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Wakeup Call: Penguins vs. NBA? No contest

DALLAS — Brief and to the Point …

>> The Wednesday column is about a sports hero in the truest sense.

My deep appreciation to Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson for his time yesterday. Also, a huge thanks to Michael Molinaro, the Blackhawk grad and longtime reader who hooked me up with this amazing individual. 
Anyone wishing to follow Sgt. Olson’s progress on the road to London, check USAShooting.org and USParalymics.org

>> If hockey is the niche sport that so many claim, how to explain the Penguins getting better local TV ratings than any NHL or NBA team?

Better than the Lakers.

Better than the Knicks with Jeremy Lin. (Remember him? BEST STORY EVER!)

Better than the Heat.

Sorry, but that’s not niche. Indoor football or lacrosse is niche. Maybe even MLS is niche. Not hockey.

>> If you don’t believe me, ask … um, Bill Cowher?

>> Credit for this goes to the Penguins and, yes, Root Sports. If the broadcasts were the epic tragedy that some make them out to be, they’d never be able to grow the audience as they have. Root has its issues, for sure, but this is a feather.

Or maybe it’s just Dan Potash’s world, and the rest of us are paying him rent.

>> It’s actually Anze Kopitar’s world, on second thought. What a player.

>> Brad Lincoln over Kevin Correia?

Sure looked like it last night, but what say you?

>> The four days at the U.S. Olympic Media Summit were a nice primer for what’s to come in London, but I know better than to overdo the topic in May. Most of what I got at this Summit was for future use. 
Sgt. Olson’s story couldn’t wait.

>> Thanks to all who serve.

Comments

  1. Deb says:

    Dejan, didn’t know if you were interested, but you referenced that you were unaware of Malkin’s concussion history. I am posting the link to Malkins Russian Prospects page with an interview (quoted below as well) that discusses him suffering a serious concussion that required a month hospitalization. FYI…

    http://www.russianprospects.com/public/article.php?article_id=414

    “The only serious injury Evgeni got was 2 years ago when Metallurg coaches sent the young prodigy to get some match practice at the farm club. A tough collision with an Avagard Omsk defenseman Nikita Nikitin sent Evgeni to hospital for a whole month with a concussion.”

  2. radio wave says:

    Great article today!
    I have lived in nba cities with no hockey, and now here with the opposite situation.
    For years hockey was ahead of hoops in Boston. TV ratings in LA the next couple of weeks should be interesting.

  3. Sec.143RowMSeat24 says:

    Sure they could move Lincoln to the rotation full time, but I don’t think it will make much of a difference. I’m not sure if a guy with 2 pitches can be a full time starter. Just looking at game lines Correia has had 3 starts with equal to better numbers than Lincoln. I think the main focus is getting Karstens back healthy. That seems like it would help more.

  4. Thundercrack says:

    “If the broadcasts were the epic tragedy that some make them out to be, they’d never be able to grow the audience as they have.”

    I believe the epic tragedies are the Pirate broadcasts. Those excessive crowds shots (along with Tim Neverett’s constant babbling about everything except the game) have made broadcast nearly unwatchable.

    DK, you have been very critical of Root –but I believe only their baseball broadcast, correct?

  5. Thundercrack says:

    The Penguins (and their fans) deserve a ton of credit in regards to the TV ratings.

    But are we comparing ‘share’? Because it really isn’t a fair ‘apples to apples’ comparison if a city has an NBA and NHL team. It can split the fan base…and eyeballs.

    Plus a 5 share in Pittsburgh is different than a 5 share in Boston or LA, right?

  6. JAL says:

    JAL’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    PIRATE BLOGS

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Should the Pirates Replace Correia in the Rotation?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/05/pirates-notebook-should-the-pirates-replace-correia-in-the-rotation.html

    Prospect Watch: Alderson Returns to Rotation With Decent Results

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/05/prospect-watch-alderson-returns-to-rotation-with-decent-results.html

    What Solutions Can the Pirates Make on Offense?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/05/what-solutions-can-the-pirates-make-on-offense.html

  7. JAL says:

    6 Rumbunter

    Andrew McCutchen Leads Bucs Pursuit of Four Straight Wins

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/05/15/andrew-mccutchen-leads-bucs-pursuit-of-four-straight-wins/

    7 McEffect

    5/15 Recap | Marlins 6 Pirates 2

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/05/515-recap-marlins-6-pirates-2.html

