Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Business Time

I really wanted to talk about the Lakers-Nuggets game, Red Wings-Blackhawks and Phillies-Reds game, but I've had a full plate at work today. I guess you can say it's business time.

But hey, I have a few moments now, so here goes.

For all the people who bash and badmouth Chris Osgood, last night was just another case of the guy giving a resounded, "Fuck off!" to all the writers, pundits and fans that belittle his play. Osgood made 37 saves last night in Detroit's 3-2 overtime win, stopping 18 of those in the first period.

If Osgood hadn't played tremendously in that opening period, the Red Wings would not have won last night. No question about it. Chris Osgood won them that game. And for those out there who question his ability, as I have on occasion, the guy has now won 3 Stanley Cups, one as a backup and two as the main man in net. His first came as the backup to Mike Vernon in the 1996-97 season, where he only played two games in the postseason but was an integral part of the team, playing in 47 games in the regular season, posting a 2.30 goals against average, stopping 91 percent of the shots he faced, notching six shutouts and winning 23 games.

A year later, it was Osgood's team, and the 24-year-old played in 64 games, posted a 2.21 gaa, .913 save percentage, six shutouts and notched 33 wins in the regular season. Then he hoisted the Cup while manning the net as the Red Wings' No. 1 netminder. Then last year, when the Red Wings won yet another Cup, it was Osgood who led them there. At 35, he split time in the regular season with 43-year-old Dominik Hasek until Hasek got hurt, and in 43 regular season games, Osgood posted a 2.09 gaa, .914 save percentage, 27 wis and 4 shutouts. He was even more incredible in the playoffs, putting up a ridiculous 1.55 gaa, .930 save percentage and 3 shutouts.

And so far this year, Chris Osgood has been stellar for Detroit, who now is just two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals again. Enough is enough. Chris Osgood is an excellent goaltender. What more does he have to do to shut everyone up?

Brad Lidge, on the other hand, has looked anything but good since falling on his knees in October.

Last night, yes, he got the save, but again, he looked really, really shaky doing it. Now, Lidge proved last year he can be a dominant closer when right, but he also has proven in Houston that he can lose that dominance for no apparent reason. There wasn't even Pujols moment to set things off this time. An injury, yes, but if he's hurt, he should just go get healthy, not fuck with his already fragile psyche.

And Cole, it would be nice to not give up home runs immediately after your team gets you some runs. Just saying.

Yesterday, Shoals discussed how the NBA hype machine isn't really going about the Nuggets-Lakers series as Carmelo vs. Bryant, which is both odd and not odd at all, all at the same time. Only Shoals can make this make sense, and he does.

Well, last night, no matter how you want to slice it, it was Kobe vs. Carmelo. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. Kobe 40, Carmelo 39; Lakers 105, Nuggets 103.

It was Melo doing the damn thing early, getting Denver out to a nice lead, and then Kobe doing his thing late, willing the Lakers to victory with 18 points in the final quarter, including 9-for-9 from the line. Melo is definitely clutch, but he hasn't become a playoff closer as of yet. Kobe showed him how it's done last night.

If you missed this game, I feel sorry for you. It was awesome. Just a great basketball game with two very, very good teams. Chauncey, who failed to show up most of the game, did what he's been known to do by hitting two insanely difficult threes in the closing moments to leave the outcome in doubt until — after J.R. Smith made the first free throw down 3 to cut it 2, missed the second on purpose to give the Nuggets a chance at a tip in or putback shot to tie it — Kobe snatched the game-seeling rebound.

Everyone questioned the Lakers after struggling against an undermanned Houston team. Something tells me Kobe won't let his opportunity to take on the King on the grandest stage slip through his fingers, even if he has to do it all by himself, although last night, he did get a nice helping hand from Derek Fisher, who hit a huge go-ahead three late in the game.

BallHype: hype it up!

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