New York Giants might find Zeitler replacement on open market

New York Giants, Kevin Zeitler

The New York Giants aren’t in a good position when it comes to Kevin Zeitler and his contract, but they may be helped by the free agent market this offseason. That’s because they aren’t the only team that’s figuring out what to do with a veteran lineman, and the availability of other players at the position might drive down the costs to bring in a veteran replacement if they do lose Zeitler this offseason.

Zeitler, who came in with the Odell Beckham trade and who has started almost every game for the Giants since then, was their top performing lineman last season but still isn’t quite good enough to justify his current contract – especially with the Giants being over the cap and needing to make changes before the season.

But it has also been reported that the Jaguars are in a similar situation with guard Andrew Norwell. And they aren’t the only team. The veteran guard market is getting more crowded as the offseason continues, as rumors have begun that the Chargers are trying to shop guard Trai Turner. With a market that might include players like Zeitler and Norwell, the Chargers may have trouble finding a partner and have to release Turner for nothing – just like the Giants might have to do with Zeitler.

As for an option that’s already on the market, the Raiders recently released Richie Incognito due to their salary cap but the experienced guard is still looking to play. It remains to be seen if these options are as good as Zeitler, for the Giants.

But thanks to the conditions of the free agent market right now, the Giants should be able to find someone to fill the spot without risking a bidding war that will drive the price high.

Islam Makhachev dominates and taps Drew Dober at UFC 259

The second fight on the PPV main card at UFC 259 was a pivotal lightweight matchup between two of the division’s brightest prospects. Islam Makhachev (18-1) was set to take on Drew Dober (23-9).

Originally, Makhachev was supposed to fight former UFC lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos, late in the year last year. However, Makhachev had to pull out of the fight and got booked against Dober tonight.

Makhachev is being looked at as Khabib 2.0. The current lightweight champion is a main training partner and lifelong friend of Makhachev. Both grew up in Dagestan together and Makhachev is the entire package.

He has that incredible wrestling base, however, his striking is also at a high level. This fight wasn’t going to be easy, but many were looking at this as a showcase. The guy looking to play spoiler was Drew Dober.

Quietly, Dober has been a force in the lightweight division over the past few years. The only man to have beaten him in the UFC since 2017 is Beneil Dariush. Dober had the power and the grappling to make this a tough test for Islam Makhachev.

UFC 259 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 259 lightweight contest opened with a touch of the gloves. Dober opens the striking with a very good low kick. Makhachev lands a nice lead uppercut to start his striking. Another powerful leg kick lands for Drew Dober.

Makhachev shoots in for his first takedown and he gets ahold of Dober on a single leg. A nice trip from the single leg leads to a beautiful takedown for Islam Makhachev. Makhachev was being very deliberate on the ground while trying to pass in half guard.

The top control and pressure was very impressive for Makhachev. Halfway through the round and Dober was staying patient on the bottom. Makhachev is able to transition to the mount and Dober was looking to get it back to half guard.

Dober was able to get it back to half guard, but Makhachev almost immediately passed to side control. Makhachev went back to the mount, but Dober exploded in a scramble. Makhachev gets his back and goes for an armbar. It’s close, but the round comes to a close. Great opening round at UFC 259 for Makhachev.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC 259 and it’s clear that Dober needs to keep this fight standing. Dober opens the second with pressure and looks for a 1-2. Makhachev dives on a leg, but Dober defended the first takedown.

Makhachev pushed Dober against the fence and immediately used a trip to slam Dober to the ground. Dober was trying to scramble, but Makhachev’s top control kept him in place. Dober got his back to the fence and tried to wall walk to get up.

However, Makhachev was doing a good job of pulling Dober away from the fence and stayed on top. Makhachev ties up Dober’s legs and starts peppering him with shots. Makhachev attempted to transition to mount, but Dober defended well.

