Saturday, December 31, 2016
On December 31st, 2016, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild were set to make history. They were going to play the first game in professional sports history where both teams had a double digit win streak, with the Jackets winning 14 straight, and the Wild being victors in 12 consecutive.
The goalie matchup was scheduled to be both teams' starters, Sergei Bobrovsky in net for Columbus, and Devan Dubnyk between the pipes for Minnesota.
In the first period, only one goal occurred when Columbus winger Cam Atkinson scored on a breakaway, his 16th goal of the season. Center Brandon Dubinsky got the only assists, no. 12 on the campaign. 1-0 Blue Jackets.
The second period was just as calm. I'm just kidding because there was a total of 4 goals in the period. First, defenseman Jack Johnson, at 3:29 of the period, beat Dubnyk, giving the Jackets a 2-0 lead. It was the vet's 2nd time this season lighting the lamp, with winger Brandon Saad getting his 17th helper, and center Alex Wennberg's 25th. Later in the period, it's Atkinson beating "Dubby" again, his 17th of the season, giving "CBJ" a 3-0 lead. Defenseman Ryan Murray (4) and Markus Nutivaara (5) record assists on the goal. It seemed like the Wild weren't even trying, or were they?
When Johnson scored at 3:29, Atkinson scored at 3:44, 25 seconds later. At this point, the Wild were mad. Generating chances in the offensive zone, C Mikael Granlund finally beat Bobrovsky, his 10th of the season, at 5:58, making it a 3-1 game. defenseman Jared Spurgeon (11) and center/captain Mikko Koivu (15) get helpers on the PPG. The Jackets came right back, as defenseman Seth Jones beat Dubnyk, the fourth time this night. Jones scored his 7th of the season. Saad got another assist, no. 18 on the year, and winger/captain Nick Foligno got his 20th helper, giving Columbus a 4-1 lead, as the second period ended.
The only goal in the 3rd period was scored by Minnesota winger Jason Zucker, netting his 9th on the year. Granlund tallied his 19th assist on the season, and Spurgeon put up his 2nd of the game, now with 12 helpers on the year. That was the only tally of the period, as the Jackets held on to win 4-2.
The loss ended a franchise record win streak at 12 games for the Wild. The Jackets continue their franchise long streak, now at 15 games, 2 wins away from tying the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins record of 17 consecutive wins. Shots in the game were actually 31-25 in favor of the Wild, but Bobrovsky stood strong. All 14 games in December for the Jackets were Ws. We'll see if the Jackets can make it 18 straight, in 2017.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Something that really makes the NHL different from most professional sports leagues is its salary cap. It prevents teams that have a lot of money (which they all have) from signing a lot of superstars when free agency time rolls around. The way it works is that a team can not have a combined cap hit of all the signed players on their team over the cap, which is usually around $78 mil. Other sports, say the MLB, don't have a salary cap, leading to overpowering teams consistently. Today, I'll talk about one team in the NHL, and how the cap has affected them.
In the 2010s decade, the Chicago Blackhawks have won 3 Stanley Cups, (2010, 2013, 2015) a dynasty. But more often than not, the Cup winner will be pushed up against the cap, leading to problems. This applies tremendously for the Hawks, who were forced to trade stars Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp after their cup win in 2015. A younger star in Teuvo Teravainen was also forced to be dealt after the 2016 season. But you do need to keep some stars, right? The Hawks needed to sign last year's calder trophy winner (best rookie) Artemi Panarin at the end of the season with Panarin becoming a RFA at the end of the season. The Hawks wanted to get that done during the regular season, and got Panarin on a 2 year, $12 mil extension. But, it could lead to even more trades. Here's why:
The 2 highest paid players in the entire NHL are both on the Hawks (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews), with a cap hit of $10.5 mil. Other forwards with a high cap hit would be LW Marian Hossa (owed $5.275 mil), C Artem Anisimov ($4.55) and C Marcus Kruger (3.08 mil). Same goes for defense with Brent Seabrook ($6.87 mil), Duncan Keith ($5.53 mil), Niklas Hjalmarsson ($4.1 mil) and Brian Campbell ($2.25 mil) having big cap hits, plus a little more with Michal Kempny's cap hit of $1.1 mil. Goalie Corey Crawford's cap hit is $6 mil, just to add on some more cap hit. Also, the team has 2 former hawk defenseman in Rob Scuderi and David Rundblad's cap hit of about $1.1 mil apiece. You can see how they have some big cap hits nagging them for now.
With the new Vegas Golden Knights team to play next season, Vegas needs a roster. So, each team will lose a player in the expansion draft to Vegas. Each team will get to protect 7 forwards, 3 defenseman and 1 goalie (they can also do 4 forwards and 4 defenseman) so they don't fall to Vegas. A couple of players I already mentioned who might be left unprotected would be Kruger, Campbell and/
or Kempny. Campbell's 37 years old, so he's out. For some reason, signs aren't pointing towards Vegas taking the 25 year old Kempny, and they probably don't want to take the a little too expensive Kruger, with a lot of forwards who'd be left available by other teams. So, it looks like Vegas will actually take the 24 year old Trevor van Riemsdyk, who has a cheap cap hit of $825K.
So, we'll see if the Hawks do elect to move someone, particularly at the trade deadline, and who Vegas actually takes. Then, will the Hawks be able to win another cup?
In sports, teams are always looking to go on a win streak. Eventually, a team in any sports league will break out on a streak, some good, some bad. For example, last year in the NHL, the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks tied for the longest win streak, with each team winning 12 straight, at different parts of the season. Currently in the NHL, 2 others teams have been hot lately, setting franchise records. Let's get into the details.
