Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Ok, everything is finally official. Bill McDonald is the new coach of the Scorpions, and Pat Dunn is back in Corpus Christi (where, incidentally, the Rayz are in the hiz-ouse. So cheer up, Hidalgo -- it could have been "Killer Beez").
Anyway, now we know why a formal announcement took so long: it's harder to get Ken Hitchcock on the phone than it is to get Keith Primeau and Mark Recchi scoring goals.
The bottom line, with sports as well as The Sopranos is, "it's just business." Doug Frank, Mark Adams and Bill McDonald made this deal happen in a perfectly straightforward manner -- no tampering charges, and apparently, no buyout -- which is how you know, despite his glowing PR comments, that Adams did it while whistling a happy tune -- he probably would have paid for the movers too.
Obviously Macker thought long and hard about it, and unlike Dennis Franchione, he was up front with his players. So in the end, the only people entitled to bitch about things are those 18 guys, and the Lubbock fans.
In the big picture, even if the whole thing feels a little bush league, or at least bizarre (imagine if Dave Tippett had quit the Stars to take over the Sharks), the good outweighs the bad. Two important CHL markets have been stabilized. The healing can begin, not just in Corpus Christi, but in Albuquerque, where Frank and his staff can now go full-bore rebuilding what was once the WPHL's second-best city (before the double-gauge damage of indifferent owners and the Martino cap scandal).
And now for the even bigger picture (warning: complete guesswork follows). First, check out one of my very first blog entries, back when Austin and the Dallas Stars were bound for Cedar Park.
Ok, now digest these quotes:
Down the road, I want to be a AAA developmental league -- Frank, when the Scorps' deal with Phoenix was announced.
The big thing is, they want me to get out and really try to get a full-fledged affiliation - McDonald, Saturday.
Now consider that Jim Lites, one of the movers and shakers behind the Phoenix deal, is back at his old gig with the Stars. And that New Mexico's press release went waaayyy out of the way to play up Macker's Dallas ties. It's not like everybody doesn't know about 'em. Sure, the Hitch quote was a nice touch, but do we really need to know what Les Jackson thinks?
We know the Stars need a place to put their prospects in 2004. So never mind Cedar Park, and forget about OKC -- who's to say New Mexico won't go AHL, or form the cornerstone of a Global Entertainment/ICC-backed "AAA" league? All that talk about what a great opportunity this was for Macker, how he simply couldn't turn it down? Maybe it wasn't about titles, money or authority. Maybe it's about something much, much bigger.
The CHL pace must have looked easy to Mike Gaffney after his two-game call-up: 2Gs, 1A, +4, OT-winner. Wow!
Didn't I just say Gunner ought to get in goal? (link courtesy of TFR).
You know things are bad for the Rangers when they pick up one of the Flyers' most pathetic cast-offs.
How 'bout Ilya Kovalchuk, who had this to say about Craig McTavish: "He was the last one to play without a helmet; so he had his brains knocked out long ago." Had enough brains to play defense though.
One correction to the Albuquerque Tribune story, Macker was not the 2001 WPHL Coach of the Year, that was the other guy with white hair. McKee, McDonald and Brent Hughes did tie for first in the Best of the Best, however.
Not sure if I really believe this, but I'm gonna go with my heart and a hunch: Flyers 4, Stars 3
R.I.P., Wild Bill.