Dober was able to get Makhachev back to guard, but that’s the best that he could do. Makhachev landed some massive shots from the guard to end the second round. This easily could be a 10-8 round for Makhachev at UFC 259.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 259 and Dober needed a miracle to win this one. The final round opens with immediate pressure from Dober. Dober looked for his big left hand, but he threw it right into a clinch with Makhachev.

Makhachev had a firm grip on Dober and he slammed Dober to the ground. Dober was desperately trying to force a scramble, but Makhachev remained composed while holding his top control.

Makhachev locks up an arm triangle and it’s in deep. Dober had nothing left to defend it and he taps. Complete and total domination from Islam Makhachev.

Islam Makhachev def. Drew Dober by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) – Round 3

Aleksandar Rakic earns a decision over Thiago Santos at UFC 259

Kicking off the PPV main card of UFC 259 was a light heavyweight contest between two top four contenders. Former title challenger, Thiago Santos (21-8) was taking on the rising contender, Aleksandar Rakic (13-2).

For Thiago Santos, he was looking to snap a two-fight losing streak. At UFC 239, Santos got his shot at Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title. Early on in the fight, Santos tore most of the ligaments in his knee.

Somehow, Santos was able to will his way through the fight and fight Jones to a split decision. It would be more than a year before Santos returned. Just a few months ago, Santos returned against Glover Teixeira.

Santos dropped Teixeira a few times in the fight, but didn’t look the same and ultimately was finished in that fight. He had a very tall order this evening in trying to end the losing streak. Many consider Aleksandar Rakic to be a future champion.

It’s hard to find a weakness when examining the overall game of Aleksandar Rakic. He’s good on the feet, good on the ground, and he’s one of the biggest guys in the division. The only slip up he’s had in his UFC career thus far was a split decision to Volkan Oezdemir. A win over Santos would put him in title contention.

UFC 259 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 259 main card opener started with a touch of the gloves. Rakic opened with pressure while Santos was circling on the outside. Good low kick from Santos opens up the striking.

Santos moves forward with his own pressure, but Rakic lands some counters that backs him off. Both men were just looking to time the other early on. Powerful leg kick lands for Thiago Santos.

Rakic throws a high kick that was blocked, but it was powerful and got Santos’ attention. Santos was remaining patient on the outside while Rakic was plotting forward cautiously. Santos steps forward with a big body kick and a left hand.

Rakic then lands a couple of really powerful leg kicks. Another kick lands for Rakic. It was clear that both men really respected the power of the other in the first. A nice jab lands for Rakic. Body kick lands for Santos. Two nice body kicks lands for Rakic. Round one ends and I think it’s 1-0 Rakic at UFC 259.

Round 2

The second round of the UFC 259 light heavyweight contest started with more pressure from Rakic. Santos was a little more in his base to start the second and he was looking for power shots. A nice leg kick from Santos opens the striking.

Santos tries to push forward with a superman jab, but it doesn’t land. Rakic went right back with the pressure and tried to land a lead uppercut. A good leg kick lands for Rakic. Santos lands a good jab to the body of Rakic.

Thiago Santos didn’t seem to have much explosion in there tonight. He tries to push forward, but Rakic catches him and presses him against the fence. Rakic was landing some decent body shots in the clinch, but nothing significant.

One minute left in the round and there was virtually no action in this one. Rakic lands a nice counter 1-2 just before the round ends. The UFC 259 main card opener wasn’t the most thrilling fight to start, but Rakic has won the first two rounds on my scorecard.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 259 and Santos needs a finish in this one. Rakic opens the striking with a switch kick that was blocked by Santos. Both men exchange leg kicks and the action was already picking up in the third.

Santos then shoots in for a surprising takedown and Rakic defended and pushed Santos against the fence. They separate and Santos lands a body kick. A nice leg kick lands for Santos. Santos then lands a massive body kick on Rakic.

