The Weaknesses Of The Four Remaining NFL Playoffs Teams

The NFL’s conference championship weekend is finally here. In the video above, FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine breaks down the two matchups. Share on Facebook

The NHL Has Accomplished Its Goals

If you’ve been paying attention to the 2017-18 NHL season, you may have noticed something: There is no shortage of goals. We’re more than a third of the way through the season, and scores are, on average, the highest they’ve been since 2005-06. Through Sunday, there have already been 31 games settled in regulation in which the teams combined for double-digit goals. A year ago there were only 45 such games across the whole season. We’re still a long way away from the 1980s golden era of goals, but for a league that’s been repeatedly criticized for being too low-scoring, this sudden glut can only be read as a positive development.It’s difficult to point to just one cause for the scoring uptick. The league instituted a number of rule changes at the beginning of the season,1The NHL did something similar after the lockout of 2004-05, introducing a sweeping array of rule changes with the express purpose of increasing goal scoring. and those changes have contributed to an increase in power play opportunities — teams are averaging 3.3 power play opportunities per game so far this season, the highest mark in five years.2Those changes also include a crackdown on slashing and a conservative interpretation of what a center can and cannot do at the faceoff dot: If a center does not stand squarely facing his opponent’s side of the rink, he is subject to being thrown out of the dot. If that happens consecutively to centers from the same team, that team will be subject to a bench minor. The league wants to see less stick work and less cheating on the faceoff dots. And it’s evident the league wasn’t kidding about cracking down on slashing — through Sunday, officials had doled out 623 penalties for slashing. That number was just 791 for all of last season. Slashing0.641.22+0.58 Hooking1.030.97-0.07 Holding0.640.67+0.03 The box is getting crowdedMinor penalties per NHL game over the past two seasons Roughing0.840.67-0.18 More power play opportunities translate to more odd man advantages, which translate to more shots on net per game: Teams are surrendering more shots per game (31.6) than they have in the past three decades. The math is simple: more shots on goal equals more pucks finding the twine.And even though goals against averages are up across the league — the current mark of 2.76 is the highest it’s been in a decade — the goaltenders cannot be blamed for the league’s recent scoring outburst. Among qualifying goalies,3We looked at goalies who’ve played at least 200 minutes. the league average save percentage (92.18) is slightly higher than the league average expected save percentage (92.13), which is the save percentage an average goalie should post given the quality of shots faced.This suggests that goalies are actually outperforming expectations. During the 2016-17 season, goalies stopped fewer pucks than the data suggested they should have stopped (an actual save percentage of 91.94 versus an expected save percentage of 92.17), and yet goals per game totals remained roughly in line with numbers from the preceding nine seasons.Goalies in 2017-18 are also outperforming their peers from the previous year on high danger shots (unblocked shots with an expected scoring percentage of 9 or greater); this year’s cohort is stopping 79.4 percent of shots considered dangerous, while last year’s stopped just 78.5 percent of those shots.Even though teams are converting their power plays with effectively the same efficiency they did in 2016-17, they’re getting more of those man advantage looks, and likely the rule changes — and not poor goalie play4Goalies are always getting blamed; we need to stop blaming those poor goalies. — offer the truest explanation for the higher-scoring brand of hockey being played in the NHL at the moment.And let’s not forget the cadre of young offensive talent that has flooded the NHL in the past several seasons: Last year, six of the top dozen goal scorers were 25 years old or younger. And the top point getter (Connor McDavid) was just 20. All of these very young men are already sharing the leaderboards with future Hall of Famers like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, who are still both in the primes of their careers. This overlap of generational talent could be contributing to all the scoring, too.To be sure, no one in the league office of the NHL is losing sleep over this. More scoring is good news for a league that has been plagued by a spate of absurd calls from pundits to not only tweak the rules of the game, but to change the shape of it too. Reprimanding centers for lining up at the dots incorrectly? Fine, we can all live with that. But making the nets bigger? That’s downright sacrilege. Thanks to the relatively high-scoring climate of the present-day NHL, maybe we can put that tired argument to bed once and for all. Interference0.640.71+0.08 Goalie interference0.100.09-0.01 High stick0.690.58-0.10 Tripping1.081.20+0.12 Holding stick0.110.07-0.03 Penalty2016-172017-18Difference All minors6.657.09+0.44 Cross checking0.300.31+0.01 Through Dec. 17. Differences may not add up because of rounding.Source: ESPN read more

