I just learned Discover credit cards do something pretty awesome. At the end of your first year, they automatically double all the cash back you've earned. That's right, everything you've earned doubled all the cash back from eating at your favorite soup dumpling restaurant. Doubled all the cash back from that trip where you sort of learned to snowboard.
Also doubled. And the best part, you don't have to do anything ridiculous to get it. Nope, Discover does it automatically.
Seriously though, see terms and check it out for yourself at discover.com slash match. Taste some of this. This OMG is the Rich Eisen Show. No other way to put it. With guest host Brian Weber.
Oh my gosh. Live from the Rich Eisen Show Studio in Los Angeles. I'm not talking to you. I talk to anybody out there. Haters. Rich Eisen.
I talk to the haters right now. And now, sitting in for Rich, here's Brian Weber. It is the final hour of the program. Still plenty of time for you to get involved.
844-204-7424 is the phone number. Tweets are picking up and I understand that. There is a process of you listening if you've been with us throughout the whole program. And I know, been in radio for more than a minute. Twitter handles B.W. Weber.
Weber with two B's. Especially on a Monday, folks cycle in and cycle out. So I am not delusional enough to think that you've been with me every step of the way. But some of you are now picking up the pace on Twitter. I get it. There's the beginning of any show and hopefully, since I've been lucky enough to fill in for Rich for over a year now, some of you have heard me before and I have other roles. I don't have to read my entire resume. But if you've not had to endure me, I'll put it that way.
I understand. When I listen to my favorite show and there's a guest host, my first reaction is, no! Much like the sound you're gonna hear from Manhattan and downtown New York, once we get confirmation of what we know to be true, Miami and Denver in the NBA Finals, no! When it could have been LA and Boston. Now you shouldn't care about ratings. You can argue that Jimmy Butler is more interesting to watch in an NBA Finals showcase setting.
What is this guy gonna do to top everything he's done already in his remarkable postseason career than what we saw from Boston and Tatum and Brown a year ago. But given the size of those markets, the lack of quote-unquote star power, and I understand how good Nikola Jokic is, I'm not talking about my view and your listening acumen, on a big word Monday, as a regular devoted listener to the Rich Eisen Show. If we're thinking about the landscape of NBA ratings, it's casual fans, many of whom could not name one player on the Denver Nuggets, unfortunately. But that's not our problem because we're hardcore. And coming up in 40 minutes, because it's the Rich Eisen Show, not the Brian Weber Show, here is the irony.
Quick sidebar. Irony is misused. Most of the time we mean coincidental, but it's always heard in my business.
Isn't it ironic because it sounds better and more meaningful than isn't it coincidental? But ironically, I'm in the very same studio, furnished by Grainger, where the last version of the Brian Weber Show was situated before it got canceled. There's been a lot of incarnations of the Brian Weber Show that have been canceled on several national networks.
So it's a huge opportunity to be in for Rich. And it's not the Brian Weber Show. It's the Rich Eisen Show. And I listen every day. I watch the terrific work on the Roku channel.
So good. This program is Emmy nominated for the second straight year. That's why you got to put up with me today and tomorrow, Rich and the team in New York for the Sports Emmy Awards. As I mentioned, this show, Emmy nominated in the category of best studio show. Rich also afford individual honor. Nominated as best studio host.
I will give you the results tomorrow. Either way, when Rich is in the chair, he talks hockey because he grew up in New York as a hockey fan, because he understands given the width and the length, yes, the entirety of his platform. It's a massive show. There are a lot of hockey fans out there. So we're doing 10 good minutes, coming up in 40 minutes to wrap up the program with a quality guest, Pierre Maguire, longtime hockey analyst.
You saw him on NBC for years and he is now involved with a brand new project produced by NHL Network. It's called Stanley Cup Central. Second screen experience throughout all of the playoff games leading up to the Stanley Cup Final. If you want to sound very sharp, NBA Finals. Stanley Cup Final.
Yes, I need to get a hobby. Won't be Canada. We know that. No Canadian teams in the Final Four. Sunbelt Field to it. We'll talk Vegas, Dallas, Florida, Carolina and big picture thoughts as well.
