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Monday, January 20, 2014

MLB analyst Gammons slams hockey after Flames-Canucks brawl

I once sat next to Rod Gilbert at a goofy Father/Son Dinner. The rubber chicken looked tougher than Gilbert.

Peter Gammons, an analyst for Major League Baseball’s network and website, drew the ire of hockey fans on Sunday when he criticized the two NHL teams on Twitter for their physical game the night before.

“Calgary and Vancouver last night reiterated why the NHL is a minor sport,” said Gammons ((at)pgammo) from his verified Twitter account.

...Criticism of Gammons’ tweet came quickly after Fox Sports 1 anchor Jay Onrait—a Calgary native—retweeted the remarks with the added note “Shots fired.”

“seriously though, who is Peter Gammons? He has a puppy and flowers as his avatar,” said professional golfer Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask.

...”(at)pgammo says the guy who makes his living off the dirtiest sport in the world other then maybe cycling,” said professional hockey player Mike Commodore, a native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., who currently plays in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. The 11-year veteran of the NHL added the hashtag .beatitpeter to his tweet.

Less than 30 minutes later, Commodore tweeted at Gammons a second time, again referring to MLB’s struggles to prevent the use of performance-enhancing drugs: “(at)pgammo , help us out with your infinite wisdom scoops, would a good solid 25 year HGH/doping era turn hockey into a “major” sport?”

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM | 198 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: drops, gloves

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   101. villageidiom Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4642751)
I certainly don't think it is...but it never seems that easy to new fans.

Off-sides is pretty easy to understand, but icing is the one that's hard to explain for newbies.
I understood icing rules long before I understood the offsides rule.

Puck has to enter first... wait, but a teammate had most of his body in the zone before the puck got there... OK, so as long as he has one skate out of the zone it's fine... wait, but the guy with the puck crossed the line with both skates before he brought in the puck... OK, so the rules about the skates being in don't apply to the guy with the puck. I understood the concept of the offsides rule right away, but the application seemed almost random to me for a long time. It seemed like every time I thought there was offsides, there was some kind of exception to the very simple rule.

- - - - -

Hockey on TV in USA does suck, but IMO it does because they are relying on the single fixed-camera position provided for NBA games in the same arenas. For the NBA this works fine because the court is smaller than the hockey rink, there are no boards obstructing the view, and the ball is big enough that it can be followed from that position just fine. It doesn't work well enough for hockey. Worse, when the TV folks realized they needed more camera angles for hockey, they relied on rink-level cameras that sacrifice the overall rink view but don't make up for the blind spot of the boards. And even worse than that, they only rely on those camera angles when the players are near the camera, which is the worst possible time to use them.

If they are going to use ice-level cameras in the corners, use them when the action isn't at that end of the ice. The puck is against the boards near the penalty boxes? Zoom in from the corner camera.

In the NHL Winter Classic this year they made good use of the cable camera, which is suspended above the rink by a series of cables and can literally follow the players as they move. More and/or better use of this camera would be perfect for hockey. There is no part of the ice that it cannot cover. (I would think if they have the technology to track the puck, they have the technology to program this camera to follow the puck automatically and to get into the right position. But someone skilled operating this camera is fine.)

Along the lines of my comment about not understanding the application of offsides for a while, I also didn't understand line changes. I mean, I understand why a line change would happen; but when watching on TV I never saw when it was happening. All I saw was someone going on the attack, then dumping the puck into the other team's end and skating away. The TV camera doesn't show the line change; it follows the puck at a time when that's not the center of action. The announcers don't mention it, because it's basic. Until I saw a game live, I had no idea what was going on. To a newbie it looked stupid and pointless to watch. For that situation, the best camera angle is the same height as the fixed-position camera, but positioned at the far end of the rink (behind the goal of the team making the change). From a fixed-position camera at center ice, at least zoom out.

Really, if they had just three cameras, and stayed with the one in the NBA perch for most of the game, putting the other two at the same height as that one but above the opposite corners of the rink would be just about perfect. Switch to the corner cameras to show the people in the penalty box, or when the puck is against the boards on that same side, or during line changes. Those three plus the cable camera would be fantastic, and sprinkle in other cameras just for replays if you'd like.
   102. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4642752)
NFL at nearly 10bil, baseball at nearly 8bil, while NBA struggles to break 4 bil, and NHL at 3bil.... You can't be a dissing hockey as a minor sport while supporting basketball.


Sure you can. You can draw the line at 4 billion. A billion is a lot. But yes, the NBA is the little sister of the big three. But the NHL is tied with NASCAR, which makes it regional in pretty much everyone's eyes other than die hard hockey fans. Hockey fans need to understand most people know/care about as much about your sports as you do about Jimmy Johnson.

No, the other Jimmie Johnson.

The NBA may only have a billion of revenue on the NHL and NASCAR, but it has legitimate superstars that people would recognize in a club.
   103. Publius Publicola Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4642761)
Plus, when you're talking basketball, the college variety is hugely popular. In some places, Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana, it is the most popular sport of all.
   104. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4642762)
Sure you can. You can draw the line at 4 billion. A billion is a lot. But yes, the NBA is the little sister of the big three. But the NHL is tied with NASCAR, which makes it regional in pretty much everyone's eyes other than die hard hockey fans. Hockey fans need to understand most people know/care about as much about your sports as you do about Jimmy Johnson.


Nascar is an "event" sport. It's ridiculous to put it in the same vein as real sports. There is one game/event a week. You are being pretty much a ####-disturber if you list NBA as major and NHL as minor. There is no real difference in popularity or revenue between these two sports.

Just because your area prefers the basketball, doesn't mean that is the way the country views it. (it's as silly as those idiots projecting seattle soccer attendance to the rest of the country.) Hockey is the weak sister of the four major sports, but it's clearly revenue generating enough that is a major sports league.


I'll draw the line at 5billion then. NBA is a minor sport. Thanks for that tip.
   105. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4642763)
The NBA may only have a billion of revenue on the NHL and NASCAR, but it has legitimate superstars that people would recognize in a club.


People would recognize the people from redneck racist dynasty and jersey shore...I'm not sure why that matters either? And people probably recognize Beckham also, it doesn't make his sport a viable major us sport either. (or Tony hawk or Tiger Woods either)

I think the only real indication of a major sport is revenue.... and maybe how local news treats it.
   106. Greg K Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4642765)
The funniest part of this entire bit is the "how is Peter Gammons" noise from hockey people whom no one outside of Western Canada has ever heard of.

