Hockey Season is Over
The Rangers went down in defeat, blowing a 3-1 series lead and dropping Game 7 in Washington to the Capitals, 2-1. The Caps scored the winning goal with 4:59 left, completing what was undoubtedly to most hockey mavens a predictable loss for the listless Rangers.
The only thing that made this night sweet for Ranger fans was utter collapse of the Devils and “Mary” Brodeur in the last 1:20 of the third period, surrendering goals to Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal, and giving Carolina the series with a 4-3 come-from-behind win. The Hurricanes have saved the hockey world from any more Devil hockey for the rest of the Spring.
Thus ends hockey in the New York market before the Second Round. Advertisers for Versus and NBC-TV need to be nervous, not so much because the New York area teams lost but because of the way they lost. These losses and collapses by the Rangers and Devils, although different types of losses, leave fans disgusted. The last thing they will want to see anytime soon is another hockey game.
The Second Round match-ups in the East do not bode well for future playoff TV audiences. Washington and Pittsburgh have little out-of-market pull other than having the two of the premier players in the NHL, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin (maybe you could include Evgeny Malkin). The troublesome part for advertisers and the NHL is that either Crosby or Ovechkin will make a second round exit.
While Carolina (formerly the Hartford Whalers) have congratulations from this ex-Connecticut resident for dumping the Debbies, it’s over in the Second Round for the Hurricanes. To quote George C. Scott as General George Patton, the Bruins will rip through the Hurricanes “like crap through a goose.” It’s four games and out.
Hockey Season is Over
Brashear Gets His Wrist Slapped and Butt Kissed by Soupy April 27, 2009
Puck Daddy Gets it Wrong … Again
First, the news: Donald Brashear, noted hockey goon and executioner for the Washington Capitals, received a six-game suspension for his blind-sided shot to the head of New York Rangers Center Blair Betts. The suspension was issued by NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin “Soupy” Campbell.
This suspension is, in essence, another win-win situation for the Capitals. Brashear does little to contribute to the success of the Capitals. On the other hand, Betts brings speed to the Rangers fourth line and is arguably one of the better penalty killers in the league. Others much wiser than me have suggested that Brashear’s knock-out of Betts may have indirectly contributed to two power play goals by the Capitals in their 5-3 win in Game 6 on Sunday.
Since Betts will definitely miss Game 7, the trade-off is that the Caps lose Brashear and the Rangers lose Betts. Who do you think wins that trade-off? The hockey gods at Puck Daddy would have you believe that the punishment fit the crime and this suspension was “another” (???) stroke of genius by Soupy. Just like the death penalty, this “landmark” (???) suspension would serve as a deterrent. The gang at Puck Daddy really needs to stop planting their lips on Soupy’s ample arse and must bring an end to their chemical dependencies before it is too late.
In the meantime, I guess I should be flattered that Puck Daddy threw my humble little blog a link yesterday, even though the editor felt compelled to misinform readers of my intent. Quoted from the Monday Morning Headlines: A contrarian view on the John Tortorella suspension, which calls our analysis “lame” and then argues that the NHL is fixing the series to increase television ratings. Written from the co-pilot’s seat of a black helicopter hovering over Area 51.
It must be hard for them to write such pearls of wisdom in-between dropping and raising those baskets of fries into and from the tasty oil bath at McDonald’s.
Soupy Blows it Again April 26, 2009
Fans Need to Send a Message
NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued a one-game suspension to Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella for squirting a fan with water and then throwing the water bottle at the fan. And, despite the rantings of hockey buttheads like Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy fame, the situation was mishandled, as usual, by Soupy.
Wyshynski would have you believe that the punishment fit the crime, and that’s what you would expect from the usual lame analysis from Wyshynski . The true statement is that the punishment fit the financial objectives of the NHL.
From the outset, let’s make it clear, I am a long-time Rangers fan but I am not a fan of Tortorella. I openly condemn his actions. While a HUGE fine to Tortorella and the Rangers was in order, hockey fans need to understand two things. First is that a suspension serves the business interests of the NHL. Second is why Soupy must accept blame for mismanaging yet another incident.
Let’s examine Soupy’s “as usual” screw-up first. Even if you put aside Campbell’s well-documented inclination to stick it to the Rangers every chance he gets, there is an issue in law called proximate cause. Proximate cause refers to the specific action that ultimately results in an outcome. Lay people may understand the principal better from a related term called mitigating circumstances, which is actually justification for somebody responding in an incorrect manner.
There are no mitigating circumstances in what Tortorella did. His exchange with the Washington fans was totally unprofessional, unacceptable and contrary to everything he preaches. However, the proximate cause of the situation was the lack of response by Capitals’ security to complaints from Rangers’ bench personnel about spitting, cursing and threatening behavior from the fans near the bench.
