An Avalanche of Possibilities

Joe SakicHeading into the new season, the Colorado Avalanche hopes to regain their spot as one of the league’s elite.

“I like our chances, right away, to compete for a Cup,” said captain Joe Sakic.

It’s just like old times for Denver. And unfortunately for everyone else in the NHL, the Avs have what it takes to win, especially with their additions this offseason.

Signing big name unrestricted free agent Ryan Smyth fills many offensive holes for Colorado, as they needed a grinding forward, who can drive the net hard and play on the special teams. Veteran Smyth not only fit those criterias, but he’ll help light up the opposing goal.

Imagine Smyth causing havoc in front of the other team’s goaltender, with Sakic and Milan Hejduk releasing snipers at the net. It’s a dream come true for point-hungry poolies.

Colorado also has a strong supporting cast. One of the best players during the second half of last season was 21-year-old Paul Stastny, who has the making an all-star forward. Alongside him will be Andrew Brunette, who recorded a career high in points, and Wojtek Wolski, who tallied 22 goals as a rookie. (Look for Joel Quenneville to evenly distribute the top two lines by placing Brunette up front with Sakic and Smyth)

Also, Marek Svatos will try to redeem his lacklustre sophomore season, while Ian Laperriere and Tyler Arnason adds offensive depth to an already threatening forward unit.

One player to keep an eye on is 30-year-old Jaroslav Hlinka. Signed by the Avs this off-season after high recommendations from Hejduk, the winger was named best forward in the Czech League last year. No other GMs took a chance on him, and they might be kicking themselves later on this season.

Smyth HannonWhen it comes to defense, the arrival of Scott Hannan improves the blueline crew dramatically. Maybe the toughness aspect still needs some work, but a newer trap system implemented by coach Q near the end of last season contributed to their late success. Look for that again.

Also, look for Jordan Leopold to rebound from an injury plagued ’06-’07 showing, and play a major role on Colorado’s top unit. Offensively, the Avs are set in the back end, with John-Michael Liles, Brett Clark and Leopold hopefully finding the net. Defensively, it’ll be more of a challenge. Guys like Karlis Skrastins and Kurt Sauer will need to step up their game, or they might find themselves falling on the depth chart.

The biggest concern for Colorado is their goaltending. Peter Budaj is going to make it or break it for this team, and if the Avs want to be Stanley Cup material, they need their puck-stopper to be on top of his game all year long. Budaj is quick on his feet and has shown flashes of brilliance, but rebound control is a big problem for this young Slovak. However, if he does falter, they have the highest paid backup in the whole NHL. Yes, remember Jose Theodore? If Theodore, who makes $6 million this season, can outplay Budaj for the number one spot and regain his 2002 Hart Trophy form, there is no telling how far this Colorado team can go.

There’s only two possible conclusions for this Avalanche season:

  1. With all cylinders firing, they have what it takes to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference once again. There is no doubt that they possess the talent to succeed, especially offensively. After a couple years of dropping in the standings, Colorado is back as a threat. Don’t be surprised to see Colorado in the finals.
  2. The other option is for them to be ‘mediocre’. They have what it takes to be successful but how many times have we seen a skilled team not produce? However, whether the chemistry clicks or not, the Avs will be in a playoff contender-ship position, if not fighting for the Northwest division lead. Barring major injury, one thing is for certain: Don’t expect to see this team amongst the bottom dwellers.

Colorado looks good on paper, but that’s the problem. Until they can prove that they mesh well as a team, there are no guarantees.

The biggest question mark revolves around the crease, and it just might end up deciding their fate. Having said that, Colorado can still score with the best in the league and has a great chance reclaiming their past spot as division champions.

It’s time for some Mile High redemption.

TSC NHL Season Preview

Ducks CupFinally the country of Canada will be back to normal. This Saturday, Hockey Night in Canada returns to sooth hockey fans from the tip of Newfoundland to the shores of British Columbia, who have not had a whiff of NHL hockey since June.

With the arrival of the new NHL campaign, the heavy predictions are rolling in from the experts, and we at TSC are no different.

Seeing as how the Stanley Cup won’t be decided for another nine months or so, it would be rather pompous to predict a winner right now. Well here goes nothing:

Look for the Western Conference to be won by the Anaheim Ducks again, but not in the same fashion they did last year, as they only lost five games all through the playoffs. Also the loss of their stars from last year were replaced in off-season moves as Todd Bertuzzi takes over Teemu Selanne’s spot, while Mathieu Schneider fills in for Scott Neidermayer. The Ducks still have what it takes to claim the title back-to-back.

