Speed Read: Can We End The Stanley Cup Finals?

Let’s be honest with ourselves: the Penguins are done. Sure, technically all Detroit did on Sunday night was hold home ice advantage with their 3-1 win over Pittsburgh in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the same score as Game 1. But their 2-0 lead pretty much feels insurmountable - does anyone feel like the Penguins can take four of the next five games against the Red Wings? Didn’t think so.

Chris Osgood

Especially since the Red Wings and their old, tired legs, were able to outhustle, outskate and just plain outplay the Penguins 24 hours after Game 1, a made-for-TV contrivance that was supposed to be their downfall. Pittsburgh’s Big Two of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have combined for one goal in the first two games, half as many as Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, who was playing minor-league hockey in May. And both of his goals have been beauties, including his singlehanded effort last night:

The bottom line for Pittsburgh is simple: when their main goal scorers are being held in check, and their goaltending is soft, they are going to lose. It doesn’t matter how much revenge they want, or if Evgeni Malkin tries to start fights to fire the team up - Detroit is just the better team (and doing this without Pavel Datsyuk, mind you).

Speaking of Malkin’s fisticuffs: despite picking up an instigator penalty at the end of Game 2, which should be an automatic one-game suspension, the NHL has decided that Malkin will be on the ice when the serious returns to Pittsburgh. Think the league wants to avoid a sweep?

OK, remember how Texas beat Boston College 3-2 in 25 innings Friday night-slash-Saturday morning in an NCAA baseball tournament game? Well, their following opponents were Army, and while the game ended in nine innings, it was just as dramatic as the BC contest. The Longhorns scored eight times in the ninth inning for a 14-10 win, including a walk-off grand slam by Preston Clark. Check out the highlights here:

With the win, Texas advances to the Super Regional, where they will play TCU in a Best-of-Three series that will likely come down to the final pitch of Game Three. Seriously, guys, it’s OK just to win a 5-1 snoozer every once in a while. (Or if you are Florida State, a 37-6 snoozer.)

Jamie Moyer

Finally, congratulations for Jamie Moyer for getting his 250th career win yesterday, a 4-2 Phillies win over the Nationals. (And really, shouldn’t that could as half a win?) The achievements of the 46-year-old goes to show that not being able to throw hard enough to break glass isn’t a prerequisite to being successful. And it also shows that if you are a lefty with a durable arm, even a 4.23 career ERA can’t keep you from reaching some big milestones.

  • Give Brad Childress credit for having a good sense of humor: he busted out a nifty fake wig atop his notorious chrome dome at practice, and then said that he would only wear it during the season “if it had ‘Reebok’ across the top of it.” Here’s the photographic evidence (and it still looked better than Jared Allen’s hair):
  • Brad Childress

  • BLACK SPORTS ONLINE wants LeBron James to “man up” and shake hands after getting knocked out of the playoffs, or come to the post-game press conference. Two things he didn’t do last night after the Magic bounced the Cavs.
  • The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim rallied from a seven-run deficit in the final three innings to beat the Mariners 9-8 yesterday. Talk to Texas about it, guys.
  • I’m making a list of pitchers who don’t want to go to the Chicago White Sox, and apparently every No. 1 is on the list. First it was Jake Peavy of the Padres rejecting a deal, and now the HOUSTON CHRONICLE is saying that Roy Oswalt of the Astros will exercise his veto rights to nix any deal. But I’m sure Barry Zito is still available.
  • Here’s one way to break out of 0-for-18 slump: Ali Gardiner ripped a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the last inning to lift the Florida over Alabama 6-5 to send the Gators to the College Softball World Series championship game.
  • How not to win your first PGA Tour tournament: miss putts inside 10 feet on the final hole of regulation and the first hole of a playoff, and then have your approach on the second playoff hole ricochet off the pin and roll back more than 20 feet from the hole. Steve Stricker was the beneficiary of Tim Clark’s bad luck/meltdown, picking up the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
  • The Orlando Magic thought they had lost All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson to injury for the season back in February, but now the ORLANDO SENTINEL is saying that the rehab for his shoulder injury is “dramatically” ahead of schedule and he might be available for the NBA Finals.
  • Arkansas DT Lavunce Askew was arrested on Saturday after allegedly stealing a laptop from an apartment. His teammate Matt Marshall also stole an iPod Touch, but was not charged after he returned it to the doorstep and helped police track down Askew. See, Marshall might be a thief and a stool pigeon, but his heart is in the right place.
  • World champion hurdler Jana Rawlinson was forced to confirm an embarrassing, poorly-kept secret circulating around the track world for months. Not that she’s using PEDs, but that she had breast augmentation. You would think if there’s one sport where being busty is a disadvantage, it’s hurdling. Check out some Russ Meyer-approved before and after action:
  • Jana Rawlinson

  • A tough week for auto racing: two veteran drivers are killed in separate short-track racing incidents in the Midwest.

Other than Kobe and Superman, who is the most important player in the NBA Finals?

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Speed Read: Has Twittering Gotten Out Of Hand?

We ask because, at this point, we could almost start a blog updating solely with news about Twittering athletes, coaches and GMs. Yesterday, we wrote about the infamous tweets of the Buffalo Bills and Brian Burke. Sunday, we wrote about Mark Cuban. And you know what? There are two more breaking Twitter stories this morning.

