Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Random Rabble: April 4

The NCAA Frozen Four starts Thursday in Tampa, and apparently ticket sales haven't been as brisk as in the past. The NCAA announced Tuesday that single-session tickets would be available for the event. All-session passes were in the neighborhood of $200, with single-session tickets priced at $110.

Does this sound absolutely insane to anyone else? This isn't St. Paul, where you can turn on the lights at the XCel Energy Center, tell people there's a hockey game going on, and draw thousands and thousands of fans.

In Tampa, the NHL team has troubles drawing for playoff games. Yes, there are great hockey fans in Florida, but there isn't a college hockey team within hundreds of miles. And the one closest -- Alabama-Huntsville, the tournament "host" -- is an independent that might be near extinction if it can't find a league soon.

These kinds of prices for what is probably an unknown commodity to most fans -- even diehard hockey fans -- in the general area is just a death wish.

Expect scores of empty seats at the Tampa Bay Times Forum this weekend, and that's too bad. The Frozen Four has grown in stature over the years, just not enough to be held anywhere that has a big-enough facility.

(Then again, the NCAA also thinks that the regional sites are working, even though the crowds two weekends ago were nothing short of embarrassing. Just keep the head buried in the sand, guys. You don't want to see what's really going on, because it might force you to make an effort to improve things.)

Speaking of insanity, I hope you're all familiar with NBC/NBC Sports Network/CBC hockey "analyst" Mike Milbury. The former failure of an NHL coach and executive is a rather controversial figure on television, thanks to a number of different incidents over the years. Rather than go through them all, I'll just give you a couple.

Nuts. I know.

Anyway, Milbury's latest strike came on the Pittsburgh Penguins after Sunday's now-infamous brawl with Philadelphia.

On a sports radio station in Philly Monday, Milbury made fun of Sidney Crosby's concussion problems, called him a "punk" and a "goody two shoes," and told Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma to take off his "skirt."

Milbury apologized -- sort of -- by noon Tuesday.

"I reached out to David Morehouse and the Penguins about the comments I made yesterday on Philadelphia radio. In hindsight, I realize what I said was inappropriate and wrong, and I want to apologize to the Penguins organization and their fans."

Yeah. I can't wait until NBC is carrying Penguins playoff games, and Milbury is called on for some sort of objective analysis. He's such a pro that I'm sure it won't be an issue at all.

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