Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Future of Hockey

Skills competition is what it is

The East won the Young Stars game by a 9-8 count, though fans were left wanting by the sight of a bunch of NHLers playing at about one-quarter speed. If these kids practised so slowly, they'd get benched.

"It got down to about 30 seconds left and we were up by one goal, I think the intensity started to get up there," said MVP Zach Parise, who had two goals and four assists. While the MVP of tonight's All-Star Game will receive a new truck, Parise said, "I think I got a plastic star."


1. A. McDonald, Ana: 14.03
2. P. Marleau, S.J.: 14.08
3.B.Guerin, St L:14.34

1. Z. Chara Bos. 100.4mph
2. S. Souray Mtl 100.0
3 P. Boucher Dal 98.0.

TIE: Marian Hossa and Eric Staal 4-for-5
Three tied at 4-for-6

East 15 West 11

Winner: R. Luongo Van.?

Obligatory Sidney Crosby story

Ready or not, Sidney Crosby is the new face of the NHL at age 19.

And the consensus among the All-Star crowd is that Crosby is definitely ready, from his on-ice dominance to his off-ice charm. If leading the league in scoring and leading all All-Star vote-getters were signs Crosby is already the heir to the throne, then this week is his coronation.

When the league needed players to endorse the new uniform at its unveiling Monday, Crosby was there. When the All-Stars addressed the media later that day, Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin were the main attraction. After the league decided not to tinker with its unbalanced schedule Tuesday, one of the common complaints from representatives of Western teams was that they wouldn't see enough of Crosby.

Already, the league is depending heavily on the kid from Nova Scotia to reverse its weakening popularity, in TV ratings and attendance, in the second year after the lockout.

But the huge expectations don't bother Crosby.

"I don't put that sole pressure on myself," Crosby said. "I do my best to play my
part and be a good role model. The easiest way to do that is by your on-ice performance. I think that I'm one of a group of guys, that yes, I do put that responsibility on my shoulders. But I don't think it's solely on me."

Other young players share some of that responsibility, but even the Russian-born Ovechkin still let Crosby answer many of the tough questions at Monday's shared news conference.

Both said they don't concern themselves with the constant comparisons to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

But like those two, Crosby and Ovechkin are captivating hockey because of their play. Crosby's 72 points are six more than Martin St. Louis, the second-leading scorer. Ovechkin is third with 65.

Both are personable young men, but that's not why they're at the forefront of their sport.

"We use them a lot for marketing and pushing our league, the way we should," said Stars goalie Marty Turco, a Western Conference All-Star. "But they've made the game about them because of their play. It's not that we said... 'We're just going to highlight these two because they're going to be good.' No, they are great and they're great now. Sid's leading the league at 19 years old. He deserves everything he gets."

Even Penguins owner Lemieux, who was an NHL sensation himself at 19 with 100 points as a rookie, thinks what Crosby is doing is more impressive.
"He's a much better player," Lemieux said.

Unlike the livelier, unvarnished Ovechkin, Crosby chooses his words carefully. Ever the good spokesman, sometimes Crosby's charm and politeness venture into gee-whiz platitudes. But commissioner Gary Bettman is one of many in the league who appreciate Crosby's sincerity.

"There's no false airs about him, and he's just up there as himself," Bettman said.

And now, the frustrating NHL’s reality: No change to scheduling, so more Phoenix, San Jose; less Crosby and Ovechkin

Although many players have advocated changes in the NHL's unbalanced schedule, the league's board of governors did not share that opinion Tuesday, falling one vote short of the two-thirds majority necessary to alter next season's schedule.

The vote was 19-11 in favor of going back to the pre-lockout schedule, which had teams playing division opponents six times instead of eight and allowed each team to travel to each city at least once every two years.

The current schedule will be retained at least through next season.

No team argued more passionately for the change than the Stars, who have been a proponent for both scheduling alterations and more radical realignment, which wasn't discussed at Tuesday's meeting.

"I'd like our team to go to Montreal or Montreal to come here -- that's good for hockey," Stars owner Tom Hicks said. "As much I enjoy our rivalry with San Jose, you know, eight games is probably too many. You do preseason games, it's nine or 10. Our fans get tired of it."

Hicks and many others, including commissioner Gary Bettman, hinted the topic would be reconsidered after next season, which finishes a planned three-year cycle with the current schedule.

The uncertainty surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins and their possible move also could bring about a change at some point.

"I'm not suggesting, and nobody should take for a moment, the notion that this is the schedule for the next 100 years," Bettman said.

Stars president Jim Lites said he was disappointed to see what he viewed as some teams voting for their own "parochial" interests.

"It's a significant problem for this league," Lites said. "Nothing divides people like this issue."

New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello, a respected figure who favored keeping the status quo, said the minority victory was nonetheless fair.

"You've got 30 teams and you need 20 to make that decision," Lamoriello said. "What could be more democratic than that?"

And they are pissed in Canada

Hosed by Montreal.

Screwed by Ottawa.

It's one thing to get done over by Gary Bettman and those Eastern seaboard teams.
But Ottawa? Montreal?

Yesterday the Senators and Canadiens effectively voted against hockey. They damn sure voted against Canadian hockey.

One more vote.

That's all it would have taken.


One more vote and the NHL board of governors vote would have rid the league of the current sorry schedule which a vast majority of real hockey fans and passionate hockey people want to see eliminated.

A total of 19 of the 30 teams voted to go back to a schedule where every team played every other team at least once every season. It needed 20 votes to pass.

Ottawa voted no.

Montreal voted no.

That's all you need to know.

The Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Senators, for the first time this year, have no games against NHL teams in Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton.

Now they won't play home or away next year.

No Calgary vs. Montreal.
No Edmonton vs. Toronto.
No Vancouver vs. Ottawa.

Not here. Not there.

Are we even in the same league anymore?

One more hockey thing, There has been a ton of talk for the last year about the New uniforms. My review is that there is nothing that different from the old ones. Maybe the material is different, but they talked about radical changes, and they look the same to me…

Here is EJ Hradek’s review

The NHL and RBK Hockey unveiled their new "uniform system" (jersey, pants and socks) on Monday in Dallas as part of the buildup to Wednesday's All-Star Game.

(Well, actually, the league and its corporate partner pulled the curtain back on their latest creation for a select group of media in New York this past Wednesday.)
For now, I'd say the league gets an "A" for effort but an "incomplete" for every other element of the project.

The new look isn't anywhere near as bad as what I had been hearing. The horror stories making the rounds included a tucked-in look and a totally vertical design that couldn't allow for the traditional horizontal stripes that can be found near the bottom of just about every current jersey.

Fortunately, neither is true.

RBK Hockey admitted it seriously considered tucking in the jersey, but it skated away from that idea after further discussion and testing indicated a possible overheating problem for the player.

Mavs Win easily

It took Dirk Nowitzki more than 60 games last season to reach 26 double-doubles. He topped that mark in 2007 on Tuesday night after only 43 outings.

Nowitzki's defending Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks are also ahead of schedule, beating the Orlando Magic 111-95 for their 35th win of the season.

Nowitzki had 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Josh Howard added 25 points. It was the Mavericks' 21st victory in 22 games, and it kept them ahead of last season's franchise-record 60-win pace.

How good is Dallas? To the weak Eastern Conference, scary good.
"We're about as hungry as it gets," Nowitzki said. "We were so close last year. It was a very, very disappointing loss at the end. But more than anything it's motivation for us to work even harder this year."

For the second consecutive night, after beating the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year's NBA finals, the Mavericks led from beginning to end. Dallas was up 16 at the end of the first quarter and pushed the margin to 25 points in the second with a 15-5 run capped by Nowitzki's three-point play. The Mavericks kept it around 20 points most of the second and third periods.

Cowboys won’t get Jeff Fisher

Take Jeff Fisher's name out of the speculation on who might replace Bill Parcells with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Tennessee Titans have Fisher under contract for 2007 after owner Bud Adams picked up an option on his coach, and the team is working on a long-term extension.

"We haven't been contacted by Dallas," chief executive officer Steve Underwood said in a statement Tuesday. "In the event that we were, there are no circumstances that we would grant permission to the Cowboys to speak with Coach Fisher."

With the resignation of Bill Cowher from Pittsburgh on Jan. 5, Fisher is the NFL's longest-tenured coach with one team. He has spent 12 full seasons with the Titans, a tenure that started with six games in 1994 coaching the then-Houston Oilers with a 110-97 record.

Fisher also helped guide quarterback Vince Young to AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and an 8-8 record after an 0-5 start. Fisher is taking part in interviews for the team's next general manager who will replace Floyd Reese, who resigned on Jan. 5.

Even if Adams might not mind letting Fisher leave, Dallas would be the last team he would let steal away one of his coaches. Adams still lives in Houston where his Oilers fought to attract attention away from the Cowboys in Texas before relocating to Tennessee in 1997.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys commenced the search for a successor to Parcells on Tuesday, beginning what figures to be an expansive process by interviewing three in-house candidates.
Owner Jerry Jones met with assistant head coach Tony Sparano, secondary coach Todd Bowles and wide receivers coach Todd Haley. The Cowboys are also seeking permission to speak with Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

While none of the three possesses the kind of high profile Jones is likely to seek, all have merit and all were held in high regard by Parcells.

