How Maple Leafs could make a John Tavares deal work next summer

John Tavares could potentially be the biggest impact player to hit unrestricted free agency since Brad Richards in 2011, but while the superstar publicly is focused on re-signing with the Islanders, a number of NHL teams are preparing for the possibility that he hits the open market next July.

The Islanders have an unstable arena situation, with the team likely to opt out of their current lease with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn before next season, even though there is no other suitable option for them to play currently in New York. Tavares is also concerned with the on-ice product, where the addition of Jordan Eberle may not be enough to ease the concerns of the Islanders’ captain.
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The rest of the National League should be scared. Even if it’s right to wonder why in the heck the team with multiple Drew Storen postseason memories waited until the middle of the season. They’re the Ghost of Baseball Present, getting better at the only part of the roster they could still drastically improve. They were a scary team already, and they’re getting scarier.

Authentic Womens Donte Moncrief Jersey Tavares is a native of Mississauga, Ont., and it’s an intriguing thought for the Leafs to bring him back home, as has been speculated about pretty much since the day the Islanders selected Tavares first overall in the 2009 draft. Certainly, pairing Tavares and Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews as franchise cornerstones down the middle is an appealing idea.

Adrian Beltre is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and I’m not sure when that happened

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Adrian Beltre is the newest member of the 3,000-hit club. He’s a delight and a consistent fount of amusement and wonder, whether he’s falling on one knee to hit a home run, glaring at Elvis Andrus for playing pop-up shenanigans, getting his head touched and cocking his fist back, or moving the entire on-deck circle. He’s the best.

It was a mess. It will continue to be a mess. But there’s only one lesson to learn, and it’s not a very helpful one. Sometimes, things just go all screwy.
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I’d love to take a straw poll of the front office to see how many team executives would try a few bites of human flesh if it would guarantee the Dodgers a pennant, even. I’d guess more than half.

This brings us to Darvish. The Dodgers have had an opportunity to trade for several excellent pitchers over the past few years. David Price, Chris Sale, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, and Johnny Cueto come to mind, and that’s just since 2014. Every time, the Dodgers demurred. There were always reasons, and some of them were excellent. They already had Zack Greinke as Kershaw’s complement. They didn’t want to give up Corey Seager or Cody Bellinger or Julio Urias. There was logic behind their decisions to stay away from the premium trade targets.

And, if Darvish does go elsewhere, it’s something he might have done even if the Rangers had held onto him. The difference now, the guarantee now, is that they have already acquired three pieces for their future, regardless of what Darvish does. The rest is now a bonus.

Mookie Betts showed off his pilot skills by flying Chris Archer to the All-Star Game

Mookie Betts is a man of many talents — not only is he an All-Star right fielder for the Boston Red Sox, he’s apparently a pilot as well. Yes, a pilot. As in, like, airplanes.

The Red Sox star personally flew Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer to the All-Star Game in Miami after the two faced off in a game Sunday afternoon. Betts piloted the plane from Tampa Bay to Miami — a roughly hour-long flight — while Archer just looked bewildered (and maybe a little bit nervous).

And while they made it safely to Miami, it’s hard to blame Archer for second-guessing Betts’ piloting skills. After all, just last year, Betts was swearing off driving entirely after plunging a golf cart into a pond.
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Whatever happens once the Mets start getting rid of various pieces for the best return possible, Granderson has already given thought to the upcoming end of his time with New York and possible end of his career.

In a conversation with the New York Post, the veteran was open about where he sees his career going after this, should it continue at all:

Dee Ford Game Jersey I’ve made my peace with it. I’m going to enjoy this season. If an opportunity presents itself for me to play, that’s great. If not, I’ve had a great run and I enjoyed it.

I’m 36 years old. I never thought I’d be playing this long. I thought I was only going to play two years and get released, and they kept letting me come back for 12 [full] seasons. We’ll see what happens, but there are other things I know I want to do.
The 36-year old is hitting .228 for the Mets this year, where he’s in the last year of a four-year, $60 million contract, but he has a batting average of only .111 in July with nine strikeouts to go along with that dismal number.

Dolphins’ woes continue as CB Tony Lippett tears Achilles

The Dolphins have lost yet another key member of their team to injury.

Cornerback Tony Lippett tore an Achilles tendon during practice Monday and will have season-ending surgery, coach Adam Gase confirmed.

“I can’t say that Luck will be ready for the Rams game but he will be ready for the start of the season,” Irsay said vaguely, via CBS4 Indy.

He added, per the Indy Star, “I would say his progression could not be better”

Sunday’s 24-10 preseason loss to the Lions did nothing to ease Colts’ fans concerns about Luck’s absence, as none of the Indy quarterbacks played particularly well. Scott Tolzien went 2 for 5 for 24 yards, Phillip Walker went 9 for 20 for 86 yards, and Stephen Morris went 13 for 20 for 94 yards.

