What 2 Watch (Feb. 24-26)

After a small lull in the sports calendar this weekend is full of great events that are sure to keep every sports fan busy. As the winter sports begin to wind down the summer sports start to make themselves known. The NHL is one of these winter sports as they begin to prepare for the playoffs with just a little over a month left in the regular season. With this comes intense playoff races and one will be on display this weekend when the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Washington Capitals in a battle of Eastern Conference playoff  hopefuls. The CHL is also winding down as the playoff battles heat up and Friday Night Hockey is here to show them as this week they will feature a battle in the WHL. Meanwhile the NBA will prepare for their last half with the midway point of the season upon us. As the midway point appears so does the NBA All-Star weekend that will have three days of great events including the Rising Stars Game, All-star Saturday, and the NBA All-star Game. The NCAA is further along in their season as rivalries continue to be held with March Madness around the corner. This week the Border War will translate to the court with Missouri looking to make it two in a row against Kansas. Yet another winter sport is in the heart of their season as Women’s Curling will determine a Canadian champion with the conclusion of the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts this weekend. Lacrosse is also in their heart of their season with the Toronto Rock taking on the Rochester Knighthawks as the Rock look for their repeat this season. As these sports wind down others continue their beginnings including the PGA Tour that will see the World Golf Championship- Accenture Match Play Championship finish this weekend. Another Summer sport will just begin this weekend as NASCAR kicks off their 2012 season with the Daytona 500 taking centre stage. Of course there are also year round sports like the UFC who will travel to Japan for the first time since 2000 for UFC 144. With so much to watch this weekend all sports fans should be content but if you need any help as always The Sport Addiction is here to help.

 

Scotties Tournament of Hearts Final Rounds

 

 

 

As the Tournament of Hearts winds to an end the top teams have risen to the top and prepare for the final rounds this weekend. Representing Canada as the former tournament champion Amber Holland has not been able to dominate this year as they have been eliminated from the final rounds. Standing at a record of 6-5 Holland’s Rink was able to push their way to the top but stumbled down the stretch and are now out of the hunt to repeat. Last year’s runner-up Jennifer Jones and her rink from Manitoba has been able to surpass the Canadian team and lock up the top spot going 9-2 as they look to be on the fast track to the finals again this year. With Jones at the top and the defending champions out there are a number of surprise rinks including Kelly Scott from British Columbia. With an 8-3 record Scott’s rink has been able to take the second spot and will face off with Jones for a chance at the finals. Meanwhile the bronze medalists form a year ago have fallen off dramatically with Heather Smith-Dacey and her rink from Nova Scotia sitting at a 4-7 record and finishing in second to last spot.  Roudning out the final round Marie-France Larouche from Quebec and Heather Nedohin from Alberta. This weekend will see a new champion at the Tournament of Hearts as Amber Holland will not be able to defend their Team Canada title. With the opportunity to become the new Team Canada Jennifer Jones’s rink will be the favorites but Quebec, Alberta, and B.C. will all be in the running in what should be great final rounds.

When: Friday February 24th-Sunday February 26th

Time: Various times

Channel: TSN

 

NLL Lacrosse: Toronto Rock vs. Rochester Knighthawks

 

 

 

 

As the midway point in the Lacrosse season approaches the Toronto Rock continue to look for their repeat. Sitting in second place in the East, the Rock have struggled to overtake the Philadelphia Wings for the top spot. With a 3-3 record the Rock have not been able to get on a solid run yet this season but they will be hoping to do just that on Friday while separating themselves from the bottom of the East. They will try to do this against the 3rd place Rochester Knighthawks who will be trying to unseat the Rock and take over the 2nd place spot. The Knighthawks are looking to be the ones to take out the defending champions as they hope to make the playoffs this year and win against the Rock could go a long way to achieving their goal. Both teams have strong leaders as the Rock will lean on Garrett Billings who has had a strong season for the Rock and leads them in every runner category. The Rock do not only rely on Billings though as they score by committee with six runners above 5 goals this year. The Knighthawks look to Cody Jamieson for the majority of their goals but again like the Rock they look to a number of players for the offensive output, they have 4 players with 10+ goals. The Rock will also have some extra motivation as they retire legendary goaltender Bob Watson’s number 29 jersey before the game. Rochester’s motivation will be to spoil the special night and get revenge for their 13-11 loss to the Rock earlier in the season. The night before the NLL All-Star game these two Eastern Conference rivals will face off as they look to continue the battle for second place.

