Recipe: Decadent Date and Nut Stuffed Baked Apples

If you like apple pie, you’ll love our easy recipe for baked apples, stuffed with dried fruit and walnuts, sweetened with honey and scented with cinnamon. Basting the apples with rum as they cook helps enhance the dessert’s flavors.

Try your baked apples warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or let them cool and chill them in the refrigerator before serving.

Date and Nut Stuffed Baked Apples

4 medium sweet-tart apples, such as Pink Lady

1 tsp. lemon juice

4 tsp. chopped dried dates

2 tsp. honey

4 tsp. chopped walnuts

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 Tbs. butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.

Core apples, leaving bottoms intact. Remove about 1/2” peel from top of apples. Stand apples in an 8” square baking dish.

Sprinkle lemon juice over apples. Fill apples with dates, honey and walnuts. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Top with butter. Pour rum into bottom of baking dish.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, spooning liquid from pan over apples twice during cooking, until apples are softened. Serve warm or chilled.


Devils, Comrie pick up a 5-3 Win in Buffalo

So, no Hischier, no Vatanen, no Blackwood, no Dell, no Zajac, no Wedgewood, and now no Palms?

First Period

New day, HOT START. Michael McLeod finally got his first NHL goal the other day and he has arrived. Right off the start PK Subban feeds him into a breakaway and he streaks down the ice, beats Carter Hutton and puts the Devils up 1-0 just 20 seconds into the game.

Nikita Gusev, Yegor Sharangovtich and Mihail Maltsev make up a dangerous line— put Ty Smith on the blueline behind them? YEESH. The group along with Damon Severson put up some excellent zone time that included no look passes, Ty Smith dangling a Sabres player from his knees, and more shots on net than our entire 5 on 3 power play yesterday. It hasn’t resulted in a goal yet, but that Russian line is just filthy.

Being on a line with current alternate captain Miles Wood is really rubbing off some on McLeod— as he takes a pass off his foot and immediately crashes into the net. Buffalo takes the puck the other way and tries to get set up in the zone but Murray and Hughes both do an excellent job shutting down Reider and getting the puck away from him and out of the zone.

The Sharango- line returns to the ice and creates another excellent scoring chance as Sharangovitch walks across the goal line into the crease and nearly stuffs it past Hutton before the net comes off its moorings.

Unfortunately on the following shift Kuokkanen clips Jeff Skinner in the face with his stick so we’ll go to the penalty kill and see if it’s improved at all from yesterday. Comrie looks solid so far, crossing the crease and snuffing out a huge shot from Eichel. The McLeod Sharangovitch penalty kill unit starts to get a bit hemmed into the zone but they hold their own and eventually get a few nice clears to finish the kill effectively. The game may be back to even strength but the Sabres have the momentum here and are starting to give the Devils a run for their money.

The fourth line is able to come on and tilt the ice back more evenly, bringing the play back to Hutton and forcing the Sabres to take an icing. The pace of the game, however, is way faster than any Devils game we’ve seen in a long time. If this is Lindy Ruff’s system at work, competing in a game at this pace, I propose we sign him for a lifetime contract right now. This is excellent. Andreas Johnsson tries to join the fun but is tripped up at the blue line trying to enter the zone, so instead we go to the power play (which can’t possibly be worse than yesterday, right?)

Wrong. Multiple offsides, maybe 6 seconds of puck control in the zone, and just a single shot on net. I don’t know what’s going on with our power play, but I think my beer league team could do better than us right now. Fortunately it only lasts two minutes and we’re quickly back to 5 on 5 where we can actually compete. Buffalo takes up most of the remaining few minutes but the Devils do well and Eric Comrie handles the pressure impressively well.

The clock may be winding down but the boys aren’t done with this first period though. Just under 20 seconds left in the game and the Devils force a scramble in front that results in a bouncing puck going in off Andreas Johnsson in front, and the Devils manage to pull out a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.

Second Period

Buffalo comes out with some new lines and a new attitude to start the second, and it starts to look like it’ll help: just under two minutes into the period and Kulikov takes a hooking penalty. The Sabres come in flying, open Cormier like a can of beans and Dahlin takes the shot but he crosses the ice like some form of winter grasshopper and makes an unbelievable save to keep the Sabres off the board.

Cormier continues to keep Buffalo off the board through the rest of the kill. Sharangovitch wins a foot race on a slow clear in the waning seconds of the kill, nearly netting a shorthanded goal but is stopped by Hutton. With the penalty officially killed, the Devils return to control of the game. The fourth line takes the ice and who wants to guess what happens?

Yes, that’s right. Miles Wood ends up in the net. Gotta lead by example.

The fourth line’s presence on the ice is pure physicality and brute strength and Buffalo seems to be struggling to handle that style this game. Wood, McLeod, and Bastian can all outmuscle anybody on the ice in a single shift and maintain possession by force for a long time per shift. If you’re a fan of old-time hockey, this line really is something to watch when they get going. It’s exceptionally well suited for playing against the Sabres, who don’t really have a line to match it.

Buffalo attempts to turn the tide and create some zone time for themselves, but Ty Smith does well to shut down a one on one with Jeff Skinner and Kuokkanen move the game the other way. He and Zacha play catch with a few passes that leave Zacha wide open on the side of the net but Zacha’s timing is just half a second off and he flubs the shot off the side of the net.

