Archive for the ‘Links’ Category


The Onion Sportsdome Uncovers a Nefarious Plot

January 26, 2011

I don’t think I’m too late to the party on this one, but go watch this video from the Onion Sports Dome.

(In case you don’t have a great connection, the Onion Sports Dome uncovered a nefarious plot in which Gary Bettman paid Tallinder, Miller & Brendan Morrow $800 each to fake kidnap him for publicity reasons.)

Who cares whether the plot makes sense. It’s hockey! Getting national attention on a satirical sports show!  And for once, there’s no Crosby or Ovechkin presence! Please join me in a Snoopy dance as someone in the “media” realized that the NHL exists outside of these two!

That’s progress, my friends.


Fans = Goldfish?

December 11, 2010

Sports fans have been called many things before, but this MediaPost commentary adds a new label to the list: goldfish. That’s right. Apparently, when it comes to forgiving athletes after off-field indiscretions, we as fans can forgive an athlete of practically anything, provided they excel on the field.

I wouldn’t quite go that far. In my opinion, there’s a slight difference between what Tiger Woods & Tony Parker have done versus what Michael Vick has done. Tiger and Parker were just stupid, cheating on their wives and basically destroying their marriages. Personal stupidity can be overlooked. I can overlook Michael Phelps getting caught with a bong, because it’s so “normal.” I can overlook Plaxico Burress damn near shooting his own bits off in a club because that’s just stupidity run amok. In any of these situations, personal poor choices does not have anything to do with how I view them on the field.

No matter how he performs on the field, I cannot overlook what Michael Vick did. I know many people that can’t either. The dude used and abused dogs. That’s just not right. Sure, he did his time and repented, but still, he was a dog killer. I can’t forgive that, and I’m not even a dog owner. (I am a dog person, though.)

And really, Vick’s hope of having fans forget what he did isn’t helped by inadvertent graphics like this one that showed up on a Sunday night game earlier this season:

So erm, yea. Fans aren’t goldfish. We just learn to distinguish between personal stupidity that doesn’t really affect others, and the stupidity that just leads to completely abhorrent things.

I promise that hockey content will return in some way soon, even though I won’t get to see the next two games due to work functions. Go Sabres!



October 14, 2010

I know after last night’s drabalicious Sabres game, we can all use a little fun in our lives. So I come bearing fun. At least momentary fun.

You guys remember Burger King’s subservient chicken campaign? Well, another company is trying a similar concept, but this time, with vignettes. Go ahead, make the bear and hunter do whatever you want them to do. Try and stump it, it’s worth it only for the error message you get.

Linky thingy to YouTube.

I think “plays” is my favorite. “Drinks” might be a close second if only because it’s so completely random.

There will be hockey content soon, I promise.


We’re #3!

April 5, 2010

Mediapost provided a nice summary of the Brand Keys Sports Loyalty Index. The NHL ranked #3 in terms of fan loyalty (with the NFL and MLB tied for 1st and the NBA running 2nd). The study measures fan loyalty based upon four criteria:

  1. entertainment/excitement level of the team
  2. how they play as a team
  3. level of bonding fans have with players (the puckbunny index?)
  4. team history and tradition

So why does the NHL rank so low on the list? I think we all can agree that the games are exciting and most teams are relatively exciting (except those playing the dreaded trap). Hockey is a total team sport that requires the cooperation of all 6 guys on the ice at the same time. While there are individual stars, no one star is responsible for the fortunes of a team (Do you hear me on that one Sabres? Step up and stop relying on Miller to carry your asses.) The NHL players and fans for all intents and purposes have a good relationship…that occasionally is not dependent upon looks, talent or the amount of alcohol consumed. And with few exceptions, NHL teams have a solid history and sense of tradition.

The president of Brand Keys offers the following hypothesis for the low popularity of the NHL:

“…it isn’t TV-friendly, and because of players’ gear, is not amenable to player-fan loyalty. “It’s very hard to set up a situation where you can bond with players. They all look the same.”

I’m sorry, what? All NHL players look the same? Is he implying that hockey is a predominately white sport – which it is, I won’t deny that – and that’s why it doesn’t appeal? Or is he saying that from the cheap seats – both those at the arena and at home – all five skaters look the same and only the goalies really stand out? I beg to differ on both arguments, as really, the first one is just a bunch of crap. And the second one is easily disproven, considering it can become fairly easy to start picking out particular hockey players once you start paying attention to the game. Using the Sabres as an example, you can start differentiating the Myers/Ennis/Gerbe/Roys of the world because of their height. Then you start weeding out the Mair/Gaustad/Ellis types: the muckers and grinders who are all heart and effort, all the time. And you keep going from there.

I’d also call bupkus on not there not being any fan/player loyalty in the NHL. How many player specific jerseys do you see at any given game? And more importantly, how many “special” player specific jerseys do you see? I’m referring here to the Michigan State Miller jerseys or the Minnesota Vanek sweaters that you see sprinkled around the arena. Also, let us not forget the fan uproar when Briere and Drury left town. Those gentlemen still get booed at the arena. Maybe Buffalo is a special case, but the NHL not being conducive to developing player/fan loyalty is bunk.

