Wow! What a game last night to begin the Stanley Cup Finals. The Stack is here, albeit very tired, and it's time to react to longest game of the 2013 NHL playoffs and more so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, June 13:
Blackhawks-Bruins triple OT thriller
As the clock struck midnight local time, some magic certainly happened in the Madhouse on Madison. Thanks to a double deflection, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 in triple overtime, the fifth longest game in Stanley Cup Finals history. Andrew Shaw redirected an already redirected puck that found its way past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to lift the Blackhawks and send the home crowd into delirium. What a game. It was very physical. 120 hits! There were a ton of shots, 117 that reached the net. Boston was terrific in blocking shots. This was one of the best games that you will see in a Stanley Cup Final. It was the longest game in the NHL this season.
Boston has to feel sick about losing this game. They held a 3-1 third period lead after scoring a power play goal only to see the Blackhawks surge back and chip away before eventually tying this one up 3-3.
And the chances, oh the chances Boston had in overtime to put this one away. Multiple mad scrambles in front of the net with openings as Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was scramblign on the ice to get back up and get in position and the Bruins could not figure out a way to get the game-winner in. Then late in the second overtime, the Bruins got on the powerplay and had one hit off the post with only seconds left in the overtime session. They had this game and they failed not only preserve the lead, but battle through and find a way to win in overtime. Now they trail the series 1-0 with game two in Chicago Saturday night at 8 PM ET on NBCSN. How will they respond? How will both teams respond? I feel as though Boston lost this series with this loss last night. Blowing a lead on the road and then losing in triple overtime like that swings momentum fully towards Chicago. Boston is resilient. But this might be too much to overcome. Welcome to the Stanley Cup Finals. What a series we are about to witness. Excited for what will happen next.
U.S. Open preview
Golf's second major comes to soggy Merion Golf Club just outside of Philadelphia. Normally this is the major that sees high scores and it is not inconceivable to think that the winner will finish above par. But the heavy rain that has hit the U.S. Open will definitely make the course easier and therefore the scoring lower. I've heard NBC's Johnny Miller say that he still expects high scores. The rough is the thickest that any of the players will have played in this year and there are several greens with severe enough slopes that if you don't place the ball just right, see ya. That will certainly lead to some higher scores, but the rain will help lead to some lower scores. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, more rain is in the forecast for today.
As for the players to watch for, of course Tiger Woods has to be considered one of the favorites and why wouldn't he be? Yes he struggled at the Memorial a couple of weeks ago, but look at what Woods has done this year with four tournament wins. The pairing of him, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, only the top three ranked players in the world is must see. Scott won the Masters this year, Woods hasn't won a major in five years, and it seems like ages ago since McIlroy won a major though it was just last year. Will we see a U.S. Open repeat champion? Webb Simpson won it last year. Don't think it will happen. There's probably going to be some name that most viewers will say "who?" after day one and perhaps going into the weekend. There always seems to be. There are other names to watch of course like Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan and others. Wouldn't it be great theatre if Sergio Garcia and Woods were tied atop the leaderboard entering the final round? So many people would watch.
Shouldn't pick the favorite, but at some point he's got to come through. Smart money says to pick the field. I'll try Tiger Woods to win his fifteenth career major and win the U.S. Open at Merion. Should be a fantastic tournament. Enjoy it.
NBA Finals game four tonight
Surely we won't see a blowout in game four of the NBA Finals tonight will we? San Antonio and Miami will tip off game four tonight at 9 PM ET on ABC from San Antonio. The Spurs are coming off a blowout win over the Heat in game three. They responded well after getting blown out by the Heat in game two. You have to expect Miami will rebound with a good game tonight, LeBron James in particular. He has been quiet in this series and game three was disasterous. But even if the Heat respond with a much better performance, does that mean they'll win? Might not if San Antonio continues their hot shooting from three. 16 for 32 last game and Danny Green is on fire. Tony Parker is listed day-to-day with a slight strain of his hamstring and is uncertain for tonight's game. If he plays, the Spurs I think will win. If not, the Heat win this one fairly easily.
In other NBA news, one head coaching vacany has been filled and the move is a little suprising. The Brooklyn Nets agreed to terms with Jason Kidd to be their next head coach. Kidd retired just last week. He becomes the fourth coach in the merger to go from retire as a player and become a head coach the very next season. First one since 1990 I believe. The move is a little surprising given that Kidd has no coaching experience. Brian Shaw, now an assistant with the Indiana Pacers, met with the Nets for five hours yesterday and the Nets decided to take a chance on Kidd rather than Shaw. You hope this move pans out for the Nets, but the odds are kind of stacked against them. Then again, given what Kidd did with the Nets when he played for them, we probably shouldn't doubt his abilities. He was a great player with a terrific basketball mind. He can probably do it on the bench leading the Nets.
Coming up Friday: Game 4 NBA Finals reaction plus thoughts on the U.S. Open first round