Watt inks 6-year deal with Texans (Yahoo Sports) - J.J. Watt couldn't sleep on Monday night after agreeing to a six-year contract extension with the Houston Texans. A cleaning lady let him in and Watt went straight to the weight room. ''I thought they were pulling a joke on me,'' Watt said Tuesday. Baalke, Harbaugh won't tolerate domestic violence (Yahoo Sports) - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh have made it clear they have zero tolerance for domestic violence and consider defensive tackle Ray McDonald's arrest a serious matter. Mahan, Bradley, Simpson get US picks - Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson are handed US captain Tom Watson's wildcards for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles later this month. Bradley, Mahan, Simpson get US picks - Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson are handed US captain Tom Watson's wildcards for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles later this month. Tom Watson fills out his Ryder Cup team (Yahoo Sports) - NEW YORK (AP) -- Keegan Bradley hasn't stopped thinking about playing in another Ryder Cup. U.S. captain Tom Watson gave him that chance Tuesday night. Following his own rules, Monfils into US Open QFs (Yahoo Sports) - Gael Monfils follows his own rules. What Monfils has never done, despite all his talent - and in some cases, because he has appeared to value style over substance right there on court, in the middle of a point, preferring the spectacular to the sufficient - is reach a Grand Slam final. Open during a surprisingly matter-of-fact 7-5, 7-6 (6), 7-5 victory in the fourth round over No. 7-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, a man considered one of the sport's up-and-comers. McNabb says Foles isn't a franchise QB (Yahoo Sports) - The question will follow Nick Foles around until he proves himself again. Foles began last year as a backup to Michael Vick and finished as a Pro Bowl MVP. His emergence was one of the NFL's biggest surprises and a main reason why the Philadelphia Eagles went from 4-12 to 10-6 and won the NFC East title. Foles threw 27 touchdown passes and only two interceptions, setting an NFL record for best TD/interception ratio. Cowboys' Brent reinstated, suspended for 10 games (Yahoo Sports) - Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent is being allowed to return to the NFL, though he won't play right away. The NFL on Tuesday outlined a series of conditions Brent must meet to be eligible to play when the Cowboys return from their bye week in November. Brent retired last year and was sentenced to 180 days in jail after a trial earlier this year. The NFL says Brent will be suspended for the first 10 games of the season for his intoxication manslaughter conviction in the 2012 death of teammate Jerry Brown. Monfils beats Dimitrov, into quarters of US Open (Yahoo Sports) - NEW YORK (AP) -- Gael Monfils, a flashy Frenchman known more for his shot-making than results, beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (6), 7-5 on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open for the first time since 2010. Monfils upsets Dimitrov in New York - France's 20th seed Gael Monfils upsets seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria to reach the US Open quarter-finals.

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Puck Daddy’s Summer of Disappointment Series: The misery of all 30 NHL teams [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 9:57 pm]
As is our August tradition here at Puck Daddy, we turned the mic over to readers, fans and other bloggers for a special summer series.  This time it was “The Summer of Disappointment”; a.k.a. “Puck Daddy’s Most Disappointing Summer Series,” for the snark-lover in you. The basic premise: Asking devotees of certain teams to tells us their most disappointing player, team, season, moment, transaction, executive and aesthetic choices in the franchise’s history. Much pain was relived. Much agony was recaptured. Jen Neale was the curator on this one, and pulled off a marvelous summer series. Here are the “Summer of Disappointment” entries for all 30 teams. Please feel free to revel in the misery of others. Anaheim Ducks Arizona Coyotes Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Calgary Flames Carolina Hurricanes Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils  New York Islanders New York Rangers Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins St. Louis Blues San Jose Sharks Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets *** It's been, er, an interesting summer for us here. Thanks for supporting the blog, and we can't wait to start talkin' hockey in the present tense in a few weeks.

