Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's Sunday!










Rise and shine, you readers of the Johnny Blog! Here's what's happening....

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Hockey Playoff Roundup ----

NHL:

Eastern Conference

Last night --

Western Conference Semifinals

Vancouver 5, Chicago 1 (Vancouver leads series 1-0)

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Boston 5, Philadelphia 4, OT (Boston leads series 1-0)

Tonight --

Western Conference

Detroit at San Jose 8:00pm EDT

Eastern Conference

Montreal at Pittsburgh 2:00pm EDT

WHL:

WHL Championship Finals

Last Night --

Calgary 4, Tri-City 1 (Calgary leads series 2-0)

Tonight --

No games

OHL Championship Finals:

Last night --

No games

Tonight --

Barrie at Windsor 4:05pm EDT

QMJHL Championship Finals:

Last night --

No games

Tonight --

Saint John at Moncton 4:05pm EDT

USHL Clark Cup Championship Finals:

Last night --

Fargo 4, Green Bay 1 (Fargo leads series 2-0)

Tonight --

No games

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Rut Roh Shaggy! The Tampa Bay Rays have lost two straight to Kansas City(Say what?!?!). Last night, the Royals scored twice in the 11th for a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay, in front of a season-high crowd of 34,813 at Tropicana Field.

Kansas City scored twice in the 2nd, the Rays countered with single runs in the second and third, then Alberto Callaspo hit a two-run double off Lance Cormier to break the tie in the 11th. Joakim Soria put the first two men on in the bottom of the 11th, but then whiffed three for his seventh save, preserving the win for Robinson Tejeda, now 2-2. Lance Cormier, now 2-1, took the loss for Tampa Bay, who went just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

The Rays, now 17-7, still hold a 1 1/2 game lead over the Yankees in the A.L. East. The nine-game homestand comes to an end this afternoon against Kansas City, first pitch 1:40pm EDT on 620AM WDAE.

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Is there a new "super car" in your future? I'm not sure I can wait three years for this one!

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From http://www.arenafootball.com/:

Tampa Bay defeats Arizona 62-61 to give head coach Marcum 200th win

Tampa Bay - Wide receiver DeAndrew Rubin caught a career-high five touchdowns of the nine thrown by quarterback Brett Dietz to lead the five-time Arena Football League Champion Tampa Bay to a 62-61 win over the Arizona Rattlers Saturday night and also give Storm head coach Tim Marcum his 200th AFL career win.

Rubin, just off the injured reserve, also had a career-high 185 yards on 9 catches in his first game with the Storm (2-2) after three AFL seasons with Orlando and spending the 2008 season in New Orleans. Dietz was 19 of 32 for 288 yards.

The Rattlers' Nick Davila, an af2 quarterback a year ago, was 27 for 47, 314 yards and 7 touchdowns. His primary target was J. J. McKelvey, whose 6-4 frame grabbed 13 passes for 127 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rod Windsor, AFL Offensive Player of the Week last week with 16 catches and 230 yards, collected eight grabs for 109 yards and a pair of scores.Tampa Bay led, 48-34 entering the fourth quarter, but Arizona tied it at 48 on a pair of touchdowns to McKelvey for 10 yards and another to Anthony Mix for 12 yards after Kelvin Morris recovered a Hank Edwards' fumble after a catch with 11:32 on the clock.

Dietz hit Tyrone Timmons for 10 yards with 4:58 remaining, but Garret Rivas' kick hit the right upright and Arizona (2-2) held the lead at 55-54.

On the next Storm possession, Dietz connected with Rubin for 37 yards and Dietz found fullback Terrence Royal in the right corner of the end zone for a 2-point conversion and Tampa led, 62-55, with 1:25 left.

Arizona then drove to the Storm three-yard line where Davila found McKelvey on a delay rout. With the score 62-61 Tampa, Arizona, with 7.4 seconds on the clock, elected to go for two points, a pass to McKelvey was knocked away by a host of Storm defenders as time ran out.