I think part of the whole conversation is the distinction between American hockey fans trying to convince their compatriots that the sport is relevant, or at the very least defending their interest in the sport as non-insane.

Then you have the Canadian prairie, where hockey is the thing, and some guy from America bad-mouthing it takes immediate priority over whether you think both coaches acted like dorks or not. I do find it funny that TSN brought Mike Commodore of all people into it (though I suppose they're just reporting a tweet...not like they sought him out). Sort of the equivalent of seeing what Seth McClung has to say about the issues of the day.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the vast majority of the population of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were more familiar with Commodore (a mediocre player who now plays half way across the world) than Gammons.
   107. Shredder Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4642773)
The NHL may be regional, but a quick look at attendance figures shows it's very much the equal of the NBA. 2011-2012 was the last time each league played a full season at the same time. In 2011-2012, the NBA had a total attendance of 21,302,573, and had five teams play to 100% or more capacity, with 14 teams over 90%. In 2011-2012, the NHL had a total attendance of 21,470,155, with 16 teams at 100% or more capacity, and 21 over 90% (actually, 21 over 96%). By those numbers, it's hard to call one a major sport and one a minor sport.
   108. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4642776)
The NBA may only have a billion of revenue on the NHL and NASCAR, but it has legitimate superstars that people would recognize in a club.


That's only because they are all at least a foot taller than most of the people in the club.
It's like saying you'd recognize NHL stars at a club...in China.

They kind of stand out from everyone else in the club...
   109. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4642779)
Nascar is an "event" sport. It's ridiculous to put it in the same vein as real sports. There is one game/event a week.


It's good to know that your niche entertainment league is super duper important, as measured by revenue per year (your metric, Lionel), but other people's niche entertainment league isn't because you don't think it has enough "events per week" to qualify as a "real sport." This despite the fact that it clocks the exact same revenue per anno as your little "let's slap a frozen cow turd around an iced over lake" thing from the Midwest.

Just say "I like hockey, but I don't like NASCAR" and leave it there. It's literally the only argument you can make with any degree of cohesion here.
   110. zack Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4642780)
Hockey on TV in USA does suck, but IMO it does because they are relying on the single fixed-camera position provided for NBA games in the same arenas


Hockey broadcasting is extremely staid, yes. Watching games from Rexall Place, despite the horrendous team --and the ugly build-- is a pleasure because, as a hockey-first, tiny arena the camera is much closer to the ice (and on the "wrong" side for some reason).

As a center ice subscriber, one thing I will say for the national broadcasts in the US compared to Canada is that the announcers are better. Despite their quirks, Doc Emerick is a fantastic hockey announcer, and Ed Olczyk is an excellent color guy*. Compare that to the CBC guys, where Hughson makes me want to pierce my eardrums and Bob Cole is so far past it that it hurts.

*For NBC. For the Chicago home broadcast his tendency to reuse stock phrases ad infinitum starts to grate, plus Foley brings out the worst in him. If you go to the soft little area with your stick on the ice you'll create a grade A+ scoring chance and everyone will get to have ####### soft serve ice cream!
   111. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4642781)
In 2011-2012, the NHL had a total attendance of 21,470,155, with 16 teams at 100% or more capacity, and 21 over 90% (actually, 21 over 96%).


Yeah, but 38% of those were just homeless people trying to get out of the cold.
   112. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4642786)
It's like saying you'd recognize NHL stars at a club...in China.


Honestly, I'd probably assume they were "muscle" on loan from the Russian mob.
   113. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4642789)
It's good to know that your niche entertainment league is super duper important, as measured by revenue per year (your metric, Lionel), but other people's niche entertainment league isn't because you don't think it has enough "events per week" to qualify as a "real sport." This despite the fact that it clocks the exact same revenue per anno as your little "let's slap a frozen cow turd around an iced over lake" thing from the Midwest.

Just say "I like hockey, but I don't like NASCAR" and leave it there. It's literally the only argument you can make with any degree of cohesion here.


I would say the same thing about any event sport like nascar, it doesn't have local teams or generates local money in the way that team sports do. Nascar is on par with Golf or wrestlemania as far as type of sport. It is one event a week. That is it. there aren't 30 games a week or anything like that it's not really part of this conversation it's a completely different animal.

But yes I like Hockey better than Nascar. I like bowling better than nascar and I'm not arguing it's a major sport either. I just don't see how you can reasonably draw a line between NHL and NBA without being completely and utterly clueless on everything about these two. There is literally NO logical, rational reason to say one is a major and the other is a minor sport.
   114. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4642799)
Compare that to the CBC guys, where Hughson makes me want to pierce my eardrums


We're going to have to disagree on this statement.
   115. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4642801)
Yeah, but 38% of those were just homeless people trying to get out of the cold.


See hockey does good deeds....Better than NBA, where 30% of the attendance were abandoned baby mamas trying to collect a child support check(hey now I know why a chipper fan likes basketball so much)
   116. kwarren Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4642817)
[7] A good point that it requires experienced personnel in addition to technology. But I'm not going to hold my breath on that count. Camera operators love the closeups.



Not in Canada. The difference between watching games on an American network vs. a Canadian one is, frankly, startling. In my experience, I would rank them

1. CBC
2. RDS/TSN
3. Rogers


The CBC guys make each game seem like a live Sabol production.



None of this can be true. You're forgetting that Canada is a minor nation.
   117. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4642821)
None of this can be true. You're forgetting that Canada is a minor nation.


If you sleep with Canada, you go to jail.
   118. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4642835)
How much of NHL revenue is from Canada? I bet at least half of that 3 billion in revenue comes from Canadian franchises.
   119. Dan Evensen Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4642836)
Granted, it takes a little experience to anticipate where the puck is going to go, but following the puck is much more about watching the players than watching the actual disk in a lot of circumstances. When someone watches baseball on TV, and a batter hits a home run or a fly ball, no one complains that they can't follow the baseball, even though for 90% of the trip it's not on TV. They know where the ball is because they're watching the fielders react to its position. You have to do the same thing in hockey.

Quoted for truth.

I'll never understand the "hockey is hard to televise" arguments, just as I'll never understand those who actually miss FOX's obnoxious puck tracking technology. Hockey has always been an excellent television sport, one that has only been enhanced by HD technology. Rule changes that have sped the game up in recent years have only enhanced hockey's stature. The NHL really is a fun league to watch, and is very accessible, even to new fans.

