This is an article from the Feb. 9, 2009 issue
Four multigoal performances in seven games—including a hat trick againstOttawa—returned the Capitals' left wing to his rightful place as the league'sleading goal-scorer. Not even a crash into the boards that briefly forced himout of a match against Boston took a toll. He was back and beating Detroit inthe next game.
Lost in the sea of memorable Super Bowl XLIII moments was a one-yard TD run bythe Steelers second-year fullback. What improbable joy for a guy who flunkedout of Minnesota, went undrafted and had two yards on six carries in the entireplayoffs.
With his NFL record 200 sacks, the former Bills end is headed to the Hall ofFame—voted in as soon as he was eligible. At a tearful press conference inTampa the big guy gave the news a Shakespearean heft: He wept, he explaineddabbing at his eyes, from thoughts of his deceased father, and "because Iam a man."
By sinking a birdie putt from 22 feet (ain't easy, even for a pro), he clinchedthe FBR Open and became, at 48, the oldest player to win in the 74 years of theevent (it used to be the Phoenix Open). Said Perry after his playoff victory,"I don't back down to anyone."
A painful season—he missed about three weeks with a groin injury—is starting tohurt even more for the Red Wings' veteran. Last year's Cup-winning goalie was1--4 in his last five starts through Sunday, giving up four goals a game andgetting pulled last Thursday. And that .880 save percentage this season? Theworst of his career.
The full brother and look-alike of the vaunted and fatally injured 2006Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro has "got big shoes to fill," said jockeyEdgar Prado before riding Nicanor in the 3-year-old's debut. He finished 10thin a one-mile maiden race at Gulfstream.
The former three-point sharpshooter, in his second season as Phoenix G.M., sawhis Suns lose seven of 10 despite a star-laden roster (Steve Nash, Amar'eStoudemire, Shaq). The players are grumbling, coach Terry Porter says the teamlooks like "we're not together" and, in Kerr's words, "if thepieces don't fit, that's on me."
Midway through his best pro season the fourth-year Lakers center is out for upto 12 weeks with a knee injury. If it feels like you've read this before it'sbecause midway through his best pro season last year, he was declared out forup to 12 weeks with a knee injury (and missed the rest of the year).
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Which NBA player thinks he's a lot better than hereally is?
Kendrick Perkins, Celtics C 8%
DeShawn Stevenson, Wizards G 8%
Rashad McCants, T-Wolves G 5%
Dahntay Jones, Nuggets G 5%
Damon Jones, Bucks G 5%
Dahntay Jones (No. 20 pick, Celtics) and Perkins (No. 27, Grizzlies) weredrafted in 2003 and immediately traded for each other.... Perkins and Stevensonwent from high school to the NBA.... Upon signing with the Cavaliers in '05Damon Jones said, "I think I'm one of the top five shooters in theworld." He averaged 6.6 points over three seasons before being dealt to theBucks.
[Based on a survey of 190 NBA players] • For more onthe poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.