Alabama head coach Nick Saban leads his team onto the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.Editor’s Note: Leading up to the start of preseason camp, the Montgomery Advertiser will take a look at each of Alabama’s 12 regular-season games.As the regular season winds down, it inevitably leads to the annual rivalry game showdown to end all rivalry games — the Iron Bowl.But as has been the case in recent years, Alabama will play a warm-up game the week beforehand against an overmatched FCS program.This year’s sacrificial lamp is Charleston Southern, which enters the season as the No. 24th ranked team in FCS, according to Sporting News’ preseason poll.The Bucs feature an experienced roster loaded with All-Big South representatives, including senior linebacker Aaron Brown, junior offensive lineman Erik Austell, and junior corner Troy McGowens, as well as senior quarterback Austin Brown and junior running back Mike Holloway.The game will be Charleston Southern’s fifth matchup with a SEC team, including games against Georgia and Vanderbilt last season. The Bucs nearly pulled off its first win over an FBS program when it fell 21-20 against the Commodores last year, Charleston Southern is 0-14 all-time versus FBS programs.Game 11Charleston SouthernDate: Nov. 21Time: TBALocation: Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)TV: TBACoach: Jamey Chadwell (43-29 overall in 6 years, 18-7 entering 3rd season at CSU)2014 record: 8-4, 3-2 Big South (3rd)Series history: First meeting2014 rankings/game (Big South)Scoring offense — 28.4 (4th)Total offense — 400.1 (3rd)Scoring defense — 22.0 (2nd)Total defense — 325.7 (1st)Returning starters: 17 (9 on offense, 5 on defense, 3 special teams)Returning leadersOFFENSEPassing: QB Austin Brown, Sr. — 126-of-241 passing (52.3 percent), 1,848 yards, 11 touchdowns, 11 interceptions.Rushing: RB Mike Holloway, Jr. — 77 carries, 590 yards (7.7 average), 4 touchdowns.Receiving: WR Nathan Perera, Sr. — 28 catches, 398 yards (14.2 average), 2 touchdowns.DEFENSETackles: LB Aaron Brown, Sr. — 81.Tackles for loss: Aaron Brown — 9.Sacks: DB Davion Anderson, So. — 3.Interceptions: CB Troy McGowens, Jr. and CB Malcolm Jackson, Sr. — 4.3 things to know about Charleston SouthernBrown bagging: Senior linebacker Aaron Brown broke out last season with a team-high 81 tackles and a place on the All-Big South first team defense. His 81 tackles ranked seventh in the Big South conference, including a career-high 12 tackles against The Cidadel as he established himself as the Bucs’ biggest defensive presence. In the near-upset of Vanderbilt, Brown racked up seven total tackles including one for loss, to lead Charleston Southern’s conference-best defense last season. If the Bucs are going to pull off the upsets of all upsets, it’ll start with Brown and the defense.Key returner: Darius Hammond is a proven playmaker on special teams, providing the Bucs a dynamic option as a kick and punt returner. Last season Hammond ranked fifth nationally averaging 13.8 yards per punt return, and had a program record 74-yard punt return for a touchdown in a win over The Citadel. In 2013, Hammond averaged 19.9 yards on a team-high 16 kickoffs, including a long of 38. Special teams can often be the difference in a game and Hammond is the kind of playmaker with the ball in his hands to provide that difference.UABrown: Senior quarterback Austin Brown started all 12 games for the Bucs last season after transferring in from Alabama sister school UAB. In two seasons with the Blazers, Brown combined for 3,872 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. Last season, Brown completed 52 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,848 yards and 11 touchdowns within the Bucs’ spread option offense. Of course, he also threw 11 interceptions and struggled against Vanderbilt and Georgia last year, including completing just 4-of-10 passes for 15 yards and an interception versus the Bulldogs.Next up: Auburn
Rugbyb Union BY JOVILISI WAQA With the dust settled and the winner, Fiji crowned we at Last Word on Rugby would like to acknowledge the accomplishments of the women who stood out during the tournament. In saying that, we are pleased to present our LWOR Oceania rugby women’s XVs dream team. Every one of the players deserved to be included for their outstanding performance and valiant efforts representing their country, family and friends. The spirit of camaraderie shown on and off the field by all teams should be applauded. A ‘dream team’ is subjective, so in respect to others opinions … here we go. On the field, they are competitors. Off the field, they are sisters playing the game they love, craving for that equal playing field. The winning Fijiana captain in her post-game interview mentioned how they are ‘not supported well enough at home’ and they hope their win can bring in the support they need. It’s an uphill battle for all these women yet, like a true warrior princess of the Pacific, they take what is thrown at them, show determination and make sacrifices as much as the men do. All prepared to invest in their passions, and play the game they love. We have selected the Top XV players based on their performance – and say ‘well done’ to those who played well but just lose out, in making the cut. The 2018 Oceania rugby women’s XVs dream team; fullback – Soteria Puluma (Samoa), outside back – Tima Ravisa (Fiji), center – Josephine Falesita (Samoa), center – Rusila Nagasau (Fiji), outside back – Lumepa Maiava (Samoa), First-five – Torika Seniyasi (Fiji), halfback – Ana Maria Roqica (Fiji), flanker – Lavenia Tinai (Fiji), flanker – Sui Puarasi (Samoa), flanker – Jiowana Sauto (Fiji), lock – Laisa Taga (Fiji), lock – Taylah Hodgson-Tomokino (Samoa), prop – Makereta Tunidau (Fiji), hooker – Vainga Moimoi (Tonga) and prop – Leilani Burnes (Fiji). Every woman earned their place. Some were exciting to watch, while others had their core role to perform plus, they backed up when required. The sign of a star can often see players in the highlights. Yet our LWOR dream team is more about what they brought to the entire team. This will round up our extensive coverage of the Oceania rugby women’s XVs Championship, and end another year on a high for Pacifica Rugby. Three weeks of rugby heaven for locals and supporters in Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
