1) The Mavericks winning on the West Coast due to gritty play late in the game …
2) Stars refuse to give in to opponent; score late goal to tie; dominate in shootout …
Wow. I swear we did this yesterday, too…
First, the Mavs:
Down by 17 points in the first quarter, the Mavericks roared away from Seattle for a 104-97 victory at the Key Center. The Mavericks emphatically completed a 5-0 tour of the Western Conference, with four wins against teams that have losing records, for the club's most successful trip ever by any measure.
Each win was by at least six points. In each of the last two games, the Mavericks rallied from a double-digit deficit. This was their third victory of the season when trailing by 17 or more points.
No opponent scored more than 97 points during the streak. Seattle, the highest-scoring team in the NBA, produced five points fewer than its season average. SuperSonics guard Ray Allen, facing a variety of defenders, made his first four shots and only five of his last 17 tries.
"To go 5-0 is pretty special," said Dirk Nowitzki, who found ways to score a team-high 29 points despite erratic shooting. "We got lucky on a couple of occasions, but we played well together and played well defensively."
Well done, Mavericks. I hope everyone got a load of Barkley last night. What a dope. Watch a game, fatman...
Now, on to the Stars:
By his own reckoning, Turco was "overdue," locked in a monthlong slump.
"It's great to see a lot of quality shots and get work and most importantly give my teammates the difference-maker they expect out of me," Turco said. "I felt real good, as good as I have in a long time."
Tanguay had two prime chances in overtime. On the first, a flailing Turco got his glove and skate on a Tanguay attempt from the side.
The next time, on a partial breakaway, Turco stopped Tanguay's first attempt with his pads and his second with his glove.
"Skill and patience, that's his whole game," said Turco, who finished with 37 saves. "The one in overtime where he got it back and chipped it, I couldn't believe he got it on net."
It was the second straight shootout for the Stars, who also got shootout goals from Zubov and Jokinen in Wednesday's win over St. Louis.
Let there be no question this morning, Marty Turco was clearly the best goalie in this game. I would think this would be the norm around here, but to play that way in Colorado, after doing the same thing in Denver earlier in the year, as well as a great performance in Ottawa suggests that he can do it. But why is a home game against bad teams such a struggle?
Meanwhile, Jussi Jokinen can only be compared to my days of dorm room Sega Genesis “NHL 94” when I used to score on that exact same move every time to frustrate my opponents, too…
Also, Cowlishaw looks at the odd play of Turco …Pretty much what we have been saying for a while now, but Tim does a nice job of laying it out…
The Stars are winning games with an average goalie. That's no recipe for success in the spring.
In the last three years, Turco has gone from acrobatic to enigmatic. In 2002-03, his 1.72 goals-against average broke the NHL record that had stood since World War II. His .932 save percentage was the second best in more than 25 years.
This season, Turco ranks seventh in goals-against average and is third best among Western Conference goalies likely to see the playoffs. That's not bad.
But save percentage, a better barometer of a goaltender's performance because it has less to do with overall team defense, tells us Turco remains a struggling goalie. At .894, he is tied for 28th in the league with the highly questionable duo of Colorado's David Aebischer and Detroit's Chris Osgood.
And Aebischer outplayed Turco the last time the Stars went to the playoffs.
There's more to it than Turco's new $22.8 million, four-year contract. He was having disturbing moments before he signed the deal. But he's 30 and athletic and has a track record that shows he is capable of long stretches of elite play.
Even this season, Turco was the NHL's defensive player of the month in November when he went 10-2 with a 1.90 goals-against average. He needs another hot streak such as that after the Olympics break to get into the right mindset for the playoffs.
His career postseason record of 7-10, which includes those memorable losses to Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere when he played well and those forgettable losses to Colorado a year later when he didn't, won't go away even with improved regular-season play.
Turco has no way of becoming a postseason success story until the postseason. But in the last 32 games of the regular season, Stars fans need to see him return to the confident, athletic style that made him a record-setter three years ago.
