Pacers win second straight, avenge earlier loss to Cavs

first_img(Field Level Media) Malcolm Brogdon posted 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Domantas Sabonis had 18 points, 17 rebounds and four assists, and Indiana overcame a poor 3-point performance to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-95 last night in Indianapolis. The Pacers earned their second consecutive win after an 0-3 start, which included a loss to Cleveland six days earlier. Friday’s contest followed a similar arc, only with roles reversed: Cleveland outscored Indiana by 19 points in the second quarter on Oct. 26 and controlled through the second half.This time, the Pacers’ defense overwhelmed the Cavaliers in the second quarter, holding them to 11 points while scoring 23 themselves.The strong second quarter erased a rough start for Indiana, which scored just 19 points in the opening period. Coach Nate McMillan, who didn’t have Myles Turner because of an ankle injury, started T.J. Leaf instead. Indiana came out sluggish, and its 3-point shooting never improved: The Pacers shot just 18.5 percent (5-of-27) from deep. Justin Holiday, who scored eight points off the bench, was the only Pacer to make more than one 3-pointer.But the Pacers had a 57-46 rebounding edge, and their defense held the Cavaliers to just 36.8 percent from the floor. Jeremy Lamb contributed on the glass with 10 rebounds, and he scored 21 points.The Pacers bench provided 35 points, and five of the six reserves recorded positive in plus-minus scores. Rookie center Goga Bitadze played 25 minutes in Turner’s absence and was a game-high plus-15 after scoring 10 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking four shots in the best performance of his young career. Cleveland remained in striking distance throughout the second half, led by forward Kevin Love, who posted 22 points and 17 rebounds. Guard Collin Sexton scored 21 points, while Jordan Clarkson added 20 points and five assists off the bench.Center Tristan Thompson, who came into yesterday’s game on a career-best scoring run as he averaged 20.3 points in four games, fouled out after registering just seven points in 31 minutes.last_img read more

`Desi’ snubbed as Desai named batting coach

first_imgST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Little known former Canada head coach, Monty Desai, has been appointed West Indies batting coach. The Indian has signed a two-year contract and has joined the squad ahead of the opening Twenty20 International of the three-match series against India starting tomorrow in Hyderabad.Desmond HaynesSignificantly, Desai’s appointment has dashed any lingering hopes that legendary former West Indies opener, Desmond Haynes, would take up the role.Haynes was snubbed for the top post of head coach, missing out to Phil Simmons, but another West Indies icon Michael Holding said recently he hoped Haynes could be appointed as part of the Windies management group. “Desmond Haynes cer­tain­ly has good qual­i­fi­ca­tions as far as be­ing a bat­ting coach is con­cerned. He has done it over­seas … and I think Dessie knows enough about bat­ting and has helped young­sters in the past with their bat­ting, that a place could [be found for him],” the legendary former fast bowler said.But Desai, who served as Afghanistan batting coach at the World Cup qualifiers last year, has partnered with Simmons before and has gained the nod.“I have worked with Monty before and he is an excellent coach. He has proven he has the ability to get players to improve on their talent and also to perform better in matches,” said Simmons. “He has vast knowledge of the game and it is good he is starting here with us in India. I look forward to seeing him work with our batsmen in all formats as we look to get better in all areas.”Desai, also a former batting coach with United Arab Emirates, said the prospect of working with a team with “such a rich history” was an exciting one.“I am very much looking forward to being part of a journey where I can help to create a winning work environment, learn and embrace a new culture, and build a ‘happy dressing room’ tradition alongside other excellent leaders,” he said. “I am eager to join forces with head coach, Phil Simmons and director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, and our captains, such that I may contribute in every possible way to the success of our team.”Desai joins a Windies management group which also comprises bowling coach Roddy Estwick and fielding coach Rayon Griffith.last_img read more

