The Grand Flaw

429ovechkin The Grand Flaw

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As I am reading comments on my Facebook regarding the Caps early exit from the playoffs I cannot help but laugh at the collective ignorance of the average hockey fan. It’s either ignorance or pure stupidity, you be the judge.

These fools, and yes they are fools, giggle with glee while they proclaim that upsets  like the Canadians beating the Caps as “What’s great about the game”


In reality it is everything wrong with “your” completely flawed product known as NHL 2010. A sport where inferior teams can completely change the way the game is played, muck it up, get outshot by gaudy figures, and still win a series.

“That’s old-time hockey Mike!”

Just shut up, now, please for the sake of all of us. Can you imagine a baseball team getting out hit by a 4-1 ratio and winning a series? How about an NBA team getting out rebounded by the same margin? NFL…don’t bother fathoming it. No, only in this dumpster fire of a postseason sport could it be. Oh the joy.

So let me see if I can explain to these basement dwelling creatures known as “Real Hockey Fans” exactly why tonight is so bad for “their” game.

1. Ovechkin gone, ZERO reason for any average sports fan to tune into a game. Less than zero in fact. Crosby is not a flashy player and no other team in the vomit fest known as the Eastern conference playoffs is worth watching with one eye much less two.Do any of you realize he is THE most known player in the game. THE most entertaining player in the game. And THE only reason many would even watch? It’s like if Kobe, Wade, Nash, Williams, and Howard all died and Lebron was the lone soldier for the league…and he was dumped in the first round by the Bulls. Super.

2. Ovechkin gone =’s no opposition to Crosby from a third straight final. Yawn…unless your name is Jordan,Gretzky Bryant, Manning etc. it’s NEVER good for the same guy to get there three straight years.

3. Both the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds have advanced making the eastern conference a collection of drab, dull and above all mediocre teams fighting for the chance to embarrass themselves and their sport in the Cup finals…all while killing what minuscule TV number the league might hope to attain. Sweet.

Best part of all of this is these elitist dopes and their canned response…”Screw fringe hockey fans, it’s our game. Don’t watch then!”

Yes, brilliant in both it’s comedy and ignorance. This is a business you dopes. That’s why every other sport worth a damn is on ESPN or some semblance of a network while you and “your” game is on Versus. what was that? Versus? Oh yes, that network somewhere in the 600’s on my dish with a mediocre broadcast crew and HD like it was shot through my dogs under bite. Perfect.

Also factor in that your game and brilliant business model has them LAST on Sportscenter highlight rotation. LAST on newspapers minds in any city not named Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa and maybe Medicine Hat. How about ZERO apparel sales in any store in the lower 48-states not named NHL Store…if you can find one? Wanna keep going?

The whole point is the more you placate to this style of crap, and that is what this product has become on most nights…crap, the worse it gets. Teams like Montreal and Philly have no business winning series, yet they do. Why? Because the game is nothing like it;s regular season counterpart…NOTHING. Sure we see orgasmic capsules of what real hockey looks like but it;s followed by 30 minutes of “old-time hockey” or whatever tired cliché these net heads can muster up with seven “blues” in them. No other sport allows it. None. Why? Because it’s bad business. Can you imagine a full decade of Knicks vs. Heat circa 1993? I’d eat a bullet after poisoning myself for good measure. How about a sweet NFL playoff game where one team decided to “slow it down” and burn the playclock down to one from 1st quarter on? Yeah Goodell would adore that.

So savor tonight my myopic, not so bright, and hilariously sensitive hockey head. It;s the very reason your game is dead in the minds of humanity.

God let the Wings make it, might be the only salvation for people like myself who like entertainment as well as results.

  • Glen G

    Mike I agree with just about everything you said here and on FB. But in all seriousness what can really be done to change it. Put on you comissioner hat… Gimme 2-3 things that could be done.

  • charlie in rockwood

    Mike im a very casual hockey fan because of all the reasons you just stated. Half the time the game isnt even enjoyable to watch. People say they love grind it out hockey and I really have no idea why. I enjoy the wings because they are the best detroit team and one of the best franchises in pro sports but if I didnt live in Michigan i would never have any idea what was going on in the NHL. Market your superstars and keep a fast pace in the playoffs. It’s and easy formula to follow that Gary Betmen doesnt seem to understand.

  • Cris

    Here, here, Mike. And THAT’S exactly why you are so refreshing. Keep being a realist. I’m right there with you. There’s NOTHING good about “old time hockey”. Not in this day and age where the reason you put on games is to get fans to watch so you can make money. You can say goodbye to the NHL in a decade if this keeps up. It’ll find itself replaced by cheerleading on ESPN…oops, might not take 10 years for that.

    • dave
      • Steve

        haha, gotta love it, so much for expert opinion when those numbers are the ones that really speak. I don’t much or at all like Gary Bettman, but as for the game, it IS multifaceted. Alex O is not the only thing going for it, as much as i like him and hate SydneyC. It’s got the non-resolute conflict of brawn and skill, it now has a brewing storyline rivalry of Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Wings vs Crosby/Pens; rookie goalie sensations; Bettman as sort of a ‘Darth Vader.” It has the ‘original six’ angle that the other sports don’t have–who mentions that about them?–no one. You can argue the variables, the virtues and pros/cons of having teams in the south as opposed to the north, but overall, skating with a puck is so much more difficult in general than dribbling a basketball or running with football and so it may be a ‘putoff’ to most, but I embrace that and marvel at what hockey players do, and would watch most any team play (‘cept the Pens ;) )

  • Joe

    Ridiculous. No credit to MTL and Halak? If Ovie and his boys are so talented, why did they blow donkey nuts on the PP? These games were entertaining to me

  • Gleas

    According to your rationale: If it leads off Sportscenter, it is clearly the most important thing in sports. That means that starting in June every year, in your mind, Brett Favre is THE most important thing in life because he has the first twenty minutes of Sportscenter EVERY day. Also, if it is on a major network, only then can it be relevant and important. Really? As for the games only being on Versus? I am able to watch more than half the Red Wings games every year. I can also see other teams on Versus, if I want. I can see EVERY playoff game and every Stanley Cup game. So yes, I would have to say that I do not need them on ESPN, or a major network. Sorry, Mike, most hockey fans who love the game the way it is do not care if others do or don’t. We are not baseball. We do not need constant love. We are not basketball. The first minutes or our game are just as important and relevant as the last minutes of our game. We do not need Ovechkin in the Stanley Cup finals to make them exciting games. Would it be nice to see him in there? Sure. Will it kill them that he is not? Not even close.

    P.S. I love your candor and your opinions, I really do. Keep them coming. Try not to resort to name calling so much though. It masks your good points in childishness.

    Thank You.

  • Jolly

    Dave… you think the ratings are going up now that Ovechkin is gone? That is the whole point. Ratings are up cause of players like Ovechkin. Hockey completely changes styles in the playoffs and it brings a disadvantage to teams with more skill and a greater advantage to teams that are more physical and defensive. The officiating is completely different… you can get away with more clutching and grabbing and can disrupt the flow of a good skilled team like Washington.

  • Barry N

    Mike, you make some very valid points, however your 1st statement in jest saying “that is old time hockey” is correct. Hockey’s superstars through the years have been hooked, high sticked, and held. But, Gretzky, Howe, Orr, Lafleur, Bossy, etc, all found ways to score and win championships. Ovechkin in my opinion has little heart. Pure champions are able to overcome the “mucking”. Next year Ovechkin play harder and maybe your team will advance.

  • John

    Crosby SUCKS!!!!! If bettman wasn’t in love with him, would we really hear of him??? NO!!!!!! Now that Alex is gone, all we’ll see is SID, SID, SID. All I can hope for is to see a highlight where crosby gets crushed during the game and watch him cry like the baby he is.

  • steve

    its not good for the sport, but it is an example of how great these playoffs are. if you dont find a way to put the puck in the net more than the other team, you lose. if u watched the games, wash started squeezing their sticks and missing good chances as soon as halak started playing great. a hot goalie and a determined team beat the more talented team cuz they worked harder and wanted it more.

    i actually heard terry ask a listener who chicagos goalie was (after he picked chicago to win it all) the other day. who plays qb for the bears again??

    anyway, yes its bad for hockey, but the stanley cup playoffs are the best event of the sports calender.

    go wings

  • Sean

    Mike, you seem to think that hockey is an individual sport, not a team sport. All throughout your rant you focussed on individual players over teams. I watch hockey to watch *teams* outplay other *teams*, not to just watch how a superstar performs. It’s the third and fourth line play that dictates how a series goes, more so than first line.

    • Jayce


  • Tom

    To be fair when I turned on ESPN and SC this morning this was the lead story, BUT it probably won’t be for the rest of the post season unless Montreal does the same thing to the Pens.

  • Eric

    Great article Mike! I’m a big hockey fan, and for some time I could never understand why hockey wasn’t more popular. You summed it up perfectly!!! It makes me very upset because it could be such a great game.

  • Daniel

    Mike, got to disagree with you on this one. Great goaltending is enough to carry you through the playoffs in the same way a great starting pitcher can dominate in the MLB playoffs. The only difference is that the goalie plays the whole game, every game of the series. Sure, the casual fan does not want to see a low scoring game, but if is close it can be just as exciting. They clearly didnt mind during the olympics for USA-Canada.

