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NHL Notes

A 21st different, current NHL franchise will win the Stanley Cup as this year’s opponents, the slightly favored NHL West “1” seed Las Vegas Golden Knights and East “8” seed Florida Panthers, the latter as is the case with fellow South Florida “8” seed finalist, Miami (Heat) barely made the ‘offs, are both (0-1) in previous NHL final appearances.

In fact, each team has a 4 game final round losing streak.

The Golden Knights lost games (2-5) vs the Washington Capitals in the 2018 NHL final, the last time two teams sans a Stanley Cup crown, met in the NHL final.

Meanwhile the Panthers were swept out in 4 straight games (Uwe Krupp’s late Monday night 3rd overtime goal, the game’s only, clinched it. ? if Uwe Krupp scores late on a Monday night/Tuesday morning to clinch the Cup, does anybody see it? Then I watched almost all the games and certainly the Cup clinchers, now it is an all TNT final with Kenny Albert, the lead announcer no less. In days the NHL had no major U.S. TV contract and Albert’s “paved his way” father was the “lead,” I recall watching those tilts on over the air, albeit independent television stations), by the Colorado Avalanche in the 1996 final.

This year’s NBA final is a MIami/Denver redux of that ’96 NHL final with Denver (Nuggets) a too big 4 to 1 or so “fave.”

Recalling Gordon Lightfoot, Regarding The Edmund Fitzgerald

Recently the superb singer and songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot, who astounded with such meaningful hit songs as “If You Could Read My Mind,” and “Sundown” (oh to be going to Queens with a ’70 Olds and WABC), died at the age of 84.

I was fortunate to see Gordon Lightfoot perform in Tarrytown, New York at the theater/music hall.

Today recollections and a link below to Gordon’s appearance on “Weekend Saturday Edition” hosted by Scott Simon.

The air date was Saturday November 13, 2021. › 2021/11/13 › 1055503606The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and thousands of … – NPR

Very And Fairly Easy, Road Wins For The Golden Knights and Heat Respectively, Advancing To The Final Round

It was very easy for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, building a (3-0) first period lead and cruising to a (6-0) win at Dallas to “6” the Stars. It will be the Golden Knights’ 2nd final round appearance in the franchise’s 6 seasons.

More 6’s, as now Eric Spoelstra has guided the Miami Heat to a 6th NBA final round appearance (2-3 in previous) in 13 seasons (2011-2023), as they fairly comfortably “barked” (I warned but as seemingly always did not cash) plus 8 or so for a third at Boston win in their semi.

Teams down (3-0) fell to (0-151) in the NBA and to (4-202) in the NHL, (0-48) in semis..

Alas this was the first Celtics’ season after the great Bill Russell’s death and since last season we lost two of my heroes, Jim Brown and Bobby Hull.

Jim and Bobby, true greats won 1 title each while Mr. Russell, matched only by Henri Richard won 11.

Al Lewis talked of the death blow dealt the Celtics when Len Bias died. They had won their 16th NBA crown and as was the case after #14 (Bob Cousy’s # and how lame was the East Conference Trophy presentation, an award named for Cousy, as it was the road Heat that won) in 1981 when they had 40 percent of the NBA crowns, 16 in 40 was again 40 percent.

Now after 1 title in 37 seasons, they are still tied at 17 with the Lakers (5 in Minneapolis, so Boston has the most (ode to Johnny) by far of any NBA city) and 17 of 77 is 22 percent.

Do Some Homework, Harlan

Harlan, 5 times a team overcame a (3-0) series deficit.

You named only 4, leaving out a Boston team, the Bruins dissipating such a series lead vs the Flyers in 2010.

Do your homework, Harlan!!

Celtics Now Big Faves To Be The First NBA Team To Overcome A (3-0) Deficit, The Stars Are Still “Out There,” Down (3-2)

In 1981, the Boston Celtics defeated a team from Texas, the Houston Rockets in 6 games, to win their 14th NBA crown and after that win in a delayed tape broadcast, that number of titles represented an astounding 40 percent of the 35 NBA titles.

