Sunday, December 26, 2010

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE FROM NWS

A blizzard warning is in effect until 6 PM Monday. A blizzard warning means that:

  • Heavy snow and strong winds. There will be blowing and drifting of snow at times with near 0 visability.
  • Acumulations of near 15-20 inches, with higher acumulations of near 2 feet  possible.
  • Extremely dangerous travel conditions this afternoon and heading into the evening due to significant snow acumulations. Strong winds will cause blowing and drifting of snow. Vizabilities will be near zero at times with whiteout conditions expected. Stong winds may blow down power lines, tree limbs and christmas decorations.
  • Snow will become heavy at times this afternoon and much into tonight. The snow will taper off west to east Monday morning, but strong northeast winds will persist into the afternoon.
  • During the height of the storm tonight, winds will increase to 25 to 35 MPH with gusts up to 40 or 60 MPH.
Here are some tips to be prepared for a blizzard:

A blizzard warning means that severe winter conditions are expected or happening. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visabilitys are likly. This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. DO NOT TRAVEL. If you must travel, take a winter survial kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT FROM THE NWS

For the following Counties in NY: Bronx county,  Hudson, Kings, Brooklyn, New York, Northeast Suffolk, Northern Nassau, Queens, Northwest Suffolk, Richmond, Southeast Suffolk, Southern Nassau, Southern Westchester, Southeast Suffolk, and Western Suffolk


For the following counties in Conneticut: Northern New London, Southern Fairfield, Southern Middlesex, Southern New Haven,and Southern New London

Forthe following counties in NJ: Eastern Bergen, Eastern Essex, Eastern Union, Western Essex, and Western Union


Bands of heavy snow will continue to impact Long Island and will move into the NYC area, Costal Conneticut and Long Island. At 2:06 Pm EST, NWS Doppler Radar was tracking bands of heavy snow moving northwest at 20 MPH. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hourand winds gusting up to 35 MPH. Visabilities of 1/4 and 1/2 miles are expected with the snow with near blizzard conditions developing. Motorists should avoid all unessasary travel and exercise extreme caution if you must travel.

A blizzard warning remains in effect.

Special Weather Report


 The Picture to your above shows the winds for today. Winds are supposed to be over 25 MPH.
This Picture shows the snowfall amounts forcasted for today. We expect 10-15 inches today with more tomorrow.


(The picture to that says current winds shows the gusts expected for today. The other picture shows the snow in the city as of 1:52 PM today.)

Good afternoon, I'm Brandon J. with this special weather report. The storm has made a direct hit at us, so expect the snow totals to be very high. According to the pictures that i have here, the storm is going to hang around for another 24 hours and mabye even more. Doppler 4000 shows that the rain and ice is ataying off shore and all we will get is snow. Expect 12-16 inches or more for all the snow lovers out there. But remember, the snow can change track at anytime and we can get more or less than what i have projected. For more info, check our radar, 7-day forcast, YoWindow and AccuWeather.com widgets for tracking the storm. I'm Brandon J. and have a good day.
The picture to the left shows the Severe Weather Alerts for the northeast. The picture above shows thw wind chills for today.

Alternate Side Parking Rules are Suspended on Monday, December 27

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) in conjunction with the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) today announced the suspension of Alternate Side Parking (ASP) regulations Citywide for Monday, December 27 to facilitate snow removal. However, parking meters will remain in effect throughout the City.


The 2010 and 2011 alternate side parking (street cleaning) rules suspension calendars are available on the DOT Web site, along with other alternate side parking information, at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/scrintro.shtml. The calendar is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.

For updated information, visit the DOT Web site at www.nyc.gov/dot or call 311.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Lady Obama visits PAL in NYC

New York- It's not every day that right across the street from your school, the first lady of the United States comes to visit PAL. So the first lady came for some important reason, and they had to close the street. I know for a fact that you can not have the president or first lady here in the city without the secret service, hungrands of police officers, and at least 1 news van. I personally wasn't able to go to this big event, but my freinds did. That is how i managed to get this photos(courtesy of Juliette Soumah). So when the first lady comes near your school, expect big things to happen in your day. Police commishiner Ray Kelly was there, along with retiring Manhattan District Attourney Robert Morgenthau. My class is the most lucky in the world and i am glad to be a part of them.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

An Emo Love story Chapter 2

Hello, I'm Brandon J., administrator of Brandon J.'s news, with  my new book, An Emo love story. There are 10 chapters in this book. Here is the second chapter.


Starling woke up to the rising sun the next morning. She had drempt that she met this mysterious boy and they lived happily ever after. "I need to meet this mysterious boy. It said to meet him at Yankee Stadium. I will go there this afternoon after class." Starling thought, sitting on top of her bed. "Starling! Breakfast!" her mother called from the kitchen. "Coming!" Starling called. The kitchen was very big with a table so long, you have to shout to be heard. Starling ate her breakfast very quickly and went into her room to change.

Starling dressed in her school uniform which was a black shirt, a black jeans and wearing a black keychain with a skull and crossbones. Starling doesn't talk like an emo girl, but she sures dresses like one. "Goodbye, dear," her mother said. "Goodbye, mother." Starling said, giving her mother a quick hug.

Brandon J. is a reporter and the administrator of Brandon J.'s News. The 3rd chapter is on Tuesday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Emo love story Chapter 1

Hello, I'm Brandon J., administrator of Brandon J.'s news, with an important anouncement. I am going to write my new book, An Emo love story. There are 10 chapters in this book. Here is the first chapter.

Chapter 1

It was a cold night in New York City. Crickets were chirping and the streets were very quiet. Starling Black quickly walked to her house, looking back to make sure there was nobody following her. Starling was an emo girl, but she was different than others. She liked talking to boys and wants a boyfreind. Starling then turned the corner and fumbled for her keys. She then turned the door and quickly walked in. "Whoa," Starling said, leaning against the wall for breath, "That is the last time i take a walk at 2AM ever again." Starling then waited for the elevator to come and got in. Ever since her last boyfreind, Jake, broke up with her 3 years ago, she had been sad and depressed.

Starling first went to her computer and logged into Facebook. She went to the text box above and typed in:
"Anybody know a boy that i could talk to?"

While waiting for a responce, Starling fixed herself an early breakfast. She had sausage, pancakes and orange juice. She finally got a responce from a boy named brannews.

Facebook to Starling Black  3AM

An annoumonus boy wrote on your wall. He wrote: "Do you need a boy? Meet me at Yankee Stadium tomorrow afternoon. THIS is the boy you are looking for."


Starling was jumping up and down. Then, she heard something that made her stop cold. She heard a key in the lock and the lock turning. "Oh No," Starling said. "It's my mother. What is she doing here? She's supposed to work until 5AM. I've got to get into bed now." Starling then took off like a rocket into her room. She made it into bed with no time to spare, she was in bed right when her mother came walking down the hallway. "I'll think on this mysterious boy tomorrow. I hope he's cute." Starling thought as she drifted off to sleep.


Brandon J. is a reporter and the administrator of Brandon J.'s News. The 2nd chapter is on Monday.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Service advisories for November 13-14th Part 1

  • 168th Street bound 1 trains skip 50th, 59th and 66th Street
For service to these stations, take the 1 to 72 St and transfer to a South Ferry-bound 1 Train. For service from these stations, take the 1 train to Times Sq-42 St and transfer to a 168 St-bound 1 train.

Note: 1 service runs between 168 St and South Ferry during this time.


This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. Please call 718-596-8585 or (TTY) 718-596-8273, 6 AM to 10 PM for help with planning your trip.

  • No 1 trains between 242nd Street and 168th Street

A trains, M3 bus and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.

Free shuttle buses replace trains in two sections:

1. On Broadway between 242 and 215 Sts, then connecting to the 207 St Station.
2. On St Nicholas Av between 191 and 168 Sts.


TO WASHINGTON HEIGHTS AND THE BRONX
 For 181 and 191 Sts, take the to 168 St and transfer to the M3 (free transfer available) or St Nicholas Av shuttle bus.

 No service at Dyckman St and 207 St Stations - Use nearby stations instead.


For the Bronx, transfer at 168 St to the uptown A to 207 St, then transfer to the Broadway shuttle bus to 242 St.


Station Broadway Shuttle Bus Stop
242 St on Broadway at Manhattan College Pkwy Transfer to: Bx9

238 St on Broadway at 238 St Transfer to: Bx9

231 St on Broadway at 231 St Transfer to: Bx9

225 St on Broadway at 225 St Transfer to:Bx7

215 St on Broadway at 215 St Transfer to: Bx7

207 St on Broadway at Isham St Transfer to: Bx7


Station M3 and St Nicholas Av Shuttle Bus Stop
191 St St Nicholas Av at 190 St M3

181 St St Nicholas Av at 181 St M3

168 St St Nicholas Av at 168 St M3

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. Please call 718-596-8585 or (TTY) 718-596-8273, 6 AM to 10 PM for help with planning your trip.


