Mike chats with Pierre McGuire and Steve Simmons about the Evgeni Malkin extension and how the Nathan Horton injury may affect the Bruins and Bob Weeks checks in from Merion Golf Club to preview the second round of the U.S. Open.
Bob Weeks recaps round one of the US Open, Evgeni Malkin signs an eight-year extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins, & the Blue Jays beat the Rangers. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire & Steve Simmons discuss the Evgeni Malkin signing, Nathan Horton injury, & preview game two of the Stanley Cup Finals. Hour 2 Audio
Dan Shulman talks Blue Jays, James Duthie previews game two of the Stanley Cup Finals, & Bob Cole Chicks I Like! Hour 3 Audio
Today's weather conditions at the US Open have improved considerably from yesterday (forecast calls for a 40% chance of rain) so hopefully we are in the clear through Sunday. Phil Mickelson had a tremendous first round performance after enduring a five hour commute on his way to "work." Watching Mickelson play golf is like "watching a drunk chase a balloon near the edge of a cliff." Canadian Mike Weir had a reasonably good finish at the end of round one & feels that his game has steadily improved over the past few months. Adam Hadwin is the type of player who thrives under pressure filled circumstances & could be a player to watch throughout the weekend. Bubba Watson's "wild off the tee approach" makes him a high risk/reward golfer in these types of tournaments. Don't expect Bubba to change his game too much & if he can get his drives in the fairway he could find himself in contention once Sunday rolls around. Tiger Woods had a horrendous putting performance during the first round, which is absolutely unacceptable if he wants a legitimate shot at winning his first major in five years.
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero wanted to identify the core of his team & the end result is that his top two centre iceman are now locked up for the foreseeable future. The Penguins 1-2 punch at centre puts them in contention for a Stanley Cup every year. The Malkin signings was a major reason why Penguins management felt compelled to trade Jordan Staal during last year's entry draft. Now the focus shifts squarely on All-Star defenseman Kris Letang. Shero still views Letang as a "core player" therefore it should be interesting to see how this situation plays out. The Maple Leafs decision to sign Colton Orr was a smart one because he is a "glue guy" & his effort in every single game/practice is second to none. The main risk with the Orr signing is the injury factor however at $925,000 it's a relatively inexpensive investment. Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton is listed as "day to day" with a suspected shoulder injury. Boston has been extremely tight lipped about the Horton situation & his status for game two remains questionable. Barring a major injury we should expect a very tight series the rest of the way through. The Bruins have plenty of extra bodies chomping at the bit ready to go, so perhaps they have the depth to overcome the Horton injury.
The best part of the Stanley Cup Finals has been watching two elite teams go head to head & battle it out. The Horton-Krejci-Lucic line has been one of the most productive during the 2013 playoffs therefore; it should be interesting to see how the Horton injury affects the chemistry of the Boston Bruins. Tyler Seguin is a more than capable replacement for Horton but doesn't possess the same level of "hockey IQ." We probably won't know where this series is going until both team has played at least one game on home ice. Boston is a very calm/resilient hockey team & should never be counted out.
The Oakland Athletics continue to remain a competitive team on a very strict budget. The Athletics changed baseball forever because "on base percentage" has slowly become more important than batting average in terms of statistics. Oakland remains the "misfit toys" of Major League Baseball & the players are having tons of fun. This team is not to be taken lightly. The Baltimore Orioles are another team that continues to win baseball games in an unconventional manner. A lot of the credit falls on the shoulders of skipper Buck Showalter who has abandoned his crotchety ways & made the clubhouse a more fun place. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons getting elected to the All-Star game is more of a symbolic thing (due to his connections with the Mets) therefore we shouldn't read too much into Jim Leyland's decision. The San Francisco Giants haven't been the same dominant team & seem to lack that "great" starting pitching we have seen in the past. Matt Cain & Tim Lincecum have taken a step back & the top three hitters in the Giants lineup are injured. San Francisco will need to have an incredible July/August/September if they want to make the playoffs come October.
There definitely is a "buzz" throughout the city of Chicago & it's refreshing to see the traditional hockey markets basking in glow of the Stanley Cup finals. The Nathan Horton injury definitely gives the Blackhawks a bit of a boost & it's possible that "whoever wins game two wins the series." Horton appears to have a dislocated shoulder which could be traced back to a regular season fight with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jarome Iginla. It's still possible that Horton comes back at some point during the series but how effective will he be? The Evgeni Malkin signing is not money well spent & its' quite shocking to see the Pittsburgh Penguins "laissez faire" attitude after a 4-0 sweep in the conference finals. Pittsburgh's defense needs a lot of work in the offseason if they want to get back to cup contender status.
Following a marathon Game 1 between the Bruins and Hawks, Mike chats with Darren Dreger, Steve Simmons and Pierre McGuire about how it appears the two teams are very evenly matched, which could lead to an extremely close, drawn out series.
Darren Dreger and Steve Simmons discuss the Bruins/Blackhawks 3OT Game 1. WATCH!
Pierre McGuire joins Mike to discuss the small margin of difference between the Hawks and Bruins. WATCH!
Bob Cole joins Mike Richards in studio to discuss Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. WATCH!
Kelly Tilghman calls Mike Richards to update the weather on the first day of the US Open. WATCH!
Hawks beat the Bruins in OT, Gary Bettman addresses the Phoenix Coyotes situation, US Open kicks off, & the Argos win their first pre-season game. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger recap game one of the Stanley Cup Finals, & "Kelly Tilghman??" updates the course conditions at the US Open. Hour 2 Audio
Jack Armstrong previews game 4 of the NBA Finals, Mark Zecchino tees of the first round of the US Open, & Whine of the Week with the "fake" Jim Rome. Hour 3 Audio
Last night's triple overtime win by the Chicago Blackhawks was an indication that this could be a very long & hard fought series. Game one featured an epic goaltending duel between Crawford & Rask reminding us just how evenly matched these two teams are. The "too many men on the ice penalties" could have been the by-product of players simply breaking down due to fatigue & a large/boisterous atmosphere at the United Center. It was rather remarkable to see defenseman on both sides play mega minutes (Chara, Seidenberg, Keith, Oduya) without every looking truly "tired." Jaromir Jagr's twenty one year gap between Stanley Cup Final appearances is a testament to how difficult it's to win another championship. We shouldn't get too down on the Bruins because they lost the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 vs. the Vancouver Canucks however; it's painfully obvious that Boston feels the absence of Gregory Campbell. Nathan Horton left the game with an upper body injury of some sort but the details at this point remain relatively vague.
We shouldn't be too surprised with the Chicago Blackhawks triple overtime win vs. the Boston Bruins because these are two evenly matched teams. Some of the negatives for Boston include (blowing 2-0 & 3-1 leads, poor defensive decisions, & an unlucky bounce on the Oduya goal) Game one had "a little bit of everything" & now it's up to the Bruins to rebound and tie this series up at one game apiece. The atmosphere was absolutely electric at the United Center indicating that hockey is alive and well in the city of Chicago. Nathan Horton is rumoured to have suffered some type of shoulder injury although not much is known about his condition at this point in time. Even though the Blackhawks escaped with the win Corey Crawford showed plenty of holes in his game. Crawford really battled the puck at times further cementing the belief that Boston has the edge in the goaltending department. If the Bruins are able to win this series the Conn Smythe Trophy could come down to any combination of Chara/Rask/Krejci.
With the Miami Heat currently trailing the San Antonio Spurs 2-1 in the NBA Finals it's painfully obvious that LeBron James is starting to feel the pressure. James needs to get back to the way he is capable of playing otherwise Miami will lose this series. This has been a strange series because game 1 was tight & games 2/3 were very close until one team completely took over. Tonight's game four is a "must win" for Miami (who have a stellar record after a loss, but have also lost their last three road games) San Antonio is brimming with confidence right now therefore Erik Spoelstra will have to "put LeBron in situations where he can score" in order to generate some momentum for the rest of the team. Miami is at their best when LeBron puts pressure on the defense and gets fouled in the process. San Antonio needs to match Miami's intensity especially with Tony Parker's status remaining up in the air. The Spurs are still a great team without Parker however he adds a completely different dimension to this team. If the Heat do a better job defending the three point line & win tonight we have ourselves a series!
Today's U.S. Open Tournament could be the most difficult major to handicap in decades because we have not seen a professional event on the men's side at Merion since 1981. Merion is an interesting course because the length is 6900 yards, the conditions are soaking wet, & the setup is completely different from the other major venues. Tiger Woods still remains the favourite heading into round one however the course layout doesn't particularly favour his style. We could expect a "logjam" type of scenario come Sunday evening & there could be a very good chance of a 2-3 man playoff scenario once Monday rolls around.
Mike sets up Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final on TSN 1050 with Darren Dreger and Pierre McGuire who discuss the series' "X" factors and how the battle in the middle of the ice could be the deciding factor.
Darren Dreger joins Mike to discuss Corey Crawford chances to make Canada's Olympic team. WATCH!
