Friday, June 26, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: NHL lets its Backbone Slide (again)

If you're looking for backbone, you won't find any at NHL headquarters.

A day after it was revealed the league flip-flopped on Boston's opponent in this year's Winter Classic because NBC was upset about a Bruins/Capitals matchup - they've backed down again!

To please the broadcast giant that pays nothing to show its games (while everyone else pays an arm and a leg), the NHL has dropped the second game in a proposed Winter Classic doubleheader, which was to be played at Calgary's McMahon stadium.

Sports Illustrated reports NBC "had expressed concern that (the Calgary game) would diminish the impact of the Boston-Philadelphia match in Fenway Park."

TSN says the proposed game was shot down by the league's competition committee, which is made up of five players, five team executives, NHL vice-president Colin Campbell and NHLPA director Glenn Healy.

The rumours of a second Winter Classic for 2010 first surfaced about a week ago on ESPN , with the Toronto Maple Leafs arising as the likely opponent. Forgetting the fact that Calgary/Toronto sounds like a terribly dull matchup, it would have been nice to see another Winter Classic in Canada (finally).

It sounds like there will be some kind of special event in a Canadian city this season though, but it'll mean nothing to you unless you live in Montreal.

Word is, the Montreal Canadiens, not quite done celebrating their 100th season, will play at Olympic Stadium in late November under the guise of "commemorating the first game in franchise history."

What would be a more fitting tribute to the roots of a stories franchise than playing a game in a multi-purpose stadium under a roof? Oh boy, how exciting! Montreal gets an almost Winter Classic - an indoor/outdoor game!!!!!

There's nothing "special" about holding a game at Olympic Stadium. Nothing at all. Basically it's just a cash cow for the Habs, who can sell three-times as many tickets as they can at the Bell Centre by playing there.

Oh, and just incase you think the NHL doesn't have its finger on the pulse - Sports Illustrated also reports they plan to pit the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Washington Capitals six days after the Olympic gold medal game to take advantage of all the excitement...and there'll probably be a concert.

Yeah, there's nothing like a concert from some semi-popular act that only a third of the crowd likes to really get people excited for a hockey game.

Assuming this will be an afternoon NBC game, I thought the Capitals were bad for ratings?

Who's in charge of the NHL, Gary Bettman or Jeff Zucker ?

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