Brett Favre sounds like he wants to play again, but doesn't look like he wants to play for the Packers, who have done little to get better after going 4-12 last season. The solution: Trade him to a contender, letting the Packers rebuild on their time schedule, not Favre's. There are two logical spots for Favre: 1) Dallas. This is likely Bill Parcells' final year — why else sign off on Terrell Owens? — and Favre gives him a much better shot at the Super Bowl than Drew Bledsoe; 2) Baltimore. Many of the pieces are in place — especially an excellent defense — and Favre would be a great one-year fit. If Joe Montana can get traded at the end of his career, so can Favre. And maybe that's what he really wants.
Jerry would love Vince Young …
A lot of fans believe the Cowboys need a quarterback, but with Drew Bledsoe, Tony Romo and Drew Henson returning, they aren't in the market to add a rookie to the mix. Still, Jones was asked recently what he would do if he had a chance to draft University of Texas quarterback Vince Young.
"It'd be real interesting, wouldn't it?" Jones said. "There's no doubt in my mind that when the opportunity comes for him to win it or make the play, he's maybe the best that's come through in a long time to actually do what you're paying for, and that's playing football at a position to win a game.
"He does turn it on, notch it up. There's no doubt about that. You've got to factor that in with all the other stuff. He's got the size, the athleticism, and boy, has he played in big games and won big games."
The Stars have a first round dance partner, Their old friends, the Colorado Avalanche …
Three consecutive losses. The last one was to a team that didn't dress its three top position players and No. 1 goaltender. Is this any way for a team to go into the Stanley Cup playoffs?
For the Avalanche, it will have to be, because it opens the postseason this week against the Dallas Stars.
The Avs' 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night means they finished seventh in the Western Conference and will face the Pacific Division-winning Stars in a best-of-seven series starting Friday or Saturday in Dallas.
I think this is the best matchup. In the hockey playoffs, there are no freebies. Yes, the Avalanche can pull an upset. Yes, they have guys to fear. But of the 4 teams In the lower bracket, they are playing the worse. If you cannot beat them, you are certainly not good enough.
Meanwhile, in the LA Times this morning, We look at the NHL’s good and bad of 2005-06 …
Capitalizing on the new vigilance against obstruction fouls, seven players have reached 100 points, the most since 12 players did so in the 1995-96 season. Four players have 50 goals or more, the most since 1997-98.
Twenty-six players have at least 80 points; only eight reached that level in 2003-04, before Commissioner Gary Bettman shut down the league and wrested from the players' union a new economic system that included a salary cap to save owners from themselves and a guarantee that players will get 54% of revenues.
The NHL, in becoming the first major professional sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute, gave fans every reason to spurn it forever. But despite protestations that they'd found other ways to spend their money and that they'd been alienated by a dispute between millionaire players and billionaire owners, fans returned in remarkable numbers.
The league reported attendance records in October, November, December and January as teams played to more than 90% capacity. Franchises thrived in small markets and in Canada, two areas that suffered under the old NHL economy. Buffalo, Nashville, Calgary and Edmonton made the playoffs. The New York Rangers, the most foolish spenders under the previous labor agreement, became the poster children for Bettman's New NHL, reinventing themselves as a team with a realistic budget rather than a collection of high-priced All-Stars.
League revenues are expected to match the pre-lockout level of $2.1 billion, as advertisers sought the heavily young, male audience that hockey has traditionally drawn. Vibrant personalities burst onto the scene with Alexander Ovechkin in Washington and Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, compensating for the retirement of veterans Mark Messier, Scott Stevens, Ron Francis and Brett Hull.
It's the best the NHL could have hoped for, and probably more than it dared to dream about.
"The combination of new rules and the shootout have produced not only high-quality hockey but great playoff races," said Mighty Duck General Manager Brian Burke, whose team is a prime beneficiary of the crackdown on hooking and holding. "When you go to the shootout, nobody leaves. Everybody stays.
"Overall, the NHL gets an 'A.' "
But — and you knew there had to be a "but" — it's unclear whether anyone has noticed beyond the small but passionate cluster of fans who cared before the lockout.