Football not as important as health

first_img“Health is far more important that football”. Those were the sombre words of Terrence Mitchell, President of the Upper Demerara Football Association (UDFA) in relation to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Mitchell, who also holds the portfolio of Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Committee Member, echoed these sentiments during an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport yesterday.He stated, “We need health to be restored, we need to follow the procedures so we can eventually get back to normalcy. Football is not as important as health. Once health is restored football can play, if we don’t get healthy players and fans then the sport is in shambles. We need to return the situation to normalcy and fix it in terms of health.”Mitchell further declared, “We will have a setback and the longer the situation persists the worst the setback will be for football. If we can get out of this situation soon, the less we will have to eventually deal with. We are looking to get out of this soon, not just for football but more importantly for the general public. Health is a universal language and is across all spectrums, if we have to shut down football for health, then so be it.” According to Mitchell, the present situation and the eventual recovery will provide an expected setback for the discipline, as funding through corporate sponsorship might prove elusive, with companies attempting to recover from the financial losses incurred.“They will be a setback for football, the sponsors will have financial issues and be reluctant as they are rebuilding. We have to wait and see how it goes from here”, he added. The UDFA has issued a blanket lockdown of the sport in the region, following a declaration from local governing body, the GFF. The federation’s decision came on the heels of local confederation CONCACAF, and world governing body FIFA’s move to suspend all competitions and programs in an effort to thwart the spread of the virus. Mitchell expounded, “There has been a total shutdown and the current situation has had a big impact on the whole nation, a rippling effect and everyone is suffering in the same way and there is no timeline for the recovery.” He revealed that the clubs under the umbrella of the association has been briefed on the ongoing situation, revealing that the entity maintains constant communication with the requisite individuals and clubs.“We have spoken to them and let them know the situation based on the directives of the health community which the UDFA and the GFF is operating from. These are directives you have to follow from the Ministry of Public Health and the WHO”, he added. Mitchell further disclosed, “Everyone and all the clubs know what they have to do, we are in constant communications with them as the communication channels are open. One for the executive and one for the general clubs and we tell them to do what the authorities and the health community says to do.”last_img read more

Gabriel, Joseph inspire England collapse as Windies tighten grip

first_imgSOUTHAMPTON, England, CMC – Speedsters Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph rocked England in the final session with fiery spells as the hosts collapsed spectacularly losing five wickets for 30 runs in a nightmare 75-ball period, to leave West Indies with an excellent chance of winning the opening Test here yesterday.Shannon Gabriel exults (CWI photo) Cruising at 249 for three late on the penultimate day with Zak Crawley and captain Ben Stokes well entrenched, England suddenly lost their way in the face of Gabriel and Joseph’s hostility, and limped to the close on 284 for eight – a lead of 170 runs heading into today’s pivotal final day at the Ageas Bowl.Gabriel finished with three for 62 while Joseph claimed twoAlzarri Joseph bowlingfor 40 to rescue a day which seemed headed England’s way from the outset. Part-time off-spinner Roston Chase had earlier taken two for 71, his wickets coming in the first and second sessions respectively.Zak Crawley, in only his fifth Test, top-scored with a career-best 76 while opener Dom Sibley chipped in with exactly 50 – his second half-century in his seventh Test. For the second time in the match, Stokes got a start but failed to carry on when he perished for 46 while opener Rory Burns hit 42 in a 72-run opening stand with Sibley, which got England away to an excellent start once they resumed on 15 without loss.Having won the first session to be 79 for one at lunch and also dominated the second to be 168 for three at tea, England seemed poised to bat West Indies out of the game in the final session, especially with Crawley and Stokes taking control. The 22-year-old Crawley, unbeaten on 38 at tea, struck eight fours off 127 balls while the left-handed Stokes, yet to score at the final interval, faced 79 deliveries and blasted six fours. Boundaries flowed at the start of the final session, Crawley punching Chase to the ropes at cover to move into the 40s before collecting two more fours through point in the bowler’s next over – the first a cut and the second a reverse sweep – to bring up his second Test fifty.Chase, bowling in tandem with part-time off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite, proved ineffective and even when Gabriel and the wicket-less Kemar Roach were handed the second new ball after 11 overs, there was no immediate success for West Indies.In fact, Gabriel was punched to the cover boundary off the back foot by Crawley in his second over back and when Stokes smashed back-to-back fours through the off-side, the over had leaked 13 runs and West Indies were running out of ideas. But Holder quickly rung the changes, introducing himself for Gabriel and struck in his second over, removing Stokes to a catch by Shai Hope at the first of two gullies, the left-hander sparring at a widish ball that lifted.Stokes’s dismissal opened the floodgates for West Indies and the tide of the game shifted. In the following over, Crawley chipped a return  catch to Joseph and Jos Buttler perished four overs later, bowled off the inside edge to Joseph for nine after being reprieved by DRS in the previous over when he was adjudged lbw to Holder.With England reeling on 265 for six and just under half-hour left in the day, Holder summoned Gabriel again and he provided two key strikes in the second over of his new spell. Dom Bess (3), earlier dropped by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich off Joseph on one, lost his off stump to the first delivery and Ollie Pope played on to the final delivery for 12, after failing to negotiate a lifter that jagged back.Earlier, Chase grabbed the only wicket to fall in the first session when Burns scooped a short ball to John Campbell at point, in the fourth over before lunch.Sibley, who faced 164 balls and struck four fours, added a further 41 for the second wicket with Joe Denly (29) before glancing a leg-side catch to Dowrich off Gabriel, on the stroke of the first hour after lunch.Denly faced 70 balls and counted three fours but perished with tea approaching, clipping Chase to Holder at short mid-wicket.last_img read more

