Steven Stamkos breaks through in Tampa Game 2 drubbing over Montreal (Video)

Welcome to the playoffs Steven Stamkos. Where have you been?

Actually he has played every game for the Tampa Bay Lighting but hasn’t scored a goal (drum roll please …) UNTIL NOW!

Behold the awesome and wonderful glory of Stamkos’ first score this postseason, on a breakaway on Montreal’s Carey Price in Sunday’s Game 2, 6-2 demolition of the Canadiens for Tampa.

Stamkos has repeatedly said he’s not hurt. He went eight games without a goal before that score. He couldn’t beat Petr Mrazek from Detroit. Something has to be going on.

Conspiracy theories aside, the Lightning are incredibly fortunate they’re in the position they are – in the second round up 2-0 after two games on the road. Stamkos had a goal and two assists in the victory. Thanks to the play of Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson (17 points between them and seven goals by Johnson) Tampa looks solid, even with Stamkos not scoring. Kucherov scored two goals in the win.

Price, the likely Hart and Vezina Trophy winner made just 18 saves on 24 Tampa shots on goal. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!


Is it time for the White Sox to fire Robin Ventura?

(Getty Images)After an offseason of improvements, the Chicago White Sox have gotten off to a terrible start. Things are particularly bad at the moment.

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The club dropped their fifth straight game Sunday, falling to 8-14 on the year. Chicago now has a -38 run differential, which is good for worst in the American League. 

With the club off to such a poor start, there are some who believe the team would be better off parting ways with manager Robin Ventura. While the issue hasn’t blown up just yet, his players gave him the dreaded vote of confidence following Sunday’s loss. 

Jose Abreu told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times that the players are to blame for the slow start, not the manager. 

“We cannot blame Robin for the situation of the team,’’ Abreu said through an interpreter. “It’s our fault because we are the ones who are playing. We are the people who are in the field. We are not doing the things right.’’

Abreu is right, of course. It isn’t Ventura’s fault four of his starting pitchers have ERA over 5.00. It’s also not his fault that a large majority of his lineup isn’t hitting right now. It’s much easier to fire a manager than it is to just DFA all of those players, so the fans are going to clamor for Ventura to go.

Would that be the right decision?

It’s tough to really know what to make of Ventura three years into his tenure. He took over an aging team in desperate need of an overhaul when he started, and had to manage one of the youngest White Sox teams in recent history in 2014. The organization hasn’t really put him in a great position.

Over that period, Ventura hasn’t really shown any glaring strategies are a manager. His teams haven’t led the league in sacrifice bunt attempts or hit and runs. He’s pretty boring, actually, but that’s fitting considering his personality. 

(Getty Images)

In this case, though, that laid back style hurts Ventura in the eyes of the fans. With the slow start, people are going to be looking to Ventura to fire up his team with some type of impassioned speech. That’s just not something he’s going to do, especially in public or with the media. 

It’s easy to say, “this team needs a fire lit under them,” but it’s impossible to know whether a fiery tirade is suddenly going to make Adam LaRoche hit better, or get the defense to stop making errors. 

With that in mind, it seems foolish for the White Sox to part with Ventura right now. Can we say with any certainty that another manager would do a better job with this club? As Abreu said, it’s not his fault his players haven’t performed.

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There’s also very little precedent for owner Jerry Reinsdorf letting go of managers this early in the year. Generally, he’s stuck with his managers for quite some time. Gene Lamont was fired 33 games into the 1995 season, but he’s really the only recent example. Terry Bevington, Jerry Manuel and Ozzie Guillen managed through most of their final seasons before they were fired.

For now, patience is probably the right decision. While the recent slide has been discouraging, the team is hardly out of the division race on May 3. Once Adam Eaton, Alexei Ramirez, and other guys start playing up to their usual level, the team will start playing better.

If you’re going to judge Ventura based on one month of poor play, you have to judge 60 percent of the team as well. It’s easy to call for a manager’s job in this situation, but it’s still too early to make snap judgements.

The White Sox know this, and will give Ventura more time to straighten things out. It may eventually turn out that he’s not the long-term answer, but he deserves more than a month to prove himself. 

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

Look out! Angels lose as runner Taylor Featherston is hit by batted ball

They are painful ways to lose baseball games, and then there are strange ways to lose baseball games that are literally quite painful.