2017 National Bursary Scholarship Award Winners Thankful for Their Opportunity

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, August 18, 2017 – Nassau –  “Your country has invested in you.  You now invest in your country,” Minister of Education the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd told nearly 400 scholarship winners of the National Bursary Scholarship to the University of The Bahamas (UB) at a ceremony on Wednesday, evening, August 16, 2017 at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Boyd Road.The National Bursary Scholarship to the University of The Bahamas is awarded for receiving either five or more Bahamas General Certificates of Secondary Education (BGCSE) inclusive of Mathematics and English Language, or maintaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for a minimum of one year at UB.Among them, 288 Scholars received the National Bursary Award which covers tuition and fees up to a maximum of $2,500, and 101 scholars received a limited scholarship in the amount of $1,875 per semester for one year.    A total of 27 high school seniors who had taken BGCSE’s in grade 10 and 11 and had obtained the necessary passes also prequalified.   To maintain the scholarship, students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be eligible to keep the award.The Minister indicated that the Ministry of Education has afforded over 1,000 grants and scholarships to students this year of which 60 percent was afforded to students from government schools.An atmosphere of immense gratitude was created when 2017 Bursary Scholar from St. Augustine’s College, Ariel Kirlew humbly expressed, “I may not be as rich as my friends, classmates, or neighbors but I do believe that I deserve the same opportunities….  I am truly grateful for this Bursary Award.”    She will be pursuing a Bachelor’s in Accounting.A 2017 Outstanding Bursary Scholar from Nassau Christian Academy, Christina Small also expressed how necessary the Bursary Scholarship is to her, saying “The word scholarship was slipped into almost every conversation involving college.”   She will be pursuing a career in Medicine.   Both scholars thanked the Ministry of Education and their parents for such great support and the opportunity afforded for their hard work.Representing the parents, who were also very grateful for the assistance of the Bursary Scholarship, Cedric Moss, father of Bursary Scholar Abigail Moss, thanked the Ministry of Education and UB for their “wise investment” and reminded the scholars that “It is easy to fall behind but hard to catch up” in regards to maintaining their scholarships.Dr. Rodney Smith, President of UB, contributed many wise words of encouragement to the audience.   He connected with the “First Fall class admitted to UB” in letting them know he was also a recipient of the Bursary Scholarship.   His father had passed away when he was six years old and he was raised by a single mother of four who worked as a waitress to support them all.   The scholarship allowed him to be the first in his family to attend college and allowed him to become what he is today.   He said this to show the scholars how important it is to “work hard because you don’t know what you are destined to be… you are the future builders and owners of the UB.”The President also gave wonderful insight into what UB has to offer in its upcoming semester, such as new 2-5 bedroom suites along University Commons in Nassau and Grand Bahama, along with many other improvements that he hopes will make UB “the most beautiful campus in the entire world.”   This concept is especially significant because UB is said to be “the only university that considers the entire country to be its campus.”The University is also working on study abroad programs so that “By the end of their Junior year, all students will be afforded the opportunity to study abroad.”   He also announced his “Thursday open-door policy from 3-5 p.m. for both students and parents.”The award ceremony was moderated by Bursary Scholar Graduates Kendra Ingraham and John Darville.Story by: Sydnei IsaacsPHOTOS CAPTIONPictured at the National Bursary Scholarship ceremony at St. Joseph’s Hall, August 16, 2017 are Minister of Education the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd speaking at the podium (seated in background is UB President Dr. Rodney Smith); young scholarship recipients; and also senior Ministry of Education officials.  (BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.) Related Items:last_img read more

