Hockey Fans Deserve Better than What Networks Provide

Erin McLaughlinSenior Analyst IIJune 1, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 04: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in game six of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Mellon Arena on June 4, 2008 in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. The Red Wings defeated the Penguins 3-2 to win the Stanley Cup Finals 4 games to 2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

This past weekend, the Stanley Cup Finals began with Games One and Two on Saturday and Sunday back-to-back.

When I first saw the schedule, it made me curious as to why. I didn't mind, because I like to watch the games. I hate having to wait. So three games in four days doesn't bother me. It also requires toughness out of the players.

What does bother me is the reason for why they scheduled it this way.

Apparently, NBC doesn't want the Stanley Cup Finals to interfere with Conan O'Brien's first week on The Tonight Show. That shows me the priority that NBC puts on the NHL. The Stanley Cup is the most prestigious trophy in sports, and they put it on the back burner.

Now, I am not diminishing the importance of Conan O'Brien, but the premiere of his new show can happen any time. The Stanley Cup Finals happens once a year. Therefore, the premiere could happen two weeks later and nobody would care.

For NBC to disrespect the NHL and its fans this way is disgusting.

Would they treat the Super Bowl like that? We all know the answer. I am not sure when the NBC contract expires, but let's just hope that the NHL takes its business elsewhere. I wouldn't mind seeing them go back to FOX. I thought FOX did a good job of not only carrying the game but advertising it as well.

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I was already questioning the wisdom of NBC when they cancelled My Name Is Earl. Now to do this really makes me scratch my head and think, "Is Matt Millen or Isiah Thomas in charge at NBC?"

If this isn't bad enough, Versus will cover the next two games before the Finals go back to NBC.  Game Four is on the same day as Game One of the NBA Finals, and Game Six conflicts with Game Three.

That is just poor scheduling. It is all on the NHL because the NBA already had its schedule set for the Finals.

I am happy that my beloved Red Wings are just two wins away from another cup. However, seeing this great game being disrespected like this just makes me mad.