Thursday Morning off-day links

Source: http://www.lonestarball.com/2012/8/30/3279015/thursday-morning-off-day-links

nashville predators St Louis Blues Calgary Flames Colorado Avalanche Edmonton Oilers Minnesota Wild

Yet another CBA proposal from the NHL

Source: http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/8/29/3276123/yet-another-cba-proposal-from-the-nhl

Mark Fraser Andy Greene zach Parise bryce Salvador Wade Belak Martin Erat

10 Last-Second Predictions for the MLB Waiver Trade Deadline

After the months of speculation leading up to July's non-waiver trade deadline finally came to a head, it seemed like we could all finally breathe a bit and watch the second half of the MLB season play itself out.

That notion was quickly put to rest when the waiver wire acted up in August.

We saw players like Joe Blanton and Cliff Lee make news, and while a deal for Lee was never reached, that doesn't mean that others wouldn't be made.

The blockbuster deal sending seemingly half of the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers certainly turned the heads of the entire baseball world, and while it may be impossible to expect another trade like that, it doesn't mean that we won't see a player or two change sides in the next day.

Begin Slideshow

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1317791-10-last-second-predictions-for-the-mlb-waiver-trade-deadline

Dallas Los Angeles Kings Phoenix Coyotes San Jose Sharks New Jersey Devil New York Islanders

NFL Preseason Games 2012: Studs and Duds from Tonight's Action

Another night of preseason football means another group of standout performances and regrettable catastrophes.

Twenty-six NFL teams took the field Thursday night for preseason tuneups. Teams are still gauging players to see who should make those final few roster spots and who should be banished to the practice squad.

Let's not waste anymore time. Here are the five studs and five duds from Thursday night's preseason slate.

Begin Slideshow

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1317789-nfl-preseason-games-2012-studs-and-duds-from-tonights-action

Frans Nielsen Dwayne Roloson Jon Sim Jason Arnott David Clarkson Patrick Davis

10 Reasons You're Missing Greatness If You're Still Criticizing LeBron James

It's almost unfathomable to imagine that people are missing out on the chance to witness one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball.

Yet even as LeBron James widens the gap between himself and his NBA peers, the voice of reason falls silent upon the King's haters.

James will likely never shake all of his detractors, even as he shakes their criticisms with his play.

People knocked his ability to perform in the clutch, then looked away as James delivered clutch baskets with clutch defensive stops in his miraculous playoff run.

People said that he wasn't a champion, then pretended not to notice as his Miami Heat eased their way to a five-game series win in the NBA Finals and his Team USA escaped London with gold draped across their chests.

Some do not like James the man and let that interfere with their opinion of James the basketball prodigy. It's a sad reality in the all-access world of modern day sports and a sure-fire way to miss greatness.

Begin Slideshow

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1317248-10-reasons-youre-missing-greatness-if-still-criticizing-lebron-james

Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants

Kenny Britt Suspended One Game by Roger Goodell, Titans Catch a Break

After weeks of speculation, the NFL finally announced that Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt will only get a one-game suspension from the league following his recent DUI charge.

According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean,

The one game suspension comes fast on the heels of news that the troubled and oft-injured wideout was coming off the PUP list to begin workouts with the team (hat tip to Wyatt again). He was to begin working out with the Titans next week, though that will be put on hold because of his suspension.

The news came as a relief to Britt and to Titans fans as it was widely speculated that the suspension could have been much worse. Britt is integral to the Titans' hopes in 2012, despite missing the entire preseason with an injury.

Britt chose not to appeal (nod to Mike Florio of ProFootball Talk), and after the Titans win over the Saints told reporters of his gratitude that things were not worse.

The disciplinary action is yet another warning-shot by the NFL to Britt who now must stay out of trouble to avoid further discipline. Earlier in the offseason the narrative around the talented receiver was that he had grown up and matured, but then spent camp ducking a series of incidents including complaining about a team fine on Twitter and his DUI charge.

For Britt, the suspension will cost a game check, but for the Titans, the impact is minimal. Britt wasn't necessarily ready to play big minutes in the season opener. As much as they want and need his presence in the lineup, he'll now have another week to heal up.

Now, the Titans can exhale knowing one of their best weapons will only be off the table for a week, and a week in which he would probably have only had limited availability anyway.

This news is a boon for a team that promises to be on the cusp of contention. If Britt can stay healthy and productive for the 15 remaining games, the Titans can contend for a playoff spot.

Another incident or injury will likely not only derail Britt, but the Tennessee hopes for the postseason as well.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1317793-kenny-britt-suspended-one-game-by-roger-goodell-titans-catch-a-break

Kevin Russo Curtis Granderson Nick Johnson Javier Lopez Alex Hinshaw Ramon Ramirez

Kent State Fumble Return Video: Watch Andre Parker Race Towards Wrong End Zone

Kent State's Andre Parker scooped up a live football and took off sprinting towards the end zone. He made it 58 yards before defenders were finally able to drag him down.

Unfortunately for Parker, he was going the wrong way.

This boneheaded play kicks off the college football season with an epic blunder that may not be dethroned all season long. While his intentions were good, Parker won't ever live down this Jim Marshall moment.

Luckily for Kent State, Towson didn't let Parker take it all the way into the end zone. Two Towson defenders made an equally inexplicable move by laying a lick on him that kept him from running all the way into their end zone.

Kent State had already built up a comfortable 24-7 lead when the fumble occurred. Parker had an opportunity to deliver another dagger by jumping on the fumble, but he unintentionally did everything in his power to ensure Towson wouldn't pay for muffing the return.

