New Ads

New ads

Monday, October 28, 2019

NHL news and notes

NHL News and Notes

Has a defenseman ever had a good of a start to a season than John Carlson for the Washington Capitals?  Not only is he leading defensemen in scoring with 5 goals and 16 assists in 13 games but at one time was leading the NHL in scoring with 21 points.  In the history of the NHL for defensemen only Paul Coffey in the 1988-1989 season through 10 games had topped Carlson.  There was a question whether the Caps were going to sign Carlson to a big extension after winning the Stanley Cup in 2018 but in June of that year they signed Carlson to a huge extension of 8 years/$64 million and right now it looks like a brilliant decision.

And speaking of scoring defensemen Roman Josi (5 goals, 8 assists) and Ryan Ellis (2 goals, 11 assists) are the leading scorers for the Nashville Predators.  You thought going into this season the Predators would be more lethal offensively and they have lived up to the billing scoring 45 goals in 11 games with 17 different Predator players scoring goals this year.  The Preds might have the deepest roster of any team in the NHL this year and 36 year old goaltender Pekka Rinne has shown no signs of regression with 6 wins in 7 starts and a stellar 1.98 GAA and .931 save percentage.

Also off to a hot start but not as big as a surprise is David Pastrnak for the Boston Bruins with 11 goals in his first 11 games.  Pastrnak was 26th in scoring last year and tied for 14th in goals.  Only 23 years old, Pastrnak has a possible chance at 60 goals this year playing on one of the top lines in the NHL with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron who have already combined to score 23 goals with 31 assists.  The Bruins have shown no signs of a hangover from last years run to the Stanley Cup final with 18 points and only 1 loss in regulation for the season.  Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are already proving they are the best goalie tandem in the league combining to post as a 2.09 GAA and .934 save percentage.  The only negative for the Bruins is the early struggles of Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk who have only scored a goal apiece.  If the Bruins can get their secondary goal scorers going they will be the early favorites to get out of the Eastern Conference.

The Detroit Red Wings are in the midst of an 8 game losing streak and the biggest problem for the Wings is getting any secondary scoring.  They have only scored 13 goals in that span while giving up 34.  Their top line of Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Anthony Mantha have combined for 15 goals and 18 assists but the Wings have only gotten 12 goals from the rest of the team.  The goaltending tandem of Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier have struggled as well with a combined 3.75 GAA and .887 save percentage.  General Manager Steve Yzerman knows this could possibly be a long rebuild and they will be prime candidates to unload veterans like Darren Helm or Justin Abdelkader in the near future.

A big blow for the defending Stanley Cup Champion St Louis Blues as Vladimir Tarasenko looks to be out for the rest of the regular per needing shoulder surgery.  They have gotten good production early from Brayden Schenn and David Perron who have combined for 15 goals but with Tarasenko out they will need to get more production from Ryan O'Reilly, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, Oscar Sundqvist, Tyler Bozak, and Ivan Barbashev who have only combined to score 6 goals in 12 games.

The struggles continue for the Dallas Stars offensively as they have only scored 25 goals in 13 games.  Roope Hintz is off to a nice start with 6 goals but veterans like Jamie Benn (1 goal), Tyler Seguin (2 goals), Alexander Radulov (1 goal) Joe Pavelski (2 goals) Mattias Janmark (1 goal), Radek Faksa (1 goal), and Corey Perry (1 goal in 6 games) have to pick it up as the Stars only have 9 points on the season and would not be a playoff team right now.

After shutting out the New Jersey Devils in the second game of the season it looked like Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was well on his way to establishing himself as the #1 goaltender.  Unfortunately Hart has struggled mightily giving up 12 goals on 43 shots in has last 3 starts and was pulled twice.  Veteran Brian Elliott has played well in his 6 starts with a 2.28 GAA and .926 save percentage.  Hart has a bright future but it looks like Elliott will be the #1 goaltender for now. If Hart continues to struggle even in a back up role the Flyers brass might have to consider sending him to the minor leagues to get straight.

So far the game of the year was the Washington Capitals epic comeback against the Vancouver Canucks on October 25th.  The Caps were down 5-1 late in the 2nd period but scored a goal with 1 second left in the 2nd period and then proceeded to score 3 straight in the 3rd period and ended up winning the shootout for the 6-5 win.  And the most amazing statistic from that Caps win was that Alexander Ovechkin and John Carlson did not register a point.

