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Kartye, parents each take long road to his NHL debut in Game 5 for Kraken



“Playing,” he wrote.

The 21-year-old forward was going to make his NHL debut in about 9½ hours, skating for the Seattle Kraken against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Ball Arena.

He had gone from an undrafted free agent to the American Hockey League rookie scoring leader in the regular season, and now he was going to leap into the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“Omg,” his mother responded. “Ok. Get us tickets.”


Each of Kartye’s parents was at work in Kingston, Ontario. His mother, Richelle, is the clinical nurse educator in the cardiac program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre. His father, Todd, is a chemistry teacher at Bayridge Secondary School.

They were more than 1,600 miles away, but there was no way they were going to miss this.

“I was talking to Tye all morning,” his mother said. “I’m like, ‘Tye, are you (getting called) up? Let me know as soon as you hear.’ I said, ‘If you’re going to dress, we’re coming.’ And he’s like, ‘How?’ And I’m like, ‘I’ll find a way.'”

They did, and they got to see their son score his first NHL goal in a 3-2 win that gave Seattle a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Kraken can eliminate the defending champs in Game 6 at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Friday (10 p.m. ET; TNT, SN, TVAS, ROOT-NW, ALT).

Kartye is an underdog story within an underdog story. The journey — his and his parents’ — will put a lump in your throat.

“A year ago, a year and a half ago, this was my wildest dream,” Kartye said, “so this day’s been pretty special.”

* * * * *

The Kraken invited Kartye to training camp before their inaugural season of 2021-22 and signed him to a three-year, entry-level contract March 1, 2022.

He had 79 points (45 goals, 34 assists) in 63 games for the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League in 2021-22, plus nine points (seven goals, two assists) in 10 playoff games.

After another training camp with the Kraken, he had 57 points (28 goals, 29 assists) in 72 games for the Coachella Valley Firebirds this season to lead AHL rookies in scoring. He has two goals in three playoff games for them.

It just so happened that he traveled with the Firebirds to Colorado Springs on Tuesday, because they were playing the Colorado Eagles, the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate, on Wednesday.

He ended up in Denver instead Wednesday because Kraken forward Jared McCann had been injured during Game 4 on Monday. He took McCann’s spot at left wing with center Matty Beniers and right wing Jordan Eberle.

“He’s got a great shot,” Eberle said after the morning skate, foreshadowing the night to come. “He can finish. I think he’s a smart player. He’s a big body (5-foot-11, 202 pounds). Doesn’t look it, but he’s strong. He can win battles. When you have that depth within your organization and you’re able to bring guys up who can make an impact, that’s huge.”

As soon as Kartye’s mother found out he was playing, she told his father. Todd said he immediately asked the principal of the school if he could leave work early, saying, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ve got to go.”

Kartye’s parents sped about 2½ hours from Kingston to Toronto Pearson International Airport, while Richelle’s brother, Dave Stevenson, booked them a 5 p.m. ET flight to Denver. When they got to the airport, they got lucky. Security and customs were smooth. They booked a hotel in downtown Denver while they waited to board.

They landed in Denver about 6:30 MT, about an hour before face-off. After taking a taxi to the hotel for a pit stop, they took an Uber to Ball Arena. They weren’t going to make it in time for Tye’s first shift, so Richelle’s brother held up his phone to the TV back in Kingston so they could watch it via FaceTime in the car.

They arrived about three minutes into the game and sat in Section 148, Row 12, Seats 3 and 4, behind the Kraken bench, where Seattle shot in the second period, the perfect spot for the magical moment.

Eberle carried the puck up ice on the right wing about midway through the second period, right in front of them. As Eberle carried it around the net, Kartye found a spot in the right circle, about lined up between his parents and the net.

“I thought, ‘He’s going to bury a one-timer if he gets a chance,'” Todd said.

Eberle passed the puck from left to right across the zone, and Kartye did just that. He fired a one-timer past Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev to give the Kraken a 2-1 lead at 9:59.

“I was just kind of driving the net, and I saw he had the puck and tried to get open, and obviously he made a pretty special pass there,” Kartye said.

The feeling when the puck went into the net?

“Just happiness,” he said.

TV cameras caught Kartye’s parents celebrating in the stands — Todd in a Greyhounds hat, Richelle in a Firebirds hat and Kraken shirt.

“It was utter chaos in that moment in my mind, thinking the kid has come from so far, not being drafted, signing as a free agent, working his tail off so that he can produce, and when he finally got a chance, buried his chance,” Todd said. “I’m a very proud parent right now as the father of my son right now. Tremendous feeling.”

