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.

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Out Thinking Viewing Habits

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

When you stop and think about it for a minute it can truly boggle your mind. Much like a brain freeze from drinking something cold too quickly. That might have been what people had when they thought they were making well informed decisions when it came to scheduling the Stanley Cup Final and the NBA Finals.

Game one of the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning was played on Wednesday evening. Game two….not until Saturday? Two full days off after playing one game. Strange but when the scheduling also cost the Tampa Bay area a few Garth Brooks concertswell we are pretty sure that there are some unhappy folks in the Tampa St. Pete area. While Brooks and the venue are trying to find dates to reschedule the shows, we’re pretty sure one show could have fit in if game two was played on Friday instead of Saturday.

2015 Stanley Cup Final

To add insult to injury, NBC Sports lies about the start time of the game…again. As we have pointed out many times on this blog, NBC Sports is a major offender when it comes to advertising what time a game of any kind is going to start. While the start time for game one of the Stanley Cup Final was advertised as 8pm EST, the puck was actually dropped at 8:22pm EST (6:22 MST as you can see.)

The NBA Finals are a whole nother story. The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers potential seven game series is scheduled to be played on Thursdays, Sundays and Tuesdays. It’s bad enough that both teams have been sitting for over a week which we assume is so that both teams could be “healthy”. But in all fairness, is anyone really healthy after an 82 game regular season and three playoff series?

There has to be somebody, somewhere who has numbers to back up these scheduling decisions (not to sure about the start time decisions though).The fact is, play the damn games. Do you really think no one watches TV on a Friday night? You also lose the energy around these series when you take these breaks. While it may seem like a smart idea on paper, not having a game on a Friday night and then scheduling one against ‘Game of Thrones’ is just plain dumb.

What To Watch Fri. 2/13 – Sun. 2/15

All times are Pacific.

 

Friday February 13th

Arizona Wildcats at Washington Huskies – 6pm ESPN: This is a good basketball game for a Friday night. It’s no gimmie either for the #7 ranked Wildcats.

Boston Bruins at Vancouver Canucks – 7pm NHL GameCenter: Two teams battling to stay in the playoff picture in their respective conferences.

 

Saturday February 14th

Baylor Bears at Kansas Jayhawks – 10am CBS: Not many top 25 match ups but this should be the best of the bunch.

Villanova at Butler – 3pm CBS Sports Network: This is the other top 25 match up worth watching.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens – 4pm NHL Network: Well the Leafs aren’t very good this year but the Habs are.

Washington Capitals at LA Kings – 7pm NHL GameCenter: Alex Ovechkin and the Caps head out west to take on the defending Stanley Cup champs.

UFC Fight Night – 7pm FS1: Either Benson Henderson is going to grind out Brandon Thatch for 5 rounds or Thatch catches Henderson early. Take your pick.

 

Sunday February 15th

Pittsburgh Penguins at Chicago Blackhawks – 9:30am NBC: It’s on national TV for a reason. You get to see some of the biggest names in the NHL.

Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks – 5pm NHL GameCenter: The Lightning hit that tough west coast swing coming off two hard fought games against Nashville and St Louis.

 

What To Watch Sat. 3/22-Sun. 3/23

Be advised, March Madness is in full swing. See it on TV and online throughout the weekend via CBS and Turner.

Saturday March 22nd

Chelsea vs Arsenal – 5:45am NBCSN: All aboard for some top flight soccer on a Saturday morning!

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Pittsburgh Penguins – 10am NHLN:  If ice, sticks and some of the world’s best players is more your thing then the NHL Network has you set on Saturday morning.

Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm NHLN: It’s the Habs vs the Leafs. They are both in playoff contention at the end of March. You’re welcome.

LA Galaxy @ Real Salt Lake – 1pm NBCSN: RSL has been nothing but good over the last four or five years. But so have the Galaxy. It’s a display of some of the leagues best players and two teams that don’t seem to like each other very much.

San Jose Earthquakes @ Sporting KC – 5:30pm MLS LIVE: Both teams are coming off of tough Champions League losses during the week. SKC is a tough place to play but San Jose is a tough team. Or as they say in Quakes territory, ‘Goonies never say die!’

Sunday March 23rd

St. Louis Blues @ Pittsburgh Penguins – 10am NHLN: Two of the best teams in the east face off in Pittsburgh.

Real Madrid  v Barcelona – Noon beIN Sports: El Clasico is on. Messi, Ronaldo, Bale, Fabregas and then some. See two of the best clubs square off with some of the best players on the planet.

Dan Henderson vs Shogun Rua – 4pm FS1: The last fight between the two was, in some circles, the best MMA fight…ever. So don’t miss rounds 6-10.

What to Watch Fri. 1/17-Sun. 1/19

Friday Jan. 17th

Anaheim Ducks @ Chicago Blackhawks – 5pm NHL Network: A battle between Western Conference leaders and possibly a preview of the Western Conference final. Chicago has struggles as of late and the Ducks are coming off of a 9-1 thrashing of Vancouver and are riding an eight game winning streak. But it’s in Chicago. Game on.

Saturday Jan. 18th

San Jose Sharks @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 11am NHL GameCenter: Not a bad game to start off your Saturday.

Oklahoma St @ Kansas – 1pm CBS: Another weekend and another big game for Kansas. While the tough run continues for KU the Oklahoma State must prove that they can win on the road against a top program.

Michigan @ Wisconsin – 3pm ESPN: Wisconsin looks to rebound from their first loss of the season at Indiana. They are still a quality team but as we’ve seen with Ohio State, if you start losing in the Big Ten it’s tough to get back on the good foot.

Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm NHL Network: What better for a Saturday night then two of the most storied teams in NHL history squaring off in Toronto?

Sunday Jan. 19th

Manchester United @ Chelsea – 8:00am NBCSN: Manchester United is just not the same sine Sir Alex left but they still have quality. Problem here is that they have to go to Stamford Bridge. –Apparently Rooney and Van Persie will not play for United.

Boston Bruins @ Chicago Blackhawks – 9:30am NBC: A replay of years Stanley Cup final. Should be hard hitting and a hell of a game.

New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos – Noon CBS: Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning for a chance to go to the Super Bowl? Yes please.

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 3:30pm FOX: What better way to end the NFL Playoffs then with arguably two of the best, who don’t like each other, meeting in Seattle. This should be one of the better games you’ve seen all season.

Mother Nature Strikes Again

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

It’s happened again. A weather event has affected the sporting world for the second time in 4 months. This time it was a snow storm in the northeast that dropped almost 25 inches of snow at Logan International Airport in Boston, MA.

TD Garden

What did it effect this time? The Boston Bruins first moved the start time of their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning then postponed it. The Duke University basketball team had to delay their travel from Durham, NC to Boston until Sunday morning for their match up against Boston College (which they won). The New York Knicks stayed an extra night in Minneapolis, MN before heading back home to play the LA Clippers (a game in which they lost). Finally the New England Revolution had to move around some travel so that they could make it to the much sunnier Tucson, AZ for some preseason matches.

It’s high time leagues, organizations, players, and fans come to the realization that this is going to be the norm and not the random. How coaches coach, how players pace themselves are going to be key if they are to compete on the road when travel plans are disrupted. This hiccup to the routine can cause some major issues mentally and physically. Just ask anyone who has had their flight delayed or luggage lost. It trumps everything else and not in the fun way. Teams would be wise to begin to study how last minute travel effects performance. It could mean the difference between a championship and a ‘oh, we almost had it!’

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The NHL Is Back! Does Anybody Care?

The LA Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup on June 11, 2012. Champions of the NHL. They’ll begin their title defense on January 19th, 2013. That’s 221 days for those of you keeping track. 221 days since the NHL last played a game. 510 regular season games were cancelled due to the labor dispute that led to the NHL’s lockout. The 2nd in less than 10 years. The question everyone is asking now is, now that the NHL returns to the ice will there be anyone there to cheer them on?

One of the toughest jobs in North America right now has to be that of a Marketing/PR person for the league and its 30 teams. From Miami to Winnipeg and Vancouver to Raleigh, people are trying to figure out how to get the fans back. Apologies have been posted, some more heartfelt than others, and deals galore. While no one has gone the overt route of free tickets & beer there have been some pretty good ones from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Are 25% discounts at the team store, free nachos, and the equivalent of $8 tickets enough to get people to come back to the arena? All the while battling traffic, paying for parking, and dealing with crowds? Will the fans return to the sports bars and buy food and drinks? Will they even watch when they’re at home? Will they care?

The answer is that we’re not going to know until they drop the puck. People may say one thing and do another. Even the people who say that they are done with hockey may return next season. We just don’t know. The promotions help but PR and marketing can only do so much. Eventually the play on the ice has to be compelling enough for the people to come back.