MacKinnon rebounded in the final year of his entry-level contract with 52 points

Zach Parise is a six-time 30-goal scorer, who has 318 goals and 661 points in 830 career games. He and the Devils reached the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, but lost to the Kings.

Joe Pavelski, the captain of the Sharks, has similar career numbers to Zach Parise — 631 points in 806 games — and is also without a ring, losing in his lone Final appearance in 2016 against the Penguins.

New contracts, greater expectations and pressure to repeat rookie successes in the hockey-crazed Toronto market are major things these youngsters have to deal with this season. Whether it is to get in a better position to earn a massive payday or just the desire to win the ultimate prize, a step back can be costly in both pursuits.

On the financial front, take the cases of Nathan MacKinnon and Aaron Ekblad, who each recently won the Calder after being selected first overall. MacKinnon’s production dropped from 63 points to 38 in his second year, while Ekblad’s performance remained steady in his sophomore campaign.

MacKinnon rebounded in the final year of his entry-level contract with 52 points, but his new deal is a team-friendly $6.3 million per season for seven years. Ekblad, though, signed an eight-year max contract ($7.5 million AAV) with time still remaining on his entry-level deal.

Pastrnak, a restricted free agent, is coming off an age-20 season in which he scored 34 goals, tied for 10th most in the NHL, with 70 points. Earlier this summer, the sides were said to be closing on a six-year deal similar in average annual value to Brad Marchand (eight years, $49 million), but that was before the likes of Connor McDavid and Evgeny Kuznetsov inflated the market for high-end young Cheap NFL Jerseys talent.

Pastrnak and the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl remain the biggest RFA cases Cheap Long Sleeve Soccer Jerseys left unresolved with training camps less than a month away.

Von Miller, Luke Kuechly are best LBs in ‘Madden NFL 18’ — by a lot

Von Miller is one of just three players in the NFL to receive a 99 Overall rating for “Madden NFL 18.” The Super Bowl 50 MVP presents an incredible challenge for offensive lines with his 97 in Finesse Moves and 95 Block Shedding.

After numerous injuries and surgeries, the Patriots tight end is attempting to extend his NFL career by making healthier choices. And who better to idolize than teammate Tom Brady.

“Just looking at Tom, seeing what he does every day, what he eats, talking to him, personally one-on-one, just learning about the body with him, just seeing how flexible he is, how pliable he is, how loose he is all the time, every day and ready to go, I just felt like it was the time in my career where I needed to devote myself at all levels,” Gronkowski told the Boston Herald on Friday.

Brady, who turns 40 on Thursday, credits TB12 Sports Therapy Center leader Alex Guerrero for his healthy lifestyle that has led to success both on and off the field despite his advanced age.

Meanwhile, Gronkowski, 28, has a reputation for embracing the party lifestyle in which burgers are washed down with shotgunned beers. But the four-time All-Pro is willing to make sacrifices in order to avoid missing games and prolong his career. Even if it means taking on rigorous workouts at the TB12 Cheap Jerseys And Hats facility and restrictive diets that are primarily plant-based.

Still, the one element that will drive NFL Life Line to break Cheap Jerseys Baseball confidentiality with law enforcement is an imminent threat to the life of the caller. If the counselor believes the caller is about to take his/her life — and they are well-trained to identify this — they will contact local authorities. This is a standard policy of suicide hotlines. The goal, after all, is to save lives.

“Life line has absolutely saved lives,” Hollier said. “Without question.”

If you are a member of the NFL family who needs help, contact NFL Life Line on their Web site, or call 800-506-0078. Licensed counselors are there to help every second of every day.

Noted ‘Concussion’ doctor sends dire warning to all football players

Bennet Omalu, the doctor who inspired the movie “Concussion” after discovering CTE, warns against focusing too much on chronic traumatic encephalopathy when it comes to brain damage from playing football.

“There has been so much fascination with CTE that we are going the wrong way,” Omalu said Friday (via ESPN). “CTE is just one disease in a spectrum of many diseases caused by brain trauma. If he doesn’t have CTE, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have brain damage. бн I’ve always said that every child who plays football has a 100 percent risk of exposure to brain damage. And I’ve always said that at a professional level, 100 percent would have brain damage of some kind to some degree. That’s whether or not their brains are found to have CTE.”

“If anybody should be a judge of quarterbacks, I’ve played with the most quarterbacks in NFL history throughout my first four years,” DeAndre Hopkins said after practice Friday, via ESPN. “So I put the stamp on (Tom) Savage, and I think that’s all that needs to be said about that.”

Savage was drafted by the O’Brien regime, he has a few starts under his belt with the Texans and has been working with Hopkins for the longest of any quarterback currently on the Texans’ roster.

While Watson is likely to be the quarterback of the future for Houston, Hopkins is thinking about the present. And at present, he sees Savage giving his team the best chance to win.

“I know he can help us win what we want to win. He does everything well,” Hopkins said. “He’s a student of the game, from just being on the bench, watching and learning from other people’s mistakes, seeing what they’ve done wrong. He can put the ball in any place. He has a strong arm. He has a knowledge of this offense. He’s been in this offense his whole career.”

Hopkins is entering the final year of his contract Cheap Ice Hockey Jerseys for the Texans this season and can become a free agent after the year. If he decides he doesn’t like the quarterback situation for the Texans this season, it Cheap Ireland Rugby Jerseys could be the end of Nuke in Houston.

Decision on Ezekiel Elliott’s potential suspension not expected this week, report says

The NFL will wait until next week at the earliest to discuss Ezekiel Elliott’s fate.

I think anything is discretionary. At any time you can ask for more meetings, whether it’s the league or whether it’s Zeke.

Jones has long asserted Elliott’s innocence in the matter, recenty saying there is absolutely nothing, not one thing, that I’ve seen that has anything to do with domestic violence. Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has effectively recused himself from the league’s investigation.

The league has not taken action against Elliott, who was never charged in the alleged assault. The second-year rusher is also in hot water for driving 100 mph in a 70 mph zone and being accused of punching a DJ in a Dallas nightclub, though Dallas police have suspended that investigation because the accuser has not been cooperative.

The Cowboys signed veteran running back Ronnie Hillman earlier this week, though coach Jason Garrett told reporters the signing is due to Jahad Thomas’ hamstring injury and had nothing to do with a potential suspension of Elliott.

Since his time at Texas A&M, Tannehill has struggled as a vertical passer. While he has made up for it with accurate mid-field passing and poise in pocket adjustments/timing throw efficiency in West Coast offense opportunities, he has never been able to properly utilize the perimeter, vertical threats Miami has had during his tenure.

Conversely, Cutler has never seen a vertical pass he didn’t consider making, regardless of his foot positioning, game situation or defender Cheap Epl Jerseys alignment. And while the trait notoriously has gotten Cutler into trouble, as Bears fans Cheap Football Jerseys can attest, he was at his most efficient in 2015 under Gase.

he’ll have to be surrounded with shooters who space the floor.

The Sixers defense nosedives with Okafor on the floor. An otherwise average unit allows 109.9 points per 100 possessions with him in the game. That rate stands worse than 27 teams, and totals 4.6 points per 100 possessions worse than Philadelphia averages. That’s bad, and because of his defensive woes and the emergence of Joel Embiid and a healthier Nerlens Noel, Okafor is sitting seven more minutes Vancouver Canucks Cheap Jerseys on the bench per game in his sophomore season. He needs a new home.

But to play Okafor to his strengths, he’ll have to be surrounded with shooters who space the floor. It’s no surprise that Philly’s best five-man lineup with Okafor in it includes Ersan Ilyasova, Nik Stauskas and Robert Covington. The problem with the Bulls is that a good deal of their problems this season are because they lack guys who do exactly that.

Playing Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Michael-Carter Williams and Jimmy Butler in the same backcourt has left the Bulls shooting a dismal 32 percent from 3-point range. Even worse, in a league where 3-point shooting is a staple in nearly every title contender’s offense, the Bulls are shooting to the lowest frequency at 23 percent. That’s half the rate of the reborn Houston Rockets, a team which has used long-distance accuracy to spark improvement under offensive guru Mike D’Antoni.

