Yearly Archives: 2008

Hall of Fame day thoughts…

Today is Hall of Fame induction time for hockey, and it’s a great group being inducted.

But it makes me think back a bit and ponder the history of the game, and that leads to a few thoughts.

First: some players I’d like to see in the Hall of Fame that currently aren’t:

Sergei Makarov — As worthy as Larionov, but without quite the NHL chops.

Pavel Bure — In his time, as dominant as anyone. but injuries cut it shore.

Adam Oates — look at his stats. Look at who he’s helped in already.

Doug Wilson — a falling out with the Hawks seems to have kept him out; maybe with Rocky in charge now? Between his play, his time at the NHLPA and now his time with the Sharks, sooner or later he’ll probably go in as a builder if not as a player, but he ought to go in as both eventually.

Rogie Vachon — best goalie not in the HOF.

Hayley Wickenheiser and Cammie Granato — the HHOF (not the NHL HOF!) needs to get over it; it’s a shame the women who helped turn the sport from a sport for the guys to a sport for everyone got inducted internationally before they got inducted by the HHOF. If you can’t handle the concept of inducting them for their hockey skills, name them as builders.

Dave Taylor — Okay, my Kings heritage is showing a bit, but before Gretzky put LA on the map, Taylor was there keeping the franchise competitive and interesting enough that it survived in LA to succeed.

* * *

Igor Larionov is the first Shark to be inducted into the Hall, and well-deserved. He’s not remembered primarily as a Shark, but he does need to be remembered as someone who helped turn San Jose from a fairly mediocre expansion team into a decent and competitive hockey team. His impact on the success of San Jose ought to be recognized. And so I do.

* * *

Some folks think too many are let into the Hall. Others think too few. Me? I think both sides are thinking too much. There is no right answer; I think on balance if both sides are complaining then the rules are probably balanced pretty well — I definitely prefer the hockey induction over how baseball does it.

But I DO think the league and teams are retiring too many jerseys right now; it’s a fine tradition and all that, but with some franchises (Toronto, Montreal) it’s basically impossible to do it right and not end up with current players in three digits.

The problem is there’s really little middle ground between “Hockey Hall of Famer” and “Franchise retired jersey”. I remember when Tie Domi retired listening to a talk show where someone called up and asked; in all seriousness, if he should go into the Hall of Fame. A Toronto fan, obviously, and the answer was equally obvious.

But the fan had a point: in Toronto, Tie is close to a god in some eyes; does he deserve recognition by the Leafs? Hell, yes. Does that mean HHOF? No. Retire his number? I wouldn’t. And there’s the rub.

So what I’d like to see is the league work with the teams to create a Hall of Fame roster for each team. Let each team recognize their key players; create a place in the HHOF where those players can be recognized and information/jerseys/etc displayed. Let teams do the same in their arenas, and raise the NAMES to the rafters if they want without having to retire numbers as well.

Make retiring a NUMBER something special again, something reserved for the very few, very special players in the franchise history — but also recognize the other key contributors to a team.

In San Jose, there isn’t a player yet that I feel deserves HHOF induction as a Shark. I think we may see that change with the current crop, but they need to prove out (I expect Joe Thornton is a hall of famer some day; I think the Patrick Marleau that arrived late last season could well be if this continues). I certainly don’t see any player to date that deserves a number retirement, either, although if Doug Wilson as GM wins a cup, I’d retire his number when he retires from the team for his contributions on and off ice.

But a Sharks Hall of Fame?

Definitely. And here’s my short list:

Doug Wilson
Kelly Kisio
Igor Larionov
Sergei Makarov
Arturs Irbe
Mike Rathje
Jeff Odgers

And when they retire:
Owen Nolan
Jeff Friesen
Joe Thornton
Patrick Marleau

And off ice honorees:

Dean Lombardi
Doug Wilson
Art Savage
Greg Jamison
Kevin Constantine

* * *

Congratulations to all of the inductees!

Nabby’s injury, and some thoughts on the blues game.

I honestly don’t know how Nabby made the save in that final shootout try. I really don’t.

It happened right in front of us, of course, since our seats are in the zone Nabby defends twice. Ross McKeon speculates it may be his knee:

Sharks bitten on game’s final play – NHL – Yahoo! Sports:


Evgeni Nabokov appeared to sustain a left knee injury on the final play of Thursday night’s shootout, a 5-4 win over the very game St. Louis Blues. After remaining face down on the ice as teammates started to celebrate around him, the goalie eventually got to his feet with assistance and hobbled off the ice, finally walking alone down the narrow hallway to the locker room with a noticeable limp.

but from my view and a look at the replay it seems he pushed off and his right skate may have caught a rut or something, because it kicked out and he more or less somehow still flung himself at the net and twisted while falling to the ice (hard). From my view, it looks like the hip hyperextended (or at least bent in a direction it’s not supposed to bend), sort of like doing the splits with the help of a couple of angry horses running in opposite directions.

