For the better part of four years, the Devils had made Ilya Kovalchuk The Guy in New Jersey. Lou Lamoriello spent weeks trying to talk his superstar out of breaking his commitment to the Devils -- and that, in itself, had to eat away at his soul. This is a man who built an entire franchise around character and loyalty, one who loves to tell people that the team logo is on the front of the jersey and the name is on the back for a reason. ... Meanwhile, Lamoriello faces what might be the biggest challenge of his career now. Can he keep the Devils from collapsing completely? And if not, how quickly can he rebuild the franchise amid ownership uncertainty and without that first-round pick in the upcoming draft? This is as bad as it gets for the Devils. (The Star-Ledger) Comment
After a somewhat tumultuous offseason of his own, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski emerged Thursday to answer questions about his team's latest issues. Gronk's former tight end tag-team partner, Aaron Hernandez, is in jail after being charged with murder, and Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was arrested and cited for driving under the influence Thursday in Lincoln, Neb. Gronkowski, who did not have a cast on his surgically repaired arm, said he was in "great spirits" while promoting his book "Growing up Gronk," but he had less to say when NFL.com's Albert Breer asked him about the NFL's crime problems. "Ask Roger Goodell," Gronkowski said. As for Dennard and Hernandez, Gronkowski said, "I don't have any comment on that." (NFL.com) Comment
Way back in 1999, the Knicks passed on a fellow named Ron Artest in the NBA's draft. [All] these years later the chance to sign Metta World Peace may be too good to turn down. Metta World Peace, the player formerly known as Ron Artest from Queensbridge, was released by the Lakers via the amnesty clause on Thursday and could become a free agent in 48 hours if no team claims him. The Knicks are in the market for a small forward and would have to weigh the risks. ... But with the Brooklyn Nets making bold moves this offseason, the Knicks may feel the pressure to do something without any regard for chemistry or whether having Metta World Peace playing in his hometown could prove to be disastrous. (New York Daily News) Comment
Derek Jeter returned to action for the first time in nine months, receiving a warm welcome from the crowd at Yankee Stadium. He went 1-for-4 and scored and drove in a run before leaving with a tight quad muscle in the eighth inning of New York's 8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals. (Seth Wenig/AP Photos)
In honor of the anniversary of one of baseball's most infamous promotions: Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago on July 12, 1979.