Who said the NHL was Hockey?

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by shOOt_the_mOOn, Feb 5, 2005.

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  1. shOOt_the_mOOn

    shOOt_the_mOOn Registered User

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    I've been reading scores of posts now about what the fans should do when and if this whole lockout should ever come to an end.

    Booing players, boycotting games, watching celebrity poker instead......etc.....

    Then there are those that say because hockey is a niche sport anyway, the fan base is diehard and will return regardless.

    I see the whole thing differently. I see people who are fans of hockey PERIOD!

    I too have missed the NHL this season, but not for the obvious reasons discussed on this board. I miss not being able to watch the greatest sport on Earth. Living in the "States", it isn't as easy to catch games as it may be for those in "Hockey cities". The only channel I have that has shown any hockey is NESN (a few throwback games and one college game per week) and ESPN's lame attempt at showing the World Junior Tourney (and only the US games at that).

    Please lets not confuse the NHL with hockey.

    I would be more than happy to get my weekly fix with AHL, WHL, College, Canadian junior league, Europian league etc. if it were offered.

    If the NHL were to never return, there would be plenty of folks who, like me, would be more than satisfied watching other leagues.

    The players and the owners need to get over themselves. If we were only interested in watching Superstars, why would us true hockey fans get so excited about prospects and rookies? Old stars fade from memory as the younger kids grow and excel.

    At this point, to be honest (and I've felt this way since long before this labour dispute) my real disappointment has been with the coverage that the sport of hockey gets.

    If you want to boycott something, start writing your local, regional, and national sports media outlets and tell them you would much rather watch hockey, any hockey, than Dog shows, scrabble tournaments, and celebrity poker matches. To boycott the NHL when it returns will just reinforce the media outlets mentality of hockey being a second tier sport.

    While your at it, drop a letter off to the NHL and NHLPA's corporate offices to remind them that they are not the only game in town.
     
  2. Reilly311

    Reilly311 Guest

    Look, I like to go to OHL games and some non-division 1 college hockey, but it's NOTHING like an NHL game (when it's not a trap fest). Yeha, you might not miss it this year (I'm not), but when next year rolls around and there is talk of ANOTHER cancled season, you'll be *****ing.


    On a hilarious note, I went to this one college game (small ass rink) about a week ago and this kid brought his guitar amp and plugged it in on the bleachers and pumped music through it. He played songs like they would at an NHL hockey game during stoppages in play or when the home team scored. We'd also lift the glass off the boards and try to reach in and grab a player as they skated by. :lol
     
  3. Poignant Discussion*

    Poignant Discussion* I tell it like it is

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    The problem is the NHL has been marketed as an X sport for so long. Where the only attention it gets is from some knucklehead trying to kill another player.

    The reason poker draws more than hockey....more people play poker and understand poker and can imagine themselves in that seat playing the cards. Ditto with bowling

    Hockey needs to be marketed better, not only in the States but in Canada too.

    And to market hockey correctly you have got to take the senseless violence out of it.

    The NBA does not allow fighting
    The NFL does not allow fighting
    MLB does not allow fighting

    None of these sports are in any sort of trouble. There is a common point here and most "fans" miss it. Acceptable human behavior does not allow 2 grown men to beat each other up and most normal people will not watch a sport that allows this.

    We have boxing and wrestling for people who enjoy this sort of thing. Not a professional team sport
     
  4. Reilly311

    Reilly311 Guest


    this man speaks the truth.
     
  5. ScottyBowman

    ScottyBowman Registered User

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    Excellent point. People are always saying "Americans love violence and they should allow brawls in hockey". This is not true. Americans may love violence but they don't like fighting in sports. Evidence is in the other sports where their is zero tolerance for any fighting. Were people all excited about the brawl in Detroit this year? No. They were disgusted. One thing I've mentioned before was to cut all the extra crap during a whistle. How many times must we see to players holding onto each other after a frozen puck and waste 1 min? I don't care to see pushing and bumping after each whistle.
     
  6. futurcorerock

    futurcorerock Registered User

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    NBA - The "Youth" Movement that is transforming the league into a bunch of ignorant athletes. Plus, their CBA expires next season so just wait... some of the things said will make Mike Modano sound rational.

    NFL - All may be well now, but give it time.

    MLB - Do I need say more about Steroids?

    Why omit fighting? You made no honest argument against taking it out. It's a part of the heritage and the tradition of the sport. They need to eliminate some of the rules governing fighting that have tainted it flat out (Instigator, anyone?) The NHL needs to market the goal scoring and athleticism as well as its uniqueness.
     
  7. shOOt_the_mOOn

    shOOt_the_mOOn Registered User

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    First off, as I stated in my original post, I do miss the NHL. But I miss the game more than the league. I also agree with you that the most skilled league may very well be the NHL, but with the absence of this league, these skilled players will be playing else where (like more than 1/3 of the NHL talent is doing now).

    I was able to catch BC at Providence last night and it was a very entertaining game. My point is I miss hockey period.

