Quick hits leading into the weekend:
- No real developments concerning the Bettman/Balsillie story, save for a few anonymous quotes from NHL governors which are nothing more than posturing, and Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes calling the NHL a cartel. Yup, sounds about right. NHL executive Bill Daly shot back today calling the deal between Moyes and Balsillie “a sham“. Let the smear campaign begin anew!
- The Manny suspension still hasn’t fully sunk in.
- A-Rod comes back to the Yankees tonight. One weasel exits left, another enters stage right.
- Jamie Campbell: I do like him, but he needs to stop manufacturing go-to canned lines like “You can kiss this one goodbye!!”. Just react naturally, bud. You don’t want to turn into the White Sox home announcers: “Yyyyyyyessss!”
- A few other Campbell mis-steps during the first Jays/Angels game: at one point he pimped the text message service offered by the Jays, where you get score updates sent to your cell phone. Without missing a beat he goes right into “no need for text updates, though, seeing as I’ll just tell you the score: 7-0 Jays”. Jamie, the Jays marketing department (your colleagues) won’t be all that happy about you dismissing the service they have you trying to sell. Also, he thanked the Eastern viewers in the Maritimes and P.E.I. for staying up to watch this West coast game, only to add “no need to stay up now, though, as the Jays are up 7-0 and have the game well in hand”. This was in the second inning. Never mind the fact that lots of baseball fans enjoy the game no matter the score, if they’ve stayed up and somehow boost your ratings, don’t encourage them to call it a night!
- Bill Hohn is my least favourite umpire in baseball. He was behind the plate of that same Jays/Angels game, and if you were watching you may have noticed that it takes him at least a second after the ball has entered the catcher’s mitt to make a strike call. You shouldn’t need to think about it, Blue. Every time I’d be sitting there thinking “Wow, that looked like a – never mind”. Very aggravating.
- Since I piled on an announcer I actually like, here’s one for an announcer I’m at best tepid about. After Pens left winger Pascal Dupuis picked up a penalty late in the third period after six straight calls the other way, Greg Millen reacted thusly: “Six straight to Washington, you KNEW – it COULD happen – and…yes that was interference”. Mr. Millen, please have the courage of your convictions. What you were trying to say is this: “After six straight calls against the Caps, you knew that the referees were looking for any excuse to give Pittshburgh a penalty. That’s the way referees call the game in this league.” Instead, you chickened out of actually saying it. That betrays a fear of league authorities that too many on-air personalities harbour.
- For the record, I’ve never bought into the theory that referees, especially in hockey, try to spread penalty calls evenly between teams. If they do, they are doing a disservice to the game. Call ‘em as you see ‘em. I believe that theory has been spread by the former coaches and players (who occupy way too many analyst positions in sports broadcasting) who have always felt victimized by referees. It’s also a go-to excuse for feeble-minded fans to attribute blame to officials for their team’s shortcomings, and also to justify bad calls going their way as in: “Yup, we had that coming to us after you’ve fucked with us all game. Mr. Referee”.
- Toronto FC beat the Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Field in the first game of the Voyageurs Cup last Wednesday. The winner of the three team home-and-home tournament will represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League starting this fall. You’ve probably all heard of Montreal’s surprise run to the quarterfinal of the competition last year. The next game in the Voyageurs Cup schedule (also known by its corporate name of Nutrilite Canadian Championship) goes next Wednesday night at BMO Field. A fierce rivalry was born last year between the two teams facing off, Toronto FC and Montreal Impact. As far as I can tell the game will not be televised on any of the major networks. Sad, but understandable: it would be up against a potential game 7 of Caps/Pens and the Blue Jays v. Yankees.