From Comcast SportsNetDwyane Wade's offseason is now pretty much over.The Miami Heat still have more than three weeks before assembling for training camp and starting the defense of their NBA title, but for Wade, summer vacation is essentially complete. He's been cleared to return to the court and rehab from offseason knee surgery, a process he's already started. And he'll spend the next couple weeks bouncing from coast to coast on a tour for his book on fatherhood that was released Tuesday.It means long, not-exactly-relaxing days will be the norm for Wade until training camp. Case in point: He was out of his hotel room in New York before 8 a.m. Tuesday, and didn't return until after midnight, at least a half-dozen events jamming his calendar.He calls the people around him Team No Sleep, and for the next couple weeks, that'll be accurate."I think when it's hard to find the energy, I think about all the things I want to do," Wade said. "Whenever I feel like I don't have the energy, I have to go back and think about where I've come. This is what I wanted so let's keep going, let's keep pushing, let's keep doing."That's his business mantra. It also applies to basketball.Miami's first game against the Boston Celtics isn't until Oct. 30, so there's plenty of time to get sharp. But Wade's process of getting ready for his 10th NBA season, physically and mentally, is under way. He had a couple slices of pizza for lunch Tuesday, meaning that when he got to the taping of CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," Wade had to pass on cookies left in his dressing room.Such is life for those who want more NBA titles."It's about now I start thinking about certain things," Wade said. "The season, it's still back here, in the back of my mind. It's not right here yet, not all the way in the front of my mind yet. But we're getting closer."Wade said his rehab is ahead of schedule. He was on the court for workouts last week.Clearly, though, he's not going to maniacally test his knee for a while. With his itinerary of promoting "A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball" in New York jampacked through the rest of this week, before the tour moves on to other cities, Wade is taking a few days off from court work.And when eyebrows rise when he says that, Wade quickly points out that going a bit easy at first not only was the plan, but is the smart plan as well."Coming off knee surgery, I couldn't possibly work out every day anyway," Wade said. "I have to work my way into things. I just left Los Angeles. I worked out for the whole week I was there. And now I needed a few days off. So when I leave here, I go to Miami and I'll work out again there. It's the way we mapped it out. It's no good for my knee right now to put that much pressure on it."His shoulder, that's getting a workout now.Wade signed 575 copies of his book at two events on Tuesday, both of which had people lining up hours before the doors opened. One man told him he flew in from China just to get an autograph. A woman told him she missed her first day of classes at Penn State to make the trip to New York and stand in line to spend a few seconds with him instead.When the Heat visit the Knicks this winter, Wade will be booed. Apparently, New York loves him the rest of the time, as evidenced by people standing outside his hotel for 12 hours to catch a glimpse, or others somehow who figured out his traffic pattern and ran up to his vehicle at red lights, unsuccessfully begging for autographs."Everybody wants to be associated with winners," Wade said. "Phones get picked up a lot easier when you're a champion. I understand some people might want to see my book, some people might want to see me, some people might want to be there because you're a champion. I see all sides of it. I appreciate it. When someone says Hey, Champ,' it never gets old."
The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold.
Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:
Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”
So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight.
The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no.
The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate.
If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye.
Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.
They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7.
So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season.
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There's a saying in sports that goes, "A series doesn't start until a team loses at home." For the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets, their series won't start until someone wins at home.
"We came [to Columbus] to try to get the first one," Barry Trotz said after Thursday's win. "Did that. We came here to get the second one. Did that. All we've done is just got on even terms."
Now the series is a best of three with two of those final three games in Washington, but how much of an advantage does that really give the Caps?
"We've got to make sure that we're ready to go," Trotz said. "I think we have been since we got here. We've just got to do it at home."
The various playoff struggles the Caps have suffered in the Alex Ovechkin era have been well-documented to this point. One particularly maddening issue is the team's struggles to win at home. Since 2008, the first year the Ovechkin-led Caps made the playoffs, the team is just 28-25 in home playoff games. Since 2015, Trotz's first season as head coach, the Caps are 12-10 in Washington.
Part of that is just the nature of hockey. Upsets are prevalent in the playoffs in the NHL and home-ice advantage does not mean as much as it does in other sports. But it should mean more than 28-25.
Besides having the crowd on your side, home ice also provides matchup advantages. The home team gets the second line change at home, meaning during a stoppage in play the home coach gets the opportunity to see who the opponent puts on the ice before making his own change. For the Caps, this means getting Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen on the ice against Artemi Panarin.
Trotz has matched his top shutdown pair against Columbus' top line all series long. According to Natural Stat Trick, when Niskanen was on the ice in Game 4 he held Panarin's Corsi For percentage to 36.36. When Niskanen was not on the ice, Panarin's percentage shot up to 71.43.
Theoretically, it should be much easier for Trotz to get those favorable matchups at home. Now all the Caps have to do is take advantage.
"Our home record hasn't been really great in the last little stretch at the end of the season here and obviously the first two games of the playoffs," Trotz said. "We owe it to our fans, we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of that."