Hockey has struggled in the United States primarily because it was not on network television for a stretch of over 20 years. While the NFL and MLB were winning over new fans with nationwide telecasts, for years fans outside of major markets in the United States couldn't watch hockey if they wanted to. The really crazy thing is that there has never been a Stanley Cup Finals series shown in its entirety on U.S. network television -- never. Most casual American viewers first saw Gretzky and Lemieux when NBC relented and televised the 1990 All Star Game -- and note that NBC did not bother to televise the Stanley Cup Finals that year.

However, hockey has never been a bad television sport. I've got video of hockey games going back to the 1950s, and have never found any problem following the action while watching them. It's possible that the sporadic American attempts at televising the sport in the 70s and 80s may have been tricky to follow, though I've never seen any evidence of that.

You know, there was a time when hockey was more popular than basketball in the United States. It's amazing how the fortunes of the two sports changed between the 1930s and 1960s. There's a book waiting to be written.

Long story short, don't dismiss hockey as impossible to televise just because U.S. networks didn't really try between 1975 and 1994.

I agree with those who say that football is extremely difficult to enjoy without background knowledge. The entire premise of American football, the line of scrimmage (which is technically two lines) is utterly abstract. I'll never understand why a sport based on the abstract, which has developed a rich culture of theory and analysis over the years, is mostly enjoyed by the least intelligent rung of society.
   120. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4642841)
119, Most people I know think hockey has gone from unwatchable to watchable thanks to HDTV. As a major hockey fan, you have reached the point where you don't need to ever see the puck to know what is going on, but to casual fans it was a barrier.
   121. Eddo Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4642842)
I'll never understand why a sport based on the abstract, which has developed a rich culture of theory and analysis over the years, is mostly enjoyed by the least intelligent rung of society.

I don't know, man. I feel like each sport's fans are consistently lowering the bar. I'm not comfortable saying any one sport has the most- or least-intelligent fanbase.

The important thing is that I've found a way to feel superior to all of them.
   122. Manny Coon Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4642844)
In 2011-2012, the NHL had a total attendance of 21,470,155, with 16 teams at 100% or more capacity, and 21 over 90% (actually, 21 over 96%).


I have no doubt the NHL fills up arenas, people that like hockey tend to like hockey quite a bit and they have a wealthier fan base and live sports aren't cheap. This isn't really inconsistent with the NHL being more of a sport with a large cult or regional following in the USA rather than one with broader appeal.

How much of NHL revenue is from Canada? I bet at least half of that 3 billion in revenue comes from Canadian franchises.


Their national TV contract in Canada is significantly larger than their US TV deal correct? And their US national TV deal is much smaller than NBA?
   123. TerpNats Posted: January 20, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4642852)
Their national TV contract in Canada is significantly larger than their US TV deal, correct?
Pretty remarkable, considering no Canadian franchise has won the Cup since Montreal in '93. Since then, Detroit, Colorado, New Jersey and Chicago have won it multiple times; heck, Dallas, Carolina, Tampa Bay, the Rangers, Los Angeles and Anaheim have won it once (as have more traditional hockey markets Boston and Pittsburgh).
   124. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 20, 2014 at 08:03 PM (#4642867)
Pretty remarkable, considering no Canadian franchise has won the Cup since Montreal in '93.


I don't think Americans can really understand what hockey means to Canadians.
It's not just the number one sport in Canada, it's the identity.
66% of Canada were watching when Crosby scored the gold medal winning goal at the 2010 Olympics.
Not 66% of the Canadian television audience, but 66% (22 million) of the entire nation .
I can't imagine any sporting event getting that kind of numbers in the US.

So when you've got that kind of fervor, and it's a live event (so barely any fast forwarding through commercials), you know you can charge a premium for the sport in Canada.

If Toronto were to make the Stanley Cup finals (English Canada's default team for 50 years), who ever has the rights to those games is going to make a mint on the advertising.



   125. Lassus Posted: January 20, 2014 at 08:22 PM (#4642872)
I only just now saw the clip of the start of that game. It is difficult to defend that as a sport.
   126. Squash Posted: January 20, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4642878)
NFL at nearly 10bil, baseball at nearly 8bil, while NBA struggles to break 4 bil, and NHL at 3bil.... You can't be a dissing hockey as a minor sport while supporting basketball.

That's league revenue though, right? The reason basketball is significantly bigger than the NHL is ancillary markets - basketball players pull in massive marketing dollars on an individual level whereas hockey players don't. Throw in sneakers, throw in overseas revenue, throw in whatever else other people can think of - the total NBA-related revenue pie is right up there if you include the efforts of Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc. Anecdotally, you see many more NBA guys doing commercials and such than either MLB or the NFL, and it's not particularly close, and they absolutely destroy those guys overseas. That's all NBA-related revenue and recognizability even if it doesn't go through the league itself.

It's a different business model than any of the other sports and was part of an intended strategy Stern chose in the 80s of promoting individual players rather than teams.
   127. zack Posted: January 20, 2014 at 08:41 PM (#4642881)

If Toronto were to make the Stanley Cup finals (English Canada's default team for 50 years), who ever has the rights to those games is going to make a mint on the advertising.

So no one is going to make a mint on the advertising, is that what you're saying?
   128. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4642885)
That's league revenue though, right? The reason basketball is significantly bigger than the NHL is ancillary markets - basketball players pull in massive marketing dollars on an individual level whereas hockey players don't.


Maybe...I think that has more to do with the cost of tea in china than whether or not a sport is a major or minor sport.
   129. mrmacro Posted: January 20, 2014 at 09:01 PM (#4642886)
OK, how about TV ratings? The NBA Finals have outdrawn the World Series every year since 2009, the last time the Yanks made an appearance. And if all you care about is revenue, well the cost of advertising for both is about equal.
   130. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 20, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4642887)
So no one is going to make a mint on the advertising, is that what you're saying?


Back in 1993, CBC came just one blown call by Kerry Fraser from getting their dream finals: Toronto vs Montreal

Since then, Toronto's made it back to the semi-finals three more times (including the next year) but haven't gotten any closer.

But in response to your question...yes.

*sob*
   131. Squash Posted: January 20, 2014 at 09:03 PM (#4642888)
Maybe...I think that has more to do with the cost of tea in china than whether or not a sport is a major or minor sport.

Really? I would think that has very much to do with the NBA being a "major" league.
   132. Pirate Joe Posted: January 20, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4642903)
According to the between periods guys on the Penguins broadcast the NHL just fined Hartley $25,000 and suspended Tortorella for 15 days, which amounts to six games.

