2011 Lionel Conacher Award winner Patrick Chan of Ottawa, Ontario is one step closer to defending his title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Nice, France.
Today, Chan put down a solid short program, and leads the Czech Republic’s Michal Brezina by 1.74 points. Due to the fact the television coverage on CBC is absolutely lousy, the event can be seen live on www.cbcsports.ca or if you have Bold. The final flight of skaters in the men’s event is at 8am and the final flight of skaters in the women’s event is at 1:30pm on Saturday with Alena Leonova of Russia in the lead. In the pairs competition today, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov hammered the strong German pair of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy by 8.04 points, but only hung onto the silver medal behind the Germans after a poor short program.
Here are the other events I’ll be watching:
Saturday–World Men’s Curling Championship–Canada vs. France–6am–TSN–A bright and early start this weekend for Canadian curling fans as Midland, Ontario’s Glenn Howard begins his quest for another world title in Basel, Switzerland. Howard previously won the 2007 World Curling Championship in Edmonton. France is not a curling superpower, but does have World Championship experience. Thomas Dufour will be skipping in his eighth straight World event. Their previous best result was fifth place at the 2008 World Men’s Curling Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Saturday–WTA–Sony Ericsson Open Women’s Final–(2) Maria Sharapova–RUS vs. (5) Agnieszka Radwanska–POL–10:30am–CBS–The major story in the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open is not who is in the final, but the fact that world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus lost in the quarterfinals to France’s Marion Bartoli. That has opened the door for Sharapova and Radwanska, who beat Bartoli in the semi-finals. Sharapova has the 7-1 edge on Radwanska and will be pleased she won’t be facing Azarenka who has beat her in the finals of the Australian Open and Indian Wells already this year.
Saturday–NHL–Ottawa Senators @ Philadelphia Flyers–11am–CBC–Despite an excellent season, the Ottawa Senators are on the bubble for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, as they’re two points up on the Buffalo Sabres. Saturday, they take on a Flyers team that has already punched their ticket for the playoffs. The biggest story in Ottawa has been the play of defenceman Erik Karlsson. After going -30 just last season, he is now a +18 and is a strong Norris Trophy candidate with his 57 assists, third in the entire NHL.
Saturday–NCAA Basketball–Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals–4pm–CBS–Outside of the Kentucky Derby, this could be the greatest thing that has ever happened to the Kentucky sporting landscape–two Kentucky teams in the semi-final of the NCAA Final Four. The top ranked Wildcats have the edge with their superior defense led by projected no.1 pick Anthony Davis. This is also an outstanding coaching matchup as Louisville’s Rick Pitino takes on Kentucky’s John Calipari.
Saturday–NHL–Buffalo Sabres @ Toronto Maple Leafs–5pm–CBC–Like the Senators, the Sabres are also battling for the final playoff spot in the East, as they are currently tied for eighth with Washington, but have five fewer regulation or overtime wins than the Capitals. Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller has only lost three times since January 24. The Leafs are playing out the stretch once again and looked terrible in a 7-1 loss Thursday to Philadelphia.
Saturday–NCAA Basketball–Kansas Jayhawks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes–7pm–CBS–Two number two seeds are in the other semi-final of the final four in New Orleans. The Buckeyes are better known for their football than basketball, but did win the NCAA Championship back in 1960. The Jayhawks have had great success in recent years, winning four years ago over Memphis in San Antonio.
Saturday–Soccer–Canada vs. Mexico–7pm–Sportsnet–An Olympic berth is on the line in this exciting soccer game from Kansas City. The Canadians will need to play sharper though as they are coming off a lackluster 1-1 draw with Cuba on Monday. The Mexicans are a lot more skilled, but so were the Americans, and Team Canada pulled off the stunning 2-0 upset win a week ago in Nashville.
Saturday–NHL–Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks–8pm–CBC–Despite playing terrible against Los Angeles Wednesday, the Flames are mathematically still alive, only three points back of the Kings for the eighth and final playoff spot. Captain Jarome Iginla needs to be better after recording no shots on net in his last outing. The Canucks meanwhile are three points back of St. Louis for first place in the West and are anxiously waiting on Daniel Sedin to come back into the lineup after suffering a concussion.
Sunday–World Men’s Curling Championship–Canada vs. United States–11am–TSN–Canadian sport fans expect Canada to beat the United States in two sports–hockey and curling. Today Glenn Howard faces an inexperienced American squad led by skip Heath McCormick. But McCormick does have experience in high pressure curling games. While living in Sarnia, he participated in the Ontario Men’s Provincial Championship six times, and lost the Ontario final to Bryan Cochrane in 2003. He also lost to Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink in the Canadian Mixed Championship in 2004.
Sunday–ATP–Sony Ericsson Open Men’s Final–(1) Novak Djokovic–SRB vs. (4) Andy Murray–GB–11am–CBS–Two of the top four players in the world are competing this weekend in the final of the second Masters Series event of the year. Let’s just hope the match is competitive. Djokovic has the 7-5 edge on Murray, but the number is deceiving as he dominates him in big matches on a regular basis.
Sunday–NHL–Edmonton Oilers @ Anaheim Ducks–6pm–Sportsnet–This game means nothing, but I told myself a few weeks ago I would watch the rest of the Oiler games the rest of the season.
Sunday–NBA–New Orleans Hornets @ Phoenix Suns–7pm–The Score–Believe it or not but the Suns are only 2.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets and the Houston Rockets for a playoff spot, despite being a game back of the .500 mark. Steve Nash continues to dazzle in a Suns uniform. He leads the team with 11.2 assists per game. The Suns will be without Grant Hill however as he is currently sidelined with a knee injury.
Tags: agnieszka radwanska, alena leonova, anaheim ducks, andy murray, bryan cochrane, buffalo sabres, calgary flames, Edmonton Oilers, erik karlsson, final four, glenn howard, heath mccormick, jarome iginla, john calipari, kansas jayhawks, kentucky wildcats, louisville cardinals, maria sharapova, marion bartoli, maxim trankov, michal brezina, new orleans hornets, novak djokovic, ohio state buckeyes, Ottawa Senators, patrick chan, Philadelphia Flyers, phonix suns, rick pitino, ryan miller, shannon kleibrink, tatiana volosozhar, thomas dufour, toronto maple leafs, Vancouver Canucks, victoria azarenka, world figure skating championships, world men's curling championship