Jeremy Freeborns Weekend Sports Preview

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I admit. I am in a state of mourning. My beloved Edmonton Oilers just lost a playoff series that really they should have won and it literally has left a sour taste in my mouth. How sour? Well yesterday morning I simply was not very hungry.

The Anaheim Ducks are now in their second Western Conference Final in the last three years and will play a Nashville Predators team that is getting an immense amount of offense from their defense. Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban have combined for nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points in the playoffs, and have been catalysts on both ends of the ice.

This is the Predators first ever Western Conference Final. Game two takes place Sunday evening on Sportsnet at 4:30 p.m. Pacific. Here are the other sporting events I will be watching this weekend.

Saturday—Madrid Open—Women’s Tennis Final—TVA Sports—10 am PT—Canadian superstar Eugenie Bouchard had a marvelous week in Spain this past week as she got by Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber. However she had nothing left in the tank in her quarterfinal match against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia on Thursday. Kuznetsova or France’s Kristina Mladenovic will play 2014 French Open finalist Simona Halep of Romania in the final.

Saturday & Sunday—Players Championship—NBC—11 am PT—It is a very interesting time in Canadian golf at the moment. There are four Canadian golfers—Graeme DeLaet, Adam Hadwin, David Hearn, Mackenzie Hughes–who are playing this week at the prestigious Players Championship outside of Jacksonville, and two of them are in contention to win. Hearn is tied with William McGirt of the United States for the lead at -5 and Hughes is only shot back at -4.

Saturday—World Men’s Hockey Championship—Canada vs. Switzerland—11 am PT—Team Canada is comfortably in first place in Group B with a perfect record four wins and zero losses. They will play a Switzerland team on Saturday who has registered nine points in four games and is in second place. The Swiss have beaten Norway, Belarus and Slovenia, with their only loss coming to France—a 4-3 shootout loss. Team Canada will be without Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, who had a brilliant start to the tournament with seven points in three games. Barrie was wrestling with a teammate in the hotel during an off day this week and suffered a leg laceration which will force him to miss the rest of the World Hockey Championship.

Saturday—IndyCar Grand Prix—ABC—12:30 pm PT—No the name of this race is not a misprint. It is not the Indianapolis 500 which will take place at the end of May. The IndyCar Grand Prix started in 2014, and in its first three years Simon Pagenaud of France has won it twice. Unlike the Indianapolis 500, a combined road course is used for the IndyCar Grand Prix and the track is similar to what was used for the old Formula One United States Grand Prix. Canadian auto racing fans will hope that James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario is in the mix. Hinchcliffe is currently fifth in the 2017 IndyCar Standings and won earlier this year in Long Beach.

Saturday—MLB—Philadelphia Phillies @ Washington Nationals—TVA Sports 2—4 pm PT—In a National League East Division battle, the first place Nationals host the Phillies. At 22-12, Washington has the best record in the National League and are comfortably in first place as they are five and a half games up on the second place New York Mets. The Nationals will be hoping for a bounce back performance from starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who gave up six earned runs in six innings in a 6-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

Saturday—NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs—Game One Eastern Conference Finals—Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins—NBC—4 pm PT—Canada’s last remaining hope for a Stanley Cup champion in 2017 rests with the Ottawa Senators. Erik Karlsson is simply playing like Bobby Orr at the moment and IS the reason why Ottawa got past the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. The Penguins will be a tougher challenge for the Senators right now and have a strong chance to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2017, just like they did in 1991 and 1992.

Sunday—Madrid Open—Men’s Tennis Final—TSN2—9:30 am PT—There are five players left in the 2017 Madrid Open in men’s singles—superstars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, along with Dominic Thiem of Austria, Borna Coric of Croatia and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. It is normal to see lesser known names such as Coric and Cuevas go deep in tournaments like the Madrid Open because of the clay court surface. That is the primary surface in South America and many parts of Europe. Unfortunately we won’t have a dream final because Djokovic and Nadal will be playing against each other in the semi-final.

Sunday—NBA Playoffs—Game One Western Conference Finals—San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors—ABC—12:30 pm PT—With all of the injuries facing the San Antonio Spurs, one would expect that the Warriors would walk all over San Antonio. Well, the Spurs had injuries against the Houston Rockets and just beat them in six games. Simply never underestimate the coaching skills of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

Sunday—MLB—Houston Astros @ New York Yankees—TSN2—4:30 pm PT—The start time for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball on TSN2 is half an hour earlier on Sunday evening because the Yankees are retiring all-star shortstop Derek Jeter’s number two. This has the potential to be an excellent baseball game. The Astros at 24-11 and the Yankees at 21-11 have the first and third best records in the American League respectively.

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