Thursday, January 24, 2008

The NHL Continues to Baffle.

As many readers of this little blog know, I love my hockey. I am happy to do my part to promote hockey and to further its cause in various mediums.


This league is just goofy in so many different ways. And today I thought I would select just one to demonstrate the insanity of the NHL. Yesterday, Ilya Kovalchuck received a one game suspension for a hit that he issued the other night in a game against New York. The hit deserved the punishment, in my estimation, but it got me thinking about the Dallas Stars situation of one week ago when San Jose Shark Craig Rivet ran Brendan Morrow from behind and bloodied his face. This was textbook checking from behind and the type of thing the league claims it is trying to prevent due to the huge number of spinal and neck injuries that hits like this caused. Rivet received nothing. No minor, no major (except for the fight that followed), no suspension, no memo from the league, nothing!

Here is the crime:

Morrow – Rivet – Daley

Back in October, Randy Jones of the Flyers did the same thing on Bruins player, Patrice Bergeron, and the league gave him a 2 game suspension. Partly, I am sure, due to the fact that Bergeron was badly injured. Here is that video:

Randy Jones – Patrice Bergeron

Documentation Here:

Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Randy Jones was suspended for two games by the NHL on Monday for his hit on Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron over the weekend.
League disciplinarian Colin Campbell said he didn't believe Jones intended to injure Bergeron when he drove him into the boards from behind during the first period of Philadelphia's 2-1 win Saturday night in Boston, but that the Flyers defenceman delivered a "hard check to a player who was in a vulnerable position."

And then yesterday’s crime:

Ilya Kovalchuck – Rozival

The punishment for that

Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk has been suspended for one game, without pay, for a hit from behind on New York Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival in NHL game #727 on Jan. 22, the National Hockey League announced today.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Kovalchuk will forfeit $34,224.60. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The incident took place at 19:24 of the first period and Kovalchuk was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct.

Kovalchuk will miss Thursday’s game at New York Rangers.

Doesn’t it make you wonder if the punishment is based on whether the game is played East of the Mississippi River? Why wasn’t Rivet given anything for that obvious hit from behind? Did you notice that the Sharks announcer knew that it was bad? It makes no sense.

Sounds like the NHL to me…


Jussi is back for the Sabres tonight

There weren't any "Welcome Back" signs in the Stars locker room Wednesday. But Jussi Jokinen certainly got the feeling that his teammates were glad to have him back on the ice.

Jokinen, who has missed the last 13 games with a knee injury, skated with the team during its 60-minute practice and said the knee felt better than he'd expected. He's scheduled to return to the lineup tonight when the Stars host the Buffalo Sabres.

Jokinen's biggest impact may be on the power play. Dallas has been inconsistent with the man advantage the last month or so and is near the middle of the league in power-play percentage.

Much of that can be blamed on injuries. Sergei Zubov, who runs the power play from the blue line like a quarterback, is out with injuries to his foot and groin. Jere Lehtinen, who digs pucks out and gets to the net, isn't playing because of a sports hernia. Philippe Boucher, another point player with a hard shot, has missed the last few months following shoulder surgery.

But Jokinen's return gives the Stars a skill player who can create space and scoring opportunities.

"He's basically the developer of our power play," forward Steve Ott said. "He's a power play specialist. That's Jussi's job. To have that guy back gives us another lethal weapon."

Mavs get a Road Win in Charlotte

They needed a solid victory and, despite some deplorable fourth-quarter shooting, that's what they got. Devin Harris had one of his best games of the season and the Mavericks hung tough for a 102-95 triumph over the Bobcats, finishing the first half of the season at 28-13.

More important, they feel they have set themselves up for a big second-half surge after going 16-5 during the second quarter of the season. They are particularly optimistic about their future on the road, where they are a dead-solid-mediocre 10-10.

"You know what time it is," Jason Terry said. "It's the second half of the season. We're in a logjam at the top of the standings, so every game is critical.
"We don't have a choice. If you're going to be a good team, you have to win on the road. And we will."

