Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday 01/24 A.M. Quickie:
Hey-hey, ho-ho: That EPO Has Got to Go!

UPDATE (4:17 p.m.): NFL bans EPO. Here's what I always wonder when a league bans a new PED-like substance: How many players are going "Ruh-roh!"

Because you have to figure, and this is very important: If it's effective enough that it's worth banning now -- but it hadn't been banned before -- then EVERYONE is currently using it.

It's like andro before andro was banned by MLB. And certainly like amphetamines before greenies were banned by MLB. Can you imagine how many NFL players were using a previously LEGAL substance if it works so well that the NFL felt like it had to be banned?

(The flip side is that PED use in the NFL is so much more sophisticated than -- pfft! -- EPO that no self-respecting player was on the stuff anyway. That's one reason the union would be so amenable to banning it: Players are so far beyond it that it's an easy giveaway.)


Cowboys Coaching Search
: As we all might have expected, the Cowboys coaching search is packed with rumor- and speculation-filled drama.

The Titans say: Forget about Jeff Fisher. (I wonder how Fisher feels about that?)

Remember when the Cowboys grabbed a successful Oklahoma football coach to take over the team after a legend quit? Barry Switzer fell ass-backward into a Super Bowl title.

Perhaps that's what's driving the rumor that the Cowboys want Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Here's the problem: Stoops ain't interested.

Then there's the other intriguing rumor: That the Cowboys will make a play for Bears coach – sorry: Super Bowl coach – Lovie Smith, who is due for a HUGE pay-raise from the Bears.

If I was continuing my old "Quickie Vocab" series, I might call that "Lovierage," meaning "leverage over a current, thrifty employer thanks to interest from another, flashy employer."

Meanwhile, between Lane Kiffin (31 y.o.) and Mike Tomlin (34 y.o.), not to mention all the 30-something executives in MLB, how the hell can THIS 30-something not have a job helping to run a sports-media company? (Any takers? There's my email in the right-hand corner. Wait: You want bonafides? Well, there's this, if you missed it late yesterday.)

State of the Union meets Mutombo: Given Bush's low approval ratings, Dikembe picked the wrong SOTU to be a part of. Of course, Tom Brady pimped himself out for the obligatory "sports star" cameo before, so why not Deke?

Suns plaster Wizards: OK, so the "Game of the Year" in the NBA turned out to be a waxing. I know the Wiz play no D, but damn the Suns can score. But if PHX (14 straight wins) is truly the best team in the West right now, the Wiz still could easily still emerge as the best team in the East.

T'wolves fire Dwane Casey: McHale called it "inconsistency" – if "inconsistency" means "one of the Top 5 least intriguing teams in the NBA." (Want to jack up the intrigue, Kevin? Trade KG and re-boot the team under the Run-n-Suns model.)

Sixers win! Sixers win?! Apparently, the Sixers are going to make the second half of the season about ruining their chances to draft either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. They're off to a great start, beating the Hornets last night behind Korver and Miller.

I'm glad Andre is working out for Philly and all, but they've got to think about the long term. A few wins now costs them many, many wins later. Philly fans: Are you with me on this or am I wrong here? If you're not a contender (or at least on the way up), this is NOT the draft year to overachieve your way out of the Top 2 picks.

SB XLI Watch: Wait, will Tank Johnson have to wear an ankle bracelet when he plays? And will it have a Super Bowl XLI logo on it and sold in Chicago? Hell, everything else is.

The Eagles say that the alleged rift between Donovan McNabb and the team is overblown. Of course they said that. The truth is definitely in between, and the proof will come this August in training camp.

Falcons say Vick won't be traded: No, he'll simply be benched for Matt Schaub, then become the most expensive backup QB in league history. Maybe Vick can become the Tim Tebow to Schaub's Chris Leak.

Sean Salisbury Scandal: (Yes, it's buried down here.) Yes, he said "Jew." Yes, it was a slur -- and I don't know what would be worse: If he used it knowingly or subconsciously? ESPN has a small problem, because they've already staked out the position that he said "Chew," which is clearly not the case. (Have you listened to the audio? Try Deadspin or ProFootballTalk for the clip.)

College Hoops Parity Watch: Unranked Auburn beats No. 12 Alabama. The SEC is pretty damn good this year, but who else thinks Bama was a wee bit overrated?

MLB: All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in '08. That'll be the announcement next week. If nothing else, it will be a navel-gazing spectacle. Particularly when Yankees ace Roger Clemens is starting for the A.L.

NHL All-Star Game: If Rory's not in it, I'm boycotting. How many of you have a favorite NHL team or player that you actively follow? How many of you consider yourselves avid NHL fans? What's your take on the decline of the league? Or are you happy that the fan base has been pared down to the die-hards?

(For the record, I'm nominally a Caps fan -- I actually went to a game or two every season as a kid in the Langway/Gartner Era. One of my distinct youth-fan memories is listening in bed on the radio to that classic billion-OT playoff game with the... was it the Islanders? So I guess I have some tenuous claim to jump on the Ovechkin bandwagon, but it's not like I'm buying a sweater. Maybe if they went back to the old Caps unis...)

Is Zidane the next Beckham? Rumors are flying in Chicago that the MLS Fire wants to make a play for him. He's better than Beckham, but brings a different sort of baggage. Like, head-butt baggage.

