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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jackets take back seat again on national TV

The NHL just released their national TV schedule for both the US and Canadian viewing audiences and really to no one's surprise the Jackets are shown just once on Versus on February 3rd against St. Louis at 7 p.m.

I believe its written into the Versus contract that they must air at least one game with every team per season. Hey at least its a home game *gasp*.

They'll also get 1 game in Canada on TSN against Edmonton on November 5th - again a home game.

The worst team in the NHL last season - the Tampa Bay Lightning - air a combined 10 times. Crosby's Penguins are on 20 while Ovechkin and the Caps get 13.

Its no secret why we aren't on national TV more -- that's what happens when you've stunk since your existence and don't have marquee players by the name of Crosby or Ovechkin -- still doesn't mean I have to like it. In fact it pisses me off.

Looking through the schedule rather quickly I think its safe to say that combined we have the lowest national exposure of any NHL franchise.

It would be real nice for once if the Jackets could put together a playoff season and start earning some good exposure for the franchise and the city.

You can find the full schedule here.

THN.com pointed out 3 teams they think will underachieve in the NHL this season...and no, the Jackets certainly weren't one of those. The 3 named were Montreal, Minnesota and the NY Rangers. I found this comment about NY particularly interesting:

Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka went back to Europe, Brendan Shanahan still hasn’t been invited back, Nikolai Zherdev – host of a notoriously bad attitude and work ethic – was added for a steep price that included under-appreciated defender Fedor Tyutin and finally Sean Avery, love him or hate him, was lost for nothing to free agency.

Oh man its going to be something to see how this Z show plays out on Broadway.

THN ranks the Central division as 4th worst out of the 6 in the NHL:

4. Central. I know, I know, the presence of the Red Wings alone makes the Central a division to reckon with. The burgeoning Blackhawks and never-say-die Predators also help in that regard – and the fact that more than half of Detroit’s regular season losses came at the hands of teams in their division is a fact that’s nothing to sneeze at, either.

The Blue Jackets and Blues are playoff dark horses, but even then, both of those franchises have a handful of young talent to build around. In sum, there could be many more Cups bound for the Central Division and not just to Michigan. Just not for a couple more years.

I think everyone is a little to quick to be jumping on this 'hawks wagon. They have some nice young talent but I'm not convinced their goaltending (even with Huet) and defense (ranked 20th in goals against last year) are playoff caliber. I certainly won't rule out the Preds as they somehow find ways to win. After the Wings the Central is going to be a dog fight all the way to the end.

Check out this link to the Penguins new arena. They also have some sweet vids of what it will look like.

-LTL

4 comments:

Rick said...

If Bettman & the rest of the NHL brass want to promote this league, they really need to look at how they work with broadcasters on scheduling games. Tampa had the worst record...so why should they get more than C-Bus?

The NHL could (if they wanted to) be very proactive in promoting this great game into markets that it currently is watched only by us "die-hards". I think they would get more "casual" viewers...hence more fans!

Any thoughts, LTL?

Erik said...

People,

Bob Hunter over at the dispatch has some interesting tidbits for us CBJ fans.. The Torres quote of: "I'd like to think so" doesn't exactly raise the confidence level, I hope he heals quickly... Boll seems OK.

LTL, I agree 100% with you on the 'Hawks-loving the hockey writers are practicing. Two additions to a team that didn't make the playoffs last year isn't exactly a mind-blowing upgrade.. Especially when the additions don't address the 'Hawks primary concern, defensive defensemen. Sure the 'Hawks are improved, but the key concerns haven't been addressed... But I reckon the 'Hawks are enjoying some of that original six endearment from the mainstream press..

Furthermore I feel that they are writing of some teams too easily, such as the Blues, Canucks and Avalanche. The Hockey writers seem to think that the Nucks and Avs are going to take a huge dive in the standings. Sure they have lost some depth, but being ranked in the bottom 4 is little overboard.. The Blues have more young talent then they give them credit for, they might have a pretty darn good season this year, I don't know about playoffs but they will be competitive.. Of course we don't even have to mention the CBJ analysis, we all know the deal there...



http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2008/08/15/rumblings15.ART_ART_08-15-08_C3_TFB1H8A.html?sid=101

“Torres has been skating several times a week at area Chillers and working out with strength and conditioning coach Barry Brennan. "It's feeling better than I expected," Torres said. Asked whether he will be ready for training camp, he said, "I'd like to think so." Torres missed the final 49 games of last season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament Dec. 12.”

“Former Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean lost out on a chance to own a chunk of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he wound up with a consolation prize that is, uh, almost as good. MacLean will be the host of a radio show with Jack Armstrong called "The Game Plan" on a Toronto station from 2 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. No, Armstrong isn't the former Cincinnati Reds pitcher.”

“After defenseman Jared Boll suffered a broken middle finger on his right hand in a pickup hockey game in July, it's expected the Blue Jackets will tell him that he can play, but not fight, during training camp. This sounds like a similar instruction that was given to minor-leaguer Zenon Konopka after he suffered a broken hand last year -- instructions that were altered as soon as the coaches saw his devilish smile. "On second thought, we're not even going to let you play," he was told, purportedly because they couldn't trust him not to fight. There is no fear of an impromptu Konopka-Boll slugfest -- Konopka signed with Tampa Bay this summer -- but Jon Mirasty, known for his fighting skills in Syracuse, has been invited to camp. Boll's break is a spiral fracture, which are said to heal quickest.”

LTL said...

Rick,

I know if I'm Mike Priest I'm calling the NHL offices about this TV schedule. I'm not expecting the Jackets to get priority but c'mon - two damn games? The word "shaft" doesn't do it enough justice.

I can bitch and complain all I want but at the end of the day the Jackets are going to have to earn respect on the ice. I thought they took some key steps chasing that goal last year and in the offseason but apparently the "decision makers" don't think much of our team, ratings and moves.

Hitch has repeatedly said something that always sticks with me concerning respect. He said that is earned in the playoffs and that is when a team and franchise makes a name for itself. Certainly a valid point one in which I desperately hope we experience this season.

Erik - yep caught some of those comments this morning. I'm with you on Torres - I don't get a warm and fuzzy at all with him. His comments just don't inspire confidence but hopefully he's following Howson's mantra of "under-promisining and over-delivering".

I really think they are going to have to super glue Boll's gloves on during camp. Then again with Mirasty around hopefully he can take care of most of the fisticuffs during preseason while Boll heals -- the one thing I"m worried about is that hand being a reoccuring problem all season. We need him and his hammers ready to swing all season.

Jo said...

Incidentally - and I thought it'd been mentioned here before but I couldn't find it, so I'll bring it up - that "three teams that will underachieve" was a followup to a similar "three teams that will overachieve" blog from about a week and a half ago. The three teams picked were Florida, Ottawa... and Columbus.