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From the Branches: Well now there's really nothing to talk about

Auston Matthews has signed his Entry Level Contract. So now what? A trip to Minsk?

Except this?
Except this?
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

You can stop panicking. He isn't going to defect to the KHL, at least until they come up with some better sales pitches; and Lou isn't holding him hostage to "The New Jersey Way." Auston Matthews has signed a three year contract with the Maple Leafs.

Lamoriello shocks Leafs world, signs Matthews for max bonuses - PPP
No #34 Red Star Kunlun jersey for us.

Crisis averted. Stand down from red alert.

Even though Matthews signed, if you have yet to read Katya's terrific write up on Entry Level Contracts and player bonuses you should do it now!

Done reading that? Still wondering what to do?

In all of yesterday's excitement did you miss that Josh Leivo also signed a two year deal? I bet you did! Josh Leivo's a nice guy folks. You should pay more attention to him.

Now, we wait.

We wait around and bake in this horrible never ending heat of the summer, hoping one of the Leafs posts something funny on Instagram, or Twitter, Faceblock, or something. The World Cup of Hockey is a mere 58 days away, folks!

Determining the best trade in Canadiens history - Eyes On The Prize
[Species: It sure wasn't Grabovski for Pateryn. What was the Leafs best trade?]

Report: Islanders owners talking to Queens about arena project, rinse, repeat - Lighthouse Hockey
Per a report in Bloomberg, the Islanders owners are talking to the Mets about building a hockey arena in Queens. How much you believe depends on how much stock you put in anonymous sources. Just another part life as a fan of the Islanders.

NBA moves 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over HB2 - The Charlotte Observer
After months of lobbying to change House Bill 2, league chooses to move the February event. The league has said it views HB2 as discriminatory against the LGBT community.

GW basketball players report coach’s ‘verbal and emotional abuse’; many fled school - The Washington Post
Players also cited Mike Lonergan’s homophobic rants about athletic director; 13 have transferred out in five years.

Gender Differences in Risk-Taking: Evidence from Professional Basketball - SSRN
Using novel data from professional athletes (NBA and WNBA), we find that male teams increase their risk-taking towards the end of matches when a successful risky strategy could secure winning the match. Female teams, in contrast, reduce their risk-taking in these situations. The less time left in a match, the larger is the gap. When the costs of an unsuccessful risky strategy are very large (losing the tournament), we find no increase in risk-taking for male teams.

Players Criticize W.N.B.A. For Fines Over Shirts Worn to Underscore Shootings - The New York Times
Three teams were fined $5,000 and each player was fined $500 for wearing T-shirts intended to raise awareness in the aftermath of recent shootings by and of the police.

Only in New York - Brian Leetch
Hockey players will often tell you how special it is to play in New York, but I have the story to prove it. Let me take you back to 1989, to tell you about my 21st birthday party in Manhattan.

Clinical Minsk put an end to Saints' European run - RTÉ Sport
A well executed first-half strike from Gleb Rassadkin ended St Patrick's Athletic's Europa League hopes as the Inchicore club lost out 2-1 on aggregate on a frustrating night at Richmond Park.