The Future of Buck
Well, the big dinner at the Hicks’ house happened last night. I am sure I am the only person who thinks of the Mr Burns’ house as a possible mind picture of what the house might be like. No reports on the hounds being released when Hicks wanted Daniels and Showalter to leave the premises and this is the only article that provided even the slightest insight on things:
Star-Telegram gets the word from Buck …Sort of:
A couple of hours before going to dinner at Rangers owner Tom Hicks' home Tuesday night, manager Buck Showalter referred to the evening -- which was also to include general manager Jon Daniels -- as something they do every year. However, the difference this year is that Showalter's job is on the line.
Neither Hicks nor Daniels returned phone calls or e-mails Tuesday night. However, Hicks called Showalter's status "open-ended" in a radio interview on (enemy radio) last week and acknowledged in a phone interview that they "had a decision to make."
Reached Tuesday night, Showalter, 50, was noncommittal about the outcome: "We'll know more [today]. I've got some things to think about."
On Tuesday afternoon, prior to his meeting with Hicks and Daniels, Showalter said: "I'm not going to talk about that. It's about the organization and the fans and the players."
Asked if he thought it would be unfair if he didn't get another season, given the injuries and lack of experienced pitchers he had to work with this year, Showalter said: "The last thing I'm going to do tonight is make excuses. Nobody wants to hear that."
The Rangers finished 80-82 this season, in third place in the American League West. They haven't made the playoffs since 1999. They finished three games out of first in 2004, when they were 89-73 and Showalter was named the American League Manager of the Year.
This was Showalter's fourth season in Texas, and he is signed through 2009. Despite the contract, Hicks has admitted that Showalter's future will be up for discussion.
That sentence in the middle has everyone putting two plus two together and arriving at the conclusion that Buck will likely resign today. It could be a leap, but it would seem that perhaps he was given some options last night (front office spot?) and now must decide if he wants to “pursue other opportunities”.
Much like when John Hart left, I will not shed a tear if this happens, but again allow me to make people roll their eyes by stating the following:
Until Tom Hicks decides to aggressively run his team with the same reckless abandon as Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban than it really doesn’t matter who manages or GMs this team. In 2006, The Rangers spent the 18th most dollars on the payroll, and the argument could be made that they assembled about the 18th best team in the sport. For fairness, the 17th, 19th, and 21st teams made the playoffs. But, those teams cannot screw up to have success.
Commitment to a competitive payroll is like going to college. It doesn’t always guarantee success, but it sure helps.
$90 million is a top 10 payroll. $68 is where the Rangers are. If they are to make a major change in 2007, that $22 million difference will be the best possible adjustment that the Rangers could make to the public to let us all know that they are serious about winning.
Naming Rusty Greer or another favorite as your new manager would buy you time and good favor, but you need to decide that you are serious about winning championships, not winning favor.
It’s Hockey Night Tonight
Well, here we go. The Stars are back at the scene of the crime. Denver. The place where our heroes went quietly into the playoff night with barely a whimper. It was sad. I was angry and so were you.
So they are back. No changes of major consequence were made. They kept the GM, coach, goaltender, and most the major pieces are back. The players they brought in were not highly priced nor highly pursued.
Now, they must go through the first 82 games realizing that they are no longer the prohibitive favorite in the West or the Pacific Division. Anaheim should be better than Dallas with Pronger added to that already solid team. Calgary is better with a goalie that is everything we wish Marty was. San Jose sure looked dangerous when they added Joe Thornton. And Nashville took the Stars best player last season and added it to their growing force.
If you believe the hype, Detroit, Dallas, and Colorado are somewhere between middle-of-the-pack and out of the playoffs. Personally, I will believe it when I see it, but it is time we realize that parity has arrived in our little hockey league.
My expectations for the Stars are quite limited. They could be a nice little team but they are based on the house of cards that is health and Turco. Their highest paid player is now between the pipes, which frankly is something that makes most of the league snicker, given what they have seen from Marty.
Let’s see what they got, but for now, I would put my prediction at this: They will make the playoffs. They will likely not have home ice in the first round. And then we shall see what happens. I wish I could lie to you and say they were winning the Cup this year, but this team has fooled me too often in the last 6 years.
What does the Hockey News think of the West? …
1. Nashville Yes, questions remain regarding the Predators’ youngish defense and about the leadership skills of marquee off-season acquisition Jason Arnott. Still, there’s no denying a healthy Tomas Vokoun is one of the top five goalies in the NHL and few teams can match Nashville’s offensive weaponry. Since the Red Wings are treading water, anything less than the Central Division crown would be a major disappointment for the Preds.
2. Anaheim Although “Everybody Hates Chris (Pronger)” remains the top-rated show in Edmonton, it’s been nothing but a jacked-up jamboree for the big blueliner since he was dealt to Anaheim. And why not? His presence has made the Ducks most people’s odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup. But there’s lots more to like: the elite management team of GM Brian Burke and coach Randy Carlyle, the veteran savvy of Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer, the youth and skill of Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. We could go on, but that’d only encourage more malicious emails from northern Alberta.
