There were a lot more fans at Staples Center today for the 2010 NHL Draft than I’d anticipated. The Kings fans are incredibly loyal, but the Kings didn’t have a high pick and no one was really sure how many fans would turn up. I certainly didn’t expect 11,000 fans (the approximate number the Kings mentioned) to show up on a Friday night in Los Angeles – especially when the Dodgers are in town playing the New York Yankees (who haven’t been here in years).
The crowd wasn’t as loud as other drafts (from what I’ve heard on TV and everyone I’ve talked to who normally attends the draft) except for when the Kings (cheering), Ducks (almost all boos, though there were definitely a lot of Ducks fans here), Sharks (all booing – especially with Rob Blake at their table), and Canucks (booing, since they knocked the Kings out of the playoffs) were doing something, the crowd was relatively quiet. They were definitely thrilled that Dean Lombardi made a move and took Derek Forbort as the 15th draft pick.
In other news, this year’s draft had a record-tying 10 US-born players selected in the first round including Beau Bennett from Gardena, CA who was selected 20th by the Pittsburgh Penguins and Emerson Etem from Long Beach, CA selected 29th by the Anaheim Ducks.
Tags: Dean Lombardi, Dodgers, Draft, Ducks, Hockey, Kings, NHL, Penguins, Staples Center, Yankees
As a Yankees fan, I was disappointed that the NHL chose to have the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston instead of the brand new Yankee Stadium, but I’m still interested in watching the Bruins play the Flyers outside on New Year’s Day. I haven’t attended a Winter Classic yet and will always regret not getting to Buffalo for the first Winter Classic with the Penguins and Sabres. I know I’ll get to a Winter Classic someday, but since I missed the first one I might as well wait for a Winter Classic that means a lot to me or works around visiting friends and family in another part of the country.
I’m very surprised that the games in Europe are being played at the same time the rest of the season starts in the US. It seems that this change will put more travel pressure on the teams involved in the games overseas, but I guess the impact of starting the season is hard to judge. The Penguins started in Sweden last season and won the Stanley Cup. Since they also lost in the Stanley Cup Finals (to the Red Wings) in 2008, the Penguins had the shortest off season and still managed to win the Stanley Cup. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think this weakens the argument that the Ducks’ first round loss to the Stars could basically be blamed on their starting in Europe and having such a short off season. Perhaps it was more of a Stanley Cup hangover. There always seems to be one team from the previous year’s finals starting in Europe (first the Ducks, then the Penguins, now the Red Wings). The teams are chosen early enough that this hasn’t been specifically chosen by the NHL. It’s just the way things have worked out so far.
I still firmly believe every NHL team should play every other NHL team twice each year (once at home, once away), but I’m glad that the teams all face each other at least once in the season still.
I haven’t had time to closely analyze all 30 team schedules, but skimming the combined schedule, it seems like the NHL has done a better job with the end of the season schedule this season. Though I see the Red Wings playing the Flyers on April 4th, most of the games in the last couple weeks seem to be within the same conference (and many in the same division). Though no one knows which of these games will be the most important for playoff standings, having teams play within their own conference should ensure that more games that affect the playoffs happen during the last couple weeks.
Tags: Bruins, Ducks, Flyers, Hockey, NHL, Penguins, Red Wings, Sabres, schedule, Stanley Cup Finals, Winter Classic, Yankees
Typically, July is a very boring sports month – all around. The NHL & NBA have finished their finals, it’s the middle of the MLB season, NFL & college sports haven’t started …
However, living across the country from your favorite baseball team makes any time they’re in town fairly exciting (especially if you, like me, don’t have the MLB package). I love being able to see the Yankees in HD and I’m lucky enough that they’re on ESPN and Fox fairly often, but when they’re in Anaheim (as they were this weekend), it’s great to see them in person. Granted, they often lose, since Anaheim is the only team with a winning record against the Yankees in the last 13 or so years, but it’s still good to see them play. In their first two games this weekend, the Yankees scored 14 runs against the Angels. Very good, actually… except for the fact that the Angels scored that many on Saturday alone and 24 on Friday and Saturday. Today’s game was a lot closer though the Angels still won. The Yankees had been one of the hottest teams in baseball before meeting up with the Angels, so hopefully they’ll get back to that after the All-Star break.
