Favourite Player from all 30 NHL Teams

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Inspired by a tweet that I read from @flamesfaithful I thought it would be a fun exercise to go through all 30 teams and identify my favourite players from each team.

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks – Ryan Getzlaf

Calgary Flames – Mark Giordano

Edmonton Oilers – Andrew Ference

Los Angeles Kings – Drew Doughty

Phoenix Coyotes – Paul Bissonnette

San Jose – Logan Couture

Vancouver Canucks – Eddie Lack

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks – Jonathan Toews

Colorado Avalanche – Matt Duchene

Dallas Stars – Jaime Benn

Minnesota Wild – Mikael Granlund

Nashville Predators – Shea Weber

St. Louis – Alex Pietrangelo

Winnipeg Jets – Andrew Ladd

Atlantic Division

Boston – Jarome Iginla

Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Ristolainen

Detroit Red Wings – Pavel Datsyuk

Florida Panthers – Jonathan Huberdeau

Montreal Canadians – Carey Price

Ottawa Senators – Erik Karlsson

Tampa Bay Lightning – Steven Stamkos

Toronto Maple Leafs – James van Riemsdyk

Metropolitan Division

Carolina Hurricanes – Jeff Skinner

Columbus Blue Jackets – Ryan Johansen

New Jersey Devils – Jaromir Jagr

New York Islanders – John Taveres

New York Rangers – Henrik Lundqvist

Philadelphia Flyers – Claude Giroux

Pittsburgh Penguins – Sidney Crosby

Washington Capitals – Alexander Ovechkin

2014 Sochi Olympics Men’s Hockey Preview

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Team Latvia

One of the loudest fan bases you will ever come across, they are a fun team to watch and be around. I expect just like other international tournaments they will win some neutral fans over to their side. While they do not have lots of fans they do have loud and proud fans.

What needs to go right for them to do well? They will need to find a way to score goals. Under head coach Ted Nolan I expect the focus of the team to play suffocating defence, however to win games Latvia will eventually need to find a way to score some goals.

Who to watch? There is only one NHL player on this roster, and he is still very young and unproven. However maybe some of the goals that I mention above will come from the stick of Zemgus Girgensons?

Prediction: Twelfth

Team Slovenia

This will be Slovenia’s first time participating in the Olympic hockey tournament and will be a big step in growing the game in their country. This experience is not about how they do in these games but more on what is the impact to potential future Olympians.

What needs to go right for them to do well? To be honest I think this will be an overwhelming experience for them. The one bright spot is that they qualified without Anze Kopitar participating in the qualification process. Their best hope is that they can catch some teams by surprise and Anze Kopitar can score lots of goals.

Who to watch? Without question the rest of the Latvian team will be looking to Anze Kopitar to lead and shelter them. He is a complete player and should be able to help them at both ends of the ice. I have the feeling Kopitar understands the importance of this tournament and will rise to the occasion.

Prediction: Eleventh

Team Norway

This is a program that continues to improve. While they are still new to the international scene their ability to continue to qualify for the major tournaments is a good sign that they are moving in the right direction.

What needs to go right for them to do well? The will need to get great goaltending and score timely goals. Luckily for them they have a player that has the ability to fill the net in Mats Zuccarello. While he is playing for an original six team in the NHL I am not sure that many people appreciate or know about his talent and speed.

Who to watch? Since I have already mentioned Mats above I will go with Lars Haugen. Full disclosure I have not watched any KHL games this year so all my information is second hand, however all accounts are that he has struggled this year. For Norway to have any chance he needs to play his best.

Prediction: Tenth

Team Austria

The last time that Austria qualified for the Olympics was 2002. They are led up front by Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner. What needs to go right for them to do well? Thomas Vanek will need to carry this team and light up the back of the net

What needs to go right in order for them to do well. As with all teams in the tournament goaltending will need to be exceptional. Their defence and goalies are their weakest position.

Who to watch? Thomas Vanek has elite level finish and is a pure goal scorer; the problem maybe that he does not have a center that can get him the puck in good scoring positions.

