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Book Review: “Shoot To Thrill: The History of Hockey’s Shootout” by Mark Roseman & Howie Karpin

April 12, 2015 6 comments

There are not too many hockey fans without strong sentiments on the NHL shootout – one half lauds it as an exciting way to conclude a match-up, while the other half calls for it to die a quick and very painful death. At the moment, I personally am tempted to side with the latter, as my LA Kings’ abysmal 2-8 shootout record this season arguably cost them a playoff spot. But despite the disparity in mass opinion, both sides of the issue surely can agree that shootouts capture the full attention of fans when they happen, whether they’re at the rink or in front of a TV screen.

But why does the NHL use a shootout? And where did it come from? For fans seeking answers to those hockey showdown related questions and more, there is a great new book that goes above and beyond to not only satisfy your queries, but to provide you with further elucidation that you didn’t even know you needed. “Shoot To Thrill: The History of Hockey’s Shootout” by Mark Rosenman and Howie Karpin is sure to smarten you Shoot to Thrillup when it comes to shootouts.

The authors tell of the shootout’s evolution from its introduction at the 1988 Winter Olympics, and details the differences between the Olympic version and the NHL’s incarnation. Furthermore, other sports appear to have influenced it as well. They contend it’s an offshoot from soccer, who adopted penalty kicks to determine game outcomes in the 1980’s (yes, even the world’s most popular sport had to evolve at one point). Roots even spread deeper to basketball, from a one-on-one competition that ABC aired on television in the early 1970’s, which NBC mimicked in return, airing a hockey version in the following years until the 1980’s. This “Showdown” as it was dubbed, was intermission entertainment, and draws striking similarities to modern day reality TV – eliminating competitors, and awarding prize money to the victors.

The shootout also seems to be the step-brother of the penalty shot, which was implemented in the 1920’s in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, and later adopted into the NHL in 1934. What began as a stationary shot, then morphed to a shot from a confined area, and all the way to the center ice breakaway version we see nowadays during both penalty shots and shootout attempts.

The book also provides Interesting statistics from memorable Olympic and NHL shootouts and penalty shots, detailing the shooters, the outcome of each attempt, and deeper trivia like who the first ever shootout shooters and scorers were, longest, players who have had two penalty shots in a game, two in a period, and who’s had a penalty shot goal disallowed because of an illegal curve.  You also get some insider intel from players and goalies on how they prepare for shootouts, and which goalies and shooters they themselves would pick. Nearly 100 opinions come out from former and current players, broadcasters and officials on whether they like the shootout or not. The book also includes a handy appendix of team shootout records, detailing each NHL team’s top three most successful shooters, and goaltender with the best shootout record.

Whether you’re a casual fan, hockey stats and history junkie, or somewhere in between, “Shoot To Thrill” is a real page turner that I’m sure you’ll enjoy and learn from.

You can find it online as a hardcover or e-book on Amazon, or at your local bookstore, with any luck.

Below is the official press release from Sports Publishing, and imprint of Skyhorse Publishing:

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Shoot to Thrill:

The History of Hockey’s Shootout

By Mark Rosenman and Howie Karpin

Some maintain that hockey’s shootout erases a sixty-five-minute emotional roller coaster between two teams and that it’s wrong for games to be decided based on a one-on-one battle between a shooter and a goalie.

Others argue that shootouts provide edge-of-your seat excitement as two supremely skilled players go head-to-head for all the marbles.

“The anecdotes and notes [in this book] will enlighten any hockey fan and will give you a perspective into how and why this rule was added from those who were and are still directly involved.”  – from the foreword by “Jiggs” McDonald

In 2005, the National Hockey League adopted the shootout to settle ties in regular season games. Some rule changes are instituted without anyone’s noticing. Others shake the game to its very foundations. Ten years after its introduction, the shootout remains one of the most significant and controversial rule changes in all of sports.

Shoot to Thrill blends history, stats, and personal perspectives from players, coaches, officials, and broadcasters. Mark Rosenman and Howie Karpin explore how players and coaches prepare forshootouts, what they think of them, and how shootouts have helped shape hockey history over the past decade.

Like the designated-hitter rule in baseball, hockey’s shootout has left no fan impartial to it.