What’s Going On in da ‘Hood?
Barack Obama: Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama continues to build on the momentum of his victory in the Iowa caucus with a substantial lead over Hillary Clinton in the polls leading up to the New Hampshire primary. Polls over the weekend show that Obama has built as much as a ten point lead over Clinton while John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich continue to trail the two front runners.
Obama apparently captured the hearts and imagination of the voters with his message about the need for a change. It’s still very early in the primary season but the real news is that the Democrats now have a genuine race for the nomination. Polls prior to the Iowa caucus indicated that Clinton’s campaign might have been an unstoppable juggernaut to the White House. Registered Democrats now have a reason to tune in, get involved and get to the polls.
Hillaryland in Flames: The last week has not been kind to the Clinton presidential bid and, despite the calm spin being pitched by Bill and Hillary, there is a new sense of urgency from campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and her staff. Urgent emails seeking more donations for the massive Clinton war chest, and another desperate email sought volunteers to participate in a phone blitz of New Hampshire voters. The smug attitude previously presented by Clinton’s campaign, much like the guerilla marketing tactics of an industry leader, has now made a dramatic shift to the “We Try Harder” image of a “Number Two” company like Avis Car Rental.
Clinton is now focusing on Obama’s weak points, including his record and lack of experience. It is foolhardy to think that the Clinton campaign is circling the bowl at this early stage of the game. Obama has momentum and the Oprah Winfrey factor working in his favor, but the Clinton campaign is backed by big money from shadowy figures like George Soros. The unseen forces that profited from Bill’s presidency have much to gain by another Clinton in the oval office. The battle for the nomination is far from over.
Rangers Continue to Roll December 31, 2007
Are All Montreal Fans Brain Damaged?
Last night (Sunday, Dec. 30) the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on a breakaway overtime goal by Brendan Shanahan. The real highlight of the game, however, was the hundreds of Montreal fans who paid two and three times the face value of a ticket and then proceeded to act like idiots in the stands. More on that later.
After taking a 2-1 first period lead on goals by Dan Girardi and Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers played a lackluster second period. It was most likely a letdown following a very emotional 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
The league-leading Montreal power play took advantage of the referee’s generosity to score two second period goals and lead 3-2 to start the third period. Montreal scored on three of their four power play opportunities but were a marginal offensive team at even strength. One of Montreal’s goals came after a hit on Dan Girardi that should have been called boarding but was not.
After early success against the highly-touted Canadien defense, the Rangers reverted back to their “excessive passing” game and stopped skating. While the Canadien defense looked like traffic cones on the ice, the Rangers seemed to have lost their offensive drive.
NHL Suspends Islander Chris Simon for 30 Games December 19, 2007
Colin “Soupy” Campbell Blows It Again
The NHL suspended Islander “bad boy” Chris Simon for 30 games for kicking Pittsburgh Penguin Jarkko Ruutu with a razor-sharp skate blade during an altercation last Saturday. The suspension is the longest in NHL history and comes following a suspension to Simon last Spring for swinging his stick at the face of New York Ranger Ryan Hollweg.
Remarkably, Islander head coach Ted Nolan called the penalty “excessive.”
Although the record clearly shows my favoritism to the Rangers, my perspective on Simion’s latest incident has nothing to do specifically with the attack on Hollweg. However, the two-handed swing at Hollweg was the cause of one of the seven suspensions that highlight the career of Simon.
As much as I dislike Jarkko Ruutu and would love to see him fed slowly through a meat grinder, my condemnation of Campbell has absolutely nothing to do with Ruutu as a victim. Had the victim of Simon’s attack been Ken Linsman, Dave Schultz or Dale Hunter, the NHL’s most despicable players over the years, I would still say the Soupy Campbell continues to show how he is a poor politician, inept manager and ridiculous hockey executive.
Shock Jocks, The Media, Rush Limbaugh and to HELL with NOW December 18, 2007
Pulling the Plug on Electronic and Print News
Having spent a few years on this planet (just enough, not too many), I had the joy of growing up as television evolved in the 1960’s. I had a chance to watch some of the gods of television news during my youth: Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite and others. I don’t remember Edward R. Murrow, but I learned of him studying journalism in college.
Through the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, the forces that made television news reliable and balanced began to mutate. One memorable event was when Roone Arledge, the genius behind ABC’s Wide World of Sports, became the news guru for the network. This marked a progression from news as a public service to news as entertainment (and a profitable source for advertising revenues).
