NHL package brings dial tune to hockey wasteland


January 31, 1992|By RAY FRAGER

Before yesterday, area NHL fans might have been singing a sad tune about the lack of games on local television. In fact, it could have gone like this (with apologies to The Who's "Baba O'Riley"):

Out here on the dial,

you could search for a while,

and never find a little hockey.

It may not have been right,

and not seemed too bright.

As a matter of fact, it was downright schlocky.

Hockey wasteland, it's only hockey wasteland.

Those days are over, though. Home Team Sports yesterday reached an agreement with SportsChannel America to carry SCA's NHL package.

HTS and Channel 20 carry Washington Capitals games, which had been the only hockey available to most viewers around Baltimore. But HTS will telecast two other NHL games per week for the rest of the season, and then carry SCA's playoff package. The first SCA game will be tomorrow at 10:30 p.m., the Chicago Blackhawks against the Los Angeles Kings.*

Leftover Supe: Sunday's Super Bowl on CBS was a seven-hour football extravaganza from the first pre-game note struck by Prince to the last name on the credits (Pat O'Brien's hair stylist, I think).

But the Super Bowl is not a telecast you easily can leave behind. So here we go, wiping the mustard stains from a Super Bowl notebook:

* As honest as the show is long: Say what you will about "Super Bowl Today" host Greg Gumbel, but he deserves points for honesty. At the beginning of the pre-game, he said: "At Super Bowl time, everything seems to get blown out of proportion and larger than life -- such as a 2 1/2 -hour pre-game show."

* Cold shoulder -- and arms and chest and neck . . . : Moms all across America must have shuddered when Dan Fouts interviewed the Redskins' Darrell Green upon the team's arrival at the Metrodome. There stood Green, answering Fouts' questions while not wearing a coat in 22-degree weather.

* Now starring in Flatliners II: O'Brien asked the oddest question of the pre-game show, posing this one to last year's winning Super Bowl quarterback, Jeff Hostetler, on the teams' state of mind shortly before the game: "Are they brain dead yet?"

* I started a joke that had the whole world crying: As Steve Martin once said, comedy is not pretty. Curry Kirkpatrick's piece on cold-weather pursuits around Minnesota fell flatter than a potato latke dropped from the Shot Tower.

* Come down here and say that: One of the great things about Terry Bradshaw is that he says some delightfully goofy things. Speaking about Bills defensive end Bruce Smith, Bradshaw said: "He doesn't have a deep enough voice. . . . He doesn't scare me."

* Not fabulous in this forum: Redskins owner Jack Kent Cookeinadvertently might have boosted the cause of American Indians who are trying to get sports teams to change their names. Not only did he fly in the face of logic by saying Redskins is not an inherently racist name, but also his arrogance contrasted with the earnest, reasoned argument of Bill Means of the American Indian Movement.

* We interrupt this broadcast to give you some basic information: With nearly three hours from the start of the pre-game until kickoff, should it really have taken until the second quarter for somebody to tell viewers that the Redskins weren't suiting up linebacker Matt Millen?

* There's magic in my eyes: Jack Buck helped shove himself out of CBS' door by incorrectly anticipating plays during the World Series, but that didn't stop Pat Summerall. He twice called interceptions moments before they happened.

* Oh, the humanity: If anyone else but John Madden used a telestrator to highlight the tethering of an indoor blimp, it might seem hokey. But, from him, it was perfect.

* Is it the carrots?: The best commercial Sunday -- and it wasn't close -- was Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan for Nike.

* It might replace bowling: Let's hope that the folks who make "American Gladiators" weren't listening when Madden said: "I bet if they had a sweat contest out there, Joe Jacoby would win it." Just think, "Sweating It Out," with your host, Richard Simmons.


Is Albertville named after Albert Brooks?: The boss already is in the Winter Olympics spirit. Dressed in his finest apres-ski wear (apres, of course, means "I have enough money to go skiing, and I know French, too"), he seemed lost in Alpine reverie. He motioned me into his office with a ski pole and handed me a wool cap with this week's questions:

Things My Boss Wants to Know: Is Harry Connick Jr. finished singing the national anthem yet? . . . Is NFL Films doing a highlight film on the Bud Bowl? . . . Is it true that Mark Rypien turned down his first commercial, for Sans-a-Belt slacks, because he thought it might be too controversial to go without a belt?

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