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National Hockey League Embraces TV Placeshifting

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-of-the-many-reasons-hockey-is-a-better-sport dept.

Television 169

Egadfly writes "The 'placeshifting' technology that allows digitally recorded shows to be watched in several locations is growing increasingly popular. One particular reason for this popularity is because it enables sports fans to view locally blacked-out games over the Internet. The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced that it will actively support placeshifting by signing an agreement with SlingBox-maker Sling Media. The agreement will allow the company's "Clip+Sling" technologyto share both live and recorded NHL programming over the Internet. Significantly, this has happened only days after Major League Baseball (MLB) launched a public denunciation of placeshifting, accusing SlingBox owners of violating the law by sending television content over the Internet and accusing Sling Media itself of violating contracts with cable and satellite TV companies."

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169 comments

Sweet! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431107)

This totally paves the way for a sport that doesn't suck to do this.

Re:Sweet! (-1, Offtopic)

ds_online (803466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431269)

somebody spam me please :-D phaskew@sjhcomm.com

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431303)

Goat Testicles suck You [goatse.ch] !! (Warning, goatse link)

Re:Sweet! (0, Flamebait)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431345)

That would imply the existence of a spectator sport that doesn't suck. The only cases in which sports don't suck are those in which either you are participating or somebody you directly know is participating.

Re:Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431775)

In other news, the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League [hertsleague.co.uk] also signed up for TV Placeshifting in what experts call "a sure thing" for the technology to take off.

MOD PARENT FUNNY (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431879)

fo'rizzle

Um yeah....about that (-1, Troll)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431123)

No one watches it anyway so what revenue are they trying to preserve?

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431191)

I'm sure someone must watch televised hockey, or why are they putting hockey teams in southern states?
I'm hoping the NFL accepts this tech. It'd be nice to get around local TV blackouts without having to rig ticket sales.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431299)

Actually, parent isn't that far off (in the U.S. at least). The ratings for the finals have been record lows (http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs2007/news/s tory?id=2894490). The sport televises well in Canada though.

Re:Um yeah....about that (4, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431367)

It really depends on where you are, too. The upper midwest states are heavy into hockey of all levels. MN broadcasts its highschool hockey tournament live, for example (which lasts about a week). Until I moved from MN, I had no idea NHL wasn't on par with the NFL and MLB in terms of viewership in the US.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431395)

True. Here in St. Louis they preempted several Saturday afternoon playoff games to show Cardinals games that noone will ever remember being played.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433057)

Hey, someone else who wants to admit they are from St Louis! Right on!

Agreed. The Cardinals get way too much coverage here. As if it weren't already hard times for Blues fans. Sheesh!

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

rsmoody (791160) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431513)

As a hockey fan, in the south no doubt, one reason is because of the shitty quality, mostly because of these damned sling(shit)boxes. I can't tell you how many times I would be watching the game and the stupid sling(shit)box logo comes up because of network congestion. Thanks ESPN! It was great before the strike, way to go players! Greedy asshats would have gotten a better deal if they had taken what they were offered before they went on strike. I have hopes that things will improve, but this sure as hell does not fill me with confidence at all. A sling(shit)box is for you to play around with, NOT at all for professional quality broadcasts. Then again, this must not be what they are going for at Vs. and NBC.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433095)

Yeah, and most people are also stupid. They'd rather snooze through a boring baseball game or watch all the primadonna antics at NFL or NBA games. I agree, spectator sports are usually lame as all get out. One big thing that prevents hockey from being more popular is the sub par officiating, IMHO. Public perception of the sport would be much better if the referees and linemen were just a bit more observant than WWE referees.

Re:Um yeah....about that (0, Redundant)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431385)

ESPN's article headline....
Game 3 equals NBC's lowest rating ever for prime-time program
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs2007/news/st ory?id=2894490 [go.com]
The NHL is on life support. They have no choice but to get as many people to watch as possible. If this was the NFL it would be news, but the NHL is so desperate to get laid it will go to bed with anything.

XFL NHL (1)

TenBrothers (995309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431511)

The XFL was yanked after getting a then-record low 1.5. Which means that about 450,000 more people watched the LEAST-watched XFL game than watched the NHL Finals.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

cheese_boy (118027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431419)

> I'm hoping the NFL accepts this tech. It'd be nice to get around local TV blackouts without having to rig ticket sales.

What local TV blackouts?
We haven't had one here in WI.
Maybe it's something to do with there being a waitlist for season tickets of 57000+ people. (An average of 30+ years waiting for tickets)

Re:Um yeah....about that (2, Funny)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431483)

Being a Vikings fan, I will add this: Yes, it's because you're in Wisconsin.

The only fanbase I've ever seen that was as similarly blindly and rabidly supportive of their football team are the Bronco fans. The Bronco fans are more annoying, though, because at least the Packer fans can stand the cold :P

That's funny. (1)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431583)

And I'm a Broncos fan.

But, doesn't your team play in a dome? Kind of easy to pick on a team's fans that "don't like the cold" when you get a heated balloon to watch the game inside.

Nonetheless, I do agree, my fellow Broncos fans are kind of silly.

Re:Um yeah....about that (2, Interesting)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431527)

I don't get local NFL blackouts either--haven't had them for over a decade--but I suspect that not all the tickets sold to sell out the games for my local NFL team are being used. It has a strong fanbase, but not quite as strong as the Packers, and I think that some games are being sold out because radio shows are buying all the unsold tix for give-aways.
Or to put it another way: I've seen local games on TV that had a lot of empty seats in the stands.

Re:Um yeah....about that (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431277)

You misspelled "trying to promote." HTH.

