Diary of a Sports Cord Cutter: Easy Wins

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.12.2016

Wednesday brings the opening of the 2016/2017 NHL season. With that comes a solid OTT package (full season for $140) and a once a week game live on Twitter. What of course is offered to cord cutters like myself is the league channel, NHL Network. Neither them nor MLB Network nor NBA TV are available in an OTT package but the NFL is. This seems like an easy win that the leagues are not taking advantage of.

NHL NetworkThe league networks have evolved over the years to include live games. NBA TV, NHL Network and MLB Network all show regular season games while MLB Network will actually broadcast a playoff game or two. If you are are cord cutter like myself you are out of luck when it comes to these. While that may not hurt all that much since the games are usually available with the OTT league package, it does make the decision for the casual instead of giving them the choice. If your the league and have your live game content available on every device/service know to man, why wouldn’t you cut a deal to get your network onto Sling TV or Playstation Vue? It seems like an easy win and a simple way to gain new fans.

 

MLB NETWORKWhen DISH Network (Sling TV’s parent company) and the NFL came to an agreement earlier this summer, it would seem that others would follow. All of the leagues are trying to stay relevant during the offseason with some original content, live draft coverage, etc, yet none of this content is available to cord cutters. On the surface it doesn’t appear to violate any existing TV contracts yet these channels and it’s niche content anyway which is right down the cord cutters avenue.

The league channels, outside of the NFL, are not a necessity for OTT providers or for fans. They really don’t ‘move the needle’ so to speak however, it is cheap, easy content for OTT channels and nice to haves for the end user.

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The Sunday: Hooks & History

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The KO

So Saul “Canelo” Alvarez knocked Amir Khan out cold on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Finally a boxing match with an actual finish!

 

Big Fly

NY Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon is 42 years old (and that could be debatable). He hit his first ever home run on Saturday night in San Diego. Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds and it nearly broke twitter.

Not to be outdone, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh homered off a tee. Then dropped the bat and dabbed.

 

The Hook

An nothing may have been more impressive than Sporting KC’s Brad Davis’ goal against his former club last weekend.

 

FIRED UP

How fired up does Diego Simone of Atletico Madrid get during a Champions League match? So much so that he hit his assistant.

 

They Did It

Leicester City did it. They won the Premier League title when Tottenham drew with Chelsea on Monday. The best City had ever finished with second back in 1929. The biggest winners? The people who put money down on City to win the Premier League Title at 5,000-1 odds.

 

The Youngster

Speaking of history, the Arizona Coyotes made it this week by hiring the youngest GM in major sports history. John Chayka is just 26 years old and he is now in charge of leading the Coyotes to the promised land. So yes, this officially makes the Coyotes the NHL’s version of the Oakland A’s.

What to Watch: Fri. 3/11 – Sun. 3/13

All times are Pacific.

Friday March 11th

Baylor vs Kansas – 4pm ESPN2: The Big 12 tournament kicks into high gear.

Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning – 4:30pm NHL.TV: Flyers are agonizingly close to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the Lightning are battling it out for one of the top seeds.

Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls – 5pm NBA.TV: The Heat lead the Southeastern division while the Bulls have fallen off a bit but are still a dangerous group.

DUCKS V BLUESAnaheim Ducks at St Louis Blues – 5pm NHL.TV: The Ducks have been come down to Earth after winning something like 10 in a row. Both are playoff bound. Expect some excellent hockey in this one.


Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars – 5:30pm NHLN:
These two are tied for the top spot in the Western Conference and on top of the Central. Both are two of the top teams in the entire league.

Oklahoma vs West Virginia – 6pm ESPN2: OU may have the Big 12 player of the year (Buddy Hield) and swept the season series but pay no mind to that. Bob Huggins will have his team ready to play and they are still a top 10 team mind you.

Arizona vs Oregon – 6pm PAC12: Oregon is trying to lock up a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament but Arizona needs a win to improve their seeding too.

Portland Trailblazers at Golden State Warriors – 7:30pm NBA League Pass: You want to watch this one just to see what Steph Curry and Damian Lillard are going to do to one up each other.

 

Saturday March 12th

NY Islanders at Boston Bruins – 10am NHL.TV: A little morning hockey with two playoff bound teams.

New England Revolution vs DC United – Noon MLS.TV: These two were at the top of the Eastern Conference standings last season. Good early season matchup.

Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors – 4pm NBA League Pass: Talk about tough back-to-back road games for the Heat. First Chicago and then up to the Great White North. That’s just mean.

Sporting KC vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 5:30pm MLS.TV: SKC looks to lay out the unwelcome mat for the Caps. Both should be a force in the Western Conference again.

Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs – 5:30pm ABC: Probably the only two teams who have a legit chance of knocking off the Warriors when it comes playoff time. Durant, Duncan, Westbrook, Parker and of course the media mogul Poppovich.

BLUES V STARS FIGHTSt Louis Blues at Dallas Stars – 6pm NHLN: Both are looking to unseat the Blackhawks in the Central and claim the top spot. They should both be pretty sick and tired of each other by this point of the season. Sprinkle in the back side of back-to-back games and it could get nasty out there.

Washington Capitals at San Jose Sharks – 7:30pm NHL.TV: The Caps look to close out the brutal west coast road trip with a win in the shark tank.

 

Sunday March 13th

LUNDQVISTPittsburgh Penguins at NY Rangers – 9:30am NBC: Sidney Crosby and the Pens look to give themselves some breathing room when it comes to the playoff race. The Rangers are strong and will be strong once Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash return.

Cleveland Cavaliers at LA Clippers – 12:30pm ABC: Enough talent on display to make you stop you Sunday yard work and camp out in front of the TV.

NYCFC vs Toronto FC – 2pm ESPN2: Lot of star power on display and hopefully that means goals a plenty.

NCAA Selection Show – 2:30pm CBS: Who is in and who is out. Let the second phase of March Madness begin!

The Sunday: Quiet Time and Going Overboard

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Quiet Time

Conor McGregor had to eat his humble pie. He was choked out by the fast talking Nate Diaz at UFC 196. His voice is now lower, bravado toned down and lessons learned.

 

First Base

Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has been just about everywhere….even first base.

It will almost be a disappointment when the off-season is over and he actually has to coach football and not climb trees, hang out at the State of the Union or just Netflix and Chill.

 

Angry Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist is one of, if not the best goalie in the NHL. And just like you and I, he can have a bad day and want to flip something over that is near him. For Lundqvist that was a net.

 

Capsized

Team Oracle capsized their catamaran. There is really nothing more to be said. It’s a boat flipping over.

 

Blades of a Remake

Yep. This actually happened. 

 

Steph Curry Moment of the Week

Brought to you this week by Damian Lillard.

What To Watch: Fri. 3/4 – Sun. 3/6

All times are Pacific.

Friday March 4th

NY Rangers at Washington Capitals – 4pm NHLN: One of the best scoring teams in the league (Caps) go against one of the best defensive teams in the league (Rangers).

LillardPortland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors – 4:30pm NBA League Pass: Portland is coming on strong led by Damian Lillard but Toronto on a Friday night is very tough place to play.

 

Saturday March 5th

Tottenham vs Arsenal – 4:45am NBCSN: Great rivalry and it means a lot to who plays European soccer next year.

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund – 9am FX: Last minute addition by FOX. Now people can watch probably the best matchup of the Bundesliga this season. Oh, Bayern has stumbled as of late too.

Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche – 12pm NHL.TV: These two are in a battle for the two wild card slots in the Western Conference.

Anaheim Ducks at LA Kings – 1pm NHL.TV: These two are neck and neck in the Pacific division…oh and they hate each other.

Iowa State at Kansas – 1pm ESPN: Kansas already has the Big 12 sown up but this one is all about seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

UNC at Duke – 3pm ESPN: Heck the last one they played came down to the last shot. This one should too.

Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins – 4pm NHLN: These two could meet in the first round of the playoffs as it stands right now.

Louisville at Virginia – 5:30pm ESPN: The Cards aren’t going to the NCAA Tournament due to a self imposed suspension so they are looking to trip up UVA on their way to a high seed.

UFC 196 – 7pm PPV: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz and Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate. Good fights made even better by the fact none of these people really like each other.

 

Atlanta Hawks at LA Clippers – 7:30pm NBA League Pass: Forget for a second that both these teams are very, very good and think about Steve Ballmer dunking.

 

Sunday March 6th

Kobalt 400 – 12:30pm FOX: NASCAR heads to Las Vegas which is always a fun race to watch.