Even Zac Rinaldo is surprised the Flyers re-signed Zac Rinaldo now [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 8:54 pm]
Zac Rinaldo was entering the final year of his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers and could have become a restricted free agent next summer. Perhaps sensing the confetti shower of offer sheets that would float down on him if he reached RFA status, the Flyers proactively signed Rinaldo to a 2-year extension on Tuesday.  From the Flyers: Rinaldo, 24 (6/15/1990) will be entering his fourth NHL season in 2014-15.  He appeared in 67 games for the Flyers last season, recording two goals and two assists along with 153 penalty minutes. He ranked second on the Flyers with 231 hits while playing an average of 7:41 per game, giving him an average of 2.23 hits per minute of ice time. For some reason the Flyers decided to downplay the fact that his 153 PIMs were fifth in the League last season. I bet if Corey Perry signed a new contract, the Ducks would mention he was fifth in points, for example. Also, this might be the first contract signing release to use the coveted “hits per minute” stat outside of anything Clutterbuckian. Rinaldo, meanwhile, seemed genuinely baffled as to why the Flyers tendered him a contract roughly nine months before it was necessary. “I’m surprised that we’d even started to talk about it so early, but I am thrilled,” Rinaldo said. “Philadelphia is where I started my NHL career and this is where I want to be so I am really happy.  This definitely gives me a lot of confidence by the Flyers showing that they have confidence in me.  I know they want to see me get better as a player, and this is the place to do it.” Kidding aside, that last point is the salient one: Can Rinaldo, who has as many games suspended (4) as points scored (4) last season, become something more than a 7-minute per night fourth liner? He saw 31 minutes of shorthanded time last season; is that an option? Is there untapped offense? Is he more than just “let’s wait until Zac Rinaldo does something stupid again?” Ron Hextall believes so, apparently.

Puck Daddy’s NHL 2014-15 NHL Emoji Preview: Winnipeg Jets [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 7:46 pm]
(The 2014-15 NHL season is nearly upon us, and attempting to handicap the winners and losers can sometimes leave us speechless. So we decided to break down all 30 teams with the next best thing to words: Emojis!)  Last Season In Emojis Last Season, In Summary  The Jets were relocated from the friendly confines of the Southeast Division to the competitive hell of the Central Division. Winnipeg stumbled to a 19-23-5 record to start the season, which led to the dumping of Claude Noel. Enter Paul Maurice, back in the NHL after looking studious behind the bench in the KHL. He steadied the ship, as the Jets went 8-2-0 in his first 10 games and 18-12-5 overall under his guidance. Alas, their putrid 9-15-5 record against the Central was their undoing. Well, that and the craptastic .901 save percentage from Ondrej Pavelec. Last Season’s Definitive Highlight  Jake Muzzin gets Buff’d! And then got, you know, a Cup ring and stuff, but still, tooooootallly Buff'd here. Off-Season Transactions Kevin Cheveldayoff continued to do a large heaping plate of nothing to turn the Jets into contenders. Mathieu Perreault and T.J. Galiardi were signed. Plan the parade. Also, Evander Kane favored a tweet advocating his trade to the Flyers, further endearing himself to Winnipeg fans and media. Leaving the ‘Peg were Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi, who combined for 70 points last season.   Blake Wheeler continued to find his groove, with 28 goals and 41 assists, including eight tallies on the power play. His line with Bryan Little (64 points) and Andrew Ladd (54 points) was the top unit for Winnipeg last season. Little (1.355) and Ladd (1.247) were the Jets’ leaders in Corsi Rel (Quality of Competition). Evander Kane remains the team’s most dynamic offensive talent, but was slowed by a concussion last season. He managed 19 goals, but it was his lowest goals-per-game as a Jet. Dustin Byfuglien was shifted back up front by Maurice and appears he won't budge from there. And by

Blackhawks, Kings, Bruins and Penguins lead NHL betting odds [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 5:24 pm]
Looking at the latest Bovada betting odds for the NHL’s 2014-15 season, a few things are clear about wagering on the division champions.  1. The Metro Division might be the only one that could turn you a decent profit, provided the Pittsburgh Penguins stumble post-Bylsma and the New York Rangers don’t automatically ascend to the top spot. 2. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues are getting mad respect as contenders in the Atlantic and the Central, but the Bruins and Blackhawks are still top dogs.  3. Not only aren’t the New York Islanders ever on TV, but the odds-makers give the Edmonton Oilers a better shot at winning the Pacific than the Isles have in the Atlantic. 4. Based on those 11/2 odds for the Colorado Avalanche, Bovada's obviously on the Corsi bandwagon too.  Here are the latest odds from Bovada: As far as longshots go, you could do worse than taking a chance on Cory Schneider and the Elderly Czechs (a.k.a. the New Jersey Devils) at 9-to-1 and the Dallas Stars at 15/2, because frankly we don’t know what they’ll end up having in Dallas this season if the offense clicks three lines deep and Kari Lehtonen stays healthy. OK, who wants the Buffalo Sabres at 16-to-1? Anyone? Incidentally, the Minnesota Wild (16/1, up from 18/1), Tampa Bay Lightning (ditto) and Montreal Canadiens (18/1, up from 20/1) all saw their Stanley Cup odds increase. The Vancouver Canucks meanwhile dropped from 28/1 down to 40/1; DOES THE ADDITION OF LINDEN VEY MEAN NOTHING TO YOU PEOPLE!? The Chicago Blackhawks are at 13/2 to win the Stanley Cup this season. Wonder what the odds are for Brad Richards being in street clothes when they hoist it?

