Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Thoughts

Enjoying the Olympic mens' hockey tournament?

I am, and I didn't think I would. But the fact of the matter is that these ARE the best players in the world, all in one (over-used) location, with the world's strangest array of starting times. Kind of reminds me of the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, when games start anywhere (depending on round and opponent) from 8:30 in the morning until 9:00 PM (or later) at night.

It's even sadder that NBC couldn't find a way around the Olympic television problem, that USA-Canada will go up against the mighty 800-pound television gorilla of the Olympics -- Ladies' Figure Skating -- so that most of the USA will not be able to enjoy the best of their own country against the No. 1 team in the world, in a game which is desperate for fans south of the 49th parallel. (The USA-Canada game is on Sunday evening, 6:00 PM Central Time, on MSNBC, or as conservative rabble-rouser Rush Limbaugh calls it, 'MSDNC').

Oh yes, we know, the viewership is there and is KNOWN to be there for figure skating. That's a given, and no one is even remotely challenging that. However, you would think with two separate, 15,000-seat arenas to use (GM Pl -- er, Canada Hockey Place and the Pacific Coliseum, on the PNE grounds) you would have thought that this would have been a slam-dunk for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.

Not so.

And that, for the hockey fan, is another reason the NHL is casting doubt upon participating in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. For if the primary North American television rights holder doesn't think that it's important enough for hockey to be televised in primetime on its' primary channel, why should the NHL support that kind of behavior?

Enjoy the Olympics, folks. We'll talk again next week after the dressing rooms re-open on Wednesday. Until then, nationalism reigns!

-- WRT

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