Love the rule or hate it, no one stops watching when it’s time for a shootout!

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About the Authors

MARK ROSENMAN has been covering sports since 1979, as an on air talk show host on Cablevision, WGLI, and WGBB. He is currently the host and producer of WLIE 540 a.m. SportsTalkNY. He is credentialed with the NHL and covers both the Islanders and Rangers and is credentialed with MLB and covers the New York Mets. He lives in Commack, New York.

HOWIE KARPIN has been a sports reporter for more than thirty years and has covered everything from the World Series to the Stanley Cup Finals. He is an accredited official scorer for Major League Baseball in New York and is a contributor to Mad Dog Radio, MLB Radio, and NFL Radio. He lives in the Bronx, New York.

Sports Publishing hardcover, also available as an ebook

Pub Date: March 17, 2015

ISBN 978-1-61321-797-9

Price: $19.99

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*****Wanna win your own copy of “Shoot To Thrill”? Be the first to tell me in a comment who scored the most NHL shootout goals in the 2014-15 regular season, and I’ll send you your own hardcover version of the book!******

[Revisiting] Time to Go, Leno: The NBC Late Night Lambaste.

November 15, 2010 1 comment

So with the Late Night talk-show scene finally, seemingly, settled down and back in place, I thought I might re-visit an old blog I wrote for another site regarding the whole Leno-Conan thing, and then the subsequent Letterman, Kimmel, Ferguson and Fallon aftermath.  Currently, Conan’s new TBS show is working EVERYone over, but we’ll see what the ratings say once he’s settled into the middle of the season.  He left NBC on top of the ratings, and debuted on TBS on top too, hopefully he can keep up the pace.  As we wait for the numbers to roll in, enjoy this blast from the past (you guys get an extra link and a few new pics in this version): 

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[originally post on Jan 13, 2010 for campusintel.com ]

Wow, NBC really screwed the pooch on the Late Night scene, didn’t they?

How can you shuffle and promote your hosts up the ranks (Fallon to Late Night, Conan out of Late Night and to The Tonight Show, Leno out of The Tonight Show and then to his own show) the same way that has been done since Late Night comedy shows have been on, find out that your ratings weren’t doing what you thought they would, and then expect all the hosts to react peacefully to your suggestion of a shuffle-back like you were taking a mulligan in golf, and not have a problem with it?

That Tonight Show hosting gig has been the crown jewel for late night talk show hosts since the Johnny Carson era; coveted by many, but obtained by few (originally debuted in 1954 with host Steve Allen).  David Letterman was very public about his desire to host the show when Carson was retiring, when he was still hosting the Late Night show that Conan O’Brien inherited sequentially.  When he was not chosen as Carson’s successor and Leno was, Letterman took a hike over to CBS and then became The Tonight Show’s direct and main competition, hosting The Late Show.  For some reason, all indications were that Leno beat Letterman in the ratings for the 17 years he hosted the show; though I always felt The Late Show was way more entertaining.  Which brings me to my next point:

Jay Leno sucks.

I’m sure he’s a nice dude (well, I’m not really sure from personal experience, but he seems like he’d be nice), but I just never liked his show.  Anyone who’s had a chance to listen to Howard Stern has likely heard Stern rant about how bad Leno is, how he’s ruined NBC, and how Leno stole a lot of his material and used it on The Tonight Show.  The new Jay Leno Show is basically the same show as his Tonight Show routine, just at a different time, and the ratings are tanking; as opposed to when he was on an hour later doing the same material, and ruling the ratings.  So what’s the difference?  Maybe there’s more to that 11:35 pm EST show time slot that we realize…

Now after a 6 year warning of the switch, and only 7 months into the new lineup, for some reason NBC just expects Conan and Fallon to bump themselves back an hour (keeping the names of their shows) so they can rotate Leno back into the fold at the cushy time slot.  Thankfully, Conan balked at the idea, saying in an interview:

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009… I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is actually really good.

For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Why does NBC insist on milking a dry cow (Leno)? Surely it took Leno longer than 7 months to develop a loyal following and ratings spike; how in the world is 7 months long enough for Conan to do the same, especially after they told him for 6 years that he was going to be “the guy” for that show, and all the previous hosts got from 3-30 years at that slot? 

