"The Stack" is here on this Monday to recap a wild weekend in sports. No elbows flying here. It's time to talk about the top stories in sports from the weekend so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, April 23:
1. Metta World Peace doesn't live up to his name
The elbow heard round the world yesterday delivered to Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden from the man formerly named Ron Artest has people talking. Metta World Peace after a basket in the second quarter lost control and flailed his arms in the air. Not noticing Harden right by him, World Peace landed in elbow squarely in the side of Harden's head, knocking him to the floor. The things is though, afterwards World Peace didn't show any contrition whatsoever. In fact when Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka were getting in his face, World Peace was looking like he was getting ready to fight them. Sure he apologized afterward, but his apology should mean little to the league. Given his history, the severity of the blow to the head of Harden and the damage this could do to the Thunder's chances of winning the western conference or the NBA Finals, World Peace has to be suspended for a minimum of ten games. Maybe the NBA should adopt the NHL's stance on Phoenix Coyotes LW Raffi Torres and suspend World Peace at least 25 games. That would most likely assure that World Peace would not play in the playoffs, something that should satisfy everyone other than Lakers fans out there. If it is a five or ten game suspension, it will still hurt the Lakers, but the conspiracy theorists out there will say that the NBA really wanted the Lakers to advance and make it deep in the playoffs. Based on the public reaction out there, it may be wise for the NBA to suspend World Peace for a while or they could be dealing with a lot of angry people, some of whom may not watch the NBA playoffs. The NBA needs all of the goodwill built from the shortened regular season to continue in the playoffs, and a decision that does not satisfy the masses regarding World Peace could have some consequences for the NBA in the playoffs.
2. Philip Humber throws 21st perfect game in MLB history
Twenty-one may seem like a high number, especially for such a rare stat like a perfect game. But considering baseball has been around since the 1870s, it makes what Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber did on Saturday against the Seattle Mariners all that more impressive. Humber pitched a perfect game against the Mariners as the White Sox won 4-0. Humber was very efficient in his perfect game, throwing only 96 pitches for the game. He had thrown 80 pitches in the first eight innnings. And he was throwing consistently. His pitches in the latter innings were all in the eighties and low nineties. He was blowing the Mariners away with any spectacular spped. He was simply efficient, placing his pitches exactly where he wanted them. The game did end on some controversy. Mariners pinch hitter Bredan Ryan appeared to check his swing, but the home plate umpire said he went. The ball got past White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and instead of running to first right away, Ryan started arguing with the umpire before running towards first and then stopped halfway to first. The White Sox got the out and the team stormed the field, celebrating baseball's best performance with their teammate. If you were to name twenty, fifty even the next one hundred players to throw a perfect game, Humber might not have made the list, but he doesn't have to anymore. He is in baseball lore now after making history and it was an impressive performance.
3. Bad news in Beantown, just flat out bad in Charlotte
First to baseball, where on Saturday the Boston Red Sox held a 9-1 lead on the New York Yankees in the seventh inning...and proceeded to lose 15-9. Their bullpen, or lack thereof was awful. How can you not have anyone that can shut down the Yankees? Mark Teixeira hit two homeruns with six RBIs and Nick Swisher added a grandslam and the go-ahead RBI double that gave the Yankees the lead for good in the eighth inning. Boston is in a lot of trouble. They don't seem to be fully buying in to manager Bobby Valentine and now Valentine has to figure out a way to fix the leaky dam that is his bullpen. Forget it being a leak, the dam has completely cracked. The Red Sox aren't getting consistent starting pitching either. We're only a couple of weeks into the season, but the Red Sox are in a lot of trouble. The Yankees look ready to battle with the Rays for the division title and the Red Sox may not even be around to sniff a wild card if they don't get more consistent play from their pitching staff. It's full out panic time for Red Sox fans and they're probably over-reacting, but what this team has shown through two weeks isn't very good. Right now Sox fans probably are wishing Terry Francona and Theo Epstein were back.
Meawhile in the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats are just bad. And I mean really bad, as in twenty straight losses bad and 7-56 bad. In fact, the team owned by Michael Jordan is going to finish with the worst win perecentage of any team in NBA history if they lose their final three games. They are terrible. They are a disgrace. Jordan is the worst owner in sports and it is clear that for all of his talent as a player, he has none as a GM or owner. Plus, the Bobcats aren't guaranteed the number one pick like in the NFL Draft. They have the best chance to draft Kentucky's Anthony Davis, but we all know the ping pong balls don't always fall like they should. The Bobcats are a disgrace to professional basketball. Kentucky's national championship team could even beat them...maybe.
4. Predators, Blues, Flyers and Kings all move on to the second round
Finally we get to the NHL playoffs where four teams have teams have made their way to the second round. Nashville won their first playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings in three tries in Friday, winning the series in five games. This is the most balanced team the Predators have had in the playoffs and it would not be shocking to see them advance further and perhaps even make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The St. Louis Blues got more solid goaltending from backup goalie Brian Elliott and knocked off the San Jose Sharks in five games. The Blues had the best goaltending in the regular season and they showed it in this series. I still have questions about their offense and being able to muster up enough offense to beat some of the other teams in the western conference, but all you need is a hot goaltender and the Blues have that.
The Philadelphia Flyers bullied their way past the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to knock off the Stanely Cup favorites and advance their way into the second round. As good as the Flyers were in the first round, two things will work against them as we move on from here. One, they won't go against another goaltender like Mark Andre-Fleury, who had more holes in him than swiss cheese and they will need better effort in goal from their own goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov who himself looked very shaky in net at times. No more Sydney Crosby, but the Flyers can make some noise the rest of the playoffs.
Finally, the first shocker of the playoffs. The eight seed in the west, the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the one seed and President's Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks 2-1 last night in overtime to win the series in five games. Don't fault Canucks goalie Cory Schneider who played out of his mind the last three games, allowing only four goals. But the Canucks are still out, but this time no riots in Vancouver. At least none that we know of. Hockey has lost its best team from the regular season, but may have a diamond in the rough in the Kings, who being in Los Angeles, can help drive the ratings if the people of L.A. can get behind hockey. I'm hopin they will.
Also, in an elimination game, the Bosotn Bruins were able to force a game seven against the Washington Capitals followings their 4-3 overtime win Sunday in Washington. Tyler Seguin scored the game-winning goal. Game three is Wednesday night in Boston. It will be an awesome game and could go either way. And either team winning will be good for hockey. More on that tomorrow.
NHL playoff games tonight:
New York Rangers @ Ottawa 7:00 PM ET (Senators lead series 3-2)
Phoenix @ Chicago 9:00 PM ET (Coyotes lead series 3-2)
5. Arizona Cardinals schedule highlights
Finally, we promised this last week that we would take a look at every NFL team's upcoming schedule and we start with the Arizona Cardinals. Their schedule can be found here . Here is some of their highlights:
- Three of their first four games are at home including one against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 3. That could help the Cardinals get off to a great start or it could be a sign of a bad season in the desert if they get off to a bad start.
- NFL Network game is against the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis Week 5. ZZZZ.
- Five early start games this year. That could prove to be trouble as west coast teams often struggle with early start times.
- Monday night contest against the San Francisco 49ers at home week 8. That should be a fun game
Tomorrow's team: Atlanta Falcons
Coming up Tuesday: NHL playoff talk and other top stories in sports from Monday
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.