2 Devils prospects to play in 2018 Memorial Cup

Two Devils prospects will be participating among the final four teams in the 2018 Memorial Cup, which will determine the winner of the CHL playoffs starting on Friday.

Defenseman Colby Sissons and the Swift Current Broncos reached the Memorial Cup after winning the WHL playoffs.

Forward Marian Studenic and the Hamilton Bulldogs also made the final four after being crowned champions of the OHL.

Frazier tinkered with his approach in the offseason, hoping to reduce a hitch in his swing that slowed bat speed that general manager Brian Cashman called “legendary” when the team acquired him in a trade with the Indians for reliever Andrew Miller at the 2016 deadline.

On May 7, against the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, Frazier said he wanted to do something that would make him more athletic in the box.

So he started rocking back and forth, trying to sync his hands with his front leg. His goal, he said, is to time his leg kick’s apex with his bat wave when the head of the bat is pointing toward the pitcher.

Devils coach John Hynes  elected to start Keith Kinkaid over Schneider in the first two games of the opening round against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the team’s first playoff appearance since 2011. Schneider relieved Kinkaid in Game 2 of the series  before starting the next three in a 4-1 series loss to the Lightning.

Earlier this month,  Schneider underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left hip.

Schneider has made over $33 million in his nine-year NHL career,  according to Spotrac.com. He and his wife have two young children.

Dez Bryant to the Packers/Saints? “I think the Packers could be in play, but I know this for a fact — they like some of their younger receivers. Rodgers could handle him though,” Prisco said. “Brees could handle him as well. Dez Bryant’s one of those guys who wants the football, when he doesn’t get it, he’s going to be angry about it, so you need a strong-willed quarterback to handle him. “I still think Seattle could be in play on him and could make a lot of sense to me.”

NFL has no issue with David Tepper’s casino holdings

The prospective owner of the Carolina Panthers owns a company that holds ownership interest in casino stock. That won’t keep David Tepper from owning the team. Via Carleton English and John Kosman of the New York Post, the league has no issue with Tepper’s company, Appaloosa Management, holding ownership interests in Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, and Boyd Gaming.

This was vetted to the satisfaction of ownership and was not an issue in 2009 when Mr. Tepper became a minority owner of the Steelers, a league spokesperson told the Post. Currently, owners can hold investments in casinos, as long as they don’t participate in the operation of them.

“We had five rookies in the lineup tonight. So the future is bright,” he said. “I thought our window was closed, and that we were an old team!”

The Jaguars cut Gennesy on Monday. He originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in 2017, signing with the Jaguars. Gennesy spent part of last season on Jacksonville’s practice squad.

The Browns signed Carrizosa as an undrafted free agent May 4. They signed Schneider as free agent January 31.

“It’s an amazing moment and also message,” Green said. “I’m just grateful to be a part of it. I think it was historic when people first saw it.”

When asked if he has gained business from the exposure of the Cavs, Browne echoed Green’s take.

“This wasn’t a commercial initiative for me,” he wrote. “This was a cultural initiative that represents to power of unity and true individuality.”

As the playoffs have gone on, several Cavs players have expressed their individuality by adding their own twists to the uniforms.

Hue Jackson became sold on Baker Mayfield at private workout

Hue Jackson needed convincing, and Baker Mayfield‘s combine performance wasn’t enough.

The Browns coach said Mayfield’s private workout at Oklahoma on March 22 sold him on Mayfield. Jackson noted Mayfield’s processing speed on the white board.

“I am being very honest,” Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It started at the combine just talking to him and listening to some of the things he has said, and I go, ‘OK, well, that still didn’t convince me yet.’

“Then going down and working him out in Norman and watching him with his teammates and how he throws the football. The ball jumps off his arm. He has a quick arm. He is very accurate with the ball. From there, obviously, spending some more time with him when he came here. Baker Mayfield from a football IQ standpoint is as good as I have been around. He has tremendous arm talent, more so than anybody knows.

As to the altercation that supposed happened during a visit with the Eagles, Rapoport reports that there was a “shouting match,” and that one unnamed source called it the worst meeting that team ever had with a player. (Oddly, Mike Mayock’s final mock draft had Guice going to the Eagles at No. 32; Mayock handles the in-booth analysis for Philly’s preseason games.)

Chatter continues regarding other incidents and rumors involving Guice, to the point where Washington is currently looking into some of the scuttlebutt. Some would say they should have done that before they put his name on the card. (Others would say, “What else do you expect from this specific franchise?”)