Buffalo heads back the other way and finds themselves on a 2 on 1, but Comrie makes the stop. Buffalo stays in the zone however and the puck lands on the stick of Rasmus Ristolainen at the point, who sends in a blast for a Lazar tip that Comrie can’t keep up with. Buffalo finds themselves on the board and its 2-1.

Jack Hughes picks right up on the next shift and tries to answer but is snuffed out by Hutton at the doorstep. Back the other way come the Sabres and Smith takes a penalty trying to stop the rush. Back to the penalty kill we go, but unfortunately not for long. The other Rasmus, Dahlin this time, rips a low shot that beats Comrie with an effective Ristolainen shield. Buffalo ties it up at 2-2.

The Devils take the ice looking like they want to regain their lead immediately. Kuokkanen and Zacha look for a repeat of their missed goal from a few minutes earlier but Hutton is ready. Buffalo picks it up a bit more, trying to take the lead. As the seconds tick down, Miles Wood decides he’s not ready to give up this fight. He picks up a loose puck and gets himself a breakaway, takes a hard wrist shot that bounces off Hutton, picks up his own rebound and buries it with just 0.6 seconds left on the clock. The broadcast helpfully noted he just about reached 20mph on that rush from the red line to midway into the offensive zone. Deadly speed. Thanks to his last second—literally—effort, the Devils will go into the second intermission with another lead, this time 3-2.

Third Period

That last second goal meant we were going to see a first second effort from Buffalo coming out into the third period, and they sure came out fast. Cormier stuffed Taylor Hall on a rush, then made another couple saves to keep us in the lead. Going back the other way and the Devils draw a slashing penalty, putting us onto what could be an extremely pivotal powerplay at this point of the game.

The PP1 manages the zone time but can’t manage the shots, moving almost a bit in slow motion which leaves their passes open for interference. As PP2 attempts to come out, the Devils get nailed with a face-off violation for Zacha and Johnsson both jumping the drop, so our remaining minute of man-advantage is wasted, which could actually be a good thing for us since it wouldn’t have been good anyway. Jack Hughes comes out to make that a true statement, stealing the puck off the midst of four Sabres as the rest of the team joins him in the zone and leads up to a blast by Subban. Buffalo comes out of the box for a short one minute power play, which turns out to be all they need. The Sabres start to get just a bit too much of a cycle going and Ristolainen buries a really strange chip in off the right post in over Comrie’s left shoulder somehow. It doesn’t matter how it went in though, only that it did, and the Sabres tie the game at 3-3.

Dahlin and Hughes get tied up just a couple minutes later and Dahlin nearly bear hugs him, drawing yet another powerplay for the Devils. Maybe this time?

Or we could spend the first 50 seconds playing catch behind our own net. Bratt forces the play into the zone with under a minute remaining but Hughes’ shots kept getting blocked, Subban’s missed the net, and so expires yet another ‘advantage’ for the Devils. I may start calling this our unspecial teams.

Back to the 5 on 5, however, and the Devils aren’t ready to give up the zone. Bastian fights for the puck which squirts out to Wood, who taps it to McLeod in the slot before getting murdered by Ristolainen. McLeod gets the shot off and it squeaks through Hutton, giving him his second goal of the game and putting the Devils back on top once again, 4-3.

Rango and the Russians return to the ice to cause some chaos in front of the Sabres net. They’re replaced with the fourth line, which does the same thing. Out comes the top line and what do they do? More chaos. I love the chaos. Hutton does not love the chaos. This line refuses to be pushed out of the zone despite Buffalo’s efforts. Severson rings a shot off the post before the Sabres are able to get the puck out of the zone. A quick change for everyone before the action begins again. The Devils attempt to return to the zone with Zacha’s line but the Sabres bring the pressure into their zone. They’re able to break it up and turn it into a 2 on 1 the other way, leading to a Zacha shot that’s blocked and sent out of play.

With three minutes left in the game, the fourth line returns to the ice, nearly netting another goal for Wood but denied by Hutton. Buffalo pulls their goalie with about 2 minutes left, bringing the tension on the ice and in my living room to a new level. Severson is able to clear the puck but it has too much for Zacha to chase it so we come back down for the icing. Sharangovitch rips a clear just inches wide of the empty net for yet another icing. Next puck drop, Zacha is able to carry the puck into the Sabres zone and the empty net pressure drama ensures. A shot from Zacha goes wide. A shot from Mikhail is blocked. Buffalo just about manages to bring the puck back down the other end before Miles Wood grabs the puck and launches it straight down the ice into the empty net. Second goal for Wood with just a few seconds left, fifth goal for the Devils and they pick up a win finally against the Buffalo Sabres, 5-3.

Post-Game Thoughts

The Good

The fourth line was just MONSTROUS in this game. 10:30 TOI, 62.50 CF%, TEN high danger scoring chances, 6 shots on net for Wood, 3 shots and 6 shot attempts for Bastian, 3 shot attempts for McLeod. 2 goals each for Wood and McLeod. Miles Wood might just need to keep that A on him at all times because he was a leader today. The SuperBuddies look great together once again and seem to be finally blossoming.

