Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why the NHL Should be Rooting for Boston to Win the Cup

A few things for you to understand before I make this statement:

1. I'm from Pittsburgh, so the Penguins are my team, but in general I love hockey more. I think it's one of the two best sports in the world and I'd like nothing more than the sport that I love to have an NFL-sized fan base and a big TV contract.

2. Along those lines, the NHL is an extremely regional league. In most cases, the majority of a franchise's fans live (or have lived) very close to their team.

3. For reasons I can understand - it's the same way with me and the NBA - if you weren't "born" a hockey fan, you aren't currently a hockey fan.

4. More people read articles now than ever before, especially those written by Boston-native Bill Simmons, who has an absolutely enormous readership (for good reason).

So, that being said, the NHL advocate in me wouldn't totally hate it if the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup.

Before you Pittsburgh fans rush my dorm room to tar and feather me (obviously the correct punishment in this situation), I want you to consider a few things:

- If Boston were to win the Cup, the likelihood that the ever-popular Simmons would write post-season articles about hockey would skyrocket.

- In turn, his readers, hopefully in bulk, would at least entertain the idea of finding Versus on their televisions (a tough task) and watching amazing athletes play a sport on a sheet of ice. (Let me repeat: hockey players do things that other athletes do - pass, shoot, score - but they do it frozen water.)

- It's possible that some of those readers who weren't hockey fans before would be turned on to the game.

- the NHL might be able to overcome the regional nature of the game and attract fans from non-NHL cities.

- And hockey fans wouldn't have to deal with explaining themselves when asked the condescending question: "How can you like hockey? You can't even see the puck!" (the equivalent of "I've never watched a game in HD before!")

But because we can't rely on Gary Bettman to market the NHL, I'm saying it's now up to Bill Simmons to get the word out about hockey.

The problem is: by the time Simmons would write an article about the Bruins winning the Cup, the season would be over and there would be no more hockey for these new fans to watch...and that's a shame, because if that were the case, the commish wouldn't know what to do with all the new publicity. He'd probably just blow yet another chance to market his league. All the intrigued potential hockey fans would have no hockey to watch, and thus, to the casual sports fan who's bored by the thuggery and bad refereeing of the NBA or the horrible economics of MLB, the zeal of the new, fast, exciting NHL would fade away forever.

Penguins over Bruins in seven if they meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.

So this doesn't even matter. It won't happen. Go Pens

Thanks for reading.

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