Seriously though, hockey is a great exhilerating sport to watch live. You don't even have to know anything about it. It's a ballet of finely controlled aggression. It's John Woo on ice with sticks instead of guns. On tv, you have to know the game. The puck is so small and fast, the reactions are lighting quick the game is extremely hard to produce, and the experience of watching the game changes. You the viewer have to infer the possibilities of what you can't see, developing a accurate expectation to get a similar buzz of intensity from the game. Does that mean I watch the NHL no I don't. I watch minor league hockey, because I can go to those games.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

rebelcan (918087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432325)

I agree with this. For the longest time I never enjoyed watching hockey ( or any sports, really ) on TV. Why? It's just not very interesting. But recently I watched the Vancouver Giants ( local team that won the Memorial Cup, woot ) live. What suprised me was how much I got into the game. I was cheering, and griping the edge of my seat several times during the game. After that game, I decided to try and watch the playoffs on TV. It was still no where near as exciting ( except for one game of the Canucks ). Hockey is definitly one of those games that is a billion times better to watch in person than on TV.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432921)

I watched a lot of the NHL playoffs on television, but the best experience is still going to a college hockey game. If you want rabid fans, that's the best place to go. Some student sections can't yell anything more complicated than "You suck" (I'm looking at you, UMass), but a lot of schools have very vocal and very organized student sections.

Re:Um yeah....about that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19433123)

One hockey game I went to, a drunk guy was yelling anything he could think of to the visiting team. Which again isn't the football kind of heckling, fans are right on top of the players in hockey for those unfamiliar. Given a persistent enough person, it's just not possible to tune it out. Eventually, a few guys on the team couldn't take it anymore, and they got into arguing with him. Well at this point, it's pretty clear they've lost, even up by a goal. One of the players loses his shit grabs a stick and starts sort of meekly swinging at the guy to get him to back off. Well having the dual advantages of high ground and liquid courage the booze hound grabs the stick, eventually taking control and attacking the players with it. Which was a combination of scary and funny at the time, but now it's just freaking hilarious as I look back on it. Eventually security got the better of him, but man. Classic.

Re:Um yeah....about that (2, Insightful)

mod_critical (699118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433451)

Bingo. That why like here in MN, the season ticket waiting list for the Wild is years long. I actually was not able to purchase a ticket this year from TicketMaster, not even one, and I tried often. The only three games I saw live were vendor perks.

I don't know how live viewership is doing in other states really, but if in MN the NHL is in no way on life-support for live viewership. Of course, that may just be good news for the XCEL center, not the NHL. Come to think of it I wonder what the NHL's revenue difference is from ticket sales vs. TV networks running the feed...

Re:Um yeah....about that (2, Informative)

hawkeesk8 (682864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433217)

Well, there are about 30 million Canadians that would have to strongly disagree. Oh, but I forgot, the world does not exist outside of the United States. All sarcasm aside, Hockey Night in Canada, the regular Saturday night hockey program carried by CBC is so popular that the ad revenues from that program alone basically carry the entire network. Don Cherry and Ron Mclean, the shows hosts, their salaries rival that of the top news anchor on the network - and may have even surpassed it.

Embrace goatse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431149)

Embrace goatse! [goatse.cz]

I think they're just happy... (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431181)

Somebody's watching. Unlike MLB, I guess they're getting used to new shifts in tech.

Plus, given the strike, and the fact that NHL hasn't enjoyed the same American fan-backing other sports have, I'm pretty sure they're just happy someone's watching.

Re:I think they're just happy... (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432839)

Pretty much! The saddest thing is that it was the hottest sport in the early 90's, they snagged a lucrative deal from ESPN during it and then went on strike letting the MLB and NBA to pass them. By far the stupidest move that they've made in the attempt to make inroads in to the "non traditional markets".

It's a bloody shame that the NHL bends over to the likes of NBC when the CBC pays them over half a billion dollars for rights. More money then they'll ever EVER see from a US broadcaster any time soon. Thank you afternoon games....

Sorry... still fuming over last nights results... Go sens.

So, I can sling a video of an NHL game anywhere... (0, Troll)

kclittle (625128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431201)

... but I still won't be able to see the puck on the screen. Great.

Re:So, I can sling a video of an NHL game anywhere (5, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431293)

Back in 1996, FoxTrax [wikipedia.org] came into existence. It used state of the art technology to wrap the puck in a "glow" onscreen (and for kicks Fox added "comet trails" to the puck when it was fired at high speeds).

You know what? It COMPLETELY SUCKED. You know why? Because ANY IDIOT can see a black object against a bright white surface.

Not to mention, it was completely invasive. Contrast it with the yellow line shown during football games. Out of the way and easily ignored.

Hockey's problem in America isn't that Americans can't see the puck. Americans so the puck just fine during the NHL resurgence back in the 90s. Hockey's problem is that Americans won't return to any sport after a lockout unless the players have salaries greater than the GNP of some small nations (baseball).

Re:So, I can sling a video of an NHL game anywhere (3, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431391)

Indeed, plus, it's pretty damn easy to *infer* where the puck is from the actions of the players onscreen.

Though I gotta say, I got an HDTV a few months ago, and hockey in HD is friggin awesome.

Re:So, I can sling a video of an NHL game anywhere (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432945)

Though I gotta say, I got an HDTV a few months ago, and hockey in HD is friggin awesome.
I am so damned jealous. I'm hoping to be able to save up enough to get an HDTV before next year's playoffs.

Re:So, I can sling a video of an NHL game anywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431631)

ANY IDIOT can see a black object against a bright white surface.

You're misunderestimating the caliber of idiots that the USA can produce.

Re:So, I can sling a video of an NHL game anywhere (1)

hawkeesk8 (682864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433185)

In Canada the Fox glowing animated puck was ridiculed pretty heavily and is still used as a reference to the lower sport intellect of large majority of Americans.

Re:So, I can sling a video of an NHL game anywhere (1)

Langfat (953252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431469)

Let me guess: you don't live in Canada? ;)

Center Ice? (1)

cxreg (44671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431217)

This is probably going to really hurt for the "NHL Center Ice" people who carry the majority of games, which seems to mostly be used by people who moved away from their favorite team's area

Re:Center Ice? (1)

ikcizokm (1112877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431613)

Why? You can only Sling it if it's live on your TV. It's not like you can get games from someone else's Slingbox.

Personally, I'll stick with my Center Ice pkg and TiVo all the games I want to watch. Or, if it does show up on Xbox Live, use that instead. Sling doesn't appeal to me because you can only watch live programming... no time-delay... just time "shift".

