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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rockies

Avs rout Coyotes, take 3-1 series lead

Avalanche

The Colorado offense exploded for seven goals in a 7-1 Game 4 rout of Arizona on Monday, leaving the Avalanche one game away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Matt Nieto got things started for the Avs late in the first period and then Nazem Kadri added two goals of his own before the first intermission to give Colorado a 3-0 lead. Joonas Donskoi added one in the second and then a trio of goals in the third came from Cale Makar, Matt Calvert and Mikko Rantanen as Colorado scored seven goals in a playoff game for the first time since 2002.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was almost single-handedly keeping the Coyotes in the series, was replaced to start the third period.

“It was nice to get a few past him. We didn’t change anything, honestly. We just got some bounces. We know we’re one of the best goal-scoring teams in the league this year, so try to stick with it. We’re such a deep team that eventually it was going to go in.”

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon said about Kuemper.

The Avs will try to close out the series on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM).

  • MacKinnon got into a scuffle late in the game with Arizona’s Christian Fischer after Makar was roughed up on a dangerous hit by Lawson Crouse. MacKinnon threw Fischer to the ice and delivered a couple punches as well, Calvert had this to say about the fight:
    “I think Fischer cross-checked the wrong guy in the face. You saw what Nate did to him. He absolutely manhandled him. Probably could have thrown 10 punches and knocked him out. I’m glad he didn’t throw the punches … They try to get to him and he’s just bigger than them.”
  • The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers had five takeaways from Game 4, including how important Kadri has been to Colorado so far in the postseason.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal handed out his Game 4 grades, not surprisingly a lot of the Avs got pretty high marks.
  • Avalanche-Coyotes results and schedule
GameResult
Game 1Colorado 3, Arizona 0Box score
Game 2Colorado 3, Arizona 2Box score
Game 3Arizona 4, Colorado 2Box score
Game 4Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Game 5Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Colorado wins best-of-seven series 4-1

Nuggets

Donovan Mitchell scored 57 points, the third most in NBA playoff history, but it wasn’t enough as Jamal Murray stole the show late and the Nuggets rallied to beat the Jazz 135-125 in overtime in Game 1 Monday.

Only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan (63) and Elgin Baylor (61) have scored more points in a single playoff game than Mitchell did.

Murray scored 36 points for Denver, including 10 in the extra period to help secure the win. As for Mitchell’s performance, when asked after the game Denver’s Nikola Jokić summed it up perfectly, “Not good for us.”

Fortunately, Jokić was plenty good for the Nuggets too, he finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the win. Jokić did miss a running hook shot at the end of regulation that would have won it for Denver.

But it was Murray who won this one for Denver. With less than four minutes to play in the fourth he had just 16 points, but during the final 8:13 of the game he went off for 20 points, grabbed three rebounds and added two assists.

“No fans, it was a lot of trash talking, good trash talking. It was fun, and that’s how us basketball players like it when you can go at each other respectfully and see who’s got more bullets.”

Murray said after the Nuggets thrilling Game 1 overtime win.

Game 2 of the series is Wednesday at 2 p.m. (TNT, Altitude).

GameResult
Game 1Denver 135, Utah 125, OTBox Score
Game 2Utah 124, Denver 105Box score
Game 3Utah 124, Denver 87Box score
Game 4Utah 129, Denver 127Box score
Game 5Denver 117, Utah 107Box score
Game 6Denver 1197, Utah 107Box score
Game 7Denver 80, Utah 78Box score
Nuggets win best-of-seven series tied 4-3

Rockies

Left Kyle Freeland continued his redemption tour with a solid six-inning outing in Houston, but the Rockies offense managed just two hits in a 2-1 loss to the Astros on Monday night.

Freeland now has quality starts in all five of his outings this season, tied for the second-longest streak to begin a season in franchise history. He’s got a long way to go to catch the record holder though, that would be Ubaldo Jiménez who had 14 in a row to start the 2010 season.

Colorado’s lone run came on a solo homer by Trevor Story in the third inning. It also was Colorado’s only hit until Charlie Blackmon led off the ninth with a single.

“It hurts when (Freeland) goes out there and does his job and the bullpen does, too, but we couldn’t do what we needed to do offensively. It’s on us.”

Story said of the offense’s inability to score more than one run Monday.

Story’s home run was the 130th of his career, tying him with Matt Holliday for 10th on the Rockies’ all-time home runs list.

  • Game 2 of the teams’ four-game series is this afternoon at 1:10 p.m. (AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 3.91 ERA) gets the start for Colorado against Houston’s Zack Greinke (1-0, 2.53 ERA).
  • The Rockies got some good news Monday as Carlos Estévez did not break his hand after being hit by a comebacker at the end of Sunday’s game. As of right now Estévez will avoid the injured list.
  • Colorado did make a move before the game though, placing backup catcher Elias Díaz on the restricted list for violating team rules and protocols. Manager Bud Black would not elaborate on what the specific violation was. Right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau was recalled to replace Díaz on the roster.

Broncos

Head coach Vic Fangio described his team’s first padded practice, which lasted just 90 minutes, as “just OK.”

Tight end Austin Fort, coming back from knee surgery, missed his third day of practice and appears to be headed towards injured reserve. The Broncos are scheduled to practice again today.

  • TheDNVR’s Ryan Koenigsberg wrote about why Monday’s practice was important for quarterback Drew Lock.
  • Lock meanwhile talked about being committed to being cautious when it comes to COVID-19.
  • TheAthletic looked at which non-playoff teams from last season have the best chance of making the postseason this year. They apparently don’t like the Broncos chances, as they ranked Denver No. 11 just ahead of the Chargers and behind the Falcons, Rams, Cardinals and Raiders among others. The Cowboys topped the list.

CU Buffs

CU men’s basketball player Evan Battey will represent Colorado on inaugural National Association of Basketball Coaches Player Development Coalition. Battey is one of 11 players named to the group which will meet four times a year and provide feedback about various issues facing basketball players.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rockies

Nuggets-Jazz open NBA playoffs today at 11:30 a.m.

Nuggets

Nearly 10 months after Denver’s regular season began the playoffs have finally arrived as the Nuggets take on the Jazz in Game 1 of the teams’ first-round series today (11:30 a.m., ESPN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in Orlando.

The Nuggets swept the season series (3-0) with Utah, but the three games were decided by a total of 11 points, so don’t expect a cakewalk for Nikola Jokić and company.

Denver did receive good news of sorts over the weekend though as Utah starting point guard Mike Conley left the NBA bubble in Orlando for the birth of his son. Due to the NBA’s quarantine protocols Conley is expected to miss at least Games 1 and 2 of the series.

To get your covered on everything Nuggets-Jazz, here’s a roundup of everything being written about the series.

  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares has a great, in-depth breakdown, with plenty of game video, looking at the key battlegrounds in the series.
  • At TheAthletic.com Joe Vardon wrote about team-by-team observations, one of his notes on the Nuggets was that during the training camp portion of life in the bubble Paul Millsap golfed nearly everyday.
  • TheAthletic also has an article with an anonymous scout, coach and exec who pick first-round series winners. All three picked the Nuggets to advance. TheAthletic’s John Hollinger also made his picks and thinks the Nuggets will advance in six games.
  • The Denver Post published its Nuggets playoff guide today and in it they wrote about Michael Porter Jr. and why he has a playoff advantage. As well as five things to watch in the series, how Denver is more confident this year after last season’s playoff experience and Mike Singer also wrote about how the Nuggets have backed up their commitment to social justice while in the bubble.
  • My thoughts: It’s been a long time since the Nuggets were legitimate favorites heading into a playoff series, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t get past the Jazz in five or six games. With Conley being out for the Jazz that makes these first couple games pivotal, Denver needs to win each game he misses and put Utah away as early as possible.
    I want to believe, but I definitely worry about them stumbling a little and having to go seven games, just like last year. Unfortunately, this year they don’t have the home crowd to help if that does happen. I’ll pick them to win in six games.
  • Nuggets-Jazz schedule
DateTime (MT)Channels
Mon., Aug. 1711:30 a.m.ESPN, Altitude
Wed., Aug. 192 p.m.TNT, Altitude
Fri., Aug. 212 p.m.TNT, Altitude
Sun., Aug. 237 p.m.TNT, Altitude
*Tue., Aug. 25TBDTBD, Altitude
*Thur., Aug. 27TBDTBD, Altitude
Sat., Aug. 29TBDTBD, Altitude
*If necessary, all games played on neutral court in Orlando

Avalanche

Shortly after the Nuggets-Jazz game ends the Avalanche face a pivotal Game 4 (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in their first-round series against Arizona. Colorado leads the series 2-1, a win would push the Coyotes to the brink of elimination, while a loss would tie the series at 2-2.

TheAthletic’s Ryan S. Clark and Kevin Kurz wrote about how the Avs did all the right things during their loss in Game 3, but unfortunately for Colorado so did Arizona.

  • Through three games it’s clear that Colorado is the better team overall, but with Darcy Kuemper in net for Arizona it could be a problem for the Avs according to The Post’s Mark Kiszla.
  • My thoughts: A hot goalie in hockey is sometimes all a team needs to win a playoff series. Kuemper has been outstanding so far for Arizona, but I think the Avs are just too good overall for him to pull Arizona back.
    The only thing that could change that would be if Philipp Grubauer struggles in net today and the Avs are faced with a goalie controversy. I don’t foresee that happening. Avs still should close out the series in five games.
  • Avalanche-Coyotes results and schedule
GameResult
Game 1Colorado 3, Arizona 0
Game 2Colorado 3, Arizona 2
Game 3Arizona 4, Colorado 2
Colorado leads best-of-seven series 2-1
DateTime (MT)Home teamChannel
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.ArizonaNBCSN, Alt.
Wed., Aug. 19TBDColoradoTBD, Alt.
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizonaTBD, Alt.
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColoradoTBD, Alt.
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Rockies

Outfielder Raimel Tapia had three hits and Jon Gray pitched seven solid innings as the Rockies ended their three-game losing streak by beating Texas 10-6 on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field.

It was a get-right game for the Rockies and one they hope gets them back on the winning track after Colorado had lost five of its past six games.

Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-3 in the win, ending a mini-slump of sorts after being one of the hottest hitters in baseball. And Ryan McMahon added a three-run homer for the Rockies as well.

  • Sunday wasn’t all good news for the Rockies unfortunately, right-handed reliever Carlos Estévez recorded the final out of the game, but it took getting hit by a comebacker to do so. Estévez replaced Jairo Díaz in the ninth inning after Díaz walked three, including two with the bases loaded. Rockies manager Bud Black said it was too early to know the extent of Estévez’s injury.
    My thoughts: No matter what the situation is with Estévez, the Rockies need to get Díaz out of the closer’s role and put Daniel Bard in it. Díaz was hurt by a McMahon error on Sunday, but Bard clearly has shown that he’s the best person for the job right now.
  • It’s a big week for the Rockies as they open a four-game series in Houston today (7:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) before heading to L.A. to take on the Dodgers for three straight starting Friday.
  • Left Kyle Freeland (2-0, 2.45 ERA) takes the mound tonight for Colorado against Houston’s Brandon Bielak (2-0, 1.76 ERA).

Broncos

With Training Camp in full swing TheDNVR’s Andrew Mason looked at whether the Broncos will be able to keep running backs Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon happy this season with only so many carries and playing time to go around.

Colleges

Bad news for CU and CSU writes The Post’s Sean Keeler, as according the recruiting experts the Buffs had a bad week, but for the Rams it was even worse.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Gray stumbles as Rockies drop second straight

Rockies

Nolan Arenado returned to the lineup after an off day Sunday and went 4-for-4, while Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 14 games with four hits of his own, unfortunately for the first time this season Colorado’s pitchers got hammered as the Diamondbacks held on for the 12-8 win Monday night at Coors Field.

Jon Gray started and lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on 11 hits, including a leadoff home run to Kole Calhoun to open the game. Despite the loss Colorado remains in first in the NL West, a half game ahead of the Dodgers and 1.5 ahead of the Padres.

The Rockies had trimmed an 8-3 deficit down to one by the seventh inning when shortstop Trevor Story misplayed a possible double-play grounder into a two-run single. Story’s been great at the plate this season, but he does have four errors already.

  • Lefty Kyle Freeland (2-0, 2.41 ERA) gets the start tonight (6:4o p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) for Colorado against Arizona’s Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.81 ERA).
  • Not only does Blackmon have a 14-game hitting streak, he’s leading the majors in batting average (.484), on-base percentage (.514) and on-base plus slugging (1.217). He’s been so hot that manager Bud Black compared him to former greats Barry Bonds and George Brett.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote about Story, and how he’s underrated, but undeterred and that he just keeps getting better.
  • Meanwhile, TheAthletic.com’s Nick Groke wrote about where the Rockies stand a quarter of the way through the season. He focused on Freeland, the depth of the starting rotation and Blackmon’s tear so far this season.
  • The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders talked to Freeland who said the Rockies’ pitching staff is pitching with a chip on its shoulder this season.
    He also talked to Black who said if outfielder David Dahl breaks out of his slump he likely would return to the top of Colorado’s batting order.

Nuggets

Despite sitting all of their starters for the entire fourth quarter the Nuggets nearly knocked off the top-seeded Lakers on Monday night in Orlando. Instead, Kyle Kuzma knocked down the game-winning three pointer over Bol Bol with 0.4 seconds remaining as Denver lost 124-121.

Coming off a thrilling double overtime win against Utah on Sunday head coach Michael Malone was more concerned with not over working his players vs. Los Angeles.

Jamal (Murray), Michael (Porter Jr.), Nikola (Jokic), Jerami (Grant) have all played an extremely high amount of minutes. So, this game is an opportunity for us to compete, to get better, go out there and be prepared to win, like we do every night, but whether we win or lose, I’m not going to look too much into this because of who’s available and us closely monitoring how much we’re playing our key players.”

Michael Malone said before Monday night’s game against the Lakers.

So instead, as the Nuggets headed to the fourth quarter with the score tied at 88 Denver rode a lineup of Bol, Mason Plumlee, Monte Morris, P.J. Dozier and Keita Bates-Diop against LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“Couldn’t be more proud of our group. I thought we played extremely hard against the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. … For us to sit our starters that whole fourth quarter and to have guys on the bench out there giving them all they could handle and lose a heartbreaker is always tough.”

Malone said after the game.

Porter led the Nuggets in scoring with 15 points in 24 minutes of action, while Jokic added 12 points in 25 minutes.

  • Next up for the Nuggets is the other L.A. team, the Clippers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (ESPN, Altitude, 92.5 FM). Then it’s the final game before the playoffs on Friday as Denver takes on Toronto at 1:30 p.m. (Altitude, 92.5 FM).
  • Denver is 1.5 games behind the Clippers for the No. 2 seed in the West, and one game ahead of the Rockets.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind wrote about whether the Nuggets will be able to balance building chemistry while maintaining a healthy roster.
  • Both ESPN.com and TheAthletic.com released their latest NBA Power rankings. The Nuggets checked in at No. 5 on ESPN and No. 8 on TheAthletic.

Colleges

Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker confirmed reports that the Mountain West is postponing its fall football season due to coronavirus concerns. With the announcement CSU, Air Force and Wyoming are all left waiting to see if the season will be played come spring.

Now all eyes locally turn to the Pac-12 Conference which could make an announcement as early as today as to whether the season will be postponed or canceled. Several media outlets were reporting the Pac-12 and Big Ten could make a decision in tandem.

  • The Denver Post’s Sean Keller wrote about how if the Buffs and the Pac-12 do play this season then it will prove that it’s about the money, not player safety.
  • Buffzone.com’s Pat Rooney wrote that even though college football players want to play, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to.
  • My thoughts: I think college sports, football and men’s basketball in particular, are headed for a reckoning of sorts. For way too long the structure of college athletics at the Division-1 level has been a mess. There’s no reason that at CU the football team should have to play in order to fund the athletics department as a whole. How is it that D-II and D-III schools have sports teams, when they don’t have football and men’s basketball teams that generate huge sums of money? It’s ridiculous that it’s taken a global pandemic for this problem to finally get addressed, but now the question is whether the power that be actually will figure out a solution. And that’s the other problem, there’s no one actually in charge. We’re seeing it right now with each conference making its own decisions and with schools like Nebraska saying they’ll find somewhere else to play if the Big Ten does close up shop. Imagine the NFL allowing each division to decide what its teams are going to do this season, it would be chaos. Which is exactly what we have right now thanks to the NCAA.

Avalanche

With the first round of the NHL playoffs starting today TheAthletic.com released its Power Rankings and coming in at No. 1 is the Colorado Avalanche. No. 2 in the rankings is the team who beat the Avs on Sunday, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Not surprisingly in the prediction section of the article all the voters picked the Avs to beat the Coyotes in the teams’ first round series which starts Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM).

Broncos

The Broncos announced their training camp practice schedule for this year on Monday. As of right now the team’s first practice is scheduled for this Friday and they are slated to have 18 practices over the following three weeks.

Denver opens the regular season at home on Monday, Sept. 14 against the Tennessee Titans.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Rockies fall in Seattle, still win fifth straight series

Rockies

Without third basemen Nolan Arenado in the lineup the Rockies’ defense and offense suffered and Colorado dropped the series finale in Seattle 5-3 on Sunday.

Arenado was given his first day off this season mainly because he’s struggling at the plate (.185 batting average), but it was his glove the Rockies missed. Chris Owings started in Arenado’s place and made two errors on one play in the seventh inning that led to three unearned runs, technically the difference in the game.

Germán Márquez started for Colorado and went seven innings allowing five runs, only two earned, while striking out four. At 2-2 Márquez has half of the Rockies’ (11-4) losses this season despite having a 2.08 ERA.

  • The Rockies are back home for a three-game series with Arizona starting Monday. Tonight’s game (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM), will see righty Jon Gray take on Arizona’s Robbie Ray.
  • Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 13 games after going 2-for-3 on Sunday. Blackmon is hitting .529 with five doubles, three homers and 18 RBI during the streak.
  • Despite having the third-best record in baseball, and having swept the team with the best record (Oakland), the Rockies are ranked eighth overall in MLB.com’s latest power rankings.
  • MLB.com released its rankings of the Top 30 prospects in the Rockies’ organization. Middle infielder Brendan Rodgers topped the listed, followed by 2020 first-round draft pick, outfielder Zac Veen.
  • Lastly, former Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta retired over the weekend.

Nuggets

Point guard Jamal Murray made his long-awaited return to the starting lineup during the Nuggets’ 134-132 double overtime win on Saturday against Utah, blowing past his minutes restriction in the process.

Murray was supposed to play 20 minutes in his first official NBA game in more than five months, but finished with nearly double that (39). He ended with 23 points, a career-best 12 rebounds and eight assists. He pointed to fatigue as part of the reason he missed back-to-back free throws at the end of the second OT that could have put the game away.

“You know I’m tired when I miss two free throws at the end. But it felt good. Not playing for months and then having that intense of a game, it definitely wore on me — the way I played and the way I shot. I just have to be smarter sometimes and try and get the easy one.”

Jamal Murray after playing his first game in the NBA bubble.

Denver (46-24) is in third place in the Western Conference, one game behind the Clippers and a game and a half ahead of the Rockets.

Denver takes on the Los Angeles Lakers tonight (7 p.m., Altitude, TNT, 92.5 FM) in Orlando. L.A. already has clinched the No. 1 seed in the West.

  • For you sports bettors out there, DraftKings is running a promotion for tonight’s Nuggets-Lakers game. Here’s how it works: First, place at least a $1 bet on either team. Then, for every 1,000 bettors who do the same you’ll receive a free $1 bet. Meaning if 20,000 people bet on the game you’d get one free $20 bet. As of this writing the current free bet you’ll receive is $35.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares talked with former Nuggets coach George Karl and they discussed Michael Porter Jr., offensive flow and fostering leadership in young players among other things.

Avalanche

With Saturday’s overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado will be the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed and face the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs. The schedule for those games was announced by the NHL on Sunday night, here’s a look:

DateTime (MT)Home team
Wed., Aug. 123:30 p.m.Colorado
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Despite neither team actually being at home, having home-ice advantage still is important because the home team is allowed to make the final line change during stoppages.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Dom Luszczyszyn and Harman Dayal did an in-depth break down of the Avs-Coyotes first-round matchup. They point out that in hockey in particular there’s really no such thing as a major upset, but it still would be surprising to see Colorado lose to Arizona.
  • Meanwhile, The Denver Post’s Kyle Fredrickson wrote about J.T. Compher and Colorado’s third line.

Broncos

TheAthletic.com’s Nick Kosmider looked at where the Broncos’ offensive line stands heading into the 2020 season.

With the O-line in mind the Broncos are expected to sign free-agent right tackle Demar Dotson, an 11-year NFL veteran who started 15 games for Tampa Bay each of the past two seasons. Dotson likely would be competing with Elijah Wilkinson for the starting right tackle job after Ja’Wuan James opted out of the upcoming season due to COVID-19 concerns.

PositionBroncos’ ranking
Quarterback28th
Running backs8th
Wide receivers16th
Tight ends15th
Offensive lines17th
Interior defensive lines8th
Edge rushers7th
Off-ball linebackers10th
Cornerbacks22nd
Safeties5th
Overall19th

Rapids

The MLS announced its scheduling for the continuation of the 2020 regular season. The Rapids next game is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22 at Dick’s Sports Goods Park against Real Salt Lake.

In all, Colorado will play six games in a 22-day stretch, three games each at home and on the road. Additional games and dates for the MLS Cup playoffs will be announced in the future.

DateOpponentTime (MT)
Sat., Aug. 22Real Salt Lake7 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 26at FC Dallas 6:30 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 29Sporting Kansas City7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 5at San Jose8:30 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 9Houston7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 12at Real Salt Lake7:30 p.m.

CSU Rams

Over the weekend The Coloradoan released an in-depth report about racial insensitivity and abuse within the CSU athletics department. The story including quotes from players, coaches and administrators both using their name and anonymously.

If proven to be accurate I don’t think there’s any question that AD Joe Paker and current football head coach Steve Addazio should no longer hold either position. Currently all football activities have been put on hold at CSU.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Homers power Rockies past Giants

Rockies

Colorado got home runs from Trevor Story, Daniel Murphy and Charlie Blackmon as the Rockies rallied from a 3-1 seventh inning deficit to beat the Giants 6-4 on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.

With the win the Rockies won their fourth straight series to begin the season for the first time in franchise history. At 9-3 overall Colorado is off to its second-best start in history, only the 2011 team was better at 10-2.

Lefty Kyle Freeland had another solid start for the Rockies. He took a shutout into the seventh before allowing three runs in the frame and getting pulled with two outs. Yency Almonte came in and picked up his first win of the season, while Jairo Díaz worked 1 1/3 innings for his third save of the season.

  • The Rockies now head to Seattle for a three-game series starting tonight at 7:40 p.m. (AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela (2-0, 2.45 ERA) will start for Colorado against Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 4.66 ERA).
  • Manager Bud Black is using different players in the DH role lately, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story for example, and will continue to do so in order to help lighten the load for players during a busy stretch of the season. Both David Dahl and Nolan Arenado figure to be DH candidates in the future.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Nick Groke wrote about how Rockies ace Germán Márquez is working on improving his knuckle-curve, already one of the best pitches in baseball.
  • The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman wrote about how Story already is making a case for National League MVP honors this season.

Nuggets

Portland Damian Lillard torched the Nuggets for 45 points, including 11 threes, as the Nuggets two-game winning streak was snapped with a 125-115 loss to the Trail Blazers on Thursday afternoon in Orlando.

Denver was was again shorthanded as the Nuggets were without Paul Millsap (rest), Jamal Murray (hamstring), Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip).

Michael Porter Jr. once again led Denver in scoring with 27 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while Nikola Jokić only played 23 minutes and scored just eight points, although he did add 13 assists and five rebounds.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was still impressed with his team’s overall performance.

“They’re playing for their playoffs lives with all their starters, and we’ve got guys that have not played a lot of minutes in the NBA, and we’re giving them all they can handle. I wish we would’ve played with that same intensity in that second quarter, obviously, and there’s a lot to work on in terms of our defense and our 3-point defense, but you can’t ask for guys to play any harder than we did in that second half.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone
  • Denver now trails the Clippers by 1.5 games for second place in the Western Conference. Next up for the Nuggets is the Utah Jazz on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (TNT, Altitude, 92.5 FM).
  • TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind handed out player grades after the Nuggets’ loss. A few guys made the honor roll, while Torrey Craig might not want to show his parents his report card.

