Connect with us

Sports

Report: NBA’s Board of Governors approves 22-team return-to-play format – Sportsnet.ca

Published

on


The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, another major step toward getting teams back onto the court and playing games again.

The format calls for each team playing eight games to determine playoff seeding plus the possible utilization of a play-in tournament for the final spot in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference post-season fields. The National Basketball Players Association has a call on Friday to approve the plan as well.

Thursday’s vote was the most significant step yet in the process of trying to resume a season that was suspended nearly three months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are numerous other details for the league to continue working through — including finalizing specifics of what the testing plan will be once teams arrive next month at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex and the calculating the financial ramifications of playing a shortened regular season.

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts.”

Meanwhile, a person speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details of the ongoing talks have not been publicly released, said the NBPA and the NBA are continuing to work on a “lengthy” medical protocols document. The details of that document will be shared with teams once those discussions are completed, said the person, who added that teams should receive them in plenty of time for them to prepare for their arrivals at the Disney-ESPN complex.

The NBA also said it is planning to have the draft lottery Aug. 25, the draft on Oct. 15 and start next season on Dec. 1.

If all 22 teams that are going to Disney next month play their allotted eight games before the post-season begins, the NBA would play 1,059 games in this regular season. That means 171 regular season games would be cancelled, which could cost players around $600 million in salary.

Those 22 clubs would play somewhere between 71 and 75 regular season games if the Disney portion of the schedule is completed, down from the customary 82-game slate. The teams who didn’t qualify for the restart will see their seasons end after having played somewhere between 64 and 67 games.

But one of the biggest hurdles is now cleared, and if things go according to plan an NBA champion for a season unlike any other will be crowned in October. The season could go into that month if the league goes ahead with its plan for the same playoff rules as usual, that being every round utilizing a best-of-seven format.

Teams will likely arrive at the Disney complex around July 7. Once there, camps will continue and teams will likely have the chance to have some scrimmages or “preseason” games against other clubs before the regular season resumes.

Thursday’s move by the board of governors — one that came, coincidentally, on the same day this season’s NBA Finals would have started if these were normal times — was largely a formality. The NBA considered countless restart options after suspending the season on March 11, whittled that list down to four possibilities last week and from there the 22-team plan quickly began gaining momentum.

The 22-team plan includes all teams that were holding playoff spots when the season was stopped, plus all other clubs within six games of a post-season berth.

Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston and reigning NBA champion Toronto had already clinched playoff berths. Now with only eight games remaining for each team, it means that eight other clubs — Miami, Indiana, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City and Houston — have post-season spots secured, and Dallas virtually has one as well.

That leaves nine teams vying for three remaining playoff berths. In the East, Brooklyn, Orlando and Washington are in the race for two spots. In the West, Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix will jostle for one spot.

If the gap between eighth place and ninth place in either conference is four games or less when the shortened regular season ends, those teams will go head-to-head for the No. 8 seed. The team in ninth place would have to go 2-0 in a two-game series to win the berth; otherwise, the No. 8 seed would advance to the post-season.

Thursday’s decision also means that the seasons for Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, Golden State, Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago and Charlotte are over. The Knicks will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, the third-longest current drought in the league behind Sacramento and Phoenix — who still have chances of getting into the playoffs this season.

And with the Hawks not moving on, it also means Vince Carter has almost certainly played the final game of his 22-year NBA career — the longest in league history.

Carter, the first player in NBA history to appear in four different decades, is retiring. He appeared in 1,541 NBA games, behind only Robert Parish (1,611) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) on the league’s all-time list.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Grier, Salvador coach all-minority team to tournament championship – NHL.com

Published

on


An all-minority team coached by former NHL players Mike Grier and Bryce Salvador won the Beantown Summer Classic Tuesday, with the help of a British import.

Forward Mason Alderson’s goal with less than three minutes to play in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and led the NextGen AAA Foundation to a 4-2 win against the Bombers. 

“This is like nothing that I’ve ever had,” said Alderson, who played at Berwick Academy in Maine last season and captained Great Britain at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Championship Division I, Group B in Hungary. “To be out there with that caliber of players — we had a Montreal [Canadiens] draft pick, a QMJHL goalie. It just goes to show that we can do as good as anybody, if not better.”

The NextGen team fulfilled its primary goal of winning the invitation-only tournament, which attracts NHL scouts, by going undefeated.

The team of 19 Black players and one Hispanic player was also successful in showcasing minority talent in hopes of attracting more players of color to the sport.

“This was an experience of a lifetime,” said forward Reggie Millette, a forward for Dubuque of the USHL who’s committed to playing for American International College in 2021-22. “I know that we did some big things out there and inspired a lot of people.”

