Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"I think it was time for the organization to move on, and for Mike to move on," Bowlen said.
"I have a great deal of respect for Mike obviously and would support him as much as I can with anything he wants to do in the future," said Bowlen.
Here's your highlights of Shanahan and Pat Bowlen...
((HT: Denver Post))
It's official... after 60 years of being one of the giants in motorsports, Petty Enterprises is merging with Gillette Evernham Motorsports. The King is pictured ((thanks, Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images))
Following Lee Spencer of Foxsports, the papers were signed on Christmas Eve. An official announcement is due sometime next week.
From Spencer's piece...
"Most of the remaining 39 employees at Petty Enterprises will conclude their duties at the Mooresville-based shop on Wednesday. The company moved from its original shop adjacent to the Petty homestead in Level Cross, N.C., in January to what was formerly the Yates Racing complex."
The number 43 car, driven the last few seasons by Bobby Labonte, now becomes property of GEM with, likely, Reed Sorenson behind the wheel and the Air Force as the primary sponsor.
As an homage to the King, we give you the end of the race that catapulted stock car racing into the American consciousness- the end of the 1976 Daytona 500.
Bill Fleming and Jackie Stewart have the call...
((HT: ABC Sports/the youtube))
All we can say is enjoy...
Gary Thorne is on the bark...
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - December 31 - Amon G. Carter Stadium, Ft. Worth, TX
Air Force vs Houston (I'm leaning toward the Cougars)
What's In The Prize Box?: Players from both teams receive a flip video recorder, an official bowl watch, a commemorative football, a rolling suitcase, a mini-helmet with bowl logo, an ESPN t-shirt and a luggage tag with bowl logo.
The flip video recorder sounds good but the rest, give it away. An ESPN t-shirt, PLA - leese.
SWAG Meter: 5
Bowl Event: Team Kickoff Luncheon and the Armed Forces Adventure. The bowl always tries to have an inspirational speaker and this year is no exception. Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, who lost both legs to a bomb in Iraq and has served as an inspiration for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, was the featured speaker
Final Analysis: Not a bad match-up for non-BCS schools that fly under the radar (pardon the pun). Should be an entertaining game. It's worth a serious look because both teams love offense.
Brut Sun Bowl - December 31 - Sun Bowl Stadium - El Paso, Texas
Oregon State vs Pittsburgh (I'll take the Panthers to win)
Swag Me: Players from both teams receiver a Sony DVD Handycam, a Timely Watch Co. silverstone watch, an Armor Gear Dolly Liama Travel Bag. a Majestic Therma Fleece Pullover, a Brut hair dryer, a VP Sports Stone cap and an official Brut Sun Bowl souvenir cup.
A HAIR DRYER!!!! Both teams will be well groomed for this one. Other than that and a coin the gift haul is not bad.
SWAG Meter: 7 (The hair dryer and coin really effected this score)
Bowl Event: A Day with the Troops. Players will have an opportunity to get an up close look at what the U.S. Army does. They will get a rare look many pieces of military equipment and check out U. S. Army training simulators. Really cool.
Final Analysis: 2 teams I'm really not the crazy about. I may sit this one out. If you do watch I suspect this game will be a grid with Pitt winning because of their stingy defense.
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl - December 31 - LP Field, Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt vs Boston College (I like the Eagles)
Gifts That Keep On Giving: Today is the day the Vanderbilt players learn about bowl swag. Did they have swag 27 years ago, the last time the Commodores went bowling. Players from each team get a Music City Bowl Fossil watch, a Sony Electronics package that includes noise cancelling headphones and MP3 player, an Addias fleece jacket and an Armor Gear backpack.
You have to love the Sony package and the watch isn't bad either.
SWAG Meter: 9
Bowl Event: Rib eating contest between Vandy and B.C. 4 player from both teams try to eat as many ribs as they can in 2 seconds. Boston College won a close one 29-28 to take the rib eating title.
Final Analysis: This should be a good match up so for me it's a must see. Boston College's defense is stout and should carry the day in Nashville. The game probably won't be as close as the rib eating contest. By the way, Vanderbilt waits 27 years to play in a bowl game and the Commodores can't leave town. They stay in Nashville. Unbelievable.
Insight Bowl - December 31 - Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Kansas vs Minnesota (KU should win this one by 2 TD's)
What Do They Win Dan Pardo?: Well players from each school will receive a Vizio 26" LCD HD television, a Bulova Insight Bowl watch, a snack pack and a game hat.
Small gift package but pretty darn good
SWAG Meter: 8 (You get an HD TV and you score high)
Bowl Event: Block party in downtown Tempe. Its combined with the Fiesta Bowl. This year Styx is performing.
Final Analysis: The outcome of this game will be a secret since it's being shown on the NFL Network. Read your morning paper for results.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl - December 31 - Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
LSU vs Georgia Tech (I pick the Yellow Jackets)
This Isn't Chicken Scratch: Players on both teams will get a $300 Best Buy gift card, a travel bag, a commemorative watch and a Chick-Fil-A football and gift card
Disappointing. This is one of the best bowls BCS or non-BCS but it's player gifts rank with the New Orleans Bowl. I guess the players can eat more chicken.
SWAG Meter: 2
Bowl Event: The Georgia Power Football Feud. Think Family Feud with very large men.
