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Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management. Photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and nature who is exploring the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found.
Author and Blogger. They are not the same thing. Sports occasionally spoken here, especially hockey. Veteran of Sun, Apple, Palm, HP and now Infoblox, plus some you've never heard of. They didn't kill me, they made me better.
Person with opinions, and not afraid to share them. Debate team in high school and college; bet that's a surprise.
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Yearly Archives: 2007
Welser’s group found that the most informative individuals – dubbed “answer people” – are also relatively taciturn, rarely participating in discussions heavily. They also tend to shy away from the “discussion artists” who dominate most threads.
Instead, these people mostly post one or two messages to a lot of different discussion threads, and tend to respond to users who do not post a lot. They also tended to avoid long discussions, jumping in when someone had a specific question, providing a useful answer and then bowing out from further talk.
Because the findings use quantitative data about posting behaviour, Welser says they could prove useful for developing automated systems that assigns high reputation to certain people within a discussion. Or, they could make it easier for a search engine to find messages that are most likely to be useful, based on the user.
This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s run online communities for any length of time.
I am, however, interested to see some objective data that indicates that my belief that catering to the loudest members (my “squeaky wheels”) isn’t what makes for better communities. Or even quieter ones. Not that I’m still bitter over all of those fights about how to set “reply-to” on mailing lists or anything.
Nope. Not me.
(long story, won’t bore you)
But seriously, it’s nice to see people making headway in the quest to find ways to identify key users; although honestly, this sounds a lot like Pagerank for people….
Mike Chen’s Hockey Blog: Hit the head, get a penalty:
I’ve often wondered why the NHLPA doesn’t do more to actually protect the physical health constituency. Sure, they do things like try to drive up salaries and pensions and stuff like that, but what about actual on-ice health concerns? Visors, dirty hits, hits to the head — the PA seems content to allow its players police themselves on these issues rather than looking at the big picture. The problem is that almost every hockey observer, from former players to longtime media members, have remarked on the degeneration of on-ice respect between players. Is it an old-school mentality or is the membership just too proud to acknowledge the dangers of these issues — especially concussions?
This is going to sound like a snide answer, maybe, but it really isn’t: the NHLPA doesn’t do more here because the players don’t want it to.
Talk to enough players, or read their inteviews, and chat with team doctors and team officials, and this one is easy to understand. The Players Association sets its agenda based on the priorities of its members, and the members are players, not doctors. The players are heavily indoctrinated into, for better or worse, the macho “we’re hockey players, tape an aspirin to it” mentality. There’s a strong indoctrination that this is about player choice, and when given a choice, players will almost always choose performance over safety and playing over not playing.
There’s a strong underlying attitude that players are skilled enough to avoid the injurious hit, or that they can shake it off and play through it.
The fight over protecting the head is the same fight we’ve seen over visors (protecting the eyes), and 20 years ago, helmets and goalie masks. Visors are finally getting over the hump in terms of acceptance — I think over a third of the league now wears them, even on such “only girly guys wear visor” teams like the Blackhawks. We’re getting to that point where visors will hit the “what were we thinking?” idea that helmets have finally hit.
Heads are a few years behind that, but I think there’s growing awareness that hits to the head need to be dealt with. It’s a surprisingly complex problem, as well, with lots of bad answers that won’t help the game. Solutions are, however, being sought now. About damn time.
But — we have to remember that the PA is the player’s representation, not its nanny. It does what the players tell it to, not what it SHOULD do. That’s because the players set the agenda for the PA, not the team doctors — so it all comes down to convincing the players to make it a priority. And that’s happening, slowly. And, unfortunately, it’s being done mostly through watching peers take hits and not recover from them, it seems. (oh, and don’t underestimate the power of the hockey wife in this discussion. They’ve probably done more to encourage visor usage than all fo the team doctors combined…)
NHL Hockey Opinion – Head-ing for trouble – Alan Adams – sportsnet.ca:
Why do NHLers keep trucking when either their time is up or the next hit they take might cause permanent damage?
Well, think about it. These guys have known only hockey since they first graduated from double runners — age 8? age 12? Younger, maybe? In any case — that little black piece of rubber has been the center of their life for 20 and more years.
