Tyler Adams Coming of Age

Tyler Adams scored the first goal of his professional career on Wednesday night. But he didn’t just stop there.

He made it twice as nice by scoring his second goal for the New York Red Bulls, who settled for a 3-3 home tie with D.C. United. It’s the latest marker on what has been an incredible 2017 for the 18-year old phenom.

From starring at the U-20 World Cup for the United States to locking down a spot in the Starting XI in just his second full year in MLS, Adams has shown a growing maturity this year. Sprinkle in graduating high school, starting college classes (he’s studying sports psychology at Southern New Hampshire University) and attending prom, Adams has had a year to be remembered.

But it isn’t just his two goals on Wednesday night that has made fans and opposing teams take notice. Adams was easily the best player on the pitch for the Red Bulls despite being played out of his normal position in central midfield. His goals were one of the main talking points after the match.

“Excited. One was for the lead, one was for the tie, so it was good,” Adams said following the game. “A good feeling. But, ultimately, the three points is the most important thing, and we didn’t happen to come away with those today.”

Adams’ play and development has been nothing short of a revelation this year. It’s all the more promising due to the fact that he’s currently playing out of position for his club.

Adams is being utilized as a right wing back, a significant shift that carries far more defensive responsibilities than he is used to. With the youth national teams and the Red Bulls Academy, Adams is a central midfielder with creative responsibilities similar to being a No. 10, or an attacking midfielder.

[Red Bulls Insider Podcast: Tyler Adams]

In the Red Bulls’ new formation, Adams is called upon to add width, overlap and time runs into space. It requires different skillset for sure.

“I think that’ll do a lot for [Adams’] confidence moving forward,” captain Sacha Kljestan said. “I think he’s obviously very talented. I think that right wingback spot is a great spot for him. I think that’s probably his best position, I think he needs to make it his own and he needs to play there every game. You can see, even at the wingback spot, he’s getting himself in good positions up the field. So, the more he can continue to grow and push himself is going to be a good addition to help our team.”

Wednesday’s brace was big for Adams in terms of his development, showing a growing assurance that the Red Bulls will need as they push for the postseason.

“Amazing, amazing, amazing,” head coach Jesse Marsch said after the match. “Tyler Adams, amazing. Gets better every game, growing every game. What a pleasure to watch him. What a pleasure to coach him. Big-time player, amazing, amazing. Took the team on his shoulders.”

[Video: Marsch Reacts After Draw vs. DC United]

Want to know what else is amazing? Adams, who has already completed six credits of college online at SNHU, holds a 4.0 G.P.A.

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Filip Chytil Named Winner of 2017 Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award

Courtesy of New York Rangers – The New York Rangers announced today that Filip Chytil has been named this year’s winner of the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award, which is given annually to the top Rangers rookie in Training Camp as selected by the media.

Chytil, 18, is the first Ranger who has won the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award in the same year he was selected in the NHL Entry Draft since Dan Blackburn in 2001. In addition, he is one of four players who have won the award in the same year they were drafted by the Rangers, along with Blackburn, Filip Novak (2000), and Manny Malhotra (1998).

Chytil, who was selected by the Rangers in the first round, 21st overall, of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, skated in four games with the Rangers during the preseason this year, registering one goal and two assists for three points, along with a plus-one rating and two penalty minutes. He led the Rangers in shots on goal (14) and tied for the team lead in points in the preseason, and he was also the only Rangers rookie who recorded three points during the preseason this year. Chytil tallied a point in three of the four contests he played, and he registered the game-winning goal in overtime during his first game of the preseason on Sept. 20 vs. New Jersey.

The 6-2, 202-pounder skated in 38 games with Zlin in the Czech Extraliga last season, registering four goals and four assists for eight points, along with 16 penalty minutes. Chytil was one of 21 players younger than 18 years old who played in the Czech Extraliga in 2016-17, and he ranked second among players younger than 18 years old in the league in games played, goals, and points during the season.

The Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award, which was first presented in 1988, honors the memory of Lars-Erik Sjoberg, who was the Rangers chief European scout for eight years. During his tenure with the Blueshirts, Sjoberg played a prominent role in the team’s decision to draft Europeans such as Tomas Sandstrom, Jan Erixon, and Ulf Dahlen. Prior to joining the Rangers as a scout, Sjoberg played five seasons with the Winnipeg Jets during their time in the World Hockey Association (WHA), and he also skated with Winnipeg in its inaugural NHL season in 1979-80. Current Rangers who have won the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award prior to this year include Henrik Lundqvist (2005), Marc Staal (2007), Jesper Fast (2013), and Jimmy Vesey (2016).

