Utica Comets 4 – Chicago Wolves 2 (Series 3-2 Utica)

For the first time ever in the history of Utica, N.Y. an American Hockey League team has advanced to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs after defeating and eliminating the Chicago Wolves 4-2 and in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals Friday night at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.

 Brendan Gaunce (2-0-2) lit the lamp twice on the power play after being the healthy scratch for games three and four. Cal O’Reilly (0-3-3) continued to do what he does best by tallying three assists including one on the power play game-winning goal.

Brandon DeFazio
Brandon DeFazio

(1-0-1) and Sven Baertschi (1-1-2) also found the back of the net that enabled them to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Utica dominated in the shots department through the first period but their efforts didn’t see results until the opening seconds of period number two. Just prior to switching from a 4-on-4 to a 5-on-4 penalty kill, the Comets found their first of the game just 18 seconds in after DeFazio hopped through a couple defenders on a solo effort. DeFazio quickly brought the puck from his backhand to his forehand and lifted it to the top shelf just inside the crease to make it a one nothing game.

Just short of seven minutes later the Wolves answered back on the second half of a double minor taken by Alex Friesen for high-sticking. Magnus Paajarvi positioned himself in the right as he buried a shot that was fed to him by Shane Harper. The Wolves power-play goal that tied the game 1-1 was Paajarvi’s third of the series.

At 11:12 the Comets took their turn on the power play and after a couple of failed attempts, one last shot was in order as Brendan Gaunce raced in down the left wing and slapped one into the white netting for the power-play goal and the 2-1 lead at 12:36. Alex Friesen was credited with the primary assist.

The Comets didn’t have much time to celebrate as the Wolves scored exactly 30 seconds later on a slapshot from Joel Edmundson that snuck through Markstrom and all of the traffic he was battling in front of the crease. Shane Harper assisted for the second time in the game on the Wolves equalizer.

Gaunce decided he hadn’t finished producing for the night because just over two minutes later the rookie forward scored his second power-play goal of the night after Baertschi’s shot left a rebound in front of the net.

The 3-2 lead was enough to hold the Wolves off and the Comets sealed the deal at 19:16 after Baertschi spiked it towards the mesh for the empty-net goal and the 4-2 lead. Cal O’Reilly tallied the primary assist for his third of the game and Bobby Sanguinetti also had his hands in on the play for his second of the game.

Now that the Comets have secured a spot in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, their match-up is still to be determined. As of right now, the Comets could either face the Toronto Marlies or the Oklahoma City Barons depending on the turnout of the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Marlies series that’s taking place this Sunday afternoon.


10 Ways Marissa Mayer Is Reinventing Yahoo

Yup, we have talked about her before.

For nearly three years, CEO Marissa Mayer has tried to reinvent Yahoo, the Web search and services company that reigned supreme in the early days of the Internet. But the incredible growth of Google’s search engine and Web advertising business drained away revenue that once would have been Yahoo’s. Mayer, a former senior Google executive, was recruited to put Yahoo back on track to growth. Reviews are mixed on Mayer’s performance so far. Some have said that Mayer has done little to fix Yahoo’s fundamental issues, pointing to the company’s poor financials and falling search ad revenue. Still others note that it took turnaround experts, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, several years before they could truly make a difference in their ailing companies. Despite the criticism, Mayer is persevering with a strategy she believes will lead to future success. This slide show looks not only at Mayer’s strategy for future growth, but also how Yahoo is slowly but surely changing. Whether her plans will actually work remains to be seen. But Mayer should be given credit for keeping Yahoo on an even keel in the face of intense competition from Google and many other Internet services companies.


Redesigned Microsoft Pact Is CrucialThe joint announcement between Microsoft and Yahoo could be a major victory for the online company. For one thing, it doesn’t change the revenue-sharing agreement, which means a large portion of Yahoo’s revenue—31 percent in 2013, alone—will still be generated from Microsoft’s ad services. In addition, it forces Microsoft to start selling its own ads, which reduces Yahoo’s costs. It’s a win-win.


