Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Bowl XLII - Day 4

Thursday come, and just about ready to go home…

Tonight, a few of us will mix in some basketball. Suns and Spurs. Which team would I rather see lose more? Hmmm.

Anyway, more football for you to consider today:

Tom Brady doesn’t seem too concerned with Plaxico’s prediction


Just 17 points for the potent Patriots.

A certain MVP quarterback thinks that's a Super-sized diss.

Tom Brady scoffed when told Wednesday that New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress guaranteed New York will beat Brady's undefeated New England team in Sunday's Super Bowl.

"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady said before chuckling about it. "OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for scoring more points."

Considering the Patriots set an NFL record by scoring 589 points, Brady's 50 touchdown passes were the most ever for one season, and Randy Moss broke Jerry Rice's mark with 23 TD catches, Burress might have been a bit chintzy.

The last time the Patriots played the Giants, in the season finale, New England rallied from 12 points down in the third quarter to win 38-35. The Patriots have not scored fewer than 20 points in their 18 victories, and the last time they put up only 17 was Dec. 10, 2006 -- a 21-0 loss at Miami in their last regular-season defeat.

Even if the Giants' defense performs at its peak, it's still doubtful New England will score only 17 points.

"I know they have confidence. They should have confidence," Brady said. "They are the NFC champions.

"I learned a lesson early in my career: No matter what you say during the week -- and God knows we say a lot this week -- we're going to be focused on going out and winning this game. We're confident, but I don't think we share our thoughts with everybody."

Where does Brady rate amongst the greats already?

Tom Brady's charge up the list of all-time great NFL quarterbacks will only accelerate if his New England Patriots prevail in Super Bowl XLII.

Already a three-time Super Bowl champion, Brady is coming off the finest regular season an NFL quarterback has ever enjoyed, whether measured by won-lost record or overall statistics.

The debate about which quarterback ranks No. 1 in NFL history might one day begin and end with Brady, but we're not to that point -- yet.

While seven seasoned evaluators placed Brady solidly in the top 10, Johnny Unitas consistently ranked higher than any other quarterback.

Joe Montana was second, followed by Brady, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Terry Bradshaw, Brett Favre, Otto Graham and Dan Fouts.

"To try to say who was the greatest would be an injustice to so many others," said Marv Levy, the former Buffalo Bills coach who recently retired from his position as the team's general manager.

Levy, Art Rooney Jr., Ken Meyer, Zeke Bratkowski, Dick Haley, Larry Kennan and James Harris have been watching, coaching or playing quarterback at the college and pro levels for a combined 321 years heading into 2008.

Their insights helped produce a top 10 list for the ages, even as panelists struggled to single out just 10 from a long list of strong candidates.

"My top 10 might be turning into a top 20," said Haley, a New York Jets personnel consultant and former NFL defensive back with more than 40 years of scouting experience, including a 20-year stretch with the Pittsburgh Steelers that began in 1971.

Troy Aikman, Sammy Baugh, Norm Van Brocklin, Bart Starr and Bobby Layne received top-five votes from individual panelists without gaining enough traction to finish among the top 10. Joe Namath, Steve Young and Sid Luckman each drew more than one top-10 vote.

Leaving off Aikman seemed particularly difficult given his overall skills and championship success. But some panelists felt Graham needed to be on the list because he was so far ahead of his time (in addition to his seven championships in 10 seasons from 1946 to 1955). Fouts also commanded considerable respect, not only for production but for the all-out manner in which he attacked the game.

"It's unfair to name the best because some other guys were just as good in their own situations," said Bratkowski, a former All-American quarterback at Georgia who played under George Halas and Vince Lombardi in the NFL.

Peter King expects Eli to step up

When I hear people talk about this game, one of the things I invariably hear -- fairly -- is that Brady's big-game experience gives him an edge over Manning, a rookie in this game and a guy who, until a month ago, was in a very bad slump. I agree Brady will play big Sunday in Super Bowl 42. But I don't agree that the gravity of the moment will get to Manning come Sunday. Dismissively, he said: "I don't think that'll be a problem at all.'' Next question.

I buy it. In SI last week, I quoted Archie Manning talking about his youngest son thusly: "He's not the type of guy, never has been, to say much about anything to people on the outside. Maybe it's because he's the youngest, I don't know. Our son Cooper has a 2-year-old son who's not talking yet, and other day [my wife] Olivia said, 'Well, Eli didn't talk 'til he was 3.' ''

Does that say everything about Eli Manning, or what?

He's come a long way. He's even become a guy to fear in the locker room. In the SI story, Brandon Jacobs said, "I pick up my cell phone one day and go to use it, and somebody's turned the keyboard into Spanish. I can't figure out how to fix it, so I got to one of our [Hispanic] cafeteria guys, and he fixes it. Eli comes up to me a couple of days later and says, 'So, you been practicing your Spanish?' I say, 'It was you, you son of a b----!' ... He keeps us laughing. The people on the outside don't know the real Eli.' ''

"He's doing everything the right way,'' Strahan said.

This game will not be too big for him.

And in other Peter King news, Emmitt is still struggling

I think this was about the dumbest thing I've heard this week so far. When ESPN's Emmitt Smith was asked on TV about Plaxico Burress' prediction of a 23-17 Giants victory, Smith said: "His prediction will get him double-coverage.'' I can only hope Smith either mis-spoke or was somehow exaggerating, because to imagine that the Patriots would be moved to change their defensive plan against Burress because of something he said prior to the game is ridiculous.

Chad Johnson wants out of the Natti

On Tuesday, the Enquirer's Bengals blog linked to an NFL Network clip that featured a brief comment Johnson made about the possibility of joining his hometown Miami Dolphins.

Johnson has boycotted the Cincinnati media since late October.

Reached by The Enquirer on his cell phone in Phoenix, Johnson said: "I haven't spoken to you all year. Why you calling my (expletive) phone? Why you calling my phone?

"I don't care what you heard on the radio."

Here is what Johnson said Wednesday to Rome on the radio:

Question: Do you want to be traded?

Answer: I'm going to leave that to the Shark (Drew Rosenhaus, Johnson's agent).

Q: Are you happy in Cincinnati?

A: I'm not allowed to say. I get the blame; the so-called best player, I'm the problem. Someone in-house is spreading this. Maybe they want me to quiet down (and) stop being me. That is not going to happen. I can't function that way. I tried it. It sucked. There was no excitement.

Q: Can they make it right with you?

A: I think I could be here all season long, on your show.

Q: Is it blown up or fixable?

A: I'm leaving that to Drew. It's been bad (with the Bengals). I'm the scapegoat. A lot of stuff in-house is happening I'm not fond of. It doesn't sit well with me. I have fun. I'm a little outlandish. I produce. I do everything to help us win.

Q: Who does have your back?

A: T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) has my back. Carson (Palmer). That's it. That's really it.
Johnson made similar comments earlier Wednesday with ESPN Radio's Mike Tirico and the NFL Network.

When NFL Network's Rich Eisen asked him to tell him "the State of the Union address of Ocho Cinco," Johnson said: "I'm relaxing, I'm enjoying the offseason now. ...
We're all of the same state of mind, we're all looking for jobs right now."

A laughing Eisen then interrupted him and said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute."
When asked if he were going to have Bengal stripes on next year, Johnson said: "I don't know what I'm going to have on. I'm not sure."

Dozens of big-city radio sports talk shows and the big-time national hosts, such as Rome, broadcast from an area of the Super Bowl media center.

Rosenhaus said Wednesday he would not discuss publicly any of his possible or potential dealings with the Bengals regarding Johnson.

"Obviously, there is a lot of frustration with things that happened last year as it pertains to Chad," Rosenhaus told The Enquirer. "I'm not going to discuss any potential trades."

