Lou Lamoriello has a decision in front of him that no other president/general manager in the NHL must confront. But these are the Islanders, and that must always be remembered regardless of how transformative Lamoriello’s and Barry Trotz’s twin arrivals were last year.
For Lamoriello must decide how to split his franchise’s home dates between two venues, Barclays Center and the Coliseum, and, to make matters more complex, he must do that knowing only the first round of the playoffs — if that — would be staged on the Island.
No one used it as an excuse this season. Not a player and not an executive. But when the Islanders met Carolina at Barclays for Game 1 of the second round on April 26, it marked the team’s first game in Brooklyn since Feb. 16, one day shy of 10 weeks.
This was no place like home.
“Like visiting an old friend,” is the way Trotz tried to spin it positively, when it was actually like unavoidably seeing an icky distant relative at a family reunion.
Lamoriello last week talked about understanding the nostalgia for the Coliseum. But the collective-bargaining agreement isn’t a document that accommodates either reverence or melancholy, and the fact is, every game played at the Coliseum generates lower revenue, while playoff dates at the old barn generate dramatically less income. That impacts not only the franchise’s bottom line but the cap and escrow.
The folks who operate both Barclays and the Coliseum want as few games as possible in Brooklyn, but that does not align with the league view.
“You know, Nassau Coliseum isn’t exactly a major-league, state-of-the-art facility,” Gary Bettman said May 3. “We tried to be accommodating. But we have to be realistic about what that facility is.”
The commissioner could be more realistic about the toll that hits to the head — any and all of them — extract on hockey players under his watch, but that obviously is hoping for much too much from the denier-in-chief. But back to our story.
Last year, the Islanders played 21 of their 41 home games at the Coliseum, including the final 12 (and 21 of the last 30) dates. There is no guarantee Bettman will go for that split, though the folks in Albany who have been in the middle of everything here, and that most prominently includes awarding the Belmont site to the franchise, will certainly have their say. Then it goes to the Islanders.
Regardless of the raw numbers, it would seem best this time around for Lamoriello to reverse the approach and schedule as many home games as possible in March and April for Brooklyn so that it all doesn’t seem so foreign when it is time to set up shop for the playoffs.
When the Sharks needed a botched call to advance in Game 7 of the first round against Vegas, they got it. (Yes, they needed four power-play goals, too, but that’s a mere detail.) When they needed a letter-of-the-law reversal on an offside challenge to maintain the lead in Game 7 against Colorado, they got it. This round: a critical goaltender interference review to complete the trifecta. And then maybe San Jose will score one off a ricochet off the netting in the finals.
There is little both more stupid and more unpopular in the sport than what the offside challenge has become, the latest evidence being the letter-of-the-law reversal of an Avalanche goal because of Gabriel Landeskog’s idleness by the bench in Game 7.
If it is about getting it right, what about the dozens of offside violations that occur every night but are unnoticed or undocumented because goals did not immediately follow?
Yet as long as Bettman stands in support of it, the league GMs won’t have the brass to recommend elimination of the offside challenge.
Another hit to the head, another insufficient response from the officials on the ice, this time the Kelly Sutherland-Steve Kozari referee tandem that gave Charlie McAvoy merely a two-minute minor for his blow to Josh Anderson in Game 7 of Boston-Columbus.
And if it is true, as suggested by folks of pedigree, that the refs did not give McAvoy the match penalty (and the Jackets a five-minute major) he’d earned because they were concerned about repercussions if proved wrong by replay, as happened in the botched mess Dan O’Halloran and Eric Furlatt made of Game 7 of San Jose-Vegas, then that is as big an indictment of NHL officiating as I can recall.
Or at least since VP of officiating Stephen Walkom got that standing ovation at either a Board of Governors or GMs meeting a few years ago.
Tyler/Taylor? Still too close to call, the winger with a Hart but the center — a center — who has been healthier and has posted better numbers.
Jacko/Kakko? We’ll see.
Not quite John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander, but you do know that the Flyers traded Justin Williams when he was 22 years old to Carolina for defenseman Danny Markov, who played a sum of 34 regular-season games with Philly?
Finally, in the realm of all-time trades, there is Boston acquiring Tuukka Rask from Toronto for Andrew Raycroft in a one-on-one goaltender exchange in June 2006, when Jeff Gorton was operating as interim/acting GM while waiting for Peter Chiarelli to be released from his obligation in Ottawa.
Raycroft, who won the 2004 Calder, played 91 games for the Leafs over two years. Rask is the front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
(Reuters) – A Harvard law professor who joined the legal team defending Hollywood mogul Harvard Weinstein against sexual assault charges will not be allowed to continue as dean of a residential house on campus, a university official said on Saturday.
The Ivy League university’s move to end the role of law professor Ronald Sullivan Jr and law school lecturer Stephanie Robinson, Sullivan’s wife, at Winthrop House follows protests over his representation of Weinstein.
Sullivan and Robinson in 2009 became the first African-American faculty deans in Harvard history when they took their positions at Winthrop House, one of several undergraduate residences at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, university.
Their terms as faculty deans were scheduled to end on June 30. Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana said in a statement that he had decided not to keep them in their roles at Winthrop House beyond that date.
“Over the last few weeks, students and staff have continued to communicate concerns about the climate in Winthrop House to the college,” Khurana said.
“The concerns expressed have been serious and numerous. The actions that have been taken to improve the climate have been ineffective, and the noticeable lack of faculty dean presence during critical moments has further deteriorated the climate in the house,” Khurana said.
Khurana has previously said Sullivan’s decision to join Weinstein’s legal team was a matter of academic freedom and that everyone is entitled to a vigorous legal defense.
Sullivan and Robinson continue to hold their positions at Harvard Law School.
Sullivan and Robinson said in a joint statement that they were “surprised and dismayed” by the decision.
“We believed the discussions we were having with high level university representatives were progressing in a positive manner, but Harvard unilaterally ended those talks,” they said.
In January, a judge approved Weinstein’s request to have Sullivan join his legal team.
Prosecutors in New York accuse Weinstein, 67, of forcibly performing oral sex on a woman in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013. Weinstein faces five criminal charges, including rape, and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
More than 70 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. He has denied all accusations and said any contact was consensual.
Students at Winthrop House staged a sit-in this month to protest Sullivan’s defense of Weinstein, according to a report at the time in the Harvard Crimson student newspaper. Students denounced Sullivan in other actions earlier this year.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Marguerita Choy
Dr. de Blasio to the conference room, stat! Calling a press conference at Lincoln Hospital, Mayor de Blasio introduced his “care card” entitling illegal immigrants to free health care. Plan will cost NYC taxpayers $100 million.
“Critics say we can’t afford it. I have a simple answer. There’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands. Come get your card. You will see a doctor and receive all the services you deserve.” You’d better listen to him Flounder, he’s pre-med.
The Phillies, currently occupying the penthouse suite in the NL East, visit the Royals, who appear to be locked in the basement in the AL Central. KC’s Brad Keller allowed two runs to the Tigers in 5 ¹/₃ innings last week, but walked five along the way. Zach Eflin (4-3) goes for Philly. If the inconsistent starter can provide quality starts behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, they will be hard to catch. Play 20 units on the Phillies.
Our win streak snapped at nine, we rebounded quickly. Mets fried the Fish 11-2. Scored eight times in the opening frame. Amed Rosario with a grand salami. Zack Wheeler going seven strong for the W. Savings jump to +138 kranepools.
The Boston Bruins (-155) beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2, on Thursday night to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. If you watched, you know that the game was much closer than the final score suggests. Carolina was the more aggressive team much of the night. Boston pulled away in the third period thanks to two power-play goals and an empty-netter.
The Western Finals begin Saturday (NBC, 8 p.m.) when the St. Louis Blues visit the San Jose Sharks. San Jose will likely close in the -130 to -140 range in Game 1, closer to -130 for the series. (Boston entered its series at -160 to advance.)
If you’re a longtime hockey bettor, you know margins can be razor thin in the playoffs. Teams do their best in a parity-packed sport to create opportunities, then cash them in. Upsets in games and series are common.
Underdog bettors have gotten the best of it so far this postseason. The top point earners from the regular season in each conference, Tampa Bay and Calgary, were eliminated in the first round. Respected contenders Pittsburgh and Vegas also were knocked out early.
A stat that captures the tightness of playoff hockey is “expected goals.” We tabulated second-round totals from data at hockey analytics website Natural Stat Trick:
Boston outscored Columbus, 18-11, but the Blue Jackets actually owned “expected goals” 16.66 to 15.59. Great defense and goaltending from the Bruins helped overcome a virtual dead heat in flow of play.
The Hurricanes outscored the Islanders, 13-5, but the Isles won “expected goals” 11.62 to 11.29. There was not enough punch in the Islanders’ lineup to find the back of the net. Carolina was nowhere near as dominant as a sweep would suggest.
The Sharks outscored the Avalanche, 20-18, on a similar “expected goals” count of 21.08 to 20.21.
The Blues outscored the Stars, 18-17, but should have been more dominant with an “expected goals” edge of 20.60 to 16.92.
