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NHL Hockey Player News

The Browns chose Wynn 16 spots ahead of Tom Brady in the 2000 draft.

And because of that, there’s another great joy to the postseason, a subtle one that I didn’t notice I was enjoying until a few days ago but that has been quietly making many of these innings even more entertaining than they already are: Pitch counts matter again.

Back when “Moneyball” came out, one of the hot takeaways was that there’s something glorious and underdog-ish about a lineup that makes a pitcher work. “When a team wades into the opponent’s bullpen in the first game of a series, it feasts, in Games 2 and 3, on pitching that is not merely inferior but exhausted. ‘Baseball is a war of attrition,’ Billy Beane was fond of saying, ‘and what’s being attrited is pitchers’ arms.'”

What happened? The Butch Davis regime that arrived following the 2000 season traded Wynn and running back Travis Prentice to Minnesota for draft picks. Wynn spent two seasons with the Vikings before playing four more in the Canadian Football League.

The clinics have the potential to decrease emergency room utilization by 68 percent and decrease hospitalization by 37 percent for the residents of these neighborhoods, according to Novant.

Novant added that the clinics are projected to care for nearly 35,000 children and adults who do not currently have access to primary and preventive care or who use the emergency room for non-urgent medical needs.

“This gift will transform the lives of thousands of families and children living in poverty-stricken communities,” said Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health. “We are thankful to Michael for his generosity. The gift will remove barriers to high-quality health care in some of the most vulnerable communities.”


I think the communication between the player and the coach is big

Despite being named MVP of Super Bowl 51, Brady told King it wasn’t his best game ever. Via King:

There are so many things that played into that game—a high-scoring offense, a top-ranked defense, the long Super Bowl, four-and-a-half-hour game, the way that the game unfolded in the first half versus what happened in the second half … so it was just a great game.”

It was an interesting, honest look inside the mind of Brady — the ultimate perfectionist still kicking himself over a pick six while Patriots Nation is still celebrating its fifth Super Bowl title. It was widely picked up by various media outlets.

But then Bleacher Report tweeted Brady’s quote Monday, and there was no mention of King or MMQB. That set King off.

“I think the communication between the player and the coach is big,” Peete added. “In order to have a successful running game, it’s a combination of everyone. It’s not just, ‘well the line didn’t block good,’ it wasn’t like ‘the runner didn’t run good — it’s a combination of both. I think everybody has to be cohesive and be on the same page.”

McVay, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Jan. 24 and is the youngest head coach in NFL history, echoed the sentiment of getting everyone “on the same page.”

“What you see in Todd is a special player,” McVay said. “He’s got great gifts as far as just a talented runner with natural instincts, ability when he gets to the second level to make people miss kind of seamlessly. We’re looking to get him to be that player consistently week in and week out.

“From what I’ve seen so far, really excited about the opportunity to work with him. We feel confident that he’ll get going and be special back for a long time in this league.”texans_110

Bills fire GM Doug Whaley, entire scouting staff

The uncomfortable final days of general manager Doug Whaley in Buffalo have come to an end.

The Bills announced Sunday morning they had fired Whaley. The team also cleaned house in the pro and amateur scouting departments as the franchise moves in a new direction in the front office after extending their playoff drought that stems back to 1999.

Bolles’ 4-month-old son, Kingston, was the center of attention as his father had him model the No. 1 Broncos jersey set aside for the 6-5, 300-pound tackle.

Bolles, 24, is older than the other first-round picks, as he spent two years on a Mormon mission. The younger Bolles certainly dressed for the occasion.

Bolles went No. 20 overall, in a draft considered weak in offensive line prospects. In fact, this marked the first draft in the Super Bowl era that an offensive lineman didn’t go in the first 15 picks.

Broncos general manager John Elway tweeted , “Excited that Garett Bolles was available for us to take w/our 1st rd pick. He was the most athletic tackle in the draft & plays w/toughness!”

Expect to see more of little Kingston as his dad begins his career in Denver.

New England traded back from its first chance to pick and still ended up with intriguing, smaller-school upside picks in hybrid edge player Derek Rivers (Youngstown State) and potential future left tackle Antonio Garcia (Troy). For the Super Bowl champs, it’s all gravy now with their offseason.

He wasn’t traded, which means he will indeed play out the season in Washington. The 49ers also didn’t draft a true franchise QB, only a trade-up flyer on Iowa’s C.J. Beatherd in the third round. That means Cousins can expect to name his price with San Francisco next offseason.


There is a grace period here

The Jaguars selected the burly LSU tailback Thursday night with the No. 4 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. They’re betting Fournette, a player who’s been a five-star prospect through every stage of his football career, can be a game-changer even at a weight more suited for a pass rusher, though he sported a slimmer look after shedding 12 pounds for his pro day in March.

Fournette’s hype crested in 2015 after a 1,953-yard, 22-touchdown season for the Tigers. His 85 broken tackles led college ball and made him a candidate to be the first player selected once he’d completed his third year of college football, then led some to wonder why he wouldn’t be allowed to leave earlier.

It’s not the norm, as opposed to basketball, where underclassmen make the jump to the NBA all the time. This year, a record 98 have decided to do so, and that number has grown almost every year for the last decade (it was once only 40 in 2007).

There is a grace period here, though. Underclassmen submit their names for the draft and then get grades back from the NFL Draft Advisory Council. Registered scouts and members of team personnel departments evaluate players and give them grades. Players can then choose whether to proceed into the draft or stay in school.

Here’s the NFL’s breakdown of the last two years of underclassmen who were given first- or second-round grades, vs. where the players were actually picked.

If you were drafted as an underclassman who didn’t get a first- or second-round grade, it likely won’t be high. But it’s not like it’s impossible for you to get in the league. And being drafted high is already less lucrative than it once was, thanks to the rookie wage scale, although it is — of course — much more money than a player would get by staying in school.


Minnesota will be hungry to even the series on home ice.

Game 1 between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues was textbook NHL playoffs drama. Spectacular goaltending. Late-game heroics. An overtime win.

We’d love to see more. The problem: The odds of a blowout are high if Game 2 on Friday plays out in a similar fashion.

St. Louis didn’t play well, and they know it. Minnesota will be hungry to even the series on home ice.

On Thursday, it appeared Damian Lillard had predicted his No. 8-seeded Portland Trail Blazers — who snuck into the playoffs in the last week of the season — would knock off the Golden State Warriors, the first team to win 67 games in three straight seasons. Here’s one tweet:

See? What is Lillard supposed to say there — “actually, Warriors in five!” That would be ridiculous. He could have declined from making a prediction, but professional athletes have to be confident. They’re some of the most competitive people in the world, so of course they think they can win.

Lillard wasn’t trying to distract from his team or give the Warriors bulletin board material. (Do the Warriors REALLY need any of that, anyway?) He was asked a question and he answered it. Nothing wrong with that.

So yes, the point is this: It’s cool Lillard is confident, and he should be, and it shouldn’t be a big deal that he thinks that.

In this third quarter example, LeBron and Kyrie Irving execute a high pick and roll forcing 6’1 Teague onto a much-bigger, much-stronger LeBron. The results are exactly what you’d expect:

It’s unreasonable to expect Teague to contain Love and James in the paint, yet he was asked to do so time and time again thanks to Indiana’s defensive scheme. Head coach Nate McMillan had his players switch nearly every time Cleveland ran a pick and roll — an ineffective strategy as Cleveland shot nearly 54 percent from the floor.

we will continue to look for the best over-under bet in Major League Baseball.

Welcome to one of my favorite posts of the year, where I look at the over-under totals of all 30 MLB teams and try to win you fake money. I am pleased to report that, collectively, we have won fake money. Thousands of dollars. This is the last year for this post. Next year, I will introduce an 877 number and buy up 15 minutes of paid content on your favorite sports-talk radio station every week. And I will quit this job, burning every last bridge before I go. Especially with Marc. [Editor’s note: ]

Until then, we will continue to look for the best over-under bet in Major League Baseball.

Last year, I decided that the Cardinals were the best over-under bet for 2017, and I declared that out of all 30 teams — and 60 options — that picking them to win 88 games or more was the safest bet. I also drafted Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha in my fantasy league. These facts are related.

I did not win my over-under choice from last year. You will be shocked to learn that I did not win my fantasy league, either. But if you call 877-BRIS-PIX now …

That’s OK though, because the collective wisdom of crowds saved us. There were 2,885 votes in our poll, and more than 53 percent of you picked a winner. Good job, everybody! That translated to $138,780 in fake winnings, assuming a $100 bet. Wow!

Texans fans, this may not be pretty, but hopefully it will at least be cathartic.

To kick things off, check out the numbers in the bottom right corner. Those are Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average — explained more thoroughly here) ratings for the Texans’ run and pass offense. DVOA is a fantastic measure for understanding how well or poorly a unit is performing since it adjusts for the caliber of opponents they’ve faced. And 26th in passing and 24th in rushing … well, those ain’t good.

Seattle turned in one of its best performances of the season on Sunday

When you work from home, it is very difficult to know when you’re home from work and done for the day. The world tends to telescope down into a fairly narrow focus. I’ve noticed, recently, that I sound — for lack of a better term — just freaking weird to myself for the first few minutes I speak to my wife after she gets home from work. It’s because I haven’t said anything all day. I forget, much more often than I’d like to admit, how to be around other humans. I remember quickly, because this is kind of a basic thing, but it’s jarring how quickly this all atrophies.

Those are, as you might guess, pretty crappy moments, and it’s when I go out and walk around, or get beers with friends, or just run an errand sans headphones and half-listen to my neighborhood’s non-stop howling sidewalk goofstorm. It’s all nicer than it sounds. It’s basically the nicest and most affirmative and basic human thing, actually, this simple interacting with other people. More than that, reminding yourself what people are like, and that they’re each as real as you and everyone else, is an important thing if you’re going to write about things people do.

Seattle turned in one of its best performances of the season on Sunday, but the Seahawks lost cornerback Brandon Browner to a groin injury in the process. Browner limped off the field early in the game and did not return. Head coach Pete Carroll said the team still doesn’t know how extensive the injury is, but Browner could be out “quite a while.”

Walter Thurmond came on to replace Browner with Byron Maxwell playing outside when the Seahawks had their nickel defense on the field. Seattle has some depth at cornerback with Jeremy Lane also on the depth chart. Rookie Tharold Simon is currently on the physically unable to perform list and could be activated.9

Like Steve Kerr joked last week, maybe it’ll get even more elaborate.

Franklin was tabbed as Ralph Friedgen’s successor at Maryland in 2009. Instead, he jumped ship to the SEC and led Vanderbilt to back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time in program history. Muschamp was Mack Brown’s protege at Texas, but took an opportunity to replace Urban Meyer at Florida instead. In each case, tagging rising assistants as future head coaches only served to raise their value for leadership-needy teams across the NCAA.

The programs they left behind suffered as a result. Without Franklin in tow, Maryland was forced to hire Randy Edsall after Friedgen’s firing. Edsall went 22-34 in four-plus seasons with the team. Since leaving College Park, Franklin has gone 49-30 as a head coach and won the 2016 Big Ten title with Penn State — a team the Terrapins now face annually.

Losing the man pegged as the program’s next Boeheim will be a tough blow for Syracuse to swallow, but his departure followed a familiar script from another big money NCAA sport. Hopkins joins outspoken college football coaches James Franklin and Will Muschamp as proof naming someone “head coach in waiting” is a meaningless platitude.

