Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"New NHL"...until the TV schedule comes out

OLN has released the games they are going to air in the "New" NHL. Seems they picked the same old teams that the Old NHL liked to promote.

I get how TV ratings work, and how you want the most eyeballs possible watching those games, so it makes sense to put the bigger markets on nationally. So, seeing Detroit, the Rangers, Boston, the Avs, and St. Louis on the schedule 8 times each isn't so shocking, from a market standpoint. From an "exciting hockey" standpoint, the Rangers haven't been to the playoffs in 7 years, the Blues are shadows of what they were the last time the NHL iced a game, and the Avs have lost some luster as well.

On the flip side, the NHL is out to market some of its new stars, and it should. Sidney Crosby's Penguins get 7 appearances and Alexander Ovechkin's Capitals get 6, so the last two first overall picks will be seen plenty. 2003's first overall pick is a Pen, so if Fleury sticks in Pittsburgh he'll be on TV with Crosby. First overall pick from 2002, Rick Nash, is on OLN once. (NBC, never.) This is the same Rick Nash that was all the talk in this year's World Championships...which is another event in which nobody in the US saw Rick perform. 2001's top pick, Illya Kovalchuk, is on OLN twice, so the top pick theory goes out the window pretty quickly.

Maybe OLN meant to showcase young American hockey stars: Zach Parise 2 appearances with the Devils, Ryan Suter 1 with the Predators, Ryan Kessler 1 with the Canucks. Nope, guess that wasn't it, either.

No, it seems OLN looked at the standings from the last season, tossed in the Rangers and the hockey hot bed of Minnesota and put them on TV. But, that can't totally be true, either, because the defending Western Conference champion Calgary Flames are on OLN one time. Playoff teams Toronto, Ottawa, and Nashville are on a combined one time.

So, the criteria for who is on and how many times aren't real clear. I was hopeful that when the contract went away from ESPN, that ESPN's favorite teams would cease hogging all the ice time. Guess that didn't happen. With 58 games on the air, that's 116 possible teams to make the schedule. Getting all 30 teams to air two times should be fairly easy, and a good way to expose the entire league, which is in DIRE need of exposure.

Thank God for Center Ice.

1 comment:

The Acid Queen said...

Nice to see we agree on one thing, at least.