  • Wakefield 241 St bound 2 trains skip 50th, 59th and 66th Streets
Nights, 12:01 AM to 6:30 AM, Sat and Sun and 12:01 AM to 5 AM, Mon, Nov 13 - 15


For service to these stations, take the Bronx bound 2 to 72 St and transfer to a South Ferry bound 1 train or Flatbush Av bound 2 train.

For service from these stations, take the 1, 2 or 3 to Times Sq-42 St and transfer to a 241 St-bound 2.


This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. Please call 718-596-8585 or (TTY) 718-596-8273, 6 AM to 10 PM for help with planning your trip.


  • Woodlawn bound 4 run express from Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall to 14th Sreet-Union Square
Nights, 12:01 AM to 6:30 AM, Sat and Sun and 12:01 AM to 5 AM Mon, Nov 13 - 15

For service to Canal St, transfer to the J at Brooklyn Bridge-Chambers St.

For service to Spring, Bleecker Sts or Astor Pl, take the 4 to 14 St-Union Sq and transfer to a New Lots Av-bound 4 or Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6.

For service from these stations, take the 4 or 6 to Brooklyn Bridge and transfer to a Woodlawn-bound 4.

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. Please call  718-596-8585 or (TTY) 718-596-8273, 6 AM to 10 PM for help with planning your trip.


  • Phelam Bay Park bound 6 trains run express from Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall to 14th Street-Union Sq
For service to Canal St, transfer to the J at Brooklyn Bridge-Chambers St.


For service to Spring, Bleecker Sts or Astor Pl, take the 4 to 14 St-Union Sq and transfer to a New Lots Av-bound 4 or Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6.

For service from these stations, take the 4 or 6 to Brooklyn Bridge and transfer to a Woodlawn-bound 4.

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. Please call 718-596-8585 or (TTY) 718-596-8273, 6 AM to 10 PM for help with planning your trip.


  • Flushing Main Street bound 7 trains skip 82nd, 90th, 103rd and 111th Streets
Weekend, 4 AM Sat to 11 PM Sun, Nov 13 - 14


For service to these stations, take the 7 to Junction Blvd or Willets Point and transfer to a Times Sq-bound 7.  For service from these stations, take a Times Sq-bound 7 to Junction Blvd or 74 St and transfer to a Flushing-bound 7.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Bridge and Street Closures – November 13-14

Friday, November 12, 2010


The Manhattan Bridge roadways will be alternately closed between midnight and 6 am to allow for the installation of vehicle weight monitoring gauges on the bridge. The Manhattan-bound Upper Roadway will close first, for approximately 2-3 hours. When it is re-opened, the Manhattan-bound Lower Roadway will then close for approximately 2-3 hours. All lanes will be re-opened by 6 am. Travel lanes will be maintained in each direction and bicycle and pedestrian access to the Manhattan Bridge will not be affected.

The two entrance ramps to the eastbound/outbound Brooklyn Bridge from Park Row and Centre Street in Manhattan are closed from 1 am to 6 am. All traffic heading to Brooklyn will be detoured to Pearl Street to access the on-ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge. Details are available on the DOT web site at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/20101022_notice_brooklyn-bridge_ramp_closures.pdf.

One tube of the Queens Midtown Tunnel will be closed from 1 am Saturday through 5:30 am Monday to facilitate MTA concrete and pavement work. Two-way traffic will be maintained in the remaining tube.


59th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues will be closed from 7 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday to facilitate utility and trunk water main work by the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Motorists should use 2nd Avenue southbound or 58th Street eastbound to access the lower level of the Queensboro Bridge.

45th Street between Madison Avenue and Lexington Avenue, Vanderbilt Avenue between 46th Street and 44th Street, and Park Avenue southbound between 46th Street and 42nd Street may be closed (weather permitting) from 7 am to 11 pm Saturday and/or Sunday to facilitate Eastside Access structural work.


Nassau Street between Ann Street and Fulton Street and Ann Street between Park Row and William Street will be closed Saturday and/or Sunday from 8 am to 6 pm to facilitate DDC roadway work.



The following streets in the Bronx will be closed on Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm for the Bronx Veteran’s Day Parade and Festival:
  • East Tremont Avenue between Lawton and Randall Avenues
  •  Lawton Avenue between Quincy and East Tremont Avenues
  •  Randall Avenue between East Tremont and Ellsworth Avenues.
Dispersal will be on Ellsworth Avenue between Randall Avenue and the Throgs Neck service road and the service road to Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park

The times listed for closures for street fairs are for the actual times of the street fairs themselves. The streets may be closed longer to allow for set-up and breakdown. Street fair organizers are generally permitted to begin set-up at 8 am and breakdown must be completed by 7 pm.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brandon J.'s News hits a mjor acomplishment

I honestly thought that would never say this, but today, Tuesday November 9th, 2010, we have finally hit 500 viewers. It is a pretty good acomplishment for 6 months time. Before all of this, there were no widgets, a few posts and very few viwership. But now, with your support, I've turned this site from the ground into the greatest site that i've ever made. I am hoping that with your support, we can go to 1,000 viewers by March of 2011

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blues' Ty Conklin stops 27 shots to earn 15th career shutout

Madison Square Garden, New York- Suddenly it doesn't matter who the St. Louis Blues put in the net. Pucks aren't getting past either of their goalies.


Jaroslav Halak staked an early claim to Vezina Trophy front-runner status with three shutouts in his first 10 games. Ty Conklin gave him a break Sunday night, and posted a goose egg, too. Conklin, in just his second game this season, made 27 saves for his 15th NHL shutout as the Blues beat the New York Rangers 2-0 for their seventh straight win.  Alexander Steen scored a second-period goal and added an empty-netter for the Blues (9-1-2), who earned their first shutout of the Rangers in 129 meetings since joining the NHL in 1967.


"I heard that," Conklin said. "It's fine with me. I'm glad it came when I was in net. It would've been great when Jaro was in net, but I'll take it."

Conklin looked every bit as good as Halak, who took the night off after beating Boston on Saturday in a shootout. The Blues are enjoying their longest winning streak since they ran off nine straight from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, 2002. St. Louis has scored 16 goals and allowed only six during this run, posting four shutouts.

"It's a great job by them," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "Our goaltenders have bailed us out in real key situations, allowed us to play with a one-goal lead, and allowed us to either build upon it or solidify a victory. As much as it is a team performance, what they're bringing to the table is not going unnoticed."

Conklin faced his biggest test in the third period after B.J. Crombeen received a five-minute major penalty for boarding Derek Stepan with 12:35 left. New York managed four shots during the long advantage, but couldn't solve the veteran Conklin.


"We had a couple of chances, but not enough," Rangers forward Ryan Callahan said. "We knew they were going to be aggressive on their penalty kill, and we just didn't match it."

Crombeen caught Stepan from behind as the Rangers rookie turned his back to him at the end boards in the St. Louis zone. The Blues didn't bicker about the penalty.

"I think it was the right call," Payne said. "It was an unfortunate play. I don't think Beener was looking for any sort of contact, he just kind of caught him off guard. We were able to kill the five-minute penalty with one of our PK guys in the box. It was a great job by our killers."

This marked Conklin's first action since Oct. 16 at Dallas when he lost in a shootout. That was the only other game in which Halak didn't play. Steen's goal with 3.9 seconds left sealed Conklin's first win since March 20 -- also a shutout at New Jersey.


"Guys are stepping up. It seems like a different guy every night," said Conklin, in his eighth NHL season. "Jaro has been a pretty familiar face playing well, and the team has been playing well in front of him, too.

"We haven't been scoring tons, but we get goals when it matters and everybody defends well."

Martin Biron subbed for Rangers' No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist for only the third time 14 games and made 20 saves. He was solid, despite some adventures while playing the puck in traffic.

His only blemish came on Steen's second goal of the season, but that was enough to send the Rangers (7-6-1) to their fourth loss in seven games as they started a four-game homestand.


Steen took a pass from Brad Boyes during a 3-on-2 rush and snapped a shot from the high slot past Biron to make it 1-0 at 5:16 of the second period.

"You are not going to lose too many games giving up one goal," Biron said. "We need to be better. We are going to get better."

The Rangers thought they had taken a 1-0 lead with 1:56 left in the first period, but the goal was immediately waved off by an odd and confusing call by referee Bill McCreary. Blues defenseman Nikita Nikitin reached up with a high stick as the puck sailed past him in the neutral zone, but never made contact with it. A delayed high-sticking call was indicated as play continued, and the puck bounced in on Conklin. Rangers forward Alexander Frolov corralled it and scored, but it didn't hold up. St. Louis, which failed to score on back-to-back penalties against Ruslan Fedotenko, finished the period with a 14-8 edge in shots.




Game notes
Ottawa is the only team the Blues have never shut out. ... Callahan returned after missing one game because of neck soreness following a hit at Philadelphia on Thursday. ... Blues LW David Perron missed his second straight game because of headaches following a hit by San Jose's Joe Thornton on Thursday. Perron is tied for the team lead with five goals. ... Biron is 0-7-0-2 against St. Louis in 10 career appearances.



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At Madison Square Garden, I'm Barndon J., reporting for the Rangers

Amare Stoudemire's 21 points not enough as 76ers defeat Knicks

Madison Square Garden, New York- Elton Brand's best basketball since coming to Philadelphia has been wasted early this season.


