Haven't done one of these in a while, and I'm in a rambling mood. We're in a dead space, as we've finished the player reviews and until the Final is finished we probably won't have any Hawks moves or signings to talk about, unless Adam Clendening coming aboard floats your boat (oh joy, another small-ish, puck-moving d-man in the organization! Maybe he can never become anything like Shawn Lalonde!). Speaking of which, why isn't it universally referred to as "The Final"? That's what they print on the ice, and yet I still see "Finals" a lot of places. Why the difference? Is it because it's for a specific trophy it's the FInal? Whereas the NBA is a championship for the league makes in "Finals"? Like the FA Cup or World Cup Final? Or do those get only the singular because they're one game, and because the NHL is a series it should be a Finals? These are the things I think about and why I'll die alone, ugly, and dead. Anyway...
As you've probably seen today, the ratings for the Final (fuck it, I'm doing it this way) are pretty piss poor. I don't know why this is a surprise to anyone. While L.A. and New Jersey are disguised as big hockey markets, they're really not. When the casual fan hears "Los Angeles", he probably responds by being shocked that LA has a team and remarks that no one plays hockey there. As if every team had to be constituted by local players. Which would make Kobe Bryant a Sixer and the Lakers a much different organization. But anyway. Secondly, though Newark is close to New York, no one in New York gives a flying fuck about the Devils. These names don't ring a bell with the hockey novices like "Chicago Blackhawks" or "Philadelphia Flyers" or "Boston Bruins". When those people here those names, they think traditional powers and staples of the league, whether that's actually true or not. That leads to big ratings. Moreover, the Kings' success isn't going to drive a large, local following out there. Because Californians don't really care about sports, and you probably wouldn't either if it was 75 every day. There just isn't the huge bandwagon following there that we got here, even if Chicago isn't nearly has hockey savvy as some people like to pretend.
Secondly, I don't know why anyone cares.
The only people who report this kind of stuff are people who don't watch hockey and use it to prove why they don't watch hockey. No one else is, so why should I? It's this kind of hive mentality that makes awful things popular, like Friends or Kings of Leon. Everyone else likes it so I will too to not be left out.
The people who stand to profit from bigger ratings probably should care, but seeing as how the NHL and NBC just signed a pretty stellar TV package, I'm not sure they're sweating it much either. I feel like this just feeds more into the hockey fan's inferiority complex, which is just beyond annoying. You don't need other people to validate what you're passionate about, and if they don't get it that's their problem. I get made fun of for my downright dangerous love for Guns N' Roses a lot. But you can bet your ass I'll be blasting Mr. Brownstone in whatever retirement home is unlucky enough to have to house me in 40 years (it's kind of hilarious that I think there's even the slightest chance I'll make it that far, but you get the point).
Hockey will always be the 4th sport, and we may actually live to see the day when it slips to fifth as all the kids who grew up playing soccer watch that more and more. Which is fine with me. It doesn't matter to me how many other people are watching, and we shouldn't get upset at those who mock the TV ratings. That's their thing, not mine.
But like many things, I feel like that will remain my wish instead of reality.