Incidentally, former Penguin goon Jay Caulfield can't figure out why Hartley got anything at all and blames the whole thing on Tortorella.


   133. Shredder Posted: January 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4642910)
If Toronto were to make the Stanley Cup finals (English Canada's default team for 50 years), who ever has the rights to those games is going to make a mint on the advertising.
Shouldn't this be "whoever bought the advertising for that series will have gotten a huge bargain"? I mean, they sell the advertising time a long time before the teams are set, don't they? I'm assuming that Super Bowl commercial slots have been long sold by now, and I can't imagine hockey is any different.
Back in 1993, CBC came just one blown call by Kerry Fraser from getting their dream finals: Toronto vs Montreal/quote]We don't know that. The game was still tied in OT. Besides, Gilmour got away with a blatant head butt on McSorely earlier in the series. Gilmour probably deserved it.
   134. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: January 20, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4642919)
My sport is a minor sport. The ones discussed are just different levels of major sports.
   135. puck Posted: January 20, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4642920)
We're assuming the order of the sports is what's in the paragraph. If there's a line indicating a different order, we're simply not seeing it:

Because what I'm seeing is the order as follows: MLB, MLS, NASCAR, the NFL, NHL and NBA


I think I see what's up in the demographics chart. The column headers are not showing up. Select the text between the end of the explanatory paragraph and the 1st row of percentages, or just select all the text, and it shows up this in order:

MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL
   136. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM (#4642921)
OK, how about TV ratings? The NBA Finals have outdrawn the World Series every year since 2009, the last time the Yanks made an appearance. And if all you care about is revenue, well the cost of advertising for both is about equal.


TV ratings is about the dumbest way to determine popularity. MLB draws more people in a season than double NFL+Nascar+NBA+NHL+MLS. Neither of these is a good tool for rating popularity, but I'll take the attendance stat over tv ratings every day of the week.

I rarelyt take anyone serious in these conversations that mention tv ratings.

Really? I would think that has very much to do with the NBA being a "major" league.

Why? Seriously, why would the amount of money a player makes selling donuts or jeans factor into whether a league is major or minor?
   137. Poulanc Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:06 PM (#4642927)
Hockey is a minor sport in the US because ESPN stopped covering it when it lost the broadcasting rights back in 2004.
   138. ptodd Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4642940)
I have not been an NHL fan for over 20 years since they feminized the sport. I was a big Bruins fan in the late 60's into the late 80's and some of my fondest memories are of the bench clearing brawls, players going after fans in the stands and some great one on one duels (Stan Jonathan vs Larry Robinson comes to mind, Orr vs Magnuson 3 times in 1 game, etc, etc).

The end of the game that I loved came when the Soviets came to town and NHL executives fell in love with the European style of play as it was known then. Took awhile for them to change the game to what it is now, few goals and fewer fights worth watching, but Mission Accomplished.

Anyways, hockey at its best, rough stuff and all is easily the most entertaining sport to watch. MLB and NFL games have about 15 minutes of action over 3-4 hrs. NHL is 60 minutes of action over 2 1/2 hrs with 2 nice breaks to go on pizza or beer runs. Miss those days.

   139. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4642946)
Let me preface by saying that I am not much of a hocket fan, despite being Canadian. Maybe that is because I came from a part of the country that doesn't freeze over in the winter...

The Canadian Sector of Hell?

   140. Squash Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:04 AM (#4642996)
Why? Seriously, why would the amount of money a player makes selling donuts or jeans factor into whether a league is major or minor?

If corporate America thinks the players of the NBA are (significantly) more marketable than players in MLB and the NFL, that says a lot about the league's penetration and whether it's considered a "major" or "minor" league. Nobody's giving players in the Indoor Lacrosse league (or the MLB, or the NFL, or the NHL) $20 million a year to hawk products for them. There must be some reason they're paying these guys all this money. The NBA isn't regional like NASCAR or largely so like the NHL. And corporate America thinks multiple players in the NBA are significantly more marketable than any star in baseball or any star in football. How can that league possibly be a minor league?

But to get financial, these are again different business models and looking at it from only the league-revenue standpoint fails to take account of that. If you like your team in baseball you buy a hat. That item has an MLB logo on it which must be licensed, so that money goes toward league revenues. If you like your team in football you buy a jersey. That item has an NFL logo on it and therefore goes toward league revenues. But in the NBA the primary marketing item is sneakers, which have way, way more penetration in America and worldwide than any item MLB or the NFL is selling - yet none of that revenue goes toward the league (they really wish they had gotten their hands on that from the start). How many tens/hundreds of millions more people worldwide are wearing Jordans or LeBrons or Kobes than are wearing MLB items? In 2012 Nike's LeBron's alone sold $300 million worth of shoes. That year that shoe alone generated more revenue than every team in MLB except the Yankees and the Red Sox. Through a quirk of the league's financial evolution, none of that money is counted in league revenue. But it's still money that is spent on NBA-related items. Fans don't care that if their dollar is going to MLB, or the NBA, or Nike. It's still money that is spent because of that sport.

We can be pretty sure that $8 billion counts just about every dollar fans spend worldwide on MLB and MLB players. Every Derek Jeter jersey, every Cardinals hat. Likewise for the NFL and its $10 billion. But it's decidedly not true that the NBA's $4 billion counts every dollar spent worldwide on the NBA and NBA players.
   141. Ron J2 Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4643073)
#110 Really. I like Hughson a lot. Bob Cole is a couple of decades past his prime and it shows, but he's OK.

Hughson used to do some baseball and was a pretty decent straight man for his partner (IIRC first Ken Singleton and then Buck Martinez). Well prepared. Didn't really know the game that well and asked good questions of his partner when something caught him off guard.

Like so many Canadian hockey guys he lives and breathes the sport. Indeed he left TSN because they wanted to make him more of a hockey and ... guy.
   142. Ron J2 Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4643090)
#114 I guess I can see it. Hughson has a very distinctive voice and is flat guaranteed to use his trademark "Great save <insert goalie name>!" several times a game (and it's "Great save Luongo!" -- always exactly 3 words). I happen to like the voice but I guess I can see how it could grate. And I like the combination of knowledge and enthusiasm.
   143. Ron J2 Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4643093)
#117 Begging for a Luca Brasi reference.
   144. zack Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4643107)
RE: Hughson, it's also partly because he did the PBP for NHL '09* which was terrible and repetitive. And his Canucks' homerism doesn't help when he's usually on the late game. As soon as you said "great save" I can hear it exactly in my head, ugh.

