FIGHT ON THE ICE

FIGHT ON THE ICE

(The NHL Playoff bracket)
The National Hockey League [NHL] playoffs are in full swing, and even though the 1st round isn’t halfway through, there have been some spills and thrills. The defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning already have their work cut out for them against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t get any easier when MVP candidate Auston Matthews is playing as good as he ever has after scoring the winner on Tuesday night to give the Leafs a 3-2 series lead. It may be an upset on the cards there as if the Leafs can get the defensive act together, they’ll be a hell of a force.
(Maple Leafs Center Auston Matthews)
The Colorado Avalanche made the lightest of work possible sweeping the Nashville Predators like they were the Brooklyn Nets. I mean Nashville is nice, warm, and sunny in the Summertime so it is not all bad for the Predators. The Sydney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins are up by three games to one in their series with the New York Rangers, even when the Rangers goaltender, Igor Shesterkin.
(Rangers Goaltender Igor Shesterkin)
The Russian had the highest save percentage in the regular season [.935], and the fewest Goals conceded on average [2.07]. That was hard to notice when he conceded five goals in the 2nd period of play [6 overall], having to leave the ice for reserve goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to close out the 7-2 loss on Monday night.

A series to keep an eye out for would be the Florida Panthers vs. the Washington Capitals with a nail-biting OT win for Florida to even the series at 2. They do look to be a strong team, however, you can never count out the greatness of the 3rd highest goal scorer in NHL history, Alex Ovechkin. If Ovi gets his way and takes control of the series then it would be pointless to watch the rest of it, but for now, he hasn’t and it’s shaping up to be an actual best of seven series.

(Former Stanley Cup champion [LW] Alex Ovechkin)
The Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars is a tie that could go either way after the Flames thrashed Dallas 4-1 on Monday. On Sunday, the Edmonton Oilers were shut out 4-0 by the Los Angeles Kings to level that series. The Kings could do with some well-needed momentum after that 8-2 clobbering on Friday, and as long as you go to center ice and see points leader Connor McDavid on the other side, this is not over.

Patrice Bergeron scored an important goal for the Bruins against the team with the best defensive record in the regular season the Carolina Hurricanes, and in other news, the water is wet. This man helped level the series at two, which does show how much more exciting the NHL playoffs are compared to the NBA. Unfortunately for them, in game five they lost 5-1 and are now facing elimination.

(Bruins Center Patrice Bergeron)
The 2018/19 Winner St. Louis Blues are looking to try and take the series away from the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, looking to hopefully make another Stanley Cup run since their first and only title four years ago. That took a massive step when they held off the Wild 5-2. The question remains, who will win it all? Will there be a new champion or a returning set of Kings?
(Lightning Center Steven Stamkos)
Best of the Super Jr 29 – Who takes all the glory?

Best of the Super Jr 29 – Who takes all the glory?

Last years winner of the Best Of The Super jr 28 tournament was Hiromu Takahashi. This year New Japan is spicing things up by bringing in competitors from across the globe. Some of these include impact wrestlings Ace Austin, All Elite Wrestlings Wheeler Yuta, MLWs TJP, & GCWs Alex Zayne. This tournament is the most important one of the year for New Japan & the most notable. With this tournament I am keeping a close eye on wheeler Yuta who is more aggressive & has had major influence from William regal of the blackpool combat club. With this new side of Yuta I expect him to up his game and really use his best wrestling tactics. My Prediction is that it will be wheeler yuta & Ace austin in the finals for both the A & B block. The Winner will get a shot at the IWGP World heavyweight championship. If Okada is still the champion by the end of this tournament & If yuta is the winner of this year’s tournament the match could be held on an episode of AEW dynamite or in NJPW territory. I would think that this match would be held on an AEW show if covid restrictions are lifted for travel in. this years BOSJ 29 starts on may 15th for night 1 & will end June 2nd.
Roman Reigns Soon To Be A Part Timer