It’s All About the Acquisitions

If anything can be said about Marissa Mayer, it’s that she sees value in acquiring other companies. In the last couple of years, Mayer has acquired a host of companies across a wide range of markets. Chief among them is the Tumblr microblogging service, acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion. Tumblr is central to Yahoo’s efforts to build a bigger, more loyal user base.

Yahoo Trying to Catch Up on Mobile Services

Mayer has said that her company has not done enough to focus on mobile. At one point, the company had just 100 engineers working on all its mobile efforts. Last year, Mayer made several public statements saying that mobile would be a driving force in Yahoo’s resurgence and she has made good on that promise with heavy investments in mobile applications development. Whether it’s too late, however, remains to be seen.

Improving Relations With Corporate Advertisers

Research firm eMarketer said Yahoo’s search ad revenue declined over the past several years and predicted the company’s digital ad revenue will continue to slip. Part of the issue is Yahoo’s difficulty attracting corporate advertisers that have the budgets (and desire) to go to its network of sites and services. Yahoo needs to change its strategy in that space to improve relations with corporate advertisers and attract more spending dollars for digital ads if the company is going to get back on track for sustainable growth.

Spend Serious Cash on People, Product Development

Yahoo was a minority owner of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company. Yahoo reaped billions of dollars following Alibaba’s initial public offering in September 2014. Yahoo can use those billions to acquire other companies or try out new ideas. But Mayer has said that she believes the company’s ample cash should be used to invest in high-quality employees and develop products internally that will appeal to a larger segment of the population. It’s a smart move.

Use the New Deal to Take More Control Over Search

One of the core components in the new pact with Microsoft is that Yahoo will have the right to enhance the search experience across for users of desktop and mobile devices. That’s a good thing for Yahoo. The company’s search is still popular internationally, but is facing increased pressure from Google and Baidu. Having more control over Web search development means Yahoo can more readily adapt to the changing times in search.

Yahoo Is Building Out Its Content Business

One of the more surprising moves Yahoo’s Mayer has made over the last few years has been to invest in well-known media celebrities to build out her company’s content business. Chief among those hires was Katie Couric, who Mayer tapped as the company’s global news anchor. Yahoo has also brought on several other major personalities, including the former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, to improve its content offerings. The idea? Drive more advertising revenue through content that’s exclusive to Yahoo.

More Effectively Target International Markets

Yahoo is a global company, but its presence in several key markets, like China, is troubling. Yahoo needs to work hard at building out its operations in Asia and Europe and be a bigger player in those markets. Once upon a time, Yahoo was the dominant force in search worldwide, but now Google and local competitors are far ahead. Yahoo needs to address that sooner rather than later.

Don’t Forget the Analytics Business

Yahoo has made a series of rather interesting acquisitions in the analytics business with the purchase of such companies as Flurry, Lexity, Ztelic and others. Analytics plays a major role, not only in building out an advertising business, but it can also help Yahoo gauge where user interest and activity is going. Yahoo can then respond with services of its own that appeal to user demands. Don’t underestimate the importance of analytics in the Yahoo product portfolio.

Remember the Value of Core Businesses

All this talk of Yahoo going into new markets and investing in other firms ignores one important factor: The company still has several important platforms, like Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Finance, News and others, that need to be cared for and built out. Yahoo has a core business in those services that can keep the company churning, but it can’t allow companies like Google to steal its users away. Focusing on the time-tested, old favorites at Yahoo isn’t such a bad idea.

Utica Comets 3 – Chicago Wolves 4 (Series Tied 2-2)

With a power-play goal 2:19 into overtime, the Chicago Wolves defeated the Utica Comets 4-3 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday night. The Wolves’ win knotted the series at 2 games a piece, and sets up Game 5 on Saturday night.

