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Never giving up, even when you really should.

Thursday, May 31, 2007
You ever notice how it's always the little things that make you snap? It's never, for example, the traumatic experience that sends you over the edge, but that tiny, pea-sized anecdote in your life sometime after the traumatic or emotional experience that makes you finally lose it, one way or the other.

So as I was going through Kukla's Korner over the past several days like I always do, seeing the loud and venomous editorials and articles by "mainstream" American sportswriters left and right about hockey being a dud, the Stanley Cup Finals having no buzz at all, and the sport probably only barely within the Top 10 list of sports in the United States, I just sort of shrugged it off. I mean, as a hockey fan, you learn to grow a thick outer shell to much of what is said about the sport. And if you don't, you just burn yourself out with frustration and stress at what you see nearly each and every day.

You roll with the punches, to put things succinctly.

But there's always that one thing that will set someone off; and oftentimes it will be something so inconsequential, so small, that it seems like such a worthless thing to get riled up by. Like last year, when I snapped at seeing Ian O'Connor's article on about hockey and why hockey is "given the cold shoulder," in his own words. Back then I said I was sick of smiling and nodding, and just brushing aside articles like this, let alone the regular commentary made about how pathetic of a sports product hockey is in the United States.

This morning, the 2nd biggest headline on's NHL section was Stanley Cup finals Game 1 ratings plummet in U.S.. That's right, they plummeted. And it's important enough to mention that it is right near the top of the headlines, too. People tend to dismiss the placement of things on websites as trivial, but everything -- everything -- is done for a reason. The place of the NHL link at, for example, all the way behind college football, basketball, and even golf. Or the placement of the NHL link so far at the bottom of ESPN's "Sports" tab that it ranks behind the generic Auto category, and ... wait for it ... woman's basketball. You know, the one that teaches fundamentals.

I'm not about to get in to an argument with anyone about the definition of words or the talented use of semantics and link/name placement to sensationalize and/or sway readers one way or the other. It'd be a waste of time, as well as a waste of my energy. Suffice it to say, it's been the little things I've seen over the past week that drove me to vent like this today.

Paul, in his blog, wrote just a couple days ago that we just don't care about what the mainstream media thinks anymore. To an extent, he's right; like I said, many hockey fans have had to grow a thick skin to handle the daily berating and mockery we receive for being fans of a sport so low on the food chain that "hockey mockery" has become a sport in and of itself.

But I was never one for peaceful protest, let alone turning the other cheek. Sorry, but Christian morals of giving your shirt to your enemy, or letting your foe give you a black eye to match the first one he gave you aren't going to work here.

With that said, while we don't care, I'll be damned if I believe hockey fans should sit on their asses and say or do nothing. Back in my entry that I linked to, I said I was sick of taking things in stride, because there was no other recourse or action that could be taken. I didn't think there was anything that could be done.

But the thing is, we hockey fans have always been considered the more superior fans of all major sports in America. Go ahead, say I'm being unabashedly cocky for proclaiming such a thing ... but it's been researched, time and again, that we're the most educated and most affluent. Besides, what are you going to do, NASCAR fan? Southern accent-talk me to death? "Git r done" and whatnot, right?

The thing is, hockey fans need to stop just quietly moping to just one another about being disrespected. We need to start harassing and contacting people in the NHL, at ESPN, at Versus, at NBC ... in essence, we need to be heard. Phone calls, e-mails, snail mail ... whatever. The fact of the matter is that no one in these organizations is actively seeking enlightenment outside of their own, insulated environments where they believe that "hockey is dead", or "NBC/Versus gives the NHL the respect it needs". Maybe it's simple-minded, and who knows? Maybe it's also futile ... but it's something. And frankly, we -- as hockey fans -- are the very reason that the NHL is still alive today. So we might not be front office big wigs or even Gary Bettman, but we can make some kind of difference.

I didn't start blogging for the sake of an NHL team, despite the fact that this blog has had and always will have a predominant focus on the Columbus Blue Jackets. I did it because I love hockey. And I do it because by the time I finally graduate from college with a major in Sports Management in 2009, I intend to spend every waking hour trying to get involved with the NHL in some way or another, so that I can actually try and make a difference with a league that is so discombobulated that it makes the abstract art of Jackson Pollock look neat, orderly, and purposeful.

I must have missed the realist bus or something, because I'm reminded time and again that such an idealistic and naive view, especially when you're 24 years old, is not only silly, but also pretty depressing to see from someone who should just grow up and face reality. Then again, I never really was that quick on the uptake.

I'm off to see Hot Fuzz. Here's your daily Dis or Dat, folks:

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The dog days of summer are a total b***h ... and it isn't even June!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
You know, this 91 degree weather hitting Columbus right now is killing me. And it isn't going to be ending anytime soon, either, with the weekly forecast predicting equal to -- if not hotter -- weather up until Saturday. I'd kill for some rain right about now, or even a mild cold front to bump the temperature down 20 degrees.

Sigh. I long for winter, and it isn't even fall yet.

But enough whining; new news on the search for a general manager has come to light, as Aaron Portzline has once again seemingly picked the lock on the Blue Jackets' and Mike Priest's seemingly impenetrable information vault for the second time in less than a week, coming out with the strongest declaration yet on who is going to be the Jackets' next GM: Anaheim Ducks' Vice President of Hockey Operations, Bob Murray.

