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Saturday Reads: NHL Work Stoppage Looming? Le Toux a Pink Cow? Hamels Extension? Phils Trade Bait? PETA & CBP? Sarge!

Jul 14, 2012, 12:19 PM EDT

Some outside reading selections for your Saturday morning...
I’ve barely opened my MacBook over the last two weeks—a great experience I highly recommend to anyone as routinely connected to their device of choice as I usually am. A few check-ins on the phone kept me a little more plugged-in than I shoulda been, but who can resist reading up on NHL free agency, All-Star shenanigans, Union ups and Downs, and, unfortunately, more painful documentation from the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky situation.
My vacation may be over, but the NHL’s summer could last longer than the one in Game Of Thrones. The league’s opening salvo in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations is reportedly pretty heavy in its demands, and the initial reactions from beats and bloggers is that a work stoppage is likely. On the one hand, it’s not entirely unexpected in a first proposal. On the other, there’s just no way in hell the NHLPA will see eye-to-eye on a single element of the initial proposal. [Puck Daddy] [Larry Brooks
Speaking of the Endless Summer, the Phillies lost their first game of the unofficial second half last night, 6-2 in Denver. Off the field, discussions continue to focus on whether or when the Phils will turn to sellers. If they do sell, two possible commodities appear in the current outfield mix, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino. Matt Gelb looks at how while the Phillies wouldn’t be selling high, they may still be inclined to move one of them, or perhaps save a little in keeping them. [Inquirer
The most stirring talk since well before the season started remains the plight of Cole Hamels. While recent reports had Ruben Amaro Jr trawling for offers, Jayson Stark reported late this week that the Phils are working on an offer in an attempt to determine whether they can sign Hamels within the next two weeks. [ESPN

Onto a bit of lighter fare, WHYY’s Elizabeth Fieldler reports more accolades for Citizens Bank Park as a dining experience. Even PETA likes CBP for its vegetarian options. [NPR

You won’t find Gary Matthews pushing aside a plate of barbecue or Nick’s Roast Beef for a non-meat “burger” or “steak,” but chances are, if you eat out in the Philly area enough, you will find a smiling Sarge somewhere. As Paul Hagen explores in a piece for the Daily News’ Sports Week edition, the Phillies’ broadcaster has won more fans with constant positivity than he’s lost with his regular oversimplified points and peppered in malapropisms. It’s a story Mike Meech of The Fightins was telling almost immediately, but it’s a worth a read a few seasons into Sarge’s career here, especially if you’re among the fans wishing for another color commentary voice alongside for the middle innings. [Sports Week
One quick passage as a teaser: 
Said Jim Jackson, laughing: “That’s my highlight Sarge moment because the third out of the inning came just in time. We might not be having this conversation about Sarge’s great career here as a broadcaster if that hadn’t happened.”
Finally, a bit of MLS news to start a Union game day. After the surprise trade that sent Sebastien Le Toux to Vancouver jumpstarted a surreal third season of Philadelphia Union existence, the head-turning decisions continued to come, up to and including the sacking of Peter Nowak. Just as things have settled down under the stewardship of John Hackworth, Union fans once again have to deal with some less-than-thrilling news regarding their favorite Frenchman. Le Toux will be celebrating Bastille Day as a member of the rival New York Red Bulls… [Soccer By Ives
Sorry Seba, but we can no longer wish you luck or success. Not in that dreadful uniform. We know you understand, and if it’s OK with you, we hope you’re playing for your fifth team in as many seasons when 2013 rolls in.