Morning Skate: Saturday, November 10

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Morning Skate: Saturday, November 10

A good rundown on all of yesterdays activities by the USA Today, and where the NHL and NHLPA leadership stands on Saturday while deciding if they want to actually meet.

Ben Woodward checked out the P-Bruins last night for HockeyIndependent.com, and heres his game summary. Spoiler alert: the good guys claimed victory over the Albany Devils.

Good take by CBC rink side reporter Elliotte Friedman, who says the gloves are off between NHL players and the ownersleague. Things didnt end well as both sides continue to wait for the other one to break down.

Taylor Hall is finding his game with the Oklahoma City Barons as the AHL players wait for the lockout to finally lift. Theres still hope for a Dec. 1 start, but the two sides need to get their stuff together.

Is Donald Fehr being fully upfront with the players? Do the leagues owners actually want to play hockey this season? Kevin McGran answers all of this and more in his week-ending column for the Toronto Star.

Good column from Mike from Attleboro comparing Jeremy Jacobs and Robert Kraft on the Boston sports scene: you couldnt possibly find two greater examples of opposites, and thats unfortunate for the NHL. You get the sense that if Jacobs were removed from the proceedings that would it appreciably easier to come to a deal on a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

For something completely different: The new Stars Wars movies by way of Casablanca. I didnt think this would actually be pulled off in the Grantland piece, but they did a good job of convincing me. I still say, for the record, that Joss Whedon is the best man for the Star Wars gig, however.

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.