All the sports news you may have missed this week. From the top highlights to culture and politics, this weekly column will cover all the highs and lows from the last week plus a look to what’s ahead to make sure you’re all caught up on news from the sports world, and ready for a new week.
These past few weeks have seen the NBA and WNBA become the center of a national conversation surrounding politics, sports, and the power of a centralized voice in establishing change. More on the NBA and WNBA’s role in the Black Lives Matter movement soon.
Donovan Mitchell is the youngest player since Michael Jordan to score over 50 points in a playoff game.
If you need a new podcast, let me introduce you to “Kickin’ it with Khristina,” a sports podcast run by Khristina Williams, who is also the founder of Girls Talk Sports TV, a news source dedicated to the WNBA.
Luka Doncic made NBA history when he became the youngest player ever in the league to hit a playoff buzzer-beater.
Portland Trail Blazer’s Damian Lillard became the first player in NBA history to end the regular season with three straight 40+ point games.
Lebron James became the first player in the NBA to accrue 20+ points, 15+ assists and 15+ rebounds in a playoff game. I’d say I’m surprised, but he’s one of the GOATs for a reason.
The entire Lakers team wore faux-MAGA hats that read ‘Make America great again Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor’ ahead of their round one game one against the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA playoffs.
We’re in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and brackets are already broken. In the Eastern hub, the Philadelphia Flyers face the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins take on Tampa Bay Lightning. Meanwhile, in the Western series, the Colorado Avalanche play against the Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights against the Vancouver Canucks. Now, I’m no analyst, but I do watch a lot of hockey. So just for fun, I’m going to give my own predictions for how the series will go here — that way, when I make a call that you read about in the next “Out of Bounds” segment, you’ll know I wasn’t lying to look good. Also, when I get something wrong, we can all laugh about how I’ll probably never have a job as a hockey analyst for SportsNet (please hire me).
Eastern Conference: The Flyers and the Islanders both play a similar style of suffocating defense, so if you’re looking for a series with some flashy blue-line action, this isn’t it. It pains me to say this, but as boring as Flyers versus Islanders games can be, both teams are relatively well-matched, so it’s hard to pick a series winner. As a pious Flyers fan, I’m going to take them in 7 games, but this series is a nail-biter for fans of either team. The Bruins looked sluggish and uninterested during the first round and the “perfection line” has been decidedly less than perfect up until this point, but the Bruins are starting to turn up the heat. The Tampa Bay Lightning have something to prove after being swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round last year, and they’ve been playing solid and hungry through the entirety of the playoffs. You either love or hate the Bruins, so please don’t come for me when I take the Lightning in six.
Western Conference: The Dallas Stars are another team that didn’t appear to be a top contender before the first round, but were suddenly able to turn it on during the second. The Stars’ top players like Seguin and Benn started producing points and they look like a totally different team than the one from less than a week ago. The Avalanche are a cup-favorite, and they certainly have what it takes to make it to the Western Conference final, but with the recent loss of Grubauer and Johnson to injuries, things are looking rough for the Avalanche going forward. The Avalanche have both a solid defense and high-scoring capabilities, and if they’re able to lock down their own zone, I see no reason they can’t win the series over the Stars in 7 games.
Now we’ll move onto the Vegas Golden Knights and the Vancouver Canucks. The Golden Knights are another strong contender for the cup, and they’ve been clicking on the ice in a way that no other team has so far. They bulldozed Chicago in round one, and it looks like they might do the same to the Canucks. It’ll be tough for the Canucks to beat Vegas’s physicality and speed. I’m taking the Vegas Golden Knights in 6 games.
Carter Hart has become the youngest Flyer goalie to ever achieve a shutout in a playoff game, at 22 years and three days. He earned the shutout just days after being pulled in game two of round one, during which the Flyers lost 5-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. He’s since posted two consecutive shutouts.
Corey Crawford earned all three stars for game four in round one between Vegas and Chicago. During the play-in round, it seemed that we might be seeing the 2013 and 2015 Stanley-cup-winning Blackhawks, but it was clear in the first-round series against Vegas that the Blackhawks just couldn’t outscore their defensive and goaltending problems as they had in the play-in round against the Edmonton Oilers. Prior to game four, Vegas led the series 3-0 and looked to be gearing up for a sweep in game 4, when Corey Crawford put the team on his back, stopping 46 out of 47 shots. With it, he secured his 52nd playoff win overall and Chicago’s safety for another day. In the end, Chicago would lose round one to the Vegas Golden Knights, but they didn’t get swept because of Crawford and that’s something to celebrate.
Tuukka Rask, the goalie for the Boston Bruins, opted out of the playoffs, just hours before the Bruins game-three win against the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s unclear if Rask will return to the bubble should the Bruins remain in the postseason, but it has been confirmed that he would be welcome to play in those games if he so chooses.
Amy Scheer has been named as General Manager of the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL.
Hall-of-Famer Dale Hawerchuk has passed away following a battle with cancer.
NHL analyst Mike Milbury made a sexist comment during a discussion about NHL bubble life with his cohost John Forslund, commenting on what he sees as upsides to bubble life: “not even any women here to disrupt your concentration.” Following his comment, both the NHL and NBC released public statements condemning Milbury’s opinion, and he will step down from his role on NBC Sports for the remainder of the playoffs. Glad to see it.
If you haven’t heard yet about the Black Girl Hockey Club, then consider this your introduction! The Black Girl Hockey Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the hockey community more inclusive by providing hockey education, scholarships, and community involvement to Black women and girls. You can find them on Instagram at @blackgirlhockeyclub and at their website here.
NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan Kearney was one of the recipients of Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers honor, which celebrates women “setting the standard and leading the next generation in sports business.” We love to see it!
This August, Artist Gerrit Starczewski organized a match at Stimberg Stadium in Ruhr, Germany, that was played entirely naked. Yeah, I said it. Naked. But it was tarps-off to the extreme for a cause, as the point of the match was to protest commercialization in football. Starczewski said in an interview with sports magazine 11Freunde, “I want to set an example of naturalness against the … influence of social media and false ideals of beauty.”
It’s been a big week in trades for the NWSL. Rose Lavelle was traded from the Washington Spirit to OL Reign. Kelley O’Hara is rumored to be traded from the Utah Royals to the Washington Spirit, although the GM of the Utah Royals did tweet that the O’Hara trade wasn’t a done deal yet, and that “talks are still ongoing between the Royals and the Spirit.” Crystal Dunn is also rumored to be traded from the North Carolina Courage to the Portland Thorns as well.
It’s a great time to be a soccer fan from Northern California because the NWSL is reportedly adding yet another expansion team. The newest team will be in Sacramento and has plans to debut for the 2021 season. As a Northern Californian and soccer fan, I’m so excited about the potential of having a new hometown soccer team.
If you haven’t fallen in love with the U.S. Womens National Team, what are you even doing with your life? Four-time world champions and formidable opponents on the field, the USWNT are absolutely electric. The international world of soccer is a little funky right now, but U.S. Soccer has released their official app where you can keep up with all the latest news, match announcements, lineups, highlights, behind-the-scenes footage, and more. BRB, let me take up some more space on my phone and download this app.
The Washington Football Team (NFL) has named Jason Wright as the team’s newest president. Wright is the first Black president of an NFL team.
In November 2018, Washington team player Alex Smith broke his right tibia and fibula in a game against the Houston Texans. Smith then underwent 17 surgeries. It was unknown whether Smith would be able to play again, but Washington announced that Smith has been cleared for physical participation, and is projected to be in full-pad practice this week.
The Kansas City Chiefs are putting policies and rules in place for fans to follow at their home stadium, in regards to Indigenous imagery and motifs.
Aug. 15 and 16 held the MLB’s Bay Bridge series. The Oakland A’s swept the San Francisco Giants in three games for the first time since 2011, and the first time in SF since 2008. I’m not a big baseball fan but if you grew up in the Bay Area then you might know the deep rivalry felt between fans of the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. I grew up a Giants fan, so I can only imagine that A’s fans feel much better than I do about the result from the series.
Cincinnati Reds Broadcaster Thom Brennaman has been suspended after using a homophobic slur on-air during a broadcast. The Reds have issued a statement regarding the incident, and several MLB players have also voiced their support for the LGBT community following his comment.
Nine of the top ten highest-paid female athletes play tennis. You can check out the full list here.
Some tournaments have returned, while others, like Wimbledon, have been cancelled for this year. You can find a schedule for matches here.
I bring sad news to lacrosse fans. Unfortunately, the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) has folded, although they aren’t going down without a fight. The WPLL Futures program, which is a national lacrosse development program for high school girls will continue, and preliminary talks with Athletes Unlimited, a non-profit sports organization are promising.
Aesha Ash has become the first Black female permanent faculty member of the School of American Ballet. Ash is an incredible addition to the program, and I can’t wait to see what she brings to the new generation of ballet students.
Skate Like A Girl has reintroduced their Community Trick Tips series! Every Tuesday you can check out their YouTube page and learn a new trick from the Skate Like A Girl community. This week’s trick is how to roll off curbs, with Maddy Brown.
Consent is Rad is an educational, international platform from skaters that discusses and promotes the importance of consent and healthy communication. They’ve released a new website that offers information, resources and support for survivors.
Chloe McCardel, an Australian distance swimmer, broke the men’s world record for most swims across the English Channel, with 35 crossings completed so far. Her eyes are now set on breaking the Women’s world record, set by Alison Streeter at 43.
Erik Moses has been named the first Black track president in NASCAR history. Moses is now the president of Nashville Superspeedway. The Nashville Superspeedway is on the NASCAR 2021 Cup schedule. In a statement regarding his responsibilities and role as president, Moses said, “I have long admired NASCAR for its commitment to the fan experience and am thrilled to have the opportunity to create the optimal race day experience that NASCAR fans deserve in a market that has such a rich history with the sport.”
TeamTvilling is a non-profit organization dedicated to dismantling the barriers around disabled people participating in sports.
The Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment Company — the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) and the New Jersey Devils (NHL) — is pledging $20 million dollars over the next five years to help reinforce equality in sports.
The Women’s Sports Foundation has released the details for their 2020 Annual Salute to Women in Sports. The live broadcast event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8 pm EST. You can find the details here.
If you can’t get enough of podcasts in quarantine, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Just Women’s Sports have their own bomb podcast hosted by none other than USWNT and NWSL star Kelley O’Hara. The @justwomenssports podcast can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Attention all 90s and early 2000s kids: There’s a new Space Jam movie on the horizon. The film, Space Jam: A New Legacy is set to hit theaters July 16, 2021 and I am absolutely ecstatic. Just FYI, the new “Tune Squad” jerseys are a dose of nostalgia that I didn’t realize I needed. I loved Space Jam when I was a kid, and I can’t wait to watch it. I guess not all news from 2020 is terrible.