Roman Reigns Soon To Be A Part Timer

WWEs longest reigning champion Roman reigns may have agreed to a deal that includes less dates for WWE Shows. For a long time WWE has pushed Roman Reigns above and beyond. If Roman is to be on a lighter schedule what does this mean for the future of The WWE & Universal championship? Since Cody Rhodes made his return to WWE he could be next in line to challenge the tribal chief for one of the two titles. If WWE is changing the ground war then eventually the titles will have to be dropped. With WWE not having enough star power on their Pay Per View cards either Cody Rhodes will be added to the title picture or WWE will have to go a different direction with who they choose.
FINAL HURDLE; 14 OR 7?

FINAL HURDLE; 14 OR 7?

(The UCL Trophy)

The stage is set. May 28, 2022, in the Stade de France in Paris. Liverpool vs. Real Madrid, La Liga vs. The Premier League, Klopp vs. Ancelotti, Benzema vs. Salah, we are in for possibly one of the greatest UEFA Champions League (UCL) finals in history. How did both teams conquer an array of European oppositions to make it to the pinnacle of cup competitions? Let’s take a look.

Liverpool began the campaign in group B of the 32-team competition, going up against the likes of Atletico Madrid (Spain), Porto (Portugal), and AC Milan (Italy). Historically, the names of the teams would make it seem to be the group of death, but this was far from the case. Liverpool made light work of the oppositions, winning all six of the games with an aggregate score of 17-6.

(Liverpool players after a goal against Atletico Madrid)
For Real, it was a bit more challenging, with a loss to FC Sheriff (Moldova) by 2-1 in Spain. Apart from that blemish, Los Blancos went unbeaten in their other group games against Inter Milan (Italy) and Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), with an aggregate score of 14-3. Defensively more sound when it comes to the concession of goals, however, that one loss tarnished that reputation

When the knockout stages began, Madrid drew Paris Saint-German (France) in the round of 16, while Liverpool got Inter Milan. It was a PSG vs Madrid clash in France for the 1st leg, with the Parisians coming out on top by 1-0, scored by future Real forward, Kylian Mbappe. They were dominated. Marco Verratti ran the show, stifling Madrid from starting/continuing attacking build-ups, but it was all to play for at the Bernabeu.

(Kylian Mbappe celebrates with teammate Neymar Jr)
Liverpool on the other hand made light work of Inter dispatching them 2-0, and were by far the better team, with Inter not even registering a shot on goal. Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino got the goals in Milan and the tie never looked in doubt for the reds. In the reverse fixture on Merseyside, Inter was victorious 1-0, however, when the Italians were pushing for an equalizer, Alexis Sanchez got sent off for two yellow card offenses, leaving his team a man down and less likely to produce an attacking outburst.

What happened to Madrid after being outplayed in the previous encounter? Karim Benzema. After going behind again in the game to another Kylian Mbappe goal, things got tense. After an inspired substitution by Carlo Ancelotti to replace Toni Kroos with Eduardo Camavinga, everything clicked. Karim Benzema scored a 15-minute hat-trick to turn the tie on its head. The final whistle blew to the delight of the Spaniards winning the match 3-1, and 3-2 overall.

(Karim Benzema)
Into the Quarter Finals both teams go, Liverpool has drawn against Portuguese team Benfica, while Real was drawn against defending champions, Chelsea. Both the Reds and Los Blancos ran out 3-1 winners, making the 2nd leg much easier. Real however were shocked by Chelsea as they ran out to a 3-0 lead, but when Luka Modric played the assist of the season to Rodrygo, we had an extra thirty minutes. In extra-time it was that man again; Karim Benzema scored to give the Madridistas the overall lead, which eventually gave them the victory.

In the game at Anfield, Benfica scored 5 goals. Unfortunately for them, two were offside which meant they were disallowed. Liverpool never gave up and scored three of their own to give an end to an enthralling game. Next up: the semifinals. Liverpool vs. Villarreal in one and the other consists of English champions Manchester City against the newly crowned Spanish champions Real Madrid.

