SportsNet - April 2012
Tuesday night at the NHL Draft Lottery, the Edmonton Oilers won the right to select first overall for the third-straight year at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Barring a major surprise, that pick will be used to select Nail Yakupov of the OHL's Sarnia Sting.
Whether or not the Oilers are the team that will ultimately select Yakupov remains to be seen. Yakupov appears to be an exceptionally skilled forward, but the Oilers currently have an abundance of quality forwards, leading many to believe they would be better off trading the pick to address more urgent team needs.
When asked by TSN's James Duthie if the Oilers were considering selecting Yakupov first overall, or selecting another player, or trading the pick, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini replied, "All of the above."
Wherever Yakupov plays, the pressure of being selected first in the Draft is immense. Expectations are high, scrutiny is intense, and failure to perform can chisel your name into the memories of hockey fans forever, for all the wrong reasons. No one wants to be the next Alexandre Daigle.
In an era where it is common knowledge that grudge matches serve as pay-per-view promotion, UFC fans have become accustomed to manufactured grudges.
It is no longer a surprise to hear a fighter tell Joe Rogan, post-fight, that he has always respected the opponent he spent the last two months insulting at every public opportunity. Some fighters go so far as to admit all their trash-talking was designed to create hype and generate revenue.
So on the rare occasion we come across a genuine grudge, and not Zuffa-manufactured, like the one between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, it is easy to tell the difference.
There is something awkward in the tension between Jones and Evans, something that can't be faked. It comes across the screen every time they are within spitting distance of each other.
The details of their feud are foggy, and they vary depending on whose version of events you're listening to.
One thing is for sure: the UFC is cashing in.
Tennis, especially American tennis, is coming off a good weekend.
The U.S. Davis Cup team won 3-2 in Monte Carlo against France; Serena Williams defeated Lucie Safarova 6-0 6-1 at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. for her 40th title; and several tennis dignitaries were rolling Easter eggs on the White House Lawn.
What is the state of tennis?
As the 2012 NFL Draft nears, the consensus opinion is that wide receiver will be the position the Texans will focus on with their first round selection.
However, there are some who believe that the Texans will exercise the "best player available" draft philosophy. Rick Smith may deserve credit for using that mentality heading into the Draft. Results from the last draft seem to have proven that the strategy works.
The Texans may likley remain in the market for a top wide out to ease pressure off Andre Johnson.
A benefit of the 2012 Draft is that the wide-receiver class is so deep that quality talent can be found in the second round. Stephen Hill and Alshon Jeffery are both quality receivers and are expected to be available in the second round.
Houston may have an eye on draft depth, and perhaps at wide receiver, as the club is rumored to be interested in dealing their first round picks for an additional second rounder, and more.
Less than an hour after the Family Circle Cup finals began Sunday, Serena Williams was a 6-0, 6-1 winner and dancing on Stadium Court to the strains of "Hey Ya!" by Outkast.
With an emphatic win over Lucie Safarova, Williams claimed her first clay-court title since she won the South Carolina tournament in 2008.
On what has long been her shakiest surface, Williams looked as solid as ever.
In winning her 40th WTA title in the Family Circle Cup, Williams put an exclamation point on a dominant week, and signaled that she will be a force during Grand Slam and Olympic events this summer.
Williams went through a representative Family Circle field this week like it was a bowl of her favorite banana pudding. Her victory over 26th-ranked Safarova was just as lopsided, if not quite as impressive, as Saturday's 6-1, 6-1 semifinal trouncing of No. 5 Samantha Stosur.
"I don't know what was going on with me the last two matches," Williams told the crowd after the match. "But I hope I can keep it up. I definitely want to continue this," said Williams who will move from 10 to nine when the new world rankings come out.