So it could be the hip, it could be the flexor (aka “groin”. And because it was so bloody awkward and the landing so ugly, for all I know he could have tweaked his back. it seemed to me when he was being helped off he was holding the hip, not the knee.

We’ll see. With some luck, he’s stiff and sort and wrapped in ice. With some bad luck…

Oh, hey, Boucher has two shutouts this season. I won’t worry yet. But I’m hoping Nabby just tweaked things.

A few notes on the game last night. It was one of those games I had on my list as a worry game. The blues are an intriguing and hard working team, but they’re also the kind of team that the Sharks “ought to beat” handily. They’re also a team that plays a really slow, grinding, dink it in and chase it, dink it out and forecheck kinda game, and I was wondering how the Sharks would handle that.

Handle it they did, although to be honest, the final score is representative of the game and the Blues effort. The Blues did a good job of dictating game tempo, something the Sharks need to look at, because grinding isn’t their forte — but no big surprise Clowe and his linemates had the big game, because that’s really their game.

The Blake goal was a thing of beau — oh, hell. no it wasn’t.

Blake wound up and unleashed a slapshot. Bishop put up his glove and caught it, and the puck kept going and came close to taking the glove with it into the net. Rob Blake got that “WTF, that went in?” look on his face, a big smile, and went back to the bench smiling and trying his damnedest not to show up Bishop. Bishop did that “huh?” look at his glove, and went off into the corner to focus. I turned to Laurie and said “NHL slapshot. AHL glove hand”. Bishop GOT the shot, and the strength of Blake’s shot just overpowered the goalie.

Overall, though, Bishop impressed me. So did the Blues, not the most talented team, but their work ethic is solid, and they were motivated and fought the Sharks all game. Early on the Sharks spotted them two goals by getting into penalty problems (good calls; Blake isn’t as spry as he used to be, and he WILL take hooking and holding penalties when pressured enough — and he did); the second goal was even strength, but came at the end of the penalty with tired players and good play by the Blues. Once the Sharks stopped taking penalties, it got a lot harder for the Blues, but they did a good job of minimizing the sharks good chances.

And then late, both teams for reasons I don’t understand — maybe just damn tired and frustrated — started taking that long string of penalties. Some of the calls were iffy, but overall the reffing was decent. Give them a B-, maybe. The last few minutes of the game I kinda felt like the refs decided rather than swallow the whistle (an act I hate) that they weren’t going to let a marginal play decide the game, where early in the game they were more or less letting the boys play. I think they made a couple of calls that were somewhat marginal, and once that started, they felt obligated to stick to that standard into overtime. I can live with that, actually kinda like it, but it confused the players a bit after 50 minutes of the refs mostly staying out of the way.

And so the Sharks are unbeaten at home — still. Barely. But it’s two points. And they proved to me they aren’t last year’s team — they didn’t take a “lesser” team lightly, they rose to the occasion and played the gritty game when the other team forced them to, they hung in, ground out the game and came away with two points. All good signs that this team is willing to do what it needs to do to win and can play pretty much any style of hockey if it needs to. and even going down 2-0 early, all that did was wake them up and cause them to push back harder.

So in some ways, this was more of a litmus test than the Detroit game — and the Sharks passed. Maybe not pretty, but pretty doesn’t earn more than 2 points. I’m happy to see the Sharks can and will play ugly, too, and win.

And here’s hoping Nabby’s not seriously hurt.

Let me say this about that.

I swear, it seems every time I say something about Apple, someone sends me email accusing me of either sucking up to Apple and lobbying for a job there, or telling me to get over it and stop being pissed at Apple.

It’s amusing when both happen at the same time, and it happened again today, within 20 minutes of each other after I posted this note. (the previous one was a few weeks ago, with this one).

So just to lay the cards on the table (7-2 off-suit. Raise all in!) here’s this about that.

If I were trying to get back into a job at Apple, I wouldn’t do it in public. I don’t have to. I sincerely doubt that my blogging is going to so impress Steve that he’ll personally call me and ask me to come interview. Hell, my file probably has so many black dots on it that alarms go off if someone actually touches it and they call in the hazmat team to sanitize the building.