First, the shorter one with the Minnesota Wild, starting on December 4th, have won 11 consecutive games. The main reason? The goaltending. With about 1.9 goals scored against per game this season, the Wild lead the NHL in that category. On the streak, the Wild have only allowed 3 or more goals once, surrendering 4 against the New York Rangers, but even then the offense stepped up, scoring 7 goals, lead by a 4 point night by center Charlie Coyle for the win. Coyle leads the team in goals (with 12), and newcomer/veteran Eric Staal leads the team in assists (18) and points (29). Star goalie Devan Dubnyk has lead the team with his outstanding GAA of 1.58 and SV% of .947. The Wild's next game is against the New York Islanders on Thursday, December 29th, 2016.
For the longer streak, starting on November 29th, the Columbus Blue Jackets have won their last 13 games. Like the Wild, the Jackets have received an amazing performance from the back end. With 2.0 goals against per game, the Blue Jackets are only behind... You guessed it, the Wild for least goals against per game in the NHL. The Jackets have allowed 3 goals twice in the past 11 games, but obviously prevailed in both. They are also second in goals scored per game (3.4) and the NHL in PP% (27.1%). Like the Wild and Dubnyk, the Blue Jackets have been getting a nice performance from starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has a GAA of 1.91 and a SV% of .934 this year. RW Cam Atkinson leads the team in goals (15) and points (35), plus center Alex Wennberg is the team leader in assists, with 24 helpers. The Jackets next game is also on December 29th, with their opponent being the Winnipeg Jets.
If I told you it was impossible that both these teams would have their streaks still intact by the new year, but one team could still have their streak going, you might say "Why not?" The answer to that question would be that the Jackets and Wild will face off in a probably intense interleague game of double digit win streaks, assuming both teams win on 12/29. But for now, we'll have to wait and see if both streaks are still intact by the time that game starts, so if you want, place your bets in the comments below.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
In each and every sports leagues, all of the teams should (and will) have a star. He (or she) might not be outstanding due to league standards, but to their team they are stars. Here, I'll list who I think are the top 5 players on every NHL team.
Anaheim Ducks: 1. Ryan Getzlaf, 2. Corey Perry, 3. Cam Fowler, 4. Ryan Kesler, 5. Rickard Rakell.
Arizona Coyotes: 1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 2. Max Domi, 3. Martin Hanzal, 4. Michael Stone, 5. Anthony Duclair.
Boston Bruins: 1. Brad Marchand, 2. Patrice Bergeron, 3. David Backes, 4. David Pastranak, 5. David Krejci.
Buffalo Sabres: 1. Jack Eichel, 2. Ryan O'Reilly, 3. Kyle Okposo, 4. Rasmus Ristolainen, 5. Evander Kane.
Calgary Flames: Johnny Gaudreau, 2. Mark Giordano, 3. Sean Monahan, 4. Dougie Hamilton, 5. Matthew Tkachuk.
Carolina Hurricanes: 1. Justin Faulk, 2. Jeff Skinner, 3. Jordan Staal, 4. Victor Rask, 5. Sebastian Aho.
Chicago Blackhawks: 1. Patrick Kane, 2. Duncan Keith, 3. Artemi Panarin, 4. Jonathan Toews, 5. Corey Crawford.
Colorado Avalanche: 1. Matt Duchene, 2. Gabriel Landeskog, 3. Nathan MacKinnon, 4. Tyson Barrie, 5. Erik Johnson.
Columbus Blue Jackets: 1. Brandon Saad, 2. Cam Atkinson, 3. Nick Foligno, 4. Seth Jones, 5. Sergei Bobrovsky.
Dallas Stars: 1. Jamie Benn, 2. Tyler Seguin, 3. John Klingberg, 4. Jason Spezza, 5. Jiri Hudler.
Detroit Red Wings: 1. Dylan Larkin, 2. Frans Nielsen, 3. Henrik Zetterberg, 4. Tomas Tatar, 5. Justin Abdelkader.
Edmonton Oilers: 1. Connor McDavid, 2. Milan Lucic, 3. Jordan Eberle, 4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 5. Leon Draisaitl.
Florida Panthers: 1. Aaron Ekblad, 2. Aleksander Barkov, 3. Jaromir Jagr, 4. Jonathan Huberdeau, 5. Nick Bjugstad.
Los Angeles Kings: 1. Drew Doughty, 2. Anze Kopitar, 3. Tyler Toffoli, 4. Jake Muzzin, 5. Jeff Carter.
Minnesota Wild: 1. Zach Parise, 2. Ryan Suter, 3. Devan Dubnyk, 4. Eric Staal, 5. Nino Niederreiter.
Montreal Canadiens: 1. Carey Price, 2. Shea Weber, 3. Max Pacioretty, 4. Tomas Plekanec, 5. Alex Galchenyuk.
Nashville Predators: 1. P.K. Subban, 2. Filip Forsberg, 3. Roman Josi, 4. Ryan Johansen, 5. James Neal.
New Jersey Devils: 1. Cory Schneider, 2. Taylor Hall, 3. Kyle Palmieri, 4. Adam Henrique, 5. Michael Cammalleri.
New York Islanders: 1. John Tavares, 2. Brock Nelson, 3. Nick Leddy, 4. Anders Lee, 5. Johnny Boychuk.
New York Rangers: 1. Henrik Ludqvist, 2. Ryan McDonagh, 3. Mats Zuccarello, 4. Derek Stepan, 5. Chris Kreider.
Ottawa Senators: 1. Erik Karlsson, 2. Bobby Ryan, 3. Kyle Turris, 4. Mike Hoffman, 5. Mark Stone.
Philadelphia Flyers: 1. Claude Giroux, 2. Jake Voracek, 3. Wayne Simmonds, 4. Brayden Schenn, 5. Shayne Gostisbehere.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 1. Sidney Crosby, 2. Evgeni Malkin, 3. Kris Letang, 4. Phil Kessel, 5. Patric Hornqvist.
