How the National Hockey League (NHL)
could benefit from the National Basketball Association (NBA)
The NBA's lockout is sure to alienate more than a few fans
of NBA basketball, and one sport that somewhat starves for more attention
is the NHL. Here is, in my opinions, a number of ways in which the NHL
could benefit from the NBA's recent troubles.
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Fan transfer. Lack of NBA basketball games could move quite a few fans,
some of which no doubt will watch more college basketball, where the player's
egos aren't quite inflated to NBA proportions (but, as can be seen, they're
getting closer and closer each year). Some will want to follow a pro sport,
played approximately every day, like the NBA. That sport, ladies and gentlemen,
is NHL hockey.
More worldwide television coverage. Let me illustrate this to explain what
I mean here. Outside of the United States and it's territories, the best
source for sports is ESPN International. ESPN's National Hockey Night is
on Tuesday for a majority of the hockey season, which, unfortunately, conflicts
with TNT's NBA games on Tuesday, and they therefore show the NBA games
internationally instead of the hockey game. In the absence of NBA games,
ESPN shows the hockey game live, which can go a long way in attracting
more fans worldwide.
The ugly inflated ego. Even the most arduent NBA fan will concede that
there are just too many NBA players nowadays who think they are worth twice
as much as they probably actually are. And that might've been why the lockout
happened to them, maybe the players thought the owners would just give
in to their overvalued selves. Look over to the NHL, where the egomaniac
(Petr Nedved, Tom Barrasso, definitely. Sergei Fedorov, Oleg Tverdovsky,
Eric Lindros, inconclusive.) is the rare exception. How refreshing!
Anger and frustration unleashed. Diehard NBA fans no doubt got mad at their
sport's troubles. If they turn on the tv to see an NHL contest, they would
see (occasionally) two players or more having it out with their fists.
They may have started cheering for one of them to knock the living piss
out of the other, which is a new concept to the NBA lifer, who's used to
seeing players just take cheap shots at each other, and if both were angered,
an elbow throwing match, a karate chop or two, or worst of all, a silly
looking punches-thrown-and-missed-badly-not-even-close (Larry Johnson and
Alonzo Mourning provide the best example!) exhibition which gets both players
fined and suspended. NHL player rapport and team rivalries are blood-deep
because teammates stick up for each other and literally spill blood for
each other, and in most cases there is no league fine or suspension handed
Timely effort to increase NHL goal scoring. NHL poo-bahs couldn't have
timed it better, because NBA fans are so used to rampant scoring opportunities,
which, if it worked as planned, would make for a seamless fan's transition.
No truly dominant NHL team. Laker fan? Jazz fan? Like the Rockets? Fan
of any team other than the Bulls? It has been a long three years, hasn't
it? Look at the NHL, where a three-peat hasn't happened in this decade,
and the "team of the decade" tag is still up for grabs among several worthy
candidates. The Red Wings have been very good but not steamrolling over
the league opposition like the Bulls do.