New York Knicks: Leon Rose mum on team’s future plans

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

The New York Knicks held an introductory press conference for new head coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday. Thibodeau, president Leon Rose and general manager Scott Perry took questions from the media.

Rose, the Knicks new president, says the organization has “not set a timeline” while noting that Thibodeau can help make them “a perennial winner” (quotes per Marc Berman of the New York Post).

“We have not set a timeline. We are taking it one day at a time. We felt Tom was that coach who can take us with development to becoming a perennial winner. That happens one step at a time,” Rose said. “At the moment we don’t know what the roster will be moving forward. We have decisions we have to make. The important thing is to instill the culture, focus on the development and take it from there.”

With Thibodeau in the fold, the onus for the Knicks now shifts to rounding out a coaching staff (Mike Woodson is reportedly expected to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff) and the NBA offseason.

The Knicks have three selections in the 2020 NBA Draft: their own first and second-round pick and the Los Angeles Clippers’ first-round pick. They acquired the Clippers first rounder as part of a midseason trade that sent Marcus Morris to the West Coast.

New York is sixth in the NBA lottery, which takes place on Aug. 20, and owns the eighth selection in the second round (38). They have reportedly interviewed and/or shown interest in guards RJ Hampton, Cole Anthony and Killian Hayes and wings Deni Avdija and Jay Scrubb.

New York has team options on Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock for the 2020-21 NBA season. In the scenario those options are declined, the Knicks could have roughly $60 million in cap space in the offseason.

New York Yankees: An inside look at how the Yankees navigated the whole Marlins Mess

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees will open tonight at Yankee Stadium after a bizarre week.  The one thing about this short season that is normal is that nothing is normal.  And that is pretty much what we can expect for this entire season that will have all kinds of twists and turns.

After a successful series win against the World Champion Nationals, the Yankees moved on to their hotel in Philadelphia for a split series that would see the first two games played in Philadelphia and the last two at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins that were already at Citizen’s Bank Park and on Sunday morning the Marlins received test results that showed four more Marlins had tested positive for the virus after having a single positive test on Friday.  Unbeknown to the Phillies the Marlins still played their game against the Phillies. After it became known, everything came to a halt.  The Marlins stayed in Philadelphia, and the Yankees stayed at their hotel.

MLB, in their first navigation of this mess, postponed the Yankee game and the Marlins game against the Orioles.  The Yankees first suggested that the series be flipped with the first two games at the Stadium, this was immediately rejected by MLB.  The Yankees sat in the hotel all of Monday with their future in limbo. The Yankee pitchers Cole and Happ that were supposed to pitch in the series got in some catch, and some players used the hotel gym.  The Yankees decided to head back to New York and scheduled an evening workout at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

With the buses sitting outside the hotel and a half hour, before they were to depart for the Bronx, MLB, killing two birds with one stone offered the Yankees to go and play the now idle Baltimore Orioles.  The Yankees took a vote and decided rather than be idle they would play in Baltimore.  The Yankee equipment trucks had already left for New York. They had to be called and turned back to Baltimore.

“We had a discussion first off about what was happening here,” pitcher and Yankees union rep Zack Britton said Tuesday. “We were given some options on what we could possibly do. Guys felt like, you know, obviously we want to play. Our team has done a pretty good job I think overall for the protocols. We feel like we don’t want to take three or four days off. If there’s an opportunity for us to go to Baltimore and play, that’s what we want to do. And that’s what we decided.”

Before all of this was decided Yankee manager Aaron Boone was okay to play in Philadelphia, he said:

“Today I would have been comfortable,” manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday. “We talked a lot yesterday about what was being done to make sure everything was cleaned properly and prepared properly going in and I felt like, had we been cleared to go play there today, I would have been OK with doing that. In the end, we didn’t.”