Rangers look to fill out rotation and Kathleen O’Brien has more …
"I think Kameron [Loe] has probably got an inside edge at one [spot], based on the success he had last year," Connor said. "But the fifth spot for me is wide open -- [Josh] Rupe, [R.A.] Dickey, [Thomas] Diamond, [Juan] Dominguez, maybe C.J. Wilson,
but he did some pretty good things in the bullpen."
Loe went 9-6 with a 3.42 ERA as a rookie in 2005. He pitched out of the bullpen most of the season but was 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in his eight starts. He wants to be in the rotation.
"I have confidence in my own ability to win a spot or keep it," Loe said. "If I would start the year in the bullpen, I would embrace that, then work my way out, just like I did last year."
Dominguez, whose ability has long tantalized people in the organization, was 4-6 with a 4.22 ERA in 22 games, 10 of them starts.
Injuries and off-field problems, including the death of his mother, have slowed the 25-year-old's progress. Yet Connor thinks Dominguez could have a breakout season.
"I think he gets it," Connor said. "He knows what kind of an opportunity he has. ... He's got a few extra pounds on him right now, but he's got a couple more weeks before he has to report to spring training."
By the way, on the comments section of yesterday’s blog, anonymous, who seems to be our most popular poster, offered this:
After the diatribe yesterday about Juan Dominguez, where is the story about him showing up to minicamp overweight?
My answer: I really don’t have a good explanation. I guess I don’t care that much that someone on January 25th is a perceived amount of pounds overweight. For a couple reasons. Namely, don’t we have 10 weeks or so before opening day? What sort of pace would he need to be on to get to the proper Buck-approved weight? A pound a week? For a professional athlete, I think that can be done in about a month, if not less time.
Look, I know it is not popular for me to be pro-Dominguez. I know Buck wants 25 guys like Mark DeRosa and David Dellucci who will roll in here and speak well, and behave properly. Trouble is, I don’t care about what time his alarm clock goes off or if he makes his flight in January. Nor do I care if C.J. Wilson can do all of that. All I know is that of all of the young arms I have seen, Juan Dominguez exhibits the ability that most reminds me of a standout major league pitcher. And therefore, should be afforded any reasonable babysitting to make sure that he delivers here and not in San Diego or Milwaukee.
I have said this over and over again, and then every time the Rangers PR Machine offers something negative about him (which you would think would be more serious than over-sleeping given the uprising of the masses) people want me to give it up. I will not. He can pitch. He can pitch very well. And I will not sit quietly as the Rangers take another Doug Davis to the curb in the name of getting 25 guys who can all show up on time and have their pants ironed. I bet 25 readers of this blog could do that, but I don’t want you guys trying to get the Yankees out in order.
The Rangers top 30 prospects from Baseball America …
Check this out: PickVince.com …My buddy in Houston has fired off another great song, this time begging the Texans to Pick Vince…
Dr Z cracks Aikman and Favre all at once! …
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, FOX -- Well, I hate to do this, because Troy was one of the most honest and informative players I've ever talked to. He really helped me throughout his whole career. But what can I say when the area of line play, particularly on defense, is so ignored by this team? OK, Aikman's strength is the passing game, patterns and coverages, and I can take an overload in this direction, but I can't take what seems to affect so many young announcers after a few years -- plugging the stars.
Packers-Bucs, Week 3. Favre throws an interception on the first series. His fault? My goodness, no. It never is. "The receiver didn't get separation." (Then don't throw the freakin ball, Brett!). I'm even hearing organizational copping out, as the Packers sink to 0-3. "They're in a little bit of their transitional mode with their franchise," Buck says, and, yeah, I'd expect it from him, but I think Aikman has to think through the whole idea of whether he wants to be a dead-on analyst or an industry flak.
Bill Simmons and Curt Schilling …
Jeff Gordon’s drive for 5 …
Get your wife a valentine she will never forget: Click Here …
Finally, this email from last night at 10:30 pm:
i have a new stars nickname
the finnish finisher !!!!!!!!!!!!