Two weeks from last night marks the beginning to the 2017 Major League Baseball season and, while yes I'm aware this is a hockey blog (although I do love baseball, and just about our entire writing staff does too), there's a point here, I promise.
If you have been paying any lick of attention to baseball news in the last two months or so, you know new rules regarding "pace of play" have been the hot topic of discussion surrounding the sport. When you boil it all down, all the pace of play talk is around is for one simple reason - make the game more TV-friendly.
Which leads me to think - are there ways the NHL, or hockey in general, could make the game more TV-friendly?
I know, I know. That might seem like an odd question to ask. But, I swear to you I know people who have told me they don't enjoy watching the sport on TV. The biggest complaint I've heard over the years is how hard it is to follow the puck, and therefore, they lose interest.
And while it's a futile discussion to have with hockey die-hards about that not really being the point, I think there are a few ways your average NHL broadcast could be changed to make it a more engaging, informative experience.
-- If the NHL can develop it's own "Statcast" that baseball has (heck, NHL is currently running under MLB Advanced Media with NHL dot TV and NHL Network sharing a studio with MLB Network), just imagine the world of possibilities. Real-time fancy stats updates, player tracking on the ice (in either real-time or on replays) or real-time stats (like speed of a player during a breakaway, live shot speeds, live goalie reaction times - would that even be possible? That'd be dope). It would be awesome, and if MLBAM is involved, it's most likely more than doable.
-- Something to highlight who is on the ice at any given time, and maybe some real-time line stats. During NBA games, especially at the beginning of a quarter or the second half, there'll be a "who's on the court" graphic that pops up. Granted, basketball players are on the floor for much longer stretches than hockey players, but I think there's still a way to make it happen. Just a quick "line update" graphic could pop up. It doesn't have to be literally every shift - just for those lines who are having a severe impact in that game.
-- Referee/goalie cams. This past fall's World Cup of Hockey gave us a glimpse of "Ref Cam" and it. is. awesome. Imagine being able to cut ON TO THE ICE to see the action. Or imagine a replay where we see Sergei Bobrovsky make a splendid save, except from his vantage point. This might be the most plausible/soon to happen item on this list. Because it's amazing.
-- Bring back the glowing puck. GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT. They wanna see the puck? LIGHT THAT SUCKER BRIGHT GREEN AND HAVE AT IT.
Happy Monday. I hope your weekend was awesome. I went to see Beauty and the Beast and I recommend it for a beautiful viewing experience. Here are today's links.
Columbus Blue Jackets News
- Not sure if you've heard, but the Jackets have PUNCHED THEIR TICKET TO THE PLAYOFFS BABY!
- They also took care of the Islanders in overtime on Saturday, if you happened to miss that too.
- This season isn't just seeing Columbus have on-ice NHL success, it's also seeing a pretty successful year for prospects too. Vitaly Abramov, currently of the Gatineau Olympiques, took home the QMJHL scoring title after logging 104 points this season.
Cleveland Monsters News
- Scoring six goals is impressive enough, but on Saturday the Monsters netted SIX UNANSWERED goals and that is pretty cool.
- Cleveland saw their offense finally burst through, and in droves, but some of that offense would have been nice Friday instead of getting blanked. (But those uniforms were dope.)
- The Ice Garden continues to do some pretty awesome work in the wake of last week's announcement that the U.S. Women's National Team is boycotting the World Championships here on U.S. soil, including this breakdown on the differences between funding for the USA and Canada.
- Yesterday the Minnesota Wild led the Winnipeg Jets 4-0. The Jets won 5-4. And I started Devan Dubnyk in my fantasy playoffs which didn't help at all. Thanks for nothing.
- Ohio State didn't win the Big 10 Hockey Tournament, but they DID make the NCAA Tournament and are headed to Fargo to take on Minnesota-Duluth on Friday.
- The US Baseball team is headed to LA for the Championship Round of the World Baseball Classic after an impressive victory over the defending champs Dominican Republic.
- If you happened to not see the game or haven't heard since, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton literally murdered this baseball on Saturday.
- Oh, and Adam Jones is an American hero.
- Welp, the first weekend of the NCAA Basketball Tournament is over and the Sweet Sixteen matchups are all set. How's your bracket looking?
- ESPN/ABC wanted to showcase the Big 3 of Cleveland on national TV. The Cavs decided it was more important to rest them for the playoffs. The NBA wasn't happy about it. Literally anything is a story in that league.
- Is Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement? Better yet, is he headed to Oakland? No and perhaps.