San Jose Sharks: 1. Brent Burns, 2. Joe Thornton, 3. Joe Pavelski, 4. Logan Couture, 5. Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
St. Louis Blues: 1. Vladimir Tarasenko, 2. Alex Pietrangelo, 3. Kevin Shattenkirk, 4. Paul Stastny, 5. Alex Steen.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 1. Nikita Kucherov, 2. Steven Stamkos, 3. Victor Hedman, 4. Ondrej Palat, 5. Jonathan Drouin.
Toronto Maple Leafs: 1. James van Riemsdyk, 2. Auston Matthews, 3. Morgan Reilly, 4. Nazem Kadri, 5. Fredrik Andersen.
Vancouver Canucks: 1. Daniel Sedin, 2. Henrik Sedin, 3. Loui Eriksson, 4. Alex Edler, 5. Bo Horvat.
Washington Capitals: 1. Alex Ovechkin, 2. Braden Holtby, 3. Niklas Backstrom, 4. John Carlson, 5. Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Winnipeg Jets: 1. Dustin Byfuglien, 2. Blake Wheeler, 3. Mark Scheifele, 4. Patrik Laine, 5. Bryan Little.
So that is who I think are the top 5 players on all 30 (for now) NHL teams. If you disagree, leave your opinion in the comment section below. For today, goodnight.
Friday, December 9, 2016
It might not be the offseason yet, but the New York Islanders and GM Garth Snow crossed off a big thing on their to do list this season, and that was to re-sign RW Cal Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck was signed to a 5 year deal, worth $17.5 mil in all, with Clutterbuck earning $3.5 yearly. He was part of the Islanders' infamous 4th line last season before Matt Martin signed with Toronto in July. So far this season, Cal is 5th in the NHL with 89 hits, and has 9 points, (2 G, 7A) in 25 games. He is an alternate captain ( he's splitting with Travis Hamonic for the A) for the Isles, being named at the start of the season.
Until the trade deadline starts rolling around, not many big trades come up in the NHL. But minor trades happen every now and then. One of those trades happened today, when the Arizona Coyotes acquired 4th line center Peter Holland from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a conditional pick in the 2018 draft. "Peter is a big, solid centerman with good NHL experience. We look forward to having him join our team," Coyotes GM John Chayka said of Holland. Holland's only point with the Leafs this year in his 8 games was an assist. While his linemates are uncertain, until Brad Richardson comes off the IR, Holland should center in the bottom 6, particularly on the 4th line in a small amount of games.
Every year, the winter meetings are a fun time for us fans. A time to criticize each team by signing that guy, not signing that guy, trading away that guy, trading for that guy, not trading for or not trading away that guy. It's a big circle. During the winter meetings, 2 of the many outfielders on the market got PAID. Here is how I recap how and why these 2 outfielders got PAID.
First, a story about a natural shortstop, who signed a cheap one year, $8 mil deal (and that's cheap in baseball, I know) to be tested at center field, an unfamiliar position for him, for a contending team, to then hit for a BA of .285, hit 22 HRs, plus 86 RBIs, and swipe 21 bags, then gets a 5 year, $70 mil deal to play at the most hitter friendly park in the MLB, and play another position he's never played before- first base. A baseball fairy tale right, wrong. That's the story of Ian Desmond, who signed a cheap deal with the Texas Rangers to play a position he's never played before, and be an all-star, just to sign a big deal (with the Colorado Rockies) to play another unfamiliar position. Though the signing sparked trade rumors for CF Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies seem to want to have Desmond at first. The Rockies, who already had one of the league's best offenses, now has an outfield of stars Carlos Gonzalez, Blackmon, and 22 year old David Dahl, who was potent for the the Rox in 63 games last year. Plus an infield of Desmond, D.J LeMahieu, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado, and will hope 25 year old Tom Murphy can be a solid catcher after a short stint in the MLB last season.
Flashback to last offseason. The Chicago Cubs steal 2 good players from their arch rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, (Jason Heyward and John Lackey) followed by a world series championship. This year, the Cards returned the favor by signing CF Dexter Fowler to a 5 year, $82.5 mil deal. Signing Fowler can move Randal Grichuk over to left, to replace Matt Holliday, who recently signed with the New York Yankees, and filling in Fowler between Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. For the Cards, it's a word called payback.
Winter Meetings recap: Chapman back to Yanks, Melancon to Giants as relievers sign record-breaking deals
It kicked off with the San Francisco Giants filling their top need, when they signed closer Mark Melancon to a 4 year, $62 mil deal, a record setter for a reliever. After the Giants, who led the league in blown saves last season (with 30 blown saves, or BS), had their closer in the past, Santiago Casilla, hit the free agent market, it was a top priority to add one of the 3 big closers on the market, in Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and/or Kenley Jansen. Signing Melancon can help out tremendously for the Giants in the end of games, while starters Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore do the other work.
Melancon wasn't the only of the "big three" who signed during the winter meetings as Chapman rejoined the New York Yankees on a 5 year, $86 mil deal. Chapman, who spent about 3 quarters of last season with the Bronx bombers, was traded to the Chicago Cubs for 3 prospects, mainly no. 2 prospect Gleyber Torres in July. Before that, Chapman's 2.01 ERA, and 20 saves with New York was clear he was comfortable in the Bronx. The Yankees, who acquired the 3 digit thrower from the Cincinnati Reds in a deal which included just a solid prospect, (SP Rookie Davis) and a couple other career backups for a star had some sort of an unplanned-master plan start. (to get Chapman for basically nothing, sell him for a lot more, than re-sign him for a lot more.) Chapman, who broke Melancon's quickly held contract record for a reliever, will close games out for the Yanks, with Dellin Betances setting him up in 2017.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
On June 29, 2016, 2 big blockbuster trades had occured in the NHL. The first sent LW Taylor Hall to New Jersey for defenseman Adam Larsson, but the second one was bigger than a blockbuster, as it sent 2 Norris trophy caliber defenseman to a different team. P.K Subban went from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber, who went from Nashville to Montreal. As we are getting closer to the halfway mark of the season, here is how the trade has affected the 2 teams so far. (I will do another post like this at the end of the year.)
