2017 Stanley Cup Final: Hungry, resilient Penguins on verge of second straight championship

Back in April, before the Stanley Cup playoffs started, two current National Hockey League players told me each believed the Pittsburgh Penguins were the best team in the tournament, but likely would not win the title.

Sidney Crosby assisted on Phil Kessel’s power-play goal 50 seconds into the third period with a slick behind-the-back pass. It was the 100th helper of the captain’s playoff career, making him the 22nd player in NHL history to reach the mark.

Western Conference finals: Ducks at Predators, Game 6, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN ‘ In Nashville’s latest biggest hockey game ever, the Predators are on the precipice of their first Stanley Cup Final trip in franchise history. Both teams are riddled by injury, but John Gibson’s status looms largest. The Ducks will need their No. 1 goalie healthy and in form to force a Game 7.

Ellis (11), Subban (10) and Josi (10) rank Nos. 2-4 in points among defensemen, trailing only Karlsson’s 18.

Not to mention Pekka Rinne, at age 34, is enjoying one of the best postseason runs by a goalie in history. His .941 save percentage is tops among netminders who saw at least 16 games since Mike Smith in 2011?12.

If that continues against the Penguins, Rinne will be mentioned with the likes of Cup winners Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2002-03) and Jonathan Quick (2011-12).

It’s a unique challenge, Crosby said Sunday. When you’re thinking about playing teams, you’re talking about usually forwards, snipers. You don’t usually think of a group of defensemen as guys that finish as well as they do. Usually one, maybe two guys do that in a D-corps. They have the luxury of having a number of them.

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Such was Bergevin’s choice, though there was no debate in the GM’s mind which path he would choose.

Nobody has a goaltender like Carey Price in the league, Bergevin told reporters on Sunday. Goalies are not important until you don’t have one. … It’s a position that’s really hard to find, and we have in my opinion, our opinion, one of the best in the business, so I’m going to keep him and make sure he’s here for the rest of his career.

Price has a lifetime 2.40 goals-against average in 509 regular season appearances, though he’s been below that number each of the last four seasons as he entered his prime. Just three seasons ago he ran the table by winning the Vezina Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award, leading the league with 44 wins while posting a 1.96 GAA and .933 save percentage. He was again a Vezina finalist this year, ranking fifth with 37 victories, sixth with a 2.23 GAA and tied for seventh with a .923 save percentage.

I love that about the guy. Yeah, he’s always like that. I think our players get a kick out of him, quite honestly, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said about Kessel channeling his emotions into the game-winner. He’s a guy that, he’s a vocal guy. He’s an emotional guy, and he’s all in. He wants to win. So when he comes back to the bench, if he thinks he wanted a puck or he was open, he lets a player know. Hey, give it to him. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Ultimately, Ottawa was done in by one bad third period after putting on a masterclass on how to beat the Penguins in their five previous. The Sens failed to produce a shot on goal until 4:54 remaining in the final frame ‘ a span of 18:53 that extended to before the second intermission.

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Stanley Cup Final three stars: Penguins on cusp of repeat after clinic in Pittsburgh return

Fed up and prepared to play like it, the Penguins took their pent-up frustration from a nightmare trip to Nashville and channeled it into a wire-to-wire drubbing of the Predators in their return to Pittsburgh.

Perhaps no one had more to play for than Crosby.

The play that stands out above all others as quintessential Hossa took place on Oct. 24, 2008 against his old team, Atlanta. Like many times before, Hossa, then a Detroit Red Wing, read a play at center-ice, and this time saw Thrashers’ defenseman Zach Bogosian confronted by Tomas Holmstrom. The Red Wings forward eventually got a piece of the puck and gently nudged it to Hossa, who was taking off at full speed down the ice. Rather than just continuing at that pace and trying to go short side on goalie Kari Lehtonen, the left-handed winger went for the spectacular. He saw Mathieu Schneider as the lone defenseman, scooted past the 39-year-old with a quick little forehand-to-backhand toe drag that forced Lehtonen off his line. Instead of impatiently trying to backhand it past a sprawling Lehtonen, Hossa realized the time he had, brought the puck back onto his forehand, and gave it a quick little tap-in to the net.

Mason has already been typecast in the role as the well-traveled veteran who can instill his knowledge of the position upon the younger Hellebuyck. In reality, it could be much like the picture Mason painted, of two guys battling for minutes and, Maurice utlimately going with whomever is playing better at the time.

But the bottom line is, for as many goals as Laine will score, and for as many points as Scheifele and Wheeler will contribute, the Jets can only go as far as their goaltending will allow Jerseys For Cheap them. Last season, the Calgary Flames posted the lowest team 5v5 save-percentage of any of the Grade Cheap Jerseys 16 playoff qualifiers at .921 (and their goaltending was certainly viewed as a weakness).

Miller followed proper hockey etiquette in never touching the Stanley Cup before being part of a championship winner.

The closest he ever got was in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, which turned out to be the worst playoff series of his career. He had just an .889 save percentage in four losses. The Rangers lost to the Kings in five.

Having an all-world goalie doesn’t always translate to Cups. It’s not like having a Tom Brady at quarterback or a LeBron James with the ball in his hands. A goaltender can only do so much.

Roberto Luongo hasn’t won a Cup. Curtis Joseph never did. Dominik Hasek won six Vezinas and two Hart Trophies with the Sabres and never won a Cup. He finally won one with the Red Wings at the tail end of his career.

Miller followed proper hockey etiquette in never touching the Stanley Cup before being part of a championship winner.

Weber? Not so much.

“I’m sorry to confess, but in the first year of the Predators I carried the Cup into grade schools here to give them an idea of what this new team would hopefully play for one day.”

Almost 20 years later, the Predators are indeed among the final two teams vying for Lord Stanley’s chalice, winning twice on home ice to knot the series ahead of Thursday’s Game 5 in Pittsburgh. Two more Predators victories and the Stanley Cup will again be in the hands of Pete Weber.

“No matter how it all ends up, it’s been a thrill,” he said.

To define Nashville as some budding hockey hotbed would be Detroit Lions Cheap Jerseys a gross mischaracterization of the city and a disservice to the 50,000 Predators faithful who turned out to throw the greatest Chicago Blackhawks Cheap Jerseys party the Stanley Cup has ever seen.

Best Twitter reactions to Derrick Rose going AWOL

Knicks star Derrick Rose went AWOL before Monday’s 110-96 loss to the Pelicans, but was back with the team on Tuesday.

Derrick Rose has rejoined the team and has been fined. He is expected to be in uniform tomorrow in Philadelphia.

Now that we know he’s ok, we can share some of the funniest Twitter reactions after the Knicks, including coach Jeff Hornacek, revealed they didn’t know why the point guard didn’t show up to Monday’s game.

“There’s no market more important for us than Mexico, we already have discussions earlier (Saturday) about bringing other games here,” Silver said in a press conference before Saturday’s Spurs-Suns game in Mexico City. “But ultimately it will make more sense to bring more teams rather than just have two teams play each other for a single event to maybe bring multiple teams and to have some sort of midseason tournament, sort of like a round-robin tournament.”

Silver has become known for his ideas, big and small. He’s experimented with a 44-minute preseason game and is considering adopting a new playoff system that takes the best teams regardless of conference, among other visions.

“In terms of a franchise here in Mexico City, it is something to look at,” Silver said. “Obviously, it’s an incredible market with over 20 million people, the largest market in North America and, while we have no immediate Nike Elite Cheap Jerseys plans to expand, one of the things that we look at, it’s whether expanding will be additive to the league as a whole and clearly coming to Mexico City, not just because the population of the city but as a gateway to the New Cheap Jerseys rest of Latin America could potentially be very important for the league.”

