On one play, Key takes a jab-step inside then spins around to Miller’s outside shoulder and speeds past the big left tackle. A few moments later, Key bull-rushes his way between Miller and another offensive lineman with little resistance.
It’s not an indictment of Miller so much as it is a credit to Key, the Raiders’ third-round draft pick who has been one of the early stars in training camp.
“We love Key,” Oakland coach Jon Gruden said Monday. “We’ve liked Key ever since the draft process. We felt lucky to get him where we got him. There’s some things this kid can do that are very special. Hopefully, we get full strength someday at the defensive end position and we can show our true colors.”
Gruden was referring to defensive end Khalil Mack, who is entering the final year of his contract and is holding out for a new deal.
Mack, the 2016 defensive player of the year, has been the Raiders’ best pass-rusher for the past four seasons. In hopes of giving him some help up front, the team used three of it first six draft picks to acquire Key along with defensive tackles P.J. Hall (second round) and Maurice Hurst (fifth round).
Oakland also moved Bruce Irvin from outside linebacker to right defensive end, the same position as Key. The two men formed a close bond, with Irvin serving as a mentor to Key.
Irvin compares Key to Aldon Smith, the talented but troubled former Raiders linebacker who had 33 ½ sacks in his first two NFL seasons before off-field issues forced him out of the league.
“He’s a really natural rusher,” Irvin said. “He reminds me a lot of the old 99 that was here. If he keeps his head on straight, which he will, he’s going to be a hell of a player and a hell of a player for the Raiders. Can’t wait to see what he’s going to do this year.”
Irvin is among a number of Oakland players and coaches who have repeatedly praised Key during camp.
The 22-year-old has tried to keep it all in perspective. Key buries his head in the playbook and has been pouring over film of other pass-rushers, trying to find new tricks to add to his arsenal of pass-rush moves.
“I look at a lot of pass-rushers to try to steal some of their moves and try them in one-on-one,” Key said. “If it works it works and if I like it, it’s going to stick with me.”
Getting around an offensive tackle, Key said, is much like a chess match.
“I always work on one move first and see if he beats it,” Key said. “If he beats that then I’m going to counter with something else. If he beats my counter move then I’ve got to counter with another counter.”
The Raiders have also had Key lining up in the three-technique over a guard, giving the defense more speed for the interior rush.
“He’s a stud, I’ll put it that way,” linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. “He’s big [url=http://www.cincinnatibengalsteamonline.com/john-ross-jersey]John Ross Bengals Jersey[/url] , he’s strong, he’s athletic. He can go inside, he can go outside. I’m excited to see him go out there in the first game and let it rip.”
As for his ongoing battles against Miller, Key said the competition has been heating up between the two rookies.
“Kolton gets better every day,” Key said. “From the first day we went against each to now, it’s just gotten so much better. Now I have to dig in my tool box to try to pick different moves to use on him.”
Notes: The Raiders will host two joint practices with the Detroit Lions beginning Tuesday. . RB DeAndre Washington has left the team for personal reasons but is expected back soon. . The team waived defensive back Shaquille Richardson and signed cornerback Raysean Pringle. . Gavin Newsome, a candidate for California governor, attended practice and chatted with owner Mark Davis.
A cathartic celebration 20 years in the making began with a poke of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s stick. It built as the puck that Kuznetsov tapped away from Sidney Crosby made its way to Washington Capitals teammate Alexander Ovechkin.
It neared its crescendo as Ovechkin flipped it back to Kuznetsov, who at this point had split two Penguins and was streaking toward the Pittsburgh net. And it culminated jubilantly and unexpectedly in the corner moments later, with the puck in the net and Kuznetsov’s teammates mobbing him after he ended two decades of frustration with a flick of the Russian’s wrist.
The ghosts of past playoff failures, many of them at the hands of the Penguins, were gone. Dispatched over the course of six games of grit and guile, the last a 2-1 overtime win in Game 6 on Monday night that gave Washington a 4-2 series victory and a spot in the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay.
”It’s pretty emotional [url=http://www.coltscheapstore.com/quenton-nelson-jersey-cheap]Quenton Nelson Jersey[/url] ,” Kuznetsov said after his seventh goal of the playoffs 5:27 into overtime pushed the Capitals into the NHL’s final four for just the third time in franchise history. ”I don’t really have a word for it.”
Maybe because there aren’t many that can accurately describe the anguish Washington has felt during much of the Ovechkin Era, one filled with postseason failure after postseason failure, many of them coming with the team on the precipice of a breakthrough.
Only this time they didn’t crumble. Even with Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky out. Even with a handful of rookies – including Australian Nate Walker – thrust into the lineup. Even on the road against a two-time defending champion with a special knack for torment.
”Again, it doesn’t matter what happened (before),” Ovechkin said. ”We have to stick together. We knew it was there we just had to battle and we just had to fight through it.”
Alex Chiasson scored Washington’s only goal of regulation, a shot from the right circle that gave the Capitals the lead in the second period. Braden Holtby, benched at the start of the playoffs, stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced and received a dash of luck when Pittsburgh’s Tom Kuhnhackl hit the far post early in the extra period.
The puck flitted away harmlessly. Play continued. And a few minutes later Kuznetsov’s goal joined Dale Hunter’s overtime Game 7 winner vs. Philadelphia in the first round in 1988 and Joe Juneau’s poke by Dominik Hasek vs. Buffalo in the Eastern Conference finals in 1998 in franchise lore.
”I’m not expecting myself to score game winner in that situation,” Kuznetsov said.
Maybe because it’s what the Penguins always seem to do instead. Pittsburgh won nine of its 10 previous playoff meetings with Washington, including taut second-round triumphs in 2016 and 2017 on their way to becoming the first team in nearly 20 years to win consecutive Stanley Cups.
A bid for a three-peat came to an abrupt end after another sluggish start. Kris Letang scored for the Penguins and Murray finished with 28 saves but couldn’t close his legs fast enough to stop Kuznetsov’s flick.
”You look at the last couple of games, it’s a one-shot difference,” Crosby said. ”You need to get those big plays. Unfortunately couldn’t do it.”
Washington spent the series saying its forgettable playoff history littered with squandered leads and blown opportunities – particularly against the Penguins – is not a factor. That this time is different. That this team is different. Twice the Capitals rallied in the third period to stun Pittsburgh [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/cole-beasley-jersey]Cole Beasley Jersey[/url] , including a four-goal outburst in Game 5 that brought them to the brink of their first Eastern Conference finals appearance in 20 years.
That last step, however, has always been tricky. Four times previously since 2008 the Capitals won three games in the second round only to come up short in Game 7. This time, a Game 7 wasn’t even necessary.
