<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth Sports News, Analysis, and Scores for the Giants, Jets. Patriots, Huskies, Knicks and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Sat, 18 Apr 2015 04:12:08 -0500 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 04:12:08 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[LA Kings' Stoll Arrested for Drugs]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 03:08:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/179*120/460177104.jpg

It’s been a rough week for the Los Angeles Kings. Not only were the reigning Stanley Cup Champions eliminated from the NHL Playoffs, but now news has broken that their star center, Jarret Stoll, has been arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine and MDMA.

Las Vegas Metro police arrested Stoll on Friday at the MGM Grand hotel for drug possession. The 32-year-old hockey player was relaxing at the Wet Republic pool when he was taken into custody for possession of cocaine and MDMA, a more pure form of the drug Ecstasy.

Stoll was released from jail on a $5,000 bond later in the evening and a hearing has been set for Saturday. According to the Clark County police, the NHL and the LA Kings have been made aware of the situation. When contacted regarding the incident, an LA Kings spokesperson said that they are aware of Stoll’s arrest and are “actively investigating” the matter and had no further comment.

Stoll completed the final year of his contract this season with the Kings and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Off the ice, Stoll is the long time boyfriend of sportscaster and “Dancing with the Stars” host Erin Andrews. The pair have been dating since 2013, and recent reports had the couple engaged. No word yet on whether or not Andrews was with Stoll at the time of his arrest or if anybody else was with Stoll at the scene.



Photo Credit: Christian Petersen]]>
<![CDATA[Abdul-Jabbar Has Heart Surgery]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:09:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/173*120/AP120126058268.jpg

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery Thursday after being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with cardiovascular disease this week, Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released by the University of California Los Angeles' Health Science Department.

The Basketball Hall of Fame member's surgery was a success and he was expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Richard Shermin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery, said in the statement.

Abdul-Jabbar thanked his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA and said he was "looking forward to getting back to normal activities soon."

He asked that support for him go toward people in the community who may also be suffering from various health issues.

No other information was available.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Gallardo Set for First Meeting Against M's]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:00:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2015-texas-rangers-gallardo.jpg

Yovani Gallardo is a career National Leaguer with the Milwaukee Brewers before joining the Texas Rangers this winter via trade. So when he faces the Seattle Mariners on Friday night for the first time in his career, it won't be the first time he's facing a team for the first time this season.

When he takes the hill tonight at Safeco Field, he'll be going against a Mariners lineup with only two batters he's ever faced, and that can go one of two ways — usually the good way for the pitcher.

Gallardo was not good in his Rangers debut on Opening Day, but he was much better in his home debut against the Houston Astros, and he'll look to build on that outing Friday night against the Mariners. In his last start, he lasted 5 2/3 innings, a number he'd still like to see improved, but he struck out eight batters and allowed just two runs.

So what's the Rangers' hope tonight? That the Mariners are totally befuddled by what they see from the veteran right-hander and that he can stifle the Mariners' big bats.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Fielder's Hot Start Encouraging]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:57:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/178*120/468768576.jpg

Last season couldn't have really gone any worse for Prince Fielder.

Not only did he play in just more than 40 games before needing cervical fusion surgery in his neck, he only hit three home runs and had all of that happen to him in a year when he was trying to acclimate himself to a new team after being traded to the Rangers from Detroit, and doing so while making tons and tons of money.

Fielder, a once-proud slugger, is still trying to reclaim that form that made him one of the game's most feared hitters. While he hasn't yet homered this year in 10 games, he is swinging a hot bat. He leads the league with 16 hits and is batting .400. True, 14 of those 16 hits have been singles, but at least he's swinging a good bat.

The thing with Fielder is, it's a huge positive for the Rangers that he is hitting, but he's not going to get good pitches to hit until his teammates start hitting better, namely Adrian Beltre. Then, and only then, will Fielder get some pitches he can drive.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cruz Again Making Rangers Look Dumb]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:31:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/178*120/469638682.jpg

Remember last year when Nelson Cruz led the league in home runs? Yeah, well, the Texas Rangers had Alex Rios in right field in the midst of a career-worst power season while the entire lineup was lacking pop. And Cruz was doing all that damage on a one-year deal that the Rangers could've easily signed him to.

So this past winter as a free agent again, Cruz hung on the open market for a while before he eventually signed a four-year deal with the Mariners for $57 million. During the time in which he was free, he apparently expressed some interest in returning to the Rangers, where he played the first eight years of his career, and the Rangers were said to have interest in Cruz, as well.

But $57 million ended up being too much for Jon Daniels & Co. to spend on Cruz, who in his last year in Texas was suspended for 50 games in 2013 for PED use and does have a history of quad and hamstring injuries.

But once again, Cruz is making the Rangers look dumb for not taking a run at him. Cruz has homered in each of his past five games — and in one of those games he hit two long balls. He still has his tremendous power stroke and could be providing a big boost to the Rangers' lineup, but instead he's doing the same to a divisional rival.

When he faces Yovani Gallardo on Friday night, he'll be looking to extend that home run streak, and the Rangers hope he doesn't make them look even more incompetent for passing him up.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Set to Face Two Troublesome Lefties]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:32:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_leonysmartinvvvvv.jpg

The Texas Rangers have their work cut out for them this weekend when they travel up to Seattle for a three-game weekend set, and it's not really because they have to face Felix Hernandez on Saturday night.