So who does this study say are the most loyal fans in the NHL?

  • Detroit
  • Philly
  • San Jose
  • New Jersey
  • Boston

I’m kind of shocked by the inclusion of San Jose and New Jersey on the list. Maybe it’s just my East Coast “old” team bias, but the Sharks are a relatively new team and yet still rank in the top five…playoff chokes and all. New Jersey is shocking because although they have a team that has won championships and has consistent management, they’re often overlooked for their regional neighbors when it comes to media coverage.

I feel like I wandered around a bit in this post, so thank you for bearing with me. What do you all think?


Couple Thoughts

September 6, 2009

– There was an interesting comment made by one of my uncles yesterday during my grandmother’s birthday party. He said that back in the day – you know, like the late 90s – Sabres season ticket holders received a lot more perks from the Sabres then they do now. He specifically mentioned season ticket holder only events like the Sabres Carnival (before they opened it up to the riff raff) as being one of the things the team did to prove to their season ticket holders that they were appreciated by the team. And it’s not like the team had to do these events because they weren’t doing well in the standings, this was in the conference final / SC final era. Now, the team is potentially gearing up to have it’s name engraved again on the Eastern Conference 10th place trophy, and the season ticket holders aren’t seeing these kind of “perks” any more. Is it because the team knows that they have a loyal fan base who will continue to buy tickets even though the on-ice product isn’t that great? Is it because the team is in money saving mode due to the current state of the economy? (Though on the other hand, one could make an argument that if the team is trying to keep a fairly significant part of the fanbase happy, the team would go above and beyond the call of duty, economics be damned. There’s fairly nice events that can be done for not a large expenditure of dollars. Ask college student organizers how they do it.) Who knows, but if the on-ice product doesn’t shape up this year, the off-ice fans will be very unhappy and no amount of “perks” will make that better.

– I was watching the Yankees game this afternoon (mainly just to see how long of a drive my uncle would have back from Toronto with my aunt the Yankees fan) and the broadcasters brought up an interesting point during their in-game, blowout derived ramblings. They said that if a team builds its roster the right way, one grizzled veteran leader could be affecting generations of players on that team. They used Jeter as an example. Jeter entered the Yankees organization at the same time Don Mattingly was on his way out, yet Mattingly mentored Jeter and guided him along the right path in the locker room (off the field antics were another lesson for another time, I guess). Jeter is now doing the same for young Yankees, who someday will do the same for some kid who’s currently in the 8th grade.

We kind of heard a smidgen of a system like this happening in the Sabres locker room. Drury was mentoring Gaustad (leading to the often-told story of Gaustad trying and failing to beat Drury to the rink) and Gaustad has grown quickly into the role of on-and-off-ice leader. Who knows who Goose could mentor that would in turn mentor some kid who’s just mucking around at the Pepsi Center these days?

I had a point there, but I think it ran away before I could finish it off.

– Also, please check out brand new Sabres blogger Amanda at Two Minutes for Roughing.


Sports and Social Media

July 14, 2009

One of today’s big stories in the internet hockey world is Martin Havlat’s Twittering about all of the ish that allegedly went down with the Blackhawks while he was there. Obviously, he can’t talk about it, but it’s major stuff, you know. I personally think he’s being a tease about it. If you can’t talk about it, don’t even dangle the “I know something you don’t know” carrot. You’re just going to piss a lot of people off.

At the office, I subscribe to a plethora of Mediapost e-newsletters. For every five that are duds, I get the occasional e-newsletter that piques my interest. Today’s “Marketing: Sports” e-newsletter was especially interesting. It talks about something that everyone is becoming increasingly aware of in the sports world. Whether the MSM likes it or not, fans, athletes, teams and leagues are now a part of the media. Teams are increasingly adding video and audio to their sites, fans are twittering from their seats at the arena, fans, media and players alike are all blogging. It’s one giant content generating machine. No longer does one have to wait for the morning sports section or the 11pm news to see who won the game and what the commentary on it is. Often times, commentary is happening as the game is being played.

Is this a good thing? Yes. By increasing the amount of content generated, you’re seeing more information exposed and allowing more people to have a voice. The blogosphere/message board arena went nuts during the Buffalo/Ottawa brawl game a couple years ago. Could you imagine how much more crazy it would have been had Twitter been around at the time?

On the otherhand, is this a bad thing? Yes. Athletes almost have no privacy now. Every move they make can be Twittered out into the world without a second thought. Get a little slushy on Chippewa one night? You’re blog fodder the next day. Previously, you just had to worry about whoever saw you telling their little circle of friends. Now, that little circle of friends is the entire freaking world. I mean, look at what happened last season with Mike Commodore and that unfortunate picture of him rolling in dough after winning a Super Bowl bet. An innocent Facebook posting turned into a “scandal.” An admittedly mild scandal, but a scandal nonetheless.

