BREAKING NEWS: But Not Breaking News Because We All Knew It Was Coming, Cleveland Browns Sign Kareem Hunt

The Browns did exactly what we all knew they were going to do. They signed Kareem Hunt. The Kansas City Chiefs star running back that got into domestic violence trouble this past year. Was released by the Chiefs weeks before the playoffs and there were a lot rumors about who would sign them. Some thought the Patriots, some thought the Eagles, but mainly everyone thought the Browns and the Browns did it. Hunt was placed on the commissioners exempt list after a video of him kicking a women came to surface in February.

We are not sure what the deal is, money wise yet but it is said to be one-year. Hunt rushed for 827 yards, 7 touchdowns, 4.6 yards per attempt, 26 receptions, 378 receiving yards and 7 receiving touchdowns before getting cut by Kansas City. In 2017 he rushed for 1327 yards, 8 touchdowns, catching 53 passes for 455 yards and 3 touchdowns. Let’s see what kind of controversy this stirs and what the Browns can do with one of the bets running backs in the NFL.

More to come.

 

 

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Jordan Binnington And Dylan Strome Earn NHL Stars Of The Week

The NHL releases three stars of every week and this week it happened to consist of two “unlikely” names per say. The first star was Jordan Binnington the rookie sensation in St. Louis who has surged the St. Louis Blues to a seven-game win streak and a wild card spot. Star number three was Dylan Strome the Chicago Blackhawks center, who was sent to Chicago from Arizona for Nick Schmaltz.

Binnington earns 1st star of the week 

The reason this is being reported is because it is awesome news for these two guys. First off Jordan Binnington was drafted in 2011 3rd round, 87th overall never made his way up the NHL ladder and from 2011-2018 until he was called up he spent all of his time (besides one year when he played in ECHL for the Kalamazoo in 2013-14) in the AHL, emerging as a starter in 2014-15 in the AHL and at 26-years-old Binnington finally got his shot in the NHL this season when the Blues needed some resurgence at the goaltending spot.

Binnington has started in 11 games this season with a record of 9-1-1, a 1.77 goals against (GAA), .929 save percentage and 2 shutouts in his time so far. In his last five games he has five wins, most notable win coming in shutout fashion vs the best team in the NHL (Tampa Bay), allowing seven goals in those five games. All the talk about Carter Hart and his resurrection of Philadelphia is over shadowing what this kid Binnington has done for the Blues.

Strome earns third star of the week

Dylan Strome another young player who has had his fair share of difficult stretches finally gets a chance in Chicago and has been lights out since coming to Chicago. It doesn’t hurt playing the power play with Patrick Kane and some 5 on 5 time with Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex Debrincat, nevertheless Strome has been a major reason the Blackhawks are back in playoff contention. Since his arrival to Chicago Strome has recorded 11 goals and 19 assists, 30 points in 32 games. During his 32 games in Chicago the longest Strome has gone without a point has been three-games so far. The kid has been on fire and earned himself third star of the week (this week) recording 2 goals and 5 assists in three games.

Strome was drafted in 2015 1st round 3rd overall by the Coyotes after playing the 2015-16 season in the OHL recording 111 points in 56 games (37G, 74A) Strome headed to the NHL in 2016-17 where he only played seven games. In 2017-18 he played 50 games in the AHL and 21 games in the NHL recording 9 points that year. At the start of this season the Coyotes expected him to be a number two, borderline number three center, Strome played 20 games with Arizona recording 6 points and -10 rating before being shipped out to Chicago. The Coyotes essentially gave up on Strome after just 48 games. They did receive Nick Schmaltz in return but it was still a very questionable decision by Arizona and Strome is surely making them regret it now as he continues to roll in Chicago.

Ducks General Manager Bob Murray Steps In As Head Coach “To Find Out Problems”

The Anaheim Ducks continue to circulate the media world for all the wrong reasons though. If this is new to you the Ducks have been one of the worst teams in hockey the last two months.

