Home Is Not Sweet in Hockey Playoffs
Though it’s highly unlikely the Ducks will have home-ice advantage in the NHL playoffs -- they need only a win or a Phoenix loss to clinch a berth -- they shouldn’t worry.
A team of Canadian psychologists studied Stanley Cup finals between 1961 and 1993 and concluded that in most cases teams lose when playing at home.
“It makes me laugh when I hear sports commentators say, ‘This team has the home-ice advantage,’ ” Dan Voyer, a psychology professor at the University of New Brunswick, told Associated Press. “I know that in the playoffs, it means nothing.”
The reason? “When it is a critical game and people have the possibility of redefining themselves as champions or winners, then they become more self-conscious and start making more mistakes,” Voyer said.
Perhaps the Lakers -- 14-20 on the road -- are counting on those results translating to the basketball court.
Trivia time: Who holds the Angel season record for stolen bases?
No shot: Bud Geracie in the San Jose Mercury News: “The A’s are in trouble if they take the same approach to the season that their owner is taking to the Miguel Tejada situation: I can’t do it, so I’m not even going to try.”
More Geracie: “After ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was booed in Montreal, Mark Parrish of the New York Islanders said: ‘If it weren’t for America, God knows what language they’d be speaking right now.’ ”
Bad idea: Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer, after college basketball coaches wore bow ties in tribute to retiring Mount St. Mary’s Coach Jim Phelan: “When Bobby Knight finally hangs it up, will coaches around the nation mark the occasion by throttling their players and cursing out reporters?”
A shot in the arm: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: “Randy Johnson, comparing his working conditions to those of previous generations: ‘We have some benefits. We pitch in a five-man rotation, and we have modern medicine. That takes away the inflammation a little quicker than taking a shot of whiskey and going out and pitching.’ ”
More Armstrong: “Hawk guard Jason Terry, after watching assistant coach Alex English hooping it up for the Nuggets on ESPN Classic: ‘Coach English always talks about defense, rebounding, making the extra pass. But from what I saw, all he was doing was shooting.’ Well, yeah, that and arguing with Doug Moe.”
Looking back: On this date in 1975, Muhammad Ali knocked out Chuck Wepner in the 15th round at Cleveland to retain the world heavyweight title.
Looking back again: On this date in 1980, Louisville defeated UCLA, 59-54, at Indianapolis to win the NCAA men’s basketball title.
The Bruins didn’t reach the final again until 1995, when they defeated Arkansas, 89-78, for their 11th title.
Trivia answer: Mickey Rivers, 70 in 1975.
And finally: Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, on the Clippers’ general manager: “If Elgin Baylor ever goes on ‘Survivor,’ the other invitees may as well stay home.”