Coming off his Olympic experience, which included a 25-point, six-rebound performance in a near-upset of the Americans in pool play, Jokic—who had been the MVP of Serbia’s qualifying tournament—was poised for a lot of big things. He was entering his second season with the Nuggets. His performance Soccer Cheap Jerseys on the international stage showed he had all the tools required of the modern center and Toronto Maple Leafs Cheap Jerseys the skill to surpass the best-known Serbian center in NBA Very Cheap Jerseys circles—Vlade Divac.

ESPN colleagues blast Dan Le Batard over Magic Johnson hot take

Dan Le Batard’s comments criticizing the Lakers’ decision to name Magic Johnson team president have drawn sharp criticism, mostly from his colleagues at ESPN.

The former Miami Herald columnist who is seen and heard weekdays Cheap Jerseys 90 on ESPN radio and TV essentially said Johnson didn’t deserve a shot at running his former team because of past entertainment failures.

“What you’ve got here, though, is a testament to the power of fame. And a testament to the power of a modicum of charm,” Le Batard said Thursday (via the New Yok Post). “Because Magic Johnson is charming. But Magic Johnson was given a late-night television show because he’s famous and charming. Failed in 11 shows. Magic Johnson was given a head coaching job of the Lakers because he’s famous and charming. Failed in 16 games. Magic Johnson, not interesting as a broadcaster, given broadcasting opportunity after broadcasting opportunity, because he’s famous and charming.

“And now, he gets to run the entire Lakers organization because he’s famous and charming. But he wasn’t good at any of those jobs I just mentioned, and he got all of those jobs, bypassing Cheap Germany Soccer Jerseys a whole lot of people who are more qualified, because he’s famous Cheap Jerseys And Hats From China and charming.”

PTI’s Michael Wilbon and Keyshawn Johnson both slammed Le Batard’s Cheap Hats And Jerseys logic. Speaking on ESPN Radio in L.A., Keyshawn Johnson said Le Batard’s view has racist overtures.

“I’m going to read between the lines, I’m going to read between the lines on this one,” Keyshawn Johnson said via the Post. “To me, he saying because he’s a black dude, that’s the way I look at it …”

By any measure, Johnson’s success in business rivals his playing career.

According to Forbes, Johnson’s business empire includes partnerships with Starbucks, Burger King, 24 Hour Fitness and many more. Forbes estimates Johnson’s annual earnings at $18 million.

Five ways to improve the Big3 basketball league

The decision-makers running the Big3 basketball league took a look at their on-court and television product after the league’s debut in Brooklyn and implemented changes for Week 2 in Charlotte.

Games were shortened from 60 points to 50, with halftime taking place once one team reached 25 points. The league’s self-reflection and willingness to change its rules is a positive sign for its future success.

Sporting News attended Week 2 of the Big3 at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center and left with ideas for future improvements to the league. Some are as simple as changing a rule, as the league did with its point limit, while others are more ambitious and would take longer to implement.

The playing time and comfort were the catalysts for Smoak’s breakout in 2017, but his positive, light attitude toward his teammates was always there.

“He’s just a good teammate. He tries to keep things loose,” Jays outfielder Jose Bautista told SN. “He’s always messing around and joking around with the boys. He is shy, he’s somewhat of an introvert, but he’s got some Southern humor in him.”

It was a recurring theme from Martin and Bautista. And of all the Jays players so willing to heap praise on Smoak, there’s probably no player who Smoak has had an effect on more than outfielder Kevin Pillar.

The friendship that bloomed between he and Smoak off the field has left a mark on Pillar’s career. Each club may hold a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which in 2017 may begin on May 15. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL Draft Cheap Los Angeles Dodgers Jerseys rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft. The dates of each club’s post-draft Cheap MLB Jerseys Free Shipping rookie Cheap MLB Baseball Jerseys minicamps will be circulated at a later date.

I’m sorry that this came out of this building

Going into free agency, Kaepernick should have been seeking a competing starter contract. This tier through the years has featured players who were either journeymen starters or high-potential players who flamed out for whatever reasons in their last stops.

Contracts for these players are generally one or two years in length, with the first year of the contract being guaranteed. Most players have high-end incentives in these contracts that allow them to double their earnings if they play well, make the playoffs, make a Pro Bowl, etc.

