Sports

SIMMONS SUNDAY: Continuity has meant success for NHL’s Lightning, NBA’s Warriors


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Masai Ujiri talks loads about profitable and what it takes to achieve success in skilled sports activities. And in virtually each dialog, he references veteran gamers and continuity and what it typically requires to win championships.

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That is Steph Curry’s thirteenth season within the NBA. He’s nonetheless an excellent participant. That is Klay Thompson’s eleventh season, counting these misplaced to harm. It was Curry and it was Thompson on Friday evening who hit photographs within the last minutes to convey Golden State again to tie the NBA Finals with the Boston Celtics.

That is Steven Stamkos’ 14th NHL season, Victor Hedman’s thirteenth, Ondrej Palat’s tenth 12 months, and Nikita Kucherov’s ninth, all with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one win away Saturday evening from a 3rd straight journey to the Stanley Cup Ultimate.

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Very like Curry, Kucherov has invented his personal manner of taking part in, scoring in contrast to anybody else on his workforce, with 88 playoff factors in three seasons — which ranks him among the many biggest post-season gamers to ever go well with up.

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Stamkos has by no means performed higher than this season contemplating his superior age. His sport has by no means been this whole or aggressive. Palat has had different very good playoffs. Hedman, not as dominant because the previous two title campaigns, stays the perfect defenceman on the ice most nights.

The outdated fellows — Curry, Thompson, Kucherov, Hedman, Stamkos — are doing simply tremendous. They’ve all performed their total careers with one workforce. Plenty of it — particularly the championships — with one coach. Three titles for the Warriors. Possibly 4 arising.

Two titles for the Lightning. Possibly three arising.

And someplace Ujiri, who pays virtually no consideration to hockey, needs to be considering, yeah, that’s the way it works in skilled sports activities, all of them.

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THIS AND THAT

The Maple Leafs didn’t hearth the president, the overall supervisor, or the pinnacle coach after one other first-round defeat however they did hearth their goaltending teacher, Steve Briere — which is loads like blaming the primary base coach for a nasty baseball season … What the Leafs want, organizationally, is to restructure how they view goaltending, which they’ve had virtually no success with through the years. If Brendan Shanahan and Kyle Dubas aren’t goaltending specialists, and clearly they’re not, they should discover somebody to move up their goaltending division and, on the similar time, discover an applicable coach for his or her big-league netminders. That’s two separate hires. There are some high quality candidates on the market. Figuring out them and hiring them are two essential steps the Leafs should take … You’ll know the way badly the Chicago Blackhawks wish to tank this coming season primarily based on who they signal to play objective. In the event that they make a deal to eat Petr Mrazek’s contract, or worse to make use of him in objective, they’re aiming to complete final within the NHL. Additionally obtainable from the Blackhawks, the diminutive goal-scoring maven Alex DeBrincat, who’s third from his draft 12 months in scoring, behind solely Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine … Weren’t you anticipating nice issues from the Nathan MacKinnon-Connor McDavid collection? Weren’t you only a contact upset when the Western Convention last led to 4 video games? … Should surprise if the Leafs’ firing of scout Jim Paliafito, who spent most of his time in Europe and Russia, was additionally goaltending associated. There are nice goalies popping out of Russia as of late. The Leafs don’t have any of them. Paliafito’s huge rating was the signing of Ilya Mikheyev, who can change into a free agent in July … TNT had an awesome first season as one in all two American networks doing NHL video games. ESPN, the opposite community — humorous to name ESPN that — had an uneven first season as a provider. The TNT panel was higher. TNT prime play-by-play males have been higher. TNT leisure was higher. Regardless of nice work from Ray Ferraro and Emily Kaplan, ESPN wants to rent some hockey minds, off-air, to maintain tempo with the opposite community.

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HEAR AND THERE

Bizarre stuff occurring with the Boston Bruins. First, they hearth coach Bruce Cassidy. Now we preserve listening to that Seattle assistant Jay Leach, a former Bruins AHL coach, is the highest candidate to take over in Boston … The winners of the massive NHL awards can be introduced on June 21. It should really feel odd if McDavid doesn’t win the Hart Trophy (Matthews will) and if Cale Makar doesn’t win the Norris (Roman Josi would possibly). That is what occurs whenever you give out common season awards throughout the playoffs … Seeing the Lightning this shut to a different Stanley Cup has to kill Leafs gamers inside. They have been an additional time bounce away from profitable Sport 6 and the first-round playoff collection. Shedding to Montreal final 12 months in Spherical 1 was ugly due to the probabilities misplaced with it. This was a special type of loss, in opposition to a manner higher workforce, in a manner nearer collection … When he did the Winnipeg-Edmonton playoff collection final 12 months, I assumed Sportsnet’s Harnarayan Singh was manner over his depths as a play-by-play man. This 12 months, he’s like a brand new man. His playoff protection, power, and enthusiasm have proven he belongs … One other 12 months passed by and no Canadian workforce taking part in for the Stanley Cup not to mention profitable one. The final was 1993. I assumed the closest workforce to the Cup this 12 months can be Calgary. I assumed fallacious. Actually, no person’s shut, except the Leafs discover a goalie and a strategy to win a spherical. And what occurs to the Flames if Johnny Gaudreau leaves in free company? … Nonetheless can’t overlook the Nineteen Eighties. A Canadian workforce performed for the Cup in 9 straight seasons, profitable seven of them. In 1986 and 1989, two Canadian groups performed for the Cup. That, too, hasn’t occurred since.

