The NHL’s Guardian project might be fun for 10 year old kids, but I think it makes the NHL look like a bigger joke than it already is.  The move to create a superhero for each team is an obvious attempt to garner young fans.  It might work, but it smacks of a lack of focus.  The NHL is using resources to create cartoons instead of bettering its product; the game of hockey.  The NHL has taken steps to make the game more exciting and protect players from concussions.  However, the NHL’s ratings still languish among the ranks of women’s sports and Seinfeld re-runs. 

The NHL should put resources into making the game look better on TV.  There’s no quick answer, but there are specific examples of how TV has raised sport popularity.  The NFL has bent over backwards to make the game look good on TV.  Fans regularly shell out $350 for DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket.  The ratings that football gets brings in so much advertising revenue that ticket sales are becoming less and less relevant in team and league budgets.  The NFL introduced the ‘Skycam’ which is on wires and can follow players around and get shots previously unavailable to fans.  It has enriched the fan experience and made the NFL tons of dough.

The NHL has added cameras in the net, above the net, and several other areas, but the result is the same; casual fans aren’t impressed.  The camera angles aren’t for the rabid fan who’s reading this artlcle.  You are the type of fan who loves hockey so much that you’ll sit at your computer and watch a choppy connection on a tiny Youtube sized screen.  The fans that the NHL needs to improve its visual expeerience for are the ones that always tell me; ‘I like GOING to games, but I can’t stand WATCHING a hockey game ON TV.’  or ‘I can’t see the puck on TV’.  It’s strange how much I hear people reference the old Fox Track Glowing puck.  many hardcore hockey fans look back on the glowing puck as a joke, but I think it’s that kind of innovation to which the NHL needs to pay more attention.

Tonight’s game preview at WGR 550

New potential Sabres owner Terry Pegula visited HSBC Arena. Flyers win 5-2

What I liked:

1) Paul Gaustad was an assist short of the Gordie Howe hat trick..  A goal and a fight with Scott Hartnell.

2) Tyler Ennis looks like a star in the making.  His release is lightning quick and he’s got some wicked good moves.  Ennis is a Sabres draft pick and he’s panning out.  How ’bout that!?

3) Ryan Miller looked great.  More highlight-reel saves by #30.

3a) The Sabres outshot Philly 29-16 in Periods 1 and 2.

What I didn’t Like:

1) Yet another reminder that the Sabres are average.  Yes; the Sabres got a bad break on the kick-in goal, but they didn’t show much offense in the 2nd or 3rd periods.  Philly is an elite team and they took care of business tonight.

2) The Sabres were outshot 17-11 in Period 3.

3) A somewhat obvious kicked in goal going against the Sabres.  it might be unlucky but I don’t have to like it!