Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good is not enough versus Lundqvist

They play a pretty darned good road game.
They forechecked like crazy.
They hemmed the New York Rangers in their zone for long periods of time, especially in the second period.
They got a sharp, at times spectacular, performance from their 40-year-old netminder Martin Brodeur.
And they're down 1-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.

That's what happens when the guy in the bulky pads at the other end of the ice pitching a shutout is named Henrik Lundqvist.
The man often referred to in these parts as King Henrik turned aside all 21 New Jersey shots he faced Monday night to lead the Rangers to a 3-0 victory.
The game that was scoreless through two periods and actually appeared to be tilting in favor of the Devils until the first minute of the third period. Just 53 seconds into the final frame, defenseman Dan Girardi took a neat back pass from rookie Chris Kreider and blasted home what would turn out to be the winner.
But that play's significance is tied entirely to the play of Lundqvist, especially in the second period when the Devils had the Rangers on the ropes.
During one shorthanded sequence, New Jersey captain Zach Parise had three solid whacks at the goal from the side of the net and Lundqvist turned them all aside.
"He was really good in the second," head coach John Tortorella said postgame of his franchise netminder.
"That was a really important sequence."

There is a certain sameness to all of the Rangers' playoff games, a certain pattern, and at the heart of that pattern is Lundqvist.
For the 14th straight game this spring, the Rangers did not manage to score more than three goals. For the 10th time this spring, the Rangers allowed two or fewer goals.
"I thought both goalies played well," offered Devils head coach Pete DeBoer. "Again, I think whoever was going to score first tonight was going to win. And they threw a point shot at the net that found a way through. We threw a lot of those at the net, too, and didn't find one through."
There was a lot of discussion heading into this conference final about the Rangers' stamina both mentally and physically based on having to endure two seven-game sets to get here.
Tortorella chafes at the notion his team might be tired, but there is no question that part of their freshness comes from Lundqvist. He invigorates them, allows them to play through rough patches without apparent damage.
"We worked really hard," Lundqvist said. "It's always tough to come from a Game 7, so emotional and everything around it and you start over."
In the second period -- as was the case in Game 7 against Washington -- the Rangers seemed to lose their way, failing to clear pucks, allowing chances and feeling the pressure but in the end not flinching.
"As a goalie you always have to step up when the team needs you, not when you feel good and you have your moments," Lundqvist explained. "A lot of times it's when the teams' struggling you have to step up. It's fun too, to be there and try to make the difference sometimes when the team is going through a tough stretch. And then they will bail me out maybe when I'm struggling a little bit."
Forgive us for arching our eyebrows over the "when I'm struggling a bit" line because, well, it just doesn't seem like that's going to happen.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Golf-Confident Fowler on orange alert

Rickie Fowler, brimming with confidence, will be back in his Sunday orange outfit for the final round of the Players Championship aiming for his second successive win on tour.
Fowler enjoyed his maiden tour victory in a playoff at Quail Hollow last week and the good vibe from that win has carried over to TPC Sawgrass where he has attacked a brutally tough course with little sign of tension.

 On Saturday Fowler carded a six-under round of 66, the best of the day, marred only by a bogey on the 18th where he missed a putt from under four feet.
"I had some fun out there today. Other than bogeying the last, I'd have to say it was a fairly perfect round," said
Fowler who is three strokes behind leader Kevin Na. Fowler's win has increased his self-belief and that psychological boost, together with a productive switch to a cross-handed putting grip is paying dividends, according to his father Rod.
"He seems a little more relaxed, it is fun to see him making some awesome shots out there, he is playing well, putting a lot better with his cross-grip and everything is coming together," he told reporters.
"He has been so close for the last year or so, the putts just seemed to be burning the edge, now they are finally starting to drop," he added.
Fowler agrees that there has been no major shift in his technique rather he is just starting to feel right.
"It's not that I'm swinging it any better or anything like that. I'm definitely confident that I've played really well the last two weeks prior to this and I'm finally get a few putts to drop," he said.
"It's more just things are clicking. Everything is kind of coming together....I feel like I'm managing my way around the course very well.
"Being aggressive when we can be aggressive, and taking a chance here or there but nothing that's too risky.
"I'm definitely confident with the way I'm playing. I'm hitting it well. Some good finishes obviously help with that. It's just nice to know where the ball is going and to actually make a swing and see it go there," he said.
Fowler wears bright orange for his final rounds, to acknowledge his time at Oklahoma State University and there are already visible signs of the colour and his headgear style spreading to the galleries.
"I love seeing it, especially the little kids running around with my hat on that is kind of flopping around, slightly large for them.”I get a laugh out of it and feel honored when there's 40 or 50-year-old guys that are cruising around in all orange.”It kind of shows you that they're having fun. They don't care what other people think. They're just out supporting and rocking the orange."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 NHL playoffs: Rangers lament missed opportunities in loss to Capitals

Hours before Game 6, several New York Rangers said they fully expected to face the Washington Capitals' strongest push of the postseason. They weren't ready. Instead of clinching the franchise's first trip to the Eastern Conference finals since 1997, ... CONTINUE . . . .


