I think Erin Nicks of the Ottawa Sun nailed it on the head when she said:
Personally, if you read the headlines coming out of the woodworks, you'd feel the same way. All over the newspapers and websites of the newspapers, you see headlines like "Hockey's Back; Are Fans??", "NHL's Return: Do Fans Really Care??", and "When (if?) Players Ratify Deal, Game's On For NHL."
"When the news broke on Wednesday that the league and its players' association had reached a tentative agreement, it was easy to assume what the reaction in Canada would be. Watching the story emerge across the border -- where the majority of teams and significant income emanate from --was a different matter.
Who exactly has been broadcasting the lockout information to American fans -- ESPN or Fox News?
The sensationalistic "reporting" has been delivered with unwavering opinion, and the message is clear: The NHL, regardless of its imminent return, is a lost cause.
This is a loser's league that isn't worthy of anyone's support. The NHL is making its first attempt to climb out from the massive hole it created, but the American media is not content to simply throw dirt on them. They're trying to beat the league down with the shovel.
After being force-fed these negative opinions for nearly a year, you would have to assume that being a fan of the NHL in the U.S. is a highly covert operation."
Now, let's face facts here, most of these jobbers (especially in Bakersfield and Toledo) haven't covered the NHL at all, much less the happenings of the Lockout. I said it when the whole Todd Bertuzzi situation happened and I'll say it again: It's amazing how many people are coming out of the woodworks thinking they are an expert of the game and the happenings that surround it. I mean, if there were this many people coming out claiming they know something about the game, why is it in so much trouble??
I'll tell you why, because they only report on what they hear from second and third hand sources. Hell, watch "Pardon The Interruption" and "Around the Horn" and you'll see that even most of the top sportswriters don't give a damn about a game; mainly because they don't understand it. It's quite sad that these ignorant people have the airwaves to promote stupidity, but our show promotes the game as something that is a must see and we can't get a syndicated deal. Odd how that works, eh??
Another main culprit in this whole ordeal is former Atlanta Journal Constituation beat writer and ESPN.com whore extraordinaire, Scott Burnside. He seems to just beat down the new CBA, what it's all about, and insults the intelligence of the fans by telling them that it won't work, rather than letting you go out and take a look for yourself.
In the end, we're not sure how it is going to work, but the people who matter think it will all be something that will benefit the game rather hurting it moreso. However, you would never know this from what you read, the insulting of YOUR intelligence, people who have probably never covered a NHL game deciding what you should or shouldn't see. It's almost like most papers would like to see the game be demolished so they can focus on the seven-month NBA playoffs, or game 64 of the MLB season.
I'd be naive to say that hockey isn't a second-class citizen in the US sports outlet, but it doesn't have to be. If the fans turn out to see hockey, then people will have to take notice. They'll probably notice and spin it into a negative, but they'll notice all the same. But, for them to notice the NHL, NHLPA, and fans need to make them notice. They need to show them a new look game, a more fan-friendly, edge-of-your-seat, game that will entice the fans to come back and entices the sponsors to get on-board.
Papers will depict hockey as a regional sport that has no place South of the Mason-Dixon line or West of the Mississippi. It's funny because they pretty much generalized NASCAR in the same light and now, NASCAR is the fastest growing sport on the planet with a multi-billion dollar empire to boot. Seems like you can't always judge a sport by its cover.
This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!