*The last PC version of an NHL game, so I played it for awhile.
   145. villageidiom Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4643183)
If corporate America thinks the players of the NBA are (significantly) more marketable than players in MLB and the NFL, that says a lot about the league's penetration and whether it's considered a "major" or "minor" league the greater likelihood that the people watching the NBA will be glad to part with their money for corporate America's products.
Tiger Woods' marketability (back in his prime) did not say anything about the popularity of golf or make it a "major" sport. It said something about the popularity of Tiger Woods and the likelihood that someone will buy a product based on his association with it.
   146. Shredder Posted: January 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4643252)
I like Hughson. He's not my favorite, but I certainly don't mind listening to him. And I may be the only one, but I like the Emerick, Olczyk, Maguire team. But growing up in LA, I've been spoiled being able to listen to Bob Miller for my whole life, so pretty much everyone else pales in comparison.
   147. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4643261)
I find Hughson's voice comfortingly familiar due to the 875,000 hours I played NHL 2001.
   148. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4643264)
I was a bit disappointed when they did the shuffle a few years ago and brought it Hughson. I like Hughson fine, but I really enjoyed Chris Cuthbert when he did the late games and Neale/Cole were still doing the early Saturday game. I kind of thought they were grooming him to take over, but then he went over to TSN.

On the topic of announcers, I saw Cassie Campbell doing some play-by-play (or more likely colour) during a game a couple weeks ago. Would she be the first female announcer to be in the box for a male sport? I always thought she was capable, and she seemed to be doing a pretty good job.
   149. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4643271)
I find Hughson's voice comfortingly familiar due to the 875,000 hours I played NHL 2001.

Mine was NHL 2002 for the PC. I'm not sure if they always did it, but they went for comical commentary that year with Don Taylor as the colour man.

I remember I made a custom league using the rosters of the Austrian, Italian, British, Japanese, and other non-entity national teams and dumped them into a draft for 6 teams. Some big Austrian guy was the best D-man in the league.

EDIT: speaking of which, messing around with emulators the other day, I found an EA sports hockey game for Sega Genesis the other day from 1990 that had just international teams. I'd never heard of it before, and I thought I knew Genesis hockey hands down.
   150. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4643273)
It's not just the number one sport in Canada, it's the identity.
66% of Canada were watching when Crosby scored the gold medal winning goal at the 2010 Olympics.
Not 66% of the Canadian television audience, but 66% (22 million) of the entire nation .


This just in: Canadians desperately need lives.

(And/or Canadian TV is really horrible.)
   151. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4643283)
I find Hughson's voice comfortingly familiar due to the 875,000 hours I played NHL 2001.


I think this is why I like him, as well.

Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller are also excellent choices for broadcasting hockey.
Bob Cole has got to retire soon. He just can't cut it any more.

I'm worried that with SportsNet getting the lion's share of the hockey from 2015 onwards that guys like Hughson, Cuthbert, Miller, Randorf, and Black will be stuck at TSN.
I'm not really a fan of the current SportsNet crew.
   152. Ron J2 Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4643296)
#148 Though it wasn't done that way it amounted to a straight up trade of Hughson for Cuthbert. CBC wanted a hockey only guy. TSN wanted a hockey plus CFL guy. Hughson wanted to do hockey only and Cuthbert wanted to do more than hockey. Makes perfect sense in that light.
   153. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4643300)
I spent a few years out west so ending up seeing a ton of Edmonton Oilers games on Sportsnet. Ray Ferraro kind of grew on me...not sure if it's because he's any good, or because of familiarity.

I also have a soft spot for Ray Ferraro because my brother and I had a league running in NHL 94 (I'd play the away team, he'd always play the home team). Suspensions would be dealt out when a guy injured someone which lasted as long as the injury plus one game, so there was always a tense moment when we had to go to the replay to see who'd done the deed. We also had a dice rolling system to randomly determine injury lengths. So this one guy went down and it turned out he rolled some crazy numbers and he was out half the season. Additionally, for some reason, we were doing the commentary for the game and recording it onto a cassette tape with our boom box. As the replay started up one of us began "...and who did it..." tense pause "...RAY FERRARO!!!" and the room exploded in chaos (though I'm not sure why, Ferraro wasn't a particularly important player).

To this day neither of us are capable of seeing Ray Ferraro without thinking...RAY FERRARO!!!!
   154. zack Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4643301)

On the topic of announcers, I saw Cassie Campbell doing some play-by-play (or more likely colour) during a game a couple weeks ago. Would she be the first female announcer to be in the box for a male sport? I always thought she was capable, and she seemed to be doing a pretty good job.


She's a discredit to her gender, but Suzyn Waldman is probably the first long-time female announcer, at least in NA. Checking her wiki page, there were at least two others before her in MLB, Betty Caywood and Mary Shane.

Funny that you guys like Hughson from an NHL game, while that's one of the reasons I dislike him.
   155. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4643302)
#148 Though it wasn't done that way it amounted to a straight up trade of Hughson for Cuthbert. CBC wanted a hockey only guy. TSN wanted a hockey plus CFL guy. Hughson wanted to do hockey only and Cuthbert wanted to do more than hockey. Makes perfect sense in that light.

Yeah, everyone comes out a winner except for me!
   156. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4643305)
She's a discredit to her gender, but Suzyn Waldman is probably the first long-time female announcer, at least in NA. Checking her wiki page, there were at least two others before her in MLB, Betty Caywood and Mary Shane.

Ah right! I had heard of her. Bummer.

Oh well, Cassie Campbell's still cool.
   157. Christopher Linden Posted: January 21, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4643439)
Pam Ward has done PBP for early-slot college football games on ESPN for a few years now, and last year they had some other woman doing PBP for a few games, but I can't remember her or the games. There were lightly-veiled shots taken at Ward when she started, but no one seems to comment on her now. Worth noting that by either merit or bias she gets consistently terrible assignments. Hers is the least watched time slot on ESPN's college football Saturdays outside of the super-late (east of the Mississippi) West Coast contests, and even those tend to have more compelling matchups. Ward by contrast is relegated to doing games only alumni and heavy gamblers watch. No upward trajectory at all.

Whether she precedes Waldman, et al, I dunno.

