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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

Devils will ice NHL championship

How convenient that in the last week of this column, we have probably our biggest week of the semester. We have the NBA and NHL playoffs, and, as I said last week, the most media-hyped event in the world, the NFL Draft (or Mel Kiper Invitational).

Truth: The Devils will win the Stanley Cup.

What a crazy beginning it has been to the NHL Playoffs. The top two seeds out West (Detroit and Dallas) find themselves in a hole early in their series against upset-minded Edmonton and experienced Colorado. The top seed in the East, Carolina, is down 2-0 to Montreal, and the second-seeded Senators are in a dogfight with the (kind of) defending champion Tampa Bay.

All this makes for a well-rested New Jersey team, which is looking like it will easily dispose of the New York Rangers, having dominated them in the first two games. There may be no better playoff goalie ever than Martin Brodeur, and his dominance, combined with Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Patrick Elias, makes the Devs the most well-rounded team and a favorite to take home Lord Stanley's Cup.

Truth: The Suns will win the NBA Title.

Call me crazy. Tell me how much I despise the Pistons and Spurs (which I do). But let's look at this. You have a team that completely revolutionized itself, lost its second-best player (don't argue that Amare is better than Nash), and got better.

This team matches up well with both San Antonio and Detroit, both of whom they'll have to beat on their way to the NBA Title. Kurt Thomas can defend Tim Duncan and Rasheed Wallace. Nash can stop Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups. And most importantly, the defensive athleticism of Boris Diaw and Raja Bell on the wings will neutralize the shooters like Michael Finley and Tayshaun Prince.

The ex-factor is Tim Thomas, the best bench player in the playoffs right now who can give them 20-plus points a night, as well as take some pressure off Nash to run the offense. Apparently, Nash is about to win his second straight MVP award (it's well-deserved) and he's about to show it by leading coach Mike D'Antonio to his first championship ever.

Lie: Matt Leinart will be better than Vince Young.

I look at Leinart and want to believe that he's the next Troy Aikman or Dan Marino, a brilliant drop-back passer who has amazing field vision and a knack for winning. I want to see Tom Brady or Kurt Warner in him, but I just don't. He looks like a kid who had a great year, went Hollywood and then got lucky the next year when Reggie Bush was so good.

Vince Young, on the other hand, took his Texas team on his back and would not let them lose. Unusual delivery? Who cares? Low Wonderlic test score? Wonderwhat?

Teams are dying to hate Young, who is the opposite of golden boy Leinart, but the fact remains: The kid is sick between the sidelines. Young legitimately can do things on a football field that no other player in the league today can. If he starts week one next year, he's easily one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league, making his peers like Michael Vick and Daunte Culpepper drool over his sick skills.

Right now, it's looking like he'll end up in Oakland, but if I'm new Jets' coach Eric Mangini, I'm drafting the freak from Texas. Chances are Tennessee will pass over Young and take Leinart because of his relationship with offensive coordinator Norm Chow, giving the Jets the chance to take Young.

Forget Mario Williams and D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Take the talent. Young will make it worth your while.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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