Morning Skate: Wednesday, January 4

570908.jpg

Morning Skate: Wednesday, January 4

Elliotte Friedman has some interesting thoughts on where the next three NHL franchises will land, and how the league could maximize the bang for their buck by relocating from Phoenix to Seattle in the near future. Then the CBC rink side reporter also has his 30 thoughts for the bonus round.

Marc Spector hits it on the head when he talks about the NHL extinction of players like Raffi Torres, and how they must adapt away from the head shots or find some other place to play hockey.

The Toronto Sun has Joffrey Lupul on a mission this season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have been the appreciative beneficiaries.

Steve Lepore gives five reasons why the Winter Classic will bounce back next season from ratings that were slightly down from last season, but much of that had to do with last years game slotted in prime time.

Thank goodness Kevin Bieksa has forgiven Don Cherry for butchering his name during the Coachs Corner segment. Im not sure I could have sleep soundly tonight if he hadnt.

For something completely different: Boston Magazine has an interesting story from a former Red Sox PR flack shedding some light on the inner workings of the Sox front office during their golden age from 2001-2007.

Isaiah Thomas talks about shooting with the Seattle Seahawks

Isaiah Thomas talks about shooting with the Seattle Seahawks

Isaiah Thomas tells John Wallach on Toucher & Rich the story of when he visited the Seahawks training facility to take on their free throw shooting champ Tyler Lockette, and the swag they gave him for coming.

Patriots punter Ryan Allen named AFC special teams player of the week

slide_11_ryan_allen_112915.jpg

Patriots punter Ryan Allen named AFC special teams player of the week

FOXBORO -- Ryan Allen was the definition of an x-factor on Thursday night against the Texans. 

He punted seven times for an average of 47.6 yards per boot, and none of them were returned. A career-high six of his seven landed inside the 20-yard line, and the one that did not was marked right at the 20. He dropped his other punts at the 11, 10, 10, 14, 5 and 4-yard lines, helping to limit Houston's average starting field position to the 15-yard line. 

Allen has won the award now twice in his career. He also took it home in 2014 following a Week 14 win over the Chargers.

It is the second AFC Player of the Week honor for a Patriots special teamer this year. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski picked it up after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Cardinals back in Week 1.