The Dallas Stars, then in Minnesota, as the North Stars, made its league’s final for the first time in what was the franchise’s 14th season, but were 5’d by a repeat New York Islanders crown.

While the Stars, as were the Celtics, down (3-0) in its “semi” (Boston/Miami and Dallas/Las Vegas), doubled the Golden Knights (4-2) in an ABC tilt to force #6 concurrently with the East 7th as Derrick White snuck in and put back a Smart miss, yielding #7 for TNT, with Boston opening as an 8 point fave in a now likely, even very likely (but be careful as the idiots that comprise the mainstream media, those same ones who ripped the Celtics and their coach Mazzullo, after they fell down (3-0), will consider a Boston #7 win, an automatic and it is not!) first in 151 occurrence.

Again, be careful as a Celtics’ win, while likely, is far from automatic.

Hopefully before #7NBA East and #6 NHL West, some better notes here.

NBA Gets A Semi #6 Tonight

The NBA does not deserve it, (certainly its gambling encouraging, “czar” named Silver, does not!!) but tonight it gets a #6/semis with Boston a 3 point “fave” (it is ok to cite lines as even the N.Y. Times did when it had no “lines” page back when), at Miami (Heat).

If the Celtics, bidding to end an 0 for 150 all-time loss skein for teams down (3-0) in an NBA best of 7 series, become the 4th team in that spot to force a 7th game, the NBA and TNT, which I refuse to pay extra to view, get a ratings bonanza Memorial Day night #7 (I guess with work the next day, maybe not that big, let’s hope in any case).

Boston has won on the road, facing elimination in the ‘offs, 15 times, twice already this season (#6 on a Friday night at Philadelphia vs the Sixers, a 4th such Friday occurrence–the others being #7/’68 semis, a no TV game that broke my heart and in consecutive years in the ’81 and ’82 semis when I rooted hard for Boston (as regarding James who is beyond great but over rated, I did not care for Erving, who was great in the ABA–all I will say– and in #4 of the current series vs Miami).

NHL Recent Expansion Teams Success

In their first NHL season (2017-2018), the Las Vegas Golden Knights shocked the hockey world and nearly “bankrupted” ( more accurately: would have cost the books “mucho” but as they say, we will be there tomorrow, no matter the result)some major home city “industry,” when they made the final round before losing the last 4 games of a 5 game series to the lone Washington Capitals’ title team.

It was also the first time ever that the Caps won a final round series game. They were in their 43rd completed season and the L.V. win in game 1 meant the first year team won its first final round game before the team in its 43rd season.

“Wash” did right the ship and go on to title, now their lone crown in 48 completed season. They were swept by a repeat champion Detroit Red Wings’ team under the great Scotty Bowman in the ’98 final.

Currently Las Vegas, up (3-0) vs the Dallas Stars, is one win from a final round vs the Florida Panthers, the latter sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes in the semis. The Hurricanes have been swept in all 3 semis since winning in 7 vs the Buffalo Sabres, on their way to a 7 game triumph vs Edmonton for the ’06 crown.

Meanwhile second year, expansion team Seattle (Kraken) were ahead in their “quarters” before losing (2-1) in game 7 at Dallas.

Florida is (11-1) since falling down 3 games to 1, vs the record breaking Bruins in the first round.


While the Denver Nuggets, now (1-4) in semis and (1-3) vs the Lakers in such, did sweep into the NBA final round, the Heat failed to do so and though up (3-1) now go to Boston for #5 and would have to return there for #7 if the Celtics (4-5) at home in these ‘offs win #’s 5 and 6.

Meanwhile in the NHL, both Las Vegas and Florida have commanding (3-0) semis leads.

If, as is extremely likely a Las Vegas vs Florida NHL final manifests, it will mean a first time NHL champion will be crowned.

Each team lost 4 straight games at one point of their one previous final appearance to date, the Avalanche (their first of 3 crowns) winning (4-0) vs Florida in ’96 and Washington getting its lone title, winning the last 4 games to “5” first year L.V. in 2018.

