Archive for the ‘hockey’ Category

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: May 27, 2020 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Well it looks like the National Hockey League has got it’s plan in place to finish their 2019-20 season. Now all we need to know is the official start date and where they’ll be playing.

This news came out last week and not much of anything has changed. It’s going to be a 24-team playoff format. The top four seeds in each division will get byes and play each other in a round robin tournament while the remaining teams will face off in best of five game series.

Here’s how this shakes out:

In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points), Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, 92 points), Washington Capitals (41-20-8, 90 points) and Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, 89 points) will each have a bye and play each other once to determine the order of the top four seeds for the first round of the playoffs.

In the Western Conference, the St. Louis Blues (42-19-10, 94 points), Colorado Avalanche (42-20-8, 92 points), Vegas Golden Knights (39-24-8, 86 points) and Dallas Stars (37-24-8, 82 points) will each have a bye and play round-robin to determine their seeding order.

Back into the Eastern Conference. The Qualifying Round will have four best-of-5 series: the Pittsburgh Penguins (40-23-6, 86 points) vs. the Montreal Canadiens (31-31-9, 71 points); the Carolina Hurricanes (38-25-5, 81 points) vs. the New York Rangers (37-28-5, 79 points); the New York Islanders (35-23-10, 80 points) vs. the Florida Panthers (35-26-8, 78 points); and the Toronto Maple Leafs (36-25-9, 81 points) vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15, 81 points).

While over in the Western Conference best-of-5 qualifying round series are: the Edmonton Oilers (37-25-9, 83 points) vs. the Chicago Blackhawks (32-30-8, 72 points); the Nashville Predators (35-26-8, 78 points) vs. the Arizona Coyotes (33-29-8, 74 points); the Vancouver Canucks (36-27-6, 78 points) vs. the Minnesota Wild (35-27-7, 77 points); and the Calgary Flames (36-27-7, 79 points) vs. the Winnipeg Jets (37-28-6, 80 points).

It seems like the NHL would like to get this started by July 1st, but that hasn’t been made official just yet. It also appears as there will be a two to three week training camp for teams to prepare for this playoff format.

The plan is for these games to be played in two cities which are still undecided. In a perfect world these two cities would be in different time zones to help out the television broadcast, but that’s not a priority according to the NHL. The NHL’s commissioner Gary Bettman has said the decision on the hub cities and when play will begin will depend on COVID-19 conditions, testing ability and government regulations. A comprehensive system for testing will be in place in each hub city, and each team will be permitted to travel a maximum of 50 personnel, including players, coaches and staff.

While it’s still unclear where these games ight be played it does look like the NHL has narrowed it’s choices to 10 cities. Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver are all in the running to host.

If the NHL can get this up and running it will put them in a very interesting position. While we have soccer, NASCAR and the Korean Baseball Organization to watch none of the four what are considered major sports have had a plan in place until this one. Now to be fair the NFL season is still months away and they haven’t missed any games because of this pandemic.

I would be very interested to know if non-NHL fans would tune into these games to get a sports watching fix; so to speak. If they did it could be a big, big opportunity for the NHL to get some new fans.

Major League Baseball ha stated that they’d like to start their season on July 4th weekend and if they did that would hurt the NHL’s drawing power, but with the trouble that the MLB owners are having trying to get a agreement done with the players union it’s looking less and less like they’ll make that July 4th start date.

The other question of course is; what will the National Basketball Association do?

The NBA has announced that they where looking at a two city plan like the NHL is going with, but they knew that they’d be playing games in Orlando Florida and Las Vegas Nevada. It makes sense for the NBA to do this because they play summer league games in these cities.

Unfortunately this is all we know about what the NBA might do. The National Basketball Players Association executive director Michelle Roberts used the term “overwhelming” when discussing if the players wanted to finish the 2019-20 season.

It’s been reported that a joint task force between the NBA and the NBPA has been working together to negotiate the plans for a possible return to action. They reportedly hope to issue guidelines about a return to play before June 1. Roberts does not believe the union will need to vote on these plans because of the collective bargaining that has already taken place through the joint task force and the calls she is making with every team.

It looks like will have to wait and see if we get some news on what the NBA is going to do come June 1st. Will they use a playoff format similar to what the NHL is doing? Or will they actually try and finish the regular season? Hopefully will find out soon.

Let’s say the NHL gets it’s plan off the ground and they start playing on July 1st and maybe the NBA isn’t too far behind. The biggest question of course is; will you be watching? I think right out of the gate it’s almost not going to matter what sport is on just a long as it’s a sport that draws decent interest. Don’t forget that when NASCAR had it’s first race it had over 6.3 million people watch it. Do you think a returning NHL game would do as well or better than that?

Tune in to the live broadcast of Sports Time Radio on BlogTalkRadio.com. We’ve been starting the podcast at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday due to Dan the Man’s current work schedule, but hopefully will be returning to our regular 5:30 p.m. start time soon. Of course Schaumburg Stu and I our still start at 5:00 p.m. on Fridays; so listen.

Also if you miss the podcast live remember all you have to do is swing by TuneIn.com and you can listen whenever you want.

You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: May 23, 2020 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

It seems as though the NHL and the NBA have similar plans to restart their seasons. Both leagues are looking into playing their games in just two cities which they’re “hub cities” and while the NHL’s plan has is slowly starting to take shape there is less of an idea on what the NBA might do.

The NHL is going with what would be described as a 24 team conference based playoff format. The top four team in each conference would get first round byes. These top teams would be determined by the standings points percentage of each team when the regular season was stopped on March 12th.

