Canes busy offseason, Bronny James and hot dog drama in the sports moments of the week ::

Canes busy offseason, Bronny James and hot dog drama in the sports moments of the week ::

The internet is a big place. Unless you’re 100% plugged in all the time (and let’s be clear, that is NOT recommended), you’re going to miss some stuff.

Let us do that work. You can be a well-adjusted human being and still catch all the best sports moments of the week, with a quick review …

The Hurricanes roster makeover is underway

We’ve already learned at least one thing about new Hurricanes general manager Eric Tulsky: he’s not afraid to make moves.

Even the tough ones.

Carolina has been busy in free agency, adding a slew of new signings and — more significantly — saying goodbye to others.

The headliner of the departing group is forward Jake Guentzel, who was acquired from Pittsburgh last season and seemed to give the Hurricanes a more dynamic element to their offense late in the year.

Carolina was reportedly prepared to give Guentzel an 8-year extension at one point but, after a weeks-long saga, he apparently decided to go elsewhere after a short stint in Raleigh.

That new destination turned out to be the Tampa Bay Lightning, who traded the Canes a 3rd round draft pick for Guentzel’s exclusive re-signing rights.

That one hurts, and so do some of the other departures we’ve seen.

Brett Pesce is headed to the New Jersey Devils after 9 seasons with the Hurricanes.

Stefan Noesen is set to join Pesce in New Jersey, while Teuvo Teravainen is going back to the Chicago Blackhawks and Brady Skjei signed with the Nashville Predators.

The Canes were able to bring back all-time locker room guy Jordan Martinook and inked star defenseman Jaccob Slavin to a massive 8-year extension. (They’re still working on deals with Seth Jarvis, Martin Necas and Jack Drury.)

PNC Arena

But if they want to remain among the elite teams in the Eastern Conference (remember, Carolina has won 50+ games for three straight seasons which is super rare), they’re going to need some of their new signings to outperform expectations.

Defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Walker are respected veterans, but have big shoes to fill replacing Pesce and Skjei.

Forwards Tyson Jost and Eric Robinson are low-risk signings, but seem to have a pretty limited offensive ceiling.

And then there’s 29-year old winger William Carrier, who just signed a surprising 6-year deal with the Hurricanes.

From afar, Carrier seems to be a poor man’s version of late-career Jordan Staal. He doesn’t score a lot of goals (16 is his career high), but brings intangibles and is excellent on the defensive end.

The team looks to be entering a (hopefully quick) transition period, trying to use its resources to stockpile younger assets and build around core guys like Slavin, Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov.

They even traded out of the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday night so they could end up with 10 total draft picks on Day 2. I won’t pretend to know anything about how they did in the draft, but experts seem to like it.

In general, I think it’s fair to expect the Hurricanes to be good again next season (after all, they still have Rod Brind’Amour as the head coach), but 50 wins for a fourth straight season seem like a stretch.

Michael Bunting scores in 5-3 win over Ottawa

Bronny James headlines NBA offseason so far

The 2024 NBA Draft was unlike any that I could remember (and not just because they decided to split it into two nights, which I completely forgot about until a few days before).

The No. 1 overall pick, Zaccharie Risacher, was met with a collective shrug.

The same goes for the rest of the first round, including Hornets pick Tidjaun Solaun at No. 6 and Duke guard Jared McCain, who went 16th to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Another Blue Devil, Kyle Filipowski, raised some eyebrows dropping to the second round (the Utah Jazz took him at No. 32) because of some weird drama involving his much older fiancee.

But even that was secondary to the 55th overall pick, who I’d wager will never record a 20-point game in his NBA career.

I’m talking about Bronny James, who is set to join his father LeBron with the Los Angeles Lakers.

This is a very cool thing that happened.

LeBron and Bronny are now the first father-son duo ever in the NBA, which is a testament to both LeBron longevity and Bronny’s perseverance in coming back from a serious health scare last year.

Now, the elephant in the room — and the reason that some people are hating on this move — is that, with a different last name, Bronny almost certainly would have gone undrafted.

To suggest otherwise is pretty silly.

Bronny is a good athlete, but stands at only 6’1″, averaged less than 5 points per game for a bad USC team, and (as mentioned) has some major medical red flags.

It’s absolutely nepotism that got him here, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

There’s nepotism all over the sports world (especially in front offices and coaching staffs). This is not new.

The fact that LeBron still has this much cache, at 39-years old, to get his son into the league is just plain impressive.

Is it a waste of a draft pick? Maybe.

But go back and look at any second round over the last 10 years. I bet you can’t find 20 guys who had meaningful NBA careers.

This will be a cool story to follow next season. It’s not going to ruin anything.

Kemba Walker Is Smiling as He Reads This

Wake Forest native Akshay Bhatia blows chance at Rocket Mortgage Open

22-year old Akshay Bhatia, who hails from Wake Forest, is having a very good season on the PGA Tour.

He won the Valero Texas Open in April, has two other Top 10 finishes, a Top 20 at the US Open, and sits at 11th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Very impressive, but I doubt he wants to hear anything about that this week after what happened on Sunday.

Bhatia had sole possession of the lead until Cam Davis birdied the 17th and pulled into a tie.

Bhatia immediately had a chance to answer, but could only manage to par the hole, setting up the all-important 18th.

Birdie that, and Bhatia would win the tournament. Par it, and he would force a playoff.

Neither of those happened.

Bhatia got onto the green in regulation and had a lengthy birdie putt, but left it much shorter than he wanted to.

It came back to bite him just moments later as he couldn’t find the right line to save par. The ball slid agonizingly by the hole and left Bhatia with a heartbreaking bogey and a 2nd place finish.

It was his second bogey and first three-putt all tournament.

All you can do is chalk it up as a lesson learned.

Again, Bhatia is only 22 and absolutely trending up.

As of now, it looks like he’ll skip the John Deere Classic this weekend, but keep an eye out for him moving forward.

I’ll be rooting for him.


Very bad week bounces USMNT out of Copa America

Things were really looking up for Team USA after a tournament-opening win over Bolivia last week, but oh my how things have turned.

The Stars & Stripes failed to get out of the group stage at Copa America, which a complete and utter disaster.

The downfall started on Thursday night, as winger Timothy Weah picked up an unconscionable red card just 17 minutes into the game against Panama.

Did the Panama player instigate the interaction? Maybe. But you cannot do that. Especially so early in an important match.

For a moment, it looked like the ejection might not matter as Folarin Balogun scored an amazing goal to put the USA on top… but those hopes were quickly dashed.

Panama scored the equalizer just 4 minutes later, then broke through with a winner in the 83rd minute.

It was a bad loss, but there was still a path to get through, as long as Team USA could get a result against Uruguay, who had already clinched the group.

Now, it should be noted that the officiating in Monday’s game was a complete disgrace.

On top of a number of missed calls and mishandled situations, Uruguay looked to be pretty clearly offside on the game’s only goal. (Somehow, it was upheld by VAR.)

Then, the head referee refused to shake Christian Pulisic’s hand after the game, so there’s that.

Not that it really mattered.

The US needed a win on Monday, and in order to do that you’ve got to score, which they failed to do, bad referee or not.

It seems like a foregone conclusion that (UNC alum) Gregg Berhalter is going to be fired for a second time in the coming weeks. (This shot of him clearly scoreboard-watching the Panama game is a bad look.)

Some USA fans have convinced themselves that the squad is going to hire Jurgen Klopp, which would be great, but seems like a pipe dream.

There are other intriguing options on the table, but at some point, we need to start blaming the players.

This was supposed to be the “golden generation,” but far less talented USA teams have accomplished much more than this group.

The 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, has been circled for a long time as the chance for Team USA to break through as a real, worldwide contender.

It certainly doesn’t look that way right now.

Two years is a very short time for international teams, so unless somebody has a magic wand I don’t know about, it might be time to start lowering expectations.


NCAA Football 25 team rankings are out, and people are mad

The countdown now stands at less than three weeks for the new EA Sports college football video game.

Gamers everywhere are giddy with excitement, but also a little ticked off, which seems about right for college football.

To help build the anticipation, EA has been releasing the top team ratings on offense and defense.

No surprise here, but not everyone agrees with the list.

NC State made the offensive list, but Wolfpack fans were definitely miffed at being left off the Top 25 defenses (especially since UNC did make it), which I have to agree with.

Dave Doeren’s group has a pretty established track record at this point, even without Payton Wilson. They should be an elite group once again this season.

Oh man I can’t wait!

There will be a new Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest champion this year

Yes, you read that right.

Joey Chestnut will not be on Coney Island to defend his hot dog eating crown on Thursday.

The 16-time champion may-or-may not have been banned from the event after he signed an endorsement deal with Impossible Foods (which sells veggie dogs), a direct competitor of Nathan’s.

Whether there’s an actual ban or not, there certainly does seem to be bad blood right now between Chestnut and Major League Eating (yes, that’s a real thing) so he’s not coming to the sport’s marquee event.

Instead, Chestnut is opting to spend his Independence Day at Fort Bliss in El Paso, doing his own 5-minute hot dog eating contest against soldiers.

Chestnut’s absence will be glaring at Coney Island, but will also open the door for a new contender to grab the mustard belt.

The two main contenders, according to oddsmakers, are 35-year old Tampa native Nick Wehry (who is jacked) and 39-old Chicago native Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti.

The world record (set by Chestnut) is 76 HDB (hot dogs and buns) in 10 minutes.

I highly doubt anybody gets close to that this year, but that’s why we watch!

Happy 4th! We’ll see you next week.