In case you were busy learning hard lessons about hubris and foosball but mostly hubris, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Tuukka Rask had a shutout and Daniel Paille had his second goal in as many games as the Boston Bruins seized a 2-1 advantage in the Stanley Cup final with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Ageless right winger Jaromir Jagr, who was held scoreless again but had a critical assist in his team's win, said after the game, "I can't believe I'm here trying to win my first Stanley Cup in 21 years. I could have had children after my last Stanley Cup win who would be almost old enough to drink." Jagr then narrowed his eyes and said, "No, seriously, given how that night went almost 21 years ago, I could have had children after my last Stanley Cup win who would be almost old enough to drink. Let's say the Cup has a lot of volume, I was 19, and if we do win this, there are some mistakes that Lord Stanley and I will not repeat."
Max Scherzer struck out 10 and improved to 10-0 as the Detroit Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-1. "But am I an ace?" a concerned Scherzer asked after the game. "Please tell me! Am I an ace on a staff with a pair of aces, or the best no. 2 in the game? Or am I an ace in the making who still has something to prove? Do I need to escape Justin Verlander's shadow, or do we make each other better by pitching back-to-back? Won't someone please debate these designations and render a verdict based on a meaningless quote from my manager?" Detroit manager Jim Leyland then added, "He's at the top of his game pretty much," which pretty much settled the ace question once and for all.
In case you were busy camping out at Man of Steel so you could see the new Elysium trailer, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Dwyane Wade turned in a vintage performance as the Miami Heat evened the NBA Finals at two games apiece with a 109-93 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs' lackluster second-half effort was highlighted by the poor play of reserve guard Manu Ginobili, who was held to five overall points while the Spurs were outscored by 22 in his 26 minutes on the court. I think the performance raises the question: Can Manu win the big one? For a player of his skill level, Manu sure had a habit of disappearing last night. I say Ginobili's me-first running and gunning has officially gone too far. When will Manu develop a consistent post game, to use his physique to dominate inside? If Manu Ginobili is the supposed best sixth man in the NBA, how come he can't match Michael Jordan's six rings? And let's face it, sixth man? When will Ginobili put Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in his place and demand to be in the starting five? I think we can all agree: It's time for Manu to Man-up.
Phil Mickelson began the U.S. Open with a 67, taking the clubhouse lead after a rain-shortened first round at Merion. "It's exciting to be back out in front at the U.S. Open," Mickelson said, grinning broadly, "and I just can't wait until I finish second." As Mickelson finished speaking his smile cracked, and his eyes started tracking back and forth quickly. His lips were moving, yet the words he was speaking were difficult to make out. Looking closely, it appeared that Mickelson was listing years and names: "1999, Payne Stewart; 2002, Tiger Woods; 2004, Retief Goosen; 2006, Geoff Ogilvy; 2009, Lucas Glover." When he finished repeating his litany five times, his eyes snapped back into the center of his face and his smile returned. "Yup, second place at the U.S. Open. Again. Can't wait."
In case you were out getting the oil change you need every 30,000 miles followed by a stern lecture from your mechanic about decimal places, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday:
In a stunning start to the Stanley Cup final, the Chicago Blackhawks turned around a two-goal third-period deficit before Andrew Shaw scored on a deflection 12 minutes into a third overtime, as the Blackhawks took Game 1 at home, 4-3, over the Boston Bruins. "Dude, did you see that game?" asked your work friend Kevin, whom you blew off when he told you to meet him at Coyle's Pub to watch the game yesterday. "Oh my god, incredible." You nodded silently as you tried to keep walking past his cubicle as he said in a slightly too loud voice, "That was what playoff hockey is all about. Crawford, man, those stops! And a lot of questions for Boston going forward, especially if they're down Horton for any length of — you didn't see it did you? I can tell by the dead stare in your eyes. Best game of the year and you didn't even know what channel it was on, did you? Admit it. Admit you didn't know it was on. Don't give me that 'I need my coffee before we rap about hockey' bullshit. You missed the game, and it was awesome, and you betrayed me." After a long awkward moment passed, Kevin laughed and said, "Nah man, it's all right. Just Game 1. But you'll be at Coyle's for Game 2, yeah? Gotta come to Coyle's man. Gotta."
