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Can Zimmer, Vikings solve another offensive puzzle with defense? – Jamestown Sun

The defensive specialist surprised the Saints in a 26-20 overtime wild-card win last Sunday by moving defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen inside for about a dozen pass rushes against veteran quarterback Drew Brees. Zimmer also utilized safety Andrew Sendejo as a nickel back, a position he played for the first time in New Orleans.

After being roughly a touchdown underdog at New Orleans, the sixth-seeded Vikings (11-6) are in a similar position entering Saturdays divisional playoff at San Francisco (13-3), the top seed in the NFC. Defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo hinted Wednesday that more surprises could be in store.

(Zimmer) can improvise, Odenigbo said. Thats why hes one of the best, if not the best. (The Saints) didnt know what to expect. We hit them with the element of surprise. I think we have a nice game plan also against the 49ers. . Theyve got a good offense, but its going to be a good chess match.

Zimmer thrives on chess matches. Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson said hes not sure what his coach will roll out against the 49ers, but he is excited to see what it will be.

I dont know whats up his sleeve, Johnson said. To be honest, Zimmer is a mastermind when it comes to that. Well see on Saturday.

Zimmer was one of the NFLs top defensive coordinators before getting his first head coaching position with Minnesota in 2014. The Vikings finished in the top four in the NFL in total defense the previous three years before slipping to No. 14 this season, but it looked like the unit of old at New Orleans.

The Vikings held the Saints to 324 yards, nearly 50 less than the 373.9 they averaged during the regular season. They sacked Brees three times and forced him into two turnovers an interception and fumble.

Now, the Vikings will run into an even more potent offense, led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers were fourth during the regular season in total offense at 381.1 yards per game.

Each week, we try to look at something different, Zimmer said. But its playoff time and so youre always going to try to add a little bit different looks for the other team. Maybe it takes them a little while to catch on to whatever youre doing.

The Saints had just 158 yards in the first three quarters. By the time they really started to catch on, they trailed 20-10.

Whatever Zimmer does Saturday, he must try to overcome a shorthanded secondary, like last week. For the second straight game, the Vikings will be without their top two nickel backs, Mackensie Alexander and Mike Hughes. Alexander will have arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday, and Hughes is on injured reserve.

Many thought safety Jayron Kearse would take over at nickel back against the Saints, but Sendejo got the nod. Kearse sat out practices Tuesday and Wednesday with toe and knee injuries, and his availability for Saturday is uncertain.

I thought we played pretty well the other day against a pretty good offensive team, so we should be fine, Zimmer said of the secondary.

Safety Anthony Harris agrees.

Hes creative, Harris said of Zimmer. Hes not afraid to make adjustments, if need be.

It remains to be seen if the Vikings again move Hunter and Griffen inside at times, leaving Odenigbo and Stephen Weatherly to play defensive end. Odenigbo said that was done primarily to combat Brees.

Drew Brees sets up so shallow in the pocket and those two (Saints) tackles are legitimate all-pros, so we knew getting to him is nearly impossible as a D-end, Odenigbo said.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan vows to be ready for any look on the defensive line.

Well see where (Hunter and Griffen) are against us, but regardless of where they are, theres five guys that can block them, and well see which ones they put in front of them, Shanahan said. Those guys are a challenge wherever theyre at.

Whatever it is, Zimmer will have something in store for the 49ers.

Its an ultra chess match the whole game, linebacker Eric Kendricks said. Hes been a successful coach. Thats why he prepares the way he prepares, so he can be ready for these opportunities.

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Can Zimmer, Vikings solve another offensive puzzle with defense? - Jamestown Sun

Out & About: Dungeons and Dragons draws interest in Hanover – Valley News

Valley News Calendar Editor

Published: 1/8/2020 2:07:17 PM

Modified: 1/8/2020 2:06:42 PM

HANOVER As Dungeons and Dragons continues its resurgence, a Hanover resident is looking to find players in the Upper Valley who are interested in forming a group to meet regularly at the towns Howe Library.

Kael Alberghini will host a drop-in open house for people interested in learning more about Dungeons and Dragons from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday at the Howe Library, 13 South St.

Dungeons and Dragons is a role-playing game where players develop characters that have challenges they must face which include solving puzzles or fighting monsters. Dungeons and Dragons provides a framework through books on how to structure stories, but the format is largely left up to the individual players.

Theres been a really big trend for D&D to reach more people, he said, adding that YouTube and podcasts about the game have made a difference. I think that a lot of that comes from the (amount) of accessible D&D actual-play games where people can watch really talented people play D&D, listen to people play D&D.

Theres no winning the game, theres completing the campaign, theres finishing the story. Its a little bit closer to reading a novel in terms of how it ends than it is winning a video game or board game, Alberghini, 24, explained.

Storylines known as campaigns are organized based on different books and rules. Campaigns are led by a Dungeon Master and may be as short as an afternoon or continue on for months or years. Groups range in size. Alberghini said 4-5 players are manageable, but games with up eight participants can work as well.

