Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.
Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Many Topics Including The Oldest Dinar Community. Copyright © 2006-2020

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Anaheim Ducks - Mon 23 Jan 2017, 3:04 pm

XN28D+ & Game Night
January 21, 2017, 2:18 PM ET [12 Comments]

Ed Stein
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 7 Ana Anaheim Ducks Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT

Accentuate the Positive

Just in case you didn't get the headline. I'd like highlight some of the positives at the half way point.


As of late John Gibson has been lights out. He hasn't given up more than three goals in a start since December 13. In that stretch, he is 9-1-4, 1.61 GAA, .945 SV% and two shutouts. Those are amazing numbers. Gibson has clearly established himself as the the Ducks #1 goaltender. Its the type of play that if done in the post season can propel a team far. 

They Have Overcome

Its no secret that Anaheim doesn't have a traditional second line to provide offensive support to Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry. Despite that fact, clutch offense has come from some surprising sources. Jakob Silfverberg has had an outstanding first half; scoring 29 points, 24 of which have come at even strength or man down. He and the other members of his line, Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler have stepped up their offense while maintaining their defensive prowess.

Ondrej Kase has come from seemingly out of nowhere to provide skill and scoring to the third line. Speaking of the third line, center Antoine Vermette is the glue of the bottom six. His 56 faceoff win percentage as well as his mentoring of the younger forwards on his line has been invaluable. Vermette has justified the faith GM Bob Murray placed in him when he signed a two year, $3.5M contract in the offseason.

Leaders of the Pack

48 games in and the Ducks lead their division. Although their offensive output has been lacking on many nights, Anaheim also leads the division in goals scored. Imagine where this team would be with a top notch left wing added to the mix. 

Murray has managed his tight cap room with guile and moxie. He put together a team that is “in position to be in position” at the stretch run and trade deadline. The foundation is present to go far in the postseason. A significant acquisition or two makes this team a title contender.

Ducks @ Minnesota

It's hockey day in Minnesota. Tonight the Ducks are in St. Paul to take on the Western Conference leading Wild. Anaheim look to avenge the 2-1 home loss the Wild handed them 12 days ago. Unfortunately, they will play without Silfverberg, who did not make the trip due to an injury sustained in Thursday night's game. Logan Shaw will move up from the fourth line to take his spot. Cory Tropp and Shea Theodore have been recalled from San Diego. Both may play tonight. Here is the expected lineup:





Leafs vs Sabres - Tue 17 Jan 2017, 7:26 pm

The Toronto Maple Leafs open a four-game home stand, as they take on the Buffalo Sabres at Air Canada Center on Tuesday. 

The two franchises have been linked since the Sabres entry into the league in 1970, not just because they are a 90-minute drive from each other or because former Leaf icons Punch Imlach and Tim Horton continued their careers in Buffalo, but because their fan bases in Southern Ontario and Western New York live next to each other.

Except for a meeting in the 1999 Eastern Conference Final, the two clubs have never competed for anything more than bragging rights, and most of the time that battle has been won by the Sabres.  

Buffalo and Toronto are traveling down the same path of rebuilding, but in spite of getting started later than their QEW counterparts, early returns are showing that the Leafs are ahead in the race to return back to respectability.  

Each club has followed a similar blueprint. The Sabres drafted top pairing defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen in 2013 and used consecutive 30th place finishes in 2014 and 2015 to acquire franchise cornerstones in Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. 

The Leafs selected Morgan Rielly fifth overall in 2012 and finished 27th and 30th the last two seasons to snag Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews.

Both have drafted a Nylander (20-year-old William selected eighth overall in 2014, 18-year-old Alex selected eighth overall in 2016) and have hired Stanley Cup winning head coaches in Mike Babcock and Dan Bylsma. 

It appeared that the Sabres were ahead of Toronto at the start of this season, with Eichel and Reinhart having successful 20+ goal rookie campaigns and the addition of All-Star winger Kyle Okposo via free agency, but things have fallen into place for Toronto and have decidedly not done so for Buffalo. 

The Leafs believe they have found goaltending stability with Frederik Andersen, acquired from Anaheim for a first and second round pick last June, while Robin Lehner’s injury problems since being acquired from Ottawa have the Sabres wondering whether they have their #1 or not.  

Both clubs have effective top pairings in Ristolainen/Jake McCabe and Rielly/Nikita Zaitsev, but are in need of upgrades on the blueline. 

Buffalo expended significant resources to improve their defense; signing former Leaf Cody Franson to a two-year, $6.65 Million contract, trading with Montreal for veteran Josh Gorges, swapping youngster Mark Pysyk for Dmitri Kulikov and acquiring Zach Bogosian in the big deal with the Winnipeg Jets. 

The Leafs added Zaitsev as a free agent from the KHL, re-signed defenseman Roman Polak and added youngster Connor Carrick.

For nearly $17 Million in payroll, Buffalo has just one goal and 13 assists from the four defensemen, while Zaitsev at $925,000 has outscored them all with one goal and 15 assists in 41 games. 

Buffalo GM Tim Murray has not been shy about making big moves in the trade market and spending big money re-signing his own free agents or going outside of the organization; signing Okposo away from the NY Islanders, re-signing Matt Moulson (after trading him to Minnesota) and Tyler Ennis, stealing Ryan O’Reilly away from Colorado and acquiring Bogosian and Evander Kane from the Jets for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford. 

O’Reilly and Okposo have produced, but Moulson had a career-low eight goals last season and just nine this year, Ennis and Bogosian have been injured more than they’ve been in the lineup and Kane has been involved in two embarrassing off-the-ice incidents.  

Toronto has not added high-priced free agent in the Brendan Shanahan era, opting instead to promote from within and adding Nikita Soshnikov, Polak and Matt Martin via free agency as role players. 

Unlike the Sabres, who are burdened by the contracts of Ennis, Moulson and veteran Brian Gionta, the Leafs went to the bare wood and cleared out the big money deals of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf and used their financial wherewithal to alleviate the financial burden made by previous regimes, such as dealing David Clarkson for Nathan Horton and making Joffrey Lupul and Stephane Robidas fall off the radar. 

This salary cap management/financial advantage will serve the Leafs well in the near future, as Lamoriello can acquire players in free agency or make trades with teams with expansion draft/budget constraints. 

Buffalo has been slowed by key injuries this season and only with the return of Eichel have begun to play up to expectations. Unless they make a second-half charge, Murray will likely trade his expiring contracts for futures and concentrate on getting Eichel and Reinhart signed to extensions next summer.

Reader Comments & Observations-#3 RE CANADA - Sat 14 Jan 2017, 9:10 am

Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 7 Comments
COMMENT #1:  Regarding your post Currency vs Language, I wanted to add that in NY I have an abundance of IT co-workers that are H1-B visas holders working as consultants from India. They are extremely nice and I’ve enjoyed learning about their culture. As I’ve stated before, these consults overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton. Some of the consultants were naturalized and voted for Hillary. People from India are social and they often gather and speak among themselves; therefore, as more before naturalized and vote, you can expect more Democrat voters. With regard to language, they’ve confirmed to me that they speak their India state language at home, not English. You are correct, even in NY, “If that subculture then becomes the majority, the culture of the state will change and therein lies the seed …”
COMMENT #2: The Xi Jinping article about the coming new world order, in it you provide a good explanation of why we think linearly and they think cyclically. My explanation lies along the lines of religious background. Even if/when people leave the confines of religion, the subconscious thought remains. I believe that we think linearly because our religion teaches us that things begin and end. They think cyclically because their religion teaches them that things begin and end and then begin again and end again.
COMMENT #3: Hi Martin, I appreciate the work you do and making your blog available for free. I thought you might like to know that Canada is also moving toward a cashless society. Yesterday I went into Scotia Bank and tried to buy foreign currency. I offered them cash and they refused it. They told me that the money had to be paid by cash transfer. Because I didn’t have an account with them I could not buy the foreign currency. The Canadian banking system is primitive compared to New Zealand and Australian banks where I have also lived. Another bank would not allow me transfer money online from my own bank to a relative’s bank account at their bank. I would have to personally go into their bank and only they could request the money for me, and of course, charge me $30!

Michelle is Not Going to Like This Announcement - Sat 07 Jan 2017, 9:01 pm

i have a few questions about this. #1 how does one person have that kind of power, to dictate how every child in this country can and cannot eat. #2 since when does the government have the right to dictate what parents want their kids to eat? my wife was a cafeteria manager for a local high school for 5 years, she quit about a month ago. she used to bring dinner home every day from school, of course she paid for it. in all those years i never had but maybe 2 things she brought home that i didn't eat, and that's because i just didn't like it anyway. then , along comes this michelle bi otch and suddenly,it's all inedible. i saw more wasted food than you could imagine and all for nothing except it was sub standard and just slop. thank god almighty it is going away.

Patriots’ opponents: See you in the AFC Championship game - Fri 06 Jan 2017, 8:26 pm

[size=32]Patriots’ opponents: See you in the AFC Championship game[/size]

The New England Patriots clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs this winter with their 35-14 win on the road in Miami on Sunday. As such, they join the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines this coming weekend watching the AFC Wild Card round on television.


