The Tennessean reports on the 5 game suspension of Tootoo …
Already without four injured forwards, the Predators also will have to do without Jordin Tootoo for the their next five games.
The NHL handed Tootoo a five-game suspension Monday, calling his punch to the jaw of Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas an overreaction to Robidas' threatening charge during Saturday night's game at Nashville Arena.
"In reviewing this incident, Stephane Robidas appeared to be initiating a confrontation by approaching Jordin Tootoo," said NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. "While a player is entitled to defend himself, Mr. Tootoo's forceful blow to Robidas' head was an overly aggressive and inappropriate response. The fact that Mr. Tootoo's actions resulted in an injury to his opponent also was a factor in this decision.''
Robidas suffered a concussion and is expected to sit out at least a week.
Tootoo will forfeit the salary he would have earned during his suspension — a little more than $16,000 — to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. He'll be eligible to return just in time for a home rematch with the Stars on March 31.
"I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the consequences,'' Tootoo said in a statement. "I maintain that my actions were taken in self-defense. I am sorry to see another player get injured and I wish Robidas well in his recovery.''
Predators General Manager David Poile said the Predators do not plan to appeal the suspension.
"We're going to accept our medicine and move forward,'' he said.
I felt 5 games was spot on. Also, the Modano incident with the stick was ruled as a non-suspension offense. Likely a slashing penalty if caught. I am not sure I buy that, but it is now over. Meanwhile, two things.
#1 – Did you notice the WWF way of making the 5 game suspension end just in time for the Stars return to Nashville on March 31? How great is that?
#2 – Any chance we can get Jim Lites and David Poile in the octagon?
Poile responds to Lites …
Lites' primary beef was that the Predators didn't officially recognize Modano, who scored the 502nd and 503rd goals of his career to move into first place among American-born players.
Poile said the Stars had not contacted Nashville regarding any special recognition if Modano reached the milestone, outside of a request that he receive the goal-netting. That request was granted.
"There's a protocol within the league when there is a team that has a player having a milestone,'' Poile said. "We never heard anything from them. I know if we had a player that was approaching a milestone, we would have contacted that team and made whatever request we thought was appropriate.''
The Preds had planned on an announcement, Poile said.
But late in the game Modano was involved in an altercation with Tootoo that led Modano to swing his stick down over Tootoo's back after Tootoo punched Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas.
Fans booed Modano, and when he scored his historic goal less than a minute later, booing increased. That's when the Preds decided against an announcement, Poile said.
"Everyone saw (Modano) hit Tootoo in the back with his stick,'' Poile said. "He was getting booed by everybody when he scored the goal. I think good judgment prevailed. I think if something was unveiled to recognize or honor him at that time, it could have been an uncomfortable situation in that building.''
Lites tied Modano's situation to other gripes on the Preds.
"I understand it's a competitive situation, but we're also working together to sell the game,'' Lites told The Dallas Morning News.
"They get more money from revenue sharing than any team in the league, they voted against the new schedule because they wanted to have an easier schedule for themselves. They take and take and take and take and never give back, and I'm sick of it.''
Poile said Lites never had been in contact with the Predators regarding any such complaints.
"Obviously we were very surprised and taken aback by what he had to say,'' Poile said. "I mean when you think about it, he does not have knowledge to comment on our financial situation directly, and secondly, he's publicly divulging our private vote.''
Ah, the hate and venom of hockey in spring…does it get better?
Rangers are getting rid of the name and the bell ….
Rangers fans expecting to collect Ameriquest chatter bats or T-shirts bearing the company's bell this season are out of luck.
The park that has been known as Ameriquest Field in Arlington since 2004 is now Rangers Ballpark in Arlington after the ballclub ended its naming-rights deal with Ameriquest Mortgage Co. It is the ballpark's third name since it opened in 1994.
"We did a lot of research last year and one of the things that came across is we have a huge asset in the perception of the ballpark," Rangers owner Tom Hicks said. "For the amount of money that was left on the agreement, it was worth more to me over the next 26 years to have our brand back."
The 30-year, $75-million agreement ended Friday when the Rangers and Ameriquest agreed to part ways. There was no buyout, and the club has no plans to resell the naming rights.
Hicks said negotiations to end the deal began a year ago.
The Ameriquest bell in left field will be removed and replaced by seats, but the work might not be done by the home opener April 6. Three Ameriquest signs in the outfield, plus ads in the dugout and behind home plate, are expected to be removed by the opener and will be resold. The Rangers expect to spend about $500,000 changing the signs.
Ameriquest will no longer sponsor promotions such as T-shirt giveaways and fireworks shows.
The addition of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium to the area as well as Hicks' Glorypark town center development also spurred the Rangers to pursue the move, Rangers president Jeff Cogen said.
"We're going to have millions of football fans and shoppers and restaurant- and theater-goers that may have never seen a baseball game," Cogen said. "It's important to us that they see the Rangers' logo on the side of the ballpark and not a corporate entity's logo."
Not to be the cynic, but I would love a corporation to call Hicks’ bluff on the idea
that they will not be reselling the naming rights….
