Archive for October, 2010


What would Tousi say?

If you have managed to make it out to a Texas Stars game this year, you likely have witnessed the delightful return of the Mathieu Tousignant. Even if you aren’t a roster whiz, this kid is easy to spot with his trademark hockey smile (missing a tooth or two). Tousi, as he is affectionately referred to by fans, has been called a string of not so nice things by other teams. He is known as a pest, one of those mouthy players who knows how to get under the other guy’s skin, usually drawing a stupid penalty and giving the Texas Stars the man-advantage. We actually observed him talking to one of Peoria’s guys last night and commented on how it looked like they were laughing and joking, but what was actually being said was far from nice.

Last night someone at the Stars game told me about these shirts that a fan had made on Cafe Press and I wanted to share the link with you guys. It would be great to see these all over Cedar Park Center in support of our favorite chirper. I did not create these, nor do I get any sort of profit if you order one, just sharing something another fan did that I thought was cool. Rumor has it even Scott McCulloch now has his own Tousi shirt. Check it out on the Cafe Press sites here: http://bit.ly/Tousishirt (men) & http://bit.ly/Tousiwomenst (women).

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I really thought this jersey curse thing was funny the first couple of weeks. And even when I used it to my advantage – when I wore my Texans jersey and the Cowboys beat the Texans and when I wore my Chargers jersey and I jumped ahead in my Pick ‘Em Pool by choosing the Rams in the upset. But now, this is just getting ridiculous. 7 weeks, 7 jersey curses. To be fair, I must mention that the week the Cowboys played the Titans, I wore my Titans jersey only briefly and did not work that Sunday, so the curse was not in effect. However, every Sunday I have worn a jersey to work at Third Base, that team has lost. Sorry Cincy, I love my Shipley jersey and he had a great week! But the curse still prevailed.

FALCONS over BENGALS – Early in this game it looked like the Bengals were finished, but they rallied and were able to get close to winning this one. I’ve said all year that Cincinnati has one of the best receiving trios in the league and this week Carson Palmer had time to prove it. Shipley, TO and Ocho all got a touchdown each and Shipley had his first big game with 131 yards! Unfortunately for the Bengals, Roddy White carried the receiving load all by himself for the Falcons, Michael Turner had it going on the ground…and Cedric Benson still fumbles.

RAVENS over BILLS – This game made me want to throw things at the TV. The Bills shot out to a 21 point lead and then somehow the Ravens were able to score 24 unanswered points. Elite defense? Ravens got 505 yards past them…by the Bills. Granted the defense had two interceptions and Ray Lewis stepped up in OT and stripped the ball which led to a game-winning field goal for the birds, but the Ravens will not be going to the Super Bowl with performances like that. Fitzpatrick looks like he is finding his groove with his receivers. Aside from the two inceptions, he had a good game with 374 yards and 4 touchdowns. Fantasy owners across the US are scrambling to pick him up and hoping this week wasn’t a fluke.

STEELERS over DOLPHINS – This was another game that made me want to throw things…Really Dolphins? And really officials? No evidence as to who recovered the ball? Wow…Fins should have won this one. Tough battle on both sides of the ball and Henne didn’t even throw a pick.

CHIEFS over JAGUARS – KC is trying to prove to people that they are the real deal and their running game sure tells a story. Over 200 yards on Sunday and 3 touchdowns…Chiefs are getting it done on the ground. Jags were already behind the eight-ball as another team on their third quarterback and Todd Bouman actually held it together for 3 quarters, but after a pick on an attempted pass to Johnson, it seemed as though the Jaguars just fell apart.

COLTS over SAINTS – I would love to say this was a great story in which Colt McCoy triumphed and led his team to an amazing win over last year’s Super Bowl champs, but it really wasn’t. Drew Brees had an incredibly off day and threw four picks, which just killed the Saints. McCoy only passed for 74 yards and Hillis ran for a touchdown, but it was the Cleveland defense that really showed up to play on Sunday.

REDSKINS over BEARS – Poor Chicago fans. Other than the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup last year, it seems as they are most often disappointed by their sports teams. This week Jay Cutler passed a lot…to Redskins DeAngelo Hall. Hall had a banner day and picked off Cutler 4 times. Redskins offense was also wholly unimpressive with McNabb also getting picked twice. Ugly win for the Skins.

