Sunday, August 29, 2010
But it's time to get back to the Blue Jackets. Fortunately, it looks like I missed precious little last week. So let's recap.
Raffi Torres signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks. That puts Vancouver, with Torres, Manny Malhotra and Aaron Rome, ahead of Philadelphia (Nik Zherdev and Jody Shelley) in the NHL's "recent ex- Blue Jackets" challenge. No word on whether Vegas oddsmakers will be applying an "ex-Jackets factor" to their betting lines. Does baseball's "ex-Cubs factor" have a hockey rival?
Seriously, good for Raffi. The guy showed in Columbus that he's a warrior like few others. His presence on the ice is good for the game.
79 -- MAYBE -- IN 10?
The NHL/Versus/NBC and the Columbus Blue Jackets/Fox Sports Ohio announced their respective television schedules for the Boys in Union Blue, and it looks like my oh-so-simple yet much-more-difficult-than-anyone-can-really-comprehend proposal for all 82 Blue Jackets games in high-definition isn't going to happen in the team's 10th anniversary season. FSO will be carrying 75 games (not sure how many in HD yet), Versus will carry 3 games and NBC has an option on one game (but it would be surprising if NBC chose to show the CBJ-Devils games over the Penguins-Rangers game). If all the stars aligned, that would make 79 games, leaving 3 games totally untelevised.
One game, October 9, will be played in Sweden, so I'm not going to blame FSO for not making the trip. One hopes that they were creative enough to try to put together a broadcasting deal with the Comcast regional network in San Jose (who apparently IS sending a broadcast team to Sweden) to play their feed in Columbus - but the whole NewsCorp-Comcast (see: "Sharks v. Jets") mess makes such a novel idea a non-starter. Versus, on the other hand, should be showing EVERY overseas game, period. I thought this was a marquee event for the NHL? If you don't broadcast it, how can people see how special this whole thing is?
The other two games in question, November 2 (Montreal) and December 21 (Calgary), are both home games that were (regrettably) scheduled during Versus' weekly time-slot monopoly period. Versus is showing something else, so we don't get to watch the Jackets. Stupid, stupid, stupid move by the NHL and Versus. Anyway, consider these two games high on your "must see in person" list because, well, there's no other way that you can watch 'em.
On the bright side, we still have more games on television than the Nashville Predators. (Cue the Cheshire grin) Light the Lamp is correct, however, in pointing out the injustice done to the Preds (and especially all-world defenseman Shea Weber) by only giving Nashville a measly single game on Versus - and no games on NBC - this season. Certainly this lack of coverage can't help David Poile and the Preds with the upcoming Weber contract negotiations. I mean, how long does a superstar want to be "The Best Player You've Never Seen"? I mean, other than Rick Nash...
CREDENTIALS! GET YER CREDENTIALS!
Apparently the blogsphere is all abuzz over the treatment given to some bloggers vis a vis "media credentials" for NHL clubs. Matt Wagner at the The Cannon offers a very reasoned take on the whole situation.
I had a chance to talk with the Blue Jackets' Todd Sharrock at CannonFest about the issue of credentials for bloggers (interestingly, he brought it up, not me - and it was outside of the context of the aforementioned hysteria), and it sounds pretty clear with the CBJ: If you're a local blogger, don't expect much. If you're a Columbus-based writer for a league-wide site, they'll consider your request. Sharrock said that he had a couple other ideas for bloggers that he was working on, but I have not heard anything further. He's got a season to kick off and all, so I'm not upset or anything.
In the interest of putting it all out on the table, let me offer my $.02. I'm not interested in being a game reporter like the guys at the Dispatch or The Hockey Writers. Rick Gethin, Aaron Portzline, Tom Reed et al do a fine job, and I can't see how any investment of time on my part would elevate the state of Columbus Blue Jackets reporting beyond its current level. Besides, I'm not a reporter. I'm a blogger. I comment. I analyze. Putting me in the press box or in the interview room would more likely result in pieces resembling Hunter S. Thompson than Grantland Rice. That might make for the occasional curiosity piece but probably would get real old, real fast.
Also, I consider the fine work done by Fox Sports Ohio and the Blue Jackets radio network and ask myself, "Is the television coverage of press conferences and post-game interviews not enough to work with?" I can glean plenty from those segments, so being in the press horde loses some allure.
At some point, I might want to do a single piece here or there with the Blue Jackets' assistance. I'll contact the club, and we'll work it out on a one-by-one basis. And everyone else can do their thing in the press box, interview room and the locker room.
"TIME TO STEP UP" CONTINUES
I hope to be back on track with the "Time To Step Up" series tomorrow. It makes sense that, after wrapping up the forwards, I tackle the defensemen. Then goalies, coaches and front office. I'll readily admit that my analysis of defensemen won't be as deep as that of the forwards -- I'm just not as strong on this aspect of the game. Thus, I'll ask for your forgiveness in advance and also pray that the comments fill up with stronger analysis than mine.