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Ratings Records and Hawks off to 3-0 Start!

24 Jan

Ratings across the United States and Canada have shown record setting ratings for NHL games. So much for the fan backlash from the lockout.

CBC in Canada had record ratings for Saturday night. St Louis reported it’s higher ever ratings for a blues game which was a Tuesday night Shootout thriller against the Nashville Predators. Here in Chicago, the story is the same. From the Chicago Tribune:

CSN delivered its highest Hawks regular-season game rating for its coverage of Tuesday night’s home opener against the Blues. The 5.40 household rating means approximately 188,169 households tuned in for the entire game and eclipsed the previous mark of 4.35 set March 5, 2010 against the Canucks.

Also, NBC’s coverage of the NHL on Saturday produced the league’s most-watched regular-season broadcast in 14 years, excluding Winter Classics, according to The Nielsen Company.

Regional coverage of the Hawks taking on the Kings and also the Penguins facing the Flyers was watched by 2.77 million viewers (1.6 household rating).

Hawks off to a great start.

Hard to believe but the Blackhawks are off to their best start since 1972-1973 season. Can you believe that the Hawks have not had a 3-0-0 start in the last 40 years? Not even the 2010 cup winning team did that! Crazy eh?

The Hawks themselves have said their is a feel to this team that’s similar to the cup winning team. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves but i’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen. Not that there aren’t things that can improve. Plus I expect LA and Phoenix to have a better showing the next time we see them. Especially from their goaltenders who both gave up a couple of week ones. However beating the blues was impressive. The Blues smoked the Red Wings 6-0 the first game of the season and then won a shootout against tough divisional rival the Predators.

From the Hawks themselves:

“It’s a good start but you can’t think about it too much,” winger Patrick Kane said. “One of the things about this season is you’re playing so many games in a short amount of time so it’s almost like you win one, ‘all right, think about the next one.’ If you keep doing that you’re going to have a good recipe for success.”

“It was a lot of tough opponents right out of the gate, but I liked the focus of our team,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re happy, but let’s keep trying to get better.”

Added defenseman Duncan Keith: “It’s definitely a good feeling but we know it’s three games and it’s all about what have you done for me lately.”

Tonight, the Hawks face the Dallas Stars who have been a bit of a surprise so far in the early season.

TV/radio: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; CSN, WGN-AM 720.

Series: First meeting.

Last meeting: Hawks won 4-1 March 16, 2012 in Dallas.

Probable goaltenders: Hawks, Corey Crawford, 2-0-0, 2.00 goals-against average; Stars, Kari Lehtonen, 2-0-0, 2.00.

Team comparison

Averages per game (NHL rank)
HAWKS (3-0-0) CATEGORY STARS(2-1-0) 4.67 (3) Goals for 2.00 (20) 2.67 (17) Goals against 1.67 (7) 23.1 (17) Power-play pct. 20.0 (19) 90.0 (3) Penalty-kill pct. 83.3 (11)

The Hawks will look to continue their strong play on the road after opening the season with victories in Los Angeles and Phoenix. Marian Hossa (four goals, one assist) and Patrick Kane (two goals, three assists) have come out of the gate strong to lead the Hawks’ high-powered offense. The Stars are led in scoring by 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who has two goals and two assists. Lehtonen has stopped 36 of 40 shots over his two starts.

Hockeys Back Baby!!!

21 Jan

Hockey is Back!!!

girl

and boy does she look good.

I heard from plenty of fans who swore off hockey and insisted that they would never be back.  Could have fooled me.  Saturday night, the first night of games for the league, showed the rinks housing NHL teams at 97% attendance.  Even teams in the south, Dallas, Florida, Tampa Etc. had full houses.  I guess the owners and players know their audience.  We are all junkies that need another fix.

Also back is fantasy hockey.

poutana4

I know none of the guys in my fantasy league had any issue with the lockout. They couldn’t wait to get it going. They just wanted it over and to have hockey back. I’ve heard similar stories from other guys in fantasy leagues.

