Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adding Some European Flavor to NHL Coverage

Canadians and Americans.

Everywhere you look, NBC, TSN, the NHL Network, those are the only ex-players you see talking about hockey.

Watching the World Cup, ESPN has expanded the field by including Germans, Brazilians, Englishmen, Frenchmen and Americans in their coverage. They all get to talk about the game they love and all add a unique aspect into the conversation. The game is different in their respective countries and it can be seen in styles teams and players play.

So I can't help but wonder what it would be like to hear different voices during the coverage of hockey, specifically the European side of hockey. Bringing in a Nicklas Lidstrom or Saku Koivu-type player, someone who is very articulate about the game but who grew up and learned the European style of the game, would help us North Americans understand the game more. I would love to hear their side of the argument when folks like Mike Milbury or Don Cherry decide they want to dump on the European ideals of the game. Wouldn't you have loved to see Alex Ovechkin alongside Jeremy and Mike during last season's playoffs? The back-and-forth alone would keep people in their seats during intermission.

I know, I know: the North American audience doesn't want to hear what Europeans think about hockey in the same way that Sidney Crosby makes a better NHL ambassador than Alex Ovechkin. But the educated hockey audience wants to hear what these players have to say about their game. It would be a side of hockey we rarely get to see and might bring about a greater appreciation of the speed and skill of the game.

Hockey is a world game. Isn't it time we invited the world in on the conversation.