STAMFORD, CT – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the hockey playoffs are the best. The NBA playoffs are pretty good too, unless you’re a Knicks fan. But if you love condescending LeBron soliloquies and projectiles being thrown at players, it’s your time of year. Let’s get it.
There is a zero percent chance that the Isles v Bruins series goes less than six games. These teams are already pissed at each other and are bringing the haymakers. Casey Cizikas, who will probably be on the Rangers next year, scored on a OT breakaway to even the series. The Rangers probably won’t bring in a huge free agent because Mika and Adam Fox need to get paid soon, but Czikas is a grinding bottom six center who can win faceoffs. He’d fit in nicely behind Strome and Zibanejad. Wait, I’m supposed to be talking Islanders v Bruins. It’s been a great series so far.
Speaking of the Rangers, nearly every playoff game I watch features an ex-Rangers D-man who’s doing better than he was on the Rangers. Even Nick Holden, a punching bag in NY, is a reliable third pair guy on Las Vegas. Neal Pionk isn’t as good as Jacob Trouba, but he’s grown into a better value for his salary. Brady Skjei is solid in Carolina. And Ryan Graves, a guy who barely even gave a cup of coffee with the Rangers, is a solid backliner in Colorado. You might recognize him as the guy getting his head pummeled into the ice by Ryan Reaves in Game 1.
It’s a disappointing result for the NHL that four of its biggest stars, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner were complete no shows in the playoffs and are already gone. You might be able to get by on the backs of a few stars in the regular season, but in the playoffs you need a lot of good players. Yay, we get to watch Brad Marchand for the 100th straight year.
Speaking of teams with a lot of good players, most people thought the Golden Knights and Avalanche would the be the series to watch. But Colorado looks unbeatable right now and even the stout Knights may not be able to hang. When Nathan McKinnon is skating with the puck everyone else on the ice looks like a cone. Game 1 was a bloodbath.
Who knew that to shut down the Knicks all you had to do was stop Julius Randle from going to his left. He’s like Derek Zoolander, he can only turn one way. Man, this team doesn’t have a lot of options on offense. I confess, I may have gotten a little too excited. And I didn’t understand the Derek Rose trade, but he has been their only reliable option on offense. Best not to listen to me about basketball. Or anything, really. Time to get Toppin and IQ some playoff minutes.
I don’t want to sound like a dong here, and I certainly don’t condone throwing things at basketball players, but it was just a Desanti water bottle that almost hit Kyrie. Assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon? Even if he hit him square in the head, would it even have hurt? What’s the worst case scenario, a scratch? Headache? Was it frozen? I’ve seen guys hit with batteries and ice snowballs. I understand they wanted to make an example of the guy, but it seems a bit much.
It’s so easy not to like LeBron. “It starts with my approach, my accountability, trickles down to everybody else. So these shoulders are built for a reason.” True team leaders don’t talk about themselves like that. Trickles down? He makes everyone else sound like piss ants. Sure, it’s true, but that can’t be good for team morale. Throw a “we” in there now and then. “Gee, I sure hope LeBron trickles some good stuff on us today!’