With a few exceptions, most Americans dont get to revved up about the NHL until after the Super Bowl. Since almost everyone but the RAngers make the playoffs Oct-Jan is close to irrelevant-The NBA cannot hold this country's attention alone. Unless hockey is the only sport you follow, it will be missed from Feb-April until MLB starts. The players will ultimately cave and we'll hopefully get a better product next fall.
Originally posted by sect112row36@Dec 21 2004, 04:15 PM With a few exceptions, most Americans dont get to revved up about the NHL until after the Super Bowl. Since almost everyone but the RAngers make the playoffs Oct-Jan is close to irrelevant-The NBA cannot hold this country's attention alone. Unless hockey is the only sport you follow, it will be missed from Feb-April until MLB starts. The players will ultimately cave and we'll hopefully get a better product next fall.
Don't hold your breath. A hard cap is not the only issue that needs to be resolved. I think this goes right up to next Sept.
For hockey lovers the World Junior Championships start on Christmas- Russia vs. U.S.A on ESPN2
Better to watch hungry young guys playing for their country- Montoya the goalie for U.S.A is first round pick of the Rangers
USAHockey.com's website stated a release that three of the four US Junior men's preliminary games will be televised on ESPN2, including the aforementioned US-Russia game tomorrow night. They'll also show the games against Switzerland and Belarus (which will be tape delayed) and they'll cover the medal rounds. Should the US reach the gold medal game, ESPN will broadcast the gold medal game. By the way, the WJHC is in the US this year with North Dakota and Minnesota co-hosting the event.
For all of it's mishandlings in terms of the lack of coverage of the NHL, at least ESPN is trying to step up to the plate in its absence with coverage of our junior boys.
(And then right after this, they'll go back to not caring about hockey period.)
SPECTOR: Continued lack of exposure hurts NHL
Story Tools: Print Email XML
Spector / Special to FOXSports.com
Posted: 7 hours ago
Whenever the National Hockey League finally returns to action, it'll have to address its image problem within the United States sports market.
Long before the current player lockout soured its hardcore fan base, the NHL was facing a serious problem in both attracting new fans, particularly in the United States, and the perception casual fans had of the league.
The NHL considers itself one of the main professional sports leagues in North America, but in the all-important American sports market, the league scarcely registers except in the cities where it has franchises.
Even in those cities, their NHL teams rarely merit the same coverage as the local football, basketball and baseball teams. It's not unusual for the NHL to be bumped to the back of the sports pages by the local college teams, and even NASCAR news can put professional hockey out of sight.
In recent years the league usually pointed to increased attendance figures as proof the game is still healthy in its American markets, but there can be no denying that too many teams were playing in front of too many empty seats on any given night.
The NHL's average attendance last season was 16,534, but yet over half of its teams played to less than capacity during that time. Season-ticket sales may remain strong, but too many season-ticket holders opted to miss games rather than turn out for their club.
The sport's U.S. television ratings have fallen below those of poker and professional bowling. Two years ago the league attempted to spin the reduction of games televised nationally by claiming they didn't want to overexpose their product, but the sad truth was, it could be on American cable channels every night and still fail to attract a large audience.
The current player lockout has further demonstrated just how much the NHL has fallen out of the collective consciousness of American sports fans. Poll after poll shows a majority of those fans were unaware the NHL was shut down, and of those who were, over half claim they won't bother to come back when the league does return to action.
As one U.S. sportswriter aptly noted, the NHL is like a void without a ripple. If few Americans took notice of the league when it was operating, they certainly don't miss it now that it's gone.
If this lockout doesn't do irreparable damage to the league's already shrinking visibility in the United States, they must come up with real solutions to both retain its current fan base and bring in new fans if it's to be considered a major sports league in the American marketplace.
The NHL has recognized the declining quality of its on-ice product over the past ten years, introducing several subtle changes. Unfortunately, those changes had little positive impact upon the game.
For too long the league has been dominated by traditionalists who are unwilling or unable to address the real problems within the game. They may believe there is nothing wrong with their product, but the empty seats and declining ratings in the US markets prove otherwise.
Incredibly, it may be television that forces the NHL to bring about positive change.