15, let's call 20 minutes from now because I'm definitely rambling on the NBA coming up. We'll get back to the football and I'm not manufacturing ways to cram football in. As I mentioned, I'm talking hockey coming up, so the goal is to be comprehensive. But organized team activities, OTAs, give us in the content creation industry a legitimate reason to talk NFL with players showing up at facilities and talking. So we'll also pay homage to Rich and his beloved New York Jets. Aaron Rodgers, over the end of his run in Green Bay, never showed up for OTAs. Now he didn't have to because he had complete command of the offense. He's been participating with his new club, gang green. How should Packer fans feel about that?
That's coming up. Let's get back to the NBA. I've tried my best to split the division of labor between the takeaways from a game that was over roughly midway through the third quarter last night in Miami as the Celtics didn't show up from the outset. Down 15 at the half, down 30 after three, they lost by 26 in a flat out embarrassing, humiliating effort last night.
And the word effort is important because I didn't see a lot of it from Boston. So with the Heat now ready to get back to the NBA Finals, we saw them there in the bubble against the Lakers, and we saw them there over the years going back to Dwyane Wade and LeBron, not one, not two, not three. You can argue, and I think this is commonly accepted, to me this would be the most impressive run of them all. Considering this roster, I am not in any way diminishing the bubble setting. You could make an argument the bubble was the hardest place to win a championship. Now for the Lakers, it was conducive to their issues because Anthony Davis didn't have to travel.
Plenty of time for rest and recovery, so it lined up perfectly to maximize his skill set. But this is a Miami team, and I don't get bogged down too much on seeding because I follow basketball closely, hope it shines through. Again, if you don't know who I am, that's okay. I'm Brian Weber, Infra Rich Eisen. I am a radio guy, so I will give you the 4-matic reset periodically. Conversation on Twitter is getting good. BW Weber, Weber with two B's.
Probably no phone calls today, but if you want to jot down the number, I'm back with you tomorrow and also next Monday on Memorial Day, 844-204-7424. I was once the sideline reporter for the Golden State Warriors for four years, back when they were horrible, when they were as bad as the Celtics looked last night. So quote-unquote, I'm an NBA guy. You know, when I was hanging out with Dr. Naismith, but I love the NBA as much as I love football because it's great theater. And even though last night was largely an unwatchable game, there were interesting developments.
Now it was so bad it was good. And if I was lazy sports talk host, all I would do beyond probably what I drifted into in hour number one of the program is absolutely annihilate the Celtics. And I've done it to a degree, but I also want to give Miami credit because it becomes too tedious and repetitious just to say what we know to be true. Joe Missoula is overmatched. We just had the conversation with Curt Heelan, lead NBA writer for nbcsports.com. When I was giving you my reasoning for why I think Missoula is going to survive, mostly because of vanity from Brad Stevens, the GM who doesn't want to admit he hired the wrong guy after parting ways with Ima Yudoka.
Curt also reminded me, Missoula got a contract extension this year. That's how promising the start of the season was. And if you just recap Boston's evolution, this is a team that came on in the second half of the regular season last year, had the outstanding performance in the postseason, led the Warriors 2-1.
If Andrew Wiggins doesn't play at the level that he did complimenting Steph Curry, Boston wins that series. In the offseason they add Malcolm Brogdon. So they're a year more experienced. They're a year quote-unquote better because typically you got to learn how to win in the NBA playoffs. You make the coaching change and here we are. So that would be the most simplistic way of connecting the dots. You say Yudoka's gone, the defense has fallen apart, that's all on Joe Missoula.
And some of it probably is. But this is about the superstars. And Tatum and Brown have showed repeatedly there are questions about how they fit.
Now I don't have amnesia. I realized just a minute ago I mentioned they made it to the NBA Finals. But things shift in NBA locker rooms.
We're talking about human beings with the personal dynamic. And there were many reports that Brown was miffed going all the way back to his name being linked to the Kevin Durant train talk. I'm not saying that's had any direct connection to what's happened to Boston in this series.
But something's missing. Because remember how hard they had to work against the Sixers going back to Game 1 in which Harden buried them when Joel Embiid was not available with the knee injury. They had to come all the way back to annihilate Philadelphia in Game 7.
Tatum goes off for 51 and casual fans are thinking, okay, is it Boston in 4 or Boston in 5? And if you overlook Miami, that's your own damn fault because you're not paying attention. Because this is what Miami does in addition to shocking Milwaukee. But you have to remember that Giannis wasn't 100% because of the back injury.