  • Josh

    Mike has a couple good points. Hockey in the post season is nothing like the regular season because teams know that they can get away with all of the clutching, grabbing, and obstruction penalties because the zebras swallow their whistle during the post season when it comes to these violations. This allows less talented teams to “upset” better teams all in the name of “old time hockey.” Also the game has got to get back on ESPN if they want to expand the fan base and interest in its sport. Despite what you might think about ESPN, they will promote the hell out of anything thing they broadcast, and with that more fans and more revenue for the game.

  • Jon from Holly

    You’ve completely missed the obvious here. Football has playoffs, but a false start is a false start, interference is interference, and a late hit is a late hit. Baseball has a seven game series, but the strike zone and rules do not change. The weather will, as we will soon be playing the World Series in snowstorms at Thanksgiving. Only in hockey do you play by one set of rules for the regular season, and then an entirely different set of rules in the playoffs. A talent laden team during the regular season? So what. For the sake of “parity” the NHL allows clutching, grabbing, hooking and holding so the less skilled teams have a chance. More games = more revenue. It is a joke. Hockey is the ONLY sport with two different rule sets and no one calls them out on this.

    • Paul

      Really, have you watched a baseball game? The strike zone changes with each umpire and the players adjust to it. Football has holding nearly every play, yet it’s only called once every 10 plays, if that. Basketball give foul calls on the “superstars” driving the lane but not the second stringers. Your points are completely wrong and have been refuted.

  • steve

    Allô? Allô? Allô? GO HABS GO

    this is why hockey is the best 7 game playoffs all of sports.
    Captials thought they had a easy series they fool them selfes twice. Now atleast we don’t have to watch all the commericalsabout Ovechkin and sissy boy


    Allô? Allô? Allô?

  • Coy

    April 29, 2010 10:31 am
    You are an Idiot. Crosby does not suck, He would be the best Red WIng if he was on their team. And for that fact he would be the best player on all teams not named Washington. I disagree with Mike that he isn’t the best player on his own team. He is in the top 3 in the NHL. So when you say he “SUCKS” that just proves you have no idea about what your talking about

  • Kevin in Windsor

    I can’t disagree more. The Capitals were the highest scoring team (by far) in the regular season and they’re considerably bigger than the Canadiens. They should have been able to pound the Canadiens into submission and the opportunities they had when there was more ice available (power play) was absolutely futile. Your on air comments about changing the rules to disallow 5 players in front of the net is equally ludicrous. By rights, if there are that many people in front of the net, don’t you think the goalie might get screened once in a while and not see the puck coming at him? The Caps Choked, pure and simple. Where other lower seeded teams raise their level of play during the playoffs, the prima-donnas on the Capitals couldn’t and were left in the dust. What next Valenti, eliminating the goalie? If I wanted to watch the equivalent of a book that I already know the ending to, I’d watch the basketball playoffs.

  • Shawn C.

    Dead on my friend! I lived in Detroit for 38 yrs, and am a die hard Wing fan. I moved to Charlotte 2 yrs ago, and have found hockey is behind, even HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS (They atleast make the front page of the sports section) . Hockey gets maybe an 1/8 of a page during playoff season. Butt-man needs to pull his head out of his —. If I didn’t have the Center Ice Package I would never see another game.

  • Arthur Carteblanche

    What’s really sad is that Ovechkin was useless in that series. Semin? Still MIA. Green? Cost his team the series. In other words, the Caps blew chunks. Best Caps: Fehr and Backstrom.

    The problem is even simpler than you think: Most Americans don’t like hockey, period. The current generation of Detroit fans are so spoiled by their team that they have no concept of the game and the league – just players’ names. It is clear from your polemic that you don’t like hockey whatsoever and have no appreciation for the game.

    Worse, you don’t even remember when the Wings were a garbage outfit and a free 2 points in the standings. They did nothing but muck it up in those days, and lost a lot.

    As for the business side, well, the vast majority of the league’s revenues are concentrated in the Northeast markets, whose fans continue to support the game year in and year out. Too bad the same can’t be said for the city of Detroit and its no-show fans.

    Is it even possible to slow NFL down even more than it is? As for baseball, it’s so impossibly slow and boring that everyone needed to take steroids to give it some punch.

    Have fun at your brainless MMA goon-fests and your yawning jumpball snooze parties. The hardcore puck fans are happy when you don’t show up, it makes it easier to get seats.

    Except in Montreal, where the beer is better, the women are much better, and the sportswriting is immensely better.