Richelle smiled.

“Tye has worked so hard to be here, and we are just so proud of him,” she said. “All of the effort and work he’s put into what he loves to do is finally paying off.”

* * * * *

Kartye did more than score. He had three hits in 8:42 of ice time and drew praise for his all-around effort.

“All game long, he was all over the place,” Kraken forward Yanni Gourde said. “He was in everyone’s grill. He was on the forecheck, on the backcheck. He was great in the ‘D’ zone. He finished every hit he had. He came up and he played the big, big, big minutes. And great goal by him. Obviously to get your first NHL goal in the playoffs in Game 5, it’s pretty remarkable, and my hat’s off to him.”

Coach Dave Hakstol said Kartye didn’t seem wowed by the situation, and that’s why the Kraken felt comfortable playing him.

“It’s not about the goal that he scored tonight,” Hakstol said. “Like, that’s great instincts for him to be in that spot, to find that space, and a great play by ‘Ebs’ to get it to him. But he also has pretty good instincts in other areas, kind of the hard areas of the game, on the wall, getting out of the zone. Those areas, he’s got pretty good instincts, and he’s obviously worked to be comfortable in those situations. So good for him, happy for him, proud of him, and obviously he helped us get a win tonight.”

Afterward, Kartye sat on a podium in a press conference, trying to sum up a dream come true.

“It’s pretty crazy,” he said. “It was a whirlwind. But I’ve been working hard for a long time, and it feels pretty good.”



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Blue Jays’ Chris Bassitt announces birth of child to cap ‘perfect weekend’



The Toronto Blue Jays had a memorable few days in New York, thanks to a three-game sweep of the Mets, but that’s not the biggest reason starting pitcher Chris Bassitt is all smiles these days.

Bassitt and his wife, Jessica, welcomed their second child over the weekend, with the veteran right-hander reporting that both mother and baby are doing well.

“Perfect weekend complete,” Bassitt wrote on Twitter. “Momma and Colson are doing great.”

Jessica went into labour Friday, while her husband took his normal turn in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Bassitt channelled all of his “dad strength” in that outing against the Mets, firing 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball with eight strikeouts in a 3-0 Toronto win. In a cruel twist from the universe, the start of the game was delayed more than 90 minutes due to inclement weather.


Once his outing was over, Bassitt rushed back to Toronto via private plane to be with Jessica for Colson’s birth. He made it in plenty of time, tweeting Saturday morning that the baby hadn’t arrived yet.

The 34-year-old will now be able to enjoy a few days with his family, as the Blue Jays placed him on the paternity list Saturday. Reliever Jay Jackson took his place on the 26-man roster.

Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Bassitt’s Blue Jays teammates gave him even more reason to cheer by eking out a 2-1 victory Saturday before getting the brooms out with a 6-4 win in the series finale.

Brandon Belt was the hero Sunday, connecting for a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh inning after Toronto squandered an early 4-0 advantage. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also went deep for the Blue Jays, while Whit Merrifield delivered a two-run double in the second inning.

Next up, Toronto welcomes the Houston Astros to Rogers Centre for a four-game series that begins Monday. Bassitt is listed as the probable starter for Wednesday’s contest.



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Rory McIlroy (T-1) falls back on short game, stays positive with chance at Memorial



DUBLIN, Ohio – Rory McIlroy will set out Sunday afternoon at Jack’s Place looking to secure the second leg of the “Legends Slam” with a swing that’s well short of perfect and no shortage of would-be spoilers lurking.

He couldn’t be happier.

For the third consecutive day at the Memorial, McIlroy leaned on luck and grit to keep pace with the co-leaders – Si Woo Kim and David Lipsky – at 6 under par with 10 other players within two shots of the lead. Betting lines will undoubtedly favor the world No. 3 against the other contenders, but the truth is he has no idea what to expect when he sets out in the week’s final group.

Full-field scores from the Memorial Tournament


“I don’t think I hit a green from the eighth hole through the 14th hole, and I played those holes in even par,” McIlroy shrugged following his third-round 70. “Chip in on 12 [for birdie] and got it up-and-down from some tricky spots. I was really happy with how I scored out there and how I just sort of hung in there for most of the day.”

If McIlroy’s happy-to-be-here take doesn’t match with his world-beater persona, it’s the honest byproduct of a swing that he’s repeatedly said is a work in progress. Saturday’s round on a hard-and-fast course was the most-recent example of his very real struggle.

