Jonathan Martin (Former Dolphin And Noted Bullying Victim) Posted A Firearm And A Cryptic Message On Social Media That Got His Former High School Shut Down
TheBigLead- Harvard-Westlake School, a prominent private school in the Los Angeles area, shut down today after a security threat. Police said, via CBS Los Angeles, that this closure “was due to a former student, now an adult, who made threats in an Instagram post Thursday.”
According to 12up.com writer Nick Brown, Jonathan Martin, the former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman who was an alumnus of Harvard-Westlake, posted this in his Instagram story:
Oh, the irony. The former professional football player that infamously couldn't handle some locker room hazing that more than likely went a bit above and beyond has some lessons to teach us about bullying. The first - and you might want to write this down, because it's definitely the most important - is that it's only okay when he does it.
Seriously, how else would you describe scaring an entire high school into shutting its doors with a clear and present threat of violence when said type of violence currently has the entire nation restless? Clearly Jonathan Martin isn't "all there", but suffering from emotional distress doesn't make him any less guilty of inflicting that same angst to the nth degree unto hundreds of uninvolved and innocent students as well as their friends and family. Sometimes words hurt more than that 'sticks and stones' saying implies, but they don't cause nearly as much pain and anguish as the visual of a firearm, live ammunition, an ominous quote about death, and an extensive list of potential targets.
This is probably more of a cry for help than anything else, but trying to assume what's truly going through the mind of someone who would post something so sinister and psychotic on social media is a losing proposition. Therefore, I think were about five years late on isolating Jonathan Martin from society for good. While I have no doubts that Richie Incognito tends to push the boundaries and misread situations when it comes to fucking around, there's only been one teammate that's taken serious umbrage with it. Not so coincidentally, it just so happens to be the crazy person that ironically stole a bullying tactic in trying to humanize school shooters and mass murderers by way of ambiguous threat.
VICE- The vast majority of Russian athletes who could have competed at PyeongChang 2018 were banned from the Games due to Russia's widespread doping scheme uncovered in the wake of the Sochi Olympics. Certain athletes deemed to be "clean," however, were allowed to participate under the Olympic flag, as "Olympic athletes from Russia."
Since the start of the 2018 Olympics, two of the Russian athletes allowed to participate have been popped for doping. First, curler Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for meldonium—the same heart medication that got Maria Sharapova banned from tennis for 15 months. Today it was announced that bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva also tested positive for a banned heart medication. We don't know the specific medication that triggered the positive test, but we do know she has to upgrade her wardrobe...
I don't want to completely let this Russian bobsledder off the hook here. After all, she basically screen-printed skepticism across her chest days prior to getting popped for crushing more pills than a college student in need of a 36 hour cram session. Of all the teenagers to have gone walking through the park late at night with a 'D.A.R.E.' tee shirt on, not a single one of them has ever done so without - at the bare minimum - a one-hitter in their pocket. I don't know that there's a right way to trick people into thinking you're innocent, but seemingly sarcastically declaring it on your clothes in all caps is almost assuredly the wrong way.
However, let's not pretend that furthering herself from a scandal by way of wardrobe is a concept that this particular "Olympic Athlete from Russia" came up with all on her own. Nadezhda Sergeeva may have taken the strategy of dressing innocent to an extremely literal extent, but the IOC decided that rocking nondescript attire is the punitive measure for being found guilty of decades of blood doping. By that logic, why wouldn't a worn condemnation of steroids buy her at least a week free of its super strict testing? Maybe the governing body of the Olympic Games should look in the damn mirror, because they set the precedent that what's on the outside can cover up what's on the inside when they let a crime ridden country identify themselves by the name of a popular American rock band as their biggest punishment.
P.S. We've now had a curler and bobsledder get busted. Just goes to show that Russian athletes are just as dumb as they are deceitful since it's pretty common knowledge that ice is nature's steroid.
Ok, ok. Enough is enough. Joke's over. We've had our laughs, so can we please get Zion Williamson out of high school before he legitimately hurts someone? Billy with the buzzcut ain't getting a full ride off his ability to absorb a basketball to the face, so it's kind of important he doesn't get dunked into early onset dementia before taking the SAT's.
In the same vein that it's extremely difficult to practice wrestling moves on your little brother without underestimating your own strength and tombstoning him into Tomorrowland, it's damn near impossible for the future Dukie to showcase his full range of athletic freak without risking his opponent's ability to ride a bicycle without training wheels. The more cautiously you play the more likely you are to get put into a dangerous spot by your own hesitancy, and - by the looks of all the all highlights I've seen - Zion Williamson is mostly playing against stone frozen sophomores who are one more jump scare away from soiling themselves. He's a bull in a china shop, if the most fragile item in that china shop was the self esteem of self conscious high school students.
