Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Furious Phil Kessel shakes off frustration, scores Game 2 winner

For most of Monday’s maddening Game 2, linemates Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin made no attempt to hide their frustration with one another, themselves, the Senators, pretty much everything and everyone.

It was fitting then that the pair of Penguins connected for the only goal late in the third period that tied the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece.

Television cameras caught Malkin and Kessel seething on the Pittsburgh bench, at times inconsolable while venting to teammates, coaches, or in Kessel’s case, perhaps, an imaginary friend. Ottawa’s grind-it-out trap game was working wonders to dishearten the Pens’ stars into submission, a repeat of Game 1 when they hit three posts and failed to cash in on five power plays.

Driving Lyft before Game 3, Brett McCormick, 39, told a story about his Pittsburgh roots and growing up going to Penguins games. His move to Nashville 18 years ago almost exactly coincided with the Predators’ birth.

It was an NHL experiment then. Hockey’s conversion rate to a Southern fan base isn’t great elsewhere, but Nashville, unbeknownst to outsiders, was fine-tuning a brand all its own, waiting for a moment like this to flaunt what they had come up with.

“You go back then and half the arena was empty,” he said. “Now there’s barely Cheap Authentic NHL Jerseys room to move on the streets.”

The dual-fandom also means he’s a conflicted man these days.

Pressed, McCormick admitted he’s now partial to the Predators — “I root Cheap Braves Jerseys for the underdog” — even if it means being shunned by some family in Pittsburgh.

“I have people asking all the time who I’m rooting for,” he said. “Last week I told my aunt I have to go with the Preds and she said she couldn’t talk to me anymore.

“I thought she was joking, but I haven’t heard from her since.”

Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Penguins offense roars to life as Matt Murray earns first win

The Penguins bounced back after an embarrassing Game 3 loss to the Senators to even the Eastern Conference finals Friday behind a solid performance from goalie Matt Murray, who earned the win in his first playoff start of the season.

Murray replaced Marc-Andre Fleury in the first period of a one-sided Game 3 loss on Wednesday after Fleury allowed four goals on nine shots. Murray carried his stellar play into Friday in Ottawa. He stopped 24 of 26 shots in the Penguins’ 3-2 win.

The 22-year-old Murray took over for Fleury during the Penguins’ Stanley Cup championship last spring, but had missed the postseason thus far after suffering a lower-body injury during warmups before Game 1 of Pittsburgh’s first-round series against Columbus.

EA Sports Hockey League: Bringing authentic NHL 3-on-3 overtime to EA SPORTS Hockey League, you can now choose to play 3-on-3 full matches, opening up more ice for you and your teammates to get creative, pull off big plays and showcase brand new skill moves. With more space to attack, and to make mistakes, 3-on-3 EASHL offers higher stakes with more competition and skills. Whether you’re playing the 3-on-3 format or the traditional 6-on-6 matches, you’ll earn experience to unlock items for your skater and/or club to customize your player, team or home rink.

NHL THREES: An all-new 3-on-3 hockey experience with bigger hits, faster action, bigger plays, beautiful dangles and more goals. Inspired by fun, pick-up-and-play arcade sports games, NHL THREES is all action with no offsides, no icing and every penalty sends you straight to center-ice for a penalty shot and Great Cheap Jerseys the chance to earn a crucial goal. You’ll have to wait until NHL 18 launches to play the Jerseys From China THREES Campaign, but you won’t want to miss playing NHL THREES versus any way you want in the NHL 18 Beta, online or offline, co-op or competitive.

Markov, Canadiens officially part ways; veteran heads home to Russia

After 16 years, and nearly 1,000 games played, with the Canadiens, veteran defenseman Andrei Markov is heading home to Russia.

Markov and the club failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, and the 38-year-old, who represented himself in negotiations, decided he had no interest in uprooting his family to move temporarily to another NHL city. Instead, Markov announced that he will play in the KHL next season, though he did not reveal for which team since he has yet to formally sign a contract.

Winnipeg’s need for a veteran presence in net was must-fill this summer, and Mason is about as average as any other option. But why Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff felt compelled to pay him $4.1 million per annum, a price that far exceeded the market value filled with other comparables, was a bit confusing.

The 29-year-old was 39th in the NHL last season in save percentage (.908) and has won 30 games only twice in his career. Brian Elliott, who trades places with Mason in Philly, and Jonathan Bernier (both at $2.75M AAV) were better values.

If Alzner’s contract is the biggest overpayment of free agency, there have certainly Detroit Tigers Cheap Jerseys been far worse in recent years. Nothing flashy, he’s a solid defenseman who has been about as dependable as they come in nine NHL seasons. But the Canadiens now have nearly $30 million tied up in four players China Cheap Jerseys through 2020-21 — Alzner, Price, Shea Weber and Jeff Petry — and limited cap room to address their scoring woes.