The NextGen was stocked with collegiate and junior hockey talent that included Millette; Jordan Harris, a Northeastern University defenseman who was selected by the Canadiens in the third round (No. 71) of the 2018 NHL Draft; Ross Mitton, who played for Omaha of the USHL last season and will join Colgate in the fall; Christian Jimenez, a defenseman for Sioux City of the USHL and a 2021-22 Harvard University commit; and Davenport, who played for Victoria of the British Columbia Hockey League last season. 

For Grier, a New Jersey Devils assistant and the only Black assistant who worked behind the bench during NHL games last season, and Salvador, who was the third Black captain in the NHL when he played for the Devils, the tournament was also about helping players bond and strike up lasting friendships.

“I’m not a guy who gets too emotional, but it was at times a surreal experience,” said Salvador, who is a hockey analyst for MSG Network. “You’re in a locker room and you see a group of guys that are just 100 percent comfortable, not being judged, not thinking you’re being judged. You’re just hanging out and having a good time. It was nice to see that. It was an experience I never got to have as a player. So, it’s nice to see other players enjoy it.”

Goaltender Tyriq Outen said it felt like he and his teammates, who he had just met over the weekend, had been playing together forever.

“Right off the bat, everybody just clicked like we were a regular season team for years,” said Outen, who played for Grand Falls Rapids of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League last season and Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2018-19. 

The team was formed by NextGen AAA Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and hockey programs to underprivileged youth and underserved communities. It was founded by Dee Dee Ricks, a philanthropist and hockey mom who has provided more than $1 million to help Black and brown student-athletes at some of the leading preparatory schools, colleges and travel hockey programs throughout North America.

Rod Braceful, the assistant director of player personnel for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program helped recruit players for the NextGen tournament team.

The NHL and Pure Hockey, the largest hockey retailer in the U.S., sponsored the team, which attracted a few fans to the Exeter, New Hampshire rink for the tournament. 

Bryant McBride, who was the first Black executive in the NHL during the 1990s and the architect of the League’s Diversity Task Force, the predecessor of the Hockey Is For Everyone initiative, made the one hour drive from Boston Tuesday to watch the game. He spoke to the NextGen players in the locker room afterward. 

“It’s really special to see all those kids from all over get a chance to do this,” said McBride, executive producer of “Willie,” the documentary about Willie O’Ree, the first Black player in the NHL. “I never had a teammate of color, ever. I just let them know that they were an amazing first. And they had a real sense about how special it was.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Listen to the Ear-Splitting Home Radio Call of Brayden Point’s Fifth-Overtime Game-Winner – Sports Illustrated

Published

on


In Wednesday’s Hot Clicks: the Lightning and Blue Jackets play one of the longest games in NHL history, a wild baseball game in Philly and more.

Five overtimes!

There were no fans to head for the exits early when the Lightning and Blue Jackets played one of the longest games in NHL history Tuesday afternoon (and night). 

Tampa Bay and Columbus played 90 minutes and 27 seconds of extra time, the fourth-longest game the league has ever seen. The game started at 3 p.m. ET and didn’t end until 9:23. It went on for so long that the Bruins-Hurricanes game previously scheduled for 8 p.m. had to be pushed back to the morning

Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo made an NHL-record 85 saves but couldn’t stop Brayden Point’s wrister from the high slot more than halfway through the fifth overtime. 

It was a dramatic goal and it produced some fantastic commentary from the guys calling the game on TV and radio. 

Here’s how it sounded with Gord Miller on the call for NBCSN.

Rick Peckham handles the play-by-play duties for the Lightning on Fox Sports Sun and sounded like he was in disbelief when Point’s shot hit the back of the net. 

Radio play-by-play man Dave Mishkin definitely believed what he saw, though. Mishkin, who handles the Bolts’ broadcasts on WFLA, nearly blew his mic out screaming, “Scores! Scores! Scores!”

Blue Jackets radio guy Bob McElligott, on the other hand, was absolutely crestfallen.

(I couldn’t find Fox Sports Columbus play-by-play announcer Jeff Rimer’s call of the goal, so please send it my way if you come across it.)

The game was the NHL’s longest in 20 years, 94 seconds shorter than a Flyers-Penguins conference semifinal game from May 4, 2000. The two longest games in league history were played in 1933 and 1936, more than two decades before the first goalie wore a mask full-time. So Point’s goal was a truly historic moment that we’ll be seeing for decades to come. With any luck, it’ll be Mishkin’s frantic call that lives on as the preferred historical record of Point’s goal. ESPN.com’s game recap page is already using the audio of Mishkin’s call over NBCSN’s video feed. 