Can't we just expedite him to college already? Of course I enjoy watching windmills over entire graduating classes, but the Wu-Tang Clan has taught me too damn much for me to fail in suggesting we do it for the children...
For The First Time In Their History, The Devils Made A Deal With The Devil In Nabbing Michael Grabner From The Rangers
At the same time I picked up my phone to the notification that Michael Grabner was a New Jersey Devil I got a call from my brother telling me that Michael Grabner was a New Jersey Devil. Yet, as we quickly talked our way through Ray Shero throwing caution to the trade winds, I still couldn't help but think that I should find a third source. I blame the decades I spent drunk on the Kool-Aid for my delayed reaction time. Clearly watching a young, dynamic player who was drafted ahead of a more prototypical prospect and wears the dreaded number '13' across the back of a recently altered jersey wasn't a stark enough reminder that Lou Lamoriello has taken, among other traditions, his endearingly relatable hatred for all things Rangers across the border. It appears I shouldn't have kept putting off my system upgrade, because hearing that the Devils made a cross-river transaction had my wires crossed in a way that is typically followed by an error message.
After that update did finally go through, however, I found myself giddy at the idea of the Devils adding a proven scorer that does most of his damage at even strength, is a constant threat on the penalty kill, and has the speed to put up his pink slip against the wheels of Miles Wood. I didn't think that Ray Shero was even considering the option of renting, but he certainly checked all the boxes in shopping for a short term fit.
You can pretty easily make the argument that, despite their recent 4-game winning streak, the Devils have played some of their most dominant hockey in losing efforts as of late. Questionable goaltending and defensive gaffs aside, that has a lot to do with them being overly reliant on Taylor Hall to will the puck into the net. Their ability to grind out chances has only been made infuriating by their inability to finish them when the chips are down. Michael Grabner is just one flatfooted defenseman away from a breakaway at any given time, and - needless to say - the Jimmy Hayes/Drew Stafford/Nick Lappin/Blake Pietila combination that he'll likely push out of the lineup is only that dangerous to their own job security.
If absolutely nothing else, what this deal cost them in the future pales in comparison to the message it sends now. Whether or not you've elected to believe in the Devils' ability to compete in a postseason run, this is a vote of confidence from the only person that matters that they'll be there when the gun goes off. I didn't see it coming this early in the rebuild, but Ray Shero just declared it "playoffs or bust" for a team that's outperformed expectations. Never mind reinforcing the depth of the lineup, because that should go a long way in reinforcing trust with a player like Taylor Hall who might legitimately need to spend another long offseason in a padded room if his sensational season ends in early April.
So buckle up Devils' fan, both literally and figuratively. the organization just hit the gas on turning this team into a contender. Whatever "house money" they may have been playing with just got pushed to the center of table, so - regardless of what the forecast was in the fall - they can no longer afford to fold. Especially since letting their heated rivals win the first trade they've ever made with one another would feel almost as shitty as losing the franchise's forward momentum.
The NBA Is Considering Adding Play-In Games To Their Playoff Structure For Reasons Currently Unknown
ESPN- Recent comments from NBA commissioner Adam Silver about tweaking the league's playoff format drew intense media coverage, but sources say there is also some behind-the-scenes momentum for the idea of a play-in tournament determining the last two seeds in each conference -- to the point that two specific proposals are circulating at the highest levels within teams and the league office.
The play-in proposal that has generated the most discussion, according to several sources: two four-team tournaments featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th seeds in each conference. The seventh seed would host the eighth seed, with the winner of that single game nabbing the seventh spot, sources say. Meanwhile, the ninth seed would host the 10th seed, with the winner of that game facing the loser of the 7-versus-8 matchup for the final playoff spot.
The implementation of a play-in tournament is not imminent. It falls behind the one-and-done rule and perhaps reseeding the playoffs 1-16 regardless of conference in the current reform pecking order. (It could go hand-in-hand with that change, only with one play-in tournament instead of separate brackets for each conference.)
Well, I'll be. The NBA's lack of parity in conjunction with their tanking epidemic has become such a conundrum that it has either stumped the league stupid or encouraged it's most trusted decision makers to start drinking on the job.
I don't want to make it sound like I'm against the idea of a play-in tournament, I just have no idea what a fairly significant alteration would be aimed at solving. I'm not in the demolition business, but I don't think you take a wrecking ball to your foundation unless you have extensive plans to vastly improve it. This feels like going through the trouble of adding an addition to your home just to fill it with a 4th crapper, and the last thing the NBA needs is more shitty series to sit through. I'm a procrastinator so I haven't even gotten started on my list of ways to make the NBA postseason better, but adding even more mediocrity to a viewing experience that is largely mediocre prior to the Conference Finals is already my heavy favorite for "worst case scenario".
