Sunday 2 December 2007

NHL... quarter mark?

There is a point in a competitive sports league structure when the number of games played per season becomes vaguely ridiculous. For me this would be any amount of matches over say 40. In the NHL every team plays 82. Yes, 82 games a year. On the one hand this is kinda good for the avid hockey fan as he/she would be able to watch their favourite team (or any team they like) nearly every day of the week. Tickets for games would also be easier to come by as well I'd presume. It probably makes good business sense as well, more games = more attendance, more merchandise sales at games, greater tv audience etc etc

BUT as a neutral observer in a far away land I hate this 82 games a year bullshit. It makes it impossibly hard to keep track of whose doing well or not. Stay out of the NHL loop for a week and your beloved franchise may have crashed to the bottom of their division despite standing proudly at the top of said division last Monday. The sheer volume of matches played just seems to dilute their importance. In any league, no matter what the sport is, if a team loses ten games on the trot, that should be it. Their season should be caput, the coach/manager sacked and blame pointed at several under performing players. That's how it should be dammit.

Less games = greater importance for the teams, more excitement for the fans, greater drama for the tv viewers etc. But not as much profit... dammit

So I looked at the NHL standings today for the first time all season, turns out they're 24 games into their sporting year in the hockey world and its not even Christmas yet. Contrast that with an NFL season which runs from roughly September to February with each team playing 20 games total, at most. Anyway seems my Pingus aren't doing so well but the Vancouver (hurray) Canucks are cleaning house at the top of their division. For nostalgic (as well as for glory) purposes I'm backing those lovable Canuck swine this year. Now if only they'd play the hockey at a more reasonable hour on Setanta..


JL Pagano said...

I take it you're not a baseball fan - major league clubs play 162 games per regular season, so that must bug you twice as much!

yeboah21 said...

The NFL season is a joke. 16 fuckin games. with 32 teams why don't they just have it that everyone plays everyone once?

Macka said...

Thats crazy talk Goat. I like the NFL format, theres so much riding on every game. And in comparison with some other professional leagues; Celtic League - 18 game season, Super 14 - 13 game season etc. The NFL is not alone in the shortened season format.

I'm presuming you'd just like to see a regular league format with all 32 teams playing each other followed by the playoffs?

Well I've always liked the divisional format they have in the NFL. Combined with their short season division rivalry is somewhat heated. Cowboys - Redskins, Bears - Packers etc
Seeing as they don't play every team each season every team can be guaranteed to play some 'new' opposition each year. A new challenge for the team and a new experience for ze fan. Everyones a winner.

The NFL system works in my opinion, and I like it. Anyway I'm not sure an NFL roster would last 31 games.

Oh and jl pagano, I'm not, nor will I ever, be a baseball fan. But thats a ridiculous number of games

yeboah21 said...

macka those points are void cos as well as the celtic cup, rugger boys have the crap beer cup, domestic leagues, and internationals. ditto super 14. the only yankball comp is the nfl season, which is too short. it goes from september to january. i like the divisional format too, it just needs more games. there's not enough. i don't think the imporatnce of matches would be diluted, and don't we all want in the end to watch just more good sport?

Macka said...

Ish don't think so Goat. Ye SOME teams have commitments elsewhere like the H Cup etc. And ye even SOME players might have international duties. Super 14 players do play in their domestic leagues, I'll give you that but I doubt the BOD has turned out for 'Rock once in the last 10 years.

Obviously the NFL doesn't have anything similar so for comparisons sake its just easier to leave out other comps which only effect a select group of teams/players

Leinster can expect to play 13 Celtic league games, plus 6 to 9 H Cup, total of 22 max. Factor in playoffs an NFL team can expect to play 16 to 20.

Now I know international duty doesn't effect NFL teams BUT NFL franchises do not have the luxury of resting key players like Leinster would in the Celtic league.

So top flight players in other 'short' leagues see as much respectve game time as NFL players. But the NFL structure forces the best to play week in, week out. Better players = better matches.

More good sport

Kyle W said...

If you're going to crtisice any season for being a joke just look at the NBA. 82 games often leads to a lot of meaningless games hence the sharp decline in audience figures