Blackhawks, Kings, Bruins and Penguins lead betting NHL betting odds [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 5:24 pm]
Looking at the latest Bovada betting odds for the NHL’s 2014-15 season, a few things are clear about wagering on the division champions.  1. The Metro Division might be the only one that could turn you a decent profit, provided the Pittsburgh Penguins stumble post-Bylsma and the New York Rangers don’t automatically ascend to the top spot. 2. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues are getting mad respect as contenders in the Atlantic and the Central, but the Bruins and Blackhawks are still top dogs.  3. Not only aren’t the New York Islanders ever on TV, but the odds-makers give the Edmonton Oilers a better shot at winning the Pacific than the Isles have in the Atlantic. 4. Based on those 11/2 odds for the Colorado Avalanche, Bovada's obviously on the Corsi bandwagon too.  Here are the latest odds from Bovada: As far as longshots go, you could do worse than taking a chance on Cory Schneider and the Elderly Czechs (a.k.a. the New Jersey Devils) at 9-to-1 and the Dallas Stars at 15/2, because frankly we don’t know what they’ll end up having in Dallas this season if the offense clicks three lines deep and Kari Lehtonen stays healthy. OK, who wants the Buffalo Sabres at 16-to-1? Anyone? Incidentally, the Minnesota Wild (16/1, up from 18/1), Tampa Bay Lightning (ditto) and Montreal Canadiens (18/1, up from 20/1) all saw their Stanley Cup odds increase. The Vancouver Canucks meanwhile dropped from 28/1 down to 40/1; DOES THE ADDITION OF LINDEN VEY MEAN NOTHING TO YOU PEOPLE!? The Chicago Blackhawks are at 13/2 to win the Stanley Cup this season. Wonder what the odds are for Brad Richards being in street clothes when they hoist it?

Fisherwood pregnant; drafting goalies; Sigalet talks MS battle (Puck Headlines) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 5:22 pm]
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Toronto hockey humour graffiti update: Yup, it's still there. pic.twitter.com/CrIZWETwUT— SeanFitz_Gerald (@SeanFitz_Gerald) September 2, 2014 • Hockey is coming. • Mike Fisher may miss most of this season with the Nashville Predators but he’s already slipped one past the goalie. [Yahoo Celebrity] • Would giving a training camp invite to Dustin Penner be a good idea for the Montreal Canadiens? [A Winning Habit] • Carol Vadnais, who spent 17 years in the NHL with six teams, passed away at age 68 over the weekend after a battle with cancer. [Gazette] • With all the recent talk about expansion, let’s not forget that inaugural season’s are really, really difficult. [Japers’ Rink]  • After a dynamite college career what can we reasonably expect from Johnny Gaudreau with the Calgary Flames this season? [Flames Nation] • Really good read on new Flames goalie coach Jordan Sigalet and his fight with multiple sclerosis. [The Blade] • It’s OK to draft a goaltender, even if they are hard to project. [Raw Charge] • The New York Rangers will have some work to do in order to replicate last season’s success. [Bergen Record]  • The Los Angeles Kings have celebrated with Stanley this summer. Some, like Martin Jones, included owls in the partying. [Jewels From the Crown]  • After making a splash up front over the summer, the New York Islanders still have to see improvement on the blueline. [Islanders Point Blank] • Which WHL players could make the NHL leap this season? [Buzzing the Net] • From the Silver Monster of Chinese Taipei to Agaves Guadalajara of Mexico, here are the 55 IIHF member country champions of the past year. [IIHF] • In a fantasy hockey auction league? Here are 10 bargains to keep an eye on. [Dobber Hockey] • The Minnesota Wild have some questions in n