The NHL analyst joins Mike to compare the competition in the NHL to the other pro sports. WATCH!
Manti Te'o's girlfriend calls Mike to discuss Te'o's appearance at Chargers camp. WATCH!
Bill Belichick reacts to the Tim Tebow signing, Tiger & Sergio patch up their differences, & the Jays enjoy a spirited comeback vs. the White Sox. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire & Darren Dreger preview game one of the Stanley Cup Finals, & Manti Te'o's "girlfriend" calls in. Hour 2 Audio
Darren Rovell talks Tiger Woods, Rob Simpson discusses the Stanley Cup Finals, & Gareth Rees previews Saturday's Canada vs. Ireland rugby match. Hour 3 Audio
The NHL is one of the sports that have grown the game on a global stage. The player availability from different pools has made a big difference (this is why we don't see any more true dynasties in the league). In order for the Chicago Blackhawks to have success vs. the Boston Bruins they will have to win a lot of faceoffs, find as many free seconds as possible for Jonathan Toews (away from Patrice Bergeron), & Corey Crawford will have to maintain his composure. The enthusiasm level is extremely high in both cities & this Stanley Cup Finals is a massive opportunity for the NHL.
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is starting to generate a little bit of buzz for the Conn Smythe Trophy. If Crawford is able to stand on his head & defeat the Bruins he might even warrant some consideration for Sochi 2014. There are several potential "X" factors in this series such as Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Bryan Bickell, Tyler Seguin, & Jaromir Jagr. Jagr hasn't been nearly as threatening in the scoreboards department as some had predicted but has still found other ways to contribute. Jagr's off-ice workouts are "legendary" so it's conceivable that he could breakout at any moment.
Tiger Wood's new deal with Nike gives him an extra $30-35 million dollars per year & also managed to mend fences Rolex (another one of his sponsors) However Woods will never be back to the $100 million dollars from a few years ago because "he was paid a premium for a clean image that will never exist again." The Stanley Cup Finals has created an all time high in terms of excitement in the city of Chicago. However it's important to consider that 4/5 people were not watching the Blackhawks game five clinching win vs. the Los Angeles Kings. These kinds of statistics make you wonder just how relevant hockey can be in the city of Chicago. Another problem for professional sports is that many people elect to watch the game at home instead of the stadium.
Tonight's Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks matchup should be epic. This series is loaded with plenty of side plots (Chara vs. Keith, Rask vs. Crawford, Julien vs. Quenneville, forwards vs. defense,) making it a tremendous matchup across the board. Chara is an intimidating figure who makes excellent breakout passes & moves his feet very well for a big man. The Bruins might have a minor edge in goal & it is entirely possible that Boston wins one of the first two games on the road in Chicago. The Bruins have several Conn Smythe candidates (Rask, Krejci, Chara) making them a very difficult opponent. Prediction: Bruins in 6
It should be a wildly entertaining matchup at BMO Field on Saturday night between Canada & Ireland. The Canadian team enters this match on a roll & Ireland is one of the best teams in the world which should make for some world class rugby. Canada is currently ranked 13th in the world (after beating Fiji/Tonga) & will have the difficult task of slowing down Ireland (a potential World Cup favourite) Ireland is big, fast, moves the ball very well, & are heavy hitters. Canada will need to have a solid defense & "take the skill" out of Ireland in order to emerge victorious.
Mike chats with Pierre McGuire and Steve Simmons about tomorrow's Stanley Cup Final and also gets the guys the weigh in on the Tim Tebow signing and TSN 1050 Blue Jay insiders, Scott Ferguson and Scott MacArthur check in to chat about R.A. Dickey's struggles in the fog in Chicago.
Steve Simmons joins Mike Richards to discuss Tim Tebow signing with the Patrios. WATCH!
Pierre McGuire joins Mike Richards to discuss the health of the Bruins and Blackhawks. WATCH!
Tim Tebow calls Mike Richards to discuss his signing with the Patriots and what he's excited for. WATCH!
Jays fall to the White Sox, Tim Tebow expected to sign with the Patriots, & Dallas Eakins introduced as Edmonton Oilers head coach. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire & Steve Simmons preview the Stanley Cup Finals, & Tim Tebow explains his decision to sign with the New England Patriots. Hour 2 Audio
Scott Ferguson & Scott MacArthur chat Blue Jays, & John Forslund of the NHL Network previews the Stanley Cup Finals matchup. Hour 3 Audio
Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton had a tough road to the NHL (6 years in the AHL before finally getting a shot with Anaheim during the '06-07 season) The Bruins & Blackhawks enter the series relatively healthy (minus Gregory Campbell) & both coaches have won a Stanley Cup so we should expect lots of one goal games. One "X" factor for Boston could be defenseman Zdeno Chara because Chicago doesn't have a player like this on their roster. If Chara plays as well or better as he did vs. the Penguins the Blackhawks could find themselves in serious trouble. Another Bruins player who could be primed for a breakout series is forward Tyler Seguin. Seguin had a few excellent chances over the past 3-4 games & his speed could create a nightmare matchup for the Blackhawks. The Sergei Gonchar signing could give the Dallas Stars power play a much needed boost & could make the vacant head coaching position slightly more attractive. Tim Tebow's decision to sign with the Patriots isn't that surprising because Bill Belichick is "the king of rehab." Tebow also has connections Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Josh McDaniels (former head coach of the Broncos when they drafted Tebow) It should be interesting to see where Tebow fits into the lineup & his versatility/size make him an attractive reclamation project.
The best word to describe the New England Patriots decision to sign Tim Tebow is "fascinating." This might be the ideal place to quiet the "Tim Tebow circus that has followed him throughout his career." Bill Belichick is a coaching genius & it's possible we could see Tebow at the tight end position due to the injury to Rob Gronkowski. There is virtually no chance that Tebow plays the starting/backup quarterback position under the Belichick regime. The biggest question surrounding the Stanley Cup Finals is "are the Chicago Blackhawks ready for the Boston Bruins?" Boston is firing on all cylinders after sweeping the high powered Pittsburgh Penguins & Blackhawks haven't seen a team of this calibre during the course of these playoffs. Both teams have exceptional coaches & Chicago will have to take advantage of the "thirty minutes that Zdeno Chara is not on the ice." The Blackhawks have yet to face a defenseman like Chara so it will be intriguing to see how Quenneville handles this gargantuan task. Can anyone explain why Zdeno Chara wasn't nominated for the James Norris Memorial Trophy this season?
Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey has finally got the velocity back in his knuckle ball however he ultimately fell victim to the "heavier/moist air on a foggy night in Chicago." Dunn entered the game hitting .165 before hitting two home runs & scoring five runs which proved to be the difference in the ballgame. R.A. Dickey's "excuses" are starting to get slightly annoying because at some point "you just have to go out there & compete in the elements." Dickey has obviously struggled throughout a tough first season in Toronto & appears to be at a loss for his disturbing performances. Chien-Ming Wang hasn't been the same player since ankle/shoulder injuries derailed his career. If Wang is able to give Toronto 5-6 quality innings the Blue Jays will probably consider the signing a success. Wang is viewed more as a stop gap solution until Brandon Morrow is able to return from injury. If Wang doesn't get the defense behind him, it could be a long night…. One of the pleasant surprises for the Jays this season has been the spirited play of Neil Wagner. Wagner is 29 years old, can throw a ball 99 mph, & has a decent amount of accuracy.
The Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins & Chicago Blackhawks has the potential to be a "dream matchup" for the NHL. How will the high octane offense of the Blackhawks hold up against the Bruins stingy defense? The battle of contrasting styles between these two clubs is a big reason why this matchup is so tantalizing for all parties involved. This is the first time these teams have played since October 2011 so there is no frame of reference due to the lockout shortened season.
With the Stanley Cup Final matchup being finalized on the weekend, Mike chats with Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger about the series' key factors and the guys also discuss the Oilers decision to replace Ralph Krueger after just one season with Dallas Eakins.
Darren Dreger joins Mike to discuss Craig MacTavish's firing of Ralph Krueger. WATCH!
Pierre McGuire joins Mike to discuss the storylines of the Stanley Cup Final matchup. WATCH!
Dallas Green joins Mike to discuss his new book and his time as a MLB manager. WATCH!
Taylor Hall calls Mike to discuss the firing of Ralph Krueger and his "Great" replacement. WATCH!
Bruins/Hawks advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, Eakins expected to be named Oilers next coach, Jays fall to the Rangers, & NBA finals tied at 1-1. Hour 1 Audio
Pierre McGuire/Darren Dreger talk Stanley Cup Finals, & Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall reacts to the firing of Ralph Krueger. Hour 2 Audio
Bob Weeks previews the US Open, Jack Armstrong talks NBA Finals, & Former MLB Manager Dallas Green! Hour 3 Audio
The most important thing to consider about the Stanley Cup finals matchup between the Boston Bruins & Chicago Blackhawks is that both teams escaped the Conference Finals series relatively unscathed. Both the Bruins & Blackhawks are very evenly matched teams (4 lines deep on forwards, 6 players deep on defense, great penalty killing, excellent coaching) making for a very interesting series. The goaltending battle in this series is already drawing similar comparisons to the 2011 Stanley Cup matchup between Tim Thomas & Roberto Luongo. The biggest problem facing the Blackhawks is that they have no answer for Chara, which could cause problems for some of Chicago's smaller forwards (Kane). The Edmonton Oilers had a change in philosophy and elected to fire Ralph Krueger & replace him with Dallas Eakins. It should be interesting to see how Eakins skill set transfers over to the NHL however; the Oilers will continue to flounder unless they decide to upgrade their defense.
