William Houston's skirmish with bloggers continues

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I usually have mixed feelings when bloggers and/or newspaper people get into slap fights. On some level, it’s uncomfortable because usually both sides bring something to the table; while a blogger might have a better sense of number crunching and snarky analysis, a columnist often brings years of experience to his or her writing. That being said, there’s certainly a rubbernecking vibe too; despite the lyrical gore in front of your eyes, it’s hard to look away from the credibility-damaging carnage.

This case started when William Houston, a former Globe & Mail columnist, wrote a column disparaging current Globe & Mail reporter (and blogger pioneer) James Mirtle. Here’s an excerpt from the shocking slam-piece.

The biggest joke in 2009-10, unfortunately, was the spectacle of James Mirtle attempting to function as a Globe and Mail hockey writer. A statistics wonk with limited journalistic skills, poor James struggled, to say the least.

While Mirtle took the high road and chose not to respond, plenty of other bloggers and writers did. Houston responded with a post that was ultimately deleted later on, but like many other mistakes made on the Internet, someone kept a copy of their own. But the Internet tussle took another step toward the absurd when Houston exchanged some rather embarrassing e-mails with Julian from the popular Toronto Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets. Here’s the worst of the lot, with one expletive deleted.

From: William Houston
To: PPP

Oh, I’ve been taking shots at friends of yours. Oh noooo. I feel so badly. Truth is, you’re a pathetic piece of [expletive deleted] who can’t function as a real journalist so you operate that awful blog. Struck a nerve, didn’t I Julian? Because you’re a pathetic hack who can’t write and will never amount anything. By the time I was in my 30s I’d written two best selling books. You? You’re a nothing. Nobody knows who you are or cares. Good luck pal. You’ll need it.

Ultimately, the situation was flat-out uncomfortable and unfortunate. The typical bloggers versus journalists jokes were trotted out (comments about technological confusion lobbed at newspaper veterans, quips about mother’s basements thrown at bloggers). Houston might or might not come out looking the worst, but aside from some cheap Web site hits, does anyone come out better? As time goes on, newspaper people and “basement dwellers” will learn to co-exist. Sure, there are moments that are darkly entertaining, but I dream of a day in which we can all just get along.

Sweet ride: Blackhawks sponsor CJ Wilson Racing’s Porsche Cayman at Road America

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Chicago Blackhawks fans, start your engines!

Yes, according to MotorSportsTalk, the Blackhawks have become the main sponsor of CJ Wilson Racing’s No. 35 car, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, for the upcoming IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge event at Road America next month.

That’s a sweet ride.

From MotorSportsTalk:

The partnership will officially launch at the United Center on Wednesday, August 3, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m in advance of Saturday’s race. Fans will have the opportunity to get up close to the car, meet the drivers and Blackhawks Ambassador Denis Savard, and have their picture taken.

The race takes place Aug. 6 at Road America in Wisconsin.

Third team’s the charm? Devils ink Gormley to one-year, two-way deal

<>during the first period at TD Garden on November 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Since being selected by the Coyotes at 13th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, Brandon Gormley has had a difficult time breaking into the league on a full-time basis.

On Thursday, the 24-year-old Gormley joined his third NHL team, signing with the New Jersey Devils on a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level, the club announced.

Despite his draft status, Gormley has yet to play a full season in the big league, although this deal could give him an opportunity to end that. For the Devils, the deal adds more depth to the blue line in the organization and for a friendly price.

Last season, Gormley split time between the Colorado Avalanche and its farm team, the San Antonio Rampage. Despite some high expectations about where he could fit on the Avs’ blue line, he was eventually put on waivers in January.

He ended the season with one assist in 26 games with the Avalanche, and hit the open market after Colorado didn’t give him a qualifying offer.

Wild sign Dumba to two-year, $5.1M deal

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After ongoing contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and restricted free agent defenseman Matt Dumba, the two sides have come to a deal.

The Wild announced Thursday that they had signed Dumba to a two-year deal, worth a total value of $5.1 million.

A breakdown of the new deal:

— In 2016-17: $2.35 million.

— In 2017-18: $2.75 million.

Selected seventh overall by the Wild in 2012, Dumba had his most productive campaign this past season, with 10 goals and 26 points in 81 games.

Known for his offensive skills — he had 20 goals and 57 points with Red Deer in the WHL in his draft year — Dumba also brings a coveted right-shot to the Wild blue line, which features four players with contracts of four or more years of term remaining.

As per General Fanager, the Wild still have $2.168 million in projected cap space, but they have secured all their remaining restricted free agents.

Rangers bring back forward Marek Hrivik (Updated)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 09:  Marek Hrivik #46 of the New York Rangers skates against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Red Wings 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Rangers announced that they’ve re-signed Marek Hrivik to a new contract. The term and financial details of the deal were not released.

Hrivik signed with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent in May 2012. The 24-year-old made his NHL debut in 2015-16 and ended up playing five games for the Rangers. He had one assist and a plus-3 rating during his time in the NHL.

Updated:

The young forward was an important part of New York’s AHL affiliate in Hartford. Hrivik finished his AHL campaign with 12 goals and 29 assists. He tied for the team lead in assists and finished third in points.

If you go by Hrivik’s tweet, it appears as though he signed a one-year contract:

Now that Hrivik is re-signed, the Rangers have no more free agents of any kind, per General Fanager.