When you look back on who the final four candidates were revealed to be, this seems like the obvious and best choice to be made by the organization ... of course, remember that this article isn't so much a confirmation that Murray has been given the job; merely that Murray is the one who is the leading candidate. And even then, if Murray isn't able to sneak in an interview in Columbus sometime during the Stanley Cup Finals (something that is possible when the series shifts back to Ottawa due to a two day break, like Portzline speculated), that lead in the chase for the job might be given up. Doubtful, but you never know.

The Dispatch also has a small capsule report on Murray, which doesn't give you much information, but just enough to know what he's done in the NHL and how long he's been a part of the league in some capacity, from being a player to someone in a team's front office. If you're looking for some even deeper information on Murray, the HFBoards have been their usual, busy self, with numerous Jackets' fans running expeditions into the depths of the Hockey Database and other websites for information on his history. Some specific posts to peek at are here, here, and here.

Before I head out for the afternoon, I just want to remind everyone that yes, me and Drew at End of the Bench are still hammering out some final details for a draft get-together for people who are interested. Hopefully some time by the end of the week we should be looking into contacting a few people about helping out with getting the word spread so that this doesn't turn out to be some dud. Or at least by sometime in the middle of next week. But with the draft now just a little over three weeks away, we really should wrap up some plans and fast.

With that, I bring you a Dis or Dat. Adios!

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Lots of talk, and an equally amount of bluster.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Did you know that today was the first day in months that I managed to sleep in past 6:45 am by my own volition, without my biological alarm clock dragging me kicking and screaming out of bed?

Just thought I'd share that, because that was probably the best sleeping in until 9 am ever for me ... or at least in over half a year. Though is it sad that I'd consider a 9 am wake-up "sleeping in"?

Anyway, it's unfortunate, but I don't got much in terms of content to give you faithful readers today. The Ducks' and Senators' blogs out there already have the Stanley Cup Finals coverage totally locked up, so I definitely recommend hitting up blogs like Scarlett Ice, Ducks Blog, Battle of California, and Battle of Ontario (and others!) if you're looking to satiate your finals appetite.

Also, before I head out ... if you're looking for some tragic comedy (or perhaps some comical tragedy), Gary Bettman can help you out with that if you read through the transcript of his pre-SCF news conference and interview, courtesy of Kukla's Korner. To say the least, trying to cut through all the double talk and frustratingly ambiguous answers will make you laugh, or cry, or possibly both as you sink in to a delusional fit of madness. But I think Bettman has that affect on most hockey fans, anyway.

Time for your daily Dis or Dat!


Arrr! A pirate's matinee movie for me!

Monday, May 28, 2007
Guess I took my sweet time updating this Monday, huh? Whoops! Well, I was out with a friend seeing a matinee showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, so I was a little preoccupied for much of the day. The movie? I liked it ... though it was hard to stay focused when the movie was just shy of three hours in length. That's just way too much for one sitting, especially when it's a sequel or part of a trilogy. That sort of length should be reserved for things like Saving Private Ryan, thank you.

So, a hybrid of revelations and speculation came out of the Dispatch over the weekend, when Aaron Portzline reported that the search had been seemingly narrowed down to four candidates. There are actually more than a couple surprises on such a small list, at least in my opinion.

First, there is the fact that Anaheim Ducks' Bob Murray is one of the final four. It isn't that he's not qualified, because he certainly is when you look at how much of a hand he has had in turning the Ducks into what they are alongside their GM Brian Burke. However it's the fact that he's still being considered even though the Ducks are still playing, meaning that for all intents and purposes, if he's the final choice, don't expect the Blue Jackets to go announcing their new GM until after the Stanley Cup Finals.

The other candidate from outside of the Blue Jackets organization is Neil Smith. Most people would probably recognize Smith's name due to the fact that he was involved in one of the weirder stories of the 2006-07 season, when Charles Wang -- owner of the New York Islanders -- handed him his pink slip after no more than 40 days on the job as Isles' GM. However in those 40 days, he was able to help lay the groundwork with some quick player shuffling and signings for the Islanders to ice a modestly good team, who surprised most everyone in the league when they clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference on the very last day of the regular season. Besides that, Smith was also the GM of the most recent Stanley Cup winning New York Rangers' team during the 1994 season, but remember that was way before the salary cap era, with a team which had plenty of money to use if it needed to.

Then comes the in-house candidates, which leaves me a little worried. Don Boyd, director of player personnel, and Interim GM Jim Clark both made the cut to round out the four candidates.

I've already expressed in previous entries my feelings about promoting from within the Jackets' organization. Michael Arace, in his blog, mused:

The in-house candidates, Clark and Boyd, don’t lack for legitimacy – they know this team, and, in different ways, they are intriguing – but it may be that they’re mentioned as finalists as a matter of good form. If you throw them out now, it’s something of a condemnation of the organization as it stands now.

Okay, fair enough. So maybe both Clark and Boyd had their names tossed out there for the sake of legitimizing the organization. But what I wonder is, if that is the case, do both need to be kept in the mix? While this "final four" label on these candidates is lax in terms of whether someone else can be added or removed from it (Portzline even says a name or two could be added to the list later), it probably leaves many a Jackets' fan -- myself included -- with a sense of dread that this so-called "organizational shake-up" will result in nothing but more of the same. Clark and Boyd might be unique people who are not Doug MacLean, but they were still a part of the very organization that's yet to even sniff a playoff berth, let alone a winning season.

