NFL Playoffs - for the record

Just want to get my picks on the record before the fun starts tonight.

Round 1:

Canucks in 5 (this makes me sad)

Blues in 7

Coyotes in 7

Predators in 7


Rangers in 5

Bruins in 5

Devils in 6

Penguins in 7


Round 2:

Predators over Canucks in 7

Blues over the Coyotes in 6


Penguins over the Rangers in 5

Bruins over the Devils in 5


Round 3:

Predators over the Blues in 6

Penguins over the Bruins in 6


Cup final:

Penguins over the Predators in 6

The CRTC fumbles, again.

The CRTC ruled this week that Bell Media cannot hold exclusive rights to streaming NHL and NFL games to their mobile devices.  This means that Bell must allow other cellular providers, like Telus and Rogers, access to their licensing deals with both the NHL and NFL so they can stream live games to their devices as well  This comes out of a challenge from Telus after Bell successfully negotiated rights deals with both the NHL and NFL.  where do I even begin…….

First off, I often criticize the CRTC of being anti-consumer, and on the surface this seems to be a very pro-consumer move.  In some ways, it is, I am more against the CRTC overstepping what should be reasonable, and this goes far beyond reasonable.

This ruling essentially means that no media company in Canada should be allowed to have exclusive rights to anything, which is unbelievable to me.  Competition is built on companies trying to get an advantage over their competitors.  For media companies, that means offering content that no one else does.  That is a strategy that will attract subscribers and viewers.  The CRTC ruling, in essence means that a media company cannot try to gain a competitive advantage over another media company by offering exclusive content.

This ruling hurts the entire chain.  Gaining exclusive rights to broadcasts is often expensive for that company.  While I'm obviously not privy to the dollar amounts, I find it very hard to believe that buying exclusive rights to streaming NFL games especially were cheap.  I would imagine that there was a bidding war for this type of content, with Bell winning out in the end because they offered the NFL the best deal for them.  Under this ruling, when future deals are negotiated what is the incentive for any company, Rogers, Bell, or Telus to really bid for content, when they know in the rules that whoever wins the rights will have to sell content to the other two as well.  This will mean fewer bids, for less money, for that content.

The CRTC's theory on this is that no one should have to choose their wireless carrier based on what streaming content they offer.  While there is some argument to that, and I do believe that Internet providers should be a pipe for customers to get whatever data they want, I can appreciate that these content deals drive the competition between them.  If Telus wanted the streaming rights to the NFL, they should have provided a better bid than Bell did.  Simple as that.

I'm not saying this move is anti-consumer.  Because in many ways, it is pro consumer.  However, I believe it is anti-competition, which is anti-consumer.  Competition is good in every business.  It means that each company is constantly striving to be better, because if they don't, their customers can walk away.  Competition is almost always good for customers because competition makes for better service.  But this week, the CRTC has decided that they have the authority to kill competition between companies in Canada, which is really the scary part.

The CRTC has proved yet again that they have no idea how to actually regulate or manage anything.  It is time to overhaul a dinosaur that has existed long before the internet was invented, and has demonstrated time and time again that it simply does not understand how to regulate an industry that looks nothing like it did at the inception of the CRTC.  If the CRTC cannot understand new media, it needs to stop trying to tell the industry how to work, as all it does in the long run is hurt the consumer.  It is as simple as that.

[Read] - Bell's streaming deals breach CRTC rules

The sky is not actually falling on the Oilers

Contrary to what you may be hearing on radio call in shows, reading on the internet, and hearing other people say, the Edmonton Oilers have not defended into a free fall and the season is not over…..

Sure, the Oilers are on a 3 game losing streak, where they didn't look particularly good in parts of those three games.  But those three games were the last 3 games of a 6 game, 11 day road trip, and those were 3 games in 4 nights.  The games were also against 3 of the last 4 stanley cup champions in Detroit, Boston, and Chicago.  I can name many teams in the NHL that could play those three teams in a row and lose all 3 games.

Can we also remember to sit back and realize that even with those 3 losses, the Oilers are still holding a record of 9-6-1.  I think that almost anyone who knows and follows the team will agree that if we could be 9-6-1 after 16 games, we would be very happy.

Does the team have problems?  Absolutely.  The early success we had was through exceptional goaltending and a defence that was playing a bit above their level.  The defence has started to become what we thought it would be, and for the goaltending, well Khabibulin had a save percentage and goals against average that were, frankly, too high to sustain.  The team desperately needs an upgrade on defence, especially since it has become clear that Ryan Whitney is not someone we can count on to be healthy for the majority of a hockey season, regardless of how good he is.  The offence was exposed pretty badly on the road trip when Renny couldn't protect Nugent-Hopkins and Hall from the opposition's checking lines, and our lack of secondary scoring, or any scoring from players not named Ryan, is starting to become an issue.

