Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another sign the NHL just doesn't get it

There's a really smart story on the Kings' website today by their beat writer Rich Hammond that explains why some NHL teams rarely ever play in some cities.

The story is rooted in tonight's rare appearance by the Pittsburgh Penguins at Staples Center, where they will play the Kings. Remarkably, this is the first visit to Staples by the Penguins since 2006.

This is inexcusable. There are 82 games in an NHL season and one would think that at the least each team plays in every other city at least once every two seasons. Instead, as Hammond explains, the NHL has a bizarre system in which teams submit requests for teams outside their conference they would like to host.

As a result, the second largest city in the country -- Los Angeles -- is getting to see Sidney Crosby, one of the NHL's best players for the first time in three years. That's insane. And it gets even better or worse, depending on your point of view.

The Kings this year are playing well. So is Pittsburgh, coming off its Stanley Cup win in June. But as of 10 a.m. Thursday, there are still plenty of seats for sale on Ticketmaster. And the Ducks didn't sell out their game against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

There's something wrong here. Hockey isn't being marketed well in So Cal, local rinks aren't doing enough to get more people involved and not enough is being done in my opinion to make attending the games a must-see experience. I tried watching the World Series the other night and fell into a coma after watching Andy Pettite try to pick off Jimmy Rollins. Hockey doesn't have that problem, but the league can't fill its seats.


--Steve Hymon

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