All four survivors struggled on power plays in the last round: Boston 3-for-21, San Jose 2-for-19, St. Louis 2-for-22, Carolina 1-for-13. Such a dynamic helps keep games close.
Teams that had earned home-ice advantage were given slight nods in futures prices to win the Stanley Cup. Here were odds entering the conference finals from the Westgate in Las Vegas, along with equivalent win percentages: Boston 9/5 (36 percent), San Jose 12/5 (29 percent), St. Louis 11/4 (27 percent), Carolina 4/1 (20 percent). (Those add up to 112 percent because sports books build a universe larger than 100 percent to create a house edge.)
HOUSTON (Reuters) – A barge carrying gasoline capsized and leaked its cargo into the Houston Ship Channel near Bayport, Texas, following a collision on Friday with a 755-foot tanker, officials said.
No injuries were reported. It was unclear how much gasoline spilled out of the breached barge, which partially sank. Salvage teams were at the site on Saturday, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.
It was the second spill in two months to affect traffic on the 53-mile commercial waterway that connects Houston to the Gulf of Mexico. Nine U.S. oil refineries that process 12 percent of the national total operate along the ship channel.
Air monitoring systems have detected no “above actionable levels” of pollution, said Bayport Channel Collision Response, a group of federal, state and shipping officials organized to clear the wreckage and deal with the spill.
Emergency responders placed 1,600 feet of floating boom lines around the barges and additional booms along sensitive areas along the nearby bay, the group said.
The collision, between tanker Genesis River and a Kirby Inland Marine tug towing two barges, halted all traffic between lights 61 and 75, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
A safety zone also was set up that expanded shipping restrictions to light 66 and up to but not including the Bayport Ship Channel, officials said.
Each of the two barges were carrying about 25,000 gallons of a gasoline blend stock called reformate, according to Bayport Channel Collision Response.
In March, a fire at a petrochemical tank farm along the waterway burned for days, sending black smoke into the air and spilling fuel and solvent into the channel, disrupting ship traffic for weeks. Hundreds of people reported respiratory and other ailments at clinics set up to provide medical aid after the fire.
Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Daniel Wallis
MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) – Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan made his second trip to the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday as the Pentagon looks to develop a longer-term plan to support President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
FILE PHOTO: Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at a Strategic National Security Space: FY2020 Budget and Policy Forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
Shanahan traveled to McAllen, Texas, to meet with officials and visit a migrant processing facility and Border Patrol station, two days after the White House announced Trump’s intention to nominate the former Boeing Co executive as defense secretary.
“We’re not going to leave until the border is secure,” Shanahan told about two dozen border patrol officials as hundreds of detained migrants waited in tents to be processed.
Shanahan was accompanied by another acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, who leads the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after a shake-up instigated by Trump, whose hard-line immigration policies have not stemmed a rising tide of migrants.
On Friday, the Pentagon said Shanahan approved the transfer of $1.5 billion to build more than 80 miles (130 km) of barriers on the border, part of a patchwork project after Trump failed to secure funding from Congress for a complete border wall.
Trump has been eager to have the U.S. military play a larger role on the border and, despite some criticism from lawmakers, Pentagon officials say they are looking to create a long-term plan for assistance.
Shanahan told a small group of reporters traveling with him that military assistance would not continue “indefinitely,” but that it would be in place longer than months.
The Pentagon has tapped a two-star Army general to work with DHS to look at what military support will be needed in the future. Shanahan said he expected a plan from the general in the next few weeks.
“(It is about) getting us out of this à la carte tasking where, ‘Hey, we need 50 guys to do this, 50 guys to do that,’” a senior defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official said the idea was to look out over a time line of at least two years.
The official added that the Pentagon was reviewing a recent request from DHS to provide housing for detained migrants.
“What we’re hopeful to do is have, in fairly short order for the secretary of Homeland Security, a much more predictable, comprehensive plan for the next couple of years,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, said earlier this week.
There are currently about 4,500 U.S. service members on the border, and they are authorized to be there until through September.
The decision to transfer the $1.5 billion for border funding came on top of a March transfer of $1 billion in military money to fund the wall, which Democratic lawmakers criticized sharply.
Lawmakers have hinted they may respond by putting new restrictions on the Pentagon’s authority to move money around.
Shanahan said he understood Congress could take that authority away from the Pentagon and said he was unsure how to ease concerns. “I don’t have a good answer for how we’re going to balance it. It is a predicament,” he said.
The Pentagon is weighing which projects from the military construction budget will be affected to help pay up to $3.6 billion for the wall and whether there is a military need for it.
Reporting by Idrees Ali in McAllen, Texas; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Matthew Lewis