|10.01.13 at 1:39 pm ET|
It looks like Toronto is going to be home for Phil Kessel for the foreseeable future.
The former Bruins winger signed an eight-year extension with the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, keeping Kessel in Toronto until at least the 2021-22 season.
The contract is expected to pay Kessel around $8 million per season and is believed to include a limited no-trade clause.
“I always wanted to be [in Toronto],” Kessel said at a press conference. “This is the place I want to play. I want to finish my career here. It’s a great city, the organization’s unbelievable, and I’m really excited to continue here.”
Talks between Kessel and Toronto did not heat up until this past weekend, after Toronto management received word from Kessel that he was interested in staying in Toronto for the long term.
Acquired from the Bruins in 2009 in exchange for draft picks that ended up being Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight, Kessel has been Toronto’s leading scorer every season that he’s been with the team. The 25-year-old has also finished the last two seasons in the top 10 in the league in scoring.
In 504 career games with the Bruins and Maple Leafs, Kessel has recorded 185 goals and 194 assists while adding 21 points in 22 career playoff games.
|10.01.13 at 11:50 am ET|
Just a day after the Yankees season came to a close, Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez traded in his jersey for a business suit, as he and his lawyers appeared at MLB headquarters in New York City on Monday to begin his appeal of his 211-game suspension.
The grievance, filed by the MLB Players Association, is being heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. If a settlement is not reached, a decision by Horowitz on Rodriguez’s appeal should be made this winter.
Anthony Bosch, the head of the Biogenesis clinic in Miami that is accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs to MLB players such as Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and 12 others, was at MLB headquarters to testify.
Rodriguez was suspended on Aug. 5 for violating MLB’s drug policy and labor contract. An appeal was filed by Rodriguez and the Players Association in the weeks that followed after the union argued that the suspension, which would suspend Rodriguez for the entire 2014 MLB season, was excessive.
Because Rodriguez is a first-time offender of baseball’s drug policy, his suspension cannot be carried out until it is upheld by an arbitrator.
|10.01.13 at 11:19 am ET|
It’s been a surreal start to the season for the Giants, as a 31-7 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday dropped the team to 0-4 for the first time since 1987.
Despite the Giants being outscored 68-7 over the last two games, some players, such as safety and team captain Antrel Rolle, believe that the team can still turn around its season in a major way.
“I believe we can go 12-0 from this point on,” Rolle said Monday. People can look at me like I’m crazy, but you know, I could really give a damn at this point. This is what I truly believe. I know the talent of this team, I know the mindset of this team, we just have to go out there and put it all together.”
While the Giants have been dreadful this season, the rest of the NFC East has not been much better, as the Cowboys (2-2) only have a two-game lead over New York in the standings and will face the red-hot Broncos this Sunday.
“This is a 12-game season for us at this point,” Rolle said. “Nothing that has taken place matters. That’s something that we’ve been preaching today. Guys just have to believe again. We have to get back that good feeling again, as far as winning.”
The Giants’ slow start this season has also put two-time Super Bowl champion coach Tom Coughlin on the hot seat, with fans, media and wide receiver Victor Cruz, who questioned some of Coughlin’s decisions in Sunday’s game.
However, defensive end Justin Tuck backed up his coach in a pretty definitive way on Sunday.
“If anyone turns on our coach, I would be the first one to punch him in the mouth,” Tuck said after the game against Kansas City. “And put that in print. It better not happen, I know that.”
The Giants will get the chance to win their first game of the season this Sunday when they host the Eagles at MetLife Stadium.
• The soap opera that is the Buccaneers and their situation with former starting quarterback Josh Freeman continues to develop.
After being benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon last week and spending Tampa Bay’s game against Arizona up in the press box in what was called a “mutual decision” by coach Greg Schiano, Freeman made the headlines again Tuesday by announcing that he has ADHD and entered into the NFL substance-abuse program after taking Ritalin to deal with the disease.
|10.01.13 at 7:52 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Reds at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Capitals at Blackhawks, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Glasgow Celtic vs. Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
AROUND THE WEB:
• The Nets held their media day Monday in Brooklyn, and Kevin Garnett was his usual frank self.
