With 2 goalies hurt, a coach suits up for NHL’s Panthers
The Florida Panthers ran out of goaltenders in Tuesday’s game against Toronto. The problems began in the first period when Robert Luongo was stunned by a shot off his mask. He also was having trouble stretching his shoulder. At the first intermission he had a CT scan and changed into his street clothes, thinking he had the rest of the night off. But his replacement, Al Montoya, suffered a groin injury 22 seconds into the second period. With no one left to replace him, Montoya stayed in the game, albeit with two lengthy timeouts for trips to the locker room. Meanwhile, general manager Dale Tallon scrambled to sign the goaltenders coach, Robb Tallas, to a 24-hour player’s contract, even though he had not played pro hockey in nine years. During 2nd intermission, head coach Gerrard Gallant met with Luongo and the medical staff, which cleared the player to return to the ice. But who knew for how long? So Tallas, 41, was on the bench, in full uniform, to begin the final period. He was not needed, as Luongo heroically responded by stopping all 19 shots at him, though Florida still lost 3-2.
Dear Panthers: Hats off to you for showing prototype NHL toughness. But how many bullets did you dodge?
Vandy coach tells his player: ‘I’ll kill you’
Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings was caught on camera screaming to one of his players, Wade Baldwin, ‘I’ll f—ing kill you.” The coach was angry because Baldwin clapped in the face of a Tennessee forward, Armani Moore, after Vanderbilt won Thursday’s game 73-65. When a staffer informed Stallings of the incident, he pulled Baldwin out of the handshake line and berated him for his lack of sportsmanship. A few minutes later the coach apologized to Baldwin for his “inappropriate” behavior. After observing television replay of the Stallings tirade, some national media called for at least a one-game suspension of the coach, but Vandy’s athletics director, David Williams, said Stallings would not be suspended, though he called his behavior “unfortunate.” Baldwin tweeted that he has no hard feelings, that Stallings “is the best coach in America. We’re both fiery people.”
Nuggets chant ‘6 more weeks,’ eager to end season
Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw probably knew he would not be employed for long when he heard his players ending their huddle coming out of a timeout with “1-2-3, Six weeks.” They were, it appeared, counting down to the end of the season. Shaw was relieved of command on Tuesday after the team’s sixth consecutive loss and 19th in 21 games. Melvin Hunt, one of Shaw’s assistants, was named interim coach,
Justin Houston may hold out for most of next season
The Kansas City Chiefs have used their franchise tag on Justin Houston, which puts the All-Pro linebacker under contract for 2015 at a salary that will be around $13 million. However, sources close to Houston say he’s considering not joining the team until Week 10 as he tries to negotiate a long-term contract.
Josh McCown’s reward for 1-10 record: $15 million
Josh McCown expects to become the Cleveland Browns’ 23rd starting quarterback in 15 years. He signed a three-year contract that will return him from $6.2 million to $14 million, depending on incentives. The numbers are surprising considering McCown’s mediocre 2014, when he threw 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Tampa Bay Bucs went 1-10 when he started. At 35 he’s hoping to regain the form he had the year before with Chicago, when as Jay Cutler’s backup he threw 13 TD’s to one pick. Perhaps the low point of his career came when he was sobbing in the media conference room after Tampa Bay’s 27-17 loss to Atlanta last season.
Andre Johnson will be leaving the Texans
After 12 years with the Houston Texans, the team’s all-time leading pass receiver will be traded, at his request. Johnson, who said he was not bitter, that it was “just business,” asked to be traded when he learned the Texans planned to replace him as a starter. Johnson’s production and efficiency dropped last season, when Pro Football Focus rated him as only an “average” receiver.
Sherrington: Signing Day as important as W’s in games
Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News had a perceptive take on the significance of recruiting-class evaluations: “There’s so much attention focused on where your class is ranked. . . . It’s just as important to win signing day as it is to win on the field, if just for the perception of success. I know this much: Art Briles hasn’t had a class in the last five or six years that’s ranked in the top 30, and he’s coming off back to back Big 12 titles and four wins in the last five years over Texas.”