Author: Sports Illustrated

The NBA Finals Never Get Any Easier For LeBron

For nearly a decade, the Eastern Conference playoffs have been defined by a tell. They might appear to lean toward an established powerhouse (like the superteam Celtics), a well-balanced bruiser (like the defensive Pacers), or even a system-driven epip…

Minus injured Kris Letang, anonymous Penguins’ defense still thriving

PITTSBURGH (AP) The handful of men who carry out the most thankless of tasks for the Pittsburgh Penguins are a rag-tag group thrown together by circumstance and a touch of foresight by general manager Jim Rutherford. When defenseman Kris Letang’s star-crossed season ended for good in early April when he abandoned any hope of a comeback from the injuries that limited him to just 40 games this season, the chances of the Penguins becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles was supposed to vanish along with him. ”That’s fine with us,” said Brian Dumoulin, who leads the Penguins in ice time during the postseason.

His playing days over, Shawn Thornton moves focus to his foundation, future with Panthers

Following the Florida Panthers’ 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres in Sunrise, forward Shawn Thornton hung up his skates, in a manner of speaking. The career enforcer was done with them, after 20 pro hockey seasons, 14 of them at the NHL level, spent skating, punching and occasionally scoring with the Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. On May 30, he’ll officially retire as a two-time Stanley Cup winner with 1,103 penalty minutes to his credit in 705 NHL games.

Orr and Esposito-led Bruins the most underachieving great team in NHL history

There’s a wonderful moment in Peter Yates’s 1973 crime thriller picture, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, when the titular character, played by Robert Mitchum, is taken for a night out to the Boston Garden to watch the Bobby Orr/Phil Esposito-led Bruins play the Chicago Blackhawks. Coyle is loaded on cheep Garden beer, but he can’t stop marveling at Bobby Orr, a “kid” with his entire future in front of him. This, friends, is Boston’s version of Eden, the Gallery Gods edition.