A six-year NFL veteran, Sparano, 45, might have the most legitimate shot of the three, given that he worked closely with quarterback Tony Romo and called most of the plays on offense. Dallas this week denied at least one other NFL team permission to speak to Sparano about a vacancy on its staff.

Sparano served as head coach at New Haven (1994-98), where his teams made two trips to the NCAA Division II playoffs and lost in the 1997 championship game. His NFL resume includes stops at Cleveland (1999-2000), Washington (2001) and Jacksonville (2002). He joined the Dallas staff in 2003.

A former NFL defensive back, Bowles, 43, played eight seasons for the Washington Redskins (1986-90, 1992-93) and San Francisco 49ers (1991). He has six years of experience as an NFL assistant coach and, had Parcells returned in 2007, likely would have been promoted to defensive coordinator to replace the departed Mike Zimmer.

Interviewing Bowles, an African-American, means the Cowboys have met the stipulations of the Rooney Rule, which mandates a team must interview at least one minority candidate.

Haley, 39, worked on Parcells' staff with the New York Jets, his first job in the league. He was on the Chicago staff after that, before he reunited with Parcells in Dallas in 2004. Haley is a potential candidate for the offensive coordinator position with the Arizona Cardinals.

Sources tell ESPN's Ed Werner that Jones has made contact with former Dallas backup
quarterback Jason Garrett about possibly becoming the offensive coordinator under whomever Dallas hires to replace Parcells.

The Cowboys first received permission from the Miami Dolphins, who have Garrett under contract as their quarterbacks coach for one more season. The Cowboys are making hires that will accelerate the development of Romo and are believed to be considering pairing Garrett with either Phillips or 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Both have previous head coaching experience.

WAIT! You cannot hire assistants until you hire a head coach! Do not repeat the Campo/Gailey mistakes!!!

NY Daily News with a good idea

the Daily News polled its five football writers - Rich Cimini, Hank Gola, Gary Myers, Ralph Vacchiano and Ohm Youngmisuk - to get their consensus on the five worst Super Bowl quarterbacks of all-time:

• 1. David Woodley, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl XVII: Best known for being the guy who came after Bob Griese and before Dan Marino. Squeezed in a Super Bowl in a strike-shortened season and went 0-for-8 in the second half.

• 2. Trent Dilfer, Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XXXV: Giants fans still see his 38-yard TD pass to Brandon Stokley over Jason Sehorn in their nightmares. He was 11-of-24 for 115 yards the rest of the game. Ravens cut him a few months after his victory trip to Disney World.

• 3. Joe Kapp, Minnesota Vikings, Super Bowl IV: Worst career passing stats of any QB in Super Bowl history, but the former CFL star was mostly a running quarterback. He threw like one, too. Chiefs coach Hank Stram on one of Kapp's Super wobblers: "That ball looked like it had helium in it!"

• 4. Tony Eason, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XX: Part of the famed QB Draft Class of '83. Looked afraid of the Bears' 46 defense in week leading up to the game. Played like it, too. He was 0-for-6 before he was benched for Steve Grogan.

• 5. Vince Ferragamo, L.A. Rams, Super Bowl XIV: Didn't have much experience before an injury to Pat Haden made him the starter down the stretch and through the playoffs. Had a 19-17 lead over the Steelers in the fourth quarter. Career went nowhere from there.
Others receiving votes: Rex Grossman, Bears, XLI; Neil O'Donnell, Steelers, XXX; Stan Humphries, Chargers, XXIX.

Funny, if true

A Buenos Aires tattooist, who is also a River Plate fan, is being sued for etching a penis on the back of teenager who requested the Boca Juniors logo, according to UPI.

''I could not see what he was tattooing because he didn't have a mirror. I only saw it when I got home and showed it to my parents.,'' said the victim.

A police spokesperson said: ''The tattooist supports Boca Junior's rival, River Plate, so he got annoyed when the teenager asked him to tattoo Boca's symbol and decided to tattoo a penis instead.''

Ovechkin Commercial - Funny

Shanahan Commercial – Funnier

Bellichick and Wilcox – It was a Hard Fart Game


MrSimic said...

Man that picture of Bettman and the giant Caucasian hockey menace is crazy. It looks like Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.

Also: "hard fart game"...funny.

Jake said...

Too much hockey talk...9-8??? I'd rather stand out in a frigid Victory Plaza than watch the NHL All-Star game. Only the Mavs matter. Love ya Bob.

artfromtex said...

the fact that Jerry is wanting to hire an OC before or at the same time as his head coach tells me that we're heading back to JerryWorld. he probably thinks he learned everything Parcells knows and now "this time" he'll get it right.

please Jerry, don't cut the next coaches balls off before he even steps off the jet.

are we on our way back to 5-11 land?