Prediction: Ninth

Team Czech Republic

It is my opinion that they made a mistake with their selections. I believe this team is too old and too slow to compete with the elite teams. Having said that many people thought Jagr was too old to continue to play in the NHL, yet he finds himself leading the New Jersey Devils in scoring.

What needs to go right for them to do well? While there is no questioning their talent up front, I believe special teams are going to be the key to their success. If they can penalty kill at a 90% rate or higher combined with having a greater than 20% powerplay than I think they will have a shot. I expect them to
take lots of hooking and holding penalties as they are too slow. When they are on the powerplay they have the skill to score.

Who to watch? Ondrej Pavelec is going to need to win games on his own for the Czech to have any success in this tournament. This is not good news for them as he has had a very shaky season for the Winnipeg Jets.

Prediction: Eighth

Team Finland

Know around the world as a goalie factory team Finland always seems to fly under the radar. Let’s not forget that they captured the Bronze medal in Vancouver four years ago and are looking to do even better this year.

What needs to go right for them to do well? In my mind this is an easy prediction to make. Whoever is between the pipes will need to play well for Finland to have success. Finland also executes a team defence mentality very well, which they will need to continue to do as their defence is not very strong. They will also need to score timely goals which I do believe they have the talent to do.

Who to watch? I believe there will be a passing of the guard this tournament and expect Mikael Granlund to take over from the likes of Teemu Selanne and Olli Jokinen.

Prediction Seventh

Team Slovakia

The Cinderella team of the 2010 Olympics is hoping to prove that last time was no fluke. Let’s not forget that they were one post away from tying up the semi final game against Canada. The Slovaks area a well rounded team and if they are taken lightly the will pounce on the opportunity to knock a team off.

What needs to go right for them to do well? While there is no specific weakness or strength for this team, I think their ability to play a complete game and compete in all three zones will be the key. They have world class goalies, defensemen and forwards. If they can stick together and play as a team they have a chance to play for a medal again this year.

Who to watch? I think it is more a matter of what to watch as oppose to whom. If the Slovaks can sneak out a win against either the USA or Russia in the preliminary round, that will go a long way to boost their confidence that they should be considered among the best teams in the world. Has Zdeno Chara past his
prime? He is still a force to reckon with, but maybe mother time is starting to catch up?

Prediction: Sixth

Team Switzerland

I believe the Swiss are the team that has shown the most improvement over the last 15 years. Other smaller countries such as Norway, Latvia and Slovenia should look at what the Swiss program has done. I think they are going to ride the high of their silver medal at the world championships last year and be the surprise of the tournament this time around.

What needs to go right for them to do well? You can always count on the Swiss to have good goaltending and good team defence. They will need some timely scoring in order advance in the tournament and the Swiss now have the skill upfront to get those goals.

Who to watch? Jonas Hiller is the key to the Swiss team. Part of the reason why the Swiss were so successful in the world championship last spring was in large part because of the play of their goaltenders. Now that they have Hiller on the team I can only predict that their goaltending is at least that good.

Prediction: Fifth

Team Sweden

While it is Canada and Russia that are getting most of the attention I think team Sweden is still really strong even though they have sustained some big injuries. They are very strong in all three areas of the team, forwards, defenseman and in net and are the reigning World Championship gold medalist. Unfortunately Sweden has run into some injury troubles which I do think will affect their ability to win gold.

What needs to go right for them to do well? Like the other superpower countries one of the challenges for the Swedish team is trying to come together as a team. I think if they can get out to a strong start the can silence all the whispers of how they lost to the Slovakian team and the last Olympics. As the team continues to play in the tournament I believe they will get stronger and stronger. They question now becomes can they score enough goals with the injuries they have sustained?

Who to watch? In my opinion they have the best goalie in the world in Henrik Lundqvist, who looks to be fully recovered from early season injury. He has the ability alone to win games. I predict that we will stand on his head and will their best player.

Prediction: Fourth

Team USA

Much like the Swiss the Americans have a program that continues to evolve. They are icing their best team ever and are now considered one of the superpowers of hockey.

