Posts Tagged ‘Ducks’

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With the season in the books, NFL free agent rumors are all ready swirling in. Team _____ has interest in player _____ will be blowing up websites for weeks to come. With that being said, he are a few upcoming free agents, flying under the radar, that could prove huge dividends.

Andre Brown- Heres a player whose used to being on the free agent market. The 27-year-old running back has been on five teams since joining the league in 2009. Most notable, Brown had a fairly good year this season with New York Giants. After returning from a broken leg in week 10, the NC State product ran for 492 yards and 3 touchdowns. At 6’0 230 lbs, Brown can provide very good value as a change of pace back for teams in desperate need of a bruiser in the backfield. The Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns should all have this big back on their radar.

Dexter McCluster- With high profile names like Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin up for grabs, many wont even realize that the former Chief playmaker is on the market. Despite this, teams in need of a fast, dynamic, and explosive player like McCluster should covet his value. The 2013 Pro Bowler provides those qualities not only at wide receiver, but also in the backfield and the return game. In addition to Kansas City, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers should all take a look at the playmaker.

Jared Allen- He finally made it out. After years of trade rumors, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is free to play where he pleases. Luckily, plenty of teams are in need of pass rushers.  Despite a subpar 2013 season, Allen has notably been an absolute monster on the defensive line. In the 2011 season, Allen recorded 22 sacks, recovered 4 fumbles, and had an overall 46 tackles. Look for the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots will definitely be taking a look.

These are just some of the tons of sleeper free agents on the market. Who do you guys think is being undervalued? Let us know in the comments!

We looked earlier at what complaints there are to the Stadium Series. However, there are many benefits to these games as well.

First, and most obvious, is money. The NHL is taking big matchups out of their 20,000 seat arenas and placing them in 50,000 seat stadiums. That adds tons of tickets, at higher prices, to the sales for each of the home teams, in this case the Kings, Devils, Islanders and Blackhawks. Along with the ticket sales, each team has more merchandise, such as jerseys, t-shirts, hats, etc. to sell to the fans at the events, and at sports stores all over the country. TV and advertising to the public can be found everywhere, and it brings in sponsorship money that no other sport can do, due to the lack of innovation possible for baseball, basketball, and football, at least in the way outdoor hockey is. The lockout prevented revenue from coming in, so therefore more money this year will help their cause and bottom line.

Besides the obvious financial gain, this opens up opportunity for teams who wouldn’t have hosted a Winter Classic. The Kings and Ducks don’t play in a wintry type of area, and would never land the game. This gives them a chance to host such an event, as well as opens up for other teams in warmer climates to be able to host this event. Also, smaller-market teams like the Islanders and Devils are able to participate in these games, giving them a chance to enter the spotlight, which they don’t normally have. Sure they will have bigger market teams featured as well, but having a bigger market teamed up with a smaller fan base can create some kind of animosity or rivalry, which adds more to the love of the team, and brings the fans in to the arena to see that team play.

The fans are big winners here too, because it gives them more opportunity to see their team, and opens up lots of seats for newcomers to the game, to be able to enjoy hockey’s finest events. Fans of those teams who don’t often get awarded the Winter Classic get a chance to see their teams outdoors for a change. They can all come home from this massive party and say that they’ve been to an outdoor game.

The watering down of the special event is an issue, but there are benefits as to why the NHL decided to bring this in. As much as it may be too much of a good thing, and it was reflected in the fans’ reluctance to sell out the L.A. game and the later N.Y. game, it still brings in tons of new opportunity to a growing league.  

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Coming up this week, we have 3 outdoor games from the NHL. That’s 3 times as much as we’ve seen in any given month in NHL history.

This past off-season, the NHL introduced this idea, of a set of 4 outdoor games, and gave the reason of wanting to spread the love and get more teams playing outdoors. They must have missed the boat a little bit, because 3 of the 7 teams participating have already played outdoors in a Winter Classic. Also, by the time we get to the Wednesday night game in New York, the “special” aspect of the outdoor game will be lost on most hockey fans, especially Rangers fans, who will have seen their boys in 2 outdoor games in a week.

First, we have Los Angeles’ branch of the Series, where Dodger Stadium will host the Kings and Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks. On the field of the Stadium, aside from the NHL rink, there is street hockey, a stage for KISS, and a beach. A beach? Next to ice hockey? Yeah. A beach. This games’ special aspect, is that they are playing outdoors in a warm climate. Game time temperature is said to be in the 60’s or 70’s Fahrenheit. I think it’s neat, but it’s not original. The Kings and Rangers played a preseason game at Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas before, and it was rather hot that night. It will be neat having people show up in shorts to watch an outdoor game, but we know that the technology is there and will work, so this ends up being gimmicky.

