Jul. 11, 2017
"The Stack" 6-12-17
Well, what I was hoping for didn’t happen this weekend. The Stanley Cup Final is over and the NBA Finals are still going on, but hopefully will finish up tonight. The Stack is back on this Monday with a later post, but we have reaction to the big stories from this weekend. Won’t be going in depth on this, but Tapwrit on the Belmont Stakes. Irish War Cry finished second. And there you have a recap of the Belmont Stakes. Now let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Monday, June 12th:
Penguins score late, win Stanley Cup
Leave it to me to get a prediction wrong. No seriously, leave it for me to do, because I will get it wrong. I thought the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to win in five games or seven games, but certainly they wouldn’t win the cup in Nashville. Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The Penguins and Predators were scoreless and it looked like we were headed to overtime before Patric Hornquist hit the puck off the back of the net and off of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead with 1:35 left. It was a crazy carom and an unfortunate bounce for Rinne and the Predators and it left the crowd shocked and dejected. The Penguins would add an empty net goal with 13 seconds to go to lift the Penguins to a 2-0 win and a 4-2 series win. They also became the first team since the Detroit Red Wing in 1997 and 1998 to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Sidney Crosby was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, his second playoff MVP in as many years. The scary part is, he’s only 29 years old. He has accomplished so much and love him or hate him, there is no denying that he is one of the top two or three players currently in the NHL and is actively becoming one of the best players ever to lace up skates.
The Predators were jobbed in the second period of a sure goal. The referee lost sight of the puck on a shot and put his hands up a split second before the Predators punched the puck in the wide open net. Certainly seemed like they were hosed. But they did have their chances. Colton Sissons was stoned on a breakaway by the glove of Murray. The Predators had four power plays including a 5-on-3 and couldn’t cash in at all. Murray was great and the Predators, hosed of that first goal just never could get another puck in the net.
The Penguins are starting a dynasty here. They are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup next year. They have a lot of young talent mixed with some great veterans in Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. I doubt Matt Cullen will be back next year. The Predators are also a youthful bunch and thanks to this run, Nashville is going to become a destination, salary cap willing, for future free agents. I would put Nashville as one of the four favorites in the west next year along with Chicago, Edmonton and Minnesota.
Rafael Nadal wins French Open
Rafael Nadal has done something that no other player in tennis history has ever done. Nadal won his tenth French Open title, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 over Stan Wawrinka. No player has ever won a tournament ten times let alone a grand slam event. Nadal’s dominance of this tournament is very noteworthy. He’s won ten of the thirteen French Open’s he’s played in. He didn’t lose a set in the tournament for the third time in his career and as mentioned, no player had ever won a tournament ten times before. Nadal is the best clay court player we’ve ever seen. Apparently he is called the “King of Clay”. There’s good reason for that. Nadal was brilliant in this one and as his career seems just about done due to in part to injuries and age, we saw one more glimpse into his brilliance and why he has been such a great tennis player over the years and will go down as one of the best tennis players the sport has seen.
Cavs look to extend NBA Finals
The Cleveland Cavaliers staved off elimination Friday night thanks to a historic first half that saw them score 49 points (an NBA Finals record) and 86 points in the first half (also and NBA Finals record). Kyrie Irving was masterful with 40 points and LeBron James added a triple-double with 31 points, ten rebounds and eleven assists. Seriously folks, stop hating on him. While that was great, I don’t think it is something that can be expected four straight games. Draymond Green got into some technical foul trouble and the officiating was less than to be desired. I do not (I hope) foresee that happening tonight in Oakland. Golden State knows they blew a chance to make history and be considered the greatest team of all-time (because of that loss I no longer think they are, but they are certainly top three). Their defense will be better tonight. It has to be. It can’t be any worse than in game four. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will all go off and for the first time in three years, the NBA champion will win the championship on their homecourt. Give me Golden State tonight.
Coming up Tuesday: NBA Finals reaction plus other top stories in sports
Listen to last week's "The Sports Block" podcast here.