NHL playoffs odds 2019: Series prices, betting trends for

[COMETS HARVEST] Utica Comets (31-21-3-2) vs. Rochester Americans (31-18-4-5)

THE COMETS HARVEST

 
The Utica Comets are inside the final 20 games of the season, and holy guacamole, do they have a month in store for them!
 
Two 3-in-4's to start the month, then a Tuesday game that immediately follows a double-header weekend. Afterwards, it's a triple header, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, mid-month, concluding with two more 3-in-4's at the close of March and start of April.
 
Did I mention that only nine of those thirteen games are against divisional opponents? Meaning, the Comets can't afford to slip up anywhere this month. A losing streak at any point this month could mean a freefall out of a Calder Playoff spot.
 
Hot off the heels of a disappointing drubbing by the Laval Rocket, the Comets will start this month against the North Divisions, second-place, Rochester Americans, an all too familiar foe of the farms.
 
The Comets' last game against the Amerks was an interesting one. Despite getting thoroughly out-attempted at 5-on-5, the Comets managed to earn two big points via the shootout.
There is an asterisk on the game, in that, the Comets arguably should have won in regulation. The referees missed a blatant trip against Sven Baertschi as he drove with the puck towards the empty-net. The non-call denied the Comets an automatic empty-netter goal-for, and on the ensuing 6v5, the Amerks managed to score in the final 28 seconds to force extra-time.
 
By no means did the Comets play a clean game against the Amerks. Getting out-attempted more than two-to-one across all-strength-situations means the team was basically in survival mode all game.
 
Out-attempted two-to-one is the common thread between all of the Comets/Amerks matchups this season.
 
Out of their seven-game head-to-head this season, the Comets have out-attempted the Amerks at 5-on-5, wait for it,
...once
 
No surprise, the only thing that has been separating wins from losses in this seven-game series, is goaltending.
 
The Comets are already seeing what can happen if they ride their goalie too hard. Mikey Di Pietro was making his ninth straight start for the Comets against Laval, pairing that with a blatantly lethargic Comets team in front of him, was a breeding ground for disaster.
 
Perhaps the past few days off has allowed the Comets to refill the stamina bars. Well, at least we hope they have because with two teams nipping at their heels for the third and fourth-place playoff spot, they can't afford any more performances like they had against Laval. Its Crunch time. But not literally Crunch time, because it's actually Amerk time ...you know what, you get the idea! Let's get into tonight's matchup!
 
THE STARTING LINEUP
 
LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Camper (#19) Boucher (#24)
Lind (#13) Hamilton (#36) Bailey (#95)
LeBlanc (#3 Stevens (#16) Perron (#27)
Malone (#17) Graovac (#44) Stevenson (#26)
 
LD RD
Petgrave (#22) Rafferty (#25)
Sautner (#6) Blujus (#8)
Teves (#4) Eliot (#52)
 
G
Michael Di Pietro
 
INJURY REPORT -- -- -- -- --
Vinny Arseneau (done for the season) David Pope (concussion) Lukas Jasek (lower-body) Carter Bancks (lower-body) Olli Juolevi (hip soreness) Jonah Gadjovich (illness)
 
Healthy Scratches
Nikolay Goldobin (veteran)
 
So Stefan LeBlanc gets to slide back into the lineup, and impressively, moves into the top-9 alongside Stevens and Goldobin. Like the makeup of the line, a strong forechecking presence from LeBlanc could be a great compliment.
 
Goldobin gets the veteran scratch, which, I'm sure, is delightful for him.
 
Pretty surprised that Eliot and Teves can barely crack a healthy Comets roster, but when the Comets are down two d-men, they get paired together. It makes me question if its a matter of trust with Trent Cull, or if its a matter of skill. Both Teves and Eliot have looked perfectly adequate in the AHL this season. Obviously, when they are healthy, the Comets' third pair is a tough spot in the lineup to crack. It makes me wonder why Eliot and Teves weren't sent down to Kalamazoo to play out the entire season to get ample ice-time.
 
Have to feel for Olli Juolevi, man, injuries have just completely fucked up this kids' career path. Hip soreness for the second/third time this season is a bad look.

1st period

 
Comets in their Away whites
 
 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Comets

 
That was a really fast-paced period of hockey, with zero penalties issued and only a few couple timeouts.
Comets still struggle mightily against the speed and size of the Amerks squad. The Comets do try to match the physicality brought by the Amerks, but, as you could see in a couple of those streamables, Amerks play a heavy game that even the veterans and toughest Comets players can't match.
Comets still electing to play that heavy four-deep in the o-zone style that gives opponents a jarring number of odd-man rushes-against.
 

2nd Period

 
 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 1-1 Tie

 
Yikes, that was a rough period of hockey displayed by the Comets. After 40-minutes of action, the Comets find themselves getting outshot 30 to 17. Rochester is a volume team, who uses their speed and size to open up space for shots on goal. Utica is an opportunistic team, who uses their speed and vision to capitalize on errors for scoring chances. Unfortunately, Utica's approach to generating offense requires them to actually be in the offensive zone. Rewatch that streamable of the Comets standing still as the Amerks generate shots towards the net. The Comets fade the second they don't regain the puck in their zone.
 

3rd period

 
 

Final Score: 3-1 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 
Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st UTI Stefan LeBlanc John Stevens -- 5v5
2nd ROC Taylor Leier Jean-Sebastien Dea Jacob Bryson PPG
3rd UTI Sven Baertschi Carter Camper Ashton Sautner 5v5
3rd UTI Tyler Graovac Justin Bailey Brogan Rafferty EN
 

Takeaways

 
 

Comets Three Stars

 
The Comets Trajectory?
 
Comets return this weekend for a double-header road trip against David Ayers' Charlotte Checkers, I won't be on recap duty for the Friday game, however, as I'll be meeting up with family whom I haven't seen in over four years! So expect another Comets Harvest, for Saturday's game only!
 
As always, if you want to read up on this Comets Harvest or the 2018-19 Farmies editions, you can find them all at my Comets Harvest Blog here
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[Game Thread] St. Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars - Game 6, Round 2 (May 5, 2019)

  • GAME NOTES
The task couldn't be more straightforward at this juncture of the Stanley Cup playoffs. With their season on the brink, the St. Louis Blues have one mindset as they head to Dallas to face the Stars on Sunday afternoon for what could be a series-clinching game.
Dallas leads the best-of-seven semifinals series 3-2, having gained the upper hand with a 2-1 win Friday night. The score might indicate a very close game, but the Blues were outplayed heavily during critical junctures -- notably in the waning minutes when they struggled to break out of their zone and pull the goalie for an extra attacker -- and even were booed off the ice by the home crowd at the end of the second period.
Sure, Dallas goalie Ben Bishop needed to make 38 saves to earn the win, but too few of the stops required the Vezina Trophy candidate to exert a ton of effort, and the Blues know it. As much as the Dallas defenders excelled at preventing the St. Louis skaters from getting to loose pucks, the Blues did not have that extra oomph in their game.
Over the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs, teams that win Game 5 when a best-of-seven series is tied 2-2 end up advancing more than three-quarters of the time. The odds are in the favor of Dallas, but it would be a fool's game for the Stars to simply think the Blues -- the club that sat last in the league on Jan. 2 before going on a torrid run to make the playoffs -- simply will roll over.
INJURIES: Oleksiak - lower body (D2D), Hanzal - Back (IR), Johns - Head (IR), Methot - Knee (LTIR)
Game notes from espn.com. As you discuss the game, please abide by sub rules.
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  • BE LOUD! WEAR GREEN! GO STARS!
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NHL Daily Discussion - 4/14/18 (Saturday)

For NHL and world hockey. Hockey Chat: https://discord.gg/R6duheD | Sportsbook Review Weekly | Models and Statistics Weekly | General Discussion/Questions Biweekly | Props/Futures Weekly | Podcasts Weekly |
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This may go without saying, but as a big fan of both the NHL and NBA, I absolutely love the "any team can win the Cup" aspect of the NHL playoffs

You can see Moneypuck's updated odds here (I meant to make this thread yesterday and didn't), but for the purposes of this let's take a look at Moneypuck's pre-playoff odds.
Now take a look at 538's NBA Predictor.
6 teams are 87%+ to win their 1st round series, with them of them over 94%. Never mind Golden State's absurd odds, two Eastern teams (Milwaukee and Toronto) have a combined chance of 86% to make the NBA Finals (side-note but it's a real shame that Oklahoma City got hot enough to climb to 6th, because them in 7th/8th against either Golden State or Denver would be a fascinating 1st-round series). Every single 1st-round series is at least 70/30.
Compare that to the NHL. Winnipeg has the lowest chance to win the Cup at 2.6%, and even they're given a 37.8% to win their first round series - better than any underdog in the NBA's 1st round. Five of the first round series' are toss-ups (55/45 or closer), and even the "overwhelming" favourite to win the Cup is at 15.8% (side-note here: Vegas having them at 2:1 pre-playoffs was such a horrible bet, the Blues at 14:1 looks pretty good).
In the NBA, Golden State is -210 against the field (so you would have to bet $210 to profit $100, if they win the championship) and smart money would still be to bet on them!
And stepping away from analytics and odds, is there any team in the playoffs where you can't imagine a scenario where they win the Cup? Ignoring the obvious ones (Tampa, Boston, Calgary, Nashville, Washington, Pittsburgh, San Jose):
Colorado - 8-0-2 in their last 10 meaningful games (the final games against San Jose was after they had clinched), terrific powerplay, arguably the best top-line in the league (when it's on), and Varlamov/Grubauer could easily return to form and be .920+ goalies again
Winnipeg - Hellebuyck becomes who he was last year, the D gets healthy, Laine wakes up, and they become the team that was dominant for the first 50 games of the sesaon
Dallas - Ben Bishop put up a .934 this year and Benn-Seguin-Radulov is dirty, if they get any secondary scoring at all they can win the whole thing
Vegas - Fleury does what he did last year, Stone/Patches drive the scoring, and their goal numbers catch up to their analytics.
Toronto - Andersen finally plays his best in April/May, their top 3 lines overwhelm their opponents, the new-look D that hasn't played together yet (when healthy) is better than expected.
Islanders - Barry Trotz. That's all you need to believe they can win.
Hurricanes - Best advanced stats in the league most of the year, but to be honest this is probably the hardest sell. McIlhenney and Mrazek make magic in the playoffs, maybe? They absolutely caught fire as a team from February on so who knows, but I just don't know if the scoring is there and I don't trust that goalie duo.
Blue Jackets - The team finally plays like they should with the insane amount of skill they have, and Bob puts up a .930 like we've seen.
Edit I forgot the Blues, mostly because I couldn't decide whether they were an obvious one or not. They've been the second-best team in the league since they woke up and realized they know how to play hockey, and their goalie is on an all-time heater. I don't think it would shock anyone if they won.
Are any of those situations actually unrealistic? No. Meanwhile in the NBA, for 11 or 12 out of 16 teams it's basically "Well, we can win if a flu epidemic wipes out the top 4/5 teams and some bounces go our way."
I love the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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(Documented) 7-0 through week 8 of the NFL and 4-0 through World Series GM 6-7 We're on fire, tail this streak tonight! 2 Free NFL picks + College football. NHL, NBA, and MMA picks!

