The Swinging Bunt
Washington Capitals v. Pittsburgh Penguins. The two most talented hockey players in the world will square off head-to-head for a third time this year in NHL regular season play at the Verizon Center at 7:00pm tonight. The hockey world’s collective eyes will be squarely focused on the game’s two brightest stars, the Caps’ Alexander Ovechkin and Pens’ Sydney Crosby. Also watching, will be this guy. It will mark the first time I’ll have hockey on my T.V. as my main evening viewing event since the Canadians beat the U.S. in their epic overtime Gold Medal game in Vancouver a few weeks ago. Clearly, I was not blinded by the spotlight the Olympic torch’s glow created for the NHL. But, I was one of those guys who thought the phenomenal action of the Olympic tournament would help generate a bigger buzz amongst the seemingly large ‘I’m not a die-hard hockey guy, yet am a big-time sports fan’ segment – a group which I consider myself to be a member of. The NHL has three major things going for itself: its product is outstanding to watch in-person, playoff hockey can be at times unparalleled in drama, and the Alex Ovechkin – Sydney Crosby rivalry. It’s not often the Game of the Night in the NHL is the top highlight on SportsCenter, but barring ridiculously entertaining N.I.T. suspense, Ovechkin-Crosby will get tonight’s top billing. I like hockey; I don’t love it. But I will say, the chance of seeing these two get together in an Eastern Conference Semis or Eastern Finals has me eager for them to keep filling my hockey fix.
Congratulations Lady Cyclones! Just wanted to be sure to throw a line out to the women’s basketball team over at Iowa State. In the NCAA Tournament Second Round last night the #4 seed Cyclones knocked out upset-minded #12 seed Wisconsin-Green Bay 60-56 for their 25th win of the season and a birth in the Sweet 16. Again, a heart-filled congratulations goes to Coach Bill Fennelly, his players, and his staff! Next up they will play the #1 seed University of Connecticut Huskies this weekend in Dayton. UConn is currently 35-0 this year, they’ve won 74 consecutive games in total – all by double-figure scores, and their winning margin was 54, yes 54, in their second round match-up last night against Temple. All right, so once again, great season for you ladies in Ames, Iowa; uniform turn-in is Monday when you get back to campus!
Scanning the Blogosphere
WNST.net: Brian Matusz throws 6 innings, gives up 3 runs in O’s 4-2 loss to the Cardinals.
WNST.net: Ed Frankovic delivers the “Caps response to steroid investigation.”
WNST.net: Bob Haynie asks you, the listeners and web-viewers, “Who was Baltimore’s best Oriole in the 2000’s?”
WNST.net: Rex Snider wonders why “The Orioles Hall of Fame does not include Palmeiro and Alomar.”
TheBigLead: Tyler Duffy alerts us, “NFL Execs worried about large number of Midnight Tokers in 2010 Draft Class.”
ProFootballTalk: Mike Florio astutely breaks down “The Ins and outs of the new overtime rule.”
ProFootballTalk: Mike Florio reports, “Tebow’s pre-Wonderlic prayer request falls flat.”
SportsBusinessJournal: Matt Kutler: “Messi overtakes Beckham in football rich list.”
TheBleacherReport: Nick Mordowanec poses the biggest 2010 NBA Draft question, “Will John Wall or Evan Turner be a better pro?”
ZagsBlog: Adam Zagoria wonders if Baltimore’s Carmelo Anthony could be headed to the Knicks.
FanHouse: Lisa Olson so kindly welcomes us to the “Bad Apple of Hoops.”
TheJetStream: Rich Cimini analyzes “How ‘Knock’ Teams have fared after HBO Show.”
Video of the Day
In honor of their match-up tonight at the Verizon Center, I give you Ovechkin – Crosby highlights:
Kentucky FR. forward DeMarcus Cousins (a 6’11 Mars Blackmon look-alike) on his team’s match-up with the Ivy League’s Champions, Cornell: “It’s the Smart Kids vs. the Dumb Kids.”
Tweets of the Day
— WNST Reporter and Producer, Luke Jones – WNST
— WNST NFL Correspondent, Chris Pika – BlogAndTackle
Better idea for #NFL Weeks 16 & 17 sked: All clubs play division OR conference team. No AFC-NFC in last 2 wks-least crucial to tiebreaks.
— WNST Comcast Morning Show Producer, Glenn Clark – WNST
– New York Times National College Sports Writer, Pete Thamel – PeteThamelNYT
Jim Boeheim: Arinze Onuaku will not play against Butler; Matt Howard, Gordon Hayward rejoice
– ESPN.com Columnist, Jemele Hill – jemelehill
The Jets will be featured on Hard Knocks. Rex Ryan + cable = hi-jinks & hilarity.
– Washington Post Columnist, Dan Steinberg – dcsportsbog
Wiz players from training camp who haven’t been bought out, traded, suspended, injured or benched: Nick Young, JaVale McGee
– Newsday New York Knicks Beat Writer, Alan Hahn – alanhahn
One thing I’ve learned over the last two weeks: The Lakers have the West locked up. Dallas and Denver just aren’t real enough.
– ESPN Personality, Skip Bayless – RealSkipBayless
I’m in awe of how Jason Kidd has re-invented self at 37. Slower, weighs more, but shoots 10 times better. 42% from 3! Assists same, 9.2 per.
– Sports Illustrated MLB Insider, John Heyman – SI_JonHeyman
after meeting jason heyward, i’m as impressed as everyone else. a serious, dedicated young man. he can have j-hey monicker. #braves