Mark Cuban

According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, the inevitable fine against Cuban came down on Monday, and it landed with the resounding thud of $25,000. Considering the fact that Cuban’s rant was exactly 140 characters, Cuban was paying approximately $178.57 per letter for his screed against J.R. Smith. Not surprisingly, Cuban was none too happy about being lighter in the wallet, and he responded by questioning whether outlets - like, say, SPORTSbyBROOKS - has the right to re-publish his tweet, getting attention for it and, thus, earning him fines.

The answer, as pointed out by FANHOUSE, is a resounding “yes”. Because Cuban’s profile is set to public, we all get to read and re-publish his thoughts. That’s pretty much the definition of fair use. Yet the most interesting line of Cuban’s entire discussion with the FANHOUSE folks is his closing sentence:

@NBAFanHouse not close. I like to create discussion. makes things interesting

Yes, yes he does. At a cost of approximately $25G a pop.

Meanwhile, Celtics star Paul Pierce pulled off his best Shaquille O’Neal impersonation, giving away free tickets to Boston fans who showed up at his car and proffered up the pre-listed password (which, cornily enough, was “truth”). The first five jokers who have been stalking Twitter in their Paul Pierce 34 jerseys and jumped at the chance to meet him got the free seats, and web site BOSTONCS was there to chronicle the whole experience.

paul pierce twitter tickets

All of this got us thinking: Has Twitter officially jumped the shark? What started as a slightly clever way to send instant inside jokes became instantly cool when a few athletes re-discovered their inner dork, and it’s now gone so mainstream that mediocre stars need to imitate the big shots just to stay culturally relevant.

Add to that the mind screw that is Cuban doing anything — the eternal debate of whether he’s doing it because he thinks it’s cool, whether he’s doing it to manipulate the media and fans, whether he’s doing it for both reasons or whether we should even care because he’s such a tool — and maybe we’ve reached the point that we should all blow Twitter off indefinitely … or at least until Anna Kournikova shows up and starts describing what it’s like to get dressed in the morning.

Some news last night wasn’t quite fit to Tweet, because it hasn’t been completely wrapped up. As Jason first wrote last night, it sure looks like John Calipari is heading toward a long-distance commute from Memphis to Lexington, Ky.  Of course, we don’t know that’s true … yet, but there are plenty of reasons to believe the substantial rumors, one of which is this camera, which — as DEADSPIN first reported yesterday — is permanently trained on the door of Memphis’s Athletic Department.

John Calipari

In fact, the whole “Cal to Kentucky” bit is getting so much attention that, as Tuffy first coined in an email last night, you have believe the video alluded to in the ESPN.com screenshot below would lead to a camera trained directly on Calipari’s personal bedroom.

calipari espn.com screenshot

We’re betting it’s going to happen, and that it will happen sooner rather than later. And you know what? In the end, it’s a good thing for college basketball. After all, how great will it be to have Calipari and Rick Pitino facing off against each other in an annual turf war? And just think! This time it won’t just be about who can cheat to land recruits more effectively!

And just when you thought former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s pantomime villain routine couldn’t get any more obvious, it turns out he named a secret agreement to sell Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois — all in return for numerous tax breaks for former Cubs owner Sam Zellafter a throwaway joke in the Blues Brothers.

elwood blues license

Blagojevich referred to the Wrigley Field negotiations as “Operation Elwood”, named in honor of Elwood Blues (also known as Dan Aykroyd), whose listed address on his driver’s license was Wrigley Field.

It’s yet another ridiculous chapter from a brazenly agressive civil tyrant, but then again, what do you expect from a guy who, just months after being impeached from office, is already guest hosting talk radio shows and hand picking the callers.

  • Enough with real news, lets try to manufacture some that involves incredibly attractive people. Like Alyonka Larionov, who may or may not be dating either Alexander Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk. She’s also a budding viral video star, so maybe she’ll be dating someone else to keep her in the news soon, too.

alyonka larionov

mma keith jardine

  • Just because we haven’t covered enough Twitter addiction today: USC Coach Pete Carroll’s ridiculous campaign to get buddy Will Farrell on Twitter reached new heights, including this self-produced video.

jensen button girlfriend

If you were a pro athlete, would you Twitter?

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Idiotic NHL All-Star Rule Punishes Injured Stars

It’s not like you needed more evidence that Gary Bettman is the worst commissioner in professional sports, which is a title with stiff competition. But now we learn about the NHL’s latest senseless policy, which will cause two Red Wings stars to be suspended for a game because they’re not attending tomorrow’ All-Star game to rest their injuries.

Gary Bettman

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom will miss the first game after the break, because they chose to spend this week-long respite getting healthy. The policy is in place because too many stars in recent years have skipped the All-Star game, and the NHL desperately needs exposure the few times it gets on network TV. But to force them to play a meaningless game in the middle of a grueling season, when the Stanley Cup often goes to the healthiest team? That’s just — well, that’s just what we’d expect from a league that just doesn’t get it.

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Blog-A-Roni: AVP Tour Fan Heads Above The Rest

• The NEW YORK TIMES volleys up the tale of one obsessive AVP fan.

AVP fan with forehead tattoo

• SIGNAL TO NOISE serves up SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s lead tennis writer defending Justin Gimelstob’s little anti-Anna Kournikova rant.

• ESPN’s Pedro Gomez discovers the stadium that hosted Sunday’s Euro 2008 final also once hosted Jewish inmates as a World War II Nazi prison.

• PRO FOOTBALL TALK can’t stand the new Chiefs’ stadium policy, and you won’t stand for it, either.

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