He hopes that's about to change.

Brand scored 20 points, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday each had 19, and the 76ers beat the New York Knicks 106-96 on Sunday. A former All-Star, Brand has scored 20 or more in four straight games, his longest stretch since seven in a row late in the 2006-07 season for the Los Angeles Clippers. It hasn't mattered much, since the 76ers are just 2-5.


"It feels OK because we're not winning. But we're just so close to winning," Brand said of his resurgence. "If we were getting blown out or something, then it wouldn't matter to me, scoring 20 points, I don't care about that. But we're just so close to winning, our record could definitely be two or three games above .500. We lost some close, close games, so now hopefully this will give us some confidence to keep building on."

Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick and last season's college player of the year, added 14 points and 10 rebounds in his first NBA start as the 76ers snapped the Knicks' two-game winning streak. Turner started in place of Andre Iguodala, who was out with a strained right Achilles tendon. The 76ers already have lost twice by three or fewer points, and fell apart in the fourth quarter of their previous game, a 123-116 loss to Cleveland on Friday. They owned this fourth quarter, holding the Knicks to 5-of-24 shooting.


"It was really good to see these guys feel good about themselves," coach Doug Collins said. "We have been in all these games and the guys finally found a way to finish."


Amare Stoudemire had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who managed just 15 points in the final period. After consecutive wins, they heard boos as they walked off the floor at 3-3.

"We had some mental lapses," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We came out too not focused like we needed to be."

Stoudemire's follow shot gave the Knicks their last lead at 94-93 before the Sixers ran off nine in a row. Tony Battie made a jumper, Holiday nailed a 3-pointer, then Turner stole Stoudemire's pass for a layup and a 100-94 advantage. Holiday capped the decisive burst with two free throws.

Stoudemire's free throw got the Knicks back within six, but they couldn't grab a rebound after forcing a miss and Williams hit a pair of free throws with 40 seconds to go.


Brand made six of seven shots in the first quarter, scoring 12 points and helping the 76ers take a 33-25 lead after they shot 70 percent. Slowed by injuries, he averaged just 13.3 points in his first two seasons after signing an $80 million contract with Philadelphia. He's scoring 18.6 per game this season on 58 percent shooting.

"I remember back in the day he was a beast. He's just been hurt the last couple of years," Turner said. "But I feel like he's really healthy and he's out there being a warrior."

Philadelphia led by 10 midway through the second before the Knicks got their transition game going, roaring back with a 15-3 spurt to take a 54-52 lead on Ronny Turiaf's dunk with 1:44 remaining. New York led 56-54 at halftime. The Knicks built a nine-point lead in the third, but Collins went deep down his bench, going with a frontcourt of Battie, Marreese Speights and Jodie Meeks to help the Sixers cut it to 81-80 heading to the fourth.


"We lost the game in the third quarter," Stoudemire said. "A lot of free throws. We were putting those guys on the line."

Reserve Toney Douglas scored 17 points and Danilo Gallinari added 15 for New York, which won the final three meetings last season after dropping the previous six. Raymond Felton finished with seven points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.



Game notes
Iguodala had started 252 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in the league behind the Lakers' Derek Fisher, who entered Sunday at 297, and had missed just six of a possible 498 in his career. ... The Knicks came in averaging a league-leading 8.4 blocked shots per game. They ranked 29th last season and 30th two seasons ago in that category, when they had fewer as a team than Orlando's Dwight Howard. ... Wilson Chandler (17.4, 3rd) and Douglas (16.4, 5th) both entered in the league's top five in reserve scoring. Detroit's Ben Gordon was first (21.7), Williams was second (17.7) and former Knicks forward Al Harrington (16.6) fourth.

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At Madison Square Garden, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the Knicks.

Mark Sanchez helps Jets escape Detroit with OT win

Ford Field, Detroit-Mark Sanchez threw a lot of passes high, low and wide.


When it mattered most, he found his target.

Sanchez connected with Santonio Holmes for 52 yards to set up Nick Folk's 30-yard field goal 2:18 into overtime, lifting the New York Jets to a 23-20 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

"He's at his best when he's not thinking and he's just a California boy playing football," Jets receiver Braylon Edwards said.


Sanchez scored on a quarterback sneak with 2:46 left in regulation and led a nine-play drive that set up Folk's 36-yard kick to send the game into OT.

He successfully lobbied Jets coach Rex Ryan to run the two-minute offense in overtime.

"When I started running it, we got them on their heels," Sanchez said. "It was obvious that we took over the game at the end."

Knocking Matthew Stafford out of the game certainly helped the Jets take control.


Stafford threw two TD passes and ran for a score to give Detroit a 10-point lead before re-injuring his right shoulder and leaving the game with 5:19 left. Stafford separated his shoulder in the opener and was out until last week.

"You don't want to hurt a guy, but that changed the game," said linebacker Bryan Thomas, who tackled Stafford from behind and sent him crashing on his right shoulder. "I was just trying to make a play."

Lions coach Jim Schwartz gave Sanchez extra time to run more plays on the game-tying drive when he called a pass on third down and Drew Stanton threw an incompletion, giving the Jets the ball with 1:40 left.

"I didn't make myself clear enough that we shouldn't worry about taking the lost yardage play right there because the clock obviously was important," Schwartz said.


The Jets were stunned at Schwartz's decision not to run the ball and take time off the clock when they were out of timeouts.

"They gave us about 40 more seconds to work with," New York offensive tackle Damien Woody said. "That was huge."

The Jets (6-2) took advantage against the Lions (2-6) and silenced a previously boisterous crowd at Ford Field. Obviously we feel fortunate we got the win, but we don't care -- we'll take it," Ryan said. "That's what good teams do, find a way to win."


In a matchup of first-round quarterbacks from last year's draft, Sanchez came out on top and Stafford couldn't stay on the field. Stafford was the No. 1 pick overall and Sanchez was drafted fifth.
Sanchez was 22 of 39 for a career-high 323 yards with one TD -- a 74-yard, go-ahead pass to Edwards with a minute left in the first half -- and one interception.


Stafford was 20 of 36 for 240 yards with two TDs, no interceptions, and a rushing score. Calvin Johnson was held to 1 reception for 13 yards, getting shut down by All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.

"He brought the best out of me," Revis said.

The Lions were at their best and looked like they were going to win a third game this season -- to surpass the victories they had the past two years combined -- when Stafford lobbed a 2-yard TD to Nate Burleson with 11:51 left. But they couldn't overcome Stafford's injury or Schwartz's questionable call and linebacker Julian Peterson's personal foul on the game-tying drive.


"This is the worst loss ever, I think, in my 10 years," said Detroit center Dominic Raiola, whose record with the franchise is 35-117 since 2001.

New York, which was shut out at home last week by Green Bay, didn't score in the first or third quarters at Detroit.

Detroit got off to a good start and led for much of the game, but couldn't make enough winning plays on both sides of the ball to snap New York's seven-game winning streak on the road. Stafford connected with Brandon Pettigrew for a 10-yard TD on the first drive against a team that had given up three points in the first quarter of its first seven games.

A missed extra point proved to be costly for Detroit.

Rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, filling in for injured kicker Jason Hanson, hit the right upright on an extra point in the third quarter when the Lions led 13-10. Suh was the first defensive lineman to attempt an extra point or a field goal since at least 1983, according to STATS, LLC. Sanchez and the Jets, though, were explosive enough to score 10 points in the last 2:46 and on the opening drive of OT.

Hanson, whose right knee was evaluated on the sideline, was healthy enough to return to kick an extra point that put Detroit ahead 20-10 in the fourth. The Jets would've been more aggressive if they needed a TD on the final drive of regulation, but they only needed three points to force the game into overtime against Stanton, who was active because backup QB Shaun Hill is injured.



Game notes
New York's LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for 101 yards rushing and Holmes had 114 yards receiving. ... Burleson had seven catches for 113 yards and a TD. ... The Jets gave DE Vernon Gholston his first start of the year and he didn't make a tackle.

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At Ford Field in Detroit, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the Jets.

Eli Manning, Giants trample Seahawks for victory

Quest Field, Seattle- Eli Manning isn't ready to hear all the accolades the New York Giants might be getting as one of the NFL's top teams at the midway point, no matter how dominating they looked Sunday.


"Don't start thinking we're good right now," Manning cautioned.

Manning picked apart Seattle's secondary for 232 yards and three touchdowns and Ahmad Bradshaw added two TDs -- all in the opening half -- and the Giants routed the Seahawks 41-7 on Sunday.
Coming off its bye, New York (6-2) needed just one half to win its fifth straight, put away any memories of past flubs in Seattle and stake claim at the top of the NFC East.


"Things are going well right now," Manning said. "But we've just got to make sure we stay committed to getting better."

New York's statement was swift and efficient, not allowing the undermanned Seahawks hope of pulling the upset or letting their notoriously loud home crowd get rocking.