Sneaker-hoops impresario Sonny Vaccaro has retired from the shoe/hoops ("shoops?") game to jump in the ring on this "basketball academy" thing that David Stern seems to think will save his league that doesn't need saving. Vaccaro is probably one of the Top 10 most influential people in basketball in the last 25 years.

The Denver Post finally picked up on Carmelo Anthony's MySpace page. Suspension was good for business: He picked up 11,000 friends in the last week to reach a total of 26,000. Hmm: Maybe I should make me one of those. What do you think?

-- D.S.

87 comments:

PhillyGirl said...

Dan - even with the Eagles season over, no one in Philly is paying attention to the 76ers.
They are a Philly team, so eventually they will tank, but not in time to get the top pick - somehow they will screw it up...as always.

Anonymous said...

Dan - I am avid Hockey fan love watching the game and having been watching it since I was a Kid. Always been a fan of the Bruins and love the fact the games are starting to be just the real fans not these fake, bandwagin jumping pink hat wearing frauds we see sat baseball and football games.

The real problem with the game is that it is not physical enough, not enough big hits or fights. That should be part of the NHL. The other problem is the unbalanced schedule and seeing the same teams playing each other all the time which would bore most fans. If they fix the schedule, bring back the physical game and get on a real TV network they will vault back past the NBA like it was before.

Daddy Rosee said...

Dan, I love hockey and I could care less if Rory Fitzpatrick isn't in the all-star game, he doesn't deserve to be there anyway.

Thoughts on last night; I only caught part of the young stars game, and I was really impressed by the talent. I was also pissed that I never get to see any of these guys from the west becuase of the new schedule.

It would also be nice if there was an NHL tonight like show on vs, since sportscenter never shows hockey highlights.

rafael said...

Zidane would be a hit in Chicago. He'd probably spark a headbutting craze in city schools.

I'm a Columbus Blue Jackets fan. I love the game. I even follow college hockey (Go Miami Redhawks!). I do think the league made a mistake by not staying with ESPN...though ESPN was shitty about it.
The league WAS in decline but it is not anymore. The product on-ice is amazing. I do think people will come back (but i tend to think long term...10 years or more). We're at the top of the hill but it will snowball.
I disagree that the game isn't physical enough. It's more physical than football. There is plenty of checking and tough play. The fights are overrated. Like the DH in baseball, they just allow less talented, one-dimensional players to stay in the game. The league is getting more 7-4 scores over 2-1 scores, and that is what will make fans come back.
However, I don't mind that its pared down to diehards. There is no such thing as a casual hockey fan. Once you get into it, understand the rules, watch a few games...you'll either be a diehard or walk away.

Anonymous said...

Zidane going to the Fire would be much bigger news as far as bringing a higher caliber of play to the United States. If you watched the WC Final, you'll see that there is still plenty of skill left in that old grizzly bear.

Sure, the headbutt is what he's remembered for, but Zizou is still one of the best players of the last 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Bama is overrated in hoops. They got away with a win on Saturday against UGA, in which the refs admit blowing the call at the end of the game.

I know everyone is slurping the Suns, but where is the love for the Mavs? They've already beaten Phx this year and have a better record, play D and can score also. The NBA is continuing on its upswing from the past few years and I love it.

Anonymous said...

Die-hard NHL fan and Huge Habs fan since the Habs (Ken Dryden) stoned Bobby Orr & the Bruins in the Quarterfinals in 1971 and went on to win the Cup.

The schedule situation needs to be fixed especially if Pittsburgh (Crosby&Malkin) move to the western division in Kansas City.

I remember the Caps/Islanders game quite well though I watched the first period then went to a bar for 3 or 4 hours and came back and the game was still on lol.

nep1293 said...

You can't really expect professional athletes to tank for draft position. Someone will lose his job if Oden or Durant are on the team. And since there's no certainty you can get the #1 or 2 pick, the occasional W is fine with me.

Let's not forget, Billy King is the GM. He has the ablity to screw up the draft and take some unknown Ugandan kid.

The sixers wll still finish with one of the worst records in the league and then it's up to the lottery.

Strangely enough, the Sixers have been funner to watch w/o Iverson. There actually is some talent there. I just think they need a better coach.

Geo B said...

Dan - I'm a big Penguins fan, glad to see them doing something this season after collecting all those high draft picks with so many bad seasons.

I hate that the NHL commissioner seems to have run the ratings even lower, even though the game has improved since the lockout. I agree with a DJ here in Houston - why isn't the All-Star game on Saturday with NBC instead of tonight on a cable channel only hockey fans and Tour de France watchers have heard of?

They need to get a marketing clue! When hockey is being out-TV-ratings-ed by poker - there's something wrong.

kirby077 said...

Biggest problem with hockey is there are about 6 teams too many. And yesterday there was a rumour floating around about expansion - yikes!

I don't know that it is dying as a complete league. Revenue is up and the players got the escrow money returned to them, and with the new jerseys for next year, that should bring in an extra $100 million at least.

I agree, the NHL should have stayed on ESPN, even if it was for free, just for the exposure.

Anonymous said...

rafeal you are not a die hard hockey fan. If you look back into the 70's and 80's of hockey the game was a ton more physicall and most the games still had final scores of 4-3, 5-1 and remember that was also the era that Gretzky was scoring a ton. The problem I have with the game today is that it has become to special teams oreinted by having a lot of penalties called that should not be called and it takes away a lot of players willingness to hit people. The 70's and especially the 80's proved you can have hard hitting, highly skilled playing of the game that is more exciting then today's game.

rafael said...

