A quick look at the Stars Payroll Situation tells us a few things:
1) The Stars have already spent over 30 million on the 2008-09 cap.
2) The Stars have much of that in players who are older than 35.
Who are the 5 best players on this team (No Goalies) and I think everyone would agree it is this group (along with their age) in any particular order:
Modano 37, Zubov 37, Lehtinen 34, Morrow 28, Ribeiro 27
My point here today is that the Stars have very little offense and very little youth. That is a bad combination, and with Mike Ribeiro listed as an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, I think Doug Armstrong has a near-obligation to get him secured. He has shown for the last year that he is easily the most difficult Stars player to defend over the course of a game, and to lose him as he enters his prime would be horrendous. I would imagine he may be as expensive as Morrow, but, this team cannot afford NOT to sign him.
Riberio is so dangerous with the new rules …if you saw him dominate Anaheim Saturday, you would certainly agree….
It took the Dallas Stars' Mike Ribeiro almost a season to realize the NHL's rules changes regarding obstruction were written for him.
Less hooking and holding from defenders has resulted in more space and time for Ribeiro to make plays. Able to control the puck longer than most, the talented stick-handler often attracts an extra defender, which opens the ice for his linemates and buys them time.
"When he has the puck, you know he can do a lot of different things," veteran winger Jere Lehtinen said. "You pretty much find a place and you know the puck is coming there. He can make those passes wherever he is. He goes that way and guys go after him."
When the NHL implemented mandates to increase scoring chances two years ago, Ribeiro didn't immediately realize the benefits. In the no-blood-no-foul era, he didn't hold the puck as long because defenders were given leeway to hook and grab.
Ribeiro gradually convinced himself to be more patient with the puck. That's one reason he posted 18 goals and 41 assists last season, second-most of his career in both categories.
"Protecting the puck has always been important, but nowadays it's even better if you can protect the puck and get guys open, or help them get to the spot where they're going," Ribeiro said. "With the new game, it took me a year to understand you can hold onto the puck and control it even longer. It's an advantage."
After a slow start because of a high ankle sprain, Ribeiro scored his second goal in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Anaheim. His new linemates, Brenden Morrow and Lehtinen, also scored.
"He's continued to build," coach Dave Tippett said of Ribeiro. "He came in and had to kind of find his niche with this team. He creates opportunities with his creativity with the puck. It's a big asset to our team."
The Stars had trouble controlling the puck in back-to-back overtime losses to Calgary and Chicago. But that was their strength against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Ducks.
"Puck possession isn't only in your own end and the neutral zone," Tippett said. "It's actually in the offensive zone. Whether it's recovering pucks, holding the puck or making good plays, that enables you to get chances and second chances."
Cowboys at the BYE …
So the Cowboys haven't played anybody. They were smoked by New England. Roy Williams isn't great in pass coverage. The secondary struggles. Marion Barber should start. Maybe Jason Hatcher, too.* And the defense? * "We're still doing terrible," safety Ken Hamlin said, with more than a hint of sarcasm. "Right there -- 32nd in the league. We're struggling." * So many problems, holes and flaws... and the Dallas Cowboys are 6-1, the best record in the NFC. * With the bye week upon them, here are five things to look for when the Cowboys come out of it.
1. The Cowboys' roster should improve.
Receiver Terry Glenn has not put a timetable on his return from knee surgery, but he is expected to begin practicing and eventually playing, probably next month. The speedy veteran, if healthy, has the ability to stretch opposing defenses. Defensive tackle Tank Johnson will be eligible to play his first game as a Cowboy on Nov. 11 against the Giants in New Jersey. And injured cornerback Anthony Henry is expected to return in November from his high right ankle sprain. That would allow cornerback Terence Newman to return to covering the slot and put Jacques Reeves in as the nickel corner.
2. The schedule is about to get tougher.
Two of the Cowboys' first seven opponents have winning records, and two others are a combined 0-14. After the bye, the Cowboys have three consecutive games against division opponents, including the Giants, who are 5-1 since losing the season opener in Dallas. Their remaining nine opponents have a combined 31-25 record. "This is going to be a hard stretch for us," Hamlin said.
3. Beware: December is coming.
The Cowboys have done this to their fans before -- given them a reason to believe postseason success was attainable, then collapsed. Usually in December. In 2005, the Cowboys started 7-3 before limping to 9-7 and missing the playoffs. In 2006, they were 8-4 and won once more the rest of the season, playoffs included.
4. Tony Romo is getting better.
Among current NFC starters, Tony Romo is the second-ranked quarterback in the conference. He has thrown an NFC-best 16 touchdown passes, and his 1,984 yards lead the conference. He's also maturing. The Bills dropped as many as seven defenders in deep pass coverage against Romo in Week 5, and he was intercepted five times. Since then, he's adjusted and taken the short throws defenses are allowing. "You learn a little bit, and you take what the defense gives you along the way," Romo said.
5. The defense is competitive.
The Cowboys had the NFL's seventh-best defense through Sunday, and their 22.6 points allowed per game ranked 21st. Imagine how much better their stats would be had they not given up 48 points to the Patriots. The return of Greg Ellis to the starting lineup and the addition of Johnson to the line could make the front seven better. Henry's return should improve the secondary. "I'm encouraged about our pass rush," coach Wade Phillips said.
Romo is ready for vacation ….
Tony Romo sat in front of his locker Monday morning looking tired.
Romo could have been tired from his usual media sessions at Valley Ranch. Or it could have been his body telling him something.
Get some rest.
Romo will get some this week, as the Cowboys have a bye. It arrives at a good time, because the Cowboys quarterback has a slight strain of his right hamstring.
"I suspect with just about any injury, you would be fine in two weeks," Romo said.
He suffered the injury while sliding to avoid a hit during the Vikings' fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter Sunday.
Romo limped for a few plays. But after some stretching with team trainers, he seemed fine.
"I just think I didn't know what it was or anything," Romo said. "I just felt like I hurt my hamstring obviously. I felt like if you put pressure on it, it was [going] to tear, or do something like that. You don't know what you're dealing with in some ways."
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said Romo will be limited some in practice this week but didn't believe it was serious.
Romo has battled through bumps and bruises for the first half of the season. He sported some bruises on the side of his face when his helmet was snatched off in a game against Buffalo on Oct. 8. Romo suffered a strained left shoulder (nonthrowing) against New England last week.
"You go through different stages after different games," he said. "Some games, you get hit a little bit more than others. But this is a good time for the bye, and this team needs it, I think."
Witten with some drops: Tight end Jason Witten is second in the NFC in receptions (42) and fourth in yards (540). But he is tied for the team-lead in dropped pass (five) with wide receiver Terrell Owens.
In Sunday's victory over Minnesota, Witten had two balls bounce off his hands, but STATS Inc., which charts dropped passes, didn't charge him with any.
"There were a couple early on [in the season] that I dropped and I shouldn't have," Witten said. "Some of those are contested, and you just try to come up with them."
Team-mates hate eachother? …
Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth got into a heated verbal exchange while both were leaving Martinsville Speedway on Sunday night.
Kenseth was about to be interviewed by Speed Channel reporter Bob Dillner in the area of Turn 4 near the access tunnel when Edwards came up to Kenseth to complain about an on-track incident in the race.
The two exchanged words and Edwards appeared to raise his hand as if to strike Kenseth, but pulled away. Part of the incident was captured by Speed’s cameras and shown on the network’s post-race programming, “NASCAR Victory Lane” and “Speed Report.”
Officials with Edwards and Kenseth’s teams could not be reached late Sunday for comment.
Here is an email:
Didn't know if you guys caught this last night, but man if it's on the Tivo you MUST go back and watch it. Third quarter, about 11:20 to go, Colts have the ball - Colts run a play & a flag is thrown with exactly 11:11 left to go, clock is stopped, and the ESPN crew does the standard "pan and zoom into the wild crowd" bit. The camera focuses on three guys in the front row, they appear to fall into the category of jersey-wearing drunken screaming Jags fan, and in a split second out of nowhere one of the three pulls out what appears to be two long pieces of flexible foam attached at each end. Imagine two such pieces pulled about 8-10 inches apart from the middle so as to resemble the silhouette of a certain part of the female anatomy. Dude proceeds to stick his head through and wildly exaggerate a tongue-lashing movement.
