SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, June 07, 2004

(Last?) NHL Finals Tonight

I suppose that if you've been focused on horse racing, your favorite baseball teams, watching the USA Women's National team tie Japan in soccer yesterday, watching the NBA playoffs (or, for that matter, washing your car, watering your impatiens, trying to solve the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, calling your Aunt Cordelia in Murfreesboro or serving food at your wife's mah jongg tournament, or even reading about the scandlous blog "Washingtonienne" on the web), you might have missed some good NHL playoff games. Tonight is the final game, in Tampa Bay, between the Lightning and the Calgary Flames (you'll be sure to see at least one shot of Dick Vitale in the stands), and it should be a barn-burner.

Which begs the question? Why are the ratings worse than say the NFL Draft? Or women's softball? There are many possible reasons. First, there are too many NHL teams. Second, too many of them make the playoffs, Third, there are too many games. Fourth, there is too much violence.

American fans like the "violence" in comic book form in terms of the WWE (nee WWF), with cans of whupass, smackdowns, Texas Steel Cage matches and the like. But they don't like it when head shots are legal, when fighting is part of the game, and where violence can predominate during the regular season. Playoff hockey is much more watchable (because the stakes are so much higher, the cheap shots and fighting are kept to an absolute minimum!), as is the Frozen Four (the NCAA Division I Final Four in ice hockey), as is college hockey, and there fighting isn't legal. So, NHL, you have some great opportunities in the off-season -- get your salary structures in order, clean up your teams' balance sheets (many are bleeding money and laying off employees), restructure the entire league and take some serious stands as to what you want your game to be. Is it Pro Wrestling on skates, with designated goons, or is it a pure athletic event with crisp passing and play (see Calgary versus Tampa Bay).

The NHL and its players have a unique chance to determine the fate of professional hockey. They are already on the precipice, and time will tell whether it's too late to pull the NHL from the abyss.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree,

I love NHL. and recently I have bought stock in it. Not like real stock on Wall street, but a stock market that is strictly for sports.

You have seen it? Its pretty cool. You buy issues for your favorite teams and you make real money. Not like a fake stock simulator. I cash out Dividends each time the team wins. Also I can sell my team stock when the price goes up.

check it out if something like this interests you.
heres a link http://allsportsmarket.com
you can log in and check it out for free..

They just released IPO'S for NHL this week, so there are alot of good deals there.

Keep up the good work on your blog!
-Erik

3:53 PM  
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