Cnotes 2017 Stanley Cup Championship Trends-Stats-Picks-News !

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  • #408944

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    [B][I]Monday’s six-pack[/I][/B]

    Baseball broadcast teams I enjoy listening to:

    — Brian Anderson/Bill Schroeder, Brewers— Anderson is network TV material; he’s done some basketball last few years. Schroeder is terrific as the friendly analyst.

    — Drew Goodman/Jeff Huson/Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies— Huson is very good as an analyst; understated. Spilborghs was a player fairly recently and is slow to criticize.

    — Jason Benetti/Steve Stone, White Sox— Benetti only works Sox home games, which is sad. Stone is excellent.

    — Don Orsillo/Mark Grant, Padres— Red Sox stupidly canned Orsillo couple years ago; he is really good, but hard to work for a team as bad as the Padres.

    — Victor Rojas/Mark Gubicza, Angels— Gubicza is always upbeat; they’ll give subtle criticisms, sometimes even criticizing the home team. Not everyone does that.

    — Least favorite baseball announcer: Len Kasper, Cubs— I like his analyst Jim Deshaies, but I just don’t like Kasper. He seems to intentionally aggravate the anti-jinx crowd. Cubs are kind of a national team; think they should have a better play-by-play guy.

    ***********************

    [B][I]
    Monday’s List of 13: Happy Memorial Day, everyone……..[/I][/B]

    13) Major league announcers don’t like people bugging them on Twitter about “jinxing” things.

    For instance, I have Mike Foltynewicz on my fantasy team; he pitched Saturday and Chip Caray is saying early in the game how “….the Giants haven’t been hitting the ball well lately”, so of course the Giants hit three homers, score five runs fairly early and people are killing Caray on social media for jinxing the squad, at which point he blocks them from following him.

    I think there is a middle ground; obviously what Caray says has zero impact on the game, but it still bugs me when announcers come out and say stuff, like he is trying to annoy the anti-jinx faction. There is a way of communicating things without actually saying them.

    12) Cardinals’ Paul DeJong homered in his first big league AB Sunday in Denver; he is the 118th major leaguer to homer in his first career at-bat.

    11) Mike Trout jammed his left thumb sliding head-first into second base Sunday and left the game. He played a couple innings in the field after the slide but when his turn to bat came he opted out. X-rays were negative; apparently it is a sprained thumb.

    10) Any Miami Heat player who puts their hands on their knees for a breather during a practice or game gets fined $100; not surprisingly, this is unique in the NBA.

    9) Chris Sale pitches against his old team, the White Sox in Chicago Tuesday. Last year Sale revolted when the White Sox were going to wear throwback dark blue jerseys when he pitched— he took scissors and cut the jerseys up so they couldn’t be worn.

    If I owned the White Sox, we would definitely be wearing dark blue jerseys Tuesday night.

    8) I bitched and moaned about the home plate umpire in the Bronx Saturday, but there is also this: Jed Lowrie has been a major leaguer for ten years- Saturday was his first ejection, so not like he is chronic complainer. If he was that upset, there was a good reason for it.

    I’m upset that the A’s have allowed 34 unearned runs, the most in MLB. There are no sports where you can be good if your defense sucks.

    7) In Miami Sunday, a batter let go of the bat with one hand after he swung and his backswing clipped the umpire on the side of his mask— never saw that before. Umps don’t wear helmets under their mask like catchers do; maybe they should.

    6) Golfer Zach Johnson got put on the clock by Tour officials Sunday for slow play and got a little upset about it; he dumped all the clubs out of his bag, on the course.

    5) 16 games Saturday and no team scored more than six runs, first time in baseball history that has happened. Elias Sports says that Saturday was the 703rd day in MLB history with 16+ games and that goes back to 1876.

    4) ABC is bringing The Gong Show back to TV on June 22; in the early 80’s, NBC ran this classic show on daytime TV, with the great Chuck Barris as its madcap, sometimes bizarre host. Gong Show is really a parody of American Idol; people go onstage and try to impress celebrity judges, but most of the acts were mediocre-to-terrible.

    Mr Barris passed away earlier this year; the host makes/breaks this show, since the acts aren’t very good, the host damn well better be funny. Never heard of the guy they have hosting this version, but we’ll find out in a few weeks.

    Go on Youtube and check out The Gong Show from back in the day; they had a comedian who was a regular who told jokes with a bag over his head (Unknown Comic) and Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine, a stagehand who occasionally would just pop onstage and start dancing as the show went to commercial.

    3) The most fun I’ve had as a baseball fan was the 2012 A’s making the playoffs; watched every game on the dish, as they rallied from 13 games behind in an unlikely stretch run. I mention this because it occurs to me that even though big league teams have 25-man rosters, most of the time it takes 32-35 guys, over the course of a season, for a team to make the playoffs.

    In 2012, the A’s got two walk-off homers from Brandon Hicks, an infielder who wasn’t even on their playoff roster, but the two games he won with HR’s were the deciding factor in Oakland being division champs. Small contributions from a variety of people made a huge difference.

    As far as 2012 being more fun than the 1972-74 A’s who won three straight World Series, I was an obnoxious kid back then and didn’t appreciate it as much as I should’ve. Plus, didn’t see too many games on TV back in the day. Nowadays, it is fun to fun watch all the games.

    2) White Sox rookie pitcher Tyler Danish won his first big league start Saturday; when he went to the White Sox FanFest in Chicago last winter, he told someone it was the first time he had ever seen snow in person. Lucky him; wish I had never seen snow.