Instead, the New York Yankees planned a workout at Camden Yards for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, with game planning and pitching plans changing on the fly. Cole is expected to start Wednesday’s game against the Orioles, with Happ going Thursday.  The Yankees ended up sweeping the Orioles series before leaving for New York to play an opening weekend series with the Red Sox.

Yankee pitcher Zack Britton who is the union representative for the Yankees, had more to say about the season in general.

“I think coming into it we understood that there was going to be positive tests and there could be a team that had multiple positive tests like the Marlins,” Britton said. “The biggest thing is for us to continue following the protocols that we have in place. I feel like guys on our team are doing a good job. We can’t control what’s going on with other teams, but as long as we follow the protocols and take care of ourselves, I think that we can minimize our exposure.”

Many, including this writer, hope that Britton’s belief is true.  But this whole ordeal is just one of the twists and turns that this stranger than strange season will throw at us.

 

 

New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau praises team’s young core

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks announced on Thursday morning that they hired Tom Thibodeau to be their new head coach.

In his introductory press conference, Thibodeau expressed optimism about youngsters RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson (quotes per Marc Berman of the New York Post).

“I want to get around the players to work with them and get to know them better,” Thibodeau said. “Based on film, I really think RJ has a very bright future as does Mitchell Robinson. Those are two who stand out. But we have a lot of young talent. I don’t like to make qualifications on people until I get around them.”

The Knicks selected Barrett with the third pick in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Duke University. Across 56 games, 55 of which were starts in his rookie season the wing averaged 14.3 points, five rebounds, 2.6 assists, and one steal per game. Robinson, who the Knicks selected with the 36th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, averaged 9.7 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game while shooting an NBA-record 74.2 percent from the field last season.

Thibodeau feels that Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox, who are each former first-round draft picks of the organization, are “young guys that have talent.”

“With Frank and Kevin, they’re both young guys that have talent,” Thibodeau said. “That being said, I’m not making any real observations until I get to be around them. Like most young players, there are growing pains you go through and there’s steps players have to take. Sometimes we measure guys against guys already established and you forget the steps those guys have to take to get to where they are. It’s an important part of it. Understand how you get there is work, sacrifice and commitment. One’s determination and perseverance is critical to their development.”

Ntilikina and Knox have been in and out of the Knicks starting lineup over their respective NBA careers. For his career, Ntilikina is averaging six points, 3.1 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game, whereas Knox is averaging 9.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Thibodeau is the 31st head coach in franchise history. He takes over after the team fired David Fizdale in December 2019 and finished the season with interim Mike Miller. President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by former agent Leon Rose.

Under Rose, the Knicks have made a slew of front-office maneuvers which include hiring William Wesley (executive vice president/senior basketball advisor) and Walt Perrin (assistant general manager) and retaining Scott Perry as general manager.

New York Yankees Gain Back Flamethrowing Closer After Negative COVID Tests

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

After contracting COVID-19 before the start of the season, Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to join the team. While the Yankees haven’t imploded in the bullpen they certainly missed their closer in the 9th inning of close games. The news was broken by ESPN’s Marly Rivera earlier today.

The Yankees have their bullpen replenished and with uncertainty regarding Tommy Kahnle, it’s good to have another lockdown arm back. This takes the pressure off of Zack Britton and allows for the Yankees to have him in his usual setup or middle relief roles. With more rest for your relievers, you can have security if a starter goes down or gets shelled early.

The bullpen shapes up to be Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton as the setup arms and Aroldis Chapman closing, though we don’t know if Aaron Boone plans to use him sparingly at first as he did with DJ LeMahieu or if he will just spring him into action.

It’s great to have Chapman back, and the Yankees look even better as they size up against their fierce rivals in the Boston Red Sox.

Yankees’ reliever Brooks Kriske can now say he is a major leaguer: “I wasn’t going to quit”

New York Yankees, Brooks Kriske

MLB is the perfect example that dreams do come true if one is willing to work and make sacrifices. New York Yankees reliever Brooks Kriske was stuck in Class A Staten Island as recently as two years ago, wondering if he could make it past that level and maybe reach the bigs someday in the distant future.

