Copyright ©2010. The Associated Press. Produced by NewsOK.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The NBA set out on a social-media campaign last week designed to familiarize fans with the league’s final proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement. NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver spent part of their Sunday night answering questions on Twitter, and the league posted a minute-and-a-half soundless slide show on YouTube explaining details of the league’s offer. At the end of the YouTube slide show, one final graphic depicted a sample team roster in 2013-14. It was a model payroll structure the league argues can give every team a chance to compete while also affording it the opportunity to make a profit.Although players ultimately rejected the offer, two significant issues surrounding the Oklahoma City Thunder emerged from that final slide: a possible preview of what Russell Westbrook’s extension could look like, and a glimpse of how the Thunder might be able to retain its core. Under the league’s proposal, a team should be able to field a 15-man roster in 2013-14 for $75 million, or the projected luxury tax line annually established to penalize teams that greatly exceed the salary cap. The sample roster allowed for one “superstar” who earns a maximum salary of $17 million, one “All-Star” at $14 million, a starter at $10 million and two other starters at $8 million a piece. A team’s sixth man would earn $5 million, and rotational players seven through 10 would have salaries descending by $1 million starting at $4 million for the seventh rotational player. Players 11-15 would earn $3 million collectively, or $600,000 a piece. Using that formula, it becomes easy to pencil in the Thunder’s cast. The catch, of course, is nobody knows how high the ceiling of certain Thunder players will be. But let’s have some fun. Kevin Durant, who received the maximum allowable extension last year, fills the “superstar” category. By 2013-14, Durant would be in the third year of his five-year deal worth upward of $85 million. Westbrook, who is eligible for an extension whenever the lockout is lifted, currently is the team’s biggest mystery from a payroll standpoint. Still, he clearly will fill the second slot defined as “All-Star.” It’s just a question of whether the explosive point guard commands a max contract. If so, that could place the Thunder under an enormous financial burden and potentially squeeze out others. But if somehow GM Sam Presti is able to ink Westbrook for less than the max, the structure remains well intact.Going off the league’s sample, the Thunder could comfortably sign Westbrook to a five-year, $75 million deal. It would give Westbrook an average salary of $15 million starting at $13 million. While it wouldn’t be a max deal, it would, by comparison, be $20 million more than Boston point guard Rajon Rondo received.The rest of the puzzle then begins to crystallize. The only remaining question would be whether James Harden or Serge Ibaka would fill the $10 million starter slot.But a quick look at the Thunder’s books for 2013-14 shows how the franchise has already set up this exact structure. Durant is slated to earn $16.4 million (although it likely will be more when the salary cap is set), and Kendrick Perkins is down for $8.4 million. Only two other players currently are on the books: Thabo Sefolosha for $3.9 million, or the value of the seventh rotational player, and Nick Collison for $2.5 million, or the value of the ninth rotational player.That leaves a sixth man, an eighth rotational player and a 10th rotational player. Those slots seemingly would be filled by Eric Maynor, Cole Aldrich and Daequan Cook. By the time his rookie contract is up, Reggie Jackson would either replace Maynor or be moved depending on his performance.Slots 11 through 15 would annually be filled with rookie contracts, minimum-salaried players and journeyman veterans looking to hitch their wagon to a potential champion.San Antonio has succeeded in this manner for years, constructing perennial 50-plus win teams through sound salary balance.The Spurs have maintained a well-defined hierarchy for much of the past 14 years. The formula, though, began in earnest when Tim Duncan’s rookie extension kicked in before the 2000-01 season. Since then, that hierarchy has been topped with a three-man core that has typically received the bulk of the cash — Duncan, David Robinson and Avery Johnson, then Duncan, Robinson