Kings recap/Let the Playoff games begin

“The hardest thing in the world to understand were the Kings this season”

Joe Sports.

Even though we lose some and we win some, can we do that in the playoffs? Folks, they won’t make it past the first round, we just don’t have the depth. This is not a club built for playoff success. Lets just hope they don’t get humiliated in the first round.

Tulsa in 4. The Kings will win one.

The post-season schedule for the series between the RiverKings and Oilers is as follows: President’s Cup Opening Round Series between the the sixth-seeded RiverKings and the number-three seed Tulsa Oilers.

Tulsa vs. Mississippi

Game 1 – Thu., Mar. 31 – Mississippi at Tulsa, Tonight…7:05

Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 1 – Mississippi at Tulsa, 7:35

Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 3 – Tulsa at Mississippi, 5:05

*Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 5 – Tulsa at Mississippi, 7:05

*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 9 – Mississippi at Tulsa, 7:35

*-if needed

The first three…Sports 56, WHBQ-AM and CHL-TV.

Last night

Game One

Wichita Thunder 2 Missouri Mavericks 1

Wichita leads 1-0 in the best-of-5 Opening Round series

Next Game: Game Two – Friday, April 1 at Missouri (7:05 PM CST)

Tonight in the Opening Round:

Series:

Allen vs. Rio Grande Valley

Texas vs. Odessa

Bossier-Shreveport vs. Arizona

Tulsa vs. Mississippi

Rapid City vs. Dayton

Colorado vs. Quad City

Bloomington vs. Fort Wayne
Opening Round and the Conference Semi Finals will be best-of-5 series..

What happened in the final three…

Friday night

The Kings dropped a 3-1 decision to the Allen Americans last Friday at the DeSoto Civic Center.

Saturday night

The Kings were down by four goals vs the Americans in Allen, Texas on Saturday night. But, for some reason, they had some life in the third period. The RiverKings scored four goals in the third and ended the period in a 4-4 tie. The Kings won in the shootout. The final 5-4.

Sunday…

The Kings finished the season on a bad note. No surprise. They got whipped 8-1 to the Thunder in Wichita. (Ouch)

Joe Sports thoughts

Sorry folks there is no run for the Cup this year.

That’s the way I see it and I’m Joe Sports

Just a quick note on a former King Player: Marge…Good luck Margeson.

http://www.midsouthicehouse.com/programs/hockey/assistant-hockey-director/

Playoff Predictions

Ahhhhh, the playoffs, one of the best times of the year! It would be a lot better if the Kings had a chance, the Kings were in a slump all season.The question is, who is going to win the Cup this year?

This year has been full of ups and downs for many clubs and has been very unpredictable as a whole.Who are the serious contenders?

Momentum, it means so much in this league! Anyways, here I go with my predictions.

I know the final four already. So why analize each series in each round. It’s a waste of time. Lets cut to the chase and give you the final four. That way you can get some other things done in playoff time.

The Turner Conference was pretty close, it was very competitive this year.

The Turner Conference has a few teams which could go deep into the playoffs and contend for the cup. The first of these teams is the the Rapid City Rush. The Rush have a good all around team.

They have come together in the second half of the season and are looking to be in good shape to defend their championship this year.

The Eagles will go deep into the playoffs also. If they play at a high level, expect Colorado to battle the Rush in the conference final.The only thing I would question on this team is their heart.

Final- Rush over Colorado in 7 games.

Berry Conference

Only one team stands above the crowd. The Allen Americans.

The only other team that could really surprise in the Berry Conference , I think is the Oilers. Can they get the goaltending. That’s the big question. If they do get the goaltending, there is no reason they can’t get to the Conference final.They have the offensive talent.

THE REST OF THE CONFERENCE IS NOT THAT GOOD. I would have put the Bugs in the conference final, but they have not had the goaltending this year.

The odds on favorite to win the cup are the Rush. They play in a much tougher conference. But the road to the Cup will go through Allen. Rush vs the Americans. Americans in 7 this year though..

No matter who wins the cup a few key factors will need to come into play:

1) Goaltending – can the teams goalie play above the norm?