Look, I get it. Tanking nearing it's way to becoming a necessity in constructing a truly competitive roster is an issue, but if this would just be an attempt at tricking fringe teams into trying then we've got a much bigger problem, which is that the NBA clearly has no qualms about insulting the intelligence of it's management. If the allure of playing the underdog in a mini/pity playoff where the winners inevitably get mauled by the 1 and 2 seeds has you hesitant to go all-in on a rebuild then you desperately need to replace your organizational architect, not reward him/her with playoff revenue.
Kim Jong-Un, eat your goddamn heart out! Seriously, I haven't seen evil intentions result in such an undeniably hilarious scene since the last time North Korea tested an explosive!
If you watch enough professional sports you come to realize that some franchises - no matter how often they change personnel - are just destined to fail. The harder they try to avoid repeating history, the sillier they end up looking when they inevitably do. I don't know if that phenomenon is one that translates to international competition, but if that's the case then they might as well be considered the North Koreveland Browns.
Seriously, if he's not just a product of a counterproductive environment then how else would you explain our boy Jong Kwang Bom going from proud Olympian to the Wile E. Coyote of the speed skating world with the sound a gunshot that appeared to have been aimed at his achilles? If that forehead-slapping folly wasn't the result of an origin-fulfilling prophecy then it's an all-time coincidence, because acting maliciously and executing laughably while bearing your colors shamelessly as a clear and present danger to no one but yourself makes him the perfect athletic representative for North Korea!
Actress Leslie Jones Was Not A Fan Of Pierre McGuire's Line Of Questioning During The Second Intermission Of The Women's Hockey Final
You know, sometimes I wonder if I am being too hard on noted hockey know-it-all Pierre McGuire. After all, as completely and utterly useless as most of his tidbits happen to be, they are typically intended to inform the audience. It's an audience that - by and large - doesn't give a shit about where some AHL call up went to kindergarten, but it's still knowledge nonetheless. His batting average as an analyst sucks, but - credit to him - he's still up there swinging. In that sense, he should be praised for not keeping his bat on his shoulder due to a couple hundred thousand online insults.
Unfortunately, in the sense that an actress that isn't in tune with his rich history of talking too goddamn much seeing as she probably only watches hockey once every four years can call him out for being a situationally unaware dweeb after no more than one typically cookie cutter intermission interview, those online insults are mostly deserved. If nothing else, by calling an excessively stupid question exactly that, Leslie Jones let me know that not all my negative assessments of Pierre McGuire are based on years of bias.
Obviously it wasn't meant to be malicious, but referencing that time an Olympic athlete's dreams were shattered when that nightmare is potentially only 20 minutes of gameplay away from being relived is dumb enough to be deemed worthy of name calling. Not for nothing, but feeling comfortable enough to start name calling someone after hearing them talk for approximately ten seconds is a massive indictment of their non-operational filter.
I, like most, will forever be confused by the concept of deciding games of the highest significance with a bunch of solo efforts when the participants trained together for years on end to compete in the ultimate team sport. That said, watching the U.S. Women strip their neighbors to the North of the gold medal that had cruelly slipped through their grasp the last two Winter Olympics by out dueling them in a sphincter-clenching skills competition felt like a more justifiable outcome than most provided by way of a breakaway contest.
Maybe that's because it helped to wash away the lingering stink of watching the men woefully exit while getting shutout in a shootout. Maybe it's because it was already well after 2AM and the adrenaline from another overtime period would have had me closing my eyes to the rise of the sun had it not completely stopped my heart by then. Maybe it's because it was a reflection of the game as a whole in being a wildly entertaining back-and-forth affair that gave me a whole new appreciation for the level of non-gender-qualifying skill on both sides of the ice...
Alright, fuck it, the truth is that the ending only felt more fair because I was able to celebrate it. I'm pretty sure that Canada, as a wholly invested country, felt more strained than their goaltender's lower body ligaments when they had a run of dominance that was going on two decades brought to a painstaking end in a universally despised manner.
That, however, doesn't make any of the previous rationalizations any less true. If a hard fought game absolutely has to end in a shootout then, objectively speaking, one that truly encapsulates just how talented and evenly matched the teams are is the best case scenario. Also, if a hard fought game absolutely has to end in a shootout then, subjectively speaking, one that gets America to pay a little more attention to hockey by pandering to our superiority complex and distracting from the fact that Auston Matthews and Co. were forced to watch from home is a better than best case scenario.
