David Beckham cast doubt on his 2010 return to MLS from an Achilles injury, but L.A. already has a stand-in: forward Buddle, who's scored nine of the first-place Galaxy's 10 goals through six games. Time to consider Buddle for Team USA? "Why wouldn't you?" asked L.A. teammate Landon Donovan.
JAROSLAV HALAK, HAIL!
May 9, 2010
The Canadiens' netminder (right) backstopped the first-round upset of the Caps (including 53 stops in Game 6, a non-OT playoff record) and had the Habs even with the Cup-holding Pens—all despite Montreal's being outshot by 96 in Halak's five playoff wins.
UNDERDOGS ARE HERE!
Three of the NHL's four lower-seeded Eastern Conference playoff teams advanced, as did two from the NBA's West; and in the Champions League, Inter ousted favored Barcelona, which put the damper on by turning the sprinklers on the celebrating visitors (right).
YOUTH TO THE FORE
Just when golf needed fresh faces: Rory McIlroy (right), 21 this week, became the PGA's youngest winner since Tiger Woods with his course-record 62 at Quail Hollow; Ryo Ishikawa, 18, fired an otherworldly 58 in Japan; and Alvaro Quiros, 27, reigned in his native Spain.
Phillies reliever Ryan Madson (left), off to the worst start of his eight-year career (7.00 ERA), capped a blown save against the Giants on April 28 by breaking his right big toe while kicking a metal chair, thus landing on the DL. Down, Mad Dog! Show some patience! (The Phillies came back to win in 11.)
ANTTI NIEMI, WAIL!
Then there's Blackhawks 'tender Niemi, who looked more like Uncle Buck as Chicago squeaked into round 2 despite his feeble .905 save percentage. Nor did the rookie start the next round auspiciously, surrendering five goals to the Canucks within 22 minutes.
ASTROS ... RUH-ROH
Got a problem? Call Houston! The Braves snapped a nine-game skid by sweeping the schizoid 'Stros (eight L's, then eight W's in 10 games, then six L's), who were averaging an MLB-worst 3.0 runs while being ranked the fourth-least-liked team by The Wall Street Journal.
GEEZERS WHO BORE
Terry Bradshaw, 61, embarrassed himself by popping out of a birthday cake in his skivvies on Leno, but old and pasty beats old and cranky, such as 76-year-old Don Cherry, who lashed out at "jerk" e-mailers on Hockey Night in Canada. That's soooo 20th century, Grapes.
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST ROAD ARENA TO PLAY IN?
HP Pavilion, Sharks 19%
Bell Centre, Canadiens 14%
United Center, Blackhawks 13%
Wachovia Center, Flyers 12%
Joe Louis Arena, Red Wings 10%
The top five teams all won their first-round Stanley Cup series, but where was that fearsome home-ice advantage? Collectively, they were 8--6 in their buildings.... The Devils' 225 regular-season home wins over the past decade are second only to the Red Wings' 250, yet New Jersey received only 1%.... The Blackhawks' home record during that period is a pedestrian 181-132-22, tied for 23rd.
Based on a survey of 272 NHL players