*I have to say, and I realize this may be flirting with disaster, but I am still pretty positive about the Wild in this series. I don't think the two comebacks have looked like desperation so much as a good team staying confident and focused. Lets put it this way: I'd be more concerned about giving up the lead like Colorado has than the Wild getting behind and having to come back. Schultz is practicing and that alone is a terrific thing. If Lemaire can turn game three into a master class on coaching on the road...
*I'm surprised at the apparent ease with which Dallas swept Anaheim - in Anaheim - in games 1 and 2.
*The Flames have made a habit of those inspiring wins all season (starting with handing the Wild their first regulation loss way back in October). That team is maddeningly inconsistent, but they sure have the ability to catch lightning in a bottle.
*Wings/Preds...I don't want to say "I told you so..."
*The story out of Ottawa this season is just awful. Obviously the league has to be happy with the maturation of its anointed king (Crosby), but the slow death implosion of a hockey team (the Sens) is almost hard to watch.
*Okay, we knew the Habs weren't going to go 12-0 against the Bs this year, right? Right?
*Good on Philly for getting back to Flyers hockey in squaring that series.
*I'm sorry, but I find the Rangers/Devils to be the least-compelling series in the playoffs right now. Well, maybe a close tie with Wings/Preds.
Finally, I have a bonafide rant, and I apologize for turning the blog into a Bully Pulpit.
I blew an aneurysm the other night, when Versus - as (one of the) national television partners of the NHL - picked up game 2 of the Wild/Avs series as a back end of a double header Friday night.
This produced two side effects:
1) as the scheduled start time was only 2 hours after the scheduled start time of the preceding Caps/Flyers game the Wild/Avs game was to be joined in progress (hereafter: JIP).
B) it blacked out the game on Center Ice.
My initial beef was that this arrangement alienated some of the painfully small number of people who WOULD watch the game, right off the bat.
It’s asinine to think that ANY hockey game, much less a playoff game (which could go on all night) will be concluded in 2 hours. So it is obvious that they ASSUMED we wouldn’t see the beginning of the Wild/Avs game. Thus, the league at least tacitly agreed to it - at the expense of some of the most loyal fans the league has.
But, and here’s my problem with Versus specifically, when the game finally did end (well after the opening faceoff of the Wild game) they first let the PBP guy do a lengthy “well this was a great first game in this series, pretty much what we expected…” exit statement thing and THEN they proceeded to show not-one-but SEVEN commercials.
So Versus is either too dependent on the (meager, considering how low viewership is) ad dollars from the three saps they boondoggle into buying advertising from them to tell them “sorry, if it’s a JIP situation our product comes first and we’ll either squeeze your ad in or refund you the difference”, OR Vs. has zero clout and can’t drive these advertising contracts at all.
Making matters (much) worse, the final TWO ads were for…VERSUS! Well that was just a slap in the face. They’d rather TELL me they have the playoffs than SHOW me the actual thing?! That’s a joke.
And that’s where I started to really get steamed at Versus specifically.
Because after the parade of ads, THEY CUT TO THE STUDIO FOR A RECAP OF THE CAPS/FLYERS GAME!
It’s not bad enough I have to sit there and watch the end of another game - when the product I HAVE PAID FOR is blacked out by it - and it’s not bad enough they make me listen to the jaggoff tell me how great that game was when it’s finally over, and it’s not bad enough they then show me seven commercials (two of which were for themself), but now I have to listen to your blow dried mouthpieces re-hash that preceding game?!
I’m sorry, but that takes it out of the realm of “sad little Versus has no control over their own fate” to “you know what, Versus, you can kiss my butt. You clearly have no idea how to handle this as a product if you think that NHL playoff hockey needs anything more than to just be shown on the screen to be a viable “product”.
So I really haven’t been in the “get back on ESPN or the league will die” bandwagon (mostly because I think ESPN is a joke)…but now I’m pretty much off the Vs. bandwagon too.