Fast forward the two years and, as incredible as it may sound, Kriske can say he is a major leaguer with the New York Yankees, no less. He made his debut this week at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles in a Bombers’ 9-3 victory, and it was a clean appearance.

In one inning of work, the righty retired three of the four batters he faced. He allowed no hits but conceded a mere walk, striking out two foes in the process. The 26-year-old is now part of the rich Yankees’ history.

“I was never going to quit,” Kriske said to MLB.com. “We get one shot at this and I think most of us are kind of wired the same way — we’re not going to quit. I definitely went into 2019 not sure if I was going to make it through Spring Training. I was getting older and I kind of felt like I was on my last legs. I gave it my all that offseason and it paid off.”

The Yankees’ secret strikeout weapon

Kriske was selected by the Yankees in the 2016 MLB draft, out of the University of Southern California. During his time in the minor leagues, he routinely ran strikeout rates over 10.00 K/9 (as high as 12.04), suggesting that he had bat-missing ability and that he had a future in the bigs.

On Wednesday, he forgot to ask for the ball of his first strikeout, but Yankees’ teammate Gerrit Cole presented him with the lineup card as a keepsake.

“There’s a lot of friends and family congratulating me,” said Kriske, who said that his immediate family members were watching from Arizona. “It’s really cool. It’s people that have been part of this journey with me. They say it takes a village and I’ve been lucky to have a lot of people in my corner.”

New York Rangers Qualifying Round pregame notes – Game 1 vs. Carolina

New York Rangers

NYR

Game 1

New York Rangers: 37-28-5 (79 pts.)
Carolina Hurricanes: 38-25-5 (81 pts.)
Venue: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON
Television: MSG, NBCSN, NHL.TV

New York Rangers hockey returns with the Blueshirts participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since losing to the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 of the second round in 2017. Only seven players currently on the Rangers roster were also on the team’s roster during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider, Henrik Lundqvist, Brendan Smith, Marc Staal, and Mika Zibanejad.

The Rangers were one of the hottest teams in the NHL prior to the NHL’s shutdown die to the COVID-19 virus in late March. From Jan. 7 until the end of the regular season, the Rangers ranked fourth in the NHL in wins (18), ranked fifth in the NHL in points (37), were tied for third in the NHL in regulation wins (15), ranked second in the NHL in goals per game (3.45) and power-play efficiency (28.4%), and ranked fifth in the NHL in shots on goal per game (32.8).

The Rangers’ 31 regulation wins this season were tied for the fifth-most in the NHL, tied for the third-most among Eastern Conference teams, and tied for the most among teams in the Metropolitan Division.

Finding the back of the net

The Rangers tallied 234 goals this season (including one team goal awarded for a shootout win) and averaged 3.33 goals per game. The Blueshirts ranked fifth in the NHL in goals per game in 2019-20. In addition, the Rangers averaged at least 3.33 goals per game in a season for the first time since 1993-94 (3.56) and recorded at least 234 goals through the first 70 games of a season for the first time since 1995-96 (242). Rangers players recorded 635 points this season (233 goals and 402 assists). The Rangers’ 402 assists were the second-most in the NHL and their 635 points were tied for the second-most in the NHL in 2019-20. The Blueshirts were one of two NHL teams that were not shut out in any game in 2019-20 (along with Tampa Bay).

Artemi Panarin (a Hart Trophy Finalist) led the team with 95 points. Mika Zibanejad was the teams leading goals scorer recording with 41 goals. Zibanejad was the only NHL player who recorded 15 or more power-play goals and three or more shorthanded goals in 2019-20.

Seven different Rangers registered 40 or more points this season (Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo, Pavel Buchnevich, Chris Kreider, and Adam Fox). The Blueshirts were one of only three NHL teams that had seven players tally 40 or more points in 2019-20 (along with Tampa Bay and Washington).

