Enough with the formal columns, it’s time for an all-over-the-map rant about a few things I have observed and unfortunately, in some cases, continue to observe all too frequently in the NHL.
A lack of games available for, or delivered to, the consumer in HD
I was told nearly 10 years ago by John Shannon, who has since become the NHL’s senior-VP of broadcasting, that high definition was the perfect match for the NHL.
And now that an ever-growing percentage of hockey fans have had a significant taste of it, it needs to be mandated that all games be broadcast in this format. It’s called spending money to make money. Teams should be required to do it.
The product looks a hundred times better, which can only help the game now and long term. What’s even more annoying is knowing the game is available in HD and your television provider doesn’t put it on an HD channel. There are no excuses for it. If a fan is paying for NHL Center Ice, that fan should receive every HD game in HD.
Official scoring changes well after the fact
Considering that every goal is reviewed immediately upon entering the net, is there any reason scoring changes are still announced a period later, two periods later, or even the next day?
The official scorers in the arena, along with the video goal judge should ensure immediately who scored the goal and who recorded the assists. If it takes an extra minute to get it right before the goal is announced, so be it.
It’s embarrassing for the league when milestones are “reached” (see Sundin, Modano this year alone) and media coverage ensues, only to have a scoring change undermine everyone’s best intentions in getting the story on the air, or out on the Internet as quickly as possible.
Commentators who always let goalies off the hook
It seems like at least once per game, the analyst assumes that because a defenseman was in the vicinity of the shooter, the goal must have deflected before entering the net. Give it a rest.
If it comes from a long way out and looks like a bad goal, chances are – it was a bad goal. Think about it. These goalies are so good, they often react to a re-direct that happens on a shot from within 30 feet.
Their reflexes are among the best in all of sports. But they’re not perfect. Sometimes they let in a weak one.
The notion that veteran players are being hard done by or embarrassed by being placed on waivers
It’s a new world, folks. Is it ideal a player such as Mark Recchi ended his tenure with Pittsburgh under these circumstances? No, of course not. But to hear people criticize the Penguins for going this route is ludicrous.
What could/should GM Ray Shero have done differently? I’m sure the trade route was explored and once that fails (which it’s likely to do almost every time now because no team wants to pay full freight for a veteran player who is struggling), there really is no recourse other than waivers.
Do you think Recchi would have preferred to sit around as a healthy scratch? No, he wants to play. And because the Pens acted quickly in going through the process of waivers, assigning him to the American League, then placing him on re-entry waivers, Recchi has found a new home in Atlanta.
Brian Duff is a host of the NHL Network’s ‘On the Fly’ and host of Leafs Lunch on AM 640 Toronto Radio.