But before everyone calls for Tambillini to trade the whole team, remember that this is a team that is in a significantly better place than it was last year, and the arrows are (mostly) pointing in the right direction.  The kids will be alright, we can't panic at every hiccup.

Game 7 - Stanley Cup Final

Tonight is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, and I can't wait.  Game 7 of the Cup final is one of the biggest stages in all of sport, and, as cliche as it may be, is a time when household heros are born.  Not only will this conclude the season, Game 7 of the final does not happen often, which makes this spectacle even more special.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Stanley Cup is not the hardest trophy in the world to win.  That distinction goes to the World Cup, but I do believe that the Stanley Cup is the hardest in North America by a wide margin.  This will be the 107th game for both Boston and Vancouver.  That is 107 games of hard, physical play.  Tonight, the season will come to an end, and one team will get their 16th win of the playoffs, and win the Stanley Cup, 8 1/2 months after the season began.  It is a grind like no other.  In something of a rarity, of the 40 active players that will likely play game 7, only 2 have won the stanley cup in the past.  That means that for both of these teams, it is their first, and possibly only chance, to win the Stanley Cup.  I hope the players recognize just how special and rare this chance is, and we get a fantastic game out of it tonight.

The first 6 games of this series hasn't been as good as you would initially think.  Yes, each team has won 3 games to get us here, but it hasn't actually been that good.  The games in Vancouver have all been 1 goal games, with one being decided in overtime, and another with 19 seconds left.  Either team could have easily won those games if not for stellar goaltending in both nets.  In Boston, there simply has been no series.  Boston outscored Vancouver 17-3 in 3 games, and Vancouver looked like a team that had no business being in the playoffs, never mind the Cup final.  In each game, the team who has scored first has won, and there has only been one lead change during a game, in Game 2 when Boston took a 2-1 lead after Vancouver scored first.  Tim Thomas has easily been the best player in this series.  At home, he has posted a .982 save percentage, which is almost impossible.  Even in Vancouver, in 3 losses he has a .945 save percentage, a level most goalies can only dream of.  If Boston loses this series, it will be solely because Boston was unable to score in Vancouver.  Krecji, Seguin, Chara, Bergeron, and Seidenberg are all players who are capable of playing at another level. If even one or two of them can elevate their game tonight, Boston will win.

That being said, Vancouver has earned home ice in Game 7, and with that, anything is possible.  A Stanley Cup Final Game 7 has not happened in Canada since 1987 when the Oilers beat the Flyers at the then Northlands Coliseum.  That makes this game even more speical and rare, if that's even possible.  Vancouver does have their work cut out for them though  The Sedin twins have been non existent, Kesler is playing hurt, and the defence, while being very good in shutting down Boston's offence while at home, has contributed very little offensively.  If the Sedin twins can actually show up, Vancouver has a very good chance of winning.

I know that many of you reading this will be watching the game later.  16.2 million people watched at least part of Game 6 on CBC on Monday, averaging 6.6 million. Who knows how many more were watching on NBC like I was.  I will be watching at home, enjoying the biggest spectacle this great sport has to offer.  It is Hockey Night in Canada.

I said on twitter before the series that I thought Boston would win in 7.  I'm going to stick to that.  Boston, 2-1, in overtime.  The only thing we don't know, is who the hero will be.

Stanley cup playoffs–Round 2

First off, my picks from the first round:

Chicago in 7 – Actual Result: Vancouver in 7

San Jose in 6 – Actual result: San Jose in 6

Phoenix in 6 – Actual result : Detroit in 4

Anaheim in 7 – Actual Result: Nashville in 6

Washington in 5 – Actual Result: Washington in 5

Philadelphia in 5 - Actual Result: Philadelphia in 7

Boston in 6 – Actual Result: Boston in 7

Tampa Bay in 5 – Actual Result: Tampa Bay in 7

Overall I picked 5 of the 8 series winners correctly, and even got the number of games right twice.  The only series I completely missed was Detroit and Phoenix, I really thought Phoenix would play better, and that Detroit’s injuries would catch up to them. I am not surprised in Nashville winning, in fact, I’m more surprised on how poorly Anaheim played, though their goaltending may have cost them the series.  Vancouver And Chicago was everything we thought it would be, and then some.  I’m very sad at the result, but the series was fun to watch.

In round two we have Washington/Tampa Bay, Philadelphia/Boston, Vancouver/Nashville, and San Jose/Detroit.  I am very much looking forward to Philly/Boston and San Jose/Detroit.  They should be amazing series, and I’m super excited for them. But, the predictions:

Washington in 6 – Tampa is good, but does have holes, and Washington is playing the best hockey I’ve seen the team play since Ovechkin arrived

Boston in 6 – Goaltending decides this series, and on paper, that is no contest here

Nashville in 7 – Nashville is probably the best team no one knows anything about.  All they’ve done is win a lot of gams in a very difficult division. Watch out for them.

Detroit in 6 – Detroit is probably going to be the healthiest and most rested they’ve been all season. Look out for this team.