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Pitts vs Nash A Likely “Short Trip For Emrick” NHL Finals

Last year, when the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to clinch the title at home in #5/finals vs San Jose (Sharks), NBC and its crew had to journey Pittsburgh to San Jose again and also back.

Surely they did not like that. I will never forget the collasal gall of Mike Francesa complaining that he had to sojourn to Vancouver and back, after the Canucks forced a 6th game of the ’94 finals.

While I would not count out either Anaheim (Ducks) or the Ottawa (Senators), it looks like Emrick and the boys will have relatively short trips this season, Pittsburgh to Nashville and back either for “got to call a Pirates at world champion Cubs game,”  Emrick to go home or to “Civic Arena” for game 5 and then ???

Of course it is not Civic Arena, of course it has a corporate name, the Pens are a near great team for the second time in their history but though it will still send some chills if (and likely, far from certain), or when, the hockey czar calls Sid (Caesar, Bing) Crosby to receive the silver, lord knows “it ain’t what it used to be.”

 

Sidney Crosby and the Pens are 6 to 5 faves to make Emrick and the crowd at Foley’s in New York City happy with their third “Cup” together.

With it, if it, Sid will approach Sid Caesar (pictured above) greatness in his field.

Preds “Take The Fifth,” Plus Anaheim #5 Semis Notes

Last night as certainly predicted here, the Nashville Predators won (3-1) at Anaheim vs the Ducks to take a (3-2) semis lead, recalling past “semis” games 5 in Anaheim sports history, most notably involving the Angels.

There was the Sunday glory of the Ducks semis game 5 win at Detroit vs the still powerful Red Wings en route to a 6 game semis triumph and eventual 5 game finals victory over the Ottawa Senators in the ’07 finals. (By the way, Ottawa is in its third semi and all three times the Ducks, the Might Ducks in ’03, have been in the “other” semi.)

Also the Angels wrapped up their semis series/ALCS vs the Minnesota Twins, whose roster included a young David Ortiz, with a Sunday game 5 home win, en route to the ’02 title.

The Chicago White Sox ended the Angels season, “5 ing” them, ending on a Sunday with Joe Buck, en route to their first title in 88 years in ’05. Last year fellow Chicago baseball team, the Cubs ended a title drought that was 20 years longer, with Joe Buck.

Edmonton, dispatched by the Ducks in a 7 game “quarter,” last week, “5’d” the Ducks in the ’06 semis, before losing to the Carolina Hurricanes, who were “guided” by current Nashville coach Peter Laviolette.

Twice the Angels under hard luck manager Gene Mauch, whose 1964 Phillies famously dissipated a big lead and also failed to win the pennant, lost Sunday 5th games, either officially being ousted at Milwaukee (Brewers), now a National League franchise or should I say “brand,” in a decisive 5th in ’82, and most memorable and heartbreaking of all, dissipating a (5-2) 9th inning lead in a Sunday home 5th and eventually a (3-1) semis/ALCS lead, to the Boston Red Sox in 1986.

Last night the Mets held off the Angels in a reg game, Joe Buck was there, (as with so many unpleasant things–is not he everywhere?!), that Sunday in ’86, I headed to the Mets’ Shea Stadium home for #4NLCS vs Mike Scott and Houston.

One day as requested in “Grease,” I will “tell you more,” regarding all that happened that day.

 

Current “Nash” coach, Peter Laviolette, guided the ’06 Carolina Hurricanes to the title with general manager, Jim Rutherford.

Perhaps the two will clash in the ’17 finals, as Jim Rutherford, who titled last season, is the Pens’ general manager.

Last season, the Lightning won at “Pitts” in an Emrick night 5th of the semis, but the Pens led by Bryan Rust won in 7. Emrick and NBC want the Pens to win, ideally in 7. I would not try “the lose game 5 at home trick” again, if I were them, but it is a day game, giving “Ott” a good chance.

However, what Bettman and Emrick/NBC want, they usually get. Happily,  not a Triple Crown bid, but I completely “dogged” the 28 dollar winning horse.

 

 

Notes, We Have ‘Offs Notes

Before continuing with “the everybody, or just about everybody, loses at home in the NHL ‘offs,” (by the way, largely it has applied in the NBA as well, clearly a more stunning fact, given the natures of the sport, never evidenced more clearly than this season with two NBA juggernauts Cleve and G.S. with (10-0) marks while the 13th and 16th ranked NHL teams are as far as the semis, having led said semis (2-1) and are each in (2-2) series, as I type. (By the way, typing an elective in high school, is so important, that in itself not great, but far worse an indicator of technical dominance, that is not good.)

