October 25th, 2006, 10:04 AM #1
Beating a dead horse?
Attendance down across the league and if you thought the NHL made for good TV before you probably question it now.
Case in point-Last nights Calgary vs Phoenix game. Calgary has a healthy lead and the Frustrated Yotes start taking the body and Calgary starts responding back in kind. But not wanting the game to "get out of hand" the refs start calling every ticky tack penalty they can find completly killing what little enjoyment there was in watching the final 5-10 minutes of the game including the worlds worst hooking penalty called on Roman Hamrlik. If Hooking is defined as "having ones stick in the general vicinity of an opponents leg" then I guess it was a great call.
I really see the NHL as having the worst case of timing of any sport. When it was the 70/80s they just didnt get the exposure that other sports got in spite of the scoring/physical play./rivalries the game offered.
Once Gretz and Lemieux came to to forefront it brought added exposure and interest but once again there just wasnt enough coverage to pay dividends. I remember sitting in a sportsbar in 1988 watching the Hartford Whalers on satellite and considering myself lucky since this was a rarity. Remember the Hextall/Chelios incident? How about the Isles/Rangers grudge match? Well you probably dont remember unless you shelled out the cash to pay to get ZTV/SportsChannel. The brilliant decision to give the NHL playoffs to a pay tv service which also pre-emtped hockeys game to show preseason Clippers basketball.
Fast forward to the 90s expansion and a wide open game brought arguably the most interest to the NHL ever. The game had a nice balance of toughness and skill which made it great to watch. Fighters like Bob Probert/Marty Mcsorely/Joey Kocur were as popular as Gretzky and Yzerman. The National Sports Newspaper had extensive features about the legendary Probert/Troy Crowder fights.
Using this as a springboard to expansion and a cash grab the NHL overexpands-thus seeing players with no business being in yesterdays NHL all of a sudden thrust into the limelight; Scoring Plummets. Coaches with an eye on the bottom line of Wins and Losses simply start playing a counter punch/trapping style to stay in games.
Surprise Surprise people start losing interest as the trapping clutch and grab lies in direct contrast to the high flying 80s/early 90's brand of hockey.
Then hopping on the politically correct bandwagon-the powers that be somehow think that ramping up scoring and eliminating fighting may somehow bring NBA style results of viewership to the NHL-while diehard fans are left with a shell of a former great game and diehards fans expressing less interest in games(me included.)
In a time when the UFC/Pride Fighting/Nascar are ratings winners-the NHL takes one of its most marketable aspects out of the game. In a time when the NHL is trying to bring in new fans and new viewers-it adopts a policy that actually makes the game harder to watch for the casual fan and less enjoyable for the diehard fan.
Someone said it in another thread-the solution to the NHLs problems wasnt adopting a salary cap; it should have been contraction. Take 4 teams out of the NHL and disburse those 4 teams players amungst the rest and you would have an across the board raising of the overall skill level that by itself would have increased scoring without resorting to calling 20 minors a game simply to boost Power Play scoring.
The NHL historically has had horrible timing and the new rules changes reflect that. In an era when the UFC is selling out staples center and making gazilions through pay per view the NHL has teams that are forced to buy their own air time. Go figure.
Thats my rant for the day. Thanks for reading.
October 25th, 2006, 10:06 AM #2
and when they ask Commish Bettman about the low attendance he said,
"It's too early to tell!"
How long do we think he will keep that up, end of the season? LOL
October 25th, 2006, 10:06 AM #3
PETA called and they would like you to use a different title for your threads in the future.
October 25th, 2006, 10:12 AM #4
Originally Posted by WhoThePuck
From the Office of PETA;
We the Chairpeople of PETA hereby acknowledge the tremendous strides the NHL has made in removing the violence and barbarism from its game. With the new NHL showing respect and gentleness to its players, PETA is proud to annouce its affiliation with the NHL. In conjunction with the NHL, PETA will continually work to a better world with peace, understanding, and nonviolence.
October 25th, 2006, 10:16 AM #5
October 25th, 2006, 10:17 AM #6
October 25th, 2006, 10:27 AM #7
the number one problem with the NHL has been the repeated labor problems.
The NHL lost all of their steam with the 94-05 lockout.
October 25th, 2006, 10:29 AM #8
Originally Posted by WhoThePuck
Well said Hipster...
October 25th, 2006, 10:55 AM #9
That is what it was called before the "Sports Channel". It was the Z channel! Didn't they play movies as well? I think I saw that movie Cherry 2000 like 2000 times on that station.
Originally Posted by Hipcheck
My Dad bought the channel specifically for hockey. I remember watching the playoffs in the late 80's on that channel. I think Doc Emrick did a lot of games for that channel or maybe they were just showing a lot of Flyers or Penguins games. Not sure which team he was calling the games.
The Chelios/Hextall incident.. was that in the '89 playoffs? I don't remember what happened exactly but I think that was the first year I watched the all the playoffs. I was 9 years old.
October 25th, 2006, 11:39 AM #10
THAT is the #1 problem facing the league right now (in my "humble" opinion)
Originally Posted by Hipcheck
The insistance that somehow somewhere in America there is a huge untapped market of casual fans who will wake up one day and ignore the last 20 years (if not more) of their newspapers, friends, televisions reporters, radio personalities, SNL sketch writers and all around general concensus telling them that hockey is a joke.
I am (I suppose) what could be called a "Casual Fan" of Baseball, Basketball, Football and Soccer. What that means is that I will watch some highlights, read some online articles and watch PTI everyday and generally keep abreast of what happens in the "wide world of sports". Ocassionally if I've nothing better to do I will actually watch a full game. The fact that I have cable (I suppose) puts some money in the coffer of professional sports but I haven't been to an NBA game or NFL game in YEARS and I only attend the odd baseball game if someone scores some great seats.
The NHL relys on attendance to make their money and they are CONSTANTLY alienating the (eeeevil) "purists" in the hopes that they will find the right equation for a high television audience. Well an extra 2 or 3 power play goals a game ISN'T going to do it and neither is less fighting. NOT when you can open any newspaper, turn on any television or radio or walk into any bar in America and hear some ignorant jack ass talking about what a joke hockey is and how nobody cares about it.
I've asked it before and I'll ask it again... I know why the owners care.... but why the **** do we as fans care how popular the sport of hockey is? With the internet and cable for a price you can watch pretty much any game you want now.
Nuts to the "Casual Fan", NUTS to Gary Bettman and NUTS to anyone that thinks the league needs 30 teams.