Detroit Red Wings Playoff Preview: Discussing the Matchup With the Tampa Bay Lightning And Beyond

detroit_red_wings_logoThe usual things are certain in life, like death, taxes and many vegetables not tasting good. Now, adding the Detroit Red Wings making the playoffs to that list might be a good idea.

For the 24th straight season, the Red Wings will play in the tournament for Lord Stanley’s mug, and take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one. Detroit has been forced to play playoff hockey for a few weeks now to fend off the opposition down the stretch, and haven’t exactly been striding to the finish.

With goaltending and injuries becoming an issue, will the Red Wings have what it takes to pull the minor upset of the Lightning, a team they beat just once in the regular season? How far will they go, and what will happen in the rest of the playoffs? Continue reading

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Will Detroit Pistons be Losing Greg Monroe to New York Knicks? Rumors Are Beginning to Swirl

pistons-logo1For all intents and purposes, the Detroit Pistons’ season is over, but there are still games to play out on the schedule.

That hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from starting to churn. A few days ago, it was rumored that a deal between Greg Monroe and the New York Knicks is all but done. Frank Isola of The New York Daily News first broke the story.

Maybe the worst kept secret in the NBA is that Phil Jackson plans to pursue Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe in free agency this summer, In fact, one league executive called it “about as close to a done deal as you can get.”

If it’s a secret, it’s a secret that was news to Monroe. The Pistons big man refuted the report himself two days ago, saying he had not discussed anything regarding his future. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press has his quotes. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, Final Four Edition: Michigan State vs. Duke Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgFor the first time in five years and the ninth time in their program’s history, the Michigan State Spartans are back in the Final Four, courtesy of a stirring overtime win against the Louisville Cardinals last Sunday afternoon.

The Spartans, considering their seeding and trajectory not two months ago, are likely the most surprising team to make the Final Four since the 2014 Connecticut Huskies, and that team managed to win it all once they got there.

Standing in the way now is arguably the biggest challenge yet in the Duke Blue Devils, a team that beat the Spartans earlier this season handily in Indianapolis. Duke is playing their best basketball at the best time. Then again, so are the Spartans. Continue reading

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Underrated Lourawls Narin, Gavin Schilling Could Key Michigan State Spartans’ Final Four Hopes

Gavin Schilling, along with Lourawls Narin, won't get much love in Indianapolis, but both are keys for Michigan State. (Steve Gotter, Flickr)

Gavin Schilling, along with Lourawls Narin, won’t get much love in Indianapolis, but both are keys for Michigan State. (Steve Gotter, Flickr)

You can forgive Michigan State Spartans’ fans if they are more than a little perturbed with the analysis of Sam Vecenie at CBSSports.com.

In preparation for this weekend’s Final Four, Vecenie ranked all of the competing school’s starting players 1-20, and, spoiler alert, not a single Michigan State player cracked the top ten.

Vecenie listed Travis Trice 12th, despite the fact he’s having the kind of tournament that has Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has lauded, Denzel Valentine 13th and Branden Dawson 15th in spite of several key rebounds and heady plays and baskets over the first few rounds by both. Continue reading

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Potential Detroit Pistons’ Prospects Viewers Guide: Final Four Edition

pistons-logo1Most in the state of Michigan will tune into the Final Four with designs of watching the Michigan State Spartans try to continue their improbable run to a national title, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be something for fans of the Detroit Pistons, too.

Other than Michigan State, three additionally excellent teams, the University of Kentucky, Duke University and Wisconsin University will compete over the weekend. All have loaded rosters full of skilled players that could be of interest to the Pistons during June’s NBA draft. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, NCAA Tournament Edition: Michigan State vs. Louisville Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgDespite a poor start late Friday, the Michigan State Spartans managed to keep things together and forge an impressive second half comeback to beat the Oklahoma Sooners.

As a result, the Spartans earned the chance to play for another Final Four Sunday, and a familiar tournament foe awaits them in the Louisville Cardinals. Michigan State dispatched Louisville on the way to the Final Four in 2009, but was defeated by the Cardinals in the Sweet 16 in 2012, meaning some revenge could be in order.

Between Tom Izzo and Rick Pitino, the cache of at least one legendary coach will continue to grow by early Sunday afternoon. How will Michigan State get to cut down the nets again? Spartan Jump Shots previews the East Regional final in full. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, NCAA Tournament Edition: Michigan State vs. Oklahoma Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgLast Sunday, the Michigan State Spartans won another slugfest against the Virginia Cavaliers to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row.

Waiting for them are another top seed, the Oklahoma Sooners, who have had an excellent season and might quietly have the best team the Big 12 conference put into the tournament. Oklahoma has plenty of elite players few of which many in the Midwest will know about.

The Spartans certainly have taken notice, and in order to continue a charmed run through the NCAA tournament and make amends for falling short of a Final Four goal last season, will have to upend a quick squad bent on running them right out of the Carrier Dome. Continue reading

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Detroit Red Wings Should Ride Goaltender Petr Mrazek, Not Jimmy Howard, Into Playoffs

Petr Mrazek has earned the benefit of the doubt, and should be the Red Wings' starter over Jimmy Howard. (douglasgallery30, Flickr)

Petr Mrazek has earned the benefit of the doubt, and should be the Red Wings’ starter over Jimmy Howard. (douglasgallery30, Flickr)

The Detroit Red Wings haven’t been setting the world on fire down the stretch lately, and that has plenty to do with many elements including the goaltending of Jimmy Howard.

Howard has started the last three games, and two have been ugly Detroit losses. Over that stretch, he’s given up nine goals. Against the Arizona Coyotes, a team challenged for offense, Howard surrendered five, including the eventual winner in overtime.

When backup Petr Mrazek last started a week ago, he gave up three goals in a tough loss to the Florida Panthers, but had previously slammed the door on the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road in a hostile environment despite facing a barrage of shots. Continue reading

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