I believe the road team has won the first two games of an Eastern Conference/Division final only four times with the  Cleveland Cavaliers doing so twice in the past three seasons. (The ’03 New Jersey Nets and 2010 Celtics also turned the trick).

Cleveland the defending NBA champion, also accomplished the feat in 2015, en route to a sweep of the Atlanta Hawks, a team with a (1-12) semis game record in its current location.

That season, Golden State in the first of what is now 3 seasons with the top NBA mark, “6’d” Cleveland in the NBA finals. Last season, the Cavs won #’s 5 and 7 at “G.S.” en route to overcoming a (3-1) finals series deficit en route to the city of  Cleveland’s first title since Jim Kanicki and the Browns’ defense was the key, in a (27-0) win vs the great John Unitas and the Baltimore Colts, in the 1964 NFL title tilt.

That NHL home loss additional note is not only has there been but one team, the ’88 Oilers (Edmonton) that went through the ‘offs, sans a home defeat (’87-2017), but just three other teams did so (’71-’86), 16 seasons of either three best of seven rounds or possibly a fourth round of best of 5 prelims, avoidable with a certain record (’71-79) and mandatory, no matter a team’s place in the standings from (’80-’86).

Only the ’74 Flyers, awesome (12-1) in the ‘offs 1976 Canadiens, (the even better ’77 Habs did not) and ’85 Oilers turned the trick.

Three other teams, making 7 in the 49 NHL seasons since expansion have gone sans a home loss, all winning titles, but all three teams were aided immensely by a finals series vs an expansion team, in all three seasons (’68-70) vs the St. Louis Blues.

Hector “Toe” Blake’s last season culminated in the ’68 Montreal crown, Claude Ruel guided the ’69 Canadiens and Harry Sinden coached the ’70 Bruins, all three, title winners, none worse than (12-2) in the ‘offs, but all with a finals series vs the Blues and all three sans a home loss in that season’s ‘offs.

However, just 4 teams in 46 seasons of post expansion hockey without a finals vs an expansion team division winner have gone undefeated at home in the NHL playoffs.

 

Click below for a good piece on the enormous contributions to great Montreal Canadiens’ teams made by Claude Ruel.

Claude Ruel: The Canadiens forgotten superstar – The Hockey News

 

Just About Everybody Loses At Least Once At Home In The NHL Playoffs

After Corey Perry’s overtime goal lifted Anaheim (Ducks) (3-2), at Nashville (Predators) in #4, not only is their semi tied at two games apiece, but now for the 29th time in the 30 NHL seasons with four rounds of best of seven series, no team will go through the NHL ‘offs, sans a home defeat.

Nashville was (6-0) in these ‘offs, but already having “vibed” An in #4, I noticed a bit too much military and police for my taste anyway, in their anthem ‘monies (ceremonies) and felt more confidence in my “An” prediction, posted here the other day. Alas, Washington (Capitals) had gone all military in their anthem “stuff,” before losing #7 at home to Pittsburgh and other examples are on file.

However, the fact Nashville tied the game in the last minute, as I had gone to sleep with “An” ahead (2-0), does not, in my opinion, augur well for the Ducks.

Game 5 follows NBC’s Preakness Stakes coverage tomorrow night, a promo for them, a “hedge” for me, Nashville in 6, knowing I was correct/lucky last night.

By the way, only the 1988 repeat Stanley Cup champion, Edmonton Oilers went undefeated at home, in the 30 seasons of 4 rounds of best of 7 NHL ‘offs (1987-2017).

 

Did Katharine Hepburn ever say Petr, Petr, Petr?!   Petr Klima, pictured above was on the ’88 “Vogues,” (the Detroit Red Wings) a team Edmonton 5’d en route to a 4th title in 5 seasons.

In 1990, in their second season sans Wayne Gretzky, who had “Janet Jones’d” to L.A., the Oilers won it all, winning all 3 road games in Boston in the finals, to claim a truly “rarefied air of greatness” (think Green Bay Packers doing the same ’61-’67), 5th crown in 7 seasons.

Klima, did not play in the third period nor in the first two overtime periods of game 1/’90 finals at Boston Garden, but scored in the third overtime, to lift the Oilers to victory, in what is still the NHL’s longest finals game.

 

 

In Nearly 180 Degree Contrast To The Totally “Chalk” NBA, 13th Ranked Ottawa And 16th Ranked Nashville Lead (2-1) In Their Semis

While the odds in favor of the anticipated third straight Cleveland/Golden State final are at least 15 to 1, I will inform you that 13th overall, Ottawa (Senators) would have the home advantage vs 16th overall, Nashville (Predators), should they meet in the 2017 Stanley Cup finals.

