The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web Monday to Friday
National Hockey League training camps are underway, the drudgery of two-a-days and an avalanche of stories about that special rookie looking to defy all odds to break into the starting lineup littering the media landscape.
Thank goodness for the likes of Philadelphia Flyers' goalie Steve Mason who livened things up considerably when he showed up at the Flyers' training camp in South Philly with a fancy new goaltender face mask adorned by zombies.
And not just your everyday, run-of-the-mill, foaming-at-the-mouth zombies.
The creatures depicted on Mason’s colorful face protector features zombie American patriots the likes of Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin and even George Washington, whose menacing countenance on Mason's mask leaves no doubt that he certainly did cut down that cherry tree.
As he explained to NHL.com, Mason kind of has a thing for dead things.
“One of my favorite shows is 'The Walking Dead,' so to kind of incorporate that into the design and put a Philly twist on it with some historical figures, for the most part I think it turned out awesome," Mason said.
The mask was the brainchild of Franny Drummond, who runs PaintZoo in Langhorne, Pa. Drummond told NHL.com in November that he wanted to do horror, “but without a horror movie.”
What better arena then to showcase the walking dead than in the often grotesquely violent NHL where some players have been known to exhibit ghoulish behaviour from time to time.
Out in Vancouver, the new warm and fuzzy Canucks coach John Tortorella sat down with Sportnet’s James Cybulski and offered some candid opinions regarding Twitter.
Branding the popular social media network as “nothing but trouble”, Tortorella would not go as far as to ban the practice for Canuck players.
But when it comes to 140 characters or less the Canuck players had best be on their best behaviour when it comes to their daily Twitter dispatches.
New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer insists the New Jersey Devils were just erring “on the side of caution” with forward Jaromir Jagr, who was forced to leave practice early with what was described as general soreness.
A win is a win
The New England Patriots managed to squeeze past the New York Jets 13-10 in what was a trying National Football League contest in Foxborough, Mass., in more ways than one.
For rookie Jets quarterback Geno Smith, thrust into the starting role after a pre-season injury to beleaguered incumbent Mark Sanchez, it continues to be a learning experience, lobbing three interceptions – including two in the fourth quarter – that proved costly.
Kimberley A. Martin, writing for Newsday, notes that while Geno Smith continues to “show flashes,” his “critical rookie mistakes,” wound up costing his team.
And while Tom Brady “was good enough to win” quarterbacking the Patriots, it wasn’t Tom Terrific’s finest hour as Peter May writes in the New York Times.
The normally reserved New England quarterback was clearly frustrated with the overall performance of his inexperienced receiving corps on several occasions during the game.
Brady’s demonstrative antics were over the top in the opinion Michael Irvine, the Hall of Fame wide receiver now working for NFL Media.
One person who was not able to catch the game on television was Aaron Hernandez, the former New England receiver who has been indicted in the June 17th slaying of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player.
Hernandez remains in jail awaiting trial and, as reported by TMZ, was not able to tune into the game as inmates at the Bristol County Jail are not allowed to watch football while they’re behind bars.