Will the NHL build on the US interest in Olympic Hockey? No.

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A great salesman can sell ice to an Eskimo. A bad one couldn’t give 20 dollar bills away. Which one is the NHL–the second unfortunately.

The NHL has a perfect opportunity to build on the fan interest in hockey generated by the US vs. Canada gold metal game. It could but it won’t.

The league has the worst record for marketing of any major sport. The NHL marketing guys make those that work for MLB look bright and that isn’t easy. So what will these pinheads do to build on the Olympics? Probably nothing. They will go back to the Verses network and go back to sleep without one thought about what could be done. So what can they do?

First, focus promotion on the individual heroes of the Olympics. The league has some nice young stars but needs to take a lesson from the NBA on how to take advantage of them. They need their stars like Nash and Crosby to become the face of the league. The league needs to get these guys on TV talk shows and that would involve time off which the league did not plan into the schedule.

The coverage of the final game got huge numbers which were double or triple most NHL playoff games. The league should give the game of the week to one of the major broadcast TV networks at no charge. The numbers of most shows on network TV particularly NBC are lousy so the network would have nothing to lose and something to gain. The deal must include a deal for a contract for next season if the numbers reach an agreed upon level. That game should be between top teams and highlight the Olympic players.

The league should work with the agents of the players to develop spokesman deals for them. The more the stars of the league get face time on TV the more likely it is that the league will catch the attention of the US.

The league should spend money on ESPN and broadcast networks promoting their game. They don’t have much advertising now. They need to let non-hockey fans know when teams are playing and where they can see the games.

The individual teams that are not filling their areas need to get help promoting their local team. Having been a marketing consultant for 40 years I volunteered to help our local team and was told they are doing fine. Less than 3 months later the team was talking about moving because they are losing money and can’t sell all their tickets. The league needs to provide more marketing help and should get seasoned professionals to do it.

But as we know from experience, the NHL will do nothing and let the opportunity go to waste. That is what they do best.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: US vs. Canada gold metal game,Olympic Hockey,Winter Oympics,NHL,marketing,NBC,Crosby,Miller,Nash

Saturday Niblets for 6/6/09

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Today is the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. My Dad was the first American on Omaha Red beach 2 hours before the invasion. Today, we salute all those that risked or gave their lives to help free Europe from Hitler.

Best Email of the last 2 weeks: from James on “The Cavs are a 1972 Comet with a Ferrari engine.” too bad Lebron and the Cavs failed to reach the championships… was rooting for them! I just do not know what will happen of the team if Kobe comes in… the dynamics of team will likely change, but if they get past that they’d get a huge chance in grabbing the title next year…

James: The chances of Kobe coming are very slim. But you are exactly correct in that the team is going to have to have a rebuild this off season to become a championship caliber team in time to win a title for LeBron next season. Thanks for your comment.

Updates on previous columns:

Mangenious and his Magical Bus trip

The NFLPA is investigating the Magical Bus trip of 10 hours each way to the football camp outside of Hartford Conn. that Eric Mangini forced on the 19 Browns rookies. Of course Mangini flew to Hartford and was planning to fly back until someone smarter than him suggested how bad that would look. Let’s hope the league fines Mangenious a couple of hundred thousand dollars and gives it to those that took the bus.

LeBron is LeGone

Lebron James was fined $25,000 by the NBA for failing to speak to the media after the loss to the Magic in game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals. Initially, the league announced that he would not be fined. In an interview on ESPN Radio, Comm. Stern the day after that announcement was made, Stern said he was looking into the issue.

What do you do with a young benched starting QB?

Titans coach Jeff Fisher told the press that “eventually” Vince Young will be the starting QB. Fisher told the press that Young has been spending time in the weight room.

My Advice: Vince, get out of the weight room and camp in the film room. The problem is your understanding of the playbook and reading coverage not your arm strength.

Niblets fresh off the cob:

The NFLPA reaches a settlement with retired players

Retired NFL players had filed suit against the NFLPA to get a part of the money flow of the various marketing deals that the NFLPA gets. According to ex-Packer and Hall of Fame DB Herb Adderley who filed the suit, the settlement gives retired players 26.25 million dollars. This is only one issue between current and retired players.

Exec. Dir. DeMaurice Smith told a meeting of active and retired players that benefits for retired players would be reduced by 80% if the NFL Owners lock the players out after 2011. This will be one more potential suit for Adderley to file against the NFLPA.

The Lakers win game 1 by 25.

The Lakers looked good Thursday night against the Magic. According to several sources, the Lakers are much more focused in the finals because of their loss last year to the Celtics. We will see. If they play the way they did against the Nuggets, the Lakers will lose again. Magic C Dwight Howard is not going to score just 12 points often. Neither returning all star PG Jameer Nelson or Rafer Alston played particularly well. Nelson, coming off an injury, should get better with more practice to shake off the rust.

The NHL series is all tied up.

After Pittsburgh won the first two games at home, many pundants wrote that the series was over. Not so fast. The Red Wings looked tired and slow compared to the younger Penguins. The scheduling of back to back games has helped the Pens. But to win, the Pens are going to have to win game 5 at Detroit. I don’t believe that they can win a game 7 in hostile territory against a seasoned team like the Wings.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What a Sports weekend!

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Boston falls to Orlando: I predicted this when Boston had a 3-2 lead in the series. One reaction I could not resist is that the team is not built around the Big 3—it is built around the Big 2.5. Without Kevin Garnett, the team is way too limited offensively and has a huge hole in the d as well. The team is aging and already in salary cap hell. There isn’t any way out of that for the Celts. They will get old together. If, and it is not a given, KG comes back at or close to 100%, they will be in the playoffs for another year or two. But they will not be able to get to the finals again without finding a mid range exception superstar. Orlando and Cleveland are likely to be playing in the East finals for the next several years as long as they are healthy.

LA handles the upstart Rockets easily in game 7: The Lakers jumped off to a quick start against Houston in game 7 and never looked back. The bad sign for them is that the Rockets forced them to game 7 without their superstar center Yao Ming and his backup. The Lakers should have been able to handle the Rockets in 5 or 6 games after Yao went down in game 3. The Nuggets are well rested and hungry for an appearance in the finals. I think it will be another 7 game series but home court should give LA the series. If, however, the Nuggets can steal game 1 because the Lakers have not recovered from the Rocket series, the Nuggets will win the series.

A lot of good hockey is going to waste: The conference semifinal series were outstanding. But due to bad scheduling, the two game 7s were on at the same time. That has to change if the NHL is ever going to get to the next level in fan support.

The even greater problem is that only two games of the conference final series are being shown on NBC. The rest are on Verses. The two potential game 7 match-ups in the conference finals will both be on Verses. No matter how much money the channel is paying them the NHL has to get a deal with a REAL network that is an over the air or at least first level network on cable. Otherwise the league and the new stars will be a very closely held secret between a few great fans.

Detroit vs. Chicago: The Redwings looked very strong in the game 1 win over Chicago 5-2. This should be a good series but Detroit has too much for the upstart Blackhawks. Detroit wins the series in 5 games.

Pittsburgh vs. Carolina: The Hurricanes will have to play better hockey in game one than they have in their two previous series if they expect to have a chance against the Penguins. Given the offense of the Pens, Cam Ward, the Carolina goalie, will be a busy guy. Pittsburgh wins in 6 games.

Watch out for Mine That Bird in the Belmont: Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness by less than a length. MTB was coming up fast from the rear of the pack. The gelding made up 3 plus lengths from the top of th backstretch to the finish line. Had the Belmont been the length of the Belmont, MTB would have won. MTB got forced to the outside by traffic or he might have won this race. Rachel Alexandra is an outstanding horse but she struggled a bit toward the end of the Preakness. It will be interesting to see if she is entered in the Belmont.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Playoffs,NHL,NHL Playoffs,Boston,Celtics,Magic,Lakers,Rockets,Redwings,Blackhawks,Penguins,Mine That Bird,Rachel Alexandra,Preakness,Belmont,NBC,Verses

GMs in the all pro sports should avoid stupid players.