NEWPORT, TN (WLAF) – Attending Campbell County Cougar Football Games, at home and away, has dramatically changed since last season. The Cocke County High School shares its guidelines for going to its home game on Friday night with the Cougars.Upon arrival, fans should expect the following: Re-entry passes will not be given out. If a spectator exits the stadium, they must purchase a ticket to re-enter. If you do not have a ticket, please get in line at the ticket booth while socially distancing. Anyone entering the stadium must; have their temperature checked, adhere to the COVID-19 checklist, be wearing a mask and present a ticket. There is a strict NO MASK, NO ENTRY POLICY for all CCHS sporting events. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or greater will not be allowed entry. If possible, please stay in your car with air-conditioning running until lines subside to reduce time in the sun, as this can give a false fever. Please proceed to seating location and sit on a bleacher that is not marked off with tape. We encourage fans to bring a chair or a blanket. The bank on the visitor’s side will be open for seating on a blanket. The normal track viewing locations will continue to be open. However, the first lane is reserved to fans with chairs. Please do not stand in front of anyone sittng at the fence. Standing on the track to view the game is restricted to lane 3. Please continue to socially distance while on the track or bank. Please socially distance while standing in line for the restrooms or concession stand.There will be times that the restrooms are closed for sanitizing.Please plan your concession stand trips accordingly. We highly discourage large groups at the concession stands. Be aware that if you are in a large group, a security officer or school official may remind you of the social distancing protocols. Rudeness and disrespect will not be tolerated. The staff is only doing its job. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/20/2020-6AMShare this:FacebookTwitter
Other Shares Not relevant LocalSportsJournal.com The Orchard View boys soccer team won its first Lakes 8 game of the season, defeating Muskegon Catholic 6-4 on Thursday night.The Cardinals, who led 3-2 at halftime, were led by Evan McMiller with two goals and an assist while Jared Fleener scored two goals.Fabian Juarez added a goal and an assist for Orchard View and Jaxson Powles added a goal.Orchard View is now 5-2 on the season and 1-0 in Lakes 8 play.The Cardinals’ goalkeeper Brandon Lindsley stopped three shots while MCC’s Conor O’Neill had eight saves.MCC’s Ryan Nielson, Collin Powers and Jose Mojica each scored a goal for the Crusaders.Orchard View outshot the Crusaders by a 14-7 margin. Inappropriate / Offensive Not relevant DEAL OF THE DAY Ads by Amazon DEAL OF THE DAY (1862) $0.00 Other $14.99 $26.86$49.99 Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Report a problem This item is… ENDS IN Dude Perfect Signature Bow Nerf Sports Bi… Bestseller $59.99 ENDS IN (8187) × × Inappropriate / Offensive Report a problem This item is… Displayed poorly Report a problem This item is… Bestseller Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Baseball … Report a problem This item is… Inappropriate / Offensive DEAL OF THE DAY (1009) Ads by Amazon Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Displayed poorly × FOX Sports: Stream live NFL, College Footbal… Inappropriate / Offensive Not relevant Bestseller Inappropriate / Offensive The League Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Special… Other (33138) Not relevant (1461) Not relevant A Warrior’s Heart Share Not relevant Share × Other Add Comments (Max 320 characters) (22) Other Report a problem This item is… Mail Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. $15.29$17.99 × Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Shop Now Other Inappropriate / Offensive Bestseller Displayed poorly Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. × Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. ENDS IN $3.99 ENDS IN Other DEAL OF THE DAY Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Fox Sports Go Displayed poorly Displayed poorly Bestseller DEAL OF THE DAY NBC Sports Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Bestseller Displayed poorly (35539) Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. × Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Not relevant Not relevant ENDS IN Report a problem This item is… Displayed poorly × ENDS IN $0.00 Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. (124) Report a problem This item is… DEAL OF THE DAY Other Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Displayed poorly Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Inappropriate / Offensive Inappropriate / Offensive 0 DEAL OF THE DAY Bestseller Bestseller Report a problem This item is… $0.00 DEAL OF THE DAY ENDS IN ENDS IN