Meanwhile, The Mavericks with 3 real tough games in a row …starts tonight in Boston…

Staff writer Eddie Sefko evaluates the Mavericks' best advantages and biggest shortcoming against the three Eastern Conference divisional leaders they will see on this road trip.

Boston (tonight)

Advantage: Solid matchups at each position vs. the Celtics' Big Three, including Kevin Garnett.

Shortcoming: Celts' D would snuff out Dirk. Anybody else stepping up?

Detroit (Sunday)

Advantage: Nowitzki always comes up huge against them.

Shortcoming: In a long series, can any Mav stay with Chauncey Billups?

Orlando (Monday)

Advantage: Mavs have the experience of having been to the Finals.

Shortcoming: Magic has Dwight Howard, the new beast of the East.

Meanwhile, what is wrong with the Spurs? Plenty …But here comes Mighty Mouse to save the day…

Tony Parker, scratched from the Spurs' lineup for Tuesday's game against the Seattle SuperSonics, will be on the inactive list for Thursday's game against the Phoenix Suns as well.

How long he remains on the sideline thereafter will be determined when the bone spur on his left heel is evaluated after he undergoes an MRI exam, scheduled for Friday in San Antonio.

The Spurs will return to town from Phoenix for a four-day break before resuming their nine-game road trip that began with Monday's game at Utah.

The bone spur has limited his explosiveness. He scored only four points in Monday's 97-91 loss to the Jazz, missing 6 of 7 shots. He also struggled to stay in front of Utah point guard Deron Williams on defense. That was enough for coach Gregg Popovich to make the determination he needed to sit Parker for a while.

"Tony didn't like it," Popovich said, "but he's been about 60 or 70 percent for about a month. It's not fair to him to ask him to keep going out there when he's the way he is. I want to shut him down for a while and give it a chance to heal."
Help coming? Jacque Vaughn, who started against the Sonics, is the Spurs' only other
true point guard, but help may be on the way.

Aaron Goodwin, the attorney who represents veteran point guard Damon Stoudamire, waived Tuesday morning by the Memphis Grizzlies, said Stoudamire is giving "strong consideration" to signing with the Spurs if he clears waivers on Thursday morning.

If Stoudamire does prefer the Spurs over other teams with which Goodwin has spoken — Phoenix, Dallas and Boston — the Spurs likely will move quickly to sign him.

Goodwin negotiated a buyout of the final two years of Stoudamire's contract with the Grizzlies after it became clear the 13-year veteran would spend the season playing behind both rookie Mike Conley and second-year man Kyle Lowry. The buyout will be effective as soon as he clears waivers, after which he will be able to sign with a team of his choosing.

Goodwin said he had spoken "a few times" with Spurs general manager R.C. Buford about Stoudamire. He said Stoudamire won't seek a multiple-year deal from the team that signs him.

Stoudamire averaged 7.3 points in 29 games with the Grizzlies this season but shot only 39.7 percent, and 38.7 percent from 3-point range. He has been in the league since 1995 and has a career scoring average of 13.8.

Aggies pound Longhorns

Wednesday night was the first time all season that Texas A&M looked like the team Aggies fans expected from the start.

Something about burnt orange just brings out the best in those wearing maroon.

A record crowd of 13,555 fans at Reed Arena watched A&M clobber No. 10 Texas, 80-63. The No. 23 Aggies (17-4, 3-3 Big 12) left no doubt there's plenty of fight in a club many wondered about after its recent three-game skid.

"We just came back and got our confidence back," A&M senior Joseph Jones said. "I think a lot of the guys on the team were down. They hadn't been through a losing stretch before. Guys just came back and got refocused."

Texas, which has lost four straight in College Station, fell to 16-4, 3-2 in the league. As the final seconds ticked off, A&M students let out a cheer directed at UT coach Rick Barnes: "Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon rind. Look at the scoreboard and see who's behind. T.u! t.u!. t.u.!"

"I'm proud of their student body," Barnes said, "because last year, I taught them the cheer, and they carried it out great. ... From that point on, good night for the Aggies."

For the first time in weeks, A&M played to its strengths, using an inside-out game that this team was built for.

Could Bob Kraft please buy Liverpool?

American businessman Robert Kraft admits he has not ruled out a possible takeover of Liverpool.

Kraft owns American football side New England Patriots and Major League Soccer outfit New England Revolution.

And Kraft - who is founder, chairman and chief executive of the Kraft Group - was strongly linked with a bid to buy the Reds before the Merseyside club was taken over by fellow Americans George Gillett and Tom Hicks for £470million in 2007.

However, Gillett and Hicks are rumoured to be unsettled on Merseyside following Liverpool's lacklustre form and a much publicised bust-up with manager Rafa Benitez regarding the club's January transfer policy.

Dubai International Capital are thought to remain interested in a bid to buy out Gillett and Hicks, after withdrawing from the race to own the Reds last year, and Kraft has now hinted that he could also consider a takeover at Anfield.

"We haven't ruled it out completely," Kraft told Sky Sports News.

"But I'm worried a little bit. I want to be able to win whatever we do. But there are no rules in terms of spending on players.

"We would never want to be in a business where we couldn't compete and right now some of the structure doesn't allow you to compete on a level playing field."

Two things on yesterday’s show that I said were controversy starters.

#1 was my claim that I would not consider sending Barber, #22, and #28 to Miami to simply grab Darren McFadden. I think the price is way too high, and here is one of the email I got on this topic, but I received several:

Dear sports Sturm,

This is in ref to your conversation concerning the trade rumor between Miami and Dallas to get Darren McFadden. I defer to you sports Sturm on 99% of sports topics however I gegree with little Mac on this one. I have watched him(McFadden) play almost every game since his freshman year and even when he was a freshman I was amazed at his vision ,moves and of course speed. This combined with his size 6’2” 225lbs and he is a freak. Please take a few moments out of your busy sports day and Tivo schedule to watch a few of his highlight videos.


I have watched him plenty, and I know McFadden looks awesome. Here are some examples of his highlight films:

I think you have to think about the type of cost here. Barber is a starter, and a good one at that who is a Pro Bowler already. #22 and #28 should both be quality skill players at RB, WR, or CB. Don’t forget this is a deep RB draft, too.

Also, consider the contract that is given to #1 picks overall. Huge money. $40 million! To a guy who is a RB and could easily be Curtis Enis or Ki Jana Carter (sorry Penn State fans). I like the kid. I don’t like the trade.

#2 – We had the great Adrian Peterson on the show. I am a huge fan even though I have never cared much for Oklahoma, and always loathed the Vikes. But, he is amazing. Anyway, I claimed that he owned Texas at OU, and although that is true his freshman year, I was obviously caught up in the moment, because he actually only went 1-2 versus Texas. So, forgive me Longhorns. I have sinned against thee. He is no Cedric Benson, and I won’t mess that up again.

Lost is back tonight, although I won’t be watching it until Friday night…

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Super Bowl XLII - Day 3

Wednesday, and clearly people are running out of ways to preview the big game. So, instead of great stuff, we have this:

Plaxico guaranteed victory! …or whatever you call this New York Nonsense:

The Post's Lenn Robbins was staked out at the bottom of the ramp that leads to the tunnel that leads to the Big Blue locker room when Plaxico Burress , who does not believe in bulletin board motivation, pulled up in his SUV.

"Ready to make history?" Robbins asked.

"You better believe it," Burress said.

Harmless enough. Because, as the late Tug McGraw taught us once with the 1973 Mets , Ya Gotta Believe. And, to a man, these Giants believe.

But as Burress walked with his pullalong luggage to the locker room, he now found The Post's Brian Lewis waiting with a question of his own.

"Do you have a prediction for the game?"