When: Friday February 24th

Time: 7:00 pm

Channel: TSN2

 

CHL Hockey: Kootenay Ice vs. Saskatoon Blades

 

 

 

 

With almost four weeks left to play in the regular season the CHL begins to wind down with every team looking to make one last push to the playoffs. This week Friday Night Hockey will feature two teams from the very competitive Eastern Conference who are both looking to put up a fight for their division title. The Kootenay Ice will take on the Saskatoon Blades as both teams look to take two points and remain in a playoff spot. The Kootenay Ice have been challenged this year by a very strong Edmonton Oil Kings team that currently sits almost 10 points ahead of the Ice who are in third place in the Central Division. Kootneay will be looking to chip away at this large lead down the stretch and the first step is to beat the Blades. The Ice are led by their defence that has been anchored by goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, a 6th round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, who leads all WHL goalies in goals against average, 2.30, and stands in third place in save percentage, 0.921. On offence the Ice are led by the Reinhart brothers Sam (25G, 31 A) and Max (24 G, 42 A). The Ice will be in a tough battle against the Blades who are currently in 2nd place in the Eastern Division and are 10 points behind the division leading Moose Jaw Warriors. The Blades boast a top 25 draft prospect in Dalton Thrower, 16 goals 33 assists, who is looking to make an impact and improve his status for the 2012 draft. Their offensive leader is Matej Stransky (33 G, 29 A), a 6th round pick by the Dallas Stars, but they have plenty of secondary scoring. As the season draws to a close every game become that much more important and both teams will be looking to take the W and the 2 points on a national stage.

When: Friday February 24th

Time: 8:00 pm

Channel: Sportsnet One

 

NBA BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

 

 

 

 

The NBA season has reached the halfway point and after a torrid offseason and a busy first half the stars will arrive in Orlando for the All-Star Game. Before the All-Star game there are plenty more events to see and take in as the NBA will display their talent in throughout the All-star weekend. The official start of the weekend will be the Celebrity Game that pits Basketball fanatics against each other and can bring out some hidden talents, see Justin Beiber circa 2011. After that the first broadcasted game will take place the top young talent in the NBA will face off as two legendary former players look on. Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley will take their fun feud to the court as they coach the Rising Stars Challenge. This year will feature some of the biggest young names in the NBA and should be a fair game with both teams created after a fantasy draft by the two coaches. Team Shaq ill feature two of the biggest names in the NBA today in Blake Griffin and Jeremy Lin. After a tremendous rookie season Griffin will anchor Team Shaq and will hope to have a little help from Linsanity himself Jeremy Lin who has become the focus of the midseason. Rounding out the team will be some Canadian content as Tristan Thompson, the highest drafted Canadian ever, will make an appearance as well. On Team Chuck the focus will be on Kyrie Irving and John Wall who will be the leaders for Barkley’s team. As Orlando prepares for the All-Star Game the Young Stars will be sure to give everyone some entertainment before the big game. It will also be a great way for the NBA to showcase their young sophomores and rookies in what should be a very entertaining game.

When: Friday February 24th

Time: 9:00 pm

Channel: TSN2

 

PGA Tour: WGC- Accenture Match Play Championships

 

 

 

 

 

The PGA Tour is generally a collection of tournaments that all see the best golfer over four rounds win the title, with a cut after two rounds. It is a rare site on the Tour to see a match play tournament but that is exactly what the Tour has for this weekend. The World Golf Championship will host the Accenture Match Play Championship as the Tour begins to get into full swing. With just over a month until the Masters many of the big names on the PGA Tour are beginning to enter more tournaments as they prepare for the bigger tournaments. This Match Play Tournament will feature some of the best players on the tour and other players looking to make a name for themselves. With a bracket format golfers will go head-to-head in match play as they progress towards the finals. NBC will be hosting the final rounds including the quarterfinals, semi-finals, and the final two matches. With the rankings set some of the top names are looking to take advantage of a weaker opponent including #1 ranked Rory McIlroy in the Gary Player bracket and Lee Westwood in the Sam Snead Bracket. Meanwhile golfers like Tiger Woods, Y.E. Yang, and Bubba Watson were all set to battle it out in the middle of the bracket. As the days go on the matches will get tighter and tighter with golfers getting better and better through the bracket. Of course in match play anything can happen as one bad round could eliminate you from contention. Some golfers have already seen this including Ian Poulter who was eliminated in the first round by 11th ranked Sang-Moon Bae and #1 ranked Luke Donaldson who was beat in round 1 by Ernie Els. As the days progress there will be fewer and fewer holes in the lineup giving anyone an opportunity to win the WGC Match Play Championship. With such a rare tournament format this PGA Tour stop should be a great change of pace as everyone, including the fans, gears up for the biggest tournament of the year in 4 weeks.

