Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon establishing new identity for the team

The Carolina Hurricanes are out of the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season — the longest drought in the NHL. They are without a coach (Bill Peters resigned, and he quickly found a new home in Calgary) and general manager (Ron Francis was transitioned upstairs in March).

They averaged just 13,320 fans per home game this season, the third-lowest figure in the league. That’s 82.6 percent capacity for PNC Arena — which ranks as the lowest mark in the NHL.

“If I can’t find the person who is undervalued and give them the chance at a price I think is fair, and give them a chance to build their market value and build the team, then I might move to a different plan. But I do think it would be surprising if there were only 30 people in the world who could do these jobs. We’re looking for the talent, not the résumé.”

On the status of the searches: “It’s probably the biggest misconception that I’ve seen that GMs or coaches don’t want to work for us. … It really hasn’t been what I’ve seen reported in terms of the amount of interest in these jobs. It’s probably the opposite. The hardest part is picking the right person; it’s not getting the right candidates.”

On Friday, coach Eric Spoelstra tried to tamp down any notion the Heat have in any way given up on Whiteside, who is owed $25.4 million next season with a player option available in the season after that — for $27 million.

“This is one of those periods that we know how to manage and help players get through,” Spoelstra said, while speaking to reporters in an end-of-the season news conference. “And when you get through it, there’s tremendous growth opportunity on the other side of that.

After meeting with Hassan Whiteside to discuss the center’s rant over the weekend, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team is putting the issue “behind us.” Whiteside was fined an undisclosed amount Sunday for his comments.

Whiteside was limited to an average of 15.4 minutes against Philadelphia. During the five-game series, Whiteside suggested a change in Miami’s offensive approach had affected his production in the playoffs.sl_cardinals_043

Schwarber hits 2 HRs as Cubs beat Indians in Series rematch

The memories of winning a championship two years ago came flooding back for the Chicago Cubs when they arrived at Progressive Field on Tuesday.

The positive feelings continued once the game began.

Kyle Schwarber hit two of Chicago’s four solo home runs during a 10-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians in the first meeting between the teams since their classic 2016 World Series.

Schwarber is batting .500 (15 for 30) with three homers and eight RBI in seven career games at Progressive Field, including the postseason. The left-handed hitter, who grew up in southwest Ohio, made his major league debut in Cleveland in 2015. He had six hits in his first two starts.

In Mayfield’s first appearance with his new team, the former Oklahoma quarterback discussed his leadership and said the transition from the Sooners’ Air Raid offense to the NFL won’t be too difficult.

“The game of football is the same,” Mayfield said. “It’s just a matter of terminology, language and how they teach it, so you’re not going to find one guy who is reinventing the wheel.”

The Browns’ selection of Mayfield was a surprise in a draft in which three taller quarterbacks were available, but the Browns touted his competitiveness, accuracy, skills as a leader and the fact he had worked for everything he had earned. Mayfield is the first walk-on to win the Heisman Trophy and be the first overall pick in the draft.

“It’s a surreal feeling, thinking about the … how long it’s been and exactly where I came from, so a very surreal feeling,” the 6-foot-⅝ Mayfield said. “It’s not one that I would have imagined back then, but I’m happy about it now.”

Mayfield did say his crotch-grabbing antics and cursing of Kansas players during Oklahoma’s blowout road win in November were inappropriate, and he said in the future he would try to better manage his competitive nature.

“That was absolutely over the top,” he said. “But there’s a fine line. You need to be competitive, but a lot of that you can internalize and use that as motivation to drive you. You don’t have to show it all the time.jets_052

Eagles hosting Falcons to launch 2018 regular season

The Philadelphia Eagles will open their first Super Bowl defense when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Sept. 6, to start the 2018 NFL regular season, the NFL announced Thursday night.

The Eagles defeated the Falcons 15-10 in the NFC divisional round last season en route to their Super Bowl LII victory.

The New York Jets will host the Detroit Lions on Sept. 10 in the first Monday Night Football game of the season, followed by the Los Angeles Rams at the Oakland Raiders later that night. Former MNF analyst Jon Gruden makes his regular-season coaching return with the Raiders that night.

Flexible scheduling in which a Sunday afternoon game can be switched to the evening because it is a better matchup than the previously planned game will be in use for Weeks 11-17. But two Sundays in Weeks 5-10 also can have a game flexed to night.

In a new twist, flex scheduling will be used for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16. In Week 15, two games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 15: Houston at the Jets and Cleveland at Denver, with game times of 4:30 p.m. ET and 8:20 p.m. ET to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday: Baltimore at the L.A. Chargers, Jacksonville at Miami, the New York Giants at Indianapolis, or Washington at Tennessee. Start times for Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the contests not chosen for Saturday to be played on Sunday on the 16th weekend.

Clint Capela had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Harden added 24 points and the Rockets pulled away in the third quarter to get another lopsided win and eliminate the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 122-104 victory in Game 5 of the first-round series Wednesday night.

The top-seeded Rockets are headed to the second round for the second year in a row after taking care of the eighth-seeded Timberwolves. Minnesota was in the postseason for the first time since 2004.

Houston will await the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series, which the Jazz lead 3-2 after the Thunder rallied from a big deficit Wednesday night to avoid elimination.

After scoring 22 points in Houston’s 50-point third quarter in a Game 4 blowout Monday night, Harden poured in half of Houston’s 30 points in the third quarter Wednesday night to put the Rockets up for good. His 15 third-quarter points matched Minnesota’s output in the frame, and he finished with 12 assists.

“I knew that Minnesota wasn’t going to just go away,” he said. “We had to do the right things to put them away.”jets_111

Will Browns go Josh Allen at No. 1?

With all the talk about whether the Browns should want quarterback Sam Darnold or quarterback Josh Rosen, here’s another option: Neither.

Via Peter King of SI.com, an unnamed friend of Browns G.M. John Dorsey believes that Cleveland will take Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen with the first overall pick in the draft.

Regardless, Dorsey made it clear last week in a visit to PFT Live that the Browns will keep their cards close to the vest. If only because a team that has been out of control for years finally controls something.

Cleveland will draft a quarterback in 2018, likely at No. 1 overall. But because they traded for Tyrod Taylor — who can serve as a better placeholder than those on the rosters of any of the first four teams on this list — the Browns have some flexibility. Cleveland will be faced with two questions in the near future: Which quarterback should it target, and when should that quarterback take the reins as starter?

The recent contract extension for Bortles means the Jaguars are committed to him … until they aren’t. Jacksonville with the deal was able to kick the can down the road; it keeps Bortles on the roster but leaves open the opportunity for competition between the starter and a rookie. Kessler is a backup who arrived via trade, so one more passer from the draft would complete the QB depth chart and finally put legitimate pressure on Bortles.

Ultimately, success or failure will hinge not only on the ability of the player to adjust to the next level but also on factors beyond his control, such as the ability of his coaching staff at the next level to get the most out of him. Five quarterbacks went in round one 19 years ago, with Tim Couch to the Browns at No. 1, Donovan McNabb to the Eagles at No. 2, Akili Smith to the Bengals at No. 3, Daunte Culpepper to the Vikings at No. 11, and Cade McNown to the Bears at No. 12. They collectively failed more than they thrived.

McNabb was the best of the bunch, a fringe Hall of Famer who’ll maybe get in years from now via the Seniors Committee. Culpepper had some very good moments (including a stellar 2004 season), but a serious knee injury in 2005 derailed his career. The rest — Couch, Smith, and McNown — had largely disastrous NFL careers. Combined, the not-so-Fab Five won a total of zero Super Bowls.bills_050

Signing of Ndamukong Suh confirms Rams’ status as destination team

Disneyland. Hollywood. Miles of sunny beaches. To the list of Southern California attractions, add a cluster of temporary modular buildings tucked into the quiet suburbs of Ventura County.

Suh cast an imposing presence Friday, seated between Coach Sean McVay and General Manager Les Snead, and likely will do so again when the season starts. Suh is expected to play nose tackle in the Rams’ 3-4 base defense, alongside Aaron Donald, the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The Rams’ offseason spending has been so prolific that they needed to make a roster move Friday simply to fit Suh’s one-year, $14-million contract under the salary cap. The Rams released cornerback Kavyon Webster, who has been recovering from Achilles and shoulder injuries, and shaved $3.5 million off their cap total.

Meredith would have been a nice complement to Crabtree and Brown, and we heard at the end of last month that Baltimore was higher on Meredith than other players the team has recently brought in for a visit (Willie Snead and Michael Floyd).

In most formats, goaltenders will get the most points. Of course, this is assuming most teams will ride one goaltender through the playoffs. In the end, the Cup-winning goalie will get 16 wins and a couple of shutouts sprinkled in. If your league awards two points per win, that’s already more points than the top scorer of the playoffs is probably going to get. Malkin’s 36 points in 2008-09 is the only example from the past 10 years of a player eclipsing 32 points.

If there’s no limit to how many players you can take from each team, all your eggs should be in a minimal number of baskets. Pick your teams that you think will go far and take players from those teams. Sean Monahan and Alexander Radulov both scored better than a point per game during the playoffs last year, but that doesn’t help you much if they don’t get out of the first round.bills_050

The Bengals are still deciding whether or not to sign veteran free agent safety Eric Reid to the roster.

Despite being one of the more talented and versatile safeties of this free agency class, Reid didn’t garner a lot of attention. His first visit came with the Bengals on April 9th , and it is shocking it took him this long to even get a visit after hitting free agency in March.

Free agency has pretty much been put on hold with the draft quickly approaching. Usually, the only remaining players are veterans nearing the end of their career as teams would rather add a young rookie at the position instead of paying a veteran who may be beyond their prime. But that’s not really the case with Reid who is still a starting-caliber safety and someone the Bengals could use in their defense.

One reason people think Reid has waited this long to find a team is because he was one of the first players to show support of Colin Kaepernick ’s protesting during the national anthem.

The players know the science. When a player takes artificial testosterone, his body stops producing it. Instead, it produces estrogen. Sometimes, high levels of estrogen can be detected through the NFL’s testing procedures. Certain levels can cause failed tests. That’s why you’d use an estrogen blocker, though it can also cause a failed test.

Regardless of what the chemistry may or may not be in Davis’ case, the interesting thing is what it symbolizes to the players who spoke with B/R.

If an employee or contractors actions impact revenue, they absolutely do have a legitimate reason to ask about all manner of things.

Old Glory is always a legitimate reason to ask. If you disrespect the flag, you don’t deserve the privilege of playing in the NFL. Simple as that.

You mean like the armed services that pay for Patriotism before every game? That kind of special interest? I don’t have a beef with the military. I have had several family member and close friends either serve or are currently serving. Heck we all do. But does our military need to advertise themselves at the start of every football game? It’s not done out of Patriotism. It’s a paid commercial. I’m standing anyway but if someone chose not to I’m not going to get my feathers ruffled up. I’m not going to question their Patriotism. Heck standing up takes no effort. It doesn’t make you a good Patriot.rams_092