Recent Comments by mikelbyl

Part 5: Why Not Quebec City?

Quebec City would be a very small market for the NHL and a lot of people will likely pooh-pooh the idea because of that fact - but regardless, Quebec is a really special city with an amazing level of civic pride (fuelled partly by the fact that Montreal is so dominant within the province) and an almost fanatical devotion to the *real* beautiful game of hockey.

As well, more than almost anywhere there are built-in rivalries that will probably immediately be re-born from the former incarnation of the Nordiques - not just with Montreal but also Boston (there are many now-small but long-standing linkages between Boston and Quebec City - including around a million Quebec migrants to Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the early 20th C, and there is talk of a high-speed rail link between the two). And I'm pretty sure a new rivalry with the Senators would grow pretty quickly.

PKP (shortened version of Pierre-Karl Peladeau) is batshitinsane, but rich as hell and owns what might be the best "media platform" for a sports team in the entire league.

The only problem from where I sit is that it would screw up the current Conference/Division organization, which is pretty perfect (at least in the East) at the moment.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:57 AM on July 09, 2010

Junior Team Canada captain suspended after head hit, faces possible criminal charges

This is the same guy who gave an elbow to a Swedish player as he came on to the ice and Cormier came off his shift in a warm-up game before the Jr Worlds earlier this month. Seems to have a problem with his elbows.

posted by mikelbyl at 02:50 PM on January 19, 2010

Texas Rangers Owner Tom Hicks Can't Make Payroll

Gillett sure sold the Canadiens quickly (in related news).

posted by mikelbyl at 10:25 PM on July 02, 2009

Petrino quits Falcons to take Arkansas job

I guess no one watched the game last night - the announcers were going on and on about what Petrino would have to do and how he was up to the task. Then Blank came on and talked about how they were going to work together to put things back together next season and wasn't it great that at least they had the coach to make it work. Then the announcers drafted a QB for him, going on and on about the long-term relationship between the kid and Petrino over several generations.

Pretty funny in light of this news!

posted by mikelbyl at 11:41 PM on December 11, 2007

Top ten sports brawls in sports history.

It's amazing to realize how many very prominent current superstar hockey players for Canada (and Russia) were in the 87 junior tournament and on the ice for the brawl. The Canadian roster is online at the hockeycanada site and includes such big names as Shanahan, Theo Fleury, Pierre Turgeon, Glen Wesley, and Mike Keane.

posted by mikelbyl at 05:36 PM on May 16, 2007

Twenty five years ago today

It has been all over the radio and newspapers in Montreal, but he's considered a local hero here, so it's not surprising. The most amazing thing about Gilles is that although his numbers - no world championships, only 7 career wins, etc. - are not great, I have read and heard many many driver laud him as one of the greatest of all time. And going back and seeing the footage of him - driving a full ground-effects car and locking the brakes and drifting around the corners like some kind of dirt-track driver (or snowmobiler!) is just amazing.

posted by mikelbyl at 05:14 PM on May 08, 2007

Pats Making Move For Moss

Is Reche Caldwell coming back too? I'd be a bit concerned about the Pats if there were two guys trying to put the "I" in Team. On the positive side, we'll get to see if Billick really is a Jedi. "These are not the primadonnas you're looking for..."

posted by mikelbyl at 11:42 AM on April 29, 2007

Newcastle wants England FA to pay more for Owen injuries.

"Amateur" status for athletes is beginning-of-the-19th-Century code for "make sure no poor people or working people can participate under any circumstances. When "amateur" was invented as a category in athletics, people who worked in any kind of physical labor were considered "professional" and were excluded. Athletics were to be kept for the upper classes, thankyouverymuch. So, "amateur" athletics was always a sham, and in no way should it be something to aspire to. As far as players getting hurt - I think the professional league in which someone plays should be responsible for setting a universal policy, so that no single team has anything to say about it - and that should include insuring against problems with as robust a policy as the owners agree that they require. If they have not done so in this case, well, tough luck.

posted by mikelbyl at 05:48 PM on April 20, 2007

Canadian Juniors win again!

