Monthly Archives: September 2017

Sharks’ Patrick Marleau goes off on four-goal frenzy in one period

Patrick Marleau scored twice as many goals in a single period Monday as the Avalanche managed all game.

The 37-year-old Sharks winger went off for four goals in a frenzied third period that capped a 5-2 win in Denver. He’s the 12th player in NHL history with four goals in a period and became the first to do so since Mario Lemieux on Jan. 26, 1997 nearly 20 years ago to the day.

In what became a storybook backdrop for NBC, snow fell as both teams played to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation. After neither team was able to score in overtime, the first Winter Classic went to a shootout. With a chance to win the game for Pittsburgh, Crosby hopped over the boards to take his attempt on goaltender Ryan Miller. As he slowly skated toward goal, it was difficult to tell whether it was the elements or Crosby himself who dictated the pace, but a few quick stickhandles later and Crosby beat Miller, giving the Penguins a 2-1 victory.

The expectations for Crosby’s freshman campaign in the NHL were immense. Pegged as the league’s next great star, not only was Crosby supposed to be dominant, but with his expected rookie season of 2004-05 canceled due to a lockout, anticipation grew and the wait for Crosby left anxious fans to only dream about the teenage phenom wearing a Penguins jersey.

Crosby did not disappoint, though, eclipsing the 100-point mark while also surpassing Mario Lemieux’s rookie record for points in a single season. Crosby and Lemiuex actually started the season as teammates before an irregular heartbeat forced the Hall of Fame forward and current Penguins owner to retire. Crosby finished the season with 102 points, though it was fellow rookie Ovechkin who edged him in both the Calder Trophy voting and rookie scoring race, finishing with 106 points.

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Jets’ Jacob Trouba suspended two games for head shot on Mark Stone

Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba will serve a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head on Mark Stone during Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Senators.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced the ban Monday, citing Trouba’s lack of a disciplinary track record and Stone’s expected recovery in its explanation of the length of the ban.

The hit occurred at the 13:22 mark of the third period when Stone, who began the season recovering from a concussion, was caught in a vulnerable position attempting to make a pass after gaining the offensive zone. Trouba lowered his right shoulder, catching Stone upside the head.

Trouba was assessed a minor penalty while Stone remained on the ice for several moments.

On the Senators bench, an irate Guy Boucher argued for a five-minute major and game misconduct against Trouba to no avail.

The Panthers have some exciting young players now, but their draft history is a wasteland. They’ve never drafted a No. 1 goaltender. Ever. Kevin Weekes, with 350 games played as mostly a career backup, has the most of any Panthers pick. This franchise picked in the top five seven times in its first 20 years, and the best players in that group are Jay Bouwmeester and Ed Jovanovski. At least Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad appear on track to be better than that.

An upset selection! The obvious answer might be 1980, which included Larry Murphy, Bernie Nichols and both Kings television analyst Jim Fox and radio analyst Daryl Evans, but Anze Kopitar (No. 11) and Jonathan Quick (No. 72) have already done so much together and could do more in the future. Murphy won the Stanley Cup four times, but with other franchises. Quick and Kopitar have four rings between them. They are two of the three most important players from the most successful stretch in team history.

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MLB trade rumor grade: Justin Verlander to the Brewers?

The trade deadline isn’t until July 31, yet rumors are already flying around. We’re here to help you sort them out by determining how believable and likely a particular rumor is. Can you believe that this service is free?

Next up on the list: There’s a rumor that Justin Verlander, longtime Tigers starter, is of interest to the Brewers according to the Free Press’ Anthony Fenech. Now, the Brewers wanting a starter is certainly believable you’ve seen their rotation, yes? so this one comes down heavily on how likely it is the Tigers are going to be moving Verlander and his not insubstantial contract.

Verlander is having a super disappointing season in which he’s basically been league-average by ERA, and has averaged just over 5-2/3 innings per start neither of those items is particularly Verlanderish. The rub here, though, is that a league-average starter who isn’t hurting your team and actually has the potential to be better than that is something the Tigers could use. Matt Garza has looked the most like the useful version of himself that he has in years, while Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson have both been doing work, but everyone else has been disappointing, bad, or some combination of the two.

I then made my way over to Clayton Kershaw’s press conference. He was leaning back in his chair and seemed to be having a pretty good time for a guy who had to talk to multiple people who all wanted to ask him a question in the hopes that his answer would be more interesting than any of the other answers he gave.

I asked him if he’s had either song stuck in his head. He has not.

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NHL books Snoop Dogg to perform at All-Star Skills Competition

The NHL wanted to add a little funk to its All-Star weekend. Enter Snoop Dogg.

The rapper, also known as DJ Snoopadelic, has been booked to perform an on-ice set during player introductions for Saturday’s skills competition, the NHL announced, joining a myriad of other celebrities who will flock to the hockey celebration in Los Angeles.

