Predators keep home ice against Penguins

The Predators tied their Stanley Cup Final series vs. the Penguins at two games apiece Monday with a 4-1 victory in Game 4. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne stifled Pittsburgh, stopping 23 of 24 shots, and the Predators’ offense provided the firepower to fuel another home victory.

Calle Jarnkrok struck first for the Predators, scoring off a rebound in the first period. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan challenged the play, claiming goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld.
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Frederick Gaudreau and Viktor Arvidsson scored in the second period to give Nashville a two-goal lead, and then Filip Forsberg added an empty-netter late in the third period to seal the win.

Kids Xavien Howard Jersey All athletes have an important role model in the public arena, German Olympic Sports Confederation president Alfons H?rmann told German news agency SID (via Puck Duddy). Political extremism has nothing to do with sport. We will continue to emphasize the special importance of the values of sport for the Olympics – our team in Germany – Zero tolerance. Therefore, maintaining this communication would be a clear exclusion criterion for this or other player.

Still, Greiss will not be suspended from his national team.

While German Ice Hockey Federation VP Marc Hindelang told the Associated Press that Hitler is a no-go, that’s clear, he acknowledged players have the right to express their political points of view. That’s democracy and we all have to deal with it. … There’s a fine line between tastelessness and intolerable things.

In their statement, the Islanders said, (We) do not condone the actions of Thomas Greiss on social media and are addressing the situation internally. And Thomas regrets his actions and recognizes that he made a mistake.

Stephen Curry’s MLK sneakers honor President Obama

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry sported sneakers honoring President Barack Obama during Monday’s 126-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The red, white and blue shoes featured the Presidential Seal on the tongue, Obama’s signature on the soles and the phrase Back 2 Back, reffering to Curry’s back-to-back NBA MVP honors and Obama’s two terms in office.

Curry shared an image of the sneakers on Instagram, along with the caption: Honoring our President Barack Obama today on court! He embodies the inspiration, faith and hope Dr. King stood for! We R forever grateful!
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Irving will use this move in the pick-and-roll, too, by dribbling into his defender and using it as a springboard to create space. With his quick release, there aren’t many defenders who have the physical tools to block his pull-up.
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We can’t talk about Irving and not mention his crossover. The funny thing is it’s hard to find Irving doing the exact same crossover more than once. The reason why? He’s comfortable using different types of crossovers in succession to break down a defender.

The next two videos are from the same game, and Irving is faced with the same matchup in both situations: Ersan Ilyasova switches onto him following a pick-and-roll, which Irving responds to by clearing the floor and going one-on-one. On the first possession, Irving slowly crosses the ball over from his left hand to his right hand and then crosses it back over to his left hand for a quick pull-up in rhythm.

Cardale Jones going to Chargers is bad news for Robert Griffin III

Cardale Jones is getting a fresh start in Los Angeles.

The Bills fourth-string quarterback was traded to the Chargers Wednesday in exchange for a conditional draft pick, the team announced.

According to ESPN.com, it will be a seventh-round pick.

“The request came last week and was made to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Irving has expressed that he wants to go play in a situation where he can be a more focal point and no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, sources said.”

Irving’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, did not confirm or deny the story.

If the former Duke guard were to be traded, he would be giving up his “supermax” option that he would be due once he got to free agency. He is locked up for three more years and due $60 million over that time.

Friday evening, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports reported a source claims the Cavaliers and Knicks are in “serious talks” regarding a trade involving Irving and Carmelo Anthony, with a third team possibly involved.

The idea is for current players to be surrounded by and constantly reminded of the legacy they’re playing to uphold. The same effects are felt by the general public, for which two clichés come to mind while roaming The Star: “everything is bigger in Texas,” and “no expense spared.”

The Ford Center, which houses the Cowboys football operations facilities mentioned above, is a beast in itself even though it’s only a portion of The Star.

In addition to Cowboys practices and high school football games, Ford Center hosts soccer games, marching band competitions, track meets and commencement exercises. Its 12,000-seat capacity will expand to a currently unknown figure when it hosts concerts.t_rangers_048-115x115

There might be 50 future Hall of Famers in baseball right now

Elite Kids Jamon Brown Jersey Whenever the Hall of Fame or one of its committees neglects to induct anyone, representatives of the institution typically give the same line that fewer than 2 percent of all players in baseball history are Hall of Famers, and that it’s extraordinarily difficult to get into Cooperstown.

This line isn’t fiction. But does it mean that at any given time, just 2 percent of MLB players — or 15 players out of 750, until rosters expand in September — are destined for the Hall of Fame? Not so much.

Authentic Kids Vince Dunn Jersey If history is any guide, there might be at least 50 future Hall of Famers active in the majors right now, at different stages of their careers. Some, such as Ichiro Suzuki, are just shy of retirement. Others, such as Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw, already seem like locks. Still others are first- or second-year players on few fans’ Cooperstown radars. It’d be ridiculous to try to spitball on some of the players in the latter group.

The centerpiece for the Bulls here appears to be 22-year-old Cameron Payne, but the second-year Murray State product wasn’t exhibiting much value other than as Westbrook’s dance partner. Payne’s 6.1 player efficiency rating is tied for the worst in the NBA among players averaging at least 15 minutes per game. The Bulls now have the game’s two worst in PER, as Payne’s co-bottom feeder is Chicago rookie forward Paul Zipser. Additionally, Payne’s 33.1 field goal percentage would be third-worst of any player topping that 15 mpg plateau. The point guard averages just 4.5 assists per 36 minutes and isn’t looking much like a future impact player in the league, let alone this season.

Dion Waiters’ offensive explosion helps turn Heat into one of NBA’s best surprises

Harrison Butker Mens Jersey One of the biggest surprises this season has been the play of Dion Waiters. While he has shown flashes of being an impact player in the past, this is the first time in his career he’s had prolonged success as a focal point on offense. His numbers are up across the board from 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game last season to 15.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game this season. His shooting numbers have also climbed from a dismal 39.9 percent from the field to a more respectable 42.3 percent.

Whatever the case, what Frisch and others did caused a backlash that’s still being felt at the Hall of Fame. There was talk in the ‘70s of permanently dissolving the Veterans Committee. It still seems unlikely that a group of veterans will ever be allowed to run so amuck again.

But players are still getting in. There were 1,030 players who had at least one plate appearance in 1990, with 28 of these players already in the Hall of Fame. There were 916 men who went to the plate in 1980, with 29 of these players already enshrined. More seem destined to follow, with numerous greats such as Dick Allen, Alan Trammell and Barry Bonds not enshrined.

Not counting 1900 or 1930, 5.5 percent of players with at least one plate appearance in the years listed above are in the Hall of Fame. More than 1,350 players logged a plate appearance in 2016, which would mean close to 75 Hall of Famers, which seems utterly bonkers. Even a conservative 4 percent induction rate would equal 54 players, which is more Hall of Famers than every year above.

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Former first-round pick Shane Larkin signing with Celtics, report says

The Celtics’ roster continues to evolve.
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Boston reportedly is making moves to sign Shane Larkin, ESPN.com reported Thursday.
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The free agent point guard spent last season in Spain playing for Saski Baskonia, where he averaged 13.8 points, 5.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.

By trying to compete for a spot on Boston’s starting lineup, Larkin bypassed a $6.3 million contract with Saski Baskonia.

A first-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Larkin played one season for the Mavericks, one with the Knicks and one with the Nets before going overseas.

The Celtics on Friday made their four-year, $128 million signing of Gordon Hayward official after juggling their roster to fit him under the salary cap.

Only Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown were on the team last season.

Hart pulled out after a brief dalliance with the draft last year, and he has come back with a terrific senior season, averaging 18.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists and re-establishing his 3-point shot (40.7 percent) along the way. But you’re not going to find many scouts willing to put him in the first round, and that’s puzzling to fans who have watched him carry the nation’s top team over the last two seasons.

Hart is a 22-year-old senior, which dents his stock, and though he has improved in many areas this year (strength, playmaking, shooting) he is not great at any one thing. He’s 6-5 with a big wing span (6-8), but isn’t a top-shelf defender and isn’t considered a future 3-and-D wing. The guy finds ways to help his team win, though, and if Villanova can take another extended tournament run, Hart might just show enough of his improved game to persuade a team with a low first-rounder to grab him.

76ers’ Jahlil Okafor, Robert Covington out for season

The 76ers will be without center Jahlil Okafor and forward Robert Covington for the remainder of the season.

Counting Friday night’s battle against the Cavaliers, the two starters will miss the last seven games of the regular season.

“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him,” Ball said on ESPN 710 LA. “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Ball declared for the NBA draft after the Bruins were ousted from the NCAA Tournament, where he and Fultz are considered top prospects.

However, Ball and UCLA crushed the Huskies both times they met this season by at least thirty points.

Even though Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, Washington only won nine games this season. Ball posted 7.7 assists per game and 14.6 points, but UCLA fared much better with a 27-3 mark.

Both are freshman, but UCLA’s success could give Ball an edge in the upcoming draft.

The Celtics run a lot of side pick-and-rolls with Thomas as the ball handler while overloading the weak side with shooters. It gives Thomas and the roller plenty of space without having to worry about a third defender obstructing his path to the basket.

As we’ve already touched on, Thomas is also comfortable playing without the ball in his hands. He told reporters in January that it’s nearly impossible for defenders to chase him around screens and catch up with him once he’s gained a step on them. It becomes especially useful in fourth quarters when teams begin to load up on him in an attempt to limit his touches because it means they have to account for him at all times.steelers_106

Nationals’ Joe Ross to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery

Nationals right-hander Joe Ross will undergo Tommy John surgery this week, manager Dusty Baker announced Saturday.

Ross exited his start last Sunday against the Braves after 3 1/3 innings with triceps tenderness. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday, and an MRI later revealed a full thickness tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Jermey Parnell Limited Jersey Knebel had recorded at least one strikeout in 46 consecutive appearances, but did not strike out a batter in Wednesday’s game. He entered the game in the ninth inning with the Brewers holding a 2-1 lead, but Pirates first baseman John Jaso nearly tied the game with a long fly ball to center field that Milwaukee’s Keon Broxton caught at the wall.

Sidney Jones Limited Jersey Knebel then walked David Freese before giving up a single to Gregory Polanco to put runners at the corners. A single by Francisco Cervelli then did tie it. An infield pop-up by Jody Mercer was followed by Adam Frazier’s inning-ending fly ball to Broxton in center.

It was the fifth blown save of the season for Knebel, who had 16 saves and was actually selected to last week’s MLB All-Star Game.

The Pirates walked off in the bottom of the 10th inning as Max Moroff’s RBI single off Jared Hughes gave the Pirates a 3-2 victory.

That lead held until the bottom of the ninth when the Red Sox scored twice on an error and a walk-off, bases-loaded walk. Closer Aroldis Chapman was told to intentionally walk Hanley Ramirez to load the bases. He then walked Andrew Benintendi to score Dustin Pedroia as the game-winning run.

Sanchez’s blast that cleared the wall to send the ball into the Boston streets may not have resulted in a Yankees victory, but it was one of several no-doubt home runs as baseball returned from the All-Star break.

Eight cities that make sense for MLB expansion

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Alex Pietrangelo Jersey The Rams’ and Chargers’ moves to Los Angeles serve as reminders of the stability that Major League Baseball has enjoyed with its teams, with only one team relocation in the past 40 years – the Expos’ move from Montreal to Washington to become the Nationals.

The possibility of a baseball team moving still exists, but even in the cases of the A’s and Rays — the two teams with the biggest stadium issues — staying at least somewhat local is generally seen as preferable to packing up and moving across the continent.

Baseball’s most likely route to opening new markets is expansion to 32 teams. But where would the new team(s) go? Here are some candidates.

Strasburg, a three-time All Star, has been a household name since being drafted first overall by the Nats in 2009 out of San Diego State.

Murphy burst onto the scene, and into living rooms across the country, during the 2015 postseason, when he batted .529 with four home runs for the New York Mets in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, winning that series’ MVP award. He followed up that performance by batting .347 for the Nationals in 2016 with 25 home runs, and is doing much of the same this year.

Zimmerman has been a fan favorite in Washington since breaking into the big leagues in 2005, earning two Silver Slugger Awards and two All-Star nods along the way. Scherzer, on top of winning two Cy Young awards, is a five-time All Star, has thrown two no-hitters, and is considered to be one of the best pitchers in baseball today.

And then there’s Bryce Harper, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year, the 2015 NL MVP, a five-time All Star, and one of the most recognizable faces in the game thanks to commercial endorsements from Gatorade and Under Armor.

NBA center market continues to grow, but who still needs traditional big men?

Over the past few seasons, the NBA has built a burgeoning crop of talented centers. At the same time talented future stars joined the league, many NBA teams moved away from giving all 48 minutes to traditional centers, so the increase in supply met a decrease in demand.

For example, the Raptors ended up starting and finishing a few games with Serge Ibaka at center in their first-round series against the Bucks. While Toronto needs to have someone capable of logging minutes at the position, the two seasons and $32 million plus a $17.6 million player option owed to Jonas Valanciunas may be a little rich considering their prodigious luxury tax bill should both Kyle Lowry and Ibaka choose to return.

His versatility on offense and defense would be a welcome addition to the Trail Blazers roster. George can score at the rim, from midrange and behind the 3-point line, and he would make an immediate impact. Putting him in a lineup that already includes McCollum (23.0 points per game) and Lillard (27.0 points, 5.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game) would give Portland a 1-2-3 combination that all shoots close to better than 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

For the Trail Blazers, the eight seed in the Western Conference playoffs this past season, the triumvirate would put them in position to avoid another brutal first-round matchup like they had this year against the Warriors. It’d be a significant upgrade at the wing position over former No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner (9.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.8 apg), whom the Blazers inexplicably signed to a four-year, $70-million deal this past offseason, only to see him lose his starting gig to Mo Harkless (10.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg).falcons_042