Evander Kane Doesn’t Go Down

Hockey and fighting has entered a completely new dynamic in recent years.  In the 2014-2015 season, there were 78 less fights than in 2013-2014 and only .32 fights per game.  In 2008-09 there were over 730 fights with .60 fights per game and 41.38% of games with fights.

Last night, though, was “Fight Night” in the NHL.  Maybe players were trying to show some masculinity heading in to Valentines Day weekend. In Just five games Monday night, there were eight total fights.  Despite seeing multiple fights in a game and several brawls throughout the years, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen three rounds between two opponents.

The Florida Panthers beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-4.  However, it was Evander Kane with three-round knockout in his fights against Alex Petrovic.

Hockey Night Highlights: Lucic sucker punch, Stars outplay but outscored, Jurco dangles

Oh, Milan Lucic.  The 6’4″ Vancouver native is back to his regular antics.  Slashed in the wrist in front of the net by Arizona’s Kevin Connauton, the former Boston Bruin resorted to not only slashing Connauton in the leg but then sucker punching him to the ice.  He was ejected right after.

The LA King had issues with Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards off the ice, but acquired a goon like Lucic to enforce.  Is he the modern day Sean Averey with less style?  The Kings knew what they were getting into when they signed him, though.  Darryl Sutter did not look happy.

I mean, if I don’t react, I don’t think he even calls a penalty. Same guy – Brad Meier. I think this is the fourth time he’s kicked me out of a game. It’s always the same thing with him, It’s if guys can take liberties on me and it’s not a penalty. If I do something, then I’m automatically kicked out of the game. It’s just unfortunate that it is that way with him, and I’ve just got to move on and not get frustrated by the referees in the game. Via LA Kings Insider

Don’t forget he was ejected opening night after recieving a hit from Logan Couture and Meier was refereeing that night as well.  NHL Player Saftey announced Lucic will have a hearing regarding the punch.

varlomov stars

There’s no question the Dallas Stars were the better team in a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center Saturday night.  Not only did the Stars have the majority of puck possession, but they willfully outshot the Avalanche 43 to 15.

It’s strange to see the top offensive team in the league get shut down, but they had a woeful night on the powerplay and gave up two critical goals on the powerplay as well. But if it weren’t for Semyon Varlomov and his 42 saves, this game would have had a completely different outlook.

There’s nothing much better than watching a goalie get undressed.  I’m sure Jurco’s been taking some pointers from the “Magic Man” Pavel Datsyuk over the years.

 

Tenuta Takes to the Pro Mound Out of High School

Many kids at a young age dream of the possibility to one day step onto freshly cut grass of a state-of-the-art baseball park. To most, this is only just a dream. However, there are those fortunate to take the field and show potential to be an elite baseball player.

For Matt Tenuta, a 2012 graduate of Apex High School, his competitive edge and niche as a left-handed pitcher gained him an advantage to be the small percentage drafted to the MLB out of high school.

“At a young age, my parents realized I threw with my left hand, and my dad grew up loving baseball so much he knew that was big in professional baseball to have left hand pitching,” Tenuta said. “Since I was about five my dream was always to be a professional baseball player.”

That dream came true as the Kansas City Royals drafted Tenuta in the 25th round, 763rd overall in 2012. Two years after he was drafted the Royals lost to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series but returned the following year to take the throne and did just that becoming the 2015 World Series Champions.

“I’m so proud to be apart of the Royals organization,” he said. “There’s so many amazing people in the front office that it’s great to know they believe in me because they’ve put together such an amazing major league team.”

His first two years consisted of playing for the Arizona Royals of the Arizona Rookie League, the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer Rookie League, and the Burlington Royals of the Appalachian Rookie League. In 2014 he made his way to Single-A baseball playing for the Lexington Legends and finished his 2015 season there.

With any luck, Tenuta, hopes to make his major league debut by the time he’s 24. He suffered a broken leg as a result from a line drive this season ending the possibility to jump from Single-A baseball to high Single-A or Double-A.

“My first two years I was in rookie ball and then this year I started in A-ball and got hurt in my first four starts,” he said. “So I should have been moving out of a ball midseason.” Continue reading “Tenuta Takes to the Pro Mound Out of High School”

Why the Dallas Stars Mean Business

It wasn’t but a few years ago, on July 4th, 2013, that recently acquired General Manager for the Dallas Stars Jim Nill made exceptional changes that would alter the caliber of his team.  Nill sent 2011 NHL All-Star Loui Eriksson along with prospects to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverly, and Ryan Button.  It was this transaction that propelled a decent Stars team into a good Stars team.

However, what then turned this Stars team from good to very good – now on the verge of great – was the acquisition of veteran forward and two time All-Star, Jason Spezza and the other assets who were gained soon after.  Spezza signed a four-year, $30 million extension with the team in 2014.

From then on, Nill proceeded to add the pieces of this very good team to make them a contender for the Stanley Cup.  After acquiring Spezza they also added Ales Hemsky as a free agent. He also managed to obtain longtime Buffalo Sabres coach and Jack Adams winner Lindy Ruff in the summer of 2013 to make matters even better.

