Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Lightning Round

After a day of recovery after 17 hours of NFL Draft coverage over the weekend and a tough Criminal Procedure final yesterday, let's get back on the horse and catch up on what we've missed the past day our so in another edition of the quick-hit, stream of consciousness "Lightning Round" (credit for the name, of course, goes to Mad Money's Jim Cramer.

** Detroit Red Wings Lose Game Three to San Jose Sharks: So in the euphoria over the NFL Draft, sort of lost track of the Detroit Red Wings playoff run for a bit (at least posting game recaps on here). Didn't help that I don't get Versus where I currently live, so at least for the next week or so, I'm at the mercy of the NHL TV schedule if I want to watch any of the games. San Jose is a really, really strong team, and they are proving it in this series. Winning game one was no fluke, and they showed yesterday, even if they fall behind, they will fight and crawl back into the game. I thought when Nick Lidstrom scored in the first period of yesterday's game, giving the Wings a 1-0 lead and quieting the loud Shark crowd, that the Wings would be able to slow down San Jose's momentum and steal a game in the Shark Tank. I was wrong. The Sharks fought back, and won 2-1. If the first three games in this series have taught us anything, other than how good San Jose is, it is probably how much the Wings miss Thomas Holmstrom. "Homer" as he is known has missed the first three games in the series with blood in his eye (ouch) as a result of a high stick in the Calgary series. Without him on the top line with Datsuyk and Zetterberg, and not in front of the net giving the goalie a hard time, the Wings seem like a different team. He should be ready for Game Four, which down 2-1 in the series is a "must win" game. For more coverage of the Game Three, let me point you to OnTheWings, Behind The Jersey, Gorilla Crunch, and Abel to Yzerman.

** Pistons Eliminate Magic; Move on to Face Bulls: The Detroit Pistons also wrapped up their playoff series, rather quickly, with the Orlando Magic, sweeping them in four games. The Pistons sleepwalked a bit through this series, but they won't be able to do so in the next series against Chicago starting on Saturday. I was hoping the Bulls-Heat series would go at least six games, wear down whomever was the victor, but the Bulls looked pretty dominant (and the Heat pretty long in the tooth) and that series was a sweep as well. Even with LaBron James or the suddenly surging New Jersey Nets waiting in the wings for the winner of this series, I think either the Bulls or Pistons are going to the NBA Finals, and it should be a heckuva series. Ben Wallace returning to Detroit with the Pistons trying to prove they can win without him. I can't get the feeling out of my head though that the Bulls are hungrier than the Pistons. They also seem faster and are ready to to quickly take that next step, passing up Cleveland as the "team of the future" in the Eastern Conference. That said, I do think with the added challenge, the Pistons will wake up from their slumber, play up to the level of their competition, and win the series in seven games but it is not going to be easy at all. This is not the time to take a game off or to let the officials get into their heads (as they have all season long). Just go out there, and play the basketball they are capable of.

** Gary Sheffield Finally Starts Hitting: After a very slow start to the season, and even though some of his teammates (Brandon Inge, Sean Casey, and Craig Monroe to name three) have yet to wake up their bats, Gary Sheffield finally seems to be hitting his stride. Over the last week, Sheffield is hitting .364 with 10 runs scored and 3 stolen bases (only 2 RBI though). Yesterday, after almost starting a bench clearing brawl after being hit with a pitch, Sheffield responded with a monster home run, his first at Comerica Park.
The Tigers may have not started off the season as hot as they had hoped, but they still had a 14-11 April, and once their bats get going, they should be just fine.

** Heroes out-delivers 24 again It was another great night of television last night, with both Heroes and 24 going head-to-head at 9:00. The rest of this post discusses parts of last nights shows, so if you haven't watched yet, let me suggest checking out my 2007 NFL Draft Coverage instead? Okay, still with me? 24 continued its ho-hum season last night, with the nice-to-see return of Secretary of Defense James Heller (played by the great William Devane, whom I've been a fan of since he was Gary Hobson's father back on Early Edition in the late 1990s, man, that was a great show) but I don't know, the whole "Jack in custody" storyline, I'm not sold. And Bill Buchanan just leaving without a fight? He was one of the best characters on the show, really grounding CTU in reality. As I said last night, maybe when you try to leave 24 for a new show, as Kim Raver did, if the show fails, you have to come back to 24 as a catatonic trauma victim. But something Heller did tell Jack last night did ring true, practically everyone close to Jack dies. His wife, President Palmer, Tony, Michelle, the Columbian drug lord's wife he was having an affair with in season three. Not easy being Jack. Which is perhaps why the 24 producers are planning on changing things up next year according to the LA Times.

"I don't dispute it's been a challenging season to write for us. But it's reinvigorated our determination to reinvent the show. This year could be seen to be the last iteration of it in its current state."

Oh, dear. Reinvention? That does sound ominous. But Gordon says not to worry, as Jack "won't be flipping burgers."

"It won't be a musical or a half-hour," he added. "I've got a couple ideas, none of which I could even begin to share responsibly."

Good to hear, because 24 does need a shot of life. Last season was so great, but this year, not so much. And too many characters, like Jack's brother, were wasted, and others, like the great President Logan and Jack's father, were ignored, their storylines seemingly dropped in the middle of the season and never picked back up again.

Heroes on the other hand, now there's a show which doesn't need much fixing. Last night's episode, a look five-years into the future, was very revealing, and very entertaining. I didn't see the Sylar twist coming (though maybe I should have in retrospect) but it was really interesting to see what would happen if the group of heroes doesn't stop the bomb from going off. One thing confused me though, and maybe fellow Heroes fans can help me out. If Peter is the exploding man, and not Sylar, then what good does it do to kill Sylar? Doesn't Hiro need to kill Peter instead? In either case, the show continues to out deliver 24 on a weekly basis, and I'm looking much more forward to the last three episodes of Heroes then I am of 24. Thankfully with the power of DVR I don't have to choose, but right now, Heroes has my loyalty over 24.

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