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Quirks of the WCC’s schedule leave Portland with a bizarre, challenging slate

Portland coach Eric Reveno is probably not thrilled along with his workforce’s backloaded schedule (Getty Photos)

Even though the addition of Pacific enabled the WCC to adopt a real double spherical robin league scheduling format next season, the return of travel companions apparently did not ensure 10 evenly matched convention slates.

Portland, in particular, has essentially the most to gripe about on account of a WCC schedule that’s almost comically back-loaded.

The Pilots will open WCC play with five straight house games, all of which will take place before Portland students return to campus from winter break on Jan. thirteen. The downside to so many early residence video games then comes in the second half of league play when the Pilots finish with seven of 9 video games on the highway.

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“I might worry about any schedule that is unbalanced between house [and] away, [however you] by no means know the actual ramifications till the season,” Portland coach Eric Reveno mentioned via textual content. “Beginning with 5 games at home could possibly be nice or it is perhaps robust with the followers [gone] and academically with so much time on the the street.”

Of course, Portland is not the only team who can complain a couple of scheduling quirk.

As KSL.com’s Greg Wrubell notes, eight of the WCC’s 10 groups will play 4 straight road video games in some unspecified time in the future throughout league play. Gonzaga’s schedule is nearly as ugly as Portland’s as the Zags open with four straight residence games earlier than college students are back on campus and shut with 4 straight on the street including fellow league title contenders Saint Mary’s and BYU.

Why couldn’t the WCC assemble an easier spherical robin schedule in which no workforce plays greater than three straight residence or road video games? Convention spokesman Jeff Tourial informed the Spokane Spokesman-Assessment that the problem was demands by ESPN to have premier matchups on sure dates.

“With the return to our travel pair mannequin this yr, we are very limited in terms of leeway to move video games round,” Tourial advised the newspaper. “For instance, if ESPN takes a Gonzaga-BYU sport on a given date, then that affects Portland and San Diego’s games for that weekend, too. Then, on the opposite day that weekend, in the event that they seize Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary’s, then that locks in Pacific and San Francisco’s video games as nicely. Instantly, the only teams “left” in this situation are LMU and Pepperdine – who would play each other. Suddenly, our flexibility is all but gone.

“For ESPN Networks, their radars are heightened by new competitors from different networks and so their need to have the “finest games” has by no means been better.”

The clarification from Tourial isn’t only affordable but additionally an incredible window into a few of the challenges conferences face assembling their schedules. In this case, the WCC had to sacrifice balance to generate as a lot publicity and TELEVISION income as potential.

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Pittsburgh Penguins, National Hockey League of Nations

(Ed. Notice: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer season venture, the Nationwide Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the perfect player of their favourite team’s historical past for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Remainder of The World. It’s their standards, so long as they’ll justify it. Learn, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it is #NHLoN.)

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By Penguins Initiative

Canada: Sidney Crosby by @ChicksDigHockey

The greatest hockey participant from Canada on the Pittsburgh Penguins simply happens to be one of the best hockey participant on this planet.

By all accounts, Sidney Crosby has had a life-lengthy love affair with hockey. Stories abound of Sidney as young as age two being able to maintain a stick correctly whereas hitting a tennis ball. At age ten he scored an incredible 159 objectives in fifty five games taking part in hockey in his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. He had a season point total of 280 points. While at Shattuck- Saint Mary’s Prep School in Minnesota, Sidney set new scoring data by getting seventy two goals and 110 assists for a total of 182 points in simply 57 games. He was also the one participant under the age of eighteen to play in the Canadian Junior Hockey match and the youngest to ever rating a aim in the championship. By the 2004-2005 season, Crosby was thought of one of the best hockey prospect on the earth.

Crosby was famously drafted first in 2005 by the Pittsburgh Penguins He finished his rookie season with 102 factors, which included 39 objectives and sixty three assists. Crosby became the youngest player within the Nationwide Hockey League to attain 100 points in a single season. Crosby was additionally the primary NHL rookie to file over 100 factors and one hundred penalty minutes in a season. Because the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t make the playoffs that season, Crosby was capable of characterize Workforce Canada on the World Championships, the place he turned the youngest player ever to win a World Championship title. He recorded a tournament-greatest eight goals and eight assists in 9 video games.