Villarreal, or as they are commonly known as, the Yellow Submarine, was a pushover losing 2-0 to Liverpool for them to have one foot in the final. In the other semi, it was end-to-end, leaving fans, pundits, and commentators breathless alike. City ended up with the advantage of 4-3, but as previously shown in the competition, Real Madrid is never out.

As expected Liverpool put both feet in the final with a come from behind 3-2 win. A bright start to the game was not capitalized on by the Yellow Submarine as they crumbled in the 2nd half and conceded three goals in 12 minutes, crashing out of the final four.

(Villarreal’s Francis Coquelin rises to score a header)
The game of the tournament between Madrid and the Citizens lived up to the anticipation. More of a chess match than the 1st leg, Man City kept most of the ball, while Madrid had chances few and far between. It wasn’t until the 73rd minute where Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez slotted home past a busy Thibaut Courtois to apply added pressure to the home team.

When it was looking like the comeback was not possible this time, that man Karim Benzema had his say. In the 90th and final minute, a deep cross from Camavinga was diverted by Benzema into the path of the onrushing Brazilian Rodrygo to give some hope for Ancelotti’s side.

A quickfire 91 SECONDS later the Brazilian got his second to level the tie and send it to extra-time. At the start of the additional period, a mistimed challenge by Ruben Dias gave Real a penalty. Karim face-to-face with shot-stopper Ederson coolly dispatched the penalty into the bottom corner to give his team the lead and the eventual win.

(Rodrygo scoring his second goal via header against Man City)
Now the final has been set with Real Madrid chasing title number 14, and Liverpool chasing number 7. With the talent both teams have, form comes into the selection of both teams for the final. The fireworks will be set off in France when both teams take the field, and viewership to quite possibly beat last year’s total of 700 million viewers.
PREDICTED TEAMS
REAL MADRID
Thibaut Courtois
Ferland Mendy
David Alaba
Eder Militao
Dani Carvajal
Luka Modric
Casemiro
Toni Kroos
Federico Valverde
Karim Benzema ©
Vinicius Jr.
(Real Madrid XI)
LIVERPOOL
Allison
Andrew Robertson
Virgil Van Dijk
Ibrahim Konate
Trent Alexander-Arnold
Jordan Henderson ©
Fabinho
Thiago Alcantara
Luis Diaz
Sadio Mane
Mohammed Salah
(Liverpool XI)
MAY-DAY

MAY-DAY

MAY-DAY(Photo from SkySports) [Manchester United players surrounding the referee]
With a tragic and disappointing season coming to an end after a start with such prestige and promise, Manchester United can now only hope they can secure European football in the Europa League Cup competition for next season. The red devils are approaching their worst ever Premier League points total if they win out the final three games of the season. In the past, the lowest points total came in the 2013/14 season when they accomplished 64 points under then manager David Moyes. After the start that United had to the season, how did it all go so wrong?

August 14, 2021, when United thrashed arch-rivals Leeds United at Old Trafford by five goals to one looked like the start of something special. The unveiling of one of the most decorated defenders in the world Raphael Varane, the debut of English wonderkid Jadon Sancho, world cup winner Paul Pogba providing an assist to four of the five goals, and Bruno Fernandes scoring a hattrick. These were special times. Things got even more exciting when it was reported that Cristiano Ronaldo would be making a sensational return from the Italian side Juventus.

However, all these things somehow got awful. Many different reasons could be eluded to, whether it was the non-continuity of the team, inept playing style without an identity, or even a lack of effort but one thing was for certain; it could not continue.

(Photo from REUTERS) [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer]
Following humiliating losses to Liverpool (5-0), Manchester City (2-0), and Watford (4-1), the club parted ways with the manager and club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November. The club was at an all-time low. Bad morale, news being leaked, the works. The board at United was quick to try and appoint a new permanent manager, but when their approach for PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino was rejected by the club, they ended up hiring German coach Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis with a two-year consultancy role as part of the board at the end of the season.

