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Photo courtesy of Shelly Castellano ICON SMI
(Photoshop work by Yours Truly – hence the amateur look)

If you’ve been following basketball closely, you’ll know the following players have been playing out of their minds.  If not, it’s time to play catch up.  Here are some of the hottest players in the league.

Guards
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Kobe Bryant
– His finger doesn’t seem to be bothering him that much.  In his last four games he’s averaged 34.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 1.3 three-pointers per game while shooting 50% from the floor and 82.0% from the line.  Last night he exploded for 52 points and 11 rebounds.

Deron Williams - Williams has been feeding and feeding and feeding lately.  He had 19 assists Saturday against Memphis.  In his last three games he’s averaged 16 points, 14.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.7 three-pointers per game.  He’s shot 45% from the floor and 80% from the line.

Forwards
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Dirk Nowitzki - Everybody’s favorite German is scoring in buckets again.  In his last nine games he’s averaging 31.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.6 three-pointers per game while shooting 50% from the floor and 86.8% from the line.

Mike Dunleavy- Naturally with back-to-back 36 point efforts, Dunleavy was a lock for the En Fuego team.  In his past four games he’s averaged 28.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 3.3 three-pointers per game.  He’s shot 52.2% from the floor and 79.5% from the line.

Centers
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Dwight Howard -
  Howard has been playing like Superman lately.  In his past six games he’s averaged 24 points, 15.2 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 1.2 steals.  He’s shot 66.3% from the floor.  You’ll have to deal with the 54.3% he’s shot from the free throw line. 

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: NBA |

It’s time for a look at the Corner Infielders that could be in for breakout years.

Daric Barton - Oakland A’s
Barton hit .347 with 4 HRs and 8 RBI as a September call-up.  Just as impressive was the ten walks he accumulated in his 18 games. 

Josh Fields - Chicago White Sox
Josh showed some pop last year hitting 23 HRs in 373 at bats.  If Joe Crede gets dealt, the third base gig is his.  He’ll have to improve on the .244 average though. 

Ryan Garko – Cleveland Indians
I look for Garko to build on the .289, 21 HR, 61 RBI season he produced last year.  I’m expecting an RBI total in the high 80′s to low 90′s.

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Alex Gordon
– Kansas City
Gordon did OK in his rookie year considering the hype he came with.  He hit .247 with 15 HR & 47 RBI.  With a full season under his belt, look for Gordon to improve dramatically.

Andy LaRoche - Los Angeles Dodgers
He’ll have to push Nomar for playing time, but LaRoche has big-time potential.  He didn’t show it last year when he hit .226 in his 35 game stint, but it’s there.  Perhaps he’s still a year or more away. 

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James Loney
– Los Angeles Dodgers
Loney had an outstanding season last year hitting .331 with 15 HR and 67 RBI in 96 games.  He’s primed for a 30 HR, 100 RBI season.

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Evan Longoria
- Tampa Bay Rays
No, not Eva, although some think he’ll have a rookie season as hot as Mrs. Parker. 

Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
He hit well as a call-up last year.  Now he’ll get the chance to earn the starting 1B job.  He’s not going to hit the .321 he did in his 84 at bats last year, but he could be a nice bargain in the late rounds.  He’s got decent speed for a first basemen.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB | Tagged: Eva Longoria |

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Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Roger Maris was suggested by aaJjoe7, a friend of mine from Sporting News.  Here are my findings.

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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Numbers
1463 Games 
5101 At Bats
.260 Batting Average
826 Runs
1325 Hits
195 Doubles 
42 Triples 
275 Home Runs
851 RBI 
2429 Total Bases 

World Series:  41 games, 33 hits in 152 at bats (.217), 26 runs, 5 doubles, 6 HRs, 18 RBI 

Awards
1960 & 1961 MVP
4 All-Star Games
1 Gold Glove
MVP votes in three seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Slugging % – Three times (Led league in 1961)
OPS – Three times
Games – Twice
At Bats – Once
Runs – Three times (Led league in 1961)
Doubles - Once
Triple – Twice
Home Runs – Four times (actual all-time single-season record in 1961)
RBI – Three times (Led league in ’60 & ’61)
Total Bases – Four times (Led league in ’61)
Extra-base Hits – Four times (Led league in ’60 & ’61)
Walks – Twice
Hit by Pitch – Twice
Intentional Walks – Once

This one is tough.  Yes, he did win back-to-back MVPs.  Yes, he did have a three year stretch where he was one of the very best in the game.  Yes, he did break Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a season (with or without the asterisk).  Looking at the numbers my head says ”no way”.  However, my gut says something different.  My gut says that Roger Maris endured a lot in his pursuit of the home run title.  Let’s be honest, the asterisk he wore like the Scarlet Letter was much less deserved than the ones we want to pin on steroid users such as Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.   The back-to-back MVPs brings him to the doorstep for me.  The three World Series wins (and 7 World Series appearances) is what kicks the door in for me.  My gut says that we owe Roger a big apology in the form of a Hall of Fame pass. 

References
Baseball-reference.com

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan
George Van Haltren

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity. Oh, there goes Rabbit. He choked.  He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy.  STOP, STOP, STOP.  It’s not time to recite Eminem lyrics.  It’s time to review which catchers are going to snap back to reality after having great 2007 seasons. 

We’ve already covered the Bounceback Catchers, so without further ado, I present you the Back to Earth Catchers.

Johnny Estrada (.278, 123 hits, 25 doubles, 54 RBI)
Johnny may still have a decent average, but sharing time with Paul Lo Duca likely means he won’t get enough at bats to be as productive as last year. 
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Photo courtesy of Icon SMI
Jorge Posada (.338, 42 doubles, 20 HR, 93 RBI)
Somebody should check to see if Jorge tapped into Roger Clemens’ private stash.  At 36 years of age, he batted .051 points higher than his previous best batting average.  He also set a career high for doubles.  While I expect him to have a good year in that offense, I would be shocked if his batting average didn’t drop at least 30 points.

Sorry there isn’t more, but not enough catchers had the type of year that leads me to believe they can’t match it.  However, I don’t think Victor Martinez will drive in as many runs.  I also doubt Mike Redmond gets as many hits or RBI.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

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Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

George Van Haltren is another one suggested by Favre is overrated 2007, a friend of mine from the Sporting News community.  I’ve decided to review his numbers and offer my opinion to his Hall of Fame worthiness.

The Numbers
1984 Games 
8021 At Bats
.316 Batting Average (72nd All-time)
1639 Runs (33rd All-time)
2532 Hits (80th All-time)
285 Doubles 
161 Triples (38th All-time)
69 Home Runs
1014 RBI 
3346 Total Bases 
583 Stolen Bases (20th All-time)

93 Games
40-31
.563 Win %
65 Complete Games
4 Saves
281 Strikeouts
4.05 ERA
1.528 WHIP

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Four times
On-Base % – Four times
Slugging % – Once
OPS -  Once
Games – Eight times (Led league in 1894, 1896 & 1898)
At Bats – Seven times (Led league in 1898)
Runs – Eight times
Hits – Nine times
Doubles - Twice
Triple – Seven times (Led league in 1896)
Home Runs – Twice
Total Bases – Five times
Extra-base Hits – Twice
Walks – Twice
Stolen Bases – Five times (Led league in 1900)

Winning Percentage – Twice
Stikeouts – Once
Shutouts – Once
Saves – Three times

I didn’t know of George Van Haltren before researching this.  What I found out is “Rip” had eleven seasons of 100+ runs (5 with 120+), eight seasons of 10+ triples, several seasons of .300 or better hitting, solid overall rankings, and even some decent pitching.  He had a strong arm in the outfielder, racking up outfield assists.  He was one of the best of his era and, along with Jimmy Ryan, is the only player (that isn’t banned because of gambling) with 1600+ runs that isn’t in the Hall of Fame.  I think it’s time for that to change.