Back to the Nuggets, and how right their fine coach Mike Malone is about the lack of respect afforded Denver star Nikola Jokic (how does Mark Jackson get to sit there, having left Jokic off his MVP ballot?!).

Jokic and Jamal Murray led Denver in 4 vs the Lakers now (32-10) in semis, swept in a series for the 11th–ninth in a best of 7. Denver won for the first time in 8 post-season series vs L.A. and swept an opponent for the first time, in this their 47th NBA season.

Regarding that so publicized, great player, LeBron James (Please retire and stay retired. You matched Kareem’s 20 years and passed his points total, but you “ain’t” even close to being as great!!) his team was swept out for a third time, semis or later.

In a 5 game final round loss to Golden State in ’18 after he and the Cavs were swept in ’17, his team lost the first three games. Then the privileged, do what he wants, James jumped to L.A.

Similarly in his last year with the Heat, to whom he jumped in 2011, the team lost the last 3 of the final, albeit all at San Antonio and were 5’d by the Spurs. Then he jumped back to Cleveland.

Unprecedented, Lopsided “Semis”

Certainly the (3-0) series leads of the Western Conference top seed, Denver Nuggets and mind blowing Eastern Conference, “8,” the Miami Heat, are unprecedented.

True, in 1957 both “semis,” ended in 3 game sweeps as the Celtics in route to their first crown, swept the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers) and the then St. Louis Hawks swept the then Mnneapolis Lakers.

Coincidentally the trailing (3-0) NBA semis teams this year are the Celtics and Lakers, since 1961, the L.A. Lakers.

Meanwhile both NHL semi-final series stand at (2-0), all 4 games decided in overtime with another South Florida technically an “8,” the Panthers and sixth years Las Vegas Golden Knights, the former at Carolina (the Hurricanes have lost 10 straight “semis” games, dating back to ’09, 6 of the losses at home) and the latter at home vs the Dallas Stars.

Someone do the research and we shall see how these semis end but for now I found only one instance (1977) when all 4 semis stood at (2-0).

Then in the NBA, eventual champion, Portland (Trail Blazers) swept the Lakers, who by the way entered this semi (32-9) all-time in such entities, while the Sixers up (2-0) and (3-1) vs Houston (Rockets) won in 6, before losing in that number to Portland’s only title in their 53 NBA seasons.

In the ’77 NHL semis, Boston involved then but not with the Celtics swept the Philadelphia Flyers, having won the first two games in overtime at Philly.

The great, great Montreal Canadiens (60 wins, 8 losses and 12 old fashioned ties) built a (3-1) series lead but needed 6 games to advance vs an eventually great, 4 straight crowns, Islanders’ team.

Jim Brown!!

“Remembering,” usually precedes above, however, as I commence the difficult task of noting Jim Brown, an activist, athlete and actor (an Andy hero, whose Hollywood Hills home I was invited to on two occasions), who died days back at age 87, I start with his name, as called in myriad instances.

Certainly there is the “pitch to” as the superb broadcaster Ken Coleman “started” a run, by the greatest to ever do so in pro football.

In Richard Pryor’s brilliant, poignant and ultimately sad comedy, regarding his addiction to cocaine, specifically crack cocaine, JIM BROWN is heard as he did try to help Richard, regarding that so powerful “pipe.”

It was so often his name and the high praise for it, even by those, the vast — if not total populace, that unlike me, rooted for the local Giants. I was for Jim Brown, originally Paul Brown and the Cleveland Browns.

Over the years, I was fortunate to have spoken with Jim many times and as I got some insight into his advanced thinking, his football exploits were almost never, if ever, a topic.