This weekend was also the LA Kings’ development camp for their young players who haven’t made it into the NHL yet. It’s always good to see the players who’ve been chosen. I don’t follow that much minor league hockey, so I never know if I agree or disagree with the rankings before the draft or have much of an opinion on how various teams did in the draft. The development camp puts it into perspective a bit, since you can see the players in person and judge them for yourself.
It was nice to see the large turnout today at the development camp in El Segundo. Everyone says it was about as crowded Friday and Saturday, too. Since Friday was during a work day and Friday and Saturday had great weather and (as always in southern California) plenty of options for fans to spend their time, it’s great to see how many of them chose to spend time inside to get a glimpse of the Kings’ future. Hockey has the shortest off season, but it can still seem to drag at times. Development camp is definitely a way to get a good hockey fix in person.
Hockey Fest in the end of August at LA Live is really the next major event for hockey fans in southern California. The more I hear about Hockey Fest, the more interesting it sounds. I think it’s something all southern California hockey fans will be able to enjoy (yes, even the Ducks fans). Of course, southern CA hockey fans who haven’t visited the Science of Hockey exhibit at the Discovery Science Center should check that out to kill the time in the off season.
To read more of my thoughts on the NHL and other sports, check out Press Box Perspective.
Tags: development camp, Ducks, ESPN, fans, Fox, Hockey Fest, Kings, MLB, NHL, Science of Hockey, Yankees
I haven’t heard anyone predicting that the Hurricanes win the series with the Bruins yet. I’m sure there are some. Finding people who thought the Ducks were going to beat the Sharks was almost impossible and I talked to members of the media and fans in Anaheim. Since I haven’t been to Carolina in years, I’m sure I could find some people there who truly thought the Hurricanes would win the series against the Bruins before this round of the playoffs started. If most people had been told that the Hurricanes would be up 2-1 in a series with the Bruins, they probably would have believed it about as much as most people would have if you told them the Ducks would have been leading the series with the Sharks 2-0 to start.
Two overtime games in one day again and the Penguins and the Hurricanes were a part of the madness this round, too. Thankfully, my DVR from hell (made by Motorola and supplied by the horrible Orange County Cox Cable company) worked and I got to see both games today (the Devils/Hurricanes game recorded, but the DVR couldn’t play it – so sad!). It’s interesting to me that both times there were two OT games in the playoffs this year on the same day they involved the only two teams who were in both rounds of the playoffs. Incidentally, the team who won the OT game in question won the series and went on to the next round of the playoffs. Wonder if that’ll happen this time, too.
As a Penguins fan, the Penguins game drove me nuts. The Capitals’ late tying goal and all the chances and the way the Pens were skating initially and… I could go on forever about the gut-wrenching experience I know most Penguins fans went through tonight. I think we can all agree that the comeback the Red Sox made against the Yankees a few years ago is too rare to hope for it and that if the Penguins had lost tonight at home it would have been the end of their 2009 playoff run. Fortunately for Pens fans everywhere, Pittsburgh won game 3 and the Penguins are now only behind 2-1 in the series to the Capitals.
Apparently, the Penguins want to play in the first back-to-back games of the 2009 playoffs. Personally, I think back-to-back games should never happen in the playoffs. I realize that arenas have schedules to work around, but think they should figure something out to avoid back-to-back games. On the bright side, of course, both teams have exactly the same recover time. On the down side, this is the playoffs. To me playoff hockey means teams at their best and the Penguins and Capitals will not be at their best when they played the day before. As another point, this is the playoffs – I know, it seems like the same point as my first, but bear with me. Since this is the playoffs, game 4 of the Pens/Caps series in Pittsburgh Friday could last until sometime Saturday morning. I know the players’ contracts have rules about game turnaround time; I’m guessing these restrictions are waived for the playoffs. However, think about how horrible and boring the Pens/Caps game could be on Saturday if the game Friday goes into triple overtime (or longer). Don’t the fans deserve more during the playoffs – especially for a weekend game? I think they do. Too bad Gary Bettman disagrees with me.
Tags: back-to-back games, Bruins, Capitals, Cox Cable, Ducks, DVR, fans, Gary Bettman, Hockey, Hurricanes, Motorola, NHL, overtime, Penguins, playoffs, Red Sox, Sharks, Yankees
After the Kings beat the Ducks last night in Anaheim, they were blasting “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the rock ballad by Journey. They couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate song for the team or their fans. I only know of one Kings fan unhappy with the Kings this season. He claims if I had to purchase my tickets I’d feel differently than I do, but he couldn’t be more wrong. When I found out he was cheering against the Kings (except for last night, since he doesn’t want the Ducks in the playoffs either), so they don’t get into the playoffs this year, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I thought perhaps Sprint (who I’m getting rid of tomorrow – YES!) had garbled the text message. But no… he really doesn’t want the team he’s been cheering for since they played in the Forum to make it into the playoffs this year. I don’t get it.
Playoff experience is always good for a team. He thinks if they just barely make it into the playoffs the Kings will be knocked out by the Sharks or Red Wings in the first round. So? The Penguins were knocked out in the first round in 2007 and went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008. Their first playoff run with Sid the Kid lasted only 5 games. The next one got them within a couple wins of the Stanley Cup. Would any Penguins fan wish that the Penguins had missed the playoffs in 2007 instead of getting in them only to be sent home after five games? I don’t think so, but I can’t imagine how anyone who claims to love the Kings could want them to fail this year.
The Kings have exceeded expectations this year and are only three points out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the western conference. Considering how much flack I got for liking the way Dean Lombardi was handling things, most people did not see this coming. One of my friends even mentioned that if he were a Kings fan he’d be upset that the Kings didn’t really shake things up and over pay for a bunch of new guys on their roster (as the Lightning did). He asked if I was upset that they didn’t do the same thing Tampa Bay did in the off season. I wasn’t then and I’m not now. Tampa Bay (with 49 points) is 17 points out of 8th place in the eastern conference. I’m guessing that many of their fans are wishing all their prospects hadn’t been traded away for a team that cares about the money and not the team.
Dean Lombardi often compares what he’s trying to achieve to the late 90’s Yankees. The team that had a core of players they brought up in their system (including Jeter, Posada, & Pettitte) along with the players they bought to complete their roster. Rich Hammond quoted Lombardi as saying that he wanted a Jeter, not a Rodriguez and I couldn’t agree with him more. Any Yankees fan (and most other baseball fans) knows how much more important Jeter has been (and will be) to the franchise. Kings fans should appreciate the fact that Lombardi cared enough to do what no other GM in club history has done, though many said they were doing it… REBUILD. Skeptics have started to see the light and fans are clearly pleased with their teams’ serious talk of playoff hopes. The last few years when the Kings’ season ticket playoff ticket priority was mentioned, I heard fans ask if that meant they were going to be given a chance to buy tickets in Anaheim early, since clearly their team was not going to make it to the playoffs. This year, the Kings have a chance and whether they make it or not the end of the season is more exciting for Kings fans than it’s been in 7 years. They should be enjoying this time and believe in their team.
Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Dean Lombardi, Derek Jeter, Ducks, fans, Kings, Lightning, Penguins, playoffs, rebuild, Red Wings, Sharks, Sidney Crosby, Yankees
Who thought the last game played in Yankees Stadium would be played in September? I certainly wouldn’t have bet on it. Of course, five years ago I doubt most people would have guessed that Johnny Damon would hit a home run as a Yankee the last time the Yankees played in Yankee Stadium.
I’m very glad that ESPN televised the last Yankee Stadium game in HD so I could enjoy the final game. I also appreciated the extras they included in their broadcast. They scrolled stats through the years of Yankee Stadium on the bottom line and mentioned many interesting facts throughout the show. ESPN also had a lot of special guests Yogi Berra is always a fan favorite, but I like that they included as many of the Yankee greats as possible in their broadcast. There are a lot of things ESPN does (like barely covering hockey) of which I’m not fond. However, I must give them credit for doing a wonderful job with the final game in Yankee Stadium. They even mentioned the New York Cosmos (the soccer team that called Yankee Stadium home). I remember going to Cosmos games when I was little and it’s nice that the Cosmos were mentioned.
