The most notable thing for Boston sports fans regarding the NHL playoffs in the past week has been the Montreal Canadiens finally seeing an end to their Cinderella run that makes everyone with a 617 area code hate themselves. Thank God. I couldn’t see the Habs win in a year in which they beat the Bruins, which is also a year that they have Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin doing weasley things.
Side note: For whatever it’s worth, this year’s Habs team an fanbase has been very bearable, at least by Hab standards. Carey Price and PK Subban are respectable (the latter gets way too much vitriol, he’s just good and flashy, so people hate… he does dive a lot though), the players haven’t been the kind of tools they were in 2011 — except for the guys that Lucic wants to kill, and the fans didn’t do any BS things like call the cops on Chara or boo our national anthem. Everything about the Canadiens wasn’t actually terrible this year. So why is this just a side note? Because they were only good because of low standards. We don’t say that Brandon Prust is a really good NHL player just because you can compare him to Douglas Murray, right?
So it’s nice that the Frenchies are out, but there’s 2 reasons that the loss doesn’t feel as good as one would expect, only a round after they beat the B’s. The first is that Carey Price was injured, so now the Habs and their fans do have a legitimate excuse. Remember, as hard as it is to admit, this is the guy who outplayed Tuukka in the 2nd round, so there’s a definite chance he would’ve done the same against Lundqvist. It would be nice if the Habs went down in flame without a legit excuse to point to.
And the second reason is that it was the New York Rangers who beat them, and the Rangers play in New York. Surely, I hate a New York team, no?
Well, I never like seeing New York sports fans happy. That being said, as far as this Rangers team goes, it’s hard to hate. There are a lot of reasons that I just can’t, and I’ll show them off here.
- I love Derek Stepan. He is a beastly, two way, hardworking center at just 23 years old. He also had a hot girlfriend at the time of 24/7 2 years ago, and, here’s the big one, he’s American. That’s enough reason for me to like him.
- Ryan McDonagh. Without the part of his girlfriend, because I don’t know of that part of his life, he’s the defenseman version of Stepan. Right down to the American Olympic team part. Except he’s better. Anytime some mild idiot says that Dan Girardi is the best defenseman on the team, or anyone some complete idiot says that Marc Staal is the blueshirts’ best blueliner, remind them how big of a liar they are.
- I just gotta respect Henrik Lundqvist. It’s just hard not to.
- Chris Kreider. Boston College. Players better in the playoffs.
- I want idiots to stop giving Rick Nash shit for no reason. Yes, he’s overpaid. Yes, he probably should score a little more. But, if you’re going to say “I admit that he’s playing really well overall, but…” then there’s no “but.” If he’s doing well, hop off.
- I don’t like Alain Vingneault, but I never hated him from the Canucks. He, Cory Schneider, and Ryan Kesler are the only guys on that team who I don’t think really deserve that 2011 Canucks team stink.
Now, there are some things I don’t like. I don’t like how Marty St. Louis forced his way out of Tampa to NYC, I don’t like Benoit Pouliot, even if he was admittedly very good for the Bruins for the role that he had to play, and I still don’t like the fact that they’re in New York. But for a New York team, I don’t mind them.
Also, I have this weird need to hold out hope that the B’s will be the best team of the post-2005 lockout era, partly so that people will give Peter Chiarealli the credit he deserves, even if he does make some clear mistakes. If the Hawks win, the B’s can’t take that crown with a win next year. If the Kings win, it’ll be harder to do, since they’ll also have 2 wins like the Blackhawks. So I’m rooting for the Rangers in the finals.
So yeah, the Red Sox got an incredibly satisfying walk off last night despite losing 2 managers and David Price taking an individual bounty on Red Sox players, New Orleans Saints style. But whatever, there’s something more important to talk about.
DAVID ORTIZ. I don’t think I’ve said it on the site so far, but David Ortiz is my favorite athlete ever. The 2004 postseason, 2005 and 2006 regular season walkoffs, 2007 postseason, That Grand Slam vs. the Tigers, all of last October in general, and the amazing words of April 20, 2013, with the American flag at Fenway as his backdrop.
