Archives for: 2008, week 13

04/06/08

NHL Playoff Predictions - Quarterfinals

Permalink 08:00:49 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

by Digger

The NHL 2008 Stanley Cup seedings are locked and loaded. All World All Sports breaks down Eastern Conference matchups in our first round of our inaugural playoff predictions.

Eastern Conference Quaterfinals

(1) Montreal Canadiens vs (8) Boston Bruins
Montreal swept the regular season series 8 games to 0. No reason to believe Boston will pull off a miraculous upset as the Canadiens won six of these games by no less than two goals.
Leaders: Montreal - Alexi Kovalev 35 goals, 84 points. Casey Price 24-12-3 2.56
Boston - Marc Savard 15 goals, 78 points. Tim Thomas 28-19-6 2.44

Boston is overmatched. Canadiens win in 5.

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (7) Ottawa Senators
Ottawa triumphed over Pittsburgh three times in four games with two being decided after regulation. These teams will do battle each game from the drop of the puck. Pittsburgh is a team on a mission. Question is which goalie will get the nod?
Leaders: Pittsburgh - Evegin Malkin 47 goals, 106 points. Marc-Andre Fleury 19-10-2 2.33
Ottawa - Jason Spezza 34 goals, 92 points. Martin Gerber 30-18-4 2.72

Penguins win in 6.

(3) Washington Capitals vs (6) Philadelphia Flyers
These two teams split their season series 2-2 in tough contests. This opening round matchup will be filled with heavy hits and fierce competition. Penalties could make the difference in this matchup if tempers flare. Kolzig started all 4 regular seasoners vs Philly. Huet had a much better season and needs to mind the nets.
Leaders: Washington - Alex Ovachkin 65 goals, 112 points. Olie Kolzig 25-21-6 2.91, Christobal Huet 32-14-6 2.32
Philadelphia - Mike Richards 28 goals, 75 points. Martin Biron 30-20-9 2.59

This series will be decided in seven grueling games. Capitals advance in 7.

(4) New Jersey Devils vs (5) New York Rangers
New Jersey vs New York could very well be the most intense rivalry currently running in the NHL. The Devils prevailed with home ice advantage by winning this seasons final game vs NY after the Rangers won their previous seven head to head matchups. Three games were decided by shootouts, another by overtime. Both teams have storied playoff histories. When it comes to playoff hockey, very few have been better in goal than New Jersey's Martin Brodeur. Each game will be epic battles.
Leaders: New Jersey - Zach Parise 32 goals, 65 points. Martin Brodeur 44-27-6 2.17
New York - Jaromir Jagr 25 goals, 71 points. Henrick Lundqvist 37-24-10 2.23

This series goes the distance. Devils in 7.

Stay tuned for Western Conference Quarterfinal predictions....

Tune into ALL WORLD ALL SPORTS for the latest sports headlines and links to sports from around the world.

04/04/08

Permalink 04:58:37 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

by Digger

The Knicks ownership led by James Dolan has endured enough losing seasons to finally make a bold front office decision. Donnie Walsh has been hired (4/2/08) as President of Basketball Operations in an attempt to save a sinking franchise. Walsh was one of the major architects of the Indiana Pacers rise to elite status and will be counted on to save a storied franchise which has hit rock bottom.

One of his first orders of business will be to make a decision quickly regarding the status of Isiah Thomas as Knicks head coach. Thomas has been nothing short of a train wreck during his tenure with the Knicks. Poor personnel choices to losing respect from his players and next to zero admiration by Madison Square Garden faithful who shell out top dollar for tickets.

The Knicks were one of the NBA's fiercest and feistiest teams during the 1990's and early 00's. Lately, they've been the joke of the town failing to make the NBA Playoffs in six out of seven seasons. Since the 2005-06 season, the lowly Knickerbockers have a horrid 76-163 (.318) record. James Dolan is a serious competitor and he must be sick to his stomach as this team has fallen to depths most fans could never imagine. Heavy duty changes will be expected and all players are officially on notice.