Final Analysis: I love this match up. I can't wait to see how Georgia Tech's offense does against LSU's NFL caliber defense. The Tigers still have athletes but I think the Jackets may be disciplined enough on offense to get by, but it will be a close one.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sundin will be paid a pro-rated CDN$8.26-million for the remainder of the 2008-2009 season. He's staying behind after the home game against the Flyers Tuesday and, probably, won't play for about a week in a Canuck uniform.
“I hope I can contribute and bring my game back to the way I played last season. Once I start playing, whenever I’m on the ice I’m going to try to be as good as I can be and help the team any way I can.”
All this as Toronto Maple Leaf fans curse as loudly as they can...
Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner was involved in a “domestic dispute” Monday night with the mother of his infant child, Gwinnett County Police Corporal David Schiralli said.
Schiralli said police responded to a call between 7 and 8 p.m. EST Monday, but he would not identify the woman or the site of the incident.
Police made no arrests and do not plan to file charges.
“There is not enough probable cause for us to proceed any further,” Schiralli said.
Turner finished second in the NFL with 1,699 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns to earn his first Pro Bowl invitation. The 26-year-old signed a $34.5 million contract with the Falcons after leaving San Diego as an unrestricted free agent in March.
Atlanta (11-5) will play at Arizona (9-7) Saturday in an NFC wild-card game.
The physical stature of the following gentleman... former Washington Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer ((pictured, thanks nfl.com))
and the gentleman quarterbacking the Missouri Tigers- Chase Daniel. The thought is that Daniel is only missing the single-bar helmet...
((HT: ESPN/the youtube))
Larry Johnson tells the Kansas City Star that he wants out...
Adam Teicher delivers the shocking news alert.
According to the four-letter, we now know what's been wrong with "4" these days- other than the 2TD, 9 INT finish he gave the Jets so they could miss the playoffs.
"Jets quarterback Brett Favre reportedly has a torn biceps tendon in his right arm that will not need major surgery to repair.
The 39-year-old Favre routinely underthrew receivers and appeared to lose some velocity on his throws late in the season as the Jets went 1-4 down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs. ESPN, citing unnamed sources, reported that Favre would need arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury, but could also play without having an operation.
After the Jets’ season-ending 24-17 loss to Miami on Sunday, Favre said he’s been feeling discomfort in his strong right arm “for quite a while.” He also complained of pain in the back of the shoulder, the biceps and sometimes in his neck.
Favre, who also reportedly has some calcification in the area of the injury, is expected to take several weeks to decide whether he will return to the Jets, ESPN reported."
Well, there you go... now we get to wait for another few weeks or more to see if "4" will decide on 2009, or decide not to decide.
Remember, if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice...
We will choose free will...
Dick Jauron is staying Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills...
Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News has the latest...
The contract extension is for three years...
Mike Martz is out in San Francisco to no one's surprise...
John Crumpacker from the San Francisco Chronicle tells us what we all knew- Samurai Mike and The Mad Scientist didn't get along...
Martz may now pedal his evil-geniusness someplace else...
The Raiders list for their opening includes Tom Cable, Giants' OC Kevin Gilbride, Raiders extra-special scouting guy Paul Hackett, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, and Westwood One analyst Jim Fassel.
Gary Kubiak fired three assistants with the Houston Texans- DC Richard Smith, D-Backs Coach Jon Hoke, and D-Line Coach Jethro Franklin.
John McClain from the Houston Chronicle has the fallout.
Mary Kay Cabot from the Cleveland Plain Dealer gives us Scott Pioli's first choice for coach- Iowa's Kirk Ferentz...???
More Cleveland... Tony Grossi has the interview list for the Browns Chief Exec- Scott Pioli and Rich McKay. Falcons fans are more than happy to hear McKay's name thrown in there.
Coach interviews are looking like Eric Mangini and the Giants Steve Spagnuolo... Romeo Crennel has told anyone willing to listen that he'll be more than happy to stay on staff if the new coach wants him to... Gee, thanks...
Last, but not least... The Chin will talk to the Jets.
Brian Costello of the New York Post has the idea on paper that "GM Mike Tannenbaum is "willing to do what's best for the team." That includes giving up his player personnel duties for Cowher and his cadre.
But Peter King maintains that it will be 2010 that Cowher comes back at the earliest-unless that perfect offer comes along.
And it's only Tuesday...
Mike Shanahan ((pictured, thanks Denver Post)) has been fired as Denver Broncos coach after the team lost a three-game lead with three games to go in the AFC West.
Shanahan, 56, coached the Broncos since 1995, the second-longest tenure for a coach with one NFL team behind Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher. He coached the Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl victories in 1998 and 1999 and compiled a record of 146-89 with the team.
This season, the Broncos had an 8-5 record but lost their final three, including a 52-21 defeat Sunday night in San Diego that gave the Chargers the division title.
He also was dismissed as director of football operations.
From the Denver Post...
Broncos owner Pat Bowlen issued a statement: "After giving this careful consideration, I have concluded that a change in our football operations is in the best interests of the Denver Broncos. This is certainly a difficult decision, but one that I feel must be made and which will ultimately be in the best interests of all concerned."
The move was effective immediately.
Bowlen added: "I appreciate the 21 years that Mike Shanahan has given to the organization as an assistant and head coach, and the two Super Bowl wins in that time. His contributions hold a special place in Broncos history."
