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Bengals Banter: NHL Finals; NBA Finals; Another Angered by DeMaurice Smith

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I admit it. I've really enjoyed the NBA playoffs this year. Of all the teams, I'm following the Lakers. Not because I'm bandwagon, or I just pick one of the better teams in the league. Though if you don't really follow a sport and you had to pick a team to follow, the Lakers would be as good as any. One of my oldest friends has been a Lakers fan all of his life. I could be the jerk friend. You know the type; always goes against the grain of what others do. But I'm not like that. After all, I wouldn't want some jerk friend to cheer against my favorites just because they are my favorites.

Though, there are exceptions. For instance, I have several friends that are Steelers fans. Sorry, I'm a jerk friend. There are some friends that are Cardinals fans. Sorry, I'm a jerk friend. There are some that hate Star Wars. I'm no friend to them.

With the Lakers taking a 2-1 lead in the finals, assuring a return to Los Angeles later in the playoffs, it seems like a good choice. Hey, it could be worse. We could be breaking into Maple bars.

But I'm also far more interested in tonight's NHL Stanley Cup finals. With a win tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks could win their first Stanley Cup since 1961 -- the longest current drought in the NHL and five years short of being the longest in NHL history.

+ Geoff Hobson spends some time with Cedric Benson at his home.

+ My friend Joel Thorman sat down with NFLPA Director DeMaurice Smith to talk about labor negotiations on Monday. NFL Alumni President George Martin responded to Smith when the discussion change to retired players.

+ Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues his ESPN bashing, ripping into Tony Kornheiser and Ron Jaworski. I think I'm starting to like this kid.

+ Running back Adrian Peterson will miss two Vikings minicamp practices this Saturday to participate in the Adrian Peterson Day in Palestine, Texas. If anyone were to miss minicamp on the Bengals for a day celebrating that player, you'd think Chad Ochocinco would have top billing -- if he weren't on ABC or VH1.

+ Santa Clara passed a new stadium measure for the San Francisco 49ers. The projected $937 million stadium project will include $79 million from the city, $35 million through a "voluntary tax" and $823 million through the team and the "stadium authority".

+ Things are a bit dicey with the Indianapolis Colts with Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis unhappy with their current deals and Colts President Bill Polian telling both players that a new deal just isn't possible. And Colts fans aren't happy with Wayne, who is expected to earn $11.42 million over the next two seasons already.

+ San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain walked into Great American Ballpark having only given up 20 earned runs for the season. Matt Cain left Great American Ballpark after nine innings having still only given up 20 earned runs for the season.

+ Speaking of the Reds, Red Report has a list of the team's first 30 draft picks.

+ Washington Nationals phenom pitcher, Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 batters in his Major League debut. Only two pitchers in Major League history struck out more in their MLB debut.