Rakic lands a leg kick and he tries to close the distance behind his jab. A 1-2 lands for Rakic, but Santos counters with a powerful leg kick. Halfway through the round and Santos lands a stiff jab on Rakic.

Another powerful body kick lands for Thiago Santos. Rakic was pressuring Santos, but wasn’t throwing much. A takedown attempt from Rakic, but Santos was defending well. Good shots along the fence land for Thiago Santos, but Rakic was staying on him.

One minute left and Santos needs to separate. However, Rakic was doing well staying heavy along the fence. The two separate with thirty seconds left in the round. However, neither man landed anything in the final thirty seconds and this one ends. Should be a decision win for Rakic at UFC 259.

Aleksandar Rakic def. Thiago Santos by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Dominick Cruz edges out Casey Kenney at UFC 259

Dominick Cruz

In the featured prelim of tonight’s insane UFC 259 card, we saw the return of arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. Former champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3) returned to take on one of the division’s top prospects, Casey Kenney (16-2-1).

For Dominick Cruz, this is his second fight is less than 12 months. The last time you could say that about Cruz was back in 2016 when he was the UFC bantamweight champion. In December of 2016, Cruz lost the title to Cody Garbrandt.

After that fight, we wouldn’t see Dominick Cruz back in the UFC until last May when he lost to Henry Cejudo. Many were unsure if we’d see Dominick Cruz again inside the octagon, but the former champion is motivated to make one more run at the bantamweight title.

Standing in his way was the rising prospect Casey Kenney. Kenney has been incredibly impressive since making the jump to the UFC from LFA. Since making his debut, Kenney has gone 5-1 inside the octagon.

The lone loss that he suffered was against top fifteen contender, Merab Dvalishvili. Kenney is on the verge of a top fifteen spot and if he was able to defeat the former UFC champion, you definitely would be seeing a number by his name next week.

UFC 259 Recap

Round 1

The featured prelim at UFC 259 opened with a lot of classic movement from Dominick Cruz. Kenney pushed forward with instant pressure and Cruz attempted a takedown, but Kenney sprawled well. The two separated and went back to striking.

A couple of clean leg kicks land for Cruz. A few big punches thrown from Kenney, but Cruz defended well. A massive headkick lands for Cruz, but Kenney just eats it. Two more good kicks land for Cruz.

Kenney was pressing forward, but wasn’t landing in the first. Kenney starts throwing his own leg kicks. Cruz then pops Kenney with a couple of clean shots. The defense was on point from Dominick Cruz in the first as Kenney was missing badly.

Good lead uppercut lands for Cruz. A nice three punch combination lands for Cruz as Kenney throws a leg kick. A nice jab pops Cruz, but Kenney was starting to rack up leg kicks. First round at UFC 259 comes to a close and this was a clear round for the former champion.

Round 2

A very promising first round for the former UFC champion. The second round started with a touch of the gloves and Kenney immediately went back to pressure. A powerful leg kick from Kenney buckles Dominick Cruz.

Cruz lands a good right hand that he tries to chain into a takedown, but Kenney defended. More leg kicks land for Casey Kenney. A nice straight right hand lands for Cruz, but the movement was less and less for Cruz.

A nice straight left lands for Casey Kenney. Casey Kenney was starting to find his range in the second and another powerful leg kick lands. A nice combination lands for Casey Kenney and some serious momentum was building for Kenney in the second.

Cruz lands a nice body shot then throws a shot up top. Kenney lands another powerful leg kick and Cruz was hurting. Cruz then explodes forward and hits Kenney clean with a few big shots.

Cruz lands a few more shots, but Kenney’s pressure and leg kicks were bothering Cruz. A nice clean combination lands for Kenney. The second round comes to a close and I think this is 1-1 after two at UFC 259.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 259 and this fight was up for grabs. The two men touch gloves and Kenney started back with the pressure. Cruz opens the striking with a few kicks and he wings some big punches.

