NHL offseason: Five unanswered questions

With most of its offseason business conducted already, and training camps not opening until mid-September, August is the redheaded stepchild of months when it comes to the NHL.

Team executives squeeze in some vacation time after largely filling out their rosters in July with trades and free agent signings, the players train away from the spotlight in their various hometowns and, well, there’s just not a lot hockey news taking place.

However, that does not mean there aren’t important storylines to follow and decisions to be made in, this, the quietest of all hockey months.
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Remember that elusive three-goal lead we talked about? Yeah.

The Leafs overcame a 3-1 series deficit and were on their way to wrapping up the series, thanks to a 4-1 lead heading into the third period.

Limited Olivier Vernon Jersey The Bruins responded with three goals of their own, two of which came without goalie Tuukka Rask in favor of the extra attacker. Patrice Bergeron scored in overtime to shred all of Toronto’s hopes in one of the worst collapses you’ll ever see.

The final score can be deceiving sometimes, and this game is no exception.

Although the No. 8 Canadiens defeated the No. 1 Caps, they were outshot 42-16, outhit 27-13 and trailed 34-31 in faceoff wins. Their win is largely due to goalie Jaroslav Halak, who had 42 saves. Halak’d even has its own entry in Urban Dictionary.

The game wasn’t without controvery, either. Maxim Lapierre crashed into Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov, pushing the puck into the net. No goal was called, and neither was there a penalty.

How many baseball players does it take to not catch this routine pop-up?

Ever seen a batter reach third on a dropped pop-up? You’re about to, thanks to an incredible moment on Thursday night. The Springfield Cardinals were playing the Midland RockHounds when this happened.

Sano gets off to a good start, with five homers in 2:30 seconds, and enough of them long enough to earn him bonus time already. Sano called timeout with just under two minutes on the clock and six homers on the board, four behind Sanchez.

Sano is looking like he might not even need all of the time he’s got left, as he hit nine with 1:15 to go in regulation. And he tied Sanchez at 10 with 54 seconds, then got 11 by 43 seconds. That cuts his round short — you don’t want to waste swings, you know. Maybe Sano has the right idea, not going all out but winning anyway.
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Fans and bettors are now wondering whether this year’s Dodgers club could match the MLB record of 116 wins, which would require a stretch run of 33-12.

After going an abysmal 3-20 over a 23-game span from July 9 to Aug. 6, the White Sox pulled off a shocking four-game winning streak with a series sweep over the Houston Astros and a win over the Kansas City Royals at home.

Chicago came back to earth with back-to-back losses against Kansas City over the weekend, and will now enter a six-game road trip with a 1-9 record in its last 10 road games. The White Sox lost both games to Los Angeles at home when the two teams met in July.

Scott Tolzien Womens Jersey Tuesday night’s total is set at eight runs. The UNDER is 6-2-1 in Chicago’s last nine games.

The only thing really going for the White Sox in this David vs. Goliath matchup is the fact that the series is only two games long. Chicago will leave Los Angeles after sending Carlos Rodon out to square off against Yu Darvish Wednesday night.

Melvin Gordon’s father, freed from prison, will finally see him play NFL game

For Melvin Gordon III, Sunday’s preseason game against the Seahawks will be an emotional affair.

Millennials are on their phones all the time anyway, said Jets president Neil Glat. Boarding Pass is a smart way to appeal to fans who might like the novelty and surprise of sitting in different seats on any given Sunday.

“Some games you’ll be upstairs, some game you’ll be downstairs, some games you’ll be in a club,” promised Glat here at MetLife Stadium’s Toyota Club, where the Jets held their second annual “upfront” presenting news ticket plans, food offerings and customer experiences.

Glat declined to comment on how many fans he expects to purchase the 10-game season pass. But the team does say do say that if a fan attends all 10 games, the face value of the tickets is “guaranteed” to exceed the purchase price.

Boarding Pass sounds like a great idea. But it also shows the mighty NFL is no longer Teflon after an 8-percent drop in TV ratings last season.

Moving forward, more clubs like the Jets are going to have to get creative to retain season ticket holders.

With the exception of the elite squads – the Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers and Giants, namely – the days of just mailing out a renewal notice may be over. Especially if the economy doesn’t improve.

“The Cleveland Cavaliers are not operating with any sense of urgency on finding a Kyrie Irving trade. League sources say they are continuing to field calls and talk through ideas, but that there is no sense of closure on the situation looming. In fact, there does not seem to be much urgency in how the Cavs are approaching the situation at all.

It gets tricky after those two.

Matt Harvey has been injured four of the past five seasons. You might think he’s young enough — and talented enough — to earn a big payday, but I think teams would be turned off by the varied injury history; by that I mean he has had a million different injuries, and they’ve all been in the arm area.

That said, if you could play fantasy GM and predict perfect health for him, I think Harvey would be in for a two-year, $26 million deal. Starting pitching carries a pretty big price tag, and Harvey isn’t exactly knocking on the door of the retirement home.

Steven Matz could turn out to be a solid left-handed starter, but like Harvey the injuries are getting in the way. His numbers this season aren’t great, either: He’s pitching to a career-worst 4.96 FIP in 11 starts. Not great, Bob.
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All that makes him a wild card: Do you pay him for what he is, or what he could be? I think GMs across baseball are more inclined to pay guys on what they could be (Homer Bailey, Line 1), so Matz would probably get four years and $75 million.

If there was a most improved player in the MLB like with the NBA is Jonathan Schoop the unanimous winner?

It’s a good kind of rivalry among the young guys. We all play together, we practice together, we travel together. JT lives right down the street from me. It’s only going to make me want to beat him more. It’s good to see.

Zach Zenner Game Jersey For Thomas, he now puts himself atop the list of player of the year candidates — ahead of Spieth with three wins, including a major, and Dustin Johnson and Matsuyama, both with three wins, including two World Golf Championship events.

I hope people not from this area of the country understand that the people that were marching in and around [the university] and Charlottesville, they’re not from there, Doolittle said Sunday. These aren’t people that represent the school or the community. This was a rally where people came from other parts of the state, other parts of the region. Because that area, that town, is an incredibly accepting and diverse and embracing community.

Chris Christie gets in a Cubs fan’s face: ‘You’re a big shot’

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should probably just watch MLB games from the comfort of his own couch.

During Sunday’s Cubs vs. Brewers game, Christie went nose-to-nose with a fan at Miller Park.

But luckily at the end of the season I had a few months for him to try to figure that out.

And also Andre, really the reason why my second son was named Andre is because of Andre Dawson. He actually forced me to name him Andre. No, just kidding.

Authentic Youth Gustav Nyquist Jersey You know, those two guys were the reason why I actually went out each and every day and played my heart out, you know, because they are my family. They kept me going day in and day out, and I wanted them to see what it was like to play the game the way I played the game, and I wanted them to be proud of their dad.

And I also want to thank my lovely wife Shannon. She has been through this with me the past 13 years. You know, she has been the one that made me keep my faith that this was going to happen, and baby, it happened. Thank you so much for being there for me. I love you so much for that.

And also, my two little angels, Amelie and Ava. Each and every year I looked at the votes, and when I knew I wasn’t going to get in, I knew that all I had to do was look at my two little girls, and they were going to take me in the back and play all day long and made me forget about what had happened. Thank you, two little girls. I love you so much.
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And also, I want to thank my in-laws who weren’t able to come here today because my mother-in-law was going to have surgery, eye surgery, and she couldn’t make the trip here today. Peter and Debbie, even though you’re not here, you’re here in my heart. Thank you.

The New Orleans Saints applied the franchise tag to tight end Jimmy Graham in 2014.

Nineteen running backs have totaled 500 carries in the last three seasons, and Bell’s 4.8-yard carry average is .15 yards better than the next-best guys, LeSean McCoy and Mark Ingram. His 182 catches are the most among all running backs, and so are his 1,606 yards. He averages 7.1 yards per receiving target, making him a more efficient receiver than a whole lot of actual wide receivers. He’s close to a perfect player.
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Bell is the best running back in the world, but his contractual future is very much in doubt. Even if the Steelers keep him, running backs don’t usually stay on top for long. Bell’s had a series of injuries in his first four pro seasons, including a groin ailment that required surgery this offseason. He’s an irreplaceable talent, but the odds that he’s both at the height of his powers and a Steeler in one year do not seem great.

We could run down the Steelers’ other running back options to evaluate what might happen if Bell declined or left town, but there’s no point. Losing this version of Le’Veon Bell would make any offense in the league miles less potent.

So now it’s on Bell to demonstrate his worth as a rusher and a receiver this season. However, $15 million, or more, per year still feels like a stretch.

Bell carries some risk. He’s missed 14 regular season games over the past two years due to a combination of injuries and suspensions.

He’ll be 26 next spring, and his next contract should carry him through his 30th birthday, the age when running backs historically start to slow down.

There’s precedent working against Bell, too. The New Orleans Saints applied the franchise tag to tight end Jimmy Graham in 2014. Graham pushed to be categorized as a wide receiver instead of a tight end. The difference in the tag amount was over $5 million.
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Now Garoppolo is in the final year of his contract with New England.

“Obviously, I want to play,” Garoppolo said in June, via Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. “That’s just the competitor in me. I think everyone out here wants to play. And we come out here and compete every day for that opportunity. If you go out and earn it, it’s yours.”

“I feel like I’m relatively young to the profession, granted I have been with this team for a long time,” Payton said in a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon from the Saints training camp in Metairie, La., at the team’s headquarters outside of New Orleans. “In the last few months, we saw another college football champion (Clemson) crowned, the Golden State Warriors win another NBA championship, and just recently a fantastic British Open where Jordan Spieth won it with that great finish. It reminded me of our Super Bowl champion team and that once you get to that spot, you are obsessed with returning.