How easy do you think you could walk away from that? Pretty much the only thing you’ve known since you remember? The thing you dreamed about your entire life?
Yeah, it’s easy to say it’s over.
And these guys are trained to beat the odds, to be able to compete to victory. They simply believe it’s all about working a little harder, and they can do it. If the words “quit” or “defeat” were in their vocabulary, we wouldn’t be talking about them in the first place.
That’s the rub here: you’re asking people who’ve spent their entire life beating the odds and refusing to quit or give up why it’s so hard to admit it’s time to quit, to give up. Some, in fact, can — but anyone who’s spent any significant time involved in competitive sports doesn’t need to ask this question.
And if there’s another reason, if that’s not enough. I’m friends with someone who’s friends with a number of hockey players, and we had that discussion while watching Bryan Marchment play during his last year in San Jose. I was silly enough to ask if he thought Bryan might retire in the off-season.
he just laughed, and looked at me — “where else is he going to make $4 million a year?”
And I mean, be honest. Even if WE had spent time in the league and made a few million dollars — how easy would it be to leave a million dollars on the table, or even league minimum? Especially if you know the alternative is a “real” job, closer to 5 digits instead of 7. If someone wants to pay you $800K or $1.5mm to play — do you think you could walk away?
Competiive people — and NHLers are by definition competitive and believe they can win and succeed — will compete. Especially since their entire life has been built around competing and succeeding since the days when girls were icky….
It’s another reason to really appreciate Brett Hull. He DID realize it was time, and he DID leave a bunch of money on the table.
Hey, Roenick is done. He needs to retire while he has his dignity intact. But, you know? Given the kind of competitor he is, I can understand why he believes he still has another kick at the can.
it’s what he is, and what got him there.
(hat tip: kukla)
This second, independent experiment reinforced my conviction that:
Although mailing lists and newsgroups provide valuable support, a large percentage of questioners don’t get the information they ask for.
Many users have inadequate background knowledge, a condition that cannot be addressed on the mailing list and that leads to frustration for both the questioners and those trying to help them.
Mailing lists could be better integrated with the more formal documentation sources offered by projects, such as Frequently Asked Questions lists and wikis.
Users need better search tools and ways to find relevant documentation, so they don’t depend so much on questions on mailing lists.
This matches, pretty much perfectly, my experiences when running lists.apple.com and more or less overseeing the developer discussions at Apple.
For a technical mailing list to succeed, it needs a couple of things: it needs a good admin who can (and will) sort out the personalities and keep things focussed and on topic — and be aware that some of their best technical contributors might be the least patient with the newbies, and try to manage the messes that will occur.
it needs the technical people with a willingness and ability to help. And once again, an admin who can differentiate between a willingness to help and an ability to, and to get the mis-information off the list or corrected as needed.
And it needs a good, solid knowledgebase. whether it’s a faq, a wiki, or some other form, it not only needs it, I think that the list needs someone responsible for feeding it. whether that’s an admin, or whether it’s a writer that has a part-time responsibility to sift a list and turn it into KBase articles, someone has to. the contributors won’t, and shouldn’t — their time is better used creating more content, not polishing up their writing (if they would in the first place). The admin might do that, but the hand of a good writer does wonders here.
And that kbase needs a killer search engine, dedicated to the content. one lesson I learned during that time was that while getting the data spidered in Google is a great way to drive new blood onto the lists, a good dedicated search engine is needed, also, and preferably one that lets you both search across all lists on the site, and focus on just one list. And be aware that not all search engines search well against primarily technical geekery like code fragments, because some algorithms see it as noise and exclude it (ditto numbering and stuff. you need to test the engines to see how well they work in your content world…)
well, we’re a couple of days into free agency, and the Sharks have…
well — actually, they did a huge thing. they extended Joe Thornton, and for reasonable money (for a guy like thornton). That’s more important than most free agency signings in my mind.
They lost Hannan, which is no surprise — in its way, a good thing for both sides, since the Sharks were overloaded on solid but not offensive guys.
The three guys I was seeing as targets for the Sharks were Drury, Souray, and Brad Stuart. Two of those, I”ll note, are still on the market. With Preissing going to LA and Schneider going to Anaheim, it makes Souray to southern california a lot less likely. The primary competition for Stuart, I think, is Calgary. if the Sharks can land one great.
Drury? Is Drury worth the amount of money the Sharks paid thornton? nope, so I have no regrets we didn’t get him. Or gomez, or Briere. Given the sheer amount of money the latter two got paid, I expect they’ll be fighting it out for biggest disappointment of this free agency in the next couple of years (the Briere deal, with a no movement clause and the length of the deal, is frankly insane, but it’s clear fi they didn’t pony it up, someone else was iwlling to pony up almost as much, so with a bidding war for these guys going on, someone was bound to over-pay, and regret it later.
Let’s also not forget the Sharks locked up Rivet, a non-trivial deal for them, also.
So even though the sharks haven’t “grabbed a name”, they ALSO haven’t overpaid for one, and so I’m satisfied. There’s plenty of talent left, both capable and affordable, and so I expect we’ll see the Sharks pull in a player or two yet, and they may not be the biggest headlines, but they’ll be good additions.
I can’t count how many times I got asked today, so I’ll say it here.
No, I am not buying an iPhone tomorrow.
It’s not that I don’t like it — I think it’s a world-changing device in a number of ways, and I’ve been waiting for it for a while. It’s that I see no reason to dive into the crowds and hype when what I currently have works fine, and I long ago gave up trying to play on the bleeding edge for Lent.
But trust me, when it’s time to upgrade my phone, my next phone will almost definitely be an iPhone.
And I’m watching all of the usual suspects say all of the usual (in many cases silly or stupid) things on both sides of the hype fence. The sheer anti-hype reaction, to me, tells me this is going to be a huge success, because it seems once again it’s almost becoming trendy to be “anti iPhone” among some of the geek-literati crowds.
Very amusing… Apple doesn’t even have to run arond trying to create hype. It generates the seed kernel, and the rest happens almost by magic. Imagine if Yahoo could do that… (grin)
well, it’s now the off-season. Time for all of us hockey geeks to take a breather, relax, and wait for something interesting to happen.
Not. they may not be playing, but it sure isn’t quiet or boring right now, is it?
Anyway, I’m starting to firm up my off-season plans. With any luck at all, here’s what you’ll see at Two for Elbowing during the offseason:
First — as previously threatened, I’m going to start my series of articles on what’s wrong with hockey. And also what’s right, because there’s a bunch of both. I won’t pretend to have all of the answers (or even all of the questions), but I do think what I have planned will be interesting and make folks think. And since (if you don’t read my personal blog) I’m leaving StrongMail friday, until I get a new job one of the things i plan on working on is my writing portfolio — and this is one big piece of that. So hopefully, you’ll find it worth reading.
Second — a project I’ve wanted to do for a long while: get my various collections online; Laurie and I own about 60 jerseys, almost a hundred pucks and probably a similar number of pins, we have about 450 volumes in our book collections (including all volumes of Trail of the Stanley Cup), and Laurie’s collection god knows how many program books, and I’ve been wanting to put some of the more historic highlights online for a while, whether it’s classic images of Peter Puck or our personal friend, Big Head Referee.
Maybe even some “can you name this poor schmuck” based on their program pictures. Wait until you see the one we found of Wayne Thomas — if I can find it again…
So hopefully hockey off-season will be anything but boring around this place…
Had a discussion on this at work this week.. I figured I’d pull some of what I wrote out and post it here…
I remember when Apple came out with iTunes for Windows….headline on apple.com was “Hell has frozen over” (I think that Steve Jobs may have said something previously about “hell freezing over” before Apple produces any windows products — Chuq maybe you have some visibility there?)
Anyway, I think it’s ironically cool that they are now getting into the windows browser market
Actually, steve DID use the “hell has frozen over” phrase, which pissed off some conservative school board in Virginia who threatened to pull all their contracts, so it died a quick death… Almost as much fun as Bob Dylan suing Apple for using him in the “Think Different” ads (if you have a Dylan Think Different poster, it’s worth money; so is the Dalai Lama, which got pulled when the Chinese Government had a cow)
Apple stopped trying to “beat” Microsoft long ago. Now, the strategy is clearly to overlay it in ways that allow Apple to control the important parts – putting iTunes on Windows lets them sell a zillion iPods (Steve mentioned something to the effect of 1 million iTunes downloads a DAY today; also, with Boot Camp (apple’s version), Parallels and VMWare, we can now run windows on Apple hardware (and I do, it works pretty well), so Apple’s now selling lots of hardware to folks who want having Mac OS around, but NEED windows and don’t want twelve computers around… And Apple hardware is a good margin business. Finding ways to “win” without going head to head in a battle you’ll lose by changing the rules of the game.
Increasingly it’s the browser that matters in a user’s interface, not the underlying OS, so if Apple and put Safari on windows, they can more or less take over control of the user’s experience from Microsoft, on a Microsoft OS.
On top of that, he announced they’re opening up iPhone to developers – and that they’re doing it with Web applications and web programming; i.e., if you write it for safari, it’ll work on your mac, your iPhone, and now, your windows box. So Safari is going to be the core of supporting iPhone on windows, I think, the way iTunes is the core of supporting iPod on Windows – meaning having a windows box is going to be no reason NOT to buy an iPhone.
Neat strategy, IMHO, if I’ve read the plan properly.
Chuqui 3.0: my first thoughts on today’s WWDC keynotes:
As to the details; I found it to be a good, interesting keynote, one that lived up to what Apple promised, but (of course), not the hype and the rumors and all of that crap.
Well, WWDC is done. I wasn’t there (no surprise), but what I’m hearing is that most people are going home mostly happy.
Thinking about the keynote, and reading the feedback and complaints, I tend to fall a bit further into the middle than I did in my initial post.
As to leopard: well, hell: gimme. I want. I’m impressed. The keynote on Leopard wasn’t a jaw-to-the-floor keynote, but Leopard itself seems to be a great move forward. Part of the problem with the WWDC keynote is expectations — not just from the rumor and hype mills, but if you think back to when Steve first announced Leopard, he amde a fairly big deal about stuff that he wasn’t going to talk about until later. Well, it’s now later, and, well, those missing huge things are the finder improvements, especially stacks. Not exactly trivial improvements, but, well, Steve’s initial enthusiasm set an expectation that wasn’t met, at least for me. Makes me wonder if something didn’t make the cut or wasn’t ready, and so got held back. I wouldn’t be surprised.
Well, something OTHER than ZFS, which it’s pretty clear to me got whacked from the keynote by the leak. you could even see the spin going during the week, from “ZFS? Never heard of it. Not here. not now, not ever” to “well, yeah, it is in the release, and we are going to use it, but it’s no big deal”. So ZFS got punished for the leak, but really, only by being left out of the keynote. Ask ATI about how it felt — this isn’t the first time a leak caused something to be made a non-entity for a while…
ZFS, however, is only on temporary suspension, not shipped off to Siberia. It’s a neat technology, so I expect Apple will put it on parole and put it back to work.
Now, on the iPhone. I sympathize with those that want more; I also sympathize with Apple on taking this one with some patience. Let’s not forget that the iPhone hasn’t shipped, and is already more “open” to develoeprs than the iPod is to date.
there are some significant issues here. One is simple: has Apple had the time to build SDK’s and developer tools and docs? given they admit to having delayed Leopard to get the iPhone out the door, it seems to me they’ve been a bit busy. Add to that Apple’s tendency towards intra-group secrecy, and they likely didn’t have a team in place to build developer tools (for public consumption, at least) prior to announce — to minimize risk of leaks. It takes time and energy, and both ahve been very limited here. I’m actually surprised they got the Safari stuff ready for prime time this quickly.
Beyond that, the more you open up the device, they harder it gets to innovate the device down the road. Lots of folks are screaming they want for iPhone what they have for their Treo — but most people agree PalmOS is seriously long in the tooth and way behind in technology (and I, as a former Palm devotee, voted with my wallet in that election in January). You have to be careful making things too open or too hackable until the device is well understood and somewhat mature, or Apple runs the risk of making it impossible to take the device where it wants to go, unless it wants to screw over its developers (again). Kind of a no-win situation for Apple, and I think it’s made the conservative choice. it’s always easier to make something more open, very hard to make it less.
