Bobo's here. Folks are lined up, so let's go!
There is a chance the XFL will operate as a true made-for-TV operation and play in a central location rather than go to individual markets. That reduces the financial risk -- but it would be a shame for the STL, which rallied behind its team.
Stan Kroenke has generated lots of mediocrity with his sports ownership over the years and drawn the ire of a LOT of fans. But it hard not to win when the owner has unlimited resources. His teams are proving that now.
I'm not ready to give up on Steven Matz after one start, but it certainly looks like the Cardinals will need at least one more impact starting pitcher. Right now the options beyond Jordan Hicks and Jake Woodford at the back end of the rotation look pretty scary, Who knows when Jack Flaherty will return and how he will hold up when he does. The same goes for Alex Reyes.
You can walk to the riverfront in downtown Buffalo and wave to people in Canada. That's how close it is. There are a lot of Sabres fans on the other side of the border. The same could be said for Red Wings fans in Windsor, Ontario -- but the Wings do not extend those fans the same courtesy.
If the Blues believed they had a contender for 2022-23 (and I expect management would feel that way), then they could use Vladimir Tarasenko as a rental player if he doesn't sign an extension. Contenders pay a high price to rent players with expiring contracts for the stretch run. This would be a full-season rental, something the team has done many times before with players on expiring deals. In the salary cap world, teams never lose high-paid veterans for nothing. If the player leaves as a free agent, that creates a lot of salary cap space to use elsewhere.
Given Kershaw's high odometer reading and injury history, protecting him during an early-season start after an abbreviated spring training made sense. -- especially for a team looking to win another title. Across baseball, pitchers are still building their endurance. Few are working deep into games. All managers are handling their starting pitchers gingerly.
Of course there asking price would be high. I'm guessing Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker are untouchable in trades. Perhaps Joshua Baez, Ivan Herrera and Masyn Winn as well. Other than that, I would think most of the prospects could be in play for a high-end pitcher.
Obviously his preparation was different. He was fat last year. This year he is lean. Also, he played Dominican Winter League baseball -- an usual step for a Hall of Fame-bound player in his 40s -- as part of that preparation.
Merchandising! There may not be a huge global market for MLB stuff, but there is at least some market. I agree the sport is just a novelty in Europe, but smaller checks still cash.
Nicklas Lidstrom was a remarkable playmaker and power-play quarterback, in addition to being a heady shut-down defenseman. I don't see Colton Parayko developing that such a high-level offensive game, but the Blues have others to do that. Parayko can just focus on the defensive side of things and jump into the offense here and there.
Jordan Kyrou has been out of sorts for a while now while moving in and out of the lineup and battling illness. He needs to settle back in and especially upgrade his defensive play or he could losing playing time in the postseason.
By biggest concern with Jordan Binnington has been his scrambling too much in the crease, which leaves him vulnerable to bleeder goals of all kinds. That's also why he kept losing his stick during those scrambles. By contrast, Ville Husso is quieter in the crease while relying on his positioning. He stays up more and stays big, even though he is not a large goaltender.
With Jack Flaherty pitching, this isn't a bad rotation. I believe we'll see Miles Mikolas, Steven Martz and Dakota Hudson rack up some Ws. The same goes for Adam Wainwright. But as I noted earlier, the shoulder injuries to Flaherty and Alex Reyes left the team short and there was ample time in the spring to address that. Not doing so could prove costly. Adding pitching help on the fly is doable, but not as easy as back in the spring when there were lots of decent starters unsigned.
I'm not optimistic that any of the developmental pitchers can make a big difference this season. That's why I noted earlier that the depth beyond Jordan Hicks and Jake Woodford was dicey.
From Stan Kroenke, other owners could learn how to tank a football team and grease the skids for a franchise move. Also, they could learn how to enrage fan bases on two continents with persistent failure.
Neither he nor his agent has offered any comment on his hockey future.