"The Stack" is here on this Tuesday with plenty of playoff talk and Monday's other top stories so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, May 8:
1. Spurs wrap up sweep of Jazz, Clippers take stranglehold of series with Grizzlies
The San Antonio Spurs are out to prove just how good they really are and that they should be the favorites in the western conference. They finished up a sweep of the eight seed Utah Jazz last night, winning 87-81. The final score does not indicate just how much better the Spurs played than the Jazz. To be honest, this game like the entire series was really quite boring and a dominant performance by the San Antonio Spurs. If Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker can stay healthy, the Spurs have a very good chance of winning the western confernce.
The Grizzlies-Clippers game was tied 87-87 and headed to overtime at the publishing of this blog.
2. Rangers outlast Capitals in overtime, Coyotes clinch series.
The Capitals were less than thirty seconds away from going back home with a chance to eliminate the New York Rangers from the playoffs. But then Joel Ward got a four-minute high sticking penalty with twenty-two seconds left and Brad Richards became the hero of New York with his power play goal to with seven seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game 2-2 and force overtime. Because the power play continued at the start of overtime, the Rangers took advantage 1:35 in as Marc Staal got one by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby giving the Rangers the 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead. It is amazing how much of a momentum shift took place in the final seconds of this game. The Capitals were going to leave feeling great, knowing they would have two shots to knock off the top seed in the east. Instead, they head back to D.C. knowing that one more loss will eliminate them from the playoffs. The Rangers played more desperate the entire game, outshooting the Capitals 38-18, yet the Capitals held a 2-1 late in the game. But the good teams find a way to win, and the Rangers did just that. Some may say that the Capitals penalty and loss is a microcosm of their season and that may very well be. Now they just have to regain their composure and focus and worry about winning game six and forcing a winner take all game seven back in New York.
Meanwhile, hockey will be continuing in the desert for at least another two weeks following the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 over the Nashville Predators to win the series 4-1. Two second period goals were enough for the Coyotes. Goalie Mike Smith was once again stellar in net, stopping 32 of 33 shots. He has played magnificently between the pipes this postseseason, the major reason why the Coyotes are in the western conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Ah, two western conference power houses in the western conference finals. The NHL has got to love this, oh wait, not. Sure Los Angeles poses as a great market with the Kings playing great right now, but both the Kings and Coyotes were in the bottom five of television markets during the regular season, so how will they do in the western conference finals. It will be interesting. Hopefully the ratings will continue to impress.
Wednesday's NHL playoff game:
New Jersey @ Philadelphia 7:30 PM ET NBC Sports Network (Devils lead series 3-1)
3. Big East commissioner resigns over conference realignment
The college athletic landscape has forever changed (and not for the better) with schools changing conferences all just to make a few more dollars. One of the conferences that has been raided the most is the Big East conference. West Virginia has moved to the Big 12. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are moving to the ACC. All of that movement has costed Big East Commissioner John Marinatto his job. Marinatto resigned Monday amid pressure of the Big East presidents who are seeking new leadership. They were disappointed in the inability to keep schools for basketball and not expanding more amongst other things. Joseph Bailey will take over as commissioner while a search committee seeks their next commissioner. Truth be told, it's surprising more commissioners aren't suffering the same fate and why conference re-alignment is still happening. Don Beebe was forced out of the Big 12 for his inability to keep members. What this proves is that perhaps schools were so worried about making a few extra dollars, that they failed to realize the terrible ramifications that could come with it. Or maybe they just simply chose to them, knowing someone would take the fall when things went bad. Still, the decision to switch conferences may be the worst idea we've seen in college athletics at least for a while.
4. Minnesota Vikings stadium saga continues
The Minnesota House took up the Vikings stadium issue Monday with hundreds of Vikings fans and union and construction workers chanting in the halls of the capital building "Build it. Build it." When the House finally began deliberating at about 2 pm, ammendments were flying left and right, including one that would increase the Vikigns contribution by $105 million up to $532 million. The motion passed 97-31. The NFL was quick to criticize the move and rightfully they should. But good news for Vikings fans as the House passed their amended version of the stadium bill 73-58. It will now go to the Senate today where another lengthy series of talks is expected. The Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press have done a magnificent job covering the stadium saga. The bill may be in peril with the latest move and it is a shame that the elected officials of Minnesota can't figure this out. Thousands, if not millions of Vikings fans have been clammoring for a Vikings stadium bill to be passed. It's hard to keep a ton of faith going, but my gut says a bill will be passed in both the house and the senate. There is too much at stake to lose. Your thoughts?
5. Cleveland Browns 2012-13 NFL schedule thoughts
The Cleveland Browns future may be looking up with their draft moves of running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden. GM Mike Holmgren is doing his best to get the Browns back to being contenders. The full Browns schedule can be found here. Now let's take a look at some of the more interesting notes at the Browns upcoming schedule:
- The Browns finish up their season series with both the in-state rival Bengals (weeks 2 and 6) and Ravens (weeks 4 and 9) before playing their first game against the Steelers (week 12).
- Three of the Browns final five games are against AFC West opponents (@ Raiders Week 13, vs. Chiefs Week 14, @ Broncos Week 16).
- If the Browns make a playoff run, they may have to win on the road to secure their spot. Their final two games are on the road (@ Denver, @ Pittsburgh).
- The Browns only nationally televised game is at Baltimore Week 4 on the NFL Network, 8:20 PM ET.
Tomorrow's team: Dallas Cowboys
Coming up Wednesday: NBA and NHL playoff reaction plus other top stories from Tuesday.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.