Tag Archives: Sports Illustrated

New Old Sports Illustrated

My brother gave me some old Sports Illustrated that he says are mine and who am I to argue?

Here’s a sampling of them, a little thing I like to call Maurice Richard Bob Hope JFK Volvo Casey Stengel Ralph Backstrom Dodge Dart Black Hawks Plaid Suit Marlboro Man.

(Only 28 more days. Habs-Leafs)

cover

Rocket in SI

bob hope

012

casey

backstrom

013

hawks

plaid

marlboro

Washington Capitals Looked At In Drug Probe

A heads up from Danno. Danno’s definitely on my executive team when I own the Canadiens.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ASKS: Did NHL cover up drug probe?

April 20, 2010  

This is not really a surprise given the NHL’s irresponsible don’t-ask policy regarding performance enhancing drugs, but good for Sports Illustrated for producing  a story that will appear  in the April 26 edition.

  Here is today’s SI release, under the headline: Did the NHL and Washington Capitals attempt to cover up an investigation related to steroids?

  Upon having more than $200,000 worth of pills, bottles and syringes—some containing steroids—seized from his Polk County (Fla.) home in May 2009, former bodybuilder Richard Thomas pointed to the Washington Capitals as one of the teams he had supplied for. SI staff writer David Epstein, renowned for his steroids reporting in Confronting A-Rod (SI, 2/16/09) and What You Don’t Know Might Kill You (SI, 5/18/09), explores the possible short shrift given by both the NHL and the Capitals in response to subsequent investigations: Last month detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Tactical Drug Unit, working with the U.S. marshal’s office, arrested a Thomas client, Douglas Nagel, a Virginia chiropractor who has treated Capitals players and keeps an office in a mall adjacent to the team’s practice facility. Last September, Nagel told investigators that he was a client of Thomas’s and that he had mailed money for steroids, including testosterone and nandrolone.”

  Both the NHL and the Capitals released statements claiming that they conducted thorough investigations following Nagel’s arrest, claims that were later called into question by Ian Floyd of the Polk County Sheriff’s Tactical Drug Unit. In an e-mail to his boss, sheriff Grady Judd, that was shared exclusively with SI, Floyd wrote: “I called and spoke with [NHL executive vice president of security] Dennis Cunningham today in reference to the official statements made by the Washington Capitals and NHL regarding the ‘thorough investigation.’ Mr. Cunningham admitted that contrary to the below issued statements, no investigation was ever conducted into Dr. Nagel and his ties to steroids and Capitals players by anyone with the NHL.”

 Epstein adds: “Unlike MLB or the NFL, the NHL does not test during the off-season, nor once the playoffs have started. (This week the Capitals are facing the Canadiens in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.) Polk County officials noticed that of the 10 FedEx and U.S. Postal Service labels for packages mailed in 2008 and ’09 between Thomas and Nagel that law enforcement officials obtained in their investigation, eight are dated during the period when the Capitals were either in the playoffs or out of season, and one was dated the day before the end of the 2007–08 season.”

Sports Illustrated Looks At The Kessel Move

From Sports Illustrated:

The Bruins increased their stockpile of draft picks — but will they use them well?

The Maple Leafs got a young explosive scorer — but one with just one solid season. The only sure winner is Phil Kessel, who got a new five-year, $27 million contract. 

 Time was that a Boston fan’s second-favorite team was whoever happened to be playing the Montreal Canadiens that night. Now they’ll be pulling for anyone lining up against the Toronto Maple Leafs … even if it means cheering on those hated Habs. That’s because every Leafs loss this season and next adds value to the trio of high draft picks the Bruins acquired late Friday night from Toronto in exchange for the rights winger Phil Kessel.

Shortly after sending Boston a first- and second-rounder in the 2010 draft along with a 2011 first-rounder, the Leafs inked Kessel to a five-year deal worth a reported $27 million. Safe to say it was a risky move for both teams. Unable to sell the restricted free agent on the merits of a cap-friendly contract — something on the order of the three-year, $11.25 million deal signed earlier this summer by the superior David Krejci — Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had no choice but to move Kessel.

