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Scanning the stars, old and new.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Scanning the stars, old and new....
Reviews have been excellent, from last night, of the Springsteen show I will see tomorrow night.  Yet the fact remains that The Boss is eligible for Social Security- he's 66 already. That hasn't slowed him down or made him any less bankable onstage (although none of his more recent recordings have killed it as his 70s-to-90s discography did).

But it still makes me wonder about how the seeming immortality of these 70s stars is holding back the next generation.  It's clearly happening, if on a more compressed level, in the world of sport.

The biggest stars in the major sports include a large cohort of old dudes.  A seemingly washed-up quarterback won the last Super Bowl, defeating a 38-year old Patriot QB in the AFC championship game.  Basketball's best player, likely, is probably Steph Curry, still in his 20s; but the most culturally known from the sport are Kobe Bryant (on his farewell tour), LeBron James (already in his early 30s and not the dominant superstar of a few years back), and the entire roster of the San Antonio Spurs.  Baseball may be the most hospitable refuge for the young: last year's Cubs, Pirates, Mets and the eventual champion Royals all likely have their best days ahead of them.

Which brings us to that alleged fourth major sport- and its apparent refusal to move ahead with its own progress.

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Despite the Sabres' best efforts to obtain draft rights to the best player in the 2015 NHL draft, a lottery was held that was "won" by the team in one of the league's smallest markets. Connor McDavid consequently toils for the Edmonton Oilers, a refugee from the 1970s World Hockey Association, and one with a proud dynasty in its past (Wayne Gretzky will do that) but close to a decade of suckitude in its present.  It's "earned" the #1 overall pick in four of the last six years (and the third and seventh overall in the other two), McDavid being touted as the best of them all.  Yet despite all that talent, all of it still on the team, they're  again near the bottom of the current year's NHL standings, and thus are on pace to have among the best chances for this coming summer's #1 overall draft pick, as well.

No matter. McDavid is doing very well in his first season, despite being injured for much of it, and he has never faced off against Jack Eichel, the Sabres' consolation prize in last summer's draft, who's also having a great rookie year. Eastern and Western conference teams only play each other twice a year, home-and-home, and their first potential match in Edmonton was rendered anticlimactic by McDavid's injury absence. But the rematch is on, here on our home ice, this coming Tuesday night;  and barring last-minute hiccups, both will be on that ice for the game.  NBC had scheduled it as their national Tuesday night game, but they announced earlier this week that they've bumped the game from the lineup in favor of a showdown between Pittsburgh and Washington, two playoff-contending teams with two of the best players in their prime on each roster.

This makes sense in an instant-gratification sense, but is stupid for the league long-term.  By canceling their airing of the game here, NBC has reduced McDavid's appearances on USA national television, out of of over 100 regular season games, from one- this one- to zero.  Penguins-Caps will instead be shown nationally for the fourth time all season, and who knows how many more they'll show during the end of the season and the playoffs?

Again: I get it.  Edmonton is small-market, smaller than even us, and Canadian ratings don't count down here below the lid of America's Hat.  But the relatively small hockey hotbeds in Nashville and Carolina and Arizona already know who Crosby and Ovechkin are.  They likely don't know how significant the McDavid-Eichel matchup is, and thanks to this short-sightedness, they likely won't.

What would you rather go to- Sound of Music or Hamilton? Watch the season finale of Walking Dead or a rerun of M*A*S*H? The older products are more legendary, but wouldn't you go with the new and the fresh? The different answers from the league, and its broadcast "partner," tell just how clueless they are.

In its own odd way, the NBC snub makes it more likely I'll watch the game on local cable Tuesday night- even better, because Rick Jeanneret will be back from his monthlong February vacay and should be in fine form for the matchup.

Yet only we, and the Canadian television audience, will get to see, and possibly hear in RJ's words, the definition of the two players who will carry the future of this sport:

Scary good.
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