Friday, April 13, 2007

Winning Cures All

If you ever had a gritty, gutty performance in your reserve, now is a good time to break it out, Dallas Stars. Not a must win, But a Need-to-if-you-can game tonight in Vancouver

The Stars were understandably upset the first few minutes, even the first few hours, after Game 1, the sixth-longest game in NHL history. They had their chances, and those missed opportunities were fresh in their minds.

Although those thoughts might have lingered when the Stars regrouped Thursday afternoon, they took a backseat to a more pressing matter: Game 2 tonight.
"It's hard. As a hockey player you're frustrated with the loss," Stars defenseman Darryl Sydor said. "But you've got a game again. You can't be focusing on what happened two days ago."

The Stars know their recent postseason overtime record is ugly; they've lost eight of their past nine and haven't won since 2004, when Steve Ott scored the winner in Game 3 against Colorado.

But the Stars don't want to think about the past, whether it was years ago or two nights ago.

"We thought about it after the game," said defenseman Trevor Daley, who logged nearly 46 minutes of ice time. "But, by the time we were out of here, it was out of our minds. It's one game. Obviously, we have to just go on to the next one."
It would be easy for the Stars to feel frustrated. They played well, especially in the first two overtime periods, when they seemed oh-so close to winning. In a three-period span, from the start of the third period through the second overtime, they outshot the Canucks 34-13. Dallas finished with 76 shots on goal, an NHL record for one game.

Players said the focus and drive was there, even as the game grew longer.
"There's not only physical but mental fatigue," Stars defenseman Mattias Norstrom said. "The first 10 minutes of the game, there's energy in abundance.
"Now, you're going in period six and seven, and you have to focus on every single shift to make sure you don't make that mistake. You get kind of primitive the longer it goes on. You just react to situations."

Big boys need to find a way

Zubov, along with the Stars' other three warhorses -- Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen and Philippe Boucher -- were the team's best players in Game 1. They were four of the Stars' five leading minute guys. They combined for 21 shots on goal.

Boucher had a team-high seven blocked shots. Modano won 55 percent of his faceoffs. Lehtinen was his usual dependable self.

And Zubov -- the 15-year NFL defenseman -- not only logged big-time minutes, but hard ones, going against Vancouver's best shift after shift after shift.
"Ds can do that. They aren't moving around," Modano joked. "I go back and forth up the ice all game."

Considering how well all of them played and for how long, it seems almost greedy to ask for more, but that is what the Stars believe they need.

"They are going to have to produce offensively for us to move forward," Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said. "They are top-end players who get top-end minutes."

What Armstrong left unsaid was they also have to be the top-end scorers. Especially in overtime. Stars' overtime scoring, or rather lack thereof, was starting to become a big topic Thursday. After a week of debate on, "Why does Marty Turco always blink first in overtime?" folks finally seemed to recognize a flip side existed -- "Why do the Stars never score first in overtime?"

Will the NHL ever change its overtime policy for American TV?

It may have been great fun for most of the Vancouver Canuck fans who hung around Wednesday night or watched at home on TV but now that parity is here with a vengeance, if this league wants to be taken seriously, playoff OT as we know it has to go.

The Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks are so evenly matched this game could have gone on longer than Bill LaForge's NHL coaching career. It wouldn't have been much longer before the trainers would have set up IV's at the bench for players returning from a shift.

And don't think it can't happen again in this series. You have two goalies who can stop beebees in their teeth all night, and it's not like this is an isolated experience. The Preds and Sharks put in 28 minutes extra time as well, and given how tough the playoffs have been over the years when teams weren't so evenly matched, it's getting to the point where now the health of players is being compromised.
And think about the officials. Bill McCreary probably didn't even know his name after this one. There is every possibility he could have been slated to work another game in another city the following night.

Canadians tend to be traditionalists when it comes to this game and I'm no exception. But if this league is ever to be taken seriously in the U.S. with respect to the only medium that seems to matter -- television -- then there is simply no way this increasingly recurring circus can continue.

What major network will take a look at this product during the playoffs and say "yeah, that's what we want, alright. A marginal sport that is likely to have games that could wipe out the rest of your evening's scheduled programming and perhaps even our early morning news".

Hockey gets away with it on CBC or TSN because that's the tradition we have come to expect and love, just as baseball gets away with it in the U.S. as part of their great pastime.

