Posted on: May 2, 2009 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2009 3:58 pm
 

Brown's head shot to Hudler

In last night's game Anaheim Duck Mike Brown crushed Red Wing Jiri Hudler.

For his actions Brown was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
It's a fairly polarizing hit. The Ducks are claiming it was a clean hit. The Red Wings are saying it was dirty and vicious.
Frankly watching it at game speed I thought it looked clean too.  To me it was no worse than a Scott Stevens hit. If those were clean, then Brown's was clean.
I was wrong though. Look at the video from CBC .

Here's more proof.

Brown's forearm is level with Hudler's head.
Brown & Hudler 1

Brown & Hudler 2

The end of Brown's stick and his hand are in Hudler's face.
Brown & Hudler 3

And Brown's follow through, that shows intent to injure.
Brown & Hudler 4

Brown & Hudler 5

Many are comparing this hit to Donald Brashear's hit on Blair Betts in the first round. They're similar, Brashear's was a tad later, but not quite the same. Brasher received a six-game suspension his actions, and yet Brown won't receive any more punishment for his.

Also, many people say a player should keep his head up. I understand that. Yet the player doing the hitting should be responsible too. Brown could've delivered a hip check .

Category: NHL
Posted on: April 30, 2009 6:10 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2009 6:12 pm
 

Ratings up, attendance up

Today I read more reports about NHL playoff attendance increases and TV ratings increase.

Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star:
The NHL may not be able to hide its delight with first-round playoff attendance numbers.
Many believed the post-season would be a casualty of the recession, but average attendance for the opening round increased and all but four of the games were sellouts.


Greg "I hate the NHL, and I wish I wasn't blogging about it" Wyshynski at Yahoo! Sports was critical.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Star writes an "all is well" NHL playoff attendance article without mentioning how attendance is counted or reported publicly.

Gotcha Mr. Negative. Name a sports league - NBA, MLB or NFL - that reports attendance differently than the NHL? They all do it by tickets sold. Anyway, I watched plenty of games on TV, and with the exception of Detroit, the arenas all looked damn near capacity to me.

Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press:
With fans flocking back to see good teams with star players in Chicago and Boston, the NHL says its rinks were full to 100.9 per cent capacity through the 44 first-round games, its highest figure in 16 years.
Only four games — two in Carolina and two in Anaheim — failed to sell out.
It also reports a 22 per cent increase in viewers on the Versus network in the U.S., which averaged a 0.44 cable rating, or 333,163 households and 442,301 viewers.


Also there was this tidbit.
It was a game between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on NBC on April 19 that did best — a 1.3 rating, or 1,542,710 households and 2,223,151 viewers. The league called it the most-watched NHL conference quarter-final game on "over-the-air" TV since 2001, up 63 per cent from a comparable NBC game last year.

NBC bested the the Mickey Mouse networks?! Wow, that's hard for me to believe that the synergy between NBC and Versus beat the synergy between ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Radio, etc., when they had games in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Very hard to believe NBC surpassed the "sports leader." Maybe it's because the Mickey Mouse networks weren't giving it their all.

Finally, Jeff Z. Klein at The New York Times:
Tuesday’s two Game 7’s did not end well for metropolitan-area fans, but there were a lot of them watching.
The relatively high ratings for the Rangers and Devils came even though their decisive games were telecast simultaneously on MSG’s two networks.
The average ratings for both eventful series showed significant increases over last year’s numbers, with the Rangers averaging a 2.50 (185,846 households) on MSG, compared with a 2.13 in 2008. The Devils averaged 1.36 (101,100 households) on MSG Plus — way up over last year’s 0.59.


Posted on: April 29, 2009 12:35 am
 

NHL.com failure, again

So OK I didn't see all of the games tonight. I wanted to but didn't, sorry.
Anyway I just got home, and I wanted to see who scored the first two goals in the Capitals - Rangers game.
Bypassing all other sites I went directly to the source - nhl.com.
This is what I got.

Something is amiss!

Another nhl.com malfunction.
:(
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 27, 2009 8:09 pm
 

2009 playoffs review, ratings

So far, so good for reviews and ratings.

