Five Days. 120 hours. A full work week.
Five days is a long time. Enough time to forget about an entire league, apparently.
The biggest mistake the NHL could have made was scheduling the first game of the Stanley Cup finals five full days after the conclusion of the conference finals. Now, I’m sure there is an explanation that Gary Bettman and company will give, more than likely having to do with some sort of scheduling conflict with NBC and OLN, er…., Versus.
With no surprise stars (Cam Ward immediately comes to mind), very few memorable games, no spirited feuds between coaches, and two teams with virtually no history, this year’s Stanley Cup finals may be the least hyped in the history of the modern day NHL. All of this is magnified by the five day layoff.
The NFL schedules two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, but they can get away with it. The amount of media coverage given to the Super Bowl during media week is mind-blowing, and subplots always emerge. This isn’t the case with the NHL, especially with only one American market being directly involved. No subplots have arisen, while any media attention at all has been given to Chris Pronger and Ray Emery and their strong play…. certainly not anything that is going to bring any hype to this game. ESPN barely covers the NHL as it is, why on earth would they cover it when there is no new information to report? Add in the media gaffes associated with the NHL this postseason (Van/Dal game going to an infomercial before the 4th OT, Buf/Ott game cut off for Preakness coverage), and you can bet that the casual sports fan will not be tuning in for the finals. Hell, the casual sports fan probably doesn’t even realize that the NHL playoffs are still in process.
The thought process behind the layoff is mind-blowing, to me. The NHL isn’t being watched or covered as it is, why would you put in such a large gap of nothing? Expect US ratings to be atrocious…