Fake Sturm said...

The Mavs have got to hold that number 1 seed so San Antone and the Suns will have to slug it out before they get to the Mavs. Can we go ahead and start the playoffs now?

Glad we got the mandatory minority interview out of the way, now we can get down to business. Stoops came out and said he wasnt going anywhere. Take that for what its worth in the heart of recruiting season. What would it take to get Lovie out of Chicago? Lowest paid coach in the league, local guy, end of contract.

Brandon said...

please, kill the hockey talk. It is a sport that will forever be pushed out to the spare cable channels; the Caps and Penguins, Wendsday night on the WE channel

Brad said...

Do not kill the hockey talk, Bob. These southerners just don't understand. They've never strapped on a pair of skates and felt the joy that is pummeling someone in to the boards, or scoring on a breakaway. Most people lack the coordination to do anything much while flying down a sheet of ice at high speed anyway, so we'll just let them go on thinking that Hockey is boring.

Go to a game!

Crosby was crazy last night in the shootout. I would've loved to have seen Jussi take a crack though, Bob. The Young Stars game was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be. It was like a pickup game. Very entertaining.

Too many Red Wing jerseys at the arena last night. Lots of Canadiens traveled too I think. But the Stars fans represented pretty well where I was sitting.

Time to hate Crosby on Friday when the rest of the Penguins come to town though.

Go Stars
Go Mavs.

Jay Clendenin said...

thank god the "sturm blog"-"BaD run sheet" correlation isn't 100%. this much hockey talk would ruin even the best radio.

CFB123 said...

At least it's not Rangers talk, that would really ruin BaD radio permanently and alienate all but maybe 3 listeners out here.

As for Jerry interviewing Garrett before even interviewing a head coach, much less getting one hired, this is a very, very bad sign. It's starting to look like 2001 around here all over again, just substitute Wade Phillips for Dave Campo. Yikes.

p1dean said...

I don't know who Wade Phillips is. Maybe I do, but my brain has blocked it out. I know he isn't sexy, or dangerous, because I can tell from a name who is sexy and dangerous. "Wade Phillips" isn't a sexy, dangerous name. It is a dumpy name. It is a Chan Gaily-esque name. It is a Dave Campo-esque name.

Also...why is everyone so enthralled with Bill Cowher? Didn't his superbowl team tank last year? Smells like Gruden to me.

BACM said...

Also...why is everyone so enthralled with Bill Cowher?

It's the porn stache!

Brandon said...

F anyone who hates hockey.

And the 11 teams that voted to keep the status quo on the ridiculous schedule.

Cap It said...

what about those who are just disinterested?

CFB123 said...

I take back everything I said earlier IF Jason Garrett is indeed being interviewed for the head coaching position.

Now that would be a bold and unexpected move, and it's certainly a hell of a lot more exciting than a bringing in a re-tread HC like Phillips.

Cap It said...

yeah, but since zimmer is gone, what does garrett know about the 3-4?

unless, of course, you're talking about garrett as HC and wade as DC...

does garrett have any skins?

Anonymous said...

Cool info about the NBA, but I was also thinking of shedding some more light on the WNBA, which doesn’t get much publicity, although it should. Here are some interesting facts about the WNBA:

On February 15, 2005, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that Donna Orender, who had been serving as the Senior Vice President of the PGA Tour and who had played for several teams in the now-defunct Women's Pro Basketball League, would be Ackerman's successor as of April 2005.

The WNBA awarded its first expansion team in several years to Chicago (later named the Sky) in February 2005. In the off-season, a set of rule changes was approved that made the WNBA more like the NBA Wizards game stats.

The 2006 season was the WNBA's tenth; the league became the first team-oriented women's professional sports league to exist for ten consecutive seasons. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary, the WNBA released its All-Decade Team, comprising the ten WNBA players deemed to have contributed, through on-court play and off-court activities, the most to women's basketball during the period of the league's existence.

In December of 2006, the Charlotte Bobcats organization announced it would no longer operate the Charlotte Sting. Soon after, the WNBA announced that the Charlotte Sting would not operate for the upcoming season. A dispersal draft was held January 8, 2007, with all players except for unrestricted free agents Allison Feaster and Tammy Sutton-Brown available for selection. Teams selected in inverse order of their 2006 records, with Chicago receiving the first pick and selecting Monique Currie.

For mens basketball resources please see the pages on the following teams:

NBA New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers
Chicago Bulls basketball
Detroit Pistons
Orlando Magic

Michael S.