Newsweek had a piece on how ESPN has become more about cheering athletes than dissecting sports. There’s an interesting paragraph, though:
And many influential sports bloggers, such as The Big Lead and Deadspin, have accused the network of ignoring sports, especially pro hockey, that ESPN doesn’t have deals with. Then again, ESPN has ramped up its coverage of ultimate fighting even though the network has no financial stake in it—and does have a stake in its rival, boxing. And while it’s true that ESPN’s hockey coverage has declined lately, hockey has also declined lately. Is that ESPN’s fault, or the NHL’s? (original emphasis)
I don’t watch a ton of ESPN but when I do catch SPORTSCENTER, or those kind of surreal ESPN FIRST TAKE updates, I see a fair amount of NHL highlights. Are they covering the offseason as aggressively as TSN is? Not really. But the NHL is on the ticker, and they do give it play. Would I love to see more hockey coverage on ESPN? Honestly, I don’t watch enough ESPN for my vote to count. But it probably wouldn’t hurt anything. But I don’t know if ESPN is downplaying hockey so much as it’s playing up its own properties. Like I swear. I think I saw like 10 Arena Football League highlights/teases this morning. Which is crazy. I mean, I played in the AFL. I rushed for 8,000 yards and passed for 5,000 yards over two seasons. And I was a backup. But that’s not even the point. ESPN just isn’t the place for serious sports fans. You’re not going to get the depth you’ll get cruising sites, or even reading most newspapers.
Thanks to The Big Lead for the tip, by the way.
Also, the Rangers traded Matt Cullen back to Carolina. Stan Fischler nailed Cullen’s one season in New York: the poor guy was snakebitten the entire time. Everyone was constantly waiting for Cullen to explode because he was always so, so, so close to an offensive outbreak. But then it would never quite happen. He’d hit a post. The puck would hop his stick. A bird would swoop in and grab the puck. This went beyond him getting used to playing in New York. It was like something out of LOST. The guy was totally jinxed as a Ranger and now everyone in Rangerland is scared he’ll overcome it next season in another uniform. Obviously, everyone in Hurricaneland is hoping he’ll overcome it next season in another uniform. Sports fans are funny that way.