But how can anyone reasonably expect any new fan to embrace a game that can go longer than a Test cricket match. If you think the people at NBC aren't sweating bullets after this one when they consider what an early Sunday afternoon tilt could do to their schedule, you're abusing your naive medication again. They could lose more revenue in one half hour of overtime than they can make carrying the whole game.
Who knows, it may have had something to do with ESPN's decision to ditch hockey. How many times could they watch Sportscentre's audience and revenue be swept away while Tampa and New Jersey settle their differences with friends and relatives watching?

Adam Morris has a wonderful Texas Rangers blog. On it, He examines the Sosa project as it stands now

I keep hearing that Sosa needs 100-150 plate appearances to get in his groove, that Frank Thomas sucked last year for the first six weeks then started tearing things up, that the Rangers aren't expecting Sosa to really do much the first few weeks.
Okay. Fine. I think the Thomas comparison is a fallacious one, since Thomas, unlike Sosa, had hit the previous few seasons when he was healthy, he just hadn't stayed healthy.

But whatever.

Here's what I don't get.

Why in the hell does Sosa have to get his groove back while hitting 5th in the

Why isn't he getting adjusted and comfortable down in AAA, while someone who might actually contribute to the offense is in the majors in the meantime?

Is Sosa too good to go to AAA? Are the Rangers really afraid that, if they wanted him to go to Oklahoma to get the rust off, that some other team would snatch him up and plug him in their lineup?

And if you don't want to send him to AAA, if for whatever reason, that isn't a viable option...

Then why is he hitting 5th? Why not stash him in the 7th or 8th slot, and let him provide "protection" for Brad Wilkerson or Nelson Cruz or Gerald Laird until he either figures out how to catch up to 89 mph fastballs (like the one he was behind on yesterday) or the team gives him up as a lost cause?

I just don't get it.

FC Dallas looks solid in LA …Cooper’s finish was amazing…

Carlos Ruiz and Kenny Cooper found magic yet again and helped FC Dallas get its first win of the season.

Behind its two-pronged attack, FC Dallas (1-0-1) beat the Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-1, at Home Depot Center on Thursday night. The win was the team's first against the Galaxy (0-1-1) in 10 matches since the Galaxy moved into Home Depot Center in 2003.
The Galaxy's recent dominance of FC Dallas included a 5-2 win in last year's regular season finale and a 1-0 victory in the 2005 U.S. Open Cup final.

It was the seventh time Ruiz and Cooper both scored in the same match. The two strikers also found the back of the net in FC Dallas' season opener last week, a come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake.

Elias with funfact on Cooper

Kenny Cooper scored his second goal in two games for FC Dallas in its 2-1 win over the Galaxy. Cooper also scored in each of his first two games in 2006. The only other MLS players to score in each of their first two games in consecutive seasons were Carlos Ruiz (three years in a row, 2002-04), Brian Ching (2005-06), and Jaime Moreno (1996-97).

Sunday, Everyone wears #42 …Has there ever been someone as honored as Jackie? It appears baseball has done nearly everything in the last decade but change the name of the sport to Jackieball…I think he is worthy of honor and all, but wow.

Sixty years after Jackie Robinson shook the baseball establishment and broke the sport’s color barrier, an unforeseen grassroots movement by today’s players has suddenly shaped the way Major League Baseball will commemorate the anniversary. Hundreds of players will wear Robinson’s No. 42 retired by baseball 10 years ago in ballparks across the country on Sunday, the anniversary of Robinson’s first appearance with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

While the tribute has received baseball’s approval, it grew spontaneously from a request by the Cincinnati Reds’ Ken Griffey Jr., who asked Commissioner Bud Selig earlier this month if he could wear the number on April 15. What has evolved since is surprisingly organic for a group of famous, feted athletes with multimillion-dollar contracts.

As word of Griffey’s gesture spread, small groups of players — among them stars like Barry Bonds, Dontrelle Willis and Gary Sheffield — decided also to wear 42 that day. Soon, there was a representative from every team. The Los Angeles Dodgers then decided to have their entire roster wear 42.

Now, there are six major league teams that plan to have everyone in uniform wearing No. 42 — players, coaches, manager and bat boys. Those teams are the Dodgers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros.

And the number of jerseys having a new 42 sewn onto the back remains fluid, but seems to be increasing by the day.

