Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Penguins’

Even though the Golden State Warriors came back from being down 3 games to 1 in the Western Conference Finals and advanced with the chance to win the NBA title for the second straight season. It seemed that the talk turned pretty quickly to where Kevin Durant will be playing next season. Durant is entering free agency for the first time in his career and has played his entire career for the Oklahoma City Thunder. You have to figure that just about every team in the NBA will contact Durnat’s agent to see if there’s a chance he’d be willing to come t there team. Don’t forget the Washington Wizards hired Durant’s former head coach Scott Brooks hoping that might give them an inside track. Even the top Western Conference teams have been mentioned as a posssible landing spot for Durant. Golden State has been mentioned as being interested as well as the San Antonio Spurs would be interested in Durant’s services. There’s also been mention of the Boston Celtics who have a ton of draft picks and could build the team around Durant. Then there was some talk of Durant going to Los Angeles, but not to play for the Lakers, but for the Clippers. Of course I believe that might have to be a sign and trade with a player like Blake Griffin heading to Oklahoma City, but it could be possible. Not I’m sure between now and when NBA free agency kicks off in about a month there will be even more teams added to the Kevin Durant derby. Now if I had to put my money down on something happened I’d go with him staying wit the Thunder. I’m guessing he’ll sign a short term Max deal with an opt out like LeBron James has done with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Durant could get just under $26 million a season from the Thunder; so maybe he signs a 2-year deal with an opt out after the first year and then he could get even more money as the NBA salary cap continues to go up. Don’t forget that Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are both under contract with Oklahoma City for one more season. Wouldn’t it make sense for Durant to return to the Thunder for one more run at the NBA title; especially after as close as they where to knocking Golden State out of the playoffs this season. It could be quite a situation for Oklahoma City if Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka all hit free agency at the same time after the 2016-17 season. Would it be worth it if they won the NBA title next season and then those three players headed into free agency?

The NBA Finals tip off tomorrow and it’s rematch of last season with the Golden State Warriors defending their title against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The biggest difference between this season and last is that the Cavaliers will be healthy than last years finals. Both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are 100% this time the two teams meet for the title. Even with the Cavaliers being in better health it appears as though Golden State is still the trendy pick. On the Sports Time radio podcast Ben Beeken from DunkinWithWolves.com has the Warriors winning the series in 6 games. Even though Dan the Man didn’t give a number of games for the series he also has Golden State repeating as champions. I didn’t make a pick on the podcast yesterday, but I believe that Golden State will will the series in five games. It seems that everyone I’ve heard predict the series has Golden State winning in five or six games. Who do you have winning the NBA title?

Here’s an odd stat for you and maybe you can win a bar bet or two with it. Anderson Varejao is the first player to play for the teams meeting in the NBA finals in the same season. Varejao started the season with the Cavaliers where he played 31 games. After being realeased by Cleveland he signed on with the Warriors where played in 22 regular season games. and 11 playoff games so far.

The Stanley Cup Finals dropped the puck on Monday night as the San Jose Sharks where in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the 1st period on goals by Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary.The Penguins really looked like the better team throughout the 1st period. Pittsburgh had 15 shots on goal in the 1st period while San Jose could only muster 4 shots on goal. In the 2nd period it appeared as though the teams switched roles. Goals by Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau even the game at 2-2 after 2 periods of action. The game stayed at 2-2, but the Penguins where getting quite a few shots on goal and you had to wonder if soponer or later if the puck would find it’s way into the back of the net. At 17:27 of the 3rd period Nick Bonino beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones and give Pittsburgh the 3-2 lead and as it turned out the game winning goal. The Penguins doubled up the Sharks shot totals in the 3rd period as Pitttsburgh had 18 shots on goal to San Jose’s 9. The Penguins did go 0 for 3 on the power play while the Sharks went 1 for 2. So Pittsburgh won Game 1 at home and tonight the Penguins look to win Game 2 at home before the series shifts to San Jose.

While the St. Louis Blues didn’t quite make there goal of winning the Stanley Cup the team did well enough for them to want to bring back head coach Ken Hitchcock for next season. During his press conference;  Hitchcock announced that the 2016-17 season will be his final season coaching in the NHL.Hitchcock guided the Blues to the Western Conference finals this year following a regular season in which St. Louis finished with 107 points, the fourth-highest total in franchise history. Four of the top five regular-season finishes in St. Louis franchise history have come with Hitchcock behind the bench. Next season will be Hitchcock’s 20th as an NHL head coach. He won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and has a career record of 757-453-194. He ranks fourth all-time in regular season wins and is likely headed to the Hall of Fame when he’s done.

You can listen to The Podcast by clicking the link and you can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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While it is just May as we like to say on the podcast May is coming to an end next week. When the calendar turns to June will you worry about your favorite baseball team then? I’m think if you’re a fan of the New York Mets you might want to get started a little early. The Mets are currently 23-18 and in 3rd place in the National League East just 2 1/2 games behind the division leading Washington Nationals.

