Archive for November, 2009

Forbes unkind to Thrashers, Falcons (UPDATED)

This has nothing to do with hockey, but it sums things up nicely. That was Billy Knight not shaking Steve Belkin's hand.

This has nothing to do with hockey, but it sums things up. That's former Hawks GM Billy Knight not shaking Steve Belkin's hand.

(UPDATE FROM ATLANTA SPIRIT’S MICHAEL GEARON BELOW.)

This might seem like a random question: But do you care what your sports franchises are worth?

I ask because Forbes Magazine just came out with NHL franchise values, and the Thrashers are ranked 29th out of 30 teams — and the only team behind them is the Phoenix Coyotes, who went into bankruptcy in May and are now operated by the league.

Forbes values the Thrashers at $143 million. “The owners of the Atlanta Thrashers [who also control the NBA's Hawks] have spent more time fighting with each other than their hockey team has with its opponents,” the article states. “The franchise has been forced to give bundles of tickets away to fill seats.”

The magazine, in a financial breakdown of the team,  later references the lawsuits between the Atlanta Spirit owners, saying: “A nasty and continuous legal …

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DeAngelo Hall feels ‘disheartened’ by lack of support (darn)

It's so unusual for DeAngelo Hall to call attention to himself.

It's so unusual for DeAngelo Hall to call attention to himself.

DeAngelo Hall apparently isn’t feeling the love in the Washington Redskins’ locker room. There’s a shock.

Amid the news that Washington’s LaRon Landry and Albert Haynesworth said they have been fined for their roles in last Sunday’s mini-rumble between the Falcons and Redskins, Hall — who sparked the incident when he followed Landry to the Falcons’ sideline — said on a radio show that he was “disheartened” that more teammates didn’t come to his rescue.

“I can’t speak for those other guys that’s out there on the field, but whoever’s out there with me, I’m ready to go to battle for ‘em,” the Washington Post quoted Hall as saying on “The Lavar Arrington Show” (radio station 106.7 The Fan). “That’s just how I am, whether it’s a verbal sparring or a physical sparring, I’m always ready to mix it up. And to see those guys kind of linger over there, yeah, I don’t know what was going through their minds.”

Oh, I don’t know. …

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Braves should pursue a trade for Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez hit 40 home runs last season for San Diego.

Adrian Gonzalez hit 40 home runs last season for San Diego.

The last time the Braves made one of those, “The future is now,” trades, John Schuerholz sent a bundle of prospects to the Texas Rangers for Mark Teixeira.

Didn’t work out. Teixeira wasn’t the missing piece for a World Series team. He wasn’t even the missing piece for a second-place team.

Here’s another chance to get it right. I don’t know if the Braves are one player away from playing for a championship. But Adrian Gonzalez gets them closer than any other player they could acquire. Economics may force the San Diego Padres to trade the All-Star first baseman.

There is no downside to getting Gonzalez, other than whatever/whoever it is the Braves would have to send San Diego in a trade. But here’s the upside:

♦ He gives the Braves the power hitter and run producer their lineup desperately needs. His home run totals have consistently increased — from 24 to 30 to 36 to 40. Last year, he also drew 119 walks. With a.277 …

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Johnson has no reason to leave Tech for Notre Dame

Paul Johnson has been an immediate success at Tech, and that makes him attractive to other schools. (Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com)

Paul Johnson's immediate success has caught the attention of other schools. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Sports writers have a reputation for being cynical. I have no problem with that. The first high school football game I covered 33 years ago, the losing coach said, “Either we’re the worst football team in the league or I’m the worst coach.”

The next day, he denied it. Called me a liar. Eventually, he came clean. I felt like Bob Woodward. But it follows that every interview since has to pass through a trust filter. And when a coach says,  “I’m not taking another job,” my first reaction is, “Did you ever coach at Hamilton High School?”

But I’m going out on a limb here: I believe Paul Johnson. He says he is happy and looking to stay at Georgia Tech, possibly forever. He says he is different, that his ego does not lead him through the marquee job classifieds like so many others. And when he says it, his nose doesn’t grow.

Johnson’s work at Tech is getting national recognition. There’s …

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Countdown: Stafford-C.J. tiff, Sosa’s face and D-Hall’s pal

His eyes are clear. And he's watching you.

Count: Mistakes don't compute.

As a general rule, The Count would rather not discuss the Detroit Lions. It goes back to one of those locker room spats that’s supposed to stay in the locker room — but, you know, the undisciplined rookies, Grover and Elmo just had to Twitter something.

Any way, The Count made some crack about the way Oscar smelled, and then Oscar called him an arrogant, winged rat face, and then The Count told Oscar he was so dumb he probably couldn’t even think of a math equation, and then  Oscar said, “Oh yeah? I dare you to add up how many draft mistakes the Detroit Lions have made.”

That’s when The Count said he had a migraine and stormed off, mumbling something about Joey Harrington, Drew Stanton and Chuck Long. But this latest news from WoeTown has strong local ties. And so, we count down.

10. Stafford and Johnson mixing like Dogs and Jackets?

The Lions can't rehab if these two don't get along.

The Lions can't rehab if these two don't get along.

Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are two former college …

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Experts say Tech has about hit the ceiling in BCS

The Jackets have had a lot to celebrate this season, including Josh Nesbitt's (9) winning touchdown against Wake Forest. (Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com)

The Jackets have had a lot to celebrate this season, including Josh Nesbitt's (9) winning touchdown in overtime against Wake Forest. (Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com)

When the first BCS standings were released about three weeks ago, I put together a checklist of what I thought it would take for Georgia Tech to climb from No. 12 to No. 2 and, therefore, make it into the national championship game.

You can click the above link, but I’ll boil it down for you here: 1) Don’t lose another game; 2) Hope a lot of other teams lose games. Simple.

Some of that has happened. It’s why the Jackets now rank seventh. But according to the nation’s two foremost BCS experts, Brad Edwards and Jerry Palm, seventh is about as high as they’re going to go.

When I spoke to both in separate interviews, each also said they could foresee a scenario in which either No. 1 Florida or No. 2 Alabama lost a game to fall back in the rankings, then won the SEC championship to leapfrog Tech again. The reason: …

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DeAngelo Hall gets pounded in court of public opinion (duh)

If DeAngelo Hall is serious about complaining to the NFL about that big meanie, Falcons coach Mike Smith, there’s something he may want t0 know: Character witnesses will be in short supply.

Hall’s reputation as a talented but underachieving selfish malcontent precedes him. And you would be hard-pressed to find anybody around the NFL to say a bad word about Smith. Here’s a sampling of follow-up comments, with links, from Sunday’s sideline incident during the Falcons-Washington game:

MIKE SILVER, YAHOO! SPORTS:

“Is [Hall] experiencing problems with the imaginary friend who lives in his helmet? That’s my theory after he capped a ridiculous week by starting a bunch of drama on the Falcons’ sidelines in his team’s 31-17 defeat at the Georgia Dome on Sunday, then had the gall to whine that Atlanta coach Mike Smith had “put his hands on me in a harmful way.” Cue the violins. I’ve repeatedly watched the video of the incident, which began after Redskins safety LaRon Landry put a late …

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Smith leads Falcons in game — and rumble against Hall

This look says it all: Mike Smith is not a man to be messed with (AP photo).

This look says it all: Falcons coach Mike Smith is not a man to be messed with (AP photo).

If talent alone determined success, DeAngelo Hall would be destined to have a bust of his head stuck on a shelf in Canton, instead of his actual head so obviously being stuck somewhere else.

If football was a game determined by things other than character, work ethic and certainly leadership, we could debate who had the better the team Sunday, the Falcons or the Washington Redskins. Fortunately, Mike Smith doesn’t have to ask that question.

The Falcons responded to their first two-game losing streak under Smith by doing what good teams do. They beat a bad team. They left them doubled-over. They jumped out to a 24-3 lead over one of the NFL’s bottom-feeders, and when the Redskins showed signs of actual football, they responded accordingly. They won, 31-17. Next?

There was never a doubt. Why? Because the Falcons don’t set up as a crumbling act. It’s the way general manager Thomas …

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We’re live from Falcons (and it’s time to kick around Skins)

Dan Snyder is smiling. Why? Because the game hasn't started yet.

Dan Snyder is smiling. Why? Because the game hasn't started yet.

Even at a relatively pedestrian-looking 4-3, the Falcons have succeeded in one area this season: They’ve won the games they should win.

Their three losses this season have all come on the road and all against good-to-great teams: New England, Dallas, New Orleans.

Today, they don’t play a good team. They play a punch line.  The Washington Redskins have devolved into the Richard Nixon

The Redskins' next offensive coordinator, Richard Nixon.

The Redskins' next offensive coordinator, Richard Nixon. (He once wrote a play for George Allen that resulted in a 13-yard loss.)

of sports jokes in D.C.

Seriously, is there anybody who hasn’t cracked a joked about owner Dan Snyder? One day, it’s easy to envision him selling the team and waving goodbye from the tarmac, just before he disappears into a helicopter. “You won’t have Snyder to kick around any more,” he’ll say.

The Redskins are 2-5. Their only wins have come over St. Louis (1-7) and Tampa Bay (0-7). They’re two losses away …

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Georgia’s win proves team at least still has a pulse

Coach Mark Richt told his players to "represent the G" on their helmets. They did that Saturday, albeit against a 1-AA opponent. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Georgia coach Mark Richt told his players to "represent the G" on their helmets. They did that Saturday, albeit against a 1-AA opponent. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@AJC.com)

ATHENS — With no drama, limited glory and those throwback helmets and jerseys from yesteryear — both were red — the Georgia Bulldogs reacquainted themselves with a forgotten corner of the universe Saturday. They dominated an opponent.

Now, maybe an SEC team beating Tennessee Tech 38-0 doesn’t prove a whole lot, except possibly what you hoped did not need reaffirming: The Dogs would rule in the Ohio Valley Conference.

But with the season having veered off in that unfortunate direction toward Shreveport — and what was the Capital One Bowl doing with press box credentials, anyway? — and ugly losses to Florida and Tennessee in the rearview mirror, and blogs, message boards and sports talk radio morphing into giant blast furnaces, is there even a trace of solace knowing that this team still has a pulse?

“It …

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