Robin Lehner gets ejected for goalie fight, Binghamton Senators blow 5-0 lead, lose in OT (VIDEO)

20 Oct

Binghamton Senators goaltender Robin Lehner is no stranger to dropping the blocker and the glove and scrapping with an opponent. His fiery temper has given us some memorable moments over the past few years.

On Saturday night, Lehner added another fight to his belt taking on Riku Helenius of the Syracuse Crunch while the Senators enjoyed a comfortable 5-0 second period lead. Here's the entire brouhaha, thanks to

For his trouble, Lehner ended up with a game misconduct and was ejected with 10:30 left in the second period. In came Nathan Lawson, and that's when things fell apart. Syracuse would score twice in the second period, three times in the third and then Richard Panik potted home the overtime winner to complete the stunning comeback.

After the game, Senators head coach Luke Richardson hoped his netminder could keep his temper under control in the future, something that was provoked by some crease crashing by the Crunch. From the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin:

"I think there's always excitement when goalies fight but he's here to stop the puck and that's what he did well in the first half of the game. He's a fiery guy but he has to manage that and we have to help him manage that. We have to keep guys away from slamming into him."

The gamesheet, as you would imagine, is quite long (hey, a Hugh Jessiman sighting!) and as you'll see, the entire game was chippy with 152 penalty minutes handed out in total.

Stick-tap Raw Charge

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

Tags: Binghamton Senators, fiery temper, , , goalie, , , , Richard Panik, Riku Helenius, Robin Lehner, Senators, Syracuse Crunch,
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Watch Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg score pretty goal, break glass celebrating (VIDEO)

18 Oct

Leksand of Sweden's HockeyAllsvenskan (second division) fell behind to BIK Karlskoga Wednesday 2-0 by the end of the second period. It was a meeting between two of the top clubs in the league this season and it ended with a three-goal third-period comeback for Leksand, including the game-winner coming with five seconds left from former NHLer Mattias Timander.

Kicking off the comeback was Filip Forsberg, the No. 11 overall selection by the Washington Capitals in June. The 18-year-old's seventh goal of the season came off a lovely toe drag around a Karlskoga defenseman. The goal was nice, but his celebration needs a little work:

It's wasn't quite as spectacular as New Jersey high schooler Taylor Cox or even Henrik Andersen, formerly of Leksand, but at least Forsberg was spared the embarrassment of actually crashing through the glass. The pane was quickly fixed and Leksand took over first place in the league with its win.

Stick-tap SteffeG for the video

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

Tags: Filip Forsberg, HockeyAllsvenskan, Karlskoga, , Leksand, , , , , ,
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NHL players on the move to Europe during lockout (Yahoo! Sports)

12 Oct
PRAGUE (AP) -- Seconds into the third period, Alexander Ovechkin took control of a loose puck - one that had stopped in a pool of water.
Tags: , , Europe, , , , POOL, PRAGUE, , ,
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Dwyane Wade unveils new Li-Ning signature shoes

10 Oct

When Dwyane Wade ended his association with Jordan Brand only a few weeks ago, the assumption and reports of everyone indicated that he would sign a new deal with emerging Chinese brand Li-Ning. It was a big change for Wade, but also an opportunity for him to help establish a new market force rather than help a preexisting power player. The only question was if his new products would entice basketball fans to buy them.

On Tuesday, Wade revealed his Li-Ning deal and "Way of Wade" shoes at an event in Beijing (the Heat are in town for a few preseason games). While it may seem that Li-Ning got these shoes together awfully quickly following the end of Wade's deal with Jordan Brand, Jonathan Sawyer of Complex reports that Li-Ning had done prep work for a superstar's sneaker and brought those preexisting designs to Wade. They also claim that Wade is and will continue to be heavily involved in the design process, so we should see some changes and new colorways for the "Way of Wade" shoes soon.

[Related: LeBron James' agent being investigated by NCAA]

After the jump, check out several more photos of Wade and the sneakers, as well as this report from Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

''It was a great nine years, but for me, it was just time to move on,'' Wade told the AP. ''I have certain goals that I want to reach and I felt that I had to leave to reach those. So I'm doing things a little differently. That's how I am, in a sense. I'm not necessarily a status-quo type guy.''

