Tagged: natalie thomas

Carnell Knowledge : Super Bowl 47 Edition

Another year of a blog on Super Bowl Sunday with myself and others doing picks.

But first up, somehow on January 16th, 2012 I predicted the media coverage of this year’s game.
I decided before the 2012 AFC/NFC Championship games to write on what the possible Super Bowl
storylines could be. Since Baltimore-San Francisco was an option last season this was what I
thought might happen.

https://saltwatermusic.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/early-superbowl-storylines/

“49ers-Ravens. By far, the one the media would have the easiest time with. John Harbaugh, coach
of the Ravens. Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 49ers. 2 brothers against each other. They played each
other this season on Thanksgiving Night, so they can grab the videos done for that week and
recycle them quite easily. Piece of cake.”

Got that one correct. I’ve seen those Thanksgiving clips so much during the last 2 weeks it’s
crazy. John and Jim before the game, the brothers with their parents after the game, etc. It
took 12 months but that paragraph came true.

I’ve gone back and forth on who might win. First other people and their choices.

One of the many Queen’s Alumni that are around, Andrew Bucholtz. Who runs the Yahoo! Canada
“55 Yard Line” blog.

http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/cfl-55-yard-line/

https://twitter.com/AndrewBucholtz

“I’ll go San Fran 28, Baltimore 24. Kaepernick and Gore too tough for Ravens to stop, in my
opinion.”

Matthew Bisson, who I used to work with at the CFRC Sports department. Now a News Editor at 1310
News in Ottawa.

http://www.1310news.com/

https://twitter.com/Matt_Bisson

“Cheering for the 49ers, but expecting a Ravens win. Just seems to be their year. Hope I’m
wrong!#anyonebutbaltimore”

Another Queen’s/CFRC Alumni, Julie Stewart-Binks. Sports Anchor on CTV Regina and also
involved in hockey scouting.

My Scouting Geekery: A Brief History
http://www.juliesb.com/?p=235

https://twitter.com/JSB_CTV

Julie went with the 49ers as did Jody Vance who is now at Breakfast Television at City in
Vancouver.

Formerly known as CityTV. They all dropped the “TV” part of the station name this month. Just
“City” now. One of those random little tweaks a company will do.

https://twitter.com/jodyvance

Up next a pick from Natalie Thomas, who is on maternity leave from The Weather Network. Someone
who defeated me in 2011 doing NHL playoff picks on this blog. You can look that up and see.
She had it clinched before the finals. We both picked Boston over Vancouver since obviously
that was the only choice.

https://twitter.com/NatalieTWN

“Hmmmm. I’m out of the loop…but I’ll take Baltimore. :)”

Since Natalie just had a baby girl in January that explains her being out of the loop. Finally BJ Stewart,
Weather Network Morning Show Producer

https://www.facebook.com/TWNAMSHOW
https://twitter.com/TWN_AM_SHOW

“Geography says I should go with the Ravens…but I kinda like the 49ers grit. Think I’ll go with SF”

I’m picking Baltimore to win, 24-13.  I can see 49ers winning but after the Ravens knocked off Manning
and Brady in back to back weeks they are on a roll.  Also the 49ers defense hasn’t been great lately.
I’ll be rooting for the Niners since Ray Lewis is unbearably annoying at this point.

Since I predicted the media coverage a year ago, I will predict the shot from this game that will be
run for years to come.  The handshake or hug at the end of the game between the coaches.  Easy
prediction of course.  One brother just won the biggest game of his life, and the other one
just lost it.  You never see the coach’s handshake in the highlight package but every channel
will be showing that on Monday morning.

Carnell Knowledge : Super Bowl 46 Edition

Super Bowl Edition of ‘Carnell Knowledge’. Is that a pun? It’s what I call the NFL picks during the regular season.  A listener once came up with that title so credit to Cat in Connecticut.

Sports is international. On Thursday night during the Queen’s-RMC hockey broadcast we found out from Queen’s Athletics there was a listener online in New Zealand of all places. Where it would’ve been Friday morning with the time difference. Like me watching the Australian Open at 3:30am. Which since I’m on midnight shift isn’t that unique.

Done this blog post for the last couple of years. Just me doing a Super Bowl pick by myself would be boring. So get others to give some as well.

Before we start, a video from Gillette Stadium in the cheap seats when a certain Ravens kicker missed a field goal in the AFC Championship. They are slightly excited. Gives a good idea what it’s like during an NFL playoff game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC5EG-RQVxM

Before we go to the picks I will go back to the January 16th blog post. I wrote what the Super Bowl storylines might be before the NFC and AFC championship games were played. Decided to mention something about Tom Brady.

https://saltwatermusic.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/early-superbowl-storylines/

“And your little known fact, Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1995. As a catcher. Witness to ‘The Catch’ and could’ve been a catcher. Maybe someone else will pick up on that if there is a 49ers-Pats Super Bowl.”