When: Saturday February 25th/Sunday February 26th

Time: 2:00 pm

Channel: NBC

 

NCAA Basketball: #3 Missouri Tigers vs. #5 Kansas Jayhawks

 

 

 

 

With the NCAA basketball season quickly coming to a close the rivalries continue to be put to the test. That is exactly what will happen this Saturday as two very good teams look to continue the heated rivalry between their two schools. Most notably this rivalry takes place on rivalry week in the NCAA football season and is known as the Border War. This rivalry spills onto the basketball court this weekend as the Tigers and Jayhawks will face off for the 267th time. The rivalry has not been as good as in football with the Jayhawks leading the overall series 171-95. Last year the Tigers finally broke another long streak by Kansas as they won a close game 74-71 and ended a 5 game winning streak. This year they hope to start their own streak as they look for two in a row but this game will mean more than just pride. Both teams are ranked in the top 5 for the first time since 1990. The #3 ranked Tigers are led by a potent offence that averages 79.5 points per game and ranks 10th in the NCAA, they rank 2nd in field goal percentage at .498. Leading the charge is Marcus Denmon who is averaging   17.8 points a game and is leading the Tigers offence. The #5 ranked Jayhawks are built on their defence that averages 60.4 points allowed per game. Their offence will come from Thomas Robinson who averages 17.7 points per game and also leads the defence with 11.8 rebounds per game. The Border War will move towards the courts as Kansas and Missouri take the rivalry to the NCAA season as both teams are looking to remain in the top five before the March Madness begins but only one will stay there.

When: Saturday February 25th

Time: 4:00 pm

Channel: CBS

 

UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

 

 

 

 

 

The UFC makes a long-awaited return to one of the biggest MMA markets in the world as the octagon travels to Japan for the first time since 2000. They will try to make an impact with the Lightweight title on the line as Frankie Edgar takes on Benson Henderson in the main event. With the start of a new year comes Edgar’s third challenger, in three years, in Henderson after spending 2010 fighting BJ Penn twice and spending 2011 fighting Gray Maynard twice. Henderson will give Edgar a fresh face in the octagon but it might not be a welcome one as he will prove to be a tough out. A former WEC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson will try to earn another belt with his great wrestling ability and his endless pace. Edgar and Henderson will end the night in what is sure to be a great fight but there will be even more to look for at UFC 144. This includes the return of two Japanese fan favorites to the country where they built their careers. Yoshihiro Akiyama will return to his home country to fight for the first time since 2008 and will be looking to break a three fight losing streak in front of his home crowd. His opponent will be Jake Shields who will try to spoil the homecoming and break his own losing streak in the UFC. Rampage Jackson will also return to Japan where he fought for Pride for years and became a fan favorite. He will try to put on a great show for his fans, who have not seen him since 2006, as he takes on Ryan Bader who looks for a boost up the Light Heavyweight ladder by beating Jackson. With so much to look forward to the first fight for 11 years in Japan looks to be a great card that should make an impression on the Japanese fans.

When: Saturday February 25th

Time: 6:00 pm/9:00 pm/10:00 pm

Channel: Facebook/Sportsnet/Pay-per-View

 

NHL Hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

 

 

 

 

 

The NHL will enter their last full month of the regular season next week and the playoff race is getting more intense. This will be the case on Hockey Night in Canada when the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs take their playoff race to a national audience. The Maple Leafs have struggled lately as they cannot seem to find solid goaltending from either of their goalies. Neither James Reimer nor Jonas Gustafsson seemed to want the #1 goalie job as both have struggled to keep the puck out of the net leaving the defensive minded Leafs struggling to keep up offensively. Despite their struggles the Leafs have not fallen out of the race and look to be in a tough fight for the 8th and final playoff spot in the East. One of the teams they will fight with is the Washington Capitals and the Leafs will have their shot to move ahead of the Caps when they play them on Saturday. The Capitals have also not had the best season as their superstar Alexander Ovechkin has been invisible at times and with nobody else able to match his output the Caps are not the usual offensive powerhouse. Both teams will be looking for a win as the off-ice pressure for each is growing. The Leafs are looking to break an 8 year playoff drought in a city that lives and breathes hockey but has not seen a competitive team in years. The Capitals seem to be close to a complete management change if they cannot make the playoffs this year after years of playoff futility has made an environment where the owner is looking for a reason to make changes. With the pressure mounting and the February lull hopefully over both teams will be looking for a win to begin their final playoff push into the end of February.

