If a superstar gets traded in a forest, and no one hears it…

Did you realize that there was a blockbuster trade in the NHL on Monday? Seriously. Maybe not quite as big as Gretzky to the Kings, but it\’s as big a name to get traded at the deadline that I can think of, probably even bigger than Ray Borque to the Avs a few years ago.

Did anyone know? (Monkey, you\’re excluded.) I didn\’t find out until Tuesday night, and that was only because I happened to catch the Flyers/Sabres game on Vs., and since the player in question is from one of those teams, they mentioned it. I then had to dig through ESPN.com to find mention of it. So maybe Wade\’s point from yesterday was a little anti-football, but you\’d think a huge trade in a major sport might have lingered on the front page somewhere.

All right, are you ready?

Peter Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators on Monday. Now just hold on a minute, all you non-hockey people. Don\’t discount it because you\’ve never watched a Preds game in your life. They\’re a good team. Best record in their conference this year. Second best record in the league. They were the third best team in the West last year. This trade makes them a very serious Cup contender.

It\’s just too bad that nobody in the business of covering sports seems to care all that much.







12 responses to “If a superstar gets traded in a forest, and no one hears it…”

  1. anderswa Avatar

    do you really think that the NHL is still considered a “major” sport? is forsberg still considered a superstar? (the first question i have an opinon on; the second one is an actual question…)

  2. alex Avatar

    The answer to B) is “yes”. He’s been injured more often in recent years, but the answer is still yes.
    As for A), I think it’s as major as it ever has been. It’s not like people don’t know what the sport of hockey is, or that there’s an NHL. Of course, now that ESPN isn’t showing games, they have no incentive to promote it… but that’s another story.

  3. anderswa Avatar

    a) i disagree with you about being as major as it’s ever been… for fans that have been passionate about it for years (including most people who follow this site as well as most minnesotans), i don’t think the appeal has changed. for those of us who were only moderately interested before the lockout, though, i think much of the interest has waned. wiki sez:

    average rating of 2006 NHL Finals: 1.3
    average rating of 1994 NHL Finals: over 5

    (yes, some of that is due to two small market teams last year vs. the NY rangers being invloved in 1994, but i don’t think that’s *all* of it.)

  4. alex Avatar

    Cherry picker. All TV ratings are down, and in the NHL’s case it’s not like the move to Vs. helped. But look at the World Series ratings and tell me if you think that the interest in baseball has actually decreased that much too.

  5. monkey Avatar

    awwwwwww… I’m excluded?

    My reaction, which probably tells you that I watch too much hockey, was: “spleenless wonder meets neckless wonder!” That was followed closely by “oh crap!” since the Preds, as Alex notes, are good, and in the same division as the Wings.

    A) Depends who & where you’re asking. It’s a grass-roots thing, and my saying that should make Bettman (Commissioner) happy. Dallas has attendance and youth hockey. Ditto Atlanta (what? yes, Atlanta), where attendance followed strong support for developing youth hockey. Nashville, Tampa, wherever Florida plays… not so much due largely to lack of corporate and youth support. Football, basketball, and baseball can be played wherever there’s enough warm weather to play outside part of the year, and recreationally or with your buddies they’re pretty cheap sports to play (only one football/basketball/bat needed). For casual hockey, it needs to get cold enough for long enough that flooded lawns or ponds freeze solid, or somebody has to have the cash for rink-time, and then everybody has to have skates and enough skating ability to not break their tailbone every 27 seconds. What I’m trying to say (in far too many words) is that the connection between playing and watching or financially supporting is strong and that playing is much easier for the other “major” sports. I’d say it’s less of a second-fiddle than, say Arena Football or Indoor Lacrosse, which is more than the sports-media talking-heads give it.

    As a semi-side note, Pittsburgh may have made the most brilliant ticket-sales move I’ve ever heard of: $20 student rush. An hour before gametime, all unsold seats are sold first-come-first-served to students. Nosebleed $20, on the glass $20. To rabid, excited, happy-to-be-here-watching-Sid-Malkin-Fleury-Staal, in 5 years when I have cash I’ll be buying jerseys, tickets, and beers at full price. That’s development from the bottom-up. Get ’em while they’re young (hey kid – first one’s free!).

    B) Here’s a litmus test (do they still do those in high school science?): When Forsberg is playing against the Red Wings, and Forsberg has the puck, I’m concerned as to how the Wings can *prevent* him scoring a goal. No other player in the league evokes that reaction (Sid the Kid excluded as he’s played the Wings never or once). So yes, Superstar.

  6. alex Avatar

    Let’s see… ‘neckless wonder’… Paul Kariya? (Cha-cha-cha.)

  7. monkey Avatar

    Nice reference, but it’s Barry Trotz.

  8. anderswa Avatar

    > Cherry picker.

    perhaps. however, those were the only #s on wikipedia, so “Lazy Researcher” may be more appropriate.

    my point, i guess, is that by (virtually) disappearing for almost a year, the NHL lost a lot of momentum it had with casual fans. exactly like what happened with baseball in 1994.

    now all they need is to have sid the kid and ovechkin get in a race to score 100 goals in one season. 🙂

  9. wadE Avatar

    the only way I found out about this was watching the Wild play the Preds… and there he was… I was shocked… and confused…

    as for hockey… no, no longer a “major” sport in the USA. it just isn’t, and it pains me to say it. but the players ruined it for themselves. hockey needs a mcgwire/sosa type of season to get back into the national consciousness. the worst part is that they have the young talent to do it, but like Monkey alluded to, players like Sid the Kid don’t get seen outside of Pittsburgh… I think the next time Pittsburgh will play in St. Paul is 2010, and being on Vs. isn’t helping one bit… my $.02

  10. alex Avatar

    And oddly enough, as of right now (2/21 7PM) the lead story at ESPN.com is a hockey one.

  11. monkey Avatar

    And that hockey story is about 1967, in effect.

    Re: McGwire/Sosa, maybe what hockey would benefit from is an American phenom in, say, New York City. Hockey got big in the US becuase of a Canadian in Los Angeles. None of Sid/Malkin/Fleury/Staal/Ovechkin/Zetterberg are American, and maybe Americans don’t relate (and none of them do the Yakov Smirnov & Sammy Sosa “I love this country” routine). Maybe McGwire/Sosa was a quick-fix that got people talking and watching again, but what are the long-term effects (ignoring steroids)? Wouldn’t a slow and steady process be better than peaking and fading?

  12. wadE Avatar

    well… ignoring steroids, which I was in using the analogy, I think baseball really did make a comeback and has been steady and strong since that time. As for the nationality thing, I don’t think the US needs an american to focus on in hockey… Gretzky and Messier are both Canadian… maybe we just need a North American. 😉

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