I have to apologize…

It has been 4 days since I started this blog and as a Canadian i feel almost embarrased to admit that I havent discussed the NHL yet. Although I am a little ashamed to admit it, I think I understand why.

For those of you who dont know, the NHL experienced a lockout just two years ago in which the entire season was lost in order to establish a salary cap and and a new set of rule changes. The salary cap was supposed to create parody throughout a league that had quickly become a dynasties league. Big market teams were able to become the class of the league by throwing more money at great players than small market teams had to spend on their entire roster. The salary cap was implemented immediately after the lockout and it did its job exactly as expected. Thanks to the salary cap, small market teams are able to compete for the services of superstar players like Chris Pronger and Joe Thornton thereby transforming their teams from relative obscurity to real Stanley Cup contenders. The new rule changes also did their job well. They increased offensive performance in every way including average goals per game and individual scoring creating a more dynamic and high octane game…Basically, the game became funner to watch, which is all that counts.

So why haven’t I spoken about this exciting new MY NHL yet? It’s actually very simple. The NHL was and still is, as sad as it is for me to say it, a dying sport. Scoring is up but ratings are still down and they continue to decline despite the NHL’s efforts to “reinvent” the game. Very recently, Hockey Night in Canada (as Canadian a tradition there is) admitted that their ratings are down yet again but not only are they down, they are down 18 percent from the year before the lockout! The NHL is on its last legs and it seems like despite their efforts, nothing will be able to save it…although they certainly will try. Gary Bettman, the NHL’s Commissioner, is going to try literally everything and anything to “reinvent” the game and prevent it from reaching complete obscurity…and I sincerely hope he succeeds.

Hockey has been around for almost a century and has provided us with some of our greatest and most cherished memories, from The Summit Series to The Miracle. Let’s not turn our backs on it now.


Posted in NHL. 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “I have to apologize…”

  1. travis Says:

    Being a fellow Canadian, I understand your built-in following for the game. Like most hockey fans, I feel as though the rule changes instituted following the lockout were beneficial for the game, and have generated a more exciting product for viewers. The problems with the NHL remain the same as always, however. How easy is it for people in the United States (especially southern states) to relate to the sport? On top of that, we Canadian’s take pride in the abundance of skilled players found throughout the league, but until the game can find the interest level to develop more American players so US viewers can see a more national product, I fear that the game will continue to spiral downwards. Although I commend the job that certain cities (see Ducks – Pronger, Niedermeyer, Sharks – Joe T) have done to turn their franchises around from a talent perspective over the last few years and spark a viewing interest, the fact remains that the NHL competes with the NBA and NFL during this season, making it a last resort for many viewers.

  2. Roald Says:

    I am on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to watching the NHL, I actually enjoy it more these days because I feel some of the other sports have lost their luster with way too many ego driven players (T.O., Plaxico Buress, and let’s face it many other Wide Receivers in the League, not all, but lots) as well as some players in the NBA seem to be more me first and not team driven. Hockey to me is a true team sport and has to be and I am a Washington Caps fan. Yes it is easy watching out games because Ovie is on the ice and at any given point he can do something spectacular and I do feel the Caps are one extremely hard working team so I am enjoying it more than in the past. I have not watched many other games outside of Caps games so really cannot tell you how the league in total is looking, but I am enjoying it at least.

    It will be hard to generate interest in the souther states where college football is king (they have a hard time supporting their pro franchises down there in football and basketball as well). Ultimately I do believe the sport will survive but it will be a slow turn around, not a quick one.

    Anyway, great blog here and enjoy.

  3. Roald Says:

    One more addition to my above response that may help, the NHL should sponser NASCAR teams. Imagine JUNIOR riding the Carolina Hurricanes Car being followed by Tony Stewert in the Thrasher mobile.

  4. Darren Says:

    A dying sport? Come to Buffalo, and see if the NHL is dying or not. I know that because we have the best team in the league it would stir up excitement but the intensity of the fast play and shootouts has revived the game. Nobody has to leave sighing because of a tie and have to see a boring 2-1 game featuring the neutral-zone trap. I can see why the game can flounder in Chicago where they haven’t had a good team in years. But since teams will get better, fan support comes back. This is not the NFL, not every game will sell out. The new game is great and it will only get better from here.

  5. benbca Says:

    Great site by the way. It is now bookmarked.

    I too am Canadian, and follow the NHL
    religously. Follow the economics of the sport,
    national media, read arcticles from all over
    North America.

    I do dispute the notion though that it is on
    its last legs. Attendance is at an alltime high
    right now and the league just announced an
    increase in their salary cap again. Which the
    first increase last year of 5-6 million was a
    shock to everyone, they intend to raise it again
    another 3-4 mill.

    The appearance that ratings is down is simple.
    They signed a nothing deal with NBC that generates
    $0 in revenue for the league, and they signed
    with OLN in the US, away from ESPN. When you
    want to watch good sports who do you turn to?
    OLN or ESPN.

    Ratings down in Canada does surprise me a bit,
    but we (Canadians, specifically central Ontario,
    that makes up for 1/3 of the Canadian Pop.) are
    becoming more and more Americanized with our
    TV, Sports, Media and the draw towards NFL, NBA,
    as well as media like PTI on Jim Brohm (spelling?) where hockey is just a footnote.

    Thats my opinion on the subject.

    Great work by the way… keep it going.

  6. minxh Says:

    Good site!!!

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