I have to say I was a little disappointed when the Pittsburgh Penguins series against the Washington Capitals ended last night. I know that sooner or later they all end, but I was really hoping for a Game 7 out of this one. At first there looked as though we’d have no shot at a Game 7. Phil Kessel gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the 1st period. Kessel also scored the next goal of the game on a power play to put the Penguins up 2-0. After Carl Hagelin added a power play goal to make it 3-0 Pittsburgh it seemed as though the game might be over. When Chris Kunitz took a tripping penalty late in the 2nd period it was pretty much a must score power play for the Capitals. T.J. Oshie was able to capitalize and get Washington on the board with a goal on that power play to make the game 3-1 and give the Capitals a lot of momentum heading into the 3rd period. Now 3 goals is still a lot to make up and Matt Murray has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the playoffs; so Washington had a big hill to climb. After Justin Williams cut the lead to 3-2 with a goal the Capitals where back in the game. The Penguins seemed to lose a little bit of their composure and actually ended up taking 3 straight delay of game penalties for flipping the puck over the glass and out of play. Now this could’ve cost the Penguins the game, but Washington only scored 1 power play goal in this time. It was John Carlson who evened up the game at 3-3 and at the least Washington was even. Believe it or not Pittsburgh actually took one more penalty in the 3rd period, but where able to kill it off and we where headed to overtime.The Penguins had a really good chance to win the when there was a bit of a scrum in front of the Capitals net, but some how Washington’s Jay Beagle was able to keep out a rebound attempt to keep the game going. The about six and a half minutes intl the overtime period Hagelin had a good look at the goal, but Branden Holtby was able to make the save. Unfortunately Nick Bonino was right there on the door step of the goal and was able to put the puck into the net to win the game for Pittsburgh 4-3 and send the Capitals home. It was a huge loss for the Capitals as they won the President’s trophy with 120 points during the regular season and they appeared to be the favorite coming into the playoffs. The victory sends the Penguins into the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lighting.
Now I mentioned wanting a Game 7 and there are two in the Western Conference. First up the St, Louis Blues are at the Dallas Stars tonight in there Game 7 and then tomorrow night the Nashville Predators are at the San Jose Sharks as they face off in a Game 7. While the NHL seems to be 4th on the list of the 4 major sports their playoffs are as exciting if not more than the other 3 major sports.
So who’s been the best fantasy player so far this baseball season. Now we play in two larger category leagues and according to our rankings the best player so far has been the Houston Astros Jose Altuve. Altuve was ranked 14th at the time of our draft; so it’s not a huge jump for him to get to the top. Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs) has moved up from his 13th spot pre-draft to 2nd overall right now. Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles) has moved up three spots since the draft going from 7th to 3rd. A couple of big draft movers round out the Top 5. Jean Segura (Arizona Diamondbacks) was ranked 205th when our draft came around and he’s moved up to the 4th best fantasy player right now. Rounding out the Top 5 is Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals) who was ranked 158th as we where drafting and is now 5th.
Pitching wise things haven’t changed t much since we drafted. Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) was #1 going into the draft and he’s still the top fantasy pitcher. Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox) was ranked #2 as we where headed into our draft and he’s still there. Now as hard as it might’ve been to believe Jake Arrieta (Chicago Cubs) was ranked 3rd heading into our draft and according to our league he’s still at #3. The last two spots are where some guys have moved up since the draft. Johnny Cueto (San Francisco Giants) was ranked 65th overall in our league at the draft, but has moved up to the 4th best fantasy pitcher. The other big mover in our league is Jose Quintana (Chicago White Sox) he was ranked 137th overall and has found his way into the Top 5. Now obviously “It’s just May” and these rankings will change quite a bit; especially the pitching, but it’s always fun to see which players are out performing there pre-season rankings.
The Washington Nationals signed pitcher Steven Strasburg to a 7 year $175 million dollar contract this week. This came as a bit of a surprise as Strasburg is a Scott Boras client and he normally takes his players out onto the free agent market. Strasburg’s contract does have a couple of opt out clauses and some deferred money breaks down something like this.Strasburg gets a $10 million signing bonus payable on July 1, 2019, and salaries of $15 million each in 2017 and 2018, $35 million in 2019, $25 million in 2020, $15 million apiece in 2021 and ’22, and $45 million in 2023. There are salary deferrals of $30 million in 2019, $10 million in 2020 and $30 million in 2023. If he stays for the full seven seasons, Strasburg would get $15 million each year from 2017-23, followed by seven $10 million payments each July 1 from 2024-30. The use of a deferral structure is similar to the $210 million, seven-year deal that the Nationals gave another Boras client, right-hander Max Scherzer, before last season. Strasburg would earn a $1 million performance bonus each year for pitching 180 innings. The new contract has an escape clause: Strasburg can opt out and become a free agent after the 2019 or 2020 seasons. If Strasburg opts out after three seasons, $30 million deferred from his 2019 salary would be paid out in three $10 million installments each July 1 from 2020-22. If he opts out after four seasons, $40 million deferred from 2019 and 2020 would be paid out in four $10 million installments every July 1 from 2021-24.