Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 10/15/07 at 09:39 AM ET
I told you I wasn’t going to talk about attendance anymore, so I will today. But only because my hand has been forced…again. Apparently, there’s a guy in Grand Rapids who hosts some show on some radio station that some people probably listen to.
I don’t know if Bill Simonson is genetically an idiot, or if today was the exception. I don’t know because I’ve never heard of him before.
He has a theory you’ve heard before, and it’s best that I show you the end first. Here’s how he closes his blog today.
God bless American sports and the Americans who play the games we love.
Patriotic. Nice. Too bad it’s misguided and ridiculous when you look at the paragraph that preceded it.
NHL scouts need to find the next great American player and make him a star in this country to save the league.
There is nothing wrong with rooting for your countrymen. Every other country in the world takes pride in its athletes and teams. Most people still fly the flags of their respective nations on American soil when their national teams do well. Why can’t Americans celebrate their sports stars and teams from this country?
Good point. When hockey was popular in the states back in the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, etc; the league was chock full of American stars. The Gretzky family in Kansas can’t keep the stalkers away. The Lemieuxs in Kentucky are hockey royalty. Amazing that a relatively small town like Little Rock could produce two of the greatest players hockey has ever known: Steve Yzerman and Bobby Orr.
Oh, but Simonson has more. Yes he does.
What is with hockey in America? The Red Wings can’t draw, NHL TV ratings are some of the worst in sports and a great organization such as the Grand Rapids Griffins—the Red Wings’ top farm affiliate—can’t find a way outside Saturday-night promotions to put people in the seats in downtown Grand Rapids.
Hockey purists might just have to deal with the fact that the game on ice never will be a major player on the sports landscape in America. Too many established pro and college sports in front of hockey.
I also think the lack of born-and-bred American hockey stars hurts the sport in the United States. TV ratings in America have the NFL and NASCAR as the top two TV draws for sports fans.
What is similar with these two leagues? The NFL and NASCAR lineups are dominated by Americans.
NHL TV ratings are bad because they play on a network unknown to most and not available to millions. NHL TV ratings are down because the league has no concept how to market their players. Alexander Ovechkin is one of the most engaging, dynamic athletes in the world but maybe, MAYBE, five percent of the country has heard of him or heard him utter a word.
Here’s what really gets me. He doesn’t come out and say it, but he’s inferring that Americans won’t watch a sport largely populated by Canadiens, which it has been forever. Stupid. How many Americans played on the ‘97 Wing team? Doug Brown? Who else? Was Chris Chelios the reason Chicago Stadium was filled nightly with drunken Hawk fans in the late 80’s, early 90’s? Partly, sure.
He’s also claiming, without saying it, that the Europeans on the Wings aren’t drawing the way Steve Yzerman did. Newsflash: NO ONE is going to draw the way #19 did.
In golf, when Tiger isn’t making a run on Sunday, we grow tired of watching golfers who don’t have a U.S. citizenship.
I’m a US citizen. If I end up playing the US Open next year, throwing clubs and drinking my way around the back nine before I pass out on the cart path next to 17, will that draw more viewers?
Stupid question. Of course it would.
Get hockey back on ESPN where they know how to market a sport. That’s the only solution. Start with the outdoor game, right after you move the date from January 1st to January whatever. My god. Is there a frigging brain cell to be found anywhere in the NHL front office? Of all the days NOT to schedule that game. Only 6 frigging bowl games that day. Geniuses. Ass.
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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org