How come I can go to all kinds of websites to find out about Salisbury, but there's nothing on the WWL? Same thing when Reynolds got fired or anchors leave the network.
Just an annoying thing about ESPN. Every bad thing tries to be brushed under a carpet.


Steve Blake? You ain't got no game, brotha!

Steve said...

Zidane in Chicago would be a fantastic coup for MLS. This is what they need to do, carve out their niche as the Senior tour of Soccer. Get over the hill playmakers who have already established a name and combine them with young speedy players and you might actually have an exciting brand to sell. It will certainly never be a bigger draw than the European leagues but it would fill a nice little niche. That would be better than what they've had going so far.

The heroin sheik said...

I have heard about the zidane move to mls since he retired from some friends of mine over in the UK. I think that combined with beckhams signing might make it a very intriguing sport next year. Now if they can guys like Henry, Fat frank, and bucktoothdinho they would be set.

Who in their right ming would want to coach dallas now. I figure they will take a lame duck coach handcuff his ability to do anything tank next year for a good draft choice then enter the cowher sweepstakes next fall.

I said it awhile back that the falcons should use vick as a rb like reggie bush so he can get the ball in space and use schaub as the regular guy. Maybe it could work.

How can there be only one guy from the gators defense on the east west roster, yet there are the center guard and qb from OSU. Guess they didn't show off their abilities last game. Does anyone think Leak will have a decent career in the NFL or is he another shane matthews, jesse "hoot hoot" palmer, or doug johnson.

rafael said...

i'm not a die-hard hockey fan because I don't think the fighting is necessary? Nonsense. Was there more of that in the 70s? Sure. So what?
Baseball, football, basketball, etc. don't need to go back to the 70s, so why should hockey?
I like the tough game. I like the physical hits. Nothing is more awesome than a player getting laid out on the ice by a sweet check.
But seeing two guys drop gloves? meh. It's an unnecessary interruption to the flow of the game, imo.

H said...

Big hockey fan here, as I've previouisly stated. Been watching the Bruins since I was 5 or 6. I still bust out the Cam Neely #8 jersey every now and again. I personally love the new rules and the more open style of play that has emerged because of it. The Trap (thanks Jacque Lemaire) ruined hockey and made it almost unwatchable. Now with the emphasis on enforcing holding and obstruction calls, plus the elimination of two line offsides, and the reintroduction of tag up offsides the game has opened up and the skill players can really shine. There is less physical play than in the past, but it is still at heart a physical, hard hitting, fast paced game. I've never understood why it isn't popular.

In regards to the schedule, I find it funny that the West teams are still complaining. If you'll recall before the lockout, the reason for the schedule change was that the western conference teams were complaining that their travel schedules were more difficult, because they had to travel long distances for in conference games already, plus even longer for cross conference games. Basically the West teams are so spread out while the East teams are all bunched on the east coast. (and they do have a bit of a point) But now the Western teams are complaing that since the cross conference games have been eliminated, the eastern teams have an easier travel schedule. I find it funny that they want to go back to the schedule they were complaing about not 5 years ago!

I enjoyed the skills competition last night. It sucks that the clock broke for the fastest skater event. I personally don't trust a guy standing there with a stopwatch to get accurate times. Ovechkin seemed to fly around the rink and he got the slowest time. Huh??? lol

Anonymous said...

As far as the NHl goes, I'm a diehard Rangers fan. The on-ice product has gotten better. Shootouts, while I don't toally agree with them, have really livened up crowds and excitement in general.

The league did make a huge mistake going to Versus instead of staying with ESPN. A big problem is that ESPN hardly promotes hockey at all. To them, if they don't cover it, it's not as newsworthy. Since a great majority of sports fans get their TV sports news from ESPN, to not have any NHL highlights or stories hurts the NHL big time.

The Fitzpatrick thing was just stupid all around. Stupid to write in a guy who has no business going to that game. Stupid for the league to rig the voting. Stupid to make it a story. Who cares?

H said...

Rafael, what about Salisbury?

Joe said...

I don't see any more rumor and speculation on the Cowboy coaching job than any other head coach opening this year. Plus, isn't that headline a tad sensationalistic? Because Stoops said he is not interested, NO ONE WANTS TO COACH THE COWBOYS!

Anonymous said...

There are 2 types of fighting in hockey, the first is the one that is ok and I agree with, which is when a player highsticks, or some other cheapshot, another player or runs a goalie. Then a real fight with emotions happen similar to any fight in the NBA, MLB or NFL.

The second type is when 2 goons, who are paid to fight only, are sent on the ice and tap each other on the shoulder and then fight. there is no need of this in hockey.

Big Smitty said...

I think a lot of people would like to coach the Cowboys...with the caveat that T.O. is gone by the time their plane lands in Dallas.

Anonymous said...

I visit several soccer sites a day and haven't heard anything about Zidane. It would be very interesting, if true, because even at a more advanced age, he's a lot better than Beckham (and everyone else in MLS). Also, having someone with his experience, pedigree and play-making ability would only help US player development.

I'm a huge Penguins fan. I used to go to a game every time they came to the FleetCenterTDBanknorthGarden presented by Nextel. Anyway, I still follow the scores and Sportscenter highlights. I probably have Vs. but with over 200 channels I have no idea where it is. I used to love watching the All-Star game on weekends when I was a kid...so why the hell is it now on Wed. night...against American Idol. As has been stated, the league's front office is more inept than the people who ran Enron. There's no football this weekend. Why wouldn't they get some network to broadcast the game...even if they had to pay the broadcaster. It's sad to watch the demise of hockey. It's made infinitely worse because with a few common sense decisions, the league could once again garner a decent casual following.