The Giants still had fresh memories of five years ago when they were penalized 14 times -- including 11 false starts -- in a 24-21 overtime loss. A year later, after the Giants made claims that artificial crowd noise was being piped into the stadium, the Seahawks jumped to a 42-3 lead in another win over New York.
Other than the Giants first drive, Seattle's fans were left sitting on their hands or booing the home team. The Giants were called for just two false start penalties and handed Seattle its worst home loss since moving into Qwest Field. It was the Giants biggest road win since a 41-7 win at Washington in 1993.


"I wouldn't want to say we are the best team. But, we are playing the way we need to be as a team," Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. "I think we are establishing ourselves as a great unit. As long as we keep playing team ball, I can just see us climbing and climbing and climbing."

Manning's passer rating was a nearly perfect 152.3 in the first half. He finished 21 of 32 for 290 yards and TD passes of 46, 6 and 5 yards. Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and D.J. Ware combined for 201 yards rushing, while Hakeem Nicks had six catches for 128 yards.

It was the second straight 41-point outburst by the Giants offense. New York finished with 487 yards of offense, the third time topping 400 yards during its win streak.


"What didn't they do?" Seattle linebacker Aaron Curry wondered.

Manning's blistering first half included a 46-yard strike to Nicks, when rookie safety Earl Thomas bit on a crossing route and one play after Thomas was called for illegal contact to keep the Giants drive alive.

Seattle's Leon Washington fumbled the ensuing kickoff that Jonathan Goff recovered and returned it to the Seattle 4. Bradshaw piled in on the next play and in 15 seconds, the Giants were up 21-0.

Manning also found Steve Smith on a 6-yard TD pass in the second quarter and his 5-yarder to Kevin Boss in the final minute of the first half gave the Giants a 35-0 halftime lead.


Manning and most of the Giants starters watched the fourth quarter from the bench.

"We have a lot of confidence. We know that we can go out and [stop] any team we want to when we play a good game," Bradshaw said. "That is just what we did today. We played great."

About the only positive for Seattle was keeping quarterback Charlie Whitehurst upright and in the game after the Giants had knocked out five quarterbacks already this season.

But Whitehurst's performance, in his first NFL start, should silence those calling for the end of Matt Hasselbeck's tenure in Seattle. With Hasselbeck out with a concussion, Whitehurst completed 12 of 23 passes for 113 yards and two interceptions.


Whitehurst did complete the first regular season pass of his career -- for a 3-yard loss -- and he threw a 36-yard TD pass to Ben Obomanu early in the fourth quarter.

"It made it a little better, I guess," Whitehurst said of his first TD pass. "But it was a disappointing day for us. I was disappointed in the way that I played and I have to get better."

It didn't help Whitehurst that two starting offensive linemen were out, along with three-fourths of Seattle's starting defensive line. And Seattle's run game never got started against the Giants defense with Marshawn Lynch held to 48 yards on 11 carries, 26 yards coming on one run.

Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates also called a puzzling double pass on third-and-1 in the first quarter that fell incomplete when Whitehurst overthrew tight end Chris Baker by 10 yards.


Lynch later was called for a false start when he fell on his face getting off balance before the ball was snapped. On the next play, Whitehurst's throw for Mike Williams was bobbled and intercepted by Terrell Thomas in the end zone.

"Nothing feels right, right now," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.



Game notes
Obomanu's TD catch was Seattle's first touchdown since the second quarter against Arizona two weeks ago. ... Nicks rolled his ankle but didn't believe he would miss any time. ... The Giants dominated time of possession, 42:34 to 17:26.

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At Quest Field in Seattle, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the NY Giants.

Paul DePodesta joins Mets

Port St. Lucie, Miami- Paul DePodesta is leaving his role as executive vice president of the San Diego Padres to join general manager Sandy Alderson's front office with the New York Mets as vice president of player development and amateur scouting.


DePodesta, 37, served as GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 and '05, becoming the third-youngest executive in major league history to hold a GM role.

He is the second high-profile assistant Alderson has named since becoming GM, joining former Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. Along with holdover Wayne Krivsky, the Mets have three former GMs working under Alderson. Krivsky was GM of the Cincinnati Reds.

"Paul has one of the top analytical minds in the game and also has a strong background in the more traditional aspects of player development and amateur scouting," Alderson said in a statement. "He will help establish direction, standards and continuity in all areas of our player development domestically and internationally. Paul -- working together with J.P. Ricciardi and [assistant GM] John Ricco -- also will advise me generally on other matters related to baseball operations."


"I am thrilled to reunite with Sandy during this exciting time for the Mets," DePodesta said. "I know firsthand the type of vision and leadership he brings to a franchise. This is a tremendous opportunity to help develop a winning culture for the Mets and our fans."

DePodesta joined the Padres in July 2006 as special assistant for baseball operations, while Alderson served as CEO of the San Diego ballclub. DePodesta was promoted to his current position on Nov. 10, 2008.

DePodesta is known for his mathematics-based analytical skills.

He also served five seasons as assistant GM of the Oakland Athletics under Billy Beane. He launched his career as an intern with the Cleveland Indians in 1996, and also worked for that ballclub as an advance scout and special assistant.


DePodesta played baseball and football and graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1995 with an economics degree.

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AT Port St. Lucie in Miami, I'm Brandon J., on the Mets.

Source: Yanks will overpay Derek Jeter

George M. Steinbrenner Field, Florida- Derek Jeter is going to be paid Ryan Howard money for putting up Marco Scutaro numbers.


"The Yankees are going to overpay him," said a source with intimate knowledge of the discussions between the team and Casey Close, Jeter's agent. "The question is, how much are they going to overpay him?"

Several sources told Brandon J.'s News on Monday that while the Yankees have yet to make a formal offer to Jeter -- or to Mariano Rivera, their other high-profile free agent, not to mention Cliff Lee, their primary target in the free-agent market -- offers are currently being prepared for all three.

And the one that is likely to get done first is Jeter's, possibly before Thanksgiving, with Rivera's soon afterward.


Lee's deal -- that is, assuming the Yankees outbid what is expected to be a field of perhaps as many as a half-dozen suitors -- is not expected to get done until mid-December, after the conclusion of baseball's winter meetings, which run from Dec. 6-9 in Orlando.

As for Andy Pettitte, the third member of the Yankees' so-called Core Four to be without a contract this winter, the club plans to wait to hear from the 39-year-old pitcher whether he plans to play again in 2011, a decision club officials believe will not be made until after Thanksgiving.

But the first order of business will be Jeter, whose 10-year, $189-million contract expired last Monday and who officially became a free agent for the first time in his 16-year career at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday morning when the Yankees five-day exclusivity window expired.

From conversations with two sources, both of whom requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks, Jeter's offer is expected to be for three years at somewhere between $15 million and $20 million per season.


That would be a slight paycut from his $21 million paycheck in 2010, but still well above the going rate for a shortstop who hit .270 last year and will hit his 37th birthday two weeks before the next All-Star Game.

"Some people will think the number is unfair," said one source, "And some are going to think it is way too much."

And both sources made it clear that in their opinion, Jeter will be paid more than he is currently worth on performance alone.

Both pointed out that when Jeter signed his contract after the 2000 Series, Jeter was 26 years old, coming off a regular season during which he batted .339 and a World Series of which he was named MVP. Most importantly, the closest comparable deal in baseball was the 10-year, $252 million contract given by the Texas Rangers to Alex Rodriguez, at the time a shortstop like Jeter.


Ten years later, the price of free agents has come down significantly, and so has Jeter's production.

Although the monetary value of Jeter's deal remains the third-highest in the history of baseball, exceeded only by A-Rod's original deal and the 10-year, $275-million contract extension he signed with the Yankees following the 2007 season, Jeter's 2010 production more closely resembled that of players earning a fraction of his salary.


"Jeter's numbers are exactly the same as Marco Scutaro's," one of the sources said. "He's gonna get paid a lot more than Scutaro, of course. He's gonna get more than the best shortstop in the league, Hanley Ramirez, who makes less than $12 million a year."

Ramirez, the Florida Marlins' 26-year-old shortstop, led the NL in hitting in 2009 with a .342 average and has hit as many as 33 home runs in a season. Last year, Ramirez batted .300 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs. He is about to entetr the third year of a six-year, $70-million deal that paid him $7 million in 2010 and escalates to $11 million for 2011.

Scutaro, on the other hand, is entering the walk year of a two-year deal that will pay him $5 million for 2011, with a $6 million club option for 2012. His 2010 stats were remarkably similar to Jeter's. Scutaro batted .275 to Jeter's .270, hit 11 home runs to Jeter's 10, drove in 56 runs to Jeter's 67. He was outscored by Jeter, 111-92, but struck out just 71 times to Jeter's 106, and grounded into nine fewer double plays (13-22).

In fact, Jeter's numbers are not that much different from those of Ian Desmond, the Washington Nationals second-year shortstop who hit .269 with 10 home runs and 65 RBIs and plays for the major league minimum salary of just over $400,000 a year.


Jeter, of course, commands much more money than Scutaro for several reasons, not the least of which is the value of his brand to the Yankees and the fact that he was a leading member of the five Yankee teams that won the World Series between 1996 and 2009. He has also been the team captain since 2003 and is the undisputed face of the franchise.