Thus Jim, I never told you what December 27, 1964 and your/”my” Cleveland Browns’ title win vs the great John Unitas and the Baltimore Colts, meant to me. I am telling you now, it is still and hopefully always will be a great memory

It was Frank to Gary thrice (Ryan threw 3 TD passes to Collins), my grandmother, dad, mom and me in an upholstered chair watching the only time “my” Browns ever won it. (Of course led by the immortal, “Automatic Otto,” Mr. Otto Graham, they won 3 NFL crowns and all 4 All American Football Conference title tilts that were played but that was before my time. I no longer root for them. I will say with Jim being honored somewhere on their football parapharnalia, I hope and believe they will play well in 2023)

1966 and I thought, not knowing better, it was still a good world, despite the fact ‘they’ blew the back of President Kennedy’s head off, as my great sports heroes, #32’s (an aside-the first time I met Jim was in the summer of ’89 and I recall his nice words to Sandy as he walked past Jim and me as we were doing an interview), Jim and Sandy Koufax were playing and in their great prime.

Soon that changed, the rest of the guys cheering loud in the movie theater, when Jim’s “Jefferson” ran to his death in “The Dirty Dozen.” Maybe they were so happy Jim was no longer playing vs their team.

Then November came, Dad came home from work, it was a Friday as it would be when news came another hero Muhammad Ali died and 2 days back when Jim left (he had died on Thursday May 18th, an eery 60 years to the date that fellow Syracuse star, Ernie Davis died at the tragically young age of 22–more on that later), I probably asked for the newspaper (remember them) before saying hello and then I saw that Sandy, now my lone still alive original sports hero, had retired from baseball, doing so a la Jim, at his individual peak or near it.

Life got tougher as it does for most, especially those of us who were “big fishes in little ponds,” soaking wet behind the ears but in fairness, “of the ideal,” and that as the kids “botch,” SO included loving Jim Brown.

One way I began to cope with Jim’s death was playing Bob Seger’s “Hollywood Nights,” as it helped recall my natural high driving both up and down, the song referenced Hollywood hills, before and especially after a former gang member turned activist, named “Rock,” held the camera and I interviewed Jim, sitting on his couch, the view at the window so great!

So often, always with respect it was “hey brother how are you doing and a short conversation” when I called Jim. However, he had been on my cable show via phone at least once, that in 1991. (I better find this stuff as a tangible memory to be referenced and enjoyed on occasion).

That December 1992, a “good” Friday, if you will, hearing I was in Los Angeles (I spell it out in honor of Jim) he, incredibly and kindly, invited me to his home for the interview.

Rather than go on and on, (also words in “Hollywood Nights” and there will be other remembrances and some past posts with Jim referenced will display), I cite my second visit to his home, a scant month after I lost the last and most important person (my dad had died 7 years earlier) in my life, my mother.

There was Jim playing chess (as one Orenthal James Simpson, in a very nice tribute to Jim on something called Twitter, said “Jim was the most competitive person” he knew) intensely with Rock, who remembered me.

We were seated on Jim’s deck, overlooking the city. This time many former, (maybe still) gang members, Jim and Rock worked with hoping to steer them toward better, completed the table’s populace.

I was so down, Jim noted I lost weight, but in just being there, in having this great man speak and encourage me, somehow life went on.

Now Jim’s incredible life on earth, his accomplishments and flaws documented elsewhere and barely touched here, has ended. It rips at me, this and so much else gone wrong!

However, in changing the same letters, save the “S,” into Rest In Peace and address it to Jim, I think of how fortunate I was to have admired, understood and interacted (we went really long the night of #2/’97 World Series, when it was a pitching matchup of Brown (Kevin) vs (Chad) Ogea, (pronounced O Jay) and then and at other times discussed the horrors of slavery, The Holocaust and economic hardship) with the indomitable Jim Brown!!

P.S. if you will, I must figure tags, find a picture or two and previous posts referencing Jim. To Monique, you know he loved you very much. Before my mother died there was Jim in Manhattan. I was with a guy whose name, as he told Jim, was similar to your Ari.

Jim was headed back to the hotel and we invited him to meet us later. We intended, in our futile efforts to meet women. When told of our plans and given a reminder of the fact he was married, Jim remarked “I can look can’t I”

Now he will look down upon you and his whole family, having done so much for so many while here on earth.