Clogging Up The Agenda
DETROIT-It hasn't been easy for the NHL to get the spotlight to itself during this Stanley Cup final in Motown.
For Games 1 and 2, it had to go head-to-head against the NBA Pistons and their playoff games. As well, the baseball Tigers were in town, as was a noisy techno-rock festival situated on the riverfront between the NHL's hotel headquarters and Joe Louis Arena for four, ear-crushing days. Yesterday, the Red Bull air race was on, filling the riverfront area with thousands of fans on both the U.S. and Canadian sides.
With all this competition, the NHL has also consistently clogged up the news file on game days itself.
First, on the day of Game 1, Gary Bettman decided to hold his annual state-of-the-league address. Then came the top prospects conference featuring Steve Stamkos on another game day. Today, with the Red Wings set to clinch the Stanley Cup over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the league will conduct general managers meetings beforehand.
For Canadian media outlets, and particularly those based in Toronto, this means there will be enormous attention paid to the presence of interim Maple Leaf GM Cliff Fletcher, who will be joined at the meeting by 29 other GMs, including Anaheim GM Brian Burke, the man the Leafs really want to run their team but can't get their hands on.
Ottawa GM Bryan Murray will be on hand and the media will be quizzing him on the indentity of his next coach. Presumably, Tampa GM Jay Feaster will appear, although its widely believed the new Tampa ownership team is ignoring Feaster as it makes plans for taking over the team June 18 and has already moved to hire Barry Melrose as the team's new coach. New Vancouver GM Mike Gillis will attract attention, and San Jose GM Doug Wilson will be asked about his team's search for a new bench boss.
As well, there will be lots of discussion, as usual, over rule changes, including it's believed more chatter over no-touch icing, although the GMs supposedly instituted a three-year moratorium on the issue in the winter.
All this is juicy stuff for the rabid hockey fan, of course, and media outlets will be busy gathering quotes, news and analysis.
All of which will clog up the news cycle if the Wings are able to clinch their fourth Cup in 11 years tonight. In Toronto, Canada's largest city, you can bet there's a lot more interest - and angst - in Fletcher and the supposed search for a management team "for the ages" than in a Cup result that has looked to be pre-ordained since Game 1.
Now, there wasn't much the NHL could do about the Pistons, the Tigers, the techno-rock or the air race.
But why would it compete against itself when it comes to news coverage, particularly at a time when many media outlets are using reduced resources to cover major events? Curious.