I, a lifelong Southerner, got into hockey a few years ago, even had the Center Ice/GameCenter packages a couple years. I concur that as a total newbie who never played the game (and has been on ice skates maybe twice, both times with painful results), the skill level of the players is beyond question. To even my eye they're fantastic at what they do. But for a long time the *purpose* behind the action was a mystery to me. It felt like teams were basically pushing the puck around trying to force an opportunity they could cash in on -- or at least not f*** up and leave such an opportunity to the other side -- as opposed to a carefully orchestrated, rehearsed effort to get Player Y into Space X so Defender Z would be forced to rotate over to cover Player A, which would lead to Player B's being covered by Defender D, who can't cover B, because B's lateral movement to his left and signature $NAME move can't be stopped by D's skill set for Reasons E & F, let alone run set plays that would open up misdirection chances for other plays later in the game.

Hard to gather, and unlike football, it doesn't feel like the NBC/NBCSN/Fox RSN announcers go into great detail on the schemes behind the action

Regarding icing, it is simple to grasp by both concept and rule, but the seeming inconsistency with which it's called isn't simple to understand. Why did this rifle-the-puck-down-the-ice warrant a penalty, but that other kinda-identical rifle-the-puck-down-the-ice get "waved off"? All sports have this to some extent (wait, I thought if he threw the ball away from the white plate it wasn't a strike but that time it was ... wait, I though if the blocking man grabbed the defensive man and threw him down it was a penalty, but that time it wasn't), but it in hockey it seems to happen so often that it reinforces the feeling of randomness.

Happy Base Ball (Hockey/Football/Whatever)
   158. Shrike Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4643527)
Twenty years ago I was able to see the Blue Jays in the World Series firsthand.

In 2010 I was at the rink when Canada won the gold medal. Best sporting event of my life.

... There is no comparison. I love baseball, but top-level hockey is unparalleled.
   159. mrmacro Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4643549)
#136

So the number of people who choose to watch a sport on television (which dwarfs the number who actually attend, by the way)is the "dumbest" way to measure a sport's popularity, but revenue (most of which comes from, er, TV) is your chosen criterion? So that makes Carlos Slim the most popular man in the world, followed by Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, and Warren Buffett?
   160. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4643553)
(And/or Canadian TV is really horrible.)


Orphan Black is pretty good. That's about it, really.
   161. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4643564)
Orphan Black is pretty good. That's about it, really.

The Newsroom (the Canadian Ken Finkleman show from the 90s, not the current Aaron Sorkin one) is one of my favourite TV shows ever. But yeah, for the most part Canadian TV is awful. Or to be more precise, Canadian TV doesn't exist. Aside from hockey games it's all just American TV shows.
   162. Flynn Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4643566)

So the number of people who choose to watch a sport on television (which dwarfs the number who actually attend, by the way)is the "dumbest" way to measure a sport's popularity, but revenue (most of which comes from, er, TV) is your chosen criterion? So that makes Carlos Slim the most popular man in the world, followed by Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, and Warren Buffett?


Using TV ratings from a championship series/game to judge popularity would be like saying that Steve Jobs was richer than Carlos Slim because more people in America have used an iPhone than Telmex.

According to your logic, the NFL is about 10 times as popular as any sport in America. This is pretty clearly not true.
   163. Lassus Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4643567)
Orphan Black is pretty good. That's about it, really.

I have yet to watch it, but I hear Slings and Arrows was awesome.
   164. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4643571)
I have yet to watch it, but I hear Slings and Arrows was awesome.


Noted.
   165. Moeball Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4643611)
Hmm...was wondering something.

In baseball, we here at the Factory tend to ridicule people in the sport (players, managers, front office people, announcers) who really don't seem to understand strategically how to play the sport. I would guess there is much more statistical analysis, perhaps, but it fundamentally comes down to appearances that some people actively involved in the sport really just don't know what's going on in their own sport.

Do we see this in other sports? For example, are there hockey coaches who really have no clue as to who their best players are? I can understand if some fans maybe don't really get it, but I don't know about the front offices.

BITD I went to several Kings games when Gretzky was there and I have to tell you - when watching him skate, handle the puck and pass it off - you really could see the artistry and skill involved. He was truly a marvel to watch - and he was already on the downhill side of his career at that point! He must have been incredible to watch in his peak years at Edmonton!

Yet it was just as obvious that McSorley the Protector was by far the most popular player on the team as far as the fans were concerned. The vast majority of fans I saw really didn't care if the Kings won or lost, they just wanted to see a fight. I don't know if it is like that in other arenas around the league. I would guess older cities with long-time franchises probably have fans that are better in tune with what actually wins games and are there to see a skillfully played game?
   166. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4643631)
For example, are there hockey coaches who really have no clue as to who their best players are? I can understand if some fans maybe don't really get it, but I don't know about the front offices.


Yes. His name is Mike Milbury (coach/GM), and for his idiotic personnel decisions, he was rewarded with an analysis spot on the 2nd intermission of all CBC hockey games.


   167. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4643632)
I have yet to watch it, but I hear Slings and Arrows was awesome.

Ah right I forgot that one!

I really liked the first season. Though there is some residual resentment for it making me think I liked Rachel McAdams. It's taken me a couple terrible movies to disabuse me of that notion.
   168. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4643636)
Yet it was just as obvious that McSorley the Protector was by far the most popular player on the team as far as the fans were concerned. The vast majority of fans I saw really didn't care if the Kings won or lost, they just wanted to see a fight. I don't know if it is like that in other arenas around the league. I would guess older cities with long-time franchises probably have fans that are better in tune with what actually wins games and are there to see a skillfully played game?

Speaking as a Leafs fan I don't think that theory is accurate at all. The most popular Leafs are almost always the fighters or the third and fourth line "gritty" players, while the most skilled players are usually bagged on for not being skilled enough. I think that's just standard across all sports though...fans always blame the best player.

I think it's nearly universal that fan favourites are the fighters. Tie Domi and Georges Laraque spring to mind.

I actually just caught a Seinfeld episode this afternoon, where George sets Jerry up with Susan's friend. On the double date George claims he could be an NFL coach...it's not that hard. I think among all fan bases there develops a sense of "these guys don't know what they're doing, it's so obvious!"

