Sorry we are late, but when you arrive in Anaheim at 2am Texas time (after a 1:30 stop at In and Out Burger) – you got to get some sleep.
Anytime you go on a road-trip with a team, you need the team to do well for your own well-being. I mean, these are superstitious people, and if the new guys on the plane precede a losing roadtrip, well you can imagine the deductions.
So, when the Kings took a 2-1 lead 10 seconds into the 3rd period, there were moments of discomfort, but two very fortunate goals from the Stars get them a season sweep of the Kings and a 3-2 win …
Dallas needed two seeing-eye shots to beat Kings goalie Sean Burke and seize the lead in the third period. Philippe Boucher's big blast from the point was tipped by Antti Miettinen to make the score 2-2. And then Krys Barch lifted a shot through a crowd that beat Burke up high and ended up being the game-winner. Jeff Halpern added an empty-netter to give Smith a little breathing room.
"It would be nice to put teams away or build a lead, but we did show some resilience," Halpern said. "We're trying to roll over lines and be a 60-minute team, and sometimes it does take 60 minutes for teams to break."
Miettinen scored for the second consecutive game after going 29 games without a goal. Mike Ribeiro tallied his third goal in the last two games. Mike Modano, meanwhile, added an assist and now is just 13 points shy of tying Phil Housley for the most points by an American-born player (1,232). Modano has seven goals and four assists in the past 10 games.
Dallas, which finished the season series against LA at 8-0-0, needed the victory as San Jose posted a 4-1 win over Chicago and moved into fifth place in the Western Conference with 94 points. The Stars (44-24-5) are in sixth place with 93 points based on winning percentage (Minnesota also has 93 points, but has played one more game).
The game had a festive feel. The Kings honored the return of former captain Mattias Norstrom, who was traded to the Stars on Feb. 27. Norstrom has played more games for the Kings (780) than any defenseman in franchise history, and he was met with signs that screamed "We Love You Matty," and "Captain 4-Ever."
The Kings' organization prepared a video presentation of highlights played to Pearl Jam's Better Man and followed with a playing of Welcome Back while the crowd gave Norstrom a standing ovation.
"It was a game I really wanted to win," Norstrom said afterward. "It's nice to see us get away with one."
By the way, you may remember that in Edmonton last year on this same road trip, I was invited to join Doug Armstrong in his GM booth for the game ; well, it looks like Saturday, it will all happen again! I am hoping it works out.
Meanwhile, The Mavs continue to Get….It….Done….…that is 4 straight since the Phoenix game…
Another night, another win as the Mavericks' inexorable march toward the league's best record continues. The latest was a 98-90 win over the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena with the type of defense that is crucial once the playoffs begin.
"I thought our defense really won us the game, holding them to 40 percent shooting and making it tough on LeBron," said Dirk Nowitzki, who finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Mavericks. "I thought we made him take some tough shots and stayed home on the other guys."
James did get his points. But he missed 11 of the first 14 shots he took and finished the evening 12-of-28 from the field. He had more turnovers (six) than assists (four) and was clearly frustrated for the better part of the game by the Mavericks defense.
Devin Harris opened the game on James. Then Jerry Stackhouse took a run at him. And Jason Terry. Josh Howard spent the better part of the last three quarters on the heart and high flying soul of the Cavaliers offense. Virtually everyone on the Mavericks bench – except for coach Avery Johnson – took a turn.
But that only tells part of the story. The Mavericks kept James off-balance by throwing a zone at him one possession then double-teaming him the next. They ran a man at him the moment he put the ball on the floor one trip, then backed off him in the next.
"We mixed it up on him quite a bit," Stackhouse said.
"I mean, it's tough to really contain a guy who is that aggressive," said Harris, who guarded Detroit's Richard Hamilton and New York's Stephon Marbury to open this road trip. "But I thought the first three quarters we did a great job on him. We did a great job of rotating.
"It was a good team effort."
These teams opened the month at the American Airlines Center with Dallas pulling out a 95-92 victory. Johnson cited that game as, "one of those wins that could have gone either way."
Texans get the QB they need …So they pass on Reggie Bush last spring because they don’t need a RB, then get Ahman Green because they need a RB. They pass on Vince Young last spring because they don’t need a QB, then they trade a ton for Matt Schaub. Wow. What a franchise…
Schaub, whose trade to the Texans will be officially announced today, has signed a six-year contract worth $48 million, including $7 million guaranteed. He will make $20 million over the first three years.