Credit to Maggie Rooney, Hilary Knight, the Lamoureux ladies, and the rest of Team USA for bringing home the gold by any means necessary. The exciting and impressive 80+ minute effort they gave in doing so truly made what was an otherwise uninteresting tournament totally worth watching. Time, and money, well spent...
Michael Thomas Is Still Fueled By Grudges, As The "Complete Square" That Is Mike Mayock Just Learned
In most cases I'd say it's beneath a Pro Bowl wideout - whose compiled more catches in his first two seasons than any other player in NFL history - to take aim at pre-draft rankings that seem absolutely laughable in retrospect. However, this is Michael Thomas we are talking about, and it's his unwillingness to let that chip leave his shoulder that's aided both his hyper-competitiveness and his almost immediate rise to the top. So while it doesn't make total sense to criticize Mike Mayock for correctly predicting him to be the 6th wide receiver taken, I'm with him in thinking that you deserve to be called a "complete square" when your prognostications are proven wrong faster than those of a bargain basement tarot card reader. Granted, they may have fallen in line with the foreboding of at least five other NFL GM's, but six wrongs don't make one right. On the contrary, six wrongs make four consecutive rights, because everyone that underestimated the strength, ball skills, versatility, elusiveness, and route running of the prospect who had them all on full display by the first day of his rookie camp currently looks like an L-7 wienie.
I'd never argue that it's easy to predict how each and every young player will develop, but it must have been more difficult than it looked for the only true #1 to race out to such a huge lead that he'd have to sit out a full year and change to let whoever the current #2 is get within sniffing distance. Therefore, I think the sure-handed Saint has earned the right to throw shade towards an "expert" draft analyst who must have gotten too much sun the day he took that #shhhh too seriously and slept on Michael Thomas.
Chiefs O-Lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Wants To Add 'M.D.' To His Nameplate After Graduating Med School
I genuinely hope that the NFL goes against just about every other random, narrow-minded fine/penalty they've administered in hopes of suffocating individuality and attaining complete uniformity amongst their players and allows Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to add 'M.D.' to his nameplate. Simultaneously managing both the physical toll of the most intimidating of trenches in the NFL and the mental toll of the most intimidating of classrooms in med school is a feat that's more than worthy of being recognized. So while it's about as shamelessly obnoxious as a law school grad adding 'Esq.' to his/her signature, what it lacks in humility it more than makes up for in well-deserved pride.
I just wonder if he's spoken with his coaches to find out how they feel about him having to pull double duty on Sunday's. You want to be acknowledged as a medical doctor while on the gridiron then I feel you should have to at least be on call as one of the gridiron's medical doctors. Of course, there's already more than enough staffed physicians irresponsibly skirting the concussion protocol by clearing every athlete that's capable of giving two thumbs up. However, on the off-chance that organized violence churns out patients at a higher rate than usual and they need a helping hand in waving vulnerable players back on to the field then it only makes sense that it be the big old, qualified mitts of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif!
As Curb Your Enthusiasm illustrated, not every doc is sworn to put in work off the clock, but - from an optics standpoint - if you have 'M.D.' stitched into your goddamn back then you might as well be pass blocking in scrubs. Somewhere in the code of ethics has to be a promise to uphold health when easily identified as someone whose proficient in doing so. I don't care what the down-and-distance is, if you absolutely have to pat yourself on the back for having just about the most impressively versatile of resumes then live up to it when put in a situation where the entire range of your expertise is needed the most. After all, we wouldn't want that oath to appear hypocritical instead of hippocratic.
Nikita Kucherov Is Sparing No Feelings In His Never-Ending Quest To Make All Goaltenders Look Stupid
I suppose we shouldn't have expected any less from someone that was able to turn a complete lack of a move into his jaw-dropping signature move, but spicing up a ghosting that gives a goalie's legs less closure than a Tinder conquest is undeniable proof that Nikita Kucherov is the NHL's greatest showman. Being able to repeatedly sell one phantom deke to those whose job is to remain frugal with their movements is impressive enough as is, but the Lightning forward legitimately tantalized one of the best goaltenders in the league into following the puck through the entirety of an obstacle course that - judging by his instant reaction - he knew to be invisible. Appearing to have the puck on a string used to be the most sought after form of in-game wizardry, but Kucherov has successfully waved his wand so many times that the most focused men on the ice are continuously surprised when he doesn't...
