September 30, 2009

Martin Havlat - NHL Twitterer Extraordinaire

Twitter is slowly catching on with the NHLers. It's been popular with other sports, such as college football, the NFL, and the NBA, but the NHL players aren't sure what to make of it, I think. Martin Havlat has just become their poster boy.

Oh, a few of them have Twitter accounts. Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Dan Boyle, TJ Oshie, Mike Commodore, the newly retired Bret Hedican, and former player Dave Andreychuk - among others. Some do it more than others, but few are as prolific in his tweeting as Martin Havlat.

Today, for instance, he decided to field questions from the people who follow him for about two hours. He said he'd answer the best ones, and he answered quite a few. It really looked like an independent thing on his part. The team Twitter person didn't announce anything for a while after Havlat did. So, you know, good for him that he took that initiative to connect with the fans of his new team.

The best quote of the day about that I saw was "is Havlat the anti-Gaborik?"

It's nothing terribly exciting, but it is interesting. Havlat is using Twitter as a tool to get his own message across directly to his fans. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how one uses it, but he seems to be taking it in the right direction. Hopefully he can maintain what he's doing and how he's going about doing it.

A word on Twitter.... What you see on people's pages - if they're public, which mine's not unless you follow me - is what they send out, not what they receive. When you log on in your home page, you can see the messages of everyone that you're following. And if you're following someone, and someone is following you back, you can send direct messages that are private. So what you see isn't always what you get with Twitter.

It's never dull, tho, that's for sure.

September 26, 2009

Forsberg interested in Washington?

A report from Sweden on Foppa
...I’ve heard Foppa does NOT have Colorado at the top of his wish list should he return to the NHL. I’m hearing that he’d rather play in Philly or Washington. But a Philly source I trust told me the Flyers have “moved on” from Foppa and won’t be signing him. But the Caps? I have to believe they might be intrigued.

I was afraid this might happen.

September 25, 2009

Hockey Road Trips And Twitter

The Bolts and Yotes.

Ah...road trips.... I was following this one on Twitter Tuesday. As well as a few others. I couldn't figure out for the longest time why they were driving thru Wenatchee, tho. Sad, but true. (The road over Stevens Pass goes from Wenatchee to Everett.)

Okay, of course I like road trips. I'm biased. I practically grew up in a car. But there's a difference between going for a drive to see what you can see, and going to see a game with friends. A big difference.

When I was like 20, a friend of mine and I went on major junior road trip across the state of Washington. That was fun. We actually followed the bus for a time. We did not stay at the team's hotels, however. And that was completely intentional.

In college - about 7 years ago or so - friends and I would take road trips for football games and men's basketball games. Those were always a lot of fun - especially if we were going to go see football at our rival's field. Of course, the visitor's bleachers were literally right behind the visitor's sidelines. And when I say "right behind", I mean right behind. You had to squeeze past football players to get to the concession stands. Oh, the memories....

On an entirely different note, for those that do the Twitter thing, here's a list of NHL players current on Twitter. It's not a complete list, but it's a start. Don't expect them to write much, because they don't. Enjoy.

NHL Players on Twitter

September 23, 2009

Yet Another Forsberg Comeback Has Started

"Foppa" spelar – redan i morgon

Please, no. Someone tell him to stop, okay? Like, now?

(And yes, I do read a bit of Swedish. How do you think I survived thru the last NHL lockout, anyways? Hänger med en laget på Elitserien. Or something like that. Can't really speak it, tho.)

UPDATE: Here's the English version of that:

Forsberg Ready for Another Comeback in Sweden

September 22, 2009

Preseason NHL hockey in the Seattle area

Peter Mueller returns to Everett for NHL exhibition

This is pretty typical.

Tonight, the NHL visits the Greater Seattle Area for the first time in years, and this is all the Seattle Times - the now lone print newspaper in the city - has online about it. The Tampa Bay Lightning are playing a preseason game against the Phoenix Coyotes in Everett, Washington, in case you missed it. It's only because of the WHL teams in the area (the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Everett Silvertips) that a few people know anything about the sport at all.

Thank you, Vancouver Canucks, for not even bothering to try to grow the game in the US.

At least the local newspaper, the Everett Herald, has something that sounds a bit more knowledgeable about tonight's preseason game.

September 16, 2009

Lecavalier's Fall From Grace

Yesterday, my friend Thomas (a Rangers fan in England) found out that Vinny Lecavalier stopped by Manchester, England, over the summer. So he sent out this message to Kate (who's a Pens fan from London), Katerina (who's a Lightning/Flyers fan - and has a huge crush on Vinny - in the Czech Republic), and me. The whole thread is pretty funny, as we were bashing Vinny's choice in being a Man United fan. I wish I could post it all up here, but I haven't asked everyone if it was okay.

My response to the whole thing was this:
I was seriously disappointed to find out that he's a Man United fan. And then, as if that weren't bad enough, he likes the Kansas City Royals?! I thought I knew you, Vinny! I'm terribly disillusioned by all of this. I think I need to go lie down for a while....
Thomas, who actually lives in Manchester, isn't a Man United fan. That should tell you something right there. Of course, he's not from there, tho. He's from elsewhere in England. I'll probably be hearing more of this when I see him in DC next month.

