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Monthly Archives: Tháng Một 2019

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Rumored Reason Why WWE Decided To Turn Rusev Heel Again

Similar to the fan reaction of Daniel Bryan during the WrestleMania 30 “B-plus player” angle, the advent of “Rusev Day” caused a widespread phenomenon in the world of pro wrestling. Although he started stating the everyday is Rusev Day while being a villain, the fans were still into the fad, and crowds around the world started chanting “Rusev Day” when the Bulgarian Brute came to the ring.
While there were many times where WWE attempted to halt this organic movement, fans continued to give deafening Rusev Day chants in every arena. This level of popularity led to an opportunity to win the United States Championship at WrestleMania 34. Although he was unsuccessful, his popularity led to a WWE Championship opportunity just three months later against AJ Styles at Extreme Rules, but he was once again unsuccessful.
Over the past few months, Rusev has been engaged in a feud against then-United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Despite a couple of failed attempts, Rusev was able to defeat Nakamura on the December 25, 2018 episode of SmackDown Live, winning the U.S. Championship for the third time in his career.

Unfortunately, for Rusev, he lost the title to Nakamura during the kickoff show of the Royal Rumble.
During the latest episode of SmackDown Live, an odd turn of events occurred. After R-Truth defeated Nakamura to commence his second WWE United States Championship reign, Rusev came out and cut a heel promo on the new champion, challenging him to a match. Following R-Truth’s successful defense, Rusev aligned with his foe, Nakamura, and attacked R-Truth. This heel turn from Rusev was totally unexpected, especially since he has been a very popular name on the SmackDown Live roster.

RelatedBackstage News On If AEW Has Interest In Signing Dean Ambrose, Could Ambrose's WWE Departure Be A Work?
To explain why this occurred, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer theorized why WWE decided to make the decision.
“The whole ‘Rusev Day’ wasn’t [WWE’s] idea, though. It was just something that caught on and made him a babyface. I think in their minds, the babyface thing was a short-term thing, and now [it has] run it’s course… he wasn’t that over as a face anymore.”

As seen on SmackDown Live, Rusev was called out by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for what they did to R-Truth. Nakamura stepped in and evened out the playing field, stating, “challenged accepted.” Rusev agreed to team with Nakamura, and a match is slated to occur between the two teams.
Please be sure to credit The Floor Seat for any quotes used from this article.

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Joel Embiid joins Steph Curry for dinner ahead of Thursday's matchup

Category : 76ers , NBA , Philadelphia 76ers , Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has dinner with the enemy late on Wednesday night.
If Philadelphia 76ers superstar center Joel Embiid was on a contract year, his recent dinner date might stir up some speculation. Who are we kidding? This is an era that’s full of speculation. Even though Embiid has made it very clear that he loves Philly, and wants to spend the entirety of his career with the Sixers, there are still some fans out there who believe that the seven-footer could be poached from Philly.
Embiid isn’t the most liked guy in the league, considering his trash talking ways on and off the court. However, there are many stars around the league, who have seemed to befriend Embiid over the years. Add Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry to the list of those who actually enjoy Embiid’s company. I mean, after all, it’s hard to hate on others when your team is consistently winning the championship.
On Wednesday night, Embiid and Curry met up for dinner at International Smoke in San Francisco. The restaurant just so happens to be owned by Curry’s wife, Ayesha. So maybe Steph isn’t trying to get Embiid on the Warriors, but he’s definitely trying to promote his wife’s restaurant.
Curry and Embiid make a scene

Steph Curry and Joel Embiid dine together at Ayesha Curry’s restaurant International Smoke in SF ahead of the Warriors/Sixers game today. pic.twitter.com/2gECbHq6Kt
— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) January 31, 2019

Quite the scene going there at International Smoke. Imagine having a nice late dinner at Ayesha Curry’s joint, just to find Curry and Embiid walking in to have a friendly meal ahead of their matchup on Thursday against the Golden State Warriors. Fortunately for the Sixers, Embiid is going to be alright and will play during Thursday’s game after visibly feeling pain in his back just the other night.
The Warriors are favored to win at home on Thursday, but the Sixers haven’t been backing down from their tough battles during this challenging stretch of games. Seeing as though they should be mostly healthy, the Sixers should put up a good fight against the Warriors.

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WWE News: Dolph Ziggler Shoots On Dean Ambrose Leaving, Becky Lynch Owns Vince McMahon On Twitter, New XFL Partnership

WWE star Dolph Ziggler, who surprised fans by making an appearance in the Royal Rumble match after claiming just days before the PPV that he was taking a hiatus from WWE, recently appeared on Busted Open Radio. During the show, Ziggler commented on his Rumble appearance, his future in WWE, and more.
Ziggler also commented on this week’s news that Dean Ambrose will be leaving WWE when his contract expires in April, and admitted he is surprised to see Ambrose leaving. Ziggler added, “[Dean] is always in a prominent role and is beloved by the fans so I didn’t see it coming.”
You can watch the full Ziggler interview in the above video player.
Becky Lynch Has Incredible Response To Vince McMahon
Move over, Kevin Owens, Becky Lynch is the new master of WWE social media accounts, as she recently fired back at Vince McMahon after the Chairman of the Board offered Lynch a happy birthday, Tweeting, “Unflinching, uncompromising and unmistakably The Man. Happy Birthday to Becky Lynch!”