The only real solution is that Leno needs to walk away.  Look Jay, it’s over.  You had your time in the sun; all 17 years of it. You did good.  You’re not putting up the numbers that you need to, and now it’s time to move on.  Late Night television on NBC is in good hands, and will be fine without you.  You’ve got plenty of money, and lots of cars to drive around.  If you really have the itch, you can always hit the stand-up circuit.  It’s time to pass the torch!  Letterman’s better than all of you anyways.

Letterman weighs in on the NBC debacle.

Jimmy Kimmel works over Leno on The Jay Leno Show.

Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson diffuse their war before it starts.

VIDEO BLOG: Is “The Office” Using My Material?

October 22, 2010 3 comments

While watching the October 20/2010 episode [S07-E05], I noticed a clip where Michael, Dwight, and Jim enter an elevator, and Michael presses the “close door” button, only to be met with an unobliging button.  A frustrated and agitated Michael exclaims “Why is there a door close button if it doesn’t even close the door?!?”

Immediately upon hearing/seeing this, I was reminded of an old blog I wrote earlier this year on January 20/2010, in which I wrote,

Does it infuriate anyone else when they go into an elevator, select their desired floor, press the “door close” button ( –> <–), and the door DOESN’T CLOSE?!?!?  What in the world is the function of this button if it doesn’t perform the only logical duty its pictorial reference indicates?  Why install a button to tease people?  Is there a guy hiding in the rafters keeling over laughing every time someone presses the button and gets mildly annoyed while they have to wait for the elevator door to close on its own?

Let’s go to the video:

Now while I realize I’m probably not the only person to ever make this infuriating observation about the elevator button, but I do know I brought it up before they wrote it into their show.  What do you think?  Do you think I have a case?

Death by Skittles, and The Balloon Boy Bungle Blunder.

October 16, 2009 5 comments

 

The plot sure thickened quickly on this “Balloon Boy” story.  To quote from Anchorman, 

“Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast!”
“It jumped up a notch.”
“It did, didn’t it?”

If you’re not up to speed on the tale, I’ll sum it up for you (I don’t think I have ALL the details, but I believe I’ve got enough to piece it together).  Richard Heene, a pseudo-scientist/inventor of sorts and veteran TV star (Wife Swap, and others) from Colorado, decided to build a flying saucer in his backyard.  Albeit a helium craft, Heene may have been using the craft as an attempt to prove his claims of life on Mars, inventing a flying car, or a storm chaser device, depending on what repor you read.  The silver saucer was completed, and then launched from the yard on October 15, 2009, under suspicious circumstances:

Just prior to launch, one of the boys try to get their dad’s attention (tattled), and within seconds of the launch, the parents are screaming in terror.  They did make sure the camera was rolling though.

There’s a 911 call to report that one of their sons is in this “runaway” balloon (it was very purposefully launched).  Shortly after, this story is international news, airports are shutdown, search and rescue teams are dispatched, and “balloon boy” is an internet buzzword as everyone follows the story and fears for the safety of the young passenger.  The balloon eventually lands naturally, 2 counties away from its launch site, without an occupant. Killing speculation that the boy had fallen out, he is found hiding in his attic, scared because his dad had yelled at him, speculatively because he had been tampering with the balloon.

Within the day, Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, and all the major TV networks equipped with lie detection experts get a crack at interviewing the family.  Dad adamantly denied any reports of a hoax or publicity stunt, while his son, perhaps appropriately named “Falcon”, muttered something about it all being a show, and then vomited before he could say much more on film.   

If you didn’t read any background on this story, your first thoughts may have been of the kid saying to himself, “my parents are going to kill me,” or that he was going to be “grounded forever”, and that those seemed to be gross understatements.  But the mad scientist/reality-tv/publicity-stunt rabbit trail just seems to prevalent to ignore, doesn’t it?  I hope beyond anything that this was not a pre-meditated event, but doesn’t it seem just a little too fishy?  I feel like a topper of a Kanye West incident is looming…  

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In lighter news, this is the funniest commercial on TV right now:

I think I’ve made my point.

  

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