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  • Reinhart's Oil Kings are up against the Tigers. (Getty Images)

    (1) Edmonton Oil Kings vs. (4) Medicine Hat Tigers

    Season series: Oil Kings 5-0-1-0. Odds favour: Oil Kings 72 per cent. Most mathematically likely outcome: Oil Kings in 5. Prediction: Oil Kings in 6.

    Edmonton only suffered one loss throughout the first two rounds while the Tigers found a way to come out on top of two close series.

    Even though GM Randy Hansch didn’t add to his group at the trade deadline, the Oil Kings ultimately came into the second season as the favourite to represent the Eastern Conference in the final. They have both top-notch talent and depth at every position as well as a core that knows what it takes to win it all.

    In the Oil Kings’ first two playoff rounds, they had no problem controlling the play against the Prince Albert Raiders and Brandon Wheat Kings. They outscored the two clubs 38-17 and had six players (Mitchell Moroz, Curtis Lazar, Brett Pollock, Edgars Kulda, Cody Corbett and Henrik Samuelsson) score at a point-per-game pace or better. One should take into account they squared off against their conference’s seventh and eighth-seeded clubs, though. So it’s not as if their dominance caught anyone off guard because it followed up on how they stood against those respective teams in the regular-season.

    The Tigers have to some degree exceeded expectations. For a team that lost their cornerstone stone player – Vancouver Canucks first-rounder Hunter Shinkaruk – to a season-ending knee injury in January, they weren’t expected to win two playoff rounds. Not to mention, they defied the odds again by coming back from a 3-1 deficit to knock off the Kootenay Ice in the second round.

    Against the Swift Current Broncos and the Ice, the Tigers showed dynamite does indeed come in small packages. Team captain Curtis Valk, Trevor Cox and Cole Sanford, who average out at just under 5-foot-9, combined for 21 goals and 56 points throughout 13 contests. Their opponents couldn't contain them because of their speed, hunger for the puck and elusiveness.

    In addition, the Tigers proved they have a lot more going for them than just their top offensive trio. Blueliners Dylan Bredo, Tyler Lewington and St. Louis Blues second-rounder Tommy Vannelli stood out for their strong play on the back end while Phoenix Coyotes prospect Marek Langhamer was exceptional in the blue paint.

    Edmonton hosts Games 1-2 on Friday and Sunday. Here are some questions to ponder about the series.

    Read More »from Edmonton Oil Kings with the edge over Medicine Hat Tigers: WHL Eastern Conference final preview
  • WATCH THE BALL! Canadian Milos Raonic disposed of Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo Thursday in Monte Carlo to reach the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 event. {AP/Michel Euler)

    Canadian tennis fans have been getting up before dawn this week to catch Milos Raonic in action at the Monte Carlo Masters.

    And so far, the early time slot (10:30 a.m. Monte Carlo time, 4:30 a.m. EDT - broadcast on Sportsnet1) has worked well for the 23-year-old from Toronto.

    Raonic eased his way into the quarter-finals of the prestigious Masters 1000 event Thursday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over experienced Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo.

    On Wednesday – same Milos time and channel – he disposed of Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-1, recovering well after letting his first official set of the European clay-court season slip away.

    Friday, it gets serious, as Raonic will face Australian Open champion and world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka for a spot in the semifinals. And instead of the second court, Court des Princes, they will be on the iconic Court Central.

    Read More »from Milos Raonic rolls into the quarter-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters
  • (Ed. Note: With its new playoff format, the NHL is seeking to create passion for fans and teams through forced, bracketed relationships. But hey, at first glance, the matchups are pretty sexy. All of this led to one ideal theme for our 2014 Playoff Preview: Tinder, the social media dating app. We hope you swipe right this postseason ...)

    What San Jose vs. Los Angeles will come down to: goals. Granted, that's a truism, since every game and every series eventually comes down to goals, but it's especially pertinent here, where LA is the league's best team at having the puck, and one of the worst at doing much with it.

    San Jose, meanwhile, is an offensive juggernaut. Fortunately, Jonathan Quick is the great equalizer, but if the Kings can't find a way to give him some run support, he could find himself in Marty Turco territory, with three shutouts wins and four losses when all is said and done. 

    That would seem unfair, but really, this entire series is unfair. Here we have two of the

    Read More »from San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings: Puck Daddy's Tinder NHL playoff preview
  • A Texas high school basketball coach who believes he was fired for failing to give the principal's son enough minutes is suing the Dallas Independent School District, according to Courthouse News Service.

    A 29-year prep coaching veteran, Stanford Hill was relieved of his duties days after leading Dallas Skyline to a 15-17 record and a Class 5A postseason appearance in 2013. He led Dallas Roosevelt to the 2006 Class 3A state title and steered Skyline into the playoffs each season since taking over in 2008.

    "I was told that I was relieved because of my declining record," Hill told WFAA-TV in September.

    While Hill's coaching record hovered around .500 in his final three seasons at Skyline, he believes there was additional motivation behind his firing. As he detailed to the local television news station, Hill received dozens of text messages from Skyline principal Harold Wright about his son's playing time.

    One text message from Wright to Hill stated: "We are fanatics like other parents.

    Read More »from Ousted prep basketball coach suing principal who wanted more minutes for his son
  • A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.

