Who Said There’s Nothing To Talk About?

The NBA Finals have come and gone, and baseball hasn’t hit its full stride yet. Within the dog days of summer lie a time with very little to talk about in the world of sports. However, Monday brought about an eventful day of sports news and action. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals crowned a champion, while a former Wimbledon champion fell unexpectedly. A window of opportunity has opened for the much deserving Brian Shaw. And lastly, as I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, Aaron Hernandez has himself in some hot water.

With Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals being played in Boston, it was almost a certainty that the Bruins would force a decisive Game 7 in Chicago. This series had been so closely contested (with half of its games going to overtime), that a Game 7 seemed inevitable. With just under a minute and a half to play that looked like the case, but the Chicago Blackhawks had other ideas. The Bruins were winning 2-1 after Milan Lucic scored the go ahead goal midway through the 3rd period. They looked like they were going to cruise to a series tying victory until Brian Bickell put in the game tying goal with 1:16 left in the game. Boston had to be deflated but at least they had a chance to win the game in overtime, right? Oh No, no no, they were not granted that opportunity. Just 17 seconds after the game tying goal came, the game winning goal by Dave Bolland followed. And just like that, victory was snatched right out of Boston’s hands. Players are used to losing, but to be so close to victory and lose in heartbreaking fashion is never easy to get past. I’m sure the Bruins players will need some time to fully recover from a loss of this magnitude. Doesn’t it seem eerily similar to the Game 6 loss by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals? When there is a loser there must also be a winner. Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.

An absolute stunner is the only way to describe Rafael Nadal’s first round loss at Wimbledon. This is the first time he has EVER lost in the first round of a Grand Slam. His loss came in straight sets at the hands of the 135th ranked player in the world, Steve Darcis. Who? Exactly, I’ve never heard of him either. If you watched the match, the camera continued to follow Nadal’s taped up knee, and the commentators kept harping on the fact that he couldn’t track down balls he once called routine gets. Yes, I’ll admit that Nadal did not look his usual gritty self, but injury or not a player of his caliber should NEVER lose to Steve Darcis. Nadal simply did not have any fight in him on Monday, and he simply mailed in his performance once he was down 2 sets to none. While I’ve never personally been a Nadal fan, it still would have been nice to watch the great Roger Federer spank him in the quarter finals. I guess we’ll have to settle with Federer mopping the floor with John Isner in the quarters. Will there be anymore shocking upsets in Wimbledon? Only time will tell, but I see Roger Federer and Andy Murray playing a hard fought semi finals to see who has the right to lose to Novak Djokavic in the finals. Enjoy the tennis.

To the hardwood we go. The second the NBA season ends, head coaches get the ax (deservedly or not). As the off season progresses, those coaching vacancies slowly get filled. Monday, the Denver Nuggets filled their coaching vacancy with a name that has been floating around the rumor mill for quite some time. Brian Shaw, the former assistant of the Indiana Pacers, is now the new head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Shaw’s name has been on many executives lists for coaching possibilities over the past couple of years, but Denver has finally pulled the trigger. Denver just cur their tenure with George Karl short in the same season he won Coach of the Year, so I wouldn’t get too comfortable if I were Shaw. Good luck Brian, you deserve it.

And last but certainly least, we move on to Einstein himself. Nope, sorry, I meant Aaron “the rocket scientist” Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez has been a very good tight end for the New England Patriots, and had a very bright future ahead of himself (emphasis on the word HAD). Rather than use his potential to enjoy his future, he decided to entangle himself in a murder mystery. No, not the make believe Law And Order type of mystery, but the hey I actually murdered someone and tried to cover it up type of mystery. As of right now Hernandez has not been convicted of a crime or has even been arrested, but there has been the possibility of an arrest warrant hanging over his head for about 5 days now. See, Hernandez intelligently destroyed his home surveillance system, smashed his cell phone to unrecognizable pieces, and had a professional cleaning crew come leave his house spotless. Yeah, this should end well. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I will. Hernandez obviously either murdered this guy, ordered the murder to take place, or has proof of the murder and is trying to cover it up. Either way his life is in shambles, and I highly doubt it’s going to get any better anytime soon. Man, don’t you wish you, an intelligent responsible person, had the talents these numbskulls have? You surely wouldn’t waste it and throw your life back into the sewer that they most likely came from to begin with. It’s such a shame. You can follow ESPN for daily updates on the Hernandez situation.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Big Weekend In Sports

This was a big weekend in sports that just passed us by. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and their Father’s Day. If you spent some time on your couch with your television like I did, than you definitely enjoyed yourself. There were 3 major sporting events going on, and I’m going to give you a quick rundown of what took place in each one. First you had Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night. Then you had the finish of golf’s U.S Open Sunday Evening. And last but certainly not least you had Game 5 of the NBA Finals Sunday night. None were more exciting than the hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.

If you saw Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals than you already know how epically great that game was, and how competitive this series is going to be. Quickly for those who don’t know, the Blackhawks took Game 1 in triple overtime! It was a game for the ages and it set the table for game 2. How could Game 2 live up to the expectations that Game 1 laid on top of its napkin you ask? Well, they mustered up another exhilarating overtime thriller, that’s how. The Boston Bruins evened up the series at 1 game a piece by winning 2-1 over Chicago. Boston allowed a lonely goal in the 1st period and then tightened up the defense for the rest of the contest. You can catch what should be another exciting game on Monday night on NBC. The puck drops at 8:00 p.m. in Boston. Enjoy!!

Now, ever since Thursday morning’s rain delayed U.S. Open got started, everyone was wondering and waiting for Tiger to make his push towards his 15th major. The only problem was that the push never came. Tiger didn’t start out too badly but played progressively worse as the week went on. Tiger finished with a career worst 72-hole score of +13. I guess we’ll all have to wait for the British Open to see if Tiger can end his 5 year drought without a major victory. His last major came at the U.S. Open in 2008 after beating Rocco Mediate in a ’19’ hole playoff. While Woods struggled with Mr. 3 Wiggle all weekend, Justin Rose minimized his mistakes and gutted out his 1st major victory. He won by 2 strokes (+1) over 2nd place finishers Jason Day and Phil Mickelson (both were +3). This is Phil’s 6th 2nd place finish at U.S. Open. Man that’s gotta suck! Anyway, job well done Justin Rose, and better luck next time Phil.

Sunday night’s NBA Finals Game 5 was one that was certain to bring big drama. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have exchanged wins all series, but everyone was expecting the Heat to carry their momentum from game 4 into game 5 and finally put this series out of reach. Boy were they wrong. Despite another solid performance from Dwyane Wade, the Spurs were simply too good for Miami. They basically carried the lead from wire to wire and won the game by a score of 114-104. San Antonio’s ‘Big 3’ hopped in their time machine and pulled a performance somewhere out of 2003. They scored a combined 67 points while arguably the Finals MVP at the moment, Danny Green, added 24 points of his own. Green hit another 6 3-pointers and surpassed Ray Allen as the all-time leader for 3-pointers in an NBA Finals. Manu Ginobili was inserted into the starting lineup and hit the Spurs first shot. He was off and running from there and never looked back. While the Spurs seemingly couldn’t miss, Lebron James went ice cold in the 2nd half. For the game he went a putrid 8-22 from the field, and will need to play a whole lot better if they plan on raising any more banners in Miami this year. You got what you asked for Lebron. Now all you have to do is execute. Good luck buddy, you’re going to need it.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

NHL Playoff 1st Round Predictions (better late than never)

I think I’m coming down with a fever, and no I’m not sick. I have that playoff hockey fever thats going around. After a lockout shortened season, the playoffs have finally arrived, and I for one am excited. If you want to gear up for the NHL playoffs too, you are going to need to know when the games are. Here is a quick look at the schedule:

First Round

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1 Chicago BLACKHAWKS
8 Minnesota WILD

Game 1: at CHI, Tue., April 30, 8 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 2: at CHI, Fri., May 3, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 3: at MIN, Sun., May 5, 3 p.m., NBC, CBC
Game 4: at MIN, Tue., May 7, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 5: at CHI, Thu., May 9, TBD, CBC*
Game 6: at MIN, Sat., May 11, TBD, CBC*
Game 7: at CHI, Sun., May 12, TBD, CBC*

2 Anaheim DUCKS
7 Detroit RED WINGS

Game 1: at ANA, Tue., April 30, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at ANA, Thu., May 2, 10 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 3: at DET, Sat., May 4, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at DET, Mon., May 6, 8 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 5: at ANA, Wed., May 8, 10 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at DET, Fri., May 10 TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at ANA, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*

3 Vancouver CANUCKS
6 San Jose SHARKS

Game 1: at VAN, Wed., May 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at VAN, Fri., May 3, 10 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 3: at SJ, Sun., May 5, 10 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at SJ, Tue., May 7, 10 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 5: at VAN, Thu., May 9, 10 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at SJ, Sat., May 11, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at VAN, Mon., May 13, TBD, TSN*

4 Saint Louis BLUES
5 Los Angeles KINGS

Game 1: at STL, Tue., April 30, 8 p.m., CNBC, CBC
Game 2: at STL, Thu., May 2, 9:30 p.m., CNBC, CBC
Game 3: at LA, Sat., May 4, 10 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 4: at LA, Mon., May 6, 10 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 5: at STL, Wed., May 8, TBD, CBC*
Game 6: at LA, Fri., May 10, TBD, CBC*
Game 7: at STL, Mon., May 13, TBD, CBC*

