Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Extra

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Extra

Article excerpt

Byline: David Johnson

2CENTS

The NBA regular season ends Wednesday. The NHL ends Tuesday.

That's news to many sports fans.

What this means is that the real games are about to begin. Each league will put more than half its teams into the tournament (and the commissioners wonder why nobody cares about the regular season.)

But there are some interesting matchups. The reigning Stanley Cup champions look like they're going to sneak in. The Lightning could get the Carolina Hurricanes, a potentially good matchup, considering Tampa Bay's 5-3 advantage in the season series. The teams split two important games last week with both going into overtime.

In the NBA, MVP candidates Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant might get a chance to settle the score on the court.

Nash's supporters are justified. The little guy goes up with the trees, but back-to-back MVPs? Kobe is a five-tool version of a hoops star. He scores, plays defense and he can dish (when given the teammates). He's clutch, and he's always made his teammates better (even Shaq).

But in this series, Nash might have too much backup.

It'll at least give us something to watch. There's nothing else going on anyway.

FOND REMEMBRANCE

JACKIE ROBINSON DAY

Give Bud Selig credit when he does something right. It doesn't happen too often.

In 1997, baseball commissioner Bud Selig retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42 for all major league teams. Then, two years ago, Selig decided Jackie Robinson Day would be an annual event each April 15.

On Saturday, the former Brooklyn Dodgers star was honored throughout the majors, 59 years after he broke the baseball's color barrier. At Shea Stadium, his widow, Rachel Robinson, walked to the pitcher's mound with Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, and Mets manager Willie Randolph (with Robinson, below). …

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