(Documented) 7-0 through week 8 of the NFL and 4-0 through World Series GM 6-7 We're on fire, tail this streak tonight! 2 Free NFL picks + College football. NHL, NBA, and MMA picks!
!!MAJOR PLAY ALERT!! - (OCT 31) - (SAN FRANCISCO vs ARIZONA OVER 43)
Going 2-0 in the MLB Last night and 7-0 in the NFL Last Week , the Farts are on fire winning 18 out of his 18 Late Info NFL picks and easily winning 23 out his last 25 EXCLUSIVE RELEASE Free Picks!! Make sure you ride this flaming cloud to the bank as tonight Roarin Farts will be getting the geetus without compunction. Grab a life vest and get on the gravy boat as we sail these winners to a new land like Columbus did when Italy wanted Indian flavored marinara sauce!!
Going 7-0 in the NFL Last Week, Roarin Mac has done it again!! Winning both World Series major play alert releases last night, THE MAC again has something special brewing in the gambling underworld! THE MAC again will break the books.
After winning the MLB major play and the MLB early money release pick easily, the MAC had the plays that made the odds makers look amateur! The after shocks are still being felt in Vegas! Roarin Macs associates in Phoenix have green lit a Major Play in the NFL, giving THE MAC no choice but to HAMMER the MAN on tonight's NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals!!
McGuillaman has 2 RED ALERT picks for THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL and a late release 2 team NBA parlay bonus wager pick plus, a NHL FREE PICK, 2 Early Easy Money MMA plays, and a EARLY RELEASE COLLEGE FOOTBALL pick that will give you CCE!!
McGuillamans associates in Phoenix have signaled to hit the sportsbooks where it hurts, the line mistake on Thursday nights NFL odds are as horrendous as Caitlyn Jenner's bathroom routines and Tonight Roarin Mac is going to take advantage of the easy opportunity to make cold cash like a Mexican coyote smuggler!!
!!RED ALERT PLAY!!

!!MAJOR PLAY ALERT!! - (OCT 31) - (SAN FRANCISCO vs ARIZONA OVER 43)
!!MAJOR PLAY ALERT!! FREE NFL PICK - (OCT 31) - (SAN FRANCISCO vs ARIZONA OVER 43)
Free EXCLUSIVE NFL Pick (OCT 31)- (ARIZONA CARDINALS +10.5)
The MAC has been smashing his free plays harder than a pack of drunken Halloween hooligans chucking pumpkins off of a freeway overpass. Associates are alerting to the Mac that for every Mexican that jumps the border in Arizona tonight, the Cardinals will score a touchdown and the 49ers will reciprocate and score a touchdown for every letter in the gay communities initialism LGBTTQQIAAP. The San Francisco 49ers fans are more than just freedom fighting tech rich liberals who have to wipe the human feces from their doorstep every morning to move a Tesla out of a heated rotating garage to take a Porsche to the cubicle dungeon to work on fruit images for their new cocktail app, nor are the Arizona Cardinals fans that will be at University of Phoenix Stadium a bunch of confused Mexicans that thought football was soccer and needed a place to hide from ICE, they actually care about their teams, they care about their teams more than you could imagine, more than the bum screaming his final vulgarities before using his own shit as a pillow while he sleeps at a bus stop in the Castro, or the wild Mexican throwing his 6 children over a barbed wire fence so he can get to Home Depot before 9 a.m.! THE MAC McGuillaman is telling you to play OVER 43 in tonight's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals! - MAJOR PLAY ALERT!! FREE NFL PICK - (OCT 31) - (SAN FRANCISCO vs ARIZONA OVER 43)
!!EXCLUSIVE FREE PLAY!!
Free NCAA FOOTBALL BACK ROOM INFO Pick (OCT 31) - (APPALACHIAN STATE -16)
Free RED ALERT RELEASE NBA Pick (OCT 31) - (ATLANTA HAWKS +7)
EXCLUSIVE EARLY MONEY RELEASE PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER PICK (NOV 02) - (WEST HAM UNITED -1/2 -123)
Free RED ALERT RELEASE NHL Pick (OCT 31) - (MONTREAL CANADIENS +175)
!!FREE EXCLUSIVE LATE NBA 2 TEAM PARLAY BONUS PLAY!!
FREE LATE 2 TEAM PARLAY NBA RELEASE BONUS PICKS (OCT 31) -
(DENVER NUGGETS -4.5) x (ATLANTA HAWKS +7)

Free WWE Professional Wrestling Picks

The Professional Wrestling world has a been rumbling and Roarin Farts has felt the vibrations in his knickerbockers as of lately!! Ex -Professional amateur street wrestler, Roarin Farts McGuillaman, for the past 4 months has been anticipating some inside information from a couple of squared circle jabroni executives involving a major WWE event!! Farts has just got the word that the green light is lit and the wolves of the gambling world can feast!!!!
CROWN JEWEL FREE PICK (OCT 31) - How Many F5’s Will Brock Lesnar give Cain Velasquez?
(Under 5.5 +110)
WWE SPECIAL WAGER FREE PICK (APR 05)
TYSON FURY TO ENTER THE RING AT WRESTLEMANIA 2020 - (Yes +160)
(Wager cut off: 2019 31st October 12:00 PM) Time sensitive, hurry before odds makers realize the mistake they made!!
Free MMA Pick (Nov 03) - UFC 244 - (NATE DIAZ +130)
Free MMA Pick (Nov 03) - UFC 244 - (STEPHEN THOMPSON -120)
Free Entertainment Pick - Betting on religion is a sin but sins pay and Roarin Farts is betting on (CARDINAL NORBERTO RIVERA CARRERA of MEXICO) to be the next pope - BETS ON THE NEXT PERMANENTLY APPOINTED POPE AFTER FRANCIS I.
(Wager Cut Off: 2019 31st December 11:00 AM)

FREE CELEBRITY DEATH PICK - (BILL COSBY +100)
It doesn't take much to find a couple of chubby high end hospice nurses to squeeze some information out of on the morphine levels of a deathbed celebrity. Here are the latest online gambling death picks from Raoarin "MAC" McGuillaman playable at MyBookie.ag and if you're a first time depositor claim a bonus - HERE and throw it on one of these guaranteed picks.
WHO WILL DIE FIRST?
BETTY WHITE -260 vs CAROL BURNETT +200
Carol Burnett should have died 20 years ago and Betty White is a "OGG" a Original Golden Girl, and OGG's die hard so the decision is easy!
CHARLIE SHEEN -200 vs MAGIC JOHNSON +160
The HIV Playoffs are going down between Tiger Blood Chuck and Magic Dick Johnson and this battle will most likely take a little while unless Charlie decides to relapse and we think black men live longer than white drug addicts!
The most anticipated free pick! - Bill Cosby is eating pudding behind bars while Harvey Weinstein is getting verbally assaulted by comedians at private events in New York, they both should have did the Polanski and moved to a place that embraces these types of men, France!
  • BILL COSBY +100
  • JERRY LEE LEWIS +150
  • WOODY ALLEN +250
  • ROMAN POLANSKI +250
  • JERRY SANDUSKY +600
  • HARVEY WEINSTEIN +800
  • SUBWAY JARED +1000
Wager cut off: 2020 1st January 12:59 AM
More free online betting information and free sports picks daily at OpenVisionZ.com
$20 free bets and a 100% matching deposit bonus up to $1000
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Going 2-0 in the NFL Last night and 7-0 in the NFL Last Week!!

Going 2-0 in the NFL Last night and 7-0 in the NFL Last Week!!

This weeks Free Special Wager Pick!
Going 2-0 in the NFL Last night and 7-0 in the NFL Last Week , the Farts are on fire winning 14 out of his 15 Late Info NFL picks and easily winning 18 out his last 20 EXCLUSIVE RELEASE Free Picks!! Make sure you ride this flaming cloud to the bank as tonight Roarin Farts will be getting the geetus without compunction. Grab a life vest and get on the gravy boat as we sail these winners to a new land like Columbus did when Italy wanted Indian flavored marinara sauce!!
Going 7-0 in the NFL Last Week, Roarin Mac again has something special brewing in the gambling underworld and again he will break the books tonight.
After winning ALL of last night's NFL Exclusive Free Picks easily, the after shocks are still there, Roarin Macs contacts in DC have signaled to HAMMER the MAN on tonight's World Series Game between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros !! McGuillaman has a major play for TUESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL and a late release 2 team NBA parlay bonus wager pick plus a NHL BACK ROOM INFO PLAY, 2 Early Easy Money MMA plays, and a EARLY RELEASE MLS pick that will blow your high socks off!!
McGuillamans contacts in DC have signaled to hit the odds makers where it hurts, the line mistake on WORLD SERIES GAME 6 odds are horrendous and Roarin Mac is going to take advantage of the weakness like HARVEY WEINSTEIN directing a casting couch!
!!MAJOR PLAY!! FREE MLB PICK - (OCT 29) - (HOUSTON ASTROS OVER 7.5)
Free EARLY MONEY MLB WORLD SERIES Pick (OCT 29)- (WASHINGTON NATIONALS +155)
The lines makers have had a tough time in baseball this year, leaving more money hanging around than a Jeffery Epstein jail cell. The Nationals started off impressive going hard in the first 2 games but then dropping off faster than Trumps approval rating. The lines-makers have been adjusting the line more than the Astro's assistant GM position. The Astro's have been dealing the usual Texas style misogynous behavior with their assistant GM Brandon Taubman and after firing him they have won the last 3 games easily! The rumor allegedly is that senator Ted Cruz is in the shadows of tonight's game preparing for a big Texas hootenanny hoedown with a harem of Taubman's leftovers. We told you yesterday to play the Nats now you LOST MONEY - Take the Nationals ML +145 before it drops again.
!!EXCLUSIVE!! Free NHL BACK ROOM INFO Pick (OCT 29) - (WASHINGTON CAPITALS +120)
!!EXCLUSIVE LATE INFO PLAY!!
FREE LATE 2 TEAM PARLAY NBA RELEASE BONUS PICKS (OCT 29) -
(MIAMI HEAT -7.5) x (DALLAS MAVERICKS vs DENVER NUGGETS UNDER 213.5)

Free WWE Professional Wrestling Picks

The Professional Wrestling world has a been rumbling and Roarin Farts has felt the vibrations in his knickerbockers as of lately!! Ex -Professional amateur street wrestler, Roarin Farts McGuillaman, for the past 4 months has been anticipating some inside information from a couple of squared circle jabroni executives involving a major WWE event!! Farts has just got the word that the green light is lit and the wolves of the gambling world can feast!!!!
CROWN JEWEL FREE PICK (OCT 31) - How Many F5’s Will Brock Lesnar give Cain Velasquez?
(Under 5.5 +110)
WWE SPECIAL WAGER FREE PICK (APR 05)
TYSON FURY TO ENTER THE RING AT WRESTLEMANIA 2020 - (Yes +160)
(Wager cut off: 2019 31st October 12:00 PM) Time sensitive, hurry before odds makers realize the mistake they made!!
Free MLS Soccer Pick (OCT 29) -
Roarin Farts has associates in LA staying at the same 5 star resort as one of a top Los Angeles MLS players cross dressing mistress and has over heard that the outcome of a certain match will be a toe nail biter. The associates have informed the MAC to go in heavy and on Tuesday, October 29 play the - (SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs LOS ANGELES FC OVER 3 1/4) -120
The Roarin Mac has been digging around his old contacts in Los Angeles and they have came back with obtuse but profitable information. The Los Angeles soccer fans are more than spiked hair, collared shirt lesbians and gender neutral actors screaming touchdown after goals, there is a seedy side of the cleats and LAFC forward Adama Diomande knows all about it. When you look at Diomande it isn't hard to imagine that he has probably spent many a sweaty nights with Democratic Donor Ed Buck. The truth of the matter is we do not know what Diomande is doing when he isn't kicking a soccer ball for LAFC, but we do know that in LA County the LGBTQ meth orgy wouldn't be official without a couple of diked up soccer players and a oiled up black Norwegian in a gimp suit! Take (OVER 3-1/4) -120 during the SEATTLE SOUNDERS vs LOS ANGELES FC MLS game (OCT 29) - (SEATTLE VS LAFC OVER 3-1/4) -120
Free MMA Pick (Nov 03) - UFC 244 - (NATE DIAZ +130)
Free MMA Pick (Nov 03) - UFC 244 - (STEPHEN THOMPSON -120)
Free Entertainment Pick - Betting on religion is a sin but sins pay and Roarin Farts is betting on (CARDINAL NORBERTO RIVERA CARRERA of MEXICO) to be the next pope - BETS ON THE NEXT PERMANENTLY APPOINTED POPE AFTER FRANCIS I.
(Wager Cut Off: 2019 31st December 11:00 AM)
FREE CELEBRITY DEATH PICK - (BILL COSBY +100)
It doesn't take much to find a couple of chubby high end hospice nurses to squeeze some information out of on the morphine levels of a deathbed celebrity. Here are the latest online gambling death picks from Raoarin "MAC" McGuillaman playable at MyBookie.ag and if you're a first time depositor claim a bonus - HERE and throw it on one of these guaranteed picks.
WHO WILL DIE FIRST?
BETTY WHITE -260 vs CAROL BURNETT +200
Carol Burnett should have died 20 years ago and Betty White is a "OGG" a Original Golden Girl, and OGG's die hard so the decision is easy!
CHARLIE SHEEN -200 vs MAGIC JOHNSON +160
The HIV Playoffs are going down between Tiger Blood Chuck and Magic Dick Johnson and this battle will most likely take a little while unless Charlie decides to relapse and we think black men live longer than white drug addicts!
The most anticipated free pick! - Bill Cosby is eating pudding behind bars while Harvey Weinstein is getting verbally assaulted by comedians at private events in New York, they both should have did the Polanski and moved to a place that embraces these types of men, France!
  • BILL COSBY +100
  • JERRY LEE LEWIS +150
  • WOODY ALLEN +250
  • ROMAN POLANSKI +250
  • JERRY SANDUSKY +600
  • HARVEY WEINSTEIN +800
  • SUBWAY JARED +1000
Wager cut off: 2020 1st January 12:59 AM
More free online betting information and free sports picks daily at OpenVisionZ.com
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After winning the MLB major play and the MLB early money release pick easily, the MAC had a back room NHL and MLS play that made the odds makers look amateur!