Towson and Kent State's special teams coaches have their work cut out for them. It will be an uncomfortable film session for both squads, as neither of them appeared to know what was going on during this play.

While directional skills are clearly not Parker's forte, this will undoubtedly serve as motivation for the young man all season long, as he begins his quest to redeem himself from this moment.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1317711-kent-state-fumble-return-video-watch-andre-parker-race-towards-wrong-end-zone

San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals Washington Nationals Jonathan Albaladejo Andrew Brackman A.J. Burnett

Boston College Position Previews: Defensive Backs

Source: http://www.bcinterruption.com/2012/8/30/3280635/boston-college-position-previews-the-secondary

Reegie Corona Juan Miranda Colin Curtis Kevin Russo Curtis Granderson Nick Johnson

NFL Legend Joe Montana Believes in the San Francisco 49ers

In an NFL OT video for ESPN.com, Trey Wingo was joined by Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. The legendary ex-49ers duo took to the set to discuss their former team as the 2012 season rapidly approaches. 

The 49ers have been preparing rigorously for the NFL season and are serious contenders to make a title run. And someone who knows a thing or two about that is Joe Montana.

As the quarterback for the 49ers, Montana went 4-for-4 in the big game. When it comes to Super Bowl championships, No. 16 is an expert. 

In this brief three-minute video, Montana gave his raw input on the team going forward in 2012. He broke down the team as a whole, and he also looked at individual players on both sides of the football. He was able to profile the team and give his insight on why he thinks San Francisco has a winning formula right now.   

Joe Montana on Alex Smith: 

The big key to that team last year was the ability of the defense to get stops when they had to. And continue to give that younger offense – I say young because they were running it for the first time last year – now they should be settled in, they know what it takes to operate. And I think Alex Smith, the play that I think really made a big turn for me against the Saints, he hits Vernon Davis. 

You look from behind, you watch the ball come out, the guy is just clearing the 'backer and he is throwing the ball dead straight at the safety and just trusting that Vernon is going to come in front. And he comes in front of the safety and he scores a TD. That play right there: confidence. That showed me confidence in his ability to throw the ball. He can make those throws and now it's just about managing the game.

Montana on 49ers offense: 

When you bring in guys like Randy Moss and [Mario] Manningham, stretch the field; you don’t care about Randy doing a lot of things, but give me somewhere to throw it. He can throw it down the field, he can throw it a long way if he has to and Randy can get underneath it. The thing that’ll help to have those guys’ help is to get the ball in their hands, just understand how that offense works, let them go, let them play.

Montana on 49ers defense: 

I think the more the offense is able to get in the end zone, the more the defense is allowed to do. When the defense is playing defense, instead of playing the game, when you’re trying to defend and not let people get in the end zone because you don’t want to lose a close game, 17-14, then it’s a lot more pressure on the defense.

I think once this offense gets clicking and shows how many points they can actually get on the board, that’ll help the defense and allow them to open up and start taking more risk and start making even bigger plays and more big plays. 

Montana's comments were genuine and encouraging. And fans have to respect what Montana has to say, considering what he gave to the 49ers over the years. So, it's a good thing he thinks so highly of this franchise and what the 49ers are capable of.

Moreover, Montana believes in San Francisco's quarterback, Alex Smith. He believes that playing within this offensive system, and with the group of weapons they now have, that Smith is capable of leading this team to a title. 

He acknowledged the top-tier defense and arsenal of offensive weapons, as if they were a support system for the QB—and they are. As a complete football team, Montana was correct in assuming San Francisco has a strong chance to go far in 2012.   

And while he refrained from making any bold predictions, the Hall of Fame passer suggested the Niners have the makeup and what it takes to bring home a sixth championship. 


Follow @DeSimone80.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1317297-nfl-legend-joe-montana-believes-the-in-the-san-francisco-49ers

New York Islanders New York Rangers Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres

WWE: Determining the Best Possible Options for Ryback's First Major Feud

There are few more polarizing figures in the WWE currently than Ryback. Some love his immense strength and intensity, while others consider him to be just another big meathead from the same mold as past failures like Brakkus or Mason Ryan.

Whatever the case, there is no question that Ryback has a ton of momentum right now and he will continue to be utilized at least twice a week for the foreseeable future. Rather than constantly having him squashing local enhancement talent or low-card WWE guys, though, it's about time that Ryback becomes involved in something substantial.

Here is a breakdown of the best possible feuds for Ryback as he tries to get over as a legitimate WWE superstar.


Big Show

If the idea is to make Ryback seem credible rather than just some guy who squashes scrubs, then the Big Show would be a perfect first feud for him. I'm not the biggest fan of Big Show and I do find him boring to some degree, but he has been a fixture in the business since 1995, he's a respected veteran who all the fans have connected to at one point or another and, most importantly, he's huge.

Ryback getting two guys up with his finishing move at the same time was impressive, but doing the same thing to a man who stands seven feet tall and weighs in excess of 400 lbs. would be the stuff of legend.

Feuding with and going over Big Show would accomplish two things at once as Ryback would be beating his first credible opponent and he would be beating a guy who meets and exceeds him physically.

Since Big Show is no longer in the WWE Championship scene and didn't even appear on RAW this week, he clearly has nothing much going on. He is at the point of his career where he doesn't need to be main eventing or winning titles. Big Show is an experienced guy who should be helping up-and-comers get over, so Big Show vs. Ryback makes perfect sense.



The WWE may have something planned for Big Show and may not be ready to feed him to Ryback just yet, and I would certainly understand that. If that is in fact the case, then Tensai would be a really nice option as well.

