Free Stars Autographs Today at Ticketstock!
1:00 Phillipe Boucher
2:00 Marty Turco
3:00 Brendan Morrow
4:00 Mike Modano
Full Schedule Here …
Grubes Here …
Speaking of the Stars, a very nice performance last night without Turco, As they win in Minnesota …That is a very solid 2 points….
Marty Turco's stiff neck meant the Stars needed backup goalie Mike Smith to stiffen up against the Wild on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.
And the lanky 25-year-old delivered, playing one of the best games of his career, leading the Stars to an entertaining 1-0 win.
Smith hadn't played since Jan. 22 and was desperate to show he could get the job done against a tough opponent.
If not for a hard elbow to the head Tuesday against Vancouver, Turco probably would have played Thursday against Minnesota, the Northwest Division's top team.
But the Stars' starting goalie, 4-0 since the All-Star break, stayed in Dallas to rest. Smith filled in nicely, using his 6-3 frame to stop 25 shots for his second shutout of the season.
Smith's biggest save helped the Stars get the go-ahead goal a little more than three minutes into the final period. Smith stuck out his long right leg to block an uncontested shot at the side of the net by Marian Gaborik, a deft scorer who normally doesn't miss such opportunities.
"I don't do the splits very often," Smith said. "I'm not sure my groin will like that too much in the morning."
The puck bounded off Smith's pad, and a few quick passes later, Niklas Hagman made a nice move on Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, slowing down just enough to get him out of position for a backhanded shot. It was Hagman's 20th goal, marking the first time in his career he's reached that plateau.
The goal silenced most of the 18,568 spectators, with Stars co-general manager Brett Hull the one exception. He jumped out of his seat, yelled and pumped his fist even before the red light came on. Then he watched Smith make the lead stand up the final three-quarters of the period.
"The main thing is I wanted to come in here and give the team a chance," Smith said. "I wanted to come in and stabilize the team like Marty's done the last four games. He's played well and stolen some wins for the team. That's what we've got to do right now."
Isn’t this what the Mavericks need? ….some backup PG help, without having to pay the farm to get him? And who makes more big shots at big moments than ET?
While Sam Cassell acknowledges he's unhappy the Los Angeles Clippers are losing, the veteran point guard made it clear Thursday he's not lobbying to play elsewhere.
The Boston Globe reported Cassell was trying to buy out his contract so he could play for the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics. Cassell, averaging 13.1 points and a team-leading 4.5 assists in 34 games, is earning $6.1 million this season -- the final year of his contract.
"There's no truth to it," Cassell said by telephone from Toronto, where the Clippers play Friday night. "I never said I wanted to buy out my contract. There have been no negotiations, the team hasn't come to me about that, I have not gone to them about that."
The 38-year-old Cassell had 10 points and three assists in the Clippers' 111-100 loss to the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday night.
"They misquoted me drastically," Cassell said of the report. "It's just not right for my teammates to hear I'd be a perfect fit in Boston."
The Globe said late Thursday night all the Cassell quotes were accurate.
Cassell referred to television coverage of the published report.
"That's not what I said," Cassell said. "The reporter said I'd be a perfect fit in Boston. I'm still a member of the Los Angeles Clippers and I want to win as many games as possible with the Clippers. I'm not happy that we're losing, but I have a lot of good teammates on this ballclub that I really enjoy being around."
Buck Harvey, Spurs Shill, looks at Shaq to Suns …
That's why most in America are confused today. Did David Stern, ever trying to punish Phoenix, force the Suns to make this trade?
But tell that to Tim Duncan when Shaq elbows him in the the neck in April. If Shaq can get his hip in shape — and that's a big if and a big hip — then the Suns have a chance to be something this spring besides adorable losers.
That's what Steve Kerr was thinking and, for him, it's a remarkable role change.
He'd spent his playing career as the reasonable voice in the back of winning locker rooms, and he retired to become a glib announcer on TNT.
He's been diplomatic and funny his entire life without having to take a stand. And yet there he was, just a half-year into his job, gambling with both the best record and the most fun style in the Western Conference.
"I'm well aware that I'm on the line," Kerr said Wednesday, and he should be aware few of his peers would have made this trade. New general managers become unemployed ones over such boldness.
Still, other GMs know some of the details even as they question Kerr's sanity, and this begins with Shawn Marion. Somehow, the guy felt unappreciated, an unusual stand since he was also the highest paid Sun.
Marion earned his money with an efficient and well-rounded game. He's a better rebounder and defender than Shaq is now, and last week, he showed the same. Then, he finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Spurs.
But the Suns lost that game as they have every vital playoff series this decade, and one game likely didn't change Kerr's mind. In tough moments against the Spurs, Marion has rarely looked like the superstar both his paycheck and ego say he should be.
Marion had become a whiney irritant, and in his place comes a man who literally fills up a room. Shaq will make the Suns tougher, as well as more relaxed.
He can pass, too, which never hurts any offense. Shaq will also be the recipient, since he has never played with a point guard such as Steve Nash. When the Suns spread the floor, and defenders have no choice but to fly at 3-point shooters, Shaq will have space he hasn't seen since Los Angeles.
The Suns can run even if Shaq doesn't, since it's the rare fast break that uses five players. And if Shaq plays only 24 minutes, then that means the Suns can be their old selves for half a game.
Amare Stoudemire will be better next to Shaq, too. He was never going to be the post defender the Suns wanted him to be, and he showed that again last week when the Spurs beat the Suns.
What does Mike Young think of Nolan Ryan’s hire? …
Young isn't sure what impact Nolan Ryan will have on the team, but, he said, he's also sure the appointment of the Hall of Fame pitcher as the team's first "strong" president in a decade can't hurt.
"It's only going to help," Young said. "It's important to have a name and a face that people identify the team with. For a lot of people, that's Nolan Ryan. It's great that the Rangers think it's important to have that kind of connection with people who have made such outstanding contributions to the team."
As for what Ryan can do to improve the team on the field, Young, like many fans, is unsure.
That uncertainty arises from the still-to-be-determined role Ryan plays in baseball operations. While owner Tom Hicks said Wednesday that Ryan would oversee all aspects of the baseball operation, he also outlined a business flow chart that was big on partnership between Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels.
In the case of a difference of opinion, however, Ryan said he would defer to Daniels.
"I know having Nolan as part of the organization can only help," Young said. "What his exact role is going to be, I'm not sure. And I'm not sure it's any of my business. I guess they will be pretty widespread. Maybe this is one of those cases where two heads are better than one. But I think the organization is already in good hands with Jon Daniels."
Liverpool to play in Arlington? ….
The English Premier League is considering the idea of staging some matches around the rest of the world.
At a meeting in London on Thursday, all 20 clubs agreed to explore a proposal to extend the season to 39 games.
Those 10 extra games would be played at five different venues, with cities bidding for the right to stage them.
It is understood the additional fixtures could be determined by a draw but that the top-five teams could be seeded to avoid playing each other.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore told BBC Sport: "I think it's an idea whose time has come. It's an exciting prospect.
Sam Cassell vs Golem
Another Post to come in a bit...