”It’s almost embarrassing that it’s taken this long for us to get past it,” Washington owner Ted Leonsis said. ”But the Penguins are an unbelievable franchise. It’s an unbelievable team.”
One that came up just short for the first time since Mike Sullivan took over in December 2015. The Penguins had been 4-0 in elimination games under Sullivan but had trouble getting much going as Washington cut off shooting lanes and created havoc in the neutral zone, leading to 15 Pittsburgh turnovers, the last on Kuznetsov’s poke away from a rushing Crosby that began the series-deciding sequence.
The victory wasn’t just a measure of redemption for Ovechkin but for Trotz, who has won over 750 games in the regular season but never made it to a conference final. He has now. So has his team, one that knows as giddy as they felt in the middle of a quiet PPG Paints Arena, much work remains to be done.
”We beat the Pittsburgh Penguins today and they’re a hell of a hockey team and we’re only halfway,” Trotz said. ”We haven’t done anything yet. It’s a good feeling getting by the Penguins because there’s a lot of skeletons in the closet. It’s a start.”
NOTES: Crosby’s assist pushed his career playoff total to 185, tied with Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman for 10th most all-time. … Walker’s assist was the first ever in the playoffs by an Australian when he set up Chiasson’s score.
Now the Coyotes have a new, young cornerstone who also happens to fill a need at center after trading Domi to the Montreal Canadiens for Alex Galchenyuk on Friday night.
”Sometimes in this league you have to give to get,” Coyotes general manager John Chayka said on a conference call. ”Max is a very talented young player in his own right, but hopefully this works out where it will be a fit for both sides.”
The 23-year-old Domi was targeted to be part of a youthful new foundation for the struggling Coyotes when they selected him with the 12th overall pick in 2013. The son of former NHL tough guy Tie Domi, Max scored 18 goals and had 34 assists as a rookie in 2015-16, but his goal production has dipped the past two seasons. He had nine goals and 29 assists in an injury-plagued 2016-17 season, and nine goals with 36 assists last season.
The 24-year-old Galchenyuk has been a steady scorer since Montreal selected him third overall in 2012. He has eclipsed 20 goals twice, including a career-high 30 in 2015-16. Galchenyuk had 19 goals and 32 assists last season.
”It gives us optionality [url=http://www.jaguarscheapstore.com/dj-chark-jersey-cheap]Cheap DJ Chark Jersey[/url] , gives us some depth there, versatility,” Chayka said. ”You get a guy who has been very productive and has played in those premium positions, so that was an added bonus with this deal.”
Galchenyuk signed a three-year $14.7-million contract in July 2017 that carries a salary cap hit of $4.9 million per season. Domi is coming off his entry-level contract and will need to sign a new deal.
Galchenyuk was born in Milwaukee when his father, Alexander Galchenyuk, was playing for the Wisconsin city’s minor league team. The family returned to Europe when Alex was 4 years old.
The Boston Bruins appear to be quite ready for the playoffs.
And the Tampa Bay Lightning are slumping at the wrong time of the season.
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference slugged it out Thursday night and Boston prevailed, knocking Tampa Bay out of first place for the first time since October with a 4-2 win on Thursday night.
”Obviously we all know how big it was for the standings and what it meant for both teams. So it was great to see the guys react the way they did and have the game we did.”
Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists, Tim Schaller and David Pastrnak scored goals 32 seconds apart in the final minute of the first period and Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for the Bruins, who have 107 points and lead Tampa Bay by a point.
Boston has six games remaining in the regular season to five for Tampa Bay.
For the first time since Oct. 18, a team other than the Lightning leads the Eastern Conference.
”I think it means that we’ve been playing pretty good hockey the last couple of months,” said Rask, who also helped set the emotional tone by unloading a flurry of punches on Tampa Bay’s Cory Conacher during a scrum in the second.
It was one of many times in the game that postseason implications were apparent, including a rare fight for Pastrnak in the third period and several more battles before the officials had to separate both sides one final time – after the third-period buzzer.
”There was a ton of passion,” Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn said. ”There was a lot of hits and a lot of scrums after the whistle. It seems like it could potentially be a playoff matchup. It definitely had a playoff atmosphere tonight.”
J.T. Miller scored a power-play goal for Tampa Bay in the second and Victor Hedman added a goal in the third. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 26 saves for the Lightning, who have lost three straight and are 0-3 against the Bruins this season.
Killorn had an apparent goal waved off in the third when a teammate was in the crease with Boston leading 2-1. A few minutes later, Torey Krug passed to Bergeron at the side of the net for a goal to put Boston up 3-1 at 11:59 of the third.
The Lightning cut it to 3-2 when Hedman beat Rask through his legs with 6:06 remaining in the third, but Marchand’s empty-netter sealed it and Boston took over the top spot in the division and conference.
”It was a big win for us. Finally we jumped them after a whole season chasing them,” Pastrnak said.
The Bruins outshot the Lightning 17-6 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in the final minute.
Schaller put Boston up 1-0 after stealing the puck from Ryan McDonagh just inside the blue line and started a 2-on-1 break with Tommy Wingels, who got off a shot as Schaller crashed the net and poked in the rebound.
Killorn took an interference penalty with 31 seconds remaining and Pastrnak scored 5 seconds into the penalty, putting the Bruins up 2-0 with 26 seconds left in the period.
The game paused for a few minutes with 8:44 left in the second after Rask took a few shots at Conacher when he was slow to get up after getting tangled with Brandon Carlo in the crease.
Rask landed several punches with his glove before players from both teams jumped in and were eventually separated.
Vasilevskiy skated toward the other end, but was cut off at the blue line by referee Francois St. Laurent, who kept the Tampa Bay goalie from entering the fray. Boston fans roared their approval by shouting ”Tuuuuuuuuk!” throughout the altercation.
Later in the second [url=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/clay-matthews-jersey]Clay Matthews Jersey[/url] , it was Pastrnak stepping in after a hit on Bergeron and squaring off with Tampa Bay’s Dan Girardi. Pastrnak said it was his first fight and his inexperience showed when Girardi quickly took him down, but the Bruins appreciated his effort.
”I don’t think I’ve fought ever – like ever,” he said. ”I’m a pretty calm-down guy.”
NOTES: Krug finished with two assists. The Lightning and Bruins play one more time in the regular season, Tuesday night in Tampa Bay. … Boston improved to 7-1-0 in its past eight against Tampa Bay. … Boston D Zdeno Chara, who signed a one-year contract extension with the Bruins on Wednesday, missed his seventh straight game with an upper-body injury. … Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper entered the game with 239 wins, tied with John Tortorella for the most in franchise history. … The Bruins haven’t lost in regulation since Florida shut them out 3-0 on March 15.