“It’s all you think about. It is somewhat consuming, but in a good way. Mr. (Tom) Benson, our owner, just turned 90. We’ve got to bring him a second one.”

Training camp is a huge marker in each NFL team’s championship quest; a period of hot days and taxing work that help form their enduring mettle.

The Saints for the last three years held camp in West Virginia, but they returned home this year. Payton says it is time to mix it up, recalibrate this bunch, retool, rethink, sculpt and mold.patriots_125-180x180

Sherman then brought up an interesting point.

He then named names. Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now — whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible — have jobs. He also mentioned Kaepernick being better than Blake Bortles and Jared Goff.

Felix Potvin Game Jersey All issues aside, Sherman advocated for others in the NFL to speak up on Kaepernick’s behalf. Not a lot of guys are willing to step out there, he said. So the guys not speaking up for him are doing him a disservice.
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Sherman then brought up an interesting point. He mentioned his teammate Michael Bennett also being outspoken in favor of Kaepernick, and added, but on our team it’s like, ‘They’re a bunch of hippies over there.’

Bennett, who also spoke with Bell, brought home a major point that is often overlooked when it comes to Kaepernick’s situation.

There are (accused) rapists and drunk drivers in the league, Bennett said. But he’s somebody who didn’t do anything to anybody.

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott weren’t on the field, but a couple of other Cowboys stepped up to give us some highlights.

Even the tight end position could be interesting again. The Giants have spent years shuffling between mediocrities like Will Tye and Larry Donnell, but now they have an intriguing rookie in first-round draft pick Evan Engram. The Ole Miss prospect was touted as one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the draft, and Engram is capable of lining up in multiple positions, giving Eli a versatile weapon at tight end he hasn’t really had since Martellus Bennett’s brief run in 2012.

There is potential on this offense, but also a lot of question marks, so New York will need its defense to step up once again.

Nashville fish market offering free catfish for Preds fans attending Stanley Cup Final

The Penguins won’t be able to escape the catfish at Bridgestone Arena.
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After Wholey’s Fish Market in Pittsburgh refused to sell catfish to Tennessee residents, Little’s Fish Company in Nashville is offering complimentary bottom-feeders to Predators fans who present a ticket to Games 3 or 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Penguins.

Glass, who ranked seventh in Canada’s Western Hockey League last season with 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 69 games with Portland, has been compared by scouts to Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.
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In addition to selecting Glass sixth overall, the Golden Knights took the versatile Nick Suzuki at 13th overall and defenseman Erik Brannstrom with the 15th pick.

Suzuki, who won’t turn 18 until August, finished this past season with 45 goals in 65 games with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. Brannstrom, a native of Sweden, is undersized by traditional standards but has a powerful shot, drawing comparisons to the Jets’ Toby Enstrom.

General manager George McPhee has been a busy man this week after poaching one player from each of the 30 other teams around the league in Wednesday’s Expansion Draft. With the selections of Glass, Suzuki, and Brannstrom along with the likes of veterans Marc Methot, James Neal and Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas is putting together a solid roster for its first season.

Isaiah Thomas to Joel Embiid: ‘Nobody can stop me … especially your big ass’

Before the 76ers played the Celtics on Friday night, Philly center Joel Embiid told reporters he was eager to guard Boston guard Isaiah Thomas on pick-and-roll switches.
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Moritz Boehringer Mens Jersey The athletic 7-0 Embiid vs. the mercurial 5-9 Thomas sounds like a bizarre modern-day David-vs.-Goliath matchup.

So how did it all play out? Thomas scored 24 points — albeit with a season-high seven turnovers — and the Celtics set a franchise record with 19 3-pointers in a comeback win over the 76ers.

Embiid, one of the league’s growing collection of multitalented young big men, led Philadelphia with 23 points in the losing effort.

But like Barkley and Malone, Anthony is still a great player. Like Patrick Ewing, whose popularity grows in New York with each year, as people cast fewer and fewer aspersions about his lack of a championship, Anthony has made his mark on the Knicks franchise. He should finish this season seventh in career points as a Knick and could end up as high as second, behind Ewing, despite playing out most of his 20s in Denver.

Much of the angst Anthony faces now is about how much he makes. But he was worth that max contract in 2014. He was coming off a season of 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 77 games, and his 40.2 percent on 3-pointers was the best of his career. Other teams — starting with the Lakers — would have been happy to lavish max deals on Carmelo, though they couldn’t offer as much as the Knicks.

His performance since signing the contract may leave something to be desired. His scoring efficiency fell back to earth, and he essentially skipped half of the abysmal 2014-15 season (though it is worth noting that had he played, the Knicks might have been too good to get the pick that became Kristaps Porzingis).