I also don’t want to see players Tweeting from the bench during a game. In the case of hockey, I think it’s physically impossible to text with hockey gloves on from the bench, but that doesn’t mean our enterprising band of little snots couldn’t find a way to do so. I also think they shouldn’t be tweeting from the locker rooms during intermissions. Those should still remain the domain of potty breaks, snacks, equipment adjustments, pep talks and scathing lectures.

Personally, I still recognize the value and necessity of the mainstream media. They have the credibility and access that a lot of bloggers don’t. And while some bloggers do get access to different press boxes (depending on the sport and team), there’s still a lot of bias against blogs and social media by the teams. Every blogger is assumed to be like Ek, making ish up depending on which way the wind is blowing. While I do get tired of the attitudes displayed by some members of the MSM, they still provide a valuable service to fans everywhere.

That thud you heard was just me falling off my soapbox.


The Summertime Blues

July 7, 2009

– With today’s news that Philly signed Chris Pronger to a seven year contract extension, could this spell the end of Danny Briere in Philly? Right now, Philly has almost $19 million invested in three guys (Briere, Pronger and Timmonen). Briere has been injury prone in Philly and has not been worth the contract to the Flyers. Stay tuned, I guess.

– After reading Bucky’s “Free Agency Winners and Losers” column in Sunday’s News, I was mildly surprised to see him call out the Devils as one of the losers of this initial free agency period. Not many people call out the Devils, especially people in these here parts. Not to mention that the Devils GM, Lou Lamoriello, looks like he knows where more than a few bodies are buried, and how to dispose of nuisances. (He’s a master conspirator in the Devils recent strain of coach killing, is all I am saying.) Anyway, I just have this mental image of Bucky curled up under his desk* muttering “can’t sleep, Lou will get me. Can’t sleep, Lou will get me.”

* I chose a desk, because as a professional, that’s where Bucky supposedly writes from. Unlike us bloggers who write from their couches, chairs, offices, decks, porches, etc.

– Thomas Vanek’s official Austrian site has up a two-part interview in which Vanek discusses this past season, his injury and a range of other things. The link is to part one of the interview, with the link to part two at the bottom of part one. It’s a very interesting and candid interview, and about the only first hand information we have proving the Sabres are still alive.

– And finally, as we head deeper into the doldrums of summer, the Hockey Hall of Fame is posting the Penguins Stanley Cup Journal. See pictures and read stories of the players’ days with the Cup. The stories are usually pretty entertaining and the pictures are fantastic.


The One Time That Peer Pressure Could Be A Good Thing

August 22, 2008

– I saw a very interesting article in USA Today regarding the philanthropic organization Right to Play.For those of you not familiar with this organization,

Right to Play is international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play trains local community leaders as Coaches to deliver our programs in more than 20 countries affected by war, poverty, and disease in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The hockey fans in the room may be familiar with Right to Play from seeing intermission features featuring Andrew Ference of the Bruins.

Johnson & Johnson has teamed up with Right to Play and US Olympians in a unique fundraising effort. If USA Olympians sign up at the Beijing games to be Right to Play ambassadors, and win a medal in their given sport, Johnson & Johnson will donate money in their name to the organization ($20k for a gold medal, $15k for a silver and $10k for a bronze). 6-time medalist Natalie Coughlin has already had $80,000 donated to the organization in her name. She is on a quest to get Michael Phelps to sign on, as his 8 medals would mean J&J would have to donate $160k. That dollar figure would be enough to enroll 52,000 children in the program and get 1,600 coaches involved. That’s a tremendous amount of good.

C’mon Michael. Step away from the money making deals for a second and do something good.

On a lighter note, I really do like this video explaining the Olympic ring tats that a ton of swimmers have.

I also enjoy the look of pure bliss on Phelps’ dog’s face.


Its a Doodle!

March 21, 2008

How can you not like and respect Jason Pominville after reading this article?

“The little, lovable guy,” teammate and road roommate Paul Gaustad said with a grin. “He’s always got a smile on his face. He’s a good guy, approachable.”

So is a labradoodle.

Those who have known him longest — Gaustad, goaltender Ryan Miller and Pominville have spent the past six seasons together, three in Buffalo and three in Rochester — can see why fans get so attached.

“Being around him for the last six years, he’s a fun kid,” Miller said. “He’s easy to talk to, kind of goofy sometimes, and maybe that’s the reason.”

Why does the trio of Gaustad, Miller and Pominville sound like they could be trouble off the ice?

I do like that Pominville responds to fans questions via his blog, and even answers the unusual ones (Britney? Seriously, people. There was nothing better to ask him about?). He also handles himself well in the locker room with the pre and post game press gaggles.

Its kind of scary to think that he was put on waivers in 2005 and the Sabres almost lost him. If that would’ve happened, then this wouldn’t have happened.

I just remember there being a lot of talk about “who is this Pominville kid” during that playoff run, and now two years later, he’s the captain of the team.

My how things change.



February 19, 2008

I saw the short version of this clip on Sportscenter over the weekend.

That tops any practical joke I’ve heard about from an athlete before, just because of the breadth of people that were involved: the player’s agent, his manager, his teammates. Its particularly cruel, but absolutely brilliant.