“I want to put that to rest,” Lynch told the show. “I’m sorry that this came out of this building.”

More important, Lynch continued, he actually told Kaepernick that — a player who had never played for him, but who he treated with more respect and with a higher sense of obligation than the rest of the league seems compelled to do.

“That was what was most important to me,” Lynch said, “to talk to Colin directly and let him know that I was sorry that that did (come out) and that nothing else like that will come out of this building if I have anything to do with it.

“That’s where that is. We wish Colin the best and I can tell everybody out there he very much is sincere in his interest to get back in this league, and I hope it works out for him.”

For what it’s worth, that’s been clear since last October, when under the previous management, he had restructured his contract to do exactly that, and to allow the Cheap DUKe Basketball Jerseys 49ers the same option. Going back even further, his 2017 status had been a factor a year Cheap Euro Jerseys ago when he asked for a trade and the 49ers shopped him around … before thoughts of a protest had ever surfaced. Memories got very selective during the rumor-spreading of the last three months, though.

MLB reportedly pitches two key rule changes in effort to speed up games

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made no secret of his desire to speed up the pace of play during games, and it appears baseball is trying to take some tangible steps in that direction.

ESPN.com reported Monday that MLB submitted proposals to the players’ union last month that would raise the strike zone and eliminate the need for pitchers to deliver four balls on an intentional walk. The commissioner’s office first floated the changes last year but did not submit them to be enacted until January.

The latter initiative would seem to have a greater chance of being enacted, but it also doesn’t figure to make much of an impact on the overall pace of play. ESPN notes that pitchers issued 932 intentional walks last season, or just one every 5.2 games. But having a batter simply take his base after the decision to issue an intentional walk is made certainly would speed up the process a bit.

Five years almost to the day after the Braves set their mark, the Brewers matched the record on April 20, 1987, after blazing through their first 13 games. As with the Braves, the Brewers’ hot start wasn’t expected.

But also like the 1982 Braves, the 1987 Brewers couldn’t parlay their early streak into postseason magic, despite featuring future Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. And like the 1982 Braves, the ’87 Brewers streaked in the other direction, too.

After a win on May 2 gave them a 20-3 record, the Brewers embarked on a 12-game losing streak that dropped them out of first place, never to return. They ultimately finished in third place with a record of 91-71.

The endings to the Braves’ and Brewers’ seasons shouldn’t diminish the accomplishment of a 13-game winning streak. No team has really come close to equaling the teams’ hot Chicago Blackhawks Cheap Jerseys starts since. A lot has to go right. There must be talent, yes, but there also has to be a good bit of baseball luck.

Then again, maybe there’s something unlucky about that No. 13 after all.

Ducks some. Oilers less.

It started out well enough. Just past five o’clock local time, the upstart Edmonton Oilers played host to the bullshit shitbird Anaheim Ducks. Fans chewed Detroit Lions Cheap Jerseys their nails in anticipation. More food than usual was eaten to comfort the anxious. Buttholes everywhere. Clenched.

And then it got better. By some grace of god, a technical difficulty (thanks, Rogers) forced someone other than Brett Kissel to sing the US national anthem. “It’s happening, isn’t it?” We all thought.

Tennessee had two major areas of need coming into this year’s draft. It addressed both of them by the 18th pick of the first round. Davis may have seemed overvalued at the No. 5 overall pick, but the run on wide receivers that followed validated the Titans’ choice. Thirteen picks later, Jackson shored up a big hole in the secondary while adding significant special teams value. Taylor and Smith should add more punch for an offense that needed to surround Marcus Mariota with playmakers.

Ezekiel Elliott’s 2016 disproved the recent adage that running backs aren’t worth premium picks. The Jags doubled down on that in 2017, selecting Leonard Fournette at No. 4 overall. Fournette could be a generational talent, but he’s coming off a disappointing junior year at LSU. If he lives up to expectations, he could transform Jacksonville’s offense and take pressure from embattled quarterback Blake Bortles. Tackle Cam Robinson (and, to a lesser extent elusive wideout Dede Westbrook) will also be a boon for Bortles.