Rango and the Russians was also a great line. Just a hair under 50% in the Corsi but Sharangovitch led the team in shot attempts with 7 and Gusev seemed more comfortable today than he has most of this season so far (it’s coming for him guys, don’t worry). Maltsev didn’t show up a ton on the scoresheet but he looked excellent and really drove some of the plays and many of Sharangovitch’s shots.

The top line with Jack Hughes? Excellent! 71.43% CF, 5 high danger scoring chances and zero allowed against the in just under 11 minutes of 5 on 5. 3 shots for Hughes and Bratt, 2 for Johnsson including his second goal in as many games.

Comrie was good! I take back everything I said about him, let’s start him every game.

Okay, maybe not, he’s got some weaknesses especially on plays in tight, but the Devils now actually find themselves in the wonderful position of instead of having one great goalie and three who could maybe play as we all thought we were, we actually have four usable, winnable goalies to our name. Are we going to lose whichever one we end up having to put on waivers? Probably, but I’d much rather be in this position than the one we thought we were in last week. Excellent work, Devils goaltending and scouting departments.

Ty Smith is now (at the moment) the rookie scoring leader in both overall points and assists. He was also fantastic defensively, making several good plays and winding up with a 74.10% CF, the second best on the team behind his partner Damon Severson.

The Bad

Unspecial teams? Yeah they’re still bad. They’re honestly worse than bad. The penalty kill seems to be improving a bit, but it still isn’t up to snuff. The powerplay is just a waste of time that needs to be completely and totally revamped both in terms of strategy, lines, and also how they practice it since the slow-motion skating and passes just has to stop.

Kuokkanen Zacha and Boqvist? Not great. 30.77% CF, 1 HDCF and 3 against. Generally not noticable despite being tied with Goose’s line for the least ice time at 5v5 with 8:20 TOI. They didn’t allow a goal against though, so I’ll take what I can get from that.

There really wasn’t much to complain about in this game but I would like to add one more thing I know we’ve mentioned before: face-offs. Some were okay today—Zacha for example was over 55%, Maltsev in his first game managed 43%— but Hughes finished with 33%, and McLeod with 31%. Those are not good numbers. Powerplay? Hughes was 1 for 3, Zacha 1 for 2 again. Penalty kill, McLeod was 0/1, Zacha was 2/1. Basically, Zacha is okay, but everyone else needs to pump those rookie numbers up. You can’t score goals without the puck and that’s definitely helping our already stunted unspecial teams.

Covid-19 State News

N.J. reports 4,626 new COVID cases, 74 more deaths as vaccinations pass 761K doses

New Jersey on Saturday reported another 4,626 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 74 additional deaths as vaccination doses surpassed 761,000 shots administered and hospitalizations continued to drop.

Hospitalizations declined to 3,075, the lowest since Nov. 29. The positivity rate for tests conducted on Monday, Tuesday, the most recent day available, was 8.92% of the 54,917 tests conducted.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the latest numbers on Twitter Saturday afternoon and the state is administering about 25,000 vaccine doses a day on average.

New Jersey has now lost 21,455 residents in the nearly 11-month outbreak, with 19,326 confirmed fatalities and 2,129 considered probable. The death toll for January rose to 2,348 confirmed fatalities, the most in any month since May.

The rate of transmission remained 0.91 for the fourth consecutive day. Any number under 1 indicates that the outbreak is slowing.
The total number of confirmed cases is now 619,732 out of more than 9.2 million positive tests. There have also been 72,811 positive antigen tests, which the state recently began reporting publicly. Those cases are considered probable and health officials have warned the positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometime given in tandem.
Murphy announced he’s extending the ban on interstate sports for certain age groups, including high school programs, that was set to expire Sunday. The ban was first announced in November.


There have been 761,283 vaccine doses administered in New Jersey so far, according to the state’s dashboard. Of those, 637,844 were the first of two doses people will receive.
That’s out of more than 1.23 million doses the state has received from the federal government, according to a running tally by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
All six of the state’s vaccine mega-sites have now opened along with about 200 other locations statewide, though some mega-sites have had to suspended operations for a day after running out of doses.
On Wednesday, Murphy said the state can now expect about 130,000 doses from the federal government over the next three weeks, up from 100,000, but demand is still far outpacing the supply in the state.
  • ATLANTIC COUNTY – 22,353 doses administered
  • BERGEN COUNTY – 84,230 doses administered
  • BURLINGTON COUNTY – 37,345 doses administered
  • CAMDEN COUNTY – 44,871doses administered
  • CAPE MAY COUNTY- 10,765 doses administered
  • CUMBERLAND COUNTY – 11,305 doses administered
  • ESSEX COUNTY – 59,964 doses administered
  • GLOUCESTER COUNTY – 25,449 doses administered
  • HUDSON COUNTY – 35,509 doses administered
  • HUNTERDON COUNTY – 10,508 doses administered
  • MERCER COUNTY – 20,131 doses administered
  • MIDDLESEX COUNTY – 56,838 doses administered
  • MONMOUTH COUNTY – 57,468 doses administered
  • MORRIS COUNTY – 56,667 doses administered
  • OCEAN COUNTY – 46,567 doses administered
  • PASSAIC COUNTY – 35,713 doses administered
  • SALEM COUNTY – 4,498 doses administered
  • SOMERSET COUNTY – 29,636 doses administered
  • SUSSEX COUNTY – 12,647 doses administered
  • UNION COUNTY – 37,539 doses administered
  • WARREN COUNTY – 7,871 doses administered
  • UNKNOWN COUNTY – 24,955 doses administered
  • OUT OF STATE – 28,454 doses administered

