Top 5

Jim Fox

Former NHL forward turned broadcaster Jim Fox has been around the world in pursuit of the best wine. Here are his Top 5 wine destinations:

  1. Wine Tour on bike on the outskirts of Beaune, Burgundy, France

  2. Barrel tasting at Roberto Voerzio Winery, La Morra, Barolo, Piedmonte, Italy

  3. Tasting Class and barrel tasting at Chateau Lynch Bages, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France)

  4. Dinner and tasting at Savier Vineyards, just southeast of Calistoga, California, at sunset looking back over Napa Valley

  5. Anywhere in Tuscany, Italy followed by a glass of wine in the Piazza del Campo, Siena, Tuscany, Italy
NHL Confidential

James NealTravis Mathew Apparel specializes in casual menswear for on and off the golf course. It’s a favorite of Wayne Gretzky as well as current NHL stars James Neal, Dustin Penner, Scottie Upshall and Ryan Getzlaf. “That laid-back, SoCal athletic vibe resonates with a lot of guys who want to look good during an off-day on the golf course,” said Leif Sunderland, the marketing director for the Seal Beach, Calif.-based retailer.


Watch: Anaheim Ducks fans can’t recognize a heavily disguised Ryan Kesler.

Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler went undercover during a preseason game at Honda Center, and had some fun at the expense of some fans — and even a teammate. (He gets Corey Perry’s autograph at a concession stand, then charges him for popcorn.)

Check out the video, which the Ducks uploaded to YouTube today:

College hockey is heating up again.

With the summer temperatures still going strong, it might not seem like hockey season yet, but here we are. Time to make room on a shelf full of high school and college football for my favorite sport. Without further ado, here’s my 2015-16 college hockey preview.

Just four years ago, the Frozen Four was in Tampa for the first time. This year, it’s back. Last time, Boston College won its fifth national title, its third in five years, and the Eagles are No. 1 to start this season. It may seem like the Eagles are destined to win title No. 6, but that’s not the case. Even though the Eastern schools have been the teams to beat the last few years, winning the last four titles, the west is starting to gain some ground again and that’s where I’ll start off.

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Can the Chicago Blackhawks repeat in 2015-16?

NHL_StanleyCup_StyleGuide_2016.inddWednesday night, the National Hockey League regular season returns with 30 teams beginning their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

For the third time in six years, Chicago begins a season as the defending champion. This time, the Blackhawks are in their best position ever to repeat. Chicago’s most likely challenger is Anaheim, which underwent a serious off-season overhaul after falling one win short of the 2015 Final. Helping the Ducks is the team’s station as the best in the Pacific Division, which is surprisingly the weakest in the league.

Overall, the parity-based NHL suffers from a serious imbalance in both conferences. The Central and Metropolitan divisions are far stronger top to bottom than either the Atlantic or the Pacific. A team with a better record (a sixth-place team, likely in the Central) might be left out of the postseason in favor of a third-place team with a weaker record.

How will 2015-16 shake out? Here is my 30-team season preview, broken down in 30 words or less:
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Eight potentially fascinating things about the 2015-16 NHL season.

Hockey is back.

There are old faces in new places (Mike Babcock and Lou Lamoriello in Toronto). There are new faces in old places (Slava Voynov in Russia). Jaromir Jagr is still employed in the NHL, joining Chris Chelios and Gordie Howe as a rare “once in a couple different generations” player.

Already a treasure trove of storylines have emerged, with more on the way. Here are eight to whet your appetite for the upcoming season:

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New York Islanders finally release alternate jerseys from their holding cell.

The New York Islanders are finally freed from the penitentiary known as the Nassau Memorial Coliseum, and will soon begin their first season at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

What better way to commemorate one’s release from prison than with these new third jerseys?

Islanders alternate jersey


The Islanders posted a photo gallery of the new look on their website. No matter which way you look at it, you can’t escape the sense of … escape.

We’re actually fans of the minimalist look in general, and nothing says minimal like black and white. Problem is, when you throw a couple stripes on the sleeves, and eschew piping and gray trim (like these guys), the look becomes a little too stripped-down.

As in, “strip down, it’s time for a cavity search.”

The first round of the draft, summed up in one (non-)handshake.

MIAMI — You’ve got to hand it to Colin White, the center from the U.S. National Development Team, who was drafted by the Ottawa Senators. I don’t know if this move was premeditated or spontaneous. Either way, White became a man of the people when he did this to Gary Bettman when he reached the stage today:

Debating the meaning of ‘dynasty’ in today’s NHL: Do the Blackhawks measure up?

2015 Chicago BlackhawksMy inner cynic and my inner romantic were going after each other pretty good tonight after the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

(Congratulations, Chicago.)

(Now back to me.)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman humorously declared “you have a dynasty” tonight, and my inner cynic practically choked on its sarcasm-flavored Kool-Aid.

Thanks, Mr. Commissioner. Where can I pick up the keys to my dynasty?

Oh, God. Really? Is this the sort of dynasty I should have a doctor look at?

Does this dynasty come with french fries? I’d like to super-size it.

Here’s the thing: It was Bettman who fought to institute a salary cap in 2004. It was a salary cap that forced the Blackhawks to jettison some of their best players (Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg and ultimately Antti Niemi) after winning the first Cup of their alleged dynasty back in 2010. You want a real dynasty? Show me a Chicago Blackhawks team that didn’t have to eject half of its young core, then pin its hopes on a group of six players, then hope it guessed the right six, then hope those six stayed healthy, then hope the salary cap remained stable enough that it didn’t have to trade any of the six over the next half-decade.

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Predicting the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay vs. Chicago

Stanley Cup Finals logo 2015
The biggest question mark going into the Stanley Cup finals is whether Chicago has enough left in the tank to survive one last grueling series against the one team in the NHL capable of matching or surpassing its team speed: the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Chicago’s path to the finals has been nothing short of heroic, requiring defeats of Nashville, Minnesota, and Anaheim — two bona fide Cup contenders and another just outside that discussion at the moment. While dismantling the Ducks, the Hawks overcame both a 3-2 series deficit and the fact that Anaheim had yet to lose a game in regulation in the playoffs prior to Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

All Tampa Bay did to reach the Stanley Cup finals was defeat three straight Original Six franchises — something no team had ever done en route to the finals — outlasting Detroit, Montreal and New York. It took the Bolts just one less than the maximum 21 games, and they have a chance to put a stamp on the run by ending Chicago’s dynasty talk.

Amazingly, Tampa should have been ousted from the playoffs twice. First they rallied to overcome the far less talented, but extremely well-coached Red Wings. Then in the Conference finals the Lightning did the nearly unthinkable, defeating the Rangers and superstar goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

Chicago and Tampa Bay, on paper, have a chance to be one of the greatest all-time matchups from a pure hockey standpoint. But how will it play out? Read my prediction below:
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The UND proposed mascot list is fascinating — and the beginning of an era.

When I was a student at the University of North Dakota, the NCAA passed its resolution banning “hostile and abusive” school nicknames. When it happened, I, like many others, was outraged — not because of the name change, but because of the hypocrisy of the organization. Some schools were allowed to keep their logos, mascots and nicknames, while others were not.

Florida State, who has a white guy dress up like a Seminole and run around on a horse with a flaming spear, could keep its name. North Dakota, which doesn’t have a costumed mascot, could not.
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2015 NHL playoff predictions: Round 2 and beyond.

The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs saw my original 2015 Stanley Cup pick, St. Louis, collapse at the hands of Minnesota, while my choice in the east, Tampa Bay, essentially stole its first round series from Detroit. However, I did correctly predict both series in two of the four divisions and five of eight series overall. Considering the parity in the current NHL, 62.5% isn’t too bad! Take out the coin flip Central Division, which pitted four potential Cup winners, and I batted 83%.

With how impressive Minnesota was in the first round, it would be easy to jump on the Wild’s bandwagon as this year’s new Cup threat, but I think I’ve seen the light on Anaheim. The Ducks are not the NHL’s best team, or even close to the most analytically sound team, but they are also not playing in the stacked Central or Metropolitan Divisions; instead they enjoy a spot in a surprisingly weak Pacific Division. For that reason I think they will be the last team standing when the dust clears on the 2015 postseason.
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  • NHL Capsules November 28, 2015
    BOSTON - Ryan Spooner and David Krejci scored 2:03 apart late in the third period as the Boston Bruins rallied to beat the New York Rangers 4-3 Friday. Tuukka Rask had 24 saves for the Bruins, who extended their win streak to a season-high fi...
  • Capitals score 3 power-play goals, win 4th in a row by defeating Lightning 4-2 November 28, 2015
    WASHINGTON - Jason Chimera scored a power-play goal and had an assist during another man advantage to help the Washington Capitals win 4-2 over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie also scored against Tampa Bay's us...
  • Blackhawks' Kane ties American point-streak record November 28, 2015
    Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane tied the record for most consecutive games with a point by an American-born player, 18, with a third-period assist against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Friday. Kane had the secondary assist on Dun...
  • Lightning C Tyler Johnson out of game after playing 1 first-period shift at Capitals November 28, 2015
    WASHINGTON - Tampa Bay Lightning centre Tyler Johnson left after the first period of a game Friday at the Washington Capitals and will not return. The team did not provide a reason for his departure. Johnson played only one first-period sh...
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