22 April 2006

not afraid to back down

So said Brian Campbell of the Buffalo Sabres during a live TV interview (on, um, Outdoor Life Network) in the hallway just before the first overtime period of his team's opening NHL playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He had been asked about how he and his teammates were trying to handle the physical play of the (generally bigger) Flyers players. In response, Campbell overnegated (or undernegated?) - he had two equivalent expressions from the arsenal of interview phrases to choose from, "not backing down" and "standing up for yourself", and wanted to embed whatever he said in the "not afraid to X" frame. He just grabbed the wrong embeddee, and said "I think we're not afraid to back down". No biggee, probably no one else but me noticed, and I'm not trying to be critical. I just think that it's worth noting that these things can happen when a network insists on interviewing a professional athlete, before the conclusion of a game, when the athlete just wants to play.

The same telecast (along with several others this weekend) has forced me to correct a point in my previous post regarding the structure of "infraction announcements" in the NHL. I had claimed that the referee, when announcing a penalty, always refers to the team of the transgressor by the colour of their sweater, as in "6 white, two minutes for hooking". I was correct about the structure of the announcement (number, team, punishment, trangression) but not about the team reference - all the penalty calls I saw this weekend referred to the team by its city. So we saw things like "forty-four Edmonton, two minutes interference" rather than "forty-four white". I have seen the team colour used, but only by Kerry Fraser.


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