March 3, 2015

Time to kill the deadline coverage

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

By the time the bell rang at 3 p.m. on Monday for the NHL trade deadline the amount of players on the move roughly equalled the amount of people covering the trade deadline on TSN and Sportsnet.

It was that uneventful.

When you consider the most excitement of the day came when TSN had Gino Reda wrangling llamas in the parking lot, well, you get the picture of what actually went down on deadline day.

This came after months of advertising for this “event” by both sports networks, which devoted at least a dozen people each for on-screen duties.

The biggest trade of the day? Jeff Petry from Edmonton to Montreal for a couple of draft picks. I can honestly tell you that I have never of Petry and wouldn’t have even known he played for the Oilers.

But the spectacle raged on. The whole thing on TSN went on from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. – nine hours of coverage! – and then followed that with a one-hour recap show.

A bit excessive when you’re breaking down deals like Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey for Jordan Caron.

Compare that to the coverage both networks gave the NBA trade deadline a couple of weeks ago: None. Not even a ticker on the main networks while some pretty big and unexpected deals were breaking. It was the exact opposite of what happened at the NHL deadline.

The whole thing really got started in 2010, when there were a record amount of deals that went down and networks were scrambling to keep up.

Now, nothing happens until around noon and, even then, there’s nothing too big.

This year especially, teams were making deals in the weeks leading up to the deadline. While there were some interesting names on the table like the Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel, there was no way that either would be dealt in a panic trade in an effort to tank for Connor McDavid. After all, the market for them will still be there around draft time.

This should be a wakeup call to the networks and media in general that we shouldn’t go treating the the NHL trade deadline like it’s a Canadian national holiday. It’s a bank holiday at best and, at worst, it’s a bunch of llamas running through a studio full of guys staring at their cell phones.

It’s time to tone things down.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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