Tensai came into the WWE with a bang as he scored wins over John Cena and CM Punk, but his momentum was eventually halted and he has now degenerated to the point where he hasn't appeared on television for a couple weeks.

Tensai is nowhere near Big Show in terms of credibility since he has been thrown onto the scrap heap, but he can be a menacing force and would look like a bit of a threat to Ryback. Tensai had a great match with Sheamus several weeks ago, and even though his push had ended by that point, his fighting style and size made him a worthy challenger to The Great White.

The same could be said if he were to face Ryback. Even though Jack Swagger and Jinder Mahal are big in their own right, Ryback needs to take on a super heavyweight like Tensai in order to seem like the real deal. This feud would give Tensai purpose, it would give Ryback someone of substance to face and it wouldn't end up burying anyone of importance.


Mark Henry

Of all the possibilities listed, I feel as though a Ryback vs. Mark Henry feud would be the best of the bunch. Henry was awesome prior to his injury and figures to be back some time in the near future. Not only was Henry a dominant force that steamrolled through essentially everyone in the company, but he was also highly entertaining on the mic, so he could pose a physical threat to Ryback and help carry him through promos.

The only issue with this, however, is the fact that I would like to see Henry back in the main-event scene upon his return. Henry wasn't being used particularly well before he left to have surgery, though, so I'm not exactly sure what the WWE's plans are for him. If he isn't poised to be in the world title picture, then a feud with Ryback would probably be the next best thing. 

I would have The World's Strongest Man get the better of Ryback several times and create some real doubt with regards to whether Ryback can actually beat him. Nobody wants to see a dominant force who never faces any adversity, so putting Ryback in this type of situation would humanize him and get him even more fan support. It isn't easy to establish a wrestler with just one win, but I feel like Henry would help Ryback solidify himself in a big way.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter and listen to him on Ring Rust Radio.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1317069-wwe-determining-the-best-possible-options-for-rybacks-first-major-feud

Minnesota Wild Vancouver Canucks Anaheim Ducks Dallas Los Angeles Kings Phoenix Coyotes

Avalanche milestones to watch for

Source: http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/8/27/3269573/avalanche-milestones-to-watch-for

Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers

NL Wild Card Race: Ranking Playoff Contenders Heading into Final Month of Season

If September 2012 can come anywhere close to matching September 2011 in Major League Baseball, things are going to get intense in a hurry. The National League Wild Card race looks like it will come down to the wire with four teams within 1.5 games of each other right now. 

Of course, if we learned anything from last year, it is that a nine-game lead isn't safe heading into September. Granted, the Cardinals only had to leapfrog one team last year, whereas a team like Milwaukee, currently 8.5 games back, would have to jump over three teams. 

With approximately 30 games remaining in the season, here is a power ranking of the teams in the National League Wild Card chase. 

(Note: Only teams with a realistic chance are listed, so no Milwaukee or a team that is still mathematically alive but not likely to make it will be discussed.)


No. 1 and 1A. Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals

I put these two teams together for two reasons. First, and most obvious, they currently hold the lead for the wild card spots in the NL. At 74-57, the Braves are 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals and 3.5 ahead of Pittsburgh. 

The second reason is they are the two best teams not leading a division in the National League, bar none.

The Braves have gotten a nice return to form from Jason Heyward (.274/.347/.500) after his disastrous 2011 campaign. Chipper Jones, despite his impending retirement, is still one of the most dangerous hitters in the league. Plus, Michael Bourn, Martin Prado and Freddie Freeman help give them their deepest lineup in a long time. 

The pitching does have a lot of question marks after Tim Hudson, as Tommy Hanson is not the same guy he used to be. His shoulder has to be giving him problems, as his fastball velocity is down nearly 1.5 miles per hour this year (per Fangraphs). 

Kris Medlen has been outstanding since moving into the rotation, though this is his first full season since having Tommy John surgery late in 2010. He could be the Braves' No. 2 starter in the playoffs. 

I am still convinced that St. Louis is the best team in the National League, even as they cling to life in the wild card race right now.

The Cardinals have easily the deepest lineup top to bottom in the league. Their bullpen has been a source of concern all season, though they can get by with an average group if their rotation holds up down the stretch. 


No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers (70-61, 1.5 Games Behind St. Louis)

After the Braves and Cardinals, the talent drops precipitously in the National League. There are only two teams who still have a shot at catching the wild card leaders, and between them, the Dodgers are a better bet. 

We all know about the big trade that happened last week, which will help shore up the offense, but their most important player in the final month will be Matt Kemp. He is easily the best player on the team, and he has to stay healthy and productive in order for them to make a run. 

Their rotation after Clayton Kershaw does scare me. Chris Capuano has been a pleasant surprise, though I don't see him as being more than a No. 4 starter. His numbers have been helped by pitching in the big parks of the National League West. 

Andre Ethier might have a superstar contract, but he can't hit left-handed pitching, so the Dodgers will be relying a lot on Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez over the final four weeks of the season. 

They have no depth in the lineup or rotation, so they need all their stars to play up to their full potential in order to sneak into October. 


No. 3 Pittsburgh Pirates (70-60, One Game Behind St. Louis)

I know this really isn't as great as it sounds on paper, but the Pirates should be thrilled at the prospect of finishing over .500 this season. Anything else would be icing on the cake. 

They are starting to fall apart, even though they did just shutout the Cardinals in two straight games. James McDonald (37 earned runs, nine home runs in 63 innings) has been a disaster since July. A.J. Burnett (19 earned runs, six home runs in 33 innings) is pitching like he did in New York since the start of August. 

Andrew McCutchen, who seemed like a lock for the MVP award a month ago, has struggled in August with a .252 average and 27 strikeouts in 107 at-bats. 

