Blue Flower

Tuukka Rask assesses his performance in season-ending loss to Islanders originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

"I actually don't think it's putting an unfair bullseye on his back," Hardy said. "Victor Hedman is up the Norris Trophy all the time and I think Owen Power will be up for the Norris Trophy all the time. I really don't shy away from how good I think he is. We have so many of these good players, I've never really thrown around hyperbolic statements, but he's that good. He's special. And it's going to be awesome to watch him grow and watch him as an NHL player and just continue to get better and what he can accomplish."Winnipeg Jets

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Duncan Keith is 37 years old, and while they have some very intriguing young defensemen, Hamilton is a sure thing to take over the top spot. You know what you are getting, and it is really good.Buffalo Sabres

I know I just spent a couple of words painting a negative picture of the Avalanche's chances in Game 6, but enough burying the lede: I'm taking them to win, and bring Vegas to yet another Game 7, tonight.San Jose Sharks

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For the first time in years, the Wild were actually fun to watch. They have a reputation around the league for being quite boring and unexciting. For just the second time in franchise history, and the first time since the 2015-16 season, the Wild finished among the top 10 teams in goals scored. Led by rookie sensation and highlight-reel regular Kirill Kaprizov, the Wild were one of the most exciting teams in the league.Montreal Canadiens
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Whether they repeat this season or not, the fact they are such a mainstay at this point in the playoffs is an incredibly impressive run in a salary cap era And they have a chance to keep building on it.

James O’Brien, NHL writer: Lightning in 6. After these playoffs, it does not feel great to go “chalk,” especially not with both picks. The Islanders look legitimately dominant, and totally comfortable in their playoff skin. But the Islanders have been killers these playoffs, so I expect a replay of last year’s series: skin-tight, with the Bolts manufacturing just enough finish.
"Just used him solely as a tight end to show give them a chance to showcase his skill set and try to coach him up as as good as we could," Koessler said. "And just to put some tight end plays on film."Miami Dolphins Face masks

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Brees will account for $11.15 million under the cap in each season. Prior to retiring, Brees also cut his $25 million salary for 2021 to the league minimum in February and created almost $24 million in cap space for the Saints to use this offseason.

How much will Ryan Tannehill and Julio Jones work on chemistry? The newly acquired Jones will play a key role in the Titans' passing game but is playing with a new quarterback for the first time in his 10-year career. Tannehill was able to quickly develop chemistry with A.J. Brown and some of the other receivers in 2019. If he and Jones can quickly get on the same page, it will be tremendous for the Titans' offense. -- Turron DavenportIndianapolis Colts Face masks

"Maybe it will come down to who we're playing and where maybe we can find a weakness and expose that weakness in the five offensive linemen," Spagnuolo said. "We've just got to get him used to playing the two spots right now and figure out the rest of it."

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Neasman's journey from forgotten high school football star to an NFL veteran who has carved out a solid career for himself is quite the success story. Neasman did not get any offers coming out of Braden River High School and gave up football for two years. He worked morning shifts loading trucks for Federal Express and spent his afternoons working at Pacsun, a clothing store. Eventually, Florida Atlantic came calling with a walk-on offer, giving Neasman the opportunity he had coveted since he started playing football in his Pop Warner days. “I knew that I needed to stay in Florida,” Neasman said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I did well academically in high school. Florida Atlantic gave me an opportunity.”

Jarrett Stidham was consistently third up in the quarterback order, and when the team wanted a fourth it went to Brian Hoyer.Detroit Lions Face masks

Released: C Russell Bodine, CB Justin Coleman, G Joe Dahl, QB Chase Daniel, TE Jesse James, LB Christian Jones, DT Danny Shelton, CB Desmond TrufantBaltimore Ravens Face masks
Green Bay Packers fans wish team president Mark Murphy kept his comments about quarterback Aaron Rodgers to himself.
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That’s risky at best, disastrous at worst, and has to change some time before the start of the regular season -- preferably before training camp opens on July 27. The Jets have to add a veteran backup before the market dries up completely -- although at the moment, it’s pretty dry.

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Dec 6, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Jedrick Wills (71) after a win against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsWashington Football Team Face masks

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According to Geoff Hobson of, Burrow has spent time after practice consistently the long routes to his receivers.Carolina Panthers Face masks

The Philadelphia Eagles have the youngest wide receiving group in the league, based on average age and that could translate to big-time potential over the next few years.Cincinnati Bengals Face masks

But even if Gilmore has a case, the Patriots have the money and Gilmore is going to withhold services until he gets a bump, he really isn’t dealing from a position of strength.

And while Riddick makes a good point about Nagy’s job and reputation being on the line with Fields, you can’t force a situation to pan out a certain way. If Fields continues to outplay Dalton in training camp — and proves that he’s the best option at quarterback — Nagy shouldn’t sit him just because he doesn’t want to rush him. It’s not rushing him if he’s ready.Chicago Bears Face masks
But even after earning a ring and signing a four-year, $72 million deal to stick with Tampa Bay this offseason, Barrett is as motivated as ever.NFL Design Face Masks | NFL Design Face Coverings
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Being a perennial contender is the goal even if Wentz tries not to focus on that too much.Jacksonville Jaguars Face masks

When it was time for the Vikings to draft him 18 years ago, it was definitely better late than never.

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The Saints still had to restructure cornerback Marshon Lattimore‘s deal to sign their draft picks, which shows how tight they’ve been to the salary cap this season and how much worse it would have been without the maneuvers involving Brees on his way out of town.Minnesota Vikings Face masks

One of Stidham's three incompletions Tuesday was the result of Bourne falling down mid-route in the end zone. Stidham was also "sacked" by Hightower at one point as the Patriots offensive line had trouble consistently handling pressure looks over the course of the day.

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“It just gives everybody more opportunity,” Belichick said. “A lot of drills we did were two-spot drills so that was two and two when you had four (quarterbacks). When it’s a two-spot drill and you have three (players), there’s one person in one spot and two in the other spot. Josh (McDaniels) does a good job of working that out and depending on what we’re doing and what each individual players needs and so forth of trying to get the right amount of work to the guys – however it breaks down.

Dak Prescott has left Adidas — the apparel company he partnered with since his rookie season — and signed a five-year deal with the Jordan Brand to become the company's only quarterback, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to announce the deal publicly.Baltimore Ravens Face masks
Even if the Cubs do add a former top pitching prospect to the rotation, that may not be enough.

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The Mets couldn't grab a sweep of the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon, falling 7-3, but Joey Lucchesi was stellar in his start, tossing five innings of four hit, one earned run ball to go along with six strikeouts and one walk.Colorado Rockies face coverings
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The Mets have had to deal with more injuries than they’d ever hope for in 2021. The most concerning yet may have just arrived.

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “Guys know that when you come here we’re going to work at it, we’re going to swing the bats and get our bunts down. Also, we’re trying to savor it a little bit because it’s most likely our last time to do it.”Oakland Athletics face coverings

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association, which played for about three months in 1946. The Sea Lions were one of his six teams and played their games at Seals Stadium.

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That swing helped the Red Sox avoid a sweep, and it once again shined a spotlight on the unlikely contributions the Red Sox have received from a 26-year-old who certainly put in his time before finding a home.Tampa Bay Rays face coverings

This is why it is so important for the front office to make the right trades heading into the deadline, ones that will improve the roster now but will not jeopardize their long-term future.Baltimore Orioles face coverings
The Islanders are a relentless team with an excellent forecheck and they rarely give any opposing player much time and space with the puck. Therefore, puck protection needs to be a top priority against them, and the Bruins displayed very little of that in Game 6.Boston Bruins

The "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is one of the most iconic moments in American sports history. Set against the backdrop of the women's liberation movement, King's 1973 victory over Riggs transcended sports. But a news tip from an unexpected source, 40 years later, sent ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. down a path that led him to investigate whether the match was rigged. Van Natta details his reporting on the lead-up to The Battle of the Sexes, and how Riggs' own agenda may have impacted the historic outcome.

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As for Rask? Depending on his health and his desire to keep playing, the smartest play is to sign him for a year or two at $5 million per. That gives you a strong tandem while you figure out whether Jeremy Swayman is capable of taking over. Just giving the net to a good young player can be risky; look what happened with Philadelphia this year.

NHL free agency opens on July 28, seven days after the expansion draft, which means Hinostroza would then be free to talk to all 32 teams if he's without a contract at that point. But if both the player and the Blackhawks recognize the value in continuing their partnership, it would be wise to get it done before the frenzy.