JagrOut of the East, it’ll be the New York Rangers. They spent the big bucks on Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, who have both been apart of winning hockey clubs in the past and both will help a team that was already on the cusp of becoming something special. They have the goaltending in Henrik Lundqvist and a strong defensive corps that has the ability to play big and play smart at both ends of the rink. Let’s hope this isn’t a repeat of high-paid players failing to show up. So unfortunately to all hockey fans in Canada, there will not be a Canadian team in the finals.

Here is why there won’t be a Canadian team in the finals. We’ll run through this starting in the west and moving east:

Vancouver CanucksVancouver Canucks: The Canucks turned a lot of heads last year when they made it to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs before being defeated by the eventual Stanley Cup champs, the Anaheim Ducks. Much of the teams success was due to the play of their Most Valuable Player, Roberto Luongo and to a lesser extent, the play of the Sedin twins throughout the regular season. The question at the end of last year was whether they can produce offensively, and it has yet to be answered. Can this year’s team help lessen the burden on Luongo by scoring more? Can the Sedin’s and Markus Naslund produce when the heat is on? Well, only time will tell. For now the Canucks remain a solid contender in the West, and they can thank Luongo for that.

FINISH: Third in West

Calgary FlamesCalgary Flames: The Calgary Flames did little in the way of any big acquisitions this summer, as far as players go. However, the Flames did add a new head coach. Remember a guy named Mike Keenan? Yeah, he’s their new head coach. When Keenan was hired by his friend Darryl Sutter, questions instantly surrounded the Flames organization on whether or not Keenan could do the bench job anymore. Well, like their foes to the west, we are going to have to wait and see. One may argue that in a game so dependant upon systems and technicalities of the game, is there room for a pure motivational coach? Whatever argument you make for the coaching of the Flames, they still have the goaltending, depth on defence and ability to outscore their opponent on most night to make a healthy run in the west. Look for Jarome Iginla to lead the way again, with Dion Phaneuf being a bigger force on D then he was last couple years.

FINISH: Sixth in West

Edmonton OilersEdmonton Oilers: If the Edmonton Oilers did one thing particularly well in the off season, it was aggravate the rest of the league by dishing out offer sheets to such players as Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres and Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Ducks. G.M.’s around the league can be as mad as they want to be with Kevin Lowe, but at the end of the day, he does not care what 29 other general managers think of him so long as he gets his team to win again. There is just one problem. The fans of Edmonton will have to wait a while before they become a winner again. With Ryan Smyth gone, Jason Smith gone and an aging goaltender in Dwayne Roloson, this team is in a rebuilding stage. But with Penner and up-and-comers like Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano, the future looks bright for the Oilers. Just not now.

FINISH: 10th in West

Toronto Maple LeafsToronto Maple Leafs: Will this be the year that the Toronto Maple Leafs make it back to the big dance? Yes it will be. One thing that the Leafs have added strength to is a goaltending position that may have had as gaping a 5-hole as the goalies that occupied those positions. With the addition of Vesa Toskala, the Leafs now have two capable goalies that will open the season with the big club. The other being Andrew Raycroft, who will look to improve on his 37 wins and .894 save per cent age. The Leafs also added a scoring tough, by signing the skilled Jason Blake. These additions just might be enough to propel the Leafs into the playoffs.

FINISH: Seventh in East

Ottawa SenatorsOttawa Senators: There is not a whole lot in Ottawa that needed changing over the summer, since the team was systematically picked apart in the Stanley Cup finals by the Anaheim Ducks. They were there, they had the team, but the Ducks were simply the more deserving hockey club. The Senators need to improve on a mental game. They have the talent. It can be contested that the Sens possess the largest skill set in the NHL right now. Goaltender Ray Emery is more than capable of keeping his form from last spring, but has to grow mentally strong and last year’s defeat to the Ducks will help that learning process. It will help his team’s focus as well. However, there is another power in the East – that being the New York Rangers – that will prevail over the Senators in the playoffs.

FINISH: First in East

Montreal CanadiensMontreal Canadiens: This year can go one of two directions for the Habs. It sounds cliché, but hey welcome to sports. Up or down. But let’s examine the facts. In order for this team to have a good year, they must give goaltender Carey Price a job with the big club. This kid is the real deal. He guided Team Canada to a Gold Medal at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, then took the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League to the Calder Cup and eventually won the whole thing, proving that he is a winner. Not only that, he is a competitor. Montreal needs that in order to get anywhere this season, especially with their lack of off-season moves. They are going to be battling for that final playoff position once again, but we’re predicting that the Habs will manage to squeak by.

