Friday, June 15, 2007

The NHL is Still My Favorite Drunken Uncle

So I've come to the conclusion that the NHL is like one of those Chinese finger traps... the harder I try to pull away, the tighter I get pulled back in.

Just when I thought I was out again...

First the Mike Keenan saga, which is still so bizarre that one person I was talking to thought this might be a deliberate plot to destroy the Calgary Flames in hopes of moving it elsewhere, a la Major League. I quickly dismissed this as dangerous hearsay, however absolutely nothing about this situation makes sense, so I guess that means that nothing can be ruled out. More on this to come...

And then today I find out that the NHL awards were handed out last night on CBC. Did you know the awards were on last night? Cause I sure didn't. This event was literally not even on my radar screen. At no point after the Finals were over did I ever think, "I wonder when the NHL awards ceremony is." I'm actually a little embarrassed by this. Not that I would have watched anyway but I usually try to be aware of what's going on in the sports world at least.

Despite my not watching the ceremony, my sources tell me I really didn't miss very much. Sidney Crosby and Martin Brodeur won as expected. Other than that I don't think there was much to see, except the cast of Little Mosque on the Prairie handing out an award for some inexplicable reason. As well as the requisite and over the top rah rah Canada grandstanding.

But what I really wanted to talk about were the ratings of the award show in the United States. Any guesses? Ok, I'll tell you - the U.S ratings for the 2007 NHL awards ceremony were ...... 0.00! And that's not even because nobody cared, although I can't really be sure about that. The TV juggernaut know as Versus had technical difficulties in picking up CBC's feed, so the awards show was seen live by absolutely nobody in the U.S (apparently Versus was going to try and rebroadcast later in the evening).

Wow, I'm almost beginning to feel bad for the NHL, this is really getting to be too easy. Here was the wrap-up of their season, the black tie gala where players are saluted for their excellence. It is supposed to be a celebration and showcase of everything that is great about hockey and the NHL. And the markets where hockey exposure is desperately needed saw absolutely none of it.

The league is now turning into a drunken uncle who continually makes a scene at every family gathering. You still love him and just really, really wish that he would see what he's doing and get his act together. But every Christmas, there's Uncle Gary, drinking a bottle of Casa Diablo and falling into the Christmas tree. It's a really sad situation but sometimes you just can't help but laugh.

With the show over and the awards handed out I suppose the season is officially done now. The 2008 season will begin July 1st when the free agent market opens.

I for one am looking forward to seeing whether Uncle Gary can clean up his act. Or we will as hockey fans once again be left scrubbing red wine out of the carpet on Boxing Day.

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