When the Capitals lose as many good players as they have over the years, former teammates are bound to pop up against each other around the league.Seattle Kraken

You have probably heard more than once over the years that the NHL is a copycat league. Or at least we like to think it is.Pittsburgh Penguins

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Both goalies made big saves to keep Islanders – Lightning Game 2 lower-scoring. In the dying moments of the second period, Andrei Vasilevskiy made a huge save on a Grade-A Anthony Beauvillier chance. Semyon Varlamov didn’t look out of sorts in the middle frame, particularly when he stopped Yanni Gourde on a shorthanded breakaway.Winnipeg Jets
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Like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Lakers, it's hard to cast a successful and well-funded franchise as a scrappy underdog, which is one of my struggles in embracing this team.

"That’s a great option for our coaches to have," President/GM Stan Bowman said during his exit interviews in May. "It’s too early to tell whether he’ll be an NHL center or not, but the fact he’s got some experience there shows he has pretty good instincts and hockey sense. He took a nice step forward offensively, production-wise he had a good year, so that’s a positive.Boston Bruins

There's a mad scientist aspect to this guy that I've always admired. Like his wardrobe, he's never boring.
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"Obviously you guys know there was too many men on the ice there," Trotz said. "They had seven guys. Disappointed in that. But we tried to battle through."Montreal Canadiens

“I really liked the way we started. Penalties killed our momentum and rhythm,” he added. “But besides that, it’s not something we’re surprised with or that we didn’t know about.”Washington Capitals

Analytically, the Oilers outplayed the Jets, with Hellebuyck as the difference-maker. But the only numbers anyone was paying attention to were the zeros Edmonton's star players posted in their first two home games of the series, and the fact that Winnipeg advanced in such emphatic fashion. The Oilers have won a single playoff series in the McDavid era. Changes have to be coming.Ottawa Senators

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There were no fans allowed in the Coliseum for the first few months of the just-concluded regular season, but 1,200 were welcomed when fans were first allowed back in.

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The big question is when exactly Boston could get Sale back. The bullpen session he threw on Tuesday was equivalent to what a pitcher might do in January, according to trainer Brad Pearson and pitching coach Dave Bush. He’s not likely to return by the All-Star break.Houston Astros face coverings

The Twins held a moment of silence for Grant prior to their game against Houston on Saturday night after showing a brief montage of black-and-white highlights from his playing career. He was a frequent visitor to the team's annual winter fan festival and maintained strong relationships with the Twins long after his playing days were done.

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Per Wainwright, he got his stuff back in 2019 from former Los Angeles Angels staffer Bubba Harkins. Per Sports Illustrated, Harkins was fired after he gave double-digit players the substances, with Wainwright included.Detroit Tigers face coverings

But this season, the Nationals are 25-34 after Friday's loss to the Giants. While they are far from out of contention in the surprisingly mediocre National League East, any further fall from contention could spur them to place Scherzer on the trade market, where he'd immediately become the game's most prized commodity.
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Over 11 games in June thus far, Gorman has a .428/.481/.894 slash-line with seven home runs and 13 RBI over 52 plate appearances (a 13.5 percent home run rate). He talked about what has spurred his power surge.

Rogers quickly fell into a jam by allowing a 69 mph second-pitch single to Leury Garcia. Then, he walked Danny Mendick with four pitches. His velocity jumped to 71 mph, but he had only tossed two of his seven pitches for strikes.Tampa Bay Rays face coverings

The broadcasting foursome will be a tag-team of Giants and Phillies voices. Play-by-play will be delivered by Giants broadcaster Jon Miller, while Phillies analysts John Kruk and Jimmy Rollins will join Giants analyst Mike Krukow on the call.Los Angeles Dodgers face coverings

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Jeff: Tampa Bay in 6 games - The Islanders have proven that you don’t necessarily need a star to win but it will be interested to see if Barry Trotz can get the best of Jon Cooper in this one. The Lightning are just a different breed, with about an extra $15 million on the cap playing a big part in that. It’s been impressive how Tampa has relatively cruised through two series wins against some of the best teams in the league. I think they’ll be too much for the Islanders.Columbus Blue Jackets

Gallant, 57, was the first coach of the Vegas Golden Knights and led them to an unlikely Stanley Cup Final berth in its inaugural season (2017-18). Gallant was fired in January 2020 and replaced by Peter DeBoer -- formerly coach of the Golden Knights' then-biggest rivals, the San Jose Sharks.Buffalo Sabres