Ross McKeon of Yahoo! Sports:
While this can sometimes be a convenient time to complain about what’s wrong with the NHL and the Stanley Cup playoffs, we’re here to tell you there’s a whole lot right about the postseason, especially this season’s version.
Yes, it may still be early, but there are a number of positive trends that can’t be ignored, and several annoying habits that have not surfaced this playoff season.


He goes on to explain how there are plenty of top 20 scorers in the playoffs, big market teams, less whining about officiating, less diving, exciting games, etc. It's worth reading the whole article in my opinion.

Also two journalists reported higher TV ratings this season.

Craig Custance of Sporting News:
The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is winding down, and if the ratings are any indication, fans have enjoyed the matchups.
While in Columbus to be a part of the first Blue Jackets playoff game, commissioner Gary Bettman got ratings updates straight from the networks on his Blackberry.
He shook his head while leaning over to show a reporter the numbers. They were impressive.
Versus reported ratings increases of nearly 50 percent. According to the New York Times, the MSG Network reported its highest ratings for hockey in 12 years. The Times also reported that hockey viewership in Washington is up 121 percent over last year.
The oft-criticized television deal between Versus and the NHL is gaining serious traction this postseason.
"Our willingness to do things differently with NBC or particularly now with Versus, in some respects, it makes us a trailblazer,"Bettman told Sporting News.

Jeff Z. Klein of The New York Times:
The N.H.L. post-season is still young, but initial ratings reports show a big increase in TV viewership in the United States.
According to figures released by Versus, the network’s first 10 games of 2009 playoff coverage drew an average of 434,382 viewers per telecast, up some 50 percent over last year’s figure, 290,551.
Meanwhile on the MSG Network, the telecasts of Games 3 and 4 of the Rangers-Capitals series on Monday and Wednesday nights drew the highest ratings for hockey on the network in almost 12 years.


Additionally a Detroit Red Wings blog reported higher ratings too.
Per FSDetroit -- Tuesday night’s Game 3 of the Red Wings-Columbus series on FOX Sports Detroit averaged a 12.0 household rating in metro Detroit (approx. 231,240 households), according to Nielsen Media Research data. That’s the highest rated Red Wings telecast onFSD since the 2004 playoffs. The rating for Tuesday’s game peaked at 13.4 from 8:30-8:45 (258,218 households).
The first three games of the Red Wings-Columbus series are averaging a 10.4 rating. Last year’s playoff coverage on FSD (5 games in rounds 1 & 2) averaged a 9.1 rating.
1 ratings point equals approximately 19,270 households in metro Detroit.



It's great to read all this good news isn't it? I also really enjoyed reading this from the NYT article.
The Versus playoff spike comes after a regular season in which N.H.L. games on the network showed an increase of 21 percent in average viewership over last season (329,794 vs. 272,417).
“It’s been exciting,” said Jamie Davis, president of Versus, in a phone conversation with this blog on Wednesday. “We really worked hard in the regular season, working with the league. We started with opening night early in October, that game was our highest-rated regular-season game ever.”
Now in the playoffs, hockey viewership on Versus is really taking off, according to Davis. In Washington, viewership is up 121 percent over last year, he said, and up 20 percent in New York.
“We want to be able to say that at this time of year, we are providing the hockey fan and sports fan with in-depth coverage of hockey like they can find nowhere else. Some nights we’ll have double- and even tripleheaders.”


Davis is right. Nowhere else on TV.
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 26, 2009 9:41 am
 

Fighting for hockey

Because I fight for hockey where ever I go, I saw this.

Alexander Ovechkin's highlight reel goal on Friday.