The US was a very strong team at this competition and really gave Canada a run for its money in the semi-final, which came down to a shootout. As well Erik Johnson (D) and Patrick Kane (F) were both named tournament All-Stars and Johnson won an IIHF Best Player award as best D. The overall tournament MVP was Carey Price, Canada's goalie, who I am happy to say is a Canadiens draft pick.

posted by mikelbyl at 04:26 PM on January 05, 2007

Mario Williams is no Sam Bowie

As many great backs in the NFL as there are that hit the ground running as rookies, there are just as many who take a year or two to develop. I think Bush is a lucky football player in terms of putting together a long and productive career to be on a team where he doesn't have to be "the guy" - they have lots of talent and can easily afford to let Bush develop and learn while knowing that he doesn't have to be the guy to win them the game. People have drastically underestimating Deuce McAllister's value all season as well. Going into last season he was considered a top-5 feature back (and then proceeded to get injured, but still), and earlier in his career was tagged as one of the best receiving RBs as well. So there's a lot of overlap between Bush and McAllister, and with Colston and some guy named Joe Horn on the team, there are a couple other folks who can catch a pass in NOLA as well. Bush was always going to have a bigger job to adjust to the NFL than many backs have. When the hole opens up in the NFL, it opens up a little bit for a split second and then often closes back up. You have to hit that spot pretty precisely to make anything work - and for a fancy footwork back who isn't a run-through guy but a run-around guy, it takes time to adjust. I still think that as we get deeper into the second half of the season, Bush is going to make his presence felt in a big way. Already last Sunday his game was clearly getting better than most of his game in the beginning when he still seemed lost. Once it sinks in that he just has to keep working and working really hard at it, this kid is going to be huge.

posted by mikelbyl at 08:46 AM on November 14, 2006

Speculation about the Pumas

Argentina has definitely become a great rugby nation in the past 8 or so years. I don't think anyone else should be joining the Six Nations - in fact, I'm not sure Italy really fits in there either. But that's a different issue. Being in the Southern Hemisphere I think it makes more sense to join Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in an annual tourney. I guess the objection in the article about the fact that most Pumas play for French club teams is an issue - but then if they're not able or willing to overcome that internally, then maybe they *shouldn't* be tapped to join the tri-nations. There is a need for a greater range of annually scheduled competition in Rugby in general as well. Maybe instead of Italy, some of the other second-tier nations should be invited on a rotating basis to play in the 5/6-Nations? Perhaps an annual, Europe-based tournament with Italy, Romania, a couple of the other European minnows and Canada/US would be cool as well. I'm a little disappointed that the PacRim never really took off. Canada, the US and the other Pacific Rim countries except NZ but including Argentina would be a great tourney.

posted by mikelbyl at 09:20 AM on November 09, 2006

Madden Jinx?

I don't think Alexander's numbers were anything close to "horrible" thus far. 3 games at the beginning of the season is too small a sample size to really have much meaning. But then there's this: MVP Alexander out indefinitely with cracked bone in foot. There's your Madden jinx.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:57 PM on September 25, 2006

7 shutout night for 1st time in 30 years

I'm in a H2H Points-based fantasy league so I was psyched to note in the morning that Doug Davis - one of the rare times he made my lineup this year - had tossed such a gem. However this was blunted when I noted that my opponent had started Bronson Arroyo!

posted by mikelbyl at 12:10 PM on September 06, 2006

Requiem for a Rookie Card

When we used to get hockey and baseball cards they were for trading, but also for playing games with, winner take all, and definitely not for keeping in any kind of good condition. The best game was to bet on who could throw the card and get it closest to the wall from 5 yards or something. The precision measurement and astonishment if someone threw a leaner were priceless. Of course the winner kept all the cards thrown. Of course doubles were for bike spokes. Goes without saying. Coming from that context I always found it sad that by the late 80s or early 90s the kids didn't actually seem to enjoy the cards for their own sake but simply because they might have some kind of monetary value later on. Cards were more akin to butterfly collections than anything else. I'm kind of glad that the market collapsed. Maybe kids will go back to playing with the cards like they used to.

posted by mikelbyl at 02:39 PM on July 25, 2006

Is Mac deserving?

