The NHL is back and played to virtually packed houses on opening night. Who knew hockey fans were so accommodating? But even basking in the glow of
this successful return, there is a snarky question that I have to ask about hockey players. Can these folks get out of their own way?
According to a story over the weekend, they can't get manage to get an election done correctly even when the candidate in the election is unopposed.
Ted Saskin stood for election to replace Bob Goodenow as the NHLPA Executive Director. The election was held via a conference call and Saskin was
elected. Minor problem here; the NHLPA bylaws specifically call for an election by secret-ballot among the player reps for the teams. So, now the
NHLPA has to re-do the election using a secret ballot because some folks challenged the election.
Oh, one other point, Ted Saskin was Bob Goodenow's deputy in the organization that so brilliantly led the players through the self-inflicted trauma of
the strike/lockout last year. Not only was he nominated to continue on with the NHLPA, he was going to be doing that in an increased role. Didn't
anyone think it might be a good idea to look for someone else with "fresh ideas"? Maybe these guys really have suffered a few too many concussions.
So, how did the NHL do with its opening night on OLN cable network? [That's the Outdoor Life Network not the Outrageous Limbo Network by the way.]
Nationally, it drew a 0.4 rating. There's good news and bad news in there. That number is lower than ESPN ever got on opening night in its decade or
so of carrying the NHL. That number is higher than OLN ever drew on a Wednesday night. The bad news in the numbers is that the Los Angeles TV market
produced a local rating of 0.00 for opening night.
I know that I am absolutely fed up with "coach speak"; I presume that some of you are also. Every coach sounds like every other when we hear from
them; they all take the games one at a time and they all have to increase focus and energy in the team and they all think their fans are the greatest
in the world. Worse, they seem to be infecting most of their players with this malady. Just a hypothesis here, but maybe ESPN is significantly
responsible for "coach speak"/"player speak" since every utterance of a coach or player that is newsworthy [Translation: Not the usual pabulum
responses] will be played over and over again on ESPN and deconstructed by analysts with nothing better to do. Hmmm... Maybe I'd go "plain vanilla" in
my commentary under such circumstances - but I doubt it. In the current environment, it is refreshing to run across comments that deviate from "coach
speak" and/or "player speak" such as these.
The Orange County Register asked Dodger relief pitcher, Greg Gagne, about the Dodgers organization and the outlook for next season. Gagne lit off this
"We're the [honk]-ing Dodgers. We should be like the Yankees. The Yankees don't rebuild. They go out and get what they need to win. We have the
resources to be like that; 3.6 million fans came out this year. We get, what, $40 million from TV revenue without doing a thing.
"I don't want to be here if we're just going to play kids and rebuild. Yeah, I put my name on a contract, and I respect that. But the Dodgers' logo
was on top of that contract – not the Milwaukee Brewers or the Las Vegas 51s.
"I know what the Dodgers represent and this is not what it represents at all."
Memo to Greg Gagne:
Thank you for your candor. I suspect you won't be invited to any garden parties thrown by the Dodgers' owner or GM over the winter.
In the world of football, John McClain had this quote in his weekly NFL column in the Houston Chronicle. I have no idea how the subject came up but
Vikings running back, Mewelde Moore, was evidently asked about playing at Tulane with then-teammate J.P. Losman who is now the starting QB with the
Buffalo Bills. Moore also shot from the lip; here's what was in the Houston Chronicle:
"I don't like the way he played ball the last two years at Tulane. You are what you are. He's a great player and he'll be a great player once he plays
total team ball and sells out for the team and not himself. We could have been a great team our senior year and reaped the benefits.
"But he kind of took a big turn ... and he just kind of tanked. I didn't like that. I wish the best to him. I just don't have any interest in playing
Memo to Mewelde Moore:
While I may not share your assessment of Tulane's potential to have been a great team then, I'm sure that the Bills' braintrust is not thrilled to
hear what you have to say here and now. Whatever. Preach on, brother...
Larry Rodriguez is the cameraman who had to be hospitalized after being manhandled by Kenny Rogers earlier this summer. There's videotape evidence
that it happened so let's not get into literary-style deconstruction to determine just what may have been the sub-text of those events. Larry
Rodriguez just filed suit against Rogers in civil court for personal injuries suffered in an unprovoked attack. I sure wish the word "unprovoked"
wasn't there because that will surely become a huge focus of what happened back then; I'm sure someone will uncover the heretofore unrevealed fact
that Rodriguez had harsh words with the brother of the nephew of the greengrocer who sells Brussels sprouts to Kenny Rogers' maternal grand-aunt on
his father's side. With that background established, how can anyone call this "unprovoked"? Frankly, I hope Rodriguez gets big bucks from Rogers;
baseball didn't hit him nearly hard enough in the wallet to suit me.
However, Rodriguez also names the Texas Rangers in the lawsuit as being complicit in this action. The suit claims that the Rangers knew that Rogers
had anger management problems - as evidenced by Rogers allegedly throwing balls at photographers in Spring Training and threatening another video
cameraman prior to the assault on Rodriguez. That's where I get off the train folks. Unless Rogers can show that the Rangers goaded him into this
specific behavior, the blame belongs with Rogers and not the Rangers. Here's where this kind of legal extension can lead.
Imagine that I shot someone and injured him – not killed him
He then sues me in a civil action for injuries suffered and also names as co-defendants:
1. The gun manufacturer
2. The bullet manufacturer
3. The company that mined the lead for the bullet.
4. The company that made the pick swung by the miner.
5. The bologna maker whose product was the lunch that gave the miner the energy to swing the pick …
You get the idea. In a shooting, there is blame to be handed out; but it is to the shooter.
Here's a datum to convince you that baseball is on the upswing in terms of popular support. The Atlanta Braves drew more than 40,000 fans for their
opening game of the NLDS playoff series; that's still not a full house, but in years past, the Braves haven't come close to 40,000 fans for a first
round game. Turner Field seats just over 50,000 folks; so, Atlanta fans actually broke the 80% mark this year.
The Phillies announced that major league scout, Jimmy Stewart, will not have his contract renewed. Oh well, that must have been a fun job. I guess he
had a wonderful life
Finally, ESPN Magazine asked Cardinals pitcher, Chris Carpenter, to name his favorite pitcher: