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People who know new Lakers coach Darvin Ham praise his virtues

What makes Darvin Ham the right coach for the Lakers? Former teammates and players who worked with Darvin Ham explain why he's ready for the job. (Author: Gardener)

Darvin HamThe job, like everything else, requires a coach to stand alongside LeBron James, a player who's been one of basketball's most celebrated players since he was in high school, and forge a partnership. So, naturally, the Lakers hired Darvin Ham, who spent most of his year-long high school basketball career on the bench. "I didn't know him," said former Saginaw High coach Marshall Thomas, laughing. Ham made the transition from one of the last at Saginaw High (with NBA championships as a player and as an assistant coach) to the big spot on the Lakers bench as part of a journey marked by one of his greatest strengths - his tenacity. Darwin made his own way,” said Thomas. News of Ham's hiring - which has still not been announced by the Lakers - was corroborated by those who have crossed paths with Ham throughout his career: former coaches, teammates and peers who have praised the Lakers for turning things on have passed a first-time coach. "He's going to be honest as a Lakers coach and that's what I think you need in the NBA today - someone who's honest but knows how to be honest without actually just tearing you down," the former said Teammate Chauncey Billups. now said the coach in Portland on Saturday. He won as a player. He won as a coach. Billups thinks the Lakers got it right. He's the right man for this job with the Lakers," Billups said. Back in Ham's hometown, former high school teammate Julian Taylor could hardly believe what he was hearing. Taylor, like so many people in Michigan, loved the Lakers because of Magic Johnson. While Taylor watched Ham work his way from high school to NBA player, the recent accomplishment was almost too much to believe. Saginaw has produced NBA players - a lineage that includes Draymond Green, Mark Macon and Jason Richardson. "Darv is their head coach, a guy who has beaten all odds, wasn't picked to make it ... he just worked," Taylor said. At Saginaw High, Ham didn't even play basketball until his senior year, a summer growth spurt that launched his career. Back then, Thomas was confident his returning players would help build the team's roster and almost everyone said Ham should make it. He wasn't a star - he hardly played - but Ham possessed a quality that made Thomas recommend him to a junior college coach. He's a real competitor, always has been a competitor," said Thomas. “…The greatest thing about Darvin was never his ability. The thing is, Darwin was always a great person. Hard-nosed, hard-working, but a great person.” Years later, Billups experienced the same things with Ham as a teammate at the Pistons, one of Ham's six NBA homes. "I'm sure if you've spoken to the guys he's played with, he was probably their favorite teammate guy. He was always so competitive," Billups said. Every time he came into play, he simply raised the level of the game. Former NBA coach and current Indiana Hoosiers coach Mike Woodson was an assistant to these Pistons teams. He remembered Ham as someone who would never "bull" in practice because he was too committed. "His work ethic in practice and when we brought him into the game, he always seemed to deliver," Woodson said. “And it was based on his hard work. He put in the time on the practice pitch and it always translated into the game nicely. So they knew the fact that he came into coaching, I knew it was going to work because that's a big part of being a good coach. You have to work.” Ham got his first chance to coach NBA players with the Lakers in 2011 as a developmental coach on Mike Brown's staff after coaching three seasons in the developmental league. Metta Sandiford-Artest - then known as Metta World Peace - was on that Lakers team and remembers tapping Ham as a future coach. "He worked hard, coached all the players, coached me," Sandiford-Artest said. "He trained everyone. He's definitely present, but he also has a communication about him, which means I won't say it softly, but you understand he has your best interest at heart." As the Lakers coach, he's asked to share with some of the to communicate with the NBA's biggest stars, including James, perhaps the biggest. Following news of Ham's hiring, James tweeted his support - a promising early move. Anyone who knows Ham, from his time in the NBA or from his time at Saginaw, knows he's equipped to take on a challenge.” “At Saginaw, we're made of different cloth at Saginaw Basketball,” said Taylor. Darvin was such a hard worker.

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Woman cuts onion in front of cat, her reaction is the funniest. Watch Watch

The clip shows a woman finely chopping a golden onion on her kitchen counter, where her pet cat is also sitting. (Author: Gardener)

Watch WatchFunny viral video: Slicing onions can be a pain at times. It can make even the toughest of adults cry like a baby. A hilarious video is going viral showing onions have the same effect on animals. The video was shared on Twitter by user Buitengebieden with the caption: "Who's chopping onions? Also read- Viral Video: Puppy distracts little girl and steals her candy, leaving her in tears. The clip shows a woman finely chopping a golden onion on her kitchen counter. Her adorable gray cat also sits on the counter and keeps her company while she cooks. The pet cat can then be seen narrowing its eyes and looking down at the onion. The cat still refuses to leave the kitchen and continues to torment herself by being near the onion, although her eyes sting. Also Read - Viral Video: Japanese Man Spends Rs 12 Lakh To Transform Into Dog, Netizens Are Crazy. Watch Twitter users said it was the funniest thing they've seen on the internet today, flooding the comments with laughing emojis and hilarious comments. Also Read - Viral Video: Woman and Kitten Play Red Light Green Light from Squid Game. For breaking news and live news updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Read more about the latest viral news at India.com.

