Kessel, Malkin lead Pens past Canes 6-1 for 6th straight win

They played without physical center Jordan Staal, who missed the game because of a family concern — and his absence certainly was felt against Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and the rest of the Penguins’ lineup.

Kucherov had two assists to reach 80 points this season and Tampa Bay defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Thursday night.

Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman, Vladislav Namestnikov and Brayden Point scored for the Lightning (41-17-3), who leapfrogged expansion Vegas to regain the top spot in the overall standings with 85 points. Louis Domingue earned his third win by stopping 33 shots.

Kucherov, the NHL’s leading scorer, has 32 goals and 48 assists in 61 games.

Ryan Dzingel, Mark Borowiecki and Derick Brassard scored for the Senators (21-29-10), who are 0-2-1 in their last three games. Craig Anderson made 20 saves.

The loss snapped the Senators’ five-game winning streak on home ice. And with Monday afternoon’s trade deadline quickly approaching, Ottawa players are finding it difficult to stay focused.

“There’s definitely a little bit of anxiety in here,” Borowiecki said.

Green said that Simmons was an inspiration to the next generation of Australian kids coming up through the ranks.

“We do speak,” he said. “He helps me out and gives me some advice so that’s cool. He just tells me to play the game and enjoy it; have fun with everything.

“I think he’s really motivated everybody in Australia. It shows that there’s always chances no matter where you are in the world and you just need to make the most every opportunity you have.”

Before Green can entertain seriously the idea of joining Simmons at the next level, he must finish this season at IMG Academy in Florida and enter the college system. He has attracted the interest of many top schools, including Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Kansas, but he is yet to make a decision on which one he’ll attend next year.

“There’s been a lot of colleges, but most colleges have offered me [scholarships] and stayed in daily contact with me, so there’s nothing I can really pick out like that,” he said.jays_519_2a5127ba7e459cf9-180x180

Knicks start Emmanuel Mudiay at PG Thursday night in victory over Magic

Emmanuel Mudiay started at point guard for the New York Knicks on Thursday night as the club pivots to giving younger players more playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Mudiay started in place of veteran Jarrett Jack on Thursday, scoring eight points and handing out four assists in the Knicks’ 120-113 win over the Orlando Magic.

The Hurricanes (27-24-10), who fell 6-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, aren’t expected to be active at the trade deadline.

“With our group, the way it currently is, we can get in,” Carolina coach Bill Peters told the Charlotte News & Observer. “If there’s some additions to it, then that’ll help.”

A 6-2-1 spurt moved the Hurricanes into a wild-card playoff position in the Eastern Conference, but that was followed by an 0-3-1 skid in their last four games that has dropped them a point out of the final wild-card spot.

“We practice downstairs, we’ll kill each other. We jump in front. We do everything. When the lights come on, I don’t know if it’s nerves, fear, experience, we just back up, back up, back up, and give in … we ‘ole’ and let them go right past us to the rim.”

The Blazers have won the first three games of the season series, two in the first six games of the season.

Lillard is averaging 27.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists against the Suns this season and McCollum is averaging 25 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Booker is averaging 29.7 points in the series. He had 43 points, six rebounds and eight assists in the last meeting, a 118-111 Portland homer victory on Jan. 16. He made 5-of-12 3-pointers and all 10 free-throw attempts in that game.

Pateryn’s drive whistled by, nicking Seguin and going high into the net.

The play has been the subject of ongoing confusion, largely due to the vague nature of the rule.

Seven players must be on the line of scrimmage, but it is left to the officials’ judgment to determine if a player is on the line.

The Super Bowl officiating crew ruled Jeffery was close enough to the line, but Pereira obviously believes they got the call wrong.bears_094-223x223

The Netherlands will have to outclass Japanese favorite Nao Kodaira to earn a gold in the women’s 500m race.

In the letter, Carruth wrote that he has long accepted my lot as a social pariah. He said in an introduction to the letter, which he began with To whom it may concern, that the purpose of the letter was to challenge allegations made by Saundra Adams on the truthfulness of the statements she’s made about me.

Carruth referred to several lies he claimed Adams made, beginning with saying he never apologized for what happened. He noted that he apologized on several occasions in correspondence from prison.

A few runs in, and Ligety was pushed off of the podium spots bu Erik Read of Canada, Manfred Moelegg of Italy and Florian Eisath of Italy, with Cochran-Siegle still in first. He was pushed out of first not too long after that, which means no American will make it to the podium in the men’s giant slalom.

Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway put together a time of 2:19.31, and was in first place for some time in the finals. Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who was ahead in the the first round, put together a brilliant second run, taking first place with a total time of 2:18.04. His first run was a blistering 1:08.27. Alex Pinturault of France had a 1:08.90 in his first run, but a slower 1:10.45 put him in third by the time Hirscher set his time.

Two United States entrants were within the first few competitors, and they were both first-time Olympians in McRae Williams and Alex Hall. Williams went first, and he put down a score of 81.60. Hall struggled on his run, posting a 69.80.

Tebow said there were plenty of up and down moments last year. He hit .226 with 24 doubles, eight homers and 52 RBIs while playing for the Columbia (South Carolina) Fireflies and the Port St. Lucie Mets. He had raised his average above .300 in July but went 3-for-44 in August and also finished his season with 10 errors.

He says he now knows what to expect on a daily basis, and that has allowed him to have a clearer mind heading into spring training.

The case against the Hokies is that their state rival has also never won a football title and has been in the doldrums for the better part of two decades. How much angst can a fan base have when it has dominated its state since 2003?

Sixteenth in attendance, 17th in revenue, and no national titles. In fact, South Carolina can claim only one conference title: a 1969 ACC crown that came in a year in which the Gamecocks lost four games, all by double digits.bears_141

With a ground ball rate routinely north of 50 percent, Godley is the specific arm some feel won’t enjoy the same benefits of the humidor.

After trading third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Starlin Castro this offseason and not re-signing free-agent third baseman Todd Frazier, the Yankees were looking to add a veteran infielder in case either touted prospect Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar isn’t ready to crack the starting lineup as a rookie.

Torres, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow, and Andujar are both being looked at as potential starters at either second base or third.

The problem is, Ray is already a fantasy darling, so the potential profit is limited since his market price was already to the point there was little, if any, potential return on investment.

He will, availing a buying opportunity. Godley is due some regression from last season, but the humidor will soften the blow. He should gain about 20 spots among starting pitchers.

Many benefited from Corbin’s stellar second half last season. Some are anticipating a carryover, while others are more skeptical. When the market is divided like that, supply and demand economics dictate a more favorable price. With the humidor, the demand, hence the cost, elevates.

They haven’t set a date for the wedding but want to have plenty of time to plan the ceremony. They are aiming for some time in December 2019.

But before then, Correa has plenty of work to do, namely, helping the Astros repeat as champions this year.

On paper we’re better than last year, it’s all about us putting in the work and showing it on the field, he said. What inspires me and drives me right now is … that nobody’s settling, nobody is laying back, everybody is working to try to be better this year. If everybody’s trying to do that, the team’s only going to get better.

Winning presents its own set of challenges. Even if you manage to keep your head coach — always a challenge in the Sun Belt — he might end up losing key assistants. Add that to the inevitable loss of key stars, and you’ve got plenty of opportunity to fall off of your pace a bit.

Satterfield remains in Boone, a victory in and of itself. But he has to replace four-year starting quarterback Taylor Lamb, and perhaps more importantly, he has to replace ace defensive coordinator Nate Woody, who’s now at Georgia Tech. He promoted longtime cornerbacks coach Bryan Brown to the DC job, and everything might continue apace.bears_086

Mark Brunell and the boys delivered an upset of gargantuan proportions at the home of the AFC’s top seed in the 1996 playoffs.

Miami brought in one of the best all-time offenses to Super Bowl XIX, with second-year quarterback Dan Marino setting league records in passing yards (5,608) and touchdowns (48). But the Dolphins struggled mightily against the 15-1 49ers, falling by a score of 38-16.

The 2001 version of the “Greatest Show on Turf” featured NFL MVPs Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk and an offense that had scored more than 500 points for the third consecutive season. But three turnovers and a timely field goal from Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri allowed New England to upset the Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI.

“This is about equality,” Rodgers said Tuesday about the message the players want to send. “This is about unity and love and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people. But we’ve got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we’re going to continue to show love and unity, and this week we’re going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together.”

Trump tweeted that he had called Jones after the game and “Fox & Friends” aired an interview with the president Thursday morning in which he accused NFL owners of being scared of their players. Trump added that he had talked to several owners and said they are “in a box” on the anthem issue.

“I think they’re afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth, and I think it’s disgraceful,” Trump said in an interview recorded Wednesday. “They’ve got to be tough, and they’ve got to be smart.”

Not just Brunell, but Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, Tony Boselli, Kevin Hardy and even Clyde Simmons (who rose to prominence with the Buddy Ryan 46 defense) took down perhaps Mike Shanahan’s best Broncos team (if not for the group that romped through the ’98 playoffs).jaguars_116

Last year Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff was one of the primary whipping boys for angry media members and fans wondering what the Rams were doing.

Hard to blame them: Goff looked terrible when he played. The Rams did him no favors with their scheme and approach to stone-age offensive football.

Seeing Goff, who was limited during the first week of the preseason, play well on Saturday night was a welcome sight.

