Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.
Friday's Big Questions
1. What do you make of Hideki Matsui's injury?
2. Which NBA playoff series are you looking forward to this weekend?
Matsui's injury puts the Yanks in a lurch.
Yankees leftfielder Hideki Matsui suffered a broken left wrist Thursday night while trying to make a sliding catch during a 5-3 loss to the Red Sox, ending his streak of 518 consecutive games played and perhaps ending his season. Manager Joe Torre speculated the Japanese slugger would be out three months, leaving a big hole in the middle of the lineup.
So what does it mean for the Bronx Bombers? According to SportsNation, not as much as you might think. Half of voters think Randy Johnson's control problems are more of an issue and nearly a third think the Yanks will stay close to the top of the division even without Matsui. And among the names ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney threw out as possible replacements there is little consensus on the best fit.
What affect will Hideki Matsui's injury have on the Yankees?
50% I'd be more worried about Randy Johnson
31% Offense wills struggle but they'll stay close
11% None, they have enough other weapons
9% They'll fall below .500
Who would be the best option to replace Hideki Matsui in LF for the Yankees?
27% Bobby Abreu
27% Torii Hunter
24% Alfonso Soriano
16% Melky Cabrera/Bubba Crosby platoon
5% Shannon Stewart
Dare I say the Yanks trade for Soriano and plug him into left field? Lerner and Co. are looking to rebuild Washington's farm system, Yankees would probably give them three players for him, it could happen.
All I know is Boston better get some distance on the Yankees now while the gettin' is good.
The lack of depth in the Yankees farm system will finally catch up to them on this one. They've mortgaged their future for the present so many times in the past that they have no viable trading options in the minors.
Steve (Stafford Springs, CT)
Watching Matsui's injury was borderline painful. But talk about a guy that won't let you know how bad it hurts, even when the rest of the country could tell.
Collin (Framingham, MA)
Stud: Matsui. Most guys would have been rolling around on the field like they got shot and he walks off like he scraped his knee.
With Sheff and Matsui out, that's like the entire Marlins payroll missing from the Yanks' outfield.
Big Ben has is eyes on another ring.
The NBA playoffs were absent from the sports schedule on Thursday night but the 'Nation is blessed with two games each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So which series is SN most looking forward to seeing resume? Spurs vs. Mavs is the favorite despite the teams playing one one game over the weekend.
Which series are you most looking forward to watching this weekend?
40% Spurs vs. Mavericks
22% Suns vs. Clippers
19% Pistons vs. Cavaliers
19% Heat vs. Nets
Will the Spurs complain about having too many days off and getting rusty because of it?
I know everyone wants the Spurs-Mavs series to be good, but it is actually boring and Cuban is annoying, especially if you live outside of Texas.
Wait, the NBA playoffs are this weekend? I thought there were four more days off. Key game is Spurs at Dallas. This will be the telling game to see if the Spurs really did need the rest and how the series will turn.
Jake (VA Beach)
Pistons-Cavs? Not that the Cavs had any chance anyway, but sadly losing Hughes and any possible scoring he might give makes this one a sweep. See you next year, LeBron.
I think Game 1 was a wake-up call to the Heat. I don't see them stumbling the rest of the series. Heat take both games in NJ.
The Clippers seemed to figure out the best way to beat the Suns in Game 2. Unless the Suns can fix their problem on the glass, the Clips will sweep at home.
Thursday's Big Questions
1. Who is the best point guard in NBA history?
2. Which NHL team has been most disappointing?
Cousy, Magic, Kidd: quite a trio.
ESPN.com's Daily Dime polled its stable of hoops experts recently on the 10 best point guards of all time and let's just say it was the Magic Johnson show (which, thankfully, is not the same as "The Magic Hour"). The leader of the Showtime Lakers got 11 of 13 first-place votes from the panel and finished well ahead of runner-up Oscar Robertson.
Magic also gets plenty of love from SportsNation, which voted Johnson the best passer and ballhandler, best leader on the fast break and the player among the top 10 it would most want taking the last shot in a game. Not surprisingly, he's also the runaway choice as fan favorite among the top 10.
But what about the best in today's NBA? SN chooses Steve Nash of the Suns by a wide margin and thinks Chris Paul is most likely on his way to the top 10, and few in the 'Nation are convinced Allen Iverson should even be considered a point guard.
Which of the all-time Top 10 is your favorite
44% Magic Johnson
16% John Stockton
9% Steve Nash
9% Isiah Thomas
6% Jason Kidd
6% Oscar Robertson
4% Gary Payton
2% Walt Frazier
2% Bob Cousy
0.9% Tiny Archibald
Who is the best point guard in the NBA today?
60% Steve Nash
16% Chauncey Billups
10% Jason Kidd
9% Allen Iverson
7% Gilbert Arenas
Should Allen Iverson be on the Top 10 list?