FINISH: Eighth in East

With every year comes the emergence of one dark horse team. Last year, it was the Vancouver Canucks on the strength of thoroughbred Roberto Luongo. The Canucks were picked by some to not even contend for a playoff spot, so you can imagine the sound of jaws dropping collectively within the pro hockey world when they capture the Northwest Division.

Alex OvechkinThis year, the dark horse will be the Washington Capitals. With the addition of Swedish sensation Nicklas Backstrom, winger Victor Kozlov, and play-maker Michael Nylander, the supporting cast for Alexander Ovechkin just got a whole lot better. The defense isn’t all too bad either with Tom Poti and Brian Pothier leading the way. The Caps also managed to sign Russian rookie Simeon Varlamov to a three year entry level contract, in hopes of him succeeding Olaf Kolzig. If Kolzig fails to shine, don’t be surprised to see Varlamov take over the number one spot. It’s about time Washington rose in the standings.

Well, after hours and hours of typing and researching; researching and typing, it is time to finally enjoy some hockey. Bring it on!

If Fashion Decided the Cup…

In what will amount to my NHL preview, what would the world be like if a team’s style determined the standings? Yeah it would probably suck, but with the influx of these new jersey styles it’s time to take a look at who looks good and who makes me want to puke.

Keep in mind these are not predictions based on talent whatsoever.

Western Conference

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets – This may be the best jersey in the conference, if not the league. The logo, the Ohio state flag wrapped around a star, is among the flashiest, while the look is simple and patriotic. Even a Canadian – like myself – can appreciate the underlying theme. This is one jersey I’d consider buying (if I wasn’t broke). The Blue Jackets marketing department should consider a Red third jersey. – Stanley Cup finalist
  2. Calgary Flames – It’s hard to screw up the red and black. The flaming C is one of the best logos in hockey and while the vertical lines don’t really do it for me in general, they seem to work here. The Alberta flag on the shoulder clashes with the overall concept and maybe they should have stuck with the Canadian flag on both shoulders. – Western Conference finalist
  3. St. Louis Blues – I’ve always been a fan of the St. Louis logo. The music note speaks to me. This new jersey, on the other hand, does not. There is too much going on with the vertical lines on the home jersey. The road whites aren’t half bad but maybe it’s just the note singing to me and ooh baby, can it sing. – Central Division runner-up
  4. Minnesota Wild – Stylistically it’s very much like Columbus in its simplicity. But both the road and home jerseys are missing something. I prefer the logo used on the home jerseys to that of the road jersey but the colour scheme is better on the road. – Northwest Division runner-up
  5. Detroit Red Wings – Detroit kept it simple and perhaps to a fault. The Red Wing is a classy look and will suffice but the shoulders look like a blank canvas. Something should have been done to make this jersey less boring. You don’t screw with something as historic as the Red Wing but I see no reason for the lack of creativity on the shoulders. – Central Division playoff team
  6. Chicago Blackhawks – While some jerseys are far too busy, this jersey strikes me as being empty. I’ve always liked the Blackhawks logo and colour scheme and there is only a subtle change in the look for the new jerseys. However, the excess amount of white at the bottom of the home jersey is almost alarming. Maybe it will grow on me after seeing it on the ice. – Central Division playoff team
  7. Anaheim Ducks – I’m indifferent to this jersey. The major changes made to the Ducks look over the past few years remain intact and therefore there isn’t as much of a difference from last year to this year. Would I wear it? Probably not, but then again I don’t live in Orange County. – Pacific Division champs
  8. Edmonton Oilers – I don’t mind this jersey. That said I’m not ecstatic about it. If I were from Edmonton I’d wear the home jersey. Like many teams, the road whites aren’t very enticing. – Northwest Division fringe playoff team
  9. Colorado Avalanche – This looks like a practice jersey and I can’t tell if I hate it or not. I know I don’t like it. They tried to be far too stylish and ended up over-thinking themselves in the process, a common theme with some other teams. – Northwest Division fringe playoff team
  10. Phoenix Coyotes – This is half decent though it’s nothing special. It could be far worse. – Pacific Division cellar dweller
  11. Los Angeles Kings – When have the Kings ever had a nice jersey? Well it’s another strange jersey for LA this go round. The Los Angeles strewn across the bottom is unnecessary and the logo is far from one of my favorites. The sleeves are different and time will probably tell that different is yet again, not good. – Pacific Division cellar dweller
  12. San Jose Sharks – The colour scheme and logo are great but putting the player’s number in the top corner feels like they just did it because they can. Captains will have an incredibly busy-looking jersey the sight of which should not be seen by hockey fans. I urge you to avert your children’s eyes, they may be scarred for life. – Pacific Division cellar dweller
  13. Dallas Stars – Personal Foul! What is this basketball? Was Mark Cuban consulted? This is an atrocity. The road jersey isn’t nearly as bad as the home jersey but there’s no forgiving this faux pas. – Pacific Division cellar dweller
  14. Nashville Predators – It’s safe to say the logo sucks. Despite what seem to be good intentions with the colour scheme there is no getting around the disgusting figure pasted on the front. I’d rather wear a Michael Vick jersey. – Western Conference bottom feeder
  15. Vancouver Canucks – Living in Vancouver we know far too much about the process that went into making this jersey, including the million dollars in research. Logos such as the Johnny Canuck or the stick in the rink were thought to be the answer but this is a massacre. Were it not for Vancouver spread across the top I wouldn’t have a major problem with it. But it’s there and I do. The orca is horrible and for the life of me I can’t understand why they wouldn’t go in a different direction. Everyone loves the stick in the rink. There’s your f*cking research. Slap it on a jersey and you’re sitting pretty. – NHL bottom feeder

