In episode 4 of XP PSP we discuss:
-The demise of the LA Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Conference Finals, and the Hawks/Bruins Cup Final from all angles.
-steps to take when choosing a new playoff team to cheer for when yours has been ousted.
-Superstitions of fans and athletes, and how they affect performance.
-The NBA Final between the Spurs and Heat.
In our third episode, we catch up on/discuss:
1) the first two rounds of NHL playoff eliminations, previewing conference finals, and catching up on the NBA playoffs, and our predictions across both sports.
2) 8th seeds running wild in the playoffs, and the legitimacy of an 8th seeds playoff threat across sports.
3) Which sport’s playoffs are the hardest to win.
4) The audacity of people calling close, low scoring playoff games boring.
5) cheering for players vs teams; former players becoming/succeeding as coaches (Roy, Gretzky), Tortorella benching Brad Richards, “contract years”….
….and plenty more.
Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com
Whoa, we made a second episode? Huh. How about that.
Well,in episode two, we discuss:
-The NHL playoffs; the demise of the Vancouver Canucks, and how to fix them.
-The differences between the regular season and the playoffs.
-The NBA playoffs; Jason Collins, and homosexuality in sports.
-Brittany Griner, and the prospect of women playing in the NBA, and other male dominated sports.
Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com
Fun little venture I’ve started up with some fellow sports-minded fellas here in Korea; We’ve started the Expat Pro Sports Podcast — XP PSP — and basically myself, Sachin Mahajan, Harold Dale, Jason Hiltz, Ryan Brown, and who knows who else will rotate in and out to chat about everything going on in the sports world for about 30 minutes at a time. For those expats out there who are missing their favorite multi-million dollar athletic competitions back home, we hope this scratches your itch just a little.
In our premier episode, we chatted about:
-The NHL playoffs, previewing a few of the first-round series.
-The NFL draft, Manti T’eo, and whether owners should touch the championship trophy first or not.
-The NBA playoffs, and whether the Miami Heat can be beaten.
-Why the Toronto Blue Jays are still bad.
-Whether coaches or management are to blame for a team with good players being bad.
-much, much more. Well, a little bit more.
Special thanks to the talented Ralph Hass of http://www.hasthevoice.com/ for providing our intro voice-over.
Enjoy the first episode! Leave a comment with some feedback, tell us if you like it, and what you’d like to hear in the future.
Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com
The 2014 NHL Winter Classic has been officially (re)announced, and so have the jerseys each team will wear for both the main event and the alumni game. Not everyone appears to be as enthusiastic about the choice for the New Year’s Eve alumni game’s uniforms as Gary Bettman does.
The jerseys for the real teams will wear on New Year’s Day are, on the other hand, phenomenal. The potential 100,000+ fans in attendance at Michigan Stadium will be far happier to see Toronto in these ones — both of Detroit’s look sharp.
Also announced was the return of HBO’s 24/7 series, this year following both the Leafs and Red Wings behind the scenes as a lead up to the Winter Classic game. I still would love to see HBO place this amount of cinematic drama on the Stanley Cup Final — which is far more important than the mid regular season game that the WC is — but my opinion continues to fall upon deaf ears. Either way, I love this show, and I’m glad HBO stayed on board post-lockout to put it back on the air.
Also reported (albeit not confirmed) by multiple sources was that an outdoor game (assumably the Winter Classic) in 2014 will be played — get this — in Los Angeles. You know, a place where people tired of being cold retreat to in order to escape the most necessary ingredients for outdoor ice hockey — cold and ice. It seems environmentally impossible, but Dodger Stadium is apparently getting a $100 million face-lift, so who knows what it’ll be capable of. Seems like an odd thing to lie about, but I’ll wait for confirmation from the NHL before I believe it. If it’s true, I sure am pumped for the LA Kings.
Reports also hint at the return of the Heritage Classic, to be played at a Canadian venue.
While all those games were be announced as happening, looks like the NHL’s Europe Premier games for 2013 have been dealt the opposite fate — reports say 2013-14′s version of the across the pond games are out, with much discussion to be had on the NHL’s future international presence.
