Archive | May 17, 2013

Travel-weary Red Wings look forward to extra day off, recharging before Game 2 vs. Blackhawks

The Detroit Red Wings logged more than 12,000 air miles in three round trips to the West Coast while playing every other night in the first round of the playoffs against Anaheim.

They were grateful for the extra day off before the second round. And they’ll gladly take their additional day of rest before Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday afternoon.

They will look to get refreshed Thursday, after faltering Wednesday in the final two periods of a 4-1 loss in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals. They’ll practice on Friday and hope to have much more jump in Game 2 Saturday afternoon at the United Center.

“We got to get up to speed because we haven’t played like that in a while,” coach Mike Babcock said. “So just getting some energy back in us.

“We thought we were actually playing (Tuesday) and we really felt the break was going to help us and the way this series is set up we have no reason not to be very good next game. So we got to get back at ‘er and playing at a high tempo because obviously they were playing at a (high) level (Wednesday).”

The Blackhawks made one short trip to Minnesota in the first round and earned a five-day break between rounds.

“Maybe it had to do something with the rest, (but) it seemed like after the first period they had their legs and we didn’t,” Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “We have tomorrow off, take full advantage of it and then get a good skate on Friday.

“We played a lot of hockey in the last little time and with a lot of travel. The day off and sleeping in our own beds will do us well.”

The Red Wings have dropped Game 1 in each of their past four series. All have come on the road.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Howard said. “We were in this position last series. It’s one game. They definitely played better than us. Saturday we have to respond.”

Said Damien Brunner: “It’s good for us to get a day off. We came off a seven-game series. That’s not an excuse. But, I think we take that day off.”

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Google Launches A Streaming Music Service

The competition for your ears — and dollars — just got a little tougher. On Wednesday, Google launched a paid music subscription service that will put it in direct competition with other streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. The announcement may just be the beginning for Google.

As it gets easier to access the Internet, more fans are streaming their music — not downloading it. A recent survey by the NPD Group found that for users between the ages of 13 and 35 streaming music services are more popular than FM radio. Google wants to make sure it rides that wave.

At its developers conference on Wednesday in San Francisco, the company’s Chris Yerga introduced what it’s calling All Access. While listening to !!!’s “One Girl One Boy” via the service, Yerga showed how it was possible to create a station curated by Google’s algorithms but controllable by the user.

“So if there’s something there we don’t want to hear,” he says, “Swipe it away! Swipe it away!”

All Access users can listen to millions of songs and albums as part of the streaming radio service, or they can listen to a song or album on demand, as many times as they like.

Google, the biggest company to enter the streaming music market, has reached licensing agreements with the three major labels. Pandora, the Internet radio service, has 200 million users. Spotify, which also lets users pick exactly what they want to hear, has 6 million paying subscribers and about 24 million users. But Paul Sloan, the executive editor of CNET, who follows the industry, isn’t sure how well Google will compete.

“It might just sort of be one of those services that never gets traction,” Sloan says. “Right now Google’s various music services and other various things they’ve done like this have not worked well.” Sloan points to Google’s Play store, where fans can download books, films and music. He says it doesn’t come close to Amazon or iTunes.

But Google-owned YouTube is another matter. It’s by far the most popular way for young people to listen to music. Sloan says Google is working on another streaming service that will be part of YouTube.

“The industry is hoping for YouTube because that has the brand recognition,” he says. “That has the brand recognition, and people already use it as their digital jukebox in the sky.”

The service Google launched today will cost $10 a month. That’s the same price as Spotify. But both Spotify and Pandora have free versions of their services. To get Google’s All Access you have to pay up.