NHL Hopes Dream Match Up Helps League, While NBA Prepares For Finals Let Down

Bryan FlynnAnalyst IMay 28, 2009

RALEIGH, NC - MAY 26:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at RBC Center on May 26, 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Pittsburgh won the game 4-1 to complete a four game sweep.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

One league is seeing its dream matchup fade away, while the other league could not be happier about their dream matchup in the finals.

The NBA has put a lot of time and money in a Kobe versus LeBron matchup and it is being ruined by the Orlando Magic mostly and the Denver Nuggets will try to send Kobe home for the summer.

The NHL is enjoying one of the most exciting postseasons since they came back from the season they lost over labor strife in 2004 and almost killed the sport.

After rule changes to make the game more exciting and to allow more goal scoring, the game is fun to watch, as no lead is safe anymore. The only problem no one is watching.

Things could not be worse for the NBA and their dream matchup in the finals of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. After hyping the match up from the very being of the playoffs, it looks to be in trouble. All the puppets and commercials may not be able to save King James from being dethroned by Dwight “Superman” Howard and company.

On the other side, no one told the Nuggets that they were supposed to roll over and let the Lakers go to the Finals and meet up with James and the Cavaliers. Denver has had a chance to win every game in the series—and if not for mental lapses in the fourth quarter would be looking to close out the Lakers, even though Kobe and company have taken some control of the series.

With all the focus on the LeBron and Kobe matchup, one has to wonder if the NBA can be happy with what a Orlando Magic-Denver Nuggets finals. After all the buildup, will people watch if the historic matchup does not happen?  Can the NBA really smile and be happy no matter what they say about being happy with any matchup?

The corporate sponsors of the NBA have to be worried, since they have been setting up commercials and web sites over who is the better superstar. If the Kobe and LeBron matchup does not happen, how much money could the sponsors and the NBA be looking at losing? Can a Howard-Kobe matchup or a Howard-Carmelo matchup be just as appealing?

The NHL could not be happier with the match up they have in their finals. What could be better than the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins? The two best-known teams in the NHL with the best-known players.

The NHL has had great playoffs with both these teams. Detroit was in a great series with the Anaheim Ducks—the last two Stanley Cup winners. The Penguins won the show down of superstars with their star getting the better of the Washington Capitals and their star Alex Ovechkin.

The only question for the NHL is: Will anyone be watching their Finals? This rematch of last year’s Finals—and most people think this year’s Pittsburgh team is more prepared this year—they are only on NBC on the weekends.  After that, they move to Versus a channel that is only carried by 60 percent of the country's cable operators.

The NHL made a great move by not waiting until June 5 to start the finals. They move the finals up nearly a week to May 30 to take advantage of the great playoffs they are having. I like the idea of not having to wait a week to see the Finals. A great move by the NHL to try to help bring their game and league back in to the main stream America.

For every great move the NHL is making on the ice, they are being hampered off it by a bad TV deal. If the NHL can work itm they should get NBC to show all the Finals games in prime time. That way everyone could enjoy both these teams.

Plus, if for some reason anyone has been in a cave somewhere, they can see Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin—two of the best young players in the league.  Detroit has not had much to celebrate with the economy and the Lions, so it would be great to see NBC to carry all the games not just Games One and Two.

Come on NBC, wake up! Instead of showing repeats of Law and Order, give the whole country a chance to see what could be a classic final. The ratings could not be worse for you—show the last part of the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup rather than what you normally show.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.