and Steve Smith, then Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.As a result, the Spurs have never been in the top five in payroll over the past 14 seasons. And they’ve been in the top 10 in payroll only six times over that same span.The league’s formula is completely hypothetical and can be maneuvered in many different ways. It’s just one example, and by no means is it a fool proof formula. Not every team, for example, can or will spend $75 million. Only five teams did so last season. Many other franchises don’t field a “superstar” or maximum-salaried player. But the blueprint has been laid. So the next time you think the Thunder can’t possibly maintain its core, think again. Not only is it possible, but it may also be done without Oklahoma City being a tax-paying team. Sports Photo Galleriesview all
Police in riot gear began closing in early Monday on some 2,000 anti-Wall Street activists who defied a midnight deadline to vacate an eight-week-old encampment outside Los Angeles City Hall as some protesters blocked traffic. Skip to next paragraph Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had given Occupy LA protesters until midnight local time to dismantle their tents, pack up their belongings and clear out of the City Hall park, or face a forcible removal.But Jim Lafferty, a National Lawyers Guild attorney and leading advocate for protesters in talks with the city, said two hours after the eviction deadline that police had assured him “there will be no move against this occupation tonight.”He said he expected police would end up giving Occupy LA a two-day reprieve and that the only demonstrators risking arrest before then were those who remained in the roadway.A police commander on the scene, Andrew Smith, confirmed the encampment would be allowed to stay put until at least daybreak. But he said protesters who continued to block traffic had until 4:30 a.m. to move or face arrest.“We have no plan at this time to go into the park and evict people,” Smith said. “That could change in the near future, but right now we are hoping to clear the streets, and that’ll be the end and people can relax for a little while.”Clark Davis, an OccupyLA organizer, said to Smith and a group of officers standing by, “You guys have been fantastic.”But some protesters expressed suspicion at word of a reprieve, saying it could be a ploy by police to get them to let down their guard.SUPPORTERS RALLY TO BOLSTER CAMPThe Los Angeles encampment is among the oldest and largest on the West Coast aligned with a 2-month-old national Occupy Wall Street movement protesting economic inequality, high unemployment and excesses of the U.S. financial system.Staking its place since Oct. 1 on the grounds surrounding City Hall, the compound has grown to roughly 400 tents and 700 to 800 people, organizers and municipal officials said. At least a third are believed to be homeless.By Sunday night the size of the crowd outside City Hall swelled further as supporters from organized labor, clergy, civil rights and other groups streamed into the area, answering a call for an eleventh-hour show of support for the campers.Police estimated the overall number of protesters, some wearing gas masks, had grown to at least 2,000.Police, who had kept out of sight during the day, began to make their presence known as the eviction deadline came and went, and the mood of the protesters, which had been calm and festive, turned more boisterous and rowdy.
It’s a model moment! Miranda Kerr and her son Flynn ran into their famous friend Lily Aldridge at JFK airport yesterday. Miranda chatted with her fellow Victoria’s Secret model and Lily doted on baby Flynn as they waited for their flights. Miranda and Flynn touched down in LA this morning, just one day before the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airs. The annual lingerie extravaganza will be on CBS tomorrow night after Miranda, Lily, and the rest of the VS Angels taped the runway event earlier this month. We went behind the scenes with Lily during a fitting and also took a look back at all the sexy VS shows to gear up for the big event. There have been plenty of lovely ladies on the catwalk over the years, though Miranda insists that she doesn’t compare herself to the other women. Miranda told New York magazine in a recent interview, “I can’t feel bad about being who I am, just like the girl next to me can’t feel bad about being who she is. Because a rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose.”