There's still 25 days until the NHL Entry Draft comes to Columbus. The latest the Stanley Cup Finals could last is the 11th of June, leaving an 11 day cushion for Mike Priest to name the new GM if he decides that his pick is Murray, or he simply decides to wait until the playoffs are over to make a possibly bigger splash in the hockey media. We'll just have to see what happens, I guess.

You Don't Know Jack time, and now I'm off to get ready to watch tonight's game!

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Friday, May 25, 2007
So if I post two times in one day, does that mean I've made up for yesterday's no-post?

This is just a quickie, though, since I caught this while I was going through my list of daily webcomics. I regularly check out Filibuster Cartoons, whose artist and writer is Canadian and heavily into politics. Well, despite his lack of sports love, he decided to run a little with the whole Ottawa Senators angle today:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I can't help but laugh at the beaver in the oversized Sens' helmet.

Alright, I'm out for the day.

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I was never a fan of mustard on my hot dog, anyway.

I'm sorry, did I say I'd be back in action yesterday? I meant today. Yeah.

Ah well. That ends that nice streak of weekday posts. But you got to admit, managing to get back into being active with over two weeks of posts is a step in the right direction, eh? Either way, I needed a day to relax yesterday. I kicked back and played some video games (nothing like a little zombie slaughter with Resident Evil 4), exercised on Dance Dance Revolution (despite the name, I want to let everyone know I can't dance to save my life), and then took a 5 mile walk back and forth to go to the town center nearby and see Spider Man 3 in the evening (it was ... good. Not great, but also not bad, either).

So with a full day of R&R under my belt, what's the first topic that I should touch on this morning? How about ... the possible sale of the Nashville Predators to Co-CEO of Research in Motion Jim Balsille? I mean, it is a mildly important topic, isn't it?

So far, the speculation du jour is that the moment that Balsillie is given the league seal of approval for his $220 million bid (that's a wad of cash right there, and I bet ol' Bettman must be chomping at the bit for such a high priced sale since it'd help the league's image in terms of average franchise value), he'll be fixing to try and get the Predators out of Nashville as early as next year. I'll spare everyone the details concerning ticket sales, ways to keep the team in Nashville, and so on and so forth, since it's already been said plenty of times. In short, a 14,000 average attendance next season (by ticket sales, not gate attendance) means they stay, and can go if it doesn't hit that magic number.

To say the least, Nashville has been the biggest black eye to Bettman's 1999-2000 expansion drive which added the Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the aforementioned Nashville Predators. While Minnesota has gotten good financial results from a very passionate fanbase, Atlanta has finally broken through to making the playoffs for their first time ever and is also working to better right the ship with more efficient ownership and youth hockey growth, and Columbus -- despite their abysmal on-ice performance -- ranked 18th in the league in attendance and has had at least stable attendance prior to the lockout (when you're as bad as the Jackets and still sit 18th in attendance, you're doing something right), Nashville has just about suffered financially since the start. And the thing is, the Predators have probably been the most successful of these expansion brethren on the ice, with three consecutive playoff appearances.

Though I suppose the folks in Minnesota could make a legitimate argument that with one less season than the Predators, they've gotten two playoff berths, with one of those leading to a Cinderella run to the Western Conference Finals, while the Predators have flamed out all three times in the quarterfinals. But that's a debate for another day.

Either way, the team has failed in just about every way to draw fans, despite needing all of just three seasons to make it to the playoffs for the first time in their history. Attention to the team comes after everything from college basketball to NASCAR to football to ... well, a lot of things. It isn't even entirely that Nashville is a Southern market ... look at the Carolina Hurricanes, for example, which managed to capitalize decently off of its Stanley Cup championship despite being in a basketball hot bed. Or how about Tampa Bay, which has had probably even more success in drawing fans to them when you look at their strong attendance, with several games going beyond what is considered seat capacity?

I don't know whether Balsillie will be able to somehow move the Predators to where he wants to move them, which is Southern Ontario if you're going by what most every pundit in Canada is saying (and even many outside of the Great White North). There's also been talk about Bettman and other owners balking at the idea of someone coming in who wants to move a team back to Canada, meaning that even the appealing $220 million price tag on the Predators might not be enough.

But consider just how much the Predators have taken from the revenue-sharing agreement, and then think about the benefits of swallowing your pride, admitting that some markets just aren't able to handle a team, and move on to greener (you know, the color of money) pastures. So expansion didn't work in Nashville ... it's worked well so far in one of four locations, is starting to work in another one, and will work sooner or later in the third location once said third location franchise trots out a good product.

In any event, if they can manage to stay in Nashville and start to break even while drawing the required amount of average ticket sales? More power to the Predators, then. But if not? Well ... such is life.

Dis or Dat time, and peace out!

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This is not the hockey-related post you're looking for. *Jedi hand motion.*

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Sorry, folks. I got nothing today. I'm too busy trying to keep myself awake through the day after a long and pretty rough night. Suffice it to say, I feel like I could crash on the couch at any moment.

So before my cognitive abilities fail on me, here's your daily Dis or Dat!

Back in action tomorrow.

(P.S. 20,000 hits to AotO as of this morning? Awesome!)


