In another move that was expected but might carry some emotional weight, the Giants cut ties with popular but injured pitcher Noah Lowry by declining his $6.25 million club option for 2010 and placing him on outright waivers.I hope he does well wherever he ends up.
The Lowry move ends a sad saga for the Giants and the 29-year-old left-hander. A first-round draft pick in 2001, he became one of the team's most popular players and led the team with 14 wins in 2007, when his season was curtailed by arm numbness. He has not pitched since then, but agent Damon Lapa said Lowry now is "completely healthy" and throwing three days a week.
I'm always skeptical when I read stuff about Petr being angry. Sulky? Yes. Grumpy? Yes. But angry? It's just hard for me to imagine. Apparently he was "fuming" about being scratched for a game. The Minnesota beat writer was like WTF the team is struggling to score goals and you scratch the goal scorer? :P
Anyway, he's gotten much more... cuddly in recent years. He throws his arms around someone's neck (usually someone who's tall, so he has to LEAP) and clings to them for a while. Or if it's Sidney Crosby, he would nuzzle his neck. Or if it's Marty he leaps on him and wraps his legs around his waist... It's a good thing his teammates generally love him.
Sykora, one riled Wild, takes it out on Rangers
Still fuming after a healthy scratch one game ago, he got the scoring started and added an assist for good measure.
By MICHAEL RUSSO, Star Tribune
Last update: October 30, 2009 - 11:46 PM
Wild boss Todd Richards hoped Petr Sykora would prove he made the wrong decision.
Come in with the "attitude of sticking it to the coach," Richards had implored Thursday.
Friday night, the veteran winger not only stuck it to the coach, he just might have stapled a message to his tie: "Don't scratch me again."
A motivated Sykora, one game after being assigned a pressbox seat against Nashville, scored a goal and assisted on Eric Belanger's goal during the Wild's 3-2 victory over the injury-riddled New York Rangers.
"Talking to Petr, you're trying to tell him, 'You're going to be all right. Stay positive,' but it's tough. It's not an easy situation for him," said Belanger, Sykora's car-pool companion. "I had a feeling something good was going to happen. It did, and hopefully it gets our line [with Martin Havlat] going."
Sykora, one of three current NHL players to have scored 20 or more goals in 10 consecutive seasons, registered his first two-point game since Jan. 28. But afterward, the still-stung Sykora said, "I don't want to talk about [being scratched], seriously. I'm happy we won a game."
Antti Miettinen scored the winner on his first goal of the season, Mikko Koivu had two assists and Niklas Backstrom made 18 saves as the Wild, which didn't trail in a game for the first time this season, improved to 4-1 at home. Tonight, the Wild looks to end its 0-8 road record in Pittsburgh.
It was a solid all-around game for the Wild, which was playing a struggling Rangers team devoid of Marian Gaborik, Sean Avery and Chris Higgins.
For a change, Richards circulated the ice time evenly, even giving enforcer Derek Boogaard a regular shift in the third period. After the second, Richards told his assistants, Mike Ramsey and Dave Barr, "So this is what it feels like to be up by two."
Added an appreciative Backstrom with a giggle, "It was a new situation for us."
Richards said before the game he hadn't talked to Sykora about why he was scratched, but recent video work made it evident to him. Richards wanted a player more committed to playing defensively and driving the net.
After Sykora did just that Friday, Richards said: "I think Petr had something to prove. ... We need more from him."
Late in a scoreless first period, Sykora picked defenseman Matt Gilroy's pocket and sent the puck behind the net. Andrew Brunette hustled and slid a pass to Koivu, who completed the tic-tac-toe to Sykora.
But Rangers callup Dane Byers, who had hopped out of cab minutes before gametime because his flight arrived late, tied the score at 1-1 with his first NHL goal.
The Wild got the lead back after Sykora tiptoed the blue line to keep play onside. He threaded a pass for Havlat, who sent a picture-perfect, backhanded pass to a driving Belanger for his third goal. For Havlat, it was his first point since Oct. 8, ending a seven-game drought.
"Anytime I got the puck or Bella, Marty was there to support," Sykora said. "It's just a matter of time before he gets a couple bounces and scores a lot of goals."
After Koivu forced a Marc Staal turnover late in the second, Koivu made a dazzling drop pass underneath defenseman Dan Girardi for Miettinen, who gave the Wild its second two-goal lead of the season and first since Oct. 10. Staal cut it to one in the third, but Richards was pleased the way the Wild protected the lead.
"We managed the game well," he said.