Thursday, January 25, 2007

Good Times

The All-Star Game is over, and a good time seemed to be had by all. Sure, you might have enjoyed it a bit more if Crosby and Ovechkin both had a hat trick last night. Sure, you might have liked it a bit more if the microphone worked for the anthem and the stopwatch worked for the fastest skater, but for the most part everyone seemed relatively pleased with the proceedings.

Is the league where it needs to be? No. Is it on its way? I sure hope so. But honestly, I am not as positive as I once was. Whether it is the goofy scheduling bit or the general lack of animosity on the ice these days, I believe this to be a critical time for My NHL. But for a few days, we just collected most of the talent (Iginla, Jagr, Hasek, Kovalchuk?) in the league and just enjoyed some good old hockey. Much like other All-Star games in other sports, it is what it is.

But, let that be a lesson to all of you that think more scoring is the key to more popularity. That is crazy. A major increase in scoring would only serve to turn hockey into Arena Football. In that sport, they have cheapened the value of a Touchdown so much that it is about as thrilling as an NFL first down. No thanks. The complete lack of excitement last night after the 19th goal should have made it clear that cheapening a goal is not something we should aspire to do.

It was good to have the show in Dallas. My hockey fever is rising now that football winds down. But make no mistake, with the sport hidden on the television and on the sports page, this game needs to play its cards properly here or it risks falling even further on the landscape.

Crosby and Ovechkin did not quite light it up

They flocked to the American Airlines Center to see the Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin show in the NHL all-star game.

But, by the time the dust had settled and the red light behind both nets burned out, it was Brian Rolston, Rick Nash and Joe Sakic who were the heroes as the West defeated the East 12-9 in the annual shinny game.

While Crosby was one of only six players on the East not to record a point as Daniel Briere had a game-high five-point night, the West squad spread the scoring around, Rolston, Nash and Sakic all had four-point nights.

Sakic is now first all-time in assists in the all-star game with 16 in his career. There were 17 new faces and the all-stars had promised this game would be more competitive.

They wore new Reebok uniforms, but it was the same old story here.

It was a nightmare for the goalies, there were no penalties called and only one hit: Brendan Shanahan on Bill Guerin.

JJT on the state of the sport

For now, the NHL is a nonfactor. It has a network no one can find and a silly schedule that keeps most Western Conference fans from seeing the league's Eastern Conference stars. No wonder there was little buzz about the league's collection of stars invading Dallas this week, although Bill Parcells' retirement probably played a role.

The arena wasn't packed for Tuesday's skills competition, and there wasn't any problem getting to American Airlines Center or finding a parking spot a little more than an hour before the game. Normally, that's not something to complain about, but I would've viewed the congestion as a sign fans were hyped about the game.

The late-arriving crowd didn't feel much different, aside from the various team jerseys seen in the concourse, than a regular-season Stars crowd. One solution might be taking premium tickets away from the corporate fat cats in the lower bowl and selling them to the passionate public, creating a different atmosphere in the building.

Then again, nothing will change until Bettman realizes the future of the league rests in the promotion of its stars – not the teams. It's fine to talk about the tradition of the Original Six, but when The Great One and Super Mario were doing their thing at the highest level night after night, they created a buzz.

Personalities can lift the NHL from oblivion. That's what saved the NBA.

Remember, Bird and Magic showed up in 1979 after battling in the Final Four. Together, they lifted the NBA because the league realized fans loved their charisma and creativity on the court, so it showcased them.

The NHL must take the same approach.

Sidney Crosby. Alex Ovechkin. The Staal brothers. Put the league on their shoulders. Spend millions in marketing. Make them accessible. Everyone says they have the personalities to handle the exposure.

Who can name two Carolina Hurricanes? OK, name one. Hint: his last name was mentioned in the previous paragraph. If you can't, that's a problem for the league. Any Dallas-Fort Worth sports fan can name the best player on the Colts or the Bears. They can name the best player on the Miami Heat and the best players on the St. Louis Cardinals. You get the idea.

This is the "me" generation. Now, more than ever, perhaps to a fault, we celebrate the individual more than the team. We do it so much the NFL and NBA have recently instituted rules designed to remove excessive celebration and taunting from their respective games.

That said, let the NHL's young stars make the league relevant again.

The Hockey News takes a shot at the Youngstars …and they are right…

The All-Star Game, while registering the customary zero hits as usual, was at least moderately competitive. The same couldn’t be said for the YoungStars game Tuesday night where the league’s young stars were embarrassing in their cavalier approach to the game.