Here’s a prediction that one source shared with PFT prior to the draft. (I stay away from posting opinions from anonymous sources before the draft because of the very real incentive teams have to trash guys they secretly hope to draft at a lower spot. Now that Guice has been picked, that concern doesn’t apply.) Per the source, an executive from a team that had multiple chances to draft Guice and didn’t, it’s expected that unless he matures quickly Guice will have a couple of years of solid production before he wears out his welcome and ends up cut or traded.

Former Packers defensive lineman Carlos Gray shot and killed in home

Former Green Bay Packers defensive end Carlos Gray was shot to death in his home in Pinson, Ala. Monday night, according to Carol Robinson of AL.com.

In last season’s finale, he suffered a fractured fibula that kept him from participating in the NFL Combine. He did later get workouts with several NFL teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions.

It’s a little detour route, said Roback, who has good size for a pro quarterback — at 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds — as well as excellent arm strength and above-average mobility.

Obviously, things didn’t go the way I anticipated, but that’s kind of how my story’s been.

I’m more than grateful for the Browns organization for taking this risk.

The team announced on Monday that they have waived six players, including running back Matt Jones. Jones was claimed off of waivers last September and ran the ball five times for 14 yards in five regular season appearances. He ran 243 times for 950 yards and six touchdowns for Washington in 2015 and 2016, but was benched halfway through the latter season.

Linebacker Jermaine Grace, nose tackle Joey Mbu and linebacker Darnell Sankey were also waived after seeing time for the Colts last season. Wide receiver Justice Liggins and defensive end Arthur Miley have not seen any regular season action and will be looking for it somewhere other than Indianapolis.

The final move was to waive defensive tackle Jonathan Calvin with an injury designation. He was on the Colts practice squad last year and will revert to injured reserve if he goes unclaimed.

He reports to the Browns on Sunday, and will take his physical Monday.

I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they made the right decision, Roback said.

Why ‘quarterback guy’ Ernie Accorsi thinks Saquon Barkley is ‘ideal pick’ for Giants

When stumped Giants general manager Dave Gettleman couldn’t think of an apt comparison for rookie running back Saquon Barkley, he passed the buck to his former boss Ernie Accorsi.

So what does Accorsi think of Barkley, who the Giants chose with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?

The best running back I’ve seen come out of college in 20 years, the former Giants general manager said on the Talk of Fame Network podcast. I told Dave, ‘If you don’t pick Barkley, it’s a good thing the draft is in Dallas. Because if it were in Radio City (Music Hall), you’re going to get booed.’

Glasgow showed he had long-term potential at guard in 2017, ranking as the No. 20 player at the position, according to Pro Football Focus. He also proved his toughness and durability during his second season as the only Lions’ offensive lineman to play every offensive snap.

I’m just going to say it’s tough, but I’m focusing on trying to do that again in this year, Glasgow said.

Vazquez led off the top of the third inning by slicing a line drive over first and down the line. Judge cut off the ball before it reached the wall, then saw Vazquez trying to extend his hit.

The Yankees right fielder calmly tossed a laser to second base, directly to the glove of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who didn’t need to move it to tag Vazquez.

Yankees pitcher Luis Severino applauded the throw, then struck out the next two batters in order to preserve the Yankees’ 1-0 lead.

Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton hit a rocket into the lower seats in left field for a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to give the Yankees an early lead. Stanton added another solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the Yankees up 2-0. It marked Stanton’s third multi-home run game of the season.

Severino struck out six and allowed three hits over his first four innings of work.

Wizards’ John Wall on forcing a Game 7: ‘We’re very confident’

After relinquishing a five-point fourth-quarter lead on the road in Wednesday’s Game 5, John Wall said the Washington Wizards still are extremely confident that they’ll force a Game 7 and be back in Toronto on Sunday.

A buzzer-beater. A 25-point comeback. A team moving on to the second round. Wednesday’s NBA playoff action had everything, and we have it all here.

“We love our chances,” Wall said when asked how he likes the Wizards’ odds of winning Friday’s Game 6 at home against the Raptors and returning to Canada. “We’re very confident.”

“We’ve been down 2-0 before, so I don’t think being down 3-2 when we are going home is anything psychologically draining,” Oubre said.

“Y’all have seen how we play when our backs are against the wall.”

Gronkowski, who turns 29 on May 14, earned All-Pro honors in 2017 as he bounced back from a season in which he was limited to eight regular-season games in 2016 and underwent back surgery. He led the Patriots with 69 receptions, which went for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

He missed two games in the regular season — one because of a thigh injury and one due to NFL suspension — and was knocked out of the AFC Championship Game with a concussion.
His health might have been on his mind after Super Bowl LII when he was asked about possibly retiring.

