NHL fines Bruins’ Brad Marchand maximum $10K for ‘dangerous trip’

Bruins All-Star winger and serial offender Brad Marchand has been fined $10,000 for a dangerous trip on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced the fine Thursday. It’s the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

The incident occurred at the 12:27 mark of the first period during Boston’s 4-3 overtime win over the Red Wings on Tuesday. Marchand wasn’t penalized, and Kronwall remained in the game, but an NHL review deemed the play a dangerous trip worthy of a max fine but not suspension after meeting with Marchand earlier Thursday.

We made a very difficult decision to relieve Willie Desjardins of his duties as head coach today, general manager Jim Benning said in a release. It’s been a challenging season and we all share responsibility for the results however, we felt this change was necessary as we continue to develop a young team and look ahead to the future. We’re grateful to Willie, Doug, Perry and each of their families for their dedication and hard work and wish them every success.

Vancouver missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season and finished last in the Pacific Division after dropping its last eight games.

Desjardins, 60, got off to a promising start in Vancouver after replacing John Tortorella, leading the team to a first-round playoff appearance in 2014-15, but has failed to keep the momentum going as the Canucks worked to rebuild the organization. Desjardins ends his tenure with a 109-110-27 record.

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Baseball Hall of Fame 2017: Time, TV schedule, live stream, inductees for enshrinement ceremony

As the 2017 baseball season enters August, MLB will take the final weekend of July to celebrate its past. The Baseball Hall of Fame will enshrine five new members in Cooperstown on Sunday, which includes three players, a GM, and the former commissioner.

Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines had to wait a long time for induction, but they finally got the votes necessary to get their busts this year. Ivan Pudge Rodriguez, didn’t have to wait nearly as long, getting in on his first year of eligibility. Meanwhile, executive John Schuerlohz and commissioner Bud Selig were voted in by the Today’s Game committee.

Other inductees include the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, recognizing baseball writers, and the Ford C. Frick Award, given to the best announcers in the sport. This year’s Spink winner is Claire Smith, while Bill King is honored with the Frick award.

Blue Jays: Only Steve Pearce stuck with his actual name. We’re disappointed, but maybe you haven’t fully shed your true Orioles’ nature yet.

Indians: Jose Ramirez went with Ramirez so I’m not even going to bother coming up with a joke.

Royals: Ian Kennedy and Mike Minor are disappointments here, but at least two Kansas City players made it so their jerseys combine to say Sledge Hammer.

Twins: You knew Joe Mauer wouldn’t have a nickname: nicknames are too flashy for him. Ryan Pressly missed an opportunity to make sure no one confuses him with Alex Presley. If the jerseys had been presented differently, we would have gotten a Buddy Rogers combo, so I’m docking points for that missed opportunity.

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The Dodgers have won 11 in a row and 31 of 35

The Dodgers are seemingly unstoppable right now, and not just because they’ve won 11 games in a row. On June 6, the Dodgers dropped their third straight game, which lost them a series to the Nationals Washington improved to an NL-best 37-20 with the victory. Fast-forward to today, though, and you’ve got the Dodgers at 66-29 thanks to a 31-4 stretch that now has them nine games ahead of the Nats in the win column instead of two games back.

31-4! Thirty-one wins against four losses in their last 35 games. As you can imagine, everything has been clicking for Los Angeles: Rookie sensation Cody Bellinger has hit 14 homers and slugged .714 during those 35 games. Cory Seager has hit .352/.431/.657. Justin Turner has arguably been better than both of them, posting a .364/.481/.692 line, while Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Chris Taylor have also dominated at the plate, with the lowest OPS from that trio in this stretch Taylor’s 853. The team as a whole has batted .273/.367/.527 with 149 extra-base hits, and they’ve been especially cruel to left-handed opponents (.304/.398/.617).

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Senators owner: Sidney Crosby deserves lengthy suspension

Sidney Crosby did not even draw a penalty for his slash of Senators defenseman Marc Methot Thursday night, which left Methot with a grotesque finger injury that will sideline him for weeks.

But Senators owner Eugene Melnyk says the Penguins star deserves a lengthy suspension.

In an appearance on TSN 1200 radio Friday, Melnyk called Crosby a whiner and said the NHL must act.

We all know who he is, the guy is just a whiner beyond belief and you do this kind of stuff I don’t care who you are in the league, Melnyk said, via FoxSports. I don’t care if you’re the number one player in the league, you should sit out a long time for this kind of crap.

I think the only way to do it is you wipe the guy off the map. Not one or two games, (but) 10. How about a season for a few of these guys. You take my guy, I take your guy. That’s my attitude.

The debate comes down to the each player’s main priority.

Burns is tasked with shouldering the Sharks’ offense defending is secondary. He led the NHL with a whopping 320 shots, 79 more than the next closest defenseman, the Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien.