We all know what this is. Problem for me is that, based on the apperance and construction of the prop, there could have been NO other use for this item - clearly he fashioned said prop for the sole purpose of taking it to the game and mimicking the act on a comically large va-geen on national TV. Far too much planning for me... gay? I'll let you decide...
Nathan in Dallas
And here is the video that goes along with the email:
Kansas and A&M = game of the week??? …
As unfathomable as it might have been before the season, Saturday's game at Kyle Field between Texas A&M and Kansas will match Big 12 division leaders.
The Jayhawks are one of the nation's biggest surprises after a 7-0 start. And the Aggies have been resolute in the way they have overcome recent roadblocks. They remain in a three-way tie for the South Division lead with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Those factors will make Saturday's game so intriguing.
Kansas continued its improbable run through the North Division with a 19-14 triumph at Colorado on Saturday. It enabled the Jayhawks to become the first North team since Nebraska in 2002 to start the season with three-straight conference victories.
It also matched their previous high for conference victories with three. The Jayhawks have never even had a .500 conference record in Big 12 play.
On Sunday, they continued their ascent by soaring to ninth in the Bowl Championship Series standings. No Kansas team has ever been ranked that high in the BCS before.
And the Jayhawks were 12th in the Associated Press poll, their highest ranking in that poll since they were ninth in the final 1995 poll after a 10-2 season.
If anything, coach Mark Mangino was proud of the resiliency of his team. The Jayhawks charged from behind midway through the third quarter to claim their first victory at Folsom Field since 1995.
"I'm proud of these guys," Mangino told reporters after the game. "I liked the way that they came back and overcame adversity. This is a pretty hard-nosed bunch of kids."
In much the same way, A&M reclaimed its season with a convincing 36-14 triumph over
A&M was left for dead last week after an embarrassing 35-7 loss to Texas Tech.
Truthfully, the Aggies couldn't have asked for a better opponent against which to rebuild their fragile psyches than Nebraska. The once-fearsome Cornhuskers are in much worse shape than A&M at this point.
A&M parlayed an advantage in the trenches to gouge a soft Nebraska defense for 359 yards rushing. It marked the third team this season and second-straight game the Cornhuskers have yielded at least 300 yards on the ground.
Coach Dennis Franchione still might need to get his résumé updated. His job status still should be considered tenuous considering the collective schedule in front of his team.
But A&M's schedule might not appear as treacherous as before — particularly if the Aggies can continue running the ball.
Team Plane Scare …
The plane carrying USC's football team to South Bend plummeted during a severe thunderstorm, forcing the pilot to abort his first landing attempt.
There were about 125 people, including 82 players, on the chartered flight Thursday
night for the cross-country trip for Saturday's game.
"That was terrifying," fullback Stanley Havili told the Los Angeles Times. "I thought I was going to die."
Some passengers were thrown from their seats by turbulence as lightning crackled around the storm-tossed plane, USC sports information director Tim Tessalone told The Associated Press on Friday. Safety Taylor Mays was screaming.
"It was a little bit of a roller coaster drop there for a minute," Tessalone
said. "We had some people fly out of some seats. Everybody is fine, but it was a frightening little dip there."
The pilot aborted the approach and circled around the storm before landing without incident about 20 minutes later to the relief of the shaken team and the spouses of some staff members also on the flight, Tessalone said.
Defensive end Lawrence Jackson said he was going to see the team trainer because a Popsicle stick pierced the inside of his mouth during the drop.
"It wasn't the worst flight I've ever been on," quarterback John David Booty said. "But it was definitely the biggest drop."
Funny Name for a Blog: StuartScottsLazyEye …
Model makes us all laugh
Goal of the Year – Jonathan Toews