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Rockies’ dramatic series-opening win over Diamondbacks typifies increasingly heated rivalry
It was 119 degrees Tuesday in Phoenix, the hottest temperature on record for June 20 in the city’s history. And thermostats hit 99 in Denver — also a city record for the date — leading the way into an electric evening at Coors Field as the Rockies outdueled the Diamondbacks 4-3 to kick off a series between the two NL West and geographic rivals whose showdowns have become increasingly heated. “We knew we were playing a really good team where they had a seven-game winning streak and we had a five,” said Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzales, who had a solo homer in the fourth. “We’re not too far from each other in the standings or talent, and having a big crowd is always extra motivation for these divisional games.” Both the Rockies (founded 1993) and the Diamondbacks (1998) are relatively new by baseball terms, and both fan bases have long loved to hate the division’s California teams — especially as Los Angeles has cruised to four consecutive division titles and San Francisco has captured three championships over the past seven seasons. The two clubs, despite their moment on the big stage against each other in the Rockies’ sweep of the Diamondbacks in the 2007 National League Championship Series, have often been on the fringe of the fight for division success — not facing off against each other in the fight itself. But in a 2017 season where the Rockies truly believe they are as good as their 47-26 record shows and the Diamondbacks are on a rebound following their 2016 bust, the stakes are high between the familiar foes. Heading into Tuesday, Colorado had won four of six on the season against Arizona. It was well-pitched by starters German Marquez and Zach Greinke. It was well-fielded, despite two early Diamondbacks’ errors, in a game that included multiple flashes of leather by the Rockies. And it was exciting as a feverous crowd brought an atmosphere in a weeknight game that this rivalry has rarely seen. “Both these teams are playing great right now — we’ve both got great stuff from their starting pitchers, we’ve both got great hitters,” said longtime Diamondback and current Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra. “It’s a great moment, right now, when these teams meet.” The eighth inning typified Parra’s sentiments, with Diamondbacks veteran slugger Paul Goldschmidt slugging a two-run blast to give the Diamondbacks the lead only to see Arenado come right back with a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the frame to regain the advantage for the Rockies. By the time Greg Holland came in to shut the door in the ninth for his 25th save — amid an array of lightning bolts just beyond the stadium throughout the inning — the Coors Field crowd was all on its feet. They chanted LET’S GO ROCKIES and were eager to high-five to not just another win (there have been plenty of those this season), but a win against one of the NL’s best teams and a division foe. It’s still plenty early in the summer, and these teams are scheduled to meet a dozen more times this season, including twice more this series. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve had some good games and it’s always back and forth, but it’s a little different when you get to the end of the year and you’re fighting to win the division,” Goldschmidt said. “It hasn’t been like that between the Diamondbacks and Rockies, but hopefully it will be this year.” [...]
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Kiszla: Trading for Jimmy Butler would be bigger get for Nuggets than hiring Chauncey Billups
The Nuggets don’t need to hire Chauncey Billups to win a championship. But it’s time for president of basketball operations Tim Connelly to stop talking about being aggressive in the trade market and go get Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler or New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis. You interested in patiently waiting until 2020 for the Nuggets to be more than dust bunnies for Kevin Durant to mop off the floor? Me, neither. While disgruntled Indiana star Paul George informed the Nuggets months ago his next move would be to the beaches of Los Angeles rather than the mountains of Colorado, Butler is definitely on the trade block and Porzingis might be, depending on the mood of zen master Phil Jackson when he brushes his teeth on any given morning. Do the Nuggets have the resources to obtain Butler or Porzingis in a trade? Here are two deals, humbly proposed. Connelly can pick the one he likes best, and doesn’t even have to give me credit. All I ask is his silent and eternal gratitude. Trade A: Denver sends Wilson Chandler, Will