EDIT: Though of course while Toronto qualifies as a fanbase that has had a team for a long time, they certainly don't qualify as a fanbase which has had experience seeing what actually wins hockey games.
   169. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4643642)
Nascar crew chiefs (managers) are pretty good at strategy.
You'll see plenty of situations where there are a multitude of potential strategies (when to make pit stops, how many tires to take) that might or might not pan out depending on how the cautions fall. In these situations, you will almost always see teams that follow each strategy, and not always the same team, suggesting that teams are actually using mixed strategies, which is right, instead of just following the herd as we see most of the time in sports (find me an NFL coach that went for 2 late in the game when being down 8 or 11 following a score and I'll applaud wildly).
   170. Hippo Vaughn is my hero Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4643648)
As a Canadian but much more a baseball fan than hockey (and coming into this discussion late), I can tell you that hockey is ingrained in Canadian souls whether you like the sport or not. And the game is no more difficult to pick up than any other (having fielded many stupid baseball questions and comments over the years). And Paste, having the honor of the first comment, you did a disservice to all deranged monkeys when you compared them to Bettman. Poor monkeys.
   171. Pirate Joe Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4643652)
Pam Ward has done PBP for early-slot college football games on ESPN for a few years now, and last year they had some other woman doing PBP for a few games, but I can't remember her or the games. There were lightly-veiled shots taken at Ward when she started, but no one seems to comment on her now. Worth noting that by either merit or bias she gets consistently terrible assignments.



I believe the other woman you are thinking of is Beth Mowins (and that might not be spelled correctly), who does some football and some mens (and womens) basketball as well. She is better than Ward, which is a low bar to hurdle because Ward is, indeed, awful. Mowins is OK, not great but not the worst either.

If you are looking for a top notch female commentator, Doris Burke does college and NBA basketball color commentary on ESPN. IMO she is one of the top handful of college basketball color commentators calling games today. She's smart, she knows the game, and she can get her point across quickly in the flow of the game.

   172. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4643661)
Gary Bettman is definitely the most widely hated man in Canada, right?

God have mercy on his soul if a Canadian team ever wins the Cup on home ice.
   173. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4643663)
Empowered to remake the NHL as I see fit, I would make three changes, presented in order of importance:

1. End de facto legal holding and hooking for good and all. Aggressively call penalties for hooking and holding until the players get the idea.

2. Enlarge the nets, probably by about four inches in every direction. Hockey's a more entertaining sport when games are 5-3 or 6-4 rather than 2-0 or 3-2.

3. Eliminate the ####### loser point.

I personally would also like to end shootouts, but casuals love them and I can live with them. Though I think 2-on-1 shootouts would be more fun than 1-on-0 shootouts.
   174. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4643667)
Eliminate the ####### loser point.

At the very least if you're going to have 3 point games then give 3 points for a regulation win.
   175. Squash Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4643672)
Tiger Woods' marketability (back in his prime) did not say anything about the popularity of golf or make it a "major" sport. It said something about the popularity of Tiger Woods and the likelihood that someone will buy a product based on his association with it.

It's funny, because I was thinking about golf when I was writing that because two golfers (Tiger and Mickelson) are two of the top 5 sponsorship guys out there. And for what it's worth, Tiger did make golf into something pretty close to a major sport. US Open ratings stack up pretty favorably to World Series ratings, taking into account that golf is on during the day and the WS usually at night - golf is lower, but not by as much as you might think. On the revenue side, golf is a $25 billion industry now (PGA Tour revenue is about $1 billion apparently), with multiple nationally televised events a year, major sponsors, prominent time on ESPN, etc. I can't find what the entire baseball industry is worth (including MLB, Rawlings, etc.) but I would be very surprised if it equals that number or is even particularly close to that number.
   176. mrmacro Posted: January 21, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4643684)
I thought it was obvious, but perhaps I was wrong. Viewing figures for the World Series vs NBA Finals (and, I suppose, the Stanley Cup Finals) offers just about the only apples-for-apples comparison for gauging how interested the public is in a sport: identical formats, numbers of games, etc. Certainly more apples-to-apples then comparing sports with substantially different numbers of games by gross attendance difference (or, for that matter, revenue difference.) Curiously, the monster Dodgers TV contract entails a slightly lower per-game revenue stream than the equivalent Lakers one- another small piece of evidence that pro basketball is indeed a 'major' sport.

As an aside, I must admit that I'm bemused why some people feel the need to disparage sports that they don't like. What's the point, other than insecurity?
   177. Christopher Linden Posted: January 21, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4643687)
Hockey fans,

Given that no NHL game can end in a tie anymore, is there any reason to keep the standings-point system at all? Why not just go to straight win-loss record with regulation wins as the tiebreaker?

Happy Hockey
   178. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4643713)
Christopher: That wouldn't work because of reasons.

Talk to Gary Bettman about it, it'll totally make sense when he explains it to you.
   179. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4643721)
I suppose one could argue that the shootout already favors teams with star forwards (such as the Penguins) over teams built around defensemen (such as the Bruins), and making the shootout a two-point swing instead of a one-point swing would only exacerbate that.

The Penguins haven't lost a shootout in two years, and it's not hard to see why.
   180. Squash Posted: January 21, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4643726)
Given that no NHL game can end in a tie anymore, is there any reason to keep the standings-point system at all? Why not just go to straight win-loss record with regulation wins as the tiebreaker?

I think it's that given the nature of the game you can have a fair number of games that can go into multiple drawn-out overtimes, which the league wanted to get away from**, hence the shoot out system. But shoot outs also have a large luck/chance component to them, so it doesn't seem fair to penalize one team with nothing based on a coin flip when the two teams have played to a tie.

** Multiple OT games are cool in the playoffs, when you're hanging onto every second, but the Islanders and the Coyotes slogging away at the 3rd overtime period at 12:30am on a Tuesday night wasn't anybody's idea of fun.
   181. Greg K Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:51 PM (#4643811)
I never really saw what the problem with a tie was.
   182. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:29 AM (#4643873)
Fans pay a lot of money to go to a hockey game, and the overwhelming majority of them feel ripped off if there isn't a winner.

Oddly enough, the NFL is basically the last serious sports organization on earth that doesn't play soccer and still allows ties.
   183. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:11 AM (#4643878)
Oddly enough, the NFL is basically the last serious sports organization on earth that doesn't play soccer and still allows ties.


NPB allows ties. If an extra-inning game is still tied at the end of 12 innings, it goes into the books as a tie. All NPB teams had at least one tie this season, and the Giants had seven.
   184. Richard Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:23 AM (#4643879)
Oddly enough, the NFL is basically the last serious sports organization on earth that doesn't play soccer and still allows ties.


Cricket has tied games (and, more commonly, drawn ones).
   185. Shredder Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4644179)
1. End de facto legal holding and hooking for good and all. Aggressively call penalties for hooking and holding until the players get the idea.