The great thing is that there are a lot of different ways to play D&D, Alberghini said. Every single person who plays D&D is going to do it differently.

At first, Dungeons and Dragons can seem overwhelming. There are many different rules and instructions and the startup costs, which may include purchasing books and dice, may put people off who are on the fence about playing. People are encouraged to at least buy the Players Handbook, which has a list price of $49.95 on the official Dungeons and Dragons website. If there is enough interest in starting up a group at the Howe, Alberghini would like to work with the library to have copies of the handbook and other D&D texts that patrons could borrow.

The game can be played by adults and children alike. It can be adjusted to accommodate all skill levels.

I personally believe that rules can be secondary to making sure the game is enjoyable, Alberghini said. I personally consider the most important skill to be a willingness to role play and a willingness to make character choices. It really is about that courage to try.

Alberghini was introduced to the game when he was a child, but became more involved when has 21. He credits that, in part, to YouTube videos and podcasts about the game.

I really like the opportunity to collaboratively tell a story, he said. Theres always going to be an opportunity to be surprised.

The social aspect also appeals to Alberghini.

Its an opportunity for people to play games and socialize in a way that doesnt feel demanding, he said. It gives a structure that makes it feel easier to hang out with people.

Editors note: For more information about the open house, email Alberghini at Liz Sauchelli can be reached at or 603-727-3221.

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Out & About: Dungeons and Dragons draws interest in Hanover - Valley News

Board games are booming. Here’s why (and some holiday boredom busters) – The Conversation AU

Board games are booming. Article after article describes a golden age or renaissance of boardgaming.

In Germany, the home of modern boardgaming, the industry has grown by over 40% in the past five years; the four-day SPIEL trade fair this year saw 1,500 new board and card game releases, with 209,000 attendees from around the world.

What is it about board games that attracts people, and what emerging trends can we see in the latest releases?

Four main elements make board games enjoyable for families and dedicated hobbyists alike.

Firstly, board games are social; they are played with other people. Together, players select a game, learn and interpret the rules, and experience the game. Even a mediocre game can be fun and memorable when you play it with the right group of people.

Secondly, boardgames provide an intellectual challenge, or an opportunity for strategic thinking. Understanding rules, finding an optimal placement for a piece, making a move that surprises your opponent all of these are enormously satisfying. In many modern boardgames, luck becomes something that you mitigate rather than something that arbitrarily determines a winner.

Thirdly, board games are material they are made of things; they have weight, substance, and even beauty.

Hobbyists speak of the tactile joy and sensual delight of moving physical game pieces, and of their appreciation for the detailed art on a game box or board. Some go to great lengths to protect their games from damage, even sleeving individual cards in plastic to protect them from greasy fingers, spills or wear.

Collectable Monopoly sets and other vintage games can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

Finally and this helps to explain the enormous volume of new releases each year board games provide variety. Beyond the cult of the new lurks a desire to have the right game for the right situation whatever combination of gamers and strategic depth that might require.

The games theme matters, but so do the mechanisms of its play, as well as the games expected duration. Like authors, game designers such as Pandemic creator Matt Leacock attract a following of fans who enjoy the style of games that they produce.

To meet the demand for variety, designers look for new elements to offer in their games. Legacy style games where players customise the game as they play it, writing on the board, and discarding rules or game components create a one-off, individualised variant of a core game. They also invite a group to play together over several play sessions, modifying their game throughout the experience.

That can feel confronting to those of us who grew up protecting our games from damage.

If writing on game pieces is confronting, the Exit game series, by German couple Inka and Markus Brand is even more so.

These small, inexpensive games aim to replicate the experience of an escape room experience by providing the players with a series of puzzles to solve together, as a cooperative activity. To solve the puzzles, however, players must literally destroy the game cutting up cards, tearing objects, folding and gluing and writing on them.

Theres a lot to be said for these low cost single-play games, which build communication and teamwork skills and like real-world escape rooms provide an opportunity for friends and families to work together to solve a common problem.

For those who would like to be able to retrace their steps, or to pass a game on to friends, the Unlock! game series takes a different look at the escape room genre by using an integrated app to provide clues and answers.

This ensures that the game itself is replayable, even if the players do not wish to revisit the same story.

Like Exit games, the Unlock! series offers creative opportunities to combine different objects as part of solving the puzzles, but adds occasional multimedia elements and uses the various properties of a smartphone as problem-solving tools.

For people who enjoy solving puzzles, there are many other new games that combine digital technologies with the components and feel of a board game.

Chronicles of Crime puts players in the role of police detectives, who must travel to different locations to interview suspects, consult experts, and conduct searches.

Similarly, Detective sets players to solve a series of crimes. In this game, however, it is not enough to simply learn who committed a crime, it also must be proven by the chain of collected (and registered) evidence registered by players on a custom website.

These games reflect the broader development of a small group of games that use digital tools to add new features to board games.

One Night Ultimate Superheroes uses an app to run the game, taking on an administrative role that would otherwise have to be performed by a player.

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth uses an app to speed setup, set game maps, resolve rules and track the players progress, streamlining and simplifying play.

Beasts of Balance a simple, dexterity-based stacking game uses an app to create a story world which brings the tabletop animal figures to life and encourages players to stack different figures to continue its narrative.

These digital tools add variety to the range of boardgames that are available. More than simple battery-enabled games like Operation, they provide new ways to interact with the game material and mechanisms while still supporting the sociability, intellectual challenge and tangibility so enjoyed by players.

Physical board games arent going anywhere, but apps add exciting new possibilities to this play space.

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Board games are booming. Here's why (and some holiday boredom busters) - The Conversation AU

Number of adults over age 50 playing games regularly is on the rise –

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In the last three years, the number of adults age 50 and up who play video games regularly has increased, from 38% in 2016 to 44% in 2019.

An AARP survey of 3,737 people ages 50 and older identified 1,664 respondents as gamers -- meaning they owned a gaming device (phone, computer, tablet, console) and played a game on it at least once per month. 49% of women surveyed played games, compared to 40% of men.

Of those who didn't play games, 57% said it was because they were just "not a video game person." Only 5% said it was due to not understanding how the technology worked, and only 9% reported their lack of gaming as a view that games were for younger people.

Collectively, those who did play games averaged about five hours of play per week. 47% said they played daily, up from 40% in 2016, and four out of five played games at least once per week.

73% of the older adults who played games said they played on phones or other mobile devices, while 47% used computers or laptops. Only 13% played on consoles. The best-loved genre was puzzle and logic, with 49% reporting it as their favorite, with "card and tile" games (not gambling or casino games) as the favorite of 47%. Only 5% preferred action-adventure, and 5% preferred shooters.

When asked why they played games, 76% of those who did said they played to have fun. 67% said it kept them mentally sharp, 63% liked to be challenged and to solve problems. 60% played to relieve boredom, and 57% played to reduce stress.

Additionally, 42% reported putting limits on the amount of time per day they played -- though 13% responded that they thought they were addicted to playing games.

In total, the AARP estimated that adults ages 50 and up spent $3.5 billion on games in 2019.

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Number of adults over age 50 playing games regularly is on the rise -

Q and A: LSU TE Thaddeus Moss – 247Sports

(Photo: Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports)

LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss has been a key piece to the success of the offense in 2019, emerging as a reliable option for senior quarterback Joe Burrow in both the passing game and with his blocking abilities.

After sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules in 2017, Moss was sidelined the entirety of the 2018 season as he battled a lingering foot injury.

Healthy and on the field again for the first time since 2016 at North Carolina State, Moss made the most of his opportunity, becoming LSU's single-season record holder among tight ends for receptions and receiving yards. In 13 games, Moss has 42 catches for 534 yards and two touchdowns, putting him just one catch behind starting wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.

In LSU's 63-28 win over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoffs semifinals, Moss had four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Now, Moss is gearing up to face Clemson in the National Championship on Monday, January 13 in New Orleans.

We sat down with LSU's starting tight end to get his thoughts on the season, the matchup with Clemson and more.

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Q and A: LSU TE Thaddeus Moss - 247Sports

Sensible Soccer and 7 more to feature on Royal Mail games stamps – NW Evening Mail

The Royal Mail is dipping heavily into 80s and 90s nostalgia with its latest set of 8 limited-edition stamps. They're up for preorder now and each one features a classic UK-made videogame - how many did you play?

2nd class: Elite (1984)

An incredible technical achievement, Elite somehow managed to cram a fully explorable universe into the BBC Micro's 48kb of memory and offered an openworld 3D experience decades ahead of its time complete with interplanetary trading, space battles and the infamously tricky process of docking with space stations.Co-creator David Braben raised a staggering 1.5 million from fans in a 2014 Kickstarter campaign to fund Elite: Dangerous, a AAA remake for current-generation PCs and consoles.

2nd class: Worms (1995)

A classic multiplayer party game, Worms was a turn-based strategy shooter featuring heavily-armed earthworms. The vermiculate vagabonds take turns to shoot each other with a variety of over-the-top weapons as likely to catch an ally in the crossfire as to take down their target. Notable as one of the few games where you could give your characters a regional accent - Scots, Scouse and Yorkshire dialect were all options. Grew into a huge franchise, so whatever your console of choice there's sure to be a Worms game oavailable for it.

1st class: Sensible Soccer (1992)

Forget EA Sports -for most of the 90s the undisputed kings of the footy game were eccentric British outfit Sensible Software. Sensi, as the studio's landmark football title was known to fans, was a revelation - fast,easy to pick up but hard to master; and stuffed with the studio's trademark humour.Arguably the definitive version is Sensible World of Soccer (SWOS), the first game to feature hundreds of real-world teams, competitions and players, but for the stamp Royal Mail have gone with the 1992 original.Sensible veteran Jon Hare is currently working on Sociable Soccer, a spiritual successor for mobile and console.

