Archive for July, 2008

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Cleaning out the fridge

July 28, 2008

Remember that little survey we asked you to fill out at the end of last year?

I guess it’s finally time to release the results, whaddya say?  As a reminder, the results are completely unscientific, and I’m not sure exactly what they mean.  But you (some of you, anyway) took the time to complete it so let’s show you what you said.

We had 23 respondents to the survey over the month it was available.

Question: How many Blue Jacket games have you attended so far this year?

Answer: The average was three, with a low of zero and a high of ten.

Question: How did you obtain your tickets (multiple answers accepted)?

Answer:

  1. Paid full price – 65%
  2. Not applicable (did not attend any games) – 22%
  3. Bought from a friend – 17%
  4. Received at no charge – 17%
  5. Bought from a scalper – 9%

Question: If you’re not attending the games, how often do you watch them on television?

Answer:

  1. Almost always – 43%
  2. Usually – 35%
  3. Rarely – 22%
  4. Never – 0%

Question: What else are you doing if you’re not attending games in person (multiple answers permitted)?

Answer:

  1. Viewing other sports in person or on TV – 13%
  2. Watching the hockey game on TV – 70%
  3. Spending the night out with spouse/significant other/friends – 30%
  4. Family activity – 39%
  5. Other – 48%

Question: Has your current financial situation caused you to spend less money on your leisure activities?

Answer:

  • Yes – 52%
  • No – 48%

Question: How many OSU games (football or basketball) have you attended so far this season?

Answer: The average was 1.2, with a low of zero and a high of nine.

Question: How did you obtain your tickets (multiple answers accepted)?

Answer:

  1. Paid full price – 13%
  2. Not applicable (did not attend any games) – 74%
  3. Bought from a friend – 0%
  4. Received at no charge – 0%
  5. Bought from a scalper – 13%

Question: Of which team are you a bigger fan?

Answer:

  • Columbus Blue Jackets – 70%
  • Ohio State (football or basketball) – 30%

So there you have it, folks.  Truth, whaddya think?

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

– Drew

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Friday (Sort of) Quick Hitters

July 25, 2008

It’s Friday, you guys need something to read.  Here goes: some thoughts from around the sports world.

Caleb Campbell called to service

You remember this guy, right?  He is the West Point grad who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the most recent NFL Entry Draft.  At the time, the Army had told him he would be able to pursue a career in the NFL while serving as a recruiter in the Detroit area.  This week, he was told that this was no longer the case and he would be required to serve two years of active duty before applying for release.

Some folks are miffed at the government for reneging on their word.  I’m not one of them.  Campbell signed up for the Army, and went to West Point, for a reason.  As he’s said, “[…] when I went to the academy I initially went to the academy to be an officer.”  This is what he’s getting the opportunity to do.

Yes, it’s too bad that he likely won’t get his one shot to play in the NFL, but he’ll have his shot to serve his country.  Some would argue that this is more important than a game.  Count me in.

Football season is nearly upon us

This year, I now have two things to look forward to.  First, the Buckeyes.  Save for that little September trip to Los Angeles, the schedule looks pretty ripe for the Bucks to be in a very good position for another national title appearance.  The whole world will be watching that game at USC to watch the “overhyped” Buckeyes falter in prime time, again.  We’ll see what happens.

The other thing I can look forward to this fall (football related) would be the Browns.  Not for many years have I actually been excited about an upcoming Cleveland season.  This is more than a little odd.  Folks are excited about the offseason acquisitions (but really, is Donte Stallworth really a huge upgrade from Joe Jurevicius?), and the quarterback battle is getting some radio airplay here in Columbus.  I’m not convinced they’ll make the playoffs, but I will make sure I’ll be in front of the TV each game to see what happens (note: this is not going out on a limb or different than any other year, as those of you who know me can attest to).

Blue Jackets looking to move up

I just saw this morning that the Jackets signed Mike York to a deal (yawn), which just adds to the new faces we should see in Nationwide Arena this season.

IN: Mike Commodore, Raffi Torres, Kristian Huselius, Fedor Tyutin, Christian Backman, Mike York.

OUT: Nikolai Zherdev, Ron Hainsey, Dan Fritsche, Gilbert Brule, Duvie Westcott.

People who like (and/or watch) hockey in Columbus can’t wait for the season to start.  As has been expressed very clearly in the Sunday Dispatch Mailbox, some (many?) Buckeye fans wish hockey would die and go away.  Can’t we all just get along?  So the paper has hockey stories every couple of days, some of which make the front page of Section C.  Is that so offensive?  Would you rather read about Eugene Clifford?  (Too soon?)

Edinson Volquez

I’ve been a wishy-washy baseball fan for years now.  When the Reds win, I like baseball.  When they lose, I hate it.  So basically, I’ve hated baseball since 1999.  Cincinnati still doesn’t have a bullpen, but whenever I see that Volquez is pitching, I watch.  This kid is enough by himself to make me enjoy watching the game.  When I change-up makes me exclaim to the TV (read: no one in particular), “that was just dirty,” you know it’s good.

Oh, how could I forget about Jay Bruce?  His first week in The Show was probably the most fun I’ve had watching ball on TV in ages.  Ridiculous.  If you’re a Reds fan (or claim to be one) and I’ve heard you say “I can’t even name one player on the Reds these days” (are you listening to me, Tommy?), sit down one night and watch a game.  Then do it again.  Volquez, Bruce, Phillips, Votto, Encarnacion, Keppinger, Cueto, and more.  They’ll all become part of your vocabulary.

Brett Favre

You didn’t think I could get through a quick hitter column right now without mentioning this, did you?

Well, I will (y’know, from here on out.