Even with that late meltdown the Canucks are one team I am starting to like in regards to being a sleeper team for the playoffs.  The J.T. Miller trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning looks good early as he is leading the Canucks in scoring with 11 points in 10 games.  Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser are capable of scoring 30 goals this season and if they can get other role players like Josh Leivo, Jake Virtanen, Michael Ferland, Tim Schaller, and Brandon Sutter to fill out their scoring depth it bodes well for the Canucks.  They are much improved defensively with the additions of Tyler Meyers and Jordie Benn and the goaltending tandem of Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko have exceeded expectations combining for a GAA of 2.40 and .923 save percentage.  Demko has been an early season revelation in the back up role with a 1.64 GAA and .943 save percentage in 3 starts.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

College/NFL picks

Here are the picks this week

College picks
Last week 2-3
Overall 17-16-2

Temple +11.5
Western Kentucky +4
Texas -1
Miami (OH) +2.5
Washington St +14

Last Week 3-2
Overall 19-16

Buffalo -1.5
Carolina +5.5
Detroit -6.5
Jacksonville -6.5
Chicago -3.5

Good Luck!

Friday, October 18, 2019

College/NFL picks

Here are the picks this week:

Last week 3-2
Overall 15-13-2

Washington +3
Air Force -3
Texas Tech +7.5
Ball St -2.5
Florida St +1.5

Last week 3-2
Overall 16-14

Miami +17
Seattle -3
Indianapolis -1
Arizona +3
LA Chargers +2.5

Good Luck!

Record-Setting Lions Ready to Roar!

Backcourt buddies Justin Martin and Zach Richardson are back for another season of  breakneck basketball.
By Harry Cummins

     Featuring arguably the best backcourt in small college basketball, the high-octane Multnomah Lions of the Cascade Collegiate Conference are set to resume their record-setting ways Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. when they host Yellowstone Christian College to open the 2019-20 season in Portland.

     Sporting the nation's highest scoring offense, averaging 97.57 ppg last year, Multnomah will be led by dynamic guards Justin Martin and Zach Richardson who combined for nearly 50 points per contest in 2018-19.  Martin, returning for his senior season, was the NAIA Division 2 leading scorer last season, posting 8 games with 40 or more points, including an NAIA D-2 record shattering 71 points against Warner Pacific.

     Richardson is coming off a freshman campaign that saw him finish 8th in the nation in 3 point baskets made with 118, and is the 4th leading returning scorer this season in the CCC with a 17.53 average. A rapidly emerging star, Richardson will give Multnomah a devastating 1-2 punch from the backcourt.  Martin also displayed his play-making skills last year when he finished 8th in assists in D-2, and second in the CCC to national assist leader Michael Fink of OIT.  Averaging nearly 32 points a game and leading the country in scoring, Martin was oddly left off post-season NAIA All-American teams. Martin, along with Richardson, is primed for a showcase season.

     Also returning is 6'7" senior Stepan Zavydovskyy, who finished 3rd in NAIA D-2 last season in blocked shots per game, including a D-2 high 10 blocks vs Simpson (Calif).  The Lions will need to replace the front court contributions of graduating senior Ben Grandle from last years squad.  Grandle recorded 11 double-double scoring and rebound games last year and was a strong inside-outside threat, once canning 9 3's in a single game last year against Eastern Oregon.  Fortunately, Grandle still remains close at hand, having accepted the position of Sports Information Director for the Lions and will probably be the fittest figure on press row this year.

     Returning for his 17th season as head coach of Multnomah is Curt Bickley.  The always innovative Bickley will no doubt unveil some new offensive wrinkles for a team that set an NAIA record last season with 38 made 3-point baskets in a single game against NCAA opponent Pacific University.  The high scoring Lions had 89 points at halftime of that game, enroute to a 147-124 win.  Richardson and Martin each had 49 points in that historic contest, combining for 27 of the record 38 three-point baskets.

     Saturday's season opening opponent, Yellowstone Christian College, is located in Billings, Montana.  Formerly known as Yellowstone Baptist College, they will be directed by new coach Jamil Sanfiel, as their basketball program enters its fifth year as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.  Sanfiel was formerly an assistant coach at Nebraska Christian for the past 3 seasons, leading them to a NCCAA D-1 tournament appearance.