But even Katerina, who thinks Vinny's to die for (while he is good looking, she is also 22 years old), said that she didn't think he knew much about football (soccer) if he's a Man United fan. I can almost forgive him for the Kansas City Royals - since that's family, and that's how it should be - but even I know better than to root for Man United. And I'm from the West Coach of North America where I grew up closer to Tokyo, Japan, than I did to Paris, France.

So here's the comparison. Or, comparisons, as it were. It's like a German deciding to follow American footall, and decides to pick the Dallas Cowboys or the New England Patriots as his team. Or a Japanese person deciding to follow American baseball and going with the New York Yankees. Or a Frenchman deciding to follow American college football and picking the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or the Florida Gators. Or a Ukrainian deciding to follow N American hockey and going with either Montréal Canadiens or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Are you getting the picture here?

I mean, seriously, not only are there 19 other teams to choose from in the English Premier League, but there's the rest of Europe, Africa, Asia, and S America as well. No Real Madrid? No FC Barcelona? No AC Milan? No Bayern Munich? Not to mention Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool of the EPL. And that's just off the top of my head - and I don't even follow soccer.

Manchester United? Really? You couldn't do better than that? I don't know if I can blog about the Lightning after this. Wow. How terribly disappointing.

September 1, 2009

Hockey In Seattle? Why Not Portland (Ore.)?

NHL in Seattle? It Could work

Okay. I'm going to go over this yet again. Tho I don't know why I bother since no one bothers to listen to me. I've only been singing the same old song about it for the last 15 years or so. And, you know, I only grew up in the area.

In small, simple words. Seattle has no building. Portland has a building. End of story.

The one factoid that the NHL is missing is that distance doesn't matter. Not in that area. I can't tell you how many times I've sat next to people from Alaska or Montana at Seattle Mariners games. The Vancouver Canucks can have their lock on British Columbia - whatever. They can do what they want. However, a team in Seattle would have a fan base that covers Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Here's your comparison, for those of you playing along at home.

Seattle Combined Statistical Area
Distance to drive from downtown Seattle to downtown Vancouver, BC:
140 miles (225 km) or 2.5 hours - plus an international border crossing
Total Population: 3.3 million
Counties: Island, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston
Major cities: Bellevue (King Co.), Bremerton (Kitsap Co.), Everett (Snohomish Co.), Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater (Thurston Co.), Seattle (King Co.), Tacoma (Pierce Co.)
Seattle Population: approx. 600,000
Tacoma Population: approx. 200,000
Bellevue Population: approx. 120,000
Everett Population: approx. 100,000
Companies: Alaska Airlines, Amazon.com, Boeing, Costco, Expedia.com, Microsoft, Nintendo USA, Nordstrom, REI, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Washington Mutual, Weyerhaeuser

Portland (Ore.) Combined Statistical Area
Distance to drive from downtown Portland to downtown Vancouver, BC:
315 miles (500 km) or 5 hours - plus an international border crossing
Total Population: 2.5 million
Counties: Clark (Wash.), Skamania (Wash.), Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill
Major Cities: Portland (Multnomah Co.), Vancouver (Clark Co., Wash.), Beaverton (Washington Co.), Gresham (Multnomah Co.), Hillsboro (Washington Co.)
Portland Population: approx. 550,000
Vancouver (Wash.) Population: approx. 160,000
Beaverton Population: approx. 86,000
Companies: Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Linux/IBM, Nike, Tektronix, Yahoo!, Yakima Products

My Other Hockey Blog....

I haven't been posting much of anything anywhere lately. I haven't had a lot of motivation to write. Not for any particular reason, it's just one of those phases. I'm sure that'll change next week when the buildup to NHL camps starts up in earnest. We'll see how that goes, tho.

I should at least be making more of a concerted effort on my other blog, however. Part of the problem with that is that Raw Charge is so public. I mean, 10 hours of my day is dedicated to work (including commuting). I could post things up while work on that blog, technically, but I'd rather not. And that really handcuffs me when it comes to writing.

Currently, content from that blog is published, linked, or syndicated by Yahoo Sports, Google News, the NHL, USA Today, Sports Illustrated's FanNation, CBS SportsLine, and some random small aggregators. And since we also have a Twitter account for the blog, links to our content go out on Twitter as well. So I'd rather not have my boss checking out sports pages and accidentally running across my stuff noticing that the time stamp for it being published was during work hours. I'm funny that way.

Of course, I have a separate Twitter account. I only plan on using the Raw Charge Twitter for when I go to games - assuming I remember to do that, of course. When I go to games, I'm usually focused on the game, so any random stuff like picture-taking and twittering don't really enter into my head. Anyways, my personal Twitter is more for me to keep up on hockey headlines and news than anything else.

I don't feel too bad about not posting anything up on my other blog as much, tho. The reason being is that about half of the stuff my co-blogger John puts up are things I've thrown his way or have edited or touched in some fashion. Many of the posts are really collaborations. But only one person can post it, and that's usually him - so he gets the credit for it. Not that it matters, really.

The topic I'd like to blog about today is the NHLPA firing Paul Kelly, but I just don't know enough about it to really write an educated opinion. But from the outside looking in, it looks like a seriously bad move. The players need to think about this kind of thing logically instead of emotionally. Otherwise, we're almost certainly heading for another lockout. And if that happens, this one is going to be ugly. Not from a player/owner perspective, but from a fan perspective. Good luck with selling tickets after that.

NHLPA fires Kelly: Picking through the rubble