Ligue nationale de hockey pour 2014, Monsieur Bettman?
Ligue nationale de hockey pour 2014, Monsieur Bettman?
Apolo Ohno is like your driver license. Every four years there’s a renewal process that doesn’t take nearly as long as you thought.
As Ohno’s quadrennial fame is fleeting these three weeks, I thought it noteworthy to explore what seems to matter most to NBCOlympics (no space) viewers: His girlfriend.
Ohno’s longtime lover was Allison Baver, also a speedskater competing in the Vancouver Olympics. Though NBC’s Philly affiliate reports that Baver dumped Ohno: “In the last year or so Allison ended her relationship with Apolo so that she could focus on her skating.”
But from the tone of the NBC piece, it’s pretty apparent that the fate of the relationship is still in question: “So what’s now for Allison? Will she get back together with Apolo? Will she turn to modeling full time? Will she keep skating?”
Nodar Kumaritashvili, an Olympic luge competitor from the nation of Georgia, died today after sustaining injuries from a horrific crash during a practice run in Whistler, British Columbia.
From the VANCOUVER SUN:
Kumaritashvili was going close to 150 km/h, near the end of the course, when he launched off the track. Witnesses say his body hit a metal pole. Medical personnel performed CPR through a plastic tube and almost immediately an ambulance rushed Kumaritashvili from Whistler Olympic Park to the local hospital.
Pictures & a link to video of Nodar’s crash, if you feel comfortable enough to view them, are after the jump.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports Puck Daddy blog reports:
(Slap ice skates on ‘em and it might be different)
The U.S. vs. Canada men’s preliminary-round showdown Feb. 21 won’t be shown on NBC, but on cable’s MSNBC at 7 p.m. EST. Instead, the Peacock will bring fans an exhilarating night of ice dancing, women’s speedskating, men’s freestyle skiing and men’s giant slalom – rather than what amounts to an NHL all-star game on an international stage.
For most, NBC’s decision represents a mindless, millisecond thumb-twitch on the remote. But for the NHL, there could be no bigger insult. (Damn amazing considering the public embarrassment suffered by the league and Commissioner Gary Bettman over the years.)
(Walsh is prominent NHL player agent with Octagon)
If you don’t know why NBC’s JV-ing hockey is an outrage to its fans, well … you probably don’t care.
Work with me, kiddo:
1) NBC is the NHL’s network broadcast partner. Actually, “partner” might be stretching it as the league gave NBC broadcast rights to its games for free.
2) The NHL excised three weeks from its regular season, including canceling its all-star game, to commit players to the Olympics. That decision caused much consternation among NHL owners, coaches, players and their cable television partners. If the NHL knew that its players in their biggest game were going to be relegated to lightly-watched MSNBC, do you think it would’ve made the Olympic commit?
So with those two points as a backdrop, why on earth did NBC decide to dump USA vs. Canada hockey for Ice Dancing?
At first glance you might think that the image below is a Photoshop, but you’d be wrong, my friend. That’s an actual ski ramp built in — actually over — Soldier Field, with a tiny ski jumper in mid-flight, circa 1954. My thoughts: Chicago, wind, man in mid-air about 150 feet off the ground … what could possibly go wrong?
Here’s the thing under construction (it’s 165 feet at the taking-off point). Sheesh. DEPUTY DOG has a pretty amazing collection of photos of insane temporary ski jump ramps where ski jump ramps shouldn’t be; including one at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and one at Dodger Stadium. The 2022 Winter Olympics in Los Angeles … let’s get it done, people.
(Empire Stadium, Vancouver, 1958)
Totally wicked. More photos following the jump. Read more…
• The Bronx Bombers blow up in a Tuesday night fight with the Blue Jays.
• And if Derek Jeter’s gonna brawl, he’s gonna need a mighty moustache.
• Seems that Wisconsin civic leaders have a problem with 12-year-old albino boys playing football with a tinted helmet visor.
• A Walter Payton statue in front of Soldier Field: A tribute to a Chicago Bears legend, or an insult to America’s veterans?
• ESPN will truly offer a college basketball marathon, as Monmouth & St. Peter’s agree to tip off at 6 a.m. Eastern.
• Prince Fielder gets royally p.o.’ed at Guillermo Mota for plunking him, then tries to crash the Dodgers’ clubhouse after the game.
(Look out! Here he comes!)
• Reggie Wayne comes to Colts camp in a dump truck & decked out in construction worker gear. Your move, Clinton Portis.
• The NHL plans to suspend & not pay any players who get hurt during any Olympic summer training camp.
• Frank Deford dresses down ESPN, calling the Worldwide Leader a “journalistic disgrace“.
For many athletes, there’s no thrill quite like representing their country in the Olympics. Granted, it usually helps when they’re good and/or have a shot at success. But by and large, Olympics = teh good.
To that end, the NHLPA’s collective bargaining agreement protects players’ contracts during Olympic play. Seems standard. Oh, but there’s more to the Olympics than actually participating in the games themselves - specifically, there’s a summer orientation camp for hockey players, and you’d think that was covered too.
Yes, you’d think that.
When the ladies lace ‘em up in Vancouver this winter, Michelle Kwan will not be among them. The champion figure skater has decided to postpone her dreams of continued Olympic glory in favor of something more important: a master’s degree.
Instead of hitting the rink, Michelle will be hitting the books, as she will be pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy of Tufts University. (Fun fact: Tufts’ sports teams are nicknamed the Jumbos.)
(Another fun fact: More Michelle photos after the jump.)
• He hasn’t even thrown a pass yet, but Jets QB Mark Sanchez is already cementing his status as a Big Apple sex symbol with a GQ photo spread:
• Tony Kornheiser gives up his “Monday Night Football” gig, so ESPN tabs Jon Gruden as his replacement. It should be fun, considering what the ex-Bucs coach has said in the past about the Worldwide Leader.
• Will recent sex scandals cause Australian rugby to ban its cheerleaders?
• Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger is hoping her boyfriend, Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, will soon race with her to the wedding altar.