Posted on: July 2, 2008 8:32 pm

Penguins fly the coop

OK so Penguins don't fly, but they are speedily marching away from Pittsburgh.

Who left: Gary Roberts, Ty Conklin, Ryan Malone, and probably most surprisingly especially considering where he landed, Marian Hossa.

Why did they leave?

Is it a mere coincidence or something more? I think it's the coach, Michel Therrien. His Final series antics - working the referees by complaining how the Red Wings cheated - annoyed his players. A national writer mentioned this in an article. That even Sidney Crosby had a tough time swallowing the company line.

Why those players left might be coincidence and a money grab by the players.

Still, I can't help but think that something might be rotten in the city of Pittsburgh, or at least with the Penguins organization.

Category: NHL
Posted on: April 20, 2008 11:55 am
Edited on: April 20, 2008 11:56 am

More Bettman-regime fascism

Fascism = extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.
The NHL's latest decision - banning Al Sobotka from retrieving and twirling a thrown octopus from the Joe Louis Arena ice - certainly seems intolerant and authoritarian to me.
From the linked Detroit Free Press article:

In an e-mail to the Free Press, NHL spokesman Frank Brown gave this explanation: "Because matter flies off the octopus and gets on the ice when he does it." The Wings wouldn't comment.

Ducks general manager Brian Burke complained about Sobotka's swinging last year. Before Friday's game, an octopus landed on the ice, as usual, and Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon whacked it aside with his stick.

The NHL's favoritism toward Brian Burke rankles me to the core. I'll save that for another blog entry.
The Free Press has more today.

UPDATED: Dr. Steve O'Shea director of the Earth & Oceanic Sciences Research Institute at the Auckland University of Technology told me in an e-mail, "There's no 'matter' that could fly off and cause a hazard to players, but should a twirled octopus rupture and send its guts over the face or clothes of a player I can imagine there'd be an element of yuckiness." True, but I imagine avoiding yuckiness isn't the primary concern of hockey players as they dodge hip checks and flying pucks.

Other fascistic examples just this past season - the heavy-handed institution of the RBK Edge jerseys and dismissing an 84-game schedule option.
Many fans, and more importantly the players, have raised concerns over the new sweaters.
Yet in Gary Bettman's reign, the NHL stood by the new easy-to-tear jerseys. Bettman claimed just one player liked them. Many players complained about them. The Washington Capitals players received all new configurations of the new sweaters. Check toward the bottom of this link, it's titled Autumn Sweaters. More complaints are about them here, but now all links aren't available.
Bettman also frowned upon the Red Wing organization's suggestion of an 84-game schedule for next season. This would have allowed every team to visit every other team's arena at least once in a season, while extending the season two games and trimming the pre-season by the same number.
Sometimes its not even the choices Bettman's NHL makes, it's Bettman's know-it-all attitude and the way he forces his choices unilaterally that perturbs fans, players and many others in my opinion. The decisions and in some cases the lies, spins and cover-ups to make them palatable, certainly seem fascistic to me. Hardly fantastic.
Posted on: April 11, 2008 10:21 pm

I did it again

Last night I visited a different Buffalo Wild Wings than the one I usually visit. I called the south-side one, and they said they don't get theFSN Detroit feed. So I'm guessing they just have the baseball package.
So at this B-dubs amazingly hockey, the Frozen Four, was on at least two of the TVs. I got there early before the Red Wings game started. I picked my place at the bar, and said that TV needs to be changed to the Red Wings - Predators game. It was on the Masters, which was also on the big projection screen in the center of the bar. So it's not like somebody would miss out on that TV being changed.
Anyway the bartender a bit later informs me it's programed to change to Versus at seven. Sweet. They knew of Versus. At seven it didn't automatically switch. I didn't think it would, but you never know.
So I order my Canadian and am ready for Detroit Red Wings hockey!
In the first, at least until Johan Franzen's goal, I was worried a bit. The Wings looked extremely flat. The Predators came out strong and took it to the Wings with most of the play occurring in Detroit's defensive zone. Finally in the third things turned around with a lucky bounce or a bad non-call depending on your point of view.
Game 2 will probably be tougher for the Wings.
Anyway by the end of the game, at least three TVs, including a large projection one, were showing the Wings - Predators game. Johnny Hockeyseed strikes again!
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 9, 2008 10:54 pm