1st class: Lemmings (1991)

Bundled in with the insanely popular Amiga 500+ home computer, Lemmings was a breakout hit for Dundee studio DMA Design. A maddeningpuzzle game, it put players indirectly in charge of a herd of green-haired rodents with absolutely no sense of self-preservation, who must be guided to the exit past a variety of lethal traps. Its cute visuals hid a sadistic core: many levels could only be completed by sacrificing one or more lemmings as exploding "bombers", a design choice that probably wouldn't make it off the drawing board post-9/11. The commercial success of Lemmings and its sequels gave DMA the creative freedom to work on an edgy new idea for their next big project.Its name? Grand Theft Auto.

1.55: Wipeout (1995)

The original PlayStation revolutionised games by making 3D the new standard, and no game did more to show off the technology's potential than Wipeout. Developed in Liverpool, the futuristic racer seemed almost impossibly fast and effortlessly cool. The series has featured on every generation of PlayStation hardware, and if you own a PSVR headset you can play the latest version in virtual reality - it's every bit as exhilerating as you might imagine, but hold on to your lunch.

1.55: Micro Machines (1991)

One of the all-time great uses of an official product licence, Micro Machines had the simple but brilliant idea of racing a child's toy cars around to-scale domestic environments: there were racetracks on a dining table, a pool table, a classroom,a garden and even a level racing tiny speedboats around a bathtub.Developers Codemasters clearly got the racing game bug, as they specialise in the genre to this day - most recently the DiRT Rally and GRiD series.

1.60:Dizzy (1987)

Another Codemasters classic, Dizzy was a cheerful egg who starred in a range of surreal and notoriously difficult adventure games whose puzzles largely involved moving objects from one place to another to get past obstacles. Its creators, the Oliver twins, were at one time reckoned to be responsible for 7% of all game sales in the UK.

1.60: Populous (1992)

These days when virtually every game involves driving cars, shooting guns or some some combination of the two, it's easy to forget how varied games were in the 90s. 'God games' were a popular genre in their own right and this was the one that started it all off. Populous gave you a small tribe of worshippers and various ways of influencing the development of their civilisation, all with the ultimate aim of wiping out rival believers - which, frankly, sounds a bit less like harmless escapism in 2020 than it did at the time.

What do you think of this line-up?

Have the Royal Mail done a first class job picking these games, or would you have gone for something different? Let us know in the comments!

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Sensible Soccer and 7 more to feature on Royal Mail games stamps - NW Evening Mail

New Westminster gets a new games store – The Record (New Westminster)

Rain City Games is the newest business to set up shop in River Market. After getting its start in Vancouver, co-owners Andrea Robertson and Channing Guenther recently opened a second location in New West and are thrilled to be part of the downtown community. The Record checked in with Robertson to get the details on the new shop.

When did Rain City Games get its start?

Channing and I bought Rain City Games in September 2017, back when it was One Stop Shop Cards and Games in the International Village Mall in downtown Vancouver. Since then, we've been making the place our own curating a huge selection of games, hosting events, and making Rain City Games a welcoming place for gamers of all stripes.

When and why did you open up a shop in New West?

We opened our doors in New West on Nov. 1. We had already been thinking about opening a second location, so it was a good sign when the River Market approached us last summer and asked us to move in. We toured the market and spent time in the surrounding area and fell in love with the vibrant neighbourhood and community spirit exactly the sort of place we could see ourselves making a positive impact.

What products can folks find at Rain City Games?

We offer a bit of everything! Board games, card games, role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, jigsaw puzzles, science kits everything a proud nerd could want.

Are games popular? Who plays?

Board games are huge now. We see people from all walks of life playing board games, and the industry is certainly responding around 3,000 new board game titles are released every year. We think it's a mix of nostalgia (remember when you played board games as a kid?) and a desire to spend some time away from smartphones and computer screens. Board games are a fantastic way to get some real human interaction. And, you know, some fun.

Do you have games for people of all ages?

Our youngest games teach toddlers about everything from colours to feelings, while our most strategic games teach adults about overcoming your teammates' questionable decision making and the values of mercilessly crushing your opponents' armies. Life skills all around!

What kind of special events do you offer at the New West location?

Our events calendar is growing quickly. Last year we started our Friday Night Board Games and our Thursday D&D sessions. This year we're adding kids' D&D on Saturdays, miniatures painting classes, and more including both the Catan and Pandemic Regional Championships. Win one of those and you could find yourself competing for the top prize in Canada! You can find our full calendar at

How many games do you have in stock and what are the most popular at your River Market location?

Of the 1,400 different items we have in stock at any given time, around 500 to 600 are unique board game titles. We aren't kidding when we say there's something for everyone! Our most popular titles this fall included Codenames, Dragon's Breath, Coup, Wingspan, and Pokmon cards.

Is there anything else youd like the community to know about Rain City Games?

