Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recap: Games 24-25

Games: vs OTT, vs CAL

Notable Highlights:

-Since I chose the Backyard Brawl over my Pens tickets on Black Friday, I was forced to miss the Sens and my favorite player, F Jason Spezza. Later on I saw the game on replay. That means I already knew the outcome and had a general idea of when the action would happen from the various texts I received throughout the day. Even so, I still found this game to really entertaining. It featured great back and forth action, excellent goaltending, and hard-nosed play. This is the kind of game that every hockey fan hopes for as the schedule turns to the holiday ho-hums...and I missed it to stand outside in the cold.

-Remember all those times that I mentioned how a well functioning power play has the possibility to steal a game for you? Well, the PP was 2 for 2 against the Sens and the Penguins won 2-1. Enough said.

-The Even though the Flamers were undoubtedly a tired time (playing something like 5 games in 7 days), the Penguins took advantage of the situation and earned a relatively easy 2 points.

-Penalty Killing was successful in the 7 chances against it during these two games. I most likely sound like a broken record at this point, but if the team can continue this kind of success, it will be a huge boost in the spring.

Ghastly Lowlights:

-Not a lot to criticize during these games, but I wouldn't be much of a read if I just let them off the hook now would I? It did seem like the team let off the gas a little bit for the last 10 minutes of the Flames game. The Flames had a chance to make it a 3-2 game, but G Brent Johnson made a nice save at his left post. This was a little sloppier than I'd like to see them finish a game.

-I'm not fully sure of the other defenseman (I think it was Paul Martin), but he and D Kris Letang were heading up ice way too agressively given the situation of a 3-0 lead against Calgary under 7 mins left. Letang was caught red handed when the puck came back to the wide open F Rene Bourque, who easily deposited a goal that shouldn't have happened.

Forward Recaps:

-Sidney Crosby has registered a point in 12 straight games. He tallied his 200th career goal. I've found it challenging to not mention him in any particular game segment, which is a good sign for the team.

-Tyler Kennedy had 2 power play assists in the Ottawa game and played a strong game against the Flames. Good to see him come to life, but hopefully it will last. Historically he tends to be streaky and vacant from the scoresheet for long periods of time. To his credit, he usually will still play a solid checking role during these slumps.

-Arron Asham had a nice goal in the Calgary game and continues to be a well placed addition to the squad by not taking betweent he whistle penalties.

-Chris Kunitz with another goal in the Calgary game. I'm not overly familiar with his career in Anaheim, but this has to be nearing the best play of his career.

-Evgeni Malkin appeared to have a very spirited level of play in both of these games, and tallied a power play goal in the Sens game. I think his level of play is directly affected by the quality of players around him. With that being said, I'm happy that F Jordan Staal has started skating again and appears to be about 3 weeks off from what the reports have said.

Defenseman Recaps:

-Deryk Engelland had a scrap against Flames F Tim Jackman. Considering that the score was 1-0 Penguins and the Flames were in desparate need of a boost, I'm not sure that this was a good decision.

Goalie Recaps:

-Marc-Andre Fleury had 43 saves against the Senators and turned in perhaps his best effort to date. He earned his day off against the Flames.

-Brent Johnson returned to his high level of play against Calgary, making 30 saves in a 4-1 victory. He likely would have had a shutout had the defense not wanted to rush up ice off a faceoff with a 3-0 lead in the 3rd period.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Recap: Games 20-23

Games: vs VAN, vs CAR, @ FLA, @ BUF

Notable Highlights:

-Reports of the demise of the Penguins power play may have been greatly exaggerated. While it is WAY too early to say with any certainty that they have fixed their problems, it should be noted that the PP basically won the game against the Panthers. As I talked about earlier in the season, a well functioning extra man attack can often be the difference between 2 points or not.

-PK contiues to be excellent. They contributed a Shorty in the Vancouver game, and sprung C Sidney Crosby for a goal right after another kill. During this 4 game stretch, the opponents did not score in 14 power play chances. FSN Pittsburgh also showed a stat that indicated the team is killing just shy of 95% of their penalties since the return of D Zbynek Michalek from injury. Perhaps someone at FSN read my challenge to show a tangible stat of he or D Paul Martin making them a better team despite their decent play. Probably not unless either of you reading this work for FSN. But still, show me a similar stat for Paul Martin since I"ve been proven wrong on Z.

-Another though about the PK. Penguins broadcasting legend Mike Lange had a very astute point regarding the Pens PK killing an 89% clip, yet being the 4th best PK in hockey. His take was that it shows the emphasis and impact of video study in hockey. Good to see that Mike is able to provide some spot-on analysis after all these years entertaining us.

-Excellent effort put forth by the team in Buffalo. If you aren't a die hard hockey fan, you may not consider a 1-0 game very exciting. I do. Aside from the refs (on both sides), I thought this was a well played, hard fought effort by both teams.

-Last time I wrote about what identity means to the team. This time I have the chance to expand on that a bit. As you may know, the Penguins take the team's fathers on a trip each year. While this may seem corny to some, it really is a great way to have the guys in the locker room bond and create an off-ice identity. While it isn't proven that a well functioning team has to like on another, a sense of camaraderie should make each guy want to work harder for the person next to them. It's brilliantly simple...people will most likely do more for someone they like or feel a closeness to.

While I don't pretend to know what exactly goes on away from the rink on these trips, it seems likely that a lot of the down time is spent in bars, airports, or restaurants. The more lively dads probably tell great stories to embarrass their sons a little bit, and vice-versa with the players. The dads can certainly share tales of the sacrifices made to help their sons realize their dream of being an NHL player. Even the father of a player like
F Mike Comrie, certainly had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way. Comrie comes from a successful furniture story family in Canda and is now married to Hillary Duff. Don't let any of this take away from the hard work, long road trips, and crazy hours that hockey players and their families have to keep.

Comrie hasn't received much playing time this season. There's talk that he may be released when Jordan Staal returns from injury. There aren't a lot of sure things surrounding his time as a Penguin. One thing I will guarantee though, is that for a few days in November, Mike Comrie felt like he was a part of this team and his teammates did too.

Ghastly Lowlights:

-When you get 8 out 8 possible points, there aren't going to be many lowlights, but I did find one. The team gave up multiple leads against Carolina, including a goal with the Canes net vacated late in the 3rd period. If this is the last time I write about a goal surrendered with less than 5 minutes remaining in a game, I would be a happier person.

-I lied an actually thought of another lowlight. The Pens just can't score on empty nets it seems. During this four game stretch, the missed the empty cage an estimate eighty times (number may be reduced upon further review). Complete side note: It also looked like MAF was gonna try to shoot for the empty net against the Canucks. Scoring a goal would help him accomplish a feat of his hero, New Jersey Devil's G Martin Brodeur. He has tried this in the past, and appeared to have it against the Edmonton Oilers a few years back when some defenseman from their team reach about as high as humanly possible to get a glove on it in the neutral zone. Someday Marc...someday.

Forward Recaps:

-Sidney Crosby is still playing at a really high level. He is 2 points behind Tampa Bay Lightning F Steven Stamkos for the scoring lead.

-Mark Letestu and Chris Connor teamed up for the winning goal in Florida, but I concur wholeheartedly with Mark Madden's (105.9 The X) assessment that their careless play lead directly to a Florida score earlier in the game and that this was just them "getting back to even". Double M hit it right on the head, don't be fooled by offensive results only. Hockey is a much more complex game than that.

-When Chris Kunitz arrived via trade from Anaheim, there weren't many people more excited than me. A young, goal-scoring winger to complement Crosby...what could go wrong? Over time, I wore down as it seemed that Kunitz showed only occasional lamp lighting, and really only contributed through hits (hits aren't goals by the way). This season, I have to admit that Chris has shown everything that made me so excited to see him arrive here. I would imainge it is just a coincidence that he will be a free agent after this season and is no performing so well (/sarcasm) but whatever the reason, I am looking forward to his output the rest of the season if he stays healthy.

Defenseman Recaps:

-Kris Letang is 8th in the All Star Voting and has received the 3rd most write-in votes. Impressive and Tang deserves it. I imagine he will make his way on to the squad somehow, even if as a replacement. The All Star Game will be held in Raleigh, NC on Sunday, January 30th.

