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News » RUMBLINGS 2009-03-13

RUMBLINGS 2009-03-13

RUMBLINGS  2009-03-13
Goalie Andrew Engelage of the Windsor Spitfires broke Steve Mason's Ontario Hockey League record for most wins in a season last night.

Engelage won his 46th game in a 5-1 win over the Plymouth Whalers to pass Mason, now a Blue Jackets rookie. Engelage has two games remaining before the regular season ends Sunday.

Engelage and Mason have something else in common besides the record: Neither was the first goaltender picked by their respective teams in the OHL draft. Engelage was selected in the 13th round in 2005, eight rounds after Windsor took Jake Fischer -- who is now with a different OHL team and injured. Mason went to London a year before in the 11th round after the Knights took Jason Guy in the sixth.

Guy, 20, is playing with Newmarket in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, after spending four seasons in the OHL. Mason, also 20, is the favorite for the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the top rookie in the NHL.

So far, new coach Robert Warzycha has impressed observers of the Crew's preseason practices more with what he hasn't done than what he has.

Rather than come in and try to put his stamp on a team that won the Supporters' Shield for best regular-season record and the MLS Cup last season, Warzycha has taken a mostly hands-off approach during practices. He observes but doesn't say much, at least as long as the sessions are going well.

This would seem to fit with the comments the former player and Crew assistant coach made when former coach Sigi Schmid left for Seattle, that it wouldn't make sense to try to fix things that aren't broken.

Veteran receiver Joe Jurevicius, due to make $2.4 million in the final year of a four-year deal he signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2006, said in a statement released through his agent that he was willing to take a "steep" pay cut before he was released this week. Jurevicius, 34, missed all of last season because of a staph infection in his right knee.

"(Coach) Eric (Mangini) and I have had extensive conversations with Joe and his representatives," Browns general manager George Kokinis said in a statement. "In the end, we were unable to reach an agreement that was in the best interests of both parties."

It seems likely that the Browns offered him the NFL minimum salary of $845,000 for veterans of 10 or more years, the same deal they offered offensive lineman Ryan Tucker.

The two smokestack towers in center field in Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati are up for sponsorship now that Coca-Cola is the official soft drink of the park. The towers were Pepsi blue, and now Coke isn't interested in sponsoring them.

The Reds reportedly are asking $200,000 for sponsorship of the stacks, which were built to remind fans of the city's steamboat past.

A Hennepin County, Minn., judge refused to allow former Brookhaven player Dominic Jones to return to Columbus for one day to participate in today's pro-day workout at Ohio State.

Jones, a former Minnesota Football player who was convicted in April of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for an incident with a drunken woman that was caught on a cell-phone video, was released after serving eight months in a workhouse, but he hasn't undergone treatment as a sexual offender.

Under NFL rules, former players are allowed to work out for scouts at their former school or in their hometown.

Assistant County Attorney Marlene Senechal, who heads the violent-crimes division, said Jones should not be permitted to go to Columbus because he is an "untreated sex offender" and his chances of playing in the NFL are "unrealistic."

In denying Jones' request, Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum said perhaps Jones would have another chance at a tryout after he has begun sex-offender treatment.

Mangini's restructuring of the Browns continues, although a Boston Globe report that he is having the video department in the team's Berea headquarters moved from the first to the second floor so that it is closer to the coaches' offices contains a disturbing aside. The newspaper reported that the move cost more than $500,000, "a significant price tag considering the Browns laid off nearly 20 employees this year."

Mangini also plans to have the locker room expanded, which will cut into the players' lounge.

Cleveland Indians catching prospect Carlos Santana has impressed observers with his arm and his bat in spring camp. He shows no hesitance to try to pick off runners at first or second and his throws are bulletlike and accurate.

Baseball America ranks him first among Indians prospects and the early look doesn't dispute that, but it's clear Santana still has some work to do behind the plate before he lands a job in Cleveland. Manager Eric Wedge demands a lot from his starting catcher, which means Santana will have to learn how to call a game, handle the pitching staff and be a leader on the field.

Santana is slated to open the season with double-A Akron but could be with the Clippers soon if he gets off to a good start. And his bat could force its way up to Cleveland before he is ready to be a big-league catcher.

Could the Cleveland Cavaliers make another run at Phoenix's Shaquille O'Neal this summer? That's what some NBA insiders think, particularly if Cleveland doesn't win the NBA title.

O'Neal is privately saying he wants out of Phoenix, and team owner Bob Sarver, facing a $77 million payroll and a $20 million luxury-tax bill, is open to the idea.

The Cavs still lack the size and inside game they need, and the Celtics have continued to use that to their advantage against LeBron James. Even after James' 45 points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last spring, Boston limited him to an average of 27 points and 36 percent shooting from the field in the series. In the three games this season, the numbers are 27 and 44, and Boston has won two of three.

If the Cavs don't win the title, O'Neal might be worth another look, and they will have more time to work out the details and weigh the ramifications of a deal.

Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 13, 2009

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