March 13, 2009

One in five of China's athletes lie about their age

Is anyone shocked by this news?

An x-ray analysis of the bones of competitors in the Youth Games in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong discovered that 3,000 of the 15,000 athletes, or 20 per cent, had misrepresented their age.

Two thousand of them were too old to be eligible for youth competition, while one offender was seven years older than he claimed.

Suspicions of age-faking have dogged Chinese sport and caused embarrassment for China during last year's Olympic Games in Beijing. He Kexin, a gold medal-winning gymnast was investigated by the International Olympic Committee after being accused of being only 14 years old and ineligible.

Although Miss He was eventually cleared by the IOC, suspicions linger on and Bruno Grandi, the president of the International Gymnastics Federation recently gave an interview to the German press in which he said that there was "strong circumstantial evidence" of age falsification by the Chinese.

Steps are being taken to prevent a repeat at next year's Asia games. What happened in Beijing has so tainted Chinese sports, its going to be awfully hard to accept anyone's word that age shenanigans won't be happening there also.

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Rating: 1.8/5 (184 votes cast)


March 10, 2009

Memo to Jeff Gordon- It's the economy stupid

The NASCAR driver was surprised by the empty seats last weekend in Atlanta.

Despite warm temperatures and sunny skies, Atlanta Motor Speedway was a tough draw on Sunday. Though the announced crowd was 94,400, the grandstands were at most two-thirds full for the Cup race.

"To me, this is some of the best racing we're putting on in the series anywhere we go," Jeff Gordon said. "I know there's a lot of race fans around here. I'm a little baffled by it. I've been hearing that they were going to have some empty seats. It's hard to say."

When people fear losing their job or have trouble paying their bills, they naturally cut back on luxuries. Like listening to what bozo athletes think they should be doingspending money to go to sporting events. Someone please inform Gordon that US unemployment right now is higher than it has been in 25 years. Thank you.

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Rating: 1.4/5 (185 votes cast)


QB Alex Smith to stay in San Francisco

The former #1 pick of the 2005 NFL draft and the 49ers re-worked the contract they had.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has had a disappointing start to his career, but he was adamant about one thing -- he wanted to stay.

As a result of his loyalty, Smith was able to rework the final two years of his contract and stay with San Francisco. According to a source, Smith will make $4 million a season in 2009 and 2010, in addition to base salaries that weren't immediately made known.

Less pay is better than a chance of no pay at all.

In his previous contract, he was scheduled to make $24.6 million in the final two years.

*****

Other teams had shown interest in Smith, who is only 24 years old and has four years of NFL experience. Those teams were willing to pay him more than his 49ers deal, according to a source, but Smith was insistent on making something work in San Francisco.

A perennially disappointing QB is offered more by other teams and he decides to stay with his original team. Does anyone else have a hard time believing this?

Smith, the first pick in the 2005 draft out of Utah, had 30 starts in his first three seasons, but was placed on injured reserve for the entire 2008 season because of a shoulder injury.

His best season may have been in 2006, when he completed 257-of-442 passes for 2,890 yards, with 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Part of his rocky path may be because of the 49ers' annual change in offensive coordinators -- Smith has had a new one in each of his four seasons.

Coaching upheaval hasn't helped, but I see no reason not to think Smith would still be a NFL draft bust if he had the same coordinator every year.

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Rating: 2.6/5 (141 votes cast)


NHL Left Winger Gary Roberts announces his retirement

This news comes as no surprise. As Roberts said this would be his last season, even before his recent year-ending injury. Good luck in retirement Gary.

Continue reading "NHL Left Winger Gary Roberts announces his retirement" »

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Rating: 1.9/5 (85 votes cast)


The return of Maria Sharapova

During her layoff, Sharapova has dropped from 1st to 23rd in the World rankings. From AP-

Maria Sharapova is returning to the WTA Tour this week, ending her injury absence of more than seven months by playing doubles at an event in Indian Wells, Calif.

Sharapova, who missed the last two Grand Slam tournaments with a right shoulder injury, will compete in doubles for the first time in nearly four years, teaming with Elena Vesnina.

