Archive for July, 2012

Falling Stars No More

Posted in Hockey, Sports with tags , on July 31, 2012 by nthezonestl1977

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A difference in Big D indeed!

The Dallas Stars have perhaps made some of the most changes to their roster since they were the North Stars. The then North-Stars, who fell from grace after narrowly missing holding Lord Stanley’s Cup in the 1991 final. The fans of Minnesota asked, “How do you justify moving a cold-weather professional sport from the nation’s hockey capital in Minnesota and move them to a state like Texas known for its hot weather?” Well it was probably money that the then owner Mr. Green said was none to be made in Minnesota, but the point is during that massive exodus from the North Stars in Minn. to Lone Stars simply known as Stars in Dallas the team was literally dismantled; seriously you’ll see in the upcoming sentence after next.

Following this 1991 Stanley cup loss, the NHL Dispersal and Expansion draft took place. An unprecedented 24 players were selected by the new San Jose Sharks, who all played on the North Stars the prior year. How’s that for a major roster overhaul.

Well this 2012 offseason overhaul of roster moves is not as major as 24 players like back in 1991, but there are some major superstars coming and a few bright stars leaving.

Let’s start with the most high profile addition Jaromir Jagr. He is far from his prime, but imagine the point production potential he has on a scoring line with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, two of the league’s hidden superstars. Not to mention, Dallas’ power play was dead last in the league last time hockey was played. Adding Jagr, Whitney and Roy will help immensely.

The Stars will be a totally different team come October, but for a club that has missed the playoffs for four straight years, is that the worst thing on Earth?

First-round draft pick Jamie Oleksiak is expected to make the jump to pro hockey this season with high expectations.

With the addition of long time Buffalo Sabre center Derek Roy, should he stay healthy especially from the past Quad injury will be huge. Roy who believes wearing a certain number is important to most players he realizes the number 9 he wore on his back is for so many years in Buffalo is not an option with the number belonging to perhaps the most beloved Star of all time wearing it for 2 full decades, Mike Modano. On the subject of Modano who ended his 21 year career playing just one season outside the stars organization, Modano told reporters if asked if there is a possibility if he will come back to play he stated “We don’t know yet, we will have to see how my working out goes”, leaving the door open for a chance he could return to the NHL. Modano could make for a compelling addition to the Stars roster while his name graces the back of a Stars jersey again.

Not that this next bit of info is breaking news but a reminder was recently given by Stars General Manager and former player Joe Nieuwendyk on the expectations he has for Brendan Morrow not just to be a star, but a superstar! Morrow has skill but he is streaky at times and could be more consistent. Wait, what am I saying, hockey is a roller coaster ride of confidence. I know that myself from playing in the league called Hockey North America (HNA) all the way to my days in roller hockey at Matteson Square Garden in St.Peters, MO.

Trevor Daley also is getting excited about this seasons Prospects, and New Teammates, but he’s sad to see the departure of long-time teammates Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro.

Daley, like Morrow is a player with whom a lot is expected and his decline is noticeable in the category of penalty minutes. I’m not saying Daley is going soft entering the midway point of his career but if you look at his potential in defensive prowess. Particularly Daley was known for stopping neutral zone attacks before they develop into a bang, bang offensive setup in his zone. Daley used to be more aggressive and yes, even take a few more good penalties like Stéphane Robidas does year in and year out.

Yet another Stars player who is playing under the radar with so much potential is Michael Ryder who came off several tumultuously horrid seasons in the points department before rebounding with an awesome return to greatness at 35 goals and 62 points last year with the Stars.

Three maybe four good solid scoring lines of three forwards and two top notch defensive style defensemen in Robidas and Daley (at least on line 1) will prove on paper this team from big D will give you big D-Fense and yes scoring.

If Jaime Benn can follow suit of playing a full 82-ish game season like Loui Eriksson and Ryder along with all of the numerous and ginormous transactions the Stars made this off season then the NHL will be looking up to the Stars in the standings come April. These multiple 5-star lines will be shining not falling anymore!

– Written by Bryan Kreutz

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Houston, We Have A Problem!

Posted in Baseball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2012 by nthezonestl1977

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The Astros have been the biggest sellers of trading off older and contract challenged players in 2012. The Astros have good depth of young upcoming player prospects in multiple positions from their farm system minor leagues.

