The Emrick/Olczyk/McGuire Express goes coast-to-coast for a pair of Game 7s

51PmlcN2bzLHow much do Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire love them some playoff hockey?
Enough to Duck Tape their eyes open, travel more than 2,500 miles with little sleep and say they’ve called two conference final Game 7s in a 24-hour period before the Stanley Cup Final begins.
It starts with NBC’s NHL A-Team doing the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning Eastern Conference Game 7 on Friday night from Madison Square Garden on Friday night (5 p.m., NBCSN).
NHLbroadcast_q4p2z8f3_yjx4c86wAfter that ends — and with endless overtime, of course, there’s no guarantees — the trio heads back to their hotel, presumably take a short nap, then catch a 6 a.m. flight out of Newark, N.J., headed for LAX. (Presumably, nothing would get them to Southern California any faster if they were pointed toward John Wayne Airport or even Burbank).
After a scheduled West Coast landing at 9:08 a.m. on Saturday — if all goes well — they will could catch an early-morning skate, go to their new hotel stop, change clothes, then call the Ducks-Chicago Blackhawks Western Conference Final Game 7 that night (5 p.m., Channel 4).
After that, it’s a red-eye out of LAX to their respective homes, at which point they’ll know where Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final begins on Wednesday.
As West Coast hockey viewers have come to expect, the NBC Sports’ plan usually suggests that any combination of play-by-play men like Dave Strader or Kenny Albert, with analysts such as Brian Engblom or Joe Micheletti, handle much of what’s in the Western Conference, while Emrick/Olczyk/McGuire do the East. Earlier in these playoffs, however, Emrick/Olczyk/McGuire were at the Ducks-Blackhawks’ Games 3 and 4 in Chicago — Olczyk’s hometown — while dancing back and forth between the Rangers-Lightning games.
But then again, as a reference point: Emrick/Olczyk/McGuire haven’t done a game at Anaheim’s Honda Center since Game 5 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. The Ducks won that game, 6-2, over Ottawa to claim the franchise’s only championship.
Meanwhile, it’s maybe time to break out the BINGO cards from a year ago and see where Emrick/Olczyk/McGuire get you in a real game of line changes. Albert could use the break in his schedule for some amusement anyway.

Also:
NBC Sports reports that, to this point, the Stanley Cup Playoffs on NBC Sports Live Extra are up 20 percent over last year in unique views and up 36 percent in minutes watched, averaging 48,000 uniques and 2.2 million minutes. Through 12 games, the NHL Conference Finals on Live Extra are up 43 percent in uniques and 65 percent in minutes watched, totaling 566,000 uniques and 53.5 million minutes watched.

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Vin Scully, and how Jonny Gomes once tangled with a wolf … with more tragedy to come

This clip from Monday’s SportsNet LA telecast of the Dodgers-Braves game has been getting a lot of replay because of the story Vin Scully tells about Atlanta’s Jonny Gomes’ encounter with a wolf once when he was 12.
“Jonny, to make the understatement of the day, has had a very tough life,” Scully said leading into the story during the fourth inning.
When Gomes came up a second time, Scully went into another story about Gomes — he was in a car with his best friend, with two girls up in the front seat. They supposedly flipped a coin to see who would sit where in the back seat. Then an accident occured, where Gomes’ best friend was killed.
Gomes apparantly had five near-death experiences in his life. With the Dodgers and Gomes set for two more appearances on SportsNet LA tonight and Wednesday, we thought we’d better give you a heads up. Tonight’s game is also on ESPN, but then again …

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Charter now promises to pick up Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A., but vague on timetable after TWC takeover announcement

BeryDjGCMAAC2wC1No timetable has been set for the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel being made available to some 300,000 Charter Communication cable subscribers in Southern California as promised after Tuesday’s announcement of Charter’s intent to take over Time Warner Cable in a $55.3 billion national deal.

TWC spokesman Andrew Fegyversei said: “Charter is committed to carrying SportsNet LA as soon as possible. We’re excited for Charter customers to enjoy the network’s games and in-depth programming.”

Charter spokesman Justin Venech added that the company “expects to launch the Dodgers network to its customers in L.A. in the coming weeks.”

Most of Charter’s customers in Southern California live in the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena, and Burbank, with some in Long Beach and Malibu areas. That is only about 15 percent of the two million TWC cable customers already in this region that receives Dodgers broadcasts.

Tom Rutledge, the Charter Communications chief executive who will be in charge of the new organization if it passes government approval, was vague in telling the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday morning that “we are going to get the Dodgers on … we want the Dodgers on every outlet and we are committed to making that happen.”

Up to this point, Charter has stood with a group that included DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Cox Verizon FIOS and AT&T U-verse that has defiantly resisted the reported $5-per-subscriber monthly fee involved in carrying the Dodgers-owned channel, which is being distributed by Time Warner Cable Sports.

DirecTV remains the lynchpin in the process of whether the channel eventually receives acceptance to competing dish and cable systems other than Time Warner Cable, which  has agreed to carry SportsNet L.A. since its launch in February, 2014.

Time Warner Cable was recently thwarted in an attempt to merge with Comcast Communications. The Charter merger with TWC is not expected to be completed until the end of this year, according to reports.

DirectTV remains in negotiations with a merger plan involving AT&T that, if completed, would likely lead to that company reopening talks with TWC on the SportsNet L.A. carriage, but will not guarantee its advancement. The government is expected to approve that DirecTV-AT&T merger in the coming months.

The Dodgers have made only one national TV appearance this year — ESPN carried the April 15 Jackie Robinson Day game when they hosted Seattle. The Dodgers-Atlanta contest is on both SportsNet L.A. and ESPN tonight at 7 p.m. The Dodgers’ game in St. Louis on Saturday will be on Fox-Channel 11 at 4:15 p.m.

