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Sports Rundown - April 16th, 2024

Updated: Apr 17

The Seawanhaka Sports Rundown is a weekly roundup of five stories that examine developments in sports news at the local, state, national and international levels.


The Eastern Conference Playoff Race Madness Hits A New High

The Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals are all fighting for a playoff spot (Photo via NHL)

With the Stanley Cup playoffs set to drop the puck on April 20, teams are either closing their successful season by preparing for the postseason, accepting their season was a failure and moving on to the next season, or making a last-second playoff push.

With the Western Conference having all its playoff teams clinching a playoff berth, the East has two spots left. One playoff spot for the third best team in the metropolitan division, and the second spot for a Wild Card team.

Currently, the Islanders hold 90 points and are currently in third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders have had a rollercoaster of a season. After a mid-season coaching change that saw them hiring legendary Canadians and Avalanche goalkeeper Patrick Roy, the Islanders would begin April with a 6-0-1 record and are inches away from clinching a playoff berth. The Islanders need two points to clinch their spot in the playoffs.

The Capitals, Red Wings, and Flyers are tied with 87 points with Washington holding a tiebreaker from regulation wins. The Flyers had a horrible collapse. When it seemed like they would easily be the third best team in the Metropolitan Division, they went on a seven game losing streak. They only have one more game left to play in the season and can only clinch by winning and hoping that Detroit and Washington lose. 

Washington and Detroit both have played 80 games on the season. Detroit will benefit from an easy final two games in the regular season, playing the struggling Montreal Canadians twice. This is in contrast to the Capitals, who have to play one of the best teams in the league, the Boston Bruins, and another team fighting in the wild card race, the Philadelphia Flyers.

Lastly, the Pittsburgh Penguins are sitting with 86 points. Pittsburgh had a disappointing season last year, missing the postseason for the first time since 2006. Led by captain Sidney Crosby, the Penguins are just on the outside looking in at the moment. Their final two games are against the Nashville Predators and the New York Islanders. Pittsburgh would have to win out to finish with 90 points and hope the Flyers, Capitals, and Red Wings get no more than two points.

The NBA Playoffs Are Set 

Jalen Brunson dropped 40 points in the Knicks 120-119 overtime victory. This victory clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference (Photo via New York Post)

The NBA regular season is over and it is time for playoff basketball. This season showcased how rebuilding teams is properly done and how dominant certain teams are going into the playoffs. There are interesting first-round matchups and surprise teams that made it this season.

The Orlando Magic missed the postseason last year, finishing with a 34-48 record and 13th in the East. This season, Orlando finished 47-35 and locked up the fifth seed, setting them up for a first-round matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Led by Paolo Banchero, the Magic are looking to make a deep run. To do that, they’ll have to get through Cleveland, led by Donovan Mitchell.

The Boston Celtics are coming into the postseason as a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Finishing with a league best 64 wins. The Celtics come into the playoffs as an overwhelming favorite. Boston is also benefiting from having a 37-4 record at home and with clinching home court advantage for the entire postseason. It will be difficult to beat them.

The defending champions, the Denver Nuggets have the second seed in the Western Conference. They and the first seeded Oklahoma City Thunder have the same record at 57-25 with the Thunder beating Denver on a tiebreaker. Both teams will have tough matchups ahead of them as the West is never an easy challenge but a Western Conference Finals matchup between the two teams would certainly be entertaining.

WNBA Draft Takes Over Brooklyn

Caitlin Clark finished her senior season with Iowa. She is highly expected to be the first overall pick in the draft (Photo via CNN)

Monday night on April 15th, the WNBA draft takes place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. This is the most anticipated WNBA draft ever with the number of prospects going pro. The Women’s College Basketball Final between South Carolina and Iowa doubled in viewership from last season's final and all it showed was that the popularity of women’s basketball is steadily increasing.

Caitlin Clark is one of the biggest reasons for women's basketball finally getting respect and credibility. Becoming the all-time leading scorer in college basketball, Clark led Iowa to back-to-back finals appearances but ultimately would lose to LSU last season and South Carolina this season. Her overall impact on the game will benefit it as time goes on. It is almost completely certain that she will be the first overall pick

Drawing inspiration from legendary WNBA player, Candace Parker, LSU forward Angel Reese looks to add her defensive prowess to the league. Reese is a national champion with the Tigers, having won in 2023; Reese’s first season as a transfer from Maryland. In that same tournament, she won Most Outstanding Player along with setting the program and SEC single-season rebounding records. She is projected to be a top ten pick.

Since joining Stanford in 2020, Cameron Brink already made an impact by helping the Cardinal win their third national championship. Along with Angel Reese, Brink is looking to bring her defensive skill set to the league. Having won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award three times in a row to go along with her winning Pac-12 Player of the Year twice, her draft stock is incredibly high. If it weren’t for Caitlin Clark, Brink would arguably be the first overall pick. Expect to see her go in the top three.

The New York Jets Unveil New Legacy Uniforms

The unveiling of the new uniforms for the New York Jets (Photo via New York Jets)

Two months ago, chairman Woody Johnson teased fans with new jerseys set to be revealed in April. On Monday morning, the Jets released their new “Legacy Collection” jerseys. Last season, the Jets used their Legacy White uniforms in week one vs the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football and in week four vs the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Due to high demand and criticism of the current jerseys, Woody Johnson agreed to make the change.

The team's new regalia pays tribute to a historical time in the club's history. From 1979-1989, the Jets were known as the New York Sack Exchange. Led by linemen Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau, the Jets would lead the league in sacks with 66 in 1981 and make the AFC championship game the following year. The Sack Exchange was a big reason why the NFL began counting sacks as an official statistic.

The Legacy Collection includes a Legacy White, Legacy Green, and Legacy Black jersey. The new Legacy uniforms include a refresher of the club's iconic Sack Exchange logo featuring a new typeface to go along with the bolder composition. This comes five years after the Jets revealed new jerseys which were faced with some criticism from fans as it changed the look of an already popular jersey.

LIU Baseball Beats FDU On A Walk Off Grand Slam

Outfielder Jake Mastillo after hitting a walk-off grand slam vs FDU on Sunday (Photo via LIU)

Redshirt Senior Outfielder Jake Mastillo crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to push LIU past FDU 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of the Knights. Trailing by three going into their final three outs, the Sharks would complete the two-run comeback over their NEC rivals.

The Sharks fell behind 3-1 thanks to a two-run homer from Outfielder Brian Sanders. Despite that, the Sharks rallied and walked it off on their final out. Starting Pitcher Jared Hughes finished with seven innings pitched, allowing three runs and striking out five batters. In relief, Kevin Small and PJ Moritz combined for two innings pitched with two strikeouts. 

The victory pushes the Sharks record to 15-16 with a 13-5 NEC record. They have won seven straight and hold an impressive 11-1 record at home. They are in second place in the NEC, sitting behind Sacred Heart. They will take on Iona in their next matchup.

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