Friday, February 22, 2008


Typically, the best comment on sports broadcasting in Ottawa* (the Team 1200 and the Senators' local broadcasts on A-Channel) is no comment. Now, did anyone else notice how Dean Brown's boosterism blew up in his face in the Sens' 3-2 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets last night?

Before the shootout, the commentators, like everyone watching, were armchair-coaching and trying to guess who the shooters would be (which is about the only fun part of the shootout). Brown, the play-by-play man, said, "Well, Columbus has only two 20-goal scorers, so you just know Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev will be in the shootout." (They were and they both scored to win the game for the Blue Jackets.)

It was all in the tone, which suggested, "There's no way the Senators possibly lose to this plug team, since they have more top-end forwards." (The Senators have four players with 20 goals this season, although that includes Cory Stillman's stats with Carolina.)

Maybe Brown honestly didn't mean to dismiss the visitors who had gone toe-to-toe with the Sens for 65 minutes to reach the shootout. However, "the only two 20-goal scorers" crack was at best misleading. At worst, it was the SIAC-itica (Sens Army Inferiority Complex) flaring up again.

Nearly half the teams in the NHL -- 13 out of 30 -- have "only" two guys who have each hit the 20-goal mark. Rest assured, though, those are all total plug teams. For instance, take the Montreal Canadiens. They're a whole entire point behind the Senators for first overall in the whole league. The Minnesota Wild lead their division, although apparently not by enough to avoid the crappiness classification. Another bunch of sorry excuses on skates with only two guys who've hit the 20-goal plateau this season? The Anaheim Ducks, who won the Stanley Cup last season. It's a little fuzzy since it was over rather quickly, but does anyone remember who the Ducks beat in the championship series?

The New Jersey Devils have managed to stay a point behind Ottawa with just one 20-goal scorer. The Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks both didn't get their first until last night, but they're both holding playoff berths at this writing.

Nash and Zherdev each beat Ray Emery stickside to end the game before three of Ottawa's four big scorers even got a chance. Anyway, that underscored the point that Brown didn't acknowledge. Who has the most big scorers can mean squat in the crapshoot shootout. You could have the '70-71 Boston Bruins with four 40-goal scorers -- and some guy named Orr who scored 37 from his defence position -- and it wouldn't matter. The coach would still only be able to pick three guys.

Sens fans deserve someone to point that out, not slag the opposition to build false considence. They might have played up that the Jackets might go stickside, since as Sun Media's Chris Stevenson pointed out, that where's both regulation goals on Emery also went in.

Anyway, please don't shoot the messenger. You could take this up at Brown's blog, if you're so inclined. (He doesn't have comments enabled and averages about five posts a month, bear in mind. Getting a response before the weekend might be a tall order.)

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to


GoGades said...

Boy Neate, you sure read a lot into 1 single factual statement !

Pattington said...


I was just thinking the same thing. I didn't listen to the broadcast, so the tone of voice and context is missing for me, but Neate, my man, it sounds innocent enough. I mean, it is true that the Blue Jacket's only have two 20 goal scorers....


Tao of Stieb said...

Dean Brown is one thing...but Gord Wilson is an absolute joke. To the point where we can't even listen to him any more.

Thank God for Garry Galley, who actually has the stones to critique the Senators, and who doesn not assume that every that goes wrong for them is either a miscarriage of justice on the part of the refs, or bad "puck luck".

We sat behind the net last night, and came to an important conclusion: Ray Emery is a fat toad.

Bring back Barrasso.

Anonymous said...

Neate does read a lot into some offhand comments from time to time.I also think, as Tao does, that Gary Galley is the best of the bunch.

For this Monday's leafs at ottawa game I will not have to put up with any media types. Thanks to Neate's employer! I won the tickets in the Ottawa Sun's "Who Am I contest" for that game. Yippee!

Dennis Prouse said...

Neate makes a fair point, though -- when you can only pick three shooters, does it really matter if you only have two twenty goal scorers? I hate actually having to analyze the shootout, which I loathe, but surely it isn't too much to expect that the guys on TV do some critical thinking.

This brings up another point, which is that Ottawa's radio broadcast team has to be the most cringe-inducing set of homers in the League. Sure, I know that the local radio guys are supposed to be boosters, but the whining about the officiating that comes from these guys is embarrassing. To listen to these guys, you would think that there is a league wide plot against the Sens, and that our guys are routinely having their spleens removed in full view of the officials. Like all good homers, the whining increases tenfold if the locals are on the wrong end of the score. Crying about the officials is just so tired and cliche - when those guys are whining, I swear to God I am standing beside a bunch of wailing hockey dads at a local Bantam A game. (There, I feel better.)

Good call on Galley, though. Because he is a former player, he calls it like he sees it, which is refreshing.

sager said...

You don't take a useless major (English Lit) without learning a thing or two about being able to extrapolate all sorts of things from a passing statement.

I really got to get a Slingbox so I can start capturing this, but trust me, the emphasis was on the "only." Anyone who catches Dean and Gord -- they seem like good joes, but they know what side the bread's buttered on a litle too much -- got the drift.

Good feedback, everyone.