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Darren Helm scores by 5.6 seconds to send Colorado into the Western Conference Finals

Avalanche vs. Blues Game 6 Full Time Score: Darren Helm scores with 5.6 seconds left to send Colorado to the Western Conference Finals (Author: Gardener)

the Western Conference FinalsIt looked like we were going into overtime in Game 6. The veteran forward ran into the zone and stepped in a slap shot that smacked Blues goaltender Ville Husso down the glove side with 5.6 seconds remaining in the game to take the Avs to 3. 2 win and advance to the Western Conference Finals. For the first time in TWENTY YEARS, the @Avalanche advance to the Western Conference Finals! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/WnayoaEPK0 — NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) May 28, 2022 The Avalanche fought back after going 0-1 and 1-2 to take the decisive win of the series in St. Louis. Colorado controlled most of the game, but Husso had his best game of the playoffs and kept coming back with stops for the Blues. Compher scored twice in the win for the Avs. Justin Faulk and Jordan Kyrou had the two goals for the Blues. Colorado now meets the Oilers in the Western Conference Finals. It's the first time they've made the conference finals since 2001, when they won the Stanley Cup. 10:40 p.m.: Goal! Wow. Darren Helm unloads a slapshot on a puck coming off the boards, punching Husso with five seconds left. The Avs ended the blues season in one fell swoop. 10:36 p.m.: Avs hum in the final minutes of the third. Every time the Blues get the puck out of their own zone, Colorado goes right back in. 10:29 p.m.: Blues have their first good chance of the period, but Kuemper makes a strong save against Tarasenko. At the other end, MacKinnon nets the puck wide, but Husso swallows it. What a rip from Compher, his second on the web. Comes in on the right and hits Husso over the gauntlet. Compher ties it with his second of the game! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/U2CGrzWglA - NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) May 28, 2022 Another great stop from Husso. Puck deflects off Landeskog, Husso isn't sure where the puck is but it stays under him. Called for game delay after the puck is shot over the glass. Big power play for Colorado. 10:15pm: Becomes lively in Game 6. A couple of big hits, followed by Husso, who appears to get Kadri in the face with his glove as he tries to hit an icing on the cake. 10:07 p.m.: Excellent block defense by Husso against Kadri. Makar with a great seam pass to Kadri who cuts to the net but Husso stops. The Blues want to persevere and force a Game 7. 9:45 p.m.: Finished second, the Blues lead 2-1. Colorado controlled most of the game but after Schenn's goal, St. Louis turned the momentum their way. Could have been 3-1 if it wasn't for the Manson block on kyrou. Shots 26-14 in favor of Avs. 9:44pm: Another chance for Kyrou as a long pass sends him to the breakaway but he misses wide. Excellent pass by Robert Bortuzzo to Kyrou on the long blue line. Blues only find their flow late in the second. Kuemper slips way too far as a pass goes over the slot to Kyrou. Kyrou waits and hits the backhand, has a wide open net but Manson blocks it. Avs kill the MacKinnon minor. 9:37 p.m.: For the first time, the blues have the momentum. First a shot from the post by Alexei Toropchenko, then another huge chance follows, which he slices into the net, but Kuemper stays straight and stops. Big shift leading to MacKinnon calling for a trip, St. Louis for his second power play. 9:34 p.m.: Blues kill Thomas penalty. 9:32 p.m.: Robert Thomas is called to hook for the Avs to get their first power play of the night. Jordan Kyrou with a one-off shot from 2 for 1. Great feed from Brayden Schenn to get the puck to Kyrou around a diving Manson. 9:25 p.m.: Colorado drives circles around St. Louis. Still 1-1 but the Blues have looked slow and sloppy. Avalanche Puck right where they left off in the first and it leads to a J.T. Compher goal. Manson's excellent hip fake allows him to get a lead to the net, he shoots low and Compher covers the rebound, 1-1 - just over six minutes into the 2nd period. 8:53 p.m .: End of the first and the blues have the lead. Shots 13-8 in favor of Colorado. Justin Faulk comes in from the top and whistles one through Kümper's right arm. Blues on the board with a minute to go in the opening frame. Justin Faulk has the @StLouisBlues on the board first 👀 #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/y87jYjMEFN - NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) May 28, 2022 8:46pm: The Blues are doing nothing about the man advantage. Three minutes left in the first. Three minutes left in the first. Hits two blues players along the wall, but neither has the puck. Blues to the PP. 8:33pm: It's all avs early. Blues are trying to slow them down with their physicality but have given up a couple of prime chances. Husso came on early. 8:29 p.m.: Avalanche with the better chances early on, but Husso with two pad saves. The first is a shot by Cale Makar, the second is a deflection by Nathan MacKinnon from a shot by Makar that hit Husso's right toe. 8:26 p.m.: Mikko Rantanen with a rebound chance, goes for the backhand but Husso gets the stop. A poor turnover from Justin Faulk keeps the puck in the St. Louis zone. 8:16 p.m.: Puck is down for Game 6. 7:55 p.m .: Ville Husso will be online again against Darcy Kuemper. Game 6 of the second round series between the Avs and the Blues will be televised on TNT in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada. The game can be streamed live on Watch TNT or Sling TV in the US and on SN Now in Canada. S. can stream any NHL playoff game live on Sling TV. NHL playoff games on ABC will be simulcast on ESPN3, which is included with Sling Orange and is available for $35 per month, including $25 for the first month for new subscribers. Colorado and St. Louis will face off in Game 6 on Friday, May 27th. The puck will be handed over shortly after 8 p.m. ET at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Mo.

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Helm's late goal stuns Blues and puts Avs in the West Finals

Darren Helm's goal with 5.6 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 6 on Friday night propelled the Avalanche into the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 20 years. (Author: Gardener)

HelmLOUIS — Darren Helm was the unlikely hero for the Colorado Avalanche in their Game 6 elimination against the St. Louis Blues on Friday night when the 35-year-old fourth liner scored the decisive goal with 5.6 seconds left. It's always fun to see someone like Darren, who plays so hard but doesn't always get points, being rewarded like that," said Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper, who scored in the 3-2 win in St Louis. The Avalanche take on the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals Tuesday night in Denver, Colorado's first appearance in the conference finals since 2002 when Erik Johnson eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks and sent the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals Goal came Friday night as the seconds ticked by in what felt like a second straight overtime between the Avalanche and the Blues Defender Erik Johnson came on for the Blues Zone with 9 seconds left, pass to forward Logan O'Connor, who sent the puck over the zone with 7.5 seconds left Helm collected it, shot the puck and defeated Blues goalie Ville Husso (36 saves) and sent the Aval anche Bank to cheers and the Enterprise Center crowd in awe silent silence. Two guys walked in. I was just about to throw a puck in the net and it went in. Felt great,” Helm said, smiling. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he wasn't sure how much time was left when Helm made his shot. You could feel that time was pressing. When I saw the puck pop out on this side of the ice, I kind of looked over and saw Helm coming downhill on it. just shoot it,'" he said. “After seeing the net buckle I looked up and saw the time and our bank was already celebrating. Before celebrating on the bench, Colorado defenseman Josh Manson admitted he didn't watch the game. I think I prayed I wasn't even watching, just praying," he said. You're so excited, but it's almost like, "Thank God it's over. We got the job done.” Helm played 14 years with the Red Wings before signing with the Avalanche last summer. “Colorado was where I wanted to come to. I got the call and was very excited to get the opportunity. I'm happy to be here," he said. There was a time when Detroit and Colorado had the hottest rivalry in hockey. One reporter noted the irony that a former Red Wing could be the hero of the Avalanche. I was too young to even know what was going on," Helm said. "Yeah, right," Manson said, prompting laughter at the expense of his veteran teammate. The Avalanche only had two players with Stanley Cup rings on Ice 6 in Game 6: André Burakovsky, who won with the Washington Capitals in 2018, and Helm, who won with the Red Wings in 2008. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog recalled watching the Red Wings as a teenager in Sweden to see players like Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg He also appreciates Helm's work ethic: "There's no other guy who deserves it as much as he does. He's a guy who comes onto the rink with a smile on his face, gets along with everyone and leads by example," said Landeskog. If Helm is a paragon of resilience, so was the Avalanches in Game 6. The Blues had stunned them with a Game 5 rally, an overtime win, to avoid elimination and bring the series back to St. Louis. Because I know how much our boys want it. And then you have another 48 hours," Bednar said. But Colorado carried much of Game 6, with the Blues effectively countering. The Avalanche had the better game in the first half, 5-on-5, with Husso coming up with key stops Mikko Rantanen and Landeskog came up But it was the Blues who left the half by a goal Defender Niko Mikkola kept the puck on point in the avalanche zone and sent it to Robert Thomas, the Blues center who played in Game 5 scored two goals for his first two points of the series, defender Justin Faulk found openly across the zone Faulk fired a shot over Kümper's shoulder for a 1-0 lead with a minute remaining in the first third The Blues opened the second period with a sloppy and uninspired play, and the Avalanche made them pay.T. Compher followed up a Manson shot by pinning the puck past Husso onto the crease's doorstep at 5:19 of the second period e. St. Louis regained the lead thanks to a miss by Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson, who entered the series in Game 4 after a season-ending defenseman Samuel Girard was injured. Johnson tried to keep the puck on the St. Louis blueline but fumbled it past Brayden Schenn to set off a 2-on-1 for the Blues. While Manson slid to protect himself from the pass, Schenn still found Kyrou for his seventh of the postseason at 9:34. The Blues had a few chances to extend the lead that they squandered, including an open net on the power play that saw Manson save a goal and a breakout chance for Kyrou that he missed. The second period ended with St. Louis leading 2-1. In the third half, Husso continued his strong play, but defenseman Colton Parayko - who had a game full of gaffes - put the puck into the crowd to set a game delay at 8:19. The Blues' penalty worked hard to end the Avalanche power play, but with a second remaining, Compher scored his second past Husso to level the game 2-2 at 10-18. Then Helm played the unlikely hero and eliminated the blues. St. Louis struggled to recover from the injury-related loss of starting goaltender Jordan Binnington in Game 3 after a controversial clash involving Colorado center Nazem Kadri. There were moments when they looked like they were on par with the Avalanche, even in Game 6, but they were fleeting. "Overall it's a very disappointing season. We're better than what we showed against these guys. We could have done that to seven. There were good chances," said captain Ryan O'Reilly. Meanwhile, the Avalanche earned their Conference Finals showdown against the Oilers after three consecutive postseasons in which they lost in the second round. "You have to enjoy the journey," said Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon. It definitely felt like we overdid them in this series. We deserved a good jump in the end."

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4 Avalanche facing the Oilers

In order for the Avalanche to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, these four players must play the Oilers in the Western Conference Finals. (Author: Gardener)

