Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Hoop & The Harm: A Look at the NBA Finals

Only two teams remain in the NBA as the battle for the Larry O’Brien Trophy gets underway tonight between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks.

Some of the key players from the 2006 championship series remain, but Dwyane Wade is of course now joined by LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and the Mavs are a completely different side, minus Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry who still remain from that year’s runner-up.

The big question for me coming into this year’s final is who will be more dominant – Dirk or LeBron?

One thing I love about watching Nowitzki play the game is that he is dangerous from just about anywhere on the floor and he’s one of those players who seems to be able to find the basket from wherever he decides to shoot from. It’s not always the prettiest thing to watch, but he has been clutch so far in these playoffs.

LeBron James, on the other hand, has really stepped his game up in the past few weeks and is definitely playing like a guy who wants a championship more than anything else in the world. He doesn’t think he’s better than Michael Jordan at this point in his career, despite what others say, but a dominant performance in this series would be a good start!

One of the quirks of the NBA Finals is the 2-3-2 format, with the first two and last two (if necessary) games being played at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, and the middle three going at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. As NBA.com's John Schuhmann points out, that’s not a good thing for the Mavs though:

Not that this stat necessarily means anything, but since the 2-3-2 format was brought in back in 1985, the road team has won only 6 of a possible 26 titles. Then again, Miami was one of those teams back in 2006 against Dallas, so Dirk and company know it can be done!

Whatever the outcome, history will be made in game one of the series when Jason Kidd becomes the oldest guard to start an NBA Finals game at 38 years old. It’s not quite Mark Recchi (who is only the second oldest NHLer to play for the Stanley Cup at 43), but that is still impressive!

If the Heat go on to win this thing, it’ll be an especially painful offseason for Dallas’ Jason Terry – he’s the guy with the Larry O’Brien Trophy tattoo on his arm. He told ESPN this weekend that if they lose, he’ll have the ink removed. He says that will hurt more than having it put on, for obvious reasons.

To help get you in the mood for the big game tonight, I will leave you with this: NBA.com has put together a compilation of the top 10 moments from the Heat and the Mavericks so far in these playoffs…but here is something I hope we don’t see at all in the finals:


Which was worse – the LeBron simulation or the Chris Bosh dive against the Bulls back in February?

15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Tuesday!

After a week off, the boys from “15 Minutes of Fame” are back at it – this week, we’re previewing the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks, the latest on the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg situation, and a look at the NBA Final.

In this week’s GABBYs: Dirk Nowitzki, missing pucks, the best and worst of MLB pitchers and pitch invaders and lots more! Oh, and Jim sounds like a robot and has shorter hair. One more thing: Make sure you stick around until the very end for a special segment!


See something you think should be a GABBY? You can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

For last week's episode, click here. Thanks for watching!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: Thrashers Rumors, NBA Final, Gumball 3000

Latest on the ATL

It’s been an interesting week on the Atlanta Thrashers front, to say the least, with more rumors, more denials and a few other curveballs being thrown about.

Reports are still popping up that a deal is almost done to send the Thrashers to Winnipeg for $170-million, which includes a relocation fee of $60-million. At the same time though, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman came out this week and told us all to “take a deep breath and pause,” when it comes to our presumptions about the potential deal.

Bettman took a strange tone with a Florida radio station, obviously upset that people won’t stop speculating about the situation, saying (via SLAM! Sports):

“Nobody has announced anything and frankly, if there is something going on, nothing is going to actually happen until it actually happens, which means it may not happen.”

Okay, so what you’re saying is, unless it doesn’t happen, it might still happen, so we should just wait until it happens before we start talking about whether or not it will happen? Gotcha.

Amid all of that stuff came talk from a former NHL player who says his group tried to buy the team, but the Atlanta Spirit Group was too busy infighting to give them any serious consideration!

11Alive News reports that Atlanta Sports and Entertainment, led by former Oiler Anson Carter, made a preliminary non-binding offer to buy the team, but a rift between ASG investors caused the deal to go by the wayside. The report says the group would have kept the team playing out of Philips Arena, but they’ve now moved on to other markets.

If there is an announcement coming about the Thrashers it likely won’t happen until next week, which is when we can finally turn our attention to more important issues, like which of the league’s other troubled franchises will end up in Seattle.

Tattoos & Titles

Before you smack the person that will inevitably tell you this weekend that they totally picked the Dallas Mavericks to make the NBA Final, you had better make sure that person isn’t Jason Terry.

The Mavs guard not only called it before the season started, he took the highly unusual move of having his prediction tattooed on his body! That’s right, Terry got the Larry O’Brien Trophy drawn on his right bicep a day before the team’s preseason opener in Orlando.

As silly as that thing will look if the 33-year-old never wins a championship, just take a second to think about how awesome it will be if the Mavs come out on top this year! It’ll be especially sweet for Terry and teammate Dirk Nowitzki if they do win it all, since they are the only two players left from the 2006 Finals loss to, you guessed it, the Miami Heat.

As for Miami, if there’s one person outside of the team who is really pulling for a Heat victory, it’s got to be the head of Nike.

Bloomberg reports that an NBA championship for LeBron James would add a whopping $4-billion worth of extra revenue for the company in China alone!

A former marketing director for Nike in China says James is wildly popular in that country, but a lack of titles is really holding him back from attaining the “marketing might” of guys like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

Either way, this is setting up to be an intriguing series – somehow the Mavs have dominated the West, and the Heat have been unstoppable in the East. Who have you got?

Gumball 3000

Wondering what some of your favorite pro athletes and celebrities are up to this weekend? If they’re among the coolest of the cool, they’re probably taking part in the Gumball 3000 Rally!

The seven day, 3,000-mile race stretches across 10 European countries and features a total of 120 cars. Among those participating are NFLers Reggie Bush, Shawne Merriman and Ndamukong Suh, Olympic skiers Bode Miller and Jon Olsson and a whole host of celebs from across the entertainment world.

Does it sound like the coolest thing ever? That’s probably because it is! For a better idea of just how awesome this race is, check out the Denver Post photo gallery!

One NFLer who isn’t participating is Chad Ochocinco – but he’s up to something else:

Photobucket

He’s raced a horse, he’s played soccer, he’s ridden a bull…and now he’s a snake wrangler?