Because of that, his value to the Yankees is undoubtedly higher than it would be to any other franchise, a fact that no doubt frustrates the Yankees front office, which knows the market would allow it to play a much harder brand of ball than Jeter would like to see or much of the Yankees fan base would be willing to tolerate.

As one of the sources put it, "Where else is he going to go? Everything he's got, all his commercials, are tied to him playing in New York. If he leaves the Yankees, a lot of that stuff goes away, and he knows it."

According to both sources, no other team has shown any interest in Jeter or yet contacted his agent. "I think the other teams feel like there would be no point to it," one of them said.


And although the Yankees appear to hold most of the leverage in this one, both sources agreed they are unlikely to wield very much of it. Last week, Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees managing general partner, seemed to indicate the club would take a harder than expected line with Jeter when he said on a conference call, "We absolutely want [Jeter] back. But having said that, we're running a business here, so if there's a deal to be done, it's going to be a deal that both sides are happy with."

Odds are it will be a deal Jeter will be happy with. For all their talk about not being afraid of making a tough choice, it appears the Yankees would rather give Jeter more than his play would command if only to avoid the perception of being ingrates, or worse.

"The Yankees are well aware that Derek Jeter is a legacy player," said one of the sources. "And you have to be very careful how you treat players like that."

The answer is, you overpay them. The question remains, by how much?



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From George M. Steinbrenner field in Florida, I'm Brandon J., on the Yankees.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Knicks-Magic game postponed

Madison Square Garden, New York- Dwight Howard and his teammates received an unusual text message Tuesday afternoon: Report to the team bus at the usual time, but don't bother getting ready for that night's game at Madison Square Garden. There won't be one.


Fearing that asbestos had fallen from the rafters at the building known as the World's Most Famous Arena, the New York Knicks postponed their game against the Orlando Magic. A spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection said two air-monitoring systems detected potentially dangerous fibers, but secondary testing by an independent contractor showed the fibers were not asbestos. The Knicks released a statement saying maintenance was being performed following Monday's New York Rangers game, which included "cleaning asbestos-related materials in the attic above the ceiling." Some debris fell into the arena.


After consulting with the NBA, the Knicks decided to postpone the game for safety reasons. They said they will work with experts to determine when the arena can reopen, but a Garden spokesman would not speculate on whether the building would be deemed safe in time for the Knicks' next home game, Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"As the safety of our customers and employees are our top priority, we will not reopen the Garden until we are absolutely assured the arena is safe," the team said in a statement.

No makeup date for the Magic-Knicks game has been set. MSG said it would announce information about future events once details are finalized.  New York City Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Farrell Sklerov described the debris as "dustlike" and said it was dislodged as part of cleaning work unrelated to the extensive construction renovations taking place at MSG.


"There are air monitoring stations set up throughout building, and two of them, one in the seating area, indicated slightly elevated levels of fibers that could potentially contain asbestos. They did further secondary testing with equipment that can differentiate those fibers, and those tests showed that no asbestos was released and everything is safe," Sklerov said.

It's the second recent arena-related postponement for the Magic. Their final exhibition game against Miami that was scheduled for the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., was canceled because of slippery court conditions after arena officials said an oil-based cleaning solution was mistakenly applied. Magic spokesman Joel Glass said the team planned to arrive back in central Florida around 9 p.m. Tuesday evening following a charter flight. Orlando has a home game Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Postponements of NBA games are not unusual, but ordinarily they happen because of weather-related conditions. The last postponement even remotely related to falling debris happened in March 1985, when accumulated snow and ice caused a partial collapse of the roof at the Silverdome, forcing the Pistons to move two home games to the Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit.

In 1978, three Celtics games scheduled to be played in Hartford, Conn., were rescheduled for arenas in Providence, R.I., Springfield, Mass., and Boston because of the collapse of the roof at the Hartford Civic Center. And in 1968, the 76ers had to move their playoff games to the Palestra and the Philadelphia Convention Center because of ceiling repairs at the Spectrum.

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AT Madison Square Garden, i'm Brandon J., reporting for the Knicks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Linsicum, Giants hold off Lee, Rangers again in 3-1 World Series clincher

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas- If you are the Rangers manager Ron Washington, how do you go into Game 5  with your team down 3 games to 1? Well, Ron Washington would insert Cliff Lee on the mound. But which Cliff Lee would show up to the ballpark tonight? The Lee who gave up 7 runs in 4 2/3 innings in Game 1 or the Lee who held off the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS? The Answer: a mix of both.

The rematch of Game 1 of the World Series happened again with Tim Linsecum taking on Cliff Lee. Everything went fine until the 7th inning. In that inning, Lee allowed back to back hits to Cody Ross and Juan Uribe. The next batter, Edgar Renteria, skied a ball into the seats, just above the reach of Josh Halilton. The Rangers would not leave the game without a run with Nelson Cruz cracking a home run.

Linsecum gave up 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks in 8 innings while striking out 10. Giants manager Bruce Bochy then insurted closer Brian Wilson on the mound. He had 5 saves in this postseason. Then, the way Wilson closed it was a classic. He struck out Nelson Cruz to end the World Series.

So while the Giants celebrate, the Rangers slink back to their dugout, trying to figure out what went wrong. Cheer up Rangers fans. You had your chance, but there is always 2011 to think about.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jeff Carter, Chris Pronger help Flyers beat Isles again

Wachovia Center, Philadelphia- Before things turned ugly, the Philadelphia Flyers were having quite an impressive night.


In a game that saw many punches thrown, especially during a rough third period, Jeff Carter and Chris Pronger both scored two goals, backing a strong goaltending performance by Sergei Bobrovsky, and the Flyers beat the New York Islanders 6-1 on Saturday night. Kimmo Timonen and Andreas Nodl also scored for the Flyers, who have won three straight since a lackluster 2-1 loss to Columbus on Oct. 25 that angered the players.

The slumping Islanders dropped their fourth in a row after a three-game winning streak. For a stretch, the game turned into a fight club, with the teams combining for 120 penalty minutes. The Islanders received the bulk of the time in the penalty box, accounting for 73 minutes.


"When you get embarrassed like that, there's lots of frustration," said Danny Briere, who was hit with 17 of the Flyers' 47 penalty minutes. "They didn't like that and had to respond some way, somehow. They did it with their fists."

Philadelphia has bullied the Islanders during the past three seasons, and continued that trend in their first meeting of this season. The Flyers have won 15 of 16 from New York, including 11 straight at home. The Islanders haven't won in Philadelphia since April 7, 2007. In front of many fans dressed in orange-and-black Halloween costumes, Timonen gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 2:36 in. Scott Hartnell angled a pass from the side of the net to Timonen, who fired in a shot off of goalie Rick DiPietro's stick.

Carter made it 2-0 with 2:41 left in the first period, deflecting Claude Giroux's pass between DiPietro's pads. Carter's second goal early in the second period gave him five this season, one behind team-leading Briere. Carter led the Flyers with 33 goals last season. Carter nearly had a hat trick, but DiPietro deflected away his attempt. Pronger's first two goals of the season both came on one-timers off smooth passes from Timonen. The hard drives both sailed high and over DiPietro's shoulders. The veteran defenseman posted his 14th career two-goal game, and his seven shots were his most in one game with the Flyers.

Between his goals, Pronger was called for hooking Frans Nielsen on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot. Nielsen skated in, transferred the puck to his backhand and flipped it over Bobrovsky's left shoulder. It was the first time in Flyers history that a shutout bid was denied by a penalty-shot goal. Not allowing that to lead to any momentum for the Islanders, Andreas Nodl beat DiPietro after a centering pass from the left circle by James van Riemsdyk.


Tempers flared with one minute left in the game, and DiPietro, Nielsen, Briere and Dan Carcillo scuffled in a flurry of activity. Order was eventually restored, and 37 minutes of penalties were handed out.

The spark for the game's final melee appeared to result from Briere's crosscheck against Nielsen, and those two eventually went after each other. DiPietro shoved Briere as he skated by the Islanders net, and Dan Carcillo headed over to help Briere. Angry and looking for a fight, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound DiPietro ended up being restrained by the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Pronger, which wasn't in his plan.

"[Pronger] didn't want me going after Briere," DiPietro said. "I was just looking for somebody except him, to be honest."

DiPietro said that the Islanders are frustrated.


"Until you get a chance to get back on the ice and redeem yourself, it eats at you," DiPietro said. "There's no time to rest. You've got to expect some peaks and valleys, but we've got to get back to winning games."

Amid the highly charged play of both teams, which resulted in many stoppages, the 22-year-old Bobrovsky (5-2) remained focused in his seventh NHL game. He stopped 30 shots.

"It's hard to stay focused in such a long game and maintain concentration when the game continues for so long," he said, adding that he didn't want to fight anyone. "In the end, you just play."


Game notes

Flyers G Michael Leighton (back surgery) said he felt well after skating with the team for the first time since Oct. 11. He was expected to return around Nov. 22, but Leighton is hoping to be back sooner. ... Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said that Nodl and Andrej Meszaros will be out because of upper body injuries. They will be re-evaluated on Sunday. ... Islanders RW Michael Grabner missed his second straight game because of a groin injury.


