The Sports Mania that is March

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We tend to forget that spring is more than just the blossoming of nature, it is also a time for blooming activity and play, such as sports. This season is mainly associated with America’s favorite past time, but also is a hub for soccer, hockey, and basketball.

With the tradition of opening day baseball, and all the hype that sports fans have for college basketball in March, we occasionally overlook other headlines happening. Along with the MLB, the MLS has also begun their season, and with much more hype that the game of soccer is evolving in the US.

With a just a month away from playoffs, this is a pivotal time for the NHL, as well as the NBA.

It is an exciting time watching teams fighting, clawing to make the post season. If you’re a Los Angeles Lakers fan, or maybe a Chicago Blackhawks admirer, then it might be another story.

Who’s in, and who’s out?

LAFC, a prominent new franchise in Los Angeles, exceeded expectations last year in their 2018-2019 inaugural season. Wining over 16 games, and scoring over 57 points overall in the MLS standings, for the LAFC was a great achievement.

Being an LAFC fan, I was bummed out when the team got knocked out by Real Salt Lake 2-3 in their first playoff game. It ended with a late goal by Salt Lake, being significant to the team, and how they lost some of their games this season.

I believe that LAFC will make playoffs again, but will hard to repeat such expectations for last year.

There is a bevy of sports to watch right now, and AAF will help relief your football grieving. The Alliance of American Football, has been pleasantly surprising to the football world.

Critics and skeptics rather took notice to some of the rule changes, especially the kick off in the AAF.

It is somewhat a mixture of Arena Football and the CFL, but also unique itself. The lack of kickoffs, is a major step toward making a safer game; the new rule changes give the NFL something to think about on their emphasis on player safety. The other shining element people are attracted to from AAF, is that it is an opportunity for great players to exploit their play.

There are many former NFL players in the new and upcoming game, witch makes it fun to watch. Former pros and college stars, make it interesting to see how the players react to yet, another chance in football.

What teams are going to bloom this March?

Photo by Keenan Hairston from Raleigh [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Could there be two LA teams in Super Bowl LIII?

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The two teams representing Los Angeles, the Rams and now the Chargers, could make an all-L.A. Super Bowl this year for the first time in NFL history.

The Rams and Chargers are both the most dangerous and talented teams in the NFL.

Starting with the red-hot Chargers, and their Sergeant General Phillip Rivers, who is displaying some of the best quarterback play in his career. Rivers threw for over 4,308 yards and 32 touchdowns in another impressive season, and hopes to keep the momentum going in the playoffs.

The Chargers have a tough Divisional Round matchup against the New England Patriots this Sunday, In Foxborough. To make matters worse, Rivers is 0-7 against QB Tom Brady and his Patriots in the playoffs.

It is hard to count out the Patriots in the playoffs, but I think the Chargers have more firepower to deal with New England.

Chargers’ Head Coach Anthony Lynn will make sure to utilize Melvin Gordon, and the running game to keep a well-balanced attack against the Patriots’ defense. Rivers will be up to the challenge, knowing that, he will need to play smart football in a very hostile environment.

Since the start of the season, the Rams have always been the team to beat, and now they are here postseason. Jared Goff and teammate Todd Gurley certainly have matured, along with their Head Coach Sean McVay.

Goff, and his team are favored against the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday, but could be an interesting matchup based on the opponent’s skilled defense. The Rams will certainly have to do more than just simply pound the rock in order to score on Dallas.

While I think Dallas defense is dominant, I think the Ram’s offensive will be too much for the Cowboys to deal with.

There is a great chance that both of these LA teams advance in the next round, and even after that…which means Super Bowl LIII.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

2018 Stanley Cup Finals: From tragedy to triumph, a Las Vegas Story 

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The Golden Knights’ journey to the Stanley Cup Finals will be known as one the top Cinderella stories in all of sports, standing just four wins away from squashing the virtually impossible, 500-1 odds to win it all.

The Golden Knights have been fighting odds all season long, even before they stepped on the ice. Vegas’ first season with professional hockey was expected to be anything, but successful, for they were predicted to
be one of the worst the teams in the league.

Look at them now – the Golden Knights are in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Golden Knights’ incredible path to the Finals is something that has truly inspired Vegas. The aftershock of the Las Vegas music festival shooting last year was felt throughout the entire nation, giving the home town not much to hope for, until now.

Vegas’ unexpected success in the NHL, being a real underdog, really helped cast away some of the gloom after the catastrophe. The city of bright lights, is certainly shining bright again, but now is flashing “Stanley Cup Born.”

Their first playoff win at T-Mobile Arena looked like a scene out of a movie, seeing thousands of white towels being waved in unison and signs saying “Vegas Strong.” It was a powerful message that was felt throughout
the entire arena and the city of Las Vegas.

The Stanley Cup Finals will also preview another new face, for the Washington Capitals, are also making their first appearance in the championship.

The Capitals’ leader of the team, Alex Ovechkin, is one of the premier players in the league and he certainly will be the priority for the Golden Knights. Ovechkin has been having an incredible season, but so have these Golden Knights.

Vegas, in their inaugural season, has been one of the best teams in the entire NHL playing like a true team. They have swept the Los Angeles Kings, defeated a tough San Jose Sharks team, and the Winnipeg Jets on their trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Winning twice as many games as expected, 51 wins, also is certainly something that must be celebrated for this new team. The 2018 Stanley Cup Finals will certainly be one to remember.

Photo by David_Vasquez [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

2018 NHL Playoffs: The LA-Vegas Rivalry is born 

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Thousands of towels being waved in unison like it was Heinz Field, followed by an extreme ‘Game of Thrones-like’ intro, The Golden Knights’ first playoff game at T-Mobile Arena had Vegas written all over it.

The Knights’ unique, medieval pregame show was only fitting for their first year as an NHL franchise, and playoff appearance. Sparked by a sell-out crowd and their Vegas-like antics, the Knights were off and running with a 1-0 lead within the first few minutes of the game.

The playoff atmosphere was immediately apparent after seeing these teams break out in numerous scrums in front of the net, fighting for any inch to separate each other in just a one-possession game. Whether it was Vegas’ lavish presentation or the aurora created by T-Mobile Arena, you could feel the sense of hate from the Los Angeles Kings.

Game 1 looks like not only the beginning of a great series, but also the start of a new rivalry in the NHL.

Even though the Kings’ Jonathan Quick missed a key save early in the game, still both of the goalkeepers starred in this series opener. The Knights’ Marc-Andre Fleury put a whopping 30 – save shutout against the Kings, while Quick locked it down after the first score.

Vegas’ boost for the Knights was something special; their home advantage this playoff series cannot be ignored.

The Knights grabbed the momentum right out of the arena completely, and it immediately took it with them the first wing, making a major contribution to their win. The Kings began to settle in though, after Vegas had cooled down throughout the second period – creating great opportunities to tie, or perhaps win the game.

Will the Knights be aggressive early again in game 2? I have a feeling this could be a hell of a series.

Photo by Michael Miller [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons