|Posted on July 22, 2017 at 4:20 AM||comments (0)|
The Colorado Avalanche are in full rebuild mode. And though the Avalanche want to compete at a high level, they have fallen on hard times. They missed the playo/s for the second consecutive year. Turn to Joe Sakic or 'Super Joe ' and see that the emphasis is on the defensive side of the puck. Fans have heard the same song and clichéd dance. But the draft featuredCale Makar and Connor Timmins. Rebuild Mode: The Avs signing of both Makar and Timmins signi4es some more youngblood. According to Mike Chambers, "The two 18-year-old, right-shooting playmakers represent the future of Colorado’s blue line. Makar intends to play at the University of Massachusetts next season and Timmins likely will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for a third season in the Ontario Hockey League. Makar,ranked No. 1 among draft-eligible North American defensemen, might be capable of playing in the NHL by the 2018-19 season." The Avs signed two defensive draft picks. So where does the future lie?Free Agency is a point of emphasis that NHL teams rely on, and the Avs today went and signed Swedish forward Sven Andrighetto to a two year$2.8 million contract. Andrighetto was a leftover from an Andreas Martinsen trade from the Canadiens. The Avalanche are pushing in a younger direction by the recent signings. One thing is clear Sakic wants an overhauled blue line.Sakic also has shown that he wants more speed with Andrighetto. (DenverPost.com Mike CHAMBERS)
|Posted on July 8, 2017 at 4:05 AM||comments (0)|
A week after receiving scornful messages from angry fans for drafting players who are not well-known, The Denver Nuggets Front Office decided to pursue an All-Star in Free Agency. Even Though they wanted him on their team for years, Paul Millsap always looked elsewhere until this Summer because other teams knew he wasn’t worth the amount of money he wanted. The Nuggets was the only team in the NBA who was willing to give him a max contract. The deal is a 3 year-90 mil contract with a 2 year option meaning he can be released after the 2018-2019 season. Many Denver fans believe this signing elevates their Nuggets status as a contender in the West, but I beg to differ. The Nuggets was already a top 10 team in the Western Conference without Millsap. With the growth and maturity of their youthful Big 3 in Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris, they were already going to be a contender for a bottom 3 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. The signing of Millsap should automatically put them in the playoffs next season, but they are in no way, shape, or form, good enough to take down the likes of Golden State, San Antonio, Houston, Oklahoma City, Portland, or even a revamped Minnesota Wolves team.
The top teams in the Western Conference has multiple players with not only playoff experience, but they have experience winning against good teams in high pressure moments. As for The Nuggets, Millsap is probably the only guy with such experience. However, Millsap was never able to elevate a mediocre Atlanta Hawks team as a legitimate team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Now many people want to point to his numbers but such is deceiving. Yes, he averaged 18 Points Per Game and 8 Rebounds Per Game, but you must look at the team that he played for. If you can’t average 18 ppg with 7 rpg playing for the Atlanta Hawks, then you do not belong in the NBA. In his overall 11-year career, he has only averaged 14.2 ppg and 7 rpg, and to be quite honest, the only reason why he became an All-Star was due to the fact that he was in the woeful Eastern Conference. When he was a member of the Utah Jazz for 7 seasons, he never received an All-Star bid. Millsap is the type of player that’ll make a great impact on an established contender who needs one piece to help them get a ring. He does not belong on a team that is developing and still trying to move around pieces to find their identity.
The Nuggets need to build for tomorrow and not today. It makes no sense that they are pursuing so-called big name free agents because The Golden State Dynasty is still at its peak. Besides Golden State, The Nuggets are not even a top three team in their own division. Now Utah might take a step back with the loss of Gordon Hayward, but Oklahoma City’s 1-2 punch of Russell Westbrook & Paul George should help that team win more than 47 games next season. The Portland Trail Blazers strengthened their frontcourt in the draft by adding Caleb Swanigan and Zack Collins to ease some pressure of Jusuf Nurkic. The Minnesota Wolves should be an automatic top 5 team in the west as All-Star Jimmy Butler re-unites with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Also, the wolves added quality Point Guard Jeff Teague to the roster to compliment the young talent of Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. The Western Conference is too loaded for the Nuggets to stress themselves out to be a super team. Why go after players like a Kevin Love who’ll be gone after one season when you can continue to allow your young big 3 in Jokic, Murray, and Harris to grow and get better to together? While Everyone else is focusing on winning now, The Nuggets could focus on the future and build a team identity so once those super teams get old and collapse after 3-4 years, The Nuggets will be ready to take front center stage. Instead of going after another Veteran Point Guard in George Hill, The Nuggets need to officially hand the keys over to Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. These two young men have shown that they are ready to take that next level. Murray Showcased that on the national stage as the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge MVP scoring 36 Points. In his 3 seasons with the team, Harris has averaged 11 PPG and 2 Assist Per Game. The Nuggets need to find out which of the two can be a solid Point Guard. Adding a starting free agent guard or getting rid of Harris will only hurt the Nuggets. Instead of trying to please fans who are impatient with a low basketball IQ, The Nuggets must stick with the youth movement and give their young backcourt a chance to click together, mature, grow, and develop into quality starters in the 2017-2018 season. Another year of delay will not only hurt the young guard’s growth, but it will hurt the Nuggets chances of contending 4 seasons from now. Paul Millsap is a solid piece that will fit well on the court for the Nuggets, but he is not the answer for their future hopes of being the best in the west. The Nuggets need to focus building for tomorrow instead of building for today trying to please fans who’ll eventually forget about them on the night of Monday September 11, 2017.
|Posted on July 8, 2017 at 4:00 AM||comments (0)|
Using the term "worth" is interesting because you are "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay you. Pundits often question whether athletes are worth the massive contracts they receive in professional sports and what they mean is will he produce? Hockey finds itself in a much more difficult situation than any of the other major sports in this region of the world. There is no massive nationwide television deal for the NHL in the United States that will ever compare to that of the NBA or NFL. The money they are able to produce allows for salaries to appear astronomical and they continue to grow. For the foreseeable future, the National Hockey League will be forced to try and show off their superstars under much more limited options.
In professional basketball, the way of the day is putting together as many star talents as possible on a team to compete and the money is there to make it happen. The revenue generated in American Football is so far passed hockey it isn't worth comparing. For the NHL stars they must deal with a salary cap of $75 million while the NBA finds its cap at $99 million. The NHL has a maximum roster size of 23 which can total 50 contracts between the pro club and their semi-pro team along with amateur level players. Basketball will generally only have a maximum of 15 players contracted with the team at a time. Many role players are finding themselves with money NHL superstars couldn't dream of. The primary issue this creates is the ability to hold of to a few marquee players at a time.
The Chicago Blackhawks are finally being forced to rid themselves of players they would still very much like to keep. Chicago took advantage of having supreme talent before they broke out from their initial rookie contracts and constantly made off season moves around a dynamic core. This allowed them to win three Stanley Cups in six seasons in a difficult era around the salary cap. When the time came to pay their young guns captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, they each received matching $10.5 million dollar-a-year extensions. The team had already had to move away many pieces over those six years to remain compliant and after these deals everyone knew more would have to follow. This year they are finally dealing with heavier blows but they can look back at their banners and determine what was worth it. Edmonton is now is already needing to make such difficult decision but must do so without any hardware...yet.
Connor McDavid has done exactly what many fans hoped and dreamed he would do but has done so even faster than anticipated. Despite what many will tell you he has yet to surpass Sidney Crosby for the title of best in the world but he is taking the necessary strides. At 20 years old and after his first full season McDavid won the Hart Trophy for league MVP, the Art Ross for the league scoring title and the Ted Lindsay which is voted on by the NHLPA for for the top performer of the year. He is everything the league and Edmonton has wanted and more and if the Oilers could sign him to a 20 year contract they would. He is "worth" whatever is available to pay him simply by putting on the 97 jersey every night. He is the new face of the league and that will help generate plenty of revenue. Now the problem is can you pay him and still build around him?
