Truth & Rumors > NHL

Hockey has an identity crisis

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08:34 AM ET 01.26 | If you can't name the NHL's top scorer this season, you are likely not alone. How about the most recent winner of the league's Most Valuable Player award? Despite being one of the "Big Four" North American pro sports leagues, the NHL has just three players on this year's Power 100: Chicago's Jonathan Toews (No. 69), Vancouver's Daniel Sedin (No. 76), and Boston's Tim Thomas (No. 86). The NHL's representation in the Power 100 is so low that it trails every other sport except action sports and boxing. By comparison, the National Football League has 26 players on the list, followed by the National Basketball Association, with 20, and Major League Baseball, with 16. The cold reality is that hockey has an identity crisis.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Jonathan Toews, Getty Images Jonathan Toews, Getty Images
January 26, 2012  08:43 AM ET

Maybe it has something to with all those franchises south of the Mason-Dixon line where they think of NASCAR as a sport...

Having a TV contract with a network no-one can find on their dial probably doesn't help either.

Comment #2 has been removed
January 26, 2012  08:54 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Deadspin did a list of mentions on ESPN Sportscenter a couple days ago. Hockey was mentioned for something like 17 minutes total to hockey over 11 days, behind even baseball who's in the middle of their offseason (and before the Fielder signing).That's issue #1 in my opinion.

Yeah. During the NBA lockout and before NCAA basketball got going in full swing, ESPN used to show tons of hockey highlights. I knew it wouldn't last so I enjoyed while I could.

January 26, 2012  09:00 AM ET

I can't say this is much of a surprise.

January 26, 2012  09:10 AM ET

It has for years, and will continue to do so.

January 26, 2012  09:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Deadspin did a list of mentions on ESPN Sportscenter a couple days ago. Hockey was mentioned for something like 17 minutes total to hockey over 11 days, behind even baseball who's in the middle of their offseason (and before the Fielder signing).That's issue #1 in my opinion.

I don't know if it's #1, but it vertainly is symptomatic of it. To me, issue #1 is having a Commisoner that has no idea what he has. Hockey has always...ALWAYS...had a very dedicated following. The Poison Dwarf, in his zeal to appeal, has brought it to NASCAR country, etc. This, along with some idiotic (to be kind) rule changes has not only had an opposite result than he was looking for, has also alienated some true fans.Bettman thinks he can turn this into the NFL, or worse, the NBA. It can't, won't and shouldn't happen. The only thing Bettman can and SHOULD learn from the NFL is how to properly control the NHL's image. Focusing on bug hits is okay to a point, but hockey has always had the most team driven way about it, and that should be shown off more.

January 26, 2012  09:19 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

I don't know if it's #1, but it vertainly is symptomatic of it. To me, issue #1 is having a Commisoner that has no idea what he has. Hockey has always...ALWAYS...had a very dedicated following. The Poison Dwarf, in his zeal to appeal, has brought it to NASCAR country, etc. This, along with some idiotic (to be kind) rule changes has not only had an opposite result than he was looking for, has also alienated some true fans.Bettman thinks he can turn this into the NFL, or worse, the NBA. It can't, won't and shouldn't happen. The only thing Bettman can and SHOULD learn from the NFL is how to properly control the NHL's image. Focusing on bug hits is okay to a point, but hockey has always had the most team driven way about it, and that should be shown off more.

Spiny for commish!

January 26, 2012  09:20 AM ET

I think a lot of it gets back to ESPN. Maybe the Dwarf could negotiate a 20 game plan for ESPN to give the sport some exposure.

January 26, 2012  09:22 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

I don't know if it's #1, but it vertainly is symptomatic of it. To me, issue #1 is having a Commisoner that has no idea what he has. Hockey has always...ALWAYS...had a very dedicated following. The Poison Dwarf, in his zeal to appeal, has brought it to NASCAR country, etc. This, along with some idiotic (to be kind) rule changes has not only had an opposite result than he was looking for, has also alienated some true fans.Bettman thinks he can turn this into the NFL, or worse, the NBA. It can't, won't and shouldn't happen. The only thing Bettman can and SHOULD learn from the NFL is how to properly control the NHL's image. Focusing on bug hits is okay to a point, but hockey has always had the most team driven way about it, and that should be shown off more.

Very true.

I am okay with the cult like following.

Do we need to really appeal to the American Corporate Media?

January 26, 2012  09:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Very true.I am okay with the cult like following.Do we need to really appeal to the American Corporate Media?

The NHL needs a SuperPAC.

January 26, 2012  09:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Spiny for commish!

Thank you Stranger.
If nominated I will run, if elected I WILL serve (I have offered myself for the gig before!)
For a lot less than Bettman makes and with a trusted cabinet of hockey people...all of the smart ones from these threads

January 26, 2012  09:27 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

I think a lot of it gets back to ESPN. Maybe the Dwarf could negotiate a 20 game plan for ESPN to give the sport some exposure.

agree with this... remember when EPSN 2 was basically the NHL Network, non-stop Buccigross and Melrose?
I think ESPN 2 and Fox got stung by the lockout, and they blackballed the NHL for it.

January 26, 2012  09:30 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Very true.I am okay with the cult like following.Do we need to really appeal to the American Corporate Media?

NO we don't have to bow to Corporate media
The fans are always there, just leave it be.
One of the over-riding societal problems we have now is that everything has to appeal to everybody. It doesn't.

Dear Mr. bettman;
can we have our game back?

Sincerely,

the Fans

January 26, 2012  09:32 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

I think a lot of it gets back to ESPN. Maybe the Dwarf could negotiate a 20 game plan for ESPN to give the sport some exposure.

Not a bad idea.

January 26, 2012  09:33 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Thank you Stranger.If nominated I will run, if elected I WILL serve (I have offered myself for the gig before!)For a lot less than Bettman makes and with a trusted cabinet of hockey people...all of the smart ones from these threads.

You want to run the league with 4 people???

January 26, 2012  09:35 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

You want to run the league with 4 people???

Of course, I don't include myself in those 4...

Comment #17 has been removed
January 26, 2012  09:39 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Of course, I don't include myself in those 4...

C'mon!

Comment #19 has been removed
 
January 26, 2012  09:40 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Very true.I am okay with the cult like following.Do we need to really appeal to the American Corporate Media?

Agree completely. Let it be what it is-an awesome secret

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