PANTHERS over 49ers – Good on the Panthers for getting their first win of the season. Not a bad return for Moore – 308 yards, 2 touchdowns, only one interception. 49ers are going to have to make some adjustments and hope that Alex Smith gets healthy soon.

BUCCANEERS over RAMS – I heard someone say after this win that the Bucs were one of the teams to beat. I will have to respectfully disagree. You are not a “team to beat” when over half of your total points are from field goals. Teams to beat know how to find the end zone. Josh Freeman is doing a good job leading the 4th quarter comeback though..this is his 5th 4th quarter rally of 7 victories.

TITANS over EAGLES – Kenny Britt was benched during the first quarter after a bar fight earlier in the week, but he came out in the second and had a career day, catching 3 touchdown passes from Kerry Collins. Maybe the secret to getting guys to perform is to sit them for a quarter..make them prove something? It worked for Braylon Edwards earlier in the season and now it has worked for Britt. Kevin Kolb and the Eagles were just flat on offense on Sunday and never really managed to get anything going…gotta keep those QB controversy fires burning!

SEAHAWKS over CARDINALS – Seahawks top the NFC West and do it by scoring five field goals against the Cardinals. That is certainly something to be proud of…yikes. You know who is looking super smart right now? Anquan Boldin who is at the Ravens, who caught a ridiculous touchdown pass this weekend. Definitely a good career move in hindsight.

PATRIOTS over CHARGERS – Wow..the Chargers continue to be the team that has all the tools to win and somehow can’t win games. The Patriots say they are going to be fine without Randy Moss, but I don’t know that I believe it. The Chargers should have won this game, but made a couple of blunders that cost them. Thankfully for my fantasy team, Philip Rivers continues to put up the big numbers despite the Chargers loss.

RAIDERS over BRONCOS – I was watching this game at Third Base with a guy who was a Raiders fan and I am not even sure he could believe it. Raiders put up the most points ever in the franchise’s 50-year history. Broncos defense apparently took the day off and let Oakland run all over the field. Jason Campbell played like a quarterback who had Gradkowski breathing down his neck and the Raiders just killed the Broncos. Unbelievable.

PACKERS over VIKINGS – File this one under “Who cares?” for me. A lot was made pre-game about Favre returning to Green Bay…he hasn’t been there in years now. If fans are still holding onto the glory days of the Brett Favre years at Lambeau they need to move on already. The team that won this game had the least interceptions..that is about it – Rodgers was picked off twice to Favre’s 3 interceptions. Childress was furious with the bad officiating but the league office said on Monday that if he would have challenged the Packers touchdown in the 2nd quarter by Quarless it would have been overturned. As a coach you have to make those calls.

GIANTS over COWBOYS –  How close this game was is a testament to how bad the Giants really are. Eli Manning is not a good quarterback. You can tell me all day long that he has a Super Bowl ring but that does not matter. Giants won that Super Bowl with defense and on the ground. Tony Romo is likely out for at least six weeks with a broken collarbone, but before the injury, the Cowboys were playing well. Funniest comment I heard, “I didn’t know Tony Romo played defense.” Because when he went off the field, so apparently did the rest of the team mentally. The sharp execution they had of the defense in the first was all but gone for awhile. Cowboys fans better start hoping for a new coach and a high draft pick…let’s lose the remainder of the games for the season. Seriously doubt that Jon Kitna will be able to turn this team around.

Jerry Jones came out AGAIN this week after a disappointing loss to Minnesota and said that Wade Phillips job was safe for the remainder of the season. Does the man every think that if you have to keep making this statement that maybe it shouldn’t be?

VIKINGS over COWBOYS – One of the announcers after the game said it was a great game played by both teams. I would have to disagree. This was more like a game of which team was the least awful. Both quarterbacks failed to impress and Dallas gets another stupid penalty for touchdown celebration. Although I’m a big fan of the Hook ‘Em and Roy Williams, why don’t we save the celebrating for after a game we actually win? On that note, I did hear that the Cowboys have decided to ban all touchdown celebrations for the rest of the season. Perhaps this is a step in the right direction, discipline-wise.

RAMS over CHARGERS – I won my Pick ‘Em pool this week because of this upset pick. Thank you jersey curse (still going strong six weeks into the season)! Chargers prove they definitely need Antonio Gates to win games and also that stats don’t always tell a story. The Chargers are ranked 1st in the NFL in offense and second in defense, yet their record is 2-4? Just does not seem logical.