Just now today the Oilers have announced they have signed McDavid to an 8 year extension worth $100 million. That would be a 12.5 million dollar a year average which is slightly down from the initially reported 13.25 AAV. That would have matched him with Sidney Crosby on his first extension being 17% of the cap. Sid only signed a 5 year-deal in 2007 worth 43.5 million to give him his signature 8.7 a year. Now that McDavid's contract had been handled, it is on to Leon Draisaitl. Since joining up with McDavid, Draisaitl has been electric and even when not on a line with the superstar he has been able to produce. With Connor receiving much of the attention, Leon is able to make his presence known. He dominated during the series with the Ducks even though the Oilers weren't able to come out on top. This splash was all at the right time for the team but now will it cost them.
You can make the claim that Mcdavid is clearly a sure thing at this point but is Draisaitl? In his own right he was the 3rd overall pick by the team in 2014 and in his home country is referred to as "The German Gretzky". He was extremely quiet in year one but has put up 51 and now 77 point seasons but is it "worth" the money that is being projected? We are quick to give praise and money to up and coming players and some have already stated he can be a number one center if on a different team. Is that a certainty? Can he handle what Connor is forced to deal with every night from opposing defenses? I am not here to claim that he can't but you better know for sure before giving him upwards of $9 million per season. That would have over 28% of the teams salary cap space tied up in two players for the next nine seasons. Assuming as well that the cap doesn't grow significantly in that span.
If the Oilers do decide that Leon Draisaitl is that perfect number two to ride along with Connor Mcdavid, then they have to do their best to build around them with what is left. All signs point to him being signed for no less that that $9 million dollar price tag. Jordan Eberle was already sacrificed this off season for a lesser talent with a better contract to work with. Goalie Cam Talbot is locked up and so is enforcer and protector Milan Lucic. If Mcdavid proves to continue to be the guy we expect him to be the Oilers will also have to hope veterans will want to take less money just to play with "The Next One". Once again the Toews and Kane contracts came after some of the major success for the Hawks while the Oilers are paying their two studs for the majority of their prime.
In a couple of seasons it's possible that it will have been foolish to ever doubt the Oilers in making such transactions, but only time will tell. To be fair to the young guns, no duo had more points in the entire league then they did together, although Mcdavid had 100 of them.
- Joaquin Rivera
|Posted on July 8, 2017 at 3:55 AM||comments (0)|
What does a kid from the OHL and a kid from Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have in common? Being 18 year-olds is the common thread. This is indicative of the Colorado Avalanche new blue line. (DenverPost.com Mike CHAMBERS) The Colorado Avalanche are in full rebuild mode. And though the Avalanche want to compete at a high level, they have fallen on hard times. They missed the playo/s for the second consecutive year. Turn to Joe Sakic or 'Super Joe ' and see that the emphasis is on the defensive side of the puck. Fans have heard the same song and clichéd dance. But the draft featuredCale Makar and Connor Timmins. Rebuild Mode: The Avs signing of both Makar and Timmins signi4es some more youngblood. According to Mike Chambers, "The two 18-year-old, right-shooting playmakers represent the future of Colorado’s blue line. Makar intends to play at the University of Massachusetts next season and Timmins likely will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for a third season in the Ontario Hockey League. Makar,ranked No. 1 among draft-eligible North American defensemen, might be capable of playing in the NHL by the 2018-19 season." The Avs signed two defensive draft picks. So where does the future lie?Free Agency is a point of emphasis that NHL teams rely on, and the Avs today went and signed Swedish forward Sven Andrighetto to a two year$2.8 million contract. Andrighetto was a leftover from an Andreas Martinsen trade from the Canadiens. The Avalanche are pushing in a younger direction by the recent signings. One thing is clear Sakic wants an overhauled blue line.Sakic also has shown that he wants more speed with Andrighetto. (DenverPost.com Mike CHAMBERS)
|Posted on June 27, 2017 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
By A.W. Wulah
When did the Mile High start caring about the Nuggets? A city that is glued onto Broncos Country actually took their minds off of football for a brief moment this past weekend as several Denverites expressed their displeasure with The Denver Nuggets draft picks. Usually this time of the year, Broncos OTAs dominate the local media headlines. The twitterverse was on fire with angry citizens Thursday night because the Nuggets didn’t draft high profile rookies in the likes of a Lonzo Ball, De'Aaron Fox, or Markelle Futz.. Instead the Nuggets drafted Forward Tyler Lydon from Syracuse and Guard Monte Morris from Iowa State. These were not high profile players in college which meant they were not amongst the names of guys that ESPN and other national media outlets highly publicized during the days leading up to the draft. The fact that Denverites never heard of such players and were too lazy to do thorough research on them drew much anger in the city. The anger carried over into early Friday afternoon following draft night as local radio talk show hosts were discussing their displeasure of the Nuggets' draft on local sports radio station 104.3 The Fan. This turned out to be huge publicity for the Nuggets because 104.3 The Fan is solely dedicated to Broncos football. The onlytime most radio hosts from this station talk about other local Pro teams is when they are performing poorly. The issue is that most people in Denver have little to no clue about college basketball to begin with. Also, the city just witnessed how The Golden State Warriors dominated the NBA. Now every NBA fan in America wants their local team to be modeled after the Warriors by any means necessary. So when a team like the Nuggets draft two players who are not popular, the perception is the Nuggets don’t know what their doing. Honestly, the Nuggets do know what their doing and they drafted solid players who will emerge as key role players 2-3 seasons after their rookie year. The Nuggets did not need to draft a superstar college player, for they already have stars in the making in Nikola Jokic , Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris settling as a good sidekick to Murray. These are currently the Nuggets Big 3 and they needed to use this draft to build around those players. Tyler Lydon is a 3 Point specialist. He’ll be used similar to how teams use Kyle Korver of The Cleveland Cavaliers & Lou Williams of The Houston Rockets. Monte Morris a solid all-around Guard who is capable of playing offense & defense. He can create his own shot and is unafraid to drive the ball to the rim when he needs to. In college, he was not afraid to play defense against good guards. Both players played against tough competition every night as Lydon played BIG East & ACC opponents and Morris played BIG 12 Opponents. These
guys are not stars and the Nuggets do not expect them to be stars. These are guys who were overlooked and they’re coming to the Mile High to complement Jokic, Murray, and Harris. The person that the city of Denver should really be angry at is Emmanuel Mudiay. A former 1st Round pick who had a lot of hype surround him. He has not lived up to expectations. Mudiay has fallen so badthat fellow NBA Executives do not see him valuable which harms the Nuggets to use him as good trade bait. Mudiay was supposed to be the man, but he has allowed Jokic, Murray, and Harris to surpass him as the man. The Denver Nuggets had a good draft because they know what type of players they need to help them lock a playoff berth and they already have vision in who their star players are. Instead of beating the Nuggets down, the citizens if Denver need to do their homework and start watching college basketball more often before passing judgment
|Posted on June 22, 2017 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
By A.W. Wulah
No superstar is willfully going to take their talents to the Mile High. The only way such happens is through force via a three-team trade. This is the time of the year where most if not all small market fans get their hopes up of landing a superstar, only to be disappointed that the star rejected their city. The only way small market cities get superstars is if there is already a current star committed to that city. Lebron James is committed to Cleveland, Ohio; Russell Westbrook is committed to Oklahoma City, Okla.; James Harden is committed to Houston, Texas which means those cities have a favorable chance of landing additional superstars by already having one on their roster. Denver does not have a favorable chance of landing a superstar because 1) It is not a Top 5 market and 2) most small market cities have a poor history of winning championships. The Denver Nuggets need to build their team based on the resources that's available to them which are the NBA draft and D-League. The San Antonio Spurs for example, have built their team through the draft for years. David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobli, & Tony Parker were guys who the Spurs drafted and they were keys guys in the team's numerous championship titles in years past. However; In recent years, The Nuggets have done a good job in finding talent through the draft with picks such as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. The jury is still out for Emmanuel Mudiay. If he ever decides to pursue greatness and compete, his name can be added to the list of good Nuggets draftees in recent years. Besides drafting good players, the Nuggets need to have a good coaching staff & Front Office in place to be championship caliber. It cannot be a front office full of money grabbers and impatient coacheswho do not like to teach and develop players' growth. The jury is still out for Michael Malone, a coach who has only won 112 games in four seasons as a NBA Head Coach. He already proved that he doesn’t mesh well with Superstar players based on how he couldn't handle the extra
baggage that came with DeMarcus Cousins during his time in Sacramento. After showing the Mile High that they can compete in the NBA posting a 40-42 record nearly clinching the 8th seed for the Western Conference playoffs, the 2017 NBA draft is very important for the Nuggets. This year's draft is loaded with talent. Denver does not need to make a trade for a Star, for they already have a star in the making with Nikola Jokic & Jamal Murray. These two young men are are team oriented rather than former Nugget Star Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets need to find the right pieces to complement their jewels and help them blossom. Whoever the Nuggets draft Thursday night will be the determining factor of the team getting over the hump, or remaining anaverage team out west that teams and players continue to fly over.
|Posted on June 15, 2017 at 4:00 AM||comments (0)|
What's old is new again.
A program that once boasted a national championship, Heisman winners, countless All Americans and first round draft picks, Colorado football had, um, fallen on hard times. In other words they only won a total of 35 games over a 10 year span from 2006-2015. But in 2016, the University of Colorado Buffaloes were back near the top of the polls and in legitimate contention for a national title. Double digit wins, a national coach of the year award, a PAC 12 South championship, and a bevy of draft picks in April, but in the wake of the successes of 2016, the question remains. Is Colorado football back on the national scene, or are the buffs destined to regress back to mediocrity in 2017 and beyond? In this piece I will look at how the Buffs got to where they are, and how they'll get where they're going. Additionally, I spoke with former Buffalo tight end Justin Adams to get his perspective on the program.
To breakdown the prospects of the Buffs in 2017 we must first analyze the teams early struggles under MacIntyre, and what made them good in 2016. Prior to winning the AP national coach of the year award in 2016, Mike MacIntyre talleyed just 10 wins to 27 losses in 3 campaigns in Boulder, but the reasons for his struggles were evident. Not only had the previous regime left the program in ruins with a dirth of talent and on probation by the NCAA, but injuries staggered the growth of a promising 2015 team that finished just 4-9. According to KOA's Justin Adams, 2015 was a year of improvement, despite the record. "A lot of fans measure success only by wins and losses, but when you look at 2015, coach MacIntyre had so many underclassmen on the field getting the necessary seasoning that they needed and laying the groundwork for future success."
Colorado was rewarded with their patience in Mike MacIntyre with a 10-4 2016 and a top 20 finish in the polls. The struggles of the first 3 seasons bore fruit as the previously young Buffaloes fielded one of the most experienced two deeps in the country, featuring a 4 year starter at Quarterback, Sefo Liufau, Mike MacIntyre put his players in a position to succeed, but according to Justin Adams of KOA sports almost everything went right for his Buffs in 2016. " when you look back at the schedule from last year Colorado got to play a lot of the PAC 12 teams while they weren't their best. 2016 was also a season in which Colorado largely stayed healthy. It's a recipe that's hard to repeat year after year."
In 2017 Colorado will have plenty to replace from their 10 win group in 2016. With the major pieces in place at the skill positions, CUs offense is poised to be one of the better units in the PAC 12. Tailback Phillip Lindsay leads the CU backfield while big play wideout Shay Fields captains a solid receiving core. Justin Adams told me "The buffs wide receivers are about as good as you can be at that position". With Sefo Liufau gone to the NFL The Buffaloes should be in good hands at the quarterback position, as sophomore Stephen Montez impressed during his freshman campaign appearing in 10 games and starting 3. The freshman from El Paso even garnered PAC 12 offensive player of the week honors for his 468 total yard performance on the road at Oregon, the most ever by a Buff QB in his first start.