I don't think he should get in on the first ballot, not because of steroids but because he wasn't a HOF caliber player. I think there is an argument to slide him in if a relatively weak year comes along due to his achievements hitting home runs. But other than those HRs, he never actually won much of anything. He was never the MVP, he was not great fielder, never really hit for average at all (he only had 2 full season over .300). He won a WS but only hit 5 HRs total in his playoff career (10 series - 42 games).

posted by mikelbyl at 01:37 PM on July 24, 2006

Her Pride Was Really Hurt

I have nothing but sympathy, and agree that the anger directed at her in the OP is way over the top... But I think this whole attempt is very premature for Wie. I think she should either become dominant in the LPGA or go to Q-School like the rest of the would-be PGA tour golfers. And if I were the LPGA, I would set a limit on PGA events that you can compete in before you are disqualified from joining that tour.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:09 AM on July 15, 2006

Best... and worst buys in Baseball

I don't think ARod belongs anywhere near that list. He's having a below-par season, but everyone goes up and down. Beltre is another story altogether. Clearly in the "should have known better" category - he was a perennial deep disappointment who in 5 years never came even close to being an elite player though always touted as a breakout candidate. Then ONE season of truly great performance and that's what Seattle decided was the "Real" Beltre when they brought him in. GMs who do that get what they deserve - most of the time, a bust.

posted by mikelbyl at 09:21 AM on July 15, 2006

France stop the samba.

France was great against Brazil, and it was wonderful to see Zidane in such good form - and Ribery as well. But I think their hands are going to be full with Portugal, and I don't think Figo will be denied. And love him or hate him - I think he's an embarrassment - Cristiano Ronaldo has been one of the top 3 or 4 players in the tournament so far and I expect him to be in top form. On the other side, I think Italy has been a revelation simply because they're NOT the using most cynical and negative game plan, as Italy is prone to do most of the time. In fact against the US I even saw multiple Azzuri forget to dive in the box! I think notwithstanding that however, Germany will have a hefty push from their hometown supporters and they are clearly on form regardless. So - Germany - Portugal, with Germany probably taking the trophy at the end.

posted by mikelbyl at 06:58 AM on July 03, 2006

Cuban on ice with a side of Marino

The other owners would HATE to have Cuban (and Marino) as a colleague, but everyone else even tangentially related to hockey should be very very happy about the prospect. The only issue is how badly ownership in Boston and Chicago will want to try to teach him a lesson (one they need to be taught).

posted by mikelbyl at 10:05 PM on June 27, 2006

Beckham spills guts for England;

I think diving is a worse foul than many of the tackling fouls, in which the player does make an honest effort to play the ball but is a split second too late. One of Portugal's last cards (Nuno Valente?) came on a play in which the tackler did actually play the ball before the man got touched though he did play across the opposing player and did make contact with is feet/ankles with his shin. But he got the ball first, very clearly. Meanwhile anytime a Dutch player got near the box it looked for all the world like a sniper had shot from the top row or something. Pathetic.

posted by mikelbyl at 05:56 AM on June 26, 2006

Who Says a Tie is a Bad Thing?

It was a great game, and the story was definitely NOT the lame-o "American grit" story that they were peddling after McBride's injury and after the second send-off. For long periods in the first half the US was totally dominating the play and imposing their will on Italy in the midfield by stringing together very nice passes and always looking for an attack possibility. No, this wasn't innate skill vs raw grit - this was a game between teams that each had strengths and weaknesses.

posted by mikelbyl at 11:22 PM on June 17, 2006

English fans turn win into 'home' match

If you want to be enthralled by exciting soccer then DO NOT watch an Italy game. The most negative side in football today, and for the past several years. Their primary goal is to achieve a 0-0 tie at the beginning of every game - a win is a bonus.

posted by mikelbyl at 09:46 PM on June 11, 2006

Tigers: Best in baseball

Anyone want to bet that the Tigers miss the playoffs?

posted by mikelbyl at 02:14 PM on May 17, 2006

Fear the flying V

Calm down man, I never said Miller wasn't as good as Emery or that he was a weak spot on the team. I just wonder if the long shot from Pothier wasn't a hint at how to beat a clearly excellent goalie.