COUNTY-BY-COUNTY COVID NUMBERS (sorted by most new cases)

· Middlesex County: 59,448 confirmed cases (549 new), 1,704 confirmed deaths (217 probable)
· Bergen County: 59,878 confirmed cases (479 new), 2,201 confirmed deaths (268 probable)
· Essex County: 59,622confirmed cases (437 new), 2,283 confirmed deaths (255 probable)
· Hudson County: 56,366 confirmed cases (414 new), 1,694 confirmed deaths (171 probable)
· Ocean County: 44,512 confirmed cases (408 new), 1,559 confirmed deaths (90 probable)
· Monmouth County: 44,436 confirmed cases (348 new), 1,151 confirmed deaths (108 probable)
· Morris County: 27,510 confirmed cases (278 new), 844 confirmed deaths (207 probable)
· Passaic County: 46,995 confirmed cases (235 new), 1,437 confirmed deaths (163 probable)
· Union County: 44,346 confirmed cases (235 new), 1,486 confirmed deaths (186 probable)
· Camden County: 36,278 confirmed cases (186 new), 948 confirmed deaths (69 probable)

· Burlington County: 27,750 confirmed cases (178 new), 637 confirmed deaths (48 probable)

· Mercer County: 23,603 confirmed cases (177 new), 779 confirmed deaths (38 probable)
· Atlantic County: 17,145 confirmed cases (126 new), 450 confirmed deaths (22 probable)
· Somerset County: 16,239 confirmed cases (116 new), 648 confirmed deaths (96 probable)
· Gloucester County: 19,050 confirmed cases (104 new), 473 confirmed deaths (22 probable)
· Sussex County: 6,875 confirmed cases (75 new), 199 confirmed deaths (55 probable)
· Cumberland County: 10,715 confirmed cases (65 new), 287 confirmed deaths (14 probable)
· Warren County: 5,457 confirmed cases (57 new), 183 confirmed deaths (15 probable)
· Hunterdon County: 5,310 confirmed cases (53 new), 93 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
· Salem County: 3,885 confirmed cases (36 new), 129 confirmed deaths (11 probable)
· Cape May County: 3,185 confirmed cases (24 new), 141 confirmed deaths (20 probable)
There were 3,075 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Friday night. That’s 41 fewer than the previous day.

That included 533 in critical or intensive care (30 fewer than the previous night), with 359 on ventilators (19 fewer).

There were also 367 COVID-19 patients discharged Friday, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Murphy has said any hospitalizations over 5,000 patients would likely trigger new rounds of restrictions. But the number of people being hospitalized has mostly ticked down slowly in recent days after hitting a more than seven-month high of 3,873 people on Dec. 22.
The state hit a high of more than 8,000 hospitalizations in April.
At least 629 students and staff in 131 school districts in New Jersey have caught COVID-19 through in-school outbreaks, according to the latest update from state health officials.
That’s an increase of 10 districts from the previous weekly report. There are now confirmed in-school outbreaks in all 21 counties, though the state does not identify the individual school districts.
Those numbers do not include students or staff believed to have been infected outside school or cases that can’t be confirmed as in-school outbreaks. Though the numbers keep rising every week, Murphy has said the school outbreak statistics remain below what state officials were expecting when schools reopened for in-person classes.
New Jersey defines school outbreaks as cases where contact tracers determined two or more students or school staff caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during academic activities at school.


Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31.1%), followed by those 50-64 (23.5%), 18-29 (19.3%), 65-79 (11.1%), 5-17 (7.9%), 80 and older (5.3%), and 0-4 (1.6%).
On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with preexisting conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (47%), followed by those 65-79 (32%), 50-64 (15.6%), 30-49 (3.9%), 18-29 (0.4%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0%).
At least 7,748 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. That number has been rising again at a steeper rate in recent months, with deaths at the state’s nursing homes nearly tripling in December.
There are currently active outbreaks at 425 facilities, resulting in 7,514 active cases among residents and 8,102 among staffers.
As of early Saturday, there have been more than 102.2 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.2 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 25.9 million, and the most deaths, at more than 436,900.
Crime & Safety Local News

31-Year-Old Man Shot in Paterson

Passaic County officials announced that at approximately 8:59 p.m. on January 29, 2021, members of the Paterson Police Department responded to the area of 9th Avenue and Madison Avenue on a report of a robbery.

Upon arrival, officers located a 31-year-old male resident of Paterson who had sustained a non-fatal gunshot wound.

The victim was transported to Saint Joseph’s University Medical Center, where he is in critical condition.

Detectives located a suspected crime scene in the area of 9th Avenue and Madison Avenue.

The investigation remains active and ongoing.

The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office asks anyone with additional information about this incident to contact us on our tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO or or contact the Paterson Police Ceasefire Unit at 973-321-1342.


