Kreider? Hall? Islanders’ trade route likely leads elsewhere

The Islanders have established themselves as an upper-echelon team under the Lou Lamoriello-Barry Trotz regime, having compiled the NHL’s fourth-best record since the GM and coach signed on to save the franchise before last season.

Indeed, only the Caps, Blues and Bruins have recorded more points and only the Caps and Blues have registered more victories than the Islanders since the start of 2018-19.

Which means that this team’s measure will be taken by how far it advances in the playoffs. Lamoriello has never been one of those guys to hope to finish eighth and put his faith in the alleged randomness of the postseason. He has never been one to merely spin the wheel without looking for an edge over the house.

Lamoriello’s Devils rented Phil Housley. They traded for Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk. They acquired Alex Mogilny and leased Vladimir Malakhov. Oh, and once upon a time, Ilya Kovalchuk, too. When the Cup beckons, the GM (President/Chief Hall Monitor/Director of Quality Control) goes big.

This is why the Islanders, who were prepared to lavish many, many millions on Artemi Panarin before the electric free agent winger chose to take somewhat less from the Rangers last summer because Manhattan, should be in on Taylor Hall, the singular rental prize in the Cracker Jack box.

If the price is too high on Hall — Ray Shero, who succeeded Lamoriello as GM in New Jersey, may feel the need to hit a grand slam in any deal with his predecessor and could demand that 19-year-old defenseman Noah Dobson be featured in the package going back to the Devils — then what would it take for the Islanders and Rangers to pull off their first significant trade ever, with Chris Kreider the rental target?

But let’s say that the Islanders can’t/don’t get Hall or Kreider to aid the attack. In 2003, the Devils were in need of an offensive jolt heading into the playoffs. Of course at the deadline, Lamoriello acquired a pair of depth defensemen in Oleg Tverdovsky and Richard Smehlik. That team may have had the weakest group of forwards to win a Cup this century, but nobody had more depth on the blue line than the eight-deep Devils.

So maybe Lamoriello will look to reinforce the team’s approach and bolster the roster at the same time. In that case, the Islanders could be interested in Travis Zajac, the 34-year-old center who is in the seventh year of the eight-year deal for $5.75 million per to which Lamoriello signed him in 2013.

Zajac — three goals, six assists and nine points this season off a 19-27-46 in 2018-19 — and pending free agent defenseman Andy Greene are the only two Devils remaining from the 2012 club that beat the Rangers in the conference finals and lost to the Kings in the Cup final. In other words, Zajac and Greene are the only current Devils to win a playoff round in a New Jersey uniform.

Engineering a reunion would not be unprecedented for Lamoriello, who brought a horde of players back to New Jersey for second acts. That included Mogilny, Malakhov, Bobby Holik, Brian Rolston and Scott Gomez.

The Islanders likely need more pop to get through four playoff rounds. They probably need to add a scorer in order to beat Washington in what looms as a second-round confrontation. But if they can’t get that, there is every chance that Lamoriello will double down on players who suit Trotz’s system. One of those folks is in New Jersey wearing No. 19.

Checked in with Mathieu Schneider, who has held an executive position with the NHLPA since 2011, and with Glenn Healy, in his third year as executive director of the NHL Alumni Association following a stint with the PA late last decade, whether they had ever received a complaint from a player about coach abuse.

The answer from both was: “Never.”

This, of course, does not mean that unreported abuses did not occur. This also does not mean players mistrusted union leadership to take action.

You must remember that players on the wrong end of abuse are also on the wrong end of the power structure. No one wants to be labeled a troublemaker in a professional sports world that does not take kindly to boat-rockers.

This does not only attain to the coach-player relationship, but the one between management and labor. This is one of the reasons players either opt not to file grievances or choose to settle cases for dimes on the dollar. Case in point: Jake Dotchin after his contract was terminated under suspicious circumstances by Tampa Bay.

The cool kids seem to think that “tandeming” in goal is a new thing. It is not. The 1960-61 Red Wings gave 36 starts to Terry Sawchuk and 34 to Hank Bassen. The 1962-63 Maple Leafs gave 42 starts to Johnny Bower and 28 to Don Simmons. The 1965-66 Rangers gave 34 starts to Ed Giacomin, 27 to Cesare Maniago and nine to Simmons. The 1966-67 Black Hawks (that’s what they were then) gave 41 starts to Denis DeJordy and 29 to Glenn Hall.

Those were the Original Six days of Original Tandeming.

Five-on-five goal check.

Four forwards with at least 385:00 of full strength have scored only one five-on-five goal, and they are Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel, Joe Pavelski and Mikael Backlund. Among the 11 who have scored just two are Hall, Jamie Benn, Johnny Gaudreau, Bo Horvat and Ryan O’Reilly.

Finally, Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov slew foots Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the Finn suffers a concussion after landing on his head, and the alleged Department of Player Safety remains mum.

Won’t someone please change the name of that department?

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Solo act drawing to a close, Tash Sultana is looking forward to the future

Tash Sultana is, admittedly, feeling strange.

And that's understandable; fresh off the back of a mammoth Europe and US tour which included a sold-out show in Colorado's famous Red Rocks amphitheatre, there are just a handful of Australian shows left before the year's end – and the start of a new chapter in Sultana's musical journey.

Tash Sultana is coming to Perth for a show in Cottesloe on December 21.Credit:Dara Munnis.

"It's kind of like you've gone on a bender, and you start coming down," Sultana said.

"The last four years has been f—ing full on … I've done hundreds of shows every year."

That full-on four years kicked off with Sultana rocketing to international fame after a video of the young multi-instrumentalist live-looping hit track Jungle cascaded into a platinum-selling EP, international attention, a ranking in the Triple J Hottest 100, and ARIA award-winning debut album Flow State.

Now, finally able to spend some time at home and take stock of life developments, Sultana is getting ready to bid farewell to the solo stage act (for now) and bring a band along to join the party on stage.

The announcement on Instagram in October that Sultana was "wrapping up" solo performances was greeted with both surprise and excitement.

"I blew up my management's inbox when I posted that," Sultana laughed.

But it's a positive change which has set the 24-year-old performer on a positive course.

Solo shows, despite being fun and having become a drawcard of Sultana's, are also draining.

When things go right, it's great. When things go wrong, Sultana said, "you feel quite self-loathing".

"I'm pretty hard on myself because I like to do things without mistakes and perform to what I think is my best effort, and sometimes you can't get that," Sultana said.

"Sometimes it's just not in you that day, or that week.

"I feel like I'm pretty excited to share the stage to kind of lift up that feeling a little bit, inject some new life into me on the road and touring.

"I f—ing love being on stage and getting up in front of people; I would love to have a band hold it down so I could just f—ing go crowd surfing and s—."

With the stage show will also likely come a new album; a follow-up to Flow State is in the works. This one, Sultana said, is "more soul, classic soul r'n'b".

Once the band line-up is nailed down and practice sessions perfected, it's back on the road for a tour of Europe and the UK.

For a musician who has spent so long performing solo, Sultana is buoyant about letting others in to share that space, positive about the potential it brings. In Sultana's own words: "Keen for it."

"I'm in a really strange transitional period at the moment, where I can see that everything is about to fully change," Sultana said.

"And I'm keen for it, because that's the point. You can't be doing the same thing forever, and I don't really want to."

But for now it's all about enjoying home with family, Sultana's partner, their dog.

Sultana's enjoying being (temporarily) out of the spotlight – "it's been really nice to just get some normal life back" – and take time out to work on album No.2.

Whatever the future holds as Sultana embarks on that next musical stage, it's welcomed with open arms and a positive mindset.

"It's been strange, it's been really hard, and it all kind of happened to me when I was quite young, so I feel like I missed out on being a bit of an adolescent, I felt like I had to go straight into being an adult really quickly," Sultana said.

"But I wouldn't have changed it … if I died tomorrow, I'd actually have done everything I wanted to do. I've achieved all of the things that are important to me and I'm keen for the next step.

"There's moments when you're not content, obviously. Because sometimes you can't top the things that you've once done before. But that's not really the point.

"I wouldn't say that I want to be the type of artist who tries to write number-one hits; it's not for me.

"It sounds exhausting."

Tash Sultana plays at Cottesloe Beach on December 21. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

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The First Victim Of The Pensacola Naval Base Shooting Has Been Identified By Family Members

One of the Pensacola Naval shooting victims “died a hero” after alerting first responders to the location of the shooter, according to his family who identified him on social media.

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was a Naval Academy graduate from Enterprise, Alabama. He died after a trainee from the Saudi Arabian Air Force opened fire at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida on Friday morning, killing three people and injuring at least seven.

The FBI has not officially named any of the victims in the attack as of Saturday afternoon, but family members identified Watson as one of those who lost their lives in the shooting.

“Today has been the worst day of my life,” wrote Adam Watson on Facebook. “My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting. Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own.”

His father Benjamin told Pensacola News Journal that Watson was the officer on deck when the shooting began. He was shot five times, his father said.

“Heavily wounded, he made his way out to flag down first responders and gave an accurate description of the shooter,” said his father. “He died serving his country.”

Watson had hoped to one day become a Navy pilot, and had started flight training at Pensacola less than a month ago, according to his dad.

“He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled,” wrote Adam Watson on Facebook. “Just wish I could talk to him one more time or wrestle with him one more time even though he could probably take me now.”

Watson grew up in Enterprise, Alabama, around 120 miles from Pensacola. The principal of Enterprise High School posted on Twitter that he was “sad beyond words” and that Watson “was an incredible young man.”

Cori Horton, who described Watson as, “my first love and forever my best friend,” posted a tribute to her former sweetheart on Facebook.

“You were always my biggest supporter and my greatest pain in the ass, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat,” wrote Horton. “Even after life pulled us apart, we never lost each other. We continued to share in each others triumphs and depressions. No matter the label we placed on each other, you never stopped showing me what it was like to be loved. Without you, I never would have been welcomed into such a wonderful and loving family who never shut their doors to me. And I hope you know how incredibly proud of you I was, and still am.”

The two other victims of the Pensacola shooting are currently unidentified. It was the second shooting at a Naval base in a week, after two shipyard workers were killed on the Pearl Harbor base Wednesday.

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Military wife's Christmas card photo includes deployed husband

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A Florida woman got creative with this year’s family Christmas card while her military husband is deployed.

Danielle Cobo’s husband, who is serving overseas as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, will miss celebrating the holiday with her and their 2-year-old twin boys for the first time.

To make the Christmas holiday a special one despite his absence, Cobo had a family friend digitally edit her husband in this year’s Christmas card photo.


To make the Christmas holiday a special one despite his absence, Cobo had a family friend digitally edit her husband in this year’s Christmas card photo. (Photo: Provided to Fox News)


The resulting image is of Cobo standing with her sons while holding out her hand. Her husband, standing in front of a helicopter while in uniform, is edited beside them. His hand is also stretched out, giving the illusion that he and Cobo are holding hands.

"I wanted to find a way for us to capture a photo of us together even though we can't technically be together," Cobo told WFTS. "Even though we're miles apart, we're still close together. We're still a family unit and our hearts are in the right place."

Cobo said she wants others to remember the sacrifices military servicemen and women, and their families, make during the holiday season.

"We're just holding it all together. It's a sacrifice among everybody," she said.


Cobo said she will continue to incorporate her husband’s presence in their sons’ lives through stories, photos and videos (Photo: Provided to Fox News)


"I remember the day when I dropped him off with his unit to leave," Cobo added. "I remember driving home. No one had any idea what I'm going through right now. It made me look around at all the other people around me. People go through so much in their lives and you would have no idea."

Though it’s difficult not having her husband, who returns home in the spring of 2020, Cobo said she will continue to incorporate her husband’s presence in their sons’ lives through stories, photos and videos.

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The best books of the week

In the Shadow of the Bridge
Joseph Caldwel(Delphinium)
A moving memoir and a look at gay and artistic life in New York City from the 1950s on, through the AIDS epidemic, as told by Caldwell, the acclaimed playwright and novelist.

The Boy, The Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Charlie Mackesy (Harper One)
A fable for all ages from the British illustrator, telling the story of an unlikely friendship between the four titled characters.

Fleabag: The Scriptures
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Ballantine)
“Fleabag” took viewers by storm this fall. “The Scriptures” brings together complete scripts from the first and second seasons, paired with detailed stage directions and commentary from Waller-Bridge on the making of the series.

Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter
Robert Hutton (St. Martin’s)
The fascinating true story of Eric Roberts, an unassuming British bank clerk who in 1940 infiltrated a group of Nazi sympathizers in Great Britain to keep the country safe from the grip of fascism.

Louis L’amour’s Lost Treasures: Volume 2
Louis and Beau L’Amour (Bantam)
In the second volume of “Lost Treasures,” son Beau continues to unearth and explore his late father’s unpublished manuscripts and journal entries.

The Starless Sea
Erin Morgenstern (fiction, Doubleday)
A graduate student in Vermont makes a strange discovery in the library stacks: a mysterious book filled with tales, including a story from his own childhood. Eager to make sense of this, he uncovers a set of clues that take him into a fascinating world. From the bestselling author of “The Night Circus.”

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Ladies First: 15 Books That Pass The Bechdel Test

Ladies First: 15 Books That Pass The Bechdel Test

What do bestsellers Life of Pi and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone have in common? They don’t pass the Bechdel Test, a test that determines women representation in films, books, and more. To pass, a work of fiction needs to 1) have two women with names who 2) talk to each other about 3) something other than a man. It’s surprising how many books and movies don’t meet these qualifications, but we’ve rounded up 15 amazing books that do! From The Hunger Games to Jane Eyre, these female-centric books are sure to empower, inspire, and engage. Happy 2020 Reading Challenge!

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Card Factory launch 99p Christmas dinner bibs ‘for the messiest eaters’

People who are always spilling their dinner down themselves may now have perfect festive answer.

Card Factory is selling Christmas-themed bibs so you can keep your festive jumper clean and enjoy your food this year.

The Christmassy bibs come in four different styles, with two Santa styles and two elf-themed designs.

And a pack of four will only set you back 99p.

The 'Dinner Bibs' encourage people to 'eat, drink and be messy'."

