Category Archives: NHL Hockey Player News

NHL Hockey Player News

Dan Mullen is leading Florida into a new era and is ready to embrace the high expectations that come with being in Gainesville.

Disappointment stings much more when it’s preceded by a dollop of hope. The Capitals are 8-2 in the first game of their 10 playoff series against the Penguins, and yet are 1-9 in those series. Pittsburgh won Game 1 last season and in the quarterfinals in 2000, when the Penguins finished 14 points behind the Capitals in the standings but made a declarative statement in their 7-0 Game 1 win, thanks to four points from future Capitals star Jaromir Jagr.

“It’s stressful,” he explained, “and you freak out.”

Truth be told, Mullen ruffled some feathers early on, butting heads within the athletic department as well as the local media. But as he put it, “You don’t know what you don’t know sometimes.” Frustrated with a culture that had come to accept being average, he had to get things done the hard way.

Doolittle: I’m not punting on any of them after one month. Picking the second wild cards was my tender spot last year, and this year I picked the Phillies and Blue Jays. Sure, it can change fast, but I feel pretty good about those picks right now. I guess the worst-looking choice so far is tabbing Miami’s Lewis Brinson as my NL Rookie of the Year. Luckily, with that team, he’ll have plenty of chances to right the ship.

Schoenfield: Well, this wasn’t a prediction, but when Ohtani was struggling in spring training, I suggested it would make sense to give him a few weeks in the minors to start the season. Oops.

Miller: All of them. It’s an act of extreme foolishness and hubris to predict baseball. Never predict baseball.

And he did. He pushed through the changes he felt he needed, including new facilities and other much-needed resources, and he gradually built Mississippi State into a program that made a habit out of finding under-recruited prospects like Fletcher Cox and Dak Prescott and transforming them into superstars. The former whipping boys of the SEC became almost unrecognizable, reaching bowl games in eight consecutive seasons. The Bulldogs even reached No. 1 in the polls for the first time in school history, spending five weeks in the top spot in 2014.

After nine seasons in Starkville, Mullen had become one of the hottest coaching prospects in the country. And he’d grown up. By the time Florida came calling this past December, the now-45-year-old coach and father of two knew he had a plan to bring the Gators back to dominance.canucks_008

Eagles give QB Nick Foles raise after Super Bowl 52 win, report says

Nick Foles helped the Eagles win Super Bowl 52 and now he is getting a raise.

According to NFL.com, the Eagles have restructured Foles’ contract as a way to thank him for leading the team to a Super Bowl victory.

The Eagles and QB Nick Foles reached agreement on a revised contract for the 2018 season today, sources say. The deal includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, so Foles still has the chance to hit free agency next spring. Team wanted to reward the Super Bowl MVP.

The report added as well that this does not mean the team is worried about Wentz’s availability. It is merely to reward Foles for his performance and solidify the quarterback spot to start the year.

Foles’ deal was about hooking him up after his performance in the postseason. It is not a reflection of the team’s feeling on Wentz’s recovery. They remain confident he’s working his way back.

Toughest tests: The Saints were able to go 7-1 at home last year on their way to an 11-5 overall mark. It will be tough to duplicate that Superdome success with the Falcons, Panthers, Rams, Eagles and Steelers bringing their best to New Orleans. The good news: It would be a lot harder to face those teams outside of the Big Easy.

Biggest breaks: Outside of the division games and the Vikings matchup, the Saints have a favorable away slate and should finish better than .500 on the road. With Minnesota and Dallas on the schedule, that leaves only three games in which there might be weather concerns. Then again, with New Orleans’ improved running game and defense, it’s an undaunted team built for all seasons.

If Cincinnati can find a way to make that record 4-2 or better, then it will be in the AFC wild-card hunt. If it’s less than .500, the Bengals might be looking to change directions once and for all. Record prediction: 8-8

I’ll predict that Jose Altuve, Jose Ramirez, Brian Dozier and Dee Gordon finish ahead of Albies on the final Rater, with 2-3 others standing a chance, but that’s still eighth at worst in the end. Don’t trade the guy, that’s for sure.dolphins_088

Was Boone as stunned as everyone else seemed to be?

The Yankees challenged and fans watched on the big center field scoreboard, most sure the call would take maybe five seconds to be overturned by replay officials watching in an office in New York.

Instead, umpires waited and waited until they returned with the shocking verdict that Barrett’s call had been upheld.

But Boone saw some positives from the 21-year-old Torres’ first time playing in pinstripes.

Boone said that the at-bats Torres, who started at second base and hit eighth, got better throughout the game and that he “really settled in” and “got better at controlling the (strike) zone.”

He was announced Friday as a limited partner in the Bucks ownership group during the team’s playoff game against the Celtics at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Rodgers was introduced during the game, where he was seated courtside with girlfriend Danica Patrick and Bucks co-owner Wes Edens.

According to the Bucks, Rodgers is the only active NFL player to have an ownership stake in an NBA team.

“I have proudly called Wisconsin my home for the past 13 years, and I am thankful for the friendships and the opportunities I have been given to live and play here,” Rodgers in a statement released by the Bucks. “I am excited and honored to deepen my connection to the region by joining Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan, Mike Fascitelli and the ownership group of the Milwaukee Bucks. As a huge fan of the NBA and the sport of basketball, this is a dream come true for me, and I look forward to furthering my affinity for Wisconsin sports as a minority owner in a team I love and support.”

Rodgers, a native of Chico, California, splits his time between Green Bay and Southern California.
steelers_125

There was supposed to be another frontrunner in the race for Kirk Cousins, and they might’ve had as good a shot as anyone.

49ers general manager John Lynch reflected Thursday on what the team originally had in mind for its quarterback of the future, which had little to do with Jimmy Garoppolo, now the NFL’s second richest man. First-year coach Kyle Shanahan, who knew Cousins from his time with the Redskins, was apparently all-in on the 2018 free agent, even after the 49ers acquired Garoppolo in a trade with the Patriots last season.

“We made the [Garoppolo] trade, but then there were some days when Kyle Shanahan was, like, in mourning, because I think everybody knows his master plan was to have Kirk Cousins come in eventually,” Lynch said on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo.” “I was proud of Kyle, because I think he knew that this was the right thing for our franchise. And he didn’t hesitate.

Cousins one-upped him when he agreed to terms with the Vikings last week on a deal that will pay him $28 million each year, with all $84 million guaranteed.

No matter, the 49ers are content with the guy who blew them away.

“We saw a guy who made everybody around him better, and I think that’s the mark of a great leader. That’s the mark of a great quarterback,” Lynch said. “There’s not a huge sample size, so there’s a lot of faith involved in our decision, absolutely. But we’re excited for his future.”

The Jets contingent includes general manager Mike Maccagnan, head coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger.

The Jets hold the No. 3 pick in next month’s draft after trading up with the Colts. They signed veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater in free agency, but are still looking for a long-term answer at the position.

New Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson was asked if he and Morris Claiborne can form the best cornerback tandem in football.

“Why not?” Johnson said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. “I’m going to hold him accountable, and I know he’s going to hold me accountable. I just can’t wait to go out there and compete with the guys.”

The Jets signed Johnson to a five-year, $72.5 million contract with $34 million fully guaranteed at signing. But he is not worried about living up to that deal.

“No pressure at all,” he said. “I know what I can do. I know what I can bring to the game. I’ve been confident all my life. I love winning, and I can’t wait to get started with this defense.”
jets_042

Bears expected to sign Earl Watford

The Bears and Cardinals became the first two teams to start their offseason programs on Tuesday and it looks like guard Earl Watford will be joining one of those programs soon.

Unlike his first four seasons, he won’t be spending the offseason in Arizona. Watford tweeted out “GSH” on Tuesday and it’s apparently not a coincidence that he went with the initials of Bears founder George S. Halas a day after visiting the Bears.

Wilmer Flores (R), 3 percent, New York Mets at Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez): The Mets haven’t faced a starting southpaw yet, but the expectation is for Flores to man first base. The 26-year-old infielder could be a regular but for now is relegated to the lesser side of a platoon with Adrian Gonzalez. Flores looks to continue his production versus left-handers, tallying an impressive 1.093 OPS in 2016 and .862 last season.

Niklas was a second-round pick by the Cardinals in 2014 — Matthews was also a second-rounder that year — and saw his most playing time in 2017 by starting 11 times in Arizona. Niklas only caught 11 passes in 15 overall appearances, which did little to change the view that his greatest utility at the NFL level comes as a blocker.

The Wolves and Spurs can move up or down — or even miss the playoffs! — but the most likely outcome for each is to finish either fifth or sixth. Exactly how that plays out — and how the seedings above them play out — is especially intriguing when we look at how our rating system views Portland and Utah.