In addition, the Rangers had at least two defensemen (Tony DeAngelo and Adam Fox) register 40 or more points in a season for the 20th time in franchise history and for the first time since 1993-94 (Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov).

An Impressive rookie campaign

Defenseman Adam Fox had an outstanding rookie season for the club recording 42 points (eight goals, 34 assists) and posting a plus-22 rating while skating in each of the Rangers’ 70 games in his rookie season in 2019-20. He was the first rookie who skated in each of the Rangers’ games in one season since Derek Stepan in 2010-11, as well as the first Rangers rookie defenseman who skated in each of the team’s games in one season since Tom Laidlaw in 1980-81. Fox’s 42 points this season were the fifth-most by a rookie defenseman in one season in Rangers history, trailing only Brian Leetch (71 in 1988-89), Reijo Ruotsalainen (56 in 1981-82), Ron Greschner (45 in 1974-75), and Mike McEwen (43 in 1976-77). In addition, his 34 assists were tied for the fourth-most by a Rangers rookie defenseman in one season in franchise history.

Standing tall in goal

The Rangers had three solid goaltenders throughout the season and were led by rookie Igor Shesterkin throughout the team’s rise in the standings in the second half of the season. Shesterkin ended the regular season with a 10-2 record, along with a 2.52 GAA and a .932 SV% in 12 appearances with the Rangers this season. Shesterkin’s .932 SV% during the season was the second-best among NHL goaltenders who made at least 10 appearances in 2019-20.

Henrik Lundqvist is the Rangers’ all-time leader in several categories, including playoff appearances (128), playoff wins (61), and playoff shutouts (10). Lundqvist has appeared/started in each of the Blueshirts’ last 127 playoff games, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against New Jersey in 2006.

This season he posted a 10-12-3 record and was the Rangers’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy this season, and he is also the Blueshirts’ nominee for the King Clancy Trophy in 2019-20.

Alexandar Georgiev Alexandar Georgiev established career-highs in several categories in 2019-20, including wins (17), appearances (34), and games started (32), and he led Rangers goaltenders in all three categories. He posted a 13-5-1 record and a .921 SV% in 19 road appearances/starts this season, and he tied for fifth in the NHL in road wins in 2019-20. In addition, Georgiev won 13 games this season in which he made 30 or more saves, and his 13 30-save wins were tied for the sixth-most in the NHL during the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Rangers either outscored their opponent on special teams or tied their opponent in special teams scoring in 46 of 70 games this season and earned at least one point in 33 of those 46 games (30-13-3 record).

Power Play:

  • The Rangers ranked seventh in the NHL in power-play efficiency (22.9%) and ranked fourth in the NHL in power-play goals (52) this season.
  • The Blueshirts had a power-play efficiency of 22.9% or better in a season for the first time since 1993-94 (23.0%).
  • The Blueshirts recorded at least 52 power-play goals in a season for the first time since 2009-10 (55).
  • The Rangers ranked fifth or higher in the NHL in power-play goals for the first time since 1998-99.
  • From the NHL’s Holiday Break (Dec. 27) until the end of the season, the Rangers had the best power play efficiency in the NHL (29.3%) and tallied the most power-play goals in the NHL (29).
  • New York posted a 24-11-2 record when tallying at least one power-play goal in a game in 2019-20.

Penalty Kill:

  • The Blueshirts tied for sixth in the NHL in shorthanded goals this season (eight).
  • From Nov. 23 through Feb. 19, the Rangers’ 84.8% penalty kill efficiency was the third-best in the NHL.
  • The Rangers posted a 25-9-1 record when not allowing a power-play goal against in a game in 2019-20.

Projected Lines

Offense

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Paval Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin-Ryan Strome- Jesper Fast

Philip Di Giuseppe- Filip Chytil-Kaapo Kakko

Brett Howden- Greg McKegg-Julien Gauthier

Brendan Lemieux will be suspended for the first two games of the Qualifying Round.

Extras – Steven Fogarty, Tim Gettinger, Vitali Kravtsov, Vinni Lettieri, and Danny O’Regan.

Defense

Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox

Brendan Smith and Jacob Trouba

 Marc Staal and *Tony DeAngelo

Extras – Brandon Crawley, Libor Hájek, and Darren Raddysh.

Friday afternoon NHL.Com’s Dan Rosen tweeted

Libor Hajek will step In for DeAngelo should he be unable to play in game 1.

Goalie

Igor Shesterkin

Henrik Lundqvist

Extra– Alexandar Georgiev

New York Yankees: Mike Ford is happy with his current role in the team

New York Yankees, Mike Ford

The fact that Mike Ford has only been limited to two games and five plate appearances during the 2020 MLB season speaks volumes about the New York Yankees‘ depth regarding offense, specifically first base and designated hitter options.

And he certainly has the talent to play, at least, on a semi-regular basis for virtually any club. After all, the Yankees’ unsung slugger hit 12 home runs in just 163 plate appearances last season, with a solid .259/.350/.559 line and a 134 wRC+. This year, he is at .333/.400/.333 in the extremely limited sample size.

New York Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone is a fan of Ford. If it weren’t for the excess of talented hitters on the team, he would surely play more. However, as a left-handed power bat off the bench (who makes an occasional start), capable of taking a walk, he has a role with the Bombers, and it suits him.

“There’s nowhere I’d rather be,” Ford said. “Obviously a situation with playing time might be a little bit better here and there, but this is where I want to be. This is what I grew up loving. To be able to lock in that clubhouse with caliber of players we have and learn from them, even being 28, who knows what can happen in your career?”

A big Yankees family

Despite the pandemic, Ford says he has enjoyed his time with the Yankees this year and it has provided an opportunity to get to know talented teammates, but better individuals.

“It’s been nice to just kind of be around the guys [on the team] a little bit more, get to know people a little bit more, which I think will be the positive that comes out of the year — especially being a guy that hasn’t been here as long,” Ford said.

Ford is just happy to be playing baseball, even if there are no fans in the stands. However, he sure misses the Yankees’ crowds in home games.

“I derive a lot of my pleasure out of making fans’ days, making fans happy and hearing that roar,” Ford said. “That’s a huge part of the game for me, so it’s definitely strange, but it’s still Major League Baseball and you’re still facing some really good arms. It’s something you’ve got to be really laser-focused on and I think we’re doing a pretty good job.”

UFC: Anthony Pettis vs Anderson Silva?

UFC, Anderson Silva

Anthony Pettis recently posted on his Instagram, a picture of him watching and studying UFC 234. Pettis wasn’t just watching the event as a whole; he was watching Israel Adesanya vs Anderson Silva. This fight is a super fight 100%, but should this fight actually happen? Anthony Pettis is still in great fighting shape and climbing back to the top, while Anderson Silva, well he hasn’t fought in a year, and hasn’t won a fight in 3.

Why the Fight Should Happen

It’s the ultimate money fight for both competitors. Money makes the world go round; this fight could easily command 700k pay-per-view buys by itself. Legacy will also come into question, Pettis has had a long, storied career, and Silva is one of the G.O.A.T.’s. The fans would be ecstatic to see these two Hall of Famers go at it. This is the type of fight you put together in the UFC games, but at least it’ll be more realistic this time.

Why the Fight Shouldn’t Happen

Anderson Silva is 45 years old, that right there should be enough to tell you that the fight shouldn’t happen. Since 2013, Anderson Silva has won one fight, and he has a record 1-6-1 in his last 8 fights. I’m getting serious BJ Penn vibes from Silva right now, and that’s a very bad thing. If Silva keeps fighting, his G.O.A.T. status will be lost, and UFC fans just look back and say he was the greatest Middleweight for these years. Very similar to what UFC fans say about Chuck Lidell. Lidell was the scariest man on the planet for 4 years, and he sorta tarnished his status with his later fighting years. I know no UFC fans want to see Silva get knocked out again. Also, what weight would this fight be at? Silva is heavier than a Middleweight right now, and I don’t think Pettis can reach 185 comfortably.

