Raptors’ DeRozan unhappy again at SI rating
The Raps’ star jumped up 10 spots to No. 36
TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan appears unimpressed after climbing 10 places to No. 36 in Sports Illustrated’s annual NBA player ratings.
The Toronto Raptors star reacted to the ranking with a tweet Tuesday that said “F SI... #ProveEm.” We’re guessing the F was not short for fiddlesticks.
He had a similar reaction last year at SI’s No. 46 ranking, tweeting “FOH 46” and “ProveEM.”
DeRozan did just that, earning NBA All-Star status while ranking fifth in scoring at 27.3 points a game during the regular season.
Sports Illustrated had him at No. 61 in 2015-16.
This season, SI has DeRozan sandwiched between New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton.
“Every year we relitigate the case of DeMar DeRozan, perhaps the league’s most polarizing player,” the magazine wrote. “Our verdict comes down to this: DeRozan is a refined, impressive scorer whose Sports Illustrated on Toronto Raptors’ All-Star DeMar DeRozan
limitations create real problems.”
“For five straight years, the Raptors have performed better with DeRozan off the floor,” it added. “The truth of his value is more complicated than that, though the wealth of mixed signals to this point are beyond coincidence. We know DeRozan can score. But to what end?”
Toronto centre Jonas Valanciunas stands at No. 80 while Canadians Tristan Thompson (Cleveland) and Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota) are No. 50, respectively.
The Top-30, likely to include Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, will be released later this week. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK – The NHL’s referees are about to come to Johnny Gaudreau’s defence.
The league’s department of player safety has instructed officials to crack down on slashes to the hands this season following several wrist, hand and finger injuries inflicted by such dangerous stick work.
It’s unlikely any player in the league will benefit more from such a crackdown than Gaudreau, whose gifted mitts were targeted all season long, resulting in a broken finger last November that cost him 10 games of service after being surgically repaired.
“Over time, it became a whackfest in and around the hands, and players were getting hurt,” said Stephen Walkom, the NHL’s vicepresident and director of officiating, during NHL meetings in New York.
“If you slash a player’s hands with force, we are looking to shore that up, because we’ve let it go for too long. If we really want to increase scoring in the game, why are we allowing players to wield their sticks six or eight feet away from the puck? It’s an area, I believe, we let slip.” No longer. Last year, there were 791 minor penalties called for slashing, and because hundreds of others went uncalled and resulted in high-profile injuries, you can expect that number to skyrocket this year.
Players and fans have more than just Gaudreau to thank for that.
“This was a direction given to us by Garth Snow and 31 general managers,” said the NHL’s senior VP of hockey operations, Mike Murphy, whose group responded to the hue and cry of the hockey community that saw Gaudreau’s finger broken by Eric Staal and Marc Methot’s pinky partially severed by Sidney Crosby.
“Guys are breaking hands and fingers. There will be a spike initially in slashing penalties, but the players will conform eventually.”
Murphy said even the competition committee brought it up, necessitating the tightening of rule 61.1, which says, “any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s hands that, in the judgement of the referee, is not an attempt to play the puck, shall be penalized as slashing.”
It’s not a new rule, but officials have let it go for years.
Just like the water-skiing that was done behind players hooking and hitching rides right through to the 2004 Stanley Cup final series involving the Flames, the trend has to stop.
It was around that time hooks started turning into whacks.
The night Gaudreau left thanks to Staal’s slash, the Minnesota Wild had been targeting Gaudreau’s wrist-area so heavily that a video breakdown showed he’d been hit there 21 times that night.
Flames fans and management were furious after the costly slash, pointing out quite clearly that slashing was supposed to be an infraction.
Well ... it is now, which is music to GM Brad Treliving’s ears. He was one of the many GMs who voiced his concern and displeasure with the league for allowing such rampant stick-work.
“Any time it allows skill and talent to flourish, it’s a good move,” said Treliving, anticipating the league will give teams a comprehensive look at the extent of the crackdown during the pre-season.
“If you go back a few years, we got away from the slashing of the sticks and tugging of the hands, and this (move to call slashing in the future) is good. Since the beginning of time, taps have been going on, but as injuries happen, it has come to the forefront more.”
NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell outlined how several other rules would be more strictly enforced this year including ensuring centres lining up for a faceoff would be kicked out of the circle for not positioning their skates behind the markings. The goal is to further eliminate unfair advantages being gained by players, as well as reduce head-butting and making it a safer area for the official dropping the puck.
The tucking in of jerseys in any fashion won’t be tolerated, nor will players wearing their visors improperly.
At a league briefing, Flames star Sean Monahan’s visor was shown in a picture sitting too high on his helmet, failing to adequately protect his eye-line.
One of the rule changes prohibits teams that just iced the puck to follow that play with a timeout.
The biggest rule change dings coaches with a delay-of-game penalty if their challenge of an offside ruling prior to a goal is incorrect.
Previously, coaches simply lost their timeout while fans lost their minds over the endless delays.