McCabe followed through with his shoulder and didn’t leave his feet to deliver the blow, and the Jets mostly agreed the play was clean.

Jets coach Paul Maurice said after the game he didn’t have a problem with the hit. They hit heads. It was a straight-on hit. There is no timetable for Laine’s return to the ice, Maurice told reporters in an update Sunday morning.

The 18-year-old has been one of the most electric young players who have taken the NHL by storm this season.

In 42 games, Laine leads all rookies with 37 points and is locked in a two-horse race for the Calder Trophy with Maple Leafs wunderkind Auston Matthews, the only player drafted above Laine in 2016.

Butcher reportedly is drawing interest from the Penguins, Blackhawks and Red Wings, among other teams, while Kerfoot — who has not publicly ruled out signing with the Devils after becoming a free agent — has long been linked to his hometown Canucks, though one recent report contradicted that conventional wisdom.

Keep an eye on the Rangers. They signed Jimmy Vesey after August 15 a year ago, and did likewise with Kevin Hayes in the summer of 2014, so there is a track record of the Blueshirts heavily pursuing top college free agents. They also need a third-line center, a spot where Kerfoot — a college teammate of Vesey’s — would fit.

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A Sonny Gray trade to the Yankees makes too much sense to not happen

The Yankees and Athletics are reportedly discussing a trade for Sonny Gray, that also includes first baseman Yonder Alonso. That would pretty much fill the remaining holes the Yankees had on the roster after already dealing for third baseman Todd Frazier as well as relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, and that’s also why this deal makes too much sense for New York to not happen.

When a fly ball bounced off of Jose Canseco’s head and ended up being a homer, it was hilarious, especially since his noggin gave the ball the little extra it needed to clear the fence. This, though, is something else: It’s like a header in soccer to score a goal, except it wasn’t intentional.

Of course, that’s an entire season and an NBA one at that against a somewhat cherry-picked portion of the Dodgers campaign. With that being said, though, Los Angeles’ record for the entire season is 75-31, good for a .708 winning percentage, they’re up on the second-place, first-wild-card-holding Rockies by 14.5 games in the NL West, and Tuesday’s victory put the Dodgers on pace for 115 wins. That would put them ahead of the 1998 Yankees for the second-most in a season and leave them one W behind the all-time mark held by the 2001 Mariners and 1906 Cubs.

The Dodgers still have 56 games left, and chances are good those aren’t going to go quite as well as the previous 56. They don’t have to for Los Angeles to complete a special, historic regular season; however: The 2001 Mariners had a .716 winning percentage, and the Dodgers are real, real close to that pace for the year. If they just play a tiny bit better the rest of the way than they have in aggregate to this point, MLB just might have a record broken come late September.

That is, in theory, what adding Yu Darvish is supposed to help the Dodgers avoid.

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Sidney Crosby nearly severs Marc Methot’s finger, escapes penalty

It’s been some kind of week for Sidney Crosby.

The Penguins captain was at his very best Tuesday: He scored a pretty goal, lost a few teeth and speared an opposing player between the legs (and got away with it). For his next act, Crosby, impervious to penalties, apparently decided to try to take the finger of unsuspecting Senators defenseman Marc Methot during their game Thursday.

In the first period, Methot was carrying the puck into the Penguins’ zone during a 4-on-4. Crosby met him at the blue line and delivered a slash to Methot’s hands just after play was whistled for offside. Methot, unamused, skated over to Crosby to ask some variation of What gives? and the two shared some words before officials intervened.

Toronto’s youth headlines a loaded rookie class that features just about everything: a generational playmaker in Matthews, an elite scorer in Laine, a puck-moving defenseman in Werenski, a talented goaltender in Murray and a do-it-all, two-way forward in Marner.

It has been fun to watch these kids come of age.

Matthews led all rookies with 69 points and 40 goals, but the scoring race was tight as Laine (64), Nylander (61) and Marner (61) didn’t finish too far behind.

In a recent interview with Sportsnet, Duchene sounded the part of a star player who has already mentally checked out of his current situation and is just waiting to focus on his next challenge with his new team.

Hanging on to Duchene, who has two years remaining on his contract, is not good for the league-worst Avs, nor for Duchene, yet it really seems as though camp will open with Duchene still in Colorado. If somehow Sakic does deal Duchene, it likely will be to an Eastern Conference team, with the aforementioned Islanders and the going-for-it-now Blue Jackets as prime landing spots.

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Cup-winning Darryl Sutter, Dean Lombardi out in Kings shake-up; Luc Robitaille, Rob Blake in

The Los Angeles Kings on Monday fired coach Darryl Sutter and GM Dean Lombardi, a duo that delivered the only two Stanley Cups in the franchise’s history.

In their places, Kings legend Luc Robitaille has been promoted to the position of club president, while fellow Hall of Famer Rob Blake is now vice president and general manager.

The Kings won NHL titles in 2012 and ’14 but a failure to even reach the playoffs in two of the past three seasons cost Sutter and Lombardi their jobs.

Law enforcement officials have said five people are dead and several more hospitalized with gunshot wounds after gunfire erupted at a baggage claim at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Authorities have identified the suspect, who was captured unharmed, as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago. According to various reports, Santiago grew up in Puerto Rico, served in Iraq with a National Guard unit and lives in Alaska.

Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said (via the Sun Sentinel) that Santiago had checked a gun in his bag on a flight to Fort Lauderdale, retrieved it and took it to a bathroom to load it, then returned to the baggage claim area and began shooting.

The Panthers said they will play Friday night’s home game against the Nashville Predators as scheduled after consulting with law enforcement and the NHL.

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MLB trade rumor grade: Sonny Gray to the Dodgers?

Sonny Gray is getting traded before Monday afternoon. That much has all but been decided by now. Teams as far reaching as the Yankees, Brewers, Astros, Mariners, and Braves have been connected to the A’s star but where he will most likely end up seems to shift every day.

While he has been connected to the Dodgers through various rumors during the past week, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi is now saying that the Dodgers are increasingly confident that they will end up with either Yu Darvish, Justin Verlander, or Sonny Gray before all is said and done.

Of those three options, Gray is currently the most likely to be traded to someone over the weekend (if not sooner). So we’re here to figure out how realistic it is that he could be heading down the coast from Oakland to LA.

But my plight did get me thinking. You see, these very good baseball players also touched down in Miami for the All-Star Game (Mookie Betts even flew himself and Chris Archer here in a private plane!). So I wondered if they, too, have been haunted by the ghosts of Astro Lounge and Big Willy Style. I decided it was imperative that I ask them about this, and, since I am a capital J Journalist, I got my chance at media availability ahead of the Home Run Derby on Monday night.

I started with Bryce Harper. He sat at a table draped in a black tablecloth underneath the bright fluorescent lights of Marlins Park, surrounded by other reporters holding their microphones and cameras in his face. The stale air conditioning circulated around him, but his perfect hair was covered by a hat, so it was not blowing in the manufactured wind. The Marlins’ bizarre home run statue of palm trees, flamingos, dolphins, and a giant sun loomed in the background behind him. It all felt a little dystopian.

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Detroit Red Wings ‘vehemently disagree’ with use of their logo at Charlottesville rally

The Red Wings released a statement Saturday afternoon saying they vehemently disagree with the use of their logo being used by right-wing marchers at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville has declared a local emergency due to violence caused as a result of the rally. There have been fist-fights and screaming matches going on during the protest, which has been called a Unite the Right rally. Several of the right-wing sign holders have held up signs that feature the Detroit Red Wings’ logo, which led to the team’s statement.

The logo has been altered slightly in the center, and the people holding the signs belong to a group from Michigan called The Detroit Right Wings.

The group is in no way affiliated with the hockey team, which should be obvious, but it’s understandable why the team would want to distance itself from this crowd.

Though in some respects it’s strange to say Edmonton has a short window to win a Stanley Cup — McDavid doesn’t turn 21 until January and will rule the league as long as his body permits — the Oilers cap situation will in short order go from snug to shrunken-in-the-dryer-tight-fitting. Draisaitl’s $8.5 million cap hit goes on the books this season, but McDavid’s cap charge doesn’t jump to $12.5 million until 2018-19, and that’s when things really get crunched.

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MLB trade rumor grade: Sonny Gray to the Braves?

The Braves had a goal this season: Don’t lose 110 games in the first year of a new ballpark. Don’t embarrass the franchise. Don’t play like the Braves in the first half of 2016.

For the most part, it’s working. They’re just three games under .500, and they’re sitting atop one of baseball’s greatest prospect caches. They’re set up well for the future, and they’re not embarrassing themselves in the present. It was a nifty sleight of hand, and they pulled it off. Remember that exactly one year ago, they looked like the worst team in baseball.

Now they might be looking to trade prospects away?

That doesn’t mean Darvish won’t go to the Indians if they’re the ones willing to pay what the Dodgers or Yankees will not, but he’ll have a say in the matter, unlike with the other top suitors.

With the Yankees seemingly disinterested, the Indians a destination Darvish can reject, and the Dodgers unwilling to give up their very best prospects for Darvish, you’d think that would mean the Rangers are unlikely to deal the pending free agent. However, with the new compensation rules in place, the Rangers are only looking at a pick in the 75-80 range in next year’s draft in return for losing Darvish. That’s not as much of a motivator to hold on to a pending free agent as it once was, when someone like Darvish guaranteed a first-round pick as compensation.

So the bar for what the Rangers will begrudgingly accept for Darvish is lower than it would have been if this scenario played out a year ago, though, that doesn’t mean he’ll come cheap. He’s still the top starter on the block this deadline, rental or no, and the Rangers’ plan to improve their team with a trade and then bring back Darvish is a good one.

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