Saturday, May 30, 2009

Future Wolverines Fare Well at Draft Combine

The NHL's Draft Combine is underway and a couple of future Wolverines did very well. THN cites freshman-to-be Chris Brown and 2010-commit Mac Bennett as "particularly impressive" in the vertical leap challenge, and Bennett killed on the Wingate bike, said to be one of the more difficult tests.

Edit: Bennett was also second in the push-up competition, doing one fewer than Kyle Palmieri. He won the standing long-jump competition.

MGoBlog found some more stuff about Kevin Lynch, who really helped his stock with his performance at World Under 18s.

And, for a lack of anything better to talk about, I have to comment on the schedule for the Stanley Cup Finals. It's been covered by a lot of people already, but the more anti-Bettman stuff out there, the better, so here's my take:

If you want proof that the NHL is a second- or third-rate sport in this country, look no further than to the fact that they bent over and grabbed their ankles for a TV network that doesn't pay them any money. The state of hockey in this country is so piss-poor that they were willing to compromise the integrity of their championship series just to get two of their games on network TV. Sad.

They're playing back-to-back nights (for the first time in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1955--good omen?) because NBC is scared that if a game went to overtime, it would bump Conan's debut on The Tonight Show? Let's say that again. They're playing back to back nights because if the game ran long, Conan would be delayed if it was played during the week.

If Bettman had any balls, he would've told them, "Our game is Monday. You can show it. You can let Versus have it. You can show it and if the game runs over, you can move the game to Versus like you did last year with the Preakness coverage. But we're not forcing our players to play back to back nights in the Stanley Cup Finals." That's what David Stern would have done, considering he basically just did the same thing to one of his owners. "Our game is Monday. I don't care if you've rented out the arena for that night. We're playing."

It says something that the concern with overtime is "What will happen to Conan?" and not "What will happen to our players?" They were so worried about Game 2 bumping back a TV show if the game ran long. What will happen to the players--more specifically the quality of the event--if Game 1 goes triple overtime? You're going to have the players play the equivalent of three games in 27 hours? That's really smart, Gary.

I'm not even coming at this from a "The Red Wings are getting screwed" viewpoint that I've read quite a bit. I don't see it that way. Yes, the extra rest would have helped. Yes, Datsyuk is hurt and Lidstrom is banged up. No, I don't think they would have bumped up the start of the series if it was Pubestache that was nursing an injury. That being said, the teams are getting a pretty equal amount of rest. Both teams have to play three games in four nights, and four in six nights. Both teams will be hurt if the first game goes overtime. And, in fact, I believe the Wings have an advantage in terms of quality depth, so it might hurt Pittsburgh worse (Datsyuk-injury aside--though if he has a broken foot, as have been the rumors, would an extra day really help that much?). This is just a flat-out moronic decision all around.

Does it really help the league to get Game 2 on national TV when it's probably not going to be a showcase of the best the NHL has to offer? Who cares about the quality of play, we're on a TV station that the whole country gets--therefore more people have the ability to make the decision not to watch!

It'd sure be a shame if Joe Louis just happened to have a Yost-like building problem that forced the game to get postponed until Monday.

This is the effing Stanley Cup Finals. The conclusion of the best postseason of any sport. It's not a regular season game that's getting its start time changed. You're lubing up for a TV network that doesn't pay you. They're supposed to get the first two games of the SCF and you let them tell you "But, we don't want to have a game during the week because we have more important things to show."

If you want to be a major sport in this country then act like you're a major sport. Don't beg a TV network to pretty please air your game and we'll accomodate your ever request to get you to put it on. It's pathetic. But not at all unexpected from a league that insists on having as many teams in California, Florida, and Arizona as Canada. And from a league that can't figure out how to get every player in every building once a year. And from a league that continues to employ Dan O'Halloran. And from a league that lets officials change calls based on their intent because they aren't capable of blowing a whistle (I bet Buttman could help out with some pointers). And whose philosophy of "A penalty is a penalty is a penalty" doesn't apply to the Anaheim Ducks. And who can't make up their minds what goalie interference is. (Considering Holmstrom has been called for it when he wasn't in the crease and didn't touch the goalie.) Shall I continue?

They've got the best sport in the world, the best postseason in the world, the best trophy in the world, and yet I've said no less than five times this playoffs "Why do I even watch the NHL?" Even Isiah Thomas couldn't run a league into the ground this badly.

