Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for February 28, 2019

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - Montreal Alouettes release Johnny Manziel

The CFL's Johnny Manziel era started wtih a bang and ended with a wimper, as the Montreal Alouettes released the quarterback yesterday. Manziel was only in the CFL for a year and didn't play a full season. I had high hopes for Manziel in the CFL — I don't know if I believed he would be good — but I really wanted him to be. Manziel didn't play well, but that's not exactly why he was released. The CFL actually directed the Alouettes to do so, and told other CFL teams to not sign him, saying that Manziel had violated a condition for his being in the CFL. 

Second Base - Subban and Laine voted most overrated players

In a NHL player-poll released by The Athletic today, P.K. Subban and Patrik Laine were voted the most overrated players. Before we look more closely, it's important to not put a ton of stock into the poll — only 63 per cent of the 198 players polled answered the question. Still, the fact that Subban received 23 per cent of votes and Laine nine per cent does make sense and isn't that surprising. Subban is the highest paid defenceman this year, but has just 23 points in 47 games, while Laine just ended a 15-game goal scoring drought. Sure, he does have 29 goals this year, but I don't think he's quite on par with the other players he came into the league with, including Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad was third, receiving six per cent of the vote. 

Third Base - Flames win seventh straight

Every week, it seems like a new NHL team is rolling. This week, it's the Calgary Flames, who beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 last night for their seventh win in a row — their longest streak this season. The Flames now have 89 points, the most in the Western Conference by 10, and have the second most points in the league. The Pacific Division is really bad, and it's hard to really know how much credit for the Flames' success should go to that, but the Flames are good either way you put it, and just might be the best team in the West. 

Home Base - Leafs play Islanders tonight in Tavares' first game back 

Finally, after weeks of hype and talk, the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders in New York is here, at 5 p.m. tonight. It's the first game for Tavares in New York since he left the team as a free agent, and it will surely be an emotional one. Unfortunately, I think those might be negative emotions. While the Islanders will surely play a nice video, I think the Islanders crowd is going to boo him heavily, and the Leafs will already be in tough against a tough Islanders team, and in the second night of a back to back with backup Garret Sparks playing. The Leafs were awesome last night though — outclassing an Edmonton Oilers team, winning easily 6-2. 

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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