Yes, their coming off the franchise worst record last season, a dismal 56-106 record in 2011, but consider this for you baseball purists. The Astros are 1 of 6 teams that have won the National league Central 4 times as champs, 2nd best behind the 8-time champ St.Louis Cardinals. Yes, the good ol’ days of the Killer B’s of Biggio, Bagwell, Berkman, and Bell are gone. Furthermore, the even older good years of playing on my buddy Mike’s Nintendo – RBI Baseball video game with infamous players like Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan, Glenn Davis, and Kevin Bass are decades done. These “almost Astros” of near dynasties are down the drain if the name Astros is permanently removed in 2013.

Yes, you heard right.

The Astros are considering changing not only the uniforms no biggie right, but changing the team name. Why?? Isn’t it enough that the more than 2 decades and counting rivalry is over in the NL Central when Bud Selig (an awesome Commish BTW he really is good I’ve had him reply to my written letter before BTW) would insist the new owner move the team to the American League as a condition of the sale. However why would the NL Central and same overcrowded division team like the Milwaukee Brewers not just move back to the American League?

Well Selig isn’t really elaborating into why, but we do know Selig’s’ family owns the Brewers and his main reason for moving the Astros to the American league is because the AL West Division is short one team and needs to even out the divisions league wide. The Astros announcers, Jim Deshaies and Bill Brown are very witty, have great voices, humorous stories, and a compelling draw about them during the TV broadcasts nightly. As a Cardinal Fan from St.Louis’ I will miss watching pertinent NL games with them airing on MLB Extra innings.

One of Baseball’s most compelling traits is the purity of its past which ties into familiarity of those team uniforms we’ve grown up to expect every season. If the Astros are no more much the same way as the Expos exit from Canada’s second team, will we twinge or have fond memories when we hear the defunct team name again as an announcer mentions the team? Probably, but where is the continuity when Houston will be one of the first professional sports franchise to have the exact same team in place but name it something different three times over the course of 50 years. Do the math, John Grotts (John is my buddy from StL who moved to Houston) always was a whiz kid, but anyways the math says the Astros are on pace to re-name the same team a new name about every 16 season’s if they do indeed give the Houston team a new one in 2013. (Houston Colt 45’s, Houston Astros, 2013 new-name?). Astros new owner Jim Crane said in January the team will conduct a study to decide whether or not to switch the name. “We’re going to study the information both from the fans and from all sorts of marketing people,” Crane said. “I’m not saying we’re going to change. We haven’t made the decision yet whether we’re going to change.”

When the Houston Oilers left the Astrodome for Tennessee there was good reason to rename the team since Tennessee is not known for oil. (Hence the name Tennessee Titans). What good reason does this team have to rename and move to the American league? And don’t tell me it’s because Space town Houston has a fan base that has lost interest in Astro-nauts because NASA has next to nothing left in funding for the Space program due to no more American dollars to fund it.

Houston we have a HUGE problem!

-Written by Bryan Kreutz

So What Is The $100 Million Question?

Posted in Hockey, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on July 24, 2012 by nthezonestl1977

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Only 7 years removed from an NHL lockout due to owners needing players to reduce their salaries so a profit can be made for their team, we are seeing huge contracts again. On Tuesday, the NHL players’ Association and the NHL only gently entered into talks for a new collective bargaining agreement. With negotiations only beginning these high salary deals remind us of frivolous high dollar amount spending begging these two questions.
1. Where are these NHL teams getting all this money to sign players?
2. Is there enough time to complete a deal between the two sides without having a lockout like the one that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season?

Heck, it was only 1972 just 40 years ago when two professional hockey players became widely remembered as hockey’s first millionaires. Derek Sanderson and Bobby Hull were those millionares who left the NHL to sign big contracts with the new World Hockey Association (WHA). Sanderson was only a millionaire on paper. His five-year, $2.65 million deal with the Philadelphia Blazers briefly made him the world’s richest athlete. But he played only a few WHA games before returning to the NHL, so he never collected his millions. Bobby Hull’s WHA contract was worth $2.75 million over ten years, with $1 million of it paid up front. So Hull qualifies as the first guy to make $1 million in a single year. No NHL salary came close to $1 million a year back then.

On Tuesday, the Nashville Predators matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet signed by Defenseman Shea Weber with the Philadelphia Flyers last week. Last month Sidney Crosby to signed a 12-year, $104 million contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. All this after the two year anniversary of the Staggering Illya Kovalchuk; $102 Million deal with the New Jersey Devils over 17 years.