OilersAfter 21 harrowing years, the Colorado Avalanche have returned to the Western Conference Finals, with the Edmonton Oilers the only team remaining between them and their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 2001. Despite the fast-rising Avalanche being their most successful regular-season franchise since the 2019-20 season, the second round remained the biggest hurdle to reaching their championship potential. In defeating the troublesome St. Louis Blues, their biggest stars have done their job and are one step closer to permanently etching their names into NHL lore. The Avalanche have seen goaltenders get laid in the playoffs recently, and for a moment it seemed like the disease had infected Darcy Kuemper as well. After a regular season playing at Vezina Trophy level, the 32-year-old goalie was unbeatable in the first round against the Nashville Predators. He stopped 57 of 61 shots (0.934 save percentage - SV%) and prevented 0.76 goals above expectations (GSAx) before missing the decisive game of the series through injury. The Blues were poised to undoubtedly be a more formidable opponent, but the Avalanche dominated the series 5v5. They completed 60.5% of shots (SF%), accumulated 59.8% of expected goals (xGF%) and accounted for 62.9% of goal chances (SCF%). In a significant reversal of his first-round performance, Kuemper allowed a minus 4.62 GSAx while posting a dismal 0.892 SV% over the six-game streak. Specifically, his play in Games 4 (.850 SV%), 5 (.833 SV%) and 6 (.900 SV%) had the Blues crawling back from the brink. Kuemper's 2022 playoff ledger stands at 0.904 SV% and minus 3.86 GSAx over nine games. Still, they narrowly escaped the clutches of the Blues, and the Oilers advanced to the Conference Finals as the top-scoring team in this year's playoffs (4.33 goals per game). He needs to return to his regular season form so the Avalanche have the best chance of brushing aside Connor McDavid and his band of happy men. After a spectacular regular season in which Nazem Kadri had career-high assists (59) and points (87) and was named an All-Star, he continued his breakthrough in the playoffs. After two rounds, he is third in the Avalanche (five) and fifth in points (10) while having the fourth most shots on target (34). He has traditionally been a strong postseason player (39 points in 46 games) and was a crucial part of Colorado's second-round triumph. Judging by how head coach Jared Bednar has used Kadri in the Blues series, it's likely the 31-year-old center will get the plum task of shutting down McDavid and the Oilers' top line. When Kadri hit the ice at 5v5, the Avalanche controlled 68.3% of shots (SF%), 66.1% of goals expected (xGF%) and 67.9% of scoring chances (SCF%). In addition to his defensive duties, he led the team in goals (four) and tied at the top (seven), all of whom were equally strong. Kadri also showed growing maturity by staying away from extracurricular activities, particularly when blues players attempted to injure him in the games immediately following the Binnington incident. It's a direct departure from the emotional outbursts that have hurt him and his teams in the past, and bodes well for the Avalanche as they march through the playoffs. If he continues to be a leader of teams at both ends of the ice and put the brakes on McDavid, the Avalanche will have a long-awaited appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. After leading the Avalanche as top scorer in the regular season with a career-high 36 goals and second in shots (254), the well has dried up for the Finland winger. He has scored just a single goal in two rounds and is seventh in shots (24). Rantanen's playmaking has remained consistent (10 assists in 10 games), but his scoring drought coupled with a reduced shot rate is a concern. Though Rantanen spent most of his 5v5 minutes playing alongside Valeri Nichushkin and MacKinnon (113 each), the Avalanche's vaunted front line has been split for the most part. Gabriel Landeskog, Rantanen and MacKinnon have only played 39 minutes together, with the dynamic triumvirate dispersing to create a more balanced line-up. Among forwards with at least 30 minutes played, the Avalanche trio ranked first in shot percentage (76.3%), 11th in chance quality (64% xGF%), and beat the opposing lines with 3 : 0 surpassed. Bednar hasn't used his superstar trio all that much this playoff, but it's a significant ace biding his time in the bag. Rantanen's strong playoff record (63 points in 53 games) suggests he can improve his game when needed, but his scoring skills are needed to defeat a team just as capable of the puck to bring to the network. Landeskog (six goals in 10 games) and Kadri (five in 10) have closed the gap, but the Finnish sniper finding his shot on target could be the turning point in this series. With significantly less effective transition players taking his place in the lineup, it puts even more pressure on Makar and Devon Toews to lighten Colorado's schedule. Enter Bowen Byram, whose composure shone through in the Blues' second-round loss, and a player who must maintain his level of play to defeat the fast-moving Oilers in Round 3. Among defenders who played at least 30 minutes at 5v5 in these playoffs, Byram ranks first in SF% (65.7%), 1st in SCF% (70.4%), 13th in xGF% (61.7%) and second in high danger opportunities (70.8% HDCF). He also finished the streak against the Blues with five assists and points, with those totals ranking first and fourth on the team, respectively. The young rearguard had 17 points in 30 regular-season games in 2021-22. So it's not as if the production was unexpected, but doing so in the bright light of the playoffs is a whole different endeavor. Despite being pushed into the top-four role following Girard's season-ending injury, Byram showed why the Avalanche are considered Stanley Cup favorites. Among skaters who have played in at least eight games in a single postseason, McDavid owns the seventh-highest scoring per game (2.17) since 1967-68, with only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Daryl Sittler posting a higher rate. This is their most impressive playoff performance so far this century, and the Avalanche must overcome McDavid's Supernova impersonation to appear in their franchise's Stanley Cup Finals for the third time. If the above players can play at the level they are capable of, it becomes a much more manageable endeavor.

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Unannounced Darren Helm, J.T. Compher guided Avs to the long-awaited spot in the Conference Finals

Helm's winning goal with 5.6 seconds left propelled the Avs into the Conference Finals for the first time since 2002. (Author: Gardener)

Darren HelmLOUIS-Darren Helm. And now, provably and undeniably, a scorer of big goals. In 2009, Helm used an overtime winner to beat a rising Chicago club and send the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup. He was only 22 at the time, a late-round draft pick that influenced the end of a Detroit dynasty. More than a decade and a consistent change later, Helm scored another goal to win the series, this time sending the Avalanche into the Western Conference Finals with a 3–2 win over the Blues. The goal fell on May 27, 2022: 13 years to the day after his overtime winner with the Red Wings. "What a day for you," said teammate Josh Manson, who sat next to him in their post-game press conference. With seven seconds left and the score 2-2, Logan O'Connor shot the puck across the ice in the Avalanche offensive zone. It bounced off the boards and straight onto Helm. He saw the pass coming and his thoughts echoed those of his coach on the Avalanche bench. "I said to myself, 'shoot it,'" Jared Bednar said. And Helm did. He wrapped for a slap shot from the faceoff circle and drove the puck forward. And finally, at 5.6 seconds on the clock, it hit the mesh. The Avalanche was in charge. Helm circled toward the jar, ducked in excitement, and let out a yell. He missed seeing the goal but it was impossible not to miss his enthusiastic teammates celebrating all around him. "Just the best feeling," Manson said. We got the job done.' That was one of the highlights of my hockey career.” Goalie Darcy Kuemper had to make a final save on a long-range shot from Justin Faulk and scooped the puck to the side of the net for time to run out. And with that, the Avalanche are in the finals of the Western Conference for the first time in a decade. "After the puck was dropped tonight you could see we were ready to go," Bednar said. "You could tell the belief was there." And Helm, one of only two players in Friday's Avalanche lineup to have a Stanley Cup ring, was the one who made it possible. General manager Joe Sakic signed him to a one-year deal last offseason -- an unannounced transaction at the time -- and the forward had a season of ups and downs, struggling with injuries and scoring just 15 points in 68 games. He had the second-lowest plus-minus rating on the team (minus-5) and was a healthy scratch on points late in the season. But he found his groove in the playoffs, helping create an effective fourth row with O'Connor, Andrew Cogliano and, on points, Nico Sturm. "They might not be as pretty or fancy to look at as, say, MacKinnon's variant, but they did have an impact on the game," Bednar said of playing the fourth line in Game 6. "And then Helm gets a real big goal for our." Organization.” “No one else deserves it more than he does,” said team captain Landeskog. The former Red Wing is the type of player you need to win a championship, Detroit legend Pavel Datsyuk told The Athletic earlier this year. Helm is a hard worker, said legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, Helm's first captain with the Red Wings, who noted his relentlessness on the puck. Darren McCarty, another former Detroit teammate, added, "Helmer is a great example of being a veteran that you can get for a good price and that has everything you need to go into that dressing room, not just because of his experience, but because of who he is and the role he plays.” Players like Helm were the ones Colorado needed in Game 6 against a struggling Blues team. The team's stars generated chances - MacKinnon, Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar all had expected goal percentages in excess of 70 per cent per Natural Stat trick - but the bottom six of the forward group, who scored just one goal in their first five games of the series had provided all the points for the team. "If we're going to win, we need everyone," MacKinnon said. "I know it's a cliché but you look at every team that wins, everyone contributes and that was our team in the playoffs this year." When the Avalanche scored in the second half, he snagged a rebound from a Manson shot and smacked it past Husso. Andre Burakovsky, who had a healthy scratch in his last two games, managed a secondary assist for the game -- his 13th point in his last nine potential playoff games with completion. The tie was short-lived, however, as Blues forward Brayden Schenn capitalized on a fumble from Jack Johnson at the blue line, leading a two-for-one break. He passed to Jordan Kyrou, who beat Kümper to make it 2-1. "There was no frustration on the bench," Compher said. We always believed we would get the job done.” And Manson stepped forward with a big defensive play to make sure that had a chance. During a power play by the Blues in the second period, Kyrou put the puck in front of the Avalanche net and cleared Kümper with a late shot. The goalie stretched out of his crease, so Kyrou kept moving towards the front of the net, looking for an angle to shoot. He found a lane to whip a backhander, but when he released the puck, Manson planted himself in the crease. The puck hit his chest and trickled to Kümper, who covered him. "There was a bit of a panic, to be honest," Manson said. “When it came to Kyrou, I knew he really was a patient player and I had a feeling he was going to stick with that thing. This kept the Avalanche within a goal of St. Louis, and Compher donned his superhero cape again for the second time and wrist-shot past Husso as the Avalanche power play expired. As Bednar said after the game, Compher had a night out. "I wanted him to be more assertive and not as secure," said the coach, and he got what he wanted. According to Natural Stat Trick, Colorado led the Blues in scoring chances (35-17), dangerous chances (15-5), and expected goals (3.21-1.49). And that eventually culminated in a lead with Helm's goal just short of the buzzer. After the game, the Blues players went to the Avalanche dressing room to congratulate their opponents. Schenn chatted with MacKinnon, and Nick Leddy and Brandon Saad greeted Devon Toews and Johnson. All three of these St. Louis players have their names on the Stanley Cup. "They are a good team, there is no doubt about that," said Schenn in his press conference after the game. Bednar said earlier in the series that the Avalanche weren't focused on beating Round 2. They focused on beating St. Louis. But getting over the second-round hump is huge for the organization, whether they have bigger aspirations or not. Colorado has not been in the conference finals since the 2001–02 season. Bowen Byram, the youngest player on the Avalanche roster, was less than a year old at the time. Bednar still played professional hockey, and the Colorado roster included five of the organization's six players with retired numbers. "Obviously the work isn't finished," MacKinnon said. The Avalanche built to this point, but the second round marked a stumbling block, like a glitch that won't let you progress past a certain point in a video game. The next year, an injury-plagued team with their goaltender in the third row failed to hold a one-goal lead late in Game 7, losing to the Stars in overtime. And then came last summer's Vegas series, which saw Colorado lead 2-0 and implode. This is the series that Bednar said hurt the most. It wasn't inexperience or injury that cost the Avalanche. It was her own piece. "These are lessons," said the coach. Against the Golden Knights, Colorado collapsed after giving away a late lead in Game 3. By the time the Avs got their game back, it was too late to save the series. The players of this year's team emphasized their increasing maturity, their growth. But those words could only mean so much until the Avalanche backed them. And after an exhausting overtime loss in Game 5 that saw them squander a three-goal lead, they did just that, thanks to a comeback in the third period and a last-second shot from a veteran who had previously had big moments .