Guess what Canucks fans, Vancouver still can’t win a cup. Even in a weak Western Conference they can’t even beat out the cellar teams. Interesting to note that the Pacific Division is incredibly weak while the Central Division got every team but one into the playoffs. The Northwest, as it does today, decides the remaining few playoff positions.

Eastern Conference

  1. Washington Capitals – Thank god they went back to this jersey. It’s automatically a cup-contender in the fashion world. Stylistically similar to the other jerseys in contention and a colour scheme and logo that is one of the most under-appreciated in the NHL. This is a jersey I would pay money for, especially with Ovechkin scribbled across the back. – Stanley Cup Champions
  2. Atlanta Thrashers – The colours are odd and yet it works. It very simply integrated the new designs and they didn’t go overboard with the vertical lines. Atlanta written down the sleeve is a nice touch and it shows they used some creativity while trying to play with the different parts of the jersey. – Eastern Conference finalist
  3. Philadelphia Flyers – There are some wacky sleeve designs and colour schemes in the NHL and this happens to be another one. I don’t mind it here, however. The logo is still obtrusive and a tad peculiar but this Halloween look has made a good impression on me. – Atlantic Division Champs
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning – The logo is, well, new. I’ve always thought it would be hard to screw up this combination colour scheme and team name, which is clearly one of the best in the league. But they can’t find a logo that goes with it. This is another poor attempt at a logo on an otherwise nice looking jersey. – Southeast division contenders
  5. Carolina Hurricanes – I have no idea what the squares encircling the bottom of the jersey are supposed to symbolize. I hope they do indeed symbolize something because that makes an otherwise nice jersey come off as strange. The rest of the jersey keeps it simple and it gets by because of it’s impressive logo. – Southeast division contenders
  6. Montreal Canadiens – It’s another one of those jerseys you can’t mess with. Too much tradition, too large of a fan base that’s based mainly on the history of the club. It’s a classy look and it will stay that way. – Northeast Division champs
  7. Ottawa Senators – The logo change is a welcome one. Though the sleeve design is somewhat strange the colours save the look and make it bearable. I like it but I wouldn’t buy it. – Northeast division contenders
  8. Pittsburgh Penguins – Very similar to Ottawa in style and it looks too much like a practice jersey for my tastes. I love the penguin but I’ve never understood the significance of the triangle behind it. – Atlantic division fringe playoff team.
  9. New York Rangers – A classic look that I think most people like but similar to New Jersey, there isn’t much creativity here. The third jersey logo (statue of liberty) with the same sleeve design as Columbus would have been a major improvement, at least as I can see it in my head. Maybe it’s something they will keep on as a third jersey anyways. – Atlantic division fringe playoff team
  10. Boston Bruins – It’s very similar to the old design because it’s one of the few logos you really can’t mess around with. There’s simply too much tradition behind it and the backlash that would occur going in a different direction would be catastrophic. It’s not a pretty jersey but it won’t make me spew. – Northeast division cellar
  11. New Jersey Devils – The jersey is very similar to the old style and while it isn’t flashy the logo goes well with the colour scheme. Something tells me they could have gone a little further with the overall design but it’s a solid jersey and a safe design. – Atlantic division cellar
  12. Florida Panthers – Another case of jersey designers gone mad. What the hell is going on with those sleeves? It’s a complete style clash almost as if they couldn’t decide which direction to go so they just combined the two. I like the colours, but from the back it looks like a Team USA basketball warm-up jersey. – Southeast division cellar
  13. Buffalo Sabres – Like San Jose and Dallas in the west, I’m not a fan of having numbers on the front of the jersey. We saw this last season from Buffalo and there wasn’t a very positive reaction. The colour scheme is good but the logo isn’t much to look at. The sleeve stripes are different from most teams and will cause a second look but this isn’t a playoff jersey. – Northeast division cellar
  14. New York Islanders – This version of the orange and blue doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t think the sleeve design goes well with this particular colour scheme. Maybe it’s just the colours in general. The logo in large is in need of wholesale reconstruction. – NHL bottom feeders
  15. Toronto Maple Leafs – What can I say … I live in Vancouver. There’s absolutely nothing nice I can say about Toronto. The jersey has too much history behind it to change it and with a rather self-centered fan base there is no chance in hell it changes anytime soon. Toronto sucks. – Is NHL scum too harsh of a term?