The Detroit Free Press reports Tuesday that the former employees say they experienced disparaging comments because of their race. Robert Yanagi and Michael Richardson filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court last month, seeking damages of over $25,000.
Yanagi, 58, is of Japanese descent. He was the team’s director of video operations. Richardson, a 52-year-old African-American, was an assistant video director.
According to the suit, Richardson complained to the Lions’ human resources department last December about being subjected to racist comments by an employee in the team’s scouting department, as well as ”disparate treatment” by an employee of the operations department.
The Atlanta Falcons will open their mandatory minicamp without Julio Jones, one of their most important playmakers.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team was informed Monday that Jones will not be present when the three-day minicamp opens on Tuesday.
Jones, under contract through 2020, apparently is seeking a new deal as he has fallen behind other top NFL receivers in average earnings.
”We have been in contact with Julio and his representation,” Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team.
”We will not discuss those conversations publicly except to say we feel they have been productive and constructive. We understand the concerns and thoughts from their perspective. Although not ideal [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/rashaad-penny-jersey-cheap]Cheap Rashaad Penny Jersey[/url] , Julio informed us today he would not be attending minicamp.
”We have much respect for him and what he means to our team, our city and our fans.”
Jones’ absence is a big surprise. Before Monday, coach Dan Quinn and others had said they were confident Jones would attend the minicamp despite missing the voluntary offseason program.
Jones, 29, still has three seasons remaining on his five-year, $71.3 million deal with $47 million in guaranteed money. He is due to earn $10.5 million this season, $12.5 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020.
Jones’ salary cap figure of $12.9 million for 2018 ranks seventh among NFL receivers [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/jason-witten-jersey]Jason Witten Cowboys Jersey[/url] , well behind recent deals signed by Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans ($18.252 million in 2018) and Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry ($15.5 million).
Jones’ holdout comes in a summer the Falcons made quarterback Matt Ryan the NFL’s highest-paid player. Ryan’s new deal could average out to as much as $30 million annually over five seasons.
Jones’ value to the team is unquestioned. He earned his fourth straight Pro Bowl berth, and fifth overall, in 2017, when he had 88 catches for 1,444 yards. It was his fourth straight season with at least 80 receptions and 1,400 receiving yards.
Jones had only three touchdown catches last season as the Falcons’ offense failed to match the standards set in 2016, when Atlanta led the league in scoring and advanced to the Super Bowl.
Jones’ absence in the minicamp will leave more opportunity for another former Alabama receiver [url=http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dallas-goedert-jersey]Dallas Goedert Eagles Jersey[/url] , rookie Calvin Ridley, to have more work with Ryan. Ridley, a first-round pick, is expected to earn a role behind Jones and Mohamed Sanu on the depth chart.
The hirings were announced Thursday, although most had been widely known in recent weeks.
The offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, Shurmur was hired on Jan. 22 to rebuild the Giants after a disastrous 3-13 season. Coach Ben McAdoo fired in early December after less than two years on the job.
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Mike Shula will be the offensive coordinator and work with the quarterbacks. James Bettcher is the defensive coordinator, while Thomas McGaughey will lead the special teams.
Shula and McGaughey worked with Gettleman in Carolina. Both were fired after last season, having served the past five and two years, respectively, as coordinators. Bettcher spent the last five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, the final three as defensive coordinator.
Also on the staff are receiver coach Tyke Tolbert, offensive line coach Hal Hunter, tight ends coach Lunda Wells, assistant offensive line coach Ben Wilkerson [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/dan-bailey-jersey]Dan Bailey Jersey[/url] , defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo, assistant defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend, assistant linebackers coach Rob Leonard and special teams coach Anthony Blevins special teams assistant coach.
Shurmur also retained running back coach Craig Johnson, linebacker coach Bill McGovern, offensive assistant Ryan Roeder and defensive assistant Bobby Blick. They’re joined by strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman, strength and conditioning assistant coach Markus Paul, performance manager Joe Danos and director of performance nutrition Pratik Patel.
”Some of the coaches I have a history with, some were on previous staffs here, and other coaches are guys I’ve known through the profession,” Shurmur said. ”I took a good look at some of the coaches that were here, and we certainly wanted to make sure that some of the really fine coaches that were in the building a year ago had an opportunity to stay.”
Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger each hit a solo home run, Joc Pederson added a two-run shot and Los Angeles defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-5 on Wednesday night.
The Dodgers improved to 17-6 in June and have slugged a major league-leading 51 homers this month. That’s the second-most during any month in franchise history. With three days remaining, they have a chance to overtake last year’s team that set the record with 53 while the single-season record of 58 in a month is within reach, too.
”It just seems like they’re taking really good swings,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”When there’s a mistake in the strike zone, we hit it hard.”
The Dodgers hit 25 home runs in late March and April and 31 in May. The current surge is being generated by a variety of players.
”It’s scary facing us,” Bellinger said. ”We’re clicking right now.”
After not homering in a 9-4 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday that snapped their four-game winning streak, the Dodgers got going early despite not having Matt Kemp in the lineup. The outfielder, who is hitting .311, served a one-game suspension after losing his appeal with Major League Baseball for a scuffle with Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos on June 13.
Muncy homered over the center-field wall in the first for his ninth long ball this month and 16th of the season. The ball hit something beyond the wall and bounced back onto the field, grazing center fielder Albert Almora Jr. in the head.
Pederson followed in the second with his 10th homer of the month to make it 5-2. Enrique Hernandez extended the lead with an RBI single.
Alex Wood (4-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to earn his third straight win. The left-hander struck out six and walked none, retiring the final seven batters he faced.
Kenley Jansen earned a four-out save, his 21st of the season.
Chicago made it close after Wood exited. He was replaced in the eighth by Scott Alexander, who walked Jason Heyward and gave up a single to Javier Baez before Willson Contreras hit a two-run double to pull the Cubs to 6-5.
Ben Zobrist grounded back to Alexander, putting the potential tying run on third, but Jansen came in and struck out Addison Russell to end the inning.
”The at-bats had great approaches,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ”I thought we hit the ball all over the place. Javy hit it to right and right center. Same with Contreras. Good approaches. We played our butts off, we just didn’t get it.”
Bellinger homered leading off the eighth against Randy Rosario, tying Muncy for the team lead with 16 homers and making it 7-5.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (5-8) gave up six runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings, failing to go at least five innings for the first time in 16 starts this season. The team has lost five of his last six starts.
”I’m just searching right now, it’s just bad,” Hendricks said. ”I don’t know mechanics and I’m trying to focus mentally and go pitch-to-pitch. Something is just off. I’ve had troubles in my career [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/marcedes-lewis-jersey-cheap]Marcedes Lewis Packers Jersey[/url] , but this is up there as one of the toughest.”
Chicago took the lead in the first on a two-run homer by Contreras.
