Kraken on brink of upsetting Avalanche after impressive Game 5 win

Cale Makar could only watch as the Seattle Kraken suffocated his Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the first-round series. Makar was serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Jared McCann in Game 4, and Colorado struggled to find answers without him on the ice.

In the first period of the Kraken’s Game 4 win over the Avs, Makar delivered a late hit to Seattle forward Jared McCann, who left the game and did not return. After reviewing the play following the game, the NHL Department of Player Safety suspended the star blueliner for Game 5.

Makar is arguably the best defenseman in the world. The 24-year-old star has a Norris Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup to back up that claim. With Makar out of the lineup, Colorado was much more vulnerable, and Seattle took advantage of that.

The Kraken have controlled play when Makar isn’t on the ice, and that was the case for all three periods in Game 5. Seattle completely stifled Colorado for a 3-2 win in Ball Arena, and now the Avalanche are one loss away from going home in the first round.

The good news for the Avs is that Makar was only suspended for one game, and he will be back for a do-or-die Game 6. Expect the well-rested Makar to see a lot of playing time, because there is a stark difference in Colorado’s five-on-five numbers when Makar is on the ice.

As evidenced in that table above, the Avalanche’s depth defensemen have struggled this series, and Samuel Girard, Erik Johnson, and Josh Manson couldn’t quite pick up the slack in Game 5. The Kraken forecheck gave the Colorado defensemen some problems, and that resulted in the Avs generating just 28 shots on goal.

The Kraken have the edge in this series when it comes to roster depth. They have a few different lines that can be effective, and their entire defensive corps has impressed through the first five games. Colorado has the advantage at the top of the lineup, and Makar is a big part of that. Seattle doesn’t quite have anyone who can match Makar when he is at his best.

That’s exactly what the Avalanche will need from him in Game 6, which will be in front of a hostile crowd at Climate Pledge Arena. The reigning Stanley Cup champions will face elimination on Friday night, and Makar has the chance to atone for his big Game 4 mistake by forcing a decisive Game 7.

Ryan Reynolds preparing $1B bid with Remington Group to buy team, per report

Actor Ryan Reynolds and the Remington Group are prepping to make an offer of more than $1 billion to buy the Ottawa Senators, according to a report from the Ottawa Sun. The group is headlined by Reynolds and real estate mogul Christopher Bratty.

New York-based banker Galatioto Sports Partners has been hired to oversee the bids to buy the Senators, and May 15 has been set as the deadline for all groups to submit final offers. The Ottawa Sun also reports that Reynolds and Bratty want to get a deal done as soon as possible and have been aggressive throughout the process.

As a part of their proposal, it’s believed that Reynolds and Bratty would build a new arena for the Senators.

The group is reportedly considering several sites for a new arena, including some that are closer to downtown Ottawa and the city’s entertainment district. However, redeveloping the 75 acres in which the Canadian Tire Centre — the current home of the Senators — occupies in the suburb of Kanata is also on the table.

According to the Ottawa Sun, it appears that Reynolds and Bratty would finance a potential Senators deal with Galatioto Sports Partners, the Melnyk family — who currently own the team — and the NHL.

The Senators would not be the only sports franchise that Reynolds owns if a deal goes through. He purchased Welsh soccer club Wrexham FC with fellow actor Rob McElhenney in 2020. The team recently secured promotion to the Football League for the first time in 15 years, and both actors have been extremely active in the Welsh community to show support for the club.

Reynolds would take a similar approach to being the owner of the Senators.

“If we progress with the Ottawa Senators I will be a frothy, rabies-infused fan the likes of which the NHL has never seen,” Reynolds said in December. “There’s not too much I can say about that now, but I have a real connection to Ottawa, to the community of Ottawa.”

But Reynolds and his group are not the only party interested in purchasing the NHL franchise. According to the Ottawa Sun, there are six other major groups trying to buy the Senators, one of which is led by Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé.

Jordan Davis reveals the biggest difference from Year 1 to Year 2 in NFL

PHILADELPHIA — There’s a noticeable difference with Jordan Davis throughout training camp. The 2022 first-round pick still has the same, bulky frame from his rookie season (although he does look a bit leaner than when he first got to Philadelphia).

The body isn’t a noticeable change regarding Davis, now an entrenched starter at defensive tackle. There’s a different approach to his game, with no fear in his response.

“Confidence. I say confidence,” Davis said. “A year ago I was kind of doubting myself. I did make it this far for a reason, but it’s one of those things where you keep second-guessing yourself. Especially after the injury, I was always second-guessing myself.”

A foot injury in Week 8 caused that self-doubt for Davis, who went from starting five consecutive games and playing 30 to 40 percent of the snaps to returning from injury and barely playing. The Eagles signed Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph when Davis was out to improve the run defense, and the veterans took up a significant amount of playing time.

The snap-count percentage decreased to 10 to 25 percent when Davis returned to the field, part of a defensive tackle rotation with Suh, Joseph, Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox. Davis did play over 30 percent of the snaps in two postseason games, but the Eagles were up big in the second half in both those contests. He played just 10 defensive snaps in Super Bowl LVII.

“I’m going into this role now, more of a leadership role,” Davis said. “I’m starting to gain more confidence for me, myself, and everyone else. Everything we do now is to go in there 100% and know I can do it, we can do it together.”

Confidence is the biggest key to success in the NFL, something Davis learned throughout his trying rookie season. Davis started doubting his ability to play football, the same ability that made him a first-round pick in the first place.

“You’re coming up on the biggest stage of your life,” Davis said. “It’s the grandest stage in football. So obviously, people have, not only myself, have imposter syndrome. Just knowing that you’re here for a reason, they picked you for a reason, you’re here to stay. Just do whatever you can do get better. You just prepare your best and let everything take care of the rest.”

Davis worked on improving and conditioning throughout the spring in order to succeed at the highest level. Those results are paying off.

“You can see it on the tape,” Davis said. “When I watch practice, I’m more sure. I’m not really hesitant off the ball. I’m taking that first step, I’m taking my gather step.

“It’s just little things like that. It could be seconds or milliseconds difference but in this game, those milliseconds add up.”

The Eagles drafted Davis in the first round for a reason. The franchise is banking on him to take the next step in Year 2, especially with Javon Hargrave gone and Fletcher Cox in his mid-30s.

Confidence has been the biggest difference in Davis’ game. The results just have to translate to the field.

Warriors plan to work out Trey Burke, Dion Waiters, others, per report

The Golden State Warriors have made some surprising moves so far this offseason and still need to fill out their roster ahead of the 2022-23 season. The Dubs are hosting workouts for several veteran free agents over the next two weeks in hopes of improving their depth and veteran experience. Trey Burke, Dion Waiters and Kent Bazemore are among the players who will get a look, according to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Whether any of them will contribute as legitimate rotation players remains to be seen, though.

Burke, who last played for the Dallas Mavericks in 2021-22, averaged 5.1 points across 42 games during his latest NBA stint. While he didn’t make much of a mark backing up Luka Doncic, he did post 15.5 points and 4.0 assists while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from long range over 29 games with the G-League’s Stockton Magic last season. The 30-year-old guard might have a tough time breaking into the Warriors’ loaded backcourt, though.

Waiters hasn’t seen an NBA floor since his brief stint with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019-20. He averaged 11.9 points and 2.4 assists per contest over a brief seven-game spell with the team during the regular season and took home a championship ring at the end of the campaign following a successful run in the NBA bubble.

Bazemore isn’t a new name to Warriors fans, as he’s been with the team on three separate seasons. While the versatile wing couldn’t quite stick with the Lakers as a role player in 2021-22, the Warriors could find comfort in a familiar name who knows the personnel and has logged 172 games with Golden State.