Is there possible an issue with the Mets starting rotation? The team is being built around it’s young pitching and those young pitchers did get the Mets into the World Series last season. There have been some cracks in that young pitching foundation that the Mets need to keep their eye on. Steven Matz made his 7th start last night after being skipped in the rotation because of elbow soreness. Even with 11 days off Matz pitched 7 innings giving up 3 hits, 2 earned runs and striking out 8 while picking up the win in the Mets 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Matz made 9 starts for the Mets last season and 3 of those where in the post season. Matz is 6-1 this season with an ERA of 2.81 in his 7 starts, but at 241 years old will the Mets have to watch his innings as the season moves along. While there doesn’t seem to be any injury concerns with Jacob deGrom his velocity seems to be a little down in his last couple of starts; which where no decisions. deGrom did miss a couple of starts earlier this season as he left the team to attend to a medical issue with his newborn son. He’s made 3 starts since returning to the Mets and is 0-1 after winning his first 3 starts of the season. deGrom’s ERA is 2.50 on the season and you have to wonder if it’s just a case of him building up his arm strength again, but it is something the Mets have to watch. Then there’s Mat Harvey. Harvey started on Thursday night against the division leading Nationals. He lasted just 2 2/3rd of an inning, gave up 8 hits, 9 runs 6 of them earned while walking 2 and striking out 2. Harvey was boo’d off the field when Mets manager Terry Collins came out to remove him from the game. Harvey hasn’t last more than 6 innings in any of his 9 starts this season. Harvey is 3-6 and his ERA is 5.77 in his 9 starts this season. There have been no reports about any injuries, but if you remember just a few weeks back Harvey himself said he felt a little off was the term he used. Harvey had that terrible outing against the Nationals, but his start before that wasn’t much either. He pitched 5 2/3rd innings while giving up 5 earned runs on 11 hits, but struck out 6 against the Colorado Rockies. I don;t think that anyone noticed that start because it was in Coors Field and many pitchers have had trouble there. According to reports that came out on Friday Harvey will not be skipped in the rotation and is due t make his next start against the Nationals again on Tuesday, May 24th; this time the game is in Washington’s Nationals Park.Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard are the other two pitchers holding down the Mets rotation. Colon has made 8 starts and is 3-3 with an ERA of 3.75, There’s nothing wrong with those numbers out of a 5th starter especially when you find out that pitcher is 42 years old. Is Syndergarrd the ace of this staff? He’s 4-2 in 8 starts, but has the lowest ERA among the starers at 2.19. 7 of his 8 starts have been quality starts and he’s struck out 65 batters while walking just 9 on the season. Syndergaard has a WHIP of 0.99 and his K/9 or strikeouts per 9 innings ratio is 10.97 this season. You’d think that talent like tis can easily get the Mets back into the playoffs and don;t forget that Zack Wheeler is due to return in a couple of weeks. Wheeler had Tommy John surgery last season and is finishing up his recovery. I am wondering if some of the struggles this young Mets staff has had reminded any long time fans of the team of the Jason Isringhausen, Paul Wilson, Bill Pulsipher pitching trio that the Mets where going to be built around in the late 90’s.

The Tampa Bay Lighting jumped out to a 4-0 lead last night and looked as though they’d easily even up there Eastern Conference Finals series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 2 games apiece. While the Lighting did even up the series with the Penguins there was nothing easy about it. Tampa bay got goals from Ryan Callahan and Andrew Sustr in the 1st period t take a 2-0 lead. Callahan’s goal came 27 seconds into the game. Tampa Bay added 2 more goals in the 2nd period as Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Johnson put the puck in the net and effectively ended the night of Pittsburgh starting goaltender Matt Murray. With Marc-Andre Fleury back in goal the Penguins seem to get a little lift even down 4-0. Phil Kessel got the Penguins on the scoreboard at 1:18 of the 3rd period with a goal. Play settled down for about 10 minutes and then Evgeni Malkin scored the Penguins 2nd goal of the period. It’s still 4-2 Lighting; so there was no need for their fans to panic; yet. When Chris Kunitz scored just after the 13 minute mark of the period to make it a 1-goal game at 4-3 I’m sure Lighting fans where worried. Fleury was pulled for the extra skater with about 4 minutes left in the game, but Andrei Vasilevskiy held on in goal for Tampa Bay and they took Game 4.

Game 5 is Sunday night as the series heads back to Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.

The second leg of horse racing Triple-Crown The Preakness Stakes is today. Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist is the favorite at 3 to 5. Can Nyquist win here? There is another horse that while not the betting favorite is close. Exaggerator is going off at 3 to 1. I believe I heard that these 2 horses have matched up 4 times and Nyquist has won all 4 of those races. Will today be the day Exaggerator finally beats Nyquist or will Nyquist move on to the Belmont Stakes with a chance t win the Triple-Crown. I know everyone is just waiting for my pick since I know so much about horse racing. I decided that I’m going with Cherry Wine at 20 to 1 to win the Preakness. That of course menas stay as far away from that horse as possible.

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You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

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.

Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime