Morrow is locked in through 2013 …
Morrow signed a six-year contract extension Thursday for $24.6 million. Starting next season, he will earn $4.1 million a season through 2012-13. The deal also includes a no-trade clause.
Morrow will earn $2.2 million this season with a salary cap hit of $2.05 million.
"I was probably 90-10 with 10 percent interested in looking at the free-agent market," said Morrow, 27. "But, you know what? I just decided that this is where I want to be, and this is the team I want to play for."
Morrow's agent, Brad Devine, said his client's talks always seemed to come back to one thing.
"He wants to win a Stanley Cup more than anything, and he is convinced this is the best place for him to do that," Devine said.
Morrow said the two-year, $8 million contract recently signed by teammate Jere Lehtinen sent the message that the Stars' core skaters are at about the same pay level. Mike Modano signed a long-term deal that allows the Stars to carry a salary cap hit of $3.45 million, while Sergei Zubov is at $4 million a year in salary cap cost.
Excellent capology from Andrew’s Page …
At Thursday's news conference on the Morrow signing Armstrong said the team is operating under a philosophy that ideally no fewer than five players should get about 50 percent of the team's cap costs.
"The rule of thumb that we are working with is 50 percent of the cap goes on how many players," he said. "We felt comfortable that about five players will consume about 50 percent of your cap and then you are going to have to build the rest."
His five players for 2007-08 are Morrow, Marty Turco, Sergei Zubov, Jere Lehtinen and Mike Modano. Those five total about $21.25 million in cap costs.
Armstrong said some teams have gone with as few as three players taking up 50 percent of the cap, but he thinks that is too risky.
Armstrong said he has also tried to structure the five big contracts so that they expire at different times to give the team some flexibility in the free agent market. But he said the Stars may not be major players in next summer's free agent market.
"What we have now is we have continuity with five players. Four of the five players' contracts expire at different times," he said. "We are always going to be able to play in the free agent market, probably except for next summer. All the five core players have contracts through at the least the following season. But we are going to have some flexibility. I think Brenden and everyone is hoping that [NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman is correct that this pie is going to get bigger and we'll be able to take advantage of that moving forward."
Rangers and their finances …
The Rangers will finish at approximately 2.38 million fans in home attendance this season, a drop of about 140,000 from 2005. Club president Jeff Cogen said Thursday the team will effectively break even financially though the possibility for a statistically insignificant loss remains. Any loss would probably be less than $1 million.
Nevertheless, Cogen said, the Rangers will be graded on attendance. And that has declined measurably.
"I wouldn't characterize this year as successful for us," Cogen said. "The benchmark we are measured by is attendance, and I can't just ignore a drop of 140,000 people. I'm mad about it, but I'm absolutely and fully accountable for it."
The Rangers' payroll jumped from $55 million in 2005 to approximately $68 million for this season after owner Tom Hicks showed a profit for the second consecutive year. Hicks, who asked Cogen to speak for the organization, has said that future payroll will be player specific without going into details. Cogen said the 2007 payroll will probably be affected more by revenue projections for the year than by the 2006 bottom line.
The decline in walk-up sales seems to suggest a lack of buzz about the club.
"Our core fans, I think, are excited about us," Cogen said. "I think as you go out from that core, I still think our secondary group has buzz. It's the outer part of that circle. I don't think fans are alienated, but it has been reported that way. I think we're making some steps towards bringing them back. We're going to build a plan this winter that is poised for success."
Does it take a genius to figure out why fewer people bought tickets?
Longhorn Mailbag …
Is Texas still the frontrunner to play Nebraska for the Big 12 title?
– Josh, San Antonio
Sure. Especially if the Longhorns can finagle Pac-10 referees for the Oklahoma game. The big test for UT is still going to be back-to-back trips to Nebraska and Texas Tech in October. If the Longhorns can at least split those games, they can probably book Kansas City.
That said, we're not sure Nebraska is a mortal lock to meet the Longhorns there. Almost everyone in the Big 12 North has a shot to win the division. Everybody's a frontrunner. Except Colorado, which at this point wouldn't even be the frontrunner in the Big Sky.
When does Major Applewhite take over as Tampa Bay's quarterback?
– Bret, El Paso
Easy now. Chris Simms is due for a big, breakout game someday soon. When do the Buccaneers play Baylor?
Aggie Mailbag …
I was wondering when someone was going to go to him, and it finally happened: Bob Knight was asked about what he thought of Duck/Sooner …
On Jan.20, 2003, the Sooners won 69-64 in overtime after two clock controversies in the final seconds of regulation. The clock paused for about a second at the 6.7-second mark even though play continued. After a foul call stopped it legitimately at 0:04.5, it was an estimated half-second late starting on the inbounds play, enabling Oklahoma to get off the tying shot.
