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Anaheim Ducks adidas NHL jerseys free shipping 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. — As the Anaheim Ducks have made adjustments and juggled lines, winger Nick Ritchie has emerged as a steady contributor at the moment and a building block for the future.

In Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, he scored a massive goal to put the Ducks up 2-0. Though a series of penalties jeopardized a game that the Ducks ultimately won 3-2 in overtime to deadlock the series at 2-2, Ritchie’s goal was the latest in a string of impressive tallies for the second-year player.


He has moved up to Anaheim’s No. 1 line with Ryan Getzlaf. That move has paid dividends in the form of the winning goal in Game 2 against Nashville and the series-winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers in the second round. All four of his playoff goals have come by way of his accurate, heavy and distinct wrist shot.

Ritchie, the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, blends size — he is 6-foot-2 and firmly over 230 pounds — with a laser-like wrist shot, supple mitts and hockey sense beyond his 21 years of age.

“When you think of big, powerful forwards, you think of big, powerful moves, taking the puck to the net and a lot more of those nasty, hardworking goals,” said Dallas Eakins, who coached Ritchie with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls and is a former coach of the Edmonton Oilers. “But he has got such soft hands; it’s fun to watch.”

Ritchie also has a unique element to his shot, which was on display in Game 4. After getting the puck in front of Nashville defenseman Roman Josi, he patiently held the puck away from his body while still getting a clean release and plenty of power on his shot, even despite a partial deflection. The goal was a familiar sight for Ritchie both on the ice and on the lacrosse field, where he excelled during his youth in lacrosse-crazed Orangeville, Ontario.

“I think a little bit of that ability goes back to his playing lacrosse growing up,” said Jody Hull, who coached Ritchie with the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes. “Lacrosse guys shoot with their hands away from their body, not in tight, and he’s able to do that on the ice.”

Ritchie’s appetite for the big stage also was evident as a junior player, according to Hull. In his final year in the OHL, Ritchie won gold with Team Canada at the world junior championships, playing a variety of roles and gleaning tips from other top players. When he returned to Peterborough, he asked to be traded to a more competitive team. The Petes acquiesced, sending him to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He responded by posting 26 points in 14 playoff games, well ahead of his regular-season pace.


Thigh injury KOs Preds’ Johansen for playoffs
Predators center Ryan Johansen suffered a thigh injury in Game 4 of the West finals and will miss the rest of the playoffs.

Ducks change coverage, salvage win in Game 4
Losing the advantage of having the last change actually helped the Ducks as they rebounded from a brutal third-period collapse to beat the Predators in OT to tie the conference finals at 2-2.

2017 Stanley Cup playoffs coverage
Visit the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs page on ESPN to get dates, game schedules, team matchups and featured news all the way into the finals.
“I was pretty fortunate at the time to get some playoff action, where I didn’t really get that earlier in my junior [career],” Ritchie said. “Obviously, the NHL playoffs is a lot different and ramped up even more. But I guess all those things along the way do help to get to this point.”

At the professional level, Ritchie confronted the same challenge that other big, beefy forwards such as Patrick Maroon and Chris Stewart have faced. Blessed with exceptional size and strength, they were challenged to keep their weight down and become leaner, faster skaters to adapt to the pace of today’s NHL.

“He has made some changes in his approach to being a professional,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “The biggest step he made was last summer, allowing him to transform his body into something a lot more suited to being a professional hockey player.”

Eakins echoed that sentiment: “He finally got to a point where he understood that he’s going to have to eat and to train a certain way to be successful on the ice.”

Ritchie was drafted with the pick the Ducks received along with Jakob Silfverberg in the Bobby Ryan trade with the Ottawa Senators. Although Ryan has scored critical goals this year during the playoffs, he has been a big-ticket, small-production player for extended stretches with the Senators. At a lower combined cap hit than Ryan, Silfverberg and Ritchie are now among Anaheim’s top six forwards. While Ritchie’s role is still taking shape, Silfverberg has become one of the best two-way players in the league and a clutch performer as well, scoring nine goals (two winners) this postseason.
Ritchie, Silverberg and Rickard Rakell, a late first-round pick turned 30-goal scorer, have all deepened the Ducks’ attack — a development that is even more important given the injuries to the Predators’ Mike Fisher and Ryan Johansen. Where in the past their fate swung heavily with the surges and lulls of Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the Ducks now have weapons spread across four lines in addition for formidable offensive potency on defense.

Ritchie might continue to be a difference-maker. He has adjusted to rising standards and soaring stakes, whether it be in the world juniors or the Stanley Cup playoffs with one of the league’s most consistent organizations.

“I think he’s adapted to the expectations. That’s a challenge for a player,” Eakins said. “I think Nick really understood our expectation. He wrapped his head around it and, most importantly, he wrapped his heart around it.”

New England Patriots Nike NFL jerseys 2017

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Depending on the viewpoint, one could say the New England Patriots added a new opponent to their 2017 schedule with Friday’s news that quarterback Tom Brady is on the cover of Madden18.

Is the “Madden Curse” really something to be worried about?


Brady had some fun with it in a Facebook video, but the majority of reaction posted to my Twitter feed was not humorous.

A sampling:

Rhetticus Finch @RJohnElvisT
Tom I can’t believe you’ve done this …
10:45 PM – 12 May 2017
Retweets likes
rachel march @rachelmarch
Well, now I’m even more glad they kept Jimmy Garoppolo. That Madden curse is real, man. …
10:25 PM – 12 May 2017
Retweets likes
12 May
Mike Reiss ✔ @MikeReiss
Tom Brady: “I suppose there’s been some reality to that curse. Hopefully I can break it. That would be pretty cool.”
Out Rae Geous @_TheOpinion
@MikeReiss @PatriotsHaven He won’t and our season is officially a wash. Gotdamnit! Just hand your ACL to Goodell, why don’t you?
10:12 PM – 12 May 2017
1 1 Retweet likes
As others have noted, the so-called curse didn’t play a factor with Odell Beckham Jr., Calvin Johnson and Richard Sherman in recent years. But some also pointed out that more recently, last year, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was on the cover and ultimately landed on season-ending injured reserve.

One follower asked my thoughts on this, and the response was straight-forward: Would have advised against it. Why introduce the possibility at all?

The line of thinking is aligned with former Patriots assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi, who tweeted: “I love the man, don’t like this …”

One other reaction that caught my attention:
Everything Buffalo @EverythingBuf
When you see Brady is on the Madden cover…
10:17 PM – 12 May 2017
31 31 Retweets 128 128 likes
So for those who view things similarly, it’s an added opponent for 2017: Brady vs. the so-called “Madden Curse.”

It’s on.