The 5th through 12th seeds would face off in a best of five series to narrow the field down to the traditional 16 team playoff field the NHL normally uses. From there it would be the usual Stanley Cup playoff set up with those 16 teams.

On Monday the NHL’s Commissioner Gary Bettman said that they’ve found 8 or 9 cities that they’d consider using as “hub cities”. The original plan was for the NHL to use just two “hub cities”, but Bettman mentioned the possibility that the NHL could use up to four “hub cities”. It’s unclear which cities are in the running to host these NHL games, but it’s apparent that Las Vegas is a heavy favorite to be one of those cities.

The NHL looks at expanding the playoffs to 24 teams for this season as the best solution for the teams that where near the bottom of the playoff race when the season was stopped. For example the Arizona Coyotes get the 11th seed, but they where just four points out of a wild card spot and they had 12 regular season games left to play.

The National Hockey League Players Association executive board voted to approve a 24 team conference based playoff format presented by the owners for a potential restart of the 2019-20 NHL season sometime this summer.

It does appear that they may be a few items to work out though. One of the issues will be if there will be reseeding in the playoffs. The NHL released just a straight bracket format for this playoff set up, but the players would prefer to see reseeding done after each round.

I’m sure you’re wondering what the Top 4 teams in each conference would do while the other 16 teams are playing in the opening round. Well these teams would face off against each other in a round robin style tournament to stay sharp. It was a concern of the players about what these four teams would do and this round robin tournament would answer that question.

The NHLPA does have some reservations about expanding the playoffs to 24 teams and they’ve said they’d like to see a more traditional 16 team playoff format. With so many teams bunched at the bottom of the standings it seems as though allowing then all to get into the playoffs makes sense since each team had enough regular season games left to make a run into the playoffs.

Do you like the idea the NHL is going with here? I think the more important question is if and when the NHL restarts; will you be watching?

Now the NBA’s plan is much, much less clear, but they’ve also mentioned using the “hub city” style set up like the NHL. Now unlike the NHL the NBA has more or less decided that they’ll play their games in Orlando and Las Vegas; so it would be very similar to their summer league program.

Even though nothing has been decided by the NBA one of the points of contention seems to be if the players will be allowed to leave what was described as the “bubble” locations the teams would be playing in.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley told reporters that “You will be allowed to leave.” This situation was apparently discussed during the conference call the players had with Commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts. Dudley did add “Now just because you leave, if we’re going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can’t play.”

It’s been mentioned that the primary places players will spend their time would  include hotels, gymnasiums and dining areas. While they’re in this “bubble” locations. Commissioner Silver referred to it as a “campus” like environment. Dudley mentioned that “there will be rigorous testing inside the bubble”.

How do you think the NBA players would handle this situation. Do you see some of them leaving the “bubble” location for whatever reason? We’re looking at 30 teams with a minimum of 12 players per team; so that’s going to be a lot of players in the same location looking for something to possibly do.

If a player was to leave the “bubble” location and then tested positive for the Covid-19 virus after returning how would his teammates feel about that player?

Dudley said that it would be “somewhat selfish” for a player to do this, but he believes that the NBA’s frequent testing would show it rather quickly. I myself would be more interested to see how that players teammates handle the situation and how that player ended up being treated.

While it’s been said that players would be allowed to leave the NBA’s “bubble” location you have to wonder if the superstar players like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kawhi Leonard or another player at that level would be allowed to leave. Obviously there’s no way they could stop those players for leaving, but these are the type of players that hold their teams future in their hands and a positive Covid-19 test would not only be bad for that player, but could end that players team season.

I’m sure will learn more about what the NHL and the NBA are going to do, but it appears as both leagues are set on finishing their seasons in some way.

Don’t forget to listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the live version of the podcast just head on over to TuneIn.com and you can listen whenever you’d like.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Since there aren’t any sports being played right now I like to flip through article titles online and see if anything catches my attention. This kind of helps me keep up with what’s going on in sports without having to read every single article out there.

While flipping through articles yesterday I ran into one that caught my attention and while I didn’t go through and read the entire thing I  enough of it to get the idea of the article and wonder why.

This article went on to explain that the NHL is planning on returning and finish it’s regular season and playoff for this season. This didn’t make ay sense to me, but as I continued looking into this it was also said that the NHL would be willing to push back the start of next season to finish this one. This article also mentioned that the NHL would have no problems playing games in July or August if they had to. Now I know that the playoffs don’t generally end into early June, but imagine regular season games in July or August.

Once I saw the story in the NHL I went through to see if I could find any new on what the NBA might be planning. I didn’t see anything new on how the NBA might try and finish out it’s regular season and playoffs, but I did see that the NBA has decided to postpone the draft lottery and scouting combine. The actually draft itself had already been moved back until late June.

With the NBA making these moves and postponements it makes me think that the NBA is planning to do the same thing that the NHL is going to do and they’ll try to play the rest of their regular season games as well the playoffs.

Now I don’t think I would have any issues if the NHL and the NBA came back and went right into the playoffs. I could fully understand each league wanting to be able to crown a champion, but at first I didn’t understand why they’d want to come back and play regular season games.

Then it hit me; there’s only one reason that the NHL and the NBA would want to come back and play regular season games; they want that television money. Remember the NBA has a very lucrative deal with ESPN and TNT to televise their regular season and playoff games and while I’m sure that the NHL’s deal with NBA isn’t quite as lucrative I’m sure they’d like to get whatever money they have coming in that contract.

You could also throw Major League Baseball into this mix as they’ve already said that they’re planning on playing as many regular season games as possible. Why would they want to do that: television money.