I have an infinite amount of love for him, and somehow, I just gained more. Check out these comments from last night.
Here are some of the highlights:
“I mean, it’s a war. It’s on. Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more.”
“But when you’re to be acting like a little (expletive) every time you give it up, bounce back like that and put your teammates in jeopardy, that’s going to cost you.”
And the best one by far,
If you’re mad because I take you deep twice, let me let you know, I have almost 500 homers in this league. It’s part of the game, son.”
For those who were watching those comments on TV last night, you’ll also remember that Ortiz was putting in what looked like gold earrings when he made a lot of those comments. Just a ton of swag from Big Papi. If another Boston athlete ever becomes more loved in my mind than David Ortiz, he should get a plaque for that accomplishment.
He really did make good points, though. David Price is a nice guy when he’s got no chip on his shoulder, and he seems pretty cerebral and sharp. But the minute he gets any kind of chip on his shoulder, even if it’s the fact that he seemed to take David Ortiz hitting bombs off of him personally, he becomes kind of a douche. Ortiz doesn’t go after anyone personally — it’s just not his style — unless there’s a real reason to…
If there’s gonna be a war, though, bring it. That’ll be entertaining as hell, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Ortiz kicking asses and taking names.
Finally, here’s an excuse to post this yet again:
After a terrible 10 game losing streak, the Sox have recovered for half of that.
Well, I can’t really say they’ve halfway made up for it, since we’re not just expecting them to go .500. Also, they’ve won 2 games by a run, a game by two runs, one by three, and one by four. That’s ok, but it’s not exactly the kind of run differential that you would hope in a winning streak on a per game basis. Then again, run differential doesn’t matter much on the basis in 5 games, so I’ll shut up.
But I still only feel confident with Lester and Lackey, which isn’t a good sign. Things are still gonna have to change fast, especially with a ton of position players on the DL for like the 5th year in a row. They’re still gonna need David Ortiz to go apeshit at 38, Pedroia to be Pedroia, and Xander Bogaerts to grow up fast. They’ll still need the Brock Holts of the world to play above themselves, and then they’ll need the injured guys to perform when they come back. And the pitchers need to improve. So the Sox are still looking at an uphill battle.
Post on the fight last night is coming.
I brought proof, just in case you didn’t believe me:
After a 10 game losing streak, and in a game where Clay Buchholz had a decent outing by his 2014 standards — and by that I mean 3 IP, 6 ER, 12.00 WHIP — who else stepped up for the Red Sox and put the team on his back? This guy.
Big Papi went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run-scoring sac fly, and that hit was a 3 run bomb to tie the game at 6 in the 5th inning. Dustin Pedroia also had a huge hit right before Papi’s bomb to drive in runners on 2nd and 3rd. This felt like the 2013 World Series all over again, in that only David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia know how to hit a baseball. Actually, Brock Holt did well today, and he’s been one of the Sox’s biggest hitters in this terrible streak, which might be a problem.
The thing is, this lone game won’t mean much for the Sox if some of the stuff we saw today doesn’t change fast. Sure, they won, but Ortiz and Pedey won’t combine for 6 RBI every game, as awesome as they are. And opposing pitchers won’t always do their best Clay Buchholz impersonations by walking Sox hitters 47 times. (It was only 8 from the Braves today? Seemed like way more.)
Here’s the list of guys who are giving up at least half a run: Peavy, Doubront, Breslow, Mujica, Buchholz, and Buchholz again, because he’s been so atrocious that he needs to be mentioned a second time. That also has to change.
Napoli, Victorino, and Middlebrooks are all on the DL, also. Stuff has gotta change fast, even if they finally won today.
I have never believed in karma before, at least not as a supernatural force. I don’t think that stuff gets evened out just that easily. But the past 4 years, the Red Sox are starting to make me think it does exist.
After a horrifying end to the 2011 and even more horrifying 2012 season, the 2013 Red Sox went on a magical run to another World Series title. Now, they’re paying for that. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a very fair trade; 1 for 4 is awesome as long as that 1 is a title.