Former New Jersey Nets superstar Jason Kidd has been named the head coach of the now Brooklyn Nets, as they attempt to improve after a disappointing playoff campaign. Kidd is the best point guard to become a head coach since Isiah Thomas took over the New York Knicks head coaching job while also serving as president of basketball operations. Before Thomas came Magic Johnson's brief stint in charge of the Lakers in 1994. When asked about his reaction to the news, current top point guard Chris Paul said, "I'm excited to see how Kidd makes the transition from an idol to a cautionary tale I'll really be able to relate to in about 10 years."
In case you were busy consolidating power by any means necessary to be prepared for the upcoming console wars, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
In a series filled with future Hall of Famers, it was the play of Gary Neal and Danny Green, who scored a combined 51 points while going 13-for-19 from beyond the arc, that led the San Antonio Spurs to a 113-77 win over the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Somewhere out in the vast expanses of America, a curmudgeonly sports reporter sitting on his porch licks two fingers and holds them aloft. "The winds are turning again," he says to himself with a wry smile. "Oh, LeBron, your time has come." And the words will start coming together in his head, but he'll need a deeper source of inspiration. "Honey, can you throw some pretzels in a bowl?," he'll yell back into his two-story Craftsman home. "And throw some popcorn in there, too. And maybe some fish that hasn't been deboned." And his wife will pop her head out of the screen door and ask, "Is this what I think it is?" And he'll nod sagely, and whisper "choking season." And she'll ask if he's sure, and he won't turn to face her, but will say again, "LeBron choking season," and his words will be taken by the wind, and his wife will know that he'll be up working late, divining the perfect phrase to describe how the psychology of the world's greatest basketball player will always betray his talent. And the wind will sing "chokeastrophic" as it swirls through the branches of the oak trees of America. And maybe, just maybe, we'll get our values back.
Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson both scored as Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. men's national team got a critical 2-0 win over Panama in Seattle as they moved atop the CONCACAF standings for World Cup qualifying. The match was the most complete effort by the USMNT during Klinsmann's tenure, leading the crowd to chant, "Klinsmann, a plan, a canal, pan nam snilk," in an ill-conceived attempt to honor the former German striker through palindrome.
In case you were unable to get to a TV after a butt pat gone awry, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
After giving up a six-run lead, the Boston Red Sox finally put away the Tampa Bay Rays, 10-8, behind a Daniel Nava 14th-inning RBI single. The game was not without its controversy, as John Lackey hit Matt Joyce with a pitch, leading to both benches clearing in the sixth inning. "Yeah, it was on purpose," Lackey admitted after the game, "but it's not what you think. A couple years ago, James Loney's wife baked me these cookies when I went in for Tommy John surgery, and I needed the recipe, because I've been jonesing for these cookies something fierce, and I figured the easiest way to see him was to get the benches to clear. I mean, I was getting tired anyway. And sure enough, sea salt. That's the secret ingredient. Sort of a sweet and savory thing." When told Lackey's explanation after the game, Joyce exclaimed, "Sea salt! Of course! A sweet and savory combination. Makes perfect sense."
League sources are reporting that the New England Patriots will sign Tim Tebow to serve as the team's third quarterback, reuniting Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow when he was the head coach of the Broncos. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, when asked if he signed Tebow simply to gain access to the New York Jets playbook from last season, replied by staring directly at the reporter without blinking, before waving at the reporter to take a couple of steps back into a visibly out-of-place pile of long grass and discarded branches. When asked if the grass and branches were covering some sort of snare trap, Belichick groaned and said, "You win this round, but you'll never know how I got the Jets playbook for sure, will you?"
In case you were out playing it real cool about the NSA's newly revealed data-mining operations because you have nothing to hide, nope, nothing at all, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Tim Duncan shook off a poor first quarter to post a double-double as the San Antonio Spurs stole home-court advantage in the NBA Finals with a 92-88 Game 1 win over the Miami Heat. Spurs point guard and noted Frenchman Tony Parker, who scored a game-clinching circus shot with 5.2 seconds remaining, said after the game, "You say this is a shot at a circus? Like I am some sort of sad clown, with a smile painted over downward-facing lips? You would misunderstand the meaning of both circus and sadness." Parker then pulled a pack of Gauloises from behind the ear of a reporter, and lit one using a match that he pulled from the mouth of the imaginary bird that follows him around before continuing, "Circuses are mere entertainment, and sadness is mere emotion, but both of those assume a world that is, how would you say it, existing in a reality that we can all access and accept." Parker then quickly shook his head and said "I do not accept" as the cigarette he was smoking disappeared from his mouth.