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Ndamukong Suh is going back to the NFL, this time hoping for some leniency. The league suspended Detroit’s All-Pro defensive tackle without pay for two games on Tuesday, punishing the second-year player for roughing up a Green Bay Packers offensive lineman after the whistle last week. Suh promptly appealed his suspension, hoping his stomp doesn’t keep him away from his playoff-hopeful teammates when they need him most. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Suh’s hearing will be with Art Shell, an appointed appeal officer who is paid by the league and NFLPA. As of late Tuesday afternoon, the hearing hadn’t been scheduled, but the league has said it will expedite the procedure to give Suh and the Lions an answer before Sunday’s game at New Orleans. If Suh doesn’t win the appeal, he won’t play against the Saints or in the Dec. 11 home game against Minnesota. He would return Dec. 12 ahead of a road game against Oakland. Suh is barred from practice and the team’s facility while suspended. “As a player, you have to appeal it,” said Detroit defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, the team’s union rep. “I’m sure the NFLPA will be on his side to make sure that he gets a fair hearing.” If the NFL turns rejects the appeal, Suh will be watching the Lions (7-4) scramble to keep up in the NFC wild-card race after what the league said was his fifth violation of on-field rules in his first two years in the NFL. And everyone saw the latest one. Suh lifted up his right knee and forcibly stepped on Evan Dietrich-Smith’s right arm during the third quarter of the Lions’ 27-15 loss last Thursday in a nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game. Before the stomp seen from coast to coast, Suh shoved Dietrich-Smith’s helmet toward the turf while separating himself from the Packers player on the ground. It might have hurt Suh’s case when he sounded defiant during his postgame news conference, insisting he didn’t intentionally step on his opponent. After the Lions criticized his conduct Friday, Suh issued an apology to his teammates, organization and fans — not to Dietrich-Smith — as some around the league said his latest outburst proved he was the NFL’s dirtiest player. “I’ll let him speak for himself when he gets that opportunity, but I’ve had a lot of conversations with him the last two days and I think he is in a different spot,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Tuesday. “I think his No. 1 thing is, he didn’t want to be a distraction for the team. He wanted the team to be able to focus on the Saints and he wants to be accountable for his actions.” Earlier this season, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year requested a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play after he drew several penalties and another fine. Suh said he had a better understanding of the rules after that meeting four weeks ago. On Sunday, he called Goodell to apologize but that didn’t appear to help. Lions offensive linemen Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims refused to answer questions about Suh after Tuesday’s practice. Vanden Bosch, though, believes everyone in the locker room supports Suh, who he spoke with on Tuesday. “His biggest regret is the affect it had on the team,” Vanden Bosch said. “It was an unfortunate situation. When you’re on the field, a lot of things happen when you’re playing with so much emotion in such a physical game. It’s difficult to look at the grand scheme of things when you’re in the heat of the moment. “There’s no question he’d like to have the moment back, but he’s dealing with the repercussions of it and we are as well.” The Lions will have a roster exception during Suh’s suspension, meaning they can sign someone to replace him or bolster some other spot on the team. Dietrich-Smith wasn’t available to reporters in Green Bay on Tuesday, but other Packers players heard of the suspension. Linebacker Desmond Bishop said Suh “probably deserved it.” “He did something wrong, suspended, he’ll pay the fine or whatever and hopefully (he’ll be) back and it’ll change him a little bit from doing something like that,” Bishop said. Guard T.J. Lang said the team was moving forward and wasn’t worried about Suh. “Fortunately, we’ve never been in a situation like that,” he said. “We just worry about ourselves and what we do as a group, and I think we have enough intelligence, definitely, as a team, and enough character, guys not doing any dumb things to put the team in jeopardy. That’s for other teams to worry about.” Suh has already been fined three times for roughing up quarterbacks and another time for unsportsmanlike conduct. He leads the league with nine personal fouls since 2010, according to STATS LLC — two more times than teammate Cliff Avril and three more than Philadelphia’s Jason Babin, San Francisco’s Dashon Goldson and Denver’s D.J. Williams. Suh grabbed Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton and threw him to the turf after he had gotten rid of the ball in a preseason game this year. He was docked twice last year for shoving Chicago’s Jay Cutler high in the back and for twisting Cleveland’s Jake Delhomme’s face mask and slamming him to the ground. He also was fined $5,000 during Week 9 in the 2010 season for unsportsmanlike conduct. He has been able to absorb the fines, making $40 million guaranteed with a chance to get paid as much as $68 million in his five-year contract he signed after Detroit drafted the former Nebraska star No. 2 overall in 2010. Suh’s reputation, though, has just taken a big hit and it will cost his team that is clinging to hopes of earning a spot in the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. “Obviously, it hurts to lose any player for two games much less a player like Ndamukong Suh,” Schwartz said. “But there’s accountability for our actions and that’s a situation where something happened after the whistle. We want to be as tough and physical and play as hard as we can between the snap and whistle, but anything that happens after that we put our team in a bad position and we have to pay the consequences for and that’s the position we’re in right now.” Suh can try to work on his image and channeling his passion, but he won’t get off an unwanted list of players who have been suspended for on-field conduct during the Goodell era. Most famously, Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was suspended for five games in 2006 for swiping his cleats across the head of helmetless Dallas center Andre Gurode. Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams was forced to miss a game in 2007 after his third illegal horse-collar tackle of that season. Tampa Bay’s Elbert Mack had to sit out of a game during the 2008 season for a helmet-to-helmet blow, his second flagrant hit in three games. Eric Smith was suspended for a game that year for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Two years ago, Carolina’s Dante Wesley missed a game for a hit to the head. Vanden Bosch said he’s not sure Suh’s suspension was merited. “There’s not a lot of precedent,” he said. Decades ago, what Suh did was just part of the doing business on the field. Not anymore. “It’s a different game, covered differently these days,” said four-time Super Bowl winning linebacker Matt Millen, whose playing career started three decades ago with the Oakland Raiders. “What’s deemed crazy now, wasn’t crazy back in the day. Now more than ever, you have to keep your poise and control emotions when you feel like you have to retaliate. What you learn is, you don’t have to get back at the guy right then and that you’ve got time to take care of field justice.” Hall of Fame defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene said he suspects Suh has learned a lesson. “I hated for that to happen to him and I’m sure he does now, too,” Greene said. “With time, he’ll learn how to funnel his fire, but I hope he never loses that fire because he has to have it to play the position.”
BASEBALL The Boston Red Sox have picked Bobby Valentine to be their next manager and the sides were working to complete a contract, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. Several media outlets in Boston, citing anonymous sources, reported earlier in the evening that Valentine would be the team’s new manager. “He’s got it. I just spoke to him a little while ago,” Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, who managed Valentine in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in a telephone interview with the AP. The Red Sox had no comment, spokesman Pam Ganley said. Valentine would succeed Terry Francona, who left after eight seasons following Boston’s record collapse in September. Francona guided the Red Sox to a pair of World Series championships, in 2004 and 2007. Valentine previously managed in the majors with the New York Mets and Texas Rangers, leading the Mets to the 2000 World Series. He had been working as a baseball analyst for ESPN. OTHER DEVELOPMENTS Giants GM, manager get new deals: San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer gave both general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy contract extensions taking them through the 2013 season with club options for 2014. “They work exceptionally well together. That’s a key relationship,” Baer said. “I strongly believe Brian and Bruce are the best at their craft in the game, and their track record shows that.” The 55-year-old Sabean is the longest-tenured GM in baseball and has said he would like to stay put in San Francisco for the rest of his career. He became the Giants’ GM in 1996 after three years in player personnel. Royals sign reliever: Reliever Jonathan Broxton and the Kansas City Royals agreed Tuesday to a one-year contract that guarantees the right-hander $4 million, solidifying one of the big league’s youngest bullpens and providing a setup man for closer Joakim Soria. The agreement, which is pending a physical, also includes performance bonuses. Kansas City was willing to take a chance on Broxton despite his being limited to just 14 games for the Dodgers last season because of elbow trouble. A two-time All-Star, the 27-year-old Broxton made $7 million last season as part of an $11 million, two-year deal. Maddux joins Rangers, brother: Greg Maddux is leaving the Chicago Cubs to join the Texas Rangers, reuniting him with his brother, Mike. The Rangers said Tuesday that Greg Maddux will become a special assistant to the general manager, the same role he held with the Cubs the last two seasons. When asked what drew him to the Rangers, Greg Maddux responded: “Probably the majority of it was my brother.” He also said it was very attractive to work with Hall of Fame pitcher and Rangers president Nolan Ryan. Mike Maddux has been the Rangers’ pitching coach for the last three seasons. Briefly: Brewers prospect Santo Manzanillo, 22, is recovering after he separated his right shoulder in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. … Right-hander Scott Mathieson has been released by the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing him to sign with a team in Asia. … Pitcher-turned-outfielder Adam Loewen has agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Mets. The 27-year-old hit .306 at Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League with 46 doubles, 17 homers and 85 RBIs. … U.S. bankruptcy judge has delayed a hearing in a dispute between Fox and the Los Angeles Dodgers over the team’s plan to sell future media rights. The hearing had been set for today but has been rescheduled for Dec. 7.