Klopp defends Salah over diving claims

first_imgLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has risen to Mohamed Salah’s defence following allegations that he’s been diving to win penalties.The Egyptian forward has been at the centre of a growing debate over diving due to an apparent willingness to fall to the ground too easily in a challenge.As a result, several spot-kicks have come in Salah’s favour this term with Crystal Palace players even confronting him during Liverpool’s last game on January 19 when he was not awarded a penalty for falling to the ground.But Klopp is adamant that Salah would never dive on purpose and suggested that critics are only targetting him due to the fact he plays for a big club like Liverpool.“[Crystal Palace] was the first situation where he went down without [a penalty] and you speak about all the other situations as well,” said Klopp, according to FourFourTwo.“The other situations there is nothing to talk about – it is a penalty, done. If this is the first then why do we talk about?“There are other situations, much more obvious situations, that we don’t talk about and nobody is talking about because it’s not [Manchester] City, it’s not [Manchester] United, it’s not Liverpool, it’s not Arsenal or it’s not Chelsea.“All the others can do it from time to time and nobody really talks about it. It’s all fine.Tammy Abraham, ChelseaChelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“All the penalties against him were penalties, but people handle it like it was halfway diving – it was not. We don’t need blood for a foul in football. That’s all I will say about it.”Interestedly, Klopp then pointed out that Leicester City’s star striker Jamie Vardy falls to the ground in the same way as Salah does.The German made these comments ahead of tonight’s Premier League match against the Foxes at Anfield.“Did anyone talk to Jamie Vardy when, everybody saw [against Southampton], he jumped in? Is Jamie a bad person because of that?” Klopp added.“I don’t say now he is a diver. That is another situation.“You have them in the back, you are there, you feel something, do you have to go down?“Probably not. I don’t have to speak to players about obvious things. He knows that. Don’t go down in situations like that.”last_img read more

Lawmakers Sticking to New Budget Caps Thornberry Says

first_imgDefense appropriators can be expected to adhere closely to the funding levels set out in the defense authorization bill in crafting the fiscal 2018 spending bill, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told reporters Wednesday. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee also said that DOD should not anticipate any additional funds in FY 2018 and 2019 beyond the higher topline figures agreed to as part of last month’s budget deal, reports CQ. “I believe there is an absolute commitment to sticking to the budget agreement: 700 [billion dollars] this year, 716 [billion dollars] next year, which means no lower, no higher,” Thornberry said. “So the idea that, if there are deficiencies [for a particular account], you just add to the topline, I don’t think that will happen.”The budget agreement allocates a total of $700 billion for national defense programs in FY 2018 and $716 billion in FY 2019. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Inside the Pentagon Restructuring ahead of Schedule Democrats Criticize Use of DOD

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Many of the organizational changes within DOD stemming from the Feb. 1 split of the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics office into two smaller organizations should be in place by the end of the first quarter of 2019, one year ahead of schedule, Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, told Defense News. “I believe those last critical slots — a lot of [deputy assistant secretary of defense] slots, a few director slots — will all be filled by March of ’19. We’re excited to get going on the work,” Lord said. Under the restructuring, the individual components that now make up the office of the assistant secretary of defense (ASD) for energy, installations and environment will be shifted to a newly created ASD for sustainment. … A group of senior Democrats have asked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to reject a request from the Department of Homeland Security to allocate $450 million in military construction funds to construct a new border barrier system along a 31-mile section of the Barry M. Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona. “It is utterly irresponsible and appalling that President Trump wants to take away funding for military readiness and infrastructure in order to spend it on his border wall,” Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), ranking member on House Armed Services, said Thursday in a statement. DOD intends to reinforce an estimated 31 miles of fencing “with an additional 30-foot barrier that includes an all-weather patrol road, and vehicle and pedestrian access gates, enhancements which have proven successful along other parts of the southern border,” a Pentagon spokesman said, reported Stars and Stripes.DoD photo by EJ Hersomlast_img read more