LeBron James considering 2020 Olympics because of Gregg Popovich

Cavaliers star LeBron James has not ruled out playing for the United States under head coach Gregg Popovich at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Spurs boss Popovich will lead Team USA in Tokyo after replacing Mike Krzyzewski following the 2016 Games.

And Popovich’s presence could be enough to tempt three-time NBA champion James — who sat out Rio 2016 — to play in the Japanese capital, when he will be 35 years old.

In an extensive interview with ESPN, Wade opened up about whether he would continue to play in Chicago. After all, he signed a two-year deal this offseason, but he has an opt-out clause after this season should he want to go elsewhere.

“I can’t play this game forever. I just turned 35 and I have a number in my head how long I want to play. At the end of the day, you want to be in a situation where it’s a competitor situation, whatever the case may be. It’s tough in this league as well because a lot of that also depends on how much money you’re willing to make. It depends on what city you’re willing to be in. So it’s a lot of variables to that, but no question about it, what happens throughout this year, as I go into my summer, I’ll definitely take a look at it. I take my career seriously and where I am and where I want to be. And I will do the same thing this summer.”

Wade notes he doesn’t want to be a ring chaser in the sense of lowering his worth to a team. He brought up David West, who gave up several million dollars in order to play for San Antonio last season (now with the Warriors).

While he doesn’t plan on completely diminishing his market value, he does want to New England Patriots Cheap Jerseys join a team that will be competitive throughout the year, rather than a team that settles around Nike Cheap Jerseys the .500 mark.

Clippers can be dangerous again soon — if they can stay healthy

The Chris Paul-less Clippers continued to inch their way back in the right direction Wednesday with a 115-106 victory over the Grizzlies.

Paul, who is expected to return Friday, was replaced by Austin Rivers. Coach Doc Rivers’ son scored a season-high 28 points, while also dishing out seven assists.

Life without Paul hasn’t been easy for the Clippers, who had dropped six of their last seven games before playing Memphis.

Portland Trail Blazers: Any team with two star guards such as Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum should be able to consistently close out tight games. That wasn’t the case in Wednesday’s 107-85 loss to the Hornets when Portland was outscored 28-13 in the fourth quarter.

There may not be a more disappointing team in the NBA this season than the Trail Blazers.

Controversy aside, Derrick Rose is still a supreme talent at point guard.

Rose finished the 117-106 win against the Celtics with 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Isaiah Thomas scored 39 points for Boston.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a very interesting game, but the Cavs are reeling Paypal Cheap Jerseys right now and Phoenix is led by shooting guard Devin Booker, who has scored 39 points in two of his last Soccer Cheap Jerseys three games. Cleveland needs a convincing win to get its confidence back up.

NBA trade rumors: Celtics’ stashed picks Zizic, Yabusele garnering big interest

The Celtics are, not surprisingly, one of the central teams when it comes to trade discussions as we head toward this month’s deadline, just 22 days from now. If a big name comes up on the rumor mill—Carmelo Anthony being the latest—you can be sure Boston will get a mention. That’s what happens when you own what could be Top 3 picks in the next two drafts, courtesy of the Nets.

But it is almost certain that the Celtics will come out of this deadline period with the Brooklyn picks (they have the right to swap with the Nets this year, and own their pick outright next year) intact. It would take a young, All-Star caliber player to pry those picks from Boston.

That’s where James’ criticism comes in. It is the players who have gotten complacent, not the front office, which has no more tools available to make transactions. There’s a need to motivate this group, and it’s got to come from James. The Cavs won’t survive the East playoffs, let alone a team like the Warriors in the Finals, playing the way they have in the past month.

But calling the team top-heavy is risky, because it essentially absolves James — as well as Kyrie Irving and Love — from any blame for the way the Cavs have performed. James has pointed the finger at the role players, at the likes of Korver, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye. These are veterans, guys who likely don’t appreciate public embarrassment as a mode of motivation.

What’s done is done. James has chosen to motivate his teammates this way, and Really Cheap Jerseys has transformed a midseason team slump into full-blown turmoil. Maybe the chaos US Cheap Jerseys Club will snap the team out of its doldrums. Maybe it will bring the team together. Maybe the Cavs’ defensive effort will return. Maybe they will play up to their abilities again.

Brett Gardner’s walk-off home run leads Yankees past Rays

Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner sent the third pitch he saw in the bottom of the 11th inning over the fence Thursday for his third-career walk-off home run, leading to a 6-5 win over the Rays.

The Yankees (54-46) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but watched that lead turn into a 5-3 deficit through six innings. Undeterred by their mid-game slump, the Yankees rallied back with runs in the eighth and ninth innings.

After a scoreless 10th inning by both teams, Gardner did not waste time taking advantage of another opportunity to help the Yankees win the game.

The Athletics had 36-6 stretches in Philadelphia in both 1914 and 1931. Both years they went on to win the pennant, but lost the World Series: Once to the Boston Braves in 1914 and once to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1931.

They did manage to bring championships to Philadelphia in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929 and 1930, something the Phillies did not manage to accomplish until 1980, when the Athletics had already moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City to their current home in Oakland.