Power Rankings: Playoff addition

With the seeding set, the #3 seed AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers host the #6 seed Miami Dolphins and the #4 seed AFC South champion Houston Texans host the #5 seed Oakland Raiders

With a rematch of the Dolphins 30-15 win in Week 6, as the highest seed the Steelers will play Kansas City if they win. If Miami wins, they return to Foxboro to play the Patriots for a third time this season.

Houston (possibly without promoted starter Tom Savage) takes the place of the Indianapolis Colts as the requisite cupcake from the AFC South. However, the Raiders–down to rookie third-string quarterback Connor Cook last week after an injury to back-up Matt McGloin (filling in for starter Derek Carr who broke his leg)–have gone from potential #1 seed to on the road in the first round.

To simplify, the teams are broken into three categories: Likely to play next week (Houston or Oakland), unlikely to play next week (Miami), impossible to play before AFC Championship game (Kansas City and Pittsburgh):


Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Steelers are habitually considered one of those teams “Nobody Wants to Play in January”–and for good reason. Ben Roethlisberger is an elite quarterback, running back Le’Veon Bell is a top-three running back in the NFL and Antonio Brown is hands-down the best wide receiver in the NFL (sorry all you A.J. Green, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones fans).

What holds the Steelers back from being a top seed each year? First off, there is the annual Ben Roethlisberger injury. He is so big, so strong and so fearless that he puts himself in harm’s way to make plays. The other is the brutal divisional schedule. Playing Baltimore and Cincinnati (Cleveland not so much) twice a year is so much tougher than facing the Dolphins, Jets or Bills.

That attrition from injury and tough losses in the division has the Steelers winning 10 or 11 games instead of 12 or 13 games and missing out on the bye week most years. More games are more wear-and-tear and more chances of an upset. 

The Steelers will face a Miami team which beat them 30-15 earlier this season. The defense in Pittsburgh gave up over 200 yards rushing to Miami running back Jay Ajayi in what was clearly a hiccup. Since that game the Steelers had not given up over 140 yards on the ground in a game until the Week 17 “backup-palooza” against Cleveland.

The loss of defensive end Cameron Heyward is a tough injury to overcome. Linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier anchor a strong linebacker group. The Steelers have 38 sacks but ageless James Harrison leads the team with just five.  The secondary is solid but far from spectacular. 

The Steelers will go as far as their big three on offense takes them. They lack weapons beyond their big three as Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers are very inconsistent. The suspension of Martavis Bryant and injuries to Markus Wheaton and tight end Ladarius Green have hurt the consistency of the offense. 

The Steelers are a tough team to beat, but fortunately New England cannot face them before the AFC Championship game and they will likely have to go through Kansas City. 

Kansas City Chiefs:

The Chiefs are the team most often mentioned as “The Team No One Wants to Play” in the playoffs. And why not? They have a ferocious defense, explosive weapons on offense and they are disciplined and well-coached. 

The Chiefs’ defense is a bit overrated. Although seventh in scoring defense, they are 24th in yards allowed. Kansas City is 18th in passing yards allowed and 26th in rushing yards allowed. They make their living off of turnovers and are first in the NFL creating 33 turnovers in 2016.

Kansas City has borrowed a page from some of the New England defenses of the past with their bend-but-don’t-break style and reliance on turnovers. The biggest issue for Kansas City’s defense is their drop-off with age and injuries. The pass rush has been keyed by Dee Ford as an outside pass rusher, but Justin Houston has been injured much of the season.

With Houston (4.0 sacks) limited to five games, Ford (10.0 sacks) has been the only consistent pass rusher as Tamba Hali (3.5 sacks) has slowed considerably at age 33. The biggest injury was off-the-line linebacker Derrick Johnson who was having a spectacular season at age 34 before tearing his Achilles. 

The secondary is anchored by safety Eric Berry (four interceptions) and cornerback Marcus Peters (six interceptions). On the defensive line, Dontari Poe is a huge run-stuffer and rookie Chris Jones is big, athletic and on his way to being a solid NFL player.

On offense, Spencer Ware has been solid with Jamaal Charles on injured reserve again. Tyreek Hill adds much-needed explosiveness and is a threat to score anytime he touches the football. Travis Kelce is a receiving threat at tight end with 85 catches for 1,125 yards. 

Quarterback Alex Smith is the quintessential game manager at quarterback. Smith, at age 32, still has mobility and makes very few mistakes. A return to health of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin would help the offense and young receiver Chris Conley is inconsistent.

The Chiefs are dangerous as they have a number of skilled position players on both sides of the ball and Hill makes the special teams unit truly special. Having Kansas City coming into New England is a huge advantage for the Patriots as playing on the road takes away the huge home-field advantage the Chiefs and their loud and smart fan base which knows when and how to make noise to help their team.

Previewing the Patriots’ competition in the AFC Divisional round - Fri 06 Jan 2017, 8:22 pm

Previewing the Patriots’ competition in the AFC Divisional round

The New England Patriots clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs this winter with their 35-14 win on the road in Miami on Sunday. As such, they join the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines this coming weekend watching the AFC Wild Card round on television.
Power Rankings: Playoff addition
QB Rankings:: Who’s riding highest into the playoffs?
Winners and Losers:: Who came out on top to open up 2017?
Patriots’ News: Congratulations Edelman on accomplishment
Patriots’ News: Pats’ Weekly: A weekend in front of the TV for the Pats
Patriots’ News: Lippett meets Floyd and the Pats
With the seeding set, the #3 seed AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers host the #6 seed Miami Dolphins and the #4 seed AFC South champion Houston Texans host the #5 seed Oakland Raiders.
With a rematch of the Dolphins 30-15 win in Week 6, as the highest seed, the Steelers will play Kansas City if they win. If Miami wins, they return to Foxboro to play the Patriots for a third time this season.
Houston (possibly without promoted starter Tom Savage) takes the place of the Indianapolis Colts as the requisite cupcake from the AFC South. However, the Raiders–down to rookie third-string quarterback Connor Cook last week after an injury to back-up Matt McGloin (filling in for starter Derek Carr who broke his leg)–have gone from potential #1 seed to on the road in the first round.
To simplify, the teams are broken into three categories: Likely to play next week (Houston or Oakland), unlikely to play next week (Miami), impossible to play before AFC Championship game (Kansas City and Pittsburgh):
Houston Texans:
The Texans played the Patriots already in 2016 in with a hobbled J.J. Watt right before he ended his season on injured reserve with a back injury. The New England 27-0 thrashing of the Texans in Week 3 on Thursday night dealt Houston their first loss of the season as rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett won in his first NFL start.
After two decent performances to open the season, Brock Osweiler was exposed before the nation as mediocre. For the season, Osweiler completed just 59% of his passes for 2,957 yards with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Osweiler is starting by default due to Tom Savage being sidelined by a concussion and Savage may be back if they make it to New England.
In the first game, the Patriots draped cornerback Malcolm Butler over wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and challenged the Texans to outscore them throwing to tight end Ryan Griffin and wide receiver Will Fuller. The results were as mediocre as expected.
Former Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller rushed 21 times for 80 yards but the bend-but-don’t-break defense watched the Texans punt six times, turn the ball over three times and have three drives end on failed fourth-down conversions.
The Texans are an odd playoff team winning the division with a 9-7 record while being outscored by their opponents by 49 points and with the 28th ranked offense. They host the 12-4 Oakland Raiders and their 20th ranked defense. As hard as it is to believe, the Texans could actually pull out a win and travel to New England for the divisional round.
Oakland Raiders:
Oakland was cruising along this season riding the strong arm of quarterback Derek Carr jumping out to an 11-3 record before Carr broke his fibula in Week 16 against Indianapolis. Instead of competing for the number one overall seed, the Raiders dropped their Week 17 game as back-up quarterback Matt McGloin injured his shoulder and gave way to third-string rookie Connor Cook in the loss to Denver.
The loss dropped Oakland out of the bye week and number two seed down to going to Houston as the fifth seed. Cook is expected to start the game at Houston. While not a great option, he is blessed with arguably the NFL’s best pass blocking offensive line in front of him.
The Raiders still have a strong offense with running backs Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard leading the NFL’s sixth best rushing offense. The Raiders have dynamic wide receiver Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree giving them two 1,000 yard receivers.
Defense is the issue in Oakland although they showed improvement in the second half of the season. After getting lit-up by New Orleans and Atlanta in the first two games of the season, they have slowly improved. Outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin are a dynamic duo of quarterback pressure and have 18 of the team’s 25 sacks.

In the secondary, veteran safety Reggie Nelson leads the team with five interceptions and cornerbacks Sean Smith and David Amerson are a solid duo of starters but the loss of 2013 first-round draft pick cornerback D.J. Hayden to injury this month hurts. Hayden was having his best season after transitioning to the third cornerback role defending in the slot.
Oakland is a flawed team with horrendous injury issues at quarterback. Had Carr stayed healthy, they would likely be joining the Patriots on the bye week. They are the most likely to travel to New England for the Divisional Playoff game as even on the road they should have enough talent on both sides of the ball to beat the Texans.
Miami Dolphins:
Does anyone in New England really want to see Miami come back north to Foxboro for the second time this season for another game after the Patriots defeated them with and without Tom Brady? Yes, it is very difficult to beat a team three times in one season but New England outscored them 66 to 38 in two games.
In addition, the Dolphins have to travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. Yes, Miami defeated the Steelers 30-15 in Week 6, but the Steelers’ defense was in a bad place at that time and Roethlisberger was clearly hobbled.
Miami looks a lot like the 2015 New York Jets right now: they are a .500 team who took advantage of an easy schedule this year and pulled out a number of close games. They beat Cleveland in overtime, Buffalo by three points twice (once in overtime), Arizona by three points, the Rams by four points, the Jets by four points and the 49ers by a touchdown. Seven of their ten wins were by seven or less points–games which could have gone either way.
Miami had a lot to play for at home versus New England last week and were dominated early and late with only a brief sign of life around halftime. A playoff team fighting for the fifth seed and a match-up against Houston instead of Pittsburgh showed little fire at home generating just 280 yards of offense and falling behind 20-0 before losing 35-14.

The Dolphins figure to be a longshot to go into Pittsburgh and win.

Oilers a one-man team? As Draisaitl & Sekera's play shows, that's a tall tale - Mon 02 Jan 2017, 2:59 pm

Oilers a one-man team? As Draisaitl & Sekera's play shows, that's a tall tale

The Edmonton Oilers roar into the New Year with two No. 1 centres leading the way, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. That’s a luxury few other teams can boast, but it’s fuelled the rise of the Oilers this year, along with a much improved blueline featuring players like Andrej Sekera, Adam Larsson, Kris Russell and Matt Benning. Here the the January 1, 2017 power rankings on the team:

Andrej Sekera, Sekera’s underlying scoring chance numbers are far and away the best I’ve ever seen for an Oilers d-man playing tough minutes since I started this project in 2010-11. He’s a big part of the reason this team is winning. Before he missed the last few games with the flu, Sekera was playing like a real live #1 NHL d-man, doing well in all aspects of the game, even strength, power play and short-handed. Sekera had been playing about 24:00 minutes per game and had 11 points in 12 games. Let’s hope his flu isn’t one of those doozies that set you back forever, because his strong play in tough spots was taking the pressure off every other Oiler d-man on the blueline. 
Cam Talbot, 2. He plays almost every game, has a .919 save percentage, has won 18 of 34 decisions and rarely lets in a bad goal, the kind that sucks the life out of team. 
Patrick Maroon,3. Put him on any line, he hits hard, makes plays and makes those around him better. He’s earned a good, long shot on a line with McDavid, not that Maroon needs it, as he was playing well with others. But it would be swell to find the perfect mix on the Oil’s very top line.
Kris Russell, 9. He skates, he hits, he gambles, he loses some, but he wins most, so much so that cutting edge analytics expert Brad Werenka, a former NHLer, says Russell is “drastically under-rated” and one of the top defensive d-men in the league. We already know what coach Todd McLellan thinks of Russell, as no Oilers players gets more even strength time on ice per game. But this isn’t a hard case like Justin Schultz who got all that ice for years and struggled on a struggling team. Instead Russell is doing fine on a team trending up. Most recently he has performed well enough partnered with young Matt Benning in one of the game’s toughest roles, filling in for sick Sekera as the team’s No 1 d-man. His underlying scoring chances numbers show a solid enough second-pairing d-man, a decent NHLer.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 5. At long last McLellan gave RNH the break he needed, taking him off a checking line and putting him with two strong attackers in Draisaitl and Patrick Maroon. Almost instantly RNH has looked like the Nuge of old, fast and tricky on the attack, sharp on defence. It’s clear that RNH is not now and is unlikely to ever be a major offensive driver who can carry a line, but he’s good enough to more than hold his own on a line with other good players. So there he should remain, though that leaves a hole at No. 3 centre for the Oilers.
Adam Larsson,1. As Werenka describes it, on a NHL defensive pairing you will sometimes find a troublemaker and a cleaner, one d-man who makes a lot of mistakes and another d-man charged with trying to clean up those errors. This year the inconsistent Oscar Klefbom has struggled to stop attackers on his side of the ice, so his partner Larsson has been asked to that cleaner-type d-man. Larsson hasn’t always got the job done either. But when Klefbom is on a good run of play, Larsson has looked great. He’s a nasty shut-down guy on his own side of the ice and can move the puck safely, though not spectacularly. As the year has gone along, Larsson’s underlying scoring chance numbers have trended up, something we saw with Sekera and Eric Gryba last year as they settled into their new team.
Milan Lucic,4. He’s meshing well enough with McDavid, been a physical force in some games and showed both skill and toughness on the power play. His best fit, though, might be with Draisaitl, as Looch is a big winger who can go into the corners, win the puck and feed Drai in the slot.
Brandon Davidson, 4. A skilled, tough, smart NHL d-man who only needs a run of good health. He has improved pretty much every game since he got back in the line-up and is close to playing at the high level he did last year when all the underlying numbers including own scoring chances metric saw him having a home-run of a rookie season. If Davidson stays healthy he may find a way to beat the odds again and make himself so valuable that the Oilers find a way to keep in the upcoming Vegas expansion draft. 
Matt Benning, 2. It’s not easy when a young d-man is asked to suddenly play tough minutes. Benning has had a few shaky moments since Sekera got sick and he was teamed with Russell, but he’s holding his own. On the third-pairing, the kid has crushed it all year long.
Eric Gryba, no rating. His game blew up good against Vancouver, with major mistakes on both Vancouver goals, but before then Gryba was playing the best hockey of his Oilers career, hitting hard and moving the puck well. As seventh d-men go, it’s hard to beat Gryba.
Mark Letestu,3. He continues to do everything asked of him as a checker and occasional scorer. Might be an idea to call-up gritty Anton Lander and give both him and Matt Hendricks a game off now and then.
Jordan Eberle,4. For a guy getting regular minutes with McDavid, he’s not getting it done. I keep expecting him to break out but something still seems missing. Needs to play with both more gusto and confidence, especially when it comes to taking the puck hard to the net. We’ve seen him make that daring move to the net in the past. Where is it this year? His underlying numbers are OK, but unspectacular for a winger getting so much ice with McD, and they are nothing close to his outstanding metrics last year with McDavid.
Jesse Puljujarvi, 5. He has been used more the last few games and has played with his usual skill and hustle. I don’t see many veteran wingers on the Oilers more deserving of ice-time. If I were King of the Oilers, I’d play him with McDavid for five games. If he doesn’t get it done, and there’s no room for him getting 13 or 14 minutes per game on the third line, then send him to Bakersfield. But Puljujarvi sitting — or dressing and not playing much — is a bad idea, as has been noted by countless Oilers fans by now. It’s one of the top complaints about the team this year from fans.
Zack Kassian, 1. Had a huge moment in a big game, standing up for his linemate Matt Hendricks against Arizona after Oliver Ekman-Larsson violently smashed Hendricks into the boards. Kassian responded instantly, giving Ekman-Larsson as good as he gave. It was the kind of physical pushback Oilers fans have craved to see for years. As a player, Kassian is inconsistent, but often makes a positive difference with his hitting, skating and skill. 
Oscar Klefbom,6. It looks like coming back from his injury — and his own learning curve as a young d-man — are presenting some major challenges. This isn’t at all unexpected, of course. It’s the way it goes with young d-men. But Klefbom is nonetheless on a skid and the underlying numbers speak of a need for rapid intervention. In the first 22 games, Klefbom made 13 major contributions to Grade A scoring chances and 25 major mistakes on Grade A scoring chances against, a decent rate for defenceman, given their limited offensive opportunities and major defensive responsibilities. Klef was -12 Grade A scoring chances in those 22 games, not bad for a player facing tough competition regularly. In the past 16 games, however, Klefbom has contributed to just four Grade A chances and made mistakes on 29 against, -25 in that run. Ouch! But nothing a steady diet of softer competition can’t fix. When Sekera returns how about Klefbom and Benning on the third pairing? Sekera and Larasson can handle the tough competition, with Russell and Davidson on the second pairing. Make sense?
Matt Hendricks,6. He’s battled his way back into the affections of the hockey mob. He’s a tough-checking hombre two out of three games, but could use a rest every third game. The will is there, but the wheels aren’t always.
Benoit Pouliot,6. Meh. That said, Pouliot’s awfulness is over-stated. His underlying scoring chance numbers are OK, though they indicate he’s playing more of a perimeter game than last year. If he wants to win his way back into the Top 6, he’s got to play with more intensity, especially when it comes to handing out hard checks. 
Drake Caggiula, 1. In the last few games he’s started to flash more of his skill. He also plays with a bit of an edge. Most games, however, he’s struggled to hold his own, though if RNH, Draisaitl and McDavid are all on the top two lines, Caggiula may get an extended run here at 3C. Me, I’d like to see Lander and Jujhar Khaira also given another shot.
Jonas Gustavsson,2. Coach doesn’t much trust Gamblin’ Gus. I suspect he’ll get another chance or two before the Oilers make the change to a different back-up. 