    8 WHY GAVS

    It’s time to take Kevin Correia out of the rotation

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/may-2012/its-time-to-take-kevin-correia-out-of-the-rotation.html

    9 Green Weenie

    Big Inning Sinks Pirates 6-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/05/big-inning-sinks-pirates-6-2.html

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Correia crumbles

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/05/correia-crumbles/

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES

    11 CBS Sports

    Washington vs Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120516_PIT@WAS/piratesnationals-preview

    12 Miami Herald

    Josh Johnson sharp in Miami Marlins’ win over Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/16/2801466/josh-johnson-sharp-in-miami-marlins.html

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – TeamReport

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze85f1bw0mk-20120515,0,1031306.story

    14 Altoona Mirror

    Mehno: Poor offense keeps Pirates from success

    http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/560825/Mehno–Poor-offense-keeps-Pirates-from-success.html?nav=751

    15 Hardball Times

    What is the best swing-and-miss pitch in baseball right now?

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/what-is-the-best-swing-and-miss-pitch-in-baseball-right-now/

    16 KDKA

    Pirates Pitcher From India Working Hard In Single-A

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/05/15/pirates-pitcher-from-india-working-hard-in-single-a/

  9. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    23 Pitt Blather

    Sunseri It Is! Let the Riots Begin!

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/05/15/sunseri-it-is-let-the-riots-begin/

    24 Cardiac Hill

    Attending Bill O’Brien’s Pittsburgh Visit – The Penn State Coach Talked Pitt, Recruiting, And More

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/5/15/3021060/penn-state-nittany-lions-bill-obrien-pittsburgh-visit-pitt-football-pittsburgh-panthers-recruiting

    WVU Blogs

    25 Metro News

    Big 12 Expansion Links

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=52707

    26 WV Illustrated

    WVU Olympic Sports Update

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/18427482/wvu-olympic-sports-update

  10. JAL says:

    Soccer(football)

    27 Sky Sports

    Ferdinand facing England snub

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/19692/7759446/Ferdinand-facing-England-snub

    28 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs and Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson named EPL’s best-ever player, manager

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/soccer/manchester-united-veteran-ryan-giggs-and-red-devils-boss-sir-alex-ferguson-named-epls-best-ever-player-manager/story-e6frey4r-1226357278249

    29 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: Stories you need to read, May 15 th 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-14th-may-2012-2

  11. JAL says:

    I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, U2, 1987—U2 is the most successful band of the 1980s. Their albums vary in sound, from the rock sound of War, a direct counter to synthpop to the orchestral sounds of The Unforgettable Fire to the more structured The Joshua Tree, which this song is from.

  12. Jandy says:

    I first noticed Anze Kopitar two or three years ago during All Star Games Skills competitions.
    Yes, he is quite a player. Plus he seems to have a great personality as well. I remember that from watching the Skills. DK, you should lobby to get him traded to the Jets, he’d be perfect for Winnipeg ;)

  13. Karen22 says:

    Lincoln over Correia—YES.

  14. LuckyNKentucky says:

    We’re spoiled already by well-pitched games, but Correia seems to be the weak link. I thought Lincoln found his “niche” this season in the pen, as some have stated he is OK the first time through the lineup, but the second, third and on are his problems. Unless he’s overcome that, wait on Karstens and replace Correia with him. Free Brad Lincoln to the pen. Then, what to do with Kevin?

  15. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Excellent column. Great opening paragraphs. Should be inspiring to many who refuse to do anything but complain about everything. Thanks for writing it, DK.

  16. Steve says:

    Great story about Sgt. Olson. I cringe when anyone makes comparisons between sports and battle or uses “courage” to describe a player’s actions. Big Ben recently made a statement about “when the bullets fly” in reference to live game action. Really? There is absolutely no comparison between a game, no matter how physical or violent, and live combat and no one, player or writer, should attempt to make one. All the best to Sgt. Olson in his quest for the gold medal.

  17. NMR says:

    “Then, what to do with Kevin?”

    tRAYED EM FER A PAHR BAT!

  18. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    He wouldn’t bring a replica bat right now. 1-4, 4.50 ERA. 24/7 has a plethora of negatives on his Twit Tweets about Kevin, not the least of which is “erratic mechanics” and “2nd time in 4 starts he didn’t go five.” Sec. 143 above has some positives but not enough for a pahr bat.

  19. Jandy says:

    Are ya’ll adoptin’ the sawtharn die-leck this mawnin????

  20. LuckyNKentucky says:

    J.

    Like ‘maters, ‘taters and ‘backer?

  21. NMR says:

    I hear ya, Lucky. Just havin’ a little fun.

    I really don’t see moving Kevin to the pen as disappointing. The way I figure, he’s given the Pirates five more quality starts than I was expecting before the start of the season.

    In my opinion, Lincoln is not the answer. His maximum value is obviously as a starter, but he’s shown an inability to make the in-game adaptions required to keep MLB hitters off balance. Hopefully with age comes wisdom and he proves me wrong. I just think he can be a valuable asset to this team in his current role and I don’t like seeing the organization play this game where they keep forcing him to change what type of pitcher he is. It’ll be awfully hard to expect any kind of consistecy in his approach.

  22. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    Agree with you 100%.

  23. CWalton_67 says:

    I am always dismayed when the world of sports uses terms related to battle. Athletes cannot possibly understand the absolute terror that comes with living in combat.

    I want everyone here to know that SFC Olson is only one of hundreds of remarkable heroes who have been wounded, yet continue to serve in defense of your freedom. Amputees, men blinded, many with post traumatic stress. I cannot tell you how honored I am to have served with so many young men and women like this one. They embody the greatness and power of the human spirit.

    Thanks Dejan-can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a brother Soldier highlighted in your column.

    All The Way–And Then Some.

  24. mayhay22 says:

    Thanks to all who serve indeed. Great article.

    I’d leave Correia in the rotation until Karstens is ready while priming Lincoln for the closer spot in the event that Hanrahan can net us a bat in a trade.

  25. The Standard says:

    Lincoln has way more upside than Correia, who has been the weak link of the staff so far this year, and was perhaps the flukiest all star ever last year.

  26. TJA says:

    Thank you for your article, Dejan, regarding Sgt.Olson. I work professionally with people with disabilities and have already forwarded your article off to several co-workers. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! – - – Tom

  27. jeffsbar says:

    I think it’s pretty much a no brainer that Correia is gone after this season. With Lincoln looking very good this year both out of the pen and as a spot starter, I don’t see how you could keep running Correia out there without giving Lincoln a legitimate shot to be a starter. If he doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity and prove to be a capable MLB starter, then move him back to the bullpen. As a former first round pick, the Pirates owe it to him and themselves to see what he’s capable of.

  28. LuckyNKentucky says:

    CW,

    Thanks to you, Ryan in So.Cal and all the rest who have served this country unselfishly. I have a brother-in-law who was a lifer in the Navy and he’s a fine person, also. Some people are afraid to get in a plane, let alone jumping out of them like you. We appreciate you, belive me.

  29. Jandy says:

    What Lucky said!

  30. TJA says:

    Well said, Lucky. thanks to one and all who serve this great land of ours. Go USA! Now that’s a team we can ALL root for.

  31. JohninOshkosh says:

    Great column today. Liked all the reporting from the Olympic media summit, really. It should be a great Olympics against the backdrop of the great historical city. I see that the Wimbledon venue will not have the dark green paint and the players will be wearing colors instead of the traditional white. It will be a stirring sight, indeed, to see the tennis greats walk onto those hallowed courts wearing their respective nation’s colors.

  32. RobertoForever says:

    Dejan,

    Thanks for the moving article on Sgt Olson. More moving to me was the video, where Sgt Olson answered questions about losing his leg as if he was explaining dropping his bag of groceries. Such a tramatic experience, yet he has the courage every day to answer questions about it in a way that puts the listener at ease.

    In the video, the most poignant part was Sgt Olson, in typical military heroism, describing how he was apologizing to his men for getting hit and not being able to contribute.

    Young men (and women) like Sgt Olson are why America is great, even with all its warts. Good luck to Sgt Olson, and thanks to all who serve.

    DK: The column was my pleasure. Accepting no thanks on this one. All the credit — and I mean all of it — goes to the subject matter.

  33. Milo Hamilton says:

    Dejan,

    Outstanding piece this morning. Sgt. Olson is truly an American hero.

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo, where’ve you been?

  35. Jandy says:

    Yeah Milo, we missed your zingers ;)

  36. LuckyNKentucky says:

    The Angels fired Mickey Hatcher as hitting coach since the club’s only hitting .250 and has been shut out 8 times. Guess our .220 is better than what’s expected in Anaheim. We haven’t been shut out that many times–yet.

  37. RobertoForever says:

    Lucky

    Great update

    Just wondering – So Micky Hatcher has made Albert Pujols a shell of his cardinal self?

    Since Albert doesn’t want to be called ‘El Hombre’ maybe he should be called ‘El Nino’?

  38. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Roberto,

    Good one. Maybe ‘El Nina’. He did have 3 hits the other night and he’ll still hit around .300 and drive in 100 or so run. Thank God, he’s in the AL.

  39. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    1. I don’t mean to belittle this by any means, but is it possible that the Penguins TV ratings are better compared to the Knicks, Lakers, and Heat because those cities have a larger interest other than sports? PIttsburgh IS a sports town and though yes, those cities have major sports usually aren’t considered a sports town. Just my thoughts, what do I know.

    2. Brad Lincoln over Kevin Corriea……..one word…………yes

  40. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    BTW, I vote for Cowher as the new Pens coach…..just sayin’

  41. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Sorry, Ryan. I incorrectly placed you in Southern California. You’d be on Storage Wars if you were. Two different worlds, right?

  42. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Oh yea, totally two different worlds………

    I appreciate the words either way…..Thanks.

    I do nothing compared to what Sgt Olson has done or many of the Army guys. I was on a trip recently to San Antonio for some training and ran into quit a few of the vets down there. These guys don’t get the amount of press that they need and deserve.

    I took a 4 year hitch to teach what I was taught. Mainly out of selfishness to stay home with my wife and 4 boys. That grind gets old…..(I do look forward to getting back to the real world though, just don’t tell my wife)

  43. RobertoForever says:

    Lucky,

    El nina? Ouch!

    You went there!

  44. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Anyways, back to the baseball talk.

    I don’t understand why everyone’s down on Lincoln to the rotation…(OK not everybody)

    I do think after his last outing, 6IP, 4 hits, 2 ER and 3ks is deserving of another start. Corriea, I’m not even posting recent numbers, does not..

  45. Drew71 says:

    What’s a zinger?

    I miss you too, Milo.

    See? I can be nice ONCE in awhile.

    (or was that a zinger?)

  46. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Roberto,

    I know Albert’s a good guy and doesn’t deserve the “El Nina’” crack. Just kidding. Fielder has adapted better in Detroit. He’s at .292 with 5 and 18. Pedro minus .80 on the BA, but Pedro is 2 HR’s better than Prince and younger.

  47. NMR says:

    @Drew

    If you have to ask, you can’t afford it…

  48. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Looks like Bedard is a go for today…….hopefully he can pull through.

    Another series against the Nats?

  49. Evan says:

    What a great column today, DK. My Dad is in the army and spent my junior year of high school in Iraq, and my best friend is on his second tour currently. Thanks for reminding everyone again how important and great our vets are. Thanks again to all who serve.

  50. RobertoForever says:

    @Ryan

    Seriously – who made up this schedule. Playing the Nats the next week? And two series in a row that are 2 games each. What is this, the NBA?

  51. RobertoForever says:

    In the other big media outlet in Pittsburgh, Hurdle has comments about Lincoln being the future closer for the Pirates.

    DK: You mean this?

  52. JHadar says:

    DK — Although I’m not a hockey fan, I don’t consider it a “niche” sport. It’s one of the big four.

    That said, I can think of two reasons why the Pens in Pittsburgh have a greater TV audience than the Lakers in LA.

    1. The same reason the Olympic Wrestling trials in Iowa City smashed all previous attendance Olympic Wrestling trial attendance records — an enthusiastic and informed local fan base.

    2. LA hasn’t been able to support a pro football team even with their huge population. (It speaks well of baseball that they can support two teams, though.)

  53. Jandy says:

    NMR ~ you gave Drew the perfect answer….and another zinger at that…I’ll go with it ;)

  54. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Future closer? Bet that makes Hanny feel great. Like, get out the steamer trunk and start buying stickers from the ‘Burgh to go with the ones from Washington. You’re the first one out of town July 31st.

  55. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    Milo is either busier than a hummingbird or he’s mad about something. He saw 2 wins over the weekend, he should be in a good frame of mind, even after last night’s loss.