posted by mikelbyl at 02:49 PM on May 12, 2006

Fear the flying V

Pierre McGuire still likes Breeze-by! I think the Avs have a long rebuilding process to undertake. And I think Sakic isn't going to be there any more the next time they're really good. Theodore is no more than a caretaker goalie, so if they expect him there for a while, it might be a while before they can come back to prominence. I'm kind of astonished at the love for the Ducks I've seen in the media. Bryzgalin or whatever you call him is great, sure, and it's nice that Teemu is back and all that - but the best team in the West by far in these playoffs has been San Jose, and they are underperforming, to date. In the East I think Buffalo is still at risk. I'm not an Ottawa fan though I live here now, but if anyone has the wherewithal to overcome a three-0 deficit it's them. I wonder if Pothier's goal demonstrates a potential weakness on the part of Miller? I guess we'll see on Saturday. IMO if the Sens don't blow them out, that means Buffalo will catch a break and win the series.

posted by mikelbyl at 12:57 PM on May 12, 2006

Malkin transfer could be costly

I think the player should pay. If he signed a contract without an out clause and he wishes to no longer honour that contract, he should pay for the privilege.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:47 PM on May 01, 2006

NFL suspends Ricky Williams for 2006.

I think this whole thing is making the NFL drug policies seem ridiculous. The whole "weed" prohibition is just some misguided attempt to do something "for the children" but has nothing to do with the game on the field. Meanwhile you have guys dying on the practice field due to pseudo-ephedrine and other OTC speed. WRT to the noble herb I think that teams should definitely have their own internal policy based on the idea that their star guys shouldn't be arrested by the local cops, but it shouldn't have anything to do with the NFL and be lumped in with steroids or coke or anything that actually helps someone be a better player. IOW, if Ricky wants to smoke the herb, and he can still play well enough despite this, the NFL should have nothing to say about it. His team should insist that it be discreet. With that in mind, this test should never have been viewed in this way - as a 4th contravention. Anyhow the Dolphins still have Ronnie Brown, so it won't make much of a difference to them overall, except maybe if they had wanted to trade Ricky.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:19 AM on April 26, 2006

Breakout year for MLS?

Why forget about relegation though? What's the argument? Montreal and Miami are both clearly better potential markets than MOST in MLS - well I am making assumptions about the Central and South American populations in Miami. But I know Montreal, and it's a soccer-mad city that has a built in fan base that has already supported a team for years. Toronto as well - there's no doubt that it could support at least one team.

posted by mikelbyl at 11:11 PM on April 24, 2006

Tiger takes the plunge

Bungee jumping is about as dangerous as getting out of bed in the morning. I say good for Tiger to have taken the time with is caddie and also with his Dad.

posted by mikelbyl at 02:54 PM on April 24, 2006

Breakout year for MLS?

I think the first challenge of MLS should be to woo the hard-core soccer fan, not the other-NA-sportsfan, and to do so seems pretty tough. First of all the European system of tiered leagues with relegation and promotion is important in that the hard-core soccer fan recognizes that as the format for top-flight soccer and hasn't seemed to accept a more North American style static league with geographic divisions and playoffs format. The A-League and the whole USL system is there - MLS shouldn't be as completely independent as it is right now, undercutting the other system. The benefit of this is that it widens the catchment area of the whole thing because cities like Montreal and Miami - and of course Toronto - are big time soccer markets but are currently outside of the whole thing. Rochester is small but they have had a passionate following for the Rhinos as I understand it - why not tap into that rather than trying to subvert it? The other thing would be to fix the season so that it matches the European season and try and gain entry to the Champion's leagues and the like in Europe. It would be a huge undertaking to do something like that, and the teams likely wouldn't be very competitive, but MLS is nowhere until it is a real league that can compete with some of the European national leagues at the top level.

posted by mikelbyl at 02:51 PM on April 24, 2006

How to win your playoff hockey pool

The article was right that playoff pools are a lot more fun than regular season pools because you have to pick not only scorers but scorers on teams that will go deep. My draft is tonight - straight scoring, no goalies or other computer-age stuff - and I think everyone in it has always competed to get the guys from the teams that will do well - so we already do what the statistician suggests. I think that's pretty common actually. My personal approach is not to worry too much about who will get to the final but make sure I have some balance of players from the 4 teams in the Conference finals. Which will be Ottawa and NJ in the East and SJ and Calgary in the West (though Detroit - SJ is pretty much a tossup).

posted by mikelbyl at 04:18 PM on April 19, 2006

Renegades Up for Grabs

It's especially bad this time around because the re-establishment of the Rough Riders, er, Renegades, was hoped to be the beginning of a new period of stability that I think people thought would end up establishing at least one more team in Quebec City and possibly two, adding Halifax to the mix. The province of Quebec has become football mad in the past 5 years since the Als came back and with the wild popularity of CIAU football at Laval and at the U of Montreal. As usual, though, the CFL made the quick decision not the good decision based on what they hoped might happen, not what should have been predicted.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:07 AM on April 13, 2006

Would a base on balls be a Riverwalk?