I did that

To be honest central Indiana, CenIn, isn't much better than southern Indiana, SoIn, when it comes to hockey viewing.
Indianapolis has the Ice, but that's probably a very small fraction of the populous here in basketball-land.
Tonight, the start of the 2008 NHL playoff I visited the southside Buffalo Wild Wings. I love that place. One, they serve Molson Canadian, on tap!. Two, they change the station to hockey games for me.
Previously when I've been there I watched games on NBC. Tonight I went there for the reasons stated above. Walking in I was surprised to see hockey on two different screens.  I didn't get much play at one end of the bar, close to a hockey screen, but far from ideal. So I moved to the other end. I watched for a bit and realized it was the NHL Network and not Versus.
"Can you change this screen to Versus?" I asked pointing to one of the TVs near me.
"What's that?" asked the bartender.
"What are looking for?" asked the manager.
"I'm looking for the Penguins - Ottawa game," I said.
OK, this is B-dubs. They should know what Versus is. It's freaking Indianapolis! Sheesh!!
Anyway, after trying the FSN Pittsburgh feed, which they don't get, the manager finds the Versus feed for me.
I'm happy!
Previously, only the NHL Network was on and most there were watching either the Cubs game or the Tigers game. When I left at the end of the second period, the Versus game was on at least three different screens, one that was a huge projection screen. I did that. I was a result of that change. Just call me Johnny Hockeyseed.

So yeah, the Tigers - Red Sox game was on at B-dubs, and it was the FSN Detroit feed. So tomorrow that might be the place to watch the Red Wings - Predators game. Will Indy receive the FSN Detroit feed when the Wings are playing? I hope so.
By the way, the Senators seem lifeless. This could be a sweep unless the Sens find something that will motivate them.
Posted on: April 7, 2008 8:50 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2008 8:59 pm

NHL.com getting better

The NHL the coolest game on earth. It also has the coolest website of any other sport, and it's getting better.
In an AP story, Ira Podell writes of the improvements coming to NHL.com
"Come Wednesday, hockey fans will have an online place to go for everything NHL and it won't just be a one-stop shop. This innovative digital creation will feature seven "channels" of options and it'll all be free."
It's easy to be a cynic, and NHL ratings are down. The TV ratings yes, I wonder what the Internet ratings are though? In this year's college basketball tournament the ratings are down too. Many say it's because the games are available online.
Hockey ratings might have shifted too; Center Ice is available online.
Now Podell reports this.
"We know from market research that our fans are the most Web-savvy of all the sports leagues," said Andre Mika, the NHL vice president of broadband and new media production. "We also know, compared to an ESPN fan, that our fans are worth a 40 percent premium over some of the regular sports fans because of their ability to use technology."
I listen to Red Wings games frequently. In the past, since 1999, I listened to games on NHL.com, but earlier this season I found WXYT, which carries Wings games in Detroit, on iTunes radio.
If I wanted to listen to Detroit Tigers games online, MLB.com would charge me.
NHL.com is a great website - I can listen to games for free, after the game I can see highlights, I can see pre- and post- game interviews, download audio interviews, keep up with stats, compare stats, read feature stories, read news stories, and many more things there. I can even connect with other hockey fans, like on other social networking sites.
In a word it's great! Wednesday it reads as if it will be even better. I can't wait.
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 3, 2008 9:50 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2008 10:01 pm

Surprise, Vindication

Well the surprise is Anaheim Ducks GM disagreed with Adam Proteau's term limit idea for the NHL's czar disciplinarian.
Yes I'm using surprise facetiously. Burke is shady, especially when it comes to his relationship with the League office. The shadiness seems to work both ways too.