Sven Baertschi (0-3-3) and Cal O’Reilly (0-2-2) aided their teammates all night long by tallying a combined total of five assists. Cory Conacher (1-0-1), Adam Clendening (1-0-1) and Bobby Sanguinetti (1-0-1) all scored goals for the Comets.

Just two nights ago the Comets couldn’t solve Jordan Binnington until mid-way through the third period in Game 3. Tonight was a bit of a different story as a power-play opportunity helped the Comets net their first of the night just past the six-minute mark of the first period. A tic-tac-toe play from Baertschi, to O’Reilly and then finally to Conacher in the slot, opened the game’s scoring.

It wasn’t long after until the Wolves matched the Comets effort with the equalizer off a nasty looking rebound wildly bounced out to the left of the slot. Adam Cracknell was in the right place at the right time as Jacob Markstrom flew across the crease to attempt the near impossible save. Cracknell’s shot ended up spitting into the back of the mesh at 10:59 to tie the game up at one.

Why Can’t America Have Great Trains?

Does not get enough into the reasons why United States has not kept up with the World in rail travel. Perhaps it is because freight railroads have not wanted to give up space to passenger rail? American freight railroads have merged into huge operations and are extremely profitable. Who owns freight rail? Big companies, powerful owners. Let’s start with Warren Buffet.
Yes, there are other alternatives. One under development is Florida East Coast Railway. Already a strong regional freight carrier, they are building an important passenger rail project in Florida: All Aboard Florida, which will provide a fast rail connection between Miami and Orlando.
Amtrak is somewhat bureaucratic in nature because of it’s close government relationship. Joe Boardman is a career-long bureaucrat at both the Federal and New York State level.
Yes, the infrastructure requires improvements. Much of the money has gone to improving the Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York City and Washington. Otherwise, many improvements are needed. For example, passenger rail across the Hudson River at Albany uses a bridge begun when Abraham Lincoln was President.

Utica Comets 3 Chicago Wolves 2, Lead Series

 FINAL: Comets 2 vs Wolves 1 (Series: 2-1 UTICA)

(Utica Comets photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

In as dramatic fashion as a game could possibly get, the Utica Comets defeated the Chicago Wolves 2-1 Wednesday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at The Utica Memorial Auditorium. In the process, the Comets now have the advantage in the series by taking the 2-1 lead.

Darren Archibald (1-0-1) and Adam Clendening (1-0-1) each scored a goal for the Comets, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 26 of the Wolves’ 27 shots en route to their second overtime victory of the series. Wolves’ goaltender Jordan Binnington put on a performance to remember but the 50 shots he stopped wasn’t enough to stall the Comets.

The Comets had a 17-3 shot advantage at the 17:27 mark in the first period but that didn’t make a difference as the Wolves found the back of the net first after a turnover at center ice just a minute later. Center Colin Fraser pursued the puck and raced down the right wing only to release a slap shot from the boards snuck past Markstrom for the 1-0 lead.

After a shot-riddled second period where the Comets racked up another 15 shots the next goal wasn’t discovered until the 6:58 mark in the third. Luckily for them, it was Clendening who found the Comets their equalizer on the power play. After receiving a feed just above the slot from Alex Friesen, Clendening let loose a slapper that hit the back bar behind Binnington for the power-play goal. Cal O’Reilly was credited with the secondary assist.

After punishing Binnington with 44 shots on net through three periods, overtime was still a necessity.

At 10:58 in the first and only overtime period, Darren Archibald was on the receiving end of a heads-up play by Travis Ehrhardt. As Archibald sped into the Wolves’ zone, he lifted a shot towards the far side and finally beat Binnington on the 52nd and final shot of the game for the 2-1 game-winning goal.

Two out of the three games played in this series have now gone to overtime with a total of 214:08 minutes played through three games.

Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal between the Comets and Wolves is set for this Friday, May 1st at The Utica Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets for Game 5 will be on sale Thursday but the game will only be played if necessary.

How Managed EDI Tools Offset Supply Chain Risk And Complexity

Once we talk about a World class EDI system and couple it with risk and complexity, aren’t we thinking of a Supply Chain Control Tower? The SCM control tower is the single point of contact to reduce complexity and risk. And guess what?, EDI is the glue that holds all the participants together.
So let’s get “managed EDI” out on the table, define it, and show how and why it is such a powerful tool. The simple definition used throughout the industry is: “Managed services systems outsource the EDI document control to a third-party provider.” Digging a little deeper, isn’t it a specialized area of IT service management (ITSM)?

IT service management (ITSM) refers to the entirety of activities – directed by policies, organized and structured in processes and supporting procedures – that are performed by an organization or part of an organization to plan, deliver, operate and control IT services offered to customers. It is thus concerned with the implementation of quality IT services that meet the needs of customers, and is performed by the IT service provider through an appropriate mix of people, process and information technology.

Differing from more technology-oriented IT management approaches like network management and IT systems management, IT service management is characterized by: adopting a process approach towards management; focusing on IT services rather than IT systems; stressing continual improvement.

It is all about “knowledge”. Air controllers get information on weather, speed, direction, and altitude of aircraft and use that knowledge to keep their air space safe. Companies must know what is happening with their supply chains so they can prevent disasters too. They need to be able to do “what-if” analysis and work their way around events that will cause disruption and risks to the supply chain. Same thing with supply chains. Everybody needs to know what is going on. How? EDI.

Justin Rose completed a 7-under 65 in the rain-delayed third round Sunday morning and closed with a 66 at TPC Louisiana; 7th TOUR title

Whatever derailed Justin Rose’s game appears long gone now.

Sensing he needed to birdie the final two holes to keep the lead, Rose pulled it off with aggressive swings and clutch putts for a one-stroke victory over Cameron Tringale on Sunday in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

“Earlier this year it looked impossible to win,” Rose said, referring to his three missed cuts and failure to finish better than 37th in his first five starts of 2015. “I’m very happy to have turned my game around.”

Justin Rose In Action
Justin Rose In Action

He finished at 22-under 266, a record total on the course southwest of New Orleans that has hosted the city’s PGA TOUR stop 10 times since 2005.

The Englishman has won at least once in six straight seasons, the second-longest streak on the tour behind Dustin Johnson’s eight straight. He moved from 82nd to 15th in the FedExCup standings.

Rose said his drastic improvement two weeks earlier at the Masters, where he tied for second, helped him in the Big Easy.

“I took my Masters performance with a huge amount of confidence,” Rose said, recalling in particular the sense of calm he was able to maintain down the stretch at Augusta National.

Playing aggressively on the soggy TPC Louisiana, Rose made six birdies in the final round and played the last 66 holes without a bogey.

Rose’s final two putts from 10 and 13 1/2 feet allowed him to hold off Tringale, who birdied the 18th for a 65.

“I’m pleased,” said Tringale, who was looking to become the eighth first-time winner in the last 11 years in New Orleans. “To finish one back is still a pretty good week.”

Boo Weekley, who led after the first round, finished third at 20 under, and Jim Herman and Jason Day, ranked sixth in the world, tied for fourth at 19 under.

With the top of the leaderboard tightly packed as Rose stepped to the par-3 17th, he showed no interest in playing it safe, even though the pin was placed to the left side of the green, near a bulkhead dropping down into a water hazard from which alligators looked on. Rose took out his 5-iron and belted a 210-yarder straight toward the pin, landing about 10 feet behind the hole, setting up his clutch birdie putt.

“It would have been easy to hit it 20, 30 feet right of that pin, but I kind of knew that — because I was three or four holes ahead of some of the other guys in contention — I knew they had birdie opportunities.”

On the par-5 18th, with water to the right, Rose unloaded a 295-yard drive down the middle, then smacked a 3-wood 243 yards just left of the green and chipped over a sand trap to set up what would be his winning putt.

Rose played bogey-free golf over his last 66 holes — including 30 on Sunday — en route to a final round 66 and a course-record 266 (22-under), good for his seventh victory on the PGA TOUR.

After climbing to 15th in the FedExCup, he heads to next week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco and THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on May 7-10 with momentum and feeling good about his game.

“This is a great shot in the arm of confidence and I just got to keep it going,” said Rose, currently the ninth-ranked player in the world. “It obviously gets me up there in everything I want to be up there in; a boost in the (Official Golf) World Ranking, a boost in the FedExCup, a huge boost in confidence.

“Now I can target the major championships all the way through the summer without having to chase anything in between. It’s going to be great.”

Norfolk Southern Railroad Steam Excursions


Class J 611 homecoming to kick off Norfolk Southern 21st Century Steam excursions

Roanoke, Va. – Apr 16, 2015  The 611 is going home again, coming back from its second restoration to headline Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam excursions in 2015.Sixty-five years after the Class J 611 was built at Norfolk & Western Railway’s shops in Roanoke and placed into service for the first time May 29, 1950, the locomotive is scheduled to return under steam May 30, fulfilling the dreams of its Virginia Museum of Transportation owners and rail enthusiasts worldwide.Chairman and CEO Wick Moorman, who launched plans for 21st Century Steam in 2010, and President Jim Squires will be aboard a J-powered train from Spencer, N.C., where the 611 has been undergoing restoration at the North Carolina Transportation Museum since June 2014.Neither progress of rail industry dieselization nor ravages of time spent lying dormant on display for decades…

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NY City Mayor de Blasio Revives Plan for a Utica Avenue Subway Line

Among the far-reaching ambitions of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC plan, one proposal stood out in the transportation world on Wednesday: the study of a new subway line along Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.

The concept is hardly new; it has been debated for at least a century, with no discernible results.

A 1910 article in The New York Times, under the headline “Transit Outlook Bright in Brooklyn,” said “a strong movement” was afoot to construct it. Another effort was made in 1928. More recently, an attempt in the 1970s failed after a City Council member from Brooklyn complained that the area did not have a large enough population to support the line.

Nonetheless, the de Blasio administration placed the concept back in the spotlight, suggesting that the area was a prime spot for expansion because it is one of the most crowded parts of the city without direct access to the subway.

The mayor’s request for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to examine bringing No. 3 and 4 train service down from the Eastern Parkway branch, through East Flatbush, came as a surprise to many.

Utica Ave Map
Utica Ave Map

“No one expected this,” said Mitchell Moss, the director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University. “It’s refreshing to see a proposal to extend mass transit into areas of Brooklyn that are transit-deprived. It’s obviously an idea that will take more than a decade to be carried out, but you have to start with an idea.”

Transit advocates quickly pointed out that Mr. de Blasio had not offered a financing plan for an extension, and that the authority already had a $15 billion gap for its five-year capital plan for improvements to the aging system.

“The issue is: Where’s the check?” Gene Russianoff, a staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, an advocacy group, said of the Utica Avenue idea. “It’s only credible if the city is willing to help finance it.”

A spokesman for the authority, Adam Lisberg, declined to comment specifically on the Utica Avenue study. Instead, he released a statement drawing attention to measures in the capital plan that would expand and improve service, including modernizing the subway signal system and proposals for improved bus service.

Crown Heights station
Crown Heights station

“The M.T.A. and the City of New York are aligned on the importance of mass transit to keep the city thriving,” Mr. Lisberg said.

The authority has several other major projects in the works: The first phase of the Second Avenue subway is scheduled to open at the end of next year, and the East Side Access project, which would bring the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, is supposed to be completed in 2022. And in January, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed an AirTrain to La Guardia Airport.

