The Anaheim Ducks Are In A World Of Pain

The Anaheim Ducks Are In A World Of Pain

The Ducks have now lost 19 out of their last 21 games amidst a multitude of problems and a rebuild may be at its beginning stages after Randy Carlyle's firing from head coach.

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On December 17, 2018, the Anaheim Ducks had just defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road 4-2, and sat in a playoff spot with a 19-11-5 record, good for 43 points and 2nd in the Pacific Division. Since then, the Ducks have lost 19 out of their last 21 games, going 2-15-4 during that stretch, now sitting at 21-26-9 and 51 points on February 12th, eight points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. After their last loss, head coach Randy Carlyle was finally axed and general manager Bob Murray stepped in as the interim coach. Many issues exist currently and for the foreseeable future in Anaheim, which could see its first sustained rebuild since the early 2000s, where the team missed the playoffs three years in a row.

One of the Ducks' bigger issues is the lack of goal scoring throughout the lineup. The leading player in goals is forward Jakob Silfverberg, with 12 in 47 games played. That's not enough for a team that is 56 games into the season. The overall points production is quite anemic too. Captain and center Ryan Getzlaf leads the club with 36 points in 50 games, and he is the only player with more than 30 points to this date.

Injuries are also factoring into the equation: center Adam Henrique and defenseman Brandon Montour are the only Ducks to have played in every game this season, with players such as forwards in Silfverberg, Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, and Ondrej Kase as well as defensemen Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm, and goaltender Ryan Miller all spending at least five games on the injured reserve.

With so many players in and out of the lineup, not to mention that most of the fill-ins are inexperienced at the NHL level, it is hard to develop any sort of chemistry for an extended period of time. Goaltender John Gibson has been unable to maintain grade A performance in net, as his save percentage is now at 0.914, below where he started the season. With all of this considered, the Ducks have a tough future ahead when considering their salary cap situation.

Perry and Getzlaf, both of who will turn 34 in May, have a cap hit of $8.625 and $8.25 million for the next two years after the 2018-19 season, while Kesler, who turns 35 in August, makes $6.825 million for the next 3 years after this season concludes. Perry has only played in five games this year due to injuries, Getzlaf's production is declining and not up to par with how much he is paid, and Kesler has only six points in 48 games, and he also only played in 44 games last season due to injuries, scoring just 14 points.

These expensive contracts are untradeable unless they attach a younger asset in a trade, like prospects Sam Steel, Max Jones, Maxim Comtois, or Troy Terry. It is possible that Kesler and/or Perry will be bought out of their contracts in the offseason, meaning they will save money against the salary cap for the remainder of those contract years, but will have portions of that contract counting against the cap for a few years more.

Despite these bad contracts which currently prevent the Ducks from signing more than one big free agent, the aforementioned prospects will most likely see more substantial time in Anaheim next season, which could boost the club, but it is unlikely that any of them take the league by storm to make the Ducks a contender again. For this to happen, young forwards like Rakell, Kase, and Daniel Sprong will have to exceed expectations, while the defensive core will also need to step it up compared to their performance this, which makes them look overpaid.

As it stands, the Ducks are 4th in the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery and could see a highly touted prospect come to Anaheim next year, but the current roster and prospect core will need bounce back seasons or the management group will be forced to blow up much of the roster, which would almost guarantee missing the playoffs again.

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These Are Unarguably The 10 Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time

Who's the GOAT TE?
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Time for Round 4 of the G.O.A.T. series (here's the WR, RB, and QB lists respectively), and this time around we're looking at the tight end position. Prepare to see a lot of names you recognize this time around because the position has become entirely different in recent history.

In fact, some of the greatest tight ends to ever play are playing right now.

But enough hype, let's get to the list:

10. Jason Witten

Stats/Records: 52.1 Receiving yards per game (150th), 229 Games Started (T-25th), 10.8 Yards per Touch (65th), 68 Touchdowns (112th), 12,448 Receiving yards (21st)

Awards: 10× Pro Bowler (2004–2010, 2012–2014), 2× First-team All-Pro (2007, 2010), 2× Second-team All-Pro (2008, 2012), and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2012)

Championships: ... Let's not talk about it... It hurts too much.

Since I apparently love putting players from my favorite team at the ten spot, let's go ahead and add Witten to the list with Michael Irvin. This might be the most controversial entry given the previous sentence, but Witten does legitimately belong here. It was a four-way race for the ten spot, but the numbers favor Witten too much, mostly due to longevity, but that is part of being great.

