Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Handy Guide for ESPN: How to Not Ruin Hockey

This picture looked really cool in 1997.

By the looks of it, the NHL is trying to go crawling back to ESPN. Should their groveling succeed, we probably will still have to wait until the 2008-09 season to actually see hockey on ESPN.

Nevertheless, this would put an end to all the MSM garbage complaining about how they don't care about hockey anymore simply because they can't find it on TV. Maybe that would let them move on to complaining about, you know, how bad their "favorite" team is playing or how much of an asshole Gary Bettman is.

I'm sure many hockey fans are happy about a potential move to ESPN for many different reasons. Off the top of my head I can think of; 1) Not having to worry about whether or not your cable provider carries Versus. 2) More NHL coverage on ESPN. 3) More Barry Melrose on ESPN. (Who doesn't want that?) There are lots more reasons, but I give you fair warning; be careful what you wish for. ESPN might do a really, really good job of messing up your sport. Just ask NASCAR fans.

To try and help out our beloved ESPN Overlords in their (potential) re-domination of hockey coverage, I offer a sacrifice in the form of a list of tips on how to not fuck up hockey coverage. ESPN Overlords, I only ask for your good will in return.


...ask poignant, well thought out questions. We don't need whatever Rachel Nichols is having. Really. Less "Kevin Lowe, how are you feeling?" and more "Kevin Lowe could you please explain why you seem hell bent on signing a star RFA this off season?"

...give us more Barry Melrose and John Buccigross. Dare I say it, combine their powers and resurrect NHL2Night! Not everyone may like and/or agree with Barry Melrose, but either way, he is the face of the NHL media in America. The general populous listens to him and the general populous knows who he is. That being said, I have yet to meet someone who dislikes Bucci, so the logical conclusion in regards to him is: more Bucci.

...admit that the sport is finally back in America's consciousness simply because it is back on ESPN. As egocentric as this is going to be, we know you're going to say this anyway, since you love giving yourselves reach arounds. The reason I suggest it is that the drones will listen and comply. Ratings will go up.

...hire more "hockey only" writers for During the summer, Scott Burnside is the only regular hockey writer, and it seems like he writes a million articles a day. I'm sure the World Wide Leaders has the budget to hire some co-workers for Mr. Burnside.

...persuade Jeremy Roenick to retire and join the broadcast side of the game. This guy is going to be the next big name in broadcasting. It's only a matter of time. I believe that Roenick could be the Stephen A. Smith of hockey. That is, if was possible to listen to Stephen A. without earplugs.

...assign Kenny Mayne to hockey coverage in some capacity. This has endless possibilities, and all of them conclude with the word 'hilarious'. our little sister Mark Messier degrading names.

Do not:

...give us the second coming of glow pucks. I will personally come to Bristol and beat down the guy who lets that happen.

...let Mike and Mike become the lead broadcasters. I know they seem to be able to do anything and everything these days, but the last thing this sport needs right now is to be best known because it's star broadcast crew moonlights as Spelling Bee announcers. Isn't that degrading to the folks at the head of the Spelling Bee, too?

...give us fake press conferences. That should be a given. Less bullshit, more actual journalism. I know, I know. That is going to take (gasp) actual thinking and hard work, but I believe you have it in you, ESPN.

...get too creative. When that happens, you give us "Who's Now?" and a "Budweiser Six Pack of Questions". Once you have wasted our time, we can never get it back.

Side note: Google the words "ESPN" and "hockey". All you get are a bunch of pictures of our good friend JR. He's really begging to get hired, isn't he?


  1. Bettman will screw this thing up like he does everything else... the reason why they aren't on ESPN now is because of him and his huge ego and "brilliant" idea to put the league on Versus, the channel that no one has ever heard of.

    Bettman's gotta go!!!

  2. If the glow puck comes back, and if you will beat the person(s) responsible for bringing it back, can I help? I have a lot of grudes and a nice southpaw. ;)

  3. Populace.

    Getting NHL 2 Night back would be awesome. If I only could spare 30 minutes that night, and the choice was either NHL 2 Night or SportsCenter, I usually chose the pucks.

  4. Honestly, I like the glow puck. When I started watching hockey games, it helped me learn how to follow the game and I became a big fan of the sport and have watched ever since. Even though long time viewers won't like it, I think bringing it back will help.

  5. Dude, I actually loved the glowpuck. What say you ESPN actually creates an ESPN3 to relegate NHL and MLS coverage...while the 1983 WSOP is primetime on ESPN?

  6. The glow puck was stupid, but there was one very positive aspect of it that I would love to see come back. The best thing about that puck was that you could see it through the near boards. Experienced viewers can tell where the puck is by watching the players, but it was nice to be able to see the puck through the boards.

    Just bring that part of it back and lose the laser beams and other stupid crap.

  7. Roenick retired in a text message to the Philadelphia Inquirer, then his agent said that he's not quite done yet.

    I'm not a fan of the glow puck. It's intentions were good, but it was really pretty hokey and ugly. Just not my taste. Doesn't mean you guys aren't allowed to like it. =)

  8. well that link to the roenick article didn't work... take two: Roenick

  9. Gary Bettman is an asshole. What's hockey?

    Fuck a nut

  10. I'd like Bucci if he wrote about hockey instead of faux indie rock bands that fourteen year old teenyboppers listen to.

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  12. this is killer. please make sure the appropriate higher-ups at ESPN see this. also, which is a worse idea: glow pucks, or the new "draft track" they're using for NASCAR coverage?

  13. The glow puck actually helped me learn hockey back in the day. I do not need it now, but I have no doubt that the glow puck taught me how to watch hockey.

    Matt in Texas

  14. To the first commenter (Anonymous) -- ESPN dumped the NHL, not the other way around. They wanted to put all their chips behind the NBA in the winter months. They'd already been pushing the NHL out the door well before they closed it and locked it behind Bettman et. al. Bettman went to OLN/Vs. out of necessity, not preference.

  15. Hire Pat Foley to be the play by play voice of the network.

    This one's a no brainer.

  16. And get Grapes to do a weekly summary or something. We need the "I don't give a damn what they (the bosses) think of my comments, but ...". And he's colorful in other ways, too. He's a character that the US needs to see.

  17. I don't care one way or the other about the glow puck,but what I would like to see more of is the moving camera. To me it show s the real seed and dynamics of the game. And yes Gary Bettman needs to go. He masterminded this mess and he surely has no idea how to extricate the league from it.

  18. I would love to see JR join TSN's hockey crew once he retires. I actually wanted to see him with the Leafers this year so that we can see him in front of the camera every day on SportsCentre.

  19. word to more Bucci and bringin back NHL2NIGHT...and to the mullet