3. Calgary The Flames had NHL’s top-rated defense last year. Their offense? Um, third worst in the league. Former Avs sniper Alex Tanguay certainly will help, but let’s not get silly here – Calgary won’t be on the winning side of many 6-5 games this season. Lucky for them, they’ve got a 21-year-old leviathan (Dion Phaneuf) on the blueline and the most recent Vezina Trophy-winner in net (Miikka Kiprusoff). Together, they make new head coach Jim Playfair much, much smarter.
4. San Jose Short of trading Ville Nieminen, Marcel Goc and Christian Ehrhoff for Alex Ovechkin and half of Ted Leonsis’ net worth, there’s little GM Doug Wilson could do this summer to top the act of larceny that brought Joe Thornton to San Jose. Instead, Wilson went about adding complementary pieces such as Mark Bell, Mike Grier and Curtis Brown. If Wilson can coax new acquisition Vladimir Malakhov out of retirement, a defense corps that still skews a little youngish will add some veteran know-how.
5. Dallas With Arnott, Bill Guerin and Niko Kapanen – 59 goals and 151 points between them last year – out of the picture, the American Airlines Center will no longer be the best little scorehouse in Texas. However, after the Stars’ first-round playoff embarrassment at the hands of Colorado, it was clear Dave Tippett’s team needed more defense. GM Doug Armstrong went out and got him some (Jeff Halpern, Jaroslav Modry) in the off-season, leaving no excuses left; another letdown of a year from this crew, and it could be “blow-‘er-up-and-start-over” time.
6. Detroit Wanna know how desperate the cap-crippled Red Wings were for a goalie this summer? Look no further than Dominik Hasek. Wanna know what kind of teammate Hasek can be? Look no further than Brodeur: Beyond The Crease, the new book co-authored by Devils star Martin Brodeur and Toronto Star sportswriter Damien Cox. Wanna wager GM Ken Holland will rue the day he brought back the soon-to-be 42-year-old for tour No. 3?
7. Phoenix Sooner or later, even the unrivaled reputation of Wayne Gretzky will be called into question if his Coyotes don’t make a post-season appearance. It shouldn’t come to that, because the coach and GM Mike Barnett now employ one of the league’s top young bluelines (including Ed Jovanovski, Nick Boynton, Keith Ballard and Derek Morris), as well as two veterans (Owen Nolan, Jeremy Roenick) who each have something to prove. Like an increasing number of teams, the ‘Yotes will be in a dogfight all season long to make the playoffs. But if Curtis Joseph’s goaltending props them up, they should take the next step.
8. Minnesota The Wild had the fifth-best defense in the league in 2005-06, and the sixth-worst offense. (Insert sarcastic “I’m shocked” face here.) Pavol Demitra and Mark Parrish were brought in to change that, and along with fellow new acquisitions Kim Johnsson and Branko Radivojevic, they’ll bring balance and depth to a team that should be expected to make its second playoff appearance in team history.
Eastern Preview from the Hockey News ..
Versus Network’s TV Schedule …
Hey look! Another Belo blog – this time on the Stars …
sarazag10: I almost feel wise having brought up the topic of Modano and the captaincy last week. Almost. Anyhow, he didn't seem terribly thrilled with the change in his remarks. Do you think it will have a negative impact on him mentally? Also, what does Morrow bring to the table as a captain? He has always seemed like kind of a non-descript guy to me. Cheers! Sara
Tim Cowlishaw: Morrow is certainly more willing to mix it up in the corners and bring a physical element to the game than Modano. Not sure that makes him a better captain. I don't think Modano is too happy with the way this has gone down, but I don't see it having an impact on his play. Put him out there with Lehtinen and Jokinen and let him go as your top center. That's all they need to do. Morrow is young but the fans like him and I think he will earn players' respect.
Eagles fans Guide to projectiles …
Weekly Easterbrook ..
Here is an email from AT&T:
My name is Christy Wise and I am an online publicist for Fanscape, a new media marketing agency in Los Angeles. We are currently working with the AT&T blue room to promote AT&T Home Turf, a series of online “webisodes” featuring some of the biggest draws in professional sports. This high-energy series, hosted by Deion Sanders, gives fans an up-close and personal look at the impressive digs, quirky interests, and high-tech lifestyles of sports stars as well as candid bonus interviews and trivia tidbits.
I wanted to reach out to you today regarding the latest “webisode” in the series, featuring hard-hitting Cowboy safety Roy Williams. He is well known on the field, but now fans can get an inside look his Texas bachelor pad complete with hundreds of shoes, seven aquariums, a regulation basketball court, and life size bobble-head. This latest series addition is available today!
It would be great to get a mention about AT&T Home Turf, including the Roy Williams segment, up on your blog as a news item. Photos from the AT&T shoot are also available. The Roy Williams episode, as well as past “webisodes” are available here: Link . Take a look and let me know what you think! Upcoming “webisodes” will feature superstars like AJ Hawk, Vince Young, golfer Camilo Villegas, and the athletic powerhouse-- Deion Sanders himself.
Thanks Bob, I look forward to hearing from you!
Nice. Roy Williams aquariums and AJ Hawk? I am so there!
New World Record! 1:25
I totally just farted :27