Flyers vs. Blackhawks Live Blog: Instant Reactions and Analysis

October 21st, 2014 by Andrew Petyak No comments »
It's a final from the United Center as the Chicago Blackhawks handled the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-0. Thanks for staying here at the Bleacher Report for live updates and analysis of all the crushing hits, wicked goals and big-time saves. Here's the goal summary from ESPN.com so far: 11:54  1st Brandon Saad (1) Assists: Brad Richards, Bryan Bickell 0 1 12:26  1st Patrick Kane (2) (Power Play) Assists: Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews 0 2 14:00  1st Bryan Bickell (1) Assist: Brandon Saad 0 3 3:50 3rd Patrick Kane (3) (Power Play) Assists: Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp 0 4 Read more NHL news on BleacherReport.com

5 NBA Teams That Will Greatly Exceed Expectations During 2014-15 Season

October 21st, 2014 by Dan Favale No comments »
Quick, grab your glass-half-full-seeing goggles. Optimistic NBA projections are among us. Preseason predictions aren't inflexible doctrines. Many of them are overly harsh. Some NBA teams are generating too much hype (Philadelphia 76ers), while others aren't receiving enough attention (Cleveland Cavaliers). Consider this your official crash course in righting those injustices. By "injustices," we mean actual injustices. We want to identify teams that will greatly exceed the expectations laid before them. Don't enter the classroom looking for a defense of why the San Antonio Spurs will actually win 65 games instead of 60, or why the Indiana Pacers offense won't actually explore new depths of awful without Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Rather than acknowledge marginal or slight deviations from 2014-15 expectations, the idea is to go after the drastic differences. These positively charged disparities will be found by looking at last year's win totals, taking a gander at forecasts for the forthcoming season, evaluating talent on rosters and ...

The NBA’s Best 8 Bench Mobs Heading into the 2014-15 Season

October 21st, 2014 by Zach Buckley No comments »
The importance of NBA bench production is easy to overlook but hard to overstate. The best reserve units complement their team's starters, either by maintaining a certain standard of play when the big guns get a breather, sparking something on their own or blending their abilities to those of the starters in lineups featuring players from both. The San Antonio Spurs helped put second-teamers under the spotlight during their run to the 2014 NBA championship. There are a number of reasons San Antonio took the title, not the least of which were the league-high 44.3 points a night provided by the reserves, per HoopsStats.com. Not all starting fives need that kind of help, and not every coach would allow his reserves enough floor time to put up those kind of numbers. But every team needs a certain amount of depth, particularly with the omnipresent threat of the injury bug. Remember, depth can come in ...

Paul George Shows Mobility in 1-on-1 Game with His Dog

October 21st, 2014 by Kyle Newport No comments »
Just a few months after suffering a gruesome leg injury during a Team USA scrimmage, Indiana Pacers star Paul George is already working on getting back on the court. On Monday, we saw a video of George shooting jumpers after practice. One day later, the Pacers forward shared a video of himself playing a game of one-on-one.George's opponent? His dog, King.King proved to be a strong ball-hound, but George was just too much for the dog to handle. [Paul George]Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking the Biggest Threats to Win 2014-15 NBA Scoring Crown

October 21st, 2014 by Jim Cavan No comments »
Basketball is a game that gives you a million reasons to love it. From deft needle-threading passes to the precise pitch and arc of a corner three, the hardwood abounds with feats both fantastic and infinitesimal. Mostly, though, we love buckets and lots of them. More specifically, we love the players best imbued with bucket-getting moxie. The Michael Jordans and Allen Iversons, George Gervins and Tracy McGradys—these are the basketball behemoths we watch with widest eyes and jaws most agape. In honor of the NBA’s foremost fillers of the bucket, we’re running down the eight candidates with the best chance to capture the 2014-15 scoring title. How did we come up with the rankings?  A complex metric which takes into account past performance, career trajectory and the role the specific player stands to have on his particular team. It's mostly subjective, in other words. Some of the names will be obvious—their first roundball rodeo, ...

Everything Wrong with the Norris Trophy Embodied in Early Victor Hedman Buzz

October 21st, 2014 by Jonathan Willis No comments »
The Tampa Bay Lighnting announced on Monday that Victor Hedman is going to miss four to six weeks after requiring surgery for a broken finger. It’s a massive blow to the team, which loses an exceptional defenceman, and it will also severely damage the player’s chances of contending for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman. That last item figured prominently in reports on the injury. USA Today’s Jimmy Hascup mentioned Hedman as “a Norris Trophy candidate” and said that the improvements in the player’s game are one of the reasons the Lightning are expected to be contenders in the East. The Sporting News’ Sean Gentille lamented that Hedman’s Norris chances were probably already dead, despite his “progression over the last year or two.” Bleacher Report’s own Timothy Rapp didn’t mention the award but did say that Hedman was “finally becoming the superstar the Lightning envisioned when they selected him No. 2 overall ...

Who’s Overachieving, Underperforming for Washington Capitals so Far This Season?

October 21st, 2014 by Ryan Davenport No comments »
The Washington Capitals are off to an impressive start after Barry Trotz's first five games behind the bench, as the team's managed at least a point during each outing.  And, with eight points thus far, Alex Ovechkin and Company sit tied for the Metropolitan Division lead, so the organization's management and coaching staff have to be rather pleased with the new-look Caps' start.  A lot of credit has to be given to the style of play that Trotz has implemented, as Washington's gone from ranking 27th in shots allowed per game in 2013-14 to the team's current league-wide ranking of fifth.  However, as always, the Caps have benefited from strong performances from many of their top players as well as solid contributions from further down the lineup.  Here's a look at the Capitals who are overperforming as well as a couple who are underperforming thus far. Begin Slideshow

Season Predictions and Analysis for the 2014-15 Houston Rockets

October 21st, 2014 by Team Stream Now No comments »
The Houston Rockets will try to put the disappointment of last season behind them and advance deep into the Western Conference playoffs this year. Can James Harden and Dwight Howard help Houston make a run? Howard Beck and Ric Bucher join Adam Lefkoe to break down the upcoming season in Houston in the video above.Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking the Best Markets for an NHL Expansion Franchise

October 21st, 2014 by Jonathan Willis No comments »
NHL expansion is a topic that just won't go away, and perhaps that shouldn't be surprising. The last wave of expansion in 2000 is almost 15 years in the past, and the league now has long-term television deals in both Canada and the United States and extended labour peace thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement.  If the league chooses to expand again (and given how lucrative expansion fees can be, it's probable that it will), where should it go? We've ranked eight potential markets based on their suitability for an NHL franchise. Fan support is essential, so we've looked at the history of hockey in each market, and naturally, population is a major concern. Business support matters, too, so corporate presence was considered. The single-most important factor was the presence of an arena, which has been the difference between success and failure in countless cases.  Begin Slideshow

Season Predictions and Analysis for the 2014-15 Dallas Mavericks

October 21st, 2014 by Team Stream Now No comments »
The Dallas Mavericks are reloaded and optimistic that this new NBA season will see them return to the Finals. Can Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki take the Mavs back to the top of the league? Ric Bucher and Howard Beck join Adam Lefkoe to give their take in the video above.Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com