Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. Akiem Hicks Jersey . This week, they discuss sports off-day, the MLB All-Star game, Canadas field lacrosse team and Huston Streets comments upon being traded. Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star My thumb is up to Wednesday of this past week. Now, you probably read and heard a lot of sympathetically depressed moaning about how it was the slowest sports day of the year - no baseball, no hockey, no basketball, no football, and nothing to entertain those in search of sports except... Well, Major League Soccer, the Tour de France, and the ESPYs, featuring Drake. Thats hardly nothing, the semi-vacancy of the ESPYs aside, but you know what? Good. We could use some time with less sports. The days are packed with sports. Christmas day is basically a basketball tournament now. We could use some time to breathe, take a walk, reconnect with family, learn to make a bookshelf. Sports are fun, no question. But how can we miss them when they wont go away? Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun My thumb is down to major league baseball, the Minnesota Twins and broadcasters of the All-Star game for failing to appropriately recognize the passing of Tony Gwynn just one month ago. Its not like Gwynn was just another player. He was a 15-time All-Star, perhaps the most beloved figure in a game with not enough beloved figures, and yet somehow there was no tribute to Gwynn throughout the three hour Derek Jeter infomercial that we endured. And I have nothing but regard for Derek Jeter, who has had a storied career; but there should have been something for Gwynn. For the fans. For baseball. A moment of silence. Some words of tribute. Something. At least Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles had it right. He wrote in marker on his baseball cap the initials TG with the number 19. He had the sense of moment baseball didnt have. Gary Lawless, TSN Radio My thumb is up to Canadas national mens field lacrosse team for winning the world championship last night. Canada defeated the U.S., handing the Americans just their third loss in tournament history dating back to 1967. All three of those U.S. losses have come to Canada and all three in championship games, 1978, 2006 and now 2014. Lacrosse is our national sport but its box lacrosse most Canadians play, not field. In fact, Canada has never lost a box lacrosse game at the worlds. Winning the field championship doesnt qualify as a shock but more of a nice surprise. Congrats to Team Canada, who just so happened to be one of the youngest teams weve ever sent to the worlds, and will be a very serious threat to repeat in 2018. Dave Hodge, TSN My thumb is up to the refreshing comments of relief pitcher/closer Huston Street as he departed the bottom-feeding San Diego Padres for the playoff-bound Los Angeles Angels. There would be lots to say about the horrible state of the Padres franchise, but street said this; "I believe in the ownership--they want to win--theyre not satisfied with the status quo. I blame the players for what has happened here." Well, even though theres plenty of blame to go around and it does extend to the front office and to ownership - the Padres field a lineup that is not of big-league quality - Street is quite right, as a player, to let others find fault with others and to say that, of all the reasons teams lose, the biggest reason is always that players perform badly. Eddy Pineiro Jersey . Irving played 10 minutes Sunday night before going to the locker room. He had two points and four assists, missing all five of his shots. The All-Star game MVP is the top scorer among Eastern Conference point guards with 21. Duke Shelley Jersey .C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes have activated defenceman Joni Pitkanen from injured reserve. NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis has come close to making New Orleans Pelicans franchise history two games in a row. Ryan Anderson has helped ensure Andersons performances dont go to waste. Davis had 22 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks, and the New Orleans Pelicans won their second straight game, 105-98 over the struggling Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. Anderson added 14 of his 19 points in the second half to help the Pelicans pull away in the fourth quarter after the Jazz, who beat New Orleans for its only win of the season last week, had rallied to take a third-quarter lead. "I always come in and Im going to shoot the open shot and try to be aggressive and score but its hard to know when youre sitting out how youre going to have an immediate impact," Anderson said. "Its been a very easy transition because of the guys. Its not a surprise, but its relieving to know that these guys can just pick that up and we can play as a group. ... The guys are getting me open and were really doing a good job of moving the ball." Anderson, who returned from a broken toe last Saturday night, has played a significant role in each of New Orleans past two victories, going 16 of 25 from the field, including 10 of 16 from 3-point range. "Ryan just gives us a dimension, not only does he shoot the ball well, he can rebound on the defensive end," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said, adding that Anderson, simply because of the threat he poses from outside, "helps so many guys without touching the ball." Jrue Holiday scored 14, Tyreke Evans 13 and Jason Smith 11 for New Orleans. Former Michigan star and first-round draft choice Trey Burke made his NBA debut for Utah after missing the first 12 games because of surgery on his right index finger. The ninth overall pick last summer scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in only 12 minutes. Burke said he wanted more minutes but understood the decision to limit his playing time. "Thats how it is coming off an injury," Burke said. "Coach wanted to shelter me a little bit." Enes Kanter led Utah with 19 points and John Lucas III added 14, hitting four of five 3s he attempted. Richard Jeffersoon and Derrick Favours each scored 13, but it was not enough prevent the Jazz (1-2) from dropping their fourth straight as one of its top scorers, Gordon Hayward had an off-night. Ken Margerum Jersey. Hayward shot 1 for 17 and finished with six points. "You have to grow through it," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "This is who we have and this is who we are going to be. We cant manufacture anyone else to put on the floor. We have to learn through it on the fly here." Davis defence only made it harder on Utah. In the last two games, he has nearly had his first career triple-double, narrowly missing double digits in rebounds and blocks. No player in the 26-year history of the Pelicans, formerly called the Hornets, has had a triple-double comprised in part by double-digit blocks. Moving quickly all over the court, Davis even rejected a perimeter shot by Hayward. "You just got to defend," Davis said. "Thats what Jrue tells me all the time: It starts with you. So I just try to go out there and defend, play as hard as I can and hopefully the team follows in my footsteps and we play well defensively." Utah started to find its rhythm early in the third quarter, scoring 11 straight points, including two 3s by Lucas and another by Jefferson, to take its largest lead at 57-51. New Orleans immediately responded with a 15-4 run, however. Holiday scored twice inside during the spurt and Davis added a fast-break dunk. The game remained close until early in the fourth quarter, when Anderson hit two 3s to cap a 14-2 run that gave New Orleans its largest lead at 87-73. Utah was able to briefly trim its deficit to six when Kanters inside basket made it 96-90, but Davis putback in a crowd began another Pelicans surge which Anderson highlighted with a dunk to build New Orleans lead back to a game-high 14 at 105-91 with 1:05 left. New Orleans finished shooting 51 per cent (40 of 79), while Utah hit 45 per cent (37 of 83) of its shots. NOTES: Utah, which fell to 0-7 away from home, continues its three game road trip Friday at Dallas and Sunday at Oklahoma City. ... A video review deprived Anderson of a made 3 when officials concluded a foul called on Utah occurred just before the shot. ' ' '
The most under-rated team in the FBS resides in the great state of Michigan. Leon Durham Jersey . To the surprise of many, it isnt the Wolverines but their in-state rivals the Michigan State Spartans. Head Coach Mark Dantonio leads a capable offence, and one of the best defences the Big 10 has ever seen. Outside of a loss to Notre Dame back in September, the Spartans have been perfect, working their way up the BCS rankings where they currently sit 16th. With Nebraska, Northwestern, Minnesota and potentially Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship game still on the schedule, Michigan State has a chance to crack the Top 10 and wind up in the Rose Bowl. For a team you have heard very little about, the upside for the Spartans is incredibly high. And its well deserved. In their nine games, eight wins and one loss, the Spartans have given up more than 17 points just once. In their last three games theyve combined to give up just nine points total. They have allowed 11.6 points per game which is third-best in the FBS. Now paired with their daunting defence is an offence that has provided capable of keeping pace. Sophomore Connor Cook has taken over as the starting quarterback and has tossed 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Jeremy Langford has done a respectable job replacing Leveon Bell with 11 total touchdowns out of the backfield. The fact of the matter is the Spartans have been dismissed because of all the talk that the Big 10 is "down" and the conference is well behind the likes of the SEC, Pac-12, ACC and Big 12. The truth is while the depth in the conference is down; the top end could compete with all of those other conferences. The three-headed monster of Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin is capable of hanging with the other powers. Currently Michigan State sits behind Northern Illinois, Fresno State, and two-loss teams in UCLA and South Carolina in the BCS standings. On a neutral field the Spartans would win games against all four of those teams - a few of them handily. Depending on how they perform the rest of the season, it may take until the bowl season for Michigan State to prove that their ranking has been a sham all along, and the Spartans should have been considered elite long ago. Teams dont need to score 60 points to be exciting or successful, and the Spartans are the number one team at proving that point. They have work left to be done, starting with the Cornhuskers this weekend, but keep an eye out for Michigan State as they take a run at the Big 10 Title and a berth in a BCS bowl game. Other notes from around the NCAA: -Michigan lost their first game at home under Brady Hoke, falling to Nebraska. Theyve combined for minus-69 rushing yards the last two games. -Tyler Gaffney ran the ball 45 times in Stanfords upset win over Oregon, good for the new Cardinal school record. -Auburn scored 55 points against Tennessee despite attempting only seven passes. Theyve won two straight games without attempting 10 passes in either contest. -92 points and 1,092 yards in the Texas A&M win over Mississippi State. In likely his last game at Kyle Field Johnny Manziel tossed five touchdowns and three interceptions. -Tyler Cameron completed five passes and threw three interceptions against FSU. Amazingly, he wasnt even the teams worst QB on the day – that title goes to Tanner Price who had three picks and only one completion. The six INTs by Florida State were a school record. -Pitt upset Notre Dame 28-21. In the fourth quarter Ray Vinopal had interceptions on back-to-back passes by Fighting Irish QB Tommy Rees. -The 38 points Alabama scored against LSU were the most since they put up 41 back in 1947. -UCF RB Storm Johnson had his third 100-yard rushing game of the year and the Knights are tops in the American Conference. The stat may not be that impressive, but the name Storm Johnson sure is. Kyle Schwarber Jersey . (January 11, 2014) – Once again Kevin Martin proved why he is the all-time TSN skins leader, winning $11,500 in prize money and a spot in the Travelers All-Star Curling Skins Game presented by Pintys final following a semifinal victory over Brad Jacobs earlier this evening at the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre in Banff, Alta. Phil Cavarretta Jersey . -- The Seattle Seahawks and wide receiver Sidney Rice have agreed to terms on a deal.TORONTO -- Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers have been nominated as finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award. The award is presented annually to the most valuable player in the NHL, as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players Association. The three centres are also the finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded by the NHL to the player considered most valuable to his team. Crosby scored 36 goals and led the league in assists (68) and points (104) to capture his second career Art Ross Trophy and lead the Penguins to their second consecutive division title. He registered points in 60 of the 80 games he played in (75 per cent), including 30 multi-point performances, and never went more than two consecutive games without registering a point. The 26-year-old Cole Harbour, N.S., native also reached the 100-point milestone for the fifth time hit 700 career points in his 497th game, the fastest among active players and sixth-fastest in NHL history. Crosby won the award in 2007 and 2013 and was a finalist in 2010. Jonathan Lucroy Jersey . Getzlaf scored a career-high 31 goals and ranked second in the league with 87 points to lead the Ducks to the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history. He posted a 14-game point streak from Nov. 15-Dec. 15 (six goals, 11 assists). Getzlaf, from Regina, also set a career high with seven game-winning goals and recorded a plus-28 defensive rating. Hes a first-time nominee and is looking to become the first Ducks player to receive the award. Giroux matched a career high with 28 goals and finished third in the NHL scoring race with 86 points to help the Flyers bounce back from a 3-9-0 start to the season. After being held pointless in his first five games and not scoring a goal until his 16th, Giroux totalled 28 goals and 51 assists in his final 67 games of the season. The 26-year-old Hearst, Ont., native also compiled a career-long, nine-game point streak Dec. 11-30, (six goals, 11 assists) and recorded his 100th NHL goal Dec. 19. Hes looking to become the first Flyer to receive the Award since Eric Lindros in 1995. ' ' '