Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports Puck Daddy blog reports:
(Slap ice skates on ‘em and it might be different)
The U.S. vs. Canada men’s preliminary-round showdown Feb. 21 won’t be shown on NBC, but on cable’s MSNBC at 7 p.m. EST. Instead, the Peacock will bring fans an exhilarating night of ice dancing, women’s speedskating, men’s freestyle skiing and men’s giant slalom – rather than what amounts to an NHL all-star game on an international stage.
For most, NBC’s decision represents a mindless, millisecond thumb-twitch on the remote. But for the NHL, there could be no bigger insult. (Damn amazing considering the public embarrassment suffered by the league and Commissioner Gary Bettman over the years.)
(Walsh is prominent NHL player agent with Octagon)
If you don’t know why NBC’s JV-ing hockey is an outrage to its fans, well … you probably don’t care.
Work with me, kiddo:
1) NBC is the NHL’s network broadcast partner. Actually, “partner” might be stretching it as the league gave NBC broadcast rights to its games for free.
2) The NHL excised three weeks from its regular season, including canceling its all-star game, to commit players to the Olympics. That decision caused much consternation among NHL owners, coaches, players and their cable television partners. If the NHL knew that its players in their biggest game were going to be relegated to lightly-watched MSNBC, do you think it would’ve made the Olympic commit?
So with those two points as a backdrop, why on earth did NBC decide to dump USA vs. Canada hockey for Ice Dancing?