9. Ozzie Newsome

Stats/Records: 41.8 Receiving yards per game (Not top 250), 191 Games started (T-121st), 662 Receptions (53rd), 47 Touchdowns (Not top 250), 7,980 Receiving yards (98th)

Awards: 3× Pro Bowler (1981, 1984, 1985), 2× First-team All-Pro (1979, 1984), 4× Second-team All-Pro (1980, 1981, 1983, 1985), NFL Hall of Fame and NFL 1980s All-Decade Team

Championships: None as a player at the professional level.

Ozzie Newsome was on a different physical level in the 1980's, hence his place on this list. There are currently eight tight ends in the Hall of Fame, and Newsome is one of the better ones. The numbers aren't quite what some the other members on this list are, but in his era, he was nearly unstoppable.

8. Antonio Gates

Stats/Records: 52.3 Receiving yards per game (147th), 189 Games Started (T-129th), 12.4 Yards per Touch (T-51st), 114 Touchdowns (13th), 11,508 Receiving yards (30th), and NFL TE Record for Touchdowns (114)

Awards: 8× Pro Bowler (2004–2011), 3× First-team All-Pro (2004–2006), 2× Second-team All-Pro (2009, 2010), and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team

Championships: None at the professional level

Gates has simply done more with less, which is why he ranks at number eight on this list. He and Jason Witten have both been playing for 15 seasons, and while Witten has more yards, Gates has him beat in every other way. Witten and Gates can be easily compared head-to-head since their careers perfectly overlap, and Gates beats him out, then the Newsome versus Gates debate is next, with Gates going over due to longevity.

7. Rob Gronkowski

Stats/Records: 70.4 Receiving yards per game (23rd), 89 Games Started (Not Top 250 All Time), 464 Receptions (T-164th), 77 Touchdowns (T-69th(He might retire to make that permanent)), 7,178 Receiving yards (124th), and pretty much every single season TE record

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017), 5× First-team All-Pro (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017), and NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2014)

Championships: Four AFC Championships & Two Super Bowls (XLIX and LI)[As of 1/23/2018]

Gronk is just physically superior to everyone else. He is bigger and stronger than most of the people on this list, which has made him the dominant force in the NFL at the tight end position. While his ability gives him the potential to the Greatest of All-Time, Gronk just can't stay healthy, which makes it hard to move him too high on the list (similar to Rodgers or Megatron on their lists).

6. Shannon Sharpe

Stats/Records: 49.3 Receiving yards per game (T-187th), 169 Games Started (T-258th), 12.3 Yards per Touch (T-54th), 62 Touchdowns (T-152nd), 10,060 Receiving yards (45th), and NFL Record for most receiving yards in a game by a TE (214)

Awards: 8× Pro Bowler (1992–1998, 2001), 4× First-team All-Pro (1993, 1996–1998), Second-team All-Pro (1995), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team

Championships: Three AFC Championships and Three Super Bowls (XXXII, XXXIII, and XXXV)

Shannon Sharpe, aka "Mr. Milds & Yak," was a big play waiting to happen. Ozzie Newsome (#9) referred to him as "a threat," which sums up Shannon Sharpe pretty well. Sharpe followed in the footsteps of his big brother, and became one of the greats, but he was not quite the dominant force that the other guys were.

5. Dave Casper

Stats/Records: 35.5 Receiving yards per game (Not Top 250 All-Time), 101 Games Started (Not Top 250 All Time), 378 Receptions (Not Top 250 All-Time), 53 Touchdowns (T-221st), and 5,216 Receiving yards (124th)

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (1976–1980), 5× First-team All-Pro (1976–1980), NFL Hall of Fame, and NFL 1970s All-Decade Team

Championships: One AFC Championship and One Super Bowl (XI)

"The Ghost" earns the number five place on this list almost entirely because of his legendary moments. Sharpe was always a threat for a big play, but Casper was a threat for a legendary play, such as "Ghost to the Post" and "The Holy Roller."

"The Ghost" would haunt the dreams of his opponents because it is one thing to be afraid of being on the losing end of a game, but it is a new level of fear when you have to worry about being on the losing end of a historical moment (hi, Baltimore Colts and LA Chargers).

4. Mike Ditka

Stats/Records: 36.8 Receiving yards per game (Not Top 250 All-Time), 98 Games Started (Not Top 250 All Time), 427 Receptions (T-203rd), 43 Touchdowns (Not Top 250 All-Time), and 5,812 Receiving yards (203rd)

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (1961–1965), 5× First-team All-Pro (1961–1965), NFL Rookie of the Year (1961), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and Chicago Bears No. 89 retired

Championships: One NFC Championship, One NFL Championship (1963) and One Super Bowl (VI) [As a player in the NFL (he had more championships as a coach)]

"Iron Mike" Ditka was tough as nails (iron nails), which led to him being not only a great receiver but a great blocker as well. Ditka started his career on an amazing note, and continued through his career in Chicago, but took a step back in Philadelphia and Dallas. Still, Ditka was the first TE to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, which pretty much sums up his career as a pioneer of the position.

