“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

May 6, 2007

Crybaby Watch

I present to you the latest columnist to jump on the whine wagon during the 2007 NHL playoffs.

Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Hockey is a tough sell on television. But try selling network execs on tight-checking games that might last 2 1/2 hours, might last all night. They'd rather show "Gunsmoke" reruns. The NHL should not try to tailor its game for television — this isn't the NFL. But if a change makes the game more accessible and more dynamic to the casual audience, the tail wags the dog.

How many times can a columnist contradict himself in one paragraph? O'Neill's going for the record, it seems.

Dude, shut up.

8 comments:

B_Washington said...

What hockey games is this yahoo watching. I thought all the Rangers-Sabres games televised quite well, and if people have HD TV's they televise that much better.

That's a lame "This is my poor excuse for not watching hockey" argument

Dear Lord Stanley said...

He even sums it up in the final sentence by saying he's just too old to stay up late for overtime games. So, therefore, the NHL should completely change their overtime rules because of one old guy who can't keep his eyes open.

I can't believe these people are employed as columnists.

hockeychic said...

Add this one to the chorus of "stupid playoff articles." My brother and I were talking about this yesterday, there is nothing wrong with playoff hockey, please just leave the game alone!

The problem is Bettman and the marketing of the sport. There is nothign wrong with the product. All these columnists kicking the sport does not help things. They are the same ones who whine about how hockey doesn't promote itself enough, hello? McFly!

B_Washington said...

hockeychic...

I completely agree with you

hockeychic said...

This is something that was also covered in b_washington's excellent post (I couldn't comment there though I don't have a google account!), this is why I have turned away from the MSM and rely on bloggers for my information. These are people who actually seem to like the sport and write about it with care rather than bizarre ideas about letting people kick the puck in the net and playing 4 on 4 in playoff OT.

I also think a lot of this

Gabriel said...

Meh, I'm going to get shot for this.

I have to disagree with you all on this one, but it pains me to do so. I agree that there's nothing wrong with the sport, and the televised product suits me just fine. Unfortunately, if the league is serious about attracting new fans – especially those who aren't as passionate as, say, people who would comment on a hockey blog – then a couple of things have to be reconsidered. I don't think the style of play or the format of the game needs to change, but the presentation could use a little dumbing down. The announcers should break down plays and strategies more often, not just when someone makes a highlight reel move. There are ways to introduce audiences to the rules of the game...even the simple ones, like icing, without making it unbearable for the rest of us. They need to stop with the clock that measures how long Thornton or Forsberg have been on the ice. Knowledgable fans know it, and the ones who don't...well, they're going to spend too long trying to figure out which one Thornton or Foresberg is. It doesn't help, it doesn't add a level of excitement to know a big play might happen, and it just makes the novice feel..well...less knowledgable.

Anyway...just my 2 cents.

hockeychic said...

Gabriel - I do agree with you there, the announcers could do a better job of introducing people to the game, to me that falls under the "marketing of the NHL."

I do hate those clocks that measure a player's shift. Who cares that Lidstrom has been on the ice of 20 seconds? All it does is litter up the screen with useless information. With NBC running stuff on the top of the screen and then on the bottom, the poor game gets awfully cramped.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

Funny thing is, a coworker of mine told me once that the reason he doesn't watch hockey is because he can never tell when a star player is on the ice. His general frustration was with the necessity of playing in shifts (nothing can be done about that), but he said it would be mitigated if he could easily see which players were on the ice when.

So maybe NBC is totally off on their effort to identify players on the ice---it may actually draw more casual fans.

But I agree that the announcers could add a few comments here and there, purely in a matter-of-fact descriptive way, of certain rules that tend to confuse people. Icing, offside plays, forechecking, etc. They wouldn't have to draw diagrams or anything.

But yeah, the original post was about columnists complaining too much, not a defense of how hockey is televised. It does indeed have problems, but the game itself should be left alone.

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