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At the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the Islanders.

Henrik Lundqvist stops 36 as Rangers blank Leafs

Air Canada Centre, Toronto- With only one gifted goal-scorer in the Maple Leafs lineup, Toronto is struggling to find to score -- at all.

The Maple Leafs' goal drought reached 122 minutes 24 seconds in a 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Henrik Lundqvist played a big part in Toronto's second consecutive shutout loss by making 36 saves, but Wilson felt his club helped the Swedish goalie look good. The majority of the Maple Leafs' shots came from the outside. And when the team was presented with a good opportunity from in close, it failed to capitalize.

"We've got to just find a way around the front of the net," Wilson said. "Be sharper, be ready, think like a goal-scorer. We've got a lot of guys on our team ... who don't have a resume that says they've scored anywhere. We've only got two or three guys who feel comfortable with some scoring chances. Other guys, maybe they get a little nervous when they're in tight."

The Maple Leafs (5-4-1) have scored only seven goals in six games, going 1-4-1 in that span -- including two losses to the Rangers. Toronto is entering its first set of back-to-back games this season. The Maple Leafs hope to rediscover their offense before hosting Ottawa on Tuesday and visiting Washington on Wednesday.

"No one's going to come in and help us get out of this," captain Dion Phaneuf said. "It's the guys that are in this room that are going to get us out of this, and we're confident we will."

There is some solace to be found in the amount of chances they generated against the Rangers. Toronto attempted 92 shots -- 21 missed the net and 35 were blocked.

"He's good on his angles," Leafs forward Clark MacArthur said of Lundqvist. "If he's going to see pucks, he's going to stop them. He's fortunate to have a team like that where they're diving in front of everything and they clog it up. We had our chances, we had point-blank chances. We just didn't capitalize."

Playing for the third time in four nights, the Rangers didn't have a ton of energy. They were opportunistic with their chances, getting a first-period goal from Brian Boyle on the rush before Ryan Callahan converted a penalty shot late in the second.

"We started off slow, but we got our legs going," New York coach John Tortorella said. "I thought we did a really good job of playing a simple game and just grinding -- because it was a tired team, but we found a way to win."

Phaneuf had six shots through 40 minutes, sending every opportunity he could at the net. Tyler Bozak had three prime scoring chances, but still has only one goal this season. Lundqvist kept Mikhail Grabovski searching for his goal by sprawling in his crease to deny him late in the game. The discouragement was evident on the faces of the Toronto players when the second period ended. Despite outplaying the Rangers, the Maple Leafs left the ice following their fifth straight scoreless period.

It didn't get any better in the final 20 minutes.

"I don't think you worry until you don't get chances," Leafs forward Tim Brent said. "We're getting lots of chances. Guys are just a little bit snake-bitten right now. We're not pushing the panic button, we're doing a lot of things well. It's going to come for us."

Game notes

Christian Hanson was called up from the AHL Marlies and centered the Leafs' fourth line. ... Mike Zigomanis, John Mitchell and Brett Lebda were scratched for Toronto ... The Rangers sat out Todd White and Michael Sauer.

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At Air Canada Centre in Toronto, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the NY Rangers.

Brandon Roy, Blazers rally late in 4th to beat Knicks

Madison Square Garden- The elaborate pregame festivities were designed to emphasize that these are the "new" New York Knicks. Crunch time was the same ol' story. The unbeaten Portland Trail Blazers spoiled the Knicks' home opener, erasing a nine-point deficit in the final 5 1/2 minutes for a 100-95 victory Saturday night. "We felt the pressure was still on them, this is their home opener," guard Brandon Roy said. "We just wanted to keep consistent with our pressure and with our effort, and down the stretch we felt we forced them into some tough shots and we were able to get a win."

Roy scored 29 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 10 rebounds. Andre Miller had 19 points and 10 assists as the Trail Blazers improved to 3-0. Aldridge hit the tiebreaking free throw with 25.5 seconds left, and both he and Miller made two apiece in the final half-minute as the Blazers weren't fazed by a close game after two double-digit victories to open the season. "You don't want to have to continue to do that, but these guys are not dropping their heads," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "They're playing a 48-minute game." Wilson Chandler finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who made only one field goal after taking a 92-83 lead with 5:31 remaining. Amare Stoudemire scored 18 points but turned it over six times in his home debut.

Raymond Felton, also making his Madison Square Garden debut with the Knicks, scored 16 points. It was encouraging home start for the Knicks -- until crunch time, when none of their new additions could find the basket. "We just didn't score. We were up nine. They made some nice shots. Things didn't go well for us," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. New York's lead was gone after Portland rallied to grab a 95-94 advantage on Miller's 3-pointer with 2:08 to play. Felton's foul shot tied it with 1:23 remaining, and it stayed that way until Aldridge was fouled on an offensive rebound and made one free throw for a 96-95 lead with 25.5 seconds left.

Marcus Camby blocked Felton's drive, Aldridge made another free throw, and the Knicks lost a chance to tie when a ball that was originally called out of bounds on Portland with 6.5 seconds left was overturned when instant replay showed it was off Stoudemire. Miller then made two free throws to put it away. "We're still getting used to each other, still trying to get that chemistry, but things didn't go our way," Felton said. "I think we made some good plays, some good calls. It's a tough loss, especially when you get a six-, seven-point lead going with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game. It's tough to lose a game like that. It was an all-too familiar finish for a team trying to move away from its awful recent past.

The Knicks have 10 new players on the roster as they try to return to the postseason for the first time since 2004. New York shares the league's longest current playoff drought with Minnesota and is mired in a franchise-worst stretch of nine straight losing seasons. Boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer introduced the Knicks before the game, saying it was time to "turn the page to a new chapter of the New York Knicks."


The first quarter was nothing new at all.

The Knicks surrendered 58 percent shooting, hit only 36 percent themselves, and trailed by as many as 10 points. The lead was still 10 midway though the second before reserve Chandler led a 16-3 run that gave New York a 42-39 lead on Felton's 3-pointer with 1:54 remaining. Chandler had 15 points and 12 rebounds in 17 minutes in the first half, which ended in a 44-all tie.


Game notes

The Knicks fell to 33-32 in home openers. ... Portland is 2-0 on a four-game trip that concludes with games Monday at Chicago and Tuesday at Milwaukee. ... A Blazers spokesman confirmed the team won't offer former No. 1 pick Greg Oden an extension on his rookie contract. The oft-injured center is still recovering from a fractured left patella last December that ended his season early.

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At Madison Square Garden, I'm Brandon J., following the Knicks.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Canadiens sweep home-and-home, deal Isles first regulation home loss

Nassau Colisium, Long Island- Alex Auld had gone nine months since his last NHL victory. It's not as bad as it might appear because the veteran goalie only played four games in that long span.

Auld made 30 saves in his season debut with workhorse goalie Carey Price getting a rare night off, and Benoit Pouliot and Travis Moen scored in the third period for the Montreal Canadiens, who beat the New York Islanders 3-1 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory. The 29-year-old Auld, who hadn't won since Jan. 29, beat the Islanders for the first time in five starts. He didn't show much rust despite not playing since March 6 while with the New York Rangers. "First games, you have that deposit of nervous energy that comes with a new group and a new team," Auld said. "You have to control that emotion and make sure it's not too high."

His best stop came 4:15 into the second period when he thwarted Matt Moulson's short-handed breakaway. "I've been feeling good and feeling ready," Auld said. "I waited like this before so it was nothing new for me. You want to play and help the team win and hopefully get another shot." The Canadiens were locked in a tight, tied game in the third when Pouliot and Jeff Halpern connected for a precision passing play that put Montreal back on top. Pouliot, the trail man on a 3-on-2 rush, took a back pass from Halpern from the right circle dot and snapped a shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson 7:19 into the third.


"I was yelling at him to pass," Pouliot said. "He did a great play and he heard me at the last minute when the 'D' closed up on him. It was a perfect pass." Travis Moen deflected a pass from captain Brian Gionta for an insurance goal with 1:49 left. Montreal swept the home-and-home series from the Islanders, and handed New York its first regulation loss at Nassau Coliseum (2-1-1) and third consecutive loss overall. The Canadiens, who have won six of seven, are 11-0-3 against the Islanders since the start of the 2007-08 season.

Tomas Plekanec scored for the third straight game to give the Canadiens (7-2-1) a 1-0 lead in the first period. Matt Martin answered in the second for the Islanders with his first NHL goal. Roloson made 23 saves, but lost Montreal for the second time in three nights. Martin got the Islanders even with 3:15 left in the second when he took a perfect feed from Frans Nielsen from the end boards and one-timed a shot from the slot past Auld. "The coaches tell me to get in front of the net, so that's what I do," the 21-year-old Martin said. "The goal feels great, but it would have been better if we won." In the closing seconds of the period, Martin was finishing up a hardworking shift in which he landed several hits but then had to deal with 6-foot-7 Hal Gill, who came in to protect his teammates. Martin dropped the gloves first and then held on.

Montreal was outshot 13-4 in the second, but was successful on the defensive end in killing New York's 5-on-3 power play that lasted for 1:43 midway through the frame. The short-handed situation was made more difficult by the fact that the penalties were committed by Gill and fellow defenseman P.K. Subban, who were both whistled for interference against John Tavares, the Islanders' leading goal scorer. "That was a huge point in the game," Auld said. "If you kill it, you get a lot of momentum." The Canadiens got off to a fast start and took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Plekanec scored his fifth of the season at 2:42 -- just 18 seconds into a power play. Mike Cammalleri's shot was blocked in front by defenseman Mark Eaton, and the puck caromed to Plekanec, who finished off a stuff-in from the left post.

Montreal kept up the pressure, but neither team could generate much offense on a tough ice surface, that produced many bouncing pucks and several flubbed shots. Some players even fell in spots. The Canadiens held a 9-2 shots edge 10 minutes into the game, but New York countered with an 18-7 spurt over the next 30 minutes through the second period. Credit them for doing some things really well," Cammalleri said. "I think we would've liked to do some things better, but at the end of the day we'll take a big two points on the road."



Game notes
Price had played in the Canadiens' first nine games. ... Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said that D Andrei Markov (knee) is expected to make his season debut Saturday at home against Florida. ... The Islanders assigned forward Rob Schremp (back) to Bridgeport (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. ... Martin has three points in seven NHL games. ... Islanders D Bruno Gervais made his season debut, but he played as a forward on a checking line in place of LW Trevor Gillies, who was scratched for the first time this season. ... Auld hadn't beaten the Islanders since Jan. 14, 2006.

NHL's youngest player Jeff Skinner scores two goals in Canes' win

Madison Square Garden, New York- The youngest player in the NHL took a ribbing from his Carolina Hurricanes teammates before his first game at Madison Square Garden.


"There is a lot of history in this building and the guys were really giving it to me, talking about it being my first game here," Jeff Skinner said. Skinner, the Hurricanes' first-round draft pick who is 18 years, 5 months, made it a memorable evening with his first two-goal game Friday night to spark Carolina to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Erik Cole scored the go-ahead goal on a power play with 3:59 left with Skinner playing a pivotal role in the score. Skinner drew the hooking penalty by New York's Brian Boyle that put Carolina on the power play. He then made the pass to set up a wide-open Cole for the winner. "I knew when I went back there, the goalie was down," Skinner said. "Fortunately, I got a good bounce when I threw it out front. Coles was in the right spot to finish the play off."

And that first time in MSG? "It was pretty cool," Skinner said.

Tuomo Ruutu also scored for Carolina and Cam Ward made 40 saves. "It was fun, this is Madison Square Garden," Ward said. "It's always fun to come out here and play. You see the goalie at the other end making the saves he was making, you really want to step up and match him." Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Brandon Dubinsky scored for New York. Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves for the Rangers, 1-3-1 at MSG. "We have to keep on fighting here and you can't break apart," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We need to stay consistent and I think things will bounce our way, home or away." Ruutu scored the only goal of the first period as the Hurricanes regrouped from a slow start. It looked like a long night for the road weary Hurricanes who started the season in Europe and have played only one game at home in nine contests.

Ruutu connected on the power play with 4:31 left in the period, hammering home the rebound of Anton Babchuk's booming point shot. It was only the second power-play goal for the Hurricanes in the last six games. The Rangers dominated early, holding a 9-2 edge in shots. New York had a goal waived off about a minute in when the referees ruled Michael Del Zotto kicked the puck past Ward. The Rangers later hit a post and a crossbar before taking a pair of penalties that titled the momentum in the Hurricanes' favor. Ruutu cashed in the second man-advantage and Carolina finished the period with a 12-11 shot advantage. Skinner took advantage of a lucky bounce to put the Hurricanes up 2-0 only 56 seconds into the second. As players battled for control behind the Rangers net, the puck bounced off New York defenseman Michal Rozsival's skate and landed in the high slot where Skinner hammered it home.

Callahan and Staal both scored on the power play as the Rangers evened it at 2. The bounces went the Rangers way on Callahan's goal as the puck hit him in the skate and popped in the air and he bunted it home at 4:06. Staal connected at 12:24, but Skinner struck again 55 seconds later. Staal turned the puck over at his own blue line and Skinner broke in alone on Lundqvist, showing forehand before whipping a backhander into the net putting Carolina ahead 3-2. "It's tough to think out there because it happens so fast," Skinner said. "You have to use your instincts."

The Rangers got the final tally of the five-goal period as Dubinsky rang a shot off the post and into the net behind Ward at 15:43 to even the score at 3-3. The Rangers outshot the Hurricanes 18-8 in the wide-open second period.


Both goalies were sharp in the third.

Ward stopped a point-blank stop from Derek Stepan midway through, and Lundqvist stopped Chad LaRose on a 2-on-1 break and then stopped Cole on a close-in bid before he got the deciding tally. "It is very disappointing," Lundqvist said. "It was a pretty good game. I thought we played pretty well with a lot of chances both ways. It was a tough way to lose a game."

Game notes

Lundqvist faced Ward for 14th time in the last 16 meetings between the two teams ... Both teams will be back in action Saturday night. New York plays in Toronto, and Carolina returns home to face Pittsburgh.

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At Madison Square Garden, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the NY Rangers.

Devin Harris, Nets forge late rally to dispatch Kings


Newark, New Jersey- The New Jersey Nets have started the season on another streak -- a winning streak.


After opening last season with an NBA-record 18 straight losses, the revamped Nets are going in a different direction under new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and new coach Avery Johnson. Devin Harris had 21 points and 10 assists and the Nets staged another late rally in a 106-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. This win came just two days after the Nets rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 1:40 to win their season opener against Detroit. "It says we're a team of a lot of heart but that's not something we want to make a habit," Harris said. "It's good to know we can make these comebacks. We don't want every game [to be] we lose it, then we're down 10 in the fourth quarter and we have to put time and energy to come back because it's a long season."

It can never be a long as last year, when the Nets won 12 games. They needed 21 games to get two wins last season. "It just shows how hard we've been working and the preparation we've put in," said Brook Lopez, who led the Nets with 29 points and six rebounds. New Jersey closed with a 17-3 surge over the final 3:40, with Harris scoring six straight late in the run. "Praise the comeback," said Johnson, whose team used a game-closing 13-3 spurt to beat Detroit. "Guys don't give back. Let's praise the comeback. That's what it's all about."

There were negatives though.

The Nets squandered an 18-point lead in this one, and gave up 32 points off turnovers. Still, they are 2-0 for the first time since 2002-03. Travis Outlaw added 18 for New Jersey and Jordan Farmar had 14, including four late free throws. Tyreke Evans, who missed the Kings' opener because of a one-game suspension for pleading no-contest to reckless driving, and Francisco Garcia had 18 points apiece for Sacramento. Carl Landry and Beno Udrih each had 14 points. The Kings were trying to open the season with consecutive wins for the first time since 2003-04 and seemed to be on their way when Evans scored on a reverse layup with 3:41 to play for a 97-89 lead.

However, they quickly fell apart and New Jersey took advantage. "This is one of the guys we should have pulled it out," Evans said. "We had a problem with that last year so we have to take this loss on the chin and come back." Down eight, Lopez scored inside and Farmar hit a big 3-pointer for the second straight game to cut the lead to 97-94 with 2:20 to go. After Landry missed a reverse, Harris made another free throw, then put New Jersey ahead 98-97 with a 3-pointer with 1:12 left. Udrih missed a jumper and Harris sent a charge through the crowd of 13,482 fans when he made an off-balance shot for a 100-97 edge.


"As a young team, when we make mistakes we have to keep our heads up and continue to fight," said Harris, who was 7 of 10 from the field. "I think sometimes when we compound mistakes we sort of let it down a little bit and take our foot off the gas. But we have continue to fight through and we showed a lot of resilience coming back in the fourth quarter." Farmar and Outlaw made some key free throws down the stretch to ice the ugly game that featured 62 personal fouls, 38 turnovers, including 26 by New Jersey, and six technical fouls. While the Nets had more turnovers, they also had more free throws, making 36 of 45 attempts. Sacramento was 17 of 26.

"To give up 45 free throws is not the way to win the game," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins, the fifth overall pick in the draft, had 12 points before fouling out with 3:26 to play. Nets forward Derrick Favors, the No. 3 pick overall, had 10 points. New Jersey, which shot 59 percent in the first half, built an 18-point lead late in the second quarter when Lopez hit two free throws with 3:33 left in the half. The Nets got sloppy after that and the Kings closed the half with a 14-4 spurt to cut it to 61-53. Sacramento kept chipping away at the lead in the third quarter, closing to 68-66 on a 3-pointer by Garcia with 6:54 left in the period. After the Nets pushed the lead back to 76-68 on dunk by Favors, the Kings went on a 14-point spurt to take the lead.


Game notes

Prokhorov took NJ Transit from New York to Newark and then walked the five minutes to the Prudential Center. ... Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, was at the game. ... Kings C Samuel Dalembert played 6:23 after missing the opener with a strained groin.

