Picture if you will, a rookie wide receiver in the National Football League scoring four touchdowns in his third game of the season. Is there any chance of you missing those highlight… even if you tried too? How about if a September call-up in Major League Baseball hits four doubles and leads his team to a victory? It would be everywhere, right? What if a rookie scored 40 points in his third NBA game? How long would it take before the National Basketball Association and that player’s team had that kid’s face on a billboard somewhere… everywhere? Am I exaggerating?
What the NFL, MLB & NBA have in common are wide-ranging fanbases with an ability to see their favorite teams on national stages with frequency, and they’re featured on all our favorite highlight shows. Now to the National Hockey League, that has it’s games aired on stations I still I can’t find, and are rarely in the national spotlight. It may have been a little late for some on the east coast to catch, and it was a weeknight, but if it were the Nets, Knicks, Yankees, Mets, Jets or Giants, I know we’d be hearing more about the game Tomas Hertl had.
Who is Tomas Hertl you ask? I’m sure the New York Rangers won’t forget the 19-year old center for the San Jose Sharks. In only his third NHL game, San Jose’s 2012 first-round pick scored four goals as the Sharks devoured the Rangers 9-2. Hertl’s performance, complete with his parents in attendance and featuring the kid scoring one of the highlight goals of the year, will go virtually unnoticed by many. For this, I point the finger squarely at the National Hockey League. Some will say “Oh, it’s San Jose…” and that’s understandable, but they played the NEW YORK Rangers. A team like the Rangers draws eyeballs to sets and butts to seats. It’s no coincidence three teams have their home-openers against the Rangers.
The NHL is a league full of young stars and veterans that fans have come to know. Why can’t this league market itself enough to peak some interest? When a league banishes its games to stations like NBC-SI(beria) and the such, how can you blame sports fans for shrugging their shoulders when the league shuts down due to labor disputes? I’m one hockey fan that struggles to find my favorite teams, and can’t stand when a performance like Hertl’s four-goal gem goes mostly unnoticed. Zamboni your act National Hockey League, or you’ll even lose the diehards… like myself.
-Joseph Haas, HaasStyleInterpretations.com
Join the conversation on Twitter @JerseyHaas or send me an e-mail JosephHaasNFL@Gmail.com. You can also find me covering the New York Jets at http://www. HCoftheNYJ.com HCoftheNYJ.com and Saturdays on the Green & White Show.