NHL on versus (1, Informative)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431243)

They could just put the games on a real network instead of Versus. Half of the Detroit market couldn't see half the playoff games the Wings were in.This works too, I'll be able to actually watch games instead of having to drive to my folks house. This won't help the NHL from continuing to alienate their less technical audience.

http://sportsbiznews.blogspot.com/2007/05/nhl-spor ts-league-that-sports-fans-cant.html [blogspot.com]

Re:NHL on versus (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431561)

I think Versus is probably the exact reason they are accepting placeshifting. The NHL is getting shafted on TV coverage because the only channel you can watch hockey on is Versus. NBC sometimes will play games on weekends if you're lucky. Other than that, it's up to your local sports network. And even they are turning away from hockey. This year's playoff season was probably the worst covered in recent years. I couldn't watch a NJ Devils game in New Jersey unless I had Fox Sports Net 2. Unfortunately I don't have the second iteration of a regional cable channel.

And to all of you saying no one watches hockey, all I can say is that last night I was watching hockey on TV and it was a great game. So you don't like hockey...most of you here don't even like sports. There are plenty of fans out there. You all sound like the Windows zealots who think that no one ever uses Linux on the desktop.

Even worse for hockey fans (1)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431623)

whose teams didn't make the playoffs.

If it weren't for my dish, I couldn't have seen the majority of the games during the season since only 2-5 games were on a week. Once the playoffs rolled around, I got to see them all, again, thanks to my dish.

And as far as "ratings" go, do they tally me and the people who come over to watch the games? Nope, I don't have their magic box. Now, why is it that Family Guy was canceled again? Oh yeah, low ratings. So few viewers that it set records when it hit DVD and came back from the dead.

The NHL doesn't have low ratings, the idiots that count the viewers don't count the viewers.

Re:Even worse for hockey fans (4, Funny)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432961)

One of the reasons I like the playoffs is that I can pick whichever team has players from my college. Since my local team is the Bruins, I don't have to worry about having to cheer for my home team.

As a Flyers fan (1)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433621)

I just wait for them to blow it IN the playoffs so that my hopes are dashed that much harder. At least your team has the decency to suck up front. Mine strings me along and then commits suicide in new and increasingly heartbreaking ways.

Re:As a Flyers fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19433717)

I feel your pain.
Of course, since I moved to the Left Coast it doesn't matter anymore. My closest interaction with the Flyers is the standings sheet or EA's NHL 200x. Instead I get (when I can get hockey) the Ducks or Avalanche.
At least when I lived in Phoenix I could go to a game. A surprisingly well supported team (when I was there). It was odd to go and see the stands filled with so many Blackhawk and Red Wings sweaters. Goes to show how many Mid-Westerners have moved to Phoenix .

Re:NHL on versus (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431949)

In my area, Comcast (the owner of Versus) decided to change what channel Versus is on in the middle of the playoffs. I missed a game because I couldn't find it - my on-screen channel guide was still reporting Versus on the old channel.

Re:NHL on versus (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432739)

It's the NHL's own fault for settling for less. In 2005, during the lockout, ESPN had the contract option in front of them for broadcasting the 2005-2006 season. They chose not to sign. The NHL probably figured, "Oh well, on to the next best thing", and got suckered into signing with the fourth ranked broadcast network (of four), and a cable provider with an agenda. Comcast shoves the NHL onto OLN, makes sure that only Comcast subscribers can see the games, and somehow thinks that adding just the NHL and arena football will somehow transform the Outdoor Life Network into an ESPN competitor. Somehow, OLN picked up the first few Stanley Cup games (ABC used to televise all of the Stanley Cup games on national broadcast).

I remember the good old days, when I had one TV on ESPN and another on ESPN2 during the playoffs, sometimes with a solid six hours of hockey. Now it's a toss-up on whether there will be professional bull riding, UFC, or hunting/fishing shows pre-empting national hockey.

I partially blame ESPN; they've become so conceited with their viewing schedule. The six most important sports, according to them: NFL, NBA, MLB, College Football, College Basketball, NASCAR. Post-February, the NBA rules above all (that was a significant steal from NBC, which formerly held the national broadcast contract). Their only dedicated hockey analyst is the washed-up Barry Melrose; most of the NHL vet analysts made a break for NBC and Comcast, while Buccigross and Pidto were relegated to SportsCenter or *shudder* ESPNEWS anchoring. They maintained their lucrative MLB and NFL contracts (and even cancelled Playmakers when the NFL threatened to cut back on their broadcast contract). The NHL's airing of highlights has been relegated to a terrible four minute segment with Barry Melrose. If it wasn't for the northeast and northern-midwest US audiences (as well as the homes of the original six), the NHL highlights would be squeezed into the ESPN Deportes minute along with UEFA, international tennis, Formula 1, etc.

If the NHL wants to survive, they need to become visible again. Let the Comcast contract wither and die, then come crawling back to Bristol with a hell of a deal.

Re:NHL on versus (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433051)

The worst commentator on ESPN was one of the guys they had for the NCAA selection show this year (I'm blanking on his name). Here's a few things he said:

1. New Hampshire was the most vulnerable #1 seed (out of four regionals)
2. New Hampshire would lose in the first round (to the #4 seed in their regional)
3. There won't be any upsets in the first round


I know it was just the tournament selection show for college hockey, but the least they could have done was get a couple guys that weren't on crack.

Re:NHL on versus (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433529)

And to add insult to injury, for the Tonight Show visit by three Ducks players with the Cup, the band played the NHL on ESPN theme. Three times, if I'm not mistaken. Hopefully it wasn't just a gaffe.

Noone watches anyways (3, Insightful)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431267)

I'm betting this is almost entirely due to the terrible ratings the NHL has been getting in the U.S. recently. Game 3 of the finals had a record low for NBC (lower than reruns of their crappy dramas!)

Re:Noone watches anyways (4, Insightful)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431427)

I'm sure this has nothing to do with a team from California being in the finals.

Any fan of hockey will tell you that there's no way teams like Anahiem, LA, San Jose, Nashville, Florida, and several others that I'm probably missing deserve to be in the league.

People in those towns don't care (remember how many Flames fans there were in Tampa Bay for that series?), and people around the league don't care about those towns.

Call me a troll or whatever, but if you're wondering why viewership has gone down in the NHL, the two big reasons are too many crap teams from cities who don't care about hockey, and the instigator rule, which encourages dirty play.

Again, mod me troll for this, I don't care... many (all?) of my hockey friends will tell you the exact same thing.

Re:Noone watches anyways (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431497)

Real hockey is played on grass, with a ball, wooden sticks and girls in short pleated skirts with bouncy boobs. Any other form of hockey is simply not relevant.

Informative, just because he said boobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431683)

I say he, because I doubt a female would have referred to herself in that manner. I've dated a field hockey player. She did it to keep in shape for the ice hockey season.

Re:Informative, just because he said boobs? (1)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431781)

no kidding, there are 2 good posts that deserve informative/interesting under my posts (which i'll humbily admit also deserves some)... but some 12 year old mod saw boobs and somehow thought that was informative, it's maybe funny, at best.

I've been shaking my head a lot about the moderation around here lately... I don't really care for my own karma's sake, but I do really care about the signal to noise ratio.

But I suppose it makes sence, post a topic about hockey, talk about how Americans don't really get hockey, and what is fundamentally wrong with the league... then couple that with American moderators and they won't understand what's informative and what isn't.

I still like /., don't get me wrong... it just kinda sucks that I'm forced into always browsing comments at -1* because of silly mods.

*I could browse at 0 or 1, but I find the occasional gem that some guy with crap karma will post that gets overlooked by mods

Re:Informative, just because he said boobs? (1)

Taco Meat (1104291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433841)

"I could browse at 0 or 1, but I find the occasional gem that some guy with crap karma will post that gets overlooked by mods"

Well, while we're here in bad-karma-land, the slashdot slum, let me remind you that you are a faggot. Don't forget it. Your mother and I play hide-the-sausage every morning, and I must say she really likes the wienersnitzel.

"But I suppose it makes sence"
grate splelinng. I gess i have to rite so u kan reed it now? hows taht? bitter?

Ok, I know it's almost lights out in the trailer park because the generator is almost out of gas, so talk to you later, sluggo! Buh-bye!

You're absolutely correct. (4, Informative)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431545)

Not to bash the southern teams too badly, but they don't fill the buildings, they don't watch the local broadcasts, etc.

New Jersey can't sell out playoff games, so it's not a uniquely southern issue. If the on-ice product is so boring you have to advertise the competition coming to town, you have a problem.

The biggest problem with those teams is that they were the markets that were easy to expand to. Which meant more teams with the same number of quality players. So the league is diluted and bums are allowed to skate with future legends. Some of those bums attack other players because they aren't all that great at an NHL level without it. Scott Stevens, I'm looking at you.

I love what Don Cherry said during Game 4. People who believe that Americans won't watch hockey because it's too violent are crazy. Americans watch football, and ultimate fighting and Nascar. They don't watch them for incredible skills, they watch for the hits. Unlike football, ultimate fighting and Nascar, hockey has hits AND skill. Anybody who believes differently has probably never put on a pair of ice skates.

One last thing, I have no doubt that one reason that fewer Americans watched was because a Canadian team was in the finals. Everybody I talked to about the games were in two camps. The ones cheering on Anaheim weren't watching the games and just hated Canada. The ones watching each game intently were cheering for Ottawa.

Re:You're absolutely correct. (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431973)

agreed. hockey has both hits and skill. much the same can be said of football, ultimate fighting, and i guess nascar (i am not a fan). just as the skill required for hockey is not obvious less one has a understanding of the game, there is skill in football and mixed martials arts, and driving cars round in a circle (i guess?). notice how most highlight reels for football normally have a mix between incredible long bomb passes, sick footwork, sheer brute explosive strength, and great hits? mma is less certain. the point of mma is to hit. and hit hard. its just that in theory, landing those hits takes great skill.

Re:You're absolutely correct. (3, Insightful)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432027)

I certainly wouldn't mind seeing a retraction on the number of teams in the NHL. Canada and northern US cities would be fine with me. I guess the probelem is the owners would mind. They just want more and more and bigger and bigger, and that means the American market.

Everything's got to be huge, on huge primetime TVs and in huge stadiums in huge cities for them. And for some stupid reason they think that a city with a population of 500,000 where 1% care about hockey is a better market than a city with 100,000 where everyone cares about hockey.

Oh, well

Re:You're absolutely correct. (2, Insightful)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432507)

Right on. The way to hook new viewers is "Hook them with the hits, keep them with the skill." Once people begin watching hockey, they'll pick up on the intricacies of the game. I'm still amazed at the little techniques that players use to affect how a play develops. Little things like deflecting a puck a little bit, slowing down the opposing team, stuff like that. It's ridiculous that more Americans aren't into hockey. It's so much more interesting to me than football.

Re:You're absolutely correct. (3, Informative)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432721)

What do you mean the Southern teams don't fill the buildings, the bottom 6 in attendance this year were
25 Boston
26 New Jersey
27 Washington
28 NY Islanders
29 Chicago
30 St. Louis

Tampa Bay was #3 with an average of 19,876. Hockey just doesn't televise well in standard def, its not because of not being able to see the puck, its because you can't see the play develop and the action off the puck

Re:You're absolutely correct. (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432941)

> Hockey just doesn't televise well in standard def, its not because of not being able to see the puck, its because you can't see the play develop and the action off the puck.

Damn straight! When actually at games, I find I am not looking the same place the main camera is (or would be) a good portion of the time. I'm not watching the forward on the breakaway when he's still at the blue line -- I'm watching the goalie. I'm not watching the scrum along the boards, I'm watching the guys setting up camp in front of the net or ten feet behind the scrum. I'm looking for hits away from the play. I'm looking for a mismatch. I'm looking for an odd man rush just waiting to happen because the defensemen are pinching. You just don't see that on television as it stands now, where you might see five people in the picture. There are eleven guys to watch (neglecting the goalie behind the play), in some cases twelve. By necessity, you are missing half the game, because there aren't enough pixels to go around. It does help to mute the TV and put on the radio broadcast, as they do a lot more play-by-play and a lot less "color". This helps you see what you aren't being shown.

Spread a wide-angle shot on a wall 6 feet wide, at 1080p, and let me decide where I want to look -- that would be the perfect televised game. Unfortunately, that probably would hurt ticket sales, as the HDTV view would be better than the nosebleed seats, without the parking and the high volume sound system (physically painful kind of loud) and the people walking in front of you, and... I think you get the point. Maybe people would hang out in areas with huge HD displays and cheer along, much like the Australian (tennis) Open, but it is unlikely they would pay for the privilege. They will probably buy overpriced beer and hot dogs though; they already do at sports bars.

Mal-2

Re:You're absolutely correct. (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433071)

I'm surprised Boston and Washington aren't even lower. Boston has a couple promising young guys (Bergeron and Kessell), and Sinden isn't in charge of destroying the team anymore.

I stand corrected on the attendence numbers. (2, Interesting)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433603)

I just go by what I see when I watch the games on Center Ice.

I'm sure my northern bias is in play when I watch the game and yell "Look at all those empty seats! Stupid hockey in the south!"

And I bought my HDTV for hockey. If you can't be at a game to watch the play develop, HD is the next best thing. Standard definition games are fine when the Canadians are running the cameras. They generally pull far enough back that you can see the play develop. But the jackasses at the game in the front few rows know it, sit there on their cell phone and stand up and wave every time the puck goes in their end since they know they're on TV now. Yes, Detroit, I'm looking at you.

Re:You're absolutely correct. (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433829)

Americans watch football, and ultimate fighting and Nascar. They don't watch them for incredible skills, they watch for the hits. Unlike football, ultimate fighting and Nascar, hockey has hits AND skill.
I disagree. First, football has plenty of skill, hence there are players who play "skill positions." The NFL has become more popular as the rules have changed to emphasize offensive skills (eg protect the QB).

The problem IMHO is that hockey has lost much of it's skill. It was popular in the 80's, early 90's when offensive skill was emphasized (many 50 goal & 100 point scorers). Now with talent dilution from expansion as you mention - coupled with bigger, stronger, faster players on the same size rink, there isn't enough room for the skill greats to demonstrate their talent on a consistent basis.

Re:Noone watches anyways (4, Insightful)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431697)

Damn straight! I'm sick of the NHL pandering to American interests, when probably 98% of their population don't give two craps about Canada's popular sport.

They scheduled several Saturday playoff games at 2 in the afternoon, killing CBC's nighttime ratings twice (they lost all their night viewers, and even most Canadian hockey fans would prefer to be out on a warm and sunny afternoon after months of chilly weather). And why 2pm? Because of NBC, probably because they already had Saturday night commitments. In Game 5 of the Eastern finals, the game went into overtime. NBC ended their broadcast after the 3rd period, and so didn't air the goal that eliminated Buffalo and sent the Ottawa Senators to their first Stanley Cup series since they were resurrected as a team in 1992. That's the commitment the NHL gets from NBC.

Don Cherry called it a few nights ago, when he was guest commentator on the NBC broadcast. He lambasted Americans trying to turn NHL hockey into "family" sport. That the fighting made it a less "serious" sport. He rightfully pointed out the hypocrisy in this as parents let their kids watch UFC and take them to WWE matches. He made pointed reference to NASCAR too, though I didn't understand the connection.

Now, I'm not saying fights in hockey are exactly a GOOD thing, nor am I saying UFC and WWE (expecially WWE) are taken seriously either. But it's clear that violence in the latter sells a hell of a lot more than a fast-paced hockey game in the US. The NHL should never have expanded south as much as it did--it drove up player salaries and other costs until communities that actually cared about the game saw their home teams move to where they're not appreciated.

Yes, I'm bitter we lost the Stanley Cup--yet again--to a US team, in another city where a mere kilometre away from the arena passers-by didn't even know the final game of the championship was being played out.

And in relation to this rant, I just realized the absolute irony of my Slashdot ID.

NASCAR (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431965)

Like hockey, NASCAR is a sport which is not supposed to include violence. But a NASCAR race that went perfectly smoothly would just be cars going around a large oval track really fast somewhere between 100 and 500 times (with the occasional pit stop), and after a while that could get stultifying for a viewer. It gets most interesting right when car-related violence happens.
There are no rules against violence in NASCAR: it's just presumed that self-preservation and trying to win the race would discourage people from encouraging car crashes at 150-200 miles an hour. Now NASCAR has teams--groups of race cars all owned by the same people--so that's no longer a 100% effective tactic. Dale Earnhardt Sr. died some years back near the end of a race when he drove his car into a wall; I believe he did it on purpose, to prevent a rival car from going forward so that another car in his team could get the lead before the post-crash flags froze the racecar order.

Re:NASCAR (1)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432059)

Wow. No, Dale Earnhardt, Sr did not intentionally drive head-first into a wall on a caution. I know that extraneous research [wikipedia.org] is hard for some /.'ers, but really, now.

The crash occurred on the last turn of the last lap of the Daytona 500. He was either blocking for a teammate or attempting to pass another car (which happened to be his son), and because of the physics of ariflow, his car wound up plowing into the wall and then being hit in the side, killing him.

To say he intentionally drove into the wall as a tactic is stupid.

Re:Noone watches anyways (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432713)

It's not the American fans that are hurting the sport. It's the greed of the owners and Darth Bettman. The owners snatched up franchises and expansion rights for a song, got sweetheart arena leases, then wondered why they weren't raking in dough. Hockey is not a 30 franchise sport, especially when at least 8 of those franchises are in cities that can't, or won't support the team. So the owners scrambled for a easy market; Families. The owner want the new rules, they want something to market to families. Dear old Gary was more than willing to pander, hoping for growth that will never come.

Don Cherry, as much as I love hearing his weekly 7 minute sermon from the mount on Saturdays, has some misplaced nationalism when it comes to hockey. Americans aren't trying to change the game that he loves, not all European players are gutless, and not all Russian players are money grubbing lazy bums. At most, it's 95% of the Russians give the other 5% a bad name :)

Here's hoping Nashville ends up in Winnipeg after they move next season. After that, trim off a pair of teams, get the game back on ESPN stateside where it belongs, get NHL2Night back on their air, and bring me another case of Molson and all will be right with the world. And of course, get the cup back to Detroit. That's as close to Canada as it needs to get for a while :)

Re:Noone watches anyways (1)

superphreak (785821) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432943)

Hey, we could use a Cup sighting in Minnesota...

Re:Noone watches anyways (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433417)

The idiots in charge want to add a Las Vegas NHL team [aol.com] .

Vegas and pro hockey. Yeah, there's a winning combination. Apparently a big reason for lack of any pro sports teams [wikipedia.org] is a conflict of interest with sports gambling, obviously allowed in Vegas. The last thing the NHL needs to get itself into is a scandal... OTOH, these days, what better way to make people take an organization seriously...

Re:Noone watches anyways (1)

dodongo (412749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433167)

Well, number one, I hate fucking Anaheim, but they did just win the Cup, so I question your "They don't belong in the league" assertion. That and they're in the second-largest media market in the country. Give them time.

Second, I live in the Bay Area, the 4th largest media market in the country. The Shark Tank (AKA HP Pavillion, the, I hate to admit it, most brilliant corporate name for a stadium ever) sells out consistently, and though it's not as large as lots of places... There's a bunch of us that love to go to the bar and yell at the TV and stuff, and people around here do generally seem to care. Certainly not on a Canadian level or whatever, but I think we 'get it'. It's not "built into our genetics" like basketball in Indiana (where I'm originally from) or hockey to our friends to the North, but still.

And I agree with you about the instigator rule.

You're an idiot. (1)

NeoChaosX (778377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433203)

San Jose

Have you paid attention to how well these teams you listed are actually doing, or are you just grouping the Sharks in there because it's a California city you've never heard of? San Jose (along with Dallas) has become one of the more successful areas the NHL expanded to in the 1990s, both business and support wise. The city of San Jose along with the rest of the Bay Area has practically embraced the team, especially since they moved to the Sharks Tank 14 years ago, and HP Pavillion is regularly at 97+% attendance for Sharks games.

Re:Noone watches anyways (1)

Mean Variance (913229) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433955)

Any fan of hockey will tell you that there's no way teams like Anaheim, LA, San Jose, Nashville, Florida, and several others that I'm probably missing deserve to be in the league.

San Jose's attendance this year was 99.6% capacity. (Source [go.com] )

The typically dead San Jose downtown hops on Sharks nights. Most games are broadcast on HD (at least based on my sampling, I'm a casual fan of hockey and most other "major" sports). Every game is broadcast on a powerful FM classic rock station by a respected and knowledgeable announcer, Dan Rusinowski.

No, most of the San Jose and presumably other California fan base are not as grounded in hockey as in Canada orthe Northeast. So what?

While many of the players typically seem to be pretty cool guys, hardcore fans who grew up with hockey have this bigoted attitude that others shouldn't watch or enjoy the game.

The whole fighting thing is a red herring. I don't think it really plays into whether someone enjoys the sport on an ongoing basis. On the other hand, I do like that the red line was removed from the 2 line pass. The tempo is much smoother as I see it.

Re:Noone watches anyways (2, Interesting)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431787)

I'd imagine NBC's _godawful_ audio has something to do with that too. One of the biggest media companies on the planet, and their audio guys can't even stop the pumping and breathing from the compressor/limiters. It's pathetic. Boys, that threshold setting is there for a reason!
And besides the shitty audio, if a game doesn't finish within regulation, NBC's bound to cut to a rerun of Friends or some shit.

Re:Noone watches anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431915)

Not really. It's due to the fact that hockey is a sport with movement. They must have figured "the players move when they're playing hockey, why not let the fans move when watching it?".

Trivia: if you hold down fast-forward while watching a baseball game on Tivo, you can actually see one or two of the players move. (Really!)

The solution to bad ratings (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432243)

You're right, the ratings are bad for hockey (in the US anyway), and licensing deals with YouTube, and this recent placeshifting move, aren't going to bring back the viewers either. But I know what will: dropping the stupid instigator rule they put in place some years back to curb fighting. Even NHL GM's are realising the penalty should be abolished because it makes it impossible for enforcers to protect star players, and it robs the game of strategy and excitement.

Let's face it, hockey fights rule, and it's what the people want to see.

Re:Noone watches anyways (1)

vonhammer (992352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433855)

To fix this:

1. Get rid of their current play-by-play and color man and use Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh. Seriously, listen to just one of the Stars games they call and you will be hooked.

2. Get rid of the instigator rule.

3. Have every team in the East play every team in the West once during the year. That way, everyone has a chance to see Syd the Kid (if your team plays the Pens at home that is).

4. Give the fans time to come back to the sport after the lockout all but destroyed interest. Don't believe me? The salary cap is being raised significantly this year. How can that be if they are losing money? Even though the ratings are low, the money is definitely there. TV ratings will take time to come back because it is a nation-wide measure. I'm sure there are a lot more hockey fans in Anaheim now than were there at the beginning of the season. Same for Carolina fans last year. Over time, the numbers will increase - especially if they adopt the above ideas.

its about damn time... (3, Insightful)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431275)

...that content creators make is EASIER for me to watch the content that they create. This can only mean more viewers, watching more of the content they create, which is a good thing all around.

Unlike MLB, which wants you to only watch their content on their terms. Screw that!

Wait... (0, Offtopic)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431307)

Won't all this video clog the internet pipes? Its not a dump truck you know...

TV on Demand (1)

carlhirsch (87880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431403)

I'd probably buy an NHL season pass via Xbox Live if if the content was HD and at least price-competitive with an NHL cable subscription.

Or, I'd be motivated to buy an AppleTV. I think most iTunes tv content isn't HD yet.

I'm not so sure about buying a Slingbox. ... then again my nerdy coworker just showed me a Slingbox session streaming through his Treo phone and now i kind of want one.

Re:TV on Demand (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431551)

Screw the Xbox and double screw AppleTV, I'm watching a NHL game on Joost right now for free at a surprisingly high level of quality. Sure it's a recorded game from, but at least I can watch all them in order when ever I want on demand. It'll be interesting too see if Joost takes off as big as Skype(same guys, same idea, but with TV) and how much "Live" content, or at least recent content they'll have.