LARS-ERIK SJOBERG AWARD WINNERS
1988 Mike Richter
1989 Troy Mallette
1990 Steven Rice
1991 Tony Amonte
1992 Peter Andersson
1993 Mattias Norstrom
1994 Mattias Norstrom
1995 Niklas Sundstrom
1996 Eric Cairns
1997 Marc Savard
1998 Manny Malhotra
1999 Kim Johnsson
2000 Filip Novak
2001 Dan Blackburn
2002 Jamie Lundmark
2003 Dominic Moore
2005 Henrik Lundqvist
2006 Nigel Dawes and Brandon Dubinsky
2007 Marc Staal
2008 Lauri Korpikoski
2009 Matt Gilroy
2010 Derek Stepan
2011 Carl Hagelin
2013 Jesper Fast
2014 Anthony Duclair
2015 Oscar Lindberg
2016 Jimmy Vesey
2017 Filip Chytil

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KP Feeling Good About What’s Ahead

The first thing you noticed was the quiet.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a pall over the events at Knicks Media Day on Monday at the MSG Training Center. There were smiles and conversations. There was a collective good mood and the usual giddiness that comes with the start of a new season.

But as I stood in the gym among the players as they went through the various stations of photographs and interviews, I couldn’t help but notice the quiet.

“It’s definitely different,” Tim Hardaway Jr. said of the mood since he was last here three years ago.

Phil Jackson and the Triangle (and his tweets) are gone. Carmelo Anthony and his presence (and that storyline) are gone.

What is left is Kristaps Porzingis and the return of his quick smile and engaging personality, which went missing late last season in the most alarming moments for the franchise. Before I even asked him how he felt, physically, after a summer of hard work, I asked him how he was “up here” and pointed to my head.

“I’m good,” he assured me. “It’s good.”

He did offer a pause earlier in the day when he met the media outside and was asked if he felt the franchise was now headed in the right direction. Remember, the reports were that the reason behind his decision to skip his exit interview with Jackson at the end of the season was based on his disillusionment with where the Knicks were headed.

“Uhhh,” the 22-year-old said as he considered the question.

“I believe so, I believe so,” he then said. “I have faith in those people [in the front office] and I believe they want us to grow and they want for me to be in a position so I can succeed. I’m excited … A lot of new things are happening and a lot of new people are here. So it’s going to be a lot of changes. I’m coming in with a fresh mind.”

Scott Perry, the new general manager that represents the most significant change since KP left for the summer, spoke directly about Porzingis as a player who will need to set the standard for the franchise. KP can’t only show he a willingness to replace Melo as the team’s star, but also a willingness to be coached and, most importantly, to be fairly scrutinized.

“We want to see that natural progression,” Perry said of Porzingis. “We’re going to support him, push him, we’re going to hold him accountable. And ultimately he’ll determine how much he’s going to be able to handle as far as the leadership role. I know he’s looking forward to the challenge.”

He spent the entire summer away to clear his mind and to prepare for this next step in his career. Just one look at him and you can clearly see the evidence of a determined offseason. When he first arrived as a rookie, Porzingis was thin and had that typical forward lean of an awkwardly tall, bony frame. Two years later, his back is broad, his shoulders muscular and his chest is back.

[For those looking for big legs or biceps, don’t bother. This is basketball. Shooters don’t want big arms. As for legs, he spent a lot of time on them, but as a fellow skinny-leg guy, there’s only so much you can do. The rest is the result of genetics.]

Overall, Porzingis looks solid and feels physically confident. He got to try out his new body playing for Latvia at EuroBasket earlier this month and was happy with the results. He’s also curious to see how it rates against NBA players.

“I don’t know if I’m stronger or the guys I played against were just not strong,” he said. “But I feel strong.”

The franchise now rests on these shoulders. #Knicks

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He will miss Melo, there’s no question about that. Defenses will pay more attention to him now than ever before. He added a terrific post move that could become an unstoppable weapon in mid-post isolations — an inside-pivot step out of the catalogues of Dirk Nowitzki and Melo — and continues to spend a lot of time on his catch-and-shoot threes as a trailing big on the break. Leg stability and endurance was a focus this summer and that will have a direct impact on his shooting percentage late in games.

And then there’s the weight of expectations now from media and fans in New York. It’s inevitable. The clock starts now for him. Heavy is the head that wears the crown in this city.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to be a leader of the team,” he said. “At the end, it’s not just one guy. It’s going to be us 15 guys as a team. But I’m excited about being one of the leaders of the team.”

MEDIA DAY NOTES

I had a great chat with Hardaway Jr., who is back to the kid I remember early in his rookie season. He admitted that he had some maturing to do and it happened when he went to the Hawks and they sent him to the D-League.

“You start to realize the opportunity you have and you don’t want to throw it away,” he said.

I asked him why — aside from the contract, of course, did he want to come back to New York, knowing what he went through the first time around.

“I wanted the challenge of proving myself. I’m not the same player or person that I was when I left.” It’s great to see the confidence back in his eyes. Last time I saw him in a Knicks uniform, he had shut down emotionally.

More on jersey numbers: Enes Kanter chose jersey No. 00. Meanwhile, rookie free agent signee Jamel Artis went with No. 0. No player has ever worn 00 in Knicks history. Artis would be the fifth player to wear No. 0, however. Shane Larkin was the last in 2015. Larry Hughes (2010), Earl Clark (2014) and Chris Smith (2014) are the others.

Perry addressed the fact that the Knicks have three centers on the roster right now in Kanter, Willy Hernangomez and Joakim Noah. “A lot of things will be sorted out through training camp,” he said. He also added that the minutes “will be decided how guys compete.”

But will all three still be on the roster by opening night? Perry admitted he may not be done making moves.

“Part of my job is to daily assess our roster and take phone calls and figure out ways to keep getting this basketball team better,” he said. “So I will continue to do that.”

Noah, who played just 46 games last season, was notably subdued when he talked to the media.

“I’m in a position right now where I had a really rough year last year. I’m coming off injuries and I just want to redeem myself for myself, more importantly, more than anybody else,” he said.

“Just come back and — look I got paid a lot of money to be here and I just want to be at peace with that.”

Noah signed a 4-year, $72 million contract last summer, but dealt with hamstring, knee and shoulder issues throughout the season. He was suspended 20 games in March for violating the NBA anti-drug policy after he tested positive for some over-the-counter supplements. He served the first 8 games at the end of last season and will sit out the first 12 games of this season.

– First round pick Frank Ntilikina spoke confidently about starting his NBA career. I loved what he said about his process of development: “I say every rookie needs to work on his potential and his abilities,” he said.

“It might take time. I will do the best for the team and for me to make this time to be as short as possible.”

My favorite of the many conversations I had from the day was with Hernangomez, who, like Porzingis, clearly put in a lot of work on his body during the offseason.

Hernangomez, a rebounding machine for Spain at the EuroBasket tournament, looks more muscular, but I couldn’t help but notice him seeming taller than last season. He told me last year he measured in at 6-foot-10. He had not yet been officially measured by the team, but proudly told me at EuroBasket, “I measured 6-foot-12.” He smiled.

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MSG Network Announces 2017-18 Knicks Telecast Schedule

MSG to Telecast 76 Regular Season Knicks Games and
All Five Preseason Matchups Starting Tuesday, October 3

All MSG Network Games and Pre- and Postgame Coverage Available on MSG GO

Home Opener on MSG
Pistons vs. Knicks – Saturday, October 21 at 8:00 p.m.

New York, NY (September 26, 2017) – MSG Networks announced today that they will telecast 76 New York Knicks games during the 2017-18 NBA regular season, in addition to all five of the Knicks’ preseason games. The New York Knickerbockers begin their 2017-18 season on MSG Network on Saturday, October 21 at 8:00pm with the home-opener against the Detroit Pistons. Pregame coverage begins at 7:00pm.

The Knicks host the Brooklyn Nets for the first preseason game of the year on Tuesday, October 3 at 7:30pm on MSG. All Knicks games, as well as pre- and post-game coverage, will be available on MSG GO, MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform for smartphones, tablets and computers. A complete Knicks telecast schedule is included below.

Some key early season games on MSG Network include an October 24th matchup against the rival Boston Celtics in Boston, as well as a tilt against the Eastern Conference champs – Cleveland Cavaliers – on October 29th from Cleveland. LeBron James and the Cavs come to New York on November 13th, and Oklahoma City and former Knick Carmelo Anthony play at The Garden on December 16th.

Mike Breen, the League’s preeminent play-by-play announcer, will return courtside with long-time partner, Knicks analyst and Hall of Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Al Trautwig will serve as host of Knicks telecasts for home games and Bill Pidto will handle host responsibilities for road games. Knicks telecasts on MSG will also include sideline reporter Rebecca Haarlow, features reporter Jill Martin, with Alan Hahn and Wally Szczerbiak returning as Knicks studio analysts.

Knicks game telecasts, presented by Chase, will be preceded by the 30-minute pregame show and followed by the “Ford Knicks Postgame Show.”

NEW YORK KNICKS

2017-18 MSG Networks Telecast Schedule

Preseason

Day Date Visitor Home Game Time TV
Tue 3-Oct Brooklyn at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM MSG
Fri 6-Oct NY KNICKS at Washington 7:00 PM MSG
Sun 8-Oct NY KNICKS at Brooklyn 7:30 PM MSG
Mon 9-Oct Houston at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM MSG
Fri 13-Oct Washington at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM MSG 2

 

Regular Season

Day Date Visitor Home Game Time Pre Game Time TV
Thu 19-Oct NY KNICKS at Oklahoma City 8:00 PM TNT
Sat 21-Oct Detroit at NY KNICKS 8:00 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Tue 24-Oct NY KNICKS at Boston 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Fri 27-Oct Brooklyn at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sun 29-Oct NY KNICKS at Cleveland 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Mon 30-Oct Denver at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 1-Nov Houston at NY KNICKS 8:00 PM ESPN
Fri 3-Nov Phoenix at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sun 5-Nov Indiana at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Tue 7-Nov Charlotte at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 8-Nov NY KNICKS at Orlando 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Sat 11-Nov Sacramento at NY KNICKS 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Mon 13-Nov Cleveland at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 15-Nov Utah at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Fri 17-Nov NY KNICKS at Toronto 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Mon 20-Nov L.A. Clippers at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 22-Nov Toronto at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Fri 24-Nov NY KNICKS at Atlanta 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sat 25-Nov NY KNICKS at Houston 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Mon 27-Nov Portland at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 29-Nov Miami at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sun 3-Dec Orlando at NY KNICKS 3:30 PM 3:00 PM MSG
Mon 4-Dec NY KNICKS at Indiana 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Wed 6-Dec Memphis at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sat 9-Dec NY KNICKS at Chicago 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Sun 10-Dec Atlanta at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Tue 12-Dec L.A. Lakers at NY KNICKS 7:00 PM ESPN
Thu 14-Dec NY KNICKS at Brooklyn 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sat 16-Dec Oklahoma City at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG/MSG 2
Mon 18-Dec NY KNICKS at Charlotte 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Thu 21-Dec Boston at NY KNICKS 8:00 PM TNT
Fri 22-Dec NY KNICKS at Detroit 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Mon 25-Dec Philadelphia at NY KNICKS 12:00 PM 11:30 AM MSG
Wed 27-Dec NY KNICKS at Chicago 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Thu 28-Dec NY KNICKS at San Antonio 8:30 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Sat 30-Dec NY KNICKS at New Orleans 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Tue 2-Jan San Antonio at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 3-Jan NY KNICKS at Washington 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Fri 5-Jan NY KNICKS at Miami 7:00 PM ESPN
Sun 7-Jan NY KNICKS at Dallas 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Wed 10-Jan Chicago at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Fri 12-Jan NY KNICKS at Minnesota 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Sun 14-Jan New Orleans at NY KNICKS 3:30 PM 3:00 PM MSG
Mon 15-Jan NY KNICKS at Brooklyn 3:00 PM 2:30 PM MSG
Wed 17-Jan NY KNICKS at Memphis 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Fri 19-Jan NY KNICKS at Utah 10:30 PM 10:00 PM MSG
Sun 21-Jan NY KNICKS at L.A. Lakers 3:30 PM 3:00 PM MSG
Tue 23-Jan NY KNICKS at Golden State 10:30 PM 10:00 PM MSG
Thu 25-Jan NY KNICKS at Denver 9:00 PM 8:30 PM MSG
Fri 26-Jan NY KNICKS at Phoenix 9:00 PM 8:30 PM MSG
Tue 30-Jan Brooklyn at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 31-Jan NY KNICKS at Boston 8:00 PM ESPN
Fri 2-Feb NY KNICKS at Milwaukee 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Sun 4-Feb Atlanta at NY KNICKS 12:00 PM 11:30 AM MSG
Tue 6-Feb Milwaukee at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Thu 8-Feb NY KNICKS at Toronto 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sun 11-Feb NY KNICKS at Indiana 5:00 PM 4:30 PM MSG
Mon 12-Feb NY KNICKS at Philadelphia 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Wed 14-Feb Washington at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Thu 22-Feb NY KNICKS at Orlando 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Sat 24-Feb Boston at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Mon 26-Feb Golden State at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Fri 2-Mar NY KNICKS at L.A. Clippers 10:30 PM 10:00 PM MSG
Sun 4-Mar NY KNICKS at Sacramento 9:00 PM 8:30 PM MSG
Tue 6-Mar NY KNICKS at Portland 10:00 PM 9:30 PM MSG/MSG 2
Fri 9-Mar NY KNICKS at Milwaukee 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
Sun 11-Mar Toronto at NY KNICKS 1:00 PM 12:30 PM MSG
Tue 13-Mar Dallas at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Thu 15-Mar Philadelphia at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sat 17-Mar Charlotte at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Mon 19-Mar Chicago at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 21-Mar NY KNICKS at Miami 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Fri 23-Mar Minnesota at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sun 25-Mar NY KNICKS at Washington 6:00 PM 5:30 PM MSG
Mon 26-Mar NY KNICKS at Charlotte 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Wed 28-Mar NY KNICKS at Philadelphia 7:00 PM 6:30 PM MSG
Sat 31-Mar Detroit at NY KNICKS 5:00 PM 4:30 PM MSG
Tue 3-Apr Orlando at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Fri 6-Apr Miami at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Sat 7-Apr Milwaukee at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Mon 9-Apr Cleveland at NY KNICKS 7:30 PM 7:00 PM MSG
Wed 11-Apr NY KNICKS at Cleveland 8:00 PM 7:30 PM MSG
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MSG Network to Telecast Live Rangers Practice

“Rangers Training Camp Live” – Thursday, September 28 at 11:30 a.m.

One-Hour Special to Give Blueshirts Fans Behind the Scenes Look at the 2017-18 Team,
Plus Interviews with Head Coach Alain Vigneault and Rangers Players

New York, NY (September 26, 2017) – MSG Network will telecast “Rangers Training Camp Live,” a live, exclusive look at the team’s training camp session from the MSG Training Center on Thursday, September 28 starting at 11:30 a.m. The hour-long special will be repeated on MSG later that evening at 10:00 p.m.

Hosted by Al Trautwig, “Rangers Training Camp Live” will offer fans an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at a Rangers training camp session, including practice, drills and team scrimmage. The show will also feature interviews with players and coaches, including head coach Alain Vigneault, and analysis and a season preview from MSG’s Rangers voices, including Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti, and John Giannone.

The puck drops for the Rangers’ opening night on Thursday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. with a matchup against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. Coverage of the opener begins at 6 p.m. on MSG.

Sam Rosen, the recipient of the 2016 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame, returns for his 34th season as the play-by-play voice of the Rangers and will be joined by in-game analyst Joe Micheletti, back for his 12th season.

Al Trautwig will serve as host of Rangers telecasts for all home games and Bill Pidto will handle host responsibilities for all road games.

John Giannone will resume his reporter duties for all Rangers games while a rotation of expert analysts will handle pregame, intermission, and postgame analysis including Steve Valiquette, Ron Duguay and Dave Maloney.

All Rangers games will also appear on ESPN 98.7 radio with versatile play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert calling the action and the aforementioned former Rangers great and captain Maloney handling the analysis. Don La Greca will serve as back up play-by-play announcer for games on ESPN 98.7.

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Red Bulls Ready to Renew Rivalry With D.C. United

The first ever rivalry in MLS was between New York and D.C. United, a bitter and sometimes bloody feud that also extended off the field between these two fanbases.

It has produced memorable moments and always, despite the records, was a match that the MetroStars — and later the New York Red Bulls — always seemed to get up for emotionally and physically.

There was a sense that United was the enemy and was to be hated. The matches were often played at a fever pitch and with plenty of emotion by New York.

That is, except for last season.

The Red Bulls had come out flat in their first meeting with United a year ago, losing 2-0 but looking simply dreadful in the process. They went on to draw the remaining matches of the series against a United team that finished 11 points behind them in the table.

It could be argued that in all three fixtures a season ago, D.C. came out and treated it like a rivalry match. They clawed and gutted out three results, showing their trademark tenacity and fire under head coach Ben Olsen. The Red Bulls didn’t seem to grasp the intensity level of their first rivalry, perhaps focusing a bit too much on their new one with New York City FC.

This lack of focus, of understanding the depth of the league’s oldest rivalry, may have contributed to their dropped points against United.

“Listen, last year in D.C. we got our [butt] kicked, plain and simple. And we learned from that and we put more into it when we came back home. It was only a draw but we learned from that, even when we were down there the second time, we learned from that,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said Monday.

