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Archive for October 10th, 2019

Central Division’s Defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 2019-20 Outlook: Team has a bullseye on their backs



The Blues are coming off a season that saw them rally from last place overall through games of Jan. 2 and rebound to capture the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. They became the first team from any of the four major North American sports leagues to win a title after occupying last place overall after one-quarter or more of the season’s games (since 1967-68).

St. Louis now sets its sights on becoming the sixth club in League history to successfully defend its first-ever championship. All eight such teams in the past 25 years have fallen short of the repeat. The only ones to do so: Red Wings (1936-37), Flyers (1974-75), Islanders (1980-83), Oilers (1987-88) and Penguins (1991-92). The original Ottawa Senators won the Cup in 1920 and 1921 but had won the championship multiple times before the NHL was formed.

Vladimir Tarasenko (33-35—68 in 2018-19) has topped the 30-goal mark in each of his last five seasons – only Alex Ovechkin (14 seasons) has a longer active streak of 30-goal campaigns. Only two players have recorded more consecutive 30-goal seasons with the franchise than Tarasenko’s five: Gary Unger (8) and Brett Hull (7).

Ryan O’Reilly led Blues skaters with a career-high 77 points in 2018-19 (28-49—77 in 82 GP), his first season with the club. Only one player in franchise history has led the Blues in points in each of his first two seasons with the club: Red Berenson (1967-68 & 1968-69).

* O’Reilly captured his first career Selke Trophy in 2018-19 and led the NHL in faceoff wins (1,086), marking the fourth time in his career he has won more than 1,000 draws in a single campaign. The only other players since 1997-98 (when faceoffs were officially tracked) to win 1,000 or more faceoffs at least four times are Rod Brind’Amour (6), Patrice Bergeron (4), Mats Sundin (4) and Adam Oates (4).

Alex Pietrangelo (93-305—398 in 688 GP) sits two points shy of becoming the second defenseman (also Al MacInnis: 127-325—452 in 613 GP) and 12th skater to record 400 points with the franchise. Pietrangelo also sits seven goals shy of joining MacInnis as the second blueliner to score 100 goals with the franchise.

* Pietrangelo has reached the 40-point mark on seven occasions, tied with MacInnis for the most such seasons by a defenseman in franchise history. Only six active blueliners have more career 40-point seasons: Duncan Keith (9), Keith Yandle (9), Shea Weber (9), Zdeno Chara (9), Brent Burns (8) and Erik Karlsson (8).

* Robert Thomas had 9-24—33 in 70 games as a teenager in 2018-19 and will be 20 years old for the entire 2019-20 campaign. Wayne Babych had 27-36—63 at age 20 in 1978-79 (67 GP), the highest single-season goal and point totals by a Blues player before age 21.

Jordan Binnington was a catalyst of the Blues’ turnaround season, putting together a 24-5-1 record as a rookie with a .927 save percentage, five shutouts and an NHL-leading 1.89 goals-against average (min. 25 GP). He can become just the second goaltender in NHL history to lead the League in goals-against average in each of his first two career seasons (min. 25 GP) – Canadiens legend Bill Durnan did so in each of his first four seasons from 1943-44 to 1946-47.

* Binnington also can become just the fifth goalie in NHL history to post a goals-against average under 2.00 in each of his first two seasons (min. 25 GP) – and first in the NHL’s modern era. The only ones to do so: Lorne Chabot (1926-27—1928-29), George Hainsworth (1926-27—1928-29), Hal Winkler (1926-27—1927-28) and Frank Brimsek (1938-39—1939-40).

* Only one goaltender in franchise history has posted multiple seasons with a goals-against average less than 2.00 (min. 25 GP): Brian Elliott (1.56 in 2011-12, 1.96 in 2013-14).

A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with the Blues. . .
Most goals: 2 – 6 players; most recent: Vladimir Tarasenko (Jan. 19, 2013)
Most assists: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984)
Most points: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984) and Adam Creighton (Jan. 20, 1995)

Most goals: 1 – 10 players; most recent: Kris Russell (Nov. 12, 2011)
Most assists: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984)
Most points: 4 – Dave Pichette (Feb. 15, 1984)

Most saves: 35 – Guy Hebert (Dec. 11, 1991) and Chris Osgood (March 15, 2003)
Shutout: Chris Osgood (March 15, 2003)

First season with the Blues. . .
Most goals: 44 – Mark Hunter (1985-86)
Most assists: 79 – Adam Oates (1989-90)
Most points: 102 – Adam Oates (1989-90)

Most goals: 20 – Larry Sacharuk (1974-75)
Most assists: 44 – Scott Stevens (1990-91)
Most points: 51 – Rob Ramage (1982-83)

Most wins: 42 – Roman Turek (1999-2000)
Most Shutouts: 9 – Brian Elliott (2011-12)




Winnipeg Jets of the NHL’s Central Division 2019-20 Outlook: Looking for third straight playoff berth



The Jets will look to clinch their third consecutive postseason berth – and fifth in franchise history – when they hit the ice for the 2019-20 season. Winnipeg (47-30-5, 99 points) has surpassed 90 standings points in each of the last two seasons (114 in 2017-18) – the franchise has never done so for three straight campaigns.

Driven by a potent offense led by Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, the Jets have combined for 549 goals over the last two seasons (including shootout-deciding goals) – only the Lightning (621) and Maple Leafs (563) have more over that span.

Blake Wheeler (20-71—91 in 82 GP) became the first player in Jets/Thrashers franchise history to record consecutive seasons with at least 60 assists. Since 1999-00, only five NHL players have strung together three or more consecutive 60-assist campaigns: Connor McDavid (3; 2016-17—2018-19), Henrik Sedin (6; 2006-07—2011-12), Joe Thornton (5; 2005-06—2009-10), Marc Savard (4; 2005-06—2008-09) and Pavel Datsyuk (3; 2006-07—2008-09).

* Wheeler, who has hit the 90-point mark in each of the last two seasons, can become the first player to record three 90-point campaigns with the franchise. The only others with multiple (both w/ ATL): Ilya Kovalchuk (2005-06 & 2008-09) and Marian Hossa (2005-06 & 2006-07).

Mark Scheifele has topped the 20-goal mark in each of the last four seasons including a career-high 38 in 2018-19. Only two players in franchise history have recorded five consecutive 20-goal campaigns: Kovalchuk (8; 2001-02—2009-10) and Wheeler’s active six-season stretch (2013-14—2018-19).

Patrik Laine, 21, has reached the 30-goal mark in each of his first three NHL seasons, a feat also accomplished by fellow 2016 draftee Auston Matthews. Only 21 players in history have opened their NHL career with four or more consecutive 30-goal campaigns, with Jari Kurri (10; 1980-81—1989-90) the only Finnish player on that list.

Kyle Connor, 22, who is entering his fourth season in the League after debuting in 2016-17, also has notched consecutive 30-goal campaigns. Entering 2019-20, only five U.S.-born skaters have reached the 30-goal plateau three times in their first four career seasons: Bobby CarpenterJimmy Carson, Zach PariseBobby Ryan and Matthews.

* Connor Hellebuyck backstopped the Jets to 34 wins in 2018-19 after a breakout 44-win campaign in 2017-18. He is the only goaltender in Jets/Thrashers franchise history to post consecutive 30-win campaigns. With a 35-win season in 2019-20, Hellebuyck (117) would match Ondrej Pavelec (152) for the most career wins by a goaltender in franchise history.

A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with Jets/Thrashers. . .
Most goals: 2 – Mark Recchi (Dec. 12, 2007) and Michael Frolik (Oct. 1, 2013)
Most assists: 2 – Stephen Guolla (March 2, 2000)
Most points: 2 – seven players; most recent: Paul Stastny (Feb. 27, 2018)

Most goals: 1 – four players; most recent: Sami Niku (April 3, 2018)
Most assists: 1 – nine players; most recent: Cameron Schilling (Nov. 29, 2018)
Most points: 2 – Ron Hainsey (Oct. 10, 2008) and Jacob Trouba (Oct. 1, 2013)

Most saves: 42 – Laurent Brossoit (Oct. 14, 2018)
Shutout: none

First season with Jets/Thrashers. . .
Most goals: 39 – Marian Hossa (2005-06)
Most assists: 53 – Marian Hossa (2005-06)
Most points: 92 – Marian Hossa (2005-06)

Most goals: 20 – Dustin Byfuglien (2010-11)
Most assists: 33 – three players; most recent: Dustin Byfuglien (2010-11)
Most points: 53 – Dustin Byfuglien (2010-11)

Most wins: 13 – three goaltenders; most recent: Laurent Brossoit (2018-19)
Most Shutouts: 2 – Connor Hellebuyck (2015-16) and Milan Hnilicka (2000-01)




NFL Media to premiere ‘NFL 100 Greatest Characters’ Friday, October 11 with Parts 1 and 2, Followed by ‘NFL 100 Roundtables’

‘NFL 100 Greatest’ Series Continues with Numbers 100-31 of ‘NFL 100 Greatest Characters’ Starting at 8:00 PM ET​

‘NFL 100 Roundtables’ Features ‘The Defensive Backs’ and ‘The Wide Receivers’ at 10:00 PM ET

The NFL has created a legacy through the legends that have taken the field and NFL Media continues to honor those figures and their contribution to the game with Parts 1 and 2 of NFL 100 Greatest Characters Friday, October 11 at 8:00 PM ET, followed by NFL 100 Roundtables at 10:00 PM ET.


NFL 100 Greatest Characters will reveal numbers 100-70 in Part 1 and 69-31 in Part 2. These characters are determined by an 80-person blue-ribbon panel of experts from the Associate Press and NFL Media.


Among the NFL’s greatest characters viewers can expect to see ranked between 100 and 31 are:

  • Jim Mora and his infamous press conference moments
  • Tim Tebow and the infectious energy that he brought to every game
  • The only player to take a hacksaw to a car after a game and show up to breakfast in full uniform — Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds
  • Terrell Suggs and Clinton Portis who took the term ‘characters’ to a whole new level with their many costumes and alter egos
  • Mark Gastineau, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and Ickey Woods known not only for their football moves, but also iconic dance moves on the field
  • Terry Bradshaw, Peyton Manning, Mean Joe Green and Walter Payton, all whose talent on the field was equally matched with charismatic personalities appreciated by Hollywood


NFL 100 Roundtables will follow the conclusion of NFL 100 Greatest Characters. This series of eight half-hour specials will feature some of the greatest to play the game together by positions. Each group will share stories and memories, dive into what made their careers so legendary, and share what they see in the future for the NFL.


At 10:00 PM ET, “The Defensive Backs” edition of NFL 100 Roundtables features a gathering of legends including Deion Sanders, Ronnie Lott, Charles Woodson, Darrell Green, Darrelle Revis and Rod Woodson, followed by a discussion among “The Wide Receivers,” Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, Steve Largent and Steve Smith Sr. at 10:30 PM ET.


For the NFL 100 Greatest series, NFL Films and NFL Media conducted more than 400 interviews with celebrities, current NFL stars and Legends. Parts 1 and 2 of NFL 100 Greatest Characters features interviews with the following personalities:


Troy Aikman Morten Andersen Bruce Arians
Brian Baldinger Tiki Barber Lem Barney
Sammy Baugh Chuck Bednarik Bobby Bell
Upton Bell Roger Bennett Elvin Bethea
Jerome Bettis Brian Billick Mel Blount
Joey Bragg Lee Brice Isaac Bruce
Joe Buck Kevin Burkhardt 2 Chainz
Kevin Clark Jim Cramer Ben Davidson
Michael Davies Thomas Davis Gary Dell’Abate
Ray Didinger Aaron Donald Tony Dungy
Carlos Dunlap Rich Eisen Boomer Esiason
Herm Edwards Melissa Etheridge Vic Fangio
Ric Flair Jim Gaffigan Joe Gibbs
Jay Glazer Darrell Green Mean Joe Green
Tony Gonzalez Joe Haden Dante Hall
Charles Haley Kevin Harlan James Harrison
Jon Hein Marg Helgenberger Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson
Cam Heyward Paul Hornung Ken Houston
Michael Irvin Ron Jaworski Chris Jericho
Billy Johnson Ed “Too Tall” Jones Sonny Jurgensen
Alvin Kamara Alex Karas Jim Kelly
Keegan-Michael Key Taran Killam Joe Klecko
Chuck Klosterman Suzy Kolber Jerry Kramer
Tom Landry Marv Levy Rachel Lindsay
Carli Lloyd James Lofton Howie Long
Ronnie Lott Josh Lucas John Lynch
Anthony Lynn Michael MacCambridge Method Man
Eli Manning Jim Marshall Marlee Matlin
Christian McCaffrey Sean McDermott Donovan McNabb
Charles Melton Shawne Merriman Bret Michaels
Matt Millen Von Miller Joe Montana
Warren Moon Randy Moss Chad Michael Murray
Brent Musburger Dr. Mehmet Oz Chester Pitts
John Randle Rachael Ray Tony Richardson
Bear Rineheart Ro Rineheart Jeff Ross
Steve Sabol Barry Sanders Kendall Coyne Schofield
Whit Sellers Ryan Shazier Art Shell
Tiya Sircar Jackie Slater Bubba Smith
Steve Smith Sr. JuJu Smith-Schuster Dan Soder
Jerry Springer Monty Stickles Michael Strahan
Dick Stockton Eric Stonestreet Nick Swardson
Fran Tarkenton Tim Tebow Kenan Thompson
Danny Trejo Gary Vaynerchuk Phil Villapiano
Chris Young Bobby Wagner Shane West
Rod Woodson


The NFL and the AP elected the “100 Greatest” across five categories – Plays, Games, Characters, Game Changers and Teams. The 80-person blue-ribbon panel was comprised of experts selected by the AP and NFL Media.


Friday nights are home to the slate of NFL 100 original programming on NFL Network this season. The continuation of NFL 100 Greatest Characters airs Friday, October 18 at 8:00 PM ET with Parts 3 and 4, followed by quarterbacks and offensive line editions of NFL 100 Roundtables at 10:00 PM ET.


As the official site for all things NFL 100, is the primary destination to stay up to speed with all the initiatives, activities and content happening across the league and at the club level. Additionally, offers a companion experience to the series where fans will be able to relive their favorite moments from the show with clips and bonus content from the celebrities and influencers who shared their favorite NFL memories from the series.



NFL Media is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films,, the NFL app and NFL RedZone.


Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.


For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming can be streamed live through the NFL and NFL Network apps on smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected TV devices (Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, PlayStation 4, Roku and Xbox One). Access is available for NFL Network subscribers of participating TV providers. For more information, go to Listen to the audio versions NFL 100 Greatest on SiriusXM and Pandora Fridays at 11:00 PM ET or on-demand on the SXM and Pandora app.



Top 7 statistical highlights from Week 5 Sunday in the NFL


A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 6, the fifth week of the 2019 season.​

  • Through 13 games in Week 5, eight have been decided by seven points or fewer, including wins on the final play of the game by Arizona and Baltimore.

    With two games remaining, a total of 41 games have been decided by seven points or fewer in 2019, tied with the 1999 season (41) for the second-most such games through five weeks of a season in NFL history. Only the 2006 season (42) had more.

  • The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS defeated the Washington Redskins, 33-7, in Week 5, as quarterback TOM BRADY threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Brady now has 71,923 career passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (71,838) for the third-most career passing yards in NFL history.

    New England has given up 34 total points through its first five games of the season, the fewest points allowed through a team’s first five games since the 2005 Indianapolis Colts (29 points) and the fifth-fewest since 1970.

  • The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES defeated the New York Jets, 31-6, in Week 5. Philadelphia became the first team in NFL history to record 10 sacks and score two defensive touchdowns in a single game.

    Philadelphia cornerback ORLANDO SCANDRICK registered two sacks and scored a 44-yard fumble-return touchdown. Scandrick joins RONDE BARBER (September 10, 2000), CAPTAIN MUNNERLYN (December 15, 2013), and ANTOINE WINFIELD (December 28, 2010) as the only defensive backs with at least two sacks and a touchdown in a single game since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

    Philadelphia running back DARREN SPROLES had 32 all-purpose yards in the win. Sproles, who now has 19,684 all-purpose yards throughout his 14-year career, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer TIM BROWN (19,682) for the fifth-most all-purpose yards in NFL history.

  • Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON completed 28 of 33 pass attempts for 426 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, in the Texans’ 53-32 win over Atlanta. ​

    Watson became the first player to pass for at least 400 yards and five touchdowns with five-or-fewer incompletions in a single game in NFL history.

    Additionally, Houston wide receiver WILL FULLER recorded 14 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He became the fourth player in NFL history to register at least 14 catches, 200 yards and three receiving touchdowns in a single game, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (December 18, 1995) and STEVE LARGENT (October 18, 1987), along with JIMMY SMITH (September 10, 2000).

    Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Ryan joined Pro Football Hall of Famers KURT WARNER (six games in 2000) and STEVE YOUNG (six games in 1998) and PEYTON MANNING (five games in 2009 and 2013) as the only players with at least 300 passing yards in each of their team’s first five games of a season in NFL history.

  • Carolina running back CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY had 237 scrimmage yards (176 rushing, 61 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in the Panthers’ 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, his third consecutive game with at least 175 scrimmage yards.

    McCaffrey, who has 587 rushing yards and 279 receiving yards this season, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer THURMAN THOMAS (1991) as the only players in NFL history to record at least 500 rushing yards and 250 receiving yards in their team’s first five games of a season.

    Carolina quarterback KYLE ALLEN passed for 181 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Allen is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to begin his career 4-0 without throwing an interception in his first four career starts.

    Jacksonville rookie quarterback GARDNER MINSHEW passed for 374 yards with two touchdowns and a 101.9 passer rating in the loss. Both Allen (108.3 passer rating through first four career starts) and Minshew (101.4) joined JEFF KEMP (104.0, 1984) as the only players in the Super Bowl era to have a passer rating of at least 100 with no interceptions through their first four career starts (minimum 20 attempts).​

  • Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON passed for 161 yards and had 70 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 26-23 overtime victory at Pittsburgh.

    Jackson, who now has 1,003 rushing yards through 21 career games, tied ROBERT GRIFFIN III (21 games) as the quarterbacks to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in the fewest games in NFL history.​

  • The OAKLAND RAIDERS defeated Chicago, 24-21, in the first-ever NFL game in London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    Oakland rookie running back JOSH JACOBS rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the win, the most rushing yards by a rookie running back in the 25 NFL games played in London since 2007. By the end of the 2019 season, the NFL will have played 28 regular-season games in London, with 31 of 32 teams having participated.

    Jacobs also joined ADRIAN PETERSON (September 29, 2013 at Wembley Stadium) as the only players to rush for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in the history of the NFL’s International Series.




NFL Rookies of the Month for September 2019



Quarterback GARDNER MINSHEW of the Jacksonville Jaguars and defensive end/linebacker BRIAN BURNS of the Carolina Panthers are the NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Month for the month of September.





Offense (College) Defense (College)
September QB Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville (Washington State) DE/LB Brian Burns, Carolina (Florida State)







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