NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 2: The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins tonight at 7 p.m. EDT when the Islanders play the Lightning, even though the Predators and Ducks haven't finished their first-round series. The matchups are Stars vs. Blues, Islanders vs. Lightning, Capitals vs. Penguins, and Sharks vs. Predators or Ducks.
Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension Reinstated for DeflateGate: A federal appeals court has ruled that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game DeflateGate suspension imposed by the NFL, overturning a lower judge and siding with the league in a battle with the players union. "We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness," the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in New York.
The Secret History of Tiger Woods: ESPN scribe Wright Thompson has penned a fascinating, sympathetic piece on the fall of Tiger Woods that tells an insider story with no help at all from the golfer. Before reading it I wasn't aware of how much his wish-fulfillment Navy SEAL training might have contributed to the ruptured ACL in his left knee that changed the trajectory of his career in 2007. One of many interesting quotes, from golfer Mark O'Meara: "If Tiger was around other professional athletes, storytelling would always have a nature of one-upmanship. If Tiger was around some sort of active or retired military personnel, he was all ears. He was genuinely interested in what they had to say. Any time he told a military-related story that he had heard or talked about a tactic he had learned, he had a smile on his face. I can't say that about anything else."
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's career was propelled by wrestling: which also allowed him to abuse, and get away with abusing, boys for many years. "When calls for his removal from office reverberated through the capital a decade ago, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert struggled to explain why he had not aggressively investigated allegations that a Florida lawmaker had sent flirtatious messages to a teenage boy who had served as a House page. At that perilous moment, an impassioned group of supporters stepped forward to speak up on Mr. Hastert’s behalf: wrestling coaches."
ESPN Fires Curt Schilling for Anti-Transgender Post: It took Curt Schilling a while, but he's finally gotten himself fired from his ESPN broadcasting job for inflammatory social media antics. He shared an offensive anti-transgender meme on Facebook, made a crude anatomical comment and then doubled down. By one count, it was the seventh time his social media activities became an issue. "ESPN is an inclusive company," the network announced. "Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated."
Giants' John Mara: NFL May Dump Kickoffs: "We're not at the point where we want to take the kickoff out of the game completely, although we may be moving in that direction. ... It still does remain an exciting play, but it's also a dangerous play. Obviously concussions are on the top of our list in terms of our concerns for the game going forward." -- New York Giants co-owner John Mara, a member of the NFL Competition Committee
NBA Approves Advertising on Uniforms: In a first for the top 4 U.S. pro sports, the NBA announced Friday that it has approved the sale of advertising on team uniforms in a three-year experiment. The ads will take the form of 2.5-inch square patches tailored to a sponsor's logo. "Jersey sponsorships provide deeper engagement with partners looking to build a unique association with our teams and the additional investment will help grow the game in exciting new ways," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who makes it sound so brandtastic the league should be doing it for free.
LA Rams Trade to Acquire 1st Pick in NFL Draft: The Los Angeles Rams have received the first overall pick in this year's NFL Draft in a trade with the Tennessee Titans, giving up a first round pick this year at No. 15; two second-round picks and a third round pick this year; and a first- and third-round pick in 2017. The Rams get the first pick and a fourth- and sixth-round pick this year. The move makes it appear likely the Rams will begin their return to Southern California with either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff as their quarterback. The trade could have been made out of concern the Cleveland Browns would take the Rams' preferred choice of quarterback at No. 2.
SpoFi NBA Playoff Pick 'Em 2016 is a go!: Step right up and get your first round prognostications in. First game tips off at 12:30 PM (Eastern) on Saturday.
Kobe Bryant Scores 60 in Final NBA Game: Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said he has one simple plan for Kobe Bryant's final NBA game Wednesday night. "Like I told him: 'This is the last hurrah. Let's have some fun. Let's go out with a bang,'" Scott said after shootaround at the team's training facility hours before the Lakers face the Utah Jazz in the last game of Bryant's 20-season NBA career.
SportsFilter's NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Now: The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT: Panthers vs. Islanders, Lightning vs. Red Wings, Capitals vs. Flyers, Penguins vs. Rangers, Stars vs. Wild, Blues vs. Blackhawks, Ducks vs. Predators and Kings vs. Sharks. Pick the eight teams that will advance out of the first round and the number of games each series will require. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. Another extra point for picking one of the three top goal scorers in the Eastern and Western conference in this playoff round. First prize is a one-year subscription to Hockey News.
Pace Mannion NBA Pick 'Em Contest: Final Week: One week left in SportsFilter's contest to win an ABA basketball, a tilt that lacks drama because Howard_T has whupped us. Nine games to predict this week, including three extra ones from NBA TV. The NBA Playoff Pick 'Em is coming soon.
The Indian Premier League returns tomorrow, April 8th.: Like cherry blossoms in Japan every spring, the arrival of IPL is eagerly awaited by many. The colours are more garish, the scene anything but peaceful. Administrators are averse to halting the cricketing treadmill and so, this year, the IPL starts just six days after the World T20. The players might want rest, but they cannot afford to ask for time off because millions are at stake. And so IPL 9 begins on Saturday in Mumbai.
When the Nets could have become the Swamp Dragons: In the 1990s, the New Jersey Nets asked the NBA owners for permission to change their team name to the New Jersey Swamp Dragons. The vote came back 26-1 in favor, but the 1 came from... the New Jersey Nets.
The Fall: It's ostensibly about diving, but that's like saying Moby Dick is about the whale. A great read about how football has changed and is still changing.
The Chicago Cubs Will Not Win the World Series: "There are several rational reasons why the Cubs will not win the World Series. For one, the baseball season is endless and unpredictable. Players get hurt, players come out of nowhere, great players play like absolute dogshit, relief pitching is essentially determined by oracle bones, players change teams, BABIP commands the game like a vengeful god, the banishment of a thirteen-year-old bat boy causes widespread locker room revolt, the playoffs are a completely random confluence of baseball events. Yet, this is not the place for rational thoughts. This is a place for exalted Cubs miserablism unbound by the physical laws of the universe."