For the first time in franchise history, the Edmonton Rush are in championship game. Tonight in New York state, the Rush take on the Rochester Knighthawks for the 2012 Champion’s Cup (Shaw HD, 5:30pm).
Now I’m not a huge supporter of a team with a losing record in the regular season making the playoffs, as the Rush were 6-10 and in fourth place in the Western Division, but you have to give the team credit for getting hot at just the right time.
Where the Rush has been impressive the most has been goaltending, a key factor for success in the playoffs in any sport. For Aaron Bold to only give up three goals in the division final last week in Minnesota is remarkable, and the Rush will win a championship if they continue to keep the ball out of their net like they did last week.
Here are the other events I’m watching this weekend:
Saturday & Monday –NHL–Eastern Conference Final–New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils –CBC–With the series tied at one, and shifting to New Jersey, the two Atlantic Division rivals play at 11am this morning and 6pm Monday night. David Clarkson scored the game winner for the Devils in game two Wednesday to even the series. Clarkson could be a very valuable player for the Devils in the Eastern Conference Final as he combines grit and offensive flair (30 goals, 148 penalty minutes), making him a legitimate power forward.
Saturday–UEFA Champions League Final–Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich–12:30pm–Sportsnet–One of the biggest soccer games of the year takes place in Munich this afternoon as the European club championship is on the line. Even though Bayern Munich is the favourite, three of their defenders are suspended and could give Didier Drogba the necessary room on the pitch that he needs. Chelsea will be without center back John Terry however, who was red carded in their semi-final upset win over FC Barcelona. Bayern Munich is led by Mario Gomez who had 26 goals in the Bundesliga. Other Bayern Munich players to watch out for are Arjen Robben who helped Holland advance to the World Cup Final and French national Franck Ribery.
Saturday–Preakness Stakes–4pm–ABC–The second stage of horse racing’s triple crown takes place this afternoon from Baltimore. The two favourites are pre-Kentucky Derby favourite Bodemeister at 8-5 and I’ll Have Another at 5-2, who is filled with Canadian connections. Bodemeister should have won the Kentucky Derby earlier this month but had a poor finish, allowing I’ll Have Another to pass him in the later stages of the race.
Saturday & Monday–NBA–Western Conference Semi-Final–Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers– With the Thunder leading the series 2-1, game four is tonight in Los Angeles (Sportsnet One, 8:30pm) and game five is Monday in Oklahoma City (TSN, 7:30pm). Last night in the Staples Center, the Lakers rebounded after a tough loss in game two, with a 99-96 win as Kobe Bryant scored 36 points. The Lakers were great from the free throw line, going 41 for 42 as a team. An amazing story from this series though are the death threats on twitter that Lakers guard Steve Blake is receiving for missing the game winning shot on Wednesday night that led to a Thunder win. Those that contributed to the evil acts should be ashamed of themselves!
Sunday–World Hockey Championship Final–TSN–11:30pm–Russia will play the winner of Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Sunday’s final from Helsinki, Finland. The Russians hammered Finland 6-2 in Saturday’s final as Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored a hat trick.
Sunday–NHL– Western Conference Final Game 4–Phoenix Coyotes @ Los Angeles Kings–NBC–1pm–The Los Angeles Kings can advance to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history with a win tomorrow. The Kings lead the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 in the best-of-seven series. Dustin Brown leads the Kings with 15 points in the playoffs so far and at the present time is playing the best hockey of his career. For the Coyotes to get back into the series, they will need to be more disciplined. The Coyotes, who had two key major penalties in game two, took six of the eight infractions in game three.
Sunday–MLB–St. Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers–6pm–TSN2–Two division leaders in the National League will play against each other Sunday as the World Series Champion Cardinals play the Dodgers, who at 26-13, have the best record in baseball. The selection of Cardinals/Dodgers by ESPN for a national television audience is an interesting one. With interleague taking place throughout baseball this weekend, the sports network is choosing the only game on the schedule where two teams play in the same league.
Sunday–NBA–Western Conference Semi-Final Game 4–San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers–8:30pm–Sportsnet One–Is there any team in professional sports that has earned less respect over the last fifteen years than San Antonio? I don’t think so. The Spurs have won four NBA Finals in that period, but nobody seems to be talking about them. Tony Parker led the Spurs in scoring with 22 points on Thursday in a 105-88 romp.
Monday–Memorial Cup–Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Saint John Sea Dogs–5pm–Sportsnet–The Oil Kings got a big 4-3 win to open the tournament last night against Shawinigan as Griffin Reinhart led the way with a goal and an assist. The Sea Dogs are the favourite in the tournament and will have a familiar face in the lineup. Jonathan Huberdeau, who was drafted third in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers was the Memorial Cup MVP last year.
Tags: aaron bold, arjen robben, bayern munich, chelsea, david clarkson, didier drogba, dustin brown, Edmonton Oil Kings, edmonton rush, evgeni malkin, franck ribery, griffin reinhart, jonathan huberdeau, Kobe Bryant, Los ANgeles Clippers, los angeles dodgers, los angeles kings, los angeles lakers, mario gomez, new jersey devils, new york rangers, oklahoma city thunder, phoenix coyotes, preakness, rochester knighthawks, saint john sea dogs, san antonio spurs, st. louis cardinals, tony parker, uefa champions league final, world hockey championships