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Fryer: To determine area's best hockey player, just wing it
Touring the sports world, here and there ...
•Who is the best hockey player in Southern California? The Kings' Anze Kopitar is the best passer of the group, the Ducks' Corey Perry is the best shooter. His all-around play makes the Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf the best all-around player here.
•One has to wonder if the big contracts the Ducks awarded (and this is the correct word) to Getzlaf and Perry will limit the team's ability to retain other current players or obtain others, through trade or the free-agent market, a couple of years down the road.
•The Kings' Jeff Carter has 18 goals and three assists. Does that make him the Kobe Bryant of hockey?
•A favorite hockey trivia challenge is to have someone name the first United States city that won the Stanley Cup. Few get it right – Seattle, in 1917. Before the Cup became exclusive property of the NHL, the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association defeated the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey Association, three games to one, in the 1917 Stanley Cup championship series.
•Is it being too greedy, hoping not only for a Ducks-Kings playoff series but also a Clippers-Lakers series? It is looking more possible by the day.
•People say their birthdays stop at 29, and so will the Miami Heat streak. The Heat has a string of very-beatable opponents coming up, beginning with a game at Cleveland on Wednesday. So the streak will get to 29 and end there on March 31 when Miami plays at San Antonio.
•The Lakers went 33-0 without Elgin Baylor one season. The first game after Baylor retired early in the 1971-72 season the Lakers beat the Baltimore Bullets at The Forum to start the NBA-record 33-game streak that the Heat is trying to match. Jerry West returned from injury for that Baltimore game, so West was 33-0 as the Lakers won all of their games in November and December.
•The streak ended in the Lakers' third game of January 1972, when second-year pro Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 39 points for the Milwaukee Bucks in a 120-104 Bucks victory in Milwaukee.
•LeBron James is equal to Michael Jordan in just about every category – shooting, passing, defense, ball-handling, leadership, and the ability to excel in pressure situations. James' advantage over Jordan is his inside scoring skills against larger players. That makes James the better player, and thus the greatest to play the game.
•Magic Johnson on Twitter last week ranked the greatest one-on-one players he had seen in this order: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and George Gervin. Love that Gervin inclusion. Julius Erving and Connie Hawkins were great one-on-one guys, too.
•Bryant gets criticized for shooting too much. But he has never taken a shot he cannot make. And given the teammates he has had now and then, he should be taking all of those shots.
•Magic also tweeted the best all-round players as James, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson "and some Laker I can't mention!" Let's assume that Laker wore No. 32.
•Several college basketball coaches can receive huge pay bonuses if their teams win the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota coach Tubby Smith would get a $2.75 million bonus and Arizona coach Sean Miller would add close to $1 million to his pay .
•Dorothy Mulligan, wife of late UC Irvine basketball coach Bill Mulligan, died last week. Two of their sons, Brian and Shawn, became very good high school basketball coaches in Orange County.
•If you have ever wondered what it would be like to hear a sportscaster do play-by-play through a cardboard tube, get Sirius radio. The sound quality is that awful.
•The Orange County Breakers last week drafted Orange High and USC alumnus Steve Johnson, NCAA singles champion in 2011 and '12. The Breakers also selected Coco Vandeweghe, niece of all-time UCLA basketball great Kiki Vandeweghe.
•Remember the United States Football League, of the 1980s? Steve Young and the Los Angeles Express, hot summer afternoon games with hundreds and hundreds in attendance at the Coliseum ... Well, it's back, and will start play next March in eight unspecified cities.
•The USFL hired its league president, Jim Bailey, who has 24 years of administrative experience in the NFL, mostly with the Baltimore Ravens and back when the Ravens were the old Cleveland Browns. This time around, the USFL sees itself as a developmental league and not one that would try to compete with the behemoth NFL.
•The only certain way to make the NFL free of hard-contact injuries is to have all games played in deep mud. The guys are too fast and too strong, no matter what rule changes are made, to keep them completely safe, especially on those fast-track artificial turf surfaces.
•Tim Leiweke's departure as chief executive from the Anschutz Entertainment Group means little to the chances of getting an NFL team in Los Angeles, a project Leiweke led at AEG. There won't be an NFL-ready stadium within 50 miles in at least five years.
•You can find an outstanding look at this, from the San Diego Chargers' angle, in a Jay Paris column for U-T San Diego (utsandiego.com). Paris writes that the Chargers can no longer play the "we'll-pack-up-for-Los-Angeles" card now in their negotiations with San Diego for a new stadium, which puts the city in a stronger position to dictate terms.
•The quickest and most economically prudent idea down south is to renovate Qualcomm Stadium, much like how Angel Stadium was improved a couple of years after the Rams left. Dig out a few feet of soil to improve field-level views, add several men's rooms and modernize the ones already there, and install wider seats. The big fella who sits next to me is a great guy and all, but he should be paying 20 percent of the cost of my seat because he occupies 20 percent of it.
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