That was especially the case this spring, when critics focused their attention on Price, who is in the fourth season of an eight-year, $84 million contract. The 33-year-old went 12-7-5 and missed much of the last month of the season with injuries, including a concussion that sidelined him for the final 13 games.Philadelphia Flyers

Peyton Krebs (fractured jaw) has been a full participant with the taxi squad and could be an option, but he may not get a chance to play in the postseason.Florida Panthers

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For this season only, the NHL realigned with four divisions. Teams played only against opponents from their division during the 56-game regular season. The playoff format is simple: The top seed in each division faces the fourth seed, while the second faces the third in the First Round. The winners face off in the Second Round.
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The third period of Game 1 between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights. The game was out of hand and the Golden Knights were in full message-sending mode. This is where Ryan Reaves earned his two-game suspension. It's also were Avalanche coach Jared Bednar gives his team some priceless advice: "If you want to eliminate all this bulls--- and you want to get some licks in, put the puck in and get in on the f---ing forecheck. Quit sitting around and waiting for them to come at us!" Just great stuff.

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What undid the Kings, specifically? Their 5-on-5 play. Through 53 games, their expected goals per 60 minutes dropped to 2.10 from last season's 2.45, while their expected goals against ballooned to 2.45 from 2.27. They can thank an outstanding season from goalie Calvin Petersen (19.9 goals saved above average) for helping them to 19th in team defense despite that.Vancouver Canucks

He's thankful for having a healthy newborn and for the help he and Jordan will receive as his playoff journey continues, starting with Game 2 against the Islanders on Tuesday night.Seattle Kraken
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I was talking to some of my friends playing in Canadian cities, and when they're not doing well, they get approached and people say to them: "You guys suck right now, wake up," and stuff like that. Vegas would never do that to us. They're so good to us. It makes it such a great environment to play in, and live our lives with our families here. It's been just a life treat, honestly, to be able to play here.Boston Bruins

Ference: "There was a love/hate thing with Luongo. He'd be put on the pedestal and then torn down and then put back up. He gave up a lot of goals in Boston. A lot of us interpreted it as he was going through his own thing. It wasn't really about him and Timmy."

In terms of playing style, it probably would not be the most exciting of the potential matchups given that they also ranked 17th and 21st in the league in goals per game. But it would be unique for the East vs. East aspect, and because of the grueling path that both teams would have taken to get here, pulling off three consecutive upsets each along the way.

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Yes, the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs (and other NHL postseasons) are often about favorites vs. underdogs. Take one peek at the Vegas odds and you’ll realize just how strongly the Golden Knights are favored over the Montreal Canadiens in their Semifinal series.San Jose Sharks

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Price has had an incredible postseason, going 8-4 with a .929 save percentage and a 2.15 goals-against average. He's the catalyst for this Montreal underdog run, and it's hard to imagine anyone else getting the MVP nod over him if the Canadiens pull this out. However, what makes Price interesting is if the Canadiens make the Stanley Cup Final but just fall short: It's not unrealistic to think that he could still win the Conn Smythe in a losing effort in the Cup Final. Four of the five times a member of the losing team in the Final won the Conn Smythe, it was a goaltender; the last time was Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.
He was hitting .370 with two home runs and five RBIs in six games for Tacoma before he was called up to the majors last month.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers put Jeimer Candelario on bereavement; Isaac Paredes upMinnesota Twins face coverings

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers game vs. Chicago White Sox: TV, time, probable starters

Trout is unlikely to return to the Angels until the season's second half, making it "a stretch" that he appears in the All-Star Game, Maddon said. But Ohtani is on track to do so. And given his prodigious power, Ohtani also would be an obvious candidate for the Home Run Derby -- if the workload isn't too much of a concern for a player who already takes on such a large burden.Baltimore Orioles face coverings

The Padres scored far more runs Monday (nine) than they did in their entire three-game series at Wrigley Field last week (six).Texas Rangers face coverings

A 19-8 May and home sweep of the Padres last week already looks impactful — especially with a long list of regulars constantly rotating in and out of the lineup with back, hamstring, thumb and rib injuries.Kansas City Royals face coverings

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers game vs. Seattle Mariners: TV, radio, probable starters