Well the fancy skating show at the Pond is finally over, hockey will at last be allowed to showcase it’s Stanley Cup finals, though judging by some of the comments of late, one wonders if anyone will be watching when the puck drops just after 8pm (ET) 5pm (PT).
A seven day break has dropped hockey even further off the American radar than it could possibly have fallen, not that it seems there was far to fall.
The only possible silver lining for the NHL with a Memorial Monday start is that maybe, just maybe the traffic won’t be so bad around the Honda Centre that some folks may actually make it to the 5 o’clock start.
Reports have it that most of the major newspapers in the USA are taking a pass on the finals, Ottawa seemingly to far away from the main line and Anaheim seemingly not enough of a marquee attraction for the editors to send the ink stained lads and lasses off to work. It's just another sign of a number of troubling issues that have popped up in the last waning days of this hockey post season.
Hockey Night in Canada stands ready to broadcast the games across Canada, perhaps as background at a patio party or while the BBQ sizzles. Maybe those on the golf courses will use their fancy XM satellite radio to keep abreast of the drama of the Sens and Ducks, but then again maybe not.
In the USA, Versus gets the first couple of games which means at least the games will be played until the game is actually finished, NBC with it’s three hour window takes over for the final four games, Gary Bettman had best hope that all horses near and far, are kept in the barn for that four game window .
It will be interesting to see the ratings results after Lord Stanley’s Cup has been presented after the seven day break. Hockey unfortunately can’t provide something that the NFL can, fill in with two weeks worth of endless filler before the big game. For Hockey they need is to seamlessly move from semi’s to finals with the least amount of time to find other diversions, testimony that maybe the season is running a little too long.
Ideally, the Stanley Cup should be awarded before Canada’s Victoria Day weekend, one week ago. Summer arrives fast in Canada (and leaves just as rapidly), unless you’re living and breathing the Sens, there’s a very good chance you’re thinking of the sun as the teams prepare for game one.
The hockey should be fine; the two teams have survived a grueling path towards the ultimate showdown in the NHL. It’s too bad that the NHL seems to time and time again try to find ways to make sure that fewer and fewer people will be there to see the end of the trail.