At least when they start playing MLB games again it will actually be baseball season, but how many people are going to be interested in watching NHL and NBA games in the summer or possibly even in the fall.

To be fair if you’re the first league to come back and start playing games you’d probably draw huge ratings. With as hard up as people are to watch sports I’m sure they’d take anything new to watch. Just look at how well the NFL draft just did in the ratings. Now imagine how well and actually live sporting event would do in the ratings. To be honest I’d probably even tune into an NBA game just to watch sports.

I would really like to get your opinion on this. Would you watch an NHL or NBA regular season game if they came back to play them in July or August? Would it make you more interested to watch these games if your favorite team was in the running to possibly win the title?

Do you like the idea of the NHL and NBA coming back to play regular season games? Or would you like to see them come back and go directly into the playoffs? Or at this point would you like to see hem just end their seasons with no champions and move onto next season?

I would be very interested in what you’d like to see the NHL and NBA do. As I mentioned before I wouldn’t have any issues if they came back and went straight into the playoffs, but I have no interest in any NHL or NBA regular games being played.

As we’re talking about sports returning it looks as though NASCAR will be back on May 17th. NASCAR is planning on running this 400 mile race at Darlington Speedway in South Carolina with no fans.

What may be even more interesting about this is NASCAR is planning on this being the first race of 11 races that they’ll run in seven days. Yes, you read that right; 11 races in seven days.

These races will take place at two different tracks. Darlington Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

NASCAR has decided to run races here because South Carolina has relaxed coronavirus restrictions and Charlotte, North Carolina; is following suit.

After the May 17th race the NASCAR’s schedule includes a 200-mile Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway on May 19 and a 500 kilometer contest at the South Carolina track the following night. NASCAR will then shift to Charlotte for a 600 mile Cup Series race on May 24; with a 300 mile Xfinity Series competition the following day. A 200 mile Gander Trucks race on May 26 and a 500 kilometer race at Charlotte Motor Speedway the next night.

NASCAR, which did not announce any dates past May 27, but it intends to run a full 36 race NASCAR Cup Series slate this year. It also plans to keep its 10 race postseason format and tracks involved unchanged.

Do you like this idea NASCAR has come up with? I guess more importantly; will you be watching any or all of these races?

Don’t forget to listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast. The podcast airs live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live all you have to do is head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen whenever you want to.

Don’t forget that you can also find me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: April 8, 2020 by Sports Time Radio in football, hockey, NFL picks, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now the NFL draft is right around the corner and this year for the first time it’s going to be a virtual draft. With everything going on in the world right now this makes perfect sense, but of course there where people in the media who complained about it. I guess that’s just what the media does any time the NFL makes a decision.

If you’re a fan of the NFL I’m sure you’ve looked at one or more mock drafts to see who they have your favorite team picking. I’ve noticed a new trend when it comes to these drafts. It seems that someone wants every team with an early 1st round pick to trade down in the draft to acquire more picks. I’m not sure why or how they think this would work and I’m sure there are a few teams looking to trade down, but not every team with a Top 10 pick can do that like it’s been suggested.

The Cincinnati Bengals hold the first pick in the draft and they appear to need a lot of help, but what they really need is a franchise quarterback to build around and it seems that the Bengals are sold on Joe Burrow being that guy. If the Bengals have done their research and they’re convinced that Burrow has a chance to be their starting quarterback for the next 10 years or more why would they want to trade that pick?

You can apply the exact same logic to the Washington Redskins who have the #2 pick in the draft. There are a lot of people who think that Chase Young is the best player on this draft and the Redskins have a chance to take him and start to rebuild their defense around him. Why should they give up the opportunity a once in a lifetime defense lineman to get a few extra picks down the road in the draft?

This seems to make very little sense, but there are quite a few people out there trying to sell this. Is it really smart to give up player who are at the top of the draft for a reason to try and find players later in the draft to fill the roles that these top players would fill.

Now as always there will be teams trying to trade up in the draft and to be fair if one of these teams in the Top 5 or Top 10 are blown out of the water by a deal when then they should make it. Of course that’s not going to happen to often; so you have to ask yourself if moving down to get possibly swap 1st round picks this year with a team and then pick up maybe that teams 1st or 2nd round pick next year; is it worth that wait?

Now remember you’ll have no idea where that draft pick the following year might fall; so that would be part of the gamble in a deal like this. It seems like it would be better to stick with what looks like a quality player than move down and take a chance, but it could happen.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team like the Detroit Lions trade out of the #3 spot in the draft and acquire some more draft picks. There’s a good possibility that a team like the Miami Dolphins who have the 5th pick in the 1st round or the Los Angeles Chargers who have the 6th pick in the 1st round might be looking to move up to try and draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Remember the Dolphins have three picks in the 1st round #5, #18 and #26. Would they possibly give up two of these picks to move into the 3rd spot and draft Tagovailoa? There is no team that can match what the Dolphins could give up to move up in this draft; so they seem to be the team to watch.

The San Francisco 49ers also have two picks in the 1st round #13 and #31, but it doesn’t appear as San Francisco is looking to trade up and would that be enough to get them into the 3rd spot of the draft.

What do you see happening at the top of the draft? Will the Bengals and the Redskins keep their picks? What do you think the Lions will do with the 3rd pick? Keep it or trade it?

We’ve been wondering what the NBA and the NHL might do when it’s clear to begin playing games again. Now the NBA has made a couple of statements and there have been some idea floated around, but for the most part the NHL has stayed mostly quiet until yesterday.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman came out and made some statements on what may happen with what’s left of the NHL regular season and where games might be played.

Bettman mentioned that the NHL make skip the rest of the regular season to allow more time for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL last played on March 12th; so there are 189 regular season games remaining.

Bettman also acknowledge that the NHL has looked into possibly having games played in neutral site arenas. Now this has to be done just in case a NHL team can’t get back into their own building because it’s booked for another event. It’s not like these arenas just sit empty when the NHL isn’t playing games; so it may actually be difficult for certain teams to book their own building for games.

Bettman also mentioned that these are just a few of the options that the NHL is looking at and it appears as though the NHL is hoping like a lot of us that they’ll have a clearer picture of how the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting the 31 NHL markets.

Would you be okay with the NHL not playing anymore regular season games and moving right into the playoffs when play resumes?

Don’t forget that the Sports Time Radio podcast is still up and running over at BlogTalkRadio.com. You can also head on over to TuneIn.com and listen to the podcast any time you want to.

Feel free to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: April 4, 2020 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, hockey, pro wrestling, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Well sports fans it appears as tough we still have no idea on when will see a live sporting event. With the announcement by President Trump that he’s extending the stay at home order through the end of this month it looks like any hope of us seeing something as early as May 1st is out the window. Now I know they where hoping to see the country start recovering by Easter, but I think just about everyone though that was too soon. Hopefully if there right this time around and things can start to return to normal at the end of the month then will have a better idea about when some type of sporting event might return.

I don’t believe that either the National Basketball Association or the National Hockey League has said anything about what they’re planning to do with what’s left of their regular season and their playoffs. I’ve mentioned here before that if they do decide to comeback and at this point I don’t think they should, but if they do they should just head right into the playoffs. I think the bigger question with both the NBA and the NHL is how long will it take the players to get ready to start playing games again. They’ll have to allow the teams some type of shorten training camp to get ready.

As for Major League Baseball; well they’ve already told us how they plan on handling things. It appears that once things are up and running will get a two to three week extension of spring training and then they’ll start the regular season. Now there’s still no number of games that has been set, but that would be difficult to do right now. Of course the owners did come out and say that they’d like to play as close to 162 games as possible. Let’s hope that things work out as planned and at the end of this month players will be able to report back to spring training. Does that mean we could see the MLB season starting a early as May 22nd. Now I don’t think that’s going to happen, but that would be close to MLB’s own timetable. To be honest I’d like to see them wait until Sunday May 31st and kick everything off then. At this point I guess will just continue to wait and see how this month plays out.

Now I’m not sure how many people consider professional wrestling a sport. While you do have to be athletic to be a professional wrestler a lot of people don’t put it in the sporting category because the outcome of the matches are predetermined. I’d be interested to get your views on professional wrestling as a sport or not.

Anyway this weekend is World Wrestling Entertainments biggest show of the year. Or what would be their biggest show of the year had there not been an outbreak of Covid-19. With everything going on WWE had to make changes to Wrestlemania. For the first time the event won’t be live as the matches have already been taped, but they’ve split the event into two nights. Part one airs tomorrow night with the second half of the show airing Sunday night. It hasn’t been announced which matches will be feature on which night, but obviously after tomorrow nights broadcast you’ll know what matches will be left to air on Sunday night. The show was also filmed with no audience; so it’s going to look just like their television shows have lately.

There was also some interesting news television wise for WWE. There have been some reports that after Wrestlemania airs this weekend the company will shutdown until they can begin having crowds at their shows. What makes this big news is the fact that RAW has aired every Monday night since January 11th 1993. If you think about that it’s an amazing feat. That’s over 27 years showing a different show every week as there are no reruns of RAW.

Now not only does WWE show RAW every Monday night on the USA Network, but there is a second WWE program called NXT that airs Wednesday nights also on the USA Network. WWE also has a third brand called Smackdown which airs every Friday night on Fox. Raw is a three hour program while NXT and Smackdown each have a two hour run time. I’m not sure how WWE or the networks they’re on would fill 7 hours of programming and as of right now none of this is has been confirmed; it’s just something WWE is considering.

Apparently the talk of this possible shutdown for WWE came about because they’ve been filming there shows in Florida at a facility they call the performance center, but Florida has recently issued a stay at home order which could possibly affect the WWE’s ability to get some of their wrestlers to the taping.

I’m not as big of a fan of the WWE product as I use to be, but the shows are still very popular and do solid ratings for the network they’re on. I’m not sure if showing old matches or even old pay per views would fill the void for fans. The WWE’s ratings have struggled since they started running shows with no audience and you’d have to think not having new matches would hurt those ratings even more.

Again nothing has been decided on what WWE will do after Wrestlemania airs this weekend, but I’m under the impression they’ve already made a decision. As usual RAW is scheduled to air Monday and you’d think if WWE had decided to shutdown production some kind of announcement would’ve been made. Of course I guess they could always make that announcement during the Wrestlemania pay per view either Saturday or Sunday night.

What do you see WWE doing? Do you think that they’ll close up shop for a while? Or do you think that they’ll continue to record matches for RAW, NXT and Smackdown?

Even with what seems like nothing to talk about the Sports Time Radio podcast is still up and running over at BlogTalkRadio.com. If you missed any of the podcast just head over to TuneIn.com and you can catch up over there.

Don’t forget to look for me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: April 1, 2020 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

As us sports fans meander around with just the breadcrumbs that the NFL leaves for us to devour it’s time to make some decisions on the big two sports that currently have their seasons postponed.

It feels like an eternity since the National Hockey League or the National Basketball Association have played a game. At this point unless you’re a hardcore fan of either league do you even care if they comeback? Or is it time for them to just let this season go and move on to next season?

Just off the top of your head; who had the best record in the NHL? Did you know that it was the Boston Bruins with 100 points? Did you get that right?

