Push It to the Limit

Two notable athletes did some notable pushing and shoving last night, and it caused one of them to end up in jail. Let’s start in Washington Heights where last night Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley got into a heated altercation with a fan during a streetball game. Beasley was reppin’ for Team 914, a local Dyckman Park streetball squad who was facing off against Kevin Durant and his Team Nike. Naturally, the park was packed with a standing-room only crowd, with many fans climbing up fences and trees just to get a look at the action. Shit got real in the second half when Beasley started to chirp back at a group of fans who were heckling him. At one point, he was reported to have said “I get paid to do this!” Sick chirp, Mike. Anyways, Beasley decided to take his anger out on noted Dyckman frequenter Garland Quince, and approached Mr. Quince, placed a hand on his head, and shoved him. As Quince so eleqountly described it, “He just mushed me. He mushed me in my face.” Yo, G. Quince you just got mushed hard! The game was delayed for 10 minutes while security restrained a wild Beasley. Not everything went bad for the marijuana smokin’ Timberwolves forward as his team ended up beating KD’s squad 80-77. After the jump, check out what other athlete did some pushing to the wrong type of person and paid the price.  Read more of this post

Hey Bartender, Put Some Ice in My Drink!

If it hasn’t already, the ice in NHL arenas around the country is bound to start melting as the NHL offseason heats up with the free agency period set to begin Friday. With the NBA seemingly heading towards a lockout, and the NFL mired in an already lengthy lockout of its own, the NHL is the only professional league with a free agency period as of now. And we here at the Creatures are always big fans of the hoopla that surrounds free agents. There may be no “Decision” scheduled, but the NHL offseason has plenty of interesting storylines to keep the casual fan interested. Barney is here to take you through a flurry of recent deals and keep you up to date on all things National Hockey League.

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Will Richards as a Ranger end the Broadway Blues?

Sources close to TBC have confirmed that New York will be the future home of prized free agent Brad Richards. NHL free agency starts Friday and the Rangers are expected to make a run at the 31-year-old center. We are told that it is almost guaranteed the Rangers will sign Richards, at a deal reportedly around 8 years and anywhere between $50 to $55 million. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, who the hell are these so-called sources? To you, our sources could be anyone from my little brother to a guy named Hank in a yellow poncho. But let me assuage any scepticism you may have by saying this particular source happens to have close ties with Rangers bench boss John Tortorella. And apparently, for months now, Torts has been steadfast in saying that Richards will be a member of the Broadway Blueshirts this upcoming season.

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Ice Dance

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done what my staff profile says I do: “Barney turns to his bank of knowledge about the NHL to fill up cyberspace and add some ice to the drink that is the Bleacher Creatures.” In fact, I can’t remember the last time I have written a substantial article on the NHL. This is largely due to the quiet postseason my beloved Rangers had, but those times have come and gone. After a thrilling Stanley Cup finals, this offseason was expected to be filled with just as much excitement. With names like Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin, and Brian Campbell on the market, surely any fan of the NHL was constantly checking ESPN or NHL.com to see who ended up where. But in case you haven’t, or if you have been living in a cave for the past 2 or 3 months, let me recap for you what has been a hectic offseason in the NHL.

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Nate the Tank

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Both the Penguins and their farm team, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Penguins are having success in their respective playoff runs. The Penguins are up 3-0 in the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Baby Penguins recently advanced to the East Division Finals, where they will face the Philadelphia Phantoms. Unfortunately, the Baby Penguins decorum of the ice isn’t as respectable as what they have done on the ice. Captain Nathan Smith (pictured) and center Ryan Stone were both arrested Sunday morning after Smith decided to pull a Frank Ricard from “Old School” and streak naked down a street in downtown Scranton. Smith was charged with indecent exposure, open lewdness and disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Stone was charged with public drunkenness, his second arrest of the season, the first coming on the same charge. Whether the Wilkes-Barre Penguins are becoming the AHL’s Cincinnatti Bengals may be a stretch at this point. But, nonetheless, the coaches may want to seriously address the issue, considering it concerns their team captain. So much for setting a good example.

A Classic Indeed

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There is no doubt in my mind that yesterday’s Winter Classic was a huge success for the NHL. Personally, I was extremely excited to watch the game (I spent more time watching it than the Florida-Michigan bowl game) even though it featured two teams that I didn’t even care about (two teams that I actually don’t like, being a Ranger fan). Even the game itself turned out to be extremely exciting, with who else but Sidney Crosby winning the shootout for his Penguins. The 71,000 that packed Ralph Wilson Stadium proved that hockey is not yet dead in America. The high TV ratings that the Classic drew–more people tuned in to see the NHL play outdoors than any other regular-season game in more than a decade–proved that hockey is not yet dead in America. The Winter Classic lived up to its name and was one of the most successful ideas in NHL history. As long as the NHL doesn’t overuse the idea of outdoor games, every time one is held, the NHL will reap the benefits. All I can hope is that next year I can be sitting in Yankee Stadium on New Years Day, watching the Rangers take on the Islanders. That would be classier than Don Cherry’s suits.

A Night at the A.C.C.

8f139c2e97f6482fb925602267e757a9As I mentioned yesterday, last night was spent at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. After a week long stay visiting family in the area, I was relieved to be taking in some sporting action while in the city. As it happened, my uncle had purchased 6 tickets for the Leafs-Rangers for some of my family and I. We had great seats, and what transpired was great for me to watch.

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C for Classless

I don’t think I have ever seen a more (insert adjective hear) act than what transpired last night during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. As the clock ticked down on the second period, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson went to clear the puck down the ice. What happened next was unbelievable. Alfredsson faked shooting the puck down the ice and instead looked straight up at Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer and blasted a shot right at him. The puck, which must have been going at least 90 MPH, slammed right into Niedermayers’ legs. Luckily, Niedermayer was not hurt. In fact he started jawing with Alfredsson right after the play and had to be restrained by another Ottawa player. Meanwhile, Alfredsson, who was being held back by Ducks forward Travis Moen, decided to punch Moen right in the face. The ref was standing right there, but somehow Alfredsson did not get a penalty. I didn’t know the NHL had hired Stevie Wonder to start doing some games. While Niedermayer was not hurt, Alfredsson’s reputation as a leader and captain may be called into question. It was not like he accidentally shot the puck at Niedermayer. That kind of stuff happens all the time in hockey…it is part of the game. No, Alfredsson looked up, surveyed the situation, and intentionally rifled a shot at Niedermayer, who is one of the most respected players in the league. Whether this was retaliation or what have you, it was one of the most classless acts I have seen in hockey. Alfredsson shot be absolutely ashamed of himself and if I were Ottawa coach Brian Murray I would question whether Alfredsson deserves that C on his sweater. I can only hope that Rob Niedermayer, the big Ducks forward and brother of Scott, will smash (legally) Alfie’s head right into the glass and teach him what pain is all about. I have lost all respect for Daniel Alfredsson…even though I did not have much to begin with.

I’ll Take Mine with Ice

In the eyes of the Bleacher Creatures, spring is one of the most exciting times of the sports year. Think about: NHL playoffs, NBA playoffs, the baseball season getting into full swing, NASCAR, hell even the Triple Crown of horse racing takes place during the spring. Out of that list, there are two events that stand out: the NHL and NBA playoffs. Think about it again: there are 162 games in a baseball season, so if you really, truly care about the first 60 then you have no life; about as many people watch Survivor: Fiji as NASCAR; and a “sporting event” that lasts about 1 minute and 30 seconds does not count in our books. So, once again, the NHL and NBA playoffs are the crème de la crème of sporting events during the spring season. That leaves us to the question: which one is better? In my books, the NHL playoffs are far and away better than the NBA playoffs. And that is not just coming from someone who plays hockey and is a dedicated fan of the game. I could be, hell, a NASCAR fan and I guarantee you I would still rather watch two teams battle it out on the ice rather than on the hardwood. Here’s why:

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Gone, but not Forgotten

What a difference a week makes! Two Sunday’s ago I was at a raucous Madison Square Garden, watching the most exciting, thrilling hockey game in my life whilst cheering on the Rangers to a double-overtime win in Game 3 against the Sabres (courtesy of Michael Rozsival‚s blast from the point). Yet, this past Sunday I watched as my beloved Blueshirts were eliminated from the playoffs in another thrilling game against mighty Buffalo. The season came to an end; the dreams of the Holy Grail (a.k.a Stanley Cup) returning to New York were squashed at least for another year. It was a tough ending to what was a remarkable season; an ending not fitting for a determined, gritty Ranger team, who in the end just did not have enough of what it takes to win a Stanley Cup: luck. And unfortunately for the Rangers, Buffalo had plenty of it. That aside, it was another great season for the Rangers, as evidenced by the deafening “Let’s Go Rangers!” chants echoing throughout Madison Square Garden, even after the game and Rangers season were over. I would like to thank the entire New York Rangers team for providing us fans with yet another remarkable season and showing the NHL that the Broadway Blueshirts are a forced to be reckoned with.

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