Comparing how the teams have done so far: The Canadiens are second in both the eastern conference and the NHL with a record of 16-6-2, for 34 points, atop the Atlantic division. The Preds are 11-8-4, with 26 points, and are in a 4-way tie for third in a rather weak Central division.
Comparing the players' stats so far: Weber, at age 31, has 8 goals and 10 assists for 18 points. He also has a +/- of +18, with 7 of his 8 goals coming on the powerplay, plus 3 PP assists for 10 PP points, or PPP. Weber has scored 3 game winning goals so far. Subban, hasn't done as well as expected. He, like Weber has 10 assists, with 2 less goals than Weber (6) for 16 points. Half of Subban's goals are on the powerplay, plus 4 of his assists also on the PP for 7 PPP. Subban's big difference compared to Weber is +/-. The 27 year old is a -7, one point higher than the -8 (career worst) he had in 2010-11.
It's pretty obvious which team has won SO FAR. It's got to be the 34 point Canadiens. When the trade first happened, almost everyone had declared that this was an amazing trade for Nashville. So far, it's the habs with all the praise. We will have to wait and see which team will win this deal in years to come.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Los Angeles Angels: INF Gregorio Petit, LHP Cody Ege.
Houston Astros: None.
Oakland Athletics: None.
Toronto Blue Jays: None.
Cleveland Indians: RHP Jeff Manship.
Seattle Mariners: None.
Baltimore Orioles: RHP Vance Worley.
Texas Rangers: OF Jared Hoying.
Tampa Bay Rays: 2B Ryan Brett.
Boston Red Sox: C Bryan Holaday.
Kansas City Royals: None.
Detroit Tigers: None.
Minnesota Twins: RHP Yorman Landa.
Chicago White Sox: RHP Blake Smith.
New York Yankees: LHP Jacob Lindgren.
Atlanta Braves: RHP Chris Withrow.
Milwaukee Brewers: 1B Chris Carter.
St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Seth Maness.
Chicago Cubs: LHP Gerardo Concepcion, RHPs Zac Rosscup and Conor Mullee, INF Christian Villanueva.
Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa, C Wellington Castillo
Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Louis Coleman.
San Francisco Giants: None.
Miami Marlins: None.
New York Mets: None.
Washington Nationals: OF Ben Revere.
San Diego Padres: RHP Tyson Ross, INF/OF Alexi Amarista, RHPs Jon Edwards and Erik Johnson, INF/OF Jose Pirela, C Hector Sanchez.
Philadelphia Phillies: 3B/OF Cody Asche.
Pittsburgh Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke, C Eric Fryer.
Cincinnati Reds: C Ramon Cabrera, RHP Keyvius Sampson, OF Gabriel Guererro.
Colorado Rockies: RHP Matt Carasiti, INF/OF Stephen Cardullo.
And those were all 35 players who were non-tendered this year. If I had to make a top 5 list of those 35 players, it would be something like this: 1. Ross, 2. Carter, 3. Castillo
4. Revere, and I'd have a 3-way tie at 5 between Maness, Amarista and De La Rosa. We will have to wait and see where these players will soon call their new home.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
As the American Thanksgiving has passed, from now to about Christmas will be an explosion of players switching teams in the MLB. I'm here to predict which free agent who haven't signed yet will sign this off-season.
Yoenis Cespedes: Washington Nationals. It's uncetain which 4 teams are on Cespedes' "list" that he is most likely to join, besides the Mets. It's an "if" situation with all the teams pursuing Cespedes, including the Nats. The Nats would probably have to trade SS Danny Espinosa. Why? It's because their CF last year, ROY finalist Trea Turner would move to his natural position at shortstop, leaving Espinosa the odd man out.
Aroldis Chapman: New York Yankees. Yes, Chapman could and should break a record for a contract signed by a closer, but the Yankees have a lot of money to spend. Chapman also previously said "I'd love to be a Yankee again" this off-season. The Yankees, who had Chapman for most of the 2016 campaign, traded him to the world series winning Cubs for the cubs former top prospect Gleyber Torres and others. It would make sense for the Yankees to trade Chapman for a big-named prospect, then sign him for a little more money.
Kenley Jansen: Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers goal this off-season was to "keep their stars and add righty bats", well one of those stars was Jansen, who along with Chapman can break the record for a contract signed by a closer. For Jansen, it would make sense to sign with the Dodgers, who are still competitive, and look to be for a very long time.
Edwin Encarnacion: Boston Red Sox. After the retirement of DH David Ortiz, getting Encarnacion, another DH, could cover that flaw. On Encarnacion's side, signing with a team who had made the playoffs last season, could fill what every player wants: To be on a contending team.
Jose Bautista: Toronto Blue Jays. After a down year in 2016, the Blue Jays still would like to retain Bautista. Also, a fan favorite in Canada, Bautista should like to stay.
Mark Melancon: San Francisco Giants. After a bad season by Santiago Casilla, the Giants have pursued Melancon. Not to mention that Casilla is also a free agent.
Mark Trumbo: Baltimore Orioles. The O's, who shocked many in 2016, would love to re-sign the guy who hit 47 bombs for them last year. Also, Trumbo would most likely love to play in Camden Yards again.
Justin Turner: Los Angeles Dodgers. The reasoning for the Dodgers to re-sign Turner is basically the same for Jansen. The Dodgers are still a competitive team, that have made it a goal to "retain their stars."