Our in-store events emphasize community over competition. They're casual, friendly, and fun and we wouldn't have it any other way!

New Westminster gets a new games store - The Record (New Westminster)

OTD in 2003: Gary Carter Elected to Hall of Fame –

On Jan. 8, 2003, storied New York Mets catcher Gary Carter was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his sixth try with 78 percent of the vote. Carter played five seasons with the Mets including the 1986 championship season. Enjoy this fun article about one of Garys most memorable moments!

Keith Hernandez flied out to center for the second out of the inning. A tomb-like silence fell over Shea. Fans stared in disbelief. The 108 regular-season wins plus six more in the post-season meant nothing. Vin Scully announcedMarty Barrettwas chosen player of the game.

And thenNo. 8 stepped to the plate.

In a career that spanned nearly 2,300 games and 8,000 at-bats over 19 seasons, there are many memorable moments. However, the defining moment of his Hall-of-Fame career, what typifiedGary Carter, was something that happened OFF the field.

The Mets are still alive, said Scully as Carter lined a 2-1 offering into left.

In Spring Training 1974, Expos teammatesKen SingletonandMike Jorgensenchided the exuberant rookie. 19-year-old Gary Carter was trying to win every sprint, hit every pitch over the wall. His childlike enthusiasm for the game prompted them to call him The Kid.

As a late September call-up, The Kid made his major league debut. He caught the back end of a doubleheader against the defending NL Champion Mets. He went 0-for-4.

Baseball is and always will be a game of stats. But sometimes even that, no matter how impressive they may be, do not accurately measure the impact of a player. Sure, Gary was an 11-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger, two-time MVP of the All-Star Game and winner of three Gold Gloves. He hit 324 career home runs and batted in 1225. But that did not define him.

And the Mets refuse to go quietly, said Vin Scully, afterKevin Mitchellsingled and Carter moved to second.

The road to theChampionship began in 1983. In May, the Mets brought up highly touted rookieDarryl Strawberry. Just weeks later, Frank Cashen sentNeil Allento St. Louis in exchange for former MVP and proven winner Keith Hernandez. 1984 saw the debut of rookie phenom Dwight Gooden. But still, something was missing. The crme de la crme came in December 84 when Gary Carter joined the Mets. He was the final piece of the puzzle, explained Keith.

On April 9, 1985, one day after turning 31, Carter made his debut with the Mets. He hit a solo homer in the 10th inning off of Neil Allen to give the Mets a 6-5 Opening Day victory. With that blast, The Kid won the hearts of Mets fans everywhere. But that moment did not define him.

Gary had an infectious smile. He was the media darling, always willing and ready to give an interview or answer a question. Some referred to him in a derogatory way, calling him Camera Carter, accusing him of being the ultimate self-promoter. He was not that. He was, however, the consummate professional.

During his tenure with the Mets, there were plenty of fist-raising curtain calls. Even when he struck out, hed walk back to the dugout, looking down, shaking his head twice, disappointed with himself, but most likely already planning how to adjust in his next at-bat. But the curtain calls and raised fists did not define him.

Lets be honest. That 1986 team were not exactly boy scouts. They were a bunch of brawling, boozing, hell raisers. Carter, however, was a boy scout. Hell, he even did a commercial for Ivory Soap! But yet, in spite of the fact that Gary may not have fit in with the recklessness of Keith, Darling, Ojeda, Knight, and Strawberry, he was still loved by the fans and respected by his teammates. (anyone rememberGregg Jefferies?). However, this was not his defining trait.

Over a quarter of a century has passed since that fateful Game 6 but we all remember it like it was yesterday. It was our beloved No. 8 who started not only the greatest rally in Mets history, but quite possibly the most amazin comeback ever in a World Series.

In the top of the seventh, Boston took a 3-2 lead and was threatening for more.Rich Gedmansingled through the left side andJim Ricerounded third base.Mookie Wilsonfired a rocket to the plate and Carter executed a perfect tag on Rice to keep the Mets within one. Had Carter not made the tag things would be very different. In the eighth, it was Carters sacrifice fly that tied the game at 3-3. But these were not his defining moments either.

This, however, did define Gary. WhenRay Knight singled, Carter raced home, bringing the Mets to within a run. He stepped on the plate, defiantly pointed at on-deck batter Mookie Wilson. As he entered the dugout, he high fived several players and took a breather. And what did he do then? He looked around for his catching gear!

The Mets were trailing 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. But yet, in spite of the team being behind, Gary was preparing to come out for the 11th inning. The entire 86 season, the entire never-say-die attitude of that 86 club, was captured right then and there. What must Boston have thought when they saw that? That one simple act, something Carter did while not even on the field, not only summed up the Mets attitude that year, but more importantly the eagerness of The Kid. He still wanted to play more baseball.

Mookie Wilson said, Gary was one of the happiest guys in the world. I relied on Gary for everything when I was on the mound, said Doc Gooden. He was a warrior on the field. Battery mateRon Darlingsaid, Gary was everything you wanted in a sports hero; great talent, great competitor, great family man and a great friend.

However, it was Garys manager,Davey Johnson, who perhaps summed it up best. I loved him very much. We all did, Davey. And always will. Gary may have worn the blue and orange for only five seasons, but his memories will last a lifetime.

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OTD in 2003: Gary Carter Elected to Hall of Fame -

Justin Williams is back in Carolina. What does his return mean for the Hurricanes? – The Hockey News


After weighing his options and deciding to make a return, Justin Williams has inked a one-year deal to play out the campaign in Carolina. That's a win for the Hurricanes, who add a veteran hand who knows the systems, can help the offense and makes the lineup that much deeper.

By no means was it a given, and there was indeed chatter the veteran winger could end up elsewhere, but Tuesday night the long-held belief about Justin Williams NHL future became a reality. He has put pen to paper on a one-year deal to return to the Carolina Hurricanes for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.

As far as surprises go, of course, Williams signing in Carolina is up there with opening up your closet to find clothes. After all, when the now-38-year-old winger announced ahead of the season he was going to be stepping away from the game while he weighed his options, he did so through the Hurricanes. And in his message back in early September, Williams said he wanted the focus to be on the talented group Carolina had assembled. So, when rumblings began to surface Williams was interested in returning at some point this season, one didnt need to possess the deductive reasoning skills of Sherlock Holmes to put the pieces of this puzzle together.

Stunning decision or not, however, getting Williams under contract for the remainder of the season is no less a win for the Hurricanes. That goes double when you consider the cap hit associated with the pact. The deal technically carries a $2-million AAV, but Williams cap hit amounts to league minimum $700,000 with potential for the former Hurricanes captain to earn another $1.3 million in performance bonuses. Thats a perfect fit for Carolina, who arent as cap-strapped as some other clubs but are projected to have a hair less than $1.2 million available following Williams signing. And if Williams earns any bonuses, the Hurricanes can deal with those later.

But its the impacts of the signing, not just on the budget, that are best for the Hurricanes. Though true that Williams has sat out more than half the campaign and will need some time to get up to speed, theres no denying that the parts of his game that will benefit Carolina most arent predicated on his ability to keep up in a league that gets faster by the season. Williams was never the most fleet of foot. Where he succeeded was in thinking the game and getting to the proper areas as well as any secondary scorer in the NHL. Thats not an element of his game that will have disappeared overnight or after 40-plus games on the sidelines.

If there was ever proof, too, that Williams could continue to contribute that secondary scoring role, it came last season, and the Hurricanes hope is that Williams can recapture some of the same scoring touch he showcased during Carolinas transformative 2018-19 campaign. Last season, he scored 23 goals and 53 points, his highest full-season point total since his 2011-12 campaign with the Los Angeles Kings, and similar production would be a boon to the middle of the Hurricanes lineup. Even if he takes a step back, the addition of a scorer contributing at a 15-goal, 35-point pace can be incredibly beneficial to a Carolina team that is already in the top-third of the league in per-game offensive production.

This is only to mention the offensive benefits, though, and Williams offers much more than that. On a possession-heavy Hurricanes outfit last season, Williams was among the clubs very-best play drivers and posted among the best expected goals percentages of any lineup regular. Sure, he had favorable zone starts only two regular forwards had a higher offensive zone start percentage than Williams 55.1 percent but that does little to take away from underlying numbers that were impressive across the board. And taking into account what he stands to contribute offensively and how sound his play was at both ends of the ice last season, the only question that comes as a result of Williams signing is one of where he fits into the lineup.

For the most part, Carolina coach Rod BrindAmours lines have been set, particularly the top six where Sebastian Aho has centered Teuvo Teravainen and Nino Niederreiter and Jordan Staal has played between Andrei Svechnikov and Warren Foegele. It can safely be suggested that neither of those trios will be broken up by Williams arrival, at least not in the immediate. The bottom six, however, seems less certain to remain unchanged. Erik Haula, Ryan Dzingel and Martin Necas have spent a considerable amount of time together, and BrindAmour might be hesitant to alter that group, but the fourth line of Lucas Wallmark, Jordan Martinook and Brock McGinn seems readymade for a fresh face.

If it is the fourth line where Williams is slotted to start, Martinook seems the odds-on favorite to be the odd-man out. His ice time has been limited at the best of times, his production two goals and 10 points in 28 games has been somewhat limited and his underlying numbers are the worst of the three fourth-line forwards. Add to it that Williams needs some minutes to ease back into the lineup and its a logical one-for-one lineup change.

How long Williams remains playing a limited role, though, is anyones guess. He could be a second power play fixture and middle-six scorer by the time the post-season rolls around. And you can rest assured the playoffs are the reason Williams is back. One season after helping guide the Hurricanes to the Eastern Conference final, hes back with the intention of closing out his career with the Stanley Cup held high, and Carolinas chances of making that a reality have only improved with the addition of their former captain.