Barton and Emmanuel Mudiay to Chicago in return for Butler, a three-time all star who averaged 23.9 points last season and has two years remaining on his contract before he can opt out in 2019. Are the Celtics or Cavaliers offering Chicago a better deal? If so, maybe the Nuggets could consider substituting Jamal Murray for Mudiay in their offer. Trade B: Denver sends Jamal Murray and Juan Hernangomez in return for Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 “Unicorn” who could join forces with Nikola “Big Honey” Jokic to make the Nuggets a matchup nightmare for nearly every team in the league. As much as I like Murray, I’m not sure he and Hernangomez would be enough to tempt the Knicks. It might require Denver to up the ante with a No. 1 draft pick. If Connelly can’t compete with Boston and Cleveland in the bidding for Butler, then maybe the talent on the Nuggets’ roster isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If the Nuggets can’t get the best of crazy uncle Phil in trade discussions with the Knicks, then maybe I overestimated how well franchise president Josh Kroenke learned the art of the deal from his billionaire father. As the Nuggets’ brass finalized their plans for the 13th overall pick in the NBA draft, Arturas Karnisovas stood on the practice court at the Pepsi Center earlier this week and succinctly explained his mission, now that he has been promoted to general manager. “You have to start showing results,” Karnisovas said. Amen, brother. Building slowly on the modest success of last year’s 40-42 record and biding time until the Warriors get tired of ruling the NBA might be a solid basketball strategy for the Nuggets. But it’s not going to put fannies in the seats in Denver, dead last in league attendance. The rise of a super team in the NBA has turned the most chaotic week on the league calendar into a feeding frenzy, with star players and GMs alike looking for some way to put up a fight against the Warriors. The draft always makes cellphones burn hot with trade chatter. Now is the time for Denver to strike, or forever hold its peace, as one of the franchise’s long-ballyhooed trade chips, Danilo Gallinari, decides whether he wants to leave town as a free agent. When Billups goes to work for LeBron James, don’t come crying to me. Although I’ve pushed long and loudly for Denver to hire Billups as Mr. Big Shot in the front office, my understanding is the Nuggets have shown interest but never seriously considered giving him a truly serious job. Billups wants to be the architect of a champion, not a Walmart greeter at the Pepsi Center. From all indications, the Cavaliers have a higher opinion than his hometown does of Billups, as good at motivating people as identifying the factors that make a winner. Related ArticlesJune 17, 2017 Kiszla: Why Nolan Arenado believes Rockies can be “most dangerous team in the major leagues” June 17, 2017 Kickin’ it with Kiz: Will Chris Paul be the NBA free agent to erase Denver’s reputation as a fly-over city? June 16, 2017 Kiszla: Only one word to describe these Rockies and this baseball-crazy town: Un-funky-believable June 15, 2017 Kiszla: If the Rockies are legit playoff contenders, Nolan Arenado must be legit MVP candidate June 13, 2017 Kiszla: Broncos giving Paxton Lynch ample time, every chance to beat out Trevor Siemian as the starting QB Connelly freely admits the Nuggets make regular projections, looking at how many years down the line there might be a real opportunity for them to compete for an NBA championship. How long will the window of dominance by Warriors be open? “It was a big reopening for Golden State when K.D. re-signed,” Connelly said. So why wait? Go get Butler, one of [...]
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Hawks send center Dwight Howard to Hornets
ATLANTA — A person familiar with the situation says the Charlotte Hornets have reached an agreement to acquire center Dwight Howard from the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are sending Howard and the No. 31 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to Charlotte for center Miles Plumlee, shooting guard Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the trade is not yet official. Howard will be playing for his third team in three seasons following a disappointing homecoming in Atlanta. Howard signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Atlanta and then sat out the fourth quarter in two of six playoff games in the Hawks’ first-round loss to Washington. ___ AP Sports Writer Jon Krawcynski in Minneapolis and AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte contributed to this report. [...]
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With new coaching regime, what is Broncos’ approach to advanced analytics?
