Is gary bettman and the NHL desicion makers stupid? game 1 on memorial day?
What gets you more in the mood to watch a hockey game than 80 degrees and sun on Memorial Day? And what better way to cap off the day that has come to signify the beginning of summer than to sit in front of the TV and watch a hockey game?
In Los Angeles.
At 5 p.m.
OK, so it's actually Anaheim. But it's still Memorial Day and the NHL will be playing the first game of its showcase series while America and maybe even most of Canada is sitting outside watching the glow of the dying embers in their charcoal grills and drinking their last holiday beer. In Anaheim, they'll be just dropping the first hamburgers on to the grill at about the same time the referee is dropping the puck.
Do you think anybody at the NHL sees any irony in the fact that its final championship series opens on the same day that swimming pools all over America open?
It will be 8 p.m. in the Eastern Time zone when the Ducks and Ottawa Senators start skating and most normal people will be soaking up the holiday weekend's last hour of sunlight.
On Tuesday, newspapers all over America will be filled with columns laughing at the putrid TV ratings for the first game of the Stanley Cup Final and talking about what an obscure, niche sport hockey has become.
The NHL deserves the terrible ratings that all of the games will get just as it deserved to have NBC drop out of overtime in a series clinching game in Buffalo in favor of 90 minutes of blather leading up to a two minute horse race.
Not only should there be no hockey being played on Memorial Day, there shouldn't be a team in Anaheim. One franchise for the Los Angeles market may be one too many. Two is overkill and overkill is what put the NHL in such an embarrassing position.
Somebody should have been skating around an arena with the Stanley Cup over his head at least two weeks ago and it should have been seen on ESPN not NOT seen on Versus.
Refusing for 10 years to enforce rules that allow the game to be great and an insistence on expanding into places where nobody knows how to spell hockey has given the NHL exactly what it deserves. It's going to take at least 10 more years to recover. It's not that hockey isn't a great sport - it may be the best team sport there is - it's that no sport could overcome a decade of that kind of stupidity and shortsightedness.
* Massachusetts senator John Kerry has been teaming up with New England Patriots linebacker Teddy Bruschi to publicize his introduction of the "Stop Stroke Act". Bruschi suffered a stroke in February 2004 and was able to come back and resume his NFL career. Kerry said, "His courage, tenacity and utter determination on the field and off are nothing short of heroic."
I wonder if Senator Kerry has ever googled this: "HGH (human growth hormone) causes stroke." Try it yourself. I'm not saying Bruschi's stroke may have been caused by HGH. I'm just sayin'....
* Indiana politicians pushed through funding $675 million for a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts and a big part of the sales pitch was a promise - or at least a strong insinuation - that the NFL would reward the city with a Super Bowl. Indianapolis was in the running for the 2011 game but lost out to Dallas. The new $1 billion stadium there will be able to seat close to 110,000 for the game and at $600 (at least) per ticket, that's a lot more money for the NFL. You can check, but I'm pretty sure there's no plan to refund any of the $675 million to the fine citizens of Greater Indianapolis.
* Come to think of it, maybe the NHL playing hockey on the same day that the baseball season ends in Pittsburgh does make at least a little sense.
John Steigerwald is a sports anchor for KDKA-TV. His colum appears on Saturday.