The Pirates don't have enough depth in the lineup to withstand a prolonged slump from McCutchen. Pedro Alvarez is hitting a lot of home runs but still striking out in nearly 32 percent of his plate appearances. 

It is obviously not an impossible task for them to come back from this rough stretch they have been through, but the magic carpet ride is slowly coming to a halt. 

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1316791-nl-wild-card-race-ranking-playoff-contenders-heading-into-final-month-of-season

Minnesota Twins New York Yankees Oakland Athletics Seattle Mariners Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers


Wednesday Morning Links

Source: http://www.lonestarball.com/2012/8/29/3276201/wednesday-morning-links

Trent Hunter Andy Hilbert Bruno Gervais Dustin Kohn Andrew McDonald Matt Martin

Getting to Know the Carolina Hurricanes

Source: http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/8/24/3258376/getting-to-know-the-carolina-hurricanes

Mariano Rivera Kerry Wood Francisco Cervelli Chad Moeller Jorge Posada Lance Berkman

The Rise of Boxing in China Part IV: The Olympic Boom

China struck gold on home turf during the 2008 Olympic Games with a history-making boxing boom.

On the hot afternoon of Aug 24, 2008, at the Beijing Workers' Gymnasium, China closed its Olympic show with two golds, one silver and one bronze in the square ring.

The Asian Giant smashed the trio of Cuba, Russia and the United States, any of whom had ruled the tally table in boxing at every Olympics since 1942.

Cuba bagged eight total medals — four silvers, four bronzes yet no golds. Russia leveled China in golds, but trailed by one silver on the table. The once towering United States ended up with no gold, no silver and merely a single bronze.

With two golds, one silver and one bronze, China emerged as the new king in the amateur boxing world.

Being the host nation could be a double-edged sword, for the expectation of performing on home soil would be way above the norm. The pressure had to be measured against the boost from the local media, as witnessed by Chinese shooter Du Li's failure to win the first gold medal of the Games.

Yet Chinese boxers not only lived up to the hype, but exceeded the high expectations of both the government and media.

China's light flyweight Shiming Zou launched the bonanza by winning in an unexpectedly easy fashion when the other finalist from Mongolia retired with a shoulder injury that had plagued him before the Games early in the second round.

Two hours after Zou's triumph, the biggest dark horse of the Olympic boxing tournament, Chinese light heavyweight Xiaoping Zhang, resumed his compatriot's remarkable feat, doubling the host nation's boxing golden tally by outpointing Ireland's Kenny Egan 11-7 in the final.

China's third finalist, super heavyweight Zhilei Zhang, was blocked from winning the third boxing gold medal for his country by the talented Italian Roberto Cammarelle.

Although being completely outclassed by his opponent in hand speed, athleticism and ring generalship from the sound of the opening bell (while taking several crunching blows to the jaw), the Chinese giant showed heart and admirable resistance against the two-time world champion before being forced to quit in the final round.

Hanati Silamu, the World Championships welterweight bronze medalist, finished third for the second time when he was awarded the bronze medal together with Korean Jung-Joo Kim at the medal ceremony.

China rang down the curtain on the premier boxing tournament with two golds, one silver and one bronze, ruling the roost in the gold medal tally.

Boxing in China was to come of age.

* * *

Zhenyu Li, a boxing historian and contributing columnist for some of the world's leading boxing publications, authors the "Beyond Gold" column for People's Daily Online in China.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1316529-the-rise-of-boxing-in-china-part-iv-the-olympic-boom

Cincinnati Reds Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers

Daily Cupcakes - Open Thread - August 28th, 2012

Source: http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/8/28/3273164/daily-cupcakes-open-thread-august-28th-2012

Chad Moeller Jorge Posada Lance Berkman Reegie Corona Juan Miranda Colin Curtis

More Details On The NHL Proposal

from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press, 

Details of the proposal were provided to The Canadian Press by a source. The NHL has drawn up a six-year deal that includes three years at a fixed salary cap — similar to the NHLPA's proposal two weeks ago — before returning to a system where the cap is based on overall league revenues with a 50-50 split.

According to the source, the offer doesn't include rollbacks for current contracts, meaning Sidney Crosby would earn all $104.4 million of the 12-year extension he signed with Pittsburgh earlier this summer and Zach Parise and Ryan Suter could each collect the $98 million they were promised by the Minnesota Wild....

The NHL's latest proposal would call for a dramatic change next season. According to the source, players are being asked to give back 11 per cent in 2012-13, which would set the salary cap at $58 million — more than $12 million less than where it would have been under the expiring CBA.

While current contracts wouldn't be rolled back like they were in 2005, players would have to pay more in escrow to accommodate for the lowered cap. Modified rules on contracts would also be introduced.


Source: http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/more-details-on-the-nhl-proposal

Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators

You Can't Even Pretend That Rory McIlroy Didn't Destroy Caroline Wozniacki's Tennis Career Anymore

We know there are a lot of totally rational reasons for Caroline Wozniacki's decline over the past 13 months.

She hurt her knee. She changed coaches. She may not have been as good as her No. 1 ranking in the first place (she has never won a major, after all).

BUT, we're still fixated on the Rory McIlroy variable of this equation above all others.

Facts are facts. The two athletes started dating on July 18, 2011 (according to the internet). Since then, Wozniacki has fallen apart. Here are her results over time (that green line is when she started dating Rory):

caroline wozniacki results since rory mcilroy chart

She won five tournaments in the six months before Rory. She has won one since (and 0 in the last 12 months).

She failed the reach the quarterfinals just five times in the six months before Rory. She has failed to reach the quarters five times in her last eight tournaments.

And after getting trounced in straight-sets last night at the US Open, she's been knocked out in the first round of two-straight majors. Not a good season (via ESPN):

caroline wozniacki 2012 record

Rory suffered a slight dip in form, but has since recovered and won the PGA Championship in dominant fashion earlier this month.

Wozniacki, though, is still reeling.

Please follow Sports Page on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/sportspage/~3/kSjEEHWi1o4/wozniacki--mcilroy-us-open-2012-8

Texas Rangers Toronto Blue Jays chicago blackhawks columbus blue jackets detroit red wings nashville predators

Andrew Luck: Why the Rookie Sensation Is Already a Top-10 NFL Quarterback

I'm not one for intentionally rabble-rousing statements. I cringe whenever Skip Bayless appears, uninvited, on my TV screen––rushing to change the channel before his toxic spew radiates into my ears. I'm just like the rest of you, so believe me when I say this isn't just for attention.

I genuinely believe Andrew Luck is already a top-10 quarterback in the NFL.

At first it sounds I tad quixotic. I know. But take some time to really think about it. All it really means is that Luck, lauded as the best rookie prospect since 1998, is roughly in the top third of starters at his position. 

In fact, according to Rotoworld.com, I'm not even the first to make these claims: Ron Jaworski echoed the sentiments on a recent iteration of Sportscenter.

And yet, I can't envision a scenario where my position is a popular one or, at best, respectfully disagreed with in the comment section below.

Here's my case. Go ahead and scour the league for the best quarterbacks. When you're done, you'll have only found five guys who absolutely have to be put ahead of Luck (in alphabetical order):

1. Tom Brady

2. Drew Brees

3. Eli Manning

4. Aaron Rodgers

5. Ben Roethlisberger

All of the above are (a) coming off complete, impressive seasons, and (b) have Super Bowl rings in their jewelry box. Even the most ardent defender of Luck's greatness couldn't make the untenable claim that he already belongs on that list.

But after that, there list of great NFL quarterbacks devolves into a massive clump––a secondary tier where every candidate has very real, very significant flaws.

That list would include (in alphabetical order):

1. Jay Cutler

2. Joe Flacco

3. Peyton Manning

4. Cam Newton

5. Philip Rivers

6. Tony Romo

7. Matt Ryan

8. Matt Schaub

9. Matt Stafford

10. Michael Vick 

So, in order to place as a top-10 NFL quarterback, Luck just needs to finish in the top half of that index. Top five on a list with four, count 'em four of the biggest injury risks in the entire league (Manning, Schaub, Stafford and Vick).

Is it really that hard to believe he'll do that this season?

I understand the "He's never proven himself in a real NFL game" argument, really I do. But the NFL preseason is the closest thing we have to a real NFL game (certainly closer than college), and if that's the case, he's done nearly all the proving I need to see. The sample size is admittedly small, but when it's used to supplement his impressive sample from college, it forms a conclusive dossier of greatness.

There's also the antiquated argument about rookie QBs not being able to compete in the NFL. Have you guys been watching the past few years? Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and Sam Bradford have all excelled in their debut seasons. Heck, even the rookie version of Tim Tebow showed some promise!

The draft process is changing, becoming more rigorous than ever––a fact that's especially true for young QBs. They go through trials and tribulations during their recruitment which prepare them more and more for the rigors of the NFL. How else can you explain the five rookie's slated to start Week 1 this year?

And in this new era of impeccably prepared quarterbacks, Luck is praised indisputably as the most prepared specimen. His size, his strength, his speed, his mind, his accuracy, even his perpetual smile––it's all perfect. It's like he was created in a lab.

So yes, it may sound incendiary to call Luck a top-10 quarterback before his regular season debut. And yes, if for some reason he fails, I will look back on this article and feel like a rambling dolt.

But if he succeeds—nay, when he succeeds—you're gonna hear me hollering I told you so from miles away.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1316282-andrew-luck-why-the-rookie-sensation-is-already-a-top-10-nfl-quarterback

Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets

Five Good Minutes: Miami Football Preview With The 7th Floor

Source: http://www.bcinterruption.com/2012/8/29/3275840/boston-college-miami-college-football-preview-week-one

Josh Bailey Mark Eaton Trent Hunter Andy Hilbert Bruno Gervais Dustin Kohn

Nick Cousins enters counseling program, not on ice for start of Soo Greyhounds camp Wednesday

Source: http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2012/8/29/3276802/nick-cousins-sexual-assault-greyhounds-flyers

Bryan Allen Mark Cullen Baltimore Orioles Boston Red Sox Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians

Avalanche milestones to watch for

Source: http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/8/27/3269573/avalanche-milestones-to-watch-for

Mark Fraser Andy Greene zach Parise bryce Salvador Wade Belak Martin Erat

The 19-Year-Old Heir Apparent To Serena Williams Is Going To Be Your New Favorite Tennis Player

We didn't know much about 19-year-old American tennis player Sloane Stephens at this time yesterday.

But last night we saw an interview with her on ESPN2 during the Novak Djokovic match, and holy smokes is she entertaining.

Stephens upset 22nd-seeded Francesca Schiavone at the US Open yesterday. She been hailed by John McEnroe as the next great female tennis star. And Serena Williams has also taken her under her wing. So she's got game.

And in the interview below, you can see that she has an energy and goofiness that will make her a surefire star if she's able to put it together on the court.