After the Capitals added Kevin Shattenkirk at this season’s NHL trade deadline, I certainly thought I’d be writing a much happier ending to this recent Washington hockey season.Alas, once again, that is not the case.You already know the story; the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals in the playoffs for the second straight season, this time in a seven game series. In fact, it is now the ninth time in 10 playoff meetings that the Pens have knocked out the Caps. Jim Schoenfeld remains the only Capitals bench boss to defeat Mario Lemieux’s franchise in the post season (1994).Let’s start with giving credit to the Penguins, because they certainly deserve that. Despite being outshot, 232-161, and outshot attempted, 484-317, in the series, they managed to hold the Caps to two goals or less in four of the seven tilts and as result, they won each of those games. There’s your series.You don’t do that without outstanding play from your goaltender. Cleary, Marc Andre-Fleury’s performance against the Capitals was the biggest reason why the Penguins will likely be winning their fifth Stanley Cup this spring.Next, you have to credit Sidney Crosby. Despite being injured in game three and missing game four, #87 was the difference maker for Pittsburgh. It was his two goals early in the second period of game one that staked the Pens to a two puck lead which gave his club the confidence it could win at the Verizon Center after being smoked there in the regular season. Then in a crucial game seven, Sid made the key pass on the winning goal after a Washington defensive zone turnover.Finally, tip your hat to the entire Penguins team and coaching staff because they overcame a ton of injuries to defeat the Caps. Washington had injuries, as well, namely Alex Ovechkin’s knee and hamstring and Marcus Johansson’s fractured finger, but that’s a part of the game and the Pens found a way to persevere through all of their health issues.The biggest reason the Pens won is because of their resolve. They certainly were outplayed by Washington for long stretches in this series, but they stuck to their system and when they received a break via a Caps turnover or mental mistake, they typically buried the biscuit. They were an opportunistic bunch who believed they could win. They also were able to plug guys into the lineup when some of their top guys were out. Without Crosby in game four, they jumped on the Caps early and held on for a win that ultimately gave the Caps no margin of error for a series comeback. So the Penguins deserve kudos for the depth they’ve created via strong drafting and development.Congratulations Penguins, you clearly know how to win when the chips are down.Now, were they the better team like they were in 2016 when they knocked off the Capitals in six games? The statistics say no, but the scoreboard says otherwise, and that is all that matters.As for the Capitals, the roster assembled by General Manager Brian MacLellan, on paper, appeared to have no holes. Washington certainly did a lot of things correctly in the series. You don’t dominate the numbers as heavily as they did without doing many things right. Unfortunately, they did some big things wrong at inopportune times.Washington carried the play in several periods in this series, didn’t score, and then tried to change their style of play. That is when they got into trouble and ended up losing. It was pretty obvious that the best Capitals game plan was to put pucks deep in the Penguins zone to try and further weaken a defense that was suffering from multiple injuries. Kris Letang was already out for the season and Trevor Daley was playing on bad wheels. But too often, the Capitals forgot that this is a shoot first league and they went into overpass mode. They were caught up far too easily in playing a pretty game and that is not the way you defeat a team as structured and as mentally tough as the Penguins.Many Capitals players talked about the defeat being a mental thing on Caps Breakdown Day, and they are correct. Pittsburgh, no matter what the score or the situation, pretty much continued to play the same way. The Caps on the other hand, were not patient enough or mentally disciplined to stick with the game plan. As three time Stanley Cup Champion Justin Williams told me after game two, its okay to dominate a period and not score a goal, it happens in hockey. The problem for Washington though, is they wouldn’t maintain what they were doing and that’s when the fancy game and turnovers appeared on the ice. That’s a mental issue all the way.While the Caps had a lot of shot attempts, they weren’t getting enough with traffic on Fleury and the players were rarely in position for rebounds. It’s a shoot first league and there were too many times, especially in the third period of game seven, when the Caps would cross the blue line and force the puck to the middle when getting it deep and wearing down the Penguins defense was the right play.Again, that is a mental toughness issue, in my book. You have to be willing to pay the physical price in the playoffs by making the correct play. Taking a hit in the neutral zone and ensuring the puck gets deep in the offensive zone is a critical part of post season hockey. That applies inside both blue lines, as well. A number of the Penguins goals came as a result of lazy or careless turnovers. That’s a letdown on the mental side of the game. You can also attribute all of the terrible penalties the Capitals took in game four as a mental issue. Washington had a tendency to not come out strong in some contests, most notably games one and four. There is no reason why the Penguins should’ve had a 21-13 shot attempt advantage in the first 15 minutes of game four with Crosby out of the lineup in a must win for Washington. That’s inexcusable and both players and coaches need to answer for that.Breaking things down by team component, let’s start with the coaching staff. All season long the Caps relied heavily on rolling four lines, but once Karl Alzner was deemed able to play with his hand injury and Brett Connolly struggled in his first post season appearance, Coach Barry Trotz went to seven defensemen and 11 forwards despite it being counter to what they’d done all season. Yes, the seven defensemen and 11 forwards strategy worked in game three, but it might have only been successful because Matt Niskanen was kicked out very early in the contest and the other six d-men were able to rotate normally. In game four, that configuration backfired badly as Alzner and Brooks Orpik, the two slowest Washington blue liners, were out on the ice together early in the game. Patrick Hornqvist, who isn’t exactly fast, split them like Moses parting the Red Sea to tally on a breakaway and it was 1-0 just over four minutes in. Pittsburgh gained a ton of confidence that they could win that contest without Crosby from that goal.Following the game four loss, which was also heavily impacted by a very injured Ovechkin, who probably shouldn’t have played, Coach Trotz shook up his forward lines. He moved Andre Burakovsky with T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom and bumped the Gr8 down with Lars Eller and Tom Wilson. Those moves worked and Washington came storming back to tie up the series. They seemed poised for a big game seven, but Pens Coach Mike Sullivan adjusted and the Capitals didn’t play with the passion and urgency they had in the third period of game five and all of game six. Simply put, they cracked under the pressure. It’s apparent that the weight of being the #1 seed plus all of the past history of Washington recent playoff failures was heavily on the minds of these players.Coach Barry Trotz has a track record of being tough on players who don’t follow the rules or the system as evidenced by the Ovechkin suspension in October of 2015 and Andre Burakovsky being benched in December of 2016. He even questionably pulled Braden Holtby after the second period in game two for what he thought was subpar goaltending. However, he and his staff let his skaters get away from the system too often in this series. Any deviation from the structure against a disciplined team like the Penguins can lead to a quality scoring chance, and that is what happened at key times in the series. If guys start playing the wrong way, they need to be benched for a shift or two so they get the message.Johansson, Oshie, and Williams scored a lot of goals in the regular season going to the net. Jojo even won the Toronto series in OT of game six by doing just that. In the Penguins series, we didn’t see enough net presence and it was on the coaches to drill that into the players heads and enforce the strategy of getting pucks deep to set that up.Again, I wasn’t a fan of the 7/11 configuration because it got the Caps away from the four line forward group that worked so well from late December until mid February. I understand why Brett Connolly was pulled out of the lineup for maybe a game or so to observe, but he also scored 15 goals in the regular season, many of which were tallied via going to the net. With some guys severely banged up and unable to shoot, like Johansson, why wasn’t he put back in for another chance? It was a mistake, in my opinion, to totally give up on a guy who could’ve been a better performer than the guys who were playing hurt. Case in point, Conor Sheary was performing poorly while being nicked up, so Sullivan benched him for games five and six of the Senators series. Yet in a crucial game seven, #43 was back in the lineup and played a major role in the first two Pittsburgh goals.So did the Caps lose totally because of coaching? No, the coaching wasn’t great, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water here. This coaching staff has done a great job of building this team from the ruins of 2014. The two Presidents’ Trophies are evidence of that. Look at how far Dmitry Orlov, Nate Schmidt, and Tom Wilson have come in just a year. Each one of those players was a big part of why the Caps knocked off the Maple Leafs and dominated the possession statistics against the Penguins.The playoff coaching certainly needed some improvements, but in totality, this is a very good coaching staff. Trotz and company will certainly take their share of the heat for the loss, but the biggest blame for the defeat is on the players themselves. They have to be stronger mentally and physically to do the correct things on the ice.Let’s start right at the top of the players with Ovechkin. There’s no nice way to put this, it was a subpar season for Ovi and it all began last summer. How you handle off of the ice issues and life changing events is a big part of professional sports and with Alex getting married last summer it clearly impacted his ability to prepare for and play in 2016-17. After scoring 50 goals in 2015-16 and having a super 2016 post season, Alex looked slow and overweight for the large majority of the season. Clearly his conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be and then missing training camp due to the World Cup of Hockey didn’t help either. At age 31 and not in peak shape, the Gr8 lost some speed and that allowed defensemen to play him tighter so that he couldn’t get his shot off quickly at even