Friday, March 30, 2007

Brace Yourself

March may have Madness, but the month of April is a frenzy of events for the sports fan. Opening Day and the start of the MLB season have been my modus operandi the past month. But in addition to the start of the baseball season April has the Final Four, The Masters, the start of the NHL and NBA playoffs, and the NFL Draft.
As for the Final Four, unless UCLA wins it all, I'm boned. Hopefully the final round of the Masters is close, there's nothing like watching the last four holes of a Major tournament. This year like every year I always root for Tiger, just because I think deep down that Hootie guy gets pissed that he has let an African-American into Augusta, let alone hand him a check for winning the tournament.

For the NHL, the Red Wings have defied the consensus that a salary cap would bring them down to the pack. In fact, they are on the verge of winning there third President's trophy in a row, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since the Montreal Canadiens of 1975-77. But the playoffs have not been kind for the Wings since their last Cup in 2001, failing to make it to the Conference Finals since then. But the new NHL hasn't been kind for any top seeded teams in the West in recent years. Last year in the West all the top seeded teams lost in the first round, with 8th seeded Edmonton winning the conference. In 2005 6th seed Calgary won the West. So for this year? I think the Wings stand a decent shot. Playoffs are all about constant attacking, and hot goaltending. The Wings have more young legs (Hudler, Filppula, Franzen, Calder, Lebda) than in past season to provide the attack. Even if Hasek can't produce, Chris Osgood has been more than capable in his absence. I don't know if the Wings will win the Stanley Cup, because the NHL Playoffs are nearly impossible to predict, but I would venture a guess that the Wings are build for a long playoff run.

As for the NBA, it looks like the Pistons (despite the half of the team being sick) will win the top seed in the East. They're up 2.5 on the Cavs and up 3 on the Bulls with one game left vs. each, and 11 total. Out of those 11, beside the aforementioned games with the Bulls and Cavs only 3 are against opponents with winning records. The Bulls have only 9 games and the Cavs 10, with both teams playing each other tomorrow. A healthy C-Webb and Rip should keep the Pistons with the top spot. As for the playoff, with there vastly improved bench, I don't see a team competing with Detroit other than Miami. That series can go anyway depending on how many calls the Dwyrama Queen can get.

As for the draft well it's the only day the Lions are one of the top teams in the NFL, so they got that going for them, which is nice.

So here's to April, an awesome sports month.

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