Oh, and lastly, to that d-bag from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo back in 2003 who said the Wings just buy their championships.....enjoy the Wings going for two in a row in the salary cap era. Same playing field, still dominant. Right here, buddy.

Win it for 81!


streaker said...

AMEN brother Tim! Beers are on the house!

Becky said...

(Full disclosure: I'm a Penguins fan.)

I'm definitely fine with the finals starting this weekend instead of next, but I agree with you on the TV crap. Playoff ratings are supposedly up by a factor of two over last year (the Caps-Pens series helped, I'm sure), and NBC has the lowest ratings of the big four. This is something that could have been mutually beneficial to the NHL and NBC.

At least more people get Vs. now -- and even relatively crappy cable packages have Vs.HD. And hockey in HD is awesome. These are all things that should help in the long run, maybe. And on the bright side, this should be a good finals.

Packer487 said...

Oh, don't get me wrong...I would have written this same exact post if they would've put the finals off until next weekend. That would've been equally dumb in my eyes (though a Thursday/Saturday start to the series wouldn't have been bad).

If it was Saturday/Monday or Sunday/Tuesday or something I'd have no beef whatsoever. I don't think the league should put off the start of a series based on a Hart finalist being injured or anything. I think it's better to get it going sooner than later, but 2 in 2 days, 3 in 4 days, and 4 in 6 days is just dumb. Mitch Albom was right: What's the hurry?

Packer487 said...

BTW, Streaker are you coming out for the Winter Classic?

Packer487 said...

I mean the Camp Randall Hockey Classic. If I call that damn game the Winter Classic one more time............It's like how I always type Moffatt when I mean Moffie and vice-versa.

streaker said...

I'm going to make an effort. Depends on employment status. Would be great to get back to Madtown. Haven't been there in a while.

BTW- I posted the Wings portion of your blog on Hockey Fan, a site that used to be called metroboards. I have friends I have known there for over fifteen years and we migrated from the CBC site when they shut down the hockey boards. (I think we had something to do with that-we were all slagging on Don Cherry and they didn't like it.)

I put it in the Red Wings folder. The puberstache comment got a laugh.

Thanks for the good read.

Packer487 said... sure to give me a yell if you're going to make it out here :)

I used to like Grapes, but he's had a major bug up his butt about the Wings since Stevie Y retired. Probably because we dare to have Europeans on our team, and *GASP* one as a captain. He's kind of embarrassing himself at this point.

Glad ya liked it!

streaker said...

I'll let you know for sure if I make it out. I had relatives that farmed just south of Madison, near Ft. Atkinson and stayed with them for a summer. Hard work, but we played hard, too.

Grapes is a caricature of himself now. it sounds trite, but it seems like the whole CBC is not necessarily rooting against the Wings, but rooting for Crosby. Cherry doesn't hide it and most Detroiters basically have soured on him, too. (Although tonight he did pick Detroit, parodying the Dos Equis commerical... "when I pick a team to win, and I don't do it very often..I pick.. Detroit... stay thirsty my friends..") My theory is on he, Bettman and the rest of the haters... that they think the Wings should consisting get penalized... for "too many Swedes on the ice."

I hope Lidstrom gives Bettman the cold fish handshake again when he hands him the Cup! Go Wings!

Becky said...

If you want more NHL stupidity, I'm not sure if this is the NHL's or NBA's fault, but.

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals: 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals: 9 p.m. ET on Thursday.

AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH. (And me in California where NO ONE cares about hockey!)

streaker said...

I don't think it matters, Becky. The hockey ratings were terrible for the first two games on NBC, now they will drop more being on Versus. NHL fans are polar opposites of NBA fans. Bettman came from the NBA and is trying to mimic their style. It won't work. Stern knows he has America's #2 sport and ABC/ESPN will saturate us to death with it. One good thing: Stern had to swallow hard at not having King James in the Finals to go with Kobe. That cost them ratings. Also, notice the similarity in how they treat their stars? Malkin gets his mandatory suspension waived, as does James for walking out on the Magic and the press conference and pouting on the team bus. (I agree on the Malkin thing, I know there was no intent to incite a brawl as the spirit if the rule is meant for.)

I am also starting to see national media articles sprout on how the Pens were jobbed by the officiating in games 1& 2 regarding the Zetterberg covering the puck in the crease. Should set up some interesting calls for games 3 & 4. maybe it wouldn;t have mattered if the Pens had not hit posts or missed breakaway chances, or better yet, had better goaltending.

Eric J. Burton said...

It will be interesting to see how the Pens respond tonight.