Okay then we move on. Who has the best record in the NBA? This one might’ve been a little easier for you since the NBA receives more high level media coverage than the NHL does. So did you get this right? It’s the Milwaukee Bucks with a record of 53-12.

Originally the NBA had it’s teams looking into arena availability for as late as August, but lately the biggest news in the NBA is the fact that Shaquille O’Neal had visited the Tiger King zoo. Is this what the NBA has come to.

The NBA, National Basketball Players Association and 2K have partnered to produce an NBA 2K tournament that will air on ESPN and ESPN2 starting Friday, it was announced.

The NBA 2K20 Player Tournament will run through April 11, according to a statement, and will begin airing on ESPN on Friday with a half-hour pre-show at 7 p.m. ET. The tournament will run on ESPN until 8:30 p.m. and then is scheduled to transition to ESPN2 until 11:30 p.m.

The winner of the event will receive $100,000 to give to a charity in support of the Covid-19 relief efforts.

Sixteen NBA players will compete in this event with five of them already being announced. Kevin Durant, Trae Young, Hassan Whiteside, Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker are the five that have been announced.

Players were seeded based on their player rating in NBA 2K20, with Durant, a 96 overall in the game, as the No. 1 seed. Players who were tied in overall rating were seeded based on tenure in the league.

Here’s the list of the other players that will be competing. Andre Drummond, Zach LaVine, Montrezl Harrell, Domantas Sabonis, Deandre Ayton, DeMarcus Cousins, Michael Porter Jr., Rui Hachimura, Patrick Beverly, Harrison Barnes and Derrick Jones Jr.

Is this something that you’re interested in? I can tell you this won;t be something that I’ll be watching. I’m not a big fan of the NBA as it is; so watching players play a video game isn’t going to draw my attention. If you do watch this please let me know what you think of this event.

The National Hockey League Players Association surveyed nearly 600 players before the 2019-20 season was put on hold. Here are the results they ended up with.

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was selected the most complete player. Crosby had 47 points in in 41 games; 16 goals and 31 assists and his 30 points; 11 goals and 19 assists since January 14th are tied for 5th in the NHL.

Crosby received 45.56% of the votes beating out Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins who received 25.44 % of the vote. Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers (7.50%) and Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues (5.33%) rounded out the four players receiving votes.

Crosby’s career track record which includes two Hart Trophy awards as NHL most valuable player (2007, 2014) and three Stanley Cup championships (2009, 2016, 2017) also made him the top choice as the player among any position you’d most want if you needed to win one game. Crosby received 44.03% of the votes in that category beating out Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers who received 30.53% of the vote.

McDavid did dominant the category for best forward. McDavid who is the Oilers captain scored 97 points; 34 goals and 63 assists during the season. McDavid picked up 68.35% of the vote in the best forward category. McDavid’s teammate Leon Draisaitl finished second in the voting. Draisaitl had 110 points; 43 goals and 67 assists during the season.

Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lighting was selected as the best defenseman for the second season in a row. Hedman received 37.88% of the vote beating John Carlson of the Washington Capitals who picked up 21.35% of the vote. Carlson is the front runner for the Norris trophy which is given to the best defenseman in the league, but he lost this vote to Hedman.

Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens became the repeat winner of the best goaltender award by beating out Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lighting. Price received  41.55% of the vote while Vasilevskiy got 17.09% of the vote.

Marie-Philip Poulin edged out Hilary Knight and was named best female hockey player. Poulin won with 39.92% of the vote while Knight ended up with 36.29% of the vote. Poulin was a forward on the two-time Olympic gold medal winning teams in 2010 and 2014. Poulin also scored the game winning goal in each of the championship games against the United States.

Do you agree with the way the players voted or would you have given these awards to other players? Please let me know who you would’ve voted for in the comment section.

Did either of these things that the NBA and NHL make you interested in them returning and finishing out the season. If you’d like to see either or both leagues return I’d be very interested in knowing how you think the leagues should finish out their season. Would you like to see the NHL and the NBA finish out their regular seasons or would you like to see them just go right into the playoffs?

While we went through what the NBA and the NHL have been up to recently I’d be curious to know how you’re passing the time without sports. Also I could use some tip to get through this time myself.

The Sports Time Radio podcast is still up and running. You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head on over to TuneIn.com and you can listen whenever you’d like to.

Don’t forget to find me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: November 23, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

The New York Yankees finally made the decision to part ways with Jacoby Ellsbury. After seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox the Yankees brought Ellsbury to New York with a 7 year $153 million dollar contract. Unfortunately the Yankees never got much of a return out of Ellsbury.

After four seasons with the Yankees Ellsbury ran into some injury issues that cost him the last two seasons. Now the Yankees did pay him $21,142,857 both of those seasons he was out.

Now the Yankees owe Ellsbury on more year at $21,142,857 and there is also a $5 million dollar by buy attached to his contract. The Yankees have come out and said that they are going to contest the final year of Ellsbury’s contract in hopes of not having to pay him.

The Yankees are claiming that Ellsbury received medical treatment for his injuries from a Health Care Provider who is not affiliated with the team. The team must also authorized permission for this type of treatment.

The MLBPA released a statement on this situation backing Ellsbury. “The Players Association will vigorously defend any action taken against Jacoby or his contract and is investigating potential contract violations by his employer”.

From the Yankees point of view it’s understandable that they’d like to get out of that final year of his contract along with the buy out, but I’m not sure if they’re going to have a leg to stand on in this case, but you never know what’s still going to come out in this case. I guess will have to wait and see how this all ends up playing out.