"23-17," Burress said.

It caught Lewis by surprise. And they were loading trucks, so it was noisy where he was standing with his tape recorder.

"23-17?" Lewis said.

I called Lewis to ask him why he repeated the score.

"I wanted to make sure I heard him right," Lewis said. "I wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding. I wanted to make sure there was no vagary."

"23-17," Burress said.

Then he disappeared into the locker room.

"I did not ask him which team; I just assumed he meant the Giants," Lewis said.
Of course he meant the Giants.

And Media Day!

interesting note on signing bonuses from last spring

Free-agent frenzies

A look at how much money the eight remaining playoff teams committed in guaranteed bonuses during the first month of unrestricted free agency in 2007:

1. Seattle - - - $27.45 million* (+1 RS victory, no additional playoff victories)

Signed: DE Patrick Kerney, S Deon Grant, S Brian Russell, OL Floyd Womack, FB Josh Parry, TE Will Heller, TE Marcus Pollard

2. Dallas - - - $22.7 million (+4 RS victories, no additional playoff victories)

Signed: OL Leonard Davis, OL Marc Colombo, QB Brad Johnson, K Martin Gramatica

3. New England - - - $22.68 million** (+4 RS victories, advanced 1 game further in playoffs)

Signed: LB Adalius Thomas, WR Wes Welker (restricted free agent, acquired via trade), TE Kyle Brady, WR Donte Stallworth, WR Kelley Washington, RB Sammy Morris, LB Larry Izzo, FB Heath Evans, S Rashad Baker

4. San Diego - - - $13.6 million (-3 RS victories, 2 additional PS victories)

Signed: OL Kris Dielman, OL Cory Withrow, LB Carlos Polk

5. Jacksonville - - - $9.25 million (+3 RS victories, 1 additional PS victory)

Signed: OL Tony Pashos, WR Dennis Northcutt, K Josh Scobee

6. NY Giants - - - $7.5 million (+2 RS victories, at least 3 additional PS victories)

Signed: OL Shaun O'Hara, RB Reuben Droughns

7. Indianapolis - - - $640,000 (-1 RS victory, minus-3 PS victories)

Signed: LB Rob Morris, QB John Navarre, DE Bo Schobel

8. Green Bay - - - $215,000 (+5 RS victories, +1 PS victories)

Signed: CB Frank Walker, OL Tyson Walter, LB Tracy White

* Seattle's total includes $8 million in guaranteed roster bonuses for DE Patrick Kerney

** New England's total includes $5.5 million in guaranteed bonuses for WR Wes Welker, a restricted free agent acquired from Miami

Gil does the obligatory story on what the computer thinks

He studied the tendencies, he calculated the numbers, he tweaked the game plans, and then David Holt sat back and watched Tom Brady throw 99,997 interceptions.

But it wasn't such a bad day for New England, seeing as the Patriots still scored more than 14 million points in the 500,000 computer simulations that Holt ran.

Holt, the ex-coach, ex-Cowboys hopeful and football brains behind, calculated that the Patriots will prevail over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII by a score of 34-24.

Holt has been running his computer simulation of the Super Bowl for 21 years. He's correctly predicted the winner 15 of the previous 20 times.

This is not Madden 2008, fueled by eye-candy graphics and joystick legerdemain. In the engine room of is a sophisticated software program designed by someone who knows football and who has an appreciation for how the game's numbers fit together.

Holt's first venture into the cyber side of football was at Micro Sports, Inc., where he developed a computer game that used real NFL teams from seasons past.

Instead of jiggling joysticks, Micro Sports coaches perused scouting reports and scripted game plans. By exchanging a simple file, both coaches could sit at their computers and watch the game unfold.

Twenty years after it hit the market, the game remains a computer classic for its accuracy and simplicity.

"This is a revision of that first product that we used," Holt explained by phone this week from his home in Tennessee. "Things have changed so much in the NFL. This new product just smokes. The ability to go in and do what-ifs just adds to the accuracy of everything."

Computer power allowed to run the Super Bowl XLII simulation 500,000 times. The Patriots won 394,153 of those, a 78.8 winning percentage that Holt says is the highest he's seen in the 21 years of doing the Super Bowl simulation.

And, our Quarterback is amazing

To basketball, where Jason Kidd to Dallas talk is out in the national press:
From Kidd’s home scribes

The Nets are discussing a complicated three-team scenario with the Mavericks and Blazers in which Kidd would go to Dallas, league sources said.

In return, the Nets would get back young players (Jarrett Jack and Travis Outlaw), expiring contracts (Devean George, DeSagana Diop), Jerry Stackhouse, draft picks and cash. More players, including other Nets, would be involved.

There are other willing trade partners and possibilities as the Lakers, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Spurs and Suns also would like to be in the Kidd sweepstakes.

Sports Illustrated

Suitor #1: Mavericks

The principals: Jason Terry ($8.9 million), Devean George ($2.1 million) and DeSagana Diop ($2.1 million)

The skinny: The Mavericks are always going to be on a potential list to acquire Kidd because a) they have the appropriate assets and b) Kidd wants to play there. But while Dallas may have been willing to put together an attractive package for Kidd last season (read: Devin Harris), it is less than appealing now. Harris, one of the premier defensive point guards in the Western Conference, is off-limits in any deal for Kidd. His replacement on the bargaining table is Terry, who is older (30 compared to the 24-year-old Harris) and more expensive, making him significantly less appealing.

Odds of a deal: 10-1

In the meantime, expect a heaping helping of Barea …prepare for NBDL point play…

Starting Thursday, the stakes for Barea and the Dallas Mavericks rise significantly. They play the Eastern Conference's three divisional leaders in a row on the road, starting with Boston, which owns the NBA's best record.

It also will be a homecoming of sorts for Barea, the Puerto Rican who went to college at Northeastern in Boston.

These are intriguing times for the backup point guard, who is generously listed at 6-foot. With Devin Harris on the shelf, Jason Terry is the starter at the point. Barea is the backup, and the Mavericks are eager to give him a chance to keep the job, which is why at this point they don't expect to be players in the Jason Kidd sweepstakes, in spite of rumors sweeping across the NBA.

Unless New Jersey plans on a fire sale of Kidd – unlikely given Nets president Rod Thorn's reputation as one of the league's saltiest personnel bosses – the price for Kidd will be prohibitive.

Plus, the thought of paying Kidd's $21 million salary next season, in addition to another $21 million in luxury tax to the league, is not palatable, even for an aggressive owner like Mark Cuban.

The Stars with a tip top way to start the 2nd half …which is actually the final 30 games…

Turco had 29 saves Tuesday and was a huge key to a 4-3 Dallas victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Turco is a significant leader in the Stars' locker room - arranging the prank to repaint Matt Niskanen's car, organizing parties and serving as an important liaison to the NHL Players Association and to the NHL competition committees. He also took it upon himself to criticize the team publicly when it went through a recent stretch of bad play.

But Turco ruminated over the impact of that criticism and had a discussion with Stars coach Dave Tippett about where that fit in the Stars' locker room.
"Without going too deep, it was just letting him know that I know that what I say in here and what I've said to you guys, especially most recently, I'm smart enough to know that anything that isn't about stopping the puck can take away from your focus a little bit," Turco said.

Tippett said he felt Turco was very focused against the Canucks and basically handed the Stars two points in the standings they might not have otherwise deserved.

"I thought he was our best player," Tippett said. "It's not about how many saves, it's about winning. I could tell when he came in this morning he was really focused on winning."

Turco said he thought long and hard about the past few weeks, and decided he simply needs to concentrate on stopping the puck. He said he doesn't regret the criticism of his teammates and said he might still have a few things to say down the road, but he just wanted to acknowledge the fact that worrying too much about the team game was not helping him be the best goalie he can be.