There is a long way to go, but with both “Ott” and “Nash” up (2-1) in their respective semis, the unlikely scenario where whom would have “home” between the two teams becoming relevant, has manifested as a point of great interest, but not fact.

If “Nash” wins tonight vs Anaheim, likely, they will eventually become the first team since the ’08 Pittsburgh Penguins (the Pens are Ottawa’s current semis opponent) to advance to the Cup finals sans a home loss.

 

I could cite a most serious situation involving his wife or lightheartedly recall a pitcher with the same name, but alas suffice to say Craig Anderson, pictured above, has been brilliant in goal vs the defending champion, (do not dare count them out), Penguins, allowing but 3 goals in 3 games, only two at all meaningful.

James Neil, #25 above had the winning goal in overtime in game 1, one of all 5 earlier NHL playoffs, Saturday tilts that went into overtime.

Perhaps the “clue,” at least thus far is that someone other than “Pittsburgher” Mike Emrick is the lead NBC announcer. The one and only “Mike W,” who “wrote in” harshly, as to it being Eagle, not Marv Albert, for #7 NBA quarters, asked what happened to Bob Ryan?

Apparently Ryan called Emrick the best announcer ever? He is not even close. In Ryan’s Boston alone, just in hockey, Fred Cusick and Bob Wilson, each of whom “did” the far more challenging, more important to the fans, radio, (Emrick rarely has) were at least as good, notice I did not say great. (Dan Kelly and Danny Gallivan were Great!)

That said, with what is left I say “give me Emrick, or give me” nobody!

 

2 ‘offs Teams Cities Being “Off’d,” Only The 6 To One “Semis” Underdog Celtics Remain

There were four cities with teams in both the NHL and NBA ‘offs. Only one of the eight teams, the Boston Celtics, six to one “semis” underdogs to the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, are still playing, as their “semi” begins tonight in Boston.

Yes, (Marv Albert’s emphatic “Yes” did not do it for me, but he is a great basketball broadcaster and I hope and think he is the TNT broadcaster for this “semi”)  despite home advantage, the Cavs are huge series favorites, 4 point game 1 favorites and one would think no, certainly not many, teams without home advantage have ever been such prohibitive favorites in NBA annals.

The other Boston 2017 winter sports (they determine the league titles, far too close to summer), the Bruins were ousted in six games in the prelims by the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa went on to “6” the Rangers and are tied (1-1) in their semi vs the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both Chicago ‘offs teams lost in the first round, the West top seed and ’10, 13 and ’15 title winning Blackhawks in 4 straight to the Nashville Predators, while after winning the first two games in Boston, the Bulls lost the next four to lose the series vs the Celtics  in six games.

Nashville won its “qtr” in six vs St. Louis (Blues) and riding Roman Josi’s  third period, game 3 winning goal at home, where they are (6-0) in these ‘offs and have won 10 straight ‘offs games, over the last two seasons, lead Anaheim (Ducks) two games to one. Beware “Nash” in #4, but even if the Ducks win that, it looks like “Nash”ville to the finals.

Both Washington teams were “quartered” out, the top ranked Capitals in 6 to Pittsburgh, the Wizards in an all home 7 game series vs the Celtics.

One Toronto team, the Maple Leafs fell in 6 to the Caps in the prelims while the Raptors were swept out by the Cavs.

 

Last night, Roman Osi, pictured above, had the winning goal in what was the Predators’ first home “semis” game.

Another Great Athena Theatre Production: “A New Memory”

Last night at “Symphony Space,” another wonderful presentation by Athena Theatre, this one, “A New Memory” was performed.

Nora Sorena Casey, Athena Theatre Playwright in Residence, introduced the evening’s work, “A New Memory,” which was eight ten-minute plays.

The performances were dazzling, both humorous and  meaningful, touching on most relevant and important topics.

There were great themes examined, including sibling rivalry and love, manifestations of and speculation about the current U.S administration, and romantic relationships, all performed in great fashion.

Citing the playwrights: Nora Sorena Casey, Adam Seidel,  Meron Langsner, Kate Mulley, Julienne L. Hairston, Bara Swain, Rachel Mann, and Brenda Foley.

The cast included Gustavo Pace, Jak Watson, Shauna Pinkett, Marilyn Oran, Veronique Ory, Amanda Cate Fuller, Allesondra Helwig, Dave T. Koenig and Patrick T. Horn.

All the plays and performers were marvelous under the stellar direction of Noa Egozi.

Upcoming in the wonderful world of Athena Theatre is “Sub-Basement” which I saw and loved, in Silver Spring, Maryland from June (1-18).