Speed Read: Cardiac Canes Will Break Your Heart

As evidenced by Wednesday night’s Pittsburgh Penguins’ romp over the Washington Capitals, not every Game 7 in hockey is something special. But let’s face it - most of them are. And when you throw overtime into the mix? It’s about as good as it gets. It’s drama that you cannot turn away from - at any second, the game and the series could be over with one thunderbolt.

Carolina Hurricanes

So it was that the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins skated at the end of the first overtime in their Game 7 in Boston, looking for all the world like they were going to a second extra period - or more. And then out of nowhere, a shot was flipped towards the net, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was unable to control the rebound, and winger Scott Walker pounced to put the puck in the net for his first career playoff goal to end the game 3-2 and the series.

Boston Bruins

And the fact that it was Walker who scored the series-winner had to hurt Bruins fans doubly, since he was the person who sucker punched Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward near the end of Game 5. According to NHL rules, Ward should have been suspended for Game 6, but the league rescinded the suspension after a hearing on Monday. So he went from almost breaking Ward’s face to definitely breaking the Bruins’ hearts.

(Of course, even though it was a Game 7 overtime winner, it arguably wasn’t as impressive or as cold-blooded as how the Hurricanes scored two late goals to send the New Jersey Devils packing in Game 7 of their first-round series. If I’m the Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, I’m doing everything I can to close them out early.)

Red Wings versus Ducks

The Detroit Red Wings’ Game 7 victory over the Anaheim Ducks didn’t go to overtime, but it sure had its share of drama. Detroit went up two goals early, only to see Anaheim claw back to level the score at 3-3. But Dan Cleary scored with three minutes to go to give the Red Wings the go-ahead goal and Detroit’s defense was able to make it stick, setting up a Western Conference Finals match-up with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dwight Howard

Oh, you say that you prefer NBA Game 7s? Well, you’ll have your chance for satisfaction soon enough, as two teams fought off elimination to earn one deciding game. In Orlando, the subtle message that Dwight Howard sent to Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy through the media (i.e. “quit being an idiot and get me the ball”) must have sunk in, as Howard had 23 points and 22 rebounds and the Magic forced a return trip to Boston with an 83-75 victory over the Celtics. None of which apparently excited Orlando fans to show up, as there were “patches of empty seats early in the game.”

Kobe Bryant

No wonder Commissioner David Stern was at the Lakers vs. Rockets game. And speaking of late-arriving - someone might want to tell the Lakers that Houston is in a different time zone, because they clearly aren’t showing up for games there until it’s too late. Much like in Game 4, Los Angeles put themselves in a huge hole they never could get out of, at one point closing an early 16-point deficit to two points but finally running out of steam and falling 95-80 to force a Game 7 at Staples Center. Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets wait and rest.

Here’s some more sports news to digest while I try to figure out how to be part of “Bike To Work Day” when I work from home.

Which postseason is the most exciting?

View Results

Speed Read: Gators Win BCS Title, Nation Yawns

It was close, but last night’s BCS Championship Game was far from a classic. Now nobody’s sure who the best team in the country is, with Utah, USC, and Texas all able to make legitimate claims. It certainly didn’t look like either one of the teams playing last night deserved it. The only thing we do know is that Fox broadcaster Thom Brennaman has a Florida-sized man crush on Tim Tebow, who finally decided to not suck in the fourth quarter of the Gators’ 24-14 win over Oklahoma. Brennaman and Charles Davis‘ gushing reached unbearable levels late in the game, when, after Tebow received a taunting penalty, they suggested that he was baited into it by an OU player (with zero evidence to suggest that was true). How could this guy have possibly done anything wrong?:

Tim Tebow

As for the Sooners, Sam Bradford continued a storied tradition of that year’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback playing like crap in the title game. Lions fans officially have nothing to look forward to.

The highlight of the game for me personally was the fact that ACC referee Ron Cherry was involved. Cherry made waves last season for creating a new reason to call a personal foul:

We know that the coaches are supposedly required to give their #1 vote to the BCS winner (although Utah’s Kyle Whittingham says he’s voting for his team), but the AP title was up for grabs. And even though Florida’s win could be considered somewhat lackluster (the defensive effort was really good, I’ll admit), they got 48 of 64 first-place votes, with the Utes receiving the other 16 and finishing #2. Way to make a statement, there, disgruntled sportswriters of America.

Rocco Baldelli and his weird mystery disease signed with the Red Sox yesterday. He’ll only get $500,00 in base salary, but can earn an additional $1.75 million if he stays on the roster all year. John Smoltz is rumored to be the next signing for the Red Sox. Meanwhile, Trevor Hoffman signed a $6 million dollar deal to be the closer for the Brewers this year.

