Self-promotion alert! I’ll be on NBC SportsTalk on the NBC Sports Network at 6pm eastern this evening, talking about the Hall of Fame vote totals. Note: I predicted the shutout on last night’s show and intend to gloat about it. Following me will be an interview with Dale Murphy, who I am sure will have…
The Hershey Bears can clinch a berth in the Calder Cup Finals tonight with a win over the Toronto Marlies and if they do, head coach Troy Mann’s tough talk might be one of the reasons.
Following the Bears’ 8-2 drubbing of the Marlies on Wednesday night, Mann had this to say:
“This time of year you’ve got to enjoy it. Enjoy the moment. It’s no cliché, every coach says it: the fourth (win) is always the toughest. But we want to make sure we take their will away and try to come out as hard as we did tonight on Friday night to try to take their will and let them know, ‘Hey, it’s going to be hard to come back. It’s going to be hard to play against us. And at the end of the day maybe the summer vacation starts for them and we move on. That’s the goal here.”
With a win the Bears would complete a sweep of the Marlies and face the Lake Erie Monsters, who completed a sweep of the Ontario Reign in the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night. The Calder Cup Finals have not been in Cleveland since the Barons got there 50 years ago, in 1966.
Mann, 46, is in his second full season as head coach of the Bears and could be on the brink of become an NHL coaching candidate. In his two seasons in Hershey the Bears have gone 89-43-20. Last season the Bears were eliminated in the second round.
Many in the Capitals organization wondered why Mann was passed over the head job in Hershey three years ago when Mark French was replaced with Mike Haviland, who coached the Bears for only one season.
Mann, who had been an assistant under French the previous four seasons, took a job as head coach of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL and led them to the third round of the playoffs in 2014.
With NHL head coaching jobs still available in Calgary and Anaheim, Mann could join Caps assistant coach Todd Reirden as a candidate for one of those jobs.
Reirden, 44, played two seasons with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in Cincinnati and has spent six years as an NHL assistant (four in Pittsburgh, two in Washington). He drew interest from New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero last summer before Shero hired John Hynes.
Nats (29-19) vs. Carinals (24-24) at Nationals Park
The Nationals continue their series against St. Louis aiming to go a perfect 5-0 against the Cardinals on the season. On Thursday night it was Joe Ross who held them in check. On Friday, it will be Max Scherzer (5-3, 3.80) looking to shut them down.
Scherzer is coming off an eight-inning, two-run outing against the Marlins on May 22. He has allowed two earned runs in each of his last three outings. Scherzer pitched seven shutout innings against the Cardinals back on May 1.
Behind Scherzer will be the usual lineup with Daniel Murphy back in there after taking Thursday off.
First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: CBS-9, MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, XM 183
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Cardinals - Jaime Garcia
CF Ben Revere
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Max Scherzer
LHP Jaime Garcia
Ravens wide receiver Keenan Reynolds can officially defer his military service to play in the NFL, secretary of defense Ashton Carter said Friday. Carter made the announcement during his graduation speech at the Naval Academy.
Two weeks ago, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, strongly recommended that Reynolds be allowed to pursue his NFL career. Now Reynolds has the official go-ahead.
“It is a blessing to hear the news from Defense Secretary Carter,” Reynolds said in a statement released by the Ravens. “I am truly excited to proudly serve my country while having the ability to fulfill my dream of playing for the best organization in the NFL.
“I would like to thank the Navy for allowing me to represent them while taking advantage of this unique opportunity. I would also like to thank (Ravens owner) Mr. (Steve) Bisciotti and the Ravens organization for believing in me and giving me this chance.”
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement, “This is good news, and congratulations on to Keenan on his graduation today.”
The Ravens selected Reynolds in the sixth round of the draft, and are intrigued by his potential as a returner and receiver after a stellar career at Navy as a quarterback. Reynolds finished his Navy career as the FBS all-time leader in touchdowns (88).
Reynolds has sought advice on making the transition from quarterback to receiver-returner from CSN’s Brian Mitchell, who was a Pro Bowl returner with the Redskins, and from Hines Ward, a Pro Bowl receiver with the Steelers. The next challenge for Reynolds is to win a spot on the Ravens’ 53-man roster, and many people will be rooting for him.