BLOOMINGBURG, NY – Over the years when a seasoned sports fan watches enough games on the telly he/she can sense a defeated team in a matter of moments. Since Thursday night I have spotted the doom and gloom set in on teams during the NHL and NBA Conference Finals and a casual early season baseball game. What was witnessed is today’s topic of discussion and maybe some of you out there experienced the same feelings as I did if you were watching along with me.
Thursday night. NHL Game #4 Eastern Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, NC. Yes, I’m very well aware that the Bruins are one of only four hockey teams in history to blow a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs (they were also up 3-0 in the Game 7 against Philthydelphia in 2010 when they spit the bit) but this series was very different. Heading into the fourth game of the series the B’s enjoyed a 3-0 series lead and shortly before pre-game warm ups it was announced that their captain and big minutes eater on defense, Zdeno Chara, would not play. For once in my Boston Bruins-loving lifetime I wasn’t worried one bit. Really, I wasn’t. All year long it has been a “next man up” mentality especially on defense on this roster. John Moore would step in for Big Zee and the other five would see an uptick in their ice time. Goaltender Tuukka Rask was in net and he had been seeing the puck as if it were a beach ball. Game four was over when game three ended with Carolina throwing everything they had in their best effort of the series but with nothing nut a poop sandwich to show for it. After a very uneventful first period in which the ‘Canes did not respond to the moment of a “do or die” situation in front of the home folk, the Bruins scored the first goal of the game and soon after killed a penalty and that just sucked the life out of the building. What came next was a 2-0 Bruins lead and as the camera panned Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour he had the look of a kid whose Halloween candy was stolen by a neighborhood tough. Two goal leads are nothing in hockey these days especially in the playoffs where momentum swings on a shift by shift basis but you could tell by the body language on the man behind the bench that the task ahead was just about impossible with the way the Bruins were stepping on the throat to complete the sweep. There was no Storm Surge by these Bunch of Jerks. No push back as Boston scored a third goal in the 3rd and it was all academic with series-ending handshakes.
Saturday night. NBA Game #3 Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers in Portland. I don’t watch basketball until this juncture of the season and besides there was no hockey on to be watched. With Kevin Durant ruled out for the remainder of the series I actually thought the Blazers had a shot of climbing back into the series as the scene moved to Portland where if the Blazers held serve at home a series would ensue. This was the prevailing thought through three quarters as Portland enjoyed as much as a fifteen point lead. That lead was chipped away to ten and by the end of the third the Warriors held a three-point advantage. The Warriors have been here before and know how to finish things off whereas the Trailblazers are an upstart and crumbled in front of every sports fans eyes on this night. Game. Set. Match. Golden State 110, Portland 99. The Warriors will finish things off in the next two games as there have been zero comebacks in this sport from a 0-3 series hole.
Sunday Afternoon. MLB, New York Mets Game #45 at cavernous and unattended Marlins Park in Miami. I’m sitting at the bar watching with no sound sipping on a bottle of Budweiser as both these baseball powerhouses are causing insomnia as patrons are sleeping through five and a half innings of scoreless baseball. The Mets have only one hit to this point as well. Miami pushes the first run of the game across the plate and if you know anything about the Mets this game is over right then and there. Defeat is written all over manager Mickey Callaway and his team after being swept by the lowly Marlins. Callaway will be relieved of his duties either by my deadline or before first pitch tomorrow against the Nationals. Sure, it doesn’t help when your best player dogs it on the basepaths as he has in the past but ownership knew what they were getting with this guy and they signed him anyway. Sh!t rolls downhill. The New York Mets are done. There is no life on this team whatsoever and I dare somebody to tell me differently.
In the span of four days across three different sports I witnessed the demise of three different teams and if you were watching it was obvious to the seasoned sports fan.
Speaking of seasoned sports fans, come back tomorrow for Benjamin Whitney.