Kukla's Korner


82 games, so few of them for me

Earlier today, Alanah pointed us to Paul’s NHL.com blog, where he shared a smidgen of his love of hockey with us. We were reminded of what a boost we get from hockey, and how it gives us such excitement, whether our team is set to clinch a playoff berth, or merely to win a well-played game from a lower position in the standings.

He even has Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live ordered to light up his many, many screens. But how are we doing? How do we find our fix, considering not everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the game?

One thousand two hundred and thirty (1230) games will fill our regular season from October through a bit of April, not to mention the pre-season and playoff games. As for me, it’s no secret which 82 games I’m most keen to watch, and yet the question that remains is will I have the opportunity to?

Tomorrow afternoon, the Ottawa Senators will take on the Frolunda Indians, following the path shared by Lightning, Rangers, and Penguins in taking on European squads in exhibition matches. I’ve heard that there are teams outside of North America, that some of our players came from those teams too. I find it interesting to watch the comparison, as the Rangers beat SC Bern 8 to 1, while the Lightning needed the shootout to eke out a 3-2 win over HC Slovan. Yet I won’t get to see how Alfredsson and the Senators fare against his old team, the Frolunda Indians; it isn’t being broadcast.

Last season wasn’t much different. Whether it was the Sens PPV cutting out snippets from games, the California road trip whose broadcasts didn’t stretch far enough, or merely my presence relatively close to the home of the Leafs, there was always something holding me back from watching the team whose colours I bleed play the game I love.

Even when it’s on tv, there will always be a host of channels who might carry it, figuring out whether I need to have the CBC or TSN or some subscription-based channel on a given night is a task unto itself. With my luck, just as I’d expect from Center Ice or GameCenter Live, my physical location will always be the ultimate barrier that prevents me from catching the Sens.

Yes, I realize that it must be much easier for a network to cover the 16 games of an NFL team, including all the games in their twelve-team, single-elimination playoffs, but isn’t that besides the point? I want to see my team, each and every game. I know there are a myriad of further explanations as to why I can’t see my team very much, or why even if I had season tickets and lived in Ottawa I would still be held down and forced to miss at least a few games, but is that the spirit in which the League wants to exist?

When will I get a chance to watch my team, every single game of glory? When will I have the opportunity, even if it isn’t absolutely free, to be a fan of and follow any team I want, regardless of where I live? Is my only recourse to try some complicated IP-masking scheme to watch games over the internet? I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment or facing this obstacle, simple and elegant opportunity that it is for the League to give a great gift to its fans. I know that someday, if I can ever find the answer to my troubles, I will be a much happier and correspondingly more intense fan of my team, and of the NHL.

I suppose there’s always radio waiting for me though.

Filed in: NHL General, | SENShobo | Permalink


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About SENShobo

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net