References
Baseball-reference.com
The Baseball Page

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

NFL Free Agency Report

1 March 2008

Our first look at the free agent signings. 

Flozell Adams
Flozell re-upped with Dallas for six  years and $42 million.  I like this deal.  Tony Romo has enough to worry about with the girls he dates and their impact on his play.  At least he doesn’t have to worry about his blind side.

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Derek Anderson

DA has an unbelievable season last year.  The Browns made great strides.  They aren’t ready to turn the keys over to Brady Quinn just yet.  Locking him up with a multi-year deal just made sense.

Josh Brown
St. Louis quickly found a replacement for Jeff Wilkins.  Brown is a great kicker.  This is a good move for both Brown and the Rams.  They locked him up for five years.

Isaac Bruce
It will be weird seeing Bruce in another uniform.  Well, at least he’s returning to California.  He was there before the Rams left St. Louis.  I believe he still has something in the tank.  I’m just not sure the Niners are the best team to extract it.

Tedy Bruschi
This move made complete sense.  Brusch is an extension of Belichick on defense.   At his age no other team will get as much out of Tedy.

Andre Davis
Davis proved his worth when the other “Andre” went down with a knee injury.  He showed some game in the passing attack, but where he really proved his worth wa the return game.  Returning to Houston was a great move.

Alan Faneca
The Jets made a great play acquiring Faneca.  Shoring up an offensive line isn’t the most sexy way to improve your team.  It is probably the most effective though.

DeShaun Foster
I believe the writing was on the wall in Carolina.  DeShaun wasn’t going to be a starter.  It’s a lot easier to justify being a backup to Frank Gore than DeAngelo Williams. 

Tommy Kelly
With Warren Sapp retiring, bringing back Tommy Kelly made complete sense.  They sure paid a lot for his services, but that seems to be the nature of the beast in the NFL’s second season.

Cleo Lemon
This wasn’t a bad signing for Jacksonville, especialy if they can’t come to terms with Quinn Gray.  He did OK in Miami considering the circumstances.

Josh McCown
Not a bad signing for Miami.  If Beck isn’t ready, McCown has the tools to step into the starter role for the ‘Fins.

Kawika Mitchell
It seems whenever you win a Super Bowl all of your players and coaches are in high demand.  Everyone loves a winner.  Buffalo snatched up Kawika.  The Giants will be fine.

Muhsin Muhammad
Moose returns to Carolina.  Steve Smith can’t be happier.  At least he has a decent WR opposite of him.  Moose will be thrilled to get out of Chicago’s horrible passing attack.

Jerry Porter
This one makes me laugh.  Jerry Porter is overrated, soft, a complainer, and now overpaid.  Six years and $30 million for a disgrunted wideout?  Maybe they are hoping for a Moss-like return for freeing him from the Black Hole, which is really fitting for Oakland these days.

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Asante Samuel
The Eagles stole the headlines by getting Asante.  The cynic in me wonders if he’ll flop like Ty Law, Lawyer Malloy, David Givens, Deion Branch, and Willie McGinnest.  However, the realist in me feels that Philadelphia’s secondary just got a heck of a lot stronger.  They didn’t even have to pay him like Nate Clemens, which is impressive.

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Justin Smith

If I’m the NFL, I’m going to investigate whether or not San Francisco is printing money.  Last year they were spending like it was going out of style.  They made a big splash again this year.  Justin Smith had an off-year, but he’s still a pretty darn good DE.

Randy Starks
Parcels sure has been busy.  This time he got a young, promising DT from Tennessee.  He got a five-year, $21 million deal.  He better produce for the Tuna.

