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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Michigan State Basketball is Lucky to Have Tom Izzo at the Helm

Tom Izzo's tenure in East Lansing has been special, and it's only getting better. (hilaryhiggins, Flickr)

Tom Izzo’s tenure in East Lansing has been special, and it’s only getting better. (hilaryhiggins, Flickr)

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

How many times has that phrase been uttered in life only to go completely ignored or not accurately comprehended or appreciated? Plenty of times in my life, to this point, I’ll certainly admit.

Not often does it directly apply within sports, but the Michigan State Spartans and their followers, and arguably even the state of Michigan as a whole is entering that phase right now with Tom Izzo.

Izzo and his Spartans managed to fight their way through the second and third rounds of the NCAA tournament this past weekend to make the Sweet 16, and the statistics are gaudy. The coach is now 13-1 in the round of 32. Continue reading

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

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgDespite leading most of the way and even seeming to flex their muscle at times, the Michigan State Spartans had a very interesting finish against the Georgia Bulldogs, nearly collapsing down the stretch to lose the game.

The Spartans hung together despite the odds, however, winning the contest and advancing to meet the Virginia Cavaliers in a rematch of last year’s tournament. The Spartans won by one point, but will find nearly the same, extra motivated group of Cavaliers this time around. Continue reading

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

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgThe Michigan State Spartans were crushed, losing in overtime to the Wisconsin Badgers to be defeated in the Big Ten championship game. Michigan State rebounded later Sunday night to grab a seven seed, however, and will face the upset minded Georgia Bulldogs in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Georgia made it into the tournament despite a fairly average year, and arguably, their biggest talking-point was the fact that they played the Kentucky Wildcats the toughest out of any team in the SEC. Despite this, they should have plenty of motivation and the athletes to give Michigan State a fit. Continue reading

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Detroit Red Wings May Have Found Their Brad Stuart in Marek Zidlicky

The addition of Marek Zidlicky has fortified the Red Wings' blue line almost like the addition of Brad Stuart in 2008. (the_mel, Flickr)

The addition of Marek Zidlicky has fortified the Red Wings’ blue line almost like the addition of Brad Stuart in 2008. (the_mel, Flickr)

All the way back in 2008, nobody knew for sure if the Detroit Red Wings could win the Stanley Cup. They had come close to doing so during their run in 2007, but fallen apart down the stretch.

The 2008 team was solid throughout, but had one notable hole on the blue-line. They lacked a physical, tough defenseman who could be an eraser against some of the opposition’s best players and play confident defense in his own zone. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, Big Ten Tournament Edition: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgSaturday, the Michigan State Spartans led a furious comeback from being 16 down in the first half to grit out a close win over the Maryland Terrapins.

That sets up an unlikely rematch for the Big Ten title, as the Spartans take on the dominating Wisconsin Badgers for the crown Sunday afternoon. In their only meeting of the year, the Badgers beat the Spartans soundly in Madison. Continue reading

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Spartan Jump Shots, Big Ten Tournament Edition: Michigan State vs. Maryland Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgThe Michigan State Spartans got themselves off to a good start in the Big Ten tournament, blasting the Ohio State Buckeyes start to finish on Friday and advancing to the semifinals for the fourth straight year.

Waiting for them is a major challenge in the form of the Maryland Terrapins, a team that’s beaten the Spartans twice already this season, winning a close slugfest in overtime in East Lansing and in blowout fashion at home. Continue reading

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The Players, Games and Match-Ups to Watch For During This Week’s Big Ten Tournament

big-ten-logo-pentagramThe most exciting time of the year in the Midwest is the spring. Not only is the thaw invigorating, but the college basketball is as well when the Big Ten Tournament takes center stage in early March.

Wednesday, the games begin with a pair of first round match ups. From there, the games will only get more exciting as several teams desperate for resume building wins and better seeding will take stage. All told, the 2015 tournament should provide several of the big moments that have become commonplace throughout the years. Continue reading

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