Tech Tip: SVU: The Official NHL App

Tech Tips: SVU
I remember April 2, 1972 as though it were yesterday.

In 1971, my brother and I somehow discovered the sport of hockey. There’s a bit of a weird hive mind quality to kids such that when one kid “discovers” something and begins to obsess over it, every kid in the area does; and that’s what happened in my neighborhood with hockey circa 1971-72. We began to play street hockey with other kids in our Northeast Philadelphia neighborhoodNote 1A largely Catholic neighborhood so, needless to say, there was no shortage of kids. If you’ve seen Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and remember the scene with the Yorkshire Catholic family, it pretty accurately depicts the consequences of Catholic family breeding practices in those dark days. – a lot of it; year-round. We also became avid fans of the Flyers, Philadelphia's professional hockey team. The Flyers were chasing a playoff berth all season and their fate came down to their final game on the last day of that 1971-72 season, as fates typically do in reminiscences such as this one, otherwise what’s the point of remembering (much less relating) them?

The date of that last game? Reader, it's there above in the first line of this post – but you already knew thatNote 2Unless you’re a New York Rangers fan because Rangers fans need to have even the simplest things spelled out for them. Sorry if that comes across as obnoxious, but the rivalry between Philadelphia sports fans and New York sports fans is so strong that gratuitous insults are close to obligatory. Take my word for it: Rangers fans would be upset if I didn’t take a shot at them. (Also they’re pretty thick-skulled and enjoy having it pointed out for some reason. (Sorry again.)).

The Flyers needed at least a tie in that gameNote 3Nowadays, tie games go into sudden-death overtime; and if no goal is scored in OT, it goes to a shootout – games must have a winner. But back in the day (and 1972 was nothing if not “the day”), regular season games could end in a tie, just like soccer, some wars and most marital arguments (unless you speak to one of the spouses when the other isn’t present – in that case the one you’re talking to invariably claims victory). against the Buffalo Sabres to edge out the Pittsburgh Penguins for the last playoff spot in their division (the West division, naturally, because Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is located deep in the heart of Wyoming, I’m guessing ... or was in the 1970s).

The Flyers’ chances looked good: They’d jumped out to a 2-0 lead in that game and as long as they held that lead – heck, as long as they kept the Sabres to anything under three goals – they were in, baby! My brother and I were watching the game with our Dad – actually, Dad just happened to be in the room; he didn’t care one way or the other about hockey because, as he told us, ice hadn’t yet been invented in his day, which is not true; more likely, as the old joke goes, they just didn’t have the recipe for it – and by mid-third period we had convinced Dad to buy us tickets to a playoff game even though (because playoff tickets ain’t cheap, ya see) it would mean that our 47 siblings would go without food for a month or something, but, you know, fasting is good for the soul and our siblings would end up thanking us in the end, probably, or would at least be too weak from hunger to do us any appreciable bodily harm.

Then the Sabres tied the game.

It stayed tied into the third periodNote 4Hockey games have three periods, unlike other arena sports, which generally get divided into halves and/or quarters. I once asked my wife what period a game was in and she told me it was in “the second quarter”; I informed her that hockey games don’t have quarters – they’re divided into thirds … three periods of 20 minutes each. She said that was stupid. I informed her nuh-uh, no it’s not, it makes perfect sense; and I totally won that argument because she’s not here to make me grudgingly agree to call it a tie.. Then it wound down to under a half-minute to go and the Flyers were still tied, so all was looking up!

Then this happenedNote 5Trigger Warning! The video here linked to features brief footage of fans in the stands sporting circa-1972 fashions: unironic sideburns, post-hippie haircuts, and at least one long-haired comb-over. And the less said about the actual clothing the better. So you should probably send any young and impressionable children out of the room before you click on that link.:



Ouch. With just four seconds left in the game, the Flyers gave up the winning (or losing, depending on your perspective) goal.

The video above comes from a Sabres website retrospectively celebrating this “victory”. But you can be sure that, in April of 1972, nobody in Philadelphia was celebrating, with the possible exception of Dad and his 47 other children, who would now no longer have to face the specter of pauperization and starvation, respectively. They all conveniently forgot the real victims, here: my brother and I, who would not get to attend a playoff game. Soooo selfish of them!

In 1975, the Flyers ended up beating those same Buffalo Sabres in the playoff finals, thereby winning the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row. Sweet revenge! And the best part was that all 63 of my other siblings (hey, it was three years later and we were still Catholic) lived to see it – none of them starved due to playoff ticket expense-related food deprivation.

What does any of this have to do with Tech Tips? Just this:

These days, thanks to – WAIT FOR IT!technology, it is far easier to keep up with your favorite NHL team … or any NHL team, for that matter, even (for the addle-patedNote 6Again, I apologize, but, as explained above in FN 2, I really have no choice in this matter. fan) the New York Rangers!

How? you ask.

Why, by downloading the Official NHL App to your smart phone or mobile device, of course!

I’ll let the good foax at nhl.com explain why you – assuming you’re a hockey fan – should do so:
The new official NHL® App has been transformed for hockey fans with a host of new features, including a full redesign to support Apple iOS 9 Android Material, searchable video highlights, customized favorite team experiences and access to the dramatic final minutes of NHL games with a new monthly subscription product – NHL PREMIUM™.
INTRODUCING NHL PREMIUM™
  • Watch the final minutes, including 3-on-3 OT and shootouts, of every live out-of-market game
  • Get extended highlight packages for every game
  • Monthly $2.99 subscription
  • NHL.TV™ subscribers receive NHL Premium™ for free
Don’t get thrown by the “Premium” option. It is, after all, just an option. I myself downloaded the free version of the app, and I am perfectly happy with it. The option of being able to “watch the final minutes, including 3-on-3 OT and shootouts, of every live out-of-market game” is tempting – nothing is more exciting than a tie game that goes into 3-on-3 overtime; 3-on-3 ice hockey is a sport unto itself, a veritable 33rpm LP played at 45rpm speed (ask your parents, kids) – but not $2.99-a-month tempting. Do you have any idea how many Catholic children/siblings I could feed with that much lettuce?

The app allows you to pick a favorite team (or teams, if you have divided loyalties), and I of course chose the Flyers. I had downloaded the Flyers’ app a week or so before I downloaded the NHL app and the latter is so vastly superior to the former that I quickly deleted the Flyers app as irrelevant to my specific needsNote 7YMMV. For instance, if you are interested in how the Flyers’ minor league clubs, such as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are doing, you’d probably want to download and keep the Flyers app..

Logo courtesy Google Images
After you choose your favorite team, you should go into and toggle on the general Notifications: News and Final Minutes, the latter of which will send you notifications “during the final minutes of one goal games”. Even if you don’t care about either of the teams involved in the one-goal games, you, as a hockey fan, do want to know about these things because there’s always a chance that these games will end in a regulation-time tie which means … 3-on-3 Overtime! And if any of them do, it’s at that point that you will wish you had starved a few young Catholics and splurged for that $2.99 a month because Overtime hockey is as thrilling as games that are decided by shootouts are lame, and I’m not saying that just because when Flyers’ overtime games end in a tie and go to shootouts to determine the winner the Flyers always loseNote 8Full Disclosure: Or maybe I am. Seriously, the Flyers are terrible at shootouts..

After you turn on the General Notifications, you should turn on the Notifications for your Favorite Team, including (and you can toggle each of these on individually – it’s not All or Nothing):
(Only one of those options above is fake and I’ll leave it to you, Astute Reader, to figure out which one. No fair giving hints to your slow-witted Rangers fan friends. Sorry!)

Once you have set the app up, it will open to an interface that features your team’s upcoming schedule at the very top; followed by a fuller view of the most proximate upcoming game (e.g., today’s game, if your team is scheduled to play today); under which are listed the leading scorers for your team and your team’s upcoming opponent; followed by Top Stories (including videos) for your team; followed by Video Highlights … and so on.

I’m only scratching the surface of what’s available at your fingertips through this app.

Lamentably, today I live in a (very nice) area of New Jersey that gets New York television stations, but not Philadelphia ones. So when the Flyers are not playing a New York team (the Rangers; the Islanders; the DevilsNote 9You’re not fooling anyone, Devils, by calling yourself the New Jersey Devils – you’re still a New York team because New Jersey professional sports teams are not a thing., whose games I get on the NY channels) I don’t get to see the Flyers except on the relatively rare occasions when a Flyers game is broadcasted nationally on NBC/NBCSN or the NHL channel. So a few night ago, I was listening to the radio broadcastNote 10Philadelphia radio stations don’t come in too well where I live, either. If that's how it is in your area too, do yourself a favor and download an Internet radio app like iHeartRadio (http://news.iheart.com/features/get-the-iheartradio-app-240/) and the game will come in crystal clear on your phone or tablet. of the Flyers/Wild game; the Flyers were up, 3-2, and the third period was winding down and, with under 3 seconds left, the Minnesota Wild scored. Shoot! I thought while actually thinking a different word that starts out with the same two letters – shades of April 2, 1972!

