Why NBC? Why?
Ok, now who is excited? Come on, Connor McDavid gets three games on NBC networks for the 2017-18 regular season. You know what is better? Las Vegas getting five games, because it is always much better to see a team who has not played one second of NHL hockey over the second-best player (arguable the best), in the world!
It is here everyone! NBC has posted its schedule for the upcoming season and yes, they continue to not make sense. Chicago, whose top players are almost all over 30, leads the way with 17 appearances. The Blackhawks have talent but are their dominant days over? Not far behind we have Philadelphia with 16, then Pittsburgh (surprise, surprise) and Detroit with 15. You have not read incorrectly: Two non-playoff teams have over 5 times the amount of games on national television than McDavid or Austin Matthews (3).
It is no surprise that the All-Star games of almost all other major sports leagues in the United States achieved higher ratings than Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL, as well as NBC, fails to use its best young players to market the sport. Instead of viewing McDavid dangle opponents out of their jocks, spectators have the pleasure of getting a nap in when the Detroit Red Wings are on. How can the NHL expect to earn fans when its biggest television outlet in the U.S. thinks that Buffalo and Columbus is the right fit for “Rivalry Night?” Or are they waiting for the Sabres to be in the Cup Finals since Buffalo was leading the ratings race for cities without teams competing? Either way, it is hard to applaud NBC’s effort to create a “diverse schedule” when a brand-new team receives more national games than some of its most exciting young talent.
When I said that the NHL needed to make its game more exciting with more offense on Twitter, I was told that “it was the kind of thing that hockey fans who aren’t really hockey fans say.” As a fan, I should be able to want more out of a sport I enjoy instead of waiting 10 minutes to review if a skate was a millimeter off the ice. It is even more alarming when the commissioner of the sport acts like everyone loves the game right now when that is far from the truth. Based on the decisions for hockey on NBC, the league is still not getting the message despite ratings that show an evident lack of interest in the sport.