Conclusion

This fight should not happen at all. Pettis has everything to win, and Silva has everything to lose. Silva should stay retired and ride out into the sunset, and Pettis should fight someone like Geoff Neal.

New York Giants’ Joe Judge addresses the media, here are the quotes to see

New York Giants, Joe Judge

New York Giants’ head coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Friday for the first time this training camp period. With COVID-19 making the football world a lot more tumultuous, navigating player safety and life training will be tough.

Judge gave some insight into how they will operate moving forward and some specific questions regarding DeAndre Baker and Aldrick Rosas. He also gave a great response on position battles and what he expects from every player.

The Giants are currently quarantining at hotels to avoid any premature outbreak of the virus. Judge ensured the media that he and the coaching staff are educating the players on the health protocols and how important it is to stay healthy for the season. He fully anticipates playing all 16 games and sacrificing a bit of freedom to play in the National Football League is worth it for the players.

However, he did address Nate Solder’s decision to take the season off to keep his family safe. He was entirely sympathetic and was in complete agreement with Nate’s decision to protect his family.

Here’s are some of New York Giants’ Joe Judge’s quotes and newsworthy info:

  • Judge on quarantine for a QB? – they are trying to keep all the players spaced out at camp…did not have any specific thoughts on the QBs.
  • Joe Judge says Giants training camp this year will be very similar to how college football programs structure their camps without having preseason games to get ready for.
  • Joe Judge on releasing K Aldrick Rosas: “We felt it was best for the team.”
  • Joe Judge says that as of right now, no other Giants players have indicated they plan to opt out of the 2020 season.
  • On the extra cap space the Giants get with Nate Solder opting out, Joe Judge said “We don’t feel like we have money burning a hole in our pocket.”
  • Asked about DeAndre Baker, who is on the commissioner’s exempt list, Joe Judge will “let the league deal with that issue”.
  • Joe Judge on the NFL in the COVID era: “We have to stay healthy. The healthiest team has an advantage.”

New York Yankees News/Rumor: The Mystery surrounding Tommy Kahnle’s absence

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

Last night the New York Yankees had a comeback win against the Baltimore Orioles with slugger Aaron Judge pounded a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning.  A lead the Yankee closer Zack Britton held in his second save of the season.

The game started off with J.A. Happ not having his best night; he gave up four runs in four innings of work.  At the top of the fifth Manager, Aaron Boone brought out long reliever Jonathan Loaisiga to replace Happ.  He walked his first two hitters in the sixth but managed to get out of trouble in a scoreless inning, which he repeated in the seventh.  But in the eight he got into trouble and gave up the Yankee lead.

Under normal circumstances, he would not have left Loaisiga in for the third inning going instead with elite reliever Tommy Kahnle, but Kahnle was nowhere to be found.  Was he even at the game?  We don’t know because when Boone was asked after the game why he didn’t use Kahnle, he had no answer.  He kept saying he wasn’t available. He was asked if he was injured, and instead of saying yes or no, he said: “We’ll have something on that (Friday),” Boone told reporters.

If Tommy was injured, Boone could have just said yes he is.  Why wouldn’t Boone explain his absence?  Could it be he has tested positive for coronavirus?  MLB rules prevent teams from disclosing whether a player tests positive for the coronavirus — unless the player gives the team permission to release his name.

If he indeed has the virus, it will be a big blow to the Yankees and their excellent bullpen.  The New York Yankees often use Kahnle near the end of close games.  Kahnle pitched well in summer camp and was 3-2 last year with an ERA of 3.62 in 72 games.  Being that Boone said he would have something on that (Kahnle) Friday, we such know something soon.  Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.