I think the whole MLB business structure became (through the 90s, and partly driven by the dot-com and Enron booms) an elaborate way for profit-driven businessmen to extract freebies from cities and call it "community support". That's why Montreal was never going to happen, because no matter to what levels the attendance figures rose or fell, the government was never going to build and essentially GIVE a stadium to anyone. Nor will they in Toronto, if they ever decide that the Skydome isn't adequate. The problem for MLB is that more and more cities are going to say the same thing - NO. While there are still marginally reasonable markets kicking around, MLB can just play the musical chairs game, but at some point they'll run out of empty chairs, and it's going to change everything. It always mystifies me that in the free-market capitalist US everyone falls all over themselves to GIVE billionaires freebie subsidies and corporate welfare. And congratulate themselves while doing it!

posted by mikelbyl at 01:12 PM on April 12, 2006

Would a base on balls be a Riverwalk?

I think it's cute that people still think that Loria just wants to own a team and succeed with it. Uh, no. This is his job - to take shitty franchises, remove any lingering value, destroy any and all community goodwill that might be left, and thus remove any impediments to contracting or moving them. If Loria comes to your town, think of how people used to respond to a meeting request from Norm on Cheers. Panic! Your team is about to disappear.

posted by mikelbyl at 12:15 PM on April 12, 2006

Take Me Out to the Brawl Game

I just love how Floyd plays the victim in all of this. All-pro. Oh I forgot though, it's his teammate who hit 6 Nats last time around. At that, I have no problem with Pedro and his pitching. I think hitters get way overly touchy when pitchers want to control the inside part of the plate. Most of these guys seem like they might have been afraid of the old-school pitchers from the 50s and 60s before they lowered the mound.

posted by mikelbyl at 09:50 AM on April 10, 2006

Cupless in Toronto

I was at a wedding on Vancouver Island last summer; a beautiful time, languid days and cool nights, good friends, a wonderful event. The "kids" - all approaching 40 - were all accommodated in one particular roadside motel and nightly, after the events of the day and evening, we'd crack open a few dozen beers and speculate on the fact that we were finally going to get a hockey season again. Most everyone there has lived for at least 5 and in some cases 10 or 12 years in Montreal. People had brought with them old-time loyalties to Detroit, to Ottawa, to Vancouver - but the consensus was that the Habs were most people's team, period. Except for the groom's brother. Who insisted - loudly, and getting louder the more beers were consumed - that the Habs couldn't hold a candle to the Leafs, not this year, not any year. The response was realistic - at that time we had no idea if the Habs would be a decent team this year - and we said so. But... no matter how mediocre the Habs have been this year, and how much we could predict it - it was entirely predictable that the Leafs would suck. The consensus, bottom-line response: 'why don't you come to Montreal for our annual regular season pool?' For Leafs fans are not only rabid, they are hockey-pool homers and easy marks to be separated from their $20 entry fee. THAT you can take to the bank, year after year.

posted by mikelbyl at 03:03 PM on April 03, 2006

Stevie Y. quietly moves up the list...again

I'm with Weedy on this, and I'll add that most of the comments about Yzerman here are about the late-edition Stevie Y, not the guy who scored most of the goals. For the first 10 or so years of Yzerman's career, before Scotty Bowman went to Detroit, Yzerman was widely and rightly considered an extremely talented but ultimately one-dimensional scoring machine. He was more comparable to Jari Kurri than Wayne Gretzky. He had a great deal more promise than that, though, and Scotty Bowman helped him to realize this potential and become an all-around player. This took a lot from Yzerman, because if you look at his stats, they dropped drastically from 92-93 (pre-Bowman) to 95-96 (his first non-injury-year post-Bowman). As well his penalty minutes went up quite a bit, an indicator that he was being much more responsible in all phases of the game. Steve Yzerman was and is easily one of the top 10 players ever, IMO, but not until he became a complete hockey player and leader in the second half of his career.

