SBD/March 28, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In Portland, John Canzano wrote the Trail Blazers are a "nice little playoff team right now," though they are "no threat to win the Western Conference." But if team Owner Paul Allen "seizes the momentum and fosters a more harmonious mission, the Blazers will soon turn the corner." If he does not, "we're about to watch the same old routine in which the organization teases us, then promptly twists itself into a pretzel." In the past, Trail Blazers officials "have been required by ownership to come up with a written plan at the beginning of each season," and there is a "basketball operations plan and a business plan." Canzano: "As if those things can ever be independent. I've obtained a couple of these in past seasons, and marveled at how disconnected one is from the other." Now, the "challenge belongs to Allen, who wants badly to win a championship with either the Seahawks or Blazers." The "irony" is that Allen "has more control over that than anyone." Canzano: "So what's the plan, boss man?" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/27).

DEAR DONALD: In L.A., Mark Heisler wrote an open letter to Clippers Owner Donald Sterling. Heisler: "Your team now has all these great young players with Blake Griffin, the best you've ever had." Yet the Clippers "haven't had a great season, by normal standards." The lower and upper bowls at Staples Center "are sold out the rest of the season," so "you're in the money." But "on the other hand, how in the name of Sigmund Freud can you expect Blake to regard this as a legitimate operation when he sees you heckle [former G Baron Davis] one day, in court against one of the NBA's all-time greats the next and the day after that in arbitration against the coach you ostensibly fired, who you claim quit?" (L.A. TIMES, 3/26).

FALLING FAST: In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw noted the Stars are in danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight year, which "could be devastating." The Stars have "never endured back-to-back failures until last spring," and "if they make it three in a row, they join the ranks of the Minnesota Wild as most irrelevant Western Conference team south of Edmonton." The Stars rank 23rd in the NHL in average home attendance this season at American Airlines Center. The team is two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/26).

HANGING IN THE BALANCE: In St. Louis, Jeremy Rutherford reported after months of Blues President of Hockey Operations John Davidson's extension "being placed on hold, there is serious doubt he will be re-signed before new owners are identified and legitimate uncertainty about whether an incoming group would retain the face of the Blues' franchise since 2006." Davidson "has expressed numerous times a desire to remain president of the club" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/27).
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