So Alexander Ovechkin brings home his first Stanley Cup only to realize that it means absolutely nothing. At least there are more contenders in the east than there are in the pathetic Western Conference. How is it that such a hotbed for hockey (the southeast division) produced the highest amount of decent looking uniforms, whereas the six Canadian cities couldn’t get it right?

So many questions, so few allen iversons.

Too view the jerseys, visit NHL Shop here.

Is Twenty Too Much or Too Little?

Steve DownieThe National Hockey League announced today that Steve Downie is suspended 20 games for his cheap hit on Dean McAmmond. But is twenty the right number?

Does this send a message to other players around the league in an attempt to prevent future hits to the heads? Or is it too harsh as there have been worse incidents where players have been punished the same amount of games?

The Philadelphia Flyer’s forward isn’t even guaranteed a spot on the team roster but will miss the first twenty games he’s scheduled to play, and if he’s sent down to the AHL, the league will have to re-evaluate on the suspension, and go from there.

Ottawa’s McAmmond on the other hand is lucky to not have gotten a worse injury as he suffered a concussion and some muscle damage. However, he accepted Downie’s apology a few days ago.

Flashback to several head shot incidents:

  1. The oh-so-infamous Todd Bertuzzi sucker punch to Steve Moore. Bertuzzi was suspended the rest of the season and playoffs, which in the end turned out to be a total of 20 games.
  2. Donald Brashear McSorleyAnother situation in Vancouver was when Boston’s Marty McSorley slashed Donald Brashear’s head in the last few seconds of a regular season game. McSorley was kicked out of the remaining 23 games and never played in the NHL after.
  3. Last season, Islander’s Chris Simon two-handed slashed Ranger’s Ryan Hollweg in the face and was suspended a minimum of 25 games, extending over to this season.
  4. In 2000, Phoenix’s Brad May was handed a 20-game suspension after a slash to the head of Columbus’ Steve Heinze.

The similarity of all these incidents was the fact that it was no-doubt intentional. There is no argument against the fact that the players did not do it on purpose.

In Downie’s case – putting his history in juniors aside – it was a body-check thrown at a player with the puck, however, the skates were off the ice. There are many different perspectives to view this but when comparing it to the past suspensions mentioned above, is this amount justified?

Some may argue that it’s exactly what the league needs in order to lower future offenses of the similar nature, while some may say that the suspension was too much, especially for a potential NHL mainstay forward.

You decide.

Marion Wants Out of Phoenix

Shawn MarionOn the contrary to Grossman’s demotion, this does come as a surprise.

Shawn Marion has come out publicly stating that he is sick of hearing his name in trade rumors, and it’s time for him to move on with his career.

“The Matrix” has been through everything in Phoenix. He was an all-star before Steve Nash, before Amare Stoudemire, and before the Suns were a topic of conversation.

From the Suns point of view, though, this isn’t the worst situation they can be in.

Marion is going to get some serious interest throughout the league. He can get you 20 points, ten boards and some flat out hard work each and every night, and he can guard almost anyone.

It’s no secret that the Suns are one of the most exciting offensive teams in the league, but the problem is that when they don’t have the ball, they’re playing e-fence. That’s right. No D.

With Stoudemire finally set to start a season with no injuries lingering as he has the past two years, that will help out adding to the point total, especially with the emerging superstar Leandro Barbosa coming into his own.

Because of this, the Suns could quite possibly trade for a solid, defense-first small forward that can guard the Kobe Bryants and Tracy McGradys of the NBA. And that could just be the missing piece of the puzzle that will hopefully get two-time MVP Steve Nash that championship ring, which he’s yet to try on.

Rex Out, Griese In

Rex GrossmanIt didn’t come as a surprise to many people, but Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith didn’t show any love to quarterback Rex Grossman by making it official that he has been demoted to the number two slot on the Bears’ depth chart, moving veteran Brian Griese to the starting position.

Grossman was putting up atrocious numbers and has looked flat out nervous all season long, which really isn’t gonna help his cause, with this being his contract year.

Because of all this, and the fact that they’re missing half of their starting defense, for the first time in a long time, the Bears can’t go into this game with a defense first attitude. Especially since they’re facing John Kitna and the Detroit Lions Sunday, who put up the most passing yards in the league last week.

Sunday’s divisional game in Detroit will most likely decide the fate of the Bears (1-2), as the tough NFC North division has the Lions (2-1) and Packers (3-0), who are playing better football than most would have predicted.

Going 1-3 is a very, very big hole to try and climb out of, especially with the injuries and lack of offense in Chicago.

Don’t count out Griese, though. He’s been around for a while and knows how to get the job done.

But with the Bear’s offensive ‘weapons,’ or lack there of, it’s going to be tough.

Finalists Falter a Year After

St. Louis Cardinals World Series TrophyMake it to the finals one year, end your season early the next.

This was a familiar scenario for all eight finalists of 2006 from the top four sports leagues in North America. What am I talking about? Here, take a look.

Let’s start off with Major League Baseball. In ’06, the St.Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers to claim the World Series title. After the New York Yankees won last night, the Tigers were officially eliminated from the playoffs, joining their previous season final opponents, the Cards, who were out of playoff contention weeks ago.

Both teams will be watching the playoffs on their couch, as opposed to in the dugout. How’s the view, Pujols?

Having been the last two teams standing in the baseball world prior to this year, it’s guaranteed now that such a feat won’t repeat as the set-up for a new World Series champion is under way.

Carolina Hurricanes Stanley CupLet’s switch over to the NHL.

Here was the match-up. Edmonton vs Carolina, Stanley Cup finals 2006. Yes, it was about as entertaining as Seinfeld’s series finale. Luckily for hockey fans, they knew by March the next year that a repeat of this Stanley Cup finals was impossible.

Both the Oilers and the Hurricanes failed to make the playoffs this past season, making it the first time in NHL history where the champion and runner-up from the year before won’t compete in the post-regular season festivities. Instead, the Anaheim Ducks went on to claim Lord Stanley, leaving the Edmonton and Carolina organizations in shame.

In the NBA’s case, it was much the same.

However, the main difference was that both finalists from ’06 made it to the playoffs next season. Unfortunately for them, they were both gone in the first round.

The Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks entertained the basketball world in the finals as the team from the Sunshine State prevailed. But it was all upside down a year later. The Heat were swept in the first round, while the Mavs were embarrassed in a 4-2 series defeat, setting the stage for a San Antonio Spurs victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the ’07 Finals.

There was no repeat, no defense of the title, and no rematch from the year before. Sounding familiar eh.

Pittsburgh Steelers Super BowlDid you bet on that, Tim Donaghy?

How about the NFL.

Steelers and Seahawks battled it out during Super Bowl XL, with Pittsburgh coming out on top to claim football’s glory. Glory didn’t last long for them as Steel Town failed – common theme here – to make it to the playoffs in ’07, paving the way for an Indianapolis Colts championship in SB XLI.

Out of all eight teams mentioned in each respected league, the only squad to make it into the playoffs the season after and past the first round was the Seattle Seahawks, who was defeated by the Chicago Bears to determine the Divisional champions.

Imagine that. Being at the top of the league one season, but falling prey to failure the next. Is this going to start becoming a trend in this ever-changing world of sports? Is there still room for repeats? For back-to-backs? For dynasties?

We’ll just have to wait and see.