Saturday’s Spurs-Suns game was the fifth regular-season game played in Mexico, which has hosted 24 NBA games since 1992.

teammate Carmelo Anthony picked up the slack with his game-winning shot with 25 seconds to go.

Joakim Noah scored just two points in 12 minutes in a win over Pacers and did not look like a professional basketball player on this free-throw attempt. Remember, he’s making $72 million with the Knicks.

While Noah was putting up bricks, teammate Carmelo Anthony picked up the slack with his game-winning shot with 25 seconds to go.

Toronto will be without All-Star DeMar DeRozan (ankle) either of the next two games and are in danger of dropping their fourth in a row on Tuesday against the Spurs, who have won their past four including a 112-86 romping of the Nets on Monday despite Kawhi Leonard (rest) and Tony Parker (foot) not playing. San Antonio has now scored 100 or more points in the last 21 games — longest streak by a Spurs team since going 22 straight in 1995.

We all know Harden is a stud — he scored 29 points with 10 assists and six rebounds in a 119-95 win over the Grizzlies — but few probably think of Sam Dekker as an offensive threat. The Wisconsin product was just that Saturday, however, as he scored a career-high 30 points while making the start for ill Ryan Anderson.

With Joel Embiid out nursing a sore knee, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel had an opportunity to earn more minutes. Neither did anything to impress while watching the 76ers lose 110-93 to the Hawks. Okafor scored just 12 points with four rebounds in 30 minutes. Noel added just four points and three rebounds.

The Trail Blazers shooting guard finished Saturday’s 127-123 overtime win over the Celtics with 35 points and three assists. Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 41 points and six assists.

Warriors (37-6) at Magic (18-27) Noon ET — East Coast NBA fans get a rare chance to watch Sports Cheap Jerseys Golden State at a decent hour when they head to Orlando to take on the Magic. This one should be a rout, but Personalized Cheap Jerseys it’s never easy traveling across the country, especially on a Sunday.

Giants QB battle: Davis Webb ready to be the guy behind Eli

The Giants have not needed to think about their backup quarterback much for almost 13 seasons. Eli Manning will make his 212th consecutive start, including playoffs, in Week 1 of the 2017 season. But he’s also 36 and coming off one of his shakiest passing seasons.

As many expected, Manning’s recent play pushed New York into taking a QB relatively high in the draft. Third-rounder Davis Webb was the first QB the team drafted since fourth-rounder Ryan Nassib in 2013. Before Nassib, there were only late-round flyers Rhett Bomar and Andre Woodson since the Manning era began in 2004.

Webb will be the No. 3 QB in Week 1 no matter what. That doesn’t mean he won’t emerge as the best guy behind Manning.

Gruden, who reportedly rejected coaching opportunities with the Colts, Rams and 49ers this past offseason, says he’s not only leaving the door open to a return to coaching football but is preparing himself to come back when the perfect opportunity arises.

I’ve met with several people I won’t deny that, Gruden told PewterReport.com. People just about every year I talk about coming back to coach. I’m not in here every day at 4:30 or 4 in Cheap MLB Jerseys the morning watching pinball. You know? I’m preparing myself to come back. I am. Every day. I’m preparing to come back.

It helps me in my broadcasting and I think if you lose that edge…you can’t Cheap NCAA Jerseys come back unless you are totally wired with college football, personnel, schemes, the CBA, how people are practicing, trends, you know. You’ve got stay on top of this stuff.

LeBron James admits sacrificing family for success, apologizes to wife

LeBron James is a big man.

The three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP is listed at 6-8, 250 pounds officially, but most recognize he’s likely closer to 6-9, 270.

Known for his selflessness off the court, James, who’s averaging a career-best 8.8 assists in 2016-17, isn’t too big to admit his selfishness off it. During a recent episode of Cavs’ teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye’s podcast “Road Trippin,” the 13-time all-star admitted he’d had to apologize to his wife for, at times, sacrificing his family in the pursuit of greatness.