“It’s an absolute farce and we have to blow it up,” said one NHL executive. “That was dismal. The best young guys in the league are already playing in the All-Star Game, so we don’t even need that game anymore.”

Evgeni Malkin might be the best rookie this season, but his level of effort in the game bordered on non-existent. He certainly wasn’t in a minority in that respect, but he was in that he was the only player in the game to be outscored by Kari Lehtonen and Peter Budaj.

In case you weren’t aware, those guys were the goalies.

- Thanks, DudeinthenextCube...

Jason Garrett to coach the team???? …wow.

Jason Garrett so impressed the Cowboys with his interview Wednesday that they are on the verge of hiring the former backup quarterback as a coach, according to a source.
Just what coaching position that is, however, is not clear.

Garrett talked with owner/general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones well into the night Wednesday about the offensive coordinator position as well as the head coaching job vacated Monday by Bill Parcells.

Garrett, 40, has been Miami's quarterbacks coach the last two seasons and is considered a fast-rising assistant. The Dolphins granted him permission to speak with the Cowboys late Tuesday but with a hitch: The Cowboys had to make a decision on whether to offer Garrett the offensive coordinator job by today. He has an offer waiting from the Dolphins to return to Cam Cameron's staff. There is no time limit on Garrett possibly being named head coach.

Efforts to reach Garrett were unsuccessful.

While the Cowboys are bringing back Garrett, they also received permission to talk with San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for the head coaching vacancy.

Phillips is scheduled to leave Mobile, Ala., site of the Senior Bowl, today and return to San Diego.

"I'm excited about it," Phillips said of interviewing with the Cowboys. "It can't be a bad thing. We'll see how it goes."

Phillips won't interview today but is expected to interview soon.

Yesterday’s story from the Chicago Tribune: Lovie’s Dallas Connection

A charming legend about Lovie Smith's life in football is that his mother, Mae, supposedly once had a very vivid dream that her son would become a head coach in the NFL someday ... for the Dallas Cowboys.

Funny that within 24 hours of Smith's finest hour as a coach, Sunday's 39-14 knockout of the New Orleans Saints, guess which NFL team should abruptly happen to acquire a vacancy at the head of its coaching staff?

That's right, the Cowboys. Bill Parcells announced his retirement on Monday.

Wouldn't it be bizarre if, by some quirk of timing and luck, the Bears were to win the Super Bowl only to lose their coach?

Suppose for a second that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys' brain trust suddenly come to the conclusion that they would love to land a hot commodity on the NFL coaching scene—bright, qualified, dignified and respected—to succeed Parcells, particularly one who happens to hail from Big Sandy, 110 miles from Big D?

What a twist of fate it would be if Smith, the NFL's most poorly compensated coach, could be coaxed away to his mom's dream team with a big-money offer that bettered that of the Bears.

For weeks there has been speculation that the Bears could lose one of Smith's trusted aides, offensive coordinator Ron Turner or defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, to an available head-coaching position.

With Tiger returning to golf today, Here is a theory on his real rival

From the moment Tiger Woods first placed his Nike footies on the PGA Tour a decade ago, the world has been waiting for someone to step on them.

Someone to challenge him. Someone to pressure him. Someone to even just distract him.

Wednesday, on the eve of his 2007 debut at the Buick Invitational here, Woods acknowledged that that person was coming.

It's not Phil Mickelson, although this person will whine like he does.

It's not John Daly, although this person will chug bottles like he does.

It's not even Jesper Parnevik, although this person will dress like he does.

This challenger is scheduled to show up in July, maybe in the middle of the British Open, and will make Woods' knees knock like a North Sea gale.

We don't yet know what Woods will call this person. But we know what this person will call Woods.

It is one of the most powerful words in the English language, a word that will change his life as no green jacket ever could:


Tiger Woods and wife, Elin, are having their first child and, oh, baby, let's see him win a Grand Slam now.

With weight on his eyes, and colic in his ears, and rice cereal on his tongue.

With formula in his bag, and pacifiers in his pocket, and a car seat in his Buick.

I've played golf, and I've buckled three young children into car seats, and only one of those two activities has ever made me collapse into a screaming, crying heap.

Tiger Woods will soon learn which one. In learning it, he will love it, but he will never be the same, and he knows it.