Sports on TV

Last night, there were a couple of baseball games being played.  But as I scanned through the hundreds of channels that Time Warner offers me, there were the following sporting events being broadcast:

  • The MLS All-Star Game.  I’m sure it was a good game, but I’m not much of a soccer (football) fan.
  • PBA Bowling: Team Shootout.  People don’t watch hockey on TV (?), but this gets hours of coverage on ESPN 2?  Ooookaaaayyy….
  • Replay of LSU vs. Auburn football from 2007 on ESPNU.  Sadly, this was what I watched for quite some time.  And I already knew who was going to win.

Not one baseball game on TV.  How sad.  Thankfully I can get my daily fill of bowling, billiards trick-shot competitions from 2003, and poker.

Mixed Martial Arts

I may address this more at-length in an upcoming column.  Simply put, for me it started out like a train-wreck.  I couldn’t change the channel.  I’m not afraid to admit that it’s to the point now where I will seek some of this stuff out on the boob tube and watch.  Good stuff.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

– Drew

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Summer Hockey

July 9, 2008

Many of you out there have been following and probably enjoying the escapades down in Tampa Bay under the new owners, Oren Koules and Len Barrie.  A great read is this piece from James Mirtle and Puck Daddy, also known as Greg Wyshynski.  One writer labeled the situation in Tampa Bay a “gong show” and who knows what NHL insiders are calling it when they step out to have an adult beverage.  As entertaining as it is, can you imagine how things might be if our old friend Doug MacLean had been able to be part of the ownership group?  Gong show might be a favorable descriptor with Doug flexing his ego.

He would probably not have his own radio show in Tampa because with a Hollywood producer like Koules as a partner, television would be the logical next step for Doug.  Following that, he would start transplanting PEI friends to Florida to fill all the organizational jobs and potato fields.  Youth hockey would be rolled into the Lightning operations and a new junior team would be formed.  Barry Melrose would not be named as coach because with Doug in charge, the team wouldn’t need one.

Last night, I went to the Jackets Q & A to hear Scott Howson and Ken Hitchcock talk about the team and take questions from the season ticket holders.  The fans were all very eager and listened to Howson give a nice, detailed presentation on the recent draft and the trades the Jackets made.  I learned a few things last night:

Brendan Morrison informed the team very early on that he would not be considering Columbus.  Howson and Hitch believe that he did so for personal, maybe family, reasons.

Ryan Malone was off the radar for Columbus well before the draft due to a combination of the Pittsburgh demands and Tampa Bay hiring his former agent and father.

The coaches and the scouts had many “debates” over the players out there and these debates were not always polite.

Hitchcock feels that the Jackets will be more competitive this season and should improve in the standings.  To his dismay, Detroit got even better along with Chicago and Edmonton, but some teams may have slipped and presented Columbus with an opportunity.

All in all, it was an informative event without a lot of bullshit.  I can’t wait for the season to begin.

-Truth Serum

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OK, I’ve calmed down.

July 4, 2008

I’ve caught my breath and had time to think about the Jacket roster moves over the past few days.  It’s not easy to take them in single servings, not knowing what else is going on or negotiated without all the servings on the dinner plate.  And as I write this, the team is working on other trades, so things could change even more.

First off, the team replaced David Vyborny’s numbers with Raffi Torres.  Torres is a tougher player who will certainly hit harder than Vyborny and will play adequate defense.

With the signing of Kristian Huselius, the team has picked up the numbers that Zherdev had and a little more.  Huselius won’t make me forget Nick and I admit that I think Z will get better, but he won’t have the mental lapses like Zherdev did, and will pass the puck a bit sooner and shoot quicker.

RJ Umberger will get his 20 goals and maybe (negative comment coming) get Jason Chimera to improve his game.  If Fredrik Modin can play a full season and get his 25 goals, things look bright.

On defense, the team certainly improved.  The team is now bigger, even if Kris Russell stays on the roster.  Ron Hainsey is gone, but it would have been interesting to see what kind of numbers he would have put up on this new 2008 team.  Tyutin is now the guy, unless Klesla can find more goals or someone like Clay Wilson can fill that role.  The team definitely is stronger at the blue line.  Can they score a few more goals?

Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek have replaced Gilbert Brule and Dan Fritsche, even if they don’t make the team in October.   I liked Brule, but he needed a change of address and he too, will probably have better numbers in Edmonton.

Pascal Leclaire has to put up the same numbers and Fredrik Norrena has to improve his game.  Two or three more wins from Freddy would be great.

The team looks better now, but what about the other factors?  If the team can play as well as or better than last season, it needs to also play even against Nashville and win half those games.  It needs to continue to play well against Detroit.  It needs to win against Chicago and St. Louis and stay even with them in the standings.  Five more wins will go a long way, in the standings and at the bank.

The team is now different, but they are not out of the MacLean hole yet. They are on their way to fixing that with a few more roster subtractions and scouting changes. It will finally be Scott Howson’s team at that point, resembling a modern NHL franchise instead of a PEI social club.  That will be a nice way to show John McConnell our thanks and that we won’t forget him.

-Truth Serum

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So long boys…

July 2, 2008

Zherdev and Fritsche to the Rags for Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman.

More analysis to follow later, but here were my three reactions in the ten minutes after I heard this:

  1. Oh.  My.  God.
  2. Actually, this might not be so bad.
  3. There has to be more to come.  Wait for the dust to settle before you jump off the roof.

I told myself I wouldn’t do it, but I ventured on over to Puck Rakers for “fan” reaction.  I’d made it months without viewing any comments, but I jumped in to find this gem buried in the Portzline analysis of the trade:

Go away Portzline! Do you post anything at all good?! Like ever?!

Yeah, it’s that good.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

– Drew