Before heading to training camp, some NHL stars had a chance to flash their sense of style at various social functions in New York. So here's a rare chance to see the stars without pounds of gear and helmets on them.

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Star Power

Alexander Ovechkin was rocking with Dolce & Gabbana jeans, a Nike T-shirt and sneakers, which proves you don't need a suit to be styling. Next to him is "Entourage" star Kevin Connolly, who happens to be an insane Islanders fan.

Need A Defenseman?

Four forwards: Claude Giroux of the Flyers and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks bookend Michael Grabner and John Tavares of the Islanders. Like Ovechkin, they were part of the NHL Foundation's fundraiser at the Versace Fifth Avenue boutique.

U-S-A!

Ryan Kesler (Canucks) and Brian Gionta (Canadiens) play for home teams in Canada, but both are American boys who wore the red, white and blue at the 2010 Olympics.

Board Members

Mathieu Schneider (left) played for 10 NHL teams but was never teammates with Jason Spezza of the Senators. They worked together, though, as player reps on the league's competition committee before Schneider, now an executive with the NHL Players' Association, retired.

Hockey Fights Cancer

John Tavares, Henrik Lundqvist, Zach Parise, Michael Grabner and Brad Richards meet Dr. Adolfo Ferrando, a specialist in pediatric cancer research at Columbia University. Ferrando's work is among 10 grants funded by the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.

Broadway Brad

Brad Richards, who signed a $60 million contract with the Rangers in July, attended get-togethers produced by Hugo Boss, John Varvatos and Tommy Hilfiger. "It's my first Fashion Week," Richards told The New York Times. "But I do like to look good."

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It's no news that teen pop sensation Justin Bieber can hoop. His performance in the celebrity game on All-Star Weekend last February was quite impressive. But All Star guard Steve Nash apparently didn't get the memo, as Bieber celebrated Labor Day by doing some serious work on his Canadian countryman:

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We know the Suns don't play defense, but sheesh. And to add insult to injury, Nash had to watch helplessly as Bieber finished his drive and then got a cute cheer from girlfriend Selena Gomez. Wince.

The only thing Nash can fall back on is the fact that this happened at a charity event in Atlanta sponsored by Ludacris. Too bad Biebs treated the 37-year-old like a charity case.

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Summer's coming to a close and we're guessing a lot of water sports enthusiasts are running out of ideas.

Not this crowd.

Clothing company Vooray sponsored this video, where a bunch of thrill-seekers in Paradise, Utah used a makeshift ramp, a truck and some winching to put on an aerial display that would make Independence Day blush.

Director and adrenaline junkie Devin Graham says everyone who got vaulted wore helmets and life jackets, as slingers who hit the water back or belly first can get hurt.

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In other words, just enjoy the video, people.

The human slingshot is the perfect creation for daredevils that have decided jumping off cliffs into the water doesn't create the necessary amount of velocity for a true rush. Skipping across the water at 255 mph* is the way to go.

*Spot-on approximation.

Oh, and one more thing: If you're going to try anything similar, make sure the drawstring on your trunks is tied tight. That's not the show the ladies came to see.

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The Stanley Cup was dented this week when it fell off a table while former Bruins forward Michael Ryder was traveling with it in his native Newfoundland.

Clearly, the NHL isn't keen on the the 35-pound Cup -- insured at $1.5 million -- taking too many hits. So the league has set up rules for its most prized possession.

So we asked Howie Borrow, one of five Hockey Hall of Fame employees who give the Cup the white-glove treatment, to clue us in on The Stanley Cup's Road Rules.

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1. Have It Home By Midnight
The Cup has a curfew to protect it from after-hours shenanigans. "Sometimes," Borrow says, "it's just easier to tuck it away." Once, Sid Crosby was photographed sleeping next to it.

2. No Casinos or Gentlemen's Clubs
The Cup made an appearance this year in Las Vegas for the NHL's annual awards ceremony, but the league is careful about the company the Cup keeps, especially in a risqué setting or where gambling enters the equation.

3. Don't Get It Wet*
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask visited a traditional Finnish Sauna, which exposes participants to heat levels between 158-212 degrees. The Cup went in for a quick photo opp, but didn’t take part in the post-sauna dip in the lake. When on water, Stanley must wear a life jacket. "We don't want to be diving in after it," Borrow says.

4. No Skydiving
As if there isn't enough to be concerned with jumping out of a plane, the NHL doesn't want the risk of its precious cargo falling from 12,000 feet. Try explaining that one to commish Gary Bettman.

5. No Heavy Lifting
The Cup has kissed, caressed and even been mistaken for a baby's crib. While it's the ultimate people's trophy, fans are asked not to hoist it over their head. "That right is reserved for the players who have
won it," Borrow says.

6. Travel In Pairs
Handlers like Borrow sometimes work solo, but on European travels, two workers man it. "It helps with the language barrier,” Borrow says.

* This rule must have been added after the publication of "Why Is The Stanley Cup In Mario Lemieux's Swimming Pool?"

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Soccer in the United States has long craved its own Lionel Messi, a playmaker, a creator, an on-field artist if you will. Though the national team has reached a point where it can be competitive in World Cups and other international tournaments, that one-in-a-million super-talent has not yet emerged from these shores.

