We missed the weekly review last week in the build up to UFC 246 but man quite a bit happened! Let’s take a quick look around the world of sports.
We’ve finally made it, after 24 weeks of game action only two remain. Raise your hand if you had the Kansas City Chiefs squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers. Ok now all of us that aren’t fans of either those two teams stop lying. But after the regular season this is a match up I think we are all happy with. The number two seed from the AFC matched up with the number one seed from the NFC.
I’ll be taking a deeper dive into the matchup a little later in the week but I do think this game has a lot of intriguing storylines.
What a night for the UFC, after a bit of snoozer card which saw the other marquee matchups fail to produce excitement and drama. All eyes were fixed on the main event. The electricity that Conor’s walk up produced dwarfed anything close to what any of the title fights from 245 created. And who knew just getting Conor to the ring was the fight?
A missed charging hook that led to a knee to the face of Cowboy Cerrone, a few shoulders to the face, a high leg kick that staggers Cowboy, a left, ground and pound, game over. Realize the time it took you to read this last paragraph essentially is half the time Cowboy was in the Octagon to be paid two million dollars. Impressive.
We’ve officially started the NBA season and teams are beginning to reveal who they are. The Lakers have been on more then a tear for the entire season sprinting out to a 34-9 record, getting contributions up and down the lineup. The beasts of the east the Milwaukee Bucks have proven that last year’s record win total was no fluke, checking in with the best record in the league at 39-6.
After the two top teams both conferences have a few surprises. First out west, I’d have to say my main two surprises have been the poor play of the Portland Trailblazers (Dame Dolla’s 61 last night notwithstanding), and annual “the Kings are coming” pre season hype. Both teams are currently on the outside of the playoff picture and it would take a tremendous change in play to change that prior to seasons end. In the Eastern Conference my main surprise has been the play of three teams. First the Miami Heat, they might not be the Heatles of LBJ, DWade, and Bosh. But they have Jimmy, Bam, and some kid named Herro. And have the Heat sitting nice in second place in the east. Second, the Raptors. The returning champs who lost their number one option and recieved no compensation in the process are still hovering around the elite, showing true championship mettle going 29-14 so far this season. Finally I’d like to highlight the Indiana Pacers. Missing their star player Victor Oladipo all season as he still recovers from injury they have still played a good brand of basketball. Remaining in the playoff conversation all year and currently sitting in the sixth seed in the east.
With the All Star break upon us let’s take a brief look at the top two contenders from each division around the league.
Boston Bruins (68 Points)
What can you say about this team, David Pastranak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron… That’s one line… ONE LINE! That one line alone is responsible for 176 total points. That level of production is out of this world. And they will be a problem for the rest of the league for the remainder of the season.
Tampa Bay Lightning (62 Points)
Don’t look now but here come the Bolts. After the record breaking output of a year ago. They showed the effects of a team that was unceremoniously beaten, starting the season 12-12. Since the start of December they are 17-6 with a 10 game win streak mixed in.
Washington Capitals (71 Points)
The Caps remain the class of the NHL while continually not playing good hockey for stretches. Two times in the past week they have needed magical moments to continue their hot streak. Once versus the devils and on Saturday against their former coach were down 4-1 to start the 3rd period only to score six straight for a 6-4 victory. Tough way to live but they are getting by.
Pittsburgh Penguins (67 Points)
How did this happen wasn’t it just a short while ago the Penguins were out of the playoffs entirely? I thought for sure I was finally seeing the decline of “Sid The Kid”. And then he resorts to making plays like this one to remind me he’s not going anywhere like Jordan Belfort.
St. Louis Blues (68 Points)
The former champs continue to get themselves righted after a great Stanley Cup run last year, and have firmly taken control of the Central division, winning four of their last five games. Continuing to rely on contributions from all levels of their team, they look primed for another run at the cup.
Colorado Avalanche (62 Points)
The Avs haven’t be able to get completely in gear much of the year, showing moments of brilliance alongside periods of frustration. With a 7-6 month of December coupled with a 5-4 month of January. They head into the All Star break simply being a team that’s just there.
Vancouver Canucks (58 Points)
In what has been the weakest division in the entire league it quietly is the most exciting race. Five of eight teams have either 58 or 57 points. With only three teams being guaranteed slots in the playoffs this could come down to when your team makes a run or not. Currently the Canucks lead the division and are doing it behind the play of young centremen Elias Pettersson who is leading the team in Points, Goals, and Assists.
Edmonton Oilers (57 Points)
The Oilers have no reason not to be the class of this division with the amount of firepower they can throw at you any given night, but here we are. They are the Los Angeles Chargers of the NHL. Talented but flawed for whatever reason. Squandering another year off of McDavid’s prime as he leads the league with 76 points. Oh but who’s right behind him? His teammate Leon Draisaitl with 75 points. How is this possible year after year?
Well with a little over a month until players start reporting to training camp, I’m sure MLB wishes it was the middle of November. What with talk of removing championships, and buzzers on players, etc. Rob Manfred wants this news cycle to dissapear. After such an exciting World Series that saw yet another 1st time Champion, all of that good will was shortly undone by the investigation into the concerted effort of the Houston Astros to steal the signs of their competition. And as much as José Altuve would like you to believe this story won’t be a distraction, we haven’t even entered Spring Training yet.
We are now knee deep in conference play within College Basketball and it’s been another year of movement within the Top 25. Teams are much closer in talent the past few years after so many one and dones heading for the pros. Frankly think about reintroducing yourself to essentially a new team every year as a head coach, because that’s basically what you have to do at Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, and many schools every fall. I’ll start giving more Hoope coverage as we get closer to conference tournament play.
We have arrived at the 1st Slam of the year! And already we have drama not only from the air quality that is plaguing the region do to bush fires. But with members of the old guard beginning to show signs of decline. Day 1 claimed former champions and finalist alike, both from the Men’s and Women’s divisions. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was forced to retire from his first round match versus Alexei Popyrin after the third set in the match. Along with Venus Williams losing for the second time to young Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens continuing to fade into obscurity with a 3 set loss to Shuai Zhang, and Maria Sharapova losing a great opportunity versus Donna Vekic.