Next, we go to Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY, for 2 games between the 3 New York teams (one’s New Jersey, but everyone outside the tri-state area calls them together). This series is, I think, just to say they played hockey at the legendary Yankee Stadium. The fact that they have 2 games there is just to get all 3 teams in the area involved. The Devils/Rangers match will have more of a Winter Classic-y feel to it, being an afternoon game in the biting cold, but the Islanders/Rangers match will be less “special” because the Rangers had gone through this experience 3 days earlier, and it’s the second game at the Stadium. Not to downplay the rivalries being present, the Devils’ game will probably be more exciting for the fans, due to it being the first game there, and that rivalry has been more present recently. If the series stopped with just that game, it’d be more fine. Now it just leaves it incomplete, with the Devils and Islanders only getting one game, as opposed to the Rangers, who get 2. I know the Rangers are the big team in the area, and they got there first, in the Original 6, but we should at least even things out and make it less obvious that the NHL has a love affair with Henrik Lundqvist.

Finally, we stop at Soldier Field in Chicago, home of a certain football team known as da Bears. The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 2nd in the most unnecessary outdoor game ever. Spreading the love would include two teams that have NOT played outside before. These are two teams that have, multiple times in the Penguins’ case. Chicago has hosted before. Sure, they are changing venues. But NBC seems to have every Penguins or Blackhawks game on, when not showing the Flyers or Rangers, at least. There is no novelty here, even if they change venues to Soldier Field. Nothing new, as of now, to make it worth the NHL’s while to try and make this “special”. Fans of any team outside the Blackhawks and Penguins would probably be upset that their team isn’t getting a fair shot. This is just the most obvious case of trying to dig more into two big fan bases for more money.

The Winter Classic, and to some extent the Heritage Classic, are fantastic for the league, and should be continued. That once per season for each the US and Canada puts on a good show for the sport, just look at this year’s Winter Classic. But the Stadium Series is just full of gimmicks that aren’t quite so novel, and waters down the product of outdoor hockey. I hope we never see something like this again, or else it might spell the end for desire of outdoor hockey, and then no one wins.

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Now this is something to get angry about.

After getting sent packing by the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had some strong, yet cowardly words for one of his former receivers. Regarding a hit by Broncos receiver Wes Welker on Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, Belichick said, “It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

These comments were not only incorrect, but also classless.

Lets start with the actual play. With fellow Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas running a slant route, Welker tried to help him, while running his route, by setting a pick on Aqib Talib. The pass was incomplete, but Talib was hurt on the play. Talib was diagnosed with a knee injury and did not return to the game.

Should Welker have drawn an offensive pass interference on the play, absolutely. He set an illegal pick on the Patriots cornerback and should have been flagged for it. With that being said, the play was not malicious. Welker started off running his route, saw an opportunity to help his team and took it.

Now lets get to Belichick. The notorious bad sport didn’t disappoint. Calling out your ex player for something he clearly didn’t do is just embarrassing. The head coach’s antics got even more laughable when not one of his teammates took his side. Patriots defensive backs Steven Gregory put it perfectly saying, “He matches up against what we consider the top receiver week in and week out. He’s a leader, he’s a competitive guy, a guy that’s going to go out and give you everything he’s got, so you never want to lose a guy like that. But at the same time, other guys have to step up like we’ve done all year.”

Why couldn’t Belichick say that? Its one thing if you’re a player and your caught in the heat of the moment, but a coach, on the next day should not make those remarks. When your players are being more mature than you, its time to take a look in the mirror.

Lastly, lets review the logic (or lack there of) involved in Belichicks accusations. Wes Welker clocks in at about 5’8 180lbs. Aqib Talib is roughly 6’1 215 lbs. Why would Denver send one of their best receivers to attempt to hurt another player? If they really wanted to injure Talib, they would have sent someone like Joel Dreessen, the 6’4 240 lbs tight end out to deliver the hit. Furthermore, Welker missed a few games toward the end of the season due to a concussion. Why would he or the team place the small receiver in harms way? Additionally, the former Patriots took the brunt of the hit. The slot receiver was knocked hard to the ground after the collision with the Pats corner. Logically, there would be no reason to send Welker at Talib.

With all of this being said, the worst part of this whole allegation was the fact that the Patriots ran the exact same play. In the first quarter, Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui set an illegal pick against a Denver defensive back for a receiver running a slant route. New England drew a 10-yard offensive pass interference on the play, but does that really matter? Belichick seemed to have selective amnesia regarding this play. The only difference between the two plays was that Hoomanawanui is 265lbs, while Welker is 180 lbs.

Everyone knows why these comments were made. Belichick didn’t like Welker in New England. After signing with Denver, Bradys former favorite target said, “It was just kind of hard, one of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him.” Its one thing for a player to make comments like these, but a coach needs to take the high road. After the game, Welker called the victory “bittersweet”, since he had to defeat his former team to get there. Clearly the words of a cold-blooded killer.

Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and the rest of the New England Patriots organization deserved better.

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Per tradition, the New York Knicks are set to have their Martin Luther King day matinee against their cross-town rival, the Brooklyn Nets. With the renewal of their rivalry hours away, lets take a look at some of the greatest moments in the long-lived rivalry.

Kidds Four Point Play- After spending years in New Jersey, Jason Kidd spent his final year as a player wearing Orange and Blue for the New York Knicks. In his first game at the Barclays Center, Kidd had a time machine game, putting up 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Of those points, none were bigger than his three with 24 seconds left to give the Knicks the lead. He was fouled during the shot, sending him to the line where he failed to complete the four-point play. The Knicks took the win 100-97 in one of Kidd’s last great games.

The Tim Thomas Tirade- In game two of the 2004 playoffs, with tensions already high, Nets Center Jason Collins committed a flagrant foul against Knicks Forward Tim Thomas. Thomas was injured on the play and would not return to the game. In his postgame interview, Thomas would proceed to rip everyone from Collins to his own teammates. His most memorable comments came against Nets Forward Kenyon Martin, where he proceeded to call Martin “Fugazi”. Martin and the Nets responded by beating down the Knicks at MSG to sweep the series.

The Blueprint 2010- With the day rapidly approaching, Mikhail Prokhorov,  Jay-Z, and the rest of the Brooklyn Nets front office decided to make a statement about their impending move. They did so by placing a 22-foot billboard outside of Madison Square Garden with the Tagline “Blueprint For Greatness”. Tensions would continue to rise between the two owners until commissioner David Stern finally stepped in and squashed the situation. Despite being forced to take the Billboard down, the point was definitely made.

The Birth Of Linsanity- Febuary 4th 2012 will forever go down in sports history as the birth of Linsanity. With Iman Shumpert & Baron Davis out, Lin was finally given a chance to play by coach Mike D’Antoni. Against the New Jersey Nets, Lin went off, scoring 25 points, while adding 5 rebounds and 7 assists. From there the rest is history. Lin would go on to average 15 points, and 6 assists for the rest of the year, before going to the Houston Rockets in free agency.

At Long Last- The building was shaking. In front of a sellout crowd, the Nets and Knicks played their first game at the Barclays Center and they did not disappoint. Despite being delayed by Hurricane Sandy, the game felt like it was opening night. In an overtime thriller, Brooklyn prevailed with a 96-89 final score. With both teams putting up a good fight, this signified the beginning of the fight for New York.

There are plenty more classic moments that have taken place over this 40-year rivalry. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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The Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks have made the Honda Center a place where no one wants to play. Only once, did a team win in regulation or overtime (4-3 OTL to New Jersey), and add on a shootout loss to Los Angeles, to make the record 20-0-2 for the Ducks at home. Last night, their mastery of the Pond was on full display, and the victim was the Vancouver Canucks.

The first period was seemingly normal, with both teams getting their scoring chances, but Anaheim struck first with Andrew Cogliano, and again later with Teemu Selanne tipping one in on the power play to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead at the intermission.

Then, it all fell apart for the ‘Nucks in the second.

Corey Perry knocked Vancouver starter Eddie Lack out of the game with a bad angle shot that deflected in, bringing in Joacim Eriksson to make his NHL debut in net. The first shot he faced was on the power play, when Nick Bonino fired one in through a crowd for a 4-0 lead. Vancouver started getting lackadaisical and falling behind the play, and committing bad penalties. Late in the period, Chris Tanev and Ryan Kesler went to the box :40 apart, and the Ducks scored twice on the ensuing power plays. Vancouver’s Zack Kassian managed to push one behind Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, but Andersen was pushed out of the net, and couldn’t do much about it.

The third period is where it got weird. Corey Perry happened to score midway through, giving Anaheim a 7-1 lead.Vancouver, at this point, were tired and frustrated. Even though the they and the Ducks were trying to keep play moving, the Ducks kept scoring. The frustration boiled over at the 12:49 mark of the third. After another chance where the Ducks swarmed the net, a scrum ensued, and Vancouver’s Tom Sestito and Jannik Hansen dropped the gloves and started fighting Anaheim’s Tim Jackman and Patrick Maroon. The problem is, neither Duck dropped their gloves and fought back. The refs gathered to discuss, and the penalties were given: Sestito and Hansen each received 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting, and misconducts. Ducks got nothing. It resulted in the Ducks getting a 5 on 3 power play for 7 minutes (there was 7:11 left in the game at that time). Vancouver coach John Tortorella was obviously mad, and yelled at the refs using words not suitable for kids.

