Preds Lock Down Johansen

Written By: Conner Pack

– Agreement Has Been Reached

An agreement has been reached between the Nashville Predators and first line center Ryan Johansen, Johansen’s new contract is an 8-year $64 million deal. This is great news for both the Predators and Johansen. For the Predators, they will have a number one center for years to come and they didn’t have to spend a fortune to resign him. As for Johansen, he got a solid pay-day and he’s on a team that is a Stanley Cup contender.

– Why Locking Down Johansen Is Key

The Predators have a solid core group of guys in P.K. Subban, Fillip Forsberg, Victor Arvidson, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mike Fisher and Mattis Ekholm. Now, you could make an argument that any of these guys is the leader/driving force of the team. However, in my opinion it’s Johansen. Night in and night out this guy lead the team and made everyone around him better, especially during the playoffs. I’m not here to say the other guys aren’t a factor in leading this team, I just think there’s something special about Johansen, his play and attitude is what helped get this team to that next level.

Up until when he got injured and had to miss the rest of the playoffs, it was evident that this Predators team went as Johansen went. Throughout the Predators incredible playoff run Johansen was the driving force; he scored, he created opportunities for his teammates, and his puck handling and passing were off the charts. Locking down Johansen and bringing him back was the best thing the Predators could’ve done.

– Final Thoughts

Whether he came back or not the Predators were still going to be in the playoff mix. But now that he will be back, the Predators won’t just be a playoff contender but they should be favored to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final.

 

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Ryan Johansen

Latest Saga With the Cavaliers

Written By: Conner Pack

Since losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals it has been complete dysfunction in Cleveland. Week after week it seems to be one thing after another. It started when former general manager David Griffin and the Cavaliers decided to part ways, just a couple of days before the NBA Draft. From that point on all we’ve heard out of Cleveland is negativity. Then last Friday the dysfunction in my opinion reached its peak when news broke that Kyrie Irving had asked to be traded.

Once the news broke, rumors and best trade options began to swirl. Then Monday night, Stephen A. Smith put out a quote that he had gotten from someone in LeBron’s camp “if Kyrie Irving was in front of LeBron James right now, LeBron James would be tempted to beat his ass“. Whether you believe it or not, it’s out there now and all we can do is speculate. If you ask me it’s a bit harsh. I can understand LeBron being a little pissed, but beating someone’s ass… I don’t know about all that.

But I’m not here to harp on who’s going to beat whose ass, because in reality no one is going to beat anyone’s ass. LeBron and Kyrie aren’t stupid. All this does is solidify that the marriage between Kyrie and LeBron is over. And that they don’t care to play on the same team. That’s it.

Now that I’ve gotten that out-of-the-way let’s think about what the best case scenario would be for all parties involved.

– Best Case Scenario for Kyrie

The best thing for Kyrie is to be traded as soon as possible. That way he can get to know his new team and create some chemistry before the season starts. What team would be the best fit? In my opinion it would be the Boston Celtics. But for this article we’ll stick to the four teams he told the Cavaliers management. Those teams were the Spurs, Knicks, Heat, and Timberwolves.

Kyrie has made it known that he wants to be the star or focal point of what ever team he ends up playing on. Knowing that, I think it’s safe to say he won’t end up with the Spurs. Because Kawhi Leonard is the star down there and Popovich doesn’t deal with divas. As for the Knicks, Heat, and Timberwolves I think he would be a solid fit for any of those teams.

If the Timberwolves could find a way to make a trade and not lose much I think the Timberwolves would be the best destination. They just added Jimmy Butler and they’re loaded with a ton of young talent. They’ve also got a really good head coach. But it’s highly unlikely the Timberwolves would be able to make that trade without giving up a lot. So let’s mark the Timberwolves off the list.

The Heat or Knicks will probably be where he’ll end up if the Cavaliers decide to trade him. I’m not sure who the Heat would trade in order to get Kyrie. As for the Knicks, it’s pretty obvious the Knicks could send Carmelo to the Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie. Porzingis and Kyrie? It might work.

– Best Case Scenario for LeBron

The best thing for LeBron is to just ride it out. I will say though the negative publicity that’s came from all this isn’t good but it’ll blow over like most incidents in the NBA. By next week there will be a new story and we’ll have something else to talk about.

Back to what’s best for LeBron, he’s got one year left on his contract in Cleveland and then he’ll be free to make his next move. Which I think will be leaving Cleveland and heading out west. So I think the best thing for him is to just lay low (which probably won’t happen) and play ball this season. If he and Kyrie can come to some sort of agreement than that would be great. But it doesn’t seem like that will happen anytime soon.

– Best Case Scenario for Cleveland

The Cavaliers are between a rock and a hard place. They have the rising super star in Kyrie Irving who is the future. Then on the other side they have the home town guy and king of Cleveland in LeBron James. On one hand, if you trade Kyrie you could be giving away the future if LeBron indeed does leave after next season. On the other hand, if you trade away LeBron James you risk major backlash from the city of Cleveland.

I say that because look at LeBron’s track record, he’s been known to up and leave leaving teams high and dry. First he did it to Cleveland back in 2010, but for good reason the Cavaliers did not help in building a team around him. Then he did it to Miami back in 2014 after losing to the Spurs in the finals 4-1. So what’s not to say he won’t do it again? The only offseason move the Cavaliers have made is signing Derrick Rose and that just happened this week. And we all know this isn’t the same Derrick Rose that won the MVP a couple of years ago.

– Final Thoughts

All I’m saying is the Cavaliers as a whole are in a sticky situation all around. I think it’s about time they blow it up and start over. The team they have right now is a team that LeBron constructed. Kyrie is pulling a LeBron on LeBron. He doesn’t want to be left with a team that LeBron constructed and that isn’t capable of contending for a championship. It’s just a dysfunctional mess that no one has the answer to.

USA Today 2017 NFL Predictions

Written By: Conner Pack

 

After taking a month off and taking a little vacation it’s time to get back to work. For some NFL teams training camps are already under way and for others they’re about to begin. With that being said, yesterday USA Today released their preseason NFL Predictions. Now I know this is just predictions, but it’s still dead season so this gives us sports people something to talk about.

– What Stood Out

Four things that caught my attention were: the Patriots going undefeated, the Titans going 12-4 and winning the AFC South, the Buccaneers going 10-6 and being an NFC wild card team, and the Cowboys going 11-5 and winning NFC East.

– Patriots 16-0?

Coming off their impressive comeback Super Bowl victory, USA Today is predicting the New England Patriots will go 16-0 in 2017. Looking at their schedule, it’s quite possible that could actually happen. Last season the Patriots only lost two games. One of the games was to the Bills and Jacoby Brissett started at quarterback. The second game was an overtime thriller to the Seahawks.

So it’s not all that far-fetched to believe 16-0 won’t happen, they did it before. Not to mention they have the best quarterback; Tom Brady and the best head coach; Bill Belichick. But me personally I don’t think they’ll end up 16-0. I think they’ll slip up and lose a close game maybe to Oakland or Pittsburgh. But come January 1st it wouldn’t be surprise if the Patriots are sitting at 16-0 heading into the playoffs.

– Titans Go 12-4?

Last season the Tennessee Titans took major steps forward finishing 9-7 and barely missing the playoffs. The running back tandem of Murray and Henry played a major role in the efficiency of their offense. By having a solid running game and an elite offensive line Mariota was able to show off his passing abilities. The Titans offense finished eleventh in total offense last season. However their defense was another story, particularly their horrendous secondary.

Now, 12-4 in my opinion is a bit of a stretch. Is it possible? Most definitely. But for the Titans to finish 12-4 and win the AFC South they’ve got to take care of business in their division. For years they’ve split with teams or have been swept by teams within the division, last season the Titans were 2-4 in the division. Losing to the Colts twice and splitting with Texans and Jaguars. To be a contender you’ve got to win in the division. Finally, the Titans have got to beat the Indianapolis Colts. They’re 1-15 over the last eight years. Beating the Colts will tell us if this team is for real or not.

– Buccaneers Making the Playoffs

It’s been quite awhile since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been a playoff team. With Jameis Winston entering his third season, the Buccaneers are in a great position to contend for a possible playoff position. Adding DeSean Jackson an experienced speedy receiver with rising star Mike Evans is huge. Two very dynamic play makers Winston has at his disposal. Not to mention they draft Alabama tight end OJ Howard. Another big target who can streak down the middle of the field.

 

My biggest concerns with this Buccaneers team is defense and running back. They’ve had their defensive struggles for a couple of years now. And with Doug Martin not all the way checked in they really don’t have a proven running back. But I do think they’ll have enough to be in the playoffs this season. Their division could be wide open depending on if the Falcons have a Super Bowl hangover.

– Dallas Cowboys 11-5 and Win NFC East

The rookie duo of running back Ezekiel Elliot and quarterback Dak Prescott took the league by storm last season. Elliot led the league in rushing as a rookie and Prescott was one of the top quarterbacks in the league last season. However, all of that was “last season”. I’m not taking anything away from their success because what they did was very impressive.

 

That leads me to this, I don’t think the Cowboys will have the same success they had last year. Yes, I do still think they should be the favorite to win the NFC East. But I think it’s going to be a dog fight amongst all of the NFC East teams, especially the Giants and Eagles. Something else to factor in is the sophomore slump. Dak and Zeke were awesome last year, it’s going to be hard to repeat the same success. Now that teams have seen them play and there’s film on them teams can game plan a lot better for them now.

Finally, this offseason has not been all that great for the Cowboys, there have been several incidence where players have been arrested or caught up in negative situations. With a lot of it surrounding Ezekiel Elliot. We still don’t know how many games he’ll be suspended if he even gets a suspension. That’s another factor to add to why the Cowboys won’t be as successful.