With the season now over and the focus now turned to Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, the start of football, and the heating pennant races, I thought one last look at the season that was and the season to be is in order.
I realize that hockey in America has now become the equivalent to DNA evidence in the OJ trial; it just doesn’t matter. However, die hard fans like myself can’t help but try to sway the casual fan to take notice and appreciate the fastest team sport out there. So here is what you should be paying attention to until October when the new season starts.
Chris Chelios, of the Detroit Red Wings, signed a one year contract with the team to play in his 23rd season in the NHL. I think now there needs to be a rank above veteran to explain this guy’s position in the hockey world. (Or we could just call him Moses and leave it at that.)
ESPN is reporting that in the next five years the NHL will expand to two new locations and will geographically re-align the divisions. This comes off as counter intuitive for most hockey fans who have heard nothing but bad news when it comes to league finances. Also, I don’t know if the same men who wanted to rebuild credibility in the league after a lockout by putting games on the VS. network should be allowed to make any more marketing decisions, ever. The first step in all of this should be to go back to ESPN and pay them to televise your games. Maybe then the league will resemble its former self. Also, I’m not sure the die hard hockey fan is ready to watch the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Las Vegas Tumbling Dice.
Sydney Crosby, (the LeBron James of hockey) and his team will be getting a new arena in the steel city in the next couple of years. Good for them. They still face the problem basketball has in that their best young player is in a small market. Hey, these guys are smart though, they’ll figure it out, right?
And here is one for the road:
The 2007-2008 season will open up in London. The O2 arena will host the Kings and the Ducks in a couple of games before they head back over to America for the duration of the season. Will soccer fans respond well to the American sport? Sure, look how huge soccer got in the last year. (Side note: it saddens me that there is no sarcasm font available yet.) The games overseas will probably sell out, but even though the pound is still almost twice as strong as the US dollar, don’t expect the exchange rate to help the league out of its jam. But hey, I’m really looking forward to watching opening night at 3 AM though.