Monday, April 11, 2016
Beginnings and Endings, Spring 2016
Topps 2016 Opening Dy card, "Bat Flip"
In the early days of April, seasons close, seasons open. Seasons of sport, naturally.
The doors closed last night on the Boston Bruins. The Flyers and the Wings crept into the playoff hunt. The Wings kept their magnificent streak alive, with their 25th playoffs on the horizon. The Ottawa Senators played the spoilers role, netting four goals in eight minutes in the second period to sink the Bostonians.
The Florida Panthers have just completed their most successful season. They have great goaltending with Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya. I have always maintained that a team must have two fine goalies. Check that with any avid Habs fan. The rats poured onto the ice Saturday night after the Panthers beat the Hurricanes 5-2. Aaron Ekblad scored his 15th goal, and Huberdeau added his 20th. They are geared up for the playoffs.
I hear a fair amount of weeping, and gnashing of teeth from northern areas. There is this feeling that something is not right because there are no Canadian cities in the playoffs. Hogwash. Predictions are made that television ratings will lower. Could be true. There are many factors that have contributed to this: drafting, coaching, management, team chemistry, fan support, injuries....I would like to see more Canadian teams in the hunt. As you know, there are several American teams with more Canadians on their rosters than Canadian teams. Thus, I have little concern about this aspect. Follow the players, not the cities. In most cases, that would be Andrew Shaw, and the Hawks, and Nick Cousins and the Philadelphia Flyers.
The basketball season comes to a close on Wednesday night, as does the career of Kobe Bryant. He has just completed his farewell tour, so we can now concentrate on David Ortiz and his tour. The Toronto Raptors have played well all season, and are rewarded with home court advantage to begin the playoffs. Eventually, they will have to get by the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James to play the western teams. Not an easy chore.
The Golden State Warriors are posed to win the west, especially after their dramatic victory over the Spurs in San Antonio. It was the sole loss at home for the Spurs this year. The NBA playoffs will be exciting this year.
The Forida Everblades open their playoff season against the Wheeling (West Virginia) Nailers this coming weekend. The Blades passed out their team hardware last weekend. Former Duke Anthony Peters received the trophy as their most valuable player.
And the baseball season has officially begun, with the Blue Jays playing .500 ball thus far. We attended their last game in Tampa Bay. It followed the game that was decided by replay, when Bautista was ruled to have interfered while sliding into second base. The right call, in my opinion.
Tampa Bay is a great place to watch baseball, and you will not have any trouble getting a great seat at a decent price. The Rays have a decent team, as are all of the other teams in the American League East. Currently, the Orioles lead the pack. No one expected that. Most pundits have chosen the Jays to repeat. It certainly won't be easy.
The golf season's first major tournament wrapped up last weekend. Jordan Spieth appeared headed for victory when he faltered on the twelfth hole. He rushed a couple of shots, lost his edge, and ended the hole with a quadruple bogey. England's Daniel Willett won the tourney, and received the green jacket from Spieth. Great to watch, not the upset, but the drama.