Predicting the unpredictable: The Stanley Cup playoffs

By Caroline Sweeney

nhl
Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown checks Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore during first period action in game three of round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier/LA Times

Approximately 2,500 games later the stage is set, and the matchups are finalized. After playing a long 82 game season, 31 teams have been whittled down to 16, all in the pursuit to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. The playoffs began on April 11 with the first round matchups.

The Western Conference matchups for the first round are the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche, the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, the Vegas Golden Knights and the Los Angeles Kings, and the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks.

First round matchups for the Eastern Conference are the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New Jersey Devils, the Bostons Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I predict that the Western conference finals will include the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks, with the Predators prevailing for their second appearance in the cup finals.

For the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Bruins will be playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the Bruins win, they will head to the cup finals against the Nashville Predators.

Three playoff series that I am mostly looking forward to watching is the Flyers and the Penguins, the Lightning and the Devils, and the Golden Knights and the Kings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won the past two Stanley Cups and are on the hunt for a third. The Penguins are one of the favorites to win the cup because of the simple fact that the team has won the cup multiple times in past seasons.

The Penguins have also shown their power and resilience during the regular season. With the number one ranked power play percentage and goals on power plays, it is difficult to defend against this dominant team.

Most importantly, the Penguins also have two of the best players in the league in Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Those two players alone give them a leg up on the Flyers. However, the Flyers have the ability to get under the skin of the Penguins players.

Once that happens, the Penguins begin to struggle and make poor plays, opening the door for the Flyers. When the game is not going the way the Penguins want it to, they become overly aggressive. The Penguins take unnecessary penalties, and these penalties lead to opportunities for the Flyers to score.

In the west, the Golden Knights have been the major surprise throughout the NHL season, despite being an expansion team with nothing but young, inexperienced players from other teams and a few veterans that have been in the league for years.

With a 51-24 regular season record and ending with 109 points, the Golden Knights lead the Pacific division and occupied third place in the Western Conference. Even with their impressive regular season, the Golden Knights will probably not make an impact in this year’s playoffs because they are an inexperienced playoff team and do not have the same depth in players that the Kings do. The Kings have a majority of the same players from the team who won the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup.

The Kings were the number one team in goals allowed, despite having a top ranked, former Vezina trophy winner in Jonathan Quick. The Kings let in a lot of goals, and the quick shots and slick hands of James Neal and William Karlsson have made their mark on this playoff series and the regular season.

The playoffs are unpredictable, and anything can happen. Teams that have been at the top of the standings, like the Tampa Bay Lightning, have the real possibility to lose in the first round to the New Jersey Devils.

Naysayers may argue that what happens in the regular season is an indication of what is to happen in the playoffs. But every team is now on a clean slate since making the playoffs. During the regular season, the Devils swept the Lightning, one of the top teams in the league. The Lightning were number one in goals scored and second in power play goals.

Tampa Bay has built their team through the draft and made big moves during free agency, so they will not fall in the first round. They are simply too good in many different categories.

Anything goes in the playoffs. NHL analyst, commentator, and former player Edward “Eddie” Olczyk said it best: the playoffs are a war, players are bloody and beat up, like nothing you have ever seen.

So anything can happen. Maybe the “City of Champions” feeling will inspire the Flyers and Philadelphia will have a third parade.

Contact Caroline Sweeney at communitarian@mail.dccc. edu

Philadelphia plumber’s podcasts promote pop culture

By Shane Soderland
Special to The Communiarian

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In his spare time, Philadelphia plumber Anton Reed produces a podcast that is getting noticed. Photo courtesy of Anton Reed

“See that,” Anton Reed says, motioning to the bottom of his street. “A kid got shot on this street and some people made that for him.”

The telephone pole at the base of his street hasbeen used as a local shrine to the slain young man. The memorial consists of a handwritten poster, a few multicolored ribbons, and various stuffed animals.

Reed, 25, is marching fervently through the Walmart’s electronic department in search of a microphone. Frustrated by the device’s absence from shelves, he departs immediately.

“Next up is Target,” he says. Rejuvenated, Reed advances toward the store in a last ditch effort to find the audio tool.

