Around the Rink – Filling out the Brackets Edition

There are times when Jake Duhaime, the Social Networking Manager for the Detroit Red Wings, will use this space to discuss Social Media and the National Hockey League. His views are meant to enlighten, provoke thought, and do not represent the organization, management, or the team itself. You can also find his musings/ramblings on Twitter under the handle @jakeduhaime.

If the Stanley Cup Playoffs didn’t exist, no event would captivate quite like the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

March Madness has evolved over the years, but nowhere is it more evident than in the way we follow the tournament.

March Madness On Demand has been a smashing success for streaming video, allowing fans to watch out-of-market games without interruption. I’m actually excited to see how the 2011 NCAA Tournament looks through mobile streaming on my new iPhone.

– The office pool has turned into big business online, including the realm of Social Media, where one of the TV rights holders (CBS Sports) hosts a bracket challenge.

– Thanks to YouTube, Gus Johnson has become a broadcasting phenomenon. As CNBC’s Darren Rovell recently Tweeted – “Raise and Fire: Pay Gus Johnson more $, demote those above him on the pecking order.”

– Bracketology has become a science in its own merit, with classes being offered through ESPN’s own expert, Joe Lunardi.

The bracket showcases our ability to embrace social media, before social media even existed. It is a way to connect with friends and family over a common love of sport and a thirst for competition. At Joe Louis Arena, the Wings tournament is run by Dan Cleary and most players take part, even if a demanding NHL schedule prevents them from keeping track of the sport on a regular basis.

Plus, with 67 games, buzzer-beaters and Cinderella stories, it does give sports fans something to thirst our appetite until the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.

Speaking of that Stanley Cup journey, the Red Wings and Capitals squared off in a potential preview of June’s final at JLA with the Wings picking up a 3-2 victory. It was great to see Brian Rafalski solidifying the defensive end and assisting on all three goals in the victory.

“Obviously, Rafi is a real good player and if he’s healthy, he’s a lot better player,” Mike Babcock said after the game. “He hasn’t been healthy most of the year. We’d like to get him back and playing the way he can. We’re a faster team when he’s moving the puck.”

As expected, there was lots of Pav-Ovi love from the media, even if the Swede stole the show. Ovechkin netted a highlight reel goal that went between Brad Stuart’s legs and over Jimmy Howard’s shoulder, but it was Henrik Zetterberg’s two tallies that helped the Wings earn two points and ended the Caps nine game winning streak.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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About Jake Duhaime

Social Networking Manager for the Detroit Red Wings
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