With the godfather of “gegenpressing” now in charge, fans were positive hoping to see similar playing styles to the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea, both of whose coaches were mentors of Rangnick. That was far from the case. Only a select few got to grips with it without issues and even though those players weren’t the best, they gave 110% on the pitch. The other “talented” players couldn’t give a damn and just made the dressing room even more toxic.

Rangnick spoke in press conferences about how a revolution is needed at the football club, stating that United doesn’t have the quality footballing department as compared to the current top three (Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea) and even said for any new permanent manager, this job would be like “open-heart surgery.”

(Photo from Getty Images) [Erik Ten Hag]
It has since been reported that the manager of Ajax Amsterdam Erik Ten Hag will become the new manager of Manchester United on a three-year deal. The 52-year-old will take charge at the end of the season, and is fully focused on Ajax with the club in a title race in the Dutch first division; the Eredivise. The former centre-half has a very good record managing Ajax winning 157 out of 212 games managed since 2017.

This will be a really difficult job to find a new identity at Manchester United and it could take time. The club is going through another season without a trophy, last lifting one in 2017 so frustration could creep in after the first year but patience is key. In all fairness, Ten Hag, Rangnick, and the newly revamped recruitment team have a lot of issues to work out.

The team has around six players who are out of contract this offseason. They are Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Lee Grant, Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani, and Juan Mata, with players such as Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Dean Henderson looking for moves to get regular game time. With an exodus like that, the club must be looking to sign about four or five players in the summer transfer window. This season was a nightmare for United fans all around the world but there were some positives.

(Photo from Manchester Evening News) [Charlie McNeill and Alejandro Garnacho (right)]
With the emergence of youth players such as Hannibal Mejbri, Anthony Elanga, Alejandro Garnacho, and Zidane Iqbal just to name a few, development over the next 18-24 months will be instrumental in the future success of the team. These players though inexperienced will have to buckle down and apply themselves to the new manager to ensure the team continues on an upward trajectory.

The Red Devils haven’t had a recognized holding midfielder that can play twice a week since Michael Carrick retired in 2018. That position has been neglected for years and cannot be avoided in this window. With the upcoming arrival of James Garner from his loan spell at Nottingham Forest, the team has a ready-made gem to look forward to.

(Photo from The Peoples Person [Harry Henshaw]) [James Garner]
Garner has had a successful loan spell, to say the least. Having produced 4 goals and 8 assists in 39 appearances, and making multiple teams of the week, Garner should be a contender to be the driving force in the midfield going forward, without having to spend. Reports over the last year have linked West Ham’s Declan Rice to a move to Old Trafford, but with a valuation of over $100 million, it is unlikely the deal gets done.

If United feels James is not ready for Premier League football, alternative options could be Wolverhampton’s Ruben Neves, Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni, and Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips. A scout was sent to Wolverhampton’s latest game to gather more info on Neves as a transfer gradually looks increasingly doable. As reported by Jonathan Shrager, Phillips would prefer to sign a new deal at Leeds and would find it hard to join Manchester United because of the rivalry between the clubs. When it comes to Tchouameni, he looks to be bound for Real Madrid even though he is “tempted” by a PL move.

(Photo from Getty Images) [Uruguayan Striker Darwin Nunez]
United are also reportedly interested in a young striker with Cristiano leading the line at 37, and Mason Greenwood’s future uncertain, names being linked are Darwin Nunez from Benfica and Jonathan David from Lille. A right-sided forward and a central defender are also on the agenda with Pau Torres being linked to the reds yet again. A fullback may also be prioritized but Rome was not built in a day, so some work will have to take place in future windows.

As stated earlier Ten Hag will have a mammoth job to make this team the force it once was, being the winningest team in PL history. A style of play and philosophy will need to be implemented during the preseason tour and a group of players that can be trusted to execute and give 110%. It will be an interesting summer for this group, especially since this is sports and anything can happen.