Friday, January 26, 2007

NHL schedule

Randall and I have been complaining for a couple of weeks about the fact that the NHL has voted not to adjust their schedule for the upcoming season. Most of the owners in our division have voted not to change the schedules for financial reasons. If the New York Rangers play the Islanders and Devils 44 times a year, they can do all their travelling by bus. So they save money.

By the same token, Roy Mlakar and the Habs owner vetoed the idea for monetary reasons. Mlakar doesn't want to lose the revenue that 10 sold out Habs games and 21 sold-out Leaf games brings in every year. Some owners have blamed Gary Bettman for this, and they're not all wrong.

The overall good of the league has to supercede, in many cases, the good of individual franchises. The NHL had the right idea a while ago when they decided to market their superstars. What happened to that? Sure, guys like Crosby and Ovechkin market themselves with spectacular plays, and commercial endorsments, and the fact that one or the other is on Sportsnet highlight reels every single night. But who hears about the other up-and-comers? Who talks about Dion Phaneuf and his ilk?

And now, because the NHL is happy with the status quo, and wants to milk the "rivalry" thing until it dries up, we won't even see Dion Phaneuf in Ottawa this year. In Calgary and Edmonton, they will not see the Leafs for two more years. The only way to make the NHL big enough to make it in the States (and they are having real troubles there now) is to have larger-than-life superstars. You know how many TV viewers the NBA has lost since Michael Jordan retired? Well, about as many viewers as the PGA tour has picked up since Tiger Woods started winning every tournament he played.

And unfortunately for the NHL, the rivalry thing is dying already. Seriously, how much can you care about Leafs-Senators when it happens every weekend? They play so much that any interest I had in the rivalry is gone. Same goes for Montreal. And there is no real rivalry with Boston or Washington, so why do I have to watch them 40 times a season? I'd much rather see Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla, and Joe Sakic a few more times each year.

The only way the owners will vote for a change in the schedule that allows us to see the Western teams more often is to trade either Crosby or Ovechkin to a Western team. That way the owners MIGHT just think, hey, we should be able to get that Ovechkin kid in our building at least once a year! So I hope that happens. If not, we'll just have to wait for Rory Fitzpatrick to bust out with that 200-point season he's been sitting on for so long.


  1. All good points. I'd like to see us play western teams more often simply so the Sens can get a better feel for what they could be up against come playoff time. I don't mind us playing the Leafs often, but that's mainly because it's pretty much the only way we get the game in high definition. We need more local games in high def!

  2. I'd rather see Sidney Crosby or Joe Thornton in high definition than Brian McCabe!

  3. Hehe ok, ya got me there. On that same note, we need to see more Ice Bunnies in high def too.

  4. They certainly don't focus on them enough...well, getting ready to watch yet another Bruins-Sens game. Again. Not something I'll plan my day around.

  5. Oh come on. It's not like we've owned them this season, like we have the Maple Leafs and Buffalo Slugs!

  6. You know, if we hadn't had those 16 games against T.O. and Buffalo, we'd still be out of a playoff spot right now!