The National Hockey League playoffs will dominate my television viewing this weekend, but this morning I will have a little diversion.
The World Figure Skating Championships takes place in Moscow, and Canada is in an excellent position to win a second Gold medal. Olympic Gold medallists Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue of London, Ontario currently lead the ice dance competition after the short program. The long program goes this morning (11am, www.cbc.ca), with Virtue and Moir leading Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White 0.53 points. Virtue and Moir have 74.29 points and Davis and White have 73.76 points. Keep an eye out for Virtue’s leg however, as she was recently diagnosed with compartment syndrome. The team had to pull out of the Four Continents event leading up to the Worlds.
Here are the other events I’ll be watching:
Saturday–1pm–NHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final, Game 1–Boston Bruins @ Philadelphia Flyers–NBC–Last year, the Bruins and Flyers played an epic Eastern Conference semi-final with the Flyers winning in seven games after they lost the first three in the series. This year, the Flyers have the home ice advantage. I like Boston in this series because they seem to be more stable than Philadelphia at the goaltending position. Tim Thomas is playing better now than when he won the Vezina Trophy two years ago.
MLB–Toronto Blue Jays @ New York Yankees–Saturday @ 2pm, Sunday @ 11am–Sportsnet–The Blue Jays at 13-13 travel to Yankee Stadium to take on the American League East leading New York Yankees. Toronto is only 2.5 games back of New York (14-9) in the early going. Saturday, the pitching matchup is Kyle Drabek (2-0, 21 K, 3.30 ERA) for Toronto versus former Blue Jay A.J. Burnett (3-1, 24 K, 3.52) for New York. Sunday, Jesse Litsch pitches for the Blue Jays (2-1, 17 K, 3.86 ERA) versus Ivan Nova (1-2, 12 K, 5.82 ERA) for the Bronx Bombers. The Blue Jays caught a break as they missed Yankees’ ace C.C. Sabathia during this three game set. Unfortunately for them, they still have to deal with a potent lineup led by second baseman Robinson Cano (.308, 6 HR, 19 RBIs) and third baseman Alex Rodriguez (.313, 5 HR, 18 RBIs).
Saturday–7pm–NHL Western Conference Semi-Final, Game 2–Nashville Predators @ Vancouver Canucks (Canucks lead 1-0)–CBC–The Canucks won Game One Thursday night on a goal by Christopher Higgins. It looks like Roberto Luongo is back to his usual self. The Vezina Trophy candidate got his second shutout of the playoffs in backstopping Vancouver to a 1-0 win. Speaking about award nominees, the Canucks should not take the Nashville Predators lightly. Nashville has three people nominated for awards themselves–Pekka Rinne for the Vezina, Shea Weber for the Norris and Barry Trotz for the Jack Adams.
Sunday–8am–World Hockey Championships–Canada vs. France–TSN–Team Canada plays its second game of the two week tournament in Slovakia. Edmonton Oiler fans will be pleased with Jordan Eberle’s performance on Friday. He was clearly Canada’s best player in Canada’s 4-1 win over Belarus. The French won’t be pushovers however. Their goalie is former NHL veteran Cristobal Huet. In an exhibition game last week Canada only won 3-2.
Sunday–1pm–NHL Western Conference Semi-Final, Game 2–Detroit Red Wings @ San Jose Sharks (Sharks lead 1-0)–NBC–San Jose won game one last night at the HP Pavilion on an early overtime winner by Benn Ferriero, the latest unsung hero in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ferriero, who was celebrating his 24th birthday last night, scored the game winning goal on his very first career playoff shot. How is that for playoff magic? An area of concern for the Red Wings is their penalty killing. Head coach Mike Babcock told TSN that it was awful in their quarterfinal series win over Phoenix and needed to improve the rest of the playoffs. Well, in game one with the Red Wings leading 1-0, Todd Bertuzzi took a boarding penalty that led to a Joe Pavelski game-tying goal.
Sunday–5pm–NHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final, Game 2–Tampa Bay Lightning @ Washington Capitals (Lightning lead 1-0)–CBC–In Game One Friday night, the Lightning proved to the hockey world that they are for real and can beat a team with superpowers too. Steve Downie scored a goal and an assist as the Lightning defeated the Capitals 4-2. The Lightning did a solid job of shutting down Alexander Ovechkin (only two shots with a -1 in Game One). Please note the network here. TSN has the entire Tampa Bay-Washington series except Game Two. That is because of CBC’s election coverage Monday night. CBC and TSN swapped games, so TSN will broadcast the Boston-Philadelphia game Monday.
Tags: a.j. burnett, alex rodriguez, barry trotz, benn ferriero, boston bruins, c.c. sabathia, charlie white, christopher higgins, cristobal huet, detroit red wings, Edmonton Oilers, ivan nova, Jesse Litsch, joe pavelski, jordan eberle, Kyle Drabek, meryl davis, mike babcock, nashville predators, New York Yankees, pekka rinne, Philadelphia Flyers, roberto luongo, robinson cano, San Jose Sharks, scott moir, shea weber, steve downie, tampa bay lightning, tessa virtue, tim thomas, toronto blue jays, Vancouver Canucks, washington capitals, world figure skating championships