Guess who's back? We'll talk some Selanne, and what to do with him in your fantasy league. But first I have to get something off my chest:
The All-Star Shame, er…Game.
This weekend really summed up the NHL. So much potential, but so poorly executed. The league is just a mess and so was the skills competition.
It is bad enough the NHL All-Star weekend and the sport in general is completely non-existent in the minds of so many US citizens. How can it be that the majority of the teams call the United States home, but the majority of citizens, even in Atlanta probably, didn’t even realize the sport’s biggest spectacle next to the playoffs took place this weekend? There is so much money to be made and growth to be had for the NHL in the US, and they are just missing the boat.
It really all starts with the TV package. Why Versus? I know the station is still in its infancy but common… it needs to be broadcasted on network television at least until Versus gets in better standing. I don’t think everyone up north understands how difficult it can be to watch the NHL Draft or NHL All-Star game in the states. Last year, one of my college buddies and I tried to watch the game at a bar or restaurant because we didn’t have Versus. We called around and tried to find a place that did. It took six calls… SIX!… before we found a sports bar that had Versus. Most people didn’t even know what Versus was or that the game was even on. NO ONE HAS VERSUS!
So anyway, we went to this bar and tried to watch the game. They put the game on for us only because we requested it, and they said we could only watch it for half an hour before the local college basketball came on. There are so many regular season basketball games on each winter and only one NHL All-Star game and the basketball still gets precedence. On top of that, they made us watch it with the sound off because football news coverage was on.
This occurred in Missouri. I can’t imagine how obscure the sport is in the deep south. The game is only on NBC once a week and only in the second half of the season. It is ridiculous. Even worse, ESPN, the standard cable heartbeat of sports in America, completely ignores the sport. Whatever deal ESPN is willing to give the NHL, they should take it. The NHL can’t truly succeed in the US without ESPN supporting them. It is just insane how little they speak about hockey. It is usually just Barry Melrose letting people know that Crosby is good.
Now back to the All-Star festivities. Not a lot can be said about the game itself. It was pretty typical, with little hitting and high scoring. There’s nothing wrong with that for an exhibition. It is the NHL SuperSkills event that was really sad.
Mistakes from the the “Phanuef” error to the fastest skater mix-ups to mispronunciations were just the tip of the iceberg. The relay was boring, the YoungStars game had old veterans tending goal and Chris Pronger showed off his “Skills” by falling down during Perry’s interview. How ironic.
I really think the relay could be aided by adding a 2 on 1 or 2 on none element. The passing in that