the two biggest stories out of the nhl this year have been the huge brawl between the sabres and the senators, and chris simon's guillotine job on the neck of ryan hollweg.
is it fair to hockey that those two stories have gotten the most press? the slashing by simon is a criminal act which, nowadays, are commonplace with sports. reportable? yes. but it happens.
but the fight is a part of the game. and, although hockey is really trying to distance themselves from it, they're just never gonna get there. to the casual fan, that's what hockey is: fighting. violence. hard hitting. and that's why hockey has so much trouble connecting to that market; they discourage what's attractive to them. not the smartest strategy, but understandable.
just not smart. the casual fan is who they need.
someone once said that there's 17,000 hockey fans in philadelphia, and they're all at the flyers game.
that pretty much goes for every market in the country.
but there's hope: they need to market sidney crosby as much as humanly possible. they need to put him in our faces like david stern does with the wnba. they need to make us sick of him. they need to make us marvel at him.
he's the one that's gonna lead them out.
and here's a start: in what surely will be promoted with a whimper by the nhl's craptastic marketing machine, crosby became the youngest player ever to score 100 points in two consecutive seasons. that's great, because here's the big catch: he turns 20 in august.
he's nineteen! best player in the league, and he's not even twenty. if there ever were a mule to perfectly hitch your futures to, this is him.
and yet, does anyone have any doubt that the nhl will continue their legacy of screwing up great stuff like this?
for their sake, they best not.