I Guess Hockey Started

Today, someone at work told me, the hockey season began. Except:

It started before noon where I am.
It started in Europe.
No one really played a home game.
No teams play a home opener until Thursday. And…

They are still playing preseason games.

You know, when there is preseason hockey, that should mean the season hasn’t started yet. And yet, the season has started. This makes no sense. It’s pure logic.

Am I missing something here? Am I just not understanding what the NHL market is like? I realize that there are plenty of players from all over the world in the NHL, but in a gate receipt driven business, why would you drive your interest somewhere else? Shouldn’t you do everything in your power to make the NHL season opener special to the people who are buying the tickets, the jerseys, the television packages, the beer, and paying for the league to exist?

And hey, shouldn’t you broadcast it in America, where three of the four teams playing are located? Shouldn’t that be a priority?!?!?

When I was driving to Kansas City this past week, I stopped in Lake St. Louis, MO to see the old United Hockey League office, and what had become of it (stay with me here, there is a point). It’s now just some nondescript office, something a bean counter or small tech startup would call home. I knew where it was because I stopped by in 2005 when I took an extended road trip through the entire UHL (14 teams at the time). They treated me great, sat and talked with me for a while, and even gave me a little swag (totally unnecessary, but still). The last I knew, the PR guy I talked with is working with the Pittsburgh Penguins now.

The minors know about keeping fans happy. They know that loyalty is earned, that giving back something is important, and that keeping the attention of the local hockey fan is a full time job. They don’t let opportunities pass them by, and they don’t wait for those opportunities to present themselves, they create them. The minor leagues make mistakes, but they don’t repeat them too often, or else they will be gone.

Does it ever feel like the NHL just doesn’t care about keeping it’s fans happy?

Oh, What a Night.

Game 5 just ended, and I am so tired. I have to be up at 5:15 AM, so I have little to say.

The Stanley Cup Finals are still on. That makes me happy.

Les Borsheim Out of Surgery, Still Critcal

From the Coloradoan:

Colorado Eagles veteran Les Borsheim remains in critical condition today at a Greeley hospital following emergency surgery Sunday night, but coach Chris Stewart and two teammates said the surgery went better than expected.

Borsheim, 29, suffered a broken neck in a motorcycle crash Sunday afternoon about 3 miles east of Greeley. He was riding with two friends at the time, teammate and neighbor Ed McGrane said.

We’ve seen players come back from “broken necks” before, but there isn’t much indication as to how bad this is. Obviously, he’s lucky to be alive.

“This morning he looked good, he responded well,” Stewart said. “They felt he had done extremely well through the surgery and through the night.
“Make no mistake, this is a very serious injury. The spinal cord, there’s some trauma there. But they’ve relieved all the pressure, and now as we hope and pray, it’s going to be day-by-day to see how he recovers.”

Dr. John Viola, a surgeon with the Front Range Center for Brain and Spine Surgery in Fort Collins, performed the surgery. Gene Haffner, North Colorado Medical Center’s public relations director, couldn’t provide details of the surgery, but Stewart, who was with Borsheim in the emergency room before he went into surgery, said it lasted “probably an hour-and-a-half to an hour-and-45 minutes.”

As for what he was ticketed for:

Borsheim has been cited for driving under the influence of alcohol, careless driving and violating restrictions on a drivers license, the state patrol said. He was not wearing a helmet, which is not required by Colorado law, and did have proper eye protection, which is required.

Of course, the allegation of driving under the influence has yet to be proven.

I just shake my head.

Another Hockey Player Injured in Motorcycle Accident

From the Coloradoan:

Les Borsheim, 29, a franchise player and fan favorite with the Colorado Eagles hockey team is in critical condition at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley tonight following a possible drunk driving accident 3 miles east of Greeley.

Eagles Coach Chris Stewart said Borsheim suffered a neck injury was was having surgery following the accident that occurred at 1:22 p.m. on Weld County Road 60 1/2 and Weld County Road 55.

Yes, this isn’t a 21 year old NHL player, but you have to think that he heard about Luc Bourdon. You have to wonder what was going through his mind.

Borsheim was cited for driving while under the influence of alcohol and careless driving. He was not wearing a helmet but was wearing eye protection.

Colorado does not have a helmet law, but does have eye protection regulations. Mind you, they do have laws against drinking and driving

Borsheim joined the Eagles for the 2005 season after playing for the Quad City Mallards in the United Hockey League in 2004.

Stewart said Borsheim was pursuing plans to play in Europe next season because of the veterans’ clause in the CHL.

More details when they become available.

What’s This Then? With Updates!

Hey, how about this:

“This team that everyone said wouldn’t go anywhere made it to the second round of the playoffs and I think we should be really proud of them,” said one woman.

“I’m feeling pretty bad, pretty disappointed. But next year … we’re gonna get our cup!” said another fan.

No, that isn’t about the Avalanche, it’s about the Canadiens. From the CBC, the word is that the streets of Montreal are calm tonight, following the Habs elimination from the playoffs. Which is strange, that a first round win over the Bruins, whom the Canadiens traditionally own, draws fools rioting, and this draws flies. And people wonder why the world doesn’t understand French-Canada. It takes so few…

But I love those quotes. It reminds me that the Habs and Avalanche are linked in many strange ways (mostly by their goalies). I know that they are miles apart in many ways, but tonight, I know how those fans feel.

Let’s Go Update:

Last post, I mentioned what I was looking forward to now that the Avs are out of the playoffs. Saturday, the Colorado Mammoth were eliminated by the Calgary Roughnecks 15-13 in the first round (lacrosse playoffs are only one game per round). Also, the Colorado Eagles lost 5-1 to the Arizona Sundogs. It was not a night to be a team that I root for.

Quick note: The Avalanche were swept from the playoffs, as were the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Rockies (in the world series, mind you). The Mammoth got eliminated in one game, which isn’t much of a stretch to say that they were swept. I doubt the Broncos are even going to make it to the playoffs, so I think they are safe from what seems to be a Denver curse. Since the Eagles play outside of Fort Collins (40 miles North of Denver), I’m hoping they are safe. In the CHL, anything can happen, and usually does.

Avs – Wings: So Much For Pride, Mr. Theodore

At two points in the game, the Avs had a chance to pull ahead and survive for one more day. Those were before either team scored, and when Tyler Arnason (playoff hero? please) made the game 1-1. Aside from that, you can see what happened.

Screenshot 02-11

And it pains me to put that up.

Remember what Jose Theodore was playing for? Pride? Not so much.

Screenshot 01-26
What would have happened if Budaj had gotten the start. Would he have let in five goals, had he not gone into the game down by two goals, and coming off the bench cold?
If there is any good thing to come out of getting swept, it’s that the Red Wings did not get to celebrate at home. And as far as I can see, that’s the only thing. Perhaps this will make the people who like Joel Quenneville realize that he took this team into the ground. Missed the playoffs last season, swept in round two this season, backed a horse in Theodore that turned out to be a donkey. There is only so much I can take the injury argument, and getting swept is about that far.

Tonight, I was able to take in the game with Greg from the Post Pessimist, and every so often, we would look at each other, with the idea of saying something interesting and pithy, something that would make it all make sense, something that would be worth saying as the Avs melted down in front of the team that we both loathe, and all that came out was heavy sighs. Hanging out with Greg was one of the best parts of being in Atlantastan, and makes me a little sad that I am going to be leaving Monday (for Tampa, FL). But it is Atlanta, so only a little.

It’s the perfect time to load out the show, pack it up, and move it to Tampa. I can throw myself into the gig for a few days, and then get back to the Avs for a little postmortem, and look ahead to whoever knocks out the Red Wings. I truly do not believe that they are going to win the Cup.

Until then, a picture, from last season…

Sad Little Bunny
I don’t want to use it again next year.

What the Hell is This?

I just clicked on to the Versus Accuscore page, and was greeted by this:

Screenshot 02-10

What the heck am I looking at here? Fight percentage? Versus sure does like it’s cage matches.

At Work All Day, Rant To Come Soon

I’m in at work all day today, 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM, and while I’m hopping mad, I just don’t have the time right now. I will post something about the debacle later. For now, Here is a pretty picture, that sums up how I feel.

Dscn9333-1

Yeah, that about covers it. God, I love that picture.

Avs – Wings Game 3: Arrrrgh!!!

With an 8:00 AM call, and two shows tomorrow, I have to go to bed right now. That doesn’t leave me much time to talk about the game, but let it be known that I am not happy. At all.

But the Avs are now down 3 games to none, and there isn’t anything they are willing to do to stage a comeback. Just the look on Andrew Brunette’s face during the interview at the second intermission told all the story you needed: frustration, shell-shock, confusion. It’s team wide.

More tomorrow, when I get a chance.

Avs Wings Game 2: WTF

There is this guy at work named Chris, a transplant to Atlantastan from San Jose. And believe it or not, he is a Sharks fan. Not one of those blaze johnny-come-lately fan, but a fan of the team, and a fan of the game. It’s fun, because we can look at the scores, talk hockey, and lately, complain. How else is he going to react to the Sharks losing to the Stars after outshooting them. Of course, shots aren’t everything, unless you lose. You can put 100 weak, slow shots on net, and still lose the game.

I was at work for the first two periods of the game, watching the score tick upwards on the right side of my ipod, while the left side sat firmly at zero. After goal three, I called down to MegMegMeg to find out if Theodore was pulled yet. After goal four, I called again. Eventually the answer was yes. I was able to see the third period at dinner, but I kind of wish I hadn’t. It was bad.

Let me sum up what I saw. Ian Laperriere scored the only Avs goal, on a deflection. The Avs then gave up a short handed goal (on which Budaj tried hard to stop). Then the Avs gave up.

I have not. But the Avs knew when they were done.

I am going to watch the game at some point (in at 11:30 AM tomorrow, long day today, so it ain’t happening tonight), because I am a fan, and I want to see the game, or put myself through the pain. It will come, perhaps Monday, my day off.

Till then, Go Avs!!!