While the offense should be a strength, The questions about the 2017 buffaloes mostly revolve around the defense that lost a talented coordinator and 4 draft picks from last year's team. Jim Leavitt departs for Oregon after rejuvenating the Buffaloe's defense. According to Adams "Leavitt brought an energy and an enthusiasm to that defense that will be hard to replace". That will be the job of New defensive coordinator DJ Elliot, who spent the last four years at the same position at Kentucky. Expect a similar scheme as Elliot will continue the 3-4 installed by Leavitt.
It will be tough to match 2016's impressive national ranking of 19 in total defense. Colorado also posted a stiff 21.7 points per game, good for 3rd in the PAC 12. Junior linebacker Rick Gamboa put up back to back 75+ tackle seasons as a freshman and sophomore. Look for even more stops from Gamboa in 2017 with Addison Gilliam retiring. The second best pass defense in the PAC 12 should be good again bringing back three key contributors in 2 senior safeties Afolabi Laguda and Ryan Moeller as well as junior corner Isaiah Oliver.
2017 and beyond
It's likely that Colorado will regress from there 10 wins in 2016, but according to Adams 2017 is as important a campaign as the buffs have embarked on in years. "Last year was all about the rise, but can you build on what you did last year? Can you put enough butts in seats at foulsum and win enough games to sustain the momentum gained last year. Because that's the difference between good programs and average programs" 2017 could be a difference maker for Colorado, going a long way to decide the future of the Buffaloes program. Will they turn their "new money" into years of dividends, or will the successes of 2016 slip through their fingers & the program back to mediocrity.
We look forward to bringing you coverage of Colorado football all year. Only 85 days till Colorado State at Mile High!
|Posted on June 13, 2017 at 8:30 PM||comments (0)|
By A.W. Wulah
Race is a topic that brings chills up and down the spines of many people. If that person is you, the time might be now where you decide to pack your bags and move to another country. America is the mist of a Millennial Generation Era that has established itself in the Social Media Age. Such has brought the world together in a way that a woman living in Lakewood, Colorado can instantly communicate with a missionary in West Africa. Social Media has brought the world close to the point where people are not afraid to openly learn about a race that does not match the color of their individual skin. No matterhow hard you may want to ignore the race discussion amongst NFL Head Coach, you will always hear it until the day comes where a “Rooney Rule” is not needed for an African American man to be a head coach. Vance Joseph enters The Mile High as the first ever black coach of the Denver Broncos in a city whose Black population accounts for only 11%. Broncos Country, the spotlight now lies on you to show that you are not what many people want you to be which is racist.Joseph comes from the Miami Dolphins where he served as a Defensive Coordinator for one season (2016). In that one season, per nfl.com, the Dolphins defense ranked 29th in Total defense, 15th in Pass Yards Allowed, and 30th in Rush yards allowed. Joseph has some big shoes to fill as former Broncos Defensive Coordinator as the defense played lights out under former DC Wade Phillips. Many citizens of Broncos Country still ponderwhy John Elway didn’t retain Phillips and bring in an offensive minded head coach like aKyle Shanahan. However; due to the sensitivity of race relations throughout America, many people in Broncos Country are biting their lips to prevent being labeled as racist. If
Broncos Country judge Joseph based on how the team performs without getting personal with the coach, everything will be alright. Broncos Country must learn from the mistakes of the University of Texas football program. When Charlie Strong became the first Black Head football coach for the program in 2014, Longhorn Nation didn’t give him a chance to prove himself worthy of being a head coach from the start. After his very first season, many of the fans wanted him fired immediately. Strong never caught a break to develop the team to its full potential due to players being distracted from rumors that their coach will be fired. It affected the players badly causing them not to play well on the field. Broncos Country, do not follow the ways of The Texas Longhorn fan base. Give Vance Joseph the respect and opportunity to be an NFL Head Coach. If you judge Joseph based on the play of the team with legitimate concerns of how the franchise operates on the field, you will not be labeled racist. Joseph has big shoes to fill because the Broncos’ Defense was top 5 during Phillips’ two year tenure. The difference between Vance and any other coach is that Vance is a Black man and unfortunately being a Black Head Coach in the NFL comes with a lot of scrutiny. Broncos Country, you have the opportunity to change that narrative. A.W. Wulah is a graduate of The Colorado Media School class of Spring 2017. To give feedback, email [email protected]
|Posted on June 12, 2017 at 7:35 PM||comments (0)|
Since the 1998 season, no team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups. The Pittsburgh Penguins have now done just that. Hockey continues to prove how difficult it is as the eventual repeat champs had an interesting road to get to where they are now. As overtime was inching closer and the teams were trading chances, it was the former Nashville Predator Patric Hornqvist, who flipped the puck past Pekka Rinne with just 1:35 left in the third period. Carl Hagelin would add an empty net tally as well and that was all she wrote.
I have stated numerous times that I feel the Penguins have the best roster on the planet and this time they once again lived up to expectations. Sidney Crosby won his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy for the playoff MVP and Matt Murray shutout the Predators in consecutive games to seal the deal. Murray, who is still technically a rookie, came in flawlessly for Mark Andre-Fleury in the conference finals.
This team was able to survive the loss of Kris Letang and initially Murray at the start of the opening series with division rival Columbus. The Bluejackets had a resurgent season and put up 108 points but Pittsburgh starched them in five games. Then once again they met the Presidents Trophy winning Washington Capitals. It took an extra game to get it done this time around but still felt convincing with a shutout victory on the Caps home ice in Game 7. It wasn't expected to meet the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Final but the battle went the distance as well. They lost Hornqvist, Rust and Maata for moments and Hagelin battled through difficulty from the start. They needed now four-time Stanley Cup Champion Chris Kunitz, to rip a shot over the shoulder of Craig Anderson in double overtime of yet another Game 7 to get them through.
It what was a bizarre, primarily home ice dominated series, the Penguins overall knew they were the better team than the Preds. They did not quite flex their dominance over any other team after round one like I thought they would. I am fully aware of just how difficult winning in these playoffs are and am in no way diminishing that. They just never really overwhelmed a team like I personally feel they were capable of doing but injuries certainly were a factor. They overcame a certain number of odds and having the ability to switch a 22 year-old "rookie" goalie inside the conference final is no normal decision. For this team, going to Murray was not a difficult as it sounds. While still being labeled a rookie based on number of games played from last season, Murray now has his second Stanley Cup and deserves a great deal of credit.
All in all this season and result has me thinking numerous things about this team and major legacies being made. Is it possible that this duo has equaled that of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr? They too brought Pittsburgh back-to-back championships in 91' and 92'. That is a debate for another day but is still a legitimate proposal. In fact, this could be one of the greatest duo's in the leagues 125-year history. They can also celebrate knowing the future remains bright as well. Both Crosby and Malkin are no older than 30 year's old, players like Connor Sheary and Bryan Rust only know winning so far in the pros and Jake Guentzel was setting a rookie record in the playoffs. With Murray in, Tristan Jarry in the pipeline and the impending expansion draft the only downside for Penguins fans is that Fleury will have to be bought out or traded.
Fleury won nine of the necessary sixteen needed to take home the Stanley Cup this season and has been a valuable teammate for many reasons. They do not want to let him go nor does he want to leave but they do not have a choice in this matter. He has earned his reverence with the Pittsburgh faithful and can try and see what he has left to help another franchise.
The hardware has continued to pile up in Pittsburgh and we will have to wait and see how the other teams adjust to knock the now two-time defending champs off their perch.
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|Posted on June 10, 2017 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Samuel Law Brownback
With the C.S.U Football season right around the corner the Rams will look to improve upon there 8-3 record in which they received last season. A huge factor that i'm considering in the Rams success will be Olabisi Johnson can build upon his 265 receiving yards which he received last year When the Rams lost 61-50 to idaho state in idaho potato bowl. I feel if he can ride the wave of the success of that game he can use it as a confidence booster which will translate into good results for the upcoming season. I also think Nick Stevens needs to take on more of a leadership role in the locker room to feed the fire younger teammates building doors and friendships along the way. To me a good locker room is essential to to team's success. I honestly think if the offense and defense can stay on the same page the team is headed towards a great season.