The first home run in Yankee Stadium (as most Yankees fans know) was hit by Babe Ruth. The last was hit by Jose Molina. Sure, if it had scripted by someone in Hollywood the final home run would have probably been hit by Derek Jeter (when he had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th, probably). It’s great that Jose Molina was back in the lineup and able to have such a special moment on the last night the Yankees played in Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter was playing injured today and you can’t perfectly plan real life. Although I’m sure Jeter is bummed that he went 0-5 in the last game at Yankee Stadium, I’m also positive he’s glad he played in the game, even though he was injured. How could anyone who told his parents he was going to be a Yankee as when he was young miss playing in the last game in Yankee Stadium when he has that chance? Jeter did get a standing ovation by the crowd when he took the final Yankee at bat in the final game at Yankee Stadium. I’m sure this night wasn’t as he pictured it, but Derek Jeter batting the final at bat by a Yankee in the game and the Yankees winning definitely fit perfectly.
It’s perfect that Andy Pettitte started the final game in Yankee Stadium (he was also credited with the last win) and Mariano Rivera ended it. I’m glad Girardi paid attention to the importance of the final game in the house that Ruth built and made sure the two pitchers who came up through the Yankee farm system pitched in the final game. Frank Sinatra’s version of New York, New York has played for the last time in the original Yankee Stadium and the Yankees wandering around the field waving to their fans as it played a few times was the perfect way to say goodbye to the home of the Yankees. I wish I could have been there for this final game, but I’m glad I got to visit the stadium one last time before it closes the last time I was in the city.
I’m sorry that Jorge Posada couldn’t play in tonight’s game at Yankee Stadium. He’s one of the remaining 4 players on the Yankees who won the 4 World Series in 5 years (ending with the Subway Series in 2000). The other 3 are Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte. It’s good that Posada was there to share in the memories, but I’m sure he would have preferred to be playing in the game.
It’s also too bad that Joe Torre couldn’t be there to share in the last game in Yankee Stadium. His current team, the Dodgers, look like they will be making it into the playoffs this year. I wish he could have been there for the last game in Yankee Stadium, but I’m glad he’s doing well with his new team.
The last time the Yankees missed the playoffs, it was 1994. So much has happened since 1994. I, personally, had two weddings (and the associated divorces), graduated from Penn State, and moved (more times than I care to count now, but three states and 7 cities were involved). It’s amazing what can happen in 14 years. The price of gas in 1994 was around a dollar and California experienced the horrible Northridge earthquake. Hopefully, it will be another 14 years before the Yankees miss the playoffs again and the new stadium opening next year will be a new start for the Yankees in this millennium.
Tags: Andy Pettitte, Baseball, Derek Jeter, ESPN, fans, HD, Joe Torre, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, Mariano Rivera, MLB, playoffs, Yankees
I’ve been a big fan of Alyssa Milano’s Touch clothing line since I first heard about it when she was adding the NHL to her line and I thought most of the clothing was very well done. I didn’t order any of it initially, since I was waiting to see what they’d end up offering for my NHL teams. Unfortunately, while waiting for that, some of the items I liked sold out for my baseball team (the Yankees). I realized that it’s taking too long to get her clothing line fully launched with the NHL teams. I thought I remembered seeing Penguins clothing in the first NHL catalog that had the Touch line, but as of today only 11 teams are listed on the NHL Touch page and the Penguins aren’t one of them. Only a little over a third of the NHL teams have Touch clothing available at the NHL shop online and neither of my teams are included. I know from talking to the guys who work for the Kings that the Kings are going to do a full launch and are going to work with Alyssa Milano on marketing and their own commercials for the line, but I don’t know when that will be released. Hopefully, it won’t be long after the season starts.
I decided to stop waiting for the NHL to get fully on board with the Touch clothing line and order a couple of Yankees (and one All Star) items. I got them yesterday and I love them. Not only do they look good, but they’re comfortable and machine wash & dryable. It doesn’t get much better than that for me with clothing. It’s easy to care for the garments and they look great. I’m so happy to have a good option in women’s clothing to support a sports team while still being fashionable. It’s great that Alyssa realized that there was a deficiency in this area (as many women have) and decided to do something about it by developing a line of clothing for women who love sports.
The other Touch clothing lines are available here:
MLB Alyssa Milano Touch Collection
If you or someone you know is a woman interested in sports, I highly recommend Alyssa Milano’s line.
Tags: Alyssa Milano, Baseball, Hockey, Kings, MLB, NFL, NHL, Penguins, Touch clothing, Yankees