Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pros and Cons

Early Reviews of the New Game

With a month having passed since the NHL raised the curtain on their new ice show a number of reports are coming in as to how the league is faring so far.

Some feel the NHL has done a real good job addressing key issues and moving forward.
Is it possible the new NHL has managed an almost impossible sporting double-double: improving its product exponentially while maintaining parity? The view from Columbus, Carolina, New York, Edmonton and other long-suffering NHL centers would suggest it is so.
others have a more mixed opinion of how things are going.

-- The game is suspenseful and different every night. Coaches are working hard behind the scenes trying to find ways to slow the pace and design a defense for the way the game has opened up, but they haven't so far. A one- or two-goal lead is no longer safe. Third-period comebacks are possible, especially for well-conditioned teams that have speed and skill.
-- There are no physical battles for position in front of the net between defensemen and attacking players without the puck. Teams have figured out there's a scoring chance to be had every time if they screen the goalie with one or more skaters and they can wait for someone to wrist a puck on net from the point. More of a price should be paid to gain that position in front. But we're at a loss to suggest how fouls on one patch of the ice can be allowed when they're illegal everywhere else.
And others although generally positive have real concerns about specific issues... like for instance the TV situation.
National television ratings remain dismal. OLN's initial telecast drew a 0.4 rating, which represented 353,439 viewers and equaled the rating that ESPN averaged for its telecasts in 2003-04. Even worse, ESPN had a 2.0 national rating for its opening-night telecast in 2003.
Personally I think for the most part things are going very well and areas where there's some problems now I feel will improve because overall the New NHL is generating many more positives than negatives with it's re-tooling and re-launch. As any hockey person will tell you when your ahead in the +/- category you win and that's what's happening with the NHL in the early going. It's a trend I expect to see continuing through the season.


Jeremy said...

Your relentless positivity is infectious. For whatever reason, most of the grand "new NHL" platitudes from the mainstream commentators ring false for me...but you're creating a compelling case here for the continuing success of the game.

br. t. said...

Thanks Jeremy, I really appreciate that. I'm normally not a relentlessly positive person but as far as how I'm feeling about NHLv2.05 that does about sum it up. There's obviously some very real trouble spots but overall I see a lot of positive things happening in most areas. We'll see how it all plays out, should be interesting... more than it already has been.

Jeremy said...

And it's just obvious that you really love the game. Although I grew up watching the Jets in Winnipeg, played minor hockey, and still lace up the blades now...I've come to see that I'm not really a "hardcore" fan. Truth be told, I haven't much cared about the rule and enforcement changes this year -- I still love watching hockey for the same reasons: the speed, the skills, the storylines, and the beer.

br. t. said...

Yeah, I agree totally Jeremy, much of the spell hockey has cast on me also has come from the speed, the skills, the storylines and the beer that are all naturally part of the game and have always attracted me to it. As far as not being "hardcore" I think anyone hanging around this blog has to be at least a little hardcore.

Glad to have you aboard.