Baseball playoffs have nothing to do with hockey being a "difficult sell" in early October.
If U.S. owners want to lay blame, they should wag the finger at the lousy TV contract that has almost wiped the NHL off the sports map.
ESPN has a vice grip on sports; if your games don't have a major presence on this network, forget it. Plus, ESPN will further ostracize you with minimal or no news/highlights and derisive commentary about your games. Die-hard fans will buy the Center Ice package, but potential fans and casual viewers are lost.
Compressing the schedule only increases the risk of injuries and poor performances due to fatigue, which in turn further dilutes the product the owners want fans to watch. Did this ever occur to the idiot U.S. owners?
A better TV deal will help get hockey back on the minds of U.S. sports fans. But the owners have to be realistic and understand they may never attain the profits and ratings seen in the NFL and NBA.
Furthermore, it's time Canadian owners stand firm and stop allowing U.S. owners to dictate every frivolous rule change, uniform redo, and stupid scheduling just to win over U.S. viewers.
- Beverly Rice, Charlotte, N.C.