PLAYER OF THE DAY

Justin Williams (NHL) is a 19-year NHL veteran, and a star right winger and team captain for the Carolina Hurricanes. More importantly for today’s news, though, he’s known as “Mr. Game 7.” Last night, he reminded everyone why he has that title, as he led his team past the defending Stanley Cup Champions – the Washington Capitals. In the double-overtime thriller, Williams’ sent a pass to teammate Brock McGinn for a short tap-in to oust the Capitals. See, Williams has a thing for this moment — he’s 8-1 in Game 7’s in his career, his only loss coming when he played for… wait for it… the Capitals, two years ago. This was his last Game 7 before Wednesday, and he knew he needed some redemption. He now has 15 points in Game 7’s, the most in NHL history. The Capitals started the playoff series up 2-0 and were up 2-0 in the first period of Game 7. The most dangerous lead in hockey, at it again. Carolina came back from both the series deficit and the game deficit for their first playoff series win in 10 years. The Hurricanes play the Islanders in the next round, and the Islanders better hope they don’t have to play a Game 7.

As a side note, the Stanley Cup is now anyone’s to take. There are no regular season leaders, and no division champions left after Round 1 — that hasn’t happened since 1967. 

@NHL twitter teed this up before last night’s game. Cue the production team – new clips from last night needed before the next game 7!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Clippers did it again
What’d they do?
(NBA) If you thought the Clippers beating the Warriors was a fluke last time, think again. The Los Angeles Clippers are here to play. On Wednesday, the Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors on Steph’s home court for the second time this series, cutting the series deficit to 3-2 before heading to L.A. for Game 6.

This game wasn’t as dramatic as the Clippers’ last win, when they erased an NBA playoff-record 31-point deficit in Game 2. It was just as important, though. With a home win Friday, they would have the opportunity to play a Game 7 and a chance to pull off possibly the greatest playoff series upset in NBA history. It was also thesecond-biggest upset by point spread (Golden State was projected to win by 15 points) since 1991, and it marked the first time a team has won two playoff games as double-digit underdogs in the same postseason.

The Warriors were 19-1 at home in the last two postseasons. They’re 1-2 this postseason. If they slip up on Friday, it could get really interesting in Game 7, givenGolden State’s history finishing off a 3-1 lead. Where’s Justin Williams when you need him?

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“Sweet Lou” Williams led much of the charge last night for the L.A. Clippers…
Check out the highlight reel^

Vlad Jr. gets called up
But who’s Vlad Sr.? 
(MLB) The wait is over: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., known simply as “Vlad Jr.” in the MLB, is making his Major League debut Friday with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Guerrero is the son of MLB Hall of Famer (guess who?),Vladimir Guerrero. He is the top prospect per MLB’s official “pipeline” prospects list and has been one the most exciting players not in the big leagues for months. He almost made his debut earlier this season, but an oblique injury kept him in the minors until now. What probably kept him out even longer, though, are rules regarding “service time,” which, long story short, meant the Blue Jays controlled his contract longer if they delayed his MLB debut as long as possible.

The wait has been long enough, and Vlad Jr. will bring his home run-hitting prowess to Canada, where his dad played eight seasons with the Montreal Expos. Little Vlad is the betting favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year, even though he hasn’t played a game yet… Do your dad proud, young Vlad.

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Vlad Sr. shares some love and encouragement with his son ahead of the big debut.

That photo is, and likely always will be, one for the ages.

“And With The First Pick…”
Hey, I’ve heard that before
(NFL) The NFL Draft starts tonight, and no, Kevin Costner won’t be pulling the strings. Only the first-round selections will be made tonight (Rounds 2 and 3 are Friday, Rounds 4-7 on Saturday), but there’s plenty of news to be found in the first 32 picks. Want to know the biggest questions entering tonight’s draft?

  • Who will go No. 1 overall? For weeks the buzz has been about Kyler Murray. He’s the blazing fast, rocket-armed QB from Oklahoma. He was drafted ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft then won the 2018 Heisman Trophy and said sorry baseball, not for me
  • Which teams could trade into the top 10? Much like Costner (laughably) did in the greatest draft movie ever (don’t @ us), general managers are furiously working the phones to move up in Thursday’s first round. Redskins owner Dan Snyder is reportedly determined to trade up, possibly for polarizing QB prospect Daniel Jones of Duke. Classic, Redskins. The Raiders are making noise, too, and the Falcons could be moving up. Basically the first 10 picks are as messy as your desk at work and nobody has any idea what will happen. RT if you think it should be called April Madness…
  • Will Nick Bosa’s tweets affect his draft stock? The answer to this is probably “no,” but here’s what happened. Bosa posted tweets showing a right-wing lean, he deleted them but the news still spread. The tweets mostly focused on support for President Donald Trump, dismissal of activist and former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick and distaste for generally beloved black icons such as Beyonce and the movie Black Panther. Whether you think any of that should be or is controversial, NFL teams almost certainly won’t, according to one former player. Bosa is still projected as a near-unanimous top-three selection.

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ON THIS DAY

In 1993, the New England Patriots (NFL) selected Washington State quarterback Drew Bledsoe with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. The Patriots had suffered through five straight losing seasons and had one playoff appearance since losing in the 1985 Super Bowl. Bledsoe started the next nine seasons for New England before a near-fatal injury knocked him out of the second game in 2001. His backup, Tom Brady, assumed the starting job and went on to win a record-six Super Bowls with the Pats. Bledsoe played five more years (three in Buffalo, two in Dallas) before retiring after the 2006 season.


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