Penguins fans celebrate repeat title by crowd surfing, eating raw catfish

The party in Pittsburgh is only beginning after the Penguins repeated as Stanley Cup champions Sunday night with a 2-0 victory over the Predators in Game 6.

While the Penguins hoisted the Cup in Nashville, the City of Pittsburgh was celebrating in its own right.

Nearly 20,000 fans sold out PPG Paints Arena for a chance to watch Game 6 with thousands more watching outside the arena. After Carl Hagelin scored an empty net goal as the Predators pulled Rinne in a last-ditch effort to force Game 7, fans converged on East Carson Street on Pittsburgh’s south side to celebrate.
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Once inside PPG Paints Arena, Waddell went to the restroom, removed the fish, and wrapped it in a free T-shirt and towel handed out at the gate. With the help of his cousin and some fellow Predators fans the two bumped into at the game, Waddell snuck into a lower section and tossed the catfish onto the ice.

Aware that he was outnumbered, Waddell didn’t bother trying to dodge security.

You can hear the crowd getting restless: 鈥楬illbilly, redneck,’ all this other stuff they’re yelling at me. They’re calling me stuff I should be called, Waddell said. If it wasn’t one vs. 10,000, I wouldn’t have been uncomfortable, but I was kind of hoping the security guards would get us on out of there.

According to Pittsburgh police, Waddell was charged with disorderly conduct, possessing an instrument of crime and disrupting a meeting. However, the Nashville radio station intends to cover any fines issued to Waddell.

Marian Gaborik Jersey If they want to go down that road, we can go down that road, Waddell said. I’m pretty sure we’ll win that battle. I’m just stubborn enough, as you can probably tell my strapping a catfish to my crotch, to go up there and fight it.

Predators pull Pekka Rinne from goal in midst of rout

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For the second time in the Stanley Cup Final, Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has been pulled from the net.

With the Predators trailing 3-0 on Thursday, coach Peter Laviolette pulled Rinne after the hero of Games 3 and 4 allowed three goals on nine shots in the first period.

Juuse Saros replaced Rinne to start the second period but promptly allowed a goal to the Penguins’ Conor Sheary and another to Phil Kessel. The rout is obviously not a good sign for Nashville, who will host Game 6. The winner of Game 5 of 2-2 Stanley Cup Finals have won 17 of the previous 24 Cups.

Josh Anderson (Columbus Blue Jackets-RFA): Like Vatanen, it seems Anderson may stay put in Columbus due to a pre-arranged deal, but his pick is a no-brainer in this exercise. The 23-year-old scored 17 goals last season with Columbus, and would be a top-six right wing in Vegas. Other Blue Jackets considered: G Joonas Korpisalo, G Anton Forsberg and C William Karlsson.

Brandin Cooks Jersey Troy Brouwer (Calgary Flames-$4.5 million): Not coming off a real good season, but McPhee knows Brouwer from Washington. High-character, leadership skills, and a possible trade candidate to a contender. Other Flames considered: C Freddie Hamilton.

William Carrier (Buffalo Sabres-$689,000): A project up front for the Golden Knights. Five goals and eight points in 41 games with the Sabres in his rookie season a year ago, Carrier is also a former second-round pick of the St. Louis Blues. Other Sabres considered: G Linus Ullmark and D Josh Gorges.

Chris Bosh-to-Chicago reportedly generating some chatter

A Chris Bosh-Dwyane Wade reunion in Chicago?
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According to ESPN, the Bulls are interested in Bosh if the Heat decide to waive their star power forward in February.

Bosh, 32, hasn’t played in nearly a year — and might not play again — because of blood-clot issues that have plagued his career in recent years.

The report said word is Chicago is interested, but rival teams don’t expect Bosh to be on the market until after March 1 so that he’s not playoff-eligible for another team.

But then he was traded as a secondary piece in the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins deal, and that’s when the movement began that saw him play for four teams in under four seasons while never being a significant developmental piece. In Minnesota, Bennett played nearly 900 minutes, had a 45.8 true-shooting percentage and was among the worst defensive players in the league. He still wasn’t quite as explosive as many scouts expected when he came to the NBA. That led to a buyout of the previously-exercised third year of his contract — the first ever No. 1 pick to not get through his rookie scale deal essentially due to performance.

Game Vernon Hargreaves III Jersey From there, he went home to Toronto, where he only played 84 minutes on a playoff team, then to Brooklyn, where he posted slightly better but still underwhelming numbers in Kenny Atkinson’s free-wheeling offensive scheme. Bennett never developed enough as a shooter (only making 27 percent of his 3-point attempts this season), never rebounded enough (accumulating just a 20.8 defensive rebounding rate) and never developed defensively (posting a -1.3 DRPM thus far).

Cowboys’ David Irving apologizes for PED use: ‘I thought I was hitting a second puberty’

David Irving said Monday he didn’t realize the fitness supplement he was taking contained a banned substance, but he took responsibility for violating the NFL’s PED policy.

In late June, the NFL hit the Cowboys defensive lineman with a four-game suspension he’ll serve to start the coming season. In a session with reporters Monday, Irving said he initially thought the league had made a mistake.

“I was pretty upset,” Irving said (via the “As soon as I got the letter I called right away, like, ‘What the [expletive]! This has to be a mistake.’ But it wasn’t. I made the mistake.”

“LeBron and I have always been about finding companies that we truly believe in and putting real money into them,” James’ business partner Maverick Carter said, via ESPN. “We’re not talking putting in $15,000 or $20,000. It’s real money plus the expertise, understanding and knowledge that we bring, as well as bringing LeBron’s name and likeness to the product.”

James and Carter turned another investment into nearly $30 million when Beats by Dre sold to Apple for $3 billion in 2014. Surprisingly, James might be able to double his Beats by Dre profit as Blaze Pizza has a goal of opening 1,000 stores and $1 billion in sales by 2022.

“We don’t typically advocate for our clients to invest in food businesses,” James’ financial adviser Paul Wachter said. “The risk-reward equation is not generally that great, and there’s a lot of grinding and blocking and tackling and it takes a while for a concept to go global.”

With just over 200 stores created in four years, Blaze Pizza was recently valued at $250 million.

Warriors’ JaVale McGee celebrates playoff berth by…becoming a sideline reporter

JaVale McGee is sick and tired of…being the interviewee.

So on Saturday following the Warriors playoff-clinching victory over the abysmal Brooklyn Nets, McGee turned the tables on CSN sideline reporter Ros Gold-Onwude.

It remains to be seen whether the Cavs’ reloading with former college stars will pay off, but we need to find ways to pass the time until the playoffs, so the composition of each team from a draft standpoint provides a relatively fascinating distraction.

Thanks to the frontloading, Cleveland ranks tied for second in the NBA when you look at the average draft slot of the players on each team’s roster (since there are 60 slots, an undrafted player counts as a 61 toward his team’s average for the sake of this exercise). The players on the Cavs’ roster have an average draft number (ADN) of 19, slightly dragged down by second-rounders Kay Felder, Kyle Korver, James Jones and DeAndre Liggins.

Limited Kids Yu Darvish Jersey Including Westbrook’s 47-point performance on Feb. 11, the Thunder have lost their last four when he’s scored 45 or more, a rare feat which last occurred in 1972-73 with Nathaniel Tiny Archibald and the Kings, according to ESPN.

Elite Mens Kris Versteeg Jersey Outside Victor Oladipo, who has been battling a back injury, Westbrook’s supporting cast was otherwise nonexistent Tuesday. Steven Adams attempted just one field goal, finishing with four points and just three rebounds. Enes Kanter (11) joined Oladipo (16) as the only Thunder players besides Westbrook to score in double figures.

The Trail Blazers enjoyed a balanced attack with seven players in double figures led by guards Damian Lillard (22) and C.J. McCollum (21).

those odds are too good for anyone to turn down.

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DeRozan has one of the best floaters in the NBA, too. According to NBA Savant, he’s attempted 189 floaters this season and made 91 of those opportunities. The list of players who have attempted at least 100 floaters is seven deep, including DeRozan, and McCollum (52.5 percent) is the only one who has a greater success rate than him. That means whichever option DeRozan chooses from when he has his back to the basket basically has a 50-50 chance of going in.

Even as the NBA moves away from midrange shots and post play, those odds are too good for anyone to turn down.

Let’s be clear about this. Any move the Cavs make happens with the Warriors in mind. Despite the Celtics adding Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Cavs are still kings of the Eastern Conference until LeBron says otherwise. So the real question is: Does signing Rose close the gap on Golden State?
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No, it doesn’t. While Rose showed signs of his former self last season, his style of play doesn’t improve Cleveland’s chances to win a title — in fact, it hurts the Cavs in that specific matchup.

Rose has never been a consistent outside shooter, but with the Knicks, he essentially eliminated the threat of a 3-point shot altogether. He averaged less than one 3-point attempt per game for the 2016-17 season and hit at a 21.7 percent rate, the worst of his career. He shot 5 of 11 on corner 3-pointers (45.4 percent) but an abysmal 8 of 44 above the break (18.2 percent). Rose was also one of the worst Knicks players in spot-up situations, scoring 0.80 points per possession (19.7 percentile in the league).

LaVar Ball thinks his sons are worth $1 billion shoe deal

LaVar Ball never shies away from an opportunity to talk up his talented sons.
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The father of UCLA freshman star Lonzo Ball said last month that his son has the potential to be better than Stephen Curry, and now he has revealed that he’s seeking a lucrative packaged shoe deal involving his three boys.

The team will provide us with a better platform of developing our younger players and staff. It also will allow us the opportunity to widen the spectrum of fans that come in contact with our organization on a regional basis.

In addition, it will provide us with the opportunities to further promote the game of basketball and further our community support to the region. This will be a very significant addition for a city near us as it will add global exposure and bring professional basketball to their town.
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The D-League is the NBA’s official minor league, which was founded in 2001. There are 22 NBA teams currently with a D-League team and three more (Hawks, Grizzlies and Bucks) expected to launch teams next season.

Speaking of the Thunder, OKC has looked into adding Bulls forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, per ESPN’s Marc Stein and Royce Young. Chicago has an interest in Thunder guard Cameron Payne, according to CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill. Less than an hour to go now.

Let’s not read too much into this, but Thunder forward Andre Roberson was seen walking out of team offices and hugging people during practice, according to Thunder Digest. Roberson says he doesn’t know anything about his future status with OKC at this time, per Fox 25 reporter Sam Gannon.

Lou Williams loving Rockets’ offense because ‘everybody eats’

Lou Williams went from flirting with the Western Conference cellar to a contender this week, and he couldn’t be happier.

The sweet-shooting guard was sent to Houston from the Lakers before Thursday’s trade deadline, and he enjoyed a fine debut scoring 27 points off the bench in a 129-99 win against the new-look Pelicans.

Williams praised his new teammates for allowing him to find a comfortable rhythm in the offense.

“It’s easy to play with these guys,” Williams said, via the Houston Chronicle. “It’s a very open style. Everybody eats. Everybody’s happy. It fits my style.”

James Harden had been criticized for his willingness to shoot, while sometimes seemingly forgetting he had other guys on his team. But this season’s move to point guard has seen the former shooting guard re-invent his career.

If Williams continues to find open looks, he could form a dynamic backcourt duo with Harden, one of the front-runners for league MVP.

Under D’Antoni, Harden has gone from averaging 7.5 assists per game to 11.2 assists per game. That’s a 49.3 percent increase over his previous career-high. Assuming D’Antoni could do the same for Wall, he’d go from averaging 10.7 assists per game to 15.9 assists per game.

That number is obviously insane. John Stockton holds the NBA record for the most assists per game in the regular season with 14.5. He then averaged 14.2 assists per game in the following season and 13.7 the season after that. Furthermore, the only other players in NBA history who have averaged at least 13.0 assists per game in a season are Magic Johnson, Kevin Porter and Isiah Thomas. And here we are talking about Wall blowing all of them out of the water by averaging 15.9 assists per game.

Sonny Gray would already be a member of the Crew.

Whew. What a couple of years for the Mets. Just when the boys from Flushing look like they’re ready to challenge the Yankees for the crown of New York, injuries overcome the team. The Mets don’t have the best farm system in baseball, so trading deGrom for a hefty stack of prospects will help them regroup, and relatively quickly, if — and here’s a big if — Sandy Alderson knows how to sell.

Limited Mens Bill Russell Jersey Much has been made about Samardzija’s excellent peripherals (FIP, WHIP, K/9 and K/BB), but the fact is his ERA stood at 4.86 after he allowed seven runs in six innings to the Padres on July 16. The main reason? He has allowed 20 home runs in 19 starts. Houston, with its hitter-friendly home park, should be cautious about giving up long-term assets for a 32-year-old homer-prone starter who has three years and $54 million remaining on his contract after this season.

Calais Campbell Game Jersey If trades were done based on who you know, then Sonny Gray would already be a member of the Crew. Milwaukee pitching coach Derek Johnson coached Gray at Vanderbilt, and Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt was Gray’s batterymate in Oakland before the A’s waived Vogt in June. Alas, it’s more about who you’re willing to offer, and the still-rebuilding Brewers should be loath to weaken their farm system (think players like Lewis Brinson, Brett Phillips and Luis Ortiz) even for Gray, who can’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season. Acquiring the older J.A. Happ would make more sense. The Blue Jays won’t need nearly as much for Happ, who is 34 and signed only through 2018.

If Sam Darnold stays at USC, he disrupts certain NFL teams’ scripts for 2017-18

Mens Brayden Schenn Jersey So many dominos could fall from one brief-but-stunning report this week. Sam Darnold — yes, that Sam Darnold — might not leave school next spring and enter the 2018 draft.
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The Jets would never admit it, nor would any other franchise. But a big domino just fell over in East Rutherford. And yes, that’s Cleveland where that other loud sound came from. They’re not the only ones, but they’re the largest.

On one of the last slow weeks remaining in another abbreviated NFL offseason, the Darnold report disrupted plans, speculations, plots and scripts for the upcoming year. A lot of what has been said and done in the league was based on the presumption that next year’s quarterback class is going to be top-notch. And the cream of next year’s quarterback crop was supposed to be one Sam Darnold, redshirt sophomore, Southern California.

Why he’s here: Long a respected person in the sport, Lovullo was considered an excellent hire by the Diamondbacks and he’s done nothing to change that perception. This is a franchise that had struggled through a couple of frustrating seasons (hopes of contending, but ending up with losing records), but Arizona has been outstanding this season under Lovullo’s watch. Maybe the same thing would have happened if Chip Hale was around for his third season, but who knows? What we do know is the Diamondbacks under Lovullo have been great, and in a hard-to-figure category like Midseason Manager of the Year, that’s enough.