I hardly have time to care too much about the National Hockey League. There’s just too many other things going on in the world of sports to consume my attention.
But now we’re down to the final four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s reason enough to start paying attention, right?
What’s interesting about the upcoming matchups this weekend is that there’s no hard feelings stemming from previous postseason clashes to help get the excitement brewing. Instead we’ve got one team in the mist of a marginally lengthy Stanley Cup drought and, in comparison, three others still cleaning up confetti from recent triumphs.
On Saturday it’s the top-seeded New York Rangers and the No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning meeting in the Eastern Conference. Sunday it’ll be the No. 1 Anaheim Ducks hosting the No. 3 Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.
I’m not even sure how to pronounce his name. Guess I’ll learn soon enough though after spending Tuesday’s release day listening to the San Francisco native’s impressive new Moonlight album.
It’s the third release for Hanni El Khatib since debuting with Will The Guns Come Out in 2011. Head in the Dirt followed two years later with an assist from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, so you can imagine what some of these new songs might sound like: bluesy guitar-driven grooves accompanied by boastful drum sounds that carry a shadowy mood throughout.
Having never heard either of those previous albums I had no preconceived notions before giving this one my full attention. And after having had my fill of Auerbach and the Keys over the years I can say I was hardly surprised when I read about their connection after spinning through this for the first time. Moonlight possesses some of the signature sounds of The Black Keys but comes to an end before drowning in that style.
Standouts include the title track, “The Teeth,” “Chasin’,” “Mexico,” “Servant,” and “Two Brothers.” But don’t just settle for the official album. Be sure to check out the Moonlight album mixtape by J.Rocc for a different twist that’ll keep you going until the sun comes up.
The regular season is in the books and the National Football League’s Wild Card weekend will be here before we know it. Or in other words, before we can fully recover from our New Year’s festivities.
The New England Patriots (12-4) and Denver Broncos (12-4) finished the regular season by claiming the top spots in the AFC while the Seattle Seahawks (12-4) and Green Bay Packers (12-4) hold those same positions in the NFC.
On Saturday it’s Arizona at Carolina and Baltimore at Pittsburgh followed by Cincinnati at Indianapolis and Detroit at Dallas on Sunday in matchups that’ll advance winners to the divisional round.
Below is a breakdown of the wild card games this weekend. My predictions are included at the conclusion of each summary.
I considered rushing out to local record stores Friday morning to pick up exclusive Black Friday vinyl music releases. Then I started flipping through my existing collection, deciding instead to stay home and spin the stuff I already own.
Albums by Bobby Womack, Johnny Cash, Gang Starr, The Stepkids randomly made the rotation. Sample some of the best tracks from each below.
The Orlando City Soccer Club is a long way away from being ready for the start of the 2015 Major League Soccer season. Finding MLS experience to fill out the roster is a top priority this offseason as the Lions make a move from the minor leagues to the top division in North America.
Last week I caught up with OCSC general manager Paul McDonough and president Phil Rawlins about the pending acquisition of Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who started in back-to-back MLS Cup matches in 2011 and 2012.
The Orlando City Soccer Club played its final USL PRO regular season game Saturday, winning 1-0 over Richmond on a goal by Kevin Molino in the 23rd minute.
The win improves the Lions to 45-4-10 all-time in league matches at home, setting them up in good position for a run at their third championship in four years with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
I talked to Orlando City Soccer Club’s Kevin Molino and a couple of his teammates who’ve played alongside him over the past four years for a feature on the midfielder for the Orlando Sentinel.
Molino, who set a new USL PRO single-season record for goals scored last Saturday, is one of five current players looking to wrap up their third title in four years with the Lions when the playoffs open next month.
As much as I’ve already written about Molino this season, it turns out there was even more to be expressed. Not all of the quotes I gathered from Molino, Orlando City coach Adrian Heath, goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and defender Rob Valentino could fit into the story. So I’ve provided them below. Enjoy.
It’s hard enough for players to hit for the cycle at least once in their Major League Baseball careers, never mind becoming just one of three big-leaguers ever to do so in both the American and National leagues. What makes the only cycle of the 2014 season so interesting is the familiarity involving a couple players and a pair of games.
While with the Brewers on May 22, 2009, Parra gave up three of the hits Cuddyer would need for his first cycle (while with the Minnesota Twins) before going on to finish it off at the Metrodome with a triple off of Jorge Julio, who had played for the Rockies two years earlier.
The Orlando City Soccer Club and Charleston Battery have won each of the past four USL Pro titles, with the Lions claiming championships in their inaugural season (2011) and again in 2013.
But the rivalry hasn’t been as close on paper as it appears on the pitch.
Orlando City’s 1-0 win on Saturday gives the Lions a 9-1-3 record in the all-time series, including a 7-0-0 mark at home. Major League Soccer loanee Brian “Cobi” Span of FC Dallas scored in the 73rd minute on an assist from Adama Mbengue.