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MORNING BRIEFING

ESPN founder wonders where hockey went

'I can't tell you where to find hockey right now. It's sad,' says Bill Rasmussen, who founded the sports network with his son 30 years ago this month.

September 15, 2009|Mike Penner

As ESPN celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, the man who founded the network asks a question too familiar with stateside NHL fans: What happened to my hockey?

In an interview with Canada's Globe and Mail, Bill Rasmussen, who founded ESPN with his son Scott in 1979, said, "I used to watch all the hockey with John Buccigross and Barry Melrose on ESPN. I can't tell you where to find hockey right now. It's sad.

"I can't help but think [the NHL] is missing something in walking away from [ESPN]. Look what ESPN does for Major League Baseball on 'Baseball Tonight' -- wall-to-wall, full-season coverage of the entire season and playoffs.

The NHL had that ancillary programming on ESPN and just walked away from it. I just don't understand."

Trivia time

Which major league baseball team drafted Dan Marino in 1979?

Analyze this

Who gets the biggest assist on the 26 passes Baltimore Ravens receivers caught for 307 yards Sunday against Kansas City: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, or ESPN football analysts Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter?

Johnson and Carter had been critical of the Ravens corps of receivers leading up to the game. Johnson said Baltimore management wasn't willing to pay for top receiving talent, adding, "You want a bum, you pay a bum."

After the game, a 38-24 Ravens victory, Baltimore receiver Derrick Mason lashed back.

"Just look at the two people doing the criticizing, that's all I'm saying," Mason told CBS Sports.

"Keyshawn was overrated and Carter is in the same boat I'm in. He doesn't have a Super Bowl ring either. He's in the analyst seat without a ring. At least I'm playing. He still wants to play, but he can't anymore.

"We're the bums? That's why you're in the analyst seat. Just be quiet and keep dreaming you still could play."

'Sesame Street' nightmare

The WNBA's Atlanta Dream rebounded from a 4-30 inaugural season to earn the No. 2 playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference, but it had no way to stop Elmo and the Cookie Monster.

The Dream is set to play its first home playoff game on Friday against the defending champion Detroit Shock but was bounced from Philips Arena because "Sesame Street Live" already had booked the downtown arena for a series of weekend shows.

So the Dream will hit the road, even through it's the home team, playing Friday's game at Gwinnett Arena, which is about 25 miles northeast of Atlanta.

If necessary, a game Sunday will also have to be played at Gwinnett.

Trivia answer

Kansas City Royals.

And finally

A couple of late-night observations on the opening of the NFL season:

From Jimmy Kimmel: "I realized something watching the game [the other] night, and that is this: The older you are wearing body paint at a sporting event, the more likely it is that you still live with your parents."

From David Letterman: "Excited about NFL football coming back? Michael Vick is busy learning the Philadelphia Eagles' playbook and I thought to myself, 'Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?' "

--

mike.penner@latimes.com

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