This is a Miami team that truly is a team. And yes, Butler becomes Jordan-esque come playoff time, especially like Jordan when he's given more incentive. What was Grant Williams thinking trash-talking Butler in the fourth in Game 2?
How'd that work out for you? But I could spend the rest of the show just going through the litany of troubling failures by the Celtics in this series alone. Tatum Game 1 does not take a single shot in the fourth quarter. They give up 46 points in the third to Miami. Go to Game 2. Boston scoreless for four minutes in the fourth.
Tatum traveled not once but twice. So you figure, okay, to quote the great Jim Ross, rock bottom, rock bottom, that's as low as they could go until we saw last night. What's below zero? Negative numbers, I think. I'm Brian Weber, and I have positive digits to pass along.
8-4-4, 2-0-4, 7-4-2-4 in 30 minutes. We talk playoff hockey with Pierre Maguire. Boston has a lot of explaining to do. And it can't just be Missoula sitting at the podium wearing the hair shirt last night saying, it starts with me, the team wasn't ready to play. I don't even know what that means.
Cliche 101. But I understand what he's trying to achieve. He's trying to shield the media horde especially in a ravenous sports town like Boston from his players. But this is on Tatum.
This is on Brown. And it's fair to have the conversation. What do you do in the offseason in addition to bringing in coaching support for Missoula, putting veterans on that staff, and as Kurt Halen laid out, putting in a direct threat, somebody that if this team hits a rough patch somewhere in the regular season next year, you make the seamless transition. I think it's fair to have the conversation and we'll do it again tomorrow.
Getting you set for Miami trying to complete the sweep. What do you do with Tatum and Brown moving forward? Because Brown has already been introspective and honest. He had that profile in the ringer a couple months ago when he had the opportunity to remove any ambiguity and say I want to be a Celtic for life.
And he drifted and danced away from a real answer with a word salad. But because he landed on the second all-MBA team, now he's in line for a supermax. Who's walking away from that money? Unless Boston decides okay we're doing sign and trade and working through the options. Could it be fascinating to see what Boston does once the season ends as soon as tomorrow?
And for Miami, more of the same. A brilliant coaching mind in Eric Spolstra. Pat Riley guessed right and it wasn't a guess. He knew how hard Spolstra worked.
Spolstra started as a video tape guy. He grinded his way into that opportunity. But as cliched as it sounds, Miami is a better organization. Boston's got better players. They have clearly the best roster in this postseason. I went through all of the big names coming back from last year's NBA Finals appearance and the addition of Malcolm Brogdon. But you got a Miami team that maximizes everyone on the roster. Doing it without Tyler Herro who broke the hand in the first round series against Milwaukee. We're seeing a little bit more offensive aggression from Bam Adebayo. How about that play that lit up the internet last night when he did the spin cycle move on Jalen Brown and ripped out his heart in the process. Who is Gabe Vincent and what is he doing? Scoring 29 points.
Well I know because I follow college basketball here on the west coast. I'm Ryan Weber coming to you from Southern California at the Rich Eisen Show Desk. Furnished by Granger. In for Rich. I'll check out your tweets coming up in 10 minutes.
If they're good I'll read them on the air. B.W. Weber. Weber with two B's. But you got a dude in Vincent who wasn't even drafted. Max Strouss.
Who are these guys? They're a team. And sometimes teams still work as we saw with the Pistons 20 years ago when they shocked the LA Lakers. This is why Miami is where they're at. And remember an eight seed only means so much. They were really the six and seven for the majority of the regular season. Messed around.
Wound up in the play and gimmick at a rally. But this was a team that was the top seed in the east last year and they required the Celtics to go to seven games and that game came down to the final minute mystery by Jimmy Butler and he's doing it all over again. This time he's gotten a lot more help from the Celtics who have donated this series with way too many unforced errors and an overall lack of effort. As for Denver and LA gonna spend most of tomorrow on those teams so I want to be judicious. The big words are flowing today. I want to be selective because if you're back with me tomorrow I don't want to wear you out too much. But watching these games and I watch a lot of regular season NBA games and I love the league pass because to me basketball is a great watch.
You put it on two hours, two and a half hours. You see the best players in the world. Plus I track the regular season not only because it's my job right.