After winning the MLB major play and the MLB early money release pick easily, the MAC had a back room NHL and MLS play that made the odds makers look amateur!
https://preview.redd.it/eyq8u6u2mqv31.jpg?width=801&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=722c80770fb009692ac196abebfcf894f497cbb3

This weeks Free Special Wager Pick!

Going 2-0 in the MLB Last night and 7-0 in the NFL Last Week , the Farts are on fire winning 18 out of his 18 Late Info NFL picks and easily winning 21 out his last 23 EXCLUSIVE RELEASE Free Picks!! Make sure you ride this flaming cloud to the bank as tonight Roarin Farts will be getting the geetus without compunction. Grab a life vest and get on the gravy boat as we sail these winners to a new land like Columbus did when Italy wanted Indian flavored marinara sauce!!
Going 7-0 in the NFL Last Week, Roarin Mac has done it again, going 2-0 in bases last night and cleaning up in pucks and soccer balls! THE MAC has something special brewing in the gambling underworld! THE MAC again will break the books.
After winning the MLB major play and the MLB early money release pick easily, the MAC had a back room NHL and MLS play that made the odds makers look amateur! The after shocks are still being felt in Vegas! Roarin Macs contacts in DC have signaled to HAMMER the MAN on tonight's World Series Game between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros !! McGuillaman has a MAJOR PLAY ALERT for WEDNESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL and a late release 2 team NBA parlay bonus wager pick plus, a NHL FREE PICK, 2 Early Easy Money MMA plays, and a EARLY RELEASE NFL pick that will give you CCE!!
McGuillamans contacts in DC have signaled to hit the sportsbooks where it hurts, the line mistake on WORLD SERIES GAME 7 odds are as horrendous as Caitlyn Jenner's bathroom routines and Tonight Roarin Mac is going to take advantage of the easy opportunity to make cold cash like a Mexican coyote smuggler!!

(HOUSTON ASTROS OVER 7.5)
!!MAJOR PLAY ALERT!! FREE MLB PICK - (OCT 30) - (HOUSTON ASTROS OVER 7.5)
Free EXCLUSIVE MLB WORLD SERIES Pick (OCT 30)- (WASHINGTON NATIONALS +105)
The odds makers are making more mistakes this month than a politician in a whore house. The Nationals are 1 game away from winning a World Series and Trump is one allegation away from a jail cell. The ostensible rumor is Ex-Assistant GM Brandon Taubman was fired for disrespecting a Ted Cruz groupie and the vast amounts of concentrated MAGA piss coming from the National Park sewer system is intoxicating the Anacostia River. The winner of this series is just as guaranteed as Melania Trump's affair with Justin Trudeau. Make yourself more money than a Brandon Taubman wrongful termination lawsuit and take the (NATS ML +105)
!!EXCLUSIVE FREE PLAY!!
Free NHL BACK ROOM INFO Pick (OCT 30) - (COLORADO AVALANCHE -140)
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  • JERRY LEE LEWIS +150
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  • SUBWAY JARED +1000
Wager cut off: 2020 1st January 12:59 AM
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OFFSEASON DIGEST/SEASON PREVIEW