Devils fall 4-3 to the Sabres in the shootout

A disappointing, but promising result. Despite the shootout loss for the Devils, the team and particularly the youngsters played extremely well as they overcame adversity on all sides to make it to the shootout.

The first period saw a lack of opportunities for both sides. Both teams struggled immensely in distributing passes and finding good opportunities, as Jesper Bratt seemed to be the only player actively creating opportunities. There was a huge lull in activity until the 12:44 mark in the 1st, when Andreas Johnsson was called for a “penalty” which made Ken Daneyko question whether it was a penalty or not. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t a penalty. However, the Devils were able to safely kill the penalty, before another series of lull.

At the 7:45 mark, Jesper Bratt used his stickhandling skills to draw a rare double penalty on Eric Staal and Brandon Montour. Somehow, almost nothing came on the 5-on-3 opportunity, but Bratt again was causing chaos when on the ice.

With 1:44 left in the 1st, Nikita Gusev and the Devils had their first real opportunity. Gusev, in a display of excellence, used his strength to knock down the defenseman Henri Jokiharju. He was then able to attempt a five-hole shot on Linus Ullmark, which he had some difficulty stopping but nonetheless did. More inactivity concluded the rest of the period with the score tied at 0’s.

The 2nd period started significantly quicker. The Devils found themselves in penalty trouble early in the period, as Andreas Johnsson was called for holding the stick. Luckily for the Devils, the Sabres had absolutely nothing during that power play, as the best opportunity came shorthanded for the Devils on a Pavel Zacha start. The proceeding play saw the Devils swarm the Sabres, as Ullmark stopped a Jesper Bratt slot shot, before Damon Severson then proceeded to slap a shot off the crossbar. Of note – Jesper Bratt and Jack Hughes were reunited to start the 2nd period.

Unfortunately for the Devils – they were caught in an odd-man situation a few minutes later. Jack Hughes, having crashed into the Sabres net, found himself stuck there for a few moments. As this occurred, the Devils decided to make a line-change, which led to a transition opportunity. Old friend Taylor Hall found Eric Staal in the open slot, who was able to snipe a shot past Wedgewood, off the post and into the net for the 1-0 Sabres lead.

The Devils, looking to comeback and grow momentum, found themselves with a power play as a result of a Taylor Hall holding call. Gusev had a couple of nice shots, which were stopped by Ullmark, but nothing occurred. Following this, Ristolainen sent a shot from the point which tipped off of Eric Staal’s high stick and off the post.

Additional opportunities came from the Hughes line, before Eric Staal was called for hooking Damon Severson with under two minutes to go.

This time, the Devils would not let the power-play go to waste. Good puck movement from the blue line led to an opening for a Ty Smith slapshot. Miles Wood’s frame completely screened Ullmark, resulting in the shot sneaking in through the left side and a 1-1 time to close the period.

The 3rd period started extremely quickly and productively for the Devils. Yet again, it was the Jack Hughes line doing the brunt of the creativity. Andreas Johnsson was the sniper for this goal, as he used Brandon Montour as a partial screen snap a puck on the top-right corner for his first Devils goal! In recent games, Johnsson has looked significantly better while on the ice and it’s nice to see him rewarded for it.

The Sabres responded immediately. Cody Eakin was able to muscle through Tennyson like he wasn’t even there, before also phasing through Bastian to find Riederfor the wrist shot, for another tie-game.

The Hughes line was then sent to do damage, where the Bratt, Johnson and Hughes trio connected while on the odd-man rush. Hughes had an opportunity where he saw some open ice, but he was completely robbed by Ullmark. The Devils were able to draw a delay of game call on the opportunity.

The Devils power-play looked much better, as the Devils zipped passes through the ice for nice shot opportunities throughout the ice from Subban, Smith, Severson and Zacha. From there on it, it was fast-paced play before the 10 minute point of the game – when the phantom call happened.

At this point in the game, Ty Smith was called for hooking. There was no hooking call. At all. The proceeding power play saw Wedgewood find himself screened and strangely out of position, which Olofsson had an easy shot for a 3-2 lead. I don’t know why Wedgewood positioned himself like that. I don’t know what the refs are doing. What I will say at this point is that the calls are becoming completely egregious – almost as if the referees are mocking the Devils. But, we live in a sports environment where if a coach even DARES to criticize or question the referees in any method, they will be fined. Unbelievable. Oh – Jack Hughes was also high-sticked a few minutes later, which the referees missed.

While Devils fans were still maligning the referees for their selective blindness, the fourth line did their jobs and completely pinned the Sabres in their zone. Off a puck battle in the boards, Janne Kuokkanen was able to find a loose puck and bank the puck off of Ullmark’s shoulder and into the goal for his first NHL goal.

With two minute left in the game, Jake McCabe and the Sabres obtained sustained pressure, where he clanged a shot off the post. The Devils were called for a tripping penalty on Severson, which was actually a good call, to give the Sabres a final penalty shot. For a heart-wrenching final two minutes, the Devils struggled to get the puck out of their zone, leading to a multitude of opportunities for the Sabres. However, the Sabres couldn’t capitalize in the last few moments, resulting in a 3-3 game and a one point for each team.