What needs to go right for them to do well? The Americans are in a tough group alongside the Russians, Slovaks and Slovenia. If the Americans are not careful I think the Slovaks can catch them off guard. I think the Americans need to get off to a quick start and build confidence that Vancouver 2012 was no fluke.

Who to watch? Ryan Suter is logging lots of ice time in the NHL right now. He is a difference maker for the Wild right now. If he can play at the same level for the Americans he will be asked to shut down the Ovechkin’s and Crosby’s of the world.

Prediction: BRONZE

Team Russia

One of the traditional powerhouses in men’s hockey is going to have even more pressure on them as the host nation this year. I would put them as the favourites going into the tournament as they have several players comfortable with playing on international size ice. Not only that but they will have the home field advantage when it comes to things like food and accommodations. They are coming off a horrible 2010 games where Canada embarrassed them in the quarter finals.

What needs to go right for them to do well? There is no denying that Russia has the best offensive weapons in the tournament; however the really big question I have is their defence and mental stability. It will be important for Russia to get a couple of wins early on and gain confidence. If this team has to face any kind of adversity early my fear is they will self destruct. I also think that it is going to be important for the forwards to come back and help the defenseman and that is an area of weakness for the team.

Who to watch? All eyes will be on Alexander Ovechkin. As he will be the one expected lead the charge for Russia. If he can get hot it seems like there are times he is unstoppable. Another factor to consider is that if Ovechkin gets going I think his emotion will supercharge the rest of the team.

Prediction: SILVER

Team Canada

The reigning Olympic champions as usual come into this tournament with lots of pressure and scrutiny. While expectations are for them to capture the gold again, it is safe to say that expectations are not as high as they were last Olympics on home soil. Also consider the fact that the Canadians have not medaled in an Olympic games that were played on international size ice.

What needs to go right for them to do well? They are a team that is build to score goals and create scoring chances with their speed. If their defenseman can effectively move the puck up to their forwards and whoever is in net does not let in a bad goal then I think Canada has a great chance.

Who to watch? Matt Duchene is really designed for the big ice surface, his game breaking speed and nose for the net will be a underrated addition to team Canada. There may have been some people who were surprised with the inclusion of Matt on the team, but I suspect this will be his breakout performance.

Prediction: GOLD

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview

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Arguably the biggest championship game in North American will take place this Sunday in Newark, Ney York as Super Bowl 48 kick offs at 16:30 MTN. The NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks will face off against the AFC Champion Denver Broncos. While there are several different story lines heading into the big game on Sunday here are a couple of things that I will be watching.

What is the weather going to be like? This is not normally a question that even comes into play for the Super Bowl as they usually host there games in warm climate destinations or an indoor stadium. That is a luxury that fans and players will not have this year as the projected temperature at kick off is around 6 degrees Celsius with a little bit of precipitation. I happen to think cold weather conditions favours the Seahawks as they have the superior defence and run game.

What wins, the #1 defence or the #1 offence? There are a couple of old adages that come into play. “Defences win Championships” or “The best defence is a good offence”

Can Payton Manning win the big game? Yes he already has a Super Bowl win, however this will only be his second Super Bowl appearance as his Colts teams in the past have had a hard time winning the conference championship games.

Will Russell Wilson’s inexperience finally catch up to him? He has been playing with poise beyond his years but this will be his first Super Bowl appearance, how does he handle to pressure?

Can the Bronco’s defence stop Marshawn Lynch? Beast mode is impressive and Lynch has the ability to win this game all on his own. Based on all the media availabilities he also seems to be very focused and ready for the game.

Will there be another David Tyree play or another under the radar player who will have a big impact on the game?

Who do the fans cheer for? There is usually not a true home team; however usually throughout the game one team “becomes” the team to cheer for.

How nervous is Andrew? We all know that he will be a nervous wreck until the end of the game.

For me the Super Bowl is all about getting together with friends and family and enjoying some beers and food while watching some football. No matter how good or bad the game is I always enjoy the Super Bowl, a good game always helps though. Enjoy and let us hear your predictions. Mine is Seattle 20 Denver 17.

Who Should Start in Net for Team Canada?