For reasons only he knows, Steve Smith takes shots at new teammate, Keyshawn …
Despite his decade of big plays, big talk and big hype, newly signed Carolina Panthers wideout Keyshawn Johnson is no replacement for Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers All-Pro receiver Steve Smith says.
During a celebrity golf tournament April 7 at Brier Creek Country Club, Smith said Johnson is a good player, but not on the same level of Muhammad, who left Carolina last year for Chicago via free agency.
When asked if the addition of Johnson, who signed a four-year deal reportedly worth $19 million, would help the Panthers' offense, Smith said he was not sure.
"I don't know. Everybody wants me to speculate. I can't speculate," Smith said at the annual Holt Brothers Celebrity Golf Classic. "The natural thing to say is 'yeah he's going to help us', but time will tell."
Smith, a third-round pick in 2001, has become one of the league's best receivers, in large part because of the tutoring by Muhammad, who had 1,405 receiving yards for Carolina in 2004.
"Nobody plays like Moose [Muhammad]. Nobody ever will play like Moose to me," Smith said.
In baseball news, teams are all making sure they re-sign their free agents before they get away this winter …
Right now, though, we ask for just five minutes to discuss a natural April baseball topic: free agency. You might think it is too early to focus on the offseason, but your favorite team might not agree.
Since last season ended, the White Sox alone signed Jose Contreras, Jon Garland and A.J. Pierzynski to multi-year extensions before their walk year began, and in recent weeks Derrek Lee, Jeff Kent and Randy Winn were inked long-term, as well. Their removals weakened what already was going to be slim pickings come next winter. Roy Halladay, David Ortiz, Adam Dunn and Brian Schneider also recently signed extensions, diminishing the class after the 2007 campaign.
Teams have become wiser about buying out some free-agent years way down the road, none better than Cleveland (Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Grady Sizemore). There are good players available this offseason, such as Alfonso Soriano and Barry Zito, but not great ones unless Roger Clemens decides to play Hamlet again or Barry Bonds' body cooperates.
The Nuggets are better without Kenyon? …
Now for an April stat that has to be taken seriously, one that can't be considered an aberration. It has taken too long to emerge to be considered a fluke, a short-lived trend, a turnaround waiting to happen.
The Nuggets in the past two seasons are 29-8 without Kenyon Martin in their lineup - 10-2 last season, 19-6 this season. Read into it what you will, but those are the facts. The Nuggets for virtually a half-season worth of games have been a better team with Martin watching instead of playing.
Martin says he wants to log substantial minutes in the playoffs. You look at these numbers and you can't help but ask: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
The Mayor retires …
Today’s joke of the day …
Dale will join Galloway and Company on a weekly basis, plus Dale will also be very visible during 103.3 ESPN's no-holds barred coverage of the Dallas Cowboys.
I really shouldn’t get pulled offsides by this, but it is obvious what ESPN’s new strategy is. They can talk Cowboys with “no holds barred”. I heard Gramps referred to us as “muzzled broadcasting”. Wow. I was going to tell you that Roy Williams cannot cover anyone and that Parcells should not be so darn conservative, but here at the Ticket, evidently that hold is barred. What utter desperation from a station that celebrates 5 years of being a distant 2nd place in a 2 horse race.
Like I said, I am normally not this petty on these topics, but usually this nonsense comes from both station’s marketing people (not show hosts). But since Randy has lobbed this grenade, I must wonder if he is being muzzled on his Mavericks commentary. Does he lob Avery softballs every week because Mark Cuban is telling him what to say on the Mavericks flagship?
How about we let the people decide what they like to listen to, as opposed to making crap up.
Tonight, my favorite young player in baseball, Felix Hernandez pitches against the Rangers …He is having a tough time getting started this season, but he is going to be a big star. He is walking way too many people this spring, after looking amazing in 2005.
The Final 4 of the Champions League cranks up today. The Semifinals will each be a home and home series that will add up the total goals at the end of the two games.
Today’s Game 1 is Barcelona at AC Milan which is not televised unless you have ESPN Deportes, and tomorrow ESPN 2 will show game 1 Villarreal at Arsenal. Game 2’s will be next week at the other site, and we will then have our Champion’s League Final in May. It doesn’t get better than this in world football.