When: Saturday February 25th

Time: 7:00 pm

Channel: CBC

 

NBA All-Star Saturday

 

 

 

The NBA All-Star weekend will continue with one of the most entertaining parts for the weekend. The All-Star Saturday Skills competition is one of the most anticipated days of the weekend with some of the biggest names in the game showcasing their specific talents. The competition will kick off with the Haier Shooting Stars as Team Atlanta defends their title against Team Orlando, Team New York, and Team Texas, made up of one current NBA player, one current WNBA player, and one TNT analyst/former NBA player. Together these teams will shoot from different spots on the court and look to complete all shots in the shortest time. The next event will be the Taco Bell Skills challenge that will see defending champion Stephen Curry defend his title against his challengers. These challengers include Kyrie Irving, Tony Parker, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Deron Williams. The Skills competition involves a timed obstacle course that requires all participants to use their dribbling, shooting, and passing skills to get the best time. After the skills competition comes the Foot Locker 3-point Contest as James Jones will defend his title against Joe Johnson, Kevin Love, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Morrow, and Mario Chalmers. The competitors will participate in this classic competition where they will go through two rounds of three-point shooting to determine who is the best from beyond the arc. Then after all of the buildup comes the event that everyone anticipates every year as four new challengers look to become the king of the dunk in the Sprite Dunk Contest. Chase Budinger, Paul George, Jeremy Evans, and Derrick Williams will all take the new one round three dunk format to find out who can impress the fans the most with their dunking imagination. The All-star Saturday is one of the most entertaining days in the All-star weekend and will be a great prelude to the All-star game on Sunday.

When: Saturday February 25th

Time: 8:00 pm

Channel: TSN2

 

NASCAR Racing: Daytona 500

 

 

 

 

The biggest race on the NASCAR calendar is back as the Daytona 500 is here to kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. NASCAR kicks off their season big every year as they save the biggest race for the start and as history has proven anyone can win. Last year made a point of this as 20-year-old, his birthday was the day before the race, Trevor Bayne won in his first attempt at the big race. The 2011 race saw 74 lead changes and 22 different leaders in a wild night that saw Bayne take the lead after David Ragan was penalized on a restart. Leading the last six laps and fending off every big name in NASCAR, Bayne became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500. Bayne will be back to try to make it 2-for-2 but he will be in tough as the rest of the field is, as always, very intimidating. With Dale Earnhart Jr., Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and almost any other name in NASCAR participating the field is wide open. Along with the usual customers there will be one big addition as former Indy Car racer Danica Patrick will make her debut in NASCAR after years in open wheel cars. Open wheel and NASCAR are much different and have completely different driving styles. Patrick will need to adjust to this new style of racing if she hopes to make an impact but there is no bigger stage to make an impact than at the Daytona 500. Whoever wins this race could be on to great start to the season, then again the Daytona 500 is just the start to another wild season where anything can happen.

When: Sunday February 26th

Time: 1:00 pm

Channel: TSN2

 

2012 NBA All-Star Game

 

 

 

 

 

The NBA All-Star weekend will end on Sunday with the big game as the Eastern Conference All-Stars take on the Western Conference All-Stars. The game will be a showcase of the great talent in the NBA and as usual looks to be a display in offence with the defence taking a vacation. The rosters read like every all-star game as big name after big name makes an appearance. For the East the big names include the big three from Miami, James, Wade, and Bosh, along with two stars from Boston, Rondo and Pierce. Meanwhile in the West Los Angeles has taken four of the starting five spots with the Clippers, Griffin and Paul, and Lakers, Bryant and Bynum, sharing the spots. As with every All-Star game the fundamentals of Basketball will likely be thrown out with the top talent in the NBA looking to put on a show. All-Star games in every league see the same trend as the stars come out to put on a fantastic show but part of the great thrill is the lack of defence. Instead every player, usually voted in because of their offensive talents, looks to make an impact on the score and rarely does so with his defensive abilities. The plays are spectacular but for most fans the game is not good enough without the great play at both ends. If you can suspend a love for both sides of the game than the All-Star game should be a fun night of exciting offensive basketball that will cap off a great All-Star weekend that will act as the midway point of the NBA season.

When: Sunday February 26th

Time: 6:00 pm

Channel: TSN

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