The Instigator Podcast 10.5 – Opening Night for the NHL on ESPN

We celebrate and discuss the opening night for ESPN and the NHL as the pair are officially together once again. We discuss some of the new features released in the days leading up to the season and the encouraging outlook from the first night of their broadcast. We also touch on the Sabres post-camp roster and have an in-depth conversation about where JJ Peterka should be playing.

The Instigator Podcast 9.13 – The NHL is Back on ESPN

It’s been a long time coming, but the NHL and ESPN are working together again. The NHL will be back on ESPN this fall after the two sides came to a new television deal in the United States. We discuss what the new deal means for the NHL from a financial and exposure standpoint. Especially interesting is the significant streaming aspect to the deal and just what that might mean for getting the league in front of new fans.

With more drama surrounding Ralph Krueger, we also weigh in on the latest with Buffalo’s head coach. Including whether or not Krueger is on the verge of being fired and just who might be on tap to replace him if it comes to that.

The Instigator Podcast is supported by Manscaped. You can get 20% off and free shipping by using the code 2ITB at

ESPN dropped the ball

Yesterday was a tough day for the hockey world. There have been countless hours and words devoted to the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv tragedy. One thing that really bothered me yesterday was the lack of coverage that ESPN seemed to be giving to this matter.

Of course, I couldn’t watch SportsCenter, but numerous tweets said that the top story on the sports news show was Peyton Manning being ruled out for Sunday’s game. ESPN considered that breaking news. Funny, I knew he wasn’t playing in this game two weeks ago. Add to that the fact that their website hadn’t been updated with the story. It was buried on the sidebar on the NHL page, but nowhere to be found on the homepage.

Thrashing the Blues has a great breakdown of ESPN’s coverage.

The wake of an international tragedy like this is no time to start pointing fingers and telling people they are jerks. But, it is difficult to ignore the disregard ESPN showed to this story. I think it is an embarrassment that ESPN wasn’t able to lead SportsCenter and their website with this story. They are the “worldwide leader in sports” after all. Ironically, they had no trouble digging up cell phone video of the UConn basketball fight in China.

I lost most respect for ESPN a long time ago. I don’t expect their hockey coverage to be very good because they have no vested interest in the sport. But showing blatant disregard for a tragedy that has struck the global sports community is pretty pathetic.

NBC scores big, ESPN left out again by NHL

Take a look around the sports sites and blogosphere and you will read that the NHL has made a choice regarding their next television deal.

NBC and Comcast won out in a bidding war that included CBS, ESPN and others. NBC is reported to have bought ten years worth of broadcast rights for $200 million. EDIT: The deal is $2 billion for the next ten years. That equates to $200 million per season. Continue reading

ESPN covering their tracks

ESPN has realized the folly of televising the one-hour LeBron circus.

The network’s Ombudsman, Don Ohlmeyer, issue this statement/story/article on the ESPN website analyzing the decision to air The Decision.

To me, it come across like he is criticizing the decision, all while presenting a case as to why it made sense.

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The LeBron network

It had to be only hours after my piece calling out ESPN that they decided to dedicate an hour to LeBron James’ decision on who to sign with.

How ridiculous can you get? I understand that this is the biggest thing for the NBA, and the network that holds the league in such limelight, since Jordan retired. But still, this guy hasn’t won anything. I don’t even think I would give him the final shot in game seven if I had the choice. Dwayne Wade and Kobe would be my first two choices – and I’m sure there are more ahead of LBJ.

Either way, I think he ends up with the South Beach Super Squad (Miami Heat) and they win a title or two in the next few seasons. Cleveland doesn’t have the ability to build him a winner. The Bulls failed to land any big names. The Nets and Bulls are floating in the same boat. Finally, the Knicks just don’t seem capable of landing him, even with Amare Stoudemire.

I’ll have a recap of the event, plus some photoshop goodness later tonight or tomorrow. It should be interesting to see the outcome, even though the reports have already leaked.

ESPN has sunk to a new level

In the past four or five years, ESPN has become a, flat-out, frontrunner. They seemingly gave up on covering every sport and only covered the ones they care about. I understand that it is good business, but don’t say you’re the world wide leader in sports when you’re really the world wide leader in football, basketball and NASCAR.

The only reason NASCAR is worth watching.

That is where my beef truly begins. NASCAR is not a sport, it never was a sport and will never be a sport. It is drab, uniform and just plain hickish. The only good thing to come out of NASCAR is Talledega Nights and crashes. I understand that the drivers are very skilled – I know I probably wouldn’t do too well driving 160 in traffic – but, they aren’t athletes. The cars do just as much work as they do. Not only has Johnson not done anything athletic, he has won the last four Sprint Cups because of strategy, not winning a whole bunch of races. Every sport forces it’s champion to win it all, not win sometimes and finish high enough the rest of the time. NASCAR is a complete and utter joke.

So, when ESPN lists Jimmie Johnson as a nominee for Male Athlete of the Year, I know they no longer have an unbiased view of sports. Their nominees for the top ESPY are: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Albert Pujols, Drew Brees and Johsnon.

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It’s too bad Sports Science went this way

So, Sports Science is a pretty cool show. It wasn’t too bad when it was on FSN and ESPN took it and really turned it into what it should have been all along, a 2-3 minute hit, not a 30-minute show.

Of course, ESPN didn’t get their hands on the show soon enough. Because they managed to put out this beauty:

I know the results of the show say that Trent Edwards has a quicker release and reaction than a gunslinger, but seriously? I’m pretty sure if they had the chance they would go another route. The only saving grace here is that Sports Science probably did this show before Edwards entrenched himself as Captain Checkdown.

Don’t you get it? It’s a JUMP to CONCLUSIONS mat!

Why must major sports outlets jump to such wild and rash conclusions with every sport? Perfect example, the Chicago Blackhawks go up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final. Sportscenter immediately wonders, “is the series over?”

Of course it isn’t. And the excuse that it makes for better television is, in the words of Charles Barkley, “trbl“. I’d rather hear why Philly had a chance to tie the series, which they did, and what the Blackhawks had to do for a sweep. That makes more sense to me.

Tiger Woods is another good example. The guy made a mistake(s), but it wasn’t on the golf course. So those transgressions should be left outside the realm of the PGA Tour because that’s where they occurred. He knows the errors he made and he took steps to fix that, why does ESPN need to stake out his rehab clinic?

Sorry, that was a rhetorical question. It’s the same reason the network televises the Spelling Bee (which is intoxicating to watch), the World Series of Poker and a NASCAR studio show. Honestly, what could you possible talk about on a 30-minute NASCAR talk show? Left turns can only take you so far.

The networks are even doing it after one game of the NBA Finals. I can almost guarantee the response from the major sports outlets. It certainly won’t be conservative either.