Spain v. Italy Euro 2012 Final Open Thread

Spain v. Italy Euro 2012 Final Open Thread

Defending European and World Cup champions Spain seek to win their third major trophy in a row today when they face Italy in the finals of Euro 2012 (2:45PM/ESPN). It's no surprise that Spain has progressed to the final, although they have certainly lacked a bit of bite in the run up to today's match. This was never more clear than in their semifinal win over Portugal in penalties.

Italy, who entering the tournament was faced with yet another scandal, this time a match-fixing one, has done what Italy does and has simply found ways to win games. They defeated a well-rested and favored German team 2-1 in the semifinals to take their place in today's final.

There will be an embarrassment of passing riches on the field as the game will feature three of best string-pullers in the world. The Barcelona duo of Xavi and Iniesta control nearly every movement by La Roja. The ageless Andrea Pirlo, for whom I have an unabashed man-crush on, runs the show for the Azzurri. It never ceases to amaze how these three diminutive playmakers completely control a game.

Not to be overlooked, this game will also showcase two of best goalkeepers in the world in Iker Casillas and Gigi Buffon.

Recently there's been a backlash to the style in which Spain plays. They've gone from being celebrated for their tiki-taka style to admonished for retaining possession with their lateral play. Say what you will about their style, but you cannot question the results.

However, Italy is always adept at absorbing pressure. They also have the horses up front in Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano to punish Spain on the counter. It remains to be seen whether Italy can get enough bodies behind the ball defensively and not completely cede control to the Spanish.

The match kicks off at 2:45. Who do you like? Forza Azzurri or La Furia Roja?

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.