Other stuff…

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey broke a bone in his leg on a massive collision at home plate on Wednesday…

Drama in Argentina: The head of the country’s football association admits that doping controls were “done away with” during qualifying for the 1994 World Cup…

The Hockey Hall of Fame tracks down a “missing” piece of Wayne Gretzky memorabilia

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MLB Mound Milestones

It was a bit of a strange day in the Major Leagues on Wednesday as we got a taste of the good, the bad, the ugly and the bizarre when it comes to pitching!

If you think you’ve seen it all, you might have another thing coming: It all started in New York with Mariano Rivera hitting an impressive milestone for the Yankees and Toronto’s Jo-Jo Reyes going down in the history books for a reason he’ll want to forget. Then we saw Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke make his presence felt on both sides of home plate for the Brew Crew, while the Phillies – with all the talented pitchers they have on their staff – got a win from a second baseman!

Let’s start in New York, where Mariano Rivera added another accomplishment to a career that is full to the brim with them in a 7-3 win over the Blue Jays. Rivera closed things out for the Yankees with a solid ninth inning to become the first pitcher in MLB history to make 1,000 appearances with the same team, and the 15th pitcher to hit that mark in general.

That’s pretty impressive, right? Well it wasn’t all good milestones on Wednesday!

Toronto’s Jo-Jo Reyes gave up five runs on five hits in just three innings on the night, earning the loss. It wasn’t just any loss though – Reyes dropped to 0-4 on the season and now hasn’t won in 28 consecutive starts, tying an MLB record for futility!

In an odd twist of fate, current Blue Jays Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar were both playing in the last game Reyes won, back on June 13th, 2008. One more loss for the Toronto lefty though and the record is all his…

If Reyes feels like he’s the only one in the entire league who can’t get a win these days, I hope he didn’t hear about what happened between the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

The Phillies went through eight pitchers before second baseman Wilson Valdez tried his hand in the top of the 19th inning. The 33-year-old got three batters to fly out and ended up earning the victory when Raul Ibanez hit a sac fly in the home half!

According to ESPN, Valdez is only the third position player to earn a win since 1968. In another strange coincidence, the class-A affiliate of the Phillies was also involved in a marathon game this week – the Clearwater Threshers ended up falling 2-1 to the Jupiter Hammerheads in 23 innings though.

Last, but not least on Wednesday was the performance of Zack Greinke.

The Brewers pitcher gave up three runs on five hits in seven innings of work in a 6-4 win over the Washington Nationals, striking out 10 batters. He also hit the game-winning homer in the fifth inning!

The Elias Sports Bureau says in the last five seasons, six pitchers have put up at least 10 strikeouts and hit a home run in the same game. Here’s the crazy thing though – four of those six have been playing for Milwaukee at the time!

What a crazy night!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just a Matter of Time?

Whether it happens today, tomorrow or the next day, it seems like it’s just a matter of time until the city of Atlanta loses its NHL club for the second time.

Reports have been flying back and fourth since late last week that a deal was in place between True North Sports & Entertainment and the group that owns the Atlanta Thrashers, but as of right this second, nothing has been confirmed. That’s not to say they’re not working on something – there’s just nothing confirmed at the moment.

I wouldn’t put a deposit down on those Thrashers season tickets though, especially not after what Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had to say earlier this week!

Reed ramped up the speculation with some comments to a local NBC affiliate on Tuesday where he talked about losing the team and the difficulties they had in finding a local buyer (via TSN):

“We have not yet had any of the individuals in our community prepared to [buy the team], but it’s not for a lack of trying. Anytime we lose a major sports franchise, it’s tough. It’s going to hurt the city, but we’ll withstand it and get through it. We have a lot of positive things going on in the sports franchise space that we’ll be announcing soon.”

While Reed sounds like he has accepted the fate of the team, others aren’t taking the potential loss lying down.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz is one of many who took offence to something that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had to say recently: He’s blaming the fans for the financial struggles of the team!

Bettman basically said that Atlanta fans should have kept on buying tickets, even though the team’s owners wouldn’t spend any serious money to put a competitive product on the ice. We’re talking about a team here that at one point had a payroll of $20-million and has spent close to the floor of the salary cap just about every season since the lockout.

Schultz wonders if that’s a mentality we should apply to other aspects of our lives – for example, if you eat at a crummy restaurant and get sick from the food, should you continue to support that business by going back every week? Oh, and next time, should you bring friends?

He also points out that the city’s other pro teams have had their attendance troubles over the years, but one thing has always brought the fans back: winning.

How do you win? You spend money. Whether that means buying up free agents, or making sure you can keep the players you drafted, you need to have an owner who is willing to spend money. Sure, throwing cash around doesn’t guarantee success, but pinching pennies certainly doesn’t help.

Will the city of Atlanta lose the Thrashers? From what I’ve seen, heard and read over the past week or so, I’m going to say yes. Do hockey fans in the ATL deserve to lose their team? No – I honestly believe they fell victim to another case of bad ownership.

What do you think: Who is to blame in Atlanta, the fans or the owners?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: Winnipeg Thrashers, Dented Trophies, Making Punch

Is it True (North)?

One of the country’s top sports writers caused quite a stir in the hockey world on Thursday night!

While most of us were watching the first period of the Boston/Tampa game, the Globe and Mail's Stephen Brunt was busy putting the finishing touches on an article that would set off a huge chain reaction of denials from everyone involved. According to that report, NHL hockey is heading back to Manitoba, thanks to True North Sports & Entertainment’s acquisition of the Atlanta Thrashers!

The city of Winnipeg was whipped into a frenzy, with a crowd gathering at Portage and Main to celebrate upon reading the news, and Brunt says an official announcement will come as early as Tuesday.

Almost right away, True North issued a statement denying that a deal was in place and the NHL said it hadn’t heard anything about it. It was at about this time that TSN flashed to Gary Bettman in the stands at the St. Pete Times Forum, where he was looking down at his cell phone and shaking his head – was that his reaction to the report? Who knows!

What’s my reaction to the report?

