That was flat out awful Thursday Night at the American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Stars were routed by Los Angeles, 7-2. The game was not even that close, as the Kings failed to convert several more golden opportunities. The Kings look impressive enough with a balanced attack that even played without the pesky Sean Avery. But, far more noteworthy was the manner in which the Dallas Stars did not compete. This, of course, is what the critics of this team were referencing when they suggested the team may not have the quality make-up that others suggested it did.
And this is where we are with “My NHL”. With the emphasis on new rules, some teams decided that the best way to adapt was to jettison old clutch and grab players (In Dallas’ case, Richard Matvichuk fits the example) for new, highly skilled and yet unproven puck handlers. Did they guess wrong?
In getting rid of the physical players, did they also get rid of the grit necessary to win in hockey under any rules? Stars coach Dave Tippett did not flatter his club when he called out their willingness to compete on Thursday:
"At times, we had guys look scared to make a play," Tippett said. "This was a big division game, this should be 100 percent from everybody. We've got a lot of guys who need to start looking in the mirror here."
If you saw the game, you would have to agree. It was only one game, but now after getting beat handily in Vancouver, the Stars have lost their last two by a combined 12-4 margin.
This hurts even more when you consider the Kings are a team that played in Colorado the night before, and arrived in Dallas early in the morning on game day. Meanwhile, the Stars enjoyed a nice period of 3 days off between blowout losses.
And now, some inside the organization are worried about the makeup of the roster.
Personally, I have always thought that your skill guys make up your top 6 forwards, and your grit and determination fill out the 3rd and 4th lines. This is hardly a revolutionary approach to hockey, but clearly it appears in direct conflict with the Stars 2005 approach as their 3rd and 4th lines are made up of young, unproven European talent such as Antti Miettinen, Niko Kapenen, and Jaroslav Svoboda, who all play a fairly meek style of hockey. Steve Ott and Stu Barnes are there, too, but in my opinion, the Stars are much to easy to play against, and a lot of it has to do with having a team that is just not physical.
Too many puck battles lost, too many fights for the puck lost, and on top of it, the blue line looked completely foreign to the idea of protecting their own end.
Today’s full blog entry from Hockey Buzz.com …
Tippett not pleased with performance …
It is time for our annual Mavericks pre-season rhetoric routine:
A) We are really focusing on defense this year.
B) We are really pleased with the progress of our center who couldn’t play last year but he has really worked on his game over the summer.
And C) We are expecting great things from Marquis Daniels …
Avery Johnson may have overcooked the praise of Marquis Daniels a little when he said that he's "always thought of him as a triple-double guy."
This is, after all, a player whose next triple-double will be his first.
But considering the way the third-year guard is sizzling through the preseason, Johnson's optimism about Daniels is understandable. The 6-6 Daniels is healthy, happy and reminding the Mavericks of what they missed last season when he fought injuries.
"Marquis is part of that second unit that comes in with energy and makes things happen," Jason Terry said. "If he got enough minutes, he's definitely the type of player who could give you those kind of [triple-double] numbers."
Virginia Tech dominates despite not looking that good ….
Baseball versus Football in tv ratings …
Which will get a higher national rating Sunday? The NFL game on Fox in the afternoon? Or Game 2 of the World Series on Sunday evening?
That is kind of a touchy subject, even with the Fox people.
"Why don't we compare it to the evening football games?" said Fox president Ed Goren on a Thursday conference call promoting the World Series. "The last two weeks on Sunday night, I believe baseball may have outrated Sunday night football."
That's true, even though it seems grossly unfair to compare the deciding game of the White Sox-Angels series, or for that matter any sporting event of any type, to the dreadful Texans-Seahawks game. But Fox did win that battle with almost 8 million viewers, while ESPN had about 5 million for football.
Baseball wasn't so strong, however, against Monday Night Football on ABC.
The incredible Game 5 between St. Louis and Houston that featured Albert Pujols' ninth-inning home run drew about 8.2 million viewers, while the Rams-Colts regular-season game drew about 10.7 million.
A regular-season football game vs. one of the most dramatic baseball playoff games in recent years.
That's humbling for baseball.
Tickets left for the 2nd Texas race? …you betcha…
"It's a misperception we've battled from Day 1 -- that [whatever] race is sold out," said Gossage, 19 days removed from the start of Race No. 8 of the 10-race Chase. "We have about 12,000 seats left, which we don't have any history to compare to for this race. So the only thing we can do is compare 19 days out in the spring. It's right on target, but we were ahead -- substantially ahead -- back in August. And then the storms hit and things like that."
Personally, I think most of the sports world did what I did in late August: Clicked off racing. Do you want an audience? Don’t go head to head with pro football. Honestly, and I do realize this may upset some racing fans, but shouldn’t they shorten their season anyway? It runs from Feb 1 to late November. That means less than 10 weeks off. Seems like everyone wins if you run your season directly opposite to the NFL. But, then you don’t make as much money, and there is the rub…
Texas Tech is a good place to be QB …
Since coach Mike Leach arrived in 2000, Tech has produced the nation's leading passer in each of the last five seasons and three of the six highest single-season totals in NCAA history. In the process, Leach has convinced Symons, Cumbie and now Hodges to patiently sit for four years, learn the intricacies of the system and be rewarded with one hit-the-lottery jackpot season.
"It was definitely worth it," says Cumbie, currently a radio analyst for Tech games who signed this week with the Los Angeles Avengers of the AFL.
Best quarterback job in America or career suicide?
Sure, the numbers are sexier than the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The last four Tech starting quarterbacks have combined for 24,973 yards and 197 touchdowns. They have completed an amazing 66 percent of their passes during that span.
Yet critics contend it's the offensive system, not the quarterbacks, that produce the astronomical statistics.
Ex-Coaches pick Texas #1 …
The writers, coaches and computers all like Southern Cal.
But a group of well-known retired college football coaches have a different take on who's No. 1 in college football.
Texas overtook the Trojans in this week's Master Coaches Survey, a first-year poll put together by 16 ex-coaches that doesn't count in the Bowl Championship Series formula.
After watching film this week, the coaches met by conference call. Twelve of them picked Texas first; USC got the four other first-place votes.
"If you asked me who deserves to be No. 1, I would say Southern Cal," said MCS pollster Gene Stallings, the former Alabama head coach. "But if you asked me who's the best football team, I would say Texas. I have voted Texas No. 1 the last three weeks, at least. And if they played USC, Texas would win."
Jamaal Charles Will play Saturday …but Selvin Young starts…
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