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Is the NHL dead?

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Is the NHL dead?

Old 04-14-07, 10:55 AM
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Is the NHL dead?

The Canucks-Stars game the other night was preempted by an infomercial. That wouldn't even happen to an MLS game. Is the NHL dead in the United States as anything more than a niche sport like lacrosse?
Old 04-14-07, 11:35 AM
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I don't know if it's dead, but it's hibernating in certain spots. You won't see hockey big again here in Chicago until "Dollar" Bill Wirtz is six feet under.
Old 04-14-07, 11:44 AM
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It's huge here in Pittsburgh, but that is mainly due to Crosby, Malkin, and the (coming soon!) new arena.

It's obvious though, that in the U.S. overall it's not followed by many. I mean, it's main national television package belongs to a network that most of America doesn't even know exists.
Old 04-14-07, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by MrX
I don't know if it's dead, but it's hibernating in certain spots. You won't see hockey big again here in Chicago until "Dollar" Bill Wirtz is six feet under.
The 'hawks were the first thing that I was going to mention - You can't have one of the league's great hockey markets in the cellar for such an extended period of time. What a waste.
Old 04-14-07, 12:02 PM
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Things seem to be on the up-swing in St. Louis, but I would say in general that the league is still on the downward slope, if not dead.

Bettman needed to go a long time ago.
Old 04-14-07, 12:11 PM
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I think it's doing fine, it's just that other sports have gotten bigger. It's in a level between the soccer/MLS and the NBA/NFL/MLB. Of course it's basically always been that way. But when the NBA took off, it basically left the NHL behind in a no man's land. Not really major, not really minor.

I remember back when the Capitals went to the Stanly Cup almost a decade ago. Most of the games were on cable then too. The fact that ESPN doesn't carry them isn't a bad thing either. ESPN has absorbed so many other sports since then and their coverage is often lacking.
Old 04-14-07, 01:00 PM
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Not at all dead. Television is not the sole indicator of success.
Old 04-14-07, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by B.A.
The 'hawks were the first thing that I was going to mention - You can't have one of the league's great hockey markets in the cellar for such an extended period of time. What a waste.
It's more than the losing. The fans will only take being shit upon and lied to for so long.
Old 04-14-07, 01:20 PM
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Well, it was pre-empted after 6 periods of hockey. It was on for more than 5 hours and they admitted it was a mistake. It's not like they just cancelled it because the infomercial would get better ratings. That's not an excuse, though.

I don't think hockey is dead, but I don't hold any notions that it has much chance of being huge in the US. I think it would be a lot stronger if they admitted that they needed to contract some teams, make the season shorter and focus on their strengths.
Old 04-14-07, 01:21 PM
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It better not die. I bought Sharks season tickets!
Old 04-14-07, 01:25 PM
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The NHL is in a "re-building" phase

There's tons of young kids being taken to the games nowadays. Big screen HDTV's will help also. One of the most common complaints I hear from people is the same old "can't follow the puck" crap. Second to that is people say they can't follow it because it's too fast and they have no idea what's going on. I can see how people can feel that way if their only exposure is a 27" tv. The tv's are out there, now it just needs more HD coverage. Even with Directv's Center Ice package I only get 4-5 HD games a week and that's just not nearly enough. What I do to try and get people into hockey is to convince them to come to a game with me.
Old 04-14-07, 01:30 PM
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It's basically the same as it's been for the last 30+ years.

I hear people talk about it not being on ESPN, but isn't VS. on almost all cable/sat systems? I think the low point of the NHL was in the late 80s/early 90s when they had the SportsChannel America contract - very low penetration and no broadcast network coverage whatsoever.