"We were at a position where I thought it was a necessity for me to say some things," Turco said. "I don't think anyone was happy, and I think it was a case of I felt I needed to say some things. But while I think you would like to think you can do everything, there's a knowledge that you can't do everything, and that things are better served for my game if most of my preparation goes into what I need to do in goal."

On Tuesday, Turco was outstanding early when the Canucks had two first-period power plays. Turco had a series of saves on Taylor Pyatt and stacked the pads when Mattias Ohlud seemingly had an open net.

How can you make yourself famous? By being goofy. See Ian Coulter, who might be a fine golfer, but I can’t recall him ever a player in a major, so I only know him for 2 things – both are goofy:

#1 – He is the golfer that wears an Arsenal Jersey and gets people mad doing it (he also is portrayed as such in Tiger Woods 2007).

#2 - He claimed he is the guy to take down Tiger

The outspoken Ian Poulter caused a stir on the eve of the Dubai Desert Classic by saying he was the only player capable of challenging the supremacy of world No. 1 Tiger Woods.

"The trouble is I don't rate anyone else," the 32-year-old Briton was quoted as saying in the March issue of the United Kingdom version of Golf World magazine.

"Don't get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger."

Poulter is ranked 22nd in the world and has seven European Tour wins to his credit, but failed to qualify for the 12-man team that beat United States in the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland.

The Englishman, asked by the magazine to predict the winner of the first major of the season at the Masters in April, replied: "Put Tiger down for that one."

For the year's second major at the U.S. Open, he said: "You can put me down for that one."

Poulter, pictured nude in the magazine with only a carefully-placed golf bag guarding his modesty, heaped praise on Woods, who makes a rare foray to the European Tour for this week's Dubai event.

"Tiger is one in a million," he said. "Actually Tiger is one in 10 million.

"He is extraordinary. If you look at the rankings he is almost two and a half times better than the guy in second place [Phil Mickelson]."

Poulter, a member of Europe's victorious 2004 Ryder Cup team at Oakland Hills, is known for his colourful dress sense and his strident opinions.

"I do speak my mind," he told the magazine. "I am pretty honest with what I say."

Oh, and Johan got traded – and Alonzo Spellman is still nuts…

Goalie Mic is cool, until someone says a naughty:


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Super Bowl XLII - Day 2

Tuesday Morning in Phoenix:

We should likely cover the Cowboys rumor of the day …Although it seems so stupid I cannot believe it…

So, the Cowboys trade Barber and #22 and #28 for Darren McFadden? Sorry. I have less than any interest in this. McFadden is a guy that you would hope would someday rival what Barber is doing right now. Then 2 more #1 picks?

P-A-S-S O-N T-H-I-S!

ESPN football insider Chris Mortensen has reported the Dolphins and Cowboys are considering a trade that would send the No.1 overall draft pick to the Pokes for their two late first-round choices (Nos. 22 and 28) and running back Marion Barber.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is said to covet Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. Jones not only is from Arkansas, but he also owns about a third of it. He’s a proud Razorback alum.

The Dolphins have declared their No. 1 pick can be available to the highest bidder, mainly because of the expense that comes with drafting the nation’s best college player.

Dolphins football operations boss Bill Parcells and GM Jeff Ireland have explained that if the pick doesn’t work out — an injury, an incompatibility, an undetected character flaw — then the Dolphins potentially would be on the hook for a long time with little to show.

One wrong move, and the team might take years to recover. So the safe route would be to trade down, collect extra picks and spend less for players who still would be key contributors.

Belichick the Browns Legend

Nearly 12 years ago, when Modell took only a few minutes to fire Belichick over the phone, the decision was hailed as necessary and inevitable. An Akron columnist pithily wrote, "Bill Belichick's five-year reign of error is over.''

In 2000, a new reign began with the Patriots. This time the errors can be counted on a pair of mittens.

During his eight seasons as New England's coach, Belichick's Patriots have won three Super Bowls, are at the brink of a fourth and can become the first NFL team to finish 19-0. If his team beats the New York Giants on Sunday, you can argue that Belichick might be the greatest NFL coach of all time.

But what if he hadn't demanded that the Browns jettison the locally beloved Bernie Kosar from the team during the middle of the 1993 season?

What if in 1995 he hadn't insisted that Modell sign free-agent wide receiver Andre Rison ("A bad guy who could play,'' said a former Browns front office official) to a $17 million contract, a deal that forced the cash-strapped Browns owner to borrow money from five different banks and that later backfired?

What if Belichick, wound tighter than a hair braid, had been media friendly? Or if season ticket sales hadn't decreased in four of his five years there? Or if news hadn't leaked during the middle of the '95 season that Modell had negotiated a secret deal to move the team to Baltimore in 1996?

These were defining moments in Belichick's coaching career. Defining in Cleveland, where he was 37-45 with one playoff win (over, ta-da, the Patriots). Defining in New England, where he is 105-39 with 14 playoff victories.

"We all learn from our mistakes,'' said Ernie Accorsi, the former Browns executive VP for football operations who hired the 38-year-old Belichick as head coach in 1991. "Knowing Bill Belichick, he learned between Super Bowl victories.''

Belichick made mistakes in Cleveland, enough to alienate veteran players, the Browns' hyper-loyal fans, the media and ownership. But was it ignorance or arrogance? Inexperience or impatience? Was he simply too smart for his own good?

As a courtesy, Accorsi had interviewed Belichick for the same Browns head coaching position in 1989. Belichick didn't get the job, but he did get a fan. Accorsi remembered walking from the interview thinking, "This guy's been preparing to be a coach since he was 7.''

If ever there was a Super Bowl Jinx, it would have to be this: offers: 19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots (Paperback)by The Boston Globe (Author)

They already are selling the 19-0 book???? What a bunch of jerks. I hope they lose…

Belichick coaching for immortality …if he doesn’t have it already…

Bill Belichick does not articulate what is at stake here Sunday night in Super Bowl XLII.

But he knows. He has to know.

If the New England Patriots complete their mission to achieve the first perfect record since the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, then Belichick's place in history is secure.

He moves ahead of Bill Walsh, ahead of Chuck Noll, ahead of Tom Landry, ahead of Joe Gibbs, ahead of Don Shula.

If the Patriots defeat the New York Giants as they are heavily favored to do, then the discussion of great NFL coaches begins with Vince Lombardi, continues with Belichick and then goes down from there.

There simply is no other fair way to look at it.

It is no knock on these Hall of Fame coaches – Noll with four Super Bowl titles in six years, Walsh with three in eight years and numerous offensive innovations, Landry and Shula with their incredible winning records sustained for nearly three decades and Gibbs, winner of three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks.

These are legendary figures in the coaching business.

But a win Sunday night and Belichick beats them all.

His colorlessness in news conferences does not obscure his greatness. Neither does the charge of cheating that was labeled against the Patriots after the season opener for filming opponents' coaching signals from a forbidden spot in the stadium.

Belichick, Tom Brady and this incredible collection of Patriots don't win because they have stolen signals. They win because they are the most incredibly prepared team of all time.

As Brady said earlier this season, "I've been playing for him for eight years and he's never wrong. We come in on Monday mornings and look at the evaluations and if we do the things that he really talked about, usually we come out ahead."

And if Belichick won't engage any discussion of what's at stake Sunday night, some of his players will.

"This is a special Super Bowl," linebacker Junior Seau said. "We could hide behind the fact that there's going to be another Super Bowl. But this is a special day because we can do something that will be here forever."

If the Patriots do the job, then Belichick will be 6-0 in Super Bowls – 2-0 as defensive coordinator with the New York Giants and 4-0 in seven years with New England.

His teams have won Super Bowls when they were the underdogs – Giants against Buffalo following the 1990 season and Patriots against St. Louis 11 years later.

Anyone remember the Rams and "The Greatest Show on Turf?" Belichick was the architect of the defense that slowed it down just enough for the Patriots to capture their first Super Bowl, 20-17.

In the wake of that game, I don't remember anyone talking about the beginnings of a dynasty. Most of us still viewed the Rams as the superior team and felt that the Patriots had simply enjoyed a perfect night.

Well, they have gotten more perfect through the years. If the Patriots go 19-0, then Belichick will always be the first to have done that.

Brandon Jacobs was a bargain

The Giants have the ground game to execute that game plan, having finished fourth in the NFL in rushing, with Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Ahmad Bradshaw, Reuben Droughns and Madison Hedgecock generating 134 yards per game.

That tells me the Giants either have great coaching or great scouting.

Jacobs, the team's 1,000-yard rusher, arrived in the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick. Ward, Bradshaw and Hedgecock entered the league as seventh-rounders, and Droughns defines the term "journeyman." Though he arrived as a third-round pick, the Giants are his fourth team in eight years.

New York claimed Hedgecock off waivers from St. Louis, signed Ward off the Jets' practice squad and traded a spare-part wideout to Cleveland for Droughns.

If any NFL team wanted any of those backs, they were there for the taking.

"You've got to get lucky sometimes," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said.

The Giants sweated only one of them, waiting anxiously to take Jacobs with the 110th overall pick of the 2005 draft.

"We were nervous," Reese said. "We thought Dallas was moving up to get him. We already had Tiki [Barber]. We had the little guy. We wanted a big bruiser to complement him."

The Cowboys did move up to 109, where they selected Marion Barber. He's going to the Pro Bowl this season. The 264-pound Jacobs is not – but the Giants are ecstatic with him.
Jacobs rushed for 1,009 yards, averaging 5 yards per carry. He finished 15th in the NFL in rushing despite missing five games and parts of two others with injuries.

"If he played in all 16 games, he might have led the league in rushing," Reese said.
Jacobs is healthy now. Ward is not. When Jacobs missed three September games with a knee injury, Ward stepped in and rushed for 90 yards against Green Bay, 94 at Washington and 80 against Philadelphia.

The Mavs are carried early by Josh Howard …which leads me to a sports thought that has been on my mind: Why is Josh so much better in the first half of games? Every time he has a big game, take a look: He had 21 of his 26 last night before the intermission. This is a constant theme. I will get some numbers for “Ask Sports Sturm” to prove my point on Friday. I would think that would have to be perceived as a negative if it continues for his career. Legends are made when the game is on the line. Regardless, though, 26 is 26…

If Josh Howard's All-Star push were part of the presidential primaries that are in full swing, he would have swept the Tennessee vote Monday night.

Anybody who wanted to conduct an exit poll could have declared Howard a clear winner by halftime of the Mavericks' 103-84 crushing of Memphis at FedEx Forum.

Howard hit all eight of his shots in the first half en route to 21 of a game-best 26 points as the Mavericks won for the fourth consecutive time. They started a road trip that is broken up with a trip home and numerous days off in dazzling style, dispatching a completely overmatched opponent.

There wasn't anything the Mavericks didn't do right. They limited the Grizzlies to four rebounds in the first quarter and dominated that area all night. Memphis collected only 33 rebounds.

The Mavericks shot lights out – 70 percent in the first quarter and more than 63 percent in the first half, at the end of which they were up by 17. The lead never dropped below 15 in the second half, although coach Avery Johnson took nothing for granted. He had his starting lineup on the floor with less than seven minutes left and a 20-point lead.

They owed all that second-half coasting to Howard, who was masterful in the early going. He added six rebounds and four assists (three in the first quarter) as the Mavericks went for the kill early.

"I had defenders in my face," he said. "I just rose up. Just shoot it. That's all you can do. We've been doing this all our lives. Eventually, you're going to have a game like this."

From the Mavericks' point of view, there can be no argument about Howard's credentials as an All-Star, even in a Western Conference with a slew of deserving guards.

"Josh was amazing, starting out 8-for-8," Dirk Nowitzki said. "He's been our catalyst all year long. He's been unbelievable, not only scoring, but overall. He's got to go [to the All-Star Game]."

Added Johnson: "Josh is fine. He's in rhythm now and he's strong. You look at those three assists he got early in the game, that's what we've been preaching for a while. He's playing on both ends. He's really having fun. He's really locked in right now."

look who is #1 in the NBA Power Poll

Stars health report as they head to Canada

Zubov not on trip: Defenseman Sergei Zubov, sidelined with groin and foot injuries, is staying in Dallas this week. He will go through conditioning and treatment and be reevaluated early next week. Zubov did not skate Monday and had a noticeable limp as he walked around the practice facility. Tippett said Zubov was "week-to-week."

Lehtinen practices: Forward Jere Lehtinen (sports hernia) practiced Monday and worked on a line with Mike Modano and Jussi Jokinen. Lehtinen spent the weekend battling the stomach flu but said he felt better and was pleased with how he practiced.

"Getting out there makes you want to play, but I have to be smart," said Lehtinen, who has been out of the lineup since Nov. 21. "If I can't play in Vancouver, I could get a few more days of practice before the weekend."

Lehtinen said he'll skate this morning in Vancouver and see how he feels. Tippett said the return of one of the top defensive forwards in the league would certainly give the team a boost, especially on special teams.

Teemu is back ...

Selanne put off his retirement for a few months at least as he signed a contract Monday to play the remainder of the season with the Ducks in the hope that he can help the team repeat as Stanley Cup champion.

"It's almost like I didn't miss a day when I stepped on the ice," Selanne joked at a news conference in the Honda Center after his first practice with the team.

The 37-year-old Finnish star signed a one-year, bonus-heavy deal that should pay him more than $1.7 million. Selanne will receive a pro-rated salary of $570,000 and a $1.2-million bonus will kick in if he plays at least 10 regular-season games or if the Ducks advance to the playoffs, both of which appear readily attainable.

The Ducks, who are 27-20-6, currently sit fourth in the Western Conference with 60 points. They are one point behind Pacific Division co-leaders San Jose and Dallas.

Now they add a future Hall of Fame winger who has scored 88 goals in the last two seasons. This after welcoming back superstar defenseman Scott Niedermayer in mid-December, following his own dance with retirement.

Wondering how the weather in Edmonton is?

Jan 29 Today

Bitterly cold. Some early morning breaks in the overcast, otherwise cloudy. High -22F. Winds light and variable.

Jan 29 Tonight

Bitterly cold. Cloudy. Low -31F. Winds light and variable.

Moment of truth on a publicity stunt

According to TMZ, the game show Moment of Truth sent a letter to Roger Clemens' manager asking him to appear as a contestant on the show. For those unaware, the former Yankees pitcher was mentioned in a document called the Mitchell Report which accused multiple baseball players of taking steroids and caused a big stir in the sport.

While as a viewer, I would find this entertaining (Clemens has not been proven to have taken steroids). That still doesn't stop me from thinking it's a bad idea for Clemens to do so. There is no advantage for him to it. The cynics of America will think either he takes steroids or the game is rigged (such as when it was revealed that one of the contestants was an actor).

I miss the Office

Chris Paul Mix Tape

Monday, January 28, 2008

Super Bowl XLII - Day 1

Morning 1 in Arizona, and it appears they are still going to continue on with the Super Bowl despite the rain of Sunday. It absolutely poured all day long.

Try not to cry for me.

This Just In: Super Bowl Tickets will be expensive this year

Die-hard Giants and Patriots fan are paying record prices to scalpers for tickets to this year's Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., and the total dollar volume of resold seats could be the biggest ever, according to ticketing firms.