“I’m here to win a ring,” the former Celtic said. “That’s the reason we came to Brooklyn.”
The 37-year-old forward created a little bit of a stir when he made it clear that he did not agree with new coach Jason Kidd‘s suggestion that he sit some nights when the team plays back-to-back games.
“It didn’t go too well,” Garnett said of that discussion. “Just being honest.
“I understand what he said. He wants to make sure I’m durable and that I get through an 82-game season. I’m totally understanding of what it is. He’s not coming at me personally or as a man or anything like that. He’s looking to better me. I’m going to try to be receptive of that.”
Added Garnett: “I just don’t want to be … told anything. I think I’ve earned the right to have an opinion in something that I’m doing. But more importantly, and more seriously, from a chemistry standpoint I think it’s important for me to be out there with everybody, and speed the chemistry process up a little quicker.”
• Across town, Knicks guard J.R. Smith was contrite in talking about the five-game suspension he received from the league for testing positive for marijuana on three occasions.
Smith, who signed a three-year deal this offseason, had surgery on his patella tendon that could push back his start to the season even further. The Knicks wanted him to have the surgery right after last season, but Smith waited until July, saying he first wanted to sign his new deal. He’ll serve his suspension after a doctor clears him to return to action.
“The worst thing is I feel I let my teammates and coach down,” the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year said at the team’s media day. “I let Mr. [James] Dolan down. I’m looking to move forward from it. As soon as I’m able to play, I’m hoping to have a good season.”
Said coach Mike Woodson: “J.R. knows he made a major mistake. I haven’t heard his comments, but I’m sure he’s apologized to the guys, because we made a commitment to win. Hopefully it’ll be a learning experience.”
• Athlon Sports has a list of the 50 worst managers in baseball since 1961. Bobby Valentine is second for his 69-93 record with the Red Sox last season. He trails only the “College of Coaches” the Cubs used in 1961 and ’62 when they won 123 games and lost 193 — including a franchise-worst 103 losses the second season.
Ozzie Guillen holds the No. 3 spot for his 69-93 season with the Marlins last year, followed by Bob Geren (A’s, 2007-11) and Larry Bowa (Padres, 1987-88).
Other notable names on the list: Joe Torre (Mets, 1977-81), John McNamara (Angels, 1983-84), Terry Francona (Phillies, 1997-2000), Brad Mills (Astros, 2010-12), Bucky Dent (Yankees, 1989-90), Butch Hobson (Red Sox, 1992-94), Ralph Houk (Tigers, 1974-78), Russ Nixon (Braves, 1988-90), Davey Lopes (Brewers, 2000-02) and Billy Herman (Red Sox, 1964-66).
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 1, 1991, in an 8-5 loss to the Tigers at Fenway Park, which Red Sox outfielder tied a major league record by striking out five times in a nine-inning game?
|09.30.13 at 2:04 pm ET|
Jake Locker threw three touchdowns in the Titans’ 38-13 win over the Jets on Sunday, but he also suffered a hip injury that will sideline him for 4-8 weeks, according to an ESPN report.
In the third quarter, Locker released a pass and Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson hit Locker, knocking him back awkwardly to the ground. Locker instantly reached for his right hip and had to be carted off the field.
The third-year pro has led Tennessee to a 3-1 start to the season with 721 passing yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. He threw for 299 yards, one passing touchdown, and rushed for 68 yards and one rushing touchdown in the Titans’ Week 4 win over the Chargers.
Locker started 11 games last year and completed 56.4 percent of his passes, with 2,176 passing yards, 291 rushing yards, 10 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for Locker and presumably will start for Tennessee in his place.
• The Chargers hoped that when they signed Dwight Freeney this offseason, he would lead a turnaround for a San Diego team that finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs last season.
However, Monday’s news of a serious injury could put a monkey wrench into those plans. Freeney reportedly suffered a torn quadriceps in the Chargers’ 31-20 win over the Cowboys on Sunday. The team is debating putting him on the season-ending injured reserve list.
The injury occurred in the second quarter, and he left for the remainder of the game.
|09.30.13 at 1:04 pm ET|
Following their last-place finish in the National League Central, including losses in 41 of their final 59 games, the Cubs on Monday announced the firing of manager Dale Sveum.