There was the chip-in for birdie at No. 12 from 25 feet and scrambling pars at Nos. 8, 11, 13 and 14. The major champion, whose career has been written with an overwhelming driver and sublime iron play, has now fully embraced the scrappy life.

“Embracing it,” he smiled. “There was a couple of shots out there when I missed the greens that I was sort of looking forward to hit. I think it’s embracing that challenge and embracing the fact that you’re probably not going to hit more than 12 or 13 greens out there. I think with how my short game’s been this week it’s something I’ve been able to fall back on, which has been great.”

To be fair, Rory is still Rory off the tee. He’s eighth this week in strokes gained: off the tee and second in driving distance, which at Muirfield Village is an accomplishment considering host Jack Nicklaus’ mission is to take driver out of the hands of the game’s top players.

Where the challenge has come is from the fairway and, despite his lofty status among the leaders, Saturday’s effort was his statistically worst of the week with just 7 of 18 greens in regulation and a loss to the field (1.71 shots) in strokes gained: approach the green.

Still, he’s the easy favorite with 18 holes remaining and for good reason. Other than Kim, who has four PGA Tour victories including the 2017 Players Championship, the next six players on the board have a combined four Tour victories.

“It’s a big tournament and I’ve got quite a bit of experience in that and you would like to think that gives you a little bit of an advantage,” McIlroy said. “Everyone’s going to go out there tomorrow and, regardless of where you are in the tournament, this golf course makes you a little uncomfortable anyway. So, everyone’s going to be feeling like that. With the way the leaderboard is and how bunched it is, it’s just going to come down to who can sort of hold their head the most coming down the stretch.”




Scottie Scheffler isn’t happy with what he’s been putting out on the course as of late, despite some solid results.


Considering his own assessment of his swing, keeping a positive outlook doesn’t seem to be a problem for McIlroy this week. It might have something to do with what has admittedly been a rough couple of weeks, which stretch back to his missed cut at the Masters. Or it might just be the opportunity.

When he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2018, it was two years after that tournament’s host and legend had died. For a player who grew up idolizing The King, it was a bittersweet accomplishment and a part of why Sunday at Muirfield Village is likely to mean more than the sum of its parts.

“To be able to walk up that hill from 18 and get that handshake from Jack would be pretty nice,” he said. “I won Arnold’s tournament a few years ago, but he had already passed by that time. So it would be so nice to be able to do it and have Jack be there.”

It’s been an interesting year for McIlroy both on and off the course, which at least partially explains a lightness in his step that had been missing. There was also a message from his sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, last week that appeared to resonate with the 23-time Tour winner: “You are going to win your fare share of golf tournaments. You tee it up to see what your fare share is.”



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Vladimir Guerrero Drives Home Winning Run, Jays Beat Mets



Jays 2 Mets 1

Off the top, I’m pretty sure that’s the worst job we’ve seen from a plate umpire this year. He had no clue where the strike zone was. John Schneider got thrown out of the game after a particularly bad strike call on Vladimir Guerrero in the ninth.

Fortunately, Vlad still doubled down the third base line to bring in the winning run. Pretty amazing job after being down 1-2. George Springer had a one-out single and steal.

Our only other run came in the sixth. Brandon Belt led off with a double. Matt Chapman walked. Two outs later, Alejandro Kirk, singled home Belt.


We had the bases loaded in the first but couldn’t get a run in. There were other chances but no luck.

In all we had 10 hits. Springer, Bichette, Belt and Kirk had two each. Chapman, Merrifield and Kiermaier had the 0 fors.

Jose Berrios was terrific. 5 innings, 4 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. 1 earned, scoring in the second inning, when he gave up a single to Starling Marte and a double to Daniel Vogelbach. But then he got three quick outs, and the Mets didn’t do much against him the rest of the way.

Trevor Richards, Nate Pearson (getting the win) and Erik Swanson (save #1 of the season), each pitched a scoreless inning. I didn’t understand pulling Richards after the one inning, but it all worked out. I think Pearson would have stayed out for another inning if the Jays didn’t take the lead.

Jays of the Day: Vlad (.310 WPA), Belt (.222), Swanson (.177), Berrios (.164), Pearson (.098) and Richards (.082).

The Other Award: Merrifield (-.376 for his 0 for) and Kiermaier (-.175 for his 0 for).

Tomorrow the Jays go for the sweep with Yusei Kikuchi (6-2, 4.47) vs. Kodai Senga (5-3, 3.44). It is to be a 1:30 Eastern start, but then today’s was to be a 4:00 Eastern start but the Mets had Al Leiter talking for 30 minutes about how great he was.



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