It would seem the NHL is very over the top about getting people to watch their product in High Definition due to widescreen telecasts, finer detail, and thus (because of both of the aforementioned reasons) a better telecast for fans to follow.
But the most un-nerving thing about standard 4:3 presentation of the NHL (for all you non technophilies out there, that 4:3 reference is the aspect ratio of a standard television set) is the action is chopped off and thus you miss a lot of what is going on, on ice. I can sit through a telecast as long as they don't jump from camera to camera (EPSN does a great job making me wish I was at games. And, btw, the EPSN spelling isn't incorrect, more on that later), but most fans cannot. Hockey has traditionally translated very poorly to television... ...And thus the NHL is pushing for fans to get HDTV's because of the better translation.
Which is bullshit.
Once again the league does a great job giving the wrong, most costly solution to the problem. They've been upgrading TV equipment and they have HD Telecasts in many markets (if not them all) along with their national TV deals. That does not, however, get non-NHL fans to watch the game. It might INSPIRE NHL fans to drop a wad of cash on an HDTV (which I won't) but it doesn't solve anything, it doesn't bring in new viewers.
How do you resolve this? Well, my solution won't be agreed with by some who will say "This will make the puck even harder to follow" but if the NHL were to start showing games in widescreen on standard telecasts (16:9 aspect ratio - what you see on widescreen DVD's and in movie theaters) you would have a wide glimpse of the action. Oh, those "Annoying" black bars would be at the top and the bottom of the screen but I would gladly take that and seeing all the action over being stuck at one end of the ice and not being able to tell what's going on down ice.
Maybe it won't convert people, but it's a much easier remedy for the problem than asking people to pony up 1500+ dollars for a new TV and then special cable subscriptions for HD channels.