Many feel there is too much pressure on Canada's world junior hockey team. Some blame TSN for hyping the event, thereby causing undue expectations of teenagers. But TSN president Stewart Johnson plays down the charge. "Do we do too much?" he asked. "That's a tough question. We just try to take a great international tournament with excellent hockey and a huge public interest and be a part of it."
Having said that, Johnson is awed by the ratings. "The Sweden-USA semi-final at 3 p.m. [Eastern]did 1.6-million. That's almost more amazing than the record 6.2-million for the gold medal game."
For all the words said and written about Canada's loss, no one seemed to notice that had Canada beaten Sweden in the preliminary round and received a quarter-final bye, it likely would not have hit the wall in the third period against Russia in the gold medal game. Yes, Russia played the same number of games, but the gold medalists don't play the physical crash-and-bang style favoured by Canada. One fewer game played might have made all the difference for the gold.
The changes continue at Rogers Sportsnet. Rick Briggs-Jude, vice-president of production, was let go last Friday. He joins Doug Beeforth and David Akande as Sportsnet execs who've left since Scott Moore joined Rogers last fall. There is no word on replacements as yet. Moore is likely to stay hands-on till he finds the right person to run Sportsnet.
Phone In Justice
Once again last week, a TV viewer reported a penalty on a PGA star - this time resulting in disqualification for Camilo Villegas at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Villegas was DQ'd for removing some blades of grass from the path of his ball as it rolled backward down a hill. Dave Andrews of Daytona Beach, Fla., called the tour to report the infraction after the golfer had signed his scorecard, resulting in the penalty being assessed the following day.
The move speaks to golf's relentlessly democratic spirit. But it begs a larger question. Every group in a PGA Tour event is accompanied by a rules official. If the rules official misses an infraction, is it not like a referee missing a play in hockey or baseball? We've all seen egregious errors missed by referees. It's not like golf moves so fast that the official could not be present to witness every shot of the round.
Should golf adopt the same standard as other sports where the human element is accepted? Is asking for competitors to penalize themselves with millions on the line unrealistic? Or should the other sports allow viewers - within certain parameters - to call in missed fouls in baseball or football?