Which Cities Have Double-Down Playoff Dreams?
Super Bowl L -- that's right; L, dammit! -- is in the rearview mirror and March Madness is on the horizon, so now's a decent time to see which NHL and NBA fan bases could be enjoying a double dose of playoff joy this spring.
Starting out West, everyone knows the Golden State Warriors are chasing godlike status, but the Bay Area may have another team that could make a little noise.
That would be the San José Sharks, who've come to life in recent weeks.
The thing is, they're gonna have to get through Los Angeles, and the Kings are much more formidable than the Clippers if the NBA pairings turn out that way.
Darryl Sutter's crew is playing like they did when they won the Stanley Cup, and Jonathan Quick always rolls out his best hockey in the playoffs.
And down the road in Anaheim, the club that was one game away from the Cup finals last year is on a roll at long last. Coach Bruce Boudreau's squad could well face the Kings in an interesting second round matchup.
Well, enough said. Happy retirement, Kobe.
Moving through the Midwest, the Chicago Blackhawks are peaking, as usual, while the Bulls are fading. The Dallas Stars -- led by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin -- are one of the suprises of the NHL and will make the playoffs. The Mavericks, on the other hand, are just above .500 and on pace for a quick playoff exit, if they get that far.
This should give Mark Cuban that much more time to tell the world how Millennials have embraced the New Socialism, which most of them probably still don't know is apparently a thing.
It could be a hot spring in Florida in more ways than one. The Miami Heat are leading their division, even with LeBron James gone, and Orlando is improving with every game.
In the NHL, the Panthers are the surprise of hockey, leading the Atlanic Division as the ageless one, Jaromír Jágr, continues to amaze everyone, except maybe himself.
Tampa Bay was a Stanley Cup finalist last season and started slow this time around. but now the 'Ning has positioned itself for another deep run this spring.
Moving up the coast, Washington will go into the NHL playoffs as a heavy favorite, while the Wizards are below .500 and going in the wrong direction. So the only way they'll see playoff action together is like this:
That leaves the New York area, where basketball is over and has been for a while. Their NHL contingent, though, may all crash Lord Stanley's party.
The Rangers are on a roll and have all but solidified their post-season participation. The Islanders have hit a rough patch but still have an inside track. The Devils, with new coach John Hynes and star goalie Cory Schneider, are within striking distance and may make it a New York area trifecta.