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Wednesday, June 09, 2021

After 49 years, Chicago gets a return visit by the Stanley Cup.

So ends the city’s drought, so ends Marian Hossa’s personal Finals drought, and so ends one of the most entertaining National Hockey League championship rounds in recent years. The Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t be more evenly matched, and it showed brilliantly on the ice. Right up until what had to be the most awkward game-winning goal I’ve ever seen:

Patrick Kane sneaked the puck past Michael Leighton 4:10 into overtime and stunned Philadelphia to lift the Blackhawks to a 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 on Wednesday night for their first championship since 1961.

No one but the Blackhawks appeared to know what was going on for a few frozen moments. Kane and his linemates seemed the only players on the ice who knew the puck found the side of the net. The goal light never went on, but that didn’t stop most of the Blackhawks from storming the ice and mobbing each other in celebration.

This series had to end, and it’s just as well it did so on such a corker.

Now that 1961 has been exorcised (notably, that last Chicago Cup was the only time during the Original Six era that a team other than Montreal, Toronto, or Detroit had won the league title), we can move onto Toronto. Namely, to antagonize the Maple Leafs with an extra edge since they’re lugging the NHL’s now-longest championship drought. I can hear the “Nineteen-sixty-sev-en!” chants now…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/09/2021 11:58pm
Category: Hockey
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Both the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association are enjoying double-digit percentage-point increases in ratings this month, and there’s an interesting contributing factor:

Ratings for major sports events have been strong this year, including the record set for the most-watched Super Bowl. TV executives think it’s no coincidence the increases coincide with Americans’ rapid adoption of high definition television, which is very popular with sports fans.

An estimated 52 percent of American homes had HDTVs and were actively using them, according to a Nielsen study done in April. That compares with 33 percent a year earlier and 17 percent in 2008, Nielsen said.

A sharper picture yields a more engaged sports-fan audience, I guess. My own experience bears this out: I’d be watching sports anyway, but the HD coverage encourages me to watch more. And in instances where, for instance, there are multiple NHL games being broadcast in my area, I’ll opt for the HD broadcasts over the ones that are in standard-definition.

HD video is available online, so that alone doesn’t insulate television providers from Web competition. But it does reinforce sports programming as a key hook for customer retention.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/09/2021 11:37pm
Category: Basketball, Hockey, TV
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It’s pretty rainy and miserable in New York at the moment. Although the “miserable” part is relative:

A colleague tonight told me she wished she could step outside for just a few minutes, to dance in the rain. She grew up in India, where oft-oppressive heat made any rainfall a welcomed respite. She loves the feel of dampness in the air, and the accompanying smell of mud arising from the cooled-down earth.

As much as I appreciated her sentiments, I ruefully shared with her my polar-opposite attitude toward such weather. I really dislike getting wet by precipitation. I compare this aversion to that of a cat’s — even the briefest of rain-soakings leaves me in a miserable and foul mood. And I’ve had plenty of practice with the heat/cooldown cycle she described: I lived in Florida for 15 years. I never found the daily summer squalls in the Sunshine State to be refreshing; if anything, they’d leave things even more hot and muggy after their short downpour.

To bring me around, my colleague suggested I go to India with her during the next rainy season. I told her I’d think about it. If anthing could change my anti-rain attitude, a trip halfway around the globe with her might do it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/09/2021 06:04pm
Category: Weather
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