“I don’t know how you heard that, but I mean, I’m definitely going to look at my future, for sure,” Gronkowski said moments after the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. “I’m going to sit down in the next couple of weeks and see where I’m at.”

When asked that day what would make him retire, Gronkowski said, “I’m not ready for these types of questions right now. I mean, I’m just going to sit down, reflect on the season, keep talking to my teammates … and just see what happens.”

Gronkowski, who has undergone three back surgeries in his career, in addition to procedures on his knee and forearm, said after the Super Bowl that concussions would not be the reason for him to retire.

Brian Burke to step down as Calgary Flames president

While serving as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke infamously spoke about a “five-year plan” for success. He was hired in November 2008 and fired in January 2013.

Another “five-year plan” has wrapped up for Burke, as the Calgary Flames announced Friday that their president of hockey operations “will be stepping back from the organization,” effective May 1.

Burke’s hiring was an unconventional move for Calgary, as he was seen as the driver for player personnel decisions over the general manager.

“This is a relatively new structure in professional hockey,” Burke said at the time. “There are two teams in the NHL that have this type of management structure. There are a number of teams in the National Football League that do, a number of teams in Major League Baseball that do and a number of teams in the NBA that do. And it works effectively. And it’s going to work here.”

Over time, the outspoken executive faded into the background for the Flames, allowing Treliving to be the front-facing manager for the team and make the majority of the calls on player transactions.

In addition to his time with the Flames and Maple Leafs, Burke also served as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers. He won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007. He also was the director of player personnel for the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“I can’t understand why it was a bombshell, OK?” Khan said during a news conference at EverBank Field hours before the NFL draft. “I have business deals, investments all over the world. So I don’t understand. Every time there’s a transaction that has visibility, especially you folks [the media] start connecting dots that shouldn’t be connected.”

Khan’s purchase of Wembley would add significant additional revenue — such as food and beverage sales and suite revenue — and the team would save money because it would not have to pay rent for its annual home game in London. In addition, Jaguars president Mark Lamping said there were approximately 30 non-NFL games or events held at Wembley and that additional revenue would help financially stabilize the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have played a home game at Wembley Stadium annually since 2013 and will do so through the 2020 season. The deal has been beneficial to the franchise because the NFL granted the team extended territorial rights in the United Kingdom, and the additional ticket revenue from a game at the 90,000-seat stadium has had a positive impact on the team’s local revenue.

London is an important part of the team’s stability in Jacksonville (the revenue from that annual home game accounts for 11 percent of the team’s total local revenue), and Khan said there were no plans at this time to play any additional games in London each season.

Dickerson’s disputed homer lifts Pirates over Tigers 1-0

Corey Dickerson celebrated his first game-ending home run in the major leagues. Twice.

Dickerson’s disputed one-out drive in the ninth inning that lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Detroit Tigers 1-0 Thursday.

“We’re going to view Jonny in that role, to come in and get a lefty out,” manager Kevin Cash said after an 8-4 win. “I thought it was perfect. It worked out. He came in, got a big out with a two-run lead for us.”

Venters received high-fives and fist bumps in the Tampa Bay dugout because, after all, it was a comeback that everyone could appreciate after all his elbow surgeries.

Hours earlier, Venters was sitting out a rain delay in the minors during a morning game when he got word the Rays were recalling him from Triple-A Durham.

So the 33-year-old hopped into his truck, grabbed a flight to Baltimore and was in the clubhouse when Tampa Bay formally announced the move.

“It’s hard to put into words how I’m feeling. It’s been an emotional day,” Venters said prior to the game. “I’m excited to be here. Grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully go out and get some people out today.”

It’s not so easy to guarantee the Capitals will go shift-for-shift with the Penguins like they did most of Game 1, especially with the potential return of Pittsburgh star Evgeni Malkin. Washington did get as many quality scoring chances, if not more, than Pittsburgh, but those third-period goals by the top line of Patric Hornqvist, Crosby and Jake Guentzel tipped the balance.

It’s the case that began with the NCAA’s infractions around Reggie Bush’s time at Southern California. McNair is claiming defamation after he was caught up as a chief culprit.

A 2012 video deposition of Shep Cooper, who served as a liaison to the Committee on Infractions, took up the bulk of Tuesday’s proceedings before former NCAA investigator Angie Cretors took the stand at the end of the day and remained there through the end of the day Wednesday. Cretors’ testimony will conclude Thursday morning.

The Timberwolves became the first team to be outscored by 30 points in a playoff quarter since May 6, 1986, when the Boston Celtics had a 36-6 advantage over the Atlanta Hawks in the third quarter.