PATRIOTS over RAVENS – Hard-fought AFC battle here…worst moment of the game? Being at a sports bar when one of the managers switched the television (during overtime!) to the 3 pm game. Major FAIL. While the Ravens defense was able to intercept Tom Brady twice, Deion Branch was able to step in the hole left by Randy Moss and the team was better for it. Wes Welker manages to talk smack on Randy Moss without actually talking smack and the Patriots machine rolls on. There is something to be said for a team without guys that act like stars and just play football. On a random note, Tom Brady needs to just cut his hair. Perhaps he’s hoping to take Troy Polomalu’s spot in the Head & Shoulder’s commercials?

STEELERS over BROWNS – Biggest success of this game? Colt McCoy is still alive and not injured. I think everyone was terrified for the rookie starting in Pittsburgh against one of the NFL’s toughest defenses this week. The fact that two of Cleveland’s quarterbacks are out with injuries says one can’t rely on the Brown’s O-Line to protect him. But the Longhorn QB survived, managed to throw for 281 yards and his first NFL touchdown. Pretty sure any NFL team would have been smart to pair up McCoy and Shipley but I think Colt definitely showed some promise in an awful situation on Sunday.

DOLPHINS over PACKERS – This was another pick that wasn’t popular in my Pick ‘Em league this week, but I went for it. After being embarrassed by the Pats at home last week I didn’t think the Dolphins would let this one get away from them. I am sure if the Packers defense were healthy this would have been a different game, but the Fins pulled it together and managed to squeak out an OT win.

TEXANS over CHIEFS – This was probably my favorite game of the week. Two teams stringing together some impressive offense and battling for the win. Both quarterbacks were solid, the running games were consistent and the defense stepped up and made a few plays here and there. This was almost one of those games where whoever had the ball last won.

GIANTS over LIONS – Lions are another team now on their third QB..sigh. Poor Detroit. Seems like they just can’t catch a break. Although they did have a big win last week, this Sunday was more familiar territory as the Giants flustered them and turnovers cost them the game. Steve Smith and Mario Manningham continue to make Eli look good, but it was the Giants running game that really stood out…Bradshaw had the yards, Jacobs had the TDs. My fantasy team thanks him.

EAGLES over FALCONS – I honestly think this “quarterback controversy” is making Philly a better team. Kolb came out this week and threw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs and is doing his best to make it difficult for Vick to win back the starting job coming off of injury. Even without DeSean Jackson (who went out after a ridiculous run-in with Falcon’s Dunta Robinson), Jeremy Maclin stepped up and scored 2 TDs.

SEAHAWKS over BEARS – Seahawks proved you really don’t have to be that great of a football team as long as you can get to the Bears’ quarterback and stop Matt Forte. Cutler was sacked 6 times by the ‘Hawks and Forte was held to just 11 yards. Seahawks played tough and even took out the Bears’ punter. Ugly win, but they got the job done.

SAINTS over BUCS – Why there is the Drew Brees that fantasy owners know and love!! Even with lots of offensive injuries, it looks like Brees has finally found a rhythm with guys that are filling those spots and the Saints just might be fine this season. What many were calling Super Bowl hangover might have just been getting to know a new team as that is essentially what Brees had to do after Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas were sidelined with injuries.

JETS over BRONCOS – Not to sound like a broken record, but I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The Jets are good. LT proves once again that he’s still a running back to be reckoned with and the Jets’ D is strong. Mark Sanchez still needs to get better as a quarterback and learn how to put the ball in the end zone, but this team is one that will go far. Aside from a Monday night loss to the Ravens, the Jets are winning games.

49ers over RAIDERS – 49ers get their first win!! Hooray!! After flashes of brilliance in their win last week, Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell showed why the Redskins mercilessly got rid of him this year. This game really left me wondering if the Raiders would ever be good. They have certainly had a string of quarterback mishaps and just general awful-ness. On the flip side, Alex Smith finally connected with Michael Crabtree and made the Niners offense look decent for a game.

COLTS over REDSKINS – Peyton Manning returned to form Sunday night and won a tough game for the Colts. The Redskins certainly had opportunities with three Colts turnovers in the second half, but weren’t able to put away the win. On the plus side for the Skins, Ryan Torain attempted to end Clinton Portis’s career in DC (does anyone else besides me think this is a good thing?) by putting up a 100 yard rushing game, complete with 2 touchdowns.