  56. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yeah, why is Hurdle even talking to the press right now about Lincoln being a closer. Could he be prepping us for Hanrahan leaving for a certain team in the Bronx? David Robertson is on the DL now too.

  57. Jandy says:

    Lucky, I’d say it’s the second option, but what do I know? ;X

  58. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    They think Soriano is their man now. I’ve got these 2 arrogant Yankee fans in my office and they keep up on them. They also say this may be a throw-away year for them, which I highly doubt.

  59. JAL says:

    Zing went the strings of my heart–could have used that in the 1930s week but didn’t

  60. JohninOshkosh says:

    Lucky:

    You never have to use the adjective “arrogant” in front of “Yankee fans.” It is implied. My brother has this tradition with two teams. He hates both the Packers and the Yankees. Whenever either team is about to win a game he is watching, he turns off the TV. Then he says, “I still have never seen the Yankees (Packers) win a game.”

  61. JAL says:

    Soriano llikely to close but they are still down two late inning relievers and are probably considering trying to get an experienced late inning reliever.

  62. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    Good man, your brother. I’ve got a Braves’ fan here, too. Very tolerable. He and I enjoy Yankee losses as much as wins for our own teams.

    JAL,

    Hope they keep their grimey paws off our current staff. I like Joel and would love to see us keep him unless we can get a ML-ready stick. Plus, he would like to stay. Lincoln can be an asset right now, but we don’t know if he has the makeup to be a closer.

  63. Jandy says:

    OshKoshB’Gosh, that is PRICELESS!

  64. JHadar says:

    Maybe I’m over-reacting, but I would be ready to trade any one of our pitchers for a MLB-proven (not ready, but proven) bat. And I think we all know what positions to consider.

  65. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JH,

    Maybe so, but who would it be? Cano isn’t available from NY and who else is? Many options were discussed yesterday about vets. What’s your take?

  66. mayhay22 says:

    NY has a kid in AAA hitting .341 w/ 7 HR. Last name is Pearce.

  67. RobertoForever says:

    Even better – there is a kid in AAA hitting .350+. Last name is Paul

  68. LuckyNKentucky says:

    mayhay,

    Detroit has one hitting .339 with 16, 45. Last name is Eldred. Wonder if either of those two throw-aways would be better than what we’re seeing now?

  69. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Make that 3 throw-aways.

  70. JAL says:

    Lucky

    Answer is no–Eldred was up and they sent him back. Peace is classic AAA player who doesn’t do near as well in MLB and can’t stay healthy, Paul is a typical average to below average bench player.

  71. JHadar says:

    Lucky — That was a general take on the situation. We have some depth at pitching and a crying need for a hitter (or three).

    I do know that if I were Neal with the meetings coming up it would take a very pleasant surprise of an offer to pry one of these guys loose at this time of year (conventional wisdom) I can’t imagine that there won’t be inquiries, but if were Neal I would be asking for the moon or standing pat. Our pitchers are going to get more valuable as the season moves on and the longer term looks even better. I said “any of our pitchers” because I would like to pry loose somebody’s shortstop or catcher — probably one that “isn’t on the market unless” they could get a good starting pitcher. McDonald would have to bring even a little more. Although I sure wouldn’t mind keeping the rest, there’s real depth in the system at pitcher now and a need for both long-term and short-term hitting help, particularly at SS and C, and marginally everywhere but CF and if Pedro comes around 3B (or 1B in the future?)

  72. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JAL,

    Thought that might be the answer. Eldred has had several cups of coffee and hasn’t done anything with any of them. We know the entire Pearce story. Seemed like every time he’d get going at all, he got hurt. Saw enough of Paul last season, too.

  73. RobertoForever says:

    @JHadar

    I like the way you think. You summed up my most of my thoughts with your post.

    I think that NH is probably putting out feelers. He certainly has made trades in May and June. But I am guessing that most teams view themselves as buyers and not sellers, so not willing to give up major league players right now.

    Let’s hope some teams lose and lose and the Bucs stay at .500 until NH can get a guy like Derek last year.

  74. Nate83 says:

    @JAL

    Definately agree with your assesment of the “cast-offs”. They are what they are and if anyone thought more of them they would currently be up with those teams right now. None of those guys are more then bench players and we have Clement if we really want to go the route of trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

  75. JHadar says:

    =====================================

  76. NMR says:

    @JH

    I just read this morning that the average for ML starting catchers is currently .244…YIKES.

