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I’m Back, Bitches. Let’s Talk Winter Classic

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New, for The Hockey News: On organizational depth and why it comes to the forefront around this part of the season.

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I still haven’t taken out my Christmas tree.  This is getting out of hand.  As will the fire it’s about to start in about 15 minutes, I’m sure.

So, before I launch into a discussion of El Classic Wintere, how about this:  Remember my little story about my trip back from New York, and missing days with my brother due to multiple flight cancellations?

Well, we made the most of our two days.  Which is to say, on New Year’s Eve we went to the pub and played Buck Hunter in the afternoon, went  home to open Christmas presents, then went back to the pub for actual “Eve, the drank champagne out of plastic cups in a park while setting off copious amounts of fireworks.”

A fine recipe for a good time.

After a day of rest and playing the Wii fishing game “Strike,” I found myself taking him to the airport to fly home, and it seemed like he had only just arrived.

Well guess what:  flight complications.

He’s “stuck” here on extended vacay until Tuesday.  Huzzah!

Not so cool cause I have to do a bunch of work today, but at least the evenings will be free.

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Ooo wait, more stuff before hockey:

I’m officially, um, chubby.  My playing weight fluctuated between 185 and 195.  I’m like, 208 at this point.  Thus begins the very-little beer/muchos exercise portion of my life, which if things go according to plan, should be over by February.  I just gotta get this gut under control. 

Instead of Drew Magary’s twitter public humiliation diet, I’ll be doing it through the blog – twitter is, in fact, too humiliating – so there ya have it.  I’m 208 today.  I’ll document progess as it happens every day, or as it doesn’t.  Whichever.

Admit it – after the holidays, there’s a few of you that can relate.

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So the Winter Classic!  What’d ya think?

By Getty Images, a sick pic of Knuble scoring his grinderific goal

I feel like so many of us “real” hockey fans are trying too hard to impress those that aren’t.  And I’m not saying that about the game itself – the outdoor game is fucking awesome.  I’m saying, we’re the very people who’re supposed to just put on sweats, make some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle that is the WC.

Instead, we’re constantly scrutinizing the presentation, worrying about not just the quality of game play for the “casual fan” (a euphemism for “person who doesn’t give a damn about hockey unless it’s convinient”), but also about how well run it is, looking for things to harp on instead of just enjoying the good, and waiting to see if something harp-worthy arises.

It’s quite the scene, those outdoor games, and I wish I could separate myself from the nail-biting “is this good enough for fans of other sports?” and just soak it all in.  I didn’t even cry this year.

Speaking of that:

Also a badass Getty Images pic. Malkin scores!

Obviously, the more we do something, the more we get used to it.  Which leads me to believe the Heritage Classic – which I won’t speak negatively of again, unless it’s deserving of it – is overkill.  (Here’s me doing exactly what I railed against above, but like I said, I just can’t get away from it.)

If I worked for the NHL, I would have done the EXACT thing.  It’s linear thinking: We make money, fans like it, this works.  Thus, let’s do more of it.  It’s the same logic that works for pop stars.  “Wait, fans like pretty people with mediocre voices that appeal to all things ADD with a bunch of flashing lights and gimmicks?  Done.”

But I’m definitely a bit tuned out on the game in Calgary (it is there, right?).  Outdoors?  Already seen it this year.  My stupid, short-attention-spanned generation can’t handle anything that’s not constantly flooding our brain with wave after wave of things like three-second cat clips.  And even then, I’m over it in like five minutes.  More cat clips?  BULLSHIT.

Maybe I’ll be ready again when the puck drops, but I’m not there yet.

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Well, I’ll be seeing you on a normal schedule again.  Hope everyone had a good time over the holidays, I know I did.  My liver and expanded belt would back me up on that.

Comments

18 Responses to “I’m Back, Bitches. Let’s Talk Winter Classic”
  1. crushasaurus says:

    I’m 198 after the holidays, and I stand at 5’10 and a half. Not good. The only problem I have is that the idea of doing sit-ups every day makes me want to puke, and that’s just the idea of doing it, never mind actually putting in the work.

    Fuck being buff, I’m staying like Ollie Williams’ soup; chunky.

  2. Mike P says:

    I thought the winter classic was pretty good. Im ready to see another team other than Pittsburgh get a chance to play in it. Some of the crazy camera work drove me insane though.

  3. paul says:

    Winter classic, one thing bothered me…Camera Angles. NBC’s were horrible, I felt like I was in the upper bowl even though I was on my couch.

    I then watched the CBC broadcast on the NHL network and felt like I had spent $600 bucks on tickets and had the best seats in the house.

  4. James says:

    I started the Slow Carb Diet from the 4 Hour Body two weeks ago.

    Forget waiting for 1/1/2011…..

  5. jtbourne says:

    As far as the camera angles go, I feel like it’s a unique opportunity to get some different views, and since the game really doesn’t matter than any other mid-season game (okay, maybe a bit more), I wasn’t all that mad at it. That said, I’d like to see them use those weird angles as complimentary shots to normal ones, so you don’t miss the puck for like, half the period.

  6. HockeyPhool says:

    JT – you’re looking very Jim Carrey-ish in that pic. Bourne Almighty?

  7. @skennedy39 says:

    I agree on the WC and the need to impress. I was actually looking for the overnight ratings numbers so I could do a ‘suck on that’ speech to some people I know who don’t (gasp) love hockey.

    I like the Heritage Classic. Let’s face it, NBC is never, ever going to allow a Canadian team into the Winter Classic. Ever. I don’t think anyone can blame the CBC for having it’s own game. The media in the US will largely ignore it and hockey fans and Canadians will be happy and enjoy it. So it will be like a regular NHL game.

  8. Bradford says:

    I’m surprisingly okay with the Heritage Classic. I don’t think it’s merely a cash grab or an example of linear thinking; it’s an opportunity for two Canadian teams and Canadian fan bases to get in on the fun. The Winter Classic is a made-for-NBC event, and as such, is made for U.S. marketing. It will _never_ _ever_ _ever_ show a Canadian team until the Edmonton Oilers move to Cleveland or Seattle or wherever.

    Instead, the Heritage Classic is an opportunity for the NHL to trundle out an asset that will otherwise be idle (that is, their portable rink) and use it to celebrate the Canadian heritage of hockey while picking up a few extra bucks from the Canadian markets.

  9. Jace says:

    I had the opportunity to go to the Winter Classic this year–my first one. I had a great time and aside from the rain (and the Caps winning), it was a great time.

  10. jtbourne says:

    HockeyPhool – I used to get that a lot when I was younger, I guess I sorta almost kinda see it? I know I look um, saucy.

    Bradford – I totally agree that it’s less a cash grab and more for Canadians (who more than deserve an outdoor game for their die-hardity). I just feel like I gave myself to the Winter Classic, and I’m not ready for another love just yet. Time heals.

    Jace – Good to hear. As with most things, people generally only speak when something sucked, so happy to hear it was a good time for you!

  11. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Love the Winter Classic – would love to go to one someday. I’ll need to find where the Heritage Classic is available online because I would love to see that, too.

    I didn’t spend time thinking about how it looked to other “fans”. I’m not in the business of hockey so it didn’t even cross my mind. Some of the camera angles made me dizzy! That one that flew over the ice and rotated around to follow the puck – yuck!

    What I especially loved was that none of the players complained about the significantly less than perfect conditions. They all seemed to be a bit in awe of the spectacle and humbled by the opportunity. Loved it!

  12. MattyJ says:

    Weight – I cut down on soda and candy as much as possible and dropped 10 pounds in about 5 weeks. Of course, I’m 38, 6’2″ and started out at 240 + pounds.

    Winter Classic – I was surprised at how much of the 5 hours of pre-show I watched. Loved the game.

    Heritage Classic – The Winter Classic needs to take a cue from the HC and hold their game later in the season and in a more miserable locale. Playing in the snow in Buffalo was the best WC yet. Despite the teams in the heritage, the (hopefully) awful weather will make it even more fun to watch.

  13. Ben says:

    You live in Arizona. Get a road bike and the weight will go away. in no time–you guys have year round riding out there. The best part is your hunger goes through the roof and you can eat anything while still losing weight. The downside is all the spandex, but you learn to love it.

  14. sonja says:

    Loved the WC. I could do without all the weird camera angles, but I think that is mostly a function of the game being held in a football stadium and the cameras are in place for a football game. They can be adjusted to film a hockey game, but they will never be as good as those in place for an indoor rink.

    What was really suckworthy about the game was the announcing. Dear lord. Those were elite athletes out on the ice who love the game. They are not sissies. Or figure skaters. If I had to hear one more stupid tidbit of speculation about how the weather was going to effect the game in one way or another I think I was going to start throwing things at the television. If the NHL wants to draw people (new fans) into the sport, then they need to use this event to teach people how it’s played and some of the trivia that goes with it … not mislead them with endless boring drivel about weather.

    Please … for the love of God and everything holy. Someone fire Pierre Maguire and Mike Milbury. They are an embarrassment.

  15. Deirdre says:

    I’m wondering with our ever-warming winters whether the next few Winter Classics will be as far north as possible. I didn’t know NBC started it so wasn’t aware of the US bias, but I’m thinking Detroit/Buffalo/Chicago/Saint Paul are gonna be on the short list for upcoming games.

    Looking forward to the Heritage game, if nothing else the fans might make more of an appearance.

    Back in ’08 they totally took advantage of the camera-on-a-wire that football fields have, in this game they either didn’t use it at all or used it really poorly. It was absolutely freaky/fascinating to be barreling along *with* the play instead of following it from the side or back. I hope they figure out how to use that again!

  16. Andrew says:

    Welcome back, Justin. Glad to hear you had a good holiday. What year/course is the US Open hat in the picture from?

    Hockey stuff. I think the WC is great and HBO’s 4 part lead up to it is excellent. Hopefully it’s helping grow the game in the states. I’ve thought for a while that they should change the All-Star game into an outdoor game, so that there isn’t the (minor) complaining about a regular season game being played outdoors. I guess that would limit the potential hosts for the all-star game, which would be a hard sell to the league. Thoughts, Justin?

    It’s funny that this year and last year there was a big panic about the weather. What a surprise that it can be above freezing in Pittsburgh in January! You know where it is always cold on New Year’s Day? Winnipeg. We’d be happy to host!

    Sonja, Milbury isn’t the best and Pierre is annoying, cliched, over-the-top and easily excited. However, he’s knowledgeable and entertaining, and that’s really all we can ask for. Pierre is much more tolerable when he’s on Canadian TV and not with Milbury having (staged or not) heated arguments.

    Bourne, I’m interested to know your thoughts on commentary and colour guys. The best and the worst.

  17. jtbourne says:

    The US Open hat is from 2010, Pebble Beach. My stepdad got it for me, and had just given it to me for Christmas. As for the best/worst guys, I’ve touched on this before. In fact, I think whole posts. Try searching the blog, I don’t remember exactly which post it’s in, but I give my best/worst.

  18. Hattrk3 says:

    Lifelong (since 7 anyway) hockey fan. Very happy to see the Caps, after a long month of HBO overtime, take Crybaby’s team down. There were points in the game where I was “nervous” and actually had to mute the TV and sit on my hands, but all in all a good game. Didn’t dog the fact that there wasn’t a handshake at the end of the game and I don’t know (not being on the ice) whether that was in response to OV’s early celebration or just a lack of sportsmanship (either side) but it felt odd to me. Game was well called for the most part and the rivalry continues. I, too, would like to see someone other than the Pens in the game, but that is because I bleed CAPS red. There were plenty of sports events to watch on TV that night, but I wouldn’t be found anywhere else (unless I were there live)! GO CAPS

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