Ok, Maybe Not

Ok, so we made a miscalculation. Ever make one? We did. We've tried just about every solution to produce a show from two webcams onto any kind of dvd with the technology we have at our homes. So, with the mass failure of our mid-summer special, we're simply going to wait until the Mercyhurst school year begins, so that John can have access to the studio, and Dave can be properly channeled into our switchboards. That sounded ghostbusters-esque, didn't it? Sweet. Dave, the Ranting Ghost. hehe.

Back to business. There WILL be a new addition to the on-screen team at the Hockey Week in Review. I've talked to him, things seem finalized, but I'm not going to announce it yet, just yet. So get ready for some new material, look back here at the end of August, and all the way through the season. There'll be some surprises along the way, some kinks to work out, and I hope you'll be there for their entire ride.

Here's to a great season,
John "Yotco" Baranowski

HWIR: The Return is Near

Hello all you hockey obsessives,

This is the good old Rant Man here with a little information that I thought you'd all like. Some good news to pass along to the faithful followers who oddly enough continue to download our old podcasts off the page...thanks? Haha. Well, it may be old news, but you're still tuning in, which leads us to think that this is good and you want more of us. So, a simulcast or pre-recorded broadcast of a remote linked show will be done in the coming weeks. We will be recapping the moves made on free agency and take a look at all the teams with their subtractions and additions, then make a final grade on whether or not they get off-season approval on making strides for a better next season. Stayed tuned for this very special web-based reunion. We may even find a way to get our technical directors on board, too...or maybe not.


I, of course, am no longer regionally friendly to the Erie, PA corridor of the U.S. and John, well, he's in Pittsburgh. What I'm getting at is the fact that I have a new home. Washington, DC is now the new setting for my current career (yes, I say current because stranger things have happened and I still have hope that the strange things will result in a hockey broadcasting related job one day).

So, in the fall season, John will be Erie based, and I will be, of course, in DC. We will find a way to keep this partnership of love/hate, Sabres/Penguins, unbiased/biased, and clean-shaved/Amazonian-bearded together. If we find that it can't work out in having a split screen fancy setup or whatever we may plan, I'll still have a segment aired at the end of each show or something of the like, and we'll have plenty of podcasts to go around. Yay! Rejoice one and all!

And there you have it, the state of the show is good! Just thought I'd give you this update, and tell you that we are A-Okay! Just spoke with the furry big guy on the phone about 20 minutes ago for a long hour conversation on how we are going to save hockey (the sport in general) and the show, as well. We have a plan! We will move forward and achieve victory!!! Ok, that's a bit to militant, but stay vigilant in downloading and tune in for the next edition of the Hockey Week in Review!

~Rant Man~

The Finals: post 1

I miss the studio. Otherwise this would be a nice little finals preview show. But alas, since I don't have a webcam, I just wanted to make a post to make sure people know we're alive. I hope, that sometime soon, we will return with a video. Until then, sit tight.

We've made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. So far, I'm only two games off (one in each series), so I'm rather satisfied.

Detroit vs Pittsburgh
I picked this matchup, so we will see how well my pick weathers. I want it here, in electronic print, just for verification. RantMan, since I know you'll be reading this, I expect you to revise your pick, with the tiny explanation like I'm doing.

this won't be an easy series for the penguins. detroit seems like the perfect team. the only possible flaw being osgood. possible. and he doesn't see enough shots to even be a risk. the red wings are scary. plain and simple.

if it goes to 7 games, i see wear and tear hurting the penguins. can fleury handle that many games? that much pressure? the detroit freaking red wings?

that said, i think the penguins handle teams like detroit very well. the style of play that they prefer, that finesse passing combined with pure refined skill...they're the goliaths of the nhl...and all it takes is a young group of davids to take them down.

Pens in 6.

There are other things going around the league that I really want to discuss in a podcast. This stuff might be big enough to send to HurstTV in Erie. Versus? Glowpuck? Say it ain't so!!! More to come, stay tuned!

Post-Game Show: 04/25/08 Game 1 Round 2

Rant Man and Johnny B talk post-game reactions from the first three games of round two, and preview the Sharks and Stars.

Download Post Game Review

Musings of a Rant Man: Sharks-Dallas Semi-Finals

Thought I'd verbally have a discussion on the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks matchup. Here's some little known facts, and also why I think a particular team will walk away with a win in this series.