Detroit’s opening month could get ugly, depending on which Cardinals team shows up in Week 1. The next two weeks — a Monday Night Football game at MetLife Stadium and a home game against the defending NFC Champions — will set the tone for how the rest of the season goes. Split these games and the Lions should gain some confidence early.

The Lions’ October will go a long way to determine whether or not they’ll smell the playoffs. Both road games are winnable — Detroit beat both Minnesota and New Orleans on the road in 2016 — and they should have confidence to take care of business at home. The Sunday Night Football game against the Steelers will be another playoff-caliber test for the Lions, and it comes at a favorable time after the bye week.

Detroit’s first matchup with Green Bay is in prime time the week after it hosts Pittsburgh on Sunday night, but after that, the Lions could win out in November. The road game against Chicago might be a trap game — they lost at Soldier Field last season — and they host Minnesota on Thanksgiving for the second consecutive season.
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Add the Hall of Fame’s Parade of Legends to your induction weekend bucket list

Limited Kevin Huber Jersey The folding camp chairs started to line Main Street on Friday night, as many as three rows deep in the choicest spots near the Baseball Hall of Fame entrance.
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The fans who have experienced induction weekend in the past came prepared, with laminated signs to mark their territory for Saturday evening’s annual parade. The newbies weren’t totally out of luck, though. The CVS on Main Street had plenty of the camp chairs for sale — at a very reasonable $14.95 each — and the nice folks working there even offered to let customers use a Sharpie to write their name on the chair, just so there was no confusion when the spot-claiming really picked up Saturday afternoon.

This was my first Hall of Fame Parade, too, but my goal — as always at events like this — was to wander around and take in the scene, so finding a semi-permanent spot wasn’t a priority. I’d looked forward to the parade for a long time now, but even more so after I talked with Class of 2015 Hall of Famer John Smoltz on the phone earlier in the week. The excitement in his voice was obvious as he talked about experiencing the parade.

But following the you can never have too many good relievers theory, the Cubs have been connected to all kinds of relief options. Team Zach Britton with Davis in the eighth and ninth innings, and the Cubs might not blow a late-inning lead the rest of the season. But Britton might cost too much for the Cubs to stomach.

While the Yankees suffered a little slump before the All-Star break, they are back leading the AL East heading into Monday’s action. Gray’s arrival, along with southpaw Jaime Garcia will give fans hope that this team is capable of making a World Series run this season.

Tigers-Astros Justin Verlander trade still has life, report says

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Justin Verlander was the topic of numerous trade rumors before the July 31 MLB trade deadline passed, but he ultimately wound up staying in Detroit.

Verlander could still be on the move this month after clearing revocable waivers. According to MLB Network, the Tigers and Astros are still holding trade discussions regarding the six-time All-Star ace.

Sunday’s game was paused as Beltre’s family joined him on the diamond and his teammates rubbed his head, this time he couldn’t care less as Globe Life Park gave him a standing ovation despite trailing the Orioles 4-0.

Beltre is the fifth international player to reach the milestone and is the first player to collect his 3,000th MLB hit since former Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki tripled on August 7, 2016. Before Suzuki, Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez achieved the feat on June 19, 2015.
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A four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove third baseman, Beltre, 38, recorded his first 949 hits over seven seasons with the Dodgers. After five seasons in Seattle and an All-Star year in Boston, Beltre has been on a tear with the Rangers since joining the club in 2011.

After reaching the milestone, Beltre will now turn his focus to helping the Rangers clinch a wild-card spot.

Albert Pujols is on pace to become the 32nd player in MLB history to join the 3,000-hit club later this season or the beginning of next, adding to his impressive Hall of Fame resume.

Gettleman needed to hit a home run this offseason.

Let’s look at the Panthers roster. Gettleman was handed much of the backbone of the Panthers. Cam Newton, Ryan Kalil, Greg Olsen, Jonathan Stewart, Thomas Davis, and Luke Kuechly. He’s successfully drafted Kawann Short, Trai Turner, and James Bradberry. His two wide receivers from the early rounds of the draft, Kelvin Benjamin (first round) and Devin Funchess (second), have been underwhelming. So has another first-round pick, linebacker Shaq Thompson. He was supposed to replace Thomas Davis.
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Gettleman needed to hit a home run this offseason.

The list of Panthers offseason needs included: left tackle, cornerback, defensive end, playmakers for Newton, and a deal for Short. Gettleman crossed them all off, signing left tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, defensive end Julius Peppers, signing Short to a five-year deal, and drafting offensive weapons Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. Everything should be pointing up. So what was the tipping point?
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Martin’s had a strange career, to say the least. He burst onto the scene as a 2012 rookie with 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, only to devolve into an injury-prone mess over the next two years. In 2015, Martin stayed healthy and racked up 1,402 yards, just in time to sign a five-year, $35.75 million extension.

