Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Wednesday!











Happy Wednesday everyone. Here's what's happening....

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The playoff hopes for the Lightning are rapidly fading. Tampa Bay has lost 9 of their last 11, to fall 6 points behind Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Since our last report, the Lightning have played four one-goal games, losing three of them. Last Thursday, Phil Kessel scored at 3:33 of overtime, to push Toronto to a 4-3 win. Steven Stamkos, Kurtis Foster and Steve Downie scored for Tampa Bay, Mike Smith had 34 saves. On Friday, Brandon Bochenski, Matt Walker and Vinny Lecavalier scored goals, and Antero Niittymaki made 28 saves, as the Lightning beat the Capitals 3-2, stopping a long losing streak in Washington. On Sunday, two third goals for Pittsburgh offset a second period goal by Lecavalier plus Niittymaki's 37 saves, sending the Penguins to a 2-1 win in front of a sell-out crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum. And last night, Todd Fedoruk's second period goal wasn't enough, as Phoenix beat Tampa Bay 2-1. Niittymaki had 26 saves for the Lightning and allowed 2 goals or less for the 12th time in his last 16 starts.

Tampa Bay is now 28-29-12 for 68 points. As mentioned earlier, Boston holds the 8th playoff spot in the East with 74 points, 3 ahead of the Rangers, 5 ahead of Atlanta and 6 in front of the Lightning. Tampa Bay has 13 games left on their regular season schedule, starting with tomorrow night's home game with Buffalo and Saturday's home game with Washington, both at 7:30pm EDT. Tampa Bay is on the road Sunday against the Florida Panthers at 5:00pm EDT, returning home to host Carolina next Tuesday at 7:30pm EDT. All games can be heard on 620AM WDAE and seen on Sun Sports. Making the playoffs will be tough, but the Lightning are playing well right now, and anything is possible.

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The Tampa Bay Rays continue their hot spring, with a major league-best 10-3 record. Several players, none of them named Longoria, are making solid cases to be included on the team's opening day roster. Current indications are, if the Rays can find a way to hang on to the majority of these plays for the long-term, the franchise could be A.L. East contenders for the next several years. That, more than anything, could help provide the momentum needed for a new ballpark.

"My team," the San Francisco Giants, also have 10 spring wins, most in the N.L., but just the 4th best win percentage, because they also have 6 losses. I'm still hoping for either a San Francisco-Tampa Bay or San Francisco-Seattle World Series. Why are the Giants my favorite team? Well, my parents met and we're married in San Francisco, my older sister was born there and my grandparents lived there as well. It pained me a lot recently, when I realized that the Giants(New York, then San Francisco) last World Series title came in 1954, the year before I was born. Oh well, not too bad, when you consider it's been over 100 years since the Cubs won the series. (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!....Just kidding) The Giants open the regular season on Monday, April 5th at Houston. The Rays open on Tuesday, April 6th at home against Baltimore.

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In the USHL East, Green Bay and Cedar Rapids have clinched playoff spots, with 83 and 69 points respectively. Indiana has 64 points, Waterloo 56, Chicago 49, Team USA 46 and Youngstown 37. In the West, Omaha with 77 points, Fargo with 73 and Sioux Falls with 67, have all clinched playoff berths. Tri-City is fourth with 58, Sioux City is fifth with 50, Des Moines sixth with 41 and Lincoln seventh (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!) with 36. All teams have 9 or fewer games remaining in the regular season, which ends Saturday, April 3rd.

Speaking of the USHL, the defending Clark Cup champion Indiana Ice beat Team USA 6-2 on February 28th, in the Ice's annual "Pack the House for Charity" game at Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers. The annual contest, which began 16 years ago, saw five dollars from each ticket donated to the charity, which includes the Lupus Foundation of America, Make a Wish, Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent, The Villages, and the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. As is their tradition, the Ice wore jerseys specially designed by patients at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent and throughout the game, fans had the opportunity to bid on their favorite players jerseys in a special "blind bid" auction. Attendance at this year's game was 11,092.

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The Western Hockey League playoffs begin tomorrow night. First round matchups in the East pit Calgary vs Moose Jaw, Brandon vs Swift Current, Saskatoon vs Red Deer and Kootenay vs Medicine Hat. In the West, Tri City meets Chilliwack, Vancouver tangles with Kamloops, Everett takes on Kelowna and Spokane meets up with Portland. There's one game tomorrow, five on Friday and seven on Saturday.

Two playoff series have interesting angles. In the East, Swift Current's home games vs Brandon will be played in Regina(Can't imagine why the Broncos turned down the chance to play their home games in Kearney, Nebraska), while in the West, Spokane, despite having home ice, opens at Portland, who makes their first post-season appearance since 2006. The Hawks are 149-142 all time in post season play, including 91-56 at home and have won two Memorial Cups, in 1983 in Portland and 1998 in Spokane. Game One vs Spokane is at Portland on Saturday, beginning at 10:30pm EDT.

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Here's our Jimmy this morning, enjoying his favorite breakfast of Cheerios and bananas. Hard to believe he'll be two years old in another 71 days. We sure love him!











Our four-legged boys, Snoopy and Smoke, just finsihed a spirited round of WWP Puppy Smackdown. It's nice to see two little guys have so much fun together. Despite what others so blindly advised, when things were at their "worst" for our family, there is no way we could EVER split them up, or otherwise remove them from our lives.

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That's it for now. Have a great day everyone!

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My CRC Connections

Jimmy's Eighth Birthday!

Countdown to Beaver Football

Countdown To Saskatchewan Roughriders Football

Countdown to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Football

Countdown to Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey