The Hawks’ Nest


Clock’s Ticking
February 24, 2010, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Winterhawks | Tags: ,

(SPOILER ALERT: This blog contains the result of the US-Switzerland quarterfinal game played Wednesday afternoon. Since it’s impossible to figure out NBC’s byzantine tape delay schedule, who knows when it will air. So don’t read ahead if you’re taping the game and want to be surprised.)

(OK, a mini-rant before I begin. Criticism of NBC’s tape delays is prevalent all over the Intertubes, so there’s not much outrage I can add that hasn’t been said. But there is this: last week I was watching the finals of the men’s halfpipe competition. Shaun White had the gold locked up before going on his second run. They cut to him and his teammates and coaches celebrating at the top of the hill before he embarked on his final run and discussing what he should do, which was essentially ceremonial since he had the gold already assured. They had his coach mic’d and we could hear the entire conversation, including an F-bomb. This was pathetic since the broadcast was TAPE DELAYED. In the three hours between the time the broadcast aired the F-bomb live on the East Coast and the time that same footage aired out here, they couldn’t be bothered to scrub a very clear, very audible profanity.)

This commercial for Versus’s NHL playoff coverage last year is one of my all-time favorites.

I’m reminded of it because as I write this, we’re about two hours away from the epic (hopefully) Canada-Russia quarterfinal game in the Olympics, and the clock is ticking.

One of the great things about Olympic hockey that I always forget is how quickly the game is played. Not just the action on the ice, but with few, if any, TV timeouts, the action is constant. Unless the coach calls timeout the players don’t have time to stop and catch their breath waiting to come back out of a TV timeout.

If a team is on its heels, they need to work their butts off to change the flow of the play, not just hang on until the next stoppage and gather themselves for a few minutes.

That was the first thing I noticed when I started working for the Winterhawks: the game flows so quickly thanks to just one 60-second media timeout midway through each period.

Understand, before coming to the Winterhawks, I spent eight years in the NBA, where each game has more stoppages than a Flomax commercial. You have TV timeouts, team timeouts, quarter breaks and halftime. Then on top of that you get into late game situations and the foul-free throws-timeout cycle is unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the strategy, it’s just incredibly fan unfriendly. It’s most exasperating when a team is pulling that routine when they’re down 10 with 30 seconds to go. At that point a Lindsay Lohan comeback seems more likely.

But I digress.

The Olympic hockey action to this point has been ridiculously good; Season 2 of Dexter good. In yesterday’s four qualifier games, there were three one-goal games.The Czech Republic/Latvia and Slovakia/Norway games last night were wildly entertaining. Then to kick off the four quarterfinal games today, Switzerland kept the game against the U.S. scoreless through two periods before losing 2-0. There are three more games today, all of which should be absolutely fantastic.

I know there are a myriad of reasons why Gary Bettman wants to pull the plug on NHL players in the Olympics, but if this is it for the NHL Olympic experience, so far they are going out with a bang. The hockey has been phenomenal, and we’re not even through the quarterfinals yet.

Of course, I reserve the right to take everything back if Canada loses today.

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1 Comment so far
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There was a great story in the Oregonian last year where the Opera critic reviewed a Blazers game. One of his great comments – “took 3 hours to play a 48 minute game…If I’m ever told I have 6 months to live I want it in Basketball time.”

Comment by Tofer




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