    1) Today is Memorial Day, an important day in our country. Lot of people have risked their lives to protect the freedoms we have in this country. Today is the day we pause to remember these courageous humans who protect us, both now and in the past. Thank you!!!

    #408945

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    [B][I]Stanley Cup Final: 10 Things To Watch
    May 28, 2017[/I][/B]

    With a defending champion on one side and a de facto 16th seed on the other side, this year’s Stanley Cup Final promises to be one of the most fascinating in a long time.

    Shooting to become the first back-to-back Cup champs since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Nashville Predators on Monday night in Game 1. Great storylines abound both ways, which could lead to an entertaining series.

    [B]Here are 10 things to watch during the course of the series:

    –CENTER ICE:[/B] Here is where Pittsburgh should have a big advantage. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are arguably the top 1-2 center duo anywhere, and Nashville is playing without its top pivot after Ryan Johansen underwent emergency thigh surgery following Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

    Short term, the Predators managed to thrive against the Anaheim Ducks in the conference finals despite the loss of Johansen. Colton Sissons potted a hat trick in the clincher against Anaheim while matching up well physically with Ryan Getzlaf. But even in a short sample size, can he be expected to match or exceed Crosby or Malkin?

    Help does appear to be on the way for Nashville, as captain Mike Fisher is likely to rejoin the lineup for Game 1 in Pittsburgh after sitting out the final two games of the Anaheim series.

    [B]–NET GAINS:[/B] There’s a school of thought that suggests Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is the Conn Smythe Trophy favorite, even if the Penguins win this series.

    After all, Rinne has played the best hockey of a good career this postseason, registering a 1.70 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage in 16 games. Those marks are top five in NHL playoff history.

    But there’s a chance Rinne might not be the best goalie on the ice in this series if Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray is playing up to form. Murray posted a .930 save percentage in last spring’s run to the Cup title, and was close to the top of his game after taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury following Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    If Rinne or Murray can steal a game in the Cup Finals, it could make all the difference.
    [B]
    –BIG-NAME DEFENSE:[/B] It took about half a season to figure things out, but Nashville has hit on a winning combination for its defensive corps.

    Coach Peter Laviolette tried P.K. Subban, acquired from Montreal on June 29 in the offseason’s biggest trade, with Roman Josi on the first pairing. It didn’t work, so Plan B was to pair Subban with Mattias Ekholm and Josi with Ryan Ellis.

    After a spate of injuries forced pairings to be juggled, the Predators settled on that foursome when Josi returned from a concussion in early February. The Big Four has starred at every turn, providing key goals and helping limit high-danger chances in front of Rinne.

    Ekholm and Subban have been death on opposing top lines, shutting down Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in the Chicago series, keeping Vladimir Tarasenko in check during the St. Louis series and quashing Getzlaf’s line in the Anaheim series. Playing against either Crosby or Malkin could be their greatest challenge yet.

    “The numbers and eyeball all pointed to Roman and Ryan being a terrific pair,” Laviolette said. “Ekholm and Subban are a really, really big, strong, tough pair to play against. We really haven’t changed from that in probably five months, six months.”
    [B]
    –NO-NAME DEFENSE:[/B] Forget Don Shula’s back-to-back Super Bowl champions in Miami in the early 1970s. The Penguins have your real No-Name Defense.

    Hainsey, Dumoulin, Schultz, Cole, Maatta, Daley. Most of these guys were cast off by other organizations for one reason or another. Brought together by circumstance and others’ misfortunes — No. 1 defenseman Kris Letang (neck) has missed the entire playoff run — this group has managed to hold the fort.

    Ron Hainsey, acquired from Carolina at the trading deadline to add depth, has joined Brian Dumoulin on the top pairing. Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley, along with Ian Cole and Justin Schultz, form the other pairings. None of them will remind you of Nashville’s Big Four, but all have played well enough to get Pittsburgh back to this point.
    [B]
    –WEAKNESS VS. WEAKNESS?:[/B] If the matchup of Penguins forwards vs. Nashville defense is strength against strength, the clash of Predators forwards and Pittsburgh defense could be classified as weakness vs. weakness, relatively speaking.

    That doesn’t mean that it is less important. Far from it. In fact, one can make the case that what happens when Nashville possesses the puck will determine whether the Cup stays in Pennsylvania or acquires a Tennessee twang for the first time.

    Wingers Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson are still capable of driving play even without Johansen, and the Predators have another sniper who’s under the radar at the moment in James Neal. His overtime goal in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals set the tone for that series.

    [B]Speaking of Neal …

    –TRADING PLACES:[/B] Three years ago, the teams made a trade during the NHL draft. Neal left the Penguins and Patric Hornqvist departed Nashville, and now the duo match scoring touches on the sport’s biggest stage.

    Neal has scored at least 23 goals in each of his three seasons in Nashville, adding 13 playoff markers in that span. Hornqvist has given Pittsburgh the edge it sought along with the ability to pot points, tallying at least 21 goals in each of his three seasons in Pennsylvania.

    “I’ve never met a player like him,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said of Hornqvist. “We could lose 10 in a row, and he’d be in the locker room as if we’d won 10 in a row. He keeps things going in there.”

    Hornqvist, who has missed the past six games with what is believed to be a hand injury, although officially labeled an upper-body injury, practiced on Sunday and could return for Game 1. His return would boost the Penguins in a similar fashion to Fisher rejoining the Predators.

    [B]–STAR-SPANGLED COACHES: [/B]This series represents a first in Cup annals. Laviolette and Pittsburgh bench boss Mike Sullivan were both born in the United States. Every other final has featured one or two coaches born in Canada.