The Broncos’ playoff hopes hinged on the strength and accuracy of Brandon McManus’ leg. This was no exaggeration. Not as the Broncos’ Week 12 game against divisional rival Kansas City stretched into the 75th minute with the score tied at 27. In hindsight, the late hours of Nov. 27, 2016, were when the Broncos’ Super Bowl follow-up seemed to come unhinged. Denver, facing a critical fourth-and-10 at the Chiefs’ 44-yard line, was left with three unappealing options and one major decision. “A lot of teams kind of describe that as ‘No Man’s Land,’ ” Mitch Tanney, the Broncos’ director of analytics, explained at the 2017 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March. “It’s a bad area of the field, primarily because there are a lot of things in play. Punt, the decision was certainly in play. If your kicker has a strong enough leg, a field goal is certainly in play. Even going for it on fourth down is certainly in play. “There are times when you’re forced to make a decision. You have to do something, and you know that all three options, numerically, are not great options.” The thinking, as former coach Gary Kubiak reasoned, came down to this: You play to win. Not to punt. Not to maybe tie. Not to maybe get a second shot. So they tried for a 62-yard field goal, one that McManus and his coaches had seen him nail time and again back at Dove Valley. “It was one of the most challenging decisions we’ve encountered from a game-management standpoint, because there really weren’t any good options,” Tanney said. “Obviously, the missed field goal, the resulting field position, K.C. ended up kicking a field goal to win the game.” McManus’ miss certainly wasn’t the sole reason Denver lost that night, but it was the turning point and the decision that led to it — made on the sidelines and in the booth — had lasting impact. Although the NFL lags behind other pro sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the NBA with its late embrace and still limited scope of advanced analytics, teams are increasingly relying on them before, during and even after games. For Kubiak, Tanney’s voice and input were a “comfort” on game days, and his probabilities of certain outcomes for certain plays in certain situations at certain locations aided the coach’s decision-making on the sideline. “I can tell you what analytics guys say on fourth down. They say, ‘Go for it,’ every time,” Kubiak said in 2015. “We don’t always agree, but he’s just always talking to you about percentages. He’s awesome with time, timeouts and when to use them. He’s always thinking ahead. As a coach, your mind is on the play and his mind is on everything else that’s going on. He’s been very impressive, and the thing that I like about him is that he played. He’s an ex-player, so he has a real perspective of some of that too, I think.” Last season, the one-man analytics crew of Tanney grew to two when the team hired Scott Flaska, a University of Colorado graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering, to work as a football analyst. And this season, despite a new coaching regime and an offensive scheme that resembles one from their past, the Broncos have kept their eyes on the future. “In Miami last year, the analytics department played a big role for us as far as the advanced scouting and game-day management, also,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “Mitch is a bright guy. He’s great with the numbers and the rules. For me, it’s going to be an important part of what we do as far as our game plan each week, and as far as game management. He’s going to be directly involved with game management during game day. He’ll be in the box and will be tied right to me.” Related ArticlesJune 20, 2017 Broncos Insider: Brandon McManus, Pat Bowlen and the complexity of Aqib Talib June 20, 2017 Lunch Special: Who’s leading the Broncos’ QB battle after minicamp? June 19, 2017 Broncos 53-man roster projection following spring workouts June 17, 2017 Ed McCaffrey brings out SB champs for Dare to Play camp; Shaq Barrett injury update June 16, 2017 Kasim Edebali, a former gymnast and wrestler, is the Broncos’ unorthodox answer to their OLB question Tanney has been already. The game-planning and reliance of numbers includes the mornings on the practice field, even during the offseason. Players have been wearing tracking devices on their shoulder pads to monitor their performance and exertion, providing Tanney a wealth of data to parse and review. It will continue to game days, where Zebra Technologies’ sensors in the stadiums and even i [...]
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Lunch Special: Who’s leading the Broncos’ QB battle after minicamp?
