PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – AUGUST 24
By Leo Haggerty

MAYBE WAKE UP CALLS

In the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs, the top-seeds in both the East and West were defeated.  The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by the Portland Trail Blazers.

With that being said, I’m going to borrow a phrase used by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.  In case you’re not a history buff, he was the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack that was not designed to be a sneak attack.

When he discovered that the air assault took place almost an hour before the declaration of war was delivered, he uttered the following prophetic statement, “I fear all we have done was to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

That’s exactly what happened in the NBA first round.  The Bucks and the Lakers have won the next three contests and will look to put away the Magic and Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

Let’s fast forward to the second round of the National Hockey League’s second season.  Three of the four top seeds were beaten in the opening game of their second round series.

In the East, both top-seeded went down to defeat.  Tampa Bay lost to Boston and Philadelphia fell to the New York Islanders.

In the West, Dallas knocked off Colorado.  The only higher-seeded club to dent the win column was Las Vegas when they dispatched Vancouver.

I full expect all three teams to use this “agony of defeat” in their opening contest as their wake-up call in Game Two.  Look for all three organizations to come out on fire from the opening puck drop so they can experience the “thrill of victory” to even the series at one game apiece.

All three realize that to go down 2-zip is a huge hole to try and crawl out of during any round of the playoffs.  For that reason, I expect to see a maximum effort from the Lightning and Flyers as well as the Avalanche.

Will it happen?  Meet you at the TV to find out.