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Rob Gronkowski Jersey Patriots

Rob Gronkowski is not coming back to the Patriots so can we stop speculating on it? | Matt Vautour
Posted Nov 12, 2019
Rob Gronkowski Becomes An Advocate For CBD And Partners With Abacus Health Products, Maker Of CBDMEDIC
Getty Images for CBDMEDIC

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 27: Rob Gronkowski at a press conference announced he is becoming an advocate for CBD and will partner with Abacus Health Products, maker of CBDMEDIC Topical Pain Products on August 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for CBDMEDIC)

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By Matt Vautour | [email protected]
Rob Gronkowski is not coming back.

He’s not. Definitely not this season. Probably not ever. Former (that’s right former) New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has moved on. It’s time for everyone else to catch up

Ian Rapoport’s NFL.com story that got everybody riled up this weekend was that Robert Kraft had told Gronk that he hoped to have him back for the playoffs. If the Patriots’ owner had said that last week it would be one thing, but he said it in March. And even if he said yesterday, it doesn’t mean there’s reason Gronkowki would change his mind.

But since Kraft’s comments in March, Gronk has:

1. Lost a ton of weight and presumably some muscle that he’d need to be an NFL tight end.

2. Regaled countless broadcasters about how much pain he was in while he was playing and how many concussions he had.

3. Become a broadcaster.

4. Become the lead spokesman for a product that the NFL still has on its banned substance list.

5. Said countless times that he has no plans to come back.

On top of that, the Patriots have spent much of their available salary cap money elsewhere. If Gronkowski came back now, he’d make less money than he did before. Why would he want to do that?

The Patriots are coming off their worst game of the season and their tight end position has been bad all year. Matt LaCosse can’t stop getting hurt and Benjamin Watson can’t stop being old. The trade deadline has passed so any additions have to be free agents, which usually means lousy or retired.

It’s good for Gronkowski’s celebrity and his brand to leave the door open a crack and there’s no requirement to turn in retirement papers. If he doesn’t outright crave the attention that comes his way every time someone speculates about him coming back, he certainly doesn’t mind it.

Some 2.3 percent of ESPN’s Fantasy Football teams (it’s 4 percent on Yahoo) still have Gronkowski on their roster. According to a New York Post article, around 75 million people play fantasy football. If ESPN is similar to most leagues that means, 1.725 million people are either still holding out hope or have teams so bad, they’ve stopped checking them. But 0.3 percent of teams (225,000) added him this week after Rapoport’s report. You can passively forget to drop somebody, but you have to actively add them.

There’s no rumors floating around about Gronkowski ramping up workouts or discussing a return with his inner circle with his Nov. 30 signing day looming. When he was still playing and thinking about retiring, the rumors were rampant.

There are no rumors because it’s not happening. Move on.

Drew Bledsoe Jersey Patriots

Over his 20 years as an NFL quarterback, Tom Brady has had a lot of different guys share the locker room with him — especially when it comes to guys who have backed up up.

Here’s a look at each and every guy who’s played behind Brady over the years and what they’re up to these days.

Starting with Drew Bledsoe’s partnership with a familiar name (who isn’t the person you’re thinking of).

Drew Bledsoe (2001)

Drafted No. 1 overall by Patriots in 1993
Traded to Bills in April 2002 for first-round pick
It’s hard to describe Bledsoe a “backup,” considering the way he lost his job. However, he was the first quarterback ever to take over for Brady in a game following an injury.

Bledsoe missed much of the 2001 season after being blasted by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. But when Brady was hurt in the 2001 AFC Championship game, Bledsoe took over to lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl berth.

Bledsoe was traded to the Buffalo Bills following the Patriots’ 2001 Super Bowl run and finished his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Bledsoe retired after the 2006 season, and has found post-career success in opening his own vineyard: Doubleback Winery. Bledsoe has run the Walla Walla Wash.-based operation since 2006, earning critical success for his wines, which are a pretty expensive (close to $100).

This past week, Doubleback announced that Bledsoe was partnering with the winery’s president and director of winemaking, Josh McDaniels. No, he is not the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, just a guy with the different name.

Still, it’s going to look weird when they come out with a Bledsoe-McDaniels label.

