Non-Hockey writers sounding badly.

I want to take the time out to get upset about something that's been going on for a while (a few years before the lockout). That is non-hockey columnists talking about hockey. The story that got me thinking about it is this column by cbssportsline columnist Mike Freeman.

First let me say that normally I enjoy Mike Freeman articles. He normally brings a good insightful perspective to different topics. I also admire the stand he's taking here, that Bettman is an idiot (every hockey fan knows this) and that his incompetance goes uncriticized by the national (USA) media. Bettman has been bulletproof even though he has overseen a popular league get a lot less popular. All of this is very valid criticism and I wish more people would address these things.

But I, for one, am tired of peple who don't follow and don't particularly care about hockey finding their time to take potshots at it. here's one paragraph that particularly boiled my blood:
No casual fan wants to see blatant hooliganism, but hockey's old guard still rules with an iron stick. They ignore how if fighting was so attractive to the casual viewer -- the most important of consumers -- hockey would not have slid to its current disastrous positioning behind the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, college football, college basketball, college baseball, cheerleading competitions, the dart throwing Olympics, Saturday Night Bowling and YouTube video of my best friend's bar mitzvah.

This is the kind of crap that bothers me. He makes a valid point,violence hurts the leagues image and takes fans away (the merits of this opinion are debateable, but it's at least a reasonable argument) and decides to expand on it to ludicrously that he ruins his credibility. Hockey may not be the NFL for fan support right now, but I hardly think saying it's worse off than darts is truly accomplishing anything.

What angers me the most is that when people make these inaccurate and ill-informed comments they ruin their credibility and stunt actual conversations that may lead to constructive results in hockey. But these ignorant comments make it easy for anyone with an opinion opposite him to dismiss as a hockey ignorant, and difficult for anyone who can see the validity of his criticism to point it out because the other garbage has made it so easily dissmissable.

Mike Freeman DOES have a valid point. Gary Bettman has bundled things so badly that a fan, in the USA, who wants to watch playoff games can't because they are nowhere to be found on TV. He could have secured first round TV deals with stations like TBS, USA, TNT, or any number of basic cable programmers to have the playoff games on TV, but he didn't. Now a great round of playoff games is being missed by people who want to see them. This is a bad thing that Bettman doesn't seem concerned about. Despite this Bettman is criticized less than David Stern and Bud Selig. That is a very solid argument.

It's just the way he makes this point makes his column, and his point, easily forgettable.


  1. I agree with you completely. I get annoyed with this very same thing. Bettman is an idiot make all the noise in the world and the US media does not listen. What a joke to have him on VS the other night.

  2. Whoops, that should have read like this:

    I agree with you completely. I get annoyed with this very same thing. Bettman is an idiot. The fans make all the noise in the world about this and the US media does not listen. What a joke to have him on VS the other night.

    It is the playoffs so all of a sudden the media has to pretend it knows something about hockey, like this comment from King Kaufman on Salon the other day:

    Here's the plan: I won't pretend I'm an expert on the 2006-07 NHL season, and we'll just watch the playoffs together like regular people. Don't like that plan?

    At least he admits to not being an expert. Sigh.

  3. Hi, B.

    How can I email you?


  4. On an episode of that lousy show "Pardon The Interruption" on ESPN a couple of months ago, one of the hosts said that hockey was suffering because the games were "unwatchable" on TV. Not because of poor marketing or unnecessary violence, but because the games were "unwatchable". The only point he was able to make with that comment was that he personally doesn't like the sport, which is hardly a basis for reasoned criticism.

    It's that kind of negative press that permeates the media right now. And, like you said, it invalidates any and all constructive criticism that the league actually needs.

  5. Jesus! Mike Freeman is a dipshit!
    I have a hangover from hell today, and I really didn't want to get into the violence in hockey again. So I sent that asshole this:

    "Hey Mike, if you like pussy sports so much, then don't watch hockey! Stick to your wimpy-assed baseball and basketball.
    You obviously know nothing about hockey.
    Your opinion on NHL violence is absurd.
    Less violence is not going to bring more people to hockey games. It's going to fuck the beautiful sport that is hockey, and you, with your head in your ass and a baseball shoved down your throat, will never understand that, because you don't KNOW hockey!"

    No offence if anyone reading these comments is a baseball or basketball fan. I do hate those sports though. And I would never write a column about them because I do not know enough about them.
    Mike Freeman should do the same.

  6. Well,

    Like I said I normally like Freeman, and I really like PTI, but it just bothers me that all these people that don't watch or pay attention to hockey have an opinion on it. It's absurd.

    I don't criticize basketball because everything I have to criticize it is hearsay, i don't have an opinion on it from my own eyes.. it's crap.


  7. 1) Folks like Freeman who apparently watch 1-2 games a season, and then the violent hilites don't know the game enough to make such comments
    2) With zero 'hooliganism' the NHL would be NO more popular than it is today. We in fact believe it would be even in far worse shape as it would lose its core base of fans if it decided to further erode the aspect of the game that attracts so many of us; Its ferocity which includes fighting!