Happy 4th of July, and although this generally sounds insincere when I hear other people say it, A very sincere Thanks to all the Men and Women who bravely serve this country to make sure we could freely celebrate our 232nd Birthday.
And now, a short look at the the 4th of July Headlines – aside from my daughter’s 6th birthday. 6 years ago, I sat in a delivery room waiting for my baby, and reading how the Stars have signed Bill Guerin.
Morrow is awesome …he isn’t going to sugarcoat it- He hates Avery.
I just got off the phone with Stars captain Brenden Morrow, and he admitted that on a couple of occasions he has said that he "hates'' Sean Avery. Most notably on his weekly radio show on The Ticket, Morrow has told how he does not like the antics of the Stars' newest free agent signing.
The day after Avery signed a four-year, $15.5 million contract with the Stars, Morrow wasn't entirely ready to back off those comments.
"I have said 'hate,' and I imagine if we wouldn't have signed him, I would have said I still hate him," Morrow said Thursday. "But he's a teammate now, and I'll admit that I don't really know him other than what I see on the ice. So now we need to get to know each other and work together as teammates."
Morrow said it is now his job – and the job of his teammates – to let Avery know what's acceptable.
"There are things here that we will talk about," Morrow said. "We feel we have something special going on here, and we feel we are a good team. And I have no problem with what he does as a player or how he works hard or gets people upset. But some of the stuff that makes the individual more important than the team, that's not something we want to see here."
Avery has been fined for actions on the ice and words off the ice. When he waved his stick in the face of New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur in this year's playoffs, the NHL responded by prohibiting such behavior.
Morrow said he has not talked to management about Avery or talked to Avery. He said he expects those conversations to take place soon. Stars winger Steve Ott, the team's resident agitator, said he is fine with Avery coming to the Stars. Ott, who has been compared to Avery on many levels, said he believes Avery can fit in.
"We have a good room, and I think he can add to that," Ott said. Avery said Wednesday he likes to "manipulate the line" between good and bad and said he feels he has matured and grown in understanding how far he can push things.
"Maybe that's not always proper for the hockey gods or the traditionalists," Avery said Wednesday, "but I like to play hard, and I don't think that's going to change. That's what makes me me."
JJT Talks to Avery …
You need players who will battle for space in front of the net. And players who will deliver game-changing checks. And players who can impose their will on a game.
Brenden Morrow provides that stuff every night, and Steve Ott, coming off the best season of his career, helps him. Avery, who had 15 goals and 18 assists in 57 games last season, fits perfectly between them.
Avery's presence means the Stars should have at least one high-energy player on the ice at all times.
"I'm excited to cause quite a disturbance to a lot of guys I used to bother who were probably happy that I've been gone for a year and a half," Avery said with a chuckle.
That's the type of attitude that wins postseason games. Avery, who had seven points in eight playoff games last season, makes you beat him because he concedes nothing. And if you do beat him, he returns for more.
Understand, he's not the kind of player you cheer for unless he's wearing your sweater. And as soon as he leaves Dallas, you'll boo him with more gusto than any other opponent.
Still, you should enjoy Avery, 28, while he's here because he's a difference-maker. The New York Rangers were 50-20-16 with him in the lineup and 9-13-3 without him.
He'll make the Stars better, too. He'll show up in important regular-season games against Detroit, Anaheim and San Jose. And he'll help make life easier for forwards Mike Ribeiro, Mike Modano, Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson and Jere Lehtinen.
"They're not the biggest, toughest guys in the world; you need guys with grit and toughness to create a little space and he does that," said co-general manager Brett Hull, who played with Avery in Detroit.
"He's the little piece we were missing."
And at some point, Avery will have sports talk radio buzzing and the local and national media whipped into a frenzy about something he's done.
Maybe it'll be some postgame comments about an opponent or the Stars' performance. Perhaps it'll be an on-ice incident like when he used his stick to face-guard New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur in the playoffs, resulting in a rule change the next day.
Avery is with his third team since 2006 and has never spent more than two full seasons with any of his three previous clubs. The Rangers made no attempt to re-sign him.
"I spent some time trying to figure out why it happened," Avery said. "Why they didn't want me back in New York? It's tough to say."
Frankly, Avery is the kind of guy who can only last so long in one place, because sooner or later he's going to drive his teammates and management as crazy as he does the opposition.
"I like to push it to the edge. No question about that," Avery said. "That's how I play, and that's how I live. That's what I am all about, but I've learned to do it without hurting the team and affecting the 22 guys in the dressing room.
"I don't like to lose. I've never enjoyed it. I like to play hard, and I like to do whatever it takes for my team to win."
Off to Baltimore for 3 for the Rangers, with 3 pitching matchups you shouldn’t hate…
Fri. at Balt 3:35 FSNSW Vicente Padilla (10-4) Jeremie Guthrie (4-7)
Sat. at Balt 6:05 FSNSW Eric Hurley (1-1) Brian Burres (6-5)
Sun. at Balt 12:3527 Kevin Millwood (5-4) Radhames Liz (3-0)
Durrett on the Kinsler glove …Or whatever he calls that thing on the end of his arm...
It's the only drawback to Ian Kinsler's game right now. He's been fantastic this season, putting up close to MVP-type numbers. But he has 16 errors, tied for the most in the majors.
I asked him about the errors before the club left for New York and he said he's trying to cut down on the mental mistakes, but that he makes most of his errors because he's being aggressive. And he said he's not going to change that part of his game (nor should he).
I went through Kinsler's errors and most, as you might imagine, are throwing errors or bobbles in the glove. Some of those, it should be noted, occurred because Kinsler's range allowed him to get to a ball that many infielders wouldn't, but then he made a mistake trying to complete a hurried throw to first.
But some are just plain bad. A few the last month are glaring. He partially whiffed a ball as he tried to catch a relay throw to second in Kansas City. The ball bounced off his leg and into centerfield. On Sunday against Philadelphia, he looked away too soon on a pop up down the first-base line and dropped it. He bobbled what looked like a double-play ball in the third yesterday. BTW, the team is 7-8 in games in which Kinsler has made an error (he made two in one game, which is why the record adds up to 15).
The errors are disappointing (especially the mental ones), but Kinsler has more than made up for it with everything else he does on the field. And I've got to think he'll get better. He was better the second half of 2007, so maybe the same thing will happen in 2008.
Very happy to have CJ Wilson on the show yesterday. He is awesome to talk to, and the way he is pitching makes it even better. Here is his blog …
we interupt this blog for a crazy message: The Mavericks are officially insane ...
J.J. Barea, who proved to be a reliable sparkplug throughout last season, said he is closing in on a three-year deal worth about $4.8 million to return to the Dallas Mavericks.
The third year would be at the team’s option and the first would pay him $1.5 million next season. He said he’ll likely sign the deal Wednesday when the league’s moratorium on signings and trades expires.
3 years of JJ Barea??!?!? We are being laughed at now.
Grubes, how are you so awesome? …
Bron meets Shrek …Or, is that a sunburned Wayne Rooney? And if you don't know who Wayne Rooney is, try to figure it out...
Taking a Bit too far?
Rampage – Forrest UFC 86 July 5