Got some new earrings to match that brass ring I own. https://t.co/9wdxbRgoYW
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) January 30, 2019

New XFL Partnership
The following press release has been issued:
XFL Partners with The Spring League to Reimagine Football
Stamford, Conn., January 30, 2019 – The XFL today announced that it has formed a partnership with The Spring LEague, an elite professional football development organization, to test changes to rules and gameplay as it works to reimagine the game when it kicks off in 2020. Testing during The Spring League’s upcoming season follows the XFL’s first testing session conducted last month, which featured two Mississippi-based junior college teams.
The Spring League will take the field in Austin, Texas from March 28 to April 11 and will provide players the opportunity to showcase their ability in front of the XFL, NFL and other professional football talent evaluators. While doing so, coaches will work closely with football operations executive from the XFL to blend in on-field adjustments the league has been researching and developing since announcing its return just over a year ago.
“We believe that conducting live R&D sessions to test out potential game adjustments in real time is critical,” Oliver Luck, XFL Commissioner & CEO. “Puttung the best product on the field is out number one priority and thanks to partners like The Spring League, we are confident that the changes we eventually decide to deploy will have the desired effect and we will deliver outstanding football when we kick off.”
“This is an exciting partnership for The Spring League,” said Brian Woods, CEO of The Spring League, “We applaud the XFL’s effor to reimagine the game and simultaneously provide out players and additional opportunity to display their talents for the XFL coaches and scouts in attendance.”
In early December, XFL football operations personnel worked with the National Junior College Athletic Association and two member schools, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Pearl River Community College, to conduct its first live R&D session.
“The feedback we recieved from the players, coached and game officials who participated in our three R&D sessions in December was hugely beneficial,” said Doug Whaley, XFL Senior Vice President of Football Operations. “We’re excited to take that feedback, as well as observations from the hundreds of hours of tape we captured, and put these new adjustments on the field in real time with the incredibly talented players of The Spring League attracts.

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Cleveland Indians 25 Man Roster Projection for 2019: Start of Spring

