IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Sharks survive Avalanche; Mike Fiers tosses second career no-hitter
THE “JOE” FACTOR: The San Jose Sharks moved on to Round 3 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They will begin against the St. Louis Blues tonight at 5 p.m. on NBC. The Colorado Avalanche gave the Sharks everything they could handle. However, on Wednesday night they vanquished Colorado via a tight 3-2 win. The difference? Just perhaps it was the influence of Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. At 39, Thornton has few years left. He has never won a Stanley Cup. A highly influential Shark, Thornton is a team leader for San Jose. He is a certain reason they have continued to succeed in the playoffs. Then there is Pavelski. With a substantial head injury in Game 7 of the Vegas series, he appeared briefly to rally the fans in Game 6. However, in Game 7 he came back with a huge splash. He scored one goal and one assist to make the difference. Indeed, they are striving to win it all for “Joe.” This is a team that has a good chance to play for the Stanley Cup. Thornton said when asked of the team’s identity, “We’re just a bunch of good guys who like to have fun with good fellowship.” Indeed. The key for the Sharks will be to surrender two goals or less per game. They are 39-0 in such a circumstance. Another interesting series starts now.
WARRIORS WIN AT HOME: It was not a thing of beauty, but the Golden State Warriors bested the Houston Rockets in Game 5 at Oracle 104-99 to take a 3-2 series lead. Another Draymond Green technical foul and a right calf sprain for Kevin Durant made this one more than precarious. However, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry combined for 52 points. Plagued by periods of sloppy play and turnovers, Golden State will have to complete this series without Durant. Adding to the challenge was that Curry was shooting only 24% in the series through the third period. Last night’s game in Houston was huge. The Warriors are still in the mix, but this road will be perhaps their toughest yet.
XFL: The second incarnation of the XFL is coming next year. They have aligned ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1, Fox, and ABC on a multi-year deal. They will focus more on football than broadcast gimmicks. Eight cities with all of the coaches lined up. They have $300 million to fund the league, coming from Vince McMahon. Now, will it work? It will be interesting to watch unfold.
MAXIMUM SECURITY’S DILEMA: Ah, controversy even in horse racing. In the 145th Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security wins and then is disqualified. Country House is declared the champion. It is a foul in the stretch that doomed Maximum Security. Now come the appeals and debates. Many claim it could have caused a disastrous catastrophe. It is the first time it has happened in the Derby, but it is surely a sign of the times.
FIERS NO-NO: A great week for Oakland A’s Mike Fiers. He delivers a no-hitter smackdown on the Cincinnati Reds. It is his second and the 300th in Major League history. It took 131 pitches with two walks and six strikeouts. He is only the fifth active player with two no-hitters. The Reds had scored 37 runs in their previous four games. On this night, they fell victim to a brilliant pitching performance after a 1 hour, 45 minute delay to get the lights at the Oakland Coliseum figured out.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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