It’s that time of the year again. Maybe you took a few months off from thinking about hockey and might have missed a few things this offseason. Maybe you’re a fellow miserable Steelers fan trying to switch gears and think of something else. Maybe you just want a 10 min refresher. In any case, I thought I’d make a little cliff notes recap of everything involving the Pens and the NHL from this offseason and sprinkled a few takes in at the end. But let’s start with the one thing that nobody missed...
Phil Kessel to Arizona for Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre-Olivier Joseph - The deal also sent prospect Dane Birks and a 4th to the Coyotes. We will probably never know the full extent of the reported tension Kessel had with Sullivan or Malkin and how much of that was overblown, but it was pretty clear that things got to a point where there was no way around moving him. And considering those circumstances, Rutherford did about as well as he could.
Galchenyuk is coming off a 19/22/41 season in 72 games, but has several 50+ seasons under his belt. Way too early reports out of camp suggest he’s taking some drills with Malkin and he’s also a strong candidate to slide into Kessel’s place on the top power play unit. Joseph is a 2017 first round pick who possesses great skating, passing, and power play experience. The only consistent criticism of him through his whole juniors career is that for some inexplicable reason he can’t put on weight. It will be a situation worth monitoring as he begins his pro career in WBS.
Olli Maatta to Blackhawks for Dominik Kahun - After being healthy scratched for the last 3 games of the Islanders series, the writing was on the wall that Maatta could be the odd man out. In return, the Pens get a versatile (albeit undersized) 24 year old winger in Kahun who is coming off a 13/24/37 stat line in his first NHL season. Think “Dominik Simon with better hands” and that should give you a benchmark of how Kahun plays. He figures to start the year in a bottom 6 role but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might not be long before he gets a look with Crosby and Guentzel. His game seems to fit the mold of what Sullivan likes in that role.
Penguins Sign Brandon Tanev - Ok, lets get the obvious out of the way. The 6 year 3.5M AAV contract is not good. You never want to tether yourself to a bottom 6er for that long, especially when you’re strapped on the cap. But with all that being said, I actually really like the fit here. Tanev is coming off a career high 14/15/29 season where he was 3rd in the league in hits (278) and 3rd among forwards in blocked shots (81). Most importantly, he wins puck battles, which is something the Penguins sorely lacked while being eviscerated by the Islanders last spring.
RFA Roundup - The Penguins took care of business with their 4 main RFAs: Marcus Pettersson (1 x 875k), Teddy Blueger (2 x 750k), Zach Aston-Reese (2 x 1M) and Jusso Riikola (1 x 800k). The Penguins would have liked to get a longer term deal done with Pettersson but it was simply not feasible given their cap situation. Blueger and ZAR return looking to claim every night spots in the lineup, which Riikola showed enough promise in an up and down first North American season to warrant another look. AHL tweeners Adam Johnson and Joseph Blandisi also return on RFA deals.
Odds and Ends - 7th defenseman Chad Ruhwedel returns for another year, as do AHL defensemen Zach Trotman and Kevin Czuzman (2 years each). Familiar face David Warsofsky also returns for his 3rd stint with the Pens organization on a 2 year deal. On the forward side, AHLers Thomas Di Pauli and Ben Sexton return on 1 year deals while Andrew Agozzino comes over from the Avs organization as well. Departing the organization are Garrett Wilson (TOR), Ethan Prow (FLA), Chris Wideman (ANA), Chris Summers, and Jimmy Hayes.
Cullen Retires - Matt Cullen also returns to the Penguins, but this time he won’t be on the ice. Shortly after announcing his retirement, Cullen immediately rejoined the Penguins in a front office player development role. Given his popularity within the organization as a mentor for younger players, it’s a pretty safe bet to think he’ll excel in this new role.
Depth Goaltending - The Penguins top tandem of Murray and DeSmith remains unchanged. Tristan Jarry is back as well, but after a “just ok” 2.66 GAA and .915% season in WBS, he has some competition now. The Penguins added 22 year old Finnish goalie Emil Larmi, who backstopped his team to a championship in Finland’s top league with a stellar 18 game playoff run that saw him go 12-6 with a 1.72 GAA and .932 save percentage. Alex D’Orio also begins his first pro season, and although he struggled last year in the QMJHL, he’s coming off a great prospect camp and figures to be in the mix for playing time as well. WBS also added 9 year vet Dustin Tokarski on an AHL contract, who most recently served as backup for the Calder Cup winning Charlotte Checkers.
All of this really seems like writing on the wall that Jarry’s time with the organization could be numbered. He doesn’t have much standalone trade value, but could be an intriguing piece of a larger deal should one materialize.
Mike Vellucci - The least talked about but potentially incredibly significant organizational shakeup happened in WBS. After Clark Donatelli resigned as coach, the Penguins swooped in and hired Vellucci, who is coming off a season in which he just guided the Checkers to a Calder Cup. Then, when Billy Guerin left to become the Wild’s GM, Vellucci also assumed his responsibilities as the GM of the WBS Penguins. While this “double duty” may at first seem odd, it’s nothing new for Vellucci who served as assistant GM for the Hurricanes for 5 years and the last 2 of those as the Checkers head coach.
Guerin and Donatelli left WBS in a state of disarray, and it’s hard to think of anyone better suited to turn things around than the man who played an important role in both building the Hurricanes back into playoff contenders and building the Checkers into AHL champions. The only major question here is why Vellucci, whose name would surely have been in the mix soon for both NHL coaching and front office jobs, would want to make a lateral move like he did. Maybe he’s just loyal to his old boss Rutherford. Maybe he’s preparing to be his eventual successor? Maybe he feels Sullivan’s seat is getting hot? All fair questions but whatever his reason may be this is a huge get for the organization.
Sullivan Extended - While the Vellucci hire may have raised some suspicions about the Penguins confidence in Sullivan, Rutherford did his best to quiet those when he gave the 2 time champion coach a 3 year extension. No problems with this. Coaches salaries don’t count against the cap, so there was no reason to string things along.
Draft Recap - The Penguins actually made a first round selection this year, taking 6’2’’ 207 lbs power forward Samuel Poulin. Poulin projects as a “safe floor” pick with nice size and playmaking ability, although he does need to improve his skating. If safe and solid doesn’t get you excited, then maybe 3rd round pick Nathan Legare will. Possessing one of the best pure shots of the draft class and nice size and speed to match, Legare could develop into quite the player if he can improve on his ability to create for himself rather than just rely on the setup. But seriously, this guy shoots bombs and I suspect he will be a strong candidate to become the “hype bunny” of the preseason. The Pens also added big 6’3’’ defensive-minded forward Judd Caulfield out of USA development team in the 5th, and a pair of Finns in the 7th with selections of overage but speedy forward Valtteri Puustinen and defenseman Santeri Airola.
Prospect Pipeline - All of the above selections will return to their respective junior teams, but WBS will also be seeing an intriguing influx of first year pros. PO Joseph may have been the prized acquisition of the offseason, but it was his playing partner John Marino that was getting the buzz out of prospect camp. The Penguins acquired Marino from the Oilers for a 6th, and he projects to be a “jack of all trades” defenseman who doesn’t really have any overwhelming strengths or weaknesses to his game. He should make a splash in WBS. The Penguins also signed 27 year old Finn Oula Palve, who may not be a prospect anymore but will be treated as such as he enters his first North American season. Palve was a very productive player his past few seasons, although some of that may have been due to being line mates with Kappo Kakko.
The Pens also have an intriguing crop of home grown first year pros ready to make their WBS debuts. Most notable of those is 2017 preseason darling Jordy Bellerive, who is now a full year removed from his scary burn injuries and looking to bring his intriguing blend of speed and playmaking to the pro level. Joining him will be Justin Almeida, who is AHL eligible despite being drafted only last year as an overager. Almeida was an absolute scoring machine in the WHL, posting 111 points in 64 games last season. Kasper Bjorkqvist is perhaps the least flashy but also the most pro ready of the new crop, and while he may not have a history of scoring a lot, he’s a responsible 2 way forward with the kind of freakish conditioning routines that rival those of Kris Letang. Speedy Slovenian forward Jan Drozg will also be likely turning pro, as will defenseman Niclas Almari, who would have likely been the consensus choice for 2nd best D prospect behind Addison before the additions of Joseph and Marino. It will be interesting to see how those 3 are able to carve out playing time in WBS among the veterans.
AROUND THE METRO
Rangers- The clear “on paper” winners of the offseason, the Rangers kicked the rebuild into overdrive and went for broke. They signed Artemi Panarin to a massive 7 year 11.6M AAV contract, traded for Jacob Trouba, traded for prized Hurricanes defenseman prospect Adam Fox, and drafted young Finnish superstar Kappo Kakko with the 2nd overall pick. While it’s unclear just how all these pieces will fit together, this influx of talent at least gives them a seat at the table. How far they can go likely depends on the development of young goalie Alexander Georgiev and whether or not Henrik has any juice left in the tank.
Devils - If the Rangers were the offseason winners, Ray Shero’s Devils come a close 2nd. They drafted Jack Hughes #1 overall, made a blockbuster trade with the Preds for PK Subban, and won the trade sweepstakes for heavily hyped Russian defenseman Nikita Gusev. Like the Rangers, these additions put them in the conversation, but they have some serious question marks in net. Expect them to roll with a tandem of the promising but inconsistent young Mackenzie Blackwood and the oft-injured Cory Schneider.
Blue Jackets - For as good as things went for the Rangers and Devils, that’s as bad as things are in Columbus. After pushing all their chips to the middle last year, CBJ has parted ways with Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel and didn’t really bring in much aside from Gustav Nyqvist to replace that production. It’s back to the drawing board for these guys.
Hurricanes - They dodged a major bullet when they were able to match Montreal’s offer sheet for Aho, but continued to stay busy throughout the offseason. The Canes swapped out Calvin de Haan, Michael Ferland, and the retiring Justin Williams for Jake Gardiner (on a steal of a contract), Erik Haula, and Ryan Dzingel. They are also actively shopping Justin Faulk. It’s hard to say yet whether they got better or worse with this shuffle of players, but they’ll look to avoid statistical regression after their unexpected run to the ECF.
Capitals - Not too much change for Todd Reirden’s second year behind the bench. They’ll look to replace the departures of Brett Connolly, Andre Burakovsky, and Brooks Orpik largely from within, but the core remains intact, and we should expect to see more or less the same looking team as we have been accustomed to the past few years.
Islanders - Another team that (after losing the Panarin sweepstakes) didn’t have a lot of movement in the offseason, save for a potentially very significant development between the pipes. Robin Lehner is out after his breakthrough season last year, and replacing him will be journeyman vet Semyon Varlamov, who should figure to split about a 50-50 workload with Greiss. It’s puzzling that the team didn’t make a stronger effort to keep Lehner after he played so well for them last year, but they’ve proven before that they are willing to part with top talent and rely on their system to carry them.
Flyers - The biggest change here comes behind the bench, as Alain Vigneault returns to the metro division along with a pair of former Penguins Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo as assistants. They also made one splash signing in Kevin Hayes, who received a whopping 7 year 7.14M AAV deal. They also added Matt Niskanen, swapping Radko Gudas to the Caps. I feel like we already know what these guys are gonna be. They’ll go on some crazy mid season win streak, come crashing back to earth by losing 10 out of 12, and ultimately settle somewhere around the playoff bubble.
Make no mistake about it. This division is the Thunderdome now. With everyone but the Jackets projected to be in the playoff mix, there will be some talented teams that will miss the playoffs. Gone are the days where a second round Pens-Caps series is a foregone conclusion, and a slow start simply cannot be afforded in this suddenly wide open division.
Rest Of The East - In the Atlantic Division, the big 3 seem poised to continue their dominance. The Conference Champion Bruins remain mostly unchanged because, hey, if it’s not broke than don’t fix it. Coming off their historic regular season and inexplicable playoff exit, the Lightning mostly stood pat as well, making a minor alteration in the defense by bringing in Kevin Shattenkirk to replace Anton Stralman. They also still have some business to take care of with star RFA Brayden Point, although that is expected to be done at some point. The Maple Leafs opened their pocket books to give Marner his massive extension, and they now have a staggering 40.5M of cap space allocated to their top 4 players. They also had some considerable overturn with the rest of the roster, bringing in defenseman Tyson Barrie and forward Alex Kerfoot in a trade that sent Nazem Kadri to Colorado, and also adding Cody Ceci from the Sens.
The biggest movers in this division were the Panthers, who may have missed out on Panarin but made the biggest coaching hire in landing 3 time cup winner Joel Quenneville. Joining him will be Bobrovsky, Stralman, and Connolly. Does this get them closer to the top 3 in the division? Yes. Does it get them all the way there? Probably not. After whiffing on the offer sheet with Aho, the Canadiens came up empty handed with pretty much everyone else too. The Red Wings biggest change comes in the front office, as they finally parted ways with Ken Holland and brought in franchise legend Steve Yzerman who is largely responsible for assembling the juggernaut in Tampa. Jason Botterill’s Sabres, on the other hand, find themselves searching for answers after having to sacrifice Phil Housley at coach and replace him with Ralph Krueger. They also stayed active, adding Colin Miller, Jimmy Vesey, Henri Jokiharju, and Marcus Johansson. These all, on paper at least, seem like pretty shrewd moves but another underperforming season could see Botterill’s seat getting red hot. And the Senators...well, let’s just say that’s still a train wreck.
The Wild Wild West - Defending champion Blues return largely intact after locking up their young stud goalie Binnington, and like Boston, why wouldn’t they? The biggest movers in the entire conference have to be the Stars, who added veteran star Joe Pavelski as well as high upside reclamation project Corey Perry to an already star studded top 6. The PK Subban era is over for the Predators, but they still made a splash in signing Matt Duchene, who joins a core of centers that already included Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, and Nick Bonino. The Avalanche were also very active, adding Burakovsky, Kadri, and Joonas Donskoi while losing Barrie as they look to take the next step towards becoming major players in the west. Most of the Jets offseason has revolved around the potentially concerning RFA stalemate with superstar Patrik Laine, but it’s worth noting that they lost Trouba as well. The Blackhawks look to infuse more youth into their core of forwards, but they got some needed insurance on the back end in Robin Lehner, who should join a tandem with the oft-injured Corey Crawford. And the Wild pretty much spun their wheels after the failed Kessel-Zucker trade, and ended up going with vet forward Mats Zuccarello.
In the Pacific, the top points finishing Flames remain mostly intact, although it seems now they have committed to young David Rittich between the pipes following the departure of Mike Smith. The Golden Knights nightmare cap situation forced them to offload Miller, Haula, and Gusev, but the core of the team remains the same and primed for another deep playoff run. The Sharks moved on from one face of the franchise in Pavelski, but locked up another when they gave Erik Karlsson a huge 8 year extension. The Coyotes showed that they believe they are ready to contend with the big Kessel trade, but did little else to improve their forward depth. The Canucks accelerated their rebuild with major veteran signings of Michael Ferland, JT Miller, and Tyler Myers, and when you combine these with their promising young core and the league’s thinnest division, they could be a sleeper playoff team this year. The Kings and Ducks continued their rebuilds with coaching changes, bringing on Todd McLellan and Dallas Eakins respectively. And the Oilers latest attempt to fix their issues involves James Neal and 37 year old Mike Smith, so expect them to once again go exactly as far as McDavid can carry them.
SEASON STORYLINES
Salary cap trade - The dirt cheap Pettersson contract allows the Penguins to go into the season cap compliant without having to make any major trades, but that doesn’t mean one still isn’t coming at some point. Ideally, you’d love to get Jack Johnson’s 3.25M off the books but that would involve another team actually agreeing to that, so the Pens may have to look elsewhere to open up some space. Bryan Rust is another popular name in these discussions, as the additions of Kahun and Tanev make his role a bit more crowded.
Schedule Difficulty - Once again the schedule maker did the Pens no favors, hitting them with 17 back to backs (tied for the most). In addition, 14 of their last 16 games of the season will come against metro division opponents (including all 4 against Carolina in the month of March) so expect everything to still be on the line deep into the year.
Sullivan’s System - While I don’t yet think Sullivan’s seat is hot (nor should it be), the Isles series exposed some glaring flaws that need to be addressed. The 2019 playoffs as a whole were a case study on how bigger, more structured teams are becoming increasingly effective in countering free-flowing speed and skill teams, and now it’s on teams like the Pens to adjust. The challenge for Sullivan will be finding a way to add some additional structure without suffocating the playmaking abilities of his best players.
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[OC] Lost Leagues: History of the Professional Spring Football League (1992)

Competing football leagues in the offseason is all the rage right now. The Alliance of American Football started up this year, and promptly ended this year without even finishing its first season. And, the XFL is starting up again in 2020 (it’s almost impossible for the league to be as big of a failure as it was in 2001, when it flamed out in a blaze of glory).
Here’s the thing with other football leagues- I love getting my football fix at all times of the year. I was glued to my TV during AAF season, and watched practically every Orlando Apollos game. And when then XFL starts again in 2020, you can bet that I’ll be watching with a keen eye. There’s big names attached to the XFL, there’s financial backing, there’s a TV contract that is nothing short of impressive (half the games on network TV), and the rule changes look interesting.
But here’s the thing with other football leagues- 99 percent of them don’t work. In terms of outdoor professional football leagues in the United States, the only two outside of the NFL that worked were the AFL and the AAFC; they don’t exist anymore because they combined with the NFL. It’s extremely hard to get a pro football league up and running and give it any kind of success. There’s tons of leagues that have fallen by the wayside.
Case in point- the Professional Spring Football League.
Now seems like as good of a time as ever to revive the Lost Leagues series, where I take a look at failed professional football leagues. Some leagues, such as the United Football League post that kicked off the series two years ago, you may recognize. Others, like this one, you’ve probably never heard of. In fact, this league made such little of an impact that if you do a Google search for “Professional Spring Football League”, every link on the first page of results has absolutely nothing to do with the PSFL that I’m talking about.
With all of that said, let’s take a look at the incredibly short-lived existence of the Professional Spring Football League.
Part I: A Puzzling Formation
The league announced its existence on October 1, 1991, less than a year before the league was set to play in 1992. Already, you might be able to spot a major problem with this. There was already a pro football league in the spring in 1991, and that was the World League of American Football. That league had a lot of things that the PSFL would not wind up getting. For starters, it had the backing of the NFL. The league owners wanted to create a developmental football league in the spring that would also give the sport popularity overseas. The WLAF also had a television contract; not only were games shown on ABC and USA Network, but those networks actually paid the WLAF for the TV rights.
There were so many failed spring football leagues, and now, the PSFL was going to directly compete against a spring football league that actually had the backing of the NFL. Let’s put that in perspective. Professional hockey in Atlanta has not worked. The Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary in part because of low attendance, and the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in part because of low attendance. Imagine if the NHL decided, for whatever reason, to go back to Atlanta. Now imagine that after this announcement is made, a competing hockey league (and I use competing very loosely) announces that they’re going to be putting a team in Atlanta, and the season is going to run at the same time as the NHL. Why would that make any sense for the competing hockey league to do? Already, the league was behind.
But let’s take a look at that other pro league that was playing in the spring, and is still somewhat remembered to this day. The WLAF, in its inaugural season, averaged 25,361 fans per game. On its surface, that’s really good. However, if you take out the three European teams (London Monarchs, Frankfurt Galaxy, Barcelona Dragons) and the one Canadian team (Montreal Machine), you’re left with six American teams. Here’s the average attendance of those American teams:
Team Average Attendance
New York/New Jersey Knights 32,322
Birmingham Fire 25,442
Orlando Thunder 19,018
Sacramento Surge 17,994
San Antonio Riders 14,853
Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks 12,753
AVERAGE 20,397
Why do I bring this up? Let’s be very clear- an average attendance of 20,397 for a football league’s inaugural season is still extremely good… but only two of the six teams cleared 20,000. Remember that this was the league with the NFL’s backing and a relatively lucrative TV contract (it was in the eight figure range according to some reports). In the PSFL, a league with neither the league’s backing nor any TV contract to speak of, they needed each team to average 20,000 fans per game to stay afloat. Per the article:
[President] Vince Sette and the other league organizers figure each team will need to average just 20,000 fans per game to make this endeavor work. And they're not counting on television revenue to bail them out.
Each team needs to average just 20,000 fans per game? That’s all it’s going to take? A number that four out of six teams in the WLAF couldn’t reach? A number that, in the final season of the USFL, 8 out of the league’s 14 teams couldn’t reach? That seems like a fantastic business model that can’t possibly fail. You can probably already see some of the inevitable failures and red flags with this league just based off of the model.
But remember when I said that the PSFL did not have a TV contract? That doesn’t mean that they didn’t get some exposure on TV, in the form of an introduction video that aired on SportsChannel New York in 1991 (even though the league did not have any teams in New York). The video is… well, let’s just take a look at the video, because there’s a lot to dissect.
Part II: An Even More Puzzling Video
LINK TO THE VIDEO
I have no idea how I found this video, seeing as it has a grand total of 398 views on YouTube, two likes, and two comments. However, this is an absolute gold mine. This was a half-hour special aired on SportsChannel a few months prior to the launch of the league, and man, is it a weird video in all its early-90s cheese and glory. The first thing you’ll notice is that the commissioner of this league is Rex Lardner. About a quarter century later, he would try launching another pro football league in the spring. Considering the fact that the league has 195 likes on Facebook and the only video on the league’s website is literally five seconds long and is just a horribly-done Microsoft Word logo, I’m guessing that league is dead and that he learned nothing from the failures of this league.
After a shot of a logo that looks somewhat similar to the USFL logo, we get an introduction by a man who, literally less than one minute into the video, tries to stop skepticism of fans. In the first minute, they acknowledge that every other attempt has failed. That’s rather comforting. However, they explain why this league is different and won’t fail, and it’s because Vincent Sette (the founder and president of the league) said that he researched the other leagues. Checking in on what happened to Sette after the league’s demise, and it turns out that he’s doing great.
The founder of the league was also known Vincent Setteducate. There appear to have been no criminal charges filed in the aftermath of the PSFL. Five years later, he was charged by the SEC in a wire fraud case, and pleaded guilty, sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution in another business venture. He has had other brushes with the law as well.
And yes, according to this article, he goes by both names of Vincent Sette and Vincent Setteducate. Getting back to the video, after he promises that the league is going to work because he researched at the New York Public Library, you’ll also notice that Walt Michaels is the Director of Football Operations. I’ll give the league credit for that- Michaels is a recognizable name; in six seasons with the Jets and two seasons with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, he’s made the playoffs four times, and only had a losing record twice. He even guided the Jets to the AFC Championship in the 1982 strike-shortened season. Unfortunately, that’s the only recognizable front office figure associated with this league. Not once in the video does it mention any coaches associated with the league. Considering the league was starting up in spring of 1992 (the first game seemed to be scheduled for February 29), and this TV special aired in late 1991, that seems like a major red flag. Again, just to reiterate- this league was announced on October 1, and the first game was to be played on February 29. People criticized the XFL the first time around for moving too quickly, but that was a year. This is less than five months. This is 151 days between announcement and the first game.
But how are the players in this league? Remember that the talent pool with any secondary football league is going to be somewhat worse; factor in the WLAF already existing in the spring, and the PSFL was playing third fiddle. They held three combines, with the one in the video taking place in Atlanta in October (less than a month after the creation of the league), and others taking place in December and January. Who were some of the players?
You know it’s a good sign when the first player that’s mentioned is Mickey Guidry. When the FIRST PLAYER YOU HIGHLIGHT is a man that threw 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his four years at LSU from 1985-88 and a man who was so buried on the depth chart with the Sacramento Surge of the WLAF that he didn’t even throw a pass in 1991, that’s a horrible sign. Other quarterbacks in this league included Tony Rice (who threw 2 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in his final season at Notre Dame in 1989, completed 48.5% of his passes over his career, and was dreadful with the Barcelona Dragons in the WLAF in 1991 with one touchdown pass and three interceptions), Bobby McAllister (an atrocious QB in the WLAF in 1991 with Raleigh-Durham, throwing 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 5.9 yards per attempt, a 46.7% completion percentage, and a passer rating of 54; Raleigh-Durham went winless), and Todd Hammel (a 12th round pick in 1990 who never played a snap, and then played in the WLAF with New York/New Jersey where he threw 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, had a passer rating of 53.7, completed just 45.5% of his passes, and averaged 5.8 yards per attempt). Remember- these were the guys they were highlighting, so this was their cream of the crop. Guys who were awful in the WLAF were, on paper, the best quarterbacks in this league.
As for the other offensive skill players, there were some recognizable names, even if they weren’t that good. Timmy Smith ran for a record-204 yards for Washington in Super Bowl XXII; he only had three regular season rushing touchdowns in his NFL career, and from 1989-91 (the three years before the PSFL’s scheduled inaugural season in 1992), had 6 rushing yards, but at least the name was recognizable. The second halfback mentioned is James Gray; while he was exceptional at Texas Tech, leading the Southwest Conference in 1989 with 1,509 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, he never played a down in the NFL after getting drafted by the Patriots in round five of the 1990 NFL Draft. Lydell Carr had a solid career with Oklahoma, but after getting drafted in the fourth round of the 1988 NFL Draft, did nothing in the NFL, never recording a single yard from scrimmage (in fairness, he did score eight touchdowns with the Barcelona Dragons in the 1991 season of the WLAF). And then, there was Lorenzo Hampton, who scored 28 touchdowns in his NFL career. Those were the four halfbacks highlighted; two of them never got a carry in the NFL. Quality-wise, that’s not good. Also, you may notice that half of this video is just the PSFL Combine and almost plays like a football instructional video; I’m not sure why this is.
Another major red flag with this video comes with the announcement of the teams. We’ll get to the teams later, but the map only shows nine cities, even though there’s supposed to be 10 teams in the league. That means that a new team would have to be announced and formed with roughly 70 days to go until the first game of the season. Good luck with that.
But how is this league going to be any different from the other leagues? After an interview with former BYU tight end Chris Smith that, no joke, starts off with the line, “I love children,” we find out how. For one, the players are going to do community service. There’s going to be autograph sessions. I’m failing to see how this is any different, but then we get two weird things. The first is that the games are going to be when the fans want. They’re scheduling for the fans. I have no idea what this even means. Does this mean that if the fans want them to play a game right now, that they’ll do it? The second is a cool idea but has no practicality whatsoever, and that is the universal ticket. Any fan who buys a season ticket to a PSFL team gets all of their team’s home games plus a universal ticket that can be used at any PSFL game. Good idea… but who’s flying halfway across the country to watch a PSFL game? Sette brings up the idea of staying at a hotel in Tampa for a PSFL game… who’s going to do that? It’s an interesting idea, but one that I’m sure nobody would actually use.
Some frequently asked questions about the league pop up next, and it’s always a good sign when one of the questions is whether or not a franchise can go under. The PSFL actually had a good idea with a single-entity structure; MLS has a similar system and it has worked well in ensuring the league’s survival. But here’s where it gets somewhat eyebrow-raising for me- each team has a salary cap of $2 million, and an average player salary of $45,000. Adjusting for inflation, today, the average player salary is around $82,000. That’s a pretty large amount for a minor football league. For some perspective, even the AAF’s average salary was less than that at $75,000 per season. And even though the AAF didn’t work, it had a TV contract and actual investors. This league was formed in the blink of an eye, had no TV revenue, had a business model that relied on a rather unattainable goal of 20,000 fans at every game, and yet, had a higher average salary per season when adjusted for inflation than the AAF.
After watching that video, it’s time to break down the actual markets chosen.
Part III: The Teams
The PSFL was pretty ambitious with their inaugural season, opting to have 10 teams play in the league. Four of the teams would be located in cities with NFL teams, with the other six teams being in unoccupied professional football markets. The New England Blitz seemed like an odd choice for a team. While the league stressed going into unoccupied markets, Boston already had a team in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, so this completely defeats the purpose. Additionally, the Boston Breakers were in the USFL in 1983, and drew the smallest average attendance in the league at 12,735 fans per game. Why Boston was chosen for a team, I’m not sure. The other baffling location was the Washington Marauders at RFK Stadium; the Washington Federals of the USFL bombed horribly (second-to-last in attendance in 1983 and 1984, including an average of just 7,694 fans per game in 1984), and there was competition in the area with the Bullets of the NBA and the Capitals of the NHL.
However, every other city makes sense. I’ll give the PSFL credit- they seemed like they had a good idea of where to go with their teams. Going to Tampa Bay with the Tampa Bay Outlaws made complete sense- in the USFL, the Bandits consistently ranked near the top of the league in average attendance, proving that spring football in Tampa Bay could work (if it’s done correctly, the XFL team playing in Tampa Bay in 2020 could have a strong following, though it’ll be tougher now that the city has an NHL team and an MLB team). Miami didn’t have the Marlins yet or the Florida Panthers (although Sunrise is an hour away from Miami), so there was little competition in the area for a spring football team to thrive. The other six locations were teams without NFL teams. The Arkansas Miners played in Little Rock (no pro sports teams), the Carolina Cougars played in Columbia (no pro sports teams), the Nevada Aces played in Las Vegas (no pro sports teams), the New Mexico Rattlesnakes played in Albuquerque (no pro sports teams), the Oregon Lightning Bolts played in Portland (only the Trail Blazers as competition), and the Utah Pioneers played in Salt Lake City (no pro sports teams). Yes, travel costs were going to be high, but the market selection seemed promising with a bunch of mid-sized markets who were starving for pro sports.
The logos, though? My, are some of them bad.
A lot of these logos would’ve been outdated very quickly. I have no idea what the New England Blitz logo is trying to be. The Carolina Cougars logo looks like the logo from Monster Energy (though the Carolina logo predates the Monster logo). Nevada’s logo is just the Alcorn State logo with cards coming off of it. And then there’s the Utah Pioneers helmet, which is the exact same thing as the Cleveland Browns helmet minus a logo on it. Why the Miami Tribe were named what they were, I’m not sure, seeing as the actual Miami Tribe is based in Oklahoma.
They were already thinking about expansion. As mentioned in this article, they were looking at expanding to 12 teams in the near future, putting teams in Fresno and Austin; both were large cities with no pro sports team.
So, we’ve got our teams. We’ve got our video promoting the league (even though we don’t have a television contract). And, we’ve got a schedule culminating with the Red, White & Blue Bowl at RFK Stadium on July 5. How does the first season of the league go?
Part IV: Collapse & Conclusion
Already, cracks were starting to show in 1992. Businessman Nick Bunick bought the Portland team a month before the season started, and immediately wanted to change the name to the Oregon Chargers. I’m sure the NFL would’ve been thrilled by that. They just hired a coach a month before the season started by taking former NFL quarterback Craig Morton.
February rolled around, and it was less than a month before the start. And when February rolled around, I’ll let Squidward explain why the league was struggling.
In what can only be described as a shocked Pikachu face for a lot of these other leagues, they had no money. It was February 12, just 17 days before kickoff between the Tampa Bay Outlaws and Utah Pioneers, and the league was in serious trouble. The Miami Tribe folded. The commissioner, Rex Lardner, said that they were considering shutting down the league. The Washington Marauders, who were a late addition to the league to begin with, threatened to cease operations by the end of the week if the league didn’t provide adequate financial arrangements. Remember those plans that said that the league needed each team to average at least 20,000 fans per game to survive? Less than three weeks before the season, and Washington had sold 100 season tickets. One hundred. I’m shocked that the team that was announced hastily in a market with lots of competition already and in a market where the USFL failed miserably could barely sell 100 season tickets.
And, as it turns out, nobody got any money. Washington wide receivers coach Brian Gardner said he was owed $5,000, and never got it, stating that “I have as much chance of getting that as I do of catching the clouds in my hands right now.” The league lied when they said that it had $50 million in the bank; only a small percentage of that was actually in the bank. The schedule, set to start on February 29, was in danger of getting pushed back two weeks. And the Marauders were running an awful operation:
The Marauders operation is tight. All the equipment is in Room 131 of the team's headquarters here, a Quality Inn. The shoulder pads are piled atop two beds; face bars sit on a table. Other pads and several jerseys are in the bathroom.
[Cornerback] Barry Wilburn kept his football shoes on after the morning practice today. That was because the tape he'd bought and used to anchor the shoes to his feet had run out. There was no tape for anyone. Until the season starts, players are responsible for their own football shoes. They pay their way to training camp -- and their way home if cut.
One week later, the league folded. On February 19, 1992, the PSFL shut down operations, and never played a single game. And thus, another professional football league collapsed. Considering the lack of name recognition or the lack of a TV deal, and considering the WLAF already happening in the spring of 1992 while this league was trying to get underway, I’m not sure many people noticed that this league died. But it goes to show you that trying to start a football league in five months is usually a bad idea.
Previous Posts
History of the United Football League (2009-2012)
History of the Spring Football League (2000)
History of the Fall Experimental Football League (2013-2015)
History of the Stars Football League (2011-2013)
submitted by JaguarGator9 to nfl [link] [comments]

Current Content and User Engagement Woes

This is going to be a long read, but I hope people can relate to some of the frustrations and have additional suggestions to keep the conversation going. Trying not to focus on gameplay or tuners...a lot of varying opinions there.
Quick background...NHL is really the only game I play. Last year I also bought Madden on sale around Xmas to see what the hype was about and then again this year. I played some MUT before NHL was released and then switched all efforts over to HUT. I made this post last season about my eyes being opened to the incredible amount of content offered in MUT, which I'll allude to often below when looking for ways to improve the game. I know other ultimate team games (ie. Non-EA:The Show or EA:FIFA) have features I am not privy to and would love to hear about them.

The Attempted Fix NHL 18

I think most people on here are on the same page that NHL 18 did not go well from a market perspective. The most casual of players enjoyed it because they were able to pick up cards for very cheap...play a couple solo challenges and you could pick up Ice Stamkos and Kucherov. Many people, including myself, were left with very little to do as end-game teams were available very early on due to the number of players and card types hitting 99 early on in the year. What contributed to it?
Attempted Market Fix in 19:
Long story short, IMO, that is a huge list and EA went too far. In an attempt to stabilize the market, which it definitely has, the game has become boring with very little to do or things to cheer for. Let's go into some details below.
First off, credit where credit is due. Bravo on:

Events and Content Release to Date

Evolution Set - No complaints on the set construct besides it being one and done. Choice packs at different levels is a nice way to do it. The solo challenges around it were just brutal. Tedious star requirements to pull two random jersey cards? Boo. The "release of additional Evo cards after receiving feedback" via packs only over 24 hours is not a great solution. Evo Burns is already a ghost on the AH.
Halloween - The best set released yet. Solid Big Buff MSP card. The only odd part was the required specific gold rare or gold common player for the team builder set. Why randomly pick one player like that to allow people to login at 5:01 and price lock? At least make the team builder set "X amount of gold common or silver rare players"...not one specific gold common. That just gets price locked as well.
Digital 6 - This is where I start to question if person creating these sets ever takes a look at the current market. Again randomly requiring a gold rare card...although that was moot point for this set as everyone collecting the Rask, Kadri, etc. cards dumped as soon as the details were released and flooded the supply. Gold collectibles are already rare with people building alumni sets. It seems odd to have 5 required for what is more or less a rookie/intermediate level set with 86 cards. Ditto on the solo challenges...Superstar is absolutely infuriating to play against. No MSP card either? Hard pass.
Weekend Alumni Releases - Underwhelming may be the best summary here. Mostly low rated cards, an abundance of high goalies, and available only in packs.
$100/500k - Controversial, but this has been the only good pack release of the year. There was definitely some sticker shock at the $100 price tag. Look at the price fo these guys now...whether you bought the pack or not, it ended up releasing an almost perfect amount to the market. Selanne, Leetch, etc. are always available and have maintained the value, even increasing slightly. The more recent "available in any pack" Forsberg, Pronger, and Potvin release that everyone asked for? Be careful what you wish for...I bet people ripped hundreds of dollars worth of packs and have nothing to show for it. They are extremely rare to find on the AH and 99.9% of people will never have that elusive Forsberg on their team without a re-release. Bring these packs back.

Game Modes/Features/Sets

Event Objectives - We are about to hit the two month mark of NHL 19 next week. There has been exactly ONE set of event objectives for ONE collectible. ???
Draft Champs - Completely neglected game mode. A single set of trading in 5 loan players for an 82. The only time I have seen people in there was trying to get a sneak preview of new cards and then forfeiting the draft. Brutal. Mimic Madden and make it X amount to enter and actually have good pack/coin rewards.
Comp Seasons vs Hut Champs - Too similar using the same scoring system. Why not mimic the MUT Weekend League Rewards for Hut Champs? Just total win count will get you to different reward tier levels with a max of 25 games. Go down a few goals early? No stress, quit and start the next game.
Playoffs - RIP?
Gold/SilveBronze Collectible Use - It is very odd to me that there are only two sets to currently use gold collectibles in. The first being the alumni upgrades, which one would never do unless you are in the 1% building a 99 MSP (others would just buy the upgraded player). The second is the oddly designed Digital 6 set discussed early. I would venture to guess a majority of the people, including myself, just build the collectibles and auction right away. MUT has a number of year long and often updated sets, including one of the HUT fan favorites, to use your collectibles in: Flashback Sets.
MUT "Series" Releases - Large content drops to keep the game fresh...Example being Series 3 released Nov. 2. What did this include?
  • 100 New Solo Challenges with a 91 OVR reward.
  • Multiple set updates to keep them relevant to current cards levels. ie. 50 trophies for a 89-91 overall player.
  • One month objective list that rewards a Legend pack.
Solo Challenges - Where are they? Browsing the sub, there are a number of people who want to participate in HUT, but not play online. There is very little for them to do. Look at the available solos in MUT right now...that is 934 to be exact. And most are fun too...some full games, but most situational challenges...ie. "you are up by 4 with 30 seconds to do and Tom Brady on the 2 yard line...shut down the Pats to win this solo". I know situation challenges are not possible in 19 per flop, but it should be near the top of the list for NHL 20. In the meantime, I think I speak for all when I say these four solo challenge items are terrible:
  • Superstar Level - I am a D1 player with a pretty good record...I HATE playing the AI at this level...I can't imagine what newer players think. The tic-tac-toe passes they make are not possible using normal controller input.
  • Untracked Stats - Looking at you blocked shots and breakaway goals. Doing a challenge while blind is no fun.
  • Faceoff % - Can win 80% of face-offs against humans but under 50% on pro and up. Just not enjoyable.
  • PP Goals - Maybe this one is already gone? Have not played solos in a while. Ragging around trying to get the AI to take a penalty is just tedious.
Team of the Week - Branching off of the solo challenge section above...let's compare how HUT and MUT treat TOTW:
HUT
  • Cards are released and you have a small chance of pulling in packs.
MUT
  • Cards are release and you have a small chance of pulling packs.
  • Two solos are released where you obtain a random TOTW player and a TOTW collectible.
  • Obtain the other TOTW offensive or defensive players to complete the new TOTW Master set.
  • Hang on to the TOTW collectibles for a free TOTY set trade-in player.

Keeping the Game Linked to the NHL

MovembeEvo - Most of the people playing here are big hockey fans in real life as well. Take a look at the weekly sub posts for NHL 16/17/18 during Movember (and Evo) and then continuing throughout the rest of the NHL season. A ton of people discussing upcoming milestones, investment potential, who is playing with who and who is playing well (Guentzel on Crosby line...must buy guys). People were monitoring games each night and reporting back on potential POTG thresholds or injuries. It was really fun.
Look at the price of the Evo cards...they are so much higher than they should be considering the single synergy and max 2+ upgrade per month. What does that tell you? People want their Movember and Evo cards. Hitting refresh right at 5pm and seeing three of my starters get TOTW? Sweet!
MUT Predictor - Not sure if it has been in MUT yet this year, but last year there were weekly solos where you earned tokens to participate in an NFL pickem game that weekend. Based on how many you get right, you would earn coins/players/packs and the rewards increased throughout the year. How fun would it be to play some solos during the week to get tokens and then pick the following examples before a full Saturday slate of games:
  • Will Patrick Kane record two or more points?
  • Will the Sabres beat the Flames?
  • Will Holtby record 30 or more saves?
  • Will the Stars have over 10 penalty minutes?
  • etc.
"Temperature Cards" - AndrasteX Think MovembeEVO's are too OP? Create a card type that can go up AND down based on how said player is performing.

Final Thoughts

Amend the +2 Overall Per Month - _endlessmike had it written out somewhere but I can't find it. Some really good lower overall players will never be relative for a majority of the year with a +2 upgrade (ie. Pettersson). There are better ways to slow the average overall explosion like Ovi last year.
Bring Team Collections Back - Over the years, the "team collection" morphed from 1) collect all items of a team to receive reward packs 2) collect subset of team + collectibles to receive legend 3) alum card + collectibles for upgraded alum/legend. The "team collection" portion is completely gone and was a fun longer term goal reminiscent of collection physical hockey cards back in the day.
Diversify the Game Changers - Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe a majority of the game changers are YouTube and Twitch streamers. Understand that they are great from a marketing perspective; ie they get free points -> open packs on their videos -> people watch videos -> people buy packs. Win/win for both. However, sometimes I wonder if they are as passionate about the game as a bunch of the Reddit, Discord, etc. guys are. Sometimes have a major smh moment when they open packs on a stream and the don't know what the collectibles are for....eh. Don't get me wrong, a lot of those guys are great, it just seems to be a very limited perspective.
If you made it to the end, thanks for reading. Long story short, I love this game and love all of you guys. Definitely my favorite hobby and just want to Make HUT Great Again. Cheers.
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Wayback Wednesday - Howie's Heartbreak

Mitchell, Ontario isn't where a lot of interesting stories start. It's the kind of place where they roll the sidewalks up at dusk, a small, rural town.
The most interesting story from the town starts more than a century ago in the cold of January.
There are about 4,500 people who call Mitchell home. On this cold winter day, there aren't a lot of them out - the church on Main Street is empty and the raccoons and foxes who normally dart around are tucked away.
It's quiet, except for an occasional whoop from at the bottom of the hill. Some of the farmer kids are skating around on the river. It's called the Thames River - not the River Thames, the locals will have your hide if you call it that - but it's more of a creek. It's still wide enough for the youngsters to skate on.
There are three of them down there. One is about eight, a pipsqueak - the others are a few years older, much stronger. The trio are brothers, racing down the river on a day off from school. They play hockey from time to time, but there aren't any sticks or pucks on the Thames today. The boys are racing.
You'd figure the older brothers, Wilfred and Ezra, would be quicker, but the smaller one, the runt of the litter, has taken a lead. As they push around the bends of the Thames, the little brother slowly sneaks out of sight. He has an odd stride - he squats down and takes long sleek pushes - and it works well for him.
Around one bend, Wilfred and Ezra lose sight of their brother. They keep pushing. He's nowhere to be found.
Unsure of whether or not the little one is still going, the boys keep skating downstream, hoping nothing bad has happened.
When they wind around the next bend in the river, they see their youngest brother, sitting on a snowbank, patiently waiting for them. He'd gotten so far ahead that he got bored, plopped down and took a seat.
He does this all the time. Nobody can keep up with him. It's getting a little old, honestly - and if there are two people who are most tired of it, it's Wilfred and Ezra Morenz.
Little Howie is already the fastest skater in town.
He's destined for great things.
Howie was born in Mitchell back in 1902, the youngest of six kids. He grew up on the Thames, on occasion picking up a stick and puck when beating his brothers in races got old.
For some reason, when he first played hockey, a coach put him in goal. Bad idea - he gave up 21 goals. The next game that coach decided to put him out as a rover. That decision paid off. As a teenager, Morenz led the Mitchell team to a regional title.
The Morenzs left town in his teens when his dad got a job at the Canadian National Railways (CNR) factory in Stratford, about 15 kilometres down the road. World War I had just broken out and Howie tried enlisting, but when recruiters found out he was just 15, that dream died fast.
Howie dropped out of school to work with his dad in the CNR factory. He started a machinist's apprenticeship there and filled his spare time with little hobbies, betting on horses and playing the ukulele. During the winter, however, the betting slips went away and the uke went in the corner - it was hockey time.
Howie used that odd stride and an all-consuming passion to become Stratford's best player. He played with the local junior team, leading them to a provincial title and nearly winning a Memorial Cup. Then, the next season, Howie played for both the junior and senior teams at the same time. He led both leagues in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes.
In 1922, Howie jumped on the train to Montreal for a CNR tournament. In the first game, fresh off the rails, he strapped on those skates and blew the roof off - he scored nine times.
Someone watching the game called a friend - Leo Dandurand, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens. The little farmer kid has some skill, he says - come by and see for yourself.
Dandurand sneaks into the next game and is impressed. He wants Howie on the Habs.
It wouldn't be easy, though. Morenz wanted to head back to Stratford and finish his apprenticeship. That would take two more years. The Toronto St. Pats, the Habs' chief rival, had also gotten wind of Howie and wanted to see him in their green and white sweaters.
For the first time, Leo Dandurand began to bully Howie Morenz. He mailed him a contract offer - $3,500 a year and a $1,000 signing bonus.
Dandurand made a public show of trying to woo Howie, claiming that Morenz was French Canadian and therefore belonged on the Habs, not the St. Pats.
Is Howie French? No. That was a lie. The Morenzs were German, but Dandurand would do anything to have this kid on his team.
At that point, 21-year-old Howie was torn. He and his father signed the contract, but before sending it to Dandurand, Howie got cold feet. Some local businessmen ponied up $1,000 to convince him to stay and play for Stratford. He also wanted to finish his apprenticeship.
Instead of sending the contract back, Morenz sent his signing bonus cheque to Dandurand, along with a letter saying he couldn't play with Montreal.
Enraged, Dandurand summoned Howie to Montreal to explain to him personally why he wouldn't sign. Howie hopped on the train. When he met with Dandurand, he explained his logic, bursting into tears halfway through.
Seeing some vulnerability, Dandurand leaned into the "bad cop" role, telling Howie if he couldn't play for the Habs, he'd make sure he couldn't play - period.
Morenz had to fold. He signed.
You see, there was a good reason why Morenz was torn. A farmer boy in the big city, an English speaker on a majority French team, Morenz would stick out.
Perhaps the biggest reason is one that most history books leave out.
When Howie played hockey, he was happy. Off the ice, the troubles of life hit him like one of the trains he worked on. Whenever his teams lost, Morenz would stay up all night, blaming himself and telegraphing plays that went wrong in his head again and again. This wasn't competitiveness - this bordered on mental illness. That ran in his family.
In his teen years, Howie came home from a hockey game to find out a shocking accident had happened. That night, his mother had gone downstairs and fallen in the family's cistern.
She had drowned. Nobody talked about it much, but scuttlebutt around the town was that it wasn't an accident.
His mom's death affected Howie greatly and made him to two things - to play hockey as a distraction and look after his family.
When Howie had any free time to just think, he'd get lost in his head. Sometimes, he had a hard time getting out.
Howie Morenz first suited up for the Canadiens in 1923. The team was coached by Dandurand, who put Morenz on a line with another young star, Aurele Joliat. The two gelled on the ice. It helped that Joliat, who grew up in Ottawa, was one of the few players on the team who spoke fluent English and French.
Riding the skill of Joliat and Morenz, the Habs finished in second in the four-team NHL, earning a spot in the league final against Ottawa. There, Morenz took control, scoring three of the Habs' five goals in the two-game series, which ended with a Montreal win.
From there, the Habs headed to the Stanley Cup playoff - at this point, the NHL champ faced off against champions from other leagues to determine who won the Cup. In order to win, the Canadiens would have to win two series - one against Calgary, one against Vancouver.
The Habs topped Vancouver, setting up a two-game winner-take-all series with the Calgary Tigers. Morenz scored a hat-trick against Calgary in game one, then added another goal in game two before a big hit broke his collarbone.
It was enough. Morenz had scored four goals by himself - Calgary only scored one. Paced by Howie's goals, the Habs won their first-ever Stanley Cup as an NHL team.
Morenz's play started to earn himself a reputation. When writer Hugh MacLennan saw him play, he noticed the little grin that peeped out when Howie played.
"The little smile on his lips showed that he was having a wonderful time."
Howie was playing with courage, and it couldn't come at a better time.
The next year, Morenz scored 28 goals and led the Habs to another NHL title. The team finished just short of the Stanley Cup, but that reputation started to build. Some people took to calling him by nicknames. A few looked at his birthplace to call him the "Mitchell Meteor", while the more popular name came from the Montreal papers themselves, who used his adopted hometown - the "Stratford Streak".
Morenz became hockey's first legitimate superstar. One rival player called him "that near-perfect human hockey machine". Eddie Shore, famous crotchety hardass defenseman from the archrival Bruins, called Morenz the "Babe Ruth of Hockey."
That term drew some objection from a new friend of Howie's - Babe Ruth himself. He thought Morenz was bigger than that. Babe Ruth once said Morenz had the biggest heart of anyone he'd ever known.
Morenz tallied 25 goals in 1926-27, and then became the first NHLer ever to score 50 points in a season the next year. He was doing things people didn't think were possible - all while flashing that grin.
It seemed like hits couldn't affect him. From time to time, when he saw two players converging on him, he used his foot speed to dodge both and make them crash into each other.
In 1929-30, Morenz scored 40 goals and became the NHL's first-ever three-time Hart Trophy winner.
Businessmen saw him play - and the crowds that showed up when the Habs were in town - and wanted to get in the game. One of them, Boston grocery store magnate Charles Adams, was so inspired after watching Morenz that he filed to start an expansion team in Boston. That team became the Bruins.
In 1930, those Bruins would make it to their third Stanley Cup final. Unfortunately, they did it against the Habs, who beat them soundly - with Morenz scoring what turned out to be the Cup-winning goal.
The Habs with Morenz were such a draw that they played the new team in New York, the Americans, in their first game, and drew a capacity crowd. The new team's owners personally requested that they play the Habs. Later in 1930, Morenz scored five goals against them.
Another businessman, Tex Rickard, saw that and had a vision for hockey in Madison Square Garden. Not long after that, the Rangers materialized.
Finally, in 1933, Morenz hit the pinnacle. He scored his 249th goal in the NHL - breaking the all-time record.
All was good for the kid from Stratford.
Then came 1934.
Two days after New Years', Morenz was playing against the Rangers in New York and fell awkwardly. He twisted his ankle, tore a ligament in his leg and bruised a bone. He couldn't play for a month, and when he did, he wasn't nearly as fast.
If there's one thing that's been proven time and time again over the years, it's that Montreal Canadiens fans may be the most bipolar bunch in sports. If you succeed and all is well, you're a demigod. If your play drops, you're scum and should be moved for a bag of pucks.
Fans booed Morenz during games. Newspaper columnists called for him to be traded.
Suddenly, big superstar Howie Morenz was back to being Howie from Stratford. He retreated back into his own world. He began overanalyzing his play and overthinking things. He lost sleep. He made it to the NHL's first-ever All-Star Game - a benefit game for Maple Leaf Ace Bailey, who had sustained a career-ending injury - but that didn't help.
His play got worse. Much worse.
Morenz broke his thumb, right after his ankle and leg had healed. At one point, a burglar broke into the home of Morenz and his family. The invader found Morenz and pistol-whipped him before taking valuables and fleeing into the night.
That definitely didn't help. His play dropped even more.
The fans kept booing and the headlines kept coming. When Morenz finished up with some games, he would head to his spot in the dressing room and break into uncontrollable sobbing.
Then, the character assassination started coming from the Habs front office itself. His new coach, Habs great Newsy Lalonde, told reporters he didn't like Morenz. When Howie was asked, he said he would never leave to play for another team. When he asked Dandurand or Habs co-owner Joe Cattarinich what was happening, neither would talk with him.
Finally, the unimaginable happened. Morenz was traded.
Howie would be going to Chicago, along with goalie Lorne Chabot and a defenseman, Marty Burke. The Habs didn't get a bag of pucks back, but that might have been more valuable than what they actually ended up with. Altogether, the three players the Habs got back played less than a hundred games with the Canadiens.
Heartbreak had come for Howie.
In Chicago, the same self-analysis that had hindered Morenz in Montreal hit him hard. After a good start, Howie ended up on the bench. He was then traded again, to the Rangers - a team he had helped inspire the creation of. He stunk, getting six points in 19 games.
It looked like the good times were over. However, that offseason, hope jumped up again.
The Habs had re-hired Cecil Hart, the coach who had led the Habs during Howie's glory days. Hart agreed to the job, on one condition - the team had to reacquire Howie.
They bought his contract from New York. After an awful season spent in the US, Morenz was back in le bleu, blanc et rouge.
He wouldn't be the big guy anymore, but Howie got the chance to play for his old team once more. He jumped at it, getting to play with his old buddies, especially Aurele Joliat.
After returning to Montreal, the same fans that had run him out on a rail welcomed him back with hugs. With the love easy to find, Morenz got back in his groove. Working mostly as a playmaker and working to get his speed back, Morenz racked up 16 assists and 20 points in 30 games that season, much better than his numbers in Chicago or with the Rangers.
There was so much hope. The slate had been cleaned - carte blanche.
Then the lights went out.
January 28, 1937. The Habs are at home, playing Morenz's former team, the Black Hawks. It's the first period and Morenz is feeling good.
The puck is loose in the Hawks' zone. A pass is misfired and it ends up in the corner. Morenz, behind the net, gets in a footrace with Chicago defender Earl Siebert, who's coming in behind him. Morenz has a good chance of getting this puck.
Howie is back at full speed, just like back on the Thames River as a kid, when his left skate catches a rut in the ice.
His foot kicks up and the blade of his skate catches a piece of the boards, stopping quickly and wrenching Howie sideways. He falls down hard.
Meanwhile, Siebert doesn't have time to stop. He keeps barreling down on the puck. He can't dodge Howie - Howie can't dodge him.
Impact.
"CRACK."
They say you could have heard it in the very back of the Forum. Even if you couldn't, the screaming was clear.
Howie Morenz's left leg was shattered.
His teammates skate over and unhitch his skate from the boards. After a short conversation, they carry him to the bench.
Howie is strapped to a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital. He has four separate breaks in his leg.
Nobody wants to say it, but it seems likely Howie Morenz has had his last hurrah.
Once he was in the hospital, the tone of the public shifted once more, from happiness and occasional anger to concern. The boos stopped altogether. People showered Howie with gifts and visited him at the hospital at all hours. His family were near him throughout the days, along with his teammates. Even opponents came to see him when they faced the Habs.
People brought him drinks to numb the pain. The joke at the time was, "The whisky was on the dresser and the beer was under the bed."
Howie's leg was kept in traction while the hubbub continued. After visiting hours, Morenz was left by himself.
The last thing that should have happened, happened - Howie Morenz, unable to do the thing he loved, with no one else around to distract him and unable to provide for his family and friends, crawled back inside his own head.
Sleep was rare for Howie. He'd spent most of the night reading the papers, religiously following how the Habs were doing. The team was dropping in the standings in his absence. Morenz blamed himself.
More and more, he felt like he would never play again. Hope disappeared. The future was bleak. Howie was in his own head, and he'd tunneled in there deep.
This time, it looked like he might not get out.
After Howie had been in the hospital for a month, something happened. We're not entirely sure what it was, more than eight decades later, but we do know that Morenz was despondent. Some whispered remembrances said he had trashed his hotel room.
The team doctor for the Habs came to visit and made a fast diagnosis. Howie Morenz had suffered a nervous breakdown.
Morenz was, at one point, put in a straitjacket. It was becoming more and more clear to him, each day, that he would never play hockey again.
The doctor banned almost all visitors from seeing Morenz and had security guards stationed outside during visiting hours. Only Howie's family and Canadiens personnel were allowed to see him. Howie's beloved father, who thought his son would be okay at first, got on the first train to Montreal.
Howie's wife and son came almost every day. When Howie's dad made it to Montreal, he almost never left. The new company may have helped Howie's mental state, but his medical condition was beginning to fail.
On March 8, Morenz said he was having chest pains. Doctors had told him he had a mild heart attack. It turned out not to be the full story - Morenz, stuck in bed for almost six weeks now, had developed blood clots in his damaged leg.
A doctor scheduled a heart surgery for later that day, but for some reason, it was delayed.
That night, Morenz took a turn for the worst. Howie's wife, dad and Coach Hart were all called to come and see him.
That night, the story goes, Morenz had tried to climb out of bed to go to the bathroom. In his struggle to get free, one of the clots lodged inside a blood vessel, blocking it.
Morenz fell on the floor.
Minutes later, his loved ones arrived.
There was nothing they could do. It was too late.
At the age of 34, the Stratford Streak had gone out.
Montreal was plunged into mourning after Howie died. Three days after his passing, a funeral mass was held at the Montreal Forum. The old barn could seat around 18,000 people - about three times that showed up. Radio stations broadcast the service live. Four of Howie's teammates and friends formed an honour guard near his casket.
One of them was Aurele Joliat, Morenz's close friend. Heartbroken, Joliat laid down a flower wreath shaped like Morenz's jersey number 7. Joliat won the Hart Trophy that year, but never had a season like that again. Later, this photo of him sitting in the dressing room next to Morenz’s equipment was taken.
When Howie was laid to rest, his son, Howie Jr., was near. He looked down into his father’s grave, shaken.
A few days after Howie's death, the Canadiens were due to play the Montreal Maroons, their cross-town rivals. The game was going to be cancelled until Morenz's wife Mary said they should continue. It's what Howie would want, she said.
Both teams wore black armbands and held two minutes of silence pre-game. In New York, the Rangers and Americans - two teams that may have never started in the first place without Morenz - did the same.
The NHL held a second All-Star game to raise money for the Morenz family, with a Habs/Maroons all-star team taking on the rest of the league. The Habs built a statue of Morenz and pledged to retire his number 7, saying only one player could ever use it again - Howie's son, Howie Morenz Jr.
Then, the dark side of Canadiens fandom came out. With his son now seen as a sort of successor to Howie's mantle, fans began to harass the Morenzs. At one point, people called the family home and threatened to kidnap Howie and his two siblings.
On top of that, without Howie Sr. around to provide for the family, money quickly ran short. The funds from the NHL charity game, instead of being directly to the family, were placed in a trust that couldn’t be accessed until Howie Jr. turned 25 - not very helpful when he was only eight. Mary couldn’t find work, and none of the kids were nearly old enough to have jobs.
The stress became too much to bear for Mary. She sent all three of her children to an orphanage for safekeeping. They stayed there until she remarried years later. One of the boys got sick and died while in the orphanage.
Once he was reunited with his mother, Howie Jr. took to the ice to attempt to live up to his family's name. He played in the minor leagues and had a tryout with the Habs in 1949 at age 22 - the same age his father was when he made his Montreal debut - but an eye condition stopped his NHL career before it started. He owned a string of businesses and passed away in 2015, age 88, having had only slight involvement with the team since.
Today, the Morenz family name lives on with Howie Morenz III. Instead of trying to live up to the pressure, Howie III actively avoided the hockey world.
Both Howie Jr. and Howie III have spent large amounts of their lives dissuading myths about their ancestor’s death. In a New York Times story written about his grandfather, Howie III told a reporter that his family doesn't believe the media story that circulated after Howie's death - that he had died, essentially, of a broken heart.
"The broken heart, we felt, was really a romantic way of implying he may have taken his own life," he said.
"We don't believe that at all."
That makes a lot of sense. After all, the blood clots were definitely enough to take down a man like Howie. But maybe, if there was more hope, if he hadn't been depressed, if there was a chance he could play again, would he have fought harder?
We'll never know.
Howie Morenz was a lot of things. He was an idol, a star.
But deep down, somewhere, Howie Morenz was always that kid on the Thames River, hanging on to that feeling, the thing that produced what Hugh MacLennan called "the little smile on his lips."
Everything seemed so easy on the ice.
If you want to read more about the weird, forgotten or amazing bits of hockey history, visit our subreddit at /wayback_wednesday. You'll find dozens of articles just like this one.
If you'd like to write an article as part of this series, message me or the moderators of /wayback_wednesday. We're always glad to have extra hands on deck.
We'll be back soon with another article. If you have any ideas or information for later Wayback Wednesday posts or if you're interested in writing one, please don't hesitate to message us or comment below.
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[THE FARMIES] Recapping Tonight's Utica Comets (30-22-5-2) vs. Syracuse Crunch (35-17-3-2)

THE FARMIES

 
Good Evening Canucks fans! Before we settled into darkness, our old friend, as the Canucks face off against the literal greatest team in hockey, Canada’s Team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, lets settle for a little bit of the sunshine, as our Farm enter into the 8th game of the “Galaxy Cup,” a 10 game series between the Utica Comets and the Syracuse Crunch. After going 3w-0L against the Crunch in January, the Comets returned to a bit more of the familiar as they dropped a 4-0 game to the Crunch last month.
 
The Comets are going to be missing more bodies from the lineup as Guillaume Brisebois was called up to the Canucks today due to a possible lengthy foot injury to Ben Hutton, so with that the Comets had to sign another defenseman PTO, this time, Matt Petgrave joins them from the Brampton Beast of the ECHL, where he put up 8 goals and 32 assists and a +/- of +25 in 50 games. I don’t think Petgrave slides into tonight’s lineup due to the short nature of his call-up but given how badly in need of healthy bodies, the Comets lineup is, the likelihood of him getting a start in this weekend’s double header is pretty high.
 
The Crunch are 6-2-1-1 in their last 10, while the Comets are 5-3-2-0 in theirs…its Crunch time (not for the Crunch, but for the Comets) as they desperately need points heading down this last stretch of games for the season…the Belleville Senators are HOT on their tails, sharing the same points as the Comets (67), but they lose out due to games played (Utica 59 to Belleville’s 60) and then on points percentage (Utica’s .568 to Belleviles .558).
 
With all that ominous and terrifying foreboding out of the way lets get into tonight’s game,
But first, a final word about Jonathan Dahlen (until he does another interview that cause the Canuckleverse to implode)...
 

BE NICE TO ROOKIE HOCKEY PLAYERS ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM, YOU FUCKS

 

Starting Lineup

 
LW C RW
Gadjovich Hamilton Bancks
Boucher Kero MacEwen
Gaunce Woods Lind
Pyatt Darcy Jasek
LD RD
McEneny Sifers
Anselmini Chatfield
Graham Saucerman
G
Michael Leighton
 
RE: INJURY REPORT
 
Injury Report -- -- --
Bachman Blujus Juolevi LeBlanc
Out for the Season hand Out for the season Undisclosed
 
Healthy Scratches -- -- --
Arseaneau Gardiner Petgrave Thomas
1 1 1 4
 
Arseneau slots out of the lineup with the returns of Tanner Kero and Wacey Hamilton to the lineup, Kero missed the last 4 games due to injury, while Hamilton (I believe) was a healthy scratch, but may also have been on IR given how hard the illness bug seemed to go through that locker room in the past two weeks.
 

Streamable Clarity Improvement Notice

 
Continuing with last issues theme, going to be Players full name (jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) then every sub sequential play featuring that player it’ll be last name(jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) I’m also going to reduce the amount of hyperlink in the GOAL streamables, since that’s what I think MOST people are here for and don’t want some gaudy blue taking up the screen.
 

1st period

 
Comets in Blue
 
 

Score at the end of the first period: 3-0 Crunch

 
I mean…it could be worse…right? Remember the 10-1 game? … They at least had SOME sustained pressure towards the end of the period. They were outshot 15 to 8, but they had some good looks from Jasek, MacEwen and Anselmini in that period…if those two shots off the post make it in, it’s a totally different game we’re looking at…just need to see more of that fight that we saw at the end of the first.
 

2nd Period

 
 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-0 Crunch

 
Oh boy, I mean, if everyone could stop cycling along the walls and just take shots on the net from wherever they can that’d be greaaaaaaaaat. Comets, despite 3 powerplays, manage to get oushot 6 to 5 that period…and if I’m being completely honest, probably 4 of those 5 shots were 0-danger chances for. Everyone of Syracuse shots on goal were off speedy zone entries that led to a lot of time and space for Crunch shooters. There is little pieces of gold in this game, with some great passing plays from Jasek, but man the timing and play making of this team without their core defenders is just truly awful.
 

3rd Period

 
 

Final Score: 5-3 Syracuse Crunch

 

Scoresheet

 
Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Syracuse Gabriel Dumont Andy Andreoff Ben Thomas SHG
1st Syracuse Ross Colton -- -- 5v5
1st Syracuse Carter Verhaeghe -- -- 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Zack MacEwen Jalen Chatfield 5v5
3rd Syracuse Carter Verhaeghe Taylor Raddysh Nolan Valleau 5v5
3rd Utica Zack MacEwen Brendan Gaunce Kole Lind 5v5
3rd Utica Brandon Anselmini Kole Lind -- 5v5
3rd Syracuse Jan Rutta Cory Conacher -- EN
 

Takeaways

 

Comets Three Stars

  1. Brandon Anselmini
  2. Kole Lind
  3. Zack MacEwen
HM: Brendan Gaunce, who looked much more like the Gaunce of old while playing on the wing, as opposed to his recent run of playing at center where he looked much more uncomfortable.
 
What’s Next?
 
Well it’ll be a lot of scoreboard watching for me…as the Comets fail to pick up a point tonight despite their best efforts; the Belleville Senators play Thursday and then again on Friday, in matchups that could prove to be the difference maker against the Comets in this playoff push. The Comets are back against the Crunch this Friday…and depending on how Belleville’s games go, this could be a Canucks vs. Vegas type of game…a do or die if you will.
 
Until Friday, I Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Farmies, and as always any feedback, improvement suggestions, content or highlights you’d like me to focus/pick out during games, let me know and I’ll do my best to provide during the next Farmies!
 
As always, if you want to read up on this Farmies or past Farmies editions you can find them all at my Farmies Blog here
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Now that the NHL's 24-team revised playoff format has been set, here are the 12 first round playoff matchups along with betting odds for each. NHL Playoff Series Betting Odds: Opening Prices for All 12 First Round Matchups | The Action Network 2020 NHL Betting Odds, Recent NHL History, NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Lines & News Coronavirus (COVID-19) NHL Update – June 22nd 2020 Edition Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 4:30, EDT The top-ranked team in the league may be +400 odds to win the Cup. That means you would earn $4 for every $1 wagered if that team goes on to win the Stanley Cup. However, the NHL’s last-place team may be +10000. It would pay out big time, but it’s a crazy long shot. Future Betting Lines See Odds Shark’s Best NHL Sites. New to betting on hockey? We have a great NHL betting tutorial to assist you in placing a wager on hockey. Also, be sure to check out our NHL odds page for the latest up-to-date betting lines. Eastern Conference Series Prices No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs No. 12 Montreal Canadiens With the NHL setting the table to return this summer and play out a modified NHL playoff structure, sports bettors can turn their attention toward resuming NHL future bets.. The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning come in as the favorites in the eyes of the oddsmakers at BetMGM sportsbook, both listed at +600.New to NHL betting? +600 odds represents 6/1 fractional odds, implying both teams

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