March 9, 2007

What a shocking coincidence.

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

I’m sure that any regular sports fan who watches highlights will have seen Chris Simon try to take Ryan Hollweg’s head off with his stick last night during the Islanders-Rangers game but the timing couldn’t have been better (or worse; depends how you look at it). Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of Todd Bertuzzi’s assault on Steve Moore. The saddest thing about this new turn of events is that the only way that the NHL becomes front-page news in the states is if someone attacks another player outrageously or if there’s a massive brawl. If my memory is correct, last year’s Stanley Cup final was the top story on ESPN.com only until the playoff basketball scores came in later that night.

The NHL is fighting a losing battle in America and seriously has to figure out a new plan to brand itself correctly. I have been a long proponent of banning fighting from the game (or at least giving game misconducts instead of major penalties) but it’s starting to look like the only way that the NHL will keep on surviving is either in Canada and fewer American markets or just turning the league into a sloppy hit-fest.

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