~The Rant Man~

P.S. - When talking about the interview with Turco part (referencing John on this week's show), I accidentally said 'Craig' Simpson, not 'Christine' Simpson! Whoops! Yeah, sorry, had a better TV network on the brain (like CBC, not Versus).

Download The Rant Man's Musing

SNAFU stands for: Situation: NHL's All Fouled Up

Thought I was going to say what the F in SNAFU really means? Shame on you, this is a family show. Anyways, SNAFU actually is a military term that means Situation Normal: All F***** Up, and that's exactly what the NHL front office is right now.

If you've been paying attention to our show, which is now updated on HurstTV 19 in Erie (we're working on getting it online, going from DVD to .Mov is proving harder than we thought), I mentioned that the NHL has just OK'ed a t-shirt (seen left) mocking the rule changes caused by Sean Avery's antics involving Marty Brodeur. That was correct, but now Gary Bettman has officially contradicted the rest of the office and denied the t-shirt, according to the New York Post.

Now many of you are probably expecting me to say that Bettman did a good job. Wrong! Bettman has further cheapened the NHL's image by being hypocritical in its stance on hypocracy.

"The commissioner and his chief lieutenant did not see the humor in it, though they may have been able to recognize the hypocrisy of capitalizing on the persona of Avery, a player the NHL can barely tolerate," says the Post. Though I agree with them, to have released the idea in the first place completely violates that, and sends a very mixed signal.

Furthering the military references, I harken back to the great WWII movie U-571, where a rookie captain is scolded for saying "I don't know." Leadership is essential in any operation, and showing indecision can kill the morale of a crew. Furthermore, approving something and then taking it back shows something far worse: dissention. While dissention in the Bettman camp is something I want, I am also far from confident that he'll be fired anytime soon. Therefore, the NHL's image should be the most important thing, for without respect, how can the fanbase grow, the ratings grow, and how can the NHL ever get back to ESPN and mainstream media?

Tounge-in-cheek things are fine, I make fun of myself quite a bit and I firmly believe that people should have thick skins, but suddenly putting the kibosh on this shows that not only is the NHL not able to make fun of itself, but it is embarrassed to do so. I remember the days where NHL commercials were actually funny. Adam Oates going "offsides" while hitting on a woman, Hockey Falls where a 1972 Bruins autographed jacket gets ruined, out of work goalies in other jobs, or the bubble hockey players talking about Wayne Gretzky. Now all we have is "I am victory, I am defeat, I am victory, I am defeat, I am victory" with a goal lamp that's shown every commercial break. Charting the NHL's popularity from then to now...maybe the league should go back to humor. Maybe championing the bafoonery of this wanna-be-goon IS what the league needs.

No...what the league needs is stability, from the inside out. This is just another example of changing minds. This t-shirt represents every change made and unmade: eliminating tag-up offsides, moving the nets 2 feet closer to the bluelines, FoxTraxx glow puck, and hopefully soon, moving to Versus and expanding to Sunrise, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee.

Sorry Gary, no praise for you here. How about we fix the wrecked car instead of just applying touch-up paint?

P.S. Has anyone else seen the irony in that if the NHL profited from this shirt, the players would receive some of it through Revenue Sharing, including Martin Brodeur who suffered through Avery's antics which led to this new rule.

Orginally: http://www.nypost.com/seven/04232008/sports/rangers/cashing_in_on_avery_punk_act_107662.htm
Repeal: http://www.nypost.com/seven/04242008/sports/rangers/bettman_kos_avery_shirt_107814.htm

Show 4: Pre-Playoffs (6 games out predictions)

Rant man and Johnny B. talk pre-playoff business before the standings are soldified. 6 to 7 games out, see what they had to say before things were set in stone. At this point, Washington was out of the playoffs, and Carolina was in. Vancouver is in at this point. Pittsburgh was number 1, as well.

So, already you can tell things were not as they are right now in terms of playoff matches. See how things progress in the predictions. Next show will be the predictions of the series at hand, aired last Wednesday on HurstTV19, Erie, PA.

Download Show 4

It's only game 1

Two posts in one day?! *Gasp!*
I know, I know, we neglected the blog for a while and we're now back and probably overdoing it. This post is time-sensitive, so I really don't feel like pushing it back.


It's only Game 1. Fans of 8 teams surely said that over these first few nights of the playoffs...and they're completely right for saying so. Many, many times the winner of game 1 does not go on to win the series. In the immortal words of Ryan Smyth on Knob Hockey, "so we lost game 1, that's what we did, that's what we do, we lose game 1 we fight back, we make it harder on ourselves." So often, that's exactly right. In the 2006-07 playoffs, Nashville beat San Jose in game 1 of round 1. We all know how that ended. In that same timeframe, Dallas beat Vancouver in game 1 before losing to the 'Nucks in 7. To start off their Stanley Cup run, the Carolina Hurricanes lost 6-1 to Montreal, and consequently causing stories with headlines like "Habs roll over Canes" and "Montreal skates to easy victory."

I decided to do some digging, and as of Fall 2007, 161 teams lost game 1 and went on to win the series. Granted, 355 won game 1 and then won the series...but still having roughly a third of the teams escape the odds isn't too shabby.

In fact, there have been teams that have come back from 3-0 deficits. In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs came back against the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. The "Comeback Kids" final victory was sealed with the overtime goal of Leafs legend Bill Barilko, who died that off season in a mysterious plane crash in the Canadian wilderness.

The other team to do it was the 1975 Islanders, who beat the Penguins in game 7 after the Pens won the first 3. That Isles team, still fresh from expansion, the players expected to do nothing in the playoffs, beat a Pittsburgh team that was on a roll, lead by Pronovost, Kehoe, Larouche, Iness and others. At the time, it was an upset for the ages...even though now, with both teams having glory years since then, it has faded into history.

"But John," you say, and I know you are, "a third of teams lose game 1 and win, and only two have lost 3 and won...who cares? Those are terrible odds." Those might seem terrible, but you really have to look to the bigger picture. If you take Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), along with the counts in the NHL, a team has gone down 3 games to 0 and come back to win the series 4-3 Only 3 Times in history. Two of them we've discussed, the '42 Leafs and the '75 Isles, and now the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Meaning that it's NEVER happened in basketball, and in the illustrious timeline of MLB dating back to the 1880s, it never happened until 2004. Pretty astounding, pretty exciting, and something remarkable to our unique game.

So as I stare on, drooling at the idea of my oddball Stars prediction coming true, fearing that the Sharks (and my fantasy pick Nabokov) are going to fall apart, hoping that the Pens will roll through the Senators, or wondering if I'm losing it picking the Devils and the Wild...one has to remember: It's only Game 1.

my picks:
Habs in 5
Pens in 5 or less
Flyers in 7
Devils in 7

Wings in 6
Wild in 7
Sharks in 6
Stars in 5

Habs win cup over Sharks in 7, Kovalev wins Smythe

Playoff Time: Your Rant Man is Ready to ROLL!!

I'm excited, disappointed, and shocked. Looking at the way the first game (and some two) finished up, I've had my ups and downs of emotions. Stats from the regular season are suddenly meaningless. This is truly why the playoffs are the "Second Season". Proof is in the pudding folks.

San Jose and Calgary: For starters, I want to talk about this match-up because it seems so night and day when you compare the two games that we all just witnessed. Can you say with a serious face that San Jose is going to have an easy time in the playoffs with all the pressure of them being predicted to go to the finals? I hope your answers are a huge and emphatic 'No'. Any team that has the pressure built upon them from the spectators and critics to go on and compete in the Stanley Cup finals (which are about a month and a half away in scheduled reality) will feel the grip of impending doom if they get wrapped up in it. Just look at what happened in game one of the series. Calgary jumps up and squeezes out the "boo birds" at HP Pavilion. Granted the excitement came just beforehand when a flurry of activity occurred in front of Kiprusoff as San Jose tried a last ditch effort to tie. Ryan Clowe was the only play aside from the Kipper who showed up that night. The following night, it was a different story. Nabokov in the opposite goal gave the crowd something to shout and cheer about. The glove save that shocked everyone. Tim Peel, referee aka the water wings, on top of the net full body, looking down on the scrambling Mikka Kiprusoff blocking a ton of shots and bodies in his crease. Torey Mitchell's spectacular goal and well-warranted celebration with the Sharks' second and final goal of the 2-0 victory, was simply phenomenal. This series is going to be the biggest scare for the Shark team expected to make a long and deserving cup run. Lord Stanley is waiting. Will Joe Thornton raise the chalice over his head? One is hoping, but can that cause more trouble for the Sharks who lost game one and resoundingly became a much better team in game two? I don't think so. The Sharks are a team that fights through adversity with no qualms about it. Ron Wilson has a track record of success, but getting past the second round has been the issue. This may be the year they do it, and it will be in a spectacle of awe in its fashion.

New Jersey and New York Rangers: Well, I'm not surprised. Just look at the season series. The Rangers have had the Devils' number. It showed in game one between the two clubs. I'm not going to sit here and take back what I said about the series going to seven games and the Devils pulling it off. Scott Gomez was on fire setting up three goals for the Rangers in their 4-1 win in game one. I'm looking to see if he'll stay consistent. Shanahan, Callahan, and Avery with some solid goals for the blue shirts, but I look to Martin Brodeur to react like Nabokov did for the Sharks. Tonight's game will reflect the reactionary approach these goaltenders put on, especially with the home ice advantage factor. No team can go down 0-2 with home ice advantage and expect to pull off the upset in the other team's barn. Parise and Elias need to step it up and get the job done. Lundqvist looked really good, but if you rattle him enough and riddle him with shots, then the Devils will toggle on success in that respect.

So, there's my summary on two of four teams that lost game one at home. Reacting to that type of adversity is paramount in today's NHL. But it could also be the reason why I see most of these series, regardless of one-sided strengths, going to seven games. Those are just some of my thoughts on how the playoffs are going thus far.

~The Rant Man~

The Rant Man's Predictions:
Montreal in 5 (or 6 if Koivu doesn't return and Bergeron does)
Pittsburgh in 7 (or 5 if Alfredsson and Kelly don't actually return)
Washington in 7
New Jersey in 7
Detroit in 6
San Jose in 5 (this is my pre-playoff prediction, but leaning toward 7 after game 1)
Colorado in 7 (overtime in game 1 says it all)
Anaheim in 6 (maybe J.S. Giguere will react like Nabokov did after San Jose's game 1)

Three Months Later...the Playoffs are Coming!

Rant Man here, telling all you Hockey Week followers that the show will resume after my short vacation away from the region, but I never took a break from following the excitement of NHL hockey.

Things are heating up, and the most fun will come in the finish of the 2007-2008 regular season. The playoffs, most notably called the "Second Season", is going to be an enigmatic setup in who will play who considering the spots are not as secure as one would think. The fun and excitement come at the top of the standings and the "bubble" region of 7th and 8th place for both conferences. Coming up this week on HurstTV and a special video-podcast, I'll lead off the discussion with Johnny B. on where things are going as we dip into the last two weeks of the regular season. Teams like Buffalo, Washington, and even TORONTO are pushing to crack open the standings and try to squeeze out the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. Though the Flyers are on an upward swing, the Bruins are on a downward fall as Marc Savard is announced to miss at least two games with a lower back injury. Considering Boston and Buffalo have all divisional games remaining, it could come down to a photo finish for the two who may even see the Washington Capitals bypass both into the 8th spot.

On the other side of the NHL world, the Western Conference is looking just the same as Nashville, Edmonton, and Chicago are sitting on the bubble of possibly squeezing by the struggling Colorado Avalanche and the coming around Vancouver Canucks squad. The dynamic of the West is actually more complex than the East considering teams aren't pulling away as much in that end of the hockey world. 5th place to 8th are within few points of one another, and the fact that teams are soaring upward like the Oilers, anyone can fall out to allow others to move in.

We'll discuss it ALL! Scenarios of who may see the post-season and who will not can be seen here on video-podcast and HurstTV!

Stay Tuned!!

~The Rant Man~

Show 3: Goaltending Tandems

Well, just to keep you all in the loop, we decided to through you all this clip on our take on the goaltending tandems in the league. Well, it's more of John stealing the show because he seemed to thoroughly enjoy the topic and tried to rush my picks off parting for a commercial break. BUT annnyway, my in-depth analysis is quite clear if you ask me. But, enjoy this discussion on goaltending duos in the league.

Download Show 3

Podshow Link

We're on PodShow.com!

Podshow PDN {podshow-54a1ac08fa0c1b0dfcdb555635067f95}

Sidney Crosby Hurt: Countdown to Impact?

The kid is hurt. The world stood still when he got up and limped off his injury right to the dressing room. An innocent looking play on a trip took him on a journey into the boards and straight to the injured reserve list for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The image of him limping and being helped off the ice directly after he suffered the high ankle sprain on his right ankle, this could be a true testament of his impact on the team.

