The most exciting time of the year begins tonight with the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin. I sure hope the schedule is better than it was last season, where some teams had to play 3 games in 4 days while others got 2 and 3 days rest between games. It needs to be an equal playing field for all teams. One thing you can count on, if it’s nice outside this weekend, don’t expect a huge following for the NBC game of the week. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing playoff hockey once again in Phoenix. The traditional playoff WHITE OUT (an idea stolen by the Crapitals in their rock the red campaign) was brought to the valley of the sun from Winnipeg. Bar none, it is the coolest thing to see on television or in person.
CRAPitals fans better hope that Jose Theodore comes to play this season or the overall #1 seed will be looking for tee times in the next 2 weeks. The fate of Washington’s cup hopes falls on Alex Ovechkin, arguably the best player in the NHL. If Ovie decides to play hockey and not try to throw his weight around and get that extra hit in, the Capitals should dispatch the Habs in 4 straight games.
The Penguins appear to have lost to the Trashers “on purpose” Saturday night allowing the New Jersey Devils to win the division and gain the #2 seed. Why? The reason seems fairly obvious. The NHL wants to showcase yet another Ovechkin vs. Crosby matchup in round 2. Think about it.
Brian Matusz must be drinking the orange kool-aid with loads of artificial sweetener in it. Matusz was speaking to reporters after last night’s wasted effort and actually said, “we’re playing good baseball.” Who is the WE, he is referring to? It’s not the team wearing orange and black, that’s for damn sure. They can’t score runs after the first 3 innings, they can’t run the bases properly, they can’t hit with runners in scoring position, they can’t close out games when they are ahead and Matusz thinks they are playing GOOD baseball? The Orioles are 1-7 with 5 straight losses at home. They have been close in just about every game had chances to win all of them with a few timely hits or by geting a few crucial outs when they needed them. Remember the one game they did win, Mike Gonzalez tried to give away with his Don Stanhouse-like effort in the 9th inning.
Now, I hear and read comments from the so-called faithful and have to laugh to myself. I was on the fire Trembley and dump the entire coaching staff bandwagon most of 2009. I was not in agreement to his being brought back in 2010 because I don’t think he is a good manager. He, like Cal Sr, might be a great baseball guy and very loyal company man, but he doesn’t have what it takes to manage a major league team. His press conferences are replays of 2009. He looks like a beaten man 8 games into the season. His career winning percentage spirals down around the .400 mark with every loss. It is actually sad to watch and it’s probably going to get worse with that 9 game road trip beginning tomorrow. Losing their 6th straight game today and having a 3-6 record on the road trip may spell the end for the William Shatner look-alike. Don’t look now, but Matt Wieters has been behind the plate for 8 straight games without being rested. Last year I was all over Trembley’s decision to rest (DH) Wieters during his first-ever homestand, when I thought the fans should be rewarded for coming out in droves to see him play. Sorry, DHing is not allowing people the chance to see him perform in his proper position. Trembley screwed the fans that Sunday but has seemingly changed his tune the first week of the season. When was the last time you saw that on this team? Since last night’s game went into the 10th inning, Wieters will probably sit out todays 135pm get-away, rather, give-away, game.
Keep in mind, Andy McPhail is the one who assembled this version of the Orioles. 15 of the 25 players on the roster as of opening day were not with the team a year ago when the season started. McPhail signed guys like Gonzalez, Ohman, Tejada, Atkins, Lugo, Tatum, and Millwood to fill voids and shure up the offense and pitching staff. This is his team now and if he happens to fire Dave Trembley, which I firmly believe would be unfair, I hope he goes further and dumps the entire coaching staff as well. A turd might appear to be gone, but the smell stays until you clean up all the remains.