Archive for September, 2007

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Oh, Poz

September 24, 2007

And the hits just keep on coming. Not only did JP Losman get hurt during yesterday’s Bills/Pats game, the Poz (Paul Posluszny) broke his arm later in the game. That’s the 5th starter the Bills have lost on defense this year, and about the 82nd player they’ve lost to an injury this season. I’m not too concerned about JP’s injury, since he seemed to be going for the Oscar on the sidelines. He was walking around, and grimacing, clutching the leg while taking snaps, etc. And if the coaching staff can calm down Edwards’ rookie jitters, he might be a pretty good JP stand-in.

The Poz’s injury sucks. Rookie year, doing a pretty good job, and his arm snaps. The following Poz quote came from this morning’s Buffalo News, and pretty much cemented my love for the guy:

“I can’t believe this happened,” said the second-round draft pick. “We’re playing the Patriots, a great team. You want to be out there. I don’t care about the arm. The worst part about it is they brought me here to do a job, to play middle linebacker for the defense, and now I’m not [going to]. . . . That’s what hurts the most. Those guys are going to be out there, they’re fighting hard, doing everything they can to win and to not be able to help the cause is the hardest part.”

For a rookie to have that kind of work ethic, to be worried not about himself and his health, but instead to be worried about the team and his job, is pretty amazing in this day of overpaid, spoiled athletes. His reaction reminds me a lot of Gaustad’s after his injury last year, in that Goose was pretty upset not about his season potentially being over, but that he wouldn’t be able to be on the ice helping his teammates and that he felt like he let the fans down by getting hurt.

Sigh. You didn’t let me down. Just have a good surgery, recover well, and drink some damn milk so more bones don’t snap.

ETA: Poz was placed on injured reserve today. Damn. Oh well, at least he’ll still be doing those insanely adorable TWC commercials.

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If I Was In Charge

September 23, 2007

There’s been a lot of fan outrage over the new Reebok jerseys the NHL has introduced. Sure, they may be stronger, higher, swifter, drier than the current style of jerseys, but they’re messing with tradition. Hockey sweaters are meant to be like that old, comfortable sweatshirt that you put on when you’re PMS’ing: loose and worn-in; not tight and form-fitting.  Many fans wish the league would have just left well enough alone. So that got me thinking, what would I do if I were NHL Grand-High Poobah Overlord  Commissioner for a day?

Well, first off, I would chuck the new sweaters and uniform re-designs that followed. There was no need to add piping and completely eliminate horizontal stripes, redo perfectly serviceable logos, add random colors, add color blocks to only one side of the uniform, tailor the edges of the uniform, and the rest goes on. There was nothing wrong with the old uniforms, so why fix what’s not broken?

Second, I would adjust the NHL schedule so that every team plays each other at least once a year. The East Coast teams should have to make a two week road trip out to play the West. Why should the West Coast teams be the only ones that have to travel all over the place? I’d rather let a rivalry develop naturally from good hockey than a forced rivalry from seeing each other so much.

Third, I would find a way to reduce the size of goalie equipment. There’s no reason that Crunchy should be so scrawny off the ice, and then magically transform into the stay-puff marshmallow man once his gear is on. There has to be a way to do it to allow the goalies to stay safe against harder shots, but also make the equipment smaller.

Fourth, I would make sure that NHL teams made sure to promote the heck out of their players. All of them, not just the chosen ones for each team. Have merchandise ready for people like Lydman, Roy, Gaustad, not just the Pommers and Millers of the world. Also, humanize the players! They’re not just stats. Sure its great that we can statbitty hockey to death, and that its all accessible on the internet, but the players are real flesh and blood people, not just statbitty generators. Use that. Tell us about them. Make their bios entertaining (Sykora and his chinchilla, Parise and his turtle, etc) , and fans will appreciate it. In addition, we know that 99% of hockey players are entertaining in front of a mic. Work with it. Mic up players during the game and use the footage to narrate some of the broadcast.