In the fifth, Heyward reached on an infield single that Wood raced to pick up along the first base line. He flipped to Bellinger, and first base umpire Alan Porter signaled that Heyward was out. But the ball came loose and second baseman Logan Forsythe, backing up the play, fired to the plate. Ian Happ, who singled leading off, was called safe to leave the Cubs trailing 6-3.
Cubs: Chicago closer Brandon Morrow (lower back tightness) was activated off the DL. He had been sidelined since June 20 after experiencing back spasms while taking his pants off. … RHP Tyler Chatwood will be available soon. Chatwood has been on paternity leave after his wife gave birth last Sunday.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (right rib microfracture) will throw three innings in a rehab start at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. If it goes well, he will have a bullpen session this weekend and could possibly return to the rotation next week. … INF-OF Chris Taylor (left hamstring) wasn’t in the lineup for the sixth straight day but pinch hit in the seventh and will start on Thursday.
Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (6-6, 4.26 ERA) starts the series finale against LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.94). Quintana is better on the road (3.22 ERA) than at home (6.00). Making his second start since coming off the disabled list, Kershaw is 5-3 in nine career starts against Chicago with a 2.64 ERA.
OTTAWA — It’s never a good thing when the most commonly used word in a team’s dressing room after a game is “regroup.”
It’s even worse when that team is in the Florida Panthers‘ situation.
The Panthers’ playoff hopes took a seriously blow with a 4-3 setback in Toronto on Wednesday [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/shaquem-griffin-jersey-cheap]Cheap Shaquem Griffin Jersey[/url] , a game that saw them fall into a 3-0 hole before it was 14 minutes old. The loss leaves the Panthers (39-29-7) three points behind the surging New Jersey Devils in the race for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Florida has one game in hand, but only seven left on the schedule.
“This team has been pretty consistent over the second half of the season,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said after the game, “but tonight, for the first 20 minutes, we weren’t.”
Probably needing to run the table, the Panthers will be right back in action when they visit the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.
“It’s tough to swallow, but it’s back-to-back,” said Jonathan Huberdeau, who scored twice against the Leafs. “We have to regroup tomorrow.”
The sentiments were shared by goalie Roberto Luongo.
“This one hurts,” he said, “but we have to regroup and be prepared to come back tomorrow night.”
While Luongo was solid in Toronto, he’ll likely give way to James Reimer for the team’s second game in 24 hours. Reimer would be a good choice against this foe either way [url=http://www.bengalscheapstore.com/jessie-bates-iii-jersey-cheap]Jessie Bates III Jersey[/url] , as he has a career mark of 13-5-2 against the Senators that includes a 7-2 victory in Ottawa last week.
That lopsided loss was for the Senators (26-39-11) was the second of what’s turned into a six-game skid. They now sit only three points ahead of the NHL’s cellar-dwelling Buffalo Sabres.
The Senators looked like they might finish with a flourish two weeks ago when they beat the Panthers and the Lightning on consecutive nights in Florida, then returned home to deliver an overtime victory over the Dallas Stars.
However, since then they have been outscored 28-11 while dropping a half dozen games.
All that’s left to see is what pick the Senators wind up with in the draft lottery April 28, and which of their players will be headed to the world hockey championships in Denmark from May 4-20.
Winger Ryan Dzingel confirmed he’s been asked by Team USA, but says he’ll have to mull over the decision because he’s been dealing with some personal family matters over the past few weeks.
Meanwhile, the Senators want to grab on to something positive in their final six games.
“It’s a lot about trying to come together with the guys who are going to be here (next year),” Dzingel told Postmedia on Wednesday. “There’s not one thing I can pinpoint that’s got to change. It’s tough to pinpoint what’s going on, but we believe in the guys in the locker room.
“This summer, we’ll see what happens. But we’re just trying to stick together and feed off each other and play together.”
The Senators dipped into the college ranks Wednesday to sign forward Andrew Sturtz, the leading scorer at Penn State, to a two-year entry level deal. Sturtz will attend Ottawa’s camp in the fall.
After a year of political and cultural upheaval, Super Bowl advertisers appear to be pulling back from themes of unity in favor of in-game stunts and ads that aim for the heart – and in some cases even lower.
The stakes are high since a 30-second spot costs more than $5 million for airtime alone. The goal is to capture the attention of the more than 110 million viewers expected to tune in to the big game on Feb. 4 – ideally by striking an emotional chord with the game audience that will rub off on brands.
Next best: Simply drawing attention, even if an ad offends some people. Worst of all? Being forgotten immediately.
Each year, Super Bowl ads offer a snapshot of the national psyche. Last year, just after President Donald Trump took office, ads offered themes of inclusion. Airbnb showed faces of different ethnicities with the copy ”We all belong,” and Coke re-ran an ad featuring ”America the Beautiful” sung in different languages.
This year, following a year of heated debate over immigration, NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem and the #MeToo movement highlighting sexual misconduct, many Super Bowl advertisers are playing it safer by showcasing famous faces, focusing on inoffensive causes and trying to stand out with silly humor and stunts. Of course, a few are going straight for whatever will grab attention.
Most people remember the 2004 Super Bowl for the infamous ”wardrobe malfunction” when Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s shirt during the halftime performance. But it also featured an unusually large number of tasteless ads, including crotch and fart jokes by Sierra Mist, Budweiser and Bud Light and the now-famous Cialis ad that warned about erections lasting longer than four hours.
Advertisers largely dialed it back afterward, excepting a 2009 Doritos ad that included a snowglobe-in-the-crotch joke. But this year [url=http://www.coltscheapstore.com/darius-leonard-jersey-cheap]Cheap Darius Leonard Jersey[/url] , Justin Timberlake returns to the Super Bowl … and so does sock-it-to-the-lower-body humor.
Groupon’s ad, for instance, stars Tiffany Haddish asking people to support local businesses – then cuts to a wealthy man who plots to crush small businesses, only to double over after players nail him with a kicked football.
Groupon insists the man isn’t hit in the groin, although the ad video is ambiguous. ”The crotch hit is the lowest thing in the book,” Advertising Age columnist Barbara Lippert said in a phone interview. ”I was hoping it was retired forever.”
The Groupon ad is also notable for its distinctly anti-1 percenter tone. ”We think the vast majority of consumers will appreciate the over-the-top comeuppance our `villain’ receives,” said Jon Wild, Groupon’s head of marketing for North America.
An ad for Febreze air freshener goes all in for toilet humor. It presents a pseudo-documentary about a boy whose ”bleep doesn’t stink,” alluding to a profane phrase that commonly refers to people who are full of … themselves.
