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.
First Base - Panarin, Karlsson lead free agency class
Though the Stanley Cup Playoffs are still going on, it's not too early to look towards free agency which begins July 1. There are a lot of exciting names, and accompanying rumours to go along with them. Artemi Panarin tops the list as the best player available. He had 87 points last year, and is just 27, so should command a huge contract. He's also expected to leave Columbus, along wtih teammate and goaltender Sergei Bobrovski. It's both exciting to see those players join new teams, and sad that the Blue Jackets fans won't be able to cheer for these guys any longer after a franchise-best season. Of course, things could change and they could go back to Columbus. The same goes for Matt Duchene, whois also a free agent. The other huge name is Erik Karlsson, who is still in the playoffs with the Sharks, and I think how the Sharks do the rest of the way may play a part in where Karlsson goes this summer.
Second Base - Rockets will look to even up series with no Durant
The Houston Rockets missed a massive opportunity to steal Game 5 in Golden State with Kevin Durant leaving in the third quarter with a calf strain. Instead, James Harden disappeared late and only took two shots in the final eight minutes, and the Warriors gutted out a huge victory. Still, the Rockets should be able to win at hoem tonight as they have done twice this series, and it's fair to expect Durant's absence to manifest itself over a full 48 minutes. This will be a fascinating game to watch. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
Third Base - 76ers even up series
The series between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers took another frustrating, bizarre turn last night when Philly embarrassed the Raptors for 48 minutes on way to a 112-101 win that was more lopsided than the score suggests. This after the Raptors just beat the 76ers by 36 points in Game 5. It's not surprising that Philadelphia bounced back, and even won, but it is strange that the Raptors were awful, missing shots, and looking lethargic. There has only been one very competitive game in this series, and yet it's going to Game 7. The final game is Sunday at 4 p.m. The Raptors will probably win, but I don't feel good about it.
Home Base - Boston roars back in third to beat Hurricanes
It looked like a dream start to the series for the Carolina Hurricanes. Well, at least for the first two periods. The Canes led 2-1 headed into the third, and had completely stifled the Bruins through two periods. But then, Carolina took two quick penalties to start the third, and Boston scored on both powerplays. The game completely changed from there, and Boston added two more goals late to win 5-2. Suddenly, Boston has its confidence back going to Game 2, while Carolina needs to regroup fast in order to get a split on the road. There is no hockey tonight, as Game 1 between the Blues and Sharks isn't until Saturday night. This is almost a welcome relief — I don't think I've had a night off from watching hockey since the playoffs started — but it sure feels strange.
Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.