New ladies’s skilled soccer league launches with 16 groups, together with one in Denver

Tackle football’s newest professional league includes some surprising differences from the NFL, including the players themselves.

“I always wanted to play throughout high school,” said Denver Bandits defensive tackle and offensive lineman April Regas. “And it just really was never an option.”

The Denver Bandits is a professional football team in a brand new league called the Women’s National Football Conference.

“My players are ferocious,” said Denver Bandits Head Coach Marcell Simpson. “They’re tenacious. They’re dedicated.”

Read more via Denver7

SHOOTING THE 3: JOHN OURAND OF SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL

Shooting The 3 is an exclusive SportsbyBrooks.com feature in which a sports media figure fields three questions posed by SbB.

Today’s sports media figure is SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL reporter John Ourand.

John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal

John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal

Ourand is the gold standard of sports business reporters and is one of the most-read and influential journalists in the sports media industry.

His daily and weekly reporting – which emanates from a variety of platforms and includes a newly-launched newsletter – is consumed by virtually every top sports media executive connected to the business of commercial spectator sports.

Ourand, who has been pushing out relevant, oft-breaking sports media and business news with maddening consistency since he joined SportsBusiness Journal in 2006, focuses much of his current reporting on the most important sector in the sports business industry: live sports broadcast rights.

SbB Question #1:

Cash-rich Apple is launching a new streaming service that includes original programming. What is the chance that Apple will bolster that service by acquiring the broadcast rights to high-profile sporting events? To this point, what has prevented Apple and other tech goliaths like Amazon, Google and Facebook from aggressively pursuing such rights?

John Ourand:

I am skeptical that these digital companies will bid serious money during the next period of sports media negotiations. They may wind up with a small package here or there. But it seems unlikely that something like “Monday Night Football” or NHL playoff games will move exclusively to a digital company.

Apple and Netflix executives have been open about their lack of desire to bid on sports rights. Facebook pared back its MLB deal this year. Google has not been particularly active so far.

The wild card is Amazon, which already has an NFL deal, some interesting international deals and deep pockets. 

My guess is that any digital company that really wants to be involved with sports will partner with a network to get it done.

Or, because these companies are big enough, they could simply buy an existing network.

Word is that Apple executives had talked internally about buying Disney a few years ago — talks that went nowhere. But such a deal would have given Apple ownership of ESPN and instantly made them a serious player in sports media.

SbB Question #2:

Considering the rise of legalized sports gambling and the fact that a sports media outlet has never made such reporting a point of emphasis, do you think there is a market for a sports media outlet that relies mostly on reporting breaking sports news?

John Ourand:

Sports TV stations have moved away from breaking sports news because there is too much competition from iPhones, etc. Nobody waits for the highlight or sports news on TV anymore when they can call them up almost instantly.

I view gambling programming the same way. I find it difficult to believe that hardcore gamblers will watch a gambling show on ESPN or Fox. That’s how networks are treating gambling-related shows today.

For the most part, they are producing studio shows with big personalities geared toward the casual or non-bettors. Gambling programming will evolve. But I don’t expect TV networks to start producing gambling shows that attracts a hard-core betting audience.

SbB Question #3:

What impact does an announcing team have when it comes to the actual ratings and bottom line revenue of a live sports broadcast?

John Ourand:

Game announcers have zero impact on ratings.

That’s not just my opinion. It’s the opinion of virtually every sports media executive I’ve contacted.

There is a small list of announcers — John Madden and Tony Romo are two — who will keep viewers tuned into games longer. But I’ve never seen any evidence that people pick games to watch based on the announcer.

On the other hand, people are more apt to turn off the TV if they are not invested in the teams and the announcers are not so good, which means that networks can’t go cheap when hiring for the booth.

SbB BONUS Question:

What is DAZN’s long-term content strategy in the United States – and who is the individual(s) behind it?

John Ourand:

DAZN’s long-term strategy is to expand global markets — it already has a healthy business in Germany, Italy, Japan. In the United States, DAZN is content to wait until it can bid on big-time sports rights, then they will be aggressively try to convince leagues to sell streaming rights to the pay service.

John Skipper, who is running DAZN signed a 3 year/$300 million deal for an MLB whiparound show.

At an SBJ conference earlier this month, he said that deal was “pretty clearly intended to send a signal that we’re interested in the major sports in this country. They don’t happen to have their live events available, but we basically hung up a sign for that show.”

