Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I used to love it...

I used to love hockey, but right now i'm disgusted. I'm outraged. Furious. Mad. Angry. Just plain pissed. Why? Because the 'suits' of the hockey world have committed two atrocities less than 48 hours

The first one is not connected to the joke of the organized sports world which we call the National Hockey League (NHL). Instead, it is related to the USA Hockey, the organization which sponsors/runs the Men's and Women's National teams and Olympic teams, as well as various Jr. Teams. In his infinite wisdom, Ben Smith, the new women's coach, has chosen to cut, that's right cut, Cammi Granato from the National Team which will compete in the '06 Olympics this February. I learned about this from ESPN (the same ESPN that, in it's own disgusting move, disowned the NHL) Columnist John Buccigross. Here are some particularly eye-catching quotations from his column:

Buccigross: Granato deserved better ending

Ben Smith, head coach of the U.S. women's national team, cut the face of women's hockey from the team last week in cold and merciless fashion.

"Like all players, if they choose to try to play forever, their numbers liable to come up," Smith said last week during a conference call.

When I spoke with Granato, she was obviously hurt and didn't want to say too much.
"I had a good camp. I felt like I was really going. Moving well, shooting well, and confident in me and our team," Granato said. "I was never told I was on a bubble to make the team."

If this decision stands, it means Cammi Granato will not be on the U.S. Olympic team and her international hockey career has come to an abrupt and unjust end.

"I'd like to think I have enough self-awareness to know when my time as a player is done," Granato said...

"This says to me that women's hockey means nothing to USA Hockey," Merz (Granato's former teammate) said. "What kind of example does Ben Smith give to the younger girls on the team? If Cammi is treated this way, what does this mean for me in the future?"

This might not mean much to Joe Smoe who doesn't care about hockey or the Olympics, but to anybody who has any interest in hockey, Olympics or female athleticism, this is devastating. Just what did Cammi do for Women's Hockey and for her country? Here's Bucci's breakdown:

• Granato scored the first goal in U.S. women's Olympic history.
• In 2002, she carried the Olympic torch with Picabo Street and handed it to Mike Eruzione, who lit the flame with his 1980 teammates.
• In 1998, Granato not only carried the flag for the U.S. Olympic team at the closing ceremonies in Nagano but also led her team to the gold medal, totaling four goals and four assists in six games.
• After the Olympics, Granato was hired by the Los Angeles Kings as a radio color commentator, making her the only female broadcaster in the NHL and only the second in league history.

I find this entire thing to be just sickening. Maybe she's not going to be the powerhouse she was 8 years ago in Nagano, but that doesn't matter. You don't Wayne Gretzkyzkey from the Canadian Olympic team. Why? Because he's Wayne 'The Great One.' You don't cut Michael Jordan from the USA Olympic Basketball team. Why because he's Michael friggin Jordan! And you do not cut the FACE OF WOMEN'S HOCKEY from the Olympic team.

I hope for the sake of USA Hockey that this disgusting wrong is righted before February 2006!

In other pissy hockey news:

From the press release:

After over a year of having absolutely ZERO NHL hockey due to a sad and preventable lockout, it has come to my attention that the likelihood of my seeing any in the near future is rather slim. Not because I don't carry ESPN (no, my cable provider has ESPN but they are abandoners who left the NHL thus perpetuating their becoming ENBA, the Basketball Network), but because OLN is NOT COVERED in basic cable, like ESPN or ESPN2.

The new cable deal, which is supposed to showcase the NHL and help their renaissance, while also turning OLN into a competitive sports network capable of keeping up with ESPN, is a complete joke.

Fans in New York City are worried about being blacked out for all, yes all, New York Ranger games, OLN is not carried by CableVision, the provider in NYC, and MSG will have no rights to NHL games because they are owned by CableVision. This, though, has no effect on my viewing potential.

What does, though, is the lack of a clause which would make OLN a basic cable channel, like an ESPN or an ESPN2. This means that A) I will NOT be able to view ANY NHL games until January, when NBC begins covering NHL games (which I shall discuss shortly) and B) At least 25 million homes who carry ONLY basic cable--which means they would have had access to NHL on ESPN--will NOT be watching NHL hockey.

So the new cable deal, which was marketed as expansionsion pack' that would allow the NHL to be carried more often and more broadly, will, instead, restrict as many as 25 million viewers, carry nearly as many games (58 games per season) as ESPN and ESPN 2 did, and be blacked out in NYC.

Aside from that, OLN has apparently allowed NBC to carry NHL games, very similar to the old days when FOX carried games on Saturday afternoons starting in January, while ESPN carried most of the broadcast rights. Why was a clause not included that NBC would carry regular season games BEFORE JANUARY. Come on people, this is something that should have been covered in Marketing 101--which, apparently, the NHL execs did NOT take in college: The more exposure your product gets, the better chance you have of selling it.

If the NHL Execs want to sell NHL Hockey they've got to do a better job of exposing it! And, might I add, once somebody buys into it and becomes a fan, maybe--just maybe--it would be nice to treat them well, something that the NHL has historically SUCKED at.


At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Big head said...

Oh boy're so entertaining. It's nice to be back at Shepherd to hang out with ya. I rather missed your rants over the nerd. lol. j/k And although things are different this year, I'm sorry I got so stupid about it the first was unreasonable of me. I'm really selfish a lot of times and I didn't try to see things from your point of view before getting upset. Thank you for being my friend and for listening and for forgiving me and for not always telling me what I want to hear. haha. Love you buddie. ~Casey T.


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