John Buccigross is famous for saying that he loves all 30 NHL teams equally, and that is understandable from an analyst that covers a lot of NHL teams. The same should be said about most analysts and NHL officials for that matter. But deep down we tend to ask ourselves, who do they root for? More importantly, who does Gary root for?
The problem with an NHL official, especially the Commissioner of the league, having a favorite team is the obvious ‘playing favorites’ scenario. It has been long rumored that Gary plays favorites with the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers, and he will surely do as much as he can to promote the BIG markets. But still the questions begs…what team does he favor most?
It is a loaded question and we can probably only speculate on sheer evidence alone, but after two days of post season I think this screenshot on the NHL.com says it all.
Saying that the Pittsburgh Penguins are the favorite sweetheart of the NHL is not new. I mean they do have arguably the league’s two best players in Malkin and Crosby. Sid the Kid being the poster boy for the entire NHL over the last 8 years has made it clear that this guy makes tons of money for the NHL and has to be treated as the golden goose egg.
But does the above coverage merit the popularity of the league?
I found that the Sharks vs the Canucks game was far more interesting and probably a better match-up on every level than Pittsburgh and the Islanders. I think that it is fair to say that besides all of the nation TV broadcasts that the Penguins got this year, their postseason triumphs will be extremely documented by the NHL.com.
I guess this is nothing new in pro-sports to cover the best as much as possible, but maybe they should leave that to the media. NHL.com should offer complete coverage and equally diverse to all other teams. There has to be a balance that can help grow awareness of the West coast teams like the Sharks. Most casual fans forget about the wonderful story with Brent Burns playing forward mid-way through the season and being fairly successful at it. What a plot line, huh? Defenseman with an epic hair/beard combo that turns into an offensive juggernaut.
But Crosby not playing is probably much better story.
So who is the favorite toy franchise of Gary Bettman? I guess it is the franchise that is winning, but mostly it’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
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