Capitals lament chance to take series control as Lightning win Game 4

With just over eight minutes left in regulation, the Washington Capitals survived the most lethal power play in the postseason.

The home crowd roared in appreciation of the Capitals’ penalty kill. For a moment, the crowd exhaled.

All the Tampa Bay Lightning needed to tie up the Eastern Conference finals was that brief moment of satisfaction from their opponents.

Boston College was the first school to offer Sillah last summer, followed by offers from Rutgers and Syracuse. But it’s the Scarlet Knights he grew up the biggest fan of.

Sillah played a big role in Mater Dei’s 2016 Group 2, Non-public championship win over Holy Spirit in 2016, sacking quarterback Mike Costabile to cause a turnover on downs and give the Seraphs the ball at the 50-yard line with 11 seconds left to set up Rutgers freshman Eddie Lewis’ game-winning score.

And he played a huge role in the Seraphs returning to the title game in 2018, despie falling to St. Joseph (Hamm.) by the score of 30-14.

The other cities considered as the potential host sites for the 2019 and 2020 NFL drafts include Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City and a combination bid from Cleveland/Canton, Ohio.

Manny Machado and Albert Almora Jr. played together in the backyard when they were kids, dreaming about winning a World Series together.

As far as what effect Almora’s presence on the Chicago Cubs might have on Machado’s situation, well, the star of the show is guarding his cards quite closely at the moment.

Manny Watch 2018 arrived in Chicago on Monday, and the slick-fielding slugger handled the attention like a routine ground ball. The 25-year-old Machado is eligible for free agency after this season and could well be traded by Baltimore this summer, but he is determined to keep the focus on the field for as long as he can.

Former UCLA coach Jim Mora: QB Josh Rosen ‘needs to be challenged’

Jim Mora thinks Josh Rosen will have to be tested as he prepares to enter the pros.

In an interview Sunday with Sports Illustrated, the former UCLA coach offered an interesting analysis of his former Bruins quarterback, saying Rosen will need to be challenged by whichever team selects him despite his high status.

“I put it in the context of ‘fit,’” Mora said, adding that Darnold has “the underdog mentality that I think will fit so well in Cleveland, a franchise that’s really been down.”

Rosen, 21, threw for 3,717 yards and 26 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 11 games last season, while the 20-year-old Darnold finished 2017 with 26 touchdowns and 13 picks as a redshirt sophomore.

“On the way out to the park, I had no idea if I was going to the Cubs convention [in January] or Opening Day, so I thought it was the right thing to do,” manager Joe Maddon said.

The game was rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon, which was previously an off day for the first series between the National League Central rivals.

“It’s rough out there,” reliever Steve Cishek said. “We’re disappointed. We wanted to get this home opener underway. But at the same time, I know some guys in the bullpen probably, like myself, could use an extra day off just to heal up a little bit and be ready for tomorrow.”

Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova is expected to move back one day to start the series opener, and Maddon said Tyler Chatwood would go for the Cubs.

“They’ve got a team that mirrors us in a lot of respects,” Jones said. “I like a lot of things that we have that they have. We’ve got a running game, offense and quarterback [Dak Prescott] that I’m so proud of for looking ahead and building off of. They probably have more, to say the least, they probably have more names on defense. When I say names, just say they probably have what we’d like to continue to get to. But we’ve got some guys that I think we can get to there.

Aldon Smith arrested yet again

For former NFL pass rusher Aldon Smith, playing football again seems to be no longer a consideration. Staying out of police custody has become the far more pressing challenge.

Via TMZ, the seventh pick in the 2011 draft was arrested on Friday night for violating the terms of his electronic monitoring. He currently wears both an electronic monitoring device, along with a device that reveals alcohol in sweat.

This would mean the Bills are not interested in what they would consider a reach for Allen or Mayfield. It also would mean they’re not comfortable with taking Jackson at No. 22.

Jackson lasting into the range of No. 27 through No. 29 is a possibility. That’s where three teams with future QB considerations the Saints, Steelers and Jaguars are slated to make selections. The Bills could see it as a way to fall back on Jackson while getting a little more out of the No. 22 pick.