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Fryingpan Sports

GMs in the all pro sports should avoid stupid players.


By Bill Smith

Pacman Jones can’t screw up his career fast enough. Alex Boone hasn’t even been drafted yet and is building his police file. There there is always Plaxico “I love the feeling of cold steel in my pants” Burress. That is a very small sample of dumb, dumber, and dumbest.

Not only do players have to be intelligent enough to learn the plays and execute them successfully, they can’t be stupid enough to get themselves in trouble.

There are several kinds of stupid! We will explore each of them and discuss the problems each brings to a team.

Wonderlick test stupid—Unless we are talking about a thinking position, I don’t care what a player’s Wonderlick was. The positions I am concerned about test scores are in order of importance QB, MLB, (because they call O and D plays), C and FS (because the Center calls blocking assignments and audibles and the Free Safety sets the D backfield). That is pretty much it. When Vince Young QB Tennessee gets a 6 on the test (and he did in his first attempt), that is a HUGE PROBLEM! You get 2 points for spelling your name correctly and putting it in the right box on the form. When DT prospect Joe Gastasivitch from Whats-A-Matter U gets a 6, I could care less.

Football IQ stupid—This is a bigger problem. In pro ball even on D there is no “see ball; get ball” anymore. D players have to be able to feel the play and understand what the opponent is trying to do. On D, players to be effective have to recognize what is going on so they can make a tackle close to the line of scrimmage not 20 yards down field. The only way around this kind of stupid is film and field work. This is not knowledge you are born with, football IQ must be learned. Often this is an indication of a lack of work ethic. Someone that is not willing to spend the time in the film room is even less likely to practice hard and work out in the weight room.

Football Instinct stupid—There’s no fixing this. A player either has football instincts or they don’t. The instincts are born not developed. Instinct as used here is the ability of a player to naturally adapt to something in a game they have never seen before and make a play. It requires the ability to make a play without having to think. A player that always is standing beside the pile on D is not instinctive. The player that is always at the bottom of the pile having made the tackle is. The level of aggressiveness is a part of this. The Ravens have a saying—Won’t do is the same as Can’t do.

Off the field stupid—This is the worst of all types of stupid. Exhibit 1—Plaxico Burress. Exhibit 2—Pacman Jones. Exhibit 3—Donte Stallworth. Exhibit 4—Mike Vick. You get the idea. It seems to infect some of the better players on the team. And worst of all, it seems to be contagious. When one player gets away with stupid behavior that is not punished severely, other players in that locker room think they can get away with similar dumb moves. Often too, the moves by players may have as much to do with people the players associate with as their own proclivities for stupidity.

The number of really off the field stupid players seems to be growing. These guys are dumb enough to risk their careers and their money to their temper, bad judgment, and their choice of friends. The players seem to believe that if they are not charged with a crime they are fine. If you end up being involved with the police again and again, you are doing something wrong. We have seen that frequent involvement with the law usually ends up with a player being suspended or worse.

You can take the nickname Pacman out of the media but you can’t take the Pacman out of Adam Jones. The NFL has to make sure that guys like Jones, Stallworth and Vick never play in the league again. No second chances for that type of behavior let alone 3rd 4th or 5th chances. There are enough players that are not given a chance now that will respect themselves and the game. Every time an owner like Jerry Jones (Dallas) or Mike Brown (Cincinnati) wants to take a chance on a bad guy, it ends up hurting the game and the reputation of every other player in the league. It just is not worth it.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NFL,NBA,NFL DRAFT,NBA DRAFT,NHL,NHL Draft,Cowboys,Bengals,Jones,Wonderlick test,IQ,Pacman,Stallworth,Browns

Niblets from around the net for 4/11/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Niblets from around the net for 4/11/09


By Bill Smith

Updates on previous articles

Niblets for 4/4/09

As I wrote Rick Serritella, of NFLDraftBible.com, reported Southern California LBs Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing tested positive for steroids. I did verify the original report with another source. Cushing and his agent have both denied the report. Thus far, Cushing has not provided any proof of his claim. The official NFL report will be given to teams next week. Most likely it will be leaked.

Kentucky is no longer THE basketball power—GET OVER IT!

New coach John Calipari will have a couple of the best prospects back out of their commitment to Memphis and announce that they will follow Calipari. This still doesn’t change my opinion about the long term future of Ky basketball. Calipari is an outstanding coach and an excellent recruiter. Memphis fortunes will decline and Ky will be better. But long term the ACC will continue to be the center of basketball with the Big East second and the SEC in the dust of those two.

Several NFL QBs are in the frying pan.

The Sporting News had an article Thursday in their emailed sports paper SN Today listing 5 of my QB’s on the hot seat. I published my column on March 9th.

Home Court advantage is the road to a crown for LA or Cleveland.

The Cavs are still one game up on LA for home court advantage throughout the playoffs. To secure HCA the Cavs must beat Boston Sunday in Cleveland. They had a 2.5 game lead which was tossed away with a 2 game losing streak that included a loss to Washington. Thanks to a loss by LA last night, the Cavs are up by 1.5 games. I predict that these two teams will meet in the finals and whoever has HCA will win. I also predict that LeBron James will be the league MVP.

Owens going to Buffalo says most about the Bills

Terrell Owens finally showed up for the voluntary workouts. When asked about how he liked Buffalo, he said he loved it adding that Toronto was great. This is not a marriage made in Heaven.

Fresh Niblets:

Bills’ RB Lynch gets a 3 game suspension for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge.

It seems that the Commissioner is backing off his 0 tolerance policy. This could be an attempt to win favor with the NFLPA. If that is the case, it is a bad precedent. Fan support is a lot more important than giving the Union an Easter gift.

The player formerly known as Chad Johnson has his name accepted by the NFL.

The league officially but quietly accepted Chad’s name change to Ocho Cinco (85 in Spanish). Now the Bengals should change his number to 19.

French cycling officials complained that Lance Armstrong was uncooperative with a drug tester.

Armstrong asked the official to prove his credentials before taking the test. Now let me get this straight. A country that helped Saddam Hussein steal millions of dollars from the UN’s oil for food program despite a world wide embargo is complaining about having to prove credentials of a tester? That is what’s wrong with France. They planted trees along the major streets in Paris so that the German soldiers could march in the shade.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the NHL Playoffs.

After 9 years of total futility, IT’S ABOUT TIME! Now let’s see you get out of the first round.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: USC,College football,NFL draft,NFL,Cushing,College Basketball,Calipari,Kentucky Basketball,Sporting News,SportinG NEWS Today,NBA,Cavilers,Lakers,Home court advantage,Lynch,Johnson,Ocho Cinco,Hussein,France,Armstrong,NHL,Blue Jackets,playoffs

The NHL takes itself WAY too seriously.


Fryingpan Sports

The NHL takes itself WAY too seriously.

By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: NHL, All star game, Vs Network, Blue Jackets

The NHL owners passed a rule to be implemented for the first time this season that if you are too injured to play in the mid season all star game, you will be suspended for the first game back in the regular season after that game.

Now, let’s be clear about the NHL. This is the league that brought us flaming puck. The league would be taken a lot more seriously if it actually was popular enough to get a TV contract. When your local team is shown on any channel on Dish network that has a number in the 400’s only when the girls field hockey team is not playing, you have no business getting snippy about your all star game. In central Ohio, we are really jazzed about the NHL. The league tells us in the next decade we will get an NHL team. So far, we have only a minor league team called the Blue Jackets.

When your all star game is on the Vs network, it will be watched by every player’s mother and that is about it. Get some professional marketing so you can build up your ratings enough to get a real network to cover your games—including your all star game. Until then, don’t tell us that injured players that because they want to rest to help their team they can’t play in the next game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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