20 goals, 43 assists, 63 points. Of the 135 goals scored by the Penguins, Crosby was involved with 63 of them! It's time for the real Penguins to rise and shine. I've had discussion (screaming matches) with some colleagues of mine over the impact of Crosby and its possible effects on the team. I'm going to go the opposite direction of most critics and state this: It's going to be fine.

Yes, I said it is going to be fine. Why would I say this? Because I believe that the team has learned a lot from Sid in many ways. The line of Armstrong, Malkin, and Crosby, is now a little modified, of course, with Sid missing, but I wouldn't fear. In last night's 6-5 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, goals were scored by Evgeni Malkin (twice), Maxim Talbot, Ryan Malone, and Petr Sykora. So, I say, no sweat. Dany Sabourin carried the team on his shoulders the other night against Montreal in a 2-0 shutout win the day right after losing Crosby and the game against the Lightning 3-0 with Ty Conklin in the net. Then again, Sabourin was pulled last night in the game against the Caps after he let in four goals on 13 shots in a period and a half. Conklin to the rescue! He allowed one goal on 17 shots, and missed two saves on three shooters. Ok, so 20 shots, three goals compared to 4 goals on 13 shots, Conklin is still looking good. I mean, come on, why wasn't Olaf pulled when he allowed four goals on less than 10 shots? Sabourin was not to blame, Conklin wasn't either, and the Penguins' offense wasn't either. They were facing a hot Washinton Capitals team. Yes, hot. Semin, Ovechkin, and Backstrom, all carrying the team onward to bury the hatchet of what has been a rocky few seasons for the team. 7-2-1 in their last ten, the Capitals are on a roll and the Penguins got in their way.

I don't think that scoring five goals against the Caps proves anything like that of saying, "Oh, if Crosby were here..." I honestly think Crosby would have replaced himself into the scorers sheet in place of Talbot and Malone! The impact is still yet to be seen, but given a few more games, we'll wait and see whether or not this will truly hurt the Pens. Three way tie for first in the Atlantic Division, and it's in due thanks to the 2-0 shutout over the Canadiens on Saturday. So, give it some thought, because I have and I think that Crosby's points that he would have put up in the last two games, they are surely there but have found new names. He has taught them well in the past two seasons. It shows now that he is missing from the lineup in the past two games, and I believe it will become a trend. The Penguins are still a force to be reckoned with regardless.

~The Rant Man~

Podshow PDN {podshow-54a1ac08fa0c1b0dfcdb555635067f95}

A Far Fetched League Scenario? or The Cold War of Northern Secession

There are a lot of scenarios that can be imagined to happy to any situation, including the NHL. Some of them are normal, steady as she goes, predictions of the future. This one is not. What if a radical series of events hit the NHL that would cause a complete change in everything we know as the National Hockey League. The following is a guided narration of that scenario, all of which has some basis in fact and historical precedent.

The NHL has recently stepped up unification of the league, in media, in appearance, in jerseys, in advertising, and so far the teams have complained little. There have been a myriad of problems with the switch to the new RBK Edge jerseys, with every team forced to adapt their design to the new cut, if not change it entirely. Then comes the website switch. Every team was to have a website that matches the template of the NHL.com home site. The New York Rangers protested, refusing to switch, even filing a lawsuit against the NHL when the league imposed a $100,000 per day fine for not complying. The Rangers cited the NHL's inability to market the team properly, and that the "illegal cartel," as the Rangers called the NHL, couldn't market the Rangers as well as the Rangers could market the Rangers.

The lawsuit was thrown out, but it set a huge precedent: the teams could sue the league. This means that the teams must have some form of independence from the parent company.

The Rangers have been Fire Eaters of sorts, thwarting the NHL and RBK at every turn with their jerseys, opting to use their style from last year, and now sewing the hemlines, folding them to look like a regular jersey. They're the only team to do such a rebellious thing.

What if something bigger happened? What if something so huge were to occur that the Rangers said "no more"? The NHL was formed out of the ashes of the National Hockey Association, which folded after 4 teams left the league to form the NHL. Why did they leave? Eddie Livingstone, owner of the Toronto Blue Shirts, annoyed the other owners so much that they packed up and left. Could it happen again? Now that I've given the basis for my scenario, let's move to a narrative.