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SCENE AND HEARD

Good on Mark Shapiro, sending a letter to Metropolis Corridor requesting that ActiveTO avenue closures on Lakeshore Blvd. be discontinued in the summertime. He was talking for Blue Jays followers. He may have been talking for all of us … Subsequent for Shapiro and his sidekick Ross Atkins: Discovering a pitcher for the beginning rotation with Hyun-jin Ryu’s season in peril and Yusei Kikuchi failing in his first 12 months with the Jays … You suppose Nate Pearson will ever be able to pitch for the Jays or will he change into a solution to some type of trivia query sooner or later? … Final season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. completed first in offensive WAR, on-base proportion, slugging, OPS, runs scored, whole bases and residential runs and smiles in his good American League season. We questioned what he’d do to comply with up such brilliance. This 12 months, he’s solely prime 10 in a kind of seven classes. He’s seventh in residence runs, 9 behind chief Aaron Decide. He’s nonetheless smiling although … All season lengthy, we’re listening to the Jays want a left-handed bat. And as we’re listening to this, Rowdy Tellez is placing up spectacular numbers with the Milwaukee Brewers … Solely the Canadian Soccer Affiliation, which has made a multitude of the game on this nation for many of our lives, may flip the feel-good Canada qualifies for World Cup story into the bitter sporting conflict of latest days … If the studies are true, and Toronto and Vancouver have been chosen to host World Cup video games in 2026 and Edmonton is out, then I really feel terrible for the folks of Edmonton, who’ve supported Canadian soccer far longer than anyplace else in Canada … I hoped that former Blue Jays exec Perry Minasian would flip to John Gibbons as his interim supervisor with the Los Angeles Angels after the GM fired Joe Maddon. As an alternative, Minasian introduced in Phil Nevin … Now teaching in subsequent 12 months’s XFL: Former CFL head coaches June Jones and Jaime Elizondo, now working as offensive coordinators … In the event you mix totals from the WHA and NHL, the main objective scorers listing of all-time is as follows: Gordie Howe 975, Wayne Gretzky 940, Bobby Hull 913 and, then Alex Ovechkin at 780 … I’m unsure Ovechkin ever catches Howe, though nobody will have a look at it that manner.

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AND ANOTHER THING

They’re formally naming a avenue after Kyle Lowry on Monday in Toronto. What they need to be doing is naming a southbound highway, heading instantly out of city, within the identify of Kawhi Leonard … Additionally getting streets named after them: Former Leafs goalie Mike Palmateer and longtime Loopy Canuck Steve Podborski … The Masterton Award goes to the NHL participant who finest exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey — which suggests it ought to go to Zach Hyman nearly yearly … I don’t know what this says about my morality, but when somebody desires to pay me $150 million to play golf, the place do I signal? I don’t care the place the cash is coming from … It was one factor when Bernie Dad or mum left the Maple Leafs for the WHA in 1972. It was one other that the Leafs traded him again to Philadelphia one 12 months later for Doug Favell and a first-round draft choose (Bob Neely). Dad or mum was good in his last six seasons with the Flyers, together with profitable two Stanley Cups and two Conn Smythe Trophies. Favell performed components of three seasons for the Leafs … Chris Pronger, some of the impactful defencemen in NHL historical past, gained the Norris Trophy simply as soon as. Hedman has solely gained the Norris as soon as. We’ll look again on Hedman in years to come back the way in which we surprise now how Pronger solely gained as soon as … Nick Nurse needs to be regarding Celtics coach Ime Udoka. Nurse gained the NBA championship in his first season as a head coach. On this his rookie season, Udoka is tied 2-2 within the Finals (must be up 3-1). Doesn’t typically occur this manner … Comfortable birthday to Chuba Hubbard (23), Joe Montana (66), Butch Carter (64), Dan Fouts (71), Scott Mellanby (56), Dave Morrison (60), Marc Tardif (73), Hideki Matsui (48), Mark Henry (51), Christy Martin (53) and Wade Redden (45) … And, hey, no matter turned of Travis Snider?

