"Right now the NCAA is like a dictatorship. No one represents us in negotiations.": The National College Players Association filed a petition in Chicago on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Backed by the United Steelworkers union, it also filed union cards signed by an undisclosed number of Northwestern players with the NLRB -- the federal statutory body that recognizes groups that seek collective bargaining rights.
Islanders head west: by 21 miles. The New York Islanders, winners of four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early '80s but no playoff series since 1993, have signed a 25-year lease with Brooklyn's new Barclays Center, home of the NBA's Nets. They have two more years at the moribund Nassau Coliseum.
Though originally planned to be NHL-compatible, Barclays Center was built as an NBA arena. It holds 14,500 for hockey -- fewest in the NHL (Winnipeg's MTS Centre holds 15,004; Hartford's XL Center, formerly the Civic Center, holds 15,365) and 1,750 fewer than the Nassau Coliseum. The proposed seating layout is that of a horseshoe, with no seats behind one goal.
The team is to keep its name (Brooklyn is, after all, part of Long Island), thus avoiding such possible travesties as this.
Potvin Sucks Forever: For 33 years -- and nearly a quarter-century since he retired -- Madison Square Garden faithful have chanted "[Denis] Potvin Sucks." Though Potvin's Islanders have won just two postseason series (both in 1993) since his retirement, the sentiment remains for Rangers fans. While this sort of historical memory is a feature of European (and perhaps collegiate) sports, what are some other examples in North American professional sports?
NHL players rate best and worst of the game in poll: For the first time, a majority supports maintaining the instigator rule. Other highlights: no one wants to play for the Islanders, the Capitals are overrated and a fair bit of Sidney Crosby. Full results here.
The N.F.L. and the concussion crisis: "In the past, it was a style of ball that was three yards and a cloud of dust, so you didn't see too many of these big hits, because there wasn't so much space between players," Steelers All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu said. "I mean, with the passing game now, you get four-wide-receiver sets, sometimes five-wide-receiver sets. You get guys coming across the middle, you get zone coverages. You know, there's more space between these big hits, so there's more opportunity for these big hits."
Is ESPN Killing the National Hockey League by Influencing Public Attitudes?: By creating and reinforcing an expectation of failure regarding the NHL, ESPN is shaping public perception and contributing to the “death” of the NHL in the United States.
Steeler fan has over 200 hours' worth of tattoos: This guy was my Little League baseball coach--though he didn't have the tattoos back then. Bonus fun fact: he named his son after Mel Blount. More pics here.
Physicist claims that the Immaculate Reception was indeed a legal play: Here comes the science.
Caps fire Bruce Cassidy.: The Washington Capitals, limping to the second worst record in the NHL and hemorrhaging money, canned their 38-year old coach today. He'd struggled communicating with his veteran players (an assistant coach had to separate him and defenseman Brendan Witt earlier this year), but the final straw appears to have been ill-advised comments about players being distracted by family matters.
"Bears football presented by Bank One.": Today's sign of the apocalypse.
Is there a correlation between ballpark dimensions and success? : (NYT, registration required.) Via Off Wing Opinion.
Man U's Perfect Pitch.: Long Washington Post article (minor registration req'd) on the worldwide draw of the Manchester United brand.
What's Opera, Dom?:
I hope there's an aria about what Marc Crawford was thinking when he sent Joe Nieuwendyk out for the shootout instead of Gretzky.
Who is Texas paying? And who did Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas forget to pay?: and other complaints about the brackets.
I know it's not really a link, but let's discuss.
Bringing on the heartbreak.: It's on ESPN so everyone will have seen it, but their Most Painful Heartbreakers of All Time list is lame. Where is Joe Pisarcik? Where are Francisco Cabrera and Sid Bream? What about the England-Argentina shootout in '98, or the Hand of God, or Baggio choking, or practically any World Cup moment? I think we can do better.
The NHL's financial disarray.: Blame is doled out to over-ambitious expansion, the recession, the weaker Canadian dollar, soaring (by North American professional sports standards) labour costs, and the mirage of television money. All the reasons why there will be a lockout in September 2004 can be seen right here. WashPost, minor registration required