Retaining the baggage.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Aaron Portzline reports in The Columbus Dispatch this morning that both Gord Murphy and Gary Agnew are close to being re-signed by the Blue Jackets for an additional two years, as well as goalie coach Clint Malarchuk.

As some of you might recall, I took Murphy to task just after the All-Star break, when the Blue Jackets had that embarrassing string of games where the penalty kill was about on par with a Tier-III junior hockey team. During that time, they managed to give up a disgusting amount of goals on the PK against some of the league's worst power play units, causing many a Blue Jackets' fan to cringe and close their eyes from that point on whenever the Jackets were hit with a penalty during a game.

While I certainly respect Hitch's desire to see both Agnew and Murphy return, I don't agree with this decision. This team had one of the lowest ranked power play and penalty killing units, and was also shut out the most times in a season in the modern NHL era while scoring one of the lowest amount of goals. To me, this screams that whatever the coordinators of both the offensive and defensive aspects are doing, is not working.

Obviously part of the blame should also be levied on the team and the players themselves, and not just on the coaching staff. After all, the blue line really was a patchwork of players all trying to piece something together, Rick Nash should have had a more productive year, free-agent acquisition Anson Carter turned out to be a bust of astronomical proportions, and Nikolai Zherdev apparently forgot how to even play hockey after he got his wad of cash from Doug MacLean.

But a good coach, be it the head or assistant, should know how to take what he has and turn it into something good ... or at least something respectable. And frankly, I don't think either assistant coach was capable of it.

Notice how I've left Malarchuk out of my criticism of the assistant coaches. Well, that's because I do believe he earned his salary, by helping Fredrik Norrena transition from international play to NHL-style play, on his way to giving the Jackets their first ever goalie with a winning record in a season. Let's not forget that Malarchuk is also who impenetrable and near-unbeatable Canuck's goalie Roberto Luongo had demanded continue to be his goaltending coach during his attempts at working out a deal with the Florida Panthers. And honestly, who am I to disagree with disputedly the best goalie in the league at the moment when it comes to what (or who) helped to make him as good as he is now?

On that note, I leave you with your daily Dis or Dat!

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Monday, May 21, 2007
Wow. Well ... where to start. How about with the numerous, numerous comments by both mainstream media and bloggers alike on what happened Saturday:

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's many, many other reactions out there, but I get the feeling that most people would prefer I don't turn this post in to nothing more than an archive for every single reaction to Saturday.

For those without any idea to what I am talking about when I refer to what happened on Saturday (and if you don't know, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog in the first place), I am referring to NBC's decision to drop the NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 between Ottawa and Buffalo after regulation. Why? Because of The Preakness, of course. Or rather, the 90 minute pre-Preakness pomp and commentary, chalk full of big advertising money and banter about if this is the year that we finally see a Triple Crown winner.

By the way, we won't see a Triple Crown winner this year, if anyone's curious.

I decided to hold back on posting for the length of the weekend, despite the fact that I had several opportunities to post. And believe me, I was really tempted to. I was ready to fly to the computer and launch into a blathering, blithering, mad rant and rave without regard or care for what I said.

But like I said, I held back. I figured that it'd be best to wait and see how other people react first, and take a look at the many different pieces of information that would be put together concerning this decision by NBC. After all, sometimes it's best to let the dust settle -- or at least stop whipping around as much as it was in the past 40 or so hours -- before you make any sorts of declarations.

There's really no real way for me to put in to text how I feel about this. I'm sort of at a loss for how to lay out what I want to say in the text medium of communication. As a result, I'm going to finally make a podcast again. A mini-podcast, but a podcast nonetheless. Sometimes expressing an opinion through verbal methods is the only way to make a more powerful point, and this seems to be one of those times where it's all but required.

You know the drill for downloading these for consumption. And if not, simply type in the three-letter code at the top right, wait 45 seconds, then click to download.

>> Podcast of the Ohio #3 <<

It's ranty, and it tends to jump from one thought to another. And it's also over 7 minutes in length. But I just couldn't find a better way to express exactly the type of response I wanted to convey.

I'm out for the day. Here's your weekly You Don't Know Jack!

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Out with the old, in the with new ... team website!

Friday, May 18, 2007
So I'm going to be moving the daily Dis or Dats to the bottom of every new post from now on. Sounds good, right? After all, this is a hockey blog first and foremost, and so the start of each post should involve the Blue Jackets, the NHL, or just hockey in general.

Or in this case ... the website of a hockey team!

Just yesterday, the new Columbus Blue Jackets website went live. Personal opinion on it? It works just fine. Obviously the template is of the same mold as the other new team sites that the NHL is putting out, but I'm pleasantly surprised that "local" banners and links were permitted on the new site.

For a little while, I was concerned that links to things such as the Dispatch Ice Haus and The Chillers, as well as links to the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets and The Blueline would be removed, because they were local aspects. But I get the feeling that if the NHL had done that a lot of teams, including the Jackets, would have balked at the uniform method of making team pages. After all, how can you promote your partners or other endeavors if you can't have a website that'd allow you to?

The larger headline picture/box on the left is appreciated, compared to the original version which had a smaller image and less space for text. I also like how they've now implemented the new team name font, as you can see with the top banner. The new font type might be standard fanfare, but when you compare it to the old font type with the wavy name? Well, it definitely looks a lot better.