Just when you thought we were out of things on Imus, Stuart Scott assures us that “Ho” is affectionate

On ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning show, guest Stuart Scott discussed the Don Imus controversy. Hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic asked Scott whether it's fair for Imus to be in so much trouble for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos" when rap lyrics frequently use such language.

Scott's response was bizarre, to say the least. He said rappers who use those words "mean it in an affectionate way."

Huh? It's affectionate to call a woman a ho? According to his Wikipedia entry, Scott has a wife and two daughters. I'd love to know what context there is in which Scott would consider it "affectionate" to hear a man call his wife and daughters hos.

To their credit, Greenberg and Golic both indicated that they didn't buy Scott's rationalization. It's always wrong for a man to call a woman a ho, and for Scott to suggest otherwise is insulting.

Rangers watching more pitches?

Dan McGraw with his familiar thoughts on the Rangers

Basically, the Rangers didn’t make many changes in the off season. They added a few players, lost a few, made a few trades. But their payroll is the 11th lowest out of 14 American League teams, and the experts apparently expect them to perform accordingly: Sports Illustrated has ranked them 22nd out of 30 MLB teams. So it’s hard even for die-hard Ranger fans to believe that a team that has finished fourth (last place in their division) four times and third place three times in the past seven years is going to end up much higher this time around.

The thing is that, in 2007, the team — and the fans — may have a better time doing it.

The first sign was the firing of manager Buck Showalter last year, by all accounts a strict disciplinarian and control freak. He wanted hats on with the brim forward during batting practice, suit coats on the plane, and a locker room that verged on the funereal.

And Buck had a major bad habit. He would leak unflattering things about his team members to the news media, the idea being that it might goad the players into performing better. But when you are making millions, you shouldn’t have to put up with that crap from the boss

So they brought in Ron Washington, who lets the players do anything they want in the locker room as long as the police and fire departments aren’t called. Washington believes baseball should be fun and has reinstated the pepper games at batting practice, a little exercise in which players stand six feet apart, hitting and catching, making small talk and bonding with each other. Happy, happy, fun time.

Check out this email and picture:


This is an engagement photo that my girlfriend found in the Waco paper. Check out what this "cat" is wearing. Look around the ear region. Now that's Bluetooth dedication!!!!

Let me know if you want me to send you the original.

Have fun in the flats....

Brady in Lewisville

MLB spare Joey Gathright leaps cars in a single bound

Brandon Meriweather – future Cowboys safety?


Andy Douthitt said...

Bob-- I was surprised not to hear your thoughts on compound week part 2.

Now that it has come to an end, being a P1 since 1996, I still am floored by The Ticket. It seems that for some strange reason, all of the personalities meshed together is absolutely gold. I know this sounds corny, but everyone from Gordo to Norm is like one big family... you all are great friends. There is nothing nationwide (especially is the Dallas area) that comes close to the success of having the compound every year. The Ticket should once again be applauded and ALL of you guys are just great and entertaining no matter what you do!! Awesome compound Bob. Tell Dan and Donnie that they are gold too dude.

Unknown said...

The Brandon Meriweather video has been removed. Anyone know what was in it? Just a highlight reel, I guess?

Ditto what Andy said, Bob. Radio gold.

Fake Sturm said...

Andy - gay.

Bob, you might want to distance from your "Jackie Robinson is over-celebrated" position. He is one of the top 5 men to have a significant contribution on American History as we know it today. As a fellow black man, I have been wearing my #42 softball jersey for two weeks straight, and I dont plan on taking it off until the ban is lifted.

My hockey weiner is just now starting to awake from slumber. It has been in hibernation for almost a year now and he is ready to be entertained. Lets get some tired hockey talk going here since I dont know whats going on. Is tonight a must win? Who will get the start at goalie, Smith or Belfour?

Andy Douthitt said...

Fake Sturm...

yea... a little gay.

i admit it. later

Flaco said...

Belfour will be serving beer in section 304 tonight.

The Compound is good strong, can't miss radio.

Look to Mo and Lehts tonight to get some points on the board. Canucks are crowding Ribeiro. The Stars need to find a way to make the Nucks think real hard about where exactly they want to point their top defensive guys.

Take less penalties, roll 4 lines.

Unknown said...

For bob's insensitive comments about the much-needed and overdue honoring of Jackie Robinson, I call for his resignation from the media. Barring that, I demand that he be fired.