Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kicking the NHL while it's down.

NBC did yet another disservice to the NHL yesterday, as if the horrible announcers and camera work weren't enough. Instead of showing the overtime of the series deciding game between Ottawa and Buffalo, NBC switched to people talking about horses. NBC dumped the hockey game at the end of regulation (the game shifted to VS.) so that they could continue their Preakness coverage. NBC Studio anchor Bill Clement summed it up best when he said,"Ottawa and Buffalo have just begun playing in overtime... we'll let you know as soon as somebody wins."

Overtime in the the NHL playoffs is widely considered to be sport at its finest, yet NBC pulled the plug so that we could all watch horses walk around in the rain. For the record, the hockey game ended almost half an hour before the horse race took place. NBC could have easily shown the game and still had plenty of time for pre-race crap. Instead they turned their backs on the NHL and its fans. I don't think the NHL is without blame in all of this, but if you are NBC why bother trying to promote the NHL if you are going to end up pulling a stunt like this? If the NHL is going to schedule its playoff games around when you want them, then at least have the decency to show the whole game.

This isn't the first time network TV has screwed over the NHL, and it probably won't be the last unfortunately, but at some point the NHL has to put itself in a position to not have this happen. If NBC won't commit to showing an entire game then don't move the games to afternoons for them. On the plus side, all us hockey fans learned a lot about horses this weekend.

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