Ads coming to NHL, Islanders jerseys in 2022-23

It’s a new era for the game of hockey.

Yesterday it was announced that the NHL will have ads on teams’ jerseys starting in the 2022-23 season.

According to Sportico.com, a memo was sent out to all 32 teams this week after the league’s board of governors unanimously voted in approval of the ad policy.

The decision to allow advertisements on uniforms is a continuation of the rule the league instituted last year, which, saw teams be allowed to wear a brand/organization on their helmets to recover revenue lost amid the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

To be honest, this is a very big deal for the sport. Uniforms — especially those in the NHL — having ads postered on them has been years in the making and a hot topic for a number of years among fans and pundits. Many have regarded hockey sweaters as sacred and one that should never be touched. But with how the world of sports is changing, ads on jerseys seemed inevitable.

Soccer has always had some form of brand/organization on its clubs’ uniforms. The NBA started permitting ads to be featured on their teams jerseys four years ago; they also made a rule allowing ad space on practice jerseys as recently as two years ago.  Hockey, on the other hand, hasn’t caught up until now. It’s a weird dynamic to be honest, knowing a majority of the league’s in Europe allow a multitude of ads to be smattered all over the jerseys of teams.

So now that we know ads will be prominently promoted, who might the Islanders partner with?

The obvious choice would be UBS. The team’s brand new building — set to open in November — has the UBS brand attached to it after it was awarded naming rights last summer. The Islanders also wore UBS on their helmets as a part of their road uniforms.

Northwell Health too seems like they could be chosen. They were also part of the helmet partnership, with the Isles wearing their ad for home games in 2020-21. The organization had strong ties to the Islanders for a while now, dating back to when the practice facility was named after them in 2016. Northwell Health has also been a staple on Long Island for close to 25 years, so it would appeal to the locals.

Some others that could be picked, who are more known from a national perspective, are Betway, Geico, Enterprise and Ticketmaster. The Isles’ site says they also have a corporate sponsorship with Jagermeister and Coors Light, but you would think there could be some backlash if one of those two were stamped on the team’s jerseys.

Now, if the Islanders were to really go for some real Long Island flavor, it would be a treat if they decided on BlueLine Deli and Bagels, Yes Men Outfitters or Oyster Bay Brewing Company.

The Islanders have always been about community, and these three organizations in particular scream that.

Blue Line has a cult-like following and is a staple among fans of the fan base since its opened a few years ago. They already have color scheme down with blue and orange which is an extra bonus. If not that, they’ve ascended to the brand people identify the Isles with from all parts of the Island. As for Yes Men, they’ve become one of the most popular clothing brands for all things Islanders. Oyster Bay created the “Barn Rocker” several years ago as an ode to the franchise and its now former home, Nassau Coliseum.

However the Islanders decide, ads on their jersey hopefully will be accepted by the fan base. It will definitely be something new.

 

 

 

 

UFC books Dan Hooker – Nasrat Haqparast

The UFC has finalized a fun lightweight matchup for their PPV card next month. After a report from BJPenn.com, it’s been confirmed that the promotion is planning on having a lightweight contest between Dan Hooker (20-10) and rising contender Nasrat Haqparast (13-3).

The fight will take place at UFC 266 on September 25th. It’s no surprise that Hooker finds himself fighting on that card. With COVID restrictions and quarantine rules in New Zealand, the City Kickboxing fighters like to fight either on the same card or right around each other.

Hooker has said for months that he wanted to fight on the same card as teammate Alexander Volkanovski. The UFC featherweight champion is headlining next month’s PPV when he takes on Brian Ortega.

The surprising part of this announcement is the opponent. Nasrat Haqparast is not the opponent I was expecting for Hooker. Haqparast has won two in a row and overall, he’s 5-2 inside the octagon.

Entering UFC 266, Haqparast will not have a ranking by his name. This is a massive opportunity for the lightweight from Afghanistan. Considering all that’s going on in that part of the world, this is a huge moment for him and his native land.

Hooker’s Return at UFC 266

How quickly things have changed for The Hangman in the UFC. A little over a year ago, Hooker was fighting Dustin Poirier in a headliner inside the APEX in Las Vegas. In the first two rounds, Hooker was beating Poirier to the punch.

In fact, Hooker was outclassing The Diamond for the first couple of rounds. However, Poirier flipped the switch and won the final three rounds to win the decision. Had Hooker won that fight, he might’ve been in line for a UFC title shot.

From there, Hooker welcomed Michael Chandler to the UFC back in January. Hooker was the betting favorite, but Chandler scored a first round knockout that shocked everyone. Now, Hooker has fallen back in the rankings and he’s fighting an unranked opponent.

This is a good reset moment for Hooker. Haqparast is an opponent he should beat and it’s a good opportunity for him to get his momentum back. However, it won’t be easy and you can bet that Haqparast will be more motivated than ever at UFC 266.

Knicks collect more draft picks in sign-and-trade deal with Boston

evan fournier, knicks

One of the Knicks‘ top priorities this off-season was to find a sharpshooter who could create shots for himself. Last season, the team featured Reggie Bullock as the starting shooting guard/small forward, but they sought an upgrade at the position, acquiring former Boston Celtic Evan Fournier.

The French native signed a four year, $78 million deal with New York, indicating they have become an attractive team worth playing for after a successful 2020-21 season that saw them secure the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

“Why? I think it was an easy choice. The Knicks are a very attractive team. They have an incredible coach that every time he coached a team, the team is disciplined. They play hard. And they play together. As a player, you want that,” Fournier said.

However, the Knicks didn’t only acquire Fournier, they manage to add two second-round picks for the future as well. By executing a sign and trade with Boston, the team sent $110K to the Celtics in exchange for a top-55 protected pick in 2023 and another second-round pick from Oklahoma City or Washington. This move allowed Boston to clear $17.1 million in salary space, while also delivering draft capital to New York.

New York Knicks announced today that the team has acquired guard/forward Evan Fournier in a sign-and-trade with Boston, along with two future second round draft picks in exchange for cash considerations.

The trade exception is worth Fournier‘s salary for this upcoming season and expires in one year. The $110K New York sent to Boston is the minimum they can declare as cash considerations to acquire draft capital. This is a win-win for both teams, as draft picks down the road could be valuable for the Knicks who might look to package them in a potential trade.

Obviously, the biggest benefit for New York is adding the French sharpshooter. At 28 years old, he averaged 17.1 points last season over 30 minutes per game. Playing in 42 total contests, Fournier did spend some time dealing with injury, but he can take pressure off All-Star power forward Julius Randle, who desperately needed more support during the postseason.

The New York Yankees need to play Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit moving forward

Last night, the New York Yankees completed a day-night double headers sweep of the Boston Red Sox. Their win over Boston along with the loss of the Athletics has the three teams in a virtual tie for the Wild Card.

Just over a month ago, the Yankees looked dead in the water. They were 9.5 games behind the Red Sox and every time there was a close game, the Yankees found a way to lose in heartbreaking fashion.

Then, they slowly started to turn it around. The Yankees were playing much better as we inched towards the trade deadline and then Brian Cashman went on the offensive. He acquired Anthony Rizzo from The Cubs and Joey Gallo from The Rangers.

If the Yankees don’t have Rizzo, they likely don’t win those series right after the deadline. If the Yankees don’t have Gallo, they don’t win the series against the Mariners and don’t win the series against the White Sox.

Both men have proven that they are massive assets to the team. Rizzo was acquired because the Yankees wanted to have another lefty bat, but also because Luke Voit has spent the majority of the year injured.

Yankees Need Both

Voit led the league in home runs last year and he finished ninth in the MVP voting. He’s been a popular figure with the team, but after the Rizzo acquisition, it appeared he was on his way out the door as the bombers were shopping him in trades.

They couldn’t find a good trade partner and ultimately kept Voit which proved to work out perfectly. Anthony Rizzo ended up catching COVID and has missed the last week and a half.

Immediately after Rizzo was taken out, Voit returned from the IL. Voit has played great since returning and he’s had nine RBIs in the last nine games. Rizzo is expected back today and Voit made it clear that he believes he should still be in the Yankees lineup.

Voit told the media last night, “I was top-10 in MVP last year, and I’ve been a great player for this organization for the last three years. I’m not going down, I want play. I know it’s gonna be tougher with Rizzo, but I deserve to play just as much as he does.”

I have to agree with Voit here. He absolutely deserves to play for this team and they need him in the lineup. That said, Anthony Rizzo also needs to be manning first base for the New York Yankees.

How to Play Both

So, what do they do? Look, we’re in the stretch run here and the Yankees need their best team out there. It’s time for Giancarlo Stanton to play the field every day. Luke Voit needs to be in the lineup so you make him your primary DH while giving first back to Rizzo.

Judge and Gallo can split time in Center with Judge getting the majority of time there. To save Stanton from potential injury, you can take him out late in games and put Gardner or Davis back in the game. It’s crunch time right now, and the Yankees need to put their best foot forward.

To me, it starts tonight. Andrew Heaney is on the mound so the Yankees are likely going to need close to ten runs to have a chance at winning the game. It’s the perfect time to breakout the following lineup:

  1. DJ LeMahieu – 2B
  2. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
  3. Aaron Judge – CF
  4. Joey Gallo – LF
  5. Giancarlo Stanton – RF
  6. Luke Voit – DH
  7. Rougned Odor – 3B
  8. Gary Sanchez – C
  9. Tyler Wade – SS

Just imagine that lineup when Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres are back. Granted, you still should find a spot to get Odor in there when you can. Simply put, the Yankees need their best lineup at all times moving forward. Sound off in the comments below on what you think the lineup should be.

New York Yankees: 5 Takeaways from Yankee doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees entered yesterday’s pivotal doubleheader with the Boston Red Sox with the ability to overtake the Red Sox in the AL East for the first time this season. They won both games for a sweep of the doubleheader. As a result, they took the Red Sox berth in the playoffs and are now even being 5 games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

Luis Gil does it again and makes history

Luis Gil wasn’t as sharp last night as he was in his first two replacement starts for Gerrit Cole, who was previously on the Covid list. But he did pitch 4.2 innings of scoreless ball. He became the first pitcher ever in New York Yankee history to pitch 4.2 scoreless innings in each of his first three career appearances since 1893. Also, his 15.2 scoreless inning streak is now the second-longest by a Yankee pitcher in franchise history, trailing only Slow Joe Doyle back in 1906.

Gil originally called up as an emergency replacement, has made a strong case to stick around, even with the returning starters coming back into the rotation. His unflappability and swagger endears himself with Yankee fans.

Game one starter Jordan Montgomery one of those starters returning from Covid, tired during his first start. He gave up three runs but kept the Yankees in the game so they could eventually win.

The home run is king

The New York Yankees have positioned themselves as a home run hitting team. Most often, if they don’t hit home runs, they don’t win. Last night the home run ball was king as all of the runs scored were via the home run. In the second inning last night Luke Voit hit a homer to the right-field bench. Giancarlo Stanton led off the bottom by homering well (441′) into the left-field stands in the fourth inning. Those two runs were the only runs scored by either team in the game.

The first game was an unusual one that saw the Yankees claw their way to a win without hitting any home runs. Instead, they pulled off the seven-inning win with a combination of stringing hits together and running the bases well. Rougie Odor, Tyler Wade, and Andrew Velazquez went five for seven. Velazquez sparkled in the field, keeping the Sox from scoring.

The bullpen is dominant in shut out

Last night after Gil’s third successful start Wandy Peralta game in in the fifth inning with the bases loaded with Red Sox and successfully got out of the inning scoreless. Peralta also pitched a scoreless sixth. Chad Green came in in the seventh and pitched a hitless inning for his fifth save of the season.

Montgomery went 4.2 innings in game one, and Albert Abreu came in to get the final out of the fifth inning. Then entered Jonathan Loaisiga, who pitched two scoreless innings and got his fifth save of the season.

Yankees win without a closer

The New York Yankees are winning games and winning them without a permanent, dependable closer. Aroldis Chapman, with 23 saves this season, has been anything but dependable. He started the season lights out, not giving up a run in his first 18 games, but then things went south. He had four blown saves, and in most of the games the Yankees did win, Chapman turned the ninth inning into a nail-biting soap opera.

Chapman is now on the IL left shoulder inflammation. Even before Chapman went on, the IL manager Aaron Boone was pitching and choosing closer matchups. Most were with Zack Britton, but Britton has been ineffective and removed from a closing role. So since July fourth, Boone has used seven different closers. Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga have been the most effective.

New York Yankees go for the sweep tonight

After sweeping the doubleheader yesterday, tonight, the Yankees will go for the series sweep of the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees will have Andrew Heaney on the mound, and the Red Sox will start Nick Pivetta. Heaney, although he has a respectable 7 wins on the season since he has come to the Yankees, he has given up 15 runs in three starts, with the Yankees losing two of those starts. Xander Bogaerts has been a Heaney killer. Heaney will be on a short leash.

Heaney will the Red Sox’s Nick Pivetta, who is a rightly who is 9-5 with a 4.20 ERA and 139 strikeouts. Both DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton have hit weel off of Pivetta. Stanton and Sanchez have hit homers off him. The game at 7:05 pm tonight will be on the YES Network, NESN, and nationally on ESPN.

Luca Vildoza quickly falling out of favor with Knicks’ brass

knicks, luca vildoza

When the New York Knicks acquired Luka Vildoza on a four-year, $13.6 million deal, they made sure it was a non-guaranteed contract. The Argentinian guard spent last season with Baskonia of the Spanish ACB league.

Over 27 games, Vildoza averaged 23.5 minutes, posting 10.9 points, 3.7 assists, and shot 42% from the field. The Knicks view him as a combo guard with experience at the European level. Attempting to make the transition to the NBA, Vildoza has a tall task ahead of him, having missed the majority of Summer League play and the emergence of rookie Miles McBride out of West Virginia.

McBride was a player head coach Tom Thibodeau fell in love with during the pre-draft process. With a focus on defensive prowess, McBride impressed with his offensive production. Over 27.7 minutes of play during the Summer League, McBride averaged 15.2 points, shooting 53.2% from the field and 50% from three point range. He also connected on 87.5% of his free throws and picked up 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Defensively, he averaged 1.3 steals per contest and turned the ball over 1.3 times.

Overall, McBride proved that he is deserving of minutes during the regular season, but of course, Summer League play can’t be considered the end all be all of his development. Performing against rookies and the majority reserve players, McBride hasn’t faced off again some of the league’s best, which will likely dampen his progression.

Nonetheless, his shooting and defensive efficiency will undoubtedly put him above Vildoza, who the Knicks can easily let go of and retain some salary space. With Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose, and McBride all featuring at the point guard position, Vildoza is quickly becoming irrelevant. Second-year player Immanuel Quickley also looked solid as a facilitator and shot creator during the Summer League, but he will primarily feature as a shooting guard this upcoming season. The acquisition of Evan Fournier also takes up a starting spot on the roster — Vildoza is quickly falling out of favor for a variety of reasons…and for that reason, he’s OUT (as Shark Tank would say)!

It is entirely possible management keeps him around for one season to test his value, but the Knicks are surprisingly deep after retaining Alec Burks and having Quickley off the bench. It will be an uphill battle for the Argentinian native to make the roster. He will have to have a dominant pre-season to prove his worth, and that might not even be enough.

Giants News: Gettleman hints at more offensive line support, special teams ace, young cornerback acquired

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants seem to be quite confident in their starting offensive line, but the unit’s depth lacks significant talent. While reserve players aren’t supposed to be starting-level talents, the Giants currently have options on the roster that should never even sniff the field given the opportunity.

For example, with Shane Lemieux sitting last week and Kyle Murphy being knocked out of the contest and being placed on season-ending injury reserve, the team featured former Detroit Lions guard Kenny Wiggins for the majority of the contest. Wiggins was an absolute disaster, showcasing a lack of fundamental understanding and allowing immediate pressure on the quarterback. Committing to him as a depth piece would be a massive mistake, but the Giants have indicated they will seek out offensive line support in the coming weeks.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, general manager Dave Gettleman indicated they would be watching closely as other teams cut their rosters down to 53 men and roster bubble OL hit the open market.

Every year, a few quality pieces are cut loose, especially on teams that have more numbers at specific spots. The Giants desperately need more help in the interior of their line, and Gettleman indicated after the second preseason game and cuts begin to commence, options will present themselves.

However, the team would be happy to see some of their depth perform better against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday evening.

The Giants also acquired two new players to compete for the remainder of training camp and preseason. The team traded a sixth-round pick for defensive back Keion Crossen, who represents a special-teams ace and a player Joe Judge can rely on as a punt gunner. Despite the obvious need for talent in the trenches, Crossen serves a specific purpose. A sixth-round pick for a player who will make an immediate impact on special teams is nothing to be concerned about.

In addition, the Giants traded cornerback Isaac Yiadom to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for former second-round pick Josh Jackson. Jackson, who has failed to live up to his potential, was a stud at Iowa, known as an interception maestro.

While he’s been buried on the depth chart with Green Bay, Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is known for his ability to extract talent. Graham also coached on the Green Bay defense when Jackson was drafted back in 2018. Clearly, there is familiarity between the two which could have played a part in the move. Jackson is a bit younger and more amendable than Yiadom, who saw his role diminish after the Giants signed Adoree Jackson on a big contract this free agency.

Mets Comeback Falls Short and Losing Streak is Five After 3-2 Loss

These days it almost seems like the New York Mets are losing before the game even starts. The San Francisco Giants came just about as close as a team can in game two of their series. It took just two batters in the bottom of the first for the Giants to get themselves a lead, and it became one they never looked back on. The Mets were no match for Logan Webb and fell to the Giants, 3-2.

LaMonte Wade and Tommy La Stella started on the bench for game one of the series against a lefty, but Giants manager Gabe Kapler had them back in the lineup for game two. Sure enough, they batted first and second and got things going early for the Giants. Wade led off with a single, and La Stella blasted a two-run homer to get an early 2-0 lead against Marcus Stroman.

Bookended Start

Stroman’s start was marked with a rough beginning and a bitter ending. After the home run in the first inning, Stroman slowly settled into a groove throughout his start. Evan Longoria tagged Stroman for a solo home run in the seventh inning when the Mets tried to stretch him out for another inning. Overall it was a solid start as Stroman went seven innings, allowing three runs and striking out a season-high nine batters on 114 pitches.

Unfortunately, it was more of the same for the Mets offense against Giants starter Logan Webb. He was red hot coming into his start and shut out the Mets for 7.1 innings before allowing a Pete Alonso two-run home run to make it a 3-2 game. Webb struck out eight in the start and had a very efficient 83 pitches before leaving the game.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game with a runner on second and two outs in the ninth inning. Kevin Pillar ended up striking out looking on three straight to extend the losing streak to five. Travis Blankenhorn was a left-handed option to face Dominic Leone, but manager Luis Rojas trusted Pillar. The Mets were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.

The loss put the Mets under .500 for the first time since May 5 and 4.5 games out of first place in the NL East. They will try to avoid the sweep on Wednesday as Tylor Megill takes the mound against Anthony DeSclafani for a 3:45 p.m. ET start from Oracle Park.