Which leads me into my next point. Get NHL the heck off of Versus. The NHL is already seen as a niche league. Being on a niche network doesn’t help that perception. Bring the league back to ESPN, where more than 0.4 ratings points will see the game.

And finally, I would formally apologize to the good people of Buffalo for the blown call on Brett Hull in 1999. Yes, Colin Campbell kinda-sorta-but-not-really did already apologize, but that doesn’t mean much unless it comes from the guy in charge.

So that is my pipe dream.

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Sigh.

September 20, 2007

According to the Buffalo News, WGR fired Brad Riter this week, for allegedly not showing up to work.

The little bit that I listened to WGR, I liked Riter. He was one of the few jocks that wouldn’t act like an insufferable ass to callers just because the callers disagreed with his point of view. And, he hosted the Paul Gaustad Show, which always made for a few good clips from the WGR audio vault.

Without hearing both sides of the story, you never know who is in the right (and Buffalo media is notorious for only reporting one side of the story). I do find it suspicious that a WGR jock got fired the same week that John Murphy was done at Channel 7. Of course, it could be difficult for Murph to work on WGR, considering his role as “Voice of the Bills” on a competing radio group.

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He Wasn’t Right

September 19, 2007

Lindy finally explained the reason for Afinogenov’s benching during the playoffs last season. Seems Max flipped over on his head during a pre-game soccer drill and “wasn’t right” after that. It’s never a good sign when your coach says that you’re touched in the head.

But, while the players may have stopped that day’s pre-game soccer drill after Max flipped, they were right at it the next day.  Not that hockey players are creatures of routine or anything. I’ve seen videos of these soccer games going on, and they appear to be quite harmless, which makes the fact that Max flipped on his noggin all the more remarkable.

http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/story/166042.html

Also included in the Snooze this morning was a recap of Lindy’s lines. Looks like he’s sticking with the R-A-V line, which performed well. He’s also tinkering with a Timmy-Pommers-Kotalik line (Don’t know how I feel about that one, yet). I’m kind of excited about the rumored Goose-Staffy-Hecht line. That could be something to see, and could also have the potential to be the hit first, ask questions later line.

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Keeping a lid on it

September 18, 2007

JP Losman shot his mouth off in the media this week. He blamed the Bills loss to Pittsburgh last weekend on the playcalling. Not his shitty passing, missed opportunities, bad blocking, immobility or anything else under his control. It probably was not one of his better moves, considering its now Tuesday, and the media is still beating this specific horse (I know you’re thinking, Buffalo media, beat a dead horse, never!).

It was so bad, the boys at WGR asked Ryan Miller about it during his pre-Ice Bowl radio tour. Miller took the high road, dancing around the specific situation, but saying that Losman was treading a thin line between airing the team’s dirty laundry and handling something like an adult. He commented that you have to know when to choose your venue and what to speak and how to speak it. (Duh.) Spoken like someone who gets what it means to wear the “C” on your chest. Yeah, I know goalies can’t wear a C, but that’s another discussion for another time.

Either way, methinks that Losman has had a come to jeebus meeting, whether it was with Jauron and/or Levy.

Speaking of Miller, I happened to catch a good chunk of his Entercom media tour this morning. My favorite moment happened during the interview on Star, who was accepting listener questions. A caller by the name of B. Campbell wanted to know why Miller was not giving his teammates 50% off at his clothing store, The Refinery (also known as Crunchy’s Big 10 Fashion Emporium). Miller replied that he has to operate a business and you can’t be giving discounts all willy-nilly. He’s just trying to be the best professional business owner that he can be, I guess. I also want to point out that whomever this B. Campbell is, he apparently hasn’t learned the Miller motto about life not just being about driving around and buying stuff.

Anyway, I wasn’t a fan of Losman’s comments. Blaming the coaching is not cool. Keep it behind closed doors…at least this early in the season. Or else you might find your tushie on the bench while a rookie named Trent Edwards gets to play.