Well, San Francisco didn’t make it. But according to Google, Tom Brady and the word “Expos” appear in over 300 news articles earlier this week. Many linking to this Globe and Mail story.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/football/tom-brady-a-montreal-expo-what-might-have-been/article2321800/

Amusing when I predicted a story almost 3 weeks ago. Super Bowl week tends to do that since most players have their talking points for any questions that arise. No one wants to give Bulletin Board material so the media is stuck. Luckily the Colts and Peyton Manning soap opera has given them plenty to talk about.

Onto the picks.

First up 2 people who have helped out each year. Andrew Bucholtz who runs Yahoo Canada’s CFL blog ’55 Yard Line’. Queen’s Alumni who worked at the Queen’s Journal.

https://twitter.com/#!/AndrewBucholtz

“I’ve got Giants 24, Patriots 21.”

Jody Vance, from Breakfast Television in Vancouver. Also helps out with Sportsnet, like the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament last week. She picked Giants over Patriots in a newspaper column in 2007 before they played in that Super Bowl. This time she’s going with the Patriots.

https://twitter.com/#!/jodyvance

Julie Stewart-Binks, sports anchor at CTV Regina. Former intermission reporter at CFRC.  Might’ve seen her on TVCogeco during Frontenac games as well.

https://twitter.com/#!/JSB_CTV

“24-20 Patriots”

Matt Bisson from CHED Edmonton and former play by play of Golden Gaels Football at CFRC.

https://twitter.com/#!/Matt_Bisson

“My heart says New England, but my head says the Giants momentum is too strong, and they will lift the trophy.”

Chris Lund. Writer-at-large. Work for theScore, write for Hardball Times, founded AlwaysOUA. Interned at The Hockey News.

https://twitter.com/#!/THEChrisLund

“I like NYG. Say 30-22.”

Jaime Stein, who is leaving his position as the CFL’s Manager of Digital Media. Former sports host/play by play here at CFRC.

https://twitter.com/#!/jaimestein

“I’ll go with New England.”

Jaime wrote a blog about his time with the CFL, worth checking out.

http://jaimestein.wordpress.com/

Steve Maich, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Sportsnet Magazine. Who I didn’t know was a CFRC Alumni until we were chatting on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/#!/stevemaich

“Giants 24, Patriots 20”

You can read a few articles from past issues of Sportsnet Magazine here. Long form articles on Gordie Howe, the decline of the Montreal Canadiens and the late Sarah Burke. Picked up a few issues and worth a read if you are a sports fan. Especially if you are at work during a slow time and it’s 4am. Which is probably nobody reading this except me.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/magazine/news/archive/

Next two from a couple of women who aren’t football fans. Nancy Slater, Midday announcer on Classic Rock FM96 in Kingston. She’s on the air from 10am-3pm. Nancy plays some Open Mics around town and put up a few songs on YouTube you can check out.

https://twitter.com/#!/SlaterFM96

http://www.youtube.com/user/nanunt13

“I like cheering for the underdogs, so I’ll go with the Giants. Fingers crossed for the upset.”

BJ Stewart, producer from The Weather Network’s morning show. Tweets during the show and posts on Facebook as well. One of the multi-taskers. She likes hockey, not into football. Still got a pick, which was I believe mostly based on their uniforms. Whatever works.

https://twitter.com/#!/@TWN_AM_SHOW

https://www.facebook.com/pages/TWN-AM-SHOW/108169452608807

“Go Patriots! 🙂 ”

Natalie Thomas from The Weather Network, who beat me last year in NHL Playoff Picks here on the blog. However we did both pick Boston to beat Vancouver. On the sports side she played US College Basketball for Appalachain State. And recently playing basketball got her 1st technical foul ever….. for calling a timeout when the team didn’t have one. Still counts as a technical. [EDIT: Forgot to mention her team still won the game when her sister scored, so it’s not a Chris Webber situation]

https://twitter.com/#!/NatalieTWN

http://nataliethomas.ca/

“I am taking the Giants solely because I am in NYC all next week. So if there’s a Super Bowl champions parade…I’ll get to be there for it!”

Out to St. John’s, Newfoundland with Kevin Kelly. Senior Editor of The Newfoundland Herald, Host ‘On The Scene’ on OZ FM’s Jigs & Reels. And a Habs fan but I don’t hold that against him.

https://twitter.com/#!/KKellyNFHerald

“Patriots 21-17.”

From East Coast to West Coast with Amar, a video editor in Vancouver. Who realized there wasn’t a great choice either way as a Canucks fan. He mentioned last year Stanley Cup Final which would’ve leaned him towards NY. Until I said “I know you are picking the home of the 1994 Stanley Cup, New York”. Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

https://twitter.com/#!/AmarTime

http://www.youtube.com/amarvision

“I’m picking Mr. Gisele’s team then.”

