Apparently, Glen Sather is saving Hockey

Here we go again. Its early Fall and we're already starting to hear the the rumblings. The NHL needs the New York Rangers to win a Cup. Take, for example, Lindsay Berra's recent piece from ESPN the Magazine, "Two for the Show" (referring to new Rangers Scott Gomez and Chris Drury). This is one example of universally positive Ranger coverage prior to the start of the 07-08 season. After reading Berra's article, you would not have thought a more harmonious pair of free agents had ever been signed by an NHL club.

Here's a quote from the article:

"Although league officials would rather eat a puck than admit to rooting for the red, white and blue, a successful Rangers Cup run would thrust hockey back into the spotlight in the biggest media market in the world at just the right time."

I have some difficulty with this statement. For starters, instead of secretly pulling for the Rangers, shouldn't NHL brass be doing something proactive to fix the current state of the sport? Perhaps they might revisit some of the monumental decisions they've made in the recent decade. There are a growing number of teams that may very well be hosting their opening night games in cities where temperatures may exceed ninety degrees. If NHL exec's are unhappy with the fact that several of these teams have hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup in recent years while overall interest in the sport has waned they may want to consider their contraction. Additionally, they may look back at their tacit approval of horribly boring trap hockey that they allowed to proliferate without limit in the mid to late 90's. Yes, there have been rule changes enacted after the lockout that have helped improve the pace of the game, but whether or not its too little, too late, is a matter of debate.

Berra continues the theme by touting the ratings of the NY Rangers Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 in '94, as well as the state of the sport in its wake. What she neglects to mention is the fact that the Rangers second round playoff game last year which aired on NBC on a weekend afternoon was beaten in the ratings by both Yankee and Met regular season games played on the same day. That's not a knock against the Rangers, but rather an observation of the sport as a whole.

The league waiting for the Rangers to win a Stanley Cup is the least proactive, and likely least productive way to improve the popularity of the sport. If you disagree, feel free to pick up your new Gomez jersey and enjoy the red and blue kool-aid.


CresceNet said...
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NYIsles1/IslesTigers said...

The Rangers second round playoff game lost out to Nascar by thirty eight percent in NYC. The Nets doubled up the Rangers head to head.

Ranger ratings on Msg equaled only 36,000 homes last season.

In 94 the series first six games only received a 2.5 rating on Espn with 63 million viewers.

Most of the folks selling this stuff are Ranger fans in the media or people who need the Rangers to make a living.

Jim McGlynn said...

nyisles1- thanks for the post and for the additional stats! I agree with your conclusion as well. Compare further to devils ratings, which effectively amount to friends and family tuning in.

NYIsles1/IslesTigers said...

Jim, you have to understand James Dolan controls where and when games and teams are seen. When the Islanders play the Rangers at the Coliseum Time Warner blacks out the FSN-2 broadcast forcing Islander fans to watch Dolan's Rangers so they get a double rating.

Islander and Devils are outcovered ten to one by Dolan's Rangers, that why they pay each team well over ten million to control the content, broadcasters and exposure.

This is a deal Spano signed before Dolan directly got the rights, Islanders get 300m until 2030.

NYIsles1/IslesTigers said...


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