Anonymous said...

Why do people clamor over Schaub? He's a career (albeit limited) 52.2% passer with 6/6 TD/INT; Vick is a career 53.8% passer with 71/52 TD/INT. I don't think Vick is the answer, but Schaub CERTAINLY isn't.

Steve said...

Vick isn't the problem, coaching is. Look, all you have to do is what I did with Randall Cunningham on Tecmo Bowl, roll him out toward the sideline then either scramble or throw. It's completely unstoppable. The only reason the Falcons ever lose is because they try and keep him in the pocket.

Big Smitty said...

Speaking of hits in Hockey my favorite of all time was by little Brian Smolinski.

When Smoke was on the Bruins, this was maybe 10 years ago, maybe longer. The B's were playing the Kings I think, Smoke went in to the corner to play the puck. The Kings enforcer at the time was Marty McSorley, McSorely goes in to deliver a huge hit on Smoke. Only Smoke sees him coming and plays possum.

At the last second Smoke lowers his shoulder and lays the hit on a shocked McSorley who goes down like he got hit with a right cross by Ali.

He stayed down for the 10 count too. Half from the hit, Half because he was shocked that little man put him on his ass.

Don't know why that sticks out in my memory, just a good clean hit from a time in my life I really enjoyed hockey. For anyone who cares about Hockey, I thought I'd share it.

Horatio said...

You should have a MySpace page, just cause, but DO NOT treat it seriously at all.

Thoughts:

Lovie Smith - he is in a bind, Dallas can pay him more, (probably more willing), He has to be smarting on the fact that a deal wasn't worked sooner. But, do you really want to go down the path of looking like a guy who is only going for money?

Tank Johnson - he should be allowed to play, but I would have liked a ruling ordering him in house arrest while in Miami. I do not need to see pictures of him partying when he should not have been allowed to leave the state.

Vick & Schuab - a story lots of people are missing is, tied up in these two guys are a potential 1st and 2nd round pick. This will be the 3rd year Schaub will sit an entire year doing NOTHING. Not helping the team and his very employment causes strife. TRADE HIM. or trade Vick it doesn't matter but having high round pics just sit on your bench doing nothing is a waste and whoever is 2nd string is essentially a 2nd or 1st rounder just sitting causing strife. If it were an actual person, if an actual 1st or 2nd pic just sat on the bench for 3 years and everyweek there was controversy around him, youd want him traded. These guys need to be separated and it does not matter which on. I read there was a rumour that Raiders want him, do it. I heard Browns may want Schaub, do it. It doesn't matter but having one sit is counter-productive to the entire team especially a team with as many holes that need to be filled.

NHL Decline - I don't understand it, the league is actually ALOT better than previous years. I still think it would have been better to let ESPN show the games for free than have them doomed to the bowels of Outdoor Life and VS. Plus, a Saturday spot during March is a no-win. ESPN treatment on a Monday Night is the best way to get casual fans to care.

Zidane - So this is MLS's last gasp? Ok, then load up. Anyway we can get Rolando to go to Real Salt Lake? Can we all agree that when the Beckham experiment fails that soccer is just NOT an American sport and we can quit trying? As long as High School revolves around football, not enough young kids are going to devote the time necessary to create an influx of good US born soccer players, and without that, it just won't fly. Like it or not, Soccer and Football compete against each other (even though played at diff times, it just seems wrong to enjoy a the "other" football) and in this country at this time, people will take 4th and Goal with :05 remaining over Corner Kick in 59th min every time

mbpollack said...

Bunch of stuff to say today:

Sixers: I'd rather the Sixers put together a little run and get some confidence heading into next year, then try to trade their two first rounders and a player (maybe Korver or Dalembert?) to move into the top two in the draft. They could have a solid nucleus to build around here, might as well find out if it's legit.

Eagles: McNabb is a company man. Even if there's some rift now, he'll swallow it by training camp. He's too mature and too dedicated to winning to let this become a problem.

NHL: It's absolutely ridiculous how the NHL has handled the Rory Fitzpatrick issue. (1) If you're going to open up the all star game to fan voting, then let the fans vote. (2) If the NHL fanbase is actually whittled down to the diehards, then Rory's inclusion makes a ton of sense. The true fans appreciate the things that the team players do. Voting for Rory was a symbolic tip of the hat to team players everywhere. (3) Ratings-wise, [virtually] no one will be watching the game (just as no one did last year). I would guess a good percentage of Rory supporters would tune in this year to see the fruits of their labor. Instead, the NHL has alienated their fans, many of which (including me) won't be watching on principle alone. Plus, this was a PR dream. They could have focused their entire advertising campaign around the little internet sensation that could. And now it's just like every other NHL game that no one will watch. (4) If the NHL has any dreams of regaining relevance, it needs to embrace the internet. With this debacle, their spitting in its face.

Zidane: Beckham won't be enough by himself to change the MLS. Part of the point in bringing him in was so that other international stars would follow (a la Pele). If Zidane comes, it just means that Beckham's move worked a lot quicker than many expected. Plus, it gives the MLS the kind of star power that Americans love.

The heroin sheik said...

I read about salisbury flaunting his junk but did he get fired. I don't have espn so I wouldn't know if he wasn't on there.

It seems to me that american soccer has always been a semi senior league for players past their prime. By now I am sure we all know about NASL but even when the MLS started they had aging players like valderamma and preki.

Dan don't join myspace only because your wife will look at your site and before you know it she wants to know why strange women are commenting about how much they love when you double anal fist them or something. Of course my girl knows if that were really true there would be something about midgets as well.

The heroin sheik said...

OH yeah and horatio I tend to agree that most american men would prefer to see fourth and goal with time expiring but personally I would prefer a corner kick in the 93rd minute. Case in point just try to find the champions league final from 99 online somewhere and watch how MAN U came back from a goal down to win in like the last 30 seconds of stoppage time. Of course I am scottish so I am not like most american males.

Anonymous said...

mbpollack, The NHL is embracing the Internet. If you did not know the NHL was the first league to make a deal with youtube to put games and highlights on there sight.

Brian in Oxford said...

Any chance Danny Ainge can trade Pierce when healthy and launch a drive towards Oden? Fans would understand it just didn't work in Boston, and wish him well.

Everyone is spot-on this morning about how ESPN only devotes attention to the sports (or non-sports) it covers. Ya gotta figure Barry Melrose says to himself, what the hell have I gotten myself into? ESPN will make sure Nascar and then Arena Football keep their foot on hockey's throat, not letting it up. Even the freakin' hot dog contest and spelling bee will get more pub.

10-15 years ago, there was one network each for news (CNN), music (MTV), and sports (ESPN). Now, CNN has viable challengers in MSNBC and Fox News. My old cable company had that Fuse channel which was a legit alternative to MTV. Why couldn't someone launch a viable national sports alternative to the WWL?

The same reason expansion wrecks scheduling (you see some teams once or twice a year, if you're lucky) parallels college football. With 119 teams, how can you prove who your champ is? The top teams don't all get to face each other. Even baseball now, the Tigers come to Yankee Stadium or Fenway once a year.

Hey Dan, now that you've found the nut of Colts-Bears, are you going to have your squirrelish myopia fixed?

Brian in Oxford said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Dan - I hate to repeat people so I'm sure someone else has already said this but you need to give the Matt Schaub love a break.

There is no way that a rookie NFL head coach is coming to down and benching the franchise face quarterback.

I don't disagree that the Falcons are better without Vick as the starting QB but there is NO chance that Petrino comes in and benches Vick right off the bat. Just not happening.

mbpollack said...

cmfrost -

Youtube isn't enough. Dan mentioned in his State of the Sports Union yesterday how quickly the sports blogosphere is growing and really serves as the heaviest [and only?] counterweight to the WWL. The Rory campaign was powered by the blogosphere. And now the NHL pretty much just shit on it.

Dan Mega said...

I am not a huge NHL fan though I do try to keep up with the Blackhawks as much as I can...which isn't saying much.

However, it seems to me that there is no better sport to watch live than hockey if you have good seats.

Big Smitty said...

@ Dan Mega

Agreed, and in Boston it has the bonus of being the cheapes ticket in town, by far.

Plus the Boston Garden/Shawmut Center/Fleet Center/TD Banknorth Garden, or whatever they call it this week is North Station, So I can take the T from my house on the Pawtucket/Attleboro line, straight to the Garden and have a beer or two and not have to worry about drinking and driving or Boston traffic.

Daddy Rosee said...

Rory Fitzpatrick is the type of player who should never ever play in an all-star game, I don't care how many drunk Canadians vote for him.

Anonymous said...

Dan I am a die hard hockey fan who grew up watching the Pens and then also started rooting for the Sabres. I subscribe to Center Ice and actually made it a point to tell the girlfriend that I would be spending 13 hours watching Hockey Day In Canada with a case of Molson Canadian rather than hanging out with her on Saturday (she came over later anyways- I am a lucky guy).

I know that many of the hockey fans around nowadays are diehards like me. The thing about the NHL currently is that it used to be a Big 4 sport and now is a niche sport supported by die-hard fans but not by casual general sports fans.

The tv coverage of the NHL hasn't helped matters. Vs. is terrible and NBC isn't much better. Those of us with CI are blessed to watch the Canadian coverage as well as some great feeds from Buffalo, NESN in Boston and Fox Sports West.

The only thing that can possibly make hockey a big 4 again is HDTV saturation. The game is amazing on HDTV and if more people get the sets they will see just how great hockey is. However, I don't think hockey should aspire to be in the big 4 anymore. I think they should try and grow the niche but recognize that they are a small but devoted fan base sport and try to cater to them (obviously this puts a ceiling on revenues but will stop the league from folding methinks).

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

I don't know... I am intrigued by the rumor that Atlanta would send Vick and their #1 pick to Oakland for the Raiders' #1 pick, Jerry Porter, and Randy Moss.

If the teams would make that trade, and then each draft a malcontent, it could be the most hilarious trade in NFL history.

Anonymous said...

daddy rosee that is one thing I can agree with you on. Just because fans start a write in campaign does not mean it should be successful. If Rory had actually made the All Star Game then the fans vote should of been taken away. The All Star Game should be a showcase of the best players in the game not a showcase of some no talent 6th defenseman.

Manada said...

Hockey is no where near in decline...it has taken a little bit of a dip this year after last years record numbers - post lockout.

Fitz did not deserve to be there and I doubt that Bettman and the crew froze him out of the game. It would have been a PR hit if he did get in as "the man of the people'.

The young guns coming up are unreal and they are going to ellivate this game to the highs of the '80s, but only after they can figure out a balanced schedule.

Hockey in the '90s and early '00s hit the skids because of skyrocketing salaries - for no reason - Lemaire's trap that destroyed the game, and over expansion into non-traditional markets that looked more like a cash grab (think CFL's expansion into the US - Go Goldminers!).

Hockey is on the rise in Canada and internationally again...they just need a network to pick them up.

Manada said...

In the US that is

Ben said...

LONGEST.QUICKIE.EVER!!!

Jo Fer said...

Brian in Oxford,

There is a competing 'national' sports network, FSN-(fill in your region here). From my DirecTV I can see about 15 of them. Northwest, South, Arizona, North, New England, etc. Their problem is that they focus on trying to appease the local scene. So instead of getting a competing network telling me about the Super Bowl, I end up seeing a piece on the Northern Arizona Lumberjack's Women's Volleyball season... They think we care about that local shit... but we REALLY don't.

Matt W. said...

Dan,
Hockey is irrelevant in the main stream sports and that is ok. As long as the league can stay afloat and there is hockey(preferably Detroit Red Wings) than I am happy. Looking at the other comments I agree that the sheduling sucks and that they should allow more physical play. Not the clutching/grabbing/hooking that the rules intend to eliminate but the hitting and the fighting have always been a part of hockey and should be remain and allowed.

Matt
Portage, MI

Anonymous said...

I am an avid hockey fan. The sport won me over when I was 8 and Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup. Then did it again the next year. I love watching the sport, but have never understood why it hasn't gained popularity. It has the viciousness of football, less commercials and stoppages in play than the other big 3, and is over in less than 3 hours. What is the problem? I am not sure. Can anyone enlighten me?

Carmelo has a myspace page? I am so joining that. Being on celebrity friend lists is the only thing I use myspace for. What is your myspace name, Dan? Can I add you as a friend?

Horatio said...

If Matt Schaub isnt the stud he is supposed to be then Atlanta are bigger fools than I think.

Clearly some teams think he is a future all-pro and a 2nd Round pick is nothing to sneeze at (there be DeMacos in there) TRADE the guy!!! Trade him and get Troy Smith and commit yourself to run an offense that on EVERY play the QB is rolling somewhere. The Falcons should be a team where a 5 step drop is a special play only used to catch the opposing team off guards.

Anonymous said...

I'm a hockey fan too, but I'm hardly a die-hard anymore. I'm a dying Rangers fan leaning towards Buffalo now that I live an hour away (and I watched Miller and Vanek play at Rochester).

I do watch games on Vs. and this is what I realized last night:

1. Having national games on Tues/Wed is stupid enough, but the All-Star game?
2. Going to Versus wasn't like putting basketball games on TNT. No one knows about this network, few people even have it.
3. Versus isn't even trying to emulate ESPN. Highlights shows, analysis shows, even bad talk TV like MSG are sorely lacking. It's a hockey-free zone except during games, and it needs other mainstream sports (they do have college games) or at least sports news.
4. It's not that I don't like the VS. guys, but why can't they outsource to someone who already has infrastructure, personnel and experienced crews? Like Hockey Night in Canada! You have completely separate broadcast areas! This is a no-brainer.

Generik said...

I am an avid Red Wings fan since around 1991. Since 2001 I have subscribed to the Center Ice package to watch the Wings. Living in Indy, hockey is obviously not in much demand here. Well this year I decided to skip the Center Ice package. There is a couple reasons and I think it is just boneheaded that they haven't been looked at.

1) Price of the Center Ice package. $160 if you order early or $190 after a certain date. Granted that is for roughly 5-6 months of games, but I basically only watch the Wings and that is a bit steep. I think what would be awesome is a team plan were you could pay a reduced price and get all the games for that specific team.

2) This is the big problem. You pay $160+ for Center Ice and the games aren't broadcast in HD. I mean seriously, what the fuck?!? Pre-lockout ESPN was starting to get NHL in HD rolling and they were really pimping out how exceptional the game is when viewed in HD. And it is absolutely true. This is almost a requirement in my mind. The NHL should be jumping on every opportunity to showcase their sport in the best light and this is just ludicrous that if you're lucky, there are 20 games a year in HD.

I wish the NHL was still on ESPN, but I seem to recall that ESPN basically offered them about the shittiest broadcast deal I have ever seen. I can't really blame Bettman from trying to go in a different direction then get raped by ESPN. On the ice, the sport seems to be on the right track in my mind. I don't really like the decline in quality fighting, but I can live with it.

As to Salisbury... I listened to an audio only clip, but I honestly would not have taken that as "Jew" if I hadn't been pointed to it knowing there was some controversy beforehand. I don't know the exact quote, but if you look at what he was saying, "chew" makes ALOT more sense in his sentence then 'Jew'. It was something like, "They are going to fight, claw, ch(J)ew...." Just another case in my mind of people jumping the gun at something that isn't there.

Anonymous said...

The sixers are so irrelevant here it's pathetic, so i doubt their recent anti-tanking is even being noticed amoung the mcnabbmania in this city. i cringe every time i see headlines like "sixers pull out hard fought victory in OT vs. heat."