My beloved Blackhawks are off to a 2-0 start. Nice work boys, 2 down and 46 to go. Also nice was getting some revenge on the Coyotes or as I call them the new new jersey devils. On another pleasant note the Canucks are 0-1-1. That’s just lovely. Even better, they pulled Schneider and put in Luongo. How’s that too high asking price working out for you now? Probably should have traded him in the offseason.
If they did would Burke still have a job with the Leafs?

imagesCAQDAHN2

hot-german-girls-are-even-hotter-while-romping-on-the-beach

I know these pictures don’t necessarily have anything to do with hockey other then hockey is BACK and these are the backsides of some lovely ladies.

So hockey is back and so is TTS. I’ll try to get back to my regular blogging schedule. Where was I during the lockout? I was here. I didn’t see the sense in blogging about a bunch of idiots. I might have been the one hockey fan out there that doesn’t just solely blame this on Bettman. I know a lot of you hold him and only him personally responsible. Me? No I blame this on the owners, you know…the 30 bosses telling Bettman what to do, and the players. The players get a big part of the blame. Why? First off: hiring Donald Fehr. Are you F***ing kidding me? That’s why this took so long. The deal was done and accepted in the summer. We had to miss this much time because Fehr wanted to squeeze a few more sheckels out of the owners. The whole time giving a huge middle finger to the fans. Then I hear the players come out and say it’s good to be back to show the fans that we care. Are you kidding me? You care? If you cared about hockey instead of the almighty dollar then you never would have hired D Fehr. The biggest joke of the whole thing is that the union was fighting for contracts that the majority of players would never see (the 12 or 15 year joke of a contract with a few pennies in the final years to bring down the cap hit for a team). Or the famous refrain…..we are fighting for the next generation of fans. That’s not how sports unions work. The F*** the guy that’s not even there yet. That’s how it works.
I digress. I said I wasn’t going to do that and here I go on a rant. Let’s just go back to enjoying the sport we love so much and I’ll throw in some pictures of hot chicks since you guys seem to like it so much. At least according to the hits I receive when I do place some pics of some ladies.

So hockey is back and I’m happy. See you here in this space as the season goes along.

TTS

poutana

 

Giving Bettman Credit

27 Dec

reposted from The Sporting News – written by Jesse Spector

and I totally agree.  Most people are too short sighted (or too angry) to see what is actually happening.  They just want to blame one person and shoot their venom toward the commish.  Idiots.  Do you tell your 30 bosses how to run their company or do they tell you?  Exactly.

 

Gary Bettman hasn’t had many reasons to smile lately, but he got one on Thursday, when the United States opened its campaign at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, with an 8-0 romp over Germany.

The NHL commissioner gets to feel a sense of pride not only because he is American, but because Team USA shows why Bettman is right to stick with a methodology that garners him an unfair amount of criticism. It isn’t about his handling of labor negotiations with the NHLPA — don’t worry, that’s still a mess — but about his larger-scale stewardship of the league.

135775-650-366

 

 

Earlier this month, Time magazine became the latest outlet to skewer Bettman with an argument that shows even less forward thinking than shutting down a $3.3 billion industry over a desire for a few extra millions.

“There’s a strong argument to be made that there are too many NHL teams, or at least too many in places where ice hockey is not exactly a native sport, i.e., the American South,” Gary Belsky wrote in a Dec. 19 article. “This is the fault of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, long a champion of NHL expansion. But hockey in the U.S. is not a national sport … and not enough fans in the American Southwest and Southeast are as enthusiastic about hockey as they are about football, baseball, and basketball.”

The support for this argument is that the Atlanta Thrashers’ franchise value skyrocketed as soon as they became the Winnipeg Jets. Of course it did — the Thrashers were a miserably-run organization that, in 11 seasons win Atlanta, won zero playoff games. There might as well have never been a team there in the first place. How many kids in Georgia in the 2000s grew up with dreams of being the next Ilya Kovalchuk or Slava Kozlov as they headed to the golf course April after dreary April?