Remembering Hockey’s Legendary Ron Caron

first_imgIf you ask anyone who’s been around the NHL for the last 20 plus years who they thought the most entertaining general manager would be, in the press box, I’d wager that at least nine times out of 10 the answer would be former St. Blues GM Ron Caron. Sadly news came down on Tuesday that the legendary hockey executive passed at the age of 82 in Montreal.Nicknamed the “Old Professor,” Caron was a longtime assistant GM for the Canadiens and helped build the Montreal teams that won six Stanley Cups (1971, 1973, and four more from 1976 to 1979). Caron was hired as GM in St. Louis in 1983 and spent over a decade in the position.“Mr. Caron was extremely passionate about the Blues and the city of St. Louis,” president of hockey operations John Davidson said in a statement. “He will truly be missed.”To say he was extremely passionate about hockey is a HUGE understatement. As a Washington Capitals team statistician from 1987-1997 the opposing teams general manager would routinely sit in the row in front of us in the old Capital Centre press box and our crew was always excited when the Blues would come to town because of Caron. The French-Canadian was a joy to watch while his team was playing. He’d frequently yell or get up and start talking out loud to seemingly noone about his team, or usually about the referees. His bald head would get bright red and his words were a mix of barely decipherable French and English. I’ve always thought I’ve been tough on the zebras, but anyone in hockey will likely tell you that the “Old Professor” was their number one detractor. He was pure entertainment!There have been a number of great write-ups on him tonight (see Kevin Allen’s post) so I’d thought I’d share some first hand stories that many of us who have been around the Capitals for so many years still talk about to this day and laugh about hysterically.As it has been chronicled, Caron was obsessed with hockey and specifically the referees. One night team statistician Mike Herr and I were having dinner with former NHL goalie and Bruins scout Marcel Pelletier when Caron entered the Capitals press room. “Watch this Eddie,” said Pelletier. Marcel immediately caught Caron’s eye, since they no doubt had known each other for years, held up the game notes, pointed at the part where the referee was listed (back then there was only one referee) and said towards the Blues GM, “Can you believe that you have this guy calling the game tonight?!”With that Caron IMMEDIATELY reached into his suit jacket pocket, pulled out a sheet of paper and with his head getting bright red started reading the statistics on the road team’s record when this official was calling the game and how bad he’d been when officiating Blues games. He proceed to blast the referee up and down for a couple of minutes to Pelletier, Herr, and I before leaving to grab his dinner. After Caron was out of earshot, Pelletier said quietly, “If he spent that much time now on his team instead of the referees they’d win the Cup!” Of course Caron already had 6 Stanley Cup rings from his days with the Canadiens but that never stopped his desire to win one for St. Louis.Towards the end of his career as GM for the Blues, St. Louis came to Washington to take on the Capitals in late November of 1993. Caron was getting up there in age and there was talk that he was getting close to retirement. Despite that fact, he was still his usual self in the press box talking at anyone who would listen and often gesturing up at NHL supervisor Bryan Lewis, who was sitting one row behind us in the Capital Centre tiered press box, about the referee.Back in those days, NHL budgets were very tight and our stats crew performed the job on an old COMPAQ 2 computer that was over 25 pounds and didn’t even have a hard drive! We had used that thing since the mid 1980’s and kept the ice time, face-offs, hits, and turnovers for the coaches and General Manager David Poile. Herr and I would travel with the team on the road in the playoffs and after games we’d have to lug that thing with us on the team bus and through the airports. Dale Hunter and several other players would often crack jokes about the big white box that we’d have to carry around for the Caps to keep track of important metrics.In 1993 we were still using the COMPAQ 2 for the stats as the game transpired (the following season we got rid of that boat anchor when assistant coach Tod Button gave us his old laptop after the team purchased him a new one). The Capital Centre was the first arena, in December of 1973 when it opened, to have in house video, called the “Telescreen.” Replays would be shown on it by the in house staff as well as videos and other information. By 1993 it wasn’t the greatest of pictures but it was still used to show the game and highlights.So it is a close contest between the Blues and the Caps in the third period and Caron has not been happy with the officiating all game, what else is new, right? Anyways, what happens next leads to complete chaos in the Washington press box. Blues defensemen Rick Zombo catches Caps forward Randy Burridge with a vicious elbow and the Caps forward stays down on the ice. The referees get together to confer and just then the in house staff shows a replay of the hit. Keep in mind, that replays of that such were considered a no-no back then. So as the replay is shown Caron looks around and just as Zombo hits Burridge the entire game staff in the first two rows of the press box grabs their right elbow to signify a penalty. Caron, who was looking back at Lewis already yelling about the play, hears the crowd gasp at the replay, watches the renactments from those in the press box, then spots me behind the computer, and goes absolutely bezerk.He comes storming over yelling at me from one row down “You can’t show the replay! What are you doing? That is not allowed!” and a bunch of other things that I couldn’t make out because it was half in English and half in French. I am absolutely STUNNED as to why he is yelling at me but suddenly it dawns on me that he thinks I AM the one responsible for running the replay on the Telescreen when all I’m simply doing is statistics for the coaches on this severely outdated equipment. So naturally I start laughing at him and this enrages Caron even more. He just goes nuts, yelling and screaming “Quit laughing at me funny boy! You can’t do that. I know people in this league, I’ll have you fired!’  I continue to laugh because I am thinking if he really knew how inept this computer we were using was he’d have realized that there was NO WAY that I could have possibly shown the replay on such a technology challenged piece of equipment. That computer didn’t even have its own hard drive, we had to boot it from floppy discs each game!Anyways, Caron continues to yell at me for what seems like forever and Caps PR man Dan Kaufman is kneeling next to me saying “Don’t say anything Eddie, just be quiet” over and over but I can’t stop laughing and it doesn’t help that Herr is howling and the other stats man, Scott Scheuler, is hiding behind the television we had next to us for replays in tears from laughing so hard. Eventually Caron calms down and goes back to his seat. Zombo gets a major for elbowing and the Capitals erupt on the power play to win 5-2. Caron is not happy and I don’t make eye contact with him at all as he leaves the press box for fear of another attack from him.After the game ends, I’m a little bit uneasy with what Caron said because I knew he was a man of extreme stature in the NHL and was a little bit worried about my job. So I go up to Lewis, who has always been nice to me, and ask him what he thought of the situation. Lewis, who no doubt had seen more than his share of Caron meltdowns, with his trademark big smile, said with a laugh, “Don’t worry Eddie, I saw the whole thing, you are fine. Of course it didn’t help you that the whole first two rows of the press box grabbed their elbows when they showed the replay though!”After that game, we never saw Caron in the Capitals press box again since he did retire after that season. Year after year, not a single Capitals-Blues game goes by without Herr, Scheuler, or Caps Press Box announcer John Beamer bringing up that famed Caron incident or talking about how he kept track of the won-loss record for his team with each NHL referee.I am sure if you went around the NHL talking to executives, players, officials, and media personnel every one would have at least one Ron Caron story. He was a man who loved hockey and wore the game on his sleeve like no other. Personalities like him don’t come around too often and he has been missed since he retired. RIP Ron Caron.********************The Washington Capitals have recalled defensemen Tomas Kundratek from Hershey. Here is the full press release from the Caps:The Washington Capitals have recalled defenseman Tomas Kundratek from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.Kundratek, 21, recorded eight points (six goals, two assists) and 14 penalty minutes in 21 games with Hershey this season after being acquired by Washington from the New York Rangers for Francois Bouchard on Nov. 8, 2011. Prior to the trade, Kundratek collected two assists in seven games with the Connecticut Whale.The 6’2”, 200-pound defenseman registered 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) and 42 penalty minutes in 70 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack during the 2010-11 season.Kundratek made his professional debut for the Wolf Pack on April 23, 2009 in Game Five of 2009 Atlantic Division Finals versus Worcester. The native of Prerov, Czech Republic, was drafted by the Rangers in the third round (90th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.Kundratek, who will wear number 36 for Washington, will participate in Washington’s morning skate at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.COMMENT: Clearly defensemen Mike Green is still injured and won’t play against the Penguins on Wednesday. With Jeff Schultz already up with the team and presumably healthy it would appear that either someone else is hurt or another roster move is pending.last_img read more