Avalanche

Vegas beat St. Louis 6-4 on Thursday night, meaning that the winner of the Avalanche-Golden Knights game on Saturday will be the West’s No. 1 seed, with the loser being No. 2.

When regular-season play was halted due to COVID-19 the Blues had been the top team in the Western Conference, but after back-to-back losses to the Avs and Knights the best they can do now is the third seed.

A time for Saturday’s Colorado-Vegas game has not been announced as of yet.

Broncos

Denver safety Justin Simmons talked to the media on Thursday and among other things said he wasn’t disappointed in the lack of a long-term deal this offseason and is ready to “focus on winning football games.”

Simmons is set to player this year on the franchise tag, which for safeties totals $11.441 million.

  • Meanwhile, guard Dalton Risner talked about learning to play other positions along the offensive line just in case he’s needed there due to right tackle Ja’Wuan James’ decision to opt out of the season due to coronavirus concerns.
  • And in the on-going, seemingly never-ending saga that is the Broncos ownership situation the trial that is at the heart of it was pushed back to 2021. The trial between Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace was slated to begin Sept. 1.

Local colleges

According to reports the Big Sky Conference will cancel its football season, meaning the Ed McCaffery era at Northern Colorado will be delayed for a year. As of now no official announcement has been made.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Avs blank Stars 4-0, eye No. 1 seed

Avalanche

Pavel Francouz made 27 saves and became the first goalie in Avs history to post a shutout in his first postseason game as Colorado dominated Dallas 4-0 in the teams’ second of three round-robin games on Wednesday in Edmonton.

Rookie Cale Makar got the scoring started just 3:19 into the first period on the power play. Joonas Donskoi later scored just after an Avs’ power play ended to give Colorado a 2-0 lead. Vladislav Namestnikov scored late in the second period and Andre Burakovsky added the final tally early in the third.

Colorado faces the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday (time to be determined) and with a win would earn the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Ryan S. Clark wrote about what the Avs will do throughout the rest of the playoffs with two goalies in Francouz and Philipp Grubauer who have both looked very sharp in Colorado’s first two games.
    My thoughts: In hockey you almost always have a clear No. 1 goalie, so the idea of going with two during the playoffs just feels weird. But the reality of the matter is it’s worked with the Avs so far, so what’s wrong with sticking with it. And if one guy gets hot or goes cold then you can make an adjustment, but until then, don’t try to fix what’s not broken.
  • TheDNVR’s Evan Rawal handed out grades to the Avs after the victory over the Stars.
  • Unfortunately, The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla was forced to write about how ridiculous it is that so many fans in Colorado still can not watch the Nuggets and Avs because of Altitude not being able to reach an agreement with Comcast and Dish Network.

Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. had his second straight 30-point game as the Nuggets rallied to beat San Antonio 132-126 on Wednesday afternoon in Orlando. Porter finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and made five threes in Denver’s second straight win.

The Nuggets also got another solid game from center Nikola Jokić who finished with 25 points and 11 assists. Monte Morris, starting in place of injured Jamal Murray had 19 points, four assists and zero turnovers. Both Jerami Grant (22 points) and P.J. Dozier (12 points and eight assists) led the Nuggets off the bench.

Denver is in third place in the Western Conference standings at 45-23, two games clear of fourth place Utah and just a half game behind the Clippers. The Nuggets are back in action tonight as they face Portland at 6 p.m. (Altitude, 92.5 FM).

  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Porter became the first rookie to score 65 points while shooting 65% or better and grab at least 25 rebounds in back-to-back games since Shaquille O’Neal in 1993.
    My thoughts: Stats like this are fun, but also not really accurate at this point. While technically still a rookie this is more like Porter’s third season than his first. He basically took a medical redshirt Year 1, and then with the four-month layoff this season due to COVID-19 it’s hard to really consider him a rookie. Either way he’s been fun to watch and if he keeps it up this year and going forward the Nuggets should be serious championship contenders.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares broke down the play of Grant and looked at how he shows off an under-utilized skill.

Rockies

Nolan Arenado homered in his third straight game, but it wasn’t enough as Colorado’s four-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-3 loss to the Giants on Wednesday night at Coors Field.

Starter Jon Gray pitched well (six innings, three earned runs), but Brandon Belt tagged him for a three-run home run in the fourth inning and San Francisco added another run in the six to pick up the win.

  • Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to nine games and is hitting .378 this season, especially impressive when you remember he missed the start of Summer Camp due to a battle with COVID-19.
  • The Rockies and Giants finish off their four-game series this afternoon (1:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) with Kyle Freeland taking on the Giants’ Tyler Anderson, a former first-round pick of the Rockies.
  • Freeland is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA after two starts this year, and one of the reasons for his early-season success has been throwing more changeups.
  • Reliever Wade Davis, who was placed on the injured list with a right shoulder strain, has not yet begun throwing and continues to receive treatment.

Broncos

There’s no question the Broncos are going to be very reliant on young players this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. TheDNVR.com’s Andrew Mason looked at how Courtland Sutton and the rest of the offensive will attempt to build some chemistry, especially with the impact coronavirus has had on everything.

  • Along very much the same lines, PFF.com’s Sam Monson looked at whether Denver can challenge this year, with so much of a dependance on young players.
  • Over at TheAthletic.com Sheil Kapadia ranked all the NFL offenses from 1-32. Where’d the Broncos check in? How about 27th, one spot down from where they had them ranked last year. Clearly Kapadia believes the Broncos youth is a detriment, not a blessing.

CU Buffs

In some very sad news long-time CU Buffs fan Betty Hoover died Wednesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Hoover was 95 years old.

She, along with her twin sister Peggy Coppom, have been iconic fans at Buffs games for 80 years. She will be missed.

CSU Rams

Colorado State’s football scheduled was revealed, kind of, on Wednesday. Assuming it happens, the Rams will play eight conference games, with the opener coming the week of Sept. 26. CSU’s lone remaining non-conference game vs. Northern Colorado is now in limbo. As for who they’ll actual face? According to The Denver Post story, the scheduling models for the Mountain West Conference season remain “under consideration.”

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams High school sports Nuggets Rockies

Rockies win, tie best start in team history

Rockies

Germán Márquez allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings while striking out nine and Nolan Arenado homered in his second straight game as the Rockies beat the Giants 5-2 on Tuesday night at Coors Field.