For a night, they did what they needed to do, jumping on the Bobcats early, surviving a Charlotte run in the third quarter and overcoming their own shooting problems in the fourth with Harris leading a three-pronged attack.

He finished with 23 points and nine assists, the third time in four games he's had eight or more assists. He's averaged 19 points and 7.5 assists in that stretch.
The Mavs could get used to that. Avery Johnson was happy with the way Harris overcame a sloppy start to the second half.

The Baylor Revolution was not televised

Magical seasons all have a flashpoint, an indelible moment on which one can look back and know that's when it all started.

For the 25th-ranked Baylor Bears, it might have been Wednesday night against No. 18 Texas A&M.

The 196th installment of the "Battle on the Brazos" was a 3 ½ -hour marathon neither team will forget. Baylor captured an amazing 116-110 victory that lasted five overtimes, draining both teams and the 12,234 fans inside Reed Arena.

The game was two overtimes short of NCAA Division I's longest game ever, a seven-OT
Cincinnati win over Bradley in 1981.

Don't bother dusting off the history books to try to figure out where this ranks. The longest game in Baylor, A&M and Big 12 history was an instant classic, even though it wasn't on television. It also kept the Bears (16-2, 4-0 Big 12) in first place in the league standings, while the Aggies (15-4) fell to 1-3 in the Big 12.

The first true top-25 matchup in Baylor history might have been merely the first of many big wins to come for a program that's been down on its luck for years.

"Y'all, excuse me, I'm tired," said Baylor's Curtis Jerrells, who scored a career-high 36 points in 53 minutes. "I mean, y'all saw it. It was just two determined teams going out there just fighting and giving it everything they had."

Baylor coach Scott Drew joked, "Everyone's going to have great stats after this one, huh?"

His players sure did. Kevin Rogers of South Oak Cliff had 19 points and 18 rebounds. Aaron Bruce scored 20, and Henry Dugat added 11.

The undersized Bears won the rebounding battle, 70-64, even though five players fouled out. That disguised Baylor's dreadful 7-for-34 3-point shooting. A&M, meanwhile, missed 23 free throws.

A&M's Bryan Davis set career highs with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Donald Sloan had 18 points, Josh Carter added 15 more and Dominique Kirk and Joseph Jones scored 13 each.

"I'll state the obvious; that was one hell of a basketball game," A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. "Just gusty performances by a lot of players."

Even though I am watching much of the Senior Bowl stuff, I am not writing much at this point. But, Limas Sweed did not have a good week …and his draft position has slid…

Former Texas Longhorns receiver Limas Sweed reinjured his left wrist and will not play in Saturday's Senior Bowl.

Sweed is recovering from extensive surgery to repair torn ligaments and played only six games this season.

He suffered the injury in a one-on-one drill when a cornerback bent his wrist, which has a very limited range of motion.

Sweed watched Wednesday's workout and might return home before the game.

Sweed, who said the wrist is only 30 percent healthy, was advised not to play after getting his cast removed Jan. 14, but he wanted to show the scouts his
competitiveness. The injury likely hurts his draft stock and could threaten his health for the scouting combine next month.

"It's hard to catch when it's hurting like that," Sweed said.

Drunk Athletes Countdown

Today in Tom Hicks News:

Sir Alex chastises Hicks ..

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has criticised Liverpool's American owners for the way they have undermined manager Rafa Benitez.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett upset the club's supporters after admitting they had sounded out Jurgen Klinsmann as a possible replacement for the Spaniard.

"What happened was a bad piece of business on Liverpool's part, no doubt about that," Ferguson said.

"That can be very upsetting. You should let a manager get on with his job."
Ferguson is the longest-serving manager in English football, having been appointed at Old Trafford in 1986.

Since Benitez took over at Anfield, Liverpool have won the FA Cup and Champions League.

But that has not prevented him having a high-profile falling out with the club's owners, and Ferguson said their lack of backing for their man did not make Benitez's job any easier.

"At big clubs, it's absolutely paramount that the board show their class," said Ferguson.

"Arsene Wenger has had great support at Arsenal and I've had great support, too, ever since I came here. So there's a certain type of unity there."

A survey carried out by the Liverpool Supporters' network showed that many fans agree with Ferguson's criticism of Gillett and Hicks.

Around 2,000 supporters took part, and 76% said they would 'seriously consider reducing their financial commitment to the club' if the current owners stayed in charge.

When asked to choose between the owners and the manager as to who had the best interest of the club at heart, 99% backed Benitez.

"The results of this survey are indicative of the strength of feeling among Liverpool fans that the club is very much in the wrong hands at present," said LSN spokesman Neil Atkinson.

"Tom Hicks and George Gillet are not trusted."

The Fans continue to speak

LIVERPOOL fans overwhelmingly believe the club's American owners should sell up.
Voters inundated the special ECHO phone line which asked supporters what they wanted for their club now.

By the time the polls closed at midnight 92% of fans had voted that Dallas tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks should hand Anfield over to DIC, the investment arm of the Dubai government.

Only eight per cent thought they should stay at the helm.

In another independent survey, commissioned by our sister paper the Liverpool Daily Post, the results were similarly damning towards Hicks and Gillett.

A total of 90.5% felt the past 12 months at Anfield had been worse than expected while 94% wanted Benitez to remain as manager.

More than nine in 10 people preferred either the DIC consortium or even the Moores family to be in charge of the club.

Les Lawson, secretary of the Merseyside branch of the official LFC supporters club, told the ECHO: “Negotiations between the two groups are obviously at a very delicate stage.

“We have to stand back, but as fans keep the pressure on.

“Everybody is frustrated by what is happening as we feel promises have not been kept by the Americans.

“We believe Rafa has been undermined and the strength of feeling among Liverpool fans is massive.

“In football, if a manager loses his supporters his job becomes untenable, and the same is true for a club’s owners.”

The Tom Hicks Quote Archive Project – with new additions:

#1 Dallas Business Journal, May 2007

"All of these teams have become businesses in the past 20 years," Hicks said. " ... This business has to do with fan affinity and brand devotion. It doesn't necessarily have to do with winning."

#2 CBS News, January 1998

"I love sports," said Hicks, a billionaire who owns the NHL's Dallas Stars. "We want to add an American League pennant ... and to bring the World Series to Arlington. ... I've demonstrated with the Stars we will have the most competitive team we can have."

If the deal is approved by other baseball owners, a process expected to take 6-to-12 months, the price would be the second-highest for a baseball team.

"There's no reason the Rangers can't get to the top," Hicks said. ``This is one of the best franchises in the country. It's in a world class facility. You don't even have to win a championship every year to draw the fans. You just have to show you're really trying."

#3 P1 Cracker offers this from Randy Galloway’s column in March 2005 …The famous “if you come, I will build it “ quote…

Yet, Hicks said, "if our revenue grows in the off-season, our payroll will grow with it."

#3a From Bob’s Blog, March 2005 , where I quoted Evan Grant’s March 4, 2005 story

"Maybe there should be a rule that owners can't make a single decision until they've owned a club for three years," Hicks joked before Thursday's 6-4 loss to Kansas City in the spring opener. "I'm not a new owner anymore; I've graduated. We took the payroll up in anticipation of revenues going up, and it didn't match up. We're not going to do that anymore."

Barring a spring-training trade for a high-dollar offensive player, which Hicks said is unlikely, the Rangers guaranteed salaries will cost between $51 million and $52 million. Like all teams, the Rangers will figure another $7 million to $8 million in benefits in their payroll. They do not count the $6.2 million that will be sent to the New York Yankees as part of the Alex Rodriguez trade in the payroll.

The previous low figure for salaries under Hicks was $54.7 million in 1998, his first season as owner. And those salaries were set before Hicks' ownership was officially approved.