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People who know Saginaw's Darvin Ham praise the Lakers coach's virtues

News of Darvin Ham's hiring as Lakers coach was supported by those who crossed paths with the Saginaw native during his career. (Author: Gardener)

LakersLos Angeles - The job, like everything else, requires a coach to stand alongside and forge a partnership with LeBron James, a player who has been one of the most famous basketball players since he was in high school. So, naturally, the Lakers hired Darvin Ham, who spent most of his year-long high school basketball career on the bench. "I didn't know him," said former Saginaw High coach Marshall Thomas, laughing. The fact that Ham struggled to make the Saginaw High team and still made it this far speaks to a key part of his character - his relentlessness. The journey from a 10th man as a senior in high school, to an NBA champion as a player with the Detroit Pistons, to a title-winner as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks can be traced to a single reason. Darwin made his own way,” said Thomas. News of Ham's hiring - which has not yet been announced by the Lakers - was supported by those who have crossed paths with Ham throughout his career: former coaches, teammates and peers who praised the Lakers for making things one First - time coach. "He's going to be honest as a Lakers coach, and that's what I think you need in the NBA today - someone who's honest but knows how to be honest without actually just tearing you down," were the former Teammate and Pistons great Chauncey Billups, now the Portland coach, said Saturday. He won as a player. He won as a coach. Billups thinks the Lakers got it right. He's the right man for this job with the Lakers," Billups said. Back in Ham's hometown, former high school teammate Julian Taylor could hardly believe what he was hearing. Taylor, like so many people in Michigan, loved the Lakers because of Magic Johnson. While Taylor watched Ham work his way from high school to NBA player, the recent accomplishment was almost too much to believe. Saginaw has produced NBA players - a lineage that includes Draymond Green, Mark Macon and Jason Richardson. "Darv is their head coach, a guy who beat all the odds, wasn't picked to make it ... he just worked," Taylor said. At Saginaw High, Ham didn't even play basketball until his senior year, a summer growth spurt that launched his career. Back then, Thomas was confident his returning players would help build the team's roster and almost everyone said Ham should make it. He wasn't a star - he hardly played - but Ham possessed a quality that made Thomas recommend him to a junior college coach. He's a real competitor, always has been a competitor," said Thomas. “…The greatest thing about Darvin was never his ability. Darvin has always been a great person. Hard-nosed, hard-working, but a great person.” Years later, Billups experienced the same things with Ham as a teammate at the Pistons, one of Ham's six NBA homes. "I'm sure if you've spoken to the guys he's played with, he was probably their favorite teammate guy. He was always so competitive," Billups said. Every time he came into play, he simply raised the level of the game. he is the man Former NBA coach and current Indiana Hoosiers coach Mike Woodson was an assistant to these Pistons teams. He remembered Ham as someone who would never "bull" in practice because he was too committed. "His work ethic in practice and when we brought him into the game, he always seemed to deliver," Woodson said. “And it was based on his hard work. He put in the time on the practice pitch and it always translated into the game nicely. So they knew the fact that he came into coaching, I knew it was going to work because that's a big part of being a good coach. You have to work.” Ham got his first chance to coach NBA players with the Lakers in 2011 as a developmental coach on Mike Brown's staff after coaching three seasons in the developmental league. Metta Sandiford-Artest - then known as Metta World Peace - was on that Lakers team and remembers tapping Ham as a future coach. "He worked hard, coached all the players, coached me," Sandiford-Artest said. "He trained everyone. He's definitely present, but he also has a communication about him, so I won't say softly, but you understand he has your best interests at heart." As the Lakers coach, he's asked to talk to some of the biggest stars in the NBA to communicate, including James, perhaps the greatest. Following news of Ham's hiring, James tweeted his support - a promising early move. Anyone who knows Ham from his days in the NBA or from his days at Saginaw knows he's up for a challenge. We come from hard work, from tenacity, from that take-no-chat attitude. This is Saginaw basketball," Taylor said. “…Darvin was such a hard worker.

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Concerns over police aggression towards Champions League fans

PARIS (AP) -- Tear gas is being fired indiscriminately around children and the elderly. Pepper spray released at close range on frustrated fans. Liverpool supporters have defended themselves against allegations by French authorities that they were responsible for the riots at the Champions League final amid crowding outside... (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueFans display tickets outside the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Saint Denis near Paris on Saturday May 28, 2022. Ticket holders are accused of delaying the start as they tried for hours enter the stadium in bottlenecks in a confined space. Police and stewards block one of the entrances to the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Saint Denis near Paris on Saturday May 28, 2022. Liverpool supporters have fought back allegations by French authorities they were responsible for the Champions League final riots amid overcrowding outside the Stade de France caused by operational disruptions on Saturday. The British government called the treatment of fans "deeply concerning". UEFA officials spent the hours following Liverpool's 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid discussing the chaotic scenes that delayed the start of the final in the club's biggest game of the year by 37 minutes. Even as the finals began, riot police fired tear gas into wide open spaces just outside the stadium doors to disperse any lingering people around Gate U. France's home and sport ministers blamed cardless Liverpool fans trying to gain entry into the stadium, in contrast to scenes observed by reporters of what appear to be local youths climbing over fences. A fan climbs the fence in front of the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid on Saturday May 28, 2022 in Saint Denis near Paris. A fan climbs the fence outside the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid on Saturday May 28, 2022 in Saint Denis near Paris. "The stigma surrounding English fans is being used by the French authorities for cheap political gain," Ronan Evain, managing director of Football Supporters Europe, told The Associated Press on Sunday. The closing of the gates prompted concerns from hundreds of fans outside the Liverpool section, but little overt aggression from them. Problems had already arisen prior to the final turnstiles as entrances to the wider perimeter were blocked and fans were forced through narrow passages causing congestion. Police officers guard the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Saint Denis near Paris on Saturday May 28, 2022. Police have used tear gas on fans waiting in long lines to enter the Stade de France for the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, which was postponed by 37 minutes while security forces struggled to deal with the huge crowd and fence-climbing fans. Police have used tear gas on fans waiting in long lines to get into the Stade de France for the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, which was delayed by 37 minutes while security forces struggled to get through the big crowd and fence climbing fans. Police have used tear gas on fans waiting in long lines to get into the Stade de France for the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, which was delayed by 37 minutes while security forces struggled to get through the big crowd and fence climbing fans. Police have used tear gas on fans waiting in long lines to get into the Stade de France for the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, which was delayed by 37 minutes while security forces struggled to get through the big crowd and fence climbing fans. Police have used tear gas on fans waiting in long lines to get into the Stade de France for the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, which was delayed by 37 minutes while security forces struggled to get through the big crowd and fence climbing fans. While UEFA accused late fans of delaying kick-off in stadium announcements that were greeted with derision, thousands arrived from Liverpool hours before the game to be greeted by organizational disorder in the late afternoon heat. The congestion was partly caused by fans being diverted to a small entrance instead of a larger one 150 meters away, said Evain, who advises UEFA on fan affairs. "There have always been mobility issues around the Stade de France," said Evain. "We are appalled by the announcement from the French authorities. Liverpool and Real Madrid fans are the victims of yesterday's fiasco and not the culprits here. "It's insane to tear gas people who try to enter the stadium." The UK government has asked UEFA to open a formal investigation into what went wrong with stadium officials and the French authorities. "The footage and reports from Liverpool fans and the media of their entry into the Stade de France last night are deeply worrying," said Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

