The NHL idea of putting it’s most tenured referee’s instead of it’s best referee’s in charge of the nationally televised Stanley Cup Finals is making it fall flat on it’s face. TV rating are down almost 20% over last year, and one of the first places to post that the ratings are down on their website was ESPN. For those of you who don’t know, ESPN is one of the places that the NHL and Gary Bettman has been courting for a new TV contract. ESPN: “Ratings down for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals”
The Referee’s Bill McCreary and Paul Devorski are the old dinosaurs of the NHL from the 80′s who do not call interference, clutching, or grabbing. How embarrassing is it for the NHL when one of their announcers goes on 5 minute rants about the interference not being called in the game, not just once, but at least three times and he was right. Even more embarrassing is that during what is supposed to be the NHL’s golden hour, the top scorer in the regular season and the top scorer in the playoffs gets into a fight because he has no recourse because the old farts would not call a penalty.
A prime example of the NHL being backwards is the “Phoenix War” that Gary Bettman is currently waging. Here is a place that does not support hockey, a team that the NHL has been pumping money into for years, a place that has one of the lowest TV ratings around and Bettman is trying to save it for what? Hamilton is a place that can not only support a team, it would bring in a owner with tons of loot who loves hockey and it would create a huge rivalry. It has been said many times that Toronto could support two teams like New York City’s 3 teams.
The NHL owners need to sit down and vote in a new NHL. Bring in younger more dynamic thinking individuals to run the league, pay off the old dinosaur referees and send them on their way, then enter into a new age of a fast, hard hitting, fun to watch NHL.