Don’t expect too many tears in Boston, though. The fifth overall pick in 2006 chafed at the imposition of Claude Julien’s strict defensive scheme and lacked the grit required of a Boston winger. Still, his world-class speed and the Brett Hull-like ability to find dead space from which to launch a nasty snapper can’t be replaced by anyone in the Bruins system. He’s coming off a breakout season in which he scored 36 goals and 24 assists in 70 games and, at just 21, Kessel’s not yet reached his ceiling. By sending him to a divisional rival, Chiarelli risks being haunted by his decision at last 30 times over the next five years. There was method to his madness, however. By accepting draft choices in exchange for the malcontent, Chiarelli kept the B’s under the cap this season, if only barely. And by refusing to make a high-dollar, long-term commitment to Kessel, he left himself some wiggle room next summer to accommodate first line center Marc Savard and/or the demands of the next set of cornerstone RFAs, including Milan Lucic, Blake Wheeler, Mark Stuart and Tuukka Rask.

Those are important considerations — but are they important enough to compensate for the fact that the Bruins just lost a legitimate first-line winger and could end up with nothing to show for him? It’s true that, along with the 2010 Tampa Bay second-rounder acquired last April in the Mark Recchi deal, the B’s now have eight picks spread over the first two rounds of the next two drafts. That’s the sort of cupboard stocking potential that can ensure a team remains a perennial contender in the cap era. But the Bruins have to make the right choices to ensure a fair return on this deal … and considering their last three drafts received middling reviews and have yet to generate a single game played, that’s hardly a fait accompli.

Chiarelli could decide to bundle the picks to move up in the draft and improve his odds of success, or dangle them as part of a package to acquire an impact player ahead of the trade deadline. Whatever he does with his booty, it’s fair to say we’re unlikely to get a real handle on how well Boston made out in this deal for several years.

It’s an equally mixed bag from Toronto’s perspective. Brian Burke’s four-month courtship netted him the best player in the deal, the dynamic, young sniper the Leafs desperately needed, and he did it without sacrificing anyone off his roster — a significant consideration for a man determined to return Toronto to the playoffs this season.

In Kessel, the Leafs add a preeminent gamebreaker — a nice get given that they lost 13 games after the third period in 2008-09, second-most in the league. But Kessel also is a player with just one solid season on his resume, a player whose singular move when entering the offensive zone with the puck has become far too predictable and easy to defend, and who relies on a set-up man like Savard to create most of his opportunities. And while he has plenty of time to mature over the course of his new contract, there’s no denying that some of his former teammates quietly questioned his commitment to the cause. Think about that. It wasn’t an oversight by the Bruins that led to their cap space being filled before their leading goal scorer was accommodated. They simply believed he wasn’t as valuable to their future as some others.

Focusing on the present allowed Burke to assess Kessel’s value differently. He continued a rebuilding shortcut that suggests the Leafs will ice a more competitive side this season, but in doing so he ensures Toronto’s scouts will spend the next two drafts picking through the leftovers after all the blue chips have been scooped up. That’s a steep price to pay, even for a team that re-loaded the prospect cupboard with college free agents this summer. The only real certainty here? With a new jersey on his back and a fat contract in hand, Kessel clearly comes out on top. Whether Toronto or Boston joins him in the winner’s circle at some point is yet to be determined.

SI Players’ Poll Shows 4% Think The Finns Are The Best

Sports Illustrated emailed me this little NHL poll that is published in their current edition. The question was; Which Country Produces The Best Players?

324 players voted, and players couldn’t vote for their own country. Here’s the results:

Canada 30%

Sweden 28%

Russia 27%

US 7%

Finland 4%

Are you surprised by this? For me, I suppose it looks about right, but I’m really not sure why Finland would get any votes.