TITANS over JAGUARS – Don’t blame Vince’s injury on me…I wasn’t wearing the jersey!! Since I wasn’t, Titans win and Chris Johnson and the defense run all over the Jags. Random note…no one ever really talks about Titans tight end Bo Scaife, but he’s solid in that position. Was at Texas and is certainly one of his quarterback’s favorite targets. Hasn’t put up huge numbers, but has been a great option there for some yards. Hook ‘Em.

 

Driving into Dallas yesterday afternoon, I could swear my arm hairs were standing on end – just seeing the city skyline gave me goosebumps. It had been nine years since I was at American Airlines Center to see the Stars and what a night to come back. Mike Modano would be returning to the city and the arena that was his home for so many years, but he would be suited up for one of the Dallas Stars most hated rivals – the Detroit Red Wings.

Stepping into American Airlines Center, I was surprised to see so much red. I always knew the Wings were one of the Stars biggest rivals, but had no idea how many Red Wings fans showed up to Dallas when their team played. Of course, there were tons of Zetterberg and Datsyuk jerseys, but it wasn’t until I saw a #90 Modano jersey that it really hit me. Mikey Mo was no longer a Dallas Star after almost 20 years with the organization. Like many other hockey fans, Mike Modano was one of the reasons I started watching. In the late 90s the Stars were electric and seeing guys like Modano and Nieuwendyk remain a part of the organization for so long was really inspiring. Being there really took me back to a time when I first fell in love with hockey…the days when the “eagle” Eddie Belfour guarded the net for the Stars..days when the team won the Stanley Cup.

The opening video for the Stars however was a look at the future. With Mike Modano playing on the other side of the ice and Marty Turco up in Chicago, the Stars were a new team.  When the opening notes of Jay-Z and Rihanna’s “Run this Town” started playing and the images of the Stars players around the city of Dallas flashed across the screen, a new kind of chill ran through me. This was one of hope, of promise of uncertainty for the future. This was a team that, although it has a very capable captain in Brendan Morrow, looks to each other for success. From top to bottom of the roster, I feel like these players draw on each other’s experience and work to find ways to exploit the areas where each excels. And this is the kind of team that wins.

Of course when they put Mike up on the big screen with a “Thank you Mike,” and the crowd went to their feet, I could not help but hold back tears. Tears of joy? Sadness? I am not sure, but I was certainly overcome with emotion. Seeing his face and the emotions he was experiencing was just incredible. Mike Modano is one of the reasons I fell in love with the great sport of hockey and the Dallas Stars. This moment was more than worth the price of my ticket.

Dallas went on to win the game 4-1. When the Wings scored their first goal of the night, I got chills again when the crowd started chanting, “It just doesn’t matter.” Despite the love everyone felt for Modano, this night was really about the team, the future, these Stars. The win over the Red Wings put Dallas at 3-0 for the season..somewhere many thought they had no chance to be this year. While the Stars did lose their first game Monday night, they have already accomplished more than many believed they could. I have a feeling the Dallas Stars will continue to surprise people this year.

I suck as a QB – Week 5 NFL Wrap-Up

So this week I got distracted by a sport I don’t really even follow – baseball!! I went to watch the Texas Rangers game last night and honestly, I’ve been swept up in the magic that is playoff baseball. Never really had a dog in the fight so to speak, but guess I’m a Rangers fan by default since I love all of the other Dallas teams (except the Mavs ’cause I’m a Spurs fan)!! Not to mention, this past weekend was the Texas Stars opening weekend as well! I did get to catch a little NFL action though and watched my dreadful Cowboys lose to the Tennessee Titans…we’ll start with that one.

TITANS over COWBOYS – Does anyone else remember this same conversation with Jerry Jones we had last year? “Wade Phillips’ job is safe.” Why?!?! This team has extremely talented players on both sides of the ball, but lacks discipline.  I read somewhere this week that ESPN’s John Clayton said “Too bad there isn’t a penalty for excessive underachievement. The Cowboys would be flagged.” I’d like a do-over on the start to this season please. On the flip side, gotta be happy for my boy VY. He seems like he is finally getting more comfortable in the pocket and of course he’s always got the option to scramble. 2 TDS and no interceptions this week – congrats Vince! And good on you for throwing the “Hook ‘Em” sign in Dallas.