The story. So I walked into a Buffalo Wild Wings Friday night to watch the Capitals - Rangers game. It wasn't already on. I knew it was about halfway through though. The bar wasn't extremely full, and only a few patrons were watching a game - a couple of baseball games and the basketball game. A few more were playing online trivia or poker. So I picked the least likely place to sit so as to not disrupt the statusquo. "What'll have?" asked the bartender. "I'll have a Diet Coke if you can change one of these TV's to the hockey game." "We can probably do that." "Great, I'lll take a Diet Coke then." Get my drink, but no hockey is on. This doesn't bode well. B-dubs is busy. I got it. I make sure nobody next to me is watching the Cubs - Cardinals game. They're not. They're fully engrossed in their online games. It takes a bit longer, but finally the hockey game is on. A plasma TV and the projection screen. That didn't set well with the Cubs or the Cards fans in the rest of the bar, nor the two guys who came in after me and sit a few seats down. They howl in protest So then it's back to baseball, including the plasma TV in front of me. The hockey game is on a TV at the other end of the bar - too far for me to see. I complain. "I'm not ordering anything else until hockey is on one of these TVs." There were about five of them, so it was in the realm of the possible. "As a matter of fact I'm getting ready to leave. I mean Icould've gone anywhere to eat, but I came here to see a hockey game too." The bartender didn't hear it all I'm sure as she turned on her heels to change the station. She changed it or had it changed, but I hadn't looked up. I was still fuming. She came back prepared to write my order. "I said I'm not ordering ... oh you changed it." So I order my food. About that time Alexander Ovechkin scored his highlight reel goal.  It was like my own little reward for influencing B-dubs to change the station. Did anybody else see it live? Did it make the four-letter's top 10 plays of the day? Really I don't really care if anybody else saw it. I know in my heart that it was the number one play that day, and it was probably better than anyLeBron James alley-oop or baseball home run or catch.
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 22, 2009 8:18 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2009 8:20 pm
 

Columbus scores with NHL hockey

Hello playoffs and goodbye playoffs. Looks like that's what the Columbus Blue Jackets are saying as the Detroit Red Wings are one win away from advancing.
I'm glad the Jackets made it to the playoffs though. They deserve it, and so do their fans. From all accounts the first game, aside from the final score, seems to be a resounding success.

Craig Custance - Sporting News:
A crowd of 19,219 came to be a part of history in Columbus, and while there wasn't much to cheer on the ice during Detroit's 4-1 win, the night marked a significant moment off it for the Blue Jackets.
Before this season, Columbus was suffering from steadily declining attendance and, worse yet, the Blue Jackets were threatening to become irrelevant in a town better known for its college football.
But with their playoff debut Tuesday night, and the buzz filling the area leading up to it, the city made it clear it has embraced the Blue Jackets. And playoff hockey.
"I think we're turning a corner here as a franchise. . . . The buzz in this city is that we matter a little more now, we're more in the fabric," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We have our time of the season like OSU has their time. We matter right now. That's huge."


That's great to read in my opinion. Take note snobbish, traditional-market NHL fans. Even a Canadian-based journalist is hopping on the bandwagon.

Rory Boylen - The Hockey News:
COLUMBUS – I have to say, driving into the city Monday evening I was a little skeptical of what the atmosphere surrounding the Jackets would be; a team in the post-season for the first time in franchise history.
On the first evening I counted more baseball and college logos around the town than Blue Jackets memorabilia. So, despite being a Blue Jackets booster all season long – and letting Adam Proteau know he was going to have to live up to his early-season bet day in and day out – I thought we might find ourselves in the middle of a stereotype. That being, small market American franchises have non-existent fan bases and I might find myself coming out of the experience with, reluctantly, more ammo supporting a migration of these fickle, unsupported franchises to the Great White North.
But then game day came.
The city remained quiet in the morning and the drizzly weather discouraged me even further as to how many rambunctious, zealous fans would be out showing their support and gaining momentum for their team. But then – and all of a sudden – about an hour before the gates opened the streets were flooded with people wearing Jackets jerseys, sporting war-era mutton chops and Union caps; the city had come alive.


That's just it: too many fans and journalists stereotype newer, small-market and non-traditional hockey markets without ever setting foot in the city. In March James Mirtle found out that he was mistaken about Nashville. Now Boylen sees the light too.
I've known. I've been attending games in Columbus and Nashville since 2000. Wake up! And stop drinking the Kool-Aid coming from northern journalists and fans. Hockey can survive in a variety of places - not just the north, and it can make converts of skeptics - even a four-letter network employee.


