The first six games of the Western Conference finals have been as much about styles as they have scoring goals.
So with Game 7 looming today, the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche know that whichever team can control the tempo the longest will likely be playing Buffalo for the Stanley Cup.
"In this series, there have been so many tempo changes and switches of momentum," Dallas forward Jamie Langenbrunner said. "It's going to come down to the team that sticks with it the longest and keeps battling the hardest."
The Stars play a plodding, defensive-oriented game with an emphasis on tight checking.
The Avalanche are an offensive-minded bunch who try luring opponents into a wide-open game by daring teams to try outskating and outshooting them.
The inherent pressure of a seventh game is somewhat to Dallas' advantage. Players tend to be tentative for fear of making the season-ending mistake, thus slowing the game's pace.
Colorado coach Bob Hartley is warning his players not to fall into that trap.
"We don't play cautious," Hartley said. "Dallas plays for breaks and is very opportunistic. We have to use our speed to our advantage and we have to be on our best game."
Hockey has thrown more than pucks at Buffalo goaltender Dominik Hasek. He's gotten adoration, millions of dollars, an Olympic gold medal, recognition as the league's MVP the past two years, even criticism.
One thing eludes him: The Stanley Cup.
Hasek has a place set aside in his heart for hockey's biggest prize. "Right next to the gold medal," he said Thursday.
The Sabres won the Eastern Conference championship and await the winner of today's Game 7 of the Western Conference final between the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.
Hasek, almost recovered from the chronic groin injury that sidelined him for the first two games against Toronto in the conference final, is determined to scoop the only thing that's missing.
Hasek is the only goaltender in NHL history to twice be selected the league's MVP. He did so in each of the last two seasons and is a candidate for a third in a row. Last year he was voted top goalie for the fourth time in five years.
Augusta's Brian Smith was named the new baseball coach at Cedar Shoals High in Athens on Wednesday.
Smith had been the school's junior varsity coach for the last two years. He was the head coach at Butler High School for three years and served as an assistant coach at DeKalb Junior College.
Smith will replace Tom Simpson, who resigned last week after nine years as the Jaguars' head coach. Cedar Shoals was 17-10 last season.
Smith played baseball in college at Kennesaw State and was a member of two Class AAA state championship teams in 1987 and 1988 at Westside High School.
USC Aiken finished third in the final Mastercard Collegiate NCAA Division II rankings. The Pacers, the top-ranked team in NCAA Division III-North, moved in the poll after a runner-up finish in the national tournament. National champion Florida Southern was ranked No. 1, followed by West Florida.
Augusta Rowing Club members Helen Dalis and Daniel Lassiter have been invited to participate in USRowing Junior Invitational selection camp. Dalis, an honor graduate from Davidson Fine Arts School, coxed the United States team last year. This will be the first selection camp for Lassiter, a Westminster School junior.
Dalis has earned a full athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan. Kristen Pittman, a Greenbrier graduate, has a full athletic scholarship at the University of Louisville and Jennifer Patat, an Evans High graduate, has a partial scholarship to Rutgers.
Forty-two-year-old Rusty Campbell of Augusta enters his 23rd year of outboard racing on Saturday when the Professional Racing Outboard Performance Tour (PROP) season begins on the Colorado River near Laughlin, Nev.
This year, he hopes, will be markedly different from 1998 when he finished eighth overall in the standings.
"(Team owner) Bill Chatfield turned all of our equipment over to me to prepare for the season," Campbell said. "I had five engines, two lower units and two boats.
"As a result, I've spent more time running the boats than during previous years and I'm ready to race. I've also prepared myself physically, lifting weights to strengthen my arms and upper body. I'm racing against guys 24 years old and it's tough for me to keep up with them."
The Nevada race is the first of eight on the PROP schedule, with River Race Augusta to be held Aug. 21-22 on the Savannah River.
Longtime South Carolina State assistant coach Benjamin Blacknall has resigned to accept a similar position at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Blacknall, who leaves after 12 years, was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator under head coach Willie Jeffries.
Blacknall has begun his new duties as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator under former South Carolina State assistant coach Anthony Jones.
Former Kentucky football coach Charlie Bradshaw, an Alabama native and Bear Bryant protege known for his aggressive, disciplined style, died Thursday. He was 75.
Bradshaw, who coached at Kentucky from 1962-68 and at Troy State in Alabama from 1976-82, died in Montgomery, Ala., where he grew up and had lived in recent years.
Bradshaw, who spent three years with the Marines during World War II, played for Bryant at Kentucky after the war. He lettered four years, three as an end. He eventually rejoined Bryant as an assistant at Alabama during 1959-61, helping win a national championship in his last year before taking the Kentucky job in 1962.
Like Bryant, Bradshaw was a tough field master, with an intense conditioning regime. His disciplined approach was so demanding that his first Kentucky team began with 88 players but dropped to 30 -- "The Thin Thirty" as they were known at the time.
He was 25-41-4 at Kentucky, with a 6-4 campaign in his fourth year the peak.
He was 41-27-2 in seven years at Troy State, with his first team winning the Gulf State Conference championship.
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