To say the Badgers are struggling may be an understatement to describe the power play of the Wisconsin men’s hockey team, and historically, it is an uncommon occurrence.Each of the last four seasons, the Badgers’ conversion percentage on power plays increased, from 14.9 percent in 2006 to 21.6 percent last year. To begin play this year, the Badgers are 3-for-26 (.115), a key factor in the team’s 1-3 record.Despite the anemic start, Wisconsin isn’t yet allowing the power play to become a source of panic this early in the season, in part because the young team is still learning to play together.“The percentage on the power play is not too great of a concern for me because, yeah, we have Justin [Shultz] back and [Mark Zengerle] back, but [Tyler Barnes] hasn’t played with [Zengerle] on the power play, and we’re trying to get [Michael Mersch] in there,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “[Mersch] is new on that group and now we might even try [Joseph LaBate] there. We are just trying to find the right mix, and we’re trying to find a second power play, too. We have a whole bunch of guys going on there, so [the power play is] going to get better as we go along.”Part of the overall problem for the Badgers seems to be their inability to get shots when they have a numbers advantage on the ice. In their 26 power play opportunities, Wisconsin has only been able to muster 28 shots on goal.“I think we need to get some more shots on net, and I think we really need to work on us getting the puck in the zone and setting it up,” junior defenseman Justin Schultz said, mentioning he would like to see four or five shots per power play.One bright spot on the Wisconsin power play has been sophomore forward Tyler Barnes. Of the three power play goals the Badgers have scored, Barnes has two, including the first of three goals Wisconsin needed to overcome a 2-0 deficit against Northern Michigan on Oct. 18 in Wisconsin’s only victory of the season.“The goal on Friday night [against Michigan Tech], he made the right read like he is the quarterback with the puck; he made the right read and brought it to the net,” Eaves said. “The other one was a shot, so it’s been different things. But he should be scoring for us. Part of his responsibility on our team is putting the puck in the net, and so far he is doing it.”UW is pleased with the number of opportunities it has gotten but will need to continue to be aggressive rather than worrying about creating even more scoring chances.“One of the things that is little-known about power plays is that it’s not the opposing team that really causes the penalties, it’s your team that earns them,” Barnes said. “If you’re out there and you’re not playing hard, nobody is going to be taking you down. But if you have guys going to the net hard and going to the corners hard, you are going to get taken down and earn the penalties. That is something you can always improve on, but I think it is more important to capitalize on the opportunities that we have.”On the defensive end of the ice, the penalty kill has not been extremely sharp either, allowing four goals in 15 opposing power plays, but the defense has at least done a decent job of limiting the number of chances.Wisconsin continues to employ a two-goalie rotation, Landon Peterson in game ones and Joel Rumpel in game twos, and although there is a disparity between power play goals allowed (Peterson 0, Rumpel 4), Eaves has been pleased with the play of both goaltenders.“Those are the types of goals being scored, so [the number of power play goals allowed by each] is a non-factor,” Eaves said. “Matter of fact, if they are power play goals, they have the advantage so they probably should be getting some of those. Both goaltenders have played well.”Peterson is happy with his performance in goal so far this year and hopes the chemistry he and his teammates are building will eventually lead to more wins for the Badgers.“I think everybody that has been in the penalty kill in front of me has been doing their part and doing a great job,” Peterson said. “We have had a lot of success since I have been out there, haven’t given up one goal yet. Everyone is doing their part blocking shots, and we’re being successful together. … So far, I haven’t gotten [a win] yet, but I’m working hard for one.”
Yet Jackson said he will “build our team on free agents,” before arguing the NBA should increase the age limit for college prospects because of how long it takes to develop. Meanwhile, Scott conceded that “90 percent” of his focus entails evaluating talent. TNT may have dropped the Lakers-Knicks game. The crowd at Staples Center may have made the most noise when Jackson sat next to Buss at her courtside seat to watch the game during the third quarter. But some significant things emerged regarding that evaluation. Lakers forward Jordan Hill, who has a $9 million team option, had 19 points and a 10 rebounds. Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson experienced a rare off night with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting and one assist. Lakers rookie center Tarik Black posted 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Lakers guard Jabari Brown finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting in what marked his first appearance since the team acquired him from the Development League.“The draft, the free agency stuff, the trades, all that stuff are very important,” Scott said. “You have to hit home runs in all of them to get to the next level.” After finishing with a 26-56 record in Scott’s first season as coach in New Jersey, the Nets acquired Jason Kidd and made two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. “I was lucky and blessed in that situation,” Scott said. “It doesn’t happen overnight and everybody has to understand that.” Just as Scott advised, it seems Fisher understands that.“A patience level is good with the appropriate things,” Fisher said. “I’m not going to be patient with a lack of effort or lack of intensity or guys not being committed to the team. But I’ll be patient with the process we’re going through. We’re just getting that started.” The Knicks (13-51) have better odds at ending with a higher pick.That does not match what Phil Jackson envisioned when he became the Knicks president last season after winning five of his 11 NBA championships coaching the Lakers in two separate stints (1999-2004, 2005-2011). “It’s not something I wanted to do,” Jackson said before referring to the advice of longtime companion and Lakers president Jeanie Buss. “It’s something my partner said, ‘You’re sitting on all this information. Come on out and destroy a basketball team that you love.’ So that’s what I’ve done.”Jackson was joking, of course. But he described his stint with the Knicks as a “project gone awry.”This season, the Knicks lost a franchise-record 16 consecutive games. Carmelo Anthony became limited this season on an injured left knee before shutting down after the NBA All-Star break. Jackson sparked criticism for trading All-Star center Tyson Chandler last summer to Dallas. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The two men once became accustomed to hoisting up NBA trophies with their hands and flashing championship rings on their fingers. But there Lakers coach Byron Scott and New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher stood on the same sideline two months ago, sharing another thing in common that hardly makes either proud.Both of their respective teams rank among the worst in the NBA. So after holding Fisher in high esteem since mentoring him during Fisher’s rookie season with the Lakers 19 years ago, Scott offered him some support.“ ‘Hang in there,’ ” Scott recalled saying. “ ‘I know exactly what you’re going through and it’s going to get better.’ ”Fisher could say the same thing to Scott. The Lakers lost to the New York Knicks, 101-94, on Thursday at Staples Center, marking their sixth defeat in the past seven games. Yet the Lakers (17-47) own the NBA’s fourth-worst record, giving them an 82.8 percent chance of retaining their top-five protected pick, which is otherwise owed to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash deal with Phoenix.
RANKED Anthony Martial wants to leave Old Trafford, but Man United do not want to let him go this summer three-way race Real Madrid ‘offer’ Isco to Chelsea in bid to ‘make room’ for Tottenham star Martial’s agent sensationally claimed this week the 22-year-old wants to leave Old Trafford due to his lack of playing time.The French winger saw his role in the Red Devils team reduced in the second half of the season following the January arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.Martial got 11 goals and nine assists last season, but his lack of regular minutes saw him left out of France’s World Cup squad. GOSSIP Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Euro expert explains why Liverpool should be so excited about Minamino It appears Martial now wants to move on, and Premier League rivals Tottenham are said to be keen on a deal for the France international, with their defender Toby Alderweireld linked with a move in the other direction.Martial’s contract at United expires exit summer, but United can extend it by one year.And, according to The Times, they are keen to do so, as club hierarchy want keep the young forward at the club. IN DEMAND Chelsea confident of beating Man United and Liverpool to Sancho signing LIVING THE DREAM REAL DEAL Arsenal ace heading for January exit as German club ready bid for midfielder Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland heading off Manchester are not prepared to let Anthony Martial leave the club this summer. 1 Latest transfer gossip on talkSPORT.com ‘perfect fit” Man United ‘miss out’ on Minamino, West Ham scout Flamengo strikers, Auba wants out Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade