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Thursday March 4, 2010 9:37 pm

The Olympic Hangover




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL, Olympics,

Atlanta ThrashersThe Olympic Hangover is running strong in the world of hockey. It seems like no amount of coffee is waking us up to the fact that the NHL is back on and the players are earning their paychecks once again. The fighting has returned. The real fourth lines have returned. GM Place is GM Place again. But after such a successful and thoroughly entertaining tournament, how many people are truly excited about regular-season hockey; and how many are just waiting for the second round of the playoffs to begin?

Some people wonder why a negotiation freezes followed by a few days of play before the big trade deadline was how the NHL chose to go. Why not have the trade deadline coincide with the stoppage at the beginning of the Olympics? The NHL had it right by putting the deadline on Mar. 3 like it did because it tremendously steals back attention from the Olympics. They’re saying “Hey, that show is over. Come back and see what we’re doing again!”

What the NHL could not have foreseen was the overwhelming impact that the gold medal game would have on North American hockey fans. Thousands were glued to their television sets throughout the tournament, and Sunday’s climax brought the level of interest to an all-time high, with millions more watching just for the experience. The trade deadline’s attempt to sweep the NHL back to the top of the hockey castle has undoubtedly failed; especially considering no big-name deals went down on Wednesday.

It seems kind of ironic that that which the players are paid for holds little interest in our homes and our hearts, yet the two-week tournament that saw approximately half of the league participate broke all kinds of television records. Since the deadline failed to generate lasting interest in new and old fans alike, the problem the NHL now faces is what to do with the millions who got their first real taste of hockey. The issue is that Olympic hockey is not the same as NHL hockey, and once the Average Joe and Jane realize that, American Idol and CSI will once again dominate primetime.

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