I believe it and I don’t think there’s any reason not to at this point. If the deal wasn’t completely finalized when the article came out, my guess is that it’s probably quite close. How complex could this transaction possibly be? If anything, they’re probably all just upset that someone let the cat out of the bag five days before they wanted to announce it themselves!

Another interesting tidbit from the article suggests that True North wanted to buy the Thrashers all along and the NHL board of governors has already approved the sale and transfer of the team.

From a business standpoint, going after Atlanta actually makes a lot more sense than trying to buy back the Phoenix Coyotes – the Thrashers are valued at about $60-million cheaper than the asking price for the former Jets. Keep in mind too that the group has to pay a relocation fee on top of what they shell out for the team!

Either way, it’s all quite exciting. If the sale goes through, it brings about another list of questions too: What will the team be called? What happens to the Manitoba Moose? Can True North get the MTS Centre ready in time?

It should be a fun summer!

Nice Finnish!

For Pasi Nurminen, being on the coaching staff of his country’s national team has become nothing more than a massive headache…

Finland finished off Sweden in the final of the IIHF World Hockey Championship last weekend, the country’s first gold medal since its first gold medal back in 1995. While most Finnish hockey fans are still celebrating the big win, Nurminen is probably still paying the price for his celebration!


Ouch! If you watch closely, you’ll notice that he actually goes head first into the trophy!

How to make Punch

It was a punchy sort of week in the world of sports, but here are two of the best – one from the world of boxing, where punching is the point, and another from Premiership Rugby in England where it’s frowned upon!

Let’s start out with comedian Daniel Tosh, who enlisted the services of boxing’s pound-for-pound champion, Manny Pacquiao, for a recent segment on his Comedy Central show, Tosh.0.


Rhinestones on his gloves? Classic!

This next video comes to us from one half of the semifinals in English Premiership Rugby where the Leicester Tigers won a bit of a controversial game against the Northampton Saints last week.

Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi will miss the big game after receiving a five-week ban for throwing three punches – including one absolute haymaker – at Northampton winger Chris Ashton on Saturday:


Isn’t the slow motion replay of that punch just incredible? I’m surprised it hasn’t broken YouTube!

Other stuff…

Dutch soccer club Ajax becomes the latest team to drop a trophy from the top of a bus!

The NHL is apparently hoping that hockey catches on in the Middle East and Africa…

Another NFL team says no to HBO’s Hard Knocks

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oilers Inch Closer To New Rink

After months of public jostling on the issue, the news from downtown came fast and furious, and seemingly out of nowhere, late on Wednesday night.

Not long after the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks 7-3 in game two of the NHL’s Western Conference Final, proponents of a new downtown arena project pulled out a big 8-5 win at City Hall. That meant that the city had come to an agreement with the Katz Group on a framework for the proposed new home of the Edmonton Oilers.

The two sides have been trying to come together on a plan to replace the aging Rexall Place for a while now, with the idea being that a new rink will help to pump some life into the downtown. The news comes over a month after the city said it was ready to start negotiating, but both sides are quick to stress that this isn’t a binding agreement of any sort.

So what does it all mean then?

First, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of what was agreed upon: The building will cost $450-million and the city will own the land and the facility, while the Katz Group will operate it and will be responsible for upkeep, upgrades and operational costs. They’ll pocket the profits, but they’ll also be on the hook for the expenses.

Speaking of costs, if you’re wondering where that $450-million will be coming from, here’s the breakdown: The Katz Group will put up $100-million, the city will contribute $125-million, and a further $125-million will be raised through a ticket tax.

Wait, that’s only $350-million!

Yeah, about that, the city is hoping the other levels of government will help bridge the gap, though there haven’t been any formal talks just yet. Mayor Stephen Mandel told reporters on Wednesday that his first stop is the provincial government:

“I’ll go to the other orders of government, in particular, the province and talk to them. This arena, this facility, this NHL team, is not an Edmonton private property. It’s the property of northern Alberta. People come here from all across northern Alberta to go to [Oilers] games, they come to Edmonton to go to concerts. People from the region [will] use this.”

Katz Group lawyer John Karvellas called the agreement a “meeting of the minds” and a “very significant event” after all of the effort that both sides have put in since the idea first came about a few years ago. Speaking on behalf of the group, he says it’s a deal that both sides can live with.

Wednesday’s announcement, which will keep the Oilers in Edmonton for 35 years, doesn’t constitute a “Master Agreement,” but there is no question that it is quite a big step in terms of driving towards that goal. Both the Katz Group and the city went into negotiations standing firm on certain things, and both sides made concessions here and there to help get a deal in place.

The next step is to secure that last bit of funding, which they hope to get from the province. Mayor Mandel says he hopes the fact that the city is chipping in with a big portion and the Katz Group is also putting up big money will help their cause.

I suppose another thing that may work in their favor is the fact that the project will likely have a positive spin-off impact on an important part of the city. If the rink was slated to go up in the middle of nowhere or on the outskirts of town, it might be a bit tougher to argue the secondary benefits of it.

For the first time since this process began, we’ve got a solid agreement about how this thing can get done. The ball is now in the provincial government’s court to help with that last piece of the puzzle.

What do you think: Should the province chip in some money to help get this project moving?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Hoop & The Harm: Cavs Win Lottery, T-Wolves Are Sour, Ratings Soar

Gilbert’s “Decision”

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert will have a couple of big decisions to make in just over a month, which he hopes will ease the pain of “The” Decision.

The Cavs won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night after the club’s first season without LeBron James, who left for Miami last summer. Represented on stage by Gilbert’s 14-year-old son Nick, Cleveland walked away with the first and fourth picks thanks to a trade with the LA Clippers back in February.

While the 2011 draft pool isn’t seen as being incredibly deep, Gilbert and the Cavaliers still have a pretty solid opportunity here to right a ship that was left in tatters by the departure of King James.

The night was made even more special for the team’s owner because his son Nick, who suffers from a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow in his body, was a hit as the team rep. After the Cavs secured the top pick, Nick was asked what he thought of his dad calling him a “hero,” to which the bowtie-wearing teen replied (via Sporting News):

“Well, I mean, what’s not to like? I’m the oldest of five. I have a good life. I’m going through this disease, but I’m going through it well, I’m getting better. Research (is helping) with all the money people are donating. Yeah, everything’s going good.”

