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 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: February 18, 2009 9:08 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2009 9:09 pm

NHL and the media, part 3

Catching up with my RSS feeds I found some older articles from mlive.com's George James Malik about WXYT and the Detroit Red Wings.

In WXYT boldly delves into Wings talk Malik praises two of the stations DJ for chatting about the Wings.

WXYT's Terry Foster and Mike Valenti officially talked about the Detroit Red Wings in earnest for the first time on Wednesday, ...

Wow the first time this season and roughly 50 games into the season. For Hockeytown that's sad and depressing.
My response there:
Whenever I've been to Detroit I've never, NEVER, been impressed with the sports talk stations there. As with most every other city in the states it's way, way too much American football. If not that sport then some other celebrity tangent or other non-sport topic. No hockey, no basketball, no baseball and I've been there enough times when those sports overlapped hockey season.
Other than the Red Wings broadcasts, there are only two positives for WXYT: the FM feed is on iTunes and the Jeff Riger post-game Wings shows.

Malik also found the AP article on USAToday about the Detroit Pistons moving to WXYT, which is something I blogged Monday. I doubt the veracity of Malik's headline, Pistons' deal with WXYT won't take precedence over Wings games , and first statement.

The Associated Press notes that the Detroit Pistons, who will move up the dial to WXYT next season, won't supersede the Red Wings in "The Ticket's" pecking order:

My response:
I don't believe the headline of this (Malik's) article.
When non-Lions, American football games take precedence over a Red Wings game then something is wrong, which in this case is the Wings' flagship station, WXYT.

My previous problems with WXYT:
Two Nights
Listening Live

Want proof that Detroit isn't Hockeytown anymore. Right now 19:26 Thursday Dec. 13, 2007, I'm streaming the Wings' flagship radio station, WXYT, using iTunes. The talking heads there are talking about American football. There should be a pre-game show for the Wings too. Now the game has started, about a minute in, and they're still chatting about the Lions. Wings just scored. Still the iTunes stream is American football. Thankfully I can listen to the game on nhl.com. There's this beeping noise that's very annoying. I can't win tonight. Thankfully the Wings are out to an early start. Just messaged the studio. This is what I wrote. "I like streaming your feed using iTunes. How come I'm hearing American football chatter instead of the Red Wings game? This is very disappointing to me. Please e-mail me back at (e-mail address) with the answer. Thank you for your time." I'll let you know if I receive a response. This is depressing. I mean I had my hopes that if I moved to a hockey loving area everything would be perfect. I guess I'll need to move to Canada now. Finally at nearly 8PM they join the game in progress. Damn that just sucks. That's very poor judgment in my opinion. I'd feel the same way if they were talking hockey and joined an American football game in progress. The live event takes top priority and preferably with a pre-game show. Sheesh. Well it's on iTunes now so I'm happy now, but still poor judgment on WXYT's part. Damn the Oilers just scored. Well the game just ended and still no word from WXYT. I seriously doubt I'll receive a response. Typical.

Category: NHL
Posted on: February 16, 2009 10:33 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2009 12:11 am

NHL and the media, part 1

Nearly two weeks ago on Feb. 5, the Detroit Free Press reported that WXYT 97.1 will broadcast Detroit Pistons games next year.

Starting next fall, Detroit will have something rare in America — one radio home for all four of its major professional sports teams.
The Pistons signed a five-year deal Thursday to join the Tigers, Red Wings and Lions on CBS-owned WXYT-FM (97.1) next season. It’s likely the first time all four teams have joined the same station.

This can't be good news for me. I already have enough trouble with Detroit Red Wings games conflicting with American football games .
It'd be nice if NHL.com was a viable alternative to listening to 97.1 on iTunes like it had been for years. But the League's website has greatly deteriorated this year as pointed out in this nearly month old article at mlive.com, Critiquing the NHL's digital revolution .

