ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Okay, so the MLB Spring Training part of this (at the end) got outworked in the corner by the NY Rangers stuff but maybe it got you in here. Hey, it’s Sweeps Week and you need to broaden your sports horizons.
The NY Rangers are currently in the midst of their yearly trip to Western Canada. They lost to Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers Monday night in overtime. The Blueshirts stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to tie up the game and force overtime. But the game ended as so may Rangers games have ended lately, with an overtime loss.
Wednesday night, the Rangers lost handily to the Vancouver Canucks. In recent years the Rangers have fared pretty well in Western Canada, but things are different now. David Quinn’s men will need a win tonight in Calgary to salvage the trip. Three points from the three games would be a respectable haul for a Rangers team that will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The squad is going through the motions but they don’t have much to play for over the last dozen games of the season. They could play spoilers for a couple of teams in the playoff hunt. They have games against the Leafs, Bruins, and Blues. They also have two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have taken over the third spot in the Metropolitan Division. A few weeks ago, the Penguins were on the outside looking in. Now they’re on the heels of the Islanders in second place and are just four points behind the Washington Capitals, who sit atop the Metro with 91 points.
The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets currently occupy the Wild Card spots but the Montreal Canadiens are even on points with John Tortorella’s Jackets. It should be a fun few weeks as the regular season draws to a close. The Tampa Bay Lightning need 8 wins in their final 11 games to equal the 1995-96 Red Wings total of 62 on the season. The Lighting have 112 points and would have to win 10 of their last 11 games to match the 1976-77 Canadiens total of 132. It’s been an amazing season for the Lighting, who have run away with the President’s Trophy race this season. They will be odds-on favorites to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in June, which would hand the Rangers another first round draft pick. So this Rangers fan is rooting hard for the ex-Rangers in Tampa.
MLB SPRING TRAINING
The Grapefruit/Cactus League is winding down as we’re just a couple of weeks away from the start of the regular season. The Yankees came in with high hopes of a deep playoff push, but they’ve lost two starting pitchers to injury before the season even started. Luis Severino was shut down with soreness in his shoulder. It’s not a good sign that shoulder problems are popping up in March and not in August after pitching 100 innings.
CC Sabathia has battled his own injuries this spring but he seems to be on the mend. He pitched a BP session a couple of days ago and looks like he’ll be ready to pitch early in the regular season.
And there you have it. Leave your two bits below and come back tomorrow for a man that battling brain tendinitis, Sports Rain Man Junoir Blaber.