Roady's Humanitarian Bowl - December 30 - Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID
Nevada vs Maryland (I'm leaning toward Nevada)
Parting Gifts: I don't know what swag the players get. Perhaps a cowboy hat or a piece of smurf turf.
SWAG Meter: 0.0
Bowl Event: A beef dinner for both teams. With 300 pound lineman, better have a ton of meat.
Final Analysis: In ACC circles, participating in the Humanitarian Bowl is like being shipped to Siberia. Yes its a bowl game but it's a long , cold trip. Maryland gets that honor this year after losing their last 2 games. The Terps face Nevada from the WAC. The Wolfpack have one of the top running games in the nation. A good test for the Terp defense.
Texas Bowl - December 30 - Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Western Michigan vs Rice (Take the Owls)
Howdy Partner, What Do You Got For Me?: Well Tex, players from both teams will receive a $350 Best Buy gift card, a Swisstek watch, an Under Armour HeatGear Long-Sleeve Tee, an Under Armour twister pant, an Under Armour tech hat, a Toppers backpack and finally a commemorative belt buckle.
Not a bad haul. The players get to go on a shopping spree to Best Buy. The belt buckle might be the only thing garage saleable.
SWAG Meter: 8.5
Bowl Event: The teams get to cowboy up at the George Historical Ranch and compete in the annual Rodeo Bowl.
Final Analysis: It's a home game for Rice but I doubt they bring a big crowd. A few Western Michigan fans will make the trip from Kalamazoo. Millions of fans won't be able to see this gem because it's on NFL Network. Wait for results from your morning paper.
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl - December 30 - Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Oklahoma State vs Oregon (I love this match up. I'm going with the Fightin' Gundy's)
Dude, What's In The Bag?: Awe dude, your will get a righteous bounty of stuff. Players from both teams get a Tourneau watch, a hooded sweatshirt from Sports Tek, an Insignia 19” HD TV/DVD Player, and a Best Buy gift certificate.
While the HD TV/DVD player is sweet, you could have done better. Give away the sweatshirt.
SWAG Meter: 6
Bowl Event: The players get to wine and dine with sailors and Marines held aboard an active Navy ship. This has been a highlight for the players. Really cool.
Final Analysis: The Holiday Bowl is always worth a look. Every year it's an offensive showcase. The Cowboys and the Ducks should put up the points as well.
Good news and bad...
The good... Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham ((pictured, thanks Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)) gets a five year, $6-million extension to stay with the Running Utes...
The contract, which will pay Whittingham $1.2 million annually, includes a base salary of $200,000. The remainder will come from radio and television rights, appearance fees, public speaking, fundraising and official outfitter compensation from Under Armour.
"When I hired Kyle four years ago, I felt he was the best person for the job, and the fact that we are here at a BCS bowl, with a 12-0 record and a No. 7 national ranking bears that out," said Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill. "We are elated that Kyle feels the same commitment to the University of Utah that we have to him and our football program. Kyle does things the right way, his players excel not only on the field, but in the classroom and the community, and he is an excellent ambassador for our university."
Said Whittingham, "I am very happy here at the University of Utah and feel fortunate to coach in a place where we can attract quality student-athletes who can compete at the highest level. I appreciate the support that Dr. Hill and President Young have given me and also the incredible support the community has shown for our football team."
The bad- Miami fires Offensive Coordinator Patrick Nix ((pictured, thanks Andrew Uloza/Miami Herald)) after two seasons on the job.
Nix said he and Shannon simply had different styles on how to best run an offense.
“I enjoyed it here. I appreciated Randy giving me the opportunity,” Nix said. “I’d like to have gone with something more wide-open and more no-huddle. He and I had a philosophical difference on that.”
Shannon released a statement announcing the dismissal, without revealing what went specifically into the decision.
“It is my obligation to review all aspects of the program and make decisions as to how we can improve as a football team,” Shannon said.
This year, the Hurricanes are 89th in total offense at 326 yards per game, and 52nd in scoring offense at 27.1 points per outing. Both are improvements over last season, and both came with two freshmen who had never thrown a pass in a college game before this season— Robert Marve and Jacory Harris.
"I fully realized the expectations when I came here, in the end, Coach Shannon and I just have a difference on how to run an offense,” Nix said. “What I want to do is just not what he wants to do. God closed this door, God will open another one for me, and I have faith in that.”
Miami Herald coverage is in black...
Observations from OSG HQ- Nix is a good guy from good family stock- not just good coaching stock. He and his father, well-respected high school coach Conrad Nix, are two of the best men you will ever meet. Patrick should end up on his feet- quickly.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Blood and urine samples show former hockey star Alexei Cherepanov ((pictured, thanks Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)) took performance-enhancing drugs, Russian investigators said in a statement Monday.
Cherepanov, 19, collapsed October 13 while on the bench for Omsk club Avangard in Russia's Continental Hockey League, or the KHL as it is known. The player, a top prospect of the NHL's New York Rangers, died a short time later.
Russia's federal Investigative Committee said a chemical analysis of the samples allowed experts to conclude "that for several months Alexei Cherepanov engaged in doping." A spokeswoman at the committee refused to specify the drugs that Cherepanov allegedly took.
The statement also said Cherepanov suffered from myocarditis, a condition where not enough blood gets to the heart, and the Russian should not have been playing pro hockey.
The club's medical team might carry legal liability in the episode, the statement added.