I'm not looking for you to send me a juice box and an orange slice. I'm not trying to get your adulation here but if you pay attention and I don't do a talk show every day but if you pay attention to the regular season there are a lot of people that are going to be watching the regular season there are takeaways that matter come playoff time. And here's what matters for Denver. They were the top seed in the west for a reason and if you think about where Jamal Murray was before the knee injury a couple years ago he had provided the Kola Jokic with a reliable running mate that had a lot of people thinking Denver was going to win it all in 2021. So credit the tenacity, the determination of Murray coming all the way back because he has been sensational. Lakers just have not had an answer for him. So we know what a unicorn, what a one of one player the joker is.
I can't give you the historical precedent. I'm not calling him Wilt because there's only one Wilt but he has had performances in this playoff run that we've not seen come from a center since Wilt Chamberlain. He's been that dynamic but it's a Denver team that doesn't just need the joker to go off while they can count on him just about every night because if he's not scoring 50 he's going to give you a triple double. But when you can then put Murray on that agenda as someone that you know is going to get his you got a problem as the opposition and it's not just the familiar one-two punch KCP former Lakers showing up in a big way on Saturday with 17.
Traditionally it's Michael Porter Jr playing that third role of the proverbial triangle. Bruce Brown had the what in the world are you doing game coming off the bench against Phoenix. So this is a tremendous team with an outstanding coach in Michael Malone taking on a Laker team that just is not that good. Look it's a major achievement for the Lakers even to be here they were 2-8 to start the year.
You can't go all the way back and sum up the season that way because everything changed around the trade deadline. For this team to have had the chance to be in all three of the matchups in the fourth quarter and to me it really turned on game one. Lakers down 21 and Lebron's gotta wear it because he missed free throws and he missed that late three down three less than minutes ago.
You get 40 out of 80 a chance to steal home court advantage after rallying from 21 down and you don't win there's going to be a problem. Still the Lakers have the lead for the majority of the game in game two. Game three on Saturday night it's tied late but the Lakers just don't have that third piece and it's certainly not D'Angelo Russell. He has gotten abused in this series so if you're a Laker fan wondering about the future and I'll spend a lot more time on this tomorrow I think the Lakers win tonight because they'll play with pride.
Denver is not going to play with their food they want to close this thing now but I do think human nature kicks in they'll be part of a sentiment on that roster hey let's go back home celebrate with our home fans and it's going to be electric whenever the Nuggets wrap it up because they've never been to the NBA Finals before. This was a team that was great in the ABA and has come close in the interesting timing of Carmelo announcing his official retirement today got him to the conference finals but if you're a Laker fan your concerns are these. LeBron's going to keep playing because he's a cyborg and he wants to hang on for his son Bronny to have a cameo in the NBA. Bronny is a good player.
I'm based in Southern California. I even see him on TV at Sierra Canyon High School where he's a rock star he's committed to playing at USC but LeBron's going to keep going although he was mortal this year with the foot injury. Your issue as a Laker fan is this the window keeps getting tighter and tighter and this is your roster barring some fundamental changes in the off season. This in my opinion is as good as the Lakers get. To make it this far is a testament to this team maxing out along with having the bracket emerge in a very favorable fashion taking on a dysfunctional Memphis team that has all of their own self-inflicted issues and I don't even want to go down the John Marant road right now and the Warriors are also now heading into an offseason filled with ambiguity because Golden State had one of the worst records on the road in all of basketball and the question for Golden State is similar to that of the Lakers. Who do you count on for the Warriors now moving forward? If you're not just talking about Steph and to a degree Klay Thompson although he had a lousy series against the Lakers. Jordan Poole's contract extension bearing 125 million dollars is going to kick in the offseason and he was MIA. Another reason why the Lakers were able to come up with that victory so Laker fan I'm not saying you're done I think you win tonight but enjoy what you have going on now because I think it becomes all the more challenging moving forward. We'll get back to that coming up when I'm back with you tomorrow 8 4 4 2 0 4 7 4 2 4 Twitter you can light me up BW Weber Weber with two B's in 20 minutes we wrap it up with gusto talking playoff hockey with Pierre Maguire the long time puck analyst coming up just a little bit of football on the docket OTAs continue across the league as we have off-season workouts that's not important but we have players at microphones talking about their team so we have NFL conversation in the mix.