Category : Indians

Every season I do my best to predict the Indians opening day 25 man roster prior to the start of spring training with updates throughout after big signings, trades and cuts. Normally, this is a fairly simple undertaking as the roster has been greatly determined long in advance. This season, things are a bit different as even some of the biggest names on the team could still potentially see positional changes or trades before the regular season begins.
Kluber pitches during a 2018 minor league spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball
Ace – Corey Kluber
Options: Carrasco, Bauer
Kluber’s off-season has been shrouded with mystery despite being signed through 2021 on a very team friendly deal. It appears at the moment that the two time Cy Young winner (top three in each of the last three years, top 10 in each of the last five) will stay with the Tribe as they were able to free up enough money through the trades of Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes. As long as he’s still around, he deserves the ace connotation for his years of dominance in the Indians rotation.
SP2 – Carlos Carrasco
Options: Kluber, Bauer, Clevinger
While Kluber still deserves to be called ace, there is a strong argument that he is no longer the Indians top pitcher. Signed through 2023, Carrasco could be considered the Tribe’s top arm after averaging 4.1 bWAR over the last five years.
SP3 – Trevor Bauer
Options: Carrasco, Clevinger, Bieber
The third argument for ace belongs to Bauer, although his off-field antics and unwillingness to sign a long term deal will likely keep him from taking on the moniker. Despite that, he has the ability of a top line starter and could be the favorite for 2019 Cy Young among the Indians starters.
SP4 – Mike Clevinger
Options: Bieber, Shao-Ching Chiang, Salazar
Clevinger was incredibly underrated last year as he wasn’t quite up to the level of the three pitchers ahead of him, but he was still the 13th best pitcher in all of baseball. At just 28, there is still room for improvement for Clevinger, who has already been very impressive in his first two seasons.
SP5 – Shane Bieber
Options: Chiang, Salazar, Cody Anderson, Sam Hentges, Adam Plutko, Jean Carlos Mejia
The youngster in the Indians rotation at 23, Bieber also had an incredible and underrated season in 2018 as he was worth one win and posted a 3.23 FIP in 114.2 innings as a rookie. He is significantly better than his AAA competition and will almost certainly return as the Indians fifth man. If there is an injury or trade in the rotation it would potentially leave an opening for another rookie like Chiang or one of the long term injury replacements, Plutko and Anderson. Mejia and Hentges are in MLB camp, but won’t break camp with the team while Salazar is likely to begin the year on the DL.
Sep 7, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz (32) is tagged out by Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana (41) during the third inning of the game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Starting Line-Up
C – Roberto Perez
Options: Eric Haase, Plawecki
Perez was one of the worst offensive producers in baseball last year and had trouble making throws to second base, but with the trade of Gomes to Washington, he appears to be the default choice. After picking up Plawecki from the Mets, it’s likely that Haase will begin the year in AAA.
1B – Carlos Santana
Options: Bauers, Bobby Bradley
Guess who’s back, back again. Returned to Cleveland in the Encarnacion trade with Seattle, Santana is very likely to be the Indians starting first baseman again. He greatly improved his defense in his final year with the Indians and would weaken the line-up considerably if he was used at DH with Bauers at first.
2B – Jason Kipnis
Options: J. Ramirez
Like Kluber and Bauer, Kipnis’ off-season was filled with trade rumors, but for now he’s still with Cleveland and slated to be the starting second baseman. Since all the Indians offensive weaknesses are focused in the outfield, moving Kipnis to left with Ramirez taking back second could be an option that would greatly increase the Indians offensive output at the cost of a greater defense.
3B – Jose Ramirez
Options: Chang
If the Indians were to move Kipnis to left, Chang would slide into third with Ramirez moving to second. A strong hitter with the ability to play second, short and third, there is a good chance that Chang makes the team at least as a utility man. Ramirez has been clear in the past about wanting to stick at one position, so the Indians may try to clear up this situation completely during spring training.
SS – Francisco Lindor
Options: Chang
As arguably both the top offensive and defensive short stop in baseball, Lindor doesn’t have to deal with the confusion surrounding the rest of the Indians infield. As long as he’s healthy, he’ll not only start at short, but likely play more than 155 games there. This frees the Indians to have a utility man who is more of a hitter than a gloveman as he will essentially never have to play short stop.
LF – Greg Allen
Options: Kipnis, Luplow, Oscar Mercado, Trayce Thompson, Brandon Barnes, Daniel Johnson, Mike Freeman, Mike Papi, Naquin, Zimmer, Bauers
Very easily the weakest offensive position for the Indians, there are quite a few different routes the Indians could take to address left field. I’ve already mentioned that I believe the best offensive group would be to move Kipnis to left, Ramirez to second and Chang to third, but I don’t believe that will actually happen. Instead, it is likely to be a battle between two players who have two partial MLB seasons under their belts one of whom has been worth 0.2 bWAR over that span, the other -0.2. As the long term internal option and the more valuable player so far, I will guess that Allen gets the nod over Luplow, but both will likely make the team.
There is also an outside shot that someone like Thompson or Barnes could really stand out in spring, but the only way the Indians are going to get significant production out of this position is if they put Kipnis there or make a trade/signing.
CF – Leonys Martin
Options: Zimmer, Allen, Mercado, Naquin
The starting job here should belong to Zimmer, but a mid-season shoulder surgery in 2018 will keep that from happening from the start. Instead, look for the hopefully fully recovered Martin to try to pick up where he left off after having a very impressive six games with the Indians last year.
RF – Jake Bauers
Options: Every previously mentioned outfielder.
Considered a top 100 prospect in baseball in both 2017 and 2018, Bauers had a strong rookie season with the Rays in 2018. While he has primarily been used at first base during his pro career, he has spent significant time in the corner outfield positions including 20 games without an error in the majors last year. Expect the lefty to be a significant power threat, especially against right handed pitchers. He will almost certainly be in the starting line-up, even if it is not in the outfield. He will most likely be used in some kind of rotation at first base and DH along with Santana and Chang or Bradley.
DH – Yu Chang
Options: Bradley, Santana, Bauers, Thompson, Haase, Kipnis
This might not be the likeliest scenario, but I believe it would be the most beneficial for Cleveland. Using Bauers in the outfield and Santana at first would free up the DH to replace one of the weaker hitting outfielders otherwise expected to make the roster. This would allow them to use Chang in this role regularly while he gets used to Major League pitching. He is also an ideal candidate in that the DH could still be used to give players partial days off as Chang could just slide into third, short or second whenever needed. While I don’t believe he will make the opening day roster, Bobby Bradley could be a perfect fit for this spot later in the season.
Otero smiles while participating in PFP during the Indians 2017 spring training at Goodyear Ballpark. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball
Closer – Brad Hand
Options: Henry Martinez
You don’t trade your top offensive prospect who plays a position that you desperately need offense from for nothing and Brad will be the Indians guiding Hand in the bullpen for at least the next two years. The lefty has been incredibly consistent over the last three seasons and was selected for the All-Star game in each of the last two. Considering that Andrew Miller signed for over $11M per year this off-season, Hand, who is five years younger, is a steal at about $7M in 2019.
LH Set Up – Oliver Perez
Options: Tyler Olson, Sam Hentges, Plutko, Josh Smith, Rob Kaminsky, R.C. Orlan
With a left handed closer, I expect the Indians to carry just one other left handed reliever and that should be Perez, who just signed a $2.5M deal with Cleveland with a vesting option for 2020. Perez will turn 38 this summer, but was the Indians most consistently reliable reliever in 2018 with a 1.39 ERA across 51 appearances.
If the Indians decide to carry three lefties or need to replace Perez, Olson should be the first man in, however, his 2018 season (4.94 ERA in 27.1 IP) was nearly the reverse of his 2017 (0.00 in 20 IP) and he could be held on a short leash. Of the other options, Smith has actually been worse against lefties than righties over his three year MLB career and the rest are minor leaguers. Of those, Kaminsky may be the most MLB ready after having a dominating season in the Arizona Fall League in 2018. Injuries remain a serious problem for him, however.
RH Set Up – Dan Otero
Options: Martinez, Ramirez, Goody, Hu, Cimber, Anderson, Jon Edwards, Jean Carlos Mejia, Justin Grimm, Brooks Pounders, Chiang, Anthony Gose, James Hoyt, A.J. Cole, Jefry Rodriguez, Ben Taylor, Salazar
For the sake of brevity, all the relievers in camp are listed in the right handed or left handed set up men options lists and will not be repeated again.
With a guaranteed contract of $1.3M and an option for 2020, Otero could have one of the most stable positions in what appears to be a very volatile bullpen again in 2019. While he has a very useful skillset, a Tomlinian increase in home run rate to 1.8 per nine innings last year made him less than reliable. Considering that his primary use is inducing double plays with multiple runners on, allowing an inordinate number of home runs is particularly dangerous. The Indians must be hoping that 2018 was an aberration and he will return to the quality pitcher he was in 2016 and 2017.
If that is not the case, Chiang is a similar style pitcher who is essentially MLB ready and doesn’t need to be saved for a starting rotation opportunity to pop up.
BP4 – Neil Ramirez
It’s inexplicable, but Terry Francona absolutely adores Ramirez. Despite a 4.54 ERA and a long record of being an ineffective reliever, he was used 47 times last year, often in tight spots, and signed for $1M to pitch for the Tribe in 2019. He pitched in 14 save situations and allowed 6 runs off three home runs and four doubles in ten innings. This is a small sample size, but the numbers aren’t really different from his season long numbers, so why he was continuously placed in difficult situations made no sense. His return this year makes sense only when you consider how barren the Indians bullpen is. Look for multiple changes mid-season involving pitchers who are not listed above, but will likely be promoted quickly like Nick Sandlin and Adam Scott.
BP5 – Nick Goody
If you thought Ramirez was bad last year, just wait. Goody went from a 2.80 ERA in 2017 to a 6.94 in 2018 in a scant 11.2 innings. The good news for Cleveland is that the poor, injury laden season helped them resign Goody for cheap and it’s possible his struggles were completely injury related. If he returns to 2017 form, Goody could become the Indians most reliable right handed reliever.
BP6 – Chih-Wei Hu
Acquired from Tampa during the off-season for Gionti Turner, Hu has limited MLB experience over the last two seasons, but had good minor league numbers and decent peripheral stats in the big leagues. He has one option remaining, so he could start out in AAA, but expect to see Hu at some point in 2019.
BP7 – Adam Cimber
The side arming, rookie righty who went from a 9.5 K/9 with San Diego to a 3.2 with Cleveland could be the final man in the pen for the Indians to start off the 2019 season. Returning nearly an identical bullpen minus Cody Allen and Andrew Miller to a season where the unit was a complete disaster doesn’t seem to be a recipe for success, but there’s a good chance that will be what happens.
If the Indians decide to hold back Cimber and/or Hu, Taylor is probably the most reliable Major League option while Chiang and Martinez could be good choices among those who haven’t made the big leagues yet. Once he returns from his shoulder surgery, Salazar could make a huge difference in the pen as well.
Naquin roams the outfield prior to spring training 2018. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball
C2 – Kevin Plawecki
Options: Perez, Haase, Li-Jen Chu
Teams always bring in a few extra catchers prior to spring training to help get all the pitchers ready in time, but this year the Indians trade of Sam Haggerty and Walter Lockett for Plawecki may have been a bit more significant. With only the light hitting Perez and the rookie Haase as MLB options before, the four year MLB vet Plawecki should fill in nicely until the Indians feel like Haase is ready to take over the role.
MIF – Max Moroff
Options: Eric Stamets, Mark Mathias, Chang
Moroff was acquired in what was probably the Indians strangest trade this off-season when he and Luplow came from Pittsburgh for Erik Gonzalez, Dante Mendoza and Tahnaj Thomas. The reason it was strange is that they gave up two talented young pitchers to downgrade their utility man. Like Gonzalez, Moroff is out of options, but unlike Gonzalez, he can’t hit. His biggest advantage, playing good defense at short stop, is the thing the Indians need the least.
That being said, unless another starting hitter is added to the line-up allowing the Indians to use Chang in a lesser role, they will essentially need Moroff to be the utility man. The other options in camp are Stamets and Mathias, but Stamets struggled greatly in AAA in 2018 and Mathias is likely at least another full year away.
OF – Jordan Luplow
Options: Naquin, Thompson, Barnes, Allen, Martin, Mercado, Johnson, Freeman, Papi
The other half of the aforementioned Pirates trade, Luplow does have a minor league option remaining, but as the more valuable player in the deal, is equally likely to make the team out of camp. He hasn’t done anything offensively in his first two seasons in the big leagues, but along with Allen, Martin and eventually Zimmer, could help to completely turn around the rotten defensive situation in the Indians outfield that has been a plague over the last few seasons.
OF2 – Tyler Naquin
Options: Nearly every player in Indians camp.
This is essentially a flex position that could be used to house another infielder (like Bradley), a third catcher (like Haase) or an eighth reliever, but at the moment the Indians weakness in the outfield makes it most likely to go to a fifth outfielder. Naquin certainly has a case for that spot as he produced more in his rookie year than nearly every other outfielder in camp has in their careers combined. However, he has been unable to repeat his 2016 performance in either of the last two seasons. He is also a significant defensive liability, so if the Indians decided to get the greatest value out of this roster spot by bringing up Bradley to use in match-up situations or to shore up the bullpen it would make sense.
Disabled List
James Hoyt – Right Elbow and Knee Surgery, September 2018
Danny Salazar – Right Shoulder Surgery, July 2018
Bradley Zimmer – Right Shoulder Surgery, July 2018

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RECAP 50: Storm Born. Electric First Period Powers Pens to 4-2 Win over Lightning

Category : Penguins

It may not have been the prettiest and it may not have answered any questions about this Penguins team, but last night, the Penguins passed a huge test in taking down the league’s best Tampa Bay Lightning.
And, heading into last night’s affair, we got a glimpse of what may be come April: Tampa, as the #1 seed, taking on the #2 Wild Card Penguins.  You could tell, too, that this game had all the makings of a playoff feel to it.
But when the dust settled and Party On Fifth Ave. should’ve been playing, the Pens found themselves on the right side of a 4-2 decision and leapfrogging up to 2nd place in the Metro, just 3 points off the Islanders pace  (who have a game in hand).
With that, the Penguins close the book on January and head into February, where their mettle will be tested between traveling to Toronto, Florida, Tampa, Philly twice, and Columbus, while also having to play host to Carolina, Calgary, and San Jose on top of making it through the trade deadline.
If they make it through this hellscape of a month unscathed, look the fuck out.


Welcome to the show, Teddy Blueger!
Derick Brassard will miss tonight's matchup due to an upper-body injury (day-to-day). pic.twitter.com/UtaskrGGqw
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 31, 2019

The Teodors got his NHL debut, centering the 4th line as Cullen was elevated to the 3C role with Brassers out with some mystery ailment that is definitely not Trade Bait Flu.  No changes to anything on the back end, despite JJ73 leaving the loss to the Devils in the third period.  Murr vs. Vasilevskiy between the pipes.

Lines from warmups:
Hedman-Girardi McDonagh-Cernak Sergachev-Stralman
— Caley Chelios (@CaleyChelios) January 31, 2019

First Period
Right from the opening draw, no one would’ve faulted you for getting a feeling of dread as Tampa came out guns blazing, forcing the Pens to live in a cage in their own zone like they were trying to cross the border for asylum.  But, against the flow of play, they took advantage of the first change they generated on the night, opening the floodgates and breaking their chains.
PIT – 3:25 – Sheahan; A: Wilson, Letang – 1-0
And it came on the first shift between the two fourth lines.  Tampa looked poised to do something after Riikola’s backhand Murphy Dump only made it as far as the back side of the center circle.  Immediately, it was moved forward to Paquette to chip in behind Riikola sliding across to take away the boards.  This instance is exactly where the goal was created.
Watch Teddy Blueger as he jumps off the bench.  No mental lapse, no bullshit.  He immediately jumps into the play, sees Riikola pinching, and drops in behind to offer support.  In doing so, he takes away Adam Erne’s path to Paquette’s chip and wins the race to the loose puck just by being in the right position.  Then, watch as he slows up just enough for Erne to try to check him.  This makes sure Erne is going to engage with him instead of chasing after Letang.  As soon as Blueger feels Erne committing to him, he slips a pass over to Letang for the breakout.  Letang does the rest here with an elite transition pass up to Sheahan to lay an area chip to Garrett Wilson streaming in.  Wilson still has a lot to do to make sure he gets the puck away from and around Girardi to get his shot, rebound, and wraparound chance.

