2017-05-18 / Sports

Fat Guy Corner

The chase is on for the Stanley Cup

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist Jeff Day — Sports Columnist The NHL Playoffs are down to four clubs. The Western Conference has the Anaheim Ducks skating against the Nashville Predators. The series opened up in Anaheim and the two teams split the two games. The Nashville Predators now head home for two hockey games. I can only imagine the frenzy of those Nashville Predator hockey fans. This Nashville team has never been in the conference finals. I love this series due to the physical play and the fact these two teams are new blood in the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup. However, only one hockey team will advance. Who do I like to represent the Western Conference? I like the Nashville Predators to win in six games and head to their first-ever Stanley Cup.

The Eastern Conference is also knotted up at one game each between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the more talented hockey team for sure. The Ottawa hockey team is a tough, physical team with limited offense. The first two games were very low-scoring games which favors Ottawa. However, when factoring in all the experience and “Star Power” on Penguins it makes it difficult to pick against them. I like the Penguins in six games. The Stanley Cup will be Pittsburgh and Nashville, that pick will come later.

No brainer on the hardwood

The NBA is also down to the conference finals; finally. I know this will shock people but the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are both still alive! Who are the other two teams? Does it really matter? It would if the San Antonio Spurs had Tony Parker or a healthy Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs, with those two guys, had a punchers chance of upsetting the high and mighty Warriors. Has there been a better franchise than the San Antonio Spurs over the last two decades? The quick and right answer is, NO!

Coach Gregg Popovich is top five all time as a coach and I could easily put him in the top three. Injuries will end the Spurs season in five games. The Western Conference Champions will be the Golden State Warriors for a third consecutive season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have a little tougher match-up with the Boston Celtics. However, I see no upset from the green and white and they actually have home-court advantage. I think the Cavaliers win this series in six games. The NBA Finals will be the

Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden

State Warriors? It seems like we have seen this match-up a time or two? Make it two! This will be the rubber match and worth the watch! Can

LeBron James bring home back-to-back titles to the city of

Cleveland? I’ll let you know in a week or two.

Second leg of the Triple Crown

The 2017 running of the Preakness is Saturday at Pimlico. Yes, the Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming, will try to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. The field will be a little bit lighter than the Kentucky Derby with only 10 horses. The Derby had 20 horses, so to say the traffic will be a tad bit lighter is an understatement. The distance is a mile and 3/16ths, which is a little shorter than the Derby. However, the turns at Pimlico are also a little tighter than the ones at Churchill. I think of the 10 horses in this Preakness the one I have my eye on is Classic Empire. This horse is trained by Mark Cassie. Classic Empire was crushed coming out of the gate and his fourthplace finish was only the second time in his racing career outside of a top three finish. The talent is there for Classic Empire but taking down Always Dreaming will be no easy task. I think Gunnevera will show improvement in this race as a long shot selection. My choice is Classic Empire to win over Always Dreaming.

Someone’s listening

The rant last week about the closer K-Rod did not fall on deaf ears. The Detroit Tigers finally pulled the plug on Mr. K-Rod. The new closer has become Justin Wilson. A home run by J.D. Martinez in the ninth inning out in Anaheim gave Wilson his first save opportunity. The news flash of the year happened as a Detroit Tiger closer got the opposing team out one, two, three. What? They were all strikeouts, too? Hey, Brad, you looked super smart and I have not used that term with you very often. I so many times find myself wanting the old man, Jimmy Leyland, back as the skipper. My dislike for one Brad Ausmus grows as the summer days get hotter. He never earned his Ole English D managerial skills in the minor leagues and it shows! thefatguy@mihomepaper.com.

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