Is there a fantasy hockey player you avoid like the plague? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 4:36 pm]
One of the great features on Yahoo’s fantasy sports is the ability to avoid certain players like the plague. If you’re in a manual draft, that means you just don’t select them; if you’re in an auto draft, that means you move them over to the Column of Shame and let the computer know it’s not allowed to add them to your roster.  This has been an annual rite for my fantasy football team, the French Kissing Namaths, for quite some time. I’m not going to spend four months cheering for Tom Brady, because I’m a Jets fan and not a masochist, so I don’t draft him. Ever. This year, that ban extended to Ray Rice, because [expletive] Ray Rice. When it comes to hockey, there’s no doubt some of that thinking creeps into my drafting, in different ways. I actually don’t mind owning a Flyer or a Ranger as a Devils fan, especially if they’re fantasy beasts: Wayne Simmonds leaps to mind. I actually try not to own many Devils, because who needs frustration on top of frustration when Ryane Clowe doesn’t score for three weeks? [Yahoo Fantasy Hockey is happening now! Sign up for the 2014-15 season!] But in thinking about fantasy hockey, I started wondering if there are players I steadfastly avoid drafting annually. I came up with two names: Rick Nash, New York Rangers. I’ve owned Nash a few times over the years, and recalled scapegoating him when my offense would sputter. Too few power-play points, stretches in which he’d struggle with goals and too few other intangibles (i.e. penalty minutes, because yes, really great fantasy leagues should have them) to make up for it. Factor in that his health is now a consideration, and I’m leaving him in the Column Of Shame. Mike Green, Washington Capitals. Health has been the primary concern for Green over the last few seasons, but even his offensive resurgence last season came with a minus-16 saddling him. Again, just a bastion of frustration with significant fragility. Even though that's a sweet Vespa he has.  So

Will Alex Ovechkin face Putin backlash in America? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 2, 2014, 2:12 pm]
In New York’s East Village, steps away from a 24-hour Ukrainian diner that serves up pierogi as addictive as crack rock, is something a little less comforting: a memorial, adorned with the blue and gold flag of my ancestors, created in February to mourn those who died in the nation’s internal conflicts earlier this year.  (Yes, I’m Ukrainian. I’m only Polish for comedic effect.) It saddens me. It also makes me disappointed, in myself, for not giving this humanitarian crisis more attention, considering my heritage. But then again, I’m an American – we could barely give Ferguson airtime until the reporters started getting thrown out of McDonald’s. The information’s out there – I’d recommend these looks at the Russia/Ukraine conflict from The New Republic and Forbes – but outside of the fallout from the Malaysian airline crash, the last time Americans collectively raised their hackles over Vladimir Putin was when he ordered canine hit squads in Sochi. Because, just like in disaster movies, we care more about the dogs than we do the humans. Which is why, despite backing Putin and buying wholesale into the Russian propaganda that this a war on “fascism,” I don’t expect Alex Ovechkin to get much flack for the Instagram image pictured here, in which the Washington Capitals star asks the world to “Save Children From Fascism.” As Peter Hassett of Russian Machine Never Breaks wrote in his detailed breakdown of the issue last week: “It sounds like an implicit message of support for the rebels of Ukrainian. Those rebels, allegedly been funded and armed by the Kremlin, have been fighting against the Ukranian government in an ever-escalating war. As of this morning, there are reports that as many as a thousand Russian soldiers have now joined that war. That, it seems, is how Russia intends to save children from fascism.” Rare is the political statement from a pro athlete; rarer is one from the "logo on the front" culture of the hockey w

Ryan Johansen and finding comparable talent (What We Learned) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 1, 2014, 6:20 pm]
(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) The Ryan Johansen saga stretches on and on in Columbus and neither side seems willing to budge especially far from their dug-in positions on the matter of the young center's new contract. Everyone agrees a two-year term seems wise, but when it comes to the money, not so much. Johansen wants $7 million per. The Jackets would prefer that number be $4 million per. You can see the issue. Anyone not directly involved with Johansen professionally or personally likely recognizes that $7 million is a big ask, but that the Jackets' number is probably not enough to be commensurate with a kid who just turned 22 a month ago and already has a 33-goal season under his belt. So it was a little surprising for Columbus to come out over the weekend and say, basically, that they're not unwilling to go into the season without Johansen signed, and would likely just bump every center on the depth chart up a spot. This would, of course, be detrimental to Columbus's chances of winning. That gets to the issue of what Johansen is really worth, and specifically, what would be a fair price to pay him for the next two years. It must be said that $7 million per is not a reasonable ask for Johansen's camp considering what we know of the NHL's newly rediscovered penchant for dishing out “bridge contracts” to guys whose entry-level deals are expiring; if elite players like P.K. Subban can take much shorter money than that, so too should Johansen. That's a semi-reasonable argument. But you gotta pay your talent, and Johansen's camp could contend that their client is very demonstrably the biggest talent on the team, as long as you ignore that troubled first-107-games-of-his-career stretch, in which he only scored 14 goals and 19 assists. So the question that need