The post SHOOTING THE 3: JOHN OURAND OF SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL appeared first on Sports by Brooks.

Rockies’ strikeouts, led by Ian Desmond’s 37.5 % charge, an enormous purpose for hunch

SAN FRANCISCO — Strike three, by swinging or by looking, has been an all-too-common occurrence for the Rockies early this season.

They entered Thursday night’s game against the Giants at Oracle Park with 109 strikeouts in 12 games, an average of 9.1 whiffs per game. That ranked as fourth-most in the National League, with the Mets (10.6) leading the way.

Pair the strikeouts with Colorado’s lack of power — just eight home runs — and it’s easy to see why the offense (.216 average) has stalled during the club’s 3-9 start.

There are plenty of reasons for all of the Ks:

— The Rockies have faced some tough pitchers, including Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell and the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler.

— Young players, pressed into duty because of injuries, are fanning at a high rate. Raimel Tapia had nine strikeouts in 24 at-bats entering Thursday, and Garrett Hampson had nine in 30 at-bats.

— Veterans, in particular, center fielder Ian Desmond, appear to be pressing. Desmond, batting just .150, had 15 strikeouts in 40 at-bats (37.5 percent).

Manager Bud Black, however, provided another reason for all of those Ks in the scorebook.

“We’re expanding too much on the breaking pitch,” he said.

A look inside the numbers confirms that. According to Baseball Savant, the Rockies are striking out on breaking balls more than any other team in the National League. Plus, the Rockies have been chasing bad pitches. The Rockies’ swing rate at pitches outside the strike zone is 32.8 percent, according to Fangraphs. That ranks as fourth-worst in the NL.

Last season, when Colorado hit a franchise low .256, they struck out 1,397 times, an average of 8.6 times per game, eighth most in the NL.

Injury updates. Three players — outfielder David Dahl (left-side core injury), first baseman Daniel Murphy (broken left index finger) and left-hander starter Tyler Anderson (left knee sprain) — are receiving treatment and working out at the Rockies’ facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Murphy, out since March 30, was scheduled to visit a hand specialist Thursday. Dahl ran and played long toss, and according to Black, “felt great.”

But Black did caution that a core injury like Dahl’s has to be monitored carefully.

“We are going to make sure he’s healed and he goes through practice at a high-effort level before we activate him,” Black said. “He’s got to prove himself through running and throwing. Full-intensity swings are important before he plays.

“This is not one of those injuries where you can sort of nurse it through. When you swing the bat, you have to make sure you can turn it loose.”

Infielder Ryan McMahon, who is with the team in San Francisco, said his sprained left elbow has improved significantly. He was able to play catch Thursday.

Bochy tribute. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who has announced that this is his final season, received a nice tribute from Black.

“Competing against him in the division, I’ve come to realize what a great manager he is,” Black said. “There is no better in-game strategist than Bruce. And getting to know him more personally over the last number of years, I’ve found he’s a really good guy.

“I don’t want to (admit he’s retiring) because I think he’s good for the game. He’s a throwback. He’s good with people, he’s great with players and he’s got a great baseball mind.”

CU Boulder college students plan to reveal in opposition to regents’ alternative for president

University of Colorado Boulder students are already organizing demonstrations against the selection of Mark Kennedy as the sole finalist in the search for a new president of the University of Colorado system.

Shawna Noel Schill / University of North Dakota

Mark Kennedy

The CU system Board of Regents unanimously selected Kennedy, the president of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, as the finalist at a special board meeting Wednesday morning.

One day later, student organizations are circulating a graphic highlighting Kennedy’s voting record while serving as a Minnesota congressman in the 2000s. UMAS y MEXA, a CU Boulder group for latinx students, wrote in a graphic that they demand transparency for the presidential search.

This is the fourth time regents have presented a single finalist in a presidential search. By Colorado Open Records law, the position’s finalists must be made public for 14 business days before the regents can elect a president, but the board is not required to have more than one finalist. The search committee had narrowed its recommendations to regents down to six candidates, and the five besides Kennedy will not be named.

“This unilateral move reflects of the university, namely that of valuing business over the voice of the students. We demand TRANSPARENCY!,” the students’ post states.

Read more at dailycamera.com.

Elkin Elegy; 60,000 views and numerous feedback (most good)

“It made me think about the people around me.”

“I did some investigating and found in the ‘Unclaimed funds’ office in New York State he had 11 outstanding accounts.”