    As for the comments on marketing the NHL by taking out the fighting, that may very well be something to consider. But I admit to getting "pumped up" while watching 2 players go after one another to send a message. However, if you have ever been to a live game, the crowd gets into a good clean, hard check every bit as much as a fight.

    It still comes back to letting your media outlets know that you want to see more hockey. It sure beats "boycotting". Why would ESPN ever show more NHL games if the scene on your TV screen is of a half empty arena that is so quiet, you can hear the players talking to each other on the ice?

    Bottom line is, as hockey fans, we're mad as hell. I still am more upset with the marketing of the game, and lack of tv coverage than the lockout itself.

    With HDTV, the game could be marketed so much better. I've tried to turn non-hockey folks on to the game and I always hear the same complaint, "How are you able to follow the puck?"

    I watch football, baseball, and hockey. The latter is by far the most exciting and fast paced game of the 3. Baseball is slow and can get boring at times. The NFL is exciting, but intermittent. A play lasts about 5 to 10 seconds with 45 seconds of non-play in between. But the fan at home can "follow" the game much better because of how it is televised.

    I suppose there is no quick and easy fix here, but my original thought is that boycotting hockey when it does return will not benefit the fan, nor the sport.
     
  8. Toonces

    Toonces The beer kitty

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    I don't want to get into another debate about fighting, because it's been beaten to death around here in the past, but address your main point, which is a great one moon.

    The NHL is not Hockey, and I agree.

    The problem is that it's the most effective way to market the game to the masses. Hockey will never be difficult to sell in Canada, it's your sport, but there are some of us "Americans" who truely love the game, and want to see it succeed on a massive scale down here. I know it's the greatest sport known to man, but without the NHL it's going to be difficult to spread our idology.

    What went so wrong that we have come to this? There are a million answers, but the solution will only come with the players on the ice...
     
  9. Hockey has less fights and is less violent than it has been in the past 30 years, shouldn't it have become more and more popular in the U.S? Why is it becomming less popular? Also, the general consensus is that current NHL hockey is flat out boring, maybe that could have something to do with its lack of popularity.
     
  10. grego

    grego Registered User

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    As a Canadian I will never understand why Americans think nothing nationally of invading any country they disagree with, and they watch all that fighting on TV and feel it is justified for the most part.

    And then when they watch an NHL game the concept of an occasional fight sickens them. I feel the should get over it and just accept the fighting.

    How about they just pretend that any NHL fight is actually an opposing country that threatened to build a nuclear weapon of a WMD. They could randomly flash that across the bottom as the fight starts. Saying it is a fight over something like that, then they should feel that any means is necessary to settle the dispute.

    I know you may say Americans don't like fighting in sports but don't destroy a great game to satisfy a few Americans. Many fans love the fighting as a part of hockey and would rather see it stay as an X Game in some peoples view if it meant they could keep the integrity of the game.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2005
  11. grego

    grego Registered User

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    Unless if recent years have improved things, I always found much of the broadcasting in the US of hockey to be second rate. The occasional US network game I watched, when there wasn't a game on a Canadian network at the time, always appeared very different. Not the best camera angles at times, coverage men could vary in quality.

    Sometimes I found that I would see better quality of coverage on the professional side, broadcasting a junior game then they put to make an NHL game in the US. That is mostly an issue likely how how much money the networks give them to broadcast a game. The game is very fast and if you don't have an excellent crew that is big enough to properly cover the game, you get the situation where it feels like there is only one or 2 cameras in the building, and mediocre play by play
     
  12. shOOt_the_mOOn

    shOOt_the_mOOn Registered User

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    And this is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about.

    If the owners want to "fix" the game, start with "the game".

    If you put some money into better broadcasting, co-op HDTV, get better analysts, use celebrities (not just Hockey players) to market the game, and make it more affordable to see in person, then the fan base will grow. A few years back, I saw some great commercials which used stars like Dennis Leary, Shania Twain, Jim Belushi, and others doing 1 minute commercials about the "Greast Game". Why was it discontinued?

    I mentioned in another thread here about calling the obstructions all the time. Someone stated that it would slow down the game. I agree, in the short term that it probably would. But I aslo believe that over time, players and coaches would catch on that any obstruction was going to be called, hence, putting your team at a disadvantage. This would open up the game to allow the skilled players to work their magic, and make the game more interesting to watch than the clutching and grabbing trap style that all NHL teams have adopted in one form or another.

    Are salaries out of control? Of course they are, but in my opinion, it is not the biggest problem with todays game.

    Keep the ideas coming. We the fans may be able to force what the owners haven't been able to get a hold on.
     
