Old Man Shanny is Getting Tired.

Overtime is the topic-du-Jour, and every pundit who can’t stay up past 9:00 PM on a Tuesday is upset. Mostly, the upset seem to be reporters and MSM types looking to stir something up. For instance, from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News (via the AOL Fanhouse):

Give the teams two 20-minute overtime periods, then go to the shootout. Even two extra periods might be too much, but this is called a compromise.

Umm… No. This is called crap. This is lazy. It certainly isn’t called hockey.

Asking these players to play beyond two overtimes is unfair, unhealthy, mentally and physically exhausting and detrimental to the quality of hockey that comes in later games. During the regular season, teams cannot play three nights in a row. Why is it OK to ask them to play more than nine periods in three nights during the playoffs?

What? We are asking them to play these games? I think they know what they could be getting into. I don’t ask them to play long overtimes. I am usually screaming at my TV, “Will you please score a goal?” These players should be honored to be playing for the Stanley Cup, and if it’s hard and long, that just goes with the territory. But unfair? Mentally and physically exhausting? Or is it unfair and exhausting when you have to stay up and watch? They should be exhausted. Hockey isn’t puppies and flowers. It isn’t sitting on the couch.

This is the part off the article I hate the most:

Protect the players. Value the hockey. End the endurance test.

Value the hockey? End the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or even a final, or even, god forbid, a SCF Game 7 in a shootout? That is how we value the hockey? How about we value the hockey by letting them play hockey?

Every time the NHL has any sort of inconvenience, people pour out of the gutters to waive fingers at the game and tell us just how the NHL get it wrong. Now, it seems it’s even the players getting in a jab or two. From Larry Brooks at the NY Post (via Kukla’s Korner):

“It used to be you’d come into the room after a long overtime game and it’d be like, ‘Wow! Did you see that?’ Now, it’s kind of, ‘Oh, another one?’ ” Shanahan told Slap Shots.

“In five-on-five, you can see that teams generally play very conservatively after an initial burst. Even though there’s probably less chance of having as many long overtime games as in the past because of the way referees call penalties now, the hockey just isn’t especially good or entertaining as you move further along. And the longer a game goes, the more impact it has on the quality of play in the next game, and maybe the next two.

“With four-on-four, you’d have exciting, attack hockey. We discussed this during our meeting coming out of the lockout. We discussed five-on-five, four-on-four, three-on-three, and a shootout, but we came to the conclusion that we should keep it the way it’s always been,” the winger said. “But if it’s on the agenda this summer, and I expect it to be, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s sentiment to change it and make it somewhat consistent with the way we play the regular season.

“I would support a change.”

Oh no, Old Man Shanahan is getting a little tired, has a hot date, or is just a little peckish. All this hockey is getting in the way of nap time. So it’s time to change the game again? Shanahan even suggests that a shootout may be the way to go. Is there anyone, other than the victors, who are satisfied with a shootout ending in the Olympics, or other international competition?

This is getting ridiculous. Like every media trend story, I’m sure this one will die down pretty fast, forgotten almost as quickly as the Cup is hoisted. Some of us like OT just the way it is. Let those who don’t check the boxscore in the morning. We don’t need to change the game every season. As much as I like to see some 4 on 4 hockey, I don’t want to see it become the norm of the playoffs. Please, get off the high horse, and remember, the game is for everyone, not just those who have to get up early. Have a little more coffee, and enjoy the playoffs.


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World Championships are Streaming

Thanks to being a member if USA Hockey, I got a neat little email today. I’m reprinting the important part here:

World Championship Sports Network (WCSN.com) will stream the entire International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships from Russia LIVE and on-demand, starting April 27 and continuing through May 13. Available only in the United States, ice hockey fans can follow Team USA as they compete in the largest ice hockey tournament of the year. WCSN will broadcast all 56 games of the Championships LIVE on www.wcsn.com. To order, click “subscribe” on the WCSN homepage, and for $4.95 a month or $49.95 a year, you will have access to these games and all WCSN broadcasts.

I don’t know how much other sport they carry, but for 4.95 in a few days, it seems like quite a deal. I’m sure there is something similar in Canada, but it’s finally time the opportunity to watch hockey that isn’t the NHL is available in the USA.


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You Came for the Hockey, You’ll Stay for the Pizza

The South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL are announcing their new coach at a press conference today. You know what, I’ll let Our Sports Central handle this one:

…the team will hold a press conference this afternoon at 2:00 PM at Benito’s Brick Oven New York Pastaria in the Mount Pleasant Town Center. The Stingrays will introduce the fourth Head Coach in team history at the press conference which is open to the public.

I have nothing more to say about that. Go Stingrays!!!


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Let’s Go, Eagles

Tonight, in front of people who are not me (and I am sorely disappointed in this fact), the Colorado Eagles (the only pro hockey team still playing in Colorado) beat the Oklahoma City Blazers 5 – 1 in game 7 of the CHL conference semis. 

Greg Pankewicz with the shorty!
Ryan Tobler kicking ass with seven shots and one goal!!
Fraser Filipic with the fisticuffs!!!! (hey, that’s what they call it in the CHL)

Next victim, the  .  This could be shaping up to be a finals involving the Laredo Bucks and the Eagles, who have met before, and it was serious shit, I tell you.  Serious.

And, for those who have not heard the scuttlebutt, go to Our Sports Central and see what was going on with the Mudbugs

And remember folks, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, there is much more hockey out there than the NHL.

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MaGoo Out, Refs On, Fans Ehh…

As the Stanley Cup Playoffs move on to round two, a bunch of refs do not get to move on with them.  Included in that group of couch sitters is Mick McGeough, the ever controversial ref who has cost teams games with poor calls and embarrassed fans with his extravagant behavior.  Why the NHL didn’t do this last season and let the man ref all the way into the finals last season is beyond me.  You can read the list of refs moving on here.

Still, MaGoo is only one man, and is a poor example of the reffing that has gone on this season, and into the playoffs.  So far, and I am probably going to catch hell for this, I feel the refs have done a pretty good job.  There have been a few bad calls here and there, which are often followed by the dreaded make up call, and there have been a few “phantom calls” here and there, but there hasn’t been anything really controversial so far.  The hooks, holds, and slashes have been called the same as the regular season, and the refs have been pretty much on the ball.  Overall, I’m happy with it.

No, I didn’t drink Stephen Walkom’s Kool-Aid.  I just don’t think the situation is as bad a many people think.  A look at how Tom Benjamin portrays the reffing, and you would think the sky is falling.  Color commentators love to get in some shots at the refs, helping to fuel the fire (and keep the views stewing).  How much of it is based in reality leaves much to be debated.  I think there should be high standards for the refs, this is the NHL after all.  But to color the situation as dire as so many people do seems just silly to me.  It’s a hard job, harder than most people think, and if they took the time to use their powers of reasoning, instead of listen to whomever happens to be yelling the loudest, they might see some more consistency on average, rather than just believing the sound bite. 

Folks, I’m a firm believer in making the call yourself.  Even when evidence to the contrary is overwhelming, pundits will tell you what they believe, or what sells.  Taking a step back, such as when your team isn’t playing, can be good for the perspective.  I think I may have more to say on this later.

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“YES!!” No!!!

Perhaps you heard it.  Perhaps you didn’t.  Maybe you didn’t think much of it, since you hear it so much at home.  But last night, the ultimate sin was committed on Versus.

Dave Strader, calling the play by play, made an embarrassing misstep in the final minutes of the Canucks – Stars game last night.  With the goalie pulled, the Stars only one goal behind, the Canucks got the puck, and with 1:03 remaining, Taylor Pyatt shot the puck into the empty net.  Sitting on my couch, I said, “No!”  My television made a completely different sound.  From it, I heard Strader yell, “Yes!!”  

Huh??

There is a certain amount of homerism that you expect from your local media.  If the broadcasters are bashing the home  team, they probably won’t be there very long, and neither will the fans.  The crew on Altitude (who broadcast the Avs games locally) are some of the worst at it.  If Peter McNab can’t find a silver lining in something, it was the work of Satan.  He is one of the most annoying homers out there. 

But this is Versus.  This is a national broadcast.  This was ridiculous.  Versus, and any national broadcast, is supposed to be above that.  Not just morally, but emotionally, and to give, if not some balance, some sort of even hand in doling out thoughts about the game.  But suddenly, the tone of the play by play, the tone of the broadcast took on a different feel.  Strader painted his face blue and green with his outburst.  Showing emotion is one thing, directing it like that is another. 

And trust me when I say this, Strader is no Al Michaels, and this was no Miracle on Ice.  If Strader is worn out from the overtimes, if he is in need of a break, if he needs to go home, by all means do so.  If this were the CBC and it were Canucks – Leafs in the regular season, there would be riots.  If this were Rangers – Islanders and that mistake was made, there would be a march to the Versus studios, and tomorrow, there would be a smoking pit with a sign that read “Potvin sucks and so do you.”

Yes, I know that this was a game that didn’t go the way I wanted to in the end.  Does that taint my take on reality?  Sure, why not.  But apparently, the game did go the way Strader wanted it to.  Good for you, Strader.  I’d say I hope you’re happy, but I know the answer to that.  You’re on notice.