But that doesn’t mean that the 2014 season doesn’t blow. The Sox dropped their 9th straight today, and it was just heartbreaking. They were up 5-0 after 1, and lost 6-5 in the 15th. I think they had like 3 hits after that first inning, because fuck me, right?
Somehow, it gets worse. David Ortiz wasn’t in the lineup, and just looks old. He can still hit a baseball a mile, but he can’t move. Mike Napoli will be out for a few days. Shane Victorino just went on the DL, and Xander Bogaerts left the game tonight with a hamstring cramp, and we hope it’s not more serious.
Should I keep going? Why not. Jake Peavy hasn’t been the guy that they traded for, Will Middlebrooks, when healthy, looks like a bust. There are 5 players (5!) who have more than .2 WAR (Ortiz, Pedey, Bogaerts, Napoli, and Pierzynski), and it’s fucking May 24th.
The Sox are now in the Al East’s basement, and they’re 7 games back of first.
Fuck me, right?
Yes, I know that the Habs won tonight on Alex Galchenyuk’s goal, killing our hopes of a Rangers sweep. But it’s becoming more clear day after day that Ryan McDonagh is a stud, and anyone who watched 5 minutes during the Olympics should know that.
It’s always nice to remember that the Rangers traded Scott Gomez to the Canadiens for Ryan McDonagh in 2009.
(Note: This column will resume after these messages…
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HA. Ok I’m done.)
Still can’t believe that one. Just imagine how lopsided this series would be if McDonagh was on the Habs. Sure, the two teams would have made some different moves, but it’s not too far off to just put him on the Frenchies. They’d have Subban and McDonah first pairing, the Russians (Markov and Emelin) as their possible 2nd pairing, and then Georges and Boullion, Weaver, or Murray fitting in somewhere, with Boullion maybe taking a 2nd pairing spot from one Putin’s fuck buddies. Then, there’d be no controversy over whether Douglas Murray, the worst defenseman in the league, would play at all. And the Habs would have McDonagh and Subban going forward in front of Carey Price, which might be the scariest young goal-preventing trio in the league outside of Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, and David Warsofsky.
The Rangers’ defense wouldn’t be able to hold the jock of the Habs in this series if they hadn’t made that trade. Now, again, if they trade wasn’t made, some of the moves thereafter wouldn’t have happened. That’s fine, but let’s just look at that trade and remember why the Rangers are up 2-1 in this series, even after Galchenyuk’s goal.
On another note, you know what the only good part to Alex Galchenyuk scoring in OT tonight is? The Americans are killing it in this series. Stepan is playing well, Kreider is playing great even if he wasn’t taking out the Habs’ best player, and McDonagh is obviously a boss. Ryan Callahan is also playi… oh wait. And while I do hate that Max Pacioretty is American, at least we can say that the American is doing all right this series.
But yeah, Ryan McDonagh is a beast. And Scott Gomez sucks now. Nuff said.
I have a ton of respect for Charles Barkley as a basketball television analyst (except for when he doesn’t know half the rosters of bad teams in the league, but whatever), but I think his prediction that LBJ will go back to the Cavs, which Barkley says he’s “always thought,” is simply wrong.
Important side note: I usually hate this kind of speculation before the playoffs are even over, the same way that I think that coverage of the 2016 presidential candidates in 2014 is beyond stupid. But this instance also touches on some other stuff, so it’s worth writing a piece about.
Why won’t LeBron return? Here’s why:
More specifically, here is why.
(Let’s just take a second to laugh at Dan Gilbert for how mind-numbingly stupid his predictions often are. Not only did he say that he expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to make the 2014 playoffs, yet they missed it in the JV Eastern Conference, but he actually said that his Lebron-less, dog shit team would win before LeBron, Wade, and Bosh would in Miami. Next, I hope he predicts that Kobe will become a superstar again. That’ll be the end of the Black Mamba.)