Let’s get on with the linking:

• YAHOO SPORTS’ Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Portland Trail Blazers are threatening litigation against any team that decides to sign Darius Miles. The Blazers were able to purge Miles’ contract from their salary cap last year when they succesfully argued that he had suffered career-ending injuries. But Miles recovered, and has played eight games. If he plays two more games, his salary goes back on Portland’s cap, limiting the Blazers’ versatility in the offseason free-agent market and also sending luxury tax money to every other team in the league. The Blazers are worried that some team will sign Miles to a 10-day contract just to screw them over.

Darius Miles

•  Stanford’s win over Washington in women’s basketball was expected. But nobody really thought the Cardinal would win the game by 77 points. Yikes. It’s the largest margin of victory in Pac-10 history. Stanford led 62-15 at halftime and rolled to a 112-35 win. The SEATTLE P-I has the game story.

• NEWSDAY says Brett Favre’s in no hurry to decide whether or not to return next year.  The suspense is killing me.

• According to MLB TRADE RUMORS, the Pirates are talking to the Yankees about a trade for Xavier Nady. You know, the same guy the Pirates traded to the Yankees last year. They might have new management, but they’re the same ol’ Pirates.

• THE DALY PLANET says that NASCAR’s truck series may be in a bit of trouble, and that you can count the number of drivers with a full-time ride in the series “on two hands.”

• This letter to the editor in the WALL STREET JOURNAL hits on a truth that isn’t often talked about so plainly: if you’re an NFL fan, you’re a fan of socialism.

• Iowa Hawkeyes radio broadcaster and former NFL player Ed Podolak was having some fun down in Tampa last week before the Outback Bowl. THE WIZ OF ODDS has the photos, courtesy of an Iowa State message board (of course):

Ed Podolak

Curt Schilling is getting after Dan Shaughnessy again, this time about Shaughnessy treating Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez differently in the same situation and suggesting the race card. THE BIG LEAD has the details.

• The EXAMINER’s Paula Duffy reports that the WNBA and L.A. Sparks are doing their best to pretend that they aren’t furious over the news that 2008 league MVP Candace Parker is pregnant. Parker is set to give birth in May, and it’s unclear when she’ll be able to return to the court, if at all, in 2009.

• THE NASHVILLE SCENE says a Tennessee representative has proposed a $400 yearly tax for pro athletes and entertainers as a way for the state to make money. Tennessee has no state income tax. No word on whether or not Kerry Collins would have to pay double.

Which is the creepiest announcer-related man crush?

View Results

Blog-O-Rama: Who Cares if the Cold War’s Over?

  • COED keeps the Cold War alive with pom-poms, spandex and flexible females with their Cold War Cheerleader Challenge.

    Cheerleader Cold War

  • Is that a “W” next to Carl Pavano’s name in the box score? MY PINSTRIPES thinks that it was all a dream.
  • Former New Jersey Nets forward Jayson Williams may or may not have shot his limo driver but he definitely butchered his kids’ names - Whizdom and Tryumph. HOLLYWIRE has more examples of what happens when celebrities are given free range to name their children.
  • WIRED takes a look at the Olympic Village that didn’t cost $40 billion, just 300,000 Lego blocks. Photo after the jump. Read more…

Blog-A-Rhythm: Don’t Be Dissin’ Ozzie’s Rap Skillz

Rick Morrissey of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE learns that you can insult Ozzie Guillen’s managerial decisions, but you better not e-mail him criticisms of his commercial rappin’ skillz.

Ozzie Guillen choke sign

• The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS has the sad story of Bronx high school basketball player dying after collapsing during a pickup game.

• The LA TIMES tells us we can snatch up Carson Palmer’s Laguna Beach home for just under $3 million. But if this view isn’t included, we’ll decline.

• ESPN’s Bill Williamson hikes up Brett Favre’s chances of playing with each of the 32 NFL teams. Wonder where he got that idea.

Read more…

Darius Miles, Dennis Dixon Love The Strip Clubs

PORTLAND OREGONIAN badass (we mean that in a complimentary way) John Canzano has a piece today on why he wants Portland Trailblazer Darius … Miles Out Of Town.

Dennis Dixon Darius Miles Strip Club

Canzano makes a fine case on why dead weight-Darius should retire. But more interesting is Canzano detailing Miles’ recent visit to a local strip club - with Oregon QB Dennis Dixon. Read more…