Watching Hockey

Shockingly, the less the NHL plays, the more people seem to write and think about it.
Flyers goalie Robert Esche is actually talking about miking goalies to let the fans see what goalies go through during a game (login info.). It’s shocking because Esche, usually a chatty guy, shut off his personality during the Flyers’ postseason run last year. After watching NASCAR, he’s saying that hockey has to let fans in more, the way NASCAR does.
Or so I’m told. I’ve never really watched a car race. It kind of stresses me out. All that racing and revving. It’s unsettling.
Of course, some people aren’t that into making hockey games more accessible. Larry Brooks takes ESPN’s Mark Shapiro to task for suggesting players take off their helmets on the bench so TV viewers can see their faces. It’s not the best idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s really not as bad as Brooks seems to think. Shapiro is just trying to think of ways to connect viewers to players. It’s hard. It’s not like basketball or baseball, where you’re seeing stars just about all the time. With hockey, your best player (unless he’s a goalie), is going to play 30 minutes tops. Tops. So the NHL really needs to figure out a way to make viewers interested in what’s going on with the other three lines. And that’s why I’ve always thought the NHL should reduce the number of forwards from 12 to 9. It would force out a lot of the less versatile players and make it easier for fans to know who’s playing.