THE ROB REPORT:
“SPOT IT! NHL” & “NHL FASTRACK ” BY BLUE ORANGE GAMES
If you’re starved for NHL action this hockey season, Blue Orange Games has a couple of titles that might just hit the “spot” for you. I recently took Spot It! NHL for a few laps around the rink, and here’s what I thought:
I’m into bigger style board games, so it was a bit deceiving when I saw Spot It! NHL was so compact. However, along with its miniature size came a great deal of fun, as it provided 5 different NHL hockey themed matching games.
The game’s single dimension is to spot matching NHL logos and other hockey-themed images before the other players can. This game has 5 different variations. The fun is all in the mayhem, trying to quickly make matches before everyone else.
I played with 4 friends, 2 of which don’t follow hockey regularly. All of us thought the game was great. My friends I played with play a lot of board games (they have a few shelves dedicated to them) and they decided to add this game to their regular lineup of games to play on game night.
The gameplay time is short enough that it does not get tiresome (3-5mins). Short is also good because players can exit a game anytime without disrupting a very involving showdown. There are a few variations that can potentially take a little longer (up to 8-10min) to finish than others, and the time difference adds to the variation.
You can keep score, but I found it more fun when each game is mutually exclusive from the other, since there is potential for players with superior matching skills to run away with the score over the course of multiple games. The game has a tendency to favor better players, as the real good players can go on long streaks, and slower-matching players could become frustrated. I’d recommend players organizing games amongst evenly skilled players, rather than letting the game even it out for you. But then again, playing the game is the only way to truly find out what level of matcher every player is.
The game comes in a durable case so game owners do not have to worry about wear and tear outside of actually the game.
Overall this is a great game to play for not only hockey enthusiasts, but for everyone. The learning curve is extremely low and the logos are easily distinguishable.
Below is their official press release, and some additional info.
While the NHL hockey season is on hold, Blue Orange Games is proud to be the source for the hottest NHL® licensed games to kick start the action!
Blue Orange gave their wildly popular games, Spot it! and Fastrack a sporty makeover that Wayne Gretzky would approve of! Now hockey fans have the perfect family games to fuel their passion and show off their pride. Packaging and instructions for both games is in French and English.
Whether you are a die-hard hockey fan or you just want to break the ice, Spot it! NHL® is for you. Hockey themed symbols give this collectible edition its cool edge. There is always one, and only one matching symbol between any two cards! To become one of the Greats of the game, be the first to spot the match. Officially licensed by the National Hockey League, this hockey card game contains the logos of every NHL® team. Have a blast skating through all 5 mini-games: make that “Sweet Pass,” avoid “The Penalty,” and score in “The Net,” and more! Packaged in a puck-size tin, Spot it! NHL is the perfect stocking stuffer for hockey heads young and young-at-heart!
Ages 7 to Adult • 2 to 8 Players
Here’s another NHL themed game from Blue Orange games that we think you’d also enjoy…
NHL® Fastrack brings your favorite sport to your fingertips! Officially licensed by the National Hockey League®, this puck passing game produces kinetic energy and exhilarating competition. The first to send all 10 pucks to an opponent’s side takes home the trophy! Just like a hockey game, NHL® Fastrack calls for lightning-speed, accuracy and just the right amount of chance to win. This eco-friendly speed game is made of 100% sustainable wood and the rink’s sidelines feature logos of teams adored by hockey fans all over North America. With quality you can see and ready to play right out of the box, NHL® Fastrack makes an unforgettable holiday gift. And what’s more—Blue Orange plants two trees for every tree used to create this game!
Ages 5+ • 2 Players
About Blue Orange Games:
With 12 years experience creating stimulating and easy-to-learn games,
exquisitely designed for maximum fun, Blue Orange Games looks to the future
with consistent ideals.Using durable materials, Blue Orange pledges to produce high quality games that are enjoyable for the whole family. The eco-friendly company remains committed to planting two trees for every one tree used in game construction. Blue Orange has won multiple awards, such as Parenting Magazine’s “Mom Tested Toys of the Year,” Parents Magazine’s “Toys of the Year,” Family Fun Magazine’s “Toys of the Year,” Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s “Platinum Seal,” and Dr. Toy’s “10 Best Games,” among others.
If you’re still looking for Christmas gifts for the hockey fan on your list, or are just generally hockey starved during the current NHL lockout, the 24th installment of Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Hockey series is sure to satisfy.
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em 24 features a pile of fantastic video montages from the 2011/12 NHL season, the ever hilarious “piano desk”, the year’s best saves (feature on Martin Brodeur) and goals (feature on Steve Stamkos), plenty of regular speed and slow-motion hits, Don mentioning “trolley tracks”, bloopers, some vintage Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em techno and Cherry rapping, Don mentioning how many NHLers he saw play as kids (Tavares, Stamkos), Don mentioning players from Kingston, Ontario (Mike Smith), Don wearing a top hat and supporting fighting in hockey, Coach’s Corner commentaries (featuring classic opinion pieces like, “Kids, if you ever really want to get benched…”, and “Why do they never run Tim Thomas?”), and all the best highlights from every round of last year’s playoffs.
It’s really a fantastic highlight tape, and everything you’ve come to expect from Don Cherry. In the words of Don himself, it’s a beauty. This is a no brainer! Pick up a copy today. cbcshop.ca and other retailers will hook you up.
Below is the official press release:
No Lockout For Rock’em Sock’em!
Canada’s most controversial and outspoken hockey personality, Don Cherry, brings his brash brand of hockey to his 24th DVD with the release of Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em Hockey 24 from Video Services Corp (VSC). This year’s release features the first “Blue”-ray in the Don Cherry catalogue, endorsed by Don’s ever-present terrier companion, Blue.
“I’m glad to be working with a good Canadian studio in VSC,” said Executive Producer
Tim Cherry, “we’re not pulling any punches this year!”
The release includes Coach’s Corner segments and all the best goals, saves and hits from the 2011-2012 season, right up to (spoiler alert!) the Los Angeles Kings’ historic Stanley Cup win. Bonus features will include extra footage from the Kings’ win on the Blu-ray, and vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard on both formats.
Even Don himself is looking forward to the release, “I love doing Rock’em Sock’em. Players come up to me and tell me how they got Rock’em Sock’em as a gift every Christmas. They’ve grown up with it. It’s become a Christmas tradition in a lot of homes,” said Cherry, “This year’s is great, and we have lots of highlights from one of the best playoffs in years.”
The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em series is Canada’s longest-running and best-selling DVD property. “We’re all huge hockey fans at VSC and we’re so excited to add Don Cherry to our catalogue – it’s a new chapter in VSC’s hockey history,” says VSC President Jonathan Gross, “Tim and Don create an exciting summary of the season and it’s time for an HD version to be available – that’s the only way to watch a hockey game these days!”
SRP: $19.98 | TRT: 70 min
Street Date: 13 November, 2012
UPC: 7-78854-19199-0 | Catalog: CHE1919
SRP: $24.98 | TRT: 70 min
Street Date: 13 November, 2012
UPC: 7-78854-19209-6 | Catalog: CHE1920
DVD Extras: Vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard
Blu-ray Extras: Bonus footage from Kings’ win, vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard
About Video Services Corp.
Founded in 1993 by former rock critic Jonathan Gross, Video Services Corp. is a leading independent DVD distributor with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles. With a vast catalogue strong in television, sports and comedy, some of VSC’s releases include Corner Gas, The WHA Chronicles, Comedy Now! Starring Russell Peters and Canada Cup ’87. Other 2012 releases from VSC include the second season of the hit series Portlandia and the theatrical film Union Square starring Oscar® winner Mira Sorvino. VSC also owns the e-commerce websites
sportonvideo.com, laffstock.com and jewishflicks.com.
Video Services Corp.
5145 Steeles Ave W, Suite A201, Toronto, ON, M9L 1R5
P: 416-597-8325 / 877-341-7577 F: 416-597-9142
www.videoservicecorp.com email@example.com facebook.com/videoservicecorp twitter.com/vidserv
Hi folks! This is the video podcast (written version here: http://bit.ly/VzOpWb on The Score’s Backhand Shelf) of my September 2012 interview with former NHLer and ex-con, Mike Danton.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that no one in the game of hockey has a stigma around them the way that Mike Danton does. Now trying to resume his professional hockey career in Europe, the ex-NHLer and ex-con deals with all sorts of prejudice and ignorance directed towards him on a daily basis — not to mention all the life roadblocks that a convicted felon could expect on the outside, because of his nearly decade-old crime — despite serving his sentence.
In our interview, Mike talked very candidly and at length about everything from hockey, his time in jail, how he’s turned his life around for the better, his thoughts on other ex-con pro athletes, his feelings on being denied entry to the UK to play, his family, and what the future holds for him. Without a doubt, the responses that he gives will at least make you reconsider the opinion you’ve come to form about him.
Anze Kopitar’s game 1 overtime winner was unquestionably pretty, and there’s a lot more within the 10 second series of events that occurred prior to the puck crossing the goal line than one is able to see at first glance that made it even more spectacular.
First, the fact that this scoring opportunity even materialized is ridiculous, and a complete breakdown on New Jersey’s part.
1. Things start out as New Jersey defenceman, Marek Zidlicky, forced Dustin Brown to turn the puck over just before the Kings blue line (C). Up until this point, Kopitar (A) was covered by Zach Parise (B), and both were anticipating the puck heading towards the Devils’ zone.
2. When the original Brown/Zidlicky turnover occurred, Parise peeled off from Kopitar to aid the attack. Kopitar perhaps was anticipating a positive outcome of the breakdown and just kept heading to the other end in a straight line, rather than doubling back to help defensively.
3. Travis Zajac (A) responded and swatted at it, but wasn’t able to gain true possession, while Drew Doughty (B) was. Doughty then sent the puck up along the boards to Justin Williams (C), who was waiting near center ice. By the time Williams received the puck, Kopitar was waiting at center completely uncovered (D), as Parise was still deep in the Kings zone (E).
4. New Jersey’s last man back, defenceman Bryce Salvador, pinched on Williams (A) – why he would take a risk like that in overtime is beyond me, especially with an unhindered attacker heading towards his net. Before Salvador could engage, Williams (B) had the presence of mind to chip the puck to the middle (whereas most coaches would instruct you to chip it off the boards and into the zone to be chased down) to a wide open Kopitar at the Devils’ blue line (C), who had at that point been gaining speed since his own blue line. Parise is so far behind on his backchecking, he’s not even on the screen anymore.
5. By the time Kopitar made his shot, Dainius Zubrus (A) was incredibly able to catch up and touch him with his stick, but not with enough force to disrupt the scoring opportunity.
Regarding the goal itself, there are a number of amazing things that occur within the split seconds of it being scored (3 seconds from the time he takes possession of the puck at the Devils’ blue line to the puck going in). The whole scenario almost boils down to a battle of the wits when you slow it down and dissect it.
1. Kopitar throws a deke to the right that Brodeur bites on, but is able to stay with. As Kopitar moves to the left side of the goal, Brodeur continues to track the puck; sprawling across the crease with his right pad along the ice to thwart a goal being scored along the ice.
2. What happened next is where I believe Kopitar won the battle. While on his stomach, Brodeur flexed his right knee from about 2 feet out from the goal line, and elevated his right pad up to around a 45° angle, with his skate blade finishing approximately half way up the 4’ high post — one may assume to counter an anticipated elevated shot that Brodeur had baited by closing off the on-ice options. Brodeur is 6’2”, which means the length from his knee to his foot is approximately 1.5 feet, while the pad being elevated is 11 inches wide. Kopitar had the puck at the 4’ mark at the top of the crease – a 4’ distance and a 4’ high post create a 45° shooting angle for Kopitar. BUT Brodeur has his pad up, and by the estimated distance variables, Brodeur’s sprawl actually cuts the middle 13° out of Kopitar’s scoring angle, and reduces his total feasible scoring area by 40% down to an 18° angle in which he needs to raise the puck within to score – that’s a tough shot from that distance, even by NHL standards.