Again, don’t sleep on Blueger’s role in the goal in the offensive zone either.  As Wilson’s shot hits Vasilevskiy, Blueger is bombing in.  His center drive forces McDonut to try to take him away, but in the end, Blueger forces McDonagh into path of his own teammates, rendering them useless from pursuing Wilson.  That opens up the area for Sheahan to bury the rebound.

PIT – 8:05 – Phil!; A: Rust, Malkin – 2-0
Over the next couple of minutes, the Pens had to hold onto their butts because the Bolts were coming.  Murray stood tall while the Rust-Malkin-Phil! line played some decent defense to keep the Lightning to the outside.  Following Hedman’s point shot that Murr kicked out to Gene, 71 got the transition going with a short little pass to Rust, who had his feet moving more so than Geno did.  From there, 17 stormed up ice, only to be caught and turning the puck over in the process just inside the blue line.  But as Tampa tried to switch it to the weak side, Letang read the shit out of it, jumped in and knocked the puck away for 71 to collect and slip a pass to Rust coming across the blue line.  Phil! and Rust combined, Rust drove the net, and Phil! banged home the loose puck to double the lead and give Malkin his 600th career assist.

PIT – 8:21 – Crosby; A: Simon, Point – 3-0
Then, just 16 seconds later, it was 3 through Electric Boogaloo.  No bullshit from these three as Crosby won the restart draw for Guentzel to dump in deep.  Riikola makes a nice read on the rimmer to pinch down the wall and keep it deep here, which almost entirely sets up the goal.

Almost being the operative word because it was also Guentzel’s tenacious forechecking on Brayden Point that forced Point to give it right to Simon at the side of the cage after Cernak gave the Bolts forward next to no option.  Good on Simon for getting body position on Cernak and sucking him in before feeding the beast on the back stick.

From there, the penalties started flowing.  McDonut got hit with a high-sticking penalty on Hornqvist 9 minutes in, then 26 seconds into the Pens man-advantage, Paquette ran Letang deep in the Pens zone with a pretty predatory hit.

And that Paquette his is even worse at full speed pic.twitter.com/PL967c7ryq
— geoff bozo (@G_Off817) January 31, 2019

Bolts fans whomst definitely exist handled it well.

Bolts killed off the 5v3 and it kinda actually settled the game down in the sense that the Penguins didn’t get any more than 5 total shots on goal in the period, including 0 on the powerplay, compared to that of the 16 Tampa put on goal.  In fact, in 14:09 of 5v5 time, the Pens registered exactly 6 shot attempts, scoring on half of them.  Tampa levied 26, 22 of which went unblocked.  All that being said, despite Tampa controlling the puck almost entirely, none of those 16 shots came from the high danger areas of the ice.  This sport makes no fucking sense.
via naturalstattrick.com
second Period
As the 2nd frame opened, the Pens had to go to the PK 1:56 into the period as Malkin went off for hooking.  Pens with a heroic kill, including a little luck as Stamkos rung one off the iron.  Tempers flared back up after Johnson and Gourde got into it on the 5v4 before Dumo and Killorn got matching roughing penalties to give us some 4v4 action.

"The good things Jack Johnson does won't show up on the stat sheet" pic.twitter.com/cRgcD6PMYl
— geoff bozo (@G_Off817) January 31, 2019

PIT – 6:02 – Letang; A: Phil!, Malkin – 4-0
Prob not two other teams you’d ever rather see play 4v4 hockey than these two and it was the Pens not disappointing this time around.  Watch here as Phil! just takes the game by the balls here.  Dude was just motoring trying to wind it up before combining with Malkin just inside their own zone to free Phil! up the left wing wall.
Here’s where you can see just how good Letang is at picking his spots.  With Malkin acting as the defenseman breaking the puck out, Letang sees that he can stay up ice and take off with 81 as soon as the pass is completed.  Malkin’s pass takes 2 Lightning players out of the play and Sergachev’s gap on Phil! was nothing short of abysmal, giving Kessel the chance to cut to the middle of the ice and turn the rush into a modified 2v1.  When he beats Sergachev, it forces Hedman to pinch over to try to take away Phil! ripping one from the high slot, which in turn opens up the passing lane for 58 streaking in.

He’s not missing from there, fam.

"And the wind cries 'Norris.'"
Letang's goal ties him with Paul Coffey for most goals for a Penguins defenseman. Ever heard of him? pic.twitter.com/3kOYq6Tunp
— geoff bozo (@G_Off817) January 31, 2019

That goal in turn kinda sucked the life out of the Bolts, as you might expect.  Pens went on to outshoot them in the period 10-6 and controlling the play at evens.  In the 18 minutes of even strength play, the Pens controlled 60% of the shot attempts (18-12) and doubled up the Lightning 12-6 in unblocked attempts.
Third Period
But when the 3rd period opened, the tempers started back up with Malkin and Stamkos engaging in some fisticuffs just 1:40 in.

Then we got a bunch of penalties 5 minutes after that because Paquette went full dicktroll and went after Blueger, getting called for cross-checking, which started a skirmish that ended with Blueger and Erne getting matching roughing minors, putting the Pens back on the powerplay to run down 2 more minutes, but not enough to preserve Murray’s shutout.
TBL – 15:50 – Miller; A: Killorn, McDonagh – 4-1
Even down 4-0 with about 4 minutes left, you cannot ever count out this Lightning team.  They can put 7 by you and still have 2 minutes to spare and that fear presented itself here.
After a dump in that Dumoulin did well to win in the corner for Letang to airmail out to the neutral zone, Sheahan did a decent enough job to keep whacking at the bouncing puck and get it into the Bolts zone, but only as far as McDonut.  Sheahan gets caught here going to the bench and you can see Cullen peel way away from where the puck is, looking as if he too was going for a change.  By going towards the bench instead of towards the puck and with Letang and Dumo changing behind the play, Tampa had 4 guys on the strong side moving the puck up ice.  The Penguins had 0.
Because of this, Cullen and Riikola are forced to sell out in attacking Killorn as he enters the zone.  Maatta’s focus is also on Killorn and Cirelli here, giving JT Miller the freedom to loop in behind the 3 Pens defenders and burn a one timer by Murr from up high.

To further complicate things, Cullen found himself in the box for hooking with 2:19 left.
TBL – 17:56 – PPG – Stamkos; A: Kucherov, Hedman – 4-2
It took the Bolts and their league-best powerplay just 15 seconds to make short work of the opportunity and turn this into piss your pants time.
Again, it was another mental lapse that cost the Pens.  Tampa wins the draw, they get set up, but so too does the Pens PK.  No harm, no foul despite Tampa loading up on shots.  But when a Kucherov shot ended up on the far wall for Point to collect and move it back to Hedman to reload, the wheels fell off for the Pens penalty kill.
Hedman actually fans on his pass to Kucherov here and with Rust playing the chaser role, he follows that soft pass and looks like he’s trying to pin Kucherov in on that side of the ice.  Rust takes away Hedman as an option and with Stamkos surrounded in the slot and Palat tied up in front, Kucherov really has no other option.

However, Kucherov makes a subtle little fake with his stick here to make it seem like he’s going to dish it down low to Palat.  Sheahan bit and shifted that way, which opened up just enough of a passing lane for Kucherov to hit Stamkos on the far side of the ice to load up a wrister that both Sheahan and Johnson were slow to get in the way of, beating Murr 6-hole.

Vasi pulled right after, but the Pens clenched their asses and survived to see it off.  Spin ittttt.


After the first period, the game was a lot more even.  Pens actually controlled 5v5 shot attempts at 30-28 in the 2nd and 3rd, while the scoring chance split was 12-12.  Tampa took a 7-4 edge in high danger scoring chances in the final two periods, but it they were 7-7 for the game (all via naturalstattrick.com).  Via Corsica, at all strengths, Tampa had a slight 2.34-2.28 edge in expected goals and a 1.94-1.52 edge at 5v5 for the game.  None of us may survive a 7 game series between these two teams.
This sport is weird as hell, but if this Pens team can keep up consistently with the league’s best, then games against the Senators and Red Wings and Blackhawks and Kings can eat shit.  Whatever.

The @penguins play up to their opponents. #NHLTonight pic.twitter.com/TQ2JHI5A8F
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) January 31, 2019

Probably no better player on the ice last night than Kris Letang.  End of story.
Willing to bet Murr would’ve liked to A. get the shutout and B. have that second goal back, but facing one of the best shooters of this generation, he’s going to find a hole to get the puck through.  Still, 33 saves on 35 shots (.943) is a solid bounce back after the team let him down against Jersey.  The team was much better in front of him last night, limiting Tampa to just 5 high danger shots at 5v5, 7 mid-danger, and a cool 16 low danger shots.  Tampa did get 4 rebound shots against, though, if we want to nitpick, but Murr was up to the task.
Tough game for the Pearson-Cullen-Hornqvist line.  Together at 5v5, they generated just 4 shot attempts for and 11 against (26.67%), got exactly 0 shots on goal (7 against), generated 2 scoring chances (0 high danger) and 4 against (2 HD).
On the flip side, Guentzel-Crosby-Simon controlled shot attmepts 13-12, scoring chances 7-4, and high danger chances 4-3.  Rust-Malkin-Kessel went 9-9, 4-3, and 2-1 respectively, while Sheahan-Blueger-Wilson went 4-2, 2-2, and 1-0 repectively.  All 3 lines scored at 5v5, too, while on the ice for 0 goals against.

The Pens wrap up this 3 game homestand on Friday night as the league-worst Senators come to town before heading up to Toronto Saturday night for another big showdown.  Do it.

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Stakelogic goes live with SkillOnNet

Beneath the affiliation, on line casino operators powered by SkillOnNet will now gain entry to the developer’s classic slots and video slots. This encompass titles equivalent to large 5 boscage Jackpot, Nudge runner and Joker4Wild, all of which come connected to Stake logic’s currently rolled-out gleaming modern jackpot equipment.
Avid gamers at on line casino manufacturers such as Drueck Glueck, PlayOJO, Cozino and Ahti Games will also be able to play the developer’s hit aperture online game publication of event and latest unencumber, book of Cleopatra.
The latter video game boasts two imaginative aspects that permits players to purchase free spins and also to action charge less spins.
Stakelogic has also built a bold reputation for delivering games that can also be customized and localized to satisfy participant preferences in markets all over the place the world.
The integration takes the SkillOnNet portfolio past the 2000 video game mark, with titles provided from most important tier one suppliers as well as smaller studios and the business’s innovators.
Stephan van den Oetelaar, Stakelogic CEO, spoke of: “we’re delighted to announce our affiliation with SkillOnNet as we both trust in an assorted approach to local markets.
“As partners we are able to develop our revenues and support our market positions via offering accompaniment-of-the-artwork native video games to local gamers.”
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#TBT: Hockey Night in Canada co-host, Don Cherry, gets butthurt and calls 16-year old Sidney Crosby a "hot dog" for scoring a lacrosse-style goal while playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Category : Penguins

LA Times – In the same sense that Gretzky had a bad day or two, not everything Crosby does is golden and revered.
In a home game last December against the Quebec Ramparts, Crosby skated out from behind the net, flipped the puck onto the blade of his stick and threw it into the net lacrosse-style, a legal move that counted as a goal.
It didn’t do much for opinionated Canadian commentator Don Cherry, who called it a hot-dog maneuver and predicted the Ramparts would seek retribution: “They’re going to grab the mustard and put it all over him.”
The Globe and Mail – Sidney Crosby, the 16-year-old centre considered to be the hottest prospect since Mario Lemieux, was scolded by Don Cherry on Saturday. On his Coach’s Cornersegment during the Hockey Night in Canada telecast of the National Hockey League game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, Cherry called Crosby a hot dog. “I like the kid,” Cherry began. “. . . “But I’ve seen him now after goals. He slides on the ice on his knees.” Crosby’s Rimouski Oceanic defeated the Quebec Remparts 7-1 in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game last Friday. Hockey Night showed a video of Crosby scoring a goal. He turned his stick and tipped the puck onto the blade, raised it to waist level and, in a tricky move from behind the goal line, reached forward to drop the puck into the net. “You talk about a hot dog,” Cherry said.

