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NHLers like the 49ers in the Super Bowl — here’s who we like


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Granted, we’re setting ourselves up for a “TALK HOCKEY NOT STUPID NFL CINDY CRSOBY SUKS!!!!!!!!!!” comment below, but we thought we’d pass along a bunch of Super Bowl picks from NHLers anyway.

Per NHL.com:

Sidney Crosby, PIT SF 20, BAL 14
Brooks Orpik, PIT SF 21, BAL 17
Martin St. Louis, TBL SF 27, BAL 14
Paul Bissonnette, PHX SF 28, BAL 24
Shane Doan, PHX BAL 24, SF 21
Jarret Stoll, LAK SF 20, BAL 14
Mike Richards, LAK BAL 27, SF 24
Drew Doughty, LAK SF 35, BAL 24
Adam Henrique, NJD SF 27, BAL 24
Andy Greene, NJD SF 31, BAL 17
David Clarkson, NJD SF 21, BAL 14
John Tavares, NYI SF 24, BAL 21
Milan Lucic, BOS SF 31, BAL 21
Patrice Bergeron, BOS SF 27, BAL 21
Tyler Seguin, BOS BAL 28, SF 14
Ryan Miller, BUF SF 21, BAL 13
Jason Pominville, BUF SF 28, BAL 20
Wayne Gretzky, retired BAL 17, SF 14

As you can see, there’s plenty of support for the 49ers, who are 3.5-point favorites over the Ravens at most sports books.

For what’s it worth (it’s worth nothing), here’s who Halford and I like:

MH: Baltimore over San Francisco, 21-20. Two things: Resiliency and momentum. I believe Baltimore has the edge in both. Not to say the Niners are without those two things — they’ve won three straight and rallied from 17-0 to beat the Falcons — but the Ravens have shown more. In the last two weeks alone, they connected on a miracle Hail Mary en route to beating the Broncos, then beat Tom Brady and the Pats at Foxboro despite trailing at halftime.

JB: San Francisco over Baltimore, 28-24. I have to admit I’m extremely hesitant to give Colin Kaepernick — a second-year quarterback that didn’t get the starting job until halfway through the season — the nod over Joe Flacco — an experienced veteran who’s been ridiculously good in these playoffs. But I’m more hesitant to bet against a guy who can run and throw like Kaepernick. The only team that’s made the guy look human is the Seahawks, and that was on a rainy Sunday night in Seattle, one of the toughest places in the NFL for visitors.

Related: PFT’s Super Bowl picks

NHL on NBCSN ’15-16 coverage begins tonight with doubleheader

Corey Crawford, Derek Stepan
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After months of waiting, we’re finally ready to begin the 2015-16 campaign and NBCSN will kick off its coverage with a doubleheader tonight.

The action will begin with the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the New York Rangers, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago has been called a dynasty by some for winning the Stanley Cup three times over the last six campaigns, but one thing that the Blackhawks haven’t done is successfully defend a title. The last team to do so was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 before the salary cap era kicked off. That change was on display this summer as the Blackhawks were forced to move or otherwise walk away from Johnny Oduya, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Brandon Saad in the name of cap compliance.

Even after losing all those pieces of their 2015 championship team though, Chicago has emerged from the summer with much of its core intact. It also has some promising new players, such as 23-year-old KHL star Artemi Panarin, who is attempting to make the leap to the NHL after outscoring former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk on his way to leading SKA St. Petersburg to a KHL championship.

The New York Rangers should be a great first test for the Blackhawks as they begin their new quest. The Rangers advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years, but they haven’t earned a championship since 1994. With Henrik Lundqvist set to celebrate his 34th birthday in March, the Rangers’ window for winning the Cup in front of their all-star goaltender is closing and thus the stakes are high for New York this season.

Starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will air the San Jose Sharks’ contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This is the second straight year that these two teams have been matched for the opener, but this time it’s under much different circumstances.

A year ago, Los Angeles had its sights set on defending its title while the Sharks were seeking revenge after suffering a reverse sweep in the first round against the Kings. In the end, neither team had the season they were looking for as they both fell short of the playoffs.

For the Sharks, that miss ended a playoff streak that dated back to the 2003-04 campaign while Los Angeles suffered its first major setback since it celebrated its first championship in 2012. Both teams have to be hungry to bounce right back this season and given that each both of these squads are certainly capable of obtaining that goal. First though, they need to settle the latest chapter of their rivalry.

PHT Morning Skate: Remembering 10 years of Crosby, Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (NHL.com)

Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)

After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)

Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)