Monday, February 28, 2005

LIVE TRAIN WRECK ON THE BACHELORETTE!

(WEST COAST SPOILER ALERT)

Tune into ABC while you still can people, a TRAIN WRECK is taking place LIVE!


Jen S. has REJECTED BOTH GUYS on live, national TV in the United States, and for that matter, Canada!!! When I saw this I went Holy S!

First she rejects John-Paul, then she rejects Jerry, live, on the air on TV! She's saying she just wants to be friends with him. And now poor Jen is trying to wiggle her way out of this mess she's gotten herself into. I think she just felt that this show put her in an awkward situation and she didn't know what the heck she was feeling, so she's rejected both guys and is staying a single woman.

All I got to say is, way to go Jen. Good for you for being true to your own feelings. Hope you find your guy...and stay as far away from reality TV as possible.

THIS SHOW HAS EMBARRASSED ITSELF!!! I LOVE IT, WOOOOEEEEEE!!!!

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UPDATE: The show is now over. You West Coast viewers are probably still able to catch the whole three-hour train wreck.

What they were going to have happen was that they were going to have Jen accept Jerry's proposal live, on national television, in the studio, tonight, in front of this studio audience full of women. And Jen says no, she thinks they should just be friends. She said no to both of these guys, and the audience was just flabbergasted, stunned. I thought this was going to be yet another one of these contrived endings but when Jen did that, I was cheering at the screen. I just thought this was great television.

I mean really, this ranks up there with the night that they called Florida for Gore. Unbelievable, and all I gotta say is that tonight sort of redeems The Bachelorette as a reality show in my eyes. A real reality show goes off the cliff from time to time. What happened tonight was the most real moment we ever saw in reality TV history!

Jen rejects both guys, live in front of a studio audience. Holy man, I can't stop laughing at the TV.

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ANOTHER UPDATE: Latest big rumor out there on the Internet is that Jen is lying, that she really is f***ing her boss in spite of what she said on TV. Boy do the fans really hate her now for dumping Jerry on national television. They all think Jen was totally unsure of herself and a total idiot, and that she wrecked the show, and they were calling her the B word and worse.

The good news for Jerry is that he'll be The Bachelor on the next edition of the show. But he should run away. And I'm glad Jen wrecked the show. This Bachelor/ette show deserved to be wrecked. Heck, what has this show ever done for Jen Schefft anyway? NOTHING!

JACKO OPENING STATEMENTS

In my continuing attempt to follow the legal happenings in the entertainment industry, opening statements were made today in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial. But I don't think I'm gonna post too many stories about this trial. I think this trial is going to freak people right out, and this blog is a family show. So I think I won't go crazy posting stuff about this freak show... and don't worry, by the time this is done it will be a freak show.

Here's a link to Court TV, and be advised, don't follow this link if you have just eaten. Because the prosecutor made this Jacko guy out to look like the sickest, most disgusting guy imaginable. If this is really what this weirdo is like, he should be locked up forever and kept as far away from kids as possible. If I were a kid, I'd run like heck from this Jacko guy, just based on the opening statements.

After reading that Court TV article I'm glad they kicked the cameras out of the courtroom. I mean, it's bad enough to sit through a grizzly, gore-filled murder trial. It's even worse when the murderer gets off scott-free. But the subject matter this time is really horrible. That's what makes this trial different from the O.J. circus.

The other thing different is that the people on both sides, from the sounds of it, are going to out-O.J. O.J. in terms of dragging everyone in Hollywood into the mud. They're going to call Martin Bashir to the stand, Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King... everyone. It's going to be the sleaziest show in Santa Maria. Thank G the judge kicked the cameras out of the courtroom, I don't think the audience will be able to stomach much of this.

WINNER BY KO: CLINT EASTWOOD

More on the wrapup of last night's Oscars, and the Best Picture win by Million Dollar Baby.

And the usual uptight TV critics trashed Chris Rock and said he stunk, but fact is that the Oscars got their highest ratings in five years, so it must have been an OK idea to put him on after all.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

OSCARS RAPIDLY BECOMING BORING

It's early but it looks like The Aviator is going to clean up tonight. Million Dollar Baby lost its Adapted Screenplay bid so I think it's sunk, already, even though they gave the supporting actor award to Morgan Freeman. The Aviator has won something like three or four awards, I've lost count, but they're starting to win big.

Chris Rock rocks. They had a segment where he went into a movie theatre to interview people on the movies they saw, and well, none of them went to The Aviator or Million Dollar Baby, but they all went to White Chicks. Yeah, they all saw that one. Ebert and Roeper had that one on their Ten Worst list.

And oh yeah, in some of the less-hyped categories they've given out hardware to The Incredibles and Spider-Man 2. My kind of movies.

CHRIS ROCKS THE OSCARS

Well, tonight is Oscar Night and I plan to tune in, just to see what the reaction is to Chris Rock.

Already a lot of people have written this guy off as host of the Academy Awards because of his um, notoriety. He's best known for swearing on stage during his comedy routines, and he's already made a comment to the press of the "do you see any straight black guys watching the Oscars" variety. To which all these politically correct uptights in Hollywood got all offended and wanted him kicked off the show. Cool off, he was just making a comment, people, and it was pretty funny.

And it's the truth. Most guys DON'T watch the Oscars, or at least, tune in but don't really care much about them. By having Chris Rock as the host, guys may actually watch. I know that's not the most politically correct thing to say, but it could be a good thing to have a show that will actually appeal to people who aren't girls, for a change. But you don't want to say that in public for fear of getting people upset.

Anyway, it seems like Chris Rock is already doomed before he even starts. All these artsy-fartsy critics are sharpening their knives. They seem to want a totally high-brow, boring show hosted by a member of the Hollywood establishment. They are treating Chris Rock as a verbal-wardrobe-malfunction waiting to happen.

Then you have these religious groups who all think Chris Rock is a disgrace and part of the problem in Hollywood, even though it's obvious to me that a lot of people at the Oscars are treating Chris Rock as some sort of leper. But that won't stop these religious-type people from sending their protest letters to the FCC tomorrow.

I generally tune in to the Oscars but I can't say I'm that big a fan of them. Usually the only movies that I like that do well at the Oscars are the ones that clean up all the technical awards. It's funny, but I tend to prefer the low-brow entertainment, of the comedy or action-movie variety. These movies do great at the box office and are really good, most of the time, better than most of the crap you see on TV. But you'll never see the high-brow types praising this stuff. Occasionally you might see Roger Ebert or Leonard Maltin say good things about these movies, but if you read the Canadian papers, our critics tend to have no sense of humor and just trash this stuff. Same with most critics. You never see any of those movies win Oscars, hardly ever.

About the only one that ever did was Rocky, and I'm convinced that was a fluke. Titanic was another fluke: it was a big hit with the public, and deserved to clean up the technical Oscars, but for some reason the high-brow types loved this movie. But I think it should never have won Best Picture because its screenplay was really, really hokey.

I know everyone in Canada will tune in to CTV to see Ben Mulroney on the red carpet gushing over these movie stars but I really don't care about any of the fashions these women wear- that seems to be the obsession of most of the people. Everyone is doing these red-carpet shows so that people can find out what these women are wearing so they can make snap judgments about them, and I couldn't care less. And I don't give a hoot about Jennifer Aniston, either. She'll be a big story whether or not she even shows up, and then if she shows up there will be people who'll be trying to figure out whether or not she's gaining or losing weight, or whether she's anorexic. See, this is the Hollywood media for you. They go nuts over absolutely nothing. So I'll skip watching the red carpet and use the time to go out and buy potato chips or something so I can tune in the rest of the show.

Should be interesting, we'll see how big of a train wreck Chris Rock is with these people, or if Martin Scorsese gets his Oscar. Maybe not.

Friday, February 25, 2005

SPORTS TV IN CANADA: HOW THEY STACK UP

I've been thinking about CBC Sports lately and about all the problems it's having, and it seems to me that most of their problems have a lot to do with the fact that Hockey Night in Canada is not on the air. If we had a hockey season, this Chris Cuthbert fiasco would never have happened, and CBC would be rolling in dough.

I'm thinking now: how are the other networks handling the decimation of the Canadian sports scene? We know what it's done to the CBC: they've gotten KILLED. But whither TSN? Rogers Sportsnet? Here's my assessment of how they seem to be doing, based on the few times I've been tuning in:

TSN:
Clobbered.
What else is there to say. They bet their hat on the NHL, just like the CBC did, and now there's nothing on their schedule. The other night they had on bowling and a poker(!) tournament. They also have on the WWE, but really, is the WWE a sport? I think it's fair to say they're being killed.

TSN is in a sad state, in deep decline. In fact I notice some of their anchors have even bailed on them and taken gigs elsewhere, just to get out of there. Maybe they knew this lockout debacle was coming. TSN was a lot better back in the 1980s when they had all the Blue Jay games, back in the days when Canadians actually cared about baseball. Then Rogers bought the Blue Jays and that was the end of that, and then this year the CBC stole curling away from under their noses. And now they have no hockey. The only really popular major sports they really still have a lock on are football and auto racing, but auto racing has barely started and, well, football season's over. I guess they have boxing, too, but boxing's a joke these days. So basically they're getting KILLED.

They've been reduced to showing reruns of classic NHL games and really, this is a DISASTER. TSN looks like a station running cheap junk by doing that.

The people most deeply affected are the people on the hockey broadcasts, people like Gord Miller and Bob McKenzie and James Duthie and everyone else. They've been basically redeployed as reporters and commentators covering the labour dispute and other hockey events, such as the World Juniors. But I think there were layoffs over there, too. And poor Vic Rauter has little to do except wait for the auto racing season to come back.

On the positive side, TSN/CTV won the Olympic bidding. So things are bound to improve again, eventually. The one thing about TSN is that they're used to not having any decent live sporting events on that channel. They spent several years without any hockey broadcasts and had their baseball schedule sharply reduced, and for a long time the fans thought TSN's programming was a joke. Then they got the NHL and things improved. Now the NHL is gone again, so what's TSN left with? The CFL and Sportscentre, and Off the Record with Michael Landsberg. They need more play-by-play sporting events. The high point for TSN was the holiday season, when they showed the entire World Juniors. That was great work. But they are really hurting otherwise. There is only so much bowling coverage one can stand.

Rogers Sportsnet:
So far seems to be handling the lockout surprisingly well.
About the only big problem at Sportsnet is that the anchors are all big hockey fans. But pretty much everyone at TSN and over at the CBC is a big hockey fan, too. So all these networks have the same problem. Their staff are all having trouble mustering up the same enthusiasm for the other, non-NHL sports. The only people still having a good time are the guys like Gerry Dobson. You know, the soccer guys.

Sportsnet has survived with Raptors hoops and lacrosse and AHL hockey, and soon they will have the Blue Jays back every night. And they have the rights to the CHL, so they are going to be OK. They have lots of stuff to cover and it's pretty good. And they now have Bob McCown and his FAN radio show simulcast every night.

But the highlights are pretty empty. Not a happy place.

The Score:
Short answer: No NHL highlights.
Here's my assessment of what is going on over there. Back when I was at this place, the joint would be buzzing with activity during the hockey season. Then the moment the Leafs were kicked out of the playoffs the place would just drop dead. Just literally, the air would be removed from that place. I imagine it is SO DEAD OVER THERE.

Steve Kouleas was quoted as saying this is the worst year of his broadcasting life. He ain't the only Canadian sportscaster having the worst year of his broadcasting life: just ask Chris Cuthbert, Bob Cole, Don Cherry etc etc. And Tom Cheek's health has been terrible. But at least he's still working and happy to be alive after what he's gone through. Only sportscaster in the country who isn't having his worst year ever in broadcasting is Paul Romanuk. He had his worst year ever a couple of years ago when the TEAM laid him off and he was totally out of work. He was off the air for a really long time. Now the tables have completely flipped: Romanuk's on the air all the time on radio doing Argos and Raptors games, and hosting Live from Gretzky's, while the rest of the industry is being laid off.

Actually, the guys who cover the Montreal Expos are having a very hard time of it now that the team is gone. The Score was the TV home of the Expos, so they won't have any Expo games to show this year. As for their radio guy, Elliott Price, well, he just found out the other day that he isn't moving with the team to Washington after all. Seems they had trouble getting a working visa for him, so they canned him and hired new announcers. So this is already the worst year of Elliott Price's broadcasting career, too. He's now a former major league baseball announcer. So it's a bad year for just about everyone. Rob Faulds was taken off Blue Jays games over at Sportsnet: he's having a really bad year, too. Dennis Beyak, reduced to covering the OHL Mississauga IceDogs. Joe Bowen, reduced to Toronto Rock lacrosse.

The Score does have NBA games and the WWE so it isn't a complete disaster for them. They never had NHL games anyway, but they did have the highlights. And boy, do they ever miss those.

Leafs TV:
No Leafs to cover, but...
They've held up surprisingly well. They've stepped up coverage of the baby Leafs and the Central Hockey League, and have shown college hockey games. And they've done a good job providing lockout updates for the fans. So they're managing quite well. I'm surprised because I thought they'd get completely slaughtered. But they'd do a lot better if they had actual live stuff to show from the NHL.

NHL Network:
Ain't it obvious?

Fan 590:
Has held up very well considering the NHL has bitten the dust. Lucky for them they do not have the rights to Leaf games. Instead they got outbid by 640 Toronto again and that has hung 640 out to dry, while the Fan continues to broadcast Raptors games, NFL action, and coming soon, the Jays. They also did a great job with their play-by-play of the World Juniors. Basically, the Fan 590 has suffered the least in this lockout situation. And tune in to ESPN all night and on weekends, and it's almost as if the NHL is hardly missed.

Some of the broadcasters (Bob McCown, Chuck Swirsky, Mike Hogan, Eric Smith) have managed to survive quite nicely because of their deep interest in other sports: in fact, the Fan 590 is really lucky to have a staff filled with people whose favorite sports are NOT hockey. They are bailing the station out. But the hockey guys are all really suffering. Norm Rumack and Gord Stellick are inconsolable. Stellick in particular cannot talk about any other sports without having to bring up hockey as a point of reference. Give it up, man.

And you can tell that Leafs beat reporter Howard Berger is really suffering. What good is being the Leafs beat reporter when all you are able to cover are fruitless labour negotiations and news of players hopping on planes to Europe? He must be really depressed.

They've been lucky at the FAN to have some Sportsnet personalities show up, and Elliotte Friedman has shown up on the station from time to time, looking for work.

640 Toronto:
Changed their format to serious talk radio in time for the lockout: a smart move.
They got off to a great start covering the lockout with their No Hockey show and with their Leafs Lunch lockout coverage. Since then, it has been getting boring tuning in to hear lockout coverage, so they changed the name of the No Hockey show to Hockey Tonight and are now covering all the other hockey still going on. They have been trying to spruce up their lineup by adding Baby Leafs AHL games from St. John's, and have also been carrying several OHL games of the Mississauga IceDogs. They also acquired the rights this year to Toronto Rock lacrosse games and are also the home of the Grey Cup Champion Argonauts. All in all, I give these guys high marks for effort. They've made an effort to fill the huge void left by the departure of the Maple Leafs and they're handling it quite well.

So that's my overall assessment. In general, it's a mess everywhere, not just at CBC Sports. But the other nets seem to be handling the situation better. The scale of the carnage over at the CBC rivals some nation that just got invaded and had to surrender. But they aren't the only ones suffering. Not by a long shot.

CURLING ON TV: BIG SCANDAL

Adam Daifallah weighs in with his take on the curling TV coverage debacle.

I have a solution to this mess. Seems to me the objection here is to consigning coverage of the draw in prime time to that awful Country Canada channel that nobody can get. The Canadian Curling Association simply assumed that people would shell out the additional couple of dollars for Country Canada but they forget, the cable industry doesn't work that way. They force you to take a bundle of channels so you end up paying through the nose for dreadful digital rerun programming that nobody in his right mind would want to pay for, absolutely the cheapest junk imaginable, but you have to take it in order to get Country Canada. The other problem is that if you take Country Canada, you're stuck with its boring, waste-of-time programming the rest of the year after the curling season is over.

So here's my simple solution. Why doesn't the CBC simply shift the evening draw from Country Canada to either its main network or to CBC Newsworld? Really, that would solve all the problems right there. Everyone can get the main CBC and everyone with cable or a dish can get Newsworld. But that would be too easy for the people who run the Mother Corporation. And I suppose the CRTC wouldn't allow sports on Newsworld. Darned regulations.

Okay, here's another suggestion. I suggest the Canadian public sells the CBC to Donald Trump. Then the Donald can fire some people. Problem solved! Oh, I forgot: Canadians don't believe in capitalism, and Canadians hate Americans, and they don't want missile defense, and...

The worst part about this is that this is one problem that moving to the States will not fix, because there's NO curling coverage down there (except for the odd match on NBC). Might as well pack your bags and move to Scotland.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I'M THROUGH WITH APPRENTICE 3

Hi again. Just want to let you know that I have finally given up on The Apprentice 3. Every week it's the same thing, they do a dumb task and someone blows him/herself up. This week it was Tara's turn. It was another stupid chimp task, this one involving the best marketing campaign involving graffiti, and she tried to create an urban vision to lead the Net Worth team to victory. But the whole rest of the team really did nothing to help her or bail her out, the focus group killed them, and Tara was blown up. So again, it's work hard and be fired. I think this was a case where Tara might not have been all that well suited to lead the task to begin with. Maybe she should have let someone else be the leader and get blown up. She's well spoken and had a political-type job and you would have thought her experience might have been useful to the Trump organization in a real estate task or something better. This was a real flip of the coin in my opinion. Tara got hosed by the focus group. And someone should have stepped up to the plate on the marketing/focus group end of the task. And no one did. So Tara dies because of a stupid task. Another losing project manager bites the dust.

I don't know about you but this is really too predictable. I also read on one of the forums that Magna is supposed to win seven in a row now, or something. Anyway, I just can't get into it this year, this show is BORING.

SAD TIMES AT CBC SPORTS

Is there a worse place to be than CBC Sports? Is it ever a MESS OVER THERE!

It now looks as if the union is going to go to bat for Chris Cuthbert and file a grievance, and all I'll say about it is: way to go. This is the reason why there's unions, folks. And Steve Simmons has a story on the callous way the CBC handled this firing/fiasco.

Seems like nobody in charge over there bothered to watch their own hockey broadcasts, like the one between Washington and New Jersey at the Capital Centre years ago. You know which game I'm talking about. I'm talking about the night of the big blackout in Montreal, where the entire CBC crew in Montreal lost their power. Chris Cuthbert had to call play-by-play, from scratch, from Washington just to bail out the CBC and rescue that night's Stanley Cup broadcast. It was the most amazing fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants hockey broadcasting anyone had ever seen.

And it seems to me that these are people in charge who really appreciate its star employees, not. These are the same people who were ready to let Ron MacLean go and only took him back when the entire Canadian public complained. Word of advice to Chris Cuthbert: CBC doesn't deserve your talent. You are better off without them, but unfortunately the CBC isn't going to be better off without you.

On another topic the CBC is getting absolutely clobbered for its coverage of the Scott Tournament of Hearts. Terry Jones is one of the people reporting on all the complaints. They are only covering the afternoon draws, and they're putting the other draws on the Score and Country Canada, two channels that a lot of people can't get. Country Canada is stuck in the nether regions of TV land, digital cable, which hardly anyone in Canada has. Really, the audience for curling consists mainly of people in rural areas who don't have the money to shell out for digital cable. So they're all screaming about this, and some of them are mad because they have to change the channel to find the draws.

Really, though, it isn't all CBC's fault. This is the fault of the Canadian Curling Association for botching the job and coming up with the worst setup ever for curling coverage. Who did their negotiations?! But you know, TSN was going to cut back anyway to two draws. So the curling coverage this year was going to be lousy anyway.

But still, the CBC can't win. Jones quoted Randy Ferbey as saying that with the hockey lockout the CBC should be doing 12 hours of curling a day. Well, why aren't the people at CBC putting on 12 hours a day on their main network? People would tune in! They'd get great ratings! I used to live out West and people out there would be glued to the TV sets watching curling championships. But the management at CBC doesn't seem to want their viewers to be happy.

True, a lot of the mess over there at CBC Sports has a lot to do with things beyond their control, like the Olympics being too expensive, and the NHL locking itself out, and the CCA making stupid, boneheaded broadcasting decisions. But still, the CBC could have still held a Hockey Day in Canada, could still have aired some classic games on Saturday nights occasionally to keep their miserable hockey fans happy, and they should have kept around Chris Cuthbert for football and the other stuff they were doing. Seems to me that the CBC and the NHL have one thing in common: they don't care about the fans.

Not one bit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

NANCY GRACE'S NEW SHOW

Well I found this post on TVNewser about Nancy Grace and her first night of her new talk show on CNN Headline News. From the sounds of it it was Amateur Hour: tapes not running, microphones not working... argh! And Nancy fired one of the tape people in the middle of the show. "Elizabeth, you're fired!"

I'll tell you something, I've been in the position of hosting an hour-long talk show for local cable when it seemed like we were having every technical problem under the sun, with tapes not starting on time, microphones dying during the broadcast and having to be fixed, guests backing out at the last minute, etcetra. We even had a prank caller phone in to rattle the guests and say the show sucked, and we had to bleep him out. I mean really, I've been there. But at least we all had an excuse. We were in local cable and all new at this talk show stuff. And even though I was the guest host, I never told any of these people "you're fired!"

But this is different. This was supposed to be The Big Network. As James Earl Jones said, "This... is CNN." And it sounds like they all screwed it right up.

Anyway we'll see if this show does well. Sounds like Headline News wants to be the CNN of 10 years ago, the CNN of the OJ era. And it sounds like they have Nancy Grace on so they could go cover the big media-circus Michael Jackson trial, whenever it finally starts.

UPDATE: Here's another story on the changes at Headline News from USA Today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

CHRIS CUTHBERT FIRED

In what was a shocking move today CBC Sports, stung by the loss of Hockey Night in Canada, has to let go of some good people. Today Chris Cuthbert is out of a job, due to no hockey and no games to call.

It's doubly shocking because people were saying he could replace Bob Cole as the main voice of Hockey Night in Canada in a few years. But I thought Cuthbert was safe because he also does CFL games. This must have been a financial decision; the CBC really took a big hit with the loss of hockey, and from the looks of it hockey might never be back. So they had to get rid of some big contracts. I suspect it came down to a decision between booting Cuthbert or getting rid of Don Wittman, who does pretty much the same sports. But I suspect Wittman was saved by those curling broadcasts CBC is doing. And Brian Williams got saved because he doesn't do hockey games at all. So Cuthbert's gone because his main sport is locked out. I suspect that's what sunk Cuthbert; like the laid-off Bob Cole, he's another victim of the sad times at CBC Sports.

I got a chance to meet Chris Cuthbert a couple of years ago when he was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame and he was a class act. Since Chris Cuthbert has some spare time on his hands he should read Voices of the Game by Curt Smith, about major league baseball announcers. It seems like all the great ones, Mel Allen, Red Barber, Harry Caray, Ernie Harwell and the rest, were fired from their high-profile gigs at some point in their careers, and they all came back. So will Cuthbert, future employee of either TSN or Rogers Sportsnet. I wouldn't be surprised if one of those networks hired him as their main guy for football games.

It was also not that good a day for Tom Cheek. He was up for the Ford Frick award which would have inducted him into the broadcaster's wing in Cooperstown, and well, he didn't win. Instead Jerry Coleman, of the San Diego Padres, got in. It's too bad for Tom Cheek, but Jerry Coleman's a heckuva baseball announcer, and he called games on network radio for CBS Sports, so you can't say the Hall of Fame voters were all knuckleheads. I will say this, that Tom Cheek will one day make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and so should Dave Van Horne. Both of them were the Voices of Baseball in this country.

A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS ON HUNTER S. THOMPSON

Hunter S. Thompson died on the weekend. Suicide.

I may not have agreed with his politics, but boy, could he ever write about politics. I have his book Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 and really enjoyed his gonzo depiction of the campaign. He was doing back then what modern-day bloggers are doing today, he was going out there and calling it as he saw it, and telling the truth as he saw it. It's really too bad he won't be around chronicling any more campaigns, he will be missed.

Monday, February 21, 2005

HEADLINE NEWS' NEW LOOK

Time to move on from hockey, people.

CNN Headline News has a new look, as many of you may have heard- they have a new entertainment show and a new legal show with Nancy Grace. Here's an article in the NY Daily News on what you can expect.

BETTMAN ON WFAN TALKING ABOUT THOSE WILD FRIDAY RUMORS

Commish Gary Bettman was on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show on WFAN New York today and he stated that he was as stunned as anyone by all the rumors and falsehoods being spewed by the media going into Saturday's meeting in New York. He called the reports a "pack of lies" and suspected that the league was being "set up" by someone trying to undermine the league. He mentioned the stories did not originate with his office and that in fact none of these media people even tried to contact him or Bill Daly.

I invite you to go to the interview with Mike Francesa on the WFAN page link that I gave you and tune in to the February 21st interview and hear it for yourself. Gary Bettman is all but blaming the union here for a big set-up designed to pressure the owners into making a better offer. And what happened at the meeting was that Bettman and Goodenow weren't even there, and the league said they were expecting the players to make an offer and they never made an offer. So the whole meeting was about, well, nothing. 6 and a half hours of wasted time.

The other thing Bettman said was that it was the union who requested the presense of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, not ownership, so the theory is that the union was using Gretzky and Lemieux to try and negotiate a better deal from the owners, and that the union was behind a lot of the spin going around that day. But then again there was also a lot of spin going on suggesting that the union was falling apart and that union members were undermining Bob Goodenow and negotiating behind his back, so maybe the owners actually believed that line of bull and thought the players were all about to cave. I dunno, but this whole thing made Gretzky and Lemieux look really bad. They must be really wondering why the heck they didn't choose some other sport to play. What a mess!

Of the media reports, Bettman said he was having dinner on Friday with Gretzky and Lemieux to apprise them of what was happening, to get them up to speed, and it was after that when he heard all these reports of people saying a deal was struck. He even had his NHL PR people call up the AP and CP to issue denials but the media simply ignored them and continued to report rumors of a deal the following day.

I will say this, though, it seemed as if the media were backtracking a little on Saturday and started to realize the deal was not etched in stone. But on Friday night they practically said a deal was done, and they all ended up with egg on their faces.

I think at the end of the day this was a classic case of the hockey media jumping the gun without any hard facts to back up their stories, and reporting rumors instead of hard news. And they got caught. Listen, I've seen this business up close. This business reports rumors all the time. Just tune into the FAN 590, the hosts talk up rumors all the time and every rumor is reported as the Gospel. I think this was just a case of everyone hoping the National Hockey League was coming back, and everyone hoping they had a big story, and when they found out Gretzky and Lemieux were somehow involved they thought, this is it. And they were all wrong in their assumptions.

In any event the Canadian sports media did the hockey fans a dis-service on Friday night. Thanks to them, the fans got their hopes up, only to be whacked over the head with a hammer again. I have some advice to the sports media types: get lost, eh? Go report something else, there are other sports. Hey, baseball season is coming soon. Hey, NASCAR season's already here. Did you know that viewership for the Daytona 500 yesterday peaked in Canada at over 600,000? Yes, there are lots of auto racing fans in Canada. Maybe it's time for you sports guys to cover THAT sport.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

LAST WORD ON THE NHL MESS

Well, now that the NHL season is finally toast, I've decided to move on with my life. Thank heavens this is over. We all need a cooling off period, especially the negotiators.

How could so many of those media monkeys have been so WRONG?! The Hockey News basically announced that there was a deal. ESPN even reported on their website that there was a tentative deal. Everyone from Bob McCown on down bolixed this story right up.

And yet Bob McCown and the rest of them weren't all totally wrong. There were things happening. There was an attempt to save the season, the only problem is that a lot of hockey people got carried away and basically announced the deal was done, even though it wasn't. This was the hockey media's version of Florida. They all look like complete incompetents today, especially everyone at the Hockey News. They must all be really embarrassed over there, because they broke this phony deal story.

I think in retrospect it's easy to figure out what happened in the final few days before that Saturday debacle. I think it was a case where everyone was in complete denial that they had driven their own sport off a cliff. The two sides all hoped the other side would cave in, and that's why they called that meeting. And the media people all made more of the meeting than was merited. They all thought cooler heads were going to prevail and there would be a compromise, and they all jumped the gun and broke the story of a deal, just so they could look like they got the scoop and were big heroes. I tuned into Fox Sports Radio last night and they were talking about what happened, and they mentioned that Wayne Gretzky learned that a tentative deal was being reported, and he hadn't even spoken to anyone yet, he had just gotten off the plane. Trevor Linden later said that too much was being made of these meetings, and same for a lot of people. Looks to me like another case of the hockey media going overboard again. Keep in mind, these are the same people who go nuts over trade rumors and who hold big freaking trade-deadline specials. I remember the night the entire Toronto sports media were going nuts over Eric Lindros trade rumors to the Maple Leafs, and of course it never happened. So it's obvious to me that they blew things out of proportion.

I also happen to think that the rumors of a deal were management-driven. I think management types let their friends in the media know that they were going to make another attempt, and if you noticed, a lot of the people trying to get the season re-started came from management. It was Gretzky and Lemieux, two owners, who were said to be spearheading it. But I don't know if they were going to make a deal at 45. I heard a lot of management-type pro-ownership people on the radio (the usual suspects, Bill Watters and Brian Burke and the rest) and they were still saying the players ought to cave in and accept 42.5, even as all the stories were circulating that Gretzky and Lemieux were trying to get some deal done. So I think the owners were planning to hold to their party line of 42.5 all along. I think they really, truly thought the players were cracking and going to cave in and accept it.

As for the rumors of player agents getting involved and rebel players breaking from their own union and sandbagging Goodenow and negotiating behind his back, well, we all know now that all those rumors were all complete rubbish. All of it!!! I don't know where those reports came from unless there were people out there inventing stuff for some reason. I don't know who it was or where this came from, but shame on whoever it was who spread these lies to the media. They made Howard Berger and Bob McCown and all the rest of the people stuck covering these talks look like fools. I thought maybe it was management types who might be spreading these stories in order to undermine the union and get Goodenow fired, but it doesn't make any sense for management to spread rumors that they were going to accept a deal at 45, because they didn't want a cap at all at 45. And union guys like Mike Gartner were telling people Goodenow's job was safe, that no one was out to undermine him. So I don't know who the heck invented this stuff or where it came from. Maybe these higher-up sources were completely speculating what might happen, and the media turned around and treated it like the Gospel. I think this may have been the case.

The entire hockey media in Canada were running every rumor that was out there, because nobody could believe a word that was uttered from the leadership. The negotiators kept on lying about whether they would be meeting and lying about whether there was any progress. The union said they'd never accept a cap and then they turned around and agreed to it. The owners said they'd never go above 40 and that the players would never get a better deal, and what happens, they offer them a better deal! So as a result, Gary Bettman announces he's canceling the entire season and nobody believes that, either. As a result, all the hockey reporters have no choice but to report every rumor out there, because nobody knew what to believe. And the fans are left in agony for three full days after the official cancellation of the NHL season, all of them told to get their hopes up, even though they announced there was no season!

Man, I've never seen a week like this. This has to have been the most embarrassing public relations debacle the National Hockey League has ever had. I agree with the people who say these guys looked like the Keystone Cops. Their dealing this week looked like complete ineptitude.

And everyone's credibility is down the chute. I have a suggestion to the owners and players. In the future, start being honest and forthright with reporters. If you're holding a meeting, for gosh sakes tell them, don't lie about it and say no meetings are planned. That's why what happened this week happened. Nobody believed anyone, so they simply reported rumors and hoped it was the truth, because heck, they didn't what the heck was true or not, and there was intense demand for information. The public wanted to know every rumor out there, so they had no choice but to report all this bull.

-----------------------------------------------------

There is one other theory that could have some credibility. Maybe there were owners out there willing to compromise at 45, and maybe people were out there coming up with a compromise plan, but they all got sandbagged at the last minute by the smaller market teams. The speculation on the radio shows yesterday was that the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers were dead-set against a cap at 45 and that's what scuttled the deal. The big hawks were dead-set against any compromise from 42.5 and that's why it got killed: they had veto power in this whole setup. So maybe there were attempts made but these smaller clubs sandbagged the talks before they even began. I had thought that maybe a couple of the smaller clubs might have broken ranks to sandbag Florida and Nashville and do a deal, but no one did.

I know people in Toronto are mad at Nashville and Florida for scuttling Canada's sport, but keep in mind Edmonton was probably not happy either. And ditto for Calgary. They probably also scuttled this deal, too.

Anyway, I hope someone does some digging to determine what was really going on these last few days, and figures out how these bogus, phony stories got started. The hockey media looks like they have been truly taken for a ride. They not only have egg on their faces but omelette all over their suits.

Before I go I'm going to say that I'm really fed up with the NHL, these fools have ruined the entire sport and when they come back I will make them pay. I was listening to Norm Rumack on the radio and he's still convinced that hockey fans will be so delighted to see the NHL return that they will come back in droves when they finally do come back. He also probably thinks the arenas will be filled to watch replacement players. And Bill Hayes got into a big argument with him, told Norm he was through with the NHL and cancelling his season's tickets. You know, there's lots of people who feel this way. They're FURIOUS with the people who are in charge of this sport. This NHL has made a spectacle of itself already, worse than anything baseball ever did to the fans. You'd have to think a lot of hockey fans are rethinking their allegiances today.

This is the moment of truth for all these Leaf fans who claimed to disown the Blue Jays and major league baseball because of the 1994 strike. They all say they never go to Jays games because the ticket prices are too high and they disrespected the fans in 1994. Well, are the fans going to turn around and disown the Leafs now? If they don't, they're gluttons for punishment and complete hypocrites. If they really believe their own line of bull, they should all disown the NHL and fill the Rogers Centre for Toronto Argonaut football games. Hey, the Argos never cancelled their season, their ticket prices are reasonable, their players aren't overpaid bums, and they won the Grey Cup.

So if the Toronto fans don't go to Argo games and go right back to paying a fortune to see the Leafs, then they really have no excuse and no one to blame but themselves. These diehard Leaf fans who can't wait to go back and waste their money on NHL games are a bunch of goofballs.

Enough of the NHL. I'm not going to bother with these total fools anymore, at least for a while. Anyway, the good news is that my time is now freed up to follow basketball and NASCAR full-time. I'm spending my Saturday nights listening to basketball games on the radio. I know it's terrible to be reduced to following American sports, but there are Canadians who do play basketball...and auto racing, which is on today. Boogity boogity boogity, let's go racing! (What a hokey line that is.)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

AAAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

What else can I say? This story tells you all you need to know.

From what I heard the meeting went 6 1/2 hours, it was an acrimonious meeting, and it sounds as if the owners are wanting the players to completely capitulate and the players are really upset. So, ahem, there's no deal at all apparently.

THIS LEAGUE IS BEING RUN INTO THE GROUND! ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE BOZOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--------------------------------------------

Update:
Further to this report is a story going out there that the players are going to announce they are finished talking to the National Hockey League and that there will be no further attempts to save the season. And now Sportsnet and TSN are quoting Bill Daly as saying the focus is now on saving the NEXT season, not this one.

This season is FINISHED.

And so am I. The Daytona 500 and the NBA All-Star game are tomorrow, folks. Time for us to follow some different sports.

And for the record, Bill Daly told reporters that the meetings were cordial, not acrimonious as I stated above. It didn't matter whether it was cordial or a WWE brawl in there, though, because absolutely nothing got accomplished. Again.

NHL 2004-2005. RIP. Finally.

AHEM. NO DEAL YET

Well, those media reports jumped the gun a little bit by suggesting both sides were going to agree to 45 mil, Bill Daly was quoted as saying they didn't agree to a tentative deal at all.

Still, both sides are meeting in New York City and the satellite trucks are all set for the big press conference expected to come later tonight when Gary Bettman announces a deal is done and he uncancels the season. Not in attendance at the negotiating table, we are told, is Bob Goodenow, who is being frozen out, for what reason we do not have a clue. There are actually a few rumors going around that he may soon be fired, but that's all rumor. And we are told that Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are there.

I'll break in to let you know if these clowns finally did come up with their deal to save the season.

Friday, February 18, 2005

NHL: BACK FROM THE DEAD

Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are going to be part of those meetings tomorrow in New York to try and put the deal in place to rescue the season. Word is there's a tentative deal with an agreement to a salary cap in the range of 45 million. And from all accounts it looks like there's no way this will get derailed. They're going to sit there until they get a deal done. The outrage over the cancellation of the season and the nuttiness of the whole negotiation process finally got to these guys. I think. They could still end up blowing it all tomorrow, but I doubt it. I think the season's going to get un-cancelled.

Seems if this season and this sport is to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, it makes sense that the man from Phoenix ( the Coyotes ) is involved in the resurrection. Hey, they didn't call this Armageddon for nothing. Mel Gibson ought to do a movie on this.

I think in the end both sides realized that cancelling the season was going to do absolutely nothing for them. The majority of the owners realized they were going to see their TV deal with ESPN go up in smoke in short order if they continued this nonsense. I give the folks at ESPN some credit for helping resurrect the season, if it comes about. By announcing they were thinking of junking NHL games, I'm sure they got the owners absolutely scared. Losing their cable network TV deal would have KILLED the NHL. (Imagine, if both ESPN and the CBC announced earlier this year they were both going to junk NHL games, the season could have started up a long time ago.)

And the owners of the richer franchises realized that the lockout was doing nothing for them anyway, so they went and sandbagged the Nashville Predators and the Edmonton Oilers and they're going back to the table. I don't know what the Edmonton Oilers, those big hawks, are going to make of this deal. I'll bet they are going to feel as if they got hosed. But that's life.

Also, from what I've read on the Hockey News website and listening to WGR, Gary Bettman's drop-dead press conference was an attempt to trip up Bob Goodenow and his usual deadline pressure tactics. And it worked. The union members caved when they realized their own union bosses had sandbagged them and agreed to the salary cap. To which the union members said: "I thought we were fighting to prevent a salary cap! I thought it was solidarity forever! And here we are agreeing to a cap!" And that's when the union members caved and said, that's it, we're through fighting this labour war.

Looks to me like a big, big win for the owners- most of them. We'll see what deal comes forth tomorrow.

DEAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I was driving down the street in my car and tuned in to WGR 550 from Buffalo and almost wiped out. The season is back on. They're doing the deal tomorrow, both the NHL and NHLPA.

And here's the link to the story in the Hockey News that tells you all of what's going down.

Turned out the rumors were all true. People behind the scenes were going nuts trying to resurrect the season. And the word leaked out to the press. So the NHL is about to return from the dead.

More later.

TORY POLITICAL JUNK

I haven't posted much political stuff lately and I still claim to be running a political blog, so here's some useless Conservative political news to tell you about.

First, the byelection has been called in Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey for March 17th and John Tory is opening his campaign office tonight at 5PM in Orangeville. Hopefully this will be a slam dunk for him. Time to send a message to the Liberals at Queen's Park that they can't get away with what they are doing.

In other news the Ontario PCs have a policy convention next week in Ottawa and it looks increasingly as if I won't be going to that one, either. Financial issues have gotten in the way and I think I'll end up staying home after all. It's too bad, but I've got to watch my own bottom line. I've wasted too much of my money on politics. I still have time to change my mind, but it looks grim.

Finally, I've been checking out the conservative blogs around this country and it seems to me that Edmonton area MP Rona Ambrose has a lot of new Tory fans who think she's a babe.

Thought I'd give you a link to the Meatriarchy which talks about how the female Conservative MPs have been getting makeovers and how hot-looking they are. And they all love the fact that Rona bodyslammed Ken Dryden in the Commons, that's where they got her photo from. I know, I know, this is silliness, but heck, shouldn't you have fun in politics? You shouldn't have to be uptight all the time. If politics ain't going to be a load of laughs you may as well quit.

NHL STILL CANCELLED: DAY 2

This is like a bad soap opera. How embarrassing is this? The NHL cancels its season, and now people want to un-cancel it. This is pathetic. Even if they uncancel themselves and have a 28-game season in the middle of summer, the NHL will have still made a spectacle of themselves during this week. That whole cancel-the-season press conference seems to be looking at this hour like yet another negotiating tactic and it makes me sick.

In any event we are hearing rumors and unconfirmed reports of players and agents working on proposals that they want to take to the League, for a 45 million hard cap, for a 42 million tax, and so on. And they want to present them to Gary Bettman. I'm also hearing pro-owner people on the radio still saying that Bettman has left the door open to re-starting the season, but that the players should simply cave in and accept the 42.5 hard cap. Well if that's the stance there won't be a season, but I don't know.

The other thing out there are these reports of Gretzky and Lemieux getting involved to save the season. But Gretzky went on the radio to downplay those reports, and besides, they're owners. Really it's the players who need to come up with something.

We're also hearing comments from players like Mike Modano questioning the union leadership and really, that's exactly the kind of stuff Gary Bettman wants to hear. He's out to kill this union. The more dissent the better. I suspect some of these rumors might be from the ownership side of the table, trying to stir the pot and cause trouble. If it is, this is a really inventive strategy and it might work.

These people in the sport of hockey seem to me to be regretting their shotgun decision to blow themselves up. Now they are taking a beating in the media and they're hearing the comments from all the hockey fans, even in Canada, who now say they are finished with the sport and will put it out of business.

Now even ESPN is getting into the act. They are now on record stating that they are rethinking their relationship with the National Hockey League and thinking about cancelling them at the first opportunity so they could run other sports. Wow, I don't think the NHL saw these statements coming from ESPN. The NHL needs ESPN to show national games and to spread the game in the United States. Everyone remembers the dark ages when the NHL had no network TV deal and were stuck on Sportschannel America, a network nobody could bleeping watch! And in the early 80s they were on USA, a non-sports network, which was almost as bad a situation. Nobody could see the league's games! This sports needs to be on a network and needs to be on ESPN. Say what you will about American coverage of the NHL, but ESPN cares about the game. Well, they care more than the broadcast networks do. They make an effort with this sport. Losing them would be a total disaster for the league.

This move by ESPN may have gotten the higher-ups in the league worried. They all assumed the fans would come back. Well, if ESPN goes, the fans won't come back. And the NHL has taken such a beating in the press in Canada that it's questionable that all the Canadian fans will come back. They certainly won't all be back if the league returns from this mess with the same sky-high ticket prices and clutch-and-grab rules. All the Canadian fans thought this was about saving the Oilers and the Flames, and about getting Winnipeg back in the league... that this was all about principle. But now we know, it's all about the money. That's all it is about.

And the NHL is making fools out of itself and its fans.

UPDATE: Here's a TSN.ca story on all of these stories and rumors about people trying to un-cancel the season. And you can tell how the fans are reacting: they all think this is total nonsense. And it's not just the NHL that looks ridiculous now, it's everyone associated with the game including the media and all the fans. Guys, give up already, it's mid-February, and this season is DONE. This season SHOULD be cancelled. If you uncancel the season the first puck will be dropped in March, in the middle of the NCAA Hoops Tournament! The fans want this nonsense over with. If you're going to come back, come back this fall when presumably you have your act together, you bunch of losers!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

TONIGHT'S APPRENTICE 3 WAS PRETTY BORING

This show SUCKS.

I am no longer blogging this show, in fact I may cancel the entire season. Just like those other guys.

Team Geek lost again to Team Streetkids on a marketing challenge: start your own mobile business with $5000 of VISA credit card money. So yet again it's another challenge where what you learned on the streets is absolutely essential to victory, where having book brains means absolutely nothing. It's start a business from scratch and do something any dope could do, and let's see who makes the most money. And basically it was all luck. Team Geek barely got beat and another college-educated loser saw his education go up in smoke as he lost his job.

Team Geek is getting KILLED. As I say, their talents are being WASTED. People with their talents usually should be working as management consultants or trading derivatives on Wall Street, or working in law firms or some other type of fancy gig. They should be giving consulting or investment or legal advice to the people running the small businesses and the fast food joints, and should be charging a fortune. Instead, Trump is having them actually run the small businesses, fast-food joints and roach motels, and they are getting KILLED.

In fact these people didn't make much money on their lame tasks today. Each team made just under 1000 bucks! Think about it. Team Geek would have been better off spending the day working as management consultants, lawyers and traders. If they had done that, and if Team Streetkid were stuck out there running their silly businesses, Team Geek would be KILLING them week after week. They would have SLAUGHTERED them on billables and consulting fees alone! But are you going to see a task on this show where the contestants are forced to market themselves and work as consultants, or invest on Wall Street, or flip properties instead of burgers? Something where the Geeks have a real shot at beating the Streetkids? No!

Team Geek is getting screwed, and if I were on Team Geek I'd threaten to quit. This is an outrage.

The legal people are in a really bad spot. Half these Book Smart contestants remaining are lawyers, and lawyers have a terrible reputation for being uncreative. Law firms usually beat the creativity right out of them. And lawyers are generally terrible at marketing: it's generally looked down upon for lawyers to advertise and market themselves. If you do that, you're considered a big sleazeball and a slimebucket.

So here are all these outstanding members of their legal profession who aren't slimebucket ambulance chasers, all being thrown into situations every week where they have to be good at being creative and at marketing themselves, skills that have basically been beaten out of them. They are DYING. And the skills they do bring to the table, such as their leadership skills, their ability to persuade and negotiate and make sound decisions based on the best possible precendents: it's counting for nothing. The only place where those skills count is in the boardroom itself, where you can argue and make a persuasive case for yourself. But it's not counting out in the streets, and it's on the streets where the damage to Team Geek is being done. By the time they get to the boardroom, one of them is guaranteed to be fired because of what happened on the street task. What a ridiculous setup. If I were in a company with a setup like that I'd be pretty upset.

The geeks are getting killed and Bren is right, there needs to be a shakeup of the teams. I'm thinking that's going to happen pretty soon anyway, probably next week. Hopefully this will level the playing field. Maybe the geeks will manage to turn it around. Maybe their skills will serve them well in the boardroom and they can out-argue the street-smart people. Maybe they'll show some real leadership skills and that will help the Geeks from here on in, and the high school stooges will end up getting fired. But so far it is not working for the Geeks and they HAVE GOTTEN HOSED.

I forgot to mention: MICHAEL was MICHAEL again and he was FIRED for it. Basically Trump insulted him and belittled him in the boardroom, and I couldn't really care anymore.

There's an article over on MSNBC about why this year's APPRENTICE show doesn't work and why the concept of Book Smarts versus Street Smarts is so awful. I should try and find it. I'll write about it tomorrow; in fact I'll write a big Reality TV blog tomorrow and talk about The Contender coming up. There was a tragedy on that show this week: one of the contestants died. Big, big tragedy and a really sad story. I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

UPDATE: NHL SEASON IS STILL CANCELLED

And for a story on all the silliness I talked about below, here's TSN.ca.

NHL SEASON IS STILL OVER

You know, this NHL season is over. At least, I assume that it is over because that is what we've been told by Gary Bettman. This season is supposed to be dead and buried right now. But people are saying strange things.

Yesterday, Darren Pang says on ESPNews that some players were working to try and get talks back on, basically implying that they were trying to get the season un-cancelled.

Then later, Bob McCown goes on the FAN to say that according to a "highly-placed source" a group of players have gotten together to try and get something going on their own. And then Ted Saskin went on the radio to completely deny this and said this was all rubbish, that the union completely hated the NHL's last offer bla bla bla.

Now, the weirdness continues.

The latest is a report out of Detroit today that Brendan Shanahan has refused to do an interview with WXYT Radio because it might "jeopardize talks that are going on right now."

Talks? WHAT Talks?! WHERE? WHICH AIRPORT LOBBY?!
Is Brendan Shanahan the "highly-placed source" McCown is referring to? Or maybe Brendan Shanahan knows who the highly-placed source? What are these talks all about? Is this labour related or does this have to do solely with Shanahan?

This is all complete conjecture on my part. The heck is going on here? All I will say is: surely to God this silliness isn't back on?!

These guys can't even put the fans out of their misery without messing it up!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I AM EMBARRASSED AS A HOCKEY FAN

You know, as angry as I am at this NHL for disrespecting the fans and treating the fans in a shabby, cavalier manner throughout this labour dispute, I must also add that there's another sentiment out there as well: one of embarrassment. People are embarrassed over the incompetence of the last 72 hours when these two sides came together and then it all fell apart over Bettman's ultimatum and over six-and-one-half million dollars of cap. It looks like supreme incompetence that these people failed to come up with a deal. These guys look like total fools.

And what else can I say except: this makes the entire sport look like it is run by a bunch of idiots. We all knew this league was poorly run for years, but the last few days with those childish letters going back and forth, and people arguing over money, have turned me off more than any other event.

Now they apparently can't even cancel a season without botching the job right up. Apparently a very wild rumor was floated out there late tonight on the FAN 590. The report was that there's a rebel group of disgruntled hockey players out there who are apparently upset that Bettman cancelled the season and they want to get together in secret and present something to the NHL, and try and do something on their own about a settlement. This information was related by Bob McCown who claimed to get this information from a highly placed source.

I'm thinking, wow. These clowns can't even cancel the season without the job getting botched. But you know, I was listening to ESPN News earlier today and I heard Darren Pang say something like this this afternoon, saying some people were behind the scenes pressing for the talks to be reopened already, so maybe Bob McCown is relating second-hand information from Darren Pang's reporting on ESPNews. Now Ted Saskin from the union has called the FAN to say these rumors are completely false, so the season is still completely cancelled.

Good. I want closure, and I don't want hockey in the middle of summer. I'm embarrassed to be a hockey fan and I'm embarrassed to be following the National Hockey League. These guys are all clowns. I've had it with these people. Really, even if they do come back, are these people worth bothering with? Canada's national sport... what a farce.

THE NHL HAS CANCELLED THE ENTIRE SEASON

Bettman just announced it.

It's finally over, folks. This sport has run itself right off the cliff.

A pox on both their houses, I say. I'm through with the pathetic NHL. As far as I'm concerned it's basketball season.

DROP-DEAD COVERAGE

Links to sources of NHL lockout news on this important day:

TSN
Sportsnet
The Score
CBC News
ESPN

PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULE AS OF 11:43 AM EST:
1 PM- NHL- Commissioner Gary Bettman
3:00 PM- Toronto Maple Leafs
4:00 PM- NHLPA- Bob Goodenow and possibly others from Harbour Castle, Toronto

SEASON ON THE BRINK

The worst labour disruption in NHL history either ends today or becomes the worst labour disruption in the history of sports. One or the other. If a season gets resumed it will be 28 games, or roughly 1/3rd of the length the season is supposed to be. And if the season gets cancelled today the NHL will look like the league that truly can't shoot straight after this week of letters, silliness and incompetence. Even if a deal gets done, fans are mad that it took this long for people to start compromising.

Well, apparently the compromises are over. At the moment Sportsnet is reporting that the league may move off its hard 42.5 stance but TSN is reporting that the general managers are being informed that the league is shutting down. Word is that the union will not move from 49 million soft cap, period.

So unless the league makes some kind of miraculous offer, this is probably the end of the season.

The word we hear on the radio from the FAN 590 is that the 49 million soft cap was a really tough sell and the players are having a tough time even accepting the cap. There's a general feeling of "why the hell were we out since September if we gave up the salary cap?"

Only good thing about this press conference is that the American media are finally on to the story. Listened to XTRA from Los Angeles and Lee Hacksaw Hamilton talked about the lockout; the only problem was none of the listeners wanted to talk about the lockout. All they wanted to talk about was the San Diego Chargers or Jose Canseco's steroid accusations. The Americans are STILL angry at the sport of baseball. They may be angry at hockey, too, but there's a big difference. With baseball, fans sound off with their mouths and don't go to games. With hockey, they simply ignore the entire sport.

Sportsnet is still running its countdown clock and calls it Countdown to Shutdown; but this press conference may still not start on time or could even be cancelled. The other thing is that they call it Countdown to Shutdown, but the league is already shut down. So it's more like Countdown to the Total Destruction of the Sport.

CTV News has learned that the season will be cancelled at the 1 PM press conference. That is the report I am hearing on the noon-hour news. The news on every channel in Canada is leading with the lockout.

If there's breaking news about any last-minute rescue of the season, and at this late stage it looks completely bleak, I'll report it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

SIMPLY TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE?

Bob McKenzie seems to think so- he thinks this NHL season's DOOMED.

He points out the NHL is proposing a 42.5 mil hard cap, versus a more flexible 49 mil soft cap- which could end up in the range of 53 mil. And he's convinced this is it, this is as far as it goes for the NHL, no more negotiations. Done.

When you compare the final NHL proposal to all the other proposals they've put out there, when you think about it they really haven't moved very far off their cap proposals from day one. They've moved up by, what, a couple million? About the only major thing that's changed is they've moved off of linkage.

I hate to admit it but I think Bob McKenzie is on to something. Unless the NHL is bluffing again, this situation is GRIM.

The drop-dead press conference is still scheduled for 1 PM as we speak.

GOODENOW HOLDING FIRM WITH HIS LAST OFFER

Letter from Bob Goodenow to Gary Bettman, last one of the night.

Famous last words: "you will receive nothing further from us." Signed, Bob Goodenow.

Maybe Goodenow thinks the owners might crack overnight. They got their salary cap, for crying out loud.

I still can't believe Bettman will wipe out an entire season over a difference of 6.5 million dollars worth of cap money.

SO, NOW WHAT?

LEAGUE JUST SHOT DOWN THE COUNTERPROPOSAL

Didn't take long, about an hour.
And apparently the NHL is holding to 42.5.
NOW WHAT?

GOODENOW'S LETTER TO BETTMAN

Link to Sportsnet.

NHLPA REJECTS OFFER, ISSUES NEW COUNTERPROPOSAL

New NHLPA counterproposal is flexible cap of 49 million.
The difference is something like 6.5 million dollars between these two. Surely they won't scrap an entire season over 6.5 million dollars! What does Bettman do now?

NHL MAKES ITS "FINAL OFFER"

BETTMAN TO GOODENOW: DROP DEAD

This just in: NHL has told the media now that it is making a new proposal, and with a cap figure increased to 42.5 million in salary, 2.2 million in benefits. Total, 44.7 million. And ominously, they are calling this their final offer.

This was outlined in a letter from Gary Bettman to Bob Goodenow and it sure sounded like a drop-dead type of letter to me. Take it or leave it, no room for negotiation, with language in it of "it will only get worse for the players". The usual pro-owner propaganda. And Bettman outlined all the damage being done to the league and the rest of it. And Bettman hopes to hear from Goodenow by 11AM tomorrow.

Wow. Yikes. This sounds like an ultimatum to me. This is really scary. Bob McCown is on the air with his show, calling this the "end-of-the-season" letter.

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WELL, HERE WE GO. THIS REALLY, TRULY IS IT. THIS TIME. AT LAST. And I'm really worried about this. The players from what I heard aren't even interested in going close to 42.5 million. I heard someone say the players won't ever agree to any deal lower than 46 million. At a bare minimum.

Mind you, Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks called that proposal they bandied about last week their "last best proposal". They could be lying again about this being a final offer. But it sure sounds as if this is the final offer from the looks of it. And there's no deal at all here by the looks of it. He's looking for Goodenow's complete capitulation. I'm expecting the players to come right back with another counteroffer tonight and I'm expecting the league to reject it and we'll have a major mess on our hands. I think we're seeing a big game by both sides respecting the possibilities to have an impasse declared and I think the union is trying their best to ruin the league's case by negotiating.

We're at a critical stage of the negotiations, and frankly I think they could completely fall apart. It sounds to me like this offer is an insult. There's no way Bob Goodenow can take this offer. If I were in Goodenow's shoes I'd refuse this deal and send them another counteroffer. Frankly, I'd still find it hard to believe that a potential deal to save the entire National Hockey League season would fall apart over money. Especially after they bridged the divide on the SALARY CAP.

By the way Sportnet now has a countdown clock on their webpage counting down to the cancellation-of-the-season drop-dead press conference by Bettman. They are milking this for all its worth.

NHL TALKS RESUME

The latest talk is of a counteroffer from the NHL.

BIG NEWS: BOTH SIDES FINALLY STARTING TO CRACK

Here's what happened. Both sides met in Niagara Falls in top secret, again- no Bettman and no Goodenow. They met for several hours and broke up past 10PM. They reported no progress. But here's what's now leaked out: I got this information from WFAN ( that's right, the Americans who all supposedly don't care about this story are reporting this).

AP is reporting that for the first time the owners have moved off of linkage to team revenues as a part of the deal, while maintaining a "cap" of 40 million.

In response to this "unprecedented" move the players made a counterproposal of their own: they agreed for the first time to something they said they would never accept: a cap...

... of 52 million dollars.

The owners turned it down.

So talks broke down over money! No new talks are scheduled for Tuesday. Yeah, right. They said the same thing yesterday, and they still met.

WFAN is now saying the philosophical differences between the two sides may have finally been resolved. If they do meet again, they may well start negotiating over money. But they said on WFAN that this looks like the NHL getting greedy. Maybe they thought the players were cracking and caving in.

It looks to me that the chances of resolving this thing have improved, dramatically. But the cap figure remains a stumbling block. I agree with the guys at WFAN that this labour dispute may well now boil down to the issue of money and we could see a cap come in at 46-47-48 million. And we'll get a hockey season. But we could have some concerned fans in Edmonton with a cap figure like that. This doesn't exactly completely level the playing field, does it?

If the press conference was a ploy, it seemed to have the desired effect to get things jumpstarted. I have a suspicion these discussions aren't over. But I'll say right now I'm an optimist. As long as this silliness keeps going, you can't throw the towel in on hockey.

Monday, February 14, 2005

NHL NEWS CONFERENCE IS WEDNESDAY

The NHL has scheduled a press conference for 1PM Wednesday to announce the cancellation of the season.

Maybe by setting the press conference for Wednesday the league still thinks it will give the union one last chance, one last day, to cave in. Call me cynical but I have my doubts. These two sides are hurling this sport over a cliff.

FIRE EASON JORDAN

I just found out that we bloggers are taking the credit/getting blamed again for the resignation of former CNN news executive Eason Jordan, who resigned because of comments he made about... something to do with the US military or something.

So apparently, as a member of the blogosphere I'm partway responsible for forcing him out, and I don't even remember what it is that he said! Just like I was responsible for getting rid of Dan Rather. Hey, don't blame me for that either, I was at a political convention! I had better things to do than get rid of Dan Rather! Boy, this is a setback for media/blogger relations. Traditional media types hate all the bloggers now.

Anyway, here's the TVNewser thread and you can read all about it. But don't blame me. I didn't do it. As you know I was calling for the firings of Sam Mitchell, and Marty York, and Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow. I had nothing to do with Eason Jordan, eh? ( And in Marty York's case I was sort of joking to begin with).

Actually, I'm sort of glad Eason Jordan is gone. He was the architect of the infamous 2001 bloodbath at CNN, where the entire network was downsized and all my favorite news anchors were canned, and a lot of careers of a lot of good people were ruined. So he got what he deserved as far as a lot of people are concerned: his just desserts. IT'S PAYBACK TIME!

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And on other media happenings, I have nothing to say about the ridiculous plan to have Bob Schieffer substitute-host the CBS Evening News until they figure out what to do for a new format. Who's running that ship, anyway? Why didn't they just keep Dan Rather if that was what they were going to do? Not that Bob Schieffer is a bad choice, but it looks bad to have a substitute host for your evening news! What a mess.

END IS NEAR

Here's TSN's report that a press conference is about to be called for New York tomorrow where Gary Bettman is about to announce the cancellation of the season.

And at the bottom of that page is a list of comments from hockey fans and assorted people, all of whom are angry at the NHL and angry at what has gone down. I can describe the general reaction as: go ahead, Bettman, and cancel the season. See if we cry over it. People may love the sport of hockey, but the reaction here is more like what goes down when a marriage splits up. This is like a bad divorce. Oh, and by the way, Happy Valentine's Day.

Also, been listening to Steve Kouleas, from The Score, on the radio on Leafs Lunch. I remember Steve from my time at the Score, he's one of the genuine characters of the sports broadcasting business. And he's being reduced to covering labour negotiations like everyone else, when what everyone would rather be doing is covering hockey. And in between the Bill Watters pro-owner propoganda he was able to say that this was the worst year he ever had in broadcasting because of the lockout.

He's not alone. This is the worst year anyone in sports broadcasting in this country has ever had, between this and the departure of the Montreal Expos, and the shift of the Olympic Games. Sports broadcasters are either out of work, underemployed, reduced to covering lacrosse (Joe Bowen) or junior hockey (Dennis Beyak), are doing tiddlywinks highlights (everyone at Citytv), are miserable and/or worried. Even the people who call the Toronto Blue Jays have had a hard time, with Tom Cheek's illness and with Rob Faulds out as play-by-play. The only people who are doing well are the people covering the Raptors. They are getting too many good scandalous stories to cover. And I suppose the curling commentators are doing well, they're going to have the rapt attention of the country for the Brier!

And this lockout has finished me off in sportscasting. Mark my words, people. I gave up on this business a long time ago, all because of the damage done by the lockout. It looks now as if I'm going to try going back to law one more time, but this time I've all but decided to hire legal employment consultants to help me market myself and find the right position. It's obvious I'm going to need them, as I have no experience at all in my own field of law. My previous legal experience was primarily in family law and estates, two of the least profitable, worst areas imaginable. It's been a big unanswered question what would have happened if I had a proper opportunity to get a foothold in my own areas of law, either criminal or entertainment.

I noticed some ex-classmates doing criminal law who aren't starving- including refugees from corporate firms and at least one refugee from TV news. I'm leaning to BC so I could be closer to my family and to opportunities I'd want to pursue. There's also possibilities of getting into entertainment law, and BC is closer to California and to opportunities there. I wouldn't mind getting into the talent representation end of the business. Then I'd advise my sportscaster clients to get right out of sports and become stand-up comedians. This Canadian sports industry is a mess and for that you can thank the NHL and its new policy of not holding hockey games. This lockout is going to finish the industry off in this country and that's why I'm through with it. And it's a shame.

Tonight is the AHL All-Star Game and I'll tune in to that. Thank goodness we're going to all be put out of our misery tomorrow. Now we can move on with our lives.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

LAST DITCH DC SECRET MEETINGS A BUST

The two sides in the NHL dispute met with federal mediators in Washington D.C. to try and settle this dispute. If they wanted to fool the entire Canadian media they succeeded; the meeting went completely under the radar and no hordes of media people were present.

For some reason the media are an issue in these talks: apparently Goodenow and Bettman sat for dinner one night and the media were a major point of discussion. These two sides have also been using the media to no end, tipping them off on their talking points. It's like a political operation.

In any event this meeting would not have happened had the National Labor Relations Board not requested it. The meeting lasted for five hours, and Bettman and Goodenow weren't there either.

And as usual the meetings were a big fat failure, and tomorrow the NHL will hold a Board of Governor's meeting to go about cancelling the season. So much for all the pressure on Bob Goodenow to cave in. It didn't happen, again!

The patient is dying as we speak.

THE BURNING OF ATLANTA

A new low for me: last night I watched the NASCAR race and then when that was over I watched two classic Marilyn Monroe movies, the Seven-Year Itch and some other one that I can't remember- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Jane Russell was in it. I was bored out of my skull.
There was nothing else on TV to watch. I didn't even bother with Saturday Night Live.

Now, today, I'm watching an NBA game on TV and the Pro Bowl is later today. So yeah, it's a big exciting sports day on TV today, not. I think NBC has an Arena Football League game.

I just realized this: last night I would have probably ended up watching Marilyn Monroe on TV anyway, because this was All-Star Weekend in the NHL. Last night, Hockey Night in Canada would have showed some pathetic, meaningless skills competition from Atlanta that would have put hockey fans to sleep. So I wouldn't have tuned in anyway.

And what's with Sportsnet anyway? Man, do these media outlets in Canada ever look like shills for the owners: calling for Goodenow's head, talking about player dissent, etcetera. Today they're running yet another pro-owner story putting pressure on the players, trying to undermine Goodenow, saying they now expect Trevor Linden to be back in the talks soon and the season won't be cancelled. They claim this nonsense may drag out yet another week.

You know, they might as well extend our agony. There's meant to be a big snowstorm here tomorrow and everyone's gonna be snowed in. So might as well keep up the fans' hopes, eh? I DON'T CARE ANYMORE! JUST CANCEL IT, BETTMAN!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

FIRE BETTMAN, FIRE GOODENOW

Welcome to the NHL Saturday hockey lockout blog, which has been going on since the lockout began, and, unfortunately, will probably continue for another full year yet.

Well, read a story in Sportsnet that Bettman has issued a memo to owners releasing management from their code of silence and allowing them to be able to contact players and sway opinions. The move is widely seen as a last-ditch attempt to get enough people on Goodenow's case that Goodenow goes back to the table and caves in to a salary cap. You know, I've kept on hearing these stories about player dissention and about players caving in since day one of this dispute. I keep on hearing Bill Watters going on his pro-owner rampage since day one on 640 Toronto, blasting the players and telling them they ought to cave in for their own good and that they won't ever get a better deal than this. Well, I can tell you right now, the players ain't going to rise up and fire Goodenow. The league is claiming players are expressing frustration and unhappiness about the way the negotiations are going but I'm convinced those reports are all coming from the league, and it's the usual propoganda and BS that we're accustomed to. It's just another pressure tactic to try and get the union to cave, and put pressure on Goodenow and try and get him to bend, and it won't work. They've gone this route from day one and it hasn't worked once.

The salary cap is going to come in over Goodenow's dead body. If the players are going to cave, it will come during the "replacement players" scenario, not in any negotiation. I suspect many players will look at this latest pronouncement as yet another sign that Bettman can't be trusted. Today is supposed to be the drop dead date, but now Bettman is saying they've got more time? I'm sure the players are going to cave in. Not!

The other thing I read at Hockey Rodent was that the NHL supposedly does not have the power to impose a hard cap on the players by declaring an impasse and going to the National Labor Relations Board. A hard cap is something they would have to negotiate with the players, so I read. But what they can do is impose a new collective bargaining agreement- which is a different kettle of fish. In that case, what we're hearing about how the NHL will be able to impose its cap at will would seem to be a lot of nonsense. In which case Goodenow and the gang will have every reason to stay out and force the NHL to come back to the table.

All I will say is that I'm stunned that Bettman and Goodenow haven't been at the table at all. I'm stunned at the damage being done to the sport of hockey. This is going to set the sport back decades, yet neither side is serious about saving the season. So much damage has been done already and a shortened season would be a farce, but it would still be better than nothing. That's why you are hearing people screaming for Bettman's head and Goodenow's head. People are hoping these two are fired, and I'm one of them.

I know that there's a lot of sentiment in Canada favoring the owners over the players. They've fallen for this BS line of bull from the NHL that the lockout will save the Canadian teams and that all the league's problems will be solved, and these fans think that the ticket prices will be lowered when they all come back. What nonsense. I take a more cynical view: I favor neither side in this dispute: what I care about instead is the entire sport of hockey. And salary cap or no, cancelling the season will do this sport incredible damage. Interest in the game is going to plummet in the United States and it's even beginning to go in Canada. They've taken polls suggesting 40% of hockey fans claim they don't miss hockey. Ken Dryden was quoted as saying that a lot of Canadians are finding out that hockey was more of a "habit" than a "passion" to them. Personally, I think the NHL will have big problems with both groups of people. The people who are really passionate about hockey are probably the angriest of them all and will include many people who will swear off going to games, just to teach the league a lesson.

But there are lots of people who follow this sport just because the CBC happens to run games on TV, or because it's the only major pro sports team in town, or the Canadian thing to do, or the one thing that differentiates our pathetic country from the United States. And we're learning some hard truths about them. They just want entertainment and couldn't care less about the game.

On the street I hear more people interested in the soap opera that is the Toronto Raptors than in the National Hockey League right now. Really, the NHL seems to be the preferred sport for the rich white guys in Toronto who have money. The young, hip and ethnic prefer the Raptors. You talk to people under 30 and more of them are probably lunatic about the Raptors and the NBA. Seriously. Go to Air Canada Centre and compare the Leafs crowds to Raptor crowds, and you will get my drift. And just tune into sports broadcasts in this country and compare the boring white guys who cover hockey to the hip young broadcasters like Eric Smith and Elliotte Friedman who are all basketball geeks. The NBA is taking the world over, folks, and if the Raptor organization was any good they'd own the town. Seriously. The fans are there, it's just the Raptors who are shooting themselves in the foot.

Anyway, this promises to be a big week. The league's drop-dead press conference, featuring Gary Bettman dropping dead, is coming this week sometime. All I want is for this agony over with. I want closure. I'm spent. Tonight, it's the usual No-Hockey Night in Canada. There's a lacrosse game going between Calgary and Toronto and also a NASCAR race, the Bud Shootout. So I'll tune in to that. Better than nothing.

Friday, February 11, 2005

FIRE MARTY YORK

Ahem. You know that story about Sam Mitchell attacking Vince Carter? The one I posted down below there? Well, people at the Raptor game are now saying that the incident was completely blown out of proportion, that they were joking around. Alvin Williams was apparently there when it happened and confirmed to the press that it was all nothing.

Still, the stories from the Raptors grow stranger and stranger. It truly is a soap opera over there- a bad soap opera.

This is what happens in Toronto when there are no Maple Leafs to cover.

FIRE SAM MITCHELL

It is really alarming with the reports coming out of Raptor-land about Sam Mitchell getting into fights with players all the time and the like. We have several players on the team already demanding trades out of this joint, and it's all due to Mitchell. As a result the Toronto Raptors look like a laughingstock, an absolute Devil's Island.

The latest is THIS story coming from Vince's mom, about an altercation between Mitchell and Vince. And apparently this definitely happened.

I know Vince Carter is persona non grata around here, and frankly, he was a bum in Toronto. But if this really happened and Sam Mitchell is as bad as the players say he is, then no wonder Vince wanted out of here. I'd want out of here, too. I mean, this isn't just one player we're talking about here. This is practically the entire team dissing Mitchell.

This Raptor team ought to be winning their division. They have talent on this team. They have good, young players who've shown me a lot. But it's obvious to me that Rob Babcock blew it, again, by hiring Mitchell. This coach is a cancer to this team. And the team is losing. Sam Mitchell has to go. Now. Before things get any worse. Surely they can get someone else. Hey why not break the bank and get Phil Jackson?!

What a mess with the Raptors!!!!!!!!

P.S. Vince Carter apparently downed 40 points tonight, and the key guy the Raptors got in the big Carter trade, Eric Williams, wants out of Toronto. Seems to me we ought to fire Rob Babcock, too. It's been one bad decision after another. But Sam has to go first. It's a MESS.

THE UHL GETS MORE PLAYERS

Bryan Smolinski and Sean Avery have become two more NHLers who've found alternative employment. They've joined the Motor City Mechanics of the United Hockey League.

That means there are now four Red Wings on the Mechanics team, which plays in the Detroit suburb of Fraser, Michigan. At least the fans in Detroit get to see pro hockey. The UHL also has a team in the suburbs of St. Louis, the Missouri River Otters. Needless to say, the lockout has been great for this league, considered the lowest of the low in North America as far as pro hockey is concerned.

A lot of people are calling these NHL players hypocrites because the United Hockey League operates with a salary cap. These bigshot players say they're against a cap, yet here they are playing in a league that has a cap. What a farce. Well, that's what you get in a labour war: NHLers taking spots away from players who play for the love of the game. Frankly, this is starting to give the minor leagues a bad name. Now if you go to minor league games you are essentially supporting the NHL players and what they're doing. You can't escape them anywhere.

But at least the UHL is playing hockey. So you might as well follow them, eh?

For those of you wondering, the UHL has been in business for over a decade and is now largely based in the cities that made up the old International Hockey League before that league went national and expanded across North America. The IHL put teams in places like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Winnipeg while they were busy squeezing the small longtime IHL franchises in Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne out. Those franchises had to withdraw from the IHL for the UHL because they were losing tons of money flying to Atlanta or San Diego for games. Sort of a big market/small market scenario. Sound familiar? In spirit, then, the UHL is just the continuation of the old IHL, with many of the same cities like Flint, Port Huron and elsewhere.

About the only franchise left from the "old" IHL that stayed to the bitter end was Milwaukee. For a long time it was the biggest market in the league and it fit right in with the new direction that the IHL went in the 1990s. That city made noises for a long time about wanting to join the NHL, but the NHL ultimately priced itself out of Milwaukee's range and they never came close to getting a team. The fans must be really happy it never worked out, because they still have a team to cheer for at the arena, playing actual games! Same with the fans in Hartford and Winnipeg who lost their NHL teams. Those fans look like big winners today.

Anyway the "new" IHL went completely belly-up, and Milwaukee, Manitoba, and four other teams were forced to join the AHL. Several other leagues like the ECHL and the Central Hockey League have lost franchises and had to absorb teams from other leagues that also went belly-up. The UHL has managed to escape the problems that other North American leagues have experienced and have continued to steadily expand, placing franchises in solid hockey markets with long histories of supporting minor league teams.

For those of you interested in listening to United Hockey League games on the radio, tune in to Fort Wayne Komets games on 1190 WOWO with the legendary Bob Chase behind the mike. The signal for that station goes pretty far into Canada. Chase has been calling Komets games on the radio for something like a hundred years. Really.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

TONIGHT'S LOUSY APPRENTICE SHOW: ALL THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE FIRED!!!

As promised I refused to live-blog the Apprentice tonight, but to sum up what happened, both teams ended up looking like complete fools. This is definitely not the Apprentice 1 or Apprentice 2. Every one of these candidates, all of them, are total idiots- even the geniuses. They ALL should be fired!

Tonight, to sum it all up, both teams embarrassed and humiliated themselves on national television, and embarrassed the Trump organization, by blowing Donny Deutsch's straightforward advertising task: to come up with a body lotion ad. Team Genius went sexual to the point of revolting the audience, while over at Team Chaos, they came up with an incredibly stupid ad featuring a guy rubbing Dove all over himself while jogging. It was ridiculous.

I was at home watching in disbelief while these lame-o ad ideas were being tossed around and I was going: are you guys FOOLS?! Middle America won't go for this stuff! Can't you come up with a decent ad that will convince people to buy a product? When Team Genius was floating its sexy ad idea I was really steamed, I was saying "this idea sucks!". The people at home will be revolted! The Donald will be revolted!

Man, even I could have done a better job on this task. All the people at home watching could have done better! These are supposed to be the best and brightest candidates out there for a job in the Trump organization out of a million applicants, and they all went right off the rails. Every single one of them.

So to sum up, Donny Deutsch was forced to tell Trump that both teams did an equally inept job, so the Donald came up with his rule change: no winner declared, no reward to anyone, and he hauled everyone in the boardroom. Some rule change this was. All the hype about this show was pretty overblown.

Predictably, Kristen, the project manager for Team Chaos, was fired. As usual, Trump zeroed in on the leader of a team in chaos. So for the fourth predictable week in a row the project manager gets hosed for being stuck with a team of dysfunctional losers. You know, that's why I'm fed up with the show. Every week it's the same thing: the inmates do in the leader of the asylum and Trump gets rid of the leader when what he really should be doing is get rid of the inmates. The inmates know that it doesn't matter what they do, they can goof off and the leader will still take the blame and be the easy target.

The sad thing is that Kristen, who never should have been invited to be on this show to begin with, actually tried to do a decent job. It was her team that didn't step up to the plate. She did manage to get the commercial done, she wasn't directly to blame for the messes that happened, and it wasn't her idea that was the basis for the ad. And the people over on the other team did a monumentally bad job; team leader Erin approved their lousy ad and it was Bren who came up with their repulsive idea. And their whole production was in total chaos. Who came up with their ridiculous idea to dress in chef's costumes for their presentation in the boardroom? What an embarrassing decision that was.

Anyway, Kristen worked hard, was part of two winning teams and did probably a better job than half the people doing this task. It didn't matter. She was the project manager and an easy target. What a message to send out: work hard, be the leader, and be fired. I didn't like Kristen anyway, though, so good riddance.

And good riddance to this show. It's been four weeks now of stupidity on the Apprentice 3 and I've almost had it, I'm about ready to fire this show. I'm at the point where I really don't care who wins. These candidates are all losers. They should all be fired!