Tampa Bay's 20 second-quarter points provided a 34-21 halftime lead, but it was a half-ending defensive stance by the Storm that provided the margin.

After Arizona closed to 27-21 with 52.8 seconds left in the second quarter on a 16-yard pass from Davila to McKelvey, the Storm came right back.

Arizona's ensuing on-side kick was recovered by backup quarterback Drew Weatherford at the Rattlers' 11-yard line. Dietz then found Edwards on the third play from three yards out for the touchdown.

Davila was harrassed the entire first quarter by the defensive line of the Storm. Jermaine Smith and Tim McGill continually had a bead on the former af2 quarterback and his passes were either short or overthrown. The former University of Cincinnati QB was six of 12 in the first period for 52 and no scores.

McGill and defensive back James McCoy shared a sack and Smith had a clean shot at Davila for a three-yard loss in the first quarter.

INDIVIDUAL HIGHS

RUSHING: Arizona: Windsor 1-27; Davila 2-13 1 TD; Tampa Bay: Royal 1-8.

PASSING: Arizona: Davila 27-47-0 314 7 TD; Tampa Bay, Dietz 19-32-0 288 9 TD.

RECEIVING: Arizona: McKelvey 13-127 3 TD; Tampa Bay: Rubin 9-184 5 TD.

The Storm is home next Friday to face the Jacksonville Sharks at the St. Pete Times Forum. Kickoff on 1250AM WHNZ is set for 8:00pm EDT. The game can also be seen (by a few people anyway) on the NFL Network.

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Scott Dixon is a glass-half-full guy, but as he was pounding out lap after blazing lap on the 1.52-mile Kansas Speedway oval as the race leader he was just waiting for something to go wrong.

It never did, much to his relief.

Dixon won the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 for the second consecutive year, giving Target Chip Ganassi Racing its fourth victory in a row at the track (Dan Wheldon won in 2007 and ‘08) and the team’s seventh IZOD IndyCar Series 1-2 finish. He held off Dario Franchitti over the final six laps after a restart in the first oval race of the season.

“Definitely at the end I was worried because we've been caught out so many times with the pit sequence,” said Dixon, who led a field-high 167 laps and vaulted to second in the championship standings. “I thought, ‘There's going to be a yellow come out here shortly and it's going a catch us out.’ Sure enough, just as we pitted, it came out. It didn't affect us. If we'd gone one lap longer, the last 10 or 15 laps could have been a different story. Luckily enough it worked out for us.

“Going into the month of May (at Indianapolis), winning a race is huge for us and our team needed this “I just hope we can carry it through.”

While Team Target dominated, six different teams were represented in the top 10. The top five in points are separated by 38 points heading into the biggest points-paying race of the season (double-digit points will be awarded for top qualifiers in the Indianapolis 500 in addition to race points). Points leader Will Power finished 12th (his first time out of the top five in the five races this season).

Andretti Autosport’s Tony Kanaan improved 11 positions, passing Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves for third on Lap 198 of 200, and Ryan Hunter-Reay posted his best oval finish by moving up 17 spots from his starting position in the Andretti Autosport-prepared No. 37 IZOD car to finish fifth.

“Toward the end it was madness and I was in the middle of it,” Castroneves, who finished second in the ‘09 race, said of the last of four restarts after contact involving the Nos. 5 and 06 cars of Takuma Sato and Hideki Mutoh.

Dixon, who didn’t necessarily need to use many of the 20 pushes of the Honda overtake assist system early on, was active with the button on the restart to remain ahead of the hard-charging Franchitti in the No. 10 Suave entry. Dixon led a field-high 167 laps (he led 134 last year) to move closer to Sam Hornish Jr.’s series (3,428) record.

“It was a short weekend for everybody,” said Dixon, who started on the front row. “Track time, there wasn't much of it. I think rolling off the truck was important. We made a few minor changes to the car for the race setup, just tried to make it more consistent over a long run. It definitely showed in the race.

“I could see the competition was pretty tight back there, a lot of passing and stuff going on. So I just hope we can carry the momentum over.”

