Pardew laments McArthur “dive”

first_imgCrystal Palace’s James McArthur has been criticised by his manager Alan Pardew, who feels the midfielder should be “embarrassed” about diving in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Stoke. “He should be embarrassed. He’s a great professional and that’s unlike him. I was surprised but it shows what pressure does to players. “I haven’t spoken to him about it but I don’t need to. He will see the replay and he will be embarrassed.” The win continued Palace’s resurgence under Pardew, who took over in January after leaving Newcastle. Having been in the relegation zone at that point, the Eagles are now 11 points clear of it and up to 11th place – one spot above Newcastle. Pardew had a rocky relationship with the Tyneside club’s fans and when his Newcastle side were beaten 1-0 at Stoke in September, several of the away supporters held up signs calling for him to be sacked. However, following a much happier return to the Potteries for the 53-year-old on Saturday, he insisted it was of no real significance to him that Palace had leapfrogged Newcastle in the table. And Pardew also indicated he is not about to take anything for granted in terms of survival. Palace – with 19 points from 10 league games under Pardew so far – have a total of 36, and he said: “I’m still thinking about another couple of points. “But nine wins (for Palace in the league over the season) going into this international break – I would have absolutely jumped at that when I arrived.” Asked if there was any significance for him to going above Newcastle, Pardew said: “No, not really. “The most important thing for me is that this club is within touching distance of Premier League status for next year. “That is the only agenda I had when I arrived. We have done absolutely brilliantly. “It (his previous visit to Stoke) was a difficult night, and I’ve had them as a manager. You have to show your mettle. “But it was a different feeling on Saturday because we are in great form. You want to have more of those in your career, and hopefully I can as I continue with Palace.” Stoke, 10th on 42 points, are looking this season to better their Premier League records set last term of a ninth-placed finish and 50-point total. Saturday’s result made it back-to-back defeats and manager Mark Hughes is keen for an impressive campaign not to fizzle out. He did, though, stress he thought the Potters’ performance against Palace had been an improvement on the previous weekend’s loss to West Brom. “I thought performance-wise it was a marked difference from last week, which was pleasing, but we haven’t got a positive result,” Hughes said. “We are disappointed – we made mistakes, so maybe we didn’t do enough to win. “But we certainly deserved to take something out of it.” Hughes hit out at two of referee Andre Marriner’s decisions from Saturday’s match, claiming the official was wrong both to award Palace a penalty following a collision between Asmir Begovic and Yannick Bolasie and to not give Stoke a chance from the spot when a Mame Biram Diouf shot struck the arms of Joel Ward. It was on the same day that Neil Swarbrick sent off the wrong player in Manchester City’s 3-0 win over West Brom, and referees’ chief Mike Riley has subsequently called for the trialling of in-game video technology in a bid to help officials. That is something Hughes would definitely like to see. The Welshman said: “I don’t think the standard (of refereeing) this year has been as good as it needs to be. “I’m an advocate of television replays. They need to be given that option because at the moment they need a lot more help. “I think we have reached a tipping point. Before, there were debates one way or the other but now I think it needs to come in.” McArthur was booked early in the second half of the Barclays Premier League clash at the Britannia Stadium for simulation having taken a tumble in the box. And Pardew told Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme: “He dived. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Update on the latest sports

first_imgHudson headlines a list of All-Star weekend entertainers the NBA released Thursday.The NBA also said that DJ Khaled, Quavo and Lil Wayne will join the previously announced Grammy winner and Chicago native Chance the Rapper during Sunday night’s halftime show; Queen Latifah will be joined by Chicago youth to perform Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today” during Saturday’s events; and the Chicago Children’s Choir will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Rising Stars game on Friday night.And Damian Lillard still may perform — even though injury will keep him from playing this weekend. The Portland guard — who is also a popular rapper — was to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game and participate in All-Star Saturday Night events as a competitor in the 3-point contest. But he injured his groin in the Trail Blazers’ final game before the break on Wednesday night, and that will keep him off the court.NBA-KINGS-TECHNOLOGYKings, Intel announce plans for new R&D center February 13, 2020 TOKYO OLYMPICS-VIRUSTokyo, IOC officials reiterate that the Olympics are onTOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Olympic organizers are reiterating that the 2020 Games will not be waylaid by the virus spreading from neighboring China.Organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori says he wants to make it clear again that “we are not considering a cancellation or postponement of the games.” He spoke Thursday at the start of two days of meetings with the International Olympic Committee.The coronavirus has wiped out track meets, golf tournaments, soccer matches and almost all sports in China. It is also keeping Chinese athletes from traveling to qualify. Commissioner Rob Manfred disciplined the Astros after he found the team broke rules by using electronics to steal signs during its run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season.The Astros were fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under major league rules, and forfeited their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to view and decode opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve chances of getting a hit.In other MLB news:— Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Tommy Hunter passed his physical and worked out on Wednesday. Hunter finalized a one-year contract, and righty reliever David Robertson was moved to the 60-day injury list to make room on the roster. Hunter had surgery last July to repair the flexor tendon in his right arm after pitching in just five games. He had a 3.80 ERA in 64 innings in 2018. Hunter has a 4.08 ERA and 21 saves in 12 seasons. Bregman said at a news conference Thursday that he is “really sorry.”Altuve said there was a full team meeting Wednesday to discuss what happened.Astros owner Jim Crane and new manager Dusty Baker — who replaced the fired AJ Hinch — also spoke at the news conference at the team’s spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida.Crane raised eyebrows when he said: “Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that.”MLB didn’t punish any players for the cheating and Crane said the team wouldn’t either. Associated Press The Women’s Australian Open will be the last LPGA tournament for a month after the cancellation of three scheduled tournaments in Thailand, Singapore and China because of the virus outbreak in the region.NBA-ALL-STAR ENTERTAINMENTJennifer Hudson to do a Kobe Bryant tribute at All-Star GameCHICAGO (AP) — Jennifer Hudson will be at the NBA All-Star Game to honor Kobe Bryant with her voice.The two-time Grammy winner and Oscar winner will perform just before Sunday night’s player introductions in a tribute to Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other victims of the helicopter crash that took their lives in Southern California last month.center_img Update on the latest sports The Olympics open in just over five months, and the torch relay begins next month in Japan — a clear signal the games are getting close.LPGA-WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPENEwart Shadoff gets 1st round lead at Women’s Australian OpenADELAIDE, Australia (AP) —Jodi Ewart Shadoff has shot a 7-under 66 to take a three-stroke lead over defending champion Nelly Korda in the first round of the Women’s Australian Open. Ewart Shadoff had seven birdies in her round of 66 at Royal Adelaide and held a one-stroke lead over U.S. Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 and Inbee Park. Marina Alex, Amy Olson and Jillian Hollis were tied for fourth with 68s. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-NEWSAstros’ Bregman, Altuve apologize for sign-stealing schemeUNDATED (AP) — Houston Astros players Alex Bregman and José Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) say the team is sorry for its sign-stealing scheme that was investigated and punished by Major League Baseball. SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings and Intel announced plans Thursday for the NBA’s first research and development site devoted to finding new ways for fans to access replay angles never seen before.The Kings are planning to unveil an app next season where fans can tap into video streams and choose their own replays. Elements of what is called “volumetric video” technology have been available in some other NBA arenas, as well as some NFL and English Premier League stadiums, but the Kings want to be the first to put fans in control of what they want to see again and how they see it.Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center was built with emerging technology in mind. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive (VIHV’-ehk rah-nah-DEE’-vay) said the speed in which fans can see the replays on their phones — estimated to be about a minute — is of the utmost importance. As has been the case in other arenas, 38 video cameras will be installed before next season in Sacramento, wired into a control room where two people will process the various angles such as overhead, 360-degree and from a player perspective.NASCAR-WIRELESSNASCAR signs Verizon to upgrade wireless to 5G at 12 tracks DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR announced a deal with Verizon on Thursday intended to give fans at its 12 racetracks better access for their phones and solve a long-simmering headache over dead zones at the sprawling venues.The deal will improve connectivity at the 12 tracks owned by NASCAR — a problem fans have complained about for years. Even when the top Cup Series was sponsored first by Nextel and then Sprint, cellular service was spotty and often only available to customers of those specific carriers.Verizon will work with NASCAR to upgrade in-venue wireless communication service over the next three years.last_img read more

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Hull City rookie Elliot Bonds tipped for bright future after unexpected Championship call

first_imgGRANT McCann believes rookie midfielder Elliot Bonds can have a bright future with Hull City after wasting no time in making a positive impression at the KCOM Stadium.Bonds only joined Tigers last month, earning a one-year deal on the back of a successful trial period with the club.The 19-year-old Guyana International player with the Golden Jaguars, was initially expected to be part of Jon Beale’s Under-23 ranks this season but he found himself catapulted into the 18-man squad for Hull City’s 2-2 draw with Wigan Athletic.Although Bonds’ surprise inclusion on the bench did not lead to a City debut when left as an unused substitute, it underlined the midfielder’s rising stock under McCann.“He’s been really good,” said City’s head coach Grant McCann, who turned to Bonds ahead of former captain Markus Henriksen.“He trained last week with us and we’re really impressed by him. We think he’s going to be a big player for us in the future. He’s a good size, six-foot-one. He’s aggressive and he can play in any of the positions in midfield. He’s got good energy as well so I think it’s been a really shrewd signing from Jon Beale to bring him into the Under-23s. He’s looked a breath of fresh air.”London-born Bonds previously spent time with the youth set-ups of Reading and Brentford before joining Dagenham on a two-year scholarship in 2016.A first taste of senior football followed with a National League debut in February 2018 but midway last season he was sent out on loan to Farnborough of the Southern League Premier Division.Bonds spent a trial with City’s Under-23s based at Bishop Burton last month and showed enough for Beale to hand him an initial 12-month deal. City also have the option of extending that by a further year.last_img read more