“I told them this morning, ‘We don’t need reminders, D.C. is coming here to fight.’ And they always will [fight], give them credit for that. It’s a big match for us in terms of the table, it’s a rivalry match so it makes it even bigger and we have to understand what this will require.”

The two clubs have only met once this year, resulting in a 2-0 home win by the Red Bulls on April 15. The two remaining matches in this series, beginning Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena and then to close out the season down at RFK Stadium, likely will play a major part in determining if New York makes the playoffs.

Currently, the Red Bulls sit in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Marsch cautions that this United team, again struggling, won’t lie over and play dead. They made that mistake last year and he doesn’t want his club to fall into that same trap.

“Last year they weren’t doing very well and I think we underestimated them,” Marsch said.

“And it’s easy to do that again because they’re bottom of the table. The combination of knowing D.C. and where we’re at means that there can be no complacency and not taking anything for granted. I expect that we will fully understand that and be ready to go.”

RED BULLS NOTES

1) Midfielder Daniel Royer (knee) and outside back Connor Lade (shin) trained on Monday. Marsch imagines having both players available for Wednesday’s match at Red Bull Arena.

“Danny Royer is full go, 100-percent. Connor, we’re just managing his workload to make sure he’s available for Wednesday,” Marsch said.

The influential Royer, despite being out nearly two months, could even be an option to start.

“We can consider him to start. He’s doing well, he’s in – he’ll be in the 18,” Marsch said.

2) In last week’s loss in the US Open Cup final at Sporting Kansas City, Marsch’s first move was to replace left back Kemar Lawrence with Sal Zizzo. The decision raised some eyebrows – not because it was Zizzo (who is having really fine season this year) – but because the team was down a goal and needed an offensive spark.

However, most at the time thought that bringing in Gonzalo Veron was the best way to go to provide a spark in the final third.

Marsch explained on Monday that he thought Lawrence was beginning to fatigue, and that Sporting had made two offensive subs already. Zizzo, he thought, would add some fresh legs to the backline as the Red Bulls pushed for the equalizer.

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MSG Networks Expands Digital Presence Leading Up To 2017-18 NBA & NHL Seasons

New York, NY – September 26, 2017 – MSG Networks Inc. (NYSE: MSGN) announced today that it continues to successfully expand its digital presence – through both new OTT partnerships and its increased distribution of “MSG GO” – as the NBA and NHL gear up for their 2017-18 seasons.

This year’s NHL and NBA seasons will mark the first time MSG Networks’ full complement of live NBA and NHL games – featuring the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Sabres – will be available for digital distribution. This lineup of unmatched sports programming is available on “MSG GO,” MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform.

Over the past year, MSG Networks has continued to increase distribution for “MSG GO,” with the service now available to Optimum, Verizon FiOS, XfinityTV, DIRECTV, RCN and Service Electric Broadband Cable subscribers that receive MSG Networks. MSG Networks is working towards full distribution of MSG GO by all major distributors at the start of the NBA and NHL seasons.

The Company also recently announced its first-ever agreement with a major OTT operator for digital distribution of MSG Networks’ two award-winning networks – MSG and MSG+ – and continues to work towards a definitive launch date with this provider. In addition, today, the Company announced it has reached a multi-year agreement with another OTT provider, fuboTV, which will make MSG Networks available on its platform in the coming days. fuboTV will become the first live streaming TV service to launch MSG Networks. Timed to the new NBA and NHL seasons, fuboTV will make MSG and MSG+ available to subscribers of “Fubo Premier” – a base package of 65 channels.

“We are pleased with the progress we’ve made at expanding our digital presence, which we believe has been driven by our must-have sports programming,” said Andrea Greenberg, president and CEO, MSG Networks. “We are successfully delivering additional value for our existing distribution partners through MSG GO, while also increasing our footprint through agreements with new OTT partners – both of which enable sports fans to access our content in more ways than ever before.”

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Giants Remaining Optimistic

An 0-3 start to the season is far from what the New York Giants had expected but for a team that is fast approaching must-win mode, they remain increasingly focused on the task at hand.

Nothing more it seems and nothing less.

Before the season started, the Giants were favored to amake the playoffs and perhaps even make a push for the Super Bowl, but have instead been flat out of the gate. Struggles on offense up until the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss at the Philadelphia Eagles and a myriad of penalties — as well as mistakes — have doomed this team to a winless start.

And at 0-3, the team’s playoff chances certainly are not very good at this moment but that can’t be their concern right now. With a trip against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming up next, head coach Ben McAdoo said the focus must be on this week.