What gives with all these millions? Oh, nothing. Just New Jersey taking a dump on the salary cap, and wiping its backside with the current CBA. So…with all of these Hundred million dollar deals what’s in store for the next CBA. The current CBA is set to expire on September 15, 2012.

BK

Praying For Aurora

Posted in Uncategorized on July 20, 2012 by A-Train

We at N The Zone STL send our prayers and condolences for the families of the (reported) 12 victims and those that were injured at the Aurora movie theater shooting last night.

A Few Questions…with Coach Jarrod Rogol

Posted in Football, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on July 19, 2012 by A-Train

It’s been a while since posting but since I’m back at it…I’ll start a series called “A Few Questions”…and first up is Coach Jarrod Rogol, the head coach and director of football operations for the new St. Louis’ indoor football team, the Missouri Monsters.

A-TRAIN: How are you today Jarrod?

JR:  I’m blessed.  Today was a busy day of coaching high school football and meetings for Monsters football.

A-TRAIN: Other than this new gig, what is going on in the world of Coach Rogol?

JR:  I am currently the president of One Dream Zero Distraction Entertainment, which represents MMA fighters, entertainers, models and actors.  I also serve as the company’s vice president of talent relations. Besides that, I’m the special teams coordinator for Lutheran South High School here in St. Louis.

A-TRAIN: What does the UIFL represent?

JR:  UIFL is a league that cares about allowing the players the opportunity to move forward in their careers and a league that provides fun quality family entertainment.

A-TRAIN: Where did the name Missouri Monsters come from?

JR:  “Monsters” was carried over from a previous team in UIFL.

A-TRAIN: When and where will the Monsters play next season?

JR:  Our regular season should run from March through June, with playoffs ending in July.  All of our home games will be played at Family Arena, which is located at 2002 Arena Parkway, St. Charles, MO 63303.

A-TRAIN: From my research…it looks like you’ve had indoor football experience…what have you taken from those past experiences and will implement with the Monsters?

JR:  There are four key items.  First, listen, listen, listen.  Listen to the fans, players, coaching staff and use what they tell you to improve the product.  Second, remember it’s not about YOU.  It’s about how you impact the lives of your fans, players and staff.  Third, always be honest with the players.  There is nothing worse than a coach that guarantees players the world and then deliverers some or nothing.  Fourth, be true to who you are and don’t ever let the game change you — make sure you change the game.

A-TRAIN: When they (Board of Directors) named you head coach and DFO of this expansion team, what was your reaction to the event?

JR:  Above all, I was humbled by the opportunity.  Having coached around the country has been great but there is something about getting that opportunity to run out under the lights in front of your hometown that cannot be explained.  My initial thought was I want this to be a team that truly represents what our community is about both on the field and off.

A-TRAIN: How difficult is it to lead, not only a professional football team but a BRAND NEW professional football team?

JR:  Honestly, it is not difficult.  For me, finding the best support staff has been the key up to this point, along with having open lines of communication with management to ensure that everything runs smooth.  On the player personnel side, guys really like the fact that everyone is on an even playing field since it’s an expansion team, which has made it easier to recruit.

A-TRAIN: If you were not coaching, what would Jarrod Rogol be doing?

JR:  Since our season mirrors the college lacrosse season, I’d be watching all I could of Duke Lacrosse.  Coach Danowski is a great leader and always gets the most out of his players.

A-TRAIN: If you could have one superstar athlete (football player or different sport athlete) on your team, who would it be?

JR:  Herschel Walker, because he always represented what I believe are the three ways you win in sports (playing Smarter, Tougher & Harder for longer than your opponent).

A-TRAIN: Before you go…anything you want to add for your new Monster fans?

JR: First of all, thanks for taking the time to read this interview and we look forward to seeing all of you at our games.  Second, if anyone ever has any suggestions or comments on what they want to see–  from community events we should do to game entertainment — please E-mail me at coachrogol@uiflmonsters.com.   Lastly, on August 4, starting at 10A.M. at Family Arena in St. Charles, we will have a fan open house and you will be able to look at seat locations for season tickets, watch the prospects work out, and interact with our coaching staff.  We will also be having our open player tryouts which start at 9A.M. with check-in and same day registration.  Information for both can be found at http://uiflmonsters.com and the tryout registration form is on http://uiflfootball.com/tryout-sign-up.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE A-TRAIN!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2012 by A-Train

That’s right! I, the A-Train celebrates a birthday on this day! I would like to thank everyone for the birthday wishes.

