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Sunday, February 23, 2020


Ilya Kovalchuk traded to Capitals by Canadiens for 3rd-round pick

Ilya Kovalchuk

The Washington Capitals are looking to load up for a Stanley Cup playoff run.

The Caps on Sunday acquired Ilya Kovalchuk in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens. The Caps are trading a 3rd-round pick in this year’s draft for the winger.

Kovalchuk, 36, was the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NHL Draft. He has 22 points this season, including an assist on Saturday.

Montreal trading him is no surprise. He is set to be a free agent after the season, so the Canadiens wanted to get a return for him prior to the trade deadline.

The Caps will be Kovalchuk’s third team of the season. He began the season with the Kings but was dropped by them before Montreal picked him up.

Washington is third in the NHL in points this season, behind Boston and Tampa Bay.

Madison Bumgarner uses a secret alias ‘Mason Saunders’ to participate in rodeo events

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner is well-known as a three-time World Series champion and elite postseason pitcher. He’s also known as a regular rodeo participant, albeit under a different name.

After a bit of research, Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan of The Athletic deduced that Bumgarner, now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, participates in various rodeo events under the alias Mason Saunders. Bumgarner even won $26,560 in a team-roping competition last December, and his picture is posted on the venue’s Facebook page.

Bumgarner owned up to the hobby, and admitted that he may have won other events under the alias. The name is derived from a shortened version of his first name and his wife’s maiden name, and he uses it because he does not want to attract outside attention while competing.

And yes, Bumgarner is serious about those competitions.

“No matter what hobbies I have, I take ’em serious,” Bumgarner said. “That’s just my personality. I don’t do anything just for fun, per se. I wish I did.”

The Diamondbacks would not divulge whether Bumgarner’s rodeo habit was a breach of his contractual language. It was not a total secret that he participated, as he’d divulged it in a 2016 interview while with the San Francisco Giants. As long as the pitcher is a little more careful with that hobby than he was with his dirt biking, the Diamondbacks will probably be able to get over it.

Hurricanes have big plans for viral star David Ayres

David Ayres

The Carolina Hurricanes are riding a wave of popularity right now thanks to viral sensation David Ayres.

Ayres came into Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs as the emergency goalie, but was pressed into action after both of Carolina’s regular goalies got hurt. Ayers managed to get the win, and quickly became a sensation beyond the sports world.

The Hurricanes have wisely been taking full advantage. They’re already selling Ayres shirts, but in a cool twist, some of the proceeds will go toward an appropriate kidney foundation as a nod to Ayres’ status as a kidney transplant survivor.

That’s not all. Ayres will be at the Hurricanes’ next home game Tuesday to sound the traditional pregame siren.

Ayres has gone from an AHL zamboni driver to something of a celebrity after his eventful Saturday night. Hurricanes fans will certainly never forget it, and Ayres is going to get some viral fame out of this. Both sides might as well make the most of it, and it sure seems like they’re intent to do just that.

Ryan Newman suffered head injury, will continue racing

Ryan Newman

Ryan Newman was released from the hospital this week just days after his horrifying crash at the Daytona 500, and the driver is hoping to get back to racing in the near future.

As part of a press conference on Sunday, Newman released a statement through Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark updating his health. The 42-year-old said he suffered a head injury but was fortunate to avoid any type of organ damage or broken bones.

“I was fortunate to avoid any internal organ damage or broken bones. I did sustain a head injury for which I am currently being treated,” Newman said. “The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days.”

While it’s unclear how long Newman will be recovering from the head injury, Newark said Roush Fenway is looking forward to having him back “as soon as possible.”

“I’ve spoken with Jack Roush and he has assured me that the #6 car will be waiting and ready for my return,” Newman said. “I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race in the Roush Fenway Ford.”

We have heard several encouraging updates about Newman since the race on Monday night, and the latest continued with that theme. Newman crashed on the final lap near the finish line of the Daytona 500, causing his car to turn over and catch fire. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Given how nasty the wreck looked, he is fortunate his injuries were not much worse. We’re glad to hear he’s doing well.

Karl Dorrell will make $18 million as Colorado head coach

Karl Dorrell

The Colorado Buffaloes gave Karl Dorrell a nice payday to lure him back to college football.

Dorrell was officially named the new coach at Colorado on Sunday, with the school’s Board of Regents approving a contract that will pay him $18 million over five seasons.

Dorrell will actually make more than former coach Mel Tucker was slated to make in 2020. Tucker made just shy of $2.7 million in his lone season with the Buffaloes, but got a huge raise when moving to Michigan State.

There will be questions about whether Dorrell deserves the payday, but Colorado was in a tough spot with a coaching search at this time of year and probably had to offer a good chunk of money to get people to listen. It’s unfortunate for them, but it’s what they had to do.

Video: 84-year-old woman wins car with 94-foot putt at Ole Miss game

With the Masters now less than two months away, Tiger Woods might want to consider giving 84-year-old Mary Ann Wakefield a call for some tips on how to sink a seemingly impossible putt.

Wakefield was chosen to take part in an in-game promotional contest at Saturday’s game between Ole Miss and Alabama. The task was to sink a putt that ran the entire length of the basketball court, and the prize was a new car. You can probably guess what happened.

That thing looked good from the second it left Mary Ann’s putter. Fortunately for her, the New York Knicks were not in charge of awarding her a prize. If they were, she probably would have gotten a lot less than a new car.

Video: South Dakota State had 12 passes without a dribble on beautiful play

South Dakota State may not be one of the most popular basketball programs in the country, but anyone who wants to see a clinic on ball movement should fire up some of their tape.

In their win over in-state rival South Dakota on Sunday, South Dakota State had one of the most beautiful possessions you will see this season. The Jackrabbits managed to pass the ball 12 times without a single player dribbling, though the ball did hit the floor on a couple of bounce passes. The play ended with a dunk.

That type of ball movement would bring a tear to any coach’s eye. South Dakota State improved to 21-8 on the season, so we will be seeing more of them in the NCAA Tournament in a few weeks.

Report: Mavericks filing official protest over end of loss to Hawks

Mark Cuban

For the second time this season, an NBA game is subject to an official protest by one of its teams.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Dallas Mavericks have filed an official protest over the ending of Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavericks claim that the rules were misapplied and Hawks center John Collins’ game-winning basket with 8.4 seconds left should not have stood.

Collins was originally called for goaltending when he tipped in a blocked layup to put the Hawks up by 4. Game officials said there was an inadvertent whistle on the play, and as Collins was in his shooting motion when the whistle blew, the play was ruled a continuation and the basket counted.

The first protest of the season, filed by the Houston Rockets, was dismissed largely because it happened with enough time left that commissioner Adam Silver determined the team had the chance to overcome the error. With this one happening inside the final ten seconds, that reason won’t fly here, so it will be interesting to see what the NBA makes of it.

UConn issues scathing statement after ex-coach Kevin Ollie serves Dan Hurley with subpoena

Dan Hurley

Former UConn coach Kevin Ollie’s legal battle with the school took a wild turn Saturday, and the university is not happy.

Ollie has been fighting to recoup nearly $11 million after being fired for just cause after being charged with numerous NCAA violations in 2018. That legal battle spilled over Saturday, when current Connecticut coach Dan Hurley was served with a subpoena at his home Saturday to testify in the Ollie case.

UConn responded with a scathing statement Sunday criticizing Ollie and his legal team for their actions. The school claims that they had an agreement with Ollie’s team that the school attorney would accept all subpoenas on behalf of the university, and said that the actions against Hurley violate that agreement.

As UConn notes, Hurley, who was hired after Ollie’s firing, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the ongoing case. Serving him with a subpoena at his home feels like an attempt for Ollie’s side to gain attention, but it appears to be a really bad look and might cost Ollie some public sympathy.

Raiders to make public minicamp first team event in Las Vegas

Jon Gruden

The Raiders appear to have their first major event in their new home.

Coach Jon Gruden said Saturday night while attending the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight that the Raiders will be holding their mandatory minicamp from June 14-16 in the Las Vegas area. Gruden added that the team hopes to accommodate as many members of the public as possible at the event.

“If we can let everyone in, we will,” Gruden said, via Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It was not clear if the event would be held in Las Vegas or at the team’s practice facility in nearby Hendersonville, but planning still appears to be ongoing.

The move to Vegas seems to be going well. Despite initial concerns, there appears to be a willing fanbase recreating some of the traditions from Oakland, and a minicamp is sure to draw some fan interest. How much of it sticks once the games begin remains to be seen.