Frankly, I LIKE my job. They seem to like me. They’ve been really supportive the last few months while I’ve been helping mom with dad’s illness, death, and the estate. That means a lot to me. I’d feel kinda a schmuck to do the “hey, thanks for all that. bye” on them. So I’m not interested in that. In fact, I had lunch with some apple friends a few weeks back and they mentioned a job they had open — and I referred a friend in to them.

And no, I’m not pissed (or whatever) at Apple. It wasn’t easy to leave the place after 17+ years, but it was the right move for both sides, and I don’t regret it. I still have lots of folks I know there, I still think they kick butt as a company and build great products, and I’m a strong supporter.

It’s just that Apple isn’t perfect. Sometimes they deserve criticism, and I call it like I see it. Sometimes the fanboys deserve it instead, and I jump them as well. My tenure at Apple, and the work I did gives me a unique perspective on this, and sometimes I actually get it sort of right. And sometimes I hear from folks On the Inside thanking me for dealing with an issue, and sometimes they drop me a note and rip me a new orifice. or laugh.

So what the heck. my goal is to add signal to the conversation where I think I can, and reduce noise from the conversation when appropriate as well. And to hopefully know when to keep my mouth shut and not simply prove that I’m here because I like hearing myself babble. So far, the feedback I get indicates I’m walking that tightrope okay. It’ll continue as long as I think I’m actually contributing and not just chattering, and as long as I find it interesting to do so. There’s a lot less “non Apple” content on the blog right now than I want, mostly because a bunch of stuff has been “in progress” or “on hold” because of outside issues like my dad, but hopefully, that’ll change soon. And hopefully the people reading this stuff when I talk about Apple will find some of that other stuff interesting, too. We’ll see.

So this is a quiet suggestion that some folks need a bit of perspective on life (or maybe get one); no, this isn’t an advertisment to Apple to hire me, and no, I’m not wishing Apple ill or trying to destroy them. Those of you who think either of those opinions, please spend less time at your computer and try to get some experience in the real world… We’ll all benefit.

(of course, if the right situation with the right company comes calling, I’d be an idiot not to listen to it. That’s basic reality, but that’d be true if it was Apple or Google or god knows who. but there’s a huge difference to being open to an opportunity and pursuing one, and I just want it to be clear that I’m not doing the latter. Which if you’ve ever pursued opportunities, you’d probably know is best not done by blogging stuff about a company that is likely to piss it off… even if its for its own good).

There. We clear? Great. thanks.

Watch the spin: PA boss likes two for T.O.

The Calgary Sun – PA boss likes two for T.O.:


All the half-empty buildings across the NHL aren’t hard to miss.

Funny how they chose to lead with that, ignoring that the League had the best average attendance in October ever.

Funny how the good data gets ignored, while the negatives get put in the lead.

Yes, there are cities where things are tougher. And there are cities where things have gotten better. Welcome to the reality of a large industry. Ten years ago, it was the canadian cities struggling, remember? These things cycle.


“There isn’t any question that Toronto could support a second team,” said Kelly, who was in Calgary yesterday. “They could support two more teams. That said, I think it’s a no-brainer for us to put another team in Southern Ontario. Whether we put it in Kitchener, Waterloo, Hamilton … there isn’t any doubt it would succeed. It would do famously well, and I don’t think it would impact the Leafs or the Buffalo Sabres.

“We have a building in Kansas City that’s … NHL ready. My view is the NHL would probably lean towards Kansas City first if it has to relocate a team, but I’m not a big fan of that idea. Kansas City has had a NHL team in the past — it didn’t work out real well. I would be much more in favour of a Canadian franchise if you were gonna move one.

The problem, of course, is that a team needs a building to relocate to. Kansas City has a building, and ownership willing to commit to a team, and active interest. And as to the “didn’t work our real well” part, well, heck. That was true of San Jose and the Seals, and pretty much the same timeframe. It’s a bit disingenuous to play that meme — even if it may well be true.

But the reality is that a team relocating needs a building, and on a shorter timeframe than an expansion team would, so relocation makes it a more complicated issue.

I happen to think a second team in Ontario makes a lot of sense; the Kitchener area seems the best option, but there’s no building. So what do you do? Put them in a sub-standard building in Hamilton until it gets built? Hope “someone” (read: balsillie *cough*) builds a building on spec and hopes a team fills it? That’s basically what Carolina did; it’s what the Sharks did for two years in the Cow Palace while the San Jose Arena got built. it’s a legitimate option, but it has its own problems.

Bottom line: you can’t relocate without a building. Kansas City has everything — except a team and a proven track record. The latter is something you simply have to evaluate and decide if the market can be made to work; Toronto/Ontario is a better market, but not if you are living in a 12,000 seat arena for five years getting a real building built.


