The only outing that ranked worse was the Cavs’ loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of the conference finals, and that performance came in a relatively low-leverage situation: Cleveland was up 2-0 in a series it was heavily favored to win. By contrast, after Thursday’s game, our playoff simulations give the Cavaliers a paltry 21 percent probability of winning the championship.If Cleveland beats those odds, it will probably involve a return to its hot-shooting ways. And the good news is that shot-making is pretty variable from game to game, so the Cavs could very well bounce back in Game 2. But there’s no denying that Game 1 was the stuff of nightmares for Cleveland and its fans: The Warriors neutralized the weapon that had carried Cleveland this deep into the playoffs.Check out our latest NBA predictions. In particular, Cleveland’s postseason offense was off the charts. Before Thursday’s game, the Cavs had been scoring 14.8 more points per 100 possessions than would have been expected from an average NBA team against the same slate of playoff opponents. No other team was even close to that level of offensive execution — the second-best playoff offense belonged to the Oklahoma City Thunder, at +5.8; the difference between Cleveland and OKC was roughly the same as the difference between OKC and the 12th-ranked Dallas Mavericks.The Cavs protected the ball pretty well and did a good job on the offensive glass, but the main component of their prodigious scoring output was a spell of outrageous shooting accuracy. And that’s what the Warriors’ defense short-circuited when Golden State defeated Cleveland in the Finals opener Thursday night.Before the Finals, Cleveland had been earning reasonably good looks at the basket — defined by quantified shot quality (qSQ), a metric that tracks the “difficulty” of every shot based on its location and other variables. But the Cavs’ greatest postseason edge had been in shot-making, aka quantified shooter impact (qSI): knocking down even more shots — as measured by effective field goal percentage (eFG%) — than would be expected from their baseline qSQ. And the Cavs’ shooters only seemed to be gaining steam; their two best qSI performances of the postseason came in the two closing games of the Eastern Conference finals. Going into the Finals, no team was even close to Cleveland’s +5.1 postseason qSI.In Game 1 against Golden State, however, Cleveland’s shooting was way off the mark. According to qSQ, the quality of the Cavs’ looks was practically identical to what it had been throughout the playoffs,2In fact, Cleveland’s qSQ in Game 1 was a tenth of a point higher. but the team’s (eFG%) was a staggering 14.2 points lower than it had been in the rest of the playoffs. In terms of qSI, Game 1 was Cleveland’s worst shot-making performance of the postseason, with the Cavs’ top four shooters — Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson — combining to shoot for an eFG% nearly 8 percentage points below expected.(Put another way, if we take qSI at face value, that 8-point shortfall means the errant shooting by that quartet cost the Cavs about 11 points. Overall, Cleveland’s poor qSI left about 14.5 total points on the table — in a game that it ultimately lost by 15.)The result was Cleveland’s second-worst offensive performance of the postseason (according to points above average per 100 possessions, which adjusts for strength of schedule) and only its second below-average offensive game: Before facing the defending champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers had at least one thing going for them: a sterling postseason résumé. Although their hopes of a fo’-fo’-fo’-fo’ were dashed in the conference finals, the Cavs cruised through the playoffs in only two more games than the minimum, compiling metrics along the way that helped Cleveland stand head and shoulders above the pack — even after accounting1Using schedule-adjusted per-possession ratings like I did here. for the weakness of the Eastern Conference:
If this NFL season’s primetime trend is any indication, Thursday night’s Bills-Dolphins tilt will be another snoozefest under the lights.Paradoxically, the 2014 NFL season has been full of parity — implying a number of closely matched teams — but also full of noncompetitive games in primetime, when you’d expect the league to showcase its most compelling matchups. As a matter of fact, it’s probably been the NFL’s least exciting primetime season of the past eight years (if not more).We can measure this in a couple of ways using the win probability data that ESPN’s Stats & Info Group (SIG) computes for each team on any given play.First, we can look at the (non-)competitiveness of this year’s slate of primetime games — defined as all games beginning after 7 p.m. on the East Coast — by tracking the distance from 50 percent the leading team’s win probability has been on an average play. The closer to 50 percent, the more the game is a de facto toss-up, which equates to more drama. The further away, the less the outcome is in doubt — and, presumably, the less exciting the action.SIG has been computing this metric since the 2006 season, and 2014 thus far has seen the highest average distance from 50 percent on record for primetime games. Prior to 2014, the average moment in a primetime NFL game saw the leading team sit 25.6 percentage points away from the midpoint, but this season that average is 31.5 percentage points.Of course, some games can eventually become exciting even if their average moment isn’t especially close to 50-50. An alternative measure of competitiveness is the average win probability added (WPA) by any given play in a game, which gives more weight to games featuring high-leverage plays, no matter when in the game they occur.An instructive example of the distinction between a game’s average distance from 50 percent and average WPA was the Oct. 26 matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions. Since the game was shaping up as an easy Falcons win early — Atlanta led 21-0 at the half — it had a relatively high average distance from 50 percent, suggesting less drama. But the game eventually saw Detroit stage a furious comeback, capped off by a game-winning field goal as time expired; according to average WPA, it was a pretty exciting game, because Detroit had a number of plays in the second half that collected big chunks of WPA.But even by that second metric, this year’s primetime games have been duds. The average play in primetime games from 2006 to 2013 added 2.3 percentage points of WPA, but this year that number is 1.7 points. (You can see the yearly averages in each metric since 2006 in the table at left.)Not all primetime games are created equal, either. Despite the overall decline in primetime excitement this year, “Monday Night Football” (which is broadcast by ESPN, which owns FiveThirtyEight) has seen relatively competitive matchups, with numbers in line with the pre-2014 averages in each of the metrics detailed above.But Thursday night games have been less thrilling, as the table at left shows. And Sunday night has seen the biggest snoozers of all, with an average distance from 50 percent of 35 percentage points and an average WPA of only 1.3 points.Zach Bradshaw, an analytics specialist with ESPN’s Stats and Info Group, contributed analysis.
