This is an article from the Feb. 16, 2009 issue
The slugger got what he wanted from the World Series champs. The Phillies ponied up $54 million over three years to keep Howard out of arbitration and in the fold. That, folks, is what 153 homers, 431 RBIs and an MVP award over three seasons will do for you.
The Bulldogs had lost seven straight at Wright State—but that streak's over. Last Saturday's win there lifted them to 21--2 this season. How does Butler do it? "They take advantage of every single mistake you make," said Wright State's Scott Grote. Another Butler's stoked too: The Wizards' Caron Butler scored 15 straight points, including a buzzer beater to drop the Pacers.
The old guy's tough. In his 20th NHL season—he's back after having heart surgery in September 2007—the Sabres' defenseman missed six games with a fractured jaw (puck in the face). But he's hardly slowed, playing 17 minutes a night for surging Buffalo.
Today he's still on the sideline, but tomorrow? Woods says that he's going "full bore with my practice sessions." He could be back on the PGA Tour by next month. After all, he has an extra mouth to feed: Tiger and his wife, Elin, welcomed their second child on Sunday, a boy named Charlie Axel.
The slugger, released by the Dodgers last month, got a deal. A minor league deal. From the perennially sub-.500 Rangers. For $500,000—if he makes the big league roster. That, folks, is what hitting .158 with just three home runs will do for you.
Notre Dame Hoops
Losing seven straight through Monday was decidedly un-Irish—it hadn't happened in 16 years—and, at 12--10, the team's tournament hopes were slipping away. As for turning things around, guard Kyle McAlarney told the Chicago Tribune, "It's either now or it's never going to happen," and that was when the streak was only five.
The Canadiens' 21-year-old goalie needs tougher skin. He'd lost seven of nine, including last Saturday's 5--2 trouncing by the hated Maple Leafs, and the Montreal faithful were outraged. Price, his eyes watery after that loss, sounded shocked: "It's just not going the way I expected."
One day he's a Laker, the next ... a Bobcat. Before being shipped out by L.A., the sometimes controversial forward (remember the snowboarding injury he lied about in 2007?) complained about playing time. He may play more in Charlotte—until the postseason, which he'll get to watch on TV.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
With the game on the line, which NBA player would you want to take the last shot?
Kobe Bryant, Lakers G 76%
Chauncey Billups, Nuggets G 3%
LeBron James, Cavaliers F 3%
Paul Pierce, Celtics F 3%
Dwyane Wade, Heat G 2%
Players could not vote for a teammate.... No center received more than one vote.... According to 82games.com Bryant has hit 14 game-winning shots since the start of the 2003--04 season, fourth highest in the league—but he also leads the NBA with 42 potential game-winners missed in that time.... James is first in game-winners made in that period with 17.
[Based on a survey of 190 NBA players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.