Sponsored by The U.S. Marines
By Dave Doyle
NHL: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning – Remember back when you lived and died for Sega’s hockey games? Not only were they revolutionary for their time, but it seemed like in real life, NHL players were going out of their way to post video-game type numbers. Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne each netted 76 in 1992-93; Pavel Bure had 60 apiece in 1992-93 and 1993-94; Mario Lemieux had 69 and Jaromir Jagr 62 in 1995-96 … and then it stopped. What the neutral-zone trap couldn’t quite kill, goalies dressed up like the Michelin Man finished off. Well, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning is doing his best to bring back those “NHL ’94” days. The Lightning forward finished his season with a flourish, scoring four goals in the final week and reaching the 60-goal mark with a third-period strike in a 4-3, season-ending overtime win at Winnipeg. With that, Stamkos joined Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (65 goals in 2007-08) as the only players to hit 60 since the Lemieux/Jagr combo.
MLB: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers – Few players have gotten off to a faster start than the high-flying Tigers infielder. Cabrera was named AL Player of the Week after an abbreviated opening week performance in which he roasted Boston Red Sox pitching. After walking three times in the season opener on April 5, Cabrera erupted for three home runs and eight RBI in back-to-back wins on April 7-8 as Detroit swept Boston. Then, to prove it wasn’t just the hapless Red Sox over whom he has dominion, Cabrera followed up by going 3-for-6 with a double and two more walks in a pair of games against the Tampa Bay Devils Rays, leaving him with a .500 average through five games.
NBA: Goran Drajic, Houston Rockets – The Rockets are beginning to assert themselves in a jam-packed Western Conference playoff race, and it’s in large part due to the efforts of their soon-to-be-free-agent point guard. Houston’s 94-89 victory at Portland capped a remarkable road trip in which the Rockets went 4-0 and earned quality wins over the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Dragic had 22 points, seven assists and three steals against the Trail Blazers, which was his first performance after being named Western Conference Player of the Week. The PG had 21 points, five assists and four steals in the Rockets’ 99-93 win over the Bulls on April 2 and 26 points, 11 assists, four boards and three steals in a 112-107 win over the Lakers on April 8.