Now that the lockout is over, trade talk can begin in earnest. There are a number of big names that are on the trading block.Here are some of the biggest and the teams they could end up going to. Paul Millsap Millsap is a name that has popped up in recent days, and it’s one that I can’t for the life of me understand. For some reason, the Jazz are reluctant to really let him show his worth. Every time someone goes down, he steps in and shines like the sun. One intriguing landing spot for him might be the Hornets. Millsap would work well with Chris Paul and would be a sign to Paul that the Hornets want to compete. If they have any hope of making a move to keep Paul, this would be a nice start.However I haven’t heard that this has been discussed. One team that has been discussed is Indiana. The Pacers were said to be interested in free agent David West, but the younger Millsap would fill the same role, while being younger and cheaper to boot. Monta EllisEllis has become something of a redundancy in Golden State with the emergence of Stephen Curry.Two names have been frequently raised in conjunction with Monta Ellis. One is Chicago, which just isn’t going to happen. The Bulls are a player away, and while Ellis would fit fine as that player, the problem is they’d have to give up another player to get him. They’d be digging one hole to fill another. The far more realistic probability is Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala, the dynamic all-around small forward. This would be a straight-up trade and it would give both teams something they need. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images It would give Philadelphia a go-to scorer and it would give Golden State a defensive presence to bring Marc Jackson’s new defensive mentality to the team. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard Paul and Howard are the two biggest names on the list. There are predictably unrealistic reports about both going to the Lakers. There is a much more realistic possibility that they could both go to the Clippers and Paul has indicated he would be amenable to that scenario. Where this gets interesting is that while ESPN’s Chris Broussard points out the Clippers would prefer Howard, they could have both, and getting one would almost assure them of getting the other. A three-team trade is a definite possibility. In fact, they could work out a three-team trade that could be sensational, and that passes muster on the ESPN Trade Machine. New Orleans would receive Chris Kaman and Maurice Williams, the Orlando Magic would receive Emeka Okafor, Eric Bledsoe and Ryan Gomes, and the Los Angeles Clippers would receive Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Additionally they’d be able to offer both of them max contracts.Either the Magic or the Hornets would be able to receive either DeAndre Jordan or Minnesota’s first-round pick as well. Neither the Lakers nor the Knicks could offer as much for either player.The best is yet to come, though. The Clippers would still have enough money left, $8.5 million, to sign to sign the likes of Andrei Kirilenko or Tayshaun Prince. So, which team offers a starting five of Paul, Eric Gordon, Kirilenko, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard? That’s a virtual All-Star team.That’s enough to make a player even want to play for Donald Sterling!
+3@bbd: Linda,Claudia and Cindy are freaking fashion ICONS/royalty hunny. Cindy has like 5 businesses since she was 28 years old. Maybe comparing them to Tyra and Heidi was even a little too far fetched considering they have had their own brands by the time they were 30, but as far as modeling is concerned their portfolios are more like Tyra/Heidi. mostly catalog,lingerie/GQ stuff. Presy said it best, models today are not what they used to be. FACT.