With the win Colorado is now 8-2 on the season matching the team’s best start in franchise history. The Rockies also started 2011 8-2, but stumbled to a 73-89 finish.

Despite his final line, manager Bud Black actually didn’t think Márquez was as sharp as he’s been this year, which speaks to how good he has become.

“I don’t think he was as sharp as we’ve seen him. I don’t think the fastball was as crisp, but he made pitches with the fastball, the secondaries were solid. From start to finish, I thought he was in complete control.”

Manger Bud Black talking about starting pitcher Germán Márquez

My thoughts: In a normal season an 8-2 start wouldn’t mean a whole lot, as evidenced by the Rockies in 2011. But this year it means the Rockies are in prime position to make the postseason.

It’s easier said than done, but with only 50 games remaining if Colorado plays .500 ball for the rest of the year they’ll finish 33-27 and almost assuredly qualify for the expanded postseason.

The most encouraging aspect so far has been the outstanding starting pitching from Márquez, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela.

  • The Rockies and Giants are back at it again tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) with Gray getting the start for Colorado and Logan Webb making the start for San Francisco.
  • Before Tuesday’s game Black told The Denver Post that pitcher Jeff Hoffman could get more opportunities out of the bullpen or even potentially starting if he continues to pitch well.
  • MLB.com released its Top 100 Prospects List and the Rockies had two players on it. Shortstop Brendan Rodgers (31) and outfielder Zac Veen (60).

Nuggets

The Nuggets take on the San Antonio Spurs this afternoon (2 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM) in the team’s third seeding game since the NBA’s return. They’ll be shorthanded once again though as Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) are both out and Jamal Murray (hamstring) is questionable.

With that in mind Denver will need big contributions from Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. once again if they’re going to keep the momentum going after Monday’s overtime win against the Thunder.

  • Today’s Nuggets-Spurs game is one of a handful that will be broadcast by NBABet Stream and will follow the game with the betting public in mind.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind wrote about how the chemistry between Jokic and Porter is getting better and better.

Avalanche

The Avs are back on the ice today against Dallas (4:30 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM) in the second of three round-robin games before their playoffs began. Colorado is 0-4 against the Stars this season, but the last time the teams met was Jan. 14.

“They’re obviously a good hockey team (and) I think everyone in our room is aware of the troubles we might have had with them in the past and I think everyone is very determined to try to end them (Wednesday). If you want to talk about the law of averages, I guess we’re due, right?”

Avs defenseman Ian Cole told The Denver Post

Currently the Avs and Vegas Golden Knights are tied in the race for the West’s top seed. If there is a tie after the three round-robin games, then regular-season winning percentage will serve as the tiebreaker. That order was St. Louis (.662), Colorado (.657), Vegas (.606) and Dallas (.594).

Broncos

Linebacker Von Miller spoke about a variety of topics on Tuesday, from how he gave “serious consideration” to opting out this year because of coronavirus concerns to how the death of Kobe Bryant and “The Last Dance” changed him.

Miller tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-April and said by early May he had lost 15 pounds.

“It was hard for me to get my wind back for probably two or three weeks after the virus. Everybody’s symptoms aren’t the same, but for me, I lost my taste and smell. I couldn’t really eat because when you can’t taste or smell food, you lose your appetite. As soon as I got my second negative (test result) back, I started back training and started back running and it was tough no doubt about it. It was tough to just warm up, but I pushed through it and at about 2-3 weeks, I started to feel back to normal and hit it a little harder. I would say about two weeks after the virus, you still have a little wind issues, but that was for me – I have asthma and I felt like that was part of that.”

Von Miller on his battle and return from COVID-19 this offseason

As for dealing with Bryant’s death, Miller talked about reading Bryant’s book The Mamba Mentality: How I Play after and wanting to be able to lead his team in a similar fashion.

“Then ‘The Last Dance’ came out and I watched what Michael Jordan was doing back in his prime and I asked myself, ‘Hey, Michael Jordan was the best that ever played. Was I really making that commitment to the game? Was I really doing the same stuff he did? Like Kobe was one of the best to ever play. Was I doing the things that Kobe was doing? Was I demanding more out of my teammates? Was I demanding more out of myself? And I looked in the mirror and said I wasn’t. I just tried to change that and work as hard as I possibly could. I didn’t take any days off. I didn’t go on any vacations. I didn’t do anything but workout and grind and reinvest all of the time I would usually spend on like endorsements and all of this other stuff. I just reinvested that time back on myself.”

Von Miller talking about his offseason

My thoughts: There’s no question Miller has trained differently this offseason, the only question is how it will translate on the field. And that’s even assuming we have a football season.

It’s been great watching Miller learn and grow from the time the Broncos drafted him up until now, it would be great if he’s able to get back to the top of his game and eventually retire with the Broncos.

CSU Rams

Colorado State president Joyce McConnell is launching an “immediate and objective” investigation into the athletic department after allegations that student-athletes have been intimidated and threatened as leaders sought to disregard COVID-19 protocols.

CSU suspended football activities last week after a coronavirus outbreak. Then yesterday, multiple Rams players told ESPN.com that a position coach told players to hide possible symptoms of COVID-19 because “we can’t afford it” as a team.

According to the ESPN.com story: As the numbers continued to grow, some players felt compelled to minimize their symptoms, according to multiple people within the program. One source said a player who had a severe cough and eventually tested positive continued to work out. Another source said a player with symptoms, who subsequently tested positive, was “scared” to mention them to the coaching and medical staff.

TheColoradoan.com also published a story yesterday detailing the potential covering up of the COVID-19 health threat.

My thoughts: Multiple CSU players have come out to dispute the reports, but the fact that the ESPN.com story specifically says it was a position coach who was discouraging players makes it that much more believable to me.

Not only do I trust the reporting from ESPN and The Coloradoan, but if it was one or two coaches it would make sense that not all the players would have experienced the same thing.

Either way it’s a terrible situation and one that these athletes should not have to be dealing with. On Wednesday morning UConn announced it was canceling its football season due to COVID-19, the first FBS team to do so. At this point I don’t understand why colleges refuse to push the season back until spring at the very least, instead of continuing to put people’s lives at risk.