2) Injuries – the deeper a team goes into the playoffs the more injuries will impact them.

3) Referees – Will the CHL referees change the course of the playoffs like they have done to many games in the regular season.

That’s the way I see THE PLAYOFFS and I’m Joe Sports.

Enjoy the game tonight and have a great day.

I’m Joe Sports

First to 100: Grizzlies beat Spurs 111-104

The game was billed as a playoff preview. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen led with 23 points each.

Spurs haven’t won without Duncan. Lost Ginobli (injury) and Popovich (insanity) in second quarter. Grizz lost Sam Young (ankle) right after.

Grizz led at the end of every quarter, Allen and Z-Bo carried team through finish: scored 20 of last 22 points.

The crowd showed love for Allen at the free throw line chanting “Tony! Tony! Tony!”

Grizz have won 41. Houston lost to Miami, playoff spot cushion at 2 1/2.

Quote it from Coach Hollins. “Tonight was an unbelievable test of character and will.”

First to 100 is a new feature for MemphiSport.net that will appear after every Grizzlies home game. 100 or so words of the best stuff from that night’s action. Check back again Wednesday night for the next edition.

Doug Gillon covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter@douggillon. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow  @memphisport@cerrito, and @chasingphoto.

Story photo by JD Meredith

MSL: 3.26.11

Hour 1:

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter talk about Rudy Gay’s season ending injury,  Tony Allen’s controversial postgame comments, Mike Anderson’s coaching ability, and more during the Starting 5. Also, the guys debut yet another spinoff of a Middays with Greg and Eli bit.  Plus, Kevin calls out all the members of the Grizzlies organization not growing a “playoff beard.”

Click here to listen to Hour 1 of the 3.26.11 MSL

Hour 2:

Tri- State Defender Grizzlies reporter Kelley Evans joins  Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter in studio for this week’s edition of Hang Up & Listen. Also, V3 Fights matchmaker Rick McCracken and MMA fighter Dekaire Sanders stop by in studio to discuss the promotion’s upcoming event at Minglewood Hall. Plus, an official review of “Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’” and more during the return of Woohoo’s and Boo’s.

Click here to listen to Hour 2 of the 3.26.11 MSL

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Show in the 2010 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Kings Clinch/Are we finished?

Well , not a bad weekend for the Mississippi RiverKings. The Kings were 2-1-0 and have clinched a playoff spot. Yes, you read it right, have clinched a playoff spot.

Now don’t get to excited about this, all but one team in the Berry Conference makes it. I guess the league wants to put more money in the owners hands. How does a team with a 29-29-5 record qualify for a playoff spot. Hey don’t get me wrong, I love the playoffs, but seriously folks, how far are we going to go?

It’s the final weekend in the CHL. Mississippi is 6TH in the Berry Conference race. Four points behind fifth-place Odessa and four points ahead of seventh place Arizona.

Friday Night

The RiverKings edged Texas 6-5 in the opener of a three game weekend. Scoring for the Kings, Boyd, Flath,Stoddard, Lackner(2) and Richards.

Saturday Night

The RiverKings played another solid game on Saturday night as they completed the sweep vs the Texas Brahmas with a 4-3 victory at the DCC. We had four different goal scorers on the night, Chris Auger, Sarazin, Smith and Sheldrake scored for the Kings.

Sunday…

We went back to playing bad hockey. We were spanked 7-0 by the Missouri Mavericks in Independence. Mississippi was outshot 35-22 in the game.

The final 3 this weekend.

We take on the Allen Americans at home on Friday and play Allen again on Saturday in their barn. Sunday we play in Witchita vs the Thunder.

The Mississippi RiverKings of the Central Hockey League have announced information regarding ticket pricing for the upcoming 2011 Ray Miron President’s Cup playoff series. The RiverKings have qualified as one of the eight teams from the Berry Conference to play in the CHL post-season.

Joe Sports thoughts…

Well, we looked good on Friday and Saturday, but Sunday we looked like a team that didn’t care.

Are we finished?

I still think we’re done, there is a log jam in the standings, but to me this team doesn’t have what it takes.

What do you think?