“Did you know he used to drive, and I think he had a Mercedes.”

I have been doing blog posts big and small, trivial and somewhat informative, since my Fordham classmate and author Carlo DeVito told me that the blog would serve as a good companion to our book “Sports Publicity,” which was published in 2007, updated in 2012 and is being updated again for next January.

Never, ever did I expect the response for a post that went up last Friday night on the late Robert Elkin.

At last look close to 60,000 views, scores of comments and emails from friends and colleagues from years ago, who I don’t know even how they saw it. It spurred a nice mention by Mike Vaccaro in Sunday’s New York Post and a very nice tribute by the Knicks at their second to last home game.

There were also a few mentions about the strange side Robert had, which frankly didn’t surprise anyone, but for the most part there were notes of gratitude and acknowledgement that the life of one of New York’s unique character was noticed. I realized today the column may have gotten more views than all of the clips Robert mailed or handed to people in yellow envelopes throughout his star crossed career.

That’s OK, I think even as a person who really existed in the shadows of the media room, he would have appreciated the light being shone down. The sad thing was no one seemed to be able to locate the date or time of his funeral, or even his next of kin. Regardless, it was a worthwhile effort with some unforeseen and mutually appreciated responses.

Sometimes you strike the match and it lights, sometimes it goes out. This one shone bright. A Mitzvah to Mr. Elkin of Long Beach, you were noticed, and yes, you probably will be missed!

Air pollution nonetheless drifting into Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, in keeping with authorities report

LONGMONT — Harmful nitrogen pollution is still drifting onto fragile, high-elevation ecosystems in Rocky Mountain National Park from Colorado highways, power plants and livestock operations, state and federal agencies said.

Nitrogen pollution was 38% higher than the 2017 target level, according to a draft report released Wednesday by the Colorado health department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service.

But the report recommended against activating a contingency plan to reduce pollution, saying nitrogen levels did not increase much in the previous decade.

The report also said pollution will probably begin to decline because of tougher state and federal rules for vehicle emissions, planned retirements of coal-fired power plants and other steps.

RELATED: Crisis in our national parks: How tourists are loving nature to death

Increased nitrogen reduces biodiversity, worsens the risk of insect and disease outbreaks and makes it harder for ecosystems to respond to climate change, scientists say. The effects are magnified at high elevations because of shallow soil and harsh conditions.

Rocky Mountain National Park, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of downtown Denver, is renowned for its high-elevation alpine tundra, a land of cold temperatures, high winds and a short growing season. The park has 60 peaks at least 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) above sea level.

Researchers say wind, rain and snow carry nitrogen into the park, primarily from sources inside Colorado including vehicles, power plants, livestock, agricultural fertilizers and oil and gas operations. Changes in the park were first detected in the early 1980s.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the two federal agencies began monitoring nitrogen in the park in 2005 under pressure from the Environmental Defense Fund and Colorado Trout Unlimited. Neither group had any immediate comment on the new report.

The agencies set a goal of limiting yearly nitrogen pollution to 1.5 kilograms per hectare, or 3.3 pounds per 2.5 acres, by 2032. They also set a series of interim goals, including 2.4 kilograms per hectare (5.3 pounds per 2.5 acres) in 2017.

The 2017 level was 3.3 kilograms (7.3 pounds).

“Trends indicate that nitrogen deposition has not been reversed but remains stable, and has not increased or decreased in recent years,” the report said.

The agencies developed a contingency plan in 2010 that could be activated if the goals were not met. The plan does not call for specific steps, saying only that “an ‘adaptive management’ approach will be used to adjust strategies.”

But the new report advises against that, citing the fact that nitrogen pollution is not getting worse and is expected to improve.

Neither the state health department nor national park officials immediately responded to questions about the decision.

Some nitrogen-reduction practices are already in place, the report said. Colorado State University developed a system to warn farmers, ranchers, wastewater treatment plants and others to avoid large releases on days when weather conditions would carry pollution to the park.

The agencies are taking public comment on the report until May 10, and the final version is expected in May or June.

___

Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP.