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community NewsThe United Way of London and Middlesex is looking to score big on their $8.5 million money goal with some help from hockey’s Great One.Wayne Gretzky was at the Hilton Hotel, on King Street, Thursday (Nov. 10) as a guest speaker for a United Way luncheon, talking about his memories of playing hockey and fielding questions from the 500-plus audience in attendance.“He’s an icon in sports, but he’s proven to be such a terrific ambassador for our country with his integrity and his honourable way of carrying himself,” said Andrew Lockie, CEO of United Way London and Middlesex.With an $8.5 million fundraising initiative in the Forest City, the biggest goal in the organization’s history, United Way London and Middlesex is hoping No. 99 can assist them to the money mark. The lunch was part of United Way’s annual fundraising challenge.“It really makes possible what is a really challenging goal for fundraising this year, but the need in the community is greater than it’s ever been,” Lockie said.Gretzky opened his talk by speaking about some of the memories he had driving to London from Toronto for the charity lunch. Towns like Guelph, Halton Region, Woodstock and the Forest City always take him back to his youth, he said.“I guess when you love something so much, you always remember those things,” Gretzky said, adding the first memory that comes to his mind when he thinks about London isn’t a fond one.“In those days they had this thing called a ‘showdown’ and they would pick one player from each team to go against another player,” he said, recalling a time when he was 16 years old and playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds against the London Knights. “I picked the puck up and I was going in. The puck stuck to the ice because it was wet. I went to kick it up and I stepped on the puck and went into the net.”The incident resulted in a bench-clearing brawl, Gretzky said.Throughout Gretzky’s 23-year career as a professional hockey player he amassed the most records broken in any sport. The one thing missing from the Great One’s achievement is an Olympic medal as a player.“The Olympic experience was the greatest two weeks I think I’ve had in hockey other than we didn’t win,” Gretzky said about the 2008 Nagano Winter Olympics when Canada lost in the bronze medal game to Finland in a shootout. “Would I have loved to taken a (shootout) shot? Yeah, absolutely. They chose the guys they chose and that’s not why we won or lost. I’ll always remember it was a great thrill and a great experience and something I was really proud to be part of.”The hockey legend wasn’t the only one speaking. Members of the audience were able to ask the hockey hero questions; however, for some, they only wanted to praise or express their admiration for Gretzky.“I’ve been following your career since you were a very young man and I was a very young man. I cried right alongside you when they traded you (from the Edmonton Oilers) to Los Angeles (Kings in 1988),” said one fan. “I would just like to thank you sincerely for representing our country and our game with such poise and such class. I’m sure you get that wherever you go.”The Great One didn’t respond if the compliment is regular occurrence, but said he always loves to hear it.On tickets sales alone, the charity event raised $50,000 with more donations coming in throughout the event.
SAN FRANCISCO — Following several warnings, more than 200 people were arrested early Wednesday morning during a raid on the Occupy Los Angeles protest encampment, Reuters reported. Rubber bullets were used, though sparingly, when around 500 Los Angeles Police Department officers stormed the camp. Speaking at a news conference afterwards, Police Chief Charlie Beck said the arrests were mostly peaceful and nobody was injured. The arrests were made after some protesters booed and refused to leave when an unlawful assembly was declared, and they had been given 10 minutes to vacate. The LAPD had issued the first eviction warning at 11:20 p.m., reported Neon Tommy, the digital news site of the University of Southern California. Protesters set up barricades to block the police, and some set off fireworks in the camp, reported the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported that hundreds of LAPD officers have deployed from their staging ground at Dodger Stadium toward downtown Los Angeles. An LAPD police helicopter announced the commencement of the department's action, flying low and circling the City Hall steps and flooding the encampment with its spotlight. The Washington Post reported that LAPD had closed off all the streets surrounding the park in front of City Hall. According to a live blog of the action by Neon Tommy, Carol Sobel of the National Lawyers Guild met with LAPD officers about police action against the protesters. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told protesters they had until Monday at 12:01 a.m. to clear out the park outside City Hall. About half of the 500 tents remained past the deadline, reported the Associated Press. More from GlobalPost: Occupy LA: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tells protesters to clear out by Monday Meanwhile, early Wednesday morning police cleared out the Occupy Philadelphia camp and protesters began to march in the streets, CBS News reported. The protesters were given three warnings to evacuate. More from GlobalPost: Occupy LA protesters deny eviction deadline globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111130/occupy-la-protesters-arrests-police-raid
There are all kinds of great players who never hit or slash anybody, who never engage in the dark arts of hockey.Jean Ratelle, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, the Sedin brothers, Anze Kopitar, the Mahovlich brothers, Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy, Jari Kurri, Marcel Dionne, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Mark Recchi, Adam Oates, Pavel Datsyuk, Pavel Bure, Dale Hawerchuk, Serge Savard, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Teemu Selanne . . . .And yet, even if it’s clear that great players are often not mean or nasty or violent players, there is a desire among some fans of the Edmonton Oilers to see more toughness and meanness in the games of skilled players such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.Part of this desire, for me, anyway, comes out of the belief that if these young players were a bit rougher, a bit more chippy, a bit more likely to give a well-placed elbow or hack to an opposing player, each of them would be more likely to safely navigate through NHL games.Such aggression just doesn’t seem to be part of the tool kit of many a great player, as the list above proves. I also doubt we’ll ever see nasty play out of the likes of Eberle and Paajarvi. They seem too even-tempered.But RNH is more testy and has already handed out a few stiff body checks. As he gets bigger, he will likely become more of a physical force.And Hall? He looks a bit like Mark Messier, but plays like a high-flying Russian winger, all speed and skill. He’s gutsy as hell and willing to take the most hellacious of hits, but he doesn’t often give out such hits himself. Nor does he hack or bash those who go after him.Yet given the dangerous places that he regularly visits each game — the kill or be killed zone in front of the net — if Hall is going to survive in the NHL game, it strikes me that he’s got to take some Ryan Smyth-Glenn Anderson-Dave Lumley lessons and carry his stick and elbows a bit higher.Five feet of Victoriaville, Lumley once said of his hockey stick, the great equalizer.The hit that Hall took from Colorado’s Ryan Wilson on Saturday night was a legal one, but it’s the kind of hit that a player, even one as tough as Wilson, would be less likely to hand out if he feared, even for a micro-second, that he might be getting a face full of elbow pad if he tried to bash Hall.Does Hall have it in him to up his nasty quotient? Well, Tom Gilbert is playing with a bit more of physical edge this year, and Gilbert is no Moose Dupont. It looks like he’s simply decided that he’s not going to be an easy target anymore, that if players come at him, he’s going to come back harder at them.Hall can do the same. Smyth can certainly school him.As for overall team toughness, this Oilers squad isn’t the 1974 Philadelphia Flyers, but once Andy Sutton gets healthy, it’s got about as many tough guys, intimidators and agitators as recent teams that made the Stanley Cup finals.2011-12 Edmonton Oilers Tough guys/intimidating players Theo Peckham, Darcy Hordichuk, Ben Eager, Andy SuttonTOUGH GUYS, INTIMIDATORS AND AGITATORS ON STANLEY CUP FINALISTS IN RECENT YEARS:2010-11 Boston Bruins Tough guys/intimidating players Zdeno Chara, 24 games, Milan Lucic, 25 games, Agitators: Shawn Thornton, 18 games. Brad Marchand, 25 games.2010-11 Vancouver Canucks Tough guys/intimidating players Raffi Torres, 23 games Agitators: Ryan Kesler, 25 games, Maxim Lapierre, 25 games, Alexandre Burrows, 25 games, Tanner Glass, 23 games, Aaron Rome, 14 games.2009-10 Chicago Black Hawks: Tough guys: Ben Eager, 18 games. Agitators: Dave Bolland, 22 games, Adam Burish, 15 games.2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers: Tough/intimidating players: Chris Pronger, Arron Asham, 23 games, Scott Hartnell, 23 games; Agitators: 23 games. Agitators: Daniel Carcillo, 17 games, Ian Lapierre, 13 games.2008-09 Detroit Red Wings: Tough/intimidating guys: Niklas Kronwall, 23 games: Agitator, Kirk Maltby, 20 games.2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins: Tough/intimidating guys: Brooks Orpik, 24 games. Agitators: Matt Cooke, 24 games.2007-08 Detroit Red Wings: Tough/intimidating guys: Niklas Kronwall, 22, Darren McCarty, 17 games Agitators, Kirk Maltby, 12 games.2007-08 Pittsburgh Penguins: Tough/intimidating guys: Georges Laraque, 15 games, Brooks Orpik, 20 games, Gary Roberts, 11 games. Agitators, Jarkko Ruutu, 20 games.