Stanford starting pitcher Mark Appel was chosen first overall in the Major League Baseball draft by the Houston Astros, a year after turning down the Pittsburgh Pirates, who drafted him eighth overall, and electing to return to school. When asked if he regretted his decision, Appel laughed. When asked the question again, Appel said, "Seriously? I spent the last year in Palo Alto instead of Altoona. I have a degree from Stanford. And I'm the top pick in the Major League Baseball draft. I even look a little like a Harbaugh. I spent the last year of my life becoming perfect. So, what do you think?" When asked again if he regretted his decision, Appel shook his head and walked away muttering about how hard it is to try to engage with the common man.
In case you were out looking for a shooting star to wish on, but finding only derelict satellites, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday:
It took two overtimes and 53 saves from Tuukka Rask, but the Boston Bruins took a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden. Rask was jubilant after the win, saying, "Rask! Rask! Rask!" while pounding his stick on the ground. When asked what had inspired him to produce such a stellar showing, Rask added, "Rask! Rask! Rask!" before again pounding his stick on the ground. When asked whether Boston's poor showing after taking big leads in previous rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs had him at all nervous going into Game 4, Rask slashed the reporter in the knee with his stick, severing the bottom portion of his leg from the rest of his body, before adding, "Rask! Rask! Rask!"
After 13 scoreless innings, the White Sox and Mariners engaged in a seesaw battle at Safeco Field, including a game-tying Kyle Seager grand slam, before Chicago finally put away Seattle, 7-5, in the 16th inning. White Sox pitcher Addison Reed, who pitched three innings in relief, wound up getting the win despite allowing all five Mariners runs. Adjusting for park and opponent, Reed's win is hold on a second, let me just carry the three yes, yes, yes, eureka! It is the proof I've been looking for! Wins are the most useless statistic in sports! I win! Now if anyone has seen where I've put my ironic victory trombone, I have some Sousa marches to play whilst stomping around my living room in my boxer shorts.
In case you were out living your own sports dreams by eating pretzels like Jason Alexander circa '94, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
The Los Angeles Kings once again showed that Staples Center is a fortress, extending their unbeaten home playoff record with a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks to narrow Chicago's Western Conference finals lead to 2-1. "Man, it's harder to win there than it is at a Staples," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game. "I mean, you go in, and the prices are way higher than you'd find online, but it's like, I need index cards today and where the hell else can you get index cards? Then you end up wandering down an aisle and remembering that your wife told you the router was on the fritz, so you go to pick up a new one, but all the models are weird and overpriced. Then you get up to the counter, and boom, Jonathan Quick rejects your credit card. So you go to shoplift some highlighters. Which, and trust me on this one, only makes things worse."
Oklahoma avenged its defeat in last year's Women's College World Series by completing its sweep of the Tennessee Volunteers with a 4-0 series-clinching win. Oklahoma became the first WCWS champion to finish first in the nation in ERA and scoring, putting it in the conversation about the greatest women's college softball teams of all time. Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops differed in his assessment, however, saying, "Last year's model was definitely better; it's always better when you make it to the finals and lose. Builds character. Shows true greatness."
In case you were out protesting your local movie theater for continuing to show After Earth, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
The Miami Heat played their best game of the Eastern Conference finals when the stakes were the highest, closing out Game 7 with a 99-76 win over the Indiana Pacers behind another exceptional performance from LeBron James and a resurgent Dwyane Wade. "What about me?" said a distant voice from the nether reaches of the Heat locker room after the game. "The Big Three we were to be, and yet there are but two I see." When no one acknowledged the voice squeaking off in the periphery, it grew louder. "Remember me? Ol' Chrissy B? So sad am I to feel and see, that I've been forgot, been left behind, I'm all for naught, you're so unkind." But despite his growing voice, no one noticed the sad, lanky man in the corner in the midst of jubilant celebrations, no one except Shane Battier, who registered a DNP-CD in Game 7, who told Chris Bosh to stop using slant rhyme if he wanted to be noticed.
Brad Marchand had two goals as the Boston Bruins destroyed a lackluster Pittsburgh Penguins team, 6-1, to go up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals. What appeared on paper to be a relatively even series is turning into a massive mismatch with the Bruins outscoring Pittsburgh 9-1 through two games in a display that can only be described as the sort of savage thrashing that an actual bruin would deliver to a flock of actual penguins, with the bruin eating nine penguins before succumbing to the cold, and dying tragically on the glaciers of Antarctica, far from her home, her bear husband, and her cubs.
In case you were out protesting your local theater's lack of midnight showings of After Earth, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
The Miami Heat, buoyed by another vintage LeBron James performance, won a crucial Game 5, 90-79, to take a 3-2 series advantage back to Indiana. The Heat overcame poor nights from Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade primarily from the efforts of Udonis Haslem, who went 8-for-9 from the field while scoring 16 points, and Chris "Birdman" Andersen, who both attacked Tyler Hansbrough after incidental contact and didn't miss a shot. "Jordan had Charles Oakley and Dennis Rodman, LeBron has me and the Birdman," Haslem said after the game. "Except, of course Birdman is both Oakley and Rodman, and also an amateur chemist from a trailer out in Riverside, California, named Dr. Chri$. And I don't mean any of that metaphorically, he genuinely believes he is all three of those people at different times." When asked to elaborate, Haslem shook his head and said, "I'd rather not piss off Dr. Chri$. That dude is mean."
Rory McIlroy continued his rocky start to the 2013 PGA season, firing a 78, the worst first-round score of his career, to sit 13 shots back at the Memorial. "Man, ever since I've signed with Nike, it's like I keep getting worse and worse," a visibly weakened McIlroy said after the match, while sipping from a Tiger Woods–branded water bottle. "It's like my arms are giant weights. My hair is falling out. I lost a tooth in the shower the other day. I asked Tiger about this and he said it was no big deal, and that I shouldn't see a doctor or anything. And I trust him, as a fellow member of the Nike family. But man, I'm just leaking blood and other fluids all the time. And my brain is slow, not good. Hopefully this'll all settle down sometime, and I can get back to challenging Tiger for the top spot in the world of stick hit still ball."
In case you were busy listening to Steve Winwood, wondering when you would be back in the high life again, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday:
Despite being denied a late winner in regulation because of a delayed concurrent penalty call, Brent Seabrook's overtime goal gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 Game 7 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Blackhawks advance to the Western Conference finals, where they will face the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. If they beat the Kings they will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they will be forced to forfeit after being held by the Kingsguard for attempting to usurp the throne. Justice will come quickly, as the Stanley Cup monarchy does not wait for due process or jury trials, and punishment will be severe. The Kings' public enemies are few at this point, and while many may support the Blackhawks, when the guillotine falls those supporters will stay silent, lest a similar fate befall them. Hope is a forgotten word in the NHL, but, futile as such wishes may be, best of luck to all four conference finalists!
While recovering from his fourth wrist surgery of the offseason, sources are reporting that Rob Gronkowski will undergo back surgery that will put his participation in the New England Patriots' training camp in doubt. While many are concerned about Gronkowski's long-term ability to contribute in the NFL with his continued injury issues, personally, I am concerned that Gronkowski is abusing his deductible. We get it Rob, you blew past your annual maximum on arm surgery no. 3. You don't need to rub your ability to receive quality medical care in our faces.
In case you were busy making more than $1,244 a week from home using one simple trick, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
Things are getting interesting in the Eastern Conference finals as the Indiana Pacers took Game 4 from the Miami Heat, 99-92, to even up their series at two games apiece. Roy Hibbert was immense for the Pacers, amassing 23 points and 12 rebounds while anchoring an impressive Indiana defense that held All-Star forward Chris Bosh to seven points on 1-for-6 shooting. "They seem to be playing some sort of strange formation," Hibbert explained after the game. "They put out guys who are shorter than we are on the court, and then they try to go around us. It's like they have no idea that height is an advantage in basketball. It makes no sense. It's some crazy sort of tiny orb strategy, because they're small and we play with a regulation-size basketball. I think I'm gonna dub it 'wee sphere,' and hope they keep doing it because man, it's really easy for me to guard short dudes." Hibbert then shrugged before adding, "Baby globe."
