Everyone and their freaking mother had their TVs tuned to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN583, and the NFL Network this weekend—myself included—and while you were listening to Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. bicker like an old married couple about which draft expert’s 39th ranked left offensive tackle had the better intangibles, the rest of the sports world still carried on.
Here’s some of the things you might have missed over the past few days in sports not named the NFL.
National Hockey League
The Minnesota Wild failed to clinch a playoff spot on Friday night after getting decimated by the Edmonton Oilers at home, a team they had beaten the previous 17 times in the comfy confines of the Xcel Energy Center.
On Saturday, the Wild, Detroit, and Columbus will all be fighting to sure up the final two spots in the Western Conference. All the Wild need to do is beat the Avalanche and they’re in (or Columbus can lose in regulation and they’re in). It gets a bit more tricky for Columbus. The Blue Jackets will need to win their game against the Nashville Predators—in regulation or overtime, doesn’t matter—and they’ll need either the Red Wings to lose in regulation or the Wild to lose in any fashion. They can also get in if they earn a point against the Predators (i.e. lose in overtime) and the Wild lose in regulation.
The Eastern Conference is set (for the most part). Some seedings can change, but the eight teams to make the playoffs have already been decided.
In other hockey news, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren flipped a GIANT F**K today when asked about Head Coach Peter Laviolette’s future with the team, per Inquirer reporter Sam Carchidi.
National Basketball Association
As the Heat and Knicks continue to roll in the East (both lead their respective series 3-0), the Spurs are embarrassing the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Thunder are hoping the loss of Russell Westbrook for the remainder of the year won’t impact their chances as the West’s 2-seed—the NBA leading scorer at point guard had surgery on Saturday to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee, an injury he suffered during game 2 on Wednesday night.
And! On Saturday, the action began with the Chicago Bulls taking a commanding 3-games-to-1 lead in their series against the Brooklyn Nets after a 3OT thriller that saw over 275 points scored, and the Bulls rally from 14 down with 3 minutes left.
Major League Baseball
Sure, the first month of play is barely in the books, but some amazing things happened in the last few days, while the NFL Draft was going on.
We’ll start with two fine pitching performances on Saturday. In New York, Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone, pitching in just his second major league game, filling John Lannan’s spot in the rotation while Lannan is hurt, earned his first big-league win against the Mets. Pettibone went five strong, struck out four, and held the Mets power bats in check for the most part throughout the day.
Another fine pitching performance was turned in on Saturday by the Detroit Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez who struck out 17 in eight innings of work against the Atlanta Braves. He had a chance to go after (and tie) the record of 20 Ks held by Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood, but his 121 pitch-count had manager Jim Leyland wary—Leyland said after the game he considered pulling Sanchez after the seventh, but he decided to let him go a little longer, and Sanchez went out and struck out the side in the eighth.
Oh, and the PED story is getting ridiculous…
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
For those who enjoy the sport—yes, it’s a sport—of NASCAR, all hell has been breaking lose in terms of fines and suspensions, arrests, divorces, and the sort. Read up, cause it’s too much to fit on these pages without losing about half of our followers.
But Don’t Forget About the Draft…
One parting shot. I, personally, find Frank Calliendo to be an annoying individual. But this may be one of his finer works and one that everyone should have the chance to enjoy. So, enjoy.