Do Packer fans have a legitimate gripe that after years of skipping OTAs in Green Bay Aaron Rodgers is showing up with the Jets that's coming up I'm Brian Weber always having a good time with you whenever I'm in for Rich it's the Rich Eisen Show. Men do you get distracted during the day thinking about your underarms sweating itching or emitting an odor? Do those thoughts keep you from showing care when it counts? New and improved Dove Men Plus Care Antiperspirant with 72 hours sweat and odor protection and one quarter moisturizing cream helps you forget about your underarms so you can be present for the moments that matter.
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He's not really hitting the ball through the screws. Plus local podcasts like Believe in Astros and Believe in the Bronx. You're going to have to get some more innings out of the rotation. Just search B-L-E-A-V podcast wherever you listen. Welcome back to the Rich Eisen Show Radio Network. I'm Brian Weber and I'm sitting at the Rich Eisen Show desk furnished by Grainger with supplies and solutions for every industry. Grainger has the right product for you.
Call, click Grainger.com or just stop by. Winding down today. A lot more to get to. Back with you tomorrow and then Rich and the team return on Wednesday.
Let's hope that they have issues at security at the airport. I mean it this way because I once had to do this. If you show up with an Emmy Award, there are points on the wings at the top of it. Yes, this is a long humble brag. I had an Emmy Award. I still have it.
Although one of the wings got knocked off when I moved. 1998 San Francisco regional Emmy. The team is going after something far more prestigious. Best luck to Rich and the guys in New York for tonight's sports Emmy Awards. We're talking national for the second straight year of the program. Nominated as the best studio show.
That's a tough category. We're hoping for more than just a nomination. We hope they come back with the award because every day when you watch the show on the Roku channel, it looks phenomenal. Outstanding work by the terrific production team. Also, Rich nominated as an individual best studio host. So a lot on the line.
I'll give you the results tomorrow and that's then all you have to deal with when it comes to me. To Memorial Day, but we'll take it one show at a time. The headline is the guys are back.
Led by Rich on Wednesday. Talking NFL here. I'll keep it concise because the great Pierre Maguire waits for no man. Long time hockey analyst. For years you saw him. Ringside on NBC. If you miss Pierre, that's why I reached out to him because I used to talk to him all the time on the late great NBC Sports Radio.
You can see him again. He's part of the postseason coverage produced by NHL Network Stanley Cup Central on YouTube. I'm not telling you you have to watch hockey. I'm not going to try to be an evangelist for the puck. But if you just like sports as a casual fan, there is nothing better than playoff hockey. Coming up, I'll share with you why I became a hockey fan years ago. I'm the former intermission host of the San Jose Sharks. Turn on the red light.
I'm going to turn on the red light. All four games that we've seen so far in the respective conference finals have come down to overtime with the Knights getting it done again yesterday. 2-0 series lead on the Stars. Florida 2-0 series lead thanks to the heroics of a superhuman postseason from Matthew Kuchuk as Florida has been sensational in this run.
2-0 over Carolina. That's coming up. Let's talk some football because there are things going on.
Not just trying to cram it in there. I know a lot of you would prefer three hours of nothing but football conversation. That's what satellite radio is all about.
We have great relationships with our friends over at Sirius XM. For years, organized team activities were ignored because there's not much going on. But now that football consumes everything in its path. Did you see the tweak on the Thursday night schedule? That team's now eligible to play twice and a handful of teams will show up on Thursday on two occasions.
Why? Well, Amazon has written a very big check and the league wants to get better matchups there. I'm not telling you anything you don't know. The NFL is a behemoth.
And because many of us track it 50 weeks a year, we have that fallow period in June into July. But the NFL seems to give us something to talk about every day. Well, when I'm back with you tomorrow and the rest of the week, Rich is going to have conversations surrounding these OTAs. Players show up. It's not what they do on the field unless we're talking about guys coming back from injuries. It's all about new additions via the draft or free agency, coaching changes like in Denver, and Beyoncé Sean Payton now trying to resurrect the Broncos after clueless Nathaniel Hackett. The biggest story this year heading into the season also dovetails nicely with this program because Rich Eisen grew up a long suffering jet fan. I used to go to horrible games at Shea Stadium that dump when I was a kid.