“It’s got to be up to us to change that and the only way to do that, is to do it out there on the court. I think we’re taking steps in that direction. I think our guys want to get there and I think they are learning how to get there, we’re just not there yet.”

If the phrase “soft” and “Lakers” sound familiar together, it’s probably because it’s the same thing Byron Scott said about the team in 2015. Being labeled as “soft” in the NBA is one of the worst insults because it means you’re an easy opponent since you don’t try hard enough.

Julius Randle, who had a triple-double in Tuesday’s game, wasn’t so ready to give his Cheap Liverpool Soccer Jerseys teammates the soft label. Although he admits they need to get better.

“It pisses me off, cause we’re not soft,” Randle said, via Lakers Cheap Mitchell And Ness Jerseys Nation. “But, we’re not the aggressor, when we’re the aggressive team, we give ourselves a chance to win and the soft stuff is out the window. When we’re not the aggressor, then teams have confidence, players have confidence.”

Brandon Jennings admits Carmelo Anthony trade rumors ‘took a toll’ on Knicks

A few months ago, Brandon Jennings asked the Knicks to release him because he wanted to play for a contender. Shortly after, he signed with the Wizards, and it’s been a great move. He’s averaging about 10 fewer minutes in Washington, but he was able to walk away from the dysfunction in New York and he’s now on a playoff-bound team.

Thursday night, he faced the franchise that he played for earlier this season and won. Now that he’s gone from the Knicks, he is able to speak candidly about what went wrong. On Thursday, he blamed Phil Jackson and the front office for putting trade rumors out there about Carmelo Anthony.

“Everything was hitting your phone about Melo leaving,” Jennings said, via the New York Times. “It definitely took a toll on the team, too. Because it wasn’t even about basketball anymore. It was more about what’s going on with Melo.”

The NCAA noted in announcing that decision earlier this week that it was doing so “reluctantly,” as it considers the replacement measure signed last week by new Gov. Roy Cooper “far from perfect.”

Silver’s aim appears to be turning the issue on its head via the international spotlight the NBA All-Star Game brings with it.

“An All-Star Game in Charlotte could be a powerful way to display our values of inclusion,” Silver said Friday, via the Charlotte Business Journal. “It’s not a done deal yet. We now need to go back to Charlotte Nike NFL Jerseys Supply бн and develop an anti-discrimination policy as part of our festivities.”

The 2017 game was relocated to New Orleans and the 2018 edition is Personalized Cheap Jerseys slated for Los Angeles, so 2019 is the next opportunity for Charlotte, but all signs point to it getting done and Silver indicated a decision would be coming soon.

Banned in Boston: NSFW David Ortiz roast won’t be replayed on NESN

David Ortiz is an easy target for jokes and he’s fine with that. It’s part of why he agreed to do the roast Thursday night at the House of Blues in Boston. Unfortunately, the people of Boston are apparently too sensitive to hear what was said in the roast.

NESN intended to air the roast this weekend, but according to the Boston Globe, that will not be happening now or ever.

The regional sports net has pulled the show because of the vulgar nature of many of the jokes told Thursday night. Go figure that Bill Burr, Lenny Clarke and Sarah Tiana would have a clean show for the people of Boston.

In a 14-inning game Buehrle came on in relief and eventually tallied a save. He apparently did so with a pretty solid buzz.

In an article he wrote for The Player Tribune Buehrle said he chugged, like three beers … Max, prior to coming into the game in the 14th inning. Definitely no more than three, though. I swear, he continued.

Baseball does have its own beer leagues but this may be getting a little ridiculous. But hey, if a guy can go out and save a game with a nice little buzz, more power to him right?

The White Sox would go on to win the series in four games over the Houston Astros. It was the White Sox first World Championship since 1918. To this day it is the Astros’ only World Series appearance.

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