Monday, May 7, 2012

Kings #8 in the seedings, #9 in LA's heart

It's a measure of the parity in the NHL that the top two seeds in the West and three of the top four in the East are already out before the end of the second playoff round. The 8th seeded Los Angeles Kings in particular are a shining example of how - beyond winning enough games to make the playoffs - regular season results are relatively meaningless compared to peaking in the post-season. The Kings' remarkable playoff run is also giving overdue market exposure to a team that suffers the borderline indignity of playing eighth or ninth fiddle to two major league baseball franchises, two NBA teams and multiple big-time college football and basketball programs. Kings players who would be superstars in more traditional hockey markets are blips on the radar in southern California, where world class hockey talent enjoys the same level of notoriety as the finest surfers in Nepal...At one point during the first period of last night's Philadelphia-New Jersey game, Hockey Night in Canada gasbag Bob Cole yelled "forechecking supreme." I'm not sure whether he was referring to the pressure the Devils were bringing to bear in the offensive zone, or placing his order for a late dinner during the first intermission...A full month into the baseball season and five months after signing a contract worth a quarter of a billion dollars, Albert Pujols finally hit his first home run for Anaheim yesterday but still swung the bat like an Italian grandmother trying to shoo the bambini out of the kitchen with a broom. While his long overdue first homer is a gorilla off Pujols' back, it remains to be seen whether it represents a quick fix for some seriously messed up hitting mechanics...Canadian-owned I'll Have Another's breathtaking comeback win in front of a record crowd at Churchill Downs Saturday reinforced the Kentucky Derby's claim to being "the most exciting two minutes in sports." Meanwhile, the West Indies cricket team continues preparing for its upcoming test match with England as part of the least exciting five days in sports.

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