Your morning roundup for April 16, the day Ralphie turns 40, making a whole lot of people question their very mortality, their confidence as fra-gee-lay as a leglamp.
• Both the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks took two-game leads in their respective opening-round matchups last night. Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Ducks evened their series against, respectively, the Penguins and Predators. [NHL]
• Basketball playoffs start today with the Pacers and Bulls at 1 p.m. There will be an open thread for all your commenting needs. [Chicago Sun Times]
• Among the allegations involved in the arrest of, and bankruptcy-fraud charges leveled against, Lenny Dykstra is this gem: he "ripped out" a $50,000 sink and took granite from the mansion and installed it in an office he set up at the Camarillo airport after he had filed for bankruptcy protection. [L.A. Times]
• Nails wasn't the only person Johnny Federal Law messed with on a Tax Day sure to grab them maximum coverage and attention. The founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were among those arrested, with their domain names seized, on bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offenses. The feds say poker sites are in violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed in 2006. The offshore poker companies have argued they operate outside the reach of U.S. law. Oh well, back to alley dice. [USA Today]
• Yewri Guillen, an 18-year-old shortstop prospect for the Washington Nationals, died Friday of bacterial meningitis. "Definitely a big loss," baseball academy administrator Fausto Severino said. "We're all shocked." [Washington Post]
• A day after Twins catcher Joe Mauer landed on the DL with leg weakness, Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes joins him with "dead-arm" syndrome. [ESPN]
• The Detroit Tigers 8-4 win over the A's gave manager Jim Leyland his 1,500th victory. "Afterward, Leyland had an unopened bottle of champagne on his desk signed 'the staff.'" [Free Press]
• On the day he signed a 7-year, $154 million contract, Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez went 0-for-4 in a loss to Toronto Blue Jays. Boston is now 2-10. If they maintain this pace all season, they'll finish 27-135. That won't be a record. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders went 20-134. [Boston Herald]
• In this context, it makes perfect sense for a minor investor in the Red Sox to finalize a deal to purchase a 67-percent stake in AS Roma, marking the first time a foreigner has owned a Serie A soccer team. Diversify. [Boston Globe]
An argument over the respective merits of US boxing legend Mike Tyson and Ukraine's Klitschko brothers ended with a Russian college teacher stabbing his friend to death, investigators said today.
Nikolai Makeyev, a teacher in the Siberian city of Tyumen, was having drinks with two other men in his apartment when the argument broke out, the regional investigating committee said in a statement.
"Makeyev said that Tyson would come out as winner, but his guest accused him of a lack of patriotism. The host did not like that and he fatally stabbed the victim several times in the back," it said.
• Bob Ryan thinks Portland Timbers fan unity, patriotism is a "big civic joke." Free Nikolai Makeyev. [Sports Grid]
• At noon (east-coast time), Manchester United will face rival Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinals. On any other day, this would be the biggest match. As it stands, it's the biggest match on at noon (east-coast time). That counts for something, right? [Daily Mail]
• Brief Return of the "Hickey's Biased" coverage files: Freddie Morgan, a college pal, texted with a wager proposal last night. He likes Real Madrid, because he's a cog in The Man's machine. Always has been, always will be. When I accepted, he responded that it "will be my greatest gambling victory ever." That's probably because of this. And this. In any event, game coverage starts at 4 p.m. It's on GolTV, ESPN Desportes and ESPN3. Open thread later.
A few stories you might've missed.
Diseased: Last fall, 21 players on 13 different NBA teams fell victim to one strain of a norovirus. The CDC thinks they gave it to each other "while hanging out off the court."