I grew up about 20 minutes from there. The Jets not only are relevant, they're the team with the number one discussion point surrounding them with the addition of Aaron Rodgers. So there's a lot of histrionics. There's a lot of consternation in Green Bay.
I understand why. And I'm not reaching over to the fill-in talk show host handbook that says, come up with this analogy, when a star leaves, it's like a divorce. But we know it to be true because emotions are raw and Green Bay fans, some of them feel like Rodgers has let them down. But you knew this was coming.
This was inevitable. The team clearly wanted to move on from Rodgers primarily because of his gargantuan salary. And because at this stage we don't know which version of Aaron Rodgers is going to show up on the field. I realize it was just two back to back seasons of MVP level play as recently as one year ago. Then the dip last year, although the Packers did rally and was all in front of them, and then your Detroit Lions wouldn't let them advance to the postseason in the final game of the regular season on Sunday Night Football because the Lions became America's team last year. If you don't believe me, check out their prime time schedule.
You'll see a lot of the Lions, including the Thursday night kickoff game against the Chiefs. But Packer fans have to take a step back and also deal with the facts. And one of the unfair criticisms I think of Aaron Rodgers, and you can take legitimate shots at him for many reasons. Again, I'm not trying to get political, but I was the biggest Aaron Rodgers fanboy. He lost me with the whole immunized nonsense.
And I didn't need to know every detail of the darkness retreat. Some of this stuff is just goofy, but he still, when healthy and engaged, I think one of the top 10 quarterbacks in football, it comes down to both of those things. Health, you can't control.
Engagement, you can. And I realize Packer fans who have now another beef with Aaron say, well, he couldn't even be bothered to show up for OTAs when he played for us. And now he's just sticking it to us by running around on a practice field for the Jets.
Well, first of all, get over yourselves. Aaron Rodgers is not doing this based on some personal vendetta. This is not trying to dig into your heart deeper with a scalpel. He is showing up for OTAs because he's got to learn a new offense. There's self-interest here. It's not fake hustle.
It's not optics. It is motivated by the fundamentals that he's got to learn a new playbook. That's why he's there. Now, you could say he should have been a better leader in Green Bay. I can't argue that because according to a variety of reports, he didn't want to bomb with young players. Look, he doesn't bomb with members of his own family.
Not to get too personal. That seems to be a reflection of his prickly personality. That's who he is. But you can't bury Aaron Rodgers for this. He's got to be there. In addition to showing a commitment to his new team, he's got to figure out this new offense. So Packer fan, I feel your pain. Remember, other than the arc of Montana into young in San Francisco, nobody's had the run that you've had since the Falcons couldn't figure out what to do with Favre, who had all of his personal issues then, in addition to what's going on in Mississippi now. Favre into Rodgers, the run of a lifetime.
You wanted to see, Jordan Love, you got him. Last call for tweets. B.W.
Weber, Weber with two Bs. Coming up, I will wrap up the program with more thoughts on the Lakers and the Nuggets. I think L.A. shows up for one more game. They extend the series. But as promised, playoff hockey continues. Why can't Canada bring the Cup home at all? Another year without a Canadian champion. In fact, no Canadian teams in the Final Fours. Plus, who's the favorite now, as it looks like, barring some collapses. Although in hockey, a 2-0 series lead is not insurmountable. Same thing for 3-0.
Unlike the NBA. Are you riding with the Golden Knights? Are you going with the Panthers? We'll cover it all with Pierre Maguire, longtime hockey analyst. I'm Brian Weber, in for Rich Eisen. It's the Rich Eisen Show. Brian Weber back with you in for Rich Eisen.
It's the Rich Eisen Show. Rich and I share many things in common. We work together at NFL Network. We're both from New York and we're both huge hockey fans.
I grew up in the era in which the Islanders had a dynasty. So it is a distinct pleasure to say hello to one of the best in the business, Pierre Maguire, longtime hockey analyst, former head coach of the Hartford Whalers, assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins. You've seen him on NBC, TSN, Sportsnet, and Canada.
And now you can see him throughout the conference finals on Stanley Cup Central on YouTube, produced by the NHL. Pierre, we used to chat back in the glory days of NBC Sports Radio. It is great to reconnect today. Brian, it's really nice visiting you. Thanks so much for having me on.