strength. Ovechkin lived off of the power play in 2016-17 to score goals as he struggled in five on five situations.In the playoffs, the hit from Nazem Kadri was low and the Russian Machine didn’t break, but it certainly slowed him down further and probably contributed to suffering the hamstring injury, as well. However, had Ovi been in better condition and had his speed from the previous year, it’s quite possible he could have avoided the Kadri hit altogether.Ovechkin has made great strides under this coaching staff with his back checking ability, something he rarely did prior to the Trotz era. He deserves a lot of credit for that. However, his ability to play in his own zone has regressed. Standing on the left wing boards straight legged with your stick at your hips parallel to the ice is bad defensive posture. He needs to get rid of that and work on being a better player in his own end. If he gets back in peak shape and works at it, there’s no reason he can’t turn proper defensive zone play into several rush goals in 2017-18. Again, it’s a focus on conditioning and hockey.That gets us to Backstrom. #19 had a very good season, but game seven was nowhere near his best. MacLellan’s goal in adding Eller and Connolly was to improve the bottom six and allow Washington to play a faster game. The thought was that having four lines would allow Coach Trotz to play everyone more evenly so that they could maintain a high pace and be fresher in the postseason. At times, the Capitals were able to do that, but they were not consistent. Ovechkin and Backstrom both played lower average minutes than they had in past regular seasons, by design, and in the end, it was likely the wrong move as both looked tired, at times, in the post season. Nicky, in his twenties, has been able to survive playing with extra weight, but as he moves into his thirties, like Ovechkin, he needs to shed any extra pounds he has to play faster.When Washington lost to the Penguins in 2015-16, you could not blame either Ovechkin or Backstrom because they dominated Crosby and Malkin in that series. It was the Nick Bonino line that won for the Pens in the spring of 2016. In 2016-17, you can’t say the same thing. Both Crosby and Malkin elevated their games while Ovechkin and Backstrom weren’t as good as they were the previous May. Sure the Caps only received one goal in the series from their bottom six, but they rarely played the fourth line due to the 7/11 strategy.Crosby is the best player in the game for a reason; he works harder than anyone at his craft. Orpik was quoted recently as saying that #87 is always the first player on the ice and the last player off of it for the Penguins at practice. That needs to be Ovechkin and Backstrom going forward. We’ve heard from other players that both have made strides, especially Nicky, in speaking up in the locker room. Speeches are great, but actions speak louder and doing the proper things on and off of the ice is so much more critical to winning championships. Those two guys are the Capitals leaders and have been the core for 10 years so they must be setting the tempo that everything is hockey first in 2017-18. We should not have to hear from Orpik that the team needs to get focused on hockey, like we did after the disastrous California trip in March. There were several post game players only meetings this season, including one after game two against the Penguins, and while it’s good to clear the air, they aren’t as necessary if everyone is focused on hockey.Ovechkin and Backstrom are clearly the core of the Capitals and the goaltender is the third critical piece to the triumvirate. Braden Holtby, who has been stellar in past post seasons, had his worst playoffs from a statistics standpoint. Now how much of that is on #70 and how much of it is on the team giving up too many golden chances? I’d lean more on the side of the team breakdowns, but this was not Braden’s spring. This series was likely over in five games if he doesn’t make some big stops early in period three before the Washington three goal explosion that led to a victory and a two game winning streak. In game seven, he had no chance on the winning goal. However, I still didn’t like the Justin Schultz winning tally in game four. If there was a goal he’d want back in the series, I’d bet it would be that one.On defense, John Carlson played his best hockey of the season against the Penguins, but he did not have a consistent year. He needs to amp his conditioning up so that he can play faster, as well. The standouts of this postseason on the blue line were Orlov and Schmidt and that’s encouraging given where we were just a year ago with both of them. Bringing in Shattenkirk for Zach Sanford and a first round pick seemed like the right move at the time, but in the end, with no Stanley Cup, it’s a lost trade. #22 has enormous potential and talent, but he was slow in the playoffs. Again, I think that might be a conditioning issue, but he didn’t come over until March with Washington. Hindsight is 20/20 and the deal now is another one that weakens the Capitals reach back for young players. Sanford has a lot of promise and first round picks are valuable. I can’t fault Mac for making that move, but coming up Cup empty now makes it an overall organizational defeat.So where do the Caps go from here? There are calls for firing the coach, trading Ovechkin, or “blowing it up” from many in the fan base and some around the club. Even a couple of players said “major changes” were needed just two days after losing to the Penguins. It’s a natural reaction when a team loses again after being the favorite.Let’s be honest, this