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Kaiser hoping for one last round with Wisconsin

first_imgJAKE NAUGHTON/Herald photoItis often difficult to judge how valuable a player is to a team by statistics orresults alone. Some of the most talented athletes can be distractions to theirteam through complaining or lack of effort. On the other hand, some players canoften bring the most value to their team through their attitude and work ethic.This scenario holds especially true for Jeff Kaiser, a UW men’s golf teamsenior.Kaiser,the only senior on the team this year, has been a valuable asset not only incompetition, but also in his leadership skills.?”He’s just a competitor,” head coach JimSchuman said.? “He’s done so manygreat things for us.? He may not bethe guy who shoots the lowest scores, but on a day-in, day-out basis he’s doneeverything we asked of him.”AlthoughKaiser struggled through a portion of the year, he used his struggles to helpinspire his teammates.? For part ofthe season Kaiser wasn’t actually in the lineup, but he continued to work hardto earn himself a spot in the top group again.?“Ithought he showed the leadership … this year probably off the course more thananything else, how he handled himself when he wasn’t playing well,” Schumansaid.? “He broke into the lineupjust the last couple tournaments of the spring, kind of struggled with his gamefor a while there.? I think the wayhe handled that adversity off the course was his biggest role in terms ofleadership.”Hishard work paid off last weekend at the Big Ten Championships at MichiganState.? Kaiser shot a 74, two overpar, on Sunday to help Wisconsin to the third-best score in the finalround.? Although it was not enoughto lead the team into the top standings of the tournament, the effort shown byKaiser was typical of how he handled himself this season.?“Igenerally just try lead by example,” Kaiser said.? “I try and work hard always in practice or in the gym, inschool, whatever we’re doing.”Itwas this work ethic that guided the team, both coaches and teammatesalike.?“He’smeant a great deal to our team,” assistant coach Brian Brodell said. “I’velearned a lot from him.”Kaiser,one of only two captains on the team this year, may get another shot todemonstrate his leadership before his time at UW is done. If everything worksout, the Badgers will compete again in the NCAA Regionals May 15. Seeking toimprove on the team’s eighth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Kaiseris fired up.?“Idefinitely don’t want to be done,” Kaiser said. “Hopefully I’ll get anotheropportunity.”Thethought of finishing his career didn’t actually occur to Kaiser until his finalround at the Big Ten Championships.?“[It]kind of hit me; this could’ve been my last round. It’s pretty sad,” Kaisersaid.?Inaddition to continuing his career as a Badger, Kaiser is also motivated by lastyear’s NCAA Regionals, where Wisconsin missed out on moving to NCAAChampionships by one shot.?“Thatwas extremely disappointing,” Kaiser said. “There’s a lot of good teams outthere.? We need to work harder andget it together at the right time.?Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to do that.”Regardlesswhether the team makes the regionals or not, the determination Kaiser has shownhis teammates and coaching staff can only help make the team better in years tocome.?last_img read more

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Murrell, Vale connect to lift Syracuse to 2nd straight win

first_imgNever before had Jordan Murrell recorded an assist and never before had Jordan Vale scored a goal.Both changed Tuesday.Murrell sent the ball into the box on a corner kick and freshman Vale swooped in and headed it into the goal. The goal propelled Syracuse to a 1-0 win over Binghamton, giving the team its second straight victory to open the season.The win marks the first time since 2006 that SU is 2-0 to start the season.“We’re very happy to secure a win on the road against a good opponent,” head coach Ian McIntyre said. “It’s a very tough place to play. We knew that going in.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse (2-0) controlled the tempo against Binghamton (0-2) much like it did against Albany in the season-opener. The Orange outshot the Bearcats 15-11 and took nine corner kicks compared to two for the home team.McIntyre said that Syracuse’s play was strong at the beginning of the game but dipped off a bit toward the end of the first half. In the second half, things started to change for the better for McIntyre’s squad.“Second half I think they came out a bit stronger, but we started to grow and really started to see the difference,” he said. “I thought we worked very hard to frustrate them and limit their chances.”Vale capitalized on his opportunity in the 59th minute. Murrell sent SU’s seventh corner kick of the match into the middle and Vale connected, knocking the ball into the right side of the net.Jake Keegan, Binghamton’s all-time leader in career points, took three shots Tuesday night and nearly scored in the 30th minute, but he was not able to place the ball past goalie Alex Bono.The game was closely contested and evenly played, but the Jordan-to-Jordan corner kick pushed SU over the top.“We enjoyed it on the bus ride home, but now we realize we’ve got to go back to work, and we have another big game on Friday,” McIntyre said. Comments Published on August 29, 2012 at 1:18 am Contact Trevor: tbhass@syr.edu | @TrevorHass Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Noah Rhynhart adds potential scoring threat to SU offense