What the three-time major champion isn't yet ready to do is play singles, according to her Web site.

"I am excited to be playing competitive tennis again," Sharapova said in a posting on her site. "The healing process takes time, and requires things to move more slowly than I would like, but I am taking things one step at a time."

Sharapova has not played competitively since pulling out of a tournament in Montreal in late July after winning a nearly three-hour match in which she double-faulted 17 times. The right-hander was examined by a trainer midway through the three-set victory, and she withdrew from the tournament before her next match.

Medical tests later found a torn rotator cuff tendon in the Russian's shoulder.

In addition to missing last year's U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open, Sharapova also pulled out of an indoor event in Paris and a hard-court tournament in Dubai last month.

The joint ATP-WTA tournament in Indian Wells begins Wednesday.

The Sun-Sentinel reports Sharapova will play in the upcoming Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne Florida. It's good to see her back, and I'm sure alot of male tennis fans wills second what I say.(I hardly follow tennis myself)

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Rating: 2.1/5 (7 votes cast)


Jacksonville Jaguar Matt Jones arrested after violating plea deal

He admitted in court to using alcohol. From the Jacksonville Times-Union

The career of Jaguars receiver Matt Jones took another damaging turn Monday when he was booked into the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville, Ark., for violating terms of the plea deal that placed him in a drug intervention program.

A participant in the Washington County Drug Court because of his felony cocaine arrest last July, Jones was booked at 6:21 p.m. Monday for possession of a controlled substance and held on a $150,000 bond, according to Washington County records.

But Jones' arrest Monday actually stemmed from a positive result on a random test for alcohol taken on Feb. 27, at approximately 6:30 p.m.

"We're aware of the situation and are still gathering information," said Jaguars general manager Gene Smith, who declined to comment further.

Terms of Jones' drug treatment program call for participants to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and individuals are tested randomly for the substances. Positive results from Jones' alcohol test came in late last week, and he appeared in court Monday to face Judge Mary Ann Gunn, who presides over the drug court, about the positive result.

According to Lisa Dennis, deputy prosecuting attorney for the drug court, the program's random tests can detect alcohol consumption from as far out as 72 hours prior to the sample being taken. Jones' sample was sent by the court to a laboratory in Memphis, Tenn., where the positive result was confirmed.

Jones may be in need of taking time off from the game so he can get his life in order. He's still young enough to bounce back, on the field and off.

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Rating: 2/5 (7 votes cast)


Torrey Pines to host 2009 LPGA tournament

The course hosted last year's US Open won by Tiger Woods. From AP-

Torrey Pines Golf Course will host an LPGA Tour event for the first time in 27 years under an agreement to hold the Samsung World Championship on the South Course in September.

The Samsung World Championship, to be held Sept. 17-20, features a 20-player field that includes the four major champions and top players from the money list. Paula Creamer won last year at Half Moon Bay in San Francisco.

It will be the second pro tournament this year at Torrey Pines, which has hosted the Buick Invitational since 1968. The public golf course along the Pacific bluffs gained more notoriety last year when Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open in a playoff.

The course will be nearly 1,000 yards shorter for the Samsung World Championship, which will be just over 6,700 yards.

The LPGA Tour last went to Torrey Pines for the 1983 Inamori Classic.

The Samsung World Championship ought to make Torrey Pines its permanent home. Over the last 15 years, ten courses have hosted the tournament. Bottom line- This is great news for the LPGA.

Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote an excellent article detailing the LPGA's history in San Diego. It is well worth reading.

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Rating: 2/5 (4 votes cast)


Tampa Bay Buccaneer Linebacker stabbed by girlfriend

Hayes was a 6th round pick in the 2008 NFL draft out of Florida State. From ESPN-

Authorities say the girlfriend of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes stabbed him in the head and in the neck.

A Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokeswoman says Hayes was taken to a hospital by a friend Saturday. The 21-year-old former Florida State player was treated and later released.

Deputies arrested 19-year-old Shevelle Bagley on Saturday afternoon. The sheriff's spokeswoman says Hayes and Bagley got into an argument, which led to Bagley grabbing a pair of scissors and stabbing Hayes in the head. He managed to get the scissors away from her, but authorities say she then grabbed a knife and stabbed him in the neck.

