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.

Video: Reimer, Allen shut down dangerous one-timers

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers makes a save during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In an ideal world, goalie equipment wouldn’t be such an issue. Teams would be able to “get goalies moving” with great passing and chances just about no one could stop.

Then again, there are also those saves that a select handful of humans can pull off. A big reason why there’s only been one goal between the Panthers and Blues tonight is the lateral movement shown by both James Reimer and Jake Allen.

First, watch as Reimer robs Jori Lehtera on what’s likely the save of the night:

Allen really hasn’t been that far behind Reimer, right down to making a similar stop:

Considering the two nearly identical one-timer goals scored by Arizona against Anaheim in finding seams for big passes through opposing defenses, tonight’s goalies might want to do some extra stretching during intermissions.

Dvorak, Coyotes put Ducks in early hole with slick goals (Video)

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 11:  Connor Murphy #5 (second from left) of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Alexander Burmistrov #91, Shane Doan #19 and Christian Dvorak #18 after Murphy scored the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on February 11, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Penguins 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Arizona Coyotes’ happy thoughts are mostly centered on the future. Christian Dvorak possibly being more than a guy who put up nice junior numbers with Matthew Tkachuk and Mitch Marner could fuel some really nice thoughts.

He’s been red-hot in February, in particular, including a goal already tonight as the Coyotes raced off to an early 2-0 lead against the Anaheim Ducks.

Check out that smooth play for his 10th goal of 2016-17:

Again, he’s been on quite the roll lately.

February: nine points (and counting?) in nine games
Rest of the season: 13 points in 45 games

He only had one assist in 12 January contests, so this outburst is even more unexpected than the Coyotes racing off to this lead.

Interestingly, the Coyotes two goals looked awfully similar, at least in the finish:

Randy Carlyle’s mood? Probably not too chipper right now.

Brooks Laich wants another crack at NHL (with or without Leafs)

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29:  Brooks Laich #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck drop against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 29, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Lightning defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Brooks Laich wants another shot at playing in the NHL. As he told The Atlantic TO (sub required), if that means being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs, then so be it.

“You don’t win a Stanley Cup playing in the American Hockey League,” Laich said. “If the Leafs don’t have a plan for me with them, I would like to pursue a Stanley Cup somewhere else.”

Interesting.

Laich’s biased take: he has plenty more to give at the highest level.

Hmm, that … seems a little crazy. Few players see their best days at age 33 and beyond.

But what about his work with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies? Maybe he’s killing it there.

Well, if he is, his contributions aren’t showing in the simple counting stats. In 22 games this season, Laich has one goal and six points. He isn’t even firing a shot on goal per game (just 17 in those 22 contests).

Now, Laich wouldn’t sell you on his scoring skills. Face-offs might not be much of a calling card, either.

So … it’s easier to understand why he’s struggling to get a foothold in his career. Laich isn’t much of a scorer, isn’t dominant on the draw and isn’t someone who’s shown a history of dramatically tilting the ice in his team’s favor.

Does that mean he can’t be a fourth-line center, or failing that, at least a depth forward? Laich could conceivably be helpful to some team, even if it’s difficult to imagine anyone giving up anything but a minor asset for him.

And, yes, it’s crazy to imagine him exceeding anything he did with the Washington Capitals.

Avalanche say ankle injury ends Nikita Zadorov’s season

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche congratulates Matt Duchene #9 after his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As if the Colorado Avalanche needed another miserable element to 2016-17: Nikita Zadorov suffered a season-ending injury during the same practice that Erik Johnson returned.

Zadorov injured his ankle after being tangled up with Mikko Rantanen during a Monday practice, according to the Denver Post.

Update: The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports that it’s a fractured ankle. Yikes.

Zadorov, 21, is a big defenseman with the pedigree that would inspire teams to imagine better things in the future (16th pick in 2013 by Buffalo). So far, that potential hasn’t really manifested itself in production, whether you judge a player by points, plus/minus or possession numbers.

He may be able to put it together at some point – again, he’s young – so perhaps he’ll remember this as a low point before he turns things around.

At the moment, it’s just another grim part of a bleak time for the Avs.