Former Steelers QB Dixon added to Ravens practice squad

first_imgA day after officially adding five players to their eight-member practice squad, the Ravens added former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon to the group Sunday.The news was reported by CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.Dixon worked out for the Ravens in the offseason before they elected to sign former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Curtis Painter to be part of their preseason roster. The organization elected to go with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster Friday and waived Painter.A fifth-round pick out of Oregon in the 2008 draft, Dixon spent four years in Pittsburgh while playing in four games and making three starts. His first start came in a Sunday night game played in Baltimore in 2009 in which the 6-foot-3 Dixon completed 12 of 26 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. However, his interception in overtime led to the game-winning field goal by Billy Cundiff.Displaying good mobility, Dixon is an insurance policy on the practice squad should anything happen to starter Joe Flacco or backup Tyrod Taylor. The Ravens remain high on Taylor’s ability, but the second-year quarterback had an up-and-down preseason that led some to believe he was being pushed by Painter for the backup job. That assessment was never accurate as Painter didn’t cut into Taylor’s reps with the second offense during training camp, but Dixon provides a more seasoned option on the practice squad than you’d typically expect.In four career games over four seasons with Pittsburgh, Dixon has thrown for 402 yards with one touchdown and and two interceptions.Dixon joins safety Omar Brown, running back Anthony Allen, offensive linemen Antoine McClain and Jack Cornell, and linebacker Josh Bynes on the practice squad. Safety Anthony Levine and linebacker Adrian Hamilton are also expected to be signed to the eight-man squad, according to a report from The Sun.last_img read more