On the other side of that equation is Danger and their hiptops. Early on, T-mobile kept the device completely closed — and to some degree, lost much of the potential market to palm, in the name of protecting its walled gardens and network. Not a good choice, IMHO. Had lots of potential and could have been a big winner early on, and wasn’t.
What Apple has to find — in a completely unknown market and environment with an untried and unproven device — is a middle ground that allows Apple to innovate and developers to build for it, while not screwing over either side. So I’ll side with Apple here, tell you all to be patient, and see what happens.
To me, the whole idea of serious app-level development for the iPhone is NEXT YEAR’s WWDC, not this one. I’ll trust Apple on this one, at least for now.
Me, I can’t wait to get my hands on Leopard. ’nuff said.
Two for Elbowing: Keenan in Calgary:
According to press reports, Sutter took Playfair out behind the barn, and Keenan is now the head coach in Calgary.
Bad news: Calgary, CBC, TSN, and the rest are going to have to put up with Keenan’s foibles for the next 18 months (his approximate shelf-life these days).
Good News: For players and fans not in Calgary–hey, we don’t have to worry about Keenan showing up as a mid-season replacement.
Question–is Keenan the answer to the question that the Flames management is asking? Or should be asking?
It’s good to see Laurie blogging again…
Now, I’m not remotely a big fan of Mike Keenan. I think in the right situations he can be a good coach for a short period of time, and I think he’s proven that when he’s given GM style capabilities in defining players and rosters, he’s more or less a disaster (and having said that, some of his more notable ‘disasters’, such as the trade for Pronger in St. Louis, and to be honest, a number of his shakeups in Vancouver, did in fact help the team in the long-run, but at the cost of fan support and player committment. And some of his deals, such as dumping Cujo for Fuhr — well, not so).
But if there was ever a situation created for Keenan to return to the NHL, this is it. the Flames need a push over the edge before it gets blown up and rebuilt, and that means the next two years, tops. Keenan is, ultimately, a coach that knows how to take a team and turn the knob to 11 — and get a year or two out of it before it rebels and he gets fired. With Darryl Sutter as GM, I don’t think for a second we have ot worry about Keenan bullying his GM into player moves that will hurt the team. Unless, of course, the GM agrees with it.
I don’t think this will be a fun time for Iginla, Phaneuff, or Kriprusoff. Those are the three guys you can expect Keenan to lean on. But I expect Iginla to thrive, and push back on Keenan to protect the players. The other two will probably come out of this better players, but miserable…
But this may be exactly what the Flames need. And in 2-3 years, what’s left of the Flames may have a Cup whe they need to rebuild But they’re likely going to have to rebuild one way or the other, anyway.
Weird, trivial thought: when Steve gave his keynote at Macworld, it seemed — weird — to not be in the middle of the hype and chaos. The quiet of not being at Apple, of not being involved, felt funny more than anything else.
Today, with the WWDC announcements and keynotes — I actually missed the hype and chaos. I guess I’m just someone who’s going to bleed six colors long after nobody remembers why those colors matter…
As to the details; I found it to be a good, interesting keynote, one that lived up to what Apple promised, but (of course), not the hype and the rumors and all of that crap. Stock fell 3% after, but before folks bitch about the rumor sites driving down the stock, remember that those same rumors tend to drive UP the stock before, and I’ll bet the stock gains more ahead of this kind of thing than it loses when it “disappoints”.
FWIW, it didn’t disappoint me, not a bit, but then, I have a few years of practice at guessing where the rumor hype is, well, hype instead of substance. it was clear the “leak” in germany was a farce, mostly made up, I’d guess, to see how many sites they could embarass for swallowing such a load of obvious crap hook, line and sinker. And, FWIW, far too many sites and pundits that should have known better did; why sites like that get ANY linklove at all these days, I don’t know. hint to the rumor sites: point to them AFTER they prove themselves right, not before. Your reputation will thank you.
More after I have a chance to look at the keynote stream and read some of the analysis — but I am also working on some stuff for, and so it’s back to Photoshop for me for another evening, or at least parts of it.
