First skating lesson

Whenever he’s been asked what sports he wants to play, our son has been consistent: “Baseball and hockey!” The first skill required in hockey is the ability to ice skate, so with that in mind, we enrolled him in ice skating lessons earlier in the year. Of course, Dad had to take photos of the first lesson!

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Click on the photo to see the entire set.

“Is the N in NFL for Nancy?”

The Dallas Stars have gone on the offensive, and hockey season hasn’t even started yet. As part of a new ticket sales campaign, several billboards have gone up around the Dallas metroplex, poking fun at the other three major sports, all represented in the metro area. The jab at baseball is a little weak, if you ask me, and the obvious NBA poke is time- and scandal-sensitive.
My favorite of the billboards, however, is the funniest and the most enduring. Taking a shot at the NFL, it reads:

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Take that, Cowboy fans.

I wish Dallas would hurry up and score

The third overtime just began in Vancouver, and at 1:25 in the morning, I’m ready for bed.
I bleed green, white, gold, and black, though. Go Stars!!
Update, 1:27 AM: Somewhere about the 2:50 mark in to the third overtime, the game became the longest in Vancouver franchise history.
Update, 1:51 AM: There will be a fourth overtime.
Update, 2:33 AM: With 1:54 left in the fourth overtime, Dallas falls. It sucks to lose when you outplay and outshoot your opponent.

Yeah, what he said

Tom’s thoughts on the National Anthem mirror my own.
The missus can regale you with many a tale of Super Bowl, college bowl, NASCAR, baseball, hockey, and other sports viewing wherein I severely critique the anthem singing because they fail in one of the ways Tom speaks of.
Look, we know you’re a good singer. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been chosen in the first place. And if it’s a major sporting event, we know you’re a great singer.
(Or you’re just the flavor of the month, since we all know popularity doesn’t necessarily reflect impressive skill.)
(We do know that, right?)

“Can you go celebrate some place else?”

Brilliant decision by Versus to mike Marty Turco for the NHL All-Star Game tonight. Marty’s humor shined as the Dallas Stars goalie traded one-liners with Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk (who has to be one of the worst color men in hockey broadcasting, but then we’re pretty spoiled here in Dallas with our top-notch crew). And Turco did it while he played, shrugging off shots microseconds after talking with the announcers upstairs, and continuing to chat as face-offs occurred right in front of him.
His best line came after the Eastern Conference scored the first of three goals against Turco, when Marty, waving them toward their bench, said with a wink to the Eastern players congregating in front of the net: “Hey guys, can you go celebrate some place else?”
It made for great insight in to the game from a goalie’s perspective, and it was really great of Turco to make the effort. Best of all, he got the win!

All good things must come to an end

With St. Louis’s victory in the World Series Friday night, the perfect sports month comes to a close, even with three days left on the calendar. This was a less than perfect sports weekend for yours truly, given that the Tigers didn’t play yesterday, and in three weekend nights, the Stars only played once. They made the most of it, however, beating the Kings last night, 3-2, giving rookie netminder Mike Smith his second win in as many starts, and equalling the team’s best start ever at 9-2.
Oh well, I suppose I can always root for Carolina against Dallas tonight…

The NHL on NBC

Could NBC not steal away better talent from ESPN for calling hockey games it chooses to nationally televise? Gary Thorne is apparently still locked in to a contract with ESPN/ABC, having spent last year calling college football games (and doing a damn fine job, if you ask me; Thorne just has a sports announcer’s voice through and through).
Big surprise that Bill Clement, formerly Thorne’s useless and biased color man, is now uselessly and biasedly anchoring NBC’s hockey network desk with Ray Ferraro. (Very manly of you guys to be out on the ice in Rockefeller Plaza, sticks in hand, while the peewee team pokes pucks around the rink behind you. This is what is known in the vernacular as a cliché. You’d think you Canadians would know a little French.)
So in DFW today we are, of course, getting the Stars-Blues game out of St. Louis. Chris Cuthbert and Peter McNab have zero chemistry. Most of the time, it sounds like McNab’s mouth is engaging before his brain. (Taking lessons from Clement, Peter?) Cuthbert sounds like he’s about to start hyperventilating any second during the game call. The only redeeming quality of this broadcast crew is Cammi Granato, stuck with the stupidly named “Inside the Glass” position. One improvement with this threesome would be to eliminate McNab and put Granato in his place. I’m not sure where Cuthbert came from, but he needs to go back to being the local team announcer there.
You might be wondering why I’m so snarky on this admittedly minor issue. First, when it comes to hockey announcers, we’re pretty spoiled here in Dallas. Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh are one of the best broadcast teams in any sport. (Many of us are still hoping Daryl comes to his senses and gets a hair cut.)
Second, being a hockey fan, I want to see the sport win more fans, and one area this is going to happen in will be nationally televised games. (Few and far between those may have been these past few years. Great job with those television contracts, post-Fox Sports, Commissioner Bettman.) So if a nationally-televised game is part of your new fan-winning strategy, you better make sure the network you’ve given the goods to can deliver with top-notch broadcast crews. Those currently employed by NBC are barely living up to the term “mediocre”.
Like I’m sure many of you do when your home team is being nationally televised, I normally mute the television and flip on the radio, putting up with the satellite delay to hear my local announcers call the game. I tried to give the NBC crew an honest shot today, but they’re falling far short. Back to WBAP to hear Ralph and Razor call the last five minutes of the game.