NBC, who last summer signed a two-year contract to televise the NHL, has been in talks with the league as to how it can improve the game for some time. One major change expected once the league is back in action is the use of the shoot-out to settle tied regular-season games, should the five-minute four-on-four overtime fail to determine a winner.
Most traditionalists are against the shoot-out, but given the league's tenuous contract with NBC, they have little choice but to let the network call the tune.
The shoot-out may add some much-needed excitement at game's end, but fans would still have to first sit through three periods of stagnant hockey.
Offense is what gives hockey its life and should be its selling point. Over the years, however, uncalled obstruction masquerading as defensive hockey and goaltenders with over-large equipment designed more for puck stoppage than protection contributed to both sucking the life out of the game and hurting its popularity in the U.S.
Another image problem for the NHL in the United States is the perception that it is little more than roller derby on ice. The only time professional hockey gets mention on a national level in the United States is when one player seriously injures another with a cheap shot.
The NHL cringed when Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi's sucker-punched Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore into potentially premature retirement but claims it was an isolated incident and would take steps to better police itself.
Unfortunately, it is the image of mindless violence that leaps to mind whenever most American sports fans think of pro hockey. That's why the late, great Rodney Dangerfield got big laughs whenever he claimed he went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out.
Coming only four years after Boston Bruins defenseman Marty McSorley swung his stick at the head of then-Vancouver Canuck forward Donald Brashear, Bertuzzi's actions only reinforced the perception of U.S. sports fans that hockey hasn't out-grown its "Slap Shot" stereotype.
Yes, brawling occurs in the other three major sports leagues and there've been incidents of it in NASCAR among pit crews, but the inescapable fact is that it's still the image most American sports fans have of the NHL.
Die-hard hockey fans may still enjoy fighting, but those aren't the people the NHL needs to attract if it's serious about improving their product.
Before the NHL can start improving its product and image, it must bring reach a reasonable solution to the current labor dispute with its players, and quickly. The longer this work stoppage continues, the more ground the league loses in the American sports market, ground it may never get back if the 2004-05 season is lost.
I think sect112 hit the nail on the head. When is the NHL truly number 1 in the public's eye? Never. The other three major leagues are all ahead of the NHL during their season and playoffs. Plus, their are viable alternatives in college and minor league hockey for a fraction of the price.
I truly feel that everyday this lockout drags on longer, the league gets that much closer to getting a fork stuck in it.
Hockey has never been nor will it ever be big enough in the USA to beat the NBA, NFL or MLB. It will never get the support, exposure, fan following or TV contracts.
The sooner they figure that out the better. The NHL has gotten too big for its britches. It's time for them to resign themselves to the fact it's primarily a regional sport and to downsize and game plan accordingly.
I live in Detroit, MI, Hockeytown, USA as it is called, and the scary part - no one cares. This city eats, breathes and sleeps Red Wings and NO ONE cares. Now if it's that bad in an American Hockey hot bed, do u think people in Nashville, Columbus, Atlanta, Carolina, Anaheim, San Jose, Florida, Phoenix, and every other joke city that has a franchise cares? Hell no.
This league is bleeding out and it isn't just financially. Until they face reality they will continue to drive itself into the ground
Bettman has it so assbackward it's a wonder he can get dressed and out of the house in the morning. If teams can't make a go of it, let them fold. And that more than anything-simple supply and demand-would solve this salary level problem in a heartbeat. Because without a season, people who were fans aren't coming back any time soon. Killing this season has cost the NHL and it's owners much more than folding 5 or 6 teasm ever would. NO ONE CARES ANY MORE.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NHL canceled next week's meeting with its board of governors on Thursday because the league has nothing new to report in the stagnant collective bargaining process.
The board of governors, representing the 30 clubs, hadn't met since September when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman imposed the lockout that reached its 113th day on Thursday and has already forced the cancellation of 571 regular-season games and the 2005 All-Star game.
There was speculation that Bettman might emerge from next Friday's meeting either with an announcement that this season had been called off, or with a drop-dead date for saving the hockey year.
First of all the players and owners do not have any negotiations to try to get an agreement so of course they have nothing to report. Wake up please players and owners- when I am starting not to care as big a hockey fan that I am you are in big trouble as a relevant sport