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Play It Forward May 25-31 on your sports calendar: As long as the Ducks don’t have to go into OT …

Tomorrowland-2THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
NHL PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
DUCKS vs. CHICAGO
Details/TV: Game 5 at Honda Center, Monday at 6 p.m., NBCSN:

462546132Duck and uncover: Two of the last three in this potential seven-game series will be played near Disneyland. But if there’s a Tomorrowland in the future for Bruce Boudreau’s boys, with or without George Clooney’s assistance, it must come with the avoidance of getting into more extra time with these bruising Blackhawks. Chicago has won all four of its overtime games during this latest playoff season, including both in this series that ran into multiple-OT periods. “I think that our mindset is staying with it, somebody will either make a great play,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “But then again you don’t want to be too in a hurry to make that play because sometimes that can bite you.” This is starting to feel more like a best-of-nine or best-of-11 series the longer they play.
andrew-gordon-bruce-boudreau-ducks“If you look at all four games, they’ve been all tremendous hockey games,” said Boudreau after the 5-4 double-OT loss on Saturday. “One has to lose and one has to win. It’s usually when one of the teams makes a mistake that a good team capitalizes. That’s what happens. We’ll just regroup. Now it’s a two out of three. Let’s get after it. … We’re ticked off, but … if you dwell on it, you’ll dwell on it until you’re down 3-2. You just have to get angry and get after it. We know these are two good teams. We just have to be the one who comes out on top.” Added Quenneville: “I think this series has been played very tight, but there’s a lot of pace to it that all of a sudden things could be a little unpredictable. We’ve had some crazy endings with them in the regular season and past games as well. This series has been played at that pace. … Can’t be any more even than what I saw in four games.”
The series continues with Game 6 at Chicago (Wednesday at 5 p.m., NBCSN) and Game 7 at Anaheim (Saturday at 5 p.m., NBCSN).
In the N.Y. Rangers-Tampa Bay Eastern Conference finals, Game 6 is in Tampa Bay (Tuesday, 5 p.m., NBCSN) with a possible Game 7 at New York (Friday, 5 p.m., NBCSN).

ALSO THIS WEEK:

The Dodgers’ three game series in St. Louis (Friday-Sunday) includes having to face 23-year-old Michael Wacha (7-0, 1.87) in the middle contest (4:15 p.m., Channel 11) … The NBA Western Conference finals between Golden State and Houston could easily end on Monday (6 p.m., ESPN) … The Angels’ weekend series against Detroit includes a Sunday night game (ESPN2, 5 p.m.) … UCLA prepares to advance in the NCAA baseball and softball playoffs … The CIF City Section baseball finals are set for Dodger Stadium on Saturday (1 p.m.) following Wednesday’s semifinals involving El Camino Real-Narbonne and Cleveland-Chatsworth … More at this link.

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If we can’t get a TV “Sports Detective” to help us find the Gibson HR ball, then who else?

Carlos Moran, right,  who was at the Kirk Gibson 1988 World Series home-run  game in the right-field pavilion with his niece, Jasmine, who shows off what's reported to be the ball. Ed Moran, Jasmine’s sister and the nephew of Carlos, produced this photograph of evidence. So where is the ball now? Who knows.

Carlos Moran, right, who was at the Kirk Gibson 1988 World Series home-run game in the right-field pavilion with his niece, Jasmine, who shows off what’s reported to be the ball. Ed Moran, Jasmine’s sister and the nephew of Carlos, produced this photograph of evidence. So where is the ball now? Who knows. Brian Biegel will interview them for his documentary series.

The white ball with Peter Ueberroth’s signature next to a 1988 World Series logo stamped in red ink actually left a nick near the top of the barrel of Kirk Gibson’s bat.
It landed somewhere in the right field pavilion at Dodger Stadium, over Jose Canseco’s head. NBC’s TV cameras followed it.
At least one person claims have a photo proof of once having it.
But more than a quarter of a century later, we still aren’t sure what happened to the damn thing. How do we even sleep at night not knowing where this most important relic of L.A. sports history lies?
Gibson rounds third base after hitting his dramatic home runBrian Biegel, a New York-based documentarian who once wrote about how he most likely determined what happened to the 1951 Bobby Thompson “Shot Heard ‘Round The World,” says he’s on the case here.
The Smithsonian Channel, a spinoff of the premium cable Showtime that goes with the mantra that this is where “curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease,” has taken up a documentary series that Biegel created and is the executive producer called “Sports Detectives.” It is in production and should debut later this fall.
Based on Biegel’s amazing 2009 book “Miracle Ball” and a 2010 documentary he followed up with that aired on the Discovery network – as well as optioning the movie rights to a major studio — the blueprint for this series is clearly in place. A team of investigators and historians will identify something in the sports world that has gone missing. Then, if not actually finding the artifact, it will at least lead viewers on the journey to determine its fate. In the process, new information often surfaces from leads that might not have been considered before.
Fact is, that’s what we’re kind of hoping happens here with this story.
So where’s the ball used in Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game? One reported to be it was sold at auction 2012, but it’s not been completely authenticated. Muhammad Ali’s 1960 Olympic gold medal hadn’t been seen in years. The story was he threw it off a bridge and into the Ohio River. Volunteers reportedly found it last July.
But the fate of Gibson ball that ended Game 1 of the ’88 Series and launched the Dodgers’ last World Series title is still to be determined.
“This has been at the top of our list,” said Biegel. “We’re going to shake the bushes.”
Read more at this link …

== Also: When ESPN.com’s Jim Caple tried to write a fictional account of a pursuit of the Gibson ball ….

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