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Ice Bowl…its official

September 18, 2007

And yesterday the NHL finally confirmed the worst kept secret in Western NY. January 1. Ralph Wilson Stadium. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins versus Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres. Outdoors. The Ice Bowl. Or, as Rob Lucas from Star 102.5 called it the “Amp Energy Winter Classic Really Big Outdoor Game.” Or words to that effect.

Its great that the first NHL outdoor game in the United States is going to be played in Buffalo. This town lives and dies by its sports teams. Talk radio has already taken the attitude of “Bills suck, so how ’bout them Sabres?” and the season hasn’t started yet. It also says a lot about what the NHL thinks of Buffalo to have this game here. We were the highest rated market for the Cup Finals, and we didn’t even have a team playing.

I can picture it now. A beautifully cold day, a light snow falling, tailgating in the parking lot of the Ralph (c’mon, people show up on Thursday for a Bills game, when are they going to show up for this, especially with New Year’s Eve the night before), watching a great game with 74,000+ of your closest friends. Of course, knowing Buffalo, it will either be 60 degrees and sunny or -12 with a lake effect band settling over the Ralph.

The players seem to be having fun with this whole thing.  Campbell and Miller are upset that they will be missing the tailgating. Miller made the comment that when he played in the Michigan/Michigan State outdoor game, all everyone talked about on campus the week prior was the tailgating festivities. ( I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the players stopped by at some of the early tailgaters and mooched breakfast. Would not be surprised at all).  Andrew Peters said the last time he played outdoors was this summer, when he hauled his PS2 outside to play hockey with his brother.  I did have to laugh at the fact that the players at the press conference were in jeans and Sabres polos, while Lindy was told to put on the suit and tie. WGR was giving him some grief about that.

I love the fact that this game is being promoted with snow globes and the tagline of shaking things up. If the NHL were smart, they would sell a copy of the snow globe featured in the ads. I would buy one. But then again, I like shiny, useless objects.

Only one complaint…looking at the photos from the press conference of the event announcement, it looks like the NHL is taking is obsession with piping on apparel to a new level. Even the damn polo shirts have piping on them. What the heck!! I’m not anti-piping by any means, but use it responsibly!

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Watching the Emmys

September 17, 2007

Emmy night. Couple of thoughts after watching the 2 hours of pre-show coverage and the actual show itself.

  • Lisa Rinna’s lips scare me. Its like they just take over her face.
  • Ryan Seacrest is pretty. He should just concentrate on being pretty and hosting Idol. He comes across as trying to hard to fit in, and it was totally skeezy how he kept mentioning that Hayden Panetierre just turned 18.
  • Loved the Family Guy opening with Brian and Stewie. Of course, everything they sang about was true.
  • Katherine Heigl of Grey’s was flirting with the bitch line. People know who you are. No need to correct the announcer-person that they mispronounced your name while you’re up presenting another award. Also, no need to bring it up when you win!
  • The Fox censors were hyper-sensitive last night. Cutting away from Ray Romano and his comment about his wife and Kelsey Grammar. Cutting away from Katharine Heigl when she said “shit” after she won, bleeping Sally Field and g-dammed. Sheesh, watch a hockey game. More profanity flies there than on some awards show broadcast, and more children are probably watching that. (Then again, I did think it was rather suspicious that my Media Buying Academy e-newsletter was all about Fox and profanity/obscenity and how we all should boycott the Fox network).
  • I don’t think Sally Field was wrong to make a statement about wars. She wasn’t calling out specific wars in general, she wasn’t calling our leadership out, she was just saying war sucks, which I think we all can agree on.
  • Did not like Kate Walsh’s hair. The side-swoopy ponytail thingy is not a good look…for anyone.
  • What was up with the sternum bearing dresses on some of these women? I know the saying is “if you got it, flaunt it,” but at the same time, if you don’t got it, don’t flaunt it. Sternums are not cool!
  • It was kind of funny how the entire audience gasped when 30 Rock won their award. Talk about unexpected awards.