High school sports

CHSAA announced on Tuesday that the high school football season in Colorado would be pushed back until spring due to coronavirus.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rockies

Porter’s 37 points lead Nuggets to OT win

Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. turned in the biggest performance of his young career as the Nuggets topped Oklahoma City 121-113 in overtime Monday afternoon in Orlando.

Porter finished the game with career highs in both points (37) and minutes (43) to go along with 10 rebounds. One of the most impressive aspects of Porter’s scoring was that he did it on just 16 shots (12-for-16), thanks to going 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.

Not to be overlooked was Nikola Jokic’s first triple-double in the bubble. Jokic finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

Denver was once again short-handed as regular starters Jamal Murray (hamstring), Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip) all did not play.

“This is a big opportunity for me. We can’t wait for Will and Gary and Jamal to come back. For me to be in this starting position, I worked really hard so this is a good opportunity for me to show what I can do. Obviously, I’m going to be getting a lot of minutes right now, so it’s a great opportunity for me and I need to take advantage of it every night and not have off nights in terms of effort.”

Porter told TheAthletic.com after the Nuggets’ win

Rockies

Nolan Arenado broke out of an early-season slump with his first homer of the season and helped the Rockies rally past the Giants 7-6 on Monday night at Coors Field.

Going into the game Arenado was hitting .226, but a two-run homer off San Francisco starter Johnny Cueto in the sixth inning sparked Colorado’s rally. The Giants led 4-1 at the start of the inning, but were trailing 6-4 by inning’s end.

The ninth inning wasn’t without drama as Jairo Díaz picked up the save, but not after allowing two runs and stranding the tying runner at third base.

In his pregame press conference manager Bud Black thought Arenado was close to breaking out of his mini-slump.

“It’s just a matter of time. I told Nolan just moments ago that there are a lot of pitchers that are going to have to pay for this. And it could happen as early as tonight.”

Black before Monday night’s Rockies’ game vs. the Giants
  • At 7-2 the Rockies are tied for their best start in franchise history. Four times previously they’ve won seven of their first nine games, most recently in 2015.
  • The Rockies and Giants face off against tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 AM) with Germán Márquez looking to pick up his second win of the season for Colorado.
    The division rivals play again Wednesday (6:40 p.m.) and Thursday (1:10 p.m.) before the Rockies head to Seattle to take on the Mariners starting Friday.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Jim Bowden wrote about what to believe and what not to believe after roughly 10 games into the MLB season. Rockies’ fans will be disappointed to know Colorado made the list of what not to believe.
    It wouldn’t be too bad, if he just said the Dodgers will pass them in the NL West at some point (which he said). But he goes on to predict both the Padres and Diamondbacks might as well.
    My thoughts: I never like when writers and broadcasters ignore the results on the field. The Dodgers are obviously loaded and win the West almost every year, so I’m fine with that part of the article. But the Rockies literally just won a series against San Diego where they were one out away from sweeping the Padres. Do I think the Rockies are going to go 46-14, their current pace, this season? Of course not. But based on what they’ve done so far there’s no reason to think they can’t seriously contend.
  • In more positive national Rockies news, ESPN.com’s Dan Mullen predicts the Rockies will host a first-round playoff series and Trevor Story will win the 2020 NL MVP award.

Broncos

The Broncos’ plans heading into Training Camp were dealt a major blow as right tackle Ja’Wuan James announced he was opting out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.

The only good news for Denver is that Elijah Wilkinson was removed from the physically unable to perform list yesterday. If the season started today (which it does not) Wilkinson most likely would be the Broncos starting right tackle.

Among the reasons for deciding to opt out, James cited the recent birth of his son (born May 22) and a family member who was hospitalized because of COVID-19.

“To the Denver community: These first two years weren’t what I expected them to be when arriving here. I know you don’t know me well (and) a false narrative was painted of me last year due to comments made about my injury, but I am invested in this city and my team.”

Part of James’ statement about opting out this season.

James’ contract simply will push back one year, meaning he will count $13 million, $14, and $16 million against the salary cap from 2021-23.

Avalanche

A day after their dramatic win over St. Louis the Avs had an off-day in Edmonton. Unfortunately a day off while in the NHL bubble means there’s not a lot to do.

Colorado will practice on Tuesday before its next round-robin game Wednesday vs. Dallas (4:30 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM). Backup goalie Pavel Francouz is expected to get the start over Philipp Grubauer who started on Sunday.

  • While Altitude still is not available for Comcast and Dish Network subscribers, that didn’t keep the Avs’ game against St. Louis off the air on Comcast on Sunday. The Denver Post wrote about how Comcast violated blackout rules and aired the game on its NHL Center Ice platform, while the game also was shown on the NBC Sports app, which should have been blacked out as well.
    My thoughts: I’m fortunate enough to have DirecTV, so have been able to see Avs and Nuggets games most of this season, but what a joke that these companies haven’t been able to get things figured out at this point. Both the Avs and Nuggets have young, exciting teams and to think that most people in Colorado can’t watch them during these restarts is just ridiculous.

CSU Rams

The Denver Post reported that Colorado State conducted 150 COVID-19 test on Monday in an attempt to determine how widespread the outbreak within the organization is. It also will help determine when the football team can return to training, after being shutdown last Wednesday due to positive test results.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Rockies sweep A’s, home opener up next

Rockies

The Rockies improved to 4-1 on the season after beating the A’s 5-1 on Wednesday afternoon in Oakland to sweep the two-game series. No. 1 starter Germán Márquez gave up a home run in the first inning, but cruised the rest of the way. He finished with eight strikeouts, three hits and just one walk during six innings of work.

The offensive still wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but they got the job done for the Rockies when it mattered most. Including adding a run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to make it a much more comfortable win.

My thoughts: First off, I love this shortened MLB season. In a normal year Márquez wouldn’t have started yesterday because teams want to get their fifth starter work. How much better is it that teams are simply trying to win each game, instead of treating the whole season like a marathon.
As for the Rockies as a whole, it’s been a great start and we’re already through a 12th of the season and Colorado is alone in first place in the NL West. Really, what more could you ask for from them.

Avalanche

Colorado played its first game in more than four months, albeit of the exhibition variety, as the Avs beat Minnesota 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon in Edmonton.

Joonas Donskoi, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog all scored for the Avs in the win. Colorado managed to kill seven-of-eight penalties during the win.

