Tag Archives: Kane

2015 Stanley Cup Finals Preview

2015 Stanley Cup Final Logo

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks

Game 1: @Tampa Bay June 3
Game 2: @Tampa Bay June 6
Game 3: @Chicago June 8
Game 4: @Chicago June 10
Game 5: @Tampa Bay June 13*
Game 6: @Chicago June 15*
Game 7: @Tampa Bay June 17*
*if necessary


Tampa Bay Forwards

CTV News
CTV News
The Lightning has what are perhaps the top two lines in the league. Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula, and Alex Killorn are their first line. Midway through the conference finals series against New York, Stamkos finally found his playoff goal-scoring touch, and that line is dangerous every shift. The “Triplets” line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat are a nightmare for the opposing coach to match up his defensive unit. Johnson leads the league in playoff scoring with 12 goals, 9 assists and a +6 rating. The Lightning also have former Dallas Stars captain Brendan Morrow. Although he may be a role player, only getting 6-8 minutes a game, he can play his physical brand of hockey without taking the amount of punishment he took when he was in Dallas. Morrow is their veteran locker room presence and the oldest player on the roster by 5 years.

Chicago Forwards

AP Photo
AP Photo
As good as the top two lines for Tampa Bay are, Chicago can answer by having the ability to roll all 4 of their lines without hesitation. They are led by Jonathan Toews and a healthy Patrick Kane. During their playoff run of 17 games, Toews has 9 goals, and 9 assists for 18 points, and is a +5 in playoff games, while Kane has mixed in 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points, and a +6 rating. Chicago also has the only Conn Smythe winner in Tampa Bay history, Brad Richards, who should make his presence known to his former club. Brandon Saad has had an amazing playoff run, and is sometimes on a line with Kane and Toews. Some may say Patrick Sharp is “buried” on the third line, but it may be done on purpose. Sharp being on the third line presents a difficult defensive assignment for Tampa Bay to match up; it could be a huge mismatch that could prove to be pivotal in the series

Advantage: Chicago

As great as the top two lines are for Tampa Bay, the Blackhawk group has two lines to match them, and then two more to throw at the Lightning. The ability to run 4 lines throughout an entire game can wear on a defense. Maybe not the first or second game, but the end of the series could have the Tampa Bay will to win tested.


Tampa Bay Defense

CBS Sports
CBS Sports
The last series against New York gave me the confidence to say that the pairing of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman are one of, if not the best set of blueliners in the league. They can shut down the opposing top line and then dare the other three lines to beat them. If Tampa Bay has a fault, it is waiting to see if the bottom end of the defense can match the play of Stralman and Hedman. If not, they may be a liability.

Chicago Defense

Denver Post
Denver Post
If Hedman and Stralman aren’t the top defensive pair in the league, then Chicago has them with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Keith is second in the playoffs in minutes played per game, with 31:35. Niklas Hjarlmarsson is on the second unit, and has the ability to be a top defenseman in the league for years to come. The third pair of David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey could be where Tampa Bay tries to strike. If they can play well as a pair, goals will be hard to come by for the Lightning.

Advantage: Chicago

This is due to the experience of wins and knowing what it takes to make the final push to be the first team to 16 wins in the playoffs.


Tampa Bay Netminder

IB Times
IB Times
Ben Bishop is coming up large when Tampa Bay needs him. Bishop may have had a bad game 6 against New York, giving up 7 goals that night, but he was perfect in game 7, where he was a 2-0 winner. Bishop has posted a 12-8 record with a 2.15 goals against and a save percentage of .920. He is the first goalie in history to send his team to the Stanley Cup Final with a road shutout in game 7 and the first to have two shutouts in his first two game 7s of his career. But as the game 6 outing against the Rangers showed, he can be prone to giving up goals in bunches.

Chicago Netminder

FOX Sports
FOX Sports
Corey Crawford…the first thing I think of is experience. He had a shaky start to the playoffs, but once he finished off Nashville in round one, he has been solid. Crawford has put up a 9-5 record during the playoffs with a 2.56 GAA and a save percentage of .919. Crawford beat a great young goalie in the Western Conference Finals and should use that to fuel his play in the final round.

Advantage Chicago


Series Prediction

Chicago_Blackhawks_LogoEven though I may see Chicago as having an advantage in the three areas of focus, it is by the slimmest of margins. This series should give us what all hockey fans want at this time of year: a seven game series with a few overtime games sprinkled in. In the end, I feel Chicago wins this in 7 games.


Matt Molina is a Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @MattMMolina.

 

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Professional Wrestling is (a) REAL (Money Maker)

imagesSince 1980, professional wrestling has been a staple in the American vernacular with the creation of the WWF, or the World Wrestling Federation. Prior to that, there were regional wrestling companies like NWA (National Wrestling Alliance); they were all over the country. There was the WCCW (World Class Championship Wrestling) based out of Dallas, featuring the famous wrestling family the Von Erich’s, and the most famous of all regionals, WCW (World Championship Wrestling), which was based out of Atlanta, Georgia, that was financed by TBS mogul, Ted Turner. In the future, wrestling would be shaped by the “Monday Night Wars” between WCW and the WWF. This created a new genre of wrestling, the so called “Attitude Era,” where sex, innuendo, and excess were touted. The same old story was told in both companies.

Ok, so you want to know the ONE, big question?

WHY DO MEN OBSESSIVELY WATCH PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING?