The Denver Post’s Cameron Wolfe on Tuesday answered questions from readers about the Denver Broncos, following their spring minicamp. Here are some of the highlights: Which quarterback is leading in the fight for the Broncos’ starting job? Cameron: Depends on who you ask. The media’s perspective on Paxton Lynch vs. Trevor Siemian seems to be just as divided as the fanbase’s take. Broncos coach Vance Joseph says it’s close to even right now so I’d take him at his word. By my eyes, Trevor Siemian is the frontrunner. But both have a chance to win the job in camp. What does Lynch need to do to overtake Simian and become the starter? Cameron: It’s all about consistency and decision-making with Paxton. He can’t just have one better day than Siemian and be the guy. Coaches need to trust that he won’t lose them the game more than they believe he’ll win them one. He can’t match a touchdown with an interception or a “wow” play with a “what are you doing” play. He has too many of those sequences. Particularly, I think the Broncos did not trade in the first round last year for Lynch to stay two years in the bench. But of course he has to show potential. You think some? Cameron: When I watched Lynch on film two years ago out of college, I said it was very possible he would need two years to be NFL ready. It’s still very possible. I think the modern era wants to rush first round QBs and the Broncos are going to give Lynch every chance to win the job, but it’s not a complete disappointment if he doesn’t. He still has some potential and may eventually be the Broncos’ franchise QB. I think he should earn his way on the field, though, instead of have it given to him. Which rookie do you think will make the biggest impact this year? Cameron: If he’s a starter, it certainly will be Garett Bolles. He would be playing the offense’s second most important position. He looked good over the last couple of weeks. Other than Bolles, I’d say Isaiah McKenzie who looks to have a solid role as a punt returner, receiver and even a gadget player out of the backfield. Can the Broncos bring back Ryan Clady? I’m not sold on Bolles yet and I really don’t like Ty Sambrailo or Donald Stephenson. Cameron: I think he’s just about done. Injuries catch up to the big guys fast. If he does play this year, I doubt a team gives him much guaranteed money or counts on him to be a starting LT. You better hope Bolles can play quickly. What’s up with GM John Elway‘s contract? Cameron: It’s just wait and see at this point. They’ve been negotiating since last season and there have been hold-ups, but they expect to get something done. We ask about it everytime we talk to John Elway or Joe Ellis and get the same ‘we’re confident it’ll get done’ response. Obviously if it’s not done by August then it becomes a much bigger issue. What do you have to say about the work system in Vance Joseph’s workouts? Changed a lot from the times of Gary Kubiak? Cameron: There have been a lot more situational practices with VJ – red zone day, scrimmage day, run day, etc. Another main difference is the heavy hip-hop music under VJ. Kubes was a mix of everything from oldies to R&B. I like the changes on both accounts. Related ArticlesJune 20, 2017 Broncos Insider: Brandon McManus, Pat Bowlen and the complexity of Aqib Talib June 20, 2017 With new coaching regime, what is Broncos’ approach to advanced analytics? June 19, 2017 Broncos 53-man roster projection following spring workouts June 17, 2017 Ed McCaffrey brings out SB champs for Dare to Play camp; Shaq Barrett injury update June 16, 2017 Kasim Edebali, a former gymnast and wrestler, is the Broncos’ unorthodox answer to their OLB question Our tight ends did not show up much in the Rick Dennison/Gary Kubiak scheme last year. With offensive coordinator Mike McCoy in charge, do you think they can be included more in the games? Cameron: Looking at Mike McCoy’s history in San Diego, tight ends have been a big part of his offenses. The problem is if the offensive line is bad again, the tight ends will be needed to help block. And they need better production from the group they have. I’ve been a skeptic of first time head coaches ever since Josh McDaniels was brought in, and the league as a whole is very hard on them as well. What does VJ have that will make him different than most first time head coaches? Cameron: It’s too early to know if VJ will be successful in Denver, but the defining characteristics players have mentioned about him so far is his brutal honesty and ability to relate to them on multiple levels. If he succeed [...]
