Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Mike Dunham. . . .
NHL PLAYOFFS: Raise your hand if you watched the 3-overtime game between the Predators and Blackhawks Tuesday night. It started at 8:30 p.m CDT and ended at 1:16 a.m. Wednesday CDT.
And the NHL wants to attract new hockey fans? What a novel way to do it. Chicago and Nashville are in the Central Time Zone. An 8:30 start is idiotic. Only hard-core fans can stay up that late, especially those who work for a living and have to get up early to go to work. And forget the school kids that will become the next generation of hockey fans. Any parent that would allow their kids to stay up that late to watch a game has been hit in the head with a puck too many times. Heaven forbid anyone in the Eastern time zone saw it through to the end.
Locally, most of the games are on FoxSportsTennessee or SportsSouth. I can’t begin to tell you where to find either one of those regional channels on Direct TV. And if you think I would stay up until 1:16 a.m. to see the game to conclusion, when my alarm to go to work goes off at 4:15 a.m., well figure it out for yourself.
It’s even more difficult on the fans that attend weeknight games that start at 8:30 p.m. If you pay playoff ticket prices, I would think you would stay to the end. Then you have to drive home, and in some cases that could mean getting home even later. At least you can turn a TV off when you want to.
The Predators have had an outstanding season and attendance is terrific. But if the NHL insists on late start times during the playoffs, it is only time before more fans start watching on TV, or not at all.
ALABAMA QB: Despite Alabama coach Nick Saban denying he knows anything about it, hot and heavy rumors have Ohio State QB Braxton Miller transferring to Alabama, a team that lost last year’s starter Blake Sims.
Miller was injured and missed Ohio State’s National Championship Game, which the Buckeyes won. They have a deep supply of quarterbacks at Ohio State and Miller has graduated and is eligible to transfer and be eligible without sitting out a game.
The rumors started when Miller was spotted a number of times in Birmingham. That is where his surgeon who did his surgery works.
MISSING PATRIOT: New England quarterback Tom Brady was the only player to take a pass on visiting the White House for winning this year’s Super Bowl.
Does this make Brady a racist, as African-American sports commentator Stephen A. Smith intimated?
“Where the hell was Tom Brady? I really would like to know. When (Brady) won the Super Bowl in 2001 and George W. Bush was president, you were there. When you won back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 2003 and 2004 with George W. Bush still president, you were there. … I mean, is (Brady) a Republican and don’t want anybody to know? … Why is it you show up for George W. Bush, not one, not two, but three times, but you got a family commitment? Not an emergency. A commitment.’’
His no-show doesn’t make Brady any less of a patriot or a Patriot. He has been to the White House three times, as Smith said. Maybe Brady thinks that if you’ve seen one White House, you’ve seen them all.
LATEST MOCKS: Take these with a grain of salt. Here’s a sample of recent mocks as the draft draws closer.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Titans taking Oregon QB Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 pick. But he claims they are making it for another team, perhaps San Diego, NY Jets, Eagles or Jeff Fisher’s Rams.
McShay’s sidekick Mel Kiper Jr., also sees the Titans taking Mariota, but has them keeping him.
Bloguin’s mock draft has the Titans taking West Virginia WR Kevin White after Tampa Bay takes Florida State QB Jameis Winston. They have the Titans leading off the second round by taking Nebraska rush end Randy Gordon.
I say if the Titans get anyone but Chargers QB Phillip Rivers, there is not much reason to get excited about things changing at St. Thomas Sports Park.
CALLING SECOND ROUND: A former Titan has been chosen to call the Titans’ second round pick. It will be recently retired OL Michael Roos.
Another former Titan, who finished his career with the Eagles, will call the Eagles second round pick. That would be former OL Jon Runyon, who went on to have an outstanding career after leaving the Titans as a free agent.
UAB PLAYER WALKS: Former Alabama-Birmingham player Derek Slaughter was among his teammates when they were informed that the school was dropping football after last season.
That didn’t stop Slaughter from going through graduation ceremonies. Slaughter chose to wear his UAB football helmet and when it came time to shake hands with president Ray Watts, Slaughter refused. Watts was one of those involved in the decision to close the football program.
PEYTON KEEPS GIVING: It’s no surprise that former Tennessee QB Peyton Manning gave his alma mater a $3 million donation this weekend.
It is to be spent on the football program and the Peyton Manning Scholarship Endowment. Among those honored by Manning was Gus Manning, who has spent 64 years in the athletic department and the husband-wife team of Carmen Tegano and wife Deborah. Carmen was with the athletic program 31 years and Deborah was one of Peyton’s former professors. Gate 16 at Neyland Stadium will be named Gus Manning Gate.
Peyton Manning is a Tennessee treasure in his own right.
JENNER SWAPS: Bruce Jenner was a former Olympics decathlon gold medalist, an American icon.
He is now a female. Is it me, or was Bruce Jenner more attractive as a man than he is a woman?
SPRING GAMES: They mean little in the overall scheme of things, but college football spring games get some fans excited to get a glimpse of the future.
That is why 65,175 faithful showed up to see Alabama’s spring game. Auburn attracted 62,143 fans to the Plains. Numbers are not exact, but who’s counting. Ohio State reported it had a crowd of 99,391 Buckeyes to see the reigning national champions.
Missouri had just over 30,000. South Carolina had 22,580, where Nashville’s Darius Rucker, formerly Hootie and the Blowfish lead singer, caught a touchdown pass in the end zone. He went to college at South Carolina.
Vanderbilt estimated it had 5,000 fans Anchoring Down on West End.
Tennessee, missing a number of key players with injury, didn’t have a real spring game. Coach Butch Jones called it a spring event. Knoxville News-Sentinel sports columnist Mike Strange Tweeted: “63,016 (laughter in press box).’’
They’ll have more than that when the real games are on the schedule.
HALLEAUAH: ESPN’s Britt McHenry has served that brutal seven-day suspension for treating a tow company employee like a tramp.
Free at last. Free at last. There is justice in this world.
OVC HONORS: UT-Martin and Clarksville golfer Hunter Richardson was chosen OVC Freshman of the Year at a Friday night banquet following the first day of the 2015 OVC Men’s Golf Championship in Florence, Ala.
Richardson is the third straight UT-Martin freshman to get the award.
The 10-man all OVC team included Belmont junior Ashton Van Horne, who was a repeat member. Besides Richardson, TSU golfers Andy Stout and Jermey Fultz made the All-Newcomer team.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.