is a team that is largely based on European talent and it hasn’t produced a trip to the Eastern Conference finals yet. This club improved greatly with the additions of North American players Oshie and Williams in the summer of 2015. They are guys who have a high “dog the puck” type of work effort. Both are unrestricted free agents and the team needs more of that style. Word over the Memorial Day weekend is that the Capitals and the Osh Babe have verbally agreed to an extension so that is great news, this team is not a Cup contender without #77 going forward. It would be nice if they could find a way to get Williams back, as well, but that will be tougher given the salary cap situation. Per the Caps great team reporter, Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps), we’ve heard that the salary cap is going to be in the $76 to $77 Million range. That is a big help to Washington, who also have to deal with Burakovsky as a restricted free agent. There are some who think #65 deserves a big pay raise, but given his inconsistent output, I’m not sure Washington can commit to longer term and/or high dollars on him, just yet.I just don’t see moving Ovechkin or Backstrom as feasible given the likely low return and to be honest, #19’s contract is a great one for the Caps. Evgeny Kuznetsov, who also improved significantly in the post season outside of a poor game seven, is up for a new contract. He’s a restricted free agent, but somewhere around $6M per season seems likely for him. As for Orlov and Schmidt, it’s apparent they’ve moved up big time on the depth chart of this defensive roster and deserve decent longer term contracts. I’m speculating that Orlov will be come in at around $4M and Schmidt in the $2 to $2.5M range. Both play with speed and drive possession, which is so important in today’s NHL. Unfortunately, there will have to be other changes on the blue line. Shattenkirk will get paid big bucks elsewhere and I’d expect the same for Alzner, who really had a rough campaign. King Karl admittedly had a hard time regaining his speed after offseason groin surgery and then he broke his hand in the first playoff tilt against Toronto. As for Orpik, as much as he’s a strong leader and a fitness freak, which was a big help in starting to turn the culture of this team around in 2014-15, his on ice value compared to his salary cap hit is not equitable anymore. He’s a third pair defenseman and you can’t afford $5.5M annually for that type of player when you want to win a Cup. MacLellan will have to look at either working a deal to move him, getting Vegas to pick him in the expansion draft, or buying him out to clear some needed salary cap space.If the Caps had players ready to make the leap from Hershey or the college ranks to the NHL, like the Penguins have been blessed with the last two seasons, the overall situation could be better. Perhaps the bottom six will see a player such as Travis Boyd or Riley Barber come up and help out? Jakub Vrana has shown glimpses of being able to handle the NHL, but after his demotion this year he dropped so far off of the map that he was scratched for some games by Bears Coach Troy Mann in the AHL playoffs. Vrana is streaky and inconsistent, much like Burakovsky has been, so do you want to rely on another guy who doesn’t go to the net or high traffic areas consistently to finally help get you past the Pittsburgh problem? Seems awfully risky to me.Clearly MacLellan has a lot to address in this offseason given the number of contracts that are expiring, NHL expansion to Vegas, and salary cap constraints. He also has a head coach reportedly heading into the last year of his contract. Add in that the two core players on the roster will both be in their thirties in 2017-18 and it’s clear that the GM has a lot to consider when charting the course for next season.It’s not an easy job and there are very hard decisions to make, but in this case, I think it’s worth staying the course for at least one more year with the head coach and core players. In regards to a coaching change, is there somebody out there better than this head coach and staff worth pursuing? After all, there are several young players who have really improved during the Trotz regime and they’ve won two straight Presidents’ Trophies. They will likely have lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in the second round yet again (yes, I see the Penguins defeating the Predators in the Stanley Cup Final) and that’s simply a function of the current division and playoff setup. In reality, they are the second best team in hockey, so does making drastic changes make sense? I don’t think so.Brian, however, has to put pressure on the coaches and players to improve and be in better condition so they can make the playoffs and then deliver next spring. In hindsight, the World Cup of Hockey, which included participation from Coach Trotz and several top players, put the Capitals behind the eight ball from a readiness standpoint heading into 2016-17. The lack of preparation, based on what I’ve seen and heard, is a big reason they weren’t able to knock off the Penguins in the second round, once again.So it’s incumbent upon Coach Trotz, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and everyone else in line after them to start getting ready for 2017-18 as soon as possible. Ovi, Nicky, and all of the players need to put in the hard work this July, August, and September so that they are in the best condition to play at a maximum pace in April, May, and hopefully June. If they can’t do that over the next 12 months, then certainly it will be time to “blow it up.”
