On Monday night, I capped a holiday trip with a return flight on Delta out of Atlanta. I’ll spare you the details of the check-in process and security, as anyone who has flown through the ATL has at least one tale to tell.
My reward for the inane start to the journey was that Delta offered me a choice of television stations. My daughter was able to get caught up in episodes of “River Monsters” (I’ll talk about that genius new show in a separate piece later in the week) and “Big Fat Liar.” That allowed me to settle into my seat and enjoy the first two periods of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Blackhawks and Flyers (the third period would be waiting for me on the DVR).
The Flyers came out, well, flying and tried to gain an early advantage with aggressive play. The Blackhawks matched that early intensity and ultimately took the lead in the second period. They sustained the charge and battled to a 2-0 series lead.
Much has been made about Chris Pronger’s swiping of the puck following each of the Blackhawks’ first two wins. Who cares? The only concern for the Blackhawks should be the scoreboard. If Pronger’s swiping at the puck, Niemi did his job and can buy himself plenty of souvenirs with his next contract. Pronger’s job is to agitate, hit and raise your ire. Play hockey.
The series moves to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Wednesday night. Hockey fans and those casual folks that have gotten caught up in the action will be herded into their local sports bars for this contest. NBC has gotten great ratings for the first two games, the best in the sport’s history, but there’s no stopping “The Biggest Loser” monster. Instead of Game 3, outgoing exec Jeff Zucker and his staff will replay the new Jillian Michaels vehicle that premiered YESTERDAY!
And before anybody starts with the “it deserves to be on,” let’s do the math. I LOVE my sports and find myself sitting with college softball and old-school bodybuilding competitions on in the middle of the night. It comes down to cash. The NHL Playoffs got a 4.1 rating on Monday. I suspect that NBC’s move to repeat Michaels’ show crushes that number. As the famous saying goes “follow the money.”
You can’t get creative with your lineup when you’re hemorrhaging cash and just paid a ton of money for that late-night swaparoo. You have to go with the established behemoth and pump it up. I would have found some cutting-room footage from the recently-completed “The Biggest Loser” season and created “bonus” episodes to milk it for all it’s worth, but that’s just me. It would have at least contained the red ink for awhile ….
So, what does that mean? You don’t have Versus?
Don’t scrap the momentum. Don’t miss a piece of history. The Hawks haven’t won since 1961, and the Flyers don’t go down without a fight (literally and figuratively).
Get home from work. Get a non-hockey loving sitter (one who watches The Biggest Loser, perhaps?).
The Olympics spurred the nation’s interest in hockey. Now, it’s time to finish the season with a big push. Put the Lakers-Celtics talk to the side. No, wait. Take that to the bar with you. Talk about Ubaldo Jimenez. Talk about the BP oil spill.
Just get out and watch Game 3. You’ll be pumping up your local establishments and who knows? Maybe you’ll find your soulmate rockin’ the sweater … If not, you still get frosty beverages, wings and some other assorted gastronomic atrocities while watching playoff hockey.
That’s a win.