Now, what do the Ducks do here? They look bad if they run up the score, but its very deflating if you don’t score on a 2 man advantage for 2 minutes, let alone 7. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau took the right approach. He benched his top line, and told his players not to celebrate a goal, should they score it. The Ducks scored twice more, and the Canucks added a couple more misconducts (so did Anaheim), and a couple of frustrated slashing minors. The final score was 9-1. The Ducks won their 20th home game, and 18th of their last 19 games.

Here’s what the coaches had to say. First, John Tortorella:

”I’m not even going to try to explain it,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. ”One of those nights, so we plow along to our next game and get ready to play. … It does me no good, it does the players no good, to discuss anything that happened here.”

Bruce Boudreau had this to say:

‘There was a lot of frustration on their part,” Boudreau said. ”They just started punching our guys. It wasn’t the brightest thing to do. What are the refs supposed to do? … It was just an unfortunate game for Vancouver. I’m sure their next opponent is going to pay for that.”

On the ice, however, you could tell one side was frustrated. The Canucks were taking dumb penalties, and playing extra chippy. They didn’t want to be there, having just 1 win against the California 3 out of 11 games, and it showed. The main incident being Sestito and Hansen’s incident, where they just straight out attacked a couple of Ducks, that resulted in the 5-3 for 7 minutes. It’s just not right for that to happen. You can never let your emotions get the better of you like that, and expect the other team not to further the humiliation. It’s just a poor showing of sportsmanship from Vancouver. Anaheim, who was put in that sticky situation of should they run up the score or not, played it right, and not trying to score, and if they did they didn’t celebrate. If I were Boudreau, I would have at least said to my guys that they have to pay for that kind of play, and put up a 10 spot and stop there. But I’m not him. The Ducks handled it very well, taking care of business, and showing who owns the Pond. The Canucks left with their dignity in tatters, just check the Twitter feed from the game. Vancouver is in Phoenix tonight, and we shall see if there is any hangover from last night’s misery.

Last week, we reviewed the top 10 free agent signings and how they are doing halfway through their first season with their new teams. This week, we’ll take a look at the 10 biggest trades, and see who won each deal.

Los Angeles Kings trade G Jonathan Bernier to Toronto Maple Leafs for G Ben Scrivens, F Matt Frattin, and 2014/15 2nd round pick: The first big trade of the offseason led to a big goalie swap between the Kings and Leafs. The Leafs got Bernier, who came in and took over the starting job from James Reimer, and has performed well at times, with a 15-14-4 record, and a GAA of 2.58. He also looked spectacular in the Winter Classic. Meanwhile, Scrivens has far fewer games played this year, thanks to Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, and has a 7-5-4 record, but a GAA of just 1.97. His numbers are slightly better on average, but hasn’t played much because he’s not the number 1 guy like Bernier. Frattin hasn’t added much to this deal, not playing particularly well in Los Angeles, and the Kings do get a pick out of this. But overall, the trade got Bernier a starting job, and the Kings could have gotten more out of Bernier. Winner: Toronto

Vancouver Canucks trade G Cory Schneider to New Jersey Devils for 2013 1st round pick (Bo Horvat): This trade turned boos for Commish Gary Bettman at the Prudential Center on draft day into cheers. It also shocked everyone in the hockey world, especially Schneider and the Devils. Schneider immediately became the heir-apparent to living legend Martin Brodeur, who may retire this offseason (or never). Schneider and Brodeur have split the load so far, and Schneider has a 7-9-6 record, and 1.96 GAA. He’s been impressive for the Devils, and a bright spot for the future, should he sign an extension with the team. Bo Horvat was picked with the 9th overall pick by Vancouver, and still is in the CHL, but has a bright future ahead of him. We can’t tell now how he’ll be, but Hockey’s Future rates him as a 7.5 prospect (take it how you like). But Vancouver could have gotten way more out of Schneider. Winner: New Jersey.

