Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hockey and Groundhog's Day in Ashburn

The U.S./Canada gold medal hockey game says, "your welcome", Dick Ebersol.

In between watching Lindsey Vonn crash three or four times, Johnny Weir dance around in a tutu, and listening to Bob Costas speak to us as if we were morons without Internet access- as he plugged the "exciting" upcoming event that NBC was getting ready to show us on tape delay, NBC finally got a little bang back for their buck, courtesy of Sunday's gold medal final. (which by the way- not to get off on a tangent here, but we'd rather watch grass grow than watch sporting events that have been completed already, just saying....)

After opting to put previous tournament games on the Rachel Maddow and Keith Overbitemann network-U.S./Canada game one and Russia/Canada- both on MSNBC, both not broadcast in HD, both featuring the NHL's biggest stars- NBC got bailed out big time by Canada's thrilling overtime win on Sunday. NBC's estimated 27.6 million viewers was the largest American audience for a hockey game since the 1980 gold medal game between the U.S. and Finland.

Sunday's game helped showcase what is one of the most fast paced,exciting games to watch, but one which has been missed by many American sports fans. The problem with the lack of hockey popularity in this country doesn't strictly fall on the fact that the sport wasn't invented here, but the fact that the networks make little or no effort to promote it, and the NHL's commissioner leaves little to be desired.

NBC's lack of effort during the Olympics was as obvious as a punch to the face, but ESPN's, just one day later, was just as pathetic.

Now we realize ESPN's penchant for not promoting anything that they don't have their grimy little, hypocritical fingers on, but Monday's Sportscenter is case in point as to why ESPN sucks the big fatty.

Not even 12 hours removed from the game itself, Monday's 6 pm Sportscenter led with the Shaquille O'Neal finger injury, and then transitioned into news from the NFL combines. The first mention and highlights of the game didn't even come until 15 minutes into the broadcast. All while the "Tiger" scroll ran across the bottom of the screen, informing viewers of Tiger's first shit in his Orlando home since late November.

Unacceptable, sports fans. And Gary Bettman and the NHL just cannot compete with that. End of story.

Hockey is a very exciting, fast paced, rock'em-sock'em game- ala NFL football. In fact, there is not a better sport to watch on TV (in our humble opinion) other than football, than there is with NHL hockey in HD. But it will never become primary in our everyday sports vocabulary, as long as the people who broadcast and/or promote it, treat it like the red headed step child.

Gary Bettman certainly can shoulder some of the blame. http://www.garybettmansucks.com/ He lost and than was unable to secure a solid TV deal for his league and he's come under fire for a lack of game plan when it comes to promoting hockey in the U.S. Prior to Sunday's ratings bonanza, he even toyed with the idea of pulling the NHL players from the games in 2014, an idea we hope he'll reconsider.

Time will shed light on any residual effects of Sunday's gold medal game. Hopefully the 'edge of your seat' action, that that game provided, will be a springboard for the NHL and hockey in the U.S., to bring more viewers to what is a most exciting and entertaining sport to watch.

Big free agents signings, unable to secure deals with out of state colleges for this year's mini camp, and Sam Bradford, Sam Bradford, Sam Bradford. New coach, new GM, same owner.

With the history of Dan Snyder's free agent signings, and these ass clowns who not only come here and fleece the owner's wallet, but then become locker room and/or on field distractions during the season, why are Redskin kool aid drinkers so excited about all these possible free agent signings?

That "formula" for winning does not work, period. And we don't care if it is an uncapped year. Going window shopping for a bunch of ego driven free agents, is not the way you build a winner.

Sports radio morning drive guy needs to "zip it" already, with his child like, giddy excitement- as he dreams about the possibilities of Julies Peppers, Darren Sproles, and even T.O- as if they were some Latin American kid prodigy on American Idol, that gives him chills when he sings. They're nothing more than pawns in Danny's game of power grabbing, who will eventually make fans like us absolutely miserable, as they piss and moan about game plans and how they're "being used", all while sitting out every other play(or longer), yet making sure the Tuesday check is 'in the mail'.

The second sign to us that things may not be changing much at Redskin Park, was a story that was buried on about page 6 of the sports page early this week. Apparently the Redskins negotiations with Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, as the once again site for Redskin summer camp, have come to a complete standstill.

Coach Shanahan's first request as the new head coach was to move the team away from Ashburn for summer camp. Snyder's desire to ride into practice each day via limo from his home in Potomac, and the money he's making off the vendors at Redskin Park, couldn't possibly be clouding his ability to negotiate an off site mini camp, could it?

Finally, all this Sam Bradford talk. Could Shanahan possibly be looking to draft Sam Bradford, when he has an offensive line as porous as the one he has here Washington?

This is a coach who turned a former marine, average running back, into a 1,500 yard rusher. This is a guy who had a running game virtually every year he was in Denver, because of the his focus on building a solid line. We find it hard to believe, considering the circumstance of a line that's looked like a MASH unit for the good part of the last 2 years, that a Sam Bradford or a Jimmy Clausen, is at the top of Coach Shanahan's priority list.

Soon enough, Redskin fan, all the questions as to who is (still) in control will be answered. In fact, by April 22nd of this year, when the NFL draft commences and we get some insight into what the Redskins plan is, plenty of light will have been shed on the new regime.

And if by this point in time, the Redskins have had a field day on free agency spending, failed to secure a summer camp site away from Ashburn, and drafted either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen with the 4th pick in the draft, then I'm here to tell you who is (still) in charge at Redskin Park. And his first name is neither Mike nor Bruce.

Get in line, lemmings.

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