Would a shortened season benefit Sharks?


Would a shortened season benefit Sharks?

In the realm of sports (and corresponding labor negotiations), anything can happen. That's why nobody can ever guarantee a certain thing... but one can make quality educated predictions by playing the percentages. Without further delay; lets begin:

Chances U.S. federal mediators help end the lockout within a week:
Yes: 5
No: 95
Explanation: You're talking about two sides that are at bitter odds. Players and the league have entertained many of the same conversations, over and over, for almost 150 days of negotiations. Not to mention, mediation was a last-ditch effort in the previous lockout, which still didn't prevent the loss of a season. The process will likely take appropriate time to hear both parties, identify problems, and gather information... before the moderated bargaining even begins. The only noticeable difference I predict with mediation is the frequency and duration of meetings.

RELATED: US federal mediators to join NHL talks

Chances of 60 games played if the lockout is resolved:
Yes: 40
No: 60
Explanation: Lets do quick math assuming a (very) best case scenario that the NHL resumes at Christmas. You'd have 15 weeks between then and mid-April in order to begin a full playoff schedule. This means teams would have to play four nights a week (consistently) for all 15 weeks to reach 60. Logistically, with travel considerations, it might be possible. But it will be an unbelievable drain on players to battle injuries, sickness, and health. Yes, the NBA put players on the floor three nights in a row last year, but I don't believe the NHL would have great results doing the same.

Chances there will be any NHL season in 2012-2013:
Yes: 50
No 50
Explanation: I've been set on declaring this 5050 split for the last month. However I feel strongly, if there are any more cancellations (past December 15th), the optimism will be reduced to a tune of 40. If there are any additional delays after January 1st, I'm dropping down to 25. What most often neglect, is that even when the two sides come close to an agreement, there will be at least several days of lawyers finalizing all the paperwork, followed by another 7-14 days of training camps and exhibition games. This is a race against time, which has a forgotten delay of almost 3 weeks.

Chances the Sharks will benefit from a shortened season:
Yes: 70
No: 30
Explanation: San Jose was the 8th eldest team in the NHL last year, and even with changes, the current roster won't fluctuate that figure greatly. However, less games, and coming very "fresh" into a quick season could initially benefit a lot of other teams too. The real advantage is that San Jose had little turnover on the ice, so in a condensed training camp, things could theoretically go smoother and lead to a quicker start. The only logistical disadvantage are incorporating two new assistant coaches; but that should be minimized by using this current down-time wisely alongside head coach Todd McLellan.

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Tom Brady redemption tour is headed to the Super Bowl.

After beginning the 2016 season suspended for four games for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal, the New England quarterback relentlessly carried the Patriots to an unprecedented ninth appearance in the title game, and his seventh. Brady threw for a franchise playoff-best 384 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-17 rout of the helpless Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in New England's seventh consecutive AFC championship game.

The Patriots are early 3-point favorites heading to face Atlanta in two weeks in Houston, seeking their fifth NFL title with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach. Belichick's seventh appearance in a Super Bowl will be a record for a head coach.

Brady was banned by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when New England (16-2) went 3-1 to open the schedule.

Since his return in Week 5, the only defeat came at home to Seattle, and Brady, 39, had one of the best seasons of a Hall of Fame-caliber career. He punctuated that in dreary weather similar to the 2014 conference title game that precipitated the deflated footballs investigation by flattening Pittsburgh's secondary.

Chris Hogan was his main weapon. The previously unheralded receiver found open spaces everywhere on the field against a leaky secondary. Hogan caught nine balls for 180 yards and two scores.

Top wideout Julian Edelman added eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown as Brady tied Joe Montana's playoff record with nine three-TD passing performances. Brady also had his 11th 300-yard postseason game, extending his NFL record, completing 32 of 42 throws.

Pittsburgh (13-6) lost star running back Le'Veon Bell late in the first quarter to a groin injury. It didn't seem to matter much in a record 16th conference title match for the Steelers, who made mistakes in every facet of the game. The franchise that has won the most Super Bowls, six, and the most postseason games, 36, never seemed likely to challenge in the misty rain.

Hogan's second touchdown came on a flea-flicker and he easily beat safety Mike Mitchell to the corner of the end zone. At that point, Hogan had seven catches for 117 yards and the first multi-touchdown game of his four-year career.

His first score made it 10-0 and came after Brady could have taken a nap before throwing, a common occurrence against a nonexistent pass rush. Hogan was all alone in the back of the end zone for the 16-yard score.

Pittsburgh had drawn to 10-6 on DeAngelo Williams' 5-yard run to cap an 84-yard drive. Veteran Williams is a nice security blanket in the backfield, though he's no Bell these days.

Still, he contributed on a 70-yard drive toward the end of the second quarter that appeared to be capped by Jesse James' TD reception. But video review showed James down at the 1, and the Steelers couldn't get into the end zone, Chris Boswell connecting for a 23-yard field goal.

The Steelers never threatened to get back into it.LeGarrette Blount punctuated the romp with a bruising 18-yard run on which he carried nearly the entire Pittsburgh defense with him. He then scored from the 1.

By the end, the crowd was chanting "Where is Roger?" and celebrating yet another Super Bowl trip for the Patriots.


Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal to open the scoring set a franchise record with 27, surpassing Adam Vinatieri's 26. Gostkowski is fourth all-time. He made a 47-yarder in the third quarter, a 26-yarder in the fourth, but he missed an extra point.

Boswell, who set an NFL mark with six field goals in the Steelers' 18-16 win at Kansas City last week, missed an extra point wide left and made a 23-yard kick.


Steelers: Bell's early departure left him with 20 yards on six carries and no receptions.

Patriots: DB Nate Ebner left with a head injury.


After winning the AFC East with the conference's top record, New England defeated the Texans 34-16 and the Steelers to reach the Super Bowl. They will take on Atlanta, which beat Green Bay 44-21 for the NFC crown. Super Bowl 51 will be in Houston on Feb. 5; New England won the 2002 and 2005 Super Bowls after beating Pittsburgh for the AFC championship.