Sick shootout move by Patrick Seifert on German ‘Hockey Day’ (Video) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 1, 2014, 12:16 pm]
The Augsburger Panther held their “hockey day” on Saturday, in which the Deutsche Eishockey Liga’s players competed for who had the hardest shot, the fastest stride and could eat the most saurerbraten in one sitting. (Honestly, we’re a little hazy on the details.)  Patrick Seifert is a defenseman for the Panther. We’re not sure how often he’s called upon for shootouts, but this move makes a compelling argument for his future participation. A little between the legs action had the goalie thinking he was about to be Hertl’d, and then Seifert brings it back to the backhand for the finish. Which is rather nasty. Seifert has played for the Panther since 2009 and has 18 points. So yeah, maybe he caught the netminder a little off-guard. Side note: Any chance this team has had an Augsburger Sex Panther Night? It's illegal in nine countries, but we're not sure about Germany. It's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.

Ryan Johansen not expected at Blue Jackets camp due to contract impasse [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 31, 2014, 3:58 pm]
The Columbus Blue Jackets open camp on Sept. 18. Their best centerman, and arguably their best offensive player, isn’t expected to be there.  Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch doubts that Johansen will be on the ice to start camp – a negotiating tactic from agent Kurt Overhardt as the two sides battle over a new contract for the restricted free agent. Here’s how he handicaps the current talks: The two sides can't agree on much, it seems, except this: There is nothing new to report. Nada. Zip. Zilch. The Blue Jackets' position: Johansen does not have arbitration rights. He does not have an offer sheet from another club to sign. He has had one productive NHL season and will be paid accordingly. Here's $3.5 million per year for two years. Blow us away and we'll talk motherlode, long-term contract in 2016. Johansen's position, through agent Kurt Overhardt: Johansen is 22 years old and he's one of the top centers in the NHL. He is a budding superstar, the likes of which your franchise has NEVER seen. He will be paid accordingly ... $7 million per season. It’s hard not to sympathize with the Jackets here. Their approach with Johansen is completely reasonable, given his accomplishments and their rights with him as a restricted free agent. The team is coming off the most successful season in franchise history. Johansen was a reason for that, and any interruption in his season could adversely affect a repeat. This isn’t to say Johansen is wrong to use whatever’s at his disposal to get the contract he wants; only to say that we feel your pain, ‘Lumbus. Portzline doesn’t rule out a veteran coming into camp on a tryout, and drops the name of Saku Koivu a few times. Which wouldn’t be a terrible landing spot at all for him.

Ryan Johansen not expected at Blue Jackets camp do to contract impasse [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 31, 2014, 3:58 pm]
The Columbus Blue Jackets open camp on Sept. 18. Their best centerman, and arguably their best offensive player, isn’t expected to be there.  Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch doubts that Johansen will be on the ice to start camp – a negotiating tactic from agent Kurt Overhardt as the two sides battle over a new contract for the restricted free agent. Here’s how he handicaps the current talks: The two sides can't agree on much, it seems, except this: There is nothing new to report. Nada. Zip. Zilch. The Blue Jackets' position: Johansen does not have arbitration rights. He does not have an offer sheet from another club to sign. He has had one productive NHL season and will be paid accordingly. Here's $3.5 million per year for two years. Blow us away and we'll talk motherlode, long-term contract in 2016. Johansen's position, through agent Kurt Overhardt: Johansen is 22 years old and he's one of the top centers in the NHL. He is a budding superstar, the likes of which your franchise has NEVER seen. He will be paid accordingly ... $7 million per season. It’s hard not to sympathize with the Jackets here. Their approach with Johansen is completely reasonable, given his accomplishments and their rights with him as a restricted free agent. The team is coming off the most successful season in franchise history. Johansen was a reason for that, and any interruption in his season could adversely affect a repeat. This isn’t to say Johansen is wrong to use whatever’s at his disposal to get the contract he wants; only to say that we feel your pain, ‘Lumbus. Portzline doesn’t rule out a veteran coming into camp on a tryout, and drops the name of Saku Koivu a few times. Which wouldn’t be a terrible landing spot at all for him.

Posing naked with your hockey trophy is very Australian (Photo) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 31, 2014, 3:18 pm]
The Melbourne Mustangs of the Australian Ice Hockey League captured the Goodall Cup over their archrivals the Melbourne Ice on Sunday, the first title in franchise history.  The celebration was expectedly raucous, the combination of championship elation and Australian birthright. There was booze, laughter, an ice bucket challenge and one of the more, ahem, stimulating postgame images we’ve seen from the Mustangs’ locker room: Well that redefines "Cup raise." We’re still waiting on Australian hockey super-fan Sasky Stewart, who had the photo, to I.D. the player, but out best guess from the roster is Michael James, not only because the face seems to fit but because this is totally a goalie thing to do. Naked escapades aside, this was a really cool moment for Aussie hockey. The Melbourne Ice have been around for 12 years and had won three championships. The Mustangs have been around for four years and made the playoffs for the first time this season. The chant the Ice fans would use to annoy the Mustangs fans? “There’s only one team in Melbourne!” Ouch. From Will Brodie of the Sydney Morning Herald: The win marks a changing of the guard in the local game. Mustangs and Ice led the standings for the longest during the season, and finished first and second. They possessed wonderful import talent, but were not entirely reliant upon it. Off the ice, they were also league leaders in preparing their players, organising volunteers and mobilising their fans and sponsors.  They are now the league's pacesetters. There are two teams in Melbourne. And one of them got au natural with the Cup. Some guys can use a sock, some guys need a hockey tournament trophy. Such is life.   

Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Toronto Maple Leafs Edition [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 30, 2014, 6:36 pm]
(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!) Written by Pension Plan Puppets Most Disappointing Team: 2009-2010 Maple Leafs Look, obviously I have a litany of seasons to choose from - a pedant might note that there's at least 47 recent ones - so most people will not agree but I'll never forget getting a message from @GoddTill in January of 2010 during a 5-3 loss to the Kings: "I can't believe we got worse". The Leafs had hired the biggest name GM available in Brian Burke and despite warnings from old wise heads, there was a lot of optimism going into his tenure. This was the point when fans' trepidations about the Truculence Era started to loom large. The Leafs would of course go on to finish 2nd last and give up some kid named Tyler Seguin. At least they didn't trade him away for nothing. Most Disappointing Maple Leaf: Wilf Paiement The 2nd overall pick in 1974 made his way to Toronto in exchange for fan favourite Lanny MacDonald. Legend has it that Harold Ballard got him to wear 99 so Leafs fans would think they also had a young exciting player and might forget that there was no good reason to trade Lanny. I'm going to believe that so that I can give a sop to the older fans. Most Disappointing Moment in Maple Leaf History: Game 7 1993 Gretzky getting away with murder because of Kerry Fraser's callowness has been debated to death and every so often a particularly cheeky opposition fan will say "sure, but they still lost game seven" just prior to having their life ended with extreme prejudice. Well, they aren't wrong. The Toronto Maple Leafs were playing their 21st game in 42 nights in the kind of pla

Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Toronto Maple Leafs [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 30, 2014, 6:36 pm]
(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!) Written by Pension Plan Puppets Most Disappointing Team: 2009-2010 Maple Leafs Look, obviously I have a litany of seasons to choose from - a pedant might note that there's at least 47 recent ones - so most people will not agree but I'll never forget getting a message from @GoddTill in January of 2010 during a 5-3 loss to the Kings: "I can't believe we got worse". The Leafs had hired the biggest name GM available in Brian Burke and despite warnings from old wise heads, there was a lot of optimism going into his tenure. This was the point when fans' trepidations about the Truculence Era started to loom large. The Leafs would of course go on to finish 2nd last and give up some kid named Tyler Seguin. At least they didn't trade him away for nothing. Most Disappointing Maple Leaf: Wilf Paiement The 2nd overall pick in 1974 made his way to Toronto in exchange for fan favourite Lanny MacDonald. Legend has it that Harold Ballard got him to wear 99 so Leafs fans would think they also had a young exciting player and might forget that there was no good reason to trade Lanny. I'm going to believe that so that I can give a sop to the older fans. Most Disappointing Moment in Maple Leaf History: Game 7 1993 Gretzky getting away with murder because of Kerry Fraser's callowness has been debated to death and every so often a particularly cheeky opposition fan will say "sure, but they still lost game seven" just prior to having their life ended with extreme prejudice. Well, they aren't wrong. The Toronto Maple Leafs were playing their 21st game in 42 nights in the kind of pla