"A row of gross violations was committed by the medical brigade helping A. Cherepanov," the statement said. Among them, doctors arrived on the scene a full 12 minutes after Cherepanov collapsed, and the battery on the defibrillator used to attempt shock Cherepanov's heart back to life was drained, the statement said.
Prosecutors earlier this month accused the club's director of negligence. Mikhail Denisov has since been fired, and Monday's statement did not mention him.
Not much, but important...
Stop One: Atlanta through Red Stick
Looks like John Chavis ((pictured, thanks Knoxville News-Sentinel/Amy Smotherman Burgess)) will be the new LSU Defensive Coordinator after serving with Phillip Fulmer in Knoxville...
From WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge...
"Asked if he could confirm whether he had interviewed for the job, Chavis said “I’d rather not at this time, if that’s OK. I don’t know what all is out there.”
When asked if there was a comfort level with staying in the SEC, where he’s been the Tennessee defensive coordinator for 14 seasons, Chavis said “There’s no question. But I don’t want to comment on anything until Coach Miles has.”
From Atlanta, LSU coach Les Miles issued the following statement on his coaching staff:
“There will not be any announcement regarding our coaching staff until we return to Baton Rouge. Right now the only thing we are focused on is getting ready to play Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and I don’t want to do anything to take away from the opportunity our team has here in Atlanta. We have a chance to win our eighth game and finish the season on a positive note ,and that's our focus.
“I will not make any additional comments regarding my staff until we return to Baton Rouge.”
The Knoxville News-Sentinel version is in black...
Have a great day, sir... you have a damn fine football team...
Stop Two: Tuscaloosa
From Ian Rapoport of the Birmingham News, the reason the Tide's Andre Smith will not be participating in the Sugar Bowl...? Looks like there was the possibility of "improper contact with an agent."
There will be no Outland Trophy winner or All-American pushing the Utes around in New Orleans. Yes we know... "What is a Ute...?"
Mike Johnson and David Ross were working the left side of the offensive line at practice in New Orleans in Smith's absence.
"Andre Smith has been suspended from participating in the Sugar Bowl due to a violation of team rules and policies. The University of Alabama, the team and the football program are more important than any individual player. Everyone on our team depends on each other to be responsible, to make good choices and decisions relative to their actions.
Andre Smith has done an outstanding job in our program as a person, student and a player and we will do all we can as an institution to support him in all future endeavors.
Our priority and focus as a team is to play the best football game of the season in this Sugar Bowl, and to support our players to overcome any adversity this unfortunate situation has created."
John Parker Wilson's reaction is below...
|John Parker Wilson on suspension of Andre Smith|
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bradie James ((pictured, thanks Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News)) was none too happy over a sign a fan brought with him to the Cowboys complex today. It ended up as a confrontation, an in-house discussion, a new pair of shades for the fan, and no charges filed.
From Tim MacMahon's work from the Dallas Morning News...
"A fan wearing a Jason Witten jersey stood on the street in front of the Cowboys' Valley Ranch facility today, wearing a sandwich board that read, "WADE IS AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE STAR" and "OUR TEAM HAS NO HEART." The man ended up calling Irving police after a confrontation with LB Bradie James.
James said the fan was blocking his way out of the parking lot, leading him to tell the man he needed to get out of the way or get hit by the linebacker's luxury SUV.
"He said, 'Why you guys didn't show that fire last night? You should have showed that heart last night!'" James recalled to reporters. "So next thing you know, I'm just ripping his sign off him. So I ripped the sign off him. He said I broke his glasses, so I went and gift-wrapped some Oakleys. He got something out the deal."
And Wade Phillips, whose job is safe for now... vows to get "tougher..."
We defer to the words of Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News for starters...
"Wade Phillips presides over the most gutless team in franchise history.
That's his legacy.
And it should be after Philadelphia stomped the Cowboys, 44-6, in a win-and-you're-in-the-playoffs game Sunday.
But he's keeping his job – even after the worst loss of the Jerry Jones era. Seriously.
Jerry wants to keep the coaching staff intact because he said the continuity provides Dallas with its best chance to win. Besides, he doesn't want to make the same mistake he did nearly a decade ago, when he fired Chan Gailey after only two seasons.
Can you say poppycock?"
There... we said it- "poppycock."
But we like to call "shenanigans" as well...
First off, OSG sources tied to life in tackle football have Patriots GM Scott Pioli interviewing for the Cleveland Browns position- no surprise there. If everything is a green light for Pioli, he will bring either the recently-fired Mark Mangini or Patriots OC Josh McDaniels with him to be the new head coach.
Bill Cowher has already told the Browns "no," but he will listen to what the New York Jets have to say to him. Does that tell you anything...?
Your analysis from Cleveland is below... Browns beat writes Tony Grossi and Mary Kay Cabot try to figure out what's next...
((HT: Cleveland Plain Dealer))
|Cleveland Browns fire Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel|
Stop Next: Detroit
All we can really say is that Rod Marinelli has one of the best attitudes on this or any other planet. He's a stand-up guy in a universe of "Me-Firsts." We can only hope this guy gets another shot with a better team.
Here's some of his farewell presser...
((HT: ESPNEWS/the youtube))
In moves that continue to confuse, but not surprise...
Lions owner William Clay Ford, Senior promoted Martin Mayhew to General Manager and Tom Lewand to team president. We expect no changes in Detroit in 2009. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 in a row. That's the next task for Ford's Lions...
