Saturday, October 20, 2007

Skates have changed...

So, it's that time of year season in full swing, and it comes time to don my own pair of blades and hit the local arena.

I don't think I made it out even once last year. My main issue was how freakin' cold the arenas are. These are indoor arenas, yet my face felt darn near frozen, and even with a decent Therma-something toque on, it was too much for my ears to take. So I quit going.

This year however, I've decided to fight the good fight, and make my way back, if not into shape, then at least to a point where lacing them up doesn't wear me out!

After searching high and low for my old skates, and not finding them, I made my way over to Canadian Tire to have a look at new ones. Maybe I was just too early, but no one seemed interested in helping me out, so I trucked off to SportChek, where I had a good experience buying new shoes a month ago.

Wandering around SportChek, it makes you feel for parents whose kids want to play hockey...this stuff is expensive! Gone are the days of wood sticks, black skates, and one size fits all jock straps. No, we're now in a world of $100 helmets, $60 elbow pads (you'll need two of those!), $100 composite sticks (cause yeah, like those never break!)...and, you can spend as much as you have in the world on skates!

Fortunately, being the non-competitive, public skating participant that I intend to become, the options sort of limit themselves. I don't quite need skates built for Crosby or Ovechkin.

So here's the ones I got: Easton Synergy 500 SC

The salesman was very knowledgeable and helpful, which is rare these days.

However, you don't just buy a pair of skates and head out to the rink! SportChek puts them in the oven, bake 'em for 5 minutes, and then you put them on as tight as you can and wear them in the store until they cool down. This molds the boot and padding to the shape of your foot. It sounds believable, until you try it, then it's just weird. But it works, my ankles carved themselves a nice spot in the sides.

While I was waiting for the oven, I wandered over to the hockey jerseys and t-shirts and had a look. There were a couple Leafs shirts on sale, but for the first time ever, I paused for a few minutes, and realized that I refuse to put more money into the hands of MLSE (who care more about condos than championships) until they put a decent team on the ice. That starts with the Leafs making the playoffs this season...we'll see.

It's a weird feeling, falling out of love with your favourite sports team. Let me put it this way: On Tuesday I watched Montreal vs Florida, and Wednesday I watched Pittsburgh vs New Jersey...and I was much more entertained than on the previous Saturday when I watched the Leafs give up several leads to lose 6-4 to the Penguins. Watching the Leafs is just too upsetting these days...anger, followed by misery, but they hook you with a burst of excitement here and there. I'm much happier watching Crosby set up (or finish) beauty goals, or even just marveling in the speed of other teams. And since I don't care who wins, the stress and anguish are gone.

We'll see. Also helps that those other two games were on TSN HD, which production-wise puts CBC to shame...but I think I've harped on that before, and likely will again.

Anyway, I've got my new skates, so I'll make sure to dress warmly this time, and I'll see you at the rink!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ok, one more NHL Centre Ice outrage

So I'm on having a look around, and I click on the banner ad for Center (US spelling) Ice Online, thought I'd see if they've lowered the price at all (laughs)...

"Sign up for a Season Pass today for only $169 USD!"

$169? What a's $219 CDN? Isn't the CDN Loonie worth more than the USD greenback? WTF?

Sure enough...CDN currently should be $164 then...sigh...$55 more for what, exactly?

Memo to NHL: Cut the bullshit!

Course, this is nothing new, Canadians are being hosed all over by various retailers...cell phones, books, cars, you name it, we're paying too much up here. It's just extra annoying when it's an online product that has no physical product to ship...and when it's the NHL doing the hosing. Shame on them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NHL Streaming, now on will be streaming Leaf games now, but they just link to the NHL Centre Ice Online package. They claim it's $60 for 50 games...that's a good price. I guess that just gets you the Leafs games...which is all I'd want. I'll watch other teams (Edmonton, Vancouver) on TV, but no great desire to stream them.

The free preview of NHL Centre Ice has ended...I thought it was until the end of October, but it ended on Tuesday...during the Leafs game, just before the 3rd period...although they were already down 5-1 to Carolina, so I suppose I was done a favour. :)

$219 CDN they now want for the Online portion of the Centre Ice package. If you streamed 15 games per month (3 games per week, October to March), that's $2.08 per game.

But, you wouldn't need Centre Ice for that many, cause CBC is streaming all their games for free (plus they're on TV nationally, but we'll leave that for now). So, if you minus 1 game every Saturday (2 if you watch the double header), that's 88 games at $2.49 per.

And oh yeah, you wouldn't even get Leaf games, unless you spoof you IP, cause you don't live in the proper Leaf region...sigh, we're back to that again.

So, yeah, basically I can't see any possible reason why to give them one goddamn cent! I enjoyed watching the free games on my TV that I was able to, but in that case you're better off with the cable/satellite Centre Ice package, which is the same price, but much higher quality...

So, perhaps that concludes my coverage of NHL Centre Ice Online. I give it Two Swollen Thumbs Way the Hell Down! At the same time, I have to thank the NHL sincerely for trying, but they are far from where they need to be.