What? You were wondering what hotel Tony Romo was at in Vegas? Well here you go …Tim MacMahon, my new best buddy at the DMN found this…

At the Hard Rock Hotel: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who has been dating Carrie Underwood, at Body English with a gaggle of gal pals. Also there: Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson and Randy Couture; talk-show host Montel Williams at Nobu and Chris Noth and Chris Masterson at Simon Kitchen & Bar.

Here is a story on predicted over-done story lines for the Super Bowl

Those two black people happen to be bestest buddies in the whole wide world: In perhaps the greatest display of selfless, unforced camaraderie since Ocean's Twelve, Smith attended the Chiefs-Colts clash -- a football coach, at a football game! -- to support his good pals Dungy and Herm Edwards. Here's hoping the evolution-of-a-friendship stories will contain many an anecdote about skimming rocks across the lake on lazy summer afternoons and singing Grease songs into hairbrushes at slumber parties.

The Manning family has finally won something that doesn't involve a deal to endorse Sugar Smacks: Oh, sure, they hit the genetic lottery some time ago, and Peyton, Eli and Archie have all enjoyed more than their share of second-stage glories. All the same, we'll be hearing a lot about how Peyton has "made it over the hump," "gotten the monkey off his back" and "slain his cleft-chinned tormentor, Tom Brady."

The supremely likable Peyton -- who never misses a game and always represents his team and his sport with class -- was an easy Hall of Famer before he felled the Patriots ... and oh, are we going to hear about it. Me, I'd devote the space instead to the Colts' underrated and mostly anonymous offensive line (somebody's keeping Peyton upright, no?) and the unknown-outside-rotisserie-sports Dallas Clark.

Maybe we should just resolve to think of it this way: Even if Peyton blows it against the Bears, at least he gets upgraded from "loser like A-Rod" to "loser like Dan Marino."

Media Day is a total wankfest: Because, see, there's about 3,000 guys with microphones and notepads, and they're all chasing the same stories. Of those 3,000, 2,925 will put pen to paper and note that nothing really gets said during Media Day. Hello, meta.

The Dark Side Cowboys Blog

Tim MacMahon’s BaD Radio Reference ….This is the type of publicity that could take this thing to the next level…

Looking back at the first half of the NHL Season

Next Basketball Legend



CFB123 said...

Just give us Jason Garrett as the head coach Jerry. Not Jason Garrett along with a baby sitter (Phillips, Turner, etc) to hold his hand. That is just a disaster waiting to happen. Let Garrett sink or swim on his own merits.

Fake Sturm said...

Jason Garrett??? Why dont we let him call a freaking play before Jerry hands him the reigns to the most prestigious coaching job in the NFL. How is he considered a "fast-rising assistant"? What have we seen from Miami QBs the past 2 years that makes you think Garrett has anything in his bag? Or is it because of his interview skills or that one game agaist Green Bay on Thanksgiving? This is a freaking joke.

Bob, I know you are wrapped up in Parcells and hockey talk, but what about Tech beating aggy last night. Now there is a 4 way tie for first in the conference.

eric in keller said...

The fact that Garrett is even being considered for the head coaching job is a joke. He was an assistant at Princeton for 1 year, then the QB coach for Miami the last 2. I can't even believe this is being considered.

Brandon said...

Normally I can't stand Norm.

But he hit the mark when he pointed out that Miami not only hired another offensive guy in Cam Cameron but also interviewed Brian Schottenheimer of the Jets without even giving Garrett an interview.

Seems to me Jerry's being jaded by a case of Good Ol' Days Syndrome.

Just Sayin' said...

Names like Cam Cameron, Tom Thompson, Mike Michaels, Rob Roberts....Gay, not gay, or extremely gay?

Jay Callicott said...

Guys isn't obvious who we need a young firey coach with a focus on defense? Someone who's black (hello superbowl coaches yo??). Someone with local connections?

Let's get Avery Johnson in here to coach the Cowboys!! Who's with me???

DrewJ said...

Coworker who likes to rub elbows with a lot of local sports personalities sat in a suite with a certain former hall of fame Dallas Cowboy quarterback last night at the All-Star game. According to the Hall of Fame former Dallas Cowboy quarterback, the Garrett job is done.

JPL4 said...

I'm sorry, did the NHL All*Star Game just happen? Was it on the Home and Garden Network? What a joke. The NHL has fallen further than the XFL. Total indifference. Even in hockey crazy Denver no one gives a sh!t.