Today the Kings are taking on the hated Lame Ducks of Anaheim at Staples starting at 7:30 PM. Kings Captain Dustin Brown is a scratch because of illness. US Olympic Starting Goalie Jonathan Quick is questionable, meaning most likely Martin Jones, super-rookie, will be starting in net. The game is being televised on both Fox Sports West (The Kings flagship) and Fox Sports Prime Ticket (The Ducks flagship).
|Drew Doughty congratulates Martin Jones back in December|
Harry How/Getty Images
The quackers are tied for first place in the Pacific Division with a line of 44-16-7 for 95 points. The Kings are firmly ensconced in third place with a line of 38-23-6 for 82 points, 9 points ahead of Phoenix in 4th. This year the NHL realigned to four divisions in two conferences. The top 3 teams in each division get a playoff birth, with the final 2 spots going to the two next best teams. If the playoffs started today the Kings would get the #6 seed and play San Jose in the first round. It's going to be tough to climb up since Chicago has the #5 seed and 8 more points than the Kings, and there's only 15 games left in the season.
Every game at this point is a big game in the NHL. Not quite as big as the games on the hardwood though. While hockey clubs are jockeying for position for the Stanley Cup playoffs, hoopsters around the nation are getting ready for the BIG dance. The 68 team tournament kicks off next week and if you want to join my BRACKET CHALLENGE at YAHOO Click Here.
Today marks the SIXTH time that the Bruins have played in the Pac-12 (Pac-10) Championship game. So far we're 3-2 beating Wazzu in 87, Cal in '06 and Stanford in '08. We lost to 'Zona in '90 and Oregon last year. Arizona at 15-3 was the outright Pac-12 Champion this season and is ranked #4 in the nation, the Bruins squeaked to a 12-6 conference record good enough for #2. No other Pac-12 team is ranked in the Top 25 right now, IF the Bruins managed a win they will most likely move up and get a decent seed.
That's basically what the Bruins are playing for at this point, a decent seed. Arizona win or lose will most likely get a very high seed in the West, which will be played in Anaheim this year. IF the Bruins win you can expect anything from a 3 to an 8 most likely in the West as well. If they lose, well, look for a 6-12 anywhere but the West. Though currently ESPN's Bracketology has them a #6 in the West.
The Bruins are an enigma this season, their first under new coach Steve Alford. Our "wonderful" AD Dan Guerrero has made a number of questionable hires INCLUDING Alford, and while we Bruins are happy with the direction of the Football program, we are a BASKETBALL school with the pedigree of JOHN R. WOODEN to live up to. Most years in FB we're happy if we beat U$C and have a good bowl game. With Basketball anything LESS than a National Championship is a bad season. That's what happens when you have 11.
So while I'm willing to cut Alford some slack for being a new coach and everything, he's going to have to take his lumps, especially since the same day he was hired his son Bryce committed to the team and he gets significant minutes despite being a less than average player. This year's version of the Bruins has a Jekyll and Hyde identity, playing great in games against #21 Colorado on my birthday and then promptly losing to Utah two days later WHILE being ranked #25. The win against the Buffs represents their lone victory against a ranked team this season.
|Kyle Anderson's MONSTER DUNK against Oregon from Thursday|
This team won't bring back many players next season either. The Wear Twins are graduating finally after it seems like they've been at UCLA forever. At least one of the two Super Sophomores Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson are likely to jump to the draft (Anderson is sure to go, Adams, is a maybe). SO that means that three, possibly four of the starters for today's game will be gone next year. Good thing there's some real blue chippers coming to Westwood, we've had a great recruiting season, capped with the commitment by Aaron Holiday, Jrue's little bro who will be coming to UCLA in 2015. Incoming Freshmen for next year include two power forwards in Kevon Looney and Jonah Bolden and two Centers Thomas Welsh and Gyorgy Goloman.
As to who wins today's games? Well, obviously I'm hoping for a sweep by the LA teams. I think though it's far more likely that the Kings win and the Bruins lose.