In the near future....
Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL have decided that they are not reaching enough audience, and there isn't enough cash in the coffers with the much-expanded cap, which had reached pre-lockout levels just a few years earlier. Echoing the NHL of the 1990s, expansion is the answer, and two teams are being added: Las Vegas and Kansas City. In an effort to increase scoring at the same time, Bettman flexes his muscles and larger nets are implemented. This angers a vast portion of the league, and the New York Rangers begin to protest as goalies begin a mass exodus for Europe.

The Rangers sue the league, but their case is thrown out of court. The NHLPA sues on behalf of the goalies, threatening to strike, but things blow over as an undisclosed amount of money is given to the NHLPA for "damages." The NHL Board of Governors (NHLBoG) meets without Bettman, and the wheels are put in motion for something not seen in about a century.

The New York Rangers, complete with a team of lawyers to back their claims, secede from the National Hockey League. They would rather form their own league or join another than play in the sham of the new(er) NHL.

The NHL immediately takes the Rangers to court, but lose, and the Rangers are allowed to maintain their newfound independence. Following the decision, other teams begin to take interest. The Canadiens and Canucks secede the day the court case ended. The Flyers, Bruins, Oilers, Red Wings, and Blue Jackets join them within a week. By the start of the NHL season, the rebel teams are joined by the Wild and the Maple Leafs. The 10 seceding teams join together to make their own league, the Heritage Hockey League (HHL).

The NHLPA becomes torn as to how players are allowed to leave the league with their teams. It is decided that players who wish to leave with the team may do so without NHLPA benefits, and any who stay will re-enter the NHL as free agents. Though this appeals to a great many players, especially budding superstars who look to make more money by moving. however, goalies are chomping at the bit to join the HHL, who promises to return the game to its glory days and casts aside the new nets, the Edge jerseys, the shootout, and other new rules.

Both leagues begin their respective seasons, the NHL with just 22 teams (including the expansion Las Vegas and Kansas City) competes for the Stanley Cup still, and the HHL plays for the new Howe Trophy. The HHL, looking to start over, grovels to ESPN and gets a contract that guarantees them no money, but gives them exposure. The HHL matches the NHL for ratings, despite Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the first Stanley Cup of the new era.

Following the season, teams begin to defect after feeling mistreated by the NHL during the original secessions. The New Jersey Devils lead the charge, followed by the Senators, Blackhawks, and Islanders. despite losing many players during the defection, the teams find it worthwhile, and the HHL grows to 14 teams for its second season.

To counter, the NHL begins expanding, and adds teams in New York City, Seattle, Detroit (again), and Montreal. The North American hockey world has expanded to 40 top-level teams, the talent pool wears thin. Quality of play decreases. The HHL surpasses the NHL in ratings. The entire hockey world pressures the NHL to include the HHL in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL refuses, and the Sabres win their first Stanley Cup.

The NHL is hemorrhaging money, the ratings are the worst in history, and the HHL is doing rather well. Cities can only support so many teams, and cities with both NHL and HHL franchises support the established teams: those who defected. The NHL teams that have been established are primarily southern, and their lack of financial support becomes painfully apparent with the absence of the Canadian teams.

The following season, the NHL agrees to allow the NHL Champion to play the HHL Champion for the Stanley Cup. The HHL Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins defect to the HHL following the season, although Sidney Crosby remains in the NHL. The 16 team HHL has won hockey's biggest prize, and won over the majority of fan support.

Gary Bettman finally gets fired, and despite hiring Wayne Gretzky as commissioner, it was too little too late. The following season, Sidney Crosby leaves the Tampa Bay Lightning to defect to the HHL, and the NHL's fate is sealed. With only southern teams (and a few northern expansions), the NHL declares bankruptcy after 3 more seasons of poorly played hockey and Stanley Cup losses. The HHL takes over, a 16 team league, playing the best hockey in over 50 years, dominates the North American landscape, and within 10 years of the NHL's demise, surpasses both the NBA and MLB in ratings.

Could it happen? I doubt it, a series of perfect events would have to coincide with court cases going in favor of the teams...but it's an interesting thought, no?

For Sci-Fi Channel Canada, I'm John Baranowski, Signing off.

