Word out of Dallas is that Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, is interested in owning part of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. He insists his interest is simply as a money guy, and he wouldn’t dedicate the same passion nor would he become as involved in the hockey operation as he has with the Mavs. But don’t think of this as a power play for Cuban to assemble a Dallas sports conglomerate. This is really a case of the maverick owner protecting his own interests. The Stars share the American Airlines Center with the Mavericks, and the new Stars owner will also take on a 50% ownership stake in the arena. Getting a seat on the Stars’ side of the table allows him to protect his interests with the Mavs and ensure there is no power play between the two organizations. Moreover, should he join in purchasing the Stars, expect Cuban to insist on a right of first refusal clause should there be another change in Stars ownership – once again, for protection. This would give him the power to buy out the Stars if it looks like they could fall into the hands of someone that would be counter to Cuban’s interests.
Despite the strictly financial motivation, it would be nice for the NHL to have Cuban in the fold. He would learn the game, express a passion, and maybe even generate a greater share of the public consciousness for the Stars.
A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Indianapolis Colts were the NFL’s equivalent of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs (when the Spurs were winning titles), in that both were machinelike winners. After the Colts’ dramatic loss to the New Orleans Saints last weekend, I am beginning to wonder if Indianapolis is actually more akin to MLB’s Atlanta Braves. The Braves won their division 11 straight years and 14 out of 15 seasons from 1991 to 2005. Similarly, the Colts have reached the postseason eight consecutive times and ten of the last 11 years. The Braves were led by businesslike stars who dominated the game, not unlike the Colts of recent vintage. Yet despite the way both teams re-wrote the record books, they each managed to win only one championship: Atlanta in 1995, and the Colts three years ago. (It could also be argued that both teams won their titles against opponents that weren’t exactly championship-worthy, but that’s another story.) If the Colts rebound and capture another Super Bowl in the next few years, this analogy will fade away, but until then, it’s a growing albatross around the neck of Peyton Manning and the entire Indianapolis organization.
Did you know the Winter Olympics get under way tomorrow?! It very well could be me, but there seems to be a distinctly ho-hum attitude about the Winter games. Let me begin by saying that I like the Olympics; I’m a die-hard hockey fan, and I enjoy the Olympic hockey tournament whether or not the Americans make a good showing. But this iteration of the Winter Olympics feels like it’s being fed to the public more than being anxiously consumed by us. We’re being confronted by profiles of hopeful American athletes in an effort to get viewers emotionally invested in their quest. I don’t know if it’s working with anyone else, but I’m more interested in watching a Dorito’s commercial than yet another Apolo Ohno tear-jerker. Maybe it’s because the U.S. is not considered favorites in some high-profile events. Perhaps the rise of the Saints will doom even the Olympics to a secondary story. I’m sure the excitement and interest will pick up come Friday’s opener, but right now, I’m just not all in… yet.