Sunday, 4 a.m.

He's rested. He's ready.

Former Bucs' quarterback Trent Dilfer (mediocre quarterback, terrific analyst) has now entered the world of coaching. Dilfer will lead the  Lipscomb Academy high school football team. Congrats, Trent, and may you never be frustrated enough to coach a guy like Trent Dilfer.

-- All that separates the Rays from Manny Machado, it seems, is the language of the contract. The White Sox are offering $175 million over seven years. The Rays would offer $8 million over 175 years.

-- Clemson wins the national championship, and they get Big Macs from Donald Trump, who evidently thinks the program deserved a break today. Trump would have gone to Taco Bell, but he's trying to build a wall around it.

-- With Kliff Kingsbury as head coach, and now possibly Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator, the Cardinals are moving into position to dominate the talk of the 2020 mock drafts. Maybe 2021, too.

-- A lot of people are grilling Jets' quarterback Sam Darnold for being cheap in the Christmas presents he purchased for his offensive linemen (grill tools and gift certificates for steaks). Of course, after he was sacked 30 times and pressured into 17 interceptions, they are lucky they didn't get lumps of coal.

-- Did anyone see the Rays' signing of Avisail Garcia and think "well, they're complete now!"

-- According to betdsi.com, there are only four teams in the NFL (Atlanta, Baltimore, Jacksonville and New Orleans) that are less likely than the Bucs to obtain Antonio Brown in the off-season. Personally, I'd rather see them re-sign Keyshawn Johnson.

-- As long as Jameis Winston is eating wins, can he have a second helping, please?

-- Manny Pacquiao says he can beat Floyd Mayweather now because he's healthy. I say who cares? If I want to see old men play slap-tag, personally, I'd rather see Statler fight Waldorf on the Muppet Show.

-- Prediction: New Orleans over the Los Angeles Rams.

-- If USF fans are trying to ease their pain by noting someone else's,  well, UConn is there for you. The Huskies not only went 1-11, but they paid head coach Randy Edsall $56,000 in bonuses. Wow. Must have been a good bonus.

-- Former Bucs' quarterback Turk Schonert has died at 62. He coached Bucs' quarterbacks for four years, which took him from Vinny Testaverde to Craig Erickson to Trent Dilfer, which can be hard on a guy.

-- Roger Federer was denied access to the clubhouse at the Australian Open because he didn't have the proper credentials. Really? The guy's face is on racket covers, towels, t-shirts and watches. Couldn't someone have vouched for him?

-- Prediction: The Chiefs over the New England Patriots.

-- TheBigLead.com has undoubtedly heard all the recent praise of Bucs' quarterback Jameis Winston. They aren't buying any of it. They're listed among 13 teams that could draft Oklahoma's Kyler Murray. Yeah, if he drops to the fourth round.

-- When the Raiders eventually get to Las Vegas, could Jon Gruden be the next Wayne Newton? Hey, he's rich, he's glitzy, and he's had exactly one hit.

-- Maybe Jason Licht should bring back Roberto Aguayo and play him at cornerback. Just a thought.

 

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Lightning bounces back again with win over Sharks

by Gary Shelton on January 20, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Gourde scred his first goal since December./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 3 a.m.

And now, as we take a break to reflect upon what the Tampa Bay Lightning has done to this point in the season, the moments come rushing at you.

Gourde broke a 2-2 tie./CHUCK MULLER

They have had scoring. Their stars have been stars. The secondary scoring has been excellent. Their goaltending has been solid. Their defense has held up often. They have been resilient, and creative, and dynamic.

You know, just like Saturday night

The Bolts wrapped up the pre-All-Star Game part of their schedule Saturday night, beating San Jose 6-3 and avenging a loss to the Sharks two weeks ago. The Bolts scored twice in every period en route to their 37th win of the year.

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Ask Gary: Did Rays fail in replacing Cron?

by Gary Shelton on January 19, 2019 · 2 comments

in general

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.

When the Rays DFA'd C.J. Cron, the justification used at the time was that they intended to pursue a veteran power bat in free agency who would be a more complete hitter. Supposedly they were going to open up the check book and pay upwards of $10 million to get him. That didn't happen and this week the Rays agreed to sign Avisail Garcia to a one-year deal for $3.5 million. Garcia is coming off knee surgery and has never hit more than 19 home runs in any year. Meanwhile the Twins claimed Cron off waivers and signed him to a $4.8 million contract. How can this be considered anything but another cost saving move by the Rays? Do you consider Garcia an upgrade or even a true power hitter?

Larry Beller

It's hard to put yourself in the role of a team when you think it's wrong. It isn't so much that the Rays dumped Cron without trading him for anything of substance, it's that they didn't replace him in free agency, either.

Let's be honest about Cron. He hit 30 home runs last year, but that was 14 more than he had hit in any season, and he drove in just 74 runs. So we aren't talking about Babe Ruth here. But Cron was the only true power the team had left. They lost the three hitters who had hit the most home runs for them.

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Leafs hand the Lightning another defeat

by Gary Shelton on January 18, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Stamkos can't get the puck past Andersen./STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 4 a.m.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a good goaltender, too. They have offensive power, too. They are good defensively, too.

Also, they have a little bit of desperation.

The Maple Leafs, on the verge of falling out of the Atlantic Division race to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team it trailed by 16 points going into Thursday night's game, pulled off a 4-2 victory over the Lightning Thursday night. The Bolts had won nine straight games at home.

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Other teams have streaked past the Bucs

January 17, 2019 general

Thursday, 4 a.m. Think of them as an old jalopy, smoking and spewing as it putters down the highway. It’s going slow, and other vehicles are whizzing past. Parts fall off, and the wheels wobble, and the engine sounds as if it is about to conk out from the weariness of the journey. It is […]

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Bolts bounce back with shutout over Dallas

January 16, 2019 general

Wednesday, 4 a.m. Perhaps there is a reason why the Tampa Bay Lightning doesn’t lose very often. They don’t like it very much. Team Bounceback did it again Tuesday night, rebounding from Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders with a 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. In the 11 games they have lost […]

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How many do you expect Arians to win in ’19?

January 15, 2019 general

Tuesday, 4 a.m. Scene one: There was a new energy, a new coach, a new direction. Yep, the Tampa Bay Bucs had it figured out, didn’t they? It was 2009, and the Bucs had made changes. Jon Gruden had won a Super Bowl once, but his team was running in place, and Raheem Morris was […]

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Islanders jump Lightning early, end winning streak

January 14, 2019 general

Monday, 4 a.m. Perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning needs to pay closer attention to what time their games start. The Lightning, the hottest team in the NHL, had its third consecutive slow start Sunday night. This time, it was disastrous. The Lightning fell to the New York Islanders, a team that was 21 points behind […]

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Random thoughts: Arians the class of the new coaches

January 13, 2019 general

Sunday, 4 a.m. I think I have uncovered an NFL conspiracy. The league is trying to make Bruce Arians look good. How else do you explain the other NFL hires? Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens? The Jets’ Adam Gase? Green Bay’s Matt LeFluer? The Broncos’ Vic Fangio? The Bengals, who might hire Zac Taylor? The Dolphins, who […]

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Once again, Bolts turn a deficit into a victory

January 13, 2019 general

Sunday, 3 a.m. If Rocky Balboa was a hockey team, this is the one he would be. It doesn’t matter how you knock him around. You can cut him and beat him and bruise him for most of the fight. You can stagger him and hurt him. Then comes the final round, and watch out. […]

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