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In New Jersey, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the Nets.

Rajon Rondo's 24 assists highlight triple-double as Celtics hold off Knicks

Boston- Doc Rivers met with his team after Friday's shootaround to make sure everyone knew his role. Rajon Rondo's was simple: Spread the ball around. The Celtics point guard immediately put the lesson into practice. Rondo had a triple-double with a career-high 24 assists on Friday night to lead Boston to a 105-101 victory over the New York Knicks. It was second-most in franchise history and the most since Bob Cousy had 28 in 1959. "It means a lot, but I'll try and catch him," Rondo said of being on a list with the Hall of Famer. "[It's] all about the teammates. If they don't make the shots, we don't get team assists."

 Rondo had 10 points and 10 rebounds and topped his regular-season best of 18 assists set against Sacramento in March; he also had two playoff games with 19. "If you're not ready, he'll embarrass you. He'll hit you right in the head with the ball," said Kevin Garnett, who scored 24 points with 10 rebounds. "He'll see something you didn't see, but he'll make you see it." Rondo assisted on eight of Garnett's 12 baskets and six of the seven by Glen Davis. He had four assists to Paul Pierce, three to Ray Allen, two to Shaquille O'Neal and one to Marquis Daniels. The only players who scored and didn't get an assist from Rondo were Rondo himself and his backup, Nate Robinson.

"He pretty much got everyone involved," said Pierce, who scored 25 points with 14 rebounds. "He got the popcorn man involved. He got the announcers involved. Everybody. It was beautiful to watch." Amare Stoudemire scored 27 for the Knicks, reserve Wilson Chandler had 19 and Raymond Felton scored 17. Landry Fields had 11 points and 10 rebounds in New York's first loss after winning its opener on Wednesday. And Rondo was the reason. "He is one of the best point guards, no doubt," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Boston led most of the game before Stoudemire converted a three-point play with 37 seconds left to make it 102-98. After Pierce hit one of two free throws -- his first point of the quarter -- Stoudemire hit a long 3-pointer to cut it to 103-101 with 18 seconds left. But Pierce hit both free throws this time. Chandler had another 3-point attempt that would have cut it to one point, but he missed with about 13 seconds left. "I probably rushed it a little bit," he said. "I probably could have gotten a better shot." Davis had 16 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench before fouling out with 2:33 left in the game. Shaquille O'Neal had 10 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes; he left with a bruised right knee but said it was not serious.

With the much-hyped opener against LeBron James and the Miami Heat behind them, the Celtics got back to the long grind of the NBA regular season. The crowd had come down from the excitement of the opener, which Boston won 88-80 (before losing the next night in Cleveland to the team James jilted). The signs mocking Miami were gone, along with the celebrities in the five-figure courtside seats. So was the intensity on the court. The Celtics were sluggish at the start and had 10 turnovers at the half (giving them 50 in their first 10 quarters). Boston trailed 15-6 before scoring 12 of the next 13 points. Boston led 76-69 late in the third quarter when Toney Douglas hit a 3-pointer to pull the Knicks within four. But Pierce answered with a 3-pointer of his own. Allen opened the fourth with a basket, on an assist from Rondo, and Rondo set Davis up for a three-point play that gave the Celtics an 84-72 lead. The Knicks didn't get within seven points until the final 37 seconds.

Game notes

Jermaine O'Neal was scratched with a sore left knee. ... Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed before the game that backup guards Von Wafer and Delonte West had a fight after the morning shootaround. Rivers said the team would handle it internally. ... Rondo was honored before the game for making the all-defensive team and for leading the NBA with 189 steals last year. ... Allen reached the 21,000-point milestone in the second quarter.

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In Boston, I'm Brandon J., reporting for the Knicks.

Yankee manager Joe Giradi re-signed for 3 years

Yankee Stadium- For Joe Girardi(picture on right), signing his new contract to manage the New York Yankees for three more years was about as easy as his job will get between now and 2013. Because now that the fun stuff is out of the way -- agreeing to a $400,000-per-year raise and another $50,000 in bonus money should he take the Yankees back to the World Series -- there are a lot of difficult tasks ahead.

First off, he's got to find a new pitching coach -- a search made more difficult by the likely fact that he wishes he still had the old one. But GM Brian Cashman made that call for him, firing Dave Eiland at the end of the season, so now Girardi has to start from scratch and form a new working relationship with whoever Cashman decides to entrust with what he calls "a hugely important position.'' But wait, it gets tougher. Then there is the looming prospect of having to ask -- no, tell -- Derek Jeter that the spot formerly reserved for him at the top of the Yankees' batting order isn't his anymore.

That ought to go well. And then there is the conversation he must have with Jorge Posada, in which he informs the charter member of the Yankees' Core Four that the seat that has been his for the past 14 years -- the one directly behind home plate at Yankee Stadium -- may not be his sole property anymore, either, and that he may be taking a seat on the bench between his at-bats a lot more often than he would like next season. Then there is the Alex Rodriguez problem -- as in, when do you tell your $32.5 million third baseman that it is time for him to become a part-time third-baseman or full-time DH? Hopefully for Girardi, that conversation is a full season away, after Posada's contract runs out. And presumably his GM will do something about the potential logjam of designated hitters on the Yankees' roster. Plus, there is the A.J. Burnett problem -- such as when, if ever, to use him again. And the Joba Chamberlain problem (same as the A.J. Burnett problem), and the David Robertson problem -- better known as "which bridge should I take to get to Mariano Island?''

For a team that won 95 games in 2010 and came within two victories of a second-straight trip to the World Series, Girardi seems to have inherited more than his fair share of problems along with his $9 million windfall. Part of the reason for that is, $213 million doesn't seem to buy what it used to. For all that money, by the end of their playoff run the Yankees found themselves short of pitching -- both starting and relief -- and thinner on the bench than Mariano is in the waistline. The problem is, so much of the team's payroll is concentrated on so little of its roster that sometimes it appears as though the rest is patchwork. For instance, if A-Rod or Jeter go down, who steps in behind them? Same goes for Mark Teixeira, now that Lance Berkman is gone.


And as for the truly unthinkable, what if Rivera goes down? In that case, there simply is no Plan B, because realistically, there can't be. At times during the playoffs, it seemed as though Girardi was managing with a roster of 23 players instead of 25 -- the equivalent of an NBA coach whittling his rotation down to seven players. He had Austin Kearns on his roster for no discernible reason other than he had no better choice. Same goes for Ramiro Pena. And when they lost Mark Teixeira to a hamstring injury in the ALCS, the best they could come up with to replace him was Eduardo Nunez. Girardi didn't get away with it in 2010, and it will be even tougher in 2011, when everyone is a year older and many of them are a year closer to retirement.


Already, Girardi is hinting at what he knows must be done. Without singling out Jeter, he acknowledged that lineup changes are probably on the way. And while praising Jeter and A-Rod for their defensive abilities -- "The balls that they get to, they make the plays'' -- what was left unsaid spoke volumes about their lack of range. Girardi knows his roster is aging. He also has no idea -- and neither, apparently, does Cashman -- if Hal and Hank Steinbrenner will authorize the kind of expenditures necessary to replace those aging parts with veteran major league-ready talent. "I have no anticipation one way or the other,'' Cashman said when asked if he thought his payroll would change in either direction for 2011. He is headed to a series of meetings in Tampa with the Steinbrenner Bros. on Monday to learn how fat his checkbook will be for next season.

It is assumed the Yankees will go all-out for Cliff Lee, the Texas Rangers' stud left-hander who stifled them in Game 3 of the ALCS. After that, nothing is certain. Cashman has said he is happy with his outfield of Brett Gardner in left, Curtis Granderson in center and Nick Swisher in right -- making it questionable, and perhaps doubtful, that the Yankees will make a run at Carl Crawford, the Tampa Bay Rays outfielder who will be also be a free agent this winter. But there are other pressing needs that must be addressed. Who will replace Kerry Wood as the eighth-inning set-up man? Who will inherit the bulk of the catching if Posada is phased into a DH role? Will Cliff Lee be enough to shore up the rotation, especially if Andy Pettitte decides not to come back?


These are questions for Cashman to wrestle with in the winter, but they will be Girardi's problems once the season begins. Add in Girardi's own internal struggles -- he gives off a tense and intense vibe that may or may not affect the demeanor of his clubhouse -- and you are mixing up a potion that could simmer all season long and eventually explode. For now, the Yankees have made the right choice. Girardi, for all his quirks and compulsive behaviors, is a fine manager who seems to have the trust and respect of his players and his GM. His record here over the past three years certainly warranted a new contract for at least three more. But with that contract should have also come the promise of the kind of full support and backup he didn't have in 2010. Despite his protestations to the contrary, it would have been natural for Girardi to have at least toyed with the idea of taking the job managing the Chicago Cubs -- in the city where he grew up, with the team he rooted for as a kid and wound up playing for.


After that job went to someone else, Girardi's decision to stay with the Yankees must have gotten a whole lot easier. But come 2011, he actually has to manage them again. And that is going to be a whole lot tougher than it was in 2010.


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