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Stop One: Cleveland
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer lets us know that the futures of Browns GM Phil Savage ((pictured, thanks plaindealer.com)) and Head Coach Romeo Crennel are most likely done in Cleveland.
"The only way anything would happen tonight is if one of them forced the issue, a source said.
The Browns don't expect to hear anything from Crennel until he meets with Browns owner Randy Lerner, possibly on Monday. They are not certain if Savage will wait for a sit-down with Lerner to learn of his fate."
Crennel could be asked to stay on in some other capacity in the Browns front office. Savage, most likely, will be blown out unless he accepts a role where he would not have any final say on the 53-man roster.
Chris Mortensen, over at the four-letter, maintains Savage was fired over the phone by owner Randy Lerner already. Jay Glazer, over at Fox, says they're both gone.
The Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi has the line-up for Randy Lerner this week as follows...
Coach: Bill Cowher, Buffalo's Perry Fewell, Washington's Greg Blache, the Giants' Steve Spagnuolo
GM: Scott Pioli
Stop Two: San Francisco
Looks like Mike Singletary will get to keep his pants on for another few years.
We'll stick with Glazer again here...
Looks like a possible five-year deal for Samurai Mike. Mike Martz looks like he's out and Scott Linehan may be in.
Stop Three: Saint Louis
Is Jim Haslett the man or not...? The Rams players apparently drafted a letter for the front office maintaining their desire to have Haslett be the new head man.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes owner Chip Rosenbloom may have the letter in his hands sometime soon...
Thomas caught up with an anonymous veteran Ram about the whole thing...
"When asked if he thought the petition would do any good, the veteran player replied: "No. It's out of our hands. They don't pay us to make decisions on head coaches. But it's good for (Haslett) to know that we've got his back. All 53 players may not agree with it, but I think the vast majority wants this to happen."
Expect more fallout once the regular season craps out once and for all...
Three goals per game on average and 30th in the league on the penalty kill...
Most goals allowed in the National Hockey League...
Second to worst record in the league...and the new York Islanders are keeping you from that part of ignominy...
Third worst home record in the league... you play better on the road...
Your star is trying to create too much because there is no real alternative to jump-starting said offense...
Which leaves you with, offically, what...?
An anticipated salary dump somewhere near the trade deadline of any and all of the following individuals on the Atlanta Thrashers roster...
In no order- Jason Williams, Mathieu Schneider, Marty Reasoner, Colby Armstrong, Kari Lehtonen, and yes, even you, Ilya Kovalchuk ((pictured, thanks Gregory Smith/FRE)).
Let's look at the numbers... the Thrashers had to spend up at the last minute acquiring Schneider to get over the $US40-million cap figure. The Atlanta Spirit LLC ownership group has shown no real inclination to spend money in the modern NHL ((translation- spend money to make money or at least break even)). The balance of the Spirit versus Steve Belkin lawsuit is expected to be decided in February. That is, before the land of appeals strikes again.
The current group will not want to show any marketability for either the Thrashers or Hawks franchises, thus driving the market value down and discouraging any interest in building a franchise or a fan base before the verdict. If you don't spend money and the product is stagnant, there will be no interest. If there is no interest, there is no chance at working toward a profitable business venture in athletics.
According to NHLnumbers.com, these are the salary figures for the aforementioned Thrashers for the remainder of their current contracts:
Williams signed for this year only at $US2.2-million
Armstrong signed for this year at US$1.2-million. He then hits status as a restricted free agent. An up and comer, he could fill in nicely on a second-line.
Reasoner signed for this year and US$1-million
Lehtonen signed for this year at US$3-million. He also becomes a RFA.
And then there's Ilya Kovalchuk...
Kovalchuk is one of the game's true talents- when motivated.
He's signed through the end of next season at US$7.5-million. He and agent Rich Grossman are saying all the right things for now, but it would be foolish for Kovalchuk to stay in the current environment created by Atlanta Spirit if he wants to win a Stanley Cup. If he stays for the 2009-2010 season, we will be completely surprised.
Solution: The franchise went young too late last season for any difference to be made on the ice. The move to John Anderson should have been made a lot sooner than in between seasons, but chemistry at the AHL level had to be considered and GM Don Waddell has been hamstrung on a lot of different levels- including what to spend, where, and with whom. He has had to over-spend for mid-level free agents knowing he has had to fill a roster with someone- anyone- to make the minimum cap number.
Anticipate a lot of new faces and draft picks entering Philips Arena after the trade deadline- the "haves" cherry-picking from a "have-not."
Lehtonen to Los Angeles would be your starting point more than a previously-reported Gaborik-for-Kovalchuk deal in northern papers. The names in return could be from a list of Gauthier, O'Donnell, or Armstrong plus a number one draft pick in the 2009 or 2010 draft.
That's what we thought we'd hear when we told you... crickets...
It takes a special group to pull off such a special feat, and while the Packers did their best to keep the honolulu blue in the game the Lions finished the job.
Special thanks go to two distinct groups- the defense for allowing the Packers 17 fourth quarter points and Kevin Smith who single-handedly took the team out of field goal position with an unsportsmanlike penalty during a drive in the fourth.
"No competitor wants to go through something like this," said Lions coach Rod Marinelli, who declined to discuss his future with the team. "This is not fun to go through, obviously. But there's people going through a lot worse than this."