Karlsson makes things happen on offense, but at the end of the day, his best work comes in Ottawa’s end.

Karlsson has an edge on Burns in every key defensive category. He was second in the league with 213 blocked shots, compared to Burns’ 142. He had more takeaways and fewer giveaways and averaged nearly two more minutes of ice time.

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NHL suspends Antoine Vermette 10 games for slashing official

Ducks forward Antoine Vermette has been suspended 10 games by the NHL for abuse of an official, the league announced.

The veteran was ejected from Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Wild when he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso in the back during the third period. The NHL deemed the incident a Category II offense, which carries an automatic 10-game ban.

Vermette can appeal within 72 hours and request a hearing with league commissioner Gary Bettman.,

The suspension nonetheless will begin Friday when the Ducks host the Panthers. He would be eligible to return March 12.

Vermette stands to lose $97,222.22 in salary if the ban is served in full.

The Sabres selected Phil Housley (No. 6) and Dave Andreychuk (No. 15) in the first round, and they combined to play more than 3,000 NHL games. Housley made it to the Hall of Fame first, in 2015, and Andreychuk, with 640 career goals, followed two years later.

Four players who played 1,000 games in the NHL is an epic haul in one class. Gary Roberts (No. 12), Paul Ranheim (No. 38) and Gary Suter (No. 180) make this an excellent class, but nabbing Brett Hull at No. 117 makes it one of the best for any franchise.

One year after drafting the best player in franchise history (Ron Francis) in 1981, the Whalers went back-to-back-to-back in the middle rounds of the 1982 draft on 1,000-game players. Kevin Dineen (No. 56) and Ulf Samuelsson (No. 67) were traded with Francis to the Penguins in one the best moves of all time (not for the Whalers), and Ray Ferraro (No. 88) had nearly 900 points. Francis was probably enough on his own, but the rest of the 1981 class is pretty barren.

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Oilers lock up C Leon Draisaitl with eight-year, $68M extension

A month after locking up Connor McDavid with a record extension, the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday signed center Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year extension that will pay him an average of $8.5 million annually through 2024-25, the team announced.

The Oilers chose him in the first round (third overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, 3 to 4 teams have interest in Sheahan, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sheahan has done nothing this season to increase his value. He has no goals and nine assists in 58 games, which is the most games a Red Wings forward has played without a goal since Forbes Kennedy was goalless in his first 61 games in 1958-59, according to Mlive.com’s Ansar Khan.

While Sheahan hasn’t provided much of anything offensively this season, he’s still considered a valuable center that’s strong on the penalty kill and in the faceoff circle.

Draisaitl was attached to McDavid’s hip at even-strength last season: the German-born winger played a little over 57 percent of his five-on-five minutes with the Oilers captain, according to NaturalStattrick.com. But really where one can delineate a change is in Draisaitl’s numbers is with or without McDavid. Playing next to the face of the Oilers franchise last season, Draisaitl had a goals-for percentage of 59.42; without McDavid that number dipped to 44.19. Draisiatl’s Corsi-for percentage with McDavid was 53.85, versus 47.74 without him.

And there needs to be some context added to those numbers. McDavid is going to make whoever he plays with better, and to go from McDavid to say, Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot is a steep drop-off in quality of teammate. But it also begs the question as to if Draisaitl is worth the $8.5 million per he will now be paid if he’s not capable of driving play at a certain level when he’s not playing with the best player in the NHL.

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Cowboys rookie Jourdan Lewis found not guilty in domestic assault case

A jury found Dallas Cowboys rookie Jourdan Lewis not guilty of domestic assault in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, according to Mike Persak of Michigan Daily. Lewis was accused of assaulting his girlfriend in March.

Per MLive.com, Lewis told police that he was asleep on March 15 when his girlfriend at the time came home around 1 a.m. and woke him up. He said she yelled at him, asking Do you pay the bills? The couple had allegedly fought about money issues before.

The visit meant a lot to Ponce and his family.

We were blessed to spend time with this amazing soul and his friend! There’s no words for this experience, a family member posted on the Team Jayro Facebook page. Jayro enjoyed this experience to the fullest. Thank you Make-A-Wish!

If you want a Team Jayro shirt like Beckham’s, they are available for purchase. All of the proceeds go toward Ponce’s family’s medical and travel expenses.

The Giants report to training camp on Thursday.

Howard’s collegiate hype was based more on potential than production, but his combine numbers were a showcase of the kind of athleticism that will make him a matchup nightmare in the NFL. The Alabama tight end maxed out at 602 receiving yards in a season, but his 4.5-second 40 time and ability to make quick cuts downfield give him the potential to do much more. Cameron Brate’s breakout 2016 season with the Bucs suggests Tampa will find more ways to utilize its athletic tight end than the Crimson Tide ever did.

Eli Manning will get another weapon to pair with Odell Beckham Jr. in Engram, a converted wide receiver who brings great speed and hands to the tight end position. Engram won’t be a plus blocker in his first pro season, but he can wreak havoc up the seam. He had 926 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his final season with Ole Miss.

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MLB trade rumors roundup: Alex Avila, Yu Darvish, and more

Another day closer to the trade deadline, another round of rumors to collect and lay out for easy reading and catching up. There’s so many trade rumors drifting in the wind some that are legitimate, some that are less so that it only makes sense to gather them up day by day and make sure everyone stays up to speed.

The Brewers have their eye on Sonny Gray but have been trying not to send one of their top two prospects back to Oakland in the process. Rest easy, Milwaukee fans, as the latest reports say Lewis Brinson believes that might not be necessary to land Gray, and another option like Brett Phillips could be just the trick for the A’s outfield.

Right now, both the Cubs and Rockies look to be after Alex Avila, who has been a great backup catcher for Detroit this season. Avila’s 2017 campaign is his best since the 2011 season, and he could help teams out, especially Chicago, at first base.

Cleveland was reportedly seriously involved in J.D. Martinez trade talks. This is the one of the only major rumors to involve the Indians so far this summer, and with Martinez’s eventual price being so low, it seems like they might have been seriously involved but not actually seriously interested.

The Royals, who started the year out playing like absolute trash, were outscored by 53 runs combined in April and May. That led to a 22-30 record they were honestly kind of lucky to have. Since then, though, the Royals have been whatever the opposite of trash is to fit this analogy, going 30-17 since June 1 while outscoring opponents by 43 runs.

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The Dodgers are the primary suitor for Darvish

It’s hard to figure out when the Braves are going to be excellent again, in other words. Could be next year. Could be three years from now. A wholly in-house rebuild is a tricky thing to pull off, even if they already have Freddie Freeman and a couple of other major parts already in place. It’s hard to push everything off until 2021 because the prospects could arrive next year. It’s hard to go all in for next season because the prospects might not arrive until 2021.

The solution is a middle ground, like Gray. He’s under team control for the next two seasons, and he would help the Braves bridge the gap between the R.A. Dickey present and the Ian Anderson future. If the roster solidifies in the meantime, that’s great. They’d have a young all-star. If the roster takes its sweet time, they get to exchange Gray for some of the prospects they lost to get him.

And the Braves most certainly do have the prospects to get him. More than any other team, they have the prospects, the need, and the desire.

Just a week ago, it didn’t feel like the Rangers were going to trade Yu Darvish. Now, though, it seems almost assured, as they’ve decided that they’re not only out of the postseason race in 2017, but that the return for Darvish in a trade is worth more to them than the exclusive negotiating window keeping him would give them. That much comes from Ken Rosenthal’s latest on Darvish, while more explicit mention of trading then re-signing Darvish comes from the Star-Telegram’s Jeff Wilson.

The Dodgers are the primary suitor for Darvish, but per Rosenthal, Darvish also isn’t their top target, as they’re looking at Orioles closer Zach Britton and are considered the backup plan for Sonny Gray should the Yankees fail to make a deal for the A’s starter. The Yankees are in the opposite scenario, where they’re looking at Gray and see Darvish as a secondary option.

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NHL All-Star Game 2017: Date, rosters and how to watch all weekend

The NHL debuted a refurbished All-Star Game format a year ago to rave reviews. Its brush with Hollywood in 2017 should bring more of the same.

Though there’s no John Scott this year, the NHL’s All-Star Skills Competition and four-team 3-on-3 tournament are largely unchanged, but there are a few tweaks.

The league announced it’s doing away with the fan-favorite breakaway challenge, hockey’s version of the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest, but it will be replaced by a new event dubbed The Four-Line Challenge, in which players will try to hit targets from various distances around the ice, per Sportsnet .

The other new wrinkle to the weekend is the NHL’s reveal of its own much-hyped 100 greatest players of all time during a ceremony Jan. 27 at Microsoft Theater.

Across the street at Staples Center, the skills competition is set for Jan. 28 with the All-Star game to follow on Jan. 29.

Had you asked me a month and a half ago, I would have said Dubnyk without hesitation, but Bobrovsky made a late push and Dubnyk had a lousy finish.

Bobrovsky had just one regulation loss the entire month of March. That run included a seven-game winning streak and three straight shutouts.

On the flip side, Dubnyk went 3-9-2 in March and allowed two goals or more in nine straight games.

Voters won’t forget how dominant Dubnyk was earlier this season, but that brutal stretch could really cost him.

From a numbers standpoint, Bobrovsky led the league in save percentage (.935) and goals-against average (2.06) and was third in the league with 41 wins.

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