3. This is where I venture that Kopitar’s skill/instinct kicked in – as Brodeur’s pad came up, it obviously reopened the along-the-ice scoring option, which Kopitar held on to the puck long enough to draw out – in overtime of the Stanley Cup Final, 25 year old Anze Kopitar had the patience to outwait a 3-time Stanley Cup champion, 4-time goalie of the year, and 20 year NHL veteran within a 4’ space at top speed in a fraction of a second – and tuck it neatly right underneath within an even smaller 14° clearance, while Brodeur unsuccessfully scrambled to get his pad back down in time.
4. Kopitar buries the puck and game 1 in the back of the net behind Brodeur.
They say that in those split seconds, time seems to slow down. I’ve been in game situations like that – not an OT breakaway in the Stanley Cup Finals against a future Hall of Fame goaltender scenario, mind you – but I can attest that you do can have an odd amount of control in a finite window of time like that. Kopitar being the amazing player that he is, demonstrated that point to a tea, and made it count.
by Peter Nygaard (follow him on Twitter)
We’ve already taken a look at the Eastern primaries, so now let’s examine the polls out West.
Nashville Predators (4) vs. Detroit Red Wings (5)
- The Issues:
- Criminal Rehabilitation — NHL refs must love officiating games when the Preds come to town. When opposing teams take a penalty, Nashville is quick to show them the error of their ways. True to their name, the Predators take advantage of powerplay opportunities better than any team in the league, scoring on 21.6% of man-up situations. Simply put, if you’re going to take a dumb penalty against the Preds, you’re going to learn your lesson.
- Foreign Diplomacy — Nashville became league laughingstock in 2008 when ‘04 first-round pick Alexander Radulov left while under contract with the Predators to go play in Russia’s KHL. Four years later, it’s the Preds who are laughing. Radulov’s return late in the season has given Nashville’s offense a dynamic talent and gifted scorer. Nashville GM David Poile has taken care to avoid superstar scorers for the virtually unaffordable price tags they command, but with Radulov, one may have fallen right into Nashville’s lap.
- Political Dirt:
- Rumors have been flying that if the Predators don’t make a deep run into the playoffs, star defenseman Shea Weber will walk, and defensive stud Ryan Suter is likely to follow. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the Nashville Predators may hinge on how they do in this year’s playoffs.
- Campaign Promises:
- If elected, the Predators promise to continue their efforts to legitimize hockey in the Sun Belt. Southern cities love a winner, and attendance at Bridgestone Arena has steadily risen in the past few years. A deep run could have the Preds treading in unexplored waters: a season sellout.
- The Issues:
- Homeland Defense — The Red Wings were the NHL’s best team at home this year, posting a dominant 31-7-3 record at the Joe. That included a 23-game winning streak with only three of the wins coming via shootout. Detroit was in the hunt for home ice advantage in the first round heading into the season finale but was unable to get the job done. If the Wings steal one on the road, though, it will be tough for opposing teams to rally back.
- Open Borders — Scanning the Red Wings’ roster, it’s easy to surmise where the team stands on immigration. Especially if the players are coming from Sweden. The Red Wings have 12 international (not from North America) players on the roster, including an eye-popping eight players from Scandinavia. And considering who some of those players are — ever heard of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and Johan Franzen? — it’s safe to say none of these were diversity hires.
- Political Dirt:
For all the class and good will the players have built up, it’s hard to root for a team that willingly employs Todd Bertuzzi. If you’re intentionally reading this, you know why. If you somehow stumbled upon this paragraph and have no idea what I’m talking about, well… here.
- Campaign Promises:
- If elected, the Red Wings promise to maintain the status quo and never ever change anything about themselves, not now, not never.