EXCLUSIVE BLOG: How to celebrate a Mosconi Cup victory by 2013 Team Europe winner Darren Appleton

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When Europe strolled to an imperious 11-2 victory against fierce rivals USA in the 2013 Mosconi Cup, history had been written.

Never before had a European side cruised to such a win in the history of the competition, yet Johan Ruijsink’s men had done it – and on American turf too.

The fact that it was Europe’s fourth title in a row – and in the 20th year of the tournament – meant one thing: the players needed to celebrate.

But just how did the European squad come to terms with such a win? And how did they decide to toast their victory?

2013 winner Darren Appleton exclusively tells www.vaishalibhardwaj.com what he did – and how he felt – in the days following the team’s momentous Mosconi Cup triumph.

Mar 08

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Lonzo Ball highlight NBA Rising Stars rosters

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Lonzo Ball headline the NBA Rising Stars rosters announced Wednesday night.

The game will feature the same format as the previous three years with 10 of the league’s best rookies or second-year players from the U.S. taking on 10 from across the globe. The Sixers and Lakers each have three selections, the most for any team.

With the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Cam Fowler at 100 percent, the Ducks have hit their stride in the season’s homestretch.

Goalie John Gibson (25-15-6, 2.46, .927) posted his second shutout Tuesday night and did yeoman’s work keeping the team competitive early in the season when it was short-handed.

“We know if we don’t win now, our season is over,” Gibson said of Anaheim’s urgency. “There is definitely more pressure, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

This starts a crucial back-to-back set for the Ducks, who play in Dallas on Friday night against an equally desperate foe.

They played together as teammates on the Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA championship team, and Irving told reporters he will always be connected to James and Love.

“I think you’ve heard it if you’ve talked to championship winners before, but when you’re on a championship team, it’s just a bond that can’t be broken forever,” Irving said, per ESPN. “Just going through that, the way we created history — we’re the only team in history to come back from 3-1 (in the NBA Finals). And that’s something that will be etched in NBA history for life.

“And that’s always a connection, something that we can always reminisce about no matter what. It’s an incredible bond that we built as a team, individually being tested at the highest level, and doing something that you can remember for the rest of your life and tell your kids about.”lions_018

Mar 07

Brewers manager on Ryan Braun at first base: Still at start of process

AJ Mass: In a points league, I don’t think there’s as much urgency to grab most of these starters at this proposed point of the draft. In a vacuum, at least from a pure value standpoint, relative to hitters, the entirety of this SP sextet probably can wait a minimum of five more rounds before flying off the board. That said, if pitching is flying off the board in your league’s draft, I certainly wouldn’t be afraid to grab any of these arms when you feel the time is right.

Francona did not say when Salazar will pitch in a spring training game but said he could resume throwing from a mound in a few days.

Salazar’s injury provides an opportunity for Clevinger, who emerged as a reliable starter for Cleveland last season. Francona acknowledged that Clevinger is “going to be in the rotation” after the 6-foot-4 right-hander had six strikeouts over three scoreless innings in his spring start against the Dodgers.

“We’re looking for ‘Clev’ to have a big year,” Francona said. “He’s strong, and he should be able to be that innings-eater type pitcher.”

Clevinger, 27, went 12-6 with a 3.11 ERA in 27 games — 21 starts — for the Indians last season, recording 137 strikeouts in 121? innings.

Even if you know very little about baseball, you can play and have a great time. While winning a championship might be the ultimate goal, enjoying the camaraderie of your friends, family and coworkers is what draws everyone back each season.

De Leon made his big league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 and was 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts. Acquired the following January by the Rays, he pitched in one game for Tampa Bay last season, winning at the Texas Rangers on May 29, when he allowed three runs in 2? innings and on 69 pitches — the most by a Rays reliever since Chris Archer in September 2012.

De Leon made 10 minor league appearances last season and spent three stints on the disabled list due to discomfort in the flexor mass muscle, a strained lat muscle and forearm tendinitis, and back tightness. He had a pair of one-inning appearances in spring training this year, on Feb. 26 and on Saturday.

