Monday, January 31, 2011

That Time of Year…

It’s almost that time of year that lonely stretch where there’s no football to watch and we get limited access to good hockey games, as it isn’t truly popular.  I’m an avid sports fan.  During the fall, Sundays are a wash.  I refuse to schedule anything if my beloved Giants are playing.  Sadly, the outcome for them, lately, has been the same thanks to one Eli ‘I can’t throw to people on my team’ Manning.  I try to take in the playoffs, but as more and more teams I like get eliminated, I have a rough time of it.  Like most of the US, I hate the Steelers, so I am hoping that alleged felon, Big Ben, learns a fun life-lesson from Aaron Rodgers and co.  I know, that’s a tad vindictive, but at the same time, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The point of this blog post isn’t about the dreadful possibility that the hated-Steelers will win/be awarded a Superbowl through bad officiating, again, but about a sport that isn’t getting any press: hockey.  Granted, I have a vested interest in this, I have season tickets for our hometown Washington Capitals and those tickets aren’t easy to come by.  But as I go to more games, I find myself both watching and enjoying more games.  The question is when will ESPN wake up and do some coverage?  The highlights are passing, at best.  It’s a waste.  There are such great games and match-ups and just because Sid the Kid is out with a concussion from a supposedly ‘blind hit’ from David Steckel, there is still a lot of great hockey to go around.  Incidentally, the Penguins are another reason to dislike the city of Pittsburgh.  That whole state has poor fan issues, it’s truly insufferable.  Besides the Red Sox, Pittsburgh needs to stuff it.

Hockey is a great game.  The rules are actually really simple, and the officiating, is, for the most part, un-inhibiting.  That is how it should be for all sports, but isn’t.  The commissioner for the NHL could do a better job promoting the sport, but ESPN is supposedly the World Wide leader in sports, yet hardly covers this sport at all, but drones on about something that isn’t a sport at all: golf!  Golf is a waste of air time.  No one cares anymore.  There was a time when the country was in love with Tiger Woods, but it’s past, he and Big Ben can take a long walk off a short pier, perhaps where there are piranhas as well.

This past Sunday, both the NFL Pro-bowl and the NHL All Star game were on, do you know which got more press?  Of course, football.  Was it a farce of a game, yes, was the other one?  Yes, frankly, they both were, but at the same time, the NHL did some fun things.  They let the team captains pick who played on their teams, how fun is that?  The NBA should try to do that instead of being boring all the time.  MLB is boring period, but I maintain that watching it live is awesome.

Looking at hockey as a whole, it may not have the same draw as other games, but if you look at the skill and luck involved to truly win, that alone should draw more audiences.  In most sports, you can hone your skills to be great.  In hockey, you can be as good as you like, but if the puck bounces an odd way, then you’re not going to have anything to show for it.  These aren’t whole-sale arguments, I realise.  But it makes me angry that I have to go straight to the NHL network to get hockey highlights.  Sometimes, that bottom line on ESPN doesn’t even have hockey listed on it, how annoying is that?  And now that the NFL is practically over, only then will NHL see a slight bump until the chase for the playoffs truly begins.  It is a real travesty that a great sport like NHL gets side-stepped for things as meaningless as golf or spring training baseball, the latter is literally meaningless.  I can only hope, one day, that ESPN gets with it.  Until they buy in, there isn’t much chance for hockey to become a mainstream sport. 

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