Here’s a few thoughts from some fans that emailed me after the weekend and some comments on other RiverKing chat forums..

Sunday’s game..

1.This ranks right up there with the first game of the season. If a team of so called professionals is going to mail it in, why not call in sick and stay in Southaven, donate their pay and bus expense to the Jr Riverkings and everyone will be happy. Just when you thought things might be getting better. Poor babies, the bus ride must have been brutal.

ITS CALLED PRIDE!!!!

2.The Turtles just looked like a really bad team

3.I didn’t think the Turtles looked bad, they looked like they were skating in wet cement.

That is this team’s calling card…WORLD BEATERS ONE NIGHT, AND ABSOLUTE SLUGS THE NEXT! No one should be even slightly surprised by this!

4.The Kings are not going anywhere.

5.This team has sucked since the start of the season.

The fans have spoken…

JOE SPORTS FINAL THOUGHTS THIS WEEK

This team has had it’s worse season, we were a least competitive in the last five or six seasons and maybe more. This was a bad bad season.

The Plus/Minus stinks. Put it this way, when the highlight of your sports year is the Kings winning three in a row, it’s been a bad year.

That’s the way I see it and I’m Joe Sports.

I’m Joe Sports have a great day and week and enjoy the final 3.

MSL interview with “Memphis Heat” director Chad Schaffler

Director of “Memphis Heat, The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’” Chad Schaffler joined Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter in studio to discuss the new documentary about the history of Memphis wrestling premiering March 24 at Malco Paradiso.

AUDIO:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Click here to download the Chad Shaffler “Memphis Heat” interview on the March 19, 2011 MSL

Watch the “Memphis Heat” trailer here.

Click here for more MSL interviews.

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Show in the 2010 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll. Listen to full episode podcasts here.

MSL Exclusive: Josh Pastner’s first radio show interview following the Tigers’ 2011 NCAA tournament appearance

University of Memphis men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner joined Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter on the March 19, 2011 MSL for his first radio show interview following the Tigers’ 2011 NCAA tourney appearance. Coach Pas talked what it meant to play his old team, his plans for the offseason, his new phrase to replace “winning is hard”, the future of the lucky St. Jude Hope tie, and more.

AUDIO:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Click here to download the full Josh Pastner interview from the March 19, 2011 MSL

Click here for more MSL interviews.

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Show in the 2010 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll. Listen to full episode podcasts here.

MSL: 3.19.11

Hour 1:

University of Memphis men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner joins Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter for his first radio show interview following the Tigers’ 2011 NCAA tourney appearance. Plus, the guys talk about Tiger fans going to the airport to cheer on the team, Ryan Williams leaving the Tiger football program, the status of Rudy Gay’s injury and more during the Starting 5.

Click here to listen to Hour 1 of the 3.19.11 MSL

Hour 2:

Director of “Memphis Heat, The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’” Chad Schaffler joins  Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter in studio to discuss his new documentary about the history of Memphis wrestling. Also, the guys give away a pair of tickets to Bellator 38 and a free Johnny Brusco’s pizza to the winner of another edition of Hang Up & Listen. Plus, Bellator fighter Daniel Gracie calls in to talk about his main event bout at Harrah’s Tunica on MTV 2.

Click here to listen to Hour 2 of the 3.19.11 MSL

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Show in the 2010 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Super Grizz spoofs the “Blake Griffin car jump dunk” in front of Blake Griffin (Video)

Grizzlies mascot Super Grizz did his own version of Blake Griffin’s All-Star weekend car jump dunk during a timeout at the March 14, 2011 game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers at FedExForum. Blake Griffin was standing just a few feet away, smiling and trying not to watch.

MemphiSport’s videographer captured the exclusive footage:

 

 

For live MemphiSport tweets during Grizzlies games follow @memphisport, @douggillon, @cerrito, @notthegolfer and @chasingphoto.

Story photo by Justin Ford.


 



5 Reasons You Should Go See the Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have been in this situation before.  It’s the middle of March and the team is battling for a playoff spot.  This time last year they faded down the stretch, narrowly missing the playoffs.

