April 13th, 2015
The Kings were exhausted. Nobody wanted to believe it, but like I had been saying for months, they were out of gas. That’s why they were eliminated from the playoff race last week. It isn’t just the amount of hockey they’ve played while winning two of the last three cups. It’s their bruising style of play to go along with it. The Kings finished the season with 95 points, the exact same amount as they had in 2012 when they won the cup. However, this time it wasn’t good enough. The Kings best players just didn’t produce like in years past. They had a 3-15 record in shootouts, which cost them the playoffs. Anze Kopitar had only 16 goals, and Dustin Brown had 11. That’s about half of what they should be producing. Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll were not the same players. This is definitely not the end for the Kings. They’ve got the pieces in place to contend for Stanley Cup for the next few years. However, you can count on some significant changes taking place this summer. In any case, I think Kings fans are at peace with what they’ve accomplished the past three years. Plus the fact the Sharks aren’t in the playoffs either makes it even more bearable.
Meanwhile, the Ducks clinched the number 1 seed in the Western Conference over the weekend, and will get ready for a 1st round showdown with the Winnipeg Jets. This has the makings of another Bruce Boudreau disaster. Anaheim hasn’t played meaningful hockey in weeks, and they don’t even know who their starting goaltender is. That’s a recipe for playoff disappointment, especially facing a Jets team that is physical and been on a roll for months. I like how Boudreau is even trying to lower the bar and prepare everyone for more playoff failure by saying “it would not surprise me if everyone picked them and we’re the underdog”. So what you’re really saying Bruce is you won’t be surprised if your team gets bounced again in the playoffs.
For the first time since 2005, there will be no playoffs for both the LA Kings and the LA Lakers. On the bright side, for those of you logical Laker fans, you can return to rooting for them to win games since they are locked into having the 4th worst record in the NBA this season. Gotta love the timing of the Lakers asking their fans to renew their season tickets. This year, the Lakers are asking their fans to renew their season tickets by May 18th, which is the day before the draft lottery. Convenient isn’t it? There are definitely fans that would have decided to renew based on whether or not the Lakers were keeping their pick. In any case, as frustrating and torturous as the season has been, it’s probably smart to renew. If the Lakers get to keep their 1st round pick this year, and suddenly sign a player like Lamarcus Aldridge in July, who is reportedly now in play, you might be kicking yourself. Ok, all that may be wishful thinking, but at the very least, I’m thinking next years team will be a young team that people will actually enjoy watching again.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are fooling people again. Some might look at the standings and think the Clipps are the hottest team in the NBA, after winning 12 of their last 13 games. However, a closer look at that streak reveals that 8 of those wins came against teams below .500, and two others came against Portland and Memphis, who have been ravaged by injuries. We’ve reached the point where Matt Barnes is begging for fans to show up to the games and cheer. I’m beginning to wonder when Doc Rivers will be hanging 7 different posters of his son Austin in the rafters at Staples Center, in order to cover up those Lakers championship banners. The best thing that the Clipps can hope for is to get the #2 seed and play Dallas, while hoping they won’t run into Golden State or San Antonio until the conference finals. Houston or Memphis won’t be easy, but the Clipps stand a better chance of advancing with those matchups.
After all these years, has anybody figured out what the NBA MVP award it? Is it the best player on the best team? Is it the best player? Or is it the best player on the team that has lifted his team to the greatest heights? It’s amazing we have an award that doesn’t have a clear cut criteria for how to select it. That’s why I think the NBA needs to have a player of the year award, and an MVP award, because they really should be two different awards. This year, Steph Curry should be named the MVP. He’s been the best player on the best team, which is how most of the writers have voted in recent history. James Harden, on the other hand, has probably been the best player in the league throughout this entire season, which would make him the player of the year, if the award existed. It’s a screwy system, but one which the NBA probably enjoys because it gives us something to talk about.
To baseball, where the Dodgers got off to a so-so week 1 of the baseball season. They took two of three from the Padres, but lost two of three against Arizona. So far, Clayton Kershaw hasn’t found his game. The bullpen has been up and down, and Don Mattingly has been using pitchers as though he’s been slamming tic tacs. No wonder the bullpen is always worn out by October. Adrian Gonzales has looked like the second coming of Babe Ruth, but as I predicted, he has little to no protection in the lineup, especially when Yasiel Puig forgets how to hit a baseball. I also don’t think there’s any question that Matt Kemp is going to kick the crap out of the Dodgers every time he sees them this year. Good thing that’s only about 15 more times or so.
Meanwhile, the Angels are off to a rough start, and they look like a distracted bunch. They took two of three from the Mariners, but then got swept away by Kansas City, who still seems to think they are playing October baseball. CJ Wilson and Jered Weaver just didn’t have it over the weekend. Wilson also made no secret about how he felt about how the front office is handling the Josh Hamilton situation. Wilson said if Hamilton we’re actually playing good baseball, the Halos would want him back. The more this story unfolds, the bigger scumbag Arte Moreno looks like. Hamilton has made tremendous mistakes, but at this point, he is ill. Moreno is treating him like a criminal, and his lack of support can only lead Hamilton down a path to do further damage to himself. The Angels have a pretty good team, but the longer this situation lingers, the quicker this season can get away from them.
Jordan Spieth was spectacular at the Masters yesterday, winning by shooting a record -21. Spieth treated that Augusta course like Augusta treats women. All I heard about yesterday was the “new generation” of golf that we are about to see, that should be dominated by Spieth and Rory McIlroy. However, to me the story was still Tiger Woods, and the fact he managed to put together a respectable performance after dealing with so many injuries. To the casual golf fan, Tiger is by far the most intriguing storyline, and golf will need him if it hopes to drive ratings. As for Spieth, he seems to have everything going for him at 21 years old, except for the fact he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan. He’s also a very mediocre at putting on green jackets…..
Last night Game of Thrones returned on HBO, for the first episode of the fifth season. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it. The show is off to a solid, but slow start, which is expected for the HBO series. It feels like there are now fewer and fewer characters that we are really emotionally invested in. We’re down to Tyrion and Daenerys, and they appear to be on a collision course in the near future. Jon Snow possibly? But that’s about it. I don’t think anyone was really that upset when Mance Rayder was burned at the stake, however, it was just a reminder how Stannis and his band of weirdos are just terrible people. At least Jon Snow had a little bit of mercy on Mance Rayder by shooting him with an arrow to put him out of his misery, but it can’t put him in good standing with the new regime. Since Tyrion doesn’t really give a shit about anything anymore, it’s hard to see how much value he can really bring to Daenerys’ quest for the Iron Throne, although she seems desperately in need of a trusted advisor. I think the reason why we love her so much is the fact that she has a humble side to her as well, admitting that she no longer has control of the dragons. Cersei seems broken right now, but i suspect she will soon form an alliance with Lancel (remember the cousin she was sleeping with in season 1 and 2?), and find a way to regain some power. However, Margery is obviously devising a plan to get rid of Cersei, and I’m dying to find out what that plan is. Finally, I’m still trying to figure out what Littlefinger’s plan for Sansa is. My bold prediction for the season: either he will try to rape her, or she will kill him. Possibly both, with one leading to the other.