Oilers keep forward Leon Draisaitl with 8-year, $68 million deal

The Edmonton Oilers kept another key member of Authentic Jason Kidd #5 Youth their core on Wednesday, signing forward Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year, $68 million contract. The deal comes after the Oilers gave captain Connor McDavid a contract with the highest annual average value ($12.5 million) in the league this offseason. The 21-year-old Draisaitl, who was a restricted free agent, was second in scoring on Edmonton last season with 29 goals and 48 assists for 77 points. He led the team in scoring during the playoffs with 16 points in 13 games. "I never thought about http://www.officialmavericksproshop.com/authentic-5-jason-kidd-jersey.html going anywhere else," Draisaitl told NHL.com by phone from Prague, Czech Republic. "We wanted to get it done, but we knew from the beginning there was no rush. We had lots of time, and I'm just very happy to have it done." The Germany native had 51 points in 2015-16, his second in the league. The Oilers cleared cap space earlier in the offseason by trading Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders. Draisaitl finished his entry-level deal this past season, getting a base salary of $925,000 with performance bonuses of $2.475 million. Edmonton's 103 points were the most the franchise had since 1986-87. The team made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, eventually losing in seven games to the Ducks in the #91 Robert Ayers Womens Jersey second round. "We have so many great guys and we're so tight in the dressing room," said Draisaitl, who spent the majority of the season on a line with Oilers Captain Connor McDavid and winger Patrick Maroon. "We love playing for each other and get along really well -- the whole team -- and for me, that was just something I really wanted to be part of," Draisaitl said, according to NHL.com. Draisaitl said that he is working out in Prague with the same trainer he has used the past three years. "We want to take that next step," he told NHL.com. "We need to make sure we have a good start and come out strong. As a team, we have the right pieces in the right places, and it's up to us to bring it every night." According to multiple reports, the Vegas Golden Knights, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres are among the teams Butcher may visit. Other reports have the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins showing interest. http://www.authenticbuccaneersofficial.com/Nike-Luke-Stocker-Jersey.html Butcher led the University of Denver to the national championship this past season. He scored 9 goals, added 23 assists and was a plus-19 in 39 games. On an entry-level contract, the 22-year-old Butcher would be a nice addition under the constraints of today's salary cap. Teams are restricted to signing him to a two-year contract with a maximum annual salary of $925,000. In a statement released Wednesday by the Avalanche, the team said it made Butcher a maximum offer in April. "He wanted to test the market and that is his right and decision," the Avalanche said. The Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, native became just the seventh defenseman to win college hockey's top honor. Overall, he had 28 goals and 75 assists for 103 points in 158 games Authentic John Starks Youth Jersey with the Pioneers. Butcher becomes the second consecutive Hobey Baker winner to pursue free agency after completing his college career. Last summer, Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey turned down contract offers from Nashville and Buffalo before signing with the New York Rangers , for whom he had 16 goals and 27 points in 80 games. Nashville drafted Vesey and traded his rights to the Sabres once it became clear he wasn't going to sign with the Predators. The Denver Post first reported that Butcher would become a free agent. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. The state of the current NHL prospect crop is a little down after graduations from two great draft classes and a mediocre 2017 class. The two orgs that are nearly tied for first would have been around the No. 4-5 slot for me with the same group of talent in my 2016 farm rankings. In terms of tiers, there is a small drop-off after the No. 2 and No. 8 systems. Two caveats to keep in mind: For purposes of this ranking, a player is no longer a prospect if he has played 25 http://www.knicksstoreonline.com/Tracy_Mcgrady_Jersey or more games in any NHL season, or 50 total in his career. Ultimately, the inclusion or exclusion of one player doesn't move a team up or down 12-15 spots, unless you're talking top-10 overall prospects. If a player is not mentioned in the profile of the farm system, this does not mean that I failed to consider him. These profiles are brief summaries, with more detail to come in the team overviews. How are these rankings devised? Star power is what drives NHL teams, and thus, my farm system ranking reflects that. Elite prospects provide substantially more value than high-end prospects, who provide substantially more value than above-average prospects, and so on. I also discount top goalie

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Giancarlo Stanton fails to extend streak, says he wants to hit 61 homers

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton paused in Authentic Walter Payton Womens Jersey his pursuit of a hallowed home run number, acknowledged he's shooting for 61 and said he finds baseball's statistical history both alluring and tainted. Stanton's six-game homer streak ended Wednesday, but he singled, stole a base and scored in a four-run first inning to help the Marlins beat the San Francisco Giants 8-1. While Stanton didn't come close to hitting his 45th homer http://www.bearsnflofficialproshop.com/walter-payton-jersey-for-sale-c-3.html of the year, he is on pace to finish with 61, and he said that number is a goal. "When you grow up watching all the old films of Babe Ruth and [Mickey] Mantle and those guys, 61 has always been that printed number," Stanton said. Ruth hit a record 60 homers in 1927, and Stanton said he gives that achievement an asterisk because the sport wasn't integrated then. Mantle's teammate Roger Maris broke the record with 61 in 1961. Barry Bonds set the current record of 73 in 2001 during the steroids era, and Stanton said he also considers that total tainted. "I do, but at the same time. it doesn't matter," he said. "The record is the record." Lately, Stanton has been on a pace that would allow him to challenge Bonds. Travis Benjamin Youth Jersey Facing three Giants pitchers on Wednesday, he failed to homer for only the third time in the past 13 games and fell two games short of tying the major league record for the longest home run streak at eight games. That record is shared by Dale Long (1956), Ken Griffey Jr. (1993) and Stanton's manager, Don Mattingly (1987) "I wasn't really a home run guy like Giancarlo," Mattingly said. "I'm hitting singles and doubles mostly, and he's hitting balls 500 feet." After his single in the first inning, Stanton was hit under his left arm by a 91 mph pitch in http://www.officialnikechargershop.com/travis-benjamin-jersey-for-sale-c-45.html the second, tapped out to the pitcher in the fourth, grounded out to short with the bases loaded to end the fifth and singled in the eighth. His average rose to .287. "If I have good at-bats, it's a good day for me," he said. "I ain't going to hit a homer 45 games straight." Giants starter Matt Cain (3-10) fell to 0-9 in his past 13 starts. He allowed five runs, including two earned, in four innings. His biggest achievement: He retired Stanton twice. "I tried to mix it up, change speeds," Cain said. "He has been pretty comfortable, so I tried to keep him off balance, and I did a pretty good job of that." Baseball is a game of numbers. For everything a player does on the field, there's a number to evaluate it. But the number Authentic Nat Berhe Youth Jersey that a player chooses to share with us -- the one on the back of his jersey -- often remains a mystery. So we asked players around the league for the best stories behind their numbers. For some it's a tribute to a childhood hero or a family legacy, while others have more humorous tales behind their selections. And, yes, some were just handed a jersey with a number on it somewhere along the way and never let it go. What is your favorite big leaguer's uniform-number story? "I grew up following Derek Jeter. He was one of the prime examples of how you want any kid growing up to play the game, just to take the good habits that he had. That's why I asked to see if I could get No. 2 after Jacoby [Ellsbury] went over to the Yankees." J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles "There were only two single digits available when I came here -- 2 and 7. Cal Ripken Sr. was 7, so they said they'd rather not give that one out. So http://www.authenticnikegiantshop.com/Nat-Berhe-Jersey I took 2. I was 7 in Milwaukee and 27 in Minnesota. So I figured the 2 kind of went with both of those. My first thought was, who was No. 2? And it was Bill Hall when I played in Milwaukee. But Jeter was my favorite player in high school. The 2 didn't have anything to do with that, but I did like Jeter." "My favorite player as a kid was Torii Hunter, and he wore 48, so I kind of stuck with it. I always wore some multiple of 4 -- whether it was 2, 4 or 8. "When I was at Connecticut, we were at a fall practice and I was screwing around and my coach, Jim Penders, said, 'What, are you 4 years old?' When it was time to pick our jerseys, that was the smallest one. I weighed like 170 pounds at the time, and I needed it to fit. I was like, 'I need the smallest jersey, and coach says I act like I'm 4. So I'll be 4.'"

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Meet the NFL draft darling who couldn't get a college scholarship

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- On Nov. 20, 2014, near the end of Authentic Marcus Semien Youth jersey Josh Allen's first season at junior college, he sent emails imploring someone -- anyone, really -- to give him a chance to be a Division I quarterback. The recipient list included not only every FBS head coach, but also every offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and position coach from Alabama to Washington, more than 1,000 emails in total. They started with the same salutation and the same desperate plea from a kid in tiny Firebaugh, California: I want to be your quarterback. His unsolicited emails went over like a loan http://www.authenticoaklandathletics.com/Marcus-Semien-Jersey request from a Nigerian prince. He received a handful of responses and only two -- Eastern Michigan and Wyoming -- eventually offered him a scholarship. (The Eagles actually withdrew their offer after he chose to visit Wyoming near the end of the early signing period for junior college transfers.) "Yeah, I was disappointed," Allen said. "I couldn't believe it." On the bright side, it was one more scholarship offer than Allen had coming out of Firebaugh High School the year before, when not a single FBS or FCS program called. "I truly felt like I was a Division I quarterback, and I'd felt that way for a long time," Allen said. "I just wanted other people to see it." No one else saw it, at least not back then. But after throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns for Wyoming last season, the quarterback that nearly every FBS team (but two) ignored might very well Jon Singleton Womens jersey end up being one of the first players selected in the 2018 NFL draft. Allen's anonymity ended almost immediately after the final selection of the 2017 NFL draft was made on April 29, when ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said: "There was one personnel director who told me this week that you can put in the books, Josh Allen will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft next year." Of course, most of the people watching ESPN's draft coverage that day probably wondered: Who in the hell is Josh Allen? There's only one stoplight in Firebaugh, California, a farming town of about 7,500 residents in California's Central Valley, about 40 miles west of Fresno. Originally known as Firebaugh's Ferry, it was an outpost on the San Joaquin River during the California gold rush during the mid-19th century. According to 2011 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos make up more than 90 percent of the town's population, http://www.authentichoustonastros.com/Jon-Singleton-Jerseymany of them migrant workers employed in agriculture. "It's a small town, everybody knows everybody and news travels fast," said Allen. "It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything because it kind of shaped who I am today." Thousands of acres of alfalfa, pistachios and almond groves line the road to the ranch where Allen grew up. Joel Allen, Josh's father, and his uncle, Todd Allen, grow about 3,000 acres of Pima cotton, cantaloupes and wheat against the backdrop of a coastal mountain range. Joel and Todd Allen are third-generation farmers. Josh's great-grandfather Arvid "Swede" Allen arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden in 1907 and settled in Firebaugh during the Great Depression. Josh's grandfather A.E. "Buzz" Allen established the family farm in 1975 and was also a local school board member and civic leader (the high school gymnasium is named in his honor). "Josh would be fourth-generation," Joel Allen said. "But I don't think he's coming back to the farm." Joel and his wife, LaVonne, raised their four children on the ranch, and Josh, his younger brother Jason and sisters Nicala and Authentic Frank Robinson Womens jerseyMakenna were involved in sports at an early age. There is a basketball goal, swimming pool and batting cage at the ranch, and Josh grew up playing nearly every sport, including baseball, basketball, football, golf, gymnastics, karate and swimming. He and his brother, who plays first base at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, also helped their father and uncle on the farm. "It instilled a work ethic," Josh said. "Seeing my dad wake up super early when the sun wasn't even out and then coming home when the sun was set, he worked his tail off to provide for our family and did a great job. He's the most selfless man I know, and I think if I'm half the man he is, I'll be all right inhttp://www.authenticbaltimoreorioles.com/Frank-Robinson-Jersey this world." Josh learned quite a bit about hard work from his mother, too. Until recently, LaVonne owned one of the few restaurants in town -- aptly named The Farmer's Daughter -- and fed farmers every morning before they went to work. "She's the rock of our family," Josh said. Josh grew up a Fresno State football fan and tailgated with his parents and siblings at most home games. He attended the Bulldogs' summer camps and even retrieved the kicking tee during a few games (former coach Pat Hill once yelled at him to get off the field). One of Josh's most memorable moments was meeting Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, another homegrown star, who now plays for the Oakland Raiders.

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Let's start with the most legendary active player in the league

Oakland coach Jack Del Rio said Lynch Authentic #30 Bradley McDougald Youth Jersey told him he has been sitting for the anthem for 11 years (though Lynch has been seen standing), and these are still the anti-establishment Raiders, whose owner, Mark Davis, had Tommie Smith light the Al Davis Torch in Mexico City in November. Davis told ESPN.com last year that he wrestled with the decision to have Smith, whose http://www.authenticbuccaneersofficial.com/Nike-Bradley-Mcdougald-Jersey.html black-gloved-raised-fist salute with John Carlos on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics remains a seminal moment in the civil rights movement, honor his father in the wake of Kaepernick's protest. Although Mark Davis has said in the past -- most recently at the Raiders’ 2016 game in Mexico City -- that he prefers any protests by Raiders players be done out of uniform, Davis said there would be no punishment if players did participate in such actions. “The contradiction was weighing on me,” Davis said at the time. “I mean, I've got Tommie Smith lighting the torch, but I didn't want the players protesting the flag or anthem?” Davis talked with team leaders Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to let them know what he was thinking of doing. Lynch's sitting on a cooler, holding a banana, ignoring the anthem on the sideline might tweak Del Rio, who insisted it isn't an issue after he said he “very strongly” believes in standing for the anthem. Lynch's sitting could be a pebble in Davis’ shoe. But given the history of the franchise and how it has been at the forefront of social issues -- Tom Flores was the first Latino professional quarterback before he became the first minority coach to win a Super Bowl, Art Shell was the first African-American head coach in modern Authentic Kellen Clemens Womens JerseyNFL history, and Amy Trask was the first female CEO -- you’d half-expect the Raiders to sign Kaepernick ... if they didn't already have Carr, EJ Manuel and Connor Cook. “I’m going to respect you as a man,” Del Rio said he told Lynch after the game. And yes, Lynch's sitting was a surprise to the team. “You do your thing, and we’ll do ours.” Lynch was long gone from the Raiders' locker room by the time media descended upon it Saturday night. But the running back, who was retired last season when Kaepernick began his protest against racism and police brutality, spoke on the topic in September on Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show. “With what’s going on, I’d rather see [Kaepernick] take a knee than stand up, put his hands up and get murdered,” a demonstrative Lynch said at the time. “So I mean, my take on it is [it’s] got to start somewhere. If that was the starting point, I just hope people open up their eyes to see that there’s really a problem going on and something needs to be done for it to stop. And I mean, if you’re really not racist, then you won’t see what [Kaepernick has] done, what he’s doing, as a threat to America, but just addressing a problem that we have.” Compare Lynch’s year-old stance with what Davis said in the fall. “The Raiders have always stood for diversity and rights,” Davis told me, “but I just don't think they should protest while http://www.officialnikechargershop.com/kellen-clemens-jersey-for-sale-c-17.html in uniform. This is not a police state. If there was an issue, come talk to me. Hell, I may go and stand up there with them. The peak of a player's career can come at any time. We naturally assume players will post their best numbers in their late 20s, and while that is the case for most players, it's hardly the case for everyone. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin's most productive seasons were his first and third years in the league, and he's still plugging away with the Buffalo Bills as he enters his 15th season. "Peaking," in other words, doesn't necessarily mean a player will have a disappointing career from that point forward. In advance of 2017, though, I thought it might be interesting to look at some notable players from around the league and try to gain a sense of whether we've already seen their most impressive seasons. This isn't to suggest that any of them are washed up or that they aren't at their best; in the cases where history suggested players have peaked, most of the time we're arguing that the context in which that player topped out will be difficult to reproduce. I'll mention one or more key statistics for each player and project whether they'll top that number again, either in 2017 or later in their career.

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Olympic boycott is a missed opportunity to showcase young U.S. stars such as Auston Matthews

In September, the Los Angeles Kings Adidas Gabriel Gagne Authentic Jersey and Vancouver Canucks will each travel 6,000-plus miles across the Pacific to play two preseason games. The exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai -- the NHL's first venture into China -- signal that the league might emulate a strategy the NBA initiated more than a decade ago. Growth opportunities in Asia, as the NBA has learned, are significant. That's why it's perplexing -- and, to http://www.authenticottawasenators.com/authentic-mark-stone-jersey many, disappointing -- that the NHL is skipping the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. But the NHL isn't just whiffing on a chance to expand its global footprint. The Olympic boycott is a momentum killer when it comes to promoting the league's young talent, especially in the United States. "In the Olympics, the eyes of the world are on you, and it puts the NHL on the forefront," Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano told ESPN.com. "People get to see the best of the NHL players. To get all these stars together for a congested two-week period? It's an incredible way to market the game." Right now is an incredible time for hockey in the United States -- but the Americans won't get to show off. USA Hockey officials note swelling Adidas Darryl Sittler Youth Jerseyparticipation across all levels of the sport, including a record 115,694 8-and-under players in 2016-17, a 27 percent increase since 2006-07. The NHL, meanwhile, is on the cusp of a renaissance of American talent. The U.S. hasn't won an Olympic gold since 1980 -- medaling just twice in the nine Games since -- but not since the era of Brett Hull, Pat LaFontaine, Brian Leetch, Modano, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight has there been a more exciting crop of ascending stars. "The talent level now, it http://www.officialbuffalosabres.com/Adidas-Derek-Roy-Jerseyreally reminds me of our group the mid to late '90s," said Modano, who won gold at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and silver at the 2002 Olympics with Team USA. "About 10 to 12 guys, all the same age, coming up together. We competed really hard against each other in the NHL but put our egos aside and loved getting the chance to play with each other to represent our country. It would be unfortunate for these guys to miss out on the Olympics, because I'd like to see what they're capable of doing." Auston Matthews posted the most prolific rookie season (40 goals, 69 assists in 2016-17) for an American-born rookie, let alone in the 100-year history of the Toronto Maple Leafs -- and he's only 19. The Detroit Red Wings' Dylan Larkin (who turned 21 last month) and the Buffalo Sabres' Jack Eichel (20) are young, soon-to-be elite centers, while Johnny Gaudreau (23) led the Calgary Flames with Thomas Vanek Womens Jersey 61 points last season and teammate Matthew Tkachuk (19) -- eldest son of Keith -- wasn't far behind, with 48. The Columbus Blue Jackets boast two stud defensemen in Seth Jones (22) and Zach Werenski (20). Oh, and Chicago Blackhawks winger and three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane, the only American to win the Hart Trophy, is only 28. "It is our responsibility to help market these guys and showcase them to the next generation of players," Jim Johannson, a longtime USA Hockey executive who was named general manager of the men's Olympic team on Aug. 4, told ESPN.com. "As much as we want to take credit for their success, there was a volunteer coach or a youth program who helped get them started. And the guys have done Cody Franson Womens Jersey a great job in giving back to their communities and youth hockey." Or, as USA Hockey president Jim Smith puts it: "Look, I think every youth hockey player in this country knows who Auston Matthews is." Fair point, but the Olympics can serve as an introduction to casual fans -- and even non-fans who tune in simply for the spectacle. Consider T.J. Oshie, the darling of the Sochi Games in 2014. The then-St. Louis Blues forward and Olympic fourth-liner converted 4 of 6 penalty shots in an overtime win against host Russia -- which literally created his Q-rating. It also vaulted Oshie into a dizzying circuit -- he got a shout-out from President Barack Obama, made multiple appearances on morning shows, even starred in a national ad campaign for Enterprise, and then finished the NHL season in the top 20 for NHL jersey sales for the first time in his six-year career. The list was released that April, less than two months after Sochi, so imagine how many Oshie jerseys were sold during that span.

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"If there was postgame handshakes, you'd see some fights out there."

Luke Gregerson learned a life lesson in D'Brickashaw Ferguson Womens Jersey Little League that's still etched in his memory. Growing up outside of Chicago, the Houston Astros reliever recalls playing in an All-Star game his team lost. Crushed, he went through the handshake line afterward with his head -- and his hands -- down. "I walked off the field and my dad was so mad at me," Gregerson says. "He grabbed me http://www.jetsshopnfl.com/d-brickashaw-ferguson-jersey_c-431.html and said, 'You will never act like that ever again.' He told me I'd never play baseball again if I did something like that." Twenty years later, Gregerson has made something of a liar out of his father: Every single day, he plays baseball, and every single day, he doesn't shake hands with his opponents. Gregerson's story is hardly unique. Talk to any MLB player, and they'll tell you that they remember doing the postgame handshake back in Little League. They remember doing it in high school. Those who played in college remember doing it on Sunday at the end of a series. But once they got to the pros, it all went away. Whether you're drafted at age 18 or 22 or somewhere in between, once you start getting paid to play a kid's game, it suddenly Authentic Josh Huff Womens Jerseystops looking like a kid's game. Even at the very lowest levels of the minor leagues, the postgame handshake goes poof. But when the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals face off Sunday in the first ever MLB Little League Classic, they might make history. Not because they're playing a regular-season game at a tiny stadium in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in front of a bunch of kids (although that is pretty unprecedented), but because it might be the first time two major league teams actually line up and shake hands after a game. ANYONE WHO HAS EVER played in a Little League baseball game, or coached or attended one, knows that shaking hands with the other team immediately afterward is standard operating procedure. The ice cream truck can wait. Ditto for the postgame pep talk. And the running around the bases. All of it takes a back seat to sportsmanship. According http://www.tampabaybuccaneersauthorizedstore.com/kevin-pamphile-jersey-elite to Little League International, there is no hard-and-fast rule mandating that opposing teams shake hands following each contest. But there is photographic evidence of the postgame shake at the Little League World Series dating back to the late 1940s. "Little League is about fun, and teaching respect," says Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who shook it out at the 2004 LLWS as part of Curacao's championship squad. To be sure, there's no shortage of plausible explanations as to why the shake gets shunned in pro baseball. Unlike in the amateur ranks, professional contests are played in cavernous stadiums where guys can be scattered anywhere from the bullpen to the clubhouse when the final out is recorded, making the postgame lineup a logistical nightmare. Unlike in the NFL, in which athletes tend to meet in the middle of the field following their one game a week, baseball Authentic Jason Kelce Youth Jersey players do battle every day and simply can't be bothered. Unlike in the NBA, in which it's not abnormal to shake hands after the final buzzer, MLB teams are forced to face the same team three or four times in a row. And yet guys on the winning side have no problem shaking hands with their own teammates over and over, as MLB's self-congratulatory code dictates. Victory after victory, that never loses its meaning. Even to a playoff team that wins 90-plus games over the course of six months, plus a few more in the postseason, the intrasquad squeeze never seems to get old. Maybe the absence of the postgame handshake isn't so much about losing its meaning as it is about simply losing. "The last thing you want," Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison says, "is to be going through an 0-for-15 struggle and a guy just struck you out three times and he's like, 'Yeah, I got you.' That's the last thing you want to hear at that point." Says Wainwright: "The guy who gave up the lead or blew the save or lost the game, he doesn't want http://www.philadelphiaeaglesauthorizedstore.com/matt-mcgloin-jersey-elite to stick around and shake hands." Of course he doesn't. Just like Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson probably didn't want to stick around and shake hands after allowing a double-overtime score in Game 7 of this year's Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. But he did. Because sportsmanship. Unfortunately, that particular brand of decorum has no place on the diamond. "The best part of baseball is not shaking hands," Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock says. "It drives me crazy when I see it in football. A team gets their butt kicked and you see guys laughing afterward. We play 162 games. I love the fact that when the game is over, win or lose, you go right to the clubhouse. When you get to this level, it has nothing to do with sportsmanship."

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Love/Hate and everything I've ever wanted

"Be careful what you chase. You Authentic Dennis Eckersley Youth jersey just might catch it." -- A "Lesterism" from my late, great uncle, Lester Gold. On the top floor of Building 4 at ESPN's Bristol, Connecticut, campus is an area known as the "Executive Level," where John Skipper and other members of the company's top management have offices. And as I stood outside the Executive Level in the spring of 2008, my heart was beating superfast. I had been at ESPN http://www.authenticoaklandathletics.com/Dennis-Eckersley-Jersey for about a year and this was my first time in this area. I had been granted a meeting with one of the high-up big muckety-mucks. And as I was called in, I wiped my palms on my pants, gulped and walked slowly into a very big office. We spoke about what the company had accomplished in fantasy sports over the past year and the many things we still needed to get to. I mentioned Fantasy Football Now, the Sunday morning show we had launched on ESPN.com and Mobile ESPN the previous year. The show had been successful from a critical and viewership perspective, even winning a Sports Emmy. He nodded. He knew all this and was complimentary. But now it was time. He looked at me, slightly impatiently. Like all big executives, he was short on time and wanted Tommy Hunter Youth jersey me to get to it. "I think ESPN should do a daily fantasy sports show," I said. This was before the advent of DFS, of course. I was talking about a Monday-through-Friday show on one of the networks. That was my pitch. That's why I was there. Would ESPN consider doing a half-hour devoted to fantasy sports every day? He thanked me for my passion, told me how important fantasy was to the company and that he'd discuss it with others, as the company would weigh this along with everything else it needed to accomplish given limited time and resources. Six months after that, I was back in his office and had the same meeting. And then six months after that. And then another six months after that. I kept at it for quite a while, trying to stay on top of it without being too annoying, checking in twice a year or so and trying to come up with some slightly different angle each time. The response was always http://www.authentictampabayrays.com/Tommy-Hunter-Jersey the same: "Thanks for your passion. Let us discuss internally." Eventually, somewhere around 2011, I realized I had been at ESPN for five years. At some point you just have to take "no" for an answer. So I gave up. No more meetings, no more pitches, I figured if they ever decided they wanted to do something around fantasy on a weekday basis, they knew where to find me. I focused on the podcast, the column and the Sunday show, Fantasy Football Now And then, slowly, a funny thing happened. You know how, when you're single and looking, you can never find someone? And then the minute you say, "screw it" and stop looking -- like, genuinely stop looking -- that's when it happens? Same thing sorta happened here. Over the next five years the podcast, the column and Fantasy Football Now continued to grow. We added video to the podcast and that did well. And then, in the spring of 2016, I got a request to go see Norby Williamson, executive Authentic Bo Jackson Youth jersey vice president for production at ESPN. I didn't really know Norby very well, other than the occasional "hi" in the hallway; we'd never had a chance to interact, so I was surprised by the invitation. But when an EVP ask you to meet, your only plausible answer is, "When and where?" And in a rare occurrence for me on the Executive Level, someone was now pitching me: "I want to do a 24-hour marathon in August, all about fantasy football. What do you think?" And he laid out for me his vision for the whole thing. I loved it, of course, and I'll be damned if ESPN didn't pull it off. The marathon ended up being 28 hours, actually, and Adam Schefter and I stayed up all 28 hours, appearing on TV every hour. It was only the most fun I've ever had on television. It did well for us on a lot of levels, including driving the two largest days of signups for ESPN Fantasy Football in our http://www.authenticchicagowhitesox.com/Bo-Jackson-Jersey company's history. They did the marathon again this past spring for our Tournament Challenge game around the NCAA tournament and, well, the second annual Fantasy Football Marathon starts today. Adam and I, along with a cast of thousands, will once again get you everything you could possibly want to know about fantasy football this year and then, like, 15 more things. Lots of great surprises are in store. Tune in if you get a chance.

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Can Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt put Kansas City back on the NHL map

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Looming in a suburban parking Reebok NHL Men's Joel Ward Black Third Authentic Jersey - #42 San Jose Sharks 2016 Stanley Cup Final Bound lot just off Interstate 70, some 16 miles east of the gleaming, 10-year-old Sprint Center in Kansas City, is the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, which serves, for now, as the area's mecca for professional ice hockey. The Sprint Center, with a seating capacity for hockey of 17,500, is scheduled to play host on Sept. 28 to an NHL preseason game between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. After that, area hockey fans will have to get their fix at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena with a http://www.officialsanjosesharks.com/Adidas-Joonas-Donskoi-Jersey capacity of 5,800. The arena is home to the 8-year-old Kansas City (formerly Missouri) Mavericks of the ECHL, which is two levels down from the NHL. The team averaged 5,068 fans last year, 89 percent of capacity and seventh in the 27-team ECHL, and has gained a perch in the city's sports landscape. It will become an affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames and AHL's Stockton Heat beginning with the 2017-18 season, after a two-year agreement with the New York Islanders. For two seasons in the 1970s, Kansas City had an NHL team, the expansion Scouts. Sprint Center would seem to be an attractive venue for another NHL team, especially because the NHL could use a 16th Western Conference team after adding the Vegas Golden Knights this year. But Scott Hartnell Youth Jersey so far, Kansas City has been left behind. Mavericks owner Lamar Hunt Jr., the 60-year-old son of Lamar Hunt, the late and legendary founder of the American Football League, coiner of the phrase "Super Bowl" and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, would love to see the NHL return to town -- some day. Lamar Hunt Jr. can still recall seeing his first NHL game. He and friends from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music drove to Philadelphia in 1976 to, among other things, watch the Philadelphia Flyers. He remembers seeing Flyers captain Bobby Clarke win a fight. "Hockey, for me personally, is something you have to take in live," Hunt said during a recent interview at the Mavericks' offices at the arena. He bought the Mavericks, formerly of the Central Hockey League, in February 2015, because he regarded minor league hockey as viable in Kansas City. The http://www.officialcolumbusbluejackets.com/Adidas-Scott-Hartnell-Jersey NHL is a different story. To get to the big-league level, maybe, the Mavericks will have to continue to seed interest at the ground level. "Our analysis is that we really have to grow the youth programs here," Hunt said. "We have to have more sheets of ice." The Kansas City Youth Hockey Association was formed in July 2015 by merging six area associations into one governing body. Hunt is one of five members of the executive board. There are plans to build an arena for a junior team in the amateur USHL in Overland Park, Kansas. "It was a very fragmented market -- very territorial and political, and with limited resources you really weren't putting a capable team on a national level," said Brent Thiessen, the Mavericks' general manager. The team changed its name from the Missouri Mavericks to the Kansas City Mavericks this season to promote a sense of regional pride. "When you think of hockey in the state of Missouri, you think of one spot on the other side of the state," Thiessen said. "It's putting Kansas City on the hockey map, if you will." They still have a long way way to go to draw the investors and corporate sponsors -- let alone a bigger fan base -- needed for the area to support an NHL team. The Sprint Authentic Dominik Hasek Womens Jersey Center is beautiful, but it does not include a practice facility. Hunt was quoted in July 2015 as saying the $500 million NHL expansion fee was "ridiculously big," and in a recent interview, he said, "It wouldn't just be a franchise. There would be a lot more that would go into it, and it would be a challenge for this community." But that is not to say that Kansas City is not interested in the NHL -- or vice versa. The city-owned Sprint Center, for one, is operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which co-owns the T-Mobile Arena -- home of the Golden Knights -- with MGM Resorts International. "Kansas City has never been entirely 'off our radar screen,'" Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, wrote in an email to ESPN.com. "We have talked to potentially interested stakeholders in the past, and it's certainly a market that in the right circumstances (including a desire by our board to entertain further expansion) our league would fairly evaluate and consider."In evaluating potential locations for NHL teams, we typically look at three things: One, whether the market has or is building a suitable arena facility; two, the demographics of the market and whether they suggest an ability to support an NHL franchise; http://www.officialbuffalosabres.com/Adidas-Evander-Kane-Jersey and, three, whether there is qualified and interested ownership to own and operate the franchise."While the Sprint Center certainly checks off the first of those boxes, the other two issues remain a work in progress. "We opened a formal expansion process in June of 2015 and we did not receive an application for a Kansas City franchise. Further, we have never studied whether the market demographics of Kansas City are likely to be suitable for an NHL franchise long-term because there has not yet been a need to do so."