Knight call for the Sooners to forfeit, but to no avail.
"Maybe now those people at Oklahoma understand what I was talking about," he told The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City. "Had Oklahoma forfeited that game against us like I suggested, they would have gotten far more positive publicity out of that than if they had gone to the Final Four that year. Now I guess the 'duck' is swimming in the other pond."
After two blown calls went against Oklahoma in its 34-33 loss to Oregon on Saturday, school President David Boren asked Big 12 Conference commissioner Kevin Weiberg to pursue having the game stricken from the record book. Weiberg said it would stand.
In other Sooner news, a fan of justice emailed me that controversial call from the UAB game that could have led to a major upset in Norman in week 1. Of course, the outrage from the North was not heard on this play, but please review:
So, I guess blown calls occasionally benefit your team, too, Sooner. That is why on this blog I always say, “The Calls even out”.
Email from Sooner:
Victory is yours Bob Sturm.
I promised (after last football season) that I wouldn't be drawn offsides by your swigging of the Sooner hatorade. But I'm back like a miserable mutt asking to be kicked again (expecting my "thanks for listening chump" response directly).
I can admit that the Sooner nation has a large share of ignorant, redneck fans that've never set foot on a college campus. I've been embarrased many times at road games by other Sooner road warriors. But having been to road games in every Big 12 South city, OU/TX and varous bowl games I can say that it's the same thing in Lubbock and College Station (and the cotton bowl is notoriously out of control), etc.
But to the point; I admit that Boren asking for the records to be changed is rediculous. I completely agree that (alleged) death threats to a referree is way over the line. I agree with you on these points.
Likewise I would very much like for Bob to just consider the possibility that last weekend's game was so far from a run-of-the-mill 'bad call'. This really is akin to the 5th down incedent. I don't even see how anybody can disagree (I mean you know it's bad when legions of Longhorn fans are weighing in on the side of Sooners).
Let's get beyond the onside kick which you can't even deny was a bad call twice (OU recovered the ball!) But the Ducks don't even score that go ahead touchdown if the refs don't call pass interference on the tipped ball. Even you can't deny that Bob.
And there it is. This is what's driving me crazy. In Bob's zeal to kick all his Sooner listeners while we're down, he harps on the yards put up against OU's defence. Never mind that OU's defensive troubles were the big story going into the game. Never mind that Oregon's defence was also terrible or that OUs offence played very well.
And now Bob is all about "but they still had to score a touchdown". Enter the refs and ANOTHER bad call. On top of the phantom illegal formation (that cost OU a legit touchdown), on top of the onside debacle. Then add in the tipped ball/pass interference which put the Ducks in the red zone. And finally during the blocked field goal, Ducks were standing on each other! That's not legal in college football either but at that point the rules really didn't matter anymore. That officaiating crew did everything in their power to ensure the Ducks victory.
Sure you're going to discount what I say because I'm a Sooner but do you think it would be any different if it were UT or A&M? It would be worse and I think you know it. And I'm trying to just get plast last weekend myself but Bob keeps rubbing salt in the wound.
And sure I admit that I'm too emotionally wrapped up in college football. I can admit that. After this week-long dog pile I'm a little disappointed that sports-bully-Bob can't see past his obvious dislike for the OU program and see that this is so far beyond bitching about one (so obviously bad) call. What's the point of playing organized sports if rules are interpreted differently for each team?
It's like saying "if the scoreboard says you lost, you lost" but is that true if the score keeper can't count?
Anyway I doubt this even gets read but in the narrow event that it does; Bob, man, myself and many like me have been loyal listeners for a long time (I used to call your night time show for frigs sake). I'm not asking you to pick up a crimson pom pom (far from it) but could you just ease off the hate a little? If this has happend to the Aggies, Horns, Frogs, Mustangs, Cowboys, or any team in the area besides OU you would take a different stance on this game. Do you deny it?
Yeah probably. Of course had this exact same thing happened to the Packers or somebody Bob gives a shite about we'd likely be hearing why it's the biggest travesty in sports history.
Young Andrew in Fort Worth.
I disagree about your conclusion, brother- No one was cheering harder for the Mavericks than me. But you did not hear me cry one time in the NBA Finals about all of the shite calls for D-Wade, did you?
I make it my mission in life to not blame the refs. I am just trying to be consistent. But, I will admit, the Sooner has annoyed me in the past. That being said, I still think the refs do not decide games. Players do. Even when Refs really screw up. And they did this time.
Youtube to leave you:
The New Elmo 1:14