Deflate gate – Good for business, bad for Brady

first_imgAll this “Deflate Gate” hoopla is actually good for the NFL. I believe it was Mae West who first coined the phrase “bad publicity is good publicity.” It’s not only good, in fact it is downright brilliant. The Super Bowl matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots would have probably been the most watched event in television history – that’s before the “scandal.” The story lines were plentiful without the added drama.Not only were the Seahawks in position to win back to back Super Bowls – which is a rare and difficult feat in and of itself – but the Patriots’ Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had worked themselves in position to win a fourth Super Bowl title. Think about that for a minute. A victory by the Patriots puts Brady right on top of the Mt. Rushmore for quarterbacks, right there with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, and also one more Super Bowl ring away from being the greatest of them all. I rank my QBs by championships and not by statistics, and he would have been in that conversation.A victory this Sunday by the Patriots also puts Belichick right there with Chuck Knoll and Bill Walsh, the Mt. Rushmore of Super Bowl winning coaches, and one more Super Bowl win away from being hailed as the greatest coach of all time. The sad part is that I can’t root for them, and I would love to. As a football fan, I really enjoy history, and records when they are broken. But I want them broken honestly, without a shadow of a doubt. Brady’s and Belichick’s first 3 Super Bowl wins should carry an asterisk next to the Patriots’ name. They were illegally taping practices, something that Belichick has quickly dismissed as “everybody else was doing.” What Wild Bill doesn’t get is that not “everybody got caught.” That’s noteven getting in to the “tuck rule” fiasco, which is another conversation in and of itself.The way they got to this Super Bowl should carry an asterisk as well. Deflating footballs below league standards is cheating. To think that anyone but Belichick and Brady are responsible is foolish. The notion that a ballboy deflated the balls all on his own is laughable. What’s not laughable is that the Patriots, ever since the tuck rule, have had the least amount of fumbles than any other team in the league. Is that a condition of “good coaching” or more a symptom of something else. Running backs are much less likely to fumble a football that has less air in it, as it is easier to grip. What’s more is that weather has a less adverse effect on deflated footballs, versus fully inflated slick ones’. Belichick and Brady know this. They’ve been at their craft for a long time, and they leave nothing to chance. To insult the intelligence of the American public is unforgivable. Belichick does not have an answer as to why the balls on the Colts sideline were not affected by the weather, but on his sideline they did.So the entire world will be tuning in this Sunday, and not just football fans. There will be a large segment of non-football fans who will tune in just out of curiosity, to see what this deflate gate is all about. Commercials cost $4.5 million per 30 seconds, so business must be good. Our Sunday Sports Voice show hereon WNST is trying to raise money so we can get a 30 second commercial. We’re about $4,487,312 short.last_img read more

