Quick Shifts: Denis Potvin’s strong words on McDavid, Oilers

A quick mix of the things we gleaned from the week of hockey, serious and less so, and rolling four lines deep.

1. In preparation for filling out the ol’ NHL Awards ballot, this week I picked the brain of Denis Potvin, a three-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup champion.

Like any good rush, the Hall of Famer’s opinions on trophies began at the back end and finished strong with a clear take on the Connor McDavid for MVP debate.

SPORTSNET.CA: Who is your Norris favourite this season?
DENIS POTVIN: “I miss [Erik] Karlsson not being in it. I like Karlsson. I was in Ottawa [doing Senators commentary] for four years, so I know him more than I know most other guys. I don’t think there’s a favourite this year, with Brent Burns having a slow start. I’ve watched that kid in Dallas [Jon Klingberg]; he looks really good on the offence. But you’re looking for a guy that can do the job, like a [Drew] Doughty. It doesn’t help that Calgary didn’t do the job; I like [Mark] Giordano very much as a defenceman. After that, Alex Pietrangelo might finally do it. I’ve been hearing for six, seven years he’s going to be the next Norris Trophy winner. That’s a long time, but he might just break through. I’m not sure I could pick a winner right now.

How much should points matter?
Points matter a lot, and I’m sensitive about that. Two Norris trophies went to [Rod] Langway when I was scoring 100 points [to earn mine]. It’s a little unfair in that Langway deserved to have an award because of the type of defenceman he was and the type of player he was, so I understand that. But at the time it was either [Bobby] Orr or [Paul] Coffey or me …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

No ‘exotic tea’ or shisha – Russian soccer’s guide on doping

MOSCOW — The Russian Football Union is warning players against drinking “exotic tea” or smoking shisha pipes as it tries to avoid any doping cases ahead of its home World Cup.

In a guide to help players not to fail drug tests by accident, the RFU said on Friday players should be wary of accidentally consuming banned substances.

It recommends players always read the label on exercise supplements and check online whether they’re contaminated with banned products.

The RFU also advised players “not to consume exotic tea,” to avoid smoking shisha, and to be wary of possibly contaminated meat from China or South America, adding: “Be aware. Your career depends on it!”

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the tea warning. A 2012 study suggested green tea could make testosterone appear lower on drug tests, though that wouldn’t constitute an offence.

As for shisha, an Algerian player was banned after a 2015 positive test for cocaine he said he accidentally consumed via a friend’s pipe.

The Russian guide comes as FIFA investigates allegations that positive drug tests in Russian football in previous years were covered up. Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said last month FIFA is investigating current Russia international Ruslan Kambolov.

Mutko said the case was “not linked to the national team.”

There is also a FIFA investigation into Ivan Knyazev, a former defender with the Russia Under-21 team, Mutko told the Tass state news agency at the time. Both players “have given evidence and we’ll see where it goes,” Mutko said.

Russia has been rocked by multiple doping tests across many sports in recent years, and of a state-sponsored coverup. The …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

Kurtenbach: The Warriors are running out of time to prove that they can ‘beat anybody’ without Curry

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) losses control of the ball under pressured by Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton (22) in the first half of an NBA game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, March 29, 2018. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — This Warriors season has been anything but typical.

The Warriors entered the 2017-18 campaign with so much talent on their roster that there was preseason talk of them challenging their own single-season wins record this year.

That, of course, didn’t happen. Instead, the Warriors have been consistently undercut by disengaged basketball and injuries. The result: the worst Warriors regular season in the Steve Kerr era and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

The last few weeks have been particularly harrowing for the Warriors. As injuries have piled up, so have the losses — after Thursday’s loss to the Bucks, Golden State has lost three straight games and seven of their last 10. And while the circumstances are extenuating, this is Warriors’ worst run of form in years, and it’s coming in the final stretch of the regular season.

And yet, even without Stephen Curry, who is out until two more weeks, at the minimum, with a sprained MCL in his left knee, the Warriors are confident that they have the talent and the experience to beat any team in the NBA come playoff time.

That absolutely could be the case — the Warriors still have Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson (all will be on the court next week) — but with only seven games remaining on the schedule and the possibility of a hellacious first-round series looming, it would certainly be nice to see the Warriors play a game or two of we-can-beat-anybody-without-Steph ball before the playoffs start, if for nothing else but affirmation.

Because on Thursday, with Durant and Green back in the lineup, the Warriors didn’t look anything like a team that is going to run through the competition come the postseason.

Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) losses control of the ball under pressured by Milwaukee Bucks’ …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

Steve Nash’s basketball legacy can be seen played out every night

It will be four years next week since Steve Nash played an NBA game, eight since he was last an all-NBA point guard and 13 years since he raised his first MVP trophy above his shaggy-haired head as the best player in basketball.

On Saturday night Nash will be made officially timeless, when he’s announced as a member of the 2018 class of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, along with Jason Kidd and Grant Hill.

But even though he’s a nearly a decade removed from his NBA peak the kid from Victoria, B.C., who turned 44 last month, is as big a figure in the league now than he was when he played.

There isn’t an NBA team that doesn’t pay homage to him every night, his stylistic influence having spread throughout college basketball and into the youth level of the game, too.

Watch a game and see a point guard expertly navigating a high pick-and-roll, using his gravity as a three-point threat, or drive the basket to yo-yo just long enough to create a seam to slip a ball through that a rolling big man can dunk at the rim?

That’s Steve Nash.

A point guard using his dribble to attack the basket but of instead of shooting he dribbles through to the other side of the painted area to either find a wide-open three-point shooter facing him or a teammate slashing for a lay-up behind in his wake?

That’s Steve Nash.

The other day Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr who he thought were basketball’s most influential figures. He listed Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant … and Steve Nash.

“The reason I have Nash in there is because I think he made it cool again to pass, and he also helped influence the next generation of point …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

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