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|Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:37 am Post subject: walk in here and think
|The Seattle Mariners will have some continuity in the managerial chair for a change.
Seattle signed Scott Servais to a multiyear contract extension Friday as the club opened the second half of the season in position to potentially end the longest current playoff drought in the four major pro sports.
The extension was a reward after Servais led Seattle to a 58-39 record prior to the All-Star break and a hold on the second wild-card spot in the American League. Seattle hasn’t been to the postseason since 2001.
”I’m still learning and I look forward to learning http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-anthony-averett-jersey ,” Servais said. ”It’s about our players and how we prepare and how do we beat the opponent. You constantly are trying to get better at this. I’d like to say I have it all figured out; far from it. And I don’t see myself ever being that way.”
Servais is 222-199 since arriving in Seattle in 2016, the first managerial job of his career. Seattle went 87-75 in Servais’ first season, before dipping to 78-84 last year as Seattle was mired in injury issues. Servais, 51, previously worked in the front offices of the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers.
Servais’ extension was expected the moment general manager Jerry Dipoto signed an extension earlier this month. Both arrived in Seattle on three-year contracts prior to the 2016 season and their long-term future with the club was tied together.
”Probably the worst-kept secret in the game. If I got mine, he was going to get his,” Dipoto joked.
What’s notable about the Servais extension is the rare continuity it will create in Seattle. Assuming nothing unexpected forces a change, Servais will be just the third manager in the club’s history to begin a fourth season in charge of the Mariners. Darrell Johnson, the team’s first-ever manager in 1977, was let go midway through his fourth season in 1980. Lou Piniella was Seattle’s manager from 1993-2002.
Since Piniella left after the 2002 season, Seattle had eight different managers or interim managers over the following 13 seasons. Only one – Eric Wedge – completed three full seasons in charge of the club.
”If I had to pick one single-most important thing in any organization, that’s it. It’s that synergy, that connection, the communication between the general manager and manager,” Dipoto said. ”Any other relationships in the organization can be solved or you might be able to build a bridge between them, but if the manager and general manager don’t see things on a similar plane or have the ability to debate and arrive at a conclusion that works for everybody, you’ll never win.”
Despite the uncertainty about his future entering the season, Servais has been more relaxed and at ease. He’s given up some control to his coaching staff this season Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jersey , which he believes is part of why Seattle is in playoff position.
”I just took a different approach in spring training this year. I think a year or two of doing things you gain confidence, you have an understanding of what will work, what won’t work,” Servais said. ”But at the end of the day you have to go with your gut and I just wanted to be myself. I wanted my coaches to be themselves. I lean much more heavily on our coaches this year than I did the previous two years.”
Servais is a leading contender for AL manager of the year because of what Seattle has accomplished. The Mariners have overcome a number of key injuries and the suspension of Robinson Cano for 80 games to get into position for a playoff berth. They were in much better shape two weeks ago before dropping seven of nine games prior to the All-Star break and watching their lead for the second wild card shrink to just three games over Oakland.
”We’ve put ourselves in position. We’ve talked about bringing playoff baseball back to the Pacific Northwest and we’ve got a shot,” Servais said. ”It’s not going to be easy, we talked about it with our group frequently, but the goal here for the remainder of this season … is how good can we be? How good can the 2018 Mariners be? If we get to the point where I think we can we’ll be just fine in the playoff race.”
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — While smiles are in high supply at training camp for the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, open jobs are not.
Returning 18 of 20 the players who dressed in their Cup-clinching victory, the Capitals have almost no competition for roster spots going into the regular season. Barring injuries, the front office and coaching staff could pencil in probably 95 percent of the opening night roster before anyone hits the ice.
“Obviously, I know our roster pretty well,” general manager Brian MacLellan said Friday. “It’s still going to be competitive on the fourth line. We’re going to try to find a fourth line that we’d like to add a little bit more skill, a little more speed, and what we can do on the penalty kill.”
Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Braden Holtby and the rest of Washington’s championship core remaining intact leaves the likes of Travis Boyd and newcomers Nic Dowd and Sergei Shumakov competing for fourth-line roles. MacLellan figures there will also be a competition between veteran Brooks Orpik and young defensemen Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey for playing time on the third pairing.
That’s a far cry from a year ago when the Capitals lost a handful of key contributors and were looking for someone — anyone — to step up and fill voids. Those voids don’t exist this year given that only fourth-line center Jay Beagle and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer aren’t around.
“You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow because it’s hockey stuff,” Ovechkin said. “It’s hard when your friends and when some of your teammates left Jets Sam Darnold Jersey , especially when you win the Cup, but there’s a salary cap. … It’s hard to keep.”
It wasn’t hard this time. The Capitals signed pending free agent defenseman John Carlson before he hit the market and re-signed playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly and deadline pickup Michal Kempny. Their low turnover is similar to what the Pittsburgh Penguins had when they repeated as Cup champions.
Todd Reirden replacing Barry Trotz as coach after four years as his top assistant is the biggest change. Reirden knows the roster as well as anyone and won’t lie to players about opportunities, but he’s trying to set them up to compete for spots that might come open because of injuries.
“It’s a different kind of competition,” Reirden said. “You can’t predict it, but all the players that are in camp, they know that there’s competition. And whether that’s competition for Day One of the season, Day 21 or 121 that there’s a chance for them to be a part of a team that is the defending Stanley Cup champs.”
Dowd saw a chance to win a full-time job with the defending champions and jumped at the opportunity. The 28-year-old who has played for the Kings and Canucks wants to show he can bring everything Beagle did and provide some more offense. He’s trying not to wonder every day in camp about where he stands in making the team.
“I spent my first two to three years of pro hockey going into training camp trying to split the atom and trying to get in the minds of the coaches and, ‘Why am I here, why I am there in the lineup, why am I this group, why am I in that group?'” Dowd said. “A lot of the time it makes no difference where you sit in practices and all that, and it just puts more stress on yourself in worrying about that.”
Most players at Capitals camp don’t have much to worry about because they know where they’ll be in October when the season starts. It’s almost certain Pheonix Copley is Holtby’s backup with prospect Ilya Samsonov in the American Hockey League with Hershey, and neither Bowey nor Djoos will be sent to the minors.
Boyd, who played one playoff game during the Cup run, can’t be sure and knows he’s fighting for a job.
“I didn’t want to walk in here and think that I’m on the team,” Boyd said. “I don’t think I am. I definitely think that obviously there’s some guys here that are good players too, trying to gain ahold of I guess the one or two spots that are open.”
NOTES: Carlson and center Lars Eller are nursing minor lower-body injuries that caused them to miss the first day of on-ice work. … Reirden says the Capitals will take only a handful of veteran players to Boston for the preseason opener Sunday because the Bruins will have a big chunk of their team in China for exhibition games there.