The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Origin of the Shootout

In my attempts at trying to "spruce up" my ideas for the power-play shootout (see elsewhere in this lovely blog), I was attempting to see when the shootout was first used in organized competition.

I found that the WHA apparently used the shootout in the pre-season of their first year (1972), and that a pre-season game on October 3, 1972 was decided in a shootout. (This was taken from Murray Greig's Big Bucks and Blue Pucks: From Hull to Gretzky, an anecdotal history of the late, great World Hockey Association; Toronto, 1997: MacMillan Canada.)

The Houston Aeros and the Minnesota Fighting Saints skated to a 4-4 tie in regulation; after a 10-minute OT the two teams were still tied. In the first round - which was a best-of-five format, like that used in the old IHL and the current AHL - both teams scored twice to remain tied at 6-6. The two teams then exchanged three consecutive misses on the penalty shot before the Saints missed their shot and Don Grierson scored for Houston on the 18th attempt (ninth shooter).

I suspect, though Greig doesn't state it, that the number of shooters it took to complete the shootout made it unwieldy. Greig also doesn't mention who came up with the idea for using the shootout.

Saturday, January 26, 2008



Yep, it's that time again. Looking through the stats and such, here's what the real All-Star teams should be, according to the HART Trophy Point system. (For those of you who've forgotten, a refresher of all the stats comes after the list.)



And, unlike the guys in Atlanta, these are the guys who the GC and HART formulae say should stay as far away from the Big Peach as possible:



(* indicates league leader; Goaltending leaders minimum of 1030 minutes played.)

What the stats are:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday observations

First things first: yes, it's cold out there. The idea, however, is not to go outside. Kinda like a friend of mine in Arizona says about going outside in the summer in the Valley - you just don't do it.

Now, on to more important things... relatively speaking:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My, Oh My

The Giants upset the Cowboys to advance to the NFC title game. Nice.

Who'da thunk it that it'd be Eli, and not Peyton, making plans to play next Sunday?

And what do Tom Coughlin's charges get for their stunning upset?

A visit to the lovely Frozen Tundra of Green Bay. :)

Where the winner will most likely face the Patriots down in Glendale. (You don't actually expect the Chargers to win in New England - in January?)

Friday, January 04, 2008


I said I would try to do a hole-by-hole analysis of the Wii Sports Golf course, and I finally managed to sit down with the wife's laptop and the Wii to hammer out my impressions.

Keep in mind that the par number on any hole on any golf course always assumes two putts onto the green; a par-three means you can reach the green in one shot from the tee, while a par-five means you need two shots to reach the green. For most par-four holes, you would hit a driver, then an iron or a wedge (depending on distance to the pin), then two putts.

If you can minimize your distance to the hole once you're on the green, you should be able to hit one under on each hole. I've never managed to finish with nine-under for the whole nine holes, but it's not impossible.

So, here's my take on the Wii Sports Country Club's "front nine":

1. 381 yds., Par 4 (Beginner course): Fairway Straight

A nice, fairly straightaway hole. The fairway is mostly straight, and wide enough that if you do your John Daly imitation (grip it and rip it), you won't get in too much trouble. Far half of the fairway is downhill slightly. Bunker on the left front and in back, but shouldn't give that much trouble. A solid drive and a half-swing iron should get you onto the green easily.

The hole is in the front part of the green; the green itself is relatively flat. A birdie isn't impossible on this hole.

2. 136 yds., Par 3 (Beginner course): Little Pond

I'll admit something: this is the easiest of holes if you're even a halfway-interested golfer. I actually hit a hole-in-one on this hole, so if you can ease it in, you shouldn't have problems.

An iron shot off the tee should get you onto the green, which has two bunkers on the left. The hole has the fairway on the left and a long pond on the right. The only thing I have against this hole is that the AI suggests your first shot into the bunker on the left of the green. You do that and you'll have trouble.

The cup is again on the front part of the green; the back half is higher than the front half, so if you overshoot the pin, a putt will roll downhill to the hole.

As I said, I've hit a hole-in-one on this hole, so of all the holes at the Wii Sports Country Club, this one's my favorite.

3. 465 yds., Par 5 (Beginner course): Cliffside Woods

A pretty easy long hole, with the most difficult part as setting up your second shot. There is a bunch of woods that remain on your left for the entire hole, with rising cliffs behind them in the out-of-bounds area. The green has bunkers on three sides (front, left back and right back), and the fairway narrows near the green. This can be difficult if you don't hit your second shot right, because the out-of-bounds area is so narrow at that point.

Your second shot is another drive, similar to the first hole. It will probably take you three shots to get to the green; the key is to hit that third shot just right.

This hole can be made difficult if the wind takes you into the trees on the left. Because you're playing the tee shot one way, then the rest of your shots at a right-angle to that shot, it can be tricky.

The green isn't spectacularly difficult, unless you miss it on your chip-on and it lands in the bunkers. There is a bit of a valley, but putting shouldn't be too much.

This hole can be birdied, but an eagle isn't out of the question if you chip in your third shot.

4. 146 yds., Par 3 (Intermediate course): Point Woods

This one is deceptively simple. If you hit your tee shot too low, it won't clear the trees that separate you from the green. If you hit your shot too hard, it'll skip right off the green, over the back and off the point and into the ocean beyond.

Best bet is to try to put the ball on the right side of the green, away from the cup. The AI aims you towards the bunker behind the green on the right; there's another one on the left at the front. The green slopes down from the right to the left, but there's a small rise just to the left of the hole. Put the ball in the valley and you should be all right with putting.