posted by mikelbyl at 11:03 PM on April 02, 2006

Why the Leafs Stink

The real problem was noted at the very beginning of the timeline - the Leafs brain trust actually thought, in April of 2004, that the team was a strong one, strong enough to serve as a platform for the future. Instead it was a slap-dash mashup of old stars who could still play, but whose best-before date had long since passed. It looked OK, but beneath the surface there wasn't much there, and certainly nothing compared to the Senators who they had nevertheless just beaten. Unfortunately that didn't stop Leafs fans from trying to tell everyone, loudly, how great their team was before this season got started.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:04 AM on March 28, 2006

Soriano refuses to play outfield for Nationals

What part of this has to do with MLB, the union, and job assignments as a labor relations issue? Remember MLB owns the Nats, and given the example of Loria in Montreal and now in FLA***, it is clearly not above MLB to engage in some pretty shady stuff to take care of business. MLB knows that there's this ongoing problem with players not taking orders from management in an area that has clearly been collectively bargained (i.e., who plays where). BUT - in the past few years, it's clear that there have been many very difficult cases of players 'insisting' on not changing positions. To Selig and the owners, this is a huge problem. How to deal with this? The Braves don't want to force the issue with Chipper, because there's a real owner there with real money and a real chance to win again. Same goes for the rest - except the Nats. So, lickety-split Soriano is a National, which makes NO sense even if you assume (and you'd be smart to assume) that Vidro gets hurt before the end of July. And now MLB can play out its power game against the union and put a star on the disqualified list. The union will then grieve it and the whole thing can play out like any labor relations issue. As far as that goes, if Soriano had a leg to stand on, he'd have heard from his union rep that the rule in almost all job assignment cases is to "work now, grieve later". (*** Loria and Samson are clearly 'fixers' for the league who go into struggling franchises, strip them of any remaining value for a large fee, take the heat from the locals, and move on.)

posted by mikelbyl at 11:34 PM on March 21, 2006

Soriano refuses to play outfield for Nationals

Ha! I knew Soriano was a butthead. Anyone who has moved like he has so young in his career is clearly possessed of some important defect that affects teammates. I hope Vidro finds a way to stay healthy for a whole season - he's a far superior fielder to Soriano and arguably as good a hitter (though with less power) when he's in good shape.

posted by mikelbyl at 11:12 PM on March 20, 2006

Shit, fan. Fan, shit.

Amateur, that's where we disagree. I think 10% is a huge scandal, the biggest scandal in the history of the game after the Black Sox. I think it totally changed the game in ways that we're only starting to understand now.

posted by mikelbyl at 08:20 AM on March 08, 2006

Shit, fan. Fan, shit.

If anyone thinks that it was just a few guys on 'Roids - Raffy, Bonds, three or four more - I think you're clearly on something yourself. The Steroid story in MLB isn't that a couple guys juiced and broke some records - the story is that a few people started experimenting years ago (probably in the 80s), it remained very underground for quite a while, and then someone was looking for a magic bullet to re-start things after the disastrous 94 strike and a down 95 season. After that point, say 96 or 97, steroids started to be widely used among hitters. Eventually it will come out - we're talking 10% or more of hitters in MLB on the juice at its peak. The difference is that not everyone was maniacal about it like Bonds seems to have been - though it definitely should be noted that Bonds may very well have let the initial Steroid push happen around him - and then got religion when he saw guys he considered inferior to him as players (and clearly they were) breaking the biggest records in the game.

posted by mikelbyl at 07:42 AM on March 08, 2006

Canadian Men Triumphantly Capture Curling Gold at Torino

The other thing is that in curling teams often take themselves OUT of it if it becomes possible to score just one point. The advantage of having last rock is so large that scoring a single point often isn't worth losing that advantage. Finland would have had last rock advantage after the 6 point end, and Canada could have (if it thought Finland was going to try to mount a comeback), helped Finland to score a single or even a couple of points, thus regaining last rock advantage and then being able to prevent Finland from progressing any further.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:45 AM on February 26, 2006

