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The NHL/NBC Drop The Puck Once Again.....

Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

Who's pumped up about Vancouver 2010??  Raise your hand!!
Ok, all four of you can put your hands down.
If you did not know (and most of you do not), the Winter Olympiad hits British Columbia this Friday kicking off with the opening ceremonies.  Athletes from around the world will be all bundled up taking a lap around Vancouver's BC Place representing their country as the proud country men and women they are.
I will admit I really do not care too much about the Olympics (summer and winter), but the fact that six of our Chicago Blackhawks are involved in the ice hockey competition makes me want to tune in and watch.  Kane, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Hossa and Kopecky are all going to be competing on the grand stage in a true World Cup of Hockey.
However there is one problem......why aren't the games on NBC?

The problem the NHL has had since the lockout of 2004-2005 is there is no major television network contract.  The NHL has teamed up with NBC for their game of the week package, but that is all you see of the coolest game on ice on a major network.  The NHL has a contract with the cable channel VERSUS which is in a dispute with DirecTV with-holding 18 million people from even getting the NHL on their package.
This has been and continues to be the NHL's #1 problem with branching out to new viewers and fans.  You would think that NBC TV with the huge amounts of coverage they will provide for the winter games could at least show some on the men's hockey games on their major network.
That simply is not the case.
Here's a rundown of the preliminary rounds for Team USA/Team Canada/Team Slovakia which are the teams with Chicago Blackhawks on their rosters.
Team USA  
USA vs. Switzerland (2:00pm on USA Network)
USA vs. Norway (2:00pm on USA Network)
USA vs. Canada (6:00pm on MSNBC)
Team Canada
Canada vs. Norway (7:00pm on CNBC)
Canada vs. Switzerland (7:00pm on CNBC)
Canada vs. USA (6:00pm on MSNBC)
Team Slovakia
Slovakia vs. Czech Republic (11:30pm on CNBC)
Slovakia vs. Russia (11:30pm on CNBC)
Slovakia vs. Latvia (6:30pm on MSNBC)
Now I do not claim to be an expert by any means, but why is not one game of The United States, Team Canada or even Team Slovakia on national television?  Instead we get the biathlon, speed skating and the cross country finals on the NBC?
Come on now!! 

How can the NHL cancel their all star game and postpone their season for two weeks to accommodate the Olympics without getting any major network attention during the Winter Olympiad?
This is just another case of why the NHL will never be as popular as it's fan base either believes it is or wants it to be.  When the pinnacle of the sport calls on the best of the best of your league, you have to get these games on national television.  The worst part of the whole deal is the league (NHL) has the contract with the television network already and still cannot get the best hockey competition in the world on the tube.
This is not only dropping the ball...this is inexcusable.   
Only one preliminary round game will make it to NBC and only three playoff match ups (including the gold medal game) will make the network.  How does that happen?   
We always have the debate in this city about how popular ice hockey is to the other sports in town.  Even on the back page of the Chicago Suntimes today the headline was "Welcome To The New Hockeytown" talking about the rise of the Blackhawks and Wolves.   
Who knew that alpine skiing and the luge were bigger events nationally?
So in closing, Go Team USA!!!  (if you can find the channel to see them)
Rock Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at
You can follow The Joe O And Rock Show at



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patrick said:

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just think how much more popular this sport would be, especially locally, if they appeared on a major network. NBC needs the ratings and it is ridiculous that the one thing most people would tune into will watch it on cable instead...dumb

RamRod said:

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Sorry, I don't care if the Blackhawks or NHL hockey become universally popular.
Just get them the heck off of Versus. Even when I could see them on Vs, their comentators sucked the big one.
I'll find the kids when I need to see them and all my friends will too.

"They're OUR kids, damnit!"

rickafterdark said:

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I agree with your points on NBC and the NHL 100 percent. But something that's also inexcusable: using two spaces between sentences. Dude, it's 2010. That hasn't been proper style for years.

Hating may now commence.

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