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April 15, 2010 - Mike Frank
Hi there friends and neighbors!
I apologize for neglecting my blog duties. It seems with Dave Emke and Simon Teska having folded their tents, and Kristen Johnson headed for greener pastures, I'll have to step things up a bit.
It's hard to beat this time of year. Why, you say? Playoffs of course, the NHL and NBA version. (What, you thought maybe turning the clocks ahead?)
Before we get to that, let me say this year's NCAA tournament was one of the best I've seen in a LONG time. Yes, my predictions got blown up early on, but that's not always a bad thing. (or you know, a surprise of any sort!)
The final between Duke and Butler was well-played on both sides. I'm not a Duke fan but credit where credit's due. I watched the final half-court heave live at a local establishment and left after it didn't go in. I didn't realize just how close it came until I watched replays on YouTube a couple days later.
If that shot goes in, it immediately becomes #1. It beats N.C. State in 1983, Keith Smart for Indiana, Laettner in 92.
But it was apparent from the first day this tourney was going to be cool. The first four games were all decided in overtime or by a single basket.
CBS does need to do a better job of showing action in multiple games. That was the thing I always liked about ESPN's coverage, the "whip around." You don't have to stay with a game for long, just give us a couple minutes (full screen) of each on the first couple days.
On to the NHL:
Since the Columbus Blue Jackets had a horrible year (next to last in the Western Conference), I don't have a particular rooting interest.
That said, the West looks really interesting. Taking out Detroit (the #5 seed), one of the "Original Six", and you get this:
San Jose — never been to the finals
Chicago — haven't been to the finals since 1992; three cups (1934, 1938, 1961).
Vancouver — two trips, lost in 1982 and 1994
Phoenix — never been to finals; haven't won a playoff series since 1987 (when they were still the Winnipeg Jets)
LA Kings — one trip to finals in 1993 (thank you Mr. Gretzky)
Nashville — never been to finals
Colorado (formerly Quebec) — two cups (1996 and 2001)
That means you're almost guaranteed to have a first-time, or first time in a long time participant.
As for the first round matchups, here's who I want to win (not saying they will): Sharks over Avalanche, Blackhawks over Predators, Kings over Canucks, Coyotes over Wings.
Over in the East, obviously the city to the north is doing the dance of joy after the Sabres missed out the last couple years. Outside of Montreal and Boston, there isn't a ton of Cup finals experience, but everybody's been there at least once, although Washington, Buffalo, and Ottawa have never won.
My predictions: Caps over Canadiens, Flyers over Devils, Sabres over Bruins, and and Pens over Sens.
As for the NBA, the Lakers are the king of the west and get to play the former Seattle Supersonics in the first round. (Sorry, but "Thunder" is one of the stupidest nicknames for a sports team I've ever heard. Singular nicknames (outside of maybe Magic (Magic Kingdom) should be avoided, in my humble opinion.)
I expect a Lakers/Cavs final, but we expected that last year, or at least David Stern and ABC were praying for it.
As long as the Lakers do their job, and the Mavericks whomp the Spurs in round 1, I'll be a happy guy.
More soon, (Honest! Really!)
As always, keep SPEAKING FRANKLY!
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