Attendance/gate-wise, it seems rather healthy.

edit: I agree about the HD coverage - that will only help. Beautiful game to watch in HD.
Old 04-14-07, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jericho
The fact that ESPN doesn't carry them isn't a bad thing either. ESPN has absorbed so many other sports since then and their coverage is often lacking.
I always thought ESPN did a bad job with the NHL. The telecasts were great, but the NHL was hardly ever mentioned on Sportscenter or anything else. They didn't care to try to promote the NHL. Even before they had the NBA games. They wouldn't dare to lead off the afternoon Sportscenter with coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals. They would never do the big segments that other sports get.

I have Vs but I tend to forget about it when flipping through channels since its in the high numbers amongst a bunch of channels I don't watch. And when I think a hockey game might be on I can't remember what channel it is so if I flip through and its on commercials I say "screw it".

Last edited by Lee Harvey Oswald; 04-14-07 at 01:35 PM.
Old 04-14-07, 01:37 PM
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They need more controversial players like the NFL, MLB, and NBA.
Old 04-14-07, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MrX
It's more than the losing. The fans will only take being shit upon and lied to for so long.
I thought that was insinuated in your Wirtz comment above.
Old 04-14-07, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
...but isn't VS. on almost all cable/sat systems?
Our cable co. (Armstrong) offers it, but we would have to pay extra for it. And even then, we wouldn't get the HD feed. Not worth it to me.
Old 04-14-07, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SonOfAStu
Our cable co. (Armstrong) offers it, but we would have to pay extra for it. And even then, we wouldn't get the HD feed. Not worth it to me.

It is on our basic tier, and I assume it would be on the basic tier for any Comcast subscriber since Comcast owns it. Plus we get the Golf/VS-HD channel.

Speaking of ESPN, given their baseball and NBA commitments, I doubt they could do the NHL playoffs justice. I'm looking at the schedule this week, and VS. has pretty comprehensive coverage - 2 games most nights, and in HD no less (if you have it). No way ESPN could or would do this even with the Deuce.

One other cool thing, they haven't turned off the free preview of the MLB-EI channels yet, and since they are mixed in with the Center Ice, we are getting free bonus hockey (2 games) today.
Old 04-14-07, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Speaking of ESPN, given their baseball and NBA commitments, I doubt they could do the NHL playoffs justice. I'm looking at the schedule this week, and VS. has pretty comprehensive coverage - 2 games most nights, and in HD no less (if you have it). No way ESPN could or would do this even with the Deuce.
They essentially replaced hockey with poker.
Old 04-14-07, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
It's basically the same as it's been for the last 30+ years.
Agreed. My friends that loved hockey in the past still love it, and myself and my other friends that couldn't give a shit less about it still don't give a shit about it. :shrugs:

Going to Vs. is a step down though, while it's on Comcast and probably most major cable companies and the satellite providers, its not on most smaller cable providers in more rural areas (I have lots of friends and family in such areas and they don't get any of these kind of newish sports or other specialty channels).

But hardly enough to call it dead when NHL was always getting shit ratings even when it was on ESPN.
Old 04-16-07, 01:25 AM
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ESPN is starting to give it more coverage. First year after the lockout year they really seemed to ignore it for the sole principal of ignoring it because they dropped it kinda thing.
Old 04-16-07, 09:44 AM
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It's not dead, it is on the rebound and just not as popular as it was in the early to mid 90s. I do think the NHL has a long way to go...getting rid of Gary would be a big step.
Old 04-16-07, 10:26 AM
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They need to put the NHL on The Ocho.
Old 04-16-07, 10:30 AM
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The lockout was a huge hit. It certainly hasn't recovered from that. I voted that it was dead, but I don't think it is. But I don't remember a time in my life when it was this low. They could use Wayne again. They need a player that is bigger than the sport itself.
Old 04-16-07, 10:37 AM
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The lockout wasn't that a big of a hit. The NHL had record average and total attendance figures last year, playing to over 90% capacity. Plus the lockout helped bring about a far more reasonable salary structure.
Old 04-16-07, 10:38 AM
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not dead. it's coming back now that coverage of poker is decreasing.

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