T Dog Blog Think Tank: NHL, Hawks, Broadcasters need to get with the program

This is what I posted yesterday in the Comments section of a story about the Chicago Blackhawks firing their head coach:

“Everything about this team SUCKS, including the management. Now I can see why the NHL is behind NASCAR, Golf, and “Deal or No Deal” in popularity in this country. I would rather watch a Britney Spears video than this poor excuse of a “hockey” team.”


You’’re probably wondering why I’’m mentioning that the Chicago Blackhawks fired head coach Trent Yawney on this blog. Hawks management actually has something in common with many radio and television executives: they’re boobheads.

Consider this:… The Hawks are cheap; media companies like Clear Channel and NBC are cheap. (NBC 2.0, anyone?) The Hawks are owned by a out-of-touch dinosaur who still blackout games on TV; network executives put on programs that we wished were blacked out on TV. Attendance has declined at Hawks games and NHL games in general; audiences are bailing out of broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. NHL games now air on an obscure network; NBC, The CW and MyNetworkTV have become obscure networks. (The latter two rather quickly.) The Hawks made bad decisions regarding players; the networks have made bad programming decisions such as airing too many sound-alike, look-alike, one-name serialized dramas, and Fox with that great idea of an O.J. special, If He Did It. (You know the outcomes of all three scenarios.)

Want more? The Hawks got rid of stars like Chelios, Amonte, Belfour, Roenick, and play-by-play man Pat Foley over the years; the networks got rid of well- written shows like Arrested Development, Futurama, The Bernie Mac Show, and Everwood. Mediocre dreck like Wirtz, Pulford, and Tallon gets to stay; so does Kevin Reilly (NBC), Peter Ligouri (FOX), and Dawn Ostroff (The CW). Hawks management doesn’t care about the public; neither does the management at radio and television companies. And so on. And so on. And so on.

And the boobery isn’t just limited to the Hawks. I watched all of only two Hawks games this season (and that’s all I’m going to watch), and haven’’t kept up with the NHL much lately. That’s because of decisions like one made tonight in which Vs. (formerly OLN — or did you know that already?) slated a doubleheader of hockey games with exclusive coverage — up against ESPN’’s Monday Night Football, which has dominated the cable ratings all season long. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should be hit with a Vonage Box for thinking that his sport can outdraw football — let alone wrestling — head-to head on Monday Nights. He should be hit with another Vonage Box for moving hockey to OLN from ESPN to begin with.

Of course, there was the lockout in which the owners and Bettman “won””, one that deprived fans of a Stanley Cup in the 2004-05 season, and an atrocious playoff system that gave us an ultra-lame Stanley Cup Finals in 2006 between the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes, even though it went seven games. Television ratings for this sport have declined to a point where even the now-defunct WB and UPN networks have drawn more viewers.

Maybe the NHL should move from NBC to MyNetworkTV. As the home of mediocre programming, the NHL and the Hawks would fit right in. Yep, a sports league nobody cares about airing on a network nobody watches. (Or is it the other way around?) Maybe with some luck, both will go away. And maybe in the process, take the Blackhawks, its inept management, Bettman, and idiot radio and television executives with you.