Blog

Large hail and destructive winds sweep through the Sioux Falls on Sunday morning. More could be on the way.

A severe thunderstorm will sweep over Sioux Falls early Sunday morning. (Author: Gardener)

the Sioux FallsA severe storm with large hail and high winds swept through the Sioux Falls area early Sunday morning. Update: Tornado watch posted for Sioux Falls, much of southeastern South Dakota, through 2 a.m. Monday morning. A severe storm with large hail and strong winds swept through the Sioux Falls subway early Sunday morning. Sioux Falls, Brandon and Harrisburg all had warnings of winds of up to 70 miles per hour and two inches of hail. A tornado warning, including Rock Rapids IA, Larchwood IA and Lester IA, has been issued by the National Weather Service and is in effect through 5:00 am. NWS social media reports confirmed hail of up to two and a half inches. @NWSSiouxFalls Found hailstones in the front yard near the corner of 10th and Cliff. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 87. Southerly winds 10 to 15 mph. Sunday night: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 1am. Mostly cloudy with a low around 62. SSE 5 to 10 mph. Memorial Day: Possible showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 84. Monday night: Showers and thunderstorms possible. Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. Chance of precipitation is 30%. The chance of precipitation is 30%. Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 69. Wednesday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 47. Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 73. This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Big Hail and Destructive Winds Sweep Through Sioux Falls on Sunday morning.

Read

James Martin holds back tears on ITV on Saturday morning

The ITV show celebrated a milestone this week (Author: Gardener)

ITVTV chef James Martin appeared to be struggling to hold back tears as he marked a televised milestone on Saturday. ITV's James Martin Saturday Morning returned to the air again on Saturday morning and announced he was celebrating his 200th episode on May 28. He paid tribute to Michel Roux Sr., whom James described as "like a father figure" to him and who was a mentor to him when he was a young chef. During the emotional show, Brian Turner paid tribute to his friend James. He said, "Son, we're very proud of you." Lisa Goodwin-Allen then said, "It's a real testament to you and the team behind the scenes. It's a great Saturday show and I love being a part of it. ITV This Morning regular James joked: "Only Brian Turner could have had an oil painting of himself behind his head in his house." The TV chef apologized to his followers on Twitter for his emotions: "Sorry I'm in the @sat_jamesmartin show got a little emotional. Michel Roux Snr was like a father figure to me and that day in France was one of the biggest of my life." But fans were quick to reassure James that there were no regrets, with many congratulating him on his 200th episode. @debskillingback commented : "Oh I watched and knew you would cry if they cut back on you. And that's not from cutting onions. Roux Snr, such a legend." for james nothing wrong with a man showing some emotion and he was a lovely lovely man wish he was still with us so much fun with you and saturday morning in the kitchen explaining everything is one of the best , I wish I could have met him." @BarnabyAppricot said: "No need to apologize chef. It's always a pleasure to watch this clip with you again and again. Brilliant show today, chef. Amazing chefs, great guests. A well deserved celebration of 200 shows.

Read

Winners, grades, reactions and highlights from May 27th

Two weeks ago, SmackDown Women's Champion Ronda Rousey and Raquel Rodriguez tore down the house in a super competitive match that saw The Baddest Woman on the Planet narrowly escape with their title reign intact... (Author: Gardener)

May 27thWWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reactions and Highlights from May 27th WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reactions and Highlights from May 27th Two weeks ago, SmackDown Women's Champion Ronda Rousey and Raquel Rodriguez tore down the house with a super competitive match starring The Baddest Woman on the Planet narrowly escapes with the title reign intact. Friday night they ran it back, this time in a Championship Contenders match aimed at setting up Rodriguez for another run for the gold Champion Rodriguez' threat to her status as Queen of the Mountains destroyed on Friday night? Find out with this recap of Fox's May 27 broadcast. Six-Man Tag Team Match: Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and a Mystery Partner vs. Sheamus, Ridge Holland and ButchUnified WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos opened the show with an in-ring promo. A candid, genuinely emotional promo from Jimmy and Jey ended with them revealing they didn't mean business, hanging out with the crowd and telling fans in Little Rock, Arkansas they never needed them. Shinsuke Nakamura interrupted, revealed a tag team partner Riddle and the two babyfaces made their way to the ring. The teased title match never happened and the segment just ended. Jey's promotional work was phenomenal, reminding the WWE Universe that he was an incredibly effective babyface during his 2020 feud with cousin Roman Reigns. He had fans who really believed everything he said before Jimmy expertly pulled the rug out from under them that NXT exports will hugely overtake the contenders for the titles and the match was going to be damn good. It was a great heel line that completely ignored what actually happened. "For 12 years, you've all literally watched us grow up before you," Jey said, feeling nostalgic as he celebrated her 10-plus year anniversary in WWE. Jey thanked fans before Jimmy got on their heels, saying they didn't need any support or admiration over the years. The pop at Riddle's performance shows how effective partnering with Orton was for The Original Bro. The Championship Challenge match between Raquel Rodriguez and SmackDown Champion Ronda Rousey had never started when Natalya and Shayna Baszler entered the ring, pausing the match and making sure it would continue as a tag team match because... WWE -Booking. The resulting fight was fine for what it was, as the heels isolated Rodriguez by aiming for her left knee, only for the former NXT Champion to create a split and make the hot tag to Rousey. There was some great teasing between Rousey and Baszler before Rodriguez powerbombed Baszler for the pinfall win. Rodriguez is clearly the focus of SmackDown's booking efforts right now, and beating Baszler two weeks after Rousey pushed the limits only helps gain her credibility. The list would be full of young stars waiting to pursue promotion. Backstage, a disenfranchised Shotzi angered her fellow contestants and questioned why Rodriguez was getting another match with Rousey. She toyed with the egos of the women's locker room before moments later locking herself out on peers unwilling to follow her. There was an ugly point when Rodriguez tried to send Baszler over the top rope but it took too long and the whole thing suffered. Whether she liked it or not, the crowd banged hugely for Rousey's hot day and clearly saw her as the star of the game. The teasing for Rousey-Baszler was great, and the fans responded with an audible "oooh," suggesting there's a desire to see the real fans fight at some point. Better yet, WWE resisted the urge to give it up in a meaningless tag match. In the most random tag team match in recent memory, Jinder Mahal and Shanky, who appears to be testing a dance gimmick, fought Los Lotharios. As Shanky made a move ringside, a distracted Mahal was the victim of a springboard kick from Angel, earning the victory for the Lethal Lovers. After the match, Shanky shrugged off a tongue swipe from The Modern-Day Maharaja and focused his attention on Samantha Irvin, who was dancing for her. The match was a whole lot nothing, but it introduced a new persona for Shanky and gave him something to do instead of being the one-dimensional, generic giant. No, but it will be over and WWE will give him way too much TV time. However, Mahal as a straight man could be a lot of fun. Backstage, a desperate Mahal looked everywhere for Shanky before finding him dancing in the locker room. Ugh, Vince McMahon loves him some dancing big boys. Also backstage, Max Dupree confronted Adam Pearce, who revealed the contract he signed with Sonya Deville is legal and binding. Kevin Owens welcomed his guest to this week's The Kevin Owens Show. Sami Zayn. The on-and-off friends gave each other a warm hug before quickly hitting on each other. Zayn claimed Ezekiel is clearly not Elias, while Owens told The Great Liberator that The Bloodline doesn't care about him. The bickering ended in hurt feelings as Zayn shoved a KO and stormed out. Owens and Zayn could do a two-hour promo segment, and it might actually be better than some recent episodes of SmackDown. Because Sami, The Bloodline couldn't care less about you," Owens told his longtime friend. KO dropped a stagehand trying to remove his set with a stunner, then added another to a second crew member. Ricocht and Drew Gulak vs. Gunther and Ludwig KaiserGunther has been unstoppable since his arrival on Friday night and looking to continue his winning streak on Friday night as he faced spokesman Ludwig Kaiser against Intercontinental Champion Ricochet and, as Pat McAfee said in the comment, "the Detroit Lions" of WWE, Drew Gulak, "Heels dominated, cutting the ring first and isolating Gulak from his partner. Even after Ricochet made the hot day, Gunther and Kaiser never seemed in danger of losing. Kaiser finished his first in-ring action on the main roster of defeating Gulak. The match was okay considering the talent involved, but this was as much about Gulak getting beat up (again) as it was about one of the other three competitors.Why WWE Creative Is So Adamant about Boo King Gulak looking like an idiot every week is anyone's guess, but it's a burden en by Gunther, Kaiser and worst of all, the Intercontinental Champion. Gunther vs Gulak from the credibility that was left to him at this point. McAfee compared Gulak to the Detroit Lions, which was a great line and part of what makes him so good on color comments. Selling is a key component to storytelling in the ring, and Gulak takes a great kick in the ass. New Day and a Mystery Partner vs. Brawling Brutes A week of speculation and anticipation regarding New Day's mystery tag team partner culminated in the reveal of former WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. The Scottish warrior joined Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods in attempts to avenge months of torment at the hands of Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch. Kingston overcame a concentrated attack on him from his opponents before bringing McIntyre into the match. The babyfaces rolled from there and Woods pinned Holland to victory after the top rope elbow drop. Hopefully this was the final conclusion to the rivalry between New Day and the Paragraphs. It took months, did nothing for either team and felt too much like something for everyone involved. Other than that, this was a lot of fun, with McIntyre and New Day gelling well and the heels bringing their trademark physicality. Kudos to McIntyre for ceding the spotlight and giving Woods the win. "It's not Moby Dick, but it's the Big D!" exclaimed Pat McAfee, referring to Sheamus mentioning the fictional character while interrupting Michael Cole with his joke. McIntyre gave Woods the floor so he could score the win over Holland and end New Day's feud with the Brawling Brutes. That was a great thing.

Read

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.

Read

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.

Read

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.

Read

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."

Read

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.

Read

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 .

Read

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.

Read