Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 7, 2016 at 5:37 pm Contact Connor: email@example.com | @connorgrossman Evan Molloy has seen Syracuse’s defense start to click, and it’s “beautiful” from his view. The defensive midfielders. The long poles. The close defenders. Molloy rattled off a laundry list of outstanding remarks about a unit that put Syracuse on the fringe of NCAA tournament contention for two months.The junior goalkeeper’s only notable omission was himself. Since entering a blowout loss to Notre Dame with 11 minutes left and allowing three goals to whizz past him in that timeframe, he’s been the best thing to happen to the Orange defense.“It’s better than what I expected,” head coach John Desko of Molloy’s play. “… I made the decision to go with (Molloy) and I’m glad I did. It’s worked out really well. He’s playing well and playing better.”He was rock solid again from the crease, allowing one goal in two and a half quarters before Warren Hill relieved him in No. 5 Syracuse’s (11-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) 18-3 explosion against Colgate (4-10, 2-6 Patriot) on Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome. Molloy’s teammates and coaches have lauded the first-time starter for his communication and athleticism outside the crease.The skill set was on full display against the Raiders, as Molloy scooped up a loose ball on Colgate’s first possession of the game after defender Nick Mellen had it knocked out of his stick in a brief moment of panic. The 6-foot-1 goalie emerged from his safe zone and deftly slung a pass to Brandon Mullins, rescuing the possession.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA savior role is the one that’s best fit Molloy. He’s revived plenty of possessions, but the ultimate topper for SU is the amount of opposing possessions that haven’t reached the back of the net. He hasn’t allowed a goal in one third of his quarters (8-of-24) since becoming a starter.“I think that I’ve become more patient,” Molloy said. “I think I kind of more attacked the ball when I first got here. I think I kind of took a step back and let the game come to me more.”He’s welcomed it with open arms, and added a new dimension to Syracuse’s defense. Molloy’s willingness to vacate the crease has lent itself seamlessly to clearing situations, which he’s now prominently a part of.Raiders head coach Mike Murphy knew what his team was up against with Molloy, and the problems he’d cause them on the ride. To counter, Murphy wanted his players to get in Molloy’s face, forcing an errant pass or turnover. But it didn’t stop Molloy from either dishing off to a defender, or even launching a 20-plus yard pass up field to create transition offense with Tom Grimm.Murphy wanted his team to work Molloy side-to-side, preventing the home run pass. But the Syracuse goalkeeper kept swinging. And in the few swings the Raiders put on goal, Molloy performed well as a catcher.“He seems to be seeing the ball really well down the stretch,” Murphy said, “which is always great when you’re moving into tournament play.“You’re going to need your goalie to be the guy that erases mistakes.”That’s all he’s done since entering the UND game on April 2 that was lost many minutes before he stepped in the crease. Since then, his team has one loss and is bound for the NCAA tournament with a conference championship under it’s belt.Molloy’s fortified the Syracuse’s greatest weakness, and in its eyes, it’s a beautiful thing. Comments
Turns out the kids are all right.Seven seniors and four underclassmen left the Wisconsin men’s hockey team in the 2010 offseason. Included in that group was UW’s first ever Hobey Baker Award winner in Blake Geoffrion and the team’s leading scorer, sophomore Derek Stepan. Three of those guys are in the National Hockey League, and two of them have hat tricks. Another three were named to all-star teams in the minor leagues.There’s certainly no shortage of Badgers in the NHL, as Dany Heatley, Joe Pavelski and Brian Rafalski are all household names among hockey fans. Twenty former Badgers played in an NHL game this season.But overall, the guys from that 2009-2010 team could end up being one of the most successful collections of NHL pros to come from one squad in quite a while. It’s very possible 10 of the Badgers who fell to Boston College in Detroit will be playing in the bigs within the next few years. What else would you expect from – as UW hockey blogger Chuck Schwartz has dubbed it – NHL University?Stepan surprised everyone – his head