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Broncos Insider: Brandon McManus, Pat Bowlen and the complexity of Aqib Talib
Filtered and concocted by Mario Sanelli. msanelli@denverpost.com | @mariosanellidp School’s been out for the summer and football is out until mid-July. The NFL, however, is like a shark. It never sleeps. Or something like that. The Broncos finished their mandatory three-day minicamp on June 15 and won’t return to the practice field until training camp. But this roughly month hiatus doesn’t mean there won’t be news involving the Orange & Blue. Without looking too far ahead, let’s catch up on the news of recent past. Since it’s never too early for projections (Super Bowl LII odds were released minutes after the Falcons choked away Super Bowl LI), here’s the Broncos’ projected 53-man roster post-minicamp. Related ArticlesJune 20, 2017 Lunch Special: Who’s leading the Broncos’ QB battle after minicamp? June 20, 2017 With new coaching regime, what is Broncos’ approach to advanced analytics? June 19, 2017 Broncos 53-man roster projection following spring workouts June 17, 2017 Ed McCaffrey brings out SB champs for Dare to Play camp; Shaq Barrett injury update June 16, 2017 Kasim Edebali, a former gymnast and wrestler, is the Broncos’ unorthodox answer to their OLB question Did you know: A former gymnast and wrestler could be the Broncos’ unorthodox answer to their outside linebacker question. Get this: A kicker signed a restricted free-agent tender worth more money than I’ll make in my lifetime. That kicker, of course, was the Broncos’ Brandon McManus. Here’s the McManimal’s “modest” deal. Does it make sense to hope McManus won’t have a larger role on special teams this fall? Compared to the role Adam Gotsis is expected to play at defensive end. OK, back to McManus. Will he have more kickoff attempts or field-goal attempts? Has it ever been called kickoff attempts? Send your predictions (and thoughts, comments, suggestions) to msanelli@denverpost.com A real and burning question is “why isn’t Pat Bowlen in the Hall of Fame?” A soon-to-be Hall of Famer is confident the NFL will right its wrong regarding Mr. B. When it comes to Broncos coach Vance Joseph, he’s looking to get it right the first time, which is why he said, “When I see a clear separation, I’ll call it off.”  John Elway got it right when he signed cornerback Aqib Talib. Sure, he’s (ahem) imperfect. Respect, loyalty and competition, however, speak to the complex legacy of No. 21. Quick Hits + Broncos defense in “reset” mode + Day 2: Minicamp observations + Day 1: Defense dominates offense + Waive one, sign one in CB swap + The “Baby No-Fly Zone” + Two new voices join Dave Logan on KOA + Ed McCaffrey brings out Super Bowl champs for Dare to Play camp + The Manning-Brady presidential ticket that will “never” happen + How to get kids to read + Photos: Broncos minicamp, June 15. + Photos: Broncos minicamp, June 14. Hat Tips and Corrections If you see something that doesn’t look right or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at msanelli@denverpost.com, call me at 303-954-1017 or tweet me @mariosanellidp. [...]