FC Barcelona, Barca Innovation Hub, Allianz SE Associate with Hexoskin for Sensible Garment Sleep Examine



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BIHUB and Allianz align themselves to promote a Hexoskin sleep study

FC Barcelona, Barca Innovation Hub and Allianz SE are partnered with Hexoskin wearable body metric system to conduct their first project designed for the health and wellness space, in particular, using a smart garment to study sleep. It is believed to be the first-of-its-kind in the world. The goal is to measure sleep quality and uncover ties to physical performance and sports performances. The Sports Techie community blog chatted and caught up with Pierre-Alexandre Fourier, Co-founder and CEO at Hexoskin, about conducting research on sleep and specifically young athletes with the goal of optimizing their overall health and gameplay using proprietary smart technology clothing. Hexoskin is a Health Technology Company located in Montreal, Canada focused on smart clothing and the use of AI and analytics. The final member of the project team is Adsalutem Institute, they are based in Catalan and considered sleep medicine experts. Once findings are uncovered, the “sleep dream team” will share the results with the scientific community and general public at large in hopes of helping as many people as possible have better sleep. Barcelona’s La Masia Youth Academy will use Hexoskin to monitor sleep in a natural environment at the football training facilities, at home or in clinical settings. Hexoskin is also working with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to discover more about sleeping in space. Hexoksin’s sports tech is the glue of this project’s first holistic health effort to discover more about sleep and how it pertains to performance in order to better the world together with their partners, Barca, Allianz and the Adsalutem Institute.

Hexoskin

Hexoskin is a sleep tracking device designed to measure resting heart rate, breathing, and sleep positions. Sensors are woven into a shirt measuring heart rate, breathing, steps, pace and calories. Biometric data is tracked and analyzed providing one-of-a-kind insights on wellness and sleep.

Hexoskin offers solutions to synchronize the data recorded with Hexoskin to obtain your complete sleep report on the Hexoskin Online Dashboard. The same data is also on the Hexoskin Mobile App.

WHAT HEXOSKIN MONITORS
  • ECG & Heartbeat monitor, HRV
    (allowing stress monitoring, effort, load and fatigue assessments), QRS events,
    and Heart Rate Recovery
  • Breathing Rate (RPM), Minute
    Ventilation (L/min)
  • Activity intensity, peak
    acceleration, steps, cadence, positions and best sleep tracker
TECHNOLOGY FEATURES
  • 12-30+ hours of battery life
  • 600+ hours of standalone recording
  • Bluetooth connectivity with iPhone,
    iPad, & Android
  • Data validated by independent
    research labs
  • The Hexoskin Smart Garments are
    designed and assembled in Canada
HEXOSKIN SMART GARMENTS
  • Machine washable, high-performance
    Italian fabric.
  • Quick dry, breathable, lightweight,
    anti-odor, chlorine resistant, UV protection.
  • Non-invasive &
    comfortable tech clothing for Men, Women & Kids
HEXOSKIN CONNECTED HEALTH PLATFORM
  • Open Data API allows to download raw data and use your own analytics software for health monitoring
  • Analog 256Hz ECG data
  • Analog dual-channel 128Hz breathing sensors
  • Analog 3D 64Hz acceleration

Sleep Project

FC Barcelona and Allianz, Official Insurance of FC Barcelona, will lead this investigation alongside Hexoskin, a Canadian startup specializing in cutting-edge smart technology clothing, and the Adsalutem Institute.

The first project out of this collaboration will involve Barça athletes, in order to extrapolate the research conclusions for the general public.

The more than half a year study involves 600 young athletes pulled from different Club units in order for Hexoskin to collect quantitative sleep data. Youth aged 11-12 up to 17 years of age and some younger than 11-years old are taking part. A more intense study is also set for 50 participants.

“The major difference is these 50 will undergo monitoring with more in-depth analysis using equipment like Polysomnography machines in order to make sure they measure the right things with the shirts,” said Fourier.

After sleeping in a clinical setting, the participants will go back to the Academy for the rest of the days scheduled activities all the while keeping track of a variety of metrics using the smart shirt with the major goal to ensure measurements are validated in sleep lab.

Clinical research, sleep analysis algorithm development and physiological data will be combined with documented personalized studies and records in order to measure if any links to sleep and its probable impact on sport play and overall health, exist or not.

The project is based on the fact that sleep is essential for health and well being, and has an important impact on healthy physical development, emotional regulation, cognitive performance and quality of life. In addition, sleep has been recognized by athletes and researchers as key to athletic performance. Existing scientific evidence indicates that sleep is an important factor that must be considered in the sports industry. Fourier says,“Teenagers require more sleep than football player aged 27-32, they are still growing, sleep pattern different than adults.”