The Rangers actually have an oddly good track record against King Felix, but they have struggled horribly against left-handed pitchers this year, and on Friday and Sunday they have to try to buck that trend.

The Rangers see J.A. Happ on Friday night and rookie James Paxton on Sunday. Both of them are lefties, and that could spell trouble for the Rangers, who are 0-3 against left-handed starters this year and are hitting well under .200 against them.

Some key lefties in the Rangers' lineup have struggled against left-handed pitching, most notably Leonys Martin and Mitch Moreland, and their lack of production against the lefties has hurt the Rangers' offense.

It could be that the Rangers will have to beat Hernandez if they want a win out of this weekend, and that's a pretty tall task no matter what kind of history they have against him.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Hope to Continue Felix Ownership]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:32:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_felix_hernandez_dep_470_265.jpg

Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and has been for nearly a decade.

And the Texas Rangers have had some pretty stout lineups throughout Hernandez's stint with the Seattle Mariners, but they've also had some average to bad ones. Yet, the Rangers have consistently owned Hernandez throughout his career, and they'll get another chance to do that this weekend in Seattle.

Over the course of his career, Hernandez has thrown the second-most innings against the Rangers than any other team except the Angels (269 innings) and he's not had much success against Texas. In fact, in his 42 starts against the Rangers, he's 12-21 with a 4.01 career ERA.

The Rangers, led by Hernandez's good friend and constant source of his playful trash-talk Adrian Beltre, will try to add to his bad luck against the Rangers this weekend in the Pacific Northwest.

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<![CDATA[Todd Gurley Set For Medical Recheck on Friday]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:38:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456212412.jpg

In less than two weeks, Georgia running back Todd Gurley will likely be celebrating the next step in his career as a first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but on Friday he'll be on an examination table undergoing the league’s official medical recheck.

The projected first rounder has to go through the examination because of the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in November of last year, an injury that stands out as just about the only negative in his scouting report. Even after the ACL, he’s widely regarded as the top running back in the draft, and one the Dallas Cowboys would jump at the chance to take if he’s still on the board at No. 27.

The recheck is huge particularly in Gurley’s case because it will mark the first time NFL team doctors have looked at the surgically repaired knee. Following the advice of his doctor, orthopedist to the stars Dr. James Andrews, Gurley decided against having it evaluated in February at the NFL Combine.

"I would guess that anybody that has him high on their board is going to have their doctor there," said longtime NFL executive and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian, per Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today. "I'm sure everybody will be scrutinizing the results. They'll all make their own decisions as to how far along the timeline he is. That decision, in my experience, rests with the docs."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Raiders Join Mix of Teams Interested in Adrian Peterson]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:15:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186722617.jpg

For most of the offseason, general thought has been that, if Adrian Peterson leaves Minnesota, he will go either to the Arizona Cardinals or the Dallas Cowboys.

But now, the Oakland Raiders have joined the mix as the third team reportedly interested in pursuing the 30-year-old two-time rushing champion. Citing two NFL general managers, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reports that the Raiders’ interest is considered serious.

"The Cowboys are the front-runners," one of the unnamed GMs said, "but I actually believe the Raiders are right there."

Granted, this is IF the newly reinstated Peterson leaves Minnesota. Which is kind of a big if. He has a huge contract in tow, and he’s 30-years-old in a league that has devalued the running back position greatly in recent years. Not to mention we’re approaching a draft deep in running back talent.

"Few teams will be willing to take him, at his age, with that salary," the GM said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Top 3 NFL Draft Fits: WR/TE]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:06:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458230798.jpg

The Cowboys are relatively set as far as pass catchers go, but teams that draft well aren't ever content. The top 3 wide receiver positions are set, so the team's best option is probably to spend a Day 3 pick on a player with return experience and developmental upside.

Tight end is trickier, because it's too soon to expect Jason Witten to retire or give up on Gavin Escobar as a flex tight end. So, like the wide receiver position, the focus should be on a late-round option with high upside.

Kenny Bell, WR/KR, Nebraska
Ht. 6011, Wt. 197, Arm: 31 5/8”, Hand: 9 1/4”, Bench: 7
40 yd: 4.42, 10 yd.: 1.55, 3 Cone: 6.66, Vertical: 41.5”, Broad: 10’9”

Bell left Nebraska as the school's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards and was voted all-conference by Big 10 coaches. His value is still less than the sum of his parts, but his upside and ability to contribute early make him the type of receiver Dallas could target.

  • Strengths: He's a smart player who knows his role. Tenacious and physical blocker. Runs good routes. Athletic potential, specifically the devilishly good 3-cone. High points ball well.
  • Weaknesses: Dropped several catchable balls. Relatively slow out of his breaks. Could have trouble separating in the NFL. Measurables didn't match tape.

Bell has the intelligence, experience and athleticism to have an impact on an NFL roster, but his potential is still greater than his production at this point. He's worth a fourth-round pick as a kick returner early that could develop into a good third receiver.

Stefon Diggs, WR/KR, Maryland
Ht. 6000, Wt. 195, Arm: 31 1/4”, Hand: 10”, Bench: -
40 yd: 4.46, 10 yd.: 1.54, 3 Cone: 7.03, Vertical: 35”, Broad: 9'7”

The University of Maryland is gaining a reputation as an athlete factory and Diggs could be the next in line. Like Bell, Diggs is an intriguing developmental option at wide receiver that could return kicks early.

  • Strengths: Outstanding body control and agility. Finds soft spot in zone coverage. Huge hands. Willing blocker. Solid kick returner. Slot and outside experience.
  • Weaknesses: Needs to sharpen routes. Struggled to get open at times and was not featured in Maryland's offense. Inexperienced.

Diggs at times looks like a poor man's Victor Cruz that sacrifices some shiftiness for physicality. He doesn't look like that consistently enough for the Cowboys to consider drafting him before Day 3, though.

Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma
Ht. 6062, Wt. 252, Arm: 33 1/8”, Hand: 10”, Bench: 14
40 yd: 4.80, 10 yd.: 1.67, 3 Cone: 6.85, Vertical: 33”, Broad: 9’8”

As most sports fans in DFW should know, "The Belldozer" spent three seasons at Oklahoma as a quarterback before switching to tight end. He's is all projection at this point, but he's an NFL-caliber athlete with a desire to play football.

  • Strengths: Athletic. Willing blocker (seems to enjoy it). Soft hands. Quarterback's perspective as a receiver.
  • Weaknesses: Obvious inexperience. Has trouble engaging as a blocker.

Considering Bell's inexperience, he looks relatively comfortable running routes. He needs a lot of work as a blocker, but the Cowboys could make a late-round gamble that his play will catch up to his athleticism.

Conclusion

Successful teams use the draft to set their squads up for the future, rather than the upcoming season. Players like Diggs and the Bells have later-round price tags and the potential to fill looming needs.

If Diggs or Kenny Bell are available in the fourth, they might make sense for the Cowboys. Similarly, Blake Bell has developmental value to the Cowboys late Day 3.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cowboys Work Out UCLA QB Brett Hundley]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:43:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brett-hundley-cowboys.jpg

With Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones acknowledging earlier this offseason that it’s probably time for the team to start looking for a quarterback to groom as Tony Romo’s successor, the team has worked out several signal callers in preparation for the upcoming draft.

The latest is UCLA’s Brett Hundley.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Cowboys held a private workout for Hundley at UCLA on Thursday. They’ve previously shown some pre-draft interest in Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson, who’s set to visit Valley Ranch at some point.

Hundley, who threw for 2,348 yards and 20 touchdowns last year for the Bruins, is ranked as the No. 3 quarterback in the Class of 2015 behind Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and projected to come off the board in the second round.

The Cowboys haven’t drafted a quarterback since 2009, when they took Stephen McGee out of Texas A&M in the fourth round, and they haven’t drafted a quarterback in the second round since 2001, when they took Quincy Carter out of Georgia.

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<![CDATA[Dez Cuts Ties with Adviser David Wells]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:27:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460753312.jpg

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has reportedly decided to cut ties with longtime adviser David Wells, at least from a professional standpoint.

According to Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas, an attorney representing Bryant, Jordan Siev, sent Wells a cease-and-desist letter back in February to formally end their business relationship. Bryant had already terminated Wells’ power-of-attorney rights.

Bryant goes way back with Wells. He lived at Wells’ house in DeSoto for several years, beginning in 2009, his final year at Oklahoma State. When he entered the NFL, Bryant took on Wells as his adviser, and Wells has an agreement to remain in that position through 2016. But Wells said he’d be willing to walk away from that role if Bryant’s lawyers pay out the rest of the money he’s due.

Interestingly enough, this seeming tension doesn’t mean Bryant and Wells no longer speak. According to Taylor, they speak regularly, and Bryant even visited Wells’ house as recently as this week. But the tension is also reportedly a factor in Bryant’s and the Cowboys’ inability to come to an agreement on a long-term deal.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stars Sign Klingberg to 7-Year Extension]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:16:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP353495045614.jpg

The following is an unedited news release from the Dallas Stars.

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed defenseman John Klingberg to a seven-year contract extension. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
 
Klingberg, 22, appeared in 65 games this season as a rookie for Dallas posting 40 points (11-29=40). He led all NHL rookie defensemen in assists and points, and was second in goals. Amongst all rookies, he finished fourth in assists, seventh in points and seventh in even-strength points (28).
 
His record-setting season saw him establish new Dallas Stars records for most goals, assists and points in a single season by a rookie defenseman. His eight points (3-5=8) in his first eight NHL games, made him the first defenseman in franchise history to record eight points in his first eight games. Also, his five-game point streak (3-5=8) from Nov. 16 - 25, marked the first time in Dallas Stars history (since 1993-94) that a rookie defenseman earned points in five consecutive games. Additionally, he was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for January, posting 13 points (5-8=13) in 13 games played.
 
"John is a very special player, possessing a creativity and skill level that few in this League can match," said Nill. "He fits in perfectly with where our core is at age-wise and his impact on our team was felt immediately. We expect him to build off of his rookie season and continue his development towards becoming an elite all-around defenseman."
 
He began the season with Texas, Dallas' top development affiliate of the American Hockey League, posting 12 points (4-8=12) in 10 games played.
 
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound native of Gothenburg, Sweden was selected by Dallas in the fifth round (131st overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Houston, We Have A Series: Mavs In 7]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:20:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dirk-lin-mavs-rockets.jpg

The last time the Mavs won a playoff series, Jason Terry scored a game-high, Finals-clinching 27 points to vanquish the Heat in Miami four summers ago.

Starting Saturday he’ll attempt to extend his former team’s post-season drought.

I know the Rockets have home-court advantage and MVP candidate James Harden and inside behemoth Dwight Howard and clutch-shooting Terry, but give me the matchup against Houston over another uphill tussle with the defending champion Spurs any day.

The Mavs have a legitimate chance in their first-round series with the Rockets, for several reasons:

*Rick Carlisle: He’s one of the best playoff coaches of all-time, and will design a defensive game plan to not allow Harden 40-point, 20-free throw nights.

*Howard missed 41 games with assorted injuries and isn’t his old Defensive Player of the Year self. Plus, the Mavs’ Tyson Chandler can help neutralize his edge in the paint.

*Despite his spectacular season, Harden has shot below 40 percent in his last three playoff series – all losses.

*Unlike the Spurs, the Rockets will run with Dallas. The Mavs scored 105 points per game, third-best in the league just ahead of the Rockets’ 104.

*Houston’s three wins over Dallas during the season were all close, by three, four and seven points.

*In close games, look for Carlisle to intentionally foul Houston’s horrible free-throw shooters. Howard, Joey Dorsey and Josh Smith all shoot below 53 percent.

*This is why the Mavs made the December trade for Rajon Rondo. He’s played harder and shot better the last month of the season and – especially in crunch time – he’ll have the job of checking Harden. While with the Celtics Rondo was a triple-double, playoff terror. Mavs need to see that player. Now.

*While in late-game possessions you know the Rockets will go to Harden, the Mavs have plenty of options with Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons willing to take – and make – the game’s and series’ biggest shots.

Obviously the Rockets are favored. They won six more games than Dallas during the regular season, won the season series, 3-1, led the NBA in made 3-pointers and have Harden as the best player on the court whom the Mavs will struggle to guard one-on-one. Plus the Mavs have injury concerns with Parsons’ knee and Devin Harris’ toe.

But if energy-spark reserve Al-Farouq Aminu can do for Dallas what Corey Brewer does for Houston, I can see this series going seven games. And in a Game 7, the Mavs’ experience with Nowitzki and Rondo and Chandler should pay off.

These teams – these cities – don’t particularly like each other. The Mavs won their last playoff series in seven games 10 years ago. They fought for free-agent Howard in 2012 and even front-office loudmouths Mark Cuban and Daryl Morey haven exchanged barbs.

Last summer the Mavs stole Parsons from Houston. Now I see them stealing a series from them, too.

Mavs-Rockets First-Round Playoff Series

  • Game 1 – Saturday, April 18 at Houston, 8:30 p.m.
  • Game 2 – Tuesday, April 21 at Houston, 8:30 p.m.
  • Game 3 – Friday, April 24 at Dallas, 6 p.m.
  • Game 4 – Sunday, April 26 at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
  • Game 5 – Tuesday, April 28 at Houston, TBD
  • Game 6 – Thursday, April 30 at Dallas, TBD
  • Game 7 – Saturday, May 2 at Houston, TBD

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Could Eagles Make Two Trades for Mariota?]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:25:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Marcus+Mariota.jpg

We’re a little less than two weeks away from the opening night of the 2015 NFL Draft, and Oregon quarterback winner Marcus Mariota’s stock remains as high as it’s ever been, if not a little higher, spurred on by a report by ESPN’s Ron Jaworski saying that the Buccaneers are leaning toward the reigning Heisman Trophy winner over Jameis Winston.

But if the Bucs don’t take Mariota first overall, Will Brinson of CBS Sports can see the a scenario where the Eagles make a three-team deal with the Browns--who have already expressed interest in Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford--and the Titans, who own the No. 2 pick, to land Chip Kelly’s old college quarterback.

“So let's bring that deal back and have the Browns give the Eagles a first-round pick (No. 12) in exchange for Sam Bradford (Philly can throw in a third-round pick to expedite the deal maybe?),” Brinson writes. “The Browns own No. 19 in this draft and have their new quarterback. The Eagles own No. 12, which Kelly promptly packages with No. 20 overall and sends to the Titans in exchange to the rights for No. 2.

Brinson points out that this dealing isn’t something that we should expect to happen on April 30, but if the Eagles really want Mariota to run Kelly’s offense that bad, this is one way that they could potentially make it happen.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lewis Tells Us All to Relax]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:18:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/468869704.jpg

Colby Lewis has his own experience with missing significant time in his career, most recently his 18-month layoff after two surgeries — one on his elbow and one on his hip. And he was around last year for the historically bad injury-filled season that plagued the club.

Lewis spoke to 105.3 The Fan a couple of days ago and told everyone to just relax about the latest string of injuries, which obviously includes Yu Darvish's Tommy John surgery and Derek Holland's shoulder injury that has him out for at least two months.

Lewis said "you guys are stressing out," and when asked who he was talking about, he said:

"You. You guys. The press. You guys all think it’s going to revert back to the injury-plagued season we had last year. Who did we have go down? Just Darvish, that’s it."

Well, he forgot to include Holland and Rua in that bunch, the former obviously being much more concerning than the latter.

Lewis then talked about the rehabbing Martin Perez, who is set for a return sometime in July after his Tommy John surgery last May, and even Matt Harrison, whose career is in question after another back surgery last year.

"I talked to Perez the other day and he said the last four or five they let him go in the pen, and it kind of gave me the goosebumps how excited he was about how great he felt," Lewis said. "I know he’s going to be right around the corner…I feel like we’ve got our guys, got our guys in place, and we’ll be just fine."

So there you, guys. Just calm down. Everything's going to be just fine. Sigh.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Peterson a Cowboy is Fantasy Football]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:11:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/AdPete.jpg

During four of their five Super Bowl wins, the Cowboys handed the ball to a Hall-of-Fame running back. In their other championship season they had a player lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns and a duo combine for 1,300 yards and 19 scores.

Moral to the story: Heck yeah, Adrian Peterson with a star on his helmet would greatly increase the Cowboys’ chances for a sixth Lombardi Trophy.

As of now, there are no plans to have Duane Thomas, Calvin Hill, Tony Dorsett or Emmitt Smith on the 2015 roster. Same with Peterson. But now that the best current running back in the NFL has been reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell it does kick-start the imagination.

I’ve said adamantly that Tony Romo’s contract wasn’t restructured directly to pursue Peterson. But I also allowed that the Cowboys might make a run at him nonetheless. That is, if he’s affordable.

The Cowboys balked at paying DeMarco Murray more than $6 million per season. I don’t think they’d overstep that budget more than twice over to acquire Peterson, who makes $12 million. Another roadblock is the fact that the Vikings said publicly Thursday that they intend on keeping their star in Minnesota.

It’s a looong shot. But aren’t all fantasies?

Everything about Peterson in Dallas would be delicious. His presence would allow the Cowboys to not use a high draft pick on a running back, strengthening another area of weakness instead. Even at 30 and with a torn ACL in his past, he’s a three-down back with elite size, strength and speed. He’d be running behind one of the best offensive lines in football. And, combined with Romo’s closing window and the arrival of Greg Hardy, it would put an undeniable “Win now” stamp on the 2015 season.

If Peterson was to land in Dallas, I predict the Cowboys would make it to the Super Bowl and Murray's single-season rushing record would have a short shelf-life.

The Cowboys have never won a Super Bowl without a primo running game. Peterson would fill that void, and then some.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-NFL Player Strangled Cellmate: Coroner]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:38:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lawrence-phillips-2005.jpg

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips killed his cellmate by strangling him, authorities said Thursday.

The Kern County Coroner released the new details in the homicide of Damion Soward, 37, at the Kern Valley State Prison. The coroner’s report states that Soward died of neck compression asphyxia.

Phillips, 39, is charged with Soward’s murder and is currently being held in a segregation unit at the prison.

Phillips is already serving a 31-year sentence for multiple charges, including spousal abuse and auto theft, officials said.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He was drafted 6th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 1996 NFL Draft.

He only played in 25 games and scored 12 touchdowns for the Rams, but also had short stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

In 2005, jurors convicted Phillips of choking a former girlfriend twice in San Diego, once into unconsciousness. He was also convicted of hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 Archives]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Kai Forbath Re-Signs with Redskins]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:35:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457504676.jpg

Kai Forbath, who once upon a time was in the running with Dan Bailey for the Dallas Cowboys’ place kicking job, has re-signed with the Washington Redskins.

Forbath was the only player to receive a restricted free agent tender from the team. He signed that tender offer on Wednesday and announced the news via an Instagram post with the caption:  “Contract signed!! Officially putting on the Burgundy & Gold for another year!”

A UCLA product, Forbath came into the league with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He spent the 2011 season on the reserve/non-football injury list with quadriceps issues and was released in April of 2012. By that time, Bailey had locked up the kicking job, having gone 32 of 37 on field goals in his rookie season.

After spending the 2012 preseason with the Buccaneers, Forbath moved on to Washington in October of that year, and he’s been there ever since. In his career with the Redskins, Forbath has made 59 of 67 field goal attempts.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UPDATED: Peterson Now Eligible For Reinstatement, But No Word From NFL]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:41:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186716672.jpg

Another week is coming to a close, and we’re still no closer to knowing anything about what the immediate future holds for Adrian Peterson.

As of Wednesday, Peterson is eligible for reinstatement, but there’s been no word from the league either way--meaning, for now, he remains on the Commissioner’s Exempt list, where he spent most of last season and where he’s been since he won the appeal of his indefinite suspension.

Peterson met with Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York last Tuesday, which many took as a sign that he would be reinstated when he became eligible.

Whether this means anything for the Cowboys, we don’t know. But we doubt it. As much as Jerry Jones loves Peterson, we’re approaching a draft loaded with talent at the running back position, where Dallas will be able to find a quality running back--not as good as Peterson, granted, but good--at a fraction of what the 30-year-old Peterson is set to earn in 2015.

That said, we’ve learned not to put anything past Jerry Jones, the man who reportedly really wanted to draft Johnny Manziel around this time last year.

UPDATE: Peterson has been notified by the league that he will be reinstated on Friday, April 17. Goodell informed Peterson in a letter that his reinstatement is contingent on his continued cooperation with authorities in Texas and Minnesota, as well as the fulfillment of commitments he made during the meeting with the Commissioner last Tuesday.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Beltre Wins Gehrig Award]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:03:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/178*120/469494154.jpg

There aren't many bigger fan favorites in recent memory around DFW than Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.

In case you're forgetting, he's awesome, he seems to always have fun playing the game and he plays through just about anything, always showing dedication to the team unlike guys who miss road trips because they drank too much Red Bull.

Turns out, he's also a pretty stellar human being away from the field and very generous with his money. That helped him become the first Rangers player to win the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award on Thursday. The award is presented by Phi Delta Theta, the fraternity in which Gehrig was a member at Columbia University.

The award was first given in 1955 and goes annually to the player that best exemplifies Gehrig's giving nature.

In case you're counting, Beltre has donated $500,000 to the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation since arriving in Texas prior to the 2011 season. He's also been a big supporter of the Texas Rangers RBI program in DFW, which supports youth baseball in the inner city.

He's also been a big supporter of his friends' and teammates' charities, including Michael Young's foundation that supports children with pediatric cancer, as well as Robinson Chirinos' foundation that assists in providing backpacks and school supplies to underprivileged kids in DFW.

Beltre will receive the award from the fraternity on Sept. 17 when the Rangers host the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Christie Booed by South Jersey Eagles Fans]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:14:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461342250.jpg

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made no secret of his love for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s taken in Cowboys games against the New York Giants in Jerry Jones’s owner’s suite at AT&T Stadium and, last December, he was seen hugging Jones after Dallas beat the Eagles.

Considering that the State of New Jersey is made up mostly of Eagles and Giants fans, what happened on Wednesday was kind of inevitable.

At the grand opening of a Bass Pro Shops megastore in Atlantic City, Governor Christie was roundly booed by the Eagles fans in attendance.

"Ah, I love the Eagles fans are here, baby," Christie responded, per NJ.com.

Christie then asked former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook to join him, and Westbrook promptly led the crowd in an Eagles chant.

"Let's give the governor a chant," Westbrook said. "Say it with me: E-A-G-L-E-S."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Miss More Than Hit Drafting at No. 27]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:11:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459467090.jpg

In their 54 previous NFL Drafts, the Cowboys have selected a player 27th overall only three times. I don’t think they’ll stay at 27 in this year’s draft in a couple of weeks, either moving up to grab a running back or trading down for quantity over a lack of quality.

But should Jerry Jones pull a fast one by not pulling a fast one and staying put, they can look forward to players like Deone Bucannon, DeAndre Hopkins, Kevin Zeitler, Jimmy Smith and Devin McCourty. Underwhelmed? You shouldn’t be.

Those are the last five players selected 27th overall, and it’s not a bad group at all.

Bucannon (2014) is a productive safety for the Cardinals who had two sacks as a rookie. Hopkins (2013) has eight touchdown catches in his first two years with the Texans, and is part of the reason Houston was willing to part with Andre Johnson. Zeitler (2012) has been the Bengals’ starting right guard since the day he was drafted. Smith (2011) was having a Pro Bowl season at cornerback for the Ravens last year before a serious foot injury. And McCourty is one of the leaders of the Patriots’ defense, a safety rewarded with a $47 million contract this offseason.

If the Cowboys can get a player with that kind of production they’ll be satisfied with a pick at the end of Round 1. And they’ll top their previous No. 27 picks:

1970 Bob Asher – Offensive lineman played only six games before tearing up a knee and eventually getting traded to Bears.

1976 Aaron Kyle – Cornerback had 11 interceptions in six seasons and was a starting cornerback on Super Bowl XII team.

1979 Robert Shaw – Center injured a knee in '81, never became a regular starter and was off roster by 1982 after playing only 33 games.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scheppers Activated for Trip to Seattle]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:16:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/486252337.jpg

As soon as Wednesday's blood bath was over, the Texas Rangers optioned spot starter Anthony Ranaudo back to the minor leagues in order to call up Tanner Scheppers to make his season debut at some point this weekend in the Rangers bullpen.

Scheppers was an elite setup man in 2013 before failing as a starter in 2014 and eventually being shut down due to elbow inflammation that just required rest and not surgery, amazingly enough for a Rangers pitcher.

Now, he's looking to return to the bullpen and be a dominant late-inning reliever again, and he'll likely get his chance to start the 2015 season at some point this weekend in Seattle. Scheppers was very good in his rehab stint at Double-A Frisco. He pitched in three games, working 2 2/3 innings and allowing no hits with five strikeouts.

The Rangers bullpen needs all the help it can get, and if it can be kept fresh it could be a major strength of this team with the likes of Keone Kela, Shawn Tolleson, Roman Mendez and Neftali Feliz. Scheppers hopes to rediscover his form from 2013 when he pitched 76 2/3 innings and had a 1.88 ERA.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Getting Much Needed Off Day]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:18:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/469220954.jpg

The Texas Rangers, Oakland A's and San Diego Padres all opened the season with 10 straight games, the maximum amount of games a team can play on consecutive days per the league's CBA, and on Thursday, all three teams are finally enjoying an off-day.

But the Rangers aren't only enjoying this day off as they travel to Seattle, they need it and need it in a big way.

The lineup has several guys struggling horribly and a day off could give them a mental refresher to help get things rolling, but no one needs this day more than the Rangers' bullpen.

So far this year, the Rangers' bullpen has worked 39-plus innings in 10 games. That pace isn't going to cut it, as we learned last year when the bullpen was really solid for a month or two before the calendar hit June and they were simply worn out.

They had another long day on Wednesday when spot starter Anthony Ranaudo lasted just 1 2/3 innings and long man Anthony Bass was forced to pitch 3 2/3 innings after pitching five innings on Friday when Derek Holland left after one inning with his shoulder injury.

It's going to be a nice day for everyone, may we suggest a nice spa day?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Veterans' Defense Hurts Ranaudo Early]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:28:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/469844234.jpg

As a little leaguer playing for Western Little League A's in San Angelo about 25 years ago, I learned a couple of valuable lessons from my coach.

First off, when a groundball is coming toward you, your glove should touch the ground. Secondly, if you're in the outfield and a sharp line drive is coming, don't be overly aggressive and take stupid angles.

Apparently Elvis Andrus and Leonys Martin both failed to learn that lesson when they were kids, because they violated the rules and cost young starter Anthony Ranaudo dearly in the second inning of Wednesday's 10-2 loss to the Angels.

Ranaudo didn't even make it out of the second after a poor angle taken by Martin allowed two runs to score. But that wasn't as egregious as a grounder to Elvis Andrus by Albert Pujols, that would've ended the inning, rolled right under Andrus' glove and into the outfield to allow more runs to score.

Somehow, that play wasn't ruled an error, but it most definitely was.

Martin has had his defensive question marks all along, but somewhat makes up for it with his lethal arm. Andrus, on the other hand, is paid tons and tons of money to be an elite defensive shortstop, and he simply hasn't been that for a few years now.

Maybe new manager Jeff Banister needs to go back to the fundamentals of the game, and teach those to his superstars.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Spieth Enjoys Taking Romo's Golf Money]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:13:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Jordan-Spieth.jpg

Fresh off his Masters win, Dallas native and lifelong Cowboys fan Jordan Spieth is doing the media rounds requisite of a 21-year-old dynamo who over the span of last weekend became a national media darling. On Wednesday, this tour took him to “Jim Rome on Showtime,” where he discussed his history of golfing with his good friend, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Romo is by all accounts a very good golfer. But he’s also a proud golfer, according to Spieth, which means he doesn’t take more than a few strokes per side when the two play--and that equals a lot of lost friendly wagers for the Pro Bowl quarterback.

"The good news is he doesn't swallow his pride and take a lot of strokes," Spieth said, via CBSSports.com. "He likes to play maybe like 2 or 3 a side, which means I'm usually on the winning end of that one.”

So just how much money has Romo lost to Spieth over the years?

"Oh man. I don't know. I can't even count that high," Spieth laughed. "He's a good friend and a great competitor so we have fun out there."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ranaudo Awful, Immediately Sent Down]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:23:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/469817834.jpg

The Texas Rangers weren't really expecting a whole lot from Anthony Ranaudo on Wednesday afternoon as he was called up from Triple-A to start for the injured Derek Holland.

A good five innings of work would've been a major win with the inexperienced, big right-hander on the hill, but as it turned out, they got nothing of the sort. Ranaudo couldn't even get out of the second inning as he allowed six earned runs (I question that, should've only been three) on six hits, two walks and two strikeouts in just 1 2/3 innings. During that time, he threw 62 pitches as he worked slow and just generally labored through his outing.

Some Sherlock Holmes-type investigating led me to find that Ranaudo had a grand total of three times when a batter swung and missed at one of his offerings, and that's never a good sign.

If it's a sign of anything, it's that he just doesn't have great stuff. At least he didn't on Wednesday, and after the game he was sent back down to the minors where the Rangers will likely call on someone else for the next time Holland's spot comes up in the rotation next week.

Ranaudo showed an effective hammer curve with some serious depth, but he didn't show it enough and he left everything up in the zone. The next thing he knew, he had allowed six runs in the second inning and his day was over, as was the Rangers' hopes of winning the game and the series.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Look Around the West]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:25:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/469751292.jpg

In a weekly post, we'll take a look around the AL West — what's happened so far, and what's on tap in the coming days.

1. Oakland Athletics (5-5) — The A's are coming off a loss to the Astros to keep them in the pack of teams at .500 or below. The pitching has been average and the offense has been surprisingly good after several key defections. But here's the key with the A's, reinforcements to the pitching staff are coming. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Kansas City Royals.

2. Houston Astros (4-5) — The Astros are in "second place," but they're under .500 just like every team in the division outside of Oakland. The Astros' lineup is Rangers bad, but that pitching staff is looking pretty solid. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.

3. Los Angeles Angels (4-5) — Pretty much the same story here as every team in the division. The pitching staff is questionable, but the offense can put up runs. No team in the division has looked dominant so far, and this team is right there in that group. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Houston Astros.

4. Texas Rangers (4-6) — As one of three teams in baseball with 10 games, the Rangers are a half-game out of the mix after a week, which I guess is a bit of a pleasant surprise given the outlook even before Derek Holland's injury. It'll really be interesting to see if the Rangers ever get to .500 again this year. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.

5. Seattle Mariners (3-6) — Things aren't going as the Mariners planned early on, but they are likely still the cream of the AL West crop with their new-look lineup featuring a mashing Nelson Cruz and their strong pitching rotation. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Potential Dallas Draft Target Coleman Finally Has His Pro Day]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:12:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tevin-coleman-cowboys.jpg

One of the handful of running backs the Dallas Cowboys are looking at going into the 2015 Draft, the Indiana Hoosiers’ Tevin Coleman finally had his Pro Day on Wednesday in hopes that he can prove he’s worth a first round pick, and not a second rounder as projected.

"It's one of the goals that I want to achieve," Coleman said of becoming the first Hoosier taken in the first round in 20 years, per the Indianapolis Star. "That's why I came out here and gave my all, gave it my best."

Coleman missed the NFL Combine and Indiana’s Pro Day while recovering from a broken toe, which he played through for over half of the season. On Wednesday though, he showed no lingering ill effects of the injury, running the 40-yard dash in the mid 4.3s and low 4.4s. He also did agility drills and caught passes for the 20-plus teams with representatives present.

"I was just trying to showcase my speed, that my injury is all taken care of and that I can run and cut and do things like that," Coleman said. "I'm real happy with my performance."

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<![CDATA[On Deck: Seattle Mariners]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:54:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rangers-at-mariners-2014.jpg

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2015 season. 

The Opponent: The Mariners' new look lineup isn't producing much yet, and the result is a start that actually has them in last place after the first week and a half of the season. It's not what anyone expected, but luckily for them, it's still early.

Past Meetings: The Rangers actually won the season series over the Mariners — a rarity in 2014 — edging them 10-9 on the year.

Pitching Matchups: Friday — Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 5.59 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (0-0, 2.84); Saturday — Colby Lewis (1-0, 3.38) vs. Felix Hernandez (1-0, 3.00); Sunday — Ross Detwiler (0-2, 9.00) vs. James Paxton (0-1, 5.11).

What's Hot: Prince Fielder is the team's leading hitter so far this season, even though he's yet to find his power stroke. The hefty first baseman is batting .433 with a .469 on-base percentage over his past seven games. Outfielder Carlos Peguero is batting .385 with an astronomical .556 on-base percentage thanks to his four walks in five games. Aside from the surprising Nick Martinez, Lewis has been the Rangers' best starter so far, which is more than concerning.

Nelson Cruz is providing the offensive punch he was signed for this offseason, but it's not resulting in wins yet. The former Ranger is batting .391 over his past six games. Over that time he has SIX home runs and nine RBIs.

What's Not: Elvis Andrus and Leonys Martin are batting .161 and .100, respectively, over their last seven games. That's obviously not going to cut it, and manager Jeff Banister has already moved Martin out of the leadoff spot and Andrus into the bottom third of the order. Detwiler has just been bad as a starter, struggling to get through the opponent's lineup more than twice.

Robinson Cano is batting just .192 over his past six games and had one of the bigger blunders you'll see on Wednesday night when he was on third base with a runner at second and first base empty. The batter walked, and Cano started jogging home before he was tagged out. Oops.

Familiar Faces: Peguero has been one of the few bright spots so far this season for the Rangers, and Mariners fans will remember him as a promising prospect who never took off in Seattle. Now, it appears he could be a late bloomer for the Rangers at age 28. Another late bloomer was Nelson Cruz, who is now two years removed from the Rangers and enjoying a good start in his first season with the Mariners after he led the league in home runs last year with Baltimore.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Calgary Flames Defeat Vancouver Canucks 2-1]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:22:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/469873146.jpg

Defenseman Kris Russell scored with just under 30 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 entering the third period. Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots in the Flames' first playoff game since 2009.

Bo Horvat opening the scoring for Vancouver midway in the second period. Jannik Hansen and Alexander Edler assisted on the play.

Vancouver hosts Game 2 on Friday night.

Russell's shot from the point found its way through traffic after a dominant shift by the Flames that had the Canucks hemmed in deep.

Eddie Lack made 28 saves for Vancouver, which is back in the postseason after missing out last spring for the first time in six years.

Horvat snapped a scoreless tie after Lack, in his first playoff start, made a couple of big saves at the other end. The 20-year-old rookie had his first shot blocked, but his follow-up on the backhand nicked off the skate of Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman in front and past Hiller.

Calgary, which won 10 games when trailing after 40 minutes in the regular season and was tied for first in the NHL with 99 third-period goals, tied the game midway in the final session. After a soft play by the Canucks at their own blue line, the Flames broke in on a quick 3-on-2 in transition, with Jones roofing a shot over Lack.

The goal came on the heels of a pair of big saves by Hiller.

Notes: Vancouver has not won at home in the playoffs since Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final against Boston, a span of seven contests. The Canucks had also lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games overall dating back to Game 6 of the series with the Bruins. ... Calgary rookie Sam Bennett — playing in just his second professional game — had a strong chance after cutting out of the corner before being denied by Lack.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>