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“My memory ain’t what it used to be”: Warren Sapp says he’ll donate his brain for CTE research
The changes are imperceptible, especially for men accustomed to ignoring the signals their bodies are sending as they struggle to play the game of football. One day, though, something clicks. Maybe it’s forgetfulness or emotions that cannot be controlled. Warren Sapp, a 44-year-old Hall of Famer who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, has had that aha moment and it led him to decide to donate his brain for research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that can stem from serious or repeated hits to the head. “I’ve also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career. My memory ain’t what it used to be,” he said on the Players’ Tribune website. “And yeah, it’s scary to think that my brain could be deteriorating, and that maybe things like forgetting a grocery list, or how to get to a friend’s house I’ve been to a thousand times are just the tip of the iceberg. So when it comes to concussions, CTE and how we can make our game safer for future generations, I wanted to put my two cents in – to help leave the game better off than it was when I started playing.” Sapp’s plan involves donating his brain to Boston’s Concussion Legacy Foundation when he dies. Even as he admitted to playing “in a macho league,” he was critical of owners and others who have refused to acknowledge the link between degenerative brain disease and playing football. Even as he sees the game moving in a safer direction and hopes that it continues to evolve, Sapp knows what his 12-year career has done to him. “I decided I wanted to pledge my brain when I got an email from (former running back) Fred Willis that had quotes from NFL owners and down the line you could see: ‘There’s no correlation between football, CTE, suicides’ and all of this foolish stuff,” he said in a Players’ Tribune video. “I mean, where are you getting this information from? And then spewing it out as if it’s fact. I remember those month-long training camps where we just banged and banged and hit and it was ‘who’s tough?’ and ‘misery loves company’ and all the foolish sayings we used to say to each other. I mean, it was just bad. It was Neanderthals. We were dinosaurs. We were doing Oklahoma drill (where players run at one another until one is on the ground), bull in the ring (players circle a player and throw themselves at him), all this crazy stuff that was just about a tough guy. It wasn’t about how much skills you had. It was just the bare bones of bone-on-bone and that’s not what this game should be. It’s about skills.” Related ArticlesJune 19, 2017 It would be something if Brock Osweiler ends up the Browns’ starting quarterback June 19, 2017 Broncos 53-man roster projection following spring workouts June 19, 2017 Supreme Court says government can’t refuse disparaging trademarks. And the Washington Redskins are “thrilled.” June 18, 2017 Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans agrees to terms on a one-year deal June 16, 2017 Kasim Edebali, a former gymnast and wrestler, is the Broncos’ unorthodox answer to their OLB question Nick Buoniconti, the Miami Dolphins‘ 76-year-old Hall of Famer, describes a decline that leaves him feeling childlike. Telling Sports Illustrated that he has fallen, experienced memory loss and struggles to do things such as pull on a shirt and tie a necktie, he explains, “I feel lost.” Sapp says he can relate to those feelings even though he’s decades younger. “We play in a macho league. We’re talking about Hall of Famers who are immortalized forever, made busts, legends of the game. There’s no way any of us wanna really admit that we can’t remember how to get home or a grocery list that the wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids (at) the school or whatever it may be,” he said. “You try to ‘All right, I’m gonna get a little more sleep.’ ‘Maybe it’s something I did last night.’ ‘Maybe (it’s) something I drank’ or whatever it is. You try to find a reason that it’s not – that it’s my brain, that I’m not deteriorating right before my own eyes. It’s the most frightening feeling, but it’s also a very weakening feeling because you feel like a child. I need help. I need somebody to help me find something that I could’ve found with my eyes closed, in the dead of night, half asleep.” Sapp is able to rely on technology as a mental crutch. “I find myself at times, you know, now having to use my reminders in my phone because I had one of those silly memories. I used to call myself [...]
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Vegas Golden Knights may get franchise goalie, young roster