My pleasure. And I want to get the audience fully engaged because casual fans should be watching what's going on with these playoffs. Once more, it's the best product in all of sports. So watching the Golden Knights take care of the Stars yesterday in overtime. Moving at two games to none in that series.
Pierre, this historic trend continues. All four games of these conference finals have gone to OT. First time that's happened in NHL history. Is this as dramatic of a postseason as you can remember? Oh, for sure.
Absolutely. And one of the things that's really happened is because of the salary cap, which was implemented back in 2005-2006, that season coming out of the nuclear winter where we didn't have a National Hockey League season, the parity around the National Hockey League has become unbelievable. And so we saw an eight seed so far in this playoff. The Florida Panthers knocked off the number one seed in the East and a record setting team in the Boston Bruins at seven games. Then they beat Toronto, where most people thought after Boston got beat, Toronto was on their way to a Stanley Cup.
They haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1967 and they hadn't won a playoff series since 2004 until this year where they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. So Brian, yeah, this has been an amazing playoff for the National Hockey League. I know some people are wondering about the TV ratings.
I get that because you don't have the biggest markets in there. But the caliber of play, the level of intensity, the drama night to night has been overwhelming. It's just been phenomenal. I'm so proud of the league, so proud of the players in the league, and really, really proud of the coaching staff in the league and what they've been able to do so far.
Well said. And Vegas, of course, has been an outstanding story since the expansion year run to the Cup final. And we've known about Jack Eichel since he was the second overall pick in 2015's draft right by Connor McDavid, pacing Vegas and scoring during the regular season. Yesterday, impactful again, that gorgeous pass in the final minutes of regulation, setting up the tying goal. Pierre, what does Eichel mean to this club and what do you like most about his game?
Well, I think the biggest thing about Jack is just how fluid he is. He's so quick to puck, loose pucks. He's strong on the puck. He makes unbelievable plays. You saw that beautiful spinning backhand pass to Jonathan Marshall yesterday in the last two and a half minutes of the game to tie it up. He's an amazingly fun player to watch just because of the skill level and the pace that he does things, Brian.
So that's fun. He really is a critically important player, obviously, for the Vegas Golden Knights. I think in the last round, when they beat Edmonton, the one thing that was really apparent, he took it as a challenge because Connor McDavid obviously went first in 2015, as you correctly said. He's a leading player for the Edmonton Oilers.
So Jack really took that as a challenge and you could see he responded to the challenge unbelievably well and he's still playing and Connor's not. So it's a tremendous story that's being written at Vegas right now. And one thing that's not getting enough attention is what they've done as a management team. George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon have done an amazing job building that brand since they became an expansion team five years ago and it's amazing to watch the development of their product. They've done a phenomenal job. What a great hockey market Vegas is. It's unbelievable. Talking playoff hockey, there's nothing better than also having the conversation to analyze things with Pierre Maguire.
Check him out. Stanley Cup Central on YouTube. Tremendous production from NHL Network.
Let's jump over to the east. You talked about Florida's story and more late game heroics from Matthew Kuchuk. He's been unbelievable with the game winner in back-to-back games in OT. We know about the lineage. We know about his family. What makes him so effective when it matters the most? He can affect the outcome of the game in so many different ways, whether it's with his skill, whether it's with his tenacity, whether it's with his, you know, physical violence that sometimes he brings to the game. He plays it on the edge.
There's no question about it. He can also affect the outcome of a game by intimidating people with some of the things he says. He's an amazingly talkative player on the edge. But the line that he plays on right now, Brian, with Sam Bennett, who came down from Calgary just before Matthew got there to trade, and Nick Cousins, who's been really moved all around the league, he's found an amazing home on the left side on that line. That line has been wrecking havoc on the rest of the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. They did a number on the Boston Bruins. They did a big number on the Toronto Maple Leafs, and so far in this year's against Carolina, they've basically got Florida 2-0 lead in the series because of the heroics of the line, but in particular Matthew. But it's all the different things he can do, Brian, that really affect the outcome of games, and he's so consistent with all those things.
His pace, his skill, his physical determination, his nastiness. He's just every team in the league needs a Matthew Kuchuk. The problem is they don't make a lot of it.
That's the biggest problem. Pierre McGuire, our guest here on the Rich Eisen Show. Pierre, we know the players can't look ahead, and we know a 2-0 lead is far from insurmountable in playoff hockey, but let's say things don't change, and we're looking at Florida and Vegas in the Stanley Cup final. What would be your early thoughts on that matchup?