One of the more well known CFRC Alumni Chris Cuthbert helped out too. Chris started out doing play-by-play for Queen’s Football as a university student. Today he’s at TSN/CTV doing CFL and NHL games. Called the last few Grey Cups. Also part of a sports blog that started a few months ago.

http://www.goldengoalsportsblog.com/

https://twitter.com/#!/CCtsn

“Not my area of expertise but I’ll take Brady and the Patriots. #revenge”

For me, this one can go either way after looking at the games they played 2 weeks ago. Patriots had a bad performance from Brady where he himself said “I sucked”. Giants’ offense had a stretch of 11 possessions with 10 punts against the 49ers.  Yet, both of those teams are in Indy.

One of the stranger facts from this season. My team the Redskins who finished 5-11 beat the New York Giants, TWICE. Patriots played Washington this year and New England won. If they couldn’t beat Rex Grossman I can’t pick them to beat Tom Brady.

Patriots 32-24

Not everyone will be watching the game, while Jody will be watching the game another of BT Vancouver gang will be busy. Dawn Chubai is doing a concert on Sunday afternoon. Jazz singer before getting into television, where she’s on BT Vancouver.  Never hurts to give a plug.

http://yfrog.com/user/dawn_chubai/photos

https://twitter.com/#!/dawn_chubai

Jazz Vespers, Dawn Chubai Quartet: St. Andrew Wesley Church at 4:00pm

Back to the opposite coast as my friend Toni Marie Wiseman doesn’t like football either, but the Super Bowl is on NTV so that means she gets off work early. If it’s like past years she should be doing some news updates during the time they air the long NBC pre-game show. No 6pm news in St. John’s this Sunday.

https://twitter.com/#!/FayeGrim

Like others in this blog she’s more busy than me. ‘NTV news anchor, entertainment reporter, and senior weather host. I’m also a new mom.’

Kickoff for the game is 6:30pm EST on NBC and CTV.  Or you might watch it through ‘other means’ as Brady was quoted; “Last year, I was rehabbing my foot in Costa Rica watching the game on an illegal Super Bowl website and now I’m actually playing in the game, so it’s pretty cool”.

I’ll be watching the game on TV, first time I’ll see it from start to finish in 3 years.  With my weird work hours the last three I’ve woken up and watched the 2nd half.  Which honestly has worked well.  This time I thought I’ll see the entire thing.  Not the pre-game shows.  Even I draw the line with those. Longest is NFL Network’s 8 1/2 hour one.  I wish that was a typo.

Enjoy the game if you are watching it.

NHL Round 4 Picks: ‘One’

Good to see my Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals. After this round Natalie Thomas clinched the playoff picks, so congrats to Natalie on the win. Bragging rights to her, since we didn’t come up with a ‘digital prize’ for winning. 🙂 But she just got back from vacation so that’s a prize in of itself. Only place I plan on visiting this summer is Toronto. Exotic Toronto? Not so much.  Will get me out of town for a couple of days though.  Natalie had the lead going into the last round and clinched the victory.

Onto sports. A team trying to win fans in a non-traditional market. Bad ownership and they lose season after season which doesn’t help getting a foothold in the area. They end up moving elsewhere. Talking about the Vancouver Grizzlies of course. Oh, you thought I meant a team in the news this week. Then I guess I’ll talk about them.

Thrashers to Winnipeg. First thought was the fans in Atlanta got screwed. Sad to see so much Canadian media ignoring the fanbase in Georgia and how they were treated. Main point is the owners in Atlanta were horrible and didn’t even act like they wanted the hockey team. Atlanta Spirit group owned both the Hawks and Thrashers. Payroll last year for the Hawks, 7th highest in the NBA. Thrashers in 4 out of the last 5 seasons were the lowest in the NHL. To have the lowest payroll, in a league where the Coyotes are owned by the league itself is a sign you do not want a team. And employees found out about it online. Nice. From a reporter in Atlanta. Great opening to the article.

“This is how it ends: With the weasel of a commissioner not stepping foot in the city, with another season passing without a playoff game, with a lying ownership group maintaining it did all it could to save a franchise that in reality it spent most of seven years wrecking.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2011/05/31/thrashers-atlanta-were-never-given-a-chance/

Another article mentioned now we found out they’ve wanted to sell the team as far back as 2004.  While they were lying to fans about wanting to keep the team going.  Canadian media trying to portray it as “Atlanta didn’t want hockey” when it is much more complicated than that.

Back to teams still in the playoffs. Unlike the Canucks and the pressure they’ve been under, for me this has been a pleasant surprise. I still remember the amount of Vancouver fans who jumped OFF the bandwagon after Game 5 against Chicago. Left and right on Twitter there were running away. Vancouver does have diehard fans, but I’ve seen evidence that there is a lot of bandwagon fans. I commented on Carmen Cruz’s blog she wrote about that phenomenon in BC. It’s weird. I lived in Ottawa and Toronto during playoff runs. They don’t have the same amount of flaky fans.

http://www.carmencruz.ca/2011/05/canucks-craze.html

Hockey fans for almost every other NHL team, are die-hards. They’ll either sink or swim with their team. Canuck fans (*again, this is not directed towards the few hardcore Canuckleheads I know*) are so quick to turn their back on their team after a few crappy games. Fickle I tell ya. F-I-C-K-L-E.

As JP Kirby on Twitter from New Brunswick said ‘So it’s all set….Canada’s Team vs Vancouver.’

http://twitter.com/#!/the506

Never subscribed to the silly ‘your team is gone so cheer for a Canadian based team’. Makes no sense. Another quote online was ‘Canada is a country not a city, this is the NHL not IIHF’.

Let’s assume Boston was not in it. I have not visited Vancouver and my family is all from Atlantic Canada. If I go down the ‘jingoistic’ road, there are more Canadian players on Boston or even Tampa Bay. So wouldn’t you cheer for a team with more Canadians? Especially with the Stanley Cup tradition of bringing the Cup home. More Canadian born players means the Cup would be spending more time in the Great White North.

Edmonton Journal agrees with me. I like Edmonton, except in the 1988 and 1990 finals. “Root for the Vancouver Canucks? Are you insane?”

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/05/30/why-i-am-cheering-for-canadas-team-the-boston-bruins/

Dan Cleary won with the Red Wings and brought it home to Newfoundland. First player from Newfoundland to win it. More of a connection to me than the Canucks/Flames/Oilers winning a Cup. Bruins also have Newfoundland born Michael Ryder. Tampa Bay had Teddy Purcell also from The Rock. And San Jose had Ryane Clowe from Fermeuse, NL. I don’t know where this influx of players from my home province are from. Good to see though.

Canadian teams won the Cup all the time until the late 1990s. The ‘Canada’s Team’ idea is one that I think is a media creation.  Did Toronto fans want Montreal getting far last year? No.  Did Habs fans cheer for the Sens when they were in the Finals? No.  Flames/Oilers would never cheer each other.

My team for years has been the Boston Bruins. Still remember 1988/1990 even though I was a kid. Some reason 1988 is more memorable. Probably because I thought we had a shot against the Oilers then during Game 3 realized ‘no, they don’t’. In 1990 Gretzky was gone, which meant Boston lost in 5 games instead of 4. Better than a sweep I suppose.

Bad luck for any team who got to the Finals and had to face those 84-90 Oilers teams. Similar to ‘We got to the NBA finals, this is great….. we are facing Michael Jordan’. That never ended well.

Since then it’s been a long time. Big reason was the owner has been cheap. Infamous in that regard. So he must’ve really liked the salary cap. Forgotten to most hockey fans was that Boston was good for a few seasons after 1990. Back to back seasons lost in the Conference Finals to Mario Lemieux’s Penguins. Again, another team in their prime. If the owner wasn’t so cheap Boston would’ve gotten a free agent to help. They didn’t. If you want proof, I give you Dimitri Khristich.


Following the 1998-99 season, his second year with the Boston Bruins, Khristich took his club to arbitration and was awarded a $2.8 million dollar salary. Feeling he wasn’t worth the money, Bruins General Manager Harry Sinden opted to walk away from the contract making Khristich an unrestricted free agent. This marked the first-time ever than an NHL franchise opted to walk away from a player after losing an arbitration case.

1st time ever, wonderful decision guys. Today this happens quite a bit. However that’s because there is a salary cap so it makes sense. Only have a certain amount you can spend so sometimes you have to cut someone because you can not pay them. 1990s, no such thing in place. Even if teams didn’t agree with the amount a player was awarded, they would sign the player to keep his rights. You could trade him away and get something for him in return. Boston lost a player and got nothing to show for it. Huh? This was the 1990s Bruins in a nutshell.

Hockey Night in Canada has all of Boston/Vancouver. For those in the US it is split between Versus and NBC. Thankfully the last year for that. NBC will air every Cup Final game after this year.

Looking at CBC it will be pretty even when it comes to loyalties [real or perceived] on the broadcasts. Don Cherry, we all know who he is for. If you saw Game 7 of Boston/Tampa Bay you saw him wearing Boston Bruins stuff. Ron Maclean, might not be for Boston per se. However his least favorite player is Alex Burrows. [A link to those who weren’t paying attention earlier in the season]

http://www.nowpublic.com/sports/ron-maclean-alex-burrows-video-hnic-host-rips-burrows-2558287.html

HNIC’s Glenn Healy joked on FAN590 that he’s not liked in Vancouver. He was quoted earlier that he hated the Green Men, and Glenn also played for the 1994 Rangers. Not a good combo. Although, the Green Men are silly. It’s a joke that’s been beaten into the ground.

On the Canucks side the play by play guy will be for them, Jim Hughson. I know he would disagree with that. He’s in the situation where he has to say he’s impartial. Jim born and raised in BC. Called local Canucks games on radio and TV over the years. Now does all the Saturday Vancouver games on CBC. Who does he want to win? We all know. But some announcers have to put on a facade of being impartial. Others don’t. Jack Edwards of NESN is over the top in his bias for Boston. I give him credit for being honest. I can see a journalist trying to be viewed as not cheering for one side over the other. Play-by-play announcers are different. Jim Robson’s call of the Canucks winning Game 6 of the 1994 Finals come to mind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSdIHTx1-DE

If he was trying to be viewed as ‘cheering for neither team’ it would have been boring. No one would have put it on YouTube. Cherry is for Boston, Hughson is for Vancouver. We all know this. Nuff said.

