Friday, September 21, 2007

Game # P2, Wild @ Red Wings

I was unable to watch the game last night* and to sit there listening to streaming audio for a preseason game exceeds even my own dedication to hockey/the Wild. Plus I had a game of my own (which we won).

In any event, the Wild won 3-2, and, from what I can glean from the usual sources (Russo, Shipley), the Wild played a much tighter game, perhaps because they had a more veteran lineup than Tuesday night, perhaps becase the lineup was so veteran-heavy because JL was pissed at the overall performance of the veterans on Tuesday night, perhaps because the Wings only played about half of their veterans, perhaps because the Wild really is a decent team. Also, it sounds like Hards played pretty well.

But the defense (all regulars) stepped up, and a couple guys like Johnsson specifically played better than the other night. Burnsie even got involved in the offense.

The two big story lines were Moore on the top line and the "kid" line of Kalus-Sheppard-Foy.

Sounds like everyone played ok, with the exception of a brain cramp by Shep in the third that A) lead to him missing his big chance to center Gaby and Demo, B) lead to confusion that lead to a Wings goal and C) drew the ire of JL, but no one really blew the socks off the coaches.

JL has promised to play more of the kids in tonight's game in Chicago.

BOTTOM LINE: The Wild got focused, and played a better game. Now some of the more dramatic Wild fans might be able to come in off the ledge.

STUD: Since I didn't hear or see the game, I can't say.

DUD: See "Stud".

*Forgive the soapbox, but:

It is inexcusable for the NHL not to make all these games available on the beta version of the Center Ice Online product they're offering for free during the preseason. This is a league that bitches and moans about how they never get any visibility by the major media sources, and how they have such a limited ability to generate advertising revenue because of it, blahblahblah. I had used the CIOnline thing for the Tuesday night game, and it was great. I'm sure I wasn't the only person upset to learn that last night's game was not available.

Get your head out of your butt, NHL. If you want to be visible, make yourself visible. Surely you can't be run by people idiotic enough to assume that visibility will just be granted to you?

And, as a league, you simply can not afford to alienate the (relatively) few fans you do have. You blow sunshine up our collective butt about how we're the most passionate fans in sports. Well part of that passion includes a willingness to defend the game - and the league - to the unwashed, and trying to sell the game as well.

Your persistent inability to grow the game at a grassroots level (particularly in the "non-traditional" markets that you seem to think are so vital to the growth of the game/league), compounded by your stunning lack of vision and initiative from a marketing perspective often leave those of us who try to take up that considerable slack on an individual level swinging in the wind, and it is utterly mind boggling that you would allow yourself to act that way.

The sooner you figure out that keeping your fans happy is far more important than keeping your owners' pockets lined with our dollars (and, ironically, will lead to the lining of their pockets) the sooner you will be able to rise from a marginal sport to a major sport in the eyes of the American media, etc.

And seemingly little things, like making preseason games available on a new platform you're offering, are the first steps down that road.


1 comment:

The Proprietor said...

Amen brother. A seemingly golden opportunity missed by not making every game available. I still have not been able to access the Center Ice Online thing yet, and am worried that it is because of my Macness. If that is the case, and it is not Apple compatible, then that is further evidence backing up the point of your post. Reading your recaps is the only way I have been able to know what happened this first week of games.