Dirk took the Suns loss pretty hard …says Art Garcia…
Why did Nowitzki take the loss so hard? For one, Phoenix is the only team with a realistic chance of catching the Mavs (54-11) for the top seed in the West. Being at home and the Nash factor -- "He's trying to stick it to us wherever he can," Nowitzki reminded -- added to the buildup.
But more than anything, Nowitzki expects more of himself than anyone. Even Johnson. He expects to be automatic with the game on the line, realizing no one is.
"I'm 28 now," Nowitzki said. "I shouldn't miss a free throw down the stretch, but I guess it happens. We're all human. If we were all machines, the game would be boring. I guess emotions play a factor in a big game like that, and I did miss two free throws that are crucial."
Nowitzki isn't worried about his image or that of the Mavs, even in the media capital of the world, although he joked: "What do they think here in New York?"
He's also smart enough to know what's on everyone's mind.
"What everybody remembers is a little bit of our meltdown in the Finals last year, but the only way that we can make them forget is going there again and hopefully closing it all out," he said. "That's the only thing that really, in my mind even, can make me forget about what happened last year in the Finals."
His motivation isn't derived from gaining national respect. It's certainly not about winning the MVP. It stems from his sense of responsibility to his team.
That's why he remained for an hour, working with trainer Casey Smith, after the rest of the team finished practice at Columbia University. Nowitzki was there so long, the school's team had filtered onto the court to begin warmups.
The routine isn't unique. Nowitzki normally works out at night, when the notepads and cameras aren't around. But he couldn't get a gym Monday night, so he stayed.
Nowitzki's work ethic is well-chronicled. His will to be the difference-maker isn't as well known, at least outside of North Texas.
"I love to have the ball at the end of the games," he said. "That's what it's all about, to have teammates trust you and you have the confidence in yourself that you can get it done.
"So it's a great situation to be in, but on the other hand, we all know if you make it, you're the hero; if you miss it, you're the goat."
Peter King MMQB …
CNNSI feature on Modano …
Mike Modano's two-goal effort Saturday night in Nashville made him the NHL's all-time goal-scorer among American-born players. His second tally of the game surpassed Joe Mullen's mark of 502 and made Modano just the 14th player to net 500 goals for the same franchise -- a point of pride for Modano and something that may never happen again, given the league's penchant for player movement.
To Modano, though, the numbers weren't a driving force. Earlier last week, when he became the 39th player in league history to reach the 500-goal plateau, the native of Westland, Mich., wryly noted that had he been born 10 miles northeast of his Detroit suburb home -- in other words, across the border in Canada -- no one would be paying attention. Instead, his numbers stand out due to his country of origin.
Try as he might, Modano couldn't escape the added scrutiny leading up to his passing of Mullen. I chatted with him before the Nashville game and asked him what it was like to constantly be asked to put himself in historical context, while at the same time living the moment.
"It is a bit surreal," Modano conceded. "I've tried to enjoy the process and I spoke to Joe about the significance of it all, but still, numbers are not why you get into the game. As a kid, you just want to make the NHL. So, if anything, having to stop and think about all the goals, it makes me realize how fast it all goes by. I mean, I've played with just about everyone who has come through here (the Stars' organization) over the years, so that means an awful lot of guys had a hand in all this."
That's also a healthy dose of perspective from one of the most highly touted Americans to enter the league. As such, everyone always seemed to be paying attention to what Modano did and didn't do, both on and off the ice.
Aggies in the Alamodome should be a nice advantage …
The size of the Aggie fan base in and around San Antonio was demonstrated in September, when 64,583 people – most of them wearing maroon – showed up at the Alamodome for the football team's game against Army.
"I'm not going to say it's not going to be an advantage for us, because it could possibly be," A&M coach Billy Gillispie said. "But playing in San Antonio does not ensure success, and who better to have learned a good lesson last weekend about that than us?"
On Saturday, sixth-seeded Louisville was about 80 miles from home in its second-round matchup with the Aggies, and Rupp Arena was packed with Cardinals fans. A&M won in spite of the hostile environment.
Haith said he has no doubt that many of the people cheering for the Longhorns in the Alamodome in 2003 had never attended a UT basketball game. That was fine with him, because it presented an invaluable opportunity to expand the fan base.
"We were at a program trying to build basketball as Texas A&M is doing right now in such a predominantly football state," Haith said. "To have that kind of energy and focus on basketball, trying to go win a national championship, creates a buzz about basketball."
Chelsea advances in the FA Cup, But the end of the match was marred by an idiot ….
Chelsea's 2-1 victory in their FA Cup quarter-final replay was marred by disgraceful scenes at the end last night, when a fan ran on to the pitch and appeared to aim a punch at England midfielder Frank Lampard. The incident sparked a melee, with Lampard ending up on the floor and his Chelsea team-mate, Didier Drogba, becoming involved.
The fan tried to resist the intervention of at least four security guards before being carried off the pitch. Another spectator ran on and afterwards the police confirmed that five arrests had been made, including two supporters for encroaching on the pitch, one of whom was also arrested on suspicion of assault.
Video of the idiot
Ronaldo carries United through …
Satan Is Dead
Paul Robinson scores
Cheers meets Jihad