The Los Angeles Kings will be returning to the Western Conference finals after holding on to beat the San Jose Sharks, 2-1, in a climactic Game 7 at Staples Center. It was a Pyrrhic victory for the Kings, however, as they lost the services of superfan Samuel L. Jackson midway through giving the following motivational speech: "You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder. After the Avalanche knocked us out at this stage in '01, it took us a decade to climb out. Now, I don't know exactly when we turned on each other, but I know that nature is lethal but it doesn't hold a candle to man. To Kings!" Jackson was then bitten savagely by Sharks goal scorer Dan Boyle, and decided that hockey "ain't worth my damn time."
In case you were out grillaxing (grilling while attempting to fend off an ax-wielding dwarf) here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Tony Parker had 37 points as the San Antonio Spurs completed a four-game sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies with a 93-86 win. Despite having only two first-half dunks, the Spurs outscored Memphis 52-32 in the paint, as they once again reinforced the old Popovichian adage, "Dunk for show, make relatively uncontested layups and midrange jumpers for dough."
We're heading back to Chicago as the Blackhawks overcame a second-period deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, to force a Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal. The decisive goal was scored on a penalty shot by Michael Frolik, despite Red Wings coach Mike Babcock distinctly warning his goalkeeper Jimmy Howard: "I know his move, triple deke, hit the brakes, pause, glove side." Howard asked, "What if he goes stick side?" but Babcock insisted that Frolik was fancy and would go glove side. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, while Frolik did go glove side, he did not stop his action to grin at the opposing goalkeeper, keeping the entire audience in suspense before firing off his shot, instead taking it as part of a single fluid motion.
In case you were busy really getting inside the mind of Barry Zuckerkorn in preparation for the new season of Arrested Development, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
The Los Angeles Kings are one step closer to defending their Stanley Cup crown after Jonathan Quick shut out the San Jose Sharks, 3-0, at Staples Center. The Sharks have now gone more than 96 minutes without a goal, which Kings coach Darryl Sutter credits to "playing a clean game, and keeping all the blood off the ice. Joe Thornton sees blood? Patrick Marleau? You've got a feeding frenzy on your hands. But right now they just keep skating by us, real passive, like we're not even there." When asked about the Sharks' home-ice advantage, Sutter added, "Oh, we're in trouble for Game 6. If you think [Sharks coach] Todd McLellan isn't going to gut a seal at center ice before the game just to get things going, you don't know McLellan."
Chris Kreider helped the Rangers avoid a sweep with an overtime goal in New York's 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins. The key moment in the game came in the second period when the Bruins, up 2-0 at the time, gave up a goal when goalkeeper and Klingon warrior Tuukka Rask fell over on a relatively well-defended Rangers breakaway. Rask was defiant after the game when asked if the defeat portended a Rangers comeback, saying, "Hab SoSlI' Quch! (Your mother has a smooth forehead!)" and then laughing heartily before eating what appeared to be a Targ heart out of a Tupperware container.
In case you were busy concocting an elaborate theory in which the film The Faculty exists as a prequel within the Fast & Furious universe, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday:
LeBron James had a triple-double and scored the game-winning layup as time expired in overtime as the Miami Heat fought off a ferocious effort from the Indiana Pacers to win, 103-102, and take Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals. I may be in the minority here, but I think the question remains, when will James really prove his greatness? Here's the supposed greatest player of all time, and he hasn't even quit the NBA to pursue his dreams of playing professional baseball? Gimme a break! Michael Jordan made it all the way to Double-A; that's two A's, which is already the highest grade that you can get in college, which LeBron James didn't even attend! No BA, no AA, no GOAT.
Bryce Harper scored both of his team's runs and made a game-saving catch as the Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giant, 2-1, in 10 innings at AT&T Park. I may be in the minority here, but I think the question remains, when will Harper really prove his greatness? Here's the supposed best young player on his team, and yet he has never once been rested in the postseason to avoid long-term injury ramifications? Gimme a break! He was left in this game even after reaggravating a minor knee injury? If Bryce Harper wants to show he's the best young player on the Nationals, he needs to play less and rest more at the end of the year, when it really counts. No DL, no DNP, no GOAST (greatest on a specific team).