Damon Huard (2001 – 2003)

Signed as free agent in 2001
Signed with Chiefs in 2004
Huard is the first player who fits the definition of a true backup for Brady. While Bledsoe was on the mend, it was Huard who served as the primary backup for the Patriots in 2001. Huard appeared in two games that year, but didn’t attempt a pass.

Nowadays, it seems that Huard is following in Bledsoe’s footsteps, opening a Washington-based winery of his own in 2014. Huard joined up with former Dolphins teammate Dan Marino to open Passing Time after spending years studying the industry and now runs the daily operations, according to Sports Illustrated. Huard’s vineyard is north of Seattle, in Woodinville, Wash. — about a four-hour drive from Bledsoe’s operation in Walla Walla.

Huard and Marino started gathering investments for the winery as early as 2010, hiring a young Washington-based winemaker named Chris Peterson — not to be confused with Chris Petersen, head coach of the Washington Huskies football team. (Huard played his college ball at Washington.)

Huard is also the director of community relations for the Washington football program as well as an analyst on radio broadcasts.

Rohan Davey (2002 – 2004)

Patriots Fourth-round pick in 2002
Cut during 2005 preseason
Davey was a 6-foot-2, 245-pound tank of a quarterback with legendary arm strength. It didn’t amount to much success in his three seasons in the NFL. However, he did excel while playing over in the now-defunct NFL Europe with the Berlin Thunder.

Davey was cut heading into the 2005 season. After a short stint with the Arizona Cardinals, he wound up playing the Arena Football League, starting with the New York Dragons in 2006. Davey last played for the San Antonio Talons of the Arena Football League in 2013.

Davey, who played at LSU, is back living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and works with a concrete company, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report.

He’s also known to make appearance is local sports media, particularly when it comes to LSU football.

Kliff Kingsbury (2003)

Patriots Sixth-round pick in 2003
Waived at the start of the 2004 season
Kingsbury didn’t get much of a chance to perform as a rookie for the Patriots, spending the whole season on injured reserve before getting cut the following preseason.

While his pro run as a player didn’t see much success, Kingsbury has quickly risen up the coaching ranks.

After serving as the head coach at Texas Tech, Kingsbury made the leap to the NFL, where he’s now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Jim Miller (2004)

Signed as free agent in 2004
Signed with the Giants in 2005
Miller spent time with eight NFL teams (and one NFL Europe team) during his career, getting the bulk of his playing time with the Chicago Bears. Miller went 11-3 as a starter in Chicago, leading the Bears to a playoff spot that year.

In New England, though, Miller never wound up appearing in a regular-season game.

Miller now works in broadcasting for multiple outlets, including Sirius XM radio and Chicago Bears postgame broadcasts on CSN Chicago.

Doug Flutie (2005)

Signed as free agent in 2005
Retired after 2006 season
One of the NFL’s first famous undersized quarterbacks, Flutie broke into the NFL in 1986 and played in New England from 1987-1989 before going to the CFL). He was 43 years old when Belichick signed him as a backup in 2005

The former Boston College Heisman Trophy winner didn’t play much. However, he did add a nice highlight that season in the form of his famous drop kick extra point. He retired following the 2005 season.

Flutie now works as a football analyst and broadcaster for NBC Sports and heads up a number of charity efforts, namely the Flutie Foundation.

In 2016, he appeared as a contestant on season 22 of “Dancing with the Stars” and finished in ninth place.

Matt Cassel (2005 – 2008)

Patriots 7th Round Pick in 2005
Traded to Chiefs in 2009
Cassel has carved out a peculiar (but successful) career as a journeyman backup, starting all the way back to his days at USC. A backup for Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart at USC, Cassel never started a college game.

Even so, Belichick decided to roll the dice on him with a seventh-round pick. The gamble wound up working out as Cassel developed into a solid backup. Cassel wound up playing in every game in 2008 after Brady went down with a torn ACL in Week 1. Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record, but the team missed the postseason due to a peculiar playoff scenario in the AFC that year.

Since then, Cassel’s built a career as one of the league’s more prominent journeyman quarterbacks. He did make a Pro Bowl with the Chiefs in 2010, but is best known for hopping around the NFL as a No. 2 option.

After he was traded from the Patriots to the Chiefs, Cassel went on to play for Vikings, Titans, Bills, Cowboys and Lions.

Cassel has yet to formally retire, but is now working as a contributor for NBC Sports Boston.

Vinny Testaverde (2006)

Signed as undrafted free agent in 2006
Left in free agency after 2006
Testaverde was one of the timeless presences in the NFL for a longtime. He entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick and played clear through to the 2007 season, when he finished his career with the Carolina Panthers.

The Patriots became Testaverde’s seventh (of eight) franchise, employing him as a late-career backup.

Testaverde didn’t do a whole lot in New England. However, he did briefly steal the spotlight in Week 17. During garbage time, Testaverde entered the game and threw a touchdown pass to Troy Brown setting the record for most consecutive seasons with a touchdown pass.

Testaverde has made some property and restaurant dealings, but as he told NewYorkJets.com earlier this year, “I’ve been retired since ’07, my last season, and I’ve pretty much stayed retired.”

Matt Gutierrez (2007 – 2008)

Signed as undrafted free agent in 2007
Cut during 2009 preseason
Gutierrez was a star for FCS Idaho State before signing as an undrafted free agent. However, with Matt Cassel entrenched above him on the depth chart, Gutierrez never received much playing time. He attempted one pass with the Patriots, a 15-yard completion against the Miami Dolphins.

Gutierrez last appearance on an NFL roster came in 2011 with the St. Louis Rams practice squad. He last played for the AFL’s Kansas City Command in 2012.

According to what appears to be his real LinkedIn profile, Gutierrez works as a real estate broker in Silicon Valley.

Kevin O’Connell (2008)

Patriots Third Round pick in 2008
Cut before 2009 season
An oft-forgotten draft miss for the Patriots, O’Connell was the No. 94 overall pick of the 2008 draft. He was buried on the depth chart and was a surprise cut following his second training camp.

After a couple seasons with the Jets, O’Connell wound up bouncing around the NFL, last appearing on the Chargers practice squad in 2012.

O’Connell is one of Bill Belichick’s least-talked-about draft misses. After taking him at No. 94 overall, the team surprised many by waiving him in 2009 as part of the 75-man roster cuts. He spent a couple seasons on the New York Jets roster and bounced around the league for a few seasons, last appearing on the San Diego Chargers practice squad in 2012.

After working as a private coach, O’Connell wound up getting into the NFL coaching ranks. He currently serves at the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.

Brian Hoyer (2009 – 2011, 2017 – 2018)

Signed as UDFA in 2009
Cut before 2012 season
Signed back during 2017 season
Cut during 2019 training camp
Hoyer’s draft stock was knocked a bit due to his lack of height (6-foot-2). However, he’s gone on to have a successful NFL career as a solid veteran backup and occasional starter.

Hoyer was cut by the Patriots before the start of the 2012 season. Shortly after, he was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but wound up finding playing time with the Cardinals in 2012, the Browns in 2013-14, Texans in 2015 and Bears in 2016.

Hoyer landed with the 49ers in 2017, but was let go after six starts. He was then picked up by the Patriots, once again making him Brady’s backup.

He was then cut again by the Patriots and picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. He made his Colts debut in Week 9, taking over for an injured Jacoby Brissett (more on him in a bit). Hoyer’s time as Indy’s fill-in QB has been spotty, going 0-2, including a loss to the Dolphins.

Zac Robinson (2010)

Patriots Seventh-round pick in 2010
Cut prior to 2010 regular season
The Patriots took a flyer on the Oklahoma State prospect late in the 2010 draft. He was eventually waived on cutdown day. Robinson had brief stops in Seattle in Detroit before spending 2011-2013 on the Cincinnati Bengals roster. Robinson never appeared in an NFL game.

Robinson went on to work as a private QB coach and as a senior analyst for Pro Football Focus before being hired by the Los Angeles Rams as an assistant quarterbacks coach.

Ryan Mallett (2011 – 2013)

Patriots Third Round Pick in 2011
Traded to Texans in 2013
Mallett was drafted late in Brady’s career, but never generated much buzz as a potential replacement. Instead, he was the focus of trade rumors throughout much of his career.

The team eventually dealt Mallett to the Houston Texans for a late-round pick. Mallett later fell out of favor in Houston, with the last straw coming when he missed a team flight to Miami. He then served as Joe Flacco’s backup with the Baltimore Ravens and later worked out for the Redskins.

The 31-year-old Mallett was last spotted trying out for the new XFL. However, Mallett was charged with DWI weeks before the league’s new draft and was not among the players selected.

Tim Tebow (2013)*

*Preseason only

Signed as a free agent in June 2013
Cut at end of 2013 preseason
Tebow is an outlier on this list, having never appeared on the Patriots’ 53-man roster. Still, his run in the 2013 preseason remains one of the more peculiar storylines in recent franchise memory. After he was cut by the Patriots, Tebow had a preseason run with the Eagles, but was again cut before the start of the season.

In 2016, two years removed from his last stint as an NFL player, Tebow announced that he was pursuing a career in baseball (which he had not played since 2005). After an open workout, he eventually signed with the New York Mets system.

In 2019, Tebow was moved up to the Triple-A Syracuse Mets, one jump away from the big leagues. However, he suffered a finger injury that forced him to miss the rest of the season.

The Heisman Trophy winner also works as a TV analyst for ESPN as part of their college football coverage.

Jimmy Garoppolo (2014 – 2017)

Patriots Second Round pick in 2014
Traded to 49ers in 2017
At one time, Garoppolo was considered the heir apparent to Brady after the Patriots drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. After three seasons as a well-regarded backup (and short stint as a starter during Brady’s Deflategate suspension), it was apparent that Garoppolo would not be re-signing to stay and backup in New England.

Garoppolo was eventually dealt to the San Francisco 49ers at the 2017 trade deadline. He quickly took over the starting job, winning his first start in Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

After leading the 49ers to a strong finish in 2017, Garoppolo was rewarded with a five-year, $137.5 million contract, making him (at the time) the highest paid player in NFL history before other contracts eclipsed his that same offseason.

Garoppolo missed most of 2018 with a torn ACL but has stormed back in 2019, leading the 49ers to the best record in the NFC through the first half of the season.

Jacoby Brissett (2016-2017)

Patriots third-round pick in 2016
Traded to Colts in 2017
Brissett arrived in New England as a third-round pick in 2016 buried deep on the depth chart. But with Tom Brady suspended, he was thrust into action in his second game after Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury.

Brissett went 1-1 as a starter and generated some confidence as a young quarterback. But the following year, the Patriots wound up trading Brissett away to the Colts in exchange for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.

After arriving in Indy, Brissett took over for an injured Andrew Luck, going 4-11 before going back to the bench. However, he was called upon again in 2019 after Luck announced his retirement, going 5-3 so far in his second stint as a starter.

Danny Etling (2018)

Patriots seventh-round pick in 2018
Cut in 2019
In a 2018 draft where the Patriots were expected to find Brady’s successor, it was a surprise to see Etling as the only quarterback taken. The LSU product was considered a project quarterback and wound up on the practice squad as a rookie.

In 2019, Etling was a long shot to make the roster and wound up moving to wide receiver during training camp. He was ultimately cut and wound up landing with the Atlanta Falcons. He has spent most of the season on their practice squad, save for one game where he was brought up as a backup with Matt Ryan injured.

Jarrett Stidham (2019)

A fourth-round pick in 2019, Stidham has worked his way into the role of the Patriots’ primary backup as a rookie, beating out Brian Hoyer for the job.

Stidham has appeared in three games in 2019, coming in during blowouts to get some game action.

He’s gone 2-of-4 as a passer, with his first NFL game ending with an interception returned for a touchdown.

Andre Tippett Jersey Patriots

Foxborough, Mass. – With a 28-14 victory over Brockton on Friday Night, Franklin High School’s Eian Bain has been named this week’s New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week.

Franklin continued to impress in the MIAA Division I South semifinals, taking advantage of a breakout second quarter performance to propel them to a win over Brockton. The Panthers scored 21 points in the second quarter and added another touchdown in the third to separate themselves from the Boxers in the Division I South playoffs for the second consecutive season. The victory snapped a four-game winning streak for the Boxers. Senior quarterback Thomas Gasbarro established himself as a dual-threat in the game, completing 15-of-21 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 35 yards and another touchdown on the ground.

With the win, Franklin High School moved to 7-2 on the year and advanced to the final round of the MIAA Division I South playoffs. They’ll look to push their winning streak to five games and capture the Division I South finals title when they face off against Catholic Memorial on Friday night.

Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, now the team’s executive director of community affairs, met with the Franklin players and coaching staff Tuesday afternoon to present the football program with a $1,000 donation on behalf of the Patriots Foundation, in honor of Coach Bain. The visit and check presentation will be featured on the Patriots weekly television show, “Patriots All Access,” which airs on Friday night at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV in Boston and will be available immediately after on Patriots.com.

This is the 24th year in which the Patriots have joined the National Football League in conducting the High School Coach of the Week program, which recognizes outstanding high school coaches and promotes youth football throughout New England. The 2019 season marks the ninth year that Tippett has taken the award on the road to visit the schools that benefit from the program.

“Coach Bain’s Panthers put together an outstanding offensive performance to pull away from Brockton,” said Tippett. “Franklin used their big second quarter scoring surge to their advantage and never looked back against the Boxers. We look forward to seeing how they perform when they play Catholic Memorial for the chance to bring home the Division I South title.”

At the conclusion of the fall, one of the weekly winners will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $2,000 contribution towards the school’s football program.

For the ninth straight year, the Patriots will also be accepting nominations for High School Coach of the Week honors. Those who wish to nominate a high school football coach in New England who leads a team to an exceptional weekly performance or reaches a personal career milestone is encouraged to send submissions to [email protected] All nominations must be submitted following a team’s Friday night or Saturday afternoon game to be considered for that week’s Coach of the Week award.

Tomas Sandstrom Jersey Penguins

Former Pittsburgh Penguins center Greg Johnson, who spent parts of two seasons with the team in 1997, died Sunday in Detroit at age 48, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

A cause of death was not immediately known.

A skilled center who was the University of North Dakota’s all-time leading scorer, Johnson came to the Penguins from Detroit in a Jan. 27, 1997, trade for winger Tomas Sandstrom. He was traded to Chicago for defenseman Tuomas Gronman early the next season Oct. 27, 1997.

In between, Johnson had eight goals and 17 points in 37 regular-season games for the Penguins.

He also played five playoff games, scoring a goal.

Johnson was claimed by Nashville in the 1998 expansion draft and went on to play the last seven seasons of his career with the Predators, acting as the franchise’s second captain.

All told, he scored 145 goals in 785 NHL games and won a silver medal at the 1994 Olympics and a gold medal at the 1991 World Junior Championships.

Johnson retired in 2006 when an irregular heartbeat was discovered during a routine physical after he signed as a free agent with Detroit.

Tom Kostopoulos Jersey Penguins

WILKES-BARRE — With the professional hockey season about to start, Steve Oleksy went from being at home to playing in a place where he can feel at home.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were in the middle of the AHL exhibition season when they signed Olesky to a professional tryout agreement.

Oleksy returns to a team where he played during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons and served as alternate captain.

After passing on other options, Oleksy decided “to come back to the organization that did a lot for me, invested a lot in me and did a lot for my career,” he said during an interview following a practice at Toyota SportsPlex last week. “To come back and get back to an organization like that was very attractive to me.”

When he joined the team, the 33-year-old Oleksy became the oldest player on a young roster. He realizes that comes with a responsibility.

Oleksy hopes to have learned from watching how Tom Kostopoulos handled helping young players while serving as the team’s captain and most experienced player.

“Guys who came through like Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel, a large part of that success has to do with a guy like Tom Kostopoulos,” said Oleksy, who also played 11 games with the parent Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016-17. “I got to learn from him a little bit earlier in my career and see the role he played in development. Back then, I was learning. Now, I’m trying to translate what I learned into real life and teach the younger guys what I watched him teach.”

Closer to the end of his career than the beginning, Oleksy said his role “has changed a lot,” accordingly.

Oleksy has three goals and 17 assists in 73 career NHL games. He has 22 goals and 92 assists while going plus-52 with 784 penalty minutes in 411 AHL games.

Whether he would have a chance to add to those totals was put in doubt with an off-ice health issue.

“I was enjoying my summer, taking care of myself with skating and workouts,” Oleksy said. “A little over a month and a half ago, I had my appendix removed, so I was laid up.”

Oleksy had gotten back on the ice, skating and “getting ready to go” when he heard from the Penguins.

One way or another, he was going to be involved in the sport.

Preparing from life after his playing days, Oleksy has been helping train younger players and running a summer league that includes several of his current teammates.

“One of my big things throughout my playing career, whether it was my first year or my ninth or 10th year, was getting ready for life after hockey,” he said.

That can wait.

Oleksy joined the Penguins for the end of the exhibition season. He did not dress in the regular-season opener, but is available as the Penguins schedule heats up with three games in three nights beginning Friday at Lehigh Valley.

The Penguins play their home opener Saturday at 7:05 p.m. against the Utica Comets.

Rod Buskas Jersey Penguins

Eyes were fixated on Feb. 19, 1988, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers entered the game tied with Gordie Howe for the league record in assists (1,049) and looked to the game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins to surpass his hero.

Given the perceived rivalry between Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky and Mario “Le Magnifique” Lemieux, breaking the assist record in front of an Edmonton crowd and “adversary” at the same time would be a nice addition to capturing the record.

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On the other side of the ice, Mario Lemieux was having a career year and looked to widen the point gap between him and Gretzky in the NHL’s scoring race.

It appeared that Lemieux was going to dethrone the reigning seven-season champion. Lemieux held a 15-point lead heading into the game and used a 12 game stretch where Gretzky was on the shelf with a sprained knee, to bolster his lead in the standings.

Lemieux, who was not immune to injuries, hoped an annual bout with bronchitis didn’t derail his attempt to win the title. He had faced the illness the previous two seasons (1986 and 1987) but quit smoking in the summer of 1987 and hoped it would increase his chances of keeping himself healthy.

Paul Coffey was facing his old team for the first time since he was traded to Pittsburgh in a seven-player deal on Nov. 24, 1987. Coffey won three Stanley Cups with the Oilers and was a key figure in helping Gretzky maintain his vice-like grip to the scoring title. The Penguins looked to the future hall of fame Defenceman to lead them to the postseason and provide Lemieux with more opportunities to create offensive output.

With all the makings of a classic contest, what was the eventual outcome of the game?

The Results
The Penguins lost the game 7-3 and both Lemieux and Gretzky left game in the 1st period with injuries.

Gretzky took an errant Rod Buskas stick to the face, which caused a scratch to his left eye and some bleeding to develop behind the eye.

Lemieux took a puck to the face from a shot that deflected off Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr’s stick and cut his nose. Unlike Gretzky, Lemieux did not miss any games and managed to register an assist in the game.

Coffey failed to earn any points but managed to take 8 PIM (holding, tripping, high-sticking, cross-checking) and registered two shots on goal.

The Conclusion
The injury delayed Gretzky’s capture of the Howe record for 13 days. He broke the record on March 1, 1988, in a game versus the Los Angeles Kings. It took Howe 1,767 games to set the record and Gretzky (in his ninth season) just 678 games to tie the record and 680 games to break it. Gretzky also achieved the feat in 17 fewer seasons then it took Howe to set the record.

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Lemieux claimed his first of six Art Ross Trophies with 168 points (70 goals and 98 assists) in 77 games played and finished 19 points ahead of Gretzky and his 149 points (40 goals and 109 assists) in 64 games played. Lemieux also added his first Hart Trophy and earned his second All-Star Game MVP of his career.

Chance Adams Jersey Yankees

There have been high regards for New York Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia. People are saying that he should be a starter for the team in 2020. But, the Yankees need to be cautious with him and build their team as if he didn’t exist this offseason.

Pitchers Are Available
Of course, everybody knows that there are some huge arms out on the free-agency market, but none are more prominent than Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

It would be an ideal situation if the Yankees could sign one, if not both of them, but others like Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler are also on the market. They need to focus on this over wanting to use Garcia as a starter in 2020.

Not Completely Proven
A lot of the high regard for Garcia came after a hot stretch for him in AA but wasn’t that great after he was promoted to AAA. His ERA was near 5.50 with a 1-3 record. He has been inconsistent over his career; some levels he had a lot of success at and others not as much.

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If the Yankees had him starting in 2020, I can tell you that he would get shelled every time that he went out there. He isn’t ready.

Pressure
Playing for the Yankees organization comes with a lot of stress, and often the weight is also felt in minors. With a lot of news about his success and a potential call up in 2019, the pressure probably got to him. His name was being mentioned a lot, and that gets to a player.

A lot of guys also kind of flatten out at the AAA level, and there are no better examples than Luis Cessa and Chance Adams. Both pitchers were great in AA but never had much success after. Could Garcia be another victim of that curse?

I think that Deivi Garcia has the potential to be good, but all I’m saying is that the Yankees need to act like he doesn’t exist when building their team this winter. If they plan to put him in the rotation and he struggles, they won’t have a fallback option.

You can never have too many pitchers, and if Garcia proves himself in 2020, there’s no reason why he can’t make it into the rotation, just not when camp breaks.

J.A. Happ Jersey Yankees

Take any pitching staff. It will have flaws.

Last season, the Yankees won 103 regular season games and the American League East crown despite posting a 4.31 staff ERA that was just 14th-best in baseball.

New pitching coach Matt Blake, whom the Yankees reportedly hired Thursday, will have some problems to solve.

Here are four quick Issues. Let us know what else he must do in the comments below:

Help J.A. Happ rebound: Happ posted a 2.23 ERA over his final six games (five starts) of the regular season, striking out 35 hitters over 32 1/3 innings. Before that, he had a 5.85 ERA over 25 starts? The Yankees will pay Happ $17 million next season. He’s almost assured a rotation spot. He should be priority No. 1. The 37-year-old appears to still have the stuff to be a plenty capable big-league starter.

Luis Severino’s changeup: Sure, it might be splitting hairs to complain about Severino, whose fastball-slider offering could be among the best in the game. But it’s when hitters have to also respect his changeup that he’s able to pitch deeper into games. It was a weapon he trusted more in the minors, he’s said, than he has in the majors. Making it consistent could lift him from potential No. 1 to bonafide ace.

Masahiro Tanaka’s splitter: Tanaka’s trademark pitch abandoned him for large stretches of 2019. He seemed to find it late in the year, thanks to a new grip, and he was as good as ever in the playoffs. Tanaka complained last season that the juiced baseball’s seams felt too low and the ball felt too hard, perhaps contributing factors to the fall off of his splitter. Bringing it back would do wonders for the veteran.

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Finish Deivi Garcia’s development: The 20-year-old right-hander blitzed through the organization in 2019, going from High-A and tearing through Double-A before stumbling a bit at Triple-A. Former pitching coach Larry Rothschild said he thought that dealing with more advanced hitters and some fatigue were to blame for Garcia’s rough time at Triple-A. Of course, Blake will be guiding the big-league staff. Getting Garcia over the finish line will be up to the minor-league staff and player development head Kevin Reese. But Blake will have his hands on Garcia during big-league spring training.

Domingo German Jersey Yankees

Before we get started, domestic violence should not be tolerated or justified, even if a New York Yankees player commits it, in this instance, starting pitcher, Domingo German. The negative attention and press an event like this causes for a prestigious team like the Yankees can spell the end of a player’s career in the Bronx, but it seems as if the organization is behind German.

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the MLB is coming to a conclusion in regards to German’s case, who will likely walk away with a minimal suspension after reportedly striking the mother of hid children, Mara Vega, in public, on the evening of September 16.

Without a police report being filed, there’s little evidence and cause for a lengthy suspension for the young pitcher. Teammate Aroldis Chapman was suspended for 30-games in 2016 and Houston Astros’ Roberto Osuna, missed 75 games in 2018 on domestic violence charges.

The offseason for the Yankees could be determined by the result of the case against German, who is set to be a consistent starter for the next several seasons.

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How did Domingo German perform for the Yankees in 2019?
The Dominican starter had a career-high season in 2019, finishing 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, and 153:39 K:BB ratio over 143 innings. At just 27-yeard-old, the Yanks are expecting him to grow into an ace that can help solidify one of the best starting units in baseball.

Despite the concerns regarding Domingo, the Bombers are known for giving player’s multiple chances to redeem themselves unless you’re Clint Frazier, of course, who was sent to the dog house for being negative towards reporters last season.

I anticipate the committee will impose a 30-game suspension for German, who likely won’t miss the majority of the 2020 season. Having him in the starting rotation will undoubtedly give the Yankees an edge, and if they manage to sign a big-name arm this offseason, they could be walking into next year with an exceptional rotation.

Scott Brosius Jersey Yankees

With Olympic berths hanging in the balance, the final six teams in the WBSC Premier12 are preparing to return to field for the tournament’s Super Round, which begins in Japan on Monday.

Japan, the world’s top-ranked team, enters the second round with a perfect record but isn’t taking anything for granted. The Japanese are focused on winning the title for the first time and gaining momentum for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Samurai Japan will open its Super Round campaign against Australia at Zozo Marine Stadium at 7 p.m. on Monday.

“It was huge that we won all three of our games in the Taiwan round and it’s put us closer (to the championship). And our players have built confidence and have gotten in better condition,” said manager Atsunori Inaba.

Japan lost to eventual winner South Korea in the semifinals of the inaugural edition of the tournament four years ago and settled for bronze.

“It’ll be the first game in the Super Round,” Inaba said. “We’ll be playing in an open-air stadium and may have some nerves in the first game of the round. But we’re going into the game thinking of this as a fresh start.”

Japan, a two-time World Baseball Classic champion, defeated Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Taiwan in the first round.

Prior to Japan-Australia, Taiwan and Mexico will begin the Super Round at noon at Zozo Marine Stadium.

The tournament format this year has been largely modified from the first edition.

The top two teams from each of the three Opening Round groups in Taiwan, South Korea and Mexico have advanced to the Super Round. In the Super Round, the teams will play opponents who were not in their group during the first round.

The three group winners — Japan, Mexico and South Korea — will start with 1-0 records based on wins over the second place teams in their groups. Which means Taiwan, Australia and the U.S., who all lost to the group winners in the first round, will start out 0-1.

The top two teams in the Super Round will advance to Sunday night’s gold-medal game at Tokyo Dome.

For Monday night’s game, Inaba has designated right-hander Shun Yamaguchi, of the 2019 Central League champion Yomiuri Giants, as his starting pitcher against Australia. The Aussies will send right-hander Dushan Ruzic to the mound as their starter.

“It’s a good team” said Australia manager David Nilsson, a former Milwaukee Brewer who also played for the Chunichi Dragons, when asked which Japanese players his team would have to worry about. “Tomorrow, we’ll play Team Japan, so with that, there’s no player on their roster we’re putting a lot of attention to, we’re putting equal attention to whoever we’ll play. They have a lot of depth, in starting pitching with a strong bullpen. Their hitters are very effective 1-9. We’re approaching them as a unit, one team.”

After facing Australia, Samurai Japan will take on the United States, Mexico and reigning champion South Korea, respectively, all at the Big Egg.

The Premier12 serves as a qualifying event for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, in which the sport will make its return for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games. The highest-placed nations from the Americas and Asia/Oceana (excluding host Japan) will punch their tickets to the 2020 Games.

Defending champion South Korea will square off against the United States, in a rematch of the 2015 final, at 7 p.m. at Tokyo Dome. But manager Kim Kyung-moon insisted that his squad would continue to play with a one-game-at-a-game mind-set and not dwell on trying to repeat.

“We won all our games back home (in the pool stage), but we try to not think of the result as indicative of what we are,” he said. “We think all the teams in the Super Round have the ability to win it all. But the condition of our team is very good and we want to go back to the country with a good result.

“Our goal is to win the championship. But we are not thinking too much about repeating. We just want to do the best we can in every game we play and we believe that will lead to a positive result.”

All six teams practiced in Chiba on Sunday to tune up for the Super Round.

Team USA skipper, and former New York Yankees infielder, Scott Brosius said that “there’s no question” the team “is very motivated to play well” in Japan, referring to its quest to earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

“Our ultimate goal obviously is to qualify for the Olympics,” said Brosius, who won three World Series championships with the Yankees and was named the 1998 World Series MVP. “But in order to do that, we know that we have to beat some very good teams. So we have to turn our full attention to each and every game, treat every game as the most important game.”