Players hardly ever sat out to rest during Malone’s era, but teams also didn’t have the same data available to them. With new, more precise information coming out about player health, teams can’t ignore it and carry on just like they would have done 20 or 30 years ago.

That’s the dilemma that teams and the league face, with no easy path for the two sides to meet in the middle. The NBA will continue massaging the schedule, possibly starting the season earlier while trying to eliminate as many back-to-backs and lengthy road trips as it can.

But all the while, teams will continue resting when it’s beneficial. Like Steve Kerr joked last week, maybe it’ll get even more elaborate.

“I’m going to rest all 13 guys that game,” Kerr said. “So we’re just going to forfeit.”


Romo threw 34 touchdown passes over 15 games in 2014

All of which leaves Trujillo, a watchdog in a state not known for big-time gambling, as the only law enforcement official in the nation attempting to stem a $5 billion gambling avalanche.

In September, Trujillo sent a letter to Newell that threatened the billionaire and his executives with “possible criminal charges” if Valve continued to facilitate “illegal activities.” In a response, a Valve lawyer dismissed the agent’s concerns as misplaced, arguing that Valve has “no business relationship” with gambling sites and doesn’t “encourage” its customers to use them.

But Elijah blames Valve for many of his problems. At rock bottom, he was so hopeless that he called a gambling hotline for help with suicidal thoughts. “Like, I was 16 years old and I couldn’t … I lost all this money and I wanted to end my life,” he says. “It was just really bad.”

But they don’t have a Roethlisberger or a Brady, an Aaron Rodgers or a Matt Ryan. Romo could give them one.

Romo threw 34 touchdown passes over 15 games in 2014. That’s more than twice the number Smith had in 2016. Romo threw for a career-high 4,900 yards as recently as 2012. Smith threw a career high of 3,500 yards in 2016.

It’s hard to deny the boost the Chiefs would get with Romo.

The decision is much more complex. Even if he’s healthy and lasts a full season, there’s no telling whether Romo would be the same player he was earlier in his career. He is at the age where many quarterbacks start to lose their skills. Squeezing Romo’s contract into an already challenging salary cap situation is another matter that would have to be resolved.

SI’s Peter King projects trade between NFC East rivals for Marcus Mariota

Peter King of Sports Illustrated took a shot at forecasting the first 15 selections of the 2015 NFL Draft on Wednesday morning and projected a big trade that would land Marcus Mariota with the Philadelphia Eagles.

SB Nation’s Dan Kadar predicted a similar trade last week, although Kadar guessed a trade could happen between the Tennessee Titans and Eagles for the No. 2 pick. King projected the trade to Case Keenum Youth Jersey happen with Washington and the No. 5 pick.

While trades between divisional rivals are rare, particularly those involving a quarterback at stake, King defended the logic on Twitter by pointing to a trade in 2010 between the same two teams that sent 33-year-old Donovan McNabb to Washington in exchange for a second-round pick and a conditional mid-round pick. Still, it would represent a monumental shift away from typical draft logic if a team gift-wrapped a 21-year-old franchise quarterback prospect like Mariota to a division rival.

It’s unclear if Jackson is considering retirement or if he’ll see if he can catch on with a team in 2015. There’s no shortage of teams looking for a starting running back, but there’s also no shortage of big-name backs on the open market. Even in the aging veteran space, there are better options, such as San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore. On top of that, this NFL Draft class is strongest at running back. It could be tough for Jackson to find a team in 2015.

Atlanta drafted Devonta Freeman in 2014, but doesn’t have much at the position and will likely Cody Wichmann Youth Jersey be looking for more running back help, either on the free agent market or the NFL Draft.

Make no mistake: I can still punish a defense. I still have a warrior’s heart. There are 1,000-yard seasons left in these legs. I know what I am still capable of, and I have every intention of proving it.

In the post, he also thanked the Falcons, owner Arthur Blank and the city of Atlanta for the way he was treated during his two seasons with the team.