For the Wolves, the most likely playoff opponent is the Jazz, third in our RPM-based power rankings. Meanwhile, the Spurs might face the Blazers in a series that appears to be a potential upset, given Portland’s likely status as a relatively weak No. 3 seed.

Jorge Alfaro (R), 5 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Dillon Peters): Alfaro’s prospect star has dimmed a bit, but the Phillies are still giving him first dibs on the regular gig, with fellow prospect Andrew Knapp looming. Alfaro has some pop but struggles with contact. Peters was impressive in his first effort but isn’t dominant, giving Alfaro a chance to improve upon his seven whiffs in nine at bats pace.buccaneers_093

Manziel says he’ll play in CFL if NFL opportunity doesn’t come

If the NFL doesn’t want Johnny Manziel ‘s services, he’s willing to take them north of the border. After a Tuesday workout in front of scouts at the pro day of his alma mater Texas A&M, the 25-year-old told reporters he’d play in the Canadian Football League should a second chance in the NFL remain elusive. If something pops up, it pops up, Manziel said, via TSN. And if not, and I don’t get the opportunity to go back, I’m going to go play in the CFL. And things are going to be fine.

As it turns out, they’re not planning on doing so. After less than 13 months with the team, Cooks has been moved out West to the Rams, who sent the 23rd overall pick and one of their five sixth-round selections in exchange for the 24-year-old Cooks and a fourth-rounder. I don’t think Bill Belichick necessarily acquired Cooks with the idea that he would trade the receiver a year later, but in a market where players like Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins are making $16 million per season, the Patriots might have blanched at the idea of paying Cooks an even larger annual salary.

Boykin signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He played in five games of limited action as a rookie. He spent the 2017 season on the practice squad, with Austin Davis being the team’s primary backup to Russell Wilson. Davis is currently a free agent and is expected to be re-signed this offseason.

The Patriots have occasionally traded up on draft day, with Rob Gronkowski serving as an example of one such player. If Belichick sees a quarterback he thinks could serve as the long-term replacement for Tom Brady, would he package some or all of those picks to move up and grab somebody The Patriots couldn’t afford to hold onto Garoppolo given that the now-49ers starter was going to be a free agent after the 2017 season, but whichever quarterback they draft would be making what amounts to a backup passer’s salary and have plenty of time to develop behind Brady.
patriots_045

Seahawks tight end Luke Willson visiting Panthers

The Panthers and Seahawks may be swapping free agent backup tight ends.

Regardless of his confidence in his skills, he’s just flat wrong. There’s one key term in his contract that no competent agent would have ever agreed to, and any agent that ever did agree to it should be immediately disciplined by the NFL Players Association.

It’s sad but true: The NFL just might kill its own draft, thanks to a combination of greed and exposure.?

Well, maybe not kill, but squeeze any sense of fun from an occasion that has long been one of the most fun on the NFL calendar. The event is a few days of geekdom for draft nerds and hardcore fans. It’s a time we can watch a player move from the fiefdom of college sports to the business of professional football all while remaining optimistic that everything will work out great for the players and teams.

They needed a new backup after Chase Daniel went to Chicago.

Savage has nine starts in three seasons with the Texans, and went into last year as the starter until Deshaun Watson‘s inevitable promotion.

The Jets have yet to replace Muhammad Wilkerson, a salary-cap casualty. They have only two starting-caliber linemen under contract, Steve McLendon and Leonard Williams, the other end. They made a bid for DaQuan Jones, but he returned to the Titans. They have to find a stopgap in free agency because their draft is thinner, having traded two 2018 picks to the Colts to move up in Round 1. — Rich Cimini

Pass-catching tight end has to be a priority because Joe Flacco loves throwing to tight ends. His 425 completions to tight ends over the past five years rank as the third most in the NFL. Benjamin Watson, the Ravens’ leading pass-catcher last season, is a free agent who might ultimately retire. The other tight ends on the roster, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle, are better blockers than receivers. Eric Ebron is the top available tight end in free agency, but he’s drawing a lot of interest around the league. — Jamison Hensley
49ers_078

NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana advocates cannabis for pain relief, healing

As the NFL and NFLPA move toward potentially removing cannabis as a banned substance in the coming years, yet another high-profile former NFL star — four-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana — has come out in favor of utilizing this medicine.

