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Article:Around the League with Rich Kincaide

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We’re going to call this one “The Shows What I Know Edition…

I took the 9th inning of the Tigers 13-1 win in KC off yesterday.  Shows what I know.  Yesterday, according to The Elias Sports Bureau was the time in Major League history where two different teams came back from deficits of at least six runs in the eighth inning or later on the same day to win.

I looked at the Padres score yesterday and they were down to the Diamondbacks 7-1 after seven and I said to myself, “So much for their 9-game winning streak.”  Shows what I know.  San Diego scored 5 in the eighth, one in the ninth and one in the tenth for an 8-7 win.

I didn’t even bother to click over to the Rays-Indians game last night.  Shows what I know.  Tampa Bay led 10-0 early and 10-2 when Cleveland came to bat in the eighth.  The Indians scored two in the eighth and seven in the bottom of the ninth to win 11-10.  I did go back later to watch the tape of that bottom of the 9th.  The key play?  Tampa walked the lead-off hitter.  Any manager will tell you:  You can’t do that.  The sequence was something like this as I work from memory: walk, pop-out, broken bat single, throwing error on what could have been a game-ending double-play ball which let in a run, line drive out for the second out of the inning, three-run homer, a couple more walks and a bases-loaded two-run single, and, ballgame.  Cleveland scored those seven game-winning runs in the ninth on just three hits.

I thought when the Tigers got swept by Minnesota the week before last—losing the last game at the Metrodome because they couldn’t hold a 5-0 lead with 8 outs to get—that they had sustained a spirit-crushing, season-ruining defeat.  Shows what I know.  The Tigers are 8-2 since that loss and have a four-game lead in the AL Central, matching their largest lead of the season.

I actually wondered which would be the bigger loss: Chicago not having  #1 netminder Nikolai Khabibulin in the line-up for Game 4 or Detroit not having top defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom dressed for the game.  I thought the question was worthy of debate.  Top goalie or top d-man, who is more important to their team?  Shows what I know.  It was no contest.  As evidenced, at least, by the final score: Detroit 6, Chicago 1.

Enough of that, let’s move on to some things I do know.

Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Martin Havlat in Game 4 was legal, as least insofar as current NHL rules go.  I don’t know how anyone could have ruled that Havlat was not in the act of playing the puck since it was in his feet when Kronwall steamrolled him, so  I don’t know how Interference could have been called the way it was.  Charging was not called, either.  I did not see Kronwall leave his feet.  Therefore, as I saw it, it was a legal check.  Does that make it right?  Of course it does not.  Players are so much bigger and so much faster now than they were when these rules were written.  Plus, as Don Cherry is fond of pointing out, the shoulder pads they wear now resemble those worn by football players and have become a weapon unto themselves.  But I know the National Hockey League.  The day they change the rules is the day somebody is paralyzed for life or his killed on a check like that.  And not a moment before.

The overtime goal scored by the Blackhawks Patrick Sharp in Game 3 marked the first time Detroit lost Stanley Cup playoff game in overtime in Chicago since Harold March beat the Wings in OT in the Windy City in 1934. That was the year Chicago won the Stanley Cup for the first time and is one of only three times that the Blackhawks have hoisted the hardware.

Detroit is up three games to one in the best-of-seven which you probably already know.  Including this season, NHL teams up 3-1 have gone on to win the series 211 times and have gone on to lose the series 21 times (90.9%).  The last team to come back from 3-1 down was Washington earlier this playoff year against the New York Rangers.  Chicago has never won a series in which it was faced with a 3-1 deficit.

And that’s all I know—and don’t know—for now.


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