Brian in Oxford said...

jo fer,

I know what you mean about the FSNs....I watch a bunch of them on my MLB.tv package. It seems more like an excuse to have all the channels funnel their earnings to Rupert Murdoch, actually. Aside from the "best" damn sports show and occasional fluff pieces, not much of it is really national.

(It's even worse in CT, where you get the NE feed sometimes and the NY feed others.)

The thing with Versus, is that it realizes it's got a lot more sports on than it used to as the OLN. But aside from hockey, everything else they showed was *very* fringe-oriented. So now hockey gets lumped in with stuff like timbersports (which are actually kinda cool, I think) and bass fishing, and the tour de france. It's not going to be a destination to be an alternative source for baseball highlightts on a Wednesday night in August.

How's this for a sociological argument? People are made to feel like warm weather year-round is better than snow and cold. Hockey can't be a regular part of a culture that doesn't have snow and ice....as the population heads south and west, winter is given short shrift. Heck, when was the last time skiing was on network TV on the weekends? That used to be on a lot when I was a kid (late 70s/early 80s).

Anonymous said...

If anyone is looking for a good hockey site HockeyBuzz.com is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Vs. should go with hockey synergy: Get the rights to curling and have Steve Nash do a reality show.

I can't believe all the hockey talk here. Un-freakin'-believeable.

Most.Unpredictable.DanBlog.Evr.

Anonymous said...

Well back to football I know I am a Pats fan but the 1996 Packers ranked 6th best SB team of all time seems a bit high. Thoughts?
The Ultimate Super Power Rankings list

H said...

Hey Smitty, where you from man? The Attleboro Station is literally behind my apartment building.

GuyInTheCorner said...

HOCKEY IS NOT A MAJOR SPORT

Someone had to say it.

I'll keep the insults about trick bowling, womens college softball, and pool beating NHL playoff games in the ratings.

But at this point I see it this way:
1.Football
2.Baseball
3.Basketball
4.Golf (mild ugh!)
5.NASCAR (huge ugh!)
6.Tennis
7.Soccer
...
1063.Dominoes
1064.Hockey

As far as the moron SEAN SALISBURY goes...
The quote was speaking about what Peyton was thinking while down 21-3.
Salisbury said: (Peyton)said "we'll nip, we'll tuck, we'll go, we'll punch, we'll jew, we'll do it all." And he nickled and dimed, and Peyton made the play when it mattered.

I think the "nickel and dime" being juxtaposed near "jew" is coincidence. I think (like some on deadspin) that he either meant to say "juke" (as in boxing reference with "punch") or that he did mean to say chew.

"Jew" doesn't make much sense in this context, although you could stretch it a little to make it fit.

I think he slipped. As someone pointed out, he did say today on NFL LIVE that "The Bears should keep Tank Johnson under close watch and key." So...

Anonymous said...

Sean Salisbury isn't the biggest turd in the ESPN punch bowl, but he's right up there.

ESPN has become the sports entertainment equivilent of ROME. They have no peer, are incredibly powerful and have become fat, complacent and arrogant.

I hope the public continues to try to make Salisbury accountable for his comments. I've love to see his smarmy ass fired.

Love you site. I just recently got into the world of sports blogs, and I have found this to be one of the best for various reasons.

The Hog
www.hogonsports.com

H said...

mbpollack, the voting for Fitzpatrick was manipulated by a script. I have no problem with them tossing votes in that case. If he had been voted in on a true grassroots campaign, I'd be a little more up in arms about it. But if the NHL allowed it to happen, we'd see very ridiculous All Star players in the future. I have all the respect for the grinders and role players in this league, but they don't belong in the All Star Game. That's why the individaul teams have their 7th player awards. Oh and no one watched the All Star Game last year because one wasn't held. The NHL chose to take an olympic break instead. There hasn't been an All Star Game since 2004.

Natsfan74 said...

I wonder what the actual reader base of this blog is? I would bet most readers tend to be Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, based on the comments on here. Plus, for people who followed this site over from the DQ, I would bet most DQ readers were East Coast as well.

The DQ was a great way to start my morning and get a sports fix before getting serious at work. But for West Coast sports fans, by the time they get online in the morning, the more-mainstream sports articles are already on line, so the quickie isn't as much of a must read so early. Plus, the commenting on here generally dies down around 5 pm, when the East Coast people head home from work. If we are an East Coast blog, it would make sense that there are a lot of hockey fans here as well. Not a lot of hockey fans in Nebraska, I bet....

Any thoughts?

Natsfan74 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Big Smitty said...

@ h

Right on Newport Ave in Pawtucket

Big Smitty said...

@ Natsfan74

With a few exceptions I'd say that is a fair statement.

Anonymous said...

Just want to give a reminiscent STUD to Sean Marshall of BC, for hitting a sweet buzzer beater last night and keeping BC's season from completely collapsing after the Sean Williams debacle.

Dave said...

No one is worse on the WWL than Jim Rome. NO ONE!

Greatest thing Jim Everett ever did in his whole career:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

...Probably the best thing Jim Rome ever did too.

Big Smitty said...

@ Dave

Everett: Bet you don't call me Chris again

Rome: Bet you I do.

Everett: Bet you don't

Rome: Ok, Chris

Rome: muffled screams....

Dave said...

Great Stuff.

