Are the Montreal Canadiens getting the shaft on Hockey Night in Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
We received some great questions this week, so we’ll have to keep the answers relatively short.
Adam, in order to get causal viewers more involved in watching the sport, I propose that TSN, Versus, NBC and the like add a box under the score that lets you know which line is on the ice.
Even though lines get mixed up throughout the season and even in each game, there are usually at least two regulars on each line who define the unit’s purpose or identity. This graphic would allow the viewer to understand what matchups coaches are looking for during a game.
I just feel that it encourages viewers to understand the strategies and to want to know not only their team better, but also who they're playing against.
Chris Arroway, Anaheim
It’s an intriguing idea, but I think the bells and whistles we’ve already got on TV screens during in-game action qualify as sensory overload.
If the NHL adopted your concept, what might be next to go up on the screen – the temperature at ice level? The blood pressure readings of coaches? The minute-to-minute profit/loss numbers for every franchise? At some point, it has to be mostly about the game, doesn’t it?
That said, in different media platforms, added statistical value components may very well help casual and long-time fans increase their enjoyment of the game. But I believe we’ve already achieved maximum TV screen stuffing as it is.
Adam, do you think Mr. Bettman is serious about seeing Quebec City back in the NHL?
Sam Kohen, Quebec City
After the debacle in Phoenix this summer, I think the NHL commissioner had to put on a public pretense of potential league interest in a new franchise to replace the Nordiques. However, I don’t believe he has any interest in making that a reality anytime soon.
Now, if certain American franchises go belly-up, he and the league’s owners may have no choice but to return to Quebec. But actions speak louder than words – and if there were an honest movement to atone for the league’s failures in Winnipeg and Quebec City, we would have seen it by now.
Adam, why is the NHL schedule so light on Sundays and Mondays? Since nobody in the U.S. watches hockey, anyway, why punish fans in Canada who want to watch a hockey game? Not all sports fans are glued to the NFL!
Second question - why do the Montreal Canadiens always get the "B-team" of announcers whenever they're on Hockey Night In Canada (unless, of course, they're playing the Leafs)? Thanks,
Steve Dicker, Paradise, Nfld.
Nobody in the U.S. watches hockey? Have you not been paying attention to all those NHL/Versus press releases? They set new viewing records almost every night!
Sarcasm aside, I think the league’s decision to avoid conflict with the NFL – which they won’t admit to, but which is plain to see – is a sound one. Other sports take their competition into consideration all the time when setting up their schedules. And there’s nothing wrong with setting strategies that allow for the maximum number of eyeballs on your product.
The answer to your second question is simple: TV ratings rule the day – and TV executives invariably will want their “A-crew” on board to keep those ratings as high as possible. No matter what you think of the Leafs, you can’t deny they keep those ratings high, so there’s little chance this policy will change.
Hey man, this doesn't wholly concern hockey or sports for that matter, ergo it's probably not something for any of your columns (though that's never stopped you before).
You strike me as a well-read and informed kind of guy based on the stuff you write for this site and THN (I'm a subscriber). Because of this, if you have a couple minutes, I would appreciate it as an intellectual exercise, if you could predict 10 things that will or will not happen by the year 2030. Mine are:
1. Dino Ciccarelli will still not be in the NHL Hall of Fame.
2. Earth will have not sent a manned mission to Mars
3. Neither Mark McGwire nor Barry Bonds will be in the Baseball Hall of Fame
4. The Toronto Maple Leafs will still not have won the Stanley Cup (and I'm a quasi-Leaf fan, sort of).
5. The U.S. will still have troops somewhere in the Middle East.
6. There will be new or transplanted (most likely the latter) NHL teams in Hamilton/Toronto, Winnipeg, Quebec City and possibly Halifax.
7. Someone will have died on a reality TV show.
8. Marijuana (and its various sub-products) will be made legal in Canada.
9. Smoking cigarettes (and anything else) will be illegal in public places (including sidewalks, etc.). Smoking in houses and backyards (if you have kids) will be OK.
10. There will still not be a big-budget movie made about the life and times of Kurt Cobain/Nirvana (outside of that documentary that is already out there).
Stephen J. “Hockey Hippie” Holodinsky, Simcoe, Ont.
One of the all-time great AA questions. Let’s get to it:
1. Cute Caucasian kids will dominate popular music charts and news stories about missing persons.
2. After the Avalanche draft him first overall, Eric Lindros Jr. will refuse to report to Colorado and hold out until he is traded to the league-leading Winnipeg Re-Jets franchise.
3. Escrow rates for NHLers will settle in at around 30 percent.
4. A North American politician will run for office on one issue – removing every idiot car driver from the roads – and will be elected for it.
5. Beat reporters will be allowed to travel with the NHL teams they cover, but only if they (a) sit in the cargo area of the plane, (b) are blindfolded, and (c) have their ears covered with soundproof headphones.
6. The NHL Players’ Association will burn through at least three more executive directors.
7. Movie theaters will implement zero-tolerance policies for talking or using cell phones while films are playing. And I will greatly enjoy it each and every time some boorish ham ‘n’ egger gets tossed for breaking the rules.
8. One of Major League Baseball’s small-market teams will launch a lawsuit forcing the league into setting up a salary cap system.
9. Sean Avery will have his own window and small business (pun intended) in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
10. Some parts of North America will have snow in July and a heat wave in January – and yet there will remain a handful of loud and garrulous global-warming deniers.
Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers' questions in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show on XM Radio channel 204. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.