Timbers MLS CupPortland Timbers vs Columbus Crew -1:30pm ESPN: First game of the year and it is a rematch of 2015 MLS Cup. You can only imagine how much the Crew want to return the favor to the Timbers. Expect them to come out hard and fast and try to snag an early goal.

Maryland at Indiana – 1:30pm CBS: Indiana has a share of the Big Ten title and look to wrap up the whole enchilada.

NY Islanders at NY Rangers – 2pm NHL.TV: These two are within striking distance of each other and a win here could have dramatic consequences come playoff time.

Sporting KC vs Seattle Sounders – 4pm FS1:  Two of the better teams in MLS over the last few years and both have gone through some serious player overhauls. We’ll see what happens.

LA Galaxy vs DC United – 7pm UNIMAS: The Galaxy have some big superstars like Keene, Gerrard and Cole. But DC United is has some outstanding talent as well.

St Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild – 5pm NBCSN: The Wild are fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot and the Blues have struggled a little lately. They need to turn it around to keep their spot.

The Sunday: Shots, Saves & Scene

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


One And Done

Greg Hardy’s time with the Dallas Cowboys is at an end. He didn’t play a full season due to his suspension, fought with teammates on the sidelines and generally lost the backing of everyone in the organization.

Unknown at this time if another NFL team will take a chance on a player who threw his girlfriend onto a couch full of guns and threatened to kill her. He is really a stark contrast from another Briarcrest teammate, Michael Oher.

 

And The Save

How do you get noticed when you are minor league hockey players traveling on buses from some low population center to another? You have your name be Bud Halloway and you layout to stop an empty net goal.

 

Steph Curry Moment Of The Week

How about a game winner from 35 feet-ish away after he went to the locker room earlier in the game to get his ankle fixed up after he had it stepped on. The man continues to impress…no, he continues to amaze.

 

For The Win….

Well he wasn’t Steph Curry but he did win $18k by making this half court shot on College GameDay. Beers are on this guy!

 

And Scene

Former Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones probably had better days. Nothing like ripping your skin tight shorts and have your junk fall out during your job interview.

 

What To Watch: Fri. 2/26 – Sun. 2/28

All times are Pacific.

Friday February 26th

Minnesota Wild at Washington Capitals – 4pm NHL.TV: The Caps are the top team in the NHL and the Wild are fighting for a playoff spot. And what is a Friday night without Ovi?

Charlotte Hornets at Indiana Pacers – 4pm NBA League Pass: This one will go a long way in determining if and where the Hornets are in the playoff picture.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors – 4:30pm NBA League Pass: LeBron and company head north to take on DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors.

 

Saturday February 27th

Oklahoma at Texas – 11am CBS: When isn’t an OU vs Texas game fun?

Louisville at Miami – 11am ESPN3: Somehow a major ACC and top 15 match up made it’s way to ESPN3. Strange.

Arizona at Utah – 11am ESPN: The Wildcats are coming off a tough loss in Colorado and now have to face the Utes. Tall order.

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators – Noon NHL.TV: Divisional battle between two teams looking to improve their playoff position.

NY Rangers at Dallas Stars – 1pm NHLN: Inter-conference battle that features one team that is second in the NHL in goals per game (Dallas) and one that is 12th in goals against (NY).

Maryland at Purdue – 1pm ESPN: Big matchup in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers loss by 11 in Maryland a few weeks ago but things should be different and Mackey Arena will be rocking.

UFC Fight Night – 1pm UFC Fight Pass: Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping live from London. Too bad this fight didn’t happen three or four years ago.

UNC at Virginia – 3:30pm ESPN: The Tar Heels head north to Charlottesville to take on UVA in a top 10 matchup and massive NCAA Tournament implications.

Detroit Red Wings at Colorado Avalanche – 5pm NBC: It’s not the most ideal conditions for an outdoor game, in fact it should be a balmy 60 degrees when the puck drops. Probably not what the NHL was hoping for when they scheduled this one.

DurantGolden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder – 5:30 ABC: The Splash Brothers invade the house that Durant and Westbrook built. Rumors are swirling that Durant will join the Warriors in the off season but it’s a long time between now and then. This is going to be a stellar game.

 

Sunday February 28th

Manchester United vs Arsenal – 6am NBCSN: So Man U isn’t the team they once were…this is still a helluva soccer game.

Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks – 9:30am: Dude….what an awesome game for a Sunday…or any day for that matter.

Iowa at Ohio State – 1pm CBS: Come for the basketball and stay to see why Iowa is going to make a lot of noise in the tournament.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins – 3pm NBCSN: These two are neck and neck in the Atlantic division.

Paul George DunkPortland Trailblazers at Indiana Pacers – 3pm NBA League Pass: Portland is a long way from home but a Damian Lillard vs Paul George matchup is too good to pass up.

 

 

LA Kings at Anaheim Ducks – 6pm NBCSN: The Ducks have really turned it around and are only two points back of the Kings for the top spot in the Pacific.

What To Watch: Fri. 2/19 – Sun. 2/21

All times are Pacific.

Friday February 19th

Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks – 5pm NBA League Pass: The top two teams in the Southeast go head to head in the ATL.

Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls – 5pm NBA League Pass: Bulls have been hurting as of late and the Raptors have been on a roll. Can the Bulls turn it around in the house that Jordan built?

Paul George DunkIndiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder – 5pm ESPN: Inter-conference matchup with Paul George vs Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant which is basically part of the starting lineup for Team USA in the Olympics this summer.

 

Saturday February 20th

Duke at Louisville – 9am ESPN: It’s still strange to think that of this is as a conference game but it is. Duke is coming off a huge win at UNC this past week but they are a depleted bunch and this might be too much for Coach K and his Blue Devils.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins – 9:30am NHL.TV: These two are currently locked into the last two playoff spots in the Eastern conference.

Miami at UNC – 10am CBS: Huge matchup in the ACC. Carolina has to put the pieces back together after their crushing loss to Duke this past week. The Hurricanes are very, very good and could give the Tar Heels their second loss in a row at home.

Oklahoma at West Virginia – 1pm ESPN: Top 10 matchup with massive implications for tournament seeding and for the Big 12 title. Remember, the Mountaineers beat Kansas earlier this year at home.

LA Kings at Nashville Predators – 5pm NHL.TV: The Kings are atop of the Pacific division but they have some teams hot on their tail. Meanwhile the Predators are at the end of just a nasty swing of games against top teams.

Boston Bruins at Dallas Stars – 5pm NHLN: East meets West in a game of two teams headed for the playoffs.

Purdue at Indiana – 5:30pm ESPN: Purdue may be ranked higher but it’s Indiana that is tied for first in the Big Ten. It’s an in-state matchup with a whole lot riding on it.

Klay ThompsonGolden State Warriors at LA Clippers – 5:30pm ABC: Dub City vs Lob City from LA. Oh and they are first and second in the Pacific division. Seriously, is there something else you needed to do on a Saturday night?

 

 

Sunday February 21st

Chelsea vs Manchester City – 8am FS2: It’s an FA Cup weekend in England and this is one of the better match-ups.

Daytona 500Daytona 500 – 10am FOX: It’s that time of year again. Time for 200 laps and 500 miles of hard nosed racin. Buckle up and see if  Joey Logano can make it two in row. Boogity Boogity Boogity Let’s Go Racin Boys!

Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild – 12:30pm NBC: The division rivals head outside as part of the Coors Light Stadium Series. It won’t be snowing…or below freezing but it should be fun none the less.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Oklahoma City Thunder – 12:30pm ABC: These are two of the best teams in the league with the firepower to win it all.

Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks – 4pm NHL.TV: The Ducks are on fire right now and the Flames are looking to claw their way into playoff contention.

Detroit Red Wings at NY Rangers – 4pm NBCSN: You just can’t help but watch a game featuring two of the NHL’s Original 6.

Lost Respect

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Lovie Smith, USC’s Steve Sarkisian, Oakland Raiders Dennis Allen, and Penn State’s Joe Paterno. What do they have in common? All were fired either over the phone or via email.

Lovie SmithLovie Smith was let go via an unexpected phone call. This shocked a lot of people. Not only because of the way it happened but because it happened at all.

Sarkisian didn’t answer the phone call from Athletic Director Pat Haden because he was on a plane to rehab. So he found out in an email instead.

Dennis Allen had just returned to Oakland after playing a game in London. He was a head coach while on the 11 hour flight but was fired via a phone call once he got home.

Paterno was Penn State football. While he already said he was resigning at the end of the season, the administration fired him over the phone anyway.

Now Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger was fired via Skype while in Switzerland. At least his was face to face. Granted it was over a computer screen.

This doesn’t just happen in sports. Former Yahoo CEO was sacked over the phone by the Board of Directors.

It’s not that it’s cold or impersonal, it’s that it shows a lack of respect. While each case is different and each had it’s own set of circumstances, it still comes off as cowardly. If you are the one in charge and you can’t look someone in the eye and say, ‘we’re going a different direction’ then you have no reason to be in charge.

This is sports after all. The arena of competition, alpha males and pissing contests. So the best you can offer up is a phone call? Really?

What To Watch Thurs. 11/26 – Sun. 11/29

All times are Pacific.


Thursday November 26th

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – 9:30am FOX: Well, we’d like a better matchup but hey, it’s what we got.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys – 1:30pm CBS: The Cowboys have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back so this could actually be a good game.

Texas Tech at Texas – 4:30pm FS1: Texas has to win out to be bowl eligible and that’s a big deal for a young team. Texas Tech is good but beatable.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 5:30pm NBC: Awaken from the food coma in time to see if they Packers can win back-to-back games or if the Bears will finally put it together.

 

Friday November 27th

NY Rangers at Boston Bruins – 10am NBC: Ice, skates, rivals. Not a bad way to start Black Friday.

Keenan ReynoldsNavy at Houston – 9am ABC: Winner gets to represent the West in the American Atheletic Conference championship. Also get a chance to see the NCAA all time leader in touchdowns in Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.

Marshall at Western Kentucky – 9am FS1: Last year the final score was 67-66. Just sayin.

Washington State at Washington -12:30pm FOX: The Apple Cup is the most underrated rivalry in college football. Always a solid game.

Armstrong JRIowa at Nebraska – 12:30pm ABC: Nebraska is a lot better than there 5-6 record indicates. Iowa is undefeated and looking for a spot in the College Football Playoff. This rivalry will get a lot more heated after this game.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 2pm NBCSN: Both teams are better than their record indicates and still a whole bunch of talent on the ice.

Baylor at TCU – 4:30pm ESPN: It doesn’t really matter what quarterback plays for Baylor but it does for TCU. Points a plenty in this one.

Miami Heat at NY Knicks – 4:30pm NBA.TV: The Kicks aren’t bad this season but the Heat may be a little bit better.

 

Saturday November 28th

Ohio State at Michigan – 9am ABC: Our first taste of Meyer vs Harbaugh. Add in Ohio State having to put a tough loss behind them and this should be one heck of a ball game.

Louisville at Kentucky – 9am SECN: Kentucky is one win away from bowl eligibility and their cross state rivals would love nothing more than to keep that from happening.

UCLA at USC – 12:30pm ABC/ESPN2: Battle of LA and for the Pac-12 South.

Penn State at Michigan State -12:30pm ESPN: Michigan State controls it’s own destiny when it comes to winning the Big 10 Eastern division.

Wisconsin at Minnesota – 12:30pm BTN: Dude, it’s the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe! It also gives us a chance to show this video from 2003.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State – 4:15pm ESPN2: The Egg Bowl and if Alabama loses, a chance for Ole Miss to grab the SEC West crown.

Notre Dame at Stanford -4:30pm FOX: Huge game for the Irish against a very, very good Stanford team.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State – 5pm ABC: Bedlam is here. Winner probably has a legit shot at the College Football Playoff.

 

Sunday November 29th

NY Giants at Washington Redskins – 10am FOX: The winner controls first place in the NFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: Steelers have been able to keep it together and succeed despite a rash of injuries. The Seahawks looked like the Seahawks for once this season last week. Good luck hearing the play call Pittsburgh.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers – 2pm ESPN: 2nd leg and Dallas got an all important road goal in leg one. They did lose 3-1 however which should put the Timbers in the drivers seat.

103rd Grey Cup – 3pm ESPN2: Live from Winnipeg with Fall Out Boy as the halftime entertainment. Oh its the Edmonton Eskimos vs Ottawa RedBlacks.

NY Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew – 4:30pm FS1: The Crew won first the first leg 2-0. NYRB has it’s work cut out for them if they want to advance to MLS Cup.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – 5:30pm NBC: The best offense in football goes against the best defense. More or less. Broncos start Brock Osweiler for a second straight week.