Non-traditional markets don’t become successful overnight, nor do they gain prominence in their communities simply by showing up. Tradition takes time to build, and it takes hard work to establish a sports franchise as part of the community. Pennsylvania did not get NHL hockey until the Flyers and Penguins joined the league as expansion teams in 1967. While Philadelphia was a quick success story, with Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975, Pittsburgh had to wait until 1991 to win a Cup, and even after that, there was a time when the Penguins’ future in western Pennsylvania was in doubt.

Now, the Penguins and Flyers, formerly teams in non-traditional markets, are among the NHL’s most successful clubs, and Pennsylvania is becoming a more common source of NHL talent. Of the 28 players in league history listed on hockey-reference.com as being born in the Keystone State, 19 were born after the NHL’s 1967 expansion, including 16 who were born after 1980 and thus grew up with the Flyers-Penguins rivalry on full blast. Youth participation in hockey rises every year in the state, and the hockey culture becomes more and more ingrained.

The success of the Flyers and Penguins is such that on Thursday, the on-ice rivals announced that they are banding together to send “Team Pennsylvania” to compete in the 2013 Brick International Super Novice Tournament in Edmonton, a competition for 10-year-old players.

“The state of Pennsylvania … has become a hotbed for incredibly talented hockey players,” Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko said in a statement. “We are excited to be working with the Penguins to have the Keystone State proudly represented at the upcoming Brick Tournament in Edmonton. We hope to showcase some of our region’s aspiring players to the youth hockey world.”

Think about that, then take a look at the box score from United States 8, Germany 0. The Americans had eight goals from eight players, and those players were born in six different states: Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Now, take a look at the most famous Team USA there ever was, the 1980 Olympic team. The entire roster was composed of players from four states: Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The new geographic diversity of Team USA is not only because star defenseman Seth Jones’ father Popeye was playing for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks when he had a son. There had to be something that drew the young Jones to hockey, and in fact, he became a fan of the Colorado Avalanche while his father was playing for the Denver Nuggets. The Avalanche, of course, arrived in Denver under Bettman’s watch, and it was smart to put a team there even though the Colorado Rockies had previously failed, and moved to New Jersey to become the Devils.

It’s also not a fluke that this particular group of young American players is from different places. The U.S. national Under-17 team’s roster features players whose previous squads include the Boston Junior Bruins, Carolina Junior Hurricanes, Los Angeles Junior Kings, and Washington Little Caps. The Under-18 team has as many players from California (two) as it does from Massachusetts.

This is only the beginning. More American kids than ever are growing up with hockey in their lives, which means that more American kids than ever are seeing hockey as a sport worth playing. That’s because Bettman was willing to go to places where hockey had not gone before, and has been willing to stick with those franchises. It won’t work everywhere, as the California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, and Kansas City Scouts can attest, but the only way to turn non-traditional markets into traditional markets is to — surprise! — let tradition develop.

Of course, the only way to do that is to actually play games and be part of the culture, so Bettman’s smile from watching Thursday’s game should only be a quick one. The lockout is still a disaster for everyone involved.

50/50 Split: NHL Lockout Explained with Beer

26 Oct

brilliant

TTS

Baby Hawks vs Baby Canucks

15 Oct

So there is no NHL due to the Lockout.  What’s a hockey junkie to do?  Find some other hockey to watch.  In Chicago we have an AHL team called the Chicago Wolves.  They opened up their season on Saturday night against the Rockford Ice Hogs, which is the affiliate team for the Chicago Blackhawks.

I got to the game about 20 minutes before puck drop.  I bought a ticket, in row F for only $ 20.50.  That’s it.  No extra fees of any kind.  Try doing that at your local NHL game.  Oh yeah you can’t.

14,505 people had the same idea as I did.  That’s a healthy crowd for an AHL game.  That’s a healthy crowd for an NHL game in some markets.  I don’t know what the attendance is for AHL games in Canada but I bet 14,505 wouldn’t look bad at all.  We love our hockey here in Chicago.

Some notable attendees of the game were Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, Coach Joel Quenneville, GM Stan Bowman and his dad the legendary Scotty Bowman.  As I was walking through the hallway to get to my seat I almost bumped into Alain Vigneault.  It was after all the baby Canucks.  I was like should I say hi or punch him in the face?

Speaking of that, the Canucks affiliation, that transition happened last year.  The Wolves used to be the farm team for the Atlanta Thrashers.  When the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg the new owners already owned an AHL team.  The Mannitoba Moose.  They wanted that team to be their affiliate.  Can’t blame them.  The Moose were the farm team for the Canucks.  So that left the Canucks without an AHL team and the Wolves without an NHL team.  So it pretty much had to happen.

Now we all now about the rivalry between the Blackhawks and the Canucks so this just adds spice to the mix.  The Canucks farm team is now in Chicago.  How’s that for good times?  So the Wolves and Ice Hogs have that going for them.  However there was already quite a rivalry building here.  They play in the same division.  The AHL keeps travel costs down with an in division heavy schedule.  These teams see each other often.  That builds bad blood in hockey.  They are also in the same state.  How many times have we seen that?  Ever see a Flyers – Penguins game?  Rangers – Islanders?  Oilers – Flames?  You get the idea.  So two teams that had a brewing rivalry now gets to add a sprinkle of the two big clubs rivalry.  Good times!

So what kind of amazing game for the ages was it?  Not too exciting.  0-0 that went into a shoot out which the wolves won.

There was plenty of  players who put on the indianhead.  Leddy, Olsen, Pirri, Morin, Smith, Kruger and TTS favorite Andrew Shaw to name a few.

One fun moment was when they had the kiss cam on.  It went through the crowd and it was good fun.  Better fun when they put the kiss cam on 2 Ice Hogs.  It was Bollig and someone else.  Bollig sees himself on the big screen kiss cam, grabs the player next to him and plants a big old kiss on his face.  The crowd went nuts for that.

Both goaltenders were the real stars of this game.  Both were great.  Andrew Luck starred for the Wolves and won the game.  He is from a Chicago suburb and reports are that he will back up Schneider if and when the Canucks can ever trade Louuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

The Ice Hogs goalie was Hutton who looked pretty good himself.  He got called up late last year when Emery was hurt.  He didn’t get in a game but looked good in this one.  Maybe that’s why Stan Bowman never went out and got a goalie?  Maybe they think they got this guy waiting in the wings for whenever NHL gets back on the ice.  In the mean time I’ll keep watching AHL.

Reminds me of that one Simpsons episode, the one where Maude Flanders dies.  Right before that they are giving out shirts.  Who wants a T Shirt?  I do I do I do.  Wait a minute…..no I don’t.

TTS

Lockout – A view from Philly

11 Sep

This is a repost of a blog I read on Broad Street Buzz.  Take a read:

On September 16th, 2004, the NHL locked out its players and forwent their 88th NHL season. Almost exactly eight years to the day, the NHL owners and Commissioner Gary Bettman are ready to do so again. After more than two months and three different proposals, talks broke down in late August, with neither side able to find even ground. Talks are scheduled to resume with the September 15th deadline breathing down their neck, but an agreement seems unlikely.

And that’s a good thing for the sake of the league.

There, it has been said. Somebody had to do it. Through all the fan protest and dissatisfaction with negotiations, not many have realized: The NHL owners desperately need this lockout. It seems selfish that billionaire owners with enough money to finance a professional hockey team with ease refuse to give leeway in CBA talks, but they are most certainly right in their bargaining tactics.