George McPhee can’t wait to fill the white board, the one in the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft room. On Wednesday night, the staff will start adding the names of players who will become part of the expansion team for its first NHL season. “We’re going to put our team together and we’ll watch it come to life in front of us,” McPhee said. What will that team look like when it takes the ice in early October? It won’t have all the top-end talent available because side deals will allow Vegas to stockpile draft picks and prospects for the future, but it will probably be the most competitive expansion team in the league’s history. “I’m really pleased with what’s available,” McPhee told reporters in Las Vegas on Sunday. “This has worked out very well for the Vegas Golden Knights, and we expect to put a good, entertaining club on the ice.” Here’s a projection of who the inaugural Golden Knights might snap up by Wednesday night: GOALTENDERS (MINIMUM 3) SURE BET: Three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury seems like the most reliable pick on the board, a recognizable face of the franchise who can easily start 50-60 games and give the Golden Knights chances to win. Fleury waived his no-movement clause so the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t have to force another trade, and the 32-year-old can go back to being a clear No. 1 goalie. WORTH THE GAMBLE: Fleury could be joined by an established 20-something backup, like Philadelphia’s Michal Neuvirth, Detroit’s Petr Mrazek, Colorado’s Calvin Pickard or New York’s Antti Raanta. McPhee and Vegas goaltending coach Dave Prior have connections to Neuvirth and Washington’s Philipp Grubauer from drafting them with the Capitals. McPhee described Neuvirth as “almost technically perfect.” “It was just about him growing up and maturing,” McPhee said at the scouting combine. “We thought that when that happened, he’d be an outstanding goaltender. And he’s at that point now. He can be really good.” ROLLING THE DICE: Maybe Vegas wants to groom its starter of the future, in which case Grubauer, Boston’s Malcolm Subban, Detroit’s Jared Coreau or Toronto’s Antoine Bibeau could fit the bill. Related ArticlesJune 19, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche legend Adam Foote, a likely first-round NHL draft pick June 19, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears June 19, 2017 Analysis: Avalanche enters NHL’s crucial offseason stretch with significant needs June 18, 2017 NHL salary cap set at $75 million for 2017-18 season June 18, 2017 Avalanche exposes Calvin Pickard to expansion Vegas Golden Knights DON’T SLEEP ON: Vegas controls the trade market and can make some extra picks to flip a goalie or two. Arizona and Philadelphia are in need of starters. DEFENSEMEN (MINIMUM 9) SURE BET: Assuming Anaheim has already worked out a trade to keep Vegas away from Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson — perhaps at the cost of a first-round pick — there are still plenty of young, affordable defensemen to choose from along with some veterans. Dion Phaneuf refusing to waive his no-movement clause forced Ottawa to protect him and expose 31-year-old Marc Methot. Minnesota’s plethora of blue liners made Matt Dumba, 22, and Marco Scandella, 27, available unless the Wild is willing to fork something over, and 25-year-old right-shooting Trevor van Riemsdyk from Chicago seems ticketed for the Golden Knights. WORTH THE GAMBLE: With speed, skating and puck-moving skills a priority, Detroit’s Xavier Oullet (23), Washington’s Nate Schmidt (25) and Montreal’s Nikita Nesterov (24) all could fit well. Want some more size and physicality? Vegas could look at Boston’s Colin Miller (24), Edmonton’s Griffin Reinhart (23) and Buffalo’s Zach Bogosian (26). ROLLING THE DICE: Pending free agent Kevin Shattenkirk of the Capitals wants to be a No. 1 defenseman and could get that role in Vegas. “It’s a very interesting situation,” Shattenkirk said. “Usually, you’re talking to teams or thinking of teams and you have some sort of idea of how they’re built or their history or whatever it may be, and they are completely fresh.” DON’T SLEEP ON: The Golden Knights will be young, but San Jose’s David Schlemko (30) and Paul Martin (36) and New Jersey’s Ben Lovejoy (33) are veteran options. FORWARDS (MINIMUM 14) SURE BET: This is where elite talent already under contract is hard to find, outside of maybe Nashville’s James Neal, a 10-time 20-goal scorer, and 32-year-old Minnesota center Eric Staal. Vegas could use free agency to stock its top forwards, as it already has by signing Vadi [...]
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[SB Nation: Burgundy Wave] – Vote for Badji and Howard in Week 16
... no players for the made Team of the Week ( did make the bench, though), two Rapids are up for other honors. Goal of the Week Forward Dominique Badji is in the ... [...]
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University of Colorado's Derrick White Headlines Nuggets Final Pre-Draft Workout
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Mason's Mailbag: Areas of progress for Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian
The growth of the two young quarterbacks was on display as they split first-team repetitions the last four weeks. [...]