This past summer was also a busy one for Nill as he acquired three-time and two-time Stanley Cup Champions with the Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya and added goaltender Antti Niemi to add depth in the crease who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks.

Missing the playoffs in 2014-2015 gave additional motivation going into the summer finishing only two spots out of a Wild Card spot.  Now with the key supplements and veteran leadership-especially several players who know what it takes to win a Cup- to mesh with the young talent, this team should have no problem securing a playoff spot.

The only factor that could weigh this team down is the fact they have no distinct number 1 defenseman and their goals against last season, despite their offensive numbers, is what kept them out of a playoff spot. Continue reading “Why the Dallas Stars Mean Business”

Steph Curry with the Shot, LeBron with the Team on His Back

He drives through the lane with explosive force like a running back.  Initiating contact, as the ball careens off the backboard and into the net, LeBron James heads to the free-throw line.

With his hairline receding, he no longer pays attention as the headband has been removed from his cranium.

Effortlessly, James sinks the free throw to convert the And-1 opportunity.  That was game one of the series against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Four games later, only converting one of four free throws, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006-2007.

In 2010, after losing to the Boston Celtics in the second round and pending free agency, James made his decision to take his “talents to South Beach” as the saying goes.  Five seasons later, LeBron finds himself in a situation like the one he and the Cavaliers were in during the 2007 playoffs.  Only this time,however, the team LeBron and the Cavs face in the Finals look to be a well-rounded team with a pair of three-point specialists — the Golden State Warriors.

What LeBron did wasn’t a betrayal to the city of Cleveland, but a terminator “I’ll be back statement.” And not just “I’ll be back,” but an “I’ll be back and we’ll win the whole damn thing this time.”

He took off to get better, mentally and physically.  James found a winning atmosphere in his time in Miami and found a way to take what he learned back to Cleveland, which could ultimately be what gives the Cavs the edge over the Warriors.

James is on the cusp of proving why he deserves to be the greatest player of this generation. Continue reading “Steph Curry with the Shot, LeBron with the Team on His Back”

Playoff Hockey: Sweeps

The NHL Playoffs are a time of year where results are often unpredictable and games can seem endless. During the regular season, several blowouts occur from teams needing some form of life. But the first couple of months are pretty indicative of which teams will be fighting for glory.  In fact, 13 of the 16 teams who made it to the post season were in the top eight of their conference at the end of November.

There’s something in playoff hockey – though we’re well aware of it’s possibility – that strikes us either out of frustration or sudden disbelief.  A sweep.

As a true hockey fan, and after many years of watching playoff hockey, you simply never want the games to end.  The hope for an eternity of overtimes never depreciates.  Maybe what’s most striking is that after an entire season of 40-plus victories, teams can’t manage to win just one of in a series of seven.

Some teams have no purpose being in the playoffs, squeaking in by only an inch. But sometimes those teams make for the most compelling story.  Playoffs bring out the best in players as they are in high concentration mode with their intensity dial turned up to 12.  It’s hard comprehend a matchup not being as evenly matched as we envisioned.

Two unpredicted sweeps transpired so far.  Maybe if it weren’t for the fact it was the most difficult post season to forecast in recent years, the sweeps wouldn’t have been such a surprise.  But hey, it’s the playoffs and anything can and will happen. Continue reading “Playoff Hockey: Sweeps”

Raleigh Hip-Hop Producer Emerges in Music Industry

On the edge of Downtown Raleigh, just off of Peace Street, sits an old white building with a grayish blue door and window frame that has been faded by the sun over time. Inside, sitting on a computer chair facing two monitors and an audio mixer soundboard, is 20-year-old producer and engineer, Travis Ross.

Ross began his music career in 2005 to compete with his sister who had recently signed to a label. At 10 years of age, Ross began rapping in pursuit of a sibling rivalry. But his true calling was behind the computer screen, mixing and mastering.

“The whole music thing started because I was jealous of my sister,” Ross said. “She had just signed to this “label”, so I wanted to one-up her.”

Not only did the passion for music come at an early age, but the fact he never viewed music from a fan perspective was a dynamic as well. “I was always trying to make music,” he said. “So the people I was looking up to were people who I saw working like 9th Wonder, a producer who’s from Raleigh.”

In 2010, Ross made his way to the Los Angeles for his first Grammy Camp at age 15. “The person you’re looking at now is a product of Grammy Camp 2010.” Grammy Camp gives opportunities to high school students looking to pursue a career in the music industry with guidance from experienced teachers and counselors. Ross was part of the first camp that included hip-hop in the showcase while receiving a full scholarship from the Hot Topic Foundation.

“I was really in a shell before that experience and it really changed my life,” he said. “It was a, ‘Yo, this is really possible because I was selected out of all these people to go here’.”

While at Grammy Camp, Ross and his production team had the privilege of traveling to Santa Monica to visit Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ Flyte Time West recording studio. Jam and Lewis are well known for their R&B production while working with names like Prince, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Usher. Continue reading “Raleigh Hip-Hop Producer Emerges in Music Industry”