Asking prices for the Feb. 3 game range from $2,450 to $19,446 at StubHub, a unit of eBay Inc. and the biggest of the online resellers. Officials there say the average price so far is $4,300 for tickets that the National Football League originally priced at either $700 or $900.

"It appears our face value is underpriced based on demand and what people are willing to pay," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, who seems resigned to the fact that the league is mostly powerless to stop the profitable turnover of tickets.

Marcel Nadeau of Rehobeth, Mass., said he paid $29,385 to reseller RazorGator for a package that includes three hotel nights and breakfasts, transportation to and from the game, a gift package, and tickets for him and his two sons.

"I'm confident the Patriots will win," Nadeau said in explaining why he is willing to shell out the big bucks. But even if they don't, his next stop is already lined up: "On to Vegas we go."

As many states have repealed laws banning ticket scalping and buyers like Nadeau seem immune to sticker shock, corporate America is jumping on the bandwagon in a big way. One of StubHub's competitors, TicketsNow, is being acquired for $265 million by Ticketmaster, owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, the New York-based Internet conglomerate controlled by media mogul Barry Diller.

Resellers bear little risk if tickets they offer don't get sold. Instead, they make their money by requiring both buyers and sellers to pay commissions of between 10 percent and 15 percent.

The matchup between the New York Giants and the undefeated New England Patriots is a clash of big-market teams from the chilly Northeast. The game-day forecast for the Phoenix area is for a high of 68 degrees. But even that doesn't matter because the teams will be playing indoors in University of Phoenix Stadium, the 63,400-seat home of the Arizona Cardinals that will have its seating expanded to about 75,000 for the Super Bowl.

"You gotta mortgage your home to get into the game," said Michael Hershfield, a former lawyer who recently started the ticketing Web site "There's this recipe that's been spiced up for a very exciting, very hot event. With all the changes in the industry, this combination has created this current wave of supply and demand."

RazorGator Chief Executive Jeff Lapin, who is predicting total sales will set a record, is amazed what buyers are willing to pay. Tickets on his Web site are listed between $2,700 and $7,200. "I'm telling my friends to buy now because it looks like it's going to be tight," he said.

Cool Feature on Super Bowl Rings

I was thinking about the story of Arizona and the Super Bowl and Martin Luther King Day, so a little research brought me to here ….

Super Bowl XXVII was originally scheduled to be played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, the home of the Phoenix Cardinals.[1] Immediately after the Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area in 1988, the NFL was eager to hold a Super Bowl in that state.

Meanwhile, Martin Luther King Day, the United States federal holiday honoring civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., was observed for the first time in 1986. However, the holiday was only celebrated in 27 states and the District of Columbia during that first year. Opponents across the nation tried to stop the holiday from being recognized in their own local areas.

By 1991, most states had adopted Martin Luther King Day (though New Hampshire called it Civil Rights Day) except for Arizona. In 1986, an Arizona holiday honoring King had been declared by Governor Bruce Babbitt after a bill to create the holiday failed in the state legislature. (On May 2, 2000, South Carolina governor Jim Hodges signed a bill to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday an official state holiday. South Carolina is the last state to recognize the day as a holiday.)

Newly-elected Governor Evan Mecham rescinded the holiday in 1987 on the grounds that the holiday had been illegally created.[2] Legislation to create the holiday was passed by the state legislature in 1989, but opponents to the holiday succeeded in forcing the holiday to undergo a ballot initiative.[3] Arizona voters rejected the 1990 initiative to create a King holiday.[4]

The NFL, which had an increasing percentage of African American players, and urged by the NFL Players' Association, voted to yank Super Bowl XXVII from Arizona, and awarded it instead to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

Faced with the boycott, Arizona voters finally approved the holiday by ballot in 1992, and on March 23, 1993, the NFL awarded Super Bowl XXX (to be played January 1996) to Tempe.

Check out this rumor: Roy Williams for a 2nd????? Do it!

Other news includes the rumor that Lions wide receiver Roy Williams is on the trading block, and one report said Detroit would look for a second-round pick in return. Williams played for two seasons under former Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who's now with the 49ers, so would the 49ers look to make a deal for Williams?

It's unlikely, particularly at that price. Williams caught 63 passes for 836 yards and five touchdowns this year. But at 6-5, 212 pounds, he's not your typical speedy Martz receiver, and he also has been known to speak his mind.

Cowboys sizing up the options

Top prospects at three positions the Cowboys likely will target in the draft:

Wide receiver

Limas Sweed, Texas (6-5, 220): Will miss the Senior Bowl after reinjuring his surgically repaired left wrist during practice. Possesses size and good hands, but the wrist leaves a question mark.

DeSean Jackson, California (6-0, 166): Lightweight play-maker not expected to fall into Cowboys' range in first round.

Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma (6-4, 219): Player from Longview came out as a junior and had 19 TD catches combined the past two seasons. Projected to go in the top 15 picks.

Mario Manningham, Michigan (6-0, 178): Junior had 12 TDs and 1,174 receiving yards and is a big-play threat.

Jordy Nelson, Kansas State (6-2, 216): Answered some doubters with an impressive showing at Senior Bowl workouts, getting past corners and showing great hands.

Best shot for Cowboys: Manningham, above, could be the vertical speed threat the Cowboys need. He never averaged less than 16 yards per catch in any season at Michigan.


Mike Jenkins, South Florida (6-0, 197): Would be ideal for the Cowboys, but is not expected to be around late in the first round. Same school as Cowboys cornerback Anthony Henry.

Leodis McKelvin, Troy (5-11, 186): His stock is soaring. McKelvin is physical, excels in all forms of coverage and led the nation with three punt returns for touchdowns.

Reggie Smith, Oklahoma (6-0, 196): Former safety could be available at the bottom of the first round.

Aqib Talib, Kansas (6-2, 205): Player from Richardson was an amazing play-maker and could be the first corner taken.

Tracy Porter, Indiana (5-11, 181): Was told at the Senior Bowl he was comparable to the Cowboys' Terence Newman.

Best shot for Cowboys: Smith, above, has good size, ball-hawking skills to go with speed, and experience as a punt returner.

Running backs

Darren McFadden, Arkansas (6-2, 205): The Cowboys thought the Cleveland pick would give them a shot at him. Now could Jerry Jones and Al Davis be working a deal for
the Raiders' No. 4 overall pick?

Jonathan Stewart, Oregon (5-11, 230): Had two games of 250 or more rushing yards this season and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.

Felix Jones, Arkansas (6-0, 207): McFadden's backfield mate produced back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and 8.7 yards per carry this season.

Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois (5-11, 224): Did you see the 79-yard run against USC in the Rose Bowl. Enough proof.

Jamaal Charles, Texas (6-1, 205): Part of a talented crop of junior backs and could jump in quickly as a change-of-pace backup.

Best shot for Cowboys: Jones. Jerry Jones loves his Hogs and he’ll be available. Plus, Jones, above, is used to sharing the load like he would have to do with Marion Barber.

To Basketball, The Mavericks with a nice weekend with wins over the Lakers and Nuggets. But, jut when you thought he was starting to get it, Devin Breaks again

Devin Harris left American Airlines Center on Sunday night on crutches and wearing a removable, boot-like cast on his leg after injuring his left ankle in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks' 90-85 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

While Dirk Nowitzki was magnificent down the stretch with 10 consecutive points and 14 of the Mavericks' final 16, it was Harris' situation that put a damper on their third win in a row and 11th in the last 13 games.

"It's a bad sprain," Harris said as he hobbled out of the building toward the players' parking lot. "We'll know more when I get re-evaluated [today]."

Harris could not put weight on the boot-encased ankle. That separates him from Brady, the New England quarterback, who created a buzz for walking around in a similar boot much of last week.

X-rays were taken on Harris, and while the team customarily announces results of those tests, nothing was released Sunday night. Harris said that the results were negative.

Harris stayed in Dallas as the Mavericks left for Memphis, where they play the Grizzlies tonight. He will have an MRI exam today, team officials said.

David Moore with a nice bombshell

Corey Maggette in a Mavericks uniform?

Mike Dunleavy thought it would happen. The LA Clippers coach revealed he was close to a deal that would have sent Maggette to the Mavericks for Jason Terry in the off-season before owner Donald Sterling stepped in and said no.

I can see why the Mavericks considered the move. Maggette is taller and more athletic than Terry. He and Josh Howard would be interchangeable at shooting guard and small forward. The Mavericks would create mismatches at those two positions almost every night. It would also allow Jerry Stackhouse to fill a true sixth man role without alteration.

That being said, don't minimize Terry's impact on this team. His speed and ability to come up big in big games are valuable commodities. He gets the edge over Maggette in both areas.

If the Mavericks ever do move Terry, they will likely want a player like Maggette – or Maggette himself – in return.

The Evan Grant Feature on Josh Hamilton can be found Here …you might want to read the whole thing…

The full story can't be captured in an hour. To really understand how far Hamilton has come, it's important to understand just how far he fell.

When he was barely 15, Hamilton was already a North Carolina sports legend. He was that rarest of finds, a true five-tool player. Left-handed, he was so gifted that he occasionally played shortstop and even hoped to be a catcher. But coaches were too protective of his arm because when he pitched, he hit 95-96 mph. When he played the outfield, nobody ran on him. When he hit, everybody gasped at the power.

"I've seen some really special amateur players – Kirk Gibson and Bo Jackson – but Josh is the most talented kid I've ever seen," says Jax Robertson, special assistant to the Pittsburgh Pirates' general manager – and whose son was a teammate of Hamilton's at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, N.C. "Every skill was above average; some were off the charts. He had instincts, athleticism, passion and compassion."

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays made Hamilton the first overall choice in the 1999 draft. He was the first high school player to be No. 1 since Alex Rodriguez in 1993.
Hamilton signed two days later. His parents left their home to be his chaperone. Together, they packed up and headed to Princeton, W.Va., in the rookie-level Appalachian League. Almost immediately, Hamilton was launching talk-of-the-town homers. Within two years, he was named the top prospect in all of the minors.

Then it crumbled.

I got this email:

Howdy, Bob. I really loved the story that Evan Grant did Sunday on Josh Hamilton. I knew nothing about him before, and only go to a Rangers game once a year or so, but I plan to go to a few if he is starting and cheer him on. I'd be interested to hear what you thought.

Take care.


I hope this Josh Hamilton story ends well. But, when you read the story, it is quite a tale, but I am a little concerned about how recent it was that he had some of his issues. This is not ancient history, so I am pulling for him as I assume he is not out of the woods. And, despite 90 nice games with the Reds, it is fair to question whether he as arrived as a major league CF.

and the NHL had a All-Star Game …\

For a game that does not mean anything in the standings, the N.H.L. All-Star Game generated a weekend-long referendum on the sport that seemed far too serious for an event that is supposed to be about fun.

The 48-hour debate ranged from whether the sport’s showcase game could stand up without its showcase player, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, to dismay over players who skipped the game for personal reasons, to whether the All-Star Game had lost its usefulness as a tool to promote hockey.

It took a capacity crowd at Philips Arena to put a clown’s face on the game, as well as light-hearted effort from the players — for two and a half periods at least — to gain the proper perspective. As for the lack of star power, that issue was negated by sparkling performances from Columbus’s Rick Nash, who scored three goals, and San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov, and by a frantic finish.

The game ended about as dramatically as an exhibition game could. Marc Savard, a former Atlanta Thrasher and current Boston Bruins forward, scored with 20.9 seconds to play to lift the Eastern Conference to an 8-7 victory against the Western Conference.

Carolina’s Eric Staal, who had two goals and assisted on the winner, was the most valuable player.

“It would have been nice to have Crosby here, but the kid broke his ankle, and it was still a good show,” said Rangers forward Scott Gomez, who had an assist. “It got close, and guys picked up the game. You could tell nobody wanted to lose. It was good.”

The hometown fans make up a majority of the crowd in the N.H.L. All-Star Game — unlike the audiences for such games in other sports. And they roared with delight when the Thrashers’ Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa were introduced and took some edge off the weekend debates.

Are Hockey Players Great Actors?

Billy Balls

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Cat Attacks

We end our week with a fairly weak to quite weak collection of links, but then we save it with some youtube gold at the end…

Amazing! Roger Federer will not be in the final of a major

Roger Federer's streak of 10 straight Grand Slam finals came to an abrupt end Friday when he lost to No. 3 Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the Australian Open semifinals.

The top-seeded Federer, who had been seeking his third consecutive title here, didn't look like the same player who has won 13 majors. The emotional Djokovic had a lot to do with that, hitting 13 aces and 50 winners, largely avoiding the nerves that have occasionally troubled him.

"I am just very amazed I coped with the pressure today," Djokovic said. "In the most important moments, I played my best tennis."

"It's just amazing, indescribable, to beat the No. 1 player of the world, one of the best players this sport has ever had, in straight sets."

He will face unseeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday's final. Tsonga beat No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals Thursday.

Kobe is in town; happy again

Sorry to disappoint those who predicted a nuclear winter for LA’s favorite team, but Bryant remains in a Lakers uniform and seems, dare we say it, content. Given his profound frustration a few months ago, it’s safe to say what’s happening now is the best scenario he could have envisioned.

“It certainly seems that way,’’ Bryant said.

“Unless they want to send me here to Dallas with Dirk. You know what I mean.’’

We know what you mean.

We think.

That’s the riveting beauty of Bryant. No one can be sure what he’s going to do on the court or say off it. He’s the ultimate competitor and entertainer, a basketball prodigy whose every word and deed is open to interpretation.

Was Bryant serious about wanting to play alongside Dirk Nowitzki, or was he simply playing to the home crowd and taking a good-natured dig at the Lakers, letting the organization know it shouldn’t take this relative calm for granted? My belief is a little of both.

The Lakers and Bryant have called a truce. But truces can be broken.

Still, there are two things you should know before you dig into Mark Cuban’s pockets and devise all sorts of trade packages.

One, the Lakers aren’t about to send Bryant to the Mavericks this season.

Two, Bryant feels good about the 27-13 team that will face the Mavericks tonight at American Airlines Center.

“We’ve got a really good situation now,’’ Bryant said. “I’m very pleased with the
development of our young players. They all have a confidence about them, a swagger about them that I really enjoy. They have a great work ethic.

“And I couldn’t be more pleased with the development of [Andrew] Bynum. I’ve really been pleased to see how hard he’s been working, how he’s stepped up from his work ethic of last season. I’ve been very, very pleased with that.’’

Bynum won’t play against the Mavericks, or for the next seven weeks for that matter. He’s been sidelined by a bone bruise and subluxation of his left knee. Small forward Trevor Ariza, who fit nicely into the team’s rotation, is out for a comparable period with a broken bone in his right foot.

You might remember that Bynum was the subject of a YouTube rant by Bryant during the off-season. Caught by a fan in a mall parking lot, the Lakers star vented about how the club didn’t send the young center to New Jersey for Jason Kidd before the trade deadline.

We’re not here to rehash the dysfunctional declarations of the past eight months or dwell on Bryant’s trade demands and contempt for Lakers management.

We’re here to point out that Bryant now believes the Lakers are a championship-caliber team when Bynum is healthy. He will tell you this is the best team he’s been on since Shaquille O’Neal departed for Miami.