That brings up another QB who should build some late first-round buzz: Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. The earliest second-round spot for Rudolph would be the Giants at No. 34. The Bills could trade back to the end of the first round and keep their current two first-rounders by giving up their second of two second-rounders (No. 56) and their first of two third-rounders (No. 65).

Last month, NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders revealed he had no idea who Titans safety Kevin Byard is. Byard has not forgotten.

Byard, who was a first-team All-Pro and tied for the league lead in interceptions last season, was miffed that Sanders didn’t mention him when naming the best safety in the NFL. Byard tweeted at Sanders that first-team All-Pro recognition should count for something, and Sanders replied by demonstrating that he thought Byard was just some random fan tweeting at him, and not an All-Pro safety.

Coroner’s office misidentified victim in Humboldt hockey bus crash

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice announced Monday that the province’s coroner’s office misidentified one of the 15 people killed last week in the highway crash involving a junior hockey team bus.

The ministry announced that Parker Tobin, 18, has died and that Xavier Labelle, who previously had been identified as among the deceased, is alive.

The hockey world was stunned and saddened to hear the news of a bus crash that killed 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. Said Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock: “It’s got to rip the heart out of your chest.”

The coroner’s office also extended “its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as those who were involved in the collision.”

Over the weekend, Tobin’s family had tweeted that Parker was alive. Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench called it “an unfortunate mistake.”

“It’s hard to comprehend that,” he said.

Broncos club president Kevin Garinger said he was contacted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police early Monday about it and said the error makes a difficult situation more challenging.

Gay was also put on the discard pile in March when the Steelers released him to create more cap space. The Steelers selected Gay in the fifth round of the 2007 draft and he spent 10 of his first 11 NFL seasons in Pittsburgh. The other season was spent with the Cardinals in 2012, but he returned to the Steelers after being released in March 2013.

Gay, who has never missed a game over the course of his pro career, had 19 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 16 regular season games with the Steelers last season.

“We have great coaches that have been really good with us and really resilient with us. We’re ready to go, man. There’s enough talking. I don’t see no players saying it. There’s a lot of commentators saying it, but they not playing. They watching. So we’ll see when we get [in between] the lines.”

Morris also sounded off about being ejected from two games in a seven-day span after being hit with a pair of technicals in last Saturday’s win over the Raptors and again during Friday’s triumph over the Chicago Bulls.

Tension reportedly remains after meeting between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed earlier this week that he sat down for a meeting with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and he implied that it had something to do with the faces of the franchise clearing the air. While the sit-down may have helped, it does not sound like it was a cure-all.

If Ryan Tannehill can stay healthy, I think he will. It feels like everything is up for grabs in Miami right now, but a fresh start at quarterback is unlikely. For two big reasons:

The Dolphins hold the 11th spot in a draft in which it’s conceivable that the four top quarterback prospects in this class — Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield — will be off the board in the first 10 picks. Hell, they could all be claimed after the Broncos pick at five. There are other enticing options beyond the Big Four — Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph come to mind — but Miami brass will have to see something very special in that second tier to reboot the position.

Toilolo will join a revamped position group, which includes another free agent addition, Luke Willson, along with Michael Roberts, a fourth-round pick in 2017 returning for his second season.

On Tuesday, Lions coach Matt Patricia highlighted the team’s need for a tight end, foreshadowing the addition of a player like Toilolo.

I would say right now if we had to go line up and play, we’re probably short maybe at the tight end position, Patricia said when asked his team’s biggest need. Try to get another body in there if we can from a free agency standpoint.

The Lions released former first-round pick Eric Ebron earlier this month in a cost-saving move. He was due $8.25 million this season had the team retained him. Additionally, Darren Fells departed via free agency, agreeing to a three-year contract with the Browns.

49ers reportedly have’real interest’ in Odell Beckham trade

The same could pretty much be said for every team in the NFL. With the New York Giants looking to potentially trade star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., it’s not a surprise that a ton of other teams are interested in his services.

Playing to type, Belichick refused to shed light on the mystery at this week’s owners meetings in Orlando, cantankerously brushing off scribes to say: I’m not going to get into last year, I’m not going to get into next year or some other year. I talked to Malcolm. I wish him well in Tennessee.

During the SI feature, Butler admitted the demotion almost prompted him to take action during the Super Bowl.

There were times that I was on the sideline that I just wanted to go up and say to Belichick or [former Patriots coordinator] Matt Patricia and just say,’This is how we’re going to end this’ said Butler, whose last-second pick sealed New England’s victory in Super Bowl XLIX.

I grew up in the Patriots system, and I’m a well-mannered guy. I respect my authority. I just couldn’t ask them for something they didn’t want to do. I just was doing my job. I was close to going up there and saying what I wanted to say to Matt or Belichick, but I just stayed in my lane and just did my job, man.

Wright spent last season in Chicago, where he hauled in a team-leading 59 receptions for 614 yards and one score. The former first-rounder played himself out of a job in Tennessee, but gives Minnesota — and new quarterback Kirk Cousins — an affordable pass-catcher who can operate out of the slot.

Hunting for depth after losing Jarius Wright to the Panthers, the Vikings spread an impressively wide net to unearth a player with the identical surname. Minnesota currently boasts one of the league’s top duos in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, while hoping for a big third season from 2016 first-rounder Laquon Treadwell.

ESPN not conceding the NFL draft to FOX without a fight

When FOX announced that it would simulcast the NFL draft with NFL Network, it appeared to mark a major defeat for ESPN, whose draft broadcast would lose in the ratings race to the combined forces of a broadcast network and the league-owned cable channel. But ESPN isn’t going down without a fight.

I will still be watching the draft on NFL Network. I hope McShay goes to NFL Network someday

NFLN does a much better job covering the draft ESPN has been an afterthought for years in my house.

Of course, Luck absorbed about as much abuse as any quarterback in the NFL over the past half decade and that’s why he wound up sitting out the entire 2017 season recovering from offseason surgery to repair the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

Now, Luck is working his way back, reportedly throwing (miniature) footballs again, which is not good news, but great news, Hasselbeck said.

Whether they’d like to admit it or not, the time has come for the Arizona Cardinals to rebuild.

That doesn’t mean the Cards have to start from scratch without stars David Johnson, Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson, and it doesn’t mean they have to commit to bad football for half a decade. Rebuilds can happen quickly in this league, but it does feel as though Arizona is in denial about its ability to contend.

Why else would you give Sam freakin’ Bradford a $20 million deal The 30-year-old has missed the majority of three of the last five seasons due to knee injuries, and Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero in March that Bradford’s knee condition is degenerative.

Verdugo’s first look in the majors was brief, coming at the end of the season when rosters expanded.

He had only four hits, but one of those a pinch-hit solo blast against the Rockies on Sept. 10 showed a sparkle of the promise that Verdugo holds.

Why he could break out: Even though Verdugo didn’t do a lot of hitting in his 23 at-bats with the Dodgers last season, there is every indication that he will if given greater opportunity.

Hyde is certainly the most notable of the three players, but it’s difficult to believe that the Browns also couldn’t have drafted and developed a better running back than the former 49ers starter, who is on a three-year, $15 million pact.

The one hope is that Hyde ends up in a scheme which plays to his strengths in the short-term alongside Tyrod Taylor.

As Evan Silva pointed out on Twitter, Hyde has been significantly more effective in the shotgun than he has under center as a pro, which is also true for Taylor.

The bright side of the Hyde signing is what it suggests: that the Browns likely won’t use the No.

1 overall pick on Saquon Barkley and intend to draft a quarterback.

Free agency wasn’t the only reason Philadelphia was able to take home the Lombardi Trophy. They traded for Timmy Jernigan, who totaled 2.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss, in the offseason. Philadelphia also pulled off a midseason trade for Ajayi, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry in seven regular season games with the Eagles.

They had some hits in last year’s draft, too. First-rounder Derek Barnett recorded five sacks and a forced fumble in his rookie season. He also recovered the Tom Brady fumble that shut down the Patriots’ late-game rally in Super Bowl 52. Barnett is one of several stars the Eagles have drafted in recent years, joining Wentz, tight end Zach Ertz, and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Nelson Agholor, their 2015 first-round pick, finally broke through for his best season yet.