One thing that is a boatload of failure, and this is the NHL's doing and not the Blue Jackets, is the Mobile Jackets page under Multimedia (you can see it's the NHL's doing by the fact that the link takes you to a site with the scheme). Only one wallpaper (which will soon be obsolete, anyway), and some of the cheesiest mobile ringtones I've ever heard. I mean ... wow. Just, wow. Listening to those things is like digging a rusty spoon into my ear to scoop out my brains with. If they're going to make these ringtones, the NHL may as well put a little effort in to it.

But then again, maybe enough people out there like some random yutz yelling "BLUE JACKETS RUULLLLE!" as a ringtone, for the low, low price of $1.99!

Before I wrap up, I just wanted to throw out that I'm hammering out some final details with a friend or two about how to go about setting up things for a blogger gathering at the NHL draft. Hard to believe it's just a little over a month away! I'm hoping that by sometime in the middle of next week I'll have something new to let everyone know about concerning it. Hopefully everyone's gotten their tickets! And don't worry, I have four spare ones for anyone who didn't want to deal with the registration process at Ticketmaster/the Blue Jackets website:

In any event, that's it from me. Here's the daily Dis or Dat, for everyone who stuck around through this post:

I have a full plate of things to do this weekend. Be back on Monday!

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Out the door, but not without a quick post!

Thursday, May 17, 2007
Another day, another Dis or Dat.

I don't have a lot of time this morning for a grandiose post, as I have to be out the door in a couple hours to take care of some errands much of the day, and still have to eat, shower, exercise, and change (not in that order, mind you), but I just wanted to comment on a couple of things really quickly.

First off, as was heard in the middle of the day yesterday, defensive prospect, 2005 2nd round pick Adam McQuaid has decided that he wanted to hardball the Blue Jackets with entry level contract salaries that the CBJ just could not handle during this time of transition, and thus was dealt to the Boston Bruins (who rather quickly were able to sign him, interestingly enough), in return for a 5th round pick in this year's draft.

Now I have a couple qualms with what apparently McQuaid did, considering that scouting reports had listed him as an up-and-coming good defensive prospect for the Jackets down the road (and we all know the Jackets desperately need some blue line help, even if it is later and now sooner). First off, it seems interesting to me that no sooner had Boston gotten their hands on McQuaid's rights, they were able to sign him in mere seconds. That leaves a rather bitter taste in my mouth ... as though ol' McQuaid and his agent were purposefully seeking a way to force Columbus to send him elsewhere, despite the fact that the Jackets are currently not in the best of positions to sign anyone, prospect or otherwise.

... and there was something else I wanted to say about this, but my brain just sort of deflated on the topic, since I'm in a bit of a hurry. I'll try to amend that second thought in when I come home later!

But besides prospect issues, some news on the GM search has finally reared its head. Aaron Portzline reports that Neil Smith, who was not only the 40-day GM of the New York Islanders this season but also the one who brought together the 1994 Stanley Cup-winning New York Rangers' team, has passed through the doors into Nationwide Arena for his interview with President Mike Priest.

From a bare minimal standpoint, Smith seems like a good person to interview. Regardless of what one may think of what happened on Long Island, Smith was in essence the person who put together the 2006-07 Islanders roster, with the exception of a tweak or two down the line. Now, mind you those tweaks that Smith didn't have a role in (Ryan Smyth) were what pushed the Isles into the playoffs on the last day of the season, but he was able to beat practically all expectations that pundits had about the ol' Isles in just 40 days (like John Buccigross thinking they'd finish dead last in the East). This shows me that he still has a bit of a magic touch, even after all that time off between his Rangers' GM role and short-lived Isles' GM role.

Beyond that, Don Boyd, the Jackets' director of player personnel, has already has interview ... and Jim Clark is still waiting on his, which looks to be coming sometime today or tomorrow. Additionally, pro scouting director Bob Strumm has tossed his hat into the ring, so we'll see where that goes, if anywhere.

And that's all I got, folks. I'm out!

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Counting for dummies, deja vu, and the NHL dropping the ball on online video.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I'm ashamed of you all, folks. I've been hearing about just how hard these Dis or Dats have been for a lot of you. You just can't handle a little pop culture trivia, can you? Can you!?

Fine, then. Let's give everyone here a Dis or Dat more on their level for today:

And when you're done with that, maybe we can all take a nap after having some milk and cookies!

Playful mocking of my (very few) wonderful readers aside, how about those Eastern Conference Finals, huh? And here I thought that I was crazy for saying that either Buffalo or Ottawa was going to pull off a series win in just five games. If things continue the way they've been going, we'll see a series sweep of the Sabres by sometime tonight!

Actually, as I watched Monday's game, I couldn't help but feel a sense of familiarity wash over me as the game progressed. The low shot count (15) ... the horrible power play (that even led to a 2-on-0 for the shorthanded Senators!) ... no scoring ... an absolutely discombobulated defense that was only kept in the game because of a goalie fighting for his dear life ...

... and then it hit me!:

Yeah, that's right. Welcome to the ice ... your Buffalo Yellow Sabres!!

Columbus Sabre Jackets, Buffalo Blue Sabres, and various other name plays are also acceptable. Either way, they played as bad as -- if not worse than -- the Blue Jackets prior to the hiring of Ken Hitchcock. Ironic, since it was a 1-0 loss that forced the Jackets' to make that coaching change. Maybe that means they'll fire Lindy Ruff before game four? Well, probably not ... but I have a feeling his job security is under some serious fire right about now over in Buffaslug, U.S.A.

