--Blues at Coyotes
ESPN2 9 PM The goal must have looked larger than the Gateway
Arch to Pierre Turgeon. On Dec. 2, after the St. Louis center
had a hat trick against Nashville in his return after missing
four games with a bad back, Blues defenseman Marc Bergevin said,
"I guess his back is O.K., but now I'm worried about him. He's
carrying the team again, and he might get sore." Turgeon
shouldered St. Louis's scoring load (35 points through Sunday)
as the Blues (19-9-2) inched ahead of Phoenix (18-9-3) to tie
San Jose for second best in the West.
--Jazz at Heat
TBS 8 PM Karl Malone and Newman. How can two mailmen have such
different physiques? The chiseled Jazz power forward recently
released a workout video (Karl Malone's Body Shop) whereas
Seinfeld's nemesis is a regular flabalanche. After looking as if
they were over the hill in November, Malone and Utah (13-7
through Sunday) seem to be rounding into shape. Guard Jeff
Hornacek was leading the NBA in free throw percentage (.968),
foul shots being just about the only type that escape the reach
of Miami center Alonzo Mourning, the NBA's leader in blocks
(4.05 per game).
--Cowboys at Saints
FOX 3 PM
'Twas the day before Christmas, by Lake Pontchartrain,
Where an NFL franchise goes slowly insane.
It's mortgaged the farm, optioned every last share,
In hopes a Saint, Rick, can allay its despair.
Thirty-three seasons and no playoff wins,
Can a savior in dreadlocks atone for such sins?
From Lake Charles to Slidell, yes, all over La.
Folks were saying, "Why he's the next Bobby Boucher!
He's a dasher! A dancer! A prancer! Elixir!
That rare Heisman back who will pick up the blitzer!"
Then Rick posed in a dress, and some fans threw a fit,
What's wrong for a rookie is O.K. for Brad Pitt?
The nadir? A loss at home to the Browns,
Those Superdome smiles reverted to frowns.
But Saint Rick never quit, the kid is a gamer,
As he looked to the future, he gave this disclaimer:
"Things will get much better, they can hardly get worse,
Unless come next season, I do pose as a nurse!"
COLOR PHOTO: RICHARD MACKSON
Bills at Cardinals
ESPN 8:15 PM I've got two words for MTV: Devo Unplugged. I've
got two more words for the Food Network: Toast Week. Finally,
I've got two words for Doug Flutie (above): Look out! The last
time a nimble quarterback born during the Kennedy Administration
took a snap at Sun Devil Stadium, it may have been his last snap
in the NFL. Buffalo's Flutie, 37, must avoid Arizona's pass
rush, which in September knocked out (in every sense) 49er Steve
Young, 38. The Bills (8-5) and Cards (6-7) are two of a number
of teams this season playing as if an 8-8 record is playoff
material. Which reminds me, I've got two words for Paul
Tagliabue: Parity sucks.
A how-we-long-for-Howie-Long movement seems to be brewing. His
Fox NFL Sunday studio coanalyst Terry Bradshaw recently declared
to Craig Kilborn on CBS's The Late, Late Show that the chiseled
Long is the one guy he would kiss on the lips. Now Long and Teri
("They're real, and they're spectacular!") Hatcher appear in
Radio Shack ads reminiscent of the James Garner-Mariette Hartley
coupling for Polaroid 20 years ago. Fox colleague Cris
Collinsworth must be wondering, How many intelligent things do I
have to say before someone notices me?... 'Tis the season: The
bowl binge kicks off on Saturday with Fresno State facing Utah
in the Las Vegas Bowl (ESPN2, 6 p.m.).
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.