Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Two Radical Measures

One of these I like, the other has about as much chance as a snowball in hell of being adopted. However, the bottom line is that something has to be done, and soon, to reverse the decline into irrelevance that hockey is experiencing on the tube here in the states. Here's a couple of ideas that are outside the box of traditional thinking, which is exactly where the powers that be need to be going in order to save televised hockey here in the 21st century.
1. The game needs to be televised north-south, not east-west.

2. The game needs to eliminate one intermission.

(I understand that I’ve just lost contact with all hyper-serious NHL fans, so I’ll just speak directly to the other 99 percent of the population for the remainder of this column.)

This north-south business was first suggested to Couch Slouch by Bob Reichblum, executive producer of the nascent ReelzChannel cable network. Granted, ReelzChannel covers movies, not sports, but Reichblum is one of those fellas who tapes ECHL games and watches them while working the cell phone on his StairMaster.

Hockey simply translates better if the action is coming at you. Ever wonder why, when someone scores, they show multiple replays from behind or in front of the net? BECAUSE IT’S EASIER TO SEE THE GOAL, you knuckleheads.

You would never, in tennis, sit a camera at the net. The match is shown from behind the baseline; it’s a much better angle than mid-court.
Heck, if they televised tennis east-west, John McEnroe would be out of our lives and Wimbledon would have Tucker Carlson-style ratings.

Okay, let’s talk about intermissions — thank goodness I ran off the NHL crazies earlier because they would forecheck me into my own door at this point — and why there are too many of them.

It’s a fast-moving, short-attention-span society out there. In the clicker culture, people switch from Leno to Letterman if they don’t like a monologue joke, they jump from “Cold Case” to “The Closer” if the crime isn’t unsolvable enough.

You cannot give people the chance to wander away, even for a moment. Heck, my first ex-wife left me between the seventh and eight rounds of the Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns fight in 1989.

The NHL should not continue to give viewers two 15-minute opportunities to find a more violent TV option. Let’s say you’re grazing around during the second intermission of a Penguins-Rangers game and come upon “The Godfather.” Are you going to reject Vito Corleone and return to Jaromir Jagr? I think not.

There you have it — I’ve done my part to save the NHL. If all else fails, replace the puck with a beach ball.

(my emphasis)
Ok, Ok, I was wrong, those were three ideas. The beach ball one even I would reject, which is kind of amazing because at this point I'm open to almost anything.

Hmmmm, on second thought...

Anyways, I'm sick and tired of the traditionalist crowd that says NOTHING should be changed in the game. Everything changes and evolves in response to the ever changing conditions life creates. HOCKEY'S NO DIFFERENT. If that wasn't the case we'd still be seeing hockey played with no forward passes allowed and goals that featured two posts in the ice with no cross bar. Which is the way hockey was played before it evolved to it's present state. It needs to keep evolving.

Evolve or die.

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