Friday, May 28, 2010

Blackhawks-49 Years and Counting

Something funny happened on the way to the Stanley Cup finals. The marquee players didn't make it. No mad, aggressive Russian named Ovechkin. No slick, whiney Canadien named Crosby. Just two hard working, tough, not afraid to get dirty teams named the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers. Oh yes, both teams are loaded with great players but they didn't have the "name players" that the NHL upper echelon lusted for.

The Blackhawks do have guys named Jonathan Towes, who leads all playoff scorers, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Dustin Byfuglien, Duncan Keith and goalie Antti Niemi, who has a GAA of 2.33 in 16 games. The Flyers take a back seat to no one with players like Mike Richards, second in playoff scoring, Danny Briere, Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, Chris Pronger and rejuvenated goalie Michael Leighton.

The Blackhawks have been good from the beginning of these hockey playoffs. They were goood in the regular season failing to finish first by a point. The Flyers took a different and more difficult path. They made the playoffs by beating the hapless Rangers in a shootout. After eliminating the favored Devils in the first round they fell behind Boston three games to none. After roaring back to tie the series they fell behind 3-0 in game seven. They came back to win and then beat Montreal to make it to the finals. So they are gritty and resolute.

This should be a great Cup finals. The Chicago Blackhawks have not won a Cup in 49 years. Is the Ranger 54 year run of futility in danger of being broken? The Flyers have not won in 35 years. Can they continue their remarkable comeback run? It should be interesting and exciting. The big shots at the top of the NHL wanted the big names. They didn't get them. They got something better. They got two good tough hockey teams that will showcase the best of hockey and the NHL.

Blackhawks in six.

Predicting a Ratings Bonanza for Cup Finals

Taking its TV ratings from 2% to 4% will give the NHL a 100% improvement. So look out big time sports. That is something to write home about. Just maybe this Philly vs. Chicago finals will out draw poker in the ratings.

MSNBC:
Finals may be ratings ‘home run for the NHL’ -- “This one of the most intriguing matchups we’ve had in a long time,” ESPN analyst Barry Melrose said. “Two major markets, two great hockey markets that haven’t won in a while and a ton of great background stories. It’s going to be great. The ratings are going to be awesome.”

[...]

Overall, TV viewership is the highest it has been in eight years.

“It’s a home run for the NHL,” Melrose said. “Philadelphia and Chicago. It’s old-time hockey, the Original Six and the original 12. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Other Rangers Go Belly-Up

It has not been a good year for teams wearing the name Rangers. Yesterday, the Texas Rangers major league baseball team filed for bankruptcy.

If you have ever been to a Texas Rangers game in Arlington, Texas during the summer you know why the team is struggling to draw fans with a perennial stinker on the field. I remember attending a Texas Rangers game in Arlington a while back and looking up at the scoreboard and seeing a time and temperature of 7:45pm and 101° F. Brutal. it was like sitting in a co-ed sauna at the fitness club. All unnecessary clothing was jettisoned. I still have visions of being surrounded by fat, sweating, half-naked Texans.

It also turns out that the Yankees A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, is the largest unsecured creditor of the Texas Rangers to the tune of $24,892,006.61. It was surprising to hear this, because A-Rod signed his Texas contract 10 years ago, he was traded to the Yanks in 2003, and he opted out of his Texas contract and signed a new one with the Yanks in 2007.

Tom Hicks was the Rangers owner who signed A-Rod to a 10-year deal worth $252 million after the 2000 season. At the time it was the richest sports contract in history. The A-Rod contract was worth $63 million more than the second-richest baseball deal. The remaining A-Rod money is labeled as deferred compensation. A Nolan Ryan led group is seeking to buy the Rangers for $575 million. Ryan's group and Hicks both said yesterday that all the creditors, including A-Rod - will get paid. That's good news for A-Rod.

The good news for NY Rangers fans is that this shows you that 'sucking' is relative. The Texas Rangers have never won a World Series or an American League Pennant since their founding in 1972. In 38 years they have only won three division titles and their last playoff appearance was in 1999. A record of futility that makes our NY Rangers look like a sports juggernaut.

So count your Rangers blessings. Our Rangers are only bankrupt in leadership.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

I went to a sword fight

I went to a sword fight and a Hockey game broke out…
(Shane Hnidy and Jordan Staal)

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