Monday, May 7, 2012

Turkish clubs cleared in match-fixing scandal

Turkey's football federation has cleared all 16 Turkish teams, including Fenerbahce, of involvement in an alleged match-fixing scandal, but it also has banned two players for up to three years and imposed disciplinary measures on eight players or club officials.
Istanbul: The Turkish football federation has cleared 16 clubs suspected of involvement in a match-fixing scandal but said that it has still taken action against 10 players and officials.

"It was decided that there was no cause to apply sanctions since the elements constituting disciplinary infringement did not materialise," the federation said on its web site late Sunday.
The clubs involved included Fenerbahce, Besiktas, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor.
The federation said late Sunday "there was no reason" to punish any of the clubs, including Fenerbahce which was barred from this season's Champions League as a result of the investigation. 

The federation's disciplinary committee on the other hand banned eight officials from the 16 clubs for one to three years and two players have been sidelined from playing in all competitions.
Fenerbahce official Ilhan Yuksel Eksioglu was banned for three years for trying to influence the result of three matches while two other senior management figures at the Istanbul club were suspended for a year.
Turkey international midfielder Ibrahim Akin, currently at first division Gaziantepspor, and Ankaragucu goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge were banned from playing for two and three years respectively.
The investigation centres on 22 matches in the 2010-11 season. The punishments all result from matches involving Fenerbahce, who won the league that year with Trabzonspor in second.
The federation's professional football disciplinary board inquiry is separate from an unprecedented criminal case resulting from the same allegations that began in February this year.
Nearly 100 people have been charged with corruption, including Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim. They also saw their Turkish league cup trophy awarded to Besiktas.
A total of 93 officials, players and coaches, including the president of reigning champion Fenerbahce, are on trial, accused of helping fix matches last season. The federation's decision could affect the course of the trial, which was relying in part on the federation's guidance.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Horse’s race surprise winner 138th Kentucky Derby

Canadian-owned I’ll Have Another was the surprise winner of the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
I'll have another, purchased for $35,000 last year, proved to be worth infinitely more in staging a dramatic rally to overtake Bodemeister for a 1½-length victory Saturday in the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez, who plied his trade at Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse after moving north from Veracruz, guided the three-year-old colt owned by Paul Reddam of Windsor, Ont., to an official winning time of two minutes 1.83 seconds. 

The colt, named for owner J. Paul Reddam's typical response when his wife puts out cookies, will be toasted as the first 3-year-old to prevail after breaking from far outside in post 19 in a full field of 20.
Bodemeister, a 4-1 favourite who led for much of the race until being overtaken in the final stretch, finished second, while Dullahan was third in front of a Derby-record crowd of 165,307.
“He is so focused,” Gutierrez said earlier this week about I’ll Have Another, whose odds of winning were 15-1. “He loves to race. He’ll give you 100 per cent every time you ask him.”

Mario Gutierrez celebrates Stop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Gutierrez pulled off a stunning upset victory at the Santa Anita Derby near Los Angeles on April 7, earning his ticket to ride in the Kentucky Derby.
I'll Have another was masterfully ridden by Mario Gutierrez, 25, of Veracruz, Mexico. He was Canada's leading apprentice jockey before coming to the USA in 2005. He soon
"Perfect trip," winning rider John Velazquez said. "Everything worked out great. I asked her and she responded. She had a quick spurt when I had her out in the stretch and that was really nice."
Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said he "will enjoy stretching her out when the time comes. I'll see how she comes out of it."
Great Attack raced near the back of the pack early in the $125,000, Grade III Twin Spires Turf Sprint, found room between horses turning for home and was up on the outside to beat the favorite, Bridgetown, by 3/4 of a length.
Cactus Son finished third. Great Attack, a 5-year-old son of Greatness, covered the 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.61 seconds under Joel Rosario. Great Attack finished fourth in last fall's Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and most recently was sixth in the Grade III Shakertown at Keeneland.
"He's a very special sprinter," winning trainer Wesley Ward said. "I told Joel the instructions were to be 'a cool sitter and a go-getter,' and that's what he did, boy."
Ward said he has not yet picked out Great Attack's next race.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gold medal swimming favorite Alexander Dale Oen news

Alexander Dale Oen, gold medal swimming favorite, found dead in Arizona
Alexander Dale Oen points to the Norwegian flag after winning at the 2011 world championships.
Norway's Alexander Dale Oen, the defending world champion in the 100 breaststroke and a top contender for a gold medal at the London Olympics, was found dead in his bathroom late Monday night.

The 26-year-old, who was training with the Norwegian national team in Arizona, died of cardiac arrest. The country's swimming federation said he was found sprawled on the bathtub. Teammates became worried when repeated knocks on the door went unanswered. A team doctor performed CPR before an ambulance arrived, but the young swimmer was never resuscitated and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. CONTINUE . . . .