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The week in Dodgers dominance: Is 116 wins within reach?

A short week with two off days against Marcus Smith II Youth Jersey two bad clubs? This is the kind of week the Dodgers need to take advantage of if they want to make a serious run at the wins record. Alex Wood and Yu Darvish will start the two games against the White Sox, both on five days' rest, so they should be primed for strong outings against a young Chicago lineup. I've been watching a lot of the Dodgers lately, and no inning summed up http://www.philadelphiaeaglesauthorizedstore.com/marcus-smith-ii-jersey-elite why this team has been so good this season better than the sixth on Saturday night against the San Diego Padres. San Diego was up 3-1 when Craig Stammen entered in relief with runners on second and third with no outs. He just wanted to limit the damage. Yasiel Puig had a terrific at-bat, fighting off a couple of tough, two-strike pitches to remain alive in the count before finally taking a 3-2 fastball just off the plate for ball four. Stammen then got Austin Barnes to fly out to shallow right field and struck out Chris Taylor and had a chance to escape with Authentic Kendell Beckwith Youth Jersey no damage. I love that Puig had the patience and willingness to work a walk. I love that Seager didn't swing from his heels and strike out, showing why he's hitting .360 with runners in scoring position. And I love that they got a little lucky there, with Seager getting caught in the rundown, then Puig breaking for home and beating a bad throw. Smart, good and lucky. That's how you play .700 ball. Darvish goes 2-0 with the Dodgers, but about that bullpen … Darvish's second start with the Dodgers came against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and while he wasn't as efficient as in his debut against the New York Mets, he still finished with 10 strikeouts in five innings. He fanned Paul http://www.tampabaybuccaneersauthorizedstore.com/kendell-beckwith-jersey-elite Goldschmidt all three times he faced him and pumped his fist after getting Goldschmidt looking to end the fifth. That was a great inning, as Darvish fanned A.J. Pollock and Jake Lamb on curveballs, then froze Goldschmidt with a slider. Darvish allowed two runs in what would end up an 8-6 victory for the Dodgers -- and that points to the bullpen, the one problem area in the week. Not Kenley Jansen; he pitched four scoreless innings in recording four saves. But the pen gave up four runs in that game and was charged with the two losses in blowing games the Dodgers led. Manager Dave Roberts is still trying to figure out the roles for everyone ahead of Jansen and whether he can trust Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, the two lefties Authentic Dawan Landry Youth Jersey acquired at the trade deadline. Watson picked up the loss on Tuesday when he allowed three runs and gave up a home run and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Watson did pitch a 1-2-3 inning on Saturday, but given his struggles with the Pittsburgh Pirates before coming over to the Dodgers, he has a way to go before earning key outs once the Dodgers get to the postseason. The guy who has forced himself into a key role is veteran Brandon Morrow, who has now appeared in 27 games and pitched 26⅔ innings with 33 strikeouts, six walks, no home runs and a .173 average against. He hit 99 mph on Saturday. The sample size is obviously small, but lefties are hitting just .079 against him. Goes to show you never know where relievers will pop up from. The oft-injured Morrow was 0-5 with a 7.20 ERA for Triple-A Oklahoma City before getting called up. Right now, Roberts' best setup options are http://www.jetsshopnfl.com/dawan-landry-jersey_c-411.htmlstill going to be Pedro Baez and Morrow against both sides, Josh Fields against righties and Luis Avilan against lefties. Roberts seems to get this, as Baez has entered in different innings, based on the matchups and lineup order (Roberts likes to use him against the other team's best hitters). Sure, another lefty down there would be nice, but right now, Watson and Cingrani would remain low on the pecking order. Kershaw threw bullpen sessions on Friday and Sunday and is expected to throw a two-inning simulation game on Tuesday. It all points to the Dodgers' hoping to get Kershaw back in the rotation for September, similar to last year when he returned on Sept. 9 and made five starts before the postseason.Seager for MVP? With Bryce Harper going down for an extended period -- he was probably the MVP favorite -- Seager's chances would seem to improve. Below are WAR leaders for National League position players entering Sunday.

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Ultimate fantasy football draft board: Building the perfect draft

Fantasy football drafts are all #20 Lamarcus Joyner Authentic Jersey about collecting the best possible values throughout the process, but let's not pretend there aren't certain players we badly want on our squads. Whether it's the tight end on our favorite team, a sleeper running back no one has caught on to yet or this year's big breakout at wide receiver, these players add an extra level of excitement to the roster construction process. The http://www.authenticramsofficialshop.com/Nike-Lamarcus-Joyner-Jersey.html below round-by-round analysis will give you an idea of what's going through my head on draft day. I have my rankings. I have my projections. I have set up tiers. And I certainly have a few of my favorite targets circled and in the queue. Here it is -- my recipe for a 2017 fantasy football championship: In past editions of this piece, I've picked a player from the first round who I'm extremely fond of. The problem is that nearly all of us don't have the luxury of choosing where we pick from. With that in mind, here instead are a few general thoughts on Devon Kennard Youth Jerseyhow to attack the first round. If I'm selecting first or second, the decision is simple: David Johnson or Le'Veon Bell (in that order, if you ask me, but either makes for a terrific addition). Generally -- and especially in PPR -- I'd like to get an elite wide receiver in the first round, but these two backs sport rare 400-touch, 2,000-yard upside. Ezekiel Elliott was third on my overall board, but his six-game suspension knocks him out of first or second round consideration. Instead, it's here that I'll pivot to a lengthy list of star wide receivers. Before I segue into said wideouts, there's something else I consider when making my first-round selection: my targets during the next few rounds. Now, this http://www.nygiantsofficialstore.com/devon-kennard-jersey-for-sale-c-49.html isn't always simple. But as we're about to learn (they call this foreshadowing), drafts are rich with running back value and upside in the second and early third round. If I plan on attacking running back at that point, it makes sense to try and acquire a star wide receiver with my first pick. So, who are the best bets? Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson and Mike Evans (again, preferably in that order). Though I'd be ecstatic to land Bell or Johnson with my first pick, I'd still feel very comfortable kicking things off with one of the top wideouts. Take the best guy on the board and build from there. Just under one year ago today, I told you to drop Ajayi from your team. Not only was he unproven, he was reportedly mad about playing behind Arian Foster to the point that he was a healthy scratch for the team's season opener in Seattle. Excuses, I know. I was wrong. Ajayi eventually got his shot and ran with it -- literally and figuratively. The big man went on to rack up 1,423 yards and 8 touchdowns on 287 touches. Now DeAndre Hopkins Womens Jersey clearly cemented as run-heavy Miami's feature back, Ajayi's big volume, elusiveness and dominance after contact are enough for me to specifically target his services in the second round. Considering that he's often available late in the round, there's a very good chance I'll be able to make this happen. If I don't land Ajayi, Jordan Howard and Rob Gronkowski are two players I'll be hoping for. When selected fourth overall during April's draft, Fournette became the fifth running back picked in the top-eight since 2007. Three of the first four backs selected (Adrian Peterson, Trent Richardson and Ezekiel Elliott) went on to finish their rookie campaign as a top-seven fantasy back. Fournette is positioned similarly to that trio in that he's in line for a workhorse role that should allow him to push for 350 touches this year. Fournette generally gets scooped up around the second/third-round http://www.houstontexansjerseystore.com/Deandre_Hopkins_Jersey_Cheapturn, so don't expect to get a shot at him if you picked late in the first. If I miss out on Ajayi and/or Fournette, I'm happy to settle on Marshawn Lynch or head to the wide receiver well and snatch up DeAndre Hopkins or Doug Baldwin. Entering the 2016 season, Pryor had two career receptions on his resume. How quickly things change. The former quarterback caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and 4 touchdowns in Cleveland's substandard offense. Pryor's prospects improved during the offseason, as he signed a one-year deal with the high-scoring Redskins. Pryor's breakout season obviously came late (a product of unique circumstance), but he recently turned 28 years old and is a super-athletic 6-foot-4, 223 pounds. He's positioned for a large target share and plenty of work near the goal line. Target him as your No. 2 wideout, though he certainly has WR1 upside. As one of Carlos Hyde's biggest apologists, you know I'll have him under consideration here in the fourth round if I'm looking to address my running back situation.

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Andrew Luck can't return soon enough as Colts struggle in loss to Lions

INDIANAPOLIS -- Hurry back, Andrew Luck! The Authentic Jeremy Lin Youth Jersey Indianapolis Colts need you. The Colts sputtered along on offense all afternoon in their 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon. This preseason game wasn’t about the final outcome, but rather looking at individuals and how the different units worked together. All eyes were rightfully on backup quarterback Scott Tolzien because of Luck’s absence. The Colts' offense totaled 27 yards in Tolzien's three series. Luck’s return from the physically unable to perform list and his availability for the regular-season opener http://www.authenticnetstore.com/Jeremy_Lin_Jersey against the Los Angeles Rams continues to hang in the air because he still has to get on the practice field following his January right shoulder surgery. “He’s actually doing really well,” general manager Chris Ballard said on TV during the game. “His strength levels are probably better right now than they were in the last season that he played. That’s the good news. We’ve just got to continue to process Charles Oakley Womens Jerseywhat his doctors and the trainers have going for him and when he’s ready to go we’ll get him out there. I don’t know exactly the timeline, but we want to make sure we do the right thing for Andrew’s long-term health and let him have a big, long career like we think he’s going to have.” QB depth chart: Tolzien’s afternoon was complete after he went 2-of-5 for 24 yards with a sack and a pass batted down. The change in the depth chart during practice last week carried over to the game, as undrafted rookie free agent Phillip Walker moved ahead of Stephen Morris, who is in his third season, and replaced Tolzien. Walker, who played at Temple, was sporadic throwing the ball. He was http://www.knicksstoreonline.com/Charles_Oakley_Jersey only 9-of-20 for 84 yards and was sacked three times, with a couple of those coming because he held the ball too long. “Scott’s had his moments,” Ballard said on TV. “He’s been a little inconsistent, but he’s got to continue to get reps and get better and get the rhythm in the offense. Walker, we think he’s got a lot of talent. He’s a young player and we’re going to continue to work to develop and let him grow.” When it was starters vs. starters, the Colts looked...: Ballard put a premium on forcing turnovers when he was hired in January. The defense made Ballard #92 William Gholston Authentic Jersey happy early when cornerback Vontae Davis got a jump on a Matthew Stafford pass that was intended for receiver Marvin Jones and deflected it. Linebacker John Simon, who spent the past three seasons with the Houston Texans, came down with the interception. That was about the lone highlight for the Colts' starters on offense or defense. One reason to be concerned: The lack of depth on the offensive line was evident, as they started Deyshawn Bond, an undrafted rookie, at center in place of the injured Ryan Kelly (foot) and Adam Redmond at guard for Joe Haeg (burner). The Colts gave up five sacks, as the starters and the backups gave up way too much penetration to Detroit into the backfield. Rookie watch: The Colts started two rookies on defense, as Anthony Walker started at linebacker and Nate Hairston started at cornerback because of injuries at those positions. Walker had only two tackles and whiffed on a open-field opportunity on Detroit's first offensive series. It was a little surprising that Hairston, who was http://www.authenticbuccaneersofficial.com/Nike-William-Gholston-Jersey.html selected in the fifth round, started ahead of second-round pick Quincy Wilson. Wilson had a bad angle and gave up a 23-yard touchdown reception along the sideline to Lions receiver Kenny Golladay. Beat-up team: It's not even the regular season yet and the Colts are hurting. There were some veteran players like Frank Gore and Johnathan Hankins that didn’t play. But receiver Phillip Dorsett, linebacker Antonio Morrison (groin), linebacker Jon Bostic (finger), and rookie running back Marlon Mack (shoulder), to go with Kelly, Haeg and Luck, each sat out with injuries. Veteran Sean Spence left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. Ballard said on the TV broadcast that “there’s no question it is a concern” when asked about the team’s rash of injuries. Locke impressive: New Colts punter Jeff Locke showed off his ability to pin punts deep inside the opponent’s end of the field when he nailed a 54-yard punt that landed at Detroit’s 2-yard line in the first quarter. Locke is replacing Pat McAfee, who surprisingly announced his retirement last winter. Locke averaged 44.5 yards on six punts, with three landing inside the 20-yard line. Struggle for first downs: It's hard to sustain any drives when you can't pick up first downs. That was the case for the Colts. They had a total of 13 first downs, including having just seven with five minutes remaining in the game. It also didn't help them that they were 4-of-18 on third down.

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Royals' future looks brighter thanks to Whit Merrifield

