Reading – Ohio State Buckeyes suspend Joey Bosa, Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson, Corey Smith

That’s a whole lot of starters to lose for a game in Blacksburg, but with this much time to prepare for the game, I fully expect Urban to have some tricks up his sleeve, especially when it comes to the H-back position. Braxton should have plenty of opportunities at the H-back spot, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Buckeyes with all three QB’s on the field at the same time. In the end though, it’s going to be about the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott though, with so many weapons in the passing game out.

Ohio State Buckeyes suspend Joey Bosa, Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson, Corey Smith

Trading Deadline Follies

cropped-cropped-8629542927_dbdfdea0c3_b1.jpgSometimes, we watch sports for the bizarre things that don’t really happen anywhere else.

Case in point, the Mets appeared to have traded Wilmer Flores, but left him in the game. The fans gave him a standing ovation, a farewell, he got emotional, and it turns out that the trade actually didn’t happen.

I’m not a Mets fan, but I did grow up in a family of them, and follow a number of Mets fans on Twitter, and they have declared this the Metsiest thing ever.

I cannot disagree. I do, however, feel bad for Flores, who finds himself in the middle of all this drama through no fault of his own.

On the other hand, a player on my favorite team is currently not playing because he had to go to the emergency room to deal with an infected pimple. So the Mets do not have the market in surreal this week.

Reading – Indians won’t trade Mike Aviles while his daughter battles leukemia in Cleveland – Let’s Go Tribe

It’s easy to forget that athletes are people with families and problems like the rest of us, and getting traded means more than a new team. Good for Cleveland to recognize that.

Indians won’t trade Mike Aviles while his daughter battles leukemia in Cleveland – Let’s Go Tribe

Reading – Lou Lamoriello named Toronto Maple Leafs GM after resigning as New Jersey Devils president

Wow. Never would have thought Lou would leave New Jersey for another team, but he’s back to being a GM. You have to wonder if he can repeat the magic in Toronto though. Lou is used to being THE voice when it comes to hockey decisions, and Toronto has a few guys who are also used to that position. This being Toronto it’ll either be a turning point, or even more dysfunction.

Lou Lamoriello named Toronto Maple Leafs GM after resigning as New Jersey Devils president

What If NHL Players Really Peak at 24-25?

cropped-IMG_0073.jpgI was perusing articles about the NHL recently and came across this one about 3 Myths About The NHL That Won’t Go Away.

One of the three was about when players hit their prime:

3.  Players Are At Their Best Around Ages 27-30 

Another great myth of the NHL is that players hit their prime just before they turn thirty. In reality, they are usually long past their peak performance by that time.

According to this oft-cited study, players hit their peak points-per-minute at 24 and their peak points-per-game at 25.  Though “Prime” does extend roughly to about the age of 29.

Now, go back and look at the free agency market, not just the guys who hit the market, but the ones who signed for big bucks to stay where they are. How many of them were past 29, but are now getting paid as if the teams is expecting them to just be hitting their prime, which they may not be. Makes you really think about how things work doesn’t it?

For example, let’s look ay my favorite team, the Islanders. Common wisdom is that the Isles were quiet during the off season because they were a playoff team last season, but a young one, and another year of maturity should see the team improve. But, should they expect the guys they have to be getting better? I think there’s an argument to be had on both sides of that assumption.

On the one hand, if 24 is the peak points per minute, and 25 the points-per-game peak, what should we expect from the young Islanders?

We assume that, for the team to be better than last season, the following guys are going to improve with age: Bailey, Cizikas, Lee, Nelson, Okposo, Tavares, Leddy, Hamonic, Hickey, deHaan.

Now let’s look at that group, by age:

Bailey (25)

Cizikas (24)

Lee (25)

Nelson (23)

Okposo (27)

Strome (22)

Tavares (24)

deHaan (24)

Hamonic (24)

Hickey (26)

Leddy (24)

Strictly speaking statistically, it might be safe to assume that some of those guys already are as good as they are going to get, especially the ones who are already over 25. For what it’s worth, if it’s true that players start to decline after 29, can we see why what the market for Kyle Okposo will be as a FA might actually wind up being more than he really is worth on a long-term deal? He may have already had his best seasons.

Personally, I do think the Islanders are correct in assuming some of these guys will be better though. Specifically, Strome and Nelson, who are under the 24 year mark, and should improve after having an entire season under their belts, and Hamonic and Leddy should also be better defenders, who traditionally take a little longer to develop than forwards. Add in a youngsters who have not spent an entire eason in the NHL yet, and the improvement they see during the season, and it’s possible the Isles will be better.

But, if a significant number of those guys are as good as they are going to get, and we start to see some decline from guys who aren’t considered old by NHL standards yet, but who are on the other side of what this study says, guys like Boychuk(31), Neilsen (31), Grabovski (31), Kulemin (29) and even the group of 27 year olds, (Okposo, Clutterbuck, Strait, Grabner), who likely are at their best already, and I could also see where there’s a possibility that this team needs to be thinking about now instead of the next season and should be going for it.

At the end of the day, however, I look at the ages of the current team, and the prospects that are coming in the next couple of seasons, and I think Islander fans have every reason to be excited about this team. But I might not be too surprised if some of these supposed “young” players, have already maxed out at the top of their game.