So once again, we are in an NHL lockout.
For some reason, I don’t seem to care as much this year as in years past. Not sure why.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t love to watch it. There are plenty of other options to watch on television, but I thought TSN/Sportsnet/CBC could use some help in filling out their programming.
So here are five hockey-related things to show and not show during the lockout.
To show: Old NHL drafts. I think this would be a fun way to kill a few hours, and I would watch some of them. For example, 2003 is seen as one of the greatest drafts in history (well, maybe not so much for the Habs). But wouldn’t it be great to watch it, just to see the reaction of the announcers at the time, not to mention the general managers justifying their picks? Wouldn’t you cringe when Columbus is about to announce they are going to draft Nikolai Zherdev, knowing that how much talent is still there?
Not show: Any draft from the last five years. It’s too early to sit and know how bad some of the mistakes were if it took place recently. Johansen versus Niederreiter wouldn’t have the same interest as watching the Rangers take Hugh Jessiman instead of Dustin Brown.
To show: Random games. Just throw a dart at a board, and go with that game. The Kings versus the Islanders in 1982 in a regular season tilt? Done. The Nordiques taking on the Whalers in 1987? Great. Flames and Oilers in 1992? Excellent choice. These games would be exciting to watch because you get to see different teams, old school players, and unusual matchups. Maybe even throw in a Colorado Rockies game when they were coached by Don Cherry (Cherry can even do a live Coach’s Corner during the game). There’s a million things to do. Best of all, because it’s just a random game, most of us won’t know the outcome. That makes them more exciting.
Not show: Games from the late 1990s, early 2000s. Remember the neutral zone trap? The 2-1 games? The matches where the final shots were 18-15? None of those please.
To show: Unusual matches that we never hear about that must exist. We all know the Red Army played Montreal on New Year’s Eve in 1975. It was a 3-3 tie. Montreal dominated, Tretiak was great, blah blah blah. It’s not that great a game to watch anymore, because there’s no uniqueness to it. We know what happened. But did you know the Red Army played against a bunch of NHL teams that year? Why not show the game against the Rangers or the Bruins? Or the Soviet Wings against the Sabres (Buffalo won in a 12-6 rout)? It would be new and thrilling to watch a game that happened 40 years ago where we don’t know the final score. We all know about the Miracle of Ice game. But how about when Russia played Canada during those Olympics? Who was on the Canadian team? How did we fare? Was it close?
But for all the times we see the Montreal-L.A. game 2 in 1993 (when McSorley got a penalty for the stick measurement), we never see the Game 5 when Montreal won the Cup. For as many time as we’ve seen the Bruins-Habs too many men on the ice game from 1979, we never see Game 7 when the Habs won the series.
Not show: All those games we’ve seen a dozen times. The ones mentioned above, plus the Gretzky-highsticking-Gilmour game, and countless others.
To show: Emotional games. These ones tug at the heart strings. And there are plenty. Saku Koivu’s first game back after fighting cancer. Mario Lemieux’s first game back from fighting cancer. Gretzky’s first game back after the trade (or his retirement game).
Not show: Fake emotional games. No banner raisings or retired jersey inductions allowed.
To show: The Wayne Gretzky trade. Maybe three hours that include the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, the whole Edmonton press conference, and the whole L.A. press conference. And I would love to see if the announcers at the time praised Bruce McNall.
Not show: Any TSN trade deadline show. They’re dull enough when watching it live. I couldn’t sit through it again. Ugh.