Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on June 14th, 2011 by Craig Zuckerman

What’s better than Game 7?  There are 7 days in a week, 7 chakras, 7 days of Passover, 7 wonders of the world, 7 deadly sins, 7 musical notes in a scale, 7 brides for 7 brothers, 7 continents, 7 colors in the rainbow.  In the NHL, there have been 15 Game 7’s in the Finals.  The NBA has had 17 Game 7’s in the Finals, and Baseball has had 35.  The Mick wore number 7, as did John Elway, George Halas, Joe Theisman (ouch), Pistol Pete Marivich, and of course Phil Esposito and Ray Borque.  Currently, Danica Patrick, Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Ben Rothlesberger and Michael Vick all don 7.

In a best of 7 series, Game 7 is IT.  Do or die, win or lose.   There is no tomorrow.  Lots of clichés.  The level of intensity in a Game 7 is unparalleled.  The Curse of the Billy Goat for the Cubbies originated in Game 7 of the 1945 World Series.  The Brooklyn Dodgers won their only Championship in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series.  Bill Mazeroski hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 in the 1960 World Series to propel the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Yankees.  Aaron “bleeping” Boone hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS to complete the Yanks come from behind victory.  The Red Sox returned the favor in 2004 in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS to complete one of the greatest comebacks ever.

In golf parlance, scoring a 7 is also known as the dreaded Hockey Stick.  Let’s hope this Game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins is an oxymoronic Instant Classic.

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Be Careful What You Wish, Commish

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on May 14th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Gary Bettman cannot be too thrilled about the looming pairings for the Stanley Cup finals. In the East, Gary better be wearing his Bruins underoos as the puck drops on Boston-Tampa Bay series on Saturday, May 14th. Boston is the only team from the original six and the only large market team left in the Conference Finals. Although the Lightning have a couple players with some fire-power in Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis, the Florida market for hockey is one of the leagues weakest – the Lightning and the Panthers round out two of the NHL’s five lowest rated fan bases. The fans in San Jose seem to care about the Sharks, but  Read more »

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Goaltending: The Cup’s Net Asset

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on April 25th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Two heavy favorites move on to the second round, the upstart Preds surprise the Ducks, 3 lower seeded teams must win at home to stay alive and 2 series (so far) await a deciding 7th game.

Stanley Cup Playoff hockey is in full swing.   The Flyers have cycled through all three of their goalies (Bobrovsky, Boucher and Leighton) in the 6 games with the Sabres thus far.  In the other 3-3 series, Roberto Luongo, who helped lead the Canucks to the President’s Trophy and is finalist for the Vezina Trophy has twice been pulled in favor of Cory Schneider.  Loungo’s .750 save percentage over the last 40 Blackhawk shots is causing some panic in the mean streets of Vancouver.

If you look at the last 20 years of Stanley Cup history, winning the Cup is about Read more »

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Hirsute Up

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on April 15th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

It’s Spring and it’s warming up (even in Boston) and that’s the logical time to grow a nice itchy beard,… more specifically, a “Playoff Beard.”  Denis Potvin and the members of the New York Isles – who owned the Stanley Cup from 1980 to 1983 – take credit for the development of the playoff beard.  But when Gretzky’s Oilers wrestled the Cup away from the Islanders stronghold, the beard took a hiatus until the Devils made it a mainstay in hockey post-season culture.  So from Vancouver to DC…. hockey fans,…. this is the week that shaving becomes optional (for up to 7weeks), employers consider revising their standards for staff appearance and men sleep alone as hockey fans grow their facial hair in support of their clubs.

There are many rules for the playoff beard but Rule #1 is: Read more »

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Wild Saves Blackhawks from Complete Collapse

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on April 10th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

We are giving ourselves another “Pat” Riley.  The Bench Jockeys saw this coming a mile a way.  Or rather, the rest of the hockey-covering media just gave up a shortie to the upstart Bench Jockeys who posted….

Tonite the Dallas Stars almost stole the 8th and final playoff spot from the Chicago Blackhawks.  All the Stars had to do was get a win against the Minnesota Wild.  Toews and the boys better send a case of bubbly to Jose Theodore and each of the Minnesota goal scorers who played an inspired game and prevented the Stars from displacing the Blackhawks from the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.   The schedule could not have been more friendly to the Stars and more ripe with stumbling blocks for the Hawks.  Earlier this afternoon, Chicago gave a lackluster effort in a 4-3 loss to Detroit which was all too happy to do their part in trying to knock out the 2010 Stanley Cup Champs.  Dallas could not keep up with the lowly Wild and lost 5 – 3 playing from behind all evening.  The Hawks escape the regular season, back into the playoffs and will play President’s Trophy winner, Vancouver, in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Karma Factor:  Medium High.  Dallas’ opponent, Minnesota, was once represented by the North Stars franchise which was sold to Dallas in 1993 and became the Stars.

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The Plus-Minus

Posted in Our Mission, Sport/Pol Crossover, The Plus-Minus on March 27th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

For all you non-Puck Heads, the Plus-Minus is a Hockey statistic which measures a player’s team goal differential for the time he is on the ice during even-strength and shorthanded play.  The Plus-Minus statistic is increased by one (a “plus”) for each player on the ice for the team scoring a non-powerplay goal and it is decreased by one (a “minus”) for each player on the ice when a non-powerplay goal is scored against the team.   More recently, Read more »

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