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Let’s watch the Stanley Cup Finals! Now who’s got a satellite dish?

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Since moving to Los Angeles from Michigan, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to watch my Red Wings without buying a cable package I wouldn’t be using otherwise. As such, I’ve had to find all possible venues for watching hockey in downtown LA. BTW, to show some love, Far Bar in Little Tokyo totally hooked me up with Game 1 of the Cup Finals.

Even though it was only on NBC, it should be noted that my quest for comfortable settings for watching the Wings is not going to get any easier this week or even next season. Apparently, NBC bumped (to the Versus channel) the Stanley Cup Finals for every weeknight in order to maintain its week-long coverage of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! (A television program I’m sure we will be talking about for years to come) and the start of the new Conan O’Brien show. Back home, folks aren’t particularly happy about the move. Here’s what Michael Zuidema of The Grand Rapids Press had to say as posted on MLive:

Granted, hockey hasn’t consistently pulled the strongest ratings numbers throughout the years, but it doesn’t deserve to be treated like a second-class citizen or an afterthought. Not when you have a matchup pitting Hockeytown against hockey’s poster boy, Sidney Crosby.

The buzz already is there, build on it. Or is Conan O’Brien that much more important? (Never mind, we already know the answer.)

For all NBC does right with hockey — and its coverage of the Winter Classic stands out as a huge plus — the sport still doesn’t feel like a priority, even during the Winter Olympics.

And Versus may be fighting for its niche in the sports world, but it still isn’t a destination point for casual fans. It’s not even available in every home. Nonetheless, it will carry the NHL through the 2010-11 season.

I like Conan O’Brien, and people watch him more than hockey. I’m not debating the numbers here. Nor am I about to tell everyone in Los Angeles to start liking a sport they can’t actually play without all sorts of technology. I suppose what I would like to say, and this kind of echoes Mr. Zuidema, is that despite its relative lack of mainstream appeal, hockey is still one of the great sports in America. Where it’s popular, it’s VERY popular.

I wish there was some easier way to get around all this, some way to bring hockey back to a more profitable level in order to justify it preempting something else instead of vice versa, but there isn’t. Either you like hockey or you don’t. But come on, hockey is sweet. In that vein here’s another article to check out: 10 Reasons Why You Should Be A Hockey Fan.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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What do the Cavs do now?

This is not how it was supposed to go.

The Cavs were destined to make the Finals and face the Lakers, with LeBron turning in a fantastic Game 7 performance in front of his loyal fans at the Q to bring the city of Cleveland its first championship since 1964. With a title already under his belt, and a few more on the horizon, he would happily re-up for another four or five seasons. Or at the very worst, the Cavs would lose to the more talented Lakers, leaving fans with the feeling that “one more piece” would be all that is needed to finally bring a title to Cleveland. Under that scenario, there would be no way that LeBron could leave, right? Not when the Cavs were thisclose to a title…

Just over a year ago, I wrote that “The Cavs have failed LeBron James,” which was posted about three months before GM Danny Ferry pulled the trigger on the trade that brought Mo Williams to Cleveland. That trade, along with LeBron’s renewed focus and an improved work ethic (which was inspired by his seeing first hand how Kobe prepared during the 2008 Olympics), pushed the Cavs to a league-best 66 wins this season. Williams was named as an alternate to the All-Star Game (after grousing about not being voted in by the coaches) and all was well with the world.

The Cavs received some more good news when Kevin Garnett struggled with injuries down the stretch of the regular season and was eventually shut down for the playoffs. At the time, the Celtics were considered the Cavs’ biggest threat in the East, but KG’s injury might have allowed the Magic, one of four teams that beat the Cavs twice during the year — the Celtics, the Lakers and…um…the Wizards were the other three — to advance to the Conference Finals when they otherwise wouldn’t have survived to face the Cavs. The Magic were a very bad matchup because the Cavs simply didn’t have anyone that could cover Dwight Howard. When they didn’t double-team him, he would make a living on the post, and when they did send another guy, it would free up the Orlando sharpshooters for open jumpers.

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LeBron’s first postseason interview

Wearing a NY Yankees cap — ha! — LeBron James answers a few questions in the aftermath of his team’s loss in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Key points:

At the 2:54 mark, he (sort of) answers a question about whether or not he’ll sign an extension this summer.

At the 3:25 mark, he (sort of) addresses his feelings about playing in Cleveland long term.

At the 4:27 mark, he (sort of) answers a question about what the Cavs need.

Sizemore heads to the DL

sizemore

Cleveland Indians all-star outfielder Grady Sizemore has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation. The Indians have called up utilityman Chris Gimenez from Triple-A Columbus.

Sizemore had struggled at the plate and not played much in the field recently because of the injury. He went 1 for 4, hitting his team-leading ninth homer Saturday night against the Yankees, but is hitting only .223 overall.

“We couldn’t take it any further,” said manager Eric Wedge, who had tried to keep Sizemore’s normally productive bat in the lineup by using him as a designated hitter.

The two-time Gold Glove center field had played in the field only three times in his past 12 appearances, all in an interleague series in Cincinnati.

“The first couple of days, it looked like Grady was getting better, then it leveled off. We didn’t want to push it and hurt it even more,” Wedge said.

Wedge said an MRI exam showed no structural damage and that Sizemore would not swing a bat or do any throwing for two weeks.

A year ago, Sizemore had career-highs of 33 homers, 90 RBIs and 38 stolen bases.

I find it strange that all these guys who were putting up big numbers last year are not only getting hurt but having poor seasons. On the flip side of that coin, some guys who have been unproductive in past years are having great years but are also getting hurt.

Grady Sizemore, Geovany Soto, and Alexei Ramirez are all having poor to mediocre seasons. Sizemore and Soto have battled nagging injuries and it’s showing. However, Jason Bartlett is having a phenomenal year and has never shown this talent before. Still, he’s young and hurt. I don’t get how these young guys are so easily injured.

Lebron James a poor sport after Cavaliers loss?

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There’s been a lot of talk flying around after last night’s ousting of the Cavaliers by Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. One of the most common lines has been about Lebron James’ behavior following the game. Refusing to shake hands and subsequently skipping the post-game press conference has put all kinds of opinions out there as to the ups and downs of his reaction to the loss. Coupled with recent comments by Lebron (which you’ll find below) and a congratulatory e-mail he reportedly sent to Howard, blogs have been burning up with comments. Robert Littal from Black Sports Online had this to say:

From NBA.com

“It’s hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them,” he said. “I’m a winner. It’s not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them. That doesn’t make sense to me. I’m a competitor. That’s what I do. It doesn’t make sense for me to go over and shake somebody’s hand.”

Someone needs to tell Lebron James to grow the hell up. You win like a Champion you lose like a Champion no matter how hard it is. I am very disappointed in him. A competitor and winner respects his opponent regardless of the outcome.

Lebron sounds like a spoiled rich kid who when he lost “took his ball and went home”. He has a long way to go in his maturity to be considered The King of the NBA. Wasn’t even man enough to call Dwight Howard. An email? Seriously Lebron? You would have been more successful on Twitter.
Once again I am very disappointed in his behavior.

Well, I can’t deny that LeBron acted a little bit poorly after the game. As “The King” I guess he should really be able to act like one. However, perhaps this just goes to show that he’s human. Let’s remember that he spent his whole season with his eye on the championship, racked up the NBA’s best record, won the league MVP award, and swept his previous playoff opponents. That’s quite a bit to see go up in smoke in one night.

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