Shoutout to all my friends from Lutheran North, Alabama A&M University, Grand Slam Sports, LLC., Crawford Broadcasting, Shalom Church (City Of Peace), IWatchRadio.com, and all my Facebook friends. BIG THANKS TO CHERIE JOHNSON! For those that remember, she played Laura’s friend Maxine on the hit show “Family Matters” and played Punky Brewster’s best friend on “Punky Brewster.”

Definitely want to shoutout “Ma Familia”. Mom, Dad, my sister Kim and every family member on both sides. I love you greatly.

To anybody I missed, I give you a shoutout as well. I am overwhelmed by the love received (on Facebook mostly).

Thank you.

The A-Train

NBA WHEEL AND DEAL

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2012 by A-Train

ANNOUNCER:  THESE GENERAL MANAGERS DRESSED AS THEY ARE, COME FROM ALL OVER THE ASSOCIATION TO MAKE  DEALS AND SPEND MONEY HERE AT THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE, NBA WHEEL & DEAL! And now here’s the overseer of all the wheeling and dealing, THE A-TRAIN!

A-TRAIN: Thank you very much! Welcome to NBA Wheel & Deal! As you can see behind me, our general managers from all over the NBA have been literally WHEELING AND DEALING! The object of our game is to find the best valuable “pieces” to win an NBA championship! It’s that simple. Let’s go and check out the many different teams that are on the trading floor today!

**GOES TO BROOKLYN NETS GM BILLY KING**

As you can see, Billy King (along with Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov) has went and made a couple of deals to fill their championship pieces…but still is missing one addition, this upcoming season’s big prize…DWIGHT HOWARD! All of our teams are going after the grand prize, the big fella in Orlando…which has by speculation has angered many NBA fans and media alike. But in the meantime, the Nets have “wheeled and dealed” to keep their superstar point guard Deron Williams for close to $100 million. In addition by acquiring Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks for GET THIS…5 players! WOW! Some sure fire wheelin’ and dealin going on the Brooklyn side. Good luck to them.

**LOOKS AT ATLANTA’S TABLE**

Now, we move over to Atlanta, who had received 5 players via trade for Johnson. They are working very hard to provide a nucleus that could hopefully one day bring them a championship, in which the franchise hadn’t seen since 1958 when they were in St. Louis. No titles have come there way since being in Atlanta and no Finals appearances. It looks they are dealing even more as they are giving up Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz. Atlanta is also going for the big prize in Dwight Howard. Howard is a hometown guy and I wonder if they will have the world to give to him because that is what is going  to be needed if they want to win anytime soon. Good luck to the Hawks.

Before we move on to another table…let’s discuss the game’s grand prize. Let’s go over to our announcer and hear what’s at stake for the grand prize. Johnny?

ANNOUNCER: ONE OF OUR TEAMS COULD WIN…DWIGHT HOWARD!!! THIS ORLANDO CENTER IS LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME, HE’S ALREADY HAD HIS GM AND HEAD COACH FIRED, PLUS HAS PROVIDED HEADACHES TO THE MANY NBA FAITHFUL FANS! BUT JUST TO LET OUR GMs IN THE GAME KNOW, HE CANNOT SIGN WITH ANOTHER TEAM UNLESS HE IS TRADED. HOWARD IS STILL UNDER CONTRACT. BUT IF YOU ARE THE TEAM TO WIN HIM OVER, YOU WILL RECEIVE A 6-FOOT-11 INCH, 265 POUND CENTER, A TERRIFIC SCORER, A DOMINANT REBOUNDER AND SHOT BLOCKER, A 6-TIME ALL-STAR, A 3-TIME DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR, AN NBA FIRST TEAMER AND DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAMER! IT’S ALL YOURS FROM NBA WHEEL & DEAL!!

Alright, you’ve heard about the grand prize and we’ve got more wheeling and dealing, including a deal that features Steve Nash, you come back for more NBA Wheel & Deal! WHY? Because the A-Train said so.

ANNOUNCER: NBA WHEEL & DEAL is sponsored by NO ONE! We’ll be back with more in a moment.

UPDATE: We have been informed to tell you that the rest of the broadcast has been cancelled! Apparently no one can make their mind about Dwight Howard, so we don’t care either. THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!

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