INJURED: Tyler Pitlick, Darnell Nurse

Cover32-Dallas Predicts Cowboys-Eagles Week 17 - Sat 31 Dec 2016, 8:47 pm

Cover32-Dallas Predicts Cowboys-Eagles Week 17

Matt Urben (5-3)
This is the kind of game you can throw stats and records out the window. A meaningless NFC East showdown between two teams with deep-rooted hatred for each other. Will the Cowboys even play to win? Will pride kick in for this sub .500 Eagles team because they get a chance to end the season on a high note? It’s anyone’s guess, but I think both teams will find it hard to turn off their competitive juices. Whoever is out there, including possibly even Tony Romo, the Cowboys will fight for. I expect another good game for Eagles QB Carson Wentz but not enough to stop the Cowboys from getting their fourteenth win. Prediction: Cowboys-27-Eagles 24.
Anthony Iosso (6-2)
With the #1 seed in the NFC and home field throughout the playoffs locked up already, the Dallas Cowboys have very little to play for this week as they take on division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Banged up starters such as Tyron Smith, Morris Claiborne and Tank Lawrence will not even suit up for the game while other starters are only expected to see limited action.The real intrigue may come in the form of whether or not we will see Tony Romo take the field for the first time since last Thanksgiving.
Adam Schefter reported yesterday that the Cowboys have planned for #9 to see some game action. While it is tough to judge the motivation factor for both teams leading up to the 1 p.m. kickoff, I still believe Jason Garrett and staff will have the entire Cowboy team prepared and ready to play. Give me Dallas 20-17 with Darren McFadden acting as the catalyst. Prediction: Cowboys-20, Eagles-17.
QB Rankings: Who’s rising as the temperatures are falling?
NFL Mailbag: Out goes Osweiler, in comes Savage
Winners and Losers: Christmas came early for several teams this weekend
Ryan Johnson (5-3)
With the recent news of Tony Romo playing a few series on Sunday, the non-meaningful week 17 just became must-watch for Cowboys Nation. Unfortunately, Romo will be thrown to the wolfs as very few if any starters will be on the field with him. I still expect Mark Sanchez to see the majority of the snaps on Sunday. I expect Dallas to win. Prediction: Cowboys-21, Eagles-17.
Yusuf Nakhooda (8-1)

For the Cowboys regular season finale, this is a meaningless game, but expect the Cowboys to play Dak Prescott, and Ezekiel Elliott maybe for one half, and we should see both Tony Romo, and Mark Sanchez play. The key to stopping the Eagles is Darren Sproles. If the Cowboys can do that they should win even with key starters resting. Prediction: Cowboys-31, Eagles 21


Beware of Bond Funds - Tue 20 Dec 2016, 4:00 pm

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QUESTION #1: Dear Mr Armstrong, you recently wrote that if you are in any bond fund, better get out. Do you also mean corporate short-term/medium-term bonds or are those expected to rise when people realise government debt is the real bubble ?
Kind regards.
QUESTION #2:  Mr. Armstrong- I enjoyed my first WEC immensely! In the blog and other place’s you warned that you should get out of bond funds. I understand government bonds of all kinds should be sold including date certain and funds. I am curious though about high-quality corporate bond funds. Should one get out of corporate bond funds and move to individual issues? The funds are easier for a working person of course.
Thank you,
ANSWER: We are entering a phase of rising interest rates, so bond funds will do poorly. We are not yet at a stage where U.S. government bonds would default or be swapped. Therefore, my recommendation has only to do with rising rates. What you should do is stay short-term, like 90-day paper or less, be it corporate or government. This is just an interest rate play moving into 2018.
As we move into 2018, we will look at corporate vs government shift. That will become the play, but that will most likely unfold after we begin to see serious problems with government debt outside the United States. In Japan, the ownership of public debt by the private sector is in freefall. Debt to GDP held by the private sector before Abe came to power was 177%, which had collapsed to 100% in 2012, and has continued to decline to about 75%. The Bank of Japan through its quantitative easing now owns more government debt than the private sector. Japan is in VERY SERIOUS trouble and there is no possible way to reverse this nightmare.
The European Central Bank now holds 15% of Germany’s national debt. The central banks have been running out of positive-yielding safe-haven bonds. Yes, the Federal Reserve holds $2.4 trillion is less than 10%. The volume of repo loans using Treasury debt as collateral has collapsed from $2.6 trillion to about $1.8 trillion according to Barclays.
Despite all the complaints that QE has failed, we must ask how deep deflation would be without it. True, QE has not produced inflation. It has not stimulated the economies of Europe or Japan because the confidence of the people is not there. The central banks are trapped and politicians, not hedge fund managers, run government. These people are ignorant at best if not outright deaf, dumb, and stupid. They cannot see how this system of government borrowing will continue if the public no longer buys their debt.
This is by no means going to end nicely. So keep the power dry. We are in for a real crisis come 2018.