The Devils killed the last eight seconds to open the overtime to open up some counterplay. Jack Hughes found himself on the right side and lifted a backhand shot with dinged off the crossbar. Then, Palmieri tipped a pass up front from Palmieri, which Ullmark was able to stop and hold to start 3-on-3 play. There were few chances for the rest of the overtime, but Damon Severson was able to find Jesper Bratt on a breakaway which he lost the handle on. With that said, neither team was able to score in the overtime, so on to the shootout the Devils went.

Buffalo went first in the shootout, with captain Jack Eichel taking the shot. While invisible for the game, Eichel was able to clank a shot off the post and past Wedgewood for the shootout lead.

Jesper Bratt then shot for the Devils. He attempted to deke to the left side, but Ullmark refused to bite and followed Bratt throughout the move, stopping the first attempt.

Rasmus Dahlin went next, choosing to shoot a fake-slapshot five hole on Wedgewood. Wedgewood stayed with it the whole time to stop Dahlin.

Gusev went next for the Devils. Gusev also attempted to go five-hole on Ullmark, but was stoped.

Olofsson was the final Sabres shooter. He deked Wedgewood, completely beat Wedgewood, but hit the post to leave fate on Kyle Palmieri’s stick.

Palmieri tried his best to beat Ullmark in his attempt, as he tried to deke Ullmark on the backhand side. However, Palmieri missed the net on his attempt, so the Devils walked away one point short yet again.

Quick Reaction

Overall, a well-played game by the Devils. The Hughes and McLeod lines played beautifully today, with each line recording a goal for the Devils. Jesper Bratt looks even more elusive than usual, in just his second game back. Kuokkanen and Smith recorded goals for the team, so the youth movement is looking as strong as ever. I even thought Subban played much better in this game.

As for who played poorly, it seems as if Palmieri and Gusev are still struggling through a funk. I don’t question putting Gusev in the shootout – the results spoke for themselves for him. I do question putting Kyle Palmieri in the shootout, as he was never a guy who was expected to bank in those shots on the breakaway.

Wedgewood was pretty bad for the Devils today, especially on the last two goals. While they were well-placed shots off nice passing, I do feel that Wedgewood could have put himself in a better position to stop those shots. In the end though, Wedgewood wasn’t even expected to be the backup for this team, let alone the starter, so we as fans should just be grateful to have points in general.

As for who played awful, let’s start with the referees. Same old missed calls and a disgusting call on Ty Smith. No visible accountability for these mistakes and acknowledgement on these issues masks an issue that exists in all sports.

As for actual play, the Devils still can’t win faceoffs. They lost 39 faceoffs whilst only winning 25, which is absolutely awful. The coaching staff on the Devils realistically needs to devote some practice time only to faceoffs, as faceoff losses can completely sap any momentum in play.

Sharangovich might need some time off just to readjust. While on the ice, he was awful today with a CF of 27%. Similar to a lot of rookies, he might just need some time to readjust mentally and get back into the swing of things. Nick Merkley was also awful today, with a CF of 20%, and as a result was basically scratched for the final periods.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations to Janne Kuokkanen for his first NHL goal and Andreas Johnsson for his first Devils goal. In the end, we should be grateful for any point while Blackwood and Dell aren’t on the team. Also, the Devils did play well today.

What are your thoughts? How did you think the players did today? What did you think about the referees? Remember, this is a Devils team that was supposed to struggle and grow, so I think it’s safe to say the Devils are actually outplaying their expectations. Should the Devils chance up the lines (outside of the 1st and 4th lines)? What do Kyle Palmieri and Nikita Gusev need to do to get back into the swing of things? Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for more Devils hockey tomorrow at the same time!

U. S. News

Workers escaped deadly leak by going through nitrogen fog

ATLANTA  — Workers at a northeast Georgia poultry plant said they escaped through a fog of vaporizing liquid nitrogen that killed six of their coworkers, as an investigation continued Friday into the cause of the leak at Foundation Foods Group.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims on Friday as: 45-year-old Jose DeJesus Elias-Cabrera of Gainesville; 35-year-old Corey Alan Murphy of Clermont; 28-year-old Nelly Perez-Rafael of Gainesville; 41-year-old Saulo Suarez-Bernal of Dawsonville; 38-year-old Victor Vellez of Gainesville; and 28-year-old Edgar Vera-Garcia of Gainesville.

Four people remained hospitalized, said Beth Downs, a spokesperson for Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, with three in critical condition and one in fair condition.

Investigators have begun evaluating equipment at the plant that could have played a role in the leak, but said its location and cause had yet to be determined. The state fire marshal’s office has ruled out a shut-off valve on piping that connects a nitrogen storage tank outside the building to equipment inside, but the agency does not oversee other equipment at the plant, spokesman Weston Burleson said. Burleson referred additional questions to authorities in Hall County, who he said are leading the investigation along with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Workers poured out of the plant Thursday morning after a liquid nitrogen line burst. The plant processes chicken into items such as nuggets and then freezes them for later use.

Jameel Fareed told WSB-TV that he avoided walking into the cloud of liquid nitrogen.

“First we just thought there was something wrong with the freezer. Then they started saying, ‘Get out,’” Fareed said. “I just saw the fog, and when I couldn’t see down the steps, I turned around. But I didn’t feel anything.”