Fans of Hearts of Oak called for the dismissal of head coach Kosta Papic after the team crashed to their third straight defeat against King Faisal at the Baba Yara Stadium.They attributed the team’s slump in form to the coach’s tactics as the Phobians have picked up six points from a possible 18.The supporters gathered around the team’s bus and held the coach hostage in the dressing room for considerable period of time.Hearts were dominated by a nine-man Faisal side from the blast of the whistle and inflicted a painful 1-0 defeat on the league leaders.“I feel very sad for this third defeat but I can only blame the technical handlers,” an exasperated fan told Ghanasoccernet.comHearts play Real Tamale United at the Ohene Djan Stadium on Sunday. Source: Ghanasoccernet.com
Five 49er quotes on QB Nick Mullens’ killer debut Three takeaways from the 49ers’ big win over the Raiders No decision yet on Week 10 starting QB. Players have 4 days of rest before returning to facility. Will get decision out then— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) November 2, 2018Mullens finished 16-of-22 passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ 34-3 win over the Raiders on Thursday at Levi’s Stadium. He took the place of an injured C.J. Beathard (wrist), who took the place of starter Jimmy Garoppolo (knee).The timeline for Beathard’s return in unclear. He was listed as questionable heading into the contest versus Oakland, and was reportedly serving as the backup quarterback.San Francisco will have a few extra days to prepare for its next matchup when it welcomes New York on Nov. 12. Related News He told reporters Friday he’s not ready to announce his decision. “Definitely will consider it,” Shanahan told reporters. “Definitely not thinking about that right now. Our whole team played very well. Nick definitely did. I thought our guys up front played well and I thought the entire offense did. I thought the defense played their tails off. I thought the pass rush was there. I thought we tackled well, thought our punter and kicker did well so it was a very good all-around win.” Kyle Shanahan hasn’t shied away from praising quarterback Nick Mullens’ sensational start Thursday.The 49ers coach dubbed the team’s Week 9 play-caller their “secret weapon,” but will he be unleashed against the Giants in San Francisco’s Week 10 matchup? Shanahan won’t say.