The Detroit Free Press actually found some folks who had reasons to be thankful over this perfect season. They, obviously, lost their minds...
Video goodness is below...
((HT: NFL Network/the youtube))
Well, if this don't beat all...
It looks like the Postal Service will be receiving a package from the Malzahn clan in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the near future.
The mastermind behind the number one and number two-ranked offenses in colege football is headed to the Plains to work alongside The Chizik.
Gus Malzahn ((pictured, thanks Shane Bevel/Tulsa World)), Offensive Coordinator at ((this year)) the University of Tulsa, is taking over the same position at Auburn- effective after the Golden Hurricane appearance in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile on January 4.
Here is your standard press release quote from Auburn itself...
"This is an exciting opportunity to coach at Auburn, get involved
with the Auburn family and work for Coach Chizik," Malzahn said. "I can't wait to get to Auburn and get started."
"Gus is one of the great offensive minds in college football and we
are very excited to having him join the Auburn staff," Chizik said.
"His track record at all levels of coaching is remarkable and his
offenses have been extremely successful both running and passing the
ball. It's truly impressive that he oversees an offense that is in
the top 10 nationally in all five major offensive statistical
categories. We're looking forward to having Gus on board."
Tulsa is averaging a little over 47 points-per game this season and is more than happy to take their pass-happy offense and run up the score on anyone. But the defense hasn't stopped many people, either.
The last few seasons have seen Malzahn go from high school coaching ((with Mitch Mustain at QB)) to the University of Arkansas ((with Mitch Mustain at QB)) to the University of Tulsa ((without Mitch Mustain at QB)).
Our biggest question with this hire is...
Didn't Auburn try this last season with Tony Franklin and Tommy Tuberville...?
Here's the latest edition of Bowling For Swag.
Independence Bowl - December 28 - Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Northern Illinois vs Louisiana Tech (It's a pick'em)
Give Liberty Or Give Me Swag: Here's the gifts for the Huskies and the Bulldogs, a Trek Mountain Bike, a New Era baseball hat, a Timely Co. watch and a football
Cool, a mountain bike and a nice watch. the baseball hat and football are E-Bay material.
SWAG Meter: 6.5
Bowl Event: The Pep Rally. In excess of 30,000 attend this event on the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City. It must be one hell of a pep rally.
Final Analysis: If it's between this game and the NFL game on NBC Sunday night which one are you going to watch.... That's what I thought.
Valero Alamo Bowl - December 29 - Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Missouri vs Northwestern (My pick is Mizzou)
What Do I Get For Playing In This Damn Bowl Game: An 80 gig Sony PS3, a basketball PS3 video game, a Fossil watch, and a mini-helmet.
OK, this bowl might be worth playing in. 3 great gifts. The mini helmet give away to a friend or family member.
SWAG Meter: 8.5
Bowl Event: Another pep rally only this one is uniquely San Antonio. It's a pep rally on the river that has proven to be very popular the last few years.
Final Analysis: This match-up between Mizzou and Northwestern is a pretty good one. The Tigers finished 9-4 and was considered a disappointing season. The Wildcats finished 9-3 and overachieved. I expect Mizzou will take out it's frustrations on Northwestern.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press has written what we can only back up here at OSG HQ with one of the biggest "Attaboys..." of the year...
He went off on William Clay Ford ((pictured, thanks Rashaun Rucker/Detroit Free Press)), the owner of the Detroit Lions, as the race for 0-16 comes to Sharp's hopeful conclusion Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
A sample of his magical work...
"Ford fosters an organizational culture choked by its own rampant paranoia, chronically preoccupied with the steady stream of criticism written and said about it. He once tossed around quarters like manhole covers. But he pays his minions well now and they stay fiercely loyal, adamantly defending what those on the outside see as Ford's aristocratic aloofness.
But it's indefensible now. I'm tired of the nice-old-man-deserves-a-break argument. Ford doesn't deserve a championship simply because he's been around much longer than most of his NFL ownership fraternal brothers. He's directly responsible for one of the worst eight-year stretches in professional sports history.
If you assessed the public mood eight months ago on the greater impossibility -- the country shedding its shackles of racial intolerance and electing America's first black president, or an NFL team going winless through a 16-game parity-driven schedule, the concept of perfect football imperfection would've comfortably won the argument.
The Lions have one-upped Barack Obama."
All we ask is that the honolulu blue and silver go out and "hunker down you guys, just one more time..."
That would, indeed, be perfect...
The University of Florida has promoted offensive line coach Steve Addazio for the role of Offensive Coordinator. Addazio ((pictured, thanks gatorzone.com)) will take over the role being vacated by Dan Mullen when he leaves to take over at Mississippi State.
Mullen will still call the plays for the Gators in the BCS title game.
The official stereotypical coach quotes come from Gatorzone.com
"I'm excited to keep the continuity of our play calling within our current staff," said Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer. “Steve has played a key role in our offense in his time at Florida. Our entire offensive staff is involved in game planning and scripting plays. As always, I will remain very involved in the offensive game plan.
“We will still run the same type of offense. We will continue to put the ball in the hands of our best players, spread the field and try to take advantage of the best matchups. Billy Gonzales, Kenny Carter and John Hevesy will continue to be involved in the offensive game planning and play calling as they have all year.”
“I’m extremely humbled because I know it is a group effort of our offensive staff and players that have made us successful and will continue to make us successful. Coach Meyer’s track record obviously speaks for itself with his previous coordinators.”
Addazio is a 23-year coach and has spent the last four with the UF staff.
We anticipate no changes in much of anything with the Gators.
Issue Two: Stacy Stays
Much to the delight of University of Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt, his line coach Stacy Searles ((pictured, thanks georgiadogs.com)) has decided to spurn an offer from The Chizik and will stay between the hedges. He'll have a nice, new raise to prove it.
Don't get excited... all of Richt's assistants are getting raises.
“You always want to let people know how you feel about them,” Richt told Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We let him know.”
Searels’ current salary is $235,400 annually, fourth highest among Richt’s assistants.
“Everybody is going to get a boost,” Richt said.
How does Searles feel about it...? Dunno...
He doesn't do media interviews...
Following up on the Scott Burnside piece on the creative financing the Phoenix Coyotes ((pictured, thanks Deirdre Hamill/Arizona Republic)) are using to stay, ahem, afloat these days David Shoalts in the Globe and Mail has come across some really disturbing stuff.
Shoalts has some documents that lay out what's left of the team's money- most of which is tied up in something called "SOF Investments LP." SOF is a subsidiary of the MSD Capital hedge fund which is controlled by Michael Dell.
Yes that "Dell..."
The team's collateral covers, according to the article, close to US$80-million toward MSD and SOF. Got all that...?
We're not done...
Remember we talked about the team and the city butting heads over the screwy lease agreement the Coyotes have with the city...? The only way the team can break the lease ((if it were to get to that point)) would be to declare bankruptcy. Then the Dogs could relocate to Kansas City, Hamilton, or any other possible league-approved suitor's home base.
Are you paying attention Jim Balsillie...?
Of course you are... you wouldn't be the shrewd businessman you are if you weren't.
The key paragraphs from the Shoalts piece are at the bottom...
"The Coyotes began borrowing money from SOF in 2003, and increased its collateral in succeeding years, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail. According to a Uniform Commercial Code financing statement filed with the state of Delaware, the Coyotes pledged everything from ticket revenue, broadcast revenue, concessions, future NHL expansion payments, player contracts, insurance policies, arena revenue and merchandise sales as collateral.
A series of financing statements were filed over the years as the Coyotes continued their relationship with SOF. On January 17, 2007, another document contained a single sentence: "The collateral consists of all assets of the debtor."
The timing of that document suggests the Coyotes increased their loan from SOF in order to pay off one to another New York hedge fund, Fortress Credit Opportunities LP.
In a statement filed on November 6, 2008, which extended the loan from SOF until Dec. 29, 2013, almost all of the Coyotes' assets were listed as collateral."
What it appears Jerry Moyes has done is mortgage his future to fund his present...
We think the hourglass is running out of desert sand...
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Multiple sources are telling Marty Smith at the four-letter that AJ Allmendinger ((pictured, thanks nascar.com)) will be replacing Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the #19 Dodge Charger next season.
Allmendinger was released from his ride over at team Red Bull and had auditioned in late 2008 with a few other cars.
It seems some sponsors attached to the Sadler car are none too pleased with the seat swap and considered bailing, but that is not confirmed as of yet. Apparently, GEM Chief Operating Officer Tom Reddin was a master of good timing here- telling everyone of the move right before the Christmas holiday.
Sources also tell Smith that Ray Evernham, who founded the team and sold majority ownership to George Gillett, cleared out all personal possessions from the team's shop, including the 2002 Brickyard 400 trophy he won as owner of Bill Elliott's No. 9Dodge.
You'll remember that GEM also has scaled back its Nationwide series operation and released 65 employees after the 2008 season wrapped up.
The GEM line-up for 2009 is now Kasey Kahne, Reed Sorenson, and Allmendinger.
Here's your postgame highlights from our friends at WRAL-TV in Raleigh...
If you missed the first quarter, it was the best quarter of the post-season so far.
And the catch by UNC's Hakeem Nicks at the 1:15 mark is ridiculous...
Oh yeah, West Virginia won 31-30...
Not quite as good as his reverse dunk while sliding backwards, but pretty damn close...
((HT: CSN/the youtube))
Friday, December 26, 2008
"One of our primary goals of the search was to find someone capable of turning around our program immediately and we are confident Rich is the perfect individual to accomplish that," Army athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a school-issued news release.
Ellerson's offensive philosophy of running the triple option is appealing to Army, which uses the option as a base offense. He also has family ties to West Point.
"I know that the offense that we run was the hook that got me into the middle of this search," Ellerson responded in the same school-issued news release. "The reason the offense is so successful and the reason it's so appropriate at Army is that it carries over to every phase of the game and carries over into recruiting. We're going to find some novel solutions to problems in order to give our cadet-athletes the best possible opportunity to be successful on Saturday."
He will be formally introduced on December 30.
"Rich has the experience we need," said Army superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck. "An award and title winning head coach who runs the option, Rich also has extensive ties to West Point and the Army. Not only are his father and two brothers members of the Long Gray Line and career Army officers, but his brother John was the captain of the 1962 team that went 6-4."
Ellerson also assisted Army coach Bob Sutton when he installed his "Desert Swarm" defense at West Point, which helped carry the Black Knights to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Independence Bowl in 1996.
