Hockey chat: a conversation
Cassie: You around?
John: Nope, I'm a'skinny.
Cassie: Hmmm. That's too bad.
John: Yeah, sorry... I'm not scheduled to be a'round until after I go through the other shapes. I'm really worried about being a'polygon.
Cassie: You already are without even knowing it. At least by mapping standards, anyways.
John: Yeah, I have my qualities that keep me multi-sided. How are you?
Cassie: Tired. Not sure why I'm still awake, to be honest. Probably out of habit. How are you?
John: OK for the most part. Mike Chen tells me that fans at a Sharks Q and A session were behind the idea of Dan Boyle becoming captain.
Cassie: I'm not surprised.
John: It makes me both proud and it makes me angry again....
Cassie: You know, it's funny how Brad Lukowich gets lost in that whole thing.
John: Very good point. I don't mean to forget him at all.
Cassie: No one does.
John: It has to do with him leaving for the Isles after the lockout.
Cassie: I used to watch him play for Kamloops in junior.
John: But another "forgotten" part of a trade was Michel Ouellet going to Vancouver with Shane O'Brien. O'Brien was the key player involved in that deal for Lucas Krajicek. Ouellet was a throw-in/salary dump.
Cassie: So right now, I'm busy trying to finish bringing a new hockey fan fully over to the dark side.
John: No, the dark side would be bringing them over and saying how Gary Bettman was the hero of hockey. Just getting them to like hockey is something else.
Cassie: She's a diehard football fan. So hockey is the dark side for her. For now, anyways.
John: Yeah, that'll do it.
Cassie: She's a friend of a friend. She's from Virginia, and got sucked into it with playoffs a couple of weeks ago. It gets them every time!
John: Absolutely. Now if only we had another triple overtime game that would really get her to latch on.... (I see sudden death OT as something of an asset.)
Cassie: Right now, I'm trying to explain how banging on the glass is bad fan behavior. Or, behaviour, if you will.
John: The Queen's English! It's invading! You can also clue her in that people do worse behind the glass when players are nearby.
Cassie: She had to go, and I doubt I'd have had to mention that since she watched the last round. But at least I managed to impart the wrongness of banging on the glass. That's important, you know.
John: Absolutely. One of the integral parts of the game!
Cassie: Well, football fans are ignorant of hockey, you know.
John: Oh, of course. I told you earlier in the week I touched base some old football blogging friends?
John: One of them ended up telling me the reason he doesn't like linking to Raw Charge is because ice hockey ranks just above soccer for him. "And I know nothing about soccer." That says everything right there. And while I don't want to be judgmental, it's part of the reason I hadn't tried reaching out to new users on his site - I didn't want to get that type of reaction. "Who cares, hockey sucks and the Bolts suck!"
Cassie: Football fans are arrogant like that. I know since I'm one myself. Secretly, they all sort of think that they'd probably like hockey if they ever watched it. But then they just never get around to watching it.
John: And yet the two sports, in that regard, should be so compatible. I mean, for example, the Draft. Both leagues, the diehards love to watch the draft, yet the NHL doesn't really over-analyze play during the draft show. It's more like "Here's the player, here's some highlights, he really rocks and you all know him at home so this is cool for him!" Compared to the NFL draft, where they show reel upon reel of the most mundane player movements and why a player is good at his position? The NHL's setup is a joke. The diehards would understand the X's and O's instead of just the hits-and-scoring clips about players drafted. There may be no set plays like football in most regards, but there are certain intangibles that can be shown. Simple ability to move the puck, vision on ice....
Cassie: The NHL doesn't have any idea about its fan base. At. All. Which means that they don't know what the fans want. So they try to be all things to all people, and that just doesn't work.
John: They give a general overview and keep it simple, aloof.
Cassie: The NHL assumes that everyone's a novice fan. While the NFL assumes that everyone's an expert. That's the biggest difference.
John: And ironically - when having this same discussion with my friend from Calgary, he proclaimed that only diehards watch the draft. I asked him, "So why don't they show a defenseman moving the puck instead of scoring during the draft show?" Which was followed by "...."
Cassie: But that's the consistent party line for everything that the NHL does. They assume that people don't know anything about hockey. It's even that way to some extent in Canada - they gear things so that kids can understand what's going on. There is no intelligent adult discussion about hockey going on anywhere in North America. Not on TV, anyways.
John: Right. And the assumption from the board of governors is that fans are the little people - they only matter when ownership wants something.
Cassie: And ownership thinks that fans don't know anything about hockey. But they get that from the league as well. The only people that I've heard discuss hockey like adults - like announcers for football or baseball would - are the announcers for NESN; the guys who call Boston Bruins games. Everyone else talks down to the fans like they're idiots.
John: That's the type of game I see Bobby Taylor and Rick Peckham call in Tampa, not talking down - or at least I don't feel like they are. Though Sun Sports did have segments from time to time in the past where Rick and Bobby explain the game in a talking-down fashion.
Cassie: Right. Hockey isn't a complicated game. There's no reason why people can't pick up the basics on their own. It's the nuances that people need help with sometimes.
John: And the nuances get subjective interpretation, but we've gone down that road before.
Cassie: Yep. More on that later, since now it's time to go. Have a good night, John.
John: Nice talking to you, Cassie.