Thomas Tapeh
I guess the Vikings aren’t going to bring back Tony Richardson, which upsets me a little.  I enjoyed listening to him on the radio.  He’s just a great guy.  Anyway, the Vikes brought in a guy who Childress is comfortable with from his days with the Eagles, and who’s comfortable with Minnesota from his days as a Gopher.  Good, quiet signing. 

Dontarrious Thomas
Perhaps Thomas needs a change of scenery.  He never really made it with the Vikings.  I’m not sure what the Niners are going to get out of him, but he should help their special teams for starters.

Ernest Wilford
The Dolphins get a big receiver (6’4″) in Wilford.  He hasn’t really done to much to distinguish himself, but Jacksonville isn’t exactly a wide-open offense.  He gets to go to Miami.  Have fun with that.

Madieu Williams
Leslie Frazier knows about this guy from his time in Cincinnati.  I’m not sure how playing for Cincy’s porous secondary can net you $33 million over six years.  He’ll replace Dwight Smith, who signed with the Lions. 

Gibril Wilson
Here’s another guy who got plucked from the Super Bowl champs.  Don’t expect to make it back any time soon Gibril after signing with Oakland.  He’s racked up the tackles over the past three years (309).  I just wonder if six years $36 million was too much for him.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

We’ve covered the Bounceback Starters and Closers.  Now it’s time to look and see who’s successful 2007 seasons won’t be duplicated.

Starters
Fausto Carmona (19-8, 137 Ks, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .248 BAA)
Fausto was 1-10 with a 5.42 ERA, a 1.59 WHIP, and a .298 BAA in 2006 before turning in one of the best years in the majors last year.  I don’t see him returning to 2006 form, but I could see a dip in his production as Detroit and Chicago both improved their teams.

Scott Kazmir (13-9, 239 Ks, 3.48 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .251 BAA)
An elbow strain, mild or not, gives me cause for concern from somebody I’m counting on to head my pitching staff.  He’s not going to get any work in during Spring Training and could possibly miss a start or two (if not more).  I’d still draft Kazmir, but I’m going to downgrade him a bit.

Ted Lilly (15-8, 174 Ks, 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .236 BAA)
Lilly’s return to the National League was quite successful.  He matched his career high in wins, and set new highs in innings pitched, strikeouts, and WHIP.  Not to mention his ERA was under 4.00 for just the second time in his career (3.69 in 2002).  I think he’ll have a hard time matching those numbers.

John Maine (15-10, 180 Ks, 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .235 BAA)
Maine struggled after the All-Star Break going 5-6 with 5.53 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP, and a .261 BAA.  That’s a trend I don’t like to see in a young pitcher.  Not to mention the addition of Johan Santana will move him down the rotation. 

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Tim Wakefield
(17-12, 110 Ks, 4.76 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .264 BAA)
Wake matched his career high with 17 wins last season.  Even with him moving up a spot in the rotation with the Schilling injury, I have a hard time believe he’ll win as many games this year.  His ERA, WHIP, and K’s probably won’t fluctuate much.

Closers
Joe Borowski
(45 Saves, 5.07 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .289 BAA)
If his ERA, WHIP, and BAA are as elevated next year, he could find himself out of a job.  Rafael Betancourt is there waiting in the wings.

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Joe Nathan
(37 Saves, 1.88 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .209 BAA)
I just don’t think this Twins team is going to give Joe the opportunities to match last year.  Plus, there is a chance he gets traded.  If he goes to a contender to take over the closer gig, he gets a boost.  If he goes to a contender to be a setup man, his value plummets.

Jose Velarde (47 Saves, 2.66 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .196 BAA)
I don’t trust Velarde because he was traded from Arizona to Houston.  I don’t see his save total approaching last year’s mark.  I’m guessing his WHIP and BAA increase as well.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

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Photo Courtesy of Shelly Castellano ICON SMI 

Need some help with your fantasy hockey team?  You’ve come to the right place.  Try these hot players on for size. 

Center
Brandon Dubinsky 
 - I don’t know who flipped the switch on Brandon, but whatever happened…it worked.  In his past thirteen games he’s scored 12 points (0.92 points per game).  Quite a jump considering he scored 19 points in his first fifty-two games (0.37).

Winger
Chris Kunitz 
 - Kunitz has been lighting the lamp to the tune of 9 points in his past five games (1.8).  Before that burst he had 35 points in 61 games (0.57).  He’s scored in seven of his last nine games.

Defenseman
Marek Zidlicky  - Marek has scored 8 points in seven games (1.14).  In his first fifty-six games he only had 31 points (0.55) 

Goalie
Ilya Bryzgalov -
 In his past six games, Ilya is 4-2 (.667) with a 1.68 GAA and 94.9% save percentage.  On the year his GAA is 2.33.  Prior to this little hot streak he was 20-16 (.556) with a 91.8% save percentage.

We took a look at the glass half-full Bouneback Outfielders, now it’s time to look at the glass half-empty Back to Earth Outfielders.  These are guys who aren’t going to match last year’s production. 

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Ken Griffey, Jr.
(.277, 78 runs, 146 hits, 30 HRs, 93 RBI)
For starters Griffey is 38.  He stayed relatively healthy last year.  He had good numbers again, but how long can he keep it up?  Luckily for Griff, he plays in a launching pad, but at some point the body’s gonna break down.  I’ll be excited when he hits his 600th Home Run and passes Sammy Sosa (609), but I don’t see him hitting over 25 HRs this year or driving in more than 75.

Jose Guillen (.290, 84 runs, 172 hits, 23 HR, 99 RBI)
Guillen will miss the first fifteen games of the season because of a PED suspension.  He usually has a slow April, so that will likely extend into May.  He’ll also have to adjust to a move from Seattle to Kansas City.  That adds up to decreased production to me. 

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Torii Hunter 
(.287, 94 runs, 172 hits, 45 doubles, 28 HR, 107 RBI)
Hunter will turn 33 this summer.  He will feel some pressure to live up to that huge contract.  He’s coming off career bests in virtually every offensive category.   I think he’s too much of a free swinger to maintain a .287 average.  I’d guess the number of doubles he’ll hit will be in the mid-thirties.  I’m guessing his RBI total goes down to around 95.  I hope I’m wrong because Torii is one of my favorite people in the game.  He’s just seems so genuine.  I just think he’ll have a hard time matching last year while adjusting to a new environment.

Magglio Ordonez (.363, 117 runs, 216 hits, 54 doubles, 28 HR, 139 RBI)
Sorry Mags, but that call you’re hearing is Earth telling you to come back home.  .363, are you kidding me?  His previous high was .320, and that was in 2001.  He just turned 34 so his numbers should naturally being to decline, unless Jose Canseco is telling the truth (which I belive he is).  I hate to get into a steroids debate because I’m tired of the subject, but I do recall Ozzie Guillen basically saying he had the goods on Mags when they had their little spat.  He didn’t come out and say what those goods were, but that’s what I inferred.  Obviously with a shrinking average, I expect his hit total to come down.  His HR total will likely be similar, but I expect the RBIs to decline.

Aaron Rowand (.309, 105 runs, 189 hits, 27 HR, 89 RBI)
First of all, there’s the pressure to replace Barry Bonds.  I’d say that’s a big deal.  Second he left the launching pad in Philly.  Finally, he’s no longer in the same offense as Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley.  That adds up to a decline to me.  He never scored more than 95 runs, had over 160 hits, had over 25 HRs, or had over 70 RBI before last year.  I’m guessing he puts up .280, 170 hits, 24 HR, 75 RBI. 

Photos courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Friday Tidbits 2/29/08

29 February 2008

Today I present a special Bissextile Day version of the tidbits. 

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Once again Yao Ming will miss the rest of the year.  Stress fracture in his feet.  This is a problem that will likely plague him his entire career and force an early retirement.  Gerald Wallace got popped with an elbow and got a concussion.  He’ll miss a couple of weeks.  It was his 4th in four years, so he may want to consider hanging it up.  Jamal Crawford poured in 43 in a win over Toronto.  J.R. Smith matched him in a loss to Denver.  LeBron’s back-to-back triple-double streak was snapped.  He only had 33 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists.  How selfish.  He scored his 10,000th point against Boston, who signed P.J. Brown.  J-Kidd won his first game with the Mavs.  Shaq matched him as Phoenix handed Boston its third straight loss.  Shaq only scored four, but he grabbed 14 boards.  New Jersey sent Jamaal Magloire packing.  Golden State’s Andris Biedrins had an appendectomy.  Michael Redd poured in 42 in a win over Denver.  Andrew Bogut added 20 rebounds.  Jason Kidd had 17 assists in a win over the Wolves.  The Heat finally won.  Minnesota did too.  Jaamal Magloire joined Dallas.  Too bad he didn’t wait a little longer or he’d have more valuable minutes for another Texas team.  Luke Ridnour dished out 15 assists in a loss to Golden State.  Caron Butler has a tear in his hip.  That doesn’t sound fun.  San Mitchell got cut by the Clippers.  He’s likely to reunite with KG soon.  The Lakers have won ten straight.

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Atlanta traded Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick. Tampa traded Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas for Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith, and a draft pick.  Buffalo traded Brian Campbell and a draft pick to San Jose for Steve Bernier and a first round draft pick.  Columbus traded Adam Foote to Colorado for draft picks.  They also sent Sergei Federov to Washington for Ted Ruth.  Toronto sent Hal Gill to Pittsburgh for a couple of picks.  St. Louis sent Christian Backman to the Rangers for a draft pick.  Chicago traded Tuomo Ruutu to Carolina for Andrew Ladd.  Peter Forsberg re-joined Colorado.  Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne notched his 20th career hat trick.  Philly’s Mike Richard tore his hamstring.  He’ll be out for a while.  The New York Islanders signed Trent Hunter to a five-year deal and Mike Comrie to a one-year deal.  This week’s shutouts:  Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff vs. Detroit.  Columus’ Pascal Leclaire vs. Montreal.  NY Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist vs. Florida.  Phoenix’s Ilja Bryzgalov vs. St. Louis.  Toronto’s Vesa Toskala vs. Ottawa.  Boston’s Tim Thomas vs. Ottawa.  Chicago’s Patrick Lalime vs. Phoenix.  The Wild signed Nick Schultz to a six-year extension worth $21 million.  Dallas will be without D Sergei Zubov for a month after his foot surgery.  Tampa Bay traded Vaclav Prospal to Philly for Alexandre Picard and a draft pick.  St. Louis signed D Barret Jackman to a four-year deal.  Detroit signed W Darren McCarty to a one-year deal.  NY Rangers D Paul Mara had facial surgery and will miss a couple of weeks.  Minnesota acquired the thug Chris Simon from the Islanders for a draft pick.  Montreal traded G Cristobal Huet to Washington for a draft pick.  Tampa signed D Dan Boyle to a six-year $40 million deal.  Ottawa fired Coach John Paddock.  Replacing him is Bryan Murray.  Pittsburg D Rob Scuderi will miss a month following surgery on his finger.  Dallas’ Brad Richard have five assists in a win over Chicago.

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The Red Sox extended Terry Francona’s contract for three more years.  He could be managing Bartolo Colon next year, as Boston signed him to a minor league deal.  K-Rod lost his arbitration.  His consolation prize…$10 million.  Oh darn.  Oliver Perez won his.  He’ll get $6.5 million next year from the Mets.  New Phillies closer had knee surgery and will miss a month or more.  Shannon Stewart signed with Toronto.  Tampa’s Scott Kazmir felt some discomfort in his elbow.  Omar Vizquel will miss a month or so following knee surgery.  The FBI is going to probe Roger Clemens to see if he lied.  Scott Spiezo was cut by St. Louis after having six charges brought upon him for drunk driving in December.  Colorado signed Manny Corpas to a four-year deal worth $8 million.