first_img Published on August 31, 2015 at 9:06 pm Contact Chris: cjlibona@syr.edu | @ChrisLibonati Facebook Twitter Google+ Noah Rhynhart scored two goals in the 2011 New York state club championship for Blackwatch Midlothian. The moment serves as Charles Rhynhart’s favorite memory of watching his son play soccer, but also as an aspect of Noah’s game that he’s trying to recapture this season — his scoring touch.“He was far above his peers in (speed and finishing ability), which made him a special player,” Jeff Rockmore, an assistant coach for Rhynhart’s club team said.But in 46 games at No. 15 Syracuse (1-1), Rhynhart has converted just two shots and taken 12. A senior, Rhynhart is stepping into more playing time and an increased scoring role in his last season at SU.The departure of about one-third of Syracuse’s offense from last season has left a void that Rhynhart will have to help fill. After coming to Syracuse as a Top 150 recruit in the ESPN Rise rankings, he’s started two games in parts of four seasons.“Hopefully I can show (that I’ve improved my finishing) this year because, for a forward, I don’t have as many goals as I’d like in my career,” Rhynhart said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRhynhart’s transition to the college game flipped his role. In high school, his teammates pushed the ball to him to score, Roslyn Jefferson, Rhynhart’s mother said. At Syracuse, he pushes the ball to teammates and has come off the bench.The transition wasn’t a simple one. Rhynhart enrolled at Syracuse early in the 2012 spring semester, but a misdiagnosed broken leg sidelined him, Charles Rhynhart said. Rhynhart missed practices, having to sit and watch his teammates play while he did core exercises on the sideline, but his mother doesn’t think the injury set her son back in his development.After missing time in his freshman season, Rhynhart sat behind newer players like Chris Nanco and Emil Ekblom in his sophomore and junior seasons. Ekblom led SU in scoring and started every game in 2013, while Rhynhart played just 13 of 21 games.“(Ekblom’s) a tough guy to try to knock out of the lineup,” Charles Rhynhart said.Approaching this season with Syracuse, Rhynhart knows this is his last chance. When he’s gone home during the summer, he’s worked with local club teams that have college-caliber coaches and players, Rockmore said. Rhynhart has worked on his ball-striking ability, including the angle he approaches the ball when he shoots, according to Rockmore.Rhynhart also said he’s learned to get shots off quicker, gaining confidence and shedding timidity that plagued him earlier in his career.  He was named team MVP after the spring season, his father said.“I’m seeing the team put the ball up to him more readily and kind of more trusting relationship,” Charles Rhynhart said.Adding finishing ability to his speed makes him a potentially dangerous pairing with Nanco, SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. Rhynhart said when the two are on the field, their speed can help stretch the defense.Rhynhart’s father describes his son’s playing style as passing the ball to teammates and making off-ball runs instead of dribbling through the defense, which can help him play off of Nanco and vice versa.Despite Rhynhart’s improvements, he is goalless in three exhibitions and two regular season games this season, and he knows his role could be diminished if he can’t produce.“At the end of the day,” Rhynhart said, “for the forwards, it’s whoever’s scoring the goals is going to play.” Commentslast_img read more

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Henson: In Greg Russo, we see that football is more than just a game