This playoff is like the Vancouver Olympics for me. Something I’ve followed but been a bit ‘out of the loop’. I work midnights which makes watching the games difficult. Those afternoon games, forget it. That wasn’t happening. Game 7 of Boston/Montreal I could watch some, however at 10pm had to leave for work. So I missed the overtime winner. It’s always something.

How much of the series I will see live? I’m not sure.  Start time is horrible for me.  I leave home at 10pm, puck drops at 8pm.  So I miss most of 1 period every time as I go to work.  Only game I will be home for is Game 5, if necessary.  So I hope for Boston in 5, crazier things have happened.  Lots of people mentioning the 1995 Finals.  Detroit vs New Jersey.  Red Wings overwhelming favorites.  What happened?  Devils in 4.  I don’t expect that to happen.

Natalie and I are both going with Boston this round.  She had Boston picked before, while I thought they wouldn’t make it out of Round 2.  But a Bruins blogger on SBNation’s ‘Stanley Cup of Chowder’ also thought the same thing.  I told you this is a pleasant surprise for us Bruins fans.

With her win I should link again to her website [which has her blog], Twitter and Facebook.  Not quite a Twilight-American Idol-Reality TV-related thing.  Hey, it’s all I got. [Read her blog and you’ll understand my reference]

http://nataliethomas.ca/

http://twitter.com/#!/NatalieTWN

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Thomas/114191888624177?v=app_4949752878

And I should end this post soon.  Can you say LONG?  Note The Weather Network just started in HD on Monday.  New set and look even if you have it in standard def. right now.  I’ll have to show my tweet that was shown on air.  However, I’m almost at 1800 words.  Think you want to read something else at this point.  Obviously the U2 song in the title is ‘One’.  I went with a simple one.

NBL Canada

News last week of an all Canadian basketball league starting up. Glad to hear. Fact a couple of the people starting is from the Maritimes is nice for me to see. Andre Levingston of the Halifax Rainmen, Ian McCarthy of the Saint John Mill Rats and Vincent Bernier of the Quebec Kebs. Seeing as this blog started as one with my radio show on East Coast Music.

Now I was born in Newfoundland, then my Dad joined the army so moved around a lot. I did spend 4 years at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick. During the heyday of AHL hockey in Atlantic Canada. A league with players looking to move up to the NHL, and players also just making a living at the AHL level. Late 1980’s/early 1990’s AHL out east was big. They had Fredericton Canadiens, Saint John Flames, Cape Breton Oilers, St. John’s Maple Leafs, Moncton Hawks, Halifax Citadels, PEI Senators among them.

Was quite a good time to live there as a sports fan. Cape Breton won a Calder Cup and Fredericton got to a finals. Over the years it ended up that all the teams from the Maritimes left. Only leaving St. John’s as a franchise in Atlantic Canada. Which as a Newfoundlander I knew wasn’t going to last long. When you are the only team east of Quebec just for traveling alone it doesn’t make sense for the Maple Leafs to have their farm team all alone on the Rock.

Reason the teams left was complicated. One reason is something the NBL doesn’t have to worry about. Having a team above you in charge of your roster. For example, the Edmonton Oilers having a farm team in Cape Breton was something that ate up a lot of funds. Calling someone up, or moving a guy down in the middle of the winter across the country is tough. Especially in the 90s when Canadian teams were struggling financially. Dominoe effect started once 1 or 2 teams left. Travel costs going higher without teams within an easy travel distance. Which then cost more money for everyone.

Roster thing also hurt in another way. Some teams would call up AHL guys to the big club right as playoffs began. If they were contibuting that would be one thing. But too many times they were just used as back up. Idea of having a player not dressing for an NHL playoff series instead of getting ice time in an AHL playoffs was one that fans did not understand. Also hurt attendance in some markets. If you follow a team all of the regular season then have the rug pulled out from under you, as a fan why would you come back?

Back to the NBL. As pointed out Canada is the only Top 40 country FIBA ranking without a domestic league. So I’m glad we would have one now. Idea so far is one that solves the traveling problem the AHL had. As of now they are planning some teams in Ontario along with the 3 teams who left the Premier Basketball League [Saint John, Quebec and Halifax]. Another in Moncton could happen. So if you are Saint John/Halifax/Moncton you can fly to Ontario and play a few teams at once. Vice versa a team in Kingston could fly to Moncton, as an example, and bus it to 3 teams on one trip.

With working on Queen’s sports broadcasts I know that’s what they try to do for University sports. Basketball team from Toronto on a road trip will visit Queen’s, Ottawa and Carleton. You don’t want Toronto taking a bus to Kingston one week or then Ottawa the next, if you can help it. Doesn’t make financial sense.

Official word on which teams will play in the fall hasn’t been announced. They have said which ones have letters of intent. So far they are picking good markets like Kingston and London. Both have university towns with good sports programs. Last year you might recall a brand new gym for the basketball program opened up. CBC even had a national broadcast one Saturday afternoon from the facility.

As for the Queen’s hockey team. Not so lucky. Jock Harty Arena was torn down a couple of years back and not replaced. So the hockey teams have to practice and play at the Memorial Centre which was built in 1950. Does show that basketball fans are in the area since they have a new facility while the hockey teams have been nomadic for a few seasons. Story I heard on Offsides with Tyler King on CFRC about 6am practices for example since the M-Centre is a public facitily and that’s the only time they could get. Hopefully that is not the long term case, but it might be.

Talking to a guy who is a casual sports fan he said ‘I’d say more people in Kingston would want to go to a basketball game as opposed to hockey’. Part of that is the Kingston Frontenacs years of struggles, which has translated to bad attendance. Also we have so much hockey in town. Frontenacs, Voyageurs and Queen’s [Men’s and Women’s]. The Vees have a great fanbase in the West End, Queen’s turnout with an arena not on campus is quite low.

As for me as a basketball fan. Watched quite a bit in the Jordan-era. March Madness is always something to follow. Over the years I watched less NBA/NHL and more NFL. Also following university. Until this past year. I started watching more Raptors games this season, I’m aware this wasn’t the best year to choose.

With my use of social media and Twitter especially I’ve found a lot of basketball fans. Also basketball media people who use it a lot. Kat from the RaptorSpace show for example. Found out she was also with the Raptors Dance Pak along with others in the group. I follow almost 500 people so it’s good to have a good cross section. So while I’m online while hosting the radio show on Friday night I started to come home and watch the 2nd half of the Raptors games. When a lot of people are talking about a game that night it makes you want to watch.

Kat pointed out Annalise from the group was from Nova Scotia so started following her. She told me about a musician friend who I played on my radio show. Stuff like that helps the connection between fans and a team. [We’ll ignore the fact most people don’t have a radio show to play music on]

Ended up I even watched the Raptors-Heat game that ended the season. Taped it on the PVR, since I work midnights. Thought it would be Chris Bosh vs Toronto. Then realized the Heat’s playoff spot couldn’t move up or down. So they rested the starters. Yet, I still watched the entire game. Thought I might see a victory with LeBron/Wade/Bosh out. Nope. Lost 97-79. Very close game for 3 quarters though. You wouldn’t know if you hadn’t watched.

Also glad to see NBL starting off slowly, too many leagues try and get too many teams at once. Better to have strong teams first then add down the line. Major League Soccer for example. I didn’t think after the 1994 World Cup that MLS would be around 5 years later let alone 15. Similar structure to MLS in that the NBL will be owned by its member teams. Different way of thinking when MLS started but it has worked out well. Less in-fighting. Now MLS is in Toronto/Vancouver and has a TV deal with TSN.

When it comes to Canadian players there will be a quota for each team, which helps the CFL in the eyes of their fans. The timing of the fall will be good for one big reason, no NBA basketball. A lockout is coming to that league too. Not a question of ‘IF’ there will be a lockout just how long it will be. Owners looking to have a ‘hard salary cap’ and a much lower amount than the current system. If you have TSN and Sportsnet’s multiple feeds you know how much NBA is on them. NHL lockout gave us the rise in poker programming, which is something I don’t watch on sports channels. I have to draw the line somewhere. It is a spot for some NBL games to be shown. Halifax Rainmen and Saint John Mill Rats have their games aired on Rogers TV so the set-up is there.

Kingston is a TVCogeco market which does Frontenac games along with Queen’s Football and other sports from time to time. I volunteered there when I moved to Kingston before doing my CFRC volunteer gig. Good to have a place in town to show games.

For more reading check out the following stories and a TV interview with Andre Levingston from CBC Martitimes. Runs almost 22 minutes.

Hoop owners got it right this time http://thechronicleherald.ca/Sports/1243145.html

Rainmen’s new league takes flight http://www.metronews.ca/halifax/sports/article/858480–rainmen-s-new-league-takes-flight

Alex J Walling http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/alex_walling/?id=365599

Canadian hoops league a slam dunk http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/12/canadian-hoops-league-a-slam-dunk

Quebec Kebs help form new National Basketball League of Canada
http://www.globalwinnipeg.com/Quebec+Kebs+help+form+National+Basketball+League+Canada/4773924/story.html

Mill Rats join select crowd in Canadian pro hoops loop
http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/sports/article/1406042

National hoops loop announced
http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/sports/article/1406200

Raptors HQ
http://www.raptorshq.com/2011/5/13/2168738/dont-wake-me-if-im-dreaming

Andre Levingston interview, runs about 22 minutes. CBC Maritimes
http://blip.tv/cbc-maritimes/andre-levingston-3135664

Fredericton group exploring new hoop loop
http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/sports/article/1406389

Professional basketball just might work well in Moncton
http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1406626

Good luck to the Kingston team, if they start this fall. As locals know the city government has been dealing with K-Rock Centre shortfalls. A new tenant is much better than the building sitting empty, which I’ve seen quite a few times.  Someone else at work this week asked if there was anything else in the paper about the basketball team.

