Some Bones To Pick
04/30/2010 11:03 AM - Mike Peck
I have a couple of beefs as the playoffs go on in both the American Hockey League and National Hockey League. First off, I usually take the stand of “don’t complain to complain, make a suggestion” and in both of these scenarios, I’m not sure what a good antidote would be.
My first is with the NHL. Not with the play on the ice or how the Stanley Cup Playoffs has played out so far, but with the way the scheduling was handled for the second round of the postseason. The NHL didn’t announce the potential schedules for the second round until Wednesday evening.
I know the argument was made that the league was waiting for the Montreal-Washington series to conclude and I’m sure that Washington’s (and Alexander Ovechkin’s) existence in the playoffs was going to severely alter the national TV schedule. From an exposure standpoint, the league is really pushing its stars and wants them on national television.
But the schedule was released before the Habs-Caps even started, so my question is, why in the heck was it not released earlier in the day? Say around noon eastern time. If you do it then, you still catch all the national sports talk shows on radio and evening news casts.
Why such a big deal? I believe that it is absolutely critical for a league to be able to exhaust its marketing resources for its championship tournament. Detroit and San Jose played Game 1 of their second round series on Thursday night, which wasn’t announced until Wednesday evening. Kind of hard to build up any excitement to casual hockey fans when you only have 24 hours to get the word out.
My next peeve comes with the AHL and the scheduling of the Calder Cup Playoffs, and I know exactly what the argument is against my point.
The Hershey Bears topped the Albany River Rats in overtime on Thursday night, sweeping the Rats to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. That’s great, except the Texas Stars and Chicago Wolves have yet to even play a game in their West Division Semifinals series.
How weird is that? A team has already advanced through a best-of-seven round before another series in the same round has even started!
Now the reason for this is scheduling and building conflicts. Few buildings in the AHL have carte-blanche when it comes to scheduling, let alone in the postseason. So whenever possible, teams in the AHL will try to get postseason games in.
Kind of the same reason that Detroit and San Jose had to play on Thursday night. San Jose’s building is booked Friday and Saturday for an Eagles concert. So I guess it also occurs in the NHL as well!
Scheduling is a challenge but it is very odd to all of sudden have a postseason staggered.
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