But wait! No! The Wild hadn’t scored – the ref was signaling “no goal”. Michal Neuvirth, the Flyers’ goalie, had made an incredible save, which I had not seen, lack of visuals being the nature of radio, and all. Tim Saunders and Steve Coates (the Flyers’ radio guys) tried to describe the save, but were having obvious trouble doing it justice, falling back on calling it the “save of the season.” The Flyers hung on for the remaining 2 seconds and won the game, keeping their 2016 playoff hopes alive! (You'd have to be dead inside, with the stone-cold heart of a Rangers fan not to be moved by this. (Sorry again, Rangers fans!))

Five minutes later, this appeared in the highlights section of my NHL app.

A save worth fasting for, and I got to see it for free.

Relevant Web Links

NHL app hits the ice with a new look for 2014-2015 season
C|NET’s Review of the new NHL app

iHeartRadio for Android review: The best free streaming-radio app available
C|NET’s Four-and-a-half star review of the iHeartRadio app for Androis.

iHeartRadio for iOS review: Top streaming ap keeps getting better
C|NET’s Four-and-a-half star review of the iHeartRadio app for iOS.

The Official Website of the Philadelphia Flyers!

O, okay, as a peace offering, here's the Rangers website, too!
Notes

Note 1 A largely Catholic neighborhood so, needless to say, there was no shortage of kids. If you’ve seen Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and remember the scene with the Yorkshire Catholic family, it pretty accurately depicts the consequences of Catholic family breeding practices in those dark days.

Note 2 Unless you’re a New York Rangers fan because Rangers fans need to have even the simplest things spelled out for them. Sorry if that comes across as obnoxious, but the rivalry between Philadelphia sports fans and New York sports fans is so strong that gratuitous insults are virtually obligatory. Take my word for it: Rangers fans would be upset if I didn’t take a shot at them because of this rivalry. (Also they’re pretty thick-skulled and enjoy having it pointed out for some reason. (Sorry again.))

Note 3 Nowadays, tie games go into sudden-death overtime; and if no goal is scored in OT, it goes to a shootout – games must have a winner. But back in the day (and 1972 was nothing if not “the day”), regular season games could end in a tie, just like soccer, some wars and most marital arguments (unless you speak to one of the spouses when the other isn’t present – in that case the one you’re talking to invariably claims victory).

Note 4 Hockey games have three periods, unlike other arena sports, which generally get divided into halves and/or quarters. I once asked my wife what period a game was in and she told me it was in “the second quarter”; I informed her that hockey games don’t have quarters – they’re divided into thirds … three periods of 20 minutes each. She said that was stupid. I informed her nuh-uh, no it’s not, it makes perfect sense; and I totally won that argument because she’s not here to make me agree it was a tie.

Note 5 Trigger Warning! The video linked to features brief footage of fans in the stands sporting circa-1972 fashions: unironic sideburns, post-hippie haircuts, and at least one long-haired comb-over. And the less said about the actual clothing the better. So you should probably send any young and impressionable children out of the room before you click on that link.

Note 6 Again, I apologize, but, as explained above in FN 2, I really have no choice in this matter.

Note 7 YMMV. For instance, if you are interested in how the Flyers’ minor league clubs, such as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are doing, you’d probably want to download and keep the Flyers app.

Note 8 Full Disclosure: Or maybe I am. Seriously, the Flyers are terrible at shootouts.

Note 9 You’re not fooling anyone, Devils, by calling yourself the New Jersey Devils – you’re still a New York team because New Jersey professional sports teams are not a thing.

Note 10 Philadelphia radio stations don’t come in too well where I live, either. If that's how it is in your area too, do yourself a favor and download an Internet radio app like iHeartRadio (http://news.iheart.com/features/get-the-iheartradio-app-240/) and the game will come in crystal clear on your phone or tablet.

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