From Chris Stevenson's blog:
From colleague Bruce Garrioch: The Philadelphia Flyers have placed centre Petr Nedved on re-entry waivers and they're hoping the Senators will bite and pick him up. The Senators could be desperate enough to make the move because GM John Muckler has been trying to make a deal, but the club suffered another blow after losing Peter Schaefer and Antoine Vermette to lower body injuries Saturday. The Senators have until noon tomorrow to make a claim.
Thoughts? More later.
Update: It looks like the Sens are going through with it.
Update #2: My favourite reaction thus far: "If the (team) picks up Nedved, I'm watching cricket."
Update #3: Serge Payer and Jeff Heerema have been called up from Binghamton on an emergency basis. They will be playing in this afternoon's game vs. Atlanta.
From Chris Stevenson's blog:
For a bit, anyways. I know I've been scarce the past few days, but it's hard to post, let alone make it up to the press box when you've got holiday baking to do.
Here's some holiday reading to keep you entertained, but first, a word from Bill Simmons:
Someone In The Know once told me, "Bet against Chuck Bresnahan (Cincy's defensive coordinator) against any good coach. He stinks. Smart coaches and smart QBs always have a field day against him." Of course, last week I ignored the advice and picked them over the Colts. No way I'm taking them against Shanahan. By the way, here's a direct quote from a buddy of mine who loves the Broncos: "I'm not ready for 15 straight years of Jay 'Veal' Cutler references. I'm really not."
Honestly, I had never thought of this before, but it should be noted that Denver already has a complete (if not utterly bizarre) meal of players, comprised of DT Demetrin Veal, TE Chad Mustard and T Erik Pears (and yes, I know how they pronounce it, don't ruin it for me). Obviously they don't need another helping of unexercised calf (in more ways than one).
And now, your reading...
- The Flames got stuck in Denver during a major snowstorm...everyone passed the time by swapping cowboy hats -- Calgary Herald
- Cam Neely version 2.0, where art thou? -- NBC Sports
- All the puck bunnies are in Des Moines, Iowa -- Des Moines Register
- The reason why the Flyers lost to the Sens yesterday: They were distracted by an arena full of ugliness -- Philadephia Flyers official website
- The "Vote For Rory" wet blanket campaign multiplied last night -- Ottawa Sun
- Anze Kopitar: So Cal graffiti artist muse -- Edmonton Sun
So that's it -- we're off to the land of Staalapalooza on Boxing Day, and if there's room for our laptop in the carry-on, maybe we'll do a "live from location". Otherwise, it's best to assume that we've been rendered incapacitated by mimosas and eggnog...at least until mid-week.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! Be safe, behave yourselves and we'll see you on the other side.
...because...well, just because. You've been around here long enough. Don't show your ignorance.
· One of the biggest stories from late last week/over the weekend involved Jim Balsillie's decision to pull his bid to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins off the table. Here's the most interesting part:
Representatives for both Balsillie and the NHL refused to comment on Balsillie's withdrawal, but sources tell TSN the deal started to fall apart a week ago today, when the $175 million transaction was supposed to officially close.
Sources say the NHL introduced a lengthy list of terms and conditions on the closing day that Balsillie would have to agree to if he were going to be approved as the new owner of the team. The sources added that those conditions included keeping the franchise in Pittsburgh under any circumstances and also provided for a scenario where the league could take control the franchise if it deemed it necessary.
Now, was it just me, or did it seem as if Balsillie had his eye on moving the Penguins franchise right from the get-go? Whether any city in question would be feasible or appropriate is not the issue. How can Gary Bettman not have seen, let alone sensed this? I realize there was only one legitimate bid on the table, but why not wait until gaming licenses are awarded this week before taking any offers seriously? (If there was a reason for this timetable that someone is aware of, please fill us in.)
Can you really blame Balsillie for wanting to move the franchise? During the week of the NHL meetings in early December, the Penguins drew an embarrassing 12,511 for a home game vs. Florida. And on the night where Crosby scored his eye-popping six points against the Flyers, only 14,150 fans bothered to appear.
Keep in mind these numbers are coming from the NHL, so they're liable to be on the generous side.
That's some showing for the so-called best player in the league.
The Penguins possess the building blocks to ice an entertaining and highly capable franchise, and if they continue to draft effectively, it's only a matter of time before they are able to legitimately compete in the playoffs. However, time seems to be running out on the idea of keeping the team in Pittsburgh. Would a new arena permanently solve the attendance issues, when the usual refrain from a dying franchise mainly revolves around a poor team, and not a poor building?
Some so-called members of the Pittsburgh media have reacted to Balsillie's decision with tasteless and juvenile remarks. But unless Bettman is blind, he should have been able to see that Balsillie wasn't interested in losing money in an indifferent city. If Isle of Capri is not awarded a gaming license, then it's time to seriously consider the idea of moving the team elsewhere.
Does relocation look good to those who choose to criticize the NHL? Of course not -- it's fodder for the cynical masses who are waiting for the NHL to falter. But right now, doesn't it look worse to have a plethora of empty seats in a building that houses one of the faces of the NHL?
But fear not, Penguins fans -- Frank D'Angelo will save you. Hopefully they'll enjoy becoming a cheap marketing ploy while viewing commercials featuring Ben Johnson, ad nauseam. It's exactly what the league needs right now.
Update: Mario Lemieux offers his two cents regarding the Balsillie pullout, via violin solo.
Meanwhile, thank goodness for the simulcast of Prime Time Sports on Rogers Sportsnet. Today's show blatantly displayed Bob McCown shaking his head in disbelief as potential Penguins buyer Frank D'Angelo attempted to justify his capability as an NHL owner.
· And finally, here's your blind item of the week: The Coyotes have their eye on a goaltender who's been achieving success as of late, and comes highly recommended by Phoenix goaltending coach, Grant Fuhr. But the Eastern Conference team whom possesses said backstopper, doesn't hold a lot of stock in some of their other 'tenders who are prone to injury. They're not giving him up, in spite of growing interest -- they might need him to bail them out down the stretch.
I don't know if it's because I've switched to Blogger Beta, but a bunch of you left comments today, however, only one ended up being posted. I can't repost them, but I will tell you that I received a very clear opinion regarding the blog's current status. Thanks for your input.
UPDATE: Comment feature still not functioning properly. Please hold off until I can be assured that it's working again.
Seeing as that a lot of people have been attempting to seek me out over the past 48 hours, I thought I would inform you that I am currently out of the country. ACK!
On a serious note -- I am legitimately considering activating a registration process in order to gain access to the blog. I know this probably doesn't sit well with the majority of you, but it's a personal decision.
Leave me your thoughts below, or fire off an email (see profile). I'll talk to you when I return to Ottawa.
Check out this nice piece from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times -- it discusses some goalies' baffling mental behaviour of yore, and how those idiosyncrasies seem to be waning in the current NHL.
The Driver informed me that a caller mentioned this week's column on The Team's Over The Edge (Kulka and Versage), but also had some high praise for yours truly. I have no idea who the caller was -- but the compliments, once relayed, were pleasing to hear.
I know some readers of the column (and TUC) have emailed my editor, pressing the notion that I should have additional work appear in the Sun. For the record, my editor jokingly suggested during our last meeting that these praise-filled missives are coming from my mother -- which would be an amazing feat, since as she's been deceased for over a decade. I had to chuckle about that afterward.
Anyway, thanks as always to those who enjoy what is being done here and in the column -- your insistence to reference what you deem to be quality work to anyone who will listen (and even those who won't) is always awesome. Golf claps and metal horns for all of you.
Now bring on the cult following (and the rapid increase of quality punk rock being played at games)!
The utterly ridiculous lead-in on a Sportsnet.ca story:
Pity the poor Tampa Bay Lightning. They have to play the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, and Toronto is so hungry for a win after going winless in seven that the Bolts could get battered.
One of the reasons why I wrote this week's column, which basically told the Sens to take their five pay-per-view games and chew them, was because Rogers informed me that they weren't in HD.
Now, I couldn't get into this in the column, because I'd have to discuss Rogers and Bell, and the fact that Centre Ice only shows a number of games in HD -- so I decided to hit on other valid points instead.
