Tom Hicks on sports: "This isn't my life"

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Tom Hicks has gone from one of the best owners in the NHL, one who
was able to inexplicably make hockey a viable sport in North Texas, to
one that many wish would just go away as quickly and as quietly as
possible. That’s not going to happen, it seems.

Hicks purchased
the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers in the 1990’s and while he
generally gets most of the credit for the Stars’ success over the years.
Yet seeing how the Rangers have stumbled in his tenure and how the
Stars have struggled once Bob Gainey left, it’s possible that the Stars
being so good was due more to great management than anything Hicks did
as an owner.

He’s always been a bit of a standoffish owner, never
being one to be as involved as some of the other local owners in Dallas.
That’s always been fine with Stars fans, as a Stanley Cup win tends to
overshadow some of the warning signs that have started to show.

It
was Hicks’ purchase of the Liverpool football club that really put
things in high water. Before then, the Rangers may not have had the most
success but they were still able to spend an exhorbitant amount of
money. That didn’t work, yet now the team is incapable of spending any
money whatsoever. His baseball team has been under the control of the
MLB for nearly a year and the Dallas Stars have been handcuffed with a
budget well under the salary cap. It’s caused some serious anxiousness
for fans of both teams as they feel the Stars and Rangers are just one
or two big acquisitions away from taking the next step.

As Tom
Hicks announces that he is also looking to sell his Liverpool team,
he tells the Times Online
that he’s ready to give up being an owner
of sports franchises:

“I can still be a fan. But I’ve paid a terrible price. I’m 64 years
old. I don’t want that any more. Jerry Jones [the Dallas Cowboys owner]
is a good friend of mine, but his life and his family’s life is the
Dallas Cowboys. Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks are his life. This
isn’t my life.”

I’m sure the Dallas Stars fans out there are deeply sorry for the
terrible price Hicks has paid, as his greed at owning three sports teams
put all three deep into a world of hurt. That he’s also making the sale
of the Rangers tough to complete, and the asking price he’s listed for
Liverpool ($1.2 billion) there’s no doubt that he cares only about his
bottom line and not the teams he’s owned for so long.

Hicks has done a heck of a job alienating the fans of the teams he owns over the past few years, and even the most die hard of Stars fans that are still grateful of the wins he brought the team are admitting that it’s time for him to go. After building up hockey to incredible levels in Dallas, he now claims that the sport is far from a viable sport in North Texas unless the NHL drastically lowers the salary cap. Over the past few seasons, the Stars fans have seen their team fail to to make any big moves to improve the team even though the cap room was there, and for a team that has consistently been one of the top grossing franchises in the NHL that’s a hard pill to swallow.

Now we hear that he’s not even that interested in owning sports teams.

Good thing sports isn’t your life Tom, or you might end up owning
three sports teams.

Tarasenko needs to start ‘playing within the system’: Hitch

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 19:  Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues and Marc-Edouard Vlasic #44 of the San Jose Sharks fight for control of the puck in game three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 19, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Is it all Vladimir Tarasenko‘s fault that the St. Louis Blues are on the brink of elimination?

No, of course it’s not.

It seems we have to clarify this every time a star player comes under fire for not producing. Hockey is a team game, and the Blues — as a team — have not been as good as the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.

Still, it was interesting to hear St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock talk about Tarasenko yesterday, because the criticism was pointed, even if it was delivered in an empathetic manner.

“What happens with goal-scorers when they get frustrated is they look to hit home runs. We need him just to act like a worker,” said Hitchcock.

“What he’s doing is he’s looking to try to catch fast breaks, he’s looking to catch the other team napping. But when you play against guys like [Marc-Edouard Vlasic], you’re not going to catch him napping. He’s just got to feel comfortable playing within the system, playing within the framework.”

Hitchcock added, “I think it’s a natural tendency with younger players who have this heightened sense of urgency to do what they do well, which for him is score goals. He’s gotten too far away from the play. He’s got himself too stretched out. We just need him to come back to the puck a little bit more.”

As we noted yesterday, Tarasenko has been held pointless in five games against the Sharks. In his last three games combined, he’s managed just four shots total. This from a guy who scored 40 of the Blues’ 224 goals during the regular season, then put up 13 points (7G, 6A) in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

We’ll see tonight if the “hard lessons” continue for the 24-year-old, or if he can find a way to help get his team back to St. Louis for Game 7.

Video: Johnson pays the price for Tampa Bay

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It’s been another successful spring for Tyler Johnson.

Johnson, the most diminutive member of Tampa Bay’s vaunted “Triplets” line, is racking up the playoff points yet again. He has 17 through 16 games — tied with Joe Thornton for sixth-most in the postseason — and, depending on how far the Bolts go this year, could best last year’s total, when he had 23 in 24.

Not bad, considering the physical pounding Johnson has taken.

At just 5-foot-9 and 182 pounds, the playoff grind has certainly taken its toll over the last two years. Johnson was rendered all but ineffective in last year’s Cup Final versus Chicago due to a broken right wrist and, this year, dealt with an upper-body injury in the opening round and a puck to the face just prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Not that it slowed him down any.

Johnson scored the game-winning OT tally in Game 4, getting his body in front of a Jason Garrison shot to deflect home past Marc-Andre Fleury. That earned high praise from Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, who heaped superlatives on his undersized star.

“He’s a winner — that’s what winners do,” coach Jon Cooper said of Johnson, per the Tampa Bay Times. “They don’t back down. And when there’s a challenge ahead of you, you’ve got to find a way to meet the challenge. There’s a lot of coaches that had a front row seat to see how this kid plays and how he competes.

“And it’s not always the size of the player, it’s the size of the heart, and that’s Tyler Johnson.”

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday to force a Game 7, now the St. Louis Blues will try to do the same against the San Jose Sharks tonight. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

St. Louis at San Jose (9:00 p.m. ET)

The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. If you want to stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

In the meantime, here are some relevant links:

On the brink of elimination, Blues turn back to Elliott

The Blues could sure use a goal or two from Tarasenko

Feeding frenzy: Sharks send Blues to the brink of elimination in Western Conference Final

Stanley Cup Final to begin Monday

Colorado inks defensive prospect Anton Lindholm

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 07: Anton Lindholm #5 of Team Sweden skates against Team USA during the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 7, 2013 in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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After establishing himself in the Swedish league, Anton Lindholm will head to North America.

The Colorado Avalanche announced that they have signed the 21-year-old defenseman to a three-year, entry-level contract. They selected Lindholm in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

More of a defensive defenseman, Lindholm only registered four assists in 30 Swedish league games with Skelleftea AIK in 2015-16, but he also had a team-high 85 hits despite missing a chunk of the season due to injury. During the playoffs he helped his team reach the SHL Finals by leading them in both hits and blocked shots.

That was his second full campaign with Skelleftea AIK. The next step for Lindholm will likely be for him to continue his development in the AHL.