Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sports Chowdah Update- C's Rally in the Knick of Time; Boston B-Devils Jersey; Madness Marches On; Manny Returns; NHL Dishes Suspension to Cooke

MLB: For those of you keeping track (which I'll admit I've been doing a piss poor job of) tonight's Sox-Rays game marked Manny Ramierez's first appearance at Ft. Meyer's City of Palms Park as a Tampa Bay Ray. The former Indians, Red Sox and Dodgers slugger went 1 for 1 with two walks and scored a run on Tuesday while on the mound, 2010 AL Cy Young winner David Price outlasted John Lackey, who gave up 5 runs over 5 ⅓ innings and was hung with his first loss of the Spring training for a 2-1 record, with the Rays winning 7-4. The Red Sox have tomorrow off and will next face the Florida Marlins at Jupiter, FL on Thursday with first pitch at 1:05 ET. OTHER RED SOX NEWS: The agent for 1B Adrian Gonzalez, John Boggs, has said that his client and the Red Sox are close to agreeing on a seven year contract extension for the former San Diego infielder. In his final year with the Padres, Gonzalez hit 31 home runs and had a .298 BA while playing half his games in the very pitcher friendly PetCo Park. NHL: After Saturday's disappointing 5-2 loss to the Maple Leafs in Toronto, the Bruins would head home and take on the struggling New Jersey Devils. Although the Bruins came into March riding an impressive 6-game road winning streak, the B's would then go on to win only two of their next eight contests (although they would garner a point or two for losses taking place in OT or the shootout- and curiously, they have yet to relinquish 1st place in the division this month). Tuesday night's game looked as though it would be more of the same when the Devil's Ilya Kovalchuck scored first to give New Jersey the 1-0 lead. Shawn Thronton would get the equalizer at the with just over four and a half minutes remaining in the first period. In the 2nd period, Zdeno Chara would put the B's up for good with a power play goal (the Bruins went 1 for 5 with the man advantage on Tuesday night) while Milan Lucic would score for Boston in the 3rd and Mark Recchi would get an empty-netter as the exclamation point in the Bruin's 4-1 win over New Jersey. Zdeno Chara came up big, for lack of a better term, coming up with the game winning goal and 2 assists on Tuesday night. Tim Thomas stopped 30 shots, not allowing a goal after Kovalchuck's power play goal in the 1st period. The win all but finishes off whatever postseason aspirations the Devils might've had to begin with. The Bruins next game will be on Thursday at home against Montreal. The 2nd place Canadiens are coming off of being shut out 2-0 by the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. OTHER NHL NEWS: The NHL has decided to hand down a suspension to enforcer Matt Cooke for not only the final 10 games of the regular season, but also the first round of the playoffs after his elbow to the head against the Ranger's Ryan McDonagh on Sunday. Dennis Savard had his 2009-2010 season ended by a concussion after taking an elbow to the head from the Penguins cheap shot artist. NBA: Like the Bruins, over the last several games the Celtics have been looking like a playoff bound team by virtue of racking up the wins earlier in the season that didn't threaten to do much once they arrived there. After starting out their most recent road trip with a 93-77 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday, the C's managed to bounce back with an 89-85 win over the New Orleans Hornets before heading to Madison Square Garden to wrap up their 3 game raod trip against the Knicks. Now, most of the time the Knicks are a punchline or laughingstock who's only claim to fame is having Spike Lee mouth off at the visiting players. Now although the recently made headlines by acquiring Carmello Anthony in a trade from Denver, the were at one game over .500 coming into Monday night's game against Boston. By halftime on Monday night's game, it looked as though Boston's March woes would continue, as the Knickerbockers headed into halftime with a fairly commanding 51-37 lead over the visitors. However, the Celtics would mount a spirited comeback in the 2nd half of what some would consider a possible playoff preview, with their defense holding the Knicks to just 35 points in the 2nd half, with Rajon Rondo putting Boston in the lead for good after hitting a jumper with just over 3 minutes left in regulation. Shortly after making the shot, Rajon and Carmello Anthony collided while 'Melo was attempting to steal a pass, resulting in a gash above Anthony's eye. Rondo came up with the ball and passed to Big Baby for a layup that but Boston up 90-86. Pierce nailed a jumper to make it a 6 point game before Ray Allen's dunk made it 94-86 with 40 seconds left in regulation before following ti up with two successful free throws. Kevin Garnett led the scoring for Boston with 24 points along with 11 rebounds on Monday night, followed by Paul Pierce's 21 points and 6 rebounds. The C's still are in first place for the Atlantic conference, although now they are a half point behind the Chicago Bulls for1st overall in the Eastern Conference. Interestingly, despite the .500 record and 3 game skid, the Knicks are still very much in the playoff hunt. The Celtics will return home on Wednesday night to take on the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 PM ET. NCAA HOCKEY: While everybody from the leader of the free world on down is keeping track of their March Madness brackets, just a reminder that the NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament gets underway this Friday. The schedule is as follows: Friday, March 25 3 p.m., East Region: Minnesota-Duluth vs. Union (Bridgeport, CT), ESPNU 5:30 p.m., West Region: Michigan vs. Nebraska-Omaha (St. Louis, MO), ESPN3 6:30 p.m., East Region: No. 1 Yale vs. Air Force (Bridgeport, CT), ESPNU 9 p.m., West Region: No. 1 Boston College vs. Colorado College (St. Louis, MO), ESPNU Saturday, March 26 1:30 p.m., Midwest Region: No.1 North Dakota vs. Rensselaer (Green Bay, WI), ESPN3 4 p.m., Northeast Region: No. 1 Miami vs. New Hampshire (Manchester, NH), ESPNU 5 p.m., Midwest Region: Denver vs. Western Michigan (Green Bay, WI), ESPN3 7:30 p.m., Northeast Region: Merrimack vs. Notre Dame (Manchester, NH), ESPN3 NCAA HOOPS: Perhaps to nobody's surprise, Kansas had sent to BU Terriers packing in the first round last week, while UConn- the sole remaining New England team in the tournament now- bested the Cincinnati Bearcats by 30 points. This sets up a match against the San Diego State Aztecs (who need double OT to get past Temple this weekend) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA on Thursday night at 7:15 PM ET, 4:15 PM Pacific.

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