The Olympics We Missed

The only trick with the CBC is that they covered stuff live all day. The whole schedule, pretty much, was given over to the Olympics every day from 8am to 11pm. They still had newscasts and stuff, but otherwise, it was all Olympics all the time. This is smart in two ways - first of all it uses resources that were already paid for - rights, crews, on-air talent. None of them would have been paid more or less for different coverage - that was most likely a fixed cost, and by not using a lot of it, you don't get as much benefit as you could. The second thing is huge though. It's not 1984. TV is much more available than it was before. The WWW can keep people up to date on schedules and such. And not everyone works in a straight office in a cubicle - people's lives are more flexible. So by airing lots during the day they had a chance to create buzz both in general and for specific events. How many people caught something during the day and came home and said to the family, 'hey you have to check out this great event tonight.'

posted by mikelbyl at 10:31 AM on February 26, 2006

Bode "rocked" at the Olympics

1. If you think Bode is the only skier who parties, and parties hard, then you're dreaming. And sadly deluded. 2. If you want your athletes to be mindless automotons who call everyone "coach" then you're going to miss a lot of winners. 3. Bode Miller is still a better skier than any of them. And way better in the men's circuit than Picabo Street ever was on the women's.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:20 AM on February 26, 2006

Behavior will bring change to U.S. Ski Team

Stick in the mud.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:13 AM on February 26, 2006

Said it before, now someone agrees.

Who WANTS a so-called "purely amateur" games? It's not serious. The Olympics is the number one sporting brand in the world, and a huge money making machine and you guys want it to be cute and cuddly? Screw that. The Olympics are about competition at the highest level in each sport, and that's exactly as it should be and in line with the Olympic values. The fact that these values were trumped by elitist views of "gentlemen only" for years and then stymied by the rise of the Eastern Bloc is not an argument for a return to phony amateurism and elitism, they're an argument against it. Furthermore, Men's Ice Hockey is the best argument I have seen for professionalism in the Olympics, with Men's Basketball right behind. In the era of the Dream Team the basketball tournament was a joke - but it's not a joke anymore, and any American who doesn't get that hasn't been paying attention. Hockey has always been more balanced than that, but even in just 4 years the pool has become much stronger and now you have NHL players from each of the countries and clearly quite high level elite league in Europe as well. At this rate, by the next Olympics in Vancouver we'll have a tournament in which any team in the draw could, on the day, beat any other, and the winner will be the team that is the most ON from the earliest date in the competition. What could be wrong with that?

posted by mikelbyl at 10:43 PM on February 20, 2006

Davis blazes trail with gold

From what I have read, Shani has never in his life raced in a team pursuit race. New event or not, I can't imagine anyone criticizing him for deciding not to do something he'd never tried before.

posted by mikelbyl at 03:30 PM on February 19, 2006

US loses another 2-1 game

Eric Cole sure looked good today.

posted by mikelbyl at 03:26 PM on February 19, 2006

Men's hockey: Canada falls to Switzerland

It's an amazing result, and again it goes to prove how much the Men's game has come along since the integration of the European game into the NHL. And it's not just good goalies, though that helps - the teams themselves are good. In the long run this kind of wake-up call might be what the Canadians needed. Hope so.

posted by mikelbyl at 12:33 PM on February 18, 2006

Welcome to Soap Opera Saturday in Torino

No for Bode today - skied through a gate about halfway down. Guay for Canada in 4th in the Men's Super-G and Aamodt repeats with the Herminator in 2nd.

posted by mikelbyl at 09:27 AM on February 18, 2006

Oh, Those Wacky Snowboarders (SPOILER)

I saw her interviewed by Costas and she said she was so excited and that was a part of it. She didn't say she had huge regrets, and seemed to resent the implication that she should have huge regrets. She came to the Olympics and won a medal - what could be better than that? There's not much difference between silver and gold. But though it was showboating and/or celebratory, I wouldn't say it was at all "in your face". It was excitement and fun - and style is part of the game. An unwritten rule, if you will. elovrich - as far as the competition goes, what I'm suggesting is that in most sports - say, speed skating - the fastest, best-trained, most experienced person wins most of the time. Yes there are freaky things that happen, but in general, you can have quite a bit of confidence that on any particular day, the winner wasn't just the winner against the competition but was objectively the fastest or best out there. In SBX it's more random than that. Lots of the people in the Semis in both men's and women's were NOT in any way objectively faster or better - they just had more luck in their run. There aren't many sports in which you can say that, when the implications surrounding victory are so limited.

