#1

uendo will likely be hired as a manager this

in Share With Other Members Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:04 pm
by sakura698 • 1.170 Posts

VANCOUVER - For one game at least, Zack Kassian lived up to his billing as a power forward who can produce points. Makamae Gomera-Stevens Jersey . Kassian recorded four assists to earn the first four-point night of his star-crossed NHL career Sunday night as the Vancouver Canucks rallied to beat his former team, the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. "It was one of those games (where) it seemed the puck followed me," said Kassian. "Its nice personally, but its even better we keep this streak going." The Canucks (33-30-10) have now posted two consecutive wins for the first time since mid-January. Vancouver pulled within three points of eighth-place Phoenix, and one point of ninth-place Dallas in the race for the second wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Sabres (20-43-8), last in the NHL by a wide margin, suffered their eighth loss in the past 10 games as they squandered an early 2-0 lead. Brad Richardson, Shawn Matthias, Yannick Weber and David Booth, with his first goal in 33 games, scored for the Canucks, who have won five of their last eight contests. The Sabres went ahead 2-0 only 3:29 into the game, but the score was tied 2-2 after the first period and the Canucks led 3-2 following the second. "In this league you cant play good sometimes," said Sabres coach Ted Nolan. "Youve got to play good all the time. Thats a lesson to learn and something we have to do to move forward." Tyler Ennis and Jamie McBain provided the offence for Buffalo. Kassian has often faced criticism since he was traded to Vancouver from the Sabres at the NHL trade deadline in February 2012 in the four-player deal that saw former Canuck fan favourite Cody Hodgson head to Buffalo. Kassian, Buffalos top 2009 draft pick (13th overall) excelled offensively two days after saying he is playing primarily a checking role now while Hodgson is primarily an offensive player. Hodgson, Vancouvers first choice (10th overall) in 2008, went without a point while the Sabres were badly outplayed for most of the game. "Im excited for every game, but obviously you want to play hard against your old team," said Kassian. "You definitely want to get the win, but its nice when you play well individually and as a line." Matthias, who was acquired in the Roberto Luongo trade from Florida, also had two assists while Richardson had one helper. The Canucks had not posted two straight wins since beating the Calgary Flames on Jan. 18, when coach John Tortorella drew a suspension for charging their dressing room between the first and second periods, and Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 21. Vancouver goaltender Eddie Lack overcame a slow start to earn the win. After allowing goals on Buffalos first and third shots of the game, Lack was sharp and finished with 16 saves. "The team did a great job bouncing back," said Lack. "I felt like I wasnt really tracking the puck well the first half of the game but then I just kind of settled down and felt better after that." Vancouvers quick rally from its early deficit spoiled a strong effort from rookie Buffalo goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, a 22-year-old Abbotsford, B.C., native who made just his second NHL career start and third appearance after being promoted from Rochester of the AHL on March 16. He recorded 32 saves as his club was outshot 36-18. "Thats frustrating and thats hockey," he said. "You get some good bounces and you do good things and you make mistakes, so Ill definitely learn from it." Weber scored the winning goal just 1:40 into the second period as he put a shot through Lieuwens legs to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead. Sabres defenceman Mike Weber was close to his Canuck namesake on the play, but Lieuwen said the puck went straight in. "I thought I had it and, obviously, there was a hole," said Lieuwen. "I dont know what to tell you. Thats obviously one that I feel I can obviously save. What a terrible night for that to go in." The goal sullied his "dream come true" of playing in Vancouver, where he has "tonnes of family." Ennis was also left frustrated as he watched the Sabres lead disintegrate after he had McBain had put them ahead. "We heard (Lack) has been shaky, so we wanted to get on him early, and we did," said Ennis. Kassian was not around for the final horn because he took a puck between the eyes, for the second time on the night, with 1:32 left in the game. He needed "about 10 stitches" to repair a cut. "So my face isnt getting any prettier, thats for sure," he said. Notes: Vancouver lost Henrik Sedin to an apparent knee injury late in the second period as he collided with a fallen Buffalo player behind the Sabres net. "I went to hit a guy and he came back off the boards and he fell on top of me, so well see how it is (Monday)," said Sedin. The mishap occurred after the Canucks and NHL honoured the Canucks captain for his 1,000th NHL game, played March 12 in Winnipeg. NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Jim Gregory represented the league. ... Vancouver forwards Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin returned after suffering injuries earlier this month, but Alex Burrows missed the game with a hand injury suffered Thursday against Nashville. ... Hodgson played his 200th NHL regular-season game. Lack made his 35th start of the season. At the outset of the season, Tortorella indicated he would get 15-20 starts. Buffalo defenceman Alexander Sulzer, who was acquired with Hodgson from the Canucks, missed his fifth consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Sabres starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth, acquired from Washington at the trade deadline, also missed his fourth consecutive contest, with a lower-body ailment. Neuvirth and Matt Hackett, who dressed as Buffalos backup, were traded for each other in the 2007-08 OHL season. Neuvirth went to Windsor from Plymouth while Hackett went the other way. Aubrey Bledsoe Jersey . Rookie Marek Mazanec made 39 saves for his first NHL victory and the Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-2 Saturday night. Shannon MacMillan Jersey . This was one of them. Omar Infante homered and tied a career high with six RBIs to carry the Kansas City Royals over the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 on Sunday. https://www.cheapuswnt.com/812w-imani-dorsey-jersey-usa.html . Then again, he really was at his home away from home. "It was nice to sleep in my own bed last night," Shields said after pitching Kansas City past the San Diego Padres 8-0 Wednesday.1) The Toronto Blue Jays won their first series at Tropicana Field since 2007 this week. The team also called up prospects Dalton Pompey, Daniel Norris and Sean Nolin from the Buffalo Bisons on Tuesday, the same day the series started. Do you believe there was any correlation between the two? Baseball is such a mental game. Everything means something. Changes in personnel via trades, releases or call-ups can change the dynamic of the team. That is why change for the sake of change sometimes works because it shifts something in the energy of the team. There is truly an energy around a team. It changes over the course of the season. Often times the energy changes as the team plays better or worse. The way players feel affects the way they play. Sometimes the calendar causes a unique energy. Injuries or activations from the DL can cause a shift in the feelings around a team. Sometime the opponent generates a different emotion within the team. If there was a brawl the last time two teams squared off then there is likely more energy and anxiety in the clubhouse and dugout. There is definitely one feeling that a team has when they play at home and another when they are on the road. The records typically reflect that difference. When a team has difficulty winning in a certain road stadium, like the Jays in Tampa, there is often a feeling of impending doom. You start waiting for something to go wrong that will be the reason you lose. My teams with the Mets had that feeling every time we went to Turner Field to play the Braves and Yankee Stadium to play our hometown rivals. In order to change that feeling something else has to change. It isnt a surprise to me that the Jays played differently in Tampa with different players in the clubhouse. The September call-ups often inspire the players who were in the major leagues already. They get a chance to see their competition first-hand. It can give them that little bit of push that can cause a shift in performance and a change in result. So the young call-ups absolutely impacted the energy of the Jays. It is difficult to quantify the impact but I believe it is exactly the reason why the Jays beat the Rays. 2) The Houston Astros are in need of a new manager after firing Bo Porter. How enticing of a destination will the Astros be to managerial candidates this off-season? The Astros have made dramatic improvements from last year to this year. That isnt saying all that much considering they lost 111 games in 2013. But they have already won 10 more games this year so there certainly is progress. The Astros have some interesting young prospects that have made an impact this year to support Jose Altuve who is proving to be among the best second basemen in the game. George Springer is an exciting power and speed type outfielder. Cris Carter has 35 home runs already. The Astros have high hope for first baseman John Singleton despite his struggles at the major league level. Dallas Keuchel and Colin McHugh have had very good seasons in the starting rotation. The Houston farm system is highly respected as well. They have the No. 2 prospect overall in SS Carlos Correa. They also have a number of interesting pitching prospects on the way. So from a player personnel perspective there is talent and there is hope. Sure they are in a very tough division with the As. Rangers, Angels and Mariners but it isnt the AL East. Sounds good so far: good players; competitive division; and throw in a domed stadium that has personality. There is a huge red flag though. Bo Porter wasnt fired because of performance on the field. He was fired because he did not have a unified view of the direction of the organization with GM Jeff Lunow. For a managerial candidate this is scary. It reeks of a GM who meddles in the day-to-day managing of the team. The manager needs to be able to run the team as he sees fit without distraction from the front office. If the manager is responsible for the result, he cant be told who to play and when to play them. He cant be told how he needs to use his bullpen and when to pull the starter. In my opinion, general managers have the right to ask managers for the logic of their decision-making. It is appropriate to ask if they considered this issue or that issue. But it is not appropriate for a GM to tell a manager what to do and then to hold him responsible if it doesnt work. I would be concerned, that as the manager of the Astros I would have responsibility with no authority. If that is the case then the manager is doomed to fail. The Astros will likely hire a player development, no-name manager. They wont hire a big-name guy who will demand autonomy when running the team. Lunow wants a malleable skipper whom he can manipulate to do his bidding. Overall it is not a very attractive job for an established major league manager. 3) The Oakland Athletics are 13-19 since making their blockbuster trade to acquire Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for Yoenis Cespedes and have gone from the leading the AL West to holding a Wild Card spot. Whats wrong with the As? When the As landed John Lester and the Tigers got David Price I thought the teams would match up in the ALCS. As it stands today the two teams would meet in the single game wild card matchup. The trades havent completely gone according to plan. Billy Beane knew that by adding Lester he was getting a workhorse for his rotation. Lester brings a big-game pedigree that we have seen in past playoff and World Series games. Because of payroll limitations Beane knew he couldnt add Lester and Gomes entire salaries. He had to send salary back in the deal. Effectively, what Beane had to do was rob Peter to pay Paul. He had to take away from one area to fortify another. He had to reconfigure his roster and how he was spending his money. At the time of the trade the As were leading the AL in runs scored. Beane thought he could sacrifice some offence to improve his pitching. It was reasonable logic. Unfortunately, Cespedes impact on the As offence was more than anticipated. He didnt only help with his production but his presence in the lineup impacted others. Brandon Moss went in the tank after the big power-hitting left fielder was traded. Moss is seeing different pitches without Cespedes in the lineup. Moss is trying too hard, figuring he would have to shoulder more of the load. The rest of the lineup started to sputter as well. It is not only Cespedes bat that is missed. It is his defence and his energy and his presence. He plays with flair and pizzazz that impacts those around him. Another issue has been the on again off again health of Coco Crisp. He is a spark plug for this team. Crisp generates energy on offence and defence when he is healthy. The problem is that he hasnt been healthy. Christie Pearce Jersey. The As starting pitching has started to falter as well. Jason Hamel has imploded. Jeff Samardajiza, Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray seem to be running out of gas. This game is so unpredictable. Just when you think you have it figured out things fall apart. The As can stop this slow fade but they need to do it now. Momentum is only as good as your next days starting pitching. They need their pitchers to take the pressure off of the offence. When the As fall behind it changes the quality of the at bats from the offence and makes them unproductive. If the pitching gives the hitters the opportunity for more relaxed at bats the offence will start to click again. The recent acquisition of Adam Dunn replaces Cespedes power but not his energy, defence or presence. It may be enough though to get the rest of the lineup going. The As are not going to catch the Angels but they will hold on for a Wild Card spot. They will still be a tough matchup in the playoffs regardless of what has happened to the offense. 4) Yep. It has happened again. The Cardinals are sitting atop the NL Central Division. I know it makes fans in Chicago, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati sick. Fans in New York, Colorado, and San Diego are green with envy. Marlins fans are amazed as are fans in Arizona. Those darn Cardinals are at it again. How do they do it? Consistency is something that everyone strives for in baseball. Players battle to remember what they do when things are going right, so they can repeat it. General managers not only hope they can build a winning team, they hope they can sustain that success. In recent years, we have had the Braves winning 15 consecutive division titles and the Yankees winning four World Series in five years while making the playoffs twelve consecutive years. If and when the Cards make the playoffs again this year it will be four consecutive years and 12 of the last 16 years that they have done so. The Braves won because they had (for the most part) healthy Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz on the mound. They also had great leadership in the dugout with Bobby Cox and on the field with Chipper Jones. The Yanks won because they had five home-grown stars in Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Petitte and Mariano Rivera. Joe Torre did a masterful job managing the fishbowl that is New York. Plus they had the highest payroll, which certainly didnt hurt. So why are the Cardinals winning year after year? They dont have the big three pitchers like the Braves. They never had the highest payroll like the Yankees. They have changed managers during their run. They have seen stars leave for big free agent contracts. Yet, despite it all they continuously win. My experience is that the organizations that keep winning strive for continued excellence. The have a certain way of doing things. There is a Cardinals way of playing baseball. There was a Braves way of doing things and a Yankee way as well. Each organization carves its own path, in its own way. There was a long-time Cardinals coach named George Kissel. He is responsible for creating the Cardinals way. He was a minor league player, coach, scout, instructor and major league coach in his 69 years in the organization. He was known as a?the professor.a? Thats right. A little man just 173 cm tall and 79 kg soaking wet is the most impactful Cardinal ever. He stressed the fundamentals. He stressed perfect practice. He taught players to understand their abilities and to play within them while maximizing their performance. He taught players, coaches and managers. He loved the game. He was as student of the game and understood it in a way that the games greatest stars never considered it. The Cardinals are the best at practice. They develop their players more efficiently and fully than other teams starting in the minor leagues. The learning continues at the major league level. I have broadcast Cardinals games over the years and I would always see their infielders taking fielding practice hours before the game. Even the superstars participated. The Cardinals starting pitchers all go to the bullpen when another starter is throwing a bullpen session between starts. This allows them to teach each other and to learn from each other. It builds camaraderie and a competitive environment. Their staff feeds off of each other. Those are just a couple of examples of Kissels impact. Over the years, Kissels influence and direction created a structure that is still the fabric of the organization. The names of the players and coaches and managers can change but the expectations and consequences of preparation are still the same. That is why they can overcome the adversity of losing stars to injuries or free agents. That is why they can change managers and not miss a beat. Everyone gets inserted in the Cardinals structure and they know what to do. Certainly the Cardinals have great players. I dont mean to diminish that at all. But Kissel gets credit for that too. His structure lends itself to certain types of players. The scouts find those players and the minor league staff then develops those players. The major league manager is the beneficiary of that process and is charged with maintaining that high level of performance. Albert Pujols absolutely was a big part of the Cards success in the past. So was manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach, Dave Duncan. But if you ask those three about George Kissel they will all tell stories of his impact on their growth. The same stories are told today by manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist. Yadier Molina is the guts and glue of this Cardinals team. Someday he will be a manager and George Kissel will live on in his words and structure. Baseball is a copy-cat game. When one team has success other teams mimic what they are doing. They look for similar players. They hire staff members away from the organization. The Astros hoped to transform the Cardinals Way into the Astros Way by hiring their general manager, Jeff Lunow, from the Cards. The Reds hoped to do the same things when they hired GM Walt Jocketty after he left St Louis. Cards third base coach Jose Oquendo will likely be hired as a manager this off-season by some organization wanting to duplicate the Cards success. Look for Gary LaRocque, the Cardinals Director, Player Development to get hired as a general manager this year by an organization hoping to find players as talented and as intelligent as the Cardinals prospects all seem to be. I am grateful for my 20 years as a minor league player and major league executive, mostly with the Mets, but there is a part of me that wishes I had been a Cardinal too. ' ' '

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