It's a super rare occurrence that a general manager gets to pick his entire team. Yet the Vegas Golden Knights gm, George McPhee got to do just that. I think it's fair to say that a new gm, no matter the sport, will walk into a pretty big mess and (usually) a losing team. McPhee got to pick his coach, his team, and even got a new stadium. If he pulls off a successful season he's going to be a legend. But if he fails.... they are going to be the team that had everything given to them and still lost.
The Knights opened the preseason with an impressive 9-4 win against the Vancouver Canucks. That game showed me they have put together a fast paced offense. They then followed that up by defeating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. I will admit there's not a ton to take away from just two preseason games, but I think it's a good sign for the team.
I really hope they carry this momentum forward into the post-season. It'd be really cool to see a team start from scratch and be successful.
Just a few thoughts I put together on this year's NHL season. I feel like it's going to be a really, really good stretch of hockey for us fans. Here are some of my predictions for what's going to go down on the ice.
The Chicago Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks have had a rough run after their "dynasty" Stanley Cup streak. Not that they suddenly turned into a bad team or anything, but they seemed to have not been able to run as a perfect machine lately. One thing I must say I completely disagree with is trading Artemi Panarin for Columbus's Brandon Sadd. Panarin was the Hawk's second highest point scorer. I understand keeping the team fresh, but at what cost? The Panarin/Kane line was incredible. Then again, Brandon Sadd is not new to the team. I think his return will be exactly what the team needs to click back into focus mode. I see them winning the Western Conference Finals and continuing on to the Stanley Cup this year.
In my opinion, the Stars have everything it takes to win the Stanley Cup. They have finally fixed the biggest issue with their team, the goalie. The fix was adding Ben Bishop from the LA Kings during the off-season. Bishop is one of favorite goalies in the entire league. Not only is he a monster at defending the net, but he'll also free up the other players from picking up a lacking goalie's slack. I think the Stars will have a very successful playoff run and make it to the Cup this year.
The Preds are done. They won't make another impressive playoff run like last year. I won't go as far as to say they got lucky or didn't deserve last year's record, but it won't happen again any time soon. Captain Mike Fisher is out, and with the team's captain hanging up his skates, the team's leadership is out the window. The main reason to watch the Preds is to see if they do the opposite of my prediction. It's always fun to see a team defy the odds.
Though they fell to the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the playoffs last year, the Oilers actually showed some promise. After a pretty rough....decade or so, I think they finally have a strong chance at not only having a great playoff campaign, but maybe even winning the Cup. Captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are lethal together, and that is what's going to take this team to victory this year.
There are two teams that everyone should be keeping up with this year, Alabama and Ohio State. Both teams have absolutely everything it takes to dominate. But those two are pretty obvious picks, considering they are No.1 (Alabama) and No.2 (Ohio) on the list. I'm curious which teams are the sleepers. The one's that will surprise everyone and cause the upsets. Those are the one's that really keep it interesting.
I'm going to be adding Auburn to my list. If they can pull off a win against Clemson this weekend, I'd say that will be a pretty good viewing into the rest of the season for them.
So I was wondering what everyone's thoughts are on this year's sleeper teams. I have heard a few things here and there about NC State, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech. But aren't these three teams pretty dominant forces in the league? I wouldn't say they are quite sleepers, as much as they are just needing to get on the field and get things done this year.
I agree. They seemed to not have their team together last night, which is pretty telling for the Patriots. Most of the articles I saw leading up to the game were about 'How are the Chiefs going to win against the Patriots?'. Well, by not having Brady in the game and not having your team fully stocked.
Good points. Also of note, the incidents in question all happened before Elliott even signed with the Cowboys. So that to me is one of the more curious things about this case. If Elliott wasn't found guilty in a court of law, and the accusations in question happened before he officially signed his contract with the league, how can the NFL rightfully suspend him for almost half a season?
NFLPA appeals Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension
I didn't even think about that. It's much more of a threat to Elliott to 'ruin his career' just before he his signed to a team. And on the point you're making, I agree. Looks like the NFL only did this for easy PR points towards their dodgy domestic abuse history.
I can't remember for sure, but I think I had Julio Jones last year. I try to forget everything that happened in the previous years.... It stings. But Jones only did well for me for like 2 games. Other than that.... he was quite below average. I could tell you for sure if I could figure out how to get into my FF app.
How do you usually play it, with your first pick in the draft? Do you go for your favorite guy, the 'best' available, or do you go for a position, depending on how deep you think that position is?
For instance, if there are only 3 quarterbacks that you really want on your team all year (say Brees, Rodgers and Brady for example) and you know they usually go quick in your draft, do you use your first pick to grab one, or take that as an opportunity to stack yourself at RB or WR instead? Thereby settling for a QB not quite as good?
I have been basically making a list of all the elite players I would feel good about drafting in the top 10, and then picking the one I am surprised about the most that fall to me. Like 2 years ago, I got Antonio Brown with the #8 pick. I was aiming for a RB, but had to take him, and readjust.
Last year, LeVeon Bell fell to me in the mid 2nd round. Did that as well, even though I was eyeing a QB in Brady. Though my #1 pick (*cough DeAndre Hopkins cough*) sunk my luck and made me look silly, so ya know, can't always be right...
Anyways, what's your strategy? Do you target a position and take the best one of those available, or do you just take whoever, and decide in the moment?
I usually try to go with a WR for my first pick. WRs and RBs always make or break every game for me. The QB plays a big role in it as well, though not as much it seems. I go for the best WR first, then QB, then RB and so on. And If there is a dominating defense like a couple had last year, I'll usually grab them 1 or even 2 rounds before everyone else starts to. The defensive points have saved me more times than any QB.
Though nothing I've said here is set in stone. If I really want __ this year, I'll pick them first. It's cool to take FF seriously with stats and projections, but it's also a lot of fun to play with players and teams that you enjoy.
So let me start off by saying that I am not condoning any sort of physical or mental abuse of anyone, of either sex, at any time, for any reason. It is never OK to do the things that Ezekiel Elliott is being accused of.
The Dallas Cowboys running back was accused of domestic violence against his former girlfriend in July of 2016. These allegations led to a year-long investigation by the NFL and the Florida police department, which then led to a 6 game suspension for breaking the NFL's personal conduct policy. Elliott has yet to be arrested or charged with a crime and continues to claim he is innocent. Though as everyone knows, the NFL suspending you for domestic abuse is quite a sting to both your life and career, the latter being a bit hit or miss in this industry.
Elliott is now appealing the case. But honestly.... Why bother? The damage is now done.
And that is my issue with this whole case. The ex-girlfriend specifically said she was going to, "ruin his career". Though I don't think she will succeed in actually ruining his career, I do think what is happening now is exactly what she meant. Here are some of the glaring issues with the case:
- No concrete evidence in this case at all.
- She posted the 'evidence' pictures on her Instagram account....This seems too juvenile for me personally to take serious. Seems (to me) like she just wanted everyone to see and judge.
- The Columbus City Attorney's office declined charges, stating there was "conflicting and inconsistent information across all incidents".
- Elliot told the police that she is doing this in spite of her anger for a 'social media incident' and being asked to leave Elliott's apartment.
- She claimed previous counts of domestic violence, but didn't report them.
- There is text message proof of Thompson encouraging her friend to lie to police about an alleged domestic abuse case in July. This one is unquestionable. It also tells me all that I need to know about this particular case.
It's incredibly hard for me to believe someone claiming domestic abuse, when there is evidence that they encouraged someone to lie about a domestic abuse case. And again, this is not me claiming that I know for sure. This is not me saying Elliot should just be let off. This is me saying that it is way, way too easy to hurt someone's career and life with these types of charges. I can't think of a way to fix this issue, but I don't think swapping domestic abuse for this type of abuse is fair.
I don't think I've ever seen someone do such a great job of self promoting like Conor McGregor. It really is impressive. He is only days away from what will surely be a record breaking bout with Mayweather, and now has plenty of fuel for lining up the next one.
Because of some sparring photos and video clips that were 'leaked' online, McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi now have some beef between the two. The photos show Malignaggi looking pretty badly beaten, while the video shows what appears to be McGregor dominating the match and knocking Malignaggi unconscious at one point.
Obviously this doesn't look very good for Paulie. He said this after seeing that the images were online:
"When you don’t like somebody, you don’t spar them, you fight them. You either fight them, or you just never mentioned them at all. This weirdo didn’t do either of those things. He constantly put me in the press with these edited videos, edited pictures and whatnot. Now, it’s picked up a ton of momentum. So yeah. So now the bad blood is there. Now we’ve gotta fight."
"He’s got his left hand on my neck and he’s throwing his little right hook inside, and I’m trying to pull up as hard as I can, in case he’s going to repeat the shot, in case he’s gonna do something else, and he lets it go. So what happens? I go flying, and I fall."
It doesn't even need to be said that there is a huge difference between sparring and an actual match. Paulie is a fighter, not just a sparring partner. Whatever happens in a sparring match between to fighters should be treated as helping one another. These videos shouldn't have been released at all. I feel like this is a publicity stunt specifically for gearing up the McGregor vs. Malignaggi fight. But if it's not, yeah, they should fight.
Here is the footage of the sparring match. To me, it doesn't look like Paulie got knocked out. It looks like he lost his balanced and fell over.
The highly anticipated Mayweather vs. McGregor fight now has an impressive undercard to go with it. It was announced that the following matchups will take place before the main event:
Gervonta Davis (18-0, 17 KOs) vs. Francisco Fonseca (19-0, 13 KOs): For the Davis' IBF Junior Lightweight (130 lbs) Title.
I am going to agree with the masses in that Fonseca is going to be steamrolled by Davis. He really hasn't ever fought someone with the type of skill he is about to be presented with. His record is primarily built on sub- 500 ranked fighters.
Nathan Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs) vs. Badou Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs): For the Cleverly's WBA Regular Light Heavyweight (175 lbs) Title.
This is the type of match I like to see. It could go either way with these two. Jack is moving up a weight class for this fight, and Cleverly is the WBA's secondary title holder. Fighting styles and skill level are too similar for me to bet comfortably.
Andrew Tabiti (14-0, 12 KOs) vs. Steve Cunningham (29-8-1, 13 KOs): 10 rounds, Cruiserweights (200 lbs)
I am going to give this win to Cunningham. He is much more experienced and a better tuned fighter than Tabiti. Experience is everything when it comes to big fights.
In all honesty, I expect any of these fights to be much more exciting the the main. Even though I think McG. vs. May is going to be much better than most, I just don't see the same drive with the superstars that I do with the undercards.