But don't worry, Buffalo. Columbus is just a few hours drive away. And we have some pretty nice golf courses around here! Maybe Rick Nash and Daniel Briere can link up on the greens to decide off the ice who should have won the All-Star MVP award from this season, eh?

But enough about the lowly Sabres and their soon-to-be finished playoff run. I have a bone to pick with the NHL, and in particular, the way they've gone about their use of YouTube to branch out to potential hockey fans.

As most everybody knows by now, the NHL came to an agreement with YouTube some several months back, where the league would regularly upload clips of games, plays/goals/saves of the week, and even the occasional special video. For a while, this was good. In fact, for a time, I could regularly rely on NHL Video-related uploads to be in the Top Viewed slots on YouTube. At least in the Top 100.

But the thing about such a venture is that you can't just sit on your hands and expect simple recap clips to do the work for you.

Let me use as an example the NBA; for anyone who hasn't noticed, since the latter part of the basketball season, the NBA has been aggressively pursuing the use of YouTube for their own clips. Imitation is a form of flattery, I suppose, and so the NHL should feel flattered that their closest competitor in the sports market would follow in their footsteps.

But here's the thing ... here's the important part about taking advantage of YouTube while the rest of the professional sport's leagues are only now catching up in terms of internet video; the presentation is as important as the content.

Compare the user page for the NBA to the page for the NHL. A simple enough start to my point, where you'll see that even for something as simple as a userpage, the appearance can breed a positive impression if it looks professional, but a negative impression if it looks amateur.

But let's also compare the videos, too, since those are the most important aspects of YouTube and using the site in the first place. Take a look at an NBA video ... pretty much any NBA video. What do you see? That's right; they don't use a simple, re-aired feed of a game, or just splice together a bunch of top plays. No, they actually use their feed from NBA TV, which allows for commentary during their daily playoff coverage, as well as replaying of top plays.

And look at how fast they update, too! It's Wednesday, April 16th, and already they've been able to throw up their pre-game capsule of what to expect today, the recap of the previous day's games, and the top 10 plays from yesterday! Obviously the people who work for the NBA in this division are on the ball when it comes to quick yet quality updates.

The same can't be said for the NHL, sadly. And don't think I am taking for granted what I am getting from the NHL via YouTube, either ... because honestly, I'm happy that they're even trying to bring me video highlights and weekly/monthly top plays. But the problem is that when you compare it to other leagues such as the NBA, and what they're doing on sites like YouTube? It's like comparing peanuts to a chicken parmesan sandwich when trying to figure out what you want for dinner.

The frustrating part is that if the NHL actually had people who were willing and able to update their videos in the wee hours of the morning like the NBA does, this wouldn't be an issue. The NHL has the NHL Network, which means it isn't impossible for them to do something similar to, if not on par with, what the NBA does by using clips from NBA TV.

I don't know, man. It just seems to me like this whole "Once they see the product, they won't need all the bells and whistles" mentality of the NHL isn't working. They need to evolve their method of posting on YouTube ... not just stick with what they've been doing since the beginning.

But, hey. Just my opinion.

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Of jerseys, the draft, and ... George W. Bush invading an orchestra!?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Hey, a Dis or Dat about George W. Bush! This should be fun!

There isn't a damned thing to talk about when it comes to the Blue Jackets this morning. The lockdown of news coming about interviews for the vacant GM job continues (and so does Stan Fischler's man crush on Jim Clark over at The Maven's blog, which I still don't understand), meaning not even Lupin the III could sneak out with any information before being caught. I'd do anything right now to find out which outside candidates are scheduled to come to Columbus later this week. Even if the list I linked to yesterday by Michael Arace is indicative of who to expect, you never know who may pop up out of nowhere for an interview.

Beyond that, the NHL draft is just a little over a month away! ... and I still haven't updated the draft post, like I said I would! Crap, crap, crap!

But fortunately, my buddy and fellow CBJ blogger Drew at End of the Bench has recently informed me that he will be around for the draft, meaning I will be forcing him to help me with setting up this blogger get together. I'll be damned if I don't take his offer of help, since this whole idea was his in the first place. And besides, why waste a perfect opportunity for a wide variety of bloggers from all over to get together and ... well ... fight about which team is the superior team, right? One of the benefits of the draft being in Columbus, of course, is just how centrally located it is to a wide variety of other NHL teams. Just off the top of my head when it comes to bearable drives from Point A to Point B, you have ...

-Pittsburgh, PA (3 hours)
-Detroit, MI (3-4 hours)
-Chicago, IL (5-6 hours)
-Buffalo, NY (5-6 hours)
-Nashville, TN (6-7 hours)
-St. Louis, MO (6-7 hours)
-Toronto, ON (7 hours)
-North New Jersey (7-8 hours)
-Philadelphia, PA (7-8 hours)
-Raleigh-Durham, NC (8 hours)
-New York, NY (8-9 hours)
-Atlanta, GA (8-9 hours)
-Ottawa, ON (10-11 hours)

So right there you have half of the league when including Columbus! Eat your heart out, "I'm stranded nearly 13 hours by car from the closest other NHL team" Vancouver!