Oh, that would be an amazing matchup because they're pretty similar in terms of style of play. The one thing I'd say about Florida that has really separated them from a lot of teams this playoff season, their second periods, that's the period of the long change, they have been so dynamic in Florida. They really play to the strength of the long line change, and they're so smart in how they approach it. Paul Maurice and his staff in Florida give a lot of credit for the schematic that they've presented, so that's one place where I think they've got a bit of an advantage on Vegas and also right now in goal. I mean, no disrespect meant that Aidan Hill was playing a goal for Vegas, and he's been outstanding, but Sergei Bobrovsky right now has been amazing.
He's been absolutely amazing, Brian. When you consider the first two games this playoff season for the Florida Panthers, Alex Lyon, a 30-year goalie out of Yale University, was a starting goalie, and Bobrovsky was walking from the bench. And then it didn't work out real well for Alex Lyon, and Bobrovsky came in, and the rest is history, and he's been phenomenal for Florida. So I'd say the goaltending would probably slide a little bit towards Florida, and then most of the rest of it's pretty equal.
It would be, if that, and I stress, if I don't want to disrespect Carolina or disrespect Dallas, who are two formidable foes too, but if that were to be a Stanley Cup final, it'd be a tremendously difficult final to win for either team. Pierre, as I mentioned at the start of the conversation, I've enjoyed your work for years. I always learned something when we would chat periodically on NBC Sports Radio. Great to see you again with the video component.
Stanley Cup Central on YouTube. I appreciate you taking the time and enjoy the game tonight. Oh, thanks so much for having me on, Brian. I really appreciate it. Take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the playoffs.
My pleasure. Pierre Maguire. Remember him for years, and TNT is doing a very nice job. Now, here's now Brian Weber, media critic. Wayne Gretzky is there because he's Wayne Gretzky, and Kenny Albert is a terrific broadcaster, but there'll never be another Mike Emmerich. Mike Emmerich, if you paid attention, had the most phenomenal use of descriptive terms and adjectives as a play-by-play man in any sport.
Now, his nickname was Doc because he had a PhD. He was that bright, and Mike was a craftsman, and I love the coverage on NBC because of the dynamic between Mike, Eddie Olchek, Pierre down on the ice. Turner's doing a great job, and maybe this is all too inside media, but I really do love hockey. Haven't been a part of it professionally in 20 years since I was the intermission host of the San Jose Sharks.
That was a thrill of a lifetime because in that era, I'm in my late 20s. 15 years before, 10 years before, I'm watching Gretzky and Ray Bork, and now I'm standing next to them, talking to them. Check out all the action. It'll be a game three tonight in Florida. Panthers with a 2-0 series lead, as we discussed, thanks to the brilliance of Matthew Kuchuk in OT, both those wins coming on the road, and we had two quality conversations as I crank up the self-promotion machine. Really appreciate Pierre taking the time, and hopefully, if you noticed, I didn't do a half hour on hockey.
That was concise, but I thought filled with insight. Last hour, we took you across the NBA with my pal, Curt Heelan, lead NBA writer for NBC Sports. A lot more NBA coming up tomorrow.
Will the brooms be out in Southern California? Don't think so. Not only because I'm based here and I don't drive around with a Laker flag, as I've mentioned a hundred times, I'm originally from New York. I know you can't tell, right?
No edge to my delivery. Lakers have been in all three of these games. If you're a Laker, blind, slavishly devoted hunk, you're going to tell me they should be up 2-1. It could be 3-0. LeBron hits that shot down three with a minute to go in game one. Lakers show up tonight, so the series will extend, but we know unlike hockey, nobody's ever come back from a 3-0 deficit, so we'll spend some more time tomorrow with early preview thoughts on Miami and Denver in the NBA Finals. Tom Brady's back in the news.
Gotta find out by joining me tomorrow. First and foremost, best wishes to the team. Tonight, bring home at least one sports Emmy, if not two. Wanna thank Rich Eisen, Bruce Gilbert, all the good people at Westwood One, my pal and our outstanding technical producer, Art Martinez. I'm Brian Weber. We'll do it again tomorrow on the Rich Eisen Show. Sit in the corner. Give them Lala wherever you listen.
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