Dexter Fowler: New York Mets. After winning the World series with the Cubs, the Mets should have tons of interest in the CF if Cespedes leaves. Fowler could play center with Michael Comforto and Curtis Granderson on his sides, leaving Jay Bruce, who's entering a contract year, to be a trade asset.
So that's who I think will sign the big free agents this year. Who do you think they'll sign with? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. For now, that's it for me.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
The Seattle Mariners have acquired SS/2B Jean Segura, OF Mitch Haniger and LHP Zac Curtis from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Taijuan Walker and SS/2B Ketel Marte. Let's get into the details.
From the Mariners point of view, Segura had a breakout year last season, his only in Arizona. His .319 AVG, 20 HRs, 64 RBIs, with 33 SBs in 153 games for the d-backs intrigued the Mariners' management. Segura also led the national league in hits with 203. according to MLB.com, here's what Mariners' GM Jerry Dipoto had to say about Segura: "We just feel at this point, this trade made more sense with where our roster is, and Jean Segura fit this club about as well as any player we were looking at in the trade market." Dipoto also said: "I feel like we're acquiring one of the premium leadoff hitters in the game, last season was a real coming-out party for Jean" and "He's a very skilled athlete, and we feel like the idea of of him taking the spot at shortstop alongside Robinson Cano and hitting at the top of the lineup gives us a different dynamic than we had at any point in 2016."
The way I look at the trade is that the D-backs get younger in a 23 year old Marte, while Segura, who will be 27 by opening day, gives the Mariners proven talent. Taijuan Walker, at age 24 didn't fit in with a rotation that included Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton, plus the rises of Ariel Miranda and Nathan Karns. The other 2 players in the deal, Haniger and Curtis, both debuted in 2016, and weren't amazing, but Haniger was Arizona's minor league player of the year, with a .321 AVG, 25 HRs and 94 RBIs between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. Curtis wasn't sharp in the MLB last year with a 6.75 ERA in 21 appearances, but the 24 year old's last 3 minor league seasons included 53 saves, with a 1.95 ERA in 104 appearances, plus 169 Ks and just 35 BBs.
From Arizona's point of view, they got much needed youth out of Segura, basically turning him 4 years younger, and changing his name to Ketel Marte. Last offseason, the D-backs gave up a lot of youth in SS Dansby Swanson and SP Aaron Blair, for SP Shelby Miller, who was a huge bust last year. Well, in this trade, the D-backs got back their young SS (Marte) and their young starting pitcher (Walker). With Miller's terrible year, plus their big free agent signing Zack Greinke not living up to the hype, Walker can slot in nicely behind Greinke, LHP Patrick Corbin, and Miller.
Overall, I think both teams had addressed their needs, so time will tell who will be the real winner of this deal.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
The Houston Astros have acquired C Brian McCann from the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league RHPs Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. In addition to that, the Astros also signed OF Josh Reddick to a 4 year, $52 mil deal. The club also signed RHP Charlie Morton to a 2 year, $14 mil deal. Traveling a little bit north, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed LHP Brett Cecil to a 4 year, $30.5 mil deal. Let's get into details.
The Astros' acquisitions of McCann and Reddick filled a big void: quality left handed hitting. Stars Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer are all righties, so bringing in lefties was a good move. With Jason Castro leaving in free agency, the only catchers on the roster was Evan Gattis and Max Stassi. Gattis is a really good power hitter but is really just a DH. Stassi is a full time backup at best, so that's why Houston acquired McCann. The price they gave up, Abreu and Guzman are both hard throwers with Abreu's velocity range being 97-99 MPH and Guzman's being up to 102-103. Abreu was Houston's 7th best prospect and Guzman wasn't in their top 30. In addition to Reddick and Springer, OFs Norichika Aoki (who was recently claimed off waivers), Jake Marisnick and Preston Tucker have the best shot at making the team. Marisnick or Aoki have the best shot at center, while Reddick and Springer cover up the corners. The acquisition of Morton was for a 5th rotation spot behind Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and Mike Fiers.
The Cards' signing of Cecil was actually a little surprising, compared to other teams, like the Seattle Mariners, who need a left handed reliever. The Cardinals southpaw relievers are: Zach Duke, Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons, set up man Kevin Siegrist and Cecil. That's an odd fact considering that the Mariners' best lefty looks to be newly acquired James Pazos.
Stats: McCann had an AVG of .242 and 20 HRs for the Yankeees last season. Reddick hit for an AVG of .281 with 10 HRs with the Oakland A's and LA Dodgers last year. Morton had a 1-1 record and a 4.15 ERA in just 4 appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Last but not least, Cecil had a 3.93 ERA, with a 1.28 WHIP in 54 games last year with the Toronto Blue Jays.
That's my brief recap of the Astros and Cardinals recent moves.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
The ROY, or rookie of the year award is given to the best rookie from the NL (national league) and AL (American league) every year. There is always 3 finalists but other rookies can still receive votes. Here were the finalists:
AL: RHP Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers. Fulmer's 11-7 record, 3.06 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 132 SOs, all in 159 IP won him the award. C Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees. In just 53 games, Sanchez would of been second in MLB history for least amount of games for a position player by one game, to Willie McCovey. Sanchez had a .299 AVG plus 20 HR in that span. OF Tyler Naquin of the Cleveland Indians. Naquin's .296 AVG and 14 HRs was solid to get the 3rd spot.
Here's the NL finalists:
SS Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was unanimous that Seager would win with his AVG of .308, 26 HRs, 105 runs was amazing for a rookie, who might get some MVP votes. RHP Kenta Maeda of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The other Dodger came of Japan, and is the oldest finalist at 28 years of age. His 16-11 record, 3.48 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP in 175.2 innings was pretty good for a rookie, even though he's 28. CF Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals. Turner, who was acquired in a 3 team trade a couple of years ago, converted positions from SS to CF, and boy did that work out. Turner had a blasting .342 AVG and 33 SB shows a sign that the Nats have an amazing leadoff man in years to come.