Wade's debut in Li-Ning sneakers is expected Thursday, when the Heat play a preseason game in Beijing against the Los Angeles Clippers. He's also hoping to play when the Heat and Clippers meet again in Shanghai on Sunday, and Li-Ning plans to auction off the sneakers from those first two games.

However, what he's wearing this week is not a true unveiling of his brand - to be called Wade.

''What you see in China will not be the final product,'' Wade said.

Wade's line of apparel and footwear is to be available at Li-Ning retail stores and online in China ''soon,'' with a U.S. retail debut expected in 2013. His shoes are expected to sell for about $120.

Wade's Li-Ning look is quite different from the more familiar designs he wore for Jordan Brand, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The key will be for the designs to reflect his sensibilities, and for the nation's consumers to care.

That last bit is where things get tricky. Li-Ning has worked with a superstar before — Shaquille O'Neal represented the brand from 2006 to 2010. However, as most basketball fans know, Shaq was nowhere near his peak during that period, which helped ensure that Li-Ning didn't get quite the sort of brand awareness they likely hoped for when they signed him. While Wade is not especially old at 30 years old, there have been signs that he's entering a new period in his career, one where he might not be quite the league-altering player he once was. He's an All-Star, certainly, but also clearly a level below his teammate LeBron James. It's an open question as to whether he can still command the attention (and dollars) of the sneaker-buying public.

However, those questions haven't been answered yet, and Li-Ning has many reasons to be positive. In a few years, we could identify Wade's launch as the moment when a new power emerged in the world of basketball shoes and apparel.

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Tags: , Brand, dwyane wade, Jordan Brand, , , Li-Ning, , , , ,
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Ex-NHL player takes plea in Vegas child sex case (Yahoo! Sports)

28 Sep
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A 35-year-old former pro hockey player is facing prison time and will have to register as a sex offender after taking a plea deal in Las Vegas in a case alleging he sexually assaulted a girl under 14 years of age over a four-year period.
Tags: , Las Vegas, , , , pro hockey, sex, sex offender, Vegas, ,
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Golf-Woods accepts responsibility for U.S Ryder Cup woes (Reuters)

25 Sep
MEDINAH, Illinois, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods may be the greatest golfer of his generation but at the Ryder Cup he has been Joe Average and on Tuesday accepted responsibility for the dismal U.S. showing for the past 15 years. During a period where Woods reigned supreme over the golf world winning 74 PGA Tour titles, including 14 majors, he has been unable to extend his dominance to the biennial competition that pits the U.S. best against Europe's best. ...
Tags: dominance, golfer, , Joe Average, , , , , , supreme,
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Among its more obvious problems, one particularly frustrating aspect of last year's NBA lockout was that teams had to stuff the offseason signing period, training camps, and attendant game-planning into just a few weeks. It was all very rushed, and it showed in the early parts of the season.

Then-new Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale dealt with issues beyond the expected deficiencies in precision. In fact, McHale says he might have gotten along with his veterans better if they'd had a full training camp to get used to each other. From Jonathan Feigen for The Houston Chronicle (via EOB):

"It's much more comfortable just knowing that we're here, planning with the coaches, having players coming in and out, being able to talk to them about what we're envisioning," McHale, 54, said. "We're just getting a comfort level with each other as opposed to having the lockout lifted, two days and then getting started."

Last season, the first time most Rockets players heard McHale's voice (unless they were fans of NBA TV or "Cheers" reruns) was when he was furious with the terrible and revealing first practice. As players pushed back, objecting to his changes and demands, McHale often cited the lockout and inability to forge relationships before he began the December rush to the season.

McHale has a point, because successful relationships between players and coaches are often built on mutual trust and expectations. Squeezing that important training camp time into such a short period was bound to create some confusion and troublesome moments, particularly for a new coach. On top of that, Rockets players also have to contend with the fact that they're often mentioned in general manager Daryl Morey's trade proposals, which can make them more uneasy than usual.

But McHale was also hired while the lockout was a reality, and he had plenty of time to plan for his first practice with the knowledge that the usual getting-to-know-you stuff would be compressed. Which is to say that, in some way, starting the first practice with righteous anger over a lackadaisical performance might not have been the best idea. The proper way to react to unfortunate situations isn't to do what you'd normally do and hope it works — it's to adjust the plan accordingly and reveal the extremes of a personality gradually.

