New York Yankees Recap: Brett Gardner walked it off for the Yankees in the eleventh

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees entered last night’s game looking to at least split the series with the Seattle Mariners after winning the first game last night. However, they had no starting pitcher for the game, so they put together a nine pitcher bullpen game and won it in the eleven inning with a walk-off by the longest-tenured Yankee Brett Gardner. The final score was the New York Yankees 3 the Seattle Mariners 2.

JP Crawford led off for the first inning against Peralta and ground out to second. Mitch Haniger ground out to short. Kyle Seager struck out on Peralta’s 11th pitch of the inning. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu led off by popping out to right. Anthony Rizzo struck out. Judge lined out to third for a quick inning for both pitchers. No score.

The second inning was led off by Ty France, who ground out to short. Abe Toro got a bloop single to right. Jake Fraley struck out. Luis Torrens singled to rigth. Jarred Kelenic faced the new Yankee pitcher Stephen Ridings and lined out to LeMahieu to end the half. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton led off by walking on four pitches. Joey Gallo walked. Gleyber Torres got an infield popup. Rougie Odor flew out to right. Kyle HIgashioka went down on strikes leaving to on base. No score.

At the third Cal Raleigh led off by grounding out to right. Crawford ground out to short. Haniger flew out to Davis in third. At the bottom, Jonathan Davis flew out to right. LeMahieu flew out to right. Rizzo ground out to third for another scoreless inning.

Seager led off the fourth inning against new Yankee pitcher Joey Rodriguez, and he ground out. France singled to left. Toro hit into a force out at second. Fraley chopped out to J-Rod to end the half. At the bottom, Aaron Judge flew out to the infield. Stanton singled to left. Gallo struck out. Torres ground out to third for the force. No score.

Luis Torrens led the fifth inning, who faced yet another Yankee pitcher, Clay Homes he was caught looking. Kelenic flew out. Raleigh went down looking. The bottom of the fifth was scoreless for the Yankees. In the sixth inning, Toro scored for the first run of the game. Again, the bottom was scoreless for the Yankees.  Seattle Mariners 1 New York Yankees 0.

The top of the seventh Torrens ground out. Kelenic ground out. Raleigh doubled, and the  Yankees went to the new pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga. Crawford walked. Haniger, with two on and two outs tapped to second Odor, flipped to Loaisigan at first to get the final out of the half. At the bottom, Gallo ground out. Torres singled to right. With Gonzalas at his 100th pitch, Odor struck out, but Torres stole second base. Higashioka faced the new Seattle pitcher Joe Smith and ground to third to end the inning. Seattle Mariners 1, the Yankees 0.

Kyle Seager led off the eighth inning by striking out. Then, France singling to the infield. Toro skied out to center for the second out. Dylan Moore struck out to end the half. With Deigo Castillo on the mound, Brett Gardner pinch-hit for Davis, worked the count full, and walked on the seventh pitch. DJ LeMahieu walked for two on and no outs in the eighth. A pitch hit Antony Rizzo to load the bases with no outs. In a huge minute in the game, Aaron Judge hit a sac fly as Gardner scored to tie up the game at 1. Giancarlo Stanton hit into a double play to end the inning, but the Yankees tied up the game. New York Yankees 1 Seattle 1.

At the top of the ninth, with Luis Torrens at the plate and Zack Britton on the mound, Torrens struck out. Kelenic ground out to second. Raleigh ground out to short for a 1-2-3 inning for Zack Britton. At the bottom, Joey Gallo ground out to second. Gleyber Torres doubled down the left-field line. Odor was intentionally walked. Kyle Higashioka popped out to short. With the game on the line, Gardner popped out to right to strand two Yankees and bring the game into extra innings.

Crawford led off with Tom Murphy on second, and Chad Green on the mound hit one to right field with Murphy scoring and the Mariners taking the lead. Haniger struck out, and Crawford was out at second on a struck em out throw em out. Seager flew out to Gardner in center, but the Mariners scored the ghost runner. At the bottom, with Brett Gardner as the ghost runner, LeMahieu walked. Anthony Rizzo flew out to center. Aaron Judge struck out. Giancarlo Stanton got a sac fly to tie the game at two. With Tyler Wade pitch running at second for LeMahieu, Joey Gallo struck out to send the game into the eleventh inning.

