Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The 'New" NHL??

1) When the last Bettman lockout ended and the NHL was trying to do anything to be relevant again, they threw out a whole list of 'changes' they were trying to use to get attention back from the media, and their fan base. At the time they didn't know how much damage this latest Bettman/owners lockout would cause. many thought that the league would take years to regain ts previous footing in the minds of fans, and at the gate, TV ratings. Many of these changes were for the on ice product and we won't go into those here, but one of the biggest that Bettman liked to discuss was the nebulous promise to be 'more open' to the fans. Many saw that as more access to teams before, during and after games. Perhaps the league would indeed right its past wrongs and make the financial aspects of each team public so we could understand why we missed a season of hockey, etc.

2) However the dire predictions of tough times after the return of hockey turned out to be untrue. The NHL resumed to an over whelming response. Especially in Canada, attendance was as high, if not higher than ever. The US lagged behind somewhat, but even there in previous good hockey towns most fans returned quickly. With that rebound the NHL seemed to forget one of its promises to be 'more fan friendly/open'. This especially struck us recently when the league made it known that its previously tacit allowance of making injuries akin to nuclear secrets into actual policy. At their June meeting, the National Hockey League's 30 Club General Managers voted to modify the policy pertaining to the disclosure of player injury information. The new policy, which takes effect immediately:Clubs no longer are required to disclose the specific nature of player injuries. Clubs are prohibited from providing untruthful information about the nature of a player injury or otherwise misrepresenting a player’s condition.

3) The first reaction was, When did teams give 'specific nature of injuries'??? Remember the ole 'lower body injury? Now we're gonna only hear 'injury'? Why even bother? Just say Player A is a scratch and let us guess as to why. Its not like the teams were disclosing much anyway other than if it was above or below the waist, now we'll not even know that much. So is no information better than untruthful information? Who in the NHL is monitoring/is in charge of this? LOL We can understand this policy in the playoffs, but in the regular season as well? Anyway, so much for the new fan friendly 'open NHL'. So to conclude let us list where the NHL CAN/should be be more friendly?
  • The aforementioned injury situation. We don't need to see the X-rays/MRI on a player, but can we at least know what in heck is wrong with the star players we are paying big bucks to watch?

  • As we discussed last month, salary-cap-transparency Many take for granted that we don't all know what each team's salary cap number is on a particular day during the season. We believe it would be a VERY popular destination on the website. It wouldn't cost much if anything for the league to implement this. So why not do it? Is there something to hide/be embarrassed about?
  • As with the above issue, how about opening the books on teams so we know IF a team is actually losing money or not. We're not naive to expect this, but if you're gonna cry poverty AND ask us the customers to pay more, SHOW US WHY!

  • Placing microphones on EVERYONE. Refs, coaches and ALL players. We called it uncensored-hockey We figured it would be a HUGE potential money maker for the league, and would cause a serious stir in the media, which is almost never bad!

4) All these issues would truly make the NHL transparent enough to make us happy. They also would make excellent business sense. The microphone idea would surely garner huge interest for fans. Who among us wouldn't pluck down a few bucks to hear the trash talk, etc? Its priceless stuff and would make the game so much more exciting to watch on television. Even a game that is out of hand would retain its viewers. The salary cap web site would get tons of hits as fans try to see where their team stands. Web hits equals advertising revenue, right? The injury issue doesn't garner money directly but does give fans background into their team/players. Keeping any important information away from the public generates distrust, and distrust causes people to turn away. So we say to Mr. Bettman, live up to your post lockout proclamation, and let the light shine on the NHL!

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