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If anyone wants Derek Andrerson, it will cost them a 1st and 3rd rounder.  Tom Coughlin got a four-year $21 million extension for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.  Can you refresh my memory Tiki and Strahan what you thought about him last year?  Oakland and Kansas City lost again.  This time it was a coin flip to determine the 3rd-5th picks in the draft.  Atlanta won.  Oakland will go 4th and Kansas City 5th.  Dom Capers will join the Patriots as their seconday coach.  Plus he has a background in surreptitious videotaping.  Just kidding.  Had to take the shot.  Chicago will give Rex Grossman one more try.  Zach Thomas has signed with Dallas.  Bryant McKinnie was arrested again.  Des Clark signed a two-year deal with the Bears.  The Chargers signed LB Derek Smith.  The Lions cut CB Fernando Bryant.  The Vikings traded Troy Williamson to Jacksonville for a sixth round pick.  He dropped his keys twice on the way to his car.  New England cut Rosevelt Colvin.  Kansas City cut Eddie Kennison.  Kevin Faulk got busted with weed at a concert.  Washington parted ways with Brandon Lloyd.  Nice signing Mr. Snyder.  San Fran re-signed NT Isaac Sopoaga and LB Roderick Green.  Carolina is bringing back Mushin Muhammad.  David Carr is getting kicked to the curb.  Kansas City cut Ty Law.  Detroit signed S Dwight Smith to a two-year dea.  He’s good if he can keep his nose clean.  St. Louis’ Leonard Little restructured his deal to save the Rams money. He was killed someone with his vehicle.  Indianapolis cut Booger McFarland and Rob Morris.  Tennessee cut David Givens. The Bills cut the A-Train. Minnesota cut Kelly Holcomb.  Tampa cut Kevin Carter.  Philly cut Jevon Kearse.  Oakland broke the piggy bank by paying Tommy Kelly $50.5 million over seven years.  Tedy Bruschi will return to New England.  Flozell will be back in Dallas.  Andre Davis signed a four-year deal with Houston.  Isaac Bruce was cut by St. Louis.

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#2 Tennessee beat #1 Memphis 66-62.   Then they lost to #14 Vanderbilt.  Kelvin Sampson is out at Indiana.  He got $750K to leave.  Colorado kicked Xavier Silas off the team.  Villanova beat #13 UConn 67-65.  Oklahoma State upset #5 Kansas 61-60.  Nebraska beat #22 Texas A & M 65-59.  #18 Drake beat #8 Butler 71-64.  Baylor beat #25 Kansas State 92-86 despite Michael Beasley’s Big 12 record 44 points.  He only got 30 & 15 in a loss to #5 Texas.  Arizona knocked off #19 Washington State 65-55.  Missouri State beat #20 Drake 86-83.  Houston’s Robert McKiver had 52 points against Southern Miss.  #18 Louisville beat #17 Notre Dame 90-85.#9 Wisconsin beat #15 Michigan State 57-42.

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Oklahoma won 8 games last week.  OK, they didn’t actually win them, but they got their 8 wins put back on their record after they, gasp, got the NCAA to change its mind in the Rhett Bomar infractions case.  Virginia DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald left school.  Nick Saban isn’t happy with the misbehaviour of his team.  UConn coach Randy Edsall signed a five-year deal worth $7.5 million.  SMU suspended QB Justin Willis from spring practice.

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So Tiger won again.  This time it was the Accenture Match Play Championship. 

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Carl Edwards won the Auto Club 500.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.Images courtesy of Icon SMI


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