The goal in question:

Don Cherry’s initial reaction:

I realize this whole thing went down 15+ years ago, but there aren’t many things more predictable in life than old hockey guys like Don Cherry getting way too upset whenever a hockey player flashes a little bit of pizzazz. In fact, it goes something like this:

Old, angry hockey men vomiting all over themselves whenever a player does something that violates the Canadian unwritten rulebook of hockey.

God forbid a hockey player does something unique and exciting every one in a while that could, perhaps, get someone outside of the hockey world interested in hockey. Better yet – imagine if that new fan happened to be a *GASP* basketball fan because he/she saw the play go viral on social media. It might just grow the sport! Wild, I know.
(On second thought, the world might literally end if that happened.)
So I think we can all agree (and by all, I mean anyone who regularly uses the internet since that means you probably aren’t an old bat who has trouble getting their dick hard) that players ought to flash a little more skill every now and then. But if you think just because they can make sweet plays and score nice goals that they can slide on their knees to celebrate, then you aren’t a TRUE HOCKEY FAN.
Which brings us to our next important subject currently threatening the game of hockey. It’s turning into flag football out there!

Brian Burke retired from hockey after 72 pro games to attend Harvard Law School
While attending Providence, he played for the Friars Division-I hockey team
The team was coached by Lou Lamoriello
Do different types of dinosaurs hang out in the same pack?#FridayThoughts pic.twitter.com/9Sx2LO3WxD
— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) December 14, 2018

And don’t you even dare think about tweeting, emailing, or messaging Brian Burke at work if you disagree with his correct opinions.

Brian Burke with a subtle message for his opinion haters:
#TimandSid pic.twitter.com/7pNsARf8cD
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) December 4, 2018

After all, your twitters and tweets are garbage!

[email protected], Brian Burke: hates fun… lol pic.twitter.com/wDAqAvtfsg
— David Nestico (@davidnestico200) January 13, 2019

Go Pens.

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Your Morning Dump… Where shhhhhhhh, Jaylen Brown is playing incredibly well

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I’m having fun out there,” he said. 
And that more than anything else, speaks to the comfort level that Brown is steadily trending towards as he continues to adjust to coming off the bench after spending most of last season and the early portion of this season with the first unit. 
Brown led all scorers on Wednesday with 24 points, the second time this season he has tallied 20 or more points in back-to-back games. 
He’ll look for the three-peat on Friday when the Celtics hit the road to face the New York Knicks. 
To hear Brown talk about being happy on the floor, is great not only for him emotionally but it’s also a positive for a Celtics team that will need him to continue his strong play if the team’s goal – get to the NBA Finals – has a legit shot of coming to fruition. 
NBC Sports Boston — Celtics winning and Jaylen Brown is ‘having fun out there’
I’m going to take a break from our regularly scheduled, Anthony Davis rumor-filled Morning Dumps to talk about the oft-maligned, under appreciated Jaylen Brown.
The most we’ve really talked about Jaylen all year is when Jackie MacMullan psychoanalyzed him back in December. Her deep dive, as always, was incredibly insightful, wonderfully written and uniquely engaging, but as I read it I couldn’t help but think aloud, “oh man, this is going to wreck Jaylen Brown the basketball player.”
Obviously I’m not in the dude’s head so I can’t sit here and proclaim I was right, but Brown, already displaying unevenness in his play, went into a tailspin just after the article was published. Jaylen is a thinker — that shows in his thirst for knowledge outside of basketball, but it also shows at the free throw line where the game slows down, but his mind clearly doesn’t. He had to have read that article, where his teammates, coach and general manager all took turns discussing Jaylen’s idiosyncrasies, his potential as a basketball player and what sometimes holds him back. I think it messed with him, and we can all agree something wasn’t right when he then hit the court.
But lately? As the Davis rumors swirl, the Kyrie rumors swirl with them, and as the basketball world wonders whether Danny Ainge has the cajones to throw future all-star Jayson Tatum into an AD trade offer, Jaylen Brown is getting comfortable.
And what does comfortable look like? It looks like a future all-star in his own right. It even looks like, on the right night, a trade piece on par with Tatum in an AD trade or, if AD comes and Tatum goes, it looks like the third piece of a Celtics Big 3 in the 2020s.
Let’s be honest, Jaylen is doing some things on offense we wish Jayson Tatum would (and maybe we just wish he could because he can’t yet) do: Use strength, athleticism and quickness to get to the rim and draw contact. It just so happens that JB is now finishing at the rim with more consistency. If he’s not taking shots at the rim, he’s taking shots from the beyond the arc. And lately, they’re going in with the type of regularity they did during last season’s playoff run. When’s the last time you saw Brown take a long 2?
I’m going to stop here, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m calling Jaylen Brown the Celtics crown jewel, either in terms of what the Cs future looks like, or maybe the Pelicans’ future, but as we glom onto the Anthony Davis, Kyrie and Tatum stories, let’s show love for Brown the same way we complained about him earlier in the season.
Last thing… Tim Bontemps wrote about Gordon Hayward’s need to take a step forward in order for the Celtics to get where they need to go. Obviously, that would be great, but what if Jaylen Brown is taking that step in his place? I’d argue that if we get this Jaylen more often, the Cs are a Finals threat with or without the old Hayward.
Related links: 
Herald — Jaylen Brown steps up, leads Celtics
On page 2, where January turns to February, and the road beckons