Brek Shea is not that guy, either. The USA's exciting new left-sided midfielder is eight inches taller than Messi and has a rapidly improving game based around power and energy rather than mesmerizing ball skills and flashing feet. He can, it is hoped, be a valuable contributor for club and country over the next several years, but he is never going to be a whirling dervish who can single-handedly crack any defense like the tiny Argentine, and to say so pays him no insult at all.

Off the field though, Shea has developed a set of quite remarkable creative skills. When he is not training or playing for Major League Soccer's FC Dallas or Jurgen Klinsmann's national team, the 21-year-old can be found with paintbrush in hand and delving into his artistic soul.

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"I go out into the garage and just sit down with my paints," Shea told ThePostGame. "It is very calm, I am just in a pair or shorts and barefoot and alone with my thoughts. I can be out there for hours and just get lost in whatever I am painting. I love it."

This is not just a hobby. Shea's art is good enough that it has been commissioned by investors from all corners of the United States and his works recently raised $10,000 for charity at a show in Texas.

He has opened Left Foot Studios in Dallas, complete with its own website at LeftFootStudio.com, where admirers of his painting can view images and place orders. Shea's art is in high demand, and he will have a series of back orders to complete, both from teammates and collectors, once the season ends.

Yet rather than being a distraction Shea believes that his time spent painting has had a positive effect on his soccer career. Fiercely competitive and with an aggressive approach that impressed USA fans during the

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side's 1-1 tie with Mexico in Philadelphia earlier this month, those laid back times in front of the canvas provide a welcome antidote to the pressure of life in professional sports.

"There is no right or wrong, especially with a lot of the abstract stuff that I do," Shea said. "I can just free-flow and express myself and whatever is in my head. It can take me away from it all, it is just me and sometimes my dog out there.

"I paint about whatever. Sometimes I am just walking around and I notice something and next time I come to paint I remember it, the way it looked or how certain colors came together."

Shea studied art in elementary school but is primarily self-taught. He devoured books to broaden his artistic range and watched instructional videos on the internet.

"It is his thing and it is also the way he is," said Shea's representative, Spencer Wadsworth. "He has great drive and focus and concentration and I’m pretty sure those things help him in both soccer and art.

"It is definitely not the kind of thing you normally associate with a professional soccer player, but it is a really cool thing for him to be doing with his time, better than playing video games or whatever."

With European eyes on MLS more than ever -- Shea's FC Dallas teammate, defender George John, may be about to move to EPL club Blackburn Rovers for a fee of $3.5 million -- it may not be long before a foreign club comes knocking for the big midfielder from College Station, Texas.

His physique would surely stand up well to the rigors of the EPL and signs are that he is technically sound enough to cut it in England or another European league.

Klinsmann's reign in charge of the U.S. national team has just begun, but it appears likely that Shea will at least get a fair crack at holding down a position on the left flank, one that could be his own by the time the 2014 World Cup rolls around.

Little is certain in soccer, or art. For now though, in both of his careers, the reviews are positive and the outlook is bright.

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There's nothing finer than sitting on the beach, watching the surfers tear it up.

Except perhaps sitting on the beach, watching the surfers light it up.

Not many people put fire and water together, but a member of the Red Bull Minor Threat team, made up of eight surfers dedicated to advancing the sport, had the genius idea to attach a flare to the end of his board.

And let's just say it's a game-changer:

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It's cool enough to watch flare surfing by day, when it looks like the barrel is exploding and chasing the surfer like a fireball in an action movie. But at night, the sight is both breathtaking and beautiful -- setting the ocean aglow.

We don't recommend you paddling novices try this, but we definitely endorse the idea brought up on Business Insider: this would make a great Olympic sport.

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So how fast can you jump rope? Maybe 30 times a minute? Or 45?

Buddy Lee can jump rope 312 times in one minute.

That's 5.2 revolutions per second.

Lee was one of the top wreslers in the world, representing Team USA in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. But now he's a trainer for MMA athletes, a spokesman for youth fitness, and the author of some of the most viral jump rope videos on the web.

Take a look, and make sure to watch long enough to see his display on the Mall in Washington D.C. (around 1:25). Watch the tourists react:

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But Lee isn't just a street performer. He's got the ear of some impressive people. As a former Marine athlete of the year, he has inspired many of the nation's military, including this group of American soldiers:

Lee is now training MMA fighters like the undefeated Gray Maynard. We all remember Rocky jumping rope in the movies, but Maynard says the benefits go way beyond cardio. "It helps all athletes," he says. "It's vastly underused throughout all sports. It helps with hand speed, foot speed, hand eye coordination, and endurance."

It's certainly helping Lee look younger than his 53 years. He says at top speed, his rope travels more than 80 mph. But it's not about showing off as much as it's about staying in shape and having fun without a barbell or a gym membership.

"You can get everything you want from this exercise," Lee says.

Including a captive audience.

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With the final golf major of 2011 behind us, here's an exclusive look at the new film, Seven Days in Utopia. It's not a bad thing if it strikes you that the film is a little bit Tin Cup, a little bit Bagger Vance with a hint of Happy Gilmore and some Doc Hollywood for good measure.

Starring Lucas Black (from Friday Night Lights and going even further back as the little kid in Sling Blade), the movie also features Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo, as well as the very fetching and sassy-sweet red-headed vampire from HBO’s True Blood, Deborah Ann Woll.

As a golf lover, perhaps the FedEx cup will tide you over until the PGA Tour's West Coast Swing early next year, but it's always too long between good golf movies.

Watch the extended clip from Seven Days in Utopia:

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