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Now that the Lakers have a coach, it's time to trade in Russell Westbrook and more

The Lakers can now swap Russell Westbrook for Darvin Ham as their new coach. And look for defenders. (Author: Gardener)

Russell WestbrookLast season didn't go well for the Lakers' three superstars. Will the team give Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook a chance to play under new coach Darvin Ham? The Lakers replaced the coach they summarily fired last month, but that coach wasn't their problem. No coach could save these Lakers. Red Auerbach could have fallen from heaven into their laps and would still not be a champion team with their players. They still wouldn't be a playoff team. Whether Darvin Ham can coach in the NBA is almost irrelevant at this point. The Lakers can now trade Russell Westbrook. The Lakers, at least, aren't that old now, with some of their creaky players out of contract. Rob Pelinka and LeBron James must now repair their Frankenstein roster that led to one of the most disastrous seasons in franchise history. The Lakers basically need to rebuild a car and all they have is an old engine and some worn tires. Whatever shortcomings they successfully address, they will ultimately depend on the health of James, who turns 38 in December, and Anthony Davis, who is made of glass. That's probably why the hiring of Ham didn't spark fireworks in the Los Angeles area. This unspectacular coaching search could be somewhere. The last time they were in that position, they got lucky when a silly lawsuit led to them hiring Frank Vogel. The Lakers were later turned down by Tyronn Lue. Vogel won them a championship, but the amateurish search indicated problems in the organization. The team's lack of vision and identity contributed to Pelinka taking James' advice and trading for Westbrook. At the end of that season, the culture of the franchise was once again called into question when Vogel learned he would be fired via Twitter. The perception was that Pelinka, or someone else in the front office, cared more about winning the favor of a well-known reporter than treating Vogel with the respect he deserved. By hiring Ham, they at least avoided making a spectacle of themselves again. They have a coach on duty three weeks before the NBA draft. Ham is being granted a significant degree of autonomy, with The Times' Dan Woike and Broderick Turner reporting he is allowed to choose his coaching staff. Ham was previously an assistant coach with the Lakers but will have the opportunity to bring new ideas to an organization that has often operated incestuously. Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson were the other finalists interviewed by the Lakers, who chose the coach who offered them the most flexibility in Ham, 48. Ham won an NBA championship as a player with the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and last year as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. He has the respect of veteran players, as James reacted to his hiring. As a rookie coach, Ham can also grow with a young team should James drop out after the upcoming season and force the Lakers to rebuild. The vision of Ham in a Luke Walton-like role won't inspire Lakers believers, and neither should it. But the Lakers can now begin to reconstruct their roster and restore their reputation, a small but significant step up from where they were the day before.

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8 things to know about Celtics-Heat Game 7

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics play in another Game 7 Sunday night. Read more at Boston.com. (Author: Gardener)

