Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. This was the scene late last night as the Los Angeles Kings (pictured above) clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup. Can they win it all?
By Nick Craddock
Don’t fret about the aging Lakers, good people of Los Angeles, your Los Angeles Kings will win the Stanley Cup and bring joy and a championship banner to the Staples Center soon enough. Without being so bold as to bet my own money, I would assure any willing (and possibly chronic) gamblers to place their bets on the team in Black and White to hoist the Cup as NHL champions in June.
Despite Games 4 and 5 of the Western Conference Finals arguably being the sloppiest two games of the Kings’ playoff run to date, the boys from LA managed to edge the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime in Game 5 to take the series in five games and advance to the Stanley Cup to face the winner of the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. Somehow, the Kings survived a lackadaisical start, particularly from stars Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, a 5-on-3 Coyotes powerplay in the third period, and a Phoenix powerplay in overtime to avoid giving the fellow upstart Coyotes yet another breath of life in the series.
Really, the Kings were just a “Mike Smith” away from sweeping the Coyotes in four games as the Phoenix goaltender briefly returned to his earlier round form in pushing the series back to Glendale, Arizona for what turned out to be the decisive Game 5.
Still, the fact remains that the Kings have only needed 14 games to dispose of the Western Conference’s top three seeds and own a perfect road record (8-0). The small sample size of games has been proof enough that the Kings are playing the best hockey of any team in the playoffs. Continue reading
Posted in NHL
Tagged Calgary Flames, Daryl Sutter, Florida Panthers, Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike Richards, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL, Nick Craddock, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Stanley Cup, Washington Capitals
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. LeBron James (pictured above) put on a remarkable performance in Game 4. Sadly, it is ring or nothing for the King this year.
By Josh Kramer
40 points. 18 rebounds. 9 assists. That was LeBron James stat line on Sunday. Recognition was given for a good 24 hour period. Come Game 5 (tonight), the remarkable performance will be a mere memory. People are still far from satisfied with the King. In taking his talents to Miami back on July 8, 2010, James chose a different life. A life where the criticism never ends. Where the expectations grow at an infinite rate. A life where the word “satisfaction” does not exist. And of course a life where returning home is more of a chore than a celebration.
You all are quite familiar with the story. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7. It is a quote on the same level of the classic Allen Iverson “We talking about practice” rant of ten years ago. This season, LBJ put up arguably the greatest season of his already amazing career, helping him earn his third MVP Award in the past four years. The amazing thing is nobody seems to care. All anyone cares about are his missed free throws at the end of Game 2 against the Pacers. Or the fact that he dished the ball to superstar teammate Dwyane Wade for the final shot in Game 2.
Watching LeBron play this season and during the early going of the playoffs has been a treat. The guy is doing once in a lifetime type of things on both ends of the floor. Sadly, the expectations are so high on the King, if he does not bring home a ring, it will all be nothing. His remarkable 2011/2012 season will be thought of as a failure. Will the Heat cut down the nets? I am honestly not sure. A lot hinges on when Bosh comes back and if he is at 100%. Haslem did his best impersonation of the injured Chris Bosh on Sunday. When push comes to shove though, Haslem is not nearly the caliber of player that Chris Bosh is. Plus, OKC or San Antonio would be stiff competition if Miami were fortunate enough to get by Indiana and then the winner of the Boston/Philadelphia series.
I am by no means a LeBron James fan (I am not a hater either). I never have been. But I am a fan of the game of basketball. The way James fills up the stat sheet on a nightly basis deserves some praise. What he did on Sunday was truly remarkable. Sadly, if the Heat lose Game 5, it will all be forgotten. Despite many saying Dwyane Wade is the leader of the Miami Heat, it is LeBron James who carries the team and the city on his shoulders. It is LeBron James who took the brunt of the criticism when Miami came up empty-handed in 2011. And it will be LeBron James who shoulders the majority of the criticism no matter how well he plays if the Heat do not capture a ring in June. I guess that is the life of a King. Things are great when you are winning. Things are horrible when you are losing. The life of a King is bittersweet. Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Allen Iverson, Anze Kopitar, Belmont Stakes, Chris Bosh, Dustin Brown, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, French Open, I'll Have Another, Indiana Pacers, Jonathan Quick, Lebron James, Los Angeles Kings, Miami Heat, Novak Djokovic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Coyotes, Rafael Nadal, San Antonio Spurs, Stan Van Gundy, Udonis Haslem
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Due to rain, we are getting some bonus tennis today. Can Novak Djokovic (pictured above) handle Nadal on the clay in Rome?
By Josh Kramer
Saturday was not the best of days for the city of Los Angeles to say the least. As I have said before, people will soon stop calling Los Angeles “Lob City,” and start calling it “Heartbreak City,” if they haven’t already. On Saturday, both of their basketball teams blew double-digit point leads. At least they have the Dodgers and the Kings. The NBA and NHL playoffs have been outstanding and the best part is there is still plenty to go. In addition, I’ll Have Another would love “another” win at the Belmont to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. Last week was great, but this week should be even better. Here are the events to keep an eye on.
5. Bonus tennis. What could be better? Due to massive amounts of rainfall, the Rome Masters final showdown between the world’s top two players (Djokovic/Nadal) was postponed today. I by no means am complaining. The clay-court season has been a bundle of fun as usual as we get ready to head down the home stretch. Roland Garros is just six days away. Get excited. Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Anze Kopitar, Atlanta Braves, Babe Ruth, Belmont, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Dustin Brown, Dwyane Wade, French Open, I'll Have Another, Indianapolis 500, John Tortorella, Jonathan Quick, Josh Hamilton, Justin Verlander, Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Marlins, NBA, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL, Novak Djokovic, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Phillies, Phoenix Coyotes, Rafael Nadal, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Dustin Brown (pictured above) is a major favorite to bring home the Conn Smythe Trophy.
By Nick Craddock
The 2012 NHL playoffs are coming to a crescendo. Between a closely contested Eastern Conference Finals featuring the rival New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils and what has turned into a one-sided Western Conference Finals featuring the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes, the muddled playoff picture which began with 16 teams vying for Lord Stanley’s Cup is coming into focus.
Of all the players who have made their mark this postseason in helping their teams to this stage, these five look poised to have the best shot at capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the NHL playoffs’ Most Valuable Player.
1. Dustin Brown, right wing, Kings: Brown is proving why he wears the “C” on his jersey this spring. He leads his team in scoring with seven goals and eight assists, including three game-winning goals. He’s tied with teammate Anze Kopitar for the best plus/minus rating of any player in the playoffs. He delivers crushing hits. And even when he’s not making an incredible play, he influences the game to such a degree that it affects his opponent’s psyche (i.e.Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal cross-checking Brown from behind into the boards during Game 2, resulting in a one-game suspension). All in all, Brown’s outstanding play makes it unfathomable to think the Kings contemplated trading Brown at the trading deadline. Simply put, the Kings’ stellar play through these playoffs thus far would not be possible without Brown. That description sounds like the embodiment of a Conn Smythe winner. Continue reading
Posted in NHL
Tagged Anze Kopitar, Brad Richards, Conn Smythe Trophy, Dustin Brown, Henrik Lundqvist, John Tortorella, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, Martin Brodeur, Martin Hanzal, Mike Smith, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL, Nick Craddock, Phoenix Coyotes, Stanley Cup