Patrick Kane, Nicklas Lidstrom and some sports writers vindicated my theory about yesterday's game.
Chelios' penalty gave Hawks lead, momentum, but he claims Kane dove

Now all I need is somebody to agree with me about Sidney Crosby's uncalled cross-checks against Martin Straka.
Maybe the cross-check threshold is four before the referees call a penalty.
Posted on: April 2, 2008 10:05 pm


Anybody watching or listening to the Red Wings - Blackhawks game tonight?
I ask because this game represents a classic example of referee inconsistencies.
In the first period Patrick Sharp hit Brian Rafalski. I thought it was a clean hit, but Rafalski took exception to it. So off goes the Detroit defenseman.
About 15 seconds later, Chris Chelios repeatedly cross checked Patrick Kane. Repeatedly. I'm no expert, but I would've called a penalty too. Chelios, needless to say, didn't think it should have been a penalty.
So I mention this because on Sunday Sidney Crosby repeatedly, REPEATEDLY, cross-checked Martin Straka. The refs didn't call a penalty, even though they were in viewing distance.
Double standard!
I hate it.
Hawks up  5-2. I'm not liking that either.
Category: NHL
Posted on: March 28, 2008 9:35 pm

Props to Sporting News Radio

Besides Fox Sports Radio, Sporting News Radio is another viable alternative to the four-letter network.
Sporting News Radio gives complete NHL scores too, and the talking heads don't seem to shy away from hockey chatter.
An example: On Todd Wright's show last night he talked about the Buffalo Sabres. As my brother and I were driving home from a family dinner, I turned up the radio because I was excited about hearing hockey talk on the radio.
"Oh wait hold on," I said and turned up the volume. I was excited about hearing hockey talk on the radio, and mentioned to my brother I don't hear much on it.
We talked some more and eventually he's like, "I bet you like Mike & Mike."
"I love them," I said. "But now I'm boycotting them, ESPN radio and all ESPN channels."
He gave me some grief, but I explained my reasoning which I've mentioned in earlier blog posts.
"What about when they show Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri at number three on their Dynamic Duo list?" he asked.
I thought about it a moment, and something didn't jive.
"That's Fox Sports Net," I said. " I saw their Batman and Robin promos when I was watching the Pacers game on FSN Indiana up in Indy."
"Oh yeah, that's right," he said. "ESPN use to broadcast NHL games right?"
"They (NHL) use to be on Fox."
"Yeah, they're still on Fox's regional networks," I said. "But at least they don't have the glowing puck anymore. I hated that."
So anyway another good show I listen during my commute is David Stein's. He talks about the postives in sports and how sports influences a person's life in a postive way. I like that show quite a bit.
One Sporting News Radio personality I really miss is Papa Joe Chevalier.
I listened to him in the mid-90s, when SNR was known as One on One Sports. I remember Papa Joe talking a lot about hockey. He'd compare the Red Wings to the Soviet teams. This was when the Wings skated the Russian Five on a regular basis, and I was just a budding NHL fan then. I gravitated to this comparison because in my mind it harkened back to the Miracle on Ice. There was a tangible connection, but I didn't know it then. Slava Fetisov played on the Wings and was a member of the 1980 Soviet team. I was pulling for the Red Wings in the 1995 Stanley Cup Final, but the Russian Five probably cemented my hockey love for the Wings.
After an Internet search, I found Chevalier is on the air in Las Vegas, but I don't think his show is syndicated now. If it is I still haven't heard him in ages. I mean who couldn't love Bite Me Wednesdays?

Russian Five; http://youtube.com/watch?v=wzG1M05nUps
Papa Joe Chevalier; http://www.papajoetalk.com/
Todd Wright; http://radio.sportingnews.com/shows

David Stein; http://radio.sportingnews.com/shows

Sporting News Radio; http://radio.sportingnews.com/
Miracle on Ice; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracl
Category: NHL
Tags: Detroit, RedWings
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com