Kevin Allen - USAToday:
COLUMBUS, Ohio — ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit says his 2-year-old son Chase walks around his Columbus-area home carrying a small hockey stick and chanting, "Let's go Jackets. Let's go Jackets."
"I didn't know anything about the NHL in 2000 and I can't tell you what a Blue Jackets fan I've become," Herbstreit said. "My family ... we are completely addicted."
The Herbstreits won't be alone in their zealous support Tuesday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets play the Detroit Red Wings in the first home playoff game in the franchise's eight-season history.
"There's been a lot of buzz and it's rekindling the spirit of the inaugural season," said Scott Bagenstose, a season ticketholder since the team debuted in 2000.


I hope Herbstriet isn't fired for his unabashed love of hockey.
Anyway, Nationwide Arena is a great venue for hockey, and Columbus can support a team. There's plenty to do, and plenty of places to stay within walking distance of the arena. Also, I'd rather attend a game there than some other NHL arenas, like United Center in Original 6 town Chicago.
Oh and like I posted in March, I heard more hockey talk in Columbus than I have in Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Buffalo.
Good luck to the Jackets ... except when playing the Wings.

 

Category: NHL
Posted on: April 18, 2009 9:29 pm
 

NHL.com failure

Once again nhl.com fails.
As usual when I listen to a game online I like to keep track of the stats of the game as they happen. I couldn't tonight.
Thanks nhl.com. Thanks for once again letting down a diehard fan.
I tried three different browsers too, and I can't get the link to work. In fact it's not just this game but every game since the playoffs started.
It's no wonder I haven't visited the site much this season. In 10 years, including the lockout year, this year is the least amount of time I've spent at that site.

Previous nhl.com disappointments:
http://auxlepli.blogspot.com/2009/0
2/nhl-and-media-part-3.html
http://auxlepli.blogspot.com/2009/0
2/nhl-and-media-part-1.html
http://auxlepli.blogspot.com/2008/1
1/two-nights.html
http://auxlepli.blogspot.com/2008/1
0/still-looking-northward.html
http://auxlepli.blogspot.com/2008/1
0/nhl-fan-connect-updates.html

And it was going so well nearly a year ago.
http://auxlepli.blogspot.com/2008/0
4/nhlcom-getting-better.html

NHL.com use to be one of the best sports sites out there. No longer is that true - for many reasons I've blogged about before, and for many others I haven't even scratched the surface of yet.

Oh, and one more thing, what's the deal with "The Portal?" Anybody understand what that's all about? I don't notice any significant difference since before that launch.

 

Category: NHL
Posted on: April 9, 2009 10:59 pm
 

Success, a small victory

It pays to persevere.
Tonight I found another downtown Indianapolis bar that carries CenterIce. I almost stayed there, but I felt some loyalty to another bar I frequent.
So while the one bar was showing the Frozen Four and also promised to show the Red Wings - Predators game, I headed to what I call Indy's hockey oasis.
No hockey on when I got there. Yet, almost immediately after I entered the establishment I  got the Frozen Four on, even though the four-letter broadcasted the games.  Also, as soon as I walked in the bartender said, "I already got the Wings game lined up for ya."
That's what I'm talking about! That's the way to do it!!
It helps that I'm decked out in Wings gear, the bartender is a hockey fan and that the manager is from Detroit.
After a golf tournament is over, the bartender changes all the TVs to a hockey game  - the Rangers game, the Islanders game and the Sabres game.
"Is the Masters on?" one patron asks. "Nope, it's over," says the bartender.
I'm thinking ... you're thinking about golf when hockey is on!? Idiot!
Anyway, all downstairs TVs except one, which shows music videos, has a hockey game on it.
Fifteen TVs and 14 showing hockey!!
That's what I'm talking about! That's the way to do it!!
And while I was depressed while reading some hockey columns yesterday, I'm not tonight.
Tonight I have hope.
There's nothing sweeter in any sport than when your hockey team scores - when you see the team you're rooting for put the puck into the back of the net.
Nothing.

 

 

Category: NHL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com