This is an article from the May 4, 2009 issue
So much for knocking him off his game.
A year after the Penguins' scoring maestro went silent upon being leveled by the Flyers' Mike Richards in the playoffs, he played through more rough stuff in this year's first round and dished out a painful response: nine points in six games to send the Flyers home.
With its six Premier League all-stars, Manchester United closed in on its 18th league title by whipping Tottenham 5--2. And the future once again looks bright. Sizzling 18-year-old fullback Rafael Da Silva (right) signed a contract that ties him to the Red Devils through 2013.
Whoa! Surprising Toronto won its first six series of the year, matching a team record, and led the majors with 124 runs scored. These birds can pitch too: a neat 3.90 ERA. Said shortstop Aaron Hill (right), hitting .367 through Sunday, "Everything seems to be working."
Alive and kicking. South Carolina's big foot (he booted a 54-yard field goal last season) was taken by Kansas City with the 256th and final pick of the NFL draft. Mr. Irrelevant has great expectations: "I plan on making an impact right away," Succop said.
The Flyers' pugnacious forward Darroll Powe (rhymes with pow, of course) was pointless and a -1 in Philadelphia's series-blowing 5--3 loss to the Penguins. Celtics forward Leon Powe (as in laid low) tore his ACL in Game 2 against the Bulls (page 36), and he's gone for the rest of the playoffs.
Four starts, four losses and a 6.52 ERA for the Brewers lefthander, and that's not the half of it. Milwaukee also dropped his final six starts in 2008. Said Parra, whose walk of Astros pitcher Russ Ortiz didn't help in a Brewers loss on Sunday, "I'm tired of this."
Damn! Yankees fans saw their vaunted pitching staff's ERA balloon to a major-league-worst 6.26 after the club was swept by Boston. Folks aren't coming out to fill those expensive seats at new Yankee Stadium, but you can't blame 'em. Who'd pay $2,625 a ticket for this?
Down and out. The Diamondbacks' big arm (he had 22 wins last season) is on the shelf, and persistent shoulder trouble will keep Webb sidelined until at least June. If only he were a DH, he'd be fine. "Just when I throw is when I get the pain," Webb explained.
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
WHO IS THE BEST ROOKIE YOU'VE SEEN THIS SEASON?
Steve Mason, Blue Jackets G 52%
Kris Versteeg, Blackhawks F 12%
Bobby Ryan, Ducks F 11%
Blake Wheeler, Bruins F 9%
Drew Doughty, Kings D 5%
Poll was completed just before the start of the playoffs; players couldn't vote for a teammate.... After leading the Western Conference with 10 shutouts and a 2.29 goals-against average in the regular season, Mason allowed 17 goals as Columbus was swept in the first round by Detroit.... Through five postseason games, Versteeg had five points and Ryan was tied for the NHL lead with four goals.
Based on a survey of 324 NHL players