Maria del Rosario Palacios leads Georgia Familias Unidas, a Latino advocacy group in Gainesville. She said a number of workers told her they developed headaches, apparently from a lack of oxygen. She said workers told her there was a loud noise, and then some workers were rushed into a room at the plant before going outside, with a strong odor indicating the presence of nitrogen.

Workers who weren’t hospitalized were examined after being evacuated to a nearby church, but Palacios said she’s worried that they may have suffered undetected injuries.

“These families need medical attention,” Palacios said. “It’s hard convincing folks to go in and get checked out.”

Gainesville is the hub of Georgia’s poultry industry, which is the largest in the country. Thousands of employees work across multiple processing plants around the city and much of the workforce, like in many meat-processing plants nationwide, is Latino.

St. Michael Roman Catholic Church in Gainesville has parishioners who work at the plant where the leak occurred, and Deacon Ken Lampert said he was worried about how the victims’ families would cope financially. The community is not affluent, and incomes often support extended families.

“When out of the blue mom and dad went to work yesterday and they didn’t come home tonight, it’s devastating,” he said. “We will rally around them and take care of them and make sure that life goes on.”

Covid-19 Local News

Paterson revamps COVID-19 vaccine approach, recommends appointments

PATERSON, New Jersey – One of New Jersey’s largest cities is revamping its approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution after its first-come, first served site led to long lines of people bundled up in the cold for hours.

Paterson Mayor Sayegh announced Friday that beginning on February 3, vaccination sites across the city will begin scheduling appointments between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. via the state registration portal.

Then, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., the site will be open for walk-ins for Paterson seniors only. Officials expect there will be roughly 75 walk-in doses available per day.

The appointment period is also open to Passaic County residents as well.
Hundreds of people lined up early Thursday morning in hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine at International High School, with shots available to any eligible state resident.

Critics say that led to seniors standing in the cold for hours, and Sayegh is hoping the changes will alleviate those long lines.
Elsewhere in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said a “technical issue” with the New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System platform led to an unknown number of double booked appointments at the Gloucester County Thursday.
Some appointments had to be canceled, and the state is promising to reschedule those appointments as quickly as possible.
“We will work with those canceled on rescheduling at the nearest available time,” Murphy said. “We regret the confusion this technical issue caused. We are working with our vendor. And as you imagine, those exchanges are spirited, to address the root cause and that this does not happen again.”
Murphy said there have been 724,371 total vaccinations statewide, which has now surpassed the total number of positive cases in the state.

“We are working every day to maximize every dose we are given and to administer to as many people as our supply will allow,” he said. “As the federal government increases our allotment, we’ll be able to open up for more appointments. And as we will now know what our allotment will look like three weeks down the road, we’ll be able to make more long-term decisions to improve our vaccine program.”

Crime & Safety State News

Former Union President and Benefit Funds Administrator Charged with Embezzlement

NEWARK, N.J. –The former president of a New Jersey local union and administrator of two union affiliated benefit funds made her initial appearance today on charges that she embezzled from the union and two union-affiliated employee benefit funds, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Dorothy McBride, 74, of Montville, New Jersey, was charged by complaint with one count each of embezzlement of labor union assets and embezzlement from employee benefit plans. She allegedly embezzled approximately $100,000 from a local union affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), of which she was president, and approximately $534,470 from the Welfare Fund and the Pension Fund, of which she was administrator. McBride made her initial appearances today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre and was released on $250,000 unsecured bond.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

McBride had control over the union’s and the funds’ bank accounts. From at least 2015 through June 2018, she made routine payments to her personal credit card accounts from the bank accounts of the union and employee benefit funds for expenditures that were not authorized or for legitimate union or fund purposes. McBride caused the pension fund to direct monthly payments for pension benefits to a personal account of hers for a benefit that she was ineligible to receive and that the pension fund was not obligated to pay out.

The charges of embezzlement of labor union assets and embezzlement from employee benefit plans each carry a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited the investigators of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, under the direction of Regional Director Thomas Licetti of the New York Regional Office; investigators of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards, under the direction of Adriana Vamvakas, Regional Director; and special agents of the Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Mikulka, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendall Randolph of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U. S. News

Atmospheric river storm drenches California, snow piles high

LOS ANGELES  — An atmospheric river storm pumped drenching rains into the heart of California on Thursday as blizzard conditions buried the Sierra Nevada in snow.

The storm was aimed like a massive firehose at the central coast, where two-day rainfall neared 14 inches (35.5 centimeters) in San Luis Obispo County, the National Weather Service said.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders at late morning for an area of coastal homes as heavy rain caused the Carmel River to rise rapidly.

In the Eastern Sierra, the Mammoth Mountain ski resort reported 7.25 feet (2.21 meters) of new snow on its summit. A blizzard warning continued for both sides of the California-Nevada border along a 170-mile (274-kilometer) stretch of the Sierra.

“I would not venture into the Sierra if you don’t have to.” National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Hoon in Reno tweeted.

Firefighters northwest of Lake Tahoe rescued a 14-year-old boy who was buried under 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow that slid off the roof of his home Wednesday night. He wasn’t seriously injured. The Truckee Fire Protection District said the teen was playing in a snow cave in the Serene Lakes area west of Truckee at the time.

