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End of road looms for NHL longshots

As they entered the second round of the NHL playoffs against muchhigher-rated opponents, they were understandably classified byoddsmakers as the longest of the longshots in the Stanley Cup race. Bynow, both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Dallas Stars were supposed tobe dearly departed.


As they entered the second round of the NHL playoffs against much higher-rated opponents, they were understandably classified by oddsmakers as the longest of the longshots in the Stanley Cup race. By now, both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Dallas Stars were supposed to be dearly departed.

Yet here they are, still ticking, providing irrefutable evidence that anything can indeed happen in the playoffs, and eager to defy the odds once again at the conference finals.

It’s bizarre. I mean, the Flyers and Stars were both 15-to-1 underdogs.
That’s not all they had in common, though.

Consider these striking similarities:

  • Their red-hot goaltenders stole games against their second-round opponents.
  • Their goalies are both named Marty — Marty Biron with the Flyers and Marty Turco with the Stars.
  • They both have key forwards named Richards — Mike Richards with the Flyers and Brad Richards with the Stars.
  • They both received major scoring production from forwards who got hot — R.J. Umberger with the Flyers and Brenden Morrow with the Stars.
  • They both have no chance whatsoever in the next round.

Yep, the parties are over for these guys.

Seriously, the Flyers have already won their Cup. They were the Eastern Conference’s worst team last season. Their ascent to the conference final is magnificent. Against their Penn Pals, however, they stand no chance. Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will end the Flyers’ dream season in relatively rapid fashion.

Penguins in five.

As for the Stars, they in no way match up with the Detroit Red Wings, who obliterated the Colorado Avalanche in four games and are rested enough to repeat the feat against Dallas.
Red Wings in four.

  • MLB sources pass on word that the Blue Jays are offering pitching for hitting in trade talks and have discussed:

    - Canadian outfielder Jason Bay with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    - Ken Griffey Jr. and/or Adam Dunn with the Cincinnati Reds.

    - Josh Hamilton with the Texas Rangers.

  • Add Steve Phillips to the growing list of second-guessers wondering why the Jays are balking at Barry Bonds, who’s willing to join them for the minimum salary.

    Jays reliever Jeremy Accardo, an ex-teammate of Bonds with the San Francisco Giants, considers the home-run king a terrific teammate but general manager J.P. Ricciardi views Bonds as a potential clubhouse problem.

    Phillips, a former New York Mets’ GM who analyzes MLB for ESPN and TSN, questions Ricciardi, saying: “I think Bonds is the perfect fit for the Jays … He’d give them the edge they need.”
 
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