It didn't quite have the same vibe going in as this time two years ago, but in sports, you just never know. In fact, you might say this time around, the roles are reversed. In 2014, the Los Angeles Kings, underdogs in their first round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, beat them in seven games. Not so this time.
Last time, not only did the team from Los Angeles come back from three games down, but they went on to win the Stanley Cup. This time, they won after falling two games down, but then lost twice, and were eliminated.
The best thing about watching a hockey game, is that it's nothing but intensity for 20 minutes (about 45 minutes of real time), then a break, then intensity, then a break, and then intensity again. And that's just in regulation. Even if you record the game and fast-forward through the breaks, you are on the edge of your seat for awhile.
From the Sharks perspective, they can look at it like this. They finally get to play a post-season game against someone other than the Kings. After losing a seven game series to Los Angeles in 2013 and again in 2014, and neither team making the playoffs last year, San Jose has played 19 straight playoff games against the Kings. Now though, the Kings have gone home and the Sharks move on—either against the Anaheim Ducks or the Nashville Predators. The every-other-night-for-five-game intensity is gone now, the Kings are gone, so it's back to baseball where the Dodgers are actually in first place. We'll show up for the cup-skate in a couple months. We know the Kings won't be there, but perhaps the Sharks will. We'll find out in June.
Prince Show: No doubt it was hastily put together, but Saturday Night Live's tribute to Prince was a little odd, but at the same time, hit the mark. The 57 year-old pop icon passed away Thursday, and this week's SNL tribute had no audience, and host Jimmy Fallon introducing a bunch of clips. The first several clips were of Prince's musical performances, with the last three or four being sketches of 'The Prince Show' with Fred Armisen as the quirky quiet star and Maya Rudolph as Prince's talk show sidekick Beyonce. Talk show 'guests' included Robert DeNiro as himself, Amy Poehler as Sharon Stone, Poehler in another episode as Nancy Grace, and Kristen Wiig as Drew Barrymore. The sketches were great, but the show might have been better if they alternated those sketches with the various musical performances instead of playing all the music first.
Arrieta pitches second no-hitter: The first time is was against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, just ten starts later, although in a new season, Jake Arrieta does it again. He did not allow a hit in a 16-0 rout of Cincinnati Thursday night. Arrieta, who wrested the Cy Young Award away from LA's Clayton Kershaw last season, could be even better this year. What a thought that is!
Tripled him up: Not only does baseball have its first no-hitter of the year, but the first triple play was recorded in historic fashion. With bases loaded, Texas' Mitch Moreland flies out to White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton, the throw comes back to first base where the runner is caught off the bag and finally tagged out. For some reason, Prince Fielder, who was at third, did not try to come home, and the runner at second was caught between second and third. From first base, the throw went to the plate, then to the shortstop, back to to the plate, and then to third where Fielder was finally tagged out. That's 9-3-2-6-2-5 if you are scoring at home.
Flag Day: It was 40 years ago today—April 25, 1976 that Cubs outfielder Rick Monday rushed from center field in Dodger Stadium, over to left, and swooped up an American flag that was about to be doused in flames by a couple of idiots. I was at that game, but as a 12 year-old, really only remember seeing the guys on the field, and then Monday running over there and the crowd going crazy. Monday would become a Dodger the next season, traded for my favorite player at the time, Bill Buckner.