One final musing thought about the draft, though: as most people have probably read via Off Wing, the Washington Capitals are planning to have their new duds, with the heralded "Rbk EDGE Uniform System" technology, ready for an unveiling at a draft party. But besides that, this part of Eric's post about the unveiling piqued my interest when I saw it a couple weeks ago:

"The Capitals are the first team planning to have their new uniforms on hand at the NHL Entry Draft."

Reason enough to wonder about the rest of the league. In truth, the league lacks any sort of uniform policy (get it? Uniform policy about uniforms? Haha ... ha ... yeah ...) when it comes to team's unveiling of the new threads. In my opinion, this could seriously put the league in a bind come draft time, where one or two teams may have their jerseys ready to sell -- or at least enough to put on their draft picks -- while others won't even have a single jersey to give to their first round pick on the first day of the draft.

In all honestly, I think the league is seriously missing a perfect opportunity here by not getting right on this issue. Even if Rbk can't churn out the new jerseys quick enough to sell at the draft, how difficult is it to just make a couple jerseys for each team to have for their picks at the draft? It's the best opportunity for each team to unveil their new uniforms, especially when you consider just how perfectly located Columbus is and how accessible it is compared to other places where the NHL Entry Draft could be held. People coming from so many locations just to be there, first hand, to see their team's new uniforms? Imagine how awesome that'd be, not to mention the business it'd bring to the City of Columbus as a whole!

But again, just my opinion. Who knows, right? Maybe as time winds down and we get even closer to the draft, more teams will publicly and officially announce plans to unveil their uniforms at the draft, as well. We just have to wait and see.

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Rick Nash's father was a steamroller.

Monday, May 14, 2007
What's that? You thought I was not going to post today, since it was the middle of the afternoon and I still hadn't updated? Well, you thought wrong! For that, I have to smack you with a You Don't Know Jack!

So the IIHF World Championships came and went, and on Sunday Team Canada was crowned the champions of the world with a 4-2 win over Finland. Hip, hip, hooray!

As a Jackets' fan, the focus that you'll find here will be on Game MVP/Tournament MVP Rick Nash. I was lucky enough to catch the 3rd period via a TSN feed (thank you to the fine folks at HFBoards for posting it up), and see that absolutely staggering and amazing goal that Nasher pulled out of his magic hat to seal the deal against the late surging Fins. For those who didn't see it, check this baby out:

I mean ... good God, man! Look at that! He's being bear hugged and piggy backed on his way to the net!

But highlight reel goals that seal gold medal victories in world championships aside, let's also look at Nasher's numbers: He tied for the most goals on Team Canada with Matthew Lombardi ... he had the 2nd most points for Team Canada (only behind Lombardi) ... and this here is the real kicker for his statistics: he had the best +/- rating of anyone on Team Canada.

Let that sink in, folks. The player who, in past seasons, has been lambasted for poor defense (one look at his +/- in both his rookie and sophomore years can tell you why he was lambasted), led Team Canada in +/- rating for this tournament. You can't ignore this, especially when you consider the possible influence that defensive-minded coach Ken Hitchcock had on him prior to the end of the Blue Jackets' season.

By the way, let's not forget Jason Chimera, who looked like he was having the time of his life at the Worlds. He must have drowned Nasher and Shane Doan with more champagne than I've ever even drank in my whole life (which is actually pretty easy to beat) during the locker room celebration. And besides just partying up a storm, he actually played a damn good game, at one point leading the team in +/-, and finishing with a respectable 6 points.

Moving back to news in Columbus and on the Blue Jackets organization itself, the interview process looks to be officially started as of this week, with internal interviews of Don Boyd and Jim Clark on tap for the early part of it, followed by external, non-CBJ employee interviews to come later in the week. Michael Arace churns out a good list (and the odds of landing) each of the several candidates that are supposedly on Jackets' President Jim Priest's list.

I still find myself wondering about the apparent love that former Kings GM Dave Taylor is getting. I've already pointed out one issue in that while he's supposedly a good GM, his Kings' teams fell out of playoff contention in his final three years as GM. Maybe Arace will spot this and go into a little detail about what he likes about Taylor on his own blog -- that is, if he does like him, and isn't just reporting Taylor as the favorite based off of rumblings around the league or in Columbus or anywhere else.

Outside of that, I got nothing else for you today. I have some groceries to buy and some laundry to do. So off with you, now! Go on, shoo!

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Please leave a message at the tone ... *Beep.*

Friday, May 11, 2007
Dis or Dat: Purposely using the wrong term for "M.I.L.F." since 2007.

Unfortunately a last-minute call has me scrambling to get up and out of the apartment, as a friend of mine needs some help moving things in to storage before the end of the school year. I told them they still have nearly a month until The Ohio State University gets out, but he'd rather take care of it now then at the last minute. Feh. Feh!

So nothing except for your daily Dis or Dat from me today, since I'll be gone most of it, coupled with working tonight's Columbus Destroyers game at Nationwide (Arena Football, for those not in the know). And would you believe it, I posted something every weekday this week for the first time in ... probably ever, actually! Thank you, Dis or Dat, for giving me a gimmicky excuse to post!

I'm out, folks. Expect a quiet weekend from me. I'll be busy doing some things with the blog behind the scenes throughout tomorrow and Sunday, though.


This post needs more cowbell.

Thursday, May 10, 2007
Apparently David Hasslehoff continues to be videotaped doing the most embarrassing things, if today's Dis or Dat is any indication. I may just start relying on these as my source for pop culture news. Better than sleazy celebrity magazines, right?