“That said, we’d like to see all the franchises succeed. We are a bit concerned when we see drop-off in places like Atlanta, in places like Florida, Phoenix … I’ve been to those buildings — the people who follow the sport are passionate about it. We just need more of them.”

The two teams that worry me are the Islanders and the Thrashers. Laurie and I have been worried about the Island for a while because of the ownership financial ties to CA and those problems. More and more, it looks like that building won’t get built, and honestly, I’m just not convinced that’s a three team media market — it’s the #1 team on my “crisis waiting to happen” list. Atlanta simply hasn’t seemed to taken off, and I’m not sure what they can do to fix that.

There are challenges elsewhere, but none of them seem critical yet. we’ll see.


“I tell (the players), ‘Keep playing an exciting brand of hockey. Give people a reason to spend that discretionary income to come to the games,’” Kelly said. “That said, based upon the numbers I’ve seen, I think we’re going to be OK.”

More immediate for the players is the pressing issue of safety, especially with the number of concussion suffered because of hits to the head.

Kelly said the issue is “probably the top issue on our list for discussion next time the competition committee meets” but said the association is starting to take steps.

He said they’d like equipment manufacturers to reconsider how shoulder pads are constructed — mainly make them softer and improve helmet technology.

He added players are being shown video of hits and how to show more respect.

And that’s why I think Kelly is one of the best additions to the game in years. And it’s a lot of fun to watch him build an interested and committed player group, a strong partnership with the ownership groups so everyone is working to make the game better (and more lucrative) instead of fighting — while still making sure that the owners know they can’t NOT involve him and the PA in decisions.

(hat tip: kukla)

I voted. Did you?

I voted a few days ago. Now that it’s all over but the shouting (and the analysis, and the talking heads, and the last minute stuffing of policy into the system by Bush for Bush’s successor to unravel, and the pardons, and the….) I wanted to encourage everyone who hasn’t voted to please do so.

I made a decision early on to keep my politics out of here for this election. Just too many divisive and polarized positions, I didn’t feel like wading into that particular mosh pit.

But I will note, now that it’s basically over, that I voted:


  • For Obama

  • Against McCain

  • Against the Republican Agenda more than for the Democratic one

  • Against Prop 8 and for my gay friends to be given the ability to have the life they want, if they want it

  • Against BART to San Jose, because it’s far too expensive — I’d rather see light rail connect up to BART in Fremont

  • For high speed rail to LA, because one of the biggest mistakes we made years ago as a country was going car centric, and we need to build alternative infrastructures to either driving or flying

  • Against any Santa Clara councilman that was against the 49er stadium, but for the candidates who said they were for it, but only to the degree it made financial sense

  • against most of the bonds, because I’m just not in the mood to encourage government to pull out the credit card again

  • against Prop 2, because whatever you think of the need for humane treatment of animals in the food industry, the initiative process is the wrong place to legislate that

However you vote is fine by me. Just vote.

iMac, Mac Mini Updates November 11 According to… Pure Speculation

iMac, Mac Mini Updates November 11 According to… Pure Speculation | The Apple Blog:


Yesterday, Macsimumnews.com published a piece in which editor David Sellers claims to be “pretty sure” that the iMac and Mac mini will see updates on or before Tuesday, Nov. 10 (it’s actually the 11th). He makes no mention of sources, and the article is categorized as an opinion piece.

Which didn’t stop 9to5mac from posting about the piece under the banner “iMac, Mac Pro upgrades loom?” Loom? It hardly seems valid to suggest updates are “looming” based on the guesswork of a single Apple journalist, even if he does have experience in the industry.

 

Good lord.

All of you. stop. Just stop it. Get out of your parent’s basement and go outside. Do something. Get a life. cut it out.

I swear to god, I’m going to start a rumor blog, make up some false identity and start posting really weird fantasy crap, just to see who picks it up and treats it as real news. And then I’ll out you for the idiots you are.

or maybe I’ve already started. who knows? well, I do.