As for the Clippers, whose lottery pick ended up being the lucky one, GM Neil Olshey says they don't regret the trade one bit. The team offloaded $8.5-million in salary when it sent Baron Davis and that draft pick to Cleveland for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.

Olshey says there’s no way to “Monday morning quarterback” this situation. At the end of the day, they cleared major space by making the move, which will help them build around Blake Griffin!

Kahn’t Believe It

Wherever there are winners, there are losers and Tuesday’s event wasn’t immune to a bit of controversy.

The Draft Lottery hasn’t been very kind to the Minnesota Timberwolves lately and GM David Kahn is sick and tired of it. Minnesota dropped to the fourth spot last year after having the second-worst record in the NBA and they finished dead last this year, but dropped to number two. Afterwards, Kahn hinted that it just seems too good to be true for some other teams (via PBT):

“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow [securing the top pick] and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told [Utah GM Kevin O’Connor]: ‘We’re toast. This is not happening for us,’ and I was right.”

Whether or not he was trying to be funny, as some have suggested, it looks like he’s probably earned himself a Stern talking to (see what I did there?) and probably a stiff kick in the wallet for those comments.

Did Kahn cross the line?

It sounds to me like he was just speaking out of sheer disbelief that his T-wolves would be missing out on the top pick for a second straight season. That said, hinting that the lottery is rigged probably isn’t the best way to go about it!

Bulls on Parade

Have you been watching the NBA playoffs this spring?

The league announced on Tuesday that viewership in the US is up by almost a third for the 2011 playoffs so far, with games in the second round jumping a whole 28 percent from the year before! That’s not even the most impressive stat though – according to their numbers, over 11 million people tuned in to watch game one of the Eastern Conference Final between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat on Sunday!

While I’m not surprised that a matchup between the league’s MVP and the trio known as “The Big Three” would be a big draw, those numbers are still pretty amazing.

If you’re wondering what you missed on Sunday, here’s a taste courtesy of Chicago’s Taj Gibson:


I know, right? There was also this bit of ridiculous from Gibson a little earlier in the game.

Game two in that series goes Wednesday night!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Case for Atlanta – A Fan’s Perspective

If you think hockey fans in Tampa, Boston, Vancouver and San Jose are stressed out at the moment, try living in Atlanta or Winnipeg!

While fans in four of those cities pray for a shot at the Stanley Cup, those in the remaining two are left to wonder whether or not there will be any NHL hockey in their city come next season. With the ownership situation in Atlanta coming to a head this spring, it looks like it’ll come down to one of these two scenarios: either a local buyer saves the Thrashers in the next few weeks, or the team moves to Winnipeg.

Proponents of a seventh Canadian NHL club are jumping all over the news this week that True North has reportedly begun formal negotiations with the Atlanta Spirit and that the NHL is drafting a "backup" schedule incase the team does move. Some pundits are even going as far as saying that it’s now only a matter of time before the team is calling the MTS Centre home...but what about Thrashers fans?

Matthew Gunning of Bird Watchers Anonymous has been following the team closely since it came to be in 1999 and says he believes the Thrashers could thrive in Atlanta with the right ownership.

From the outside looking in it seems the sport just isn’t working in that city, but Gunning says it all starts at the top.

“If the Thrashers were to depart Atlanta, the thing that makes me most frustrated is that we never got a chance to see what NHL hockey could do in this market,” he says. “When Time-Warner owned the team, the payroll barely broke $20-million while top teams were spending close to $70-million per season. It was basically [Ilya] Kovalchuk, [Dany] Heatley and a bunch of bargain-bin roster filler players.”

After the lockout, Thrashers fans were treated to an ownership group that spent to the salary cap maximum, but it didn’t last long – the team is now back to spending close to the minimum required by the CBA. Fans have seen a lot of elite players come and go over the years and Gunning says that has left them feeling “numb” and angry with an ownership group that “never seemed to care much.”

That may be a better way to explain the drop in attendance that the club has seen over the past four seasons. They’ve gone from over 16,200 fans per game in 2006-07 to just under 13,500 this past year. How do you get those fans back? Gunning says all the owners have to do is show people that they’re committed to winning!

“There are many NHL fans in Atlanta who still root for the teams they grew up with [and] those fans will only be converted to Thrashers fans if the owners give them a team to get excited about,” Gunning says, noting that Atlanta has only made the playoffs once in eleven seasons. “To win, the new ownership would need to raise payroll from the cap floor to the cap midpoint, [which] would give the GM the room to add a few quality veteran players.”

If I were a hockey fan in Atlanta, the hardest part about all of this for me would be the fact that the Thrashers are clearly a team on the rise at the moment. It seems like they have a few exciting young players at pretty much every position and they could be just a couple of key acquisitions away from being able to take that next step.

Another difficult thing to deal with in this day in age for Thrashers fans, and Phoenix Coyotes fans before them, is the fact that trash talk from the city that wants your team is only a click away!

“Winnipeg fans have been arrogant, condescending and often rude so I don't take kindly to such comments,” says Gunning. “I was an NHL fan going back to the 1980s [and] when the Jets and the Nordiques left Canada I thought it was a terrible thing – apparently some Winnipeggers have short memories.”

From the perspective of a guy from Michigan who is now living in Georgia, Atlanta’s appetite for hockey isn’t the problem, it’s that there are three other pro sports teams all vying for attention and people want to watch a winner.

Gunning says if another hockey team leaves the city though, “the NHL is dead forever in the Atlanta market.”

What do you think: After seeing things through the eyes of a Thrashers fan, are you still hoping the team moves to Winnipeg this offseason?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another episode of “15 Minutes of Fame,” your favorite weekly sports video-blog’s favorite weekly sports video-blog!

There is a lot to discuss this week – in the NHL: we’re looking at the NHL’s Conference Finals and the latest in the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg rumors. In the NBA: the Lakers are swept, Phil Jackson ends his tenure in LA and a new champion will be crowned as the playoffs continue! This week’s GABBYs include a beauty snipe from the World’s, a World Cup apology, a coaching milestone, a costly celebration and more!