    C: HoopsAnalyst. Are the 2013-14 Atlanta Hawks the worst eighth playoff seed of the modern era? Somehow, strangely, no.
    PF: The Detroit News. In contrasting a previous television report, Vincent Goodwill is telling his readers that Grant Hill has no interest taking on a gig as Detroit Pistons general manager. Whatever his interest, anything would be better than Grant Hill slumming on ‘Inside Stuff.’
    SF: SB Nation. Holy lord I don’t know where to start just watch this brilliant thing Jon Bois did with Kobe Bryant meeting up with a version of himself from 16 years ago via a video game please watch this.
    SG: Sports Illustrated. This is Lee Jenkins writing about Joakim Noah, with both of them in their primes. Assuming Lee Jenkins will ever move out of his writing prime. You should

    Read More »from The 10-man rotation, starring the 38-win Atlanta Hawks
  • The Big Ten has 14 teams and commissioner Jim Delany knows that makes no sense.

    It made no sense when the conference added Penn State as its 11th team in 1990 and when Nebraska came along in 2011 to make it 12. Now that Rutgers and Maryland will become official members in July, Delany has no plans to ever change the conference’s name.

    “The name represents a series of characteristics. Brand characteristics,” Delany said Wednesday at WWJ-AM’s Business of Sports luncheon in Detroit.

    According to Mlive.com, Delany recalled a time when ex-Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe called him with a proposal.

    “He said ‘you’re now at 12, we’re now at 10, having lost Nebraska and Colorado. Could we become the Big Ten, and you become the Big 12?’

    "'I thought, ‘I don’t think so,’” Delany said.

    Delany did say, however, that when Penn State joined the conference he tossed out the idea of changing its name to the Big 11, but he was shot down.

    Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon spoke alongside Delany at the

    Read More »from Jim Delany says the Big Ten's name won't change, even if it adds more teams
  • Whether it's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in 2008, Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee in 2011 or Zach Lavine this spring, few schools have been more vulnerable to questionable early-entry decisions than UCLA in recent years.

    Therefore the Bruins have to be especially grateful to finally have some good news to celebrate this spring.

    Guard Jordan Adams, UCLA's leading scorer this past season, announced Thursday he will return for his junior season. DraftExpress.com projected Adams as the No. 24 pick in the first round prior to the 6-foot-5 wing's decision to return to school.

    "I’ve had so much fun playing here at UCLA, and I’m really excited about the team we’re going to have next year,” Adams said in a statement released by the school. "Once the season ended, my family and I began carefully weighing all of my options. In the end, staying at UCLA for my junior year is a win-win situation. I’m glad that I went through the process, received constructive feedback and had time to reflect on what I

    Read More »from UCLA gets good draft news for a change as Jordan Adams returns to school
  • Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

    • This 15-year-old girl's custom Blackhawks Chucks are better than whatever crap you're wearing on your dumb feet. [DNA Info]

    • Dave Tippett will coach Team Canada at the World Championships. [Fox Sports]

    • Anthony Stolarz has had his stick-swinging suspension lifted so he can play in the Memorial Cup. [Buzzing the Net]

    • Ilya Bryzgalov didn't have much to say to this columnist about Semyon Varlamov. That's the story. [Denver Post]

    • No. T.J. Oshie for Game 1 versus the Blackhawks. I'm stilling setting the over/under on times his shootout in the Olympics gets mentioned at 9.5. [STL Today]

    • The Stars looked less like a playoff team in game one and more like a group of kids learning to play the clarinet. [Dallas News]

    • Henrik Zetterberg won't play in round one for the Red Wings, but he skated with his teammates, and

    Read More »from Zetterberg skates; No Oshie for Game 1; Blackhawks chasing dynasty status? (Puck Headlines)
  • Swan Racing said Thursday that the team was "exploring every available option" after a tough start for the team's two cars in 2014.

    Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt drive for Swan and have struggled this season. Whitt is 34th in the Sprint Cup Series points standings while Kligerman in 38th.

    "The team has been unable to secure the kind of sponsorship required to effectively operate the team," the statement said. "As a result, the team management is exploring every available option. We hope to be in position to provide a detailed update in the near future."

    Brandon Davis, owner of Swan Energy, bought the team in 2012 and after parting ways with David Stremme in 2013, started putting younger drivers in the seat of the No. 30 for the rest of the season. After Whitt and Kligerman both drove for Swan down the stretch, Davis expanded to two cars for 2014.

    It hasn't been an easy road. Kligerman has four DNFs this season and Whitt crashed out of the Daytona 500 as well.

    The team signed a

    Read More »from Swan Racing, currently fielding cars for Whitt and Kligerman, looking at NASCAR future
  • (Getty)

    The rivalry between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers has prompted lots of fun, but also some unwanted behavior through the years by both groups of fans. Perhaps the most extreme example was the Bryan Stow beating at a Dodger Stadium parking lot.

    What happened at AT&T Park on Wednesday night wasn't as damaging, yet it's still senseless and reflects badly on the baseball community at large. At least five people were injured after a fan threw a firework from the outfield bleachers onto a walkway near a beer concession stand about 9:30 p.m. local time. The explosion was so loud and produced enough smoke that umpires stopped the game between the Giants and Dodgers for a few moments.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported the incident first:

    Witnesses said a man sitting in the outfield bleachers, wearing a Giants hat and orange jacket, threw a large firecracker that looked like an M-80 into a group of people standing in the pedestrian concourse near the Coors Light concession

    Read More »from Firework thrown by fan injures at least five at San Francisco's AT&T Park

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