Liveblogging Versus Coverage

10:00pm It’s Dave Strader and Jon Vanbeisbrouck are on my TV, which means I am done for the night.  Neither the Penguins nor the Senators won me over with that game.  For this one, Go Dallas!!  (now I feel dirty saying that).  Later!

9:53pm  They pulled Fleury, why can’t we pull Ken Hitchcock?  Maybe put in a depressed Jon Malkovich.  I’m supposed to be excited about the games, but Hitch is putting me to sleep.   Please stop asking him questions.  I like his answers, at least hte parts I’m awake for.

9:52pm Game over.   

9:48pm 0:49 3rd Crosby finally gets one.  First playoff goal ever, and he is smart enough to know that there should be no celebration.  Shortly after, there is almost our first playoff fight.  Classic message sending. 

9:43pm  3:50 3rd: The Sens are falling apart in the penalty department, so the pendulum swings the other way.  With 3:45 left, and the Pens on the power play the entire time, Thibault has been put on the bench.  6 on 4 for a while.  But, what we didn’t see was the penalty itself.  No replay, and this is a big deal. Thibault comes back in for the last few minutes. 

9:35pm 7:18 3rd: Gonchar makes it 6-2 on a five on three.  Got that? Still, the pens didn’t look very good up until that point.   It’s probably too late, but if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs, they have to play every minute of every game. 

9:29pm 9:05 3rd Fleury is pulled, then a gathering happens.   Not a shock that Fleury gets pulled, as he looked like ass on skates.  I have never been sold on him. Plenty of blame to spread around on that.  6 goals on 36 shots, you can blame the D and the goalie.

9:25pm Versus reports that Cheechoo is out thanks to what looks like a knee-on-knee.  It looks painful, and, like a true hockey fan, I am concerned about how it effects my only hockey pool. 

9:25pm 11:38 3rd This is getting ugly.  Sens score and it’s 6-1 

9:22pm 13:40  3rd: The booth is talking about why they no goal was a no goal.  Brickley (who I want to keep calling Brinkly) doesn’t buy it, which is his tight. It’s a good thing that the call was made by video review or in the War Room.  Otherwise, they woud be talking about how the refs blew it. 

9:17pm 15:00 3rd  Beninati is starting to free word associate, just looking for any little related tidbit to talk about.  He almost ignores Chris Neil breaking away alone, but gets it together enough just in time to call the goal.  5-1 Sens.  The boys are losing interest in the booth.

9:05 19:37 3rd: Crosby knocks it in with his body.  I don’t see how the goal can count due to goalie interference.  I want it not to count, just to see how he would react.  Versus is convinced they are looking for a kick.  And it is ruled a kick in, no goal.  Crosby gets off the bench to see why, and Versus cut to the coaching staff, who just shrug.  

9:04 pm 19:01 3rd: Heatly puts another goal in. 4-1 

8:58 Commercial Break: How many different fighting shows does Versus need?  They just advertised a new one called Extreme Cagefighting.  Please, Versus, cut it out.  The NHL is the closest to respectablility you have, could you try and hold on to it for a moment? 

8:46pm End of 2nd:  Neither team is really winning me over as far as an Avs playoff replacement bandwagon.  So far, I think both are playing as well as they usually do, which is the death of Pittsburgh at the moment.    So far, Beninati and Brickley are staying on topic, which is the game.  For other commentater pairs, the topic can easily turn to themselves.  Beninati and Brickley seem like they are into the game, another problem on Versus.  It helps me get into the game.   

8:40pm 3:02 2nd Stall makes it 3 – 1 Sens.  Comparisons to his brother Eric don’t take long to come up.  And seriously, use the zoom a little bit.  As in, zoom out.  It isn’t as bad as when Versus first started showing games, as they are keeping the puck in the frame, but you can’t tell where anyone else is.   

8:34pm  5:22 2nd Sens make it 3 – 0.  Versus is as concerned with the reaction on the bench as showing us what happened.  Some days, that speaks volumes of their coverage of hockey in general. 

8:33pm 6:07 2nd: I have heard the Do or Die slogan several times tonight, but it has little impact on me.  I think it’s going to wear out it’s welcome.  

8:27 9:05 2nd Looks like I picked the wrong game to liveblog, as the Beezer is calling the color on the Canucks Stars game.  But there is only so much Beezer I can take, which is very little. 

8:21pm 13:04 2nd:  Roberts gets checked, and the guys are talking all about it.  But Crosby dodges a check right in front of that, and they miss it completely.   

8:16pm Bettman finishes up.  Nothing difficult for him, except maybe the head-hits question.  He handles it well enough for the moment.  He doesn’t really mention what many people find to be the problem (including myself), the equipment itself.  At one point he says he is trying to see as many games as possible, and all I can think is that maybe he will learn something about the game soon.  Hard to believe he started 1993.  Crazy. 

8:06pm Bettman on Versus.  The game starts and Beninati puts Bettman on hold to get back to the call of the game.  Bettman is talking about Ottawa and Canadian NHL cities as markets.  Perhaps this is why there is a disconnect between him and the Canadian fans.  Still, the more he talks, the less I can remotely thing of him as liking the game of hockey.  Quote of the Bettman night: “Ahh, this job ages you.” 