2. Enlarge the nets, probably by about four inches in every direction. Hockey's a more entertaining sport when games are 5-3 or 6-4 rather than 2-0 or 3-2.

3. Eliminate the ####### loser point.


1. They pretty much already have. You don't even have to actually hook a guy to get called for hooking anymore. You just have to get the stick parallel to the ice and towards a guy's midsection, and you're gone for two minutes. I think you may have had an argument on this point about 10 years ago, but I don't really see it as an issue now.

2. I'd rather they reduce the size of goalie equipment, including the blocker and the glove. I know they addressed that this year, but it's hard to see much of a difference.

3. I'm fine with the loser point and the shootout, but I think they definitely need to make every game worth three points. It's pretty simple: 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for an OT/SO win, 1 point for an OT/SO loss, 0 points for a regulation loss. It's kind of dumb when I don't care who win a Western Conference game and the only thing I'm rooting for is "please don't go to OT".
   186. Pirate Joe Posted: January 23, 2014 at 01:33 AM (#4644865)
The Penguins haven't lost a shootout in two years, and it's not hard to see why.



Well sure. They've played four shootouts this season and so far their opponents have put exactly zero pucks (in 13 tries) into the net. Pretty much guarantees that they would win every single one.

What? Goaltending wasn't the reason you were thinking of? Well, in any event, that actually is the reason.


   187. Karl from NY Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4645213)
It seems the only people who complain about hockey being hard to watch are generally fairly hardcore sports fans who don't watch hockey.

Coming in late to this thread, but I can speak for that point of view, a fairly serious sports fan who finds hockey hard to watch.

Hockey's problem isn't so much the TV presentation, it's the nature of the sport itself. There's little rhythm, no rise and fall of the action, because there's no swings in leverage. Baseball gets exciting when the bases are loaded, football in the red zone, even basketball when one team is on a comeback run, these moments are when the living room or bar stands up and takes notice. In hockey, scoring chances last two seconds and then the excitement is over.

A fan can't play along with a hockey game the way you can in other sports. It's fun to guess along with the players and coaches on pitch selection or play-calling or defensive alignments. But you can't do that for hockey. I would love to ride along in my mind with a forward winger, gauging the chances of whether it's best to pass, or dump, or shoot and which hole to aim for. That's the core of the hockey experience and strategy... which zips by too fast for an observer to register and participate. Watching hockey is purely reactive. By the time you've registered what's happening, the goal is already scored or the puck gloved or rattling off along the boards.

If you're into hockey deeply enough, you'll internalize the bigger picture of line changes and positioning and traps and such. Same goes for soccer, which I know becomes much more interesting once you start seeing those patterns. But I haven't gotten myself to that place with either sport.
   188. Greg K Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4645264)
Fans pay a lot of money to go to a hockey game, and the overwhelming majority of them feel ripped off if there isn't a winner.

I guess I'm just curious when this happened. I don't recall a huge outcry against ties in the 80s-90s (though to be fair I was a pre-teen and didn't really follow hockey discussions). Ties existed for a long time in hockey without seeming to be a problem. I do recall when shootouts were brought in that the line among people here was that Americans can't stand ties. Which is perhaps what you meant anyway.
   189. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 23, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4645282)
Well sure. They've played four shootouts this season and so far their opponents have put exactly zero pucks (in 13 tries) into the net. Pretty much guarantees that they would win every single one.

What? Goaltending wasn't the reason you were thinking of? Well, in any event, that actually is the reason.


Actually, it is, in large part. Fleury is, always has been and always will be a mediocre goaltender, but he is one of the best shootout goalies in the league. This is not surprising since he is probably the most athletic goaltender in the NHL, and also routinely leads the league in giving up goals that make fans jump off the couch and scream "WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING???"

Fleury has severe problems paying attention to what's going on. In shootouts that's not a problem.
   190. Flynn Posted: January 23, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4645327)
Jeff Marek's theory on scoring is that it's down because everybody blocks shots now. I like that theory.
   191. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 23, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4645411)
Probably more than half the goals that get scored today are on deflections.
   192. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4645430)
Fleury has severe problems paying attention to what's going on.


Yep. He can turn a one-goal deficit into a three-goal deficit quicker than anyone I've ever seen. It's aggravating because he can also be one of the best in the business when he's on.

-- MWE
   193. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:48 PM (#4645437)
I know if I ran the Penguins I'd have put a shock collar on him that goes off anytime he tries to leave the crease years ago.
   194. Karl from NY Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4645611)
Jeff Marek's theory on scoring is that it's down because everybody blocks shots now. I like that theory.

Theory? I thought everybody knew that was happening.
   195. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 24, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4645622)
I used to be a big hockey fan, but I haven't watched a full non-Olympic game in probably 15 years. The current style of NHL play is of no interest to me at all. Dump and chase. The whole league has one guy on pace for 100 points, and three goalies with a GAA under 2.00, and its been like that for years. I grew up watching hockey in the 80's when a guy with a career 3.68 GAA (Grant Fuhr) could be talked about as one of the best goalies in the league. Now 2.68 GAA puts you on the bench.
   196. zack Posted: January 24, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4645726)
I used to be a big hockey fan, but I haven't watched a full non-Olympic game in probably 15 years. The current style of NHL play is of no interest to me at all. Dump and chase. The whole league has one guy on pace for 100 points, and three goalies with a GAA under 2.00, and its been like that for years. I grew up watching hockey in the 80's when a guy with a career 3.68 GAA (Grant Fuhr) could be talked about as one of the best goalies in the league. Now 2.68 GAA puts you on the bench.


The bad teams are all about dump and chase, but that has ever been true.

As far as all the stats you enumerate, I would suggest that scoring is down in greatest part because goalies are so, so much better* than they were pre-early 90's, not because offenses are worse. I would guess that scoring chances are not that much reduced really. And most importantly, that scoring talent is greatly improved, as it has to be to combat the ever increasing defensive and goalie play.

*partly talent, partly that goalies are so much bigger, partly equipment, mostly style changes.
   197. zack Posted: January 24, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4645734)
Also that the 80's (especially the early 80's), in terms of goal scoring, were a huge outlier in NHL history. The only time that goals were scored that frequently in the NHL were the first five years of the league and the height of the second world war.
   198. Shredder Posted: January 24, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4645778)
*partly talent, partly that goalies are so much bigger, partly equipment, mostly style changes.
Partly that unlike in the high scoring era, goalies are usually the best athletes on the team.
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