coach included – by signing with the New York Rangers last summer. The 20-year-old made the team out of training camp and got a dream of a first game, becoming only the fourth rookie in NHL history to score a hat trick in his first NHL game. Stepan finished the regular season fifth in scoring among rookies with 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points.Not to be outdone, Geoffrion tore up the American Hockey League in early 2011, winning consecutive AHL player of the week awards as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals. Once called up to his hometown Nashville Predators, he notched a hat trick of his own against Buffalo.Defenseman Ryan McDonagh looks like he’ll be a staple on the blueline for the Rangers for years after getting called up in January. A hard-skating, physical defenseman, McDonagh is getting around 20 minutes of ice time a game, and his first NHL goal was a game-winner that helped the Rangers make the playoffs.As UW head coach Mike Eaves put it, McDongah looks like he belongs.“The pro game is made for Ryan in terms of his physical strengths and his ability to move from point A to point B. But the way he plays, it’s simple, it’s clean, it’s effective,” Eaves said. “That’s why he’s getting the ice time that he has, because he’s very effective in those areas.”So far, those three are the only former Badgers from that team to get NHL time. But they’re not the only ones to enjoy success.2010 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year Brendan Smith joined the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, and made an instant impact. Smith was the first Griffins rookie to be named to the AHL All-Star Game and was also named to the AHL all-rookie team.Forward Ben Street has proved to be a valuable free-agent signing, getting named the ECHL Rookie of the Year as a member of the Wheeling Nailers. Street scored 24-27-51 in just 38 games and was eventually called up to the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins of the AHL, where he went 12-11-23 in 36 games.Forward Andy Bohmbach led all East Coast Hockey League rookies in scoring, with a 25-43-68 line, and was named to the ECHL all-rookie team. Aaron Bendickson was named an ECHL all-star at midseason but left to finish his college degree. John Mitchell played most of his season in the AHL for Syracuse and has the size (6-foot-5, 216) to possibly make an NHL roster someday. It won’t be surprising to see defenseman Cody Goloubef make his NHL debut next year for Columbus, either.That’s not even counting four guys from that Badgers team that still have their professional careers ahead of them.Defenseman Jake Gardiner left after this season ended, getting a taste of the AHL with a 10-game stint with the Toronto Marlies. Gardiner flashed his defensive prowess with McDonagh as a sophomore, forming one of the nation’s best shutdown defensive pairings. As a junior, he was counted on to produce points and responded by posting a 10-31-41 line that was second in the nation among defensemen.Ahead of Gardiner in blueline scoring was Justin Schultz, who has said he’s staying for his junior year. Schultz was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and had 18 goals – most for a defenseman since 2002.Craig Smith, a fourth-round pick of Nashville, is also staying for at least one more year, giving him time to work on his consistency. When he’s on, the center looks like the best player on the ice. But he’s not always on, despite a very successful 19-goal, 43-point sophomore campaign.And then there’s John Ramage, a fourth-round pick last summer, whose game is very well-suited for the smaller rinks of the NHL.Not a bad bunch, eh?“That speaks loudly for Mike Eaves and his ability to coach and teach,” Geoffrion said in a phone interview.Look at the guys from the 2006 title-winning team. Eight of those Badgers have played in the NHL since leaving Wisconsin, guys like Adam Burish, Jake Dowell and Tom Gilbert. The more recent group didn’t even win the championship and could surpass the ’06 team in NHL-ers.Five years from now, chances are good 10 members of that 2009-2010 UW team are playing in the NHL regularly. Another two or three have outside chances of making a roster someday. Give credit to Eaves and his staff for helping develop what might end up being one of the most successful groups of Badgers in UW history.Adam is a senior majoring in journalism. Been following any former Badgers in the pros? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet @AdamJSHolt.
“They win 57 games and then in the playoffs with all that ugliness going on in the background, they beat Golden State in seven and lose to Oklahoma City in six. And we (TNT) just did so many of those games. And they looked to be a different team.”Albert, at the time of this conversation, noted the Clippers had won seven of their past nine. “But there is something that is different about them, maybe because the West is even better has something to do with it,” he said of the Clippers, who have lost three in a row and four of five and next play today at 10 a.m. (on Ch. 7) at Oklahoma City (25-25).Albert pointed to what he perceived to be “bad losses” Jan. 30 at New Orleans, which was without Anthony Davis, and Monday at Brooklyn when the Clippers blew a nine-point lead with 1:46 to play.“They’re just so hard to explain,” said Albert, who has been calling basketball games since 1967. “They win in San Antonio (Jan. 31) by 20 points. … But I don’t think at this point — and that can change — that they’re as good as they were at the end of last season.” Albert, by the way, said of Griffin, “He’s been solid.”Griffin is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and is shooting 50.1 percent from the field while shooting more from the outside. In 2013-14 he averaged 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and shot 52.8 percent operating more in the paint. He is dunking less, meaning there is less ferocity in the paint these days for the Clippers.Griffin has 70 dunks so far, so he won’t get anywhere near the 176 he had a season ago. He had 214 — his career high — in his rookie season.He’s averaging a career-best 5.1 assists.Paul fined $25,000Chris Paul has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for harsh comments he made about rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp after the Clippers’ 105-94 loss Thursday at Cleveland, it was announced Saturday by Rod Thorn, president of basketball operations for the NBA.Here’s what Paul said postgame to ESPN.com regarding the technical foul Holtkamp assessed him in the third quarter:“I think we have to show better composure, but at the same time some of (the technical fouls] were ridiculous. The tech that I get right there was ridiculous. I don’t care what nobody says, I don’t care what she says; that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a tech. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court, and when we did that, she said, ‘Uh-uh.’ I said, ‘Why, uh-uh?’ And she gave me a tech. That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”Scouting the ThunderWhile the Clippers are now in sixth in the Western Conference standings, the Thunder (25-25) are in 10th, three games out of the eighth playoff spot.Point guard Russell Westbrook leads OKC in scoring and assists with respective averages of 26.1 and 7.6. Reigning MVP Kevin Durant (toe) played in the Thunder’s loss to the Pelicans on Friday, but might not play today. He’s averaging 25.2 points and 6.7 rebounds.Griffin on Friday’s lossThe Clippers (33-18) led by 20 points (30-20) late in the first quarter Friday at Toronto, only to lose by 16 (123-107). They trailed by 24 points midway through the fourth quarter, meaning there was a 44-point turn around in less than three quarters.“I don’t think that our energy was the same,” Griffin said. “We came out and jumped out to a great lead playing really good basketball, and somewhere along the way we just kind of lost that pace, and that rhythm.” The question to TNT play-by-play man Marv Albert centered on Blake Griffin, and whether his efforts to take his game more to the outside has helped or hurt the Clippers.Griffin’s numbers are down a bit in many areas — rebounding, scoring, shooting percentage — but up in assists.Albert, who this week along with several colleagues played host to a conference call promoting the upcoming All-Star game — of which Griffin will be a part — took off in a different direction after speaking just briefly about Griffin. To Albert, this is not the same Clippers team he saw at the end of 2013-14.“I think there is something off with the Clippers this season, from what I’ve seen,” Albert said Thursday morning before the Clippers’ blowout loss at Cleveland and subsequent loss Friday at Toronto. “Last year you had the Donald Sterling saga, which they were able to, you know, basically it was ‘them against us’ and Doc Rivers did such a terrific job in keeping the team together. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
LeBron James got away with one of the worst travels in NBA history, and he knows it.During the first quarter of the Lakers’ Wednesday night win against the Jazz, James was dribbling the ball up court before he started just walking with the ball in his hands. Jazz defender Bojan Bogdanovic was covering James on the play and couldn’t believe his eyes. He immediately looked directly at the referee wondering why there was no call. NBA POWER RANKINGS:Bucks, Lakers look like title contenders; Knicks, Warriors sink to bottomLMAO LeBron 😂 pic.twitter.com/62xwLe8aD0— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) December 5, 2019James said he saw a replay at halftime after a coach showed him, and responded to a heckler joking, “That’s one of the worst [travels] I’ve ever done in my life.” LeBron talking to a fan about the no call travel??“That was f*cked up…” 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/mruuwsR4xu— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) December 5, 2019After the game, the Lakers star explained why he suddenly picked the ball up after crossing halfcourt.“I think at the same time, I was watching the underneath play, and [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] and Donovan [Mitchell] got into it. KCP started to run, and Donovan bumped into him, he fell on the ground,” James said. “I think I was ready to pass the ball, and my brain just kind of just, I had a malfunction. I really had a malfunction.” James added, “It was the worst thing, probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done in my career.”He also said he feels bad for whoever missed the traveling call, because they’re going to hear about it.”I feel bad for the refs on that one because they’ll probably get a write-up on that or something,” James said. “That was pretty bad.”