But please: if you have a brain and don’t need a keeper to remind you to breathe, do the universe a favor and DO NOT READ OR SUPPORT sites that pull this kind of stuff. And no, I’m not suggesting you do it to theAppleBlog, but to those poor disasters they’re yelling at…

League Revenues, the Loonie and the Salary Cap

HockeyAnalysis.com » Blog Archive » League Revenues, the Loonie and the Salary Cap:


If my projections are accurate, so long as the league can increase revenues (not including currency factors) then the salary cap isn’t likely to be impacted negatively in any significant way and could increase by a couple million dollars if the Canadian dollar rebounds measurably (it has jumped a couple of cents today). But in a worst case scenario where the league cannot grow at the same pace as it has and the Canadian dollar remains where it is today the salary cap is likely to fall by up to a couple million dollars.

some interesting numbers looking at the impact of canadian dollar value on the cap. No idea how accurate they are, but at first reading, I think he’s done a good job on putting this together.

the one thing that I’d raise as an issue is that I think the phrase “as long as the league can increase revenues” is an issue. there’s softness in a number of markets (Columbus, Atlanta) and I’ve seen some comments by Bettman about softness in sponsorship, which I expect will likely accelerate somewhat. A flat revenue growth is more likely than continued growth, if you ask me (and honestly, there was a lot of growth to grab coming out of the lockout, and I was expecting growth to flatten, if not completely go flat, before the economic crisis hit. Now that it has, ratchet the numbers down further, folks).

I was betting the cap would only go up minimally next year; now, I’m not only betting flat, maybe down a bit, but I’m also wondering if the players are going to see money lost to the escrow.

So far, Bettman’s said that the economy hasn’t really impacted revenues. I believe him. What he isn’t saying is that something like 80% of the league revenues are locked in before the puck drops to open the season, so there’s not a lot of wiggle room (good OR bad), barring some major catastrophe like a team owner going broke.

But next year? We’ll have to wait and see — when sponsorships and other deals are renegtiated next year? We’re seeing companies walk to the sidelines in other areas of sponsorships. Will teams find the economic weakness leads to reduced ticket sales, or price reductions to manage reduced demand?

None of this is (a) bad, or (b) the CBA’s “fault”, or (c) bettman’s fault. It’s part of the economic reality of life. Are some teams in deep trouble if the cap flattens or goes down? Definitely. But that’s because some teams are lousy at planning and budgeting, not because the system is flawed. ANY system you put in place, some teams (hello, Toronto) will find ways to screw it up, while other teams never seem to run into those problems and find ways to prosper (hello, Detroit and San Jose). And then there are teams like Anaheim, which sometimes guess wrong and sometimes run into surprises, but figure out a way to make it happen.

Hey, if you ask me, any team that insists on spending to the cap, committing too much salary for too many years and is depending on the cap continuing to go up gets exactly what it deserves. Don’t “fix” the system, get better management.

The good teams seem to be able to navigate this pretty well, even though we’re still in the learning curve for the CPA and the cap.

RSS and Sliced Bread. Tough To Explain. Never Go Back

RSS and Sliced Bread. Tough To Explain. Never Go Back – Technology Evangelist:


f the bread slicer was a recent invention, I imagine a conversation like this would take place somewhere in the world:

Guy #1: “Dude, you have to try sliced bread.”

Guy #2: “Why would I need that? I can slice my own bread, thanks.”

Guy #1: “Dude, you just have to try it. It’s so much easier and gets you to sandwich status so much quicker.”

Guy #2: “Man, how long does it really take to slice bread? You can’t be serious.”

Guy #1: “Forget that I ever brought this up.”

And so goes RSS evangelism in 2008

 

Has anyone stopped to think that “sliced bread” also implies the commoditization of bread? When you start buying your bread sliced, you’re also to some degree committing to buying “manufactured” bread. Or perhaps “generic” bread is a better way of putting it.

That’s not a negative, per se. When I’m making lunch, that’s fine. And maybe that’s all you want out of your bread. If so, fine.

But… there’s still something to be said for a good loaf of fresh, carefully baked bread. Even more, fresh-baked and still warm.

Do you really want to cook that special meal for that special someone, and serve Wonder Bread with it?

Just imagine how that’d reflect on you.

Now, this isn’t really a discussion of sliced vs. artisanal bread. It is, in fact, a discussion of RSS; “sliced bread” is a wonderful thing, but only in its place. Sliced bread is more generic, harder to differentiate from other sliced bread. It’s going to go stale faster, too. In some ways, you lose the special aspects of bread in favor of convenience and speed.

Sort of a metaphor of today’s society in general, and especially the online world.

Really want to understand what bread CAN be about? Read James Beard on Bread.

Grab yourself a nice piece of warm, fresh pumpernickel, slather it with a nice salted butter, and go sit down in front of your monitor and ask yourself how this is relevant to RSS feeds.

(hint: do you really want your online presence to be thought of as sliced bread? Or do you aspire to something someone will slather butter on?)

This is something I’ve actually been thinking about a lot lately. Not just the online aspects, but hauling out the bread machine and getting to it again.

Honestly, while RSS is a key technology, and I am one of those “if you have no RSS, you might as well not exist” people, the thought of life eating only Wonder Bread? Or baking it?

There’s something seriously missing in that life, folks.