67% No, he's not a point guard
19% He's a point guard, but not one of the 10 best ever
14% Yes, he's a point guard in my book
Which of these current point guards is the best bet to make the Top 10 someday?
42% Chris Paul
23% Chauncey Billups
11% Tony Parker
10% Gilbert Arenas
5% Deron Williams
5% Shaun Livingston
1% Baron Davis
1% Raymond Felton
0.9% Stephon Marbury
0.8% Jameer Nelson
I think everyone is missing the fact that without Bob Cousy showing the way many of these players might not have had the careers they had. He was the pioneer for point guards! Not having him at No. 1 is a mistake. Magic is, without question, the best overall player of the lot! Top 5 of all time!
Steve (Cape Cod)
Jason Kidd at 40 percent lifetime shooting is not in the class of the others on your list. Come playoff time, defenses just sag off him and let him clang a few off the rim. Any other guy on this list would just kill you if you did that. Best of all time? Tie between Oscar and Magic.
Jon DeMent (Jacksonville)
What, Nash? He can't guard anybody on this list and he's the only one listed who hasn't led a team to the Finals. Can't believe guys like Derek Harper, Sam Cassell and Kevin Johnson got no votes.
How any of you so-called experts could rank John Stockton only eighth or ninth all-time is beyond me. He's No. 1 in both assists and steals and his records will stand the test of time.
Jared W. (Utah)
Allen Iverson should not be in the top 10 point guards because he's more of a two-guard. If there is a poll with top 10 shooting guards, he should definitely make the list. Also, why isn't Kevin Johnson considered in this poll?
I refuse to vote. How can Mo Cheeks not be on this list? Second all-time in steals.
Mike (Wilmington, DE)
Pistol Pete changed the game so that Magic and others could come along and do their thing. How could you possibly not even have Pistol on your list, let alone at the very top?
Ryan Miller and the Sabres are shocking Ottawa.
The NHL conference semifinals have been surprisingly one-sided with three series currently sitting at 3-0 and the very real possibility that all three will end in sweeps. So which has been the most surprising?
SportsNation is most disappointed in the Eastern Conference champion Senators and their performance against the Sabres, and more than a few voters thought the Devils would put up more of a fight against the Hurricanes.
Which team has been most disappointing in the second round of the NHL playoffs?
Ottawa Senators (down 3-0 to Buffalo)
New Jersey Devils (down 3-0 to Carolina)
Colorado Avalanche (down 3-0 to Anaheim)
Who would have predicted NHL conference finals possibilities of Sabres-'Canes and Sharks-Ducks? I know it's not done yet, but the East sweep setups are shocking.
Go Sabres. I'm loving every minute of this. My friends are heartbroken because they're ignorant enough to think the Sens would actually win this year. I'm starting to think that the Buffalo sports curse will be reversed.
DMarc (Ottawa, but not a Sens fan)
Methinks brooms will be hard to find in the Buffalo area today.
Did anyone really think the Avalanche had a chance against Anaheim and Bryzgalov? (Did I spell that right?)
Cam Ward is a one-man hurricane against the Devils. 'Canes-Sabres should be a great match up with the goalie play they have.
What's the world coming to when I (a football fanatic) go online and go straight to the NHL scores!!!
Tuesday's Big Questions
1. What do you make of Delmon Young's suspension?
2. Would you want Barry Bonds on your favorite team?
Should Young face harsher punishment?
Minor-league stud Delmon Young, the gem of the Tampa Bay farm system, finally got a definitive answer on how long he will be suspended for throwing and hitting an umpire with his bat: 50 games, retroactive to April 27, along with 50 hours of community service. That means Young could be back in the lineup as soon as June 19.
The citizens of SportsNation are split on the appropriateness of the punishment with over 40 percent saying International League president Randy Mobley got it just right and better than 40 feeling it was too lenient. Not surprisingly, there is little support for a shorter suspension, but SN believes Young will eventually be known more for his play than his temper.
Do you agree with the 50-game suspension handed down to Delmon Young for throwing and striking an umpire with his bat?
46% Yes, It is exactly what he deserved
43% No, it should have been longer
11% No, it should have been shorter
Will Young ever overcome this incident and be known more for what he does on the field?
Delmon is lucky to have avoided a full-season suspension. Just because he didn't cause injury to the umpire doesn't take away from the fact that it's a terrible act!
Joe (Madison, OH)
This is ridiculous. The man is a criminal. You can't throw a bat at someone and not be punished by the legal system first. As for the suspension, it is laughable. He should have been done for the year the second he got back to the dugout.
I think this punishment is about right. He made a mistake and took immediate responsibility for his actions. Hopefully he'll learn from this and be able to have a great career.
What about the umpire who was the cause of all this? Too many time people forget that the umpires are the ones that lose it and start things with their attitudes or, in this case, their mouths.