To start, the way that the Cavs fans acted towards LeBron was ridiculous. I realize it’s hard for fans of a cursed sports city like Cleveland to realize this, but the hatred really was just stupid. No player, no matter how amazing of a body he was gifted (that got weirdly sexual, no?), has to stay in a city just because fans want him to. By NBA rules, LeBron had to play 5 years in Cleveland, and he played 7, despite GM Danny Ferry surrounding him with such a terrible supporting cast that they gave me a call back in 2008 after Paul Pierce ended their season. (Excuse to post a link to this. Orgasmic.) But fine, I guess we can get past that, because they’re fans, and fans will be irrational, especially if they’ve been beaten down so much by the rest of Cleveland sports.
But even if LeBron gets over the stuff with the fans, I don’t think he’ll get over Dan Gilbert acting like a child who didn’t get what he wanted on his birthday. And, while I’d never say what anybody “should” do with his personal life — that would make me just as bad as the fans I just criticized — I hope that LeBron doesn’t forget about that.
The spoiled brat on his birthday analogy is probably too nice. This isn’t a fun debate to have, but it bears saying: I’m a white American male, meaning that I’m among the least discriminated against people of all time, and even I thought there was a racial aspect of Gilbert’s ridiculous letter. It’s impossible to know exactly what’s inside someone’s head, which is why I debated for 5 minutes whether to write this paragraph. But, racial or not, it’s clear that Gilbert felt that he not only owned the Cleveland Cavaliers, but owned LeBron James. If I was LBJ, that’s not something I’d forget. And I don’t think that he will.
Where will LeBron go? I don’t see why he’d leave Miami. But that kind of speculation isn’t necessary here. What is important now is jus the a little bit of perspective surrounding LeBron’s history with the Cavaliers organization. And I think the history prevents him from returning.
The Celtics are still strapped up with draft picks, and Adrian Wojnarowski doesn’t pull stuff out of his ass, so maybe Kevin Love will come here. That’s the only positive thing I can say after last night.
Gordon, Randle, Smart, Vonleh or someone else could be good, and they’ll probably become the best asset Ainge has when he drafts one of them. Thing is though, one of those second tier guys might not even be there at six. That’s what we’re dealing with.
Ainge doesn’t know what he’s gonna do yet and said he’s looking at everything, but here are some directions the Celtics can go from here — if the options present themselves, as Danny likes to harp on. Need two to tango, etc.
-Trade Rondo and suck as much as Stevens will let them next year. Rondo’s deal is up after next year, and although Ainge talked up Rondo to the Boston Herald for the 218th time last weekend, he could plateau or get worse going forward. If he actually does improve at 28, who fucking cares? Best case, Sully drops 40 lbs and Olynyk is better and draft picks hit and Stevens backs them into a 7 seed. Wonderful. Then maybe Danny can sell high on some dudes and deal the Nets/Clippers picks and get a star for Rondo. Then are you gonna max out Rondo and the other star? And is that even good enough? Without that star too, why would Rondo want to sign here except for the extra $$, but again, would you max out a 29 year old point guard who still can’t shoot free throws? And this is all assuming that he comes back from an ACL tear at full health, and I hear that’s kind of a bad injury.
Last, last, last thing I want to do next year is get hyped for another lottery, but that might happen anyway, so if a good Rondo deal comes around I hope the Mormon In Charge pulls trig. Talk to me next week and it might be different but that’s probably the best (realistic) way to go at this point.
-Somehow trade for Kevin Love and get him to stay. Obviously. Give up Rondo if you have to, That wouldn’t make sense for Love but you know what I’m saying.
-Trade down. Everyone knows that Danny claims he doesn’t think this draft is as good as everyone said and he even said last night that he doesn’t think they’re gonna get a starter for next year at 6. He also said last night that he thinks this is a deep draft, so they could trade down. Pheonix, run by Ainge’s former assistant GM Ryan McDonough, has the 14, 18, and 27 picks, so there could be dance partner there. (This would have to be a really appropriate and clean type of dance, because, again, the Mormon thing.) If that happens, they could move down and get McDermott, which would precede my suicide.
-Pick a dude at 6 and 17 and rock with the extra draft picks/young guys/Rondo’s expiring contract mix into the season until Danny finds a good place to shoot his load. Meh.