Statements by
Josep Maria Bartomeu, President of FC Barcelona
 

“For Barça Innovation Hub it is a great step forward to launch this project with Allianz Group, a world-renowned strategic partner which is a perfect fit for us. Sleep and good rest are essential to guarantee the well-being and good performance of our athletes. In addition, Adsalutem Institute will also collaborate in this project, and our aim is to transcend the sports field and give more insights for the general public. This initiative embodies Barça Innovation Hub’s vision, being “more than a Club” in global research projects.”

FC Barcelona

The Sleep Team

Adsalutem Institute’s work thesis, is based on the conviction that improving sleep will improve the overall well being of athletes and their performance on the pitch. Their sleep scientists and medical team are on site to work with the technologies as a tech provider.

Hexoskin was founded in 2006, began studying sleep in 2012 and now have a team of 30 managing business relations in 30 countries and growing.

The agreement between Barça and Allianz took place with Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of FC Barcelona, Jean-Marc Pailhol, head of global market management and distribution of Allianz SE and Jose Ferre, CEO of Allianz Seguros in Spain.

Statements by
Jean-Marc Pailhol, Head of Global Market management and Distribution of Allianz
SE:

“As one of the largest insurers with over 250 million clients globally, it is our job to protect risk takers. To do this, we need to understand risk – now and in future. Today new technologies are rapidly changing the world like the usage of drones, autonomous vehicles, 3D printers, smart tissues and more. We, as Allianz, want to better understand what is in front of us, the associated risks and get engaged with those who will build and improve the future.”

He added, “We need curious partners and are very proud to have one on our side with FC Barcelona and the Innovation Hub. Both of our networks combined have the potential to not only improve the performance of athletes but the health of an entire generation. The smart tissue R&D project and its impact will be a great showcase for the strength of both of our companies working aside.”

Hexoskin Sleep Specs

  • Automatic Sleep Detection
  • Awakening
  • Total Sleep Time
  • Time in each stage
  • Hypnogram
  • Sleep efficiency
  • Sleep percent
  • Sleep position changes 
  • Time spent in every position: belly,
    back, right, left and standing
  • Sleep position graph 
  • Heart Rate, Breathing Rate, and
    Minute Ventilation
  • Heart Rate Variability – HRV Norm HF

ASTROSKIN

Hexoskin launched Astronaut Health Monitoring System to the International Space Station in January, 2018. This smart loading garment known as the Astroskin, has even more sensors than what the kids and teens are using in their sleep study. Over the next 5 years, Hexoskin will monitor physiology and sleep together with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA.

Fourier explained how regulation of circadian pattern is hard to measure in space. Every 90 minutes, the sun will rise and the sun sets resulting in astronauts having no idea what time of day it is in order to go to sleep. I got a nice chuckle out of Fourier when I said, “Like being in Las Vegas.” He chipped in and added, “The food in Vegas in better than space!”

Sports Techie BIHUB and Allianz aligned themselves to promote a study on sleep using technology benefiting elite athletes, the sick, and everyone else in-between, while improving both sport and physical performance. The Innovation Hub is in place to adopt new technology and Hexoskin fits the bill on this first project.

When you have an insurance company around the world with 250 million global customers asking one of the world’s premier football clubs to partner in a sleep study conducted with cutting edge wearable tech that measures sleep and performance, everyone wins.

Fourier said, “Allianz works with professional sports, they are in over 80 countries and now using wearable devices to track health for insurance importance.”

La Masia is such a cutting edge and sports technology-centric football academy I now have it on my bucket list. Fourier shared, “It is a huge sports department, over 100 scientists working with academy with incredible track record.” Their leading sports medicine lab is also part of the project. Leo Messi and other Barca superstars and teammates were discovered, trained and promoted out of La Masia to La Liga, Champions League and World Cup matches.

Fourier is an entrepreneur, designer and scientist all rolled into one. He has his team building AI for different needs like cardio risk or chronic disease. Their wearable health sensors are being used by research groups, hospitals and outer space. His company also worked on helping understand jetlag for you frequent flyers and international travelers. Fourier’s goal to automate data collection and processing of data to make more useful for everyone, person and professionals working with them, is definitively working.

I wanted to know if this study could ultimately provide new sleep standards like getting 8-hours of sleep, even more for children, currently in place at the moment. Fourier said, “Long-term we would like to do that, first attempt to data, some exploration, define best practices and protocols for young kids.”