As for the previous blogs posts looks like Natalie Thomas from The Weather Network has the advantage in the NHL Playoff Picks against me.  Since she played Division I Basketball for Appalachian State she will like this basketball news too.  Like me she’s working the long weekend so check her out on TWN.  Hopefully where you live will have less rain than we’ve had here.

Live radio show tonight as usual.  Next week the plan is to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the program with an interview.  As to with who I’ll mention that on the show tonight.  Someone I’ve spoken too before.  That time I got a lot of messages and comments about it.  On the weekend I’ll blog about who it is.

Enjoy the long weekend, if you have it off.

NHL Round 3 Picks ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’

Quick post written from an iPod touch. Natalie took a 1 game lead after the last round. She is going with San Jose and Boston in finals with Boston winning. I’m going with Tampa vs San Jose and Lightning winning.

We will have a final round pick since our picks might already be decided. Natalie gets Boston right then it’s over. 🙂

I would like to see Vancouver vs Boston. But I think it won’t be. I’ll write a followup with a longer post when I’m not typing on a small device. Still worked though.

NHL Round 2 Picks ‘2 Shots of Happy, 1 Shot of Sad’

After Round 1 it came down to Tampa Bay/Pittsburgh as to who would take the lead. Tampa won so I have a 1 game lead over Natalie. Onto Round 2 picks, we are carrying over the 5-4 lead I have. What U2 song to pick for this round? One for the fans who will see their team lose in this round.

“2 Shots of Happy, 1 Shot of Sad”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUgrI1AByDQ

Washington vs Tampa Bay

Natalie and I pick Washington.

I picked Tampa Bay to beat Pittsburgh. Mainly since I thought the Pens would wear down without Malkin/Crosby. Turned out that way. Games 5 and 6 they were beaten easily. Put up a fight in Game 7. 1-0 loss is a tough one to take.

Didn’t think Caps would beat the Rangers, Natalie picked them. I think the Caps have enough to beat the Lightning. And Caps at full strength compared to the Penguins. Caps in 6.

Boston vs Philadelphia

Natalie is going with Boston.

Glad my Bruins pulled it out against Montreal. But I think Philly is a bit better. And a 3-0 comeback last season against the Bruins and an appearance in the Finals doesn’t hurt their chances.  I can separate who I “think” will win versus who I “want” to win.  Would I like the Redskins to win the Super Bowl next season.  Of course, it’s not going to happen though.  Flyers in 6.

Vancouver vs Nashville

Both going Vancouver.

We both picked Chicago which almost worked out. Not sure about Natalie but I’m picking the Canucks mainly for knowing nothing about the Predators. Except for Mike Fisher ‘Mr. Underwood’ being on that team. Canucks in 6.

Detroit vs San Jose

San Jose is Natalie’s pick.

I will pick Detroit. History of winning and making to the Finals. Sharks, not so much. They also weren’t that great against L.A. Especially early in games. Outscored 8-1 by the Kings in the 1st periods in that series. Can’t do that against the Red Wings. Detroit in 7.

Thanks to Natalie for sending the picks, she’s been reporting from Manitoba all week.  Blog here about all the friendly people of the province.

http://nataliethomas.ca/2011/04/29/friendly-manitoba/

NHL Round 1 Picks ‘Rattle and Hum’: Rob vs Natalie Thomas

NHL Playoff time. I remember I did a podcast a couple of years back picking games. Blogging is easier so I’ll try that this year. Plus allowed me to have a guest pick against me. I will be facing off against Natalie Thomas from The Weather Network. Natalie also has been part of Guelph Storm home games for the last 2 seasons. As the host in the arena who gives out prizes and such.

Also on the sports side she’s played more competitive sports than I have, and most likely 98% of people reading this. You ever play college basketball in the U.S.? Probably not. From her newly redesigned website. [I’m getting around to a touch up of the blog here eventually.]


In her last year of high school, Natalie received a full scholarship to play basketball at Appalachian State University. It’s an NCAA Division 1 school in Boone, North Carolina. Natalie spent her four years playing basketball and studying Broadcasting in the Communications Department.

“It’s really hard to describe playing college ball. Unless you’ve done it, you can’t imagine how awful and awesome it can be at the same time. I loved my teammates, and still love them to this day. And the whole experience definitely makes you a stronger person. But no part of me would want to relive the workouts!”

Natalie says the conditioning, weight lifting and practices could be a nightmare. “The pre-season and post-season workouts were the worst! One day, when one of our teammates missed class so the whole team had an hour ab workout as punishment. Half way through we were all crying. The girls still remember that as being our worst day!”

http://nataliethomas.ca/

Once in college I ran out of snacks during a football game and had to run to the store….. I was a bit winded. I pulled through with my own grit and determination. 🙂

Onto the picks, hockey is the hardest sport to pick playoff winners. You will see the example of President’s Trophy winners later in the post. If you are 1st overall, you would think those teams must get far in the playoffs. Not so much for the most part lately.