I corresponding moves the Yankees also designated 1st baseman Greg Bird and left handed pitcher Nelson Cortes Jr. for assignment.

Bird made a big splash for the Yankees in 2015. He hit 11 home runs in 46 games for New York and it looked like he could possibly be a long term solution for the Yankees at 1st base, but that didn’t happen.

Bird played just 17 games in the Arizona Fall League in 2016 and he never played more than 82 games in a season after that. He also never hit better than .199 for the Yankees. Bird managed to play in just 10 games last season before his season was ended by injuries.

It appears as though Ellsbury is going to attempt to play in 2020 if there’s a team willing to take a chance on him. As of now it’s unclear if Bird will try to play next season.

After the Atlanta Braves made the first signing of free agency bringing in closer Will Smith and re-signing set up man Chris Martin. The next team to make their mark in free agency was the Chicago White Sox.

First the White Sox agreed to a four year $73 million dollar deal with catcher Yasmani Grandal. He was considered the best free agent catcher and one of the top hitters available this off season.

Grandal took a chance last off season signing a one year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers and it appears to have paid off for him.

Grandal had a career high in home runs with 28 and RBI’s with 77 while hitting .246. He also played in a career high 153 games catching in 137 games that covered 1095 2/3rd innings. Grandal just turned 31 earlier this month and I’m not sure if he’ll be able to catch as many games this coming season for the White Sox. Of course being that he’s now with an American League team he’ll be able to keep his bat in the line up as a Designated Hitter.

The White Sox also announced this week that they have signed 1st baseman Jose Abreu to a three year $50 million dollar contract extension. Earlier this off season Abreu accepted the White Sox qualifying offer of $17.8 million dollars in hopes that an extension could be worked out.

Under his new contract Abreu will be paid a salary of $11 million dollars for the 2020 season with a $5 million dollar signing bonus. In 2021 Abreu will make $16 million dollars and in the final year of his contract Abreu’s salary jumps to $18 million dollars. $4 million dollars of Abreu’s 2022 salary will be deferred.

Abreu has spent all six of his major league seasons with the White Sox. Last season Abreu led the American League in RBI’s with 123 and has been a productive bat in the White Sox line up since joining them out of Cuba.

It seems like the consensus was that the White Sox needed to add a bat this off season and most experts thought they’d add an outfielder, Grandal is definitely the bat they needed and keeping Abreu should give the White Sox a solid line up.

Honestly I was in the other camp on what I thought the White Sox should add as I thought they needed a top of the rotation starter and who knows it’s still very, very early in free agency; so maybe they still will.

So we’ve had a couple of early free agent signings. Will this trend continue? Or will the free agent market slow down like we’ve seen the last few seasons?

I’d be interested to know who you think the next team might be to step up and get a player signed and which player do you think will be the one that gets signed. There’s always a lot of talk about who’s going where, but who will it actually be?

We had the first head coaching change of the NHL season as the Toronto Maple Leafs fired Mike Babcock after the team started 9-10-4. Sheldon Keefe is taking Babcock’s place behind the Maple Leafs bench. Keefe had been coaching Toronto AHL’s team the Marlies.

Technically, Babcock has only been relieved of his duties as coach and is still under contract with the Maple Leafs. That eight-year, $50 million dollar contract was the biggest deal ever given to an NHL coach and there are still three more seasons on it. Babcock will likely be allowed to pursue other opportunities, but compensation for coaches or executives is no longer a part of the CBA.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you do happen to miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen at your convenience.

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With NBA free agency moving fast and furious I thought it was interesting that there where people out their who thought that the other leagues could learn something from the way it went. Now sadly this plays into a lack of knowledge of the other sports as free agency on the NFL and the NHL move along at just about a fast of a pace as NBA free agency does. I guess no one was paying attention to those other two sports. Now baseball on the other hand they definitely could learn something.

Free agency is much easier to forecast when that certain league has a salary cap. Things are made even easier in the NBA as teams know what the maximum amount of years and money they can offer a player. While the NFL and the NHL don’t have the same contract limits and dollar amount they are still working against a salary cap.

Over in baseball it’s an entirely different story. There is no salary cap; so in reality teams can spend as much money as they’d like, but there is a luxury tax which a team has to pay if their total salaries go over a certain number. I’ve seen quite a few people try to say that the luxury tax is baseballs salary cap, but it’s not even close to that. In MLB it’s completely up to the team if they want to go over the luxury tax while in a salary cap league you have to make roster moves to stay under that salary cap number.

I don’t expect MLB to adopt a salary cap any time soon as it seems that the luxury tax has worked for them. If you’ve noticed these last few seasons most of the higher salaried teams have been doing their best to stay under the luxury tax line.

So while I don’t believe that baseball has to make any moves with their luxury tax I do think they could learn a thing or two about making their off season more interesting. With a new CBA coming up will see if there are any changes made to head that way.

We’re a little past the half way point with games played in baseball and looking at the standings and the way that things have played out I’d have to say that even though they’re 5 games over the .500 mark the Boston Red Sox have been one of the more disappointing teams this season.

Coming off of a World Series winning 2018 season the Red Sox went into the off season trying to stay under or close to the luxury tax we just talked about; so that took them out of the free agent market.

The only off season signings the Red Sox made was of their own players. They brought back World Series MVP Steven Pearce on a one year deal. Then they re-signed Nathan Eovaldi to a four year $68 million dollar deal.

