"The Stack" is here on this Tuesday with a scandal, hockey playoffs and more to talk about, so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, April 24:
1. ESPN report implicates Saints GM in another scandal
The New Orleans Saints continue to make headlines this offseason for all the wrong reasons and this one could be even more damaging than the bounty scandal. GM Mickey Loomis reportedly had his Superdome suite re-wired allowing him to eavesdrop on the opposing teams' coaching staff for three seasons. ESPN's Outside the Lines is reporting that the alleged eavesdroping occured between 2002-04, before Sean Payton became head coach. The Saints and Loomis are of course denying the allegations, with the Saints releasing a statement saying, "This is 1,000 percent false. This is 1,000 percent inaccurate." THis report does seem a little odd. What advantage would Loomis have in listening to the other teams' coaching staff if he couldn't relay it to his own team personel in time? Plenty of people are coming to Loomis' defense saying that they never heard of any wiretap scandal or never saw anything in Loomis' suite. That was expected to happen as well. If true, this has trouble written all over it not just from the state level, but from the federal level too. This is a huge bombshell that ESPN just layed down not just on the Saints, but the NFL and the sportsworld as a whole and they better be prepared to stand by their word, because there is a distinct possiblity that legal ramifications could be coming from the Saints. If the report is true though, the Saints are in a lot of trouble and no Saints fan can deny just how bad it could get for their team.
2. Rangers force game 7, Coyotes make franchise history
The New York Rangers have forced a game seven thanks to a energetic second period that saw them score three goals, enough to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Rangers fell behind 1-0 early, but scored two power play goals in the second period and added another goal with under a minute to go in the second. Despite a late goal by the Senators, one that Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist vehemently disagrees with (if you watch the replay, it looks like the Senators kicked it in), the Rangers were able to hang on. Game seven will be in the Garden on Thursday. This is the Rangers team people expected to see the entire series. And we should expect to see the same team that showed up in game six to show up for game seven. If that happens, the Rangers will advance.
In Chicago, it's all over. The Phoenix Coyotes have won their first playoff series since 1987 when they were the Winnipeg Jets, making it obviously the first playoff series the franchise has won since moving to Phoenix. The Coyotes got another amazing performance from goaltender Mike Smith (I know I mention goalies a lot, but they are the true difference makers come playoff time) stopping a whopping 39 shots while Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored what proved to be the game-winning power play goal in the second period as the Coyotes won 4-0 in Chicago. Phoenix will take on Nashville in the second round. The Blackhawks did not win a home game in the series. They were clearly frustrated by Smith who stole this series for the Coyotes. Given how well Smith played, the Coyotes are serious challengers in the west and will be a tough out for the Predators. It should be a very good, but low scoring series in the battle of two Sun Belt franchises.
Tuesday's NHL playoff game:
Florida @ New Jersey 7:30 PM ET
3. College coaching news
Arkansas has found their new man to lead the football team after the Bobby Petrino firing for his affair. They've name John L. Smith, a special team's coach under Petrino the past three seasons, signed a ten month contract worth $850,000. Seems like a bit of an odd contract and it is tough to say what will happen after the season, but if Smith does well, expect him to get an extension. Smith had left to go coach his alma mater Weber State at the FCS level, but deemed coming back to Arkansas as an opportunity he couldn't pass up. This will also help the football team avoid a lot of turmoil and turnover with a familiar face patrolling the sidelines. Most Razorback fans should approve of this hire. We'll have to wait and see if Smith's stay in Fayateville will be longer than just the ten month contract he signed with the team today.
Meanwhile in college basketball, Seth Greenberg is out as Virginia Tech head coach after eight seasons. Apart from last season, the past few seasons, Virginia Tech climbed oh so close to being in the tournament, but each time was left out by the committee, a decision that Greenberg always disagreed with. He put together a fairly consistent team at Virginia Tech, but one that could never fully compete with the big boys (Duke and UNC) of the ACC. Greenberg said he was stunned by the news today, saying that he didn't think the press conference at 4 pm local time was about him at all. But the decision has been made and how Virginia Tech must get a serch going to get a new head coach. Who knows where they'll go, but they better find someone to keep the recruits they have coming in next year.
4. Atlanta Falcons 2012-13 schedule highlights
Talked about some of the highlights of Arizona's schedule yesterday. Today it's Atlanta's turn. The full Falcons schedule can be found here. Here are some of the interesting notes on the Falcons upcoming season
- The Falcons open up the season with three AFC west opponents (KC, Denver and SD). The finish with the entire AFC west before their bye in week seven.
- The Falcons alternate away and home games this year, never having two games in a row on the road or at home. They start on the road and end at home.
- Atlanta plays four playoff teams from last year, five games overall since they have to play the New Orleans Saints twice.
- The NFL must be hoping for big things from Atlanta this year as they are on four nationally televised games this year (home vs. Denver week 2 on ESPN, home vs. Dallas week 9 on NBC, home vs. New Orleans week 13 vs New Orelans and at Detroit week 16 on ESPN)
There you have it. A few interesting notes on the Atlanta Falcons upcoming 2012-13 season. Tomorrow's team...the Baltimore Ravens.
Coming up Wednesday: NHL playoff recap, Metta World Peace news and other top stories from the sports world.
Coming up Thursday: NFL Draft preview
Coming up next week: NBA playoff preview (yes, I know the playoffs will start Saturday)
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.