2010 Winter Olympics: Why Canada-USA Needs to Be Live on NBC

Chase RuttigCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2010

Well, the Olympics are off and running, and its marquee event, the men's ice hockey competition, began yesterday.

Three of the favourites of the tournament won their opening games as the United States, Russia, and the home country of Canada all got convincing wins.

The games were the most entertaining part of the Olympics so far, and the tournament hasn't even heated up yet.

The best games of the round robin happen on Rivalry Sunday, as the Russians play the Czech Republic and Sweden plays its Scandinavian neighbors Finland in two fierce European rivalries.

But the main event is definitely the game between two of the bitterest rivals in ice hockey. The United States plays Canada in what is affectionately called the Border Battle.

At every level of international hockey, from women's to World Juniors, the United States and Canada play the most passionate and most physical level of hockey you can see at the international level.

The moments go on and on: From this year's World Juniors, where the United States stopped Canada's five-year winning streak in the tournament in overtime on Canada's home soil, to the infamous 2002 tilt in Salt Lake City, where Canada won its first Olympic hockey gold in over 50 years by beating the United States, this game is never short on moments.

Which is sad because in the United States this game is being shown on CNBC, which is like Duke vs. North Carolina being shown on ESPN 8 "the Ocho," or the Super Bowl being shown on the NFL Network. It's putting a potential ratings juggernaut on a channel that no one has access to. 

This is an absolute shame for a couple of reasons.

NBC is the network that has the Stanley Cup playoffs. You don't think it would be a great idea for them to maybe show their stars playing at the highest level of hockey? It wouldn't surprise me, as this is the network that cut out of overtime of an Eastern Conference Final for pre-race coverage of the Preakness. But come on—this game is a way better ratings draw than whatever is on Sunday.

This could also be the best game of round robin play. The United States matches Canada physically, has the goaltending edge in "Miller Time" Ryan Miller, and has a group of young, hungry players looking to shock the world against the Olympic favourites. Get Al Michaels in the booth, and we have a game that will give anyone goosebumps.

Plus, the Winter Classic brings in huge New Year's Day ratings for NBC. Give this game the right kind of marketing, and it would crush that number and could even beat out figure skating and men's halfpipe as the highest-rated events of the games.

Hockey is a growing sport and is slowly working its way back to the peak of popularity it had in 1994 before the lockout. It even got a Sports Illustrated cover article on the tournament. This tournament is no joke for the rest of the world, and it's an insult by NBC to put it on tape delay or show it live on CNBC

NBC is the dumbest network in television, and how they get the Olympics is a shame. Bring it back to ABC, please and thank you. They could put the events on channels that are more accessible to everyone in America instead of dumping half of the events on channels where at least 75 percent of the country has no access.

This game definitely is not getting the attention it deserves, and I urge sporting fans everywhere to tune in to this display of how great the sport is. If you have the ugly sister to NBC, that is, CNBC—tune in and you won't be disappointed,