Since the Red Sox where working on the cheap they allowed closer Craig Kimbrell to go into free agency. It was decided that they’d use a closer by committee format and that hasn’t served them very well. Boston has had 34 save opportunities this season and they’ve converted on just 17 of them. Six different relivers have saved at least one game this season with Ryan Brasier leading the way with 7 saves. I can understand the Red Sox not wanting to meet Kimbrell price as he was asking for 5 years and around $15 to $18 million dollars a season, but it appears as though they need a better solution than what they’ve been doing.

As for a better solution will see, but the Red Sox are making a change at closer. Boston has announced that when Eovaldi is reinstated from the 60 day IL he’ll be the teams closer. Now this could be as interesting as it is intriguing since health hasn’t been Eovaldi’s strong suit in his career.

Eovaldi went on the IL after he needed to have what was described as “loose bodies” removed from his right elbow. He is expected back after the All=Star break; when he’ll move into his new role.

In his career that has covered almost eight full seasons Eovaldi has pitched in 160 regular season games, but 152 of them have been as a starter. He has 0 career saves. As a starter Eovaldi has only made 30 plus starts once in his career 2014 and he hit his highest inning total in that same season 199 2/3rds. He has piled up quite a few injuries in his career even missing the entire 2017 season as he recovered from surgery.

Can he really be a guy who can be called on out of the bullpen to pitch two or even three days in a row?

It clear that the Red Sox are banking on the same kind of success as a closer that Eovaldi had coming out of the bullpen last post season, but is that really a reliable way to gauge him as a closer?

It’s clear that the Red Sox have to do something at the end of games as they find themselves 10 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East race. Boston is also 1 1/2 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second American League wild card spot, but aren’t their other options.

The Red Sox have always had a highly rated farm system and you’d have to think they’d be able to turn one of those prospects into an upgrade at closer and their should be some on the trade market.

I’m sure for the right prospect or package of prospects Boston could pick up Brad Hand, Shane Greene, Will Smith or a handful of other closers. It seems a though the Colorado Rockies have soured on Wade Davis and you can understand why with an ERA of 5.76, but he’s done the job before and has quite a bit of post season experience. You also have to think with the struggles Davis has had Boston might not have to give up too much to get him.

It will be interesting to see how Eovaldi fairs as a closer and if the Red Sox will make a deal just to have a guy in the bullpen; just in case. Whatever the Red Sox are going to do they can’t wait much longer or else their chances of repeating will be gone.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: June 1, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, hockey, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I’ll be the first one to complain about the extra days off in a playoff series. It’s become common place in the NBA no matter if it’s an opening round series or the NBA finals that at some point there will be an extra day off added into the schedule. Sadly now it seems that the NHL has adopted this terrible scheduling pattern for the Stanley Cup finals.

Now the main excuse given is always travel even though the last time I checked teams are no longer taking the train to get from one destination to the next. Most if not all teams have a team plane which should make their travel much easier than you or I, but they still need that extra day off.

To the point teams and leagues do this because of their television contracts and I don’t understand why they just won’t come out and admit that.

ESPN and TNT grossly overpaid to broadcast NBA regular season and playoff games. It was so bad at ESPN that they had to let quite a few employees go to save their bottom line; so you have to figure that they have quite a bit of control over the schedule; especially when it comes to playoff games.

Here’s how this could play out. The NHL started off okay as they had Game 1 on Monday and then Game 2 on Wednesday, but then they threw in the extra day; so Game 3 is tonight. The Boston Bruins where the prohibited favorite coming into this series, but the St. Louis Blues picked up a Game  win before the Bruins evened thing up with a Game 2 win. Even if one of these teams wins the next three games the NHL season won’t end until June 6th. If this series happens to go seven games the NHL season won’t end until June 12th. Except for fans in St. Louis and Boston; who pays attention to what’s going on in the NHL in the middle of June?

Over in the NBA the season could play out even longer. The Toronto Raptors picked up a Game 1 victory over the favorite Golden State Warriors and Game 2 is in Toronto tomorrow night. Now everyone expected Golden State to win this series and if they did win four games in a row to capture the NBA title the series would end on June 10th. Now if this series ends up going to full seven games in won’t end until June 16th. Since this is the first time the Raptors have ever made it to the NBA finals their fans will stay with this series no matter what, but if this does go all the way until June 16th there will be Golden State fans that won’t care who ended up winning.

Game 1 of the NBA finals was another example of how the television contracts these league get into doesn’t really help them.

Like I mentioned for the first time in team history the Raptors had made it to the NBA finals. Toronto also had the better regular season record; so they got hosted Game 1 and have home court advantage. What did that get for their fans? It got them a 9:00 p.m. start time for Game 1. Now you’ll hear the various leagues talk about growing the game and making it more available to kids. How many kids got to see the end of this game? The only reason I got to see any of this game was because I just happened to be on vacation from my job otherwise I wouldn’t of seen any of Game 1. To be fair tomorrow nights game isn’t much better as it will start at 8:00 in Toronto, but if that’s what television wants that’s what television is going to get. Sorry fans your not important to the NBA!

The Major League Baseball draft is coming up in a few days; I believe it ight be June 3rd, but I’m not sure of that date. I have to give baseball some credit for trying to make it out like it’s a big deal. They’ve created a draft show and it seems like there’s a commercial for it on the MLB Network ever time they go to break. I’m sure they’d love the MLB draft to be looked at and turned into a spectacle like the NFL and NBA drafts are, but that’s just not going to happen for them.

When your favorite NFL or NBA team makes a draft pick the player goes right to training camp with the team that picked him and in most cases will be on the field or court when the season starts. When you get drafted by an major league team you go to spring training, but you spend that time in minor league camp. Maybe the player that a team took with their #1 pick makes an appearance or two in the major league camp just so they ca be seen by reporters and the teams front office people, but there’s very little chance that player will see any time in the major league for quite some time.