See something you think should be a GABBY? You can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

For last week's episode, click here. Thanks for watching!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: NHL Conference Finals, Celebration Sidelines Morales

Preview: NHL Conference Finals

Only four teams remain in this year’s battle for Lord Stanley’s mug as we get set for the Conference Finals to begin this weekend.

In the West, the San Jose Sharks will travel to Vancouver to face the Presidents’ Trophy winning Canucks on Sunday, after avoiding a complete meltdown on Thursday with a game seven win over the Red Wings. The Canucks had a much easier time with the Nashville Predators in round two, though it did still take six games for them to finish the job. This will be an interesting series because, as good as both of these clubs are, there are still question marks next to certain aspects of each team’s game.

For example: The Canucks have had a difficult time closing teams out, against Nashville they seemed to have a knack for giving up ugly goals at key moments and some of their star players have been quite streaky. On the other hand, the Sharks almost blew a 3-0 series lead against Detroit and they too have suffered through inconsistent play from their top players. Goaltending will be the difference in this series, and I think Antti Niemi will be the one coming out on top. (Sharks in 6)

The East final provides an intriguing matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning – both teams have a game seven win under their belt, and both teams followed that up with sweeps in the second round. That means both teams will come into this series very well rested, and perhaps even a touch sluggish, when the series gets going on Saturday.

Another intriguing facet of this series is that the two starting goalies have a combined age of 78! Tim Thomas has played outstanding for Boston, as he has all season long, while 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson has really led the way for the Lightning, a big reason they are still in the equation. Special teams will play a key role in this one – Tampa’s power play and penalty kill units are both on fire, while the Bruins have struggled mightily with the man advantage and haven’t fared much better on the PK. (Lightning in 7)

Fallen Angel

The LA Angels got some bad news about an old friend this week.

It’s been almost one full year since an injury sidelined first baseman Kendrys Morales, and it looks like it might take another year to get him back onto the field. After months of unsuccessful rehabilitation, the team decided this week to shut the player down for the season and have him undergo another surgery on his injured left ankle.

What makes this story interesting though is how Morales got himself injured in the first place!

The 28-year-old broke his ankle last May leaping towards home plate, surrounded by his Angels teammates, after hitting a walk-off grand slam in extra innings against the Seattle Mariners! The fracture was so bad that it caused “secondary damage” which has caused extra problems and will require a second surgery.

Here’s a fan video of the incident:








If he does end up sitting out the entire season, Morales will have missed over 270 games thanks to this ridiculous injury!

Other stuff…

What is bronze, weighs 900 pounds and has a ton of nicknames? LSU’s new Shaquille O'Neal statue!

Manchester City bad boy Mario Balotelli goes on a PR blitz to repair his image…a story that includes a homeless guy, school bullies and a white Maserati.

With his career in Los Angeles over, could the Zen Master end up coaching in New York?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Winnipeg Thrashers?

While the dust settles in Glendale, Arizona, the work is far from over for the National Hockey League ahead of the 2011-12 season.

A day after Glendale city council was able to “thrash” out a deal with the NHL to keep the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena for at least another year, the league’s focus now shifts to the other side of the country and another situation where relocation could end up being the only answer.

Despite what has to be seen as an ‘encouraging’ on-ice product, the group that owns the Atlanta Thrashers remains desperate to sell the club, even if it means a change of scenery for Byfuglien and the boys. It’s been fairly quiet on this front in recent weeks, but with the Coyotes now staying put, it seems reasonable that we should be expecting some movement one way or another right away here.

Wondering how the Atlanta situation differs from the one in Glendale?

For one, there won’t be a city bailout in Georgia. A spokesman for Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that they won’t even consider a setup with the league like what they’ve got going in Arizona, where the city is basically “renting” the team. That’s a far cry from the $25-million paid to the NHL (with another $25-million on the way) by the city of Glendale to help cover the team’s losses!

Another key difference is in the team’s home arena. The Coyotes are the lone tenant of Jobing.com Arena, which would be left empty if they skipped town, whereas the Thrashers share Phillips Arena with the NBA’s Hawks and the WNBA’s Dream. There might be some money lost with one fewer tenant bringing people to the building, but it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as what would happen in Glendale.

The third big difference we’re looking at here is the price of the teams: Forbes blogger Mike Ozanian reported last week that the owners of the Thrashers are asking for $110-million, despite the franchise being valued at closer to $135-million. The Coyotes, on the other hand, are looking for something in the range of $170-million. Ozanian says True North Entertainment and Sports, the group that wanted to move the Coyotes to Winnipeg, is prepared to make an offer for the Thrashers, which will include a $60-million relocation fee.

I suppose the final difference is the lack of pride at stake for the NHL when it comes to Atlanta. If, after all this time, the Coyotes were forced to leave Arizona with their tails between their legs and move back from whence they came, the league would look kind of stupid. There’s no stigma related to a potential move out of the ATL.

So, will it happen?

It’s always tough to see a city lose a pro sports team, but it won’t hurt as much in Atlanta, where the Braves, Falcons and Hawks will still be there to keep sports fans occupied and they won’t leave behind an empty barn. If True North acts quickly, my gut feeling is that this one will be quick and painless.

They’ll have to get a move on though, because there are some obvious issues to sort out in Winnipeg before an NHL team can move in.

The rink needs some work, there’s an AHL team that will need a new home and I can’t even imagine the amount of administrative work that would go into getting things set up for a season that starts in less than five months!

What do you think: Will there be NHL hockey in Winnipeg when the puck drops on the 2011-12 season?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Coyotes Staying Put

Just when you thought it might be time to bring out the U-Haul’s, the Phoenix Coyotes are staying in Glendale…at least for now.

Despite the fact that the team lost a reported $37-million this season and hundreds of millions of dollars overall since moving from Winnipeg to Arizona, the NHL is standing firm in its belief that the NHL-owned club has a future in the state, even if it means being owned by the NHL for another 10 years.

That’s right – after telling us a couple of months ago that “time is running out” on the potential sale of the Coyotes to a buyer who would keep the team in Glendale, the city and the NHL have agreed to extend the “deadline” for another full season. Just like in the last agreement, the city will put aside $25-million to cover the team’s losses in the event that they still can’t find an owner by this time next year.