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/sportspage/~3/NLRROW3e81Q/sloane-stephen-interview-2012-8

Francisco Cervelli Chad Moeller Jorge Posada Lance Berkman Reegie Corona Juan Miranda

It’s news to me, dammit: Hockeytown Cafe suffers smalll fire

Updated 2x: It was a grease fire, and there's water damage: From WDIV and via RedWingsFeed, I don't care if it's hockey news. It's news to me, and it's news to Wings fans:

A small roof fire broke out Tuesday night at Detroit's Hockeytown Cafe.

Firefighters were working to contain the fire at the downtown restaurant. The restaurant's interior did not appear to have extensive damage, if anything.

There were no reports of injuries.

It is not clear if Hockeytown Cafe will be open Wednesday.

The HTC is a bit of a spiritual home for Wings fans., so this is indeed gnus, if only loosely so.

Update: Rut-roh, per Fox 2:

Source: http://kuklaskorner.com/tmr/comments/its-news-to-me-dammit-hockeytown-cafe-suffers-smalll-fire

Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres


Your Latest CBA Update

Now that the two sides have met this afternoon, news is starting to trickle in.


Talks resume; brothers Fehr accompanied by players Darche, Murray and Hainsey this time .... Interesting. #NHL #NHLPA #CBA
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) August 28, 2012

added 3:46pm,

Meeting is done #NHL #NHLPA #notgood
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) August 28, 2012

update 3:55pm,

more updates below at 4:03pm,

Source: http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/your-latest-cba-update

Colin Curtis Kevin Russo Curtis Granderson Nick Johnson Javier Lopez Alex Hinshaw

Florida Football: What Was Old Is New Again; Big Running Backs Are Back

Meet Gator senior running back Mike Gillislee, (5'11", 201). He isn't quite as fast as Jeff Demps or Chris Rainey, but few in the world are.

However, if you are going to run a pro set offense, you may need this type of running back. That isn't to say that Demps and Rainey were not great backs because they were. But they needed space in order to get that speed up—something the spread offense did for them.

If you are going to line up in single and double tight end sets, you need backs that can run downhill. These gazelles in cleats that Coach Meyer preferred were not built for 25-30 carries per game. Especially when an off tackle play is considered running it wide.

Mike Gillislee and the other new Florida running backs are built for just that.

Rounding out the group are sophomore Mack Brown (5'11", 210), freshman Matt Jones (6'2", 213) and fullbacks junior Trey Burton (6'3", 227) and sophomore, Hunter Joyner (5'10", 244).  

Notice this theme? Florida's second-year coach obviously is not a spread guy. As a matter of fact, he makes no bones that he isn't a spread guy. He is a pro set, run downhill, play great defense guy.

There isn't anything wrong with the spread offense. It is just that nowadays great defenses have seen it enough that they can stop it—unless your quarterback is named Newton or Tebow. Guys like that are just too difficult to find. 

Florida is still going to throw the football. There isn't any law that says you can't be a great passing team and still run out of the pro set. So, you pass happy fans, don't get discouraged.

The pro set is the wave of the future—at least in the SEC again—and Coach Muschamp is preparing this team to compete for championships.

How will the team look when Muschamp is finished? If done correctly, let's just say they will look like an exact double from a distance to several SEC teams. If somebody came into the locker in the middle of the night and switched out their uniforms, none of the fans would know the difference. 

Just curious...would you guys have any problems with wearing red sometimes? Or holding boxes of Tide detergent with a roll of toilet paper attached to it?

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1315160-florida-football-what-was-old-is-new-again-big-running-backs-are-back

Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs Atlanta Trashers Carolina Hurricanes Florida Panthers

Weather Channel’s Kelly Cass is Rather Cougarlicious (Photos)

Usually in this spot, we profile the gorgeous women of television media in the sports world. However, as the nation watched Hurricane Irene trek from the Bahamas to Canada this week, battering the East coast and killing two dozen people, I, like many others watched a lot more Weather Channel than usual. I don’t really [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/sidelineprincesses/weather-channels-kelly-cass-is-rather-cougarlicious-photos/

Jonathan Albaladejo Andrew Brackman A.J. Burnett Steve Garrison Phil Hughes Damaso Marte

Monday Morning Fly By: Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Source: http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2012/8/27/3270826/monday-morning-fly-by-good-news-for-people-who-love-bad-news

Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants

True Grit: How the Avalanche Got Better

Source: http://www.milehighhockey.com/2012/8/24/3263894/true-grit-how-the-avalanche-got-better

Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators

Weather Channel’s Kelly Cass is Rather Cougarlicious (Photos)

Usually in this spot, we profile the gorgeous women of television media in the sports world. However, as the nation watched Hurricane Irene trek from the Bahamas to Canada this week, battering the East coast and killing two dozen people, I, like many others watched a lot more Weather Channel than usual. I don’t really [...]

Source: http://www.thesportsbank.net/sidelineprincesses/weather-channels-kelly-cass-is-rather-cougarlicious-photos/

chicago blackhawks columbus blue jackets detroit red wings nashville predators St Louis Blues Calgary Flames

There Is Always Hope

Even though all signs point against a new CBA by September 15th, why does my gut tell me it will be agreed upon?

Maybe it is just the "fan" in me, hoping against all hope but if you look at this logically, there is no way there should be a lockout, even for one day.

Both sides have too much to lose by not reaching an agreement.

Hopefully they realize that and come to an agreement before this gets real ugly.

Source: http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/there-is-always-hope

Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets

Dallas Cowboys: Is Jason Garrett on the Hot Seat?

Is Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on the hot seat heading into the 2012-2013 NFL season?

Bleacher Report's resident NFL experts Evan Adrian and Joseph Merkel say "absolutely."

Garrett has had considerable time to work out the kinks and settle into his position with the 'Boys, but fans want results...and that means playoffs (something the Cowboys haven't experienced since 2009).