     This will be Multnomah's final year as a NAIA D-2 school.  Beginning with the 2020-21 season, basketball in the NAIA will have just one division, effectively merging the current 229 divisions one and two schools.  Under the new alignment, all institutions will be able to offer the same amount of scholarships (8).  Next season will also see powerhouse Lewis Clark State College out of Lewiston, Idaho, join the Cascade Collegiate Conference, further strengthening a conference that landed two teams in the NAIA D-2 Final Four last year.

     A women's game between Multnomah and Yellowstone will start the season's lid-lifting festivities at 11 am on the Lions home court.  A few hours later, the electronic scoreboard at Jim Skagen Court should be severely tested!




Sunday, October 13, 2019

NHL News & Notes-Eastern Conference

NHL News and Notes for the Eastern Conference.

The Buffalo Sabres are off to a great start in the Eastern Conference with 4 wins and an OT loss in their first 5 games.  The big story for the Sabres is their offensive output with 21 goals.  They haven't relied on one line but have shown good scoring depth with Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart, Marcus Johansson, Victor Olofsson and Conor Sheary all contributing and Rasmus Dahlin 3rd in the league in scoring for defensemen.  The Sabres power play is hot out of the gate leading the NHL in power play conversions and goaltenders Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton are both off to solid starts.  The Sabres started quickly last year but faded badly at the end of the season so we will see if this start is fools gold or if this is a more mature team who can take the next step and compete for a playoff spot.

The NHL didn't do the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins any favors sending them on a tough 4 game road trip to start the season but finished the trip 3-1 and won their home opener to start the season with 4 wins in 5 starts.  Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have proven out of the gate why they might be the best goaltending duo in the league combining for 4 wins, a shutout apiece, and a combined 1.60 GAA and .952 save percentage.  Brad Marchand has 4 goals to lead the Bruins and they have been winning despite slow starts for Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, and Charlie Coyle who have yet to register a goal.

The Tampa Bay Lightning who dominated the regular season last year are not off to the high flying start everyone expected including a shocking 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators.  Steven Stamkos gave the following quote after a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. "“We just continue to be the freewheeling team that thinks we can just come into games and win because we’re skilled,” Stamkos said. “We keep falling back into the same old bad habits that we’ve been doing, that cost us the season we had last year.  “Unless we change things, it’s going to be a really, really, really long year.”  A wake up call from a veteran who knows that you can't just rely on talent and have to work hard night in and night out to win consistently in the NHL.

There were high expectations for the New Jersey Devils this year with the addition of P.K. Subban, a healthy Taylor Hall,  and the 1st overall draft pick in Jack Hughes.  However the Devils are winless out of the gate and have struggled both offensively and defensively being outscored in 5 games 23-9.  Hall is yet to score a goal, Subban only has a single assist and Hughes has yet to register his first NHL point.  Goaltenders Cory Schneider & Mackenzie Blackwood have struggled badly out of the gate combining for a 4.20 GAA and .864 save percentage.  And the big question hanging over the franchise is Hall's impending free agency and if things keep going South will they need to eventually trade him or risk losing him for nothing.

The Philadelphia Flyers could be a sleeper team to watch especially if young goaltender Carter Hart continues to progress.  He is off to a hot start with 2 wins in 3 starts including a shutout of the New Jersey Devils.  I like the coaching change to Alain Vigneault and if Claude Giroux, Travis Kocecny, Sean Couturier and the big free agent addition Kevin Hayes come through scoring wise this will be a playoff team.

The Carolina Hurricanes are showing everyone that their run to the Eastern Conference finals was no fluke with 5 wins in their first 6 games.  They have scored 23 goals in 6 games with 9 of those goals coming from defensemen including 4 already from Dougie Hamilton.  Most importantly for the Hurricanes is their goaltending tandem of Peter Mrazek and James Reimer have played well combining for a 2.67 GAA and .914 save percentage. Eric Haula has been a nice addition from the Vegas Golden Knights as he has already scored 5 goals and the Hurricanes have been winning despite slow starts from Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal who have combined for only 2 goals. 

NHL News & Notes-Western Conference

NHL Western Conference news and notes

The big story out of the gate is the Edmonton Oilers starting a perfect 5-0-0. Two players the Oilers acquired from their rival Calgary Flames have been instrumental to the quick start.  James Neal already has a league leading 7 goals after only scoring a total of 7 last year and Mike Smith has solidified the goaltending position with 3 wins, 2.67 GAA average and .907 save percentage. 
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl are already in double digits in scoring and the Oilers are averaging 4+ goals a game.  As long as they get dependable goaltending from Smith and the backup Mikko Koskinen and McDavid can stay healthy for the season the Oilers could return to being a playoff team.

Also a surprise out of the gate is the Anaheim Ducks with a 4-1-0 start to their season.  Goaltender John Gibson has been the best goaltender in the early season with 3 wins, a 1.26 GAA, and a .961 save percentage.  Even with their poor record last year Gibson kept the Ducks in most games and is capable of having a Vezina type season.  It is still a struggle for the Ducks to score goals with only 11 goals in 5 games but if Gibson can keep dominating and veteran backup Ryan Miller can regain his form their defensive style will keep them in most games.

The Colorado Avalanche are also off to a great start opening 4-0-0.  This team will score a lot of goals with arguably the best line in the NHL with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog.  But they now have added scoring depth with the additions Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, and J.T. Compher.  Goaltender Phillip Grubauer has carried over his hot 2nd half of last year's season into this year with 3 wins, a 2.34 GAA, and a .931 save percentage. Also they have a rookie of the year candidate on defense with young and talented Cale Makar who as a rookie is anchoring the power play on the blue line and has already contributed 5 assists on the season.

Conversely it could be a long season for the Minnesota Wild as they have started 0-4-0 and coach Bruce Boudreau is your early favorite to be the first coach fired.  They have given up 21 goals in 4 games and goaltender Devan Dubnyk is off to a miserable start with a 4.56 GAA and a .862 save percentage.  Zach Parise, Eric Staal, and Mats Zuccarello have only combined to score 1 goal and they only have 5 goals from all of their forwards to start the season. 

The San Jose Sharks who made it to the Western Conference finals last year have also stumbled out of gate with only 1 win in 5 games.  The big surprise with the Sharks has been their inability to score goals as they only scored 5 goals in their first 4 games but did finally break out with a 5-4 win over the Blackhawks.  Logan Couture, Thomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin LaBanc, and Joe Thornton have combined to score only 2 goals. 

Another team off to a slow start is the Dallas Stars with only 1 OT win in 6 games.  This team is a little snake bit as 4 out of their 5 losses have been by a single goal. Joe Pavelski, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov have only combined to score 2 goals with Pavelski yet to score a goal.  I wouldn't panic if I was a Stars fan as I expect this team to right the ship but the veterans on the offensive side must produce.

Veteran goaltenders you have to be concerned with are Corey Crawford for the Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Quick for the Los Angeles Kings, and Martin Jones with the San Jose Sharks. Crawford is winless in 2 starts with a 4.63 GAA and .875 save percentage and Quick is winless in his two starts with a 7.17 GAA and .750 save percentage.  Jones is winless in three starts with a 4.55 GAA and .854 save percentage.  Normally you wouldn't panic this early in the season but all three goaltenders struggled last year and all three could be relegated as back up goalies with the Blackhawks signing Robin Lehner who played well in his debut despite losing, Jack Campbell who won both of his starts with the Kings despite lackluster numbers with a 3.48 GAA and .885 save percentage, and Aaron Dell who has played relatively well with a win and 3.48 GAA.   

'Moon Landing' For A Marathon Man

Eluid Kipchoge Waltzes to Historic Sub-2 Hour Clocking in Vienna (Getty photo)

By Harry Cummins

     With a little help from his world class friends and some Byzantine course management,Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya became the first human in history to run a marathon in less than 2 hours when he crossed the finish line this weekend in Vienna, Austria in a time of 1 hour 59 minutes 40 seconds.  "This is history, like the first man on the moon," said the 34 year-old Kipchoge.

     To report that this once unimaginable achievement will not be recognized as a world record because it was not staged under normal race conditions, is an understatement.  Kipchoge ran behind an electric timing car driving at the exact pace of 4:34 per mile and surrounded by an aerodynamic V-formation of rotating, world class pace-setters to block any wind.  Green laser beams projected onto the street by the pace car showed runners the perfect path to maximize every tangent on the course.  A bicyclist delivered periodic carbohydrate replacement fluids to Kipchoge over the long rail-like straightaways designed for speed.

     Some may scoff at the carefully staged nature of this event and the hands-on involvement of its sponser INEOS, a global manufacturer of petrochemicals owned by Britian's richest man, Jim Ratcliffe.  Yet, assuming the course measurement was accurate, it remains  a magnificent and historic accomplishment in world athletics.  One must not forget that Kipchoge is the current official record holder in the marathon, posting a WR time of 2:01:39 in Berlin in 2018.  He has won 8 different marathons in his career and is a 3 time Olympic medalist.  His pace-making 'escorts' in Vienna included Olympic gold medalists Bernard Lagat and Matt Centrowitz, along with the three extraordinary Ingebrigtsen brothers.

