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Author Topic: What Hockey needs to be more popular amongst the casual fan?  (Read 2366 times)
Brinker
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« on: Mar 20, 2009 at 12:51 »

b]106 points, which would rate the second-best single-season scoring total of his four-year career. If he hits the century mark, he and Malkin would be the first Penguins teammates since former center Mario Lemieux (161) and Jagr (149) in 1995-96 Mario Lemieux (161) and Jagr (149) in 1995-96
« Last Edit: Mar 23, 2009 at 13:58 by Brinker » Logged

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PghSteel-43
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 14:08 »

Maybe I'm missing your point there Brinker, if so, I apologize.  But I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you say that the league is "dying"?  Over the last two seasons, NHL ratings have jumped and at one point were higher than the NBA's during the playoffs for both sports. 

While the game still has a long way to go when it comes to selling in the USA, I think it's better than it was 10-20 years ago. 

For starters, they actually call penalties now.  You can no longer tackle players and hook the shit out of them like they use to do to Mario Lemieux.  Taking out the two-line pass helped open up the game. 

You have exciting young players in the league named Crosby, Toews, Kane, Staal, Semin, Backstrom, Malkin, Ovechkin and Stamkos.  You have talent coming up in the future named Tavares, Merrill, McFarland and Pulkinnen.

Most importantly in my opinion is that unlike that pathetic league we like to call MLB, there is actually a salary cap.  We don't have to worry about the Rangers, Bruins, Blackhawks or Red Wings going out and buying up half the NHL during the offseason while we try to figure out a way to get under the cap by selling off all of our stars.

Can the game improve?  Sure  But, I don't see how it's "dying".  If anything, I see it becoming the total opposite.  I'll take it over MLB anyday of the week.
« Last Edit: Mar 20, 2009 at 14:34 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
Brinker
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 14:40 »

I will agree with you and say it is making a comeback...but did it have anywhere else to go?

I watch whenever it is on Versus because of all of the exciting players in the league now.

Wanna see a spike in overall interest...get a contract with ESPN. 


I would like nothing more than to see the NHL take over as the #2 sport...to the NFL of course.

I just feel that way because no one really covers the NHL like they did in the past.

Brinker
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 16:41 »

Wasn't it on Fox at one point...with the "blue puck" tracker?
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 20, 2009 at 22:20 »

Quote
Wish they could see the light...
I agree with PghSteel, I don't see your point. Maybe you can make an argument that the league isn't the same as it used to be and is indeed dying, but what you first initially posted has nothing to do with that argument. Unless you're saying that 106 points is pathetic compared to 162...

The NHL not being on ESPN doesn't help matters, but I think the sport is marketed poorly anyway. The NBA markets it's stars; it's Kobe vs. Lebron before it's The Lakers vs The Cavs. If the NHL was on ESPN, and marketed the amazing young talent in a proper way there is no reason to think it could not pass the NBA or MLB. Outside of Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin the vast majority of people don't know(or care) anyone else in the sport. In a time where pretty much every team has a star, there is no reason why this couldn't be done.

The potential is there for the NHL, the question that remains is will it be used appropriately in terms of marketing. In LA, San Jose, and Anaheim the NHL is very popular. And those are cities that lack a common experience. For example, NYC, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philly largely have a blue collar following. People that grew up in the same neighborhoods and who work similar jobs. A common blue collar experience. Leading people to believe that hockey is a blue collar sport. However, LA, Anaheim, and San Jose are cities that do not have that common experience. The cities are more fragmented in that regard. Lots of different kinds of people. There isn't that shared upbringing. My point is that if the NHL can be successful in California, than it can be successful just about anywhere.
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PghSteel-43
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:01 »

I will agree with you and say it is making a comeback...but did it have anywhere else to go?

I watch whenever it is on Versus because of all of the exciting players in the league now.

Wanna see a spike in overall interest...get a contract with ESPN. 


I would like nothing more than to see the NHL take over as the #2 sport...to the NFL of course.

I just feel that way because no one really covers the NHL like they did in the past.

Brinker

I'm still lost on your original points though.

What does that have to do with how many points 87/71 currently have compared to what 66/68 had back in the mid-90's?  Just because 66/68 had more points than 71/87 doesn't make it any less enjoyable when attending or watching a game on tv in my opinion.  Watching Sidney Crosby or Evegeni Malkin skate through four guys and score a goal or dish out a pass that defies physics brings just as much excitement as Lemieux hooking up with Jagr.