Sveum, a former Red Sox coach, finishes with a 127-197 record in two seasons at the helm in Chicago. The Cubs finished 66-96 this year.
Sveum had one year remaining on the three-year deal he signed before the 2012 season.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is speculated to be a candidate to replace Sveum. A Chicago-area native who played college ball at Northwestern and broke into the majors as a catcher with the Cubs in 1989, Girardi was rumored to be a target when the position was vacant two years ago as well, but he was entering the second year of a three-year contract that expires this offseason.
|09.30.13 at 10:11 am ET|
The Citi Frozen Fenway schedule includes nine men’s and women’s college hockey games, seven public and private high school hockey games, and public skating for community residents.
The schedule begins Dec. 28 with a Division 1 men’s hockey showdown between Holy Cross and Bentley University. It wraps up on Jan. 11 with a Hockey East doubleheader that features UMass Lowell vs. Northeastern and Maine vs. Boston University.
In between, there are free community skates on Dec. 29 and New Year’s Day, and three high school boys and girls high school games on New Year’s Eve day. After New Year’s, the rest of the events include college and high school hockey.
On Jan. 2, Northeastern and Harvard play in the only women’s college hockey game of the schedule. Hockey East hosts a pair of doubleheaders on Jan. 4 (Merrimack-Providence, Notre Dame-Boston College) and Jan. 11. Jan. 7 and Jan. 9 are reserved for three Division 3 men’s hockey games.
Four boys and girls high school games highlight the Jan. 8 schedule.
|09.30.13 at 7:58 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Rays at Rangers, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NFL: Dolphins at Saints, 8:25 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: Premier League, Newcastle at Everton, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• The Jets entered Week 4 at 2-1, just a game behind the AFC East-leading Patriots and Dolphins, giving New York fans hope that their team could find a way to win enough games to challenge for a playoff spot.
Then the Jets went to Tennessee and, with quarterback Geno Smith turning over the ball four times, were embarrassed by the Titans, 38-13. On one play deep in New York territory, Smith tried to switch hands by going behind his back with the ball, but he lost control of it while it was on his rear end — a play some are calling the new “butt fumble” after the ball was pounced on for a touchdown by Titans defensive lineman Karl Klug.
“I was too reckless with the ball,” Smith acknowledged after two fumbles and two interceptions. “I’m extremely disappointed in the way I handled the ball. I was piss-poor.”
Added Smith: “This will never happen again.”
Asked if this comes with the territory when starting a rookie behind center, coach Rex Ryan showed his frustration.
“How many times are we going to make that excuse,” he said. “One of these days we’ve got to learn from it, and it better be soon. We’d better learn in a hurry.”
Injured QB Mark Sanchez, whose turnover issues were one of the key reasons for the Jets’ miserable 2012 season, was on hand to see Smith struggle.
“I’ve been there,” Sanchez said when asked if he was happy he wasn’t the one in the line of fire. “Believe me, I’ve been there.”
• Lane Kiffin was fired as USC football coach following Saturday’s 62-41 loss at Arizona State, reportedly told of the decision in a meeting at Los Angeles International Airport in the early morning hours Sunday after the team arrived home.
“It’s never the perfect time to do these things, but I thought it was the right time,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said.
Kiffin lasted 3 1/2 seasons at the helm and had an up-and-down tenure marked by solid recruiting while the program was handicapped by NCAA sanctions due to the Reggie Bush violations, but also featuring a series of ethically questionable moves and comments.
“Lane did negotiate some of these things remarkably well,” Haden said. “I have supported Lane with my heart and soul for 3½ years and gave him every opportunity. He wasn’t given a fair hand in a lot of ways. I said all along, we graded on the curve, but we failed on the curve, too.”
Assistant Ed Orgeron will serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season. Names bandied about as speculated candidates include Broncos defensive coordinator (and former Jaguars head coach) Jack Del Rio and Rams coach Jeff Fisher, both of whom are USC alums, along with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, Boise State coach Chris Peterson, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter and 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
• Legendary Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood, a pass-rushing standout who was part of the “Steel Curtain” defense of the 1970s, died Sunday at a Pittsburgh hospital at the age of 67.
