Week 15 in the NFL just wrapped up and Dan the Man came out on top of our picks with a 13-3 record. The difference was Dan the Man was the only one who had the Carolina Panthers beating the Washington Redskins on Monday night. Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy where both 12-4 for the week while I was 11-5. Overall Schaumburg Stu looks to be on his way to winning this years contest as he is 148-76through 15 weeks. Dan the Man took 2nd place back by a game over Mr. Fantasy. Dan the Man is 141-83 and Mr. Fantasy is 140-84. That of course means I am in the cellar and it looks like I’ll be staying there. I’m 130-92 overall. There are two weeks left for our picks.
With the NHL coming up on there Christmas break it’s a bit of a surprise that the Chicago Blackhawks have the most points with 48. With the hard salary cap the NHL has the Blackhawks have had to allow top players leave through free agency and others have had to be traded away to keep the team under the salary cap. The Blackhawks are carrying six players 25 or under on their roster. The Blackhawks have six rookies that are contributing to the teams success. Ryan Hartman has 6 goals and 6 assists in 30 games. Vinnie Hinostroza has 3 goals and 5 assists in 26 games. Tyler Motte has 4 goals and 3 assists in 28 games. Gustav Forsling has 1 goal and 3 assists in 29 games and Michal Kempny has 2 assists in 23 games. The Blackhawks had to pick up a lot of these points while there captain Jonathan Toews and #1 goaltender Corey Crawford have been out injured.
While the Blackhawks are at the top right now there are some teams right behind them. The Pittsburgh Penquins and the New York Rangers have 47 points on the season. The Columbus Blue Jackets who are on a 10 game winning streak right now and the Montreal Canadiens have 46 points on the season. The Philadelphia Flyers and the Minnesota Wild each have 42 points and the Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues all have 4 points this season. Either way it should be an interesting race for the President’s Cup.
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is the NHL points leader with 40. McDavid also leads all other players in assists with 28 while Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penquins leads the league in goal scoring with 22. Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild is the plus-minus leader at +22. In goal Devin Dubnyk leads all goalies in three of the four major categories. Dubnyk leads in Goals Against Average with a 1.55, Save Percentage at .948 and shutouts with 5. Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the wins leader with 19.
As for the rookies. Patrick Laine of the Winnipeg Jets leads in points with 29 and goals with 18. Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs leads in assists with 15. Xavier Ouellet of the Detroit Red Wings is the plus-minus leader at +9. In the goal it’s all Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penquins as far as rookies go. Murray leads in Goals Against Average at 1.85, Save Percentage at .938, Shutouts with 2 and Wins with 13.
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 in overtime Tuesday night. LeBron James scored 34 points and in the process passed Moses Malone for 8th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James now has 27,442 career points. Shaquille O’Neal is 7th on the list at 28,596. James has a good chance to get past O’Neal before the season ends.
While James moving up the scoring list on the Cavaliers win was a positive the chance that they may loss J.R. Smith with a broken thumb is the negative. Smith exited the game in the 1syt half when it appeared he injured his thumb trying to strip Giannis Antetokounmpo of the basketball as he drove to the basket. The X-rays taken at the arena were inconclusive, according to the Cavaliers. Smith will travel back to Cleveland with the team and be re-evaluated Wednesday. Smith, who signed a four-year, $57 million extension with Cleveland in the offseason after the Cavaliers championship win entered Tuesday’s game averaging 8.8 points on 33.7 percent shooting (35.8 percent from 3). Smith previously missed six games because of knee and ankle injuries this season. The Cavaliers take on the Bucks again Wednesday night this time in Cleveland as the teams are playing a back to back; home and home series. The Cavaliers are on top of the Eastern Conference with a record of 20-6 while Milwaukee is currently .500 at 13-13.
We’re coming up on Christmas day where the NBA will run out five games for fans to watch. The first game is at 11:00 a.m. and features the Boston Celtics at the New York Knicks and is on ESPN. The second game with a scheduled 1:30 p.m. start time has the Golden State Warriors at the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA finals rematch is on ABC. Game three has a 4:00 p.m. scheduled start time has the Chicago Bulls at the San Antonio Spurs on ABC. The fourth game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. and has the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Oklahoma City Thunder on ESPN. The fifth and final game of the night is scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. and has the Los Angeles Clippers at the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN. I know the Clippers and the Lakers play in the same building, but for scheduling purposes the Lakers are the home team. All the game times I listed are for the Central time zone.
The top series in NASCAR is getting a new name. Sprint will no longer be the top sponsor for NASCAR. Starting with the 2017 season will have the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Monster Energy will be the 5th different name for the top series. It was known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Division from 1971 to 1985, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series from 1986 to 2003, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series from 2004 to 2007 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 2008 to 2016. Even with the new sponsor and the modernized NASCAR logo that moves the colors solely to the left of the wording instead of having colors behind it, includes the sanctioning body’s name after the series sponsor for the first time. NASCAR kept one thing the same; the word Cup is still in the title.
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