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Bummer

Well, the hockey gods are not smiling on me at the moment. So far, all three of my Trifecta of Evil have made it past the first round of the playoffs. The Wings, the Sad Red Wings Wannabes (Canucks), and Devils have all advanced to round two, which means I have to watch them more.

With all due luck, the hockey gods will not smile on all of the hubris being slung by some of the bloggers. An amazing amount of PCS (Puffy Chest Syndrome) is on display. Go check it out.

So, let’s look see what the GBU has to say:

Good:

Turco did not choke. Not one bit. Three shutouts? .955 SV% going into game 7? Folks should shut it. He only chokes against the Avs. Just the way I like it.

Ducks advance. I’m cool with that.

Bad:

The Trifecta moves on, making having to watch them the only choice I have. I love hockey, but if these three teams aren’t losing, I’m going to have a hard post-season.

The way the Flames behaved was dumb as hell. For every step forward the game and league takes forward, asshat moves like this crap takes two steps back.

Seriously, bloggers. You didn’t score the goal. Give me a break.

Ugly:

Having to watch the Trifecta. There better be some losing going on.

So, here is the cheering section.

Go Ducks!!!

Go Sharks!!!

Go Buffa-Slugs!!!!

Go Ottawa!!!!

I may have thrown up in my mouth a little.

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A View From the Peep Seats

Japer’s Rink is working on a fun project, called “The View from your Playoff Seat” I’ll let them tell you:

Two Caps bloggers experiencing the Stanley Cup playoffs vicariously through others; send us your playoff pictures here. It doesn’t matter if your view is from the lower bowl or the local pub, we want to see what you see.

So I sent in my picture today, but I figured I would put it here too.

(click any picture to make bigger, such detail)

My View of Playoffs

Of course, I only sent one picture, so here are a few more.

It’s like they are afraid of the puck.

Cheap Seats

Can you tell which one is St. Louis and which one is Lecavalier?

St Louis and Lecavalier

Yes, that is Pierre McGuire on the bench.

Pierre McGuire Between the Benches

As I mentioned in my email to Japer’s Rink, don’t ask how long it took to do this, I want to keep what little dignity I still have. I have a few other pictures of my viewing environment, as I have three places to watch the games (Czech hockey bar, Pizza joint, and home). Maybe more to come.

Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 5

That’s a big freaking 5 hole!!!!

Fleury

’nuff said.


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How Do I Still Cheer You On?

I’ve said it before, hockey can make for strange bedfellows. Playoff hockey is even worse. If the (mostly agreed upon horrible) schedule saw me having to hope for a win here and there for the few teams I truly hate, the playoffs have seen me actively rooting for, among other things:

  • Marty Turco to lose his playoff demons

  • The team who the Avs were in a battle with for the last playoff slot to go on a first round tear

So far, the first of those has been the case, but as for the second, not so much. The Flames, who were finally one point ahead of the Avs when the season was over, have done nothing but fall apart at the wrong times. They decided that if they weren’t going to be in Calgary, they might as well not play at all. The only reason I want them to do well at all is to knock the Detroit Red Wings out in the first round. That is it, that is all they have to do for me. They wouldn’t have me as a fan or anything, but is that too much to ask? Just win in the first round?

But then, I get home last night, after working for the Opera all day, and what do I find in the reports? Slashing, sucker punching, blow out game, McLennan in for the Kipper. The Backup, who looked like a tool for the final game of the season, losing to the Avs 6-3 in a game that had all the physical play of an All Star game (except for Dion Phaneuf, who didn’t get the memo), gets a match penalty. When does that happen?

If this were not the NHL, if this were not the playoffs, if this wouldn’t have happened on NBC (a national audience), if this were the Federal Hockey League, you can bet we would be seeing the goon squad in the Wings line up, making the last game in Slap Shot look like a wine tasting. Ogie Ogilthorpe would be on the ice, making sure the Flames kept their asses in line.

So here we are, the Wings are up in the series three games to two, and I should be pulling hard for the Flames. I mean, I want the Wings to lose. I REALLY want the Wings to lose. But is this a team, with this kind of response, with this kind of behavior, that I want to move on in the playoffs? The sad part is, for the moment, it will have to be. Is little as I like the Flames, I like the Wings even less. So, here’s hoping for a Round 2 sweep of the Flames.

During the game on NBC, the decision gets handed down. McLennan gets a five game suspension, Playfair gets a fine ($25,000), and the Flames get a huge fine ($100,000). Works for me. McLennan, what a team player, eh?

Also, during the game, Doc Emerick gives me this little gem. “Sometimes, life isn’t fair.” Really, Doc? You think? Thanks for that.


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