I hope the NHL didn’t forget its yoga mat, because it’s bending over backwards for the city of Glendale when it should really be the other way around, shouldn’t it?

Why should the league incur any losses in this deal? They could probably turn around and sell the team in a heartbeat to investors in another city, but instead, they took on an estimated $12-million worth of debt this season and have now negotiated their way into taking on more losses next year. The reason? So that people go to the Westgate City Center mall while they’re at Jobing.com Arena and spend money, the sales tax from which goes towards paying off the rink.

Here’s the real kicker though: USA Today reports that this new agreement includes an option for the league to renew the deal on a year-by-year basis for the next ten years!

So to recap, in the past two months we’ve gone from “time is running out,” to allowing Glendale to basically rent the Coyotes from the league while they eat part of the projected losses each year for up to a decade.

Did I miss something? Did the NHL seriously change the deadline from “soon” to “sometime before 2021”?

More food for thought: If the Coyotes can’t draw fans with dirt-cheap tickets, what will happen when a new owner comes on board and has to boost prices in the hopes of turning a profit? If the team can’t bring in a solid base of supporters by providing an entertaining on-ice product and making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, what hope do they really have? Does anyone really think that hockey is going to all of a sudden catch fire in the desert after 16 years?

I hope the NHLPA is keeping a close eye on this situation too, for the next time they have to sit down with the NHL to bang out a new collective bargaining agreement. Obviously “money ain’t a thing” for the league and its owners if they’re willing to shell out all this cash to prop up a failing franchise, right?

I wonder if the city of Atlanta would be into “renting” the financially challenged Thrashers for a few years?

What do you think: Is this a positive move or do you think the NHL should be exploring other options?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Uptown Sports Slams Sean Avery

New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery is in the middle of some off-ice controversy this week, but it’s not what you might think!

No, he isn’t insulting an ex-girlfriend in the media or running his mouth about a fellow NHLer on a sports talk show. In fact, he actually hasn’t done anything wrong in this case. Believe it or not, Avery is on the receiving end of this one and it really has nothing to do with hockey.

The 31-year-old former Vogue intern teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign and released a 30-second video for “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” over the weekend, where he came out in support of same-sex marriage. According to ESPN, Avery appears to be the first pro athlete in New York to join the campaign, which features videos from people like NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the daughter of George W. Bush and several politicians and celebrities.

While most of the initial feedback was positive, the vice president of a sports management agency that represents a handful of NHLers has ripped Avery, calling same-sex marriage “wrong” on the company’s official Twitter account!

First off, for the sake of context, here’s the Avery video in support of marriage equality:


Now, here’s what Uptown Sports Management VP Todd Reynolds had to say about it:

Photobucket

Later in the day, Reynolds appeared on TSN radio to talk a little more about his comments, saying:

“There’s certainly a voice for the other side on this particular issue. I was merely responding to the other voice. I believe in standing up for what you believe in. I’m passionate about what I believe in and I believe in morality and I believe in right and wrong. I know many people with different viewpoints for what is right and wrong. I’m a little disappointed in some of the responses. If you oppose a viewpoint, you’re immediately targeted by some people as a hater, a bigot, intolerant, homophobic and many other terms. That’s obviously not the case for people who know me. I don’t hate anyone and I’m certainly not a bigot.”

Okay, where shall we begin?

First off, I think we should all applaud Sean Avery for speaking up in support of something he believes in. Love him or hate him, it’s refreshing to see that from a pro athlete, as Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski noted on Sunday. Also, he went public with his support even though he knows he’ll probably be subject to some more gay slurs on the ice next season (via the NY Times):

“People have been calling me names for 10 years just because I like to wear nice suits. It’s going to take a lot to get me upset or to get under my skin. I’m OK.”

As for Todd Reynolds and Uptown Sports, let’s start from the top.

Reynolds probably made a mistake when he used his company’s official Twitter account to voice his own personal opinion that gay marriage is “wrong,” whether it is “legal or not.” While everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions, a company Twitter account probably isn’t the best venue for this type of thing. Actually, that’s about as irresponsible as you can get!

A few hours later he “clarified” those remarks by assuring the public that he’s not a bigot, he doesn’t hate anyone and he’s not intolerant.

That’s funny, because here’s the definition of intolerance: [The] unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of difference races or backgrounds, etc. (See: “Legal or not, it will always be wrong.”).

Why would Reynolds, who has only been in charge of updating the company Twitter account for about a month, even feel the need to publicly respond to this topic anyways? Is it in the public interest that we know that the VP of Uptown Sports Management thinks same-sex marriage is “wrong,” and that Sean Avery’s support of it is “sad” and “misguided”? Do we really need to know that he thinks “we are all equal,” but not when it comes to marriage?

No, we don’t.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but Todd Reynolds better hope that he hasn’t alienated or angered any of his company’s clients, especially considering the fact that they only represent seven or eight full time NHLers at the moment!

Reynolds says he’s not worried about clients disagreeing with him because, as he told TSN, “we’re going to disagree on all kinds of issues in life, but we have to be able to talk about them.” Here’s the true test: if Sean Avery were an Uptown client, would Reynolds still be sounding off about this “misguided support”?

Sounds like damage control to me!

What do you think: Was Reynolds wrong to use the company Twitter account to voice his opinions on Sean Avery’s support of same-sex marriage?

Monday, May 9, 2011

15 Minutes of Fame

Another week has come and gone in the world of sports, which has given us plenty of material for another episode of “15 Minutes of Fame!”

This week, Geoff Driscoll & I discuss another crushing defeat for the Washington Capitals in the NHL playoffs and what it might mean for that team in terms of personnel changes, as well as what the Philadelphia Flyers needs to address during the offseason and the latest in the Phoenix Coyotes saga.

In the GABBYs: MLB no-hitters, rock solid goalies, NBA awards and soccer theatrics!


See something you think should be a GABBY? You can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

For last week's episode, click here. Thanks for watching!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: Brashear tries MMA, Intro to Floorball

NHL to MMA

Remember Donald Brashear?

If you thought his departure from the NHL last season meant you’d heard the last of him, think again! The 39-year-old is currently plying his trade in the Ligue Nord-Americain de Hockey, a senior league in Quebec full of guys who like to shed the mitts, after wrapping up a big league career that started back in 1993.