To no one’s surprise, Marshawn Lynch sat for the national anthem again during the Raiders’ second preseason game. The anthem for this game was notable as well because it featured Derek Carr with his hand on Khalil Mack’s back during the performance.

So much for a run at a 19-0 season. That didn’t provide much drama, did it? The defending champs were pretty dreadful in the loss to the Chiefs. The offense was out of sync and the defense gave up huge plays in the highest-scoring game ever against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team. But are you really going to wager against Belichick and QB Tom Brady getting things fixed? The strong suspicion here is that this will still be the team to beat entering the postseason.

Going more two-tight end to run the ball will mean there’s both some strong edge blocking aid from Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen and two targets who can stretch the middle of the field. To be effective running, the Patriots will need to have a mix of both alignments against the Jaguars’ consistent Cover 3.

With the Jaguars being so strong at end in their base with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, and given the speed of outside linebacker Telvin Smith, it will be hard for the Patriots to get the perimeter running game going. Lewis will need to use his elusiveness to maximize yardage against a strong tackling opponent.jaguars_086

When a player’s hands move reflexively to his head, it is a textbook sign a brain injury has happened.

That doesn’t mean it has happened, and it is wrong to diagnose a concussion from only watching on television. But it is indicative. In those instances, returning to play in five minutes is simply too short. The NFL needs to do more to make sure teams err on the side of caution, and not in returning key players to the field.

The Browns now have two first-round choices and two second-round selections in this year’s NFL draft and a first-rounder and three second-rounders in next year’s draft. There is the small matter, of course, of using those picks wisely. But there are more than enough draft-choice resources stockpiled for the Browns, if they want, to make an overwhelming offer for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that the New England Patriots simply could not refuse, even if they’re saying that they intend to retain Garoppolo.

The 49ers can be patient with the Kirk Cousins situation; if they cannot pry the franchise-tagged quarterback from the Redskins this offseason, they might have a far easier time getting Cousins to San Francisco a year from now. Lynch and Shanahan are in a start-over situation and they have begun restocking the roster by reaching agreements with linebacker Malcolm Smith, kicker Robbie Gould, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tight end Logan Paulsen and wide receivers Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson.

The last two times the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, they found themselves deep in holes they weren’t accustomed to, against teams with the credentials, will and momentum to finish the job. The Patriots won both times. In 2015, they overcame the Seahawks, a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and a hopeless situation against their own goal line. Last year, it was the Falcons and 28-3.

The Vikings, who are the favorites to advance out of the NFC, have the NFL’s best defense, an outstanding coach, energy from the miraculous Saints win, a road win against the NFC’s top seed and the buzz of the first-ever Super Bowl home-field advantage. They’re just not the Patriots. — D.S.

But if he remains in Jacksonville, he will not be an inexpensive quarterback much longer. His four-year, $20.65 million rookie deal, which pays him $3.237 million this season, is expiring, and the Jaguars have exercised his fifth-year option for next season at a cost of $19.053 million. That is guaranteed only for injury, so the Jaguars still could decide to move on.jaguars_039

Herm Edwards replaces Todd Graham at Arizona State.

Arizona State on Sunday officially announced Herm Edwards as its new football coach, but that won’t be the former NFL head coach’s only role in Tempe. The 63-year-old Edwards, who has served as an ESPN analyst for the past nine years after being fired by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, will also serve as the CEO of what the Arizona State football program is dubbing its New Leadership Model.

“Our goal for this football program is to reach unprecedented heights, and therefore we need to find a way to operate more innovatively and efficiently than we have in the past,” Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement. “In the spirit of innovation, our vision for this program is to have a head coach who serves as a CEO and is the central leader with a collaborative staff around him that will elevate the performance of players and coaches on the field, in the classroom and in our community. Equally important, the head coach will be a dynamic and tireless recruiter.”

Arizona State described the New Leadership Model as “similar to an NFL approach using a general manager structure.” It will include sport and administrative divisions to manage the football program, and resource sharing and strategic planning between the two sides. Coordinators and assistant coaches will also have “more flexibility in how they develop student-athletes on the field.”

Maintaining continuity merely for continuity’s sake is not helpful when the coach is not getting the job done. The time has arrived to move on. It has become obvious, and it will be no less obvious by season’s end.

He gave us an alert that may include a 10 second run off in a running clock. So obviously, 10 second run off, running clock that’s the scenario that maintained most of our attention in terms of what could happen as they came out of review. What did happen as they came out of review obviously is probably the least of the scenarios from my expectations which was if [they] ruled an incomplete pass.”

The league continues to prohibit offensive celebrations — those sexually suggestive or miming violence — and still forbids taunting and using the goal post as a prop. It still has draconian rules pertaining to, among other features, how a uniform must be worn. But after years of fans and players calling for more individualism in a sport that earned the moniker “No Fun League,” the NFL ceded on one front.jaguars_023