Issue Two: Meechigan State
Sparty must be a happy man right now as the Fighting Dantonio's will be around for another period of time- healthy bonuses included. If he stays through the 2015 season, he gets $2-million for hanging around that long above and beyond the contract dollars he gets.
Dantonio's contract remains a five-year rollover deal with a base salary of $618,000. His overall compensation will rise to $1.8 million per year, up from $1.13 million, because of increased supplemental income.
The new contract rewards stability, according to Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis. Dantonio will get $200,000 each year if he is still the coach through June 30 of that year.
Not to be outdone... Issue Three: Go Towson
Rob Ambrose was hired as the football coach at Towson on Saturday, signing a five-year contract with his alma mater after serving for seven seasons as an assistant at Connecticut.
Ambrose, a 1993 graduate of the Football Championship Subdivision school, was offensive coordinator at UConn for the past four seasons. He becomes the fourth head coach in the 40-year history of Towson football.
"Rob was on our list from the very beginning," athletic director Mike Hermann said. "We had an outstanding field and discussed this opportunity with many well-respected coaches. At the end, it became clear that Rob Ambrose was the best choice to lead our program."
Ambrose started his coaching career at Towson before he graduated. After an injury ended his playing career during his senior season, he joined the coaching staff as a student assistant and coached the wide receivers.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Motor City Bowl - December 26 - Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan (I like the Chippewas)
What's That Gift Underneath The Tree - Check it out, players from both teams receive a leather, rolling logoed athletic travel bag, a computer/backpack style bag, a Motor City Bowl commemorative watch, and an autographed Motor City Bowl souvenir football.
Considering the economic pain the auto industry is going through I'm shocked there is swag for the players to take home. It's a pretty impressive booty haul from the Motor City Bowl since they could have just given the teams a logoed notebook, number 2 pencil and a free oil change.
SWAG Meter: 7
Bowl Event: Motor City Bowl "Players Night Out." That's got to have a double meaning, I'm sure the "Players" are "Playas" for that.
Final Analysis: There might be 15,000 in the stands for this one. I'm not changing my plans to watch this one.
Meineke Car Care Bowl - December 27 - Bank Of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
West Virginia vs North Carolina (Tar Heels in a close one)
And Here's A Special Prize Chosen Just For You: Your very own Flip. Players from both teams will receive a Flip, which is a digital video recorder. There's more, a personalized commenmorive football, a Fossil watch and sunglasses kit, a loptop backpack and a racing-themed baseball hat.
What a shock. A bowl game in the NASCAR capitol giving out racing themed hats. Other than that, a fine gift package.
SWAG Meter - 8
Bowl Event: Everyone from both teams can drive 3 laps around Lowes Motor Speedway with the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Final Analysis: It's a game between 2 programs headed in different directions. Pat White plays his final game for West Virginia and after that, the Mountaineers might fade away without their talent leader the last 4 years. North Carolina is on the rise and get to play a bowl game a few hours south of campus. Make an effort to view this compelling match up.
Champs Sports Bowl - December 27 - Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
Wisconsin vs Florida State (Seminoles by 2 touchdowns)
What's In The Prize Box?: Players receive a $400 Best Buy shopping spree while they are in Florida, a commemorative watch, and a goody bag.
Weak, very weak. What's in the freakin' goody bag?
SWAG Meter: 2
Bowl Event: Going to the theme parks in the Orlando area.
Final Analysis: 2 underachieveing teams playing in a bowl game no one gives a rat's behind about.
Emerald Bowl - December 27 - AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA
Miami vs California
What Do I Receive For My Participation: Players from both schools will receive Sony noise cancelling headphones, a rolling Armor Gear duffel bag, a Fossil watch, an Emerald Bowl cap.
A small but impressive gift haul.
SWAG Meter: 7
Bowl Event: Annual trip to Alcatraz Island. The teams get to tour "The Rock".
Final Analysis: It's basically a home game for Cal. It's not a bad match up but one I'm not going to make time for.
They are the center of the football universe for the next week or so.
They have the play-in game for the AFC West title between San Diego and the Denver Broncos.
They have the Holiday Bowl between Oregon and Oklahoma State.
And they have the Poinsettia Bowl ((by the way, it's pronounced "poin-set-uh..."))
The Poinsettia Bowl...?
Yup... two top-fifteen teams- Boise State and TCU...
Boise became everyone's sweetheart after their upset of Oklahoma and the subsequent marriage proposal by tail back Ian Johnson. This year, they were looking for an undefeated season. Johnson is now married, but the Broncos were jilted at the altar.
Boise had a lead of 13-0 at one point in the first half, but lost 17-16.
Head Coach Chris Petersen put the blame squarely on the Broncos' red-zone performance.
"That's what got us - too many field goals," Petersen said. " I knew a couple of those field goals were going to come back to haunt us."
Post-game coverage continues below from our friends at KIVI-TV...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Rather than turning in a road-weary performance, the Vikings (9-3) showed great hustle and got huge plays by the smallest player on the floor, 5'6" Jeremiah Dominguez, to allow the Vikings to walk away with one of the bigger upsets of the college basketball season as they beat Gonzaga 77-70 Tuesday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Dominguez killed the Zags from beyond the arc, using his hair trigger release to score 25 points on 7-10 three-point shooting.
The Vikings also used their superior hustle in their drive-and-dish offense to score 27 second-chance points to Gonzaga's two second-chance points in only the third game Gonzaga has ever lost in the four year history of the McCarthey Athletic Center.