Goalie Recaps:-Marc-Andre Fleury played every game during this stretch and aside from the Carolina game held the opponents to a low goal total. Good to see him start to find some rhythym. It is rather interesting to noticed the difference in his approach when he is "on". He stands in there instead of flopping, agressively challenges shooters and angles instead of waiting back, and all in all seems to just be having fun with it.

Special Occasion:

-Happy 75th Birthday to lifelong hockey man and multiple hat wearer for the Penguins organization: Ed Johnston.I would imagine EJ has done everything hockey from sweep up afterwords, to drive a zamboni...but I know for a fact he's been a front office man in multiple spots, drafted Mario Lemieux, and was the last NHL goalie to play every minute of a season. I was able to find a picture of him online shown below. He is the goalie, which may be hard to distinguish since for a time in his career he apparently played WITHOUT A MASK!! Nothing but respect for you EJ, hope it was a great one!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Milestone: 1,000 Points

Congratulations to Ottawa F Alexei Kovalev! He became the 76th player, and 3rd Russian in NHL history to hit 1,000 career points. In his 1,200+ NHL games, Alexei skated for the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottawa Senators, has been a 3-time All-Star, and raised the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers after the 1993-94 season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recap: Games 16-19

Games: vs BOS, vs TB, @ ATL, vs NYR

Notable Highlights: -The team rallied around G Marc-Andre Fleury in the win against Tampa. Only 15 saves were required on his part, but it definitely seemed to lift the weight off his shoulders and the guys are to be commended for a solid effort against an up and coming 'Ning squad.

-That solid effort against Tampa continued on the road against Atlanta. 2 wins in a row isn't anything to crow about, but when your #1 goalie is showing signs of coming out of a season long slump, you take the good and run with it.

-The Pens ended the game against the Rangers without taking a penalty. Critics always say that the Pens get all the calls, but I guess that also extended in to the defensive end.

-Penalty Killing ranks 4th in the league so far. If it wasn't for that, there could have been some really ugly games this season. It's a story for another day, but you have to wonder what impending free agency for F's Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis will be like considering that they are a large part of the PK. On the bright side, Jordan Staal will certain help boost an already capable unit when he returns.

Ghastly Lowlights:

-Bruins 3rd period was worse than the 7-8 minute stretch in the Ducks game. Five goals scored in the 3rd period. Five. Five. Five, five, five, five, five fiver five five-arooni. Five.A team shouldn't score five 3rd period goals if the other team pulled their goalie for the last five minutes. This was downright embarrassing, but I have to say I  was glad that the defensive lapses have started to show in front of Brent Johnson so people don't think I'm a lunatic in saying that is hasn't been ALL Fleury's fault.

-Power Play 1 for 2 against the B's, 0 for 4 against the 'Ning, 1 for 5 against the Thrash, and 0 for 5 against the Rangers. How's this going? We are nearing the quarter mark of the season and there are 7 teams with worse PP%. As if that isn't bad enough, the Power Play (especially F Evgeni Malkin and D Kris Letang) let the Rangers get the puck with a breakout and a shot at tying the game. Which they did. Poor execution there.

-D was very inconsistent during this stretch. There were great efforts against two teams, and monumental implosions versus two others. I think back to something I said in the offseason, I'm not convinced that the Pens D got better with the moves. I tend to like both Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek...but if you are looking for tangible evidence of them being worth the large contracts in the overall team body of work, let me know when you find it.

-Sean Avery (pictured above via PensBlog capture of the IceTime Progam). Seriously, what kind of monster wears glasses like that in his press photo. They look like something out of the lost and found bin from his internship at Vogue.

-The last few recaps, I have been trying to focus on some different areas that I feel are really in quesiton with this team. We've talked about the goaltending situation, and last time the effect that coaching has on players and their roles. After this stretch of games, I wanted to touch on a point that I've discussed in real life many times so far this season. Identity. It is the heart and soul of any team in sports. Coaches often talk about it. Fans (especially those of a local football squad) spend countless hours lamenting the direction of it and the affect it has on wins/losses. Inspired by those goons, I pose the following question to you: What is the identity of the 2010-11 Penguins? I bet you can't answer that, mainly because I can't figure it out either.

