Ed note: please excuse my angriness. I'm still bitter over not being able to watch the Avs-Sabres game on Saturday due to COMCAST not having enough Center Ice channels available for me.)
Last Saturday was a special day for the NHL. All 30 teams played in what came to be known as Super Saturday, and could have been a hockey fan's dream. It was a day for the NHL to further showcase itself in every local market. Yet the NHL treated Saturday like the Panther's treat a power play: they took a great opportunity and bumbled it away.
The NHL scheduled nearly all of their games during Baseballs showcase event. The World Series game between the Phillies and Rays was supposed to start at 5:30 pm pacific. which would have conflicted at least partially with all 15 NHL games. College football also had a showcase weekend, with many nasty rivalry games being played and top conference matchups. Those games included:
(8) Texas Tech - (19)Kansas
(7)OK State - (1) Texas
(9)Georgia - (11)LSU
(2) Alabama - Tenessee
(3) Penn State - (10) Ohio State
While these exact positions aren't predictable, it's pretty well known that the last weekend of October is prime for College football big games and rivalries. Here's a tip NHL: Schedule as few games for the evenings of the last weekend in October as possible. If you want to make a nice hockey event for that weekend, the all Canadian triple-header day that you guys did one weekend last season would be the best fit. A better idea would be to schedule Super Saturday twice a year... Opening Weekend and mid-February (i.e. the weekend after the Superbowl is a good time)
And if the NHL is going to do this, why the hell won't they put the games on TV. There wasn't one (US) national TV game this season. I realize the reason for this is because of the reasons listed above. What network wants to try and compete with showcase events in two other major sports? But the NHL had games to be put on VS on Saturday. Philly-NJ is always good (It ended up being a smoke bomb game, I'll when I first saw the highlight I thought Daniele Briere had finally burst.) Other games that certainly could have been shown nationally:
San Jose-Tampa Bay
Instead of these games on national television throughout the day we got them all shoved onto Center Ice with conflicting sports times. Which brings me to my next point. If Super Saturday was like the best buffet in town, the NHL was the fine print that limited you to 2 plates and 1 pop-refill. Instead of scheduling games so that hockey fans could gorge themselves on hockey they made all the games conflict, making sure fans watched their favorite team.. and no one else. Why not have a nice triple (or even the unprecedented quadruple) header of matches for the day. Even if only part of it is on nationally it's still a treat to have a full day of hockey.
The NHL did a good job setting themselves up for this powerplay, but they did the equivalent of allowing a shorthanded goal. This whole endeavor felt like a scheduling mistake they tried to promote instead of an actual scheduled event., which is the problem with the NHL. They seem to try to luck into to good fortune instead of creating it.