Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some Hockey Thoughts

Well....can I first say how much I love this time of year? Hockey has now moved into it's second season and it's getting warm outside. I LOVE THIS! This is the time of year when moments are made. Hockey fans will become so consumed with the game and their team, it will be like nothing else matters. Every shot will make you jump from your seat. Every save makes you breath a sigh of relief. Every win makes you more and more excited, while every loss makes you feel deflated. You will lose your voice cheering every goal. It truely is the most wonderful time of the year for a hockey fan. With that being said, I'd like to share some thoughts on the opening week of this playoff year.

Flying Into Philadelphia
The Penguins have a 2-0 series lead heading into the game tomorrow with the Flyers in Philly. Although last nights OT was the first playoff hockey I have gotten to see all season, I have listened when I can to Mike Lange and it really sounds like the Pens are simply out playing the Flyers. The OT last night also showed how undiciplined and stupid the Flyers can be. Here is my prediction: If Pittsburgh wins game 3 tomorrow and takes a 3-0 series lead, look for this series to get ugly. Philly will try and beat the snot out of the Pens and take as many cheap shots as possible. Keep you fingers crossed the Pens can get out without any major injuries. If Philly wins game 3, it's going to be a whole new ballgame. No series lead is safe until it is won. Even some of the best teams have blown 2-0 and even 3-0 series leads. I doubt that happens to the Pens, but momentum in hockey can change with one big goal, a huge save or a devastating body check.

Chicago Revival
How great is it to see the Blackhawks back in the playoffs. I think it was great to see them play so well this season and to have the city behind them again. Let's not forget that home games used to be blacked out in Chicago. It's nice to see an origional six team doing well again.

Big Screen Gone?
By now most know that the big screen will not show games broadcast by NBC. I will let you read what the Tribune-Review (here) and Pittsburgh Post Gazette (here) reported and what Channel 11 (here) had to say in response. Basically what it boils down to, is that NBC has poor ratings and doesn't want it to suffer anymore than it already has. It's too bad. I always wanted to go to a game and watch it outside. It's funny that this is all happening now. If it was such a big deal why didn't it happen before this playoff season? I guess thats the way the cookie crumbles. It just shows however that the hockey has a poor TV package and NBC has a shitty broadcast team. Mike Emerick is the only person I can stand to listen to during their games to begin with.

Comments On The Super Genius
I was listening to Mark Madden before the Pens game on my way to work the other night before game 2. Madden does offer solid insight to hockey and the Penguins, but i admit some nights I love him and some nights I don't. Madden was pretty good last night. One caller specific was asking about an update on Jaromir Jagr possibly coming back to the Pens (won't happen for future reference). Madden simply responded by saying "what? Didn't you hear? He's playing tonight!" First of all, Jagr is the farthest person from anyones mind right now, so why bring him up? Second, don't worry about it, cuz he ain't comin back to Pittsburgh. If he does return to the NHL it will be to the team that will pay him the most.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Broadcasters Sometimes More Popular Than Players

More sad news coming from the baseball world today. Longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed away today. He was 73. You can read more about his sudden passing at the bottom of the page. While I sit here and watch the Pirates home opener, it makes me think about all of the great broadcasters in Pittsburgh and how lucky we are to have so many good ones.

With the Pirates, broadcasting legend Lanny Frattare just retired at the end of last season. I loved listening to Lanny. He had such a great voice for baseball. On nights that Lanny was doing radio, I almost always listened to him instead of watching the game. He was the face of the franchise for the last 15 seasons, which was no picnic with the continuous losing. He may have been more popular than some of the players as the losing continued. Lanny recently got a job as a professor at Waynesburg University and also did an interview with Channel 11 talking about his abuse of alcohol, which you can read about at the bottom of the page too. There is Noooo doubt about the fact that Lanny was loved by many Pirates fans and will be for a long time to come. Today Tim Nettinger is doing the game and he sounds great. It almost sounds like he should be doing a national broadcast for TBS or somthing like that, but I like him thus far.

The Penguins have had Mike Lange behind the microphone for the past 30 plus years and there is nothing that I love more than listening to him. Once Lange's voice comes over the airwaves saying "It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh" that alone is enough to get me ready for a game. The one thing I love about Lange though is that he pulls for the Pens, but he calls the game fairly. He isn't so much of a homer that he tries defending the Penguins when they mess up or somthing like that. I respect Lange so much for staying in Pittsburgh when he could have left after being fired. I recently found out that he had recieved offers prior to the lockout from ESPN and the Chicago Blackhawks to be their play-by-play person. The day Lange retires is the day a good thing comes to an end.

We have also had some other great broadcasters in Pittsburgh. Bob Prince broadcasted Pirates games for 28 years and was probably the most popular broadcaster in Pittsburgh history when he passed away in 1985. He had many different sayings, but he always ended a Bucco win with "we had em alllll the way." Myron Cope was also a legend broadcasting Steeler games. We really don't need to say much more about Myron other than he was very unique.

Below are some links that add to the article..... reports on the death of Harry Kalas
Lanny Frattare talks about his life after broadcasting
Gunnerisms from Bob Prince