(All advanced statistics via NaturalStatTrick)

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Tags: free agency, carolina hurricanes


Jared Clinton

Jared Clinton is a writer and web editor with The Hockey News. He's been with the team since 2014. He was born, raised and resides in Winnipeg, where he can be found missing the net on outdoor rinks all over town.

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Justin Williams is back in Carolina. What does his return mean for the Hurricanes? - The Hockey News

How could my wife have Alzheimers? She was only 56. – The Boston Globe

No. Theyre all just talking constantly and I never get a chance to say anything.

But Laurie, thats what happens at dinner parties. Youve got eight people fueled by a lot of alcohol and they all are clamoring for the floor. Thats just the way it is.

I didnt get to speak. I hated it. Why wont they let me speak?

Im puzzled. Laurie was always the life of any get-together: raucous, loud, leading the room from one topic to the next. What was going on?

At another dinner party a few weeks later, I notice Laurie sitting back, silent. Hey Laurie, I say in a loud voice. Anything youd like to add? The room quiets and everyone looks at her.

No, she says, and sips from her glass of wine.

The next morning were arguing again. No one, she says, would let me speak.


Im sitting in the living room in 2011, reading.

Hes coming over with the stuff to do the thing, Laurie says.

It takes me a moment to realize shes speaking to me. What?

Hes coming over with the stuff to do the thing.

What stuff? What thing? And who is he?

She glares at me. You know. The words are accusatory and full of weight.

I wonder if I am becoming that stereotypical husband who ignores his spouse, just responding Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Im sorry. I must not have been paying attention. Whos coming over?

She turns and walks out of the room.


Weve flown to Washington to visit our oldest daughter, Lauren, at college. We get together for drinks with one of my brothers. Shes doing the thing pretty soon, Laurie says.

What? my brother asks. Laurie, seriously, we need to find out whats going on with your speech. Somethings up.

Laurie looks shocked, and says, What do you mean?

Your speech, the way you talk. I dont understand what youre saying.

She laughs. Oh, thats nothing. Its the beer.

When Laurie gets up to go to the restroom, I say to my brother, Youve been noticing it?

Everyones been noticing it, he says.

I thought it was just me.


Worried, I reach out to Lauries primary care physician, asking her to refer Laurie for tests. She talks to Laurie, who eventually agrees.

When we meet with a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital to find out the results, he says Laurie has primary progressive aphasia of the logopenic variant.

Whats that mean? I ask.

Its aphasiaan inability to communicateand its specifically word-related. Thats the logo part. Lauries having trouble finding words. Thats our primary diagnosis.

Then he says, And its progressive.

Progressive? I ask.

Meaning its going to get worse.

Im bewildered and want to know what caused it. Did she have a stroke? Heavy metals, pesticides? He says probably not, but can run more tests to check.

Well, I think we need to, I say. Right, Laurie? She nods.

This is just crazy, I say. Shes only 56.

We stand up and the neurologist asks me to stay behind for some paperwork. As Laurie waits outside, he says, I didnt want to say it in front of her, but in all likelihood what she has is younger-onset Alzheimers. It just started in a unique part of her brainthe left rear lobebut like all Alzheimers, it eventually will spread throughout the entire brain.

You need to prepare yourself, he adds.

Alzheimers? I thought that only happened to people in their 80s and 90s. But shes only 56, I repeat. Shes got her MBA in finance.


Laurie and I had first met at a punk-rock club in Washington, where Id moved for work in 1982 after graduating from law school. I was there with friends when she walked in, 5 foot 11, tan, wearing a black miniskirt. I spent the evening glancing her way, occasionally approaching but then backing off, certain she was out of my league. Toward midnight, I finally went up to her and managed to say Hello.

Giving me a withering look, she said, Well, it took you long enough. I was smitten.

She would turn out to be the wittiest, smartest, and most talkative person I had ever met. And now all of that was fading away.


Were at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, walking into a small conference room to meet with a neurological researcher. Months earlier, Laurie had agreed to be part of his study testing whether a combination of certain dyes in the bloodstream and positron electron tomography imaging could pick up the presence of abnormal amyloid proteins in her brain. This is a marker of Alzheimers disease, usually only found in an autopsy.

The researcher is hoping his technique can detect Alzheimers before death. Were hoping hell tell us her increasingly apparent aphasia is caused by something else.

We sit down. He picks up a piece of paper, looks at it, and then looks at us. He starts to cry.


Laurie is standing in the middle of our living room, sobbing. I go to her and hold her. I dont need to ask whats wrong; I know. We just stand there, hugging.

A few days later, I look in the medicine cabinet at Lauries medications, Aricept and Namenda, representing the only two types of Alzheimers-related drugs on the market. Neither stops the disease, let alone cures it, but theyre thought to help improve cognition. The containers seem full. Too full.

Laurie, I ask, Have you been taking your pills?

No, she says. I dont need them.

Yes, you do, I say. You need them for your Alzheimers.

I dont have Alzheimers, she says.


Laurie comes out the front door along with our youngest daughter, Bryn, to see the new Honda CR-V Im driving.

I want to try it, Laurie says. Bryn and I exchange looks. Its 2015 and I havent let Laurie drive for months, finding one excuse or another. But I reluctantly say OK, and we climb into the car, me in the front passenger seat, Bryn in back. I suggest we go to get lunch at one of our regular places, an easy drive on mostly back roads.

At the first stop sign, I remind her to take a right. She immediately starts to go left. No! I say sharply, The other right!

She takes the next turn without appearing to think. She seems to be doing fine, and I begin to relax. A quarter mile later, at a light, she asks Where?

I point to the left, and she turns that way. At the restaurant, she cruises toward a parking spot right in front. I realize shes about to hit a car to our left. I reach across and pull the steering wheel down so we swerve right, saying Laurie, stop. Stop! She does.

Let me park it, I say. She gets out, and I get in.

After lunch, I drive home. Bryn and I have a few minutes alone.

That was awful, she says. She shouldnt be driving.

Later, Laurie tells me that its the new car. I was fine with the old one.


Laurie walks into the apartment, her face ashen. Is everything OK? Did you get the money? I ask. She bursts into tears. Its not working.

I stand up, go to her, and hug her. Its no big deal. Lets go down and take a look. Maybe the ATMs just broken.

We go across the street. I watch as she puts her card in and types her password. The screen reads incorrect password. She tries again and the error message flashes once more. Whats your password? I ask.


Im pretty sure its our anniversary, I say. Try typing that in. The numbers she presses are nothing close to our anniversary.

Laurie, I say, my voice rising. Pay attention. Thats not your password. I catch myself and try to cool down. I ask her to let me help, and type in the password. A few seconds later she has $60 in her purse.


Im sitting in our bedroom and I hear the click of a door shutting. I get up and look around. Laurie? Theres no answer. I walk outside to the hallway. No sign of her. I take the elevator to the lobby and see the doorman. Have you seen Laurie?

Not this morning, he says. I run up the stairs and find her between the second and third floors. What are you doing here?

She looks at me, bewildered.


She got her MBA in finance in 1986, shortly after we got married. An ardent feminist, she kept her own name and we gave our children both of our surnames. She wrote, acted in local plays, ran film groups, and threw herself headlong into our childrens lives.

I sit and contemplate how much Laurie has lost. She can no longer write. She cant even sign her own name. The televisions remote control mystifies her. When we go out for dinner, she cant read the menu. She no longer showers, seemingly afraid of the water. She wears the same clothes, day after day. Her hair has grown ragged and when the telephone rings, she simply looks at it.

I understood the word progressive when her neurologist first diagnosed it. But I realize I never really absorbed it, fooling myself into thinking that however she was would remain the same way. When Id notice some new diminishment, Id just reorder my thinking, believing that this was now the new normal.

I now understand none of thats true. Ive lost her. And shell never come back.


Im nervous. For months, Lauren, Bryn, and I have been talking about a next step for Laurie. I travel a lot for work; I cant care for her at home anymore. Were worried about her wandering. After touring places, we settle on Avita of Needham, a memory care facility. Today, June 29, 2016, is the day she is supposed to move.

But Laurie seems completely unaware.

A care manager we hired to help us is at the apartment. Laurie, she says, Tom needs to go on a long business trip. Hes going to be gone for a while.

Laurie looks terrified. Do you feel afraid to be alone? she asks. Laurie nods.

The care manager continues. I know a place thats safe and fun and where you get to play brain games. Doesnt that sound good? Laurie nods again. Would you like to visit with me? Laurie nods a third time.

We go to the car and after a short drive are walking through the front door of Avita. The executive director greets us. Everything has been carefully staged. She and others gather around Laurie, hugging her and talking and leading her down a corridor and past a locked door. She doesnt turn around to look at me.

That night in bed I realize shell never sleep next to me again. Despair washes over me.


I call frequently to find out how shes doing, but I dont visit. The idea is to give her time to adjust, to become acclimated.

After two weeks, I finally come in to see her. Im waiting for the questionsWhere have you been? Why am I here? Can I go home now?and rehearsing my answerThis is your home now. Im preparing for the tears and anger.

Theres none of that. We visit, have a cup of coffee. I talk; she listens. I walk her back to her room, she sits in a chair, and I leave.

This really is her home now.


Nine months later, Laurie and I are sitting in the living room at Avita. My mother died yesterday, I tell her. They had been close. Laurie turned to my mom when the children were first born and she felt out of her depth, wondering how she would ever manage motherhood.

Laurie just looks at me and stares.


Its been a year and a half, and Avitas executive director tells me Laurie needs more care than the facility can provide. I am not surprised.

When Laurie first entered, she could manage most everything, only needing some persuasion to take her medication or brush her teeth. Now shes largely incontinent, increasingly needs help eating, and is unsteady on her feet.

Continued here:
How could my wife have Alzheimers? She was only 56. - The Boston Globe

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