THE RICH AND FAMOUS
It wouldn’t be a Super Bowl without celebrities chugging sugary drinks and hawking junk food. Cindy Crawford will reprise an iconic 1992 Super Bowl spot for Pepsi. The beverage maker will also feature Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman in linked ads for new versions of Doritos and Mountain Dew.
In a Pringles ad , Bill Hader has a snack on set and introduces a made-up practice dubbed ”flavor stacking,” in which the actor stacks together different Pringles varieties. M&Ms has released a teaser showing Danny DeVito dressed as an M&M being dunked in chocolate.
For a non-snacking celebrity appearance, Squarespace hired a bearded Keanu Reeves and sat him by a campfire to tout its web hosting services.
AIMING FOR THE HEART
Other advertisers are aiming straight for warm and fuzzy, figuring it’s best to bet on ”things that are universally liked [url=http://www.cincinnatibengalsteamonline.com/billy-price-jersey]Billy Price Bengals Jersey[/url] ,” said Kelly O’Keefe, managing director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter.
NBC created five cinematic 60-second ads showcasing Olympic athletes to drum up excitement for the Winter Olympics, which start airing starting four days after the Super Bowl. The ads showcase Americans athletes such as skier Lindsey Vonn and figure skater Nathan Chen.
An Anheuser-Busch ad shows a Budweiser brewery producing cans of water instead of beer, highlighting the brewer’s donation of drinking water to places in need. Its Stella Artois brand also teamed with Matt Damon to sell a limited edition beer glass, with proceeds also targeted at providing access to water.
Lexus is promoting its new LS 500 luxury sedan, which it is aiming at a 45-to-55-year-old demographic, with an action spot starring the Black Panther, a Marvel superhero.
Recent Super Bowl ad stunts have yielded mixed results. Snickers isn’t returning to the game this year after a live spot last year fell flat. But marketers aren’t giving up.
Tide, which last year did a fake-out ad with Terry Bradshaw that appeared to be commentary during the game, will be back with Bradshaw this year.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was flinging the ball far downfield Thursday during a voluntary offseason training practice [url=http://www.buccaneerscheapstore.com/vita-vea-jersey-cheap]Vita Vea Jersey[/url] , targeting an array of receivers that includes newcomers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead.
”Someone kind of joked that we completed more deep balls in practice today when we did the whole offseason last year,” coach John Harbaugh said.
The Ravens’ top priority this season was to vastly improve a passing attack that last season ranked 29th in total yardage and was dead last with 5.7 yards per attempt.
General manager Ozzie Newsome dumped Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Michael Campanaro, signed the aforementioned trio of free agents and drafted two wide receivers.
Chris Moore and Breshad Perriman are the only two of 13 receivers on the roster who caught a pass for Baltimore last season. Whether it’s a change for the better remains to be seen.
”Obviously, we’ve got to do our job – catch the ball, catch touchdowns, first downs and all that,” Crabtree said. ”I’m confident in the guys we have. We’ve got some football players here.”
Crabtree has five career TD catches of at least 40 yards; Snead will fit nicely in the slot; and Brown in 2015 had a 1,003-yard, seven-touchdown season with Arizona.
Forget the check-down pass, because the Ravens are looking to go long in 2018.
”Joe’s known for throwing the deep ball, and I think we’ll hit a lot of those,” Brown said.
”Every one of our quarterbacks has a reputation for throwing the ball deep,” Harbaugh said. ”I feel like that’s got to be a big part of who we are. We want to throw it out there, and go get it.”
That was the Ravens were looking for from Perriman when they drafted him in the first round of 2015. Perriman has thus far been a huge disappointment, but the hope is that this is the year he finally fulfills his potential.
”He’s in great shape. He’s playing very fast,” Harbaugh said. ”Not just that – he’s catching the ball really well. He looks much smoother, and he’s getting in and out of routes quicker. He’s taken a step in the right direction. I know he’s determined to carry that right through training camp.”
Crabtree, 30, has become the leader of the pack simply because of his age and experience.
”I don’t have a choice. I’m going on 10 (years) in the game,” he said. ”That’s just my role. At the same time, I’m out there competing like I’m 21. I’m going to have fun with it.”
Crabtree had 58 catches with Oakland last season, down from 89 in 2016. Snead started the 2017 season in New Orleans with a three-game DUI suspension and fought through a hamstring injury. Brown is looking to regain the form he showed in 2015.
All three hope the move to Baltimore will bring about a return to stardom.
”We’ve all had our ups and downs,” Brown said. ”It just feels good to have a new start and keep things rolling.”
BOSTON — Their bats clearly on fire, the Boston Red Sox head to New York this weekend for the latest chapter of the rivalry with the New York Yankees.
But first, there’s work to do at home.
After blowing a 6-0 lead but surviving to move back into first place in the American League East, the Red Sox go for the series and season sweep of the floundering Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
With Steven Wright hitting the disabled list with left knee inflammation [url=http://www.clevelandbrownsteamonline.com/josh-gordon-jersey]Josh Gordon Jersey Elite[/url] , left-hander Brian Johnson (1-2, 4.50 ERA) gets the start for Boston against rookie righty Jaime Barria (5-3, 3.40) in Thursday night’s finale — before the three games in the Bronx.
The Red Sox, who have scored 48 runs in their last six games, hit the halfway mark of their schedule by moving a half-game ahead of the Yankees at 54-27. They have outscored the Angels 45-10 in five games this season.
Johnson started in the fifth game of the season, allowing one run on six hits in six innings at Miami. He now makes his eighth career start and second of the season. This will be his first start against Angels, although earlier this season, Johnson pitched three scoreless innings of relief in Boston’s three-game sweep in Anaheim.
The Red Sox are a season-high 27 games over .500. They are 3-3 against the Yankees, who are off Thursday before the third series of the season between the rivals.
J.D. Martinez hit his 25th homer of the season Wednesday, already one more than Mookie Betts‘ club-leading total last season. Martinez is the seventh Red Sox player with at least 25 homers in half a season.
“He’s becoming a leader of the team in the clubhouse,” Boston manager Alex Cora said after Wednesday’s game.
Martinez, asked if he sets offensive goals before the start of the season, said, “Nah. My goal is to not give an at-bat away, you know?”
The Angels, who have lost five straight and 12 of their last 16 games, got bad news before the game regarding Zack Cozart and then saw just-recalled reliever Jake Jewell carted off the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious ankle injury.
“Hoping everything is OK with Jewell,” Cora said. “Everyone in the dugout and clubhouse will be praying for him.”
Cozart will likely miss the remainder of the season after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.
“Zack Cozart received a second opinion on his left shoulder after experiencing continued discomfort during his progressions,” the Angels said in statement. “After additional imaging and clinical examination, it was recommended that he undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Zack will undergo surgery in Los Angeles in the near future. We will update with additional information when appropriate.”