However, 2016 was a disaster in every way for Martin. He missed eight games and performed dismally when he was on the field (2.9 yards per carry on 144 attempts). Late in the season, he was handed a four-game suspension by the league, which will cost him the first three games of 2017.

Watkins’ 2017 is his final shot at redemption in upstate New York.

Lambeau Field on an 80-degree day? Amazing. A rematch of the Fail Mary game that helped solve that year’s referee strike? Tremendous. A showdown between what may be the final year of Seattle’s Legion of Boom secondary and one of the NFL’s top aerial attacks? EVEN BETTER.

The fact this is an afternoon game makes it all the better. You don’t have to wake up at 6 a.m. to tailgate, unless that’s your thing. You can roll into Green Bay at 11 and still have four hours of grilling brats, eating cheese curds, and sipping brandy old-fashioneds before kickoff. Sure, it may be a bit jarring to take on the frozen tundra in jorts and flip-flops, but there may not be a better game in the NFL this season. — Christian D’Andrea

Watkins’ production most closely mirrors Davante Adams’ — the 53rd pick in the draft. Though Adams has benefited by playing with Aaron Rodgers and not Taylor, that’s clearly a comparison the former No. 4 overall selection would like to avoid.

A shallow crop of receivers in the 2015 draft made trading away that future pick less regrettable — the top wideouts available at the time of Buffalo’s traded pick were Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman, and Phillip Dorsett, three players who have yet to make their mark on the league. Even so, moving up for Watkins cost the team a chance at players like Malcom Brown and Landon Collins — two players selected after the Bills potential draft slot.

Watkins’ 2017 is his final shot at redemption in upstate New York. The Bills decided they’d paid enough between the first four years of his rookie contract and the three draft picks it cost to acquire the talented young wideout.
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Peter Laviolette won’t commit to Pekka Rinne as Preds’ Game 3 starter

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Patrick Marleau Authentic Jersey Pekka Rinne was a Conn Smythe success story in the making, the reason he and the Predators are making their first Stanley Cup Final appearance together.

The draft pick headed to Los Angeles, via the Canadiens, is condition-free regardless of whether the Stars are able to sign Bishop before the July 1 cutoff.

The three-time All-Star spent parts of the last five seasons with the Lightning until he was dealt to the Kings at this year’s trade deadline as insurance for regular starter Jonathan Quick, who at the time was recovering from a groin injury that cost him 59 games. Bishop made just six starts down the stretch as Los Angeles missed the playoffs.

Dean Lombradi, the Kings’ since-fired general manager, was known to have an interest in re-signing Bishop, but the new braintrust of Luc Robitaille and Rob Blake balked at committing top dollar to another goalie with Quick already under contract through the 2022-23 season.

The 30-year-old Bishop was making $5.95 million in the final year of his deal and is said to be seeking a raise.

Battling injury and splitting time with Andrei Vasilevskiy and Quick, Bishop appeared in 39 games last season — his lowest total since becoming a full-time starter in 2013 — and finished the year with a 2.54 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

The Stars, with more than $10 million committed to Niemi and Lehtonen in 2017-18, will need to do some salary cap restructuring to lock up Bishop long term, but the deal seems to be a perfect fit for both sides.

Penguins’ Bryan Rust, Justin Schultz bitten by injury bug in Game 2

Injuries just keep piling up for the Penguins.
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Add forward Bryan Rust and defenseman Justin Schultz to that long list of hurt Penguins.

A deal involving Alex Galchenyuk seemed imminent before the Canadiens acquired winger Jonathan Drouin from the Lightning in a pre-draft blockbuster, but that may no longer make sense for the center-starved Habs. The third-overall pick from 2012 has had an up-and-down tenure in Montreal yet still scored 44 points in 61 games last year.

There are questions as to whether Galchenyuk is better suited to play on the wing.

If that’s the case, packaging him in a deal for top-line centers like Colorado’s Matt Duchene or Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would make for the ideal scenario.

Columbus is not alone. Even at 34 and four seasons removed from North American hockey, Kovalchuk’s goal-scoring track record entices. Vegas, Montreal, Minnesota and virtually any team searching for an offensive boost have been connected to varying degrees. The Devils still own Kovalchuk’s NHL rights and could elect to sign him for keeps, even after their sour divorce years ago. Otherwise interested parties will need to pull off a sign-and-trade agreement.

There are still a number of hurdles to clear before the dynamic Russian pulls an NHL sweater over his head next season, but it’s no secret there’s interest. In the latest indication that will be the case, Blue Jackets president John Davidson confirmed his team has been in contact with Kovalchuck’s agent.

Limited Reggie Lewis Jersey I actually had a discussion with Jay Grossman, his agent, today and I told him we’ll be in discussions and Jarmo [Kekalainen] our general manager will be making the decisions, Davidson said Tuesday on Sportsnet 590.