His listing of awards is simply too quite a few to detail but embody: Artwork Ross Trophy 2007, Lester B. Pearson Award/Ted Lindsay Award 2007 & 2013, Hart Memorial Trophy 2007, Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy 2010, Mark Messier Management Award 2007 and 2010, and the Stanley Cup 2009. Sidney has been a star on the international stage as well. Crosby scored the successful objective in overtime towards the United States in the Olympic gold medal recreation in 2010.

During the 2007 season, the Penguins provided Sidney Crosby the captaincy however he turned it down. His explanation:

“I just thought it wasn’t proper for me. As a workforce, we had been taking part in nice and you don’t wish to disrupt issues like that. Individually, I used to be not prepared to just accept that duty quite yet. Going by means of the playoffs and having that have has most likely given me extra confidence.”

On May 31, 2007, after experiencing playoff hockey, Sidney Crosby was named captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins making him (at 19 years, 9 months, and 24 days) the youngest workforce captain in NHL historical past.

Crosby is a poised captain who’s an articulate spokesman not just for the Pens however all of hockey. He has suffered 2 main injuries prior to now two seasons but faced every restoration with drive and dedication to return to his place at the entrance of the pack. His mental toughness is surpassed solely by hockey aptitude. He sees the ice and understands the ins and outs of the game like no different. He has otherworldly puck dealing with abilities and can rating from anywhere on the ice including while lying on his back. He has that uncommon skill to let the circulate of the game decide his next move. He elevates the game of anyone fortunate enough to play on his line as evidenced by the remarkable 2013 season of Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.

Sid is very neighborhood-minded and philanthropic. Crosby and the Pens sponsor Sidney Crosby’s Little Penguins. One thousand children, aged four to eight, have every season for the past four years acquired full hockey equipment paid for by the Pittsburgh Penguins, their 25-year-outdated captain and several sponsors. He also established the Sidney Crosby Foundation. The Foundation, created in his residence province of Nova Scotia in 2009, is dedicated to providing monetary help to charities that are useful to the neighborhood as a whole, specifically charities benefitting youngsters.

In order to be referred to as the greatest hockey participant not only do you have to have the abilities to dominate on the ice however be an amazing chief as well. Sidney Crosby greater than fills the bill.

Much like the Penguins themselves, we at PensInitiative.com are a crew from different reaches of life, both individual and parody, brought collectively to form a much bigger and larger group. Every member took one country and gave their opinion on who’s one of the best and why they’re the very best.

French Canada: Mario Lemieux by @ChrisRBarron

There was a number of inside debate amongst our group of Pens fans about whether to do only one entry for Canada or to separate the country in two: French Canada and then the rest of Canada.

Quite frankly, splitting them into two is sensible as a result of they are basically different cultures, with different languages and completely different traditions. There have at all times been a lot of nice French Canadians on the Pens roster. One need look no additional than the present roster that includes Marc Andre-Fleury, Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis and Simon Despres for proof of that. And whereas the current roster and roster of years past has always been littered with French Canadian gamers, there’s really only one: Le Magnifique – Mario Lemieux.

Mario will not be solely the greatest French Canadian to ever don a Pens sweater, he’s additionally the greatest player – regardless of birthplace – to skate for the Penguins.

Indeed, an argument might be made – and I have made it before – that Lemieux is the greatest hockey player of all time. His stats speak for themselves: 690 career goals (ninth all time) and 1033 profession assists (tenth all time) for a complete of 1,729 profession factors (seventh all time). Even more amazing, Lemieux racked up those career numbers despite lacking 3 full seasons at the peak of his career and parts of several extra to again injuries and lymphoma. He received two Stanley Cups (as a participant + one as an proprietor), three Hart Trophies, 4 Ross Trophies and two Conn Smythe Trophies.