As far as the Angels’ current situation, Scioscia said, “We’ll keep battling, but at some point obviously we need to put both ends together, get the pitching we need and get some early runs, get the game on our terms and start to do things the way we can.”
Jewell, appearing in his third major league game after arriving earlier in the day, was injured covering home plate on a wild pitch in the eighth inning.
It was back in 2014 that Angels right-hander Garrett Richards suffered a season-ending injury while covering first base at Fenway.
Jewell and infielder Nolan Fontana had been recalled, while Akeel Morris was sent back to Salt Lake City and Tuesday night loser John Lamb hit the 10-day disabled with left shoulder and elbow inflammation.
The Angels also said rookie Shohei Ohtani with have his left elbow re-evaluated Thursday — amid talk he could return as a hitter this season while not pitching.
“If he was solely a DH, he would have been cleared right away,” general manager Billy Eppler said on MLB Radio, “but because you are wanting that ligament to heal, to get that impact he brings on the mound, you want to — I don’t want to coin it the danger zone — but you want to get to the point where you are feeling that area has plenty of time to scar and heal.
“That’s what the three-week prescription is for, to buy you that time of scarring and healing.”
Barria, who allowed one run in five innings in his last start,has gone an impressive 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA on the road. He has never faced the Red Sox.
Sidney Crosby batted his own rebound out of the air and into the net 19 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Devils 4-3 on Thursday night [url=http://www.49erscheapstore.com/mike-mcglinchey-jersey-cheap]Mike McGlinchey 49ers Jersey[/url] , denying New Jersey a sweep of the four-game season series.
Kris Letang stole Taylor Hall’s pass in the opening seconds in the Pittsburgh zone and sent Crosby on a semi-break the other way. His initial shot hit the goalpost, but then the star center pulled his hands in and swatted the puck out of the air – a fitting move on the opening day of baseball season.
Crosby extended his goal-scoring streak to five games, including a similar goal against Montreal last Wednesday in which Crosby juggled the puck once on his stick before smacking it from just below shoulder height.
Conor Sheary, Letang and Patric Hornqvist also scored for the Penguins. Matt Murray made 28 saves.
Kyle Palmieri, Hall and Blake Coleman scored for the Devils, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Keith Kinkaid had 31 saves in losing for only the fourth time in his past 16 decisions (12-3-1).
BRUINS 4, LIGHTNING 2
BOSTON (AP) – Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and Boston took over first place in the Eastern Conference with a win over Tampa Bay.
Tim Schaller and David Pastrnak scored goals 32 seconds apart in the final minute of the first period and Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal with 56 seconds left.
Torey Krug had two assists, Pastrnak finished with a goal and an assist and Tuukka Rask stopped 26 shots for the Bruins, who have 107 points and lead Tampa Bay by a point.
J.T. Miller scored a power-play goal for Tampa Bay in the second and Victor Hedman added a goal in the third. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 26 saves for the Lightning, who have lost three straight and are 0-3 against the Bruins this season.
BLACKHAWKS 6, JETS 2
CHICAGO (AP) – Emergency goaltender Scott Foster played the final 14 minutes after Chicago lost Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia to injuries, closing out the Blackhawks‘ victory over Winnipeg.
Forsberg was expected to start [url=http://www.lionscheapstore.com/kerryon-johnson-jersey-cheap]Kerryon Johnson Jersey[/url] , but he was scratched after the team said he got hurt during warmups. Delia, who was just recalled from the minors Wednesday, then stopped 25 of 27 shots in his NHL debut before he was helped off the ice in the third period due to a lower-body injury.
Enter Foster, a 36-year-old former goaltender at Western Michigan University. After a short warmup, the game resumed and Foster got a big cheer from the crowd of 21,839 when he denied Tyler Myers for his first save about a minute after he came in.
Backed by chants of ”Foster! Foster!” and more loud ovations down the stretch, he finished with seven stops. Before facing the playoff-bound Jets, winners of six in a row, Foster’s last competitive action was 20 minutes in relief for the Broncos during his only game in the 2005-06 season.
PREDATORS 5, SHARKS 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Ryan Ellis scored the go-ahead goal with 9:54 left and Nashville beat San Jose to set a franchise record with 111 points this season.
With their 50th victory, the NHL-leading Predators padded their lead to four points over Boston in the chase for their first Presidents’ Trophy. Nashville topped the mark of 110 points set in 2006-07 on a night where the franchise also notched its 100th consecutive sellout [url=http://www.pantherscheapstore.com/dj-moore-jersey-cheap]DJ Moore Panthers Jersey[/url] , a streak that started April 7, 2016, against the Sharks.
Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson each had a goal and an assist, Kyle Turris had a goal, and Filip Forsberg had three assists. Nick Bonino added an empty-net goal with 17 seconds left for Nashville, which won the season series against San Jose 2-1.
Juuse Saros made 39 saves for the win, including stopping Logan Couture on a penalty shot with 1:53 left. The goalie also helped the Predators kill a penalty with 3:10 remaining with a flurry of stops.
Couture, Brenden Dillon and Mikkel Boedker scored for the Sharks. San Jose snapped its nine-game point streak.
KINGS 4, COYOTES 2
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jeff Carter completed a hat trick by scoring with 4:25 left and Los Angeles beat Arizona.
Carter scored for the third consecutive game, helping the Kings open up a two-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for third place in the Pacific Division before the Freeway Faceoff rivals meet Friday night in Anaheim.
Jack Campbell made 20 saves for his second career win, and the Kings won consecutive games for the first time since winning three in a row Feb. 17-20. Anze Kopitar added an empty-net goal with 1.7 seconds remaining, and Tyler Toffoli had two assists.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) – Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on a penalty shot in overtime to lift Ottawa over Florida.
The Panthers dropped three points behind New Jersey with a game in hand for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Devils lost to Pittsburgh 4-3 in overtime Thursday.
Pageau and Magnus Paajarvi also scored in regulation for the Senators, and Craig Anderson stopped 24 shots.
Aaron Ekblad and Evgeni Dadonov scored for the Panthers, and James Reimer made 27 saves.
BLUE JACKETS 5, FLAMES 1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) – Pierre-Luc Dubois had his first career hat trick and Columbus Blue Jackets stayed hot with a win over Calgary.
Columbus earned its sixth straight road victory and 12th win in its past 13 games, and moved past the Philadelphia Flyers and into third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets are one point back of the second place Pittsburgh Penguins.