Another memorable moment (in the midst of tremendous sadness) was when the American Embassy in Tehran was stormed in 1979 and ABC began running an 11:30 PM review of the day’s events called America Held Hostage: Day xx with Ted Koppel. Although we were later spared the indignity of this ridiculous title when the program was renamed Nightline, we have since been subjected to a never-ending stream of ludicrous monikers for heart-breaking news events and boring news stories (doesn’t AMERICA DECIDES sound so wonderfully thrilling?).
The final event worth noting was the birth and expansion of cable/satellite TV and the swelling of available channels into the hundreds. As a kid growing up outside New York City, we were blessed with ABC, NBC and CBS along with three independents (WOR, WPIX, and WNEW) plus WNET, the PBS station. How the heck did we survive with so few choices?
Network news programs at 6:00 PM were soon preceded by local news. Local news programs expanded to an hour. Ted Turner launched CNN. Before we knew it, we had talking heads shouting news and fluff at us 24/7 on dozens of channels, each competing for advertising revenues and audience shares by shoving every conceivable story under our noses. Thus, the mutation of true news stories into “no-news” news, sound bytes, spin and every imaginable human interest story possible.
Michael Vick Sentenced to 23 Months December 11, 2007
The End of Insanity … Serenity Now!
Former NFL superstar Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison yesterday following his guilty plea last summer for his participation in a dog fighting operation that included gambling and killing pit bulls. Vick could possibly be out in 20 months for good behavior while in prison.
Vick apologized to his family and to the court. The judge said that he also owed an apology to the millions of fans who saw Vick as a role model.
Many reports have described the gruesome nature of the activities performed by Vick and his partners. The brutal torture and execution of any animal is absolutely unconscionable. The concept of dog fighting is too indicative of a hedonistic, self-indulgent philosophy that seemingly permeates many layers of modern ethics and morality.
I personally dislike dogs because I’m allergic to them. I do not dislike people who own dogs and I can appreciate their attachment to their pets. Although I will never live in a house where there is a dog, I don’t understand how somebody could torture an innocent animal.
The really disgusting part is that Vick’s actions give the morons at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) another pedestal from which they can espouse their one-sided fluff. The real issue here is that we have another high-profile legal case that demonstrates the incredible lack of balance in our attitudes and perspective as a society.
Getting Screwed by the Pharmaceuticals December 7, 2007
It’s Time for Some Accountability
Like many other diabetics around the country, I had been prescribed a GlaxoSmithKline medication called Avandia back in July of 2001. Later, in June of 2006, I was switched to a product called Avandaryl, a combination of Avandia and Glipizide (a sulfonylurea used to help control blood sugar levels).
If you took the time to do a search on Avandia, you would find that GlaxoSmithKline is under siege from lawsuits by stockholders and customers. I contacted my wife’s attorney (and a fellow alumnus of Iona Prep), Luis Penichet of The Penichet Law Offices in White Plains (NY) for his usual expert advice. Luis is truly one of the great guys walking around on this planet.
Luis referred me to a very trusted colleague and personal injury attorney, Phil De Caro of De Caro & De Caro in nearby Harrison. Mr. De Caro is a caring, sensitive, intelligent and understanding attorney who listened to my personal Avandia saga. He carefully noted the facts and asked great questions. His advice was honest and forthright, and he had my best interest first at all times.
Lots of people are going to cash in on the GlaxoSmithKline bonanza from the BILLIONS they raked in on a drug with unpublished lethal and debilitating effects. Unfortunately, it is likely that I will never see a penny for the pain, suffering, lost wages, illnesses, physical damage and the mental anguish endured by my wife.
Everything that has happened to my health since October 27, 2005, could have been avoided if GlaxoSmithKline simply disclosed that Avandia was contra-indicated for individuals with a history of heart disease. It is only now, as of November 2007, that “black box” warnings appear on Avandia products and the Avandia web site.
Chris Neil – Hockey Coward
(October 7) Last night, the New York Rangers proved that the Ottawa Senators aren’t as good a hockey team as the media reports predicted. Despite a miserable performance, a lack of intensity, no offensive presence and a horrible defensive effort, the Rangers lost to Ottawa by a mere 2–0. Both Ottawa goals came in less than one minute of each other and were gifts resulting from bad defensive plays by the Rangers. Although Henrik Lundqvist let in one soft goal, he was brilliant against the highly-touted Ottawa team.
The story of the night, however, was the cheap shot by Chris Neil on Sean Avery, resulting in an apparent dislocated shoulder for Avery. Neil blind-sided Avery, who did not see Neil and was totally defenseless. The referees, playing “homey” for the Ottawa crowd, simply gave Neil a two-minute elbowing penalty and ignored the deliberate intent to injure Avery.