Chuq mentioned a couple of days back that this was the first year that we were both seriously looking at downgrading our tickets to a cheaper section. Yes, this was likely the first year it was seriously discussed, rather than the usual:
"Ticket invoice arrived"
(sound of opening envelope and digging out invoice goes here)
"(sudden exhale) whew!"
"Do we want to look at moving out of the club seats?"
"Nah, I like where we’re sitting"
Repeat over the past umpteen years, and you get the idea.
A couple of things happened this past year. Because I was hospitalized and then spent a lot of time getting over multiple surgeries, I didn’t go to nearly as many games as I did in previous years. I’d have to say that the last time I missed as many games, I was busily working on my MBA and working full-time, and that was a *long* time ago. But when you don’t show up as often, you don’t get into the "well, it’s always like this". And when you’re moving slower than usual, you tend to notice amenities that aren’t up to the level they should be.
And that’s where we get to the crux of the matter. The Sharks have been running their arena as if they expect to win the Stanley Cup. A noble cause, and I’d certainly like to see Stanley come to town before I leave, but hey–there’s a problem with this. Only one team wins the Stanley Cup, and let’s face it, even the team with the best betting line at the beginning of the season still tends to have the odds against them. But, hey–if you win the Cup, people come for the hockey, and they won’t notice there’s some fraying around the edges. And if someone says the whole package isn’t worth it (we’ll get back to this in a minute), then there’s plenty more where they came from, right?
Um, no, there aren’t. Because like all the other teams who aren’t Anaheim this year, you didn’t win the Stanley Cup. You didn’t even get out of the first round. And Ganesh help ya, not only did you not get out of the second round, but the freaking Warriors appear to be on an upswing. There’s not that many people who are willing to pay the price and show up, and you’re not delivering the expected product, and you have competition from up the Bay.
Reminder: you are ultimately in the entertainment business, and people will vote with their dollars. If you don’t offer the package, people don’t come back. And if you aren’t offering the Stanley Cup, then you have to make it up elsewhere. You don’t get the free ride on Stanley until *after* you’ve won it.
And the package includes the environs. And that means the arena is clean. Do you have any idea what the reaction is, when someone has been down for the count for six weeks, to totter back into their allegedly high-end seat, and finds that the floors are sticky from the last event? I do, because I had that happen last season. Or to realize some time around January that there’s no intention to clean the glass from the layers and layers of smears and cruft that’s building up over the season? Yeah, you cleaned the glass in the post-season for the national telecasts. And then you let the cruft build up again until I’m guessing that the camera operators complained, and you cleaned them again.
Here’s the hint–that you did finally clean them indicates that they can be cleaned. That you have to be prodded indicates you’re not going to clean them unless you’re forced to.
Drinks w/o lids–yes, that’s your vendor. So, who’s in charge of making sure they don’t chronically short-order supplies? Food that arrives lukewarm–not good. Hot food shows up hot, cold food shows up cold. That’s *health* standards, people.
And spend a few bucks on the plumbing in the women’s washroom in the club section behind 127. The eternally running toilet (interrupted by random geysers–if the thing went off with any more regularity, we could have the Park Service come in and run it) has been doing its act for over ten years now. Isn’t that a bit much?
Clean the arena. That means it gets cleaned-up even if there was a concert the previous night. Even if there was a giant food-fight competition the previous night. If you want to have 300+ light-dates a year, then you need to plan for it. We both can do the math–having extra people in to clean so the floors don’t try to trap my shoes in primordial goo isn’t that expensive.
I’m going to stop this here–the non-hygiene (and it is hygiene folks–we’re talking about clean and safe, not exciting and entertaining) stuff gets handled in a bit.
But what it comes down to is this–running the arena as if you expect the Sharks will win the Stanley Cup every year will lead you to grief. Running the arena as if you expect the Sharks to stink on ice, well that’s the way to make sure you have happy customers. And happy customers return, even when the team is less than stellar.
