Stars lose to Detroit....again
Mike Smith, meet the Red Wings curse.
For 50 minutes Wednesday night at American Airlines Center, Smith appeared to be the solution to the Stars' woes against Detroit. The backup goalie had earned a start over Marty Turco (who is 1-8-5 lifetime against the Red Wings) and was riding a shutout. But in the final 10 minutes, Smith was taught a lesson that Turco has learned too many times.
Smith allowed two goals on 10 shots in the third period, and Detroit added an empty-net goal for a 3-1 victory against the Stars.
It was the third time in the last four games Dallas has lost to Detroit after taking a lead into the third period. Dallas is 22-1-0 in all other games when they lead after two.
"That's a good team, but we just stopped playing," defenseman Darryl Sydor said. "We played safe, and safe is death. Hopefully, we learned a lesson from it."
The Stars (34-21-2) missed out on a chance to move within one point of San Jose in the Pacific Division standings. They are still 8-3-1 over their last 12, but the frustration of losing to Detroit was obvious.
"They play a different style than a lot of other clubs," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "They play puck possession and they play with a lot of skill. They want to beat you with their skill. If you allow them to play with the puck that much, their skill will pay off for them."
Tippett criticized his team for not playing with poise, but he praised the 24-year-old Smith for keeping his. Smith earned the start after winning three straight games, two in relief, and showed that he should get more starts in the future. He was dazzling at times against the 1-2 punch of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and he was mentally tough when Tomas Holmstrom camped out in his crease for long stretches. He stopped breakaways, deflected rebounds to the corners and stood strong against flurries from the slot.
The news from Detroit
The Wings looked to be in trouble again Wednesday, despite playing a sound game. Then, with the minutes dwindling, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk saved the day.
Both scored third-period goals, and along with Chris Osgood's goaltending, gave the Wings a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars.
"One thing about this team is that when we embarrass ourselves, we usually respond," said coach Mike Babcock, referring to Monday's 6-1 loss in Philadelphia. "We don't do that very often, but the other night, it was a humbling experience, to say the least."
Zetterberg scored the tiebreaker, his 27th goal, at 15:24 of the third period. Niklas Kronwall found Zetterberg near the top of the circle, and Zetterberg fired a shot past goalie Mike Smith. Datsyuk also drew an assist on the goal.
"We played a really solid road game," Zetterberg said. "We were working hard. As long as we kept the puck in their zone, we knew we could create some chances or they would have to take some penalties on us."
Datsyuk finally scored at 11:14 of the third period, his 18th goal, tying the score at 1. Until then, Smith continually had frustrated the Wings.
Zetterberg was driving around the net when he slid the puck between his legs to Datsyuk just inside the right circle. He snapped a quick shot between Smith and the post.
"I saw that Pavel was coming there in front of the net," Zetterberg said. "I just tried to get the goalie to come to my direction. I tried to find Pavel and it worked."
Mathieu Schneider added an empty-net goal with 33 seconds left.
"It was one of the best 60-minute games we've played this season," Osgood said.
Osgood made his first start since Jan. 26 (he was out because of a broken right index finger) in St. Louis and gave the Wings a chance to win.
Big night for the Mavs in Houston, and the Suns lost again last night so the Mavs can really sit high atop the West with a win...
5 most likely to be dealt at the deadline in the NBA ...
1. James Posey, Heat
While he has been recovering from hip and knee replacement surgery, Pat Riley has been working the phones trying to find a point guard to relieve some of the burden from the banged-up Jason Williams and the washed-up Gary Payton.
Posey's $6.4 million contract expires after this season, making him the No. 1 chip Riley has at his disposal. Posey isn't enough to entice the 76ers to part with Andre Miller (even with a No. 1 draft pick thrown in), but he'll be enough to get some other team to part with a player who will keep Chris Quinn out of the Heat's starting five for the rest of the year.
2. Mike James, Timberwolves
In the category of "seemed like a good idea at the time" (see Harrington, Al, in Indiana), we point to Minnesota's signing of this free agent last summer as the next mistake the Wolves will try to rectify.
The Heat are very interested, but so too are the Pistons and Cavaliers. And since Detroit (able and willing to move Nazr Mohammed, Dale Davis and Flip Murray) can likely outbid Cleveland and Miami, the educated guess here is that James is back playing Deeee-troit bas-ket-ball by this time next week.
3. Juan Dixon, Trail Blazers
Yes, we know the most popular Portland trade chip to be run through the rumor mill this season has been Jamaal Magloire, but Insider is hearing that Portland is now "begging" teams to take the former All-Star off their hands. Magloire's $8.3 million contract expires at the end of this season, but big expiring contracts clearly aren't nearly the valuable commodities they were in recent years.
That's why we're listing Dixon as the likeliest member of the Blazers to be shipped out. Don't be surprised if he goes to Toronto for Fred Jones.
4. Dale Davis, Pistons
Not all expiring contracts are unmovable, just the bigger ones (Magloire, Grant Hill, etc.).
This graybeard center is pulling down $3.5 million from the Pistons, and Joe Dumars has vowed to break up his big man logjam. Most of the attention has been focused on the Pistons' trying to move Mohammed, but he has a five-year contract that's giving plenty of teams second thoughts.
Davis is a heck of a lot easier to move, and plenty of playoff-caliber teams are in need of an extra big body for the postseason.
5. Corey Maggette, Clippers
If it were up to Maggette or coach Mike Dunleavy, who get along like oil and water, Maggette would already be an ex-Clipper. The problem is that Clippers owner Donald Sterling has a particular fondness for Maggette, and the owner still thinks the two can coexist.
But the most recent tiff between coach and player might make Sterling reconsider, and the Jazz, Heat and Spurs are all still very much interested. The Clips turned down an offer of Morris Peterson earlier this season, and the Raptors are no longer looking to move Mo Pete.
Texans look ready to go get Jake Plummer; and to trade Carr ...
Now, when Texans general manager Rick Smith admitted Tuesday that he has received inquiries from teams wanting to know if David Carr is available, it reaffirmed my belief that the quarterback will be traded, probably right before the draft or on draft day. The question is: What will Smith be able to get? It depends on the market.
I've thought since December that Carr will be traded. I like Carr. I respect the way he's conducted himself in Houston and the way he's handled criticism. I know he's talented. And extremely durable. But I think it's in the best interests of Carr and the Texans that he be traded. Hopefully, Carr will be traded to a team that has solid pass protection and a productive running game.
Unlike many of you, I have no problem if Jake Plummer is the starting quarterback next season. In January 2006, while the Broncos were preparing for the playoffs, I spent several days at the team's practice facility. I spoke with players and coaches about their offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, because I knew the Texans were going to hire him to replace Dom Capers.
With the exception of receiver Rod Smith, Plummer was the most effusive in his praise of Kubiak. Who could have blamed him? Plummer was coming off a 13-3 regular season in which the Broncos earned home-field advantage in the playoffs. They would finish one victory shy of Super Bowl XLV.
In August, about six months after Kubiak had been hired by the Texans, I went to Denver early to do stories on his return as a head coach and Smith's return as a general manager. Once again, I spoke with Plummer about Kubiak. Once again, Plummer sounded like Kubiak's PR man.
Last season — Plummer's first with the Broncos without Kubiak as his coach and offensive coordinator — the quarterback didn't play well. Although he was 7-4 under new coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, Plummer was benched for rookie Jay Cutler. It was the end of one era and the start of another.
Plummer has told a couple of people I know that he would love to be reunited with Kubiak. The Broncos don't have to do anything with Plummer, but it's no secret that he's taken his last snap in Denver. Mike Shanahan would prefer to get a draft choice for Plummer rather than release him. But Shanahan has to create a market.
looking back at the 2002 NFL Draft...