If the Texans want to keep Schaub for the last three years of the deal, they will pay him the $10 million option bonus in March 2010. In March 2006, they gave David Carr an $8 million option bonus that extended his contract for three more years.
The Texans wanted Schaub bad enough to pay a heavy price. They agreed to swap first-round positions in April's NFL draft, which means the Falcons will have the eighth pick and the Texans the 10th selection. The Texans also sent Atlanta a second-round pick this season and another second-round choice in 2008.
Obviously, Kubiak, general manager Rick Smith and owner Bob McNair believe Schaub will be worth it.
Schaub (6-5, 237 pounds) turns 26 in June. He'll be introduced today at a news conference at Reliant Stadium.
Trading for Schaub, who has started only two games in three seasons and will be backed by Sage Rosenfels and Bradlee Van Pelt, will hasten Carr's exit after five seasons as the Texans' starter.
Trading Carr has been more difficult than the Texans anticipated. His base salaries of $5.5 million this year and $6 million in 2008 are making teams leery of trading for him. If no team makes an offer, the Texans will have no choice but to waive Carr, which would free him to sign with any team.
The Carr era is coming to an end at a time when the Schaub era is beginning.
Before the Texans pulled the trigger, Kubiak spoke with three coaches. Gibbs, the Falcons' former offensive line coach, worked with Kubiak at Denver for years. Musgrave, who played quarterback for Kubiak at Denver, was the Falcons' quarterbacks coach last season. Groh, a longtime NFL coach, was Schaub's head coach at Virginia.
Aggies big night is tonight …
A&M (27-6) hopes to continue the winningest season in school history in its first Sweet 16 appearance in 27 seasons.
"We'll probably have more fans than anybody else," A&M coach Billy Gillispie said. "It may be able to help you get over a couple of tough spots in the game, but it won't be the ultimate determining factor."
Memphis players are using the quasi-road game as another obstacle to overcome. They stumbled in the West Regional final last season in Sacramento, Calif., against UCLA, but say they are better equipped to playing on the road this time.
They also said they are battling a lack of respect, despite a nation-best 24-game winning streak that was fueled mostly by victories over Conference USA teams.
Memphis also will have to overcome the iffy condition of leading scorer Douglas-Roberts, who is hobbled with a severely sprained ankle.
"I'm not at 100 percent and not at 80," Douglas-Roberts said. "But by (today), I should be alright and ready to play."
Tony LaRussa – asleep and drunk at the wheel …
Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa spent the night in the Palm Beach County jail, booked on drunk driving charges.
According to police in Jupiter, Fla., where the Cardinals spend spring training, LaRussa was found at an intersection slumped in the driver's seat of his blue Ford SUV around midnight, asleep or passed out with his foot on the brake and the engine running.
Police officers had to knock on the window repeatedly before LaRussa responded, according to the report. He failed field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, registering a .093 blood-alcohol level. Florida's legal limit is .08.
Dallas Cup begins next week. Here is the schedule for Chelsea and Real Madrid’s youth teams.…
If you are like me, you may think that the NCAA tournament is a bit overrated. I mean, I like it and all, but if made to choose between this and the NFL Playoffs or the NBA Playoffs or the MLB playoffs, I would choose the pros every time. Well, evidently, sponsors disagree with me …
According to the report, the post-season NCAA Tournament games bring in more television ad revenue than the post-season games in professional football, basketball and baseball.
Post-Season TV Ad Revenue (2006)
Sport Total Ad Spend ($ Millions)
NCAA Men's Basketball 497
Pro Basketball 424
Pro Football (includes Super Bowl) 423
Pro Baseball 382
Source: TNS Media Intelligence
This item concens me. Jerry Stackhouse likely to leave this summer …
jlust22: What do you think the chances are of the Mavs being able to re-sign both Jerry Stackhouse and Devean George in the off-season since both will become free agents?
Eddie Sefko: Actually, George has a second season on his deal, so he won't be a problem. As for Stackhouse, the Mavericks already have more than $80 million committed in payroll for next season, although $18.6 million of that is to Michael Finley and doesn't count against the team's luxury tax. Stackhouse knows this has been a wonderful fit for him and he has shown the rest of the league that he can be a huge factor on a championship caliber team. He'd like to stay here, but if somebody comes calling with an upgraded role and big paycheck, my gut tells me he's gone. And there are a few other players out there this summer who might be appropriate replacements, perhaps at less money. Having said all that, it would be sad to see Stackhouse go. It's almost like he's found a home here.
ORR nails Fedourek
Pistol Pete remembered
The Shield Promo