But here's the deal: I (heart) HD. I know, most people do. But truthfully, it's changed my actual preference of the way I view games. I used to love seeing games live -- and I still do, for the most part. But, there are a few downsides:
1) It's getting colder. And yes, I only live ten minutes away from the SBP, but throwing my hands under that bitterly frigid water in the restrooms is enough to chase me away, especially post-Christmas;
2) Crowd behaviour isn't what it used to be -- the indifference is contagious, and I've witnessed at least three arrests in my last handful of visits;
3) The last game I attended, the guy sitting beside me got lit on two beers while a) declaring his man-love for Christoph Schubert (which was acceptable from a progressive viewpoint, except I didn't understand why he needed to repeat it at least 80 times) and b) insisting that Sportsnet's Ian Mendes do something lascivious to said fan's genitalia that I won't repeat here. Fans love the media! At least he wasn't talking about me, but it made me wish I was back in Butterknife Row;
4) Butterknife Row (and the fact that the whipped cream and marshmellows have been removed as hot chocolate garnishments) -- The Driver insists they did this because Patricia Boal is on maternity leave, and they were there solely for Boal's and Gord Wilson's prurient tastes.
There's more, but it's late and I can't recall everything. Anyway, on those rare occasions when the game is shown in HD, I'd much rather be at home, on my own couch, furiously text-messaging away with warm hands, and in comfortable attire that I don't have to worry about being business-casual.
I love HD so much that I would pony up serious cash if it meant that I could view all Sens games in high definition, and was no longer subjected to the subpar coverage of the A-Channel, which errily resembles something produced by one of my hometown networks.
And that's why when the Sens decided to make everyone pay an extra $10.95 for these five games, I expected for them to be in high definition. I really don't care if it's realistic or not -- they've already explained that anyone looking for the games is going to need a dish or a digital box -- how realistic is that?
But when I called Rogers, they told me they didn't anticipate for the games to be in high definition. (And honestly, why would they if the Sens are producing them?) The cost is simply too great.
However, here's the kicker: If you're to watch these games outside of the PPV zone, two out of the five games will be shown in HD -- Pittsburgh and Detroit. And for the record, all five will have feeds from the opposing team that could be shown on Centre Ice. It's not like the PPV will be the only feed (and hence the only choice) for everyone.
I absolutely hate this.
The thing is, I could live if the PPV retailers were the only ones pulling this stunt. What about the CBC's afternoon game on Saturday vs. the Rangers? It was broadcast on the HD channel, but shown in a regular format. What the bloody hell is that all about? I was forced to employ the 1080i stretch, which gave Gary Galley an enormous head, and Cassie Campbell the ass of a Barrhaven soccer mom.
Of course I was being sarcastic when I said I wouldn't buy the PPV games -- I'll at least purchase the first one on Tuesday, if only to gain enough material to mock it mercilessly afterwards. If you've seen the PPV feeds from Vancouver on Centre Ice, you know that your expectations shouldn't be very high in respect to quality.
It's enough to make me want to solely watch football. For the record, we're not talking about that Broncos game. We will, however, discuss the Saints-Cowboys tilt ad nauseam. Bugger off, Romo! And is it just me, or does Bill Parcells resemble a pony keg with man-boobs?
Regarding tonight's 6-2 loss...
- It's plainly obvious that Emery is bothered by his nagging wrist injury. On several occasions tonight, he wasn't fully extending (he may have contracted Gerber's alligator arm ailment by sharing his glove), and appeared to be protecting said arm during any pushes to the net.
- Can we also talk about Ray going down to his stomach too early? This was blatantly evident during the second goal. If he wants to go down, he needs to activate his legs (Hasek would do this, sometimes flinging them back and up in a last-ditch attempt). When Ray drops, he remains sedentary. It might be time for a yoga class or two.
- Chris Phillips isn't doing much to sell people on the idea that he's a big player who can remain consistently effective in the new, fast-paced NHL. His penalties mainly consist of ones that impede progress of the opposition, which would suggest that he can't keep up. The irony is that Chris Phillips is surprisingly quick for a player of his stature -- making his infractions all the more frustrating.
- Glenn Healy pointed out that Alexander Ovechkin had all of his broken sticks immediately returned to him by officiating staff, because if a member of the Senators were to get ahold of them, they would plainly witness AO's illegal curve, and have him penalized. Healy's wording, likely unintentional, made it sound like the referees were anything but objective towards Ovechkin's equipment.
- And finally, the one thing you didn't want to see in HD tonight: The NHL employees working the penalty box at the Verizon Center. There were far too many closeups of septuagenarian heads that have definitely seen better days.
P.S. We can't believe we almost forgot to give a mention to Lakehead boy Danny Bois for not backing down to Donald Brashear.
I don't know how many of you caught TSN's "revolutionary" broadcast on Friday, where Glenn Healy and Chris Cuthbert called the Rangers-Sabres game from ice level, between the benches.
First of all, it would have been a worthy event had they shot the game from ice level (although I doubt anyone, including myself would approve). But the last time I checked, the commentators were not the sole reason for tuning into the game -- and yet, that's what TSN attempted to have the viewers do. In fact, there were moments during the game when the broadcast went to a picture-in-picture format, and showed Cuthbert and Healy speaking live.
Who needs to see this?
The game is the show, not the commentators -- I can't think of any that deserve so much attention. Furthermore, what does it say about the product being iced if TSN feels the need to "enhance the experience" with irrelevant bells and whistles?
(Ed. Note: I'm adding on to a post that originally appeared in May -- points 8 and 9. Enjoy. And hey look, it's Mr. Chi Pig! Do yourself a favour and download Cancer Sticks and Hockey Sticks by SNFU. It'll make your Monday.)
If you've been reading this blog for awhile (or even if you haven't), you probably are aware that I receive mail from readers of the column.
I never expect people to agree with what I have to say each week -- in fact, I'm surprised that some of them do -- but often I will write something that will get under a reader's skin. So much so, that they feel the need to take some time out of their Sunday (or Monday...or Tuesday) to fire me off an email.
I make a legitimate effort to answer every piece of mail I receive. Sometimes it turns into quite the task. I do this for several reasons: 1) They took the time to write and I feel I at least owe them some type of a response; 2) They're usually surprised to death to discover that I actually respond (their surprise is directly proportionate to the amount of insults they hurl) and 3) I'm a woman. I like to get the last word in.
Anyway, I thought I would offer up some tips to those who get pissed and fire off a snarky email, only to discover that they're in a battle of wits without a weapon. Here you go.
1) Use quotes. I hate to cut and paste, but it's the only way to be sure of what the other person is saying. So often I receive emails, and they've paraphrased what they think I've said. Quote, and then make your point.
2) Be succinct. For God's sakes, this is so important. I don't have the patience to sort through blathering missives beginning with an argument about the Argos that somehow morphs into insulting the Senators. (Not kidding -- I received one like this yesterday.) Which leads us to No. 3...
3) Stay on topic. If your beef with John Muckler is really eating at you, or if you hate the city in general, save it until I write about it. If I write about the Lynx, may I suggest that you bite your tongue for the meantime.
4) Don't read between the lines. I always write what I feel. Don't go looking for something that isn't there.
5) Check for grammatical and spelling errors before you send. My opinion of a reader drops about ten stories as soon as I see a blatant misspelling. Seriously, it's just asking to be mocked.
6) Don't insult a writer, even if you want to. Firstly, they'll likely make a fool out of you and you may not even realize it. In short, you'll end up looking like a dumbass.
7) Relax. What sportswriters produce is extremely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It really doesn't need to be taken so seriously.
8) Check the byline before venting. My name isn't Don Brennan, Bruce Garrioch or similar. I don't expect for them to be held accountable for my work, and I can't comprehend being made responsible for theirs.
9) Understand the irony of slagging Sun Media, only to quote various pieces chapter and verse (sometimes from months ago) in an email. Some message board posters are guilty of this as well. To proclaim all Sun writers to be ignorant, low-brow and incompetent, only to have the reader prove that they ingest every last bit of the Sun's publication is highly amusing to me. If I hated Desperate Housewives (and I do), would I sit down to watch it every week? What kind of masochist does this?
Hopefully this helps. And for the record, and although they don't realize it, I'm always complimented when readers assume I'm a guy. (Although hopefully, not due to the column photo. Ack. I hate that bloody thing.)