Does Garrett need to make the playoffs? And does he need to win a game if he gets there?

Watch the video above to find out what our NFL contributors have to say, and be sure to sound off with your own opinion in the comments section below!

Be sure to sound off and let us know what you think in the comments below. If you like what you see, click here for more from Bleacher Report Productions. 

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1314733-is-jason-garrett-on-hot-seat

Patrick Davis Tyler Eckford Mark Fraser Andy Greene zach Parise bryce Salvador

The Highest-Paid Tennis Players In The World

roger federer

Tennis players earn lots of money on the court but where they really rake in the big bucks is with their endorsements.

The highest earning tennis player, Roger Federer, earned $9.3 million on the court, and a whopping $45 million off the court, according to Forbes.

Federer's sponsors include luxury brands Rolex and Mercedes, Credit Suisse, Gillette, and his biggest sponsor, Nike.

#5 Li Na—$18.4 million in total earnings

#4 Novak Djokovic—$19.8 million in total earnings

#3 Maria Sharapova—$27.1 million in total earnings

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/sportspage/~3/KjTOWLvRKBw/the-highest-paid-tennis-players-in-the-world-2012-8

Josh Bailey Mark Eaton Trent Hunter Andy Hilbert Bruno Gervais Dustin Kohn

Barclays Center Rust: Rounding Up Reactions to Brooklyn Nets' Rustic Arena

The Brooklyn Nets have yet to play a single game at the brand new Barclays Center, but the place already looks like it has been there for ages.

According to Elizabeth A. Harris of The New York Times, the exterior of the arena is made with something known as “weathering steel,” which actually is supposed to look rusted. She explains:

Weathering steel — often known by its old brand name, Cor-Ten — develops a fine layer of rust, which then acts as a protective coating against moisture, slowing its own corrosion process almost to a stop. While it can look suspiciously unfinished to the casual observer, it has many fans in the world of art and architecture.

It certainly has drawn a number of bold reactions from a number of vocal critics across the web. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting thoughts that are out there about the Barclays Center’s building material and unique look.



Bart HubbuchNew York Post

This New York City native told Twitter that he has to see the Barclays Center on his commute to and from work each day, and figured that the outside was still a work in progress. He was stunned and disappointed to find out that simply isn’t the case.



Jack DickeyDeadspin

Dickey did an investigative report into weathering steel and found it simply isn’t a good idea to use on major structures, such as sports arenas.

He mentions how Atlanta’s Omni Coliseum, the New Haven Coliseum and Pittsburgh’s U.S. Steel Tower all suffered horribly from being designed with the material.

Although the Barclays Center isn’t being used for structural support, the cosmetics can also get ugly. He alluded to what happened at La Guardia Airport’s parking garage.

“In 1986, The Nation called the material that framed the parking garage at La Guardia Airport ‘a triumph of metallurgy.’ By 1991, the same structure had to be painted over "’because its rusty surface had become unsightly.’”



Joe R – Twitter

This little piece of insight from a visitor to the Barclays Center is quite funny, if it is actually true.

Joe is claiming that he overheard a construction working making fun of the rusted material they outfitted the exterior of the arena with and felt that the company that sold it could sell anything to anyone.



Kelly DwyerYahoo!

Because of the nature of weathered steel, the rust can and will drip onto the sidewalk below. However, it’s not just the Barclays Center’s property that will be damaged or discolored by the rust according to Dwyer.

“It seeps, actually, right down to the pavement below where it stains the sidewalks and stoops. Worse, it discolors windows; some of which might belong to neighboring residents or business owners that didn't quite get on board with the idea behind pre-stained metal as something to be admired as a party piece.”


The reactions to this rustic look of the Brooklyn Nets new home are overwhelmingly negative. It seems that the general public does not like the look of the structure and only certain architectural and artistic junkies are in favor of the weathered steel.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1314207-barclays-center-rust-rounding-up-reactions-to-brooklyn-nets-rustic-arena

John Madden Petr Kalus Colton Gilies Justin Falk Robbie Eal Joe Callahan

Five Good Minutes: Miami Football Preview With Category Six

Source: http://www.bcinterruption.com/2012/8/28/3272160/boston-college-miami-college-football-preview-week-one

Andrew Brackman A.J. Burnett Steve Garrison Phil Hughes Damaso Marte Mariano Rivera

Game 128 Game Day Thread

Source: http://www.lonestarball.com/2012/8/27/3271033/game-128-game-day-thread

Tampa Bay Lightning Washington Capitals Arizona Diamondbacks Atlanta Braves Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds


The Blue Jackets Get A New Scoreboard

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, 

Today, a tractor-trailer will pull slowly onto the arena floor carrying the “mother lode” pieces of the crown jewel in this summer’s $6.4 million renovation project: a state-of-the-art, high-definition scoreboard that dwarfs the old model in both size and capability.

“There’s going to be a huge ‘Wow!’ factor,” said Blue Jackets director of game operations Derek Dawley. “I can’t wait to see the look on people’s faces when they experience this for the first time.”
It will be hard to miss, although a potential NHL lockout could delay its unveiling.

The new scoreboard, built by Brookings, S.D.-based Daktronics, will have 2,630 square feet of viewing space vs. the old one’s 576 square feet, a 357 percent increase. The main board on each of the four sides will be 25 feet wide and 15.5 feet high (387.5 square feet) vs. the old 16-by-9 (144 square feet).