Not only did Lemieux put Pittsburgh on the hockey map throughout his time on the ice, he also saved the franchise as a part of proprietor of the crew helping to negotiate the deal that led to the building of Consol Energy Center.

United States of America: Kevin Stevens by @ExcitedBobErrey

Discussing the very best American player in the historical past of the Pittsburgh Penguins begins and ends with one identify: Kevin Stevens. He presently ranks 5th in franchise historical past in targets scored (260) and 7th in factors (555), while additionally being the franchise chief in PIMs (1,048). In addition to his place in workforce historical past, Stevens had some of the productive 2 year stretches ever by an American-born participant, scoring fifty four targets and 123 factors through the 1991-ninety two season and following that up with a 55 goal, 111 point marketing campaign the subsequent year. The aim totals remain the 1st and 2nd highest single season totals by an American player, while the point totals are 2nd and 3rd behind only Pat Lafontaine’s 149 points in 1992-ninety three.

Stevens also performed an enormous role in serving to the Penguins to back to back Stanley Cup championships, scoring sixty one factors over 45 video games within the 1991 and 1992 playoffs. A late begin to his profession and a bodily fashion of play limited his profession longevity, but Kevin Stevens still managed 726 factors over the course of 874 NHL video games, including 106 points in 103 career postseason video games. Whereas his numbers are some of the greatest in franchise history, it’s the greatness Stevens displayed while enjoying for the workforce in the early 1990s, along with being a major contributor on two Stanley Cup successful teams, that cements his place as one of the best American participant in Pittsburgh Penguins history.

Russia: Evgeni Malkin by @Nick422

Though not a deep or long history, the Penguins have had some extremely gifted and notable Russian players flit out and in of their line up over the previous 20 years when the inflow of Russian talent finally actually hit the NHL: Alexei Kovalev, your enigmatic methods and moonwalking captured the hearts of many a Penguins fan. Sergei Gonchar, you put the biggest exclamation point on a Corridor of Fame profession winning a Stanley Cup and being amazing. Alexander Pechurskiy… you had been a Penguin. All of you are notable, but none of you are Evgeni Malkin.

No matter the result of the 2004 Draft Lottery the Penguins see their Russian pick on this record. In some bizarro alternate universe the place all men have mustaches, people put on hats on their ft and hamburgers eat folks, Alex Ovechkin tops this checklist. Instead it’s Conn Smythe winner, two time MVP and scoring champion Malkin.

Though his entrance into the league took time, first extraditing himself from Russia two years after his draft and then John LeClaire’s accidentally taking out his shoulder, Malkin made a fast affect scoring a goal in his first six games. Displaying flashes of his boss Mario Lemieux, Malkin’s quantity will no doubt hang from the rafters of Consol when all is completed. At solely 26 Malkin’s numbers are impressive with 217 targets, 343 assists for 560 factors in only 458 NHL games. Perhaps a decade left in his career (at the least eight left in Pittsburgh) and he already ranks highly amongst the Penguins all time leaders in points: 7th all time in targets scored, 8th all time in assists, and 8th all time in factors.

Evgeni Malkin, one of the best Russian born participant in Pittsburgh Penguins history.

Sorry Aleksey Morozov, you left too soon.

Czech Republic: Jaromir Jagr by @MadChad412

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been lucky sufficient to make use of among the most interesting players from the Czech Republic in NHL historical past. Actually, the Pens have had 5 of the highest eight all-time NHL scoring Czech gamers in NHL play for his or her franchise. Players comparable to Petr Nedved, Martin Straka, Robert Lang, and Petr Sykora, and even Michal Rozsival, who also had a pretty good stint with the Pens.

On high of that, the Pens had the pleasure of employing the best participant from the trendy-day Czech Republic in NHL historical past, the tantalizing Jaromir Jagr. Jagr captivated the eyes and hearts of Pens’ fans for over a decade with memorizing play, serving to the Pens win two Stanley Cups. Over the course of Jagr’s tenure with the Pens, he received four scoring titles in a row, the Lester B. Pearson Award ,and won a Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most precious participant (1999).

Jagr’s superstardom in Pittsburgh was second solely to Mario Lemieux, who is the one one that scored more points than Jagr in a Pens’ sweater thus far. Jagr is at present the eighth all-time scorer in NHL historical past, and leads all Czech Republic gamers in points all-time.

Unfortunately, Jagr’s time with the Pens came to a nasty finish when he demanded to be traded in 2001. Since then Jagr has now been employed with six totally different teams, including the Pens’ arch-rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Before signing with the Flyers, Jagr stated publicly that he was “dying alive” to play for the Pens once more.

That induced a “Jagr Watch” on the web, having everybody believe the Jagr was coming again to the Pens, only to sign with the Flyers. Jagr’s history in Pittsburgh is filled with amazing recollections and accomplishments, matched only by a foul taste left by his actions off the ice. Nonetheless by far the greatest Czech player not solely the history of the Penguins, but your entire NHL.

Sweden: Markus Naslund by @ToonsBrian

While he would be the Pittsburgh Penguins’ biggest fish story, Markus Naslund continues to be, arms down, the best Swede to have donned a Pens sweater. Drafted in the first round by the Pens, as the 16th general decide in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Naslund joined the group for the 1993-94 campaign. Over the next three seasons, he used his easy skating and a wicked wrister to score sixty seven factors in 151 games (25 G, 42 A) before being sent to the Vancouver Canucks in one of the vital lopsided deals in league history, netting the black and gold only F Alek Stojanov.

Stojanov would only rating 2 objectives and four assists for the Pens whereas Naslund went on to change into an 8-yr Captain for the Canucks and later close out his 1117 recreation NHL profession with the Rangers. His leadership, skill set and production have contributed to his being thought-about one of many prime ten Swedish born gamers ever in the NHL, not to mention to play in the Steel City.

Slovakia: Marian Hossa by @Evil_Shero

The listing of great Slovakian players is lengthy and profound and the Penguins were fortunate enough to have three of the top 10 all-time Slovakian gamers to wear the black and gold. The duty was to seek out one of the best Slovakian player to ever don the Pittsburgh crest and I thought of a number of players earlier than making my determination.

Miroslav Devil who gained a Cup with the Penguins in 2009 is the fifth highest scoring Slovakian participant of all-time but his common season with the crew was unremarkable, to say the least. Not far behind was the enigmatic Ziggy Palffy, who scored at some extent-per-game tempo earlier than his sudden retirement in 2006. Each players are arguably a number of the finest Slovakia needed to supply but my choose had to be Marian Hossa.

Hossa’s time with the Penguins was quick and may very well be thought-about controversial but he is undoubtedly one of the most gifted players to move by the 412 space code.

Hossa’s arrival was the final transition for the Penguins from “younger upstart workforce” to “Cup contenders” as they battled to the Stanley Cup Ultimate with Hossa’s 26 points in 20 games leading the group with 12 objectives in the put up-season.

Hossa’s departure was not very best from Pittsburgh but he matured into one of the vital complete gamers in the NHL profitable two Cups with the Blackhawks. Hossa is now only behind the legendary Peter Stastny in all -time scoring from the Slovakian nation cementing his legacy not only for his country but for the complete NHL.

Finland: Jussi Jokinen by @KyleFourTwoOne

To be completely sincere, It didn’t take long to dissect the heaps of Finnish Hockey Legends that laced ‘em up for the Pittsburgh Penguins, principally because the heap by no means really existed. What I was in search of greater than anything while strolling by way of the forest filled with forgettable puck handlers and fewer than spectacular defensemen, was someone that brought one thing a bit more particular to the group.

After sifting through familiar names like Ville Siren, Jarkko Ruutu, and Peter Ahola, I discovered the Shootout Objective, and 10 feet behind it pumping his stick within the air was Jussi Jokinen. Although he has a restricted, albeit a powerful number of games performed with the Penguins (7 Targets and 4 Assists in 10 Regular Season video games played), we all know what makes Jussi particular to the groups he plays for.

Jokinen holds the document for all-time shootout objectives with 28, nine of which he scored on his first nine makes an attempt. His laser-guided shot accuracy coupled together with his faceoff prowess makes him the deadliest Finn to grace the ice within the Steel City, and the hero of many an everyday-season game that couldn’t quite be determined in regulation.

Korea: Jim Paek/Richard Park by @Nick422

The nice nation of Korea (South) has given us two completely different NHLers and each had been drafted and played for the Penguins. Each have a unique claim to fame. For this, Richard Park and Jim Paek are one of the best Korean born Penguins.

Jim Paek was the very first Korean born NHLer to take the ice. Drafted by the Pens 170th total within the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, Paek made his debut in 1990. He went on to play until 1994 for the Penguins earlier than being traded. Most importantly he was a part of two Cup champions, making him the primary (and solely) Korean born participant to have his name etched on to Lord Stanley.

Richard Park may not have his identify on the Stanley Cup however he had an extended and more illustrious NHL career. The 50th general pick in the 1994 Draft, Park played for six different NHL teams together with two stops with the Penguins.

Neither have been All Stars or hockey gods however both had been notable for his or her nation and for their contributions. Jim Paek and Richard Park, the perfect Korean born Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brunei: Craig Adams by @ChicksDigHockey

The Pittsburgh Penguins are proud to make use of Craig Adams, the greatest Bruneian-born hockey player in the NHL. Scratch that…..on the planet (learn in Austin Energy’s voice). The present Penguin middle was born in Seria, Brunei on the Island of Borneo in Southeast Asia whereas his father was on business with Shell Oil. Paradoxically, there aren’t any other NHL players born in Brunei. He was raised in Calgary, Alberta.

Adams also boasts the distinction of being the last participant ever drafted by the Hartford Whalers. He went in the ninth round, 223rd overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft after his freshman season at Harvard College. He has hoisted the Stanley cup twice; as soon as with the Hurricanes in 2006 and once more with the Penguins in 2009.

At 6’ 200 lb., Adams has proven himself versatile on the 4th line able to contribute at middle in addition to proper wing. He isn’t often known as a prolific aim scorer however Adams has confirmed himself as an aggressive penalty killer and fearless scrapper.

On July 5, 2013, Adams was re-signed once more to a two-yr contract and can probably retire a Penguin.

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Saint Mary’s boosts its soon-to-be depleted backcourt by landing Joe Coleman

Joe Coleman (Getty Images) If Saint Mary’s is going to stay relevant in the WCC title picture beyond next season, then the Gaels’ latest addition may have to shoulder a lot of responsibility.

Ex-Minnesota guard Joe Coleman will transfer to Saint Mary’s and have two more years of eligibility after sitting out next season, ESPN.com reported Monday. Coleman, who also received interest from Creighton, Gonzaga, Florida and Oregon, averaged 8.7 points per game for the Gophers last season before transferring after the firing of head coach Tubby Smith.

The addition of Coleman is critical for a Saint Mary’s program that has relied on strong guard play in recent years but will soon be lacking its usual array of proven guards.

Star point guard Matthew Dellavedova graduated already. Standout guards Stephen Holt, Jorden Page and James Walker III will all be seniors next season. And the heir apparent to Dellavedova, top 100 recruit Cullen Neal, abruptly reneged on his letter of intent in April, opting instead to play for his father once New Mexico promoted him to head coach after Steve Alford’s departure.

Well aware that his program would be lacking proven guards in a year, Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett has been active on the transfer market this season in search of a player who can provide the same impact Neal might have. The Gaels swung and missed on UNC Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby and Marshall transfer Deandre Kane last month, but they landed a potentially key player in Coleman.

Coleman told ESPN.com that his reason for choosing Saint Mary’s was because there was plenty of playing time available and Bennett has a history of developing quality guards. The Gaels will need Coleman to follow in the footsteps of Dellavedova, Micky McConnell and Patrick Mills if they’re going to continue to contend for the NCAA tournament year after year.