Last night during the broadcast of the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks NHL playoff game, Hall of Fame announcer Pat Foley made a comment:
“This is the third time in five games that a start time of 8:42 (p.m.) local was mandated. I can say with certainty, players cannot stand these late starts, coaches cannot stand them, and most importantly, the fans can’t stand them. So if we approach midnight eastern, AGAIN, on a work night, on a school night, a simple question: An 8:42 puck drop serves who.”
As a fan, I fully agree. I would even go further–the NHL does a horrible job with the timing of their playoff games. Nothing is more frustrating than tuning into the channel your team is supposed to be broadcast only to find another team is playing with many minutes to go. You switch to another station and they have the same game on. You then scramble to find the alternate cable channel. You finally get the game on, only to find the puck drop is delayed because the other game is going on. This is not good for the game, it’s not good for the players, and it’s definitely not good for the people who buy the product.
Who is it good for? I guess it’s good for the owners because ultimately, the TV networks can get a few more ads in during this time. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman saying: “Clubs are fine with the start times, and you can ask the Blackhawks.” is totally off the mark. The owner’s might be OK with it, but everyone from the equipment people to the vendors at the stadium would probably like to get home before midnight.
I know the NFL has less games, but they usually don’t have this problem. They put the games on and are able to have enough space in between. In fact, they have even moved games up in recent years. There are 7 days in a week. Is there really a need to have 3-4 games on a night? Could you not get by with 2 games on a night during the week, and 4 on the weekend?