It’s Super Bowl Sunday, so I hope you are all stuffing your faces with every kind of food imaginable. If you aren’t watching the game, then you really aren’t watching any sporting event. All hockey games end at 6pm, just in time for kick off.
Even if you don’t like football, I’d recommend watching the commercials. Discuss whatever.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Two questions for this week’s mailbag, both stemming from posts this week.
Q: Why the hate for Bickel? You tweeted he’s probably the whipping boy, but I don’t know why you feel that way.
Yes, I did tweet that Stu Bickel is likely to be the whipping boy this year. But to be clear, we don’t necessarily agree with having any one particular whipping boy. It just so happens that Bickel has been horrid this year, and his struggles extend to last year during the playoffs as well. Bickel has found himself out of position more times than we can remember, and his skating isn’t where it needs to be for the NHL level. But that doesn’t make him a whipping boy, that just makes him a matchup defenseman. People will look to him as a whipping boy because he was played at forward while Chris Kreider sat as a “healthy scratch.” In fact, Kreider has an ankle injury. Regardless, unless Bickel turns this around, he may find himself as the whipping boy.
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Here’s the press release for last night’s Whale game, a shutout loss (1-0) to Portland. Feel free to use this as your open thread for the day. Lots of football on.
Portland Pirates 1, Connecticut Whale 0
By Wil Goldsholl
Hartford, CT, December 15, 2012 – The Portland Pirates shut the Connecticut Whale out, 1-0, at the XL Center on Saturday, leaning on an early Andy Miele goal and a shutout performance from Mark Visentin. The loss was Connecticut’s second at home in two nights, after a 4-3 defeat to the Albany Devils Friday evening.
Chances were few and far between for Connecticut, despite the fact that they only trailed 32-28 in the final shot count. There were close chances early for the Whale, including a wild bounce on a dump-in with the Kris Newbury-Shayne Wiebe-Christian Thomas line out and a Logan Pyett-Ryan Bourque two on one chance that never made it to the net. It took Connecticut over twelve and a half minutes to earn their first shot on goal. Miele was a assessed a holding minor at 10:41 and the Whale earned credit for their first shot just as the power play was expiring.
Miele, however, would come out of the penalty box and, receiving assists from Mark Louis and Rob Klinkhammer, cut through the slot and back to beat Cam Talbot in the Connecticut crease. Miele’s sixth of the year came at 13:04.
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Slow start? No problem.
Three questions came in over the past week, so let’s get to them. As always, feel free to email us with any questions or concerns.
Q: What’s with the owners making the concession to discuss the make whole provision? That’s significant progress, right?
Q: Isn’t the timing of this concession by the owners wrong? They just canceled the Winter Classic, and now they show they can negotiate?
Well, yes and no. It’s progress because it shows a willingness to get back to the table. Both sides talking is better than neither side talking. After all, not talking is why they are in this mess to begin with.
But don’t be fooled with the way some in the media have spun this. The owners didn’t make a concession for the make whole provision. The provision itself was incredibly misleading, and it actually prevented a true 50/50 split. The owners know they need to pay the players what they are owed. It’s just a PR thing really.
Before jumping to conclusions about the owners “willingness to negotiate the ‘make whole’ provision”, it’s important to note the timing. The afternoon started with canceling the Winter Classic, and the afternoon ended with “a significant concession by the owners.” It’s all PR. Don’t buy into what the media is spinning. Read the details and make up your own mind.
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Q: At what point do both sides realize they are really messing up the game? Both sides are trying to win this PR battle, but we are so **** (Dave edit, sorry) sick of this. We just want hockey.
A: I honestly thought that neither side would be stupid enough to cancel the Winter Classic. That is their big money maker, and without it their revenues go in the toilet. However, that is now on the chopping block, with rumors saying it will be gone as early as Monday. When that goes, there is nothing preventing the owners from holding out for the entire year. As for the players, they are united behind Donald Fehr, so they will do what he recommends. Considering he was the union rep behind five MLB work stoppages, I’m pretty sure he won’t “crack” either.
Q: What alternatives do I have? I obviously can’t watch the Rangers and college hockey is barely televised. MSG just started showing some KHL games, so I guess that’s a plus.
A: Well those KHL games will likely be a bit more popular as the lockout extends into its third month. I’d expect MSG to pick up some more games, especially those that have Ryan McDonagh involved. You can get streams of the Connecticut Whale games online from various places. Those are likely your best bet, as you can watch Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, and Kyle Jean. The Whale will have the players most ready for the NHL. I don’t know of any streams for the SEL (Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast). There are streams for the OHL (Peter Ceresnak), QMJHL (Sam Noreau), and WHL (Michael St. Croix, Shane McColgan) floating around, but I don’t know where.
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In case you haven’t noticed –and if you haven’t, get your eyes checked– we have migrated over to a new design here at BSB. There are still a few kinks to work out here and there, but the majority of the design is complete, and we really hope you all like it.
This design has been in the works since June, and we’ve had plenty of discussions of what we were looking to do. It was important to add more functionality (drop down menus, easier flow) to the site, while not taking away from the simplicity of our previous design. In the end we all agreed that this design, put together by Elite Designs, met everything we needed.
Why did we do this, especially with an old theme that was working well for us? Well, we wanted some more functionality with the design, and we also wanted it to look a bit more professional, complete with a simple banner image.
The initial plan was to launch this when the season started…but that didn’t work out so well. Instead of holding off on launching the design, we felt it would be best if we launched now, to at least give us something positive in the midst of all this lockout stuff.
Hope you enjoy the new look.
No, this isn’t another post about the CBA negotiations. This is a post about some major changes we will be going through here at BSB over the next week. We’ve had this design here for the life of the blog –almost four years now– and it’s time for an overhaul.
You may have noticed the first change yesterday. Due to an upgrade in the blogging platform, we no longer need to use block quotes for quoting folks on Twitter. We can embed the entire tweet, with links to follow, retweet, or reply right on the post. It’s a nifty little feature that we like around here.
Second, you may have noticed some of the old menu options have been disappearing here and there. We haven’t removed them, we have just started preparing the for the real overhaul you’re going to see some time next week.
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Sorry for the short notice folks, but there will not be a weekly chat today. Cover It Live, which used to be a free service, decided to begin charging a monthly fee based on “clicks” into the chat. Without going into the detail of how this is priced, the only reasonable option gave us 500 or so clicks per month. We reached that within two chats, so we will be holding off on another chat until one of the following happens:
1. We find a more effective way of managing our chats with our click limits.
2. CiL decides to lower its prices.
3. Someone presents us with a better option than CiL.
Sorry folks, this one is out of our control.