The NHL's website is so overloaded with Flash programming and nesting of stories that's lost its tactile "feel," courtesy of the elimination of the "right click."
1. You can't right-click on images to save them, "Frozen Moments" included;
2. The "headline" image usually links readers to two or three (and sometimes four) stories, and you can't right-click to open all three stories in browser "tabs" (nor are the stories usually linked to each other via cross-referencing links in each story);
3. When you play a video embedded in its front page stories, you cannot "share" the video (no menu to "share" or "embed" the video exists on the front page), and if you attempt to do so, the website refers you to NHL.TV's main page, which usually requires you to search for two or three minutes to find the video;
4. And the league's features and headlines are not archived in a, "view past columns/features" format. You have to scroll through oodles of headlines on a day-by-day basis, knowing that feature X appears on day Y if you want to find the previous column written by a particular author or a previous "notebook" or feature from the previous week.

My post there:
I've read many complaints about the new ESPN site. It doesn't bother me. Some have even complained about load speed, again doesn't bother me.
The new NHL site bothers me. It's load speed is ridiculously slow compared to ESPN's. Believe me I wish it was the other way around.
NHL's GameCenter is a joke in my opinion. Again slow. Very, very slow. I've tried at work and on my home computer using various browsers and various ways in which to connect to the Internet.
The fan connect site is horribly designed from an end user point view. It's so bad I've stopped visiting and blogging there, and as a passionate fan I wanted to connect with other NHL fans. Sadly I don't anymore because it's just too cumbersome from a navigation point of view and a blogging point of view.
Many a time I've tried to just wanted to listen to games, and I can't. For whatever reason the audio doesn't work. When the NHL showed games live, the feed is choppy. It's just not worth watching. There's no way I'd pay for Center Ice Online. No way!
I've submitted my complaints and bugs a few times. Nothing is done and no personal response, just automated ones. Though I did receive a response about the fan connect site.
Before this season I visited the NHL site daily, multiple times daily. Now I only typically visit on Red Wings game days so I can view the game summary. Now I get most of my hockey news from other sources. Last season I religiously watched the highlights online. Now I don't. It's depressing to me as an NHL fan how far that site has dropped in my opinion. It was one of the best, now it's one of the worst.

I noticed the problems listening to games earlier this year, Two Nights , and last year, Listening Live .
I've been listening to Red Wing games online since 1999. While I love the NHL broadcasts these games for free, like no other league that I'm aware, if fans can't listen to them for whatever reason, what's the point?

Also there have been times where I can't even log into NHL Connect.
No LogIn
I'm so done with that site. The log in info should be in the upper left hand corner, but it's not! This isn't a one-time occurrence; that happened several times to me.

As a side note, I had the unfortunate experience of viewing ESPN's SportsCenter today for 45 minutes. Not one NHL highlight. NOT ONE!
Seven games and not one highlight. People who think ESPN is objective are delusional. People who think that things would change if the League went back to the four-letter network are delusional. It won't happen because the Disney networks don't want the NHL. They had a chance to get the League back immediately following the lockout, but didn't. Nothing I've seen has changed.

Category: NHL
Posted on: February 7, 2009 11:15 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2009 11:16 pm

Poor play, poor team

The Red Wings flew high Saturday and weren't mired in Oil with a resounding 8-3 win .

DETROIT (AP) — The Red Wings scored three times in the first six minutes and Brian Rafalski, Maria Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and an assist to lift Detroit to an 8-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

So is the poor play of the Wings over or did they just play a poor team? No disrespect to the Oilers but the Wings seem to match up well with Edmonton this year. Wings won 4-0 and 4-3 in two November games.
Is this finally the start of the Wings playing like a team ready to repeat or just an aberration?
Although the Wings won Monday and Wednesday they didn't look particularly strong doing so, and they certainly didn't look like a team wanting to repeat as Cup champions.

Lidstrom's late goal gives Wings 5-4 win
"It's not the way we want to win but we're still able to win games," (Nicklas) Lidstrom said. "We're still working at details in our game that could be better."

Anyway, Sunday's game at Pittsburgh, as the second half of a back-to-back, might be a better indicator for the Wings, not that the Penguins are playing particularly well, but they should be more rested than the Wings. It will be an interesting game.

Posted on: February 1, 2009 9:50 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2009 9:53 pm

Hockey happenings Feb. 1, 2009

Tidbits from what I've been reading and watching. It's a bit random, some old and some new.

The Sporting News' Ray Slover came out in defense of fighting in the NHL.

If hockey really wants to clean up the game, it should crack down on stick fouls.So pay no attention to the recent poll that said a majority of Canadians interviewed said fighting should be abolished. Listen, instead, to the people whose lives are spent in hockey. A poll is only as good as the people who participate in it.
That's fine. Again I can take fighting or leave it. My only concern is if it is banned, stick work and other nastiness will increase.

Detroit Red Wing Henrik Zetterberg signs 12-year deal .

The Detroit Red Wings signed Henrik Zetterberg to the longest contract in team history, a 12-year, $73 million deal that will keep the star forward in Hockeytown until 2021.Zetterberg, 28, will be paid $7.4 million next season, $7.75 million from 2010-11 through 2012-13, $7.5 million from 2013-14 through 2016-17, $3.35 million in 2017-18, and a $1 million in the each of the contract's final two years.
Cool, but I'm a bit concerned about the length of the contract. Kevin Allen of USAToday thinks if Marion Hossa and Johan Franzen take a hometown discount, Ken Holland, the Red Wings General Manager, will be able to re-sign them both . I hope they do, and he does.



Some journalists, like Bob Wojnowski at the Detroit News, posted that the Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk suspension could be critical later in the season.

It's not a gigantic controversy but it's the principle, really. I understand the NHL's reasoning, and so do the players. The truth is, because they're injured -- Lidstrom has taken several cortisone shots this season -- more rest shouldn't hurt. But what if the Wings lose tonight and eventually finish two points shy of home-ice advantage?

Good point. Yet just like a bad call in a game, overcome it, but please stop whining.I also understand the hypocrisy surrounding this ruling and letting Steve Mason skate free. Yet the agreement was about the All-Star Game not the Young Stars Game. Oh well, suck it up and drive on. Get the rule changed to include the Young Stars Game too.

Alexander Ovechkin torched the Wings Saturday for two goals, the game-winner and the insurance.Still high on that win and not filing lethargic at all it seems, he scored another three Sunday.

All aboard the Ovechkin bandwagon ... he's an amazing player! He plays with physicality and grace. It bears repeating: Saturday's game with the Wings, defending Cup champions, and Ovechkin, a dynamic player, should've been broadcast nationally.

Also worth noting, Ville Leino's goal on Saturday. It seems many are ga-ga for it. Yet I bet it didn't even make ESPN's highlight reel for the day.

YouTube clip


Category: NHL
Posted on: January 31, 2009 11:16 pm

Stop looking backwards

This is a message to the Red Wings and their fans.
Stop looking backwards, this isn't last year. Doing so is well, backwards.
The Wings current losing streak is at five. Many fans seem to take solace that last year they lost six in a row at one point. "So don't worry about it," they say.
Yet this isn't last season. The time is now. Last season the Wings were in first. Now, they're nine points behind the League-leading Boston Bruins, eight behind Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks, and catching up to the Wings are the New Jersey Devils who are just two points shy of the Wings pace.
One of the Detroit papers published an article at the break or half-way point that the Wings were at the same pace last year.
This isn't last year; this is this year!
Things aren't dire, and the Wings are missing players. Got it. Yet their defense is still lax, and that must change if they're to do well in the post-season.
This isn't last year, and the Wings shouldn't rest on their laurels.