Once David Carr is moved this offseason by the Houston Texans -- a scenario that looks increasingly likely to unfold -- the failure rate in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft will be almost wall-to-wall on the offensive side of the ball.
With Texans general manager Rick Smith this week acknowledging that teams have inquired about Carr's availability, and that Houston is open to any and all offers, the chances of Carr returning for a sixth season appear to be inching toward slim and none territory. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is believed to be interested in acquiring deposed Denver starting quarterback Jake Plummer, who went 32-11 for him when he was the Broncos offensive coordinator. That's a move that just makes too much sense not to happen.
Carr starting over elsewhere would fit the pattern of the '02 draft, which he led as the No. 1 overall pick. In his five years in Houston, the Texans went 23-53 in games Carr played in, and he was sacked an astonishing 249 times. His departure would mean all three quarterbacks taken in '02's first round would be playing for a team other than the one that drafted him, a fate that Joey Harrington (No. 3 to Detroit) and Patrick Ramsey (No. 32 to Washington) have already met. Ramsey, in fact, is likely to be released by the Jets, meaning his next employer will be his third team in six years.
But it's not just '02's first-round quarterbacks who have failed to bloom where they were planted. Receivers Donte' Stallworth (No. 13, to New Orleans), Ashley Lelie (No. 19, to Denver) and Javon Walker (No. 20, to Green Bay) all left the teams that drafted them in the past year, as have both of that year's first-round running backs: William Green (No. 16, to Cleveland) and T.J. Duckett (No. 18, to Atlanta).
Throw in the dismal tenure turned in by offensive tackle Mike Williams (No. 4, to Buffalo), who is now in Jacksonville, and your clear-cut offensive success stories from that year's first round can pretty much be boiled down to Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey (No. 14), and offensive linemen Bryant McKinnie (No. 7, to Minnesota), Levi Jones (No. 10, to Cincinnati), and Kendall Simmons (No. 30, to Pittsburgh).
That's a lot of relocations for a draft that unfolded five years ago this spring. And Carr, as the most recent top overall pick to change teams, besting Cleveland defensive end Courtney Brown ('00), would become the poster child for that all that movement.
P1 Ranger blog ...
Revo on Cogen’s wind study at the Ballpark ...
Chris Hansen - Dateline - Soundboard ...
Waters is done after 1 year in the booth ...
Citing a crowded work schedule, Charlie Waters said Wednesday he won't return to the Cowboys' radio booth for a second season.
Waters said he learned he could not devote the necessary time to prepare for his weekly game-analyst duties. He works full time in the energy delivery business with former Cowboys teammate and longtime friend Cliff Harris.
"I was a one-year wonder, huh," said Waters, a fan favorite as a Cowboys defensive back before retiring in 1981. "I thought I was improving every week I was in the booth last season, but I can't commit the time to get to where I want to be."
Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said the team hopes Waters will stay involved with its broadcasts as part of the pregame or postgame shows on the team's radio network.
"Charlie is family," Dalrymple said. "He belongs here."
Dalrymple said owner Jerry Jones invited Waters to his office for a long discussion during the recent search to replace head coach Bill Parcells. Jones was searching for insight into Wade Phillips, whom Waters worked with on the Denver Broncos' coaching staff in the early 1990s.
"I want to stay involved," Waters said.
Dalrymple said a search for Waters' successor will begin shortly.
Waters was given a one-year contract in May to replace 10-year veteran Babe Laufenberg alongside play-by-play voice Brad Sham.
Laufenberg, a former Cowboys quarterback and sports anchor at KTVT (Channel 11), also cited his workload and retired to spend more time with his family.
Sham and Laufenberg were considered to be among the NFL's premier local radio teams. Laufenberg said he would consider returning if he could reduce his workload at Channel 11.
"If I could work out something with the station, I'd be interested," Laufenberg said. "But I can't return to a seven-day work week as it was for 10 years."
Flea Market Montgomery
Classic: Allen Iverson Practice