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Ask Adam: More California expansion, hate for broadcasters, and time-outs

In this week's mailbag, Adam Proteau answers questions on additional NHL expansion, fans' dislike of certain broadcasters, the NHL's philosophy on time-outs and more.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

This is another mailbag for your reading pleasure. Thanks for your submissions.

Hey Adam,

With all of the talk about the NHL expanding to 32 teams in cities like Seattle and Quebec City, I wonder why they don't consider Houston, San Antonio, or San Diego. Although these three cities are considered "non-traditional" hockey markets, they all have metropolitan area populations north of 1 million.

If the NHL can sustain a team in Tampa and Miami whose combined populations are below 1 million, then why not add another team in Texas or Southern California in addition to Seattle to balance out the conferences?

Alex Mingrone, San Jose, Calif.


I don’t think we can presume the NHL hasn’t considered those cities. Houston has been on the periphery of NHL expansion talk for years, if not decades, and the NHL used to be in Oakland when the Golden Seals were around for nearly a decade in the late 1960s/early 1970s. That experiment didn’t turn out so well, so it’s not as if you can simply parachute a franchise into any populous urban center and expect success.

When I spoke with Gary Bettman in December of 2013 about the idea of expansion, the NHL commissioner was crystal clear as to what the league looks for in potential cities: market, arena and ownership. The three cities you’ve mentioned would qualify in terms of market and arena, but there are no ownership groups who are stepping up – and for good reason. They’re not cities with a rich history of hockey participation at the grassroots level, so the idea they could easily sustain an NHL franchise (both in terms of fan and the all-important corporate support) is a stretch.

More likely, Seattle will recieve one expansion team and the second will go to either Quebec City or Las Vegas so that the NHL has two balanced conferences of 16 teams. That’s not a straightforward condemnation of San Diego, San Antonio or Houston – rather, it’s an acknowledgment other cities more readily meet the NHL’s requirements. And who knows, if there's a team that needs relocating down the line, we could see those cities moved to the front of the line.


Am I the only hoser who is tired of hearing about the fine points of how to turn pig gut into goal netting? My spouse thinks Doc Emrick should be the narrator on Downton Abbey or call play-by-play on Jeopardy? Anybody but Doc should be calling games.

Ed "Chicago Eddie" Ostrowski, Greenville, S.C.

P.S. – I am not Dave Strader's agent.

Ed “Chicago Eddie”,

There are millions of hosers out there like you – not necessarily in terms of people who dislike Emrick, but in the sense that they’ve got play-by-play men and/or analysts they respect and those they don’t. Some people aren’t Pierre McGuire fans; others dislike Glenn Healy and/or Bob Cole and/or Jim Hughson; others still loathe Boston’s Jack Edwards. It’s all personal preference.

Personally, I’m a fan of broadcasters who don’t feel the need to attack every second of airtime with their voices as if they'll go mute if they don't stop speaking. Sometimes the picture tells the whole story, and I respect those media types who can take a step back when the moment calls for it.

But I also know there are too many fans who are impossible to please when it comes to announcing. No broadcaster – and for that matter, no writer – can be everything to everyone. People will have their own opinions and approaches to how they believe the game should be called – I know some people who’ll watch a broadcast and turn on the radio feed for the same game – and that's perfectly OK. To each, their own.


Why does the NHL have only one timeout during a game including TV timeouts when the NFL and NBA has more than one including TV timeouts?

Wallace More, East Brunswick, N.J.


Your question is a little vague, so I’ll answer it from a couple angles: The NHL’s time-out regulations don’t specifically address your question, but the NFL and NBA only have one extended break at halftime in which to satisfy their commercial interests, while the NHL has two intermissions to do so.

Now, if you’re asking why NHL coaches only have one 30-second time-out per game, that’s because the league wants to keep the duration of the average game as short as possible. If they give coaches more time-outs to use, the game will take longer to complete and the entertainment element would take somewhat of a hit. This is why the idea of a coach’s challenge hasn’t gained traction at the league level – and when you see how Major League Baseball managers are cynically using their challenge to delay their game, NHL brass is right to be concerned about adopting such a measure. You want to give teams as many competitive tools as possible, but you also have to bear in mind we're talking about an entertainment product. It's a balancing act.


I know what ESPN, FS1, NBCSN and CSN stand for, but what does TSN stand for? Thanks.

Bob Havelka, Lake Oswego, Ore.


In Canada, TSN stands for The Sports Network, although it’s never referred to by that extended name.

Ask Adam appears Fridays on Ask your question on our submission page. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.


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