Pole sitter Ryan Briscoe led the initial 31 laps, being overtaken by Dixon on the frontstretch. But the interesting parts of his race were yet to come: The left-front tire of the No. 6 Team Penske car rolled off on the backstretch of Lap 78, which dropped him to 11th. He moved to seventh by Lap 115, only to fall out of the top 10 by Lap 165. On the final restart, Briscoe had positioned himself in sixth place, where he remained.

“We got out of sequence when we lost a wheel and that left us short a set of sticker tires,” he said. “It was an exciting race and we probably passed more cars than anyone else out there. Considering the day we had, I feel pretty good that we were able to finish on the lead lap and bring home a top-six finish.”

KV Racing Technology’s Mario Moraes overtook Alex Tagliani in the No. 77 FAZZT Race Team car for seventh place on the final lap, and Richard Petty/Andretti Autosport’s John Andretti posted his first IZOD IndyCar Series top-10 finish (ninth). Vitor Meira in the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing was 10th.

“We had a problem in qualifying that hurts us,” said Moraes, who started 12th. “We tried to fix it for the race, but maybe it wasn’t enough. The car ran pretty good though. The setup wasn’t the best for today. Overall, I thought we could have had a better placing. So there are some things we can work on for Indy."

The IZOD Indy Car Serries now turns it's attention to the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the Indianapolis 500, on Sunday, May 30th. Coverage on ABC starts at 12:00pm EDT. Check out http://www.indycar.com/ for all the latest news and features leading up to Indy.

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From http://www.nascar.com/:

RICHMOND, Va. -- Frustration continued to dog Jeff Gordon, but on Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, it was polesitter Kyle Busch -- not four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson -- who kept Gordon out of Victory Lane.

Busch surged past Gordon after a restart with five laps left in the Crown Royal 400 and cleared Gordon's Chevrolet to the outside through Turns 3 and 4. Four laps later, Busch beat Gordon to the finish line by .755 seconds.

The victory was Busch's 17th in the Cup Series. Kevin Harvick ran third behind Gordon, followed by Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards. Juan Montoya, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose and Johnson completed the top 10. Harvick took over the lead in the series standings from Johnson, who trails by 10 points through 10 events.

All told, Busch led 226 of 400 laps to Gordon's 144.

Nascar moves on to the Darlington Raceway next weekend. On Friday, the Nationwide Series runs the Royal Purple 200 presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts, beginning at 7:00pm EDT on ESPN2 and the Motor Racing Network. On Saturday, the Sprint Cup Series takes center stage with the Showtime Southern 500 beginning at 7:30pm EDT on Fox. Motor Racing Network's coverage begins at 6:30pm EDT.

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Super Saver won yesterday's running of the Kentucky Derby.

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Fargo took a surprising 2-0 lead on the Green Bay Gamblers in the Clark Cup Finals, winning twice in Green Bay over the weekend. Fargo Goaltender Ryan Massa was the star both nights. He made 35 saves in Friday's 2-0 win, then made 31 saves and scored an empty net goal in Saturday's 4-1 win.

The Force, who have made the Clark Cup Finals in both years they've been members of the USHL, can wrap up their first championship win a win on home ice, next Friday or Saturday, May 7th and 8th. Faceoff at Fargo's Urban Plains Center next Saturday is 8:35pm EDT and 8:05pm EDT on Saturday.

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From http://www.tsn.ca:

TORONTO -- The Toronto Argonauts have dealt the first pick of the 2010 CFL Canadian draft to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who will use it to take linebacker Shomari Williams of the Queen's Gaels.

Two sources requesting anonymity said Saturday the Argos traded the first and eighth picks of Sunday's draft (TSN, noon ET) to Saskatchewan for punter Jamie Boreham and its second and fourth selections. That will allow the Riders to select Williams, who was ranked as the draft's top prospect by the CFL's amateur scouting bureau after helping Queen's win the Vanier Cup.

In fact, the six-foot-two, 236-pound Williams arrived in Regina on Saturday night to be on hand when the Riders announced his name as the first overall selection and has already signed a contract with the CFL club.

