Rangers Win. Despite Sean Avery

April 23, 2009
King Henrik was the star tonight, but Ovechkin and Avery made it interesting

King Henrik was the star tonight, but Ovechkin and Avery made it interesting

The Rangers beat the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night in one of the better games I’ve seen in a while, in any sport.  The Rangers took a 2-0 lead into the third period, but then Alex Ovechkin turned it on and almost singlehandedly took game 4.  Ovechkin scored 2 minutes into the third, and rang another shot off the crossbar later on.  He played nearly half the game, and had 11 shots on goal.

There were times in this game when one had to wonder how the Rangers were winning.  They were completely dominated, outhustled, and outshot by a margin of 18.  The biggest factor that has made them the winning team in 3 of the series’ first four games is Henrik Lundqvist.  He was brilliant again and survived a few barrages late in the game that would’ve made even the great Martin Brodeur bitch and moan about contact.

The luckiest Ranger tonight, though, is Sean Avery.  Avery had a meager 4 penalty minutes tonight.  He is probably proud.  He restrained himself from acting like a dumbass for a large portion of the game, but waited until the halfway point in the third with the Caps poised to tie the game.  He then pulled an Avery-like move by smacking Milan Jurcina’s schnoz with the butt of his stick and the back of his glove and pretending like he didn’t mean it.

Some might say his reputation got this one called.  I would agree.  He is a douchebag, and he made a douchebag move, the refs called it.  The Rangers survived the powerplay somehow.  Ovechkin hit the crossbar and King Henrik made about 8 saves then Avery came back.  He learned his lesson.  Or did he?

Just 4 minutes after getting his freedom he decides to whack Brian Pothier (who sold this pretty poorly, but it was funny) with a high stick a couple seconds after play had stopped.  He again, tries to sell to the refs that he is innocent, and heads off.  John Tortorella looked like an embarrassed father who lost control of his kid at this point.  Avery sat in the box, and thought about which young celebrity he would go after next (I actually have a lot of respect for him with respect to the top shelf ass he gets).

Luckily, Lundqvist saved him again, and the Rangers got away with a 3-1 advantage in the series.  Maybe there’s a backstory.  Maybe Pothier and Jurcina picked up Avery’s “sloppy seconds” like Dion Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek.  I do not know, but it is difficult to get a penalty called against you in the playoffs, especially late in tight, big games.  Avery managed to pull it off twice with blatant, pussy cheapshots.

Sean showed his true colors tonight.  He is a goon, but not the protect the stars, and fight to pump up you team good goon.  The hit guys behind the play and get a kick out of it goon.  Its a shame, too because up to that point he had done a great job around the net creating chances for New York.  Avery was a liability on the ice by the end of the game, and if the Rangers would have lost, he may have been done there, again.

But don’t worry there’s hope for goons after hockey.  Matthew Barnaby proves it every night on Sportscenter.  The heir apparent to Barry Melrose (whose mullet and salt and pepper facial hair rank him as the most dignified looking gentleman since Robert E. Lee), Barnaby makes it clear that he used to get his head bashed in every time he tries to describe a clip.

No matter how he does on the ice, Sean Avery is doing just fine.

No matter how he does on the ice, Sean Avery is doing just fine.

Avery, who is sort of the David Beckham of hockey (if Beckham went around goosing guys all over the pitch), has got to watch it for the rest of the playoffs.  Everything he does is watched by the refs, and he can no longer get away with his signature cheapshots.  Maybe he doesn’t care about hockey, if you had been linked to Elisha Cuthbert, Mary-Kate Olson, Lake Bell, and Rachel Hunter would you care?  and those are just the celebrities.  Imagine the amount of tail he pulled on random nights throughout Los Angeles, New York, all of Canada.  This man is living the dream.  I would take his sloppy seconds any day.

Advertisements

Which Sport’s Playoff Season is Better, NBA or NHL?

April 20, 2009

nba-v-nhl

Playoff season is upon us, with the NHL and NBA playoffs starting this past weekend.  After spending the entire weekend watching sports, an interesting debate came to mind: which sport’s playoff season is better?

Playoff set-up: Both leagues have 7-game series all the way through the finals.  They’re both set-up as follows (for higher seeded team) 2 home games, 2 away, 1 home, 1 away, and game 7 at home, aka 2-2-1-1-1.  This is a recent change from the 2-3-2 set-up of a few years ago.  The purpose behind this change is to put added pressure on a home game 7, whereas previously, the top team had 2 home games to finish the job.  I understand it, but I’m not crazy about it.  Too much travel means too much time off between games.  Both sports have a minimum of 1 day off between each  game in a series.  This makes the playoffs drawn out and take away some of the momentum built up from the game before.  This is my biggest complaint about the playoffs of either sport.    Verdict – PUSH

Chances of an upset – In the NBA playoffs, upsets are not that common.  There are powerhouse teams at the top of each conference and then there are the rest.  Just look at the lower seeded teams in the NBA playoffs right now and none of them really impress you.  The Eastern Conference, for example, has 3 teams in the playoffs with a .500 record or lower.  That is pathetic.  The Western Conference was more competitive, with the 2nd seed and 8th seed separated by only 6 games, all with a win percentage of .585 or better.  The only “upsets” that seem possible right now are the Mavericks over the Spurs or the Bulls over the Celtics.  But this is not something to brag about when the top-seeded teams are hurt by injury to star players.

The NHL playoffs, on the other hand, often offer upsets.  This year alone, there are 2 underdogs primed to make a run to the second round.  The 8th-seeded Ducks hold a 2-0 lead over top-seeded San Jose, while the 7th-seeded Rangers are up 2-0 over 2nd-seed Washington.  In the NHL, all it takes is a hot goalie to lead his team deep in the playoffs.  In the NBA, over the drawn out schedule, talent usually wins out.   Verdict – NHL

Excitement – The NBA is home to snoozers more often than edge-of-your-seat thrillers.  This weekend, the launch of the first round, saw blowout wins by the Cavs, Hawks, Nuggets, Lakers, and Rockets.  They were over by the third quarter.  Sure, there were 2 games that went down to the wire, but these are not often occurrences for their playoffs.  Add in the fact that if the game even resembles a close one, the trailing team fouls on every possession.  The final 2 minutes of a game can take a half-hour.  It ruins the watching experience beacuse not only are there stoppages in play, its coupled with poor free throw shooting and commercials.

The NHL by nature is a sport that leads to close games.  Even a score of 3-1 is not safe, because all it takes is a powerplay goal and then anything can happen.  Even if there is a blowout, such as the Bruins domination of the Habs in game 2, it’s still exciting because of all the hard hitting.  A fight could break out at anytime, which makes you want to keep watching (see Bruins-Canadiens, game 2, Milan Lucic).    Verdict – NHL

So which has sport has the better playoff season?  It’s easily the NHL.  While both sports drag their playoff season out for way too long, the NHL has what the NBA doesn’t:  excitement.  Every game is close and anything can happen to turn the game in the favor of the other team.  Add in the excitement of a fight breaking out and the NHL wins, hands down!  (check out Lucic starting a fight in a 5-1 victory on Saturday)