3. Kellen Winslow Sr.

Stats/Records: 61.8 Receiving yards per game (T-55th), 94 Games Started (Not Top 250 All Time), 541 Receptions (T-112th), 45 Touchdowns (Not Top 250 All-Time), and 6,741 Receiving yards (150th)

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (1980–1983, 1987), 3× First-team All-Pro (1980–1982), Second-team All-Pro (1987), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, and San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame

Championships: None at the professional level

Kellen Winslow was a game-changer at the TE position, and he was the pioneer of the modern TE that is more of a receiver who can play the line or the slot. Kellen Winslow really earned his place ahead of Ditka on this list because of one game, "The Epic in Miami." I'll let you read about the game on your own, but to summarize, Winslow had one of the greatest single man efforts in the history of the NFL, which is definitely worthy of being third on this list.

2. John Mackey

Stats/Records: 37.7 Receiving yards per game (Not Top 250 All-Time), 34 Games Started (Not Top 250 All Time), 331 Receptions (Not Top 250 All-Time), 38 Touchdowns (Not Top 250 All-Time), and 5,236 Receiving yards (203rd)

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (1963, 1965–1968), 3× All-Pro (1966–1968), NFL Hall of Fame, NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, and Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor

Championships: One AFC Championship, One NFL Championship (1968), and One Super Bowl (V)

The third part of the tight end trinity from the 1960's and 1970's, Mackey was the most athletic of the bunch (Ditka was the muscle and Casper was the play-maker). The big reason why Mackey does not quite have the numbers that his trinity partners had was because of an early retirement for Mackey after injuries overcame him. While Mackey played, however, he was nearly unstoppable including a 75-yard touchdown in Super Bowl V and breaking a ridiculous amount of tackles.

1. Tony Gonzalez

Stats/Records: 56.0 Receiving yards per game (T-98th), 254 Games Started (8th), 11.4 Yards per Touch (T-61st), 111 Touchdowns (16th), 15,127 Receiving yards (6th), and NFL Records for receiving yards (15,127) and receptions (1,325) by a TE

Awards: 14× Pro Bowler (1999–2008, 2010–2013), 6× First-team All-Pro (1999–2001, 2003, 2008, 2012), 4× Second-team All-Pro (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007), and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team

Championships: None at the professional level

Tony G was the simply the culmination of the evolution at the TE position. Gonzalez was a basketball player before deciding to exclusively playing TE, which made him bigger and stronger than everyone else, plus he was athletic enough to play well versus everyone defense he went against. Ditka started the trend that led to Winslow, and Winslow stated the trend that gave us Tony G, and Gonzalez became the blueprint for the modern TE, but the blueprint is still the G.O.A.T.


All data was pulled from profootballreference.com, NFL.com, and Profootballhof.com

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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ASU Baseball Is Already Knocking It Out Of The Park

All eyes are on the Sun Devils as they enter the national poll this previous week. The Sun Devils are the last unbeaten team left in the NCAA.

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Starting off the season 18-0? Not bad, considering the Sun Devils' haven't gone undefeated at the start of the NCAA baseball season since 2010 when they went 24-0, but honestly where did this come from? In the 2017-18 season, the Devils finished off with 23-32, sitting towards the bottom of the Pac-12. Now they're the top of the conference, past the usual Pac-12 baseball powerhouse, Oregon State.

On a team with only 27 on the roster, which makes it the smallest team in the Pac-12, you wouldn't really expect such an explosive start to the season. Take a look at the improvements made, though, and you'll see why.

For starters, catcher Sam Ferri is back healthy and ready for this season to start with both pitchers Alec Marsh and RJ Dabovich, who've both thrown some great games, but if we're being honest here, have been a little inconsistent with a few errors, but have been backed up by the offense to get the job done.

On offense, Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson are the ones to watch out for. Torkelson was named Pac-12 freshman of the year last year, after setting the Pac-12 freshman record of home runs. Now he's back with some deadly at-bat presence, as you can always expect a few RBIs from him, and also doing a great job at infield (#TorkBomb). Bishop's following suit, with major at-bats against Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Xavier.

Safe to say being ranked #23 right now is huge for a program that struggled majorly in the past seasons and has had some great players transfer out recently. Despite being faced with huge adversity before the season, this lineup is really producing some good stuff this year, and by being undefeated through the first month of play really exemplified that.

Hats off to Head Coach Tracy Smith for helping these young men after having the program suffer for a while.

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