By Marcus Ferro
2. Los Angeles Lakers (57-25)
Last Championship: 2010
Previous Playoff Run: 2010, Won Finals (4-3) over Boston Celtics
First Round: 4-2 Over New Orleans Hornets
Best Playoff Performer: Kobe Bryant 22.5ppg 3.7rpg 3.8apg
3. Dallas Mavericks (57-25)
Previous Playoff Run: 2010, Lost First Round (4-2) to San Antonio Spurs
First Round: 4-2 Over Portland Trail Blazers
Best Playoff Performer: Dirk Nowitzki 27.3ppg 7.8rpg 3apg
Season Series: 2-1 Los Angeles
Most Intriguing Match-up: Pau Gasol vs. Dirk Nowitzki
By: Mike Asti
After watching every pass, shot, check and moment so far, as predicted the RedWings Sharks series seems to have “the true cup final” written all over it. These are clearly the two deepest and most worthy teams still alive in this years post-season. I threw this video up for my 2010 version of this Semi-final preview. I didn’t get it in for this years but after a thriller opener, I feel it fits the bill again.
To fully understand this clip fitting, the Detroit Red Wings are often recognized by an Octopus as part of their emblem. Octopi have been thrown on the ice prior to Hockeytoewn home playoff games for decades, it used to take only 8 victories to hoist Lord’s Stanley Cup. Obviously each leg of an Octopus represented each win to be crowned NHL champion. The tradition has stuck and no matter the fine it will never die. This movie trailer caught my eye as a montage to sum up this series.
One of the films stars, Deborah Gibson proclaims, “we’ll get them to kill each other” when referring to the Mega Shark and Giant Octopus in the movie. I think every other team and player still vying for “the ring” couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.
I did not see “Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus” and probably never will. Either way, enjoy as I’m sure I have now given it more publicity then it ever dreamed or earned.
Video credit to The Asylum Production Company and UnDeadBackBrain on Youtube
By: Brett Cleavenger
Rory Mcilroy has stormed onto the PGA Tour over the past two years. From his long drives to the “swagger” he plays with on the course, Mcilroy is what many see as the next great golfer. It seems as though we have heard this story before; A young star with all of the raw talent and ability to be the next Tiger Woods. Sure Woods isn’t playing anywhere near the level he has once achieved, but he is still the standard to which all other golfers are held by. That being said, from all accounts it seems as though many believe Mcilroy will soon be the golfer to which all others are measured.
The funny thing is we have heard this same song and dance before. The year was 1999, and the course was Medinah Country Club. At the time, Woods was 23 years old and looking to win his second major at the PGA Championship. He entered the day with a two shot lead over a 19 year old no name from Spain, Sergio Garcia. Many will remember the back-9 that day. It started with Garcia draining a long birdie putt on the 13th hole, and then turning to Woods giving him a competitive glare. After Garcia cut the lead to one shot, he came to the 16th hole and hit is drive right behind a tree. Many believe that there would be no chance he could get the ball close to the green. Garcia proved everyone wrong. In what still is considered one of the best golf shots ever, Garcia swung down on the ball, closed his eyes, and then ran up the fairway jumping in a childlike excitement as he watched his ball land on the green. Garcia would go on to lose by one stroke to Woods, but the shot on 16 made Garcia go from a no name to a golf rock star overnight. The cover of Sports Illustrated read, “Tiger Woods wins his second big one by holding off golf’s newest phenom, 19-year-old Sergio Garcia.” After the round Garcia was asked about the qualifying for the Ryder Cup and his lone response was, “I want to play Tiger.”
It was official; Sergio Garcia was going to be the new rival for Tiger Woods. Many said that this rivalry would be the next Nicklaus vs. Palmer. Everything was in place for two great competitors to fight it out on the PGA for years to come, and yet something funny happened…Sergio never lived up to the hype. He never was able to beat Woods in a major, and although he has finished in top-10 15 times in a major tournament during his professional career, he has yet to win a major on the PGA Tour. Early on, Garcia seemed to be uncomfortable with the pressure of a major tourmanent. As time progressed though, each tournament became mental for Garcia, and his inability to get out of his own head cost him time and time again. It almost seems as though he has done better at finding ways to lose major tournaments than win them.
By: Mike Asti
Derek Lowe, a 37 year old veteran pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, has been charged with a D.U.I. Lowe is mostly remembered for pitching every clinching series game during the 2004 Boston RedSox curse breaking run to their first World Series title since 1918. Now 7 seasons later, after a few mediocre season with the Dodgers, Lowe is a key member of an Atlanta staff hoping to reach the post-season despite the loss of their long time legendary manager, Bobby Cox.