This year's payroll should allow the Rangers to turn a profit for a second straight year, Hicks said. He also said it is easier to grow payroll following increases in revenue rather than the other way around. Hicks is hoping to see a jump in attendance of about 200,000 fans over last year's total of 2.5 million.

"For where we are with our fan support, we're where we need to be [with payroll]," Hicks said. "If we get our attendance up around 3 million, things could change."

#4 turned in by Brandon, from the Fox Sports profile on Tom Hicks in June, 2007, and quoted in Richie Whitt’s blog

On Liverpool: “It’s a great economic model. People are worried that I might take money away from the Rangers to go to Liverpool. It’s just the reverse. Liverpool is going to pull off lots of extra money that if I choose I can use for the Rangers or Stars.

Here is Video of that very quote:

#5 from Mehul: Hicks admits to signing a player with a shady past

"Juan Gonzalez for $24 million after he came off steroids, probably, we just gave that money away," Hicks said in the interview, aired June 10 on KTVT-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Favre Tribute from a P1


darthalthaus said...

good Stars story, can't believe they didnt do anything, cant wait to hear Morrow on the show today

Jake said...

Congrats Bear on the victory last night. Can A&M schedule Baylor and Texas Tech on the same night instead of having 2 superbowls?

Happy B-Day Ticket. Bloody pants.

Fake Sturm said...

You just never know in a big rivalry game like Baylor/Aggie, no matter what the sport is. Who is aggie coach going to blame this loss on?

Flaco said...

The NHL punishes only on the severity of the injury. Morrow was up on his feet (to his credit) arguing while his face was punishment.

It is completely ridiculous. Rivet deserved a 5 minute major, and one game.

Good blogging today, Bob...enjoyed the stuff on Hicks as well.

Jay Beerley said...

What a great point, flaco.

Our entire system of morality in this country is leaning towards right and wrong only being defined by the consequence. In this case, if something is wrong, it must be punished. I'd even be for sitting a guy a game if it looked like he was obviously going for the head or attempt to injure and misses.

And my personal message to Tom:

Why is everything a business, Mr. Hicks? Or more accurately, why is the only good business purely focused on bottom lines with no factoring for human morale? I love how your wealth has been generated on leveraged buyouts. You've always been in the business of sticking it to people. One day, they will stick back. We promise.

Bitterwhiteguy said...

Another sign of Aggy delusion: they think Tech considers beating them in basketball 'winning the super bowl'. News flash: Tech has won 3 straight and is 9-4 against you since 2001.

One good year doesn't make you an elite program.

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God bless hockey!!

BACM said...

^ Love me some shameless spam in the morning.

Jake-Could care less about TAMU basketball but the only thing that could of made the Tech victory sweeter was if Bobby got his 900th against TU.

cracker1743 said...

Thanks for popping in, Fake Sturm. We've all missed your douchey t-sip smarm.

bitterwhiteguy, I might be wrong but that's not how I was taking the "superbowl" comment. But the point of your dig is correct: NO ONE should be talking smack on the court or on the field until we can start winning those games.

So let me get this straight. With the hopes of another Aggie NCAA invite beginning to circle the drain...with the Astros and Rangers being marginal on paper and most likely putrid on the field...facing another rebuilding for Aggie football...and the Cowboys don't play for another 7 months...

All I've got to look forward to is building a collection of Tom Hicks quotes?

Kill me now.

Fake Sturm said...

Cracker old buddy old pal, I have missed you too. No worries though, I am now back for your daily aggie kick to the crotch. What else have I missed? Aggie sucks, Rangers suck, Stros suck, and Tom Hicks sucks. Well...who gives a S about the Stros?

Jake said...

I think Turgeon blamed the loss on scientology.

Usually I stay away from Cracker's half empty outlook but I can't agree more with his post.

And no, for the record, A&M doesn't have an elite BB team. I wasn't implying that. I wrote superbowl because it is a no win situation for Aggie. Beat TTU/BU, Aggie's supposed to. Lose, confetti pours.

Don't worry Fake, I think Cracker mean Doughy.