Lets pray Hayes recovers and Ms. Bagley gets the justice she deserves.

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Rating: 3.4/5 (5 votes cast)


March 9, 2009

FL Panther Nathan Horton to miss 2-4 weeks

This injury couldn't have come at a worse time for a team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 9 years.

With just 16 games left in the regular season, including a two-game road trip starting today against teams also vying for playoffs spots, the last thing the Panthers needed was a flurry of injuries.

However, that's what the Panthers face entering tonight's game at Pittsburgh. Forward Nathan Horton is expected to miss the next two to four weeks with a severed tendon in his left ring finger and defenseman Bryan McCabe is out for a week with a fractured orbital bone in his right eye and a broken nose.

"That's a huge loss," David Booth said. "[Horton's] probably one of the most gifted players in the NHL."

Late in the third period of the Panthers' 5-3 victory over St. Louis on Saturday, a skate blade sliced into Horton's glove and cut his finger. He had surgery and did not travel with the team. McCabe took a puck to the face in the first period against the Blues. He also had surgery and did not make the trip.

Florida plans to fill Horton's hole with the useless Bret McLean. 4 goals and 13 points for the entire 2008-09 season. Jacques Martin should bring up Shawn Matthias from the AHL but GM Jacques Martin is making the dumb move so often seen in professional sports. Rather than admit a high priced player is a mistake, they keep giving them more opportunities to fail even if it will prove detrimental to the team the GM is supposed to be running.

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Rating: 2.5/5 (4 votes cast)


Stampeding fans lead to scoring error

Some Ivy Leaguers have basketball fever. From AP-

A jubilant throng of Cornell fans surging onto the court led to a scoring mistake when the Big Red clinched the Ivy League title by beating Penn on Friday night.

Cornell won the game 83-58 -- or so everyone thought.

A Cornell spokesman said Saturday there were several changes from the final minute that weren't noted until hours later because the courtside scorekeepers' computer was demolished by several thousand stampeding fans.

The final score should have been 83-59.

No harm done at least.

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Rating: 2/5 (4 votes cast)


The mighty have fallen- U of Kentucky will accept NIT Bid if offered

The last time the school played in that tournament was 30 years ago. From ESPN-

The three letters Kentucky fans would rather spit than say may soon be coming to fruition. And if the Wildcats' postseason disintegrates to the NIT -- a seemingly likely scenario after UK's 60-53 loss to Florida on Saturday -- Kentucky has told the NIT it would accept the invitation.

"We're still planning on making the NCAA tournament but if we don't, we told them on Friday we would play," athletic director Mitch Barnhart said.

Barnhart admitted he and the coaching staff thought hard about the decision. Kentucky has made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1992 and its 17 straight NCAA appearances is the third-longest active streak, behind only Arizona (24) and Kansas (19).

UK hasn't played in the NIT since 1979. At this point, with a four-game losing streak and an RPI in the 70s, it appears that is where the Wildcats are headed unless they can win the SEC tournament title in Tampa.

Kentucky won't win the SEC so its the NIT or bust. The school made the right choice.

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Rating: 2.4/5 (5 votes cast)


Divison II School's Pitchers throw back to back no-hitters

There have been back to back no-hitters in pro baseball on at least two occasions, but never by the same team in both games. From AP-

Two games, two pitchers and no hits allowed for St. Augustine's College.

Brandon Stewart and Ryan Wood each threw seven-inning no-hitters for Saint Augustine's as the Falcons swept Lincoln (Pa.) University 10-1 and 25-2 in a doubleheader Sunday.

Stewart, a sophomore from Atlanta who also threw a no-hitter against Voorhees last season, struck out six and allowed one run in the opening-game victory for the Division II Falcons (4-8).

Wood, also a sophomore from Chester, Va., had seven strikeouts in the second game against the Lions (0-9) at the USA Baseball Complex.

Joseph Pierce was 1-for-2 with three RBIs in the first game for St. Augustine's, while Ryan Shwedo was 3-for-5 with five RBIs and Chris Vette drove in four runs in the second. Rashad Ingram had nine of the Falcons' 20 stolen bases on the day.

Lincoln is in serious need of some batting practice.

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Rating: 2.2/5 (4 votes cast)


Montreal Canadiens fire Coach Guy Carbonneau

General Manager and former coach Bob Gainey will be standing behind the bench beginning tomorrow. From ESPN-

Guy Carbonneau was fired as coach of the struggling Montreal Canadiens, hockey's most historic franchise that is in danger of missing the playoffs in its 100th season.

The timing of Monday's move was a bit surprising because the Canadiens are currently in a playoff position and there are only 16 games left in the regular season.

General manager Bob Gainey, who handed the coaching duties over to Carbonneau three years ago, will return behind the bench when Montreal hosts Edmonton on Tuesday.

The Canadiens started Monday in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but they were only two points above the postseason cutoff. What was supposed to be a season of celebration has turned into one of difficulty.

Montreal (35-24-7) went into a free fall in late January and February, losing 10 of 13. The Canadiens, 5-4-1 in their previous 10 games, won 3-1 at Dallas on Sunday in their last game with Carbonneau as coach.

Carbonneau officially became an NHL head coach for the first time on May 5, 2006, after serving as an associate to Gainey for the final 41 games of the 2005-06 season.

*****

In 230 games with the Canadiens over three seasons, Carbonneau was 124-83-23. He is the seventh NHL coach fired this season, and the fourth in five weeks.

Carbonneau had a good record in Montreal. He was a victim of the usual high expectations hockey fans have up there, and events out of his control. Like two players who have a relationship with a criminal and this is being probed by the NHL.

Montreal may have been slightly underperforming, but what proof is there that Gainey will change this?

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Rating: 2/5 (4 votes cast)


March 8, 2009

Y.E. Yang wins the Honda Classic

He becomes only the second Korean to win on the PGA Tour

Alone in front throughout, Yang shot a final round of 2-under 68 Sunday to finish one shot ahead of John Rollins and pick up his first PGA Tour victory.ye-yang

The Korean took command with three straight birdies on the front side and wouldn't fold, picking up a two-year exemption and a check for $1,008,000. With the win, he qualified for next week's CA Championship at Doral, plus earned an invitation to next month's Masters.

Yang played last year's final round at PGA National by himself, going off first and needing only 1 hour, 53 minutes to finish.

He was there until the very end this time, pumping his fist in the air when his 50-footer for birdie nestled to a stop a foot away from the cup, giving him a tap-in for victory.

For a guy whose claim to fame was beating Tiger Woods at the 2006 HSBC Champions in Shanghai, it was a moment to savor.- AP


Yang played the best golf and was a deserving winner. He withstood challenges from Robert Allenby and John Rollins to win by one shot. This is the first time I ever saw Yang play, so I won't fathom a guess as to what kind of future success he'll have on the PGA Tour. The win gets him in next month's Masters.

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Rating: 2.2/5 (5 votes cast)


Six is it- Charlotte beats NY 114-105

With the win the Bobcats pull within one game of the last Eastern playoff spot. From AP-

They have compiled the longest winning streak in franchise history. Not only that, but the Charlotte Bobcats also own the longest streak in the Eastern Conference.

"The second. It's got to be, because we're a team that has aspirations of trying to backdoor our way into the playoffs and so it's really important that we're doing it right now," guard Raja Bell said. "It's great that it's a franchise record, but the timing couldn't be better for us."

Gerald Wallace had 23 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bobcats beat the New York Knicks 114-105 on Saturday night for their franchise-record sixth straight victory.

Boris Diaw added 22 points for the Bobcats, who have won nine of their last 13 in hopes of landing a playoff berth in Larry Brown's first season as coach. Charlotte pulled within a game of Chicago for eighth place.

A six game winning streak being the high note for a team with just six years in the league isn't unsual. Should a 28-35 team be worthy of a playoff spot? You have to remember Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando are so dominating the East that it skews the records for the last playoff qualifiers.

Charlotte won't last long in the post season who ever their opponent ends up being. If they make it.

