Three quick things for you on New Year's Day.
1) - I am so happy for Brenden Morrow. The fact that he has made team Canada just over 12 months since he blew out his knee is a great accomplishment. You have to understand how much it means to him. He told us yesterday on the radio that he has been thinking about this day ever since he hurt his knee, and it has been his driving force. He is clearly committed to Dallas Stars hockey and all that means, but you have to understand the boyhood dream of playing for Canada when you grow up there watching Gretzky and Lemieux represent the country. You want to do the same. He finally will get that chance in February, and I am very pleased for him. Often times we hear about how athletes are not excited about making an all-star team or some other honor as if nothing matters to them but a paycheck. I bet if you asked Brenden to write a check to be on his Olympic team, he would be more than happy to write a big, big number. He won't have to. Congrats to him, even though I will be rooting for the USA if they square off.
2) - On to Thursday night, and the New Years' Eve tradition of Dallas Stars hockey, that saw the Stars win their 2nd straight game (wow!) and the first 12/31 hat-trick since Joe Nieuwendyk did it almost a decade ago against the New York Rangers. And now, Loui Eriksson is tied to Joe for 2 reasons. 1) the hat-trick distinction, and 2) that Joe stuck his neck out and signed Eriksson to a long term deal right before the season began. So much of running an NHL team these days is the business side of things, and there is no doubt that the Stars did themselves a favor by locking him up. We all know that money is tight these days and to have Eriksson locked down allows a little less stress. I love Loui's game, and this week it has been on full display. I wonder if his roster spot for Team Sweden has put a little more pep in his step. He has been all over the ice with great contributions in every situation. I absolutely love his development and his upside for years to come.
3) - New Years Day brings us the Winter Classic, and wow. Again it delivered. Boston wins in overtime, but the NHL and the great fans of this sport are the big winners. I cannot tell you how delighted I am to see the NHL get something so right. Name something that has been added to the Sports calendar in the last 20 years that you would rate above the Winter Classic. I can't come up with anything. All of our sports traditions in this country are 50+ years old. But, this, basically New Years Day of 2008 in Buffalo (with all due respect to Edmonton-Montreal back years before that) is now something that has filled the void when college football decided it would play its New Years games for a week afterwards. The setting is magical, whether it is at Wrigley or Fenway or somewhere else. I know the league is thrilled, and I have yet to miss a shift of any of the 3 games. Cannot wait until next year, and I dream of a game in Minneapolis, when the Stars and the Wild can hook up in the elements. Just not sure if they have an outdoor stadium that would be suitable. Is the New Twins stadium ready to roll? Otherwise, I know Denver, Detroit, New York, and about a half-dozen Canadian cities are ready to roll. This is a golden find by the NHL.
3 in a row Saturday afternoon? Let's do this.
Email Bob at Sturm1310@aol.com and follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/bobanddan
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