Worst case scenario for Stanley Cup Finals

Here’s what could have been.

On Saturday night the Pittsburgh Penguins suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings to go down 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Finals. They head back to Pittsburgh for game six on Monday night. It’s a do-or-die game for Sydney Crosby and the Penguins. If the Red Wings win, they’ll take home their second straight Stanley Cup. There’s buzz and excitement on sports talk radio.

Monday night’s game is a thrilling game six in which the Penguins hold on for the win and force a seventh game in Detroit. Because the end of the game was up against a rerun of CSI: Miami and Here Come the Newleyweds all the buzz on sports talk radio the next day was about how exciting the final two minutes of that game were.

Wednesday night’s Game 7 matchup is everything Stanley Cup Finals hockey is supposed to be; Intense, closely competitive and electric. No matter which team wins, a significant amount of chatter the next day is about that game. Then everyone eventually switches their attention to Thursday night’s NBA Finals game.

Here’s what actually happened.

Rather than playing Game 6 on Monday, the NHL makes the decision to put it up against the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. Most casual sports fans switch over to the Lakers v. Magic game and never see the end of the NHL game. All the talk the next day was about Kobe’s turnover and missed foul shots. The NHL isn’t even an after thought.

All the talk on Wednesday was about the upcoming NBA game. All the talk on Thursday was about tonight’s NBA game. All the talk on Friday will be about the previous night’s NBA game – especially if Orlando ties the series.

The NHL will finally get around to playing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Friday night. A night when everyone is out on the town, and not in front of their TV sets. After having surrendered the entire week to the NBA.

Will someone please show Gary Bettman to the waterboard? There must be an operative at work that’s trying to take down the NHL from within. Maybe he has some information.

Because clearly they can’t be that stupid. Can they?


19 thoughts on “Worst case scenario for Stanley Cup Finals

  1. Why would the NHL would want any of Stanley Cup finals games on at the same time the NBA has theres?

    They’ve done it three times out of the six games played. Makes no sense. I can’t believe NBC would want that.

    I’ll be watching…haven’t missed seeing the Cup given out in 35 years.

  2. you mean evgeni malkin & the pittsburg penguins 🙂

    i’m trying to figure out how i’m going to see it, b/c our wicked awesome converter box DOES NOT GET NBC! and, the bar’s out cause, as you said, it’s friday night! suck a duck. bettman is awful, just ridiculously bad. but, it’s the whole league. as i’ve said a million times to you and anyone who’ll listen, they need new people running the league who will sit down with the nfl bigwigs and hell, nascar, too (it’s crazy popular, though stupid), and figure out how to market! it’s a sad, sad state of affairs, the greatest game God gave man goes unnoticed and ignored in this country.

    1. most teams need their owners & GM’s to do the same, south of the canadian border. even here in the boston area the bruins are 4th so long as the pats & celts are playoff teams. and it’s basically the same everywhere else.

    2. I’m pulling for the Penquins. The NHL wants young faces, they are the team. Can’t fault Detroit’s success but the Penquins are a heck of alot more fun to watch.

      Marketing…the NHL had it with ESPN. Bettman should be canned and the next guy should go begging to Disney/ABC/ESPN to let them back in. I loved how they covered the games.

      Now that the NHL Network has stolen the Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts from the Center Ice package, I may not even pay for it next season. What a crock that was! Why make fans pay extra? (On my cable system). The Center Ice Package should include all games, period.

  3. the other Gumbel offered a commentary on hockey the other night on HBO and it was awesome.
    basically, shorter schedule that puts the playoffs in late April early May and you garner a lot of sports attention that has otherwise shifted in June.

    1. The only problem with Gumbel’s idea is ….

      Hockey does poorly on television. Now more than ever. Which means that the biggest sources of revenue are still paid attendance and sponsorships.

      Do the math. At $50 a seat in a 15,000 seat arena, each game you take away from the schedule will cost teams about $750,000 in revenue. Take away ten games, that’s $7.5 million in revenue. Cut the season in half and they just lost $30 million.

      Not to mention, each game you take away reduces the number of eyes who see your ads, eat your hot dogs and drink your beers by 15,000. Take away just ten games and you just lost 150,000 people who will eat your hot dogs, drink 2-3 beers per game and see your ads. Now, if I’m an advertiser, I’m looking elsewhere.

      If teams don’t make money in house, they can’t afford quality players. If those guys stay in Europe and Canada, you’re asking people to pay a half a day’s wages to watch ECHL talent. Then all of a sudden, they’re not even selling out the arena and you can forget television altogether.

      Here’s my proposed sollution …

      Cut the number of teams by about 15%. Start in Miami and work your way north along the Eastern Seaboard and west to California. Goodbye Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix. If your climate can’t make ice on its own, you were never meant to be an NHL city in the first place.

      I’m okay with being on Vs. if Vs. can make itself viable. Give it three more years tops. If it’s not a Tier 1 network on every cable and satellite provider by 2011 it’s time to move on. If you make that network work, you have leverage and you’ll be ok in the long run in negotiations. If you can’t, and they can’t, it’s time to date whomever’s daughter it takes to get back on ESPN. Even if it costs you. Even if it’s ESPN Ocho. At least they’ll start talking about you again on Mike & Mike and Collin Cowherd.

      Lastly. It’s ok to be the fourth or fifth best league. As long as you’re profitable. Take a lesson from MLS. They never tried to compete with the NBA, NFL or MLB. They just work on growing their niche from the ground up. The league is healthy, and gets covered on SportsCenter. You don’t have to be #1, just make money and do smart things to grow your sport organically.

      Then make every player not born in North America change his name. Two rules:

      1) No letter combination can contain the following adjactent to one another: Q, Z, V, or U.

      2) No name can take up more space on your jersey than the 2 digit number that is below it. And no HYPHENS!

      1. agreed 110% on getting rid of the stupid sunbelt teams.

        my problem with vs. is that a lot of basic cable packages don’t include the stupid channel. so, how are ratings ever going to get better? if nhl games were on espn or espn 2, even if 2nd place behind a different sport in priority as they used to be, the average sports fan would be more willing to tune in. so, agreed 110% again.

        though, for those not familiar with quebecois surnames, they can be almost as tricky as the russians >:P

  4. yeah, both the nhl & nba seasons have 82 games & both run concurrently from october – june. gumbel’s idea is a good one…the only hitch is that a lot of people will be upset about stats and all that. same thing i’ve heard with baseball – though i like how long the baseball season is. the thing with the nhl is they start out competing with the nfl and mlb playoffs and end competing with the mlb and nba playoffs. it’s tough for them to get attn in our sports society that way.

  5. Great thoughts – just when we think Bettman cannot get any more ridiculous, it continues.

    Here’s my take on the start/end of the schedule. Don’t start the season October 1. Start September 1. That will ensure playoffs are doing by the May long weekend which is when everyone stops caring about hockey anyways. You don’t need to shorten the season and you’re also not starting the season just as MLB playoffs are starting up.

  6. I just try to always remember that boxing and horse racing were once the #1 sports in this country. Things ebb and flow. Hockey will most likely never be #1 in the U.S. But at long as it keeps existing and is worth watching, I’ll keep enjoying it.

  7. i miss boxing.

    so i’m driving a client in my car today and sports radio has bettman AND bruins owner jeremy jacobs (aka the worst owner in sports) and dude it was so hard to not scream. i mean really, BOTH of those idiots on at the same time?!?! i breathed deeply and turned the radio off and am happy to report i remain employed 🙂

  8. I actually watched Game 7 almost from beggining to end. First time I’ve watched hockey in 10-15 years. My wife asked me why they all have beards and I pondered that for the next 2 hours decided its so they dont scrape thier chins on the ice. The Penguins goaly and crosby had particularly poor beards very jr/sr highish I feel bad for them must scrape thier chins alot.

  9. I have an autograph from Bobby Orr and Cam Neely and thats about the extent of my hockey knowledge.

    I really have no idea about the beards the ice thing makes sense or were they playoff superstition things? Detroit had like 4 guys that looked exactly the same.

    1. I have an autograph from Bobby Orr and Cam Neely and thats about the extent of my hockey knowledge.

      You do realize that you’ve got Tim seeing red at the moment right?

      The playoff beard is a tradition that dates back to at least the 1980s. I don’t know if I’d so much call it a superstition thing as a team solidarity, fun, hockey right-of-passage thing. But I guess its roots are in superstition.



    you’re a bad, bad bostonian john keane! but, at least you’ve got books about the 2 greatest icemen of all times!

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