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

Brad RichardsonVancouver Canucks forward Brad Richardson, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche, recommends John Elway's restaurant in suburban Denver. "It’s the best prime rib I’ve ever had," Richardson says. "Have it with the creamed corn."

JP

Author Archive

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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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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Predicting the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs.

2015 Stanley Cup playoffs logoThe 2014-2015 NHL season marked a changing of the guard.

Gone from the playoffs are recent Stanley Cup finals stalwarts Los Angeles and Boston. Joining them for an early summer golf vacation are the San Jose Sharks, who’ve been to 10 straight postseasons (and 15 of the last 16), and fellow 2014 postseason participants Colorado, Dallas, Columbus and Philadelphia.

Taking the place of those seven teams are Washington, the New York Islanders, Ottawa, Nashville, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Calgary.

The result of all of the chaos: A wide-open Eastern Conference playoff bracket, featuring one dominant team (the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers) and a whole slew of legitimate Cup contenders, including Montreal, Tampa Bay and Washington.
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NHL power rankings, in 30 words or less.

Less is more.

There is power in brevity.

Check out these 30-words-or-less power rankings to kick off the NHL season in rapid fashion:

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NHL Expansion: Ranking the nine cities most likely to get a team.

Secret Season rink

The NHL expansion rumor mill has been heating up in recent weeks with a pair of reports connecting the NHL to Las Vegas as a done deal (Tony Gallagher’s column in the Vancouver Province and Howard Bloom’s Sports Business News tweet:

The NHL was quick to shoot down these reports, but perhaps this is a situation where when there is smoke, there is fire, as the NHL has a least looked a few places for future teams in the past calendar year.

Maybe the NHL doesn’t really need expansion and 30 teams are enough, but considering the potential windfall to the league’s ownership by adding teams, and you can almost bet on the NHL expanding in the not-so distant future. Thirty-two or 34 teams would make sense as the next logical step, and if you believe the reports that are out there, it might happen as soon as 2016-2017, the NHL’s centennial season.

Here is a quick evaluation of nine potential NHL expansion or relocation cities in order from most likely to get a team by 2025 to least likely:

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Stanley Cup playoffs preview: Defense and goaltending will get the job done.

Zdeno Chara

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara | photo by Dan Hickling

Boston and St. Louis finished second and third in the NHL in goals against per game this season, respectively. Their goaltending is proven, their defensemen unyielding. Now, thanks to a favorable and static bracket (no reseeding!), the Bruins and Blues have the inside track on meeting in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. But the road will not be easy.

Here is how both conferences break down, series-by-series, ending with B’s on top of the hockey world.
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One through 12, our pre-Olympic hockey power rankings.

Sochi 2014 hockey

At some point, we’ll stop reading about stray dogs accepting kickbacks while sitting on tandem toilets in Sochi, Russia. That’s what’s going on at the Winter Olympics, right?

Whenever that point comes, we’ll be able to watch the best hockey players in the world competing for gold medals on an unusually large (by North American standards) sheet of ice. Team-by-team, here’s how the entrants stack up:

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Five Olympic tournament MVP candidates.

Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler was at his best at the 2010 Winter Olympics playing for Team USA | Photo by Dan Hickling

Ever since the Winter Olympics featured NHL players for its 1998 edition, four men, including three goaltenders, have taken home the honor as the tournament’s best player:

1998 (Nagano, Japan): Dominik Hasek, Czech Republic
2002 (Salt Lake City): Joe Sakic, Canada
2006 (Turin, Italy): Antero Niittymaki, Finland
2010 (Vancouver): Ryan Miller, United States

Who will be top player in Sochi, carrying his team to glory? Here are five names to keep an eye on:
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Five first-time Olympians poised for breakout performances.

Matt Duchene

Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene will be competing at his first Olympics for Team Canada. | Photo by Dan Hickling

In the spring of 1998, Dominik Hasek was 33 years old. He’d never won a playoff series in his career, almost all of which was spent playing for the small-market Buffalo Sabres.

He wasn’t an overnight star at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, but he was close. When Hasek led the Czech Republic to the gold medal, he went from a recognizable NHL player to the best at his position in the world.

Who will be this year’s Hasek? Here are five possibilities.
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Five veterans poised for one last Olympic hurrah at Sochi.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi mark the end of an era. A few eras, actually.

These players might not be the most integral to the final medal standings, or even play the most minutes on their team. But for some, 2014 will be their final Games. Let’s take a minute to appreciate all they’ve done while they’re still roaming the ice.
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