I'm not seeing how the game is dying simply because two players who played for the Penguins in the past have more points point in one season compared to Sid and Geno.  While I blame the media for the most part, I think some fans (not neccessarily saying you in particular Brinker) need to realize that 87 is not 66 and 71 is not 68.  The comparison game needs to stop.  We have two of the best players in the league and all people can do is make comparisons instead of sitting back and simply enjoy watching this unbelievable talent night and night out.

« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:23 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:21 »

The move from ESPN to Versus was a killer. I've only watched a few games since the switch, mostly because I never see anything that might remind me. I never watch Versus.
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PghSteel-43
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:32 »

The move from ESPN to Versus was a killer. I've only watched a few games since the switch, mostly because I never see anything that might remind me. I never watch Versus.

I agree with that completely and it has been my main complaint with the league when it comes to exposing and growing the game in the states.  Bettman's needs to go up to ESPN with hat in hand and get the sport back on ESPN.  Versus is not getting the job done.  It's not televised in many area's and even the places where it is televised, people have no idea what channel it is on because there is nothing else on that channel of interest.  I also think ESPN would have something to gain with the deal.  I'm sure it would bring in better ratings than "The National Dance Competition".

It also didn't help that the league decided to spread the game so fast to so many locations that make absolutely no sense.  Georgia?  Tennessee?  Florida?  North Carolina?  Arizona?  Those decisions watered down and dumbed down the league in my opinion.
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009 at 08:51 by PghSteel-43 » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 11:03 »

The move from ESPN to Versus was a killer. I've only watched a few games since the switch, mostly because I never see anything that might remind me. I never watch Versus.

You don't watch Professional Bull Riding Oat?!  WTF?!

Seriously, as far as scoring goes, PghSteel-43 is right. Sid is NOT Lemieux, Or Gretzky for that matter. Another factor to consider; of all the positions in hockey, the one that's changed the most over the years is goaltending. Not only have the goalie pads increased in size, the athleticism/skill and size of the goalies themselves have increased dramatically. Thru ought the 80's and into the 90's you had Patrick Roy and everyone else was a distant second. Then came Broduer. Now at least half the teams in the NHL have elite franchise netminders. And teams who don't are desperately seeking one. The game has changed in the last 20 years but I think the changes have been mostly for the good. I enjoy an unreal save or a great defensive play just as much as an unbelievable goal or a beautiful setup.

As far as television contracts go, I'm not going to pass judgment because from what I gather, ESPN tried to hold the league over a barrel. Basically, "we'll televise your games but we won't pay you anything". Now I now Versus is not mainstream and isn't paying anything near NFL or MLB television money, but something is better than nothing. I think they took the best deal they could at the time. The NFL and MLB thrive off of television revenue. The NHL has to get by mainly on gate revenues. Being a hockey fan, I know where Versus is on my television and check it most evenings to see if there's a game on. It's not that difficult to find if you really want to watch a hockey game. I'm also spoiled by living in a hockey market. If I don't go to a Pens game I can always watch it on FSN. Lastly, If you don't get the NHL channel, I highly recommend it. It is absolute heaven for the hockey fan.
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009 at 11:06 by Captain Chaos » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: Mar 21, 2009 at 12:29 »

Sorry Brinker, but I am also confused by this thread...I've been a huge hockey fan since 1990, and I don't know if I have ever been more excited by the players, and the competitiveness of the NHL.  With less than 10 games remaining in the season, about 5 points seperates 4th place and 9th place.  It's been a playoff atmosphere for the teams fighting for a playoff spot in the east for the past month. 

Regarding the scoring...You guys are right about the comparisons of Sid and Geno, to Mario, and Jags.  Sid in my opinion is a combination of the two of those guys, but isn't exactly like either.  I think if anything, Malkin's game reminds me more of Lemieux's game than anything.  The way Sid plays, I doubt he'll ever crack the 50 goal mark in a season, but that is just his game.  However, if you put Sid up against the goalies of the 80's, or early to mid 90's, and I think he nets 50 easily.  Geno, Ovechkin, Parise and guys like them would probably be putting up mind boggling amounts of goals.  (Ovechkin especially...)  Like previously stated, the goalies were smaller, not as atheletic, and their pads were extremely smaller than they are now.

I don't know what the solution to their marketing problems are, as ESPN does not seem willing to fork out a lot of money for the NHL television rights.  But I think a possible solution would be to try and go back to Fox.  But it is something that should be addressed if they do want to get out of the NBA, and MLB's shadows...  Neither of which should even be able to touch the NHL is my opinion... 
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