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There is no doubt in my mind that in order for Canada to defend their gold medal that whoever is in the net is going to need to make a big save. Before getting to much into some of the decisions Mike Babcock is going to have to make, let’s be clear Mike Smith is the third option and if Canada is going to win gold he will not see any ice time. That leaves us with Roberto Luongo and Carey Price.
Roberto is coming off what was a forgettable 2012/2013 season. There was the lock out and also the whole Corey Schneider saga. Now that he is the number one goalie in Vancouver we have seen the Roberto of old. His confidence is back and he is playing at a consistent level. Keeping in mind that Roberto was in the net when Crosby scored the golden gaol. He has proven that he can handle being the number 1 goalie for team Canada.
Carey is coming of a spectacular lock out shortened season however his play in the last 6-8 games of that season did drop off. Unfortunately for the Canadians his play did not pick back up in the playoffs. This year while his stats are not overwhelming, in my opinion that is more a reflection of his team’s play. Anybody who has seen Canadian games this year knows that he has been spectacular. He has been making spectacular saves almost every game it seems.
As a proud Canadian hockey fan I have confidence in either goalie, however if I was Mike Babcock I would start Roberto Luongo. Ultimately I think Carey Price makes more spectacular saves, however he is also somewhat prone to a bad goal here and there. In a short tournament with single elimination games those bad goals can be tournament killers. With Luongo, he has proven he can handle the pressure of being the Canadian starter as well as you get the consistency. This may end up being the last Olympics that the NHL participates and so regardless of who is in net be loud and be proud. GO CANADA GO.

Chris’s 2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Roster Final Projection

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The official announcement will come next Tuesday; however I wanted to get my predicted team out there before the official announcement. My last draft team Canada can be found here:http://www.micdup.net/chriss-2014-canadian-mens-olympic-roster-projection/. Crazy to see how much change their can be in 11 months of action.

Taking into consideration that large ice surface and the pressure to repeat as champions below is  the team I would send to Sochi. Let the debate begin and please send us your team

Forwards

Nash

Crosby

Stamkos

Seguin

Toews

Perry

Getzlaf

Giroux

Sharp

Stall

Tavares

Bergeron

Duchene

Defenseman

Doughty

Webber

Keith

Seabrook

Bouwmeester

Pietrangelo

Subban

Goalies

Price

Luongo

Smith

Top 3 Things To Watch This NBA Season

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  1. Derek Rose

Derek Rose has not stepped on to the court since his knee injury took him out of 2012 playoffs in Round 1. Rose received his fair share of criticism last year for his decision not to return to the club. It seems he finally has the confidence that he can return to pre injury form and if they Bulls have any chance at competing with the Pacers and the Heat of the world, they will definitely need him.

  1. Jason Kidd and the Nets

When Kidd took over the Head Coaching position, he took over an uber talented roster including KG and Paul Pierce who they traded for this past off season. I am very interested to see how Kidd will manage both playing time and the egos that exist in this locker room. Jason Kidd’s end of season report will be in direct correlation to the team’s success.

  1. Dwight Howard

Many were surprised by Dwight’s decision to leave the stored LA Lakers this past off season via free agency. There is no doubt that Howard is still the most dominant center in the Association. If he can get back to the player he was when he led the Magic to the Finals, we may see the Rockets soar to new heights this season.

Chris’s NHL Player Rankings – The Defenseman and the Goalies

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As promised here is the rankings of the defenseman and goalies. For information on what was taken into consideration when I made these rankings please see my earlier post from last week http://www.micdup.net/chriss-nhl-player-rankings-the-forwards/

Defenseman: This is a really hard position to pick. Most nights if a defenseman is playing well you do not really notice them.I was less concerned with point production at even strength when picking my list. The only time I considered points is when they are on the power play. As a result that skewed my rankings. Also since there are two defenseman on the ice at any given time for a team I decided to expand my rankings to top 10 for this position.

