Monday Morning Lineup:May 23

Phil  Kessel’s breath (doesn’t) stink but he’s pretty damn good at hockey,  SNL (finally) makes me laugh hard again and The Yankees are (kind of)  back

Author’s note: Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Monday Morning Lineup, something that will hopefully be  a weekly feature here at Each Monday, I’ll bring you a full lineup card with 9 (and sometimes 10!) links/clips/games/takes/anything else that caught my eye or that you may have missed from the weekend that was. Enjoy.

1. Phil Kessel’s breath apparently doesn’t stink, and neither does his shot

According to current Penguin and former Ranger Carl Hagelin, teammate Phil Kessel’s breath isn’t so bad after all. As you’ve almost definetly seen by now, Kessel was involved in an awkward yet hysterical exchange with Pierre McGuire (who is starting to win me over, FWIW) that resulted in everyone thinking his breath is bad.

Regardless of all that, what a playoff stud Kessel is. I’ve been banging his drum for a few weeks now, so hockey friends of mine can probably skip to #2. But he’s been fantastic to watch the past few weeks, when I can deal with the fact that the Islanders broke my heart and actually watch the NHL playoffs.

And despite his reputation, this is nothing new. Go look at his stats  in the playoffs . He gets a bad rap for being a bit soft and round in the center, but the guy can fly and he’s scored 38 points in 38 playoff games, and that’s after being kept away from the score sheet in game 5’s wild loss  last night. Tough to be that fast and play that well after a long, hard season if you’re in bad shape. I’m in the minority, but he has quickly become one of the guys I’m rooting for.

(but yeah, his breath definitely stinks and Hagelin is a liar, as if his past teams didn’t already tip you off)

2. The return of Rory?

A Sunday afternoon column from ESPN’s Kevin Maguire posits that an Irish Open victory for Rory McIlroy should have you keeping an eye on on the prodigal son of Northern Ireland. Is there any substance to it? God, I hope so. Getting a real duel between Spieth and Rory could be absolutely fantastic, especially leading up to the Ryder Cup  in September. Here’s wishing they both are on the leaderboard come the weekend at Oakmont.

3. Bentil is NBA bound

This isn’t surprising, but I was holding out he’d saddle up for one more ride with Stonehill’s own Ed Cooley and the rest of Fr. Dom’s gang over at PC.

I really hope that both Bentil and Dunn can find good situations that allow them to be productive NBA players. Most mock drafts so far have Dunn headed to New Orleans, and watching a ball distributor like him work with freakin’ Anthony Davis would be a thing of beauty. I already have an NBA-crush on Davis, so if my man Dunn heads there, I may have to invest in some Pelicans gear.

As for Bentil, ESPN has him either going in the last few picks of the first round or the first half of the second, while DraftExpress has him going to the Celtics at #45.  I’d love to see Bentil play in Boston and get to watch his rookie year closely, but I’m not sure that’s the best spot for him. The Celtics have a dearth of middling big men and no shortage of young players. It could be tough for a guy like Bentil to break through.

My mind tends to favor projections like that of Gary Parish of CBS Sports, who has him going to the Warriors at the back end of the first round. I think Bentil could thrive in a situation where he could play on a successful squad and fill a needed role. He could also learn a thing or two about defense from Draymond Green.


4. Farewell, Mr. Bunting

I really don’t have anything to add. I’ve watched this a half-dozen times but it still cracks me up. My girlfriend, less so.

5. What the hell is wrong with Matt Harvey?

The supposed New York Mets ace did. not. have. a. good. weekend. I haven’t seen much more than highlights of Harvey this year, so it’s tough for me to say, but my guess is he’s hurt. Maybe it’s the ole’ Tommy John elbow flaring up again, maybe he has still has rocks in his pee like I suggested to someone this weekend. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. All I know is he better figure it out before he signs with the Yankees in a few years.

6Just how long can the Sharks’ beards get?

While I may  have been sitting in the driver’s seat of the Phil Kessel bandwagon at the top of this blog, the Sharks are my true adopted team. I want to see Joe Thornton keep dropping gorgeous passes around the offensive zone and then tell basically all of hockey to go suck it (and maybe, just maybe, finally do the thing.) I want Patrick Marleau to get the monkey off his back. I want Martin Jones to go on a blazing hot streak. I want Logan Couture to keep scoring points. I want Brent Burns to stay in all of our lives. But most of all?

Most of all I want to watch the reaction when someone has to drink out of the cup after Burns and Thornton dip their beards in it.


7. Will Novak Djokovic rule Roland-Garros?

Novak has been all over the viral interweb news this week, between the above story about him celebrating his birthday at Roland-Garros and a  story from last week about him being nice to a ball boy.

With Federer out, he’s got a shot to really shine at the French Open this week. I have a hunch he wins the whole thing, but that’s not a remarkably brave take.

8. LeBron is still the worst

In case you forgot, Mr. James was sure to remind you why you hate him this weekend. After previously claiming he literally does not posses the ability to flop, he was throwing himself around the court like a damn rag doll.

My personal favorite was when he acted like he was knocked unconscious by his own teammate’s arm. Or maybe it was when he used that Jay-Z quote during his press conference? I can’t decide, there are too many to choose from.

9. The Yankees are back?

Time for a weekly look at the “are the Yankees back” meter. This week’s answer? Kind of.

I know, #hottakecity here on a Monday  morning. But yeah, I’ll sign up for a road sweep and four straight any day. That’s always a good sign, and so is escaping the dreaded 5th spot in the AL East standings, so golf claps all around. But I’m very pessimistic about this year’s squad in general (see Saturday’s post for more  on that) and this weekend did not  do a ton to change that. My guess is this team will be good enough to hang around for most of the season, but will end up winning  80-90 games and more than likely miss the playoffs. Honestly, the basement is probably deeper than the ceiling is high for this year’s squad, and I think that is basically what the plan for this season was.

Check back next week, though. The Yanks host the Blue Jays for 3 games to start the week, then head to Tampa before a Memorial Day series back north against the Jays once again. If they can play well the next few days, maybe they can make me a believer. (But probably not)


BONUS DH SPOT: Thunder storm back in game three 

(Authors note: Yes I did study journalism, thank you)

What a dominating effort. The more I watch of the Western Conference Final, the more I think the Cavs are going to finally do the damn thing and let LeBron bask in the loving glow of a worshipping Cleveland. No matter which team wins out West, they’re going to be physically and emotionally exhausted. Sure, game 3 didn’t go so well for the Cavs, but I still think they’ll handle Toronto in 5, maybe 6 games. Meanwhile, it looks like there is no way the West isn’t going 7.

I also really hope KD stays around for at least with one last ride with Russ. Even if they both go get huge new contracts with all the fresh TV money, Durant has to sign for one more year with OKC. We need another round of Warriors-Thunder-Spurs in the Weest, ITs unreal basketball.

Have a good week, everybody!


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