Atmospheric rivers are long and narrow bands of water vapor that form over an ocean and flow through the sky. They occur globally but are especially significant on the West Coast of the United States, where they create 30% to 50% of annual precipitation and are linked to water supply and problems such as flooding and mudslides, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The storm was expected to eventually drop down into Southern California, bringing threats of debris flows, mudslides and flash floods to areas near huge wildfire burn scars. Up to 3 feet (0.91 meter) of snow was predicted for the mountains.

Los Angeles and counties to the east and south issued warnings to get residents ready to leave areas near wildfire scars.

About 8,200 people were under evacuation orders in foothill neighborhoods beneath the burn scar of last summer’s El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa. Deputies went door to door urging people to leave in the Oak Glen area.

“We’ve given an evacuation order. You need to heed it,” San Bernardino County Fire Division Chief Grant Malinowski said during a news conference. “Don’t wait, do it now.”

The California Office of Emergency Services expanded its positioning of specialized response strike teams and task forces to a total of 11 counties.

The storm punched into Northern California late Tuesday night, drifted down the coast and stalled Wednesday and for much of Thursday.

Mudslides near Salinas south of the Bay Area damaged about two dozen rural ranch homes beneath hillsides scorched by the River Fire last August, said Dorothy Priolo with the Monterey County Regional Fire Protection District.

One woman was treated for broken bones after mud went “completely through the house” in the early morning hours, Priolo said. Fifty horses were rescued.

Flash-flood watches remained in effect through Thursday afternoon for a wide area encircling the San Francisco Bay Area. In Santa Cruz County, evacuation orders for about 5,000 people were downgraded to a warning, meaning people should be ready to go.

Pacific Gas & Electric was continuing to work on restoring power after reconnecting about 75% of the 575,000 customers who lost electricity Tuesday and Wednesday.

About 1,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in northern Nevada, where the effects of the storm also forced school closures in several counties.

The atmospheric river is part of a major change in weather for California, which had significant drought conditions for months. The dryness contributed to wildfires that scorched more than 4.2 million acres (17,000 square kilometers) in 2020, the most in recorded modern history.

U. S. News

Biden rescinds abortion restrictions on U.S. foreign aid

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday rescinded a regulation that barred U.S. foreign aid from being used to perform or promote abortions. His decision, while expected, was cheered by abortion-choice advocates and some humanitarian groups and denounced by anti-abortion groups.

Biden’s move came just a week after he was inaugurated and fulfills a campaign pledge to reverse a policy that previous Republican presidents, including his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump, have instated immediately on taking office.

The policy has been a political ping-pong ball, bouncing back and forth between Republican and Democratic presidents since it was first enacted in 1985 during former President Ronald Reagan’s second term.

“Like memoranda issued by President Clinton and President Obama before him, it immediately rescinds the global gag rule, also referred to as the Mexico City Policy, which bars international non-profits that provide abortion counseling or referrals from receiving U.S. funding,” the White House said.

Critics of the policy say it hurts women’s reproductive health care and contributes to poverty worldwide. Supporters argue it is essential to preserve the sanctity of life.

Trump had expanded the rule to include nearly all federal health funding, but its effects were felt most abroad, where U.S. assistance can be an essential part of a country’s health care spending.

Although supporters of the policy argue that the overall amount of U.S. health care aid was not affected, critics maintained it contributed to a rise in pregnancy-related complications as well other issues by forcing some clinics to reduce broader health services, including for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases, if they wanted to retain funding.

Reaction to Biden’s decision was swift and sharp, even before it was officially announced. Abortion-rights groups and Democratic lawmakers hailed it as key to improving women’s lives, while anti-abortion groups denounced it as immoral and unnecessary.

“The Global Gag Rule has had a sweeping effect on lifesaving health care in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It is shameful that the Trump administration chose to not only implement but exponentially expand this ill-conceived policy to historic proportions.”

She called it “an important first step to restore access to family planning services and mitigate the damage caused by an administration that pursued this dangerous policy without regard for its impact.”

Doctors Without Borders, which has spoken out against the Mexico City policy, welcomed the move but said more must be done to address the global health care crisis.

“While we are relieved to see a halt to this dangerous policy, there is much more work to do to mitigate the damage we have witnessed. Rescinding the Global Gag Rule is just a first step,” it said. “Millions of women still don’t have access to safe abortion care because of restrictive laws, cost, stigma, a lack of trained providers, or other unnecessary barriers, such as mandatory waiting periods or misleading information.”

Anti-abortion groups were equally as strident in the condemnation.

“Funneling U.S. tax dollars to abortion groups overseas is an abhorrent practice that flies in the face of the ‘unity’ Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised to inspire,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which seeks to elect anti-abortion candidates to Congress and other offices.

Echoing the comments of others, she blasted the Biden administration for once again allowing taxpayer money to fund abortions, maintaining the move was payback for a group of “abortion industry giants” that support the president’s campaign for president.

“Pushing abortion on other nations is not compassion, it is ideological neo-colonization,” said Lila Rose of Live Action, a national anti-abortion group. “This decision is a dark day for our nation — it will lead to more deaths of more children and for that, Joe Biden should be ashamed.”