Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thank, Morneau, There's Still Radio!

If any of you are baseball fans you'll know exactly what I'm talking about from the headline above. Yesterday was probably one of the most thrilling MLB one-game playoff games ever but here in B.C. did we get to see it?

Well, it was not on Sportnet Pacific but it was on Sportsnet West...well, at least until 6 p.m. Then the screen went blank. That's because from 6 p.m. Sportsnet West switched to its scheduled broadcast of the Habnots-Lames game. Not that it mattered either way here because, as you know, all NHL hockey games broadcast on Sportsnet channels other than Pacific are blacked out.

Now you'd think since we were in extra innings of a winner-gets-in-the playoffs, loser-goes-home scenario that the game would flip to either Sportsnet Pacific or Ontario (Shaw in their infinite wisdom has axed Sportsnet East off its broadcast band so that was not an option) but nooooooooo!

On Pacific we got McCown's show (something anyone could download later and listen to as a podcast as do we really need to watch radio on TV while the possible last game in the Metrodump was going on?) or on Ontario we got that non-sport called poker or was it ultimate fighting...probably ultimate poker fighting.

My question is: How difficult is it to run a 24-hour sports channel?

Here's what you do: You show sports 24 hours a day. Not highlight shows. Not radio on TV. Not poker. Not MMA. Games. Actual games. This means games until their conclusion (unless you live/lived in Japan meaning until 8:54 pm). And, if a baseball playoff game (it was actually Game 163 of the regular season for each team but let's not get too technical) they cut into some meaningless (sorry, the truth hurts when you have 16 teams in the playoffs out of 30) regular season hockey game, so be it. At the very least replay the game through the graveyard hours so those of us who'd even like to tape it and watch after the fact.

Speaking of which, Sportsnet, how about from the hours of midnight to maybe 6 or 7 a.m. instead of looping Sportsnet Connected endlessly, why not replay the games you showed that day...or even better yet replay the best games of the night before so insomniacs (and taping fiends) could watch something at least somewhat less talking heads. Even as a hockey fan who thinks the regular season is really only there for hockey pools, I'd love to have seen a replay of the Flyers 6-5 OT win over the Caps from last night. Snag the replay rights off TSN or Versus and make us actual sports fans happy for once.

Anyway, thank, Harmon Killebrew, the TEAM was broadcasting the game on the radio, and anyone out here on the Left Coast could listen to the conclusion of one wild game as the Twinkies came out on top of this battle royale with the Tigers.
Your Twins Are Still Alive, Harmon!

Oh, and by the way, given Shaw is broadcasting NHL Centre Ice free through Oct. 24, the Habs-Lames game was on anyway so what good did blacking the screen out do here in B.C?
So thank you, Sportsnet, for the non-coverage of the end of, what may go down as, maybe the greatest one-game "playoff" in MLB history.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Two Down, 80 More To Go!

I'm sure there are thousands falling off the Canuck bandwagon after an 0W-2L start coming off an undefeated (in regulation time) pre-season.

One thing we have learned is no matter how hard Roberto Luongo practices, it's like some well-worn 2nd-round draft cliche, he just cannot play well in October. Hopefully, Coach Vigneault realizes this and now is the time to get Andrew Raycroft in some games. Not only do the Canucks really have nothing really to lose doing this in October, but Luongo will be fresher come the real season in April. Then again maybe Bingo Bango Bongo needs to work up a good sweat in October. Whatever the case, in the long haul, I doubt a poor October will wreck the team's playoff chances. We've been through these middling Octobers before with the man now signed for 12 more years during playoff years (5W 5L last season and 7W 6L in '06/07)

Then again the team is on pace to go 0-24 vs. the rest of its division. Despite the hype over Calgary's much vaunted defence, that team still looks incredibly weak defensively (last season they gave up an average of 29 shots per 60 mins....the first two games they are on a whopping 38 shots against per game and have to thank Kipper they are 2W-0L so far). We'll see how long before Brent Sutter's vulcan ears prick up and he whips this team into shape.

The Avs with the retirement of Joe Sakic were supposedly the weak link in the Northwest Division chain but rookie Matt Duchene looks like a faster Doug Gilmour/Bobby Clarke, Paul Stastny (and his Yzerman-ish missing tooth!) is back healthy and the Polish Sausage is on the cusp of being an offensive force.

Wotjek Wolski working out in the off-season

Leaving Minnesota and Edmonton both of which the Canucks see this first month so we'll also see how the Canucks shape up vis a vis their divisional opponents.