JAGUARS over BILLS – Two wins in a row for Jax?!  Kinda feel like David Gerrard’s got his groove back, even though he lacks options at receiver.  Gerrard was able to connect with Marcedes Lewis for two touchdowns though and the lowly Bills drop to 0-5. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…Bills needed a lot more than a QB change to turn this season around.

RAVENS over BRONCOS – This game was a lot closer than a lot of Ravens faithful thought it would be. Broncos’ QB Kyle Orton logged his 4th consecutive game with over 300 yards, but costly penalties and turnovers, combined with a Ravens running attack led by Ray Rice led to the Broncos defeat. Interesting to note that Joe Flacco had no touchdowns in the game.

COLTS over CHIEFS – Indy redeems itself after last week’s loss to Jacksonville and the Chiefs are no longer unbeaten. Honestly I’m glad the Chiefs lost one…the team wasn’t good enough to be 5-0 in my opinion and I was tired of hearing analysts talking about their unbeaten season. Peyton Manning appears to be in a funk the last few games though (sorry for you fantasy owners); he did not have one touchdown in this game, had an interception, but still threw for 244 yards.

REDSKINS over PACKERS – As a Cowboys fan, I hate, hate, hate that the Redskins are atop the NFC East right now. Things would only be worse if it were the Eagles, but either way…seeing the maroon and gold leading the East is awful and even worse now that Chris Cooley is not on my fantasy team thanks to a completely bunk trade.  The Packers defense is beaten up right now and Aaron Rodgers isn’t really doing much to hold his offense together. A last minute interception by LaRon Landry is what set up the game-winning field goal.

LIONS over RAMS – The Detroit Lions have spent this whole season being “this close” to winning a game, but have come up short each week. Against the Rams on Sunday afternoon, the Lions weren’t about to let that happen again. Shaun Hill came out swinging and threw for 3 touchdowns this week. Who woulda thought that Shaun Hill would be a killer fantasy QB this week?! Bradford is finally showing a few kinks in his armor after an injury to his favorite WR target Mark Clayton. It’s 1:44 am and OU still sucks.

BEARS over PANTHERS – I must be tired…reading that last paragraph and starting this one, the saying, “Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” jumped into my head..haha. Well, the Bears came back this week and took their team to 4-1. Actually, let me rephrase that..the Carolina Panthers are awful and Julius Peppers stuffed his former team’s quarterback with a ridiculously acrobatic interception.  The Bears are thanking Matt Forte for the win Sunday despite FOUR Todd Collins interceptions…Looks like Jay Cutler should be back this week. I am sure the team is relieved.

BUCCANEERS over BENGALS – Oh Carson Palmer. Get ready to experience the wrath of T.O. and OchoCinco. We all know what happens when these receivers are unhappy with their quarterbacks. I have a feeling Palmer is on a short leash and another game like Sunday is going to lead to a Bengals breakdown. 3 interceptions when you have this many talented guys on a team does not look good. However, the receivers need to take some of the blame on this one as well. Palmer had three balls dropped by wide-open receivers on third down opportunities and 2 of his 3 interceptions were in the hands of his receivers. I think the Bucs just might surprise a few people this year.

FALCONS over BROWNS – I’m torn about this Cleveland Browns team. It looks like due to injuries to both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace that Longhorn Colt McCoy will get his first NFL start this weekend. Great that he is getting an opportunity, but honestly, could it have been against anyone but the Steelers?! Praying for Colt..this will not be easy. Roddy White gets the game ball again this week after a 45 yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan and the Falcons are 4-1.

GIANTS over TEXANS – Giants defense how I love thee. You have kept me in my fantasy league and taken me to third place in the league after I tried unsuccessfully to quit.  New York completely shut down Arion Foster and the Texans running game and flustered Matt Schaub with 3 sacks, an interception and 2 forced fumbles. Even the return of Brian Cushing to the Texans couldn’t put enough pressure on Eli Manning and the Giants. Despite two interceptions, Manning threw for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Giants to victory.

CARDINALS over SAINTS – Without Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas the New Orleans Saints are falling apart. Drew Brees isn’t even putting up big numbers like last year because he doesn’t have a balanced offense like he did before. Arizona tried something new at quarterback, starting Max Hall (who?!?!) but he was less than effective in the game. The credit for the Cardinals win definitely goes to the defense as the team scored off an interception and a fumble.

