|Dieux du Stade|
NCAA Men's College Basketball heats up this weekend, and in the absence of NFL games today, a few dozen division one games are scheduled today, with at least 20 being broadcast on national television. Add that to the roughly 30 games broadcast Saturday, with even more played, and it is obvious that some of the conferences will see changes in standings after this weekend. It is too soon to make any calls as to who will be seeded in the upcoming NCAA tournament, give it another six weeks and all will become clear.
The NBA is in an alike situation, with seven games each day this weekend (including Monday). Golden State is clearly dominating in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, leading both LA teams, who are below .500, along with Sacramento and Phoenix. The only other team who has any sort of a lead of a few games is Houston, in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, but only by a few games. Minnesota leads the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics lead the Atlantic Division, Miami the Southeast Division, and Cleveland the Central Division.
Governing Boards of International Sports Franchises often make boneheaded decision, usually based on motives that have nothing to do with building up the sport. Profit motive is often at the fore, or the commissioners' self esteem. Sometimes decisions boggle the mind. Boards of Governors of other institutions, such as the NCAA, share in the blame for hurting their sports, rather than helping them to flourish.
The NFL Pro Bowl will be held this afternoon, this year held the Sunday between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl. The NFL just can't seem to settle on when the Pro Bowl should be played, but it's place here ensures none of the players of next Sunday's teams will play, and everyone else is just trying to avoid injury.
The Canadian and American "National Hockey League," has also engaged in boneheaded thinking. They have decided not to pause their schedule for the two weeks of the Winter Olympics this year. Their Board of Governors ruled against interrupting the season to send players to PyeongChang from February 10–25. Rather than respecting multinational players and their countries, and enhancing the reputation of American Sports, the NHL has made this bad decision, which once again damages the reputation of North Americans before the world.
Instead, this is the weekend of the 63rd National Hockey League All-Star Game, will be held today at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Again, officially, the NHL has declared that the All-Star Game will be played in lieu of NHL participation in the 2018 Olympics. Rather than building up the sport, though, through a standard glorification of NHL Stars, this is a mini playoff of a mini game, which at times only coincidentally resembles professional hockey. The 2018 All-Star Game will again use the bizarre 3-on-3 tournament format introduced in 2016, in which teams representing each of the NHL's four divisions (the Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central, and Pacific) will play a single-elimination tournament, with each game consisting of two 10-minute halves played 3-on-3 and going directly to a shootout if tied after 20 minutes.
The weekend also includes flashy uniforms, designed especially for the weekend, celebrity appearances and shootouts (Do NHL Bosses really think Justin Bieber inspires anyone to love hockey???), and other gimmicks meant to enhance fan excitement!!! but having little to do with the sport. This sad version of what the NHL All Star Game has come to might be best transferred to a mid Summer hockey festival, or maybe a formal dinner and award presentation.... It is unfortunate Big Hockey has chosen to have it override that beautiful expression of international cooperation which is the Olympics.
Having said that, at the All Star break, Tampa Bay is leading the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, and Washington the Metropolitan Conference. In the Western Conference, Nashville and Winnipeg are at the head of the Central Division, and Las Vegas leads the Pacific Division.
France, and in particular French Rugby, has been the most fecund source of Dieux du Stade.
In French Top 14 Rugby today, at 11:30, local time, Stade Franҫais will take on Section Paloise (Pau) at the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris. At 15:50, at the Stade Marcel-Michelin, Clermont Auvergne will host Montpellier Hérault.