First off the board from this group, for me, is Godley. We’re looking at solid 200-K potential from a pitcher who may well reap the benefits of the Chase Field humidor, as his career ERA at home is 4.80, compared to 3.61 on the road. He still walks too many hitters for my tastes in a points league, but if he gets that under control be even a little bit, this is a top-25 SP.lions_095

Mar 03

In 2018, McCaffrey will try to end the Panthers’ drought without a 1,000-yard rusher.

Carolina hasn’t had one since 2009, when both Williams and Stewart broke 1,000 yards. That’s the longest active drought by a team in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The additional cap space could help the Panthers re-sign All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.

While Hurney said it was too early to speculate on signing either, in describing his philosophy he immediately pointed to both interior line positions.

Sando: True. Bell is an elite talent and true difference-maker for the Steelers, which makes him too valuable to let walk while Roethlisberger is holding open the Steelers’ championship window. I tend to think the sides will find a way to continue this very productive marriage, perhaps against the odds, as long as Bell is healthy and an elite performer.

Seifert: False. The Steelers, smartly, will go year-to-year at a position where production drops dramatically in most cases after the age of 27. Bell turned 26 in February.

The fifth-round pick initially entered a not-guilty plea on Nov. 15 to operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in his system, speeding (24 mph over the posted speed limit of 55) and operating a vehicle without a valid license, according to Wisconsin Circuit Court records.

On Wednesday, he entered a no-contest plea to the citation for driving with a controlled substance in his system in exchange for dismissal of tickets for speeding and operating without a license.

Court records indicate Jones will be required to pay $1,047 in court costs and undergo an alcohol assessment. His license was also suspended for six months by Brown County judge Marc Hammer.

Of course, a big topic for fans is what the name of the potential NHL franchise will be.

“You have an owner in David that wants to make this about the fans and the community, you have one of the greatest minds ever on branding and entertainment in Jerry Bruckheimer, and we happen to have one of the best sports markets in North America,” Leiweke said. “I kind of like our odds as being able to figure out the brand and doing something extraordinary.”

Bruckheimer has been part of NHL ownership bids before. This time, he said, is different.

“Based off the responses we’re getting, there’s a lot of momentum working in our direction,” Bruckheimer said of the season-ticket drive.patriots_013

Feb 28

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov will be looking to build on his lead in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer.

He had two assists against the Senators and has 80 points, seven more than Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau.

He was the 26th pick in the 2015 NHL draft and had played this season with the Laval Rocket of the AHL after sustaining a foot injury at the beginning of the season.

“We probably would have had him up here earlier had he not been injured in training camp,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “So that’s how highly we thought of this guy. Even if we were in the middle of a battle for a playoff spot, I don’t think we would have hesitated to bring this guy up.”

“I was obviously nervous going into the game, but the guys helped me through that,” Juulsen told montrealcanadiens.com. “I think it showed in my play.”

“I do believe there’s a competition (among them),” Penguins assistant coach Sergei Gonchar told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s an honor to be the top goal-scorer in the league. But if it (were) an American or Canadian (they were competing against), they’re going to compete just as hard.”

Malkin, who continued his roll with one goal and two assists in Friday’s 6-1 Penguins win over the Carolina Hurricanes, will try to add to his total on Saturday night when the Penguins visit the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.

The Penguins continued their roll as well, winning their sixth straight on Friday while also acquiring

forward Derick Brassard in a three-team trade with the Ottawa Senators and Vegas Golden Knights. The Penguins also received a 2018 third-round draft pick and prospect forward Vincent Dunn from the Senators; and the Pens also received prospect forward Tobias Lindberg from the Golden Knights.

Pittsburgh traded defenseman Ian Cole, goalie Filip Gustavsson, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2019 third-round selection to the Senators, and forward Ryan Reaves and a 2018 fourth-round draft pick originally acquired from Vancouver to the Golden Knights.jays_360_99b921068c742c74-180x180

Feb 27

Kaminsky helps Hornets beat Wizards 122-105

Charlotte found a way to beat the Washington Wizards again.

This time, it was Kemba Walker taking over for the Hornets.

Walker scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, and Charlotte beat Washington 122-105 on Friday night.

Hornets: The win streak matches their season high set three previous times, most recently Jan. 31-Feb. 4. … C Dwight Howard received his 12th technical foul this season in the third quarter, matching Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook for second behind Golden State’s Draymond Green (14).

Wizards: F Otto Porter had 16 points and F Markieff Morris scored 13 for the Wizards, who have 10 losses against teams with losing records this season. . Beal has scored 30 or more points in 12 games this season.

Ramon Sessions signed a 10-day contract with Washington. The 11-year veteran was waived in January by New York, his eighth NBA team. Sessions played in 110 regular-season games for Washington from 2015-16 along with 10 games during the 2015 playoffs. He provides additional depth at point guard with Wall out another three to five weeks.

Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton each scored 21 points as the Bucks won the opener of an eight-game stretch against teams in playoff contention. Jason Terry scored 14 points, and John Henson and Thon Maker each had 12.

“It’s a big gut-check and a big win for us,” Middleton said. “This is the best team in the East and we proved that we could beat them on the road.”

DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points for the Raptors, who had won five straight home games against the Bucks, and 15 of the past 17 meetings.

Toronto also eliminated Milwaukee in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. The teams will not meet again in the regular season.

Serge Ibaka had 18 points, and Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam each scored 17 for Toronto.

“We didn’t deserve to win,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “They outworked us, the outplayed us, they outthought us. Whatever adjective you want to use, they did it to us tonight.”bears_101-223x223

Feb 24

Moving to Boston really should not harm these fantastic numbers, by the way.

Despite the lack of power, the Red Sox finished 10th in runs scored across both leagues last season, with a deep crew of batsmen who reach base. If Martinez hits another 45 home runs, he could drive home more than 120 runs. Let us say 35 and 100 are safer benchmarks, considering the propensity for missed games, but again, we do not project even those power numbers for many players, especially in cooperation with batting average. That is still really, really good and worthy of being a second anchor hitter to any fantasy squad.

In 2017, we saw Case Keenum go from Jared Goff’s underwhelming placeholder in Los Angeles to an instrumental piece in the Vikings’ run to the NFC title game. Jonathan Cooper developed from possible washout after stops with the Cardinals and Patriots to a useful starter on the Cowboys’ offensive line. Nick Foles became a Super Bowl MVP months after contemplating retirement.

It doesn’t always work out. Phillip Dorsett upgraded from the Colts’ unsure quarterback situation to a spot catching passes from Tom Brady but still has the fewest receptions of his short career in 2017. Former No. 2 pick Greg Robinson continued to underwhelm after moving from the Rams to the Lions.

According to Nick Kypreos, we should not be surprised if Erik Karlson’s traded within the next nine days. Here is his report on Hockey Night in Canada in full.

I keep getting told the same thing, and that is don’t be surprised if Erik Karlson’s traded within the next nine days. Now Chris, you mentioned last week, we know where the Ottawa Senators stand, they want to get the message out that he’s unavailable. But as one general manager told me yesterday, if you’re not prepared to make him the highest paid player, — and their is a belief that he could get there — then why would you not explore the maximum value on his return? And we know that it’s going to be this trade deadline. His contract doesn’t expire until 2019, teams will be trading for at least two opportunities to win a Cup opposed to one at the draft.

Kypreos does not mention that any specific teams are in on Karlsson, only that the Senators’ reluctance to pay the defenseman his full due may result in them moving him should they reconsider their stance.

This season, Karlsson has put up 40 points in 52 games with the Senators. The 27-year-old defenseman has just five goals on the season, a far cry from his 17 he put up last season and the 16 he had a year before. Karlsson was asked, along with the rest of the Senators, to give up his no-trade list back in December, but all signs indicated that he was likely to stay.bears_275

Feb 20

The next group of six got underway with Oleksii Bychenko of Israel, and he unseated Tanaka for first.

His countryman, Danel Samohin, posted a 251.44 total to take over second place. Then it was Nathan Chen of the United States.

Chen started with a quadruple lutz, then a quad flip double toeloop, a very strong start to his routine. A quad flip and a pair of quad toeloops gave way to the quad salchow, giving him all five of his of quad jumps. Chen’s short program was a disappointment, but his free skate was beautiful. He posted a free skate score of 215.08, giving him a 297.35 overall, easily in first place for the time being.

The last time McCullers pitched, he plunked four Dodgers in the first three innings of Game 7 of the World Series. He said catchers don’t come to the mound to talk about the weather.

You think I want to break rhythm and tempo during a game to talk about signs behind my glove? he said. No, it’s a necessary reaction to an issue we, as pitchers and catcher, are facing. I guess enforcing the integrity by hitting batters is better than an extra 4 minutes to discuss signs.

Silver described several reasons why the league has considered getting rid of the one-and-done rule, which prevents athletes from entering the NBA Draft until they’re 19, or one year removed from high school. For top American prospects, that year is almost always spent playing college basketball. Any decision the league makes about the rule would come with input from the NCAA, too.

If I have to do it in the outfield to get just one more game, I’ll do it. . LHP P.J. Conlon, among the young pitchers seeking a bullpen spot, impressed when he threw changeups to lefty-hitting Jay Bruce in batting practice. It’s kind of been my pitch for the last two seasons, Conlon said. When I started to come out of the `pen last year, I made it a goal of mine to start throwing it against lefties more.

This roster is bad. That’s not a slight against any of the players on it, as much as it probably sounds like one. Almost the entire American team is comprised of fringy minor league players who might have — in the past — gotten called upon for spot NHL duty when players ahead of them on organizational depth charts were injured.

Some, like defenseman Matt Gilroy, were excellent college players, and others, like winger Chris Bourque, have filled nets in the American Hockey League, the NHL’s top minor league. Some had decent and even good NHL careers, once upon a time. Captain Brian Gionta had a nice run and was a key part of a more substantive U.S. Olympic team … in 2006. He’s had a great run, but he’s also 5’7 and now 39 years old.bears_081

Feb 10

Carson Wentz is in Philly. Deshaun Watson is in Houston.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace entered the league’s concussion protocol after his helmet-less head slammed into the turf during the first quarter of a game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Wallace’s helmet flew off and landed 10-15 yards from his body after one of the hardest hits of the season, delivered by the Andrew Sendejo while Wallace was being wrapped up by another Viking defender. Wallace immediately left the field, bleeding from the mouth, and was walked by trainers to the locker room.

The Atlanta Falcons have heard them all, not that anything can really take away the sting of what happened in the second half of Super Bowl LI, when a championship that looked pretty certain with a 28-3 lead dissolved into an overtime loss.

On Thursday, no one was able to grab hold of the Jaguars starting quarterback reins in an uneven performance for both Chad Henne and Blake Bortles, Jay Cutler’s second game with the Dolphins was also filled up and downs and Carson Wentz look great during his work with the first-team offense. You can read about those stories and everything else from Thursday’s action in our daily roundup.

The season is as done as it gets. The Giants are winless. Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall are out for the remainder of the season as part of a severe shortage of WRs. It’s amazing that it has come to this. But now thoughts turn to the fallout. Will Coach Ben McAdoo’s job be safe? And would the Giants use a top draft pick on a QB even if Eli Manning isn’t ready to retire? The answers here are yes and maybe.

And now the Browns are left wondering if Kevin Hogan possibly can be the answer at QB, if indeed they’re ready to be done wondering that about DeShone Kizer. The answer: Probably not. These are, after all, the Browns.

While the Senior Bowl tends to steal the show in terms of top NFL Draft prospects competing for a chance to earn high grades, the East-West Shrine Game is a fantastic event that generally features the second tier of top senior prospects.jaguars_117

Feb 07

The surgically repaired foot of TE Greg Olsen continues to be a concern.

There is room to wonder whether the Panthers can be a Super Bowl team without a healthy and productive Olsen. But their win over the Vikings was impressive, especially given the way Carolina churned out yards in the running game.

The Chiefs got back into the win column, but they had plenty of help from the Raiders. The competition should be far tougher Saturday night against the Chargers, who are the one team in the division actually playing well.

There’s no excuse for the feeble loss in Arizona at a time when the Titans should be making a stretch-drive push for the playoffs.

The Dolphins played well and earned their win Monday night over the Patriots. QB Jay Cutler was superb. RB Kenyan Drake was a workhorse. The Miami pass rush bothered Tom Brady and CB Xavien Howard intercepted him twice while shutting down Brandin Cooks.

The ruptured Achilles’ tendon suffered by CB Richard Sherman during Thursday night’s victory over the Cardinals represents a terrible loss for the Seahawks. But their complaints about the injury risks in Thursday night games may not be well founded. At least going into this season, the rate of injuries suffered by players was greater in Sunday games played on a six-day break than in Thursday games following a Sunday game, according to the NFLPA.

The absence of suspended RB Ezekiel Elliott was significant Sunday in Atlanta. But the injuries to LT Tyron Smith and LB Sean Lee may be even more significant. Lee probably will miss at least a couple games and it’s not clear if Smith will be able to return this week. The Cowboys desperately need him after struggling so badly to protect QB Dak Prescott during the loss to the Falcons.

The loss to the Jets followed by Sunday’s embarrassingly lopsided defeat at home to the Saints has all but knocked the Bills out of the division race and raised questions about their viability as a contender for even a wild-card spot. They need to regroup quickly, settle down and realize they remain very much in the chase for what would be their first postseason berth since the 1999 season.jaguars_084

Feb 05

The Vikings started well, with Case Keenum completing his first three passes for 48 yards and hitting tight end Kyle Rudolph on a 25-yard touchdown play.

The Minnesota Vikings picked up where they left off last week, scoring on their first drive in the NFC championship game against the Eagles in Philadelphia. But the Eagles struck right back and they just kept on striking.

Behind the 352 passing yards of Nick Foles, the Eagles rolled into a Super Bowl LII matchup with the New England Patriots, with a 38-7 victory.

But then a pass intended for Adam Thielen was intercepted by Patrick Robinson and returned 50 yards for a touchdown and the Vikings were finished.

I managed to land him in two leagues from the waiver wire. Even owners who have a solid tight end should consider grabbing Olsen to have as another flex option. While the Panthers do have some tough matchups remaining, games against the Jets and Packers and Buccaneers certainly have appeal. And truth is, even in the tough matchups, Olsen likely warrants being in the lineup as he’s QB Cam Newton’s top target when healthy.

Mitchell is also very effective at driving layups (202 of his 703 shots on the season, 56.4 eFG%), on the catch-and-shoot (73 shots, 71.9 eFG%) and working over screens (66 shots, 60.6 eFG%). Meanwhile, he is not nearly as effective off the dribble, shooting only 36.6 eFG% on 123 pull-up jumpers and 39.7 eFG% on 34 catch-and-shoot relocating situations, where he has to dribble before putting up the shot.

This is a massive improvement for the rookie Mitchell over what he was doing just two years ago as a high school player, when he was primarily just a power dunker as illustrated below by ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, but it’s still a distinct step back in primary perimeter scoring ability compared with Hayward.

“I’m doing this because I love racing, and I love competing,” Alonso said. “If those races and that competition happens in iconic places and big names in motorsport like Daytona Speedway, it’s even more attractive.jaguars_044