The Chicago Blackhawks are up 1-0 in the Western Conference finals going into Game 2 against the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night, thanks in part to the outstanding performance of their goaltender, Corey Crawford.The notion that the NHL playoffs are about which goalie catches fire at the right time has been repeated to the point of cliché. But that doesn’t make it untrue. As I wrote at the beginning of this year’s playoffs, save percentage is more important than shots per game, shooting percentage or shots allowed. Strong play in net may be highly unpredictable in the sense that we don’t really know which goalie is going to rattle off a dominant run, but it’s also hugely important for a team seeking to hoist the Stanley Cup.We can measure how “hot” an NHL goalie has been in the playoffs by comparing his postseason performance (measured by save percentage) to what we would have expected from his previous statistics and the strength of the teams he’s faced. To approximate a goalie’s current talent level, I modified baseball’s Marcel projection system to predict hockey goaltending save percentages. I used a weighted average of the goalie’s previous three regular seasons, with a little regression to the mean incorporated as well. Then, using Hockey-Reference.com data on playoff games going back to 1988, I plugged the goalie’s talent level and the regular-season shooting percentages of the teams he faced during the playoffs into a formula attempting to predict how well he would play in a given playoff game.The difference between this expected performance and the goalie’s actual performance is “hotness” quantified, and we can even convert that number into a goals saved above replacement (GAR) figure using the league average save percentage within a given postseason.This year, a couple of goaltenders have emerged as the clear-cut top candidates for the title of “hottest of the playoffs.”The Blackhawks’ Crawford has delivered about 8.6 more GAR than expected. He’s posted a .933 save percentage; we would have predicted a mark of .912. His save percentage was only a little bit better than average during the regular season, and while his current foes, the Los Angeles Kings, shot poorly during the regular season, Chicago’s prior playoff adversaries, the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues, were both above-average shooting teams.Also vying for the title is the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, who has produced 8.4 more GAR than expected during these playoffs. Lundqvist’s previous record suggested he’d be very good in the postseason, but he’s gone up against a tough slate of accurately shooting teams. The Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers both shot the puck well in the regular season, and the Pittsburgh Penguins were the fifth-best shooting team in the NHL. Against all of them, Lundqvist has a .934 save percentage, compared to an expected .915.The goaltenders for the other two of hockey’s final four teams haven’t been quite as hot. Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens has contributed only 2.3 more GAR than expected, putting up a .919 save percentage against an expectation of .913. And he’s out for the remainder of Montreal’s series against the Rangers with an injury. Price’s backups, Dustin Tokarski and Peter Budaj, have collectively put up 5.1 fewer GAR than expected, thanks to a combined save percentage (.836) about 84 percentage points lower than we would have predicted. In the Western Conference, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has essentially played right to expectation with a .912 save percentage. That’s been good enough for the Kings to get the job done (if barely), but it won’t win him any hot goaltending awards.It bears repeating, though, that all of this is retrospective. Crawford and Lundqvist have been outstanding so far, but there’s a fickle corollary to the hot goalie theory: Today’s hot goalie isn’t guaranteed to be a success tomorrow.
Alex Rodriguez has been in a worldwind, and not a good one. He’s been benched by New York Yankees manager Joe Giradi, which is bad enough. Now comes word that he tried to pick up a woman during Game 1 of the series against the Detroit Tigers and that he could be trade fodder for the Miami Marlins. And you thought you had a bad week.New broke via The New York Post late Wednesday that Rodriguez, who had been removed from the game for a pinch hitter in Game 1 of the ALCS, had written a note on the ball in search of a woman’s phone number and had a ball boy deliver it to the fan. The newspaper identified the women as Kyna Treacy, an Australian bikini model, who was with her friend Kate Quinn.“It’s true,” the team source was quoted by the newspaper. “It was witnessed in the dugout. The whole thing is true.” When asked about the Post report Tuesday, Rodriguez told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews, “Don’t believe any of that (expletive).”Meanwhile, it is somewhat ironic that a joke between Yankees’ president Randy Levine and Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria evolved into the serious discussions about the slumping third baseman being traded to the Marlins.Levine and Loria discussed the possibility of A-Rod playing in Miami, his hometown, according to ESPN, but characterized it as a joke between old friends.According to the source, Loria said, “Alex is Mr. Miami, it would be great if he played here for us.”To which Levine is said to have replied, “You can have him.”A second source with knowledge of Rodriguez’ thinking said the likely only place Rodriguez eventually would accept a trade to is Miami. Rodriguez has five years and $114 million remaining on his contract, not including milestone home run bonuses. He also has veto power over any trade.The conversation between the Yankees and Marlins initially was reported by Keith Olbermann on his MLB.com “Nerd Blog.” Variety also reported the news.Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he has had no trade talks regarding Rodriguez with anyone and described the first report as “false.”Levine refused to comment on the conversation with Loria, and when asked if he would look to shop Rodriguez in the offseason, he said, “That’s something we would need to discuss.”Appearing Sunday on Ian O’Connor’s show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, Levine told O’Connor the following regarding A-Rod’s future as a Yankee:“That’s like one of those questions: Where’s the stock market going to be in 2017? Who’s going to be president on Nov. 15?” he said. “If I had a crystal ball to predict all of that stuff, I’d be a lot smarter than I am. I’m not going to go there.”Rodriguez has been marginalized in the Yankees’ lineup this postseason. He is 3 for 23, including 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handers, and repeatedly has been benched and pinch hit for in the playoffs. Rodriguez was benched for the third time this postseason in Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday night.“For all our fan base: Let’s root for Alex, the contract is what it is, and he’s there, and we hope he gets hot,” Levine told O’Connor. “It’s part of what we deal with all the time, just like any other contract.”
Aaron Hernandez has finally been indicted for first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, a friend whose lifeless body was found just a mile from the former New England Patriots player’s house.Lloyd was in a relationship with the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.The grand jury not only indicted Hernandez with killing the 27-year-old semiprofessional football player from Boston, but also on five weapons counts, according to the Fall River division of Bristol County Superior Court.The former NFL tight end pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges, and he is currently being held at Bristol County Jail without bail. Hernandez lawyers insist that the prosecutors don’t have any evidence and say the case against their client is circumstantial. The lawyers also said that they are confident Hernandez will be found not guilty.Last summer, Hernandez signed a new $40 million contract with the Patriots. The team released him upon finding out about his arrest on June 26.Hernandez could be sentenced to life in prison if he’s convicted.
TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… Twins15108379+2036152 Team ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have been stuck behind somebody in this division for most of Mike Trout’s stellar career, whether it be the Rangers and A’s early on or the Astros most recently. This season is supposed to be the start of something different, from the signing of Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani (more on him later) to other solid, under-the-radar pickups such as Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart. Still, the forecast systems aren’t totally sure what to make of the Halos yet, penciling them in for win totals between the upper 70s and mid-80s. The best-case scenarios there probably won’t be enough to run down the Astros, but they might just be enough to snag the Angels a wild-card berth.Rebuild alert: Oakland A’s, Texas Rangers. Billion-Dollar Billy Beane and the Athletics have been rebuilding ever since going for broke (and coming up short) in the 2014 season. That probably won’t change this year, even though Oakland’s farm system is improving and showed some signs of life at the MLB level last season. Perhaps more interesting is the question of whether Texas will also commit to resetting things this season. If you squint, you can see the potential for a bounce-back Rangers season behind an overhauled pitching staff; easier to see, though, is the potential for another frustrating summer in Arlington.Player to watch: Mike Trout, Angels. I wanted to choose someone else here, I really did. But Trout is still the “player to watch” among any group of players you might ponder watching. Sadly, after last season’s campaign was limited by injury, he is no longer able to say he was the best player (by WAR) for any age at which he played a full season. (Ty Cobb finally got his revenge!) But Trout played so well when he was healthy that he may be primed for a comeback season for the ages. (Note: He was still the fifth-best player in baseball last season despite missing about 50 games.) Keeping tabs on Trout and his statistical feats is a duty — and joy — that falls on the shoulders of every baseball fan.Biggest enigma: Shohei Ohtani, Angels. Ohtani came to the U.S. with immense expectations, and it would be unrealistic to expect him to deliver an instant payoff — particularly as the first legitimate hitter/pitcher in decades. All rookies need time to adjust, especially one who’s in a new country, facing a completely different style of opponent. That said, Ohtani has been unable to pitch or hit effectively this spring. His numbers have been so poor that analysts are wondering if he should make the team. Even that is a testament to his talent — who else’s spring stats are getting this much scrutiny? — but it also might make Ohtani the most uncertain player in the major leagues this season.Read our National League preview, and check out our latest MLB predictions. It’s opening week in the major leagues, and that means it’s time to catch up on what’s been happening in baseball over this very odd offseason — and time to look forward to the season ahead. To do that, we’ve enlisted the help of our preseason forecasting model (publishing Wednesday), which assesses every team and offers a projection for their 2018 campaign. I’ve also gone through and highlighted the most interesting teams and players to watch during the year, as well as the ones about which we just don’t have any clue. (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) Play ball! Orioles14757290-8493<1 Athletics14907686-47166<1 Yankees15659567+12574%48%10% How Elo is forecasting the AL East race Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… AL CentralTeam to beat: Cleveland Indians. With a 79 percent chance of winning the Central, Cleveland is our model’s strongest division favorite for 2018. Sure, the Tribe lost a few recognizable names (Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce) over the winter, and this year’s roster is probably not as talented as the version that snapped off a 22-game winning streak last August and September. But they still boast ace starter Corey Kluber (whom FanGraphs projects to be the most valuable pitcher in baseball), ace fireman Andrew Miller (projected as the fourth-most valuable reliever in baseball) and a bevy of dangerous hitters (such as Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor). There’s more than enough talent here for the Indians to comfortably claim another division crown. How Elo is forecasting the AL West race Team ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Minnesota Twins. The range of predictions for the Twins is actually quite small: From Vegas to the computers, most forecasters basically call for Minnesota to win 82 or 83 games this year. But that’s a little difficult to reconcile with the team’s 85-win season a year ago and the flurry of improvements it made in the offseason — to say nothing of the ongoing strides expected from its core. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Twins end up beating that projection.Rebuild alert: Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals. One of the big reasons that Cleveland is such a strong favorite in this division — and why the Twins can be optimistic, too — is that the Central is home to numerous, um, “rebuilding” efforts. The White Sox have been engaging in one of the most extreme multi-year teardowns ever and probably won’t begin to emerge from it until next season. The Tigers finally admitted to themselves that their early-2010s heyday was over and became sellers at last year’s trade deadline. The Royals are just now embarking on a reboot of their own. This division might be formidable in several years as a result of the tank-fest, but for now it contains a bunch of teams that aren’t even trying to compete.Player to watch: Jose Ramirez, Indians. Ramirez turned in a perfectly solid 2016 season manning third base for the AL champion Tribe, hitting .310 during the World Series. But he vaulted himself into another stratosphere last year — and squarely into the MVP conversation — with a .318/.374/.583 batting line and plus defense. Cleveland’s chances won’t hinge on him repeating those numbers, but in his age-25 season, it should be fun to see if Ramirez can keep up his ascent.Biggest enigma: Lucas Giolito, White Sox. As a rookie with Washington in 2016, Giolito struggled horribly, posting a 6.75 ERA in 21.1 innings with a shockingly poor 8.21 fielding-independent pitching (FIP). Then he was shipped to Chicago as part of the Adam Eaton deal — and, superficially, the change in scenery helped: Giolito bounced back in 2017 with a far healthier 2.38 ERA. Trouble is, he also benefited from allowing an unsustainably low .189 batting average on balls in play, masking a FIP that remained pretty unimpressive. The former first-round pick and top-five prospect still has plenty of potential, but nobody is really sure what kind of season to expect from him in 2018. Astros15779765+15181%66%14% AL WestTeam to beat: Houston Astros. The defending world champs also enjoyed one of the better offseasons of any team when they hauled in starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pirates in a January trade. Now Houston boasts a deep rotation with Cole, Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel (among others), plus it hung on to practically all of the cogs in an offensive machine that led the majors with 896 runs scored last season. While no favorite is unbeatable — the Astros finished third in the division as recently as 2016 — anyone other than Houston winning the West would be a stunning development. Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… Indians15769963+17488%79%14% TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series Red Sox15499171+8961336 Tigers14496894-12342<1 Blue Jays15078181-227102 Team ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have had a pattern of up-and-down seasons in recent years, and the projections don’t quite know what to do with them this year, either. If you ask PECOTA, Tampa could potentially factor into the playoff mix; if you ask the Las Vegas books, it might sink down into the basement of the East. Our model basically splits the difference and calls for the Rays to post 78 wins.Rebuild alert: Baltimore Orioles. Going into the spring, O’s GM Dan Duquette scoffed at the notion of rebuilding. But he may have no choice with Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Zach Britton all up for free agency after the season. If the Orioles falter early — and our projections don’t see much hope for them this year — Baltimore could be due for a fire sale.Player to watch: Mookie Betts, Red Sox. Two seasons ago, Betts was the American League’s most valuable player not named after a freshwater fish, but last year his production was down amid a power outage and a 54-point drop in batting average. The difference between an MVP-caliber Betts and a merely pretty-good version might be the margin in this division race; Boston fans should be encouraged by Betts’s strong finish last September and outstanding numbers this spring.Biggest enigma: Aaron Judge, Yankees. Judge’s roller-coaster 2017 season was remarkable enough on its own. But add his terrible debut season in 2016, and it becomes almost impossible to predict how Judge will perform in 2018. The projections that FanGraphs lists are all over the map, from 3.8 wins above replacement on the low side to 6.2 WAR on the upper end. (And remember, he had 8.2 last year.) Judge could be great again, or he could just be good — we really have no idea yet. TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series White Sox14577092-10462<1 How Elo is forecasting the AL Central race AL EastTeam to beat: New York Yankees. Our simulations show the AL East as the tightest division battle of the 2018 season, but we’re giving the Yankees a slight advantage over the Boston Red Sox here. While both teams used the winter to put more distance between themselves and the rest of the division — New York added Giancarlo Stanton and Boston signed J.D. Martinez — the Yankees still appear to have the edge in bullpen depth and marquee talent. (And don’t forget about their impressive farm pipeline; touted infield prospect Gleyber Torres could make an impact before the season is done.) That said, we also give Boston a 61 percent chance of making the playoffs, so this renewed rivalry might well extend into October either way. Angels15108181-427112 Mariners15088082-726102 Rangers14977884-291971 Rays14957884-321961 Royals14597092-10172<1
Considering everything that had taken place earlier in the series, it would’ve been hard to imagine the Rockets having a better start than the one they had in Monday’s Game 7.About midway through the second quarter, Houston had held Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green to 1-of-7, 2-of-6 and 2-of-6 shooting from the field, respectively. Klay Thompson opened the game hot — and was 4-of-5 from the field — but his effectiveness was dulled to some extent because he’d uncharacteristically landed three fouls in the first four minutes of action, forcing Steve Kerr to yank him early. Meanwhile, Houston found a comfort zone from deep, hitting 6 of 13 threes. And even when the Rockets misfired, they often outworked Golden State, strong-arming offensive boards on nine of their 19 missed shots.Houston had a 42-30 lead with 6:13 to go in the half as likely league MVP James Harden ducked behind a Clint Capela screen for a 3-point try over the outstretched arm of Green. The shot, a miss, didn’t seem significant in that moment. But what would follow — 26 more missed threes in a row, the longest stretch of missed triples in NBA postseason history — turned out to be one of the biggest outliers in recent memory, one that will haunt the title-worthy Rockets now that they’ve been taken out by a Warriors team that they had right where they wanted.So how unbelievable was it that Houston missed that many threes — many of which were wide open — in a row? To get a better sense, FiveThirtyEight leaned on Quantified Shot Probability (qSP) data — used to weigh the likelihood of a shot going in depending on who’s taking it, how close the nearest defender is to the shot, and how quickly that player is closing out — from Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats, which use high-level cameras to track on-court movement.By using that metric — and looking at the probability of each individual shot’s chance of going down, from Harden’s 33 percent hoist that began the drought to his 31.6 percent chance on the last shot of the dry spell — we can conclude that the Rockets embarked on an approximately 1-in-72,000 cold streak from deep at the worst possible time, with a trip to the Finals on the line.As much of this was happening during the third period, a span in which Houston went 0-of-14 from deep, the Warriors were doing what they do best: staging a massive comeback after halftime. Specifically, Curry caught fire after the break for the second straight game (albeit in controversial, illegal-screen fashion at times), hitting 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the third. He and Durant combined for 24 in the period, a span in which the duo outscored the entire Rockets team by nine.Houston had overcome Golden State’s Mario Star-like third period earlier in the series during Game 4. But without any juice from the Rockets’ trademark long-distance shooting, the Warriors pulled ahead and stayed there for good, earning a fourth consecutive Finals trip.But given that many saw Houston as the club with the best chance to take down Golden State (the oddsmakers have the Warriors as enormous favorites over the Cavs), that confounding stretch of missed threes — which lasted half the game, from the 6:13 mark of the second quarter all the way until the 6:28 mark of the fourth — will be talked about for a long time.What could possibly cause a team to go that cold? Some would point to tired legs, particularly since coach Mike D’Antoni had been using a short rotation — somewhat out of necessity, since future Hall of Famer Chris Paul was out. But the dry spell was also related to matchups. Case in point: D’Antoni avoided using the slow-footed Ryan Anderson for the vast majority of the series. But when he dusted him off and played him Monday, Curry nearly brought Anderson to his knees on D, and Houston got outscored by 12 points in Anderson’s 8 minutes on the court — keep in mind, the final margin in the game was nine.Many probably asked a totally logical question in all this: Why wouldn’t the Rockets just temporarily abandon their reliance on the 3-ball since they couldn’t make anything from outside? Yes, this team took triples at a historic rate — the first ever to attempt more three-pointers than twos — but putting the ball on the floor to get looks from closer in seemed sensible.Doing that would have a been a little bit easier said than done for two reasons. First, without Paul, the Rockets were missing their most reliable midrange player, someone who at times had his way against the Jazz in the second-round series because of his ability to neutralize a club that was generally happy surrender that sort of lower-percentage look.Beyond that, Harden and the Rockets might not have been confident that they’d earn trips to the line by merely being more aggressive. In Game 6, for instance, Harden drove to the cup a game-high 21 times, according to NBA Advanced Stats. Yet he didn’t draw a single free-throw attempt from those drives. (Green told reporters after the game that they expected Harden to wear down late in the contest from having to create so much offense in Paul’s absence. Whether that expectation was valid or not, Harden shot 6-of-25, or 24 percent, from 3-point range over the last two games of the series.)In an era where so many thought this Warriors’ team was untouchable, Houston managed to push Golden State to the brink. With a healthy Paul, maybe they would have won and taken down a team that’s still seeking to go down as the greatest to ever play the sport.Houston’s Gerald Green was asked to describe his feelings after the tough loss. “Heartbroken,” he told reporters. Asked to expand beyond that single word, he responded, “Heart. Broken.”The cost of coming that close and falling short. The cost of arguably the wildest drought we’ve ever seen.Check out our latest NBA predictions.CORRECTION (May 29, 2018, 1:20 p.m.): A previous version of this story mistakenly said Curry and Durant outscored the Rockets by 10 points in the third quarter. The duo outscored Houston by nine.
For Ohio State football, it doesn’t get much better than what happened inside The Horseshoe on Saturday. The Buckeyes beat their archrival, on Senior Day, in front of 105,000-plus screaming fans, to finish the season undefeated. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, handing OSU a 26-21 victory against Michigan and securing a 12-0 record, scarlet and gray clad enthusiasts rushed the field, surrounding Buckeye players and coaches as they joyously – and slowly – made their way to the locker room. For first-year coach Urban Meyer, and the rest of Buckeye Nation, the 2012 season was about as good as it gets. Until next year, anyway. Yes, the 2012 season was great. Perfect, in a sense. But due to NCAA sanctions caused by “Tattoo-Gate,” the Buckeyes are banned from the postseason. OSU’s year ended after the Michigan game. No Big Ten Championship Game. No shot at playing for a national championship, either. There is no postseason ban for the 2013 season, and the foundation has been set in Columbus to win championships. OSU is expected to return 9 of 11 starters next year from an offense that averaged 37.1 points per game this season. Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller is likely to be a Heisman Trophy front-runner in 2013. Redshirt junior running back Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Wolverines, is “developing into one of the best backs in the country,” according to Meyer. On defense, the Buckeyes lose a bevy of senior leaders and playmakers, including defensive ends John Simon and Nathan Williams, and linebackers Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino. Junior defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins and redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby could leave for the NFL as well. But sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier, a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season, returns. So do both starting safeties, freshman defensive linemen Adolphus Washington, Noah Spence and Tommy Schutt. The senior class, which Meyer refers to as the “most selfless group I’ve ever been around,” will not be easy to replace. But the Buckeyes experienced a great deal of success in 2012, and the large amount of players that are coming back are anxious to experience it again. “I’m hoping the guys get that taste and they want to do it again. Because once you taste (success), it tastes really good. And the foundation, I think, is strong,” Meyer said after the game Saturday. OSU will celebrate what it achieved this season, and deservedly so. But many underclassmen are already excited for next September. “We’re just glad that the team got to feel what it’s like to be 12-0 so next year, we’re just as hungry in the offseason to get there again,” said junior wide receiver Corey Brown. Because of the postseason ban, OSU players didn’t get everything they said they feel they deserved this year. In 2013, there will be no sanctions holding them back, and they’re looking forward to it. “We’re just going to come out hungry next year though, to get what we were supposed to get this year,” Hyde said. As for Meyer, he is really only getting started. He’s been at the helm of the OSU football program for roughly 12 months, and in that time, turned a 6-7 team in turmoil into a 12-0 team on the upswing. He’s starting to get “his guys” into the program – players that he recruited, not past OSU coaches. The freshman class, which Meyer was largely responsible for, played a big role this season. Washington had a sack and a forced fumble Saturday, while Schutt and Spence were in on numerous third-down situations, often forcing Michigan’s quarterbacks out of the pocket. Meyer said there were a “bunch of recruits in the meeting room again,” after the game. His 2013 class is ranked in the top 10 in the country by multiple sites. And while many criticized OSU’s schedule this season, 2013 could be easier. Michigan State and Nebraska are off the schedule, and replaced with Northwestern and Iowa, who went a combined 13-11 this year. The biggest non-conference game is likely to be at California, which recently fired its coach Jeff Tedford. OSU is likely to be favored in all of its regular season games next season. If all goes well for the Buckeyes in 2013, they could be riding a 23-game win streak when they arrive to Ann Arbor, Mich., on November 30, 2013. In all, Meyer’s first year in Columbus seemed to go as well as could have been planned. Such success, though, likely has amplified expectations, and possibilities, for the future. “I’m ready to go right now. I’m ready to get back into the off-season, working out and preparing for next season,” Hyde said. “I can’t wait.”
Referees have never been perfect — they are not perfect now, and they never will be. The nature of the job lends itself to occasional mistakes.Especially at full speed, how is an individual expected to get every single call correct? At the end of the day, they simply cannot.The New England Patriots lost to the Carolina Panthers, 24-20, Monday after what is being referred to as a “questionable” call on the game’s final play.Considering the media reaction, I am slightly surprised the entire state of Massachusetts has not broken into a full-fledged riot. Not only did starting quarterback Tom Brady track down the officials after the play to complain, but his backup Ryan Mallett tried to get in on the action as well.When you see players, especially one as well respected around the league as Brady, complaining like that, one can only imagine the words coming out of the mouths of fans that watched the game.Patriots fans should be thankful they are not Green Bay Packers fans. During the infamous replacement ref period of the 2012 NFL season, the Packers lost to the Seattle Seahawks Sept. 24, 2012, after fill-ins awarded Seattle a touchdown on the game’s final play. Not only should the ruling have been an interception in favor of the Packers, but the refs also missed an indisputable pass interference call.Every team, athlete and fan has found themselves on the “wrong” side of a “poor” call at some point. It is part of the game, not something that should be welcomed, but must be accepted.At the end of the 2002-03 football season, Ohio State won the National Championship after a late flag saved the Buckeyes’ lives and gave them another chance. The Miami Hurricanes were already celebrating when the yellow speck flew across the screen, signaling Glenn Sharpe for pass interference against Chris Gamble in the end zone.You can find Hurricanes fans complaining to this day, but the call happened, the game eventually ended, and OSU won. Still, almost 11 years later complaints can be heard, but that was a championship game, not a random regular season game moving their record to 7-3, which is now where the Patriots’ sit.New England fans have to take some perspective when looking at the call — it was questionable, not wrong. The call could have easily gone either way, and there is no way to prove the Patriots would have won the game had they received a favorable decision.Much worse things have happened in sports.In 1990 Colorado received a fifth down, allowing them to beat Missouri 33-31. At the 1972 Olympics, the Soviet basketball team was magically awarded extra time, leading to the United States’ first loss in the sport’s Olympic history.At the end of the day, the call in Monday’s Patriots-Panthers game might have been wrong, but it happened. The complaints need to end, especially since the game is mostly insignificant.Questionable calls are a part of sport, and they will be forever. While that is not a good thing, it has to be accepted. Repeated complaints do no good for anyone and simply act as an annoyance to the outside world.
Then-sophomore cornerback Armani Reeves prepares for a play during a game against Florida A&M Sept. 21 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 76-0.Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorIt was Bradley Roby and Doran Grant.Heading into last football season, the cornerback position at Ohio State had been decided — there were no ifs, ands or buts about it. Then-redshirt-junior Roby had earned his spot the season before and then-junior Grant was tapped to replace Travis Howard in the lineup.But on July 21, a wrench was thrown into that plan. With Roby facing charges of misdemeanor battery in Monroe County, Ind., someone had to step up and take his place in the starting lineup as he served his one-game suspension from coach Urban Meyer.That player was Armani Reeves. The then-sophomore cornerback made his first career start against Buffalo Aug. 31 in a 40-20 win.Although Reeves didn’t see much of the field for much of the remainder of the season — he was forced to watch from the bench behind Roby in the depth chart — he heads into the 2014 season, alongside Grant, as one of the two expected starters at corner.“I feel ready,” Reeves said Thursday. “I feel confident. I think that’s half the battle when you’re corner, just know that you can do the jobs … I’m going to play with confidence and I know I can do this job, so I’m not worried at all.”Starting three games last season — against Buffalo, San Diego State Sept. 7 and Clemson in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3 — Reeves recorded 16 solo tackles last season and had an interception.Reeves returns to a unit that lost Roby as well as safeties Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett, a unit that finished the year ranked 112th in the country in pass defense.But Reeves said he feels he has fit into the starting line well, and knows his teammates have confidence in him to replace Roby.“I feel like they see a good side of me. I try to be a nice person so that helps,” Reeves said. “We’re all working really hard, and when you have confidence in each other that just makes a defense that much better … When I have confidence in the D-line and they have confidence in me, that makes it so much easier to do your job.”Reeves added that poor numbers from last season will serve as a drive to improve for the Buckeyes in the upcoming season.“I wouldn’t say it hurts, I would say it motivates us,” Reeves said. “Obviously everybody knows the pass defense last year, it had its ups and downs. This year we’ve got a fresh start and we’re going to come out hungry. Only thing that can do is to motivate you to play better than you did last year.”Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said Reeves will be successful because he works harder than anybody else on the field, going as far as to say Reeves “became the standard.”“Anybody that’s watched him play … You never have a question about how hard he’s going to go,” Coombs said. “So he’s already got that, and what a great thing for him. Right? So when I walk into my meeting room and I say, ‘OK, who’s the hardest playing guy in this room?’ Day one, that’s what I asked my guys in my unit, and they all said ‘Armani.’”Like many of the other players, Reeves is having to make the transition from a member of the younger group to a seasoned veteran who has more responsibility on his shoulders this year.In years past, Reeves said Roby was the person he always looked to, but now he has to teach some of the lessons the NFL-bound cornerback taught him.“It’s definitely weird because I looked up to him (Roby), he’s like my older brother … It’s kind of weird not having him here anymore, but I take the things that he taught me and put it to the younger guys and do the same thing that he did (for) me,” Reeves said. “There (were) times where we’ll be out here, just talking football, just trying to get me better and that’s what I try to do with the young guys … He’s one of the greatest DBs we’ve ever had here, and obviously I want the young guys and myself to be one of the greatest when we leave.”Grant, who started all 14 games last season, said Reeves is prepared to take that next step and be a go-to starter for the Buckeyes.“I feel like he’s ready. He’s been playing well this spring,” Grant said Thursday. “He’s been working hard in the offseason, training, taking coaching. He’s leading also, his voice is up, passing the energy … And he has the experience also.”Even though Reeves is likely to be the starter opposite Grant, there is no guarantee he will see as much of the field as starters have in the past.With young players like redshirt-freshmen Eli Apple and Gareon Conley, as well as incoming freshmen Damon Webb and Marshon Lattimore, Coombs said he plans on playing more than just two corners.“We’re going to play more than two, Gareon is right in the mix, Eli Apple has had a very good spring,” Coombs said Thursday. “He’s over some health issues that really had gone undetected. So I’m really excited about that and I’m eager. And I tell you what, those two freshmen coming in are going to have a chance to play. We’re going to play more than two corners that’s for sure.”Although Reeves will likely be on the field when the season starts Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, he isn’t likely to be truly tested in that game. The Midshipmen were one of only two teams in the country who averaged less than 100 yards per game through the air last season, finishing 124th in the country.But Reeves said when it comes to next season, as long as the effort is there, the defense will be up to standards.“We’ll get there,” Reeves said. “It’s a process. We just put a lot of new things in and we’ll get there. I’m not worried about it at all. As long as we play hard right now, that’s all we can ask for.”Kickoff for the season opener is set for noon.
Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) drives toward the basket during a game against North Carolina A&T on Dec. 17 at Nationwide Arena. Russell led the Buckeyes in scoring with 21 points in OSU’s 97-55 win. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorA change of scenery didn’t seem to affect the No. 12 Ohio State men’s basketball team as it rolled to yet another blowout victory, extending its record to 9-1 on the season.Playing a home game down the road at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 17-2 lead and didn’t look back as they defeated the North Carolina A&T Aggies, 97-55, Wednesday night.The early run by OSU was started by sophomore forward Marc Loving, who buried a three-pointer to open the scoring. Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell also contributed to the fast start, as he added seven points in the first 3:20 of the game.Loving finished the night with 15 points on 4-5 shooting. Russell led the Buckeyes with 21 points on 7-14 shooting.Loving said after the game that playing at Nationwide Arena gave the game a slightly different atmosphere.“It had a Big Ten Tournament feel to it,” Loving said. “Coming into the game, being in a different facility than the Schott, it was something that we are not used to.”The Aggies (1-11) tried to make a late run at the end of the first half, as a pair of three-pointers by junior guard Arturs Bremers cut the OSU lead to 39-26 at halftime.OSU coach Thad Matta said after the game that the mini-run by the Aggies was due to missed opportunities.“I think that we went through a couple lulls where shots weren’t falling,” Matta said. “We just weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be on the defensive end.”OSU senior guard Shannon Scott, who recorded a career high seven steals, to go along with eight points and 12 assists said after the game that Matta got on his team at halftime.“We were up only 13 points I think at halftime and we felt like we should have been up by a lot more,” Scott said. “We took pride in playing more defense and getting more shots up.”The Buckeyes would pull away early after the break, as OSU outscored the Aggies 28-10 in the first eight minutes of the second half.Redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams scored all 15 of his points in the second half, as he shot 6-11 from the field.With nine minutes left to play in the game, all 10 Buckeyes that had taken the floor had scored at least two points.The Buckeyes turned the Aggies over a total of 26 times throughout the course of the game, which led to 40 points.Aggie coach Cy Alexander said after the game that by the time his team settled in to the game, it was too late.“We were a little intimidated early on and got down,” Alexander said. “I thought we competed really hard all game, especially in the first half. Give Ohio State a lot of credit, they took advantage of our turnovers.”Despite the blowout win, the Aggies hung with OSU on the boards as each team recorded 32 rebounds.OSU also converted on its first 17 free throws of the game and finished 20-22 from the charity stripe, with the first miss coming from freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate.The free throw shooting is something Matta said he thought the Buckeyes could take advantage of coming into the game.“We felt like we were going to get to the line tonight, (and I) was very pleased with how guys knocked them down,” he said.The Aggies were led by junior forward Bruce Beckford, who scored 15 of the Aggies first 20 points and finished with a game-high 26 points on 11-20 shootingAlthough OSU won in convincing fashion, Matta was not pleased with the way Beckford dominated the Buckeye defense.“No. 32 (Beckford) had just an incredible night. I told our guys at one of the timeouts, ‘we are making this guy look like a first round draft pick,’” Matta said.The Buckeyes now turn their attention to a showdown with the No. 24 North Carolina Tar Heels in Chicago on Saturday afternoon. The matchup will be just the second ranked opponent that OSU will have faced thus far this season.Matta said after the game that he had already started looking at film on the Tar Heels.“Obviously, (they are) a tremendous basketball team. Their size is something that (North) Carolina has always had. A lot like Louisville, they are going to try and pound the ball inside on us.”The Buckeyes are set to return to the court Saturday in Chicago against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the CBS Sports Classic. Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST.
Ohio State women’s swim team competes against Wright State during a meet at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on Feb. 3. Credit: Fallon Perl | Lantern reporterFollowing the completion of a nearly undefeated regular season and an impressive turnout at the Big Ten Championships, the No. 22 Ohio State women’s swimming team is set to travel to Indianapolis to compete in the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming National Championships beginning Wednesday evening.The Buckeyes enter this meet ranking behind four of their Big Ten competitors, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota, who are ranked at No. 6, 12, 15 and 19 respectively. Though there will be many fierce competitors from these teams as well as others, the Buckeyes remain focused on their own performances.“We don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about other teams or schools or athletes. We really put the focus on us,” OSU coach Bill Dorenkott said. “That being said, to reinforce the point of what an amazing meet this is, you have Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, and Lilly King who are Olympic medalists and world record holders. It’s an honor to compete against the best not just in the country, but in the world. This is why we do what we do every day — it’s to get this opportunity.”Ledecky and Manuel will both be competing for top-ranked Stanford. Both athletes were medalists at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, with a combined seven gold medals, as well as two silver. King, who swims for No. 15 Indiana, earned one individual gold at the Rio Games in addition to a gold in the 400-yard medley relay.Athletes from Stanford, including Ledecky and Manuel, are the top seeds in 10-of-13 events. King fills two of three No. 1 seeds in the remaining events, while Olympic medalist Kathleen Baker from No. 2 California Berkeley fills the other.The adversaries OSU will face this week might seem intimidating on paper, but they have not deterred OSU from continuing to put in countless hours in the pool and the weight room in order to fine tune their techniques before the big meet.“We’ve been focusing on the fine details, and honing in on the smaller things,” senior Taylor Vargo said. “We’ve been working on technique and enjoying the process as well as the last few weeks of swimming.”Vargo will be competing in both the 200-yard and 400-yard medley relays, as well as the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke. This will be her fourth and final year competing in the NCAAs, and said she can’t wait to experience the competition one last time.“My sophomore year, we were No. 41, I believe, and last year we were No. 14. It’s just exciting to be able to go and compete against some of the fastest swimmers in the world,” Vargo said. “It is the fastest meet in the world, and it’s just nice to be able to go up and be recognized, and to be considered at the highest level.”Vargo will be joined by nine other teammates, two more of which are returning NCAA competitors as well.“We have a nice combination of youth and experience. We return Liz Li and Lindsey Clary, who were both Top Eight a year ago, and then we return Taylor Vargo who has been there four times,” Dorenkott said. “We also have a nice group of freshmen going, probably as good a group as anybody in the country.”Molly Kowal and Kathrin Demler are the two freshmen that will be competing in the meet, each competing in three events. Kowal will be swimming the 1,650-yard freestyle, along with the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley. Demler will be joining her teammate in the 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley, in addition to competing in the 200-yard backstroke.“It is a meet that rewards experience, and so for some of those kids it’s the opportunity to get there and see what it’s all about. For some of them, I keep telling them how good they are and sooner or later they’re going to start believing me,” Dorenkott said. “We have a couple of freshmen who are world class, they’re just not there today, but they’re going to be special and the sooner they believe it the better we’ll all be.”One of those freshman is Kowal, who said her nerves will be undeniable in her first NCAA appearance.“I think it’s going to be fun to go with the group of girls that are going. I mean, I’m pretty nervous because it will definitely, by far, be the biggest meet I’ve ever gone to,” she said. “There are also going to be some really big names there like Katie Ledecky, which will be cool, but it’s also kind of intimidating. But I get nervous for every meet so it’s nothing I can’t handle.”Junior Meg Bailey will compete in the 200-yard and 400-yard individual medleys, as well as the 200-yard butterfly.Vargo — being an experienced NCAA competitor — said the team’s goal is to compete at the highest level in each race.“We want to move up spots, move up places, get some points, and represent Ohio State,” Vargo said. “It’s okay to be nervous, though. Everyone’s a little bit nervous when you go, but just realize that you represent The Ohio State University and I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world.”The Buckeyes would be grateful to earn some winning titles, but they are just as grateful to compete and improve both individually and as a team.“In terms of winning — whether it’s an individual title or a team title — that’s something that’s out of your control,” Dorenkott said. “The only thing you can focus on is the effort you put into winning, and that’s really where our minds are right now. We’re focused on getting some rest, getting sharpened up, and getting ready to roll.”The competition begins Wednesday night at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis, and will continue through Saturday.
OSU coach Urban Meyer looks out to the field before the Spring Game on April 15. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo Editor
Nicole Jontony competes on the balance beam for Ohio State gymnastics. Credit: Courtesy of Nicole JontonyThe Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (0-3, 0-2 Big Ten) will return home after three straight road meets to begin the year for its first tri-meet of the season against Minnesota (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten) and Illinois State (1-2) Saturday at St. John Arena.“We’re really excited to be home for once, and really show the crowd and our fans like what we’ve worked throughout the whole preseason for,” senior Stefanie Merkle said. “Being a home meet, we’ve been on this equipment before, so you don’t have to adjust to it. That’s one good thing. I think the home schedule of vault, bars, beam, floor, is always a nice rotation to go to.”The Buckeyes have seen the same challenging away rotation of events for the last three meets, starting the competition on uneven parallel bars and ending with balance beams. The change of pace of beginning on vault and ending on floor exercise might come to an advantage for the team this weekend at home.Ohio State might benefit from the return of senior Kaitlyn Hofland, who has been out of competitions to begin the season while she recovers from shoulder surgery. Head coach Meredith Paulicivic said she hopes to have her senior “back on bars” this weekend. Hofland earned a career-best score of 9.925 on uneven parallel bars on Feb. 11, 2017, against Penn State.Though it has not won yet this season, Ohio State has seen steady improvement from each competition, increasing its final scores by an average of 1.05 points per meet. Finishing its last competition against Iowa with a final tally of 195.300, its highest score of the season, Ohio State hopes to reach the 196 points this weekend.“I think right now, we’re starting to get a little more comfortable,” Paulicivic said. “We don’t look so nervous in a meet, which is great. Now it’s the details, getting after the handstands, getting after the sticks, the splits, all the little half-tenthers.”The team practices this week were aimed to focus on improving details in every routine. Being three meets deep in the season, and as the newcomers have gained experience, the standards for the team are rising. “I feel like with three meets under our belt, yeah, we’re definitely hitting our groove,” Paulicivic said. “For this team, every meet that we have, everything that they do in front of a judge and in an arena, I feel like they’re going to learn something from it and get better and better.”Ohio State’s home-opener against Minnesota and Illinois State begins at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) works his way into the lane in the first half of the game against Penn State on Jan. 25 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 17 Ohio State (18-5, 9-1 Big Ten) suffered a devastating loss at home to Penn State, falling 82-79 on a buzzer-beating, near-half-court shot from guard Tony Carr for its first Big Ten loss of the season.After four days of rest, which ties their longest break of the season, the Buckeyes will try to get back in the win column at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they welcome Indiana (12-10, 5-5 Big Ten) to the Schottenstein Center.Projected StartersIndiana:G — Josh Newkirk — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-1, 195 lbs., 8.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.9 apgG — Zach McRoberts — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-6, 205 lbs., 2.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.5 apgG — Robert Johnson — Senior, 6-foot-3, 195 lbs., 14.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.5 apgF — Juwan Morgan — Junior, 6-foot-8, 230 lbs., 16.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.2 apgF — Justin Smith — Freshman, 6-foot-7, 220 lbs., 5.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.3 apgOhio State:G — C.J. Jackson — Junior, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs., 13.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.4 apgG — Kam Williams — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-2, 185 lbs., 8.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.6 apgF — Keita Bates-Diop — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-7, 235 lbs., 19.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.3 apgF — Jae’Sean Tate — Senior, 6-foot-4, 230 lbs., 12.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.8 apgC — Kaleb Wesson — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 270 lbs., 11.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.1 apgMiller vs. HoltmannBefore accepting the head coaching position at Indiana, Archie Miller was Dayton’s head coach from 2011 to 2017 and an Ohio State assistant coach under Thad Matta from 2007 to 2009. His Ohio roots made him appear to be the most-likely successor when Ohio State and Matta parted ways.However, Miller took the Indiana job in March, three months before Matta was fired by Ohio State. Five days after Matta‘s tenure ended, Ohio State hired former Butler head coach Chris Holtmann to run the sputtering program.Indiana was not exactly a program coming off a sterling 2016-17 season. But given Ohio State’s losses of Trevor Thompson, JaQuan Lyle and Marc Loving, most people viewed the Hoosiers as the more potent Big Ten team. Instead, the Hoosiers have trudged through an inconsistent season while Ohio State has become a surprise Big Ten title contender. Still, it is too early for either coach’s tenure to be judged. But the rapid rise of the Buckeyes and the tradition of the Hoosiers makes Tuesday’s game the first installment of a new-era matchup between two coaches assigned with the task of getting their programs back to the top. Holtmann said he has not put too much thought into the narrative of the game between two of college basketball’s up-and-coming coaches, but knows those conversations will circulate around the programs.“Obviously, there were, what, three new coaches in the league. So to some degree, you recognize that there’s always going to be some comparison when you have three new coaches in the league,” Holtmann said. “How are they doing? What’s their year shaped up like? And I’m sure that will continue in the years to come.”Scouting IndianaIndiana has been involved in a number of close games lately, with each of its past three games being decided by single digits. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, two of those were losses, including a 73-71 defeat at home to a middling Illinois team. Miller’s squad has been strong in the interior, shooting with 54.2 percent on 2-point field goals and holding teams to just 47.9 percent inside the 3-point arc. Both percentages place the Hoosiers in the top-100 teams in the nation. Outside the perimeter has been a different story. The Hoosiers have allowed opponents to shoot 37.8 percent from 3-point range, 297th-best in the country. Offensively, they have only mustered a 30.5 percent 3-point shooting percentage, which is 335th-best out of 351 total teams. Forward Juwan Morgan, who typically starts at center, leads the Hoosiers with both 16.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season. Like the team, he has struggled to shoot from 3-point range with only a 26.5 percent clip, but has shot 65.2 percent inside the perimeter.While Ohio State does not rely on 3-point shooting, it is a team that can shoot from beyond the arc with accuracy. The Buckeyes’ 3-point percentage of 36.3 percent is the 113th-highest rate in the country. They also defend teams well, both outside the arc (34.1 percent allowed) and inside (46.1 percent allowed). With interior defenders like redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and freshman center Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State will force the Hoosiers to find production outside of the paint and will make Miller rely more heavily on his guards than usual.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The driver received only a £175 fine and a six-month driving ban from Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.Even though causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum penalty of 14 years, there is no law that covers the offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.Her husband, who is a retired engineer, said: “It’s appalling. It’s no punishment at all.”He has ruined our lives and he gets to walk free. If he had killed her, he would have had a more severe punishment, but then I would have lost my wife. It’s a lose-lose situation.”My son said if he were to collect three speeding tickets he would be more severely punished than the driver. Mrs Davies before the accidentCredit:Caters A bus driver who left a grandmother with half a head has been let off with a £175 fine.Deborah Davies, 56, was left with brain injuries and damage to her skull after being sent flying into a gutter by an out-of-control bus.Despite being in a critical condition, she survived, but the life-saving surgery for a bleed on her brain left her without half of her skull, before it was replaced with a metal plate.Her husband Steve Davies, 58, has slammed the low fine and claims the bus driver “ruined their lives”.Driver Surjeet Singh Pal, 57, mounted the pavement with his bus in May last year, which caused the injuries to Mrs Davies.He admitted careless driving and must reapply for his licence and DVLA after it was found he drove on to the pavement when approaching a bend. “Deborah went from being a vibrant and vivacious young grandmother to being solely dependent on me and our family.”She is now merely existing. She has such a poor quality of life compared with the one she planned for and we built together.”She is living a life sentence while the driver who did this to her can put everything behind him and continue living his life.”I am disgusted and dismayed there is not provision in law to adequately reflect the catastrophic, irrevocable damage this incident has done, both to Deborah physically as well as our lives as a family.”Following the incident on May 20 last year, Mrs Davies was placed into an induced coma for a week.She sustained severe brain damage which led to a clot on the brain.She required life-saving surgery and extensive rehabilitation. She also suffered a broken neck, fractured cheek, broken ribs and a punctured lung in the collision.
As future commander-in-chief of the British armed forces, he will come to learn plenty about the workings of the RAF.Prince George yesterday got a glorious head start, as he used a picture book to swot up on the 29 aircraft flying over Buckingham Palace in honour of his great-grandmother’s birthday.The Prince, who will turn four next month, and his sister Princess Charlotte appeared transfixed by the flypast, as they made their now-annual appearance on the palace balcony to wave to assembled Trooping the Colour crowds. Members of Britain’s royal familly stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after Trooping the ColourCredit:Reuters Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. There, as ever, it was the children who stole the show.As the wider Royal family assembled on the balcony, Prince George and Princess Charlotte were spotted peeking at the crowds from behind a curtain, perhaps receiving a last-minute pep talk about their duties in public.As the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrived, the two-year-old Princess was carried onto the balcony by her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, wearing coordinating pink outfits and beaming at the waiting crowds. In a concession to the day, the 96-year-old Duke for the first time chose to wear a morning suit and top hat instead of his heavy full uniform, instead sporting his Household Division tie, Garter Star and medals.The Duke, who has already announced he will step back from official Royal duties in the autumn, appeared on fine form, waving and raising his hat to well-wishers from the Queen’s carriage along the route. In recognition of the “very sombre” national mood, a minute’s silence was held before the Trooping of the Colour yesterday.The ceremony was, as ever, in honour of the Queen’s official birthday, and one of the most spectacular scenes of pomp and pageantry in the royal calendar.Crowds lining the streets on the way to Horse Guards Parade saw the Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in a carriage, followed by the Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. Among the aircraft taking part are Spitfires and Hurricanes, made famous in the Battle of Britain 75 years ago, the multi-role Typhoon fighter, and the Hercules tactical air transport.As the family turned to go back inside, the Queen, who has been praised in recent days for her prompt response to terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire, took an extra moment to wave at crowds, acknowledging their efforts to turn out in the heat in honour of her 91st birthday. Princess Charlotte, though, savoured the moment the longest, looking over her mother’s shoulder as she was carried inside from the second balcony appearance of her short life.For admirers of the Duke of Edinburgh, the moment may have been a poignant one, although fears that he may choose not take such a prominent role in future Trooping the Colour ceremonies may yet prove unfounded. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, Duchess of CambridgeCredit:GC Images As followers of Royal ceremony will know, Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle as colours, or flags, were ”trooped”, down the rank so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney attends the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards ParadeCredit:PA The Queen, wearing a large Guards brooch pinned to her pale blue Philip Somerville hat, took the salute on Horse Guards before making her way by carriage to Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, travel in the royal carriage during the annual Trooping the Colour parade Credit:Reuters Prince George trooped obediently to his starring role at the front, at first appearing a little underwhelmed with events as he rested his chin on his hand and waited for the real action to begin.Princess Charlotte earnestly chewed her finger as she concentrated through a rendition of the national anthem.As the sounds of the approaching aircraft grew, Prince George’s playmates Savannah and Isla, the two small daughters of Peter and Autumn Phillips, shared what appeared to be a children’s guide explaining which aeroplanes are which. Princess Eugenie of York, Princess Beatrice of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of YorkCredit:Getty The Prince of Wales, who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards, the Princess Royal, Colonel of the Blues and Royals, and the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards, were on horseback.The procession was accompanied by a Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, made up of Life Guards and Blues and Royals, in their silver and gold breastplates and plumed helmets.Four of the five Foot Guards regiments of the Household Division, the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots and Irish Guards, marched, wearing their distinctive bearskin hats and red tunics. The three youngsters were photographed with their head together poring over the pamphlet, while Princess Charlotte, still a little young to read, pointed out into the crowds as her great-grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh watched on indulgently. Prince George and Princess Charlotte watch an air show from the balcony of Buckingham PalaceCredit:Reuters As the first Chinook flew overhead, the Prince – whose father the Duke of Cambridge is an air rescue pilot – could barely contain his excitement, gaping and bouncing on his toes as he waited for the next arrival.His little sister, who had been happily entertained by the Duchess, appeared equally captivated for the full flypast, which ended with with a display from the Red Arrows. Earlier in the day, the Queen had issued a statement to the nation honouring those lost in recent “terrible tragedies” in London and Manchester, emphasising how she had been “profoundly struck” by how the public had rallied to support those in need. Eagle-eyed viewers who spotted the absence of the Countess of Wessex on the balcony were reassured she was at a private engagement, while Prime Minister Theresa May did not attend Horse Guards Parade as she dealt with the ongoing situation in north Kensington. The young royals charmed onlookers, seen first peeking through the windows of Buckingham Palace before stepping out into the blazing sunshine.The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took centre stage, following the traditional annual ceremony which this year saw the colour of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards paraded.The hot June day left some struggling, with at least five Guardsman fainting while the parade was underway and in need of medical help. Royal Guard marching during the Trooping of the Color Queen’s 91st birthday paradeCredit:British ministry of defence Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge watch through the window of Buckingham Palace as they attend Trooping the Colour at Buckingham PalaceCredit:Andrew Parsons In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to ”troop the colours” and in 1748 it was announced that the parade would also mark the Sovereign’s official birthday. The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte watch Trooping the Colour Credit:James Whatling/James Whatling
The court heard that his three accomplices were also EU migrants who all had previous convictions in their native Hungary. The cousins, who had moved to Britain from the Czech Republic, had been walking across the road hand-in-hand to buy crisps at a nearby shop when they were struck.Rather than stopping Hegedus sped off and later that night posted a picture on social media of him sporting grin and holding a bottle of Prosecco in one hand and Schnapps in the other, wishing his followers ‘Happy New Year’.Hegedus had been convicted in February 2000 of robbery in a gang, aggravated battery and and misuse of a document and was given five years in jail.Then in May 2007, before he moved to Britain, he was given a suspended sentence for car theft and counterfeiting. “It was the worst possible experience which I have to live through to bury my own daughter – it is the worst thing possible for parents.“I have to live and bring up my other children. I wantjustice but I’m very sad that the person who is responsible for the death of my daughter is going to be free in a few years whilst daughter will never come back.”Milan Kroka, Zaneta’s father, said: “Nothing will ever bring back our daughter and our family is still struggling to come to terms with this devastating tragedy. Those young girls have been tragically taken from us.”The incident continues to have a huge impact on mine and the rest of the family’s lives, and ultimately, today’s sentencing will not undo what’s happened. Zaneta was so young and full of life, it is still hard to believe at times she is no longer with us.”Hegedus admitted causing death by careless driving, having no driving licence and failing to report the car had been involved in a crash. He also pleaded guilty to perverting justice by falsely claiming to police the vehicle had been stolen.Orsos, Kalanyos and Peto all admitted perverting justice. Orsos got 20 months, Peto 25 months and Kalanyos 21 months. Hegedus was also banned from driving for five years. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, said: “There is nothing careless in taking someone’s life. Having this distinction between careless and dangerous is one of the reasons sentences are so low for these offences and it is something that requires urgent attention from the Government.”Manchester Crown Court heard how Hegedus had been travelling at 40mph in a 30mph zone, when hit the two little girls on Ashton Road in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Gabor Hegedus, 38, who was the driver of a car in a hit and run crash which killed two girlsCredit: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd The 39-year-old, who has a string of convictions in Hungary, but was in the UK legally under EU law, was arrested the following day.He was initially charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum sentence of 14-years in prison, but fearing they might struggle to prove the case, prosecutors later accepted his guilty plea to a lesser charge, which carries a maximum sentence of just five years.After admitting two counts of causing death by careless driving, Hegedus was jailed for four years, meaning he could be out in two, effectively serving just 12 months for each life he took. Judge John Potter said: “It’s not clear whether I have power to recommend whether each of you should be deported. If I do, I make that recommendation – but it may be a matter for the Home Office. Gabor HegedusCredit:FACEBOOK In a statement read to the hearing Sylva Kotlarova mother of Helena said: “When you see your child lying there and who has died and you want her to go home with you and to get up it’s very painful – it’s like the worst possible dream. Road safety campaigners have called for an urgent review of the law to increase the length of sentences being handed out in fatal road accidents. One was a convicted rapist and killer who had been to prison twice whilst another had served more than four years in jail for fraud and forgery.The men were travelling in a convoy of two vehicles, having just finished work on a house clearance.Following the impact, Hegedus sped off and dumped the car on a dirt track, before one of his accomplices reported the vehicle stolen.He shaved his head and beard in an attempt to disguise himself, but was arrested the following day after police traced him through CCTV.Police said they found cannabis in his system, but it was impossible to say how much had been in his system at the time of impact.He was initially charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but after analysing CCTV, prosecutors was decided that even though he had been travelling at an excessive speed, hisvision had been obscured by a van coming the other way.The Crown therefore decided to accept Hegedus’s guilty plea to the lesser charge of careless driving. 11-year-old Zaneta KrokovaCredit:Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd Helina Kotlarova, 12, victim of Oldham hit and run crashCredit:: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd The vehicle involved in the crashCredit: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd A convicted criminal from Hungary who killed two little girls in a hit and run last New Year’s Eve and then tried to cover up the crime, has been jailed for just four years.Gabor Hegedus was speeding moments before he ploughed into cousins, Heline Kotlarova, 12, and Zaneta Krokova, 11, in Oldham, sending one of the girls flying 65ft through the air.Helina, who was propelled into the path of an oncoming car, was pronounced dead at the scene while Zaneta died in hospital two days later.Hegedus who had no valid driving licence, and his three Hungarian accomplices – who were all convicted criminals – failed to stop at the scene and later dumped the Peugeot car, reporting it stolen.
The CQC, which has inspected every company that provides such online services in England, said that by February, 43 per cent were not providing “safe” care or adhering to regulations.It warned that technological advances should never be used at the expense of quality care, which prioritised patient safety.The CQC said it would continue to hold providers to account until they became as safe as general practices. It’s very concerning to see that even now, 43 per cent of online consultation providers have been deemed unsafe in some respectProfessor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs Nearly half of online GPs are providing unsafe care for patients, the health watchdog has warned.Independent online services, including pharmacies, websites and apps, are prescribing high volumes of painkillers without talking to the patients’ GPs and are inappropriately prescribing antibiotics, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said.It also expressed concern that approaches to safeguarding children and those lacking the mental capacity to understand or consent to a consultation may be unsatisfactory and that the prescribing of medicines for long-term conditions could be inappropriate.Providers were also failing to collect patient information or share it with the relevant doctor, who should have accurate records of treatments and health problems. The watchdog did highlight positive findings, including a company that provides sexual health services online, with partner notification services where, with consent, it can confidentially trace at-risk sexual contacts. Show more The CQC found online consultations had the potential to improve access and the convenience of some patients, including those who found attending clinics or surgeries difficult through disability or through living in rural areas with poor transport.Professor Steve Field, CQC chief inspector of General Practice, said: “New methods of service delivery that increase access to care and give patients more control over how and when they see a GP have huge potential for patients and the health system.“However, it must never come at the expense of quality. Patient safety must be at the heart of all decisions around what kind of care is offered and how it is delivered.” The CQC noted that the 43 per cent deemed unsafe was an improvement from the 86 per cent it found on its first round of inspections.Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It’s absolutely right that the Care Quality Commission holds organisations that provide online primary care services to the same high standards as any other healthcare provider.“But it’s very concerning to see that even now, 43 per cent of online consultation providers have been deemed unsafe in some respect.“When patients’ health is at risk urgent, swift action must be taken to comprehensively address these before the service is rolled out further.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Rahman came to the attention of police in July last year when he complained he was being blackmailed, but failed to attend an appointment.In August last year, he was arrested on suspicion of sending indecent images to under-age girls, but never charged. An examination of his mobile phone raised concerns he was harbouring extremist views. Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman bought a rucksack from Argos before he was arrested An Islamic State terrorist who plotted to kill Prime Minister Theresa May has been jailed for at least 30 years.Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 21, planned to bomb the gates of 10 Downing Street, kill guards and then attack Theresa May with a knife or gun.He had pledged allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and collected what he thought was an explosives-packed puffa jacket and rucksack when he was arrested last November.The drifter, originally from Birmingham, thought he was being helped by an Isil handler when in fact he was talking to undercover officers.He was snared by a network of undercover counter-terrorism officers from the Metropolitan Police, the FBI and MI5. Court artist sketch of Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman at the Old BaileyCredit:Elizabeth Cook /PA Rahman, from Finchley, north London, was found guilty of preparing acts of terrorism despite claiming he was set up.During his Old Bailey trial, he admitted to helping a friend to join Isil in Libya by recording an IS sponsorship video.Following his conviction, he told a probation officer that he would have carried out the attack if he had been able to.The “clever and cunning” young man had the potential to “operate below the radar to dreadful effect”, according to a pre-sentence report. A fake bomb was given to the would-be attacker Mr Justice Haddon-Cave concluded: “Rahman is a very dangerous individual and it is difficult to predict when, if ever, he will become de-radicalised and no longer be a danger to society.” After his uncle’s death, he became even more determined and turned to the internet for help in his attack plans.Rahman made contact with an FBI agent posing as an Isil official online, who introduced him to an MI5 role-player.The defendant revealed his plans, saying: “I want to do a suicide bomb on Parliament. I want to attempt to kill Theresa May.”There are lorries here with big gas tankers, if a brother can drive it next to Parliament I will bomb.”He later described using a suicide belt, a drone, an IED and poison, referred to as “P” or “curry mix”.By early November last year, he appeared settled on an attack on 10 Downing street with a suicide bomb, gun or knife. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said Rahman’s plan was to cause carnage in Downing Street, by blowing up the gates, killing or disabling security guards then entering Number 10 armed with a knife and explosives with Mrs May being “the ultimate target”.He said: “I am sure… Rahman believed the devices to be real and capable of the most serious harm – he was told and believed that the rucksack bomb would be capable of causing casualties on a scale comparable to those caused at the Manchester Arena to police officers, bystanders and tourists in and around the entrance to Downing Street.”He was told and believed that the suicide vest within his jacket would be capable of creating a lethal area of 10 metres to his front, with some degree of lethality to the rear. Both devices were expertly constructed and indistinguishable from the real thing.” The judge sentenced Rahman to life in prison with a minimum term of 30 years.For the Isil sponsorship video, Rahman was handed six years in prison to run concurrently.The judge stressed the undercover officers involved in the case were “scrupulous” at all times and Rahman was the “instigator and author” of his own actions. On November 18 last year, Rahman carried out reconnaissance around Whitehall.Two days later, he bought a rucksack from Argos before meeting an undercover officer in Brixton for it to be fitted with explosives.On November 28 last year, the officer handed back Rahman’s rucksack and coat, now packed with dummy explosives, and replica pepper spray.Rahman told the officer he was “good to go”, but was arrested as he walked away carrying the fake bomb, in Kensington.Rahman claimed he had been set up by security services online, but a jury rejected his explanation and convicted him after 13 hours of deliberations. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The coat found with Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman had what he wrongly thought were explosives He told an undercover officer: “(God willing) will be very big if I’m successful. I can’t mess up. I can’t get (martyrdom) if I get caught.” Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman had what he thought was an explosives-packed coat when he was arrested
Paris organisers will now put forward breaking alongside climbing, skateboarding and surfing – which are already confirmed for Tokyo 2020 – for final approval by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in December 2020.The surprise announcement meant other sports vying to be included, such as squash and karate, faced being crowded out – a development described as “heartbreaking” by the head of English Squash.However, Mr Gopie, who has been involved in the breaking scene since the early 1980s, defended its legitimacy. Roxy is one of the world’s leading BGirlsCredit:UK BBoy Championships Roxanne Milliner, a 29-year-old from Streatham, south London who is one of the world’s leading BGirls under the name Roxy, said: “Breaking in the Olympics is an amazing opportunity in so many ways, but it’s worrying that it could turn it into a sport without the artistry, attracting the wrong kind of attention and commercialising it.“Part of the concern of some people is that breaking classes will end up being expensive – ballet started in the streets but now many of the people good at ballet went to private schools that cost a lot of money.”She added that a female category in the Olympics may help tackle the “misogyny” that has previously plagued the breaking scene, by encouraging young women to become involved.The four extra sports confirmed come on top of the 28 already due to take place at Paris 2024, with the number of participating athletes capped at 10,500. The British Olympic Association said: “We look forward to welcoming all new sports into the Olympic Games and will work with the relevant bodies to develop our relationships at the appropriate time.” Kev the Renegade, left, served as one of the head judges during the breaking contest in last year’s youth Olympics They include Terra, a 12-year-old BGirl from Wolverhampton whose abilities have made her a viral sensation online. In 2024, the Olympics is set to be turned on its head.Breaking – or breakdancing, as it is commonly known – has come one step closer to featuring in the Paris 2024 games after getting the nod from the hosts.It is the first time the energetic form of street dance has been considered for inclusion as a sport and follows efforts to broaden the showcase’s appeal to younger generations.Typically set to hip-hop, funk or breakbeat music, competitive breaking pits practitioners – known as BBoys or BGirls – against one another in a head-to-head tournament format.The sport was one of the success stories of the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, where it drew huge crowds and implemented a pioneering new scoring system.Judges, including Britain’s Kevin Gopie, used iPads to assess each 40-60 second performance on a sliding scale in three categories – physical, artistic and creative attributes.Team GB did not compete in last year’s event, but the country is home to several world-class talents who could help lead the way to Olympic glory. The 49-year-old, known as Kev the Renegade, told The Telegraph: “People try and disrespect and say ‘we might as well have tiddlywinks’, but I would put the fitness and athleticism of a B-Boy or B-Girl against any of these sports any day.“It is as much a sport as anything else, it’s athletic, it has rules, it has judges. I don’t think sport is limited to running and jumping.“We have incredible people here, we just need facilities. We have got a new generation coming – we could be contenders.”And with an experimental new judging system based on creativity as much as skill, he hopes one thing is clear: “We are not gymnastics.” Announcing its decision, Paris 2024 described breaking as an “urban, universal and popular sport with more than a million BBoys and BGirls in France”.There are fears, however, its potential emergence as a mainstream discipline may ultimately shut out the urban communities in which it has flourished. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Sophie Turner has revealed social media trolls made her think about suicide “a lot” when she was younger as she admitted remarks posted online impacted her mental health.The 23-year-old, who portrays Sansa Stark in HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones, said she never considered taking her own life but described it as a “weird fascination”.Speaking to US talk show host Dr Phil on his podcast, Turner said: “It’s weird. I say I wasn’t very depressed when I was younger, but I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger. I don’t know why though.”Maybe it’s just a weird fascination I used to have, but yeah, I used to think about it. I don’t think I ever would have gone through with it. I don’t know.”Turner, who grew up in a large Edwardian house near Leamington Spa, said her anxiety over social media trolls progressed to the point she avoided leaving her home and seeing her friends. Turner is now one of the world’s most recognisable actresses thanks in part to Game Of Thrones and will star in Marvel superhero film Dark Phoenix in June.She is engaged to the singer Joe Jonas and is expected to walk down the aisle later this year.The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones began on Monday.To talk to the Samaritans call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org She said she “would just believe” negative comments posted about her weight, skin and abilities as an actress.”I had no motivation to do anything or go out. Even with my best friends, I wouldn’t want to see them, I wouldn’t want to go out and eat with them”, she added. Turner rose to worldwide fame playing Sansa Stark in Game of ThronesCredit:Helen Sloan