The former champion was trying hard for the takedown. Kenney tries to get a guillotine choke, but Cruz was able to get side control which prevented the choke from getting in too deep. Cruz was stacking Kenney nicely and had good top control.

Cruz slips his head up and Kenney gets right back up. Halfway through the round and this is still anyone’s fight. A clean 1-2 lands for Dominick Cruz. Kenney lands a couple of clean shots, but he was looking a little tired.

However, Kenney was pushing forward like a zombie. A few big shots land for Kenney and he tries for a takedown. A big straight left lands for Kenney. Cruz then pushes forward with his own big combination.

Both men were looking tired and both were swinging big. Kenney lands a few big shots then tries for a takedown. Cruz lands a big knee to the body. Dominick Cruz lands a big takedown with thirty seconds left. The round comes to a close and Dominick Cruz should get the win at UFC 259.

Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

New York Giants: Potential draft replacements for Golden Tate

New York Giants, Amari Rodgers

The New York Giants are revamping their offense this offseason. The Giants averaged a putrid 17.5 points per game in 2020. Dave Gettleman and John Mara promised to add playmakers to New York’s offense this offseason. However, the Giants are tight on salary cap space and have begun cutting players to make room.

This week, the Giants released veteran wide receiver Golden Tate after two years with the team. Cutting Tate freed up $6.2 million in salary cap space. But now the Giants’ offense, which already lacked playmakers, is without its starting slot receiver. New York is already expected to target outside wide receivers in free agency and the draft, but they will need to find a new receiver to man the slot.

Thankfully, the 2021 NFL Draft is loaded with wide receiver talent. There are talented wide receivers for the Giants to target on the outside or in the slot. In the middle rounds, New York might be able to find a gem of a slot receiver to replace Golden Tate.

Slot receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft

Amari Rodgers

Golden Tate’s key strength throughout his career in the NFL has been his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. He was touted as a “YAC King” because of his playmaking ability. Clemson’s Amari Rodgers is a gym rat whose game mirrors Golden Tate’s in multiple ways.

Rodgers topped 1,000 receiving yards in Clemson’s offense this season along with 7 touchdowns on 77 receptions. He is a shorter wide receiver at 5 feet 9 inches but he has a surplus of strength and size at 211 pounds. Amari Rodgers moves like a running back but is aggressive at the catch point and has the ball skills of an outside wide receiver.

Amari is an exciting slot receiver prospect. He has reliable hands and solid athleticism, combined with his stocky build and physical playing style. Rodgers looks like a young Golden Tate clone at times on the field. In the 2021 NFL Draft, Amari Rodgers is expected to be drafted in the later rounds, making him a perfect target for the Giants to take a chance on as an additional slot receiver.

Amon-Ra St. Brown

USC has been churning out talented wide receiver prospects on an annual basis. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Pittman Jr., and now, Amon-Ra St. Brown. The brother of the Green Bay Packers’ Equanimeous St. Brown, Amon-Ra, is entering the NFL this year. While he played primarily on the outside in college, St. Brown could find himself playing a slot receiver role at the next level.

Amon-Ra is a 6 foot 1 inch, 195 pound wide receiver that the Giants could consider targeting in the second or third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. St. Brown is skilled at the catch point and demonstrated versatility in college. He lined up in the slot and outside and made plays from both positions. St. Brown was a playmaker for USC, recording 13 touchdowns in his final 19 games along with 1,520 receiving yards.

His experience in the slot and outside could make St. Brown an enticing prospect for the Giants, a team that needs help at both wide receiver positions. His experience at both positions also gives Amon-Ra a full route tree at his disposable to unleash in his rookie season. Amon-Ra St. Brown might not be that dominant primary receiving threat the Giants are hoping to find, but he could be an excellent complimentary piece in Jason Garrett’s offense.

Elijah Moore

The Giants could target an exciting slot receiver prospect out of Ole Miss in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Elijah Moore is the next best receiver prospect to enter the league out of Ole Miss. Of course, DK Metcalf and AJ Brown are Ole Miss products that have turned into dominant primary receivers for their respective NFL teams.

Elijah Moore is projected to be a prototypical slot receiver in the NFL, despite playing his fair share of snaps on the outside in college. Moore is a tough receiver that is not afraid to make ugly plays over the middle of the field. He runs some impressive routes and has some of the most reliable hands in the draft class. Moore only dropped 2 passes in his 2020, per PFF.

He did line up outside sometimes, but Elijah Moore only faced press coverage 38 times. Elijah looks plays like a young Cole Beasley and should make an impact immediately in the NFL as a slot receiver.

Askar Askarov outclasses Joseph Benavidez at UFC 259

The second fight on the ESPN prelims for UFC 259 was the flyweight contest between Joseph Benavidez (28-7) and Askar Askarov (13-0-1). Askarov missed weight by one pound which forced him to forfeit a portion of his fight purse to Benavidez.

For Benavidez, he was looking to turn things around after a rough 2020. 2020 started with Benavidez getting a shot at the UFC flyweight title. Benavidez was stopped in the second round, but Deiveson Figueiredo missed weight so the title was still up for grabs.

The UFC decided to have the two rematch in July and Benavidez was dominated even more by the now champion. Having lost two in a row, Benavidez needed a win to get back on the right track. He is still the second ranked flyweight contender in the world.

Coming in at number three in the rankings was his opponent, Askar Askarov. As mentioned, Askarov missed weight for UFC 259. This is the fourth time Askarov is making the walk to the octagon. So far, he’s 2-0-1 with wins over Alexandre Pantoja and Tim Elliot.

UFC 259 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 259 flyweight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Both men started flat footed just trying to gauge the time. Askarov starts the striking with a strong front kick. Benavidez looks for a 1-2 but he was a bit out of range.

Benavidez pushes forward with a big left that misses. Askarov pops Benavidez with a big right cross. Another powerful front kick lands for Askarov. Benavidez was winding up looking for big shots, but he was throwing a little too far away.

Askarov pushes forward and Benavidez lands a beautiful counter right hand. Benavidez then lands a nice 1-2, but Askarov counters with a massive right hand. That right hand looked like it hurt Benavidez.

Both men then exchanged calf kicks. Benavidez closes the distance and lands a couple of shots. Askarov then lands a couple of big counter shots. A couple of jabs from Askarov land and he uses that to chain into a clinch.

Benavidez forced a scramble, but the two ended up back against the fence. Askarov slams Benavidez to the ground just before the round ends. It’s 1-0 Askar Askov at UFC 259 after round 1.

Round 2

The two top UFC flyweights went right back at it to start the second round. Benavidez was using more feints to start the second and he starts his striking with a big low kick. Another big calf kick lands for Benavidez.

A couple of massive shots land for Benavidez against the fence. He starts swinging for the fences, but a massive counter shot lands for Askarov. Benavidez is wobbled, but stays on his feet. A couple of additional big shots land for Askar Askarov.

The two then clinched and Askarov slammed Benavidez to the ground. Benavidez used the fence to work his way back up to his feet, but Askarov put him right back down. Again, Benavidez worked his way back up along the fence.

Askarov was looking for the rear-naked choke while the two were against the fence. However, Benavidez was showing off great submission defense. Every scramble that Benavidez tried didn’t work and Askarov stayed on top of him. Second round comes to a close at it’s 2-0 Askarov at UFC 259.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 259 and Joseph Benavidez needed a finish. Benavidez starts the striking with a low kick. A clean head kick lands for Askarov, but he didn’t throw a ton of power behind it.

Another calf kick lands for Benavidez. Benavidez was looking for an entry, but couldn’t find one. Askarov lands a clean left straight and he started showing off a bit. A nice jab lands for Askar Askarov.

Benavidez throws a big power shot, but it doesn’t land. Askarov makes him eat a 1-2 for his troubles. Halfway through the round and Benavidez needs to get something going. Another headkick lands for Askarov.

Benavidez was looking very frustrated in the cage, but he lands another calf kick. He steps forward and lands a big right hand. Askarov pops him with a jab as they get back to distance. One minute left in the fight and Benavidez was struggling with the distance.

Benavidez was pushing forward trying to find a finishing shot. The two come together and Benavidez lands a big right hand, but it didn’t phase Askarov. Nothing significant lands in the final thirty seconds. The final round could go either way, but this is a clear win for Askar Askarov at UFC 259.

Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

New York Yankees Recap: Boone returns, Yankees lose a squeaker

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Today, the New York Yankees traveled to Bradenton, Florida, for their first spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bradenton is about 50 miles south of Steinbrenner Field. The Yankees this year are playing only west coast teams as the coronavirus is still a concern. Those teams are the Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Detroit Tigers, and the Toronto Blue Jays. The game marked the return of manager Aaron Boone after his pacemaker surgery. The game today was delayed by rain for about an hour and ten minutes. The Yankees lost the game 3-2 to the Pirates.

When the game started, Cody Ponce was on the mound for the Pirates. Michael Tauchman softly ground out, followed by Gio Urshela, who also grounded out. The veteran Jay Bruce had a line-drive homer to right-center, his first homer of spring training. Clint Frazier walked on six pitches. Derek Dietrich also walked. Mike Ford ground out to third base, but the Yankees put a run on the board.

Jameson Taillon took the mound for the New York Yankees against his old teammates at the bottom of the frame. Cole and Taillon were teammates during 2016, 2017, and when in the minors. Taillon first faced Dustin Fowler, who he struck out on four pitches. Bryan Reynolds also stuck out. Colin Moran lined out sharply to left fielder Dietrich. Taillon continued his excellent play from March 1, when he struck out the side in his Yankee debut. Yankees 1 Pirates 0.

The Pirates replaced Ponce in the second with Carson Fulmer. Kyle Higashioka, who is batting .333 so far this season, ground out to ex-Yankee Todd Frazier. Tyler Wade stuck out swinging, Thairo Estrada singled bring us back to the top of the lineup, and Mike Tauchman, his bat, was cut short, then the inexperienced Estrada got caught stealing, ending the half. At the bottom, Taillon was out for his second inning of work facing Todd Frazier, who has had 2 homers already this season. Frazier managed a single. Gregory Polanco also singled. For the first time, this season Taillon had two runners on base. Erik Gonzalez popped out. Anthony Alford struck out, and Michael Perez walked, loading the bases. Kevin Kramer closed out the inning for Taillon by striking out. Taillon worked out of trouble and has not allowed a run in spring training.

At the top of the third, Mike Tauchman resumed his at-bat and stuck out. Gio Urshela also struck out, and Jay Bruce, who homered in the first inning, lined out for Fulmer’s quick inning. Jhoulys Chacin replaced Taillon and face Fowler to struck out. Reynolds singled to Tauchman. Moran doubled, moving Reynolds to third. Frazier was hit by a pitch loading the bases for the second inning in a row. Polanco singled, driving in two runs for the Pirate lead. With men on the corners. With Gonzalez hitting, Polanco stole second base. Gonzalez struck out. Alford ground out, but not before Chacin gave up two runs. Pirates 2 Yankees 1.

Clint Frazier led off the fourth. Frazier, who played so well last season, is only batting .143 so far. He ground out, nearly knocking Gonzalez off his feet. Dietrich followed with a flyout, and Mike Ford gound out, finishing Hartlieb’s one-two-three put down of the Yankees. At the bottom, Trevor Lane replaced Chacin on the mound. Perez grounded out to Ford at first. Kramer struck out, followed by a Fowler single. Reynolds singled, moving Fowler to second. Moran walked, loading the bases for the third inning in a row. This time with two outs. With Todd Frazier at the plate, the Yankees made a pitching change and brought in Glenn Otto. Otto got the job done striking out Frazier.

Higashioka faced Nick Mears at the top of the fifth. He struck out. Wade Flew out. Estrada had a long single to left field. Tauchman struck out. After a ground out in the first, the T-Man has struck out twice. Luis Cessa took over the pitching in the bottom of the frame. Gonzalez ground out, Swaggerty struck out, and Perez doubled driving the Pirate’s third run. Kramer finished off the inning by grounding to Ford. Pirates 3 Yankees 1.

At the sixth Ogle was out for the Pirates facing the Yankees Andrew Velazquez who stuck out. Beltre struck and Clint Frazier homered with a long line drive into the left-field stands. Dietrich struck out. At the bottom, Adam Warren was on the mound. Craig flew out. Smith-Njigba ground out. Cruz struck out ending the inning. Pirates 3 Yankees 2.

Ford flew out to center in the seventh. Higashioka popped out, and Wade ended the shortest half of the game by striking out. Final Score Pirates 3 Yankees 2. The winning pitcher was Fulmer the loser Jhoulys Chacin.

The New York Rangers have another strong offensive game in defeating the Devils

New York Rangers, Ryan Strome

The New York Rangers scored six goals in a game for the second time in two games against the New Jersey Devils. On Saturday, this resulted in a 6-3 victory over the Devils. The Rangers have tallied at least six goals in two consecutive road games against the Devils for the first time since they moved to New Jersey prior to the start of the 1982-83 season.

Ryan Strome scored twice while Adam Fox, Kevin Rooney Libor Hajek, and Filip Chytil also scored for the Blueshirts.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 24 shots and also picked up an assist on Fox‘s coast-to-coast power-play goal. It was his fourth career NHL assist.

Julien Gauthier had two assists, posting a multi-assist game, and a multi-point game for the first time in his NHL career.

Not only was it the second straight game with six goals, but the Rangers have also had many players contribute to the effort. Five different Blueshirts have tallied a goal and 11 different NYR have recorded at least one point. The Rangers have tallied 9 goals over the last 4 periods, and 9 different players have tallied a goal over the span (Kreider, Buchnevich, Smith, Lafrenière, Fox, Strome, Rooney, Hajek, Chytil), per NYR Stats&Info.

Many of the young Rangers contributed to the effort in the win. Per NYR Stats&Info, six Ranger players 23 years old or younger have tallied a point in the win (Fox, Kakko, Chytil, Gauthier, Hajek, Miller). At least one player 23 years old or younger has recorded a point on each of the team’s four goals thus far in the game.

Head coach David Quinn praised his young players during his post-game Zoom conference. “Look how quickly they have adapted,” Quinn said. “I give these kids a lot of credit, it is not easy to develop in the National Hockey League. This isn’t a league where you develop. It’s a dramatic change in their hockey life.”

Filip Chytil makes a welcome return for the New York Rangers

Chytil had a goal and an assist, playing in only his ninth game this season after suffering an injury. After the game, he talked about returning to play after not playing in five weeks in his post-game Zoom conference. “Today it felt like a good game from my side, but it could have been better. Of course, I am playing wing now instead of center, but I am happy for the two points for the team.”

Quinn also talked about the return of Chytil to the team. “There was certainly more flashes of his speed, the things he can do for us offensively, pushing people back and generate offense. He is still finding his way with the injury he had.”

Hockey Day in America takes place this Sunday, March 7 with a quadruple-header on NBC and NBCSN. The Rangers will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in the finale of the four games, with a puck drop at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Mets: deGrom Dominant in Rain-Shortened 6-1 Win

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets only played six innings on Saturday, but there were plenty of positives in their 6-1 over the Houston Astros. Jacob deGrom and Edwin Diaz made their spring debuts while Pete Alonso remained hot at the plate.

Before the game, deGrom was unsurprisingly named the Opening Day starter for the third consecutive season by Manager Luis Rojas. The only surprise from deGrom’s start was the two hitters who found their way on base. deGrom struck out three batters over two innings and needed just 29 pitches to get through his outing. As usual, he lit up the radar gun with a couple of 99 mph fastballs.

Diaz was even better in his one inning of relief. He needed seven pitches to record one strikeout and had help from Francisco Lindor behind him. Miguel Castro worked around a walk in one scoreless inning after Diaz left the game.

Coming Out Swinging

It was an all-around effort for the Mets offense that featured a different look without Brandon Nimmo. Jeff McNeil took over as the leadoff man, with Lindor batting second. Another line drive to the opposite field from Alonso resulted in an RBI double to get the Mets started in the first. Michael Conforto showed off his underrated speed by scoring all the way from first on the play.

Albert Almora and Kevin Pillar both received starts and made the most of their chances. Both recorded RBI singles as the eighth and ninth place hitters. Dominic Smith recorded his first home run of the spring with a majestic shot to right field.

The young blood of Ronny Mauricio and Pete Crow-Armstrong took over in the sixth. Crow-Armstrong led off the inning with a triple, his first hit in professional baseball. Mauricio drove him in with a single, giving Mets fans a sneak peek of a potential combination in the future.

The Mets are back on SNY on Sunday when they face the Miami Marlins. Marcus Stroman (1-0, 0.00) makes his second start of the season against Pablo Lopez (0-0, 0.00). The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. from Clover Park.

Knicks’ Julius Randle expresses his desire to stick around long-term

New York Knicks, Julius Randle

When the New York Knicks originally signed power forward Julius Randle to a three-year, $62 million deal, they saw them as an integral part of their reconstruction.

The organization was undergoing changes, but it wasn’t until this past off-season where the Knicks finally established a foundation for the future and put together a coaching staff capable of creating a winning team.

Randle has been an absolute menace this season, earning his first All-Star appearance at 26 years old. Over 37 games, he’s averaging 23.2 points, 5.5 assists, and 11.1 rebounds per contest, all three categories being career highs.

However, he has only one year left on his contract, and the Knicks seem to be enamored by his recent play. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has already advocated for the veteran, so extending him might be in their best interest.

The New York Knicks have needed Randle’s peak presence on the court:

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Thibodeau said. “…I think when you look at the impact on winning, that’s where he’s separated himself. To be doing what he’s doing for this team, we wouldn’t be where we are. He’s our engine. So I hope that’s recognized, he’s very deserving of it.”

If the Knicks do consider rewriting his contract, Randle has already stated he wants to stick around long term.

“Yeah, it’s always a thought,” Randle said. “When I came here almost two years ago, that was the plan. I wanted to be here long term. I want to be a Knick. So my thoughts never changed. I would definitely love to be here long term.

If New York does extend him, they might be able to reduce his cap hit for next season, which is about $21 million. In that case, they can likely open up a bit more money to work with, allowing them to pursue a star in free agency or acquire one via trade. It has yet to be seen if the Knicks will, in fact, execute a trade before the March 25 deadline — they have the capital to do so.

“Like I said, we’ll see when we get to that time,” Randle said. “But right now, like I said, I’m really just focused on what we have to do as a team. That’s so far ahead in the future. When that time presents itself, I’ll be ready. We’ll talk or whatever, but I’m really just focused on this team, first off getting a win tonight going into the All-Star break, getting my body right so I’m healthy, staying on top of what I have to, starting off the second half of the season strong. That’s where my focus is right now.”

Randle is gearing up to perform in the All-Star game, his first appearance since his inception into the NBA in 2014. Having spent time on three different teams, the lefty shooter has found a home in New York and is established himself as their star player.