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Carlos Estevez gets called up, believes he can bolster Rockies’ bullpen
The Rockies’ bullpen has gone from sturdy to shaky, and it needs shoring up. Is Carlos Estevez up to that job? He thinks so. “We have a really good team, so that’s why I’ve been sent down, but I know I can pitch up here and work my way through it and get outs,” the hard-throwing right-hander said Sunday. Related ArticlesJune 19, 2017 Rockies eager to face Diamondbacks as torrid NL West race heats up June 19, 2017 Rockies’ Bud Black optimistic CarGo will find groove in second half. “He’ll be there at crunch time.” June 19, 2017 Rockies’ Nolan Arenado second in All-Star Game fan voting; Charlie Blackmon looking like a starter June 18, 2017 Nolan Arenado, Bud Black say Rockies are getting pumped by growing Coors Field crowds June 18, 2017 Nolan Arenado’s walk-off homer completes cycle in Rockies’ historic win over Giants Estevez, 24, was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to fill a roster spot when veteran Chad Qualls was placed on the disabled list because of lower-back spasms. In 13 relief appearances at Triple-A, Estevez was 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA, allowing seven walks and striking out 13. He’s struggled during his big-league stints this season, posting a 7.98 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 14 ⅔ innings. Estevez, who had 11 saves as a rookie last season, has simplified his mechanics. He’s quicker to the plate and is learning to slow down, not speed up, when he encounters traffic on the bases. He’s still a work in progress, but manager Bud Black expressed optimism. “I look at the long term as this fellow being a great Rockie,” Black said. “He’s going to make contributions this year, because he’s talented.” History maker. When third baseman Nolan Arenado hit a one-out, three-run walk-off homer Sunday to beat the Giants 7-5, he added a new chapter to baseball’s history book. According to the Elias Sports bureau, Arenado became just the sixth player in major-league history to hit a walk-off home run in a game in which he also hit for the cycle. The others: the Cardinals’ Ken Boyer in 1961, the Twins’ Cesar Tovar in 1972, the Royals’ George Brett in 1979, the Red Sox’ Dwight Evans in 1984, and the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez in 2010. Arenado, however, is the only one of those six whose walk-off home run took his team from a deficit to victory. The five others hit their walk-offs with the game tied. McMahon honored. In just his second week in Triple-A, infielder Ryan McMahon was named the Pacific Coast League player of the week for June 12-18. McMahon, 22, batted .593 (16-for-27) in six games, with five home runs, four doubles and 14 RBIs. Right-hander Jeff Hoffman, now in the Rockies’ rotation, received pitcher-of-the-week honors from the PCL earlier this season. Looking ahead … Nam Y. Huh, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 9, 2017, in Chicago. Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.00 ERA) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (5-3, 4.19), 6:40 p.m., ROOT TV, 850-AM Greinke, Arizona’s ace, is a Top-10 pitcher in the majors — one of two the Rockies will face within a week. They will likely see Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles this weekend. Greinke’s approach is simple and effective: throw strikes. He strikes out 10.4 batters per nine innings while walking just 1.9. That ratio is among the best in baseball. Marquez, the 22-year-old rookie, has twice faced the D-backs, in consecutive six-inning outings. He struck out eight without allowing a run in Arizona on April 30, then allowed five runs at Coors Field on May 5. Nick Groke, The Denver Post Wednesday: Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (5-3, 3.32) at Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman (4-0, 2.25), 6:40 p.m., ROOT Thursday: Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (6-6, 5.19) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (9-2, 4.10), 1:10 p.m., ROOT Friday: Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.08 ERA) Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (5-3, 4.70), 8:10 p.m., ROOT [...]
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Cody Bellinger, Dodgers’ rookie, becomes fastest to 21 home-run-mark
Hey, @Cody_Bellinger. You’re like REALLY good. #AnotherOne. pic.twitter.com/2Pu0at6zZ9 — MLB (@MLB) June 20, 2017 LOS ANGELES — Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger became the fastest player to 21 home runs in baseball history, connecting in his first two at-bats against New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler on Monday night. Bellinger, who was not called up until three weeks into the season, now has 21 home runs in his first 51 games. That surpasses by one the totals of Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees, 2016) and Wally Berger (Boston Braves, 1930). Both had 20 home runs through 51 games. It took Berger 55 games and Sanchez 59 games to reach the 21-homer mark. Bellinger, 21, now leads the National League in home runs. His first game was April 25. He has five multihomer games, tying Mike Piazza for the Dodgers’ rookie record. [...]
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