Oh, and Salisbury totally said "Jew" in a derogatory sense. For those of you who are claiming it doesn't make sense in that context, etc. I'm glad that you haven't had the expereince in your lives or interacted with people who use the word that way to know exactly what he meant. What an idiot.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

I think Salisbury said "Juke." He was clearly on some kind of serious drugs, tho... "nip" and "tuck"??? Was he just getting out of his weekly botox session? Getting some lipo? What the hell?

Kevin said...

Patriots64 said...

Well back to football I know I am a Pats fan but the 1996 Packers ranked 6th best SB team of all time seems a bit high. Thoughts?

They led the league in points scored and in fewest points allowed. That is extremely tough to do. They featured Reggie White at the end of his prime and Brett Favre in his prime. Of course, I look at this with green-and-gold-colored glasses, and you look at it through Patriot glasses.

mark said...

Most people here do seem to be in eastern or central time zones.

I'm a Chicagoan to make a long story short, but spent seven years out East getting a fancy-pants education (which I will spend the rest of my working life paying for).

There are no Blackhawks fans left. This is owner Bill Wirtz's own damn fault, as he refuses to allow televising of home games.

Generik said...

I mean this in as positive a way as it could possibly sound.. but Bill Wirtz needs to die or sell that team. He has run the franchise into the ground and it is atrocious to see. I don't understand why the NHL doesn't step in and do something about the situation for "the betterment of the league" or some shit like that.

H said...

Wait, what is his reason for not allowing home games to be televised? I mean, is he hoping that more people will go to the games? that is very short sighted if that is the case.

Daddy Rosee said...

What a shame, the blackhawks are an original 6 team, this should never happen.

"It's not so much me as it is Roenick"

What movie?

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Yes, he said "Jew." Yes, it was a slur

I havent gone through the comments to see if anyone's gotten to this, but it was a slur? There's no way. "Jew" definitely came out of his mouth, but I'm convinced meant for "chew" or "juke" to come out instead. And "jew" isn't like "nigger"--it's a word someone can have on their tongue without it necessarily being a racist slur. And if you listed to the whole clip (and believe what Deadspin commentors were saying) that whole analysis was riddled with tongue-fumbles. I refuse to believe Salisbuey used a slur there. There are a lot of reasons to dislike him, but I don't think this is one.

Gregg said...

There are probably some holdout EPO users just because it's phenomenally well-suited to a football player's schedule of one massive full-body beating a week for 16 - 22 weeks of the year and it's pretty easy to get. (Not to say that guys using EPO aren't likely to be using other things too.)

Anonymous said...

There was NO way Salisbury meant to say Jew. Sounds line Shanoff is just being a little bitch as usual. Anyone who thinks he MEANT jew is a FUCKING Idiot. There was no slur and it would not have made sense in the context. 'Nip, tuck, crunch, Jew?" Chew fits in there, jew does not. Stop being such a cowardly sensitive douche, Dan.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Stop being such a cowardly sensitive douche

Speaking of being a douche...

marcomarco said...

@ big smitty and h

I'm on the Prov/pawtucket line (off silver spring st.).

I take the T from S. Attleboro everyday. Work in Govt. Ctr.

Anonymous said...

Count me in as an avid hockey fan - pro, college, and even a bit of high school.

On the other hand, I'm also a Minnesotan, so saying that I'm an avid hockey fan is probably redundant anyway.

Anonymous said...

good comeback troy. Glad you found time off from fucking your mother to make a comment.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Of course most people here are from the East coast or the Midwest. Those left-coasters are too busy drinking lattes, protesting sports as being "barbaric," and having gay pride parades to hop on the 'net.

Seriously tho... I just found out that I get the "Vs." channel. I am excited... anyone else watching tonight?

Big Smitty said...

@ Ma4tt
If I had Vs, I would, and I would be excited about it. Alas, no Vs because my cable company is Cox...I think that says it all really.

@ Bluebird
Man what is with the attitude bro, drink a beer, smoke a joint, take a perk, get laid...JUST DO SOMETHIN' you get waaaay too worked up.

Kurt said...

No way he meant Jew. "Nip, tuck, go, punch, JEW" doesnt make sense. Not that anything else he said make sense either. I think he said "Ju" and then said "we'll do it all" and never pronounced the "k". Dan's still angry he got canned, and has yet to get off ESPN's nuts. Dan, here's an idea, step up your game and maybe you wouldn't be sitting home unemployed.

Anonymous said...

Patriots64 said...

Well back to football I know I am a Pats fan but the 1996 Packers ranked 6th best SB team of all time seems a bit high. Thoughts?

I am with Kevin on this one (although I am from WI so there's that). That team was very good, and I actually think the 97 Packers were better, even though they lost to Denver in the Super Bowl. Overall, I don't have many qualms with that entire list.

rafael said...

Um...did Dan even bring this topic up? No. I mentioned it after seeing it on Deadspin.

Salisbury speaks too quickly for his own good. I do think he just tripped over the words he was trying to say. Still, it'd be a good thing for him to clarify things on his own..not for a canned response from the WWL.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Roddick was confident yesterday about playing Federer... because he'd won an exhibition match 10 days earlier... and what happens in the real thing? Ouch. He won six games total.

A-Rod: The symbol of American tennis. That's gotta hurt. Of course, we couldn't have Sampras/Agassi/Chamg/Courier forever, but you know... karma's a bitch.

H said...

@Daddy Rosee. Swingers. "I'm gonna make Gretzky's head bleed for superfan 99 over here" Great F'in movie

Anonymous said...

big smitty, who ever said I was worked up? PErhaps you just read into things.