Madison Square Garden hosted many tremendous Knicks teams and superstars. Led by elite coaches Joe Lapchick (3 Finals appearances), Red Holzman (2 time Champion), Pat Riley (1 Final, former star coach of LA Lakers) and miracle worker Jeff Van Gundy. All directed teams filled with crowd pleasing star performers: Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Patrick Ewing, Bernard King, Richie Guerin, Walt Bellamy, Bill Bradley, Earl "Pearl" Monroe, Charles Oakley.

Recent Knicks teams have lacked leadership and and off the court. Mini soap opera's have made headlines more than spirited team play. This squad is longing cohesive chemistry and New York has had enough bickering and side show drama. Mr. Dolan has brought in a proven builder of success by way of Walsh.

Walsh's first order of business will be to can Isiah and find a suitable team oriented head coach, quickly! Next in line will be to find a big man to dominate the inside lanes. Whether this player comes to NY via free agency, trade or draft will be left to the new boss in town. However it's done, this team needs a complete overhaul. No more wasting money on lucrative contracts for players who don't perform... or those who moan about playing and practicing. The Marbury's, Sprewell's and Houston's of the world were showered with big contracts which rewarded intolerable attitudes and selfish style ball playing.

Times will be changing in New York. Better late than never.

04/02/08

Lost Art: "Stickball"

Permalink 10:49:48 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

by Digger

The lost art of Stickball. Once upon a time, stickball was one of the most popular street games ever to be played. There were various forms of this pickup game made famous dating back to the early 20th century. Many baseball players used to speak of playing stickball as kids growing up within inner city limits.

When played on city streets, the most popular version of the game was to pitch a rubber ball on a bounce. A man hole cover symbolized home plate. The batter would whack it hard as he could. Nearly everything was in play from cars to newpaper stands. Only the buildings represented foul territory. In street games, sometimes it was played by fungo instead of live pitching. Some of baseball's most famous players used to play including Willie Mays. One of the features which made stickball so great was only a couple of players were needed.

For the fast pitch game which I grew up playing, we'd find a school yard and etch a chaulk box on an exterior wall representing a strike zone. We'd then designate distance lines from the box. Anything hit past the pitcher was a single, past a 2nd line a double, 3rd line triple and into the woods on a fly was a home run.

These pickup games were great fun. There were always kids coming to play in days of old. Everyone wanted a turn. In my father's day, bounce pitch was most popular (city ball). Rivalries from neighbourhood to neighbourhood intensified each week. In the 30's and 40's, it was ethnic or racial teams squaring off (neighbourhoods weren't as diverse as now). After school in the spring or when kids were looking for something to do in the summer, the streets would be lined with kids looking to play or jeering against kids from other neighbourhoods.

It's a lost art in today's world. Neighbourhoods are so diversified and with technology ruling the day... stickball has long been forgotten or non-existent to kids in today's world. Not to diehards like myself. There's still a box etched onto the back of my old schoolyard wall. Those were some of the best games. Some even better than little league games. Power pitchers dominated and sometimes power hitters ended games early after crushing the ball too deep to retrieve from the woods. Stickball bats were plentiful to find in local toy stores or made from broom handles. Ah, those were the days.

When searching the internet, one can find stickball leagues but they're few and far between. In days of old, driving down New York City streets would often interrupt games. It's very rare to accidentally stumble onto a game in progress in today's world. Never once played a game outside of the Northeast while living in Florida or Dallas. Now that I think of it, I don't ever remember seeing a strike zone box chaulked onto school walls.

My last game played was to be a one on one game. My friend and I headed to our old stomping grounds school for a heads up match. We ran into a group of teens playing who quickly challenged us "old men". We schooled them before our arms fell off after completing 4 innings. Gasping for air, we called it quits and enjoyed our final victory.

I've been quite surprised to learn the game hasn't been popular on college campuses. It's such an easy game to organize. Perhaps it's time to revive one of America's oldest games.

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