posted by mikelbyl at 07:28 AM on February 18, 2006

Oh, Those Wacky Snowboarders (SPOILER)

elovrich, I get your point and for me personally, the guy who barely if at all betrays that he's just scored and hands the ref the ball is the guy I want on my team. I played rugby for god's sake - showboating is severely disciplined in that sport. By your OWN team members. Still - "castigated"? She made a stupid maneuver that was totally in line with the spirit of her sport, in a sport in which even winning is no indication of some innate superiority to anyone else in the race (or some who bowed out before the eliminations). Not that big a deal. It's about the context, and the context of the Olympics doesn't trump the context of the sport. Not THAT sport, anyhow. And in this sport, being a bit of a flake is celebrated, is part of the basic dna of the whole thing from the first snowboard maker (usually = Jake Burton) on down. Remember this is the sport whose first men's gold medallist was suspended, then reinstated, for having tested positive for pot, but insisting that it was second hand pot smoke only (and because the FIS doesn't test for pot so it wasn't illegal for them). This is a sport whose most recent men's halfpipe winner is called "the Flying Tomato". A sport where legends who pretty much invented the sport are still involved - like Mark Fawcett, Jacey-Jay Anderson's coach. So yeah, I think it's bush league when it goes wrong, but it's as much a part of the sport as a slam dunk is in basketball.

posted by mikelbyl at 12:08 AM on February 18, 2006

Oh, Those Wacky Snowboarders (SPOILER)

The non-snow-sports analogy that seems best is when a top WR is about to cross the line for a TD after a long run following a nice long reception. The WR will often take a couple of extra long strides or change his running pace somewhat or drag a couple toes before going into the endzone. That's showboating, but not the same as TO signing the ball before chucking it or anything. Does the WR ever screw it up? Sure we've seen fumbles and stuff on the line, truly lame results. And no one would recommend it for every time. But still, it's part of the game. And if it is so for WRs a little, then it is for snowboarders a lot.

posted by mikelbyl at 05:28 PM on February 17, 2006

Sweden vs USA Women's Hockey Semifinal

According to CBC Radio even Ruggiero has been quoted as saying that in the long run this is a good thing for Women's hockey. Teams like Finland and Sweden have to start competing for this to become a real world sport. I think Russia is still too far away unfortunately - very few players there, it seems.

posted by mikelbyl at 05:22 PM on February 17, 2006

Oh, Those Wacky Snowboarders (SPOILER)

I saw this thing live, or what passed for live on the CBC this morning, and it didn't really seem much like showboating at the time. It was really pretty subtle, what she did. Even more than that you have to remember that this is the sport, and styling IS a part of the sport overall and no one not even the Lympics can change that. If anything though I would have to suggest reconsidering the sport altogether. It just seemed so random to me. Sometimes in some heats there was someone who was clearly faster than the rest (like Dominique Maltais in her Semi heat), and that person can usually stay out of trouble. But if not - and the final is a great example of this - there is very little correspondence between success and differences in skill. I guess that's OK in a sport, but I prefer "OK, this person did X or Y better than the rest, and on this day that led to victory." In SBX it's random.

posted by mikelbyl at 05:02 PM on February 17, 2006

Olympic Men's Hockey Confidence Points Pick 'Em

Whoops - I think I drastically overestimated the Swedes and understimated the Russkies.

posted by mikelbyl at 01:22 PM on February 16, 2006

Olympic Men's Hockey Confidence Points Pick 'Em

I think Sweden is a better offensive and defensive team than the Russians. They're really in trouble. I think it's remarkable how even in just the past four years the whole table has tightened up. It may just be a case of good goalies (Irbe, Aebischer) stealing games for the minnows, but someone has to score the goals, and 60 minutes is a long time.

posted by mikelbyl at 09:09 AM on February 16, 2006

Olympic Men's Hockey Confidence Points Pick 'Em

OK Shouldn't be too late for me to get in on this as well. Canada - 12 Sweden - 11 Czech Republic - 10 Russia - 9 USA - 8 Finland - 7 Slovakia - 6 Germany - 5 Latvia - 4 Switzerland - 3 Kazakhstan - 2 Italy - 1

posted by mikelbyl at 11:30 PM on February 14, 2006

Ruggiero: Canadian women should tone it down

It does not btheat17 - it's determined by stats from the tournament itself not world rankings. They should change the rules to avoid this problem in the future.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:35 PM on February 14, 2006