  1. Zdeno Chara
  2. Shea Webber
  3. Erik Karlsson
  4. P.K. Subban
  5. Kris Letang
  6. Drew Doughty
  7. Ryan Suter
  8. Duncan Keith
  9. Alex Pietrangelo
  10. Oliver Okman-Larsson

Notables: Niklas Kronwall, Keith Yandle, Mike Green

Goalies: I will admit this was the hardest ranking to do. There are a lot of good goalies that play in the NHL. In the end I went with goalies I would start if I was in a game 7 playing for the Stanley Cup. Some may be surprised with the Craig Anderson addition. I feel as though he has proven himself to be one of the league’s best goalies and deserved to be on my list.

  1. Tuukka Rask
  2. Henrik Lundqvist
  3. Jonathan Quick
  4. Craig Anderson
  5. Carey Price

Notables: Pekka Rinne, Antti Niemi, Corey Crawford

As usual please feel free to agree or disagree.

Chris’s NHL Player Rankings – The Forwards

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I will be ranking NHL players by position. I will start today with the three forward positions and then next week I will unveil my defenceman and goalies. I decided to keep it to top 5 at every position and also include three notables. The reason I chose top 5 instead of top 10 was to work on the premise of building my NHL all-star NHL team. Also please note these are not fantasy rankings, these ranking are if I was trying to pick players to play on my team to win a Stanley Cup this year. Please feel free to argue/agree or tell us yours.

Center: This position is very deep, but also pretty easy to pick from. I think the top three are no brainers which only leaves 2 more spots on my list. I gave the nod to JT as I think he is underrated even though he was nominated for the Heart Trophy this past NHL season. I suspect he will have a breakout year.

  1. Sidney Crosby
  2. Evgeni Malkin
  3. Steven Stamkos
  4. Jonathan Toews
  5. Jonathan Tavares

Notables: Claude Giroux, Henrik Zetterberg, Ryab Getzlaf

Left Wing: While my top pick may surprise some people, it is Datsyuk’s overall game that gives him the edge ahead of some of the other players. Some may also consider Nash a surprise given his recent lack of production; however I attribute that more to the team he is playing for. This position is the thinnest of the three forward positions; as a result I suspect the most argument over this position.

  1. Pavel Datsyuk
  2. Taylor Hall
  3. Daniel Sedin
  4. Zach Parise
  5. Rick Nash

Notables: James Neal, Matt Duchene, Bobby Ryan

Right Wing: For me the top two are no brainers. It does get a little bit more difficult after that. Some may be surprised to see Kassel in my top 5. Whether you hate him or love him, you cannot deny the numbers that he has consistently put up. While there is a caveat with choosing Kessel as I would pair him with two other strong defensive forwards to make up his short comings in that area.

  1. Alex Ovechkin
  2. Patrick Kane
  3. Martin St. Louis
  4. Corey Perry
  5. Phil Kessel

Notables: Jordan Eberle, Alexander Semin, Marion Gaborik

Come check out next weeks article as I rank the top 10 defenceman and top 5 goalies.

Mic’d Up Episode 30

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Episode 30 takes place at Mic’d Ups new recording location and new sponsor of the podcast Absolute Baseball Academy & Fitness Centre. Make sure you go check them out at let them know that Mic’d Up sent you.  Chris and Andrew are joined by special guest Tyler Folk. Tyler is a member of the U of C baseball team. Continue reading

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Andrew’s Dinos Baseball Blog # 1

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As Chris and I discussed during our latest Podcast, I began coaching with the University of Calgary Men’s Baseball team in August of this year. The team is now just over one month into the Fall “exhibition/tryout” portion of the Canadian College Baseball Conference season. The conference consists of 5 western Canadian university baseball programs. The U of C, Prairie Baseball Academy from Lethbridge, Okanagan College, Thompson River University from Kamloops and Vancouver Island Baseball Institute.

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Chris’s 2013-14 Calgary Flames Opening Night Roster

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For a team that is predicted to finish in the bottom five of the league this year, there were still some tough decisions to make. There are some young guys that are going to be taking veteran spots. As an organization that is an ideal situation. It has been a long time coming but the Flames are finally starting to fill their prospect cupboards. Continue reading

Mic’d Up Episode 29

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Chris and Andrew return this week after an extended layoff. No shortage of hot topics this episode ranging from the current state of the UFC to early NFL results. The MLB Playoff Picture is becoming clear and the guys look at some post season favorites. Listen in and tell us what you think on Twitter and Facebook as we roll on towards our 30th episode.

 

 

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Andrew’s 2013 NFL Preview

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AFC West

  1. Denver Broncos – Expect a huge season from the Peyton Manning/Wes Welker combination.  Don’t forget the horrible off season the team had though with an embarrassing fax fail, a suspension to Von Miller and a plethora of injuries. All things considered, the AFC West is basically a lock.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs – They replaced Crennel and Cassel with Reid and Smith respectively. Who wouldn’t be happy with that? Under the tutelage of the new head coach, the Chiefs will definitely improve on last year’s dismal 2-14 record. However, I’m not confirmed they are a play-off team just yet.
  3. San Diego Chargers – Philip Rivers has not been left with much to work with for the 2013 season. The addition of D.J. Fluker and King Dunlap should help.  This season will mark 4 straight where the Chargers fail to make the play-offs.
  4. Oakland Raiders – I almost feel bad for Matt Flynn. The quarterback picture does not look good for the Raiders as both Flynn and Pryor have struggled in the pre-season. Darren McFadden needs to return to form if the Raiders will have any chance at all.

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Chris’s 2013 NFL Preview

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AFC West

  1. Denver Broncos – They will finish in first place almost by default. With Payton Manning having a full off season to get to know the offense and players I predict he will have an even better year. The addition of Welker makes this offense very dangerous.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs – Don’t underestimate the impact that a new coach can have. Kansas City will still be in tough to break .500 this year. They have a world class running back and have upgraded at their quarterback position.
  3. San Diego Chargers – There is not a lot to chose from between San Diego and Oakland. I give the edge to the Chargers simply because they have a proven QB. While Rivers has not had a great season in a couple of years he is still better than Matt Flynn.
  4. Oakland Raiders – It is too bad that a franchise with so much tradition has been in shambles for so long. This year is not going to be any different. Continue reading

Mic’d Up Episode 28

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New location and new format, episode 28 is with special guests Avneet Kalha. They boys get after it and start the episode with some non sports talk. They discuss who is the best team in the MLB as well as of the bubble teams who has the best chance to make the playoffs. Continue reading

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Mic’d Up Episode 27

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With not much NHL news to talk about, the boys get in depth about the MLB. They touch on how bad the Houston Astros are, as well as talk about the worse team in modern MLB history the 1962 Mets. Chris and Andrew discuss who is a bigger disappointment the Jays, Nats or Angels. They discuss the liar that is Ryan Braun as well who is the best captain in the MLB these days. Chris pleads a case on why the Jays should consider trading Jose Bautista and then finish up the MLB talk with Tim Hudson and their updated Cy Young winners.
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Mic’d Up Episode 24

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As we make our way to the quarter century mark with Episode 24, t here is no shortage of sports news this week. Chris and Andrew touch on all the usual suspects; The Association, the latest in Major League Baseball, UFC, NFL and of course the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Confederations Cup Semi Final #2 Preview

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When: Thursday June 27th at 1300 (MTN time)

Where: Fortaleza, Brazil

Who: Spain vs. Italy

Two powerhouse European teams take to the pitch in Fortaleza on Thursday. In fact, this is a repeat of the Euro 2012 final where Spain repeated as the kings of Europe with a dominating 4-0 victory. Spain in fact has been the best team in the work for several years and their #1 world ranking is very deserving. Italy on the other hand is a team that is starting to show its age.

Spain has an embarrassment of riches at most positions and it showed as the breezed through the group stage out scorning their opponents 15-1 in the process. Even though Uruguay scored a late goal in their match Spain at no point has ever looked as if they were going to lose. Fernando Torres has five goals in only 120 minutes of playing time. Jordi Alba has looked very good attacking from the full back position and scoring timely goals for Spain. The Spaniards have also had most of the ball possession in their matches which is not unusual for them.