Jumaane D. Williams, a City Council member whose district includes Utica Avenue, said the area needed better transit options and the subway extension sounded good in theory. He also noted that the Second Avenue subway sounded good — in theory.

“I’d like to talk about it more when the Second Avenue train is completed,” he said with a tone of skepticism. “But I’m happy the mayor is talking about transportation issues in South Brooklyn, because too often it’s left out of the discussion.”

Mr. Russianoff agreed, saying that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had instead prioritized extending the No. 7 line to the Far West Side of Manhattan — a project that has been delayed but may finally open this summer. (Mr. Bloomberg directed the city to pay for the $2.4 billion project, the first subway extension paid for by the city in more than 60 years.)

“Utica Avenue is much more in de Blasio’s theme of providing service more equitably and keeping in mind the ordinary New Yorker,” Mr. Russianoff said.

The dream of a Utica Avenue line has had plenty of false starts.

Its plight was outlined in the 2013 book “The Routes Not Taken: A Trip Through New York City’s Unbuilt Subway System,” by Joseph B. Raskin, a former New York City Transit employee. Past proposals would have connected it to the No. 3 and 4 lines, the A and C lines, or even to Lower Manhattan. “It’s always been to me one of the lines that should have been built all along,” Mr. Raskin said. “The question was always what line is it going to plug into — and the cost.”

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Utica Comets Drop Playoff Game 2 to Chicago Wolves 1 to 2

The Chicago Wolves evened up the best-of-five series (1-1) with a two-goal second period that took down the Utica Comets 2-1 Friday night in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Western Conference Quarterfinals at the Allstate Arena.

 Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) scored the Comets lone goal of the night, and his second of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Alexandre Grenier (0-1-1) lent a hand as he tallied his third assist of the playoffs. Jacob Markstrom stopped 20 of the Wolves 22 shots on goal in the loss.

“I thought we were OK tonight,” said Comets’ Head Coach Travis Green. “We played really well defensively and limited their chances. You won’t win many hockey games scoring one goal.”

Travis Green
Travis Green

Even with a shot advantage like the Comets had in the first period (11-3) the Wolves were the first ones to find the back of the net on just their fourth shot of the game at the start of the second. The Comets started the period a man down after taking a tripping penalty in the closing seconds of the first, which gave Brent Regner the opportunity to bury a shot from the point to put the Wolves up 1-0 at 1:10. Magnus Paajarvi and Pat Cannone each recorded their third points of the series with assists on the power-play tally.

A 2-on-1 finally got the Comets back in the game at 10:10 with a feed across the slot to Shinkaruk from Grenier. With the puck on the tape of his stick, Shinkaruk buried the biscuit into the open side of the net for the 1-1 equalizer. Bobby Sanguinetti took credit for the secondary assist and his second point in as many games.

Less than two minutes later the Wolves took back their one-goal lead, this time for good, after a shot from Jani Hakanpaa was re-directed past Markstrom by former Comet Jeremy Welsh.

The Comets power-play, now in the midst of an 0-for-12 rut, went 0-for-6 tonight.

“We need to find a way to score on the power play,” said Green. “We were in their zone a lot but at the end of the day you have to set-up, create chances and find a way to score.”

In what started as a best-of-five series has now turned into a best-of-three series once the Comets return to The Utica Memorial Auditorium this coming Wednesday April 29th for Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

“We are really excited for the whiteout and to play in front of our fans,” said forward Brandon DeFazio. “We’ve seen what they’ve done for two years now and we can’t wait to see them on Wednesday.”

Whiteout conditions are expected April 29th as the Utica Comets are encouraging all fans to wear white to the game in order to rally behind the white sweaters on the ice. Fans who come to the games wearing white will also earn a chance to win authentic game-worn white jerseys from the Comets inaugural season. In addition, white #BuiltForThis pom-poms will be distributed to all fans in attendance.

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