CHICAGO -- Are you familiar with Whit Men's Nike Los Angeles Chargers #80 Kellen Winslow Electric Blue Alternate Vapor Untouchable Limited Player NFL JerseyMerrifield, the Kansas City Royals second baseman? If not, you probably should be. Merrifield has become one of the more underrated producers in big league baseball because he seemingly emerged from nowhere. Drafted in the ninth round in 2010, three spots ahead of where the New York Mets nabbed pitcher Jacob deGrom, Merrifield began a methodical climb through the Royals’ system -- one that was, at http://www.officialnikechargershop.com/kellen-winslow-jersey-for-sale-c-4.html the time he was drafted, the darling of prospect wonks everywhere. After 716 minor league games, Merrifield finally made his major league debut on May 18, 2016, four months past his 27th birthday. Now, 15 months later, he’s a fixture atop the Royals’ lineup and one of the best players at his position. “He’s worked himself into a very nice major league player,” manager Ned Yost said after the Sunday’s 14-6 win over the Chicago Authentic Tom Waddle Youth Jersey White Sox. “Very consistent. Does a nice job defensively.” Don’t believe me or Yost? Take a trip to the FanGraphs leaderboards. Merrifield ranks fifth among second basemen in WAR and one of the guys ahead of him, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, is actually a third baseman who has played a lot of keystone this year because of Jason Kipnis’ injury woes. Merrifield sports a well-rounded game. On that same leaderboard of second basemen, he ranks ninth in average, 13th in on-base percentage and fifth in slugging. He’s second in defensive runs saved. And, by FanGraphs’ base-running metric, he ranks ninth among all players when it comes to adding runs with his legs. “He’s just a very solid all-around player,” Yost said. “Runs the bases well. Will give you a great at-bat. Has a little power and does a solid job defensively.” Not bad for a guy that The Ringer’s Michael Baumann recently called “the next David Eckstein.” In fact, when I ran into team broadcaster Rex Hudler in the dugout before Saturday’s game, I asked him about the http://www.bearsnflofficialproshop.com/tom-waddle-jersey-for-sale-c-47.html comparison. Hudler called Eckstein’s games when he broke into the big leagues with the Los Angeles Angels. Suffice it to say, I got an earful of enthusiasm and a fist-pump from the ebullient Hudler. Merrifield had the best offensive game of his big league career in Kansas City’s pounding of the White Sox, going 3-for-6 with a homer, a triple and five RBIs. Needing a double to complete the first Royals’ cycle since George Brett did it on July 25, 1990, Merrifield fouled out to right with the bases loaded in the eighth. He admitted the feat, which he also nearly accomplished against the Detroit Tigers on May 29, was on his mind. It’s was on Yost’s, too. “I was kind of hoping he’d do it today,” Yost said. “It’s kind of tough, you get in those situations with the bases loaded, it’s a little bit tougher. You’re lacking a double. If it were me, I’d be busting my tail to second base no matter where the ball was hit. But with the bases loaded, the guy ahead of him is probably going to stop.” Now that’s a players’ manager, one who appreciates the finer points Hisashi Iwakuma #18 Youth jersey of individual accomplishment. “I’m going to get it one of these days,” Merrifield said. “With the game like it was, it was in my mind. I needed to hit a ball in the gap. I made a pretty poor swing on a hanging slider.” Merrifield is actually in the same age range as players who comprised the Royals’ championship core, but he is really more representative of subtle second wave of talent that is helping keep the Royals competitive, especially this weekend when a recent losing streak had stretched to five games. But after a comeback win on Saturday and Sunday’s easy win, Kansas City’s ship seems to be righted.“That was really big for us,” Merrifield said. “To come back and rally, hopefully that can kind of propel us forward and we can kind of go on a little run.” Let’s jump back for a moment. The storyline of the 2017 Royals revolves around what many assume will be the last chapter for the core group that returned championship baseball to Kansas City. That wave of talent grew from the system Merrifield joined seven years ago. Faced with a decades-long http://www.officialmarinersonline.com/authentic-18-hisashi-iwakuma-jersey.html postseason drought, general manager Dayton Moore oversaw the gradual buildup of a farm system that eventually stirred some to call it one of the finest collections of minor league talent we’ve seen. Prospect rankings don’t always correlate to championships won, but in the Royals’ case, “the process” -- as it came to be known -- paid off in best possible way, culminating in two pennants and the 2015 World Series crown. Yet, many analysts see a prolonged rebuilding period coming up for the Royals. Mostly that’s because of skepticism that their free agents will stay, a group that includes Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain. But it’s also because those former lofty prospect rankings slipped after that touted group graduated to the majors and recent high draft picks so far haven’t panned out.

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Russell Wilson might have his best group of pass-catching weapons

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Men's #33 Nike Elite Michael Griffin Purple NFL Jersey - Home Minnesota Vikings Seahawks held a mock game on Monday, and players will get the day off on Tuesday. With the break in camp, here are some takeaways from what we've seen so far. This might be the best group of pass-catching weapons that Russell Wilson has ever had. During the mock game, Wilson hit tight end Jimmy Graham on a crossing route, and Graham sprinted up the right sideline before he was knocked out of bounds. Later, http://www.nflvikingsofficialonline.com/authentic-michael-griffin-jersey.html Wilson connected with wide receiver Doug Baldwin over the middle on multiple occasions. On a bootleg, he found wide receiver Paul Richardson near the sideline. Wilson also hit running back C.J. Prosise down the left sideline for what looked like a 50-yard gain. Unofficially, Wilson went 15-for-18 in the mock game. One of the incompletions was a drop, and another was a throw-away. The Seahawks' quarterback has been on fire the past two days, and his impressive play has showcased the diverse array of weapons at his disposal. They can win with speed by targeting guys such as Tyler Lockett and Richardson. They can create mismatches with guys like Graham and Prosise. And Baldwin presents a problem in the slot on a weekly basis. Depending on the opponent, the Joey Rickard Authentic jersey coaches will have to determine how best to employ the weapons. Still, this is shaping up to be the best group of pass-catchers that Wilson has ever played with. Offensive line questions remain. This, of course, remains the big caveat. Wilson needs time to find his pass-catchers.During the mock game, the starting offensive line from left to right: George Fant, Rees Odhiambo, Justin Britt, Mark Glowinski and Ethan Pocic. Neither Germain Ifedi nor Luke Joeckel participated. Oday Aboushi rotated in at right guard with the first team. It's tough to know where things stand with the Seahawks' offensive line until the preseason begins. At some point, they'll have to decide on the starting five. But if the past is any indication, they'll take their time before settling on starters. The Seahawks still need to figure out running back roles. Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy rotated series with thehttp://www.authenticbaltimoreorioles.com/Joey-Rickard-Jerseystarters Monday, with Rawls taking the field first. The Seahawks signed Lacy to be their feature back, but if Rawls remains healthy, he's clearly going to get the chance to compete for a share of the workload. Then there's seventh-round pick Chris Carson. If he were a first- or second-round pick, he'd probably be the talk of camp right now. He headlines the list of players to watch during the first preseason game on Sunday. As mentioned above, Prosise got matched up against rookie safety Tedric Thompson and raced past him down the left sideline, creating huge separation before hauling in a deep bomb from Wilson. If healthy, Prosise adds a unique element to the Seahawks' offense. Extra points. Coach Pete Carroll is clearly excited about rookie Shaquill Griffin. Griffin appeared to hold his own as the team's starting right cornerback Monday with Jeremy Lane sidelined. ... Richardson was taking reps opposite Baldwin with the Craig Biggio Womens jersey starters when the Seahawks were in two-wide receiver sets. When they moved to three, Kearse came onto the field. ... The backup QB situation looks shaky. Six drives quarterbacked by Trevone Boykin and Austin Davis yielded three punts, two interceptions and a field goal. ... Carson got reps ahead of Alex Collins at running back with the second team. Prognosis: The NFL concussion protocol is different for each player, so there is no way to estimate how much time Randall will miss. But it was an unfortunate start for a player who missed six games last season because of a groin injury. Penciled in as a starter for 2017, Randall will be replaced in the meantime by rookie Kevin King. The injury occurred Thursday night, when Philadelphia Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs delivered a blow to his head. practices (and one Major League Baseball game) in eight states, recorded 67 interviews, checked into and out of 10 different http://www.authentichoustonastros.com/Craig-Biggio-Jerseyhotels, squeezed through two tubes of SPF 30 sunscreen, consumed 1,794 ounces of water (the equivalent of 90 20-ounce bottles) and racked up 2,128 miles on a rental car I affectionately nicknamed "Freddy." I learned a few things along the way, and while this is by no means a complete list of those things, I wanted to share some quick impressions from each camp I visited.You can check out photos from the trip on my Instagram account @dangrazianoespn and, of course, follow along on various ESPN platforms in the coming weeks as I share more of my reporting with you. In the meantime, here's a quick-hitter from each of the spots I visited. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Derek Carr: Eddie Vanderdoes reminds me of Justin Tuck

NAPA, Calif. -- Two times this past weekend Authentic Brett Howden Womens Jersey in training camp, Eddie Vanderdoes burst through the line to sack Derek Carr. "Well," Carr said with an uneasy laugh, "he never brought me down." True, touching the quarterback is frowned upon in practice, let alone hitting him and taking him to the ground. But Vanderdoes has not had to make contact with the Oakland Raiders franchise quarterback to make an impression on Carr. Far from it.The rookie defensive tackle, who was selected in the third round of the draft out of UCLA, joined the first-team defense in the third practice of training camp and has not http://www.officiallightningproshop.com/Brett_Howden_Jerseysurrendered the spot since. Rather, he has gained some high praise from Carr. "Very explosive, great hands," Carr said when asked to give a scouting report of Vanderdoes. "He reminds me a lot of the way [Justin] Tuck can get skinny and shoot a gap. The way he plays with his hands, and if he gets beat the first time, he's going to counter again. If he gets beat, then he's going to counter again. His mind never stops. His motor never stops." Vanderdoes is the prodigal son in Northern California, as he grew up outside of Sacramento in Auburn and has been a frequent subject of the local media. His story is already one of a comeback, having dealt with a torn ACL in 2015 and ankle and bone-bruise injuries that hastened his weight ballooning up to 340 pounds last fall. But staying healthy and working with a nutritionist and trainer has the 6-foot-3 Vanderdoes closer to 300 pounds, more active and athletic. Even if he missed Tuesday's practice with a sore knee, he returned to practice on Wednesday. "I'm in good shape and where I want to be," Vanderdoes said after the Raiders drafted him. Perhaps more impressive is that Vanderdoes has elevated his play despite missing the entire offseason program following rookie minicamp because UCLA is on the quarter system. Then again, as #20 Ronde Barber Authentic Jersey a defensive player, his job is simply to attack the ball. The Raiders anticipate Vanderdoes, who lines up next to NFL defensive player of the year Khalil Mack in the team's 4-3 base alignment, providing the push from the interior that was missing last season. Only three of the Raiders' league-low 25 sacks came from defensive tackles. Call it the Vanderdoes Rules. That kind of player inside, with Bruce [Irvin] and Khalil rushing the outside, it's going to be a problem [for opponents], it really is," Carr said. "I'm really happy that we have [Vanderdoes] and he didn't go to another AFC West team and let them add another pass-rusher."Paging the Denver Broncos' Von Miller, the Kansas City Chiefs' Dee Ford and the Los Angeles Chargers' Joey Bosa. Yeah, Carr is content to face Vanderdoes in practice, thank you very much. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz made the most of his cameo in the preseason opener at the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, going 4-of-4 for 56 yards and a touchdown in a 24-9 loss. It was a sloppy game overall (what preseason tilt isn't?) and the Eagles walk away with more concerns at cornerback. The coaching staff has to be happy with what it saw out of a few of the rookies, however, namely defensive end Derek Barnett and wide receiver Mack Hollins. QB depth chart: Wentz was done after one series. With Nick Foles still dealing with a sore right http://www.authenticbuccaneersofficial.com/Nike-Ronde-Barber-Jersey.html elbow, Matt McGloin followed Wentz and received the bulk of the reps. Dane Evans finished the night. When it was starters vs. starters, the Eagles looked ...: A little shaky, but good enough to put six points on the board. Wentz was the driving force. He escaped pressure on a couple of different occasions, showing good awareness and pocket mobility while keeping his eyes downfield. He slipped out of the grasp of Clay Matthews, stepped up and fired a pass over the middle to rookie fourth-round pick Hollins, who stiff-armed his way past a pair of defenders en route to a 38-yard touchdown.One reason to be concerned: Cornerback Ron Brooks left early with a hamstring injury. The veteran is coming off a ruptured quad tendon. He is projected as the starting slot corner. The Eagles are scary-thin at cornerback and can ill afford to lose one of their better players. C.J. Smith, the second-year defensive back out of North Dakota State who has been competing for a starting job, got beat for a touchdown on a double move by Jeff Janis.

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Will NHL players really be iced out of Olympics? Here's the lowdown on where things stand

NHL players have competed in the past five Winter Olympics, dating Reebok NHL Men's Jason Kasdorf Navy Blue Home Authentic Jersey - #33 Buffalo Sabres to 1998. The 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, will be different. The league will not take a break next season to allow players to participate, as it has during recent Olympic seasons. But, even though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in April that he considers "the matter officially closed," confusion still surrounds the conversation -- or perhaps it's just fans holding out hope that they'll see top players take the Olympic ice after all. Here's a primer on where things http://www.officialbuffalosabres.com/Adidas-Jason-Kasdorf-Jersey stand and what's at stake. Not with the league's blessing. The NHL scheduled its 2018 All Star Game for Jan. 28 in Tampa, Florida -- just two weeks before the Olympics begin, on Feb. 9; the last three times NHL players went to the Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), there has not been an NHL midseason showcase. Then, in June, the league unveiled its 2017-18 regular-season schedule, with no Olympic break built in. It would be wholly unprecedented to re-arrange a schedule after it has been publicly released. The NHL is not going to budge. Some of the league's biggest stars -- Henrik Lundqvist, Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price, Jonathan Toews -- have publicly expressed disappointment about not playing in the Olympics. As one veteran Dalton Prout Youth Jersey player agent told ESPN.com: "Good luck finding a player who thinks this is a good idea." In April, the NHLPA called the decision "shortsighted," adding that "NHL players are patriotic and they do not take this lightly. A decent respect for the opinions of the players matters. This is the NHL's decision, and its alone. It is very unfortunate for the game, the players and millions of loyal hockey fans." Bettman has addressed the issue several times over the past year. He said the league's owners were reluctant to take a 17-day break in February when they http://www.officialcolumbusbluejackets.com/Adidas-Dalton-Prout-Jersey should be capitalizing on a dead period in other sports: the sweet spot, post-Super Bowl and pre-MLB spring training. Bettman also cited injury concerns from clubs. In essence, he said, the league doesn't get much out of it. Indeed, those aren't novel concerns. That's why the crux of the issue is a power play between the NHL, NHLPA and the International Olympic Committee. The league wanted the IOC to make concessions, which it didn't. The NHLPA wanted the sides to get it done. This could be used as a bargaining chip between the union and the league when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021-22 season. Four agencies have tried to hash it out: the NHL, the NHLPA, the IOC and the International Ice Hockey Federation -- with no luck. The IOC has previously funded players' travel and insurance (which, in 2014, amounted to $14 million). When the IOC took that off the table, the Tommy Wingels Womens Jersey IIHF stepped in and offered to cover $10 million. It was a nice gesture, but it didn't resolve all of the issues, including interrupting the NHL season for three weeks. The IOC issued a statement in April saying it "feels very sorry for the athletes." Ah, you're talking about Alex Ovechkin aren't you? The Russian superstar/Washington Capitals winger has vowed to play in the Olympics no matter what, approval be damned. Well, he probably would need approval from the Capitals' front office, especially since he would miss nine NHL games. In February, Caps owner Ted Leonsis told NHL.com: "If Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby and [Niklas] Backstrom tell us, 'We want to go play for our country,' how am I going to say no? I might get fined, I might get punished in some way, but I feel I'm in partnership with Nick and Braden and Alex." Last week, Ovechkin told the Russian-language http://www.officialsanjosesharks.com/Adidas-Tommy-Wingels-Jersey Sport Express that he still wants to play but that "as far as participation in the nearest Olympics is concerned, there are no changes." Besides Johannson, the most visible face will be coach Tony Granato. You might remember Granato as a player -- he was a 1988 Olympian and played for the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks -- or as a coach. He coached the Colorado Avalanche for three seasons, was an assistant for the Detroit Red Wings, and in 2016 became coach at his alma mater, Wisconsin. (You might also know Granato because his sister, Cammi, is one of the greatest American hockey players ever). Assisting Granato are familiar faces, including former players Chris Chelios and Scott Young. Yep, that Chris Chelios and that Scott Young.

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