This year, the team is one year more experienced with new and old weapons added to their arsenal.  Now, is the time to jump back on the bandwagon and be a part of Grizz Country at FedExForum.

Here are 5 reason you should go see the Grizzlies live in person:

5)  It’s a Great Deal

The Grizzlies promotion staff does a pretty good job in keeping ticket prices fair and reasonable compared to the other teams around the NBA.   Plus there are tickets available to every game, which is not the case for all NBA teams.

Sure, the usual complaints will come, “well parking is too much” (which is true), and “the food is too much.”

Go eat dinner beforehand at one of the restaurants downtown, or eat something at home before you go.  So, if you do get  hungry, just get a snack like popcorn or candy instead of something like barbecue nachos.

There is some type of promotion every night, some in game, like the “FedEx Delivery of the game”, or pre-game giveaways to the first 5,000 fans like “Bobble-Head Night” or “Poster Night.”

Another thing that is done to make tickets affordable is the choices of packs or deals that you can buy.

The price shouldn’t be the thing that keeps you from coming to the game.

4) Fans of Opposing Teams Have No Trouble Showing Up

It seems that when the big name teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics come to town, the crowd at the FedExForum isn’t as pro-Grizzlies as the crowd is when the team is playing other teams around the NBA.  It has been this way ever since the Grizzlies moved here from Vancouver.

It is time for that to change.  There is not another team in the state, or for that matter within three hundred miles of the city, so you can’t claim local allegiance to any other team either, unless you are actually from that city.

We’ve heard the excuse, that “Oh, I was a (insert NBA team) fan before the Grizzlies came here.”  Well it has been ten years and chances are, the franchise that you were a fan of ten years ago, has different players on the team then they had when the team moved here.  I’m not saying that if you really have been a die-hard fan of a team for 30 or so years that you should change allegiances now, but at least support your home town when they play every other team and come to cheer them on, not just come to the Forum once a year to cheer “your team” on.

The Grizzlies feed off the crowd, and that was very evident this past Wednesday in the game against the New York Knicks.  The crowd was into it from the pre-game introductions in which Carmelo Anthony was heavily booed, all the way to the final buzzer.  Unfortunately, Carmelo had the last laugh as he hit the game winner with 0.5 seconds left on the clock.  Memphis was down by 17 points at one point in the third quarter and as they battled their way back into the game, the crowd got louder and louder for the Grizzlies.

Bring your kids to the games too, as now is the time they start choosing teams and who to root for, and who better than the home town team.  I am sure that most kids are brought up to root for the Tigers, why not the Grizzlies too?

3) It’s a Great Place to Compare Your Playoff Beard with other Fans

Grizzlies games have become the Mid-South’s largest gathering of bearded people ever since the team started growing “Playoff Beards” and encouraging the rest of the fan base to do the same. Is your beard as good as Rob Fischer’s or the ones in the Pepsi Super Fan Section?

Grizzlies bench celebrates during last week's win over OKC.

2) This Team is Fun to Root For

You don’t have to take my word for it, they do have other media outlets(ESPN and SI) talking about the Grizzlies in a positive light for the first time in a long time. This team is on a roll and fun to watch.

Being one of the hottest teams in the league has gotten the league buzzing about the Grizzlies and none of the teams they play are taking them lightly and their recent run has them right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.  They have done a good portion of this run without their franchise player Rudy Gay.  Now, you can argue that Zach Randolph is the franchise player, but that is an argument for another day.

Bringing in old faces like Shane Battier and Jason Williams also should bring in some fans that the franchise has lost over the past few years in which questionable front office decisions were made such as the Pau trade and a flurry of under performing draft picks.  Those two are arguably two of the most appreciated and well liked players this franchise has ever had.  Maybe these two guys are a little older and not as quick as they once were, but they bring experience and familiarity to this franchise.

As for the rest of the team, Z-Bo and Tony Allen embrace the city and take on the “hard working, we get no respect” attitude that this city loves to embrace.  Whether Tony Allen is going loco on the bench waving his towel or Z-Bo is taking off his head band, the crowd loves  it when those two guys get going and those guys feed off the energy of the crowd as well.  It also seems that as the season has progressed the rest of the team has taken on that attitude and being on the same page has definitely turned this team into a dangerous team to watch and one that nobody wants to see in the first round of the playoffs.