Anaheim’s Last 21 Games…

Th Ducks have won just two games since December 18th 2018, went on a 12-game losing streak December 18th to January 15th after winning back to back games and their only two wins in the last 2 months. They are on a current 7-game losing streak and being out scored drastically in this 7-game span. The Ducks have scored 8 goals in seven games while allowing 37 goals against in seven games. Looking at the bigger picture of the Ducks 21-game disaster they have allowed 82 goals against, while scoring 34 goals for. The Ducks have been shutout five times, average 1.62 goals for per game over the last 21 games, 3.9 goals against per game. In this 21-game span they have a record of 2-15-4 a -48 goal differential, -105 shot difference, 12.7 percent power play and 78.9 penalty kill.

Clearly things have not been well in Anaheim and their small pre-All Star break/deadline moves did not do anything. It was inevitable that the Ducks were going to can Randy Carlyle, a head coach of his stature, Stanley Cup experience (winning one with Anaheim) etc. not getting the job done the end decision was firing him before the season ended. We are all surprised he lasted this long though, either way we all knew he was going to get fired. Stuff has been sh*tty to be blunt. I don’t think anyone expected the Ducks to have their GM Bob Murray step in and be the head coach though. Murray has no NHL coaching experience and this will be the first time we will see a GM behind the bench and making executive decisions at the same time.

Murray Feels It Is Necessary To Be Behind The Bench

In a recent article on NHL.com with Mike Zeisberger, Murray addressed a lot of concerns fans have. He said he feels as if this is the best way to figure out what is going on and get to the bottom of the problems right now. He agrees that he should be “in the trenches” with the team during this rough patch. He also said he does not think it is fair to bring someone at this point in the season and how rough it is in Anaheim right now.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf said he understands why Murray is coming to coach and supports his decision fully. He believes it may be beneficial to see what the locker room is like and hopefully give them a spark.

The Ducks play the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night. Murray will have two and a half days to fully prepare for what his first day behind the bench will look like. Wednesday night vs Vancouver could end the Ducks dry spell, we have seen new coaches come in and be successful their first game and following weeks after it. (Ken Hitchcock in Edmonton, Doug Weight in New York) I would not be surprised to see a Ducks win Wednesday night. Things cannot get much worse for Anaheim than having tickets being sold for as low as $17 and fans wearing brown bags to games.

Mitchell Robinson’s potential in the NBA

After being named a McDonald All-American, being a former Western Kentucky commit, and a former 2ndround pick in the 2018 NBA draft, New York Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson has had the time to shine in the NBA as of late by proving that he can be a dominant scorer and a future DPOY candidate in the league. 

Mitchell Robinson, at the age of 20 years old, had declared for the 2018 draft without gaining any experience in the collegiate level. He was ranked #11 (3rd best center) in his high school graduating class and originally committed to Western Kentucky University, as mentioned earlier. But Robinson decided to decommit from WKU to train for the upcoming draft that he was a part of.

This 20 year old that didn’t play in college had the talent of becoming a late lottery pick but was passed on by multiple teams in the draft as he was selected in the second round (36thpick) by the New York Knicks.

Before the 2018-19 NBA season started, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale believed that Mitchell Robinson wasn’t quite ready to play in the NBA and wanted to give him more minutes and experience by having him play with the Westchester Knicks in the G-League.

Obviously that was not the case for Fizdale as he immediately put Robinson to work by starting him in his 4th game (teams 6th) against the reigning NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. 

Robinson’s current stats in his rookie season are 5.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 0.5 apg. He also leads all rookies in blocks with 2.0 blocks per game.

Within the last week of NBA matchups, we have seen a different side of Robinson since the arrival of Dennis Smith Jr. and Deandre Jordan during the Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Dallas Mavericks.

The veteran presence of Deandre Jordan has helped shape Mitchell Robinson into the player that was once expected out of him since back in his high school days. 

“If you just go back to Mitchell’s last 4 games, there has been a big jump in what he’s doing out there and how he is doing it” – David Fizdale

Since acquiring Dennis Smith Jr. and Deandre Jordan, Mitchell Robinson has been averaging 11.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks within the last 4 games he’s played. This also included Robinson scoring his career high in points (15) in their last game against the Toronto Raptors and recorded 3 blocks in the last two games.

With this side of Mitchell Robinson during this time in the season, we can see his level improve with the help of Deandre Jordan by his side.

Dennis Smith Jr. May Be A Diamond In The Rough For The Knicks

In Friday night’s loss vs the Pistons, Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 31 points and dished out 8 assists to his new teammates.