Connolly Helps the Caps Ambush the Flyers, 5-2

first_imgBeating the Philadelphia Flyers never gets old for long time Caps fans because they remember back to 1974-75 and the 1980’s when these two teams were fierce rivals. Year after year bus loads of loud mouthed drunk Flyer fans would invade Capital Centre and in the early days, when the Broad Street Bullies were at their peak, the guys in orange and black would more often than not, win.That’s not the case anymore.The defending Stanley Cup Champions, coming off of a giveaway loss to the Penguins on Tuesday, needed a win in Filthy before Saturday’s date with the league leading Lightning in Tampa. Capitals Coach Todd Reirden, at his pre game skate presser, talked about how a fast early start against a desperate Philadelphia team was needed on Thursday night, and his Caps definitely delivered.Brett Connolly scored into a wide open cage off of a gorgeous pass from Michal Kempny just 2:32 into this game and by the 10 minute mark it was 2-0 when Lars “Tiger” Eller crashed the net to grab and fire a deflected shot by Connolly on rookie goalie Carter Hart. The young Canadian goalie made the initial stop, but Lars was able to pot his own rebound.This was exactly the type of response to a bad loss that the Caps coaching staff was looking for and despite giving up an early goal in period two to cut their lead in half, Washington added two more tallies midway through period two, Connolly’s 19th and then Top Line Tom Wilson’s 20th to make it 4-1. Philly scored a few minutes later to trim the deficit to 4-2, but Washington, despite taking three straight third period penalties; never really looked liked they’d lose this one. Alex Ovechkin made a great play in his own end once the Flyers dispensed of their keeper and he fed Evgeny Kuznetsov, who made the major blunder that started the downward spiral in Pittsburgh, for an empty net tally with 2:26 remaining.The Capitals dominated this tilt, but that was to be expected with the Flyers having traded Wayne Simmonds at the deadline and Cap killer, Jakub Voracek, also out due to a two game suspension. Washington is far more talented than this Flyers team, like they have been for many years in a row, but for some reason the Caps have let down in these games the last several years against a franchise that long time Capitals fans despise.This season, Washington has jumped all over the Flyers in Filthy, outscoring them 9-3 in the first two periods. Within the last eight days, the Caps have won by counts of 5-3 and 5-2 against a team that has been beating pretty much everyone else in the league via a desperate late push to try and make the post season. Philadelphia is not making the playoffs this spring, and the Capitals are a big reason why, going 3-0 against them in 2018-19.Scoring chances were heavily in Washington’s favor, and the Caps broadcast team had those at 16-8 at one point in the second period. Philadelphia had 19 of their 24 shots in the last 40 minutes (10 in the third period) since they were chasing the game the entire evening. It was a textbook road win for the Caps and they improved to 42-22-7 (91 points) with their eighth victory in their last nine games. The lone loss, to the Pens on Tuesday, was another contest they dominated for long stretches, but they hit three posts and Kuzy had a brain fart that turned the momentum around in the latter stages of period two.Evgeny was better on Thursday night, but his erratic play is a big reason Ovechkin doesn’t have a goal in four straight contests. If the Caps are going to make a strong stretch and playoff run, they need #92 to get going like he did last spring. My personal opinion is he is holding back his energy for the post season, but he probably needs to start amping his effort and play up now, especially with three games against the Bolts in the next two weeks.As for the Caps third line, well they are really humming since Carl Hagelin (two assists, +3, in 17:57) was added to that unit. They were responsible for the first three goals and Hagelin also had 4:39 of penalty killing time. What an addition he has been to this team because the Capitals finally look competent on the PK and all four lines are rolling since Andre Burakovsky has been bumped down to make the fourth line a match up nightmare for their opponents.This is a deep Capitals team. When they play hard and smart they are tough to handle. But they do have a tendency to get pulled into end to end riverboat hockey with the lead. They also have to eliminate some of the poor decisions coming out of their own end. There are still too many cross ice passes from inside their own blue line. With the Caps speed up front now, a high flip pass is a much better option and worst case it’s an icing instead of a giveaway and an odd man rush against. They’ve used this effectively with Hagelin lately and it works. Pittsburgh did this on Tuesday against the Caps on their tying goal from Sidney Crosby. Again, the worst case scenario is an icing and I’ll take that any day over a cross ice turnover and an odd man rush against.As for the goaltending, it continues to be rock solid. Braden Holtby (22 saves) was very good on Thursday night. Philadelphia, at times, had some looks to make this a closer game, but the Holtbeast shut the door each time.So now it’s on to Tampa to take on the Lightning in the teams first meeting since game seven when the Caps blanked the Bolts, 4-0, at Amalie Arena. You can bet Coach Jon Cooper’s squad is ready for this one, so it should be a dandy.However, that is still nearly 48 hours away and on Friday, Caps Nation can proudly wear their gear to their schools and offices and let any local Flyers fans know who is boss in the hockey world. Hey, even a 1975 chant (the last time Filthy won Lord Stanley) might be in order, hehe!It’s always a good night when the Caps beat the Flyers, outside of a Stanley Cup triumph, there isn’t a whole lot of things better, in my mind.Notes: John “Norris” Carlson was absolutely dynamite again for Washington logging 25:04. He had an assist and was +3. He is so good in all three zones and is the best defensemen in the NHL this season when you look at all of the hard minutes he plays. He’s a total stud on the back end for Washington…The Caps seemed to lose a lot of defensive draws when shorthanded in period three, but for the night they went 25-28 from the dot. Kuzy was 5-3 and Nicklas Backstrom was 8-7…Ovi only played 16:25 due to the big lead and the fact that the 3rd line was rolling. The Caps got into penalty trouble in the final frame, as well…Washington was four for four on the penalty kill and zero for three with the man advantage. The Capitals power play was not good, at all, in this one…Connolly, Eller, and Hagelin were all +3. Those guys are playing extremely well…shots on goal were 32-24 for the good guys. Ovi led the Caps with five shots on net.last_img read more

Super Eagles Defender Ola Aina Signs New Chelsea Contract, Joins Torino On Loan

first_imgSuper Eagles defender Ola Aina has signed a new contract at five-time Premier League champions Chelsea and thereafter joined Italian Serie A outfit Torino on loan.The 21-year-old has spent over a decade with the Blues and has decided to extend his contract with the Stamford Bridge outfit until the end of the 2020/2021 season.He has made six appearances for Chelsea with the last of those coming in May 2017.Ola Aina spent last season on loan at English Championship side Hull City.On his loan transfer to Torino, the Chelsea youth product said: “Torino have been following me for some time.”“I hope to do well; I know this is a club that believes in young players and that is very important.“I know I can learn a lot in Italy, above all in terms of positioning and organisation, which are fundamental here.“I really want to experience this new adventure to the full. Thank you to the Toro for choosing me: now it’s up to me and I can’t wait to get started.” He stated further.Torino president Urbano Cairo added: “Our staff were already looking for a prospect like Ola Aina, a wing-back who is physically strong, quick and has stamina, able to play on either wing.”“Aina is an ambitious young player who Torino can improve. In the name of the club, I am happy to welcome him to the Granata.” He concluded.Ola Aina has made five appearances for the Super Eagles of Nigeria since making his debut in 2017.Relatedlast_img read more

VOLLEYBALL: Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique All Win As Rwanda Upsets Egypt at 2019 Africa B/Volleyball…

first_imgHost Nigeria, Angola, Ghana and Mozambique all won their respective matches at the ongoing 2019 Africa Nations Beach Volleyball Male and Female Cup Seniors taking place in Abuja.In the male category, the Nigerian duo of Goodluck Anyasodike and Godwin Shekarau combined to beat Tanzania 21-13, 21-14 in the first match of Pool A before seeing off Mauritius 21-12, 23-21 in their second game.In the other Pool A match, Ghana overcame Botswana 3-1 (21-15, 20-22, 16-14) before going on to beat Tanzania 2-0 (21-14, 21-12).South Africa proved too strong for Sudan in a 2-0 win (21-12, 21-16) and also dismissed Gambia 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) while Mozambique beat Zambia 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) and Sudan 2-1 (21-18, 21-18) in Pool B.In Pool C, Angola put up stellar performances to defeat Benin Republic 2-0 (21-15, 21-10) and Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 (21-05, 21-13).Coach of the Rwandan team Paul Bitok had proclaimed his mission to lift the trophy and his team lived up to his words producing an outstanding showing to see off Egypt 3-1 (20-22, 21-13, 15-12) to top Pool D standings.In the female category,  Tochukwu Nnoruga and Fransica Ikhiede from Nigeria teamed up in a 2-0 (21-10  21-16) defeat of Gambia’s Abie Kujabi and Fatoumata Ceesay.A total of 21 countries are participating at the 2019 Africa Nations Beach Volleyball Male and Female Cup Seniors.There are four groups in both the male and female category.In the female category, Nigeria, Egypt, and The Gambia are drawn in Pool A. Pool B houses Rwanda, Algeria, and Niger.Morocco, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Botswana are grouped together in Pool C while Pool D has Mozambique, Mauritius and Ivory Coast.In the male category, Nigeria, Ghana, Mauritius, Botswana, and Tanzania make up Pool A.Mozambique, South Africa, Gambia, Sudan, and Zambia are grouped in Pool B.Pool C houses Sierra Leone, Angola, Benin Republic and Ivory Coast while Pool D contains Rwanda, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.2019 Africa Nations Beach Volleyball Male and Female Cup Seniors Day 1 Results (Male)Nigeria 2-0 Tanzania (21-12, 21-18)Mozambique 2-0 Zambia (21-13, 21-14)Sierra Leone 2-0 Ivory Coast (21-9, 21-13)Rwanda 3-1 Egypt (20-22, 21-13, 15-12)Ghana 3-1 Botswana (21-15, 20-22, 16-14)South Africa 2-0 Sudan (21-12, 21-16)Angola 2-0 Benin (21-15, 21-10) Morocco 1-2 Algeria (14-21, 14-21)Nigeria 2-0 Mauritius (21-17, 23-21)South Africa 2-0 Gambia (21-18, 21-13)Angola 2-0 Ivory Coast (21-05, 21-13)Mozambique 2-1 Sudan (21-18, 21-18)Gambia 2-0 Zambia (21-19, 21-10)Ghana 2-0 Tanzania (21-14, 21-12)Female CategoryMorocco 2-0 Botswana (21-14, 21-9)Nigeria 2-0 Gambia (21-10, 21-16)Rwanda 2-0 Niger (21-13, 21-9)Mozambique 2-0 Ivory Coast (21-11, 21-7)Sierra Leone 2-0 Sudan (21-19, 21-19)Algeria 1-2 Niger (22-24, 21-15, 12-15)Relatedlast_img read more