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1 Pittsburgh PENGUINS
8 New York ISLANDERS

Game 1: at PIT, Wed., May 1, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at PIT, Fri., May 3, 7 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 3: at NY, Sun., May 5, 12 p.m., NBC, TSN
Game 4: at NY, Tue., May 7, 7 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 5: at PIT, Thu., May 9, 7 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at NY, Sat., May 11, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at PIT, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*

2 Montreal CANADIENS
7 Ottawa SENATORS

Game 1: at MON, Thu., May 2, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: at MON, Fri., May 3, 7 p.m., CNBC. CBC, RDS
Game 3: at OTT, Sun., May 5, 7 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS
Game 4: at OTT, Tue., May 7, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 5: at MON, Thu., May 9, 7 p.m., CBC, RDS*
Game 6: at OTT, Sat., May 11, TBD, CBC, RDS*
Game 7: at MON, Sun., May 12, TBD, CBC, RDS*

3 Washington CAPITALS
6 New York RANGERS

Game 1: at WAS, Thu., May 2, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at WAS, Sat., May 4, 12:30 p.m., NBC, TSN
Game 3: at NY, Mon., May 6, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at NY, Wed., May 8, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 5: at WAS, Fri., May 10, 7:30 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at NY, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at WAS, Mon., May 13, TBD, TSN*

4 Boston BRUINS
5 Toronto MAPLE LEAFS

Game 1: at BOS, Wed., May 1, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: at BOS, Sat., May 4, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 3: at TOR, Mon., May 6, 7 p.m., NHLN, CBC, RDS
Game 4: at TOR, Wed., May 8, 7 p.m., NHLN, CBC, RDS
Game 5: at BOS, Fri., May 10, 7 p.m. CBC, RDS*
Game 6: at TOR, Sun., May 12, CBC, RDS*
Game 7: at BOS, Mon., May 13, CBC, RDS*

*If Necessary

Now that you know the schedule and the matchups, let’s breakdown each series and predict the winners. I’m going to start in the Western Conference. Why the Chicago Blackhawks are in the Western Conference I’ll never know, but they are, and they are clearly the best team in the NHL. You might remember them from their record breaking “winning” streak earlier in the season. They will handle the Minnesota Wild without a hiccup in the first round (4-0). As for the Anaheim Ducks vs. the Detroit Red Wings, I think we are going to hop in my time machine and go back about 10 years (ya know when the Red Wings were the best hockey team in the world). I see the Red Wings defense stifling the Ducks and winning a highly competitive series in 7 games. On we move to the Vancouver Canucks vs. the San Jose Sharks. This series is going to be a low scoring defensive affair. San Jose has the better defense, and they won the regular season series with the Canucks 3 games to none. Look for San Jose to continue their success and win this series in 6 games. Ah yes, the oh so difficult to predict 4 vs. 5 matchup. This year in the West we have the St. Louis Blues taking on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. The kings swept the regular season series against the Blues(3-0). I think that the Kings will carry the momentum of their solid play late in the season to advance to the 2nd round. It should take 6 games for the Kings to oust the Blues.

Let’s take a road trip back to the East coast and take a look at the Eastern Conference matchups. The first look we will take is at the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the 8th seeded New York Islanders. Now I am an Islander fan, but even I can be objective; sometimes. The only way the Islanders remotely have a chance to win this series is if Sidney Crosby doesn’t play, and they beat up half of the Penguins starting line. Otherwise, they have little to no chance of advancing. I do believe that Sid the Kid is going to sit this round out, however it won’t be enough for the Islanders to move on. While the world will learn just how talented John Taveres is this week, he won’t be able to take the Penguinos down singlehandedly. Look for my Islanders to hang tough and lose this series in 6 HARD FOUGHT games. Lets Go Islanders!! (objectivity shmobjectivity). The second seeded Montrael Canadiens should handle the anemic offense of the Ottawa Senators in 5 games. Don’t look for any miracles in that series. I know I know, you want to see some upsets in the East too. Don’t worry they’re coming up right now. Let me preface this next series preview by saying that I strongly dislike the New York Rangers. However, they will take down the Washington Capitals in 6 games. You heard it here first. Lastly, the 4 vs. 5 matchup in the East should be equally as exciting as the 4/5 matchup in the West. All I have to say is, “Boston Strong Baby!” The Boston Bruins will do away with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 7 tough games.

Check back for 2nd round previews and predictions. Enjoy the NHL playoffs everyone!!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!