Celtics-Heat Game 7The Celtics find themselves in another win-or-go home spot on Sunday. Boston fell to Miami at home in Game 6, 111-103, on Friday night, missing an opportunity to end the streak at home and play the second straight round in a Game 7. As both teams head back to South Beach and prepare for Game 7, here are eight things you should know about the all-important game. The biggest conundrum of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals was who will be available for each team during the series. Three of the Celtics' starters (Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams) and one key player (Derrick White) each missed a game at different points in the series. Smart, who suffered a sprained ankle in Game 3, is listed as questionable for Game 7 but has played the last two games. The Heat, on the other hand, had multiple players on injury reporting throughout the series. Of these players, only Herro did not play in Game 6. Miami has gone 1-2 in the three games without Herro, who won sixth man of the year this season. The Heat star missed the second half of Game 3 with a knee infection and didn't look 100 percent in Games 4 and 5 before scoring 47 points in Game 6. One of the most clichéd sayings in esports is, "The game will come down to who turns the ball less." However, that may actually be the case for the 2021-22 Celtics. In the Eastern Conference Finals, high-grossing games correlated with losses for Boston. In Game 1, it turned the ball 16 times - half of those came in the third quarter, which Miami won 39-14 - resulting in a 118-107 loss. In Game 3, the Celtics turned the ball a whopping 23 times, the most they've committed since Game 2 of the regular season. Boston's turnover problem surfaced again in Game 6 when they committed 17 turnovers in a 111-103 loss. The Celtics' star duo was a big reason for those sales. Jaylen Brown signed seven in Game 3 and four in Game 6. He also signed four turnovers in the first half of the Celtics' Game 5 win, which was a big reason they were trailing 42-37 at halftime in that game. In the three games Boston won that series, it turned the ball just nine times in two of those games and turned the ball 15 times in the 93-80 win in Game 5. Celtics coach Ime Udoka is certain his team has struggled too much with turnovers this postseason. "Yeah, it's a reference to what our nights in that series where we didn't care about the ball were like," Udoka told reporters after Game 6. Obviously, we dug our way out of a hole from the start and it back up 29-22 [in the first quarter] but we didn't do our best at all. And throughout the game, every time we got within striking distance, we felt like we made a bad decision (we had) whether it was a turnover and they folded and scored. A big reason why turnovers are such a killer for the Celtics is that their opponent could use any easy points they can get. In that series, the Heat have only an 87.3 offensive halffield rating, compared to the 97.6 offensive halffield rating they had in the regular season, according to Cleaning The Glass. Miami has had some particularly sad moments on offense since midway through the series when Herro went out. In Game 4, it only scored one point in the first eight minutes of play. When the Celtics were mostly in control of Game 5, the Heat's halffield offense rating was 58.8, according to Cleaning The Glass. The Heat actually won the semi-court offensive ratings fight in Game 6, 102-92. Miami also made key shots, losing 6-for-13 on attempted shots (4-for-8 from 3-point range) with less than four seconds left on the shot clock. Boston dominated the first quarter with two of their three wins in that series. In Game 2, they topped the Heat 35-24, went 12-on-19 out of the field (9-on-11 from deep) and only made three turnovers. They weren't as productive offensively in the first quarter of Game 4, going off the field 9-on-22. But they only committed three turnovers this quarter, giving them a 29-11 lead. On the other hand, the Celtics lost two of the games they lost the first quarter in - including Game 6 when the Heat took a 29-22 lead after a quarter. Udoka stressed the need for a hot start in Game 7. "A lot has to do with our starts and having to catch up the whole game," Udoka said on Saturday when asked if he could play consistently evenly. “We understood the situation Miami was in last night and we didn't play our best basketball defensively and offensively in the first quarter. Playing behind the eight-ball for most of the game. "We want to get better starts, put some pressure on the opposition when they're in that situation, like we did in Game 7 against Milwaukee. Obviously we want to start better in [Miami]. We're confident we can win, but we have to get better starts, get easy shots and not breathe life into them early in the game.” The Celtics youngster has been tested in do-or-die games four times in his five-year career . Tatum averaged 20 points in all four games, averaged 24 points, 5.3 assists, and 7.8 rebounds in Game 7. In those games, he went 3-1, with the only game losing to LeBron James and the Cavaliers 7 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals occurred. Despite the shaky second-half performance in Game 6, Tatum goes confidently into Game 7. 10,” Tatum said when asked about his confidence level after Friday's loss. You know it's the last game. It's Game 7, the journey to the NBA Finals, the stakes are high," Tatum added. We'll know that when we go into the game.” Two weeks ago, Celtics backup forward Grant Williams became a household name among NBA fans when he scored 27 points in Game 7 against the Bucks. He made seven 3-pointers in that game, setting the record for most 3-pointers in a game 7. Williams wasn't that hard to take down offensively against the heat though. He's averaging 8.3 points per game in the series and has only had seven 3-pointers in his first six games. He also got into trouble in Game 6, which he will have to avoid in Game 7 given Robert Williams' injury situation. After turning back the clock against the Bucks, Al Horford didn't have many great moments offensively against the Heat either. He scored just three points in Game 4 and three again in Game 6. Robert Williams was one of the bright spots for the Celtics in Game 6. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the third quarter of the loss and electrified the TD Garden crowd multiple times with alley- Oop dunks. His minutes have increased in recent games so he could be a potential threat to turn Game 7 in the Celtics' favour. Derrick White had arguably his best game since coming to Boston in Game 6, scoring 22 points and having five assists from the bench. His offense was badly needed as Marcus Smart has gone off the field just 5-20 in his last two games with seven assists after missing Game 4 with a sprained ankle. Tatum and Brown certainly have the offensive firepower in them to lead the Celtics to a win in Game 7 (they did in the second half of Game 5), but it's likely they'll need someone else to step up interferes. Boston will play in an NBA-record 35th Game 7 on Sunday. The Celtics have a great record in games like this, going 25-9 all time. However, they haven't fared that well on the road lately in Game 7s. The Celtics have not won a Road Game 7 since 1974 and have lost all four Road Game 7s they have played since. One of those Game 7 road losses happened 10 years ago in the same round against the Heat. After the Celtics lost Game 6 3-2 at home, the Celtics were wiped out by LeBron James in the Heat in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics were recent regulars in the Eastern Conference Finals. They've made it here in four of the last six years, but they haven't won it once. Let's face it, the Celtics probably shouldn't have won in either of their first two trips. The run to the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals was a pleasant surprise, but James was again too much for rookie Tatum and second-grader Brown. When Tatum was named an All-Star for the first time in 2020, the Celtics found themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals against Heat in the Bubble and held a better record. Tatum and Brown became a star duo during that run, and Smart proved an important part of the core when the Celtics looked poised for a place in the Finals. But they failed in clutch situations in several games against the Heat. The Celtics actually surpassed the Heat in that series but lost in six games. A second-half resurgence, spearheaded by Tatum's rise to MVP nomination, propelled the Celtics back into the Eastern Conference finals stages in 2022. Much of what happened in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals was leaked in this year's version. Miami prevailed in clutch moments in Games 3 and 6, while all three of Boston's wins were at least double digits. By many standards, the Celtics are the best team in basketball as of the start of 2022. They've played better than the Heat for much of this series. There is no doubt that this is their best chance to reach the finals for the first time in 12 seasons. And while this group has been given multiple opportunities to reach and win the NBA Finals, there is no certainty that those opportunities will exist in the future.

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