Tuesday, December 18, 2007

is there anybody out there? – a problem with the nhl

Note: this is the second part of a two part post, much like the complimentary songs in the Wall or peanut butter and jelly, this post goes hand in hand with the previous post.

It begins with a sorta surreal moment, watching someone play the theme (?) to Halo 3 on Guitar Hero III. No need to watch the whole thing, in fact, I encourage reading and listening to what will probably be the sample track on the top pop song in the summer of 2017.

There have been some issues raised recently with the NHL. They include:

Not enough fighting.

Too much fighting.

Too much expansion diluting the talent base.

Too much expansion into the US and not being able to find an identity.

Gary Bettman.

Lack of respect among players for each other.

The game is too fast.

Economic..... stuff

...and so forth.

I'm here to present another plausible option.

Since the dawn of time, people have gathered around fires and told fables of gladiators, philosophers, kings and paupers. Today, our fire is the internet, our gladiators; athletes.

What stories can we pass on about hockey players in the 21st century? That they were the first athletes to get lifelong contracts? I'm struggling to think of their legacy, and perhaps I've disabled a few brain cells and am therefore unable to come up with stories. Here's what comes to mind, Hockey story wise.

Nagano 1998, Dominik Hasek leading the Czech's by Canada as Wayne Greztky, at the end of his career, chasing the one accolade that he had yet to achieve, sitting on the bench holding back tears.

Leafs playoff runs, pre-lockout.

The Flames and Oilers incredible playoff runs. Fans that cared. Sorry, but with all due respect, I'm sure some south east teams have ardent fans, and I know they have ardent bloggers, but the game is not entrenched in those markets as it is elsewhere. In fact, even in certain entrenched areas, (Detroit, Chicago) the game is fading. Passing away into obscurity. Why? There are probably a hundred and one reasons.

Why do people watch sports, watch tv, listen to the radio? Answer could lie in the entertainment, drama, information garnered from them.

Games that have meaning, games that have stories; those are the ones worth watching and remembering. There are far too many options in this day and age, far too many other entertainment outlets a person can hook their wagon to. Games, all 82 (84?) of them just aren't interesting. Say what you want about football, but at least there are only 18 (CFL) or 16 (NFL) games that have a chance to be boring. 82 games * 2.5 hours per game is a lot of time. Sometimes less is more.

As it has a solid core, a solid fan base, the game won't die. Hockey will just continue to struggle in purgatory until it learns that it is not alone.

dissonance n: 1 a: lack of agreement; especially : inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one's actions and one's beliefs — compare cognitive dissonance b: an instance of such inconsistency or disagreement
2: a mingling of discordant sounds; especially : a clashing or unresolved musical interval or chord

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