Kobe’s comments buried amongst the plugs:

The Western Conference is led by New Orleans?

They are playing just fine. Entering tonight, they are one game behind Phoenix and another member of the new elite, New Orleans, for best record in the conference.

They have won eight of their last 10 games. Their home record (18-3) is the best in the NBA, including the Boston Celtics. Coach Avery Johnson may find himself coaching the West All-Stars in his New Orleans hometown because he is that close to having the team with the best record in the West.

Then again, if injuries caused the Mavericks to go into a little tailspin and they dropped 4 ½ games in the standings, do you know where they would be?

Yes. Out of the playoffs.

To get to the NBA Finals, the Mavericks used to have to fight their way through the Suns and the Spurs.

It's more than that now.

Every opponent – as we saw last spring – will be dangerous.

The team that spoiled Dirk Nowitzki's MVP season, Golden State, is five games out of first in the West.

Once again the Warrriors are the eighth seed.

Last year was the first time since 1990 that neither the No. 1 nor No. 2 seeds reached the conference finals in the West. As deep as this conference is, it won't be 17 years before that happens again.

Really, the elite in the West could be as many as 10 teams.

NBA fans know how scary the Houston Rockets can be, even if Tracy McGrady is still looking for that first playoff series victory. McGrady was injured but is back in the lineup. The team is on an 8-2 run.

The Rockets are 6 ½ games out of first, but they are no better than 10th in the Western Conference. That is crazy.

And it's why I have to restate what I said a year ago, because commissioner David Stern and the league's board of governors clearly missed their copy of the newspaper that day.

The NBA would be better off scrapping history and going to a best-16 team format. Forget Eastern and Western Conference playoffs. Get the best teams into the tournament and get the two best teams into the Finals, regardless of geography.

If that turned out to be San Antonio and Phoenix or Dallas and the Lakers, would anyone really object just because there's no Eastern time zone representation?

Is Shaq done?

Shaquille O'Neal on Thursday denied speculation that he planned to walk away from the Heat after 2008, telling ESPN Radio's Jack Ramsay that he will play out his contract despite his current injury-riddled year.

O'Neal suffered an acute hip injury while diving for a loose ball against Utah on Dec. 22 and re-aggravated the injury Monday against Cleveland. He will miss at least six games, barring a change in the rehabilitation schedule.

In the interview Thursday, O'Neal strongly disputed media reports this month that reportedly characterized the All-Star center as being prepared to walk away from the last two years of his five-year, $100 million contract.

"I'm the son of an army drill sergeant and when we enlist, we go out full-term. So I got two years left on my term and then, after that, I'll be looking to do other things," O'Neal said on the show.

"I'm not the type to say every game, 'my leg is hurt, my leg is hurt.' I just tried to do it the old-school way for so long, just play on ... rather than try to get healthy," he added. "I'm not even playing at 50 percent right now. I just got to focus on getting that leg back strong."

When asked if he could get back into form this season, O'Neal said: "We're going to be trying to do it. I just have to get through it."

O'Neal has missed an average of 20 games over the past six seasons because of an array of injuries. The earliest he could return from the current injury, under the timetable released by the team, is Feb. 6 at Detroit.

Tom Hicks gets his loan, and now tries to win fans back at Liverpool

Tom Hicks and George Gillett are expected to cement their control of Liverpool this morning by announcing that they have secured a £350m loan to refinance their takeover and allow work to start on a new 70,000-seat stadium. The news will be a major setback to Dubai International Capital's attempts to buy out the Americans and to supporters in revolt at the co-chairmen's controversial reign.

The Liverpool owners had intended to unveil both the refinancing package and their new designs for a stadium on Stanley Park before yesterday's self-imposed deadline. That deadline passed without an announcement but it is understood terms were agreed with the Royal Bank of Scotland and the US investment bank Wachovia last night. The delays were the result of lawyers and accountants on both sides of the Atlantic having to sift through documentation concerning the loan, with the signing and announcement of the deal postponed until the start of business today at the request of RBS.

Gillett and Hicks believe the package will end the uncertainty over the ownership of the club after DIC re-emerged as a serious bidder. The hope that it will also allow them to regain favour with Liverpool supporters over the 18-month duration of the loan may prove more forlorn, because fans are now organising financial boycotts of the club and of Liverpool's sponsors. That will not deter the co-chairmen from populist moves in an attempt to regain supporters' confidence, however, with the long-term signing of Javier Mascherano a priority once the loan is in place.

The Argentina international is in the final six months of an 18-month loan spell at Anfield but is attracting interest from Manchester City, Barcelona and Juventus after Gillett and Hicks refused to sanction a £17m deal to sign him on a long-term basis. However, the midfielder has frequently stated that he would prefer to remain with Liverpool and the co-chairmen intend to revive talks with his owner, Kia Joorabchian, with a view to securing his signature before the end of this season.
A more direct route towards supporters' trust would be to end the uncertainty over the future of the popular Rafael Benítez, whom Hicks undermined further last week with the admission that he and Gillett had approached Jürgen Klinsmann with a view to having the German replace the Spaniard as manager. That confession accentuated a divide between the Liverpool co-chairmen over how much of the £350m loan should become a burden on the club, although Gillett did not take up an approach from DIC to present his business partner with an offer for his 50% share.

Hicks has since vowed to learn from the mistakes that have destabilised the Americans' reign and reassuring Benítez he has a long-term future at Anfield would be a start. But the Liverpool manager's relationship with the Texan remains fractious and whether Benítez would want to continue working for the current owners, despite his deep affection for the club, is uncertain. Benítez also knows he needs a strong run in this season's Champions League and a vast improvement in Liverpool's league form to persuade the Americans to allow him to continue his rebuilding of the club.

The RBS and Wachovia loan will enable Hicks and Gillett to repay the £298m they have
borrowed over the past 12 months to purchase the club, absorb existing debts of £44.8m, sign players and finance work on the new stadium. The additional funds will repay interest and enable work on the stadium project - revised after Hicks's plans came in over budget - to commence. Designs for the stadium are expected to be made public along with the announcement of the loan.

Of the £350m refinancing package only £105m will be saddled on Liverpool, with £185m secured on Hicks's and Gillett's holding company, Kop Investment. The Americans have increased their personal guarantees from £30m each to about £55m.

Favre skips Pro Bowl….Again

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre pulled out of the Pro Bowl Thursday.
No reason was given for Favre skipping the Feb. 10 exhibition game in Honolulu.
Favre was voted in as a starter by the fans. He received the most votes (1,140,863); New England quarterback Tom Brady was second (1,037,608).

Either Dallas quarterback Tony Romo or Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck will start for the NFC. Tampa Bay's Jeff Garcia was chosen to replace Favre on the NFC roster.

Favre last played in the all-star game in 1996 and has now backed out five times since then.

Don Banks has the Cowboys grabbing a few high profile skill guys in his early mock

22 WR Mario Manningham Michigan Jr. 6-0 188

The Cowboys want to get younger at receiver, where both Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn are 30-somethings who entered the NFL in the celebrated class of '96. Manningham has deep speed and could supply the vertical threat opposite T.O.'s strong intermediate routes.

*From Cleveland.

28 RB Felix Jones Arkansas Jr. 6-0 205

If the Cowboys don't package their two No. 1's in an effort to move up and take Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, maybe they'll sit tight and settle for the Hogs' other playmaking rusher. Jones has speed, good size (200 pounds) and he's a threat both as a receiver and in the return game.

Continued Good Sex in the Big East

The following 2 clips were enjoyed last night in the press box of the Stars game, and I thought it was the most memorable part of the hockey night, and that I would pass it along for your enjoyment….

Pinky the Cat

Lucky the Cat attacks the Reporter

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