Trying to plan the week ahead on the sports calendar (updated 5/29/13):
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET I:
NHL PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
KINGS vs. CHICAGO
Game 1: 2 p.m. Saturday at Chicago, NBC Sports Network:
For as much as they were road warriors a year ago during their Stanley Cup run, the Kings’ playoff numbers going into this series from 2013: A 1-5 record away from home just seven goals scored (compared to 7-0 at home with 18 goals and three Jonathan Quick shutouts). After finishing off the Sharks, do the Kings have enough to repeat in facing the conference’s No. 1-seeded Blackhawks, whom ESPN’s Barry Melrose predicted before the playoffs would win the whole thing? “Chicago’s got four lines now and a lot of big bodies that can hit the net,” said the former Kings coach on the air recently. “L.A. is an awesome team, very similar to last year, and the best is yet to come for Dustin Brown in these playoffs.”
The rest of the series this week:
Game 2: 5 p.m. Sunday in Chicago, NBC Sports Network
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET II:
DODGERS at ANGELS, Angel Stadium:
7:05 p.m., Wednesday, Channel 9, FSW
7:05 p.m., Thursday, Channel 9, FSW
The lighted CalTrans billboard indicates another Dodgers-Angels Freeway Series, but this is hardly a Sig-Alert situation, unless you enjoy watching two teams throwing things in reverse into the oncoming car pool lane. Since 1999, the Dodgers and Angels had six head-to-head regular-season matchups – two three-game series in each park – to determine, well, nothing really. You could brag that it was Southern California bragging rights. In 2005, it was a “true” battle of Los Angeles since both were back to using the city designation on their place in the standings.
But with changes that came with a forced 15-team alignment in both the NL and AL, this Freeway Series has had a few off-ramps removed and is condensed into one four-game inconvenience, with just two appearances in each territorial facility. We could just take more surface streets to make this trip more scenic, but we’re also faced with a realistic situation that a Memorial Day week stay-cation between two underachievers isn’t all that much a true World Series preview. The only drama could come if Don Mattingly and/or Mike Scioscia get another vote of confidence from their ownership teams.
One saving grace for the Angels is ace Jered Weaver coming back from a broken left elbow, which appears to land him in the spot to go Wednesday instead of Thursday.
Former Angel Zack Greinke (1-4 lifetime against the Angels going back to his Royals days) goes for the Dodgers in tonight’s opener against C.J. Wilson. Otherwise, the firework show we’ve all been expecting may just be more contract money going up in flames.
THE BEST OF THE REST:
NBA PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
SAN ANTONIO vs. MEMPHIS
Game 4: 6 p.m.at Memphis, ESPN
Same old Spurs, 11-2 thus far in the playoffs, ready to put the Grizzles out of their misery, and not even close to meeting their medical deductible, which may not even kick in until the NBA Finals.
The series continues if necessary:
Game 5: 6 p.m. Wednesday at San Antonio, ESPN
Game 6: 6 p.m. Friday at Memphis, ESPN
Game 7: 6 p.m. Sunday at San Antonio, ESPN
NBA PLAYOFFS: EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
MIAMI vs. INDIANA
Game 4: 5:30 p.m. at Indiana, TNT
Has the ringing in their ears stopped since the Indy 500 finished? Gentlemen, end this series.
The series continues:
Game 5: 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Miami, TNT
Game 6: 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Indiana, TNT (if necessary)
NATIONAL SPELLING BEE: Final, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Tara Singh of Louisville is the youngest speller this year, at age 8. That’s e-i-g-h-t. The oldest is 14. Don’t get us started on that one. There are 16 spellers from California in the 281 entrants, including 8th grader Rebecca Baron from Chatsworth Hills Academy.
ESPN2 has the semifinal Thursday (2 p.m.) and ESPN3.com has the preliminary rounds Wednesday.
MLB: DODGERS at COLORADO, 5:40 p.m., Prime:
How the Rockies climbed up to altitude of the NL West apex without falling back to this point is maybe a credit to new manager Walt Weiss. Or a Troy Tulowitzki (third in the NL with a 1.001 OPS) staying in the lineup despite a few nagging injuries.
The series continues:
1:10 p.m. Saturday, Prime; 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Prime
COLLEGE BASEBALL: NCAA REGIONALS:
UCLA vs. SAN DIEGO STATE, 6 p.m., at UCLA:
The 39-17 Bruins, ranked No. 10 by Baseball America, host this round with the Aztecs, University of San Diego and Cal Poly, with a winner determined by Sunday going to the Super Regionals next week.
NHL PLAYOFFS: EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
PITTSBURGH vs. BOSTON
Game 1: 5 p.m. at Pittsburgh, Channel 4:
Nice to see the Bruins still dancing, but no way the Penguins return the tuxedos to the cleaners this early in the summer. Which team does Jaromir Jagr play for again?
MLB: ANGELS vs. HOUSTON, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
Tonight, the Angels will try to set a Guinness Book of World Record for wearing a “rally wig.” Yes, you try anything at this point to get people out to a weekend against the Astros.
The series starts: Friday, 7:05 p.m., FSW and ends: 12:35 p.m. Sunday, FSW
MLS: GALAXY at NEW ENGLAND, 1:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network:
The Galaxy now play in a “major U.S. professional sport,” according to the latest stories about the addition of Robbie Rogers. So be it.