Every March since 2012, sabermetricians have gathered in Phoenix for their own version of spring training: the SABR Analytics meeting, which serves as a showcase for some of the latest developments in baseball analysis.I made the pilgrimage to the desert for this year’s edition, expecting the modern baseball research conference’s usual emphasis: how to communicate sabermetric insights to coaches, players and executives — a worthy (if not groundbreaking) endeavor. However, the conference brought sabermetrics back to its roots in the data instead. And the game’s newest methods of collecting information, including such diverse offerings as the radar tracking system Statcast and neurological monitoring, have the potential to upend a number of sabermetric truths we once thought settled.Judging from the long shadow it cast at the conference, Statcast might be the chief disruptor of Sabermetrics 1.0. Daren Willman of MLB Advanced Media and Mike Petriello of MLB.com demonstrated the power of the system to monitor factors as varied as the spin on Jake Arrieta’s curveball and Kevin Kiermaier’s defensive range. Sabermetric evaluations of defense, in particular, may benefit greatly from Statcast, as analysts will be able to more precisely measure all aspects of defensive play — from a fielder’s first step to his maximum range and the velocity of his throws.For example, during the first wave of sabermetric defensive measurements, shifts especially confounded our ability to home in on a player’s true fielding skill. Statcast addresses that flaw by measuring the positioning of every fielder before each pitch, and when that information eventually becomes public1During his talk, Willman confirmed that the data will be released to the public someday. it will undoubtedly reshape our defensive metrics.Baseball Info Solutions analyst Scott Spratt offered one potential transformation at SABR, with a new model for integrating shifts into fielding stats such as Defensive Runs Saved. In situations where several fielders could make a play on the ball because of an extreme shift — which places several players on one side of the field, making it difficult for current metrics to apportion individual credit for a defensive run saved — the model gives some of the credit to the whole team. According to Spratt, the Tampa Bay Rays (not surprisingly, one of the most sabermetrically savvy teams in baseball) led the league in these separate, team-based runs saved on shifts last year.Another of the conference’s talks dug deeper into Statcast’s exit velocity information. Most notably, Brian Cartwright, creator of the Oliver projections at FanGraphs, discussed how exit velocity alters our view of defense-independent pitching statistics. DIPS theory is one of sabermetrics’ most treasured counterintuitive insights — the idea that pitchers bear no responsibility for the results of balls in play — but Cartwright showed that a ball’s velocity off the bat is partly attributable to the pitcher (even if the batter deserves more of the credit). He also broke down exit velocity by angle and explained that even fly balls allowed by ground-ball pitchers travel at a lower angle, making them more difficult for the defense to field. For instance, Andrew McCutchen and his fellow Pirate outfielders were notably harmed by their ground-ball pitching staff’s tendency to allow these low screamers.Most analyses of exit velocity so far have concluded that, contrary to DIPS, pitchers do vary some in their ability to prevent hits. So even if, generally speaking, a pitcher’s fielding-independent metrics are more predictive than his ERA, Cartwright’s results suggest that pitchers still deserve some credit in a given year for the batting average they allow on balls in play. As we come to better understand the granular data from Statcast, it’s possible that popular DIPS metrics such as fielding independent pitching will become outmoded.New data could also revamp our understanding of player health. Injuries are one of the last remaining unknown areas in sabermetrics, partially because they are not tracked in the box score or other sources of data. (Although the disabled list gives some injury information, it’s nowhere near complete, as many major leaguers play through pain and discomfort.) But Baseball Info Solutions began tracking injury data in 2015, with stringers manually rating every incident in which a player limped on the bases or was struck by a foul ball.Unsurprisingly, Joe Rosales of Baseball Info Solutions reported at SABR that catchers suffer by far the largest injury burden, thanks primarily to foul balls and backswings from the batter. Rosales also showed that catchers coming off games with multiple injuries to the head see a reduction in offensive performance for the next few days.2It’s not clear whether this includes concussions; the data only notes when a player was hit in the head and doesn’t give the severity of the injury unless the team releases that information. That injuries have an impact on performance isn’t shocking, but gathering the data to prove it is a big step forward.Finally, there’s another source of data even more exotic than exit velocity and defensive positioning. A company called deCervo specializes in monitoring the brain activity of athletes as they perform tasks such as pitch recognition. DeCervo’s software simulates the flight of a pitch and asks users to decide whether it will be in or outside of the strike zone. In a separate game, users can practice their pitch recognition by identifying the pitch type based on its motion. Using a combination of techniques,3Specifically, electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging. deCervo CEO Jason Sherwin showed that certain areas of the brain light up as athletes monitor the flight of the “pitch” and make the split-second decision to hit a button to react.Sherwin had preliminary results that showed correlations between neurological readouts and performance (for example, on-base percentage), so deCervo’s technology could be promising for identifying athletes with major league potential. And even without any neural monitoring, it allows athletes to “gamify” their training by attempting to distinguish the motion path of different pitches at varying speeds and arm angles based on real PitchF/X data. Sherwin said he believed this kind of software would offer a new way for athletes to sharpen their pitch recognition skills.What many of these new data sources have in common is an emphasis on process. Outcomes — strikes, walks, home runs and so forth — are already well-tracked and have been scrutinized by sabermetricians for decades. But the new generation of data will allow analysts to understand how those outcomes are generated, perhaps even down to the level of a player’s brain activity. Some of this process-oriented data challenges cherished analytics theories like DIPS; some of it confirms the utility of sabermetric dogma like shifting. And some of it will probably advance our understanding of baseball in ways we can’t yet predict.Disclosure: The author works as a statistical consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Team USA’s greatest basketball rosters (on paper) Unsurprisingly, the 1992 Dream Team was the most talented group the U.S. ever sent to a major international tournament. Weighting by each player’s minutes played — and putting aside the complicated relationship between projection and reality for superteams — that ’92 squad had +23.1 points per 100 possessions of BPM talent on its hands. (By comparison, the most talented NBA team ever, the 1995-96 Bulls, boasted a +10.8 mark; the 2015-16 Warriors were +8.5.) Against average NBA competition, we’d have expected them to win by a margin of 25.9 points per game, so the fact that they won by 43.8 instead implies they were playing competition about 17.8 points per game worse than the NBA average. (As another point of comparison, the Denver Nuggets were the NBA’s worst team during the 1991-92 season, and they were “only” 7.6 points per game worse than average after adjusting for schedule, earning a 24-58 record.) Yes, the Dream Team was really good, but the competition was also pretty weak.That wouldn’t stay the case for long. Although the U.S. won the 1994 World Championship by an average of 38 points per game despite fielding a far weaker roster than they’d sent to Barcelona in ’92, the landslide victory margins would quickly taper off. In 1996, the second iteration of the Dream Team carried an impressive +20.8 BPM talent rating (10 points/100 possessions better than any team in NBA history), yet it won by 32.5 points per game — only 9 more than would be expected vs. average NBA competition. In just four years, America’s international competition had begun closing the gap.The U.S. advantage would be steadily chipped away every few years, in concert with USA Basketball assembling its own squads of ever-decreasing talent. The two trends came to a head at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when America was stunned with a bronze-medal finish. Despite its disappointing performance, that team wasn’t exactly barren — it starred the already legendary Tim Duncan, plus a still-in-his-prime Allen Iverson, the perpetually underrated Shawn Marion and Lamar Odom, and even young versions of budding superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. On the