The morning links, a real steam of consciousness today:
|Oh, those cold chillin' Knicks.|
"We're not kidding around anymore, we really want this playoff spot", says Mikael Tellqvist, and yes, that was a nice bit of energy, hustle and power play goals last night as the Leafs beat the 'Canes 3-2 -- but does that mean y'all were kidding around before, Mikey? It sure looked that way, sometimes.
They better be strapped in, because this midway ride has just begun. Last night was glorious for channel changers, with the Raptors over there and a full set of hockey at the Centre Ice package, including Atlanta's comeback shootout win over Boston. A few random thoughts:
The kids: Although Suglobov looked like Mr. Frick out there, Brendan Bell was fine, playing a disciplined, heady game. He can come back to my team any time.
Hands up everyone out there who misses Ed Belfour. Tie Domi?
Outside of Jason Allison, I thought Chad Kilger was the Leafs' best forward. Actually, he's played pretty well the past few nights.
Jeff O'Neill returned with two assists, which was a heartening development. But assists are among the lamest stat in sports, Wellwood's screen on the Leafs' second goal and his spadework on the first going uncredited on the scoresheet.
The Thrashers can score when they have to. At least against the Bruins. And apart from a shootout, where it took 'em seven tries to put away Boston and gain a very important point -- which really shouldn't be called a point. Question for the day: What term should be applied to points gained via shootouts? I prefer "cheez", but I'm sure you can come up with better.
Highlight of the night: It had to be the Edie Falco interview from the Garden, where we learned: a/they never talk basketball on the set; b/It's a real drama with the Knicks this season; c/The Sopranos has great writers. Hey, it was EDIE FALCO! She coulda pulled out the Manhattan phone book and started reading it, and that would have been fine with me. Nice catch, Norma.
Here's your update on the eastern conference taffy pull:
7 New Jersey 76
8 Atlanta 74
9 Montreal 73
10 Werenotkiddingaroundanymore 70
11 Islanders 68
12 Florida 67
NHL: Canucks and Sharks win -- yes, the Canucks won, go to the link, I'm not kidding (although it's reg. req'd; try this one too)! -- and so the west's accordion of a playoff chase wheezes merrily on. Oh, and the Kings fire their coach.
NBA: A day after his farewell Toronto speech, Mike James puts his moneyball where his mouth is and drops 37 on the Knicks, Chris Bosh handling the chores in the fourth quarter while Marbury passes up shots and Francis watches and Larry Brown slaps his forehead. And Sam Mitchell gets a pat on the back from the new GM.
CFL: As the Renegades turn.
FA Cup quarterfinals: Liverpool wins 7-0.
World Cup: CNN.com interviews Juergen Klinsmann and man, perhaps it's the translation, but he does ramble on some -- a little punctuation would have been nice:
Q: I guess that some of the criticism wouldn't have been quite so harsh if you had been based in Germany, do you have any regrets about being based in California and having to commute backwards and forwards?
A: No I think it is one of the reasons I am pretty sure I am doing a very good job with my team is that I fly back and forth is that I can kind of reflect and look at things from outside the box it is very untypical and unusual for Germans and with traditional thinking people you will always face some problems but it is a huge advantage it is an advantage to be in a different country and look at things differently, to balance things out, the communication is the same I call the players on the phone I email or whatever communications tools you use is the same would be the same if I was here in Germany but they can't grab you physically the media can't grab you physically they say that tomorrow you might be in Munich so we want to see we want to be part of his daily life you can't be part of my daily life because I have a job that I have to get done so at the end of the day I'm not going to waste my time with you.