  • Jon

    Mike. I actually agree with you. I love hockey. I watched every minute of nearly every game in the Olympics. However, I can not sit through a NHL game. I have not watched an entire game in 2 years. The owners have to sacrific a little bit on ticket revenue to widen the ice. I understand owners do not want to give up the money, but they are getting killed because their sport is unwatchable on TV. They must take the short term loss in ticket sales to recoup the money 10 times over in TV revenue. April is the one time of the year I wish I did not live in Detroit, so I did not have to hear about the NHL and Red Wings.

  • Dan

    Mike, I think your point of view reflects the fact that you are uneducated about the game of hockey (after all it’s a Canadian game that was developed in wrong US markets, but that’s another story). In every sport, there exist strategies to counter the opponent’s strategies.The result of the Caps/Habs series is greatly due to the fact that Washington got badly out coached by Montreal as well as from a better TEAM effort by Montreal. Your paper shows that you are driven to the game by results (wins) rather than the whole process (winning included), which in my opinion definitely makes you nothing more than a bandwagon fan. How can you explain that Caps went 1-33 on the PP without factoring coaching/strategies (on both sides)? Better puck cycling (to open up shooting lanes) would probably have resulted in Caps not having as many shots blocked as shots that hit the net in game 7 (e.g. 41 !!!). Meaningless paper. Where I agree with you, however, is that hockey should never have been developed in southern markets because it could only result in bad business. Why expand in markets where there are already 3-4 pro teams is beyond me (equates to poor media coverage and poor fan knowledge of the game). As you pointed out, TV contracts are probably the main reason.

  • @Jon

    Then you are an Olympic hockey fan and not a hockey fan. Have you ever gone to the local rink and enjoyed a game there? It has little to do with just ice widening. They are in all honesty just different animals entirely, and I’m sure the number 1 reason you prefer Olympic hockey is national pride.

    There’s no shame in being just an Olympic hockey fan, but don’t pretend the NHL is just doing it wrong.

  • RJ

    One of the great things about sports is rooting for the underdog. Why would anyone tune in if the favored team always won?

    This just sounds like sour grapes to me. Sorry Ovie’s squad was eliminated but don’t attack the game.

  • Joe

    I disagree with you, and here’s why.
    1.Although the NHL would draw more interest if Ovie faced crosby again in the playoffs, you’re Lebron reference doesn’t make sense. It’s what, his 7th year in the league. He doesn’t have a title, and the NBA is doing fine, and so is his image. So building up AO as this loser to crosby could, arguably, actually end up doing better for the NHL
    2. What happens if it’s Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Red Wings in their 3rd final in a row?
    3.What’s the numer one draw to March Madness? I’d have to say watching Cinderella teams make it to the final 4. People love an underdog in any sport. For a franchise with so much history like the Habs, it’d be a great story for the league if they beat the high flying caps, and then defending champion pens to win the cup.

    Just cause sportscenter doesn’t show it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t watch or read ESPN for hockey coverage, i’ll go elsewhere. In the internet age, you have many options, so who cares what sportscenter says, the majority of people on there have no idea what they’re talking about. Hell, they hired Matt Millen to talk NFL! Last I checked, how well a business is doing isn’t gauged by what position they are on sportscenter. I would say the steady increase in viewership in ratings, viewership, and merchandise sales is a much better yard stick, all which the NHL seems to have been doing pretty well at

    And you’re marketing comment is ludicrous. I know in DC and Pittsburgh, you’ll find more hockey gear this time of year then anything else. Even when I was in Northern California this year, i was pleasently suprised at how many people were wearing San Jose gear.

  • Jay

    What you described is precisely is what is wrong with the NBA. While the better team with the bigger star wins most of the time. It is my opinion that the NBA does whatever it can to make sure of that. Look at Lebron’s average fouls per game and tell me that’s not absurd. Either way, it is a star driven league. However, what happened in Washington on Wednesday night was great for the NHL. The NHL simply isn’t popular enough in many places with franchises but the places that do have energized fan bases are still in it. What the casual observer is going to tune into are crazy crowds and hard working players. It was teams like tampa bay, anaheim, and carolina winning cups that hurt the NHL, not parody.

  • Paul

    Mike, why do you watch basketball playoffs at all? The best team always wins those series, you know what’s going to happen, why waste your time? Also, basketball doesn’t really count until the 4th quarter anyways, whereas a hockey game can be close for the entire game.

    Finally, you mentioned on your show before that you watched the NIT tourney games so you could “report” to the fans about future players etc. yet you don’t watch hockey games unless Ovechkin or the Wings are playing, thus bringing no added value to your hockey “takes”. You don’t like hockey, you’re not a big hockey fan, we get it.

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