Your Desolate Sports Morning Links: Haynesworth & Donny Mac, Deion & Dez, Plax, Sixers Sale, and Vokoun

Your Desolate Sports Morning Links: Haynesworth & Donny Mac, Deion & Dez, Plax, Sixers Sale, and Vokoun

So, it's midsummer, and the Midsummer Classic is behind us, which can only mean one thing. There's no sports today. Nada. I'm on vacation as I often am when the All-Star Game rolls around, so it's decent timing for me, except that I usually like to spend these few days reading up on the next NFL season in preparation for dominating my fantasy football league. With the lockout still in place and free agency yet to have its way with the current league reality, it hardly seems worth the effort yet.

But two full days without any live local sporting action are underway, so we'll get our Wednesday programming started with some stories of interest from around the Webs this morning. On the docket for today: The Sixers sale could happen very soon, reports on the future of McNabb and Haynesworth in DC, Plax's game of Mad Libs, Deion's Dez diss, Conlin declares WAR, and the "market" for Tomas Vokoun.

Let's start with the Skins. Jason La Canfora of NFL.com is reporting that Washington will try to land some big targets in free agency. Someone needs to overpay a few guys they should probably stay away from, right? Of course, that will likely mean a few possible bidding wars with the Eagles, who were long ago predicted to be a big spender once the market opens. Also of interest in Jason's story is that the Skins will attempt to trade Albert Haynesworth and probably release Donovan McNabb, two of the bigger off-season acquisition busts in a franchise with a solid recent history of them. They'll want to try to get something for Haynesworth and keep him from heading up 95, but finding a team without Jim Washburn on its welcoming committee to trade for his contract will have its challenges. When FA does open though, remember the names of Haynesworth and McNabb when looking around the league at sure-fire team-improvers. [NFL.com, via Rotoworld]

Elsewhere in the NFC East, it seems Deion Sanders has given up on Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, although not given up talking about him. Note to NFL players who are still, ya know, playing: Give up on Deion before he tries to keep his name in the headlines by attaching it to yours. Unless you play for Dallas, in which case, feel free to keep this little carousel moving right along. [ESPN]

You remember all those nice things Plaxico Burress said about joining the Eagles? Remember Mad Libs? NFL.com has a good version where "Chicago Bears" been substituted for "Philadelphia Eagles" in the "NFL team" field. [NFL.com]

The sale of the Sixers to a few business school All-Stars is close to being finalized, says Bob Cooney of the Daily News. [philly.com]

Bill Conlin throws a grenade at Ryan Howard haters and the SABR community at large. Then he throws five more for good measure. [philly.com]

One of the more interesting stories of the NHL free agency signing frenzy was that it didn't include goalie Tomas Vokoun, who ultimately received no initial offers and finally settled on a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Washington Capitals. While the match could make a true Cup contender out of an already very good team, Vokoun seems to have been hoping for a better financial reward for his many years of notable netminding. That he turned down a three-year deal prior to July 1 is telling of the disparity between market expectations and reality. [Puck Daddy]

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard batting cleanup, Cameron Rupp catching

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard batting cleanup, Cameron Rupp catching

Following a day off, the Phillies continue their roadtrip with the start of a three-game set with the New York Mets.

Ryan Howard will bat in the heart of the Phillies order with Cameron Rupp at catcher following the trade of Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers. Meanwhile, the rest of the lineup remains mostly the same as it was prior to a brief two-game series with American League rules.

With Ruiz's trade, Howard is the last remaining member of the Phillies' 2008 World Series team. He'll try to throw back to that time against the ageless Bartolo Colon. 

Howard has good power numbers against Colon. He has just six hits in 28 at-bats, but has drawn three walks and has three home runs against the 43-year-old starter. There are only 18 pitchers he has faced more often than Colon.

At catcher, Rupp had already inherited the starting job from Ruiz, but he is now the backstop with more experience in Philadelphia. The Phillies called up prospect Jorge Alfaro for now, but he will likely remain on the bench and be sent down when A.J. Ellis reports this weekend. 

Rupp has five hits in 14 at-bats against Colon. He has faced only the Braves' Julio Teheran more times than Colon in his four-year career. The five hits are tied for his most against any one pitcher (Teheran).

Here's the full lineup that will oppose Colon and the Mets. 

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Aaron Altherr, LF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Awwwwe: Chooch leaves his Phillies teammates a love note on clubhouse white board

Awwwwe: Chooch leaves his Phillies teammates a love note on clubhouse white board

As if you didn't think you could love Carlos Ruiz any more...

Chooch was traded on Thursday afternoon and he's since departed for the potentially playoff-bound pastures with his new-again teammate Chase Utley and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But not before he left his Phillies teammates a loving note written on the white board in the clubhouse at CitiField where the Phils play the Mets this evening.

Courtesy of CSNPhilly.com's Phillies beat reporter Jim Salisbury:

It reads:

"I will miss all of you guys. Good luck the rest of the season. Love you all, Chooch! (Gracias)"

Awwwwwwwwe.

Gestures like the above help explain why guys like Roy Halladay call Chooch their favorite baseball player ever.

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with forward Brandon Pirri on a $1.1 million, one-year deal.

The 25-year-old Pirri spent last season with the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, recording 14 goals and 15 assists in 61 games. His 29 points were a career high.

A second-round pick, 59th overall, in the 2009 draft, Pirri has been traded twice and was considered a potential bargain in NHL free agency. Pirri is something of a shootout specialist, scoring on five of his six attempts last season, and that 83.3 percent success rate ranked first among players with at least five attempts.

In 166 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers and Ducks, Pirri has 49 goals and 31 assists for 90 points.

Enroth replaces injured Lerner for Sweden at World Cup
NEW YORK -- With goaltender Robin Lehner still not fully healthy, Sweden replaced him on its World Cup of Hockey roster with Jhonas Enroth.

The Buffalo Sabres' starting goalie was bothered by a right ankle injury for much of last season that limited him to 21 NHL games. Lehner underwent surgery in March and had been working to get ready for the World Cup, which begins Sept. 17 in Toronto.

"We really wanted to give Robin the opportunity to recover from his injury from last year, but unfortunately it wasn't enough time for him to feel 100 percent recovered," coach Rikard Gronborg said in a statement released by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.

Concussion problems held Lehner to 23 games in 2014-15, and he looked to be over those after the Ottawa Senators traded him to Buffalo at the 2015 draft. The 25-year-old injured his ankle early in the season opener and aggravated it in March.

It was not immediately clear when the Sabres expect Lehner to be back to 100 percent.

"As Robin continues to progress during the offseason in his rehab from last season's ankle injury, he felt that it was best to withdraw from Team Sweden for the upcoming World Cup," Buffalo general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. "Robin felt it was important to continue his rehab in Buffalo to prepare for training camp. He has been working out both on and off the ice and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with our team next month."

Enroth, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings, recently signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He joins Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks as the goalies on Sweden's roster.

The 28-year-old has a 2.80 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 147 career NHL games. Enroth was on the Swedish team that earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, though he never appeared in a game. He started for Sweden at the 2013 and 2015 world hockey championships, winning gold in 2013 with a 1.15 GAA and .956 save percentage (see full story).