Buffalo Sabres: Nine Losses in a Row and a Free Agent Waiting to Happen

I've been quite the staunch supporter of the Buffalo Sabres, but lately I'm beginning to take a step back and analyze why I've supported the organization. The basis for my support is no longer in the fold anymore, after finding that it was the players that made me excited to watch this team. Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, J.P. Dumont, Jay McKee, Mike Peca, Curtis Brown, Stu Barnes...and the list goes on.

This year, the name that can be put out there as the more appealing player to the fans is Brian Campbell. This young man will likely find himself suffering the demise of what many famed Sabres have in the past. His contract is running out at this season's end. He will then become an unrestricted free agent. What does an unrestricted free agent and Buffalo usually have in common? They, of course, don't make efforts to makes deals until it's too late. As I write this, he remains unsigned, the Sabres have lost 9 games in a row, three of the last being shootout losses. You can't make the playoffs by losing every game in a shootout for the point from now until the end of the season. Last year, the 90+ point range was needed to push into the playoffs, and with that in mind, the Sabres are looking at missing the playoffs after finishing out the best two seasons in their franchise history in a row. How does a team go from being on top after the lockout and come within inches from the Stanley Cup finals by appearing the Eastern Conference finals two years in a row, and now become a team barely looking to make playoffs? I think I have an answer...

Maybe it's time we take a look on the inside for this one. Larry Quinn and Darcy Regier are not the flashy, gutsy pairing duo that will go out a try to pick up someone through the trades or even through signing their own. Can you imagine if Alex Ovechkin was with the Sabres? Of course not. Why? Because if he were on the team this year, and being it the last on his contract, the Sabres' managing partners would wait until he became unrestricted before throwing out numbers to him. No more playing poker with the future of this team. You go to the conference finals twice in a row, 100+ point seasons twice as well, and then you lose the core of the success to free agency due to inactivity. It's time for a change Buffalo. Regier and Quinn must be held accountable for placing us in this situation. Vanek isn't producing and is way over-paid, Afinogenov needs to get traded for consistent talent, and leadership is needed from a strong veteran due to Teppo Numminen's no-longer anticipated return. Act now Darcy and Larry, or you may want to begin packing up.

~The Rant Man~

Podshow PDN {podshow-54a1ac08fa0c1b0dfcdb555635067f95}

Show 2: In Studio

From Friday January 11th, in studio, video podcast, blah blah blah, FUN!

Just kidding. Check out the real first podcast that gives you all the info and can only be seen here on the video podcast! So, check us out!

Download Show 2

Show 1: Promo and Look Ahead

This show is just a glimpse into the future of what kind of programming you'll see with this new and upcoming show.

Download Show 1

Welcome...from the other guy

I'm John Baranowski, Co-Host of Hockey Week in Review, and if you're reading this, I congratulate you. This is a new show on HurstTV Channel 19 in Erie, PA, and we're hoping you'll watch. Times and day of the week will be posted as soon as the 2008 broadcast schedule is released. Until then, keep looking here for everything.

The pilot is filmed and was on TV before Christmas break, and an edited down version of that will be posted here in the coming days. The set is sparse, the info is a little old, but our comments aren't too shabby for a first time, so watch and get a taste of what we're all about.

If you have any comments, good or bad (but hopefully constructive ones), email us at hockeyweek@hotmail.com and we'll read them, and perhaps even address them in the next show. So take a look around and wear a hardhat, this is still a construction area. yinz come back here real soon, ya hear?

Welcome to the Hockey Week evolution!

Ahhhh, a first post. That's always a good thing to say because now I can be excused of making a horrible impression from the get-go. "Oh, it's only their first crack at it." That's what I hope you'll be saying...well, not really.

Anyway, welcome to our page first off. For those of you who are fortunate to tune in and catch us on Erie TV, glad to have you reading along. We're doing a lot with what John and I have going. Video podcast, Television, and blogging are the three things we have to offer you all. So, iTunes, Time Warner Cable, and Blogger are our plugs. We leave it open forum for all to interject their opinions and views on issues and happenings in the hockey world. Plus, we'd LOVE feedback on what you think of what we're doing. It's not just John and I putting this together, but we let the audience help us make this endeavor what it is.

So, lots to talk about. Posts, video podcasts, and weekly shows on Erie TV all happening real soon. So, stayed tuned and in touch.

Let us know what you want to see, hear, and read about! Questions, comments, and suggestions can all be sent to HockeyWeek@hotmail.com

~Rant Man~