Also want to say that if Vonleh/Gordon are there at 6 (assuming Exum is gone), Danny better stick to best guy available like he says he will, because Sully’s fat ass and Olynyk’s T-Rex arms shouldn’t be locked into to any long term plans. I like Sully’s game more than most but he’s not that special.
The AL East sucking is the only thing that is getting me out of bed at this point. And Darelle Revis’ smile.
Useful link: http://www.draftexpress.com/videos/Scouting/
Tonight is the night that could change the Boston Celtics for multiple decades. After 6 straight years in the playoffs with Pierce and KG, that sounds depressing, but it’s true. This is the night. We’ll have a ton of time to talk about the specific draft picks up until late June, but tonight, it’s just about the odds themselves.
As I said, the C’s have a 10.3% chance at the top pick, 11.1% at the 2nd, 12% at the 3rd, 23.8% at the 5th, 34.2% at 6th, 8.2% at 7th, and just .4% at 8th. The good news is that the draft seems to fall off after about the top 6 from what I’ve read, and the C’s have less than a 1 in 10 chance of getting lower than that. The bad news is that they only have a roughly 1/3 chance at a top 3 pick.
Well, I guess that’s all the analysis I can really do. There’s not much more to say, but that doesn’t mean I’m not incredibly jacked up for an athletic event that isn’t actually an athletic event. Number 1 pick, meet the Boston Celtics.
After all the thoughts that we might get a surprise Conference finalist (Wizards, Clippers), nope. We have the four that everyone expected from the start of the season. That’s not a huge problem though. Remember, a lot of people expected that the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs would play in the 2013 Finals last year, and that brought us Games 6 and 7, which were tremendous. Let’s not confuse predictability with a bad product.
Here are the picks:
Miami Heat (-370) over Indiana Pacers (+310) in 6.
There are a few schools of thought with this one:
1) The Pacers took the Heat to 7 last year, and the Heat are probably not as good as last year. LeBron is still an alien, but Dwyane Wade is older, and basically took time off this year just to make sure he could play in May and June, which doesn’t exactly scream durability. Also, the Pacers have home court this time around, and, even though players will always say this, the Indiana roster said that they felt that home court made a big difference in 2013. The Pacers take it.
2) Yeah, but these aren’t the 2013 Pacers, either. This is the team that seems to be having internal issues, and this is a team who has no idea if its $14 million center, Roy Hibbert, will show up. The Pacers from February 2013 to February 2014 would win this series, but those Pacers don’t exist anymore. The Heat win an easy series.
3) Something in the middle. Which is what I’m choosing. The Heat aren’t as good as last year, but the Pacers just don’t have the chops to beat them. This series will be one of the few times that the cliche of mental toughness actually does play as big of a difference as the talking heads say, and that’s Indiana’s biggest weakness. And they’re going up against the Eastern Conference Champs of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Pretty big mental edge there. That being said, Indy keeps it somewhat close, and the Heat have to wait until they’re back home in Game 6 to pull it out…
That being said, if Indy wins that Game 6 (I’m fully expecting the Heat to be up 3-2 after 5), then it’s probably 50-50 in Game 7. Actually, maybe not, since Miami has a guy named “LeBron.” But if it’s tied after 6, it would shock nobody if Indy wins.
San Antonio Spurs (-215) over Oklahoma City Thunder (+185) in 5.
The Thunder don’t have James Harden.
The Thunder don’t have James Harden.
The Thunder don’t have James Harden.
Is that enough analysis? Fine, I’ll keep going.
If you can’t tell, I think that James Harden would make a huge difference for OKC, and the team’s management should still be kicking themselves over that one for years to come. The Thunder are one-dimensional on offense, especially if Westbrook is having one of his trainwreck games. Gregg Popovich’s defense kind of does well against teams that don’t have much to fall back on offensively. Yes, a guy like Reggie Jackson could step up for the Thunder, but please. The Spurs invented the “Getting random players to play well when the superstars are covered” game. That’s like trying to get a ridiculous treasure chest of draft picks for the price of one late first round pick better than Bill Belichick does. He can’t be beaten, just like Gregg Popocivh won’t be beaten with that Reggie Jackson BS.