First of all, let’s not have any illusions about Sean Avery. He is a pest and is like a burr under a horse’s saddle or a pebble in your shoe. He knows how to stir the pot and mix things up. He is hardly a hockey angel. Yet his injury is the perfect example of why the NHL and its referees remain horribly inconsistent.
In Memorium: 9/11 September 10, 2007
Dear Osama: You Lose!
It is September 11, 2007. It has been six years. On this day in 2001, nineteen cowards hiding under the skirts one of history’s greatest mass murderers committed a despicable act that can only be considered satanic. At the same time, that man in the dress, Osama bin Laden, made a mistake beyond his narcissistic, imbecilic dreams.
Today, bin Laden lives in caves like a coward, running from a world who wants to end his miserable existence. He relies on videos to send a message that very few care to hear. He is a false prophet who may succeed in hiding in caves from his executioners and assassins, but he will one day face the true God who will judge him accordingly.
What bin Laden failed to understand is that he is just a coward who killed innocent people. We have suffered incredible grief and many (inkling myself) still shed tears for those who died on that tragic day. But Americans also found a new generation of heroes that fateful day. And we marvel at the heroes who refused to run in fear from a coward’s attack.
Rangers Say “NO!” to Peca August 22, 2007
Sather Ignores Ultimatum by Peca’s Agent
Free agent Michael Peca has signed a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets for one year pending a medical examination. Statements by Peca and Don Meehan over the last two weeks indicated that Peca was close to signing with the New York Rangers. However, when Rangers’ president and general manager Glen Sather did not respond to an ultimatum issued by Meehan on Tuesday, Peca signed with Columbus.
Michael Peca’s interest in playing for the Rangers became a circus because Meehan and Peca negotiated in the media. John Dellapina and The Daily News acted as a pipeline for Peca and Meehan to the Garden Faithful. They tried to make a deal happen that apparently had no value to the Rangers’ management.
It is likely that there was a major deal-breaker somewhere in this whole process. Meehan’s ultimatum certainly didn’t make things pleasant, and ultimatums usually are the act of a bully or the result of desperation. While it is “admirable” that Peca wanted inside the Rangers’ Pearly Gates, trying to blast open the door likely was not the best approach.
Meehan Issues an Ultimatum to the Rangers
According to TSN, which quotes John Dellapina of the The Daily News, Michael Peca’s agent has issued an ultimatum to Glen Sather, New York Rangers President and General Manager. “We’re probably going to force the issue by (today),” Don Meehan told the New York Post. “If I can’t reach him (today), we’ll just go our separate way.”
Michael Peca, 32, an NHL journeyman who has played with five different teams and is coming of an injury-shortened season, is at the center of an amazing media blitz by Meehan to stir up interest. Peca has also made himself highly visible in the press as he fights to find a team willing to take a chance on him next season. He remains one of several high-profile free agents who have been unable to find a taker.
So far, nobody is jumping through hoops to sign Peca. At 32 and following a broken leg last season, there is too much speculation that Peca is a high-risk signing at the salary he might command. There is little doubt that Meehan, agent to many NHL players, is probably trying to inflate Peca’s value by creating an artificial bidding war.
The Sunday Sports Section August 19, 2007
NBA Scandal, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Michael Vick, Rick Tocchet, NHL Jerseys, Michael Peca
Under normal conditions, my interest in sports ranges from my deep fanaticism for the New York Rangers (and contempt for the other New York area hockey teams) to a long-lived loyalty for the Yankees and then to a fleeting interest in the New York Jets. However, the ridiculous sports news over the last few days makes me wonder how people can listen to sports talk radio for more than 20 minutes without developing a brain aneurism.
The sports pages in recent days reads more like a cross between a police blotter, a scandal sheet and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Without covering every arrest (Jose Offerman and his baseball bat attack), the NFL (National Felony League) and every non-news feature article, let’s look more closely at seven ongoing sports stories.
The NBA Betting Scandal
According to ESPN, former NBA official Tim Donaghy will reportedly give federal prosecutors information implicating twenty (20!) other referees in gambling activities as a part of his cooperation with government officials. Donaghy, who pleaded guilty on Thursday, Aug. 16, and was released on $250,000 bond, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 9 for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.
Law and Order taught all of us about the value of uncorroborated accomplice testimony in a conspiracy, but this scandal serves as one more reason to turn off the NBA. The millions of dollars are thrown around the NBA as a result of exorbitant ticket prices, marketing agreements and television contracts,even though the NBA also has the smallest roster of any of the five major team sports in America. The resulting greed in the NBA is not only understandable, it is expected. The refs might as well grab their piece of the pie.