Jason (Rancho Cucamonga)
Over time everyone will forget about it just like they did with his brother, Dmitri. How many people know about Dmitri going into the stands in the Texas League and striking a fan? He only got 20 games for that.
He should be banned for life. If a fan didn't like the way Young played and threw something at him, they would never be allowed back. Why should he be held to a lesser standard?
Will Barry Bonds be back in 2007?
Barry Bonds made news away from the diamond again this week, and not for the reasons most would think. Bonds' agent told a newspaper he has "every reason to believe Bonds will be a professional baseball player in 2007," a statement at odds with Bonds' own proclamation that a bad knee will force him to retire after this season.
Agent Jeff Borris said Bonds would likely return solely as a designated hitter, meaning his days in San Francisco might be numbered. A vast majority of SN voters would not want Bonds to sign with their favorite team in such a scenario, and if he does return to pass Hank Aaron as the all-time home run leader many would want nothing to do with the record-breaking ball, except to make a profit from it.
Would you want Barry Bonds to sign with your favorite team as a DH in 2007?
What would you do if you caught Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball?
57% Sell it
18% Throw it back
10% Give it to Bonds
8% Keep it
7% Donate it to Hall of Fame
Let him go to the Yankees and deal with the NY media. That will be fun to watch.
Eric (Greensboro, NC)
Twins!! He could probably hit another 100 HR in the Homer-dome!
If he wants to be hated even more (if that's possible) he heads to the Yanks. But I think he stays close to the West Coast where he has a fan base.
If Angelos weren't stingy, could you imagine Bonds taking advantage of the short porch in Camden Yards? The Warehouse would have dents in it!!
The ideal fit for him would be the Angels, since it would be close to home and most of those fans are so fair-weather they wouldn't care.
Anaheim would be a great choice. Hitting in front of Vlad and behind Garrett Anderson would speed up his chase of the record. Doubt if anyone would welcome him, though.
Monday's Big Questions
1. What's in store for LeBron against the Pistons?
2. Will Ilya Bryzgalov ever give up a goal?
Will things get even tougher for LeBron.
The Pistons flexed their muscles in Game 1 against the Cavaliers, raining 3-pointers in the first half and holding LeBron James scoreless in the second en route to a 113-86 rout. LeBron dropped 22 points in the first half but was shut out in the third quarter before the Cavs waved the white flag and held him out of the lineup in the fourth.
Can it get worse for King James and his mates? SportsNation thinks so. More than half of voters say LeBron will be held under 20 at some point in the series, but in a slight shocker nearly 30 percent think 'Bron-'Bron will put together a 40-point outing before the series is over. And when it's all over SN likes the Pistons to not only win the series but the Eastern Conference title.
Which is most likely to happen for LeBron James against the Pistons?
28% 40-point game
7% Game-winning shot
56% Held to fewer than 20 points
Welcome to the real playoffs, Lebron.
Looks like the heir apparent ('Bron) came crashing down. Umm, Lebron, the Pistons are MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better than the Wizards.
While the Cavs got to celebrate on Friday, they are getting swept by Detroit.
DC (Altoona, PA)
113-86?!?!! Is it even fair to the Cavs to continue the series? Pistons in a sweep (or no more than five if the refs get involved).
Can we just give the Pistons the trophy now?? I mean, who can stop them? WHO???
Bryzgalov hasn't missed anything yet.
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks are rolling through the playoffs thanks in large part to outstanding goaltending, but it's not coming from the goalie you'd think. Former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jean-Sebastian Giguere gave way to Ilya Bryzgalov in the first round and Bryzgalov has responded with shutouts in Anaheim's last three games and a scoreless streak spanning his last 229:42 in net.
The Colorado Avalanche have get a puck past Bryzgalov in the Western Conference semifinals and there are those in SportsNation who think Bryzgalov will shut out the Avs for the entire series. The rest of the 'Nation, though, likes Colorado captain Joe Sakic to finally break through and get the Avs on the board.
Who will be the first Avalanche player to score a goal against Ilya Bryzgalov?
5% Andrew Brunette
18% Milan Hejduk
45% Joe Sakic
16% Alex Tanguay
15% No one, two more shutouts coming
Bryzgalov is insane. Three straight shutouts? As a rookie??? My goodness. He's out-Brodeured Brodeur.
Vik (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Stud: Ducks goalkeeping. Last time they had a goalie this hot they went to a Game 7 in the Cup Finals. Just thought everyone might want to keep that in mind.
Let's not forget that the last two playoff studs in goal -- J.S. Giguere of Anaheim and Miikka Kiprusoff of Calgary) -- failed to win the Stanley Cup. Won't mean anything if they don't get a team effort every night.
I'm just glad we have things like Bryzgalov's streak, tighter officiating and the new, wide-open rules to finally make playoff hockey interesting again.