I will first put Natalie’s picks, then I will ramble on about mine. Quiet night at work so I had some time on my hands.

(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) New York Rangers

Natalie picks the Capitals.

Last year President’s Trophy winners the Capitals are 1st in Eastern Conference again. How did last year’s 1st overall team do? Eliminated in Round 1 by Montreal. Another 1st place seed in the East against a team with a goalie who could steal some games. Uh oh, deja vu. Rangers in 7.

(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres

Natalie is going with the Sabres.

Flyers after appearing in the Cup finals a Number 2 seed and could have a long run like 2010. After coming back from 3-0 against Boston they are a stubborn group. Flyers in 6.

(3) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Montreal Canadiens

Natalie and I agree on the Bruins.

Boston-Montreal XXXIII, ‘The Search for More Money’. Rivalry that’s always big. Money and ratings talk. It’s already pushed the French TV Debate to another night. In New England Red Sox games are being moved to the secondary cable station. Wow, that’s saying a lot. Meanwhile in New York City a meaningless Knicks game is on MSG and Rangers playoff game is on MSG Plus. Shows how popular the Bruins/Habs matchup is compared to other cities.

Talked to a Habs fan about this series for about 5 minutes. Chara’s hit didn’t come up once, that’s how deep the history is. Sure some people think it adds something to the series. I don’t. Last time Montreal beat Boston in Round 1 a few years ago they rioted which made CNN. After a Round 1 win!  That a series that needed help to get eyeballs? Is there anyone at home who was not going to watch Boston/Montreal but the Chara hit is going to make them watch? No.

Bruins in 7.

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning

Natalie picks the Penguins.

Now this series could’ve used something to pump it up. 2 franchises who have never played each other in the playoffs. Now if Crosby/Malkin were playing interest would be higher, they’re both out. Amazing the Penguins are a 4 seed with Crosby missing in action and Malkin’s injury problems early and late in the year. Though I think this long year will catch up to them. Tampa is healthier and haven’t had such a grinding season. Getting a win over a recent Cup champion is something I’m sure Tampa would like to have, even against a depleted Penguins team. Lightning in 6.

Move to the Western Conference.

(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Chicago Blackhawks

Natalie picks the Blackhawks, same as me.

Ah yes, this year’s 1st place team, the Canucks. You might think “well the Caps thing was a fluke with being 1st overall” last season. Wrong, that’s the norm for President Trophy’s winners since the lockout.

2006 had Detroit facing the 8th seed from Edmonton. That was the Oilers amazing run to the Finals. Red Wings out in Round 1. Nice seeing you, bye-bye.

2007 Buffalo Sabres had better luck than most of the Trophy winners. Advanced to the Conference Finals. However Ottawa knocked them out.

2008 version of Detroit avenged their earlier mistake and handled their business with advancing to the Finals and winning the Cup. Only team since the lockout to do so.

2009 San Jose Sharks, out in Round 1 against Anaheim. Aforementioned Caps out in Round 1 last year against Montreal. So 3 out of the 5 teams that claimed the President’s Trophy couldn’t get to Round 2. Crazy.

Add to that the fact that Canucks were knocked out by Chicago the last 2 seasons. Who you think I’m going to pick? Chicago in 6.

Some teams just have another one’s number. Need I mention the Leafs/Sens playoff encounters. Ottawa could never beat them. Heck, I lived in Ottawa during 2 of those series. I went for the Leafs by the way each time. Senators were too vanilla for my liking. And when push came to shove they didn’t show up.

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) LA Kings

Natalie predicts a win from the Sharks.

2 California teams so I can’t come up with much for this. Neither team has travel concerns for once in a playoff series. Not even leaving the state let alone their own time zone. Kings in 7.

(3) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Phoenix Coyotes

Natalie picks the Red Wings, we agree.

Coyotes in the playoffs again even with all the crazy behind the scenes stuff going on. In a market no one cares about. And Toronto misses the post-season. Phoenix getting there is a good story but they can’t beat Detroit. Red Wings in 5.

(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Nashville Predators

Natalie picks the Ducks.

4 vs 5 are never fun to pick. 5 seed winning is not an upset especially in this case. Ducks, Predators and Coyotes all had 99 points. 4th to 8th place separated by 2 points out West. So betting on the lower seeds might be the smart thing to do. Two teams with 99 points, I flipped a coin and went with Nashville in 6.

Natalie’s usually anchoring on the weekends, but to keep up to date you can check out her on Twitter and Facebook.  She can be doing other shifts during the week as well.  We both work holidays on long weekends.  Probably the few people who are at work at 5am on a long weekend Monday.  Some of us have to do it. 😉

http://twitter.com/NatalieTWN

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Thomas/114191888624177?v=app_4949752878

U2 reference in the title is since we’re both big U2 fans.  If I had more time I could’ve come up with a song title for each series.  Bruins/Habs ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ is almost too easy isn’t it?