Friday, October 3, 2008

The Sounds of Bliss

(painting by William Roy Brownridge)

This may be the ideal season to be gauging the Isles' progress by the tenor of the radio announcers' voices rather than by the sights and hollow sounds projected by my television.

The mistakes on ice, neatly summarized by the shifting of names, rather than by the visual evidence, will be easier to take. And the feats of the young players will get a lustrous halo.

It is ground well-covered by writers, but there is something to the glamour of sports in my childhood. One televised game each week, and the radio companion for weeknights, was not preferable in the most direct sense, but it did serve to build the legend. That could also be childhood delusion via memory at play, or simply age, as I got so jittery and irritated playing NHL 09 and then watching that ridiculous debate last night I went to bed and read a book about Bobby Orr. And I was happier, and calm, and settled.

The Federal League, our version of fantasy hockey, drafts tonight. I am ill-prepared. But that same strategy of ignorance to the narrative helped me win a baseball league this year. (don't tell me baseball is much easier to discern from the numbers column ... I know.) My team is "Poodle" (see: Slap Shot), but I think I might have to come up with something more clever, although I am beginning to detest anything clever largely as a result of reading too much Internet. I had one team named "PIMs Win Cups," which I used in a league in which I was lectured after complaining about the absence of PIMs on the stat chart.

So it might just be Poodle.

I can't think of an Islander worth drafting high. DiPietro might make a good late-round pickup. Or Steit, I guess. I would be wary of his plus/minus, whatever the points. (Save the lectures on the meaningless nature of this stat. I know. And, it's fantasy, a crucial point being that it is not real.) And I'm not big on drafting defensemen.

I'm also not big on drafting good hockey players, but that is a story for another time.

A Few Words concerning NHL 09
NHL 09 isn't frustrating just me, if the Internet forums are any indication of the wider opinion. It just feels awkward, which isn't necessarily a tangible thing, but it is there. I feel as if the players often are compelled to turn the wrong way, whatever tricks of "vision control" I try.

Most importantly, the goal scoring feels like a chore, and doesn't have the sort of "anything can happen" vibe I would like to see. This isn't a problem on the "pro" level. But if you've played this game much during the past two years, pro isn't a challenge. On all-star the whole thing feels like a chore.

A lack of penalties called, especially against the CPU, is another significant problem. I suspect this may be addressed in a patch, as the EA Vancouver team has been exceptional at addressing issues. And, I felt much the same about 08 as I feel now about 09 prior to one patch and a few roster updates that largely dealt with the most prevalent issues in the game. For now, I practice a bit and hold out on a franchise.

Lying About Injuries is Dumb (except when it is smart because the league allows it)
This business of not telling anyone about injuries in the NHL is stupid and cynical. This isn't the fucking pre-cursor to Desert Storm, or whatever. It's a hockey team. Someone in Toronto needs to step in, set a league standard, and enforce the standard. GMs look like clowns playing this dumb game with reporters.

Ticket holders and Centre Ice subscribers have a right to know as paying customers what kind of product they will see on the ice, in general. Sure, the coach is going to sit people, etc. But this gives a shabby, amateur appearance to the league. And Garth Snow is one of the most consistent and smarmy offenders.

The onus is on the league, because the present situation only gives GMs incentive to lie, as they can prevent other teams from fully understanding their roster situations in trade/waiver deals, thus protecting their leverage, so to speak.

It might work for the teams, but it doesn't work for the fans. And the fans are ... oh yeah ... I forgot. Well, we can always go fuck ourselves.

1 comment:

The Mediocre One said...

I have to disagree with the injuries section here (and I'm at work so this gives me a chance to kill five minutes). As an Islander fan, it's hard to imagine this situation, but picture a team with a stellar, franchise player. If he has a weakness, you don't want people knowing about it because they're going to target that injury. Don't believe me? Ask Bobby Orr about all those goals he never had a chance to score because of people like Pat (dammit...) Quinn. I say hide injuries as best you can and maybe the Islanders will one day have someone who is really worthy of being protected.