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.
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.
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 According to NHL rules, Ward should have been suspended for Game 6, but the league rescinded the suspension after a hearing on Monday.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.)
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.
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.”
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.
- This is just getting sad: the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says that former Yankee turned absolute train wreck Jim Leyritz checked himself into a psychiatric ward in Florida after calling his ex-wife and threatening suicide.
- The two biggest offseason losses for the Indianapolis Colts could be offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd, as the INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports that the two might be forced to retire thanks to changes in the NFL’s pension plan.
- Remember when Darius Miles was going to be “The Next Big Thing” in the NBA? That lasted about three months. Now he’s just a journeyman who loves strip clubs and, apparently, the weed: the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH says that Miles was arrested on Wednesday night for having pot in his car while driving with a suspended license.
- Your daily Brett Favre Update Despite Any Real News: Chris Mortenson and Ed Werder combined mind powers to let us know that Favre consulted noted orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews to see if his bicep injury could be fixed without surgery. Which means that he’s definitely going to play for the Vikings. Or definitely not. Or whatever.
- COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK says that Steve Spurrier won’t give up on trying to instigate the whole “Urban Meyer to Notre Dame” rumors. I’m going to start my own “Steve Spurrier to North Texas” rumor - it’s just about as credible.
- Major league umpire Paul Schriber had to apologize for touching the Tigers’ Magglio Ordonez while guiding him away from home plate following an argument over balls and strikes. The folks at BOOTLEGGER SPORTS aren’t buying this touchy-feely stuff, and they’re using “Bull Durham” as Exhibit A:
- Michael Phelps is back doing what he does best. I’ll wait for you to make a snarky comment about what that is…because what I meant was swimming, as the WASHINGTON POST reports that he’s in Charlotte for his first competitive swim meet since the 2008 Olympics.
- Milton Bradley: still crazy, but his suspension for bumping an umpire has been reduced from two games to one. And Rick Morrissey of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE suspects that the Chicago Cubs are OK with his insanity.
- They’re still working out the kinks at Yankee Stadium, and MLB.COM has the latest change: they’ve changed their policy to let more people be able to attend batting practice.
- You might remember the case of Peter Jeschke, the former Santa Barbara High School tennis coach accused of getting his underage players drunk as a reward for good play and trying to sleep with them? You can remove the “accused” from that sentence now, as the SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT says that he’s been found guilty in his trial.