RAIDERS over CHARGERS – Chalk this one up to another team who can put up the big stats but can’t win games. A big shout out to Phillip Rivers – my fantasy team thanks you! – unfortunately even 431 yards and 2 touchdowns can not keep the Chargers from losing.  Michael Huff (hook ’em) actually got to Rivers as he was leading a late drive, forcing a fumble and returning for a touchdown. Good on Jason Campbell coming in and leading the Raiders to two touchdown drives. I still believe that if the team shows faith in him he could be a better quarterback than he ever was with the Skins.

EAGLES over 49ers – The 49ers are like the Saints of two years ago..close, but no cigar. They have lost SO many games now that are separated by just a few points. Alex Smith had perhaps the most bi-polar game of any quarterback this week – flashes of brilliance after a tongue lashing by coach Mike Singletary, but also costly mistakes. Gotta be hard on the ego when the San Fran fans start chanting “We want Carr!” Kevin Kolb looked good in his return to the Eagles…expect this to be the quarterback controversy that lasts all season…Eagles are lucky they have got options.

JETS over VIKINGS – Without going into an extremely long rant about why I hate Brett Favre, Randy Moss and therefore the Vikings, I will just say I am very happy with the result of this game. The more the Jets keep winning, the closer I am to collecting on my $100 bet that they make the playoffs and the more Brett Favre keeps losing, the closer he is to retiring. The beginning of this game was SUPER BORING…field goal, field goal, field goal, field goal. Then Favre found some magic and tried to make it a game for awhile, but then he returned to his interception-throwing-self and the Jets capitalized and held on to the win. A little worrisome for the Jets though that Sanchez and company can’t seem to find the end zone.

A side note: some might say the jersey curse was broken this week, but I am not so sure. I wore my Vince Young jersey from 11 am until 2:30 pm and then again from the third quarter until the end of the game.  Texas Stars hockey opened their season in San Antonio on Sunday afternoon and I was at the game, wearing my Stars jersey. Not only did I not have my jersey on the entire game, but I wasn’t working at Third Base on Sunday. Stay tuned…I’m going with Phillip Rivers (crossing my fingers this does not kill my fantasy team) on Sunday and Vince Young on Monday night.

Texas Stars game meet up planned!!

So I’ve gotten my awesome ticket rep, Chris O’Brien to put together a group for us to attend the Texas Stars home game on Friday, October 22nd at 7:30 pm. If any of you are able to make it up to Cedar Park earlier, we typically happy hour at Buffalo Wild Wings, located at Hwy 1431 & Hwy 183A.   The Stars began their season on the road this year with a 3-0 win over rival San Antonio Rampage and they will be facing the Lake Erie Monsters on the 22nd.  The block of seats is limited but will be luxury seats in Section 101 & 102, which are right next to each other on the end where the Texas Stars shoot twice.  My regular seats are slightly lower in this section, but you can get a good idea from the photo of me here where the seats are in relation to the ice. Fun times for sure!!

The normal price of these seats is $20, but we are getting them at a group rate of less than $16.00. You can purchase them online via the Ticketmaster link here, just use the promo code DANN. If you have any issues, you can contact Chris directly at 512-600-5008.  Seats are limited and must be purchased by October 21st.  Please comment here once you have purchased tickets so I can keep tabs on the size of our group, as there is a chance it can be expanded if necessary. Also, if you are coming from downtown Austin, please feel free to use the comments section below to arrange carpools. I KNOW Cedar Park is far, but it is not so bad if you ride with a friend!!

**Also, forgot to mention that every Friday night at Cedar Park Center is 3-2-1 night!!! $3 domestic 12 oz draft beers, $2 regular sodas and $1 hot dogs. Also, the Texas Stars just launched their new merchandise website at http://texasstarsgear.com so get yourself geared up before Friday!!

Week 4 NFL Wrap-up

Welcome to October!! The only month I can support pink in the sport of football (Jessica Simpson and her pink #9 Romo jersey can stay away)! It was great to see the guys out there this weekend supporting breast cancer awareness and rocking the hot pink shoes, gloves, wristbands and skull caps. Cowboys had a bye this week and yes, unfortunately the jersey curse lives on! I wore my brand new Jordan Shipley Bengals jersey this weekend…Bengals lose to the Browns and Jordan Shipley is the victim of a nasty hit that sidelined him with a concussion. Call your bookie or go to Vegas – Cowboys play the Titans next week, Vince Young jersey it is.

