Friday, February 07, 2014

SportsCenter/DunkCenter Continues to Suck

On Wednesday I ranted about how I hate SportsCenter because it almost completely ignores hockey, and focuses on basketball dunks. Not basketball, and all the great plays made in a basketball game, just the dunks. Unfortunately SportsCenter was more of the same today.

Last night the Boston Bruins played the St. Louis Blues. It was the 2nd best team in the East against the 3rd best in the West. The NHL equivalent of the Heat playing the Trailblazers. There were no highlights on SportsCenter from the Bruins/Blues game. Even though it was a 3-2 overtime game, even though the B's came back from 2 goals down, even though Jarome Iginla almost scored a game-winner in OT but Alex Petrangelo made a great play to stop him from scoring on an open net. Nope, not worthy of a 30 second SportsCenter clip. Not even 15 seconds.

SportsCenter did show highlights from the Capitals/Jets game. Alexander Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the season. But John Kerry, who dropped the puck before the game, was as equal a part of the brief highlight as Ovi was.

There were also highlights from the Canucks/Canadiens game. Because Max Pacioretty scored a hat-trick despite missing on two penalty shots. But the highlights were in low definition! How does that happen? How can that happen?

And then there were the Top Plays. Ten plays, 9 basketball highlights, 7 dunks, 1 golf shot. There were 2 really good basketball plays. Someone in a college game hit ten 3-pointers. And an LSU player made a very strong block against a Georgia player trying to dunk on him. I found the blocked dunk to be quite cathartic, and it temporarily soothing my anti-dunking rage.

If you're going to focus almost exclusively on basketball highlights, show more than just dunks. Show the big 3-pointers, the blocks, the strong drives, the good defense, the quick moves, the steals. There are a lot of great plays made in basketball games. It's more than just dunks. Showing just the dunks is like a highlight reel of jokes, with just the punchlines.

And don't forget to show the flops, the double flops, and dives. Especially if they lead to foul calls that determine the game. Isn't that an important highlight to show?

Bruins Leave St. Louis with a Point

The Bruins played a better game, but the Blues made better plays. And the B's could have and maybe should have won.

Leaving St. Louis with a point is an achievement. Especially after being down 2-0 in the 3rd period. St. Louis was 17-4-2 against Eastern Conference opponents coming into this game. And the Bruins were without captain Zdeno Chara, who's in Sochi to carry Slovakia's flag for the Olympic opening ceremonies. That's got to be a pretty special moment in the life of an athlete.

Alexander Steen scored the Blues' first goal, and it was legit, and a good demonstration of why he's scored 28 this season. However the Bruins should have been on the power play after Loui Eriksson's teeth were "pushed in" (as Claude Julien described after the game) by a high stick. There was a lot of blood, but no penalty. The Bruins should have been given a 5-on-3 power play for about half a minute (the non-call occurred when the Bruins were already on a power play). Instead play continued and the next stoppage was Steen's goal.

And those are all the blues I'm going to sing about that non-call.

The Bruins showed strong determination throughout the game. That's why they were able to score twice in the 3rd period. They stuck to the way they'd been playing in the 2 prior periods. David Krejci scored his 13th, Brad Marchand his 18th. In his last 25 games, Marchand has scored 14 goals. He scored 4 goals in the first 31 games of the season. I think he's moved on from the loss of Tyler Seguin, on and off the ice.

In overtime Jarome Iginla nearly won the game. He showed a Hall of Fame scorer's patience. He was in the crease with an open net in front of him, Jaroslav Halak on the far post. Iginla had to handle a pass with his skate to settle it, and showed great instincts by not kicking it in. He knew he had plenty of time to receive the pass, settle the puck, and tap it in with the blade of his stick, and that Halak didn't have enough time to move from post to post to stop him. However, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had enough time to skate over and extend the blade of his stick between the puck and the net, and broke the play up. Give credit to Pietrangelo for the game-saving play.

That play didn't make SportsCenter. None of the plays did because this game wasn't good enough for SportsCenter.

One more game until the Olympic break. The Senators play the B's Saturday afternoon at the Garden. The B's will go into the break with a nice lead in the division, the second best record in the conference, and a near win against the third best team in the West. Not bad. Most of the roster will rest, Chara (Slovakia), Krejci (Czech Republic), Rask (Finland), Bergeron (Canada), Eriksson (Sweden), and Julien (Canada) will work. That means key players like Lucic, Iginla, Marchand, and Boychuk can recharge their batteries for the stretch run.

Photo Credit:
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press