Thursday, April 17, 2008

Around The League ... Sportsnet Sinking Fast ... Hasek Freaking Out ... Iginla Gets In Coach's Face

This photo is just begging for a witty caption isn't it?
In what should be no surprise to anyone who watches cable TV in Canada, Sportsnet is now vastly behind TSN in viewership and losing ground to the Score Network at a rapid pace.

"Sportsnet finished well below the competition in the categories surveyed, and surprisingly ranked behind the Score in every category but one. ...

Sportsnet's low approval rating may reflect its narrow range of programming, mainly regional hockey and the Jays. The decision two years ago to go casual with its newscasters - jeans and open-necked shirts - received mix reviews."

I've railed against Sportsnet too many times so I won't bother to re-cap. But a network that calls home-runs "slobber-knockers", allows its "reporters" to eat pizza while on camera and heavily promotes a "sport" like Ultimate Fighting (ie. a live snuff film) just can't be that good. And it's not.

Brad Watters is one of their "hockey experts". Enough said.


Gary Galley is evolving into a great colour man and is a rising star at CBC and during local Ottawa broadcasts. But he had a rough moment last night.

When Antoine Vermette seemingly scored a goal to tie the Ottawa-Pittsburgh game, the play went into review because it looked like Vermette kicked the puck into the net. Galley was stunned that co-host Jim Hughson would even suggest that the goal was illegal and went into some kind of bizarre justification, trying to explain that Vermette was just trying to kick the puck up to his stick. This went on for minutes with a stunned but respectful Hughson trying to insert some sanity to the conversation. The rule is about a kicking motion, not the players intent. The replay clearly showed the puck was kicked and the goal was called off.

Galley is usually really good but last night he let his homerism get the better of him. If Bob Cole or Harry Neale were trying to justify a Leaf goal in the same manner, Ottawa fans would be outraged.

Galley gets a mulligan on that one.


Dominik Hasek got pulled in last night's loss to the Predators which tied the series. What was a whisper of worry has now turned into an arterial spraying wound for followers of the Red Wings. Many are now calling for Chris Osgood to start game 5 after he shut the door in his short appearance. Meanwhile, Dom is getting down on himself:

"Very disappointed," he said. "Last 60 minutes is the worst hockey I've played in my life. I have nothing to say about it. It's terrible. I feel very bad about myself."

- Detroit Free Press

Whatever happens, things will get bloody in Motor City if they can't get by the pesky Preds. The organisation is tired of failing in the playoffs after stellar regular seasons and the fanbase is starting to erode as the economy stagnates. This might be an opportunity for Ottawa to approach the Wings about Mike Babcock for that vacant coaching position.


Just a couple of days ago, all the pressure was on the Sharks for living up to their reputation as playoff wimps. With a gutsy win and a great performance from Joe Thornton, the spotlight is now on the Flames and their captain Jarome Iginla. There is a feeding frenzy over the now very public spat between Iginla and assistant coach Rich Preston:

"...Iginla ... was was heard screaming at assistant coach Rich Preston behind closed doors of the players’ lounge across from the Flames dressing room.

So clearly heated was their exchange, associate coach Jim Playfair heard the ugly confrontation and bolted into the room to ensure things didn’t escalate.

The media was quickly escorted back out of the area as PR boss Peter Hanlon joked, “everyone’s a little nervous about flying!” but not before the emotional captain was spotted face-to-face with the coach as others gathered. "

- Calgary Sun

It may seem like a controversy but here's betting that Iginla carries a little of that rage over into tonight's game. Prediction: Flames win. First Star: Iginla.


Good news for the Ducks and good news for my hockey pool: Corey Perry is "likely" back for game 4 against the Stars. If the Ducks go down, so do my chances of winning some beer money for the cottage in June. Go Ducks.

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