The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro played for the Steelers from 1969-81, winning four Super Bowls.
“L.C. was one of the most beloved Steelers during the most successful period in team history, and he will be missed by the entire organization,” Stellers chairman Dan Rooney said in a statement.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 30, 1962, which Red Sox player wrapped up the season with a .326 average to capture his second American League batting title?
|09.27.13 at 7:56 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Utah State at San Jose State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Middle Tennessee at BYU, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL preseason: Flyers at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL preseason: Rangers at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
MLS: Philadelphia at Kansas City, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• Throughout his farewell tour in the major leagues this year, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has been reserved and unemotional. Thursday night, however, the tears were flowing as he left the Yankee Stadium mound for the final time.
Rivera entered the game in the eighth — with the voice of late PA man Bob Sheppard introducing him and “Enter Sandman” blaring over the speakers — to a standing ovation from the 48,675 fans, his teammates and the Rays players.
Then, with two outs in the ninth inning of New York’s 4-0 loss, longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte walked to the mound to take out Rivera. He laughed at first, then shared a long embrace with Pettitte, burying his head into Pettitte’s shoulder as he sobbed.
“I was bombarded with emotions and feeling that I couldn’t describe,” Rivera said afterward. “Everything hit at that time. I knew that was the last time. Period. I never felt like that before.”
Said Pettitte: He didn’t say anything at first, and I didn’t expect for him to be quite so emotional. He broke down, gave me a bear hug, and I bear-hugged him back. He was really crying. He was weeping. … I felt like he didn’t want to let go.”
The 43-year-old Panamanian, who has an MLB-best 652 saves, a 2.21 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in his 19-year career, shared hugs with his coaches and teammates in the dugout before being guided back out to the field for another ovation.
“He made my job fun,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He made my job easy. And he made all of our lives better.”
• Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was in the running for an analyst job with TBS for the Major League Baseball playoffs. However, when the network announced its lineup earlier this week, Valentine’s name was absent.
According to New York Newsday, Valentine lost the opportunity due to his bizarre, self-serving comments on Sept. 11 when he criticized the Yankees for not being as visible as the Mets in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York City in 2001.
The studio crew consists of Keith Olbermann, Tom Verducci and Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez.
Said a TBS spokesman: “Bobby was one of a number of candidates being considered for the role, but we elected to go with the team of Keith, Pedro and Tom, and we’re very excited about that combination in studio for us.”
• Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced that he will retire in January 2015 after 22 years at the helm.
Selig, 79, has made previous statements about retiring only to change his mind. This time, he offered a specific date and said he will offer a transition plan soon.
Selig has his critics, but revenue has grown from $1.7 billion when he took over to $8 billion now.
“I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term,” he said.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 27, 1977, which player recorded his 30th save to break the Red Sox single-season record set in 1964 by Dick Radatz?
|09.26.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
Just a day after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Yankees were dealt another rough reality check, as ESPN.com reported that New York slugger Robinson Cano is seeking a 10-year, $305 million contract this offseason.
A $305 million contact would match the amount of money owed to Alex Rodriguez from his 2007 contract with New York if he achieved all of his incentives.
According to ESPN, sources close to Cano believe that the 30-year-old second baseman will accept the biggest offer given to him this winter, even if it is not the Yankees.
“I haven’t decided anything yet,” Cano said. “But don’t get me wrong. I love this team, you know?
Despite playing in the Bronx his entire career, Cano said that it’s up in the air in regards to whether he will be back next season.
“Oh yeah, who knows? Who know’s what’s going to happen. I’m just enjoying being here and I’m going to enjoy the last day, being here with all these guys,” Cano said. Nobody said I’m leaving; nobody said I’m staying. I haven’t decided anything yet. Let’s see what happens after the World Series.”
Cano was arguably the best player on the New York roster this season, hitting .315 with 27 home runs and 107 RBIs.
A five-time All Star, Cano has averaged 28 home runs and 102 RBIs over the last five seasons and holds a career batting average of .309.
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