1) Ownership is Finally Serious About Winning

Many of the common complaints on why people don’t go to the games or down to FedExForum to watch the Grizzlies have been addressed so far.  The main one though is the fact that some fans felt the Grizzlies weren’t putting a winner on the floor or were even trying to be competitive.

They missed the playoffs last year, but made vast improvements in every facet of the game and increased their win total by eleven games.  That set up this year, the final year of Heisley’s “three year plan” in which he pledged a playoff berth for this franchise.  In this three year plan, the development of Hasheem Thabeet was one of the main priorities in order for this team to become a contender.  Well, that plan fell through, but in trading Thabeet (with DeMarre Carroll and a first-rounder) to Houston for fan favorite and defensive stopper Shane Battier (and Ish Smith), Heisley basically admitted making a mistake in drafting Thabeet and wants to win now!

Maybe the Rudy Gay injury played a part in making this deal happen, but that rumor was swirling well before the injury occurred.  Heisley knew that if the Grizzlies were to get to the playoffs and make some noise, that move had to be made.

Heisley is not a man that admits many mistakes and he also does not like to give up on something he had so much riding on, but he did.

Now, it is your turn to buy into the Grizzlies making a run at the playoffs because everyone else is pitching in and buying in to this team.

Do what you can to make this town a Grizzlies town and give the team a unique environment for opposing teams to come into and fear the beard.

Ben Hogan is a regular contributor to Memphisport. You can follow him on Twitter @notthegolfer. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow @memphisport, @douggillon, @cerrito, and @chasingphoto.

Story photo by Chase Gustafson.

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Futsol: A Competetive Option for Winter Sports

Business leader brings new indoor sport to the Memphis area.

Winter can prove brutal to the average soccer player.  While playing outdoors is not ruled out entirely, frozen fields and bitterly cold temperatures offer little in the way of pick-up games.  For those seeking warmth and competition, an internationally popular alternative has reached the United States, providing athletes the opportunity to take the game indoors.

Futsol, a variant of soccer, is mostly played indoors on a hard court surface.  The name is derived from the Spanish fútbol de salón, or hall football.  Futsol teams have fewer players than those of soccer, playing on a field much smaller than a soccer pitch using a harder ball with less bounce.  Because of tighter boundaries, futsol players face a fast-paced game with the need for precise ball control.

At Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) in Memphis, some of the Mid-South’s finest young soccer players are invited to play futsol twice a week with area club and college coaches, honing in on their footwork and training during soccer’s off-season.  The invitational also allows them to compete at a higher level, free of charge.

For IPC member and futsol co-manager Randy Wright, offering the church’s gym to the athletes was a natural decision.  As a former coach of various youth sports at IPC and a lifelong athlete, Wright sought a way to assist with futsol in the Mid-South.

“Since futsol is mostly parent-led in Memphis and not widely offered, hosting it provides an opportunity for me to become very involved,” he said.  “It gives me a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment to coach my own children and be involved in something they enjoy.  Any part I can have in teaching kids sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork is personally very rewarding.”

Along with co-manager Kevin Parker, Wright serves as timekeeper and official for the futsol scrimmages at IPC as well as guardian to the athletes, ensuring clean matches and hydrated, healthy bodies.

“The players’ parents trust that they can leave their kids here for a couple of hours and know that we’re going to take care of them, make them take water breaks and play fairly, all while providing elite competition,” Wright said.  “And, during soccer season, we take the game outdoors so they can practice year-round.”

By day, Wright leads a team of more than 40 employees as Executive Vice President for Intermodal Cartage, a Memphis-based company and home to the largest intermodal terminal in the Southeast.  He finds a distinct correlation between the workplace and sports.

“Teamwork is just as critical for business as it is in sports,” Wright said.  “Behind my desk, I have a photo that depicts a sailing team working shoulder to shoulder to keep its boat upright.  As any team works to reach a common goal, they must put differences aside and have trust for and commitment to one another.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2011 issue of Memphisport.