“We don’t have any of those,” the clerk tells Reed. “Sorry, we don’t sell that kind of mic.” Reed leaves the store, seemingly anxious and disappointed.

“Sh-t!” Reed exclaims. “I gotta make due with one mic. Maybe, we’ll just take turns on the mic. I don’t wanna mess with the audio — it sounds weird when I turn the audio up. You can hear motherf—–s breathing and sh-t. I’ll figure something out.”

Reed is not some run of the mill tech enthusiast. He is the creator of a podcast called “Sweetdogg and Friends.”

The show is a platform for Reed to discuss various pop culture events, such as sports, music, and film.

Reed will often have friends appear on the show to discuss these events, hence the name.

Reed records, edits, and distributes the podcast out of his home in Northwest Philadelphia.

Since Reed’s podcast has recently garnered the attention of the station manager from “G-town Radio,” Reed now does weekly broadcasts from their studio and continues to record material for his podcast.

Reed enters his grandmother’s home and hastily runs upstairs to get his laptop computer. He goes to the basement to set up for his sports broadcast.

“I wanna make sure I clean my computer before I do anything,” Reed says. “Just clear any junk files that could slow down my Mac. See, this ain’t so bad. A lot of the time when I work on this stuff, I gotta trash like 2000 files.”

Reed highlights numerous files and marks them for deletion. Afterwards, Reed moves the files to the trash and clears his junk files.

Next, Reed opens “Mixcloud” on his computer to display the material that he has uploaded to the service. The service holds less than a dozen of his podcasts.

Reed then mentions “Soundcloud,” a music streaming platform that he has uploaded content to.

The material includes a collection of a few personal songs — some even written and performed by him and his friends. His most popular song, “Blood Water,” has more than 1000 views.

Afterward, Reed shows the two types of editing software he uses for his audio. “This one is ‘Garageband’ — it works fine, but it doesn’t do everything I need it to do,” he says. “This next one is ‘Audacity,’ which is free to the Mac. I like this one because I can censor cursing on this if I want to.”

Reed then displays the software’s capabilities using a song from the catalog of artist Biggie Smalls.

“See, if I don’t wanna hear the n-word, I can just highlight that part and bleep it.,” he explains.

Reed went to Martin Luther King High School and apprenticed as a plumber for Kenneth J. Klein Plumbing and Heating after graduation. He has been working as a plumber for the past three years.

Reed is unsure what triggered his love of music and pop culture. “I’ve just always loved hip hop,” he says. “I’ve loved it as early as I can remember.”

Reed was inspired to do a podcast when the rapper Cam’ron was accused of being chauvinistic. “A white male feminist said Cam’ron was a misogynist,” Reed says. “I thought it was bullsh-t, and wanted to talk about it.”

Reed initially had little technical prowess. “I just kind of play with things,” he says. “I’m still learning things about this equipment.”

Reed’s content has had moderate public success — regularly maintaining steady viewership of about 20 people per podcast.

“I just do this for fun,” he says. “If something is big in the news and I don’t feel like talking about it — I won’t.”

Reed attributes his success to a helpful stranger. “Someone sent my former show to the station manager and he liked it,” he says. “My old show was called Hip Hop History.”

Reed also bi-weekly performs open mikes in Philadelphia at various venues and shares a few thoughts on how it applies to his Podcasts. “It helps with public speaking, I suppose,” he says. “I just do that because I’m bored.”

Reed pulls out a child’s book bag and combs through his show notes. “These are just some I wrote for today,” he says. “I’ll just thumb through this before the show. Sometimes, I look at it during the show, just to remember the talking points.”

Reed puts the notes back into his green folder and checks the time.

“Damn!” he says. It’s almost three o’clock. Mans is gonna be here soon — gotta put the game on.”

Mans, a friend of Reed’s, will arrive soon to watch a basketball game and be a quest on the show.

Reed then briefly speaks about his expectations for the show. “I’m doing this for fun right now,” he says. “I would hope people like what me and my friends think about things.”

Reed is unsure of the potential avenues the podcasting will take him down, but he remains positive.