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Rating: 3/5 (3 votes cast)


Shuffle off to Buffalo- WR Terrell Owens has a new home

Does Bills management honestly think TO will make them a playoff team? From AP-

Terrell Owens needed only two days to find another place to play. The Buffalo Bills decided to take a chance on the talented but high-maintenance receiver, signing Owens to a $6.5 million, one-year deal Saturday.

The 35-year-old Owens caught 69 passes for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns last season with Dallas. But the Cowboys were looking to improve the atmosphere in the locker room and decided they would be better off without him.

"I'm leaving America's team (for) North America's team," Owens said at a news conference.

The Bills will be Owens' fourth stop. He started with San Francisco, bounced to Philadelphia -- where he helped the Eagles get to a Super Bowl -- and then to Dallas.

As I am a Miami Dolphin follower, I will get to see a lot more of Owens now. He will certainly bring Buffalo lots of attention, some of it unwanted, but the Bills need a lot more than one All-Pro Wide receiver added to the roster before they can be seriously considered a Super Bowl contender.

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Rating: 5/5 (2 votes cast)


Does it look as if I need help?- Columbus routs Detroit 8-2

Left Winger Rick Nash scored an unusual hat trick. From AP-

The Columbus Blue Jackets gave their playoff hopes a boost -- and set a couple of team records, too.

Rick Nash had his fourth career hat trick -- his second against Detroit this season and third overall against the Red Wings -- in Columbus' 8-2 victory Saturday night.

R.J. Umberger also scored two goals, Jason Williams had a goal and an assist, Raffi Torres and Andrew Murray also scored, and Steve Mason made 44 saves for Columbus, fighting to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Rookie Goalie Steve Mason and Rick Nash are the stars in Columbus these days. Nash, who's been a top scorer in the NHL since 2003-04, finally looks like he has a worthy supporting cast.

What was unusual about the hat trick?

Nash completed his hat trick with 7:44 left for his 31st goal. All three goals were unassisted.
I can't ever recall watching a game where the same player scored three unassisted goals. It would have been nice if Associated Press would have reported the last time this happened.

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Rating: 3/5 (2 votes cast)


Ji-Yai Shin wins HSBC Women's Champions

It took all of three LPGA tournaments in 2009 before a South Korean took home the winner's trophy.

South Korean star Jiyai Shin won the HSBC Women's Champions on Sunday for her fourth LPGA Tour title in eight months, shooting her second straight 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Australia's Katherine Hull.

The 20-year-old Shin, five strokes behind Hull at the start of the round and four back with nine holes to play, had an 11-under 277 total at Tanah Merah and earned $300,000 for her first victory as a member of the LPGA Tour.

"I'm very surprised and very happy," said Shin, the Women's British Open winner last August at Sunningdale.

"I'm thinking, I had chance for top 10, not for win."

Called the "Final-Round Queen" in South Korea, Shin birdied the first four holes -- opening with 9- and 12-foot putts, chipping in from 45 feet on No. 3 and adding a 15-footer -- to put herself in position to take advantage of Hull's back-nine meltdown. -AP

Singapore was Shin's 4th LPGA win since last August. She's just a tour rookie, but one with over world-wide wins who could be player of the year this year. I actually predicted it.

2009 got off to a slow start for Shin, primarily due to two rounds of golf. She shot an 81 in Hawaii and missed the cut at the LPGA operner, and then followed it with a first round 75 in Thailand. She did bounce back to finish 13th there and now has posted another win. Any thoughts of last year being a fluke have to be gone.

Other notes-

Katherine Hull continues to be on a roll, which like Ji-Yai's, began last summer. I picked Hull as one of the top 10 golfers for 2009. She should be in the winner's circle again soon.

Brazilian born but Naturalized US citizen Angela Park finished 3rd for the second time this year.

Jane Park's 6th place finish improves her chances of qualifying for the 2009 US Solheim Cup team. She was 12th in the points standings, and may be 11th now. The top 10 players automatically qualify for the team.

Angela Stanford has three top tens in three tournaments this year, including a win.

Also blogging on this news- The Constructivist

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Rating: 5/5 (2 votes cast)


March 6, 2009

Former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly diagnosed with cancer

He coached in the Motor city for nine seasons. From AP-

Former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The team says Friday that Daly "is being treated for the cancer and his family is requesting privacy."

The 78-year-old Daly coached the Pistons to NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. He also was the coach of the 1992 gold medal-winning US Olympic squad dubbed the "Dream Team." He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to Chuck and his family following today's tough news," Detroit president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said. "He holds a special place in our hearts and we'll be here to support him in any way we can."

Dumars played for Daly on both championship teams, winning the NBA finals MVP award in 1989.

The Pistons were scheduled to play the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

"I wish him the best. It's a tough cancer to get," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "He beat my (butt) probably more than anybody."

Family spokesman Matt Dobek says in the release that as a coach Daly was "known as the Prince of Pessimism, right now Chuck Daly is the King of Optimism."

Pancreatic is a particularly nasty cancer. Say a prayer that Daly can beat it.

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Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)


March 5, 2009

Florida Panthers acquire Defenseman Steve Eminger from Tampa Bay

In return Florida sent D Noah Welch and a 3rd round pick. From Sports Network-

The Florida Panthers did make a trade involving a defenseman on Wednesday, however, it didn't involve Jay Bouwmeester. Instead, they acquired defenseman Steve Eminger from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Noah Welch and a third-round pick in the 2009 draft.

This marks the third time Eminger has been traded since the end of last season. He was dealt to Philadelphia from Washington in a 2008 draft-day deal and posted two assists in 12 games with the Flyers before being traded to Tampa Bay along with Steve Downie for Matt Carle in early November.

The 25-year-old recorded four goals and 19 assists in 50 games with the Lightning. In 274 career games with Washington, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, Eminger has notched 10 goals, 58 assists and 265 penalty minutes.

Eminger has a career -48 rating. That's terrible but could be a result of his not playing for very good teams and being rushed to the NHL after being selected 12th in the 2002 draft by the Washington Capitals.

John McGourty fills us in on the maybe the most important aspect of this trade.

The trade reunites Eminger with Panthers coach Peter DeBoer, with whom Eminger won the 2003 Memorial Cup as a member of the OHL Kitchener Rangers. Eminger has since struggled in his six-year NHL career.

*****

The difference between Eminger in juniors and the NHL has been astounding. In Kitchener, he controlled play, offensively and defensively. He was well positioned and strong on defense, and crafty with the puck on offense, quarterbacking the power play.

Until he joined the Lightning, Eminger showed little of those skills and even less confidence. Reuniting with DeBoer could be exactly what he needs.

In light of that and how Welch didn't fit in Florida's scheme of things, I think the gamble on Eminger is worth it.

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Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)


Dallas Cowboys release WR Terrell Owens

The drama level for America's team has to be considered cut by at least a third. From AP-

Jerry Jones made it clear, both in action and words: Getting rid of Terrell Owens means a fresh start for the Dallas Cowboys.

T.O. was released Thursday, ending a three-year run that produced as many big headlines as big plays. Many of those headlines were about ego and attitude, and Jones has decided enough is enough. He wants the focus on winning, something the Cowboys haven't done in the playoffs since 1996.

"In the aftermath of the season, we talked about change," Jones said in a statement. "Some of what is changing involves the process and some of it involves people. This is a decision that was made based upon consideration for an entire team.

"We will move on now with a new team -- a new attitude -- and into a new stadium. The evaluation process and the prospect for change will continue at every level of the organization."

Owens released a statement on his Web site thanking Jones, coach Wade Phillips and the organization "for the opportunity to be a member of the team for the past three years."

"A big thanks to the fans -- you've been awesome! I look forward to the upcoming season and continuing to play in the NFL," Owens added.

Owens caught more touchdown passes than any NFL receiver over the last three years and was a big part of Tony Romo's emergence from an unknown backup to a starlet-dating Pro Bowl quarterback with a $67 million contract.

Yet the Cowboys went 0-for-2 in the playoffs with Owens, and didn't even make it this past season. Dallas' late-season collapse -- capped by a lackluster effort in a win-and-you're-in finale in Philadelphia -- emphasized that a new approach was needed.

Jones was slow to go along. Just a few weeks ago, he indicated Owens wasn't going anywhere and firmly said the idea of locker-room problems were "a figment of the result. You didn't hear about those things when we were winning."

Dallas also released safety Roy Williams on Thursday. Despite his reputation as a hard-hitter, teams never hesitated throwing his way in recent years because he struggled in coverage. After Owens, Williams likely was the second divisive figure among Cowboys fans -- especially after Dallas already got rid of Adam "Pacman" Jones and Tank Johnson.

"Roy has been a wonderful representative of this organization since coming to Dallas," Jones said. "Unfortunately we have reached a crossroad with his time here in Dallas and the difficult decision was made to allow him to explore other opportunities in the NFL."

Cutting Owens and Williams will cost the Cowboys about $14 million against the salary cap. There's no telling how much more Dallas will lose in jersey sales and other publicity Owens generated. Then again, the $1.1 billion stadium that's opening next season should generate plenty of interest and souvenir sales.

Owens learned he was being cut Wednesday night and sent text messages to his friends. Cowboys receiver Sam Hurd said Owens' reaction was "more shock than anger."

"He didn't give me an explanation. He just said, `Wow,'" Hurd said Thursday. "I really didn't believe that he seen that coming. ... He said it's tough, but it's a business."

What's next for T.O.?

It remains to be seen what kind of market there is for a 35-year-old with a proven track record -- good and bad.

Owens is among the NFL's career leaders in catches, yards and touchdowns. Over the last three years, his 38 touchdowns are one more than Randy Moss and he's among the league's best in catches, yards, yard per catch and yards per game.

*****

The Cowboys signed Owens in March 2006, despite the bitterness some fans had for him having celebrated on the team's star logo while playing for the 49ers. At his introductory news conference, Owens declared, "Getcha popcorn ready" and he certainly kept things interesting.

His first season included an accidental overdose that police initially called a possible suicide attempt and an obviously strained relationship with coach Bill Parcells. Yet it also included the most TD catches in the NFL and the birth of Romo's stardom.

With a new coach and coordinator in 2007, Owens set a club record with 15 TD catches and Dallas tied the best record in franchise history at 13-3, only to lose its first playoff game. He tearfully supported Romo afterward, then a few months later received a $34 million contract extension at a news conference that featured a humongous bowl of popcorn.

The Romo-Owens relationship appeared to fray late this past season, with Owens upset about everything from game plans to pass distribution. He had 213 yards in one game, but cracked 100 yards in only one other game, the otherwise forgettable finale.

Dallas already has a replacement as the top receiver in Roy Williams, who led the NFC in yards receiving in 2006. The Cowboys gave up a first-, third- and sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft to get him from Detroit midway through last season.

In addition to Williams and Hurd, the Cowboys also have receivers Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin, plus Jason Witten, among the best receiving tight ends in the NFL.

Will the Cowboys be better off without Owens? Talent wise, absolutely not. He's a problem child to say the least, but the Cowboys have more than a few of those. Starting with the owner. Wade Phillips is not a championship quality coach. Dallas won't be going to the Super Bowl unless Jones stops meddling and hires someone who knows how to coach.

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Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)


Private search on for missing NFL players in Gulf of Mexico

This comes after the Coast Guard called off their search. From AP-

Family and friends refused to give up the search for two NFL players and a third man missing four days in the Gulf of Mexico, enlisting private boats and planes to comb the waters off the Florida coast.

The Coast Guard called off the official search Tuesday for Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith, who played for the Detroit Lions last season, and former South Florida player William Bleakley. The friends have been missing since their boat overturned Saturday in rough seas.

Authorities were done, but about a dozen charter boats motored out Wednesday, some with friends of the families aboard, to try to locate some signs of the men, according to dock workers at John's Pass near St. Petersburg. Three private planes also flew over the endless stretch of water, according to Cooper's father.

"Everyone around here, they've either known someone or heard of someone who's been lost out at sea," said David Scott, who works at a marina at John's Pass. "It's just one of those situations. Everyone really comes together in times like these."

A fourth man on the fishing trip, Bleakley's former South Florida teammate, Nick Schuyler, was rescued Monday after a Coast Guard cutter crew found him clinging to the hull 35 miles off Clearwater. His doctor said it's a "miracle" Schuyler survived in the 63-degree Gulf water for nearly two days.

It will be a miracle if the others are found alive. I understand the families don't want to give up hope, but exposure and hypothermia(I live over 200 Miles to the southeast of where the boat capsized. Temperatures were in the 40's just two days ago) have certainly taken the lives of all three of these men.

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Rating: 5/5 (2 votes cast)


WR Laveranues Coles signs with the Cincinnati Bengals

A source says the deal is four years and for 28 million dollars. From ESPN-

A day after losing wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the Cincinnati Bengals replaced him by agreeing to a contract with former New York Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles.

Coles agreed to a four-year, $28 million deal, according to a source.

For Coles, it was a victory. He turned down a $6 million guaranteed salary from the Jets. To obtain his freedom, Coles voided the final year of his Jets contract and became a free agent.

*****

"The Bengals were very aggressive right from the start in talking to us," Coles said, in a statement released by the team. "And when a team makes you feel really wanted, that's a factor you're not going to ignore. They said, 'Let's get this worked out,' and we did."

The 31-year-old Coles caught 631 passes during his nine-year career with the Jets. He had 8,095 yards and 44 touchdown receptions during his career in New York.

****

Houshmandzadeh's departure left Chad Ocho Cinco and Chris Henry as the two most experienced receivers. The Bengals quickly focused on Coles, who caught 70 passes for 850 yards last season and led the team with seven touchdown catches. He's replacing one of the NFL's most reliable receivers -- Houshmandzadeh had 112 catches in 2007 and 92 last year, even though Carson Palmer was sidelined for most of the season by an injury to his passing elbow.

Coles is a very good wide receiver but the Bengals stink. I don't see how this can be considered a good match. Laveranues went for the money and I won't fault him for that. At least he spared the media and sports fans the usual cliches about picking team because he liked the potential they had.

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Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)


March 4, 2009

Let the trading begin- Columbus sends Goalie Pascal Leclaire to Ottawa

The NHL trading deadline is four hours away. From CBC Sports-

The Ottawa Senators traded forward Antoine Vermette to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

In exchange, Ottawa receives goaltender Pascal LeClaire and a second-round pick in the 2009 NHL draft.

Vermette, 26, has nine goals and 19 assists in 62 games this season for the Senators.

He is signed through next season, when he will make $3 million, before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2010.

Leclaire, 26, has played in 12 games for the Jackets this season, posting a 4-6-1 record with a 3.83 goals against average

Ottawa is essentially out of the playoff hunt for 2008-09. I'm doubtful Leclaire will help fill the goaltending void in Ottawa. He's just another second stringer, and the Senators have two already in Alex Auld and Martin Gerber. Admittedly Gerber has been sent to the minors and may be destined for Europe. So he could be reasonably considered out of the picture. Still the move puzzles me.

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Rating: 1/5 (1 votes cast)


March 3, 2009

Miami Dolphins release DE Vonnie Holiday

He spent four years playing for the fins. From ESPN-

In the span of about 16 hours, two of the Miami Dolphins' most amiable and quotable players have hit the trail.

The Dolphins are releasing defensive end Vonnie Holliday for financial reasons. He was due a $1.5 million roster bonus Tuesday. On Sunday night, cornerback Andre Goodman signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Denver Broncos.

Holliday and Goodman were the last two winners of the Good Guy Award, given out by the local Professional Football Writers Association chapter.

Holliday, who turned 33 in December, was a defensive captain last year. He recorded 46 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.

But the Dolphins have several young players emerging at defensive end. They drafted Phillip Merling 32nd overall and Kendall Langford in the third round.

The real reason Miami made this roster move was to save 2.8 million dollars this year. Real smart move Miami, 7-9 in 2009 is looking pretty good right now.

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Rating: 4.8/5 (6 votes cast)


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