One of the sources said the deal will allow Toronto to take Washington State offensive lineman Joe Eppele second overall before selecting Concordia University linebacker Cory Greenwood at No. 3. The B.C. Lions had the third overall selection, but one of the sources said they reached a deal with the Argos to swap the No. 3 and No. 4 picks.

The Lions will send the No. 3, No. 18, No. 26, and No. 30 picks to the Argonauts for the No. 4, No. 20, No. 24, and No. 25 selections. The deal also stipulates that the Argos cannot choose receiver Shawn Gore of the Bishop's Gaiters, the player the Lions covet in the first round.

Unfortunately for the Lions, Gore is now likely to sign with the Green Bay Packers, and the Argos are expected to use the No. 3 pick on Greenwood, who is second on the Lions' draft board.

News of the Toronto-Saskatchewan deal wasn't overly surprising as Argos head coach Jim Barker had said there was plenty of interest throughout the league for the No. 1 pick and that he was entertaining many offers.

"The chances (of trading the No. 1 pick), I think it's 50-50," Barker said. "When you have it, it's a commodity. And being smart and intelligent and (doing) the right things with it is important to this organization.

"This is an important draft for us. If the deal is right, we'll make it. We're not going to mortgage our future, but we're going to do what we can to help this club."

As well, Riders GM Brendan Taman had expressed an interest in securing the top pick and that he had spoken the seven remaining CFL teams about the No. 2 selection as well.

But the wheeling and dealing might not stop there.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats don't have a first-round pick and aren't scheduled to take their first player until the fifth selection of the second round at No. 12. But the Ticats are reportedly anxious about making a deal to move up in the draft.

That would put Hamilton in a better position to select Guelph Gryphons punter-kicker Rob Maver to complement the off-season acquisition of kicker Sandro DeAngelis as a free agent.

The Calgary Stampeders are scheduled to select at No. 5, ahead of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Grey Cup-champion Montreal Alouettes conclude the first round at No. 7.

Neither Hamilton Tiger-Cats nor the Edmonton Eskimos have first-round selections. Edmonton is scheduled to make its first selection at No. 9

Williams and Greenwood offer great value because not only are they available, but have the best chances to come in and contribute immediately. Both can play special teams and provide quality depth while being groomed to become a starter.

But Williams offers a bit more versatility than Greenwood in that Williams can play play linebacker or come off the end as a rush end.

"Shomari has the ability, we think, to play defensive end as well," Taman said. "Cory, we think, is more of a true linebacker."

There's no shortage of quality offensive linemen -- always a priority in the CFL -- available this year. However, top prospects John Bender (Nevada) and Danny Watkins (Baylor) are returning to school, while Waterloo's Joel Reinders and Concordia's Kristian Matte have both signed NFL contracts.

The top available offensive lineman is Eppele, a six-foot-eight, 309-pound behemoth from Washington State who is the fifth-ranked draft prospect.

And there's plenty of depth in the receiving corps, too.

Gore is arguably the best prospect at this position. He had 37 catches for 610 yards and five touchdowns last year. And at six foot one and 200 pounds, he has good size.

Other worthwhile considerations would be Regina's Jordan Sisco (60 catches for 861 yards and five TDs last year) -- who attended Indianapolis's mini-camp -- and Concordia's Cory Watson (six foot two, 204 pounds, 52 catches, 821 yards and five TDs last year).

Bishop's receiver Steven Turner also offers the added bonus of being a speedy special-teams dynamo. Turner had 11 catches for 207 yards and one TD last season but was also Canadian university football's top punt returner, averaging a stellar 20.4 yards per return. He took two back for touchdowns.

He also posted a record time of 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the CFL evaluation camp before being invited to this weekend's Chicago Bears minicamp.

Still, the draft presents plenty of viable options for the eight CFL teams.

"No question, this is as good as draft as I've seen in the last five, six years," said Edmonton GM Danny Maciocia.

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That's it for today. Enjoy your Sunday!

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