  13. FLYLine27*

    FLYLine27* BUCH

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    Though I agree with you...I just think the NHL is so much...more. I get more into it..there are fantasy leagues, im always checking stats out, boxscores, I try to watch 2 games a night (center ice)..I know pretty much 75% of the players on the ice..hell I even know who the refs are. Watching AHL hockey (though they only show it once every few weeks) I only know who my team is...i rarley know anybody from the other team cept top prospects and its just not the same..I guess its kind of hard to explain. I watch College hockey once a week and the hockey is very exciting but once again I do not know who any of the players are except top prospects. I get much more invovled with the NHL is what im trying to say and while I do follow other hockey leagues...it just not the same.

    Hope that made sense. ;)
     
  14. shOOt_the_mOOn

    shOOt_the_mOOn Registered User

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    It makes perfect sense to me FLYLine4LIFE.

    But ask yourself why?

    It's because the NHL has more exposure than the other leagues.

    If you were able to get a Centerice package that featured the AHL, WHL etc..... you would be a more informed fan of those leagues as well.

    Actually, you have just reinforced my point that we the fans need to be vocal with telling our local cable providers that we want more hockey.

    I remeber talking with posters on another board when the lockout began about what we were going to watch to get our hockey fix. The local sports network wasn't planning on showing much hockey in lieu of the labor dispute. A bunch of folks emailed, and called the station and voila.....they began showing AHL, college, and previously recorded NHL "classic" games.

    If we the fans want to see more hockey, we need to take it up with the networks that provide it.
     
  15. soypunk

    soypunk Curmudgeon

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    I think a key point has been raised here - US TV ratings for hockey stink because the visual product is horrible. I always knew the coverage was subpar but I had no idea until I had DirectTV's NHL Center Ice package for a while - The CBC coverage is genius. It is actually painful for me to watch hockey on TV in the US now.

    US commentators nortiously stink in all sports coverage here... so it is not that so much as the camera work.

    Man, I miss CBC hockey right now.... sigh.
     
  16. FLYLine27*

    FLYLine27* BUCH

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    If I were to get center ice of the AHL then yes I would be a MUCH MUCH bigger fan. Us ranger fans have e-mailed MSG Network and requested they show more WolfPack games and they dont(even devils fans did as well to try to get a certain game between our teams broadcasted..and at first they did put the game on the schedule then a day before the game they cancelled the showing of it). They havn't shown us a game since mid December after showing up 6 games up until then. They would rather show college women baseketball. And repeats of shows that have been airing since the summer.
     
  17. grego

    grego Registered User

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    Yes it is too bad that US coverage is so poor in quality at times. I am from Canada so I rate hockey by comparison to CBC quality of coverage. If a network wanted to they really could afford to do proper coverage in the US though. It may be a smaller sport there, but they still have 10 times the population. So the sport would only need a tenth of the ratings that hockey gets in Canada for them to receive equal revenue to what they could get in Canada since the US is about 10 times greater in population.

    Hopefully some day there will be a major network to have great hockey coverage.

    I won't blame ESPN for their coverage since they are just a sports network so you expect their quality to not be quite as good. Even in Canada TSN doesn't have quite as good quality of hockey coverage as the CBC. Though TSN has improved a lot through the years with their coverage.

    Many of the US games, I couldn't tell you from the quality if it was a regional broadcast or a network broadcast. Some of the US network broadcast can have a regional feel when you look past a few fancy graphics they run to polish up a sup par program
     
  18. rekrul

    rekrul Registered User

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    I'll get my fix ok from the NCAA on TV, and locally we even have some club level NCAA teams that are not bad. but here is my point:

    Yesturday I picked my 3 YRd old up from preschool, my wife had unknowingly dressed him in his Sharks jersey, it tore my heart out. TO think that its gone for quite a while and might not return kills me. I just started taking him to games last year, I was starting the tradition and getting him to the rink. That is what Buttman and Greedenow can't seem to get they are killing something greater than they can grasp. Sure I'll allways be a hockey fan but I will allways know that the NHL could have been great had the greedy and pride of their fools in charge simply found some middle ground and aprication for the NHL.
     
  19. mr gib

    mr gib Registered User

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    sportsnet here in vancouver is the best i've ever seen - none better that jim hughson -
     
  20. Muleskinner

    Muleskinner Registered User

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    Great post man. The thing that gets me is that the league is hard pressed to eliminate fighting because not only is it a tradition that is deaply engrained into the game, it also (in their view) makes people watch. Like the kind that only watch NASCAR for the one big wreak. While there are changes to the game besides that that are there like ending ties with shootouts. This would draw more new fans after they see a few of these on sportscenter then the stupid fights. But NOOOO, something radical like eliminating the ties that most fringe fans hate and implimenting something like the breakaway on net that brings the fans out of their seats to decide a winner.....Well, we will just have to think on that....This is the kind marketing the league needs to do. Bring some flash and skill level to the fore for the common sports fan to see. YES, we want the NHL to succeed down here in the states. The league HAS TO succeed in the states or it will die. This something that some fans in Canada dont understand or are unwilling to believe. The Money is down here and the untapped markets of fans are down here guys. Like it or not, the major league game lives or dies down here so, if these idiots that run this ship dont wisen up and market this game at its best it will shrivel up and die.
     
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