Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Turner hit eight home runs in four years for the Titans. He did hit .355 as a senior, but the run producers were guys like Danny Dorn, Sergio Pedroza and Kurt Suzuki.“He looks bigger and stronger to me,” Horton said. “He’s picked up a leg kick and he’s learned about leverage. But even with us, he would face the best pitchers and figure out a way to hit something hard over the first baseman’s head.“We went to Omaha (for the College World Series) three of the four years he was with us. That’s no coincidence. The team gravitated to Red, which we still call him. His father was a baseball coach and Red was as smart as any player I’ve been around. And yet he probably had only one tool that you would call major league, a great pair of hands. We called him Velcro Hands. He’s still got those.”Turner broke them out in a tight seventh-inning spot Tuesday. At third base, he smothered a two-out hot shot by Wilmer Flores, with a man on first.Then came the eighth, which had the most jaded Dodgers fans reaching for a bag to fit their heads.Clayton Kershaw had suffocated the Mets for seven innings and had only thrown 94 pitches. He had also kicked off the Dodgers’ three-run rally in the third with a base hit off Steven Matz’s high changeup.“I was just trying to be annoying in that situation, honestly,” Kershaw said.“It was the one pitch Steven would probably want back,” Collins said.But because Kershaw was working with three days’ rest, he came out and Chris Hatcher came in to pitch the eighth.A walk to the Mets’ Curtis Granderson with two out was the signal for closer Kenley Jansen, who had pitched once since Oct. 3. Jansen walked David Wright before he retired Daniel Murphy, who had homered off Kershaw earlier.Had something gone haywire, one can assume manager Don Mattingly could have handed in his Dodger Stadium ID badge before the plane left New York.Instead, Zack Greinke will finally get to pitch a series-winning game for the Dodgers, although Jacob deGrom, the hairy heir to Tom Seaver’s mantle, will be working for the Mets.The one shadow on that field might be the condition of Turner’s knee. He left the game early and Mattingly said there was “swelling” involved, but Turner said, “It’s still on my leg, so I’ll be fine.”Turner’s breakthrough season was 2011, with the Mets. At one point he had RBIs in seven consecutive games.“I guess you’ve got to thank the Mets for bringing Marlon Byrd here,” Turner said. “I started hitting with him, working with his hitting guy. I was 29 years old and it’s a little scary to change the way you’ve done things your whole life. I’m pretty thankful I’ve trusted it and went with it.”“I faced him in (minor-league) Low-A when he was with Cincinnati,” Kershaw said. “He was a tough out then. But honestly I didn’t think he’d become this type of hitter. He’s one of the best in the game.”If Turner is the best hitter in the next game, the Dodgers move up, as will the value of all those Fullerton lineup cards. NEW YORK >> Nobody even blinks anymore when Justin Turner hits fourth for the Dodgers. Not even George Horton, who coached him at Cal State Fullerton.“He never batted fourth for us,” said Horton, now the Oregon coach. “Or third, either.”With a beard as orange as his Titan colors, Turner has become as recognizable as anybody on the highest-paid team in baseball history.If the Dodgers have anything for which to thank the New York Mets, it’s him. Turner has shown his gratitude with line drives, all over Dodger Stadium and CitiField in this National League Division Series. His double down the left-field line Tuesday night gave L.A. a 3-0 lead on the way to the 3-1 victory that sets up a tasty Game 5 at home on Thursday.• PHOTOS: Kershaw masterpiece forces game 5Turner is 7 for 15 with only two strikeouts in this series. The Mets even intentionally walked him in the fifth inning.Without the support of Mets manager Terry Collins and then-coach Ken Oberkfell, one doesn’t know where Turner would be. But guys who can catch, throw and think have a way of landing. Now he hits, too.Turner led L.A. in slugging and on-base percentage, was second in RBIs and tied for third with 16 home runs. Those numbers were fantasies when he was hopping from Cincinnati to Baltimore to the Mets. Or when he was at Fullerton, for that matter.
On the blueline, Florida improved its depth on the right side by signing Anton Stralman from Tampa Bay. The 32-year-old was limited to just 47 games and 17 points this past season due to injury; however, he has proven to be a solid stay-at-home defenseman who can block shots, move the play up ice, force turnovers and, most importantly, compete for the puck. Although he’s not physical, Stralman’s a strong skater who can play a shutdown game and, coupled with his experience, leadership and flashes of an offensive game, should help the Panthers find consistency on defense.In regards to secondary scoring, something they needed to add to after not re-signing Troy Brouwer or Riley Sheahan, they inked bottom-6 winger Brett Connolly to a four-year deal and 2019 Stanley Cup finalist Noel Acciari. Connolly, who is coming off a career-year in Washington (22 goals, 46 points) is a reliable asset on special teams and can find chemistry with just about anyone. Acciari, while his numbers were not flashy last season, is a versatile player who can play center or wing and should slot in well on the fourth line.The Panthers needed to make some changes and they did just that. Time will tell how they pan out but with a new look, they are fully expected to be in the thick of it with the Lightning, Bruins and Maple Leafs for the Atlantic Division crown. However, things may be looking up for the franchise. With a revamped roster, expectations are high that this year may end quite differently. NHL FREE AGENCY 2019: Full list of RFAs, UFAs from all 31 teamsOffensively, the Panthers were not downright terrible last season with an average of 3.23 goals per game, good for ninth in the NHL. Selke Trophy finalist Aleksander Barkov was among the league’s leaders in points with 35 goals and 95 points and Jonathan Huberdeau chipped in a 90-plus point campaign (30 goals, 62 assists). Mike Hoffman, acquired from Ottawa before the start of the season, was the leading scorer with 36 goals while Evgenii Dadonov and Frank Vatrano each had 20-plus goal seasons. Florida also saw help on the blueline, with Keith Yandle contributing 53 assists and Aaron Ekblad earning 37 points.Their special teams were also in fine shape. The power play ranked second-best among all 31 teams with a 26.5% success rate — behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning — and 10th on the penalty kill at 81.3%.Aleksander Barkov with a goal of the year candidate 😱🔥 pic.twitter.com/eVVpXX5E7N— Hockey Central (@HockeyCentraI) February 18, 2019The root of Florida’s problems, however, could be found with weak goaltending and a poor defensive game. Although Ekblad, et al. were not terrible, the top-4 did struggle. Yandle was a minus-17 and couldn’t find his game in his own end, giving away the puck 110 times over the course of the year. Top-pairing left-handed defenseman Mike Matheson had a team-worst minus-24 rating. And ultimately, the defense surrendered an average of 3.33 goals per game, fourth-worst in the NHL.NHL free agency tracker 2019: Full list of signings, best available playersBetween the pipes, four different goaltenders saw time in 2018-19. Future Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo battled an injury and posted the worst numbers of his career through 43 starts, going 18-16-5 with a 3.12 goals-against average and .899 save percentage. James Reimer started 36 games for Florida but was unable to be productive with just 13 wins, a 3.09 GAA and .900 save percentage. Rookie netminder Sam Montembeault and veteran backup Michael Hutchinson saw some ice time but also posted lackluster numbers.“I want to thank Vinnie and the Viola family for this opportunity. Dale, thank you for this opportunity… We’re so excited to be in South Florida.” -Head Coach Joel Quenneville pic.twitter.com/JBaYfuF1Rj— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 8, 2019Florida’s problems were fixed this offseason — all beginning behind the bench. Within 48 hours of the regular season-ending, Bob Boughner was out and Joel Quenneville was in. The former Chicago Blackhawks head coach brings a resume littered with Stanley Cups, three to be exact, and years of experience.But by far the biggest win of the summer was signing unrestricted free agent Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. After Luongo retired June 26, Florida not only added a Vezina-worthy starter but also dumped Reimer’s contract — instantly improving the situation in goal. Bobrovsky, 30, went 37-24-1 with a 2.58 GAA and .913 save percentage last season and was one of the biggest reasons the Blue Jackets became a consistent playoff contender.With him and Montembeault, the Panthers may have finally found stability in net. The move should improve the team’s defense and make the Panthers a more marketable franchise.MORE: Goalie carousel sees Lehner, Varlamov find new homes The last decade hasn’t been exactly kind to the Florida Panthers. Scratch that, upon entering the NHL back in 1993-94 the hockey gods have not been kind to the Florida Panthers.Since inception, the franchise has played in just five postseasons. They’ve qualified for the playoffs twice over the last 18 years, falling both times in the first round despite finishing at the top of their division. And the last time they made the playoffs was in 2016.
Govt jubilee plan…received $590M write offsThe Jubilee payment plan, which was offered by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) under the aegis of the Communities Ministry, saw more than two thirds of beneficiaries being those persons that were allotted middle and high-income house lots.This information has since been disclosed by CH&PA when it recently provided a breakdown of the entity’s performance over the past year.Department of HousingAccording to the information released, a total of 2881 applicants benefited from the plan paying over to Government a total of $590 million during the course of March and May 2016 during which time the Administration made its offer available.Only seven persons in the very low-income category benefited from the Jubilee payment plan.Those persons were allotted house lots at a cost of some $59,000, while 215 persons in the low income categories at $92,000 per lot managed to benefit from the plant.A total of 524 persons allotted house lots in the range of $150,000 and $200,000, considered by Government to be moderate income earners, benefited from the Jubilee plan.Middle-income lots ranging from $500,000 to $1.2 million saw 1440 persons cashing in on the Jubilee payment plan.The highest category of house lots awarded – in excess of $1.5 million – saw a total of 695 persons benefiting.The almost 3000 persons cashing in on the offer benefited from a total discount of $590 million.Government had also offered an additional subsidy towards home improvement and saw the programme offering beneficiaries a maximum of $50,000 in building materials, redeemable via vouchers, to effect approved improvement works to their existing basic building.CH&PA has since indicated that the subsidy saw persons from across the country in each Region benefiting.The information supplied by CH&PA has also revealed a dismal track record with regard to the expenditure of almost $6 billion, which was set aside to be spent from the CH&PA’s housing fund.According to CH&PA’s records, a total of $5.8 billion was budgeted for the year 2016, with $5.2 billion of this sum identified to fund the infrastructural investments and housing construction programme.However, as at December 2016, the total capital expenditure stood at $688.4 million, which represents 12 per cent of the total budgeted sum, while current expenditure was $414.2 million.The entity’s current revenues for 2016 stood at a paltry $67.8 million.The CH&PA reported too that there were no new housing areas developed, or upgrading works completed within existing areas, “since decisions to develop new areas or the prioritising of existing areas for upgrading ought to be informed through a process of feasibility assessments that is supported by current, comprehensive and accurate data/financial information for each housing area.”The CH&PA said the field data collection exercises were completed in November, while the data entry and verification exercise was in progress.Meanwhile, as it relates to the allocation of lands during the course of 2016, the CH&PA reported that only 2015 house lots were allocated, but that represented a more than 100 per cent increase over its target of 1000 allocations.Two hundred and twenty-one regularised squatters received allocation letters, out of the target of 400 squatters.As it relates to this year, the CH&PA is geared to fund its 2017 programme from the housing fund to the tune of $8 billion.Of that amount, some $2.3 billion has been earmarked to fund several of the projects that would have had to be rolled over from 2016.Some $2.5 billion has also been set aside for the “consolidation of existing housing schemes to conduct feasibility study of existing housing scheme as requested by CH&PA Board prior to intervention, and the upgrading of roads, drains and structures in low-income, regularized squatting areas and other planned housing areas”.According to the information supplied by the CH&PA, Government has set aside $1.6 billion to be utilised on the first phase of infrastructural development works and housing pilots, namely those for the townhouses, duplexes and single-flat houses.Minister with direct responsibility for the sector, Valerie Sharpe-Patterson had recently contended, “2016 was not our best year…2017 cannot and will not be a repeat of 2016…We have a job to do – to provide decent, affordable housing for the Guyanese people.”