Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Barry Melrose Is Not the Face of Hockey

So I'm watching Pardon the Interruption yesterday and in their discussion of the Pens - Capitals series, Kornheiser states that Barry Melrose is the face of hockey.

Excuse me?

Maybe in his advanced age and receding hairline Tony forgot to add the qualifier of "on this network" or "in the United States," at the end of that sentence. I sure hope so or else the state of the NHL is far worse than I had imagined.

Not to take anything away from Barry Melrose; he was a decent coach in Los Angeles and is an agreeable enough figure in the studio, but the face of hockey he is not. In fact, he's not even the smartest hockey guy employed by ESPN. That honor goes to Pierre LeBrun. Now there is a guy who knows his hockey.

Taken on a larger scale, this comment further illustrates the sad state of hockey in the United States.

While the Stanley Cup Playoffs run on our National network (CBC) and our largest sports network (TSN) on a nightly basis, games are being broadcast in the US on Versus and the NHL Network, two channels that most people either don't have or don't know about.

More time is dedicated to covering Tiger Woods' awful final round on Sunday than one of the best Playoff matchups to come along in years, pitting the two brightest stars in the NHL sky against one another.

As if that weren't bad enough, you once again have Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie trying to purchase a cash-strapped, failing franchise from a hideous American market. What other sport repeatedly tells a guy with an obvious passion for the game and more money than he knows what to do with that he can't own a franchise?

This is a league that sold a team to a guy who is now in jail for fraud and embezzlement instead of Balsillie.

While I understand Gary Bettman's desire to keep franchises where they are and not "abandon" markets as he says, let's not forget how this team got to Phoenix in the first place...

Where was the desire to work through problems when the team was in The 'Peg or the Nordiques getting moved to Colorado?

American expansion is fine, but returning to a market that is starving for hockey or bringing another team into the hot bed of hockey fanaticism is just plain wrong, is that it?

Thankfully, I live in Canada where I can watch all the games without issue and see what the true face of hockey has to say... Ron McLean!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree those guys dont know hockey but but all your other sporting news those two are awesome.

Ron McLean FTW