Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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92 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH IN THE PROS BY MATT JONES T wo former Notre Dame hockey stars reached the sport's highest pinnacle in June. Former Irish standouts Ian Cole and Bryan Rust were both part of the Pitts- burgh Penguins' Stanley Cup cham- pionship team, defeating the San Jose Sharks. "One of the great rewards of coach- ing is following your former players pursue their dreams in hockey and in life," Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson told "Having your name engraved on the Stanley Cup is the ultimate prize in our great sport." The 27-year-old Cole — a 2009 All- American defenseman with the Irish — scored his first career NHL post- season goal in Pittsburgh's 3-1 win in game four versus the Sharks. Rust, 24, was a key contributor in the Penguins' Eastern Conference Cham- pionship series against Tampa Bay, scoring both of the team's goals in a 2-1 win in game seven. As is typically the case, the players celebrated with the Cup, and Rust was pictured filling the trophy with French fries, playing golf with it, as well as taking a nap alongside one of sports' most iconic pieces of hardware. "Ian and Bryan have had the unique opportunity to realize a dream they've probably had since they were kids," Jackson said. "They have had similar paths, having grown up in Michigan rooting for the Red Wings. They both played for their country with the Na- tional Team Development Program. They both successfully continued their hockey careers and graduated from the University of Notre Dame." According to Notre Dame, Cole and Rust became the fifth and sixth former Irish players to win the Stanley Cup. They are the first to do so since Mark Eaton and the Penguins won the Stan- ley Cup in 2009. The other Notre Dame players to lift the cup include: Bill Nyrop (Montreal Canadiens, 1976, 1977 and 1978), Don Jackson (Edmonton Oilers, 1983 and 1984) and Brett Lebda (Detroit Red Wings, 2008). In addition, as the senior vice president/general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, Notre Dame graduate Stan Bowman was part of Stanley Cup championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015. MLB PLAYERS UPDATE Through Aug. 23 • John Axford (Played at Notre Dame from 2002‑05), RHP, Oakland A's: Has made 55 relief out- ings for the A's, posting a 4-4 record with two saves and a 4.59 ERA … Whiffed 48 batters in 51 innings. • Jeff Manship (2004‑08), RHP, Cleveland Indians: Stood 2-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 42 appearances out of the bullpen … Notched 26 strikeouts versus 14 walks in 33 2 ⁄3 innings. • David Phelps (2006‑08), RHP, Miami Marlins: Began the season in the bullpen, making 50 relief ap- pearances, but has since moved into a starting role … In his first four starts, he compiled a 2-1 mark with a 1.31 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 20 2 ⁄3 innings … For the season, he stood 7-6 with three saves, a 2.28 ERA and 95 whiffs in 75 innings. • A.J. Pollock (2007‑10), OF, Arizona Diamond‑ backs: Has missed four-plus months of the season after suffering a broken elbow on an awkward slide at home plate at the end of spring training April 1 … Finally returned to the field when he began a rehabili- tation assignment Aug. 4 … Has played in 11 games at three different levels — rookie, advanced Class A and Triple-A — and was hitting .400 (14 for 35) with two home runs, eight RBI and two stolen bases … He was expected to finish his 20-day rehab assignment before joining the D-Backs Aug. 26. • Jeff Samardzija (2003‑06), RHP, San Francisco Giants: Was 10-9 with a 4.17 ERA in 25 starts … Has allowed 150 hits in 159 2 ⁄3 innings, while walking 41 and fanning 119. NFL NOTES • Former Notre Dame center Nick Martin has caught the eye of Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien in training camp. "It's been good; he's a good player," O'Brien told reporters. "He's tough, he's strong, very smart guy. He'll have his ups and downs just being a rookie and having to deal with the different physical nature of pro football versus college football, but he's one of the better rookies I've been around." Martin, who suffered a high ankle sprain on Aug. 18 and might miss this year's opener on Sept. 11, was asked by the Houston media if the adjustment to the NFL is more difficult mentally or physically. "I would say mentally," Martin said. "Obviously, the game is faster, everyone's good. We're lucky because we go against our defense — against the best every day — so it's going to make you better. " A three-year starter at Notre Dame and the 50th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Martin also drew praise from Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. "First of all, Nick's just a tremendous person," Os- weiler said. "As a football player, he has an edge about him. A rookie center coming into this system and going out there and playing at the level he is, it's truly impressive." • Although he had a "soft-tissue issue" that nearly held him out of his first preseason game, Baltimore Ravens rookie offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley per- formed well in his NFL debut. "I think I played well, but there's always room for improvement," Stanley told reporters. "I know [being the lead blocker is] something I'm good at doing and I'm able to do [it] and something that our offense calls for sometimes. I'm definitely able to execute on those types of plays." The statistics backed up Stanley's thoughts. Accord- ing to Pro Football Focus, Stanley received the highest grade of any rookie during week one of the preseason. Former Irish Ian Cole And Bryan Rust Win The Stanley Cup Cole and Rust (above) became the fifth and sixth former Irish players to win the Stanley Cup. PHOTO COURTESY PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

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