8:02pm First beer of the night.  Maybe this will help me relax a little.  Greg, I’m having a Czechvar.  Found it at a World Market.  Bettman is coming up.  This should be rich.  Will the guys just hit him softies? 

7:53pm Hitch talks slower than… ANYONE!!! The crew is trying to jump on him and move things along, but it doesn’t work. He puts pauses between every sentence, and  he is boring the crap out of me.  Again, is this how he talks to his players?  I would rather see Dwayne Roloson back on the air, like in 2004 on (wait for it) ESPN. 

7:50 End of 1st Period:  2-0 Sens.  I’m not really getting my bile up for Versus right now.  IF I were to look back at the season, I wish the play by play had been this good decent for the other games of the season.  Brickley does a good job of knowing when to shut up.  The Beezer should take notes.  (Of course, we have to suffer through Hitch in a moment, so the bile may be rising.)

7:44pm 2:05 1st: The Senators version of the Ice Girls, men in helmets and hockey skates, come out to change some glass.  Come on, Senators, can’t we put them in skirts?  That would be hockey!

7:41pm 3:27 1st: Versus loves to put their little graphics up, promoting their other shows, and lets be honest, so do other networks.  But when they put a graphic on the bottom of the screen, can they adjust cameras or do something to keep the action visable? 

7:34pm 7:10 1st: Camera between the benches zooms in on Bryan Murray leaning over to give some instruction.  Due to the camera being behind glass, we get no insight.  Frankly, it is just annoying because we have no reason to stay with him.  I’d love to know what he was saying, but tough for me. 

7:31pm 8:51 1st: 5 on 3 for a full 2 minutes.  Benanati is still able to get a little description in when talking about a player “50 goal scorer  Danny Heatly”  What a man. 

7:27pm 9:27 1st  Beninati is a master of not saying the word that most describes the situation.   Brickley is being a master of the obvious. 

7:20pm 13:23 1st:  Second goal by Ottawa.  This could be a long game for Crosby, but so far, it isn’t becoming the Sidney Crosby Show with a game in between.  That could change quickly, as they have already said they will come back from commercial with Crosby piece.   

7:18pm 14:05 1st: I understand that good play by play calling means not being repetitive, but using ticks instead of seconds is just annoying.

7:12pm 18:23 1st:  First goal of the night, with Brickley yelling the entire replay.

7:11pm 19:00 1st:  Already something doesn’t look right.  The whole thing looks squshed, liek the camera operators aren’t leaving enough head room.   

7:06pm:  Beninati just called Ray Emery “glovely lately.”  Is that the sort of thing we need to kick this off?  No, it isn’t/ Let’s avoid the puns boys.

7:00pm: OK, half an hour in, and I am bored.  Not because they are doing a bad job (except for Ken Hitchcock), but because for those who have been watching hockey know the stories, and have heard the experts pick their favorites. Give me something interseting.  Give me the game. 

6:55pm: Am I the only one who is sick of hearing really bad rock music behind the highlight reels? And do not show me good players scoring on crappy goalies. Is anyone impressed with watching San Jose players score on Jose Theodore (sucks) or anyone in Chicago? No, they are not.

6:48pm: Ken Hitchcock was accused of losing the room in Philly, and I can see why. He’s losing me. God, someone tell him to talk a little quicker. Did he just say Anaheim plays girlly?

6:41pm: Joe Beninati and Andy Brickley are our guys in the booth. At least we don’t have Vanbeisbrouck. Anyone remember the “bumping uglies” comment? If not, go look here. Horrid. Surprise, they like Heatly and Crosby.

6:35pm: First E-surance commercial of the night. The series of cartoon scifi sports riffs just get more annoying with each one they produce. At least I am not being subject to the same 8 spots on Altitude. Something about Coach Q selling cars (I kid you not). And by the way, does anyone consider Doug Weight in the same class of Stanley Cup heroes as Gretz, Bourque, and (yeah, I know) Messier? No, they do not. Come on.

6:30pm: First look at Crosby, walking down the hall. Whoopie. Make me excited. And a pretty good opening video starts to do it. Dubie with a poke check, fans cheering, St. Louis scores, no stupid video effects get in the way. Here we go folks. In the studio Bill Clement, Keith Jones, Brian Engblom, and Ken Hitchcock. Hitch is classically annoyed at talking during the game. Let’s see what he has to say, after going from a pretender to a pretender.

6:27 PM: I think I’m on the right channel. There’s a guy with a swollen cheek who I can barely understand, which tells me I might be watching hockey. Nope, it’s some sort of fighting. I don’t know what kind of format I will use for this blog, probably the standard latest entry at the top.

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  1. Live blogging the rest of the night over on Jibblescribbits if you wanna join me… kind of a spontaneous thing… and I’m trying to catch up on your blog.

  2. caught up.. glad i screwed up the TiVo. doesn’t sound like i missed much

  3. OK, that whole Beezer experiment has to stop like last month. I read and re-read the “bump uglies” comment, and what’s left of my brain broke.

  4. The Senators version of the Ice Girls, men in helmets and hockey skates, come out to change some glass. Come on, Senators, can’t we put them in skirts? That would be hockey!

    Actually, the Senators do have real ice girls. The men in helmets are part of the equipment/building crew that’s all 😛 The Ice Girls at Scotiabank Place wear black and red track suits which actually cover up everything. During the holidays, they’ll wear santa hats just to be festive.

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