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Cliche. The NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals have once again gone largely unnoticed by the sporting world. After-all, why would anybody outside of the Pittsburgh or Detroit areas even care to watch these games? Sure, Sidney Crosby, the NHL’s supposed savior, is playing, but who against? Well over half of all sports fans could not name a Red Wings player if their lives depended on it, and it is a shame.

Oh wait, this sounds familiar… this year’s finals, for those who don’t know, is a rematch between Pittsburgh and Detroit. Some might call this the birth of a rivalry.

Detroit is attempting to start a dynasty by winning a second title in a row over Pittsburgh. The Penguins’ young talent just managed to push the series to a seventh game. It is a clash of old versus new; another classic rivalry in the world of sport. This storyline alone should be a large enough selling point. It apparently isn’t, in case you were wondering.

However, contrary to popular belief, the failure of this year’s finals to accrue a respectable Neilsen rating rests not on the shoulders of Hockey as a sport, but rather on the head of Gary Bettman as a commissioner.

By scheduling half of the Stanley Cup games to directly conflict with the NBA Finals, Bettman ensured that he would be getting chump-change ratings for his sport’s most important games. He committed view-icide.

Games two, four, and six of Detroit v. Pittsburgh overlapped with NBA Semi-Finals and Finals games. The NBA games attracted over twice as many viewers, some of whom would absolutely watch the NHL games if the two did not air at the same time. Never mind the fact that Pittsburgh and Detroit are not the major markets that New York, Philadelphia, or Washington D.C. are. Disregard the notion that hockey is dead. Just rest assured that Gary Bettman does not have the NHL’s success in his best interest.

This has been a great back-and-forth series and would have provided a great ladder for people to use in climbing aboard the NHL bandwagon. And some have.

The games that have aired without conflict have received the highest ratings in years. This was the season that hockey could get back on the map of relevance, and Bettman has simply shit-the-bed.  Love, hate, admiration, curiosity, everybody has some sort of opinion or interest in Sidney Crosby, and thus a reason to watch him play. Bettman took those interests and countered with “there’s something better on television, go watch that.”

Do yourselves a favor and catch up if you enjoy sports.

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