“I have no idea,” Reed says. “I can’t even imagine where the shows could be. I would love to get paid to just talk about hip hop.”

Contact The Communitarian at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Bowling alleys compete with ‘family fun centers’

By David Delloso
Special to The Communitarian

Bob Pescatore, son of the late Harry Pescatore, who owned and operated Sharon Hill Lanes, owns and operates Macdade Bowl of Holmes, Pa. Along with his wife, Anne, and four daughters, Pescatore said he has been committed to creating a safe and fun environment for his customers of all ages and sporting ability over many years.

The Delaware County area once flourished with numerous bowling centers catering to the league bowler. Some houses, including Macdade Bowl, hosted morning, afternoon and late hour leagues, creating a platform for competition and social interactions.

However, this popularity has greatly declined as centers, such as Ridley Bowl, Sharon Hill Lanes and Stoney Creek Lanes, have closed indefinitely.

Bowling, at one time, was a game many would take part in weekly, but this trend has greatly declined, Pescatore believes.

“We used to have leagues that would fill the house,” said Pescatore, in reference to the early 2000s. “There would only be open bowling one night a week.”

With technology becoming more advanced, what was once a game of competition and skill is fast becoming an irregular, luxury outing. This trend is closing the doors of locally owned and operated bowling centers funded by local clientele.

League bowling was also an activity many would participate in regularly, with spouses and/or with friends. The United States Bowling Congress, the nation’s foremost bowling association, reported 4.1 million members in the 1997/1998 season. However, they recorded a 36 percent drop to 2.6 million members in 2006/2007 season.

Despite numbers declining in the national organizations, bowling is still recorded as the third most participated recreational sport nationally, behind biking and walking, by White Hutchinson, a group devoted to leisure entertainment. In Delaware County, out of a large population of children above the age of 6, Hutchinson reported only two out of three were reported to have bowled in 2007.

However, the largest contributor to the termination of the next generation of league bowlers is the next generation of bowling alleys, often referred to as family fun centers. These centers, such as Arnold’s Family Fun Center and AMF’s Round 1, cater to the open bowler or non-league affiliated bowlers.

“These next generation, technologically advanced, corporate alleys [convinced] 67 million people to go bowling at least once in 2014,” said Sandy Hansell, a former center owner, during an interview with USA today in May 2015.

These facilities are driven to produce mass turnouts and cater to those willing to spend more money for a luxury experience, experts say. Therefore, according to sources, Bowlmor, the largest corporate bowling company, is planning to eradicate most league bowling from their centers in the near future.

The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), is regarded as the leader in bringing back a once national game. In early 2018, Fox sports resigned the PBA to their broadcasting network for the first time since 2000.

Under the new contract, Fox and the PBA will work to find a time slot for weekly bowling. Fox Sports reported as many as 90 million home viewers in 2013.

At one time, bowling telecasts were very popular in many towns. A show named “Bowling for Dollars” was televised by local stations and featured bowlers from the immediate area. Philadelphia based broadcasting stations had rights to the show and would often televise bowlers from the Delaware County area.

Today, Pescatore recognizes that the previous lack of televised advertising and events hurts the sport’s ability to reach a younger player even though Pescatore notes, ironically, that with the rise of social media, the game could potentially reach more kids globally rather than just nationally.

Macdade Bowl is what most bowlers consider a bonafide league house with 24 lanes, no fancy technological age equipment, and a faithful owner and staff. For proprietors like Pescatore, it is a matter of allowing all skill, financial and age levels to enjoy the game, he said.

“People go to Sproul or Wynnewood and will spend more than $4.00 a game[after daytime hours] and more than $3.00 on shoes,” Pescatore says. “Then they come here and see we want $7.00 for two games and shoe rental, flat fee. People don’t want to spend $50.00 to go bowling with their kids.”

Pescatore also understands bowling is kept alive by league goers who annually fund the alleys owners and operators, so he encourages two, three or four friends to form a team and join a league. The ability to watch one’s bowling average rise, win games and watch pins fall always brings the customer back, he believes.