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ANTHOPOULOS IS MONEY

When Alex Anthopoulos obtained the Blue Jays again in competition within the second half of the 2015 American League season, attendance grew enormously the following two seasons — a gift the departed basic supervisor left behind.
Relying on who you take heed to, the Jays took in about $100 million in sudden income within the two seasons that adopted 2015 — partly ticket gross sales, partly merchandise gross sales.
Only for that, Anthopoulos ought to have gotten a large bonus when he selected to depart the Blue Jays after that 2015 season.
Now the identical monetary factor is going on in Atlanta, which traditionally has been a wishy-washy baseball market. The Braves drew round 24,000 a sport earlier than Anthopoulos obtained to Atlanta.
Then virtually out of nowhere, they gained the World Sequence final 12 months. And now the Braves are third within the Nationwide League in attendance, promoting out commonly at Truist Park, and are simply behind perennial attendance leaders in Los Angeles and St. Louis. They’re averaging 37,613 a sport, probably the most tickets bought per sport in over 20 years in Atlanta. That’s up virtually 9,000 a sport over final season, which ought to account for round $35 million in further income from ticket gross sales alone this season. And that doesn’t embody gross sales of caps and jerseys and different Braves memento objects.
What number of GMs in sports activities have influenced the underside line with two franchises as a lot as Anthopoulos has since 2015? The reply: Nobody besides him.

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SOMEBODY BETTER SCOOP UP FIRED BRUINS COACH CASSIDY, AND FAST

So Bruce Cassidy wasn’t good and delicate and forward-thinking with the younger gamers on the Boston Bruins?

Who cares?

In Cassidy’s six seasons with the Bruins, they by no means missed the playoffs, they superior to the second spherical 4 occasions, they made it to the Stanley Cup Ultimate as soon as, and possibly extra essential than all of that — the perfect gamers on the workforce, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy — most likely the 4 biggest Bruins of this era — performed the perfect hockey of their careers underneath Cassidy.

You don’t have to love your coach. Corridor of Famer Steve Shutt used to say they appreciated Scotty Bowman someday a 12 months in Montreal, the day they obtained their Stanley Cup rings. You don’t have to love the coach’s strategies. It’s important to take inventory of what the workforce did underneath the coach’s management and, possibly most significantly, how the celebs on the membership carried out for that coach.

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Bergeron, very good. Marchand grew into an distinctive participant underneath Cassidy. The extremely expert Pastrnak, was typically hit or miss, however his numbers have been excellent. If Cassidy can’t coach children — that’s one of many tales going round now — how do you clarify McAvoy rising from rookie to a top-8 NHL defenceman in his 5 seasons?

You wish to rent a coach with a historical past of success? Rent Bruce Cassidy. You’d higher do it quick. He’s not going to be obtainable for very lengthy.

QB TANDEM IN B.C. MAKING CFL HISTORY

Everyone ought to know that Nathan Rourke, born in Victoria, grew up in Oakville is the beginning quarterback for the B.C. Lions, and that Michael O’Connor, from simply outdoors Ottawa, is his backup.

Everybody ought to know this as a result of it’s by no means occurred earlier than.

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A CFL season has by no means began with a Canadian at quarterback, being backed up by one other Canadian. There have been, through the years, every kind of Canadian quarterbacks who spent a minute or two within the CFL and, in fact, the good Russ Jackson, who performed the place in addition to anybody, Canadian or American, has ever performed it.

Jackson retired 53 years in the past. In the event you by no means noticed him play, that’s unlucky. He was particular. However for the previous 5 a long time, soccer followers have waited for an additional Canadian of consequence to play QB. To see what’s occurring in B.C. proper now could be virtually game-changing.

To have one Canadian quarterback, that’s one thing of a miracle. To have two, that’s a lottery ticket.

Rourke left Oakville and went to Alabama for his last 12 months of highschool soccer earlier than later winding up at Ohio College. He wasn’t anticipated to make this soar, this shortly.

O’Connor was a kind of child recruits, agreeing to go from Ottawa to Penn State, the place soccer life didn’t end up in his favour. He made the extremely uncommon transfer of transferring from a significant U.S.school to UBC. In the previous few years, he’s jumped from UBC to the Argos, to Calgary to now the Lions’ backup job.

For years, critics have screamed there’s a lack of Canadian quarterbacking within the CFL and demanded change. Not this 12 months, although. Not now. Not with historical past being made.

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