New York Islanders trade F Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota Wild for F Cal Clutterbuck and 2013 3rd round pick (Eamon McAdam): Nino never quite fit in the Islanders’ system, always wondering when he’d get his chance with the big club. He never did. With Minnesota, he’s stepped up his game and performed well, with 9 goals and 16 assists, and a decent +/- of +9. He’s been part of the lead pack with the team, who is suffering from injuries to Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu up front. Clutterbuck, however, hasn’t quite found his groove, seemingly. in 42 games, he just has 8 points, and a +/- of -7, and even though those stats are just under par for his career, he needs to show he has more value. Winner: Minnesota

Buffalo Sabres trade D Andrej Sekera to Carolina Hurricanes for D Jamie McBain and 2013 2nd round pick (J.T. Compher): The Hurricanes weren’t very deep in defensemen, and still aren’t. But they felt the need to upgrade, and did. Sekera is having a good season so far, with 7 goals and 17 assists from the blue line, which is tops for Canes’ d-men. He’s proven valuable, while McBain has been struggling a bit. Though he is with Buffalo, his numbers are far worse, with just 3 goals and 6 assists. J.T. Compher remains in college, but the Sabres hope for big things down the road. Winner: Carolina

Boston Bruins trade F Tyler Seguin, F Rich Peverly, and D Ryan Button to Dallas Stars for F Loui Eriksson, D Joseph Morrow, F Reilly Smith, and F Matt Fraser: The Stars got the top guy in this deal by far, a 21 year old point per game player in Seguin. He’s leading the way alongside Jamie Benn, with 42 points in 44 games, and has been playing unreal since the trade. Peverly has been serviceable, just 21 points in 45 games, but has been doing what the team needs to succeed. Will the B’s regret this trade? Doubtful. Though Eriksson has had trouble staying on the ice, just 26 games, he’s been decent in those games played, with a +/- of +9, and 15 points. Reilly Smith has been a pleasant surprise, at 22 years old, and with 33 points so far in his first full season, he’s a bright spot for the Bruins’ future. The other pieces in the trade are just barely getting NHL action, but immediately, this trade benefits both sides. Winner: Dallas

Edmonton Oilers trade F Shawn Horcoff to Dallas for D Philip Larsen and a 2016 7th round pick: This is a pretty minor deal, but the significance is that the Oilers traded one of their longtime guys for another young, unproven defenseman. Horcoff has been okay for the Stars, just 13 points in 45 games. But he’s 35 and obviously won’t put up numbers like he used to. Edmonton got Larsen, who hasn’t shown he’s got the goods yet, but still has upside at age 24. Winner: Edmonton, I guess

Anaheim Ducks trade F Bobby Ryan to Ottawa Senators for F Jakob Silfverberg, F Stefan Noesen and a 2014 1st round pick: People had a feeling Bobby Ryan would be unloaded from the Ducks, for cap reasons, and it happened this summer. Ryan this year for Ottawa, has 37 points in 47 games, and is second on the team in that stat. He’s the top go-to guy for  the Sens on offense, alongside Kyle Turris. But the cost for him was huge. Silfverberg is one of the top up and comers in the league, and despite an injury early in the year, he’s been valuable to the Ducks, with 12 points in the 26 games he’s played. The Ducks also picked up a prospect and the Sens’ first rounder next year, which would probably be between 10 and 20. This trade was huge, but came at big costs for both sides. Winner: Anaheim

St. Louis Blues trade F David Perron to Edmonton Oilers for F Magnus Paajarvi and 2014 2nd round pick: Perron was part of the future with the Blues, with good upside, but the Blues didn’t have room for him, and shipped him to Edmonton. He’s had a great year so far, with 34 points in 45 games, and has been valuable to the team’s offense. Paajarvi, however, has just 5 points in 26 games, and has been hampered with injuries. It’s not like the Blues are depending on him, but they could have kept Perron and had much more value, despite the upside Paajarvi brings. Winner: Edmonton

Buffalo Sabres trade F Thomas Vanek to New York Islanders for F Matt Moulson, 2014 1st round pick and 2015 2nd round pick: The Islanders began the year in win now mode, but seem to have hit a wall when G Evgeni Nabakov went down. Vanek is having another point per game campaign, though, and has started to gel with John Tavares, which is dangerous for anyone. Lately, the Isles have been picking it up, so they might not be out of it yet. Buffalo is out of it, but building toward the future. Moulson on his own wouldn’t be worth it. He’s played well, 28 points in 43 games with both the Isles and Sabres, but the picks to Buffalo are the kicker in this trade. Both will be free agents next season, so the picks tell the winner, with both likely leaving for greener pastures. Winner: Buffalo

Philadelphia Flyers trade F Maxime Talbot to Colorado Avalanche for F Steve Downie: The last trade we are looking at involves two rugged grinders switching teams. Downie is more of a playmaker, with just 3 goals and 16 assists, while Talbot has the more well-rounded game. Downie is a bit younger, but has has injuries in the past, playing in just 2 games last season for the Avs. Winner: Push