No matter what happens in American sports, the National Hockey League will never be able to crawl out of the cellar when it comes to viewership. Last year’s Stanley Cup finals averaged just 3.01 million viewers, according to tvbythenumbers.com. In relation to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, ratings were down by 1.56 million viewers, or 34%. The NFL’s annual “Pro Bowl”, a game in which the players participating put forth minimal effort, recorded a whopping 12.5 million viewers, and that was down over 8%. The 2007 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs scored some of the lowest ratings the NBA had seen, yet still averaged 9.3 million viewers. As hard as it may try, the National Hockey League cannot hold the viewership of the casual sports fan, and it’s bad news for the league as a whole.

It’s even worse news for small market teams. When the league cannot even get an abundance of people to watch their biggest games of the year from the comfort of their home, they’re even less likely to buy tickets. Yes, the NHL does boast many financially stable teams like Toronto, New York, and Philadelphia that sellout their respective arenas almost every night, but for every successful large market, there’s two small market teams struggling to tread water.

According to Forbes.com, a team’s Operating income is a team’s “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization”. In the 2011-2012 season, seventeen teams were not able to turn a positive operating revenues including St. Louis, Carolina, and Tampa Bay, among others. Even before having to make payments, teams are unable to make any money. Also noted by Forbes, 9 teams have seen a decrease or no change in their team valuation since last season. Most notably, New Jersey, Florida, Columbus and Phoenix, all teams who have struggled financially, are on that list. The Devils owner may lose possession of the team, Phoenix has spent a couple of years under NHL control, and the Islanders have struggled for years to fill their arena. So what is important about all these stats? Notice that all of these teams are those stuck in small markets.

This is what the NHL labor talks are all about: protecting the little guys.

And the Shea Weber ordeal is exactly what is wrong with the National Hockey League. When Weber agreed to the incredibly front loaded 14 year, $110 million, the terms almost made you cringe. In a full calendar year, he would receive $27 million in signing bonuses alone, regardless of whether the NHL had a season or not, and $52 million in bonuses over the first four years of the deal. A deal like that is everything the NHL owners are currently trying to avoid for a very long time. While Ed Snider probably spent that week puffing on cigars, Nashville’s front office spent their week crunching numbers, trying to figure out how the hell they’ll pay Weber and still be able to think about turning profit. The Predators have a franchise value of $163 million; Shea Weber would be guaranteed to make 16.5% of the entire team’s worth in one season. Nashville and David Poile are the ant, and Ed Snider is the bully with a magnifying glass. With the fear of losing their franchise player and one of the few players Nashville fans resonate with, the Predators decided to match his contract. But one word comes to mind when you think of Shea Weber and his current $7.9 million cap hit: crippling. For a team that has not made money since 07-08 where they turned a measly $500,000 profit, could there possibly be any reward to this risk?

The answer is no, and this is what the owners want to correct. When the league asked for five year max deals and a rollback in player salaries, it’s not because they’re a bunch of no good penny pinchers. With players salaries rising exponentially each year, smaller teams are struggling to keep their superstars when it comes to contract negotiation time. Not every team in the NHL is owned by a billion dollar corporation like the Philadelphia Flyers are, and the goal for the owners during CBA talks is to level the playing field..  They are not going to cave to the players demands just to get a season started on time. These are smart businessmen and investors, and they are tired of throwing their money in a campfire and watching it burn every season. Their investments need to be protected, and in the NHL’s current economic system they’ve failed to do so.

So what will happen in the coming weeks and months? The two sides will break off discussions, the teams will close their doors, and we will be headed for a nuclear winter like in 2004. The players will of course cave right around December, the owners will find themselves on the better end of the deal, and we’ll be playing hockey by New Year’s.

While most throw their fists into the sky and curse the owners for making them miss out on most of their beloved sport, for the people concerned with the welfare of hockey in America, that should be music to their ears.

A win for the owners is a win for the sport of hockey. Instead of watching your teams’ favorite forward get lost in the stacks of money the big market teams offer him, they will actually be able to keep him. Instead of hearing the PA announcer announce a nightly attendance of 12,420 people, soon all the seats will be filled. And instead of watching multiple teams fold, the National Hockey League will soon be able to have all thirty teams strive.

Now isn’t that what everybody wants?

Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @JakePavorsky.