Italy has looked like a shell of their former self conceding 8 goals in three matches. They were full marks for their victory over Mexico but in my opinion they were lucky do come away with the victory over Japan. Quite frankly I think Japan deserved a better fate and should be moving on instead of Italy. Italy which is known for its solid defence and strong back four has made way too many defensive turnovers. Italy is not going to have their most dangerous weapon in striker Mario Balotelli and right back Ignazio Abate and that does not help. Also questionable for the game are Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo.

Even if Italy was a healthy team I don’t think they could beat Spain. With all the injuries on the Italian side and a shaky defence Spain should roll to an easy 4-0 win just as they did in the Euro Final in 2012.

Confederations Cup Semi Final Preview

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What: Semi Final #1

When: Wednesday June 26th at 1300 (MTN time)

Where: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Who: Brazil vs. Uruguay

It’s an all South America Clash when Uruguay takes on the home team Brazil in semi final #1. These teams are fierce rivals and some would argue this is the second best rivalry in all of South America behind the Brazil/Argentina rivalry. Since Brazil is hosting the World Cup and not participating in the qualifying competition for next year’s world cup, you have to go back all the way to 2009 since the last time these teams have played each other.

Since then Uruguay has been on the rise, finishing fourth at the 2010 World Cup and taking home the title in the 2011 Copa América championship. This is reflected in the FIFA world rankings which have Uruguay ranked #19 and Brazil ranked #22. Uruguay has a balanced attack consisting of Luis Suarez, Deigo Forlan and Abel Hernandez.

While Brazil may not have the trophies or results that Uruguay may have, you can’t look pass the host team. Brazil is in a rebuild phase, if that is even possible for Brazil. They are building towards next year’s World Cup. It is hard to count out the Brazilian team especially when the boast the most talented and budding superstar in the world Neymar. There is no doubt in my mind that this has been Neymar’s coming out party. He recently just signed a transfer to play with Barcelona. The skill that he has demonstrated can’t be matched by any of the teams in the Confederation Cup. Brazil is not just a one trick pony they also have Fred and Jo who have looked good in the tournament.

I think the difference in this game is going to be the home crowd. It is always intimidating to go and play Brazil in their home country. I also think the aggressive full backs that Brazil deploy will be the difference. I predict a 3-2 home win for Brazil in what really should be an entertaining match.

2013 Stanley Cup Analytical Preview

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With the Chicago Blackhawks winning last night in double overtime, the 2013 Stanley Cup is now set. The president winning Blackhawks will face the Boston Bruins for sports greatest trophy. While the path that both teams took to get to this point did not go as planned, I for one am not surprised that these are the two teams remaining. Boston and Chicago spent the whole year in the Mic’d Up Power Rankings with both teams spending most of the season in the top 5. While Mic’d Up will have an in depth breakdown of the series on episode 24, I thought I would take the time to collect some stats leading up to series opening or Wednesday. Most stats are from @TH2NSTATSGUY twitter page. If you are nerdy like I am, I recommend giving him a follow. Continue reading

Brian Beauchamp is Mic’d Up

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Brian Beauchamp is a professional MMA referee and judge from Toronto, Ontario. He has worked in China, India, Afghanistan just to name a few. Brian has also worked extensively here in Alberta and is in Red Deer for the Havoc FC 2 event this weekend. Brian has worked  for Bellator, Maximum Fighting Championship, Super Fight League, Aggression, King of the Cage and other various organizations.

His Martial Arts background includes a double black belt in both Judo and BJJ. He was a former member of the Canadian National Judo Team and won a gold medal at the 2012 IBJJF World Championships. He is a regular contributor for Sportsnet.ca, giving an insider’s perspective on the world of MMA.

Click here to read his blog

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Mic’d Up Episode 21

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Andrew and Chris are in a new location for episode 21. They recap round 1 of the NHL and give live updates of the Leafs vs Bruins game 7. They review the NHL award nominations. A breakdown of round 1 of the NBA finals. A new segment makes it debut on episode 21 called MLB game of the week. Chris and Andrew will preview the Sunday night game. Continue reading

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