other hand, it also prominently featured Stephon Marbury, whose reputation for killing NBA teams might be overstated, but was definitely not at his best in Athens.American fans quickly attributed the loss to toxic chemistry and poor fit — a fair criticism, if you peruse this wacky roster — but it was also apparent the world had improved greatly since the Dream Team’s debut. According to the numbers, Team USA’s competition at the 2004 Olympics played to a level about 9.8 points per game better than NBA average. Even granting that our method is only a proxy (and should have some give built in to it to allow for things like badly constructed rosters and questionable coaching), that’s still a quantum leap forward for U.S. opponents, compared with Barcelona 12 years earlier.Athens was a high point for international parity, but it may also have been a bit of a mirage. In response to the debacle of 2004, the U.S. assembled a more talented roster for the 2006 FIBA Worlds, and although America was held to the bronze again, it did post an average scoring margin 15.8 points per game greater than in Athens. Two years later, the Redeem Team won gold with a +27.9 PPG margin; then America easily won the 2010 World Championship with the least talent the U.S. had sent to a major tournament in the post-’92 era. Tack on two more golds after that (at the 2012 Olympics and 2014 FIBA Worlds) with growing victory margins, and the U.S.’s international foes are trending in the wrong direction: 2006World Cup+15.4+20.4 2012Olympics+19.8+32.1 No matter whether we look at the Olympics or the World Cup, the level of competition faced by the U.S. peaked with the surprise upsets of 2004 and 2006, and has been zooming back down ever since — even after controlling for changes in talent on America’s rosters. Yes, USA Basketball improved its team selections after its mid-2000s wake-up call, but the U.S. is also winning by wider margins than we’d expect from its talent improvements alone.And in many ways, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will put this trend to the ultimate test. This year’s American roster is, according to BPM, the weakest U.S. Olympic squad since 2004, and the third-weakest since ’92. On the spectrum between America’s strongest Olympic teams (1992) and its weakest World Cup teams (2010), the 2016 version sits near the middle, but it also bears more resemblance to the average U.S. World Cup squad than the average Olympics entry. Without Steph Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul (and so forth), this is just the kind of depleted roster that could have been poised to disappoint in years past.Instead, the U.S. is 3-0 — albeit shakily so after Wednesday’s unconvincing victory over the 11th-best team in the world. If the Americans can iron out the shooting woes of the Australia game and keep winning, it might mean this roster is better than the numbers thought. But it could also be further evidence that the U.S.’s competition is less of a threat than in years past. We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.Despite trailing much of the first half, the U.S. men’s basketball team defeated Australia 98-88 on Wednesday, moving to 3-0 in Olympic pool play. Over those three games, the Americans have won by an average of 37 points, the third-best mark of any U.S. team through three games of a major international tournament1Including both the Olympics and FIBA world championships. since the Dream Team era began in 1992.The other two teams — the original ’92 wrecking squad and their ridiculously stacked 2012 heirs — dominated en route to Olympic gold. But if this year’s team ends up pulling the same trick, it might not be so much a testament to U.S. dominance as a signal that the rest of the world has gotten weaker in recent years after a long run of improvement.We can measure the progress of international competition over time using Team USA as a reference point. Since American Olympic and FIBA World Cup teams are made up entirely of NBA players (save for the U.S.’s 1998 FIBA Worlds squad, which featured zero stars due to that summer’s NBA lockout), we can estimate the total talent on those rosters using Box Plus/Minus (BPM).2Specifically, I built a multiyear projection model that estimates a player’s talent level in a given year using both the seasons leading up to and following the season in question, when available. Since these tournaments take place in the summer, I averaged a player’s talent estimate between the previous and next season; e.g., Michael Jordan’s rating for the 1992 Dream Team was an average of his 1992 and 1993 BPM talent ratings. In regular NBA competition, there’s a steady relationship between a team’s underlying talent, its per-game margin of victory and the strength of schedule it faced. Therefore, we can estimate the strength of Team USA’s opposition in international tournaments (such as the Olympics) by comparing its margin of victory to that which we’d expect based on the talent level of the U.S. roster. YEARTOURNAMENTROSTER TALENTPPG MARGIN 2016Olympics+13.1— 1996Olympics+20.8+32.5 2002World Cup+10.0+16.9 Based on multiyear Box Plus/Minus talent ratings, weighted by each player’s minutes played in the tournament.Source: Basketball-Reference.com, RealGM.com 2010World Cup+9.4+24.6 1994World Cup+9.5+37.8 2004Olympics+12.7+4.6 2014World Cup+11.4+33.0 1992Olympics+23.1+43.8 2008Olympics+19.0+27.9 2000Olympics+12.0+21.6
1987OilersW. Gretzky183– 1994RangersS. Zubov89– 2017PenguinsS. Crosby89– YearTeamNamePoints 1997AvalancheP. Forsberg86– 2017CapitalsN. Backstrom86– 1996Red WingsS. Federov107– 2015RangersR. Nash69– 2012CanucksH. Sedin81– 1988OilersW. Gretzky149– 2009SharksJ. Thornton86– 2011CanucksD. Sedin104– * Strike-shortened seasons prorated for a full season.The 2004-05 season was canceled because of a lockout.Source: Hockey-Reference.com 2007DucksT. Selanne94– 2008Red WingsP. Datsyuk97– 1989FlamesJ. Mullen110– 2008Red WingsP. Datsyuk97– 1997Red WingsB. Shanahan87– Starless Stanley Cup winners aren’t unprecedentedHow the 2017-18 Predators compare with Stanley Cup winners since 1986 in terms of each team’s top scorer in the regular season 1986OilersW. Gretzky215– 2001AvalancheJ. Sakic118– 1992PenguinsM. Lemieux131– 1993CanadiensV. Damphousse97– 1992RangersM. Messier107– The Stanley Cup playoffs begin today, and the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Nashville Predators enter as the betting favorites. You may recall Nashville’s Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final last spring as the lowest-seeded playoff team, and it did so largely thanks to the red-hot play of goalie Pekka Rinne. The 2016-17 Preds ultimately fell two games short of claiming the franchise’s first Stanley Cup (Sidney Crosby and company had other plans), but this season’s iteration has a chance to make that disappointment feel like a distant memory.To be sure, last season’s Predators and this season’s Predators are two very different teams. In 2016-17, Nashville finished tied for the fewest wins in regulation and overtime among teams that qualified for the playoffs. This season, the Preds tied for third most. And it’s not as though their scoring totals are especially gaudy — they finished in a tie for seventh in goals for, 29 behind the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.But there is one thing this year’s Predators have in common with last year’s: They’re succeeding without a bona fide offensive star. No Predator scored more than 61 points last year, and it’s been more of the same this season. Seven Predator forwards finished with at least 35 points, but none eclipsed 64. Four Predator forwards scored at least 23 goals, but there’s not a 30-goal scorer in the bunch. Nashville has plenty of players who can hurt opposing defenses, but it doesn’t have a Connor McDavid or an Alexander Ovechkin. Which is to say, it doesn’t have a single skater who is capable of changing a game by himself.You might expect this from a team that nabbed the last spot in the playoffs, but it’s quite unusual for a Presidents’ Trophy-winning team. In the more than three decades that the award has been handed out, Nashville has the lowest top scorer of any team to receive it.1After prorating the top scorers on the Presidents’ Trophy teams from the strike-shortened seasons in 1994-95 and 2012-13, in which only 48 games were played. * Strike-shortened seasons prorated for a full season.The 2004-05 season was canceled because of a lockout.Source: Hockey-Reference.com 2016CapitalsE. Kuznetsov77– The 2003 New Jersey Devils and the 2011 Boston Bruins are each a very good analog for this year’s Predators. Neither team had a player score more than 62 points in the regular season, but each was the beneficiary of timely postseason scoring streaks. In the 2003 playoffs, the Devils got 18 points in 24 games from Jamie Langenbrunner and 10 goals from Jeff Friesen, who scored only 23 in the regular season. In 2011, it was David Krecji who stepped up for Boston — he notched 23 points in 25 postseason games and scored on 21.1 percent of his shots (a far better rate than his career mark of 12.2 percent).Each team also benefited from hot goalie play: The Devils’ Martin Brodeur stopped 93.4 percent of the shots he faced in the playoffs after stopping just 91.4 percent of the shots he saw during the regular season, while the Bruins’ Tim Thomas stopped an astounding 94 percent of the shots he faced in one of the more memorable playoffs for a goalie in league history.In other words, Nashville may have been more of an outlier for the Presidents’ Trophy because it doesn’t possess a stud (or several studs) who put up big numbers over the course of 82 games. But who wants that trophy anyway? The teams that claim it traditionally flop come springtime. Just ask the Washington Capitals. But if the Predators are able to steal a page from the playbooks of the 2003 Devils and the 2011 Bruins, the catfish will fly come June. 1993PenguinsM. Lemieux160– 1986CanadiensM. Naslund110– 1991BlackhawksS. Larmer101– Top scorer 2007SabresD. Briere95– 2014BruinsD. Krejci69– 1990OilersM. Messier129– 2010CapitalsA. Ovechkin109– 1990BruinsC. Neely92– 2011BruinsM. Lucic62– If anything, this shows just how effective the Predators have been on the blue line and between the pipes. Rinne, at 35 years old, is having the best season of his career in terms of quality start percentage, and his marks for both save percentage and goals against average are better than his career averages. And among goalies who’ve played at least 1,500 minutes this season, Rinne ranks fourth in goals saved above average. As we’ve said before, though, goaltending is unstable — and no amount of great goaltending can make up for bad defensive play. Fortunately for Nashville, its roster is stocked with some of the best defensemen in the NHL.Captain Roman Josi and P.K. Subban have each put together a solid case for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the league’s best defenseman, while Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm each rank in the top 15 among qualifying defensemen2At least 500 minutes played. in Corsi for percentage, which estimates a player’s possession rate by measuring the percentage of shot attempts directed at his opponent’s net versus his own net while he’s on the ice. Factor in Matt Irwin and Montreal Canadiens castaway Alexei Emelin — and the exceptional play of Rinne behind them — and Nashville’s defensive unit conceded the second fewest goals in the NHL.Of course, sound defenses aren’t solely the result of good goalie and defenseman play. That tired old adage — that the best defense is a good offense — is true, especially in the case of the Predators. Despite their lack of an offensive superstar, the Predators rank second in goals for percentage3Goals for percentage is the percentage of all goals a team scores relative to every goal scored in games they played. and ninth in Corsi for percentage. They’ve built one of the more efficient offenses in the NHL not on the back of one superstar, but on the backs of many good to very good players.And even though the lack of at least one high-scoring superstar is uncharacteristic of a Presidents’ Trophy-winning team, it’s not necessarily unheard of for a Stanley Cup-winning team — although it’s rare. Since 1986, five teams have won the Stanley Cup without a 70-point scorer. None of those teams were the best regular-season team, but Stanley Cup glory can come from unexpected scoring outbursts and hot goaltending. YearTeamNamePoints 2003SenatorsM. Hossa80– 2002Red WingsB. Shanahan75– 1989FlamesJ. Mullen110– Top scorer 1987OilersW. Gretzky183– 1995Devils*S. Richer67– 2013Blackhawks*P. Kane94– 2015BlackhawksJ. Toews66– 2000DevilsP. Elias72– 2010BlackhawksP. Kane88– 2009PenguinsE. Malkin113– 1998StarsJ. Nieuwendyk69– 2012KingsA. Kopitar76– 2006HurricanesE. Staal100– 1994RangersS. Zubov89– 2003DevilsP. Elias57– 1999StarsM. Modano81– 2001AvalancheJ. Sakic118– 1988FlamesH. Loob106– 2014KingsA. Kopitar70– 1998Red WingsS. Yzerman69– 2013Blackhawks*P. Kane94– 2004Red WingsP. Datsyuk68– 2016PenguinsS. Crosby85– 1991PenguinsM. Recchi113– 1996AvalancheJ. Sakic120– 2000BluesP. Demitra75– 2004LightningM. St. Louis94– 1999StarsM. Modano81– Nashville won the Presidents’ Trophy without a scoring starTotal points of the top scorer on each year’s highest scoring team during the NHL regular season 1995Red Wings*P. Coffey99– 2018PredatorsF. Forsberg64– 2002Red WingsB. Shanahan75– 2006Red WingsP. Datsyuk87– 2018PredatorsF. Forsberg64–
Thank YouSly & the Family Stone-45 I’m Gonna Make You Love MeDee Dee Warwick+30 Fire and RainJames Taylor+33 You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’The Righteous Brothers-14 Tracks of My TearsSmokey Robinson & The Miracles0 Let It BeThe Beatles-21 Wind Beneath My WingsRoger Whittaker-34 Sources: YouTube, Whosampled The Look of LoveDusty Springfield+85 Everybody Needs LoveThe Temptations+8 I Wish It Would RainThe Temptations-4 YesterdayThe Beatles+70 Gladys Knight takes her time with interpretationsDifference in song length between Knight’s covers and the original songs Baby I Need Your LovingThe Four Tops+1 SongOriginal ArtistDifference For Once in My LifeBarbara McNair+50 SongOriginal ArtistDifference The Need to BeJim Weatherly+13 Average+13 Help Me Make It Through the NightKris Krisofferson+66 Feel Like Makin’ LoveRoberta Flack+129 sec. Every Beat of My HeartThe Royals-49 Groovin’The Young Rascals+27 The Way We WereBarbara Streisand+36 So while anthems have gotten longer over time, the 40-year average is not fully accounting for that trend. When you do account for it5I used an AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average model — or ARIMA — which allows us to better forecast time series data. the best forecast for the 2019 anthem is actually 119 seconds, 13 seconds over the 40-year average.Gender of the anthem singer is also significant. Men tend to sing the anthem more quickly than women — though not many men have sung the anthem in recent years, when the anthems have been getting longer overall. Still, the all-time shortest anthem performance was by a man — the incomparable Neil Diamond — who got in and out like a boss in a cool 61 seconds. And the longest anthem ever performed at a Super Bowl was by the unforgettable Natalie Cole in 1994, which clocked in at a diva-esque 148 seconds. Yes, I’m readyBarbara Mason-1 Ave MariaAnna Moffo+65 Baby Don’t Change Your MindThe Stylistics-1 All I Could Do Is CryEtta James+2 Keep an EyeDiana Ross & The Supremes-9 Midnight Train to GeorgiaCissy Houston+42 Cloud NineThe Temptations-9 Taking a larger view, only two anthems in the past 15 years have been performed faster than the 40-year average of 1 minute 47 seconds. And when I looked at the age of the anthem singers, I found no significant correlation between age and performance time.6p-value: 0.228 On the other hand, we can look at one of Knight’s previous performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” itself, which is solid piece of evidence against the over, running for 92 seconds. It was, however, performed 28 years ago. All things considered, the bookmakers appear to have this line wrong on Gladys, and her upcoming anthem performance is probably going to go over 107 seconds.Researching a single prop was a lot of work, and it’s understandable why books might not want to put this level of effort into each and every bet they publish. But it does imply that there are profitable edges for some Super Bowl props. Using the Twitter machine, I threw up a bat signal for a gambling expert to help me confirm my priors. Rufus Peabody, a professional sports bettor and former ESPN contributor who is well-known in gambling circles for the scale and volume of his Super Bowl prop wagers, agreed to help.“The time and effort to accurately value props is pretty high,” Peabody said. “Some books put more effort into their props than others, and for some props there’s almost no data. Books will move the lines aggressively when sharp bets are made though, which helps them adjust.”I’ve been keeping an eye on the Gladys anthem line, and it hasn’t moved all week. I was tempted to bet the over, but when I was confronted with the prospect of having to convert real money into Bitcoin in order to place a bet on an offshore site, I decided to abort. When I looked around for somewhere to place the bet in Las Vegas — where they accept actual money — I struck out. Peabody explained that prop bets like anthem length are illegal in Las Vegas because of restrictions on the types of sources casinos can use to “grade” or determine the outcome of a bet.Even if it won’t net me any cash, I’ll be pulling for Knight to go over regardless. I want her to belt out that last note in “home of the brave” for an egregiously long time. After all, my Twitter credibility is on the line, and that’s serious business. You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to MeRay Price+8 Finally, Knight herself appears to be a singer who knows how to stretch a note. Using whosampled, I identified 31 covers performed by Knight and timed the cover performance of each using similar criteria to the anthem timing. Knight’s covers were 7 percent longer than the originals on average, good for a bonus 12.7 seconds of soothing soul per track. In perhaps the best comp to the national anthem — “Ave Maria,” a soaring, vocal-heavy standard covered by hundreds of artists — Gladys’ performance was 37 percent longer than the standard version. Heard It Through the GrapevineMarvin Gaye-39 Super Bowl LIII is not only about two of the league’s best offenses squaring off against one another — New England and Los Angeles — it’s also about America’s other favorite pastime: gambling. The total amount bet on the Super Bowl1In nominal, noninflation adjusted dollars has risen from $40 million in 1991 to more than $158 million in 2018, and much of that growth has come from “props” or proposition bets.For readers who aren’t degenerate gamblers, prop bets are wagers you can place on events during a game that don’t directly involve the final outcome. This year there are the standard prop bets, like if the Patriots will score a touchdown in the first quarter (they never have in a Super Bowl), or if the Rams will rush for more than 127.5 yards (they averaged 143.3 yards per game in the regular season and the playoffs). But there are also more exotic prop bets on things like whether Donald Trump will tweet more than six times during the game. (The implied probability on one offshore book is 58 percent that he will hit the over.)Another interesting wager is on the length of Gladys Knight’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Several offshore books have set the total for the anthem at 1 minute 47 seconds, and the implied odds for both the under and the over were set at one book at -115 — a 53.5 percent implied probability — on both sides.2This accounts for the house’s take on each bet, or “vigorish,” which is why the implied percentages add up to over 100 percent. The implied probabilities being equal indicates that the book has no real opinion on the length of Gladys’s performance — they just want to take a percentage from each side of the wager and hope bettors will place their bets evenly on both.But is Knight performing the anthem in over/under 107 seconds really close to a 50 percent proposition? Or is there evidence that might convince us that the oddsmakers got the probabilities wrong?To find out, I went to Youtube and watched 40 Super Bowl national anthems from 1979 to 2018. I eliminated any anthems with trumpeters (there were two) and then started timing the anthem from the moment the singer first started to sing and ended the timer after the completion of the first utterance of “brave.”3I didn’t include any extra “braves” or broader codas. Using this methodology, the 40-year average of all national anthem singers4I removed choirs and trumpeters to calculate this average is 106.1 seconds, roughly in line with the total set by the books. So the total is correct so far as the average goes, but it also seems lazy. Surely there are other factors that might help us better predict how long Gladys might sing.For starters, the performance time of the anthem has changed as the Super Bowl has grown to become the unparalleled cultural phenomenon we now enjoy each year. As the pomp, circumstance and viewership have increased, the time anthem performers spend on the stage has also risen. Is There a Place?The Supremes-34 Goin’ Out of My HeadLittle Anthony and the Imperials+7 I Feel a Song (in My Heart)Sandra Richardson-19
Even though they held a one-point lead with just more than a minute left in Game 4, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors found themselves with their backs against the wall on Sunday in Philadelphia.The Sixers and their raucous home crowd at Wells Fargo Center could almost taste a victory, one that would have given them an enormous 3-1 series advantage over Toronto heading into Game 5. And they would be accomplishing that despite getting a poor scoring effort from Joel Embiid, who was under the weather for the second time during the series.But as the clock ticked down to that final minute, Leonard, who’d gotten almost everything he’d wanted Sunday, had other plans. He used a screen from teammate Marc Gasol, and four dribbles to his right, but both of Philly’s pick-and-roll defenders — Embiid and Ben Simmons — opted to follow Leonard to the right wing. Where another player might have passed the ball, Kawhi chose to elevate, lofting a rainbow 3-pointer over the outstretched left arm of the 7-foot-2 Embiid.Aside from all but assuring that Toronto would knot the best-of-seven series at two games apiece, the shot punctuated yet another virtuoso performance by Leonard, who logged 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting and 14 rebounds, and is so far having one of the most efficient postseason runs we’ve ever seen from an NBA player, let alone a wing player specifically.In this series against Philly, Leonard is somehow averaging 38 points on 62 percent shooting, with a perfect-looking shot chart. He’s drained an unthinkable 21 of his 24 uncontested shot attempts through the four games, including hitting 6-for-6 on Sunday.Leonard did all this while continuing to have an impact on the defensive end, where he held Simmons in check during the first half before sliding over during the third period and heavily limiting swingman Jimmy Butler, who had scored efficiently up until that switch occurred.Leonard wasn’t solely responsible for Toronto’s win Sunday. Gasol — who’d been held to eight points or fewer in Games 1-3 — was more aggressive and finished with 16 in Game 4. Similarly, Kyle Lowry looked for his shot early and finished with 14 points after having just seven in Game 3. Danny Green was a perfect 8-for-8 from the line. All of these contributions were helpful in light of Pascal Siakam, arguably Toronto’s second-best player, shooting 2-of-10 from the floor while playing through a calf injury, and Serge Ibaka being the only Raptor to score off the bench.But make no mistake: Kawhi has played as if he were content to do this all by himself if need be. And in many ways, that spectacle is still noteworthy considering how far a cry it is from what Leonard was earlier in his career, before he became a clear-cut franchise player.During this postseason, just 33 percent of Leonard’s baskets have been assisted, according to NBA Advanced Stats, while the other two-thirds have been self-created. Snapshots over time illustrate how that’s flipped almost entirely, as he’s become more of a 1-on-1 player. During the 2012-13 regular season, for instance, 65 percent of Kawhi’s makes were assisted. That share of assisted baskets dropped to 54 percent during 2014-15, and to just under 48 percent in 2016-17 before dwindling to just a third during these playoffs.The question to raise here, of course, is whether it’s possible for Leonard to keep this up. He can’t keep shooting 70 percent from midrange when he was a 46-percent shooter from there during the regular season, right?On some level, the answer to that may depend on whether the Sixers are willing to be more aggressive about forcing the ball out of Leonard’s hands. We’ve written before about what makes Leonard so different from the other stars in the NBA (aside from how mysteriously quiet he seems to be): He does just about everything at an above-average level, while defending and scoring better than almost anyone. But if there’s one area to test, it’s his playmaking, which generally pales in comparison to LeBron James’s or even Kevin Durant’s. (Both contemporaries regularly enjoy 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratios, while Leonard has yet to post such a season.) Leonard, who had five assists and seven turnovers Sunday, has closer to a 1-to-1 ratio this postseason, with 31 assists and 29 turnovers so far.Going one level deeper, Kawhi was the NBA’s least efficient wing player1Among the 60 players who faced at least 25 traps and blitzes. this past regular season when opposing defenses either blitzed or trapped him in pick-and-rolls, with the Raptors scoring just 0.46 points per chance in such situations, according to data from Second Spectrum.So while Philadelphia hasn’t been able to stop The Terminator-like Kawhi yet, the Sixers at least have something they can try in hopes of slowing him down as the series moves back to Toronto.
The nation’s top cross country teams, including Ohio State’s men’s and women’s teams, will travel to Madison, Wis., Friday to compete in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. The event will be the last meet for the Buckeyes prior to the Big Ten Championship meet. The women’s team is looking to build on the progress made at their last event, the Notre Dame Invitational, in which they placed 11th. “We’re really excited. Most of the girls ran personal bests last meet,” said women’s coach Khadevis Robinson. “Everything we’ve been doing is going in the right direction. “What we have to find out is if we’re still on a peak, which we were on in our last competition, and figure out how to continue on that peak and get ready for the Big Ten championship.” The men’s squad is attempting to replicate last year’s top-20 finish and also trying to position themselves for the future. In 2011, the Buckeyes finished 17th out of 30 teams. The team will be running two true freshmen and three redshirt freshmen in Madison. “(For) five out of our seven guys, this is their first look at Wisconsin,” said men’s associate coach Brice Allen. “With this young team, we’re trying to gain experience going into the Big Ten Championship,” he said. “We’re (also) trying to be competitive at the national level. That’s why we go to the most competitive race in the country. “ Both men’s and women’s squads will be facing stiff competition as the field is stacked with top tier programs. Twenty-one of the top 30 ranked men’s teams and 20 of the top 30 women’s teams will be competing at the invitational. “This is certainly one of the biggest meets so far,” Allen said.
Freshman goaltender Kassidy Sauve (32) defends the net during a game against Mercyhurst on Nov. 11 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost, 3-0.Credit: Jon McAllister / Asst. photo editorThere is no time for rest for the Ohio State women’s hockey team, as it hits the ice for the second time this week for a series against No. 2 Minnesota.The Buckeyes (7-4-0, 5-3-0) played a two-game series last weekend, then played against Mercyhurst on Tuesday, before getting set to take on the Golden Gophers (7-1-2, 5-1-2).OSU junior forward Kendall Curtis said the team is ready for the demands of a Division I hockey schedule.“It’s a lot of hockey to play in a seven-day span, but this is the kind of thing we prepare for in preseason,” Curtis said.Coach Nate Handrahan gave his players the day off on Thursday in order to prepare for the series.“Having the day off from practice, we are expected to do what we need to in order to recover,” freshman goaltender Kassidy Sauve said. “A lot of girls are hydrating and foam rolling (a stretching exercise). I think we are really ready in a physical sense.”When the Buckeyes met the Golden Gophers last season, they lost three games and tied the final matchup. That game on Jan. 11 was tied 2-2 after overtime, and after a nine-round shootout, the Buckeyes ended up taking an extra point in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, winning the shootout, 1-0.That shootout victory can help fuel OSU as it takes the ice this weekend, Curtis said.“Carrying that into this weekend will give us a boost of confidence because we know that we can handle a team like this,” she said.Minnesota is coming off of a loss to Bemidji State in its last game, and Handrahan said OSU will need to capitalize on that.“One advantage that we have going into this weekend is having played a lot of games recently,” Handrahan said. “They are coming off a loss and a tie and had a bye week last weekend.”Curtis, who is tied for second on the OSU goalscoring charts this season, agreed with her coach.“We want to try and keep the positive momentum going forward for us and the negative momentum going forward for them,” Curtis said.The Golden Gophers’ No. 2 ranking might mean a lot to some, but not to Handrahan.“Rankings are for the media and fans,” Handrahan said. “We feel that if we play our game each and every night with all out effort and focus, we can get the result we are looking for. It always boils down to the details and the process for us.”Sauve said the Buckeyes are ready to take the ice and show the Golden Gophers how the Buckeyes can play.“For a game like this, it is easy to get fired up,” Sauve said. “We really want to send them a message.”Puck drop between the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers on Friday is 6:07 p.m. The second game of the series is set for Saturday at 2:07 p.m. Both games are scheduled to be played at the OSU Ice Rink.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore tackle Branden Bowen hits a pad at the first practice of fall camp on July 27. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.Just three days prior to Thursday’s season opener against Indiana in Bloomington, Ohio State’s football team released its first depth chart of the 2017 season. Offensive tackle Branden Bowen will start … at right guardWhen coach Urban Meyer spoke at Big Ten Media Days prior to fall camp, he named seven players as potential candidates to win the starting right guard spot: Malcolm Pridgeon and Demetrius Knox, Matt Burrell and Branden Bowen and Wyatt Davis, Josh Myers and Thayer Munford.Burrell started in the spring game, which seemingly gave him an edge in the wide-open position battle. Though Meyer said Burrell put forth his best effort to win the job, he noted that one player — Bowen — rose above the competition and deserved to be named the starter. “He’s the most improved guy, one of the most improved players on our team,” Meyer said of Bowen. “Something clicked with him in early summer. I heard it from [strength and conditioning] coach Mick [Marotti]. I saw it. It really wasn’t that close, to be honest with you.”Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa coaches his unit at a fall practice on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.As the position battle has raged over the past few months, Meyer and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa preached that the eventual starter at right guard would be the most consistent lineman. “When you look at Bowen, you just think, like, ‘That’s a huge guy.’ You see the potential there. You see what you can be,” defensive end Tyquan Lewis said of the 6-foot-7, 312-pound offensive lineman. “He just looks like he’s motivated more. He’s like ready to go play now.”Of the four upperclassmen in the mix at right guard, Bowen is the only one who didn’t play guard last season. The former offensive tackle provided insurance to right tackle Isaiah Prince and left tackle Jamarco Jones as their backups.. He was expected to play the same role this year. Just three weeks ago, Meyer said the battle to win the job was between Pridgeon, Burrell and Knox. He noted that Bowen was playing well enough to earn playing time, but he felt unsure about moving the offensive tackle inside to guard because it would diminish the depth outside. During Monday’s press conference, Meyer made it clear he simply couldn’t keep Bowen off the field.“[Top backup offensive tackle] Munford has done a nice job, but those concerns are there,” Meyer said. “But you’ve also got to get your first five in there.”On the opening-week depth chart, Munford is listed as backup right tackle and Joshua Alabi is slotted to back up Jones at left tackle. Meyer does not and should not have much confidence though, as Munford has spent less than a year in the program and Alabi switched from the defensive line to the offensive side of the ball in the spring.But given Bowen’s ascendance, Meyer assumed he could sacrifice the depth the former tackle would bring on the outside to improve the interior of the line. Even the linemen on the other side of the ball who compete against him in practice have noticed Bowen’s growth.“During the summer, you could start to see that he would train with a purpose,” defensive end Jalyn Holmes said. “Even when he messes up, he’s with coach Stud asking what he could do better. He’s carrying himself as a professional, and that’s why he’s a starter.”Mike Weber’s health remains a questionFive weeks after running back Mike Weber injured his hamstring in a practice, Meyer acknowledged the tweak was still hampering him. “He’s very close [to being 100 percent]. I’ll know more today, but he’s close,” Meyer said.OSU redshirt sophmore running back Mike Weber (25) throws the ball out of the endzone during the 2017 Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 15, 2017. Credit: Mason Swires | Former Assistant Photo EditorThis lack of clarity comes after many players and coaches had confidently said the second-year starter will play in Thursday’s season-opener against Indiana. Two weeks ago, running backs coach Tony Alford said Weber would “absolutely” be the starter in Week 1. At the end of July, Meyer said Weber was dealing with a “little tight hamstring.”But on the opening depth chart, Weber was not listed as the sole starter. Instead, he and freshman running back J.K. Dobbins are dual starters. At Monday’s press conference, Meyer didn’t specify whether the reasoning for having both as starters was due to Weber’s health.The coach said he doesn’t feel like the first-year running back will start, but left open the possibility of starting Dobbins in his first career game.Weber didn’t have much competition last year. The first-year starter rushed 182 times for 1,096 yards, finding the end zone on nine occasions. Behind him, Demario McCall took just 42 carries 273 yards and did much of his damage during garbage time in the Buckeyes’ blowout wins.This year, Dobbins figures to take a decent portion of Weber’s carries. He has been heralded as one of the most impressive Ohio State freshmen in recent years. Alford said Dobbins picked up the offense faster than any first-year player he has ever coached.Starting safety battle ongoingSince the spring, Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller have been locked in a battle to be named the starter at strong safety alongside Damon Webb. According to Monday’s depth chart, the battle continues despite the first game of the season being only three days away.Though defensive coordinator and safeties coach Greg Schiano and Meyer have effusively praised Webb’s development as the only returning starter in the secondary, they have been largely silent and coy about the Smith-Fuller battle.Smith is entering his fifth season at Ohio State, but he has dealt with numerous injuries, including an ACL tear in 2015. Though Fuller has only played for the Buckeyes for one season, the former four-star prospect is a lanky 6-foot-2, 202-pound athlete whose potential might be enticing enough to win him a starting position.
Ohio State alumnus Patrick Gallagher (pictured racing in his car) will be returning to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Acura Sports Car Challenge on May 4, 2018. Credit: Courtesy of IMSA/LAT.Patrick Gallagher stepped onto the track of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the summer of 2013 with an unconventional piece of gear under his arm: an Ohio State football-inspired racing helmet.The purpose of the Ohio State graduate’s helmet design was twofold: to pay homage to the Buckeyes and to raise money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Following the race, the helmet was signed by Gallagher and auctioned off to the highest bidder.“It was my home race and I thought we could do something cool. We wanted to do something and raise money and bring it back [to Nationwide],” Gallagher said. “I thought, ‘what would people in Ohio like?’ And that’s obviously Ohio State football.”The owner of Gallagher’s team at the time, Major League Baseball pitcher CJ Wilson, is also the founder of CJ Wilson’s Children’s Charities, an organization focused on supporting families with children with hemophilia. While that team was working to build up families in need, they were also working to build up Gallagher’s racing career.Ohio State alumnus Patrick Gallagher will be returning to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Acura Sports Car Challenge on May 4, 2018. Credit: Courtesy of IMSA/LAT.Gallagher, a Thornville, Ohio, native, began racing at a young age. He desired to follow in the footsteps of his father Larry Gallagher, who raced cars for 20 years. He grew from driving quarter midget go-carts at 6 years old to speeding open-wheel cars by the time he was 16, earning his first national title at 17. From there, he broke into the Sports Car Club of America Pro Racing circuit and found his way to Wilson’s team, racing a Mazda MX-5.At the same time, Gallagher pursued a degree in industrial and systems engineering at Ohio State. Despite not having the usual perks of being a student-athlete, Gallagher found his professors supportive of his racing career and willing to accommodate his schedule.“I think the fact that it was engineering professors and racecars, they kind of got interested in that, so that probably helped,” Gallagher said. “I was just happy that I was able to go racing. If I went to class and passed all the tests, then I was going to be fine there. I just sometimes needed to take that test on a different day.”Throughout Gallagher’s career, his father has offered endless amounts of support. He described watching his son progress in his career as “real fun” and something that he’s been incredibly proud to witness.“I’ve seen people who, maybe their kids didn’t have the talent that Patrick did, and so to watch him with his natural talent to go right to the front of the pack, to always be at the front of the pack, was just something I didn’t expect,” Larry said. “He just had this natural ability and it made me feel good as a dad to be out there [with him].”Nearly eight months after Gallagher graduated from Ohio State, he had his big break, taking first place at the 2017 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup. The winning scholarship was enough to book Gallagher a ticket into the International Motor Sports Association series, the most substantial move of his career thus far.With the help of a sponsorship from ModSpace, he joined a team with Multimatic Motorsports at the beginning of 2018 and has since been trying to leave his mark on the series.Even though he’s moved up, Gallagher said the sport still presents some distinctive challenges that are not found in other sports. During his first race in the IMSA series, his car, a GT4 Ford Mustang, broke down, setting him further back on the leaderboard. Still, Gallagher said, “It’s just part of the deal.”“We’re pushing these cars to their limits and sometimes they’re going to break. You’re in there and you’re disappointed, but it’s really no ones fault,” Gallagher said. “We’ll just learn from it and get better and go to the next [race]. That’s the way you have to look at it.”Despite the setbacks, Gallagher is determined to make a name for himself over the course of the season. On May 4, he will be returning to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Acura Sports Car Challenge. He hopes he can pull off a win for his hometown crowd and start climbing the ladder in the IMSA series.“The season hasn’t started out as we wanted it to, so right now [the goal is] to win races and we’ll see where we end up at the end of the year in the overall championship,” Gallagher said. “There’s some big names out there and [I want to] put mine alongside theirs and hopefully show that I belong.”
Then-Georgia quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against Massachusetts on Nov. 17, 2018. Credit: Courtesy of TNSJustin Fields is eligible for the 2019 season. And now he wants to be done talking about it. “My dad always tells me that ‘you can’t get to where you are going by looking in the ‘rear view mirror.’ I’m ready to move forward and embrace the next season of my life,” Fields said in a statement. “I will not be speaking about my transfer again.” This was the mentality the freshman took when speaking for the first time as an Ohio State quarterback. When asked about his prospective eligibility on Wednesday, he said time and time again it was out of his control, saying he hopes to find out soon, so he could focus on his new team. With the eligibility confirmed, Fields’ focus is now solely on filling the shoes of Dwayne Haskins: the Heisman candidate, who, after one season, is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. But that was his focus all along, which is something Fields was willing to admit about his transfer from Georgia to Ohio State. “I think I made more of a business decision,” Fields said. “Coach Day, he’s been in the NFL so he knows that it takes to get there. Just the offense and how successful it was last year, I just hope to do the same thing again.” Fields said he describes himself as an exciting playmaker, one that can extend plays with his legs when they break down. He showed this in the 12 games he played with the Bulldogs last season, accumulating 328 yards through the air, 266 yards on the ground and eight total touchdowns in limited playing time. However, when he got here, Fields said he was not immediately handed the reins of the Ohio State offense. With freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin in the room, who sat behind Haskins last season, Fields said he will have to earn the starting job. “Coach Day didn’t promise me anything,” Fields said. “He told me I would have to come here and work for it. So I’m just looking forward to getting better.” While waiting for his eligibility to be confirmed, Fields said he had been learning the Ohio State offense. He said, though it’s different from the pro-style offense Georgia runs, he is picking it up relatively quickly. Fields said he is also getting used to the pre-progression reads, utilizing the wide receivers and their skill sets on the outside to make his job easier in the passing game. To Day, this was the offense that Fields was excited about when he transferred to Ohio State. “They want to be in an offense where they’re throwing at the high efficiency that we did last year, we’re throwing in an offense where it’s very pro style oriented, mixed in with the college run game, with [run-pass options]. We think we’re on the cutting edge that way,” Day said. “That’s the response we’re getting from a lot of quarterbacks around the country.” When he decided to transfer from Georgia, Fields said Ohio State did not give him a sales pitch. But the quarterback also said they really didn’t have to.“Just going based off what Dwayne did last year and how much success he had in this offense, I felt like I could come in and hopefully do the same thing that he did,” Fields said. WIth his eligibility confirmed for 2019, Fields now has the opportunity to do so.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said officers had arrested a 15-year-old boy from Henley-on-Thames.”We are appealing for witnesses following an incident in which damage was caused to a car by a forklift truck,” the spokesman added. “We received reports that a forklift truck being driven erratically through the area.”During the incident a car was overturned and damaged. The forklift truck was driven down Woodlands Road, Wood Lane, Green Lane and Baskerville Road in Sonning Common.”Officers attended the scene and arrested a 15-year-old boy from Henley-on-Thames on suspicion of causing criminal damage and possession of a firearm.He is currently in police custody.Detective Constable Francesca Griffin, of Force CID based at Abingdon, said: “We are aware this incident has caused disruption in the Sonning Common area last night.”We would like anyone who we have not spoken to about this incident to call us with any information that they may have.” Frightened locals dialled 999 and police arrived in the village and the force helicopter circled overhead as officers tried to bring the spree to an end.On Wednesday the Fiat Punto was still laying on its side with holes punched in the doors of the car from where the fork lift truck had been rammed into it to flip it over.The forklift truck was believed to have been taken from a shop in Sonning Common, near Reading, Berks, on Tuesday evening.Motorists said they had driven behind the forklift as it was being driving erratically as they took their children home form after school evening clubs.However, as darkness fell the jape took a more serious turn with the driver pointing a rifle at people who were forced to dived for cover. This is actually mad. There’s a kid flipping cars in a forklift and waving a gun about like its every day businessWitness A schoolboy has been arrested on suspicion of taking a forklift truck on a two-hour rampage around his village, scooping up a family car and turning it on its side before pointing a gun at people as they dived for cover.A blue Fiat Punto was left overturned during the apparent joyriding spree on Tuesday evening. A 15-year-old suspect has been questioned and released on police bail.Residents dived behind cars and hid inside their homes behind locked doors as the driver of the forklift allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at people who dared to challenge him about the escapade. 13/9 2100hrs Sonning Common @tvpsouthandvale for a male damaging vehicles. Possible suspect located by us and followed, Now arrested #p6572— NPAS Benson (@NPAS_Benson) September 13, 2016 Liam Carter, who is working in the Berkshire area but comes from Essex, said: “So we are having a quiet pint after work and someone started to drive round in a stolen forklift so naturally we all whip our phones out to take a picture.”As he gets right in front of us he starts mouthing of to us then drives off and pulls a gun out then ducked behind the car.”Another resident said: “Someone has nicked a forklift and is tipping cars over and also has an air rifle …. It’s almost unbelievable. What an idiot.”I followed him home earlier he’s been driving around for hours!”Another said the driver had jumped onto the forklift and was carrying the gun by his side.He said: “We then pooped ourselves and ran to the house!”Other saw mopeds following the tractor as it circled the village near closed primary schools.Another resident, who saw the forklift truck being driven around, said: “I saw a guy tearing down Baskerville Road on a forklift with a motorcyclist behind him (neither had lights on, only a lantern at the front of the forklift which was as effective as a chocolate teapot).”God, it was an accident waiting to happen.”The crew of the police helicopter unit NPAS Benson tweeted that they had been sent to assist in the search for the driver and said: Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
This week’s strikes by London Tube staff and Southern Rail drivers have caused travel misery for millions of commuters as many of the capital’s transport connections were shut down over industrial action.The Southern Rail strikes, caused by a conflict between staff and management over whether the driver or a guard opens and closes the doors, have interrupted over 2,000 trains with over 300,000 passenger journeys on a daily basis.ASLEF’s dispute with Southern dragged on throughout 2016 with little sign of resolution, while last year was also characterised by a number of strikes on the London Underground due to proposed plans to scrap many ticket offices and the introduction of the night tube. Police line up at the Battle of Orgreave during the miners’ strike in 1984Credit:Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock But even this pales into insignificance compared to the disruption caused by industrial action in the 1970s and 1980s.In 1979 – the year of the introduction of the three day week – 29.5m working days were lost, while a further 27.1m days were lost in 1984, the year of the miner’s strike.1926 was the worst year in British history for strike action, when labour disputes cost 162.2m working days. 1921, 1912 and 1919 were the next three worst-hit years. Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart.How strike action has remained relatively low for 30 years. Total work days lost per year (000s)Long description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: line chart.line with 124 data points.The chart has 1 X axis displaying values.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying values.Chart graphic.How strike action has remained relatively low for 30 yearsHow strike action has remained relatively low for 30 years – Highcharts CloudHow strike action has remained relatively low for 30 yearsTotal work days lost per year (000s)19001925195019752000050k100k150k200kSource: ONS Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Over the last century, 2005 was the year that has seen the fewest number of working days lost, at just 157,000. Prior to a confirmed national total from the ONS, 2015 looks set to post the second lowest total ever with the monthly figures coming to 169,000 days.Data for the number of working days lost due to Southern Rail strikes in 2015 and 2016 are not yet available. Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart.2016 easily surpassed 2015 for days lost to strike action. Total work days lost per month (000s)Long description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: Line chart.line with 22 data points.The chart has 1 X axis displaying values.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying values.Chart graphic.2016 easily surpassed 2015 for days lost to strike action2016 easily surpassed 2015 for days lost to strike action – Highcharts Cloud2016 easily surpassed 2015 for days lost to strike actionTotal work days lost per month (000s)Jan ’15May ’15Sep ’15Jan ’16May ’16Sep ‘16020406080Source: ONS It has been a period of misery for commuters in the South East, with some people losing their jobs and relationships due to Southern Rail’s unreliability. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that between January and October last year 269,000 days were lost to industrial action in the UK, far more than the 169,000 days lost in 2015, with figures for the final quarter of the year still to come.Is this a particularly bad time for industrial disputes?Despite this apparent spike in days lost to strike action, compared to previous decades we’re currently living through a period of relative peace between workers and bosses.As recently as 2014, the latest year with non-provisional tallies, 788,000 working days were lost to labour disputes – the highest level since 2011 when the figure reached nearly 1.4m days.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Police were alerted to the incident following reports from concerned members of the public and the man was taken home. A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Around 2.25pm police received reports of a man driving a mobility scooter on the M74 near to Strathclyde Park.”Police attended and the 92-year-old man was taken home by officers.” An elderly man was pulled over by police for driving his mobility scooter on a busy motorway. Officers stopped the 92-year-old man close to junction six on the M74 near Motherwell and Hamilton in Lanarkshire on Saturday afternoon. The pensioner was pulled over after a police car signalled him to stop near Strathclyde Park at about 2.25pm.
Boular is also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts between the same dates, while Dich and Barghouthi are charged with intending to assist her. A woman and her daughter charged in connection with what is thought to be Britain’s first all-female alleged terror plot were told to lift their veils in court by a magistrate who asked to see their eyes.Londoners Rizlaine Boular, 21, her mother Mina Dich, 43, and 20-year-old associate Khawla Barghouthi were charged in relation to the alleged planning of a suspected knife attack in the Westminster area of London.The trio appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, flanked by three policewomen and three suited officials.Both Boular and Dich wore burkas – which cover the entirety of a woman’s body – while Barghouthi wore a hijab, which covers the hair and neck while leaving the face clear.Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot asked the mother and daughter to lift their veils and they agreed so she could see their faces.Elite armed officers swooped on Barghouthi’s home in Harlesden Road, north west London, on April 27, where they arrested her and shot Boular. The trio were remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on May 19. Boular, of Mount Pleasant in central London, was arrested three days later at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington when she was discharged.Boular’s mother, Dich, of St George’s Wharf in south-west London, was arrested in Kent on the day of the raid in the capital.The three women are accused of conspiring together to murder “a person or persons unknown” between April 11 and April 28 2017. Police at the scene in Harlesden Road, London, where a woman was shotCredit:Stefan Rousseau/PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Portsmouth will be the permanent base for HMS Queen Elizabeth from this autumnCredit:MOD Sir Michael Fallon inspects the dredging at Portsmouth naval base in 2015Credit: L(Phot) Paul Hall/ Royal Navy Specialist vessels have removed the equivalent on 1,280 Olympic swimming pools full of sediment as part of £100m of work to prepare the naval base for the arrival of the carriers. A badge from HMS GangesCredit:MoD Harriet Baldwin, defence minister, said: “Upgrading the future home of HMS Queen Elizabeth is another completed step in the carrier’s journey to becoming the nation’s flagship, ready to operate around the world and help keep us safe in a world of intensifying threats. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A Second World War German bomber engine, 36 anchors and eight cannon were among millions of tons of mud dredged from Portsmouth harbour to make way for Britain’s new aircraft carriers.Dredgers have spent two years removing 3.2 million cubic metres of mud from the approach to the historic harbour to make room for the 65,000 ton HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The work to prepare for our naval future has unearthed objects from our naval past which are part of Portsmouth’s proud maritime history.Capt Iain Greenlees, head of infrastructure at the base, said: “The dredging was the culmination of twelve years work monitoring the seabed environment around the harbour and unearthed a huge array of items, some of which may be historically significant, and underlines again Portsmouth’s long maritime history.” The German Junkers Jumo 211 engine from an unknown bomber was found along with a wealth of material from the port’s rich naval history.Engineers also found old ordnance ranging from bullets and cannonballs to a British torpedo. A German sea mine and five large bombs were found, before being made safe by the Royal Navy’s bomb disposal team.Elsewhere the dredging uncovered bottles, plates, ceramics and shoes which probably belonged to sailors. A human skull was also found and passed to local police. A badge from HMS Ganges was also discovered.
Couples are paying up to £60,000 for babies born via surrogate mothers despite a ban on commercial surrogacy, a study has found.The UK’s “altruistic” system means surrogates may be reimbursed only “reasonable expenses”, which experts say should cost families no more than £12,000.However, the world’s largest fertility conference heard that British courts routinely sign off costs of far greater value if they can be persuaded the child is going to a good home.The survey of 177 sets of parents by the University of Kent showed that the largest group – 30 per cent – paid between £20,000 to 30,000 during the surrogacy process, while 25 per cent paid between £10,000 and £15,000, and 21 per cent paid £15,000 to £20,000.Meanwhile seven per cent paid up to £40,000, and in five cases couples paid up to £60,000.The law does not set a limit for “reasonable expenses”, however cash transactions are supposed to be scrutinised by judges when they make parental orders, the process that transfers legal parenthood from the surrogate to the intended parents. Natalie Smith, from Surrogacy UK, which campaigns against commercialisation, told the European Society for Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting the current system gives courts “wiggle room”.“The welfare of the child trumps everything, so that if someone does pay more than reasonable expenses the judge does have some flexibility,” she said.According to parents who responded to the survey, the maximum they took home was £25,000, indicating that significant legal, medical and other costs are involved.Meanwhile surrogates who responded said they were never paid more than £20,000.However, the large sums will fuel fears that total surrogacy prices are heading towards US levels, where the profit motive is allowed. Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, said: “It is difficult to see how the commercialisation of reproduction can ever be in the best interests of the child.”It is adults who control the market and therefore it will always be adults who stand to gain from it.”Surrogacy UK is one of a number of organisations campaigning for a change in UK’s 30-year-old law following a six-fold increase in legal applications linked to the process, from 55 in 2007 to 316 in 2016.It wants intended parents to be recognised as the legal parents from the moment of birth, so they can make crucial decisions regarding their child’s healthcare.Currently it takes an average of between six and 12 months for courts to grant parental orders. Five couples paid up to £60,000, according to a study Commercial surrogacy is banned in the UK Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.