At the top with the Yankees ninth pitcher Albert Abreu and Seager as the ghost runner, France flew out to Gallo in left. Toro flew out to Gallo. Jake Bauers ground out, stranding the ghost runner. At the bottom Gleyber Torres at the plate and Gallo as the ghost runner at second and new pitcher Keynan Middleton on the mound, he popped out for the first out. Rougie Odor was intentionally walked again. Kyle Higashioka struck out. Brett Gardner walked off a win with a hit to center scoring Gallo.

The final score was the New York Yankees 3 and the Seattle Mariners 2. The winning pitcher was Albert Abreu, the loser was Kaynan Middleton.

 

New York Giants: Who is David Sills V? | Training Camp Standout

david sills, new york giants

The New York Giants are enjoying several training camp standouts this year on both sides of the ball. Some newly signed players, such as Adoree’ Jackson, have adjusted easily and made key plays during practice. But some younger, less-established players have also turned heads with impressive performances at camp.

Wide receiver David Sills has stood out during training camp. But Sills is one of those less-established players that most fans do not know much about. So that begs the question, who exactly is this training camp standout wide receiver, David Sills?

Who is David Sills?

College career

New York Giants training camp standout David Sills is a former quarterback-turned-wide receiver. Sills split time at both quarterback and wide receiver at West Virginia in 2015 but flashed some potential as a receiver, ending the season with seven receptions for 131 yards. He then transferred to El Camino College in 2016 to play exclusively at quarterback before returning to West Virginia as a wide receiver.

David Sills hauled in 60 receptions for 980 yards and an insane 18 touchdowns in 12 games for West Virginia in 2017. As a senior in 2018, Sills was impressive once again, posting 65 receptions for 986 yards and 15 touchdowns in 12 games. David Sills was a true playmaker for the Mountaineers in his collegiate career.

NFL career

David Sills went undrafted in 2019 before signing with the Buffalo Bills in April. He was unfortunately waived by the Bills in August, but then signed with the New York Giants’ practice squad in September. He spent the entire 2019 season on New York’s practice squad. During training camp last year, David Sills suffered a foot fracture, landing him on injured reserve.

The Giants have not given up on David Sills, though, as they signed him to an extension through the 2021 season. The Giants’ 6-4 roster-bubble receiver has yet to play a down of football in the regular season. But he has been a consistent standout in practice and has worked hard this offseason to prepare for the 2021 season.

According to Giants head coach Joe Judge, David Sills “just followed Daniel [Jones] around the country and wherever Daniel was, he was gonna be there to catches passes.” Sills has never missed an opportunity to get some extra work in with his quarterback, improving his game and strengthening their chemistry.

2021 training camp

David Sills has been making plays left and right in practice during New York Giants training camp this year. Check out this impressive grab that Sills caught from Danny Dimes with first-team defensive backs Adoree’ Jackson and Logan Ryan in coverage:

It is important that this play was made with the first-team. Sills’s hard work has not gone unnoticed as he has earned first-team reps. This is a big step towards making the final roster. If David Sills can keep shining in training camp and pre-season, he could be a summer standout that earns a spot on the Giants’ final roster this regular season.

UFC’s Gaethje to Chandler: ‘There’s something about your face that just makes me want to punch you’

One of the most highly anticipated fights of the year is scheduled to go down at UFC 268. Two of the best lightweights in the world will battle it out as Michael Chandler (22-6) takes on Justin Gaethje (22-3).

Both men have incredibly similar styles and both love to stand and trade. In addition to having a similar fan-friendly fighting style, both men are also in a very similar spot in their career.

Chandler just lost a UFC lightweight title fight back in May to Charles Oliveira. The last time we saw Justin Gaethje fight was at UFC 254 when he lost a lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Both men are coming off title losses, but they still rank at the very top of the division. While they have paid some compliments to each other in the past, there is some underlying beef between the two UFC lightweights.

It all started with Chandler stating on an Instagram Live that Gaethje turned down a fight with him several times. Gaethje fired back at Chandler and said that he was slandering his name. This was all prior to the UFC finalizing the fight between the two.

UFC 268 In Flux

Today at the UFC weight in show, Justin Gaethje appeared as a guest. Michael Chandler was one of the hosts along with Daniel Cormier and several other personalities from the promotion.

Gaethje stated in the interview that he doesn’t have much of a reason to dislike Chandler, but he just does. The former interim UFC champion said to Chandler, “It’s been a while since I fought someone I didn’t like… There’s something about your face that just makes me want to punch you… It’s the smirk.”

This got a big smile out of Chandler. Chandler has seemed incredibly excited since this fight got announced. Chandler has stated that the one guy that he wants to fight more than anyone is Justin Gaethje.

Now, there was an interesting statement from Gaethje in today’s interview. Gaethje openly said that he didn’t think his fight with Chandler will take place in New York City and he was hoping that it doesn’t.

Couple this with Michael Chandler saying he’s not going to get vaccinated and it’s starting to look like UFC 268 is going to change. New York City issued a vaccine mandate and that could jeopardize the event.

Dana White has said this week that he has spoken to Madison Square Garden and there’s no issue. However, my guess is that the UFC is already planning on either moving this fight or moving their PPV to a new location. I would imagine that the promotion would like to keep Gaethje – Chandler on PPV so it will be interesting to find out where it takes place.

Robert Saleh lays out expectations for New York Jets cornerbacks

New York Jets, Bless Austin

The lack of a proven force in the New York Jets’ cornerback group didn’t stop Robert Saleh from clearly defining his expectations.

The macabre gift of the New York Jets’ 2020 season was that things became so dire that any move they made over the offseason could’ve been viewed as an improvement. But the Jets’ offseason to-do list could stretch from one end zone to the other after a disastrous two-win season. Even with a cap space surplus, some area on the modern depth chart was going to be neglected and prevent the Jets from becoming immediate contenders.

It’s not hard to find the affected areas.

With matchups against four of the top five passing units from last season looming on their upcoming schedule (Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Houston, Atlanta), the Jets’ secondary remains undermanned and inexperienced as kickoff weekend approaches. The safeties at least have a slight safety blanket (pun intended) with Marcus Maye back on a franchise tag and Lamarcus Joyner, one of only five New Yorkers who are at least 30 years old, coming over from Las Vegas.

The Jets’ front line in the secondary, the cornerback area, leaves much to be desired. Only newcomer Justin Hardee (115 defensive snaps over the past three years) has more than two seasons of NFL experience and he was primarily brought in for his special teams expertise. Four cornerbacks have no experience at all, as the Jets spent the Saturday of draft weekend adding new names to the ranks. Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock, and Brandin Echols arrived in the draft’s later rounds while Isaiah Dunn was added through undrafted free agency.

At the top of the depth chart, Bless Austin and Bryce Hall…a combined 23 starts between them…are set to take starring roles. Behind them lies a hodgepodge of journeymen (Corey Ballentine, Bennett Jackson) and undrafted youngsters (Javelin Guidry, Zane Lewis, Elijah Campbell, Lamar Jackson…no, not that one, obviously).

Head coach Robert Saleh isn’t worried.

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One would perhaps expect Saleh, a defensive coach in several assistant stops throughout the NFL, to assemble a more worthy group of defenders for his first year as a head coach. When that proved to be unfeasible, Saleh worked with management to come to a relative compromise of stocking up on young secondary talent on draft weekend Saturday after spending the first two days preparing for the new franchise quarterback’s arrival. So far, he’s happy with the young clay that he gets to mold in his first season at the New York helm.

Saleh doesn’t care about where they’ve been or how they were obtained. He carries one burning question for his new young talents, one he carries with him from his days as the defensive boss in San Francisco.

“Can you win on third down? That’s pretty much it. It’s that simple,” Saleh said on Thursday, per notes from the Jets. “When you’re looking at traits, we had Richard Sherman, who’s all of 6-3, long, incredibly smart, and we’ve had Jason Verrett, who’s all of 5-9, strong and wiry.”

“So they come in all shapes and sizes but the dog mentality, the ability to win in man coverage, the fearlessness to get up there in press (coverage) and win one-on-ones. That’s what matters, because at the end of the day, when it’s crunch time and you’ve got to win in football, it comes down to your ability to win in one-on-one, whether it’s man, zone, however you want to count it.”

The current starters’ respective battles with gridiron adversity are particularly inspiring to a New York team desperate to overcome relentless vibes and reminders of the “same old Jets” concept. Austin, a Queens native, enjoyed a breakout sophomore season at Rutgers but injuries limited him to only five more games in Piscataway over his last two seasons. Hall might’ve been an opening round pick in 2019, but an injury sustained during his senior year banished him to the Saturday wilderness.

To their credit, Austin and Hall have garnered positive reviews in their early camp showings. Brian Costello of the New York Post said that Hall “looks like he is ready to make a jump” in his sophomore season while Austin has been a thorn in the side of Zach Wilson early on. Saleh has been pleased with the early returns, once bringing up the size differences in analyzing each defender.

New York Jets, Bryce Hall

“Bryce is so long and big. Bless is obviously more wiry and twitchy, but they both have an incredible mindset to get up there, get in your face, use their length, use their athleticism,” Saleh said. “What we’ve been doing defensively is we teach a little bit different of a man technique, obviously, and our zones. So try to get them the reps they need to be able to blend the two is not easy and it does take time, but these guys have gotten better every day.”

Just because Austin and Hall have the early edge, however, doesn’t mean that Saleh is going to simply hand the primary duties for them. Saleh has been proud to work the rookie defenders into the rotation, namely calling out Echols and Dunn for “(earning) the right to get a little peek at getting some run with the ones”. He’s also excited for the ongoing nickel group, which appears to consist of Campbell, Carter, and Guidry.

Saleh had a prime opportunity to add in some veteran talent. Both Sherman and Verrett, his former Bay Area proteges, were available on the free agent market, but he opted for a young revolution that can allow for the Jets’ new staff, headlined by Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich to shape their new secondary in their image. Saleh compared the feeling to a roller-coaster on the Garden State Parkway.

“When you’re dealing with young guys, the excitement is like when you’re driving on the freeway and you’re on (empty), you’re like, ‘When’s it going to happen?’ It’s like a roller coaster, but at the same time, you see an unbelievable amount of growth happen from play-in and play-out, and day-in and day-out,” Saleh said. “I’ve seen teams win, I’ve seen teams have growth, you see everything. I’ve seen veteran teams lose, it’s a matter of gaining confidence, gelling, having the ball bounce your way and really getting confidence, and this group is a very confident group, it’s a very young, confident group.”

“They’re having a lot of success here in training camp and when they get to go against Green Bay, and Philadelphia, the Giants, and they get to test themselves against other players, I think that’s where you’ll start to see the identity of this team kind of take shape.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Takeaways from Chicago Bears training camp: Friday August 6th

Friday morning saw the Chicago Bears kickoff the first of what will be three practices wearing pads heading into the weekend. After another day at training camp, here are some quick observations heading into the weekend:

  • If I had to pick a winner today, it’d be the defense. Friday marks the first of three padded practices for the Bears going into the weekend and the defense was clearly more fired up compared to the offense. Defensive coordinator Sean Desai has added some life to a defense that many seemed to be writing off throughout the offseason. 
  • Also, it’s getting harder and harder to evaluate where the Bears’ OL is really at compared to the Bears’ defense, especially with the injury bug stinging the OL. Offensive tackles Larry Borom and Lachavious Simmons are being evaluated for concussions, per multiple reports. The hope is that Teven Jenkins recovers fast enough with the Miami Dolphins coming to town for joint practices and a preseason game very soon. 
  • Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was present in the building. Early on, there was some speculation that the Bears hired him in a consultant role, especially after the Eagles fired him at the start of the offseason. Pederson was on the practice field talking to Dalton and Foles, but Pederson was just visiting his old friend Nagy. 
  • Does anyone else find it completely odd that QB Nick Foles said on Tuesday that he’s a better version of himself compared to years past and yet Foles had multiple interceptions in practice today? Seriously, that’s got to be a bad look for Foles, who didn’t exactly dice up the third-string defense today. 
  • The pads were on today and the intensity was on another level. Akiem Hicks was clearly having lots of fun out there.
  • Won’t lie, CB Kindle Vildor had himself a strong day and continues to make a push for the starting CB2 job opposite Jaylon Johnson.
  • Both quarterbacks had really strong days today. Dalton will continue to be QB1 until the coaching staff decides to make a switch but Fields’ progress cannot be overlooked as there was noticeable improvement today.
  • This running back room, even with Tarik Cohen out continues to impress. Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert made some plays in practice today, making RB one of the best positions on the team throughout training camp.
  • Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin had another strong practice. He could be WR3 in this offense pretty soon.

 

Be sure to follow Fireside Bears on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram for all the latest updates on all things Chicago Bears.

 

The New York Yankees have a 2017 vibe one week after acquiring Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo

anthony rizzo, yankees

The New York Yankees won a huge game last night against the Seattle Mariners. The Bombers found themselves down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and Aaron Judge at the plate.

Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were able to get base hits and up stepped newcomer Joey Gallo. While Gallo hasn’t gotten off to the best start with the Yankees, he had his chance to be the hero last night and he didn’t disappoint.

Gallo hit a towering home run that gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead which they would hold onto. Since the trade deadline last week, Anthony Rizzo has had the spotlight for the Yankees and for good reason. Rizzo has looked like a star both offensively and defensively.

Last night, Gallo was able to join in the fun. Since acquiring Rizzo and Gallo, the Yankees are 6-1. They are now just 1.5 games out of the second wild card and they’re only 4 games behind Boston for the first wild card.

New Vibes

The entire demeanor of this team has changed over the last week. The acquisitions of Rizzo and Gallo have provided a much needed shot in the arm to a team that has had too many punches to the gut all season long.

While the Yankees were dealt some brutal blows this week from positive COVID tests to Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, and Gary Sanchez, the team has kept pushing forward. For the first time all year, the Yankees find themselves ten games over 500 now at 59-49.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact that Rizzo and Gallo have had on the Yankees. It’s not just the performance on the field, but the way they have already become crucial pieces to the morale in the clubhouse.

Anthony Rizzo already looks like a leader on this club and Gallo’s positive energy is contagious. Simply put, the New York Yankees are a different team than they were a week ago in every aspect.

2017 Yankees Feeling

I can’t help but think about the 2017 Yankees when thinking about this year’s team. The Yankees were struggling in July of 2017. The Bombers had a record of 48-44 when the team pulled off their first blockbuster trade of that deadline.

Brian Cashman was able to acquire Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox. Frazier completely changed the vibes in the clubhouse and became somewhat of a team captain the rest of the way.

We all remember the ‘Thumbs Down’ calling card of the 2017 Yankees. That 48-44 team went on to finish 91-71 while making the playoffs. They pushed the trashcan banging Houston Astros to a Game 7 in the ALCS.

Of course, there are glaring differences between the two teams. Aaron Boone is leading this year’s team while Joe Girardi was the manager in 2017. The Yankees also acquired Sonny Gray in 2017 to go along with CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, and Masahiro Tanaka.

From a pitching standpoint, this year’s team is not as good as the 2017 team on paper. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of going on a serious run themselves just like they 2017 did.

The Yankees are finally riding a wave of momentum right now and fans are feeling much different about this club. If all the pieces come together, the Yankees could still do something special in what was being thought of as a lost 2021 season.

NASCAR Trucks: Drivers expecting chaos in regular season finale at Watkins Glen

On Saturday, the NASCAR Truck Series will go somewhere they haven’t gone in 21 years. They’ll head to the famed road course at Watkins Glen for the United Rentals 176, a 72-lap duel around the 2.45-mile circuit in Upstate New York. The event will be the final race of the Truck Series regular season.

Despite only a few drivers having experience on the high-speed road course, NASCAR is electing to run Saturday’s race without any practice and qualifying. Add that in with it being regular-season finale, things could get chaotic in the Truck Series this weekend.

“I hope we make it through turn one,” series points leader John Hunter Nemechek said. “There’s a lot of guys that are in the truck field who haven’t been to Watkins Glen, [and] I feel there’s a bit of inexperience there. With no practice [and] no qualifying, it’s definitely going to be a little bit different…. guys are starting to get more aggressive. I think it’s coming down to the playoff cutoff, and Watkins Glen being the cutoff race for the playoffs.

Nemechek’s five wins were enough to clinch the regular-season title and add 15 playoff points to his season total of 49. He, along with Ben Rhodes, Todd Gilliland, Austin Hill, Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith, Matt Crafton have clinched playoff spots, that group securing seven of the ten available in the Truck Series.

However, the final three spots are available for taking at The Glen. Stewart Friesen, Chandler Smith, and Carson Hocevar are currently the three in position to make the playoffs; however, an upset winner could shake the entire playoff race upside down.

“We wish we had a win to be sitting on to guarantee a spot in,” Friesen said. “I think we had the third-fastest lap time back at COTA a couple of months ago, so we have speed in the truck, it’s the same piece we’ve ran the past two or three road races with, so hopefully we can use that and stay up in the hunt”.

To have the best chance at making it into the playoffs, Friesen would need a repeat Truck Series winner or a non-points earning winner on Saturday. In that scenario, he’d need to earn just three points in the United Rentals 176 to clinch a spot in the playoffs. With AJ Allmendinger driving the No. 23 truck in place of the COVID-19-stricken Chase Purdy and road course specialist Paul Menard in the field, things seem encouraging Friesen. If a non-repeat points earner wins on Saturday, Friesen would need to earn 43 points in the race.

Ahead of Friesen in the standings is 18-year-old Carson Hocevar, who would advance to the playoffs in the event of a repeat winner or a non-points earning winner. Hocevar would need 35 points if a first-time points-earner were to win at The Glen.

Chandler Smith needs just 15 points to clinch if there were to be a repeat winner; however, he’d be unable to clinch on his own if a new driver won. Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, Johnny Sauter, Austin Wayne Self, Ryan Truex, Hailie Deegan, and Tanner Gray can only clinch on a victory. Of course, Friesen, Hocevar, and Smith can all clinch on victories as well.

With so many different playoff clinching scenarios, Saturday’s United Rentals 176 at Watkins Glen should be drama-filled. Many young drivers full of aggression will likely attempt new strategies to sneak into the Truck Series playoffs.

Coming off a win in Knoxville, Austin Hill will lead the field to green on Saturday. Todd Gilliland, Smith, Crafton, Rhodes, and Nemechek round out the front three rows. Notably, Hocevar starts 9th, Friesen starts 17th, and Menard starts 39th. Allmendinger will have to drop to the rear for a driver change past the entry-list cutoff date.

Coverage of the United Rentals 176 begins on Saturday at 11:30am EST on FS1 with green flag scheduled for just after 12:30pm.

 

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley could reportedly return anywhere from weeks 1 to 3

Saquon Barkley

The injury timetable for New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has been a recurring news story surrounding the team, and the latest update in that saga gives us some actual numbers to work with.

Of course, the team itself is still pretty closed off about their intentions with the player and no return schedule has been announced by anyone on the staff. But according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, we can place Barkley’s return in a likely timeframe within the first few weeks of the season even without the team giving those details officially.

This isn’t out of line with the information that was already out there about Barkley’s recovery schedule. While Barkley has made a lot of progress and has been seen working out at speed and making catches on a separate training field at practice, the Giants have been pretty clear about not pushing him back for week one.

Barkley himself has said multiple times that he’s taking things day by day, and at this point, the entire approach seems geared towards preventing fan disappointment if the staff decide to keep him on the bench for the season opener and maybe even the second or third game.

Right now, Barkley is on the Active/PUP list and has been since the start of training camp. But since an early season return is more or less already confirmed for him barring a setback, it looks like he’ll be off that list some time before the Giants decide their final roster.

When making their final roster cut, the Giants will have to decide between activating their players on this list or keeping them there and not getting another chance to bring them back for the first six weeks of the season.

Week three is a bit of a further out potential return than most would like to see, but ultimately, the Giants signed additional help at the running back spot for this purpose and the slightly later return date will likely be forgotten quickly if Barkley comes out right away and demonstrates a fast bounce back to his old pre-injury form.

Islanders just committed pure robbery with Adam Pelech’s new deal

The wait was well worth it.

Finally, the Islanders made their first official transaction of the offseason this morning announcing the extension of d-man Adam Pelech. The deal, which avoided the two sides going to arbitration, will keep Pelech in an Isles uniform for the next eight seasons and has an AAV of $5.75M.

“This is where I want to be, I think all the guys feel the same way,” Pelech said to the media this morning. “They know there’s something special here.”

First off, no your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The Isles did just lock up arguably the best defensive d-man in the NHL for a bargain totaling out to 46 MILLION DOLLARS. That’s it? I know right.

But seriously, this deal is pure robbery.

Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) expected that number after it was reported by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple two weeks ago that Pelech’s camp was asking in the $7M range. It also probably wasn’t partially beneficial after how much money had been shelled out to several high-end d-men around the league over the past couple of weeks. I mean Seth Jones’ deal in Chicago — after the Blackhawks traded for him from Columbus — came in at a lofty $76M over the next eight seasons. Colorado’s Cale Makar got paid $54 million for six years. Dougie Hamilton received a whopping $63M from the Devils.

So Pelech getting that kind of bag those three got seemed justified. But as he said this morning, those d-men’s big tickets had no effect on his standing.

“That didn’t have any effect on our negotiations at all,” Pelech noted.

Chalk that up as another win from the Islanders’ side of things. After all, he was due for a large raise as he was coming off the most team-friendly contract in the league he signed back in 2017 with the Isles that paid him $6.4M. Not to mention, the last three seasons Pelech has evolved into one of the best defenders in the league and been one of the backbones to the Isles success.

Pelech leaving that kind of money on the table might raise some eyebrows, but hey Islanders fans could care less. They now have a guy who hasn’t even scratched the surface of just how good he can be. A homegrown player too.

The 26-year-old is still two to three years away from being in his prime and the Islanders are expected to compete for a Stanley Cup in that time. Under head coach Barry Trotz, he has only gotten better with each passing season. And might we remind everyone, just last week Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman acknowledged Pelech as a future Norris Trophy candidate (Note: Friedman after watching Pelech in the postseason said he regretted not putting him on his ballot). Furthermore, Pelech’s deal allows general manager Lou Lamoriello to get take care of some of the organization’s other priorities this summer and even more flexibility for years to come.

This newest contract for Pelech associates him with such names as with Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey, Dallas’ Esa Lindell, and Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin. Out of that group, Slavin is the only one considered elite. Pelech is the only other one on that level. So, if you’re keeping score at home, the Islanders are underpaying their number one defender compared to what other teams would be giving for their top-flight d-men for their services.

Again, this just shows how outstanding of a deal this ended up being for them.

With Pelech now in the fold for the long-haul the offseason has officially kicked off for the Islanders and with a bang. There’s more work to be done, but this first step is finally completed.  Pelech’s contract is an incredible steal and will only continue to be that way for the rest of his tenure in orange and blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UFC 265 Preview: Jose Aldo – Pedro Munhoz

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 265, we will see a big time matchup in the bantamweight division. Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo (29-7) is back as he’s taking on Pedro Munhoz (19-5).

Pedro Munhoz is going to be looking for the biggest win of his UFC career tomorrow night. The last time we saw Munhoz was back in February when he took on Jimmie Rivera. That night, Munhoz used a steady diet of leg kicks to get the win.

That win snapped a two-fight skid for Pedro Munhoz. The former UFC featherweight champion is in a very similar position as Munhoz. The last time we saw Jose Aldo was back in December when he defeated Chito Vera by decision.

That win by Aldo snapped a three-fight losing streak including his first two fights at bantamweight. Granted, I’ll still maintain to this day that Jose Aldo defeated Marlon Moraes in his bantamweight debut.

Both men are coming off of a big win leading into UFC 265 and there’s a lot on the line. Whoever wins tomorrow night should be inching ever closer to a shot at the bantamweight title.

UFC 265 Prediction

I cannot wait for these two to fight tomorrow night at UFC 265. To me, this fight has Fight of The Night potential and it’ll be very interesting to see their strategies.

It’s crazy to think that Jose Aldo is just getting ready to turn 35 years old. The former UFC featherweight king rose to the top of the sport so young and at just 34 years old now, he still has plenty of fight in him.

Pedro Munhoz has always been that contender that’s been on the verge of breaking out, but has slipped in some big spots. As mentioned, UFC 265 gives him the opportunity to win the biggest fight of his career.

When looking this fight, I think were going to see a standup war tomorrow night. Ultimately, I like the speed and efficiency of Jose Aldo. While Pedro Munhoz has made strides and he’s tough as hell, I like the crisp technique of Aldo. I’m expecting the former champion to win his second straight tomorrow night.

Prediction: Jose Aldo by Unanimous Decision