December 2017

Manziel cleared to sign CFL contract; Tiger-Cats own rights

Johnny Manziel has been cleared to play in the CFLJohnny Manziel is one step closer to returning to professional football, albeit a little further north this time. Manziel was cleared to sign a contract with a CFL team on Thursday, and his rights in the league are owned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who appear interested in his services.

Home-ice advantage paying off for expansion Golden Knights

Raucous crowd cheers on its Vegas Golden KnightsThe Vegas Golden Knights continue to rewrite the book on what’s possible for an NHL expansion team. The Golden Knights have points in their last 10 games - a first for an expansion team - going 9-0-1 to rise to the top of the Western Conference. Once expected to be a basement-dwelling afterthought for the 2017-18 season, Vegas is looking more and more like a playoff contender with each game.

Streaking Raptors cool off in Dallas after rising to top of East

Kyle Lowry soars into the Philadelphia defenseDecember has been kind to the Toronto Raptors. A road loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday ended a six-game winning streak for the Raptors, who dropped to 10-2 since December 1. Toronto’s success, coupled with the recent struggles of the Boston Celtics, has made the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference a tight one.

Rays sever ties to past success by trading Longoria to Giants

Evan Longoria throws for an out in Tampa Bay

For a while it appeared as though Evan Longoria would play his entire career with the Tampa Bay Rays, but he was traded to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday in exchange for a package of four players. Longoria played for a decade in Tampa Bay, winning Rookie of the Year in 2008, the same season the Rays made their only World Series appearance, and his departure leaves the franchise without a notable identity.

Cowboys have outside shot at playoffs with Elliott's return

Dallas Cowboys have an outside shot at making the playoffs There’s still hope for the Dallas Cowboys on their three-game winning streak, but not much of it. The return of running back Ezekiel Elliott from a six-game suspension restores Dallas’ offense to full strength, but they have a mountain to climb in the final two weeks of the regular season.

Belmont arena bid gives Islanders a path out of Brooklyn

New York Islanders forward Jordan Eberle roars after scoring a goalThe New York Islanders appear to have found a new home fairly close to their old one. The Islanders have been struggling to attract fans to their games since moving to Brooklyn from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, but a bid to develop the land around Belmont Park could give the franchise the stability it craves.

Shorthanded Warriors top Lakers on Bryant jersey retirement night

Kobe Bryant gets his jerseys retired alongside his familyOn a night when former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant had not one, but two jersey numbers retired, the new-look Lakers nearly did his legacy proud with a strong performance against the NBA’s defending champions.

Jaguars clinch first playoff berth since 2007 to cap incredible turnaround

Jacksonville Jaguars are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007It would have been impossible to foresee the Jacksonville Jaguars as a playoff team 12 months ago, when the team was struggling through yet another lost season and a dismal 3-13 record. But a new head coach and some important additions turned Jacksonville around, and the Jaguars are 10-4 and on their way to the postseason for the first time in a decade with arguably the most complete team in franchise history.

Timberwolves' starters playing unsustainable minutes

Karl-Anthony Towns wrestles the basketball away from T.J. LeafThe Minnesota Timberwolves are on track to secure their first playoff berth since 2004, but only if they can maintain the most top-heavy rotation in the NBA. No other team plays its starters nearly as much as Minnesota, which is already beginning to show the negative effects of such extreme minutes with more than half of the season remaining.

High-flying Blues slowed by injuries to Schwartz, Pietrangelo

Jaden Schwartz skates in an awkward positionThe past year has been mostly good to the St. Louis Blues. Their head coaching change from Ken Hitchcock to Mike Yeo has gone about as well as a franchise could hope, with a 43-17-4 regular-season record since promoting Yeo in February. And while the Blues were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round last season, they began the 2017-18 campaign looking like Stanley Cup contenders, grabbing an early lead in the Central Division.