Morning Skate: Wednesday, Nov. 7

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Morning Skate: Wednesday, Nov. 7

Don Cherry openly wonders why Roberto Luongo would welcome the chance to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs when its just like playing for Vancouver except monumentally worse. The Pro Hockey Talk boys have the story.

This happened a couple of weeks back, but we wanted to recognize Claude Julien doing a good deed during the lockout. In this case the Bruins coach worked behind the bench for a lucky youth hockey team from Winthrop.

An interesting Globe and Mail piece about the deal-maker from Calgary, Murray Edwards.

Tony Gallagher is mad as hell that they even planned a Winter Classic this season with the labor issues looming, and hes not going to take it anymore.

Roy MacGregor is being recognized with the Elmer Ferguson Award, and heres a fitting piece to go along with the honor.

Interesting item from the Edmonton Journal breaking down the possibilities for a shortened season. Still hearing that if the NHL starts on Dec. 1 that it will be a 64-game season. But that is clearly subject to change depending on how many games the league wants to shoehorn in.
 
Elliotte Friedman says silence is golden for the NHL and its players as they finally get some traction in CBA talks, among his other thoughts or course.
 
For something completely different: Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Beverly Hills 90210 actress Emma Caulfield is doing video reviews of Walking Dead episodes. Ill buy that for a dollar.

Hurley: Why the rush to clear Manning's name?

Hurley: Why the rush to clear Manning's name?

Michael Hurley discusses the NFL's investigation into Peyton Manning's alleged PED use with Toucher and Rich. Hurley wonders why their was such a rush to clear a retired player and continue the probe into still-active players.
 

McCourty addresses challenge of life without Brady for Patriots

McCourty addresses challenge of life without Brady for Patriots

Nobody is under the impression that being without a future Hall of Fame quarterback is a real positive for the Patriots.

Still, we’ve encountered resistance from Patriots over the years when it comes to acknowledging obvious adversity.

On Quick Slants Monday night, Patriots safety Devin McCourty said in reply to a viewer’s question that life without Brady is going to be a challenge. 

“Everyone’s going to talk about Tom, obviously. Starting quarterback, obviously our leader for the last decade-plus not being able to play in the first four games,” said McCourty. “We understand that. It’s been something that’s been over our head the past two years. Past that, we’re like every other football team. Guys have to come out and earn spots and compete.”

I asked McCourty if a silver lining to Brady accepting the suspension is the team being able to mentally move on from the uncertainty. 

“I would have rather had last year’s turnout because he wound up playing, but I think we know what we have to do,” said McCourty. “Obviously we support him and all the decisions made towards it but this is what it is now and we have to prepare and go out there and play.”

Camp opens on Thursday but all players are due to report on Wednesday. McCourty, Matthew Slater and all of the Patriots’ assistant coaches are scheduled to meet with the media on Wednesday.

 

Former EIU coach: Garoppolo's release second-quickest behind Marino

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Former EIU coach: Garoppolo's release second-quickest behind Marino

He may be biased, but former Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers thinks Jimmy Garoppolo is "exceptional."

Now the head coach at Syracuse, Babers stopped by ESPN's Mike and Mike show where he was asked about Garoppolo, who will likely start at quarterback for the Patriots while Tom Brady serves a four-game suspension to begin the 2016 season.

"You could see it after five passes. Jimmy Garoppolo was the William Tell, to me, of college football," said Babers, who was at Eastern Illinois for Garoppolo's final two collegiate seasons in 2012 and 2013. "I've never seen a quarterback that could hit exactly what he was throwing at. And I'm not talking about putting it on a guy's body. You put your hand out there, and he's sticking the ball right in the middle of your palm.

"You take that accuracy and you put it with someone that has the second-fastest release I've ever seen -- the only release I've ever seen faster was Dan Marino's . . . second fastest release I've ever seen -- and you got an outstanding quarterback."

That's some pretty lofty company for a player who has thrown just 31 passes during the first two seasons of his NFL career. But Babers has good reason to be a believer in Garoppolo's ability. In Babers' two seasons as head coach, Garoppolo threw for 8,873 yards and a whopping 84 touchdowns, breaking the school mark for career touchdown passes set by Tony Romo. 

"Dont' get me wrong," Babers added, "Tom Brady is the best of all the best. And I'm not saying he's going to take Tom's job. I'm just telling you, this young man is exceptional. If Bill Belichick put a second-round draft pick on him, he knows what he's doing."