    “They’re passionate coaches, great motivators,” Rutherford said of Laviolette and Sullivan. “They play an up-tempo game. The way Peter has his team play is what I saw in what Sully does.”

    Both have won Cup titles, and Laviolette is one of only four coaches to take three different franchises to the Cup Finals. He guided Carolina to the 2006 Cup title in a seven-game thriller against Edmonton and coached Philadelphia when it fell to Chicago in six games in 2010.
    [B]
    –BEHIND THE NET: [/B]Every team will use the hard-around, that is, shooting the puck around the net from one side of the ice or the other, as a way to gain the offensive zone.

    That strategy has backfired repeatedly on Predators opponents in the postseason. Rinne, always a willing puck-handler who at times has made some errors in judgment, has been like a third defenseman this postseason. He has been able to stop the puck behind the net and start a breakout sequence with a pass to a defenseman.

    Rinne also has picked up three assists in the playoffs, most notably in Game 2 of the Chicago series when he started a passing sequence that led to Harry Zolnierczyk’s goal and a 2-0 second-period lead that helped shape the game’s remainder.

    “He’s very good at knocking them down,” Laviolette said of Rinne’s work stopping pucks behind the goal. “You see how he does it. When he goes back there, he uses his whole body and he can get a piece of it.”

    [B]–GETTING OFF THE MARK:[/B] One reason that Nashville has reached this point is its ability to get going early in a series. It has won Game 1 on the road in all three series, seizing home-ice advantage and then using the loud, wild environment at Bridgestone Arena to its advantage.

    The Predators are 7-1 at home in the playoffs, losing only Game 4 of the conference finals on a fluky Corey Perry goal that hit off Subban at the goalmouth. After that loss, Nashville bounced back and won Game 5 in Anaheim to set the stage for its clincher in Game 6.

    The Penguins have also won two of their three Game 1s, the exception occurring in their conference final when Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan knocked them off with an overtime goal.

    [B]–NO BULLIES HERE: [/B]If Crosby and other Pittsburgh players were breathing a sigh of relief when the Predators eliminated Anaheim, there’s a good reason: They probably won’t have to worry about overtly physical play.

    Johansen criticized the Ducks’ Ryan Kesler after Game 2 of the conference finals, saying he was having to pull a stick out of his groin every shift. Other incidents — such as Perry’s butt-ending of Rinne in Game 4 — might have left one with the impression that Anaheim could have changed its nickname from the Ducks to the Really Rottens.

    It would be surprising if this series took that kind of ugly twist. Sure, both teams have players who don’t mind the crunching checks or even dropping the gloves on occasion. But their identity revolves around speed and puck possession.

    That should make this the kind of matchup the NHL was hoping for, made more alluring by the prospect of a defending champion being challenged by an appealing underdog.

    #408946

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    [B][I]Mystique vs. mayhem in unlikely Cup Final
    May 28, 2017[/I][/B]

    PITTSBURGH (AP) The dynasty that once appeared so certain is again in the offing for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Four victories against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final would make Pittsburgh the first franchise to win back-to-back championships in nearly 20 years and the first in the parity-driven salary cap era. It would give stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin their third Cup, one more than their boss – owner Mario Lemieux – earned during his Hall of Fame career and check off whatever boxes remain unchecked for a duo that is becoming one of the most accomplished in NHL history.

    Yet for all the resiliency the Penguins have shown during their injury-marred title defense, they are taking nothing for granted heading into Game 1 on Monday night.

    Not their home-ice advantage. Not their massive edge in Stanley Cup Final experience (156 games vs. just five for the Predators, all by captain Mike Fisher while playing for Ottawa a decade ago). Not their ability under coach Mike Sullivan to thrive under the pressure that once seemed to crush them.

    ”I think the fact that a lot of guys went through it last year and they can draw from that experience is good,” Crosby said. ”But it doesn’t guarantee anything.”

    Certainly not against the swaggering and well-rested Predators.

    One of the last teams to qualify for the playoffs is now the last one standing between the Penguins and another parade in downtown Pittsburgh. Just don’t call Nashville the underdog. The Predators have hardly played like one while beating Chicago in a lopsided four-game sweep then outrunning St. Louis and outlasting Anaheim to reach the Cup final for the first time.

    ”I know we were the eighth seed but we didn’t feel like a group that we were,” Fisher said.

    Now the guys from the place that calls itself “Smashville” have a chance to bring the Cup to a place that is hardly a hockey hotbed, as Carolina did 11 years ago. That team, like this one, was led by coach Peter Laviolette. This team, like that one, has nothing to lose.

    ”This year we were kind of mediocre in the standings and maybe that’s what we needed just to come into the playoffs not really caring about home ice or who we were playing but just knowing comfortably and confidently as a team we could be in this position,” said Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.

    A position the Penguins have become increasingly comfortable in under Sullivan. The core that Crosby and Malkin led to the Cup in 2009 went through seven frustrating and fruitless springs before returning to the top in 2016. Now they’re here again, aware of the stakes but hardly caught up in the hype.

    ”I think that it’s a tough road no matter how you get here,” Crosby said. ”We found ways all season long and in the playoffs we’ve found ways. We’ve had that same mentality and that’s helped us. I think that’s kind of been our biggest strength.”

    [B]Some things to look for in would could be a highly entertaining final:

    HOMECOMINGS (KIND OF)[/B]

    One of Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford’s first moves when he took over in 2014 was to send forward James Neal to Nashville for forward Patric Hornqvist. It’s worked out beautifully for both sides. Hornqvist, who will be a game-time decision for Game 1 while recovering from upper-body injury, gives the Penguins a nearly intractable net-front presence. Neal possesses the kind of shot that can change the complexion of things dramatically.

    [B]MISSING PARTS[/B]

    Both sides have been forced to navigate their way through serious health issues . The Penguins are playing without star defenseman Kris Letang, out for the season after neck surgery. The Predators lost center Ryan Johansen to a severe thigh injury.

    Pittsburgh’s defense has thrived even without Letang . Nashville’s lengthy layoff since the conference final mean Fisher and forward Craig Smith should be available for Game 1.
    [B]
    MADE IN THE USA[/B]

    This is the first time in the history of the Cup final the coaches on both benches are American. Both Laviolette and Sullivan have stressed the series is about the players, but there’s no denying the ability of both men to cut through the noise. Laviolette has given the Predators the edge they’ve always needed while Sullivan’s straightforward approach and expert button-pushing have made Pittsburgh seemingly immune to any kind of Cup hangover.
    [B]
    PEKKA AND HIS FAB FOUR[/B]

    Pittsburgh’s strength is up front. Nashville’s is in the back. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is playing the best hockey of his career at 34 (1.70 goals against in the playoffs) while the Predators’ defense seems to know when jump in the fray. Nashville’s defensemen combined for a league-high 181 points while also making Rinne’s job easier at the other end of the ice.

    Malkin called playing the Predators ”the hardest challenge of my life.”

    ”We see who’s better,” Malkin said. ”I know it’s going to be hard.”

    #408947

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    [B]NHL playoffs

    Monday’s game[/B]

    Nashville is in its first Stanley Cup final; they won five of last seven games overall, splitting last four road games. Under is 6-2-2 in their last ten games- they haven’t played in a week. Penguins won Game 7 Thursday; they won last three home games by combined score of 11-2. Under is 4-2-2 in their last eight games. Pittsburgh is 8-2 in its last ten games with the Predators; last three series games went over total. Nashville lost four of last five visits here. Penguins won Cup LY and in 2009; they’re 4-1 overall in Stanley Cup final series.

    [B]Stanley Cup final

    Nashville-Pittsburgh[/B]

    #409071

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    [B][I]Armadillo: Monday’s six-pack[/I][/B]

    Baseball broadcast teams I enjoy listening to:

    — Brian Anderson/Bill Schroeder, Brewers— Anderson is network TV material; he’s done some basketball last few years. Schroeder is terrific as the friendly analyst.

    — Drew Goodman/Jeff Huson/Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies— Huson is very good as an analyst; understated. Spilborghs was a player fairly recently and is slow to criticize.

    — Jason Benetti/Steve Stone, White Sox— Benetti only works Sox home games, which is sad. Stone is excellent.

    — Don Orsillo/Mark Grant, Padres— Red Sox stupidly canned Orsillo couple years ago; he is really good, but hard to work for a team as bad as the Padres.

    — Victor Rojas/Mark Gubicza, Angels— Gubicza is always upbeat; they’ll give subtle criticisms, sometimes even criticizing the home team. Not everyone does that.

    — Least favorite baseball announcer: Len Kasper, Cubs— I like his analyst Jim Deshaies, but I just don’t like Kasper. He seems to intentionally aggravate the anti-jinx crowd. Cubs are kind of a national team; think they should have a better play-by-play guy.

    **********

    [B][I]Armadillo: Monday’s List of 13: Happy Memorial Day, everyone……..
    [/I][/B]
    13) Major league announcers don’t like people bugging them on Twitter about “jinxing” things.

    For instance, I have Mike Foltynewicz on my fantasy team; he pitched Saturday and Chip Caray is saying early in the game how “….the Giants haven’t been hitting the ball well lately”, so of course the Giants hit three homers, score five runs fairly early and people are killing Caray on social media for jinxing the squad, at which point he blocks them from following him.

    I think there is a middle ground; obviously what Caray says has zero impact on the game, but it still bugs me when announcers come out and say stuff, like he is trying to annoy the anti-jinx faction. There is a way of communicating things without actually saying them.

    12) Cardinals’ Paul DeJong homered in his first big league AB Sunday in Denver; he is the 118th major leaguer to homer in his first career at-bat.

    11) Mike Trout jammed his left thumb sliding head-first into second base Sunday and left the game. He played a couple innings in the field after the slide but when his turn to bat came he opted out. X-rays were negative; apparently it is a sprained thumb.

    10) Any Miami Heat player who puts their hands on their knees for a breather during a practice or game gets fined $100; not surprisingly, this is unique in the NBA.

    9) Chris Sale pitches against his old team, the White Sox in Chicago Tuesday. Last year Sale revolted when the White Sox were going to wear throwback dark blue jerseys when he pitched— he took scissors and cut the jerseys up so they couldn’t be worn.

    If I owned the White Sox, we would definitely be wearing dark blue jerseys Tuesday night.

    8) I bitched and moaned about the home plate umpire in the Bronx Saturday, but there is also this: Jed Lowrie has been a major leaguer for ten years- Saturday was his first ejection, so not like he is chronic complainer. If he was that upset, there was a good reason for it.

    I’m upset that the A’s have allowed 34 unearned runs, the most in MLB. There are no sports where you can be good if your defense sucks.

    7) In Miami Sunday, a batter let go of the bat with one hand after he swung and his backswing clipped the umpire on the side of his mask— never saw that before. Umps don’t wear helmets under their mask like catchers do; maybe they should.

    6) Golfer Zach Johnson got put on the clock by Tour officials Sunday for slow play and got a little upset about it; he dumped all the clubs out of his bag, on the course.

    5) 16 games Saturday and no team scored more than six runs, first time in baseball history that has happened. Elias Sports says that Saturday was the 703rd day in MLB history with 16+ games and that goes back to 1876.

    4) ABC is bringing The Gong Show back to TV on June 22; in the early 80’s, NBC ran this classic show on daytime TV, with the great Chuck Barris as its madcap, sometimes bizarre host. Gong Show is really a parody of American Idol; people go onstage and try to impress celebrity judges, but most of the acts were mediocre-to-terrible.

    Mr Barris passed away earlier this year; the host makes/breaks this show, since the acts aren’t very good, the host damn well better be funny. Never heard of the guy they have hosting this version, but we’ll find out in a few weeks.

    Go on Youtube and check out The Gong Show from back in the day; they had a comedian who was a regular who told jokes with a bag over his head (Unknown Comic) and Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine, a stagehand who occasionally would just pop onstage and start dancing as the show went to commercial.

    3) The most fun I’ve had as a baseball fan was the 2012 A’s making the playoffs; watched every game on the dish, as they rallied from 13 games behind in an unlikely stretch run. I mention this because it occurs to me that even though big league teams have 25-man rosters, most of the time it takes 32-35 guys, over the course of a season, for a team to make the playoffs.

    In 2012, the A’s got two walk-off homers from Brandon Hicks, an infielder who wasn’t even on their playoff roster, but the two games he won with HR’s were the deciding factor in Oakland being division champs. Small contributions from a variety of people made a huge difference.

    As far as 2012 being more fun than the 1972-74 A’s who won three straight World Series, I was an obnoxious kid back then and didn’t appreciate it as much as I should’ve. Plus, didn’t see too many games on TV back in the day. Nowadays, it is fun to fun watch all the games.

    2) White Sox rookie pitcher Tyler Danish won his first big league start Saturday; when he went to the White Sox FanFest in Chicago last winter, he told someone it was the first time he had ever seen snow in person. Lucky him; wish I had never seen snow.

    1) Today is Memorial Day, an important day in our country. Lot of people have risked their lives to protect the freedoms we have in this country. Today is the day we pause to remember these courageous humans who protect us, both now and in the past. Thank you!!!

    #409072

    cnotes
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    [SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]Monday’s NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Betting Preview: Predators at Penguins[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [I]Pittsburgh is the first team to reach the Cup Final in back-to-back seasons since the Penguins in 2008 and 2009.[/I]

    [B]Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins (-165, 5.5)[/B]

    [I]Series tied 0-0[/I]

    No team has won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles since 1998, a drought the Pittsburgh Penguins can end when they open the best-of-seven series against the visiting Nashville Predators on Monday night. The Penguins are the prohibitive favorites to hoist Lord Stanley’s trophy at the expense of the upstart Predators, who are appearing in their first Stanley Cup Final.

    Pittsburgh features the top three scorers in the postseason in Evgeni Malkin, captain Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel, and is the first team to reach the Cup Final in back-to-back seasons since the Penguins in 2008 and 2009, but the players are trying to push aside that historical narrative. “We don’t want to worry too much about whether it’s repeating or going back-to-back,” forward Conor Sheary said. “I think we just want to come into this series and win another round. I think it’s important to just worry about the next game, have a short memory and the first to four wins.” Nashville was the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and posted the fewest points of any of the 16th playoff participants, but swept Chicago in the opening round before dispatching St. Louis and Anaheim in a pair of six-game series. “When the puck drops, we’ll be ready to play. The guys are excited to reach this point,” said the Predators’ Peter Laviolette, who along with Penguins counterpart Mike Sullivan are the first American coaches to square off for hockey’s top prize.

    [B]TV:[/B] 8 p.m. ET, NBC, Sportsnet, CBC, TVAS

    [B]LINE HISTORY:[/B] The Penguins opened the betting as -140 home favorites and by Sunday night were bet all of the way up to -165. The total opened at 5.5 and has yet to move.

    [B]GOALIE MATCHUP:[/B] Pekka Rinne (NAS) vs. Matt Murray (PIT)

    Rinne – GP: 16, W/L: 12-4, 1.70 GAA, .941 SAVE %, 2 SO
    Murray – GP: 5, W/L: 3-1, 1.35 GAA, .946 SAVE %, 1 SO

    [B]INJURY REPORT:[/B]

    Predators – RW C. Smith (Probable, lower body), C M. Fisher (Probable, eye), C R. Johansen (Out For Season, thigh), LW K. Fiala (Out For Season, leg).

    Penguins – RW P. Hornqvist (Questionable, upper body), RW T. Kuhnhackl (Questionable, lower body), D C. Ruhwedel (Probable, concussion), D K. Letang (Out for season, neck).

    [B]ABOUT THE PREDATORS (53-32-9-4, 44-42 O/U):[/B] The daunting challenge of trying to match up against Crosby and Malkin is exacerbated by the absence of top-line center Ryan Johansen (thigh), lost for the rest of the playoffs after Game 4 against Anaheim. Colton Sissons stepped in for Johansen and supplied a hat trick in the series clincher against the Ducks, but the Predators will continue to rely heavily on Filip Forsberg, a 31-goal scorer during the regular season who scored five times against Anaheim and is riding a seven-game point streak. While No. 2 center Mike Fisher appears poised to return from injury, Nashville’s strength is at the other end of the ice, with its top four defensemen — Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm — combining for a staggering 39 points in 16 playoff games. Still, the Predators’ hopes likely hinge on 34-year-old Pekka Rinne, who is 12-4 with a 1.70 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage in the postseason.

    [B]ABOUT THE PENGUINS (62-26-8-5, 55-39 O/U):[/B] Malkin (24 points) and Crosby (20) are running 1-2 in the playoff scoring race and seemingly shine when the lights are brightest — each has won a Conn Smythe Trophy — but Malkin observed that Nashville’s defense will provide the “toughest challenge of my life.” Kessel notched six points in the seven-game series against Ottawa, but fellow 23-goal scorer Sheary has yet to tally in the playoffs while Jake Guentzel is mired in an eight-game goal drought after scoring nine times in the first 11 games of the postseason. Matt Murray, who backstopped Pittsburgh to a championship a year ago following a late-season injury to Marc-Andre Fleury, reclaimed the starting job from Fleury in the Ottawa series and went 3-1 with six goals allowed in his four starts. Forward Patric Hornqvist, acquired from Nashville in exchange for forward James Neal in June 2014, is a game-time decision after sitting out the final six contests against the Senators.

    [B]TRENDS:[/B]

    * Predators are 6-1 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
    * Penguins are 5-0 in their last 5 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
    * Under is 11-2-4 in Predators last 17 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
    * Under is 8-1 in Penguins last 9 Stanley Cup Finals games.
    * Predators are 2-8 in the last 10 meetings.

    [B]CONSENSUS:[/B] 60 percent of users are siding with the home favorite Penguins and 60 percent of the totals wagers are on the Under.

    #409073

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    [B][SIZE=”5″]NHL[/SIZE]
    Dunkel

    Monday, May 29[/B]

    [B]Nashville @ Pittsburgh[/B]

    Game 1-2
    May 29, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Nashville
    13.754
    Pittsburgh
    12.235
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Nashville
    by 1 1/2
    3
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Pittsburgh
    -170
    5 1/2
    [B]Dunkel Pick:
    Pittsburgh
    (+150); Under[/B]

    [B][SIZE=”5″]NHL[/SIZE]
    Long Sheet

    Monday, May 29[/B]

    ——————————————————————————–

    [B]NASHVILLE (53-32-0-13, 119 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (62-26-0-13, 137 pts.) – 5/29/2017, 8:00 PM [/B]
    There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    PITTSBURGH is 4-2 (+1.5 Units) against the spread versus NASHVILLE over the last 3 seasons
    PITTSBURGH is 4-2-0 straight up against NASHVILLE over the last 3 seasons
    3 of 6 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=-0.2 Units, Under=-0.3 Units)

    ——————————————————————————–

    [B][SIZE=”5″]NHL[/SIZE]
    Armadillo’s Write-Up

    Monday, May 29[/B]

    Nashville is in its first Stanley Cup final; they won five of last seven games overall, splitting last four road games. Under is 6-2-2 in their last ten games- they haven’t played in a week. Penguins won Game 7 Thursday; they won last three home games by combined score of 11-2. Under is 4-2-2 in their last eight games. Pittsburgh is 8-2 in its last ten games with the Predators; last three series games went over total. Nashville lost four of last five visits here. Penguins won Cup LY and in 2009; they’re 4-1 overall in Stanley Cup final series.

    Stanley Cup final
    Nashville-Pittsburgh

    [B][SIZE=”5″]NHL[/SIZE]

    Monday, May 29[/B]

    ————————————————————————————————————————
    [SIZE=”3″][B][I][B] Trend Report [/B][/I][/B][/SIZE]
    ————————————————————————————————————————

    8:00 PM
    [B]NASHVILLE vs. PITTSBURGH[/B]
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Nashville’s last 6 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
    Nashville is 12-4 SU in its last 16 games
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 6 games when playing at home against Nashville
    Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Nashville

    #409074

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    MONDAY, MAY 29

    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

    NAS at PIT 08:00 PM

    [B][I]NAS +150

    U 5.5[/I][/B]

    #409118

    hitmen44
    Member

    i got pitt to win series.

    #409142

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    [B]Tuesday’s six-pack[/B]

    Updated odds to win the World Series:

    5-1- Houston Astros

    6-1— Chicago Cubs

    7-1— San Francisco Giants

    15-2— Boston Red Sox

    8-1— Cleveland Indians

    17-2— Los Angeles Dodgers

    ************************

    [B]Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….
    [/B]
    13) I’m not real interested in how long baseball games last; I enjoy watching the game, but some people are bent out of shape because games are longer now. One easy way to shorten games; eliminate coaches’ visits to the mound. There’s your 5-7 minutes a game right there.

    12) Last week, Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly put Giancarlo Stanton in the #2 spot in the order, which was surprising, but since then, Stanton is 11-26 with two walks, so he has gotten better pitches to hit in that spot. The two walks were last night; one was intentional.

    11) Underrated: Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls coaching the Redskins; now he owns NASCAR teams and is a giant in that sport. Not many people have been so prominent in two different sports.

    10) Mets’ OF Michael Conforto has impressive bloodlines; his mother won two gold medals in the Olympics in synchronized swimming. His dad played football at Penn State.

    9) Was reading on SI.com where the Falcons’ new domed stadium will have 1,264 beer taps in it. The GeorgiaDome had 30 beer taps.

    8) Miami Hurricanes missed out on the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time in 45 years; losing a series to Dartmouth isn’t good for your tournament resume.

    7) Only four of the Braves’ first 49 games (2-2) have come against lefty starting pitchers.

    6) In college basketball, Belmont has finished #1 in whole country in 2-point FG% four of the last five years; thats hard to believe, but they run lot of backdoor plays and get lot of layups. Still, with 351 teams in the country. to be #1 four out of five years is really impressive.

    5) Astros (10 games), Nationals (8.5 games) have huge divisional leads; 2nd place in the NL East is 21-27, so thats a terrible division. 2nd place in AL West is 26-27. Those two teams will basically coast from here into the playoffs.

    4) Second Wild Card in NL is 10 games over .500, so going to be hard to make the playoffs there. In AL, second Wild Card is only two games over .500, so a straggler now can get hot and become a contender.

    This stuff will influence who is a seller when the trade deadline rolls around. Lesser teams in the National League are more likely to sell off veteran players than American League teams.

    3) Astros 16, Twins 8— Minnesota led this game 8-2 after seven innings behind Ervin Santana, who has a 1.75 ERA. Twins’ bullpen then allowed 11 runs in the 8th inning, three more in the 9th- they faced 22 hitters- 16 of them reached base, 14 scored. Yikes.

    Houston has a team like the Red Sox teams when they had Butch Hobson batting 9th when he knocked in 100 runs. You cannot outslug the Astros; very impressive lineup.

    Elias Sports says that before Monday, Astros were 0-659 in franchise history when trailing by 6+ runs in the 8th inning. Now they’re 1-659.

    2) Nationals 3, Giants 0— In the top of the 8th, reliever Hunter Strickland drilled Bryce Harper in the hip and a hockey fight broke out— a real donnybrook, a Pier 6 brawl. Harper got a couple shots in before both benches converged on the mound.

    Seemed like there was some history there- they seemed to actually dislike each other— turns out Harper homered twice off Strickland in the 2014 playoffs; one ball went in the upper deck at Nationals Park, the other one landed in McCovey Cove. Only times they’ve faced each other, until Monday.

    1) Mike Trout has a torn ligament in his left thumb, will miss a couple weeks unless surgery is needed, then it’ll be a lot more than that.
    Share

    #409143

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    [B][I]Preds encouraged despite Game 1 loss in Stanley Cup Final
    May 30, 2017[/I][/B]

    PITTSBURGH (AP) The first period of their first Stanley Cup Final game was a rough one for the Nashville Predators.

    They had a goal waved off. They fell behind 3-0 and looked overmatched at times.

    And then things settled down. Nashville dominated long stretches of the second and third periods, and even limited the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins without a shot for an impressive 37-minute stretch before falling 5-3. Game 2 is Wednesday night.

    ”I thought we outplayed them, I really did,” Predators defenseman P.K. Subban said. ”Being down 3-0 to the Stanley Cup champions, coming back and tying it up with an opportunity to win the hockey game is definitely something to build on.”

    Ryan Ellis scored in the second period and Colton Sissons in the third, both on the power play, before Frederick Gaudreau tied the game prior to Jake Guentzel’s game-winner for Pittsburgh.

    Pekka Rinne made seven saves on just 12 shots. He faced eight of those shots in the first period and then saw none in the second period, the first time a team held an opponent without a shot in a Stanley Cup Final since the league began tracking shots on goal in 1958. The next shot he faced was Guentzel’s goal with 3:17 to play.

    ”At the end of the game, I’m disappointed I didn’t help my team,” Rinne said. ”We showed a lot of character and I felt we played a great game. They’re a very opportunistic team, a high-skilled team, and we have to limit our mistakes.”

    Nick Bonino scored twice, including and empty-net goal, while Evgeni Malkin and Conor Sheary scored in the first period for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 23 saves.

    The Predators were a perfect 3-0 on the road in Game 1 during the playoffs. But they allowed three goals in the first period for just the fourth time this season, and now they trail for the first time in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Nashville thought it scored the opening goal midway through the first period when Subban’s wrist shot from the point got by Murray. But the goal was overturned and ruled offside after the first coach’s challenge in a Final game.

    ”The impact of that moment and then the chain of events that happened after that with the penalty kills I think changed the course of the game,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.

    Pittsburgh was awarded a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes, and the Predators were less than 30 seconds from killing the penalty when Malkin’s slap shot from the point beat Rinne. Sheary struck 1:05 after Malkin’s goal, converting a wide-open look from the side of the net. And with just 16.1 seconds left in the first, Rinne poked Bonino’s centering pass and the deflected puck bounced off Mattias Ekholm and into the goal.

    ”As bad as it seemed, we still found a way to get back into it,” Predators’ captain Mike Fisher said.

    The Predators were hardly intimidated by the big stage. Nashville beat Chicago, the top seed in the conference, in a four-game sweep before taking down St. Louis and outlasting Anaheim.

    Pittsburgh owns a massive edge in Stanley Cup Final experience, 156 games to just five for the Predators, all by Fisher, while playing for Ottawa. But Nashville entered the Stanley Cup Final playing comfortably and confidently, poise that was on display during points of the second and third periods.

    Ellis scored a power-play goal through a Viktor Arvidsson screen midway through the second period, cutting the deficit to 3-1. The Predators continued to press and they were rewarded on the power play when Roman Josi’s shot from the point changed direction and banked off Sissons’ knee at the top of the crease and behind Murray. Nashville tied it with 6:31 to play when Gaudreau scored on a feed from Austin Watson, who beat two Penguins behind the net to set up the goal.

    From there, the Predators were rolling, with all the momentum from their three-goal comeback. Guentzel’s shot changed everything.

    ”It just wasn’t our night,” Fisher said. ”We just have to stay positive. We’ll regroup.”

