April 4, 2013

The NHL trade deadline is the most overrated day of the year

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

Over a month ago it started. There were features on it and commercials on TV. A couple of weeks ago, a countdown appeared ticked down the minutes towards it. Every media outlet prepared for it and every personality on the beat chimed in. There was more hype for this day on more networks than any annual event.

It was all for the NHL’s trade deadline day.

And now, we have to ask: Why?

This year, just like the past three, there was little to talk about. There were 17 trades and a total of 28 players on the move – many of them of minor significance. But that didn’t stop anybody from going overboard.

On TSN, the coverage was from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

On The Score, it was from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

On Sportsnet, there were a total of 31 people covering the deadline, according to one Sun columnist who was part of one of the many panels.

For those keeping track, that is actually three more people weighing in the deals than players actually involved in them.

Why does everybody get sucked into this trap every year and why do the media go overboard about this one day? Both the NBA and MLB trade deadlines don’t garner nearly the same attention and we have seen similar significance in terms of deals there – why can’t we trim back on the NHL’s coverage?

With the salary cap in place, it has become harder to make deals – especially a deal with a big star or salary involved. Gone are the days when teams could load up with ease on the final day. Now, we see teams who are looking to dump their stars do it at least a couple of days, if not a week or two, beforehand. It’s something you have to clear with your owner before executing.

The worst part of this entire hullabaloo about nothing, was the fact that there were legitimate sporting events going at the same time. There were two Champions League soccer – one featuring Real Madrid, one of the biggest teams in all sports – and regular-season baseball.

Maybe one day the lesson will be learned and we won’t get this entire day’s coverage of a semi-meaningless day. But, I suspect and dread, nobody in charge will back down because ultimately the consumer will keep on tuning in to hear a couple dozen guys talk about three trades for more than five hours – as we saw early Wednesday.

It’s a shame, really.

And, if you can name one day of the annual sporting calendar that is more overrated than NHL trade deadline day, please share it with me. I’d be happy to hear your suggestions, but this one really takes the cake.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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