And you know what, while I appreciate the show, I pity the guy that once again had to pay the price for our tickets. Poor Braden Holtby. The person who gets fooled twice by the same source is generally supposed to wear the shame, but the creativity of this particular magician truly transcends an overused figure of speech. Not only is there not a right way to play Nikita Kucherov on a breakaway, but there might not even be a way that limits your seemingly inevitable embarrassment. It's either watch the puck intently only to be insanely late when he actually moves it or shoots it, or follow his body only to end up looking like your swatting at a fly while the puck casually glides through your legs. Nelly and Kelly Rowland couldn't even sex up a dilemma that agonizing. It's a catch-22, but the only think you're actually catching is the hook, line, and sinker in a way that would comparatively make a fish out of water feel as if it were in control of the situation.
Good Thing Useless Skills Always Translate To Professional Success, Because Josh Allen Threw The Ball 50 Yards Off The Crossbar From His Knees
I don't want to make it sound like I'm wishing ill upon someone that's a few months away from taking their first NFL snaps. I don't particularly feel any which way about Josh Allen, but even one more mildly competent quarterback would benefit a league whose current lack of accurate passers is challenged only by their current lack of accurate catch rulings. For that reason, I hope the Cleveland Browns pass on him and he not so coincidentally goes on to have a lengthy, decorated career in the NFL. However, on the even odds that neither of those things happen, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the hilarity of him using hauntingly familiar tactics to wink-wink, nudge-nudge his way up the draft board.
Let's be honest, the only way in which that 50 yard bomb off the crossbar from his knees differs from well-chronicled 60 yard heave that JaMarcus Russell made from his asscheeks is that social media is now around to provide a visual that makes it all the more enticing. Again, I don't want the Wyoming product whose rocket arm is exponentially more impressive than his actual resume to flame out, but if he does then listening to the General Manager who selects him try to explain how he missed so many goddamn warning signs will provide the purest of comic relief.
Whoever ends up taking Josh Allen early in the first round isn't just up against the normal potential pitfalls of committing the next 3-4 years of their franchise to a complete unknown based on nothing more than measurables. They are also up against history, which has told us over-and-over again that choosing to market yourself by way of gimmicky displays of strength that are just as impressive as they are completely useless typically leads to a falseness in advertising.
If JaMarcus Russell isn't a painful enough reminder then let the curious case of Kyle Boller serve as the twisting of the knife. There is a reason these prospects seem too good to be true, and it's because infomercial quarterbacks often lead to buyer's remorse.
Norway's Mixed Doubles Curling Team Wants A Medal Ceremony For The Bronze They Feel Robbed Of By The Russian Doping Scandal
LBS- Norway’s team of Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten lost the bronze medal match to the Olympic Athlete from Russia team of Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitskiy 8-4 at the Gangneung Curling Centre last week. Things changed though after Krushelnitskiy tested positive for banned substance meldonium.
If the Russian team gets stripped of its bronze medal, Nedregotten says he would want to have a medal ceremony before the Games end.
“Knowing that they may have had an advantage against us in our games through cheating feels horrible,” he said, via The Guardian “If he is found guilty, then they’ve robbed us of our moment of glory, receiving our medal in the stadium. That’s not cool. That’s hard to accept, feeling that you’ve been kept out of the light."
“Obviously he is not guilty before he is convicted. But it is confirmed, the preferred option for us would be to receive the bronze medal at some point during the remainder of the Olympics.”
Many have found it humorous that someone would be caught using a banned substance in curling because they wonder how it helps. But Nedregotten believes the substance can help players stay mentally acute and help them recover in between matches. He says sweepers can get sore in between matches, and with a crammed schedule, that could make a big difference.
I want to say that these Norwegians need to find the nearest mirror and do a little self reflection. Even with the non-identified country in question being needle deep in a steroid scandal that cost them the ability to fly their own damn flag during international competition, this juicing allegation of the mixed doubles curler that is formerly known as Russian is far and away the most comical thing to happen at the Olympics. Integrity of the glorified hobby be damned. Referencing soreness caused by sweeping in demanding a pity ceremony for a third place medal that you will have won completely by default would comparatively make Michigan look justified in holding a Championship parade over the weekend to celebrate Louisville's recently vacated NCAA title from 2013. So yeah, I don't think it's crazy to say that most rational competitors would be too proud to accept an honorable mention that meets only the lowest possible bar as a "moment of glory".
Here's the thing though. A lack of self awareness is intrinsic to the existence of curling. It's absence isn't just helpful, but necessary in encouraging people to devote four years of their life (at a time) to intensely crafting their ability to gently push rocks down an icy aisle. If curlers took themselves as seriously as they probably should take themselves then by rule they would be required to have an open beer in hand during gameplay. I actually appreciate these Norwegians for being so invested in stone sliding that they have convinced themselves that a little artificial strength can have a significant effect on it's outcome. It's that type of commitment to the cause that has them, as well as their peers, furrowing their brows as they spend so much time lining up their shot in Canadian shuffleboard that you'd think they were playing American shuffleboard at an old folks home.
So god bless Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotte. Without them caring far too much about being recognized for their efforts, watching those efforts would be about as intriguing as spectating the last beer pong game of the night.
Taylor Hall's Endorsement Of John Hynes Is The Only One I Need To Consider Him The Right Man For The Job
So, I guess it goes without saying, but this isn't exactly the greatest of looks for the anti-Hynes contingent. To be quite honest, I'm not particularly sure why that contingent even exists considering that the Devils' head coach has consistently gotten a strong effort out of an oft-depleted roster that's ahead of schedule despite being made up largely of young players that have achieved more this year than anyone could have possibly imagined. Regardless, they might want to rethink the planning of their next meeting after having their mission statement shot straight to hell by a player whose blossomed into someone that's legitimately capable of capturing the franchise's first Hart Trophy under the tutelage of their scapegoat. At this point in the rebuild, the Devils will go as far as Taylor Hall can take them, and if you believe anything he said to be true then it's John Hynes that will be sitting shotgun giving directions.
Of course, there's a reason that athletes - no matter how important they may be - don't typically influence staffing decisions. However, when one who knows a dysfunctional locker room better than the back of his hand partially credits his first postseason push to the mutually beneficial relationship that he has maintained with the head coach then it's probably safe to assume that head coach is doing a good job. Especially when that head coach just so happens to be the same guy that has gotten relative consistency out Damon Severson and the rest of an admittedly suspect defense, confidence out of Pavel Zacha, trustworthiness out of multiple teenagers, and significant contributions from role players like Miles Wood, Brian Boyle, Brian Gibbons, and Blake Coleman. Lest not we forget that Will Butcher is a New Jersey Devil - at least in part - because John Hynes is the coach of the New Jersey Devils, and it's tough to think it a coincidence that the latter has gotten the most out of former despite his limited minutes.
As is the case with most coaches, he comes not without flaws, but the fact that John Hynes has gotten the entirety of the team to buy in by pushing all the right buttons at all the right times (See: the overwhelming positivity following the backbreaking loss to Boston that preceded the current 4-game winning streak) more than makes up for the occasional odd lineup decision. The 'New Jersey Devils Vs. Everybody' mantra - by either dumb luck or timely inspiration - has paid dividends, and the coach deserves just as much credit for introducing it as the team does for running up the standings with it. The resilience they've shown in refusing to let a handful of undeserved outcomes derail their season has been impressive, but - with how often trust, accountability, and togetherness has not only been preached but also practiced from the top on down - it's far from a surprise.
Olympic Hockey Players Have Been Advised To Replace Handshakes With Fist Bumps To Avoid Spreading The Norovirus
I truly didn't think I'd witness anything more annoying during the Winter Olympics than Ilya Kovalchuk taking a disproportional amount of pride in running roughshod over a rendition of Team USA that became castrated by the NHL's decision to opt-out of the Olympics. Unfortunately, the undeniable vindication that has played out in favor of both Gary Bettman and the owners is getting pretty close to nipping at its heels.
I hate to say it as much as everyone who has found themselves half-invested in watching second rate talent battle for eternally compromised medals hates to hear it, but the NHL couldn't have hoped for a better result as it pertains to justifying their absence. The dip in ratings that has proven that the IOC should have bucked up the money to make sure that one of the most alluring sports in the Winter Olympics was truly being played between the best-of-the-best held the nail in place, and the fact that their replacements can't even take their gloves without having to worry about leaking from both ends hammered it home.
Now, that doesn't mean that I think the league was worried about anything other than their own bottomline, but the fact that they can legitimate claim they took a calculated safety precaution on behalf of the health of their athletes really puts a muzzle on whatever criticism you'd hope to cast their way. Having all the leverage allowed them to go against the wishes of their players, and a goddamn international norovirus has only strengthened their argument in the pissing (and apparently shitting and puking) contest that is their future involvement in international play.
We're approximately one step away from watching hockey players from all over the world be forced into adapting to South Korean culture by taking the ice for Olympic supremacy in the same type of headwear that you expect to see on an Asian tourist in transit. If that's not a win for the league that surely wanted some reinforcement for their selfish decision to steer clear of a risk-reward that should have theoretically fit their plans for global growth then I don't know what the hell is.
I don't want to make it seem like the kid whose offensive instincts got him selected first overall in the NHL Draft somehow magically discovered his shot in a "ut oh, Happy learned how to putt!" sort of way. For a shooting percentage to undergo a positive regression to the mean it must reach a negative extreme, and that wouldn't be possible if Nico Hischier simply wasn't gripping and ripping the puck on occasion.
What he has found, however, is confidence in said shot, and it's made all the difference in the world in turning him from a solid two-way player to a consistent two-way scorer. Not every tricky release on a wrister that is far more well-placed than overly powerful is going to fool the opposing goalie into looking stupid, so - in all likelihood - his four game scoring streak is just as much of an anomaly as the 8 goals he had in the 55 games prior. Still, it's impossible to watch this set of highlights and not see a much more bolder player than the one that would previously rather have had a tooth pulled than be the slightest bit selfish on an odd-man rush...
Admittedly, those four shots are more memorable because they actually went in, but I'm having hard time recalling a single other significant instance in which Nico Hischier was given the option between shooting and passing and opted for the former without hesitation. Even if you discount the unsustainable way in which it's manifested itself on the scoresheet, the maturation of both the player and his poise are becoming clear as day. That's great news for a team that's maintained a playoff position due in large part to the comfortability of their teenage center whose first line work has steadily been in progress. He's found a knack for scoring goal scorer-type goals, and that should make life exponentially easier for him as a playmaker.
Bill Polian Said Lamar Jackson Is "Too Short" To Play Quarterback In An Unsubstantiated Endorsement Of Him As A Wide Receiver
YardBarker- Speaking about Jackson during a segment on ESPN, Polian said Jackson doesn’t have the frame or raw passing ability to become a successful NFL passer.
“I think wide receiver,” Polian said. “Exceptional athelete, exceptional ability to make you miss, exceptional acceleration, exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand and that’s rare for wide receivers. That’s [Antonio Brown], and who else? Name me another one, Julio [Jones is] not even like that.”
“Short and a little bit slight,” Polian said of Jackson. “Clearly, clearly not the thrower that the other guys are. The accuracy isn’t there.”
Calling this particular prospect "too short" to play quarterback is only more factually incorrect than it is casually prejudice. That said, I can totally see how that cliched critique snuck it's way into the scouting report from a senile old man whose days benefiting from the luck of the Peyton Manning draft are long over. At 6'3 and 210 pounds, Lamar Jackson might not be diminutive by any standard other than that of LeBron James, but he is very fast, insanely athletic, and super African American. When it comes to taking the stance that a Heisman Trophy winning passer should just up and switch to an entirely different position on a whim prior to attempting a single throw at the combine, three out of four ain't all that bad.
After all, there's only a finite amount of conclusions that can be drawn from looking at a player instead of actually watching them play. It just so happens that Bill Polian got his racially charged buzzwords mixed up. He's so used to referring to a lack of height as a measurable that foreshadows failure under center that he just instinctively associated it a player that he's blindly deemed unqualified to play quarterback for a much more antiquated reason. Hell, you can even make the argument that Bill Polian - for the first time in a long time - doesn't see color, because shortness of stature is generally a boilerplate weakness for white passers. You'd easily lose that argument seeing as he was clearly just throwing a bunch of unoriginal and overdone shortcomings at the wall in hopes that a couple would stick, but if - for some reason - you really wanted to make him out to be something other than everything that's wrong with the draft process then that's what I would go with.
Fergie's Explanation For Her Gag-Worthy Rendition Of The National Anthem Is That She's A Country Lovin' Risk Taker
Well, when you put it like that, it's hard to think of a legitimate reason why the artist that voluntarily decided to go by the name Fergie wouldn't turn the Star Spangled Banner into a cringeworthy display of glorified syllable pronunciation. After all, she's a risk taker, and if there's anything that we've learned about this country the last 18 months, it's that risks taken during the singing of the National Anthem are almost unanimously met with compassion, understanding, and an open mind.
No, but seriously. If Colin Kaepernick and the like "disrespected the flag" when they knelt in honor of unjustly murdered African Americans then I shudder to think what law of Patriotism was broken by Fergie dishonorably murdering the eardrums of a viewing audience. Comparatively speaking, pledging artistic license in your Robert Durst-esque dismemberment of a commemorative song has to be considered such an egregious act of treason that it would have Paul Manafort Russian to her defense. Remixing the National Anthem is like repainting the Mona Lisa. While I personally don't think either of them are flawless, it's pretty clear that the vast majority of society has agreed to pretend they are for the sake of familiarity.
So let's just put the chips on the table here. Grammy's be damned, because Fergie is more qualified as an asshole than she is as an artist. Look at it the following way. The mark of a great artist is having no limits. The mark of a good artist is knowing their limits. The mark of a shitty artist is using the notoriety gained from referring to something as beautiful as a woman's curves as "lady lumps" to justify the decision to deafly ignore the limitations of intact mirrors. I want to give her credit for uniting the entire nation through laughter and mockery, but this isn't Fergie's first rodeo when it comes to orally crapping out a rendition of the National Anthem that, in the moment, made me wonder what vocal stylings Afghanistan has to offer. Ignorance nor artistry are valid excuses for someone who is now a repeat offender of being a tone-deaf asshole...
P.S. The internet wins again...
The Taylor Hall Trade Has Become So Absurdly Lopsided That It Has 'Hockey Night Punjabi' Speaking My Language
As someone who is only bilingual in the sense that I can say "bye" (and "hi") in a language other than my own, I'm not at liberty to translate exactly what was said by a presumedly critical anchor for Hockey Night Punjabi. Luckily, the beauty of common sense is that in the most obvious of cases it knows not a dialect barrier, and the results of the one-for-one swap that - with all due respect to Adam Larsson - was always known as the 'Taylor Hall trade' have only become more and more transcendent of culture and opinion with each passing day. So no, I may not be able tell you what my favorite line of a seemingly thorough takedown of the Edmonton Oilers was, but that's only because I can almost guarantee that I wholeheartedly agree with all of them.
If I had to guess, I'd say there was probably something in there about a laughably underachieving team that's now short of speed on the wings selling low on someone whose transition into one of the most dynamic and versatile forwards in the sport wasn't exactly unforeseen. There was likely a mention that, despite a region-wide scapegoating, the player in question wasn't "the problem" when they shipped him out of town for a high-end second-pairing defenseman whose value - through no fault of his own - has exponentially decreased relative to that of the person he'll forever be linked to. Maybe I'm giving him too much credit, but given the length of the rant, I'm inclined to believe he even addressed the alleged "lack of leadership" shown by someone that's now dominating on a nightly basis while spending most of those nights alongside two teenagers.
Unfortunately, I can't say whether or not this upstanding employee of Hockey Night Punjabi adheres to the NHL's definition of a "scoring streak" or if he recognizes the entirety of 18 (and counting) straight games with a point, but I can confidently say he's well aware of how masterful with the brush Taylor Hall has been in painting New Jersey's playoff picture. I don't care if he only did so to take a big fat dump on the organization that's currently wasting one of the prime years of Connor McDavid. By way of international spite, Bhupinder Handal almost assuredly spoke of the Devils' undeniable MVP's outside shot at the Hart Trophy as if it were inside the realm of possibility, and that's how you speak my language.
Taylor Hall straight up for Adam Larsson was initially a tough sell locally, but now that the sun has set on last season's honeymoon period, it's become more impossible to sell globally than the Presidency of Donald Trump. Don't believe me? Then believe the two minute critique that you didn't even have to understand to interpret. Don't need the closed captions to get a read on that story, and that's before the main character wrote yet another chapter...
Devante Smith-Pelly Did Not Take Kindly To The Racially Charged Taunting He Was Targeted By While In The Penalty Box, But Who Can Blame Him?
If we are judging on the scale of racial insensitivity where a '10' is the N-word and a '1' is an presumed affinity for watermelon, a "basketball" chant towards a black NHLer probably falls somewhere in the middle as moderately inexcusable. Unfortunately, looking at the obvious targeting of a minority in such a comparative way makes it far easier for people to dismiss this particular incident as something less significant than an undeniable sign that hockey's aura is still that of repressed whiteness.
Whether it be the tone-deaf hiring of Confederate crooner Kid Rock to "bless" the All Star Game with his antiquated anthems, reminders that 'Hockey Is For Everyone' that - while overwhelmingly positive in nature - have become so incessant that you'd think the NHL was trying to convince itself, overdone criticisms of P.K. Subban that almost exclusively reek of cultural bias, or yet another racially charged incident between a player and "fans". You can bet your ass that Devante Smith-Pelly's aggressive reaction to a group of (likely drunken) jackasses was only aided in vitriol by the fact that he still doesn't feel wholly embraced by the NHL community in the year 2018.
As sad as it is, it's almost a certainty that DSP has been the victim of far worse than a call for basketball while doing his maturing on a rink as opposed to a court, but it's nothing less than infuriating that a directive aimed at equality has only resulted in a relative improvement in regards to racism. Stereotypes do exist for a reason, but that reason isn't so that they can be appropriated as malicious insults towards those that break their generally inflammatory mold. Four unruly fans don't make for a legitimate indictment of an entire sport, but their comfortability in being discriminatory in a public place with cameras present doesn't exactly speak glowingly of the culture surrounding said sport. Especially since it rears it's ugly head in a way that's disproportional to the growing amount of non-white players currently employed by it's most preeminent league.
The NHL, as well as both franchises involved, said all the right things in reference to inclusiveness, but apparently we've still got a ways to go until they undo decades of exclusiveness that are still sporadically being contributed to...