Bravo to the study for learning more about how sleep affects performance. A kids sleep schedule can be irregular as many of you fellow parents and coaches know. Adults are no exception. Understanding sleep better is a societal must.

The sleep experience of Barca athletes via Hexoskin as part of a smart tissue R&D project is so sports techie, bravo to all involved!

Goodnight or good day depending where you live on Earth, if you are an astronaut reading this blog on-board the ISS, go to sleep.

Thank you to Hexoskin, FC Barcelona and Allianz for sharing this story with the Sports Techie community blog.

See ya later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!

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Former Denver hearth official charged with secretly planting digicam in feminine firefighter’s room

A former Denver fire lieutenant was charged Thursday with secretly planting a recording device in the changing room used by a female firefighter.

Daniel Flesner
Courtesy of the Douglas County Jail

Daniel Flesner

Daniel Flesner, 47, has been charged with a felony count of tampering with physical evidence and a misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, according to a Thursday news release by Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for District Attorney Beth McCann.

Flesner, who is retired, allegedly placed the recording device in the sleeping room of another firefighter. The lens was facing the changing area, the news release says.

When the device was discovered and reported to superiors, of which he was one, Flesner allegedly tampered with the device, it says.

Flesner is scheduled to appear in court for an advisement on April 22 in Denver District Court.

Your Morning Dump… The place the celtics should look elsewhere for "successful performs" to start out the playoffs

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

Forty seconds.

That’s how long it took before Marcus Smart launched himself on the floor in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks last year. Smart was playing his first game in six weeks after tearing a ligament in his right hand but, with little more than a protective wrap, he dove on the hard parquet in pursuit of a loose ball.

It’s the perfect summation of Smart.

And it’s exactly what the Celtics will miss after an MRI on Wednesday revealed that Smart will be out four to six weeks with what the team termed a partial avulsion of his left oblique abdominal muscle off of his iliac crest.

It’s an injury that’s rare to NBA players, according to sources, which makes the return-to-action timeline a bit murkier.

The Celtics were holding out hope that Smart might recover in time for a return in Round 2 of the postseason, according to league sources, but even a four-week recovery would leave him returning to basketball activities in early May. The conference finals are scheduled to start May 14-15.

NBCSports Boston — Celtics lose more than defense with Smart’s absence

Injuries to key players in the post-season can strike any team in the league, but they sure seem to strike with unrivaled frequency here in Boston. KG in 2009, Perk in a crucial spot in 2010, Rajon Rondo in 2011 (thanks for the memories, Dwyane), Isaiah Thomas in 2017 (though it probably didn’t matter against that Cavs juggernaut), Kyrie Irving last season and now Marcus as we sit three days from the start of this Celtics’ post-season run.

What’s wild is that this one was oh so freaking avoidable. From Jay King at The Athletic:

The seriousness of Smart’s injury highlights Boston’s lack of caution. For weeks, the Celtics had stressed they intended to prioritize health down the stretch. Yet in a mostly meaningless game against the Orlando Magic, after they had already wrapped up home-court advantage in the first round, they allowed Smart to re-enter after a collision with Nikola Vucevic left him in obvious pain.

After a timeout was called, Smart limped over to the Celtics bench, where he was examined by trainer Art Horne. The two chatted throughout the timeout and Smart, according to coach Brad Stevens, argued he felt healthy enough to continue playing. The guard was permitted to stay in the lineup. After returning to the court, Smart could tell something wasn’t right. While retreating on defense, he experienced enough pain to call for a sub. He limped, then crumbled to the floor, clutching at his hip region as he did it.

Hindsight is 20/20, and this whole decision to play the starters against Orlando has already been covered in the last couple of days, so let’s move beyond that and talk about what’s in front of us.

There will probably be long stretches of games here in the first round where the loss of Smart isn’t quite that noticeable. For as much of a struggle as the season has been, the Celtics are, indeed, still quite deep. They can still win without Marcus. And for as much as Terry Rozier has complained (especially lately) about how much the season has sucked for him, here’s his chance to recapture some Scary Terry magic. Maybe he does and keeps things humming in Smart’s absence.

But be it in this series or early in the next one, there’s going to be a stretch where things start going off the rails, and the Celtics need a big play to get back on them. Or, there’s going to be a crunch-time sequence where a stop, or a steal or a hustle play is needed. The rest of the roster isn’t a bunch of no-effort softies, but there’s only one guy you can rely on to make that play or get that stop with regularity, and that’s Smart.

