Saturday, June 11, 2011

Really? No Really?

One of my guilty pleasures in the world when not covering New York Ranger or New York Islanders prospects is watching the WWE.

It is a love I have had since I was a little kid doing the "sneaking TV when I was supposed to be sleeping" when I came across wrestling on Ch 47 in New York City. The moment I saw Bulldog Brower beating the living heck out of Pedro Morales with a can of Alpo I was hooked.

Yes I know it is all scripted and set up; at least they are honest about it unlike most other "reality" shows. And you would be surprised to learn that there are a lot of wrestlers who are hockey fans.

Chris Jericho who just finished "Dancing With the Stars" is the son of former Ranger "Terrible" Ted Irvine and he has appeared in many a celebrity hockey game. The reason I bring this up was the NHL finals was on Friday night and while Game 5 was a good game from a technical standpoint to watch; I really did not care who won or lost.

In wrestling I love watching Mike Mizanin better known as "The Miz" because he is the bad guy you want to see get his butt kicked. He is so very good at being bad that you are tuning in to see what dirty trick he is going to pull or does he get his butt kicked?

In wrestling nobody wants to see "bad guy" take on "bad guy" as it always has to be "Good Vs Evil" and that leads me to the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 5 was a good technical game; a 1-0 shut out win for Vancouver but really there was zero rooting interest as far as I was concerned.

This is the NHL's version of "Bad Guy vs Bad Guy" where you are hoping for both teams to lose. It is the problem when you have players on both teams who have been allowed to get away with cheapshots during the NHL season.

I can not enjoy hockey when I see the kind of stuff that has been going on from both teams. Work hard yes, hit hard yes, but when you are risking the health of an opposing player then sorry that is not hockey.

In wrestling despite what you may think or believe they make every effort NOT to injure the guy they are in the ring with. As strange as it seems, the wrestlers know that one wrong move and someone winds up hurt.

That is the difference between the WWE and the NHL these days as the WWE performers have respect for each other but you are not seeing it from either Vancouver or Boston.

What the NHL simply can not understand is that yes you will get the diehard fan to watch but your goal is to attract then keep the casual person who is flipping channels and comes across the NHL.

If that viewer thinks your product is nothing more than MMA without the cage then you are not only going to not gain a fan but odds are that when that casual fans talks to friends and family they will pass on the MMA without a cage image.

Players being carted off on stretchers is not the image that the NHL needs to have coming out of their Stanley Cup finals. It just helps reenforce the savage image that hockey critics love to point out as why the game is not a sport.

In the era of increasing concussion awareness the NHL has got to stop kidding itself with these antics from either team. If you are suspending Rome for his hit on Horton then Marchand should have gone for "intent to injure" when he sent Sedin flying like he did.

And sorry but if the NHL/Comcast continues to insist on shoving Mike Milbury on TV viewers then again it is only going to hurt efforts to grow the sport. Calling the Sedins "Thelma and Lousie" is so unprofessional on so many ways one loses count.

You want to say that their play is terrible then say that instead as one really has to wonder what Milbury would have said if Sedin had been injured by Marchand?  The game itself has to be the focus not the clowns hired to turn it into a side show.

And if I am Gary Bettman then I am not happy at anything that is diverting attention from the Stanley Cup Finals. If you notice that when NFL, NBA and MLB are showcasing their sport's championship that it is an unwritten rule to not make major announcements or moves during that period.

From the Chris Drury supposed buyout to the soap opera known as Brad Richards, Bettman is seeing his Cup finals being pushed aside in the USA's top media market. And up north, the story of an NHL team being returned to Canada is upstaging a Canadian team in the Finals.

Bettman can thank his 2nd in command Bill Daly for showering True North with love while creating even more speculation about what Canadian cities need to do in order to gain NHL franchises.

Maybe Bettman should get some advice from "The Miz" on how to draw people's interest because while he is "The Miz and He is Awesome," the same cannot be said about the Bruins or Canucks.

("The Miz" courtesy of the WWE)


Thomas Urtz Jr said...

Jess, I am the same way. It seems these days if your over the age of 12 and you like wrestling your considered weird lol.

I love the way you tied in both topics in such a great way. Great work as always.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Funny because of all those who like wrestling. It is the other way around; those who do not like WWE are weird LOL