Colorado has a bye in the best-of-five play-in round that starts Saturday. Instead, the Avs open play Sunday against the St. Louis Blues in what will determine the top four seeds in the Western Conference.

Nuggets

While the Nuggets don’t play until Saturday, the NBA season tips off tonight with Utah taking on New Orleans and the Lakers and Clippers squaring off with one another.

TheAthletic.com wrote about “Numbers to know about all 22 teams in the bubble.” The numbers to know about the Nuggets? 66.1% and 10.3%. Those were Bol Bol’s true shooting and block percentages during his eight games of G League action this year for the Windy City Bulls. It’s safe to say Bol’s play has been one of the biggest storylines of the NBA’s return so far.

My thoughts: Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be talking about Bol much until at least next season at this point. Coach Michael Malone struggled to play Michael Porter Jr. during big chunks of the season and that was when the games were much less important and when he’d seen Porter play more in practice and training camp.

I just have a hard time believing Malone is going to give Bol many minutes, if any, unless the Nuggets suffer a few injuries or are really, really struggling.

Broncos

Yesterday I wrote about PFF.com’s quarterback rankings. Well, today they’ve got their team-by-team backfield rankings up. I assumed Denver would be near the middle of the pack, and PFF.com actually had them a little higher at No. 12.

Not surprisingly, they’re high on Phillip Lindsay’s play, but are more questioning about the addition of Melvin Gordon. As they point out, Gordon was great in 2018, but during the rest of his NFL career he’s simply been average.

My thoughts: I was never a fan of the offseason signing of Gordon. I think the Broncos overpaid for him and risk alienating Lindsay in the process.

I would have much rather seen them give Lindsay a raise and either sign a cheaper free-agent back or pick one high in the NFL Draft.

CSU Rams

Colorado State’s football team temporarily suspended activities after as many as 17 people within the CSU athletics department tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are taking this step to voluntarily pause football activities to minimize the opportunity for this virus to spread any further. We will always put the health and safety of our student-athletes and community first, and while we are disappointed to see this spread occur within our program, we remain encouraged for the continued collaboration we have experienced with our University’s Pandemic Preparedness Team, local, county, and state health officials.”

CSU athletic director Joe Parker via a news release.

CU Buffs

Buffzone.com’s Brian Howell wrote about how head coach Karl Dorrell is earning the respect of his team.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Golf Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Rockies Opening Day arrives at long last

Rockies

It’s three-and-a-half months later than originally planned, but Opening Day for the Rockies has arrived at last.

In somewhat unexpected news rookie, former first-round pick Brendan Rodgers was left off Colorado’s 30-man roster to start the season. Instead, Rodgers will go to the Rockies alternate training site.

As for the Rockies, they open play tonight at Globe Life Field in Texas against the Rangers at 6 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet, KOA 850 AM). German Marquez will square off against the Rangers’ Lance Lynn.

  • Righty Peter Lambert meanwhile saw his season end before it started as it was announced he’ll have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Chances are likely his 2021 season is over as well.
  • It was announced on Thursday that baseball will have expanded playoffs this season, with eight teams from each league making the playoffs.
    The top two teams in each division will qualify and then the next two teams also will. The first round will be a best-of-three series with all three games hosted by the higher seed.
    My thoughts: I love this and which it would be the format going forward. How much fun is it when your team is out of the playoff race with two or three months to go in the season. The more teams with a chance to win it all the better.
    And while the one-game playoff was somewhat exciting, in baseball I just don’t think it works.

Nuggets

The Bol Bol hype machine was working overtime on Wednesday after the rookie’s impressive first NBA game, albeit in a scrimmage. But The Denver Post’s Sean Keller talked with former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce who quickly turned the hype machine off. Pierce said it was way too early to get too excited about Bol.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree more. The final line of 16 points, 10 rebound and six blocks is exciting, some of the plays he made were thrilling, but it was literally an exhibition game coming off a four-month layoff for a pandemic.

Bol could go on to be Hall of Famer and we’ll look back on Wednesday as his coming out party. But he could also just as easily be the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili and leave us all wondering what could have been.

The other question is how much will we even get to see of Bol once the action starts up for real. Head coach Michael Malone was reticent to play Michael Porter Jr. big minutes earlier this season, what to say anything different will happen with Bol.

Broncos

Today Denver Post position-by-position preview focused on Denver’s outside linebackers.

My thoughts: When it comes to the Broncos outside linebackers everyone seems to focus on two players. Von Miller and whether he can return to the player he was before last season or if he’s now beginning a steady decline. And Bradley Chubb and how much he’s doing to help this defense as he returns from ACL surgery.

When it comes to Miller I think he still has a few very productive years left. Last year was simply a down year, they happen to everyone.

As for Chubb, there’s one important point that keeps getting ignored. This is Chubb’s second ACL surgery on the same knee, he previously tore the ACL back in high school. I really hope he never has anymore problems with injuries, but as we’ve seen with tight end Jake Butt once you start having reoccurring knee problems they can be come a never-ending cycle.

If, however, Chubb can stay healthy and Miller returns to form, this unit could be one of the Broncos’ best.

Avalanche

Before the NHL shutdown for four months due to COVID-19 the Avs seemed to be constantly battling injuries. As soon as one player returned it seemed someone else went down. Unfortunately things haven’t changed much for Colorado.

Cale Makar returned to the ice on Thursday, but Nathan MacKinnon was absent. Due to the NHL’s new policy regarding player’s health there’s no word on the exact situation with either player.

Rapids

The Denver Post wrote about when Jonathan Lewis is finally going to get more playing time. As of right now Lewis has been a regular sub and for the most part he’s been the best player when he’s been on the field.

As for the Rapids as a whole, the question now turns to what’s next. The MLS is Back Tournament is still going, without the eliminated Rapids of course, but afterward the league has yet to announce when the rest of the season is expected to start.

As it stands the Rapids head home and will continue training and simply waiting to hear what the plan will be.

CSU Rams

Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson was selected as the preseason offensive player of the year as voted on by the media.

Jackson, a senior, is coming off a season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns. It’s the second time a receiver has been selected as the preseason offensive player of the year. When was the first time you ask? That would be in 2015 when fellow Ram Rashard Wiggins was tabbed.

Golf

The CoBank Colorado Open got underway yesterday and as the only woman in the field Jennifer Kupcho got off to a solid start with a 1-under par 70.