We’d say both apply to the Los Angeles Angels 5-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, especially for pinch-runner Taylor Featherston, who was on the receiving end of teammate Matt Joyce’s “walkoff” single.

As the rules state, if a runner is hit by a fair batted ball while he is on fair territory, he is immediately called out. There’s no judgment in play, no intent to consider. The only exceptions come down to if the baseball was deflected or had already passed all infielders.

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Unfortunately for Featherston, neither exception applied on Saturday. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when Matt Joyce’s line drive clipped him on the leg. He was called out, Joyce was credited with an unusual single, and the game was over on the spot.

Oh, the agony.

The Angels were actually in full-on rally mode when the play happened as well. They’d already rallied for a pair of runs off starter Tim Hudson and reliever Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt to cut the lead to one.

Featherston was pinch running for David Freese, who had just singled home Mike Trout. Kole Calhoun was on third, and the Angels were in business as Bruce Bochy called on Santiago Casilla, his fourth pitcher in the inning.

And then just that quick, it was over.

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If there’s one saving grace for Featherson, it might be that Joe Panik was well positioned to knock the frozen rope down as the Giants positioned their second baseman in short right field. In other words, it may have been an out anyway. Then again, as Featherston can attest, that ball was struck so well it may have been a difficult play for Panik to handle.

That part we’ll never know. What we do know is San Francisco won the game, Featherston is applying an ice pack to his lower leg or foot, and weird baseball has shown up in full force this weekend.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

Chris Paul returns after leaving Clippers-Spurs Game 7 with left hamstring strain

Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul left Game 7 of his team’s opening-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs late in the first quarter after suffering a left hamstring injury.

With L.A. trailing by one point in the do-or-die Game 7 and just under 2 1/2 minutes remaining, Paul stole the ball from Spurs big man Boris Diaw and began dribbling up the court. As he moved to his right, he reached back and grabbed the back of his left leg, but continued to push the ball. He stopped short at the 3-point arc to create space from San Antonio defender Patty Mills, pulled up and hit a 3-pointer to put the Clippers up 23-22.

After DeAndre Jordan tied up Tim Duncan to force a jump ball on the ensuing possession, Paul left the game with 1:52 remaining in the first quarter. TNT’s cameras showed him sitting with his head in his hands on the bench before heading back to the locker room with a trainer.

He returned to the bench with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter, with the Clippers listing him as questionable to return with a left hamstring strain. He checked back into the game one minute later following a Clippers timeout.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Jersey Fouls of the Week: Jazz Hands proves a kingly find; Tampa advertising fail

we fouled a certain, Batman-like Ducks outfit. There’s a good reason behind this.

It’s because fouls, are art. We don’t just foul based off how bad these jerseys look. We foul also based off how much we enjoy looking at them. For example the Vatman was fouled not just because it looked stupid.

It was fouled for its incredible creativity involved in combining Sami Vatnanen and Batman. But again, we needed to know if it was Michael Keaton’s or Christian Bale’s version of Bat/Vat man. Or maybe dude is a George Clooney or Val Kilmer fan.

This week’s group of fouls didn’t include any winged super heroes. But they were still a solid bunch. With many teams eliminated from the playoffs, we had to dig into our vast email archives for a few. But overall, they were quite enjoyable. Hopefully the dude above can change the ‘5’ to ‘6’ but the Blues may want to get out of the first couple at some point. 

Remember, for all our fouls make sure to go to our Tumblr page.

If you want to submit, make sure to email us at or tweet to the hashtag #jerseyfoul. We’ll pick them up, and try to make sure to give credit where credit is due.

Without further delay, here are our fouls of the week: 

3. Numerical history lesson in Chicago

Photo via Martina Kleinova on email

As we noted on the ole Tumblr, according to Hockey-Reference, nobody on Chicago has worn No. 70, enhancing the foul.

2.  Poor hoody placement

Photo via Daniel Mahon on Facebook 

If you’re going to advertise your dentistry practice on a jersey, you shouldn’t wear a hood, just so people can see the ad. I mean, I can’t read this.

1. Alec Martinez celebrationdance of joy!

All ‘Jazz Hands’ fouls are welcome and encouraged. 

Photo via Christopher Ware

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!