Do I agree with the winners? Yes, every one agrees that Seager should win, but it was close between Fulmer and Sanchez. Being a Yankees fan, I still think that Fulmer should win, mostly because of him playing 5 months while Sanchez only participated in 2.
So that's my recap on the 2016 ROY results.
Friday, November 11, 2016
The Toronto Blue Jays have signed DH/1B Kendrys Morales to a 3 year, $33 mil deal. Also, in unrelated news, the Philadelphia Phillies have acquired 2B Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for 1B Darin Ruf and 2B Darnell Sweeney. Let's get to details.
The Jays signing of Morales almost guarantees that DH/1B Edwin "Walk the Parrot" Encarnacion won't return to Toronto. There is hope Encarnacion returns but it seems unlikely that Encarnacion returns to Canada. Morales will DH regularly while 1B Justin Smoak starts at first.
The Phillies-Dodgers trade is an interesting one. Days before, Kendrick wished to have a fulltime 2B job, after sharing it with Chase Utley this past year. Now that the Phillies have Kendrick, they have a chance to trade away 2B Cesar Hernandez, their former starter. What L.A. got in return? Sweeney mostly plays 2B so he's basically Kendrick's replacement. Also, he plays all 3 outfield positions, so he has value. Ruf is a backup 1B, in this case for Adrian Gonzalez, and can play the corner outfield positions if they want him too, because L.A. has solid outfield depth.
So that's how I recap the big signing and trade of today.
The Atlanta Braves have signed starting pitchers R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon, in the span of a day. Dickey is definitely on the team while Colon has a physical before he officially signs. Anyway, even though Colon, who's 43, and Dickey, who's 42, aren't going to be around long, both deals were just for the 2017 season. The Braves probably just wanted more starting depth. It's uncertain what Atlanta's rotation will look like by opening day because trade rumors around RHP Mike Foltynewicz could change that. Right now it looks like the Braves' 5th starter will be out of spring training unless Foltynewicz stays and Aaron Blair takes over after a horrid 7.59 ERA in 15 games last season. Like I've already said, the Braves opening day rotation is uncertain, but if they don't make anymore moves (which I doubt will happen) the rotation should look like this:
1. Julio Teheran. 2. R.A. Dickey. 3. Bartolo Colon. 4. Mike Foltynewicz. 5. Aaron Blair.
And that's what I think the Braves will do if they don't make anymore moves.
Stats: Dickey was 10 and 15 with a 4.46 ERA and a WHIP of 1.37 in 30 games last season. He also has a career record of 110 and 108 with a 4.01 ERA along with a 1.29 in 369 games (starting in 269) in 1883.2 IP in 14 seasons also winning a NL Cy Young in 2012. Colon had a 15 and 8 record and a 3.43 ERA plus a 1.21 WHIP in 34 games last year. In his career he has a record of 233 and 162, an ERA of 3.93 and a WHIP of 1.29 in 509 games.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
The next trade of the 2016-17 NHL season has broke, let's see what happened.
The New York Rangers sent defenseman Dylan McIlrath to the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenseman Steven Kampfer and a conditional 7th round pick (year not announced yet), Bob McKenzie of TSN reports. The Rangers get the 7th rounder only if McIlrath plays 30+ games for Florida. Here's my review:
Florida most likely wanted more defensive size. Last year's tallest d-man, Erik Gudbranson (6'5"), was dealt to Vancouver in the offseason. So, that meant, at 6'4", Aaron Ekblad and Alex Petrovic were the tallest defenseman. But, Ekblad's more than just a big defenseman, he's an all-star. Petrovic is fine but they wanted more height and Kampfer, who is 5'11" wasn't working. So, they went after McIlrath, who had trade rumors surrounding him, and plus, at 6'5", he's a perfect match. The conditional pick was just the cherry on top to make sure it happened.
Now, the other side. I'm not really sure why the Rangers would do this because they trust 22 year old Brady Skjei, and Adam Clendening and Nick Holden are solid top 6/7th d-man. Maybe it was that the Blueshirts didn't want McIlrath or like the way Kampfer plays and didn't need size. All these suggestions are IFs but it could explain why this trade is for real.
Stats: McIlrath didn't register a point in his only game this year and only has 4 career points (2 goals, 2 assists) over 38 career games over the course of 4 seasons, all with the Rangers. (Including this year.) Kampfer also played 1 game this year and didn't receive a point. Over 6 seasons, (this year too) Kampfer played in 134 games and scored 9 goals along with 14 assists for 23 points with Boston Minnesota and Florida.
And there you have it, McIlrath to Florida for Kampfer and a conditional 7th round pick.
Monday, November 7, 2016
On November 5th, 2016, the Vancouver Canucks went east to Toronto for hockey night in Canada against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs won 6-3 but nobody is talking about that... well some people are but the third period was just... Physical to say the least.
Here's my quick recap.
First, Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly laid a crushing hit on winger Jannik Hansen, who was able to pass it to winger Daniel Sedin. Sedin on a 2 on 3, shoots and scores! But, Center Nazem Kadri laid a dirty check to the head on Sedin while he scores. Hansen, who was okay from the Rielly hit, jumps in and fights Kadri while Sedin is in pain on the ice. Kadri got a 5 minute major and a game misconduct on the hit. Both Kadri and Hansen got 5 for fighting. Later, with the Canucks still on the power play, wingers Derek Dorsett of Vancouver and Leo Komorav of Toronto dropped the gloves. This pissed off Leafs enforcer Matt Martin, who was trying to fight Dorsett but he wouldn't budge, so Martin was chirping at Dorsett as the ref skated him off the ice. Dorsett attempted to break free but gave up eventually. When Rielly laid that crushing hit on Hansen, Hansen was clearly fine but anyway, Vancouver winger Alexandre Burrows speared Rielly in an injury attempt. The next time the two were on the ice at the same time, before a faceoff, the 2 were yelling at each other and then when the puck dropped, Burrows went after Rielly and they fought. The biggest brawl was the last one. Martin and defenseman Troy Stecher were playing the puck in the corner but then Martin kept throwing Stecher at the ground and THEY fought. But then, Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller jumped on Martin so now Martin was dealing with Miller and Stecher. Then, in that corner, there was a line brawl. All the skaters were in the corner and then, Toronto goalie Fredrik Andersen comes charging in and jumps on all of them!
