL; Manager and former catcher Mike Matheny has the Cardinals playing smart and winning baseball.

4. Tampa Bay Rays: This years Rays are off to a 3-1 start thanks in large part to the strong bat of Evan Longoria who vowed this year to improve from his numbers last year. After a dismal season in 2011, pitchers can’t seem to find a way to get Longoria out this season. He has an OBP of .692 and an .AVG of .600. Along with Longoria, fans and scouts are excited for the young sensation of Matt Moore. He has a deadly fastball that will continue to make hitters whiff. Along with Moore, the Rays boast arguably the best rotation in baseball with Price, Shields and Hellickson. When BJ Upton comes back from the DL, the lineup will be complete and the Rays will be a tough series for any team.

5. New York Mets: The underdog Mets are finding ways to win Baseball games in the 2012 season. Many scouts doubted the Mets and projected them to finish last in the NL East, but with a 4-1 record Manager Terry Collins is doing everything he can to prove those experts wrong. After a thrilling walkoff win on Monday, this cast of mist fit players and banged up veterans put together an actually impressive lineup. Lucas Duda is taking full advantage of the moved in fences at Citi Field as he already has two homers this season. The Mets need to avoid the injury bug, but can’t seem to hide from it early on this season. Starting centerfielder Andres Torres tore his ACL in the first game of the season and now David Wright has a broken pinky finger. If the Mets can stay healthy, they can surprise more than a few teams and potentially make a run in the playoffs.

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Duda Powers the Unlikely Winning Mets

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The great American game gets better!

The MLB announced today that there will be some significant changes to the sport of baseball and that these changes will go into effect starting next week on April 15. The league has unanimously decided  to make these changes due to the lack of viewership and negative stadium turnout that has taken place this past opening weekend. These 4 rule changes should greatly improve TV viewership as well as get people to fill the seats at the half empty stadiums, which is the League’s main concern. So for your information, I have compiled a list of the rule changes along with a description of each rule.

  1.    The 10-run blowout rule:  If any team is up by 10 or more runs after the 6th inning, then game is called and the losing team gets credited with an additional loss which means a blowout would equal 2 regular losses.  This will make blowouts way more exciting, and keep both teams trying and playing their best players for every inning of every game.  
  2.    The one pitcher per inning rule:  This means no more changing relief pitchers per batter depending on the lefty-lefty or righty-righty match-up.  This will shorten the game by 30 minutes (which is the number one complaint by TV viewers) and this will unquestionably determine who are the best overall pitchers in the game today. 
  3.    The inevitable fight rule:  If you charge the mound and don’t throw a punch then it is an automatic 10 game suspension. The days of charging the mound and having a shoving match with a lot of empty threats are over. If you run out there you better be ready to fight or face the consequences. This would obviously add entertainment value.
  4.    The seventh inning stretch show: This is similar to every other sport’s halftime show, the seventh inning stretch will now last 15 minutes and have a show just like the NBA or NFL, with cheerleaders and some sort of entertainment. This rule is for the fans that attend the stadium so they can have something to look forward to other than the outdated “Take me out to the ballgame”.
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Bubba Watson Wins the Masters

Bubba Watson in front of the Genral Lee. Picture courtesy of http://www.azcentral.com

Bubba Watson wins the Masters. TFM.

We all should’ve seen this coming. Bubba Watson had to win the Masters.

Why, you may ask. The answer is…because Bubba Watson is the frattiest golfer on the PGA tour.

You can see it on the course in his pink driver and bright flashy clothing.

Before turning pro Bubba starred at Georgia University in 2000 and 2001 and has been a frat star ever since.

Think of the frattiest car you could possibly drive….If you’re answer is the General Lee, well, correct, you’re frat. And guess who drives the General Lee, you got it, Bubba Watson. The dude bought the car for $110,000 at an auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Most of all, he is known for people posting about him on http://www.totalfratmove.com. It all started 613 days ago with the first Bubb Watson tagged post. “Bubba Watson. TFM.”

More and more posts started flowing in to the website describing Bubba’s frat star demeanor.

“Bubba Watson’s frat swoop hazing the rest of the field at Torrey Pines. TFM.”

“Bubba Watson golfing in a $525,00 dollar watch. TFM.”

“Bubba Watson buttoning up the top button because he’s all business on the course. TFM”

“The Bubba Watson: A shot of bourbon followed by chugging a John Daly. TFM.”

“Having the same swing coach as Bubba Watson. TFM.” (Bubba Watson is known for not having a swing coach)

“The only thing I support on the left is Bubba Watson. TFM”

“Bubba Watson’s Wikipedia page crediting him as being known for his “tremendous length.”

And now he can add Master’s champion to his frat star resume. So here’s to you Bubba Watson, for winning the frattiest major of them all.

You were born to wear a green blazer. All frat stars are.

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