     Where is Nike in all this, you may ask?  Kipchoge ran his milestone marathon in a pair of foam-filled white Nike sneakers... a model yet unreleased to the public. At present, the shoe is called the ZoomX Vaporfly and is rumored to go on sale for around $300 in the coming months.

     May I suggest, instead, the name 'Moonbeam' to the Nike marketing department. Or, perhaps, 'The Apollo 159'.

     ...and why not market it for a more down-to-earth $159... while you are at it!


Friday, October 11, 2019

College/NFL picks

Here are the picks this week

Last week 1-4
Overall 12-11-2

Texas +10.5
USF +5
Texas A&M +17
Iowa +3.5
Minnesota -7

Last week 3-2
Overall 13-12

Minnesota -3
LA Rams -3
NY Jets +7
Tennessee +2
Seattle -1.5

Good Luck!

Friday, October 4, 2019

'She Stoops To Conquer' -Muhammad Lowers Her Own WR!!!!

Daliah Muhammed  Hurdles Her Way To Another World Record 
By Harry Cummins                              52.16

     29 year old Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States held off fellow American Sydney McLaughlin to break her existing 400 meter hurdles world record Friday and capture the gold medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.  Her time was a sizzling 52.16, breaking her previous world record of 52.20 set in July this year at the U.S. Nationals.

     McLaughlin, the 20 year old U.S. prodigy, was a close second in a lifetime best 52.23.  A classic showdown next year between the two best female hurdlers in the world should come at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games... and should be something to behold.


College/NFL picks

Here are the picks this week

Last week 2-3
Overall 11-7-2

Iowa St -3
Auburn -3
Georgia Tech +10.5
Vanderbilt +7.5
Michigan St. +21

Last week 1-4
Overall 10-10

Carolina -3
New Orleans -3
Dallas -3
Chicago -3.5
San Francisco -4

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Salwa Eid Naser Stuns Track World With 48.14 Clocking!!!

Athletes Dazzle in Persian Gulf

By Harry Cummins

     On the seventh day in Doha, the gods of track and field did not rest!

     Running her fifth 400m race this week, 21 year old Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain upset 2016 Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and raced to the third fastest time in world history today in capturing the gold medal final at the 2019 World Track and Field Championships in Doha.

     Naser's time (48.14) was nearly a full second better than the PR she entered the meet with and was the fastest women's 400 meters since Marita Koch's world record (47.60) set 34 years ago. "This is crazy," the diminutive Naser told reporters after the race at Khalifa International Stadium.  Only East Germany's Koch and Jarmilia Kratochvilova of the former Czechoslavakia Republic have run faster than Naser, and both of those performances came when they were over 30 years old and tainted by persistent drug rumors.

     Miller-Uibo, 25, finished second in a PR of her own (48.37), and now lays claim to the sixth fastest women's 400m ever run.  The top 5 finishers in the race all registered personal bests, including Wadeline Jonathas and Phyllis Francis of the United States, who finished fourth and fifth respectively.  Francis was the defending 2017 world champion.

     In a meet that has been rocked by the news of Alberto Salazar's 4-year doping ban, the United States has turned in their best World Championship showing ever.  Christian Coleman (WL 9.76) and Noah Lyles (19.83) each captured the gold medal in the 100 and 200 meter sprints.  Donovan Brazier became the first U.S 800 meter runner, man or woman, to win a global gold since 1972.  He did it in style, clocking a new American record of 1:42.34.

     Sam Kendricks of the United States became only the second man to ever repeat as world pole vault champion when he soared to a height of 19 feet, 9 inches to win a stirring duel with Mondo Duplantis.  Grant Holloway of Florida won his first ever World 110m hurdle title this week in a year he also broke the NCAA record, while Christian Taylor captured his fourth world title in the triple jump.

     Finals in the men's and women's 1500 meters and the men's shot put will highlight the closing 3 days of these championships.  The top Americans in all 3 events remain in the hunt for medals.

    To track purists, this week cannot be spoiled by scandals, sparse attendance, and searing heat in the Middle East.  This is one of the great sporting events in the world and now heads to America and Eugene, Oregon, where a glittering new stadium awaits in 2021.

Single day tickets are on sale now.