The Edmonton Oilers decided to go in a different direction once they named Craig MacTavish general manager earlier this offseason. MacTavish was not philosophically on the same page as Ralph Krueger thus his dismissal does not come as a complete surprise. MacTavish met with Eakins last month during the NHL combine & quickly felt that he was indeed the right man for the job. Eakins proved to be a hot commodity in recent weeks (Dallas, Vancouver, New York Rangers) therefore it's possible that Oilers management felt an increasing amount of pressure to get the job done quickly. The Stanley Cup Finals should be a real treat to watch with two original six teams going head to head. The Bruins appear to have a bit of an edge in the goaltending department but the forwards/defense matchup pretty evenly. Boston seems to be the favourite heading into the finals however; this could change quickly if Kane/Toews keep up their rapid scoring pace.
It should be interesting to see how the players hold up at the US Open this weekend due to the fact that Merion is a relatively short course. Currently the course conditions are very wet (thanks to tropical storm Andrea) making matters slightly more complicated. A lot of the players haven't seen Merion before giving the course a bit of an unknown element. Mcllroy hopes to have put his previous struggles behind him & feels that his game is very close to turning around. Masters winner Adam Scott is still trying to overcome his "Augusta hangover" & could be a player worth keeping your eye on. Five Canadians are currently in the field right now (David Hearn, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes) plus two alternates (Mike Weir, Ryan Yip) giving the tournaments a bit of a local flavour. Phil "Lefty" Mickelson is another player who could make some noise however his "wild off the tee" approach could cause him some problems in the long run.
The most interesting aspect of the NBA Finals is the fact that games one & two have looked completely different. This could be attributed to (great coaches, veteran players, & less off days between games) Both teams are very good at making adjustments on the fly & the Heat have a habit of rebounding after a loss. The 2-3-2 format is probably not the best format for the finals because; San Antonio has the upper hand if they can win their next 2/3 games. The Toronto Raptors decision to pursue Milwaukee Bucks assistant Jeff Weltman doesn't come as a total surprise considering Ujiri/Weltman are quite close & "see the game the same way." Ujiri should be boosted by the fact that he has previous working experience in the Toronto market & was recently named NBA Executive of the Year Award. Recently retired Jason Kidd could be an attractive option for the Brooklyn Nets. Kidd has great leadership/communication skills so it's conceivable that he can be successful if surrounded by the right people. The Houston Rockets are generating quite some buzz throughout the city as a result of the ongoing Chris Paul/Dwight Howard rumours. The Rockets are one of the few teams that would be able to make these type transactions, & it's possible that head coach Kevin McHale can help Dwight Howard rediscover his game.
Emotional chat with Dallas Green (former MLB Manager & Author) regarding the controversial gun laws in the United States.
Mike Richards In The Morning, May 27-31
Mike Richards In The Morning, May 20-24
Mike Richards In The Morning, May 13-17
Loiselle: Cap increase helps 'tremendously'
Ferraro on Rielly/World Jr.'s, P.K. or Doughty?
Armstrong on Gay deal, impact of Vasquez
Ujiri: Gay trade/tanking, progress of J.V.
Beeston: Halladay memories, Jays/free agency
TSN 1050 is the home of the Leafs with Jonas Siegel providing daily coverage in his Leaf Report.
Leafs Ice Chips | Latest on the Leafs
TSN 1050 is the home of the Raptors with Josh Lewenberg providing coverage in his Raptors Report.
Latest on the Raptors
TSN 1050 baseball insiders Scott MacArthur and Scott Ferguson provide daily coverage of the Blue Jays.
Latest on the Jays
TSN 1050 has every Argos game with Mike Hogan providing coverage in his Argos Report.
Argos Hashmarks | Latest on the Argos
TSN 1050's Gareth Wheeler provides coverage of TFC matches including pre-game shows live from BMO Field
Latest on TFC
Tweet the name of the team you think will win the next MNF game to @TSN1050Radio #WEGZfootball for a chance to win a La-Z-Boy lounger, a PS4 and more! Details.