The Rockets shot 14-of-23 from the floor, 9-of-13 from 3-point range and 13-of-13 from the free throw line in the quarter.

Free tickets to NFL draft fetching as much as $300

The NFL draft has turned into a significant event business, as 420,000 people applied for tickets to attend this year at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. And 20 NFL teams have expressed interest in hosting the event over the next five years.

This year’s draft, which begins Thursday night at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, will be the first held in a stadium. Demand has been big enough that free tickets to see the first round in person have sold on eBay for as much as $300 each.

Those who didn’t win tickets to be inside AT&T Stadium still have plenty to do outside. There is an area that is 26 football fields in size and includes a stage where local musicians play, an area where fans can test their 40-yard dash times, and a place to sample food from local restaurants.

“It’s pretty much the opposite of the Super Bowl,” O’Reilly said. “It’s incredibly accessible and anyone can get close to the action for free.”

Linking what happens on stage to off stage takes on a new wrinkle this year.

“This year we took some inspiration from the political conventions and we have team delegations on the floor,” O’Reilly said. “We gave each team 50 tickets and the player will come over to that section to be welcomed after they are drafted.”

Although there’s no immediate revenue to be made by the host team — the league fronts the undisclosed costs to put on the event — there is economic impact locally.

New York was held hitless through five innings and trailed 3-0 before Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly in the seventh. Didi Gregorius grounded to third leading off the ninth and reached second when Miguel Sano’s throw went wide for an error.

“I just couldn’t complete the play,” Sano said through a translator.

Giancarlo Stanton followed with a slow roller gloved by a charging Sano, who did not make a throw as Stanton crossed first with an infield hit.

“That’s just a swinging bunt,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s one of those plays where he split (Ehire) Adrianza and Sano there. Either one didn’t have much of a chance.”

Sanchez took a strike, then sent a fastball from Rodney (1-2) down the left-field line and into the lower deck. The Yankees bounded out of the dugout to mob Sanchez as he crossed the plate and doused him with Gatorade.

“If we can get traffic on the bases, we’re always one swing away with our guys,” rookie manager Aaron Boone said.

New York finished an 8-2 homestand and has outscored opponents 47-13 during its winning streak.

“We’ve got a lot of fight in here, a lot of bulldogs,” Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery said.

Hellebuyck smothers Preds as Jets grab 1-0 lead with 4-1 win

Connor Hellebuyck loves what he’s seeing in his first NHL postseason, and the 24-year-old goalie is doing his best to make sure the Winnipeg Jets do much more than just stick around.

Hellebuyck made 47 saves and the Jets beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Friday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal between the NHL’s top teams in the regular season.

“You give me two choices on where to be, our game or their win, I’d take the win,” Laviolette said. “It’s about winning hockey games right now.”

The Predators had the sparkling pregame show with the retractable screen dropping from the ceiling and country star Dierks Bentley singing the U.S. anthem, and a couple catfish hit the ice before the puck drop to boot. Then they pelted Hellebuyck with 15 of the first 19 shots.

Then the Jets scored the game’s first goal for a sixth straight playoff game. Tanev’s wrister beat Rinne’s outstretched right skate at 14:51 of the first.

Nashville finished the period with 20 shots, a franchise postseason record for a period, with Hellebuyck continuing his shutout streak started with consecutive shutouts to finish off Minnesota in the first round.

“He was awesome,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler said about Hellebuyck. “They were throwing everything at the net. What we were trying to do in front of him was just get bodies, get sticks, let him see things. You could tell early on if he was seeing the puck he was going to make the stops.”

“I hope you know and others know I’m not the type of person I was at 14 and 15 that I tweeted so recklessly. … I don’t want that to be the impression of who I am because that is not me. I apologize for what I did.”

Allen, who had been seen by many as a potential No. 1 overall pick, was selected seventh by the Buffalo Bills, who traded up to make the pick. Allen was the third quarterback drafted.

The tweets, sent in 2012 and 2013, no longer appear on his account. However, they contained racial slurs and other offensive language, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The former Wyoming quarterback acknowledged the tweets to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith late Wednesday night and apologized, saying he was young and dumb.

Allen told Smith that some of the tweets made reference to rap lyrics and television, including a saying that was part of an episode from the sitcom “Modern Family.”

On ESPN’s First Take on Thursday, NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that his sources indicated that Allen’s Twitter account was vetted in January and that the offensive tweets were removed then.

Allen told Mortensen he thought he had gone through his Twitter account a year ago.

“I had even typed in keywords to see if anything I had tweeted popped up that I needed to clean up, but nothing like these came up or I just missed them,” Allen said. “My agency went over any past social media, and these didn’t come up after I did the search.”