Monday, March 31, 2014

Stuff (and Stuff) 03/31/14


Things that are going on that caught my eye.

*Frozen Four field is set. Great looking match-ups. This season just didn't feel right without a Minnesota-NoDak battle on the sched, so, good that we get one afterall.

*Break up Gustav Nyquist! The kid is on fire, scoring at a 40+ goal pace. And, oh great, another late(r) round pick by the Red Wings who is turning out to be amazing. Other GMs should watch the Red Wings draft in the mid- and late-rounds like investment managers watch Warren Buffet.

*The Blackhawks have come up with a cagey way to get Kane and Toews some rest before the playoffs. Points for creativity, Stan!

*The Maple Leafs are absolutely imploding and I love it. But, evidence of just how thin the East is, they've lost 8-straight, and they're still only 2 points out of a wild card spot.

*Speaking of imploding, see: Canucks, Vancouver. And theirs is considerably more enjoyable than the Buds' implosion. Meanwhile, Vigneault has the Rangers in the playoffs right now...

*Vanek has 6-5-11 in the 12 games he's played with the Habs (.916 points/game). Moulson has 4-4-8 points in the 13 games he's played with the Wild (.615 points/game).

Monday, March 3, 2014

*BREAKING* NHL To Play More *Indoor* Games


We are beyond absurd at this point with these outdoor games. The optics have deteriorated from sublime to ridiculous, to the point where we have *outdoor* games being played *indoors*, better hockey conditions in LA than in Vancouver, and Chicago presenting as totally redundant to, of all places, Michigan. Then there's the whole issue of the sheer volume of these games. I'll give the NHL that they engineered a good crescendo leading up to the Winter Classic with the early games. But every game SINCE then has just seemed progressively more pathetic, a "Me, too! Me, too!" desperation combined with the worst thing a regular season game can be: routine. And they've even lost part of the novelty (the Santa's Village window at Macy's effect) as they are being played after a Winter Olympics and while the country settles more and more into perma-freeze.

I suppose when you have as few lilies on the national scale as the NHL has, the temptation to gild one that comes along must be tremendous.

But, what's next? A second Stanley Cup playoffs, every year?

This is a league that has botched marketing in the past. Ad campaigns from yesteryear that were shown...during hockey broadcasts. And it's also a league that competes with other leagues that have brilliant marketing arms. When you're the NFL you can advertise wherever you please. When you're the NHL you need to be more judicious, or at least opportunistic.

The Winter Classic had become a great property for the NHL. Sure it only featured 6.6% of the teams in the league, but the game was secondary to the event - and the perception bonus was worth it. Going to six games this season felt like a reach from the beginning, and it has certainly played out that way.

Meanwhile, the only outdoor game to be played indoors this season produced the best hockey conditions of the lot - not that it mattered to the home team - which, with any luck, will hopefully entice the NHL to try adding more indoor games to the schedule going forward. I know, it's a crazy idea.