Dennis isn’t missing a beat after being traded from the Mavericks during the trade deadline. Coach David Fizdale has placed his trust in the young guard and it is showing in his recent play as a Knick.

“I’m enjoying playing basketball not enjoying losing, but I’m having fun going out there and competing,” Dennis said after Pistons game.

In Dennis’ first 3 games as a Knick, he is averaging 21.3 points and 6.7 assists on 46% from the field. Dennis has shown that he is already the best player on this team and is connecting with his team.

On the other hand, Dennis still struggles with shooting the basketball as he misses free throws and is shooting below 30% from 3 so far with the Knicks.

If Dennis finds a consistent shooting stroke, the Knicks may not need Kyrie Irving in the summer. Shooting is the key factor that will elevate Dennis’ game.

The Knicks let go of some big pieces during the trade deadline, Kristaps Porzingis being the biggest loss, but Dennis is already showing the potential that he can grow into a star and be the best player on a team.

The Knicks are looking forward to the summer as the draft and free agency takes place. They must look at the possibilities if Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving don’t land there. Do the Knicks believe that Dennis can be a big-time player for them?

Top Picks For The Action Packed NHL Saturday Slate

Colorado Avalanche vs New York Islanders: 

The Islanders are coming into this game favorites of course winning 7 of their last ten gams, earning a point in 9 of those 10 games and playing the five-game losing streak Avalanche, 2-7-1 and 12-12-4 record on the road. The Islanders should have no problem with this game. I do make it seem like the Islanders are going to walk into the Barclays having already won but I do believe they take this game tonight. Robin Lehner is the expected started who did earn January player of the month honors and is playing unbelievably right now. As the Avalanche have Semyon Varlamov in net who has not found his rhythm since coming back from injury. All in all the Islanders have a record of 14-3-2 in their last 19 games and have made history this season earning 32 points in 23-game span the first time since their cup run in 1981-82. The Avalanche on the other hand have lost 15 of their last 18 games and have allowed four or more goals in the past 13 of these games. The numbers are clear as day, as it may not be the home stadium Islander players would like but they are still on home ice and playing in front of a hungry Islanders crowd. I see the Islanders taking this one with ease.

Nashville Predators vs St. Louis Blues: 

This is one of the better match ups tonight, the Blues started the first 30 games or so on the wrong end of things and were deemed one of the most disappointing teams this season. Well in recent weeks the have completely 360 their and are now in the first wild card spot. Coming off a shutout win vs Tampa Bay the Blues recent success has been backed by rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington who is making his seventh consecutive start today. The Blues are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games and Binnington is 8-1-1 with a 1.70 goals against in 10 starts this season. The Predators are on a three-game win streak right now and first match up vs St. Louis all year. The Predators go with Pekka Rinne today who is 5-1-1 in his last six games and 11-4-2 in his last 17 starts. The Blues are looking for their fifth straight win which could be possible on home-ice. We all look at this game as the Predators to be the clear winner but the Blues have been hot lately do not count this team out. I am going with Blues to win.

Dallas Stars vs Arizona Coyotes: 

This is not a game you expected to see on this slate but the Stars are looking to extend their point streak to seven games as the Coyotes are looking to end a five-game skid. The Coyotes are expected to go with Darcy Kuemper who is 11-13-5 on the year with a 2.78 goals against. The Stars are going with Anton Khudobin who started last game making 21 saves in their loss to Nashville. The Coyotes are 0-9-0 since March 24, 2016 vs the Stars and the Stars have already beat the Coyotes two times this season. The Stars need all the points they can get right now as the playoff race ensues. The star power of Dallas will need to continue to propel this team as Tyler Seguin has six points in four games and will look to continue his hot streak tonight. Tonight I am going Dallas.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens: 

Game of the night probably. The Leafs lead the Canadiens by one point in the Atlantic, therefore if the Canadiens win this game they take second place by one point. Both teams come into this game on a three-game win streak the Canadiens though are 7-1-1 in their last ten games as the Leafs are 5-4-1. The Canadiens go with Carey Price who is 23-13-4 this season with a 2.52 goals against and Leafs Frederick Anderson who is 24-11-2 with a 2.56 goals against. The Leafs are 16-6-2 on the road this season as the Canadiens are 17-10-3 at home. The two have played each other one time this season already that resulted in a Leafs overtime win on October 3rd, 2018. This will be match up number two of four. The Leafs and Canadiens play each other one more time before February ends and then play one of the last games of the season vs each other. This will be a offensive filled game, we could see the over hit, and a possible 5-4, 4-3 match up. On home ice and the Canadiens recent streak, the Leafs get them one more time at home this season, Bell Centre will be rocking going Canadiens tonight.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning:

