NHL Playoffs are on and now I Love Them

Perhaps the word ‘love’ is a bit of a stretch. It wasn’t as if I hated the concocted “pre-playoffs” like she was a girlfriend who married the next person they dated after me. The playoffs, COVID-delayed or not, are perpetual. I have only had the woman I dated marry the next person they dated six times, and one of them decided to ‘curve their stick’ and shoot a bit differently, if you know what I mean.

Now the hoopla and fanfare, yes both occurred in the past couple weeks, of both the ‘Round Robin’ and the ‘Pre-Qualifying Round’ has officially exited the ice. Ergo we now have legit playoffs, so let’s take a look at who’s left for the next round. Apparently the NHL has now decided to call the next round the First Round, and I am okay with that. Essentially this means the NHL is now officially smarter than those college guys at the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament (hey remember that? It’s like nostalgia at this point). They convince themselves the play-in games are actually the first round. DUMB.

Did I say “let’s take a look at who’s left?’ I did. Not yet. Just a solid reminder the NHL teams are going nowhere. The Eastern Conference is still playing their games in Toronto at the venerable Scotiabank Arena. The Scotiabank Arena is like the United Center of the North. It’s nice, relatively new, but not a legendary place like Madison Square Garden (which BTW is not a square shape – who knew?). The Western Conference teams are still stuck in Edmonton and play their games at Rogers Place. Same deal. Nice, and kind of like an Olive Garden of arenas… without the breadsticks.

And what teams are not remaining?

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Kamala The Ugandan Giant (James Harris) 1950-2020

Kamala The Ugandan Giant (James Harris) 1950-2020

Wrestling has always been built on stereotypes. Anyone that looks vaguely eastern European could be booked as a menacing Russian. Asian wrestlers were often booked as karate stars or dressed like ninjas. Black wrestlers would run the gambit of stereotypes over the years, whether it be Bobo Brazil and Junkyard Dogs would play benign good guys, who had to play up their friendliness to get largely white crowds to let their guard down. Koko B Ware wore loud, colorful clothing to represent what Vince McMahon believed to be black MTV culture. On the other side of this was James Harris, who would fleeting and middling success following the good guy route, but would reach national fame playing an African savage to oppose some of the biggest stars of WWF’s golden era.

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How the NHL Playoff System Works… or Doesn’t

Life is complicated enough right now. COVID is nowhere near slowing down, mostly thanks to the minions who believe it’s a hoax. There are more than 150,000 people who would love to debate those residents of Idiocracy if they could but they can’t, as they died.

Now we have sports making a comeback… of sorts. In a quick breeze let’s rush through what’s up before we get into the nitty gritty dirt band of details for the NHL playoff system.

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Baseball Is Destined To Screw This Up

Baseball Is Destined To Screw This Up

There seems to be a prerequisite in Major League Baseball, where the commisioner needs to be worse than the previous man in charge. Peter Ueberroth colluded with owners (notably White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf) to suppress the amount of money players could get in free agency. Bart Giammati died 154 days into his tenure (the William Henry Harrison of baseball). Fay Vincent let the owners lock out the players. Bud Selig made All Star games count (not in a good way), let noted skin flint Jeffrey Loria ruin baseball in Montreal, get paid for the honor, only to see him buy the Marlins and do it all over again. He also helped ruin baseball for years with the 1994 strike and then turned a blind eye to steroid abuse when the money started flowing again.

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This Will Be Wrong, part IV: Postseason and Awards

This Will Be Wrong, part IV: Postseason and Awards

Every year, around late-March, I write up my postseason predictions for MLB on a legal pad and tape it to my cubicle wall. I did it this year, too. Then, well, you know. For like 8 years, I guessed that the Nationals would win it all, because frankly it made sense. Then I stopped doing that and believed too much in a Cubs resurgence. Then the Nationals won the Series. So lets just put as much value as possible into what I’m about to predict. If I’m right, I will spend the rest of my life angry that I didn’t put money on this result.

Play Ball

This Will Be Wrong, part III: The Western Divisions

This Will Be Wrong, part III: The Western Divisions

We have come to the end of the regular season predictions. Monday, I predicted the Easts. Yesterday, I went after the Centrals. If one thing is clear, its that these are for Houston and Los Angeles to lose. In a normal year, they should probably have their divisions wrapped up by mid-September. Much like the other four, these two will go into the last few games with titles and playoff spots on the line.

PLAY BALL

This Will Be Wrong, part II: The Central Divisions

This Will Be Wrong, part II: The Central Divisions

Yesterday, I started the pandemic season preview with the easiest divisions- the East. I feel very comfortable with those picks. As for today’s task, well, it won’t be as easy. Sure, I could pencil in the Twins and Cardinals and call it a day. But that’s boring. What about the old guard Cubs and Indians? Or the upstart Reds and White Sox? Or the pesky Brewers? There are other teams, I’m sure, because I have to predict ten. We’ll see who they are after the jump.

PLAY BALL

This Will Be Wrong, part I: The Eastern Divisions

This Will Be Wrong, part I: The Eastern Divisions

So let’s just suppose that the MLB season actually happens. All 30 teams play all 60 games and there’s a postseason and everything. While I may be skeptical that we will get all the way to a World Series, it’s fun to think about something beyond the existential terror of everyday life in 2020. So, for now, let’s talk baseball.

We start with the two Eastern Divisions, which include the two most recent World Series champions, Boston (’18) and Washington (’19). Due to limitations in travel, these teams will not leave their Eastern bubble until the postseason- 40 games against in-division opponents, 20 games against opponents from the same division in the other league. Remember as you read my predictions, that no matter how much I know about baseball, this will be wrong.

PLAY BALL

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!

A lot has changed in our world over the past year. It seems that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. The country is on the verge of falling apart. Arizona, Florida, and Texas are getting exactly what they deserve for not believing in Science. An election that could tear us apart is on the horizon. Every sport’s short term future is threatened. But one thing hasn’t changed. A sports moment that brings everyone together in a moment of joy.

July 1st is, of course, the day that the New York Mets have to pay Bobby Bonilla a million dollars.

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The Long Slow Dance Is Over: Cam Newton is a Patriot

The Long Slow Dance Is Over: Cam Newton is a Patriot

When Coronavirus shut the world down, it also shut down the NFL rumor mill a bit. Free agency was all but over, already. The quarterback carousel had spun and there were some winners (Jameis Winston getting to chase a ring in New Orleans) and some losers (the Bears thinking Nick Foles is anything but an older, less mobile Mitch Trubisky). Everyone had pretty well set themselves and were preparing for the relative quiet before the storm of the NFL Draft, mini camps, training camps, and the NFL season.

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