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Here are the rookies you need to draft [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 30, 2014, 5:18 pm]
Here's the final edition of our fantasy hockey primer. Thanks to Dobber Hockey for the insight! The sleeper pick is the ultimate fantasy owner move. Grab a player late in the draft who nobody else was even considering and he does great? Well that could win your league. And the ultimate sleeper pick is a rookie. Other than the top three or four picks in the latest NHL Draft plus a couple of the 'hyped' favorites, the average poolie has very little idea as to which rookies are close to landing a spot, let alone wasting a draft pick on them. Luckily, I'm here to break it all down for you. The Favorites Even Johnny Casual knows about these fellas… Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues - Brian Elliott has his hot weeks and even hot months. But he always hits that inevitable wall. If that happens early enough in the season, Allen well have a Calder-type campaign. Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning - He's not going to be playing with Steven Stamkos, at least not to start. But he's good enough on his own to have a 55-point rookie season. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers - The only 2014 draftee practically assured of an NHL roster spot, Ekblad is by far the best defenseman in this year's rookie class. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks - Frederick Andersen will likely take the starting role in October, but if he misses time with another injury, Gibson will take over and it may be tough to get him to let go. On a strong Anaheim team, that's potentially a ton of W's. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals - Mature, responsible at both ends, can hold his own playing with weaker linemates or he can hold his own playing with the likes of Alex Ovechkin. The 2014 Draftees Besides Ekblad (above), there are several other quality picks from the recent draft who will make a splash this season if they made their respective NHL teams. But therein lies the risk. Sam Bennett, Calgary Flames - The Flames just had Sean Monahan make the team as an 18-year-old, so the precedent has been set. If Bennett does ma

EA Sports under fire for sexist selfies in NHL 15 [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 30, 2014, 4:53 pm]
Fun fact: The Entertainment Software Association recently revealed that more women over the age of 18 play video games than boys under the age of 18. They encompass 36 percent of all gamers in the U.S.  So one assumes one or two women will pick up “NHL 15” from EA Sports when it’s released next week. One assumes EA Sports would know this. So why the game-maker would do anything that might alienate these fans is sort of baffling. Which brings us to selfies. One of the big innovations of “NHL 15” is in the game’s arena detail and the actions of fans. Hell, they’ve even mastered the art of the “enemy fan,” a.k.a. that knucklehead that invades your arena and cheers for the visiting team. (i.e. “me.”) Did you catch the stinger, with the fans taking selfies at the game? EA Sports has even designed a faux Instagram around them. The one on the left has a woman at a Toronto Maple Leafs game proclaiming that offsides is such a difficult concept to wrap her feminine head around, but oh well she still likes the Leafs because it’s Man Crush Monday! The one in the middle is “allstar_wifey01” who is at the “Kings Game with ma gurrllzz” and even has a commenter calling her a bandwagon fan! The Pink Puck – an awesome site, by the way, for your bookmarks – took issue with this portrayal. From Christine Rousselle: While Instagrams in general aren’t exactly known for their intellectual fortitude, is it really necessary for a league with pretty well documented issues marketing to and attracting female fans to tack on this bizarre and condescending image at the end of an advertisement for the sport’s marquee video game? Maybe I’m looking too deeply into this—and full disclosure, I think the game looks pretty awesome—but it’s kind of absurd that NHL 15 took steps to mock female hockey fans as part of the “real-life” arena experience in the game. I’m willing to wager that most female fans go to games because they actually enjoy the s

Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Vancouver Canucks Edition [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 9:49 pm]
(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!) Written by Free The Skate Most Disappointing Team: 1998-1999 Vancouver Canucks I chose the '98-'99 team due to lowest number of points of the three, but the most disappointing team really spanned three seasons, from '97-'98 through '99-'00. These are considered the dark ages of Vancouver Canucks history, with the devil himself captaining the team to their worst stretch of seasons that I was alive to witness. (More on him later.) The 1998-99 season was their first season in the newly minted Northwest Division. They fell flat on their faces, finishing dead last in division, and the Western Conference. They totaled 23 wins, and a miserable 58 points. This was the lowest non lockout season point total since they had 57 in '77-'78. Markus Naslund led the team in scoring with a whopping 66 points, followed by the aforementioned captain scoring 48 points. The goalie tandem of Garth Snow and Corey Hirsch could not hold the fort. They tried everything, including using the largest shoulder pads in goaltending history, but to no avail. Two memorable highlights of this season: - Watching Donald Brasher punch faces, amassing 209 penalty minutes (most on the team) along with a minus-25 (worst on the team) - Acquiring Harry York on waivers from the penguins. Harry would later become Vancouver’s most famous inductee to the NHL’s “all-ugly” team, where he played on a fantastic line with Mike Ricci and Rod Brind’Amour. Most Disappointing Canuck: Ryan Kesler Maybe I'm going with Kesler because this is still so fresh in my memory. I almost hate to do it, since he did

Jersey Fouls: An Avalanche of failure; Wild consolidation; Kovalchuk hate [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 9:05 pm]
Jersey Fouls is our ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition. If you spot what you think may be a foul in your arena, email a photo to us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com for inclusion in future installment. We begin this installment in Denver, where the Colorado Avalanche have captured the hearts and minds of fans, and in the case of the latter have apparently warped them. Reader Amy J. checks in with this Avalanche of failure: Snapped these at Avs vs. Wild Game 5. "Balls to the Roy" and "VarlaRoy" aren't exactly setting Denver on fire, so these two came up with those all on their own. He used even more tape to change his old #37 Ryan O'Reilly jersey into a half-assed #33 for Roy. So much wrongness. “VarlaRoy” at least has some semblance of hockey relevance, given how well Semyon Varlamov played for the Avs last season. It’s a terrible pun, but at least he didn’t go with “Rendezvous with RoyMov.” But “Balls to the Roy” sounds somewhere between obscene and the worst answer from the worst sports-related category in the history of “@Midnight”.  Coming Up: More Avs fouls; the Wild consolidate; honoring ex coaches and ex players; the Hawks suck; Scott Gomez tribute; and cheap Habs. And here … we … go.  Another Colorado foul, but this time it’s a classic. Aaron Cali writes: They were showing the 2001 Stanley Cup Final game 7 on NHL Network today and I saw this.  Is there a statute of limitations on Jersey Fouls? (It says "SAK ITCH” if you can’t read it). No, there isn’t. Especially when it comes to shining a light on the glory that is “Sak Itch.” This Minnesota Wild fan wanted to honor the most important moment in franchise history, a.k.a. when they paid close to $200 million to buy two other teams’ star players. From Jared Mehle:  Walking into the Xcel for Game 6 vs. the Blackhawks, I was lucky enough to catch this guy who apparently couldn't decide between a Parise and Suter j

Puck Headlines: Minnesota goalie controversy; women's hockey fancy stats; Sarich on crash [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 7:29 pm]
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. NECA created this Jason Vorhees figure based on the weird not-very-classic "Friday The 13th" NES game. This November, you can buy the mask. [Dread Central] A classic Earl Sleek cartoon in honor of the NHL an its officials trying to work out a new deal. [John Shannon] Craig MacTavish on the Justin Schultz deal: “I think that Justin has Norris Trophy potential and I don’t think there are too many people who disagree with me in that regard.” Aca-scuse me? [Cult of Hockey] Interviewing the man behind an advanced stats site that aims to be the Extra Skater of women’s hockey. [Hockey Wilderness] Goalie controversy in Minnesota! [ND Goon Blog] Really interesting piece on Alex Ovechkin, Putin and Ukraine. We'll have a take on this soon. [RMNB] Cory Sarich opens up again his bike accident. "I have so much to be thankful for, it's crazy. It's amazing how an accident like this puts things in perspective.” [Denver Post] Former Edmonton Oilers goalie and Portland Pirates assistant coach Michael Minard was sentenced to two months in jail after pleading no contest to a charge of sexual misconduct with a 13 year old girl. “He sent her information about the girls he had been involved with and sexual acts he performed with them, the report said. He asked her for pictures with less clothes on, and she sent several of her in her underwear and of her covering her breasts with just her hands, according to Detective Gerry Lincoln of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office. She told police Minard sent her a photo of his genitals and said the texts became more sexual in nature after that.” [Bangor Daily] Here’s an “NHL 15” demo review. Spoiler: It’s awesome. [Examiner] The only thing the Dallas Stars have to fear are these things. [Defending Big D] Jeremy Morin is in make or break territory for the Bla





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