Back-to-Back Arctic Blasts Sending Midwest, Northeast into a Deep Freeze Through the Weekend - Thu 15 Dec 2016, 7:01 pm

Back-to-Back Arctic Blasts Sending Midwest, Northeast into a Deep Freeze Through the Weekend

Chris Dolce
Published: December 15, 2016

A bitter cold arctic air mass has swept through a large swath of the central and eastern states to close out the workweek, sending wind chills into the teens, 20s and 30s below zero in some locations. Extreme cold will continue this weekend as an even more frigid blast of arctic air plunges into the central states on the heels of Winter Storm Decima.
(MORE: Another Winter Storm in the Midwest)
Some locations have seen or could see their coldest December temperatures in several years, and some record lows may be threatened. 
(MORE: What the Wind Chill Really Means)
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Current Wind Chills

Arctic Cold Round #1: Through Friday

Great Falls, Montana, recorded its tenth straight day in a row with subzero lows on Wednesday morning. That is longest such streak there since February 1996.
Thursday morning, subzero low temperatures were recorded as far south as Iowa, northern Illinois and northern Indiana. Winds chills in the 20s and 30s below zero were widespread throughout the Upper Midwest.
Chicago saw its first December subzero low temperature since Dec. 24, 2013. The mercury plunged to minus 20 degrees in Grand Forks, North Dakota, making it the coldest December reading in the city since Dec. 23, 2013.
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Current Temperatures

Temperatures held in the 20s on Thursday afternoon along the Interstate 95 corridor from Boston to Washington, D.C. A large number of cities from the interior Northeast to the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest saw afternoon readings in the single digits or teens, including Chicago, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.
Friday morning looks to be the coldest for many Northeast cities, with lows 15-30 degrees below average. Single digits above and below zero are expected in parts of upstate New York, northern/western Pennsylvania and New England. Wind chills will be in the single digits, teens and even a few 20s below zero across the interior Northeast and New England Friday morning. A few places in northern New England could see wind chills in the 30s below zero.
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Forecast Morning Lows

(FORECAST: Bismarck, North Dakota | Chicago | Minneapolis | Boston | New York)

Cold Perspective

  • Boston: A low of 8 degrees or colder would be the lowest official December temperature in the city since 2004.
  • Pittsburgh: The first single-digit December low temperature since Dec. 31, 2009 (9 degrees), is possible Friday morning.
  • Washington, D.C.: A low in the teens Friday morning would be the first time the mercury has dipped below 20 degrees there in December since Dec. 23, 2008. 

Arctic Cold Round #2: This Weekend

The second plunge of arctic air will begin seeping south of the Canadian border and into the northern Plains (western Dakotas, Montana) on Friday. That cold air will spread east and south across the Midwest and Plains during the upcoming weekend and into early next week.
This weekend's temperatures will be the coldest we've seen so far this month in some locales, and daily record lows may be threatened.
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Forecast Highs This Weekend

(MAPS: 10-Day Forecast)

  • Lows: Temperatures in the teens and 20s below zero will infiltrate areas from Montana to the Dakotas and the upper Mississippi Valley this weekend. In some locations, this will be 20-45 degrees below mid-December average lows. Single digits below zero may surge into the Front Range of Colorado, Kansas, northern Missouri and northern Illinois on Sunday morning. By Monday morning, lows in the teens and single digits below zero could continue the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi Valley.
  • Highs: Afternoon readings may not rise above zero in the northern Plains, upper Midwest and western Great Lakes this weekend, including Minneapolis and Fargo, North Dakota.
  • This round of arctic air will move into the Northeast early next week, but it won't be as cold as we will see in the Midwest.

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Forecast Low Temperatures Compared to Average Sunday

Cold Perspective For This Weekend

  • Chicago: There is a chance that the Windy City may see a subzero high temperature on Sunday. The last high temperature that was below zero there was in January 2014. The last below-zero high temperature there in December was in 1983.
  • Bismarck, North Dakota: Saturday's high may be in the teens below zero. The last time they recorded a high in the double digits below zero in December was 2008. They haven't had a high in the teens below zero in any month since January 2010.
  • Minneapolis: If the mercury plunges into the 20s below zero, that would be the first time it's happened there in December since 1996. The last 20s below zero in the Twin Cities for any month occurred in January 2014.

Will Any Record Lows Be Set?

Some daily record lows could be approached in the Midwest this weekend into Monday. Below are a few examples with the record to beat for each city on that respective day shown.

  • Saturday: Bismarck, North Dakota (-27 degrees); Omaha, Nebraska (-9 degrees)
  • Sunday: Aberdeen, South Dakota (-28 degrees); Minneapolis (-24 degrees)
  • Monday: Chicago (-14 degrees); Detroit (-6 degrees)

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