Yanni Gourde reacts to scoring the game winning goal in overtime./Steven Muncie

Yanni Gourde reacts to scoring the game winning goal in overtime./Steven Muncie

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

If there was a moment he was born to, this was it.

If there was a moment that he had bounced around for, going from the Victoriaville Tigers to the Worcester Sharks to the San Francisco Bulls to the Kalamazoo Wings, it was this one.

For a lifetime — if 25 years constitutes a lifetime – Yanni Gourde has chased one puck or the other down the ice. Through all the jerseys and all the arenas and all of the shifts, he has skittered across the ice changing the minds of those who thought he was too small.

And finally, the puck was on his stick, and the game was dying, and he was in the open ice.

Goal.

And the Tampa Bay Lightning live on.

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Would another losing season doom Cash?

by Gary Shelton on March 27, 2017 · 1 comment

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Cash already is second among Rays' managers. ANDREW J. KRAMER

Cash already is second among Rays' managers. ANDREW J. KRAMER

Friday, 4 a.m.

There are a lot of things wrong with the Tampa Bay Rays that are not his fault. With Kevin Cash, the conversation starts there.

His team's pitching was subpar. The hitting wasn't very good. The defense was shaky. The baserunning was an adventure. The roster was bleeding. The bullpen was overused. The front office kept swinging and missing in the draft.

And now, as the Rays try to get better in almost every category, it is a fair question to ask.

If the Rays are last again, can Cash survive?

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I'm a little weary of articles that act like there is a grand conspiracy to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the NFL. Kaepernick's play did that, not his politics. Play like that, and it doesn't matter if you are Captain America.

– By the way, I'm sure that Josh Freeman feels blackballed, too.

– And Trent Dilfer.

– And Vinny Testaverde.

– And about a million other bad quarterbacks.

– Has a sports fan ever had a better year than Bill Murray? Between the Cubs, Xavier and his Charleston RiverDogs, this is better than watching reruns of Charlie's Angels.

– Now we know: The Atlanta Falcons defense was in charge of guarding Tom Brady's jersey. Say what you want about the American press. We don't steal the shirt off a quarterback's back.

– I don't know that a permanent training facility is necessarily a step toward the Jags relocating to London. But I'm not so sure about the fight song being changed to “Her Majesty's a Pretty Nice Girl.”

– Shaquille O'Neal says no, he knows the earth the earth is not flat. The earth, in response, notes that Shaq is round.

– On the list of things that I love, consider this: In San Diego, the leading candidate for a new soccer franchise is called “Footy McFooty Face.”

- Guess what fans of Florida and South Carolina are thinking about as their basketball teams prepare to play? That's right. They're thinking that Steve Spurrier sure was cool.

– Nickname suggestion for the new Las Vegas NFL team: The Flying Elvises.

– I know Bill Belichick is a genius. But how he intends to use Darrelle Revis, a cornerback who can't cover, is beyond me.

– If he signs with the Saints, Johnny Manziel will no longer be known as “Johnny Football.” From now on, he'll go by “Bourbon Street Johnny.”

– CBSsports.com has the Bucs picking safety Jabrill Peppers. Nice player, but they also had Dalvin Cook on the board for 10 more picks. Cook fits the Bucs' needs much more.

– In Chicago, Bears fans have now resurrected the photo of Napoleon Dynamite and his pal Pedra as the new team quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez. Glennon, if you remember, once dressed as Napoleon for Halloween.

– Gee. Do you think the NBA is good enough for Lonzo Ball?

– So the UConn women got to number 110 in a row. Call me silly, but I think they can catch Leonitis. As you remember, he had 300.

– Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, no lie, has eight handy rules for rattlesnake hunting. That's in case you ever find yourself at an NFL agents' seminar.

– Soccer player Hope Solo says she was slapped by partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Dancing with the Stars. Ha. I'd give you Chmerkovskiy and the points.

– Richard Sherman, who likes to listen to Richard Sherman, says that Colin Kaepernick could start for 20 teams. Yeah, Montreal, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, regular Columbia, Vanderbilt, Rice, the London Monarchs and Jacksonville. A few others.

– A former friend says Aaron Hernandez killed two men over a spilled drink. No, I don't think the Patriots are going to vote him a playoff share.

– Love Karl Malone's response to players "resting" during NBA games.“If you don't have at least 10 years experience, get your ass playing,” Malone said. “It's not work — it's called playing. Besides, tell our underpaid service members and police and first responders to rest. They can’t.”

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(Each week, the readers take over GarySheltonsports.com and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, on Thursday night or Friday morning and we all talk about the world of sports.  Think of it as a radio show where you don't have to be on hold. Join us and ask a question, make a comment or be funny. Send the questions to GarySheltonsports@gmail.com.)

Saturday, 4 a.m.

I was struck by Ken Hagan's comments about the lack of urgency from Stu Sternberg. I still feel that he has checked out and wants to leave.   Do you still believe that he is committed to this area?

Jim Willson

If he isn't, then I doubt very seriously that Hagan would have a clue about it. Not a clue. If he was honest, he'd say "I'm a little frustrated, but it's only been a couple of months. Let's be patient and hope the Rays find a site where they can be happy for decades. Otherwise, I know nothing, and I'm only talking to hear my own voice."

Again, it was St. Pete that didn't let the Rays look around until January of 2016, and it was St. Pete that yawned when the Rays wanted a stadium where Al Lang is. If I was Sternberg, I'd suggest that the people who aren't urgent enough are the local politicians. For years, they just pointed to their lease and shrugged, as if the team would never leave.

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Lightning rebounds with big victory over Boston

March 24, 2017 general

Friday 4 a.m. It wasn’t how often the Tampa Bay Lightning fell behind Thursday night. It was how long they stayed there. The Lightning, for once a spunky, resilient team, came back three times from one-goal deficits. Their accumulated time? A total of only 163 seconds. The bounceback ability of the Bolts, not seen nearly […]

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Ask the expert: Jerry Angelo

March 23, 2017 general

Jerry Angelo is a former personnel director for the Bucs and former general manager of the Bears. Each week, Angelo answers your questions regarding the NFL. Send your questions to GarySheltonsports@gmail.com with “ask the expert” in the subject line. The most interesting questions will be selected. Thursday, 4 a.m. This week, we got a couple […]

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Now that free agency is mostly over, how did Bucs do?

March 23, 2017 general

x Thursday, 4 a.m. The shopping is done. The groceries are in the cart. The cashier has taken the money. And the Tampa Bay Bucs did well. Again. Didn’t they? Deshaun Jackson is a shiny new toy whose face should immediately go on the side of the stadium. Chris Baker seems like a solid player […]

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Lightning blows one against low-flying Coyotes

March 22, 2017 general

Wednesday, 4 a.m. It felt like goodnight. It felt like time to turn the lights off. It felt cold and empty and meaningless. Oh, yes. You can still talk about mathematical possibilities if you wish. The Tampa Bay Lightning remain, amazingly, only four points out of the playoff chase. They have 10 games left. There […]

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All eyes on Vasilevskiy in the Lightning’s stretch run

March 20, 2017 general

Tuesday, 4 a.m. There are some 300 shots still headed his way. You hope he is ready. There are 11 games left, and maybe nine of them have his name on them. You want him to be ready. There are dozens of mistakes by the defense, exposing him to this breakaway or that one. You […]

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This time, Aguayo will face real competition

March 20, 2017 general

Monday, 4 a.m. The clock is ticking. The air is getting thin. His palms are sweating. Ahead, in the distance, the goalposts are impossibly close together. If you squint, they  look like pool cues jutting out next to each other. The players are looking at you. The coach is looking at you. The fans are […]

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