The product description reads: "Even the messiest eater can enjoy all the trimmings with these fun and festive Christmas bibs."

The bibs were shared on Facebook group Extreme Couponing and Bargains, where they went down a storm.

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  • Shoppers urged to 'show a little love' on your High Street this Christmas

A group member shared the picture and wrote: "Card factory 99p you get all four shown in picture! Good for a giggle on Christmas Day."

The post prompted replies from others users, many of which confessed to being serial dinner spillers.

One wrote: "I have these ready for Xmas day lol… quite big as well."

And another wrote: "I need this! A dinner bib is not just for Christmas!"

Others tagged their messy friends and family to recommend buying ahead of the Christmas dinner .

There are only 18 days left until Christmas – and only three weekends left to get all your shopping done.

Shoppers are being urged to support Small Business Saturday – a nationwide initiative to en­­courage people to shop locally.

In 2018, the event, now in its seventh year, saw an estimated £812million spent with small businesses across the country.

The Mirror is doing its part with our Have a Happy High Street Christmas cam­­paign, to en­­courage shoppers to back their town centres over the festive season.

The need for action comes as a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses found that just one in three smaller retailers expects their prospects to improve over the coming three months, while 58 per cent expect things to worsen.

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Two dead and three seriously injured after horror late-night crash

Two men have been killed in a horror late-night crash that sent three other people to hospital with seriously injuries.

The collision, involving a black Jeep Cherokee and a black VW Golf, happened in Wednesbury, in the West Midlands, at about 10.30pm on Friday, said police.

The men, aged 21 and 37, were pronounced dead at the scene despite the emergency services' efforts to save them.

The three survivors who were seriously injured remained in hospital on Saturday as West Midlands Police investigated the cause of the crash on the A41 Black Country New Road.

Have you been affected by the incident? Email [email protected]

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The force closed the road for several hours.

The families of the two men who died are being supported by specially trained officers.

Police were investigating whether any additional vehicles were involved and urged potential witnesses, including those with dashcam footage, to come forward.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: "An investigation has been launched following a fatal collision on the A41 Black Country New Road in Wednesbury last night.

"Officers were called to reports of a collision involving a black Jeep Cherokee and a black VW Golf, near to Patent Shaft Roundabout just after 10.30pm.

"Despite the best efforts of emergency services two men, aged 21 and 37, were pronounced dead at the scene.

"Their families have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers."

Sergeant Alan Hands from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “We’re currently working to establish the circumstances surrounding the collision and whether any other vehicles were involved.

“I’d ask that anyone who has information or witnessed what happened, in particular any motorists who were in the area and have dashcam footage to come forward and contact the investigation team.”

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Science bombshell as brainless single-cell blob ‘makes complex decisions’

Tiny single-cell, brainless organisms might be capable of complex thoughts, according to new research.

In a study published this week in Current Biology, a scientific journal, scientists from Harvard University recreated a classic experiment dating back to the early 1900s.

"It was a side project, completely off-the-books," said author Jeremy Gunawardena.

He added: "It wasn't anyone's day job."

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The organisms, known as "S. roeselii", were collected from a golf course pond in England before being shipped over to the US.

A team of researchers found the specimen would move to avoid microscopic plastic beads when irritated.

When the scientists did a statistical analysis, they found there was, on average, a similar order to the organisms' decision-making process.

The single-celled blobs almost always chose to bend and alter the direction of their cilia before they contracted or detached and swam away.

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"They do the simple things first, but if you keep stimulating, they 'decide' to try something else," Gunawardena said.

"[It] has no brain but there seems to be some mechanism that, in effect, lets it 'change its mind' once it feels like the irritation has gone on too long."

The findings can help inform cancer research and even change the way we think about our own cells.

The findings come shortly after scientists proved that great apes have the ability to see things from other people's point of view for the first time.

Experts have been trying to prove that apes have the skill – known as 'theory of mind' – for over 40 years and now a Japanese team have done just that.

The bombshell research, published by Kyoto University’s Kumamoto Sanctuary in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was based on an interactive experiment known as the goggles test.

Chimps, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos were all proven to possess the human-like skill, rather than merely copy behaviour.

That means they can problem solve by understanding individuals can possess different knowledge.

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Ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino smiles when asked about Arsenal job – after years of vowing he’d never manage them – The Sun

MAURICIO POCHETTINO has not ruled out managing Tottenham's arch-rivals Arsenal – and smiled when asked if he would take the Gunners job.

The Argentine – who once famously said he would rather become a farmer in his homeland than manager Arsenal – has been strongly linked with the vacancy at the Emirates.

Spurs axed Pochettino last month but he has already indicated he wants to get back in the hot seat as soon a possible.

Despite his five-and-a-half years at White Hart Lane, Pochettino has emerged as one of the favourites to replace the axed Unai Emery at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road.

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