Rob Halford, singer, songwriter and musi

Judas Priest, Billy Idol and Bush headline NHL 12’s soundtrack

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If you’re anything like me, you end up playing your own “custom soundtracks” during sports games once the commentary tracks repeat themselves and the more grating choices wear you down. (Besides, nothing fits hockey quite like the experimental sounds of Can … right?) Of course, my music choices tend to backfire when I’m stickhandling well beyond the final whistle, but that’s the price you pay to avoid Nickelback.

Anyway, the vast majority of people who play these games will probably find themselves exposed to a steady stream of whatever NHL 12 puts on its soundtrack. Musical taste obviously varies – many people probably didn’t appreciate my Nickelback comment, for instance – but for better or worse, NHL 11 featured a surprising run of recognizable arena tracks. (In a way, it’s shocking that every sports game doesn’t have Europe’s “The Final Countdown” on their soundtracks, even if it’s just for the inherent ironic humor.)

With its predecessor’s Jock Jams-friendly mix in mind, NHL 12 has a tough act to follow. Would they pull out all the stops and include Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” in the mix? Perhaps they’ll throw us all a curveball by throwing in a classy Michael Bolton number or make Phil Collins a little richer? Let’s take a look at the soundtrack via EA Sports’ NHL 12 blog.

Here’s the full list of tracks that will be on NHL®12 in alphabetical order by artist (album in brackets):

Against! Me – Occult Enemies (Russian Spies/Occult Enemies)

Anthrax – I’m Alive (Worship Music)

Beady Eye – Standing on the Edge of the Noise (Different Gear, Still Speeding)

Billy Idol – Mony Mony (The Very Best of Billy Idol)

Black Tide – That Fire (Post Mortem)

Blackguard – Farewell (Firefight)

Bush – Sound of Winter (The Sea of Memories)

Death Letters – I Wish I could Steal a Sunset (Post-Historic)

Dropkick Murphys – Hang ‘em High (Going out in Style)

ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down (Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of ELO)

Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ (Screaming for Vengeance)

Manchester Orchestra – April Fool (Simple Math)

Middle Class Rut – Busy Being Born (No Name No Color)

Murderdolls – Whatever you got, I’m Against It (Women and Children Last)

Well, the Judas Priest selection ranks as essential arena rock, but I must say I’m a bit lukewarm on the list overall. For direct comparison’s sake, here’s the NHL 11 soundtrack list via Kotaku.

    In NHL 11
• In Whispers – Here I Stand
• Airbourne – Bottom Of The Well – No Guts. No Glory.
• Bullet For My Valentine – Your Betrayal – Fever
• Megadeth – Dialectic Chaos – Endgame
• Pantera – Walk – Vulgar Display Of Power

In NHL 11 and NHL Slapshot
• Danko Jones – Full of Regret – Below The Belt
• 2 Unlimited – Twilight Zone – Get Ready!
• Black Box – Strike It Up – Dreamland
• Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Mama Taught Me Better – Beat The Devil’s Tattoo
• Bouncing Souls – ¡Olé! – Hopeless Romantic
• Darude – Sandstorm – Before The Storm
• Dropkick Murphys – Shipping Up To Boston (Live) – Live On Lansdowne, Boston MA
• Europe – The Final Countdown – The Final Countdown
• Foxy Shazam – Unstoppable – Foxy Shazam
• Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones
• The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You – Brothers

Again, I have to give the edge to NHL 11, even if I ended up ignoring its soundtrack after a few hours of game time anyway. What do you think, though? Tell us all about your favorite/least favorite choices (or debate choices that would have been better examples of those artists’ unparalleled mastery) in the comments. Please be nice to fellow commenters either way, even if you disagree with their sonic preferences.

(H/T to Doug Miller.)

Here’s your TV schedule for the Stanley Cup Final on NBC Sports

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01:  The Stanley Cup trophy sits on a table during a ceremony before the Chicago Blackhawks tsake on the Washington Capitals at the United Center on October 1, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Capitals 6-4.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) NBC Sports is switching up its broadcast schedule for the Stanley Cup Final.

In recent years, Games 1 and 2 had been on NBC, with Games 3 and 4 on cable partner NBCSN. If necessary, the final three games returned to NBC.

This season, Monday’s Game 1 will air on NBC, but Wednesday’s Game 2 will be on NBCSN. NBC Sports announced Friday that if the series between Pittsburgh and San Jose is tied 1-1, Game 3 will be on NBC, putting that pivotal matchup on the main network. Game 4 would be on NBCSN.

But if one team leads 2-0, Game 3 will air on NBCSN, with a possible championship-clinching Game 4 on NBC. The potential final three games will remain on NBC.

schedule

The Canucks preached patience, then made a ‘right now’ trade for Gudbranson

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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A few months ago, when the Vancouver Canucks’ miserable season was drawing to a merciful close, club president Trevor Linden went on the radio and said, “When we look at getting ourselves out of this situation, it’s about drafting and developing, and that’s where our focus lies.”

Linden’s remarks were music to the ears of a large segment of the fan base that felt the Canucks had been too impatient, too focused on trying to make the playoffs with an aging roster that was in dire need of a rebuild.

“What we really need is patience,” Linden said at a season-ticket holders event. “It’s going to require some patience from our fan base and some patience from us.”

And so Canucks fans entered the offseason expecting the Canucks to be patient.

And then, on Wednesday, GM Jim Benning traded one of his top forward prospects in 20-year-old Jared McCannplus he threw in the 33rd overall draft pick this summer — for a 24-year-old, stay-at-home defenseman in Erik Gudbranson.

And how did Benning justify that move?

“I come from a scouting background, so to trade second-round picks away, it kills me,” he told Sportsnet’s Hockey Central (audio). “But where we’re at right now, I think we owe it to our fans to try to field the most competitive team that we can right now.”

You’ll note how Benning twice used the phrase “right now.”

And the Canucks wonder why their fans are confused.

To be fair, the Canucks are probably a better team with Gudbranson on it. They had a glaring hole on the right side of their defense, and Benning was determined to fill it. Also, it’s not like Gudbranson is old.

The worry, though, is that the Canucks are trying to serve two masters, the present and the future, and as a result, serving neither master particularly well.

A lot of people in Vancouver — not everyone, mind you, but a lot of people — see what they’re doing in Toronto, and they want the Canucks to do that. Trade veterans. Acquire picks. Lose now to win later, while accepting that there will be some “pain.”

What they don’t want is to travel down the same road the Maple Leafs had to travel — the years and years of mediocrity, or worse — before they finally tore everything down and started again.

In response to that line of thinking, the Canucks have used the Edmonton Oilers as the cautionary, tanking tale. Once a team accepts losing, it can be hard to get that winning culture back, or so the theory goes.

That’s why Benning acquired Brandon Sutter last offseason, and Gudbranson on Wednesday. To him — maybe not to others, but to him — those are “foundation” players, established enough to contribute in the present, while also young enough to be part of the future.

“Once we get the pieces in place from a team-building perspective, we’re going to hold on to those draft picks,” Benning promised.

We shall see.

Currently, Vancouver has just six selections in this summer’s draft, and only two of them are in the first four rounds.

Toronto, on the other hand, has 12 picks, including two in the first round, two in the second, two in the third, and two in the fourth.

Related: McCann’s frustrations illustrate ‘fine line’ Canucks are trying to walk

Need for speed: Sharks, Pens brace for ‘fast hockey’ in Stanley Cup Final

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 29: Brenden Dillon #4 of the San Jose Sharks skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on March 29, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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It will be speed vs. speed in the Stanley Cup final between the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins.

San Jose got through the Western Conference the same way Pittsburgh got through the East: with plenty of depth and speed to kill. The final will feature the three top playoff scorers in the Sharks’ Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns against Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

“It’s going to be fast hockey,” Crosby said after the Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the East final Thursday night. “Two teams that want to play the exact same way, that want to get their D involved (and) their power play is really dangerous. … It’s going to be quite the series.”

The Sharks are in the Cup final for the first time in their 24-season franchise history and in Peter DeBoer’s first year as coach. The Penguins are back for the first time since winning it all in 2009 and made it after Mike Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as coach in December.

In his first meeting with them, Sullivan challenged his players to be great and told them that’s how they win in the NHL. They’ve won in the playoffs on the strength of scoring from Crosby and speedy wingers Phil Kessel, Carl Hagelin and Game 7 hero Bryan Rust, not to mention the goaltending of 22-year-old rookie Matt Murray.

Kessel is Pittsburgh’s leading scorer with 18 points on nine goals and nine assists after coming over from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a trade last summer.

“I don’t think you could dream about that. You never could expect this,” Kessel said. “This is a huge moment in my career and my life.”

San Jose is also rolling along thanks to a summer pickup in goaltender Martin Jones, who was the Los Angeles Kings’ backup when they won the Cup in 2014. Couture, Pavelski and Burns are piling up the points, but this run is about aging veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau finally breaking through.

Thornton and Marleau, the top two picks in the 1997 draft, made the playoffs together with the Sharks in nine of 10 previous seasons but had yet to make the Cup final until now.

Crosby and Malkin made it twice, losing in 2008 to the Detroit Red Wings before winning the following season. At the time, it looked like the young core that also featured defenseman Kris Letang would challenge for the Cup every year.

Now they have a chance to add to their legacy, but it won’t be easy even with home-ice advantage in the series that starts Monday night in Pittsburgh. The Sharks are the Penguins’ deepest opponent yet.

“The Penguins should expect a team that’s deeper, quicker than Tampa, and a team that’s playing with a lot of confidence,” NBC Sports analyst Ed Olczyk said.

Confidence isn’t lacking for either team. The Sharks knocked off the Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues to get here, while the Penguins beat the New York Rangers, Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals and defending East-champion Lightning.

Devils sign star French d-man Auvitu

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 05:  Rapahel Herburger (R) of Austria and Yohann Auvitu (L) of France battle for the puck during the IIHF World Championship group A match between Austria and France at o2 Arena on May 5, 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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New Jersey has won the Yohann Auvitu sweepstakes.

On Friday, the Devils announced they’ve signed Auvitu to a one-year, two-way, entry-level contract for the upcoming campaign. The 26-year-old Frenchman had previously garnered widespread NHL interest, largely due to a ’15-16 campaign in which he won the Pekka Rautakallio Trophy for the best defenseman in the SM-Liiga — an award that’s previously gone to the likes of Sami Vatanen and Brian Rafalski.

Auvitu had six goals and 15 assists in 48 games, then six goals and seven assists in 18 playoff games.

There were only three French-born players were in the NHL this season: Philadelphia’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Detroit’s Xavier Ouellet, and Dallas’ Antoine Roussel. It’ll be interesting to see if Auvitu can make it a quartet. He recently played alongside Bellemare for France at the Worlds, scoring three points in seven games.