The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired Buffalo Sabres veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera in exchange for young defenseman Jamie McBain and the No. 35 overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft.
According to Hurricanes general manager, Jim Rutherford, the Hurricanes offered its No. 5 overall selection and McBain for the Sabres No. 8 overall pick and Sekera, but the Sabres didn't take.
Sekera tallied 12 points, two goals and 10 assists, for the Sabres last season in 37 games. McBain recorded eight points, one goal and seven assits, in 40 games last year.
The Hurricanes will take a $2.75 million cap hit through Sekera's two remaining years under contract.
With much speculation surrounding the outcome of the Carolina Hurricanes’ No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, the ‘Canes kept the pick, selecting 18-year-old Swedish forward Elias Lindholm.
Listed at 6-feet, 192 lbs, Lindholm tallied 30 points, 11 goals and 19 assists, in 48 games for Brynas of the Swedish Hockey League.
“He’s one of those real puck pursuit guys with high skill level,” Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said. “The kind of guy you can win with.”
Top-rated prospect defenseman Seth Jones fell all the way to Nashville at No. 4, a very unexpected turn of events.
Rutherford said that if Jones had not been selected by Nashville, the team would have selected him with the No. 5 pick.
There is one complication surrounding Lindholm and his immediate future with the ‘Canes—the youngster signed a contract to play with Brynas. It’s believed that if he makes the roster in Raleigh, he’ll find a way to stay with the ‘Canes, but the option of playing in the American Hockey League with the Checkers is out of the question.
Hours prior to the draft, rumors spread around about the ‘Canes being in talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, but nothing come from the alleged negotiations—the only major trade was between Vancouver and New Jersey. The Devils traded the No. 9 pick to the Canucks in exchange for goalie Cory Schneider.
First, the positives. For the fifth consecutive NASL match, the RailHawks turned an 80th minute deficit into points when Austin da Luz’s header off a corner kick in the 89th minute proved the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with the Silverbacks. Indeed, given Carolina’s recent run of late game heroics, the biggest surprise was that the RailHawks didn’t nab a game-winner during the four minutes of stoppage time that followed.
The draw keeps Carolina two points ahead of Atlanta atop the NASL Spring season standings entering the final day of play on July 4. The RailHawks still have the Spring season on their racket—a win at San Antonio this Thursday clinches the championship. Indeed, even a RailHawks draw would force Atlanta to win at Minnesota plus accomplish the daunting task of bridging a four-goal differential with Carolina to win the tiebreaker.
BACKYARD BISTRO/RALEIGH Wes Moore doesn’t want to waste any time as he gets his N.C. State women’s basketball team ready for his first season at the helm.
The Wolfpack’s still-new slogan is “This Is Our State,” and to make that point in women’s basketball they still have a high hill to climb.
Duke is probably going to be ranked No. 2 nationally to start the season, while UNC has a Hall of Fame coach and boasts the nation’s top-rated incoming recruiting class.
The Wolfpack went 17-17 and was knocked out in the second round of the WNIT in Kellie Harper’s final season at the helm, and has made one trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last six seasons.
Athletic director Debbie Yow hired Moore — at 558-169 the eighth winningest active coach in women’s college basketball — to fix that.
The Mudcats finished last in the Carolina League’s Southern Division in the first half. But with all four of their mid-season all-stars — center fielder Tyler Naquin, shortstop Francisco Lindor, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin and pitching ace Cody Anderson — returning they’re aiming for a playoff spot with a second-half comeback.
Frederick’s leadoff man is Johnny Ruettiger, whose uncle was immortalized on film in the movie “Rudy.” Former Mudcat Delvi Cid is a Keys outfielder.
Carolina picked up a 3-2 victory over the Frederick Keys in its second-half home debut on Monday. Francisco Jimenez (1-1, 3.20) will make a spot start, taking on the Keys’ Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3, 2.99) in a battle of lefties in tonight’s Game 2 of the four-game series.
And this time they make it look a little easier, as four pitchers combine for the shutout in a 5-0 victory.
In four straight NASL games—all in the month of June—the Carolina RailHawks have passed the 80th minute of play trailing their opponent. And the RailHawks have won or drawn all four.
The latest Saturday night in Cary was perhaps the sweetest and most important. After going down two goals early to Minnesota United FC, Carolina still found themselves trailing 2-1 heading into the final minutes of full time. But two late goals by Brian Shriver, one in the 86th minute and the game-winner in the 88th, gave the RailHawks a 3-2 comeback victory, setting the stage for a potential Spring championship showdown with the Atlanta Silverbacks next Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park.
All those factors will need to come into play this Saturday when Carolina hosts third-place Minnesota United FC at WakeMed Soccer Park. And next Saturday, June 29, the RailHawks welcomes the currently league-leading Atlanta Silverbacks to Cary. Two victories would put Carolina at least two points ahead of Atlanta entering the final week of the Spring season and could clinch the Spring championship, depending on the outcome of the Silverbacks’ match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies this week. That would also give the RailHawks the right to host the NASL Soccer Bowl championship in November.
