Golden Knights win Stanley Cup with total domination, plus drama with Stefon Diggs in Buffalo

This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

The Golden Knights are adding some silver to their trophy case. After blasting the Panthers, 9-3, in Game 5 and tying the Stanley Cup Final single-game goal record in the process, Vegas is your Stanley Cup champion.

Mark Stone scored once in each period to become just the third player with a hat trick in a Stanley Cup Final-clinching game.
Nicolas Roy (twice), Alec Martinez, Reilly Smith, Michael Amadio and Ivan Barbashev also scored for Vegas.
The Golden Knights’ offense was clearly dominant, but so was their defense — especially the penalty kill. The Panthers went 0-14 on the power play this series, becoming the first team to fail to score a power play goal in the Stanley Cup Final since the 1948 Red Wings.
Overall, the Golden Knights outscored the Panthers by 14 in the series, the second-best margin in the Final ever.
Those numbers really do tell the entire story. This was complete domination, devastation, mastery — you name it. It speaks volumes that of all of the scorers listed above, none of them won the Conn Smythe Trophy. That honor went to Jonathan Marchessault, who led the team with 25 postseason points.

This Vegas team was simply overwhelming, writes our Austin Nivison.

Nivison: “After a long run of playoff brilliance from both players, Stone and Jack Eichel saved their best performances for last. Eichel was all over the ice, making plays on the backcheck and the forecheck. He was rewarded with three assists and finished the playoffs with 20, which led the league. All Stone did was seal a Stanley Cup victory with three goals. His hat trick was the first in a Stanley Cup Final since Colorado Avalanche legend Petr Forsber pulled it off in Game 2 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final, which was also against the Panthers.”
Honorable mentions
The Giants and Cardinals will play in the 2024 Field of Dreams Game.
The Rangers named Peter Laviolette head coach.
Michael Andlauer is the new owner of the Senators.
Georgia’s top-ranked 2024 class got another boost in defensive lineman Jordan Thomas.
And not such a good morning for…

Star Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs was not at Buffalo’s mandatory minicamp practice Tuesday, an absence that has head coach Sean McDermott “very concerned.”

Late Tuesday morning, McDermott announced everyone except Diggs was in attendance.
Shortly thereafter, Diggs’ agent, Adisa Bakari, said Diggs was in Buffalo (and had been since Monday), had spoken with McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and would be in attendance for all of minicamp.
The truth, though, is that Diggs was in Buffalo on Monday and Tuesday… but left before Tuesday’s practice.
The absence is not contract-related — Diggs got a huge extension last offseason — nor is it football-related, quarterback Josh Allen explained after practice.
This obviously isn’t Buffalo’s ideal start to the summer. After making the AFC Championship Game in 2020, the Bills have lost in the Divisional Round in two straight seasons. Last season, Diggs was visibly frustrated with Allen and left the locker room in a hurry after losing to the Bengals in the playoffs, a loss Diggs was still taking hard months later.

Tuesday, Allen indicated he and Diggs have a strong relationship, something that has played out on the field. Since arriving in Buffalo in 2020, Diggs is tied with Davante Adams for most receptions in the NFL.

Not so honorable mentions
Mets reliever Drew Smith was ejected after a sticky stuff check… and his team lost, 7-6, to the Yankees.
Chiefs star Chris Jones is also skipping minicamp.
NBA mock draft, plus previewing free agency 🏀
Getty Images
Unlike the NFL, which gets months between the end of the season and the beginning of the next one, the NBA moves right into the thick of things with the draft and the opening of free agency later this month. Let’s start with the draft, which is just eight days away.

The Spurs won the lottery, and there’s no drama there. Victor Wembanyama is a generational prospect and should be a franchise cornerstone for years to come. After that, things get interesting. The Hornets have the second pick and a massive decision to make: Scoot Henderson, an insanely athletic, talented guard from G League Ignite who has teams interested in trading up or Brandon Miller, a 6’9″ forward with unlimited range from Alabama.

Our Colin Ward-Henninger released his first mock draft of the year, and he has Charlotte taking…

Ward-Henninger: “Hornets: Scott Henderson — Given the positional redundancy with LaMelo Ball, I understand why many experts expect Charlotte to go with the better-fitting Brandon Miller here. I just think Henderson is a significantly better prospect, and the Hornets are in no position to be picky about fit at this point. Henderson is as dynamic of a guard prospect as we’ve seen…”
Here’s more to know about the draft:

Top prospect scouting reports
How Amen Thompson’s shooting mechanics will impact his draft stock
Pro-ready prospects
Better-Than Team
Two days after the draft, free agency starts, and it will be a wild one. We already have rumors connecting Kyrie Irving to…

LeBron James (probably not)
The Rockets (more intriguing)
The Heat (Miami could go star-hunting)
Our James Herbert has listed 50 top possible free agents, and Irving is among seven headliners, alongside James Harden, Draymond Green and others.

Ranking the U.S. Open field, identifying sleepers 🏌
Claire Komarek, CBS Sports
The U.S. Open starts tomorrow, and I could not be more excited. The course — Los Angeles Country Club — is awesome. The field is loaded. The stars should shine.

Our Kyle Porter ranked the top 23 contenders in the field, and if you paid attention to yesterday’s newsletter, you won’t be surprised to see PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka at No. 1. He’s followed by the top two players in the Official World Golf Ranking: Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm.

Things start to get fun at No. 4.

Porter: “4. Viktor Hovland — Hovland has quietly become a monster at the majors. Since The Open last summer, nobody has been even close to as good as him, and he’s coming off a run where he finished T2 at the PGA Championship, T16 at the Charles Schwab Challenge and won the Memorial Tournament. His iron play has been, at times this year, up and down, and this place will demand it. But I trust his game plan and the level he’s playing at perhaps more than anyone other than the three guys above him right now.”
I’m really intrigued by Hovland as well as plenty of other names on Kyle’s rankings.

But what about the 133 golfers not on Kyle’s list? Our Patrick McDonald has sleepers, including…

McDonald: “Si Woo Kim — Kim’s play this year is not being appreciated. The South Korean continues to milk the most out of his game and entered the final round of the Memorial Tournament with a share of the lead alongside Rory McIlroy. Kim ultimately finished solo fourth at Jack’s Place and added to a season that includes a runner-up finish at the Byron Nelson and a victory at the Sony Open in January. He ranks second in driving accuracy (minimum 15 rounds) over the last three months and isn’t afraid of the spotlight. Odds: 125-1”
Athletics fans pull off reverse boycott; Nevada Senate approves funding bill for team’s new stadium ⚾
For most MLB teams, it was just another night in a long regular season. For Oakland Athletics fans, it was an opportunity to make a statement.

A season-high 27,759 fans showed up as part of a reverse boycott to protest team ownership and the organization’s impending move to Las Vegas.

To make matters even better, the Athletics beat the MLB-best Rays, 2-1, to extend their winning streak to seven games. To put that in perspective, before this winning streak, Oakland was 12-50.
The game featured thousands of fans in green t-shirts that read “SELL” and plenty of chants (featuring words I can’t type here) directed at owner John Fisher.
The boycott was also partially in response to commissioner Rob Manfred’s previous comments regarding the team’s poor attendance, which he used to defend the franchise’s incoming move out of Oakland.
Earlier in the day, the Nevada Senate approved a $380-million public-funding bill to build the Athletics’ prospective home on the Las Vegas Strip. The bill is expected to pass through the next steps: the Nevada Assembly and then governor Joe Lombardo.

After that, Athletics ownership must secure funding for the rest of the $1.2-million project and get the other 29 MLB owners’ approval, which is expected to happen unanimously.

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