Tag Archives: hockey

Playoffs

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin

No, not those playoffs, these playoffs. Despite the fact that temperatures are warming in all the states (and provinces) where NHL teams are based, they’re still playing hockey. I was lucky enough to be in Ottawa last year when they made a run at the Cup. I am also lucky enough to not be there this year. The Sens got spanked by the one and only Pittsburgh Penguins, and yet have lived to tell the tale.

Keep in mind that the NHL playoffs will be going on until June. That’s right, June. I feel in addition to getting Hillary Duff on board for promotions, the NHL needs to look at not trying to compete with the NBA at any point during the playoffs. That’s just bad news. Who would watch Sidney Crosby over Tim Duncan? A Canadian, that’s who. And the Nielsen ratings don’t include Canada.

Anyway, I wanted to direct your attention toward les Habs and the Pens for your playoff entertainment. You know, when you actually see a hockey game on tv. I think they will be they both have good chances, although technically they won’t be in the finals against each other. You know, that whole East-West thing. Whatever.

With this stunning report behind me, I’ll leave you with Sean Avery antics. Cause those are always fun.

Canadian Sports, or, How to Adopt at a Leafs Game

 

There are a lot of important things happening in the world today: OJ’s bond was doubled, Britney might be pregnant again, the after effects of Mitt Romney winning the Michigan primary, and Pacman has a problem (again).  Unfortunately, I haven’t been around to report these things to you, because clearly this is the first place to hear about important news of the world.  This is in part because for the first week of the year, I was in Canada, and now I am back in North Carolina.  And to answer your question, yes, it takes you an extra week to get used to normal society, once you’ve been in the frigid white north above us.

Part of my trip up north involved a Maple Leafs game with The Canadian (and yes, I realize that by now, at least in the NHL, that game is history).  The Leafs actually won, beating the Tampa Bay Lighting (threatening, I know) in a shootout.  Only my second NHL game and I already get to see a shootout! Yes!

But the shootout is not the real story.  The real story is the aura of Canadian-ness at this game.  The Canadian and I were lucky enough to get tickets, as a gift, for seats in the lower arena near the ice.  Unfortunately, this eliminates a lot of the Canadian-ness that can be found at NHL games.  Except for one case, this game lacked the color I found at the Hurricanes game I went to last year.  This case, is an exceptional one though.

The Canadian and I were seated next to the aisle on one side, and next to a man and his 5-6 year-old son on the other side.  The man wasn’t your corporate type, but seemed nice enough, even if were weren’t chatting him and his son up.  At some point during the first period, the kid managed to fall between two seats in the row in front of us, if that gives you any idea of how young he was.  In the second period, though, the father gets up, looks at The Canadian and myself and says, “Do you mind to watch him for me?” gesturing at his son, and getting out of the row before we can say no.  I’m absolutely serious.

The Canadian and myself are far from looking threatening or dangerous, but still, are you going to leave your kids with some twenty-something randoms you sat next to at an NHL game? I think not.  Needless to say, we watched the kid do what kids do at events longer than twenty minutes, which is to say, look around, pick at the seating and entertain himself.  As we kept an eye on him, because we are seemingly decent people, the time the father had been gone kept growing.  At one point I looked at The Canadian and said, “What are we going to do with him if the guy doesn’t come back?!”

Fortunately, the guy came back before the end of the period, albeit looking a little jumpy, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, this isn’t a typically Canadian thing to do, as far as I can tell, because our story was met with shock the next couple of days as we went to various events for a wedding we attended.  Still, I doubt that the same would happen at a ‘Canes game.

The worst part was that outside of the shootout, this was the most exciting thing that happened at the game (there was a lack of fights).  It illustrates just how riveting the NHL is.  Or rather, maybe the powers that be should start staging events like these at games in order to get people to stay?

Quote of the day: “Canada, it’s America’s hat.  It keeps us warm but it damn sure ain’t warm up there.”

School’s Back

Yes, for both myself and those bowl game fellows you’ve been watching for the past few weeks, school is back. In order to not get too excited about this whole writing bit, I’ll keep this post at a YouTube clip. This is of a Russian league hockey game from Tuesday. The Russians apparently don’t fight in their home country while on the ice, so this is kind of a big deal.  Also, very funny.

The solution to hockey’s image problem…

Hilary Duff

..because clearly, it would be me who could solve hockey’s image problem. I was talking with some of my friends last evening (over those fabulous pre-Thanksgiving foods, mind you) about hockey. One of these friends is from Atlanta, and when the subject of hockey came up, she made the requisite statement that the Atlanta Thrashers are awful. No arguments there. I saw them beat the Canes on Friday night. They were still awful. Then she went on to say that she doesn’t know much about hockey outside of that, because she’s from Atlanta, where they mostly follow baseball and football. Also, no arguments there. But I see a vision for the NHL. A vision that the Tiny Perfect Commissioner does not have. A vision that involves one of the Olsen twins.

In short, hockey has to become more involved with pop culture. When businesses reach out to new markets, they have to take up a different strategy. Look at the other leagues. NASCAR is reaching out to women and men who don’t normally watch through cute drivers and a marketing campaign that is less redneck, more middle class. The NFL has an even more forward thinking marketing strategy in its pink clothing line and commercials featuring both women, and a “mixed-gender” Sunday shindig (courtesy of Wal-Mart). As a result, they reached out to a larger share of the market, even if they have taken some image hits.

So, Tiny Perfect Commish, I propose that the NHL reach out a little more. I’m lucky enough now to live in a relatively large NHL market, at least compared with other Southern teams. And yes, as per my friend’s comment above, people here usually follow college basketball as a rule. But this can be changed. And by changed I mean exploit Sidney Crosby, Mike Comrie and Hilary Duff. Apparently, as of last week anyway, the Islanders Center, Comrie and Duff are dating. For the record, he’s also a Canadian, so I’d like Andy Hilbert to get on that. Can’t have Canadians dating hot Americans.

Anyway, the point is that this kind of stuff has already shown up at the likes of Perez Hilton, and with scandals such as Jiri Tlusty’s (which, I am not really counting as a scandal, but more on that later), it’s not long before people start to wake up and notice, and perhaps think, “Hey, I can score some cheap hockey tickets tonight, maybe we should hit that up.” Some celebrities (besides Duff) are already going to games. These celebrities might be John Krasinski, but take a page out of the Lakers’ book. Offer Jack Nicholson some tickets, Kings.

Because if you tap into that pop culture market and start selling pink girlie jerseys (which I for the record, would never wear, but hey to each her own), it’s only a matter of time before you actually get people to come to games. And isn’t that the whole point of a league? Oh, and one other suggestion, try to work things out with ESPN, eh? Talk it out.