I mean, everyone knows, it’s fake, scripted, choreographed, and that it is NOT REAL. So why watch it? Women have their “reality shows”, so why can’t men?

wwe_default
WWE

Each week, men love to watch that soap opera known among the brethren as Monday Night Raw. The classic case of “good vs. evil,” or that truth and honesty overcome all the odds. With names like John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and newcomer Roman Reigns, the WWE has several men to carry that torch. They are called “baby faces,” or good guys. Generally, the crowd cheers for the good guys and boo the “bad guys.”

The “heels,” or bad guys, are plentiful in the WWESeth Rollins, Big Show, Kane, Rusev, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are the top “heels” in WWE. Seth Rollins is a hated man among the WWE Universe; he is the poster boy for bad guy. He “wins” matches by cheating, or by having his henchmen cheat for him by causing distractions and/or interfering. Of course the referee, ever oblivious, always misses the cheating. The “face” would never stoop down to cheating to win, so he plays by the rules, while the “heel” defies every rule in the book.

The way a match is “booked” determines who will win that particular match. Usually, the “heels” win during regular “free tv” events, and the “faces” win during PPV events. This is booked so that the viewer will want to see the “heel” get his/her comeuppance. Pay Per Views were, and still are, very expensive to purchase; most are around $40-60 depending on the event. What the WWE has done is genius. They have created the WWE Network for your mobile device. For only $9.99, the consumer can see any wrestling programming from WWE/WCE/WWF for that same flat rate. The clincher is, that ALL PPVs are included in this flat rate. So, whether you watch Hell In A Cell, or the Grandaddy of ’em all, Wrestlemania, it costs you nothing. If you were to purchase each PPV individually, and you bought 5 different PPVs, you would spend around $300. By purchasing the WWE Network for your mobile device, you will be out $120 for the entire YEAR’S worth of programming, AND all the PPVs.

As of Monday night, 3-9-15, the WWE App has been downloaded nearly 16 million times. 16 MILLION. If just half of those people purchase the WWE Network, that’s $79,920,000 in Vince McMahon’s large pockets.

Merchandise sales are another way to generate monies. In every sold out arena across the USA, you will see John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Sting, Roman Reigns and other stars’ t-shirts being worn. They are sold by the TON at WWE Live events.  If the average attendance at a live show is 15,000 people, at least half will want a t-shirt for themselves or for their kids in attendance. Most t-shirts fall in the $22-26 dollar range. So let’s try some math. If I sell 6,000 t-shirts, that’s $144,000 for ONE NIGHT’s work. I haven’t even started on the other items for sale: replica championship belts, caps, towels, commemorative cups, concessions…the WWE is a money-making machine.

Some of the more popular wrestler’s salaries are:

Wrestler Yearly Salary Bonus Contract
John Cena $2.75 Million 6.25% Merchandise Sales, Travel/Accommodations 10 years
Big Show  $1 Million Personal Tour Bus 10 years
Kane $905,000 First Class Travel/Accommodation 5 years
Randy Orton $1.6 Million Personal Travel Tour Bus 10 years
CM Punk $1.2 Million Personal Tour Bus & First Class Travel/Accommodations 7 year
Daniel Bryan  $620,470  3 years

The Divas’ salaries include:

Wrestler Yearly Salary Bonus Contract
Alicia Fox  $72,520 3 years
AJ Lee $104,300 3 years
Beth Phoenix $112,500 First Class Travel 3 years
Eve  $109,475 First Class Travel 5 years
Layla $86,450 3 years
Natalya  $74,410 3 years

Wrestling achieved its popularity in thanks to the Monday Night Wars between Ted Turner’s WCW and Vince McMahon’s WWF, as it was called back then.

Things were looking bleak for WWF in the mid-1990s. In 1996, Nitro began to draw better ratings than Raw based on the strength of the nWo storyline, an anarchist wrestling stable that wanted to take over WCW. Nitro continued to beat Raw for 84 consecutive weeks, forcing Vince McMahon to change the way he did business.

Thus, the “Attitude Era” was born. Filled with cursing, sex, innuendo and flat-out brutality, this is what finally turned the tide on WCW. WWF/E began beating WCW weekly, and attendance started slipping at some of the live events. Eventually, Ted Turner decided he did not want to invest any more money into a sinking ship.

Repetitive story lines, questionable booking issues, and corporate restrictions eventually led WCW to begin losing large amounts of money, leading to parent company AOL Time Warner selling the name copyright to the WWF for $2.5 million in 2001. Shortly after the purchase, Vince McMahon purchased the entire tape library for an additional $1.7 million, bringing the final tally of World Championship Wrestling‘s sale to $4.2 million.

And then there was one.

In 2002, a lawsuit initiated by the World Wildlife Fund over the trademark of WWF was settled in favor of the Wildlife Fund over the misuse of a previously agreed upon usage for the trademark. World Wrestling Federation was forced to rename/rebrand itself, and in May 2002, the company changed its business name to World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

Their only “competition” at this date is TNA wrestling, which is small. In fact, small enough that the WWE does not even acknowledge their existence.

Why do men watch professional wrestling? Is it for the scantily clad Divas? Is it for the excitement? Or is it simply because it’s brainless entertainment? Watch it next Monday night for an hour before tuning into @TweetTheScoop Radio, and then tell me what you think.

It’s an athletic soap opera for men. How else can you explain how a 5’10”, 180lb. man can defeat a man who is 6’8”, 330lbs.? Very carefully.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

*Salary & compensation data via TSMPlug.com