Category: NHL
Posted on: January 25, 2009 9:04 pm

No All-Star show, non-issue

Well the suspension of Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datysuk for one game, to be served against the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday, because they failed to appear at the All-Star festivities is a non-issue.
At least it is in my opinion.
Opinions of the suspension seem mostly divided. Detroit area writers and Red Wings fans are against it. The anti- Gary Bettman people are also against it, but to me that's just to disagree with the commissioner. All the others seem to agree with the suspension. Though they are probably in the minority. As a Red Wings fan who agrees with the suspension I'm probably a minority of one.
Two Detroit area writers who disagree with the suspension are George James Malik and Drew Sharp .
One national writer who also disagrees with the suspension is Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated, Bettman makes bad call with Wings .

If anyone deserved a pass, it is Lidstrom, the six-time Norris Trophy winner who is a wonderful ambassador for hockey. While the All-Star Game should be part of his responsibility, he truly has served his time.

Datsyuk didn't play for most of the third period of the Coyotes game; so his injury must be pretty serious. Couldn't he just take off the first two periods of the upcoming  game? That would then be a whole game.
One who agrees with the suspension is the New York Post's Larry Brooks, Showing up here's least they could do .

MONTREAL - You can't have it both ways. You can't ridicule the NHL All-Star Game for featuring rosters that include players of modest renown and then turn around and ridicule GaryBettman for insisting that those Stars chosen to play in the game actually, you know, show up.
The commissioner couldn't be on firmer ground here in enforcing the policy he enunciated at last February's GM meetings that any selected player choosing to skip out on the event would be required to miss either the league game immediately prior or following All-Star weekend in order to verify claims of injury.

Regardless of why the rule is there, regardless of how much time a player has given to the League, the player should still follow the rules.
Lidstrom and Datsyuk are stand-up guys in my opinion. They probably won't complain because they are forthright and magnanimous players. I'd give them the pass, but the commissioner and the League aren't. That's fine with me; I can live with that.
It's better than the alternative - the game meaning something ala Major League Baseball. For that matter the suspension is better than any alternative proposed in Craig Custance's article, Ideas for saving the NHL All-Star Game .
There's already rumblings that the game is a farce, more from Farber in a different article, The All-Star thrill is gone .

But the ambivalence shown by some Detroit players, if not the organization, merely reinforces the idea that the All-Star Game is a played-out notion.
There are annual suggestions of how to make the game better -- "It's Groundhog Day again," Toronto GM Brian Burke said -- but all the gimcracks that have been promised for the skills competition on Saturday just skim the surface. Despite a weekend that will be an overwhelming success simply because it is taking place in a hockey-obsessed host city -- the fans here know that the All-Star Game isn't a game but a swell party -- there is an All-Star fatigue that permeates not merely hockey but every sport.
The core of the problem: the very premise for all of these games has been subverted in recent years. The stars of the sport might not all convene at the same place on the same day during the season, but they can be juxtaposed, compared and contrasted on innumerable highlight shows and Internet clips. Because there is inter-conference play in all sports, these one-off exhibitions cannot even be regarded as some sort of measuring stick.
As the competitive value fades, leagues have turned these games into corporate festivals, splashy ways to sell the brand. The NHL announced $10 million in sponsorships for the 2009 Game. Unlike the attendance figures at the bottom of the stats sheets, the number appears to be legitimate.
The various leagues have begun to address All-Star fatigue, tweaking as they go. The NFL has addressed it by moving the Pro Bowl, its annual no-hitter, to the week prior to the Super Bowl, starting in 2010. Major League Baseball's All-Star Game has added the ridiculous idea of home-field advantage for the World Series for the winning league -- if you want to give a tangible benefit to the winner, the game shouldn't be played like an exhibition -- in order to make the event more relevant. The NBA game might as well be held in a playground, but then that league seems to like it that way.
Of course, the NHL can't emulate basketball because hockey, like football, can turn farcical without intensity. So, Groundhog Day starts again.

So trying to make the All-Star Game relevant again, Bettman and the League are imposing these rules.
Again that's fine with me. It's better than any alternative I've read.

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