The 1941 Yankees tallied 36 wins over their best 42 game stretch in 1941. They would go on the win the World Series crown over the Brooklyn Dodgers in five games, winning 26-year-old “Joltin’” Joe DiMaggio his fifth title.

The Cardinals had a peak 42-game span of 36-6 in 1942. The Cards would capture the National League pennant with a 106-48 record and then go on to best the Yankees in five games during Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale the World Cheap New York Giants Jerseys Series, a series in which a 21-year-old Stan Musial touted a .364 on-base percentage.

Andre Roberson hugged Thunder media before addressing NBA trade deadline confusion

Andre Roberson caused a real stir in the hours before the NBA’s trade deadline on Thursday. The Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard was seen hugging coaches after a team film session earlier in the morning. That signaled to reporters that he may have been traded. But as the deadline came and went, Roberson stayed with the Thunder.

Roberson first played in on the joke on social media, and continued on Saturday, as he hugged media members and then addressed the confusion of it all on Friday.

“[The hug ordeal] was actually pretty funny,” said Roberson. “I went back to the locker room and checked my phone and my agent called me. I was getting all these tweets and my phone was blowing up.”

Carroll has taken a several parting shots at the Raptors on his way out the door, telling the Toronto Sun the team’s style of play was too isolation-heavy and pointing to a lack of trust as a major issue in the locker room: “This year, I feel like a lot of guys didn’t trust each other and a lot of guys, they didn’t feel like other guys could produce or (be) given the opportunity, so there was a lot of lack of trust on our team, so that’s what hindered us from going (as far as they wanted to go).”

Former NBA players and ESPN analysts Stephen Jackson and Paul Pierce discussed Carroll’s comments with host Rachel Nichols on Wednesday’s edition of “The Jump,” and well, they had a Cheap Jerseys Bulk lot Cheap Jerseys And Hats to say. Pierce offered a simple response.

Draymond Green on Blazer Damian Lillard’s Melo talk: ‘Give it a break’

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard says his team could compete with anyone in the West, including the defending champion the Golden State Warriors.

He then went on to say (via CSN Bay Area) that if his team added Carmelo Anthony he wished other teams “good luck” with essentially trying to defend a Blazers lineup that already includes two of the West’s most dynamic scorers in Lillard and teammate C.J. McCollum.

“Yeah, I shoot them in practice. But in the game, you just got to be efficient. That’s what I’m trying to do now. K.Y.P Know Your Personnel. And right now, the way I’m being effective is with midrange.”

There’s nothing wrong with a mid-range game, there’s also nothing wrong with gaining comfort from beyond the arc. In this day-and-age, point guards have to be able to knock down open 3-point shots. It is simply a prerequisite for a running an offense.

“He shoots them pretty well in practice. Sometimes he just needs to make sure to Cheap Long Sleeve Soccer Jerseys get the arc on them to give them a better chance of going in. If he can do that, that’s where I think the real pressure from point guards in this league come,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Derrick can get to the basket at will. So they play behind and clog the lane. If he can knock down those 3s, what’s a Cheap MLB Authentic Jerseys team going to do? Then it makes him more effective.

“He knows with his speed and his quickness, he can get to the basket. And that’s where he’s really good. So he kind of relies on that. But there’s no reason he can’t mix it up a little bit and get a couple more of those in.”

UCLA’s T.J. Leaf latest one-and-done for Bruins, declares for NBA Draft

T.J. Leaf is following Lonzo Ball to the NBA.

UCLA’s freshman forward declared for the NBA Draft on Thursday.

“This was a huge decision for me and my family,” Leaf said in a statement. “It was definitely one of the hardest decisions in my life. I have decided to declare for the NBA Draft with the intent of hiring an agent.

However, it was his 9.3 assists per contest, a Summer League record, that was his most eye-popping stat. More than the passes that led directly to buckets, Lonzo’s utter selflessness and court vision (think how a great quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers throws receivers open) is what Paypal Cheap Jerseys really wowed both spectators and commentators alike.

Laker Film Room, an outlet “dedicated to the study of Lakers basketball,” put Nike NFL Jerseys Size Chart together a masterful highlight reel of every pass Lonzo made during summer league that gave his team an advantage. Check it out.

No wonder UCLA won 15 more games during Ball’s lone year on campus than the Bruins did the season before he arrived.

Who knows if Lonzo will be a Hall of Famer, but he’s certainly off to a good start. What do you all think?

The message from Lue and his players the last week or so has been consistent. The standings aren’t something they completely ignore, but the focus is on fixing what’s wrong.

“I think (the Celtics) definitely have our attention, but whatever happens, it happens,” Lue said after a win against the Hornets on Friday. “We’re first, we’re second. As long as we’re healthy, we’re great. I told the guys, ‘every series we played in last year, we won on the road.’ You gonna be a championship team, you gotta win on the road anyway … If my team is healthy, we’re gonna be good. We’re gonna be OK.”