It's a shame that I can't watch any more of the IIHF World Championships, since the rest of the games don't exactly mesh well with my work times the rest of this week. Even as we speak, Rick Nash and Jason Chimera have potted a point apiece in the ongoing game against Sweden. If I knew how to use proxy IPs I'd sneak a viewing of it through TSN Broadband, since only Canadian IPs are allowed to watch online. Oh well ... Team Canada's currently up 3-1 at the time of this writing, and so barring a collapse, I'll continue to be able to hear about Nasher and Chimmer tearing it up in Russia. Too bad I won't be able to see or hear any more about David Vyborny's exploits, as the Czech. team was thumped by Russia. But Finland plays Team USA later today, and maybe ol' Freddy Norrena will be between the pipes.

Back in North America, the Eastern Conference Finals start tonight against the two teams that the Blue Jackets whooped in the regular season; the Sabres and the Senators. Just think, it was a little over three months ago that hordes of Sabres fans Columbus left in a beer-chugging, car window-smashing, chuld abusing delusional rage after losing to the lowly Jackets. Man, those were some memories. Though the memories of just outright thrashing the Senators 6-2 a month before are also pretty delightful.

Man, I almost want to root for the Senators, based solely off of that nasty experience. Almost. But in the end, I really have no real preference to either team one way or the other. I just know that this is going to be one helluva series. Then again, I'm sure even people who don't follow hockey can assume that much, just from how much attention the bad blood between these teams got after that itsy bitsy kerfluffle they had near the end of February.

I'm not going to make any predictions about who will win ... but even so, I'm going to buck the trend of guesstimating that this will be some long, drawn-out series that goes the distance. Whoever wins is going to do it in five games.

Overtime: And on a completely unrelated subject, I caught Eric at Off Wing's comment about how the Jackets won't even sniff the playoffs until 2011 (that's a whole four seasons away, by the way) while he was making a point about how a penny saved now might just save a season somewhere down the road. I certainly agree with that ... but even so? Dude ... four seasons? Just ... dude. Dude, no. No, dude. Three seasons is my over/under bet, based off of hopefully freed cap space after this year. I'd go with four seasons if, say ... the new GM turns out to be Bobby Clarke or Craig Patrick, though.

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A trifecta of posts over three days? Amazing!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
You want the Dis or Dat? You want the Dis or Dat?! You can't handle the Dis or Dat!

In other news, the Detroit Red Wings beat the Sharks 2-0 last night, securing themselves a spot in the Western Conference Finals where they'll face the Anaheim Ducks. I'm sure what I'm about to say next won't come as a shock to any readers, but let me just make it abundantly clear that I want to see the Wings crash and burn in a miserably embarassing display of pathetic play against the Ducks. I do not want Hockeytown to win the Stanley Cup this season.

Of course you could presume I say this simply because I'm a Blue Jackets' fan, or that since I live in Columbus, OSU has affected my feelings towards that stupid state north of me, and thus resulted in having an innate loathing for all things Michigan. If anything, those would be just minor motivations.

To be frank, Detroit winning a Stanley Cup would not be good either for the NHL, or for fans in Detroit. Crazy logic considering just how much you hear about there being Red Wings fans across the U.S. due to the team's bandwagon appeal, huh? Mind you, this is just my humble opinion, and I'm no financial or marketing expert.

But look at what we already know: The Red Wings are desperately trying to sell out their home games, but to no avail. Of course we've all heard the reasons ... the price hike to tickets despite the sagging Detroit economy; the competition with an equally dominant Pistons team in the NBA, or the Tigers in the MLB, both of whom are taking a great, big bite in to that chewy, delicious sports market.

Furthermore, the Red Wings have been accused by some Detroit bloggers as being out of touch when it comes to marketing and fan appreciation. While other teams in the National Hockey League must regularly attempt to draw their fans through giveaways, appreciative gestures and special events, the Red Wings continue to sit on their hands and just take advantage of their playoff run. Three Stanley Cups in three years is nothing to disregard, but it isn't enough if you're still losing fans. It still amazes me how that "waiting list" that Detroit regularly touted for season tickets just ... vanished overnight.

Some things, a Stanley Cup just will not fix. A Stanley Cup for Detroit is not going to bring any more fans to their games. And do you know why? Ticket prices would once again raise the following season. If fans are already showing disapproval of the current ticket hike for these playoffs by not selling out the Joe, what makes you think they'll come back next season when those prices are made even higher, regardless of the fact that the Wings have a shiny, giant, silver trophy that doesn't float in Mario Lemieux's pool to their credit the previous season?

Detroit may be "Hockeytown", but unless it up and moves several dozens miles north in to Canadian territory through the wonders of magic relocation, the team can not afford to raise ticket prices any more, even with a new Stanley Cup win to add to their belt. After all, they're not in Toronto.

Sometimes, the best thing to happen to a team is to lose. And frankly, if Detroit wants to see Ilitch and team management do anything about the disconnection to their fans, both hardcore and casual, they need to make changes off the ice and in their financial and P.R. strategy. And for starters, they might want to try something like ... oh, I don't know ... having practices open to the public?

Besides ... I can't be the only one here who would like to see a new team win the Cup now that three of the four remaining teams have never won one, right?

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About Me

Name: Michael
Home: San Tan Valley, Arizona, United States
About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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