Sandwiched between these pivotal league games, Carolina travels to Utah this Wednesday, June 26 to face Real Salt Lake in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It’s a daunting undertaking for the RailHawks, which has not won a road match this season. However, should Carolina defeat RSL, the club already knows it would host the U.S. Open Cup semifinal on August 7 against either FC Dallas or the Portland Timbers.
But first up is Minnesota United, the preseason NASL favorites that are still in the thick of the Spring race, only three points out of first place. Carolina’s May 4 visit to Minnesota ended in a 2-2 draw thanks to an 84th minute golazo by RailHawks loanee Enzo Martinez.
“You probably look at their results and season and think they’ve not done very well,” says RailHawks manager Colin Clarke. “But they’re right there on that threshold of winning the Spring season along with ourselves and Atlanta. They’ve won a lot of games, they’ve got a lot of points late in games, which shows good character about them.”
However, the task will be made more arduous due to a couple of recent significant injuries. Ty Shipalane, the RailHawks’ speedy playmaker, suffered a pulled hamstring during the game at FC Edmonton last Sunday. According to Clarke, the injury will likely keep Shipalane out for the remainder of the Spring season. In addition, center back Julius James tweaked his hamstring again during training this week. Clarke says James will probably miss the Minnesota and Real Salt Lake matches, with the soonest he might return being against Atlanta next Saturday.
The loss of arguably the RailHawks’ best defender and most impactful offensive threat is sure to have tangible consequences. But, Clarke says these are the times when a team must come together.
“We’ve got a good, strong squad, Clarke says. “And even though we’re going to be missing one or two players who have contributed a lot to this team and results over this season, we’ve still got depth. New players are going to be coming in who need to step up.”
One of those players is César Elizondo, the Costa Rican international who looks to make his second start against Minnesota since joining the RailHawks in early May. Elizondo has netted three goals in Carolina’s last three games, all of them equalizing or game-winning scores.
Elizondo’s journey to Cary actually began years ago.
“I saw César at Puerto Rico, actually, when he tried out for the team when he was younger,” Clarke remembers. “So, I knew about him and he was on my radar since he was a young kid. I knew his agent, so I knew he was available and was coming back from Thailand [where he played for Buriram United F.C.]. The opportunity arose for us to sign him, and I was more than happy to do so.”
One bit of good news is that defender Jordan Graye, who missed the last two games with an injury, is available for the Minnesota match, as well as the rest of the key games this week that Clarke says his team is ready for.
“It’s playoff soccer right now,” says Clarke. “That’s the mentality right now for ourselves, Atlanta and Minnesota. I don’t see anyone else getting involved, no matter what the league wants to say. To me it’s a three-horse race. We’ve all got to play each other, and someone’s going to come out the other side and win a nice, big prize at the end of it.”
The Durham Bulls defeated the Louisville Bats Thursday night, 2-1, in front of a rabid crowd of 9,073 on ‘90s Night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The atmosphere was unlike anything this season at the DBAP, as players walked up to classic ‘90s hits with custom made album covers shown on the video board in left field.
Fans enjoyed themselves throughout the night, dancing in between innings to past Billboard hits such as “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice and “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer. Even the grounds crew got into the action, stopping to dance while they raked the infield.
After a two-run first inning, and four Bulls reaching base, the opening frame Tuesday night seemed as though another 16-hit game was not a stretch of the imagination—but Louisville had other plans.
An hour and 46 minute rain delay only prolonged the eventual outcome. After giving up the two runs in the first inning, the Bats shut down the Bulls in the remaining eight innings en route to a 5-2 victory.
Left-handed starting pitcher Mike Montgomery (3-1, 4.50) who dealt seven hitless innings in his previous start, against Indianapolis on June 7, went six innings Tuesday night giving up five runs, 10 hits, struck out four and gave up one walk.
Montgomery looked sharp for the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. After two hits and a walk, two runners crossed the plate for Louisville, tying up the ballgame at 2-2.
Two innings later, Montgomery gave up a two-run homer to Louisville’s Neftali Soto and an RBI single later in the inning, giving the Bats a decisive three-run lead that would hold.
“He just needs to make an adjustment, to minimize damage,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “When you have that bad inning, just minimize, and he hasn’t been able to.”
Early forecast called for inclement weather, but the only thunder heard in Durham on Monday was the crack of the Bulls’ bats as they upended Louisville in the first of a four-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Outfielder Wil Myers was pulled from Sunday’s contest after doubling and scoring a run in the first inning. The rumors and reason for his absence were finally revealed—Myers has been called up to Tampa Bay and is expected to make his major league debut today.
With such an intricate part of the Bulls’ offense bolting or the majors, the question of power hitting may have been in question. On Monday night the questions were answered—Durham has the ability to score runs without Myers in the lineup.
Behind designated hitter Shelley Duncan’s two home run blasts, one clearing the Blue Monster and the other slamming off the bull in left field, tallying for six RBIs, the Bulls scored often and early in a 16-3 rout of the Bats.
Duncan previously missed the last three games due to bereavement leave.
“The longer you’re away, the harder it is to get back,” Duncan said. “It’s a weird sport—it’s based on muscle memory. It’s a skill sport more than an athletic sport.”