When he’s not bulging the twine and throwing bombs with Riviere-du-Loup 3L (he had 17 goals in 28 games this season!), the six-foot-three, 237-pound Brashear is training and preparing for his debut on the Mixed Martial Arts scene! That’s right, fighting without the skates!

Quebec’s Ringside MMA announced this week that Brashear will face 27-year-old Martin Trempe, who used to play hockey himself, on June 4th at the Pepsi Colisee.

In 1,025 career NHL games, Brashear racked up an impressive 2,634 penalty minutes, many of which came in denominations of five and ten-minutes I’m sure. Will he be a good MMA fighter though? If he’s been training for the different aspects of the sport, like wrestling and submissions, it could be an interesting experiment. I would put my money on him hoping to stand and trade with Trempe, but maybe he’s got some tricks up his sleeve!

Here’s a good tilt from the 2009 season between Brashear and current Oiler Steve MacIntyre (take notes Trempe!):


Which other current pro athletes would you like to see trying out MMA?

New Sport of the Week: Floorball

I stumbled upon a new sport this week thanks to the Twitter feed of the Edmonton Oil Kings – have you ever heard of Floorball?

It’s kind of like hockey and it’s sort of like floor hockey…but not quite. The game is played indoors on a gym floor and you would dress as if you were going to play some ball hockey. One difference though is that you play with a shorter stick and one of those plastic balls that has holes all over it. If you’re a goalie though, you don’t get a stick!

What were the Oil Kings doing talking about Floorball, you ask? They were posting a video of winger TJ Foster scoring a goal for Canada at the U-19 Floorball World Championships from Germany! Foster joined OHL players Ryan O’Connor (Saginaw Spirit) and Clinton Windsor (Barrie Colts) on the national team after a season that saw him score 25 goals and 54 points in 68 regular season games.


Despite going 2-1-0 in the round robin portion of the tournament with wins over Spain and Poland, Canada was eliminated on goal difference on Thursday following a 9-6 loss to the Germans. Foster had three goals and eight points in those three games.

What do you think about that sport? It seems a little slow for my liking and there’s not contact, but it’s got some potential!

Other stuff…

Kansas City journalist criticizes a Royals player for moving out of the way of a pitch…and then decides to get hit by one himself to see what it feels like!

Remember Doug Flutie? His daughter is the newest member of the New England Patriots cheer team (too bad there won’t be any football this year!).

In recognition of us all getting through another week of “the grind,” here’s a collection of awkward high-fives!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Around the Rinks: Bolts Sweep Caps, Preds Trotz Plots

Another One Bites The Dust

Did you pick the Tampa Bay Lightning to sweep the Washington Capitals in the second round?

Be honest.

Yeah, me neither. Imagine my surprise then on Wednesday night when I watched with my own two bespectacled eyes as the boys from Tampa skated to a 5-3 game four win, putting the brooms to the Eastern Conference’s best team. It’s impressive enough for the Bolts to win that series, but to do it in four games is quite the feat!

How did they manage it?

The Lightning are playing like champions right now – Dwayne Roloson is standing on his head between the pipes and the star players are putting up big numbers, but most importantly, the rest of the team is also clicking at the moment. When a guy like Sean Bergenheim is leading the team in goals and everyone seems to be getting involved offensively, you’re going to have success!

It definitely helps too that through 11 games they have the league’s best penalty kill (an amazing 94.4%), which is complimented by the top power play (26.7%) in the NHL at the moment. With those numbers in mind, here’s something interesting to consider: there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll be playing the Boston Bruins in the East final, a team with a horrid power play (3.1%!!!!!) and an average PK (79%).

Despite their woeful special teams play, the Bruins are just one win away from a sweep of the Flyers, while the San Jose Sharks could also pull off a second round sweep of the Red Wings after an OT win on Wednesday.

That’s right – after a first round that saw four of eight series go to seven games, we could potentially see only one go past four games in the second round!

Seriously though, did anyone actually pick Sean Bergenheim in their playoff pool?

Mind Games

While the Nashville Predators were busy on Wednesday preparing for an all-important game four tilt with the Vancouver Canucks tonight, their head coach was doing his best Mike Gillis impression.

Prior to a game seven win over the Blackhawks in round one, the Canucks GM complained to the media that the calls weren’t going his team’s way, saying that he was simply “stating the facts.” Well, game seven came, hardly any penalties were called and Vancouver ended up moving on to the second round.

Barry Trotz took a slightly different approach though this week, defending the referees and calling out the Canucks for trying to trick them into giving bad penalties!

Here’s what Trotz had to say (via ESPN):

“That’s gamesmanship and I understand that. It’s also a little bit putting the referee in a tough spot. We have the best referees. If you’re going to make them look bad, I don’t think that’s needed in the game.”

Well played Mr. Trotz – they were bad calls but I blame Vancouver, not you Mr. Referee!

The Preds bench boss is referring to two calls in particular: a Jerred Smithson high stick on Roberto Luongo (that may have been embellished and ended up setting up Vancouver’s first goal) and a Shea Weber hook on Ryan Kesler in overtime (which set up the game-winning goal).

The Smithson penalty was a bit soft and Trotz probably has a point there, but the Weber one brings us to a key issue.

Should penalties like hooking be called the exact same way regardless of the stage of the game they happen at? Should something that’s a bit of a soft penalty in the first minute of the first period still be a penalty in the final minute of the third, or in overtime?

I think what makes some people mad (myself included) is that a defenseman can absolutely abuse a forward in front of the net and there is no call, but if a player’s stick is parallel to the ice and he gives his opponent a little tug, it’s two minutes in the box.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what type of game we get here tonight after those comments from Trotz!

Other stuff…

Have you ever wondered what you would look like with a playoff beard? TampaBay.com has you covered!

It’s not easy being green – the NHL places some restrictions on Vancouver Canucks fans Sully and Force, also known as the ‘Green Men.’

Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid has a sprained neck…and a YouTube spoof:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Barca playing Negative Football

Jose Mourinho was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, but his words from a week earlier resonated as the final whistle sounded.

With their coach serving what many likely saw as an unjust ban, Real Madrid played to a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the second leg of the all-Spanish Champions League semifinal, a result that sent Barca through to the big dance for the second time in three years. Did they deserve to go through though?

Probably – there’s no question that the Leo Messi led team is one of the world’s most elite clubs, stocked to the brim with extreme talent. That said, I could hardly watch as they played their own brand of “negative football” to perfection and, to boot, once again benefited from a suspect call by the referee that changed the course of the action.

Normally when you hear the term “negative football,” it describes an overly defensive style of game that is criticized as being very boring to watch. In this case though I’m talking about a style of game that ruins the enjoyment of fans for a whole other set of reasons: let’s call it the “Help, I’ve been shot” formation! Never have I seen a team consistently dive and act and roll around on the ground as much as what I saw from Barca during the two legs of this Champions League semifinal. As immensely talented as they are, it seems like in both games they had to rely on the referee falling for their garbage in order to gain the upper hand!

Real’s Pepe wasn’t in the lineup on Tuesday because he was shown a straight red card the week before for a foul on Barca’s Dani Alves that replays revealed was a complete fabrication. Barcelona went on to score twice against a 10-man Real and win the leg. That led coach Jose Mourinho, who was sent to the stands for arguing the call, to say: “I just do not understand why Barcelona always receive the help of the referee,” among other things.

After having a player sent off in each of their first three meetings this season, Real finished Tuesday’s game with 11 men for once, but the clash didn’t end without another dash of controversy revolving around the man with the whistle!

Minutes into the second half, Real’s Gonzalo Higuain appeared to score a key away goal for his club, which would have given them plenty of time to get right back into the contest. I say that he “appeared to” score because referee Frank de Bleeckere bit on a Javier Mascherano dive just outside his own 18-yard box and awarded Barcelona a free kick instead of giving the goal.

Photobucket

Here’s what happened: Cristiano Ronaldo was clearly bumped by Gerard Pique as he ran up the middle with the ball. When he fell, his shoulder appeared to touch Mascherano’s heel and the Barca defender acted as if some Navy Seals had just raided his compound on a top secret mission. With the goal called back, Barcelona went up the field not long afterwards and opened the scoring!

Real got one back about 10 minutes later, but their fate was all but sealed by that Pedro tally in the 54th minute.

After the game Ronaldo said the ref made sure that a Real win on the night was “Mission Impossible 4” and that “there was nothing wrong with the [Higuain] goal.” He added, rightfully so, that it could have “altered the course of the match” had it stood.

Real’s Xabi Alonso and assistant coach Aitor Karanka both echoed that sentiment to the BBC in their post-game comments.

Karanka simply stated that “Mourinho was right” and that “100 million people saw it,” so there was really nothing more to say. Alonso said the team wasn’t happy with all of the “bad decisions” that went against them, also pointing out that a 0-0 tie in the first leg and a 1-1 draw on Tuesday would have sent Real through to the final.

Now, I should probably point out that I watched this game as a casual observer and not as an actual supporter of either side, so my opinion wasn’t swayed by a blind allegiance to one club or the other. In fact, before these last two games I was just really excited to watch Leo Messi do what he does best a couple of times and I thought of Real as the team that spent too much time trying to fool the refs with dives!

To me, it was a disappointing display from a team that shouldn’t have to resort to the types of over the top theatrics that we saw over and over again to win games – if I want simulation I’ll fire up FIFA 11! It actually made me mad to watch the constant stream of players clutching various body parts after next to no contact, with video replay confirming the farce moments after each “foul.”

All I can say is, if that’s what we’re supposed to expect from the best teams in the world, the sport is in trouble.

What do you think: Did all of that diving and flopping around make you lose any respect for Barcelona, or is it all just part of the game?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tennessee Titans = Predators & Grizzlies

Forget Vince Young – there are a couple of new Titans in Tennessee!

The NHL’s Nashville Predators and the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies aren’t quite “deep” into the playoffs in their respective leagues yet, but they’re both further than they’ve ever been before, simultaneously capturing the imagination of sports fans in the Volunteer state.

The Predators finally managed to shake their first-round jitters this season and win a playoff series, beating the Anaheim Ducks in six games about a week ago. Just five days later and a few hours down the road, the Memphis Grizzlies closed out their opening round series with the San Antonio Spurs, also in six games! Not only was it the first series win for the team that originated in Vancouver, it was also just the fourth time in NBA history that a number eight seed knocked off a number one!

Not a bad time to be a sports fan in Tennessee eh?

The Preds arrived home on Sunday to a hero's welcome after rebounding from a disappointing game one with a 2-1 overtime win on Saturday night, earning a split of the opening two tilts. Fans crammed into Nashville Airport and went crazy when the team came strolling out, going especially nuts when Pekka Rinne came into sight. That type of passion from the fans is infectious and could end up going a long way for the Preds, who can make a real statement on Tuesday with a win on home ice.

As for the Grizzlies, it was obviously a fluke that they beat the Spurs and so far they’ve been totally outmatched by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Just kidding: Zach Randolph had a game-high 34 points along with 10 rebounds and Marc Gasol went 9-for-11 with 20 points and 13 boards as the Grizz beat the Thunder by 13 points in OKC! They’re now in position to go up by two games before they head back to Memphis, which has the fans back home out-of-this-world excited.

Is this the greatest month in the history of Tennessee pro sports? Some, like Frank Murtaugh of the Memphis Flyer, say absolutely! Is there a legitimate chance that both clubs are still playing into the month of June?

I’d say it’s unlikely that both of them make it that far, but if guys like Rinne and Randolph keep it up for their respective teams, you just never know!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Monday!

The “15 Minutes of Fame” boys are back in the saddle for another go-round, taking a look at the best and worst from the world of sports in the past seven days! This week, Geoff Driscoll & I are recapping the first round of the NHL playoffs (the biggest surprise, most interesting storyline and the best moment) and UFC 129, while trying to figure out what’s happening in the NFL lockout.

In the GABBYs: MLB streaks, NHL celebrations, red cards, NBA upsets & lots more! In Quick Hits: Patrick Chan is at the top of the figure skating world, but how good is Kerrzy’s quad?


See something you think should be a GABBY? You can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

For last week's episode, click here. Thanks for watching!