JETS over BILLS – No surprises here. The Bills are still struggling and the Jets defense looks good even with Revis out with a hamstring injury. Mark Sanchez looked good in the victory, but Sunday was all about the ground game. Shonn Green had 117 yards and LaDainian Tomlinson finally had his coming out party for the Jets – 133 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards and 2 TDs. Go LT.

RAVENS over STEELERS – Tough matchup of the week – two strong defenses and an AFC rivalry like no other. Neither offense was particularly impressive in the victory, both QBs had an interception, mediocre statistics. Both teams ground out the running game and honestly, this game could have gone either way.

BRONCOS over TITANS – Well, the Broncos did what was necessary to squash the Titans – shut down Chris Johnson. Fantasy owners everywhere cringed as Johnson only racked up 53 yards and no TDs this week. The Titans managed a strong defensive game with 6 sacks and an interception, but Kyle Orton threw for 353 yards and a kickoff blunder by Marc Mariani (who previously had a 98 yard return for a touchdown) put the Broncos ahead to win the game.

PACKERS over LIONS – If the Lions could have done a better job of scoring touchdowns rather than four consecutive Jason Hansen field goals, they would have won this game. Aaron Rodgers and Shaun Hill both had two interceptions in the game, but otherwise put up good numbers – 3 touchdowns/181 yards for Rodgers, 2 touchdowns/331 yards for Hill. The Lions fall to 0-4 for the season. Coach Jim Shwartz was quoted as saying, “This team doesn’t need me to stand up here and say how close we are. I think it’s obvious to anybody that watches our game, anybody that follows us, the people in the locker room, everyone else. It’s our job to get over the hump. We’re right on it, we just can’t get over the hump.” Close is only good in horseshoes Jim, not football.

FALCONS over 49ers – The 49ers are another 0-4 team that seems close to their first win, but they didn’t get it Sunday against the Falcons. While the offense on both sides of the ball really couldn’t get it together it was WR Roddy White that made a game-changing play on defense. After the 49ers Nate Clements intercepted Matt Ryan’s pass late in the fourth quarter, White chased him toward the end zone and knocked the ball out, forcing a fumble and keeping the drive alive.

SAINTS over PANTHERS – If the story last week was that kickers suck this year, this week a few people definitely managed to turn that around. Saints re-signed 46-year old John Carney and he knocked three field goals through the uprights this week to give the Saints the win. I was quite amused at the number of people in the bar Sunday that were crying over the fact that Garrett Hartley was their kicker and obviously was replaced. Come on people, watch the news, make pickups accordingly. I’m pretty sure no one drafted John Carney this year. Saints offense is still looking a little sluggish, but they managed to get it done.

RAMS over SEAHAWKS – Oh Seahawks. Last week they were riding high after their victory over the Chargers, but this week it looked like last week was a fluke. The Rams trounced them 20-3 and Sam Bradford once again looked like the quarterback the Rams paid the big bucks. Steven Jackson also played with a groin injury and proved to doubters that there is no crying in football.

JAGUARS over COLTS – Who would have thought the Colts and Jags would both be 2-2 at this point in the season? Likely not Peyton Manning. This one was an offensive battle that capped off with one of the best celebrations I have ever seen by a kicker. Josh Scobee went absolutely nuts after nailing a 59-yarder for the victory. Another one of those statements by the kicker this week that said “We don’t suck.” On a side note, David Gerrard also didn’t suck this week – 2 receiving touchdowns and one rushing.

TEXANS over RAIDERS – I’m not sure why Arion Foster was benched at the first of this game (dude, whatever you did to make coach mad, just stop), but he sure came back and tried to convince the Texans it was a mistake. Foster is having a breakout year so far and is adding another dimension to Matt Schaub’s air attack.

CHARGERS over CARDINALS – Oh boy do I love having Philip Rivers as my fantasy quarterback. Consistency is key and the Chargers ROLLED over the Cardinals Sunday afternoon. Rivers had 241 yards and 2 touchdowns and Antonio Gates again showed Vincent Jackson that he is the team’s top receiver…even though he’s a tight end. Gates caught two touchdown passes and logged his 500th career reception. The Cardinals? Yeah they are just awful.

