Saturday, April 18, 2009

Change It Up

So I was checking out television ratings for the two major sports that are in the post season right now and I'm sure my findings won't surprise you. The NHL, the sport which has the quiddity of being played on ice, is averaging less than than a .5 viewer rating in these here United States. On the flip side, the NBA playoffs usually average around an 8.0 viewer rating that can go higher if the Spurs aren't playing.

This year
shouldn't be any different as the Stanley Cup playoffs wallow around in ratings obscurity on a channel that likes to promote shows about bass fishing.

My question is WHY?!

Look, I know the chances that any of the six people reading this actually played hockey at some point of their life are minuscule which makes the sport more difficult to follow, but I'm begging you, just give hockey a chance.

Go watch a playoff game being played in Boston, Chicago, or God forbid, Calgary. Then compare it to the playof
f atmosphere at the Staple Center when the Lakers take the court. There isn't even a comparison. It's like comparing fraternities on "Animal House." One sits around and discusses how wonderful they are, the other throws beer kegs out the window and rides a motorcycle through the house.

And here's the big point for the NHL vs. the NBA playoffs: several of the teams in the NHL playoffs have an ice rink's chance in hell of actually making the cup finals. Yes, Detroit is the defending champ and will be tough to knock off, but San Jose, Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Vancouver....all these teams have a legit shot to pummel their way to the Stanley Cup finals. It's happened over and over again.

Last year the fifth seeded Dallas Stars and sixth seeded Philly Flyers made it to the conference finals. Over
the past few years a fourth, sixth, and eighth seed have all made it to the Stanley Cup finals. And the best news is that over the past 20 years, only two teams (Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils) have taken home the Stanley Cup more than twice. If any team makes it into the playoffs with some momentum, it can do some serious damage.

In comparison, the NBA hasn't had a team below a four seed make the Finals in recent
memory. And you can nearly count the champions of the past 25 years (Celtics, Spurs, Heat, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls, Rockets) on one hand. The Celtics, Spurs, Lakers, Pistons, and Bulls have all won at least three NBA championships in that time frame.

This year, I'll start watching the NBA playoffs when a team wins three games against the Lakers or Cavs. Sure, I'll watch the Mavs and Spurs just for the rivalry and I enjoy watching what Chris Paul can do, but it's all just for grins. Until someone tests LeBron or Kobe, I can just sit back and wait until June to tune in.

Just watch a few NHL playoff games. Listen to the crowd bang on the glass and steal player's sticks. Listen to how the place explodes when a goal is scored. Then go to your computer and check what happened in the NBA. You won't miss too much.

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