The Lightning are coming off a tough loss to St. Louis as are the Penguins who lost to Carolina 4-0. Both teams got shutout in their recent games which only means we can probably expect a 4-3 style game, power play action and a lot of offense. Very rarely do we see two of the best teams in the NHL score no goals and then go at it next time vs each other to be a 1-0, 2-1 game. The Lightning are two-game losing streak, 5-3-2 in their last ten and 20-5-2 on home ice this season. The Penguins are going through a rough patch right now as they are 3-6-1 in their last ten on a three-game losing streak and 13-9-5 on the road this season. The two have played each other two times already this year and the series is split at one a piece. Both games have resulted in 6+ goals, first game was 4-3 Tampa Bay and second game which came recently was Pittsburgh 4-2. We can expect a similar score tonight. The Lightning are expected to go with Andrei Vasilevskiy as the Penguins are probably going with Casey DeSmith following poor play of Matt Murray and his recent injury. The Penguins need a win here bad to get out of this funk. This is a tough one and I believe Penguins take a big one on the road.

Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks:

The Flames are one of if not the best team in the NHL. They have been consistent all year and have seemed to take that Pacific division under control, although with the Sharks behind them by two points and playing the Oilers the Flames need these two points. The Flames are 7-2-1 in their last ten games have a 17-10-0 record in the road as the Canucks have dropped their last three and are 4-3-3 in their last ten with a 12-10-3 record at home. These two have played each other already three times this season and Vancouver has taken two of the three which means the Flames are not goin to lose the season series and will win this one (in my eyes). The previous three games resulted in a 5-2 Canucks win, 7-4 Flames win and 3-2 Canucks OT win. This probably means we can anticipate a 4-2 style game. The Flames are going with David Rittich in net who is 20-4-4 on the year with a 2.54 goals against as the Canucks go with Jacob Markstrom who is 20-15-6 on the year with a 2.81 goals against. Like I said I doubt the Flames drop two straight to the Canucks and essentially lose seasons series here tonight. Even on the road I am expecting a Flames win.

Recap of picks: 

  • Islanders
  • Blues
  • Stars
  • Penguins
  • Canadiens
  • Flames

 

The Artemi Panarin Saga: What Is Going On Now?

The past two or so days has been filled with Artemi Panarin news. There doesn’t need to be much explanation as to why, Panarin is a free-agent and a franchise player. He has played 294 career NHL games with 293 points, there are not many players who have a 0.99 point per game in their career. In his four years in the league he has produced 70+ points in every year and is on pace again for a 70+ point season this year.

Further more, Panarin has been in the news a lot lately due to the trade deadline coming up and how he switched his agent to the same agent as Sergei Bobrovsky. This news of switching agents is not ground breaking honestly because all signs are pointing to Panarin testing the free agency market come the off-season.

Panarin has been involved in many media interviews regarding his future in Columbus and he has made it clear in one recent interview that he really wants to test the market and see what he is worth and see what teams are willing to go after him.

This seems clear as day to me, he wants to test free agency and see what it is all about. Now taking that into consideration that does not mean the Blue Jackets will not trade Panarin though. With this news it means the Blue Jackets should consider trading Panarin even more now.

There has been a lot of news circulating around who will and should go after Panarin but not much is concrete. The only real recent truth we have surrounding a Panarin rental deal is Nashville Predators GM David Poile has been in talks about trading for Panarin.

Also not to mention the Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has met with Panarin’s new agent in the past couple of weeks. All of this is speculations but I would not be surprised to see Panarin moved before the deadline in light of his recent desire to peruse free agency.

Teams that can land Panarin before the deadline: 

  • Nashville Predators
  • New York Islanders
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Boston Bruins

Teams that can land Panarin in free-agency

  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • New York Rangers
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Vegas Golden Knights