Montana was one of eight former NFL players interviewed by Playboy magazine on this topic.

Trump’s Monday visit is billed as an official trip, with a focus on combating the opioid crisis, which has hit the Granite State hard. But amid the ongoing Russia probe and fallout from an alleged dalliance with a porn star, the appearance also presents an opportunity for the president to shore up support in a state that not only plays a key role in the nominating process but also is a general-election battleground.

Vice President Pence also plans to plant the flag in New Hampshire later in the week, speaking at a fundraiser for Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and at a gathering of the pro-Trump group America First Policies.

Aside from scandals in Washington, Trump has faced particular challenges here, including fallout from his claim that there was “serious voter fraud” in New Hampshire in 2016 and his characterization of the state as a “drug-infested den.” Democrats — including New Hampshire’s senior senator, Jeanne Shaheen — have also accused Trump of paying lip service so far to the opioid crisis, which as a candidate he promised to address aggressively.

If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside…

The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away

Inside the Pylon’s Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there’s a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn’t proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) patriots_030

Kristaps Porzingis takes subtle jab at fans, media for All-Star starter snub

Kristaps Porzingis isn’t happy about missing out on the All-Star start this season. He was blunt when asked Friday about the snub.

“Players know,” he told reporters, via the New York Daily News. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

Though elected as a starter by the players, the Knicks center finished behind 76ers center Joel Embiid in voting by fans and media.

“In my mind, I deserve it,” Porzingis said. “All I got to do is play good and win games and the results will take care of itself. I shouldn’t be too worried about who is going to vote for me and who is not going to vote for me.”

Another highlight during the last couple of weeks was the invitation by the New England Patriots. I had been meaning to watch a football game for quite a while, and I was very happy that I finally managed to catch one in person. It was incredibly cold, but worth it. I’m already looking forward to the Super Bowl and rooting for the Pats, of course.

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry scored 40 points on 14-of-25 shooting with five rebounds and five assists but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 115-109 loss to the Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins had 29 points to lead Minnesota.

Clippers guard Lou Williams had 31 points, 10 steals (yes steals) and seven assists in Los Angeles’ 125-113 loss to the Jazz.

Rockets guard Eric Gordon was incredibly hot from the floor Thursday, but Saturday was a different story as he went 2-of-14 shooting and 0 for 9 from 3-point range. He scored six points in 35 minutes.

It’s not Madison Square Garden and it’s not Reggie Miller, but Miami’s James Johnson scored five points in four seconds to tie the game at 104-104 with 31 seconds remaining in the game in the Heat’s 105-104 win over the Hornets.

A call to James may be too late, at least for this year. The Cavaliers’ chances of hosting the Warriors again this season are looking dimmer by the day.

Kane leads the Blackhawks with 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists) in 67 games. Alex DeBrincat (22 goals) and Nick Schmaltz (20) also have joined the 20-goal club, while Artem Anisimov (19) and Toews (18) are on the doorstep.indians_009

Mike Mularkey, Titans mutually agree to part ways

The Tennessee Titans are breaking up with Mike Mularkey.

I felt like we needed to go in a different direction and maximize the skill sets of the players on the field, Robinson said. This is an attractive job … we’ll talk to candidates who we believe will move this team forward.

Chalk it up as the final note in a confusing, see-sawing song and dance between Mularkey and the Titans, with the relationship ending hours after reports emerged suggesting the coach was about to receive an extension — and just one week after the franchise strongly backed Mularkey following the win over Kansas City.

Mularkey filed back-to-back 9-7 campaigns, but the hyper-ugly Patriots loss did nothing to help his case.

As for who they’ll be targeting in their head coaching search, look for Robinson to heat-seek an offensive-minded coach who can develop this young roster and unleash Tennessee’s full potential.

Whoever they choose, the Titans aren’t wasting time on getting their search started — they’ve already reached out to the Texans to request an interview with defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, per Rapoport. They’re also interested in talking with Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, according to Rapoport.

The week before President Trump decided to make NFL player protests a federal issue (so to speak), there were players on seven teams who participated in some sort of display during the national anthem.

Defining participated is tricky; do we count the 10 players on the San Francisco 49ers who, according to ESPN’s reporting, supported Eric Reid’s protest by putting their hands on his shoulders? If we do — and, in our analysis below, we did — it gives us 24 players during the second week of the National Football League season. The week prior, it was about the same.
patriots_151_4c13a136a9194ad9-180x180