Tom Benjamin’s NHL Weblog: Opportunity Lost:
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the TV ratings for the Stanley Cup playoffs were dismal. That the results were very nearly certain highlights a scheduling mistake the NHL made when it timed the West Coast games to maximize the national TV audience. They should have been timed to maximise the impact of a Stanley Cup in Southern California.
If the league wants to grow the game in the non-traditional markets they have to focus on the individual markets and build locally.
I agree with Tom to some degree that the scheduling sucked. I basically got to listen to the Cup final games on the drive home, and picked them up on TV sometime in the first intermission or 2nd period. No way I was getting home by 5PM. And frankly, if San Jose was in the finals and I had to make work arrangements to get there, I would, but I’d have been honked.
In Anaheim? with traffic the way it is, that’s insane. But — TV is controlled by the east coast, for the benefit of the east coast. Which is stupid, because you screw over the people who wanted to watch in the LA area by programming it too early, so you could make prime time in New york, where nobody care but the execs live.
But the bigger problem is simply systemic to sports, and you see it in the canadian numbers: TV ratings are driven based on casual fans who come in for the playoffs, and casual fans tend to only come in if they have a reason to. Since it seems 2/3 of Canada lives in Toronto, ratings live or die based on how Toronto tunes in (which is why we love calling it the Toronto Sports Network, although both it and CBC are better than they used to be), interest in playoff hockey is tied heavily to the Leafs — or a team Leafs fans are willing to adopt. Vancouver? Sure, why not. Edmonton? Calgary? hey, sure. Ottawa? hey, isn’t it almost time for the CFL?
That’s why league execs secretly wish the Stanley Cup final every year is Rangers (or Toronto)/Detroit; it’s where the eyeballs are. And those eyeballs just aren’t as willing to tune in if it’s not “their” team.
Tom Benjamin’s NHL Weblog: Popping Balloons:
Fans are disillusioned, disappointed and disenfranchised. And what else would they be at this point? The game is great. The league stinks. We want our old NHL back; fewer teams not more, owners that want to win, not bilk taxpayers, real television coverage, not something that’s on before bull riding.
Which hockey fan can possibly disagree? Wouldn’t it be nice if every hockey writer responded to expansion talk with a similar piece? Maybe if the trial balloons are promptly popped, the talking won’t be walking anytime soon.
Let’s have a show of hands here. How many of you think that the NHL ought to expand to 32 teams?
Wow, nobody…except the idiots at the NHL’s Front Offices …
Here, I’ll raise my hand. I think if handled well, expansion can work, and work well.
I talked about why talent dilution was a strawman a few years ago, so I’ll point to it instead of write it again…
If there are markets that can support a team? WHY THE HELL NOT? After all, what are fans most bitching about right now, at least, if you listen to Tom and Jes (well, if you listen to them, it seems fans are bitching about everything, because everything is broken, but.. oh, never mind).
Low TV ratings. Lack of national interest in the states. No team in Winnipeg.
More teams help all of these, except maybe the team in Winnipeg. And maybe even indirectly that, if the rumors are true. If Balsillie buys Nashville and moves it to Ontario (which I expect is likely within a few years), and then we expand, as rumored to Kansas City and Las Vegas, If another team then needs to move — that puts Winnipeg close to the top of the list.
Let’s not forget that we’re talking about the Anschutz empire, and the Bruckmiller empire (K.C. and Vegas respectively). Want to get someone within the owners group that can figure out how to promote the NHL to the US TV networks? well, that’s Bruckmiller. Want someone with experience and success at taking a so-called “second tier” sport (i.e., soccer) and really being a force behind it’s growth and expansion? That’s Anschutz. Talk about two people you could argue the league REALLY needs…
And then we’d be adding two new markets, which means better penetration into the TV markets, and less reason for the networks to see the league as regional.
Are there issues and challenges? sure? Are there other things the league needs to deal with, also? Sure. But while some folks are busy talking about how screwed up hockey is, perhaps some talk about solutions to those problems should appear, too.
Nah. Let’s just bitch… it’s easier and fun.
Seriously — I’m not hugely in favor of expansion, especially as a front-burner issue, but, well, life isn’t nearly as bad as Tom wants to portray it, and neither is expansion.
gee. I’m disagreeing with Tom and Jes. Now that’s unusual….