Through the Wire


Contributors: Mike Reynolds, Linda Haugsted, Ted Hearn.

NHL’s Avalanche in Virtual First Place

The National Hockey League lockout has already iced about two weeks of regular-season action and the ownership-player disputes over cost-certainty and salary cap semantics threatens the entire 2004-05 season.

But for those suffering from puck-deprivation, G4TechTV may be able to ease some of your pangs. The service is playing out the entire campaign — in the virtual world of EA Sports’ NHL 2005 Xbox video game.

Highlights of the simulated contests are presented on “G4 Sports NHL Virtual Hockey Update,” which appears on the network’s The Screen Savers series weeknights at 7 p.m. (ET). The 6-minute segments, which also air Saturdays and Sundays on Pulse at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, are co-hosted by Los Angeles Kings left wing Luc Robitaille and Jim Fox, the lead analyst for the club’s telecasts on FSN West.

Video game hockey highlights also will run on G4TechTV sister companies, Comcast SportsNet services in Chicago, Philadelphia and the mid-Atlantic states, until the season actually faces off.

At, fans can find game results, highlights, standings and player statistics. Game reports and period-by-period stats are published during the times the real games would have been played.

Although no Web tracking numbers were available at press time, G4TechTV spokeswoman Karen Raque said the network’s “message boards have blown up” over the video game version of the NHL.

“It’s amazing, fans are so loyal to their teams, whether in the arenas or on virtual ice,” she said.

For the record, through Oct. 21, the Montreal Canadiens (eight points), Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers (seven apiece) topped the Eastern Conference, while the Colorado Avalanche (10), Calgary Flames (nine) and Dallas Stars (eight) were best in the West.

The Thrashers’ Ilya Kovalchuk led all scorers with nine points, outpacing the Avalanche’s Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk (nine each).

As November Nears, We’ve Got a Song to Tell

Back by popular demand — ours — we offer up some song stylings to grace next month’s Positively Cable, the annual Cable Positive fund-raiser in Denver that doubles as a musical tribute to the industry. (This year we won’t pretend this is social commentary — it’s just fun.) Imagine some musical accompaniment, some front-line professional singers and a chorus filled with cable folks.

OK, to the tune of Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, here’s part of Indecency:

Well, ever since last winter,

Down at the FCC,

They’re sweatin’ over how to stop the



Blame Janet Jackson baby,

Blame Janet Jackson.

Blame it on Janet Jackson’s boob.”

And with apologies to Shirley Bassey and the title song to Goldfinger, here’s Call Centers:

Call Centers.

They’re the source, the source of the sleazy deal,

Disturbs your meal.

Cold call presenters

Beckon you to enter a sales contract.

You can’t go back.

Golden words will convey their idea,

Phoned from India or South Korea.

Doesn’t matter where, don’t you deny it

Operators are standing by at

Call Centers.

Thanks to song stylists Adelphia’s Erica Stull on the first and Stull and Paul Braun on the second. We promise not to contact ASCAP.

This 10th annual Positively Cable is titled “Bobo Broadband and the Tchamber of Tchotchkes.” It will take place at the Cable Center in Denver on Thursday, Nov. 11, and there’s a silent auction too. Beneficiaries include Volunteers of America Rainbow House, a childcare facility in Denver for families living with HIV/AIDS.

For more, go to

Typical Net Expenses: Food, Board, Vet Fees

GSN is finding the casting process difficult for its upcoming reality show. After all, the candidates are strong, skittish and mute quadripeds.

The show, Dream Derby, will allow two-footed participants to realize their dreams of managing a racehorse. Winners will be awarded cash, plus one or all of the racing steeds used in the show.

“The horses have to be cast, just like the people,” said GSN senior vice president of programming Ian Valentine. The horses need engaging backstories to provide some of the drama for the show, plus they must pass veterinary inspections and other tests for soundness.

Several horses have not made that cut, Valentine said.

Stone Stanlel Productions is buying a total of 15 horses for Dream Derby. They will have to be fed and maintained through Feb. 21, when some will be part of an eight-horse field in the final race staged at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

The care of the thoroughbreds, plus production costs, could make the eight-episode series the most expensive in GSN’s history.

And the responsibility doesn’t end there. Valentine said GSN is working out details with a racehorse rescue group to make sure any horse claimed by a winner in the show receives proper care for as long as the winner keeps it. The rest of the horses will be sold.

The show will debut Jan. 10 with a two-hour episode.

Hindery Gets Political With Commerce Views

Leo Hindery, former chairman of the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, visited Washington, D.C., last week to endorse the economic program of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and running mate John Edwards.

Hindery, mentioned as a possible Commerce Secretary in a Kerry administration, lashed out at selfish corporate CEOs, condemned irresponsible job outsourcing to India, and bashed the Bush Administration’s fiscal policies in a speech at the New America Foundation.

“I’ve had the privilege of being a surrogate on their behalf,” Hindery told a few dozen listeners. “I am a Democrat. I am a supporter with as much passion and emotion as I can muster on behalf of Sen. Kerry.”

Hindery slammed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a “a pawn of the chief executives who run it” and declared that CEO pay relative to the wages of workers was terribly out of whack.

CEOs take home, he said, 300 times more than the average employee. “There is something inherently and systemically and ethically wrong with 300-to-one. It’s crushing our society.”