    That tells me that impact hitting is an absolute premium at that position. No offense to our staff, but I doubt any of them are as valuable as a catcher with an OPS over .800.

    It seems the Pirates can upgrade to average at C and SS, but even that won’t be very exciting.

  77. Nate83 says:

    Now that I think about it JAL I agree with almost everything you say. It never seems to be heavy on the glass half full or empty side of things and it always is a logical opinion based on facts that happen over a long period of time. Not a knee jerk reaction to what happened over the last 2 weeks or 2 months or even last night.

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    Don’t forget Bixler? Sent down by Houston after hitting a buck something, and is hitting .347 in AAAA.

    Oops, meant to say AAA. :-)

  79. Tom says:

    Niche = Pittsburgh.

    vs. most of the rest of the country which couldn’t care less about hockey.

  80. Jandy says:

    Tom, care to share your facts on how you came up with that…uhhh…tidbit?

    I think many would disagree with you… just sayin…

  81. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    They like it in Nashville (1.5 hours from here), but here in KY they think a puck is an over-sized oxycontin, waiting to be sold on the street.

  82. aglebagel says:

    Our NHL team beating all NBA local ratings is the result of a perfect storm:
    1. A winning team full of superstars.
    2. A sports-crazy town in the northeast, well within the NHL’s primary region of popularity.
    3. A population with deep loyalties to the city.
    4. No competition from other pro teams in the city for most of the season.

    I can’t think of such a situation to match it in the NBA right now. Most of the superstars in the NBA right now reside in huge markets with higher percentages of transplants who don’t have loyalties to the area. The only teams I could think of were the Spurs and Thunder, and sure enough, they’re nipping at the Pens’ heels.

  83. NMR says:

    @Jandy

    I tend to agree with Tom.

    Where the game isn’t played, its not watched.

    “Niche” may be too strong, but there is no doubt that the NHL is ignored by a large portion of this country.

  84. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m a big fan of the Milwaukee Bucks and I prefer the NBA playoffs (probably the only one on this blog) to the NHL’s. I do follow the NHL somewhat, and my interest in it has only increased because of Dejan and the superb hockey bloggers (both men and women) on this site.

    It is interesting that there is a lot of talk about the Bucks leaving Milwaukee if a new arena is not built That move is not close to imminent or anywhere near a done deal, but Pittsburgh and Kansas City are often cited as possible moves for the franchise because of the modern existing arenas in the two cities. (Plus “Bucks” would still be a suitable name for Pittsburgh given the deer hunting history in Pennsylvania!). I wonder if an NBA franchise in Pittsburgh would garner much enthusiasm given the Pens’ immense popularity. There is no doubt in my mind that hockey is more popular in Pittsburgh than most areas. I go long stretches in between talking about the NHL, to even ardent sports fans, in this area. Some talk about collegiate hockey but little about the sport’s highest level.

  85. Mathew Watt says:

    Dejan, i’m a former Pittsburgher living in Los Angeles. I’ve been out here for over 10 years now and have followed you since I left. I normally agree or understand your point on topics….now here it is…BUT, hockey is a niche market!! You can’t compare the local TV broadcast of the hometown team verse a team outside the city. and the city doesn’t have a team in the sport. That’s not an apples to apples comparison. I live in one of largest markets in the world…until this year, I couldn’t find a hockey playoff game. And the only reason I can watch is because of DirecTv. The Kings are on their way to the Stanley Cup finals and the Clippers have three times the following. And the Clippers are the equivalent to the Pirates as far as worse franchises in sports. Basketball is very popular in the largest markets of the country (LA, NY, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, etc) Hockey is barely a sport in these cities. Hockey is popular in the smallest of markets (Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Edmonton etc) That makes hockey a niche sport on par with arena football, soccer and lacrosse. Keep up the great work! Love your coverage!

  86. pgherinfl - Carl says:

    I feel, what an honor for you to get to meet Sgt. Olson. To go through what he has and still want to perform in the military. That is truly a humbling experience for the rest of us that complain about going to work when we don’t feel like it.
    When it comes time to turn 1 of your articles in for an award, this is one of the ones you should consider.

    The NHL is a niche when it comes to the number of fans compared to the Steelers. But the Penguins also have a very passionate fan base. It also helps that they are winners.

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