You can birdie this hole if you hit the first shot just right, onto the green.

5. 361 yds., Par 5 (Intermediate course): Seaside Point

A long, diabolical hole where your most difficult shot will likely be your tee shot. Not because of any obstruction, but because of where you land. Your driver will get you to the "bend" in the hole, but there's a little patch of woods on the right, and a very large bunker on the left. Hit it too light, and you're in the rough – which will make the uphill climb to the green that much harder. Hit it too long, and you plop down in the bunker – with the same results as hitting it too light.

If you get that first shot right, your second shot is to drive the ball up the rather long hill to the plateau of the green. Try not to get distracted by the beautiful medieval castle in the background on the left. As you get within range of the green, be careful: besides the two bunkers on the right, there's no room for error to the back – which is a cliff-side point similar to the fourth hole. Too heavy and your ball sinks down onto the beach below – and out of bounds.

The green itself is in a valley between the two bunkers and the rough on the left. The hole is on the right side of the green; if you get the ball between the valleys, you should be able to get it into the cup without too much trouble.

A birdie isn't unobtainable, but you have to be careful with your shots – which, of course, is the reason why this is an intermediate level hole.

6. 345 yds., Par 4 (Intermediate course): River Bend

At first blush, this one looks difficult, as the river running through the hole can be daunting. However, it's not as hard as it looks. Place the first shot over to the left on the fairway across the river – the driver shot over the river isn't hard, trust me.

The key is to not hit the ball too soft off the tee, or you WILL put it in the river. Also, don't even think about trying to muscle it onto the green from the tee box – you'll be getting your diving equipment to get the ball. Try not to put the ball into the long bunker on the far left, of course. As long as you keep the ball on the fairway, you should be okay.

The green is back on the other side of the river, protected by two bunkers on both sides of the hole as you look at it from your probable first shot's landing point. The hole is to the front of the green, on a bit of a slope; you'll want to try to hit the ball to the left, but the slope on the right isn't that formidable.

Birdie isn't impossible to get on this hole, but the second shot has to be almost perfect to do so – or, you have to have a pretty darn good putt or chip-in to get it.

A minor point about this hole: it seems out of place compared to the other two "seaside" holes in this grouping. Of course, this is just virtual reality, but you'd have to wonder how far away the tee for this hole is from the green on the fifth hole.

7. 258 yds., Par 4 (Expert course): Dogleg Woods

This one is another deceptive hole – which fits its location in the "expert" section of the course. There's a bunker on the left, and the green is on the right – hidden by a grove of trees. The hardest part is the second shot; if you hit your tee shot correctly, you'll be looking at the flag through the trees.

If you don't hit the second shot correctly, you could either end up too far and in the trees beyond the green, or you could end up out-of-bounds in the "forest". There's also a bunker at the front and back of the hole to keep you honest.

The hole is located towards the back of the green, just to the side of a rise on the back left.

A birdie isn't impossible here, but forget about an eagle unless you hit the perfect shot.

8. 223 yds., Par 3 (Expert course): Snake Point

Practically the entire hole is on a point, similar to the fourth hole – except there's a fairway. However, the fairway is more of a narrow zig-zag strip (thus the nickname "Snake Point"). Your first shot can make or break this hole. If you can't get it up onto the plateau of the green, your ball will probably bounce right into the water, off the cliff. Try to John Daly this one and it'll go over and off the edge in back.

There are two bunkers on the left of the green; the hole is in a bit of a tricky spot, in a ridge on the left of the green. Hit it to the left, you're in the bunker or off the green; hit it to the right and it's on the high spot of the green. Keep it on the left and you should be able to putt in easily.

9. 455 yds., Par 5 (Expert course): Island Woods

The hole of death. You tee off in front of four islands – two on the right, with medium-size landing areas of fairway, and two on the left, with the hole located on the far island on the left. The near left-side island has a very narrow landing area and woods to the left, and is typically out of range.

I personally have yet to play this hole without a serious cross wind or even no wind. I've only birdied this hole once, and that was more dumb luck than anything.

The typical play is to hit the driver to the island on the right, trying to make sure you hit the fairway. If you hit it in the rough, you might as well plan on at least a double-bogey, because you won't be able to hit the shots necessary to make par.

On your second shot, the Wii will suggest a driver to try and "muscle" the ball onto the green island. DON'T DO IT. Turn to the right, aim for the fairway on the far right island with your iron, and play the ball that way. Then, if you manage to set up a good shot on the fairway of that island, hit an iron to get it near the green.

The cherry on top of this monster is the inverted cup-like green where the hole lies. It doesn't matter where you place the ball – you'll have to putt uphil to get it in the cup.

Personally, I consider par to be a victory on this hole. Anyone who can get an eagle on this hole is either lying or cheating.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wii Hole In One!

I was having a bad morning after deciding to play the "Expert" holes on Wii Sports Golf. I managed par on holes 7 and 8, but the Island Hole (aka "My Personal Hell" hole, number 9) caught me trying to muscle it and I ended up two over for the round.

So, I went back and played the beginner holes, and on the second hole - the par 3 Pond-on-the-right hole - I launched the perfect shot with the wind, and it not only hit the pole... it went in!

A hole in one - even if it's only a "virtual" one - is an absolute thrill!

Virtual drinks are on me in the virtual clubhouse! :)