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of Badgernation.comFor so many people, football is more than just a game.Madison teaches you that almost instantly. Around 90,000 people pour into Camp Randall Stadium on Saturdays to watch the team they love play a game they love.Drive anywhere in the state of Wisconsin, and you’ll see motion W’s or Packer green and gold at almost every turn. Do a quick Google search and you’ll see the billions and billions of dollars college and professional football brings in thanks to die-hard fans everywhere.Still, there are those who don’t care for football – and that’s fine. The sport and its image have their imperfections, from recruiting violations in college to the outrageous CBA dispute in the pros.But there are times when we are reminded just how positively the game of football can impact people’s lives, how much the game means to some. And there are times when we are introduced to players you can’t help but root for.Meet Greg Russo – a 25-year-old walk-on linebacker for the University of Wisconsin who just recently finished two tours of duty in Iraq.Russo graduated from Lake Mills High School in 2003 and went to UW-Whitewater intending to try out for the football team after playing in high school.But he never did, and a year later, Russo felt he needed a change.“I wanted to do something,” he said. “I felt like I was kind of just floating.”So Russo decided to join the Wisconsin National Guard, where he spent one year working before his first deployment came in 2005.He spent 12 months in Iraq working for the security force before returning home in 2006. Russo spent another year at UWW while he served as an active duty member of the National Guard, until his second deployment came in 2009.Russo was sent to Iraq again for about 9 months, where he continued to work for the security force, helping to ensure the Iraqi army was receiving proper training.As you can imagine, life overseas was hard.Russo said it was tough being away from home and that something was constantly on his mind.During his second deployment, Russo couldn’t stop thinking about one thing: Football.“Every day. Every night,” Russo said. “I stayed up nights sometimes thinking about it.”He was living in a war zone, guarding military bases and convoys, but it was his dream to play college football that ignited him throughout his time in Iraq.“I thought it about it every day. I trained every day and I was lucky enough to have a good weight room,” Russo said. “I ran sprints whenever I could. I was exercising all the time.“I started realizing that maybe I could do this.”In January 2010, Russo was back home with that same desire to play football again, but there was only one team he could see himself playing for – the hometown Badgers.“This was it, man. This was it,” Russo said of playing for UW. “I grew up around the area. I love the Badgers. I can’t even imagine where else I would want to go.”He began training at Hitters SportsPlex in Middleton, where he met a trainer who helped him get in contact with UW strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.After sorting through some heavy paperwork and checking with the NCAA and Big Ten to resolve any potential compliance issues, Herbert approached UW head coach Bret Bielema with Russo’s desire to walk on.“I said if he comes out and can compete in winter conditioning and show that he can move and be a valuable asset, we’d let him have a shot,” Bielema said. “And he’s getting it.”At the moment, Russo is a linebacker who wears No. 41. He participates in drills alongside guys like Mike Taylor and Kevin Claxton – two fellow linebackers who just received their Big Ten Championship rings, two guys who just played in the Rose Bowl.A man back from war, a man so many of us look up to, who put his life on the line to defend his country, was in awe of the Badger football players he had watched on TV for so long.“Everyday I’m star struck. I walk into the locker room and I can’t believe who I am standing around,” Russo said. “I’m like, ‘I was just such a huge fan of you guys for the last few years and now here I am on the team’.”The players are plenty excited to be around Russo, as well. That feeling of respect and admiration goes both ways, and it is the game of football that has brought their drastically different lives together.“All of the guys on this team like to work,” Russo said. “They ask me questions about the military. They want to know specifics.“They are a little bit humbled by my story, I guess, which is great… these guys are very humble and respectful of what I did.”Russo knows he has the team’s respect and he is appreciative of it, but he also knows he needs to prove his worth on the field to the coaching staff every day.He has only one year of eligibility, and a spot on the Wisconsin roster come fall is by no means guaranteed. Nevertheless, Russo is optimistic.“I think it’s pretty realistic,” Russo said. “If I can show that I can work and be a contributing member – as a leader, as a guy with a lot of life experience – I’m fine with that. I just love being a part of the organization.”And that’s really what makes the game special. To some, it means that much. Coaches dedicate their lives to it. Players give up their bodies for it. And at least one soldier overseas couldn’t stop thinking about it.Some game, isn’t it?Whether you’re a football fan or not, it’s hard not to be inspired by Russo’s drive to serve his country and suit up for the Badgers. It’s a story of self-sacrifice, determination and hard work – a story the world of sports tells so well.Now, Russo is back from war and he’s getting a chance to do exactly what he wants: Play football for the team he loves.“It’s been a blessing,” he said. “Somebody up there likes me, I guess.”So does everybody else down here.Max is a senior majoring in journalism. Inspired by Greg Russo’s journey to UW? Want to know more? Let him know at mhenson@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

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Balanced Caps Dominate Canes, 5-1