BROWNS over BENGALS – Gotta blame this one on the jersey curse. Terrell Owens had a career day with 222 yards and one touchdown, Carson Palmer had 371 yards and two touchdowns and the Browns had a costly penalty. However, the Browns were determined to win this one and fate was determined to continue the curse. Jordan Shipley was also sidelined with a concussion as a result of what Palmer and Owens would later characterize as a “cheap shot” by rookie safety T.J. Ward.

GIANTS over BEARS – Ugh. This was an ugly game, ugly win for the Giants, but you have got to give it up for the Giants defense. They racked up 10 sacks and an interception – poor Jay Cutler.

PATRIOTS over DOLPHINS – The first half of this game was what I expected – a tough battle between two balanced teams in what I think is the best division in the NFL right now. The second half? Not so much. The Pats special teams ran away with this one – a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and a kickoff return for a touchdown led to the second half slaughter of the Dolphins.

While I am sure the recent personalization of my Texas Stars jersey is going to land me on Puck Daddy‘s Jersey Fouls post, I can honestly say I am very happy with the way it turned out. I bought my Texas Stars jersey last spring when I moved back to Austin after a four-year stint in our nation’s capital. Hungry for hockey after falling in LOVE with the Washington Capitals, I returned to my roots and decided to check out the Dallas Stars’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Austin…the Texas Stars. Having never watched AHL hockey, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that the game is just as exciting as watching the big club. Some of these players bounce back and forth between the AHL and NHL clubs and often are traded around to fill in gaps on the parent clubs rosters throughout the season.

For this reason, it’s very hard to remain “player loyal” in the AHL.  I feel terrible for the merchandise team as they are constantly struggling to figure out who the “hot” player of the moment is, often only to fill t-shirt orders just in time to see a player traded or called up to the big club. The Texas Stars don’t sell their jerseys with numbers or names on them for this reason. Personalization is not cheap and jerseys have to be shipped off to Frisco to be embroidered, but fans are permitted to customize a jersey pretty much however they wish.

During last season’s Calder Cup run, I had a few favorite players for the Stars – forwards #14  Jamie Benn (who I KNEW would be headed back to Dallas this fall), #11 Aaron Gagnon (who I figured had a decent shot with the big club), #27 Greg Rallo (who I hoped would be back, but knew was on a one-year deal with Texas) and goalie #33 Matt Climie (who I would have placed bets would be gone Day 1 of free agency after the stellar playoff run he had). I was hesitant to commit to a number/player’s name for my jersey because I didn’t want it to be outdated in less than a year and honestly wanted it as a memory of our storybook first season in the AHL.

So, the solution? Make it mean something to me. The spring of 2010 was when I first started covering Texas Stars hockey forExaminer.com. Many will argue that Examiner is not a legitimate news outlet and honestly, I can’t say that I truly disagree. I don’t have an Editor, I don’t get assignments, and I don’t have deadlines. However, I write in the journalistic style of a major news outlet and I believe I give the Texas Stars some of the best coverage out there. Rather than simply regurgitating press releases, I write my own stories and look for my own twists on things. As a result of this coverage and my connection to social media, I was able to connect with agent Scott Norton of Norton Sports via Twitter, who represented Matt Climie of the Texas Stars. Climie was about to face a difficult free agency period and I wanted to do a profile piece on him.  Norton was nice enough to hook up this rookie journalist with an interview and as a result, I wrote one of my best pieces to date. So that is why the #33 – first ever exclusive interview and true turning point for me where I knew that there was no option for me but a career in sports.

As for the name, I didn’t want to do Climie for two reasons. First, there are enough female Texas Stars fans who swoon over him I was afraid I’d totally give the wrong impression. Remember, I’m not a puck bunny!! Second, I knew he would be gone as soon as free agency started. Instead, I decided to go with the name that now almost 1,000 Twitter followers and hundreds of readers at Examiner.com know me by: TXSTARSGIRL. It’s the end of my bit.ly link and my Twitter handle and I knew that no matter what I went on to do in sports, this was always going to be the true beginning.

So what does the future hold for me? I still don’t know. I have applied for several jobs around the NHL and AHL, but still haven’t landed the perfect one. I’m holding out for a sales/marketing/PR type job and have realized that I just don’t want to settle. In the meantime, I am still bartending at Third Base downtown and writing. I’ve picked up a couple of new mostly unpaid writing gigs, which I’ll be talking more about soon. They will be added to my “Blog Roll” here as well in time. Thanks to all of you that read…I have really enjoyed connecting with new fans and friends this year.