Preakness (4, Interesting)

windside (112784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431565)

As a hockey fan, it pains me to say this, but the people suggesting this is a desperation move by a league struggling to stay relevant in the USA are absolutely right. Low ratings for game 3 on NBC are one thing, but the real icing on the cake was when NBC pre-empted overtime during the Sabres-Senators series to show a pre-game show for Preakness. In Canada, this caused a minor outrage, but it didn't really matter since CBC showed the whole glorious game. In fact, I doubt many people up here know what "Preakness" means. Sounds like a soft drink or something. Any NHL fan can tell you the sport is floundering stateside: During the first-round series between Calgary and Detroit, it was damn near impossible to get tickets to watch the (utterly horrific) Flames on home ice. Meanwhile, some friends of mine traveled to Detroit and snapped up tickets on game day! And they were cheap! And they were great seats! And the Wings were playing about 100x better than the Flames. Finally, and slightly more on-topic, at the beginning of the playoffs, CBC announced that they would be doing on-demand streaming for all broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada. At the end of the day, the league is pulling out all the stops trying to convince US audiences they should care about hockey. The Placeshifting issue is just one example of that. It won't work. Maybe they should convince NBC to fire Brett Hull, then people would be able to stomach the NBC telecasts? No, probably not. Sigh.

Re:Preakness (1)

Captain Vittles (1096015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431897)

In fact, I doubt many people up here know what "Preakness" means. Sounds like a soft drink or something.

It always reminded me of the cookies [kraftfoods.com]

Re:Preakness (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432095)

The Preakness is a horse race, the middle third of the Triple Crown (the first is the Kentucky Derby).
I agree that NBC should not have pre-empted the end of a hockey game for the Preakness "pre-game." I disapprove of hours of "pre-game" for a three-minute race.

Re:Preakness (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432235)

Uh.. Partial kudos to the CBC for actually showing the game but in the usual Toronto is the Centre of the Universe fashion they rushed the end of the game and had about 3 minutes of post game footage before cutting to a TAPED TORONTO FC GAME.

Yes that's right.

Ottawa wins the Eastern Conference in stunning fashion with Afredsson potting the winner in a 1 on 3 in OT against Buffalo, then CBC cuts to a soccer game.

Wow.

Just. Wow.

Thank god the Leafs suck.

Re:Preakness (2, Insightful)

Gman14msu (993012) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432659)

I don't know if desperation move is exactly the thing to call this. I think it's more being innovative and taking steps to embrace technology to help move the sport forward. The league knows it needs to change its ways or basically die and being the first league to really embrace technology could help it survive. It's not the most pressing issue but it will help. The league really needs to contract a few teams, and restructure the style of play to the way it once was. Open up the ice, eliminate the trap, and reduce the size of goalies pads for starters would be good. The other leagues have a long history of viciously protecting their television rights and any technological advancements have always scared owners of pro teams. Baseball wasn't put on television until much later than it should have been because owners thought no one would show up for the games if they could just watch it on television. They were obviously proved wrong, media and technology have done nothing but add to the promotion of sport yet the owners still can't acknowledge this as new technologies arise. In my opinion anything that exposes the sport to more people is positive for the game, and I`m glad a league is finally taking a step to embrace new technological capabilities.

Check out Joost (2, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431627)

Just picked up an invite for Joost, guess it from the same guys that made Skype. It works very well, you can even watch all the NHL play off games to stay on topic.

It'll be entertaining to see when this takes off (It's not a matter of if, the beta is that good.) how loud the networks start screaming when these guys not only eat their lunch, but drink all their beer too.

This just goes to show ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431961)

that some people get it, and some people don't, and the degree to which you "get it" depends upon how happy you are with the status-quo.

Awesome! (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432131)

Now the NHL can add literally, tens of viewers to their US audience. Fuck you NBC.

And in a side note it's just a matter of time before the US is down to 16 NHL teams thankfully.

Effing Ducks. Go Sens.

NHL likely to follow new tech (2, Interesting)

duckle (738287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432165)

I'm glad to see it. A few years back the NHL started introducing "special effects" like creating a sort of "halo" around the puck to easily spot it behind the boards or the red trail when the puck broke a certain speed. I suppose if they didn't change with the times they'd still play without helmets and have chain-link instead of Plexiglas...

Re:NHL likely to follow new tech (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432283)

The NHL didn't. Fox did. And the players bitched to no end about the puck because of the receiver.

If you have trouble following a black puck on white ice you might want to get your eyes checked.

You fa5il it!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19432551)

is busy infi6hting suuden and the project to

Not a bad move (4, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432589)

The NHL has never, ever had great ratings on national television. Part of this is indeed a lack of interest. The NHL will never have the interest of any of the other three major sports, and somebody's got to be fourth. But the other major problem is quality hockey in quality markets. Ottawa and Anaheim in this year's finals, Carolina and Edmonton in last years. Why did the ratings suck? because if you add up the populations of those four (Anaheim proper, excluding LA) cities, you're probably not much bigger than Chicago. They could have drawn a 30 share in the American team's city and not made a dent nationally. It's the nature of the sport. Hell, NBC national games featuring Detroit and Buffalo (cradles of US hockey) performed poorly on a national level, but drew Super Bowl-level interest locally. For the NHL to make a dent in national TV ratings, they need a New York Rangers - Los Angeles Kings final every year. (I'd say an Islanders - Kings final, but who are we kidding? I'll sniff a super model's panties before the Isle's sniff a Stanley Cup Finals game.)

FYI NBC does not pay the NHL for rights to broadcast games nationally. Even if hockey draws poorly, it's essentially free to the network. NBC is well aware of how Hockey draws in the US, but knows that they will always make money on any game they show. Some of their Saturday games this year did outdraw the competing NBA games.

As for the deal with slingbox, it's not really desperation. The NHL just landed a fat deal to stay on CBC in Canada (THANK GOD) that dwarfs any of the money Poker and UFC are getting. This on top of the waaaaaaaaay overpriced deal that Comcast (owners of Versus) coughed up in an attempt to legitimize their network (and to give a middle finger to ESPN). Being the red headed stepchild of pro-sports gives Hockey a chance to reach out. Hockey needs to keep it's ratings where they are. They can't afford to alienate even a small percentage of their remaining fan base and if they can find an edge, any edge, to pull an extra 50 or 100k pairs of eyes, they'll do it. Maybe enough folks will latch on to the idea to make the big sports change their tune.

Remember Betamax? (1)

fuchsiawonder (574579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432641)

I find it intriguing that the NHL comes down in favor of placeshifting and MLB comes down against it when they were both in favor of timeshifting [findlaw.com] . The difference, now, is that MLB has a strong product while the NHL's U.S. audience (not wonderful in the first place) has dwindled to insignificance. If MLB had just come off of another player's strike, you'd bet they'd be in bed with Slingbox, antiquated territorial broadcast rules be damned.

NHL shot themselves in the foot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19432817)

The blame lies squarely on whoever approved the deal with Versus. The lockout was bad, but other sports have survived that; the TV deal was the death knell. Like someone else already pointed out, when PLAYOFF OVERTIME hockey is pre-empted by HORSE RACING PRE-GAME (admittedly Triple Crown, but still) you know you have a fucking problem. For fuck's sake, the actual race is over in 2 minutes! Who the fuck watches 2 hours of "analysis" for a 2-minute event? Luckily I have Verus so I was able to switch over and catch the rest of the game. Whoever is responsible for the NHL-Versus deal should be BANNED FROM ALL BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS FOR LIFE. Also, I am fucking tired of the "Power play brought to you by KFC Famous Bowl!" Is that the most fucking ridiculous sponsorship or what? Gary Bettman is a fucking idiot.

Canada vs. US TV ratings (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19433005)

From the CBC [www.cbc.ca] :

Ratings on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada were about the same as last year's Edmonton-Carolina tilt through the first four games of the final, but down 16 per cent from Calgary-Tampa Bay in 2004.

A poll by Decima Research before the Anaheim-Ottawa series suggested 24 per cent of Canadians felt Toronto is Canada's representative hockey team, compared to 22 per cent for Montreal and just 15 per cent for the Senators.

Yet with the Senators facing elimination, not a single federal MP bothered to offer a statement of support Wednesday in the House of Commons.

Still, Canada's hockey fervour simply eclipses support in the far larger American market.

NBC recorded the network's lowest-ever rating for a prime time program when it broadcast Game 3 from Ottawa on Saturday night. In a market 10 times larger, NBC got less than half the 2.6 million viewers who watched the game in Canada.

Even in Anaheim's Orange County home, things aren't exactly ducky.

Only a small percentage of southern Californians follow hockey, not surprising given the many competing pro sports and a climate fit for bikinis rather than balaclavas.

Those who support the Ducks are keen - the team sold out its last 34 home games, including Wednesday night - but the interest is not widespread.

When a restaurant on the Pacific Ocean 20 kilometres to the west of the Honda Center set out a sidewalk sign announcing Monday's game from Ottawa would be shown on a widescreen TV, the few folks on hand paid little attention to the action. Staff wouldn't turn off the music so the play-by-play audio could be heard.

That would be incomprehensible on Ottawa's Sens Mile, some 30 kilometres east of Scotiabank Place.

Most bars along the Elgin Street strip were full by 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, almost three hours before game time, and after the puck dropped in Anaheim the only sounds on the street were the muffled play-by-play of CBC's Bob Cole and roaring fan reaction - both inside and out.

Lineups at the bigger establishments remained three deep on the sidewalk as fans watched the game through open windows.

Death to the NHL. Long live hockey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19433821)

As soon as Canadians realize how they are being shafted by the NHL I hope they turn away en masse. Canada needs its own league (perhaps with a small number of northern US cities like Detroit and Minnesota thrown in) so that the game can return to its roots and give back to the people who actually care about it. It is absolutely ridiculous that the country where the game is most enjoyed gets almost no teams to root for while a country where most of the people couldn't give a shit about the game have so many teams.


The NHL needs to die so that the game itself can continue to live.


Death to the NHL, long live hockey.

Great Move By the Struggling NHL (2, Informative)

JelloJoe (977764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433209)

This is a great move by the NHL. This won't cause the Center Ice package to lose money, since you can't actually watch the sling + clip clips live.
I have a HD-DVR cable box, so i can control my dvr and cable box all from my slingbox. Being on the road 4 out of 5 days a week, slingbox has been a lifesaver. And being a fan of the NHL, i can actually enjoy my center ice package using the slingbox.

NHL players have also embraced this technology. The NJ Devils were given Slingboxes as a Christmas present. I know that a bunch of them use it on the road to follow other teams/friends.

The NHL struggles with viewership. My solution, put it back on ESPN!!! The coverage on ESPN is so much better than NBC/Versus. Get that boring-ass Bill Clement off the air and that moronic Brett Hull off the air as well. Mike "Doc" Emerick is the only good thing they got going for them. Also, shrink the league so that they get rid of any team that doesn't have atleast 5 days of snow a year!

I really should work for the NHL, I'd turn it around real quick.

They did themselves in (2, Informative)

tknn (675865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433455)

Chicago used to be a big hockey town before they started blacking out games if they weren't sold out. Guess what? A whole generation basically never watched the games on TV and now they have no fans. Not that I really care about hockey.

Re:They did themselves in (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433693)

I'll never understand the so-called business strategy of Dollar Bill Wirtz (Blackhawks owner). How does running a once-great team into the ground make any sense at all? He loses money on the team, refuses to improve it, and refuses to sell. Once his pickled liver finally gives out on him, somebody will have a hell of a lot of rebuilding to do on this team. The sad thing is, they couldn't get the games on TV now even if they wanted to. They'd have to pay the networks to carry them due to hockey's exceptionally low ratings.

Hockey world in a nutshell (4, Insightful)

GoatVomit (885506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433695)

1. A team south of the Mason-Dixon line doesn't deserve to win the cup according to some canadians albeit the team probably has more canadian players than the opponent.
2. Garry Bettman is evil and only panders to US needs.
3. Winnipeg and Quebec deserve their teams back.
4. Don Cherry is fair and balanced in his views especially when it comes to european players.
5. If your team loses there must be something wrong with the referees (universal)
6. If you're seeing a blackhawks homegame on tv in Chicago you're on drugs.
7. If the other stanley cup finalist has an european captain they will lose.
8. If you don't speak french and play for the Canadiens you're shit out of luck when it comes to the media. Mon dieu.
9. Russians stop playing after they get a big contract.
10. Pronger debunks newtonian physics and comes up with his own. Don Cherry praises him for it since he's a good canadian boy with a heart of gold.

There's probably even more which I forgot as usual but in general when hockey fans start arguing about the sports logic is the 1st casualty and truth the 2nd but it's like that with most sports. Slingbox deal is a step in the right direction but what I'd really like them to come up with is a streaming service where one could just watch the games you want for a modest fee but I really doubt this will happen anytime soon.
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