Having already exported the sport of ice hockey to such strange environs as Phoenix, Nashville and Raleigh, N.C., the NHL will next take its game to a place that makes more sense: chilly, fog-swept London.
The Ducks and the Kings will open their 2007-08 regular season by playing a two-game series in the new 23,000-seat O2 Arena on Sept. 29 and 30.
In a news release announcing the games, London Mayor Ken Livingstone said, "This is the first opportunity for Londoners to see real competition ice hockey at NHL standard." Mind you, Livingstone is a hockey novice and has not yet seen the Kings play.
What he can expect: After those two games, the name of the arena and Kings' record will be the same -- 02.
You wouldn't wish that fate on anyone
Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky, selected to appear on the cover of EA Sports' NCAA Football 08 video game, can take solace in one notion.
The EA cover jinx, which has wreaked havoc throughout the NFL and professional soccer, has yet to dig its talons deep into college football.
However, the NCAA video game is still in its infancy.
Reggie Bush appeared on the cover of the 2007 game and survived to have a productive NFL rookie season.
Carson Palmer (2004) and Larry Fitzgerald (2005) have not been so lucky. Palmer blew out his knee during the 2005 NFL playoffs, and Fitzgerald ... well, it's very depressing to consider what happened to him. He plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
New Chicago Cubs Manager Lou Piniella wants to create a new team tradition certain to strike fear into the hearts and souls of opponents.
He calls it Cubby Swagger.
On tonight's edition of HBO's "Real Sports," Piniella tells Frank Deford, "What we have to do now is get our team to develop a little bit of the, what I want to call, Cubby Swagger and get after it."
Deford: "That's almost an oxymoron. I mean, Bears Swagger, yeah -- but Cubby Swagger?" Piniella: "Well, the Cubbies, they're the Cubbies. The lovable Cubbies."
Piniella added, "And I'll tell you this, fans ask some tough questions. They want to win. They're tired of ... I had one wonderful lady come up to me. She says, 'I don't know how much [time] I have left. But can you please get this team to win?' "I said, 'Lady, you know what? I'm 63. I don't have much time left as a manager, also. So we're on the same page!' "
When did two NHL teams last play in London?
St. Louis Cardinals shortstop and 2006 World Series most valuable player David Eckstein began his professional baseball career with the Lowell Spinners, the Boston Red Sox's Class A affiliate.
To honor their alumnus for his towering achievement, the Spinners have announced that the first 1,500 fans at their July 20 game will receive a commemorative gift bearing the likeness of the 5-foot-7 Eckstein.
The gift is a stepstool.
In 1993, the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs played a two-game preseason series at Wembley Arena.
Headline in the New York Daily News, on the creation of the six-team Israel Baseball League, with Jewish former major leaguers Ron Blomberg, Ken Holtzman and Art Shamsky among the managers: "It's a Bat Mitzvah!"