One interesting nugget from Forsberg referenced above is that not much is known about the type of oblique injury that Smart obtained as it relates to the NBA. That, plus Smart’s toughness led Adam Himmelsbach to tweet this:

Let’s see how Smart feels a week from now, but if he’s able to come back on the low end of that and the Celtics advance, maybe we see him for game three in Boston against Milwaukee.

On the other hand, I take everything Boston Celtics injury-related with a grain of salt. Remember KG in 2009 coming back any day now? How about Kyrie last year? Those were both more structural in nature, where as this is muscular, but I’m keeping my guard up.

Related links: 

Herald — Celtics lose Smart for 4-6 weeks

NBCSports Boston — Marcus Smart could miss first two rounds of playoffs

Mass Live — How losing Smart impacts the Boston Celtics playoff match-up with the Indiana Pacers

On page 2 Kyrie reflects, confounds and confuses

As excited he is for the playoffs to begin, he’s equally happy the regular season is over. This particular regular season seems to have been especially tiresome for Boston’s 27-year-old star. When asked to reflect on this past season he said “a lot of bulls—.”

Irving made it clear that he was talking about himself and how he could have handled professional and personal situations differently.

“I had a lot of questions, a lot of things that weren’t being answered straight up about what it takes to be a great professional in this league,” he said. “I think the frame of that is just outdated in terms of what you have to be every single day. It’s not that hard, you know what I mean? I think the media and all the stuff that comes with it, I think that it’s an exciting part of that that you’ve got to be aware of. But the real part is literally what I used to wake up every single morning to do, and that’s to put a ball in the hoop and be really great at it.”

Mass Live — Kyrie Irving reflects on his Boston Celtics season that included “a lot of bulls—“Image result for i award you no points

Ok it was not Billy Madison levels of irrational, it wasn’t idiotic, but sometimes I just don’t know where Kyrie Irving is going and what he’s really trying to say.

What was confounding, though, is that he again took some blame and included some self-reflection.

Anyways, it’s clear that Kyrie is ready to look forward and not look back on what has been a trying season for him personally and for his team. Of the playoffs:

“The competition-level is at an all-time high,” he said today after the team’s first postseason practice. “By any means necessary you have to go out there and get a win. It’s just something to play for, it’s basketball, true basketball.”

I’m personally ready for Kyrie to go off in the post-season, to truly endear himself to 20,000 fans decked out in green and white, and to raise his teammates up in the process. Let’s hope it happens!

And finally, the Celtics on Celtics survey unearthed some great nuggets

One fact unearthed during the interview process: Morris does not like when teammates decline to wear socks. He split his vote between Baynes, whose fashion sense is bland, and Brown.

“JB never wears socks,” Morris said, “so I don’t like that.”

The Athletic — Celtics on Celtics survey

This is worth the read if you have a subscription to The Athletic. Marcus Morris on why Jaylen Brown is the worst dressed Celtic cracked me up.

 

Denver climate: Wind chill issue zero levels, lingering snow flurries

Though a forecast blizzard didn’t materialize, Denverites are left with the remnants of a powerful winter storm including blustery winds, icy roads and wind-chill values as low as zero degrees, forecasters say.

A few snow flurries could still fall Thursday in Denver after the bulk of the storm has pushed into Midwestern states, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.

There is a 30 percent chance of snow showers on Thursday. Icy roads and winds gusting up to 33 mph could blow snow onto roads, making the morning commute difficult.

A winter weather advisory is in place until noon in Denver and along the Front Range, while a blizzard warning is in place for the Eastern Plains. Winds on the northern plains could gust up to 65 mph, the NWS says.

Snow showers should ebb by about 10 a.m. and there is a slight chance of snow after 3 p.m., the NWS says. Little or no additional snow accumulation is expected.

Afternoon snow showers are possible on Friday. The snow could turn to rain after 3 p.m., the NWS says. It will be partly sunny, with a high near 44 degrees. The rain could transform into snow again around 7 p.m.

It could also snow on Saturday when the high temperature could reach 43 degrees.

Sunshine with a high temperature of 63 degrees is forecast for Sunday. It will be sunny with a high around 69 degrees on Monday, the NWS says.

Rain showers and thunderstorms are possible on Tuesday when high temperatures drop down into the 50s again.