IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Sharks, Blues are nowhwere near done
The St. Louis Blues wake up grouchy again this morning. They are down 2-1 in games to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals. Everyone has them to win, and they still might, but the Sharks are giving them all they can handle…and more. Game 1 is a 2-1 loss for San Jose in a contest they could have won. Games two and three are 4-0 and 3-0 wins for San Jose. They out hit the Blues 41-21. They block 26 shots to the Blues 20. The Sharks move to 6-1 at home in the playoffs. San Jose sets a franchise record for most wins in a post season. So, what does all this mean? Nothing! This afternoon at 4:15 p.m. is game four at SAP Center. It is arguably the biggest game in Sharks history. If they win, they go back to St. Louis 3-1. If they lose, it is deadlocked at 2-2. Big drama in San Jose tonight.
SHARKS HOT IN THEIR MARCH THROUGH THE PLAYOFFS: The statistics are actually startling. After Game 3, it is important to note that Martin Jones has stopped 69-of-71 shots in this series against the St. Louis Blues. He has back-to-back shutouts which are a first in playoff history for San Jose. Jumbo Joe Thornton tallies two assists in Game 3 and eight points in his last seven games. Tomas Hertl scores two crucial goals in Game 3, his first multi-point playoff game of his career. Logan Couture has eight points in his last seven games. Patrick Marleau is playing better. Joe Pavelski is not only setting a torrid scoring pace, he is also winning 63 percent of his faceoffs. In order to survive the tough St. Louis Blues, they will need to keep this momentum going. This is the best chance they have had in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to reach the finals. Success or Bust? A partial answer to that question will be known tonight
CUBBIES HOT: It is predicted that they will do well this year. However, the Chicago Cubs enjoy a healthy lead against second place Pittsburgh. How do they do it? It is a well-rounded performance. On Sunday night, it is a team building exercise. After a tough 6-5 loss to the Pirates, they retire to a karaoke session. Not sure it is a real difference maker, but whatever it takes.
JOERGER WITH BIG TASK IN SACRAMENTO: How hard pressed is Dave Joerger to orchestrate success for the Sacramento Kings? The new coach comes with a pedigree that incorporates both good and bad. He does well in Memphis, but also has some flaws. How difficult will it be to build the necessary rapport with his new players? That is destined to be a tough one. Regardless, there is hope he will usher in a new era for a return to the playoffs if he can get buy-in from temperamental DeMarcus Cousins. Can’t wait.
GIANTS POISED FOR SURGE?: The San Francisco Giants get complete, back-to-back pitching performances from Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Jeff Samardzija then goes eight innings. It is all a part of eight wins in a row as they pass the Dodgers and Rockies for first place in the West. They post a Cueto masterpiece in a 2-1 win. With victories in seven straight road games, they tie a franchise record that was set in 1913. The Giants are finding ways to win. Let’s see how they fare in a big weekend series against the hot Chicago Cubs.
WARRIORS SPLIT AT ORACLE: Is the Oklahoma City Thunder merely the next victim or a team to be feared? In Game 1, OKC finds a way to win. However, in Game 2, the Warriors flirt with a 40 point lead in route to a 118-91 win. Steph Curry explodes in the third quarter with 15 consecutive points in less than a 2 minute span. After a lackluster Game 1, he puts it away in Game 2. The formula: Golden State must minimally split in OKC. Then they come home, finish it off, and prepare for the Cavs who look like they are set to emerge from the East. Game 3 is Sunday.
A MAJOR HEADACHE FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Six new lawsuits against the NCAA and their teams mar the landscape of college football. Among those schools targeted are Auburn, Georgia, Oregon and Utah. The controversy, again, revolves around concussion protocol that was absent prior to 2010. One player who files suit competes in the 70s. The lawsuits claim that players are still suffering from concussions sustained while playing in college.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.