Markus 鈥?Minneapolis city leaders have asked Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to mobilize the Minnesota National Guard to help with security during the upcoming Super Bowl.City police can’t meet all of Minneapolis’ safety and security needs during the 10 days of Super Bowl activities while still covering the rest of the city, Mayor Betsy Hodges and Mayor-elect Jacob Frey said in a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton.Andrea Mokros, a spokeswoman for the Super Bowl Host Committee, said it would pick up the cost of the guard’s deployment [url=http://www.dolphinscheapstore.com/minkah-fitzpatrick-jersey-cheap]Minkah Fitzpatrick Youth Jersey[/url] , the Star Tribune reported .“Our priority is creating a safe Super Bowl in which all Minnesotans can share in the excitement,” Mokros said.The Guard would oversee “pedestrian safety, traffic control, security for key venues and infrastructure, and transport,” according to the letter. Minneapolis police and other agencies could then focus on other tasks. Several departments across the state have promised to send officers to Minneapolis to help with security.The request is similar to other security requests made at almost every Super Bowl since 2002, officials said.The governor is considering the request, said Bob Hume, Dayton’s senior adviser.The 52nd Super Bowl will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4.Information from: Star Tribune, .
Bosio told USA Today he used the word while talking about pitcher Daniel Stumpf, who is white. Bosio said Stumpf is nicknamed ”Spider Monkey” because of the faces he makes while lifting weights.
Bosio said an African-American clubhouse attendant overheard the conversation. Bosio told USA Today that ”the kid thought we were talking about him. He got all upset. He assumed we were talking about him. I said, `No, no, no. We’re talking about Stumpf.”’
”I swear on my mom and dad’s graves, there was nothing else to it,” he told the newspaper.
General manager Al Avila said Wednesday that Bosio was fired for making insensitive comments to another team employee. Avila declined to offer additional details.
Bosio told USA Today that he was ”crushed” about his firing. Bosio said he plans to hire an attorney to help determine whether to sue for wrongful termination.
Bosio was in his first season as Detroit’s pitching coach after serving in the same role for six years with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs didn’t renew Bosio’s contract after last season and hired Jim Hickey to replace him. The 55-year-old Bosio was 94-93 over an 11-season major league career, mostly as a starter, with Milwaukee and Seattle.
The Tigers promoted bullpen coach Rick Anderson to replace Bosio. Roving pitching instructor A.J. Sager will be the team’s bullpen coach until Triple-A Toledo pitching coach Jeff Pico takes his place next week.
Information from: USA Today, Nick Foles stood tall in the pocket, ignored the pressure and made one big throw after another.
On the biggest stage of his life, Foles silenced the critics who thought the Eagles couldn’t get to the Super Bowl without MVP candidate Carson Wentz. Foles threw for 352 and three touchdowns to lead Philadelphia to a convincing 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game Sunday.
Now he’s headed to Minnesota to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
”Words can’t describe what I feel right now [url=http://www.clevelandbrownsteamonline.com/joe-thomas-jersey]Joe Thomas Jersey[/url] ,” Foles said. ”All glory goes to God. I’m grateful and humbled to be part of this team. No one in the locker room doubted me. We kept working, I got more reps in practice and it’s a rhythm thing.”
While Wentz watched from the sideline, using a cane to walk following surgery to repair his torn left ACL, Foles picked apart the NFL’s top-ranked defense. He tossed a perfect 53-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery with the pocket collapsing around him to give Philadelphia a 21-7 lead in the second quarter.
Foles then directed a 60-yard drive in 29 seconds to set up a field goal before halftime. He fired a 49-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith off a flea flicker to start the second half and tossed a 5-yard TD to Jeffery early in the fourth to make it 38-7.
Foles was at his best on third downs, completing 10 of 11 for 159 yards and two TDs. The Eagles had been 0 for 13 on third-and-10 or longer after Wentz went down. On Sunday, Foles threw an 11-yard pass to Zach Ertz on third-and-10 on the Eagles’ first touchdown drive. His long TD pass to Jeffery came on third-and-10.
The Eagles (15-3) have been underdogs in both playoffs games, mostly because Wentz was no longer playing. They were the first No. 1 seed not favored in a divisional round game [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/rashaad-penny-jersey-cheap]Rashaad Penny Youth Jersey[/url] , a 15-10 win over the Falcons. The Vikings (14-4) were 3-point favorites despite also being led by a backup quarterback – Case Keenum, Foles’ good friend and former teammate.
”You know everyone was against us,” Foles said. ”Coming out here, stick together and come away with an amazing victory against a great team.”
Keenum congratulated Foles in the tunnel after the game.
”He did a great job,” Keenum said.
Foles walked into the X-ray room after the game, but told The Associated Press after he came out: ”I’m good. I’m fine.”
Foles put on a passing clinic, completing 78.8 percent of his passes (26 of 33). Not bad for a guy who contemplated retirement before the 2016 season.
A third-round pick by former Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2012, Foles had tremendous success as a starter under Chip Kelly his sophomore season. He threw 29 TDs and only two picks in 11 starts, including playoffs in 2013. Foles posted a passer rating of 119.2, third-highest in league history. He tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in a game at Oakland in November 2013 won an offensive MVP award at a Pro Bowl.
But Foles was traded to St. Louis for Sam Bradford in March 2015. He lost his starting job to Keenum and asked for his release after Jared Goff was drafted No. 1 overall. Foles considered hanging up his cleats before Reid persuaded him to go to Kansas City to be Alex Smith’s backup.
After one season with the Chiefs, Foles returned to Philly to provide insurance behind Wentz.
He’ll become a folk hero if he can deliver the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl title.
Mark Lerner has replaced 92-year-old father Ted Lerner as managing principal owner of the Nationals.
The team announced that Ted Lerner is stepping down and will be succeeded by his son after Major League Baseball approved the move at its quarterly meeting in New York.
Ted Lerner has controlled the Nationals since his family bought the team from MLB in 2006 [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/byron-jones-jersey]Byron Jones Jersey Elite[/url] , the year after the team moved from Montreal. The real estate magnate says owning a team in his hometown was always a dream and he knew his son eventually would run the club.
The 64-year-old son assumes the leading ownership role about a year after his left leg was amputated because of cancer. He says it’s special for his parents to see him take control of the franchise.
The New York Giants have another entry in the contest to be the heir apparent to two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.
After passing on the more well-known quarterbacks early in the NFL draft to take Saquon Barkley of Penn State with the second pick overall, the Giants on Saturday used their fourth-round pick to take Kyle Lauletta of Richmond.
”This is going to be a big night for the Folignos,” he tapped out on his smartphone.
Make it a big week, actually.
For the first time in the seven years they’ve been in the league together, both Foligno brothers are skating in the postseason. Marcus Foligno is getting his first taste, with the Minnesota Wild. Nick Foligno has returned for a third appearance with the Columbus Blue Jackets and his sixth overall.
Their even-more-famous father, Mike Foligno, is having a blast as the unpaid consultant, proud pop and unabashed fan.
”He’s got no voice. He was yelling at the TV last night,” Marcus said Monday, the day after he scored for the Wild in their win over Winnipeg in Game 3. ”With him playing, I think he still gets that energy, gets that adrenaline pumping, when he sees us play.”
Mike scored 247 times over 15 seasons in the NHL [url=http://www.authenticsseattleseahawks.com/cheap-barkevious-mingo-jersey]Barkevious Mingo Color Rush Jersey[/url] , making his mark during a full decade with Buffalo when he celebrated goals with a signature two-legged leap straight up in the air from the ice . Marcus started his career there, too, in 2011 before the Sabres traded him to Minnesota last summer . Nick debuted in 2007 with the Ottawa Senators until being dealt to Columbus in 2012.
”We’re trying to do something special here as a family,” Nick said after the Blue Jackets beat Washington in Game 2, ”and it’s been pretty cool.”
They’re dearly missing a critical member of the clan.
Janis Foligno, the mother to Nick and Marcus and their two sisters , died in 2009 of breast cancer. The boys have kept her memory alive through their performance on the ice and their philanthropy off it, with a foundation in her name created to fight the disease and support cancer victims. Nick and his wife also donated $1 million to children’s hospitals in Columbus and Boston, where their now-4-year-old daughter had a congenital heart defect repaired.
So they play on for a greater purpose, with Mike keeping a keen eye on the boys.
”There are always things to do better. He sees it. He watches the game. He scouted for a long time, and he coached for a long time in the league,” Marcus said. ”He just knows how we’re capable of playing, and that’s the biggest thing. He wants us to be the best players out there and be the best role players for our team.”
Marcus has been more of a niche player. He had a career-high 13 goals and a career-most 80 games for the Sabres last season, but after arriving in Minnesota in a trade last summer his adjustment at age 26 to a deeper team and a lesser role took several months. It included some healthy scratches.
”We all want to score 30 goals and be impactful,” coach Bruce Boudreau said, ”but he’s got a four-year deal so in time he’ll get into that situation.”
The Wild trail the Jets 3-1 entering Game 5 on Friday, but their trouble has mostly been an unproductive series by some of their skilled forwards playing more minutes. Playing on the fourth line with Daniel Winnik and Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus has found a groove down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs.
”Whether it’s 10 or 12 minutes, he gets out there, he plays really hard, and he’s been very effective,” Boudreau said.
Which brings us back to that Sunday prediction of a big night for the Foligno boys.
Marcus became a major figure in Game 3 for the Wild with a goal and his collision at the boards with Jets defenseman Tyler Myers that knocked his former Sabres teammate out of the game with a lower-body injury.
The brothers communicate almost daily, providing tips for each other along with standard pick-me-ups and sibling ribbing. After Nick took a puck to the face in Game 1, Marcus teased him by reminding him that goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was the one paid to get in the way of the pucks.
”You don’t realize how special it is, but I raced back after dinner to watch your brother play in the playoffs,” Nick said. ”It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington and AP Sports Writer Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.
The Latest on the New Jersey Legislature’s effort to legalize sports betting (all times local):
Monmouth Park Racetrack says it won’t take any sports bets Thursday night.
But the track’s plans beyond that remain unclear.
The Oceanport, New Jersey track near the Jersey shore says it will announce soon when it plans to begin taking bets at its sports wagering lounge.
The New Jersey Legislature approved a sports betting bill Thursday, but Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy won’t say when he’ll act on it.
One state lawmaker notes that language that would have prohibited a casino or track from taking sports bets before the bill is signed was stripped from the bill before it was approved.
Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta is thanking the New Jersey Legislature for a last-minute fix that will allow his Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City to take sports bets – just not on basketball.
Fertitta owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and would have been shut out of sports betting under previous versions of the bill.
But the change allows him to offer bets on other sports except for basketball.
Fertitta says he eventually hopes to persuade New Jersey to let the Golden Nuggets take bets on basketball teams other than the Rockets, which is what Nevada regulators allow.
Major League Baseball, the NBA and the PGA Tour want New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to ”fix” the sports betting law on his desk to address concerns about the integrity of betting on their games.
They say the law passed Thursday by the state Legislature does not address those concerns.
Lawmakers rejected the integrity fee payments.
It remains unclear when sports betting might begin in New Jersey, or when the Democratic governor might act on the bill.
A major bookmaking company has signed a contract to offer sports betting at tracks in New Jersey and New York.
Moments after the New Jersey Legislature gave final approval to a bill legalizing sports betting, Betfair US announced it will offer sports betting at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, just outside New York City.
It will do likewise at Tioga Downs Racetrack in New York.
Betfair says it will start offering sports betting this summer and will be operational at the tracks before the NFL season begins in September.
Betfair US is a subsidiary of Paddy Power Betfair, one of the largest publicly traded sports betting companies in the world.
A New Jersey lawmaker says a Jersey shore racetrack is technically free to start taking bets immediately, even before a bill legalizing sports betting is signed by Gov. Phil Murphy.
Republican state Sen. Declan O’Scanlan says language was dropped from the bill that prohibited any sports betting facility from opening until the bill is signed.
That appears to clear the way for Monmouth Park in Oceanport to begin taking bets right away. The track has loudly wanted to begin taking bets Friday.
But its chief, Dennis Drazin, also has said he does not want to antagonize the governor.
It remains unclear what the track’s plans are and when the governor might act.
The New Jersey Legislature has given final approval to a bill legalizing sports betting.
The state Senate approved the bill Thursday afternoon shortly after the Assembly approved it.
It now goes to the desk of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who hasn’t said when he’ll sign it.
Murphy’s office says the bill will get a careful review, but won’t estimate when the governor will act on it.
Monmouth Park racetrack has been particularly vocal about its desire to start taking bets on Friday.
The New Jersey Assembly has unanimously approved a bill that would legalize sports betting.
The bill approved Thursday now goes to the state Senate, which also is expected to approve it, and then to the desk of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. It’s unclear whether he will sign it into law.
The Assembly amended the bill to allow casinos that own more than 10 percent of a sports team to still offer sports betting, but only on sports other than those in which they own a team. That would let the Golden Nugget back in the game.
Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget and the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
New Jersey lawmakers are rethinking a law that would have banned one Atlantic City casino from offering sports betting.
The state Assembly is expected to amend its proposed sports betting law to allow casinos that own more than 10 percent of a sports team to still offer sports betting, but only on sports other than those in which they own a team.
That would let the Golden Nugget back in the game.
Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget and the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
Under the change, the Golden Nugget could still take bets on sports including football, baseball and hockey, but not basketball.
New Jersey’s proposed sports betting law is heading down to the wire.
Final legislative approval is expected on Thursday, but it’s anyone’s bet when Gov. Phil Murphy might sign it.