Derek Lowe released an apologetic statement after being charged with a D.U.I., reckless driving and failure to make a lane change when cops witnessed Lowe racing another car late Thursday, April 28th, on an Atlanta road.
“I would like to apologize to my family, teammates, fans and the Braves organization for the attention arising from this matter,” “However, I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to the Braves organization while we are focused on returning to the playoffs.”
Of course this happens right after I add him to my fantasy team….come on Lowe if you don’t care about the Braves, at least take notice you are hurting the chances of the Fighting Buzz-saws.
By: Mike Asti
(1) Washington Capitals; Championships: 0
Last Stanley Cup win: NA
Last Stanley Cup Final: 1998
Last Post-season Appearance: 2010
Players With Bling: Mike Knuble, Jason Arnott
(5) Tampa Bay Lightning; Championships: 1
Last Stanley Cup Win: 2004
Last Stanley Cup Final: 2004
Last Post-season Appearance: 2007
Players With Bling: Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Pavel Kubina
Despite picking the Lightning to eliminate Pittsburgh in my East first round preview, I am still a bit surprised they actually did it, especially after falling behind 3-1 in the series. If the Penguins were healthy and at full strength I doubt this would be the Caps opponent right now, no reason to discuss that though, it’s not reality. Tampa is a offensively charged club that has the perfect blend of young skill and veteran leadership, this even now goes to the front office with NHL legend, Steve Yzerman sitting as the king of this castle. The only thing that they needed was to fill the void in net, Dwayne Roloson was never figured to be that guy, even upon his arrival. However Stevey Y’s first major trade as GM turned out to get the franchise their first post-season series in four years. Roloson had to out play Fleury for the Lightning to win, he did. Dwayne has never been a legit starter throughout his career, yet has had playoff success before. He lead an 8th seeded Edmonton Oilers team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, losing to Carolina. With Tampa’s star power and Roloson’s history, it might not be absurd for this team to make a deep run probably a season earlier then predicted.
The obstacle standing in Tampa’s way trying to prevent that said run, Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Obviously this will be a daunting task. The Caps have been supposed to be the East champ for years now, they had to wait their turn behind the Pens run, now the road seems to be paved in red and white. Washington has also seemed to finally found the goalie ship they will ride do or die. Michal Neuvirth has earned that gig. The talent is there and like the Canucks on paper this team should soar. Actually doing it is easier said then done.
By Alex Wiederspiel
1. Carolina Panthers — Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
There were no surprises here. In the month leading up to the draft it became apparent that Newton was likely going to be the pick. Marty Hurney’s job is going to be tied to Newton’s success. Hurney may want to put Newton on the field, but he has to think that the best interest of Newton and the franchise is to keep Newton far away from the field in his first season. Head coach Ron Rivera has “challenged” Newton to get on the field as early as possible, though. The Panthers say they will cater their offense to Newton’s strengths. While that’s an admirable strategy, it doesn’t change that Newton has to eventually master an NFL playbook and the ability to fully read a defense from the pocket.
2. Denver Broncos — Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
There are rumors that even the Bills were concerned about Miller’s size, and that had Dareus gone second they would have looked hard at Gabbert over him at three. I’m not exactly sure where Miller fits in Denver. In the base defense he’ll likely play outside linebacker in Denver’s 4-3 and then kick to end in the nickel and dime. Still, Miller is incredibly undersized, lacks a diverse array of pass rushing moves, and sometimes can get lost in traffic. He’s a project, but with high upside. He’s also known as a guy with a good work ethic, which is a plus. Still, Miller’s motor was sometimes in question last year, and I wasn’t overly impressed with what I saw on tape. This pick has bust written all over it. Denver should focus on converting him to a full-time linebacker in the 4-3 and try to turn him into a Julian Peterson type. This was a far riskier selection for Denver then Dareus, and it’s incredible that the Broncos failed to address their most glaring need with a player of Dareus’ caliber sitting there. Read more
By: Marcus Ferro
2. Miami Heat (58-24) Championships: 1
Last Championship: 2006
Previous Playoff Run: 2010, Lost First Round (4-1) to Boston Celtics
First Round: (4-1) over Philadelphia 76ers
Best Playoff Performer: LeBron James, 26.3ppg 10.8rpg 5.8apg
3.Boston Celtics (56-26) Championships: 17
Last Championship: 2008
Previous Playoff Run: 2010, Lost Finals (4-3) to Los Angeles
First Round: (4-0) over New York Knicks
Best Playoff Performer: Rajon Rondo, 19ppg 7.3rpg 12apg
Season Series: 3-1, Boston
Most Intriguing Match-up: The Old Big 3 vs. The New Big 3
By: Mike Asti
This show hardly even needs a description. All that needs to be said is “draft”, the NFL Draft that is. The Howitzer and Buzz-saw will experiment putting their own spin on LIVE draft coverage. As each pick is read by the commissioner and each amateur (excluding Cam Newton of course) turns pro, Mike and George will be all over it. The selection, the fit or lack there of in terms of the player and teams union and its significance in the rest of the draft as a whole will be hammered across the World Wide Web. In order to complete this daunting task, the Howitzer and Buzz-saw will once again be joined by a special guest, this time a colleague, confidant and friend, Alex “the Hammer’ Wiederspiel. Prepare to drop your jaws, as Alex lives out his favorite holiday season. You will not be disappointed….consider that a HBS guarantee. The Howitzer and Buzz-saw Show. Conquering sports radio, one day, at a time….
LISTEN LIVE to George “the Howitzer” Gerbo and Mike “the Buzz-saw” Asti with BDL’s own, Alex “the Hammer” Wiederspiel for LIVE NFL Draft coverage. Alex will be hammering pick by pick as they flow off the lips of Mr. Goodell. Mel Kiper Jr don’t got shit on Alex!
You obviously know where to find Alex. If not, I can’t help you.
By: Alex Wiederspiel
Well we conclude our division previews on BDL with the god-awful NFC West. There is plenty of room for improvement and I actually think the Rams and 49ers should be able to duke it out for this division in 2011, but it’s still not a good division. 9 wins will probably do the trick.
1. Seattle Seahawks
2010 Record: 7-9
Season Finish: Divisional Round Loss
1st Round — 25th Overall
2nd Round — 57th Overall
4th Round — 99th Overall (from Denver through New England)
5th Round — 156th Overall
5th Round — 157th Overall (from Baltimore)
6th Round — 173rd Overall (from Detroit)
7th Round — 209th Overall (from Cleveland)
7th Round — 242nd Overall (Compensatory Selection)
Team Needs: QB, OG, OT, DL, CB, SS
Make no mistake, Seattle doesn’t have a ton of “needs” but they have a lot of question marks when you get further down the roster. Marshawn Lynch bought himself another year on the roster with his playoff run that involved the Saints failing to wrap him up. Russell Okung will likely be a very good left tackle, but he needs to be able to stay healthy first. On defense, the Seahawks got an amazing year from Chris Clemons, but outside of him they need some help–especially if they let Brandon Mebane walk. In the secondary, Trufant and Jennings (both former first rounders) were burnt toast last year and both need to be replaced. Walter Thurmond III is promising, but the Seahawks need help. Read more
By: Mike Asti
(1) Vancouver Canucks; Championships: 0
Last Stanley Cup Win: NA
Last Stanley Cup Final: 1994
Last Post-season Appearance: 2010
Players With Bling: Mikael Samuelsson
(5) Nashville Predators; Championships: 0
Last Stanley Cup Win: NA
Last Stanley Cup Final: NA
Last Post-season Appearance: 2010
Players With Bling: NA (sad I know)
One of these teams is supposed to be here, the other is shocking the world. Ironically enough, the favorite, Vancouver, that is in the exact spot they planned to be since October, crawled here. In contrast, Nashville is in the second round for the first time in franchise history, yet arrived standing completely upright. The Canucks avoided being only the 4th NHL team and 5th in pro sports to squander a 3-0 series lead, despite a war they ousted the champs in a thrilling game 7. Roberto Luongo’s playoff self was exposed so much, he actually was benched for a series clinching game. The Predator’s defeated a Ducks team that many saw as a possible West dark horse. Anaheim was better on paper. Nashville proved series are not won on paper. As much as I hate the Pred’s advancing, I do respect what they have done. Can Nashville keep it up or will the Canucks finally live up to expectations?
I see this series as simple….Pekka Rinne. The best goalie no one knows about stood on his head and then some getting a gritty Pred’s team past Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and the Ducks. Nashville relies heavily on their netminder, when you have a stud between the pipes that can be understandable. I always harp that secondary scoring is key to a long playoff run, Nashville has plenty of it. The only problem..that’s all they have. Steve Sullivan, Martin Erat and Mr. Carrie Underwood (Mike Fisher) are veterans guys that will literally do anything. That is a great mentality and scaring to play against. However, the weakness of the team and a soar thumb I feel will eventually stick out, they just do not have a play maker that can be the go to guy and pick the team up if necessary. This years Predator’s is starting to feel a bit like 2010’s Montreal Canadiens, last year the Hab’s road a hot goalie to the East Finals despite a cast of role players and garbage men (score only by garbage goals). All hail Shea Weber and Rinne is Nashville does it again. Read more