I’m in the process of sleeping considerably during the day because there is outstanding tennis at night. The Australian Open and the National Football League’s Conference Championships will dominate my television viewing this weekend.
Here is what I’ll be watching:
Saturday–1am–Australian Open–(5) Samantha Stosur-Australia vs. (25) Petra Kvitova-Czech Republic–Women’s 3rd Round–TSN2–Stosur, the finalist of the 2010 French Open, is the last remaining Australian on the women’s side. Even though Stosur isn’t very big in stature, (5’9″, 140 pounds), she has very muscular legs and is very fit on the court. Her opponent Saturday is rising Czech star Petra Kvitova, who has defeated Caroline Wozniacki and Nadia Petrova in the past year.
Saturday–5pm–NHL–Anaheim Ducks @ Montreal Canadiens–CBC-In a battle of two teams currently in playoff position, the Canadiens (26-17-4) host the Ducks (26-20-4). Anaheim is currently sixth in the west and Montreal is seventh in the east. The Canadiens though are battling the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division. They’re currently only three points back. The Ducks’ best player this year has been Corey Perry, who has 50 points in 50 games. The Habs, meanwhile, continue to get sparkling goaltending from Carey Price, who has a 2.34 goals against average with four shutouts, and oh, yeah, he’ll be playing in the NHL All-Star Game in Carolina next weekend.
Saturday–8pm–NHL–Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks–CBC–In a Saturday night Northwest Division battle, the Vancouver Canucks (29-10-8) will look to continue their supremacy over the Calgary Flames (20-21-6). They have won their last four games by a combined total of 20-7. At next weekend’s All-Star Game, the Canucks will be represented by three players– Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler. Daniel Sedin, has been the best player for the Canucks this season. His 27 goals and 33 assists for 60 points puts him third in NHL scoring behind Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos, and is the major reason why I’m winning a prestigious hockey pool.
Sunday–10:30am–NHL–Philadelphia Flyers @ Chicago Blackhawks–NBC–In the first indoor game broadcasted by NBC this season, it is a battle of the two teams that went to the Stanley Cup last year. The Philadelphia Flyers (31-11-5) lead the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Blackhawks meanwhile, seem to have a little bit of that expected Stanley Cup hangover, as they’re seventh in the west with a record of 25-18-4. Both teams will be well represented in the All-Star Game–the Flyers by Claude Giroux and Danny Briere, and the Blackhawks by Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.
Sunday–1pm–NFL–NFC Championship–Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears–FOX–The last time the Packers played the Bears in the playoffs was 1941. Yikes! Our founder, Terry Nistor, wasn’t even born yet! The Bears (11-5) will have their hands full against a solid Packers’ offense (10-6) led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Greg Jennings. In order for the Bears to win, they’ll need solid defense by Brian Urlacher. However the reason I like the Packers is because they haven’t needed to run the ball to win the majority of their games this year. They have a good enough passing attack to win the majority of their contests.
Sunday–4:30pm–NFL–AFC Championship–New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers–CBS–An interesting storyline heading into the AFC Championship is the lack of trash talking by the Jets, something the team did regularly prior to their upset win over the New England Patriots a week ago. The Jets’ weakness is at quarterback. They’re solid at every other position. Ben Roethlisberger is simply a much more consistent quarterback than Mark Sanchez. I’m picking the Steelers.
Sunday–6pm–NHL–Nashville Predators @ Edmonton Oilers–Sportsnet–The Oilers (14-25-7) take on the Predators (26-15-6) for the first time this season. The Predators continue to amaze me. They play in relative obscurity with a low pay roll and no superstar, but continue to be in contention every year. This year is no different as they’re fourth in the west. They’re leading scorer is defenceman Shea Weber, who only has 29 points. That would put him third in Oilers’ team scoring behind Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky, yet the Predators are 23 points ahead of the Oilers in the standings. Go figure?
Who do you think will win the AFC and NFC Championships? Don’t forget to vote on the www.anysportanytime.ca homepage.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, ales hemsky, ben roethlisberger, brian urlacher, carey price, claude giroux, corey perry, daniel briere, daniel sedin, duncan keith, dustin penner, greg jennings, henrik sedin, jonathan toews, patrick kane, patrick sharp, petra kvitova, ryan kesler, samatha stosur, shea weber, Sidney Crosby, steven stamkos