first_imgThe Washington Capitals scored two quick goals to start the second period to grab a 2-1 lead and then they blew the game wide open in the final frame scoring three times en route to a 5-1 dominating victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. The Caps, who were 5-0-1 against the Canes last season, got goals from Jeff Halpern, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson, Cody Eakin (his 1st NHL tally), and Nicklas Backstrom while Anthony Stewart had the only marker for Carolina in the game’s first four minutes. Washington is now 9-2 overall in 2011-12 and they are 7-0-1 in their last eight games against the Canes, outscoring them 24-13 in the process.Here are the highlights and analysis from Washington’s fourth straight win at the RBC Center:– Typically the Caps and Hurricanes are known for playing close contests but in this game Washington used its’ depth to wear down Carolina and by just past the midpoint of the third period this one was all but over. 13 different Capitals players finished this game at +1 or better and even though the third line of Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, and Jason Chimera were all -1 on the night, they played a role in a final 20 minutes that saw the hosts get only five shots on net and not even a quality chance in that stanza until just a few minutes remained (h/t @ngreenberg). Washington’s defense was outstanding, especially Carlson, who arguably played his best game of the season, and that wasn’t because he scored the marker that ignited the three goal explosion in the final period. #74, who seems to have found some chemistry with Roman Hamrlik since they were paired together starting midway through Tuesday’s game against Anaheim, was as sound positionally as I’ve seen him be all season. His stick clogged the passing lanes, he didn’t chase the puck, and he used his size to keep the Canes offensive players away from Michal Neuvirth (24 saves).– Eakin, who made his NHL debut on Tuesday, made a nice play in the neutral zone on Brouwer’s goal, which gave the Caps a lead they would not relinquish. Eakin allowed Marcus Johansson to get the puck just past the red line and MJ90 skated in across the blue line and saucered a beautiful pass to #20, who one timed it home. It was Eakin’s first NHL point and then in the third he scored his first NHL goal on a two on one break with Alexander Semin. #28 made the play with some super defensive stickwork and then he fed Eakin with the puck in the slot in the Canes zone. Semin then went to the net and that froze Cam Ward (27 saves) giving #50 room to beat him short side. The former Western Hockey League star, who was recalled from Hershey earlier this week, was +2 with two points in 8:45 of ice time.– Backstrom, who is off to a super start with 16 points in 11 games, made a beast of a play on Carlson’s power play tally as he shouldered the Carolina defender mightily off of the puck and then slid a beauty of a feed to #74. #19 looks so much different and stronger this season, primarily because he didn’t have a shoulder injury that hampered his offseason workouts this past summer like it did in 2010.– Neuvirth was good in this tilt, especially in the second period when the Canes had three straight power plays. He was also lucky that the game wasn’t tied at two because an early whistle wiped out what should have been a Carolina power play goal (h/t John Walton, who brought me the game via radio in the middle frame). #30’s positioning was solid and he was only beaten on Stewart’s tipped shot off of a faceoff. The defensive draw occurred because Karl Alzner made a bad backhand pass up the boards that led to a Canes quality scoring chance. Then Laich lost the faceoff and Jeff Schultz failed to tie up Stewart in the slot and he tipped home Jay Harrison’s point blast. But that was about the only really bad stretch for the Caps in this one.– Ward, when he is on, can easily shut down a team. Other nights it just takes one goal to open the flood gates on him and Halpern’s greasy goal, which was helped by Matt Hendricks working hard in the crease area and Mike Knuble digging the puck out off of the back boards, was just what the Caps needed to get going. That tally came right after a dominating Washington first power play that spanned the end of the first period and the commencement of the second. Both Alex Ovechkin (two assists) and Semin had great chances on that man advantage. Overall the Caps went 1 for 3 on the power play while Carolina was held to 0 for 4. On Carlson’s power play tally, it was the Gr8 who provided the screen in front of Ward.– In summary, this was a game where it was ultra clear the advantage Washington has talent and depth wise. Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau, who scratched Mathieu Perreault tonight, did a super job with his in game adjustments and also once again stuck to his guns by evening out the ice time. That strategy has really shown its effects on the opponents in the final period in the last two tilts. It also works better when the game is played most of the time at five on five. The Caps did have that bad stretch of penalties in the second period, but other than that they were disciplined, another key for victory. This club has speed and size, which is a deadly duo that will wear a team out if the players buy into what the coaches are selling and repeatedly get pucks deep in their opponents zone. Washington executed the game plan on Friday night and turned this one into an easy win.Notes: The Caps are in Long Island on Saturday night against the Islanders at 7pm on Comcast…if you ever can’t catch a period or a part of the game on television, which I had to do tonight for the middle frame, you absolutely have to tune in on radio to Walton, who definitely makes you feel like you are in the arena…Semin (1 assist) had his best game out of the last six and he continues to own the Canes during his career…the teams each won 29 of the 58 draws. Backstrom was the best for the Caps at 9-5…Brouwer took an awkward hit at the end of Tuesday’s game and appeared to have an upper body injury but he showed no ill effects tonight in a strong performance…John Erskine was excellent in his second game back from offseason shoulder surgery…Mike Green missed his fourth straight game and is doubtful for Saturday.last_img read more

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La Liga wrap: Real stutter, Messi misses penalty but Barca win

first_imgRafael Benitez’s reign as Real Madrid boss got off to a poor start as his side of star names were held 0-0 by newly-promoted Sporting Gijon on Sunday.Los Blancos are already two points behind Barcelona as the champions exacted revenge for their Spanish Super Cup defeat to Athletic Bilbao thanks to Luis Suarez’s solitary second-half strike.Sporting were playing their first game back in the top flight for three years, but roared on by a vociferous home support they matched the visitors.They could even had taken a famous three points had Antonio Sanabria’s first-half header been deemed to have crossed the line.Benitez started with Gareth Bale in a more central position, but the Welshman was again disappointing as Madrid failed to create clear-cut chances before the break.Indeed it was the hosts who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Sanabria’s headed effort came back off the underside of the bar and appeared to just clip the goal line on its way back out. Sporting also had the first chance of the second period when Carlos Carmona sent a bullet header inches past the post.However, the Asturians then had to withstand wave upon wave of Real attack in the final half hour.Cristiano Ronaldo was uncharacteristically wayward in front of goal at a point as he somehow failed to direct James Rodriguez’s inch-perfect cross on target.The World Player of the Year missed an even better chance 15 minutes from time from another fine cross by Danilo. Sporting ‘keeper Ivan Cuellar salvaged a point for his side with a stunning save to turn Ronaldo’s fiercely struck effort behind.In Bilbao, Lionel Messi’s troubles from the penalty spot continued as he saw a first-half spot-kick saved by Gorka Iraizoz.However, his strike partner ensured that miss didn’t prove costly as Suarez volleyed home early in the second-half to hand the champions all three points.Elsewhere…Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Valencia Valencia and Rayo Vallecano were forced to share the spoils, after the two sides played out to a goalless draw at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas on Saturday evening.Espanyol 1-0 GetafeEspanyol began their La Liga campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over Getafe at the Power8 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.The only goal of the game was scored by Salva Sevilla in the third minute to hand the Calatan-based side the three points. Real Sociedad 0-0 Deportivo La Carouna David Moyes’ Real Sociedad began their 2015/2016 season with a goalless draw against Deportivo La Carouna at the Estadio Municipal de Riazor on Saturday afternoon.Friday’s result: Malaga and Sevilla played out to a goalless draw in their opening La Liga encounter.–CLICK TO READ: Serie A wrap – Juve lose, Lazio win, Roma held –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

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Grant Williams, once overlooked, on verge of history with top-ranked Tennessee