Furthermore, although he realizes the game is hurting, he also acknowledges there is always a chance for improvement by attending the Bowling Expo yearly to learn of the new items and options available to the consumer.

When bowlers want to pursue more than the family fun centers rendition of bowling, they retreat to houses, such as Macdade Bowl.

“We’re seeing more people come through the doors more than ever,” Pescatore said. “It is just developing more ways to keep them coming back.”

Contact The Communtarian at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Students weigh in on Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda

By John Kearney

Students and faculty at DCCC’s Marple Campus recently responded to President Donald Trump’s alleged statement identifying African nations and Haiti as “sh-thole countries.”

President Trump met with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) to discuss a bipartisan immigration proposal made in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus on Jan. 11. The proposal aimed to give preference of 50 percent of lottery visas awarded to people from Africa and Temporary Protected Status nations, such as Haiti and El Salvador.

Trump questioned the proposal, saying, “Why do we want more people from sh-thole countries,” according to several lawmakers at the meeting. The Washington Post was the first source to report on the comment.

Tanya Gardner, a communications professor and coordinator of the Intercultural Friendship Program at the college, is worried about the possible negative effects the statement could have on the sustainability and health of the college environment.

“One of the many strengths of our College community is our diversity,” Gardner said. “These comments undermine our College’s international student recruitment efforts.”

Dr. Ife Williams, a DCCC political science professor, said she was not surprised by the president’s statement. “The sad part is that he says this in the middle of the immigration debate,” Williams said. “It is truly sad that the president has this view. He wants to send Haitians back, and Mexicans back, and El Salvadorans back. He favors certain classes and ethnic groups.”

Some DCCC students offered their reactions to Trump’s immigration statements and policies. Mohammed Ziyan Aslam, a 19-year-old immigrant from India, born in Saudi Arabia, said he packs lightly when travelling home.

“I would not bring a computer to and from a place when I travel,” Aslam said. “I will get held in customs for four or five hours.”

Other students said they have taken his comments personally, despite not being from the countries he regarded as “sh-tholes.”

Vitoria Mota, a 22-year-old foreign-exchange student from Brazil, said she felt welcomed by the people of the United States, but not the president.

“He is the major image of the country,” Mota said. “He should not treat people from other countries like this.”

Trump has taken a nationalistic approach to immigration. In his State of the Union address on Jan. 30, he outlined his “Four Pillar Plan” for immigration.

The first pillar is “a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought here by their parents,” said Trump in regards to immigrants benefiting from The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), otherwise known as “dreamers.”

The second pillar aims to “fully secure the border” between Central America and the United States by creating the border wall he promised while campaigning for the presidency.

The third pillar aims to end the Visa Lottery, which grants 50,000 immigrants citizenship out of approximately 20,000,000 applicants from across the globe annually.

The fourth pillar seeks to put an end to what Republicans call “chain migration,” the opportunity for immigrants to obtain citizenship through sponsorship by a family member who is currently a citizen.

Congress plans to revisit an immigration bill after approving the budget.

Meanwhile, some faculty and students hope the United States continues to welcome immigrants from around the world.

“The different worldviews and experiences our students, staff, and faculty contribute to our College community should be celebrated instead of threatened.”

Contact John Kearney at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

Shithole MotS pic 4, Donald Abraham Ballah
“He should foster the unification of countries. If he, of all people, will call another part of the world “sh-thole countries,” it is astoundingly disgusting to me.” Donald Abraham Ballah, 36 Health Science, Yeadon
Shithole MotS pic 3, Vitoria Mota
“I know he is totally right about people being illegal in the country, but he should not treat people from other countries that way.” Vitoria Mota, 22 Garnet Valley, Exchange Student
Shithole MotS pic 2, Mohammed Ziyam Aslam
“It is embarrassing. I do not know why he bans other countries.” Mohammed Ziyan Aslam, 19 Chester, Mechanical Engineering
Shithole MotS pic 1, Ruthgey Genty
“I was not surprised. I already expect the stuff that comes out of his mouth to be sexist or just straight up nonsense.” Ruthgey Jeanty, 22 Darby, Computer Science