Filmmagic/Taylor Hill(LOS ANGELES) — Stand-up comic and character actor Jay Thomas, best known for playing Rhea Perlman’s husband Eddie on Cheers, has lost a battle with cancer, ABC News has confirmed. He was 69.Thomas, who also had a career in radio, earned a pair of Emmys for his work on Murphy Brown. More recently, he acted in the Showtime series Ray Donovan. He was also seen on the big screen in movies like The Santa Clause 2 and 3, and Mr. Holland’s Opus, and was a frequent guest on Late Night with David Letterman.His longtime agent Don Buchwald confirmed his passing in a statement, saying, “Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully wacky thoughts and behavior.” Thomas is survived by his wife and two sons.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMatico Related
Barca were superior to United in all departments for the best part of 80 minutes on Tuesday, a 3-0 win perhaps even flattering for their opponents, who were two down in 20, both goals belonging to Messi.By the time Philippe Coutinho had curved in a third to send Ernesto Valverde’s side into the Champions League semi-finals, United’s stirring opening was long-forgotten, except by Barcelona’s captain.“We put on a spectacle,” said Messi. “But we came out cold and looked nervous in the first five minutes. We cannot come out like that in a Champions League match. Five bad minutes can knock you out.”“We have shown who we are,” Messi added, and in some ways, they were a perfect picture of their season.Thrust into a position of comfort by their mesmeric number 10, Barca put on an exhibition of attacking, possession football, all tricks, flicks and bicycle kicks.But there was also a nervousness at the start, seen briefly against Lyon in the previous round too, that suggests their desperation to win this tournament for the first time since 2015, and win it for Messi, does not weigh lightly.“We had a lot of motivation for this tie, I can’t deny it,” said Valverde. “Especially after not being in the semis for a long time and after last year’s painful defeat. We were extremely focused.”And United’s early threat was genuine. Their knack of breaking through central midfield, with only space and a backpedalling Barca defence ahead of them, exposed a fragility against pace and counter-attack that has never been far away.– Liverpool pose possible threat –Ernesto Valverde is hoping to win his first Champions League title as Barca coach. AFP/LLUIS GENELiverpool carry a 2-0 lead over Porto into their second leg in Portugal on Wednesday and if it is to be them in the semi-finals, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane might justifiably feel there is a weakness to exploit.“We have had five difficult minutes because they started strong,” said Valverde. “But then there were another 85 minutes where we were not too bad.”Most deficiencies can be rectified by Messi, whose 109th and 110th goals in the Champions were, mysteriously, his first in a quarter-final since 2013.“It was a streak he was always going to break,” said Sergio Busquets.He also has potentially three extra games now to reduce the gap on Cristiano Ronaldo’s unbeaten 126, after Juventus were knocked out by Ajax.“You can plan as many tactics as you like,” said United’s coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “If you give him time and space, he will score.”When Messi pledged to bring “that beautiful cup back to Camp Nou” at the start of the season, the sense was of reordered priorities, that he and Barcelona would push harder in Europe, even if it came at the expense of their form in La Liga.Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid’s failings have ensured the price has been small, with Valverde able to rest 10 players against Huesca last weekend and still see his team sitting nine points clear. An eighth league title in 11 years will become a double if they beat Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey, and a treble, if they can see off Liverpool or Porto and then Manchester City, Tottenham or Ajax at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano on June 1.If it is to be three consecutive English opponents, Messi might be pleased. He is now the fourth highest scorer against the Premier League’s top-six sides, with 24 goals, despite never having played in the Premier League. “We are not going to ask say sorry for having Messi,” Valverde said. “Although it certainly is lucky for us.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett ‘absolutely not’ on hot seat, Stephen Jones says “Pretty tough. Pretty tough,” Brady said during his weekly news conference of Watson’s release. “I’ve played with a lot of guys over the years, and Ben’s a great player. He’s been a great player for this team, for other teams. He’s had an incredible career, and hopefully he can keep playing. I know he was looking forward to playing.”I miss him. (His locker) was right next to me. And for as great of a player he was, he was 10 times a better person. Just the highest integrity. I can’t say enough good things about Ben, what he’s meant to me and my family and our team. We’re going to miss him.” Related News Tom Brady doesn’t seem to be pleased the Patriots released Ben Watson.The tight end was informed Monday that New England was letting him go after he served a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and Brady said he already was missing him. Saquon Barkley injury update: Giants star (ankle) officially ruled out for Patriots Sam Darnold injury update: Jets QB (mono) cleared to play vs. Cowboys Now Brady has to rely on free agency acquisition Matt LaCosse and second-year player Ryan Izzo at the position, which has proven to be an adjustment.“Those guys, they’re competing hard,” Brady said of LaCosse and Izzo. “I think they’re trying. Matt hasn’t been out there as much as we all would have wanted — certainly what he would have wanted. Ryan’s done quite a few things for us. We’re just trying to get out there and utilize the reps we can in practice, talk about things, communicate through the things that come up in practice so that we can execute when we get into the game.”LaCosse and Izzo played their best game Sunday in a 33-7 win over the Redskins, but the Patriots’ normally secure tight end spot now has become a weak link this year. Watson’s return from suspension was expected to pad that group, but coach Bill Belichick’s decision to let the 38-year-old go has left the offense a little more exposed.“I mean, I’m the quarterback, so I don’t make those decisions,” Brady said of working with Izzo and LaCosse. “Whoever’s out there, that’s who I’ve got to play with. So, yeah.” The Patriots’ surprising decision didn’t seem to sit well with Brady. Watson was a veteran presence who was expected to fill the role of Rob Gronkowski, who retired last season after spending his whole career in New England.