Now’s there’s really nothing that MLB can do about this it’s just the nature of their game and it takes time for a player to develop until the NFL and NBA where they can walk into a training camp and compete for a job.

The Baltimore Orioles have the first pick in the MLB draft and in just about every mock draft I’ve read they’re going to select Bobby Witt Jr. a shortstop who is almost 19 years old and played at Colleyville Heritage High School in Colleyville Texas. If the Orioles don’t take Witt Jr. they may go with outfielder Riley Greene from Hagerty High School in Oviedo Florida or left handed pitcher Zach Thompson who pitches at the University of Kentucky.

Now maybe down the road one of these players will have a Hall of Fame career, but I don’t think any of them will be in the big leagues this season; so unlike the NFL and NBA draft we just have t wait and see how these players turn out.

If Witt Jr’s name sounds familiar to you that’s because his father Bobby Witt  pitched for seven different major league teams over a 16 year career.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head on over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

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Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: May 8, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

MLB

For the 300th time in baseball history there was a no-hitter thrown. Mike Fiers of the Oakland A’s accomplished the feat last night against the Cincinnati Reds. This is the second time in Fiers career that he’s thrown a no-hitter. Fiers no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers when he was a member of the Houston Astros in 2015.

Fiers was making his ninth start of the season last night and was having a rough start to his season. Coming into last night Fiers was 2-3 with an ERA of 6.81. It makes perfect sense that he goes out and no-hit one of if not the hottest hitting team in baseball. Baseball is an odd game.

Adding to the oddity of this game is the fact that it almost wasn’t played at all last night. There was an issue with some of the lights in leftfield. There was a meeting at home plate with the umpires, each teams manager and general manager with Major League Baseball on stand by trying to decide if the game would be played. After an hour and 38 minute delay the game was ready to start. Apparently this game was only 15 minutes away from being cancelled.

Once the game started it took Fiers 2 hours and 25 minutes to throw his second no-hitter. Fiers is the 35th pitcher in baseball history to have thrown multiple no-hitters. He is also one of just five active pitchers who have pulled this off. Fiers is also the 8th pitcher in baseball history to throw his two no-hitters with different teams.

Interestingly, you have to wonder how many managers would’ve left their pitcher in as Fiers threw 131 pitches last night. With the way pitchers are handled in today’s game once they hit that 100 pitch mark the bullpen is up and warming, but A’s manager Bob Melvin stayed with Fiers and allowed him to get his no-hitter.

Fiers had thrown 109 pitches through 7 innings and it was reported that Melvin told him if he allowed anyone to get on base he’d be coming out of the game. The A’s did have someone warming up in the bullpen the final two innings of the game.

Melvin was quoted as saying “I broke every rule in the book”. “It was no fun for me once he got past 120 pitches; I promise you that, but he deserved it”.

Now it a 1-0 game going into the bottom of the 7th, so Melvin wasn’t only managing a no-hitter he was trying to win a tight game.

Jurickson Profar gave Fiers and the A’s an extra run to work with when he hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th inning to make it a 2-0 game.

Now as with any no-hitter there seems to be a defensive play that stands out and the A’s made two last night both in the top of the 6th inning.

Joey Votto looked like he not only would break up the no-hitter, but the shutout as well, when he connected on a deep flyball to centerfield. Ramon Laureano went back to the fence timed his jump just right and caught what looked like it was going to be a Votto home rune to keep the no-hitter in going. Profar also added defensive gem to preserve the no-hitter. Kyle Farmer hit a shallow flyball to rightfield that looked like it was going to drop between A’s fielders, but Profar made a diving catch to rob Farmer of a hit.

The only what you might call controversial call happened in the top of the 4th inning. Jesse Winker hit a ball that went off of Matt Chapman’s glove. It would’ve been a tough play for Chapman to make and the call could’ve went either way. It took the official scorer quite a while to make a ruling, but in the end they called it an error on Chapman. It may have been a tough error to assign, but Chapman is a top defender and it was a play that he normally makes.

With the win Fiers improves his record on the season to 3-3. He struck out 6 and walked 2 and his ERA came down to 5.48.

Another rarity for pitchers these days is the complete game, but there was one of those last night.

Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw a complete game against the Atlanta Braves last night. Ryu gave up 4 hits while striking out 6 and he threw just 94 pitches in his complete game.

The Dodgers cruised to a 9-0 victory over the Braves as Justin Turner backed Ryu’s effort by hitting three home runs and driving in 6 of the Dodgers 9 runs.

This was Ryu’s 3rd career complete game, but it’s his first since 2013 his rookie season when he had 2. With the win Ryu improved his record to 4-1 on the season. He also lowered his ERA to 2.03.

Coming into last night, there had been just 6 complete games in baseball this season. So to have two in one night is special and then add the fact that one of them was a no-hitter and it was a great baseball night.

NHL

There is just one spot left in the NHL Conference finals and it will take a Game 7 tonight to decide who gets that spot.

The Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes have claimed their spots in the Eastern Conference finals and that series starts tomorrow night. The St. Louis Blues grabbed one of the spots in the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 double overtime win over the Dallas Stars last night.

So there’s only room for one more team. Who will it be?

The San Jose Sharks are hosting the Colorado Avalanche tonight to see who claims that last Conference finals spot. No team has won two games in a row in this series, does that mean that Colorado is on trouble since they won Game 6? It does look as though San Jose might have a slight advantage coming into this game but as we know with the way these NHL playoffs have went; you just never know.

Who do you have winning Game 7 tonight, the Sharks or the Avalanche?

Don’t forget to listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live all you have to do it head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime