Rangers lose Motte and Chytil to injury, Kakko and Ronney return to practice

The New York Rangers will be without the services of Tyler Motte and Philip Chytil as both were injured in Thursday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The New York Ranger had a different lineup at practice today with both Tyler Motte and Philip Chytil missing from the ice. Though both injuries are not considered to be long-term, they will be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.

Luckily for the team, Kappo Kakko and Kevin Rooney returned to practice softening the news.

The team announced prior to Friday’s practice that Motte suffered a “significant” upper-body injury in the win over the Penguins on Thursday that didn’t involve his head. Chytil has what the team suffered an upper-body injury.

Head coach Gerard Gallant talked about the injuries today.  Originally thought to be a head injury, he was happy that it was not the case, but still was not thrilled with the hit thrown by Pittsburg Penguins Anthony Angello.

“I thought actually last night it was a blow to the head, but it was the back part of the shoulder that got him,” Gallant said. “I don’t think it was as bad as I thought originally, but still, I didn’t like it. … He knew Motte didn’t see him.”

With regards to the Chytil injury, Gallant said he didn’t think he would be out too long.

Practice Lines

The Rangers reshuffled their forward lines to reflect the change in personnel.

Kreider – Zibanejad – Vatrano
Panarin – Strome – Copp
Lafreniere – Goodrow – Kakko
Hunt – Rooney – Reaves
McKegg – Brodzinski – Gauthier

The Rangers host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.

 

UFC 273 Main Event Preview: Alexander Volkanovski – Chan Sung Jung

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 273, the featherweight title is on the line. The champion Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) will look to defend his title for the third time as he takes on “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (17-6).

Last time we saw Volkanovski was at UFC 266 when he defended his title against Brian Ortega. Volkanovski made a massive statement with his one-sided domination of T-City. Originally, Volkanovski was supposed to have his trilogy fight with Max Holloway tomorrow night.

However, when Holloway pulled out with an injury, The Korean Zombie stepped in. Last time we saw Chan Sung Jung was last June when he headlined a Fight Night against Dan Ige.

That headliner came on the heels of his loss to Brian Ortega. TKZ looked sharp and was able to pick up the unanimous decision victory. Overall, Jung is 3-1 in his last four fights leading up to UFC 273.

UFC 273 Prediction

This is a matchup that fans have wanted to see for some time and it’s easy to see why. Chan Sung Jung has an exciting striking style that can bring unique challenges to the champion and provide a thrilling fight at UFC 273.

I’m expecting TKZ to fight with a lot of pressure to try and make the champion feel uncomfortable. However, at this stage in the game, I don’t think there’s much that can throw off Alexander Volkanovski.

TKZ is going to have his moments and I think there will be spots where he lands big shots. However, I’m not sure he is the man to dethrone the UFC’s featherweight champion. One thing that doesn’t get talked about enough is the Fight IQ of Volkanovski.

Even if Jung has success early, it’s on him to sustain that success and not allow Volkanovski to change things up. Volkanovski has shown the ability to change things up on the fly to get the job done.

Overall, I like the efficiency and the well-roundedness of Volkanovski tomorrow night. I’m expecting a good fight, but when the cards are read at UFC 273, it’ll be a clear decision for the champion.

Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski by Unanimous Decision

Yankees leave out big player from Opening Day batting order, check it out!

gleyber torres, yankees

After opening day was postponed for the Yankees and Red Sox due to inclement weather, things are seemingly shaping up to get started on Friday afternoon at 1:05 PM. The Yankees will feature Gerrit Cole on the mound, with Boston deploying Nathan Eovaldi as their opening day starter for the third consecutive season.

The Yankees also unveiled their batting order for the first time this season, making a few interesting decisions and leaving out one big player.

Yankees’ Opening Day batting order:

1.) 3B: Josh Donaldson

2.) RF: Aaron Judge

3.) 1B: Anthony Rizzo

4.) DH: Giancarlo Stanton

5.) 2B: DJ LeMahieu

6.) LF: Joey Gallo

7.) CF: Aaron Hicks

8.) C: Kyle Higashioka

9.) SS: Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Last season, the Yankees featured DJ LeMahieu as their primary leadoff hitter, but newly acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson got the nod to start the 2022 campaign.

This spring, Donaldson hosted a .321 average with three homers, six RBIs, and nine hits. Donaldson is known for his incredible power, leaving the Yankees with an interesting decision. LeMahieu featuring in the five slot is unusual given his great contact abilities. You could argue that having a big-time slugger in that slot would be more beneficial, but it seems as if the entire batting order is full of big bats.

The biggest surprise is Gleyber Torres being left out of the hitting order entirely. LeMahieu will start at second base with Torres riding the bench to open the season.

This spring, Torres hit. 294 with 10 hits and three homers, also showcasing great offensive capabilities. However, his defensive qualities are a liability.

Yankees News: Aaron Judge contract update | Highest paid position player in team history?

yankees, aaron judge

The New York Yankees, throughout history, are known for not being afraid to give away mammoth contracts to players if they feel that person can make a big difference in the team’s projected standings or, better yet, come playoffs time.

They made Reggie Jackson the highest-paid slugger of his time, they gave $120 million to Jason Giambi back in the day, they also gave millions to Hideki Matsui, Mark Teixeira, and, of course, Alex Rodriguez. But right fielder Aaron Judge has a good chance of being the Yankees’ highest paid position player in team history, at least in terms of average annual value (AAV).

It’s unlikely the team signs the soon-to-be 30 Judge to a contract worth as much as Giancarlo Stanton’s ($325 million), mainly because the latter was much younger when he put pen to paper back when he was a Marlins player. But Judge’s extension, if signed today, could surpass Stanton’s $25 million AAV and possibly even A-Rod’s $27.5 million AAV.

The Yankees have offered $225 million

While ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported today that an extension isn’t expected today barring a huge surprise, every indication is that the sides are close enough that any of them can make a concession, likely the Yankees, if they want to wrap up a deal before the player’s self-imposed Opening Day deadline.

Passan says the Yankees have offered a deal north of $225 million.

Judge, per Bryan Hoch of MLB, said to the media that “we’ll have an update for you guys. I’ve got a game to focus on right now. So if it happens, it happens.  If it doesn’t, I’ll see you guys after the game and we’ll talk about that.”

Judge remains the Yankees’ top offensive weapon and perhaps their best player overall. Last season, he slugged 39 home runs and drove in 98 runs while playing his customary good defense in right field.

There has been talk about Judge becoming the Yankees’ captain at some point. The team needs to make sure he is signed long-term, though.

UFC 273: Can Aljamain Sterling silence the haters and legitimize his title against Petr Yan?

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 273 the bantamweight title is on the line. The reigning champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3) is taking on the interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan (16-2) in a rematch.

These two previously fought back at UFC 259 when Yan was the champion. In that fight, Sterling got off to a pretty decent start. However, he ran into a brick wall in the middle rounds and that wall was Petr Yan.

Yan started dominating the fight and looked like he was on his way to winning a lopsided fight. However, Yan hit Sterling with an illegal knee in the fourth round and the fight was waved off. Because it was an intentional foul, Yan was disqualified and Sterling was awarded the championship.

Due to neck surgery, we haven’t seen Sterling since. However, we did see Yan back at UFC 267. That night he fought Cory Sandhagen for the interim title and outclassed Sandhagen on the feet to win a decision and the title.

UFC 273 Prediction

Let’s be completely honest here, nobody really considers Aljamain Sterling to be the true UFC bantamweight champion. Yes, he will walk in second and be introduced as that, but the man won the title by disqualification.

Tomorrow night is his chance to prove he is the true champion. How does he do that? Well, I think you’ll see a steady diet of kicks and takedown attempts from Sterling. Look for him to work the body of Yan and even look to work leg kicks on Yan who stands mostly in a boxing stance.

For Yan, the game plan is very simple. The plan is to keep the fight at his range and keep it standing. Yan isn’t afraid to exchange in grappling and we saw that in their first fight. However, Yan wants to make a statement at UFC 273 and he does that with his hands.

I really respect Aljamain Sterling as a competitor. He’s one of the best bantamweights in the world. However, he’s not the best and I think that’s going to be proven tomorrow night. Expecting a big statement from Yan and I’m expecting him to walk out the undisputed champion.

Prediction: Petr Yan by TKO – Round 3 

UFC 273 Main Card Predictions: Part 2

“AND NOW! This is the moment you all have been waiting for!” In honor of the legendary introductions from UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, it’s only fitting to incorporate a bit of that special flare of his for this part two feature, considering the fact that each of these first three matchups are all main event worthy.

The last two fights that UFC fans will get to soak in are two Championship clashes that have every bit of firepower, athleticism, and versatility you could ask for in a mixed martial arts bout.

Headlining the card is the thrilling and explosive showdown between Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski and the number four ranked contender in Chan Sung Jung. Following his third straight title defense last September, Volkanovski is seeking to continue his championship reign within the division and will be tested when he takes on one of the most revered veterans in the Top 10.

Prior to this fight, the contested belt of the Bantamweight division will finally be settled between current champion Aljamain Sterling and the interim champion Petr Yan. Following an illegal knee to the head by Yan against Sterling during their first bout, the bad blood between these two has reached a boiling point as each set out to secure the title honors they feel is rightfully theirs to own.

But before we even get into these title matchups, UFC fans will get to behold the exhilarating and much-anticipated battle between two electric welterweights, as number two ranked Gilbert Burns will face off against arguably the hottest UFC mixed martial artist in the world in Khamzat Chimaev.

On that note, let’s get right to it with the final predictions on which of these talents will walk away victorious come Saturday night.

3. Gilbert Burns vs Khamzat Chimaev:

Gilbert “Durinho” Burns:

Since he decided to move up from 155 to 170 in 2019, Gilbert Burns has been one lethal force to contend with in the welterweight division. Sitting second overall in the rankings, Burns is there for good reason and has defeated the likes of Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley, and most recently, kickboxing expert Stephen Thompson to solidify his spot in the Top 3.

Even in his sole loss as a welterweight to Kamaru Usman, Burns was able to land detonating strikes that stunned the champion on more than one occasion, one of which briefly knocked down Usman to the mat in the first round.

But what makes Burns so tough to go up against comes down to his dual-threat skill of one-shot knockout power combined with a tremendous grappling game that’s fueled by his raw strength and endurance on the ground. And his ability to dominate his opponents one way or the other depending on how they approach him, makes him very difficult to work around.

Despite being 35 and entering his eighth season in the UFC, Burns’ veteran experience and continuous drive to challenge himself against some of the best has led him to evolve into one elite mixed martial artist. And he has shown no signs of slowing down as he seeks to get a second shot at the welterweight belt.

Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev:

The hype about Khamzat Chimaev is very real and has been unfathomable to behold. Yes, the bearded Chechen who keeps on saying, “I’m going to smash everybody”, has become the most dangerous threat to this welterweight division since the rise of Usman.

Although Chimaev is still fairly new to the UFC, his relentless work ethic and hunger have driven him to develop an arsenal of versatile skills that have proven to be unstoppable in each of his first four UFC fights.

What’s so scary about Chimaev starts with the exceptionally accurate precision he delivers with his thunder-strike punches. This is a skill that he’s continuously refined since entering MMA, and whether he’s standing or on the mat, Chimaev can unleash fight-ending shots.

That said, if you think his striking is good, Chimaev is even better on the ground and is a freak of nature with his wrestling skills. Operating like that of a giant yet quick alligator, Chimaev possesses immense strength on the ground, and once he has a hold of you, doesn’t let go, locking his grips ever so tightly while dragging you into deep waters with vicious, pounding strikes.

Whether the fight remains standing or winds its way to the mat, Chimaev is as deadly as they come and will look to deliver his best yet against his toughest opponent of his young career.

Winner: Gilbert Burns

Some of you reading this might be thinking, ‘How in the world does Burns win this fight?’ In all honesty, he very well could lose, considering how overpowering Chimaev has proven to be since setting foot into the UFC. In addition, Chimaev is also taller, bigger, and bares a significant four-inch reach advantage over his opponent, which does put Burns in a tougher position to succeed both standing and on the ground.

But here’s why Burns has the edge entering this matchup, and the answer is threefold. First and foremost, Burns is no ordinary striker and possesses not only incredible power but can also unleash a ruthless flurry of damaging strikes in a matter of seconds, a skill that Chimaev’s never been confronted with in his young UFC career.

Secondly, regardless of reach advantages, Burns is very adept at closing the gap against taller foes with his talent in Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, Burns has a third-degree black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and has the quickness, strength, and fluidity to really contend with Chimaev on the ground, whether Burns finds himself on his back or on top.

Lastly, hype is one thing, legitimacy is another. In other words, we’ve yet to really see what Chimaev can do against Top 10 welterweights in the division. And though his submission finish against an at-the-time, 11th ranked Li Jingliang was very impressive, this is Chimaev’s first real test in the UFC, and it just so happens that he’s taking on one of the best strikers and grapplers in the division.

Because of how well-balanced this matchup is, it could be a very close finish that has the potential to go to decision. But from his experience to his versatility to his athleticism, Burns is in line to secure his biggest welterweight victory to date come Saturday night.

2. Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling:

Petr “No Mercy” Yan:

When you hone in on the skillset that Petr Yan has, it’s quite a marvel to behold. Mixed martial arts has always been about incorporating various forms of combat in order to dominate at the highest levels this sport has to offer. And Yan just so happens to nearly check off every single skillset you can ask for from a mixed martial artist.

At the forefront of his talent, is Yan’s striking and understandably so. From his technicality, to his swift incorporation of combos, to his pinpoint precision and timing, Yan is a remarkable striking expert that has only gotten better and more dangerous over time. Though many might recognize Yan for his boxing, his piercing elbow shots, flying knees, lethal backhands, and nasty leg kicks can really dictate his striking success as he picks apart his opponents bit by bit. We saw this when he took out Uriah Faber, Jose Aldo, and a whole bunch when he faced the elite Corey Sandhangen.

But what makes Yan so dangerous is his understanding and skill for wrestling and grappling. Yan is not afraid to take fights to the mat and, upon doing so, has the full arsenal to control his opponent and smash his way to victory. Brining an uncanny sense of awareness and IQ, Yan is very elusive, quick, and powerful with his wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu execution. And should he find you in the clinch, Yan can trip you up in a heartbeat or use his strength to slam you down.

Although he might be the interim champion right now, Yan has everything at his disposal to come away with the real bantamweight belt. And expect him to put that on full display on Saturday.

Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling:

Despite earning his first bantamweight belt via a disqualification ruling due to an illegal knee kick committed by Yan in their first matchup over a year ago, Aljamain Sterling still has every right to contend for the bantamweight title and has proven how talented of a mixed martial artist he truly is.

Unlike Yan, Sterling’s strengths gravitate far more toward the wrestling side of MMA, boasting a perfect 8-0 submission record over his career. Holding a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to go along with two All-American wrestling honors at 133 and 141 during his collegiate career at SUNY Cortland, Sterling is a sensational talent on the mat, submitting guys like Johnny Eduardo, Cody Stamann, and most notably, Corey Sandhangen in 2020.

That said, just because his strengths lean more towards his grappling background doesn’t mean Sterling is an inadequate striker. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sterling has one of the most versatile striking skillsets in the division and can chip away at his opponents with lethal leg kicks and biting punches. Although he tends to keep his hands quite low and his head exposed, Sterling makes up for it with his shifty, juking movements and slicing quickness.

What Sterling will have to keep tabs on though, is his pace and stamina. Sterling has fought over three rounds just once in his UFC career (which was his first fight against Yan), and even then, gassed out rather quickly after delivering a fast-paced, high-pressure approach against Yan in the first round.

Winner: Petr Yan

In their first appearance, Sterling looked very good in the first round, landing more significant strikes while remaining very active with his persistent pressure on Yan. However, whether his game plan was to go for the kill in the first round or not, Sterling’s over eagerness proved to be quite detrimental as he entered the second, third, and fourth rounds more and more fatigued. As a result, he became lack luster with his attacking aggressiveness and the sting in his shots substantially faded.

In short, had there not been a disqualifying hit, there’s a very good chance that Yan would have been the Bantamweight Champion, considering how increasingly dominant he was in the rounds to follow in their first bout. And although a lot can change in a years’ time, it doesn’t appear to be enough for Sterling to defend his belt against the most dangerous opponent in this division.

Yan, on the other hand, has the full package as a mixed martial artist and has yet to illustrate a flaw in his game. Aside from his disqualification loss, Yan hasn’t lost a single matchup since setting foot into the UFC in 2018. And after a dominant showing against a much-improved Sandhangen last October, expect Yan to be the new UFC Bantamweight Champion once more come Saturday night.

1. Alexander Volkanovski vs Chan Sung Jung:

“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung:

From the time he first set foot into a UFC octagon in 2011 to his second championship bout of his career on Saturday, Chan Sung Jung has really established himself as one of the most talented featherweights in the world.

Although this division contains its fair share of gifted strikers, Jung is one prolific boxing specialist and delivers fluent striking combos that are extremely dangerous to contend with. In fact, the reason why he calls himself ‘The Korean Zombie’ is because of his unrelenting ability to aggressively attack his opponents no matter how many shots he absorbs, possessing a level of toughness that can give him a chance against anyone.

To add to it, Jung is very well versed on the mat with impressive grappling skills, posting an 8-0 submission record over his mixed martial arts career, which include submission victories over Leonard Garcia and Dustin Poirier. Much like Charles Oliveira, Jung is very elite on his back and doesn’t have to be in full or half mount to seal his submission victories.

The only thing Jung will want to keep tabs on, is putting his nickname to the test. In other words, Jung does expose himself quite frequently, and as a result of being the aggressor more than often against his foes, can land himself in hot water by continuously placing himself in striking range.

Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski:

When you look at the Men’s Pound-For-Pound list in the UFC and you see Alexander Volkanovski’s name at third, even that by itself doesn’t really put into perspective just how special this Featherweight Champion truly is.

Following his only loss in his MMA career in 2013, Volkanovski has embarked on an outstanding 20-fight win streak and is undefeated since joining the UFC in 2016. This kind of success is so rare to come by. And ever since he became the Featherweight Champion, Volkanovski has only evolved into a better mixed martial artist, defeating some of the best featherweights in the division’s history in the process.

After securing the featherweight belt from Max Holloway in a grueling five-round bout that went to unanimous decision, Volkanovski defeated Holloway once again seven months later for his first title defense, before defending his belt once more against the elite kickboxing specialist, in Brian Ortega. Even before taking on the two best featherweights the division has to offer, Volkanovski went three full rounds with the legendary Jose Aldo, thoroughly out striking him and controlling more time to come away victorious by unanimous decision.

But there’s plenty of good reason behind this man’s success. Similarly to that of Yan (but better), Volkanovski brings a vast range of versatility to his mixed martial arts approach, and as a former rugby player himself, has an insane endurance level that allows him to pressure his opponents with an overbearing pace for five full rounds if need be. Although he’s devasting to contend with on the mat (characterized by a National Wrestling Gold Medal and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), Volkanovski has also an elite striking game and closes distances very well, allowing him to pick his foes apart with slicing shots.

At age 33, Volkanovski has not only thrived in his prime, but has also developed into an unstoppable force. And from his experience to his diverse skillset, Volkanovski has everything he needs to uphold his undisputed championship legacy come Saturday night.

Winner: Alexander Volkanovski

To be quite frank, this championship showdown could be a lot closer than many might anticipate and here’s why. Over the duration of Jung’s tenure in the UFC, he’s only suffered three losses, but two of them involved plenty of bad luck for the South Korean native.

In Jung’s first loss to Aldo, he actually dislocated his right shoulder while throwing an overhand right-hook, leaving him stuck to fend for himself with one arm before Aldo knocked him out on the mat. In addition, when he suffered his second loss at the hands of Yair Rodriguez by knockout, Rodriguez pulled off his definitive upward elbow strike within the dying seconds of the fifth round, executing arguably one of the craziest buzzer-beater knockouts in UFC history. Had Jung avoided that last shot and the fight went to decision instead, there was a very good chance Jung would have walked out of the octagon with an unanimous decision victory seeing how badly he brutalized Rodriguez throughout the entire fight.

That said, Jung did lose fair and square against Ortega in 2020 within five rounds, someone that Volkanovski just so happened to dominate for his third title defense last year. On top of that, Volkanovski also took down the number one overall featherweight contender twice, someone Jung has never faced before.

With both the number one and number two contenders checked off his list, Volkanovski is now descending the rankings ladder of talent, which should only make things easier for him considering his previous success. Though the Featherweight Top 10 talent pool is filled with bright potential, no one has been able to figure out how to break through the champion. And even as gifted and dangerous as Jung is, Volkanovski is in line to remain the Featherweight Champion.

Giants eyeing underrated offensive tackle out of Central Michigan

Bernhard Raimann, giants

It is no secret the New York Giants desperately need to inject more talent into the offensive line, which they will likely do during the 2022 NFL draft. New general manager Joe Schoen has already spent as much money as possible this off-season to upgrade the unit, giving quarterback Daniel Jones a fighting chance.

However, with nine selections this year, he will have plenty of opportunities to find a starting right tackle. One extremely underrated player is Bernhard Raimann out of Central Michigan.

There may not be a more interesting tackle prospect in the draft than Raimann, who originally came from Austria to play tight end with Central Michigan before making the transition to left tackle. With phenomenal athletic traits, Raimann projects as a starting left tackle but could make the transition to the right side as he grows at the next level.

Standing at 6’6″ and 303 pounds, he has good size for the position and showcases adequate physical tools. Most believe with good coaching, he could end up becoming a plus starter in the NFL, which would be a steal given he projects anywhere from the 2nd to 4th round.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com raved about Raimann:

With alluring athleticism and an impressive skill set, Raimann is just scratching the surface of his potential. His initial transition from tight end to left tackle occurred in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, making his rapid transformation fairly remarkable. He is a much better technician than he should be at this stage, but his approach is also mechanical and he could struggle against sophisticated edge defenders until he learns to diversify his pass sets and hand usage. Raimann’s instincts and fundamentals at the position are still in a developmental phase so bumps in the road are expected, but his best football is ahead of him and he should become a long-time starter at left tackle.

The Giants attended Central Michigan’s Pro Day this week, working out Raimann in the process. He may not be an immediate impact starter like Ikem Ekwonu, or Evan Neal would be, but if the Giants are willing to develop a relatively raw prospect and wait until the 2nd round to draft a tackle, he could be a perfect fit with Big Blue.

Can Gilbert Burns derail the Khamzat Chimaev hype train at UFC 273?

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 273, we will see a welterweight contest that could easily headline the event. Being dubbed “The People’s Main Event”, rising superstar Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) faces his biggest test yet in former title challenger Gilbert Burns (20-4).

Burns is looking to pick up his second straight win and get the superstar rub from sharing the octagon with Chimaev. It’s crazy to think about how big of an underdog Burns is tomorrow considering he’s 7-1 in the UFC’s welterweight division.

The lone loss came against the welterweight champion and Pound for Pound king, Kamaru Usman. Nevertheless, the oddsmakers are giving him little to no shot to beat Khamzat Chimaev. Burns is entering the octagon tomorrow having won against Wonderboy Thompson in his last time out.

There’s been no one quite like Khamzat Chimaev that’s ever debuted in the UFC. That includes Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Chimaev is a special athlete who has been historically dominant in his first four fights.

Fighting twice at middleweight and twice at welterweight, the UFC star is 4-0 with four finishes. However, it’s the fact that he’s only absorbed one strike in those fights that really tells the true story of his dominance.

UFC 273 Prediction

We are going to learn a lot about Khamzat Chimaev when he fights Gilbert Burns. Either we will all be saying that he was hyped up a little too much or everyone will be dubbing him the future welterweight champion of the UFC.

When it comes to this fight, it’s a tough one for Gilbert Burns. Burns has dynamic striking and he’s incredibly fast. However, there is going to be a massive power discrepancy between him and Chimaev. Chimaev also has great speed so Durinho is going to have to be careful striking with Chimaev.

Burns is a BJJ champion, but I don’t think he will be able to submit a guy like Chimaev. I think if Chimaev gets on top of Burns at UFC 273, Burns is going to have a hard time surviving the shots coming down let alone trying to find a submission.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve completely bought into the Khamzat Chimaev hype train. I think Burns is his toughest opponent on paper, but I think Chimaev is going to make it look fairly easy again.

Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev by TKO – Round 2

Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo has strange message for Aaron Judge and fans as Opening game looms

anthony rizzo, yankees

With Opening Day just a few hours away, the Yankees are gearing up to take on the Boston Red Sox after the game was postponed due to inclement weather on Thursday.

There’s reason to believe the Yankees will have a strong team this year capable of making a playoff push, but they surely have their shortcomings, specifically in the starting rotation. Spring training has presented a few issues and concerns, but overall, the team has showcased their incredible power and efficiency in the batter’s box.

Some players are a bit more confident  in the team’s abilities but Yankees’ first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, had a strange message for fans regarding the ebbs and flows of wearing the pinstripes:

“We’re going to be really good at times, we’re going to be ‘what the hell is wrong with the Yankees?’ at times. That’s what comes with putting on this jersey.”

Rizzo had a few odd-ball comments for the media, specifically regarding Aaron Judge’s impending mega-deal. It seems as if Rizzo has lost any sense of loyalty after his experience with contract negotiations and not getting a proper shake with the Chicago Cubs.

“Freddie Freeman isn’t on the Braves anymore. There’s no loyalty in this game.”

This is quite the comment from Rizzo, indicating that Judge should proceed knowing that he must look out for himself and not care about saving the team a penny. From a CBA perspective, Judge should gouge the team for every last cent.

Despite Rizzo’s comments, the Yankees dished out a two-year, $32 million deal for the veteran lefty first baseman. He will play a significant role in the team’s plans and strategy this year, despite having their eyes set on Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson earlier in the off-season.  Over 49 games last season with the Bombers, Rizzo smashed eight homers with a .249 average.

Rangers shutout Penguins 3-0, magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 2 points

With a solid 3-0 win on Thursday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers are just two points away from clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Igor Shesterkin waved goodbye to the Pittsburgh Penguins following a convincing 3-0 New York Rangers shutout win over their division rivals.  The win gave the Blueshirts a six-point lead for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 10 games remaining.

The game had a playoff vibe from the opening face-off at the Garden.  Shesterkin was strong early in the game even though he didn’t face many shots with the Penguins playing without their captain Sidney Crosby who was a last-minute scratch with a non-covid illness.

This contest was chippy throughout the game but became a post-whistle scrum after a high hit by the Pen’s Anthony Angello on Tyler Motte. It appeared Motte, (who has concussion issues) suffered an upper-body injury and did not return for the remainder of the third period.  Gerard Gallant had no further details to announce during his post-game presser.

Newly acquired Frank Vatrano has enjoyed the Rangers-Penguins rivalry in the short time he has been in New York.

“For the most part, I think it was hard through the whistles,” said  Vatrano.  “Then it got a little chippy there toward the end. But I think the three times I played against them since I’ve been here, it’s been a playoff type of game and those are the games you’re going to play down the stretch. Especially against a team that you might see in the first round.”

Vatrano gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 24 seconds into the second period. Artemi panarin scored his 20th of the season at 9:47 of the second and Igor Shesterkin did the rest as he made 30 saves while recording his fourth shutout of the season.

Shesterkin rebounded after two bad games against the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers last week.

The Rangers head coach said he was never worried about his number one goaltender despite his struggles,

“I thought he was excellent. People were worried about him. I wasn’t. He played really well tonight, made some real key saves at key times.”

With their 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Carolina Hurricanes continue to have a two-point lead over the Blueshirts with the teams jockeying for first place. The Hurricanes have one game in hand.

Game Notes

–       Frank Vatrano opened the scoring with his 16th goal of the season and his sixth as a Ranger. Vatrano has points in six of his last eight games and has totaled eight points (6G-2A) in 12 games with New York. Vatrano’s goal stood up as the game-winner, his third of the season and 17th of his career. Vatrano is one goal away from the 100th of his career.

–       Chris Kreider notched his 21st assist of the season and has points in back-to-back games (1G-2A). In his last 10 games, Kreider has seven goals and six assists for 13 points and a plus-6 rating. 

–       Mika Zibanejad recorded his 20th multi-point game of the year (2A), tying Chris Kreider for the second-most on the team. With his two assists, Zibanejad established a career-high with 46 helpers. His 73 points are one shy of his career-high total set in 2018-19. Zibanejad has points in eight of his last 11 games (2G-9A) and 15 points (5G-10A) in his last 14 games.

–       Igor Shesterkin stopped all 30 shots faced and posted his fourth shutout of the year. Shesterkin’s 33 wins rank tied for third in the league while his .935 save percentage ranks first in the NHL.

–       Artemi Panarin scored a goal, his 20th of the year, in his 500th career game. Since making his NHL debut with Chicago (against NYR) to begin the 2015-16 season, Panarin ranks third in assists (373), fifth in points (558), and fourth in plus/minus (+127). The only active players with more points through 500 career games are Sidney Crosby (706), Connor McDavid (680), Alex Ovechkin (633), and Evgeni Malkin (611). Panarin has points in eight of his last nine games (3G-10A) and has 23 points (4G-19A) in his last 15 games.

–       Andrew Copp tallied an assist and has tallied a point in nine of his last 10 games (3G-10A) and eight of his nine contests (3G-7A) with New York.

–       Jacob Trouba collected his 25th assist of the year, tying his second-most of his career. Trouba has points in two of his past three games (2A).

–       Dryden Hunt scored his fifth goal of the season, a career-high.

–      Barclay Goodrow played in his 400th career game. The two-time Stanley Cup champion has

split his 400 contests between New York (69), Tampa Bay (63), and San Jose (268).   Via NYR PR

The Rangers will host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.