A loss this week, though, likely means the playoffs would be a bridge too far to cross this season.

“We need to talk about our potential in the room. We haven’t played a complete football game and clean football in all three phases, and we really haven’t earned a win yet,” McAdoo said on Monday in a conference call with the media. “It’s all correctable and we need to stay positive, be realistic and understand that we need to learn from these first three games and find a better way to play team football.”

There is no denying that the Giants have talent. They return the vast majority of a defense that allowed the second-fewest points in the league a season ago. On offense, they are led by a two-time Super Bowl MVP and several playmakers at the skill positions. It isn’t like this is a team in rebuild mode or trying to tank. This team is built to win and built to win now.

But the wins haven’t been there and the Giants now are left to try and right the ship.

It isn’t impossible. A handful of teams have lost their first three games of the year only to rebound and make the playoffs. It is a small group but certainly plausible that a team with the talent level of the Giants could rattle off a few wins and suddenly be back in the mix.

They’ll need better offensive line play, that’s for sure. The running game will need to get going and those costly penalties will have to be cut back significantly.

But as McAdoo said on Monday, it is one day and one week at a time for this team.

“Where we go from here. You know, we talked about it a little bit yesterday in the press conference, the three D’s, the cause of irritation, that’s where we are right now, we’re irritated. Deny, delay and disappointed. We need to keep fighting through,” McAdoo said.

“I believe in this team. I believe in the potential of this team. It starts with me and we need to keep fighting to get better and we need to keep fighting to get the win. Got to get that first one. With that, we will open it up for questions.”

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KingRaph is no joke at NHL 94

On the surface, Raphael Frydman is pretty unassuming.

The 38-year-old grew up in Queens a New York Rangers fan.

“My favorite player on the team was Sergei Zubov,” he said. “I still have a game-worn Zubov jersey from the year the Rangers won the Cup.”

He works at Alvarez & Marsal, a professional services firm in Midtown. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two kids (ages 7 and 8), is a soccer coach and is part of a bowling league. During much of his free time, “I work on the house,” he says, laughing.

It’s what he does during the rest of his free time that is remarkable.

That’s when Raphael Frydman becomes KingRaph, one of the most prolific NHL 94 players in history.

NHL 94 is widely considered to be the greatest retro sports game of all time, certainly among hockey titles. MSG Networks fans selected the game convincingly in an online tournament last March. And KingRaph sits at the top of the zamboni-curated snow mountain.

Frydman holds the world record for largest margin of victory in the game (70-1, a score most of us who grew up playing the game would only dream of).

The record is recognized by Twin Galaxies, the official sanctioning body for world records in gaming (made popular by the 2007 documentary “King of Kong”).

Frydman, or I should say KingRaph, will participate in the second-ever World NHL 94 Championship Tournament, happening on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. In the city where large crowds of competitors typically gather for high-stakes poker tournaments, this time it will be hundreds of nostalgic gamers battling their pixelated heroes against their foes for a chance at the crown … or golden hockey stick. Or something.

On Friday, KingRaph joined me for a game of NHL 94. He played as the Sharks and I played as the Vegas Golden Knights.

That’s right.

Because the tournament is being held in Vegas, a special tournament edition of NHL 94 was created to include Vegas in the game (as well, a pretty cool broadcaster! 🙂 ).

So how did I do against one of the best players in the world? Pretty well, actually.* Enjoy the video below where we play the game and I ask him about how he chased and captured the world record, why this game stands the test of time and much more.

I’ll have full coverage of the NHL 94 World Tournament from Las Vegas where I will not only be the MC but I’m entering the tournament, which of course will end very well for me.

Follow along on Instagram and Twitter (@ArdaOcalTV), and I’ll have a blog on MSGNetworks.com next week!

*Spoiler alert: I was awful.

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New Era Begins as Knicks Move on From Melo

This was never going to be a win. What it needed to be was painless. It needed to be quick, and it needed to have no residual effects.

In other words, this could not be another Patrick Ewing trade.

In the end, it wasn’t. The Carmelo Anthony Era ended in New York on Saturday when he agreed to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

We’ll get to reflecting on Melo’s mercurial career with the Knicks and the statistical legacy he leaves behind in the near future. But right now, let’s focus on what it means for the Knicks, who open training camp this week.

The Obvious: this long-awaited and painfully-slow-to-get-to rebuild is now officially underway. The mantle is now passed to 22-year-old Kristaps Porzingis, who is now the face of the franchise.

The core of the team — Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., rookie Frank Ntilikina, Willy Hernangomez — is collectively under the age of 25. There are still several veterans on the roster — Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Kyle O’Quinn and Lance Thomas — but with Melo’s presence out of the locker room, the young core will be encouraged to emerge as not only leaders but focal points.

The second-round pick that came in the Melo trade was window-dressing on the deal. It is the pick the Bulls sent last February when they traded Taj Gibson to the Thunder. The Bulls could be a lottery team this season, so that pick may be of some value as one that lands in the 31-40 range. But, just getting a pick was a nice addition to this trade.

Anyone who believes the Knicks should have been able to land a first-round pick for Melo clearly isn’t paying attention. For one, Melo’s no-trade clause took away much of the ability for the Knicks to create competition for him. Also, the Indiana Pacers didn’t get any picks at all when they sent Paul George to the Thunder for lottery bust Victor Oladipo and defensively-challenged rookie Domantas Sabonis.

The players the Knicks received, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott, do not fill any real needs (more in a moment on the on-court impact), but they do have very salary-cap friendly contracts that could allow the Knicks to clear space much quicker as opposed to taking on the remaining three years and $60 million left on Ryan Anderson’s deal that the Rockets were trying to push.

Kanter makes $17.8M this season (and is a $20.5M cap hit because of his $2.6M trade kicker) and then has a player option to become a free agent in 2019. Kanter spends a big part of his offseason in New York and loves the city, so he may be motivated to stay here.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 8: Enes Kanter #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks two points against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 8, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

McDermott is on his rookie deal, and, after he earns $3.3M this season, will become a restricted free agent. There is a $4.5M qualifying offer the Knicks would have to make to keep him restricted. Otherwise, he walks and the cap space is freed up. The potential, if Kanter opts out and McDermott’s qualifying offer isn’t made, is over $20M in space. Melo is scheduled to make $27.9M in 2018-19 if he does not opt-out.

As players, the Knicks added bodies to their already crowded frontcourt. Kanter, however, is immediately the team’s best rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. He and Hernangomez could dominate the glass. If Noah is even remotely healthy, he’s still a capable rebounder as well. Furthermore, Kanter is a very good finisher around the rim and in short-range.

[Read More From Alan Hahn]

The concern for Kanter is defense, particularly in the pick-and-roll, which basically forced him to the bench in the playoffs against the Rockets. It’s an area that opponents will try to exploit every time he’s on the court and that’s a major worry since Noah was also exploited often in pick-and-roll situations last season.

McDermott’s defense is also of serious concern. We saw last season when he was in Chicago, opponents went after him on the wing in isolation scenarios because he could not defend against dribble-drive penetration. But, he is a career 39% shooter from three-point range and you can expect the Knicks to put a greater emphasis on three-point shooting this season to spread the floor.

What the Knicks should do if they plan to keep McDermott — that’s not a given yet — is get him with my MSG Network’s studio partner Wally Szczerbiak. McDermott was often compared to Wally when he was in college. Maybe WallyBall can teach him some things to get his game where it needs to be.

PHOENIX, AZ – MARCH 03: Doug McDermott #25 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts as he walks off the court during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on March 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Thunder 118-111.

The Knicks have an abundance of bigs right now (Porzingis, Kanter, Hernangomez, Noah and O’Quinn) and it’s hard to believe they’ll all be on the roster on opening night when the Knicks open in — hey, how about that? — Oklahoma City. There was plenty of statistical evidence that proved Porzingis was more effective at the center position than at power forward, especially on the defensive end of the floor as a rim protector rather than closing out on stretch-four players.

So what does Jeff Hornacek do with his lineup with all of these big men? Who is expendable? Will Noah be healthy enough to play regular minutes or will he be a very expensive depth player?

Having Kanter, Hernangomez and Noah, however, does provide a lot of rebounding and physicality in the paint, which may be exactly what you need around Porzingis. While KP has muscled-up this offseason, he’s still a thin frame and even in the EuroBasket tournament earlier this month, Porzingis did not rebound at a high rate.

With all of that said, the Knicks are still very thin and unstable at the most important position in the sport: point guard. Ntilikina is very young and raw. Ramon Sessions and Jarrett Jack are journeymen. Ron Baker’s upside is somewhat of a Matthew Dellavedova, which means valuable backup.

[Watch: Jarrett Jack Seeking Redemption With Knicks]

So the search may continue through this season, into next year’s draft and, with the potential for cap space and flexibility as a result of the Melo trade, in free agency.

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