May 212008
 

Or are others having a hard time getting excited about these Stanley Cup playoffs?

Despite a Stanley Cup match up that almost certainly features the best in the east against the best in the west (which actually doesn’t happen all that often) and two star studded teams, I have a real hard time getting excited. It could be that I have been real busy with other stuff (work, moving, etc.) but the NHL is really making it hard for me as well. First off the past two rounds have been pretty dull as far as the competitive level of hockey goes as none of the series really had much drama in them and then the NHL goes and makes matters worse by having lengthy breaks between rounds. There were 3 days without hockey between rounds two and three and now we have 4 days off before the Stanley Cup finals begin on Saturday.

The NHL will say it is for (American) television reasons but when American television doesn’t bring in any significant revenue one wonders why they don’t for once do something for fan interest reasons. Why give fans 4 days to find something else to do or watch like the NBA playoffs or baseball or go out and get a head start on summer and enjoy some nice weather. It makes no sense to me.

It is times like these when I think back to a time when the NHL had a simple straight forward playoff format: One conference plays on one night, the other conference plays on the next and they alternate for the whole playoffs and teams play on every other night. Life was simple back then and you knew when your team was playing without having to refer to a schedule. Plus it kept interest high as one day you are talking about what might happen tonight, the next day you are talking about what actually happened last night, and then the next day it is back to talking about what might happen tonight, etc. Interest and discussion amongst fans was constantly happening but these lengthy breaks just kill all that.

I think it is time that the NHL change its philosophy from “get your product on network TV at all costs and the fans will come” to “lets serve the fans what they want and network TV will come”. TV ratings (and revenues) come when you have fans that want to watch hockey not when networks make time to show hockey.

  5 Responses to “Is it just me…”

  1.  

    I think right now it’s more like “let’s put the NHL on network TV and get it out in the open, but ESPN is too expensive so let’s go to a more obscure network like Vs. and OLN.”

  2.  

    The potential for 3 Saturday games is huge from a ratings perspective, so I wouldn’t discount that issue.

    Beyond that, it’s hard to motivate Canadians when no Canadian club really has a chance in the finals… as lame as that is. Hockey is a truly REGIONAL sport. Much moreso than the NFL. Basketball and Baseball are more regional also. Big markets draw bigger attention… smaller markets draw less. Yes Detroit vs. Pitt is an awesome match up, but out side of those cities, I’m not sure many people really care. I’ll tune in – but I don’t expect most to.

  3.  

    From a matchup standpoint, I don’t think the league could ask for more right now.

    You have the (evil, everything that’s wrong with the sport) Yankees of Hockey, Red Wings, against the most marketable team in the league in the Penguins and Crosby/Malkin, who the league wants on NBC every single Sunday anyway.

    I don’t like having to wait this long for the series to start, but had it been the Stars, I would’ve welcomed the extra time to heal so…it’s a double edged sword.

    I doesn’t matter when they start really. Some of us were going to be locked in, some people weren’t. That’s pretty much it.

  4.  

    when the leafs aren’t involved, as is becoming the norm, i always lose interest after the first round…the first round is just the freaking best…and the series in the 2nd round and third round this year weren’t all that competitive…hopefully the finals will be a beauty.

  5.  

    I’m surprised no one mentioned how for the first time the refs. are continuing their infraction crackdown into the playoffs. The first couple rounds to me were quite boring because it wasn’t hockey, just a bunch of powerplays. I will say that the finals had quite a few fantastic moments where for a good 10 minutes the we saw end to end rushes. It’s doubtful that would have been possible had the refs. not cracked down in the first couple rounds and the teams had time to adapt to the play. Funny how the refs. seemed to let a few penalties slip in the finals.

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