    #409144

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    [B]NHL playoffs
    Game 2[/B]

    Pittsburgh didn’t get a shot on goal for 37:09 stretch in Game 1, still won 5-3. Nashville won five of last eight games overall- they’re 2-3 in last five road games. Under is 6-3-2 in their last 11 games. Penguins won last four home games by combined score of 16-5. Under is 4-3-2 in their last nine games. Pittsburgh is 9-2 in its last 11 games with the Predators; last four series games went over total. Nashville lost five of last six visits here. Penguins won Cup LY and in 2009; they’re 4-1 overall in Stanley Cup final series. Nashville is in its first Stanley Cup final.

    [B]Stanley Cup final

    Nashville-Pittsburgh
    Pitt 5-3, -$160, O5.5[/B]

    #409145

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    [B]Date W-L-T % Units Record [/B]

    Date W-L-T % Units Record

    05/29/2017…………………. 0-2-0……………….. 0.00%…………. -10.50

    [B]Best Bets:[/B]

    Date……… W-L-T……Sides……………….. %…………..Totals……….Units

    05/29/2017……….. 0-1-0…………….. 0.00%………….0 – 1………. -10.50

    #409400

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    [B][I]Wednesday’s six-pack[/I][/B]

    Pac-12 basketball records, over the last four seasons:

    Arizona: 59-13 Pac-12, 8-4 NCAA

    Oregon: 53-19, 9-4

    Utah: 46-26: 3-2

    UCLA: 44-28, 6-3

    California: 39-33, 0-1

    Colorado: 35-37, 0-2

    Stanford: 33-39, 2-1

    Arizona State: 31-41, 0-1

    Oregon State: 26-46, 0-1

    Washington: 25-47, 0-0

    USC: 24-48, 2-2

    Washington State: 17-55, 0-0

    *****************************
    [B][I]
    Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….[/I][/B]

    13) Best part of the Strickland/Harper shenanigans Monday night was Buster Posey totally declining to get involved. Usually, the catcher tries to keep the angry batter away from the pitcher, but Posey made no such attempt.

    Harper hit two very long home runs off Strickland in the ’14 playoffs (thats 2.5 years ago!!!) in their only two previous meetings. Guess something Harper did/said ticked Strickland off.

    12) I like watching baseball when they have the strike zone on the right side of the screen, so we can see if the umps miss any pitches. To me, it makes the broadcast a little better.

    11) Is Nick Markakis the best active player who has never been an All-Star? He has 1,945 hits, is a solid defender, has a .358 career OB%. You’d think he would’ve made one All-Star team.

    10) Jeb Bush is out as part of the group trying to buy the Miami Marlins; apparently he had “only $20M” of his own money involved in the project, not enough to make him a controlling partner, which is what he wanted.

    9) 10 of the 64 teams in the NCAA college baseball tournament are located in Texas.

    8) Nike stock fell 19% last year, is up only 4% this year; with the NBA Finals starting this week, Nike didn’t need Cavs-Warriors being overshadowed by Eldrick Woods’ DUI arrest. Nike does not sell golf equipment anymore, but they still sell golf clothes, which Woods endorses.

    7) Houston Astros are almost definitely going to be in the playoffs; I’m curious how they’ll deal with Josh Reddick playing against lefties (Price? Sale? Lester?) in playoffs/World Series.

    Reddick is a career .270 hitter vs righties, .220 vs lefties (.282 OB%). A’s once pinch-hit for him in the 4th inning of a big game because the opponent put a lefty in. So far this year he is 7-25 (.280) vs lefties; maybe the change of scenery has helped him. We’ll see.

    6) Kansas Jayhawks will have six transfers amongst their 13 scholarship players next winter; only three of them will be eligible next season. Makes team chemistry a little dicey.

    5) David Blatt went 83-40 as coach of the Cavaliers in the regular season, went 14-6 in playoff games and got fired. Now he coaches overseas; I think he had just enough ego to have been a really good college coach, but we’ll probably never know.

    Fact of the matter is, if Lebron James wakes up one day in August and wants Tyronn Lue fired, the man is as good as gone. Probably won’t happen, but it could.

    4) Not a big fan of playing the infield in; just doesn’t seem necessary, unless the runner on third is really fast. Playing fielders in opens up too many cheap hits that wouldn’t happen with a more traditional defense.

    3) Joe Niekro pitched in the major leagues for 22 seasons, had 973 career at-bats with a .156 BA and hit one home run— off his brother, Hall of Fame Phil Niekro.

    2) A Saudi prince lost $359M in six hours playing poker at a casino in Egypt; he also sold off five of his nine wives as a way to reduce his debt.

    I knew cats had nine lives; had no idea Saudi princes had nine wives.

    1) I don’t care what anyone says, Bob Uecker should’ve won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as Indians’ announcer Harry Doyle in Major League.

    #409401

    cnotes
    Member
    • Author

    [B]NHL playoffs
    Game 2
    [/B]
    Pittsburgh didn’t get a shot on goal for 37:09 stretch in Game 1, still won 5-3. Nashville won five of last eight games overall- they’re 2-3 in last five road games. Under is 6-3-2 in their last 11 games. Penguins won last four home games by combined score of 16-5. Under is 4-3-2 in their last nine games. Pittsburgh is 9-2 in its last 11 games with the Predators; last four series games went over total. Nashville lost five of last six visits here. Penguins won Cup LY and in 2009; they’re 4-1 overall in Stanley Cup final series. Nashville is in its first Stanley Cup final.

    [B]Stanley Cup final

    Nashville-Pittsburgh
    Pitt 5-3, -$160, O5.5[/B]

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