first_imgThis was their 14th consecutive game against an unranked opponent since they knocked Gonzaga from the top spot in the polls on Dec. 9. They have games coming in the next month against No. 5 Kentucky (Feb. 16 and March 2) and No. 21 LSU (Feb. 23) as well as NCAA Tournament contenders Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn.“It’s different. We’ve never experienced it. It’s not something we take for granted. It’s not something you’re ever going to forget,” Williams said. “Twenty years from now when I’m talking to my kids, I can be able to say I was on the No. 1 team in the country. It’s an honor and I thank God for it, but we know we have a long way to go.“We know we haven’t accomplished the goals we want to achieve. There’s a lot of things Tennessee hasn’t done. There’s a whole lot of things we haven’t done. We won an SEC championship, but we want more. We’re kind of greedy in that sense. We want to keep going and keep building on what we have.” MORE: Duke’s Zion Williamson the runaway POY favoriteBeing reminded of this does not seem to provoke Williams. Unlike so many athletes before him, he does not express that such an obvious and enduring slight has driven him to rank among the very best college basketball players of 2019, to stand as the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and the star player of the nation’s No. 1 team. He understands why he was overlooked and underrated, and why he has traveled so far in such a short period of time.“I knew I could play. I knew I could compete,” Williams told Sporting News following a 72-60 victory against Missouri on Tuesday. “It took some time. It took some ups and downs, but to be where I’m at now and to have more in store, it’s amazing.”It also took a most fortunate set of circumstances for Tennessee to find him, and that starts with Vols assistant Desmond Oliver. Before he was hired by the Vols as an assistant coach, Oliver spent five years on the staff at Charlotte, where he spotted Williams early and recruited him to play for the 49ers in Conference USA. But Oliver’s time there ended in 2015 when head coach Alan Major was let go — right about the time Rick Barnes was forced out at Texas and found at Tennessee an ideal place for a fabulous final chapter in an impressive career.Barnes hired Oliver to his staff because of his extensive regional experience in the Southeast, which also included a five-season stint at Georgia. And Oliver brought along this crazy notion that Williams, a 6-7, 236-pound forward primarily targeted by mid-majors, could succeed in the SEC.“If it wasn’t for Coach Oliver, I don’t know if I would be here right now,” Williams said. “When I really think about it, the people surrounding me have really helped me get better as a person and a player. My family has always done a great job of being there for me each game and having confidence in me even when I didn’t have that much confidence in myself.“I was never the most attractive-looking athlete. I wasn’t the guy that was going to outshoot anyone. I was just a guy that would do what I do: more physicality, bringing effort and competing.”Williams laughs now about arriving at UT and being measured at 17 percent body fat, even after he’d followed his final high school season with what he considered to be a demonic workout regimen — “I was shocked,” he said. With better training and understanding of nutrition, he now is able to play above the rim when necessary — his block of a 3-point attempt by Missouri forward Kevin Puryear on Tuesday was just plain mean — and guard every position on the floor when the Vols employ defensive switches.He has a simple goal as he endeavors to improve his body: “I want people to be able to say, ‘Grant Williams runs like a gazelle.’ I’ve never had that comparison.”Williams does average 20.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals and shoots .579 from the field and .835 from the foul line. He has majestic numbers in nearly every basic statistical category that describes a basketball player, and he does it for a team with a 21-1 record that hasn’t lost a game since November.Should he deliver another month of similar performances, Williams can expect to be named a first-team All-American. Over the past five years, nearly half of players who achieved that distinction were top-25 recruits. Over 70 percent were ranked in the top 100 coming out of high school. Only one, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in 2015, was lower than 191st, and he took a redshirt year and four seasons of progress to develop into a star.“I think we knew what we were seeing,” associate head coach Rob Lanier told SN. “We were lucky no one else did.”MORE: SN’s midseason All-America teamIn advance of his senior season in high school, Williams played the summer circuit with Carolina-based Team CP3 alongside such elite teammates as Harry Giles (now with the Sacramento Kings) and Josh Okogie (now with the Minnesota Timberwolves). The Team CP3 profile is inflated, as well, by the sponsorship of NBA superstar Chris Paul. Williams went up against Kentucky-bound Bam Adebayo, now of the Miami Heat, in high school games.“I was competing, putting the work in,” Williams said. “I knew I was always able to compete with them. It was really a matter of improving my body.”An excellent student who will graduate this spring with a major in business administration, Williams got plenty of Ivy League offers and seriously considered Harvard. Tennessee was pretty much the only place offering both a high-level education and the opportunity to compete against the best college players.Williams is not really an exception on this Tennessee team, though, and that’s what makes the Vols exceptional. They stand at No. 1 in the nation with not a single player in the rotation who was ranked in the top 125 of his high school class. No. 3 Duke features three of the top five prospects from last year’s class alone.According to 247Sports, Volunteers forward Admiral Schofield was 251st in his class. He’s now an All-SEC candidate, at the very least, averaging 16.6 points and 6.3 rebounds. Point guard Jordan Bone was No. 171 in his class, and high school coaches around the Nashville area who competed against him were privately questioning why the Vols would be interested in signing him. Now, he’s got NBA scouts watching his development.There never has been an NCAA champion with this recruiting profile, certainly not since analysis became commonly available inside the past two decades. There only have been two without McDonald’s All-American on their rosters since the game was introduced four decades ago: Maryland in 2002 and Connecticut in 2014. UConn had a top-20 prospect in DeAndre Daniels, but he played an extra year in prep school before enrolling.“We have not overachieved. There’s no such thing as overachievement,” Lanier said. “If you achieve something, you did it.”He even rejected the notion the Vols staff had done an extraordinary scouting job to spot so many three-star prospects capable of excelling at this level. Lanier insisted the good fortune was in finding a group of players with “character, commitment and connection to each other. We have that in abundance.”It is being challenged at the moment by forces relatively new to Tennessee basketball and entirely new to this group of players. There are eight players with the Vols who’ve experienced one 16-win season, and several of them endured that sort of mediocrity twice. Last year’s SEC regular-season title was unexpected, but now the program’s fans and people who follow college basketball are wondering if this can become the first UT men’s team to reach the Final Four.MORE: February could be greatest month of basketball in recent memoryFor three weeks now, when Williams and his Tennessee teammates have glanced at any media account of their basketball activities, they have been reminded of the peak they have ascended. They are ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, and absolutely it can be unsettling if they forget not to look down. Players at Kentucky or Duke arrive fully expecting this sort of talk to be part of their experience. It is new to the Vols.“I think we’re still managing it. We’re still understanding where we’re at,” Williams said. “We still have time to grow. We’re not done yet. It would be different if we just fell off the wagon or we just gave up, but the fact we’re still showing that fight, that effort to claw back, we still have that grit. And that’s how you know we’re the team that we truly are.”The Vols have played five games since they were voted No. 1 by the AP on Jan. 21. They’ve won each of those games, although the first of those was a too-close-for-comfort overtime road win against meager Vanderbilt. The latest, Tuesday at home against overmatched Missouri, had a most perfunctory feel to it.No one among the Vols tried to pretend otherwise, even as they extended their winning streak to 17 games.“I thought some of the guys were a little lethargic,” Barnes told reporters. “I can’t tell you why. It happens. I’ve been doing this long enough to know it can happen to the best of them, but again we found a way of fighting through it to win a game.” KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — He’s aware of how lightly he was regarded as a college basketball prospect during his time at Providence Day School in Charlotte, N.C. Growing up smack in the heart of ACC country, he knows who wrote and called regularly, and who didn’t.His rankings by recruiting analysts haven’t been erased merely because he has obliterated them with nearly three seasons’ worth of performances for the Tennessee Volunteers. A few simple keystrokes, and there it is: Grant Williams, three stars, No. 191 in the class of 2016.last_img read more

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