All offseason the presented the slogan "Destiny Has a New Home". So the team moves in to this new home and has revealed that for all the ad dollars...there are some real problems with the way this group is set up. My main concern with this roster, is that it lacks proven punch. Bad choice of words actually, because between Talbot, Engelland, Goddard, Rupp, and Asham there are plenty of guys willing to drop the mitts. Letang has joined in, Kunitz, even Crosby! What on earth is going on here? I'm all for standing up for teammates, but do we really need all this?

Let's take a look back to the Boston game. There were three fights in the first and second periods. Goddard, Talbot, and Asham all went. With personal differences settled the Penguins then went to the 2nd intermission with a 4-2 lead. As you are probably aware, the 3rd period went to hell. I would wonder out loud, if these fights were so important, why didn't somebody man up at 4-3. or 4-4. How about 4-5? 4-6? Surely once it's 4-7 it was time to fight back in to the game? Actually it wasn't, because fights aren't goals.

You remember goals don't you? It used to be the one thing you could count on from the Pens since I was little boy in the late 80s until now (excluding 2001-2005, let us never speak of those dark days or Rico Fata again). What happened to this emphasis on scoring and talent? The Penguins won an extremely satisfying Stanley Cup. During the two years they appeared in the Finals, the team had gotten by (or attempted to) with rejects and retreads on the wings. Last season that didn't work out, so it seems that GM Ray Shero decided to continue with adding "grit". I didn't mind the addition of Mike Rupp the year prior, but he didn't put the team past Montreal in the spring. In the years he has been here, Eric Goddard has dressed in zero playoff games.

This is why I"m concerned at the direction of this team's identiy. There have been many instances where I've felt the team is too busy chasing fights or scrums after whistles. This is the same thing that many of us would scoff at the Flyers for in the past three or four seasons. "What a bunch of bozos? Where's their discipline? Don't they realize all the rough stuff just helps our guys get on their game?" I fear that if the Penguins continue their undisciplined ways, fans in Philly or other cities may say the same of our Team "Destiny".

Forward Recaps:

-Sidney Crosby continues to play great hockey. He is now tied for the league lead in points, and more important helps keep this team from floundering well below .500

-Mark Letestu hasn't found himself on the score sheet much lately excepct for a shootout goal in Phoenix. With the recent call up of Chris Connor, I wonder if Letestu may find himself bumped from the lineup for Connor or an additional call up.

-Cooke and Kunitz continue to play well. They are scoring and playing physical. Cooke especially impresses, since he seems to be picking up right where he left off in 2009-2010, a career year.

Defenseman Recaps:

-Alex Goligoski continues to have some "off" nights. Hate to see it, but with any young defenseman this is part of the process.

-Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek looked comically bad on New York Ranger Ryan Callahan's OT goal.

Goalie Recaps:

-Marc-Andre Fleury had two solid performances and did not deserve a loss against the Rangers. The important thing is that he has turned in 3 pretty decent games in a row. This isn't to suggest that they clear out a room in the Hall of Fame for him, but it gives hope that he can re-establish himself throughout the holidays.

-Brent Johnson had a poor performance agains the Bruins. Even if the defense was vomiting on itself for most of the 3rd, he still let in a few "soff" goals. Not going to bury the guy over a few bad goals though, that would be crazy as the last month or so has reminded us.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Recap: Games 13-15

Games: @ Dallas, @ Anaheim, @ Phoenix

Notable Highlights:

-There were overall solid efforts from the team in Anaheim and Phoenix. The team played hard and did their best to battle back from a 3-0 hole against the Ducks and overcame the Coyotes leads of 2-0 and 3-2. For a team that has been inconsistent, this is progress.

-C Sidney Crosby had 3g, 1a and a fight during this road trip. Big play from the team's top guy. He nearly single handedly brought the team back against the Ducks.

-Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Aaron Asham, and Chris Kunitz are playing very well. Cooke is hitting anything that moves and contributed a goal in the stale effort in Dallas. Kennedy did that as well, including a scrap. Asham is still getting his feet under him, but has brought good energy and smart play. Kunitz found the back of the net in Phoenix and seemed to surge being back out west.

-Speaking of Sid's fight...there are few times where you want your 50 goal scorer dropping the gloves, but I won't criticize him for doing his captainly duties. Stars F Brendan Morrow took liberties with D Kris Letang (nursing a hand/wrist/arm injury). It was clear that the team was ready to respond in kind sending Mike Rupp and Eric Goddard out for the next draw. Sid basically motioned Goddard off the ice, and dropped the gloves as soon as the faceoff went live. This was a big trip for Crosby on the score sheet, but you can bet his teammates (especially Tang) took note of this moment as much as the points he put up.

-D Zbynek Michalek returned to the lineup. Honestly, defensive play was not a strength on this trip, but seeing Z back in uniform is a good sign.

-Want to give credit to PensBlog for a really funny line about the controversy over Pittsburgh Police working the Winter Classic. And I quote:  "If this can't get sorted out, we are volunteering our services. Give us nightsticks, radios, handcuffs, and Tasers. Anyone wearing red goes to an internment camp we're setting up in the Civic Arena."

-The presence of Pens fans at each of these games was very evident from the tv. I'm sure there are a lot of Burgh transplants out west, and they seem to be the only folks out there with jobs/interest in hockey so kudos to them. Seriously, I'll give Dallas and Anaheim a pass since they've won the Cup, but can the Phoenix expieriment end already??

Ghastly Lowlights:

-The 7-8 minute stretch that cost the team the game in Anaheim was BRUTAL. It's easy and popular to blame only Fleury (keep in mind I'm not saying he doesn't deserve blame), but I counted some sloppy play in the D zone, espeically by the forwards as paramount among the reasons this stretch went bad.

-Nearly everything in Dallas went wrong. This game wasn't as close as the final score indicated. Very tough to watch. Keep it in perspective though. During the course of a full season, any team will go through a giant flop like this one. At least they stuck together as a team and had each other's back when the game turned ugly.

-C Jordan Staal extended his black cloud for 6 more weeks, being the unlucky winner of a free hand surgery compliments of the Pittsburgh Penguins and an errant shot at practice. He was described by Rob Rossi (Tribune Review) as visibly angry when leaving the ice after the injury. Not upset..."angry". Gotta love that reaction at least. Can't wait for him to get back in the lineup and I'm sure he agrees.

-F Evgeni Malkin has been putting forth effort, and no he hasn't been pouting, but the team needs more from him on the scoresheet. It was good to see him put one in against Phoenix. Let's hope this is the start of a hot streak for him.

-Power Play looked pretty brutal at times, but is moving the puck better and has actually started to figure out how to gain the zone. I come back to my point from a few weeks ago...there was a late chance with the extra man in Phoenix that would have eliminated the need for OT. Not as big of a deal against a West foe, but still you'd like to see the power play overcome the Hack-a-Shaq.

-D Alex Goligoski stood out to me as having a particularly rough trip in the D zone. Also, I feel vindicated because on the way home from work the other day I heard Joe Starkey (93.7 The Fan) mention that he thinks trading him for a young winger makes a lot of sense and wouldn't cripple the team's blue line. Both of you that have followed this blog from the start know that I have long been advocating that, and those of you that discuss hockey with me in the real world know I've been saying this since the early exit in the spring.

-Hit the rewind button back to the Cup year, and we had a coach that was often criticized for his tendency to overvalue marginally talented players, play mind games with his top goalie, and switch his lines way too much. This eventually cost Coach Therrien his job. Fast foward back to present day and, well...I think it's fair to say we have the exact same thing (minus a strong French-Canadian accent). Somehow, Coach Byslma has escaped criticism from the fanbase during the start of this season. I think he's fair game, and here's a few of the reasons why.

For starters, you can applaud his efforts for making G Marc-Andre Fleury know that he's going to be held accountable for poor performance, but at what point does it become counter-productive? That point seemed to be Saturday night in Phoenix. The 2nd Coyote goal could have went either way. Yes, MAF did not stop the puck, but has the coach reached the point where he over-reacts to every goal scored against the struggling netminder? It can't go without mention, that Fleury sat on the bench with his mask on. I don't know the man personally and I won't pretend for one second to know his psyche, but it either was him hiding or a clear indication that he wanted back in the game. Like, now. At the very least at the intermission break. Many have called for the trade of MAF, but I can't imagine any situation where this happens in season. It's an off-season move, and not a very likely one at that. So with that thought, I do believe Fleury needs to have less of a short leash in the games he is in. I'm not saying he has earned the starting job back by any stretch. What I am saying is to stop playing games. Let him develop his rhythym. If it takes him a month or so, then so be it. Just don't have him looking over his shoulders when he's in there. Save that for when the lineup is decided behind closed doors.