The best of SI

The college football dominoes are starting to fall with the Big Ten and Pac-12 canceling their seasons. … From the latest issue of the magazine, Lamar Jackson is helping to redefine the quarterback position for young players.. … What’s next for embattled MLB commissioner Rob Manfred?

Around the sports world

At least 10 Big Ten football players reportedly have a rare heart condition associated with COVID-19. … Rob Manfred concedes it’s going to be tough to have the Cardinals play 60 games this season. … A rugby team in Australia is threatening to cut a player who breached the league’s COVID-19 protocol by going to the opening of a (biker-gang-connected) barbershop. … Hafthor Bjornsson (aka “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones) is retiring from strongman competitions.

The NHL, which has had a really good sense of humor about the empty arenas, had a lot of fun on the video boards with the marathon game

The Orioles won in extras thanks to two blunders by the Phillies

Fantastic idea from the Suns

A rare mean streak from Giannis

The Bucks were a total mess on this sequence after Giannis got ejected

Never change, HBC

The perils of working from home

That’s not Tom Brady

The Blue Jays made their Buffalo debut

MLB gave Alex Cintrón a historic suspension

I want to know where Disney is finding golf clubs that don’t look cartoonish in the hands of a 7′ 5″ guy

The Sabres have new jerseys that throw it back to their original ones

Not sports

A man in Peru perusing Google Street View discovered that his wife was having an affair. … The world’s last remaining Blockbuster store is being listed on Airbnb. … The cocreator of Better Call Saul gave a cryptic hint about an object that will play a key role in the final season. … A 17-year-old employee at Sesame Place was hospitalized after being attacked by a man he asked to wear a mask.

Hell, I’d get a book from there

Fresh Prince is getting rebooted as a drama

You have to be a special kind of freak to stuff coffee beans in your lip

It was so windy in Australia, waterfalls flowed backward

A good song

Email dan.gartland@si.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

The optimist’s guide to the Canadiens beating the Flyers – Habs Eyes on the Prize

Published

on


The Montreal Canadiens have been down this road before: heavy underdogs against the top seed in the format they are in. The Canadiens have said they are fine being the underdog, and almost everyone who has spoken to the media since the matchup was set has been praising the Philadelphia Flyers.

If you listened to the last episode of Habsent Minded, you’ll know why I want to bring you back to the 2012-13 season. That year, a Canadiens team that missed the playoffs the season before hired a new coach who previously made a Stanley Cup final, and overcame a months-long break to win the division in a shortened season.

The 2019-20 Flyers missed the playoffs a year ago. They hired Alain Vigneault, who had been a Stanley Cup finalist before. They rose to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and that’s where they would have been if a months-long break due to COVID-19 had not necessitated a round robin for seeding. The Flyers swept their three games, and find themselves in a position to be the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

You know that the Canadiens, incidentally coached by one of Vigneault’s assistants, Michel Therrien, lost to the Ottawa Senators and never made it past the first round.

Now, I’m not comparing the two teams. Philadelphia does seem like a deeper team than even those Canadiens were, and Montreal had a long list of players playing injured or who were too hurt to play through the series. But that ascent from afterthought to favourite is not an easy rise.

These teams need to prove themselves. Having said that, it’s entirely possible that this talented Flyers team led by a veteran coach will easily dispatch the Canadiens. But the fact that the franchise hasn’t won a playoff series since 2012 means that there may be an opening to exploit. There isn’t the history of success that the other round-robin teams — or even the Pittsburgh Penguins — had. That doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. The Flyers are still the heavy favourites and should be expected to move on in the most likely scenario. However, we don’t know how they will react to being the favourite. After all, the Canadiens just won a post-season series last week against a team that finished three points behind the Flyers.

In 2017, Claude Julien had no answer for Vigneault’s New York Rangers. Some point to his inability to react to the Rangers’ forecheck (which just happens to be similar to the system he is using with the Flyers) as proof that Julien lost his ability to adapt.

Let’s put that series into perspective. The break between the regular season and the post-season in 2019-20 was longer than the amount of time Julien was in charge of the Canadiens before that series against the Rangers.

The Flyers are a better team than the Penguins, and may not be beaten the same way. However, Montreal proved that they have depth of their own, and beat Pittsburgh without any goals from their four top scorers.

The Canadiens will have to rely on players who helped them get through the Penguins, namely Artturi Lehkonen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Suzuki, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry and, of course, Carey Price. They all provided big goals or saves at the right time.

You don’t win a series without players stepping up, and there are many options for breakout performances against the Flyers. Whether the Canadiens get them again will likely decide how long their stay in the playoffs will be.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending