Explaining the Nets-Kyrie Irving situation, plus Penguins, Golden Knights shine on NHL’s opening night

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Hello newsletter readers, it’s Shanna McCarriston back for this wonderful Wednesday. Is it me or does it feel like the sports news has been coming like a tornado lately? Since we last spoke, the NHL has returned and the Red Sox defeated the Rays in the ALDS to clinch a spot in the ALCS.

Today we have some more deciding MLB games to talk about, as well as a huge update on the Kyrie Irving situation that we will dive into.

All that and more as you keep scrolling. Let’s get to it.


📰 What you need to know

1. MLB playoff roundup: Astros, Braves win and advance ⚾

Last night we had three MLB games to keep up with as the White Sox, Braves and Dodgers all faced elimination in their respective division series. 

First up was the Astros, who eliminated the White Sox and will now go on to face the Red Sox in the ALCS. The Braves game was a bit closer than the first game of the day, and Atlanta defeated the Brewers to eliminate them from the playoffs.

Here are the results and brief summaries from the three games:

  • Astros vs. White Sox: Houston defeated Chicago in convincing fashion to take Game 4, and the series, with a final score of 10-1. The Astros have been in the ALCS every year since 2017. Houston dominated the White Sox bullpen last night and throughout the series, putting the game away. Chicago could just never keep up and got their only run from Gavin Sheets.
  • Brewers vs. Braves: The Braves defeated the Brewers 5-4 in Game 4 of the NLDS to advance to the NLCS for the second year in a row. The winning run came in the eighth inning when Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman hit a home run off Brewers closer Josh Hader. Now Atlanta must wait for the winner of…
  • Giants vs. Dodgers: With their backs against the wall at home, the Dodgers lived to fight another day with a 7-2 win in Game 4. A large reason was the play of Mookie Betts, who had three RBI and one run scored to pace the Dodgers. Now it all comes down to Game 5 on Thursday night.

2. Nets: Kyrie Irving won’t play or practice until he gets COVID-19 vaccine 🏀

The situation between Kylie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets is no longer up in the air. The Nets announced yesterday that Irving will not be able practice or play in games until he is a “full participant.” Irving is not vaccinated, which means he is unable to play or practice in the Nets arena in New York.

There was the chance he could serve as a part-time player and play in away games in locations that do not require the COVID-19 vaccine, but the team is going the other route

  • Nets general manager Sean Marks“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant. Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability … Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction.”

Irving has asked to keep his vaccination status private when directed questions about it by the media, but during Tuesday’s press conference Marks specifically noted the All-Star has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine. Marks explained that if Kyrie was vaccinated “we wouldn’t be having this discussion.” 

Marks said the decision not an easy one to make.

  • Marks: “I don’t think that would be fair, not only on the team and staff and ownership and fans, but, to be quite frank, not fair on Kyrie either. When you’re putting somebody out there that potentially can’t get the right ramp-ups and right build-ups and so forth, and look as good as he or the team should under a different set of circumstances, that’s why this decision was ultimately made.”

Along will missing games, Irving will lose the money that comes with playing. According to an agreement made by the league and union, he will lose pay for every home game he is not able to play in.

For a deeper look at how this situation unfolded, check out this piece from our NBA scribe James Herbert.

3. NHL Opening Night: Kraken fall to VGK in debut; Penguins strike often vs. Lightning 🏒

HOCKEY. IS. BACK.

Last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning began the journey for their third straight Stanley Cup with their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. We also got to see the Seattle Kraken’s first regular season game, as they took on the second-newest NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Seeing a team make their regular season debut is such a cool moment in my opinion and it is one of those things you’ll always remember as a hockey fan.

Here is what took place in each game:

  • Lightning vs. Penguins: The defending champions lost to the Penguins 6-2, despite Pittsburgh playing without star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin due to injuries. The Penguins took control of the contest in the second period. That’s when Brian Boyle and Danton Heinen scored to give them a 2-0 lead. They kept pouring it on in the third period. Pens goalie Tristan Jarry was a force in net as he turned away 28 shots.
  • Kraken vs. Golden Knights: The Golden Knights are coming off a season in which they were eliminated by the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup semifinals and the Kraken are coming off, well … nothing. Vegas got off to a great start last night, topping the Kraken 4-3. It was a close affair all night until Vegas forward Chandler Stephenson scored the game-winning goal at the 8:33 mark of the third period. Vegas was paced by forward Max Pacioretty, who registered three points (two goals and an assist). For Seattle, Ryan Donato recorded the first goal in franchise history.

4. NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals remain undefeated; Bills enter Top 3 🏈

What time is it? NFL Power Rankings time of course!

Congrats to the Cardinals and their fans who kept the No. 1 spot this week and are the only undefeated team left, sitting at 5-0. The Titans moved up the most, up six spots to No. 10, while the Washington Football Team plummeted more than anyone, moving six spots down to No. 26.

Here is a look at the top 10 and how many spots each team moved:

  • No. 2: Bills, moved up two spots
  • No. 3: Packers, moved down one spot
  • No. 4: Rams, moved up two spots
  • No. 5: Chargers, moved up two spots
  • No. 6: Buccaneers, moved down three spots
  • No. 7: Cowboys, moved up one spot
  • No. 8: Ravens, moved up two spots
  • No. 9: Browns, moved down four spots
  • No. 10: Titans, moved up eight spots

The Chiefs have continued to fall, now at No. 12, down three spots from last week. And for good reason. Kansas City is currently in last place in the AFC West, sitting at 2-3.

As far as who I though did well this week, I was impressed by the Ravens — especially quarterback Lamar Jackson. The QB continues to prove himself on the ground, but is a weapon in the air as well. Jackson went 37 of 43, throwing for 442 yards and putting four touchdowns on the board.


📝 Odds & Ends


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📺 What to watch tonight

🏒 Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. | TOR -175 | TV: NHL.TV

🏒 Rangers vs. Capitals, 7:30 p.m. | WAS -130 | TV: TNT

🏒 Blackhawks vs. Avalanche, 10 p.m. | COL -200  | TV: TNT


🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

I am once again changing this to “Worst thing I saw on the internet.” My fantastic co-worker Chris Bengel had the best lede to this story, so I am going to quote him. “J.R. Smith’s golf adventure took an unbeelievable turn on Tuesday.”

Smith stepped on a beehive during his first golf tournament and needed medical treatment. He was in the first round of the tournament in North Carolina when the unfortunate run in too place. Next time, he will need to bee more careful.

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