To recap: there was a total of 171 penalty minutes in the game (96 for Vancouver and 75 for Toronto). In that period alone, Kadri, Hansen, Komorav, Dorsett, Burrows, Rielly, Erik Gudbranson, Martin, Stecher, Miller, Andersen, Connor Carrick and Brendan Gaunce all got penalties in a hectic third period. The only other time they meet again this regular season is in Vancouver on December 3rd.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
The first trade during the 2016-17 NHL season was pretty minor but it doesn't matter. The trade was between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators on November 2nd, 2016. Goalie Mike Condon went north to Ottawa with Pittsburgh getting a 5th round pick at the upcoming draft. The Penguins had a goalie issue when their starter for the last decade, Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion last playoffs and rookie Matt Murray won the team the cup. During the World Cup, Murray broke his hand to settle who would start at the beginning of the year. But the question was who would be the backup for the little while when Murray is sidelined? Prospect Tristian Jarry didn't look NHL ready yet, so when Montreal placed Condon on waivers, Pittsburgh pounced. Murray has recovered a lot but a call up might happen, maybe Jarry makes the team. Pittsburgh just wanted to get some value out of Condon so they dealt him for a 5th rounder.
Now on the other side. After goalie Craig Anderson came back from missing a game when he found out his wife Nicholle was diagnosed with cancer, Anderson recorded a shutout and another solid game. But backup Andrew "Hamburgular" Hammond went down with an injury, Ottawa decided to trade Condon for a pick, rather than rolling with Chris Dreidger as their backup. This seems like a very short term thing but time will tell what will happen.
Stats: Condon only played 1 game with Pittsburgh: it was when he stopped all 7 shots in relief of Fleury in a 5-1 loss to Nashville. When Carey Price went down with a big injury last year, Condon's old team called him up from St. Johns (AHL) and Condon become the starter. That year, Condon appeared in 55 games, starting in 51, having a record of 21-25-6 with a 2.71 GAA and a .903 Sv%.
So there you have it, G Mike Condon from Pittsburgh to Ottawa for a 2017 5th rounder.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Every player has a rookie season. Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares were all once rookies. Today, I will list the rookie class of 2016-17. Some will play all their teams games. Some will be sent down to the AHL/Juniors. Also, some players are qualified as rookies but have played in the NHL shortly in the past. To make this list, you need to have your NHL debut so far this year. So, let's get into it.
Anaheim Ducks- Joseph Cramorossa
Arizona Coyotes- Dylan Strome, Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak and Jakub Chychrun
Boston Bruins- Austin Czarnik, Danton Heinen, Zane McIntyre and Brandon Carlo
Buffalo Sabres- None
Calgary Flames- Matthew Tkachuk
Carolina Hurricanes- Sebastian Aho and Martin Frk
Chicago Blackhawks- Tyler Motte, Nick Schmaltz, Gustav Forsling and Michal Kempny
Colorado Avalanche- None
Columbus Blue Jackets- Lukas Sedlak, Markus Nutivaara, Zach Werenski
Dallas Stars- Justin Dowling, Gemel Smith
Detroit Red Wings- None
Edmonton Oilers- Jesse Puljujarvi, Matt Benning
Florida Panthers- Denis Malgin, Kyle Rau and Shane Harper
Los Angeles Kings- None
Minnesota Wild- Joel Eriksson Ek
Montreal Canadiens- Artturi Lehkonen and Mikhail Sergachev
Nashville Predators- None
New Jersey Devils- Yohann Auvitu
New York Islanders- Matthew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier
New York Rangers- Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey
Ottawa Senators- Thomas Chabot
Philadelphia Flyers- Roman Lyubimov, Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov
Pittsburgh Penguins- None
San Jose Sharks- Aaron Dell
St. Louis Blues- None
Tampa Bay Lightning- Brayden Point
Toronto Maple Leafs- Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and Nikita Zaitsev
Vancouver Canucks- Mike Zalewski and Troy Stetcher
Washington Capitals- Zach Sanford
Winnipeg Jets- Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine.
Those are all the rookies, who have made their NHL debut so far this season. Auston Matthews leads all those rookies in points with 10, but both Matthews and Patrik Laine are part of a 4 way tie for most goals in the NHL so far. (Richard Panik and Alex Killorn are the other 2). If I missed out on anyone else, leave a comment below. But for now, so long.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
When it comes to professional sports, surprises happen often so you might not even call them surprises. It is so early in the year that the top team only has 11 points but yet, all 30 teams have some surprises. So, surprise! The point of this post is the surprises, and here are the top 10 so far, so lets get into it.
10. Montreal Canadians. If you lead the NHL in goals for per game and goals against per game, you know you're doing something right. That's the case in Montreal as they have a 3.83 goals scored per game and a 1.50 goals against per game. That's why they are 1st in the NHL with 11 points (5-0-1).
9. Thomas Vanek, Gustav Nyquist and Mike Green. the 2 wingers and defenseman for Detroit are all having surprisingly good starts. they all have 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points.
8. Andrew Ladd. The Islanders' winger signed a big deal in the off-season but he hasn't had a great start. He's had some chances but he has just 1 point, being an empty net assist.
7. Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. The first 2 overall picks in the draft have both had a solid start to their career. Matthews has 5 goals and 3 assists for 8 points while Laine has 4 goals and an assist for 5 points.
6. Brandon Carlo. The 6.5 defenseman has been Boston's best so far with 2 points and a +7 rating in just 5 games.
5. Jimmy Howard and Cam Talbot. Both these goalies aren't really supposed to be doing amazing. Howard has only played 2 games but leads qualifying goalies in GAA (0.50) and Sv% (.984). Talbot leads the league in wins (5) and got his only shutout in the Heritage Classic.
4. Shea Weber. There's no question that Weber is a top defenseman. but after being traded for a fan favorite in P.K. Subban, there was a lot of pressure on Weber. So far, Weber has been amazing, scoring 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points and leading the NHL in +/- , being a +10.
3. Jonathan Marchessault. The main reason the Panthers signed Marchessault was for offensive depth. Marchessault has been way more then depth, leading the team in points with 7 (3 goals and 4 assists).
1. Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. 2 of the 3 Canadian teams in the Pacific division, both the Canucks and Oilers were projected by many to not be a good team. That hasn't been the case at all with the Oilers being second in the league with 10 points and the Canucks tied for 3rd with 9 points.
So, there are my top 10 surprises of the season so far. This was posted on 10/25 so it might not be the same date yoy are reading this. If you disagree, or have another surprise that wasn't on this list, write it in the comments below. So, for now, that's the end of the biggest surprises so far.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
In the 8th edition of a day in hockey, there was 12 NHL games. Here were the scores:
Maple Leafs 4 - Blackhawks 5; Rangers 4 - Capitals 2; Canadians 4 - Bruins 2; Hurricanes 3 - Flyers 6; Lightning 4 - Senators 1; Avalanche 2 - Panthers 5;
Sharks 0 - Red Wings 3; Wild 1 - Devils 2; Penguins 1 - Predators 5;
Blue Jackets 3 - Stars 0; Canucks 3 - Kings 4; Blues 6 - Flames 4.
Those were the scores.
The 3 stars of the day were:
3. Shane Harper. In just his 5th NHL game, Harper didn't just score his first NHL goal, Harper scored his first 2 goals to lead the Panthers to a 5-2 victory over the Avs.
2. Sergei Bobrovsky. The goalie of the Blue Jackets was able to find away to beat both Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn plus other weapons on the Stars team by recording a 32 save shutout.
1. David Perron. Perron was looking to impress the St. Louis management after signing with them in the off-season. Perron scored his first 3 goals as a Blue to lead them to a 6-4 win over Calgary.
And those were your 3 stars of the day.
There was quite a lot of news on Saturday mostly because of the Heritage Classic .(which the Oilers and Jets alumni game was Saturday and the real game is Sunday) Here are the other top headlines: Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk expected to miss a month. Coyotes goalie Mike Smith out week to week. Scott Stevens tears up watching Devils tribute (he's the assistant coach of the Wild after being a former captain for New Jersey). Martin Brodeur statue unveiled by Devils.
And that will conclude the 8th edition of a day in hockey.
Friday, October 21, 2016
In the 7th edition of a day in hockey, there were just 3 NHL games. Here are the scores:
Coyotes 2 - Islanders 3
Blackhawks 2 - Blue Jackets 3
Predators 3 - Red Wings 5
Those were the scores.
Here are your 3 stars of the day:
3. Gustav Nyquist. The only forward star of the day, Nyquist's goal and an assist lead his 'Wings to a 5-3 victory.
2. Zach Werenski. The rookie defenseman has taken a solid impact to the Blue Jackets team even though they were the last NHL team to win a game. Werenski's goal and assist helped the Jackets get that win, a 3-2 victory over Chicago.
1. Johnny Boychuk. As a defenseman, Boychuk made an outstanding effort to get a breakaway, leading to a goal by Ryan Strome against his brother Dylan's Coyotes. Later in the game, when it's tied at 2 and the Coyotes have a powerplay, Boychuk's wicked slapper won the game for his Isles.
And those were your 3 stars of the day.
There wasn't much news coming out of the day but you don't expect that when there is only 3 games. The top 2 headlines were:
Ryan Strome wins first meeting of Strome brothers. Flyers' RW Dale Weise suspended 3 games for a blow to the head of Duck's defenseman Korbinian Holzer.
And that will conclude the 7th edition of a day in hockey.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
In the 6th edition of a day in hockey, there were 12 games. Here were the scores:
Sharks 3 - Islanders 2; Avalanche 0 - Capitals 3; Ducks 1 - Devils 2; Penguins 0 - Canadians 4; Panthers 3 - Lightning 4; Coyotes 4 - Senators 7; Stars 2 - Predators 1; Kings 3 - Wild 6; Flyers 4 - Blackhawks 7; Sabres 3 - Flames 4; Hurricanes 2 - Oilers 3; Blues 1 - Canucks 2.
Here are your 3 stars of the day:
3. T.J Oshie. Oshie's 2 goals helped power his Caps to a 3-0 shutout win over the Avs.
2. Taylor Hall. After being acquired by New Jersey in the 2nd biggest trade of the off-season, the left winger scored his first 2 goals with the Devils in a 2-1 win.
1. Al Montoya. The Canadians backup has had to come through big for his team while Carey Price has a flu. Montoya did just that when he recorded a 36 save shutout vs. the reigning champs.
And those were your 3 stars of the day
There was not as much news as you would expect coming out of a 12 game day but there was some. Here are the top headlines: Carey Price expects to play Thursday. Marian Hossa scores 500th career goal. G Jonathan Quick out indefinitely for Kings. First 2 overall picks Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine to faceoff on Wednesday.
And that will conclude the 6th edition of a day in hockey.