The Celtics were home nearly the entire month, save one somewhat disastrous three-game stretch and a game in Atlanta that Kyrie Irving was forced to help the team claw through to avoid another embarrassing stretch.
The rest of the month? Smooth sailing on the parquet floor. The Celtics went 10-1 at home in January, including a rousing win over the Toronto Raptors. Their only loss was a four-point defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, who have been obliterating opponents — their net rating over the last 10 games is a staggering 18.0. Boston’s net rating in the month of January: A sterling 9.8.
But the home and road numbers paint two very different stories this season. The Celtics are 21-6 at TD Garden and 11-13 away from it. At home, Boston’s net rating is 10.6. On the road? 2.2. The Celtics have yet to record a marquee victory in another building, which is a strange juxtaposition against last year when the team’s road record was actually slightly better than their record at home.
“I have no clue,” Marcus Smart said. “I think if we knew what that was we wouldn’t be having these woes and these struggles. But it’s part of the game, and I think that’s what it is if I had to get a reason I’d say it’s just part of the game. We play 82 games in the regular season. It’s a long season and things happen.”
Mass Live — Boston Celtics don’t understand reason behind home/road disparity
The Celtics played 11 home games and 4 road games in January. That was helpful, because the Cs are 21-6 at home and 11-13 on the road.
You know what’s not helpful? The Celtics don’t have another month with more home games in it than road games. So they better figure this thing out.
I’m hoping the Celtics current run of 7 out of 8 wins has less to do with an absurd 7 of those 8 games being at the Garden and more to do with the Celtics just happening to figure their shit out during that same time period.
January was about as friendly a scheduling month as a team gets in the Association. February and March especially will be less forgiving.
And finally, the Cs are off tonight, but it’s a good one to scoreboard watch

First off, disregard Nets/Spurs, I was too lazy to cut that one out. I think you can also disregard Pacers/Magic, because even if Indiana wins that one, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Cs will leapfrog them in the standings soon enough.
But one of Toronto and Milwaukee is going to lose tonight, and the Sixers are probably going to lose, too. By night’s end, the Celtics could move into the 4th spot in the east and within a half game of the third seed.
It’s also just a really fun double-header on TNT tonight.
Enjoy the hoops.
The rest of the links:
NBCSports Boston — How can Celtics get Starter Terry production when Kyrie is healthy?  |  Celtics have no problem taking sting out of the Hornets  |  Jayson Tatum’s focus amid trade rumors? ‘Control what I can control’
Herald — Celtics notebook: Jayson Tatum takes trade rumors in stride  |  Wading through the real and the drama with Celtics, AD and Kyrie
Mass Live — Terry Rozier says Boston Celtics get caught watching Kyrie Irving put on a show  |  Boston Celtics 126 – Charlotte Hornets 94: Celtics cruise to blowout after monster third quarter

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William hill confirms US partnership deal with Eldorado hotels

William acropolis has tested it’s accomplishment a partnership with US online casino group Eldorado resorts, as in the past reported by using Sky news.
Under the phrases of the agreement, William acropolis becomes Eldorado’s exclusive accomplice in the accouterment of online and land-based mostly sports betting capabilities as well as online gaming.
With the tie-up, William hill’s reach throughout the united states will now lengthen to 13 states where sports betting is both legal or sports betting bills had been tabled, together with any new properties that Eldorado buys or develops.
Nasdaq-traded business Eldorado at the moment has 21 online casino houses across 11 states, with 23 actor shoppers.
The partnership will see William hill bookmakers opened in 5 residences throughout three states. “within weeks,” with additional openings in casinos in addition to online betting and gaming features to be launched in the months forward, field to the legislation in each and every state.
The basic amount should be split evenly amid the groups.
William hills circulate to further diversify into the USA betting market will support allay one of the vital pressure the UK bookmaker faces on the domestic entrance, where acrimonious rules and an industry-large shift in opposition to online gaming are posing challenges.
According to the phrases of the accord, Eldorado will receive $50m £38.9m of William acropolis stock, discipline to a lock-up period of three to five years.
As reported via Sky news, Eldorado will additionally rob a 20% pale in William acropolis’s US operations and the settlement is for a preliminary 25-yr term.
William acropolis shares rose 4.8% in Wednesday trading.
Philip Bowcock, William acropolis’s arch government, mentioned: “Partnering with Eldorado gives William acropolis entry to one of the vital greatest and best alluring casino aisle with 23 million purchasers throughout dissimilar states.
This affiliation offers huge substandard promote and income increase alternatives to both parties.
Together, we’re located to seize the evolving US chance – beginning with land-based mostly sports betting and increasing to agenda sports betting and, in some states, online gaming.”
Eldorado’s chairman and CEO Gary Carano delivered: “accepting worked with the company for the reason that 2012, we consider William hill represents the gold regular in international sports betting and we are confident that our multiplied partnership can be successful.
“We seem forward to bringing the exhilaration of sports betting to purchasers throughout our growing platform of main online casino lodges, creating price for all shareholders.”
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2019 WSOP Qualifiers Underway at 888 Poker

The 2019 world collection of Poker may additionally nevertheless be five months away but it’s already exact of mind for players at 888 Poker.
At 888 Poker they’re already getting able to ship gamers to the 2019 WSOP with WSOP satellites and qualifiers on now.
2019 WSOP Qualifiers at 888 Poker
If you missed the fresh scheduling bulletins, this 12 months WSOP will run from may additionally 28-July sixteen. The $10,000 main experience is scheduled for July three-16, with better beginning endless and massive blind antes. With this actuality the fiftieth anniversary of the WSOP, there are also a couple of new tournaments and special events on tap.
If you’re an 888 Poker customer, you might book your admission to the WSOP leading experience for as little as one cent. We’re not joking. If the cards are in your aspect you may legitimately flip a penny into tens of millions on the WSOP.
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There are daily $16.50 satellites to be able to acquire winners a spot within the weekly $109 Sunday Qualifier. From there the top five are headed to the remaining stop, the weekly $1050 WSOP 2019 main adventure package Qualifier. They’re actuality run every Sunday evening from now except June.
888 leading adventure Qualifier
The winner of the $1050 WSOP 2019 main event equipment Qualifier is headed to the 2019 WSOP main experience. They’ll receive a $12,600 prize kit that includes the $10,000 main adventure buy-in, $1,000 traveling fees, a six-evening stay at the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas, transportation from the Vdara to the Rio, and an invitation the 888 Poker WSOP acceptable birthday celebration.
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