Only in Vegas: Minor league team to go “topless”


On Tuesday, the ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers proudly (or so we assume) announced that the team would hold an “Over 18 Night” on Feb. 4 where the players will go “topless.”

In reality, they will be donning what has to be one of the most unique jerseys in the history of North American professional hockey. The new uniforms come complete with drawn on abs and nipples.

“The guys have never looked to be in better shape,” Wranglers President and Chief Operating Officer Billy Johnson said. “Nor have they appeared to be as identical.”

And hey, if that – along with “mild adult humor” – is not your thing, the Wranglers have plenty of other promotions planned for the season, including their third annual Regrettable Tattoo Night.

The ECHL is the minor league level just below the American Hockey League and the Wranglers were formerly affiliated with the Calgary Flames and then the Phoenix Coyotes. Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan served as the Wranglers’ coach and GM from 2003-2009 and was recognized as the league’s top bench boss in 2005–06 with the John Brophy Award.

(Imagine courtesy of the Wranglers’ official website)

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
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News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


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