The Stanley Cup Finals continue tonight. The NBA Finals begin tonight. Going out to watch the hockey game because you can’t get Versus at home? Take your bino’s because your local watering hole is likely to have the NBA game on every screen but the 9″ in the corner of the bar. You know the one. It’s partially obscured by the Heineken poster.
I say this because as far as ratings go, the NHL Final vs. the NBA Final is the equivalent a vegan cooking show on the Food Network on Super Bowl Sunday.
As for mainstream media coverage, expect half of Sportscenter tomorrow to be devoted the game one, 7/16 for MLB and golf and perhaps 1/16 to game four of the Cup final. Don’t blink or switch away at commercials, for you may miss it and have to wait an entire hour to catch it again.
Not sour grapes, just reality.
Our favorite The Sporting News commentator is back at it. This time he analyzes the shot totals in the third period of game three.
While plenty of people have been talking about how the referees failed to whistle the Pittsburgh Penguins for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty during the second period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, the data point that caught my eye was the fact that the Penguins outshot the Detroit Red Wings 10-3 in the third period.
Not sure what the two have to do with each other, seeing as how the Penguins’ most blatant infraction to be missed in the history of sports occurred in the first period. Why did this data point catch his eye, you ask?
The dominance that Pittsburgh displayed in the third period actually got started with a little more than two minutes left in the second period. After that, the Penguins held the Red Wings without a shot for about 10 minutes, until just about half way into the third period.
Dominance? Hockey fans know that shot totals have a way of evening out slightly as a game progresses. If a team gets off to a hot start, they tend to cool and vice versa. What McErlain fails to even address is that Pittsburgh had been out shot 14-4 in the second period, and 12 – 7 in the first.
McErlain claims to be surprised at Pittsburgh’s dominance because,
In both Games 1 and 2, Detroit was ahead at the start of the third period, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that the Penguins outshot the Red Wings while Detroit played low-risk hockey in order to protect a lead. But on Tuesday, the teams were tied heading into the final period.
Yes and no. This is a series of games. Heading in to the third period the Wings were two games in the lead. I am pretty confident that the strategy was to play defense and take what the Pens give. Granted the Pens played a strong period. They are a Cup finalist after all. Frankly, the Pens did not make many mistakes. Good hockey teams don’t simply go from double digit shot totals to low single digits without some shift in strategy.
One thing that the Pens have been doing effectively and frequently as the game wore on is defending the blue line. They are standing Wing attackers up at the blue line after the dump in, and staying with them on the race to the puck. So far they have been able to do this with impunity. It remains to be seen if they can continue this without picking up an interference penalty in game four.
If you can see that on the little TV that is.