That's not to say that McHale didn't have the right to scream at his players — he's a coach, after all, and coaches often have to scream. But the issues he had with veterans weren't just a matter of poor circumstance. McHale played a role, too, and acknowledging that could make him a better coach in the future.

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Steelers rookie 1st-round pick DeCastro hurt (Yahoo! Sports)

25 Aug
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Steelers rookie right guard David DeCastro may be out for an extended period of time after sustaining a potentially serious right knee injury early into Pittsburgh's 38-7 preseason win over the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night.
Tags: David DeCastro, DeCastro, , ORCHARD PARK, , , , Steelers rookie right guard, the Buffalo Bills, , ,
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Make-or-break month: Division I hopeful Zac Nuttall finishes July on a high note

01 Aug

To provide a window into the pressure facing borderline recruits trying to earn their first Division I scholarship offers, Yahoo! Sports will track guard Zac Nuttall during the July evaluation period. This is the fourth installment in the series.

Unlike most people when they return home from a long weekend in Las Vegas, Zac Nuttall left with no regrets.

More from the Make-or-break month series

July 10: Zac Nuttall has three weeks to prove he's good enough for Division I

• July 17: Zac Nuttall's first week on the road features bad food, good memories

• July 25: Rigorous schedule doesn't give Zac Nuttall time to stress

• August 1: Division I hopeful Zac Nuttall finishes July on a high note

In his final event of the July evaluation period this past weekend, Nuttall helped lead BTI Select all the way to semifinals of the prestigious Fab 48 tournament by playing aggressive defense on one end and making smart decisions whether to shoot or pass at the other. It was an ideal way for 6-foot-1 point guard to prove to the college coaches who watched him in Las Vegas how much he has improved the last few months.

"I think I played really well," Nuttall said. "I was really consistent. I tried to direct traffic, run our offense and make the extra pass to set up my teammates. I think I led the team really well."

A strong finish to the July evaluation period leaves Nuttall confident he'll have the chance to play college basketball and optimistic he may yet receive scholarship offers from some lower-level Division I programs. Since most Division I coaches use July to pair down their list of top Class of 2013 targets, Nuttall treated the last three weeks like they were his last chance to prove he could compete at college basketball's highest level.

The next phase of the recruiting process for Nuttall and his family is to wait for feedback to arrive from the coaches who have watched him the past few weeks. Once they're able to gauge which schools merely gave him a cursory look and which ones appear genuinely interested, they'll decide which elite camps to attend in August and where to set up visits for later in the summer or fall.

"We'll kind of see where we stand at that point," mother Kristy Nuttall said. "I know coaches are talking to (BTI Select coach Craig Stover) about Zac and I know Coach Stover did get some texts asking where Zac is playing and how he was doing and that kind of thing. We've tried really hard to not have those conversations with Zac to not put more pressure on him, but I think it will be interesting in the next couple weeks to see who's there and who's not."

At this point, the Nuttall's believe there are three possible paths their son could take.

• He could accept an offer from a lower-tier Division I program if one shows sufficient interest in him in the coming months. Schools such as Cal Poly, Yale and San Diego have watched him this summer, but their level of interest is unclear. It would be a dream come true for Nuttall to play at college basketball's highest level, yet he also wants to make sure he's at a school where he'll have the chance to make an impact during his four years there.

• He could attend a Division II or Division III school with a strong basketball program and a good academic reputation. Again Nuttall cannot be sure which schools will take him, but it seems likely he'll have plenty of options at this level. Among the programs that showed the most interest during the July evaluation period were Whitman College, Connecticut College and Pomona Pitzer.

• He could bulk up and improve his game for a year at an East Coast prep school in hopes of attracting greater interest from Division I programs the following year. This is an option that is more attractive to Nuttall and his parents now than it was a month ago because they were able to learn more about what prep schools can offer during their trip to Boston three weeks ago. Nuttall and his mom visited Northfield Mount Hermon and spoke to coaches from various other prep schools.

Stover, Nuttall's coach with BTI Select, plans to advise Nuttall to attend elite camps at Division I Loyola Marymount and Division III Point Loma this month to get a better understanding of what level he'd thrive at in college.

"That gives him the spectrum of both ends," Stover said. "It gives everyone a chance to see what level he'll fit in the best. You're going over here at LMU against Anthony Ireland and all those guys. Can you really handle that? Or the Point Loma point guard, are you taking advantage of that guy? Is that the better fit?"

Nuttall's college basketball future is only slightly clearer today than it was entering July, but the West Ranch High School senior-to-be believes it will work out for the best. From shooting and ball handling drills by himself, to grueling workouts with trainers, to dozens of practices and games, Nuttall knows he did all he could the past few months.

"I don't really have any regrets," he said. "I think I played well. I think the mistakes I made were mistakes I needed to make to learn from. I'm satisfied with how I did. There's always room for improvement, but what I've done I'm happy with it."

Tags: , BTI, , , , Division I programs, Kristy Nuttall, Make-or-break, , , Zac Nuttall
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Juggernaut Index, No. 21: The Washington Redskins

30 Jul
by in General

Back in March, the Washington Redskins traded up four spots in the first round of the draft, from the No. 6 pick to No. 2, in order to select Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. The team also dealt away its 2013 and 2014 first-rounders to the Rams, plus this year's No. 39 overall selection.

So it would be fair to say that the 'Skins expect brilliance from RGIII, and soon. If Griffin is merely good and not great — effective, but not revolutionary — then the trade that brought him to Wash--

Well, let's not go down that road just yet. It's still July. Training camps have just opened. Every analyst is supposed to be geeked about every player's potential. It's all sunshine right now, at least until the hitting begins.

We know this much about RGIII with absolute certainty: "He's the starter. Period." That's a direct quote from Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan ... and that guy has never misled us. Period.

RGIII has the skill-set to be an almost perfect fantasy weapon: He has the rocket-launcher arm, he has ridiculous speed and athleticism (4.41 speed, 39-inch vertical) and he was deadly accurate in his senior season at Baylor, completing 72.4 percent of his passes. We have all the usual college-to-pro worries here, of course, as Griffin is transitioning from a spread-option offense while making a huge quality-of-competition leap. RGIII doesn't have Cam Newton's size — he's three inches smaller and 25 pounds lighter — so you can't expect him to serve as his team's primary goal line back. (Cam's short-range rushing role was the key to his top-three scoring finish in 2011). Griffin's mobility nonetheless figures to be a huge component of his overall fantasy value, if also part of the risk profile.

But in an era where the elite quarterbacks throw for 4,800-plus yards and 40-plus TDs, RGIII won't be able to simply run his way into the top-tier. He'll need to pile up passing stats, too. It's extremely rare for any first-year QB to rank anywhere near the NFL leaders in yardage or touchdowns. Last year, Newton established a new all-time record for passing yards by a rookie, yet he still finished just tenth among all quarterbacks.

Here's hoping that Washington fans (and Griffin's fantasy owners) can appreciate the difficulty of the jump RGIII is making. I think we're all anxious to see the kid operate in Shanahan's offense, running play-action boots with big-play potential, but let's try to set reasonable expectations. If you can allow for the possibility that Griffin may not reinvent his position this season, then you probably won't be disappointed. I've got no great quarrel with RGIII's current fantasy price tag (ADP 89.6), though in standard formats I won't be drafting him ahead of Cutler (94.2) and Big Ben (97.0).

For me, he opens the year as a platoon QB in redraft. In dynasty, I'd go top-eight.

Washington doesn't have the league's most impressive collection of receivers, but the group isn't a disaster, either. (Can someone please figure out a way to get Mike Wallace to DC? Let's work on this). Pierre Garcon landed a five-year, $42.5 million deal with the Redskins via free agency ($20.5M guaranteed), so this team is clearly confident that he's about to break out in a significant way, at age 26. Garcon had a nice enough year in Indianapolis in 2011, catching 70 balls for 947 yards and six scores. His quarterback situation was miserable (Collins-Painter-Orlovsky), but he still gave us a decent fantasy campaign because he was peppered with targets (134). He has excellent speed and highlight-catch ability, plus his developmental years were spent in a sophisticated offense. We've seen a few ugly drops from Garcon over the years, but he's performed well in postseason play. (Go check the 2009-10 game logs). Pierre has been a relatively buzzy player this off-season, yet his ADP still seems reasonable to me (86.8, WR34). I'll gladly take him as a third or fourth receiver on a fake squad; that's exactly where I mocked him last week.

Santana Moss is still in the team picture, preparing to enter his 12th NFL season. He's a serviceable wideout, just a year removed from a 93-1115-6 season. No one drafts him as a fantasy starter — he's the No. 46 receiver (and the No. 2 Moss) off the board — but he'll sneak into a few starting lineups before the year is finished. Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson are battling for position in the receiving hierarchy, and either player could get interesting at some point in 2012. Hankerson was a third-round pick out of Miami last year, and he offers a decent combination of size and speed (6-foot-3, 4.43); he may not have a starting role to open the season, but he's still on the radar. Dezmon Briscoe recently found his way to Washington's depth chart, too, after Tampa Bay's new regime tossed him on the discard pile.

Tight end Fred Davis is a serious talent, a guy with 80-catch, 1,000-yard potential. But he also has suspension potential, so he's not without downside. Still, he's a risk worth taking at the draft table. Davis was the No. 5 per-game scorer at his position last season and he'll be playing for an extension. At his current draft price (ADP 85.4), he'll find his way onto a few of my teams.

The fantasy community pays way, way too much attention to Mike Shanahan backfields, given the lousy recent results. Washington's running game has been a bust over the past two seasons — the 'Skins ranked 24th last year and 30th in 2010 — and Shanahan hasn't actually delivered a 1,000-yard rusher since 2006, when Tatum Bell did the trick (barely: 1,025).

Roy Helu, Evan Royster and Tim Hightower are all in the mix for the starting nod in Washington's opener, and Shanahan claims that he doesn't know who will get the season's first carry. All three backs had their moments in 2011, but health was a recurring problem. Hightower tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 7, while on his way to a big day against Carolina. Helu had three straight 100-yard performances in Weeks 12-14, but toe and ankle issues ended his binge. Royster finished up the season with a pair of 100-yard, zero-touchdown efforts.

As of this writing, there's no obvious reason to think that any one back will dominate the rushing workload this season. Helu sure looks like the most talented runner of the bunch, but Shanahan wants you to know there's more to this position's responsibilities than taking hand-offs and catching low-risk passes. This from the Washington Times:

"Number one, we've got to stay healthy," Shanahan said. "Helu and Royster, with the limited play, they both have been hurt. So if you are going to take some more reps, obviously you've got to stay healthy.

"So it's a combination. Can a guy stay healthy when he does perform? Is he consistent doing what he's doing? What I mean is, first and second down, as well as third down. Some guys can't block those linebackers. They're more runners than pass protectors.

"So if we can get a guy that can do it all, obviously we'd like to leave that guy in and play all the time. There's some backs in the league that do."

Hightower has a talent for blitz-pickup, a trait that has great importance in real-life yet won't pay the fantasy bills. Helu is certainly the flashier ball-carrier, and you might recall that he had that one huge PPR day when the 'Skins were trying to turn John Beck into less of a flaming disaster. But all three Washington backs have demonstrated the ability to catch the football. If you draft one of these guys, you might as well take another. And another. It's just a big theater of pain. And in the end, RGIII might just lead the team in rushing.

We're drafting Helu roughly 60 picks ahead of Hightower and a million picks ahead of Royster, so fantasy owners have stated their preference clearly. The problem is that Shanahan still hasn't stated his. I'm not likely to get involved with this bunch unless Helu slips beyond his current ADP (66.2, RB26). If we're choosing RBs who aren't actually guaranteed touches, then I'll just wait for Ben Tate, thanks (ADP 77.1).

The Redskins' defense ranked 26th in fantasy scoring last year, 22nd in 2010, 30th in 2009, 32nd in 2008, 25th in 2007 and 32nd in 2006. So they're consistent, which we always appreciate. IDP owners should take an interest in London Fletcher (166 tackles in 2011), Brian Orakpo (9.0 sacks), Perry Riley (67 tackles after Week 9) and Ryan Kerrigan (7.5), then look elsewhere.

2011 team stats: 18.0 PPG (NFL rank 26), 100.9 rush YPG (25), 253.6 pass YPG (14), 28.75 yards/drive (17), 0.189 turnovers/drive (31)

Previous Juggernaut posts: 32. Miami, 31. St. Louis, 30. Indianapolis, 29. Jacksonville, 28. Cleveland, 27. Arizona, 26. Seattle, 25. Minnesota, 24. Tampa Bay, 23. Buffalo, 22. New York Jets

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