NHL Deadline Is Canadian Sports Media At It’s Best


I love the folks who dump cold water on what is one of the highlights of the Canadian sports media events of the year.

According to TSN, TSN.ca got 2.6 million Unique visitors last year on deadline day. The year before the website achieved 15.8 million pageviews.

Those aren’t small numbers.

The TV networks start early. They stay late.

Both radio stations will be going full tilt, twitter will be in full force and other websites that cover the game experience record traffic as well.

I say it all the time, but the NHL should do it on a Saturday or Sunday and recognize it as a major event. Why not do it the weekend of the All Star game while all the GM’s are in the same city even???

Each outlet will have tons of guests, panelists and experts, hell Rogers, Telus and Bell must make a mint alone in cell phone fees that day.

So those who dump all over the event who are in the game are likely the few who are left out of the party.

The truth of the matter is, the networks feed the audience. If people weren’t tuning in they wouldn’t go to the effort.

We the fans love this stuff. We watch, listen and participate to be part of the action, to experience it as it happens.

It’s not so dissimilar from NBA or NFL draft day south of the border.

In an day and age when live sports attendance is in decline, is it such a bad thing that people are tuning in?

So it’s overkill. So it’s over-hyped. No one gets hurt, it’s let’s play GM for a day, let’s critique every move as it happens. Why is that a bad thing again?

Every deadline day is the same. It starts early. Each outlet throws out ALL the big names. They take a tour of the league, checking in with experts around the league. They examine the likely big names who could be on the move. Then they wait. Usually, at some point around noon a deal comes in and then it’s in dribs and drabs. There are big rumors dropped and twitter explodes. A ton of small insignificant deals happen and the critiques are rampant about what a waste of time the whole day is. Eventually a big deal occurs and then a slew of midsized deals. You see GM’s chatting, empty war rooms (the leafs is the best with a bunch of guys sitting around a board room doing absolutely nothing)

Then, my favorite part. The clock goes past the deadline and every expert says the same thing, “remember the teams have to register the trade phone call before the deadline, it can take hours for the calls to actually occur so just because a deal hasn’t been announced doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”

Eventually the major GM’s come out one by and talk about what they did or didn’t do.

Then the news shows recap the day, first of course by telling us exactly how many deals there were, how many compared to last year and so on.

In the end, it’s good ol fun. No one cures cancer, no one dies, people enjoy it, so stop slagging it.

I am not sure which is more depressing by the way, watching as the Maple Leafs season appears to be going down the drain or glancing at Blue Jays spring training with no hope at all. It seems that spring is not the time of dreams down in Florida this year. Most articles are already focused on next year when the full roster of players hasn’t even shown up yet:

“Why is it the Jays’ organization — from Rogers on down, very quietly each spring since the dawn of Alex Anthopoulos as the team’s GM — continues to speak of “rebuilding,” of a “process,” of staying the course, of sticking to a plan?”

That from Richard Griffin, who is just one example of the popular sentiment out there.

Sorry folks, but if there is genuine excitement out there I am just not seeing, hearing or reading it. It’s not even March 1 and were already looking forward past this season. Yikes, that should do wonders for ticket sales.

Meanwhile, it’s one thing to suck when your supposed to suck. Wow have the wheels fallen off the Washington Capitals and in a hurry. They fired their coach and brought in the wondacoach from London and things have gotten worse not better. Great take on the whole situation by Bruce Arthur:

“And today the Capitals are imploding like an old Vegas casino. Their best player is concussed, and more, their best player is not Alexander Ovechkin, who is also struggling with a lower-body injury. The coach they hired out of junior to replace the coach they fired has benched players for their plus-minus, or for taking penalties, and gotten the goaltender’s agent to fire back at him over criticism of the goalie. Oh, and the coach they fired has his Anaheim Ducks on a fine little 15-3-4 run. Not bad.”

I lived in Washington in the pre – OV era. I was at the phone booth when there were literally empty sections, not rows, but SECTIONS. It’s been a great run for that team since OV came to town, but wow, this is going to be really interesting to see what happens there. Could George McPhee have spend the last of his 9 lives?

Happy Friday!


Photo from Sportsnet

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