Mark Madden (105.9 The X) has spent a lot of time on his recently discussing Bylsma's tendecy to over-value his medicore talent guys. You can look right at G Brent Johnson and F Mark Letestu for all the evidence you need on that. Combine that with the line juggling and you have a lot of players on the team that don't know their role. I think that knowing your role on a team is one of the most important facets to having a strong team. Take F Evgeni Malkin for example. He is coming off of a tough season. In the leadup to the year, he was told that he'd serve as a winger. Not once did he complain about this, saying that he'd do anything it takes to help the team. So he spent camp in the mindset of a wing. Now, due to the extended abscence of Jordan Staal, he is being moved back to center. That means he has to switch his mindset and awareness to a different set of responsibilities and a different role. He won't complain for a minute. But you wonder what it will do to his so-so season this far. Will it continue to be so-so or will he improve? Then when Staal comes back, do you switch him back to wing and deal with this all over again?

If the struggles continue in to the holidays, look for more attention to be paid to what Bylsma is doing behind the bench and in the room.

Forward Recaps:

-Definite need to improve in the D zone, including not turning the puck over and making the simple play to get it out along the wall instead of botching something up the middle. The basics.

-Mike Comrie. No goals. Not a one of 'em.

-C Sidney Crosby is carrying this team right now. I'd hate to see what would happen if he was off his game at the moment.

Defenseman Recaps:

-Paul Martin quitely goes about his business on the blue line. Would really like to see what he can do taking control of the Power Play.

Goalie Recaps:

-Both Brent Johnson and Marc-Andre Fleury had rough trips. If they both go in the tank, then what? Wilkes-Barre Scranton is undefeated this season, so John Curry would be glad to make the drive across the state.......................just kidding! That's the last thing needed is to inject a third head for this goaltending monster.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Its good to be an NHL fan...

As I am sitting here with my morning coffee, I began to reflect a bit about my morning routine and how it now involves NHL on the Fly exclusively. I am not sure when SportsCenter "jumped the shark", but it sure has in my eyes. This is metaphorically important to me. I am so sick and tired of the diva crap about who tweeted what or what some spoiled brat athlete said about the catered food. You know what I care about? Who won the game. Hey, maybe even some analysis if you are feeling frisky. I could care less about the personality of athletes. What they do away from the bright lights doesn't matter to me unless its an actual crime that involves hard time.
In addition, I now find myself watching the NFL Network highlights on Sunday nights, because I feel there is actually more focus on the games and I don't have to deal with the "midget that does not know anything about football" (thanks Barry Bonds) protecting the shield on NBC. Getting back to the NHL, I have been so pleased with the changes they have made to On the Fly. The league was self-aware enough to realize the good 'ol Canadian boys should have a place on the show, but shouldn't dominate it. I am a big David Amber fan, so he is a big upgrade in my eyes. I do like that they are mixing up the co-hosts too to avoid monotony that was present last year. Kevin Weekes has made a great transition to the broadcast booth. I do like the other ex-players that appear as well, especially Bobby Holik. His broken English makes me think of Ahhhrnold Schwarzenegger (and dirty play).
In addition to On the Fly, the NHL network is upgrading its programs. The show "Oil Change" is DVR worthy. It has its dull moments, but its fun to get the insider look to an NHL front office. Hope they keep it going during the season. The Caps/Pens 24/7 should be good (I hope). This trend is good...I fully believe that the transition of Football as "America's Sport" from Baseball was greatly accelerated by NFL films and the insider look it gave Jane and John Doe to the NFL sideline and locker room (and continues to do). The NHL needs to bring the smell of used equipment and the pain of a playoff OT loss into North American living rooms.
Some may lament the slow death of the quintessential sports fan that is well versed in the "big 4" sports and was brought to us by SportsCenter. However, I see this fragmentation as good. I loathe MLB and the NBA, I can't fully explain why, nor am I going to try. As a busy adult, I don't want to be bogged down with highlights (or even worse drama) about sports I don't care about anymore. I have found that simplifying is important as I get older and busier. I want more depth about the NHL and the NFL. I want an option to aside from watching ESPN become the E! of televised sports.