As with any championship-winning team, there’s some luck involved, too. For the Eagles, that included snagging kicker Jake Elliott off of the Bengals’ practice squad when Caleb Sturgis got hurt.

It’s an exciting addition for San Francisco, but there are questions about how much Sherman has left to give.

The Seahawks opted to save $11 million instead of bringing him back for the 2018 season, probably due to a serious injury suffered in 2017 coupled with a 30th birthday coming this March.

In 105 career games for the Seahawks, Sherman tallied 32 interceptions and 104 passes defensed. He has long been one of the league’s shutdown cornerbacks, fiercest competitors, and outspoken leaders. The 49ers will hope they get more of the same in 2018 and beyond.

There will be no messing around with this position for the Browns under?new general manager?John Dorsey. In a talented QB class lacking a perfect prospect, Darnold is the most “complete” in terms of competing in?the NFL now.?He’ll need to confirm this at his Pro Day after not throwing at the Combine.

While many on the interwebs (including me) have celebrated the return of the bullpen cart for at least one team (the Diamondbacks) in 2018, some have pondered a critical (not really, but kinda) question: What will become of closer entrance music if every team uses a cart? Will it go away? Will it be less cool? Less of a chill-inducing spectacle? Here are my initial answers to those four questions:

The obvious allure of an entrance song for a closer is to make his entrance that much more grand. It’s a pronouncement that something special is happening, that the game is about to (probably) end in a thrilling fashion and that we should all be excited. Think Mariano Rivera and “Enter Sandman,” or Trevor Hoffman and “Hell’s Bells,” or John Smoltz and “Dancing Queen” (that one’s a joke, but, yes, it really happened).

But I get it: Throw in a bullpen cart to the process and, well, that allure loses some luster. Red Sox fans could still be pumped that Kimbrel’s coming in to close out a win, but there’s just something about watching him run in from the bullpen that adds gravitas — like a superhero marching onto the scene for all to see, and the bad guys knowing there’s nothing they can do about it. Yes, Batman has the Batmobile, but it’s basically a tricked-out war machine. It exudes power and intimidation.

A bullpen cart? It’s a tiny cart that wears a hat. It’s just a step up from a clown car at the circus. It’s kinda ridiculous if you think about it, but that’s also why I’m all for it.

The decision by the NHL not to take a break during its season to participate in the Olympics sent shockwaves through the hockey world last year.

We’re down to the final four teams in 2018 Winter Olympics men’s hockey as the semifinals await Friday night. The tournament doesn’t have NHL players for the first time since 1994, which has opened the door to a competition where seemingly anything can happen.

The discord between the league and the International Olympic Committee forced national teams to turn elsewhere to fill their rosters for Pyeongchang, which gives this event a decidedly different feel from the past two decades.

The gold medal game is set for Sunday, Feb. 25 local time in Pyeongchang, but it’ll actually be Saturday, Feb. 24 in the United States. The schedule below is adjusted for Eastern time and reflects that time difference.

The tournament starts with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four for the preliminary stage. Canada, Switzerland, South Korea, and the Czech Republic are in Group A. Team USA, Olympic Athletes from Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia are in Group B. Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Germany are in Group C.

Following the group stage, the teams are seeded from one to 12 for the playoff bracket based on the results. The top four teams automatically advance to the quarterfinals, with the other eight teams playing to fill the other four spots. From there, it’s a standard single-elimination tournament

How does the competition work?
There are eight competitors. They face off head-to-head in the first round, racing on identical courses simultaneously at each end of the floor. The winners from those four first-round battles move on to the second round, where they are paired off and go head-to-head again. The winners of those two semifinal matches go head-to-head in the championship round. The winner gets a trophy, eternal glory, and a lifetime supply of mild sauce packets.

That is a lot of skills testing.
Each run takes less than a minute, but for the two finalists, it’s a lot of physical activity in the middle of All-Star Weekend. For this reason, you will often notice veteran players plod through it to ensure they do not advance.