As I was thinking about this post Friday, it was intended to be along the lines of this: Despite a blizzard here in the Northeast, it still felt like spring watching the Red Sox play on green grass under bright sunny skies in Texas. I might still have written that after Friday's loss but, after losing the whole series, it doesn't feel so warm and sunny anymore. No, I'm not going to jump off a bridge, like some Sox fans already have. I'm a huge baseball and Sox fan but I have so many other sports interests that, while I always eagerly await opening day, I'm in mid and late season fan form with other sports. So I don't tend to get too wound up about how the Sox season is going until the Celtics' and especially the Bruins' fates are known.
So I've decided to do another weekend wrap-up post and since the UConn Huskies beat Kentucky on Saturday, we know that I have won our bracket challenge; and you can consider this post fulfilling that duty. So I'll start there.
It was cute to watch my wife make notes about the tourney because it appeared practically a lock that she'd win with her conservative picking, until the upsetters kept taking out the top seeds and left UConn as the only team anyone was getting points from. We watched a few games and she cringed listening to me rave about how bad the coaching was as favorites kept losing late because they refused to move the ball. I'm not a very big college basketball fan but it seems right to me when Northeast teams do well. So it may come as a surprise to you that despite the fact that UConn is from New England and despite the fact that their run is why I won our bracket challenge, I will find it difficult watching the game tonight and not root for that gritty, very well coached bunch from Indiana, the Butler Bulldogs. So a Hoosiers moment would be just as enjoyable as a New England team winning this time.
Back to my Bruins: Congrats and well deserved to Brad Marchand on winning the Seventh Player Award, a rookie who wears number 63 who came into the season just trying to make the team is not who you'd expect to win this award; but just as he did in getting the assist on the Bruins' first goal of the game Saturday (scored by the ageless Mark Recchi), he just finds a way to contribute in big ways. A little trivia question for you: Who was the last Bruin to win this award during a season in which the Bruins won the Stanley Cup? I'll put the answer at the end of the blog. In defeating the Thrashers on Saturday the Bruins clinched the Northeast Division title and thus will be seeded no lower than third when the playoffs begin. Getting on a hot streak now is important for momentum going into the playoffs but equally as important if it means they finish the regular season ahead of the Washington Capitals and George would have to write a blog post instead of me as a result of our preseason challenge on who would finish higher.. Michael Ryder scored the game winner in this game on a penalty shot and I've said before that he is going to be crucial to the Bruins offense in the playoffs.
The Lewiston Maineacs of the QMJHL won their first round playoff series versus Moncton over the weekend 3 games to 1; and since their first round home game dates were inconvenient for me, I'm happy to report I'll be attending either game 3 or game 4 next week against Montreal. So expect a little blog post regarding that next week.
It was great to see Phil Mickelson shoot a 63 on Saturday and nearly duplicate that score on Sunday to win in Houston this weekend in tune-up for this weekend's Masters. Between him and the red hot Bubba Watson, there's a good chance we'll see another risk-taking lefty win at Augusta.
Did you enjoy the Nascar race in Martinsville yesterday? Even if you're not a Dale Jr fan, weren't you hoping he'd miraculously hold off Kevin Harvick's charge? Did you find it as ironic as I did that it was Harvick, driving the "#3" car and driving for Richard Childress, who beats Jr and continues his winless drought that now stands at nearly 100 races? Did you think it possible for a car to hit the wall at Martinsville as hard as Martin Truex Jr did yesterday? Amazing too that he said it didn't hurt at all. Which brings me to the bad luck weekend for my three drivers -- Kasey Kahne, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Truex's accelerator locked up; Marcos Ambros in the 9 car getting run over by the 66; and the 43 car, which ran between 5th and 10th most of the day, getting caught on pit road during the last caution of the race and finishing 14th. Did he have a car good enough to win? Probably not but there was one point during the late stages of the race where it looked like he might. But it is great to see the 43 run well there again.
(The answer to the trivia question is Derek Sanderson in 1972)