Stanley Cup Notebook
Bettman lukewarm about glowing puck
Posted: Wednesday June 10, 1998 07:19 PM
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says Fox's blue dot to highlight the puck is fine if it helps television fans (AP)|
DETROIT (AP) -- Gary Bettman isn't a fan of FoxTrax. He isn't a
Actually, the NHL commissioner has no feelings at all about the gimmick
that the Fox network uses to highlight the puck for television fans.
"I don't need it, [but] it doesn't bother me," Bettman said Wednesday
while appearing at a breakfast with the media at the Stanley Cup finals. "I
don't like the blue dot -- but if it makes it easier for [TV] fans, that's
Fox introduced FoxTrax during the NHL All-Star Game in Boston in January
1996. The computer-enhanced puck left a comet-like trail of color -- blue
or red -- depending on the speed of the shot.
It was the NHL's answer to criticism that the puck is hard to pick up on
television by the casual hockey fan. Now the NHL might want to answer
criticism from hard-core fans who dislike the "blue dot" that Bettman
It is supposed to identify the location of the puck when the camera has a
tight shot on the near boards. Very often, the dot just hovers on a
player's arm or leg, or on someone's lap in the audience.
The NHL ratings slump continued for Game 1 of the finals,
with Fox getting a 3.3, down 17 percent from last year's opener. (A rating
point represents 980,000 households.)
The biggest difference
came in having Washington, the seventh biggest market, in the final instead
of Philadelphia, the fourth largest. Washington finished 37 percent lower
than Philadelphia last year.
Detroit, which is in the finals for
the second consecutive year, finished 12 percent higher than last year,
nearly doubling the rating from Washington.
postseason have also been hurt by teams from big markets like New York, Los
Angeles and Chicago not making the playoffs or being eliminated early.
New York fell 57 percent, Los Angeles 39 percent and Chicago 25
As expected, Washington's Dale Hunter was an
irritant to the Detroit
Red Wings in Game 1. Hunter, known for his in-your-face style, gave a
particularly nasty time to Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman.
"We didn't have any particular assignments, but I think Hunter can get
under anybody's skin," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said. "In particular, I
think he irritated Steve. But Dale is not going to let this opportunity
pass by. At 38-years old, I don't think he expects to play the next four
years in the finals."
Wilson said there was no way he couldn't
use Hunter, anyway.
"All I had to do was turn around and who is
over my right shoulder but Dale Hunter's dad," Wilson said. "So, if I did
not put Dale in, I might have had a beer thrown on me."
Washington forward Brian Bellows took
a jet home to Minnesota after Game 1 to be with his wife, Tracy, who is
about ready to deliver a baby.
It is not known whether Bellows,
who has four goals in 18 games, will be available for Game 2 on Thursday
Washington left wing Todd Krygier, who
has been sidelined with a groin injury suffered in the Buffalo series, will
probably return to the lineup on Thursday night, Wilson said.
Krygier skated on Tuesday and Wednesday and he said he feels good.
It will be a homecoming of sorts. Krygier's parents, Roman and Charlene,
live in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He spent the early part of his youth in
Novi, Michigan, before his parents moved to Buffalo.
season tickets to the Sabres, but I still like coming back here because my
parents live here," Krygier said. "It's good. All of our parents have
sacrificed a lot and to let them have a chance to see us play is great."
Capitals defenseman Calle Johansson
abruptly ended an interview in the locker room after the morning skate when
he noticed it was a little after 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.
"Excuse me, I have to go watch some soccer, Brazil-Scotland," he said.
Zednik on a roll
Wilson could not say enough good things
about rookie Richard Zednik,
who scored the Caps lone goal in Game 1.
"He is just a fun
loving kid and he goes out there and he is very relaxed," Wilson said. "He
is not intimidated by this atmosphere at all. He is a new breed of European
player, who comes over as a youngster and plays junior hockey and isn't
intimidated by any stretch of the imagination with the surroundings."
Zednik's seven goals are tied for the team lead in the playoffs with
Joe Kocur, who made his NHL
reputation mostly with his fists, was out of hockey but living in Detroit
when the Red Wings signed him as a free agent a year ago. Detroit coach
Scotty Bowman admits he didn't know what he was getting.
didn't know much about Joey," Bowman said. "I never knew what kind of
player he was, just sort of the reputation that goes around. He is really a
smart player. He knows how to play hockey.
"That sounds strange,
but he has really got a big sense for the game."
Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig looks
like a poster boy for cool. But looks can be deceiving. Kolzig says he has
to work hard to stay relaxed.
"I'm always going to get nervous,
but as long as I can vent, I'll be fine," said Kolzig, who faced 31 shots
in a 2-1 loss in Game 1. "My venting takes different forms. Sometimes it's
yelling an obscenity. Sometimes it's breaking a stick.
take anything home with me. It all stays at the rink."
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