It’s all in high-definition, too, which — like electric cars and iPods — wasn’t available when Nationwide was being built in the late 1990s.

read on

Source: http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/the-blue-jackets-get-a-new-scoreboard

Andy Hilbert Bruno Gervais Dustin Kohn Andrew McDonald Matt Martin Frans Nielsen

15 Biggest Flops for MLB's Most Disappointing Teams

Every team enters the season with a certain level of expectations placed upon them, and for one reason or another there are always teams who fall short of those expectations and fall into the category of disappointment.

For the sake of this article, I have taken into account two different kinds of teams that can be deemed disappointments.

First, the teams who entered the season with playoff aspirations who are currently out of the playoff picture; Boston, Cleveland, Colorado, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.

The other was teams that came into the season viewed as legitimate World Series contenders but currently find themselves on the fringe of the postseason picture; Arizona and Los Angeles (AL).

So here is a look at the 15 biggest flops from those nine teams; players who have played a part in their team being among the most disappointing in baseball.

Begin Slideshow

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1313293-15-biggest-flops-for-mlbs-most-disappointing-teams

Washington Nationals Jonathan Albaladejo Andrew Brackman A.J. Burnett Steve Garrison Phil Hughes

Roger Clemens Strikes Out First Batter In Return To Professional Baseball

We still need to see a lot more before we'll know if 50-year-old Roger Clemens is ready to pitch again in the Major Leagues. But when he took the mound for the first time tonight as a member of the Sugar Land Skeeters, he looked a lot like the old Clemens, striking out the first professional batter he has faced in five years.

Well, maybe the arm is a little slower, and the waistline is a little bigger. And it is just an independent league. But the batter was Joey Gathright, a player that has played over 400 games in the big leagues with four different ball clubs. And the result was Clemensian, a strikeout. In fact, Clemens would strike out two batters in a perfect first inning.

[UPDATE] Clemens is done after 3.1 shutout innings. He gave up just one hit and 24 of his 37 pitches were strikes. His fastball was just 87-88, but he hit his spots. And honestly, he looks like he could make the rotation of 10-12 big league clubs. Only question is endurance.

Here's the video of the first strikeout (via ESPN)...

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/sportspage/~3/1bbT_Hmni8k/video-roger-clemens-strikes-out-first-batter-in-return-to-professional-baseball-2012-8

Matt Martin Frans Nielsen Dwayne Roloson Jon Sim Jason Arnott David Clarkson

Thursday Morning Fly By: Former Flyers Everywhere In Europe

Source: http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2012/8/23/3261841/thursday-morning-fly-by-former-flyers-everywhere-in-europe

Colin Curtis Kevin Russo Curtis Granderson Nick Johnson Javier Lopez Alex Hinshaw

Los Angeles Lakers Announce Plans for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Statue

In a move long overdue, the Los Angeles Lakers have finally announced plans to erect a statue of the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, outside of Staples Center. 

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, "The Lakers plan to announce the date of the official unveiling of the statue in the near future, according to a league source."

Abdul-Jabbar's likeness will be the fifth statue outside of Staples Center, with the other five belonging to Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Chick Hearn, Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya. 

The fact that Abdul-Jabbar has waited 23 years for this reported announcement has not sat well with the legend. 

The Sporting News' Steve Greenberg captured this quote from Kareem last May, a few shorts months after the unveiling of Jerry West's bronze statue:  

I don't understand (it). It's either an oversight or they're taking me for granted, I'm not going to try to read people's minds, but it doesn't make me happy. It's definitely a slight. I feel slighted.

He had every right to feel slighted. His contributions to the Lakers are a huge reason the franchise is as storied as it is. 

He was a vital piece to the Lakers' five championship teams of the '80s. While his slow-paced style was in many ways the antithesis of "Showtime," those teams would not have been nearly as dominant as they were without Kareem's money sky hook and inside presence. 

The image of Kareem in the Purple and Gold, turning on one foot to raise his never-ending arm high into the air to drop in a sky hook is a defining image for the franchise. 

It is about time that the club bestowed this honor on the six-time NBA MVP. 

Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1313594-los-angeles-lakers-to-build-statue-for-kareem-abdul-jabbar

Toronto Blue Jays chicago blackhawks columbus blue jackets detroit red wings nashville predators St Louis Blues

Canucks re-sign…Uh, back-up(?) Eddie Lack to a two-year extension

From TSN:

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed goaltender Eddie Lack to a two-year extension.

Lack's deal is a two-way contract in the first year that pays him $650,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level. He has a one-way deal in the second year that will pay him $850,000.

The 24-year-old Lack appeared in 46 games with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League last season, finishing with 21 wins, 20 losses and three ties. The native of Norrtalje, SWE, finished the season with a 2.31 goals-against average, ranking him ninth in the AHL in that category.

Source: http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/canucks-re-sign...uh-back-up-eddie-lack-to-a-two-year-extension

Cincinnati Reds Colorado Rockies Florida Marlins Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers

Jeremy Lin, David Beckham, And Others, Star With President Obama In Anti-Dating Violence Commercial

The Public Service Announcement commercial below is part of the White House's "1 is 2 Many" campaign against dating violence of young women. In addition to President Barack Obama, the commercial also features some of the biggest sports stars in the world including Jeremy Lin, David Beckham, and Eli Manning.

I like to think that I watch a lot of sports, but despite this video being on YouTube since June, this weekend was the first time I had seen the commercial on television. And that might explain the surprisingly low number of views (140,000 as of today) considering the big names involved...

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/sportspage/~3/ToNuX9t8bjc/jeremy-lin-david-beckham-and-others-star-with-president-obama-in-anti-dating-violence-commercial-2012-8

Josh Bailey Mark Eaton Trent Hunter Andy Hilbert Bruno Gervais Dustin Kohn