Mets Spring Training kicks into high gear in Port St. Lucie today, as lefty Oliver Perez will take the mound against the ALCS Champion Tigers in the first game of the Grapefruit League season. Righty Chad Durbin will get the start for Detroit.
SNY will air the game live at 1pm, and will replay the contest at 6:30 tonight.
Well, no one can say the Islanders aren’t going for it…
Unable to reach a long-term deal with their captain, the Edmonton Oilers instead traded Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders for prospects Ryan O’Marra and Robert Nilsson and the Islanders’ first-round pick in 2007.
The two-year, $7 million US contract Smyth signed in 2005 expires after this season, when he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency.
It remains possible, therefore, that Smyth could re-sign with the Oilers in the summer – assuming today’s trade didn’t sour his thoughts on the prospect of a return.
And, of course, the Oilers would still have to meet his asking price.
Smyth has been a cornerstone of the Oilers franchise since Edmonton selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 1994 draft.
The Rangers have made another minor deal, trading Pascal Dupuis to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Alex Bourret, a 20-year-old right winger. Bourret was picked 16th overall in the first round of the 2005 draft. He’s recorded 11 goals and 21 assists in 45 games for Chicago of the AHL this season.
Given what the Rangers gave up here, Bourret sounds like a bit of a steal. Here’s the low-down on the prospect via Atlanta’s official site:
SCOUTING REPORT: NHL’s Central Scouting Service: “Very good skater. Strong on skates, showing balance, agility and speed … Quick off mark, and changes direction swiftly … Twists and turns to get open … Carries puck with poise and confidence, and can go end-to-end … Smart and creative, plays give-and-go very well … Hangs onto puck, pulling opponents towards him … Adept at making short passes in tight quarters … Goes hard to net, and posseses very good shot … Speed and tenacious fore-checking causes turnovers and scoring chances for his …
WFAN is reporting that Knicks guard Jamal Crawford will miss the rest of the season with a right ankle stress fracture. Surgery is likely. More to follow.
UPDATE: Via ESPN.com
Monday, Jamal Crawford hit a late 3-pointer to give the New York Knicks a win over the Miami Heat.
Tuesday, the team learned he will likely require season-ending surgery on a stress fracture in his right ankle, though the team said it’s possible he could return if the Knicks make the playoffs.
“It’s very disappointing, honestly,” Crawford told reporters on Tuesday. “You never expect anything like this to happen. I guess it’s just part of life.”
Crawford told reporters that surgery is “not definite, but a strong possibility.” He also said he was told there were “no other options” to repair the fracture. He said he had been feeling pain in his ankle for a few weeks and had X-rays after Monday’s game and an MRI and CT scan on Tuesday.
UPDATE: The player coming to New York in the deal is defenseman Paul Mara. Very decent returns.
As foreshadowed by this article in the Daily News this morning, the Rangers have traded defenseman Aaron Ward to the Boston Bruins. Details to follow.
In stark contrast to the pathetically uneventful NBA trade deadline, the NHL is having a virtual bonanza today. Among the high profile players already dealt: Bill Guerin to the Sharks, Martin Biron to Philly, Gary Roberts to Pittsburgh, Brent Sopel to Vancouver, Bryan Smolinski to Vancouver, and of course Richard Zednik to the Isles. In addition, Todd Bertuzzi, Dainius Zubrus, Nick Boynton, Martin Gelinas, and Robert Esche are all rumored to be on the move. This on the heals of pre-deadline deals that saw Sean Avery dealt to the Rangers, Peter Forsberg to Nashville, and Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta.
Still no word on whether or not the Islanders plan on moving Jason Blake, nor anything further on the juicy gossip from The Post that the Rangers could trade Jaromir Jagr.
For the latest deadline developments, I recommend visiting The Fourth Period, or TSN.ca.
The New York Post is exclusively reporting that Rangers GM Glen Sather is entertaining offers for captain Jaromir Jagr. According to the Post, Sather has told teams around the league that he’ll listen if presented with an offer that “knocked him out.”
Coincidentally, or not, the Daily News reports today that Jagr has been engaged in a month-long feud with defenseman Aaron Ward, stemming from a shouting match between the two during a game on February 3rd. Jagr allegedly criticized Ward for a routine dump-in, prompting Ward to fire back and call into question Jagr’s leadership. If true, Ward would be far from the only one to levy that criticism as of late.
If you’ve been paying attention, it’s been evident for months now that the Rangers are a dysfunctional lot. Though the organization can’t be blamed for handing the captain’s ‘C’ to their best player over a player like Brendan Shanahan who had only just signed as a free agent with the Blueshirts, the decision …
The NHL trade deadline arrives at 3 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and a plot line worth following in New York will be the fate of Islanders winger Jason Blake. Blake, a free agent at the end of the season, leads the team in points (52) and goals, scoring his career-high 29th of the season in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Montreal. Tied for with the Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff berth, it would seem lunacy that the Isles would even consider trading their leading scorer.
Nevertheless, the team is concerned enough about the possibility of the 33-year-old walking at the end of the season that general manager Garth Snow is at least listening to offers for their star. According to Greg Logan in Newsday, Nashville, Vancouver, Detroit, San Jose and Dallas have all made pitches for Blake’s services. At this time the team is not entertaining the idea of trading him within the Eastern Conference.
Seriously, is there anyway this doesn’t end in tears? Well in any event, Knicks guard Steve Francis is out of the lineup again, this time maybe for good. The formerly halfway-decent player is going back on the shelf with a recurrence of the knee tendinitis that has limited him to just 26 games this season, and says his frustration level is at “orange.”
Via The New York Times:
Francis has had a strange season. He spent a month rehabilitating his knee in Houston, amid speculation that the Knicks would buy out his contract. Francis and team officials denied it. But the timing of his latest injury is curious, coming right after the trading deadline. Francis last played on Wednesday, the night before the trading deadline. He sat out Friday’s game, with the team reporting he had flu-like symptoms. The team made no mention of knee troubles until just before Sunday’s game. Since the Knicks have been unable to trade Francis, a contract buyout seems likely.
Via Bryan Hock on MLB.com:
Bobby Abreu will miss about two weeks with a strained right oblique muscle, Yankees manager Joe Torre said on Monday.
Abreu, 32, suffered the injury while taking batting practice at Legends Field, Torre said. The outfielder felt a twinge after one swing and then continued to hit, which further aggravated the injury….
Torre noted that Abreu’s injury would not figure into an opportunity for a longterm fill-in, shooting down a suggestion that it could open a chance for free-agent outfielder Bernie Williams.
Last week, the media put its spotlight on Yankee phenom Phil Hughes, who has been turning heads down at Yankees spring training. Today John Harper of the Daily News reports on the performance of Mets’ pitching prospect Mike Pelfrey. According to Harper, Hughes and Pelfrey both seem destined for great things, which “makes for an intriguing question: Which one blossoms faster?”
Harper quotes Mark Brewer, Pelfrey’s AAA pitching coach, on the improved slider and changeup that he’s added to his repetoirre:
“He’s made a big jump. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m really, really excited about what he’s doing.”
And manager Willie Randolph on Pelfrey’s potential:
I’m not saying Pelfrey is ready, but you’re seeing more and more talented young pitchers out of college coming up through the ranks very quickly. If they have the makeup to deal with the pressure and they’re astute enough to retain what you’re teaching them, I think the faster you get their feet wet, the more it can be a springboard to a …