SportsNet - May 2012
As the field of remaining teams challenging for The Stanley Cup continues to narrow, fans of the also-rans find themselves looking for somewhere to cast their support. This season's final four are increasingly looking like a final three (with the Phoenix Coyotes not-long for this world), neutral fans are faced with a three-way choice between the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings.
The Rangers and Devils are conspiring to play the least-exciting conference championship series in recent memory, with the games so far playing out as defensive grind-fests. When the New Jersey Devils, progenitors of the dreaded neutral-zone trap, are being referred to as the feisty and entertaining part of the matchup, you know you have a dud on your hands.
LA on the other hand, is playing a fast, dynamic and dominating style of hockey that is both physical yet sublime, losing only one of their first twelve games this post-season. Even with the LA sports spotlight being shared along with the NBA's LA Lakers and Clippers, the Kings have been embraced by the City of Angels in a way unseen since the Wayne Gretzky era.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo recently revealed that he was confident that Manchester United would win the Premier League Title.
Ronaldo was so confident that he put a bet on the outcome. It looked like the Portuguese star made a smart wager until Sergio Aguero's 93rd minute goal which gave Manchester City their first league title in 44 years.
Many believe that power has been shifted from the red half to the blue half of Manchester, but former United man Ronaldo has a different opinion. Ronaldo said that United will bounce back and they will bounce back in style.
"I saw a few days ago [City scored] two goals in the last minutes, 91 and 93. I had a bet that Manchester United would win the league but I lost,'' he told Sky Sports News. "I feel very disappointed because United are still in my heart."
"City have a fantastic team now, but I think Manchester United will carry on being kings of England.''
Ronaldo has not ruled out a move back to Old Trafford. Recently he confirmed that he is happy at Real Madrid as of now.
Somalia's hope of using football to wash away some of their dreadful past and making it to a major football event came to a disappointing end after they suffered a crushing 5-0 defeat at the hands of Ethiopia on Wednesday, May 16 in the second leg of the 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Somalia's national football team, the Ocean Stars,had high hopes of making it to the next round of the qualifiers after the first leg played in Djibouti last weekend ended 0-0.
Ethiopia thus qualify on a 5-0 aggregate scoreline and joining the other Africa elite teams. Shemeles Bekele and Getaneh Kebede both scored a brace in the second-half after Omod Okwury gave them the lead in the fifth minute.
Somalia failed to match up the footballing prowess of the Ethiopian players, who dominated the ball throughout the game and powered through a porous Somali defence.
A crestfallen Abdirashid Oman, Technical Advisor of the Ocean Stars said "the way we played in Djibouti, we didn't play like that today. We tried to do something here, but we didn't get what we wanted from Addis,".
Nigeria released their squad for their upcoming World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Thursday.
Notably missing was Chelsea stalwart, John Mikel Obi.
The midfielder, who is enjoying the finest season in his Chelsea career, and patiently waiting to answer the roll call in the UEFA Champions League Final at the Allianz Arena on May 19, has yet to convince the current Nigeria manager of his battle-readiness.
Mikel had been asked by Nigeria Coach, Stephen Keshie to show his readiness to play for the team before he will hand him a call up.
The Chelsea stalwart is yet to feature for the Nigerian side since Stephen Keshie took the reins of the coaching job in Nov. 2011.
Keshie denounced the notion that there was a rift between the two and insisted that Mikel remains very much part of his plans.
"Mikel is in my plans but we will give other players an opportunity as well," Keshie explained.
"We need to give players from the local league a chance. After all, how many knew about such players as Uche Kalu, Ejike Uzoenyi or Godfrey Oboabona, before now?"
Canada was defeated by Slovakia 4-3 in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Hockey Championships, giving the Canadian hockey press a fresh source of faux-angst to grind as we reach the midway point between the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.
Canada has never warmed to the annual world tournament, due primarily to its scheduling conflict with the NHL playoffs, and the European venues which make the games inconvenient to watch live. However, this does represent the first time that Canada has lost at the quarterfinal stages in three consecutive years, leading some pundits to question Canada's commitment to its international hockey program following its epic victory at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.